Ask about the photographer’s experience. One of the key things to talk about in the interview is the level of experience each of the photographers have gained. You should ask how many weddings the photographer has shot, and how many similar to yours. Different weddings have can hugely different requirements and expectations, so it’s important that you understand how much experience they have that is especially relevant to you.
That is not to say that we don’t want to know what is important to you! We absolutely DO want to know all about the special details that you have planned for your day and we want to capture those for you. That is why we also ask you to tell us as much detail as you can about any special details, events, and surprises that you are planning for your day in our questionnaires! :)
I love reading your articles. I am not a Pro Photographer but just a hobbyist and will only do it when time permits. I have a day job that I think I can’t afford to quit if I’ll go full time on photography. Anyways, what I can suggest to those beginners or let me say… to the people that who just found or discover their passion in photography a very big welcome to photography world. Photography is awesome. Believe me! :)
Digital cameras are very good at coming to a neutral exposure, but the truth is that the neutral exposure is not always the best exposure. For example, suppose you are taking a picture of a person on a bright sunny day. The camera will likely make the face of the person dark and the background too bright. The “neutral” exposure is mid-way between exposing for the face and the background.
If you are shooting under a large tree you shouldn't be getting dark eyes. I look for exactly that type of location to put people under a large branch. When you block the overhead light it IS darker for sure but the direction of light changes to coming from the front instead of overhead, so you don't get dark eyes. You may just need more exposure overall but the quality of light should be there.
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.)
An hour might not seem like a lot, but depending on your schedule you should be finishing getting ready around this time. If the bridesmaids have robes, it’s fun to do a champagne toast now. Many brides request that we capture the moment of them getting into their dress while others ask us to come in after they are dressed. Either way is fine with us as this is just a matter of personal taste. If MOB is around, it’s nice to have them help you get into the gown along with your bridesmaids.
This is probably my favorite pose, and is always the one I start with if the baby is sleepy (plan to feed your baby right before you try to photograph him so he’ll be more likely to fall asleep). I love how peaceful babies look in this position. It’s also a great pose if you (like me) like newborns to be naked in their photos – you can see their sweet little arms and legs, but nothing else is exposed.
Light stands – You need one stand for each light. As a rule of thumb, the heavier your light is (along with the light modifier), the sturdier your stands need to be. Don’t invest in cheap gear or you will risk your lights being too unstable and wobbly. Prefer stands that extend to 2.4 metres and higher, as often the lights are above the model. It is also useful to have a small stand. This can light the model from below or to hide your rim/background light behind the model.
Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.
Don't base your decision solely on what you see in a photographer's highlights gallery or album. For good reason, photographers show prospective clients a portfolio of their best pictures, all from different weddings, so you're seeing the best of the best. The problem with that is you won't get a well-rounded idea of their work. Ask to see two or three full galleries from real weddings they've shot (not someone else at their company) so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding. If you see that the full gallery photos are just about as good as the ones chosen in the highlight gallery (that is, they're all so good it's impossible to choose!), you're on the right track. And ask to see at least one or two complete albums of weddings that are in similar settings to yours. For example, if you're planning an indoor affair with dark lighting, don't just look at weddings shot outdoors in natural sunlight. And if you're planning to say "I do" on a beach at sunset, you'll want to see examples of that.
Plan on spending at least an hour to get some good shots. I generally spend two hours when I photograph a newborn (some pros spend twice that much time). If you’re taking pictures of your own baby, you could also plan to spend just half an hour but try once a day for the first week. Figure out what will work best for your schedule, but realize this won’t be a quick process. Also, the photoshoot will be much easier if you have someone to help you, so rope your husband/mom/friend into being your assistant.
I am an award-winning, internationally published photographer. My photos have appeared in Dallas Modern Luxury, D Magazine, Time Out New York, La Gazetta dell Sport Rome, and Time Out London. My studio, conveniently located in central Dallas, offers a comfortable environment for creating my one-of-a-kind images using both natural and studio lighting. I also shoot on location in your home or at an attractive outdoor setting of your choice.
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
4. Can you really afford them? Not all photographers list their complete pricing (or any pricing at all) on their website. There’s nothing wrong with this, it just means they want to chat with you a bit before they tell you what they charge. You’ll just want to make sure that before you book, you understand what your final cost will be. If their website says “Session fee of $150, prints and digital images sold separately,” you’ll probably want to think about what you want and make sure you know what it will cost before you book. We’ll talk about some of this in greater detail in my next post!
Work with your wedding planner to create a fully written-out schedule of your wedding day, including the wedding photography timeline. Add 5 minutes of “buffer” time throughout the day to account for any hiccups, and don’t forget to factor in travel time if you’re moving between locations. Be sure that all of your VIPs are aware of this schedule, and know where to be at what time. Even if you’re the “always early” type, weddings have a funny way of running late—so encourage your loved ones to stick to the schedule.
