2.5+ Million Headshots Generated (And Counting)

How Much Do Headshots Cost?

How much you pay for headshots can vary significantly depending on various factors, such as the photographer’s experience level, your location, how many photos and different looks you need, and whether you use an AI service.

In this article, we’ll run through the different costs of headshots based on these factors, covering the most budget-friendly options, the most expensive, and everything in between. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of what you can get for your money.

Quick Overview of Headshot Pricing

To provide a quick summary of how much headshots cost, you can expect prices to range anywhere from $20 to over $3,000.

Now, obviously, that’s a huge difference between the cost of the cheapest services versus the most expensive ones. What’s driving that difference? Here’s how we’ve broken it down in this guide:

  • AI Services ($20–$100) – They leverage cutting-edge technology to enable them to offer exceptional value to customers.
  • Amateur Photographers ($30–-$200) – Their services are relatively low cost due to their lower experience levels and less advanced studios and equipment.
  • Professional Photographers ($200–$1,000) – Their services can range from reasonably priced to moderately expensive due to their exceptional skills and higher demand.
  • Big-Name Photographers ($1,000–$3,000+) – High-profile names and celebrities in the photography world can charge a heavy premium for the added prestige they bring.

Of course, what one considers pricey or not is relative. For some people, splashing out $3,000 to collaborate with a big-name photographer is worth every penny and exactly what they need to propel their career to the next level.

However, for others, the wiser decision might be to opt for a low- to medium-cost service since they won’t gain many additional benefits from choosing a flashy service.

A Detailed Look at Headshot Pricing

Below we look at each of the different price points in more detail, starting with the lowest-cost services and ending with the most expensive.

AI Headshots ($20–$100)

It’s undeniable that AI headshots are among the best value options out there, especially when you factor in the customization features and the number of ready-to-use photos you get for your money.

AI services can offer a lower price point because they don’t require a photographer’s time or studio space. Plus, these services are inherently scalable, meaning they can serve an almost infinite number of clients simultaneously.

The only cheaper alternative to AI services would be to ask a friend to kindly take your headshots for free or set up a tripod and attempt to take them yourself!

You can expect to pay between $20 and $100 for AI headshots from a reputable provider. For that cost, you’ll receive between 20 and 100 high-quality headshots, in a variety of outfits, backgrounds, and poses.

But the cost savings don’t end there. AI headshots can save you money in other ways too. Since you can access these services from home and the processing times are rapid, you don’t need to take time off work or travel long distances to get them done. You also don’t need to go shopping for new outfits to get that perfect look.

Beginner or Part-time Photographers ($30–$200)

When it comes to hiring a real-life photographer, working with an amateur or someone who does photography part-time is the cheapest option. At the lower end of the range, beginner photographers may even be able to compete with AI services on price.

However, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to match AI services in terms of turnaround times and the number of outfits, backgrounds, poses, and ready-to-use, high-quality photos you’ll receive.

Amateur photographers tend to charge between $30 and $200 per session, depending on their experience and the quality of their work. They’re willing to charge less than professional photographers because they have less demand and are looking to build their portfolios and experience.

For many amateurs, photography won’t be their main source of income or their full-time job, but rather just a hobby. You can often find them promoting their services on sites like Craigslist or their Facebook page, or they might simply be a friend of a friend.

Photographers at this price point are also likely not to be specialists in headshots, meaning the low cost you pay may be reflected in the quality of the photos you receive. Also, unlike a professional photographer, they likely lack the experience needed to tease out and capture your best look on camera.

While working with an amateur is fine, we’d recommend taking a good look at their portfolio beforehand and only proceed if you genuinely like their work. At the end of the day, you want your headshots to create the right first impression, not the wrong one.

Professional Photographers ($200–$1,000)

Professional photographers are well-established in their field, having built up a large client base and plenty of demand for their services. This allows them to charge anywhere from $200 up to $1,000 per headshot session.

Their skills are well-honed; they know how to expertly operate the camera and how to bring out the best in people to make the shoot a success. What’s great about professional photographers is that you’ll be able to find ones who specialize in headshots.

This means they’ve refined their headshot skills over many years and will have developed their own distinct style. For professionals, photography is usually their full-time job or business, and they’ll have top-quality equipment and studios.

Whether they price themselves in the upper or lower end of the range will depend on factors like demand, location, and experience. However, as long as you check their portfolio first and are sure their style matches what you’re looking for, most professional headshot photographers should deliver the results you’re after.

Another benefit of working with professional photographers is that they’re likely to get it right the first time around, whereas you may require reshoots when working with an amateur. However, when compared to AI headshots, hiring a professional photographer is considerably more expensive, which might put off anyone on a smaller budget.

Big-Name Photographers ($1,000–$3,000+)

You won’t necessarily get better quality headshots by working with a famous photographer than you would from a skilled professional. But that’s not what working with a big-name photographer is solely about.

Along with your professional headshots, you’ll also gain the bragging rights and prestige that come with working with a high-profile name. Your collaboration with them may even open up networking opportunities or lead to greater exposure for you or your brand.

If you’re an artist, model, actor, influencer, or other public figure, paying extra to work with a big-name photographer can be totally worth it since you can use the experience as a way to boost your online presence and public image.

