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Photography price guide 2024

The average price of photography is
$200

per session in the US, depending on the type of photography you're paying for and the photographer's experience.

Want to hire a photographer for an event, anniversary, or birthday in 2024 but not sure of the cost? Read our handy price guide for an idea of how much you will pay for different types of photography services.

Photography is an art form that captures important memories and fleeting moments, and in an age where visual content is so widely-used and valuable, good photography has never been more important. Everyone has a camera in their pocket, but the experience of a professional photographer makes all the difference. Whether you’re a bride-to-be seeking the perfect wedding photographer or a business owner in need of high-quality product shots, understanding the costs associated with professional photography is crucial in managing your expectations and your budget. Let's go!

If you're ready to find your professional, get quotes from brilliant local photographers now.

Average price of photography in the US

Man photographing

In 2024, the average price of hiring a photographer for a session hovers around $200. This standard session price often includes a set number of digital or printed images and a couple of hours of shooting time. However, this price can vary significantly based on several factors, including the reputation and experience of the photographer, the region, and the specific requirements of the shoot.

Average cost of photography in 2024
Average cost $200
Minimum cost$500
Maximum cost $20

Hourly rates for photography

If you need a photographer on an hourly basis, it's essential to know that you might pay between $100 to $250 per hour for their services. Events like parties or corporate functions typically fall into this hourly rate category, with the total cost increasing for specialist photographers or extended sessions.

Daily rates for photography

For more extensive projects, such as product catalogues or destination photo shoots, photographers may charge daily rates. These rates typically fall between $300 and $3,000, depending on several elements, including the project's scope, usage of images, and preparation time.

Factors that affect the cost of photography

Woman taking photo

The Photographer's Experience

It’s no secret that seasoned photographers with a robust portfolio often demand higher prices. The trust and assurance that come with hiring a professional who has 'been there, shot that' can make a significant difference in the final product. Inexperienced photographers, on the other hand, may charge lower rates as they build their portfolios.

Photography rates by experience
Experience level Average cost (per hour)
Student $40 - $110
Semi-professional$70 - $160
Professional $90 - $310
High-end professional$170 - $500

Project Complexity

The complexity of the project also heavily influences pricing. Factors such as the number of shooting locations, the scale of the production, the need for specialized equipment or assistants, and the intricacy of post-production editing can all drive photography costs upward.

Purpose and Usage Rights

The intended use of the photographs is a major cost influencer. Images intended for personal use or social media posts generally cost less than those for commercial use, which often requires higher resolution and additional usage rights.

Location

Geographical location significantly impacts photography rates. Urban areas and major cities tend to have higher costs due to a higher cost of living and increased demand for services. Here are some US state averages for photography costs in 2024:

  • Photographers in California: $250 - $500 per session

  • Photographers in New York: $300 - $600 per session

  • Photographers in Texas: $200 - $400 per session

  • Photographers in Florida: $150 - $350 per session

Additional Services

Additional services like hair and makeup artists, stylists, or second shooters can add to the overall cost. High-end photographers often have a network of professionals they work with, which can streamline the process and produce superior results, but at an additional price.

Specific types of photography and their prices

Product photography

The type of photography you need directly correlates with pricing. Here are the average prices for popular photography types:

Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is highly specialized and is typically one of the most expensive services. For a full-day package that includes engagement photos, pre-wedding sessions, and the wedding day itself, couples can expect to pay anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000.

Portrait Photography

Portrait sessions, which can range from senior photos to family pictures, generally cost between $100 and $500, inclusive of a set number of images. Specialized portrait sessions, such as newborn photography, may be at the higher end of the spectrum due to the expertise required and the patience needed for the shoot.

Commercial Photography

For businesses in need of professional-grade images for marketing, commercial photography rates begin at $250 per image and can go up to thousands of dollars for extensive campaigns requiring exclusive use of the photographs.

Real Estate Photography

Real estate photography, an essential marketing tool for property sales and rentals, generally falls between $100 and $300 for a residential session, while commercial and architectural photography can start at $200 and rapidly increase with the scale of the project.

Corporate Photography

Corporate photography plays a pivotal role in establishing a company's brand and professional image. From images that capture the essence of daily business operations to executive portraits and company event photographs, the impression left by high-quality visuals is invaluable. Average pricing for corporate photography services range from $400 to $1,500 per session or project. This variation reflects the scale of the project, the number of images delivered, and any specific branding requirements.

Event Photography

Event photography captures the dynamic and unique moments of social gatherings, conferences, or corporate functions. These photos not only serve as a record of the event, but they can also be crucial for future marketing efforts or historical archives. Clients can expect to spend between $150 to $500 per hour, with package deals potentially including discounts for multi-day events.

Headshot Photography

Professional headshots are essential for individuals looking to make a statement in the corporate world, the entertainment industry, or on social media platforms. Rates for headshot photography can vary widely, from $75 to $350 per session, depending on the photographer's expertise, the number of outfit changes, and whether the shoot includes makeup and styling services. These sessions provide a set of polished, high-resolution images suitable for a variety of professional uses.

How to save money on photography

Photo editing

While photography is an investment, there are savvy ways to save without sacrificing quality:

Look for Packages and Deals

Many photographers offer discounts or packages, especially for events. Engaging a photographer for multiple sessions, such as pre-wedding events and bridal portraits, can often lead to lower overall expenses.

Manage the Project Scope

Minimize the scope of the project by being clear about your needs. Photoshoots with a lower number of final images or less complex requirements can bring down costs considerably.

DIY Aspects of the Shoot

Handling some aspects of the shoot on your own, like styling and location scouting, can reduce time and labor costs for the photographer.

Use a Less Experienced Photographer

While experience often correlates with quality, talented and less experienced photographers looking to build their portfolios can offer excellent services at lower rates.

Choosing a photographer based on your budget

Photography studio

When selecting a photographer, it's critical to align their rates with your budget. However, it's equally important to consider the balance between cost and the quality of the service provided. A photographer might be the right fit for your budget, but you should still review their portfolio, discuss your project's details, and ask for references to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

In conclusion, photography costs vary widely and can be influenced by a myriad of factors. Whether you're capturing life's special occasions, building a professional portfolio, or enhancing your business's visual presence, understanding these pricing dynamics will empower you to make informed decisions that lead to stunning results. Remember, investing in professional photography is investing in how you are perceived by others, which makes it an investment well worth the cost!

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