Know ahead of time how formal the wedding will be, and how you fit into the event. Some wedding photographers, like David Ziser, like to wear a suit to every wedding. Other photographers think it is perfectly appropriate to wear slacks and a shirt. Some female photographers wear a dress, and others wear jeans and a nice polo. I wouldn't say that there is one right answer here, but it is worth thinking about beforehand.
By having someone else take your photos you’re going to be able to be in a lot more of the shots, and you’ll get a lot more variety. You’ll also be able to focus more on having fun with your family – taking your own photos is definitely a bit of a juggling act! A pro behind the camera can catch a lot more of the special moments that come when you’re simply interacting with your loved ones, instead of worrying about whether your remote is working.
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You should be able to get amazing newborn and baby photography results with almost any camera and lens if you simply learn the proper lighting, creativity, and camera angles for newborn photography. Though a professional camera like a Canon 5K Mark III, a full frame camera, will give you better overall image quality than an advanced point and shoot camera like a Sony NEX, a camera like the Sony NEX will likely be sufficient for capturing great images of newborns. Below is a quick side-by-side showing images from the two cameras mentioned above with the Canon 5D Mark III image on the left and the Sony NEX image on the right. For more on this, be sure to check out our Newborn Photography Workshop.
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.
These are interesting examples, but I can't think of any client that I've had who would actually purchase the subway shot. What does it say about their family? There isn't congruence in their expressions - that isn't 100% necessary, of course, but in this image it makes me wonder why the photographer chose to present them this way. Middle and bottom sister are just not in to making this image and to me it is very distracting. Now, if it were simply an interesting image, all this is fine - but if we are talking about portraits that mean something to the subjects (who presumably commissioned the work), then I think we need to work harder to engage the people in the shot.
Send out an email a day or two before their appointment with the time, date, and place of the session. Provide a checklist reminding them to make sure the kids are fed and they pack any essentials with them. Depending on the season, your checklist will change (e.g., knit hat reminders in winter and sunscreen and water in the summer). A family shoot will never go perfectly, but by making sure the family is prepared, you can maximize the likelihood that things will go as smoothly as possible.
Sounds great right? Well often it’s a bit of pain pairing your phone with your camera. Most apps made by camera manufacturers for smartphones are terrible. Then when you’re actually using the app you’ll find it’s nearly impossible to shoot photos in quick succession (because of the lag between the camera and your phone, and also because it’s tough to repeatedly tap the shutter release button on the app).
I find the family photo part of the day can be quite stressful. People are going everywhere, you’re unaware of the different family dynamics at play and people are in a ‘festive spirit’ (and have often been drinking a few spirits) to the point where it can be quite chaotic. Get the couple to nominate a family member (or one for each side of the family) who can be the ‘director’ of the shoot. They can round everyone up, help get them in the shot and keep things moving so that the couple can get back to the party.
Be prepared to edit your photos. I am not talking about crazy amounts of editing, I am talking merely tweaking. The photos we took were taken in the morning light, so the light was a little bit cool for my taste. So I quickly imported my photos into Lightroom and warmed them up just a little bit! I highly recommend using Lightroom to edit photos quickly and in bulk! You can purchase Lightroom HERE.
"AMAZING! Stop looking and just book with him. Garrett is very professional and genuinely cares about his clients. He has amazing prices and really is willing to work with you. I was hesitant about hiring a professional photographer but I am so glad I did because the photos look amazing. If I ever need a photographer I will definitely be hiring him again."
Newborns aren't the only subject we love to photograph... we love to capture all of the milestones of family life. Using a photojournalistic style approach to photography, we capture your baby learning to stand, your 5-year old riding his bike with no training wheels, and your teenager's last photograph before she becomes an adult. Go to our Bella Life section to view samples of these important family moments.
As you’re looking through portfolios, keep an eye out for what identifies the photographer’s portfolio as distinctly their own. It might be that they take super crisp images with really high quality lenses. Or maybe they use their grandfather’s camera to take old school black and whites. A photographers’ favorite tool will tell you a lot about the way they see the world (and while you can get an idea of this from their portfolio, don’t be afraid to ask them about it. I could geek out forever over my plungercam. And any photographer who uses film could spend hours telling you why).
Engagement sessions are a big hit with couples and photographers. Almost all couples agree for a session before the wedding, so engagement photography has pretty much become a staple of wedding photography. An engagement shoot is done after a couple gets engaged and it usually is captured before the wedding. Some photographers sell this session as a separate product and most photographers include this session in their wedding packages. Regardless of how you like to approach it, understanding the basics of photographing couples and knowing how to coordinate a shoot that involves more than one person is crucial. Hence, I decided to write a piece to explain what goes into the planning process of an engagement session.
To get crystal-clear photos with a dreamy, blurred background, experiment with using lower F-stops. This means you will have to take your camera off auto-focus, but the results are more than worth it. The F-stop on a camera tells you how much light you let in while exposing your photo. Photos taken with a lower F-stop have a wider aperture to let in more light, but the depth of field is very shallow. This is what creates stunningly vivid portraits with gorgeously