How Much Do Photographers Charge?

Jeff Picoult

By Jeff Picoult

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Channeling your photography passion into a business is undoubtedly fulfilling. However, you need to plan several steps ahead to survive in this competitive industry! 

Photographer and client at office

While it sometimes seems tempting to offer low rates to attract clients, this approach won’t last you for long. A well-established, reasonable photography cost is a must for long-term success. Let us give you some helpful pointers here.

What Is The Average Photography Price?

Photography average prices vary depending on your service. For example, a session for real estate photos usually costs $150 to $500, while weddings charge anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000. Portrait sessions are about $250 to $1,500, and newborn portraits hover around $610. 

However, these are all general estimates, so keep in mind that the total prices may differ across studios based on location, extra editing time, licensing fees, etc. 

1. Wedding or Event Photography ($50 – $500/hour)

Wedding photographer service at sunset

Wedding photographers often charge clients around $50 to $250/hour or $2,000 to $5,000 per event. For other events, the price range is quite extensive, from $150 to $500/hour.

In bustling cities like New York, prices can go as high as hundreds of thousands! This covers all the photographer’s base services for the day(s), plus a package deal for printed or edited photos.

2. Product Photography ($35 – $175/image)

For clients who need artistic images of products for marketing purposes, photographers generally agree on a rate ranging between $35 and $175 for each image. However, the rates may vary based on the project’s scope or your experience – an issue we will return to later. 

3. Portrait Photography ($150 – $350/hour)

Lifestyle Portrait

$250 – $1500 per session or $150 – $350 per hour is common for portrait photographers. Of course, the average cost varies from project to project, depending on location, duration of the shoot, and the like. 

4. Newborn Photography

Taking pictures of these cute yet fussy models isn’t a walk in the park; the job requires both skills and lots of patience. 

That explains why a newborn photography session tends to be slightly pricier than a regular portrait session, usually around $610 in big cities like New York and somewhat less for others. Some photographers also charge a sitting fee for the babies (plus a fee per picture).

5. Real Estate Photography ($150 – $500/listing)

Since extremely high quality is a must for property pictures, photography services usually charge between $150 and $500 per listing. You can earn even more working in big cities! 

6. Other Services

  • Graduation photography: $100 – $400/session
  • Family photoshoot: $150 – $350/hour or $300 – $1,500/package
  • Fashion photography: $200 – $500/hour or $1,000 – $5,000/day
  • Pet photoshoot: $100 – $250/hour or $200 – $700/package
  • Commercial photography: $800 – $5000/session plus $250 – $10,000 for licensing fees

7. Editing

After the photoshoot, post-production services (such as retouching and editing) are often required, too. Photo editors charge $90 per hour or $3 per photo, depending on the extent of the editing. So whether you handle this yourself or prefer outsourcing, be sure to consider all the associated costs.

8. Pricing Options

As you can see, the type of photography is just one part of the picture. There are different pricing structures, too:

Per Hour or Day

Many photographers charge their clients based on the total time spent on the shoot. This pricing option is common for short and quick sessions like headshots, newborn photoshoots, or senior portraits! Another alternative is to offer flat rates for a half-day or the entire day, which works great for events like weddings. Here are some reasonable hourly rates for different levels:

  • Beginners: $50 or less
  • Amateur: $25 – $100
  • Student: $50 – $100
  • Semi-pro: $75 – $150
  • Professionals: $100 – $300
  • Top professionals: $200 – $500 or more

Per Project or Job

How about larger assignments that span multiple days or involve very extensive work? Then, consider a flat fee for the entire project, calculated based on your effort/labor, time spent, and personal resources.

Per Image

Though hourly billing is a sensible option, many photographers actually prefer to charge customers for each photo taken during the shoot. This approach appeals to a much broader range of clients, especially for family portraits or graduation photos. Building your portfolio as a beginner photographer is also quite a breeze! 

Here are some suggested rates based on your level of experience:

  • Beginners: $10 – $25
  • Amateur: $25 – $50
  • Student: $25 – $100
  • Semi-pro: $50 – $150
  • Professionals: $75 – $350
  • Top professionals: $400 – $1,000 or more

Usage Fees

For commercial or product photography, clients often require licenses to use the images for specific purposes (e.g., in marketing materials or on their official website). That’s your chance to charge a licensing or usage fee for a designated period!


Photography packages most likely work for school portraits (or similar events), so parents can purchase sets of images in different sizes. Prices vary depending on final images, extra editing services included, and the total number of positions or poses.

Insider Tips For A Competitive Photography Pricing List

taking photo on vintage film camera

1. Based On Types Of Photography

Event Photography

Hourly charges are common practice for event photographers, and you should also have a minimum benchmark of hours required for each session. If the client fails to meet this limit, they must pay you extra so your work won’t end up underpaid; this approach will encourage them to book longer sessions! 

For example, you can charge $300/hour for sessions under 5 hours but offer a better rate ($200/hour) for sessions lasting more than 5 hours! The hourly rate varies based on location and event type, and don’t forget to ask for extra fees if your client has any special demands.

The total number of photos for the hourly rate can also vary: some photographers include all their best shots, while others set clear limits on how many pictures they produce per hour. Physical image packaging is another great idea if it’s in huge demand! 

One important note: Most event photos usually require an editing service, so when setting your hourly rates, make sure to account for that as well.

Wedding Photography

Our team has observed that most couples tend to have personal preferences far beyond standard event pictures. Some prefer digital images only, for instance, but others may want large, beautiful prints or albums! Your pricing should depend on the services and products you offer to meet those specific requests.

In most cases, a wedding photography contract should outline the hours of coverage and the total number of images included. Both parties must also decide whether to deliver all the photos taken during the event or only curate a selection of the best ones. 

