Today I want to talk about a hot topic: money.
That’s right, I want to dig into the cost of a newborn photography photoshoot. I hear this question a lot, especially on social media, and on Facebook groups where mums ask for recommendations for a reasonable newborn photographer. But what does reasonable mean anyway?
As we know we all have different values and views so what is reasonable for someone is not for someone else. And if we value our memories and understand the impact they will have in our lives and in time, then reasonable doesn’t really mean anything.
But why does newborn photography cost so much?
The answer to this question will be long and articulated, that’s why a simple FB or Instagram post was not enough.
Let’s start from the beginning. Newborn photography is a niche and a very particular type of photography. The photographer not only needs to know the technical parts of taking photos, managing the camera, the light, and the composition but has to be able to deal with a newborn baby as well. Understand how that baby feels if he is uncomfortable, hungry, cold, or warm and at the same time manage parents’ expectations and feelings.
So here are all the things that go into the cost of newborn photography.
I invested thousands of pounds and countless hours in courses and workshops to properly learn posing techniques and safety practices. I have been a professional newborn photographer for over a decade now and I still watch Iive training videos, read books or purchase classes to keep improving and being up to date. Working with newborns is very delicate and you need to know what you are doing. Knowing how to place those fragile limbs is crucial not just for comfort but for safety. safety is always the number one priority for me and this alone is priceless. So when you choose a photographer, please choose someone with experience. They will be handling your newly baby.
- Related post: The Importance of Baby Safety in Newborn Photography
Newborn photography takes time. If you are a mum already, you know that newborns have no schedule, so with a newborn session comes patience too. To give you an idea if a normal outdoor family session can be done in about an hour, the average full gallery newborn session can last 2-3 hours or more. Once the baby arrives he needs to be fed and then soothed to sleep. Once asleep I can start the shoot with gentle posing, positioning, cleaning potential messes, and stopping for cuddle time or for top-up feeds. It takes a lot of patience and I’m actually proud when parents call me a baby whisperer. But it took me so many hours to learn how to do it.
And what you see at the session is only a fraction of the time dedicated to that shoot. At that point, I would have spent already a few hours with the client in emails, calls, contracts, invoicing, reminding communications, studio cleaning, equipment preparation . . . and more to come afterwards with laundry, studio cleaning again, post-production, designing, ordering, packaging.
That’s why asking just for a couple of photos doesn’t make much sense either. I’ve heard it a lot I just want 2-3 photos. For an adult or older child, you can have 2-3 headshots in a short amount of time. With newborns, a similar amount of work goes in for both 3 images or 10. And at the end, no parents really want just a couple of photos – believe me!
The diary of a newborn photographer is a funny place. Well, we know babies come on their own terms. So even if at booking I’ll give you a provisional date, that can rarely stay the same. I confirm a date only once the baby has arrived. And since newborn sessions are best done within the first 2 weeks of the baby’s life, it means I have to limit the number of bookings per month to ensure I can accommodate you. Of course, limited sessions mean also a higher price and better customer service.
That’s right. Maybe you didn’t think about it but in the cost, you are paying for the photographer’s experience. This can be related to training. However, training is that workshop or that online course someone does once. But it’s the repetition and seeing it all that makes up the experience. That can’t be learnt on a training day. It takes time and practice and dedication. After a newborn session, I’m also hearing a lot of “thanks for the lovely experience, I’ve learnt some techniques on how to soothe the baby”. And these feedbacks are music for my ears.
When your photo shoot ends, my work has only just begun. There is so much more than just pushing a button! I pay for professional editing software, presets, and I have to pay myself for the time I spend in front of the computer. And usually, that is more than the session itself. Newborns have skin blemishes, blotchy skin, sometimes acne, they can be very red or very yellow. So many hours are spent to create that soft creamy look that you see in the final image. And no, I don’t provide a raw file as it’s not a finished file and it won’t be accessible unless you use special software. It’s like going to a restaurant to eat a juicy steak and have on your plate a piece of uncooked and unseasoned meat. Plus you have to wear a special glove to remove the silver cloche from the plate to see that piece of raw meat. Doesn’t make sense, right?
This can be very expensive! If you saw my work you know I love simplicity and I don’t use many props myself. But I still need all the basics, like backdrop blankets, wraps, and little outfits . . . did you know that newborn props are just a whole big world? Probably not, as all the mums who come to my studio always ask “where do you get all these cute things?” “OMG, I didn’t know there were such things”. There are so many vendors for newborn photography online and they don’t come cheap. You can spend up to £20 on a simple headband, £40 on rompers, £30 on wraps, £40 and more on backdrops and that’s for one single item. You will usually find a collection of it in a studio. Also sometimes poop can stain delicate materials pretty badly so they often need to be replaced.
I love to be able to offer products to my clients. I believe photography needs to be lived and displayed and you can’t do that with just digitals. That’s why when you walk into my studio you can see beautiful albums in different sizes, and several wall art products from frames to wooden blocks and acrylics. You can be inspired by many different little products that will bring joy to your everyday life. All these again have a cost and are replaced regularly with more recent work.
This is not specific newborn photography cost-related, but it’s still there of course. I’m talking about cameras, lenses, computers, and lighting. A professional camera costs anywhere between £2K and £5K, lenses from £800 to £2000 each, computer around £2000 and after 3-4 years usually, they need to be replaced. So I will let you do the math, yes it hurts! Then lighting depending on brands, models and types can go up to £5K.
And to finish what we run it’s a business! I love photography and I’m passionate about it but when I first started I quickly learn that it can be a very expensive hobby. Like every other business or shop, I pay for insurance, taxes, CRM software, professional memberships, stationery, marketing courses, marketing printouts, advertising and everyday running costs. These days, anyone with a camera is a photographer, especially in this digital era, but mastering your knowledge and professionalism I believe is another thing. If you pay a newborn photographer £200-£300 for a disk full of images it’s very likely that it’s an inexperienced or a hobbyist.
So, when you look for a photographer, please consider all the areas I mentioned. Please remember it’s not just a click, there is so much more behind newborn photography cost.
I know when you have a baby you have so many new expenses. But we buy that expensive pram that we dismiss a year later. And we always have a budget for the latest mobile model, for evenings out or simply for a daily coffee! Only that simple daily coffee at the end of the year will buy you the photos and the album you are longing for.
The cost of your memories doesn’t have a price really!
They will bring joy to your everyday life and they will increase in value with time. And the best part is once you have those photos, you have them for life and to pass them on to other generations too. They are your legacy.
- Related post: What’s the value of a Photograph?
I hope this article will make you reflect a bit more on the value of your photos.
You can check my latest work on Instagram where I’ll be happy to connect and chat with you. Or if you feel ready to work with me please fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch very soon.