Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Intern with a professional photographer. If you are an amateur photographer or you’re just starting out, you should intern or apprentice with a professional photographer to get a sense for how a photography business should be run. It’s likely that you won’t agree with the way your mentor does everything in her business, but it will give you a good idea of the “big picture” of running a photography business.
I know it's easier said than done, but please don't worry about being "bad" in front of the camera! I've been photographing weddings and engagements since 2001, and have documented hundreds of couples. I can honestly tell you that not a single one of those couples, no matter how much they swore up and down that they would be, were "terrible" in their pictures! Awkward, sure. Uncomfortable, yes. But getting you to feel less awkward and uncomfortable is my job, and I promise that I'm good at it. I promise to do everything in my power to make you feel at-ease and comfortable during your engagement session.
This one can be really bad and it is super important. Five weeks before your wedding and on the same day of the week as your wedding (i.e. if you are getting married on a Saturday, then look at the Saturday five weeks prior to your wedding), pull up Sigalert (or any other traffic monitoring site) and see what traffic is like on the routes you will be taking at around the times that you are likely to be on them. Do this every week and you might notice that there is consistently more or consistently less traffic on your routes than you had planned. You can save yourself a LOT of stress (and perhaps even prepare appropriate tasty treats and beverages!) by knowing ahead of time if you are probably going to be sitting in traffic for 45 minutes between your getting ready, ceremony, and reception locations.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session. I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared. In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session. Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup. I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them. I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
“I was definitely a little nervous going into the shoot – I wanted the photos to feel natural and not come off as too “staged.” Kate made us all feel totally at ease! As soon as I met her I knew it was going to be a great experience. It was clear she is a pro – she could not have a more perfect personality for family photography! I cried the first time I saw our photos, and I will truly treasure them forever.”
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.
Pro tip: "Using props for a maternity session should have a special meaning," Denver family photographer Jermaine Amado says. "The most common props for maternity pictures are shoes, a onesie, an ultrasound picture, block letters for the baby's name and a book. Since you will be incorporating a prop in your pictures, most of the time the focus will be on the prop. But you can change it up and shift the focus from the prop to the family or belly. Sometimes it's an amazing shot to see the belly and family, then have your focus shift over to see blurred baby shoes or an ultrasound picture."
Both the beanbag and nursing pillow can be disguised with blankets or backdrops, so bring a few different colours if you have them available. Bring more than one of anything you need that the baby will be lying on — or you may be stuck if that item is peed on. Baskets and buckets also work well for posing newborns, but again, make sure you can use those props safely.
Ok, this isn’t a novel idea, but I use this a lot (even still) and think it’s worth the small investment for the random times it’s used. I have this tripod with a bag carrier, found on Amazon for $14.99. It’s a handy tool for years to come. Many times I’ve set my tripod up, and RUN into the picture. The toughest part about this method is making sure all the kids look in the right direction, and not at you running back.
Few styles of portrait photography are as tricky as newborn photos — the unpredictable infant is always in charge! The best way to ensure a successful photo shoot is to work with a local newborn photographer within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. Some photographers even work with hospitals to offer newborn sessions within a day of the baby’s birth. But newborn photographers usually recommend scheduling a shoot during the baby’s first two weeks of life, while the baby is still sleepy and relatively cooperative, especially for posed or studio shots. During this time, babies are easier to swaddle in blankets and dress in hats or headbands, and, because they often nap or nurse, can be staged with various props or be cuddled by their parents. For casual photos, most newborn photographers recommend shooting within the first six weeks of a baby’s life. Lifestyle portrait photography is more flexible and doesn’t require the baby to cooperate with multiple poses or props.
Engagement photos are an increasingly popular option for couples who are eager to announce their proposal to their family and friends. It gives you a chance to display your unique style—not to mention test out your photographer before the big day! But before you jump in front of the lens, you’ll want some inspiration first. We’ve compiled 100 engagement photo ideas across a variety of backdrops, poses and styles to help you get started. Better yet, we added extra filters so you can find inspirational photos that fit you as a couple. Across every season and formal or casual style, we have you covered. We’ve even got ideas if you want to include your furry friend!
