Photography Pricing

Photography pricing 2021 graphic art by Orlando Sydney

How Much Should Photographers Charge?

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Professional photography prices in 2021 will be more volatile than ever. Planning your photo budget will be even more important than previous years.

If this is you, contact us to see how we can maximise your ROI on professional photography. If you’re a photographer thinking about taking your own business photos, contact us on the form below. We may be a more cost effective solution.

Many businesses and people will need to stretch their dollars much further.

Photographers, will you be reducing or increasing your prices?
Buyers, how are your expectations and budgets in 2021?

How do photographers prices compare in changing market expectations? How much will photographers charge?

To help answer these questions this informational article focuses on listing some real rates (historical) about how much professional photographers were actually charging. Price data is always from the past.

Some numbers are from us (a professional photography business in Sydney Australia, not outsourced copy writers), and data we regularly research.

Photography Pricing and Rates Prediction

List of average photography prices in 2021

  • Beginner Photographers – $10
  • Amateur Photographer – up to $50
  • Photography Student – up to $120
  • Semi-pro Photographer – up to $150
  • Professional Corporate Events ~$220
  • Wedding Photographers ~$800-$3600
  • Business Portraits ~$150-$350
  • Product photographers ~$35-$170
Photography Pricing List 2020

Photography Pricing and Rates Chart

Pricing Guide Details

This section provides a little bit of detail in how we estimated the numbers. Some we know because of direct experience, other values is throughout our network of contacts. And finally, there’s enough detail online to make the other assessments on the going photography rates in Australia.

There are always many variations in all such things these days. We suggest that all Event and Marketing Managers get a quote from a professional photographer that is tailored to their specific needs.

Photographer prices per hour

Hourly rates for photographers are sometimes asked. Hourly rates are recommended in a few limited circumstances. The customer and the photographer will need to allow for all the processes and systems professional photographers use to deliver consistent results. If you take short cuts on the process sub-standard results will lead to dissatisfaction for both. With that in mind, the photographer hourly rate in Australia is fairly high.

Professional photography in Sydney Australia hourly rates average from $250 to $350 for a single hour booking. The more consecutive hours booked the less it costs per hour. Always get a quote for even just one hour of photography.

Event photography

Event photography rates varies a little by virtue of there being at least half a dozen different sub genres of B2B photographers in Sydney. And that’s just in the Corporate events in Sydney. The obvious omissions being all the consumer, domestic or personal types of events such as wedding, christenings and birthday parties. Average rates for an experienced professional photographer are listed on the the event rates article for both full day events and per hour shoots.

How much should a beginner photographer charge?

Beginner photographers typically aren’t paid, or they don’t usually ask for a fee.

Some beginners and hobbyists are pretty good. Others are really just starting out and have only basic equipment. If they are taking a couple of shots for their mate, hopefully, they will buy them a beer. In the Sydney CBD, that’s about $10. So when thinking about photography prices for beginners, they just might be happy with the value they are getting from the experience bank they are building.

Do amateur photographers charge fees?

Amateur rates up to $50 per hour. One could argue that by description an amateur would not earn money from their effort. Let’s go with the idea that they sometimes do and it’s only a side interest. There are a lot of the upcoming photographers that will get a free ticket to a show and photograph it. If you don’t mind late nights and solo work this can be fun if you like live music. So a ticket just may be worth $50.

Photography tertiary student

Photography Students fee is up to about $120 per hour. That’s about right in AU dollars if they are part way through a multiyear structured photography course.

Semi-pro photographer freelance rates

Semi-pro, rates up to $150 per hour. This description get a few people riled on up photography forums? Like most of the categories, there’s a fair amount of variation up until this point in their career development. At semi pro level you’d be building your own network, might start to pick up semi regular shoots with a client. Developing or building your contacts list should be an active part of their process.

Corporate photography rates

Professional Corporate photography prices are from $220 per hour or around $400-500 for typical 2 hours run and gun type shoot. Our recommendation is to book minimum half day shoot for better value.

Business portraits (corporate headshots)

Business Headshots and Portraits rates are $150-350, for a 1/2-hour photo session in a local area. Many of the full time pro Sydney photographers we’ve seen have a minimum of $500 per session. Taking the high amount and dividing by two, to give an average rate per person. Which makes sense and hopefully they encourage the Business to arrange for more than one employee at a time.

Average price for a wedding photographer

Wedding Professionals* $800-3600. Sydney Wedding photographers costs are listed here as a comparison to the business focused genres.

Beginner wedding photographers prices start obviously on the low side as they have limited experience. On the opposite side, some do top consistent work and charge accordingly. Some wedding specialists near us can easily double the top rates with average photography packages from around $6000 and up.

Many wedding photographers prices are quoted for a standard 8 hour day. They typically have a selection of wedding photography packages to offer. 12 hour shoot days are pretty common.

