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How Much Does Personal Brand Photography Cost?

Figuring out what you can expect to spend on a photography session 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.  And if you come across a photographer whose work you love, you might not be able to see a full menu of pricing options on their website.

So what is the difference between the person offering $50 sessions and a photographer who quotes you $5,000?  Why is it so hard to know what you’ll spend on a brand photographer?  How much does personal brand photography actually cost?

There is No Such Thing as a “Going Rate”

woman sitting by a pool reading a newspaper wearing bathrobe and towel hair wrap  asking ask how much does personal branding photography cost

In the photography industry, pricing varies wildly.  There is no standardized way of pricing photography services.  Each photographer must decide for themselves what to charge, and sometimes photographers set their rates based on arbitrary metrics like how much they think their work is worth.

There is also no barrier for entry – anyone can call themselves a photographer and start advertising their services.  That’s why you’ll see such wide ranges when looking for photography quotes.  Beyond that, each photographer will charge a different rate based on their licensing fees, project scope, market, overhead costs, and desired profit margin.

Photographers, like all business owners, should charge based on their Cost of Doing Business.  In general, a CODB is determined based on how much money a business needs to cover expenses (equipment, insurance, gear repairs, marketing costs, studio rental, office costs, etc.), taxes, and the salary of the owner (plus salary of any employees they might have).  These numbers don’t just appear out of thin area – there are specific costs needed to operate a functional, stable business.

What are You Getting for the Price?

man in tuxedo excited because he just learned what does personal brand photography cost

Let’s say you reached out to two photographers in your area and got two personal brand photography price quotes:  one for $350 and one for $3500.  That’s a big price range!  Consider what are you getting for your money.

The cost of professional personal 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. 

A professional, full-service branding photographer will spend time getting to know you, getting to understand your audience, and creating a strategic project plan to create images that are true to you and speak loud and clear to you ideal client.

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, approachable, and eye-catching way.  For $350 a session, a photographer would need to serve a LOT more clients to earn a livable wage and build a profitable business.  For $3500 a session, a photographer can spend more time laser focused on your unique photography needs instead of juggling several clients at once.

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-entrepreneurs, 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.

External Costs
  • Hair styling
  • Makeup artist
  • Fashion consultant
  • Set building and design
  • Location scouting and booking
  • Studio rental or location fees
  • Prop creation/sourcing
  • Assistant’s compensation
  • File storage and backup system
  • Editing software fees
  • Equipment rental
  • Editing outsourcing
  • General business administration costs (taxes, licenses, utilities, etc.)
Internal Costs
  • Photographer’s salary (which should be a living wage.  Check out this MIT guide to see examples of living wage requirements in your area.  I could rant about the undervaluing of creative careers all day.)

Here’s how much I charge for branding photography

Some of my clients spend $10,000+ per project.  These types of projects are typically large-scale productions with a lot of moving parts!    My average branding photography client spends $2000 on fully customized and down-right amazing photos with commercial licensing.

Each session is tailored to the needs of the brand – no cookie-cutter solutions or step-and-repeat photos allowed.  Your brand is unique, and you deserve to look cool, confident, and clever in your photos!

 

Personal branding photography can be an investment.  You can absolutely find a cheaper photographer than me.  But when you work with me on a personal branding photography project, you’ll be getting so much more than just pretty photos.

Jesi Cason

Your Branding BFF

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