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Professional photographers are hired to shoot photo sessions and retouch photos for print. Common requests for portrait photography include family, solo portrait, graduating senior portrait, newborn, maternity, children, professional headshots and modeling headshots. Photo shoots can take place in a photo studio, outdoors or in a client’s home or office. A variety of factors affect the total cost of portrait photography.

Photography type

Photographers may have standard rates across the board or may vary their rates for different kinds of sessions. Photographer Luc Kordas has a set rate of $200 per hour, while Shanta N. Covington Photography has session rates that also include a print. Examples of her tiered pricing:

  • Family photography: $350 for a two-hour session, 50 edited images and one 5x7 print

  • Maternity/baby photography: $350 for a 2.5-hour session, 50 edited images and one 5x7 print

Packages

Bundling multiple shoots over time with the same photographer can decrease the cost per session overall. For example, Memories in a Flash Photography offers a $620 Milestone package that includes a full session each for maternity photos, newborn photos, six-month-old photos and one-year-old photos.

Location

The costs associated with travel (gas, time, etc.) may increase portrait photography prices, as well as any extra work required of the photographer to transport equipment. For example, Memories in a Flash Photography offers a newborn photography session that starts at $300 and includes four hours of studio time. The same package at the client’s home starts at $400. Conversely, photographers with private studios may have higher fees because they have office overhead expenses as well as potentially more equipment and props to use with clients.

Number of people

Single-person portraits typically cost less per session than sessions with families or small groups. For example, Brandi McComb Photography offers the following pricing:

  • Individual sessions: starting at $200

  • Family sessions (5 people or less): starting at $300

  • Group sessions (6 people or more): starting at $400

Photo delivery

Purchasing prints through the photographer can increase the overall cost of having portraits taken. Other options include online download of digital photo files and CD, DVD or flash drive delivery of photos. Clarify how photos will be delivered when signing a contract. Having access to all the photos from a photo shoot is not always a standard practice. Requesting this access can greatly increase costs.

Reputation

Renowned photographers can command higher rates than those without an established following. Geographic location can also play a role in portrait photography rates. Photographers in more rural areas typically have lower rates, and those in metropolitan areas generally have higher prices.

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Millions of people ask Thumbtack for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you.