Typical wedding packages include;

  • Photography hours and photo processing only
  • Photography and print packages in various configurations
  • Packages including, photography, second shooter, prints and couple shoots
  • Occasionally they may add photo booths as options

*As Brides and Grooms know, wedding photography can attract some of the highest costs in photography. And wedding photographers know for the $3600+ fee it will require at least a couple of years full time honing their skills and 20+ hours of a very detailed workflow.

Product photography pricing guide

Product photographers charge per photo from $35-170 for typical e-commerce web product photos. At the high end, lifestyle product photography can be up around $1000 plus.

Magazine/ National Newspaper and print can attract a considerably higher price and or license usage fees. This will be on top of the actual photo session. We’ve left this off the chart as it’s not based on a per hour basis.

Types of product photography

  • Standard product photos
  • Hero and banner shots
  • Lifestyle products
  • Mannequin photography
  • With hand modelling
  • Transparencies
  • Online shopping packages
  • Infographics
  • Product perspectives

Product photos vary such as; Hero images for web banner and printed flyers, Lifestyle products, Mannequin photography, product demonstration with hand modelling, Transparencies or deep etched, E-commerce style product photo packages, Info graphics and product perspectives.

Pre and post production will have an impacted on prices depending on the image final use. Bulk packages will have a lower cost per unit.

Photo license fees

Usage license fees are typically included in this types of photography which may contain some limitations on length of time, number of times and on what product types they can be used.

Get a photography quote from professional  photographers

Exceptional event photography is about capturing the detail and emotion of people and their connection.

Cost to Run a Photography Business

The costs to start a photography business can easily amount to around $20,000 in equipment. You don’t need to have everything day one, but keep the investment required in mind when you are working out your margins for profit. This will buy enough camera kits for most freelance photography assignments.

Like most professional services providers, there will be a considerable time investment pre and post-event. Take into account booking preliminaries (aka preparation). Time is money, you’ll need to calculate the time required for doing research, educating yourself, hiring graphic designers for collateral. Market research on understanding your target market and demographics.

To do this properly it can take a fair amount of time and it gets allowed for in the prices or rates quoted. One business mistake entry-level photographers make is not allowing for the fact you are a freelancer and all the extras that mount up quickly that will cost you big dollars at some point.

Hidden costs of running a photography business

  • Super contribution of 9.5%
  • Tax of average 30%
  • Allowance for 4 weeks paid annual leave
  • Allowance of 10 days paid sick leave

Do photographers listed on booking services websites take this into account? Maybe or probably not.

Cost fee structure

Professional Photographers in Sydney will average out their total costs of doing business when creating their fee structure. One factor that is often overlooked is the processing of the photos.

All our event photos are processed in house using professional software such as Capture One Pro on Eizo monitors that are hardware calibrated. Back of house costs add to the rates charged. They also add a significant amount of value in the quality of the delivered photos.

We understand the cost of doing business. If your budget is tight we don’t always recommend the hour by hour price method. It may cost you more as the hourly fees or rates may be higher. We suggest hiring for either half or a full day. When hired on full day rates basis, usually the professional photographer stays on location much longer than just the standard 8 hours. For half day rate, they may need to get to their next booking, not always but…

Sustainable photography pricing?

With anything much under $180 per hour pricing, we doubt you’ll get very useful image content that captures the essence of the occasion and your business.

For example, if you require a photographer to relate to your executives or be comfortable in the boardroom. Or in front of a very large audience who would you select as the photographer?

Someone who is starting out that you found on a third party aggregation website, or with no experience in the business world? Nope, you’d want someone who has spent a fair amount of time in similar situations. All professional photographers we see have invested in their own branded website and has shown commitment to their craft for a long time.

If they are running a business and spend considerable time in; the prelim preparation phase, on location hours and then post assignment work they certainly won’t be charging only $100 an hour.

How much does it cost to start a photography business?

Gaining years of experience has a time cost. The time and effort of being on location and $20 000+ in tools and equipment, you’d want an appropriate return on investment. Would you only pay yourself less than $20 an hour as a professional photographer in Sydney? And that’s before tax. Wouldn’t cover insurance or transport, not in Sydney at least. Once you factor in the 20%-30% tax photographers have to pay as an independent contractor, that time may have as well have been volunteer work. We’re not dissing volunteering, we think it’s incredibly important and do so ourselves. Check out our about page.

Happy to hear your point of view on this, send us an email if you agree or otherwise.

Tax on photography fees

While on the subject of Tax. If you are in Australia you will need to select Code 69910 for your tax return or BAS quarterly submissions. And don’t forget to pay your GST. The tax office is very diligent in collecting every dollar owed.

Tax Code 69910 applies to most “Professional Photographic Services”
Generally described as “providing still, video or computer photography services, including the video taping of special events such as weddings.
Primary Activities includes; Portrait photography service, Professional photography service, Street photography service, Studio photography service, Video filming of special events (e.g. birthdays, weddings) and Wedding photography services. This is very similar to insurance certificates for public liability for photographers.