Figuring out what you can expect to spend on photography for your personal brand can be tricky.
If you find yourself asking for recommendations online for a “reasonably priced photographer” or a branding photographer that “won’t cost an arm and a leg” you’ll get a wide range of responses.
What is the difference between the person offering $50 sessions and the one who quoted you $5,000? How much does personal brand photography actually cost?
There is No Such Thing as a “Going Rate”
In the photography industry, pricing varies wildly. That is because there is no standardized way of pricing photography services. There is also no barrier for entry – anyone can call themselves a photographer and start advertising their services.
Each photographer will charge a different rate based on their skill level, overhead costs, and desired profit margin.
The full cost of branding photography ultimately comes down to how many photos you need, what you need them for, and what sort of prep-work and post-production the photographer will be doing.
Typically, amatuer/proftolio building photographers will charge very little. There is nothing wrong with working with a newbie photographer, but be aware that you’ll be taking a bigger risk.
New photographers charge so little because they lack the experience to guarantee results or professional quality images. You may find yourself unhappy with the images or unable to use them for the purposes you need.
But if you find someone whose style you simply love, don’t let the low price point scare you away! Just be sure they are a legal, insured business and can deliver the type of work you need by asking these important questions.
Entry-Mid Level Pro Photographer
This session fee range is more in line with a entry to mid-level of professional service. Depending on what is included, you’ll either be getting a lot of decent photos or a handful of spectacular photos.
Beware of photographers that include “all digital images” at this price range. Generally that means they are not carefully curating the images they create for you, but rather “spraying and praying” and potentially dumping you with a bunch of duplicate images.
At this range, it is more reasonable to expect the photographer to craft specific images for your brand and offer additional images for purchase separately.
Branding photography that costs $750 or more will be tailored to fit your specific needs. At this price range, you can expect a fully customized experience.
Generally, price will start to go up depending on how many images are included and what add-ons come standard. Some photographers include hair and makeup, fashion styling, studio rental, set building, custom props, and travel fees in their pricing.
Top Level Professional Photographer
You want the works? You got the works!
The top level branding photographers will charge $1,500 for certain types of sessions because they will dedicate hours of time before, during, and after your session to create perfectly on-brand images for your business.
You can also expect to have more than just a handful of images at this price, with specific commercial licensing rights.
What are You Getting for the Price?
So you figured out your price range. But what are you getting for your money?
The cost of branding photography includes much more than just photos.
A professional branding photographer will know about market trends, social media strategy, and how to connect your images to your ideal client.
Then, depending on YOUR specific needs, the photographer should be able to provide you with a holistic service that will make it easier for you to reach your online audience.
Your branding photos should help drive more business to you. Whether you’re using them in social media posts or to promote specific ticketed events or on a billboard, these images help your audience connect with you, build trust in you, and ultimately do business with you. Instead of thinking solely about how much the images cost you, think about how much more money you’ll be able to bring in when your brand is represented in a professional, approacheble, and eye-catching way.
Professional Photographer Costs to Consider
The biggest misconception about photographers is that we get to keep all of the money we make. Oh, I wish!
Just like when making a movie or producing a radio show, there are a lot of talented people to pay when it comes to creating high-quality branding photos.
While most photographer’s are self-employed solo-entrepenuers, many work as part of a team of freelancers and partner for specific productions. Even if a photographer does every part of the photoshoot all by themselves, there are several external costs to consider on top of their own take-home pay.
- Hair styling
- Makeup artist
- Fashion consultant
- Set building and design
- Location scouting and booking
- Studio rental or location fees
- Prop creation
- Assistant’s compensation
- File storage and backup system
- Editing software fees
- Equipment rental
- Editing outsourcing
- General business administration costs (taxes, licenses, utilities, etc.)
- Photographer’s salary
How much do I charge?
When you hire me, you’re hiring more than just a photographer. I’m going to hype you up, be your biggest cheerleader, and tell you exactly what I think you need to do to take your business further.