Why are the good photographers so expensive???

May-2015-newborn-photographer-stevenage-hertfordshire-jenna-marshall-photographyDSC_3406ed baby photographer stevenage hertfordshire jenna marshall photographyI am an award winning newborn photographer based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. I am currently in my second year of running my business and boy have I learnt a lot over the past two years!

When I started, I will be honest, I could not understand how other photographers could justify charging £150 for a session then images on top. I was so naive! Running a photography business is so much more than just buying a DSLR Camera and taking a pretty picture. There is no profit to be made from someone charging £100 for the session including all your images. If that is the price, you can almost guarantee they are not running a legal, tax paying and insurance covered business.

As a mum, my time is precious. I want to spend every second available with my little ones. But there are also bills to pay. I must ensure that running my business is going to profit me enough that I earn an average wage so that I can feed and help keep a roof over my children head. And although I love photography, doing it for not enough profit to support my children just wouldn’t be worth it.

Here is a breakdown as to why photographers charge what they charge.


I saw this quote by photographer Sarah Wilkes and thought it summed up perfectly-

“Think of it this way- the next time you pay in excess of £100 to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only cost £2. Your builder charged £2000 to put up your garden fence but the wood cost £200 from B&Q. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a professional to do the actual job. ”


The session time is a tiny proportion of the actual time spent for each client. Below I have broken down how my time per session is worked out. It averages between 19- 25 hours allocated to each client!

1 hour- When you contact me we discuss the session you are after, we discuss the cost of the session, I email price lists, I check my diary, I book you in my diary, I put together the contracts, I create your welcome pack, I receive your welcome pack back and organise it away. I answer any questions you have about the session.

1 hour- Setting up my studio equipment and props that were requested for the session, ironing the blankets for baby.

2-4 hours- (depending on the shoot) of actual session time. This is where we take all images requested. Sometime we can over run the 4 hour mark.

1 hour- Taking all the studio equipment down, washing all props used.

1 hour- Loading all the images from the camera to the computer, then backing up all the images elsewhere in case something goes wrong.

10-12 hours- Editing. Getting rid of blemishes, correcting backdrops, enhancing colours, making the images look as beautiful as they do all takes time. I edit between 20-30 colour images for each gallery, then the black and white versions.

This image took 40 minutes to edit

This image took 40 minutes to edit

1.5 hour- Resizing for use on the web and loading to your online gallery to view.

1-3 hours- Organising your order. Adjusting them to suit the print ordered, designing albums and products ordered, loading all the images to the professional lab.

30 minutes- Receiving back and packaging up your order, then taking it to the post office to send to you.

Extra time may be needed if there are any extra concerns, or if the first newborn session doesn’t go to plan and needs to be rescheduled, order problems etc.


I have invested so much of my time, money and worked so hard to get to the level I am today. Photography is not a cheap trade to get in to! (If you’re doing it properly)

When your session takes place, I use thousands of pounds worth of equipment to capture those images for you. Then there is numerous software and programs to edit, print, run a website etc. The funding has to come from the business.

I am also a member of a few photographers associations, again these cost money but are necessary for a photographer to improve and push themselves to be the best photographer they can be for their clients. I have taken training not only in posing a baby and how to use a camera. I have had to have training in running a business and marketing.

Here is a before and after I had invested in training to become a better photographer for my clients

Here is a before and after I had invested in training to become a better photographer for my clients

To run a photography business, there are a lot you of things you need to pay out for



Assistants Wage



Up to date Software/Editing Programs


Stationary- printing contracts, buying business cards, price list leaflets, packaging to package your welcome packs and your orders, packaging to post, there is the expense of posting these parcels also

etc, etc, etc.

Sessions with myself

Nearly every single one of my clients have booked their newborn session months in advance of the session taking place. All clients are made aware for prices before booking and once booked they sign a contract confirming they are aware of all prices. With months to spare it is a good idea to have a look through the options available and get an idea of what you are planning on spending on images and start putting away for it straight away.

After the session has taken place, I take 2-4 weeks to edit your images. This is dependent on how busy the particular month is. When ready I load them to an online gallery where you can purchase them.

You have the option if you wish, to have a viewing session instead. This entails you arranging an appointment with myself, coming back to where your images were taken and you will be shown your images. Any purchases need to be made during the appointment.

Most people opt for the online gallery as it gives them a couple of days to look through, show family and decide what they want. Which is longer than a one hour viewing appointment.

I have lots of clients at one time so I set aside two days for each client to choose their products through their gallery. This means you get my complete focus on you and your purchase if needing any assistance or help finding you the best deal of what you are after. After this time, I do need to move on to my next client and give them the same attention you received.

If in future you would like to purchase extras, there is a £20 fee to reload the gallery. The reason for this is I pay software for each gallery live and also the time it takes to redo it all again. The £20 fee will be deducted from any order over £20.

I hope I have helped enlighten people as to the actual worth of your photographer. I have great friends who are also photographers and often feel devalued, please ensure you make your photographer feels appreciated, they really do work so hard to capture your memories in the most beautiful pieces of art for you and your future generations to treasure.


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