The 2024 Guide to Product Photography: Why You Still Need a Pro

The 2020s have firmly established the camera phone as an indispensable tool in our daily lives. With advanced AI technology and a plethora of filters, anyone can take a shot that looks polished. It’s easy to think that hiring a professional photographer for your product photos is unnecessary. However, marketing managers quickly learn that Instagram filters and DIY smartphone pics fall short of professional standards. To truly make your products shine, you need to hire a professional product photographer.

In 2024, the reasons to hire a professional product photographer are more compelling than ever. Product photography is a specialized skill that requires years of experience, technical expertise, and professional equipment. Settling for amateur photography can make your products look subpar. In contrast, a professional product photographer will:

  • Produce high-quality images that boost sales
  • Save you significant time
  • Enhance your brand image

How Much Does Professional Product Photography Cost in 2024?

Before diving into costs, it’s important to understand the two main types of product photography:

  • Catalog Product Photography: Simple product shots on plain backgrounds, typically used for e-commerce.
  • Environmental Product Photography: Staged scenes that showcase products in context, such as a wine bottle on a table with a glass and bottle opener.

The cost of professional photography varies widely based on factors like location, the photographer’s experience, and their specialization. An amateur might charge between $25 and $100 per hour, while a seasoned professional could demand $200 to $500 per hour. Top-tier photographers can even charge $5,000 to $10,000 per day. Here are the three primary pricing models for catalog product photography:

Product Photography Pricing Models


This model charges by the hour. While it might seem affordable, it can be unpredictable, making it hard to budget. The cost can escalate quickly with no cap, as it’s impossible to gauge the time required for preparation, shooting, and editing.


Here, the photographer charges a fixed rate per product, irrespective of the number of images or angles. This might seem like a great deal but can be a red flag. Experienced photographers tend to avoid this model due to the potential for excessive time investment without adequate compensation. If you encounter this pricing, ensure the photographer’s portfolio showcases high-quality images.


Many professionals prefer this model, charging for each image taken. If you need multiple angles of a single product, you’ll pay for each shot. However, photographers often offer tiered pricing, reducing the cost per image as the number of images increases. This model is fair for both parties and allows for precise budgeting. It’s the preferred method for many, including myself.

When using this model, consider the number of products, the angles needed for each, and any close-ups to get a clear idea of your total cost.

Environmental Product Photography

Pricing for environmental product photography is more complex due to the customization involved. These shoots require more setup than catalog shoots and are designed to tell a story or demonstrate the product’s use. Pricing can be per product or by day/half-day. Personally, I charge by the day/half-day to accommodate the extensive preparation and nuanced execution these shoots demand.

Additional Costs to Anticipate

To accurately budget for your project, consider potential additional charges:

  • Multiple products in one shot 
  • Use of Model/s
  • Use of props (e.g., a hand in the shot)
  • Product preparation (e.g., assembly, cleaning or label removal)
  • Advanced photo editing (e.g., changing colors or adding effects)


Investing in a professional product photographer ensures your products are showcased in the best possible light, enhancing your brand and driving sales. While the cost can vary, understanding the different pricing models and potential additional charges can help you budget effectively. In the end, the quality and professionalism a seasoned photographer brings to the table are well worth the investment.

Want to learn more? Reach out anytime!

Tags: Product Photography

<<Back to blog topics

Scroll to Top