Thursday, August 24th, 2023

How much does a photoshoot cost?

Illustration showing a speed light behind a Lumix camera and a polaroid of a blonde woman to the right

If you’re looking to up your photography and move past the “selfie”, you might consider a photoshoot. High quality, unique images can make your brand stand out. This is particularly true if you’ve been relying on product photos provided by suppliers or wholesalers.

So what does it take to have your own unique photos? It’s a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” question. The most expensive shoot I’ve worked on was a couple of thousand pounds a day. The cheapest was a few hundred.

A few thoughts on how to layer in the cost…

At the absolute minimum, someone (aka the photographer) will take photos. Don’t worry about having expensive cameras and lenses. Being able to compose an image on a phone is often good enough for digital marketing. If you aren’t confident enough to take them yourself, hire a local photographer.

You might need a model or three. I say “might” because you could shoot flat lays (the items put out on the floor) or use a dummy. Hiring models is an entire book in its own right, but a decent starting place is one of the modeling sites like Model Mayhem. Models usually charge by the hour, with minimums and travel expenses to factor in.

Then you’ll need a set. If you want something free, use parks and streets. You can get a gritty, urban feel, although the logistics of costume changes can be interesting. Some photographers have studios (if you’re hiring one), or you can hire a studio separately. Alternatively, set up a small studio in the corner of the store or your home for something more flexible. 

Photograph of a young Indian woman stood by some woodwork. She is wearing a cropped top and denim jeans
This was taken in a public park in North London.

You might want a makeup artist (or MUA). Some models are OK with doing their own makeup. Still, a MUA can add extra style and ensure consistency between models.

An art director might be a nice-to-have. They’ll guide you on the concept for your shoot and give you some consistency between sets. If you’re a small brand, this is probably something you will want to do, so an art director might be someone you consult with.

Of course, you’ll need the outfits. If you’re careful, you can return them to stock, although if makeup or sweat gets onto them, that’s not a “good thing” to pass to customers. Any damaged stock you can put in a drawer to use on another day.

Run back through this and see how much you can afford, what you can do yourself, and what’s nice to have. Also think about HOW you’ll use the images. You might use them to add extra color to whatever the supplier provides or populate newsletters and promotions. The bottom line is you don’t have to photograph everything you sell.

There is a lot more to it than this, but I hope this points you in the right direction.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.