Be very open with your clients about your preference regarding an engagement session and explain how you typically do it. Be very patient with the couple and let them speak their minds before suggesting anything from yourself. As the opportunity presents itself for you to explain what you usually do, lead them the right way while showing examples of your previous work. Ask questions and make the session about them. Find out if they like certain places or if they have strong location preferences where they wish to be photographed. Are they an outdoorsy couple or do they enjoy the city life better?
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!
I do TONS of newborn shoots professionally. The #1 best advice I have ever received along the way is that if you are comfortable, baby is freezing (assuming s/he is down to the diaper or less). You should be sweating. I bring a big heating pad and leave it on low and use a space heater. On top of that I put a flat (not fitted) diaper station changing ‘sheet’ (they are about 2 for $7 at Target and washable). Then, whatever blanket/backdrop we want- layer them if you want multiple. All of this is over a bean bag. Baby will be completely moldable because they will be OUT! ALWAYS have baby freshly fed and changed. Other than that, newborn shoots can be some of the easiest. Make sure to get the details- the toes, hands, ears- put them onto something big to show how small they are. And unless you’re doing that- showing how small they are- get SO CLOSE. And for all portraits, focus on a specific eye to get the shot perfectly sharp!
Once you have the basics set up, you can drape a solid colored blanket over it all. Use clamps to attach the blanket to the backdrop boards and make sure the clamps also attach the board to the chairs so it will not fall over (if you don’t have a backdrop board just attach the blanket to the tops of the chairs). Let it drape down the board until it is level with the pillows, then lay it over the pillows. You want to minimize wrinkles as much as possible, because they will be very distracting in the final picture, so use more clamps on the sides if you need to. Additionally, you might want to clamp the background board to the chairs it’s resting against to be sure it won’t fall during the photoshoot. It should look like this:
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Get dressed up! And schedule ample time for the shoot. We usually make it the only thing on our schedule for the morning or afternoon, and don’t have anywhere else to rush off to. Often it takes a lot longer than you expect for everyone to get ready, to go and find the perfect spot (we try to figure out where we’ll shoot before the actual day, especially if we have to drive there), take all the shots, and then pack up. And by the end everyone will be a bit tired! So make your shoot a priority for the day, and you’re much more likely to get it done, and enjoy the process.
Choosing the right family photographer is a daunting task. Perform an internet search on “Family Photographer” for your area and inevitably you will be barraged with hundreds of options, spread over many pages (hint: if they are in the sidebar, or highlighted/sponsored in the top space, they are paying to be there). You’ve probably seen a studio located on a main street in your town, or seen friends on Facebook tagged or blogged by their professional photographer in their own family sessions. And finally, there is no end in sight to the number of friends and family who have “a great eye,” a “nice camera” and “know there way around Photoshop.”
Heather Kelly Photography is a Connecticut newborn, baby, family, and maternity photographer. She is located in Newtown, CT and serves many towns in Northern Fairfield County. She serves parts of Litchfield County and New Haven County as well. She also serves parts of New York, including Westchester County and Putnam County. Heather is an on-location photographer and brings a portable studio for newborn and baby sessions that take place in the comfort of your own home. Outdoor family sessions are on-location at a mutually decided location such as your home or a local park. If you have any questions or would like some more information on booking a session in Connecticut or New York, please click the contact tab above. Sneak peeks are always being on posted so facebook make sure to “like” that page as well! www.facebook.com/heatherkellyphotography
JAALAM IS AN AWARD WINNING, NATIONALLY PUBLISHED PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER. HIS WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN NUMEROUS MAGAZINES AND PUBLICATIONS. PREMIERE IS HIS PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY LOCATED IN COLLEYVILLE, TX. HE NOW SPLITS HIS TIME BETWEEN PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL AND FORT WORTH/ DALLAS, TX WHERE HE CONTINUES TO PHOTOGRAPH HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS, COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY, PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY AND IS AN IN DEMAND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. AS A PHOTOGRAPHER HIS GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS HAVING HIS PORTRAITS HANG ON THE WALLS OF CLIENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
Bring the Fun, Dads: There is nothing more attractive than an amazing father/husband. I KNOW that your wife probably had to talk you into photos. And, I want you to know, I'm thrilled that you're participating. And, if you're at all affectionate with your loved ones, you've probably already melted my photographer heart. Today isn't about smiling and posing, it's about having a blast.  And, I have yet to meet a dad who doesn't know how to break a house rule or two in the name of family fun.  At the risk of minimizing your outfit choice, Dads, the most important thing you can wear to picture day is a good attitude.  If you've got a signature hat, belt buckle, or something that you really love - let's find a way to include it. 
Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:
That’s it! No expectations other than fun. Then prepare yourself. Bring along props, get mom to bring one of their favourite toys or books. I usually have a hand puppet and bubbles in my camera bag along with my gear. If the kids don’t want to sit and smile don’t force them. Then them run around and be kids for a while and shoot that. Play with them, make it fun. Then they may cooperate and sit for a bit a few minutes later.
This one is a bit harder to understand from a client’s perspective. Understanding the question of “How do I choose a family photographer” means also understanding the difference in the services they offer. The photography industry does not have one set way to do things when it comes to charging for things and it can vary wildly from photographer to photographer. When I was starting my business, even I had a hard time understanding the pricing structure of photography packages (which is why I opted to keep it simple and just treat my clients the way I would expect to be treated). Some photographers charge a sitting fee, require you buy a certain number of prints, then charge a premium for digital downloads. Sometimes editing is not included in the price. Some photographers don’t offer products at all and only deliver digital downloads. There are fees for travel outside of specific areas, outfit changes, multiple locations, weekend shoots and there are usually ALWAYS fees for larger families. Understanding what EXACTLY is included in the fee listed on their website is extremely important to understanding what you are choosing. If digital downloads are important to you, make sure you ask your prospective family photographer if that is part of what you’re paying for. If you are ever unsure about what to expect, always ask – and get the answer in writing so you can refer back to it during the process.
Evaluate your interview notes. Spend some time looking back through the notes you made during the interview to help you decide. These notes are a record of the interview that can give you a good idea of the impression you got from the photographer. You can compare the scores across the different shortlisted candidates with your partner, and evaluate their relative strengths and weaknesses.
Weddings always run late.  Always.  It's as sure as the fact that Uncle Bob will annoy the photographer.  If the bride says they'll have an hour to do a shoot with you, immediately translate that sentence into half an hour.  Your time to work alone with the bride and groom is precious, so you need to be confident that you can get the shot in only 30 minutes with many weddings. (Thanks Meagan Thompson)

