Professional photographers take family portraits year-round. Family portrait sessions may take place at the customer’s home, in a photo studio or outdoors. People often request a specific style of family portrait such as traditional or classic, candid, artistic (focused on lighting and composition) or in natural settings. Several factors can affect the cost of family portraits.
Many photographers offer set packages for family portrait sessions. The rate generally varies based on what is included, such as the number of edited photos, outfit changes and so on. Here are a few examples of family portrait packages and what is included:
Bliss Photography, Overland Park, Kansas: $175 for a one-hour studio
CameraKoala Photography, Midway, Georgia: $200 for a one-hour studio or outdoor session, including two outfit changes, access to an online gallery, and about 200 high-resolution, edited digital photo files on a DVD, with permission to print
J.J. Bentley, Torrance, California: $400 for a one-hour outdoor session and 25–30 fully edited photos accessible online or via CD/DVD
Ashley Hamm Photography, Arlington Heights, Illinois: $425+ for a one-hour outdoor or in-home session and 50+ professionally edited images, online access and print release
Some photographers offer family portrait sessions at an hourly rate. Rachel Grahmann Photography & Design charges $125 per hour, including the in-office time of retouching prints and digital files. An hourly fee can help photographers accommodate for energy and focus concerns when working with pets or small children.
Some photographers quote only the cost of the photo session in their prices, while other photographers include the cost of access to the photos in their price. Common methods of photo delivery can include access to an online gallery, CD/DVD or flash drive.
Photographers may offer makeup services for family portraits. Makeup application almost always costs extra, unless this service is specifically included in a package price. Makeup application can cost anywhere from $50–$150 per person, depending on the specific services requested.
Depending on the location of the photo shoot, photographers may charge a travel fee. For example, Rachel Grahmann Photography & Design, based in San Antonio, Texas, charges a fee for travel if a photo shoot is outside of the city. Her base rate of $125 per hour can fluctuate up to $200 per hour to reflect her travel time and transportation expenses.
Reputation and location
Famous and high-profile photographers often have higher rates than those without an established following. A photographer’s geographic location can also play a role in family portrait photography rates. Photo sessions in more rural areas and smaller towns generally cost less than in metropolitan areas.
Pets and props
Many family portraits include pets or props. Often the photographer will not charge an additional fee to include furry friends in the photos. Also, many photographers have simple props that may be included in a package or hourly fee. Be sure to inquire about specifics before signing a contract.
Prices may be higher if a photo shoot takes place at a studio rather than at an outdoor or home location. Higher overhead expenses to the business owner and typically more lighting and staging equipment can lead to increased costs to the customer.
Before paying a deposit, ask whether access to the final photos is included in the cost of the photo shoot, and if so, how they will be delivered. Receiving all the photos from a photo shoot is not always included and can dramatically increase overall costs if the customer has to buy the rights to them from the photographer separately.
- Plan to pay a deposit up front to secure family portrait sessions. Some photographers require a nonrefundable 50 percent deposit for photo shoots, so be sure to plan for a day you can commit to.