Is a picture worth a thousand words?
The foundation of that statement is wrong. Pictures are not exchanged for words. Great product photography is the expression of something that can’t otherwise be described.
Destin Sparks, an award-winning landscape photographer, put it succinctly when he said, “Photography is the story I fail to put into words.” So when it comes to product photography pricing, how much is that story worth? The most powerful photographs are not those that merely describe. Anyone can take a photo of a shoe or a pen.
Table of contents
- What is product photography?
- What Does a Great Product Photographer Look Like?
- Product photography pricing
- Product-based pricing
- By image pricing
- Putting a price on creativity
The most potent photos express an emotion. They capture the feeling of owning a product, the effort that went into its design, or a brand’s character.
Great photography, like most achievements, is a mix of art and science. A scientific approach finds the right lighting, shutter speed, and angles. An artist uses those tools to express meaning.
What Is Product Photography?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, you should first understand the ‘product’ itself. Most of us think of product photography as a fancier version of what we do before we upload something to eBay.
But product photography is far more complicated than that. A fantastic product photo aims to represent not only the product but the brand itself. Photographs help the customer understand what the product is and what to expect when interacting with the product or its manufacturer.
Every product has a different purpose, and each brand a different vision. And in a world where more and more of our shopping is done online than in-person – product photography has to express that purpose and vision.
Online e-commerce is rising steadily with:
- Increased use of smartphones to shop
- The arrival of social media and social commerce
- More online marketplaces
- New technology like QR codes, targeted advertising, and
- Generational changes in shopping behavior
Product photography is a key element in catalogs, stores, and all digital media. At least 75% of customers rely on product photos to make a purchase decision.
High-quality photographs drive better engagement from customers. Great visual content is 40% more likely to be shared on social accounts. Therefore improving customer conversion and retention.
As much as promoting your product, good photography also accurately represents it. Over 22% of customers return an item because it looks different in person. The customer should derive the right expectations of your product through its photographs.
For example, think of a fast-food restaurant that has fantastic looking photos – but the reality of the food is dismal. Customers may still buy it but will feel disappointed with the actual product, even if it tastes great. The aim is to attract customers without losing consistency.
What Does a Great Product Photographer Look Like?
Great product photographers are as rare as great products. While anyone with a camera can take a photo of a product, few can ‘wow’ a customer.
Successful product photography businesses come in a trifecta—a fantastic team, great products, and an exciting market to work in.
With an understanding of what product photography is – how should a product photographer approach your product? There are a few key qualities to look for in a product photographer.
Photography is inherently creative, but product photography has a specific aim – sales. As in any professional sales company, photographers should be professional and precise.
Pro Photo Studio is a leading product photography studio based in New York City. Our team at PPS is an industry leader in product photography.
Masters of the on-white product photography style, PPS executes your brand and vision exactly the way you want it.
Professional product photographers take into account your vision and aim first. They use their experience to guide you, but not to steer you.
When customers come to PPS with their product, we do our best to first understand its history. That way, our photos are both fresh and consistent with your brand or campaign.
Each client should be a partner, not a customer.
Experience separates the attempt from the execution. Companies like Pro Photo Studio have been around for almost a decade.
With years of experience bringing clients images to life, we have product photography down to a science.
Pro Photo Studio has an impressive range of customers, including:
- And even Britney Spears.
Experience brings an excellent understanding of the product photography process. Not just in technical details but also in bringing a client’s vision to life.
Professional photography isn’t just about good equipment or a fancy studio (although we have those too). Professional photography is about great communication.
The first part of any photoshoot doesn’t involve cameras – mostly questions. Besides establishing a great relationship with clients, communication is about expectations and satisfaction.
Communication is a product photographer’s guidebook. At PPS, Product photography services is our craft. We obsessively search for exciting new approaches to express the value of a product.
Product Photography Pricing
Now that we understand the value of product photography and what great value looks like, it’s time to talk money.
When you’re looking to engage with a product photographer, you’ll need to keep the following points in mind.
Independent Photography v.s. Full-Service Product Photography
Local independent photography studios are cheaper but do not provide a full commercial photography service. Independent photographers may have their own studio, work from home, or rent a studio by the hour.
