If you’re here, you’re probably wondering how much you should be investing on newborn photography. After being in business for 10 years, as an Arlington Newborn Photographer, I have learned that there are quite a few price options out there. But why are there massively different pricing strategies in just one area of the United States?
If you’d like the easy answer, it really comes down to what the photographer offers, their expertise, and where the photographer is located.
So what IS the average price you should expect to invest with an Arlington Newborn Photographer? That’s a great question… let’s dive in deep into what you should consider when hiring an Arlington Newborn Photographer.
First, let’s consider which of the following statements you wish to be true about your Arlington Newborn Photographer
- It’s important to you that your photographer is knowledgeable with different types of lighting and can still deliver beautifully lit images on a rainy Virginia day.
- The photographs you desire have a timeless style to them that will stand the test of time.
- You want a photographer who has a professional hair & makeup artist team that will pamper you the morning of your session so you don’t have to stress about it.
- Your photographer coordinates with your hair & makeup artist so you don’t have to.
- You desire photographs that look like they belong on the cover of a magazine.
- You want every little detail of your newborn baby documented and preserved by a professional for years to come.
- The photographer you hire is a professional who specializes in newborn and family photography. They are experienced in working with toddlers and have tricks up their sleeves to get your little loves to cooperate.
Maybe you value all of those things… but have you considered if these aspects are important to you as well?
- It’s important to you that your photograph has a luxurious wardrobe of beautiful dresses for you to borrow from.
- You wish your photographer would hand-style each member of your family so you don’t have to worry about it yourself.
- You are looking for a photographer who runs a legal (licensed, insured, tax-paying) business.
- The photographer of your dreams provides custom framing and heirloom quality albums for your family to cherish.
- You desire a full-service photography experience so you can enjoy more time with your family and less time stressing over little details.
- You want someone to hold your hand through the entire portrait planning process to produce frame-worthy images.
- The photographer of your dreams is an experienced mother and has a firsthand understanding of what it’s like to be on the other side of the lens.
- The photographer you’re looking for provides only the best for clients when it comes to quality heirloom artwork.
View a Recent Newborn Session of Mine: The Conrad Family Newborn Photos
Arlington Newborn Photographer
Think about the last time you got family portraits done. Photography sessions are known for being stressful, long, and exhausting. However, when you’re looking for a photographer, you should know that your portrait session doesn’t have to be stressful. What is most valuable to you when looking for a photographer? After you’ve determined what you value the most, take into consideration the following pricing tiers.
What Do Arlington Newborn Photographers Really Charge?
There is quite a range of photographers out there, but there is definitely someone for everyone!
Novice/Brand New Photographers: $50-$225
Every business (including photography) has a starting point. Novice photographers are typically those who recently acquired a camera. They are typically photographing family members for their portfolio. They’re also still trying to determine what they enjoy photographing.
When you hire a novice photographer, you can expect:
- When you book your novice photographer, you will likely be responsible for researching locations and preparing for the session. There will likely be no “session preparation guide” or any styling advice.
- When a photographer is brand new, they will still be learning how to edit and their photos will probably not have a consistent or defined style to them.
- A novice photographer is probably still getting comfortable with their camera settings and learning to pose. Because of this, they might miss a beautiful photo while configuring their camera. You could also end up in an awkward pose if they’re still learning what looks flattering on families.
- They are likely not very experienced with working with families (think toddlers and your newborn). Because of this, your session could end up very stressful and hit or miss.
- If you’re looking for some quick updated photos, but are comfortable managing your children on your own, a novice would be a good fit for you.
Amateur Photographers: $225-$450
Amateur photographers aren’t “fresh out of the womb”, but they’re still getting their feet wet with photography. They have a lot to learn still and are likely still working on developing a timeless and defined style to be known for.
What to expect with an amateur photography experience:
- You can expect to receive a large gallery of digital files. Amateur photographers often batch-edit their images by syncing the settings across the gallery. Because of this, you should expect lighter editing on your photos. You will also need to narrow down the images you want to print. This can be an overwhelming task for a busy mom and this is why many families that work with amateurs neglect printing and preserving their memories.
