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In-house Product Photography Cost

How to set the product photography pricing? First, you need to know the component of Product Photography Cost. The Cost of Product Photography Studio is made of Photography Space Cost, Photography Studio Equipment Cost, and Employee Cost. We prepare the Product Photography Cost Calculator for you.

Online shopping has become a fashionable way for customers to make most of their purchases. The UPS 2018 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 buying 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 the google by searching relevant keywords, like “good product photography services company.” 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.


There are several benefits of in-house photography

  • Totally control the whole process of product photography. Compare to outsourcing photography services, in-house photography totally controls the photography cost, shooting time, human resources and photo quality.
  • 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.
  • 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, fulling understanding what shooting effects the production team want to show by the photo and ensuring the photographer understand the photography and advertising strategy the production team is trying to achieve.
  • 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 comes first.

Preparing for the 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 them.

Photography Space Cost


Many E-Commerce companies don’t have their own product photography studio. Having a studio should always be part of the in-house photography business plan. A wide space offers choices of shooting scenes in various sizes. It will highlight the functionality of your product in a unique way. Being able to display your product in unique ways will draw the attention of customers with the eye-catching photos. Besides, we need to have enough space to accommodate our professional photography equipment.

Oftentimes, a complete studio can be divided into two areas – product preparation area and 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? 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 and the average rental price in different locations.



Category Product Studio Size (Square foot)
Baby PET product 500-1000
Baby & Children 500-1000
Toys 300-750
Electronics High Tech & Novelty 300-750
Electronics & Accessories 300-750
Stationery 300-750
Fashion Apparel 750-2500
Beauty 300-750
Fashion Accessory 300-750
Jewelry & Watch 300-750
Shoes 750-1500
Luggage & Travel 500-1000
Food Food 500-1000
Home Rugs 1500-5000
Kitchen & Texture 500-1500
Furniture 1500-5000
Home Decor 250-1000
Tools Sports 750-1500
Tools & Home Improvement 750-2500
Equipment 750-2500
Auto Parts 750-1500


Resource from: LoopNet



Photography Studio Equipment Cost


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.

Camera and Lenses


When photographing in true color, consider how the light will affect the image. Light plays a big role in highlighting the colors of a product, as it gives the item a chance to shine. Darker items may need a brighter spotlight to make them pop on the background, or a vibrant colorful product could use a softer light to really demonstrate its vivacity.

Also, proper lighting goes beyond a spotlight on your item. Lights and shadows help you to show all the features of your product. A customer needs to see all the features of a product, something with intricate and detailed shadows from a well-lit product will make it pop off the page and catch the eye of every potential customer. Without these highlights and shadows from multiple light sources, your customers will see a two-dimensional, flat product

Lighting is crucial for our product photography, and the most important element in making a product look great.


The background provides various pre-build scenes for you without going to the real scenes. You can get creative shoots by using different kinds of backgrounds. If your company website is focusing on a brand of clean, uncluttered and modern feelings, a white background is a timeless classic. If you will eventually sell your product through a third-party site, it’s important to realize that Amazon is the largest user of white background product photographs. Scrolling through the items available on Amazon, it’s clear to see the value behind a white background.

Camera cleaning/ prop accessories

No matter what you are photographing, the clean camera is important. Knowing that your equipment is free of dust specks, fingerprints, and blurs will give you peace of mind.


Transferring photos from the camera to the computer promptly is another key step in the process of product photography. It’s easy for us to audit and retouch photos.

The average cost of photography equipment per year is about $36,872.1. You can get the specific equipment and its price on the following website.



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. The photographer is responsible for the photo shooting. 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. Photographer helper is the person who is in charge of managing, adjusting, and cleaning the equipment. 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 right feeling to the customers. 

The shows that for an ordinary company, the total annual labor cost of photography team is between $134,017 and $296,596. 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.

  • The dimension of the photography studio closely ties to the type of products. The rental rate heavily depends on the location.
  • 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).
  • 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.

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