When being photographed most, if not all, people are nervous. Yes nervous! Some are down right scared, and some would even go as far to say that they “hate it”. So it is part of your job to help your subjects feel more comfortable and relaxed. That can be hard to do when you’re also nervous, especially if you’re new to portraits. But there’s a big advantage of putting that camera on the tripod. Two actually.
Oh wow!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’ve been looking for information like this for a while and here it is, in a 5 part series. I’ve been asked to take maternity and newborn pictures of my nephew that will be born in about 1 1/2 month…so excited…except I was a bit nervous as I had never done a newborn photoshoot before. Again thank you so much for the information…will be of great use. Great job!
I attended the University of North Texas and received a Bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television and Film. In 2011, I received a Master’s in Ed. Technology. My first thought was I would teach technology/videography at a High School level, but I fell in LOVE with photography after my 1st daughter was born. She came into the world with the most beautiful red hair and striking blue eyes, needless to say, her Dad, her grandparents and myself were shocked! I picked up a cheap Kodak camera and never stopped taking pictures. Over the years I have self taught through online workshops, upgraded to a professional Canon Mark iii, purchased several fancy lens and just have gotten better by good ol’ fashion practicing. I have 3 children ages 12, 10 and 8 who always give me a good reason to shoot what I see! 🙂 I love what I do, which I think truly shows in my work. Photography and children inspire me. I am so grateful to be a given a gift to see the world the way I do.
Remember that your photographer is the pro, so—while it’s helpful—you shouldn’t spend too much time putting together a detailed shot list for them. Instead, pass along your day-of timeline, give them an idea of what images you’d like captured (like a shot with each of your bridesmaids in addition to wedding party portraits) and let them do their thing. This is also the perfect moment to give them a heads up on any familial or friendship intricacies they should be aware of, like divorced parents, a grandmother that needs to remain sitting for portraits or a groomsman and bridesmaid that don’t get along (hey, it happens!). If you’re hoping to get your wedding day published online or in a magazine down the road, be sure to relay that to your photographer. This way, they’ll put extra emphasis on snapping shots of all your amazing details and will likely come armed with gorgeous styling accessories, like ribbons, linens and more, with the goal of helping your wedding aesthetic truly stand out.
When you shoot a mommy-to-be in her own home she’s comfortable to let go in a way that she may not be otherwise. This is a fantastic reason to hold maternity sessions at home. This is not however why I do it. As a photographer I feel like it’s my responsibility to help my subjects feel comfortable and capable of giving me their best, no matter where we’re shooting. I pride myself on my ability to do this. To me, it’s a HUGE part of my success as a photographer (Uh oh. I feel a post in this regard coming on… check back soon). I shoot maternity sessions at home primarily because it’s wonderful for a couple to have a capture that truly shows what their life was like at the time their baby came to be a part of their family. I’m a second generation photographer so I’ve got some really lovely shots of my sweet momma awaiting my arrival. My favorite however is a simple picture of her standing by my bassinet with her hand on her tummy. I CHERISH it.
Unlike the work of your other wedding vendors (music, flower arrangements, cake), photographs aren't things you can hear, smell, taste or even see at first—you don't really know what you're getting until after the fact. That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic style and personal demeanor are extra important when choosing your photographer.
Pro tip: Once you get the sign and the location nailed down, it's time to concentrate on wardrobe. "Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in," says Tempe, Ariz.-based photographer Melissa Young. "I like the way long dresses and skirts work for maternity. If you have any doubts on the outfits, you may choose to seek advice from your photographer in advance, as they can give tips as to what photographs best for your body type and the location you are shooting at."
"I had family members traveling in town and we wanted to get family photos done with a professional (9 adults, 1 infant). I reached out pretty late notice and he was able to accommodate. VERY fast at corresponding with me about details for what I wanted done and at a great value. Garrett came on site to my grandmother's assistant living home for our photo shoot and was prompt and easy to work with. He captured great posed photos and priceless candid shots of both my 93 year old grandmother and 11 month old nephew. He worked quickly through my requested shot-list and we had plenty of time to get several more with his efficiency. I appreciated that he made an effort to create variety in all of our posed photo groupings and showed me some of the shots along the way to make sure I was happy with the outcomes. He worked hard at our shoot and was very experienced at working with babies too! Garrett was fast to deliver our photo proofs and updating me along the way. The photos were beautiful and we went with purchasing the entire lot. Thank you for the wonderful and treasurable investment!"
