Portrait Photography Pricing: What You Should Know

Portrait Photography Pricing

Portrait photographers are one of the most highly paid and respected professions. They can make anywhere from $50,000 to $400,000 a year, depending on where they live and the size of the city. The range depends on many factors, including:

• How many clients they work with per month

• The type of subjects they shoot

• Their experience

• Their location

• The size of their studio

• Their portfolio

• Their connections (the photographer with a big network of contacts can attract a higher profile client)

• The type of camera and other equipment they use

• How much they charge

• How much work they get paid

• How much money they are willing to spend on promotion

• What kind of lifestyle they want to lead

• And how much they value their free time.

The more experienced a photographer is, the more they are likely to be paid. But whether they are working part-time or full-time, photographers have to work for at least eight hours a day, six days a week to cover their expenses. So their hourly rate is usually quite low, but they can also work on a commission basis, so there are no fixed rates.

Some tips on Setting Pricing for Portrait Photographers

It is hard to give an accurate figure. There are many variables that go into making money. Some of these include the size of the studio, the equipment available, the location of the studio, the number of hours worked per week, and how many models they have. The cost of studio space can be expensive, so most studios are small. As a result, if you are going to set up a portrait photography business, you are likely to be working long hours for low pay.

The good news is that this is one industry that is improving. Many photographers now offer free consultations, allowing you to find out exactly what you need to achieve your goals and what it would cost. This can make it easier to see if you can make a living from photography. However, this is not always the case. Some photographers will charge a lot of money upfront for their services. If you decide to work as a freelance photographer, you should think carefully before accepting clients. There are many unethical and unscrupulous businesses out there. Make sure you check a company’s credentials, ask for references and read testimonials before agreeing to work with them.

To make money from your photography you need to look at three main areas:

1. Location.

Is the area you choose suitable for your style of photography? If you choose to photograph children, for example, you need to ensure you are not in an area where the children will be worried about strange people. If you are photographing a wedding, you want somewhere where you can stand back and observe your subject. You need to be able to get close to the client if you want to capture the personality of your model. You may need to hire a car and drive around your chosen location. Make sure you get permission to take photos before you do so.

2. Equipment.

Will the equipment you need help you to create the best pictures? You may need a tripod, a camera, a flash, a background stand, a monitor, etc. If you are planning to shoot for a living, you need to think about the quality of the camera you use. Some high-end cameras will cost a lot more than others. A professional camera, with a wide zoom lens, will allow you to be more selective in choosing which images you take and you can spend more time focusing on your subjects.

3. Hours worked per week.

Does your chosen location suit your lifestyle? If you have a child, do you have time to spend with them? In the evenings? How much time do you have during the day? What about when you are on holiday? It is hard to be a full-time photographer and to make a living. Your photography business has to fit in with your family life.

Some pricing examples

Let’s take a look at each category: Portrait Photographer, Wedding Photographer, and Senior Photographer.


This type of photographer usually produces images that capture a beautiful moment of a subject. It could be a wedding couple, a child, or a family. A portrait can be a simple head shot, with only one person, or the whole family together. A photo album is often created and prints produced. The process is more like a photo shoot, and typically involves a minimum of 2 hours, but can be as much as 6 hours.


With a portrait session, you can expect to pay around $150 – $300 per hour for the shoot. Depending on the size of the family, you can expect to spend between $300-$400 on prints. Most clients will want 8x10s, but you can offer a smaller size if requested. If you offer a 12×12 print, you can expect to pay $150-$250.


This type of photographer will normally photograph a wedding ceremony and reception. They will travel to the venue, set up their equipment and do the shooting. They will also assist with decorating the room, providing props and/or assisting with the ceremony and party. Depending on the size of the wedding, this type of photographer will require anywhere from 3-6 hours, with the actual shooting lasting 2-4 hours.


For a wedding, a typical package will include the following:

• 2 hour shoot

• 2 hours of setup

• 2 hours of shooting

• 2 hours of post production

• 10-20 prints (depending on the size and quality)

• Album

• Online gallery

• CD of all images


This type of photography can last for several hours, depending on the number of shots required.


Seniors are the fastest growing market for portrait photography. It is estimated that by the year 2030, the senior market will reach $5.8 billion in sales annually. The market has been growing for several years, and the reasons for this are varied. Older people are looking for ways to express themselves, and enjoy photography.

Senior photographers are able to offer a unique style of photography, as the senior market is diverse and includes people of all ages. Senior photographers can offer the experience of working with a variety of subjects, and their approach is tailored to the subject. They often work as a team, with one photographer taking the photos, while another offers advice, helps create the layout and offers creative direction.

Senior photography typically requires 4-8 hours of shooting time, depending on the number of subjects. The typical package will include the following:

• 2 hour shoot

• 2 hours of setup

• 2 hours of shooting

• 2 hours of post production

• 10-20 prints (depending on the size and quality)

• Album

• Online gallery

• CD of all images

• Video recording of the shoot


Seniors are more cost conscious than other markets, so pricing varies considerably. Some senior photographers are able to provide a package at a lower cost, while others charge much higher prices.


In summary, it’s hard to say exactly how much photographers make. This is because many factors play into whether or not they can charge a high price, and how much they can expect to charge.

Some people can charge more than $1000 per hour, but that’s rare. It’s more common to find photographers charging between $100 and $200 per hour.

If you’re looking to become a photographer, I suggest you find out how much other photographers charge. You might find that it’s worth paying them to show you what they’ve done, and how they go about their business.