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How much does a fashion photo-shoot cost?

An insight into a fashion photo-shoot by a leading UK fashion photographer. tips and tricks on how to get your fashion photo-shoot for less.

So you have carefully designed your garments and painstakingly had them made, you’ve finally built your website and your social media game is ready to explode….

All you need now is your images.

It’s at this point that my phone usually rings. At the other end is often a very excited budding fashion designer with an ambitious vision of a photo-shoot.

They cant wait to tell me about their vision, this generally involves world class super models on a beach in Ibiza, Or laying in some glamorous hotel somewhere in Mayfair. Or under a waterfall or in a Favela in Brazil..

This is when I have to break the bad news and bring them back to earth

The fact of the matter is fashion shoots are pretty expensive, and if you have dreamed big about having your own fashion brand then chances are you have dreamed big about how that brand is going to look

So how much can you expect to pay?

The first thing you need to decide is ‘do you want to shoot in a studio or on a location’? If you want to save money the cheapest option is a studio shoot. A full days shoot at our studio for example will cost you £800. This includes your photographer, all the lighting and at the end of the day you can take all the raw images with you. If you would like further editing we charge £5 per image for that, but it’s not essential

Additional costs are things like the colorama roll, this is the colour backdrop that forms the curve. If you want a plain colour backdrop they cost about £80, if you want something unusual like a city scape or ballroom for example these start at £150

The benefit of shooting in a studio is everything is set up to make it easy. You can get your garments steamed and ironed and hung on a rail and the lighting is set up and perfect. This will result in you get more better quality images

If that doesn’t excite you and you think a location shoot is more what you are after then the sky is literally the limit for what you can pay. You may be thinking “ah, but what if we shoot outside in a park? Or in the street?. I don’t have to hire a location then do I”?

Generally ‘no’ you don’t need permission to photograph in most parks. But, its not always a great place to shoot, the shots often feel quite stale and a bit like a freeman’s catalogue shoot circa 1997,  there’s nowhere to hang your garments or the model to change, plus you cant control the lighting and in this country you can never count on the weather. Another popular option is shooting in the streets or in tunnels (fashion designers really like tunnels – and graffiti)

This is fine but remember if it rains you still need to pay the photographer and the models!. Can you afford to take that risk?

Professional locations agencies rent locations out from £500 up to well.. the moon. One way of saving money is to source a location through platforms like airbandb or coolstays. You have to do a bit more leg work by contacting the property owners yourself to see if they would hire their property for a photo-shoot but you can save some serious money that way

The next cost is your models. We often have people wanting to use their friends as models. It’s obviously a great money saver but you have to bear in mind that they have never modeled before and your images to reflect that. Yes their instagram is ‘bangin’ and they do a ‘sick pout’. But have a flick through vogue or elle and try and find a model with 2 inches of fake tan and a trout pout. Trust me … you wont

A professional model is a really skilled job,  they have worked tirelessly on their poses and the angles and they’ll give a photographer constant opportunities to snap great images your friend who’s quite pretty sadly won’t have the capabilities

So how much does a model cost?

Well you can start at the bottom at platforms like “star now” and hire a semi professional model for £2-£300 a day. We have had numerous clients take this route. Some of the models have been great but some have really struggled and been pretty nervous. If your taking this option make sure you do plenty of research before you hire. Experience counts for a lot in this game. A model with no experience will unlikely do a good job for you

The next step up is to approach a professional Model-agency. This will give you a wide range of models to select from and obviously the models will all be professional. But this comes at a cost and with issues

For a Professional model with lots of experience for an e-commerce and digital shoot which means you can also use the images on social media and web you can expect to pay five £600 pounds today

But when hiring models from an agency you have to deal with things like buyout clauses and usage rights. This means you have to establish when, where and for how long you are going to use the images.

For example,  if you want to use the images on social media it will cost you less then if you want to use them in print. If you want to use the world wide it will be more than just UK. Its worth having a look at ‘above and below the line marketing’ too

With some agencies the usage rightists expire after one year so you have to pay to renew them

At flat frog we work with  they provide us with models for digital usage (which means web and social media) for a flat rate of £450 per day.  The usage rights are for perpetuity,  this means you can use the images where you want on social media and e-commerce for as long as you want

If you are hiring a model you need a make up artist. this is something we urge people spend money on, a Great make-up artist will make the difference between a good shoot and a great shoot. our make-up artist cost £250 per day and is worth every single penny he will help you style your model throughout the day and will be on hand make-up touchups as well. Check our Paul Herrington online.

More often that not when I lay all this out to a new start up, their hearts sink a little. It’s a lot to take in and I often feel like i’m throwing water over their flames.

A great option for those on a tight budget is either invisible mannequin or flat lay fashion.

Invisible mannequin is a specially designed clothing mannequin that allows the photographer to remove elements so the image looks a bit like its being worn by the invisible man.. or woman.

Flat lay is simple the garment laying flat on the floor and being photographed from above

This is a much more affordable option. Invisible mannequin packages at our studio start at just £12 per garment for fully edited front+ back + detail images and flat lays are even less

For more information about fashion shoots at Flat Frog studios call or email the studio today

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