What Does Event Photography Cost?

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Event photography pricing
Event photography
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What if your event or conference not only generated revenue via ticket sales or merchandise but also provided you with key photo and video assets for future marketing and promotion? You can get double the value from your next event with one simple budget line: professional photography. Whether you’re hosting a corporate gathering, a product launch, a trade show, or a seminar, hiring an event photographer or videographer will help you make the most of your event. At Creative Spark, we know that one of the key considerations for any event planner is the budget, so we believe that understanding the cost of hiring a professional event photographer will help you decide how to allocate your funds. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the world of event photography, breaking down the secrets to industry pricing and providing valuable insights on how to budget for your next event.


The Value of Event Photography

Before delving into the costs, it’s important to recognize the value that a professional event photographer brings to the table. Event photography isn’t just about taking pictures; it’s about storytelling. Skilled event photographers have the ability to capture the atmosphere, emotions, and key moments that define your event. These photographs serve various purposes, including:

  • Marketing and Promotion: High-quality event photos can be used for marketing materials, social media, and websites, helping to promote future events and showcase your organization’s professionalism.


  • Documentation: Event photos serve as a historical record of your event, preserving memories and providing a reference for future planning and improvement.


  • Engagement: Event photos engage attendees and speakers, allowing them to relive the experience and share their participation with others.


  • Networking: Event photos often feature attendees interacting and networking, which can be valuable for building relationships and partnerships.


An Event Photography Pricing Breakdown

    • Location: Event photographers’ rates can vary significantly based on location. Major metropolitan areas tend to have a greater range of pricing, due to greater availability of services, while rural locales may make it more difficult to find services, resulting in higher prices. However, costs have certainly risen everywhere over the past two years with cost of living increases and inflation forcing photographers to raise prices. 
    • Event Type and Size: The type of event and the number of attendees play a significant role in determining pricing. Larger events often require multiple photographers and additional equipment, increasing the cost. At Creative Spark, we have covered events and conferences with more than 7500 attendees, requiring multiple professionals to capture keynote events, break-out sessions, excursions, trade show-type events, registration, and more. It’s important to consider what type of photos or footage you’re looking for in order to have a realistic picture of how many professionals you’ll need to effectively cover your event.


    • Duration: The length of your event will affect pricing. Event photographers typically charge by the hour or offer full-day rates. More than four hours of coverage is typically charged as a full-day rate. However, Creative Spark negotiates exclusive rates with our roster of photographers, allowing us to provide clients with a discounted hourly rate, passing along significant savings.


    • Complex Requests: Some events may require specialized arrangements. For example, an event that requires a photographer from 9am-noon and again from 5pm-9pm could cost significantly more than a typical full-day rate as the photographer is functionally booked for twelve hours. Another request that could increase client costs would be a photographer joining an excursion based on both the hours spent and the challenges of shooting in a remote location. It’s important to consider food and/or housing costs in this kind of scenario.


    • Post-Production Work/Additional services: Editing and retouching are integral parts of excellent, professional-quality photos and videos that take hours of work after the event. At Creative Spark, we always include the cost of standard edits, including color correction and minor touchups. However, if a client makes a special request like RAW images or all original files, this can increase the cost, as we would provide an external hard drive (since these images are massive, making it unrealistic to send this data digitally). We also provide services like real-time editing for social posts or highlight images at the end of each day.


    • Rights and Usage: 
      The team at Creative Spark takes the complexity (and additional costs!) out of rights and usage. While you may get a variety of answers when working with individual photographers (like limited-time licensing, or limited formats–only digital, but not for print images), we make licensing easy with a blanket license to use edited photos in any format without an expiration date. However, our photographers do retain the right to use photos for self-promotion. If you have questions about photo licensing, check out our comprehensive guide on content licensing. 
    • Travel Expenses: It’s important to consider travel expenses when hiring someone outside of the local area for your event. Creative Spark gives you an advantage by partnering with local photographers all over the globe. We understand that events are expensive and we do our best to reduce or eliminate the need to pay for things like travel and housing. However, if a photographer has to travel more than two hours to your destination, we will automatically include travel expenses in the quote so you have a full picture of what you can expect to pay when working with us.