With Jessica Cook as your newborn photographer, you’ll get stunning photographs of your growing family. The studio offers digital images with all of our packages. So, you will receive your edited digital files with a print release. They also offer printing services from a professional lab. So, you can get professional prints, albums, canvases and custom woodblocks to feature around your home at an affordable price.
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.
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.
There are many aspects to keep in mind when deciding what to wear for your family photos. Coordinating outfits for family photos doesn’t need to be difficult. You can never go wrong with selecting a few focal colors and textured clothing items, as well as considering the season. Focus on accomplishing a cohesive look and dressing in outfits that will allow your photos to take on a timeless feel. Of course, the most important part of your family portrait is to document the love that your family shares. We’re here to help you with the rest. These family photo outfit ideas below will allow you get a one-of-a-kind portrait that has a close-knit family feel.
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.
I used to do newborn photography myself. I had an excellent mentor who still does most of her business off of newborn photography. I would really agree with everything Mama Natural has to say here. Except possibly to recommend some place like Sears. That is a REALLLLLY hit or miss thing I have seen some really awful photos come from places like that. It’s worth the extra to hire a reputable photographer but l guess if you really have to it’s better than nothing.
Consider a special service. Rent the Runway offers a genius Wedding Concierge program that helps brides get dressed for their big prewedding events. (In this case, that could mean an engagement photo session followed by an engagement party—talk about two birds, one stone.) Sign up for access to styling consultations and outfit rental options that won't break the bank.
Let the photographer connect with the baby. In order for your baby to feel comfortable, you should avoid crowding your little one. It’ll be tempting to run over whenever your baby becomes restless or cries, but you should do your best to let the photographer comfort the baby so the baby doesn’t feel startled by too many changes. Always remain in the room though during your baby’s shoot.
MaggShots Photography is a portrait and lifestyle photographer serving the Lewisville area for over 7 years. Head photographer Maggie Hargrave fuses her fresh and unique style with a touch of sentimentality as she artistically captures images of newlyweds, families, newborns, children, expectant mothers, and high school seniors. MaggShots Photography boasts stellar ratings on The Knot and Facebook.
Expressions Photography by Baby Face Portraits is devoted to serving families and businesses with exceptional and affordable portrait and photography services. Whatever the occasion or purpose, our staff of experienced and accomplished photographers will create for you the perfect portraits. Our studio is equipped with backgrounds, props, staging and lighting intended to create beautiful and imaginative portraits of newborns and toddlers, first birthday portraits, holiday portraits, family portraits, executive portraits and more. Or, as many families and businesses prefer, we can come to you on location for a family Christmas session in your home, maternity portraits, a birthday party, a child’s baptism or an executive team shoot. We photograph at beaches, parks, and other locations. Regardless of where we photograph, Expressions Photography will create portraits you will appreciate and treasure for a lifetime.
Select an outfit that is appropriate year round. One of the more popular times for families to take their portraits seems to be around the holidays (when the kids are home from school and everyone is in the same place). The holidays may seem like the perfect excuse to bring out the Santa hats and incorporate props into your family portraits. However, you’ll want these photos to be displayed all year round. Try to avoid purely seasonal accessories and items.
Your photographer may have some unique locations and places in mind for your photo shoot. Chat with them to see if those locations interest you. “I would like to take some photos by the water. Do you know of a nice lake or stream nearby that might serve as a good location?” Your photographer may have a list of their favorite spots for you to choose from.
Don’t just shoot what’s always been shot. This is a good general rule of photography. I really try to be “consistently inconsistent” (I recently heard another photographer, Nate Kaiser of theimageisfound.com, use this term and I had to pirate it). Let me explain, you’ve got to approach each shoot as it’s own. I’m very committed as a photographer to tailoring each shoot for the subject I’m photographing. Like I said before, this is a good general rule that applies particularly to maternity photography. Even though millions and millions of mothers have given birth to millions and millions of babies for millions and millions of years, a momma-to-be needs to feel like her pregnancy is miraculous, special and sacred, that the things she’s experiencing are unique only to her. Because they are.
