One of the first questions that I get asked as a newborn photographer is "How much do you charge and what do I get?" A good and simple answer is virtually impossible to give. How long is a piece of string and what do you want it to do? We always recommend coming into the studio before you book to make sure that we can provide what you want and to answer any questions you may have. We can then give you a far better idea of what your newborn photography experience cost will be. To help explain how we get to the price that we charge I have described below the normal things that are taken into account. Photographers who do not take these things into account will find it hard to be in business for any length of time.
Before a customer even gets into the studio the professional newborn photographer has already invested in the art work that will eventually be produced.
Expenses which can not be attributed to a single client and are ongoing:
Electricity, building, contents & equipment insurance
Website hosting and maintenance
Land line or mobile phone (rental and calls)
Book keeping & accountancy
Public liability insurance
Car insurance (deliveries, collecting from suppliers, driving to training and trade shows)
Professional development (include training)
Office stationery, marketing materials ; business cards, brochures etc
Equipment; camera, lenses, annual camera service, lights.
Props & backdrops and sample products
Costs we can allocate to specific session:
Direct costs, Heating/light, specific props, refreshments, washing, online gallery, and of course the actual products
Then there is our time:
Communicating prior to the shoot, emails, calls, messages, confirmation, (1 hour)
Session prep. Choosing props and backdrops, cleaning and prep of studio/work area (1 hour)
Session (up to 4 hours in the case of a newborn)
Aftermath – tidying of studio and washing soiled props (1.5 hours)
Image selection (1 hour)
Digital development of images (5 hours)
Backing up images, posting sneak peek (1 hour)
Prep for viewing (1 hour)
Viewing session (1 hours)
Product selection and ordering (3 hours)
Uploading images for print (1 hour)
Burning to USB (20 min)
Checking products (30 min)
Keeping the business going:
Attending networking events, social media, administration, website maintenance, blog, book keeping and research
Not forgetting the time just looking at the beautiful images that make us all so, ........ happy.
When selecting your newborn baby photographer don't forget to check out the facilities and service that you will be getting. Are they regular newborn photographers or do they fit newborns in with other photography work? Do they have dedicated facilities or do they use general purpose areas?
Chumba started renting the use of a studio but very quickly decided that this was not an acceptable option for newborn photography. If we were going to provide a quality service we needed to be in control of the area used. By renting someone else's studio we could not guarantee who was using the studio the day before and what state it would be in when we arrived.
We took the decision to construct our own dedicated space with newborns at the heart of the design. Hygiene was a primary aspect, so the ability to be able to easily clean the area was needed. It was also important to be able to control the temperature for baby so we invested in ceiling mounted far infrared heating. We also needed space so that parents could relax and watch the session in comfort. Catering, baby changing and laundry facilities form a big part of the Chumba service so these facilities also needed incorporating.
We have been using our new studio in Baston, Lincolnshire for just over a year now and we are very happy with how it has all turned out, but most importantly our new parents agree.
I have the privilege of talking to lots of new mums and dads as well as having survived 6 children of my own. The prevailing view that I have formed during this time is that there is a lot of places that you can get advice from and there are a lot of places that give you advice even if you don't want it. The advice given is invariably different even though the problem is the same. Well if that isn't enough here goes my two pence worth.
If this is having baby lay on your chest for a sleep while you have a break and watch a bit of TV, if this is rocking baby to sleep in your arms so they settle better, if this is putting them in the car seat and driving around the block then so be it. As long as it gets you through the day. There will be plenty of time in the months and years to come to get into routines and schedules. One other bit of general advice would be:
Most things are far easier to cope with when you are not tired/exhausted. Be prepared to nap as soon as the opportunity arises, get a room with some blackout blinds, or thick curtains so you can nap easier in the day. Sleep when baby sleeps. Take whatever offers you get for a baby sitter, even if it is for half an hour. A 30 minute soak in the bath knowing that if baby wakes you will not have to jump out makes all the difference.
If only we could sleep as soundly!
If you want specific newborn poses, check with your photographer first and ask how are they going to produce them.
Having six children of my own I know how delicate newborns are. Forcing babies into poses or expecting them to hold themselves in unusual positions is unforgivable.
It is essential that you as parents are informed and confident about what is good practice so that you can intervene and stop a photographer if you feel that the situation is unsafe.
Newborn and baby photography sessions can be unpredictable and take longer than other types of portrait photography. If you feel the session is being rushed then that is a good sign that baby’s safety is not paramount and you should ask for the session to be stopped.
Properly conducted sessions usually last up to four hours, in temperature controlled rooms with either an assistant or a parent acting as a “spotter” to monitor and support the baby if required.
How old should my baby be for a newborn photo session?
The age of the babies will make a difference in what type of poses we are able to position them in and whether they will like it or not. All babies are different, and it’s not that one baby will be easier to pose over another one based upon how old it is, but generally speaking, the age of the baby can dictate how the newborn photo session will run.
Younger babies tend to go into curly poses much easier than older babies and they don’t mind much about having their clothes off, especially if the studio is nice and cosy.
Babies Younger than Two Weeks
Ideally Chumba newborn photography sessions are scheduled between five and ten days after birth. Although we do schedule newborns later than this. We strongly encourage parents to schedule sessions when babies are at least under two weeks of age. At this age, they are more likely to curl up in “womb-like” poses, stay asleep longer, don’t mind being unclothed.