If you’re selling online, images are paramount. Studies have shown that people remember 80% of what they see.
Which means, if your product photography images are not spectacular, then you're just losing money.
So how can we create spectacular product photography images?
It goes back to the old adage: you get what you pay for.
In this tutorial, we're going to teach you how to stretch your money the farthest. To get the best images, at the best price, and learn what to watch out for when evaluating Photographers and Photo Studios.
What is product photography?
Product photography is exactly what it sounds like: photography involving commercial products. This type of commercial photography focuses on presenting products in the best way possible. The goal of product photography is to make a product or products look more attractive to consumers and encourage sales.
Product photography is used for a wide range of materials and mediums. You can visit almost any website that sells products and find a great deal of product photography. From banner images across the top of the webpage to individual photos of products from every angle, businesses rely on product photography to properly showcase their offerings.
You can also use product photography for advertisements, catalogs and brochures, business cards, billboards, and so much more. If you need to get your products in front of potential customers, product photography is a must-have for your business.
Why is quality product photography important?
Online shopping is on the rise and expected to continue growing. In fact, online shopping increased by 44% year-over-year from 2020 to 2021. With more people shopping online than ever before, consumers are having to rely on what they can see online instead of what they can see and touch in the store.
Product photography is one of the most important factors in a customer’s buying decision. Quality product photography enables a customer to see a product from all angles, including up close images of important or unique features. If the product photos meet or exceed a customer’s expectations, they are more likely to make a purchase.
In essence, good product photography can lead to increased sales while bad product photography can cause you to miss out on opportunities. Don’t let subpar images cause you to miss out on product sales!
Good Product Photography:
- Clear and crisp images optimized for web and print
- Comprehensive look at the entire product
- Showcase the benefit of the product
Bad Product Photography:
- Blurry images with poor sizing
- Incomplete view of the product
- Irrelevant to the product or brand
How much does product photography cost?
If you have to have quality product photography for your business to succeed, you must work the price of photography into your budget. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to product photography, though. The total product photography price depends on a number of factors, including the following.
- Type of photographer
- Type of product
- Number of products
- Resources needed for a photoshoot
- And more
Each business is different, and the price of product photography will depend on your unique needs. If an expensive photoshoot with a professional photography studio is currently outside of your budget, there are still plenty of ways to achieve quality images for your products. On the other hand, investing a lot of money in your product photography does not always ensure the best results.
Before booking a photographer or setting up a photoshoot, you must decide on the story you want to tell. Product photography is ultimately a storytelling tool designed to hook your audience and encourage them to make a purchase. Your product photos should relate directly to your brand, your target audience, and your mission. Have all of these elements clearly outlined to help guide you through the product photography process.
Breakdown of Product Photography Pricing and Costs
Depending on your unique choices, product photography can range from less than $100 for a few products to several thousand dollars per day for a professional photoshoot. When reviewing photographers and options for your product photography, it is easy to get sticker shock.
You can also ask different photographers and studios about the services they provide and request additional details to determine exactly how your money is being spent. A high price tag may seem unfair or unreasonable, but it is important to consider all of the elements that are included with any photography service. We’ve broken down some of the main considerations for product photography pricing below.
Your product photography has to take place somewhere. While you can snap photos of your products on your smartphone or personal camera at home, you are not likely to get high quality images. The best product photos often come from controlled environments, which require studio space or a rented setting.
There are endless options when it comes to studios or settings for your product photography, and the setting you choose will have an impact on your overall cost. Public spaces or more accessible settings may cost less than a professionally outfitted photography studio or a rented location.
When choosing a setting for your product photography, consider the story you are trying to tell. Your product photos should clearly capture your product and its value. While high-quality images in cool or unique settings may capture someone’s attention, they also have to encourage them to buy.
A lot of time goes into product photography, including your own. If you are working with a freelance or professional photographer, they may charge an hourly or daily rate for their services. You should always request to view a photographer’s portfolio to help decide if their services are worth the rate.
When it comes to product photography pricing, time can also include turnaround time. If you need your images shot and edited faster, you can expect to pay more. If you have a more flexible schedule, the price for a photographer’s time might be less. Be aware that rush orders often come with very high price tags to accommodate the amount of effort needed to complete the job in a short timeframe.
