Photography is a fascinating art form that has the power to capture and preserve memories for a lifetime.
Whether you’re an amateur photographer looking to monetize your hobby or a professional photographer seeking to set prices for your services, determining the correct pricing structure can be daunting.
With so many factors to consider, it’s essential to understand what goes into photography pricing.
In this article, I will provide a comprehensive guide showing you the factors that affect pricing your photography services.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to set fair and profitable prices for your photography services.
Before setting the price, you must know how others do photography pricing. A rough estimate of the average hourly cost is $100 to $250.
I recommend approaching this guide by writing down all the monthly expenses you have first, then writing down the price you plan to charge for a single client, and then figuring out how many clients you would need monthly to have a profit you like.
Go through each of these factors asking yourself if they are applicable to you and use them to determine a nice base of all the costs that go into photography and what you can charge for to make up for the costs.
Table of Contents
The first factor that affects how much a photographer charges a client is based on their experience.
Like in any other profession, the more experienced the professional is, the more they will typically charge.
Here are some rough estimates based on experience that you can charge based on my experience:
|Experience Level||Price Range (per hour)||Price Range (per event)|
|Beginner||$50 – $100||$300 – $700|
|Intermediate||$100 – $200||$700 – $1,500|
|Advanced||$200 – $400||$1,500 – $3,000|
|Professional||$400 – $800+||$3,000 – $10,000+|
|Celebrity/Expert||$800+ and above||$10,000+ and above|
2. Type of Photography
There are many photography niches.
The photography niche in which they specialize can also affect the hourly rate. For example, wedding photography usually commands a higher rate than portrait photography.
This is due to the event, preparation, and skills needed for wedding photography.
Here are some rough estimates based on niche (varies by location, but this can give you a rough idea):
|Photography Niche||Price Range (per hour)||Price Range (per project/event)|
|Portrait Photography||$50 – $200||$200 – $1,500+|
|Wedding Photography||$100 – $300||$1,000 – $5,000+|
|Event Photography||$50 – $150||$200 – $1,500+|
|Real Estate Photography||$100 – $300||$200 – $1,000+|
|Commercial Photography||$200 – $400||$1,000 – $5,000+|
|Fashion Photography||$100 – $300||$500 – $2,000+|
|Food Photography||$100 – $250||$300 – $1,500+|
|Wildlife Photography||$100 – $300||$500 – $2,000+|
|Landscape Photography||$50 – $150||$200 – $1,000+|
|Sports Photography||$100 – $300||$300 – $1,500+|
|Product Photography||$100 – $300||$200 – $1,500+|
|Pet Photography||$50 – $150||$150 – $500+|
|Aerial Photography||$200 – $400||$500 – $2,000+|
|Fine Art Photography||$100 – $300||$500 – $2,000+|
The cost of living and local market conditions can also affect a photographer’s hourly rate.
Photographers in large cities or areas with high demand for service may charge more than those in smaller towns.
Here are some common prices per hour based on some of the popular cities in the world.
While this is an approximation, it’s best to head to your favorite search engine of choice and do a quick search.
For example, if you are a portrait photographer, search for “portrait photographers near me” and research their pricing.
Get an average and their experience, and then price your photography skills based on where you think you fit in:
|City||Approximate Photographer Hourly Rate|
|New York City, USA||$150 – $400+|
|Los Angeles, USA||$100 – $300+|
|London, UK||£100 – £250+ (GBP)|
|Paris, France||€100 – €250+ (EUR)|
|Sydney, Australia||$100 – $250+ (AUD)|
|Toronto, Canada||$75 – $200+ (CAD)|
|Dubai, UAE||AED 300 – AED 800+|
|Mumbai, India||₹1,500 – ₹5,000+ (INR)|
|Tokyo, Japan||¥10,000 – ¥30,000+ (JPY)|
|Cape Town, South Africa||R800 – R2,500+ (ZAR)|
4. Equipment Needed
Photography equipment can be expensive. Various things are needed to accomplish a successful photography session, such as lenses, cameras, lighting, and other specialized gear.
Photographers who usually invest in higher-quality gear that can produce higher-quality images typically cost more.
