Why is Newborn Photography so Expensive?

Why is Newborn Photography so Expensive?

Why is newborn photography so expensive? I see this question asked often. Newborn photography is a luxury service. We choose to invest our money on a variety of different luxuries every day.

Some families save for vacations, iPhones, clothing, or fine dining (to name a few). Just like with all of these examples, you have a variety of options: Ford or Audi, Walmart or Burberry, Cricket or iPhone, etc.

Ultimately, what you purchase will depend on the quality of experience, service and product that you value. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what newborn photography costs.

Why are Newborn Photographers so Different in Cost?

It really depends on the quality of experience, service and product that you are looking for. Everything from a photographer’s level of skill, services, experience, and products offered will create a wide range in cost from one studio to another. Photographers take many factors into consideration when running their Cost of Doing Business. Let’s look at some of the things photographers may invest in.

Why is Newborn Photography so Expensive: Training and Expertise

When you hire a newborn photographer you’re hiring them because of their expertise in safely soothing and posing your baby to create beautiful keepsake images. That expertise is what gives you the confidence that they will take care of your brand new baby.

All of these skills require substantial time, training and practice to master. Learning from experienced professionals is also a considerable investment, and many photographers will continue to invest in their education every year to continually improve their work and stay up-to-date with their craft.

Why is Newborn Photography so Expensive: Studio & Travel Expenses

If your photographer has their own studio, there will be expenses for renting/owning the space, furnishing it, and recurring expenses for utilities & insurance. For photographers who travel for sessions, they will have travel expenses – mileage, maintenance and time (as well as the additional effort of packing, and unpacking their equipment upon leaving and returning).

Why is Newborn Photography so Expensive: Level of Service

The type of service that a photographer provides will also have a considerable impact on their time and expenses, and consequently, pricing.

At one end of service, your photographer may meet you for the shoot, take the photographs, do minimal post processing and email a set of digital images to you. At the other end of service, your photographer who will get to know each of their clients in person during a design consultation to learn & customize each session to exactly what each client is hoping for from their session, offer an elevated session experience with extra services and amenities, meet with you in person again to show you your images, and help you choose and design the best ways to display & enjoy your images.

You’ll also find lots of variations in between. The first photographer can spend much less time on your session, and likely take on a much higher volume of clients. The second photographer will spend much more time and investment into each client, so they will likely accept fewer clients. The difference in the photographer’s time and investment will likely translate proportionally to the cost of their services.

Why is Newborn Photography so Expensive: Equipment

Cameras and Lenses

The most obvious expense for a newborn photographer is their equipment. At a minimum, a newborn photographer will need a professional DSLR camera, memory cards and a lens (as well as specialized training, more on that later).

Cameras also need regular updating as they become outdated and worn– it’s realistic to expect to purchase a new camera every three years. Many newborn photographers will use multiple lenses during a session. Here’s an idea of how much these items may cost:

  • DSLR / Mirrorless Camera ($2600+)
  • 50mm 1.4 Lens ($350+) 
  • 24-70mm 2.8 Lens ($1000+)
  • Macro Lens ($1000+)
  • 70-200mm Lens ($800+)
  • Professional Memory Cards ($50+ each)


Some newborn photographers depend on natural lighting in their sessions and will not need to invest as heavily into lighting equipment. For studio photographers who utilize professional lighting equipment (such as strobes, umbrellas, reflectors, stands, triggers and receivers, etc.). Depending on the brand and how many lights the photographer chooses to use, they can invest anywhere from $400 to thousands of dollars on professional lighting. 

Retouching Software

After a your newborn session, your photographer will likely spend far more time retouching your images than they did planning for and capturing them. At a minimum, they’ll need a computer ($1500) and editing software (like Photoshop $120/yr). Depending on how much retouching your photographer offers, they will likely have a calibration device ($150) and a retouching tablet ($300). 

How to Find a Good Newborn Photographer
Baby Boy in Blue with Teddy Bear

Props, Backdrops, & Wardrobe

Newborn photographers that offer posed studio photographer will also need one or more posing systems (tables, low beds, bean bags, etc.). These are usually covered with fabric backdrops that are pulled tightly and secured with clips to a stand. They will also need a variety of backdrops if they include family and siblings as well. 

Newborns may also be posed in a variety of wraps from stretchy jersey fabric to soft wools. They will also usually have custom outfits, bonnets, sleepy hats, headbands, teddies / plushies, and an assortment of props. They may also offer extensive client closets to assist in wardrobe planning and elevate the aesthetic of your images. These will all need to be laundered and inspected between each session, and replaced as they become worn.

The Experience

Additional services and amenities all add to the overall experience your photographer may provide. Things like professional hair and makeup($150-200), fully furnished studio & beverages and snacks are all expenses your photographer will incur, but ultimately add to creating a comfortable, enjoyable experience and special memory. 


Newborn photography takes time. Time to design your session (whether that is done by the photographer alone or during a design consultation), the set up and session itself (usually about 2-3 hrs for posed newborn sessions), and preparing your images for your selection can easily take a couple of days. Some newborn photographers will also spend time showing the photographs for you at a reveal appointment, as well as designing and ordering products for you. This all adds time to the process and may be reflected in their services.


If your newborn photographer offers printed art, their session will likely cost more than one who emails digital files after your session. The cost of products add an additional expense to your photographer, but it will also take time and expertise to design, order, inspect and deliver your art.

The art products themselves will also vary, depending on the quality your photographer is offering. Everything from mass-produced to individually handmade albums, prints, canvases, metals, acrylics, custom frames and painterly art can all vary greatly depending on their quality. 

Business costs

Like all businesses, professional photographers will also have general business expenses such as:

  • Business Taxes (city, county and federal)
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Professional Memberships
  • Accounting Expenses
  • Website Expenses
  • Presentation Software
  • Client Management Software
  • Payment Processing Systems
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Professional Hair and Makeup Services
  • Photography Assistant 
  • Client Closet

At the end of the day, regardless of how much your photographer loves what they do, it’s still a business. So after all of these expenses, just like you, they will still need to make enough of a profit to provide for their family.

Thank you for supporting small businesses! I hope this helps explain the cost behind professional newborn photography sessions. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or contact me. I’d love to hear from you!

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