Camera and Equipment
Professional cameras are expensive. They come with all of the bells and whistles needed to capture your products in the best light, but they will set you back thousands of dollars. If you plan to take your product photos yourself, you will have to invest in a camera that is capable of taking commercial-quality photos. You will also need to purchase equipment such as lighting and editing tools to enhance your images.
If you are working with a professional photographer, you might be able to remove the cost of a camera and equipment from your total product photography price. Professional photographers and studios typically have their own preferred cameras and equipment, and they work the cost of those resources into their rates.
Showing your products in action is key to achieving quality images. It is important to provide a clear picture of your products, but you should also use your product photography to highlight the benefits of your products. For example, your home décor items may look great on a plain backdrop, but they could look even better on a carefully styled coffee table.
No matter what you sell, you can show your product in action by utilizing props. Whether you buy or rent props for your photoshoot, expect to add this expense into your overall product photography price. In some cases, your photographer or studio may have props available for you to use. You may even be able to use items you already have as props to help save money.
There is a great deal of work that happens on the set of a photoshoot and behind the scenes. Your photographer may require an assistant or another photographer to be on set to help things run smoothly. You may need to hire models to showcase your products and stylists to help dress them. Other labor costs could include makeup artists, food services, and anyone else who is needed to bring your product photography to life.
For each person you hire to help with your photoshoot, you will have to pay a fixed fee or hourly/daily rate. The longer your photoshoot goes, the more you can expect to pay. It is also important to consider how much of your own time you are committing for your product photography. Organizing and executing a photoshoot may prevent or delay you from completing other tasks.
Quality product photos are edited so they pop onscreen on in print. Skilled photo editors can remove unwanted items from an image or background, touch up your photo, and ensure your products look amazing. If you are doing your own product photography, you will have to purchase photo editing software and invest your time in learning how to use it. If you are hiring a professional photographer, they may already have their own preferred editing software or outsource to a photo editor.
The editing stage is also the time when your images are optimized for web or print. Properly edited and sized images look better on the screen or in a brochure. While it can be tempting to cut costs by skipping some of the editing process, it can be very important to your final result.
Make a list of all the additional costs associated with your product photography. From creating extra products or pulling items to be photographed to shipping products to location, seemingly small details can quickly add up. You may also have additional costs based on the products you are photographing. For example, you may have to purchase a steamer if you are photographing clothes to remove any wrinkles.
Product Photography Pricing Calculator
By using the information above and reaching out to photographers directly, you can start to estimate your product photography cost. It is essential that you consider exactly what your photographer or studio offers as part of their photography service or package. Having a clear idea of what is included up front can help prevent unexpected costs later.
If more services are included with your photography session, the price may naturally be higher. On the other hand, a lower price may indicate that you will have to supply certain resources or pay for additional services separately.
We have provided some general price ranges for the various aspects of product photography below. However, keep in mind that you may encounter much different product photography pricing in your search.
Use the table below to help estimate your initial product photography costs when outlining a budget but be sure to do more specific research for your local area. Once you have more accurate pricing information, you can fill in each section to estimate product photography prices.
$100 - $500+ per hour
$50 - $500+ per hour
Camera & Equipment
$3,000 - $10,000+
$0 - $2,000+
$200 - $1,000+
$1 - $10+ per image
Additional Services & Costs
$0 - $300+
Types of Product Shoots
The type of product shoot you choose can also impact the overall product photography price. From simple white backgrounds to vivid lifestyle images with models, there are many ways to display your products online and in print. Each type of product shoot offers different benefits, and the best options will depend on your products and brand.
You can choose to incorporate multiple types of product shoots into your product photography. While this may increase your overall cost, it can help prevent the need for additional photoshoots later on. In some cases, it might be easier and less expensive to capture all of your product photography in one session.
Bulk on White
Bulk on white images feature your product on a plain white background. These images are perfect for highlighting every side of your product and showcasing important features. To accomplish a quality bulk on white photo, the image is typically shot on a plain background and the photo is edited to create a crisp, white background. You can use bulk on white product photography to show customers exactly what they are getting when they purchase your product.
These images are typically used for product listings and customers can click through multiple images for each product. Consider all of the angles and images you will need for bulk on white photos. The number of shots needed for each product will affect your overall product photography price.
