How Much Should I Charge for a Photoshoot?

Asking yourself, “How much should I charge for a photoshoot?” is a common question when you’re starting out as a professional photographer. We live in a world full of images, and someone is getting paid to take them. So why not get a piece of the action for your work? You’re ready to take the leap into the domain of professional photography and to begin marketing your services, but it isn’t easy to know what rates to charge. After all, it’s easy to undervalue your work and end up undercutting yourself and other photographers in the area.

At Peerspace, we strive to support the creative community by offering resources for photographers, whether you’re just starting your journey or you’ve been behind the lens for decades. Peerspace is also the largest online marketplace for peer-to-peer venue rentals, with thousands of professional studios available to rent by the hour across North America and beyond. We have spaces that suit every type of creative project and budget, so check us out!

Now, here are some considerations for preparing to charge for your work and the best way to set your fees.

Prepare your brand

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Source: Peerspace

Before you decide to take the leap into the professional world, be sure you’re prepared to present yourself as a brand. It’s essential to put together a portfolio of your best work and display it on a website associated with your self-brand. The portfolio needs to showcase your best work and represent the sort of images you can consistently make. Prospective clients need to understand exactly what they’re paying for, and it’s essential that you manage their expectations.

A web-based portfolio shows clients that they aren’t just paying for a photographer — they’re paying for your specific vision. Your portfolio, therefore, must be an accurate picture of the work you’ll be providing. Take advantage of social media as well, especially on Instagram. If you shoot video as well as photos, jump on the TikTok bandwagon, too. A strong online presence is a great way to generate leads in 2022 and beyond.

Firm up that portfolio using Peerspace

Pride Photoshoot Ideas
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Remember, if you’re looking for a unique place to take photos and bulk your portfolio, consider booking a Peerspace. We are the home of creative event spaces, from ballrooms to museums, eclectic lofts, and industrial warehouses. You can find a venue that suits your niche and take hundreds of photos that showcase your talent range. All spaces are available to rent by the hour and are owned by local creatives, just like yourself.

Browse our listings and narrow the results by features, like spaces with rooftops, fireplaces, pools, etc. You can read each venue’s detailed description, peruse its high-res photos, and check reviews from past renters.

If you want to be a commercial photographer, you can book a Peerspace commercial kitchen and go to town snapping away all the amazing equipment under various lighting. Aspiring fashion photographers can book a prop-filled studio, hire a model or friend, and take tons of stunning snaps. It’s ultra-simple and super rewarding.

To get you started, here are a few of our favorite Peerspaces, especially ideal for starter photographers. They come equipped with lots of gear and have a price tag that matches the experience.

You can also book a beautiful mansion or castle and practice taking shots of historic architecture. Rent a space with a pool and photograph the water as it ripples and splashes. You can even rent professional photography studios loaded with pro equipment and props that are a thrill to try out. You’ll end up with tons of images to enhance your portfolio!

In the events niche? Then check out everything you need to know about event photography rates!

Research your market

baby shower venue ideas dallas
Source: Peerspace

Take a look at other photographers’ websites in your area to get an idea of what common local rates look like. Keep in mind that you probably can’t charge full prices when you just get started, but don’t sell yourself short, either. You don’t want to devalue the work of other professional photographers and make it harder for yourself to raise rates later on.

On the other hand, you should also fairly evaluate the quality of your work and service. As you book more work and gain more experience, you can raise your rates to reflect this.

Also, consider the market saturation in your area for a given type of photography. It’s much more difficult to break into competitive markets than those with fewer working photographers. Your city may have plenty of wedding photographers but very few fashion photographers, for example. Look for opportunities that align with your skillset.

Consider the overhead costs and more

Creative Prop Room & Cyc Wall in Beautiful Loft Space new york rental
Source: Peerspace

As you set your initial prices, remember that you’re running a small business as a professional photographer.

Your prices should reflect the costs of running a business, such as the space you use, equipment fees and rentals, marketing, travel time, gear insurance, and taxes. These costs can accumulate quickly, and if you don’t prepare for them now, it will hurt your earning potential.

You should also consider the amount of time you’re asked to shoot, as well as your editing time. These considerations will vary widely across the genre of photography, location, and clientele. At a minimum, you need to cover costs for the appropriate camera and lenses for a job, a computer, software to edit images, and your time investment. Keep a detailed spreadsheet of your equipment inventory and any venue and equipment rentals.

Remember, if you book a Peerspace studio, you don’t have to worry about its utilities, hidden charges, or membership fees.

Per job, per hour, per photo

citrine home in the berkeley hills
Source: Peerspace

Consider whether you want to offer your services as a flat fee for an individual job, break it down by the hour, or charge for the number of photos delivered. It’s best to find out which structure is most often used by other professionals in your field of photographic experience and price your services accordingly.

However, you may find that one client will hire you for a specific job, regardless of how long it will take, while others will offer you an hourly fee. For example, commercial photography jobs are generally priced per image in the project, while event photographers are paid by the hour.

Be flexible when looking for work, and consider what your product is worth in each of these pricing structures. If you don’t have a perfect sense of the time investment necessary for a given job at this point, don’t worry — you’ll better calibrate your own estimates as you get more experience.

Next, learn everything you need to know about commercial photography pricing!

Arriving at a rough figure

vintage photoshoot ideas
Source: Peerspace

Once you’ve done your market research, give yourself an hourly rate and factor in any expenses you expect to incur at any given job (location and equipment rental fees, travel time, etc.) Estimate how many hours you expect a given job to take. (This will depend on what you are shooting. Working a day at a wedding is a significantly larger investment of time than a single architectural shoot.)

When you have a rough idea of how much you can make per job, multiply that by the number of jobs you expect to be able to do in a year, and you’ll have your projected annual income. From there, tinker with the numbers until you arrive at an acceptable ratio of time, expenses, and income.

You may need to adjust your pricing or go out for more jobs. But at the beginning, this at least gives you an idea of how much you’ll need to charge to sustain a business.

How much should I charge for a photoshoot: conclusion

bath tub photoshoot ideas
Source: Peerspace

Unfortunately, there’s no straight answer when it comes to determining how much you should charge for a photoshoot. The final costs will ultimately depend on various factors, such as the value of a specific service in your area, client budgets and expectations, and the total time involved in each shoot.

You may find yourself needing to change your prices each year as well as your local market evolves. This is a process that will get easier with time, trust us!

Be prepared to be flexible with each job you take on. Clients are not just paying for images: they’re paying for your images. Market yourself competitively, but stay true to your personal vision. And while your rates won’t be astronomical when you begin charging for your work, don’t undervalue yourself either. It’ll hurt your bottom line and other photographers making their living behind a camera.

And remember, when you just want to get out and shoot something neat, book a Peerspace! You’ll find dozens, if not hundreds, of listings in your metro that are ultra photogenic and as private as you want them to be.

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