Please do whatever you can to keep the noise to a minimum during our session. Maintaining a calm environment is also a big key to a successful newborn shoot. I do have a white noise app that I will keep close to baby during the session to help soothe him or her. Babies love strong and rhythmic sound. Amazingly! that’s the sound the heard 24/7 in the uterus!
Crafty fun with photos. Gift shops sell wonderful (and expensive) art made from old photos, so why not make your own? Use decoupage or resin to create playful collages for walls, tabletops or just about anything you want to kitsch up. Arranging photographs under glass on a tabletop or desktop would allow you to enjoy multiple photos at once but change them out as the mood strikes.
Thank you so much for this article! This past weekend I did my 3rd newborn session which happened to be my grandson. It took 4 hours and I had such difficulty getting him into the poses that I had planned in my head, that when the session was over with I felt totally defeated. I experienced everything you mentioned, including overwhelming myself with too many props. I started doubting myself and wondering if I was even cut out to be a newborn photographer. Your article was very helpful and encouraging at the same time. Thank you so much!
You never know where your next big referral will come from, so you have to be prepared! Make sure to add those stunning newborn baby pics to your online portfolio, so prospective clients can see your infant photography skills. The more amazing newborn photo shoots and newborn photos you have on your portfolio, the more folks will want to hire you to shoot their little ones!
One thing I learned when I became a parent, was that the baby is the boss regardless of how much control I pretend I have.  The same is true for newborn photography.  If the baby doesn’t want to go to sleep for posing after you’ve tried everything, take some lifestyle shots & keep shooting.  Swaddle tight and try to get some eye contact.  Get images of mommy rocking the baby, be open and flexible – the session doesn’t always go as planned and that might just be the best thing that happens to you.
I also suggest my bride to get their manicure and pedicure done according to the colors that they are going to be wearing for the session. Remember that they are scoring a brand new engagement ring and chances are you are going to be photographing it. So, giving a fair warning to your clients about it will save you a lot of work in post-processing and will also save you some great detail shots.
I volunteered my time at an event called Help Portrait last year that has photographers, make up artists and organizers giving their time to create portraits for people that otherwise couldn’t afford a professional one. They ended up sending most of the families to me, initially because I had the biggest area to do the group photo and later because the other photographers said I was the best with the kids.  To see some of my photos from that event go to Help Portrait, Edmonton  2012. 
Ashley, I loved your post. I am huge on annual family photos. I think it’s so important to capture a nice photo of your growing/changing family at least once a year! I love how your pictures turned out. They are very nice and the same style I like to go for. I am getting into photography and would like to do our own someday. Thanks for all the tips. I completely agree with all of them and try to do them already but seeing it written down helps to instill those ideas even more for our next shoot.
My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read together? Bring some books. Is your favorite dessert ice cream? Bring some ice cream bars or drumsticks to your session or better yet… hire an ice cream truck to come to your session. Love to play board games or cards? Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”.  The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands.  The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing.  Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
Identifying faces and places. It can be both fascinating and frustrating to see the faces of strangers gazing back at us, piquing our curiosity about their stories and their connection to us. Often there is scant information available other than cryptic notations in an unfamiliar hand, or the faces themselves that bear a subtle or profound family resemblance. With a little sleuthing, however, you may be able to fit the pieces together.
As a wedding is a one-time event, the photographer must be prepared for the unexpected. Covering a wedding is both exhausting and invigorating as the photographer is constantly looking for good angles and opportunities for candid shots. Communication and planning time-lines before the event will alleviate many of the stresses associated with photographing a wedding. The ability to tactfully take charge also helps - particularly when photographing large groups or families - a common expectation after the ceremony. Having a run list with all of the expected shots is also a useful tool. A photographer may work with an assistant who can carry equipment, arrange guests, and assist with clothing adjustments or holding of reflectors.
Here’s an important thing to keep in mind: The memories that are brought up when you look at these photos will be complex. The images themselves will trigger memory of what your child looked like and who they were, and of your relationship together, AND it will also trigger memory of what you felt like when those images were being captured. If you were uncomfortable during the session that discomfort will forever be tied to the images.
The wedding couple has chosen the venue because they like it.  Show up early to the event and take some nice shots of the venue to include in the wedding album.  Little things can make a big difference.  Also, you can chose to share your photos with the venue owner and you might get some referrals! (Thanks Tom Pickering, who is a regular on the site and frequently comments)
Imagine there is a line drawn from each face to the next. Try and position them so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another. Make diagonal lines not totem poles. Use props to seat some people or bring some small folding stools. Have some people sit down, or stand up on something. Use what is naturally in the environment to pose them, or if you have nothing available just arrange them so the heights are staggered.

"The photo was taken 2 days after my son and daughter-in-law`s wedding. There was a horse on the beach (a day after wedding get-together) that was the same breed as the horse she was taught to ride by her late uncle. The owner of the horse offered to photograph her for free, in her wedding gown, at sunrise. I had the photo done as oil painting, as a gift for Christmas. Simply beautiful.

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.


