In-house Product Photography Cost

Explore effective strategies for setting up an in-house product photography studio on a budget. Learn about essential costs, from equipment to photographer salaries, and discover the advantages of managing your photography in-house for eCommerce success. This guide offers insights on budgeting, equipment selection, and leveraging professional-grade photography to enhance your online presence.
In-house Product Photography Cost

How to bring your product photography in-house and set the in-house product photography pricing? First, you need to know the component of Product Photography Cost. The Cost of Budget Product Photography Studio is made of Photography Space Cost, Photo Studio Equipment Cost, and Photographer Salary. We prepare the Product Photography Cost Calculator for you which includes everything from the product photography studio setup, product photography lighting to average photographer salary or a professional photographer salary.

Online shopping has become a fashionable way for customers to make most of their purchases. The 2023 UPS statistical analysis report shows about 5% of an increase in online purchases in the last three years. The overall satisfaction with online shopping experiences is proving to be better than the physical store shopping experience.

It’s easy to see how customers get the joy of instant gratification now, and in a few simple clicks, your new purchase is on its way to you. This convenience has also driven an extreme rise in shopping online. More customers are now willing to buy things online, resulting in buying more goods than they have originally planned.

How do you make your products stand out on the flash sale sites among thousands of similar products? The answer is “great photos.”

A clear and honest product photo builds a bridge of trust between sellers and customers. It shows the properties and functions of the products. Without sale images, potential clients won’t know what they are buying. A photo for every item is essential, and the more photos you have, the more likely the product is to sell. A photo allows potential clients to connect with your designs and find a style that suits them. Using high-quality photos for your products will result in customer trust and recognition of your designs, which will keep your customers loyal to your product.

Now you may ask how I will get professional photos? In general, there are two options for commercial product photography – In-house photography or outsourcing product photography. When making a choice, there is much to consider. If you want to outsource photography services, you can look for a professional photography company on Google by searching relevant keywords, like good “

But that's not what we want to talk about today. This article will tell you the cost of in-house photography and help you make a choice.

Advantages of In-house Development

There are four advantages of in-house product photography team development, including:

  1. Totally control the whole process of product photography
  2. Save on shipping fees
  3. Better adopt a company’s culture and more effective communication
  4. Short Turnaround time
  1. Totally control the whole process of product photography - Compared to outsourcing photography services, in-house photography totally controls the studio time cost, photography studio lighting setup cost, shooting time, human resources, and photo quality.
  2. Save on shipping fees - We don’t need to spend an extra fee to ship our products to the outside vendors. Shipping is always costly, time-consuming, and risky.
  3. Better adopt a company’s culture and more effective communication - The coordinators between the photographers and the production department have a better understanding of the company’s culture. They communicate both ways, fully understanding what shooting results the production team wants to show by the photo and ensuring the photographer understands the photography and advertising strategy the production team is trying to achieve, and without the best lighting for product photography it is impossible.
  4. Short Turnaround time - Outside photography vendors are often busy with several projects at the same time, and you’ll have to wait for shooting and edits. Using an in-house photographer ensures your photos always come first.

Preparing for in-house photography is a big project. In this article, we are going to make a checklist showing all the things needed to develop great in-house product photography and tell you the cost of them.

What is a good size for an in-house photography studio?

Oftentimes, building a photography studio can be divided into two areas – the product preparation area including the photo studio furniture, and the photo shooting area. The product preparation area is mainly used for storing products. Also, before formally shooting products, the cleaning and styling work should be completed in the product preparation area.

Normally, the dimension of the product preparation area is half that of the photo shooting area. So how big does a photography studio need to be? What’s the budget for a studio? What do you need for a photography studio? These are difficult questions to answer which ties to location, cost, type of products, the area of focus, etc.

The followings are studio sizes for each type of product.

How much does it cost to rent photography studio space?

We'd recommend setting your rental fee in the $15 sf/yr range, depending on your floor size and studio location.

Long Island City, NY

  1. $28.00 (Studio Cost/ sf/yr)

Brooklyn, NY

  1. $24.00 (Studio Cost/ sf/yr)

Jersey City, NJ

  1. $21.00 (Studio Cost/ sf/yr)

Dallas, TX

  1. $15.20 (Studio Cost/ sf/yr)

Houston, TX

  1. $8.20 (Studio Cost/ sf/yr)

Chicago, IL

  1. $10.60 (Studio Cost/ sf/yr)

Atlanta, GA

  1. $7.00 (Studio Cost/ sf/yr)

Along the Route #10

  1. $12.00 (Studio Cost/ sf/yr)

What equipment do photographers use?

When shopping online or in a catalog, buyers rely heavily on the photograph of a product. They need to be able to trust a company to provide the exact same thing as they see advertised. Most of the time, returns are based solely on the fact that the real product differed too much from the image, and the customer felt, in a sense, betrayed.

The first step to improve your product images is to upgrade your equipment needed for product photography. There are some basic product photography gears you can use for your e-Commerce website:

  1. Product Photography Lighting Equipment
  2. Background Equipment
  3. Camera
  4. Product/ Props Cleaning Accessories
  5. Computer

There are several online product photography software such as Picmonkey and Canva that you can use to give quick retouches or edit some parts of your products. Having in-house product photography software boosts your creativity and outshines the final product image compared to online product photography software. Some of the best photography studio management software is Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and GIMP.

