Yes, this is an investment, but here’s why:
“So why does it cost so much to photograph a sleeping baby?” I hear this all the time and have to chuckle. It’s easy to see the gorgeous portrait and not realize what went into creating it!
The saying “Time is money” is very true here. On average every newborn session takes about 20-30 hours. To provide the best experience for parents and baby, I can do only one session per day, up to three newborn sessions a week.
Here is why it takes 20-30 hours for each newborn session:
2 hour – Cleaning – Before every session I personally do a deep-cleaning the studio, and washing and sanitizing everything baby will come in contact with.
1 hour – Studio set up. During this time I put together the sets/backdrops, posing buckets and pillows. I pick out outfits and props based on my conversation with Mom and Dad, and based on color palettes in your home. I prepare equipment and test lights to minimize delays due to malfunctions. I’m ready to go with a camera in-hand to start photographing the moment you walk in. Many times baby sleeps in a car and we can start working with your baby right away. Other times, baby might need to feed again and we wait until baby is ready.
2-4 hour – Session – Taking photographs might seem quick and easy, but it truly takes a lot of time and patience to sooth and position the baby. During most newborn sessions, baby needs to eat and we recommend feeding one more time before you leave the studio to ensure the baby has comfy ride back home. Newborn babies typically need to eat every 2 hours and we realize a feeding take up to 40 minutes. Soothing the baby and comforting can take up to an one hour of session time. That is why we have you come and relax while we do all the work.
8-16 hours – Upload, back up, edit photos. I fully edit every photograph presented to you. I work on color correcting, toning and retouching images. Fixing red feet that most babies have, yellow skin tones (jaundice is common), baby acne, mom’s arms and skin touch ups. I also include a digitally painted composite with each session (those images where you see baby composted into a hanging basket or a tree branch or prop, posing sitting up, etc). Each painting takes about 2-3 hours.
4-5 hour In-Person Meeting – I do all my meetings in person:
*1-2 hour pre-consultation meeting (learning about your style and needs);*1-2 hr viewing and ordering appointment (I will show you full gallery of your images in a slideshow and help you decide which photos go into an album, and which will be spectacular on your wall);
*15min- 1 hour pick up meeting (it takes about 15 min to pick up products but if you have baby with you it might take an hour. Mom’s often feed the baby in the studio before driving back home);
*5- 10 hour – Custom designs – I spend at least 5 hours artistically designing each album; at least 1 hour for archival wall art, and a few hours for print orders. I don’t use someone else’s templates — all my products are custom designed. Between designing albums, sending design proofs to you, submitting to the labs, keeping track of orders and paperwork it takes me few hours here.
In conclusion, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is true. I’ve spent countless of hours and money on continuing-education to perfect my craft. I’ve gladly spent thousands of dollars on professional equipment (cameras, lenses, studio lighting, computer and software, props). Thousands more goes to year in studio cost, to make sure I am prepared for you and your baby.
The best way to make an informed choice of a newborn photographer is to focus on quality, safety and experience. Hiring a photographer based on the price alone might not be the best idea here. Your newborn’s portraits will hold a very special place in your heart for the rest of your life. It takes the right person to safely photograph your precious newborn baby.