How much does a commercial photographer charge in Dubai?

The rates vary from photographer to photographer and from brief to brief. Here is a little insight as to what to expect from a seasoned professional photographer in Dubai.

The prices obviously differ from photographer to photographer. They are based mainly on the photographers experience, his portfolio and off course your brief.

The number of images that are taken in a day also vary as to what the subject is and how many “looks” or “changes: there are.

For example on a typical editorial shoot for a magazine, usually there will be about 8 different looks. So you must factor in the time it takes for the model(s) to change and the hair and make-up to be also changed if necessary.

Some shoots will take longer to shoot because of their technicalities. For example, if the set/environment needs to be changed or if the shoot is a specialist shoot like beauty or jewelry.

Beauty looks can take a lot more time for the make-up stylist to design – this is their “art” and there is no time limit to art!!! Jewelry needs more time since it is very important to get the lighting, positioning and focus accurately.

Shooting editorial vs commercial

Editorial stories

Shooting for editorial meaning usually for magazines (Vogue, Harpers Bazar) but also can be for online (instagram / online magazines / influencers) the rate is usually significantly less then for a commercial shoot. The reasons that i see are:

  1. The products being shot is not paid for directly by a brand but by the magazine. So usually editorials are a mix of different brands styled by the fashion director or stylist.
  2. Magazines (in Dubai) generally have fixed and horribly low budgets.
  3. It is however interesting to the photographer,  may be interested to shoot for magazines to improve his profile and portfolio
  4. The photographer will be given more creative input rather than being restricted to shoot guidelines provided by the advertising agency or client.
  5. License

Sometimes, magazine editorials are sponsored by a brand. This would then turn into an advertorial. It’s basically an advert in the form of an editorial story. Photographers should be entitled to charge more for an advertorial, since it is a commercial shoot. Although magazine publishers often want to pay the same, which is unfair. Publishers often have staff photographers but when it becomes an advertorial, the publishers need to guarantee the quality of the shoot. So often they commission a photographer with more notoriety and a portfolio that the client likes.

Rates for an editorial can vary between 3,000 AED and 8,000 AED per day and that would include 8-12 images.

It’s also important to emphasize the licensing on images used for editorial shoots. Since the budget is very low, the magazine will, courtesously, have the right to publish the images first…. however after the story has run its course, usually a month, then the full rights of all the images are returned to the photographer to do as he pleases. Whether that is to resell them to another magazine, enter competitions or simply put in his portfolio.

Commercial campaigns

When the images are being photographed for a brand and will be used in an advertisement whether on a bill board, shop displays, online or as part of the brand identity.

Again rates vary from one photographer to another. Rates are calculated based on time it takes to shoot, edit and also any additional production costs.

Here would be an example of how much a photographer will charge for a commercial campaign shoot.

Photographers fee – 7,000 AED / day – which includes a full day shoot, not necessarily including digital technicians, assistants, lighting, studio, equipment and post production.

Equipment costs are based on the brief and can cost anything in the realm of 1,000 AED to 10,000 AED sometimes more. Studio fees are usually approximately 2,500 AED per day. This would be in normal 8 hour working day. Additional hours shooting will cost more for the photographer, his team and the studio rental.

On top of the daily fees, there is an image fee which includes editing and a license to use the images. The license is based on a license agreement which varies depending on what the client wants to use the images for. Most photographers base their rates on a standard license agreement (see our article on license agreements) which is also part of the negotiation process.


Image fee:

350 AED / image for basic editing and colour grading – for specialist shoots, the retouching fee can be slightly lower or significantly higher if there is a lot of post production work expected. This rate is usually based on about 350 AED every hour of editing.

Production elements

The above does not include production fees such as :

  • Fashion stylist fee
  • Wadrobe and props budget
  • Set design
  • Permits
  • Location scouting
  • Location fees
  • Models
  • Hair Stylists
  • Make up artists
  • Food and beverage
  • Production manager
  • Digital technician
  • Behind-the-scenes photo and/or video
  • Additional crew
  • Crew transportation

Typical photographers terms

  • 50% down-payment
  • Remaining balance prior to delivery of the images
  • Subject to cancellation policy
  • This proposal valid until 1 month from now.
  • Subject to availability
  • Subject to consultation and changes in the brief
  • All images are subject to the standard license agreement