How much should a product photography cost?

This article is aimed primarily at photographers and will be long.

Looking through Google's SERPs, I never cease to be amazed that someone is ready to shoot items by 5/10/30 UAH per photo... As a rule, below in small print you can read that the price is relevant for an order of 100 pieces or more, or that this is a photograph of simple matte objects without retouching (in reality, without any processing at all). This is all very well, but there is a big catch.

Why can't such low prices be relevant?

There are two significant reasons:

  1. the real nature of most orders
  2. the need for retouching subject photos

In reality, most clients apply for services of a photographer in the event that their subject does not lend itself to amateur photography. If something can be put on a randomly lit table and it looks more or less normal when photographed on a phone or an amateur DSLR, they will not order it from you. If it turns out so-so, but the person is already satisfied, he will not turn to you either. It already suits him. They will turn to you when you need really high quality and it is not easy to do it.

When are people willing to pay for photography services?

There are a few must-haves here. They are all very important:

a) need to sell something
b) it should look nice and presentable
at) I can't take a picture of it myself (although we tried it more than once)

I would like to add a paragraph "d" when referring to me for subject photography:

d) when someone has already paid 20 UAH for a photo and nothing happened

In most cases, you will have to work with small / too large, transparent, shiny objects, various films, glass, cellophane packaging, etc. That is, with things that cannot be removed by a flash on the forehead or from light from a window.

What is required to take a good photo of an item?

Necessary rent a photo studio (even for 1-2 frames, which surprises some clients). You can have your own photo studio or equipment for outdoor shooting, which also costs money (even for 1-2 frames). Then you need to set the light scheme for a particular item. In each case, the wishes are different: someone needs to show the texture, someone needs it on the contrary, so that the object is smooth and matte, someone wants an even beautiful glare, and someone wants to have no glare at all, etc. Setting up the light is individual and takes time. Then we start to play with the angles and take different shots so that we like everything.

All of the above is simplified for photography for catalogs, where the lighting scheme and perspective are set once at the beginning of the shooting. But even there, such a factor as preparation of subjects for shooting... It takes time to unpack, wipe, smooth - generally prepare. If there are a lot of them, for example, in a store warehouse, then it will take more time to find and bring them to you.

The second reason why normal subject photos cannot cost 30 UAH / piece

Photos of items without processing cannot be used for commercial purposes. Even the simplest items. Even if the subject does not glare, it is completely matte and easy to illuminate.Why is retouching necessary?

Especially retouch relevant for small items. The less the worse. The fact is that if we look at an object with magnification, we see it as if we are examining it under a magnifying glass and see all the flaws that are invisible to us in real life.

Try to take a high-quality photo of the TV remote control and open it to full screen, you will notice a lot of abrasions, irregularities, dirt and other unpleasant things. You might reasonably argue that the remote was already in use. Oddly enough, brand new items from the packaging are also not at all ideal when viewed under a magnifying glass, which happens as a result of professional photography.

For a decent result, after many hours of photographing, the photographer must spend many hours retouching the footage. As I wrote repeatedly in other articles, in especially difficult cases, retouching 10 subject photos can take 10 hours.

So how much should it cost to photograph objects?

The formula is simple. The cost of the work should correspond to the time that was spent on it. If you shoot reportage, hourly pay puts everything in its place very simply. At the same time, processing reportage photos takes several times less time than subject photos.

To make things easier, calculate how long it will take you filming and processing reportage and objects. Make a comparison. I think the cost of the hours spent in both cases should be paid at least equally. Although subject photography is much more difficult technically, it requires a lot of knowledge and a better command of Photoshop. Most wedding photographers or reporters are simply not capable of properly filming anything against a white background.

How long does it take to shoot 20 subject photos with high quality? That is, to expose the light, find the optimal angle, take test shots, repeat the procedure, etc. From experience I will say, on average 2-3 hours... How long does it take to process them properly? If something is of medium difficulty, it will be about 10 minutes on the photo (if your hand is full and you know how to quickly work with photoshop and lightroom). We get 200 minutes or 3 hours 20 minutes. Let's summarize. In total, we need approximately 5-6,5 hours of time for 20 photos... Compare this time with other filming and draw conclusions.