In the past, we have had family photos taken in a variety of ways. We have simply not done it, we have gone to a studio and we have also hired a professional to take our family photos in an outdoor setting! My favorite photos are the outdoor, slightly more candid photos and so this year, that is what we wanted. My husband is a hard one to nail down though, he doesn’t love family photos time, so with my recent purchase of some new camera equipment, he suggested that we take our family photos our self this year.
At the other end of the spectrum is Eversnap, a full-service app that does it all. Dish out $99 to $399 and you'll get 200 instruction cards to either include in your invite envelopes or toss into those fun guest bags. Then, wedding-goers can snap pics through the app and use special photo filters or upload from their fast-growing galleries during the big day. It'll even work if you're in an area with bad service and there's no connection. Digital-camera mavens can add photos through the website while Windows or Blackberry phone users can email them to a unique address that will automatically add them to the main folder, which you can then share with your guests if you wish. You can also set up a live moderated slideshow during the reception so everyone can view a livestream via projector or screen as the fun unfolds for up to six hours. Plus, the folder will pull and add all photos from social-media channels with your personalized hashtag.
You don't want to be in the position as the wedding photographer of needing to fight the client after the fact (or during!) with what they have and have not paid for. Before the event, clearly communicate to them what services you are prepared to offer for the price they pay. Do you include digital files? How many hours of work will you shoot? Are you going to shoot the reception too? Is there a travel charge? What prints are included? Will you do an album? Provide answers or face the wrath of bridezilla. (Thanks Gaelene Gangel)
One of my biggest mistakes, when I was starting out, was that I brought all my props/wraps/blankets/headbands to every single session. When I got set up, I would have a mini panic attack because I had no idea where I should start. Now I plan 3-4 different setups (based on the client’s preferences and expectations) and that’s all. I am often inspired by something the client owns as well, such as a blanket knitted by Grandma or something else that’s special to mom and dad, so it is not uncommon for me to not even use everything I bring.
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:
I really like your site and the tips you give on photographing toddlers, children, and newborns! They are so very helpful. I think your photos look 100% professional! I was wondering if you had any articles on photographing babies (older than newborns)? My son is 6 months old and I want to photograph him. If not, these tips are still super helpful! Especially the other article that includes the links on how to make different backdrops! Thanks!
DON'T try to do it alone. Need help aiming that off-camera flash? Enlist the help of friends or relatives. "It's nice to have someone help organize your equipment," says Scott. This is especially true if you're working in an environment where someone might walk off with an unwatched camera bag. While you're shooting group portraits, an assistant can gather (and tidy up) the next group.
See #1 first of all. Then look at #6. Being a photographer means that sometimes you have to also become a comedian, or a clown. Knowing the right thing to say or do to make people smile is mostly experience. Sometimes you’ll get tough adults too. The dad in the photo above by the brick wall pretty much has the same expression all the time. I’ve known this family and photographed them for 13 years, they’re friends too. So I know I can bug him a little bit or get out the ducky to have some fun at his expense.
If we're shooting in the city and you won't have easy access to your car, bring a bag to carry your extra items. If you have a change of shoes, your phones, car keys, etc., try to consolidate them into one bag to make transporting it easier. If you want to change up your look without changing clothes, consider an additional layer or a few changes of jewelry or shoes. Try to get everything into that one bag! Trust me, you'll be glad to not have to drag around more than you need to!
Just as you do not want the exposure to change from frame to frame, neither do you want the focus to be adjusted. Assuming you’ve taken #1 to heart and are using a tripod, you will not be moving. Likely if you’ve posed your group in a relatively static position, they will not be moving. Not much anyway. We are only concerned with moving closer to, or further away from the camera. So . . .
To get crystal-clear photos with a dreamy, blurred background, experiment with using lower F-stops. This means you will have to take your camera off auto-focus, but the results are more than worth it. The F-stop on a camera tells you how much light you let in while exposing your photo. Photos taken with a lower F-stop have a wider aperture to let in more light, but the depth of field is very shallow. This is what creates stunningly vivid portraits with gorgeously blurred backgrounds.