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  • Why subject photography costs so much?
  • What does the client pay for?
  • Why do photographers’ prices vary so much?
  • How to reduce the cost of photography?

This is the main list of questions that entrepreneurs have when they need to hire a photographer to take pictures of their products and calculate their budget.

Let’s try to answer these questions in order.

Quality photography requires the skill of the photographer, his time, and the use of fairly expensive equipment. There are times when the photographer needs an assistant, and then another person is involved, whose labor is also paid. If the picture is taken on the road, the cost of photography will include the cost of travel (time and transportation).

Also, no good photo can do without processing. For a client, this part of work is left out of the picture, but it often happens that a lot more time is spent on processing than directly taking the picture, even if the quality of the “raw” picture is very good.

When we look at a thing, we do not pay attention to slight asymmetries, dust particles, and small defects. In a photo, all these “invisible” details are fixed, enlarged, and, even at medium resolution (1000 pixels), catch the eye and need to be corrected.

Photo retouching includes color correction, framing, stacking, plastic, clipping, retouching, filters, and sharpening.

When a photographer calculates the costs of product photography, he first tries to figure out how long it will take to shoot it. You can take 20 frames an hour, or you can take five. The speed of a photo shoot depends on several factors, and one of them, the most significant, is how long it takes to prepare the product for the photo shoot. The math is very simple. 

For example, preparing and laying out a belt, scarf, beads, bracelet or another similar item can take three minutes, or 15 minutes (this happens when the client is especially picky and demanding of the form and does the lay-out himself). In the first situation, the photographer has time to take 20 photos, in the second – only four. The price per photo will accordingly be different, although the thing is the same.

Of course, not only the preparation of the product takes time. This includes the light scheme installation, changing it according to the angles of shots, etc. As a rule, an experienced photographer has ready-made light schemes for different occasions, but still, the rearrangement of light and its adjustment for each new product takes a lot of time.

The cost of a photograph depends greatly on the number of frames the client orders. The more photos, the cheaper the price. The reason again is time. To take a few shots, you need to assemble a full-fledged lighting scheme, set up the equipment, and pick up the light. Accordingly, by dividing the time spent by the number of photos we get such a price. 

When the client offers a large amount of work, the photographer has the opportunity to significantly reduce the cost per frame, as the density of work and its efficiency increase.

The cost of a photo also depends on what kind of surface the subject has. The most difficult to photograph is high glare and reflective surfaces.

To summarize all of the above, we can name the main parameters that will allow you to get the minimum cost. These include:

  • A large volume of photos (from 200 and up)
  • Single-type product, there is no need to change light schemes
  • High speed of shooting (the product does not require long preparation), 50-60 frames per hour
  • The surface of the subject is matte and non-glare
  • The photo does not require complex processing

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