5 Reasons I Charge for Family Photos

I adore photographing families.  Each session, I enjoy an opportunity to converse with adults, meet new people, and use a skill I have worked diligently to acquire.  Despite great delight and pride with each photo gallery delivered, I still charge for my work.  

Likely, your photographer does as well.

While some photographers take offense at being asked for discounted or free session, I believe most people simply do not understand how much goes into running a photography business. So, without further ado, I present five reasons your photographer is charging you.

1. Time

Each session, your photographer checks his or her equipment, chooses a location, pays attention to the weather, drives to the location, photographs your gorgeous family, drives home, and only then does the real time begin.

Editing, editing, and more editing.  You broke out the day before the session, your newborn has wonky newborn skin, and your toddler scratched his face AND has a runny nose.  Not only are their cosmetic issues, but your photographer wants your actual photo to be amazing as well.  Perhaps you are simply looking for a quick Christmas card photo, but your photographer takes pride in his or her work.  I will be culling your photos, editing and re-editing, then double checking them.

This is prior to delivering them to you in some way and any follow-up communication, which takes time as well.

While this work is enjoyable, I might have preferred to spend that Saturday morning hiking with my family instead of editing photos.  Just as you might have preferred playing board games with your children instead going to work this morning.

2. Equipment

I find the cost of a photographer’s cameras, lens, and flashes routinely under-estimated. Thousands and thousands of dollars are spent of these items necessary for our work.  And, photographers must maintain and replace them as time goes on.  

3. Random expenses

Website fees, photo galleries, gas, babysitters, and editing software add up to a significant monthly expense.  Unfortunately, companies providing these services continue to demand payment for them. So unreasonable.

4. Marketing

Time and money spent marketing look different for each photographer. Most have a website, some pay for social media ads, some for mailers, and others simply rely on time spent posting and blogging online.  Regardless, acquiring clients requires something.

5. Continuing education

Perhaps not all photographers spend time in this area.  I constantly strive to provide families with the best possible photos I can.  To do this, I continue to spend time learning.  At first, this education could easily be found online at no cost. A plethora of quality blogs teach photography basics (go learn!). As skills progress, the price goes up.   Your photographer may be spending hundreds on classes to improve his or her skills.

On the other hand. . .

You may be able to find a photographer who will do your photos for free or inexpensive.  Sometimes they may be portfolio building, practicing, or maybe itching to do something out of the norm, where there is no pressure to please the client.  Good for you! You photographer may be amazing.  Or, you may get exactly the session for which you paid.

I really am not offended when you ask for your random photo. Sometimes I know it will be a breeze and I have the margin in my life for such photos.  Other times, I just cannot add one more thing despite knowing the great value of a photo.  So, please do not be offended when your photographer declines your request.

Danielle Geri Long


Selected top Minneapolis newborn photographers, Danielle provides award-winning lifestyle photography, photographing stories throughout Minnesota. Danielle often longs for the loveliness of the Twin Cities, while savoring country life just outside Buffalo, MN.  Specializing in newborn and family photography, she adores watching families grow. Danielle and her husband are raising two delightful kids and attempting to reign in frequent over-committing, so they can do important things (like see each other and watch Netflix).  Danielle travels to Annandale, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Andover, Buffalo, Monticello, and more. Contact  her today at 763-670-7657.