Maternity photography is a unique genre of the photography world known for creating memorable, lasting moments for new mothers and their families.
Most expectant mothers will want to document their pregnancy in a way that they feel reflects who they are as a person and who they will be as a mother. As a photographer, you have several options for how you will document this particular moment in their life.
Will you work in a studio with a dramatic backdrop, or do you prefer to meet clients in their own space for cozy, in-home photoshoots? Some clients will want to incorporate shots of their fetal scans, while others would like to look beautiful against gorgeous scenery.
The best season for digital maternity photography will be right around the 30-week mark or after, when the mother’s belly is in a round, accentuating shape. Some women may opt to take pictures earlier in their pregnancy, as well.
Remember that the images should be more of a reflection of the client than the photographer. It’s essential to craft the experience for your client. But it is also necessary to talk through the expectations, details, and prices of your photography before committing to a date.
Decide on your price model before contacting potential clients. Knowing how much you will charge before booking the digital appointment will make both you and the client feel more comfortable with the business agreement.
Questions to Think About
There are at least three questions you should ask yourself when attempting to settle on how much to charge for maternity photos:
- What type of set-up will it be?
- How much are materials and labor?
- What is your surrounding market doing?
Types of Maternity Sessions
There are two maternity photography sessions: In-Person Sales and the “Shoot and Burn” model.
In-person sales (IPS) are what studios are known for in most areas. The prices of these photo shoots require a sitting fee of usually at least $100 but up to $300 or more. The client pays the
flat amount, and the photographer takes the images in the studio.
The client then has the option of purchasing digital files, prints, and wall art individually. These sales will be how you make your profit, so it’s essential your client purchases at least something to make your time worth it. You should give your clients all of the information about the available purchases before scheduling the appointment.
Single-person photography businesses often opt for the other type of maternity photography, the “Shoot and Burn” or “Shoot and Share” model.
With this option, you charge the client more because the prices include the time spent behind the camera and a set number of images. You can use your client’s email information or mailing information to share the pictures through a disc, flash drive, or digital gallery. Shooting outside gives you the freedom to use special locations for the mother or areas where the mother feels most comfortable.
It would be best if you decided how many images you will give your client before the shoot takes place. This way, you can photograph your client in various locations and angles to provide a diverse portfolio of digital images for them.
Outfit changes, props, and other people can be used in either type of set-up. Whichever model you opt for, you should remain consistent for all similar clients.
How Much Does it Cost to Take Maternity Pictures?
The process of taking the maternity pictures may only seem as long as an hour session, yet there is so much more effort and planning that goes into it that the client never sees.
Aside from obvious expenses like equipment and travel, costs for the duration spent editing and delivering the photos should also be taken into consideration. Every photo you choose to include in your client’s portfolio should be examined for flaws and touched up for the best quality.
If you’re an established photographer, you should also consider your opportunity costs from working with a maternity client instead of a recently engaged couple. If you plan to charge notably less for a photo appointment of an expectant mother than an engagement shoot, it may be advantageous to raise your payment expectations to slightly compensate for the difference.
You should also consider the taxes and business expenses for operating your LLC or photography business.
Creating images for new mothers is a lot of effort in pre-planning and post-production processes. Ensure you value your time accurately so you do not get stuck in the hole for a client you should’ve charged more.
Your client won’t realize the effort you put into giving them their photos, and that’s okay! They’re role is looking pretty for the camera and marveling over the beautiful, edited photos you turn into them.
Pay Attention to the Maternity Photography Market
Maternity photography is not a new phenomenon. Most established photographers working out of a studio have helped photograph expectant mothers, and many individual photographers gravitate toward that niche of photography.
If there is an abundance of photography studios in your surrounding area, you may do better to use the “Shoot and Burn” model to offer customizable experiences to your clients. Expectant mothers will appreciate the ability to be photographed where they are comfortable, and they may provide more ideas for capturing this special part of their lives.
On the contrary, studio appointments can be exciting and customizable, too, if there is enough planning in the process. Dramatic lights and backdrops are much easier to pull off in a studio setting, and some mothers may have that style in mind to document their pregnancy.
Maternity photography is a niche of the photography business that has become more important over the years. Expectant mothers appreciate the creativity of documenting their pregnancy on their standards, and independent photographers can showcase their abilities in a creative way that is meaningful to the client.
Deciding how much to charge for your photography isn’t a simple task – you need to consider your style, your operating costs, and your target market. You also have to understand what the competing market is doing so you can find a way to appeal to potential clients.
Whichever method you choose and however much you charge, remember that these experiences and images are precious for mothers of all backgrounds. Documenting pregnancy is an intimate, important job that only a thoughtful, creative photographer can accomplish successfully.