DON'T be shy about directing your subjects. They want to be told how and where to stand, explains Dennis Kwan, a wedding and portrait specialist with studios in New York City and Los Angeles. Giving subjects direction projects a confidence that allows them to relax when being photographed. "It tells your subjects that you know what you're doing, even if maybe you don't," says Kwan.
Have the couple appoint you someone that knows all the ‘key players'  as your go-to person for questions. Especially helpful during the formal family shots since the bride and groom are in all the shots. They can help point out that uncle or go get grandma from the reception (cause she always manages to leave first to get over there LoL). They are also helpful during the reception to ask questions when you don't want to bother the new couple. (Thanks Melinda Lutz Ledsome)
Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them promotionally (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads). That also means you can't just post the digital proofs they send you—most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you'll have to buy the rights to the images.
These close-up “detail” shots are not only adorable but they are great accompanying images for albums and accordion books.  Because of the sensitive focus on a macro lens, the best time to get these images is when the baby is very still (in their deepest sleep).  As shown with the newborn workshop where you get to shadow me on an actual on-location shoot, when I notice the baby is deep in dreamland, I’ll just stop whatever I’m doing and I’ll pull out my macro for 10 minutes and get all the shots that I need.
Thaddeus Harden Photography is a photography studio based in Southlake, Texas, serving Dallas, Arlington, Irving, Fort Worth, Colleyville, Bedford, Grapevine, Flower Mound Denton, Frisco, Garland, Plano, Carrolton, and Southlake. They have served renowned clients in the City of New York for more than 28 years. Now, Thaddeus Harden brings their talent to Texas as a newborn, maternity, and family photographer. Thaddeus Harden Photography conducts portrait photography services.
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.

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.
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.
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.

When you set the wedding date: Have a photo taken for your wedding website or save-the-date—many couples incorporate photos of themselves into the design. If this appeals to you and you're planning to send guests an early heads-up, have photos taken 8 to 10 months before the wedding, in time to print and send save-the-dates no later than six months before the wedding.


This is so helpful. Thank you. I am going to open a studio soon and I was wondering which type of camera to buy but now you have me thinking. I have a D90 now but I need a full frame I can tell the difference when i am framing. I also hate how whenever I take the pictures it looks right in my viewfinder but there is more background then I saw in the view finder then when I view the image. Does having a full frame help with this?
Depending on the feasibility it can be an idea to check out the location ahead of the wedding. However, things change so it can sometimes be best to play this by ear. You could scout the location on the morning of the wedding. Equally, you can wander around the venue when the couple are eating their food. Having an idea of where you are going to take the couple for their photos can drastically improve the end result. This is definitely one of our top tips for beginners.
As we reflect on all our memories, it’s hard to recall ones that don’t include our families. There’s something special about looking back on family portraits over the years past. Family photos are a moment saved in time that will be cherished forever. So when it comes to what to wear for family picture day make sure you plan ahead. Whether you are taking family photos for your annual photo Christmas card or looking to get an updated shot to hang above the mantle, you’ll want you and your family to look your best doing so.

Candice Cusic is a Chicago based wedding and family photographer. She believes that the best images are moment-driven and that you don’t need a hundred photographs of the couple smiling for the camera. In a recent audio interview with Nine Dots she was giving her wedding photography tips and had  this to say when asked ‘do you believe there is enough work for everyone?’ She says –
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!

A lot of shots that you see of babies in Flickr are quite amazing in how smooth and perfect they make them look. The reality is that many babies are not quite so ‘perfect’ (however much their parents think they are). Little scratches, sleep in the eyes, snotty noses, dried milk around the mouth, blotchy skin, birth marks and bumps etc are common for all babies.
These are the main reasons why I offer engagement sessions in all of my wedding packages. Other reasons for including such sessions into your packages could be giving an opportunity for your couples to use the photos in their “Save the Date” invitations and also to print and showcase their favorite pictures during their wedding. From a marketing standpoint, both of these can be very useful for your business, as they provide great opportunities for free marketing and advertising.
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. 

If you're not sure where you'd like to shoot, don't worry! I'd be glad to offer up some suggestions. If you're looking for a Manhattan or Brooklyn location, I have a great list of New York area spaces that are wonderful for engagement sessions. If you're trying to choose a Philadelphia spot for your engagement pictures, I also have a great list for you! If you are looking to have your portraits done in New Jersey, or anywhere other than New York or Philly, just drop me an email and we can talk. I travel often for engagement sessions, and would love to hear about your plans.


