You’ve just got engaged……
Now it is time to start looking & booking your wedding date, a venue and a photographer. I am sure you already know the price range of the average professional wedding photographer ($1500 – $5000+) But your willing to pay a little more for someone to capture your special day because you know that in the photography industry you get what you pay for and this is your WEDDING DAY were talking about!! So you save … rearrange your funds … set payment plans and book far enough in advance that allows you to budget appropriately for this luxury .
This after all is a once in a lifetime… momentous time and you want to look back on the day with the best images that will last a life time.
So why not the same mentality for your new baby??
In the real world your wedding is not once in a lifetime event ( it can be a second or third) but having your 1st,2nd or 3rd baby is truly a once in a lifetime experience and different with each child. Sure having a baby is expensive with all the gadgets, toys and clothes you have to buy but so is a wedding usually between 20-80 thousand dollars!
Why do we treat our Maternity and Newborn Portraits so differently??
Many people spend thousands of dollars on their wedding portraits but when it comes to photographing your pregnancy or new baby, people are usually thrown off and baffled at the cost of some of their favourite photographers packages and prices. You only get one pregnancy and one baby … you don’t want to forget this time! It is not only in the wedding industry but really any aspect in life… YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!
Its 2016 … Newborn and Maternity photography is a fairly new genre in the Photography industry. Most people are used to getting the cheesy sear studio portraits done when baby is a month or so old where they come to your house and put baby in a pasta pot or do the head on hands pose with towels. Sure they do them for little to no cost but when its time for you to buy prints ( no digitals… just prints) you roughly will pay the same as your local professional newborn photographer. Think 100 years from now, do you want cheesy or do you want something simple… classic… organic … TIMELESS??
Based on my own experience they’re are several factors that come into play in this equation when choosing to do Maternity and Newborn portraits ( really any portrait session theses days)
1.The advancement of technology
2. Inadequate education on what consists of a Newborn Session
Lets talk about technology …
” AHH I love your work !! … Oh we will just spend that $500 on a new DSLR camera and do our pictures our self” or ” Omg you take the cutest baby pictures but Uncle Joe has one of those fancy camera he can take pictures for us.. think of all the money we will save !”
But what I quickly realized is that I could not reproduce the images I loved so very much and needed to hire a professional as this was such a delicate time in my daughters life. That she so quickly changed from a fresh newborn to a baby that there was no time to waste.
With technology constantly changing these days and the drastic price drop of your average consumer DSLR camera everyone thinks they are photographer … ” Hey I have a fancy camera I can get those shots!”
Well I hate to say it but you are in for some disappointment….
It is not the “fancy camera” that captures those images. It takes proper education to know how to manually work your “fancy camera” to tell it what YOU want it to do, proper education on camera settings, lens, lighting, props, newborn safety and positioning as well as a ton of experience using certain props and editing techniques to achieve those professional images.
Now, although the homemade newborn shot is a funny memory of how your botched your newborn pictures… is it that really any way you want to remember your child? Are you going to pass that photo down from generation to generation as a baby photo?
Before I started my adventure in newborn photography, I hadn’t a clue on what it took. I wasn’t properly educated on what it takes to produce the images that everyone loves to see. I would see all these lovely pictures and never think about what goes into an actually session. Why I was paying $50 for an 8×10 when I could print one for under $2 at walmart.
Well now I know all the hard sweaty work (literally) that we do as well as the major difference between the professional Print vs a Walmart print ( but that is a whole other blog post so stay tuned)
” My Boyfriend just thinks why am I going to spend all the money when all she does is click a button” Hmmm..So lets talk about that!
Why does custom newborn photography cost the way it does?
Everyones COB ( Cost of doing business) is different. Therefore there is no industry standard. Photographers price their sessions according to their business costs( i.e. Studio expense… bills…education….equipment… taxes.. marketing… experience … products… etc) while still trying to paying them selves a salary. I mean that is the point of owning a successful business right???
Props them selves are very costly … not to mention in the newborn industry sometimes those props don’t last as long as we hope ( cue the poop and pee stains). No body wants to have the same image as 100 other people so we are constantly buying new things to refresh our prop stash to try and keep images as unique as possible. I speak for myself but I always try and buy /support local, unfortunately in this industry most props come from the USA, Europe or Australia and the dollar conversion and shipping is killer!
Heres a rough timeline of the time I spend for one of my Newborn Sessions
- 1 hour pre consultation /booking
- 1-2 session planning props and sets
- 40 min set up
- 4 hour Newborn Session
- 40 min take down
- 6+ hours culling, editing, proofing
- 1 hour design
- 1 hour print prep
Each newborn session can take about 25-30 hours to complete from start to finish. This is why my spaces for newborn sessions are limited to 4 a month. I leave days open in my schedule and wait on call for your precious baby to arrive so that we can book you in for your session well within the first 5-14 days. I pride myself on giving the best experience and customer service to my clients. I not only shoot newborns but maternity, babies, children, families, weddings, engagements and boudoir which is why I need to limit each type of session available each month to continue giving each client the experience and service they deserve ! This is why booking in advance of your newborn will not only offset the cost but also ensure the availability of your Newborn Photographer.
I often hear or see posted in groups “ looking for a cheap newborn photographer….” ==> ” I can’t afford maternity/ newborn photography… Why is it so expensive!!”
Well how about that car you drive… the flat screen TV you own? The Laptop you are reading this on? All of those things you have bought in your life that you probably couldn’t have afforded. These are luxury items and 9 times out of 10 your had to save up for them. When you think about the investment of custom newborn photography these images are something you will have forever, unlike a new plasma tv or car that will be outdated in a few years. It is an investment in your memories.
Most of my clients book early in their second trimeter to budget and save for this once in a lifetime moment in your lives, similar to what you would do if when you get engaged. We should treat booking every portrait session the same as if we were engaged.
Don’t just pay anyone to “take pictures” Anyone with a phone can do that, these days. Invest in someone to create art, because everytime you look at it you will fall in love all over again!!
Good Photography is worth the investment, especially when you are putting your trust and newborn into the hands of your photographer. Your baby will only be a newborn once. Do you want to trust your cellphone camera to document this time in your life. There is no do-over. New babies quickly change and are usually only able to be artfully posed in the first few weeks.
When doing your research on which Maternity / Newborn / Family/ Wedding / Boudoir photographer to choose out of the hundreds that are out there, please don’t compare on price.
There will always be cheaper options, but you only get one chance to capture memories. There are no re-dos for photography sessions.