green newborn Photography in twig basket

I’ve noticed a lot of you are on the hunt for “affordable” photography and trust me, I get it.

With the way things are economically, everyone’s trying to stretch a dollar. It makes total sense to look for services that won’t break the bank.

But let’s chat about what “affordable” really means in the world of photography. There’s a common myth that goes something like, “The shoot only lasts an hour and they charge how much?! They are providing digital images – it doesn’t even cost them anything!” It’s a sentiment I’ve heard echoed among newbie photographers too, dreaming of a quick buck. The reality, though, is running a photography business is far from just showing up and snapping pictures for an hour.

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of what photographers really make:

Understanding the Pricing:

Imagine this—a $595 package that includes a cozy 2-hour newborn session in a studio, where your whole family (yes, even your adorable pets) can jump in. You get a full gallery of beautifully captured memories to download. Sounds pricey? Let’s break it down.

Before the camera even clicks, there’s loads of prep—scheduling, advice on what to wear, and setting up the perfect scene. Post-shoot, there’s culling and retouching, often double the session time. If we tally it all up:

1 hour of admin and coordination

1 hour setting up the studio

1 hour cleaning up after the shoot (everything’s got to be spotless for the next bundle of joy!)

2 hours capturing your precious moments

4 hours perfecting your photos

That’s 9 hours in total. So really, that $595 fee? It works out to about $66 an hour. Not bad for doing something you love, right?

Realistic Scheduling:

Given the time considerations we have just outlined…how many shoots can you do in a week? This is another area less experienced photographer underestimate. “If I do 2 sessions a day and work 7 days a week I will make a nice income!” Well…based on the hours we have just outlined that is roughly 126 hours a week. Not to mention you will burn out in about a month. Also you cannot guarantee that you will have that many clients…and you are only making that $ when you are shooting.

A booked out week is more feasibly 5 sessions a week with a more realistic week being 2-3 booked sessions.

 

Operational Costs:

It’s easy to forget the behind-the-scenes expenses—advertising, studio rent, utilities, insurance, website maintenance, and more. These essentials ensure a smooth operation but they do add up.

Equipment Investments:

This isn’t about a one-time setup. Technology advances fast, and equipment wears out. Props, backdrops, and even those adorable baby outfits need refreshing now and then.

Living Expenses:

That $66 an hour has taken a huge hit when we take into account operational and equipment costs. We haven’t even talked about living expenses yet! Baked beans anyone?

Experience:

How do you put a value on experience? On talent? On artistic creativity? That is what photographers are creating for you – individual customized art. For example – I have spent over 20 years mastering studio photography and am trained to pose your baby safely.
Remember the saying, “You are paying for the years, not the minutes”? It’s absolutely true.

SO when looking for photography (or any kind of service really) make sure your budget is realistic. You are investing in memories here – these moments are once in a lifetime. You don’t want to find the cheapest possible option only to have them go out of business before you receive your images. Do your research.

Look for student photographers who are offering shoots in exchange for portfolio building – while they won’t have the experience, they will definitely fit into your budget.

When searching for photography services, or any service really, keep your expectations realistic and value the craft. It’s not just about finding a budget-friendly option—it’s about investing wisely in memories that last a lifetime. So, do your research, and consider what goes into the making of those beautiful images. It’s more than just pressing a button.

mum with twins studio photography