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How Much Does Product Photography Cost in 2020?

Ever find yourself scratching your head at how much ecommerce photography studios charge for product photography? Even in 2020, looking around at your options reveals large pricing fluctuations with no apparent reason – so, what’s the deal? Read on to find out…

How Much Should You Pay for Ecommerce Photography?

If you’re an ecommerce store owner, you already know just how important the visuals of your store are. Great product photos don’t just show your customers what they’re getting – they also reveal little details and help them to make a purchase.

There’s no doubt that online retailers need product photography – but how can you know how much an ecommerce business should pay for product photography?

Can you really put the intangible value of a product photo into tangible dollars and cents?

These are good questions, yet ones that often have complex answers due to the many variables in the product photography marketplace.

These variables can sometimes seem endless, including things like how difficult the shot may be, the type of shot you, whether you want to use models, where the image will be used, the experience of the photographer, and many more factors besides.

This makes giving a “one-size-fits-all” answer next to impossible – and why there are so many different price points on the marketplace! The biggest thing that determines how much you should pay for ecommerce photography in 2020 is your goals, the style you want, and how much you’re willing to invest for the best outcome.

Don’t forget; product photography brings money into your business by helping you to sell products. without gorgeous product images tempting your customers to hit the ‘buy now’ button, you’re unlikely to enjoy sales!

If you’re an ecommerce business owner who needs product photography on a regular basis – such as monthly shoots or quarterly shoots – thanks to an ever-changing product line-up, outsourcing your product photography is a smart move. It lets you focus on running your business while photography experts ensure that your product photos are doing their job of selling.

In this article, Yellow Duck Works is going to answer some of the most common questions that ecommerce owners have about the cost of product photography. After reading this, you’ll have a much better idea of how much outsourcing your product photography will cost in 2020 and beyond.

Can Professional Product Photography Boost Ecommerce Sales?

In one word: “Yes!” – product photography is all around us. Just open a magazine or take a walk downtown. The last time you purchased something online, you likely zoomed in on the product photo to take a closer look at the details.

It’s not just you – 75% of shoppers buy because a product photo convinced them that this was the product for them. More than this, high quality product images have a 40% higher chance of getting shared organically on social media.

Just one word of caution: don’t try to fool customers with a product photo that isn’t completely honest: a staggering 22% of returns from disappointed customers are due to the real product being at odds with the beautiful ecommerce image.

For a savvy ecommerce owner, the bottom line is crystal clear: high quality product photography is worth its weight in gold – and well worth the investment.

How Do Product Photography Service Providers Differ?

Your first task is to decide which kind of photography service will best fit your needs. When it comes to ecommerce product photos, there are generally two types of photograph studio that will work best for you:

– Local independent studios
– Full service studios

There is no right or wrong choice here: both choices have their pros and cons, which means that you will have to decide which service will fit your overall needs better.

Local Independent Photography Studios for Ecommerce Product Photography

If you’ve ever hired a photographer for your wedding or to take a beautiful family portrait, you’ve already worked with an independent photographer. These freelance photographers typically offer a range of services while sharing a studio with others – often while working from home.


– You’ll be spoiled for choice with plenty of local independent photography options,
– Negotiating rates can be easier when dealing with just one person,
– You won’t have any shipping, communication, or travel headaches by hiring locally.


– Not all independent photographers offer product photography,
– They may lack the equipment, studio space, or photography software needed to complete the job professionally,
– Independent photographers are often busy, which may cause delays.

Full Service Photography Studios for Ecommerce Product Photography

If you’re looking to work with a professional photography studio, then a full service photography provider may be the right choice for you. Typically, these studios are more of an agency, offering a full range of services while easily handling bigger projects.

These studios are not as common as local independent photographers – in some cases, you may need to look toward your nearest city to find one.


– Professional execution with the studio, equipment, and software to match
– Studios that focus on product photography can offer lower rates
– Better ability to handle logistics of shipping and storing products
– Can handle products of all sizes and shapes.


– If the studio is not local to you, your shipping costs will be higher
– Visiting the studio will require travel, which could be costly and needs to be worked into your budget
– Limited choice of local studios may lead to having to compromise on style and shooting.

