Everyone can take a photo. But not everyone is a photographer.
You might have an Instagram feed full of gorgeous pictures snapped on your trusty iPhone, but we get the feeling you’re looking for something a little more polished for your upcoming shoot, campaign, or event – and we don’t blame you.
Humans are visual creatures. Seriously visual creatures. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text (which means we probably should have turned this blog into an infographic…ah well).
For those reasons (and plenty more), hiring a photographer is one of the most important tasks on your to-do list. But that’s a challenge because there’s no ‘one size fits all’ cost for hiring a photographer. With so many variables involved it’s easy to overpay and end up massively out of pocket. Or, underpay and end up with blurry, amateur snaps that look like they’ve come straight from a MySpace feed circa 2007.
Throw in a wide range of photography types, retouching services, and confusing usage rights and it’s no wonder so many brands and individuals struggle to figure out how much photographers cost when hiring the best shutterbugs.
That’s where we can help. With a platform offering the best photographers in Australia (and internationally), we know a thing or two about affordable photography hire. Read on to learn everything you need to know to book a top photographer at a price that works for you.
First thing’s first, what type of photographer do you need?
This is the first question you’ll need to answer when determining your budget.
For example, a wedding photographer will charge a different rate than a photographer specialising in branded flay lay content. Just as an event-hire photographer will have different rates than a corporate headshot photographer.
Unfortunately, there are no industry averages to go off so it’s not as simple as Googling “how much should I pay a freelance photographer” and setting aside that amount.
To help you with a rough estimate, check out some of the example rates below for the most common photography skill sets.
$1,500 to $3,500
$500 to $1,000
Real Estate Photographer
$150 to $1,500
$250+ per image
$75 to $325
$400 to $1,000 per session
How complex and long will the shoot be?
Typically, the longer a photoshoot, the more it will cost you.
However, photographers may charge hourly, daily, per image, or offer a flat fee. For this reason, you can’t always judge your quote based on the length of your shoot.
You’ll also need to factor in location. In a major city like Sydney or Melbourne, there are going to be more photographers, which means more competition, which means more chance of securing a deal that meets your budget. In contrast, booking a photographer for a destination wedding or remote event is likely to be more expensive, as the photographer will need to travel and bring their own equipment.
Speaking of equipment…
Do they need to bring their own equipment?
There are plenty of ways to capture a moment in time.
For example, if you’re looking to capture your brand in the hands of an influencer, you might actually prefer authentic snaps from an iPhone. In contrast, if you’re looking for a high level of production – we’re talking lighting gear, extra memory cards, dust-free sensors, tripods, or even photography assistants – you should expect to pay more.
Some of the equipment you’ll be paying for may include:
- Lens cleaners
- Camera straps
- Camera bags
- Sensor cleaner
- SD memory cards
- External hard drive
- Flash transmitter
- Shutter remote
- Camera stabilisers
- Camera gimbal
- Camera fleming rig
- External monitor
If you’re able to provide any equipment then you will likely be able to lower your budget. For example, if you’re a marketing agency looking to capture new images for your website, you could provide lighting equipment to help make the shoot easier. Typically, the equipment above will be in the hands of industry professionals who know how to use the tools at their disposal to deliver a premium product.
How much experience do they have?
When it comes to hiring photographers, you often get what you pay for.
A photographer with 20 years of experience behind the lens will typically charge more than those just starting out or those fresh out of art school. Does this mean you’re guaranteed to get a better result by opting for experience? Not necessarily.
Beginners charge an average of $50 to $100 per hour (compared to the $250 to $500 per hour of more advanced photographers), so you may end up securing an up-and-coming talent at a great price by shopping around.
The table below outlines an estimated total cost for hiring a photographer in Australia based on experience. Keep in mind, using theright.fit, you can set your budget and be in control of costs. Simply post your job (it’s FREE), wait for applicants, chat with potential photographers, and make a booking online.
For a little inspo, try comparing photographers and browsing portfolios to get a feel for talent and find the best fit for your needs.
How many finished images do you need?
Long gone are the days of sending your roll of film to the local Kodak shop and getting your photos back in a few days (while hoping none were blurry).
These days, it’s perfectly fine to use raw photos, but many brands and individuals opt for retouching to provide colour correction, proper contrast and saturation, and remove all blemishes. This is particularly important for health and lifestyle brands looking to put their best foot (or face) forward online.
Photo retouching may be offered as an additional service, so you’ll need to ask about how this inclusioin affects your photography costs. Or, it may come standard with a photographer’s package. As a reference point, a reported 71% of people edit their selfies (#guilty), so if your audience doesn’t post unedited photos, you might need to think twice about doing the same for your brand.
Don’t forget to include usage fees in your budget
Ah, usage fees. Everyone’s favourite subject.
As a quick recap, photographers get paid for two things:
- The work they do on set
- The right to use their images
As a brand or agency, you can choose where you want to use images, in what medium, and for how long. For example, after an eCommerce shoot, you might opt for use in Australia and New Zealand, online-only, and for 12-months.
While not all photographers will have the same usage rights to work out (for example, a wedding photographer), it’s important that you are paying for fair usage for commercial photography and this will increase the cost of your photographer.
However, it’s worth noting that you’re paying for an asset to help your brand or business, so it’s worth it in the long run. Whether you’re rolling over the rights to use photos to deliver memorable campaigns each year, or using photos as part of your pay-per-click advertising campaign, a picture isn’t just worth a thousand words – it’s also an investment in your business.
Still feeling confused by usage? We get it. That’s why we built usage into every job booked on theright.fit. From the moment you post a job, you’re in control of the budget you set (which means no unexpected budget blowouts), which includes paying photographers for their time and the rights to use their image.
Plus, if you’re feeling unsure of what’s fair, you can strike up a conversation using our messenger tool to get pricing directly from a photographer. Simple!
Now you know how much a photographer costs, here’s what to do next…
Whether you’ve got a new product launch coming up or an event on the horizon, chances are you want to stretch your dollars as far as they’ll go.
Knowing how much to pay for photographers is typically a challenge because there are *so* many variables to consider. We don’t blame you if you’ve thought about snapping photos yourself, but when your visual identity has the potential to make (or break) your brand or campaign, it pays to go with the pros.
Thankfully, using theright.fit you can browse the best photographers in all niches and of all skill levels. Whether you need a sharp new LinkedIn headshot, gorgeous photos for your website, dynamic snaps of your upcoming fashion launch, or anything in between, theright.fit marketplace empowers you (and the awesome photographer you hire) to negotiate directly on a fair price.