The product photography industry is very competitive and there are many photographers offering their services online at various prices. It is hard to get the best deal for your company if you don’t know how to negotiate with a photographer or what exactly you should be looking for when hiring one.
The quality of the photos can make or break how well a product sells and how many orders it receives. Some sellers don’t know how much to pay their photographer, and some photographers don’t know how much to charge for their services in order to establish a good relationship with the seller.
We created this how much to charge for product photography guide in order to help both sellers and photographers better understand the process of conducting these photoshoots, but also establish an agreement on pricing by using our negotiation checklist that will make it easier for everyone involved in the transaction.
What Is Product Photography And How Does It Impact eCommerce?
Product photography is a type of photo used to showcase how your product looks and how it interacts with the user. These pictures are primarily displayed in online marketplaces like eBay, Walmart, Etsy or Amazon.
The role of these photos is crucial because they represent the image you want to project for potential customers that might buy your items. You can sell more products by using high quality photos that show how your product looks, how it feels and how well the user can use it.
Product photography is usually taken in a controlled environment where you have full control of how the product looks. It is very important for eCommerce sellers because these pictures are how people judge your company’s products before they make a purchase decision online.
What eCommerce Sellers Should Look For In A Product Photographer
Ease Of Communication
It is very important when choosing a product photography that they are someone local, because it will be much easier for you to communicate with them and be on time for the scheduled photoshoot. Their promptness and willingness to answer any questions you may have are also a big factor in how easy it will be to work with them.
Willingness To Negotiate On Pricing
You can ask photographers about what how they are willing to negotiate on their pricing. It’s possible that you won’t even need some of the services they provide in a certain package! Based on this, if they are willing to negotiate how much they will charge, it can help you determine if they’d be a good photographer to work with for the long term.
On the other hand, it’s also a good sign if the photographer values the quality of their work, because you will understand that the way they price their packages is well worth the cost.
Ability To Edit Photos
Aside from the basic photo editing, it is a plus if you choose a photographer who has other talents and knows how to edit other elements and designs into product photos in order to emphasize all its best qualities while still giving it a professional look. With great photos, you can create great product listings.
Gives You Full Ownership Of The Pictures
It’s important that the photographer gives you all copyrights to any images they take, because this can help your business in marketing them online or using them for other types of advertisement on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Having full ownership of the raw photos also ensures that in the future, you can have the photos edited in different ways for seasonal promotions. If they are unwilling to give full ownership, it’s best to look elsewhere.
What Photographers Should Look For In An eCommerce Seller
Ease Of Communication
This also applies to determining if you can work with a potential client. A healthy exchange of ideas and suggestions is a big indicator if they are easy to work with.
Promptness In Scheduling A Photoshoot
Photographers can either have packed schedules or have clients who want to book them on the same day. A client who is easy to communicate with in terms of scheduling is someone worth working with because it will be easier for you to confidently discuss your availability with other potential clients.
If you’re photographing products, good lighting and editing can make them look nice, but there’s a limit to what you can do. It’s important that the client has high quality items so that the photos won’t be deceiving to their potential customers. This will also guarantee how well the photos can be turned into promotional materials for online marketing campaigns or social media posts.
How Photographers Charge For Product Photography
There are several ways to charge for product photography, such as:
If you’re an independent photographer who is still learning what to charge clients, it’s ideal to stay close to the average hourly rates, which range from $94 to $262 in the United States.
It’s best to do research to see how much other product photographers charge in your area. This way, you’ll know how to stay competitive and not fall behind by charging too much or even charging too little, which would make potential clients question quality.
If you are working for a studio, the studio most likely will determine the rates.
If your client has a big project with many products to take photos for, they may prefer to pay for an entire day’s worth of services. This is a way to make the photoshoot feel more relaxed, and rates can range from $300 and $3,000 in the United States.
Charging Per Product
Different products take different amounts of time to set up and position to be ready for photos. Some products are more complicated to photograph than others, which is why there are photographers who charge by the product. Most often, the more products you have, the lower you’ll pay per product. Average rates in the United States range from $20 to $85 per product.
What Are The Factors That Affect Product Photography Expenses?
Platform Where Photographer Is Hired
There are many platforms for clients to do research on. As the internet expands, there is a new generation of photographers who opt to list their services on freelancer websites such as Fiverr and Upwork at much lower prices. Be aware that online platforms have service charges for clients to think about on top of what they will be paying you.
The more seasoned photographers don’t often rely on freelance websites to advertise their services. If they are well known, they usually have their own website and charge much more because of their longevity in the business.
Location Of Photoshoot
If the client wants to hold the photoshoot outdoors, then you would have to transport your equipment. This can be a reason to charge more than you normally would if you were to do the photoshoot in your own studio where your equipment is readily available for you. If you also need to travel a long distance, then it also makes sense to charge extra.
Usage Of Models And Props
A client often spends for models and props to be part of the product photoshoot, and keeping this in mind will help you understand a client’s budget restraints and why they may want to negotiate with you as a photographer.
Equipment Used For The Photoshoot
Having a selection of high-end cameras, backdrop and prop options, and a range of lighting equipment also means that you would need to charge more than you would if you were just using one camera and natural lighting.
Some photographers charge only for their time during a photoshoot and have additional services which cost extra. If the client wants to edit their own photos or hire a different editor, they can just use a photographer for the main photoshoot.
In most cases, there are studio packages offered to clients for services that include the photoshoot, in-house props, a range of backdrops, and also photo editing.
Tips On How To Get Winning Photos In The eCommerce Industry
- As a client, think of an artistic theme for your product to help your photographer understand what your vision is
- For studio photoshoots, exchange ideas on which color backdrop would make a product stand out more
- It’s still important to also have product photos with simple white backdrops so that they can be edited with new themes and bundles in the future
- Use photos with different angles of the product to help customers see how it will look in person
- For products that come in a set, take photos with all parts of the set visible in one photo.
- For products that come in several colors, take photos where all colors are visible in one photo
- Depending on the type of product, consider editing in information such as product size, number of items in pack, number of colors, and other similar details
As your business expands and you launch new products, you will always need a product photographer. It would be well worth your time to do the necessary so you can choose the right photographer to work with for several projects.
As a photographer, how much you charge may be subjective, but the key thing to keep in mind as a product photographer is how much your competition is charging for their services. This way, you can stay relevant. As time goes on, your growing clientele and positive reputation will allow you to increase your rates.
For more eCommerce selling advice, read the Sourcing Monster blog!