Not sure which type of product photography service is best for your business? Asking yourself the following questions can help you to decide when browsing through your options:

– How important is consistency in your product photography images?
– Are you OK with waiting around potential limited availability issues?
– Are your products easy to ship to the studio, and does the studio have space?
– Are you only looking for photography, or do you want to pursue other services, such as retouching and photo editing, too?
– Do you need more specialist photography, such as 360 product photography to go with your standard product shots?

As you can see, none of these questions are concerned with the cost of product photography, but rather your unique needs as a client. No matter whether you prefer to go independent or full service, both types of photography studio will be taking questions like this into consideration when quoting you a rate.

It’s worth remembering that both independent photographers and photography studios alike have their own running costs and equipment, which is typically not cheap. Cameras, professional lighting, equipment, and professional editing software all need to be kept current to deliver cutting-edge photography results.

Together with the typical expenses of running a business, it’s important to remember that pricing isn’t just about the end result – but the experience, equipment, and expenses that all lead up to your final, glossy product image.

Are you still wondering how much you could be charged for the type of product photography you want? Let’s tackle that next!

How Are Product Photography Services Charged?

IN A NUTSHELL: Rates for product photography covers a wide range: an amateur photographer can charge anywhere between $25 to $75 an hour, with top professionals charging as much as $200 to $500 an hour or $250 to $1,500 per image. The industry’s very best product photographers have $10,000 day rates!

Unfortunately, the answer to the question of how much can you expect to be charged for product photography in 2020 isn’t a simple one. Every studio will have different methods of charging for their ecommerce photography, and you will need to weigh up, which will work best for you.

With that said, the vast majority of ecommerce product photography is charged using one of the following three methods:

Charging by Straightforward Hourly/Day Rates

Hourly or day rates can initially seem like the best method of charging for product photography – but beware! This method can be difficult to budget for, and inevitable delays and revisions will eat into your budget quicker than you think.

That’s not to say you should avoid studios that charge by the hour or day: if you have a specialist catalog of products with many different products, then it may be hard for you to get a good estimate.

In most cases, it is better to look for a different pricing model, as your product photography bills can add up very fast here – with little to show in return.

Charging Per Product

This can be a good pricing option for ecommerce stores selling products that are mostly the same, such as an online sneaker store or a gourmet coffee store. This pricing model sometimes includes unlimited images for each product but will more often come with a maximum number.

With this charging model, you will often find tiered pricing: the more products you have, the cheaper the overall photography pricing. For example, you may find yourself paying $60 per product for up to five products, but just $45 per product for up to 50 products and so on.

If you have a lot of products, this charging method for ecommerce product photography is likely to be your best bet.

Charging Per Product Image

For many people, this is the most transparent – and even logical – way of charging for product photography. As with charging by the product, you’ll often find tiered pricing ranges with increasing discounts as the number of photos required grows.

To make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, you’ll need to be clear on your image requirements. This may sound tricky, but is actually quite simple:

– Make a list of the products you need images for
– Decide how many photos you need for each product to showcase certain features
– Consider what details your customers will want to see in detail

Once you’ve gone through these three steps, you’ll have a clear idea of how many images you will need, which will allow you to easily check per image product photography pricing on photography studios’ websites.

Some photography studios may also charge depending on experience and specialty; this does not always equate to paying more, but it is something to take into consideration when looking at your options.

What Additional Photography Charges Can You Anticipate?

Whatever pricing your prospective photographer uses to charge for product photography, it’s important to be aware that there may be additional charges. These are typically related to your product and any unique requirements or difficulties involved in creating the perfect ecommerce product photos.

Additional Charges for Product Weight or Size

Big, bulky products are more difficult to handle – which can mean specialist equipment is required along with an extra pair of hands to set up the shot.

As you might expect, the bigger or bulkier your product, the greater the additional charge from your photographer. These will vary from studio to studio, with most starting to charge at a set weight or size threshold.

Additional Charges for Product Preparation and Styling

These additional charges for product photography commonly arise when products require extensive prepping or styling beyond the norm (which is typically built into regular charges).

