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Commercial Photography Pricing and rates

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Commercial Photography Prices and rates UK

Have you ever been leafing through a magazine and found yourself captivated by stunning images? It perhaps may have been images of food, or a tropical island, or perhaps even a mind boggling piece of architecture; regardless of what image it was that caught your eye, the skills of a commercial photographer were put to use to produce that image. In the UK, the average commercial photography price is £250 for a shoot but this depends entirely on your project needs (see more bleow).

Minimum You Should Pay £160
Maximum You Should Pay (project depending) £450
Average £250
Average Range £160-£450

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What is Commercial Photography?

Commercial photography covers a broad range of photography niches. By using high-quality images, commercial photography is used in relation to business, sales and making money. In general, most commercial photography is used for advertisements, merchandising, sales pitches, brochures, menus, leaflets and almost any medium used to sell a product or service. You may use commercial photography to sell an individual item and use the photography to highlight its main features, or to promote a business. Let’s take a look at some of those photography niches that fall under the umbrella of commercial photography. Commercial photography rates can depend on the type of photography you need. 

Fashion Photography

This kind of commercial photography is typically one of the most commonly thought of when someone mentions commercial photography. Fashion photography seeks to sell clothing and accessories by using a paid model wearing them; fashion photography can be done in a studio or outdoors, but the key is to ensure that every shot is unique to grab the attention of the audience. Fashion photographers will have a great creative eye and will be able to direct the model on how to pose to capture unique shots.

Product Photography

Product photography seeks to sell products with eye-catching imagery, whether shot outdoors to create a lifestyle shoot or indoors at a studio for a sleek backdrop. As many product shoots do take place in a studio, it is important that the studio has adequate lighting equipment to help create high-quality images. Find out more about product photography pricing and how much a product photoshoot can cost.

Food Photography

This type of photography generally includes work with a food stylist who helps make sure every dish looks amazing. Food photography can be used on menus or in magazines as an editorial restaurant shoot. An important note to remember when it comes to food photography is that you should not dress the plate up too much! You don’t want to oversell a dish and a customer ends up disappointed because the plate they received either doesn’t match the photo on the menu, or the editorial in a magazine that brought them to you.

Environmental Portraits

This kind of photography is to capture people in their work environment to help promote the business as a whole. For example, a masseuse may want this kind of photography done to emphasise the setting within a spa and how they work. As most of this photography is caught in action, your photographer will be required to travel to your business to get these shots. You could, of course, recreate them in a studio, but you will be missing your business as the backdrop and may appear staged.


Headshots, or portraits, are the most common kind of commercial photography. Headshots promote someone’s business or service, and while it may be a bit overwhelming to consider doing, is a great way to put a face to a business and give a more human touch, which does appeal to many audiences. Many people like to know who they are purchasing products or services from, so your headshots help give your company more meaning, making it more authentic and trustworthy. Headshot photography is usually done quite quickly and can actually be quite fun, especially with a skilled photographer who will help you relax and help guide you to create the best shots that will be in line with your brand. For example, if you are using headshots to promote a corporate company, you would want to include corporate shots, but people love to see the human side of people too, so perhaps more of a silly shot will ensure that your corporate company is still seen as relatable and personable.

Commercial Architectural Photography

By photographing spaces, both interior and exterior, for commercial purposes, commercial architectural photography is perfect for an architect who wishes to showcase their work or a retail shop that wants to give you a glimpse of your shopping experience. Of course, the only way to capture architectural photography is with a photographer coming to the premises, so depending on where you are located, there could be travel time (and cost) added to any fees. While some architectural shoots do not require people in them, shots of retail shops and similar businesses do benefit from having a few people thoughtfully positioned to help provide context to the photo and to make it more personal and giving the photo life.

Travel Photography

Travel photography is great for showcasing different cultures and locations; best of all, you do not necessarily need to travel with the photographer to get the shots. Travel photography can be used to help tell a story about a location in order to market it, with shots of the area, the people, the food and any other element the photographer feels brings life and meaning to the shoot.

How Does Commercial Photography Differ From Advertising Photography?

Of course, both commercial and advertising photography focus on capturing images that are used for promoting or advertising a brand or product, but commercial photography takes it a step further by showing the great value the brand or product has. With both commercial and advertising photography the goal is to sell the brand or product, but advertising photography makes that more clear, whereas commercial photography is more subtle, almost making the viewer feel they have made the decision themselves to purchase the product or seek out the services of the company being marketed. Advertising photographers also edit in a bit of a different way, as they will typically add brightly coloured wording to photos to help generate more attention; commercial photographers like to allow the image to speak for itself.


