The average cost for a headshot photographer is $150 per hour. Hiring a headshot photographer, you will likely spend between $100 and $250 per hour. The price of headshot photography can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). Get free estimates from pros near you.
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the right headshot photographer, the main one being the goal of taking the photos to begin with.
Where will these photos be on display—LinkedIn, the company website, business cards, or event posters? Websites don’t need high-res images, but anything that will be printed needs to be at least 300 dpi (dots per image).
A good photographer will know exactly what you’re talking about if you mention this.
The final cost of your headshot will be based on the location—studio or outdoors, knowledge and experience of the photographer, length of shoot, number of outfit changes, post-production time, and tangible products like business cards and brochures. On average:
James Corwin Johnson Photography in Sarasota, FL, offers business photography for a flat $100/hour for shoot time and post production. The Studio in Stoneham, MA, offers business headshots at $150/hour. MP Studios in Tampa, FL, has a starting price of $250 for a headshot session. Nancy-Jo Photography in Wake Forest, NC, charges $100 per hourly session.
Melody Rummel Photography in Brookfield, WI, works with rock stars, models, acting talent, and special effects artists. Her prices start at $125/hour. Long Walk Productions in Rock Hill, SC, works with “actors, actresses, models, authors, dancers, and dance companies.” Pricing begins at $150/hour.
Most photographers are happy to work out a custom quote for you. And if you need extra help with presenting your best side, a few photographers, like Brick House Images in Oakland, CA, offer hair and makeup services for an extra charge.
Hiring a professional photographer to take headshots at an event will always cost more because of the travel time and costs of packing up and/or renting equipment.
There is also the communication time with sending attendees photos and having them want changes or more options. The photographer also has to take into account what the lighting is like at the event center, and usually has to make a special trip there in advance to know what he or she is dealing with.
The cost of a photographer’s assistant is $50-$75 more/hour—often needed at events to, for instance, sign people in during a day of taking corporate headshots.
Photographers will either be self-taught or trained in professional photography methods. One way doesn’t necessarily supersede the other, but years of experience with light and poses can separate the great photographers from those of lesser talent and knowledge.
Even then, prices can vary, no matter how much training a photographer has. For instance, James Corwin in St. Petersburg, FL, is a professional photographer with decades of experience, and his rate is $100/hour for everything.
A studio headshot will likely always cost more than an outdoor headshot because of the cost of the studio rental and setup and teardown of equipment. If the photographer doesn’t have to rent a studio by the hour and owns one, though, that cost is lessened.
An outdoor shoot is the least amount of work for the photographer because all that’s needed is, perhaps, a reflector or light diffusor. However, most business headshots are taken indoors due to having the blank background in place and the best lighting setup.
Most photographers will spend some time after your headshot shoot digitally processing your images. They check skin tone, lighting, hair, and can even make bad skin look good with some good Photoshop work.
The cost of this work will already be added into the quoted price. Expect to receive your headshots as a digital download, on a USB/thumb drive, or as prints. Some photographers will offer you a choice of one to three of the top ten images or so. You can view and choose them from the photographer’s website or in person.
Don’t expect to be able to use the images for anything you want. The photographer will always hold the copyright to those images, and if you want to use them for any type of commercial venture, you will have to pay royalty and commercial fees to do so. The only time this would not apply is if an employee of yours took the photos.
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