We recommend planning your scenes using the website Kuler by Adobe. On there you’ll be able to find complementary and analogous color combinations that work well together. Being able to see the colors together visually prior to going out and looking for the props and backdrops will save you hours. On Kuler we arranged the pink and yellow combination you see in the left image below prior to searching for actual newborn props and accessories.
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That’s it! No expectations other than fun. Then prepare yourself. Bring along props, get mom to bring one of their favourite toys or books. I usually have a hand puppet and bubbles in my camera bag along with my gear. If the kids don’t want to sit and smile don’t force them. Then them run around and be kids for a while and shoot that. Play with them, make it fun. Then they may cooperate and sit for a bit a few minutes later.
Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus. Turn on the Live View so you can see the image on your screen. Hit your “zoom” button (it may have a magnifying glass or a “+” sign on it) once or twice. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. Press zoom again to return to normal view and turn off Live View.

Light can either make or break a photo. The best light is natural light and the best natural light comes just after sunrise or just before sunset. Bright midday light will either produce shadows on your baby’s face or cause him to close his eyes or squint – neither result is what we want. If you’re taking photos throughout the day, try moving your baby under the shade of a tree or umbrella. Alternatively, if you’re taking photos indoors, try moving towards a window to utilize the light from outside. Note that you shouldn’t have the light come from behind your baby or you’ll end up with a silhouette. The best way to learn is by experimenting. Try different lighting techniques to discover what works best for you. When you’re indoors and you don’t have the option of using outside light – try taking advantage of nearby lamps. Explore taking photos with your flash turned off to see what results you can accomplish.
Photographers often want the bride and groom to stand in flower beds, near water, and in other unexpected places.  Brides don't like to do it because they are worried about their dress getting dirty on the wedding day.  A simple fix is for the photographer to bring a white sheet that the bride can step on to protect the dress.  The sheet is then tucked under the dress and nobody knows!  (Thanks Stacey Knight)

If you're planning on taking your engagement photos in winter, don't let chilly air or unpredictable weather keep you from looking stylish. Whether you're rocking a sharp cocktail dress and suit or New Years Eve–inspired glitter, this is the perfect season for you and your fiancé to get a little bit festive. (And, if bad weather does come your way, we've got you covered there too.) Check out some of our favorite winter engagement photos outfits below.
You’ll spend some time getting each pose ready, so take you time making sure you’ve taken a photograph from every angle that might work. Sometimes doing this can “save” a pose that wasn’t really working. In the photos below I made a few mistakes when posing this baby – first – I didn’t tuck her legs under her, which puts her feet closer to the camera than her head is, and second – her hands are stuck under her chin instead of under her had, making her look very uncomfortable. It makes what could have been a cute picture look kind of awkward. However, I moved closer to her head and zoomed in for the next shot, which turned out much cuter. (Note, see how her hand is in a fist in that second photo? It would have looked better had I gently pulled her fingers out so they were visible.)
#2 – it allows you to get your eye away from the camera so you can actually make eye contact with your subjects. They are very real people and they feel even more uncomfortable staring straight into your lens than they do looking at you. You can make gestures to get kids attention, or make faces. But you’ll get way better expressions by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder. Try it!
Two months before: Trying out wedding day looks? Schedule hair and makeup trial appointments the same day as your engagement photo session to capture a preview of your wedding day fabulousness on film (you could do the salon in the morning and the photo studio in the afternoon). Factor in some in-between time for damage control, on the off-chance that the salon results aren't as great as you hoped.
The other option for remotes is a physical radio transmitter that you plug into your camera (the receiver plugs into the camera, and you hold the remote transmitter). After trying several different wireless remotes from eBay that all broke, I finally purchased the Vello ShutterBoss. This remote is well built, and has been super reliable. One of the things I really like about it is that the cable that plugs from the wireless receiver into your camera can be swapped out depending on what brand of camera you’re using. So you don’t need to buy a new wireless remote for every different camera system you have (just the cable). Also if the battery dies in the receiver, you can plug the cable directly into the remote transmitter. The Vello ShutterBoss is a bit on the pricey side for a remote ($99), but it will probably be the last wireless remote you ever need to buy.
Sometimes I find an interesting subject, but just not an interesting place to photograph it from.  If you look at professional photos, they are very often taken from non-obvious spots.  For example, a photo of a CEO will be photographed from down low, looking up at the person to make him or her look more powerful.  Or, in the case of photographing a city, we often want to get to a very high perspective to shoot down and see the whole city.
Lifestyle newborn sessions – Are a bit more casual approach to newborn photography.  There may be some posing but the intention is to capture more natural images of the baby and their home.  These sessions can be done up to 6 weeks old and usually last 1-2 hours max.  My favorite thing about lifestyle newborn photography is capturing the wonder and amazement between the family members.  Newborns are incredible but so is the love in the air.  Memories of this time-frame often become fuzzy for new parents and that is precisely why I feel these types of shoots are so important.
Safety should always come first when it comes to newborn and baby photography. The list can get quite extensive for tips on newborn safety, but in general, use your common sense. Never bring in any hard or sharp objects as props. Never place your newborn on high or unsteady surfaces without a spotter. And realize that some of your favorite photos of newborns are actually composites. Below is an example.
Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive.  What do your dream family photos look like?  If they are soft and elegant?  Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues.  Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family?  Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents.  Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.
When styling a photo session, I like to start out with a basic color palette and go from there. It can help to have one “rock star” in the photos who carries a pattern in their outfit that the rest of the group’s clothing or accessories pulls from, while keeping everyone else’s outfits more simple. You can do this with a neutral and a few colorful brights, or try a softer palette that has different tonal ranges of the same shades.
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