So many times I get asked the same question - Why does newborn photography cost so much? so I thought I would sit down and try to explain!!
I'm sure you all have noticed whilst searching around that the pricing for Newborn Photography has a huge range and is often far more expensive then a standard family photoshoot. Initially the enquiries I get from either my website of facebook page are messages to say how much they love my work, and after responding with the details of my pricing I won't always hear from them again. Generally when you are looking for a Newborn Photographer you need to have a few considerations, a good rule of thumb is: If you are paying under £100 for a session with photos on a disc, chances are your photographer is either A. inexperienced and just starting out or B. not have insurances in place. I do know and understand we all have to start somewhere, when i started 6 years ago, completely inexperienced and doing free sessions to build my portfolio I was doing the exact same thing, a low price for all the images on a disc, but whilst doing that I had another job saved hard and have taught myself lighting, bought a professional camera, Professional lenses, converted a garage into a studio, and purchased a huge range of props, furnished a studio, bought professional lighting equipment, on top of paying for insurance, taxes, accountants and staff. It is simply not possible to run a profitable business at the end of the day only charging £100 for everything.
Newborn photography does in fact cost A LOT more than a family session. Here's why.
Training: I can't stress how IMPORTANT training is to a Newborn Photographer I have invested THOUSANDS of pounds and I have lost track of the hundreds of hours in classes to learn proper safety and posing techniques for what is, lets be honest the most important thing in your life! I go on newborn retreats spending a whole weekend with trainers, 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. On top of the training for handling your new baby safely there is the training to maintain a high level of editing skills, hours can be spent learning new techniques. If you think of other sectors, you would expect them to have many hours of training and experience, Doctor, Mechanic, Builder you wouldn't want to allow a mechanic access to your car unless you knew he was qualified to do so. Please chose someone experienced to handle your fragile and precious new gift, don't be afraid to ask questions about who they have trained with, when they last trained or even a client referral, any newborn photographer investing in training will have no qualms about answering those questions.
Flexibility: Babies come on their own timeline. You have a due date and will plan childcare for siblings, maternity cover at work etc but those babies tend to arrive when they are good and ready. I need to maintain an incredibly flexible diary for that reason, I cannot book a specific date for a session until the baby is actually born. This means that there are a very limited number of sessions I can book per month, and will often have to turn down work as I need to maintain the flexibility to do your session at a moments notice. This will ultimately limit the number of sessions I can do.
Time: Newborn photography takes time, a LOT of time. A standard outdoor family session can be completed anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour depending on the package you book, the number of family members and if the younger members want to play ball. The average full gallery newborn session can last 2-4 hours. Once you arrive at the studio the baby needs to be fed and then soothed to sleep. This process can take 10 minutes or 30. From there I move to posing, soothing, positioning, soothing, changing backdrops, changing props, soothing, changing hats, soothing, cleaning up the accidents, soothing, stopping for another feed. 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 then most realise and clients often walk away stunned at how hard the season is for me.
Props: OMG Newborn props, the smallest and simplest are often the most expensive. I spend around £30 per fabric backdrop, £20 per headband, £25 per bonnet, and £50 per romper on the LOW end they can reach £80+. Custom designs are even more expensive. It is not uncommon to pay £35 shipping costs on something as simple as bowls, as many of these props come from overseas, although the UK prop vendor market is now growing. The other factor is the dreaded newborn poop!! Now that stuff can stain and lot's of things like some blankets and outfits cannot be hand washed and have to get thrown and replaced. I also wash everything thats been used in between every single baby for sanitary reasons so things tend get worn out quickly, plus I buy baby friendly detergents. I am constantly ordering new colors and options for all of you in order to provide a variety of quality choices for your baby and to fit in with current trends. Last year alone I invested over £1500 in Props.
Editing: The amount of time spent editing is more time consuming compared to any other sessions. We all have this ideal picture in our head of newborns with creamy smooth skin when the reality is just the opposite. All newborns skin photographs differently and each change of background can cause a colour cast, this is especially so with newborns as they are laying on the backgrounds, so that much nearer, but generally newborns skin will be really red, yellow, purple, blotchy, have acne or milk spots, or all of the above. They often come with peeling skin, birth marks, hairy bodies, and gunky eyes, some parents are happy for these to stay, others want them removed. So many hours of work go into creating the creamy and beautiful finished product that you receive.
Running Costs: The studio needs to be heated to a much higher heat than a normal session so this means additional electric heaters, as well as during the session keeping a fan heater running so baby stays comfortable - They lose an incredible amount of body heat whilst naked. The cost of editing software with Adobe can run into £240 a year, its a subscription based service so not a one off purchase. Studio insurance, Camera Insurance, Public Liability Insurance all cost, none of which come cheaply these are things that are critical and essential of every photographer, and again any photographer will be more than happy to share insurance details if you wish.
So hopefully you understand a little about what goes in to create those beautiful images that you will treasure forever, whilst this is a passion of mine and I get a great deal of satisfaction from it, it is my business and my livelihood. I no longer get suited and booted and head off to the office knowing that at the end of the month my salary gets paid and I know how much I will get and can budget. I still have the same bills and a family to support just like everyone. It really really takes lot's of time, money and passion to get to know your craft and to give clients an experience they will remember. Even with my 2018 price increase I am still barely profitable, in 2016 I made a loss and considered closing the business, 2017 i did turn a profit but an incredibly small one, so small that 2018 needed to see some changes, so investing in new training to broaden my offering I hopefully will be able to continue in 2019. So all I would like to say is when considering a Newborn Photographer think about all these factors, we all have the same expenses and costs. Think about all those little extra things we squeeze into our budgets each month, a meal out, trips to the movies, new shoes or the latest mobile phone or gadget. The cost of documenting your newborns first days should be priceless.
I'll close this out with one thought: "If something is to good to be true it often is." You can't get back the time to re-create newborn images, they are only Newborn for a moment.
Thanks for reading x