Here’s a breakdown chart of common equipment photographers need and the price so you can see the investment required:
|Equipment Type||Approximate Cost Range|
|Entry-Level DSLR Camera||$300 – $800|
|Mid-Range DSLR Camera||$800 – $1,500|
|Professional DSLR Camera||$1,500 – $6,000+|
|Entry-Level Mirrorless Camera||$500 – $1,000|
|Mid-Range Mirrorless Camera||$1,000 – $2,500|
|Professional Mirrorless Camera||$2,500 – $8,000+|
|Prime Lens (e.g., 50mm f/1.8)||$100 – $500|
|Zoom Lens (e.g., 24-70mm f/2.8)||$500 – $2,000+|
|Tripod||$20 – $300+|
|External Flash||$50 – $500+|
|Studio Lighting Kit||$200 – $1,500+|
|Camera Bag||$20 – $200+|
|Memory Cards||$10 – $100+ per card|
|Editing Software (e.g., Adobe Creative Cloud)||Subscription-based|
|Computer/Laptop||$500 – $2,000+|
|External Hard Drive/SSD||$50 – $300+|
|Photo Printer||$100 – $1,000+|
|Drone||$300 – $2,000+|
|Filters (e.g., ND, UV)||$20 – $200+ per filter|
|Camera Accessories (e.g., remote shutter, cleaning kit)||Varies|
5. Session Duration
The amount of time a photographer spends on a project also determines the hourly rate.
Photographers who offer more extensive services, such as pre-shoot planning or post-production editing, may charge more per hour.
6. Number of Final Images
The number of edited photos included in a package can affect pricing. Clients may pay more for additional edited images.
7. Overhead Expenses
The final factor that usually goes into how much a photographer charges a client is based on their overhead expenses.
These are expenses such as studio rent or marketing costs.
Here’s a breakdown chart of common overhead expenses so you can see the investment required:
|Overhead Expense||Approximate Cost Range|
|Studio or Office Rent||$300 – $3,000+ per month|
|Liability Insurance||$500 – $2,000+ per year|
|Equipment Insurance||$200 – $1,000+ per year|
|Business License and Permits||Varies by location|
|Marketing and Advertising||$100 – $1,000+ per month|
|Website Hosting and Domain||$10 – $50+ per month|
|Accounting/Bookkeeping Services||$200 – $500+ per month|
|Business Registration Fees||Varies by location|
|Telephone and Internet||$50 – $200+ per month|
|Utilities (if operating a studio)||$50 – $300+ per month|
|Professional Memberships||$100 – $500+ per year|
|Software Subscriptions (e.g., Adobe Creative Cloud, CRM)||Varies|
|Vehicle Expenses (fuel, maintenance)||Varies depending on use|
|Office Supplies||$50 – $200+ per month|
|Travel Expenses (if applicable)||Varies|
Selling prints is a great way for photographers to some extra money from a session.
Here is a breakdown chart of the different types of prints you can sell and the average price you can charge:
*Additional costs for framing or finishing can vary depending on the quality of materials and labor involved.
|Print Type||Print Size||Approximate Price Range (Unframed)|
|Standard Prints||Small (8×10 inches)||$20 – $100+|
|Medium (16×20 inches)||$50 – $300+|
|Large (24×36 inches)||$100 – $500+|
|Extra-Large (36×48+ inches)||$300 – $1,000+|
|Framed Prints||Small (8×10 inches)||$70 – $300+|
|Medium (16×20 inches)||$150 – $500+|
|Large (24×36 inches)||$300 – $1,000+|
|Extra-Large (36×48+ inches)||$700 – $2,500+|
|Canvas Prints||Small (8×10 inches)||$40 – $150+|
|Medium (16×20 inches)||$100 – $300+|
|Large (24×36 inches)||$200 – $500+|
|Extra-Large (36×48+ inches)||$500 – $1,500+|
|Metal Prints||Small (8×10 inches)||$50 – $200+|
|Medium (16×20 inches)||$150 – $400+|
|Large (24×36 inches)||$300 – $800+|
|Extra-Large (36×48+ inches)||$700 – $2,000+|
|Acrylic Prints||Small (8×10 inches)||$70 – $250+|
|Medium (16×20 inches)||$200 – $500+|
|Large (24×36 inches)||$400 – $1,000+|
|Extra-Large (36×48+ inches)||$1,000 – $3,000+|
9. Licensing and Usage
Commercial photographers often charge based on the intended use of the images. Licensing for commercial purposes typically costs more than personal use.
10. Season and Date
Prices can fluctuate based on the time of year, day of the week, and peak wedding or event seasons.
For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you must know wedding season extends from late spring and continues through early fall.
11. Session Location
Specialized or remote locations, destination shoots, or studio rentals may have additional costs.
12. Post-Production Work
Extensive retouching or editing can increase the price, especially in fields like fashion or commercial photography.
If you are very specialized, such as a beauty photographer or headshot photographer, you may opt to have retouching work included in your package and include these prices in your package.