    • Experience and Reputation: Established photographers with a strong portfolio and reputation will charge higher rates than newcomers to the industry, but you get years of experience and problem-solving, along with a better understanding of how to produce high-quality marketing imagery and assets. Not only do they have the advantage of knowing what to expect and understanding the dynamics of various types of events, but this knowledge and experience is what produces that perfect photo of the keynote speaker or a conference participant at registration–the photo that’s truly worth a thousand words. At Creative Spark, we have a rigorous selection process, guaranteeing that all of our affiliates provide top-tier service and results for every client.


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Average Event Photography Costs in the United States

While event photography costs can vary widely, it’s helpful to have a ballpark figure in mind when budgeting for your event. On average, event photographers in the United States charge:

  • Hourly Rates: Typically range from $250 to $550 per hour. 
  • Full-Day Rates: Can vary from $1,800 to $3,500 or more. 
  • Specialized Equipment: Expect additional charges for specialized equipment or services, such as aerial photography or videography. 
  • Travel Expenses: If you plan to fly in a professional, remember to budget for travel expenses, which can add several hundred to a few thousand dollars to the total cost. 
  • Rights and Usage: Prices for full usage rights can range from $500 to $2,000 or more, depending on the photographer and the scope of usage. We provide licensing at no additional cost helping clients stay within budget. 
  • Post-Production: Editing and retouching costs are usually included in the photographer’s fee but may be charged separately if you require extensive editing. 


Setting a Budget for Photography

Now that you have a better understanding of event photography pricing, let’s discuss how to budget for your next event while ensuring you get the best value for your investment:

  • Define Your Needs: Determine the scope of photography required for your event. Consider the event type, duration, and any specific shots you want to capture. Will you need more than one photographer because you have breakout sessions that run simultaneously that are important to you to capture? Remember that you can’t have someone in two places at one time as you think about the moments that will be most valuable to you for marketing, promotions, and engagement.


  • Request Quotes: You may choose to contact several event photographers to get quotes based on your needs. Ask about their experience, portfolio, add-on services, and extra charges for things like usage rights. Not sure where to start looking or who you can trust? Let us take it from here. With our extensive network of professional photographers, we always have a photographer ready in your city.


  • Review Portfolios: Examine the portfolios of any potential photographers to assess their style and quality of work. Choose a photographer whose style aligns with your event’s objectives and your brand identity. Are you a social work conference coordinator? You may personally prefer a dark and moody portrait style, but that may not be a good fit for your professional objectives.


  • Plan Ahead: Book your photographer well in advance to secure their availability and avoid the costs of last-minute bookings. Photographers may choose to upcharge for last-minute bookings. Because of the relationships, we have built with our creatives, we never charge for last-minute bookings helping save you money.


  • Factor in Travel Costs: If the event is out of town, include the photographer’s travel expenses in your budget. Ensure you both have a clear understanding of what’s covered. It’s common courteously to provide meals for events that last a full day.


  • Plan for Contingencies: Allocate a contingency budget for unforeseen expenses or additional photography needs that may arise during the event. Do you want to add video production? We can take care of that for you.


If this checklist sounds daunting, we are here to help! We take all of these factors into account when providing a quote and with a large roster of professional photographers, we also have the advantage of providing our clients with exclusive rates. We offer simplified usage rights, partner with local photographers to reduce travel costs, and always work directly with you to clarify your specific needs and vision when building a budget.

Get a Quick, Free Quote from Creative Spark

Event photography is an investment in the success and longevity of your professional events and conferences. We hope that having a better understanding of the factors that influence pricing will help you get the most value from your chosen photographer. If you’d like to get a quick, free quote from the professionals at Creative Spark Productions, just fill out this form and we’ll get back to you in 24 hours so you can decide if we are the right fit for your event and budget.

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