- This photographer is likely still working on posing and relies heavily on Pinterest for inspiration.
- You will be responsible for styling yourself and the photographer won’t have a client wardrobe available.
- Amateur photographers don’t offer products.
- If you want just a few good photos, this is probably a good fit for you.
Beginner Professional: $500-$1000
This is actually a big range of photographers. These are the photographers who have been specializing in newborn photography for a few years now. They are likely full time photographers and are working on making this hobby a successful career.
When you hire a beginner professional photographer, you should expect:
- This photographer is likely a full time photographer. However, they are probably overworked and having a hard time juggling all of the tasks that come with running a business. Their customer service is probably lacking due to the insufficient time to dedicate to their business.
- Their photography and editing style has become more consistent and you know what to expect from their work.
- You will likely pay a booking fee up front for the session and purchase a collection of low to mid-range quality artwork and digital files at an ordering appointment after your session.
- They may have a client wardrobe, but it is probably not very large or high end. It probably doesn’t include children wardrobe either.
Luxury Professional Photographer: $1200-$2000 starting prices
A luxury professional photographer has been in business for quite some time and has the highest expertise when it comes to their speciality. This photographer’s goal is to provide a high-end and luxury experience for their clients. They want to take care of every little detail for their clients so they don’t have to stress about planning their newborn photos.
With a luxury professional photographer, you can expect:
- This photographer will handle every detail for you so you have more time to spend with your little ones.
- They probably have a commercial studio space that is conveniently located with lots to do nearby. If not, they have excellent knowledge in lighting so they can capture beautiful memories for you, no matter the lighting scenario.
- They provide a photography experience rather than just a photo session. The experience includes commissioning a professional hair & makeup artist so you don’t have to worry about getting ready for your photos. It also includes hand-styling of each member in your family. There won’t be any worrying about what colors look good with others, skipping all of the inevitable returns, and not stressing about clothing coming in on time or fitting properly.
- They will schedule a pre-session styling consultation where you’ll get to try on clothes from their luxurious and extensive client wardrobe. They’ll even have clothing for the kids!
- Your professional photographer will have sourced only the best of heirloom artwork for you to choose from. They will handle all of the design, measuring, and installation of museum quality frames for you.
- A professional photographer of course knows how to get kids (yes, even toddlers) to cooperate for a beautiful and traditional family photo. However, their main goal is to provide beautiful heirloom images that truly capture the bond your family shares. Their goal is to bring out emotions in your photographs and capture the little details you’ll want to remember. They of course know all of the flattering poses on postpartum mamas as well.
- Once your session has come and gone, you’ll receive a beautifully curated gallery of images that belong in a magazine. They narrow down the images for you to only the best of the best. This way, it’s easy for you to decide what goes in your heirloom album or on the wall.
So why do photographers charge what they charge?
This is an excellent question! There are many different things that influence what a photographer needs to charge for a session. Many photographers that are just starting out haven’t run a CODB (cost of doing business). Because of this, they truly don’t know where their money is going, probably aren’t paying themselves, and likely aren’t a legal business. Some of the things photographers have to take into consideration include:
- How long they’ve been in business
- Education they’ve invested in for their business – Many successful business owners are not stagnant. Instead, they continue to invest in higher and higher education so they can continue to improve the experience their clients receive.
- What do they include with their sessions? If they include professional hair & makeup, they have tot pay the hair & makeup artist that they have contracted. Do they include a luxurious wardrobe? That costs money to invest, especially if they have high-end designer dresses like Needle & Thread dresses.
- How many clients do they serve per month? When you’re running a luxury and high-touch photography experience for your clients, you aren’t able to take on as many clients per month. Typically, luxury photographers average 4-6 sessions per month. Their prices are going to reflect the amount of time they put into each client. If they are a high volume photographer, they aren’t spending as much time with each client and can charge less. If they’re providing a luxury experience, they are a low volume photographer taking on less clients per month.
