Luring people in with free portrait sessions has been around forever, the language has just changed. Now you will see “Families Wanted” or “Photographer Wants To Expand Portfolio” or “Looking for Mothers and Daughters” or “Kids and Pets shoot for charity”. It’s all just the same thing.

Your Free Session Just Cost You $3,000

You have your free photo session. A week later you go into the studio to view your photos and cannot resist your gorgeous children on the screen so you spend $3,000 to get 2 framed pics and a 5×7″ for your mum.

You walk away with an ache in the pit of your stomach. You finally get the framed photos hung onto your wall but every time you look at them you are reminded of the thousands you racked up on your credit card to pay for them.

Buyers Remorse and Anxiety

What you are feeling is buyers remorse. Not just because of the guilt about the money spent but because you were tricked into spending it.

There is no anxiety attached to your photographs and depending on the depth of this anxiety, it may prevent you from similar photo sessions in the future. This, to me, is such a shame because I feel that professional photographs should be a regular part of your life whether it works profile photos, beautiful portraits or family photographs.

How To Avoid Being Tricked…

  1. If you want to take the free session, ask the photographer for full disclosure on pricing before the shoot and what the average spend is.
  2. Look for photographers that provide all of the pricing information upfront on their website including framed prints and albums.
  3. Look for a photographer that provides prepaid packages that work within your budget.
  4. Nothing is free.

Nina Beilby is a professional photographer and photography educator based in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia. You can see more of her work at

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