How much does newborn photography cost?

Black & white image of little newborn feet in mom's hands.



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I'm Marjorie


I work with parents who want relaxed and unposed photos, providing them with images that capture the joyful and unscripted moments in life.

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As an expecting parent, you are undoubtedly in a planning phase of your life. Putting together a crib, buying baby clothes, preparing the nursery, installing a car seat, and possibly thinking of… getting Newborn Photos. 

It seems obvious that this once-in-a-lifetime moment is worth capturing, but you may be asking yourself, “Is it worth hiring a professional photographer for a newborn photo session? And if so, what does it cost?”

Black & white image of little newborn feet in mom's hands.

The short answer to the first question – in my opinion – is a resounding YES! Totally worth it! And I’ll share my thoughts on why throughout the article. 

The second question – how much does it cost – is a little more complicated. Why? Because there is no industry standard for newborn photography pricing, which can be very confusing. 

There are two obvious things you’re paying for when you hire a newborn photographer: their services (taking your photos) and their products (the actual photos.)

But there is a “hidden” third element you’re also purchasing: the experience.

Whether you’re treated like a VIP, or have a less personalized relationship with your photographer, will also influence the overall pricing.

I wrote an article about Finding the Right Photographer For You. It’s worth checking out if you’re currently shopping around! There are short videos covering everything you should consider before hiring a newborn photographer, including the one below where I discuss Price Point. It’s a good place to start!

Is a professional newborn photography session worth it?

Considering how phone cameras have become more sophisticated and the fact that everyone has that one friend who’s pretty good with a camera – this is a valid question!

But let me tell you this: even as a professional photographer, I still chose to hire another professional photographer when it was time for my own newborn photos. 

Newborn baby wearing muted mustard tones asleep in his crib.

Here are 6 reasons why I think you should, too:

  1. You will be so busy, mama. Having a newborn baby is A LOT! Even if you have older children already and this is not your first rodeo. Even if you have 20 nieces and nephews you’ve been babysitting for years. Even if you’re a preschool teacher and are around littles all day! A newborn photo session takes time and planning – don’t give yourself another job during this time!
  1. Use this time to be present with your baby. If done correctly, a newborn photo session can be the perfect opportunity to slow down and focus on your baby and partner. Those early days can easily feel like a blur. Why not take that time to just… be? 
  1. You should be in the frame! Regardless of how you feel in your mind and body after you deliver your baby, it’s crucial for you to be in the photos, too. This moment is not just about the baby, but about all of you, together. You just did something amazing and should be celebrated for it.  
  1. Professional photos will look… better. If you’re working with an experienced photographer, then they will think about composition, color, angles, white balance, depth of field, lens choice, and a whole bunch of other technical stuff. Basically, they will use their knowledge and expertise to deliver beautiful images. 
  1. It’s not just about the digitals. Get print products, too! If you think you have too many photos on your phone, wait till you have a baby! And what will you do with all those photos? Scroll through them occasionally? So… not much, in other words. I am a huge proponent of getting print products – loose prints, framed prints, albums, collage walls, etc – so you can look at those photos, and show them off, as much as you want. Many newborn photographers will offer products as well as digitals.  
  1. Your future self will thank you. Getting newborn photos is not the kind of thing you’ll regret. Imagine yourself on the couch on your kid’s 3rd birthday, looking through their newborn photos together? They’ll be able to see their little hands and feet, all the hair they were born with, but more than anything, how much you loved them already.
Mom holding her newborn baby in a pink and violet nursery.

What am I paying for when I book a newborn photo session?

When you hire a professional newborn photographer, there are two obvious things you’re paying for: their services and their products. 

Their service covers everything from the time it takes them to prepare for your photo session, to the session itself, editing your photos, and delivering the final products, whether those are digitals or print products. 

The products are the photos they deliver. Those can be digital images, print products (such as loose prints, print packs, framed prints, albums, display walls, etc) or a combination of both!

But there is also a “hidden” third element you’re purchasing: the experience. 

Mother snuggling her newborn baby girl close in this black & white image.

Your experience has to do with how you feel each step of the way. Are you relaxed and confident in your photographer’s ability to serve you? Or do you feel anxious and confused about what you just got yourself into? 

Of course you won’t know for sure until you’re actually going through the journey with your photographer, but here are a few question to ask yourself before committing to someone:

  • Does their website seem professional? Can you easily contact them or take the next step?
  • How is the communication? Are they prompt and professional?
  • Do they outline their process? Do you generally know what the next step will be?
  • If they offer a discovery call, did you feel like you connected with them? Do your personalities gel?
  • Have you expressed what you’re looking for from your newborn session, and have they assured you they can provide that for you?  
  • Do their past clients seem satisfied?

The “hard costs” of newborn photography

Now let’s dive into some of the more literal aspects of what influences pricing. Let’s talk about the hard costs. 

