How much do professional headshots cost?
First of all when comparing prices of headshot photographers in London, you need to know what to look for, as all photographers will have different packages, and the quality will vary as well from photographer to photographer.
I would recommend starting by looking for a few photographers who have a style you like, and then you can start comparing the packages they offer.
You will find three main headshot pricing models:
The headshot photographer has a few packages available of different durations, and the longer and more expensive packages come with more headshots included. All packages normally offer the option of purchasing extra photos.
The photographer charges a flat fee for the photoshoot, and the photos have to be purchased separately.
The photographer has a standard duration headshot session, the session itself is free (you will still likely have to pay a deposit to book the session), and you only pay for the photos you purchase.
Which headshot pricing model is best?
In order to determine which headshot pricing model is best for you, you need to know what to look for, and the three key elements to keep an eye on are quality, variety, and cost.
As an example with longer shoots you will get much more variety, and very often also better photos. That is because even though at times the first few photos you have taken turn out to be the best ones, most often that is not the case. You can have variety not just in terms of different backgrounds and outfits, but also lighting, posture, and facial expression. Putting all of this together can take some time.
Just like when you go to the gym you do not start at full steam, but you warm up first, and it is the same exact thing with a photoshoot. You are the only one in charge of your body, and facial expression, and even with some help and direction from the photographer, it can take a little warming up before getting into the full swing of the session.
During a shorter session you will not have enough time to try out different combinations of outfits, background etc., and most important of all you might not have enough time to warm up, which means that your posture and facial expression might end up not looking as on point as they could have looked after a longer session.
So going back to the three different professional headshot pricing models, with the first two all you have to do is look for sessions of a comparable length, and then look how much each session would cost with a comparable number of photos included.
As an example you might have headshot photographer A who charges £300 for a 3 hours session that comes with 3 retouched headshots included, and extra photos can be purchased at £20 per photo, whereas Headshot photographer B charges £200 for the session, but you have to purchase the photos separately, and each photo will cost you £50.
Headshot photographer A (headshot pricing model 1):
Headshot session price: £300
Shoot length: 3 hours
Professional headshots included with the session: 3 included
Extra headshots: £20 per each professional headshot
Headshot photographer B (headshot pricing model 2):
Headshot session price: £200
Shoot length: 3 hours
Professional headshots included with the session: none included
Cost per headshot: £50 per each professional headshot
So if you wanted to get 5 headshots, it would cost you £350 from headshot photographer A, and £450 from headshot photographer B, even though the starting price of headshot photographer B was lower.
That does not mean that one pricing model is better than the other, but I would recommend having a rough idea of how many photos you want, and then compare the prices based on what the full cost would be for two sessions of a similar duration.
Then when it comes to “Pricing model 3”, things are slightly different. That is mainly because if the photographer does not know how many headshots you will purchase, or whether you will purchase any, they will have to keep the session relatively short.
As I was explaining earlier, with a shorter session you will not get as much variety, and the process will have to be fairly streamlined, which means that there will be less room for creativity.
Independently of the pricing model, if the session was short, even though you could, technically speaking, buy as many photos as you like, there won’t be much to pick from as they will all look quite similar.
How much does a headshot photographer charge in London?
In London a good headshot photographer will charge between £200 to £600, and you will find plenty of good photographers within that price range.
You will of course find photographers who charge outside of that price range, but in London when you go below the £200 mark, it becomes more difficult to find good work.
Then of course if somebody is using Pricing Model 3 where they only charge for the photos you buy, it might look like they are below that price range, but once you add up the cost of buying the photos you will still be within that price range.
Selecting a good London headshot photographer at the right price for you
First of all, a headshot photographer who charges £600 is not necessarily better than a headshot photographer who charges £200.
If a photographer is popular and has a lot of demand, it makes sense for them to up their prices to the point at which they maximise their earnings, and having a lot of demand is very often down to good marketing practices more than the quality of your work.
For that reason when selecting a headshot photographer I would recommend starting by making a list of headshot photographers with a style you like, then compare their packages and keep on the list only the ones that are within your budget. Once you only have a few left on your list I would recommend comparing them two at time until you are down to your favourite. Alternatively, you could narrow it down to your favourite 5 or 10, and then create a ranking. The perk of that is that if your number one choice happens not to have any availability for a while, you can go directly to the next one on the list.
Also, you might have noticed that the first step was to look for a photographer with a style you like, as opposed to looking for a photographer within your budget.
That is because after you have made a list of photographers with a style you like, you might realise that they are all above your budget.
In that situation I would recommend waiting, and putting a bit more money aside until the time when you can afford the photographer you like.
It is a bit like buying a used car, if the only car you can afford has lots of problems, you might decide to buy it anyway, but it will not take you anywhere as it will likely break down halfway to your destination, and you will find yourself with less money and no car.
Said that there might be situations in which you need a headshot for work, and you need it quickly. In that case, if the photographers you like are all above your budget, you might have to go below what the average price for a good headshot photographer is in London, which means that it will become much more difficult to find someone good.
In this case it is more like looking for a house, if you are looking for a semi-detached in London you will see that they all start from a certain price threshold, and below that price you will find very few, many of which will have hidden problems.
I really hope this article will help you in selecting the right headshot photographer for you, and do not hesitate to get in touch with me should you have any questions.
About the author:
David Tramontan is a professional headshot photographer based in East London.
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