The Wild Wild West
Price by definition is the amount of money expected, required, or given in payment for something. Price however does not equate to value or quality and is not what I compete on as I do not race to be at the bottom. There is bound to be a fellow photographer whose services are cheaper as well as other photographers who are more expensive than me. Before you decide who to hire as a food photographer or whether to base it solely on price, How to Hire a Food Photographer? gives a good overall view of the process and what to look out for.
Prices in Singapore range wildly from $50 or less per image which are offered by hobbyist photographers to $100 or more per image by professional photographers for small companies. It is also very common that photographers charge by the hour or by half day (4 hours) or full day (8 hours) rates. There are others who charge based on the scope of the project as well such as myself whose rates start from $2000. I also offer a retainer package for clients who have monthly or quarterly photography needs.
It is common for loading fees to be bundled into the per image/per hourly/ day rates for small companies. For mid size and large companies or brands, loading fees are separated out as a line item and advertising coverage is the usual basis on which to charge loading fees. The market rate for loading fees is 4 to 5 times per image or charged as a percentage of the shooting/photographer’s fee such as double or triple the photographer’s normal rates. Loading fees is also known as licensing fees and usage fees. The rates will depend on how much revenue the images will help the company bring in so an ad campaign hero shot will have much higher value than for example library shots. Loading fees are also much higher for above-the-line (ATL) works as it is likely to reach a larger audience. Usage fees are at its peak running in thousands of dollars if you decide to go for a perpetual license as characterised by unlimited period and unlimited media with the copyright retained by the photographer.
Being a food and product photographer means that the payment is for the photography service provided and the image licensing requirements of the client. The price of a photo shoot would depend on the factors as listed below.
Shot List: The number of images that you want. For example, 1 product/dish with 3 different layouts/angles would equate to 3 shots. The same shot in both square and portrait orientation would warrant as 2 shots. Typically the more images you wish to shoot, the higher the cost of the photo shoot.
Complexity of the Shots: A shot of the product/dish on its own with no props and styling is less complex than a group shot with 5 dishes, many props with complicated food styling needed to make the shot work. Typically group shots, action shots, lifestyle shots, hands in frame shots, levitating shots are more complex and more time consuming.
Food Stylist &/ Prop Stylist: For specific shoots, a food stylist &/ prop stylist may be required so that the shoot can be executed according to the brief. More crew members on a photo shoot means the price would go up. If recipe development is required, food stylists would charge per recipe. Daily food stylist rates is $1500/day.
Studio Rental: For clients who wish to utilise a kitchen studio, daily studio rental prices are an add-on expense to the project. Daily kitchen rental is $1500/day. My studio is open so reach out 👇 for bookings.
Creation of a Mood Board: Read Why a Killer Mood Board is a Necessary Evil to find out why my clients have been opting for this add on service that I provide. Alternatively I work off the creative briefs or reference images provided by clients.
Backdrops and Props Sourcing and Purchase: For clients who cannot find what they want in my existing collections and request that I source and purchase backdrops and props for their project. If you are not sure why props can make or break your image, The Importance of Props in Food and Product Photography can shed some light on this topic.
Licensing Requirements: In general exclusivity, longer duration, wider geographical location and more channels the images are used will cost more. Typically smaller companies are charged a lower licensing fee as their outreach or coverage is lower than that of a large company.
Channels: ATL or BTL Advertising Print, Web, Social Media or ? Have you been charging loading fees? gives a long list of examples of ATL and below-the-line (BTL) media.
Pre Production: Prop setups, location scouting and lighting test shoot, creative conceptualization, art direction would also fall under pre production fees.
Photographer: My professionalism, experience, style and vision as evidenced in my portfolio, my strong planning, art directing and lighting skills as reflected in clients’ testimonials and my cost of doing business would differ from a fellow photographer.
Sharing your budget means I can inform you of the licensing options that can meet that number. If the number falls short, I tell you as it is, as per my estimate which is itemized rather than a lump sum figure.