Avoid taking photos earlier than five days after your baby’s birth, since your baby will still be adjusting to feeding times. Your newborn session will go smoother if your baby boy or girl is less fidgety and on a consistent feeding schedule. The sleepier your newborn is, the easier it will be to adjust their poses and photograph them without clothes on to capture some of those classic newborn photo ideas you’ve been looking at for inspiration.
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Some photographers specialize in only posed portraits, or only lifestyle photos, while others combine both into a single session. Then, there are those who shoot both types of photos, but will schedule your session differently (in terms of time and location), depending on what you’re looking for. You may find that photographers brand themselves as either ‘portrait’ or ‘lifestyle,’ or you may need to look at their portfolio in order to tell what type of photos they take.
This one is a biggie when answering the question of “How do I choose a family photographer.” Are you looking for a cheap, quick and easy process where you only need 1 or 2 good images or do you really value the images that the amount of money you spend is less important? The easiest way to narrow down your list of family photographers is to set a budget. This being said, it’s important to understand that in the photography industry, you get what you pay for.  Our pricing is usually based on experience and a professional photographer comes with a professional price tag. Additionally, professionals use price as a way to attract clients who truly value photography. I would rather work with someone willing to communicate and put the time, effort and money into achieving a great set of images then someone who is just bargain hunting. If you’re looking for a cheap and quick photo, consider using a new and budding photographer who is trying to build their portfolio or a set portrait service in a department store studio. If you really do value photography but are low on funds a cheap option is to look for mini-session specials from the photographers you really love. These are usually quick 10-20 minute sessions in a set location that include only a few digital files and photographers of all levels usually do sales on this kind of session at least once a year.
If you have a dSLR and any lenses with wide aperture capabilities (like a 28-70 2.8 or even a 50 1.8) I’d recommend using one of those lenses and keeping your aperture open fairly wide, around 2.8. That will help to blur the background and make the photographs look a little more professional. If not, don’t sweat it – turning off your flash will force your camera to use the widest aperture it’s got (using the portrait setting will also help here). Your camera may have a harder time keeping the shutter speed high if it’s not very bright in your house, so consider using a tripod if you have one. Better equipment sometimes makes for better photos, but knowing how to use what you have is really more important. If you have a few months before your baby is born, spend a little time getting to know your camera. If you don’t have time to practice, following my tips will still help you improve your photos.
First, you have to make the decision--and stick to it--that you'll download (or upload) all your photos and videos within a day or so of taking them. It's a good idea to get in the habit of at least copying your photos and videos off your device and it really takes no time; once you've got a system in place, you can do it while watching TV, eating dinner, or playing with the cat. Why bother? The last thing you want to do is run out of space on your card at a key moment or lose your media if you misplace or break your device. If you want to keep it portable to share, that's fine. But you also want to be able to hit "delete" or "format" if necessary. And you need to commit to the plan. If you don't, you'll end up more confused, having to remember whether you downloaded something or not before you can start looking for it.
If you have a dSLR and any lenses with wide aperture capabilities (like a 28-70 2.8 or even a 50 1.8) I’d recommend using one of those lenses and keeping your aperture open fairly wide, around 2.8. That will help to blur the background and make the photographs look a little more professional. If not, don’t sweat it – turning off your flash will force your camera to use the widest aperture it’s got (using the portrait setting will also help here). Your camera may have a harder time keeping the shutter speed high if it’s not very bright in your house, so consider using a tripod if you have one. Better equipment sometimes makes for better photos, but knowing how to use what you have is really more important. If you have a few months before your baby is born, spend a little time getting to know your camera. If you don’t have time to practice, following my tips will still help you improve your photos.
DO use the best equipment possible. If necessary, rent or borrow a DSLR with great low-light capability, plus a fast f/2.8 zoom—either a 24–70mm, 70–200mm, or both. A reliable shoe-mount flash is also important, with wired or wireless provision for using it off-camera in TTL mode. Power your flash with rechargeable NiMH batteries, not lower-capacity and slow-recycling alkalines. And bring a back-up camera and flash.
If you’re scared to get in peoples faces with your camera then you’ll be missing out on some great shots. At the same time, you need to be self-aware and not too obtrusive. Again it’s all about the situation. Don’t be up in the couples grill in the Ceremony, you’ll probably get kicked out by the Officiant. But on the dance floor or during the formals it’s much more appropriate to have a little more swagger and to be more noticeable.
Choosing the right family photographer is a daunting task. Perform an internet search on “Family Photographer” for your area and inevitably you will be barraged with hundreds of options, spread over many pages (hint: if they are in the sidebar, or highlighted/sponsored in the top space, they are paying to be there). You’ve probably seen a studio located on a main street in your town, or seen friends on Facebook tagged or blogged by their professional photographer in their own family sessions. And finally, there is no end in sight to the number of friends and family who have “a great eye,” a “nice camera” and “know there way around Photoshop.”
In the past, we have had family photos taken in a variety of ways.  We have simply not done it, we have gone to a studio and we have also hired a professional to take our family photos in an outdoor setting!  My favorite photos are the outdoor, slightly more candid photos and so this year, that is what we wanted.  My husband is a hard one to nail down though, he doesn’t love family photos time, so with my recent purchase of some new camera equipment, he suggested that we take our family photos our self this year.
Any other props or accessories you think you might like to use (hats, headbands, etc.) You want everything ready to go before you start taking photos. Remember, though, that you don’t need lots of props. I think newborn photos look best with fewer accessories and props and more focus on the baby herself. I’ll talk more about this in Part 2: Posing for a DIY newborn photos.
MOST PARENTS PHOTOGRAPHING THEIR DAUGHTER IN A SWIMMING COMPETITION WOULD BE HAPPY TO GET A SHOT LIKE THE ONE ON THE BOTTOM. BUT A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER REMOVES ALL OF THE ABERRATIONS OR CLUTTER OUT OF THE BACKGROUND. I SHOT THIS PICTURE IN A HOTEL POOL, SO I CREATED A BLACK BACKGROUND TO GET RID OF THE UNNECESSARY CLUTTER SO THAT ALL THE VIEWER'S ATTENTION WOULD BE PLACED ON THE ACTION.

Krista is natural light portrait, senior, and wedding photographer in Northwest Arkansas. A lover of golden fields, buttery backlight, and authentic emotion, she strives to transform the mundane into the magical by showcasing amazing light and interaction in her photography. She is a devoted wife and mother of a spirited daughter, who also serves as her muse. Krista loves spicy Mexican food, reality TV, the ocean, and connecting with nature. She is the author of Transforming the Mundane Into Magical.
Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
While I had visions of taking lots of ‘cute’ shots of Xavier in his first week I found that what actually happened was that the first week of his life ended up being more like a documentary shoot. The focus of my shots ended up being of a lot of ‘firsts’. First moment with Mum, first bath, first time on the scales (he was just under 9 pounds), first outfit, first manicure (he had long nails from day one), first time meeting grandparents etc. I ended up taking a picture of him with every visitor that came (these will make nice gifts) and decided to leave the ‘cute’ shots until when we got back home and he’d settled a little more.
Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers – unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo – not necessarily on the subject themselves, but rather match little sister’s bright turquoise shoes to the sweater or scarf her mama is wearing. It ties everything together without looking too match-y match-y. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty. And don’t forget some funky socks to add another splash of color or personality if your overall look of the session is fun and bright.
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