If you’ve shopped around, you’ll find that photographer fees can vary greatly. Some are close to one another while others are half or double the price. Capitalism at its best? Well maybe a little.
The top reasons that determine the cost of the shoot, besides the expertise of the photographer, is time and image usage. How long it will take to set up? Is there travel or assistance needed? How will the images be used, in what from and for how long? Besides the fact that most photographers have a minimum charge, what determines price after that?

When shopping for a photographer you must compare apples to apples. Requesting pricing for a project from someone who is geared towards portraits will be vastly different and lack the kind of experience needed in an industrial or manufacturing setting. Not all photographers are created equal in this industry. A high-level portraitist and an industrial photographer usually never swap places. Personally, my weak points are weddings, families and children. The vision of an industrial photographer is not geared toward these kinds of subject matters. We would rather put in ear protection and safety glasses and get to work at a foundry.

Level of Creativity

Many of my assignments require me to make something out of nothing. A box of parts or a pile of dirt with a machine in the middle. The conceptualization of the final image carries a completely different set of visual problems to be solved as opposed to a wedding professional. While the portrait / wedding studio can make you look great by accentuating your best features and minimize your imperfections, an industrial photographer must conceive how the image will look in any environment imaginable without the controlled setting of a studio setting. Variables include weather, location, surrounding area, available light (or the lack thereof) and scope of work. How much real estate has to be included in the image?

Image Usage and Time

A photo shoot to populate a blog, real estate listing or newsletter will be much more affordable than one for a magazine cover or trade show booth. So, what’s the difference? A photo is a photo…or is it?
An image for a these formats has a limited shelf life and minimum to mid-level impact. The revenues derived can be modest (except MLS). However, the magazine cover or trade booth image has a huge impact on your brand. They are seen by more potential customers and in turn produces more revenue for the client. It also has to be a really great shot. Its use, along with shelf life and time to create, are very important factors in determining the cost of the project.

When it comes to choosing the right photographer for your project, make sure you balance the cost quoted along with the expertise being delivered. Cut corners and you’ll not only have wasted your budget dollars but your company image can take a dip. On top of that, you’ll most likely be disappointed in the results.
©2017 Wayne Dion / Dion & Company