I get that question a lot. Typically followed by "but this other guy only charges $99 for a headshot session, why are you charging $800". That might be their advertised price, but you'll be paying a lot more by the time you're done.
Let me show you.
let's compare headshot packages
My most common package is $800. Let's compare this with a typical advertised $99 headshot "special price".
1. My price includes HST
It's important to me that you know exactly the final amount of the session before we start. HST is part of that bill. My price before tax is $708.
2. No per image fee
Whether you're an actor, model, artist or a business leader - you need variety. Our social-media dominated society is easily bored and the same image gets tired very quickly. I deliver no less than 10 awesome lightly-retouched images per session. We select these images together and I start the retouching in front of you. The images are delivered next business day (sometimes the same day!).
Compare this to the $99 special. Well, $99 covers just the session fee, sorry. You need to pay an additional $79 for each image you select, with delivery next week. If you're looking for variety, matching the number of images will cost you an additional $790 + HST thank you very much. Need faster deliver, well that costs extra as well.
Quick math check. My price so far: $708 + HST. Theirs: $99 + $790 + 'fast deliver fee" + HST. They're already more expensive and we just started!
3. Multiple looks per session
Variety only works when you have different looks. No sense having 10 images wearing the same outfit. My session comes with an hour of shooting time minimum. We get as many looks in as we can. I shoot tethered to a large screen monitor so you see each image as it gets captured. We review as we shoot and once we get the shot, you go change.
Compare this to the $99 special. Well, sorry, $99 is only for one look. Each additional look has an additional $49 fee. Don't you just love hidden fees!
4. No licence restrictions
This is a big one I explore in an earlier post. In short, there are no licence restrictions limiting your use of any image I deliver. Commercial use, print media, rights to copy - all included. Yes, I continue to own the copyright, but you continue to own your face. Go to town.
That $99 special. Well, sorry, commercial use is not included. Oh, you want to use the image on your book cover, well that costs more. Want to use your image in Europe, well that's extra as well.
5. High-resolution images
We live in an HD digital world. I deliver high-resolution digital images in a private gallery for you to share and download at your convenience. No extra charge.
That $99 special, well sorry, it only includes low resolution 'optimized for web use' images. Oh, you need high-resolution versions suitable for print, well that costs extra. Plus HST.
Are you seeing a pattern yet?
6. Returning customer discount
Change is a part of growth - new look, new hairstyle, new vibe, maybe you started working out and lost some weight. Headshots have a shelf-life of about 3 years - after that, you need a new one. Returning customers get 50% off my posted rate. Once I point my camera at you, I want you back.
No need to consider that $99 special, I doubt they'll even be there in 3 years.
7. Quality of work
If price is your biggest constraint, go to Walmart. It's all good. But if quality is important, read my post here about how to critically review a headshot portfolio. Then compare my work with the $99 special.
Apples to apples
Me: I'm still at $800 including HST ($400 if you're a returning customer).
That other guy: $99 + $790 + 'fast deliver fee' + 'multiple look fee' + 'licence fee' + 'high resolution fee' + HST. Twice that if you want to come back. Assuming they deliver the same image quality and consistency.
Only need one image and one look?
Easy. $200 including HST. 45 min and you're out the door with a high-resolution image on your phone ready for immediate use. No licence restrictions. Same high quality.
No hidden fees. No flashy specials. Just great images.