For these, my general rule is to start with the largest family/group and then work down to immediate family. You’ll do this for each side of the family. However, I often start with the ministers since oftentimes they have somewhere else to be or aren't in any additional photos. I usually try to light the room with a two-light setup to avoid shadows and create even lighting on the fly.
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.

Instant viewing of your photo session is made available with a custom online slide show posted to the Bella Baby website (protected with a unique password), thus enabling distant friends and family members the opportunity to share the experience. Online viewing and ordering is offered for two weeks to anyone you choose to share your password; immediate in-hospital purchasing is also available.


The first thing that I want to mention is that if you currently own an SLR camera DO NOT immediately go and sell your camera in order to purchase one of the cameras here. Just because I perhaps don’t mention your camera in this article doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for portrait or wedding photography. You may just want to keep this article in mind for future purchase, or upgrades.
You don’t need to tell the couple to kiss slowly during the ceremony, whatever happens, happens. But when you are taking formal photos of the couple ask them to slow their kissing down a little. This way you can grab some lovely intimate shots. They don’t need to eat each others faces off. But encouraging them to hold the kiss for a few seconds will yield great results.
Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers – unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo – not necessarily on the subject themselves, but rather match little sister’s bright turquoise shoes to the sweater or scarf her mama is wearing. It ties everything together without looking too match-y match-y. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty. And don’t forget some funky socks to add another splash of color or personality if your overall look of the session is fun and bright.
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