It’s extremely important that the pricing reflects both local markets and the overall quality of your hard work. We suggest you research what other photographers in your area offer and consider how to set yourself apart from the crowd!

  • Weddings aside, you should not forget other related opportunities, like engagement photo shoots. Offering these services as part of your packages can make your pricing even more attractive and help you stand out from competitors. 
  • And remember: we understand wedding photography is a very competitive field, but never price your service too low. Even amateur photographers start their packages around $500, after all! 

Portrait Photography

Much like weddings, portrait photographers also offer different packages tailored to their client’s needs!

First, determine the duration of a photo session and the number of people involved. Time is valuable, so setting session limits ensures your service is fairly and properly compensated. 

Longer sessions or larger groups should incur additional charges, as they definitely require more time and effort to capture the perfect shots. One person closes their eyes at the worst timing, and you’ll have to start again!

Your pricing model should also factor in the number of pictures included in the package. Offering several format options can appeal to a wider range of clients while increasing your earnings. Some clients only need digital copies to share on their social media accounts, while others appreciate physical prints to cherish for the rest of their life-long marriage. 

As mentioned, basic packages typically start around $250, which may include 2-3 hours of shooting and digital copies of the photos. On the other hand, corporate portrait sessions might command higher prices, sometimes reaching into the thousands! 

To determine your rates, thoroughly research how much others are charging and consider your market demand. 

Real Estate Photography

Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography presents a very promising opportunity for newcomers to the field. Getting started here (with minimal experience level and equipment) is relatively easier than other photography niches. 

Indeed, accessibility is what makes it truly appealing to entry-level photographers. There’s no need for a comprehensive portfolio since most real estate agencies prefer to hire and train new photographers. You usually only need a basic camera, a computer, and a fisheye lens!

Nevertheless, real estate photography still has its own set of challenges. Unlike hourly pricing models common for other photography businesses, real estate photographers only charge a flat rate for each house listing (which equates to 20 to 25 high-quality photos, according to common expectations).

Of course, feel free to adjust the pricing based on the size and complexity of the property. 

Larger houses command higher prices because they obviously require more time and effort to capture all the features. For instance, you might have to deliver 30 images for a spacious mansion (instead of the usual 25) to showcase every room and amenity effectively.

Note: On the other hand, not all clients hire fresh novices. Real estate brokers working with luxury, multi-million homes often love to work with experienced photographers who can deliver exceptional results, so the door is open for everyone! 

Commercial Photography

Commercial photography caters to businesses rather than regular people and is known to be among the most demanding niches in photography!

You need years of experience and training to excel here, but no worries: once you establish your reputation, the earning potential can be very impressive.

Commercial photographers usually command extremely high salaries, earning hundreds or even thousands an hour. And that’s not all; they can also generate significant income through photo licensing for commercial purposes, which amounts to an extra tens (or hundreds) of thousands.

Still, setting the price range for commercial projects can be complex and depend on various factors. 

Before determining a pricing model, consider the project’s scope (Is it for a local start-up or an international corporation? Is it intended for a large-scale billboard campaign or social media?). Budget constraints also play a significant role!

Other considerations include:

  • Hiring a crew
  • Acquiring necessary equipment (e.g., editing software) 
  • Covering production costs
  • Travel fees
  • Careful budgeting and planning for pre-production, the photo shoot itself, and post-production 

Day rates are a common pricing model for commercial photographers, though some prefer to charge per project or hour. The fee typically includes a specific number of the final images. 

Plus, as mentioned above, photographers charge licensing fees so customers can use their images for a particular period, ranging from a month to several years. Extending the license after the expiry date also requires an additional cost.

2. Based on Experience

Types Of Photography

Obviously, beginners cannot expect the same rates as experienced professional photographers, so a thorough, honest assessment of your current skill level is necessary when determining the prices!

  • Are there any satisfied customers who can provide positive references?
  • Is there any social media account or portfolio website where people can see all your photography work? 

If you’re just stepping into the water, we suggest starting with low rates in the first few months/years (depending on how fast you build your reputation) and gradually making increases along the way. 

3. Based on Labor

When you are passionate about your work, it’s easy to overlook the value of your time and effort — a common challenge for most creative careers, not just photography! Enjoying what you do should not overshadow the fact that it’s still business work at the end of the day, and that should be reflected properly in your pricing.

To ensure accurate charges, estimate the time required for each project and be honest about the hours involved. Of course, we are not talking about breaks (like scrolling through social media); however, time spent at the shoot and even waiting periods between sessions must always be factored in! 

When Should You Review Your Pricing Model?

As your skills and level of experience grow, your pricing needs to change accordingly to reflect the increased value you bring. 

And suppose you’re somehow attracting a different type of client (for example, someone wants to commission you for a commercial photo shoot while you’ve mostly worked for weddings). In that case, the payment expectations should be different.

Bonus: How To Negotiate Photography Rates With Clients 

  • Project confidence in your worth. Use phrases like “My standard rate is…” instead of “I would be willing to charge…”
  • Understand the client’s needs and budget, and consider offering options like scaled-down packages or hourly rates if their budget is tight.
  • Highlight the benefits you bring beyond photo quality: great experience, effective turnaround time, excellent customer service, etc.


Honestly, there’s no global standard for the average photographer’s cost per hour. Still, setting the price way above or below other photography services in the area might not work in your favor — unless your work truly justifies the price difference. 

So research your local market thoroughly and contact us if you need help!

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Jeff Picoult

Jeff Picoult


Jeff Picoult is a seasoned photographer, who blends artistry and innovation. With a humble approach, he captures moments resonating with depth and emotion, from nature's beauty to the energy of sports.

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