Recently, I have had some clients ask me to help them decide on what a good photography budget should be for their maternity and newborn images. As with anything artful like photography - you will find pricing to be all over the map. Here are some tips to help.
Step 1: Find a professional photographic artist that you love. One that when you look at their photos, you can’t turn away! One where you can imagine your beautiful family smiling back in those photos – photos that make you feel all light and fluttery inside!
Step 2: Think about how much these photos will mean to you and to your baby as s/he grows. As a mother myself, I know that the photos we took and as a family of my newborn daughter are some of the most valuable things I own. Likewise are the ones we took as we were expecting her – one of the most exciting times of my life. The anticipation at that time was palpable! I would be heartbroken beyond measure, should they go missing or vanish somehow. I would give a hundred of my most ‘favorite’ possessions before I let go of those. They are important to me because when I look at them, I can feel once again they way I felt anticipating the arrival of my little girl and the euphoric feelings in those first magical weeks of being a mom. I’m tearing up writing this, but nothing else, not even my own memories on their own make me feel that way. They are invaluable and priceless to me. To my daughter as she grows they will also begin to hold the same value. She won’t remember the moments, but she will see just how loved, cherished and utterly adored she was. She will know beyond a doubt that this was a very special time for her parents and that their lives were gifted with new purpose and meaning the day she was born. I want my daughter to always remember that and showing her a photo of this time in her life will do that – always. Amongst the toddler tantrums and teen trials, she will know she is and was truly loved.
Step 3: Think about how you spend your money. Do you spend according to inherent life importance or based on what you ‘think’ you need at that moment? An ipad is about $400-$800 – if you own one, do you think it is more valuable than photos of your newborn daughter? A decent widescreen TV is at least $600 – is your TV more valuable than your memories of your son as an infant? Here is the kicker….if you got married within the last 5 years, you have likely spent at least $50,000+++ on this ONE day, $3500+ of that on photography. Thinking about it now, was your wedding that much more important to you than the little life moving around inside you or cooing softly in your ear as you hold them close to your chest and to your heart. Will the memories of these fleeting days be important for you to remember as your child starts to walk, go to school, move away to college, get married?! As a mother, there is no comparison of technology to my daughter or my wedding memories to the memories of my daughter’s first days. When you put things into perspective this way, it’s not hard to decide.
Step 4: Be flexible with your budget. I know that this is easier said than done, and that having a baby can be very expensive – especially if it is your first. Remember though that your baby will not care which swing s/he sits in (for 2 months of his life), which bottle warmer/wipes warmer you get (unnecessary purchases) OR which outfits you buy (that they will hardly wear). These are all commodities that end up in the garbage. I’ll bet you though that your photos of your baby as a newborn will be one of your most cherished items. In fact, I bet that they will become more and more valuable to you as your child grows. I don’t know many other things in this life that increase tremendously in value as they age like artful images of your family do.
Good professional photos have a way of showing the strongest of emotions in them and making you understand with one look, how much love, connection and joy was being felt in those moments. By the time you choose and receive your newborn photos only a few weeks after the session, your baby will no longer look the same or fit into your arms the same snuggly little way – they will have grown so much already and started to become their own little person with their own little personality. They say kids grow up right under your nose, but until you are a parent – you have no idea just how fast it happens and how very much you will miss the little person in those photos. You will want to see those images again and again to remember the incredible and magical feeling of holding your baby’s little body close to yours. There is nothing like these feelings and the moments are gone in a flash. From one mom/parent to another – do yourself a favour and invest in your family’s memories appropriately.
Investing in professional photography isn’t for everyone. You have to really see value in your memories and the memories of your children. You have to want to instil love and familial bond and importance in your kids as they grow. I personally do updated family photos every year and we set aside the budget for it just like we budget for family vacation, groceries, bills and mortgage. In our house, creating and saving memories is what reminds us that love is what brought us together, keeps us together and makes us wildly happy! What makes you happy?