The number one question I get asked for inquiries is: how much does branding photography cost?

The answer is it depends on what you need. What do you need the photos for, how many do you need, what size of business are you? Obviously if Nike or Pepsi came to me and asked me to create images for their international campaign, the answer would be way different than for a local service-based business. The latter is primarily who I work with at this time in Spokane, Washington. 

Include Photography & Video in Your Marketing Budget

I thought I would give you guys some basic ideas about what to budget for for photography. If you’re going to need photos for your website, social media, if you’re going to be doing boards or anything else you’re planning for your marketing make sure you include photography in the budget. I find a lot of people come to me at the last minute, they say ‘We planned our marketing and our advertising but we didn’t budget for photography.’ It seems to be an afterthought, which is funny to me because most of the time, if you’re using photography in your advertising, it is 99% of the real estate. Then there’s just a little bit of copy in there. It should be a major part of what you’re budgeting for if you’re going to use photography in your marketing. 

So, why should you budget for photography and video? Well, it is usually important if you’re gonna do any marketing. Whether you’re doing content marketing or it’s all organic, you’re on social media posting about your life. We can help you determine what those images should be and batch create them. Which is awesome because then you don’t have to be scrambling to create content for the platform. 

Professional Photography is a MUST for Print Advertising

If you are going to do some print advertising, a great photo is going to make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your ads. Also just for general purposes as in communicating what you do on your website. Which, your images may live on your website for 5 years without needing to re-do them. So those are all important reasons to budget in advance for photography. 

When to Budget for Professional Photography

So, when should you budget for that? I know a lot of corporations are planning their budgets as far back as May for the following year. People will contact us saying ‘We need to update our photos and I have to split my budget.’ People will pay for the following year. Every company is different, right, some people plan for the following fiscal year in September, October, but it just depends on when you’re planning your budget for the following year. Or maybe I’ve had some people come to me toward the end of the year saying ‘We’ve got this much money leftover in our marketing budget and we’d like to use it for photography’. So that could be a determining factor – having money left over. You want to use it or you lose it  – that’s the case for some government programs. 

How Much to Budget for Branding Photography

So, how much to budget? That’s always the question. In order to get an accurate number you can get a quote from me at any time. Most other photographers are willing to give you an estimate, a quote or they have packages. But I find that some people who have never hired a professional photographer before may have some sticker shock. So I will give you some ballpark figures for starting at, if you’re going to hire WorkStory Photography. So my signature WorkStory package, which involves planning,  determining your ideal client, coming up with shot lists, determining location, whether you need models, if you need styling and so forth. It includes up to four hours of shooting. The number of images included in the package is based on what you need, and usually includes some retouching. That signature package costs three thousand dollars. That would be a good place to start in terms of budget if you’re launching a course, re-doing your website and you need 30 staff headshots, that kind of thing. That can go higher if you need lots of video or if there’s bigger production needs, or if you need an international or national usage license that is going to cost more. So for a local small business, service-based business, budget for at least three thousand dollars. 

When Should You Have Photos Re-done?

Then the other question is how often should you have your photos re-done? That depends a lot on what you’re doing. I have one client who launched an online course. She’s got it out there in the world, and it’s been two years that she’s using the same photos, she hasn’t had to update that. And then I have some clients where every month I come and shoot new content for them. They’re really doing content marketing, or launching new products all the time. So that’s a retainer, and by the way if that’s something you want to do, I can work out a volume discount for you. So that’s every month versus every two years. As I mentioned some people redo their websites, and if we do a really good job of planning, making sure their images will stay relevant, they may go for five years without having to update them. 

Keeping that in mind, be sure to put photography or videography right in your marketing budget, that way you won’t be scrambling at the last minute. Say your ad is due and you don’t have any photos, so you reach out at the last minute which usually doesn’t end up producing the best outcome for you. If you’re calling me to schedule photos for tomorrow. Usually I’m not able to book you the next day or plan appropriately. 

So those are my budgeting tips for you for photography, make sure you include it in your budget. I am open to booking you way out. If you think ‘Well, we’ve got this in our budget but we’re not ready to do it for six months.’ I’d rather get you on my calendar sooner so that you have it on your radar, save or budget for it properly. Then you make sure you get into my calendar.

So, if you’re more confused than ever about how much branding photography costs, my advice is to find a photographer who specializes in branding photography, make sure you love their work, then contact them and have a conversation about how much it costs for their services.

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