A few years ago, our little family used to regularly go to “Picture People” at Clackamas Town Center. We went for my first pregnancy photos, quite a few times for baby photos and again for toddler photos. Not only was it easy because we always went to the mall, but we always got these “$18 per session!” coupons in the mail. One memory I will never forget is when my daughter and I went in there on a whim. We were dressed regularly, just waltzing through the mall. We walked by and I remembered I had a coupon in my purse because I had just fished it out of my mailbox. My daughter was only two or so and I just asked her, “Hey … Ummm, Harper? I know this is crazy: but do you want to go get your pictures done today?” She pointed to Picture People and exclaimed, “In there? Right now?” and I shook my head. She exploded with excitement, “Yes!!!” and we strolled on in for a random photoshoot. Sadly, that location closed a few years ago, and correspondingly, it has been a long time since we’ve had professional pictures taken. My children are growing way too fast, so it’s time to hunt down a photographer. I was a little taken aback to learn through my research that the average cost of a family photographer is between $100 and $400 per hour! But many of the services require a lot of different working parts and will even travel to chosen locations, so I understand. My search for a photographer prompted the idea for this article. Below is a list of local photographers.
Becca Jean Photography-
This place offers family, newborn, maternity, and couples shoots. They also offer Oregon Coast location photoshoots! Her website lists her accolades which include an award for “unraveled expert artist” and many different places in which her work has been featured. Her basic package, “lifestyle session”, includes 30 images, assistance with wardrobe styling and location selection, and a downloadable gallery with the option to order additional prints for $699. The Oregon coast package is $899.
Campbell Selgado Studio-
This studio looks amazing! They offer several different backgrounds to choose from and a “portrait garden” outside. The website also boasts the availability of a kitchen to prepare snacks for little ones during the session. Francisco, one of the studio owners, taught photography and sculpting at local colleges. One of their notable accomplishments is being voted “Best mom and pop photography studio” by Willamette Weekly. Sessions include a twenty-minute phone call “planning session”, the photoshoot, a personalized photo blog post to share with family and friends, and a gallery of photos to print or pick digital images. An important note about this company: they do take payment plans! You can arrange to pay for your package in three installments. Packages start at $700.
Velvet Owl Photo-
I like this option because they offer a variety of package choices. There is an option for a mini session for $100. The mini session is for people who only want a few photos. Up to 5 people can be included and it lasts around 20 minutes. The next step up is a basic session for $200. 75 minutes, up to 5 people, and about 60-70 images taken. The cost includes the session itself, but not the images. There is a minimum order requirement of $200. The prices range from $450 to $750. This company also offers editing services.
June Lion offers some cool choices for families! They offer a basic family shoot for $250, or a “documentary session” for families. The documentary session sounds incredibly interesting! It is described as a “day-in-the-life session with little or no direction.” Families can choose a half-day session for $600 or a full-day session for $1,000. The package prices include the session itself and the photographer’s travel to your location if you are an hour within Portland. Digital files and prints are a separate cost. The photographer’s/founder’s work has been featured in several wedding magazines such as Oregon bride magazine, Portland bride and groom magazine, and mywedding.com.
Located in NW Portland, Fritz Photo is extremely accomplished. The website notes that they have had work published in National Geographic! The complete portrait package costs $279 and includes the session itself (1.5 hours anywhere in Portland!), unlimited props/clothing/family members, editing on 30-80 images, a web gallery to choose images from. The print prices start at $18.
Sunny Melon Photography-
Okay, this one sucked me in because Damian Lillard and his beautiful family had pictures of their session on the website. The website notes that they are usually booked up to two months in advance. Session fees range from $125-175 and include prop usage, shooting time, client wardrobe access, one ordering appointment, and reveal video. Purchasing photos is separate from the initial session price. This company is also an award-winner, like many of the other companies listed winning an international baby photography contest and was named the best baby photography in Portland in 2021 through “Expertise”.
Sara May Photography-
The website has a lot of beautiful work featured, but not too much info. There is a note under the “family” section that says family sessions begin at $400 and there are “mini session days” for $250. There is a link at the bottom of the page to inquire for more details. Another accomplished photographer, Sara May photography has been featured in many places such as The Knot, Glamour Weddings, Portland Bride and Groom, and Oregon Bride Magazine.
Kari Wilde Photography-
I found this one through Facebook when I looked up “Family Photography” as a sponsored ad. This company is Portland-based and offers family sessions at $375 and up. The website notes that any inquiries will be replied to within one day. There is a section titled “films”, so I clicked on it and was blown away. Kari is also a videographer and makes “family films” that are 2–4-minute films of family moments set to music. I clicked on the example she posted and honestly almost got a little teary watching it, ha-ha! The family was on a beach and the film was just sweet moments between the family in slow-motion, beautiful nature, and adorable music. She did a great job putting it together. The ad on Facebook also notes that mini sessions are available in Portland. Here is the link to the website (and please check out the family film example, SO adorable!)
The options for family photographers in Portland seem to go on and on, but I’ll stop here. While I’m a little overwhelmed at these big prices, the results seem to be incredibly beautiful and full of quality. I think it’s amazing that these photographers go to their clients’ desired locations and specialize in Oregon coast photoshoots and such. I am not sure which one to pick yet, but glad to see there are so many award-winning, talented choices available. I also thought it was cool that there are so many different types of photography: standard sitting sessions, documentary sessions, and sessions in different settings. If you are looking to book a family photoshoot, there is a lot to explore. If these prices seem too unreasonable for your family, I totally understand. Some of them are as high as an average monthly rent! For this problem, I would recommend reaching out through social media for photographer suggestions from your buddies. Or even asking a friend or family member with a beautiful camera on their phone to take some pix of your family out and about in nature. Even without fancy-schmancy editing, at least a few of the pictures will likely turn out beautifully. From there, you can print the pictures at Walgreens, slap them in inexpensive frames, and, Boom! New family pictures. Best of luck to you all in capturing some beautiful family moments on film.
Stephanie McCoy was born and raised in Portland, Oregon-where she still lives. She recently graduated with a Master’s in Education degree from Concordia University. In her free time: she likes to read and write, get outdoors, embrace her kiddos and husband, and watch travel documentaries.