Pricing your headshot photography services can be difficult. You want to make a fair profit for your time and skills, but you don’t want to price yourself out of the market. How do you find the right balance?
And if you’re somebody looking for a new headshot, how do you know how much to spend?
In this post, we’ll be discussing headshot photography pricing and tips for pricing your headshot photography services. We’ll also provide some examples to help you get started. So, whether you’re just starting out in headshot photography or you’re looking to adjust your rates, read on for some useful advice!
In fact, most of what I’ll be discussing are things I’ve learned over the years in order to price my own portrait and headshot photography services.
With that beings said, let’s dive in!
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How Much Should I Charge For Headshot Photography?
Headshot photographers’ rates vary a great deal, from as little as $25 to over $2,500! Most charge between $150 and $450.
Personally, I charge around $350 plus $0.50 per mile of travel for a two-hour session with one individual — and that’s with me feeling I am an above-average professional part-time photographer.
If you’re closer to that $2,500 range then you will most likely be a photographer who has reached more of a celebrity status and you’re able to charge that amount due to your name and status.
There are also numerous factors that go into how much you should charge for headshots such as :
- How long will the shoot take?
- Experience level?
- Will you be retouching the photos?
- Are you shooting in a studio or on location?
- Do you have assistants/makeup artists?
- Do you edit the photos yourself or hire someone to do it for you?
- Are you only shooting digital or do you also provide prints?
All of these things will play a role in how much to charge for your headshot photography services.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these in detail.
1. Length of the Headshot Session
How long will the shoot take? This is an important question to answer as it will help you determine your hourly rate.
For example, if a headshot session takes you two hours to complete from start to finish, then you can charge $200 per hour. However, if the session only takes one hour, then you’ll need to charge $400 per hour to make the same amount of money.
Of course, you can always charge a flat rate for the entire session regardless of how long it takes. This is often what photographers do when they’re first starting out. They’ll advertise a flat rate (usually between $100-$300) and include the number of edited photos they’ll provide.
However, as you become more experienced and confident in your abilities, you’ll likely want to switch to an hourly rate. This will allow you to make more money for your time and skills.
2. Experience Level
Another factor that will affect how much you charge is your experience level. Generally speaking, the more experience you have, the higher your rates will be.
If you’re a beginner, you can charge around $100-$200 per hour. As you gain more experience, you can start charging $250-$350 per hour. And once you become a seasoned professional, you can command rates of $500-$750 or more per hour.
Of course, your experience level is just one factor to consider. You also need to take into account the other factors we’ve discussed, such as the length of the shoot and whether you’re providing additional services like retouching or prints.
3. Will You Be Retouching the Photos?
Are you planning on retouching the photos yourself or hiring someone to do it for you? If you’re going to be retouching the photos, then you’ll need to factor that into your pricing.
Retouching can be a time-consuming process, so you’ll need to charge accordingly. I usually charge $75-$100 per photo for basic retouching, which includes things like removing blemishes, whitening teeth, and softening wrinkles.
If you’re providing more advanced retouching services, such as body sculpting or changing the background of a photo, then you can charge more — anywhere from $150-$250 per photo.
4. Are You Shooting in a Studio or On Location?
Are you shooting in a studio or on location? If you’re shooting in a studio, then you’ll need to factor in the cost of renting the space. Studio rental rates can vary greatly, so be sure to do your research before setting your rates.
If you’re shooting on location, then you’ll need to take into account the cost of transportation and any permits that may be required. For example, if you’re shooting in a city park, you’ll need to obtain a permit from the city.
5. Do You Have Assistants/Makeup Artists?
Do you have assistants or makeup artists working with you on the shoot? If so, then you’ll need to factor in their rates as well.
Assistants typically charge $50-$100 per hour, while makeup artists can charge $75-$150 per hour. Keep in mind, you’ll also need to pay for any makeup or hair products they use during the shoot.
6. Do You Edit the Photos Yourself or Hire Someone to Do It for You?
Are you editing the photos yourself or hiring someone to do it for you? If you’re doing the editing yourself, then you won’t need to factor that cost into your pricing. However, if you’re hiring someone to edit the photos, then you’ll need to add that expense to your rates.
Photo editors typically charge $50-$100 per hour, but the rate will depend on the complexity of the edits. For example, if you’re just looking for basic color correction, then you can expect to pay on the lower end of that range. However, if you’re looking for more advanced edits, such as retouching or compositing, then you’ll need to pay on the higher end.
7. Prints and Products
In addition to digital files, many photographers also offer prints and photo products. If you’re offering these services, then you’ll need to factor in the cost of the materials as well as the time it takes to produce the prints or products.
For example, if you’re offering 8×10 prints, you’ll need to factor in the cost of the paper and ink as well as the time it takes to print them. The same goes for products like photo books or canvases.
When setting your rates, be sure to consider all of the above factors so you can come up with a price that covers all your costs and allows you to make a profit.
Pricing your photography services can be a tricky process, but it’s important to get it right. By taking the time to consider all the factors involved and doing your research, you can set rates that will allow you to make a profit and keep your business running smoothly.
Now that we’ve covered some factors you should consider when it comes to headshot pricing, let’s look at some tips I’ve learned when it comes to pricing your headshot photography services.
