Understanding this Photography Pricing Guide

In a social media driven world, it is very easy to wake up and decide “I need a Photoshoot!”. The phones in our pockets and the ease of taking 31 selfies to find the perfect one to post have spoiled. It leads people to think that it is that easy for photographers and with this have created misconceptions towards pricing. When it comes to pricing, the truth is there is no “exact” science when it comes to photography. It is a formula of services x experience. This photography pricing guide was created to give you insight into what goes in to pricing photography services. Our goal is to also help you to understand future quotes that you may receive from a professional photographer.

Anytime you work with a photographer, there are communicated service fees as well as the possibility of implied services fees. Let’s look at the most common services and fees associated with booking a photographer.

What are Photography Creative Fees?

It wouldn’t be much of a photography pricing guide if we didn’t discuss creative fees. Photography creatives fees are the cost of the photographer performing the work. When booking a photoshoot, it is easy to believe that the entire price you pay could be considered the “creative fees”. In most situations, these fees are just a portion of the final price paid.

Half Day Rates and Full Day Rates

There are a couple of different ways to charge creative fees and they are hourly or by half and full day rates. Half day rates are up to 4 hours and full day rates are up to 8 hours. This is the flat cost that a photographer will charge for services per day. These types of rates typically apply to when a photographer is asked to be on location for a specific amount of time.

If you ask a photographer to be on location for a set amount of hours, they will need to be paid for those hours. The time, even if they are not actively shooting, has to be accounted for in the overall fees. The time you have them booked, they will not be able to accept any more potential assignments from other clients. The two most common types of assignments that will bill based on half and full day rates are events and commercial photography.

How Much to Pay for a Professional Makeup Artist?

Makeup is one of the most important elements to a photoshoot. To be completely honest, often times, makeup artist do not get just due for what they provide to a photoshoot. Your makeup artist should be able to provide makeup based on the type of photography you are requesting. Every day walking around makeup, photoshoot makeup, and stage/play makeup are not the same. It is essential that your makeup artist understands different skin types, photography lighting and color theory. Some artist may charge by the shoot and others may charge per application.

Hiring a Wardrobe Stylist

Wardrobe can be a little tricky when planning for your photoshoot. If you are looking to have professional headshots taken, you more than likely have the right wardrobe pieces in your closet. When looking to do a full on personal branding or commercial photoshoot, it is usually best to hire a wardrobe stylist. They can assist you in pulling together the correct wardrobe items to complete the look for your shoot. If you are someone who has great taste and a sense of style, this is still a great. The stylist will be on set to make sure all of your wardrobe needs off camera and on camera are met.

Photography Studio Fees

Most photographers are either renting a space or leasing a space. In either scenario, there is more likely to be studio fees included in your pricing. These photography studio fees can either be listed separately as a line item or may be included in your contract total.

On Location Photoshoots

Not all photoshoots take place inside of a studio. There may be times when you would like to shoot on location at an office or other venue. Keep in mind, there may be setup and break down fees associated with on location photoshoots. The big appeal into shooting on location is that you are more comfortable in your own environment.


For the most part, on location photoshoots will be within your local market typically within 100 miles. Anything beyond that distance may include travel fees in addition to the traditional photoshoot fees. Travel fees may consist of lodging, transportation, and meals. Travel days may be billed in whole or in part along with working days. This is also the situation where half day and full day rates may apply.

Photograph Licensing Fees

To wrap up the photography pricing guide, let’s discuss licensing. Photograph licensing is something that is rarely discussed outside of the commercial photography world. However it is something that should be considered for all types of photography. Photographers own/retain the copyright to every photograph that they create. Remember, when you pay the creative fees for photography you are only paying for the photographer to create the images. You are not paying for ownership of the images themselves. Your contract should state what the usage and licensing stipulations are for your delivered photographs. When it comes to image licensing fees, they are based on time periods which can be anything from 1 to 5 years or more.

Let’s See the Numbers!

Remember, pricing will vary based on the experience of the photographer. In some situations, you may see prices that are lower and you may also see prices that are higher. All things considered, let’s look at a range of pricing based on photography creative fees only.

Headshot Photography: $250 – $500
Personal Branding Photography: $750 – $1200
Commercial Photography: $1000 – $2500
Half Day Rate: $600 – $1000
Full Day Rate: $1500 – $3000
Makeup Artistry: $125 – $350

If you are planning to use your photographs to generate awareness and to drive profits for your business, you have to be willing to invest in quality photography that will help you to meet your goals.

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