The need for professional headshots continues to grow as more of our lives exist online, but getting them done is not only a hassle but can be quite expensive.
If you’re here, you’re probably wondering, “How much do professional headshots actually cost?”
As someone who’s billed for hundreds of headshot sessions – Let’s demystify this cost by breaking down each element of the cost, where you can save money, and where you should consider spending.
How Much Do Headshots Cost?
Professional headshot costs can vary widely, ranging from $200 for emerging headshot photographers to over $1,000 for seasoned experts.
Essential components for headshot photography include the photographer’s reputation, studio, and equipment fees, post-processing edits, location, and session duration.
Additionally, costs for hair, makeup, styling, and extra prints can influence the final price.
Headshot photographers charge depending upon various purposes such as corporate headshots, company website, acting headshots, studio headshots or business headshots because most headshot photographers have multiple headshot packages to simplify the process.
Also, you must be aware that a professional photographer may charge for retouched images for their additional services. Discuss about this in advance If you don’t want to get surprised by their hidden later.
At its core, getting a great headshot done isn’t just snapping a picture – it’s a detailed process, and understanding where your money goes is vital.
Headshots Cost based on Photographer’s Expertise and Reputation [$50 – $1,000]
Why do a photographer’s expertise and reputation influence the cost of headshots?
A photographer’s expertise and reputation often reflect their experience, skill level, and the quality of work they deliver.
As such, photographers who are more established and have a renowned reputation can typically charge higher fees.
Emerging Photographers: Those who are new to the industry might charge less, ranging from $50 to $150.
Seasoned Professionals: Renowned headshot photographer with a solid portfolio can ask for anywhere from $200 to over $1,000.
Why are Professional Headshots so Expensive?
Studio and Equipment
Renting a studio, and maintaining high-end cameras, headshot lighting, and backdrops all contribute to the cost. Naturally, a professional headshot photographer with a private studio will charge more.
Post-Processing and Editing
Editing can sometimes be as labor-intensive as the shoot itself. Color correction, retouching, and even background replacement can add to the cost, and this is usually done on multiple photos.
Location & Duration: Factors That Influence Price
Photo sessions can vary greatly. A quick, single outfit, indoor studio session will be significantly cheaper than a multi-hour, outdoor shoot with wardrobe changes.
On-location shoots: These can attract an additional fee due to the logistics and potential rental costs involved for the photographer.
Duration: Some professional headshot photographers offer mini sessions (15-30 minutes) at a lower rate, while extended sessions can span several hours.
If you are a business owner, we have shared some valuable tips to capture the perfect entrepreneur headshot.
Additional Costs to Consider
What are some often-overlooked expenses in obtaining professional headshots?
Apart from the photographer’s fee, several additional costs can arise, ranging from grooming services to acquiring digital files.
Being aware of these can help clients budget more accurately.
1. Hair and Makeup Services [$50 – $200]
While not mandatory, professional makeup and hair styling from a makeup artist can enhance your headshot, adding anywhere from $50 to $200 to your total.
Some studios may have their in-house makeup artists and may offer this service as an add-on.
2. Wardrobe and Styling [$50 – $150]
If you opt for a stylist to guide your outfit choices, this can be an added expense.
3. Extra Prints and Digital Files [$50]
While some packages might include a set number of edited shots, there could be charges for additional images.
Time and Season for Discounts
When’s the best time to get discounts on professional headshots?
Photographers often offer seasonal promotions or discounts during slower business periods.
Scheduling your headshot session during off-peak seasons or taking advantage of holiday promotions can lead to significant savings.
Off-Peak Season: Some photographers may experience slower business times during certain months, often in the winter. They might offer discounts to attract clients during these periods.
Holiday Promotions: Keep an eye out for special deals around major holidays. For instance, some photographers might have “New Year, New Headshot” promotions in January.
Always inquire about these, as they can provide pretty deep savings.
Negotiating the Price
Is it possible to negotiate the cost of professional headshots?
While photographers set their prices based on expertise and overheads, there’s often room for negotiation, especially if you’re flexible with time or can guarantee future business.
Flexibility with Time: If you’re not in a hurry, ask if there’s a cheaper slot available in the near future.
Bulk Bookings: If a group of colleagues or friends needs headshots, consider booking together. Photographers might offer group discounts.
To Sum It Up!
In general, a professional headshot session at a studio can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000 per session.
It may seem expensive, but there’s a lot of work that goes into not only learning the skills, but also the equipment needed to execute a fantastic headshot that can last you for over 10 years.
It’s definitely an investment, but one that’s well worth it.
About the author
With years of experience building artificial intelligence startups, coupled with a passion for photography, Julian has made it his mission to streamline the process of getting the perfect headshot.