M. Bradbury Photography is a Frisco-based custom photographer focusing on newborn, baby, and child photography. Head photographer Melissa Bradbury has over 10 years of experience in photographing newborns, infants, children, and expectant mothers. She offers comfy seats, snacks, and drinks for parents during newborn photo sessions. Clients praise Melissa for her ability to capture every special moment beautifully.
Composition: After lighting, the next thing you want to look at in someone’s portfolio is composition (hint: Meg talks about this a lot in sponsored posts, because she went to art school and composition is something that gets drilled into you there). This basically means, how did they set up the photo? Even when photographers are capturing moments as they happen, we’re still looking for interesting ways to tell the story. Take the below photo, for example. It uses the backs of the the bride and her father’s heads to frame the groom’s face as she walks down the aisle. By doing this, not only do your eyes know exactly where to go the moment you look at the photo, but you also get the added storytelling of seeing the groom’s face from the bride’s perspective.
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.
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.

And how is their customer service? If at all possible, try to find reviews (not from their website) on your potential photographer. Are they willing to make special arrangements? Are they good about handling unhappy clients? Do they do their best to make the costumer happy?  Do they take their time with clients, make them feel comfortable, happy, and at ease, or do they treat photography strictly as a business and push you through. Are they pushy sales people? All things to consider, though it can be hard knowing these beforehand.


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!


How do I choose a family photographer? Ask everyone else how they did with theirs! One of the best ways to find a great photographer is by asking someone who has great family photos already! Word of mouth is a great place to start to find your family photographer. If you don’t have anyone to directly refer you, go ahead and reference reviews during your research to see if people had a pleasant experience with this family photographer. ***When you’re looking at reviews it’s important to understand that there are some truly great photographers out there who don’t have a huge pile of reviews merely because they aren’t asking clients to write reviews, so take this one with a grain of salt!*** With that being said, it should absolutely send up a red flag if the photographer has multiple awful reviews written about them – and I’m talking about more then just one or two. I’m talking about loads of reviews saying the same thing over and over about the service provided. We live in a world where people who receive bad service feel compelled to take to the internet and tell the world as a way of preventing other consumers from going through the same pain. So, keep an eye out for this warning sign and if you come across someone who has lots of people saying they had a bad experience or felt swindled. This can be a big problem with those photographers who have a price that seems too good to be true. Heed the warning and move on to someone who has a better stamp of approval.
[…] One more step to shoot inside, is to really zoom in on your subject. You can get up nice and close physically to your subject or you can put on a lens that allows you to get close without getting in their personal space. By getting close, you eliminate any distractions that might be around the house. Get closer than you normally would – focus on the eyes, or just the face, or little hands and feet. Get all of those little details up close. […]
Your portraits are beautifully lit and fortunately don't need much retouching. The only exception I see in your examples is the family piled on top of each other on the ground where the mom appears to be in the shadow a bit more than I'd prefer. She could use a quick swipe of the dodge tool, IMHO. I do tend to spend too much time in post production working to "perfect" each file, but that's me.
(Above) Engagement Photo Prop Sticker Ideas: Print out and slap these cute and colourful stickers onto reused jam jars. Top your jam jars up with a yummy refreshment and retro chevron straws such as these found here: Chevron Wedding Ideas {Trendy Tuesday} {Featured here: {Engagement Shoot} A Whimsical Balloon-Themed Photo Shoot | Shot by: Adene Photography}

Now that you’ve decided who will be included in your wedding portraits, it’s time to figure out where you’ll be taking the photos. The easiest locations are your ceremony and/or reception venues, of course, but the hotel where you’re getting ready can also be a good spot. If there’s a particular location where you’ve always dreamed of taking your wedding photos (a local beach or park, a neighborhood in your city, etc.), you’ll have to factor the travel time into your wedding photography timeline—and plan for transportation so that all of your VIPs get there safely and on time.
While you may be tempted to wear all white for your engagement photos (you're going to be the bride after all!), bright colors really pop on camera. Plus, bolder colors will give your photos an instant celebratory feel, and are perfectly appropriate in a casual summer setting. To make bright colors work, pick ones that play off each other without being too matchy-matchy, like yellow and blue. If you're sporting prints ( say, polka dots and argyle), make sure they're big enough to show up on camera, but not too big—you don't want to get lost in an oversize print.
Consider your location as well when you're preparing your engagement shoot outfits. If we're shooting in a peaceful field or secluded park, consider a casual dress or jeans and a vintage tank top. If we'll be in downtown Manhattan, what about a cocktail dress or sleekly tailored trench? Another thing that can be very effective is deliberately not matching your outfit to your location. A flowing evening gown in a field is against the norm, and it's contrast to the scene can be very compelling.
This is more of a personal choice, but I tend to choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style. Whatever your style is, make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now (or months in the case of some quickly passing trends). I personally love to use softer or neutral tones (with a color pop here and there) and classic shapes, then add interest with accessories, layers and lots of interesting textures. I also happen to love bright and colorful as long as it’s not obnoxious or distracting from the subject’s personality and face. Of course, this is a personal choice and many families will choose to go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choices as a sort of time stamp in their images.
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