One should never be surprised by the fact that product photography is a lot of fun. Not only does it allow you to shoot some really good products and help brands build themselves, but it is also an excellent way of ensuring that you are getting the right experience.
There is a lot to learn when you are talking about product photography and to be honest, if not done right, it can also be difficult to understand for a lot of people. However, we are going to talk about how to get better at it by teaching you about how much to charge for product photography. That’s not all, we will be, of course, talking about other important pointers as well.
The goal here is to ensure that by the end of the day, you are as equipped about it as one can possibly be.
How Does Product Photography Work?
If you are stuck wondering just how much should I charge for product photography as a beginner, then you have to ask yourself the question about how product photography works because trust me, that is far more important than anything else you will have the chance to encounter. You see, product photography is not at all complicated but things have been around for so long that it can easily confuse even the photography veterans.
Product photography can work on a whole day shoot or an hourly based shoot, and sometimes, even you can even charge for pricing per image or pricing per product.
If you are a beginner, your business model should be charging based on per-image. Don’t worry, we will explain more on this later, but trust me, if you are wondering how you will make money this way, wait till I share the stats with you.
Once you start to get better at your job, you can go ahead and introduce product photography packages. This is something that is common and you might have seen something like this when hiring an event or a wedding photographer. The purpose here? Well, it will help your clients choose the package that is fit for them rather than just picking something random; it actually also helps your clients feel more involved in the process because they can easily customize their package to either lower the cost or increase it.
A Beginner’s Guide to Pricing Commercial Photography
Now that we are done exploring the basics, we should not waste more time beating around the bush and jump straight into the ins and outs of commercial product photography. A lot of people ask us about the pricing model that they should be following and while it might seem like a complicated mess at first, if you are looking to be good at it, it will only take you a little time to understand.
Now, as we have mentioned before, product photography can be priced using the following models.
- Per-image basis.
- Whole-day shoot.
- Hourly-based shoot.
- Per-product basis
These are the four basic pillars, and it is important to understand how all of these work. So, let’s look into that.
This is perhaps the entry point into ensuring that you are getting good product photography. This works for both beginners as well as people who are looking to get pictures of their products without spending a lot of money.
Now, the per-image basis might not look attractive from a far, but remember, a single product will have multiple images of it. Take a watch, for instance. A watchmaker would not just want a single picture of the watch, they’ll ask for the picture of the watch’s dial, the case back of the watch, bracelet/strap, finishing of the metal being used, and a picture of the movement (in case of a mechanical watch) the point here is that this is a single product but you are taking multiple pictures of it.
Expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $150 on average for such a pricing model.
This is for people who have a lot of products to go through in a day and perhaps some product B rolls as well. Most of the times, bigger companies invest in such shoots, and you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $3,000 for this.
I do understand that this massive difference might confuse someone but the point here is that the experience comes in the way, a lot of times. For instance, a beginner could charge you $300 for it, whereas a professional can go as high as $3,000 or even higher.
Another option is for you to start charging by hour. We believe that this is perhaps the most common ways of charging your clients, especially in the U.S. The reason why it works so well is that most of the times, neither the photographer, nor the client is aware of just how long it is going to take to complete a shoot.
Photographers normally put check marks on things that will be counted towards the hours and things that will not be. For instance, setting up the shoot is definitely something that will be counted towards the hours spent on shoot but lunch breaks and other such breaks will not be.
It surely is a tricky way to get started, so keep that in mind. You can charge anywhere from $50 to $500 based on how experienced you are.
The last pricing method that we have is per-product pricing and this might cause confusion to some. You see, for a lot of people, this is something that is very similar to let’s say per-image basis, but when you look closer, you start to realise that it actually is a lot different.
For starters, when you are talking about per-image basis, you are charging for every image you take. However, with per product pricing, you are only charging for a product that you are photographing. So, if it is just a single product, no matter how many pictures of that specific product you take, the pricing will be the same.
For per-product ricing, you are looking at anywhere from $20 – $300. This, of course, depends a lot on your experience in the market and how good your photos are.
This should help all photographers understand how to model their prices to cater to their clients. One noteworthy thing here is that you do not necessarily have to use a single pricing model. You can always use more than one based on the client’s requirements. So, if your client is looking for a per-product pricing instead of an hourly-based shoot, you can adapt the prices and cater to them in those situations.
How to Become the Best Product Photographer
Now that we are done with the basics of pricing in product photography, the next step is a lot easier than you might think. We are going to start looking at what will help you become the best product photographer and yes, it is just as easy as you think.
Yes, it is true that you will have to spend some time trying to perfect your product photography as there are several things involved in the process like creating a portfolio but all of these are going to help you out.
Building a Portfolio
I know this is not something that is going to make some people uneasy but when you are looking into product photography or any other photography, for that matter. You will need to build a career. Why is it so important? Well, you see, a portfolio is going to allow you to communicate with your clients in a better way.
You know, letting your work speak for itself. Now, in the start, this could be difficult to handle as there are several things that can be involved in this but you would be glad to know that once you do get a hold of it, things will be a lot easier.
Your first few shoots might not be very good in bringing in money. Especially when you are taking up projects for your portfolio.
Equipment and Skills Matter
If you have been wondering whether your equipment matters or not, then you must know that it does. You see, you can start as a good product photographer even with your phone camera. After all, with computational photography, smartphone cameras have come a long, long way but they still cannot replace a full-fledged professional camera and at some point in your career, you will have to invest.
Your equipment matters but more than that, your skill also matters. One cannot exist without the other but thankfully, you do not need to build skill using your equipment. Start small and you can easily go to places.
Another really important thing that you must know as a product photographer is that you will have to be networking in order to get better at what you are doing. Networking is not as complicated as it might seem, you just have to talk to other photographers in the market, even if they are not walking the same career path as you. Simply put, this will allow the word to get out.
Similarly, you have to understand that being active on socials is very important. Build your profile through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. It is free, and that is what makes it such a good thing because you can easily go ahead and share your work with others.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am fully aware of the fact that things can be confusing when it comes to understanding how much you should charge for product photography but with this post, we try to make it as easy and accessible as possible.
We have covered almost all the aspects of it, so you can just go ahead and work on it without any confusion.
Hi! I’m Furqan Shahid, founder of SnapDirector. With a decade of experience capturing countless moments, I’m here to guide you on your photography journey and save you from gear pitfalls!