If theres one question nearly everyone asks this is it. How much do senior portraits cost? The trite, sarcastic answer would be, If you really like pictures and youre going to miss your son or daughter like crazy when they go off to college, senior portrait are cheap. If you never take pictures yourself and you for-see your child living in your basement until theyre 35; senior portraits are outrageous. Truly, a great deal does depend on your point of view.
Most studios will charge a session fee. Some have just one flat fee and others, like our studio, have three different sessions that differ basically by length of time. The session fee covers kind of the photographers time to take the pictures and process the images for you to view. Quite honestly our session fees dont come close to covering the time it takes to photograph a senior, process the images, do some initial retouching and prepare the first view images for the client to see.
Many studios view the session fee more as a guarantee youll show up. Dont get me wrong, I know YOU wouldnt blow someone off but think about it; if theres no up-front session fee to guarantee your spot in the studios calendar, if you had nothing invested and the day of your session came and it was beautiful and sunny and all your friends were going to Valley Fair where would you want to be? Riding the Wild Thing or stuck in a dark studio listening to a 52 year old guy with a beer gut tell bad jokes? If theres money on the line Mom and Dad are going to be sure you show up – with bells on.
Studios session fees in southern Minnesota range from a low of probably fifty bucks to a high of $300 or more. Our studio charges $100, $150 and $200 for respectively, a one hour, an hour and a half and a two hour session. But hardly anyone pays full price for the session.
Studios often run session sales early in the year to start the business flowing. At d. holmes meir studios we have our big 12 hour sale in May and if you book your session for sometime in June youll save 75% on the session fee. In July you save 50% and August nets you a 25% savings. Youll probably find similar sales at most other studios in the area.
With respect to the portraits themselves it will vary a great deal on the number of friends and relatives youll want to gift with your images. At some studios youll spend less than $300 while at others youll invest $1000 or more. Its important to remember that like anything, all portraits and all photographers are not created equal. If youre not a fan of surprises you will want to do research and ask lots of questions as to what is and isnt included in a studios portrait pricing.
Chances are most studios will offer both package as well as a-la-carte pricing options. Packages are almost always cheaper often so much so you may be better off from a money standpoint – to buy more pictures in a package than you really need. No one likes waste but better to waste a little paper than a lot of money.
The most important question you need to ask are whether or not the final images will be retouched and to see examples of retouched images. Many people in this day and age just assume all photographers retouch their portraits nothing could be further from the truth. So look closely at the sample images on a photographers website which one would assume is their best work. If the skin tones are icky, if there are obvious blemishes and imperfections is it reasonable to assume your portraits would be any different?