In-house Photography Equipment Cost

Imagine how many times you’ve used somebody else’s studio for your product photography. For example, photo studio rental in NJ costs around $20 for budget photography. High-end product photography can cost you up to $100 to $200 for a few hours depending upon the photography studio prices and equipment.

If you can make your photography studio in-house, you can save a lot on photo studio prices, and you can spend those savings on better photo studio equipment for quality product pictures. Below we will show you how much it will cost to build your own photography studio depending upon the 4-level of product photography requirements.

  1. Beginner Photography Studio Setup - $2,500-$3,000/ yr
  2. Professional Photography Studio Setup - $15,000-$20,000/ yr
  3. Product Photography Setup - $20,000-$25,000/ yr
  4. Tabletop Photography Setup - $300-$1,000/ yr

1. Beginner Photography Studio Setup

These are small photography studios that most likely don't have enough photography skills or have a budget to own professional photo studio equipment since they are starting out. The cost for in-house basic photography studio setup ranges from $2500-$3000, including photo studio equipment such as:

  1. DSLR Camera with Lens - $800-$1000
  2. Basic Product Lighting Setup $100- $200
  3. Backgrounds - $600-$700
  4. Computers and software - $600
  5. Miscellaneous - $200

2. Professional Photography Studio Setup

For best studio photography, high-end photoshoot equipment is a must. You must remember before setting up a new professional photography studio that adds high overhead cost, and if it is not managed properly, it can drag you into a loss. The cost of setting up a professional photography studio can range from $15,000-$20,000. Here is the professional photo studio equipment list:

  1. DSLR Cameras - $4000-$5000
  2. Product Photography Lighting System- $2000-$3000
  3. Screen & Back Drops - $500
  4. External Flashes - $1000
  5. Hardware & Fittings - $1000
  6. Computers and Software - $2000

3. Product Photography Setup

Product photography needs perfection in the skills and expertise of the product photographer. Apart from skills and expertise, it also requires a lot more equipment than the professional photoshoot studios. An in-house product photography setup equipment list includes:

  1. Studio Equipped with Cyclorama - $3000
  2. 8X10 Film Camera - $5000
  3. Tripod - $50-$100
  4. Phase One Camera - $500
  5. Polarizer – $50
  6. Spare Batteries for Outdoor Shoot - $200
  7. Product Shot Lighting - $2000
  8. Screen & Back Drops - $500
  9. External Flashes - $1000
  10. Hardware & Fittings - $1000
  11. Computers and Software - $2000

The product photography setup and photoshoot studio equipment can cost you around $20,000-$25,000. If your budget is low, we recommend you go for a small product photography studio. Different types of products demand other kinds of equipment and shoot needs.

4. Tabletop Photography Setup

A budget photography options option for those who can’t afford a professional setup and want to start in-house product photography in the comfort of their homes. You can create your budget photography in cheap with the help tabletop photography, and here is the list of equipment that you need:

  1. Table - $50
  2. Backgrounds (Whitepaper, Kraft paper, etc.) -$20-$30
  3. Styling Items -$30
  4. In-house Window Lighting – Free
  5. Tripod - $50-$100
  6. Tapes - $1
  7. Clips or Clamps $5

Small items or furniture require an in-house product photo studio, whereas fashion, cars, etc. can be done outdoors. There are also tons of photography studio setup ideas online for your mini photo studio setup.

What's the Salary of a Photographer? - Employee Cost

Labor cost is another significant part which should be included in the budget of the in-house photography. A complete photography team includes four positions – photographer, retoucher, photographer helper and stylist.

  1. Photographer is responsible for the photo shooting.
  2. Retoucher does the photo editing work, such as color correction, layout design, and reshaped figures to achieve maximum aesthetic effect while preserving believability with excellent photoshop skills.The
  3. Photographer helper is the person who is in charge of managing, adjusting, and cleaning the equipment.
  4. Stylists work closely with the Photographer. Their job is to find the props, styles, and colors to create the “story” for the products and bring the right feeling to the customers.

You need to include product photographer salary, retoucher salary, product photography helper salary, and stylist’s salary. It would be best if you also kept in mind that when it’s come to in-house product photography, there may come a time when you’ll get more projects. You may need to hire a freelance product photographer, so you must be aware of the product photographer rates, freelance photography rates per photo, and professional photoshoot prices.

The shows that for an ordinary company, the total annual labor cost of photography team is between $134,017 and $296,596, including the photographer salary. The average number of photo shoots per year is about 6,870, and thus the labor cost per photo is between $19.51 and $43.17.

Accordingly, the total cost of in-house product photography includes studio rental, equipment depreciation cost, and Labor cost.

  1. The dimension of the photography studio closely ties to the type of products. The rental rate heavily depends on the location.
  2. On average, the annual equipment depreciation cost is about $14,748.84, which equals 40 percent of the equipment fee (The average cost of photography equipment per year is about $36872.1).
  3. On average, the total annual labor cost of photography team is between $134,017 and $296,596.

Estimating costs accurately is critical because it gives us a better prevision of return on investment. Only we know whether we could earn profits from the project or not, can we make the right decision and take the next step. We should put more emphasis on cost estimates and then make the choice of in-house photography or outsourcing to the photography company. We are here providing you with the photography cost calculator, which will help you estimate your in-house photography budget and make the right decision.


We hope you have got all your answers related to in-house product photography costs and everything you need to have in place to open your product photography studio. From budget photography to the average photographer salary, we’ve covered it all.

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