- Straightforward image of the total product
- Sides, top, and bottom of the product
- Open and closed views of the product
- Special features of the product
- Close ups of the product
Color backgrounds can help your product images pop and attract a customer’s attention. You can strategically choose background colors to help your products stand out or enhance certain aspects of your products. Like bulk on white photos, these images are usually taken on a plain background and later edited to include a color background.
Lifestyle photos show your products in action and help customers picture your products in their own lives. From models wearing your clothing to décor items used in a home setting, there are many reasons why you may use lifestyle photography.
Lifestyle product photography is not used to provide a close-up view of your products. Instead, it is often used in conjunction with bulk on white images to bring the product to life. Add motion and energy to your product listing, highlight your products in a catalog or brochure, or display your products on a billboard for all to see.
Infographics tell a story by combining images with short blurbs of text. If you want to use your product photos for an infographic, it is best to communicate your vision to your photographer. They may need to take specific shots of your photo to accomplish your overall goal.
Examples of infographics utilizing product photography include:
- How your product can improve someone’s life
- The different parts or pieces of your product
- Ways to combine your products for a better experience
Hero images are typically used as large banners on websites or as the cover of a brochure or catalog. When it comes to hero images, your product should be the hero. You want to display your product in a setting and situation that makes sense for your customer and entices them to learn more or make a purchase. It can be easy to get carried away when it comes to hero images by adding unnecessary elements, so always keep your product front and center.
Product Photography Prices by Providers
The type of provider you choose will also determine your product photography pricing. There are many factors that go into a photographer’s overall rate. Consider a photographer’s experience, services included, equipment and props available, and overall portfolio when deciding which provider to go with.
- Self: You can choose to take your product photos yourself to save money. This may be a good idea if you have photography experience or connections to valuable resources. If you are not a skilled photographer, you may end up wasting time and money without capturing useful product images.
- Freelance: You can find freelance photographers in your area on a variety of websites. These photographers do not work under a corporate umbrella, so they may be more flexible on their pricing. They may not have the same resources available as a larger photography business or studio.
- Small, local photography business: A local photography business in your area may offer greater access to equipment, location rentals, models, and props. They have likely formed connections in your area over time, which can be valuable to you. You can expect to pay more for these benefits, though.
- Professional photography studio: Top-of-the-line, highly rated photography studios offer everything you need for quality product photos. Prices tend to be higher than other photography providers, but you will have to do very little on your own and your satisfaction is usually guaranteed.
Fixed Product Photography Rate Versus Hourly Rate
Consider how your photography provider charges for their services to help determine your total product photography cost. Some photographers charge a fixed rate per image or photo session. Photographers may also choose to charge an hourly rate for their services. There are pros and cons to each option, and the best choice will depend on your business needs.
- Upfront pricing to estimate total cost
- Volume discounts for more products
- Pricing is not dependent on unforeseen circumstances or interruptions
- Higher price for more products
- Additional fees may be required for editing services
- Variety of services included in the rate
- Discounts often available for multiple hours
- Able to end the shoot if you reach your maximum budget
- Difficult to estimate cost upfront
- May require a minimum number of hours
Product Photography Prices by Products
Finally, the type of product you need photographed can also affect the overall cost of product photography. You can better understand these costs and accurately estimate the total price by creating a clear vision and goal for your photoshoot. You should also communicate directly with your photographer and ask to walk through the shoot beforehand. Going step by step through your needs and the plans for the photoshoot can help prevent unexpected issues or delays.
Below are just some of the factors that can impact your product photography cost:
- Photoshoots with models cost more and take more time.
- Some products are easier to shoot, including CPGs and items with fewer details or moving parts.
- Photographing reflective items may take more time.
- Some products must be prepped before being photographed. Wrinkles should be removed from clothing, jewelry should be laid out, and background should be staged.
- Photographing your products with multiple settings or props can take more time and money.
Quality product photography is essential to your business because good product photos equal more sales and more revenue. However, product photography pricing can be very high depending on the type of product you sell, your photography provider, the type of photography needed, and many other factors.
For this reason, it is best to consider product photography as an investment for your business. If you successfully capture your products, you can receive a return on investment and grow your business.