I often get asked why it is so expensive to hire a newborn photographer to capture precious memories of your little one – especially at a time when money is tight for new parents. Hopefully this blog post will help explain why we have to charge what we charge.
First – Time
Your photographer has to block out a large amount of time for your newborn session. Because newborns are so unpredictable I always allow three hours of shooting time for a newborn session. This allows us to work at the pace of your baby and respect their needs for feeds, changes and fussiness. Sometimes it might not take the full three hours, and sometimes we may end up going slightly over the allotted time. If we use three hours as a guide for studio time, that’s just the portion where we are actively taking pictures of your newborn.
On top of the studio time we have the time to set up and clean down before and after you and your baby. Set up time includes picking out backdrops and props, putting lighting and posing sets together ready for you to arrive and generally ensuring the studio space is safe for you both whilst you are here. Clear down includes clearing up sets and laundering or cleaning everything that has been in contact with the baby so that it is clean and ready for use by other newborns in future shoots. Even if your little one doesn’t have a nappy accident during a session everything is still thoroughly cleaned to make sure it is perfect for next time. In active time (not waiting for the washing machine or dryer!) this adds around another hour onto each session.
Finally we have selection and editing time. For a standard session with no nappy accidents to edit out, it takes around four hours to go through and remove images that haven’t worked out (mid yawn faces anyone??) and edit them to the standard that reaches you. There are subtle colour and toning edits such as lightening and darkening, skin edits to remove any baby acne or dry flaky skin and even out skin tone, removing parents body parts where we have used a spotter for safety, and editing out nappy accidents from backdrops and scenes. If there were a lot of nappy accidents during your session it can take even longer to edit your images – sometimes up to six hours for a standard thirty image session. Here’s an example of the type of editing that is done after your shoot. The camera image is on the left, the edited image on the right. It takes a lot of time and skill to get the perfect end result!
So to summarise we are looking at three hours for your session, an hour for setting up and cleaning down and four to six hours for editing post production. A total of eight to ten hours of your photographers time.
Second – Training and CPD
Your photographer has to do a lot of training both online and in ‘the classroom’ to ensure they are up to date with current safety standards and popular posing techniques. These training sessions consist of online lessons and physical in person workshops at various locations around the country. All of these have costs associated with them, whether time, course fees or travel related. Whilst this isn’t directly related to your own shoot, without it they are unable to offer the service and it must therefore be costed into every booking.
Third – Props and equipment
Those lovely props and setups that your photographer is using cost a lot of money to purchase. These costs have to be built into the cost of your session in order for your photographer to make any sort of wage from their business. Most photographers are always adding to their props in order to stay current, so it isn’t just a case of once they have been purchased they are done. Basic bowls, baskets or boxes that are safe to pose a baby in start at around £50 per item (and go up to a lot more!) so the cost of props soon adds up! And that’s on top of your photographers equipment – cameras, lenses and lighting quickly add up to thousands of pounds worth of equipment which your photographer has to purchase, maintain and upgrade as required.
Finally – Product Costs
Your photographer has costs associated with the products they are supplying you. Depending on what is included in your package, these can be upwards of 20% of the total cost of your package. Once that is taken away from the cost, whatever is left has to cover everything else – the time, the training, and the props that your photographer puts into every single session they do.
I hope this has gone some way to explaining why it costs so much more to hire a professional than you might think it should! There will always be someone who will offer to do it cheaper – but compare what is included in your package for the price and make sure you see examples of their work before making a booking! Your baby is only little for a very short space of time and you don’t want to end up with something like the below picture to remember it by (photo examples below from demilked.com) ! It’s also worth remembering that vouchers for newborn photography sessions make a lovely baby shower gift and many guests will be happy to contribute towards a main present rather than worrying about what smaller things might still be needed.