Portrait Photography

Find a portrait photographer near San Francisco, CA

Find a portrait photographer near San Francisco, CA

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Top 10 Portrait Photographers near San Francisco, CA

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

Where is the best place to take baby pictures?

Baby pictures are among the most popular types of portrait photography, and most newborn photographers are well versed in the best places to take baby pictures in their local areas. Some newborn photographers will come to the hospital to shoot the baby within a day or two of birth, while others have set up their studios to accommodate the needs of infants. Some parents prefer to have the newborn photographer come to their home or travel to a favorite park or other outdoor location. Like any portrait photography, the best place to take baby pictures is the place you like best and that will yield the types of photos you want of your baby, whether that’s posed and carefully lit studio portraits or spontaneous, casual photos at home. Work with a local newborn photographer to find a safe, calm location with great lighting and some privacy for your family.

How much do photographers charge for family portraits?

Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:

  • $175 for a one-hour studio session in Kansas.
  • $200 for a one-hour studio or outdoor session in Georgia. Includes two outfit changes, access to an online gallery, and about 200 high-resolution, edited digital photo files on a DVD, with permission to print.
  • $400 for a one-hour outdoor session in Southern California. Includes 25-30 fully edited photos accessible online or via CD/DVD.
  • $425 or more for a one-hour outdoor or in-home session in Illinois. Includes more than 50 professionally edited images, online access and print release.

How much does a baby photography cost?

Portrait photography provides parents with lasting images of the first whirlwind months of a newborn’s life. The cost varies based on several factors, including the length and location of the session, the number of photos provided, and the amount of editing and retouching the photographer does. The national average cost for baby photos is $150-$200. Some baby photographers charge by the number of photos provided, typically ranging from an average of $299 for 20 high-resolution edited photos, to an average of $399 for 35 photos, to $499 for all of the images taken in a single session. Props and location affect the cost, too; an elaborate studio shoot with props and professional lighting may increase the cost to $600-$700 for 20-50 photos. Adding a second location or asking the photographer to travel can add $70-$250 to the cost of the session. Photographers may also charge extra fees for providing additional photos and DVDs, scheduling weekend sessions, and shooting siblings. Expect to pay at least a $50 deposit when you book a portrait photography session.

When should you take newborn photos?

Few styles of portrait photography are as tricky as newborn photos — the unpredictable infant is always in charge! The best way to ensure a successful photo shoot is to work with a local newborn photographer within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. Some photographers even work with hospitals to offer newborn sessions within a day of the baby’s birth. But newborn photographers usually recommend scheduling a shoot during the baby’s first two weeks of life, while the baby is still sleepy and relatively cooperative, especially for posed or studio shots. During this time, babies are easier to swaddle in blankets and dress in hats or headbands, and, because they often nap or nurse, can be staged with various props or be cuddled by their parents. For casual photos, most newborn photographers recommend shooting within the first six weeks of a baby’s life. Lifestyle portrait photography is more flexible and doesn’t require the baby to cooperate with multiple poses or props.

Do you tip a photographer for family photos?

Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.

What should you wear for a family photo?

A family photographer captures your family in a series of professionally edited portraits. You can be goofy, you can be formal, you can be exactly how you want to be. To that end, you can wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident — feeling good translates to looking good in photos. However, top family photographers do have some style suggestions that will make your family photos more visually cohesive:

