Why Does Newborn Photography Cost So Much?
Hi All! I'm going to address a question that I get asked A LOT! "Why does newborn photography cost so much?" I felt like this was going to be too long of an explanation for a Facebook post so I'm going to give this blogging thing a shot!
I'm sure you all have noticed that the price of newborn photography far surpasses what you usually pay photographers for your regular family sessions. I get so many inquiries that start off with raves about my work and then fall off the planet when I forward my pricing. A good rule of thumb is: If you are paying under $100 for a session chances are your photographer is either A. inexperienced or B. not running a legal business. I know, this was me just one short year ago, completely inexperienced and doing free sessions to build my portfolio. I have taught myself lighting, bought a camera, lenses, converted a bedroom into a studio, and stocked a prop closet, on top of paying Uncle Sam. It is simply not possible to run a profitable business at the end of the day only charging $50 for a session.
But Julie you say, you're not just charging $150 you're charging $500! Yes, I am. This is where my specialty comes into play. Newborn photography does in fact cost A LOT more than a family session. Here's why.
Training: I have invested thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours now in classes to learn proper safety and posing techniques for your little ones. I take newborn boot camps, watch live training videos, and purchase photography classes in order to continually learn and improve. Your little one's safety is of the utmost importance. Please chose someone experienced to handle your fragile and precious new gift.
Flexibility: Babies come on their own timeline. We can plan and pick dates all we want but they show up when they're good and ready. I cannot designate a day on my calendar for a session until the baby is actually born. This means that there are a limited number of sessions I can book per month. Limiting the number of sessions means upping the cost to make up the difference in my number of clients.
Time: Newborn photography takes time. A typical outdoor family session can be achieved anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour depending on the package you book. The average full gallery newborn session can last 2-3 hours. Once the baby arrives it needs to be fed and then soothed to sleep. This process can take 10 minutes or 30. From there we move to posing, soothing, positioning, changing backdrops, changing outfits, stuffing props, cleaning messes, stopping for cuddle time, and possibly another feeding. Those of you who have seen me work know it takes a lot of patience to get every finger and toe settled into the perfect place and position. There is so much more involved than showing up with a smile on.
Editing: The amount of time spent editing is more time consuming compared to most other sessions. We all have this ideal picture in our head of newborns with creamy smooth skin when the reality is just the opposite. Newborn skin can be red, yellow, purple, blotchy, acne covered, or all of the above. They come with peeling skin, stork bites, hairy bodies, Mongolian spots, and gunky eyes. So many hours of work go into creating the creamy and beautiful finished product that you receive.
Props: Newborn props, although they may be for the smallest humans the outfits for newborns are probably the most expensive. I spend around $26 per headband, $30 per bonnet, and $60 per romper on the LOW end. Custom designs are even more expensive. It is not uncommon to pay $40 shipping costs on something as simple as bowls. Newborn poop can stain and occasionally things cannot be hand washed and have to get thrown and replaced. I also wash in between every single baby for sanitary reasons so things tend get worn out quickly. I am constantly ordering new colors and options for all of you in order to provide a variety of quality choices for your family.
Lastly, I ask you to remember that while this is a passion of mine, it is no longer just a hobby. It is a business. I do not put on a suit and heels and head to the office every day but I have bills to pay and a family to support just like all of you. These days, it seems like anyone and everyone calls themselves a photographer. However, it really takes time, money, and passion to get to know your craft and give your clients quality and professionalism. Even with my 2017 price increase I am still barely profitable. I urge all of you to consider these things next time you're pricing photographers in your area. We make room in our budgets for so many extras; trips to the movies, dining out, the latest cell phones, etc. The cost of documenting your memories should be priceless.
Ill close this out with my favorite motto: "Cheap is not good, and good is not cheap." Thanks for reading!!