Why Headshots are Expensive

A question that seems to come up frequently: why does a professional headshot cost so much? You should now have at least some idea as to why some photographers garner more pay than others, but here are a few additional things to consider regarding general headshot pricing.

Even at $200+ for a mini headshot session, you probably couldn't rent the gear that a skilled photographer would employ to shoot your headshot for the same amount of money. This isn't always the case, but I can tell you that my studio headshots involve north of $15,000 in equipment - even for that quick mini session that produced one image. This equipment (should I even be able to locate all of it for rent) would probably cost several hundred dollars to rent for a day. Equipment isn't everything - relatively good headshots can be taken with far less expensive equipment by a skilled photographer. However, creating exceptional results for my clients requires exceptional lighting, top quality modern camera equipment and a handful of other items, and that gear costs quite a bit of money.

Good headshot retouching and editing is expensive. Period. There aren't any shortcuts to hiring a skilled human to go into each image by hand and make adjustments. There is no such thing as a $5 quality headshot retouch, and those photographers offering 'unlimited' retouching, or including 20 - 30 'retouched' images are simply using cheap plugins and/or low quality retouching. There is a difference; I can show you if you'd like.

Last but most important - I've spent 100's of hours honing my headshot craft. Trust me when I say that I see just about every detail that appears in my viewfinder in a headshot - not everyone does, and I didn't always have those abilities either. When you step in front of my lens, you're paying for me to deploy all of that experience on your behalf. It might take me an hour or less to photograph your headshot, but it took many years to get to the place where I can provide that service to you in that time frame with a result that you can rely on.

John Glover