- If they have any employees, this greatly affects their prices. They have to pay these employees at least minimum wage and compensate them for their time. If they’re running a luxury business and want employees that represent their business as well as they would themselves, they will definitely be paying their employees much more than minimum wage.
- The quality of the products they offer. There are always going to be cheaper products offered. However, if you’re working with a photographer who sources the highest quality of artwork for their clients, they have to charge accordingly. You get what you pay for.
- The legal fees and taxes that come with running a legal business. Does the state/county they work in require a business license? They have to pay that annually. And then they also should be setting aside at least 25% of their gross income for State & Federal taxes. Do they sell products? Does their state require them to pay sales tax? Depending on the state they live in, some photographers even have to pay sales tax on just digital files.
- Where are they located? If they’re located where we are (Northern Virginia and Washington DC), they live in one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. In the top 10 most expensive places to live in the US, Washington DC is number 5. A photographer living (and running a business) out of Washington DC and Northern Virginia is going to have a MUCH higher cost of living than a photographer living in Danville or Roanoke, VA.
- Their expertise in running a legal, profitable, and sustainable business (keep reading for a breakdown on this)
So what makes a photographer an “expert”?
There are so many photographers out there and everyone always want to hire a professional photographer. However, you’d be surprised how many photographers out there think they’re a professional photographer just because they have a “nice” camera. So what really determines if a photographer is an expert or not?
- Photography expertise: A skilled photographer should know how to pose a family, baby, and mama in a flattering way so they can create timeless images. They also need to know how to use their camera properly and understand natural and artificial lighting. If you’re hiring a newborn photographer, you also want a photographer who has been professional trained to handle, swaddle, and pose a newborn baby safely.
- Business expertise: After you’ve been in business for a few years, you start to learn what does and doesn’t work. An expert photographer should have a client management system in place to ensure their business runs smoothly and is organized. They should also have the software and equipment required to take and process the images well. The more time and money the invest in their business, the better photographer they become.
- Communication expertise: If the photographer you’re hiring is a newborn photographer, they should be skilled in working with families, toddlers, and babies. They should know how to get toddlers to cooperate and still produce beautiful and timeless images. This aspect typically comes with time as they photograph more sessions. They learn that dads want the sessions to be easygoing and happen as efficiently as possible. They also learn how to communicate with postpartum mamas and make them feel comfortable in their postpartum skin.
- Styling expertise: The longer a photographer has been in business, they tend to learn the colors and style of clothing that are timeless and photograph best. This matters because you want your images to be able to stand the test of time. That way, you’ll look at your images 10 years from now and they’ll never go out of style.
- Design expertise: An expert photographer will offer luxurious wall art and heirloom albums for you. They will be sourced from the highest quality of suppliers. An excellent photographer has an eye for design. They are able to easily photograph images during your session that they know will frame well. If you desire an album, they photograph your session with your album in mind so it can tell a story. Their design process is so much more than just pretty pictures.
How To Find Your Arlington Newborn Photographer
I hope you found this article to be helpful when determining what you can expect out of your photographer in each of the common price ranges you’ll come across. When it comes down to preserving these precious memories, they only happen once. You don’t get a second “shot” at documenting these precious moments. Make sure to take into account what you value most when you decide to invest in newborn photos.
When it comes down to making a decision, it comes down to what you value the most
I cannot express enough how much I have enjoyed working with (and continuing to work with!) Jessica in capturing beautiful and priceless photos of my son. She took such care in explaining what to expect in the newborn shoot and in capturing photography that day. And equal care was taken in our subsequent shoots for 6 months and holiday/ Santa shoot. Anyone looking for beautiful, timeless, classic and elegant photos of their family/ children should look no further than Jessica and her studio and services. The experience has been exceptional and we are so thankful to have our priceless, precious photos. Thank you, Jessica!The Hixson Family
Come follow along on Instagram to see behind the scenes and some of our recent work! Or, go ahead and schedule a consultation with Jessica to see if our stress-free experience is the perfect fit for your family!