Family photos are an important part of family life. Snapshots from the digital camera are great, but it’s still nice to get portraits done once in a while. Whether you want portraits for Christmas cards or just to have a nice photo to hang in the family room, there are lots of ways to save on family photos, which can normally cost a fortune!
Here are just five tips for saving on family pictures.
1. Look for Deals Online
Lots of group coupon websites will run deals on photography. You may just have to wait around for a while to get to them! You can also look at specific photography studio’s websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds for deals. Lots of times they’ll run coupons that take money off a sitting or a certain photo package.
The best thing you can do here is try to save on sitting fees, which can be pretty steep. If you’re going with a professional place like a department store photography shop, you may also want to look for deals on packages of actual photos. This is what can cost hundreds of dollars, so a deal here could save you big.
2. Get a Digital Package
Getting a digital photo package where you get the actual rights to your photos can be a little more expensive up front, but it can save you lots in the long run. The key here is to make sure you’re actually going to print enough photos to justify what you’re paying for the rights to the photos. If you just want one or two good portraits, this is probably not a great idea.
However, for things like weddings and annual family photos that you find yourself needing copies of photos from again and again, a digital package can be a good idea. Lots of professional photographers offer this type of package. You just get to pick a certain number of photos, and the photographer will put them on a disc for you. From there, you can get them printed just about everywhere. Drugstores like CVS and Walgreens have pretty good quality, as do many places online where you can upload photos and have prints delivered to your home.
3. Find a Photographer Who is Just Starting
This can be one of the best ways to save big. Lots of times photographers who are just starting out will charge next to nothing for sitting fees and printing. They’re also more likely to offer great deals on digital packages that give you the rights to your photos. They just need to make sure they’re building a portfolio, and you can help them with that.
Sometimes, you can find local beginning photographers on Craigslist. You can also check out local art and photography schools to see if they’ll give out the names of students. Often times, these newer photographers bring a fresh eye to photography and have some very unique ideas. You may end up being more pleased with your photos than ever, without having to pay full price for a professional.
4. Shop Around
If you’re determined to go with a professional photographer or photo company, at least shop around. While most photographers are fairly pricey, you may be surprised at what fluctuations there are in prices in your area. When you’re shopping, also ask about different types of packages. How much would studio portraits cost? How much would it cost you to have the photographer meet you at an outdoor location for photos?
Asking the right questions can get you far with this. Don’t just ask how much the sitting fee is, but know exactly what you want, and ask about that. Photographers may give you widely different answers, so you’ll know who has the best prices. Also, though, make sure to look at the photographers’ collections so you can make sure you like what you’re paying for!
5. Look at Package Deals
Sometimes photographers will offer great package deals for several sittings and printings at one much-lower price. These are really popular for new baby photos. The standard is to get newborn, three month, six month, nine month, and twelve month photos. Some families also want maternity pictures of mom with her big belly. You can often get a first-year package price on these photos from local photographers. It’s certainly something worth asking about.
You can also ask if photographers with their own small businesses are willing to make their own packages for you. Sometimes you might be able to get family pictures and senior pictures done around the same time, for instance. You’re promising to give them more business, and they’re giving you a discount. It never hurts to bring up the possibility!
Photo Credit: Family Portrait by Billaday
Abigail Hall is a writer at CreditDonkey, where you can find cash back credit cards for your next camera purchase. She’s also a SLR photography enthusiast.