This is going to be a long one folks, but worth the read to anyone to get good insight on our business and what we need to run it successfully.
I have this question asked of me several times by clients and even people who are wanting to peruse this profession. A fellow photographer in my area posted a similar blog and I just had to also join in and give some insight to the many factors that make newborn photography prices the way they are. It is not always just in the case of newborns, it applies to all my sessions also.
I am solely speaking for myself here and want to make it clear that everything I am about to run through here is not necessarily the same for every other photographer.
Please also take into account the experience and quality of work from the photographer you are looking to hire. It is obvious a starting out photographer will not charge what I do, but I don't even think that matter's a whole lot. You as a client are hiring a photographer for their style and perhaps just for THEM as a person weather they have 1 year of experience under their belt or 10 years. If clients are hiring solely on price, well that is fine too. That being said I think it is safe to say most photographers that have this type of business full-time or on a part-time bases still have some or most of these expenses. It is also quite possible I even missed a few ;)
Many need to take into consideration the pricing for equipment in general (this is the most costly of all) In my case I use studio light not natural light (natural light photographers luckily get to skip this expense). Starting with lights (I personally have 3 high end lights), bulbs and flash tubes for the lights, umbrellas/soft boxes, reflectors, camera(s) (I have 2 camera's - my main baby and a back up), camera lenses (I own 4, but some photographers own many more than that). This can all add up to close to $10,000 or more!
I can now go ahead and list all the other expenses involved to run the business successfully:
- Heating (I heat my house and have space heaters going especially for newborn sessions)
- Newborn sessions can range from 1-4 hours depending on the package - this consists my trying to keep baby relaxed, posing baby, keeping baby safe at all times. My work does not end after the session - I then need to cull all the images make edits to them, send them off to the client - once selections are made it can take hours of editing the final selections.
- Workshops and courses to keep us up to date with trends or new techniques, depending on the teacher these workshops are in the hundreds or even thousands (yes..thousands). I did a newborn workshop last year that was $400 USD just to give you an idea. Some mentors that visit our towns to do workshops in person can be well over $1000 USD.
- PROPS, outfits, wraps, bonnets, headbands, backdrops (paper, vinyl, wood etc..), blankets, furs and the list can go on and on. These pieces add up quickly and are very expensive depending on quality. I personally only like to shop the best quality so I end up paying a bit more, but it makes my clients images look all that better with high quality products. We cannot take the "cheap" way when it comes to this as it also makes our work look that way and nobody wants that.
- Leasing a studio space. I personally work from my home studio, but many others lease space - that is also quite expensive. However, because my studio is in my home my utilities are more as I am using extra electricity, heat, A/C etc..
- Liability insurance
- Marketing and advertising
- Bookkeeper and Accountant
- Website, appointment booking systems and other business related software. These cost money to operate and time to update regularly.
- Editing software (Lightroom and Photoshop in my case) is a monthly premium.
- External hard drives to back up images. These get costly as they are not cheap. I have quite a few of these going and it is a necessity.
I truly hope this helped give some insight on the back end of my business. I personally would not trade it for the world as I absolutely love what I do and no matter the cost I will still keep going. I think this just helps create some awareness that we do not just make up numbers and charge that number - there are many factors that go into our pricing.
I hope you enjoyed the read and the insight and if you have any further questions on anything mentioned please feel free to ask me, I can always elaborate further.
Have a blessed day!