Headshot photography services are for people who need high-resolution professional photos for their acting, modeling or professional careers, or people who want glamorous or stylized headshots for personal reasons. Headshot photo sessions can take place outdoors or in a photography studio, home or office. Some people opt for outfit changes in their headshot package and may want a makeup artist or hairstylist on hand; others may stay with one look. Headshots are often used on LinkedIn or in resumes, in a modeling or acting portfolio, on business or personal websites, in social media, in marketing materials and portfolios, on business cards, or for advertising. Photo services may include basic retouching (color adjustment, etc.) or advanced retouching (Photoshop, blemish removal, etc.). A variety of factors affect the average cost of headshot photography including location, number and types of headshots, and more.
If photographers are required to travel to a client’s location, rates may be higher than if the photo shoot takes place in the photographer’s studio. The additional fee covers photographers’ time and transportation expenses, particularly if the location is outside their standard service range. The city and state you are based in may also affect costs. Professional photographers based in Los Angeles and New York are in high demand and may charge higher fees than headshot photographers in other parts of the country.
Photographers typically charge similar prices for headshots for modeling and acting as for photos for professional or social use. The total cost generally includes the photographer’s time, editing of an agreed-upon number of photos and photo delivery — usually either online or in printed form. Here are some examples of session rates and what they include:
BlushPix in Wildomar, California: $200 for one session up to five hours and five to 10 photo edits (includes travel to client)
Ambe J. Photography in Brooklyn, New York: $300 for one two-hour session, including unlimited looks and two high-resolution edited photos
Some photographers specialize in corporate headshots for an individual or for groups, offering those services in the studio or in the client’s home or office. Prices can be higher if the photographer has to travel to the client’s office. Some photographers charge by the hour for corporate headshots, and some have set session rates. PR Dallas in Dallas, Texas, specializes in corporate headshots, charging $175 for each 30 minutes of in-studio time for photo shoots with one retouched photo.
After a photographer takes the headshots, he or she will retouch the photos to remove blemishes, make lighting adjustments and edit out imperfections to ensure you’re getting a high-quality image. The number of retouched photos provided directly affects the cost of services. Each retouched photo requires more labor and refinishing expertise, and prices will rise accordingly. Once photos are retouched, the photographer typically posts them on a private site for the client to download.
Here are examples of retouching fees:
BlushPix: $5 for each additional photo
Ambe J. Photography: free retouching for first two photos in standard package, $25 for each additional retouched photo
PR Dallas: up to $100 for each additional retouched photo
$250 for a 30-minute photoshoot with one retouched photo
$350 for a 30-minute photoshoot with two retouched photos
$450 for a 30-minute photoshoot with three retouched photos
Photographers may offer hair styling or makeup services as an add-on to the headshot session. This cost is typically not included in the base cost of photography services. Ambe J. Photography charges $60 for a makeup artist for men, $70 for a makeup artist for girls and teens, and $150 for a makeup artist for women.
Photographers with an established or celebrity following may charge higher rates than those without. Geographic location can also play a role in headshot photography rates: services will cost less in rural areas and more in larger metropolitan areas.
Make the most of your investment by preparing for your photo shoot with these four tips from Ambe J. Photography:
Get lots of sleep.
Drink plenty of water starting several days before your shoot.
Moisturize your skin and lips prior to the shoot.
Don’t try any new skin products or crazy hair colors in the days before your photo shoot.
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