How much do headshots cost
Prices for photos – including headshots – can vary considerably and it can all be very confusing. Some charge per photo, some offer packages which seem good value, but then may have some things included that you don’t want.
At the same time, we all have a budget to work to and our own idea of what represents ‘value for money’.
Here’s our breakdown of the various main elements that can affect the price that you pay – and why it’s not always the most expensive one that is necessarily the best.
There are experts in all locations in all these price ranges – so let’s see now why there is such a range of prices and what that buys you.
An experienced headshot photographer
For the best photo results, you will be looking for an experienced photographer – and for the best headshot photos, you’ll want an experienced headshot photographer.
Relevant professional experience counts for a lot.
A photographer may produce stunning landscapes, but that doesn’t mean that they have the skill to take a great headshot photo (and vice versa, of course).
Each style of photography has its own rules for producing the best examples of that type – and an experienced headshot professional will often charge more because they are highly skilled at bringing out your character and showing it in one single photograph.
Making the photo a true reflection of you and making you look your absolute best at the same time – this takes practice and experience. Once a professional has put in the groundwork to become great, they will naturally want to be paid for it.
Aside from taking the actual photograph, the photographer will usually then need to spend time carefully and expertly retouching the photo/s before delivering them to you.
A large percentage of a headshot fee often lies in this post-production work, as without it you will simply not have a professional photo.
How many finished headshots you want will usually affect the final price; usually, the more photos that you want retouching, the more expensive the service will be.
Good retouching takes time, so this is what you are paying for when the photographer is editing your photos to make them as great as you want them to be.
How long does a headshot photoshoot take?
How long is the proverbial piece of string?
You are paying for your professional’s time. You will find some who offer a ‘complete’ service in as little as 30 minutes, but you’ll usually need an hour as a minimum and possibly longer.
You need to be relaxed for your headshot photo session, and if you only have half an hour then both you and the photographer will feel rushed and anything but relaxed.
Of course, the longer the photo session, the higher the cost.
Headshot appointment options
When you book a headshot photoshoot, there are several possibilities available and they will usually have an impact on the cost.
For example, how many finished (retouched) photographs that you want, as we mentioned. Or how many looks that you need.
For a photo session – a ‘look’ is one style – one outfit or one type of headshot – that you may require. You may want several changes of clothes, or you may need a more formal pose for business and a less formal one for social media. Some professionals will charge a premium for a higher number of looks.
Some photographers will include make-up artists and hairdressers. Typically, you would then spend 30-60 minutes with these before the photo session itself starts – but remember it won’t be for free! Consider carefully whether you really need these; largely that will come down to what your headshots are going to be used for, but for many, these services will be ultimately unnecessary.
Usually, you will be required to attend a photographer’s studio for your headshots, but what if you want them outside on location, or at your office?
Quite often, a photographer will charge more for a location that is away from their studio and they may also charge you for travel expenses on top of this.
Outside photography can still often mean bringing lighting to the location, and for an office shoot is almost a certainty. This extra preparation, time and inconvenience to the photographer will often be reflected in the final bill.
Geographic location can have a bearing on cost as well. A photoshoot in London, for example, will almost certainly cost more than one in a rural location, or another part of the country, for a comparable service. Hourly rates for most things tend to cost more in a city, and photo services are no different.
Unseen costs of headshot photography
Although you won’t necessarily see them, the day to day running costs for the photographer will have a bearing on the prices charged for a photo session, and some of these will impact on the quality of your photos.
For example, the camera, lenses, lighting, etc used will all have an enormous effect on the final quality of your pictures – to get the best results requires the best equipment. And this, of course, costs the photographer more and will be passed down to you, the customer.
It’s worth every penny, though. Imagine the result if your images were taken on an old iPhone!
If the company is more than a one-man shop, then they have staff, this could well mean that your finished photos will be delivered faster, as the post-processing stages may be handled by someone other than the photo professional themselves – but this will affect the price of the photoshoot as the staff wages have to be factored into the costs; a better service will come at a price.
Headshot Photography Packages
As we have already mentioned, photographers often offer packages including a set number of retouched photos (often only one), make-up, fixed time slots, etc.
While they are dressed up to look like better value for money, they can have elements in them which you simply do not need – or they may not quite offer the number of edited photos that you need.
As an example, perhaps you need 3 various headshots with differing looks. The photographer may offer a basic package (one photo, one look), and another with three looks, but make-up and hairstylist included – which you don’t want but will end up paying for as it’s the only option you have.
So look at these bundled offers carefully before weighing up the cost of them.
Read this article for more specific information on headshot packages and what they might cost.
Fortunately, there is a better way!
Splento has specialists near you today. They are available for a fixed hourly rate (just £99) and that includes retouching and editing.
Splento has a different approach to headshot photography; their unique flexibility means that you can have – and pay for – only the services you need, without paying for others that you don’t.
And they are everywhere, globally.
What are your views on prices? Do you think low cost is best, or is overall quality what you look for? Or do you feel you can get the best of both worlds? Comment below now and tell us about it.