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May 4, 2022

How Much to Invest on Newborn and Family Photography

Client Guides

Why is there such a big price range in photographers?

When you are in the business long enough, you hear all of the opinions about the cost of photographers. The good, the bad, and the ugly. As a luxury Milwaukee family photographer myself, I’m certainly not immune to it. So how DO you know how much to invest in newborn and family photography?

The quick and simple answer is that there are photographers for every budget; so how do you sort through what you should invest?!

Today, I’ll highlight what to consider when planning to invest in a newborn or family photographer and why it matters.

First, consider what you value and how much you value it

How important is it to you that your photographer can:

  • Handle various lighting conditions and has all of the necessary equipment to handle a dark Wisconsin day
  • Is a professional who has lots of experience working with young children, babies, and toddlers and are able to “work some magic” with wild little ones and handle anything thrown their way
  • Has expertise in posing postpartum mothers for a flattering appearance
  • Provides wardrobe and styling services
  • Coordinates hair and makeup for you
  • Provides an experience that removes stressors and pampers you when you’re in such a vulnerable time right after having given birth and as a momma to young children
  • Has experience and expertise in custom framing and gallery wall design to take the printing and framing process off your plate
  • Provides a timeless sought-after style
  • Has been published and recognized within the photography industry for exemplary artistic work
  • Runs a legally sound and insured business
  • Is a mother herself and understands the unique challenges of both motherhood and photo sessions with little ones
  • Delivers a gallery where all of the photographs feel cohesive and like a magazine spread (consistency and variety)
  • Has access to and offers assistance with choosing high quality prints and frames to cherish on the walls of your home
  • Is able to create a physical album of your session so that you can build a library of your family’s memories through the years
  • Is well regarded, respected and trusted by other professionals within the industry
  • Has close ties to other small businesses and is involved and known within the community
  • Has a reputation for providing only the best for clients when it comes to quality

Family photos notoriously have a bad rap for being stressful events that everyone has to get through.

When you are looking for a photographer for your portraits, consider what peace of mind costs.

Milwaukee luxury photography experience

How Much to Invest on Newborn and Family Photography

What does the price of the photos really cost?

Just got a “Fancy” Camera : 0-200

Everyone has to begin somewhere! This photographer has likely just purchased a camera and begun experimenting with what they can do. They typically have a year or less of experience under their belt.

What to expect with a brand new photographer:

  • A brand new photographer typically will not have a cohesive brand or style established yet. The images may feel very different depending on the day and location.
  • You will likely be responsible for determining the location and wardrobe for your family. They will charge a flat rate and deliver a large number of photos (200+ photos in a gallery), leaving you to sort & determine the best images.
  • Additionally, they likely do not have a ton of experience with posing or working with babies or kids. This can impact the flow of the session as well as everyone’s stress levels. A brand new photographer might be right for a family needing a few photos quickly.


The Building Stage: 200-400

While they aren’t brand new to the industry, amatuer photographers are still learning a lot. They’re likely developing their specific style, and continuing education in all areas of a business.

The experience you might have with a photographer in this category:

  • With an amatuer photographer, the session price is likely all inclusive with digital images included.
  • They’ve started learning tricks to wrangle toddlers and soothe babies, but posing is likely a bit stiff, with a lot of eye contact.
  • Typically, an amatuer photographer doesn’t offer wardrobe or products. This photographer might be ideal for a family looking for ‘just a few good photos’


Approaching “true” Business Ownership: 600-1000

This photographer is in the infant stages of bridging their passion from hobby to a real business.

The experience you might have with a photographer in this category:

  • Your beginner professional photographer has an established style & offering, and full time photographer. They’re also likely overbooked, because of the price point they are in.
  • They may have a session fee in addition to their digital files cost, as they’re learning to value their time more.
  • Their galleries will have variety and more artistic style. They may or may not have a studio space, but they likely offer a small wardrobe or wardrobe consultation.
  • They’ve established a workflow and are able to photograph a session in 2 hours or less, including time to soothe a fussy baby or nurse. They might offer low cost products like canvas. This photographer might be ideal for a family looking for newborn photos on a small budget.


True Professional Photographer: 1500-5000+

A professional photographer will have a defined, luxury experience, meant to take all of the stresses of newborn and family photos off of your plate.

