how agencies price product photoshoots

creative agency vs. commercial photo studio

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first, to better understand how agencies price product photoshoots, it is important to know the difference between a creative agency and a commercial photo studio.

what is a creative agency?

a creative agency is generally a solution for companies who struggle to come up with campaigns and marketing strategies on their own. essentially, if you are looking for help with coming up with an innovative approach to maximize your marketing initiatives through advertising, consulting, design, or digital services, then scouting out a creative agency would be your go-to. typically, agencies are structured in a way where they have a large team of creatives, strategists, and managers that work together to create project briefs and organize the projects that are on the go. 

how do agencies typically charge for product photoshoots?

because the topic of this blog is how agencies charge for product photoshoots, it is important to note that depending on the size of the creative agency, sometimes they will have their own ‘creative fulfillment team’ who would be in charge of capturing content for your brand. however, not all creative agencies have these kinds of teams built into their employment structure. most agencies will hire contractors to complete projects, which could end up being a costly endeavor! for example, some of the most successful agencies have contacts that they will hand-select per project depending on the asks of the client. if you haven’t had the chance to read our blog on ‘how much a product photographer costs’, take a gander to read up on how freelancers charge. when agencies contract these individual freelancers for a job, the agency must factor in the cost of the creative execution + margin of error as well as mark-up the cost of content to increase their margins. according to, the agency stept studios says:

“we calculate our pricing by billing our team members by day according to industry-standard rates. other cost considerations include equipment, location fees, talent, and licensing. every project has unique elements and challenges that must be assessed per project, so we avoid flat-rate pricing on any of our productions, to take these unique variables into account.

we use a production fee that marks up the total project cost to cover our overhead. this fee percentage is typically consistent across all projects unless the client requests a different approach.”

the main takeaway is that many agencies avoid flat-rate pricing, and there may be multiple additional overhead charges for a photoshoot through an agency. the variables that are included in using such services may affect the way you are being charged, ultimately resulting in a very costly photoshoot.

is a commercial photo studio more cost-effective?

so we have outlined what creative agencies offer and how they might price their services… how does that compare to a commercial photo studio like pronto? we are able to offer a more structured approach to the pricing landscape! there are absolutely no hidden costs, and we are completely transparent about how we charge our clients. with the buy only what you want model, we guarantee that you won't end up spending a fortune on your photoshoots! we have a team of experienced professionals that know how to make sure your product is looking its best, without the overhead fees. our team is comprised of only in-house employees which allows for greater quality control of your content, as well as a lower price point. plus, agencies often call us up anyways and hire us through our white-labeled services.

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