“Firstly, why are you sharing this?!”

HOLD THE PHONE, why would a photography & videography agency be telling a potential customer how to save their money??

Don’t get it twisted, this isn’t some reverse psychology-trick, the real reason is actually pretty simple. We want to spend time drilling down on unique ideas, creating vision boards for market-leading media and putting the perfect touches on your dream campaign, we don’t want to spend that time debating unexpected costs and souring what could be an industry-dominating powerhouse team. So today we’ll be giving you some secret weapons to maximise your time and budget investment for your next production, brand photoshoot or marketing refresh.

Want to skip everything below and find out exactly how much a photoshoot for your brand should cost? Tap this link and we’ll give you the inside scoop in less than 24 hours. We get it, we don’t have time to read that much info right now either.

If you’re a small business owner, brand manager or marketing pro looking to save some budget, you’ve come to the right place! Here we’ll be sharing the 4 most important money-saving questions you NEED to be asking your photographer before your next content refresh, collection drop or product launch.

product photography of model holding skincare product from overheadImages from a recent collection launch production, see the full collection here, by lens + lumen

What Are The Costs of Photography for Brands?

​​Before we get into what you need to be asking your photographer point-blank to save yourself a boatload of unexpected, additional expenses, first we’ll look at the costs typically associated with professional photography. If this isn’t your first rodeo, you’ll already know some of these and feel free to jump to the 4 most important money-saving questions below!

Photographers Fee:

This is the amount the photographer will quote you for whatever work they’re facilitating as part of the project. Sometimes referred to as a project fee, service fee or simply rates, this amount covers the work to be conducted by the photographer or their business. Bonus point to save yourself some budget down the road: Not all photographers or agencies include the same services in their rates or project fees. While lens + lumen includes any time spent and expenses incurred searching for, vetting and negotiating the terms of venues, models and production team like hair and makeup artists, some may not, so this is actually the 5th money-saving question you should be asking your photographer!

Typically the fee covers the time the photographer or content producer will spend in pre-production, planning and preparing for the shoot, time on the shoot day itself and all those late nights backing up, post-processing and finally delivering all of the beautiful photo and video content created for your project.

Talent Fees:

If this is the beginning of your journey into hiring a photographer for marketing material or a brand photoshoot, maybe you’re launching your brand new jewellery range or beachwear line fit for Summer, and you’ve already created some moodboards with gorgeous models that fit your target audience perfectly, they will need to be compensated for your project separately!

Most professional talent or models will be managed by an agency who work to market the talents unique style and skills to photographers and businesses just like yours looking for their next lifestyle photoshoot. These agencies operate independently of most photographers, with their own unique licensing terms, rates and additional expenses. Even more bonus info: Some agencies will include travel, the option of basic hair and makeup prior to arrival and agency fees into the rates for talent, and others may not. Make sure you consult with your photographer for full transparency on any ‘+++’ fees for talent.

Production Team:

Most professional photoshoot teams will include a few extra key players to deliver those Pinterest-perfect shots you’ve already envisioned for your brand. These typically include a hair & makeup artist (or HMUA), a stylist and in larger shoots, a creative director, second shooters, assistants and even camera and lighting technicians!

While some or all of these extra players might not be necessary for a socials revamp or new Shopify product listings, it’s important to understand that if you’re looking for a high grade of production, with your brand blowing the competition away with professional, high-street ready photo and video content that nails every tiny detail, these roles are the puzzle pieces that will create it.

Venue Hire:

That perfect bohemian Bali villa you have in mind for your shoot will have a price tag too! From photoshoot houses and villas, studios fit for ecommerce masterpieces to offices, mansions and wherever else your brand synergises with perfectly, the venue your shoot takes place in will likely incur a hire fee.

On top of this, some venues may include all the clay pots and bespoke bed-topping throws you desire, or they may not. Which finally leads us too…

Styling & Props:

Perhaps the biggest expense-related wildcard, costs that arise from sourcing, purchasing and transporting props and other styling pieces can vary massively, but should always be considered. Perhaps you want to leave an impression with your brand new retro-chic sunglasses line with that tube television from the 70’s, or the most incredible pair of vintage loafers that send your customers straight to the roaring 20’s, 99% of the time your photographer won’t have those handy.

