Family photographs are a wonderful way to preserve moments and memories - they become heirlooms that we love to look at time and time again, and pass down to our children. But what if you can't justify the cost of a photo shoot, or want to have them on a regular basis? The good news is that there are ways to save money on family photography. Here are my 5 tips:
1. Find a photographer who is 'Portfolio Building'
As in all other industries a career in photography is a progression, and all photographers develop their skills and expertise with time. One way to save money is to find a photographer who is just starting out and building their portfolio. Often these photographers will offer a reduced rate for 'portfolio building sessions.'
The obvious benefit of this is that you can update your family photos at a reduced rate. But even if the low cost is appealing, do some research first. For example, make sure that you like the photographer's style. You might find my guide to choosing a family photographer helpful when you make your decision.
2. Book a mini session
Many family photographers offer mini sessions on certain dates through the year (you can find out about mine here.) Mini sessions tend to be shorter than a custom session, and will usually include a fixed number of prints and/or digital files. Usually the photographer running the mini session will choose the location, date and available time slots and will photograph a number of families on one day.
Mini sessions can offer a significant saving - essentially you're sharing the cost of the photographer's time with a number of other families - and can be a good solution for your family if you're just looking for a handful of photos. Some of my mini session clients come back multiple times a year, as the reduced costs mean they can update their family photographs more frequently.
Not sure whether a mini session is right for you? Read about the difference between my mini sessions and custom sessions here.
3. Share the cost of the photo shoot with other family members
Including other relatives in the session, and sharing the cost with them is another way to save money on your family photography. It's quite common to have 'extended family shoots' where grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are included in the session. This allows you to spread the cost amongst the family, but also means that you have some lovely photographs of everyone together. Extended family shoots are very popular gifts for grandparents - for example when they're celebrating a significant birthday or anniversary.
If this idea appeals to you chat to your photographer first to find out whether any extra charges apply for bringing extra family members. Some photographers will charge an extra 'per person' fee for additional family members joining the session.
4. Pay for your photographs in instalments
Some photographers offer the option to pay for your products in instalments, allowing you to spread the cost over a few payments. Whilst this isn't technically saving you any money, it might mean make the photographer and products that you would like a little more attainable.
If the idea of paying in instalments appeals to you do check that your photographer offers this option before booking, and ask about any minimum spend. I offer the option to spread payments over 3 monthly instalments when a client spends £900 or more after their session.
5. Take your family photographs yourself
Finally, there's always the option to do it yourself. If you're a regular reader of the blog you'll know that I'm a big fan of parents learning how to take great photographs of their children. After all, it's unlikely you'll have a professional photographer around for every significant milestone in your children's lives. If you'd like to start taking photos of your children yourself, you may find my tutorials a good place to start.
There is one downside to taking your family photos yourself, and that's that it will be very challenging to take lovely photos of your entire family that include you in them. As much as this might not feel important now, in years to come you and your children will love looking back at photos of all of you together, so I recommend finding a balance between taking photos of your family yourself, and having professional sessions to make sure you have some photos of you all together. Even professional photographers have to hire photographers - I'll be getting in front of the camera for our family session which is booked for next month.
Over to you
I hope this guide helps you in your search for a photographer. I'd love to hear what other questions you have about choosing a photographer. Let me know in the comments below.