Most photographers combine certain services and just charge an overall fee. For example, for basic color correction, basic adjustments, color correction, and skin smoothing they’ll charge a set amount or include it in their package:
|Post-Production Service||Approximate Price Range (per image)|
|Basic Color Correction||$5 – $20|
|Exposure Adjustment||$5 – $20|
|Cropping and Straightening||$5 – $20|
|White Balance Adjustment||$5 – $15|
|Contrast and Tone Adjustments||$10 – $30|
|Color Grading||$10 – $30|
|Removal of Minor Blemishes||$10 – $30|
|Skin Smoothing||$10 – $30|
|Background Removal||$10 – $40|
|Object Removal||$10 – $40|
|Composite Editing||$20 – $50+|
|Advanced Retouching (e.g., fashion and beauty)||$20 – $75+|
|HDR (High Dynamic Range)||$10 – $30|
|Panorama Stitching||$10 – $30|
|Photo Manipulation (e.g., adding or removing elements)||$20 – $75+|
|Special Effects and Filters||$15 – $40+|
|Digital Art and Illustration||$20 – $100+|
13. Client Requirements
Unique client requests, custom setups, or specialized techniques may require additional fees.
14. Market Competition
Local market conditions and competition can influence pricing strategies. Highly competitive markets may lead to lower prices.
15. Client Expectations
Meeting specific client expectations, including style, creative concepts, or delivery timelines, can affect pricing.
16. Taxes and Fees
Sales tax, transaction fees, and other government-related expenses can affect pricing.
Here are the common taxes and fees you can expect to pay as a photographer:
|Tax or Fee||Description||Approximate Price Range|
|Income Tax||Taxes on photography income, based on earnings and tax rates in your country or region.||Varies based on income and tax laws.|
|Sales Tax/GST/VAT||Tax on the sale of photography services or products, typically a percentage of the total transaction.||Varies by location and tax rate, typically 5-15%.|
|Business License Fees||The cost to register or obtain a business license, which allows you to legally operate your photography business.||Varies by location, from $50 to $500+ per year.|
|Self-Employment Tax||In some countries, self-employed individuals are required to pay a separate tax that covers Social Security and Medicare.||Typically 15.3% of net self-employment income.|
|State/Local Permits||Permits for operating a business in specific locations, such as home-based businesses or studio rentals.||Varies by location, from $25 to $500+ per year.|
|Use Tax||A tax on goods and equipment purchased out of state or online, which are used in your photography business.||Varies by location and purchase amount, typically 6-9%.|
|Property Tax||If you own property or a studio space, you may be subject to property tax based on the assessed value of the property.||Varies by location and property value.|
|Photography Association Memberships||Membership fees for joining photography organizations or associations.||Varies by organization, typically $50 – $300+ per year.|
|Insurance Premiums||The cost of insurance policies such as liability, equipment, and business insurance to protect your business.||Varies by coverage and location, typically $500 – $2,000+ per year.|
|Website Hosting Fees||The cost of hosting and maintaining your photography website, including domain registration.||Varies by hosting provider, typically $100 – $500+ per year.|
|Transaction Fees||Fees charged by payment processors (e.g., credit card processing fees or PayPal fees) when accepting client payments.||Typically 2-3% per transaction.|
|Accounting Software||Expenses for accounting software or services to manage your finances and taxes.||Varies by software, typically $10 – $50+ per month.|
How much should you charge as a beginner photographer?
Research the photographers in your area. One common approach is to start by setting a lower hourly rate or package rate that reflects your level of experience and the quality of your work. As you gain experience and improve your skills, you can gradually increase your rates to reflect your growing expertise and the value of your work.
How do you price yourself as a photographer?
Calculate business costs, research the market, consider your experience, determine your value, and consider pricing strategies.
We know that it does seem daunting to tackle photography pricing. Try and sort everything out slowly, or even be accompanied by a senior/mentor in your niche.
Assess and evaluate your skills, and portfolio, and finally, make your dreams come true!
As long as you start working on it, you will finish it eventually. Good luck!
Nate Torres is a seasoned photographer and marketing consultant, providing educational photography content while also teaching photographers how to grow their business and brand through SEO. Beyond the lens, he’s an authoritative voice in the photography industry, serving as a speaker and photography author for renowned photography publications such as Photofocus, SLR Lounge, and Fstoppers. An entrepreneur and lifelong learner at heart, Nate is also the co-founder of Imaginated, an educational platform. Nate shares his insights on his YouTube channel, “Nate Torres,” and on his personal photography blog, Nate Torres Photography. But his expertise doesn’t stop at photography. Whether it’s elucidating the nuances of marketing within the realm of photography or sharing broader marketing insights, Nate Torres brings to the table a wealth of expertise, ensuring readers and audiences benefit from both his photographic acumen and marketing knowledge.