Well, it depends.
 
8 min. read

 

 

Before we dive into how much family photos cost, I’m delighted you are here and have started thinking about getting photos of this stage of your family life. We all know how fast the days and weeks go, so it’s great you are taking the time from your busy schedule to find a family photographer and budget that suits you best. 

When you start viewing websites of potential photographers, one of the first tabs you may be tempted to look at is the Pricing/Investment tab. You probably want to know how much is this going to cost and rightly so. You’ve worked hard for your money and should invest it in things and people that are important to you.    

For those of you who have started comparing family photographers, you may have noticed that prices can vary quite a bit from photographer to photographer and you may wonder why. 

While there are many factors that can affect the price of a photographer’s family session (such as the time of year, day of the week, amount of editing involved, etc…), here are a few common ones which contribute to the wide price range. 

PRICING MODEL

Package v Session Fee + Add Ons

 INVOLVEMENT

Hands Off v Guided

PHOTOGRAPHER

New v Experienced

LOCATION

In Studio v In Home

PRICING MODEL

Family photographers structure their prices for their sessions in many different ways, but here are two common structures.

– The Package –

This is one set price and includes the photographer’s time as well as various add-ons. What is included in each package varies between photographers but below are sample packages that family photographers may offer.

The great thing about this pricing model is you know exactly what you are getting when you initially book the session. Depending on the photographer, you may also have the option to add on a few things after you’ve seen the images if these weren’t included in your initial package.  

  • Package Sample 1
  • X hours for session
  • X # of high resolution digitals
  • Package Sample 2
  • €€

  • X hours for session
  • Full gallery of high resolution digitals
  • Family Album
  • Package Sample 3
  • €€€

  • X hours for session
  • Full gallery of high resolution digitals
  • Family Album
  • €€ Print Credit
  • x # of Matted Prints
– Session Fee + Add Ons –

Session Fee (Photographer’s time) Aka Creative Fee or Sitting Fee

This includes the photographer’s time for doing a pre-consultation call with you if they offer that, their time for photographing you and your family, and their time after the session when they are editing and preparing your beautiful image gallery. Unless noted otherwise, this does not include any images from the session. These come as add-ons.

Add Ons (Digital files, albums, etc..) 

Once your gallery is ready and you’ve had time to view your images, you’ll have the option of purchasing your favourite images. Some photographers will meet you in person and go over what they offer, others may have an online shop linked to your gallery that you can order from, and some may do something in between (e.g. a video call). 

The add ons often include high-resolution digital files, high quality prints, framed prints, albums, wall art, etc…

One of the great things about this pricing model is that it gives you flexibility. You decide what products you would love to have in your home or give to family and friends after you’ve seen the images. This gives you more control over how much money you want to invest.

Wooden box for pictures
Matted print on table

INVOLVEMENT

The price of a session varies not just due to the length of a session (the longer the more expensive) or the number of people included (the more members, the more expensive), but also the involvement of the photographer throughout the process. 

Hands Off Approach

There are family photographers who may do multiple shoots a day and are more hands off. So you might book your session online, meet the photographer on the day of the session, get your 20 minute photo session, receive the prints you ordered and everything is done and dusted. This is great if you are looking for a quick session where you can get a few nice posed images of the family you can display around your home.

Highly Personalised Approach

Then there are other photographers who may only do a few sessions a month and have a very hands on approach, guiding you every step of your photography journey. They may have a video call with you before the session to meet you and go over any questions you have, spend a full day with you photographing your family, meet you after the session to look at the images and show you samples of possible products, and then visit you again to deliver the final products. This is ideal for families looking to work with a photographer who they are comfortable with and want more intimate, authentic images of their family captured as well as high quality products. This is a highly personalised experience which is reflected in the price. 

And of course there are many family photographers who are somewhere in between, which is where I would be. 

Photographer talking to client

Image credit: Marie O’Mahony

PHOTOGRAPHER’S EXPERIENCE

Family photographers who are just starting out often have a lower price for their sessions which can be appealing, especially if the budget is a bit tight. Those with more experience often have a higher price but with that comes higher quality images and level of service you receive. 

But finding an experienced photographer isn’t necessarily about looking at the number of years someone has been in the business or where they went to school. A photographer’s work should speak for itself. Those that have images that show a very strong understanding of their technical skills (shutter speed, exposure, aperture, etc…) and creative skills (their unique voice, storytelling, angles, framing, etc..) will stand out. You’ll know if you like the photographer if you find yourself lingering on their images for a bit longer.  

Having the skills to be able to capture certain family moments that speak to you isn’t as simple as clicking a button and hoping for the best. Photographers who create these types of images have invested time, energy, and money into learning this craft (think conferences, mentorships, workshops, courses, etc…). They know how to communicate and make your journey with them from start to finish as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Boy eating lunch
Boys making faces at each other in farmyard

LOCATION

Location of the Session

The distance the photographer has to travel will often factor into the price. If you have found your ideal photographer but they live 5 hours away, there will most likely be a travel cost associated with it. Photographers should say if/when they charge for travel and at what rate. If you don’t see it on their website or photography session material, make sure to clarify this with them before you book so you don’t get a surprise cost later.

Brother and sister playing on floor

Figuring out how much you want to financially invest in your family photo session will be unique to each family. As we covered, a few questions that will affect the price are:

  • How involved do you want your photographer?

  • What style of images do you want of your family?

  • What quality of images do you want?

  • What quality of products do you want?

What price would you pay in 20 years time to have a picture of your children playing with eachother in the living room?

Everyone’s financial situation is different so if you’ve found your ideal photographer but booking them now isn’t financial feasible, a few options would be:

  • Put aside a small amount of money every week that will go towards booking your family photography session for next year.
  • Suggest to loved ones that you are interested in a session with the photographer and, if possible, have them purchase gift cards with that photographer.
  • Ask your photographer if they take payments in installments.

Whichever family photographer you choose to work with and however much you decide to spend on your family photos, I’m delighted you are investing time and money into this beautiful and fleeting stage of your life with people that you love. You won’t regret it.