How much does commercial photography cost?

Average cost in 20149: $310 See National

$140

low cost

$310

avg cost

$680

high cost

The average cost for a commercial photographer is $310. You are likely to spend between $140 and $680 total. Exact price may vary depending on your area and project details.

Updated March 1st, 2017

Next Step: Find out exactly how much your project will cost.

Commercial photography is used for sales, branding and marketing purposes. Photographers work out of their own studios, at their customers’ places of business, outdoors or in other locations. Businesses use photography for editorial purposes, print or catalog advertising, online advertising, websites, large displays (for trade shows) and internal business uses. These pros specialize in photographing fashion, jewelry, food, products, artwork, real estate, architecture, and more. Photo delivery formats include DVD/CD, online gallery, flash drive, album, or physical prints and proofs. Clients can request any amount of finished and edited shots. Several factors affect the cost of commercial photography.

Reputation and experience

Commercial photographers with high-profile clients or a long-standing career as well as those who have shot for well-known ad campaigns may charge higher rates than photographers without the same reputation.

Equipment and overhead

The cost of purchasing and maintaining professional photo equipment affects a commercial photographer’s rates. For example, Jim Greipp of Pau Hana Productions in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, works out of a 5,000-square-foot studio and shoots with a $20,000 Hasselblad camera. He also carries $2 million in liability insurance and has enough lighting equipment for almost any job. Photographers with the right space, equipment and experience can deliver a much more polished end product than someone who is just starting out or working with lower quality photography gear. In general, photographers with more equipment or a large studio to manage have more overhead, and overall costs to clients are higher.

Products

Straightforward product photography (without complex sets or models) is typically the least expensive type of commercial photography. Photo sessions are generally either held in the photographer’s studio or at the client’s location. Rates vary widely, depending on the reputation and overhead of the photographer. Pau Hana Productions charges $350 to photograph a product in the studio with three different views.

Per-project pricing

Some commercial photography requires live models or other elements that typically cost more than basic product photography. The number of final photos requested, models used, travel expenses, retouching fees and specifics all can increase pricing. Here are two project fee examples from Pau Hana Productions:

  • Magazine cover: $425

    • $300 for photography

    • $85 for travel

    • $40 for photo retouching
  • Medical device brochure: $2,100

    • $1,200 for photography

    • $600 for a male and female model

    • $300 for photo retouching

Day rates

Some commercial photographers charge half- or full-day rates for their services. This type of pricing structure works well for event photography as well as some product photography. Here’s an example of day rates for commercial photography from WestBoundary Photography in Rio Vista, California, charges $1,000 for a half day (4.5 hours) and $1,500 for a full day (8 hours) and $200 for each hour over a full day. The company adds 20 percent of the total cost if the photographer is required to file a permit. For example, many national parks require a permit to shoot commercial photography in the park. These fees can vary based on the logistics and degree of difficulty of the job for WestBoundary Photography.

Minimum rates

Some commercial photographers charge a minimum rate for services, especially for projects on location. This minimum rate covers the labor, equipment and transportation costs of the professional. WestBoundary Photography charges a minimum rate of $650, which covers two hours of onsite work.

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Recent reviews

Matt Clark Picture Company

I asked Matt if he could shoot some photos of some of my paintings and not show a glare. He was very easy to work with, offered a reasonable price and the photos came out just great! I'll definitely be working with him again.

Cheri Bradshaw Photography

Our firm hired Cheri for commercial real estate photography - She went above and beyond what we asked for! Excellent understanding of what we were looking for. She is definitely a professional who loves what she does. Superior work - HIGHLY recommended. Produces work a photographer who charges thousands would do for a much more reasonable price. - Nancy (Manhattan, NY)

Royal Photography & Evidence Store

Royal is really professional and knows exactly what he is doing. He tailors his work to your specific needs; and even arranged a model for a very affordable price to be involved in the photo shoot. Overall a really good and positive experience.