  • Ask the photographer for color suggestions if you’re doing an outdoor photo shoot. Location and time of day can affect which shades will fade in the sunlight and what will stand out in a good way.
  • Stay away from a mix of stripes or plaids on multiple people — the effect is too busy.
  • Steer clear of tiny patterns, which blend together too much.
  • Avoid wearing matching outfits.
  • Do wear outfits that are complementary in color.
  • Choose color over black-and-white outfits.
  • Do choose a theme, such as pastels, fall colors or summer colors.
  • Opt for tonally similar colors.  
  • Go easy on makeup for outdoor photo shoots.
Reviews for San Francisco portrait photographers
Nikhil V.
I’ve had an Incredible experience with Atler photography, not only with the actual photo shoot, but with the editing and post-shoot process as well. I’d definitely make the recommendation to anyone looking for portrait and candid-focused photoshoots.
Atler Photography and VideographyAtler Photography and Videography
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Stephanie to shoot portrait photos. The session was about 90 minutes and I was able to review all photos taken during the session. Communication was excellent. Stephanie was easy to work with and talk to. She asked questions and also wanted to know what the end goal was of the shoot. She also edited and sent the photos from the shoot in a very timely manner. I highly recommend her for a portrait session and would use her again.
Marilee.co Portrait PhotographyMarilee.co Portrait Photography
Jud F.
Kaitlyn was very responsive and flexible when working within our timeframe and budget. She provided quality service and photos for our university. Would highly recommend her for portrait photorgaphy.
Kaitlyn Rose PhotographyKaitlyn Rose Photography
Angela Y.
I took some portrait photos with Elizabeth and I loved the result! She was great to work with, good at directing poses, made me very comfortable in front of camera. And the photos were great, they were totally beyond my expectations, they looks like photo from a fashion magazine. Very happy that I picked her!
Elizabeth Dixon Photography'Elizabeth Dixon Photography'
Emily C.
Great family photo experience with Anyana! She was very professional, super responsive to messages and accommodating to our schedule and requests. Great with our two toddlers. We’re thrilled with the beautiful portraits she captured of our family!
Anyana Webb PhotographyAnyana Webb Photography
Thumbtack Customer
Brandon is a fantastic photographer which we just used for our family holiday portrait. He helped us pick the best time and location for the photo we wanted. He also connected with our toddler and our dog to keep them engaged in the shoot. We were very pleased with the photos that we received and plan to use Brandon again in the future.
Brandon Vaccaro StudioBrandon Vaccaro Studio
Allyson L.
Eric did a wonderful job photographing our family, which included two very energetic kids. He adapted quickly to their playful style and we got some amazing shots of them in action as well as beautiful posed family portraits. He also got us the photos the next day -- such a treat!
North Point Photography (Thumbtack Top Pro)North Point Photography (Thumbtack Top Pro)
Daniel O.
I am so impressed by your photography work of my client's office in San Francisco. Not just the interior space, but also the portraits of them. Everything from the compositions, to the lighting and the editing was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!
Kelli Santos PhotographyKelli Santos Photography
Thumbtack Customer
Tri responded within 5 minutes of the bid going out. He was flexible enough to take my portrait in the narrow timeframe I gave him, and within a day he had the proofs available for me to choose. He was very knowledgeable, and competent. His lighting skills were excellent. I have to say these are the best portraits anyone has ever taken of me. I know because I am a serious hobbyist photographer. I recommend Tri with great enthusiasm!!
Tri Nguyen Photography "Thumbtack's Best of 2020"Tri Nguyen Photography "Thumbtack's Best of 2020"
Kathryn K.
Eric produced a very professional looking portrait photograph for me. He took the time to understand what I was looking for and was meticulous in adjusting the lighting and the angle to get the right shot. I appreciated his attention to detail, responsiveness, and prompt delivery. Thanks, Eric!
North Point Photography (Thumbtack Top Pro)North Point Photography (Thumbtack Top Pro)
Harsha R.
Kelli was a thorough professional from start to finish, who went above and beyond what is expected of a photographer. They helped me choose a great spot outdoors for the photo-shoot, gave me a bit of much-needed fashion advice (:P) and bore with me over multiple iterations of edits! Great quality of work, which my hard-to-please family greatly appreciated! Highly recommend Kelli for any portrait photography needs!
Kelli Santos PhotographyKelli Santos Photography