As the busy fall season for family photography approaches, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts on things you may want consider when choosing a family photographer! If you’re looking at hiring a photographer for the first time, I’m sure the options can be daunting. How does this all work? Why does it cost so much? How do you know you can trust them to do a good job? Whether you’re reading this here in Fort Collins or far away in another state, I want to share some thoughts that might be helpful as you make this decision. This isn’t meant to be a black and white list of dos and don’ts, just some food for thought! I want to start by talking a bit about some things that I think are important to look for when you’re checking out potential photographers’ websites.
Now is not the time to be starring dreamily into space – make sure you look at the camera (and remind everyone else in the photo to look into the camera too!). Try to get the “looking at the camera” shots out of the way first when everyone has enough attention. It can quickly get tough to get kids to cooperate, so aiming to get this shot first is key.
Choose coordinating colors, not matching. Knowing what colors to wear for family photos can be tricky. Start off with colors that coordinate well. You can accomplish a cohesive look without every family member wearing the exact same outfit. In fact, that can seem overly-matching. By selecting a color scheme and using hues that complement each other, you can achieve a more natural look across the board. Pick two main colors and then add softer tones to accent and complete your color scheme.
Keep location in mind. Another helpful item to consider when trying to decide what to wear in your family photos is the location of your photoshoot. Are you going to be on the beach where there are plenty of neutral tones or under a tree surrounded by bright fall foliage? Select a color palette for your outfits that will complement the setting. Pick out items of clothing in colors that will complement your background and not compete with it.
Julie always advises her clients to be natural. That is, where what you would normally where in your daily life… whatever you’re comfortable wearing. And Julie highly recommends not matching. Mainly because that is not natural (for most people anyway :). Also, don’t clean up the house too much. A “lived in” look is how most families live so why should it be any different for your family photos? And finally, try to relax and enjoy the experience even when baby is crying, toddler is running around, and the dog is being ornery. Sometimes, those chaotic, unscripted shots are the best and most memorable.
Some photographers work only on location; others work only in studio with backdrops. Think about the setting you prefer, as well as your timing constraints. Do you have extended family visiting for a limited time who will be part of your portrait session? If so, even if you prefer outdoor photography, you may still need a photographer who also has a studio so that you have a rain plan.
I really like how you said in your third point that the woman’s head shouldn’t be tilted at a weird angle. I think this is why it’s a great idea to hire a photographer with some expertise to come and do the photos for you. My younger sister is just starting to show and has been contemplating whether or not she should take maternity photos so I think I’ll share this tip with her and see what she thinks!
taking your own maternity photos is so easy and i hope it is something you do for yourself, and for your baby. it will be so fun for your little one to see what you looked like when you were expected him or her. again, it is also a wonderful way for you to remember what your pregnancy was like. it is amazing what memories a photo can hold and how just one photo can take you back to the moment, allowing you to remember all the details of pregnancy.
Hold a photo party. A wonderful way to bring people together, share photos and learn a little more is to hold a photo party. Invite family and longtime members of the community to peruse boxes, piles or albums of photos placed around the room and just let people mingle and remember. Have a notepad near each stack and ask guests to share what they know. Send each person home with a small box of treasured photos or create a scanned album of favorites to share online.
Flatter yourselves, Moms: Yes, Moms, I'm talking to you. You're organizing, you're planning, you're making it happen, every day. YOU deserve to look amazing in these photos. Don't forget about YOU. Play up your assets. If you have great legs, don't hesitate to show them off a little. It's OK to be a hot mama. If you have an area of insecurity, think about how you can minimize that with your outfit choice. Scarves /pashminas/jackets are awesome accessories that can totally help highlight the best version of you. If you have insecurities that you want to share with me - please do. BUT, you're not allowed to do it during your session. Let's get that out of the way beforehand, so it doesn't bring us down on session day. :)
Annie, Thank you so much for this post. I found this delightful and amazingly informative post on Pinterest. I’d been on the for hours looking at how to style family portraits. I’m going insane, we have pictures tomorrow and I still don’t know what I’m wearing. I have my husband and the 4 kids (boys age 17, 16, & 11 and our girl age 10) clothes picked out but not myself. Deep breath….. I’m going to try again to find something conducive. Wish me luck