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How much does food photography cost?

Updated: Feb 6

chef deb in the background on her computer with a pile of money in focus.

If you Google this question you are likely to find a bunch of random or generalized answers. Most of the answers will also be directed at photographers trying to find out what to charge for their services.

Visit the photography websites and you get a portfolio and the services typically include just about everything. I have always prided myself on being very niched down in offering brand and food photography. You won't see me taking weddings or family session on the side. I joined a foundational coaching program early in my photography career and have done my best to truly stay inline with path I set out on.

But as much as my website is a little different than the typical photographer and I have stayed dedicated to staying focused on food and branding, I still found myself doing certain things like everyone else.

Chefs, Restaurants, Caterers and Bakeries: Why other food photography studios don't post their cost.

Don't you love the answer, "well it depends". Yup I hate that too, but I get it, your estimate does depend on certain details to provide you with a proper food photography cost breakdown. But you need a solution to your marketing or rebrand problem now. You need to know at least where you stand based on your project budget to get the ball rolling and I get that too.

You waste a lot of time getting on calls because in today's Zoom-world we all want that face to face connection in hopes that you will see the value and become our client no matter the price. But at the end of the day we are all running businesses and we have budget parameters to stay within.

Whether you are a solopenuer or a culinary enterprise, food photography falls within your marketing budget. And you want the best value you can get, but sometimes the reality is you can't afford or you can't get approved to invest in the photographer you want.

After doing hundreds of those one-on-one calls myself, I knew there had to be a better way and I struggled for a long time on how to fix it. Don't get me wrong, my solution did not reinvent the wheel, in fact it is pretty simple. But because "everyone else wasn't doing it" made me feel apprehensive to open up my business model to everyone and anyone.

Why I decided to share all my pricing.

At the beginning of this year I tried to do some market research on how much food photographers are charging in my local Charlotte, NC market. My answer was the same as yours, "it depends". I wasn't trying to match or beat anyone's price, because I have my own cost of doing business that I have to honor, just like you do. I was genuinely interested in how others structure things and how food businesses like yours are evaluating the differences.

When I came to a dead end, I was frustrated, probably like you are. I honestly went through a phase of not trusting myself, because my gut had told me for a long time that I should do things one way, but I resisted it because it didn't fall in line with the 'norm'.

Then I read "Bad Ass Your Brand" by Pia Silva and my mind was blown. It lit a fire in me and things just started to click this year like they never have. So I said, "screw it" and changed my entire website, I created pages for each service I offered and put my prices out there for all to see.

Did I have to list "starting at" for some of them, yes. Because I do have to customize certain things to align with your particular project needs. But the "Brand-It" service I created is what I am most proud of and what I have been trying so hard to figure out how to offer for so long.

How posting my pricing shifted my thinking and my energy.

Our "Brand-It" service can serve just about every food or product business on some level. The best part is I was able to review my cost of doing business and figure out how to make it accessible to just about everyone too!

I have a new excitement for my initial calls. Because everyone already knows what they are getting into when we work together before we even speak. This also cut out lengthy proposals (thank you again, Pia!) because for the most part I can give you the bottom line estimated cost for your project on that first call.

I am doing things the opposite of everyone this year. Expect a call about the vision of your rebrand and/or marketing campaigns on our initial call, not a sales call. Expect to get a contract, not a complex proposal overwhelmed with my work and reasons you should hire us.

I feel like our transparency right off the bat allows you to trust that your experience will be equal to our discovery process and gives you the control to make an easy yet mindful decision about how to move forward on your next project.

Want to jump on a non-sales call? ;-)

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