How much time do a professional photographer take photographing headshots?

Friends of mine who don’t work in the photography industry always say to me that it must be fun taking pictures all day but in truth when running a photography business the amount of time I take pictures is a very small part of being a professional photographer… I spend the majority of my time traveling to jobs, getting my kit ready (charging my camera batteries & getting all the correct equipment together), emailing, sending invoices and also chasing invoices. Then when I get to the shoot location it takes up to 30 minutes to get the portable studio setup and then finally it time to take the portrait which tends to take no more than 15 minutes! After that its packing the gear away, traveling back to the office, backing up the raws and editing the pictures…. Then finally sending the pictures over to the client. So here is the breakdown of the time spent of a average  corporate headshot assignment:

  • Emailing, 10-15 emails are sent between the client and myself (45 minutes roughly)
  • Getting equipment ready (15 to 20 minutes)
  • Travelling to the job location and back to the office (2 hours if the the shoot in London)
  • Taking the pictures (up to 15 to 25 minutes depending how many pictures need their portrait taken).
  • Back at the office backing up the raw files to my external hard drives and Dropbox (always good having on site and off site backup)
  • Editing (5-10 minutes per picture)
  • Exporting the edited raws to High Resolution Jpegs (15 minutes)
  • Sending final images to client (10 minutes)
  • Then finally invoicing (5 minutes)

And then onto the next job! I aim to shoot between 4 to 6 corporate headshot commissions per week.