Social Media Photography

Shooting for social media and what to charge for it

It’s been thrown in to the usage for a while but I was thinking about it more recently and then started looking into what people charge for social media photo use at this point. Are people charging based on reach, engagement, time? The numbers are so easy to access for social media I was wondering if a post that will receive an average of 500K views will be priced similarly as an ad in a print magazine with a circulation of 500K or half that, or a quarter? Which is it?

I dug in a little and found this article on It’s from 2014!!! In social media terms thats ancient! Instagram had 300 million users then (It now has over 1 billion)! I was surprised, though. The rate was much higher than I would have thought. Also, take note of the graph: YouTube is huge!!! And it still is! Don’t forget about YouTube!

There was also THIS article, from 2014 as well, but still worth the read. The main thing I got out of it is that rates were rather all over the place at that point which makes sense. But what about now?

I found THIS article on PDN (from 2018). It has a lot of info in it and I suggest you check it out. One thing that I hadn’t considered as much, but this article talks about it, is this idea: Once a photographer posts an image endorsing a brand, competitive brands may not be interested to work with this photographer for an unknown time. Thus taking the photographer out of that marketplace which requires a higher rate to make it worth it!

Keating warns, “Understand that when you’re attaching your name to a brand that there’s a reasonable expectation that a competitor will no longer be interested in hiring you. It’s probably not forever but it’s a period of time, maybe a year, maybe less, it depends on the client.” While clients might ask for some exclusivity, she has to explain, she says, “This is why you need to pay more for this. They [the photographers] will be out of the marketplace for a while.” This applies equally whether the sponsor is paying the photographer a fee or bartering free gear.

I then looked at a couple photographers that came up in google searches for social media pricing. They were all local portrait/wedding photographers across the US who offered social media packages. Not really what I was looking for but still interesting to see. The average prize for around 20 photos was $1500. I don’t know what goes into those shoots but I would think they have small production if any. If you are a local photographer and do 3-4 of those a week you are doing pretty good!

It seems photographers have started treating social media for what it is: Advertising. There is still a lot of education that needs to happen out there but I was relieved by what I found. One thing that the graphs really drove home is the size of Facebook and especially YouTube. I knew the stats but seeing it in this graph really made me realize the power there.

I’d love to get some input on this from anyone who has it. Leave a comment!