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Why is newborn photography so expensive?

Why is Newborn Photography so expensive?” Is one of the most common questions that I see in facebook threads, comments on pricing and listening to those shocked conversations about others spending a fair bit on their photography session. The truth is that unfortunately Newborn Photography or Photography in general should have never become cheap to begin with. I think it’s when the first Canon Rebel came out that began the influx of new photographers and those that took it from a real career to a hobby career that doesn’t charge. I am guilty myself of entering this career with the wrong attitude. I received my first DSLR Camera 10 years ago, and although it was such a large investment for myself and my family to make, in truth it was the cheapest and lowest DSLR option out there.

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What has happened to photography as an industry? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

If we think back to years ago, before the digital era things were a lot different! Photographers were taken seriously as their gear was worth thousands and thousands of dollars. There was no way for their clients to save their proofs and photoshop the photographers watermarks off of them. There wasn’t social media available for the Photographers to post “sneak peeks” on where the clients automatically get free images. There wasn’t usb’s or external hard drives for the clients to store all of their photography sessions on. Things were either printed, or the digital negatives were stored for a period of time or thrown out. Photographers were viewed as Artists in their own way.  Becoming a Photographer was respected and was an incredible career path to choose.  If you were to hire a photographer years ago to do a session of your family, you were looking at investing thousands of dollars because that was the industry standard!

But what’s changed?  What’s changed is that the photography world has become saturated with Hobby photographers that don’t look at their business as a real business. What does that mean? It means that they do not rely on the income that they generate from their photography and and look at it more as a hobby. Unfortunately when photographers do this, whether they are talented or not, it waters down the industry and lowers the expectations of the community. This devalues the Industry worldwide. Not just in one area but in every area in every city has the same issue.  And this keeps happening because digital cameras are now available at more affordable costs.

Why do people think that being a photographer is no big deal? Because now anyone can call themselves a photographer. Whether they’ve had training, experience or knowledge in anyway shape or form, they will now call themselves profession the minute they start offering services to others. The problem with that, is there is no control over these people. There are no restrictions or guidelines or requirements to meet to be able to call yourself a professional. Its up to each and every individual to take those necessary steps and invest in their own business and learn the rules of the trade. Unfortunately very few photographers take those steps. Very few photographers take those steps because they can not afford to do them in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way telling those that are new to not choose photography as a career. What I am trying to explain is that it’s not supposed to be an easy choice. When you make the decision to invest in becoming a Professional Photographer – It’s an investment. It costs thousands and thousands of dollars. It takes hours and hours of your day on a daily basis. We need to clear the air with newbies because so many are under the impression that Photography is a cheap and easy career to get in to. But the truth of this question is that its the complete opposite. Maybe you don’t need a University Degree, but you do need to invest thousands of dollars every year into your education, gear, props. You have to keep up with trends to stay current to your audience. You have to invest in all things related to your niche. The list just doesn’t end. Not to mention the time that you have to invest into your business. As every business owner knows, beyond everything else discussed you have to think months and months in advance to make sure you can sustain your business!

Why do people assume that if they want a photography session that they can negotiate your prices and negotiate what is included in their purchase? Because there is no industry standard! The Profitable Professional Photographers separate themselves from the rest of the crowd in this regard. They know and value their time and what its worth. They are well aware of what it takes to make 6 figures and they know that if they have self respect, so will their clients. The profitable professional photographers as I will now refer to are the ones that completely understand if that dilute their value and their prices – then they would eventually burn out and have to close up shop.

Why do clients assume that if you are charging a lot that you are crazy? There are thousands of photographers in every city now. Everybody and their bestie has someone that is a photographer. Because of this and the lack of realistic business sense that they either work for free or for pennies. But it’s only a matter of time before they quit or just burn out. Because they can not run a sustainable business with this mentality! It’s the truth.

Why do so many photographers in your area assume that they need to be cheaper or undermine their local competition? Because of lack of self value. They do not value themselves and feel the peer pressure of their local competitors. They think they need to fit in and then try and match the other “unprofitable businesses” that are also making the same mistakes. I will now explain to you from a photographers perspective and what I have learned over the past 10 years and what I see so many other photographers doing wrong and why this cycle isn’t going to end until everyone makes a stand and gets this industry back to where it once was!

What do the Expensive Photographers in your area think about the cheaper ones? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

To be honest – I want every single person in my Industry to be expensive. Why wouldn’t I? If everyone is making a sustainable living wage then people will have more respect for our Industry again. The common statement will be appreciation for their photographer and “investing” in their precious memories.  Rather then looking for the cheapest option, they’ll actually look at our work and our portfolio to see which style they are the most attracted to! Rather than just wanting the “digitals only” they will be more concerned about the size of the prints or Album they want to order. And the luxury products that are offered.. I can tell you that our technology is constantly changing. And unfortunately just because of that it doesn’t mean that your digital images will last. It doesn’t mean that in 10-15 years from now we will even have Instagram or Facebook or some other way to view our usb’s with images on them. I mean did we ever think that DVD’s and CD’s would become useless? I don’t even have a computer that can play a CD or DVD! So start thinking of Photography as an investment and not a necessity that you deserve at a cheap price.


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Why is Newborn photography so expensive? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

Now that we’ve discussed why photography is so expensive let me dive deeper into Newborn Photography. Posed newborn photography is one of the most expensive photography niches to belong to! A Single prop can cost $100-200. I have newborn headbands from newborn photography vendors that cost me $70 Canadian Dollars. Not to mention all the little rompers for newborns. These are designed by newborn photography vendors that charge $140 USD – After shipping and exchange I’m looking at $200 for ONE OUTFIT! Besides the fact that we have to provide a stellar client closet, prop closet and studio space – We have to continuously order more and add to our collections. We have to be up to date on the most current trends or poses. We have to be educated in Editing, Marketing, Business, Book Keeping, Website creating, SEO, Blogging and so much more. Not to mention most of us do this all on our own. We run our business, we are the secretary, the book keeper, the editor, the marketer, website designer, photographer, stylist, cleaner, launderer, shipper etc. This really is a 24/7 Career that doesn’t quit. We deserve to make a living. We give everything we have of ourselves to be the best we can for you. 

I as an Edmonton Newborn Photographer can tell you that it makes my heart sad when people think they can have the best of both worlds. The request for the best newborn photographer with the most beautiful style and props are generally going to be the most expensive. And they should be. They’ve chosen to invest a lot into their business. They’ve also chosen to pay themselves a living wage. This means they are going to go into each session refreshed and knowing they are giving you their best while still able to feed their family and look after themselves financially. Not to mention, so many other things are considered when we think about “this living wage “. It would also include money set aside for Taxes, Insurance, setting aside finances to purchase equipment that is the best quality to give you the best results, and all of the other business expenses that most likely aren’t being counted by those “cheap photographers”.

What can you as the client do to show appreciation for those “Expensive Photographers” that you love might may not be able to afford? | Edmonton Newborn Photographer

There are a few simple things that you can do to help those “Expensive Photographers or Newborn Photographers” even if you aren’t hiring them at the moment. Because you should be rewarding those that are doing things the right way. Simple things that you can do is:

  • Share their website or social media posts online
  • Provide a great review on their Google Business after you’ve used their services
  • Refer these small locally owned businesses to your friends and family
  • Save up and invest in having your own memories documented with this chosen photographer
  • Continue to comment and engage on their blogs, reels & social media posts!

Yes some things in life aren’t cheap. And sometimes thats a good thing because you are supporting a small local business who creates beautiful timeless art for your family!

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