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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.