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How to Save Money on Family Portraits

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How much do family photos cost these days?  Usually around $250-350 per session.  In today’s digital world, especially as a blogger, I find myself needing nice pictures all the time.  In our quest to pay off over $200k of student debt really fast, there is no way I can dish out that much cash for every baby birthday, christmas, professional shoot, etc.  But, I sure still want them.  I mean come on, baby bunnies as cute as this don’t come around every Easter

Photography Life Hack

Instead of spending $250 to $300 on photos every 6 months, just buy the studio.  

Seriously.  It’s cheaper.

Here is how our Christmas Card turned out with my setup

What You Need


I bought this lighting setup on the left that includes three tripods with photography light bulbs and umbrellas.  No matter the time of day, I can have perfect lighting and minimize pesky shadows.


I did this year’s Christmas pictures with a plain cream backdrop and a wreath hanging in the middle.  But, I really bought this backdrop for a headshot for my work’s website.  I never like the professional shots that are taken for work (It’s usually me being too uncomfortable, not the photographer).  So, I decided to take my picture in the comfort of my own home.  

Backdrop Stand

This nice backdrop stand is affordable, functional, and compact.  

Camera Tripod

You’ll need a tripod to take a timed family photo.  

I believe this is the one I got.

Time to Take a Picture

And that’s all you need!  Grand total for this awesome professional setup: $168.86 + tax!   And now you don’t have to pay for professional photos ever again for half the price of one session!  And the kids are more relaxed and happier than at a strange studio, so you’ll probably get a better picture.  

So, time to get clicking! 

You could get good results from an iPhone, especially those fancy portrait modes.  

Optional Upgrade

My husband gifted me this nice camera for my birthday three years ago.   I’m no expert photographer, but this camera with a stand that makes it pretty easy to take nice pictures.  One day, I hope I can take a photography class and really get the nitty gritty down.  Until then, just muddling around has gotten me pretty good results.

I edit the pictures with basic software that came with my computer.  

With the camera added, the cost is more like $767.69.  But, I’ve taken countless sessions over the years with this setup, so we have more than gotten our money’s worth out of it. 

So that’s it.  Instead of throwing money to photographers… we invested in the whole setup and saved some money.  Happy holidays everyone!

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Standard Disclaimer: Not meant as individualized financial advice.  Title photo by Gustavo Alves on Unsplash.              


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