*Keep Lighting Soft*Direct flash almost never works—it often fights the sense of intimacy, warmth, and naturalness that characterize the best family portraits. “I avoid direct flash like the plague,” says Sue Barr. “It will flatten an image and drain it of all spontaneity.”To work without flash, you’ll want the fastest lens you can afford. This allows you to shoot in low light, defocus (and thereby declutter) backgrounds, and use fast, kid-freezing shutter speeds.Another lighting tip: avoid direct sun. “I like shooting on cloudy days,” says Barr, “and I use gold or silver reflectors to add spark.” The latter helps lighten the shadows of wrinkles, making it helpful with older family members. Family portraiture is rewarding because it gives you the chance to celebrate something that’s life affirming and positive. As amateur photographer Jeremy Rule (www.fiickr.com/ photos/JeremyRule) of North Bend, WA—whose portrait of an extended family above —says, “Family portraits rarely focus on disease, divorce, fighting, business, addiction, or a recession. When you hand a family a portrait, you’re giving them something to celebrate, bond, and rally around.”Jeremy Rule
Though newborn photography may seem daunting at first, it’s like any other form of photography in that the more you practice the better you become. Take your time, be patient, and don’t second guess yourself. With the proper planning and research, some creative and personalized props, in addition to careful and safety-first execution, you should come away with at least a few good images on which to build your foundation. For more newborn photography tips and tutorials, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop, a full guide to baby and newborn photography, teaching posing, lighting, planning, and post production for newborn photography.
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.
A lot of photographers like the warmth of film. Film has a texture and a quality that just can’t be reproduced in digital format (no matter how hard we try). Also, if someone says they use film, it means they were probably trained in a darkroom and have an understanding of cameras that goes beyond digital, so not only will your photos look different, but the experience of being shot on film will be different than working with a strictly digital shooter.
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.
These are by no means "average rates". They are infact extremely high and the above comment referring to being a "new photographer" wanting to know where to price her work frustrates me. Ive been in the biz for over 5 years and charge $90-$125 per hour including digital images & copyright releases. I am in Palm Beach County Florida so by no means in a small town setting where i need to charge less. Please review where you found this to be average costs. I see so many "newbie" so called photogs charging more than I do with years of experience and it is extremely frustrating the # of calls I get to reshoot portraits that my client originally paid more for from someone else & they are completly dissatisfied. Then they say to me "your price just seemed to cheap" without doing proper research people go by claims like your making here and end up getting screwed.
The easiest way I’ve found to take pictures of sibings who aren’t old enough to be trusted holding the baby is demonstrated in the photo below. When your have the baby positioned on your bean bag or couch cushion (like we talked about in posing), have the older sibling come stand, kneel, or sit (depending on how tall the sibling is) right next to the baby. Ask the sibling to gently lean his head in close to the baby and snap away, leaving the baby happy and snoozing the entire time.
There’s something intriguing about poring over old photographs. Whether the photos are black and whites from the Old Country or yellow-stained images from the halcyon days of our own youth, looking at them is like peeking through a window at another world. But if you’ve inherited boxes and boxes of old photos, whether you’re a family history buff or just trying to get organized, you may find yourself asking, “Who are these people?” Well, here are some tips to help you research, share and preserve those dusty old prints.
[…] 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. […]
With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.
Great tips! I tend to be the photographer for a family of 10 siblings, with 33 children collectively, and, so far, 16 grandchildren. It can be real challenging to get that many folks' heads even visible from the shooter's point of view. Most of all, it takes practice, practice, practice on the part of the subjects.... and a great sense of humor. That many people are not going to look into the sun, or wait very long to have their photo taken. My best advice is to be prepared and have your equipment set so that expediency will promote spontaneity and candor. That way everyone naturally looks genuinely happy and NOT anxious to "get this over with".
No doubt there are many wedding moments you won't want to miss. The best way to ensure your photographer captures the right moments for all posterity is to provide a suggested shot list. Of course, the style and number of these images will all depend on the photographer you've chosen and how long you've hired that pro for, but a shot list of photos you'd love to have is a great way to cover your bases. Since you should count on at least five minutes per shot, it's unrealistic to expect all the photos below, but pick and choose those shots that mean most to you.

Make sure that the children can move freely in their outfits and that they aren’t going to be pulling and scratching at their new clothes. You want them happy and comfortable, not grouchy and miserable during the shoot! This means letting them have some input in what they wear. Kids who help dress themselves will not only be much happier campers when shooting time comes, but you’ll let their own beautiful personalities shine through in the images. Also, try not to make kids change outfits more than a couple times – another reason all those layers and accessories can be handy. The same goes for you – make sure that you select an outfit that makes you feel stunning and relaxed.
×