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This post was most recently updated on August 7th, 2022

Figuring out how long a photoshoot should take and how much you charge depends on a few factors. There are many kinds of shoots all varying in workload and time.

For example, if you’re hired to shoot a wedding, in general, you’ll be expected to be there from 1-2 hours before the ceremony, all the way until after the first dance in the evening. On the other hand, you may be shooting a short studio product shoot with only a handful of items which will only take 1-2 hours.

Or maybe you are shooting a fashion campaign which is two full days.

Figuring out what to charge depends on what you are shooting and how much you value your services, this can be based on how long you have been a photographer and what your current rates are or if you are new to the business, taking a look online at entry-level rates for professional photographers and starting in that ballpark.

Photoshoot Duration

Weddings & Parties

If you are hired to shoot a wedding, this is usually a full day’s work (6-8 hours) sometimes longer if the client requests you to stay later to capture some party vibes. If this is the case this should be discussed upon booking.

Sometimes you will be asked to shoot a half-day wedding, in this case, you will generally be working 4 hours.

Shooting a party generally requires you to work late into the night, in this scenario you may want to increase your usual day rate due to the job going through the night, which is more effort and work for you as the photographer. The hours you work should be confirmed upon booking.

Family Portraits

Family portrait photoshoots are usually relatively quick jobs, 1-2 hours maximum. Again this should be confirmed upon booking once you have discussed the details of what’s needed with the client.

Studio Product / Fashion Shoot

This can vary anywhere between 1-2 hours to a full day’s work. It’s dependent on how much product needs to be shot and if models are involved or not.

Before you suggest hours to the client you should get a good idea of how much product needs to be shot and how long it would take (approximately) to shoot each product. If models are involved try to factor in wardrobe changes.

If there are no models involved and it’s quick to change each product then this will be faster.

Fashion Campaign – On Location

On-location fashion shoots tend to be very time-consuming. There are a lot of moving parts in a campaign to ensure everything runs smoothly. Even if there are only 5-6 looks with two models this can take a full day.

You have to take into account the makeup artist’s job in between looks, the stylist, the assistant photographers, lighting crew if you have one.

They all need to do their job too so when it comes to negotiating hours for a campaign you may be better off quoting them a set price for the whole job instead of running off hours, as this can be very hard to judge with so much going on.

Also what’s worth remembering is that depending on where the location is, it’s wise to include your travel expenses for the job in your final quote.

Polars

Shooting polars for models tends to be a quick job, this is a simple shoot with no real creative element as the shots have to follow certain guidelines.
Generally, this will take no more than 1 hour.

What To Charge For A Photoshoot

What To Charge For A Photoshoot

Weddings & Parties

What to charge as a photographer shooting a wedding depends on a few factors, and is ultimately up to you, however, there are some general guideline amounts people tend to follow.

If you are a travelling photographer it’s also worth considering your location, LA for example tends to pay wedding photographers up to 45% more than anywhere else in the US.

If you are a newly hired photographer starting your career, as a general rule of thumb 100$-150$ per hour is a good place to start. If you believe your work is more valuable then, by all means, adjust accordingly, but be aware the wedding competition is fierce so if you price too high you may lose the job.

If you have a big portfolio and a lot of experience in this industry then charging anywhere between 200$-400$ per hour is in the ballpark, sometimes more.
Another thing to consider is your reputation, it’s wise to keep your pricing consistent because in this industry word gets around.

Pricing a party tends to be a little different if the hours go into the early hours of the morning. It’s more tiring and inconvenient for you as the photographer. As a rule of thumb, you may charge 50-100% more on your hourly rate.

Family Portraits

This type of shoot is one of the most simple to price. Generally, the shoot is under two hours, so charging your basic hourly rate would be the best way to go. Be sure to confirm the location and include travel costs into the cost.

Depending on your level of experience as a photographer depends on your rare, but anywhere between 50$ – 200$ per hour would be appropriate. As I mentioned previously, costs differ on location dramatically, so if you are a travelling photographer it is worth finding out the average in that place.

Studio Product / Fashion Shoot

As a photographer, the price tag tends to be a little higher when shooting in the fashion industry. Generally, you are dealing with big commercial brands that have a budget they need to spend.

Although it’s important to keep your pricing relatively consistent across the board, charging more for bigger commercial jobs in fashion is normal. If it’s a short studio product shoot of 1-2 hours then depending on your level of experience as a photographer will depend on your pricing.

In LA, on average a 1-hour photoshoot can charge between 500$-800$.

Fashion Campaign – On Location

Price-wise this will follow a similar guideline as to the previously discussed option above. However, if the campaign is a full day or two full days then it’s normal to knock off a certain amount from your daily rate due to the number of hours.

How much you charge also heavily depends on your level and reputation as a fashion photographer. As a daily rate, fashion campaign pricing can vary anywhere between $700-$3000 per day. Be sure to always include additional costs into the quote, be it travel, equipment, assistants etc.

Polars

Polars tend to be quick money for photographers and the price usually sits a lot lower due to the convenience and ease of the job. Again, like all photography jobs, the price depends on your experience as a photographer but you can expect to see an hourly rate of anything between 100$-500$.

Overtime & Deposit

Always be sure to write in your contract your overtime hourly rate and a non-refundable deposit clause. If the client decides to use you past your agreed time then including this in your contract means you have to be paid for your overtime. If you don’t do this you may find yourself in a dispute with the client.

It’s also highly recommended to take a non-refundable deposit upon booking the job. This ensures the client is locked in. As a freelancer, work can be inconsistent, and on the other hand, it can be very busy, so locking in clients with a deposit to ensure your time won’t be wasted is essential.

Conclusion

The biggest thing to remember as a photographer is a good communication with your client. Make sure you have all the details confirmed and in writing before the job starts so there is no confusion.

The timing and pricing depend on the kind of job you are doing as we discussed above, and again, getting all the details possible from your client first is the best way to ensure no complications at a later date.

By doing all of this it means you can turn up to the job with a clear mind and stress-free, allowing you to produce the best work you are capable of for the client.