Tips For Pricing Your Headshot Photography Services:
1. Know your market
This is probably the most important tip when it comes to pricing your headshot photography services. You need to know what other photographers in your area are charging and what type of clients they’re targeting. Are they targeting high-end clients or budget-minded clients? What type of headshots are they offering (e.g., business headshots, actor headshots, model headshots)? By knowing your market, you can set your prices accordingly.
This can easily be done by heading to your favorite search engine of choice and typing in “headshot photography near me,” and then taking a look at what other headshot photographers in your area are pricing their services.
2. Be competitive
Once you know what other photographers are charging, you need to make sure your prices are competitive. If your prices are too high, you’ll lose out on business. However, if your prices are too low, you won’t be able to make a profit.
The best way to find a happy medium is to offer a variety of pricing options, such as different package rates or à la carte rates. This way, you can cater to both budget-minded and high-end clients.
For example, you could offer a budget package that includes one digital file for $100 and an à la carte rate of $250 for three digital files.
3. Offer discounts
Another way to be competitive is to offer discounts. For example, you could offer a discount for booking multiple sessions or for referrals. You could also offer a seasonal discount or a discount for booking a session during off-peak hours.
4. Use a pricing strategy
When it comes to pricing your headshot photography services, there are two main strategies you can use: cost-plus pricing and value-based pricing.
Cost-plus pricing is when you calculate your costs and then add a markup to that total. For example, if it costs you $50 to produce a headshot (including your time, the cost of materials, etc.), then you would add a markup of, say, 20% to that total, which would give you a final price of $60 (these numbers are just for an easy example).
Value-based pricing is when you set your prices based on the value you feel your headshots offer. For example, if you feel that your headshots can help a client land a job that pays $100,000 per year, then you would price your headshots accordingly.
Pricing strategies are good to use as guidelines, but ultimately you need to use your best judgment when it comes to setting your prices.
5. Use a pricing calculator
There are a number of pricing calculators available online that can help you come up with a price for your headshot photography services. All you need to do is enter in some basic information, such as your costs and desired profit margin, and the calculator will spit out a suggested price.
I personally don’t like to use these because everybody’s situation is different in terms of location, experience, etc.
6. Review your prices regularly
It’s important to review your prices on a regular basis and make adjustments as needed. This is especially true if you’re just starting out, as you may need to adjust your prices as you gain more experience and become more efficient.
Also, during different seasons, you can charge more or less depending on the season. For example, during the summer, when there are more conventions and events taking place, you can charge a premium for your headshot photography services. However, during the winter, when business is slower, you may need to lower your prices in order to attract clients.
7. Be flexible
Finally, it’s important to be flexible with your pricing. If a client asks for a discount, be willing to negotiate. If a client is on a tight budget, see if there’s something you can do to work within their budget.
The bottom line is that you need to be flexible in order to land the business. If you’re inflexible with your pricing, you’ll likely lose out on business.
Headshot pricing can be a tricky process, but by following these tips, you can set rates that will allow you to make a profit and keep your business running smoothly.
Why Do Headshots Cost So Much?
When it comes to pricing your headshot photography services, there are a few things you need to take into account. First, you need to consider the costs of running your business, such as the cost of your time, the cost of materials, and the cost of renting studio space. You also need to make sure you’re charging enough to make a profit.
It’s also important to keep in mind that headshots are an investment. Unlike other types of photos, headshots are often used for professional purposes, such as on a resume or on a business website. As such, they need to be high quality and they need to accurately represent the person in the photo.
While it may seem like headshots are expensive, keep in mind that they’re an investment that can pay off. If you charge too little for your headshots, you likely won’t be able to cover your costs or make a profit. On the other hand, if you charge too much, you may price yourself out of the market.
Is Headshot Photography Profitable?
Yes, headshot photography can be quite profitable. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a number of costs associated with running a headshot photography business, such as the cost of your time, the cost of materials, and the cost of renting studio space. You need to make sure you’re charging enough to cover these costs and make a profit.
Also, it’s very important to note that strictly providing headshot photography services and becoming profitable will mostly likely take a while. Personally, I was never full-time with photography and it was always a part-time business for me, however, I know many photographers who are full-time.
There are a number of ways to price your headshot photography services, such as charging by the hour, by the session, or by the final product. It’s important to find a pricing structure that works for you and your business.
Be sure to take note of the points I made earlier in this guide.
In conclusion, whether you are looking for headshot photography or you are a photographer looking to price your headshot photography, you should take all these points into consideration.
Personally, the easiest way for me to price my headshots is to use the cost-plus pricing strategy I mentioned earlier along with looking at what my competition is pricing their headshots at. Good luck, and if you’re getting your first headshot photo done, then be sure to check out my how to prepare for a professional headshot guide.
How Much is the Average Headshot?
The average headshot price is $200. However, this price can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the photographer’s experience, the length of the session, the number of photos taken, and whether or not hair and makeup are included.
How Long Do Headshot Sessions Last?
Most headshot sessions last between one and two hours. However, this can vary depending on the number of looks the client wants, the number of people in the photo, and how much time is needed to set up and take down the equipment.
Nate Torres is a portrait photographer based in Southern California. Outside of photography, Nate specializes in SEO, content marketing, and entrepreneurship. He is also the founder of Imaginated.com, a platform for creator education.