This is what makes up the overhead for professional photographers. Some items are obvious, while others might not have occurred to you:

  • Camera gear (duh!)
  • A computer in great working condition that can handle processing of large files
  • Editing software (such as Adobe Lightroom)
  • Insurance
  • Website design and hosting
  • CRM (Client Relationship Management software) – allows entrepreneurs to collect payments, sign contracts, send out client emails, etc.
  • Gallery software – for photo hosting and delivery to clients
  • Email Marketing subscription – to send out newsletters and promotional emails  (such as Mail Chimp, Convertkit, or Flodesk)
  • Education – even the best photographers are always trying to improve through courses, conventions, etc.
Black and white image of a grandmother holding her newborn grandson as her toddler granddaughter squeezes him from the other side.

The “intangibles” you pay for when booking a professional newborn photographer

This is where experience and expertise come in. With any kind of photography, the photographer not only needs to know their equipment like the back of their hand, but they must know how to deal with the people on the other side of the camera. 

What good is it to have a person who’s a master of lighting but is uncomfortable around babies?

For newborn photography, the list of intangibles looks like this:

  • Speed and ease at which they can set up and use all their gear
  • Ability to use available light (sunlight) in a flattering and compelling way, or knowledge around the use of artificial lighting (such as off-camera flash or studio lighting)
  • Basic understanding of color and how it impacts mood and tone
  • Skills as a photo editor to create a cohesive collection for each client
  • Leadership skills to guide clients through their journey together and, most importantly, their photo session
  • Understanding of newborns – their needs, schedules, and possible issues that could arise (and how to solve them!)
  • Sensitivity around new parents – this is an extremely vulnerable time for new parents, especially the birthing parent who might be uncomfortable in their new body. Parents will be sleep-deprived while navigating a completely new reality. You want someone who will honor and respect those needs.
  • Great communication skills across the board (whether it’s over the phone, via email, or in person)
  • Organization skills – staying on top of each client’s needs and general business responsibilities
  • All-around entrepreneur – understanding of not just photography but SEO, marketing, social media, branding, website design, blogging, etc.

Possible business models for photographers

The two most common business models for newborn photographers are: 

  1. All-inclusive
  2. Service/product
Newborn baby makes a funny  face as dad kisses and tickles him with his whiskers.

With an all-inclusive model, you pay a fixed fee that includes the session as well as the photographs. And in most cases, the photographs are offered as digitals only, not print products (such as print packs, framed prints, albums, display walls, etc.) 

All-inclusive photographers are usually in the lower end of the spectrum, charging in the $100’s. 

The service/product business model means you pay for services and products separately. Usually the photographer will require a session fee or deposit at the time of booking and offer packages or collections after your session. They may have 3-5 collections for you to pick from, each including a certain number of digitals plus either specific products or print credit. 

Service/product photographers are usually in the higher end of the spectrum, charging around $1,000 or more. 

What should I expect to spend on a newborn photography session?

Because there is no industry standard when it comes to newborn photography pricing, there will always be a variety of options. Some photographers will charge hundreds of dollars, while others charge $1,000 or more for newborn photos. 

Keep in mind: In order to run a successful business, a photographer can charge less money and serve more clients, or charge more money and serve fewer clients. 

So at the end of the day, it depends on your budget and what kind of experience you’re looking for. 

If you spend $300 for an all-inclusive package, then realistically, that photographer would have to take hundreds of clients per year to run a profitable business. Which means you wouldn’t be able to expect a very personalized experience. 

If you spend upwards of $1,000, on the other hand, then it’s reasonable to expect a high-touch, VIP experience throughout your time working with that professional. 

Tips for Hiring a Newborn Photographer

Check out the article I wrote on Finding the Right Newborn Photographer which contains short videos walking you through each consideration you should have. Here’s the intro video to give you a peak:

In summary, here’s what you might consider before hiring a newborn photographer:

  • Your budget – What are you able and willing to spend on newborn photos? 
  • Photography style – Are you drawn to portrait, lifestyle, or documentary photography? Do you understand the difference and does the photographer you’re considering offer the style you like?
  • At home or on location? – Where would you like to have your session? Not all photographers offer both options.
  • Just digitals? – Are you interested in print products – loose prints, framed prints, albums, display walls, etc – in addition to digital images? Make sure your photographer offers what you’re looking for. 

I hope you find the perfect fit for your family!

There are so many wonderful photographers out there! Doing a little research before hiring someone will go a long way. 

I hope you choose to invest in Newborn Photos and that you find the perfect photographer for your family. 

Self-portrait of photographer Marjorie Cohen holding her toddler daughter, both of them smiling.

If you’re local to LA and think we might be a good fit, please reach out so we can schedule a no-commitment chat! I’d love to get to know you!


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