Finally, high-profile photographers will also likely have luxury studios and equipment, as well as makeup artists and other fancy amenities, to give you the real VIP feel.

For the added pizzazz that famous photographers bring, they can charge anywhere from $1,000 to well over $3,000 for a headshot shoot—a hefty premium. However, unless there are tangible ways you can see yourself benefiting from this significant investment, you’re better off leaving the big-name photographers to the celebrities and high-profile clients.

Other Factors That Influence Price

In addition to the experience level or reputation of the photographer, or whether you use an AI service, some other factors influence the price of headshots.

Location

The prices outlined in this guide are just intended to give you a rough estimate of what headshots cost on average in the US today. However, if you’re not from the US, prices could vary significantly. For instance, the cost of photography in Europe is generally a bit cheaper than it is in the US, and many other parts of the world are likely cheaper too.

Even within the US prices can vary depending on which state you live in. If you live in a major city or affluent area, prices tend to be a bit more expensive. As an example, you can expect the average price of a headshot shoot in Nevada to be about half that of New York.

The cost of AI headshots, however, remains the same no matter where you are in the world. And many AI services will allow you to pay in your local currency.

Type of Photoshoot

Another key factor that can influence price is the type of headshots you require. Some people want their headshots taken outdoors, some want them in a corporate setting like an office, while others want them for acting. Here’s how the type of service you require can affect the price:

  • Studio headshots: You can expect photoshoots done in the photographer’s studio to be in line with the prices we’ve given above in this guide. If the photographer you work with doesn’t have a studio, you’d need to rent one at an additional cost.
  • Outdoor headshots: Outdoor shoots cost more than studio headshots because of the added time and expense that comes from the extra travel and organization required. Bad weather can also sometimes hamper an outdoor session, which needs to be factored into the price.
  • Actor headshots: Actors typically want to showcase multiple looks and expressions in their headshots to show off their versatility. This requires a greater level of expertise from the photographer, which means they tend to cost more than standard professional headshots.
  • Corporate headshots: A headshot session for corporate clients typically costs more per hour. However, these sessions are designed for teams, allowing you to photograph multiple staff members from the same company in one session. The photos will all have a similar style, with the same backdrop, lighting, and business attire.

Of course, if you use an AI headshot service, you won’t need to hire a photographer or studio space at all, hence why these services tend to be cheaper. AI enables you to replicate studio, outdoor, and corporate-style headshots from the comfort of your home or office.

Number of Styles or Looks

Some photographers charge per ‘look’ as well as by the hour. That means if you want to try out a load of different outfits and backgrounds, you might want to check first with the photographer that this isn’t going to cost you extra.

For photographers who use this pricing model, a ‘look’ is typically defined as one single lighting setup, background, and outfit. If you change any of these things, the photographer will consider this an additional ‘look’, which may cost you more.

Length of the Session

The prices outlined in this guide are for a typical one- to two-hour photoshoot. However, many studios offer 30-minute sessions, which can save you 20–30% off the cost if you believe you can achieve what you want in that time. Longer sessions are also available but will cost more based on the additional time needed at the standard rate.

Photo Editing

Some photographers charge extra for the editing required to create a finalized image. Others may include editing in the price but only for a select number of photos, so you’ll need to choose your favorites from the shoot that you want editing or pay extra if you want additional photos editing.

Retouching and editing are not required for AI-generated headshots, so every photo you receive is finalized and ready to use at no additional cost.

Additional Services

Many professional photography studios offer additional services such as hair stylists, makeup artists, and wardrobe consultations. While these services typically don’t come cheap, they can be beneficial in helping you achieve the exact look you’re after, ensuring you leave your headshot session feeling satisfied.

Commercial or Editorial Use

If you plan to use your headshots in advertisements or marketing campaigns, or in magazines and other prominent publications, the photographer will likely charge an additional fee for commercial and editorial usage rights. AI-generated headshots can be used in commercial and editorial contexts at no additional charge.

Final Tips for Successful Headshots 

As we’ve shown in this guide, the cost of headshots can vary widely, but so can the quality and the experience. It’s worth taking some time before deciding which service to use to consider your budget and the types of headshots you’re looking for. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much am I prepared to spend on headshots?
  • How many different poses and outfits do I need?
  • What will I use the headshots for? (Corporate, acting, website, social media, dating, etc.)
  • Does the photographer’s style match the style I’m looking for?
  • Do I need additional services like hair and make-up?
  • How quickly do I need the headshots?
  • Are AI headshots suitable for my needs?

Your headshots can make the difference between creating the right first impression and the wrong one, which could mean landing or not landing that job position, acting role, or other opportunity you want.

Therefore, it’s worth considering headshots not just as paying for photos, but as an investment in yourself that could help take you one step closer to your goals.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of Portrait Pal’s professional AI headshots but aren’t ready to make the investment just yet, consider trying out our free AI headshot generator to see for yourself the results that can be achieved.

We believe in privacy first.

Any images you upload or any images that our AI generates are not saved. They are deleted immediately. We do not and will never sell your data. We do not train our AI using your uploaded or generated images.