Don't underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it? When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or are they timid? Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn't irritate you in any way. Remember: They'll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you don't want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way. To get the best photos, your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments, cajoling enough to coax relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests, and calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.
Hey Sherry! Thanks for stopping by & saying hello! I am not familiar with those editing websites (although I did just visit the homepage to check it out)…I CAN say however though, you should forget about the high price of photoshop and get yourself a copy of Adobe Lightroom 5. Lightroom is an amazing program for not only editing but easy storage/file/folder handling of photos and most important it is very easy to use. In fact, I have quite a few tutorials on our YouTube channel. It is “only” $150 or so, and I gotta say, whether someone is a pro or just hobbyist, that $150 will be among the best money you’ll spend on your photos… head over to the adobe site and try it for a free 30 day trial and see for yourself if you’ll like it or not 🙂
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.
3. Pay attention to where your light is coming from. If you’re using the same setup you used to take photos of the baby alone, your subjects should already be positioned correctly in relation to your light source (large window). They should be facing either the right or left edge of the window (which is where you’ll be standing). Light coming at a 45 degree angle casts nice, soft shadows that define both baby and Mom’s features, while also providing nice catchlights (bright spots) in their eyes.
Also, check if there's a second shooter included in the contract, and if there's not, ask about the possibility. It's likely the second shooter can be confirmed later on, but the main benefit to having two shooters is, of course, you get twice as much coverage. For example, during your formal photo session, one photographer can capture the formal photos, while the second one can get behind-the-scenes, photojournalistic photos, like your guests mingling. If you're having a larger wedding (250 guests or more), you might even want to ask about having three shooters so your photography team can be sure to capture the event from all angles.
Inspiration is everywhere – probably even in the form of Pinterest emails from your client.  It is a great idea to have some poses in mind before you arrive at the session.  However, like letting the love story of a wedding day unfold organically, I believe the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of each baby.  Whether it is cute dimples, big beautiful eyes, full lips, or a great head of hair, try to highlight the beauty of the baby.
2. Backdrop board. I have a couple DIY backdrop boards that I made for about $10 each (full instructions in this post). I stand one up against the backs of two of my kitchen chairs. The backdrop boards can be used alone for a solid colored background, or can be used to drape blankets from for more background options. The background should be angled so it faces the right or left side of the window, not the middle of it, as you can see in the photo above. This will allow the baby’s head to be a little closer to the window than her feet, allowing the light to hit her forehead first, causing gentle shadows just under her nose and chin. If you don’t have a backdrop board, stand two kitchen chairs backwards here anyway so you can drape a blanket from them. If you use a backdrop board it must be secured with clamps to the chairs it stands in front of to assure it will not fall over.

#2 – it allows you to get your eye away from the camera so you can actually make eye contact with your subjects. They are very real people and they feel even more uncomfortable staring straight into your lens than they do looking at you. You can make gestures to get kids attention, or make faces. But you’ll get way better expressions by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder. Try it!


Our differences are truly our strengths since Nick photographs from a man’s perspective and Natalie from a woman’s point of view.  It’s getting dual artistic coverage of your portrait session from individuals who see life through different lenses!  Because we’ve photographed so many sessions together, we remain calm and happy regardless of the circumstances. We want our clients to be at ease because the best pictures happen when people feel free to be themselves! Every single person is uniquely different from the next so we spend time getting to know each client personally so when we create photos together, they reveal who they truly are.

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.


Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. I always encourage mothers to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.
DO be clear about what you're offering. "Make sure the couple knows that you're shooting as a favor and that you can't guarantee results," says New York City-based wedding pro Cappy Hotchkiss. "I've seen many friendships end over this." Limit expectations, and "don't get roped into doing a ton of large family groups. Explain that you will capture groups as they occur," adds the photographer. If it's going to take you months to deliver the photos, let the couple know in advance.
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.
If you’re preparing your birth announcements, don’t forget take a look at our guide on birth announcement wording to answer all of your questions on birth announcement etiquette. If you’re still in the beginning stages of your pregnancy and not yet ready to schedule newborn photos a few months out, you can start preparation for your maternity photos instead, using our time frames on when to take maternity photos.Alysse Renee Photography specializes in newborn, child, and family photography. The photography studio, based in Little Elm, will also shoot maternity photos, first-year milestones, newborn hospital photos pregnancy announcements, senior portraits, and weddings. The studio provides a variety of choices in displaying newborn photos, including mounted prints, canvas prints, luxe metals, heirloom albums, and gift prints. The photographer finds her inspiration in candid shots and pops of color.

