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How Much Should You Charge for a Photography Session? (Pricing Guide)

How Much to Charge for a Photography Session? (Guide)

Welcome to my guide on how much to charge for a photography session!


If you are new to the photography industry, these are the common questions that you have probably asked yourself, such as:

  • “How much do photographers make?”
  • “How do I price my photography services?”

(It’ll definitely be your dilemma as soon as you get your first client.)

This photography pricing guide will help you have a basis on how to judge your work subjectively. 

Here’s what to expect:

  • Factors to consider in coming up with your prices
  • Approaches to take to build a pricing model
  • Common mistakes photographers do when charging photography sessions

Hopefully these tips will make your when finalizing the invoice for your client.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

How Much Do Photographers Charge?

As a rule, an average photographer in the US charges between $100-250 USD per hour/image.

Of course, the more experience you have, the more money you could potentially earn. So keep building that portfolio of yours!

Below is a great table with the photographer rates based on their skill level:

A table with the rates photographers charge based on their skill levels.

This should give you a good idea of what to charge.


Factors To Consider In Pricing Photo Sessions

Before we proceed, I’d like to share a video with good tips on what you should charge from a professional photographer, Joel Grimes:

Great advice, right?

Now, here are the several factors to consider:

  • Cost of running your photography business

Whether you are the only one who does the business or you have people that help you around, there is a cost that you have to consider before you can do the computations.

Take time to list in detail all the expenses that you’ve spent to deliver your services. 

Here are the costs that you have to consider:

    • Equipment costs

The price of acquiring photography equipment such as cameras, lenses, lighting accessories, etc. is expensive. 

The price of each piece is not the only to consider but make sure to also include repairs/replacement costs if there is any.

    • Home/studio costs

Even if you shoot outdoors, you would still need a space to work on to edit your shots, plan on your photography agendas, and to further master your craft through e-learning platforms.

In doing these, you incur costs such as electricity, and internet bills as well as the cost of your rent.

    • Fees of professionals

If you have a team, you have to compensate for their good work. 

  • Cost of your time and labor

As the cliche states “time is money”. 

A lot of photographers always miss out to include the value of the time and effort that they have spent.

Don’t forget to include the cost that you have spent going to meet your client for meetings and traveling to and from your shoot location.

Approaches To Building a Pricing Model

As a guide in measuring how your client would pay you, here are the pricing models that you can use so there is a basis on how you would quote for your photo sessions.

  • Hourly

If you are shooting for events, the hourly basis is ideal because there is a fixed duration where you will render your service.


The hourly rate is not recommended for other genres of photography because there is a tendency that the quality of the finished product is sacrificed. 

When you think of charging your services by the hour, its scope would always be during the event but don’t forget to include the cost you’ve spent for pre and post-production (especially since you’ll likely to edit the photos that you’ve taken too).

  • Day rate 

This is known as the common and traditional way of compensating the services offered by photographers.

When you would quote for a daily rate, don’t forget to include the related outputs that you have done before and after your assignment.

  • Per project

This kind of quoting your services is more applicable if your client would request to complete your set of shoots.

This set-up will encourage you to be more efficient to ensure that you will accomplish your task and exceed the expectations of your customer since the basis of your payment would depend on your final output.

Pricing Mistakes To Avoid

Let’s be honest here…

Photographers have there own strategy of charging photography sessions.

It can’t be avoided to make some mistakes but, it is good to be aware of it to ensure that you’re getting the right compensation for your skills and hard work.

  • Undervaluing your work

Honestly, this is the most common mistake that photographers, especially beginners or inexperienced make.

If you feel that you still lack information about this craft, it’s likely that you’ll end up undervalue what you can do but always remember that not all have the capability to do what you can accomplish.

That is why you need to learn how to appraise your worth as a professional.

  • Miscalculating your time

Most photographers do not follow the usual working hours. The time spent on photography is valuable. 

You should get paid for the actual time you have worked before, during, and after the shoot.

  • No confidence

If you don’t have confidence in your abilities, there is a possibility that you’ll accept any rate even if its too low. 

Don’t lack courage and confidence in charging your client what you are actually worth. 

If you have the confidence, I can assure you that your client will likely be more willing to pay higher or even give you tips for your good services.

  • Accepting exposure as payment

If you are still starting out building your portfolio, it is a good idea to accept exposure as payment.

However, if you want to establish the value of your work so your clients would know that your services have a monetary value, as much as possible avoid accepting free services.

  • Complicated price list

Keep your prices simple.

If you have a new client, it will be a turn off if you will present them with a long list of prices for every service that you offer. 

So as not to overwhelm them, make sure to give them a detailed but organized list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if I am charging my sessions reasonably?

The most practical way to come up with reasonable pricing for your services is to create a formula where you can input all your expenses plus your desired compensation for your efforts and divide it into the number of sessions that you plan in a year.

Q: Is it okay to reveal my rates publicly?

Don’t be afraid to share your rates in public.

This will actually make your life easier because clients would be able to see right away if they want your pricing. If they contact you, it means that they are really interested in your package.

Q: How to know when it’s time to increase your photography pricing?

Like in other businesses, there are moments wherein you feel like increasing your charges. This mostly happens if you have added costs or if there demand increases.

Charging for Photography Sessions: Thoughts?

In a nutshell:

I know the challenges of pricing and judging your own work as a photographer.

Remember that when you have chosen photography as a profession and it is your bread and butter, your rate is the one that will sustain your work and life.

So, be wise in charging for your photo sessions and make sure that quoting each transaction is reasonable.


I’d like to hear from YOU:

  • What is your strategy in charging for your photography sessions?
  • Are you also considering the factors stated above in valuing your output?

If you have any suggestions, questions, and/or concerns, let me know in the comments!

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