Gettysburg newborn baby photographer- Stacey Gillin Photography » Gettysburg newborn photographer

Why is newborn photography so expensive?

{This is an old blog post from ages ago, but I thought it was time to bring it back}


Here’s a question I saw in my newsfeed recently: Why are photographers who specialize in newborn photography so much more expensive than say, Picture People or Portrait Innovations? They basically do the same thing….right?


Is the “photographer” at Picture People going to spend 2-4 hours with you in an 80-85 degree studio, perfecting every shot, soothing and rocking your baby to sleep themselves, urging you to take this time to rest (take a nap if you wish!), and then laugh when your baby pees in their lap 3 times, or when they happen to CATCH your baby’s poo in their hand in order to save the setup that they have very carefully selected just for you? After your session is over, are they going to spend hours retouching each image, correcting baby acne, smoothing skin, and taking the purplish tint out of a hand or foot with poor circulation (very common in newborns!)?

gettysburg pa newborn photographer

The answer is no, in case you aren’t positive. Chain studios rely on business volume to survive, scheduling very short back to back sessions, and luring you in with $7.99 portrait packages. Some of their employees may be actual photographers who are working to make extra money, but the majority of them are only trained on how to use the camera (which often does not, or is unable to leave the tripod that it is mounted on). Their editing might involve slapping a terrible vignette on a few photos, and turning a couple to sepia or a muddy black and white. The employees simply aren’t given the creative freedom or tools to do more than that. Many of these places are now closing rapidly, by the way. Check out Sears Portrait Studios and Walmart’s PictureMe Studios. They are closed.

The worth of a newborn photographer goes even further beyond what we do during the average session, to the crazy amount of money that we put into props, the hours that we spend editing each session, to the time and money that we invest into continuously improving ourselves. For those of us who run a legitimate business, roughly 30-40% of every dollar that comes in goes to taxes (the joys of being a small business owner!), and a great portion of what we have left is what goes to pay for insurance, education, props, equipment, marketing, and the list goes on. After all of that, don’t we deserve to bring in an actual salary, just like any person with a career should?

Not everyone has it in their budget to choose a custom newborn photographer because yes, it is expensive. Mall chain studios are there for those who can’t afford to pay a whole lot, or for those whose lifestyle demands a quick walk in and walk out appointment. Just make sure that you educate yourself on what to expect. I promise you that if you can swing it, you will get so much more out of booking a professional custom photographer!


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