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Ivy Yung to photograph two paintings for me at a high resolution for possible publication in a catalog. She was helpful in every way, not only doing fine work with the photos, but helping me carry the paintings to and from my car. Her specialty is photographing people and capturing their emotions, but I liked what she said about the paintings. Since they were portraits of people, she would look at them in the same way. And she did, with a clarity and sharpness I appreciate.
20/20 Photographers20/20 Photographers
Christine M.
I have to start off by saying I’ve never had professional photos done so I came into this nervous and not sure what I was doing. Brandon came through and made us feel really comfortable and had great suggestions on poses. I was beyond amazed at the results and couldn’t be more happier. We definitely will be using him in the near future for family portraits! HIGHLY suggest him for your next shoot!!
Brandon’s Photo & Video & Aerial droneBrandon’s Photo & Video & Aerial drone
Stacie K.
I'd like to add Value and Punctuality to the review along with Work Quality, Professionalism and Responsiveness- William is all of these! We are a family of four who have done yearly photos for a decade now. We have used several Bay Area photographers and we were absolutely blown away with William's skills, professionalism and easy demeanor! My husband has requested to use William strictly for the rest of our portrait needs, which is the biggest compliment. My kids and I loved him as well! He turned a normally stressful situation into an easy, non-complicated afternoon and this has never happened before him. Our photos are absolutely gorgeous and I'm so excited to hire him again for next year!
Jack Simpson PhotographyJack Simpson Photography
Thumbtack Customer
I highly recommend Patrick Power! I needed a professional portrait for a legal job application, and I hadn't had one taken in over 20 years. I wanted it to be professional, but also unique. I wasn't sure how to find a photographer, so I just put out a bid on thumbtack. Patrick responded very quickly and with a very reasonable price. I had resigned myself to just getting a studio portrait with a neutral background, but Patrick had the idea of meeting at City Hall to take the photo. I was very nervous and self-conscious about the process. I don't like having my picture taken and I am not very photogenic. It helped that City Hall was full of other photographers taking pictures of brides, grooms, and other people like me, so I didn't really stand out. I had a problem and ended up being pretty late to our meeting, but Patrick was very nice about it. I was sweating like crazy in my suit, but he did a good job of putting me at ease and letting me rest and cool down for a little bit white while he staked out spots to take the photo. He talked with me casually about what I was looking for in the photo, but we also made small talk about our lives and work, so that soon I felt very comfortable with him. As a result, I looked very natural in the photo. Patrick took a lot of shots, and several of them were quite good. I needed the work done on very short notice, including a print. I made the bid on a Sunday, we did the photo shoot on Monday, and I had the print by Tuesday morning. I love the photo, and my family and friends do too. Everyone agreed that not just my appearance, but also my personality comes through in the photo. I will definitely call Patrick again if I need another photo taken in the future!
Patrick T. Power PhotographyPatrick T. Power Photography
Ram A.
Eric did a fantastic job capturing my portrait photos around San Francisco area. Right from corresponding with me for choosing the best locations to building a strong theme for my shoot, Eric was very patient and paid close attention to detail. I highly recommend scheduling any of your photoshoots with him because he is willing to go above and beyond to offer you the best output. His knowledge of SF is reflected in his ability to identify ideal locations for different occasions. I can vouch that you'll be more than satisfied by his excellent work.
North Point Photography (Thumbtack Top Pro)North Point Photography (Thumbtack Top Pro)
Venisa P.
Godoy Shots Studios is by far one of the best photographers in San Francisco. Nabor Godoy, Owner and Photographer is friendly, easy to work with and brings out the best in you! I wanted to include my Pomeranium for my branding pictures and he was so friendly to Keanu that he brought out the best in him as well. While my husband waited, Nabor invited him to join for a few family portraits, perfect for the upcoming holidays. His studio is clean, provides a fitting room, bathroom and the BEST props to give your Branding Pictures that extra special something that you're seeking. You would be surprised at how many studios don't offer the amenities that he offers which is ideal. If you're looking for Headshots and Personal Branding don't give it a second thought and book your appointment with him. Even if you live in the Bay Area, the trip into SF is 200% worth it. Make it Happen! Thanks again, Venisa
Godoy Shots | Headshots and Portrait PhotographyGodoy Shots | Headshots and Portrait Photography
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