There are many of them, and negotiating a good rate is therefore easier. With more competition, you should be able to find a cheaper rate. There will be little to no shipping cost for prints if they are close by.
Independent photographers may provide lower quality work. This isn’t always true, but most independent photographers have less experience and less equipment. Their studios may not be able to carry out the type of photos you’re looking for (for example, larger heavy products or high-end photography).
Certain image types (like 360-degree photos) also need special equipment. Photo editing and software that allows you to monitor image quality may also be lacking.
On the other hand, full-service product photographers can be more expensive but can handle any project type. Large shipments of products, heavy products, or 360-degree photos are all fair game.
Full-service photo studios also have production management software so that you can view the photos as they are happening. Product photographers may be less expensive if they only focus on products.
Product incorporating people may be similarly priced. Extra costs can be incurred for higher shipping costs or if the photographer has to travel to you.
Cost of Product Photography
The cost of product photography varies depending on the pricing model used. Some are more advantageous to the client, others to the photographer. It’s important to find a product photographer with a pricing structure that you agree with.
Most reliable product photographers opt to use a product-based pricing system. That way, prices are more transparent, and expectations are clear. Hourly or daily rates can be misleading or cost too much after the project.
Pricing by-product is more transparent and clear. Usually, this is a distinction between pricing for one product or groups of products. Pricing per product, the photographer will take an unlimited amount of images for that product.
Photographers usually want to avoid this type of work, but it is certainly beneficial for clients. That’s why most pricing structures have a maximum number of photos permitted.
Each type of product has its own rate. For example, apparel will have a different cost than jewelry or skincare products. Groups of products are charged less as the number increases.
- 0-5 products for $60 per product category
- 6-10 products for $55 per product category
- 11-20 products for $50 per product category
- 21-50 products for $45 per product category
And the list goes on.
These are estimates; if you would like to know the photography project’s specific rate, you should contact the photographer. Some photography studios have pricing calculators that can give you an accurate depiction.
By the Image Pricing (most common)
At last, the image pricing only places a charge on each image produced. This is a simple multiplication of the number of final images you need and the number of products.
If you need 250 photographs of 100 products, at a rate of $8 per photograph – you’ll be charged $2,000. Studios prefer this structure because they are paid for each photo, edit, and formatting.
Product-based pricing only reimburses photographers for the final outcome. ‘By the image’ pricing can work well for clients provided, you follow these steps:
- Place each product into a category list based on the products themselves or the type of photography.
- Add the number of products in each category.
- Specify the number of images you need for each product or each category.
- Multiply the number of products in each category by the number of images for those categories.
- Add all images in all categories to find the number of images you need for the whole project.
If you know the number of images required and the different categories of photographs, you can find a ‘per image’ price. This gives certainty to both the photographer and the client over price.
By-the-image pricing also decreases as the amount of images increases:
- 0-10 images for $50 per image
- 11-30 images for $40 per image
- 31-60 images for $35 per image
- 61-100 images for $30 per image
As you can see, when divvying up the price per image, the increments are larger. That’s because it is less work to take images than it is to cover each product category.
You should also take into account the weight, size, styling, layout, construction, and preparation required for your products.
Pricing can also fluctuate depending on the incorporation of lifestyle images, group images, and special images.
There are many variables for additional charges. This will largely depend on the type of product and photo style you’re looking for. If you’re not sure about this, speak to an expert first.
As with all aspects of product photography, clear expectations are key. If you and your photographer are in agreement, your photos will turn out great. Taking great product photographs also gives your customers a clear expectation of your product.
The ideal result is that everyone in this process feels that they have received good value for their money. And that’s what product photography is all about.
Putting a Price on Creativity
Pricing photography can be tricky to understand. There are several different pricing schemes detailed above. If you’re looking for a product photographer for your project – pricing schemes are extremely important to inquire about.
Understanding how your product photographer prices each image helps you budget for the shoot. You can also decide beforehand what images you need and in what quality.
Some images can be combined or exchanged between products.
Make sure you clearly communicate your needs – and get a clear explanation of how much that will cost. If you’re looking for a professional and clearly priced product photographer, please Get a quote for more information.