When you research family portrait photographers, you will find a wide variety of prices and pricing structures. Today, I want to help you to know what questions to ask when comparing photographers and understanding the price.
What’s included in the session fee?
Most photographers charge a session fee, but what that includes can vary greatly. I used to charge a $250 session fee that included no digitals or prints, only my time in shooting and editing the session. Then clients would purchase digitals or prints after the session. But I realized that 95% of my clients wanted all the digitals from their session, so I started including those in the session fee for $450 total. So before, clients would pay $250 for the session fee, and then after the session they would pay $200 for digitals. Now the total price is the same, but it’s all included in one charge. There is no need for clients to purchase anything after the session unless they want to buy print products from me.
Be sure you understand what is included and what is not so that you compare apples to apples.
Can I purchase digital images, and will I get a print release?
Some photographers include “web only” digitals in their packages that are small files, sometimes watermarked, that are intended only for sharing on social media and not for printing. If you want to print your images yourself, make sure that that package you are considering includes full size digitals and a print release (both are included with my sessions.)
How many images will I get?
This is a very important question to ask as it also varies greatly for different photographers. There is no right answer here, and a lot of it has to do with the photographers style. But it’s something you will want to understand. Some will deliver as few as 10 or so final images from a session.
I’m probably at the other end of that extreme. Because my style is very candid and natural, I want to deliver lots of variety of shots to clients. Instead of just trying to get the “perfect” posed shot, we will focus on playing and exploring while I shoot a wide variety of images for your gallery. As a result, I tend to deliver over 100 images to clients, in both black and white and color.
Don’t base your decision on pricing alone.
But more than anything else, please don’t base your decision on price alone. The photographer you choose should be experienced, particularly in the genre of photography you are looking for, and should show consistently good images in their portfolio. And most importantly, her or his style should be something that speaks to you. Above all, photographers are artists, so don’t hire a photographer with a certain style and expect them to deliver something else.
Extended Family Session at their Peaceful Retreat
This grandma contacted me because she wanted family photos taken with her three adult children and their families while her one daughter was in town from California. She wanted to do the photos at the families second home / retreat near Leipers Fork that they just purchased in May.
She said something beautiful in her booking paperwork that stuck with me while I was photographing this gorgeous family. She said, when talking about the property, “I feel that it will be a place where people can come and disconnect from the busyness of the world and find peace with God.”
After arriving, I immediately saw what she meant. It is such a beautiful place and I know that they will make many beautiful memories there. I feel honored to have been able to document the beginnings of this special place for their family. I imagine many years of family photos there in the future.