The experience you might have with a photographer in this category:

  • Your professional family photographer will have every detail of your session taken care of for you.
  • Sessions include things like a planning appointment, hair and makeup, and even custom, heirloom artwork for your home. They will either have a photography studio or extensive knowledge in lighting to come to your home for portraits, regardless of the weather & light conditions.
  • A professional photographer will focus on capturing your family’s authentic connection and love, in addition to your traditional, posed portraits. They also know all of the good angles to use when posing postpartum mothers.
  • The session will flow easily, the photographer will bring out your kids’ sweetest smiles, and in the end, you’ll receive a gallery where every single image is your favorite.

Click here to learn more about my own client experience. 

at home newborn photo shoot in Milwaukee

Factors that Influence What a Photographer Charges:

  • How many clients a photographer works with per month and how much actual time and energy they put into each individual client. Think high volume with little to no added services vs low volume with full, luxury services
  • Services provided and included like consultations, a client wardrobe (and the care that goes into maintaining the wardrobe such as cleanings & repairs), hair & makeup, and ordering appointments
  • Location and cost of living. A photographer in LA will have a much higher cost of living than a photographer in say, Oklahoma
  • Quality of products being offered. Trendy products can be good for aesthetics, but will they stand the test of time? Heirloom albums & artwork will last for generations
  • Cost of running the business, such as marketing materials, insurance premiums, editing software, subscriptions, equipment, rent, etc.
  • Taxes like state sales and income tax (if applicable) and federal taxes. An experienced business owner knows this must be accounted for when looking at ‘take home’ numbers.
  • Employees/contractors that help the business run successfully. That may be a studio manager, contracted help for outsourced business tasks like a bookkeeper, and/or a second photographer depending on the business
  • Continued education such as courses and mentoring
  • Years of experience, which leads to…
  • Expertise in all things running a sustainable, profitable business, elaborated on below

Related Article for Photographers: Photography Pricing Calculator

outdoor family photo shoot with baby girl in Milwaukee

Why does one photographer charge more than others?

Running a professional, profitable photography business requires more skill than just taking pretty photos.

Ultimately, it comes down to how each business owner values their time & what they invest into the business. As I have noted above, a seasoned photographer has gained the expertise to charge what they value their time to be. That expertise extends into:

Business skills – consistency is key in growing a business. Software, management systems, and applications all help an owner provide a consistent client experience, from start to finish, and ensure no steps are missed. That includes sending a contract to protect both the photographer and you as the client!

Personal skills – this may not be as obvious, but it makes a world of difference when your photographer knows how to wrangle toddlers, soothe infants, keep dads happy, and make mom feel at ease in front of the camera.

Photography skills – lighting, focus, and editing are just some of things a photographer must know to produce quality art. I’ve spent countless hours learning everything I could about how to use my camera, how to edit, how to pose, how to wrap a baby, and so much more. And more hours practicing, tweaking, and practicing more.

Design skills – understanding what texture, colors, and patterns photograph well together is a special skill in photography. But a true professional knows MORE than just what photographs well. They’ll understand how to create the custom gallery wall or album of your dreams, too.

Related Article: Session Styling For Expecting Mothers

How Much to Invest on Newborn and Family Photography Talia Laird fine art work

Related Article: How to Find The Right Newborn Photographer For Your Family

I hope this breakdown of what experience you may expect in each price range is helpful in determining what you want out of your newborn or family photos. These precious moments deserve to be preserved and although it can be difficult to know how much to invest in newborn and family photography, this information will hopefully make that decision a little easier.

The real question is what value do you place on your own time and legacy.

“Talia is fantastic. As a wedding photographer myself, I am very picky when it comes to choosing someone to photograph my family. Talia is unparalleled at what she does. She makes everyone so comfortable when photographing them, which is so important. She has an eye for the small details and quick moments. On top of all that she carries the best products out there. Her albums are luxurious, prints are unmatched and she now incorporates film into her sessions which gives an aesthetic that cannot be easily matched by any digital camera. I can’t say enough good things about Talia and her brand. She really hits every detail to make it a great experience for everyone. I will be coming back year after year and only wished I had found her sooner.”  Audrey

outdoor newborn photos Milwaukee

beautiful couple holding newborn baby taken by milwaukee photographers Talia Laird Photography

Follow me on Instagram to get to know me & my business more! Or better yet, schedule a consultation with Talia to see if our client experience could be a fit for your family!

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