Additional charges for product preparation are directly linked to how much time it takes beyond what the studio considers basic prep. As a guideline, basic preparation is considered anything up to five minutes. Additional charges for photography styling will also take into account any specialist supplies or even professional expertise required, along with your requirements.

Additional Charges for Product Layout and Set Construction

If you’re selling complex products – such as industrial equipment with many different parts, a surcharge for laying out the product may be applied. Likewise, if you’re looking to showcase your products on a custom-made set, you may be charged: constructing a bedroom set to show your gorgeous bedding linen is no small undertaking!

Additional charges for product layouts are typically done on a simple ‘per piece’ or a time rate. Set construction can be trickier to price – for example, if you’re looking to recreate a modern bathroom just for the photo shoot, your additional charges can easily go into the thousands.

Additional Charges for Lifestyle Images and Specialty Shots

Lifestyle images typically show people using products to help buyers imagine themselves using that product. This typically means additional charges for your models, and sometimes for going on location – if you’re looking to construct a set for the photo shoot, then remember to account for that as well.

Likewise, some complex products may require close-up shots that showcase specific details so buyers can really see what they’re getting – such as connectors on electronic parts. These often require specialist equipment, so you can expect an additional charge per image for the extra time, set up, and equipment required.

As you can see, photography studios leverage additional charges for unique situations and products that go beyond the basic pricing due to the extra work and equipment that is typically required.

If you’re not sure whether your products would be subject to additional charges, it’s worth contacting photographers you have shortlisted to ask for advice. Many will also display this information on their websites, so be sure to check for additional product photography charges online, too.

At this point, you should have a clear idea of how much you should budget for your ecommerce photography project, and how much most photographers will charge for product photography.

However, there are some final, indirect costs that you should consider, too – and we’ll cover those in the next section. It’s easy to overlook these costs as they do not come directly from the photographer. However, including them in your budgeting will help you to ensure that you’re covering every possible detail – and protecting your business investment.

What Other Product Photography Project Costs Should You Consider?

Whether you’re shipping your products out to a photography studio in another area of have chosen a local photographer to assist with your photoshoot, you will need to account for the time and money cost of preparing your products.

These costs typically revolve around the preparation, packaging, and shipping of products to and from the studio. In some cases, you may find that there is an additional charge from your photographer for product storage over the course of the shoot, but this is uncommon.

You will also want to account for any potential hours of lost productivity in your own business as either you or one of your employees lists the products that you will send, takes them out of your inventory, and ships them.

Finally, remember that there is risk involved: accidents can happen – and your products can go missing during shipping or get damaged during the photo shoot. Depending on your products, it may be worth looking at insurance policies that can protect you in such situations, if only for your peace of mind.

Once you have tallied up all these different costs, you should have a firm answer to the question, “how much will I be charged for product photography?” with a reasonable budget to achieve your goals.

Conclusion – and What Ecommerce Businesses Should Do Next

In this post, we’ve given you all the information you need to make an informed decision about budgeting for ecommerce product photography and the various charges to take into consideration. You should now have a good idea of how much you can expect to be charged, which kind of photography service provider best fits your needs, and which additional charges and project costs you can expect – if any.

This photography pricing guide has been designed to help you make an informed decision and pick the best ecommerce photography service for your needs.

With this knowledge, you don’t just know how much photographers charge for product photography on average. You also know what to consider when setting out a product photography budget that will deliver an impressive return on your investment.

All that’s left is to decide which ecommerce photography studio you want to work with!

Hire A Professional Ecommerce Photographer Today

Yellow Duck Works specializes in professional ecommerce photography, and we have extensive experience in creating high quality product photography that connects with your customers to give you increased sales and higher profits.

Whether you’re looking for sophisticated white background photography, compelling lifestyle shots, or something else, our talented team is ready to work with you.

Work with us, and we’ll help you to develop a gorgeous set of ecommerce product photographs that gives your ecommerce store an edge over competitors in this cut-throat industry!

As a bonus, we’ve also got a crystal-clear product photography charging model that makes costing your ecommerce product photography project a piece of cake.

Why not check out some of Yellow Duck Works’ ecommerce photography projects, or fill out the form below to tell us about your ecommerce photography project, kickstart a free initial consultation, and get your free, no-obligations custom quote?