I am a national award-winning children’s photographer, but I’m also a mom, and I look at kids through the eyes of a mom. I know that some of the most cherished photos you’ll ever have of your children are not the perfectly posed, clean-faced, well-dressed, sweet-smiling photos that our parents wanted, but rather the authentic, digging in the mud, feet in the cake, finger up the nose sort of moments that can’t be duplicated and will never be forgotten (future boyfriends/girlfriends beware!). Now that my own kids are in high school, I think the little things that young kids do are seriously funny, though I realize that right now, you might not see the humor. I promise you, in 10 years, it will become clear when you look at the photos we create together. Optical Poetry is a laid back, high-end portrait experience that begins with collaborative planning of wardrobe and location and ends with the delivery of your artwork as gallery-wrap canvas collections, gorgeous albums and heirloom quality prints to be cherished for generations.
These sites also have great finds for the rest of the family, even for your home. I find a lot of my jeans there, as well as fun shoes, accessories and sweaters. Some of the brands I’ve picked up for myself there are 7 For All Mankind jeans, Hudson jeans, Paige Denim, Current & Elliot jeans (yes, I love my denim), Free People, some vintage finds when they have a Vintage Bazaar boutique (great for props), etc.
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!

Remember that often a baby is coming into an established family unit (not to say that Mom and Dad alone aren’t an “established family unit” but for the sake of my point, go with me on this one). If the siblings are available, make sure to include them in at least a few frames. I have to mention the dog, because I’ve got a sister-in-law who’s dog, Wanda (seriously that’s her name) is her pride and joy. When she and her hubby have kids, you can trust that Wanda will be right there in at least a handful of her maternity photos. She’s as much a part of the family as the next guy.
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.

You can also design a digital photo book to commemorate special events. Photo book-creation sites allow you to put as little or as much effort and creativity into the process as you like -- offering numerous design choices for those who want a hands-on experience or prepackaged options if you're short on time or have a large number of images to include in a single project.
*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
I am crazy passionate about my career and love to evolve my photography and continually learn. I’m obsessed with beautiful, dreamy light and have been known to chase it, lol! I am also very passionate about this age group of girls (and guys) and I feel pretty lucky that I get to focus on you and get to know you. They way I look at it….I have a small window of time and opportunity in your life, and I have the ability to bring out the best, real you, and photograph that. I say “I photograph confidence” It is SO fun to guide you through this process, the styling tips, make up and hair, molding you in to flattering poses for your body, then showing you on the back of the camera how it’s going…..ahhh I LOVE it! In that small window of time, if I could have some influence in your confidence and seeing yourself in a wonderful way, well that’s just awesome!

Newborn photography is our first love and passion. We love nothing more than to create timeless photos of what love has created. The newborn stage is such a precious and fleeting time in yours and your little one’s lives and to be a part of it is truly a privilege. Tiny details only stay tiny for a little while. That is why newborn photography requires a special kind of heart, one that can appreciate how special these moments are and understand the importance of treasuring them down to the last dimple.
As photographers we want every photo to be a masterpiece – perfect light, natural expressions, everyone looking at the camera. But sometimes the best photos that you wind up taking are the most ridiculous — a boy with his hand up his nose, a brother embracing his crying sister, or one sibling looking at the other with a crazy face. Don’t stop shooting just because the kids aren’t cooperating for a moment, or the parents are chasing them around. Sometimes these situations can lend to the funniest and most memorable shots.
When shooting outside after a ceremony or during the posed shots you’ll probably want to keep your flash attached to give a little fill in flash. I tend to dial it back a little (a stop or two) so that shots are not blown out – but particularly in backlit or midday shooting conditions where there can be a lot of shadow, fill in flash is a must. Read more about using Fill Flash.

When I was first learning how to use my camera, lighting is what I had the most trouble with. It is so important to learn though. Lighting can make or break a photo. All the other settings can be correct, but a badly lit image will ruin it. When looking at a photographers work, you’ll want to look how their subjects are lit. You want nice even lighting without spots from the sun on a subjects face or front of the body. The image below is back lit. The sun is hitting the back of my son (don’t mind his messy hair!) and rimming him nicely. Notice there are no sun spots on his face or the front of him. The lighting on his face is nice and even. In the second image he was in the same spot, but I moved my position. The sun is now hitting his face. That side of his face is very harsh and the exposure is blown, while the side that is in the shade is correctly exposed. It I had exposed for the sun on his skin, the side in the shadow would have been underexposed. If I moved my position even more the sun would have been completely hitting him on his face. He would have been squinting and the light would not have been pleasing. You also want to avoid dappled light on the subject. Dappled light is when there are clusters of light spots on your subject.
Keep on the look out for those times in your baby’s life when he or she seems most settled and content. They may not smile yet but there are times in a daily routine which are better than others for photos. I find in Xavier’s day there are a couple of moments that are especially good. One is bath time (he loves it) and another is mid morning after he’s had half of a feed and when we let him have a little ‘play’ before finishing his feed off. These are times when we’re guaranteed to get wide open eyes and even a giggle or two.
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Hi Lina 🙂 I am so happy that you loved this post! Many find their true passion is with Newborn/Baby Photography, but aren’t sure where to start. This post is a great start for quick tips but because of all of our readers who wanted more info, and more detailed information, we created a very detailed and complete Newborn Photography Workshop, it might be something that would be perfect for you. Feel free to check it out right here. If any questions, just email me 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
“My favorite part of the session was how my son connected with Kate…she just has a way to make him laugh and smile. Usually when I ask him to smile for a picture he gives me this hard smile where he pushes his chin forward. It drives me nuts… It doesn’t look like him. But then Kate comes around, works her magic, and he smiles a smile that lightens up the world. Squinty eyes, dimples, and all… and my heart melts.”
Portrait photography provides parents with lasting images of the first whirlwind months of a newborn’s life. The cost varies based on several factors, including the length and location of the session, the number of photos provided, and the amount of editing and retouching the photographer does. The national average cost for baby photos is $150-$200. Some baby photographers charge by the number of photos provided, typically ranging from an average of $299 for 20 high-resolution edited photos, to an average of $399 for 35 photos, to $499 for all of the images taken in a single session. Props and location affect the cost, too; an elaborate studio shoot with props and professional lighting may increase the cost to $600-$700 for 20-50 photos. Adding a second location or asking the photographer to travel can add $70-$250 to the cost of the session. Photographers may also charge extra fees for providing additional photos and DVDs, scheduling weekend sessions, and shooting siblings. Expect to pay at least a $50 deposit when you book a portrait photography session.
Here comes the bride! All eyes are on you as you walk down the aisle. This is perhaps the most special moment of the big day and we cover it from multiple perspectives. It’s always nice to see your expression as you are walking down the aisle with all eyes on you…but let’s not forget about your groom! We make sure to capture his reaction as well and these are some of our favorite photos from a wedding day.
Thank you for this great blog post. Brilliant hints and tips. I also ask clients to lay their outfits out at home together to check that they all look good together. Also I remind clients to press their clothes (I think sometimes they think that I can ‘photoshop’ creases out!) I love putting together visual ‘what to wear’ guides – here is one I did this week for a mother and daughter photo session http://www.sarahoffley.com/what-to-wear/what-to-wear-mother-and-daughter-photo-shoot/
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