Well it depends….
The rates for photographers specializing in headshots varies wildly. From the $75 Craigslist photographer to the $3000 celebrity photographer and every price point in between.
A few of the ways photographers determine their pricing is by blocking out a specific amount of time, basing their pricing on the number of different looks or outfits, or giving a set number of finished retouched images.
We’re here to talk about the quality and experience you can expect at the most common price points.
Choosing a photographer based on rates alone can lead you to disappointment – just imagine if every meal you ate was decided by the price. This doesn’t mean that all inexpensive photographers will do a bad, or that a high priced photographer will always deliver the best results, but it is likely that the higher priced, more experienced photographer will offer consistent results.
Prices of a NYC Headshot
Below $100 you will likely be working with an amateur photographer at the beginning of their career. We all started somewhere, if your budget is really tight, this tier is for you.
The biggest downside here is the lack of experience.
•Will the photographer know how to properly light you to make you look your best?
•Will they know how to pose and direct you throughout the shoot?
•Do you have time to spare? If they are still learning they will likely work at a much slower pace.
•Do they have processes in place? At the beginning of ones career, people are often just guessing and going. Will your photos be returned not he same day? A week later? A month later?
In this price range you will be working with someone who has a little more confidence and refinement to their craft. Expect a photographer in this price range to give you all of the files, unretouched and send you on your way. In the industry these are known as “shoot and burn photographers” as they just shoot and burn the files to a disc for you. In the price range there is a real hustle to the work which often leads to burnout, so the next time you need work done you’ll be looking for a new photographer.
This price range is the sweet spot for headshots. You will likely be working with a photographer who has their own studio, plenty of clients they can use as a reference. If you are just looking for a no fuss, good headshot to update your LinkedIn profile or company bio, this is our specialty and we do hundreds of headshots for law firms every year. For this type of shoot, usually 30 minutes is budgeted for 1 look and one custom retouched image is included with he package for your uses. You will also be working with a photographer who is experienced in delivering what you need and can match a style you are going for. If you need a little extra you begin to roll into the next pricing range….
On the low end of this range, you are looking at a great 30-60 minute studio session with 2 distinct looks and 2 custom retouched images – maybe you want your company bio photo and LinkedIn profile photo to be completely different. On the higher end of this, you might have additional looks, maybe do part of the shoot out doors, or even have the photographer come to you and set up in your space for the most convenience. In NYC headshots in this range are usually the best value.
There are a few different reasons you might spend over $1500 on a shoot.
One of them is that you might be seeking out a celebrity photographer, they will likely deliver similar results to any decent studio, but have a name that people seek out.
The other reason is because you want an all out experience with a professional team taking care of you for a personal branding session- we often do this for CEO’s and other high ranking executives.
At this level you will have a team taking care of you, a professional photographer, their best assistant to help with lighting and keep an eye on all of the moving pieces throughout the shoot and a Hair and Makeup artist/groomer to make sure you and your outfit are looking their best.
The end result may be just 1 very high quality image, or a portfolio of images for many different uses. In addition to ending up with a portfolio of images, having a team on hand means that the shoot will move smoothly and efficiently because we all know that time is money!
Expect the photographer to deliver a gallery of proofs for you to pick and choose what you need, or if you need an image ASAP they will help you decide right then and there and rush process the final image to you.
The final reason for hitting this price point is timing. Personally if you want to book me at 2pm on a Saturday (or ANY time on a Saturday for that matter) my rates are much higher than 9-5 Monday-Friday.