A few months back a fellow photographer had asked me what it takes to be a newborn photographer, as she was thinking of trying it. A few weeks ago, I had an inquiry of a new mother wanting her little photographed, she asked ‘Why are you so expensive’. And ironically about a week ago I was asked by someone in a facebook group to write a blog about what it takes to be a newborn photographer, what both parties (client and artist) pay for. Perfect timing.
This took a lot of thought, because art isn’t something that can be taught, I mean the basics can but the passion is what drives it. You have to love what you do to keep investing in it. Being a newborn photographer takes patience, you will fail at it when you first begin. It’s something we all go through as photographers period. Being a newborn photographer IS NOT CHEAP, it’s an investment. However if you’re not defeated easily you will look at each image, and you will see what you can perfect, what you can improve on, and what you most love about it.
As a client’s point of view, you are paying for talent, and that quality of style that caught your eye. You are investing in that photographers art. You are paying for custom newborn photography, custom props (whether it be a tieback or moon prop), safety training, education, and more. Clients, we as newborn photographers do not learn overnight, it takes us a while. Most of us want to improve our skills so we take workshops from the greatest of greats, Amy Cook, Nicole Smith, Amy McDaniel, Meg Bitton, Kelly Brown, Robin Long, Julia Kelleher, Beyond The Milky Way, and my number one Jamie Anderson (who I took a few from). These workshops come at a steep price, and we as photographers invest in them to improve what we LOVE the most doing. These workshops teach us how to bring out our creative soul, by newborn safety, editing skills, learning how to pose in such a delicate way, and so much more. (This is why it’s extremely important that when finding a newborn photographer, that you know who you’re investing in, is it QUALITY that you are looking for, is it QUANTITY that you want on who’s the cheapest?)
The majority of us newborn photographers invest in our education, and our glass first. The lens, ah…..these lenses are pride and joys. I treat mine like they are babies. Each piece of glass costs, some photographers put it on credit, and some of us build until we can pay. Our equipment is a huge investment for us. Octoboxes, Alien bee’s, triggers, battery grips, whatever we need.
I was asked to break down my costs, and truthfully some of my prop issue is because I work with incredible amazing talented vendors. These ladies hand create these props, they do such amazing work, how can we not go back for more! I need to work on this, it’s a prop addiction, and 99% of newborn photographers I’ve worked with have it.
Here’s a basic breakdown the costs for all these beautiful props. Here’s what I pay for as far as software, and such goes:
Because Photoshop CS6 is discontinued, and is almost a $2,000.00 value on Amazon, we now are offered CC (creative cloud) which is a month membership to see the latest and improved photoshop.
Studio organizing software. IPS (In Person Sales) software, Tax Software, Gallery Software, Video Software, and Music Software.
Memberships for our Photography, one I am a membership to is almost a $600 cost a year.
Education, Equipment (including the Wacom Tablet I edit with), Marketing Materials (this includes business cards and flyers), things to make our business flow smoother. The first year I was in business I maxed out and spent a lot in Marketing. (Yes social media like facebook, charges us small business owners for YOU the consumer to see us)
Insurance, I actually carry two. One for equipment and one for the actual photography business.
Email space, website (I design my own) costs, and storage space (I have 5 hard drives however I use backup blaze for a backup in case one fails or they all do at once.
And tons and tons of hours learning to edit, sitting in front of the computer for many hours. I hand edit, I do not use any actions. Actions are ‘premade’ editing techniques other photographers have sourced together, so on photoshop you install it and hit ‘play’ it applies the edits for you. It takes a while to learn to edit by hand, but once you learn.. you will never go back.
If you still want to be a newborn photographer, that’s great! But just understand there’s a cost for this. It’s not cheap, and depending on your own specific style (say vintage or shabby chic), there’s a cost to that as well. It’s called “branding” yourself though. If you make your brand to fit YOU, people will be able to recognize your work, and want it more. Just educate yourself, take your time, and ask for help! Some of us will try and help you as much as we can.
There are both costs between client and artist. To the client, am I, the newborn photographer worth it? If so, you will understand why we put a price on what we do. What we charge is not going into our pockets, it’s going back into our business costs. Not to mention, we have overhead costs from our families too. I was taught in business class that it costs money to make money, yes. Yes it does. I was also taught that quality is what the consumer looks for.
This is primarily why I, as an artist sell my art. The beautiful newborn I photographed, which wore 4 different outfits, 3 different props on wood flooring, 8 poses on different fabric on the poser, and the beautiful parent shots with their little one….. is presented to YOU the consumer (my amazing client). I want you to be in pure awe of your new little arrival and purchase that gorgeous canvas to put above crib in the nursery, or that beautiful 8×10 print to put on your desk in the office or in a matte frame on the wall. Art sells, that right there… is what makes us newborn photographers so proud. (Seriously some of us shed tears on how much YOU love our work)
I do birth photography as well, and this means I am on call for nearly 4 weeks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means I barely sleep, I cuddle with my phone, most my time is away from my family once I get called to photograph a birth. One birth it took 15 hours, and I stayed two hours after. I am there when I am needed, even in a false alarm, I am there for mom and dad. I am there to document a very intimate special day in their lives.
BUT price shouldn’t matter, it’s the art you are seeing. The talent and trusting that photographer. As a client you are receiving gorgeous art pieces for your home, for your living room, for the nursery, which lasts for years!
Here’s a breakdown of the above: (ps. there’s more in the mystery closet, stars, wood planks, dreamcatcher, gowns….)