Product Photography · Cosmetics - Pricing


TPF Noob!
Apr 29, 2009
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Hello there,

I'm not going to lie. I am very nervous at the prospect of doing product photography. However, someone approached me after seeing the results of a wedding I recently shot. This individual is developing her own cosmetics line and needs a photographer to shoot the product for the catalog she is making, and to distribute (digitally) to other retailers who will carry the product.

First things first. I have no idea how to price this. I do not want to charge hourly since this is my first time, and I will take however long it takes to get the shots just right. But what is a reasonable price for this type of work? If it helps, I will be shooting 86 individual pieces of product. I'm thinking 4 main exterior product images and the rest will be for color / texture. The images will be provided in digital format to the client afterwards.

Any thoughts? I'm in way over my head here. In fact, wedding photography is easy in comparison (well, at least pricing wise). Thanks everyone for any insight you have, or maybe where I can look to get my questions answered.

I would do this on a straight hourly rate. This is going to be a big project that will potentially run into many hours and the best way to be fair to both yourself and the client is to charge for that time.
The cosmetics maker will be making sales based on your images. As a consequence they have a substantial value to the client beyond your time, and your talent, to initially make them.

I would also charge for use licensing.
Okay, thanks for the advice. Maybe the best thing I can do then is price the local competition to see how much they charge for this type of work? Oh, and one more thing- you know how with cosmetics, you will typically have your main product photo and then additional small photo tiles to represent the assorted colors? If I were to charge per product, would I charge a different amount for the two types?
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