Whether you’re an online business or rely on print catalogs to market your goods, high-quality product photos are critical to enhancing your brand and generating sales.
The important question, then, is ‘how much should product photography cost?’
The simple answer is that for basic white-background product photography you can expect to pay between $20 and $50 per photo.
However, there is more complexity involved in pricing product photography than this simple answer suggests.
Product photography can cost much more, and potentially much less, depending on various factors, including:
- whether you are quoted on the number of photos or number of products photographed
- how many products are being photographed
- the size and weight of the products being photographed
- whether products need to be unpackaged, assembled or styled prior to photography
- whether lifestyle images of the products are required.
Factors like the experience level of the photographer and their geographic location can also influence product photography costs.
What you’re quoted on
There are two ways that product photographers typically charge for product photography.
The first is a flat rate quoted per image, irrespective of the number of products. This is an attractive option for product photographers, as it covers them if the client wants multiple images of certain products.
The second approach is to charge by the product. In this case, the client is usually offered several images per product.
To prevent this from getting out of control, photographers will usually set a limit on the total number of images per product and charge a special rate for any additional photos once this limit is reached.
In both cases, you can expect and should request, a discount proportional to the number of images required.
Size and weight
Photographing crockery for a kitchen supply store is a different prospect from photographing vehicles for a car dealership.
Shooting larger items will require more expensive cameras, bigger studios and sets, and more time spent on getting the right composition for the shot.
Furthermore, it’s unlikely a photographer will be able to create optimal shots for large or heavy items without bringing in an assistant.
In fact, even being able to take delivery of large items at a studio can be very expensive and require the use of specialized equipment, like forklifts.
Photographers cover this angle by adding surcharges for images of products outside a specific dimension and weight threshold, with surcharges increasing as items get larger.
Few product photography shoots are as simple as taking delivery of the product, placing it on a white background, and taking photos of it.
Products may come wrapped in packaging that takes time to remove, and products may require assembly or cleaning before they can be photographed.
This can significantly inflate the amount of time it takes to photograph the product, and you can expect to pay a surcharge on the standard product photography rate if these factors come into play.
Styling and layout
A white background may work for many product photos, but more complexity can be required to optimally showcase some products.
This can include having to:
- style a product
- arrange the product with props
- arrange the product components attractively
- set up group product shots, for example product bundles.
All of this takes time, and as with the other factors discussed, you can expect to pay for this time in the form of a surcharge in addition to the base price per photo or product.
Product photography clients often require lifestyle images of their products, which show a model making use of their product.
It isn’t possible to slap a flat rate on lifestyle images because requirements for lifestyle images can vary significantly between shoots.
As a result, product photographers will often give you a separate quote on lifestyle photos.
This will cover their day rate multiplied by the estimated number of days required to conduct the shoot, as well as the cost of extras, such as models and studio fees.
On-demand product photography
Recently a new approach to handling product photography has emerged, pioneered by Cherrydeck Branded Stock™.
Cherrydeck provides a very affordable end-to-end product photography service that allows you to buy professional product photos at stock library pricing.
All you need to do is send Cherrydeck your sample products and brand details and they’ll set up the shoot and provide you with access to the stock library of your products within three weeks.
Best of all you will only pay for the photos you want to use from the library.
To find out more, visit Cherrydeck Branded Stock™ now.
Visit past jobs and collaborations that happened through Cherrydeck, on this page.