Cheap / inexpensive / for food, those who:

  1. can't do it
  2. knows how, but does not bother

As a result, the result will be such that they simply won't pay for it. Then they call me with the requirements for test shooting and wonder why it is so expensive.

photography of paintings in kiev

Professional photography of paintings in Kiev

The cost of the service starts from minimum order depending on the required size * (for printing or digitizing).

  • Base price: 2000 UAH / 10 photo

Extra charges:

  • 200 UAH / photo (photo for the Internet or print up to 30 * 40cm)
  • 500 UAH / photo (photo for large format printing)

On this site you can order professional photography of paintings and other art objects both for the Internet and for duplication, reproduction or printing in catalogs.

photography of paintings in kiev

Catalog with photos from Olegasphoto:

The shooting is carried out using professional photographic equipment, taking into account the need to save color accuracy and texture display the pictures taken.

plasticine paintings

For high color accuracy, a color calibration target.

colorchecker when taking pictures

Shooting is possible both in the studio (rent is paid separately) and on the customer's territory with the installation of the necessary lighting.

Rent of photo studios is not included in the price.

photography paintings items

* Specify the required output size: in pixels or DPI and centimeters. Shooting for catalogs usually involves printing up to A3 and 300 DPI. Shooting large pictures (A1 and more) for reproduction in full size requires more detail, the cost is calculated individually. 

comparison of the detail quality of a photo of a 100 megapixel picture

Why are good product photos expensive?

When ordering a photographer, you need to understand that not only the time required for the shooting itself is paid, but also the processing time of the material. Here I am focusing on timesince all photographers approach their work differently. Everyone devotes as much time to processing as they see fit. Accordingly, the results are different for everyone. This is especially true subject photography.

Volume matters retouching the original photo.

photography for the company TOV "Agrotehnosoyuz"

A close-up photograph of any object shows such a number of flaws that we do not see in natural conditions. When we pick up a bottle, board, usb cable (whatever), the subject may seem quite normal to us. But when a photographer takes a picture with professional equipment with high resolution, it is somewhat like if we were examining such an object under a magnifying glass or even a microscope. Moreover, the smaller the object, the more its flaws are seen with macro photography... Abrasions, scratches, uneven joints, etc. become immediately noticeable. In order for such a photo to be used for commercial purposes, it must be carefully processed. In this case, processing means practically drawing the object again. The difficulty lies in the fact that the processing is invisible. This means that you need to repeat the texture of the object where its elements are replaced, redraw the contours where they are uneven, and much more. It is not surprising that this kind of work takes a lot of time, requires perseverance and a good knowledge of graphics packages (usually Adobe Photoshop, but personally I prefer Corel Photopaint). On average, one photo takes 1-2 hours. Unfortunately, there is no such magic button "make it beautiful", so everything has to be worked out manually.

preliminary photo in the camera

A high-quality photography is based on nuance. When we look at the preliminary photograph in the camera, it may seem that everything is so good and beautiful there. It's a delusion. There is always something to work on.

how high-quality product photos are created

This becomes noticeable on the computer screen. Remove the stain there, align the color there, etc. It is from such details that a high-quality image is then formed, which can be used on the website of an online store, in advertising or in printed materials.

example of finished products with photo

Now let's go back to the content of the first paragraph. How much time are photographers willing to spend processing material? If the photographer is ordered according to the principle we have a limited budget and if only it is cheaper, then you need to understand that in this case, no one will carefully and for a long time process the photos. A good specialist values ​​his time and knows the value of his work. If the budget is too limited, it is better not to order a photographer at all, since the results of poor-quality work will not be shown to anyone.

If quality is still a priority, then you can order photography on this site. Read more at page about subject photography.