Shutterfly may be a bit pricier than Snapfish online, but the app offers even more free perks. (And chances are, you can probably find a coupon for Shutterfly.) The Shutterfly app offers free unlimited 4 x 6 prints, a free 4 x 6 photo book every month, and free, unlimited cloud storage for your photos. That’s a big plus for casual photographers who need to backup their files, since paid cloud storage options get pretty pricey. If you’re looking for the most freebies, the Shutterfly app could be the one to download.


Lisa Holloway who is commonly known as LJHolloway is one of the most creative and professional photographers in the world and not just in the United States. She is a fine art portrait photographer who focuses on bringing out the beauty of the object that is photographed through her lens. She specializes in custom portraiture and her work comes to be based in Las Vegas. She captures photographs of pregnant women, newborns, babies, children, high school seniors and families not just in Las Vegas but in other areas around the world as well. In addition to capturing photographs Lisa runs small group workshops for those photographers and beginners who want to make use of her experience and skills. Lisa’s work has been internationally published and she received several awards as a creative fine art portrait photographer. The main secret behind the success of Lisa is depending on natural light and choosing breathtaking locations for capturing her stunning and impressive photos.
I’m going to be taking photographs of my daughter giving birth to my granddaughter next month and I’m panicing. I don’t know a lot about lighting yet except for what I’ve read, I love outdoor photos as they always seem to come out great. I’m concerned about the birthing room lightening. What ISO would you put your camera lighting too? While she is in labor I can experiment, but I would like maybe a heads up with this. I love taking photography of my grandchildren and family and friends, but just started to really get serious about it. So much has happened and I planned on going to some classes for lighting, but do to wedding and shower and death of my Mom, I haven’t had time. If you could help I would appreciate. Please send me a message to my yahoo.com account. Signed Desperate thank you in advance Joyce
Melissa Dieterich Photography is a Fort Worth studio focusing on newborn, children, and maternity photography. Founded in 2006, they have since crafted natural style photographs through classic poses and organic, earthy props. Their team offers in-studio and on-location photo sessions. Customers praise Melissa’s patience with newborns and her ability to put them at ease.

When you set the wedding date: Have a photo taken for your wedding website or save-the-date—many couples incorporate photos of themselves into the design. If this appeals to you and you're planning to send guests an early heads-up, have photos taken 8 to 10 months before the wedding, in time to print and send save-the-dates no later than six months before the wedding.
In 2008 Natalie began doing freelance photography for several clients who requested her services. This ultimately led her to formally create Natalie Roberson Photography, LLC. Natalie has traveled all over the United States and internationally documenting people’s lives. Natalie and her assistants use high-resolution Nikon digital cameras and lens to capture their photographic images. All photographs are enhanced by using Adobe Photoshop software.
Network with everyone. You should take every opportunity to network.[15] If you are working towards a specific specialization, such as wedding photography, network with everyone in your town who has an association with weddings. Talk to and give your card to wedding planners, cake bakers, caterers, other photographers (they may have a conflict and be asked for a referral), wedding dress shop employees, etc.
The image on the top left is underexposed. Everything is dark and gloomy. The opposite is on the top right. This image is overexposed. You can not see a lot of the detail in dad’s shirt as well as the older sister’s skirt. Their faces are also very bright and will not print well. On the bottom you can view the properly exposed image. You can see the details in their faces, dad’s shirt and the older sister’s skirt.
“Search no more! After our first inquiry, we had a phone date with Amber so we could get to know each other. She is easy to talk to & sooo happy! We were excited to move ahead. Planning a destination wedding blind is tough but Amber helped us and we kept in touch A LOT! It felt like she really cared about our day as much as we did. We met Amber for the very first time the day before our wedding. She is absolutely the cutest thing, super smiley & having never had professional pictures taken of us before - she made that so very easy on us. While we did have a storm roll in on our day—a hiccup that could easily ruin any brides big moment—it was easily quickly tempered with Amber's calm & cool approach. She made my husband feel confident and her mood set the tone & we had the most epic wedding day. After the storm, we were blessed with DOUBLE rainbow. Looking at Amber as we were basking in the after wedding love glow was a highlight. She was smiling from ear to ear, so incredibly happy to be doing what she loves with people who are in love. I can't express how much that meant to us. Having flown across the country, sight unseen, hiring a complete stranger to capture our most precious event we couldn't have been more confident we made the right choice. We were lucky enough to work with Amber & she was a big part of making our elopement the best day of our lives—she's an absolute gem. She got our photos to us quicker than the projected timeline. They are ridiculous good! Do yourself a favor & just hire them, you'll die from happiness. You're welcome!”
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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