How Does Commercial Headshots Differ From Personal Headshots?

When shooting for commercial headshots, the photographer will usually request that you undertake a task that is fitting for what you do; for example, writing on a notepad or typing on a computer, without making contact with the camera. The photographer seeks to capture you in your element and will generally include a lot more negative space so that text such as the services you provide, etc can be included. Personal headshots are different, as they typically feature just you, posed and directly looking into the camera; these kinds of headshots tend to be less formal. In a nutshell, commercial headshots seek to display professionalism while keeping things simple, which can be quite a challenge to do; an experienced commercial headshot photographer should have a good range of examples for you to see. Another great way to compare the differences between commercial and personal headshot photography is to click on the ‘about us’ page on websites; from here you will be able to tell the difference between the two and will be able to decide which is more fitting for what you are wanting to achieve.

It may also be the case that headshots may be used as part of another type of photography, such as wedding photography. Find out more about wedding photography prices and how headshots can be a part of your wedding photoshoot.

Who Owns Rights to the Commercial Photos Taken on a Shoot?

This is entirely dependent on the contract you have with your photographer. In most cases the photographer will own the rights and you can use your photos as often as you like, while crediting your photographer each time. Some photographers will allow you to buy the rights of your photos if you want to be able to use them however you wish. Do remember that when your photographer owns rights they can also share the images as they wish, so if it is vital to you that only you are capable of sharing your images, you should always find a photographer that will allow you to buy rights to any photos taken during the shoot.

For photographers that own rights to your photos, they will provide you with a license which dictates how you can use them. A license will typically take into account where you can use the images, for how long and geographical territories. During the time that your photos are licensed for use, your photographer cannot share them with third parties, unless stated otherwise. Feel free to discuss with your photographer the terms of your license and if there is something you feel uncomfortable with, they may be able to add in a clause or make an amendment that is mutually satisfying.

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Factors that Influence the commercial photography prices


Commercial photography prices are of course higher if you need a photographer for a higher amount of time. The amount of time required for a commercial photography shoot will, first of all, depend on the type of photography required. A headshot shoot will require far less time than a food or fashion shoot. Other than headshot photography, it is a good idea to plan for at least half a day for a more simple shoot; however, if you have some quite complex ideas of what you are expecting, you may need a full day to achieve this.

For environmental, travel and architectural photography, and potentially some of the others, you will need to factor in travel time. Most photographers will include travel time up to a certain amount of time or miles and then charge an additional fee.

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Commercial photography rates are generally higher for specialised shoots or for someone with plenty of experience. For high-quality, advertisement worthy photos, you will require an experienced and skilled commercial photographer. An experienced photographer will understand the kind of equipment required to achieve certain styles and will have a creative eye to help capture the essence of your brand to help promote it. A commercial photographer that has been in the industry for some time is likely to have a great deal of their own equipment, so those costs would be factored into what you are paying; unlike someone who is new and may need to hire certain equipment, which is likely to be an additional fee.

It could even be the case that the commercial photographer uses drone technology to capture aerial photos. Find out more about drone photography prices.

To determine which commercial photographer is best for your needs, it is always ideal to check out their portfolios to get a sense of their style and how they have creatively approached other commercial shoots. Reading reviews and testimonials will give you an idea of how they communicate with you and how easy they will be to work with in getting your ideas conceptualised.


Your location can have an impact on commercial photography prices, especially if they are located in London. If you are able to find local photographers in your area, you can look at paying significantly less than you would in busier cities like London. Another consideration is whether you would go to them at their studio or if they would come to you. As we discussed previously, if you require them to visit your premises or meet at a specified location, which is inevitable for some kinds of commercial photography, there will be a higher cost incurred.

Commercial photography, whilst offering a range of niches, requires a great deal of skill to be able to capture the essence of a brand or product while using a range of special lighting, saturation and editing skills to present you with a professional, high-quality image. Commercial photographers know just how to combine enough detail without taking away from the main goal of promoting your product or service. These skills take time to master and high-quality commercial photography is an investment worth making, helping to add authenticity and enhancing your brand which allows you to really establish yourself as a premium service. They always say that the first impression is the best impression, so let your brand make a perfect first impression with high class commercial photography!

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