What Are Location Fees in Family Photography?

How much does it cost to hire a family photographer

As you’re reading about professional family photography you may come across the term ‘location fees’ or and you may have wondered what this means. Is it a fee for using the location, or is it an entrance fee to the property?

In this article I’ll explain what this term means, and how it may impact where you can and cannot have your family photo shoot.

Take Great Photos of Your Children Outdoors | Clare Murthy Photography
What are location fees?

As lifestyle photography has become increasingly popular, many public spaces have become overcrowded with photographers at weekends.

For this reason many public and private locations have introduced location fees, or the requirement for photographers to hold a permit before a shoot.

Some locations may also place a time limit on the shoot. For example, you can apply for a permit for access for one hour on a given date.

Other locations prohibit commercial photography all together.

Surrey Maternity Photographer - Clare Murthy Photography

Do these fees only apply to family photo shoots?

No, location fees apply to all commercial photography – whether you’re having photographs taken for your wedding, an engagement shoot, maternity shoot or you work for a brand or magazine and are planning a photo shoot.

Surbiton, Surrey Family Photographer | Clare Murthy

Who pays the location fees – me or the photographer?

Who pays the location fees depends on which photographer you work with. Some may cover the location fee as part of the session fee, others may require you to pay it yourself.

My approach depends on what kind of session you are booking

For my regular family sessions the location fee is not included in the session fee as the location fees vary by location. For example, some locations charge £50 for a 2 hour permit whilst others charge upwards of £150 for an hour. If you choose to have your session in a location that charges location or permit fees I will arrange the permit for you and charge the fee to you at cost.

You can see my family photography session fees here.

For mini sessions the location fee is included in the session fee. On a mini session day I typically photograph 4-5 families back to back and this means that a portion of the location fee can be covered by each family in their mini session fee. 


Are location fees the same as entrance fees?

No, the location fee is usually separate from the entrance fee. So, if a location charges an entrance fee you may need to pay this fee to get in.

For example, when I photograph families at a National Trust site, they will need to pay the entrance fee if they are not National Trust members. This is an extra cost to the location fee.


Over to you

I hope that this article has helped to explain what location fees are.

If you have any other questions about choosing a location for your photo shoot please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.


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Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
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