Why is photography so expensive?

Why is photography so expensive?

If you have ever considered hiring a professional photographer, you have probably asked yourself, “Why is photography so expensive?”  Anyone who has spent time searching the internet has most likely asked themselves that and I totally understand.  Why?  I asked the same thing myself years back!

The first thing to understand is that photography is an art, not just a picture.  There is plenty of thought that goes into a seemingly simple photograph.  While I don’t expect this post to change your mind about how you invest your money, I do hope that it helps explain why newborn photography is so costly.  So let’s dive into why good photography is expensive.


You know the saying, time is money?  Well, this may be the best place to begin.  On average, each session takes about 14 hours from start to finish.  Wait!  You only see me for about 2 hours, how can that be?? (Again, I understand where this is coming from!)

  • Communication, planning, and ordering any needed items- about 2 hours
  • Set up (cleaning, setting up props, styling the session, etc)- about 2 hours.  No really, ask my husband!  He’s always asking, “Are you done yet?  Why did that take so long?” I want to make sure that I really think out the session and have everything ready before you arrive! 
  • The session itself (soothing the baby, carefully posing, etc) -about 3 hours
  • Cleaning up (a lot of laundry, cleaning up spit up, poo, putting back props, etc.) – about 1.5 hours
  • Uploading, culling, and editing the photos- about 5 hours.  
  • Creating the gallery, ordering products, packaging said products, and delivery or mailing the products- 2 hours.

The editing is the most time consuming and it’s never just a ‘one click’.  Here’s a before and after:

Before:                                                                                                                   After:








As there is with any profession, there is always more to learn and ways to improve.  But with newborn photography, education is an important key.  Why? Well you wouldn’t want to just hand over your precious little one to someone who has very little experience or who does not know how to safely pose them!  Education is an on going endeavor for me, as I always am looking to improve to bring you the highest quality session.  I also have years of experience with babies.  They are only little once, let’s preserve that memory in the most beautiful, safest way possible.

Business Expenses:

Let me start out by saying, my background is in education, not business.  When I started out, I didn’t have the slightest clue as to how to run one, or how much it would cost.  Hello taxes, insurance, accounting, legal fees and more!  Honestly, I was shocked the first year I did my taxes.  I worked that hard for that little?  Yikes!  And if you are using a retail space, this goes through the roof!

Gear and props:

Well, yes, you most likely know that that camera and lens you see is very expensive, given parents reaction when their toddler reaches right for it.  But you also probably didn’t think about the lighting and back up equipment that I keep just in case.  Or the fact that because I use the gear so much that I am constantly saving for the replacement of it.  And finally the props.  Everyone’s favorite, including me!  Those add up quickly and yes, I may have an addition to buying them.  During most sessions, we use hundreds of dollars in props!  While I am able reuse them, the constant use, washing, and updating chews up a large amount of the monthly expenses.

If you have read this far, thank you!

I greatly appreciate it!  But you are probably thinking, money is money, why spend so much of it on photography??  Well, that’s all a personal choice of course and not everyone can afford custom photography.  That’s okay!  Certainly there are other lower cost options.  There are big chain studios and beginner photographers everywhere.

But if you can see and value the difference in a skilled professional photographer, it’s an investment you will not regret.  That fancy smartphone won’t be around more than a few years, but your photographs will be enjoyed for generations to come (if they are printed!).  I bet when you are old and your children have grown, the one thing that you will cherish most is the photos of them when they were little.  So make them count and make them last. <3