But we can tell you where they are, tucked away in an exquisite collection managed by a stylist or prop store ready for hire. These days anything is possible when it comes to props and styling, but it will come with its own additional expenses.

Images from a recent launch campaign, see the full collection here, by lens + lumen

4 Money-Saving Questions You HAVE To Ask Your Photographer Before Your Next Big Project In 2024!

Don’t let those additional expenses that you might not have expected to put you off bringing your brand into the minds of your customer base, after all its been proven time and time again that visual marketing media is the most effective format across the entire industry, so here are 4 Money-Saving Questions You Need to Ask Your Photographer!

Question 1:

“What is your pricing structure, and what does it include?”

We’ve heard all sorts of different expectations from clients about what a photographer should be charging. The facts are it varies, a wedding photographer might charge hourly while a corporate portrait photographer might charge per image. Hot Tip: Agreed packages and bundled rates will always end up more cost-effective for you as a client due to their predictability. It’s a no-brainer, all the risk is on the photographer, their washing machine falls apart or the car breaks down, it’s on them to get the project delivered. No hourly rate to fall back on for lost time, no ‘broken washing machine’ fee that can be tacked on.

Ask the question and get clear on how they charge and if there is potential for any additional expenses. Don’t get caught out by unexpected fees like:

Question 2:

“Can we discuss usage rights and licensing?”

If you’re serious about saving BIG from any one of these questions, this will be the winner. Usage rights and licensing may seem like the ace that every photographer, videographer, music producer or artist hides up their sleeves until you unknowingly walk into a scenario of unauthorised usage. While we include these details without the legal copyright jargon at every touchpoint that discusses pricing (We leave that at the door when we walk out of our lawyers office), it can be a very expensive oversight to not fully understand the photography usage rights and licensing for your shoot. So lets yank that ace right out of there and avoid the Facebook Group arguments, nasty back-and-forth Google Review fights, corporate lawsuits and huge legal fees, mental stress and financial pain with these direct, money-saving questions:

Question 3:

“Do you offer bulk or ongoing service discounts?”

Another huge opportunity for savings, but it requires a bit of thinking. Is your business looking to scale through fresh advertisements and evolving, not stagnant, marketing strategies? Will you be growing your range with new and exciting ways to solve problems for your customers? Is there a chance you’ll need gripping and scroll-stopping photo and video imagery to share your latest product with your not-quite-sold-yet, audience? Save yourself budget that can be spent better on product development or that shiny new warehouse you’re dreaming of, and most importantly time looking for a different photographer, by asking if they offer ongoing service discounts.

This is a two-fold win for a brand or business. Only one introduction call, only one contract format to read, only one time getting to know each others process and vision. Time saved equals more money in your pocket, win!

Question 4:

“How do you optimise efficiency and reduce costs?”

We can watch the deck-builder as he works in the backyard, we can’t watch the photographer as they sit in their office, and as an invested business owner with a family to support, feel like nothing is moving forward as the days pass with zero communication or updates.

Work together with your photography team to set clear expectations, delivery dates and any progress updates that are necessary to ensure you know where the process is at, and you can communicate that to suppliers, retailers and marketing teams. While it might seem like micro-management that shouldn’t be necessary, missed expectations and blowouts when the booked talent can’t make it due to an emergency and the only available backup is four times the price but isn’t communicated or resolved another way, are far more impactful on your brands bottom-line.

Give me more ways to save on my next photoshoot!

Photography, videography and other visual media isn’t just the most effective way to show your next customer exactly what your product is and why they should invest in it, it’s a conduit for expressing your own vision for your brand or business, and leaving your competitors behind in the marketing media world of 2023.

And while we’re staunch supporters of fair compensation for those in the creative industry, we run a business too, and we know how it feels when information is tough to find and time is lost in meetings, email chains and phone calls all just to understand why something costs a certain amount!

Prepared with this hit-list of cost cutting inquiries for your next photoshoot, get ready to save big on your next photoshoot! But if you’ve made it down here, we figure you’re probably at a stage where you’d like to know exactly how much a photoshoot would cost for your brand or business. For a complete idea touching on all the information above, get in touch below and we’ll let you know exactly how much a photoshoot should cost!

Or maybe you just want to know even more, head to our contact page to start a conversation, we’d love to chat about saving you even more on your next big project!

Looking for Inspiration?

Browse some of our recent shoots here, it’s never too late to add more to the moodboard!