My husband and I were just talking about how we haven’t done a family portrait since our youngest child was born; that was five years ago! I like your tip about how a good family photographer will know how to help cheer up the crabby child. We may need to look into getting this done soon. I’ve always enjoyed looking at people’s family pictures hanging on their walls.
As with most things, there is no substitute for practice and experience…with each shoot you will get better and better, just keep your head in the game! A fellow “kinda” San Diegan?! Cool 🙂 We actually are working on a Newborn Photography Online Course/Workshop teaching everything you need to know, start to finish, including an actual on location photo shoot so you can see exactly what its like and how to deal with common pitfalls when shooting on-location! Make sure to subscribe to Cole’s Classroom so you’ll be in the know when we release it in a few months 🙂

Ask your photographer to capture your paper suite alongside a mix of meaningful big-day objects, like your wedding rings, day-of stationery (like ceremony programs and vow transcripts!), and any family heirlooms, advises Shannon Moffit. Fill out negative space with ribbons in shades that reference your color palette and flowers featured in your bridal bouquet. The result? A photograph that serves an entryway to your big day—and one that'll make the ultimate album opener.
*Look For A Full Range Of Emotions*Grab your camera, even when family members are bored, tired or cranky. The tendency is to shoot only when a scene seems funny or “sweet,” but sweet just tells part of a family’s story. Every emotion your parents, siblings, or children display is worth capturing—fascination, tears, passion, even boredom.Interaction between family members will prompt these emotions. “I try to tease out character by prompting unscripted behavior,” says Charlotte Geary, a pro from Manitou Springs, CO (www.charlottegeary.com).“I give vague suggestions instead of specific poses. I’ll ask, for example, that subjects touch or hold each other, or I’ll say, ‘Try to make her laugh.’ They interpret my requests, and the reactions usually look natural and realistic.”Andrew Matusik
In the days following birth it is especially difficult as babies tend to be kept swaddled in bunny rugs and all you end up seeing of them for 99% of the time is a little red head. Add to that the complication of the bumps, marks, scratches and misshaped heads that newborns also tend to arrive with and finding a flattering angle that will make more than just the proud parents ooh and aah can be difficult.

Once you’ve taken 10-15 shots of the scene, figure out how you can change the setting without disturbing the baby. This picture below is from the same pose as the first photo in this post, but it looks very different. I unclamped the blanket the baby is laying on from the backdrop board, letting it fall behind her. Then I clamped pretty pink fabric to the backdrop board. Finally, I pull the edge of the blanket the baby is lying on up over her back to make it look like she’s tucked in bed. While I was making these changes the baby was snoozing away, staying perfectly posed. I got two very different looking sets of photos from one pose. This is a great way to maximize the baby pictures you get from your DIY photoshoot.


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.
I use a Canon 50d, which is an older pre-pro model. If you’re starting out in photography, just about any dSLR (that allows you to change lenses) is going to work well. The lenses are actually more important than than the camera body, in my opinion. A 50mm 1.8 lens (about $100) is a great investment if you want to take great portraits of babies, kids, etc. HTH!
Know someone in your area who has gotten beautiful photos taken of their own family? Reach out and ask them who they hired! Not only can you feel more secure knowing they’re recommended, but a lot of photographers offer bonuses or discounts when you’re part of a referral. And, if no one comes to mind, you could try posting a status update, asking if anyone can recommend a local photographer.
For this type of pose I usually move my couch cushions out of the way and put the baby all the way down on the floor. Then I stand on a chair near him and photograph him from directly above (see the first photo below). But if the baby really wants to turn her head to the side it’s worth hopping off the chair and lying down right next to her to get a few photos that show her face better (second photo below).
MOST AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER YOU COULD EVER HIRE. I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO MEET JESSICA WHEN I WAS PREGNANT WITH MY TWINS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. DURING THE LAST 4 YEARS SHE HAS PHOTOGRAPHED MY GIRLS ON MANY OCCASIONS AND WE EVEN GOT TO HAVE HER IN THE OR CAPTURING ONCE IN A LIFETIME PHOTOS OF OUR NEW BABIES BIRTH. SHE TAKES SO MUCH TIME, PASSION, DEDICATION, LOVE AND SO MUCH MORE INTO EVERY PHOTO SHE CAPTURES. HIRING HER WOULD BE THE BEST MEMORIES YOU COULD GIVE YOUR FAMILY!

I really like how you said in your third point that the woman’s head shouldn’t be tilted at a weird angle. I think this is why it’s a great idea to hire a photographer with some expertise to come and do the photos for you. My younger sister is just starting to show and has been contemplating whether or not she should take maternity photos so I think I’ll share this tip with her and see what she thinks!

"The painting was a gift for my wife for our first wedding anniversary. I wanted to play on the traditional gift of paper and thought canvas and a painting would be a nice modern twist on the traditional gift. The painting depicts our wedding day and turned out to be my wife`s favorite photo from that day. She loved the painting and the way Paul the artist captured everything from that amazing day.


A great way to keep your couple happy after the wedding is to send them a few preview images. They might be expecting this if you have discussed it in your contract but if they’re not it can be a great surprise. Just drop them an email telling them how much you enjoyed their wedding and give them some indication as to when the final images will be complete. This is a great way to keep them in the loop. Additionally, they might share the images on Facebook or with family and friends which can be great for referrals.
Aside from being flexible, be safe.  The most important thing on this list is to research newborn photography safety before you start. Many traditional poses are actually composites with spotters and safeguards in place so the baby is out of harm’s way.  Lastly, don’t give up.  I remember the first time I went snowboarding when I got back before I could open my mouth, my friend said I need to do it 5 more times before I decide to give up, that the learning curve is steep and that it gets easier.  The same is true for newborn photography.  My first session left me feeling very defeated, but I’m glad I got back up and did it again (and again and again)…and hopefully, this list removes some of your growing pains.
Thank you!! I am not yet enrolled in photography classes, but at 32 if I hear one more person say “so why aren’t you a photographer?” I will cry. I love photography, just got my first SLR which I completely don’t understand yet, (aperture what??!?) but I will be learning. And since I am 7 months pregnant I was looking for some good tips in taking my own newborn photos, I appreciate you writing this! Very good info and depending how it goes, I may be pursuing a new career!
Introducing personal elements is part of what makes some of these creative props for newborns so great. However, guitars aren’t the most stable surfaces for newborns so a spotter is enlisted. With the camera on a tripod, the composition of the image does not shift. One photo is taken of just the guitar (left) and another picture is taken with the newborn on the guitar but with someone securely holding the baby in place (right).
Oh Babies! I love babies! They don’t call them bundles of joy for nothing. I specialize in newborn photography due to the monumental joy a new life brings and I want to preserve those moments for your family in a unique and timeless way. Those little toes and sweet features mature and grow so quickly. It always comes as a shock to us mothers how fast time flies. This is why I am so passionate about providing families with high-quality images of their babies in a safe and comfortable environment.
oh, lord.  writing this post has me hinting at the husband for another baby.  having photos of myself when i was pregnant with our first was so important to me, as i really wanted to document the time and the experience of pregnancy in photographs.  looking back on these photos makes me realize how important maternity photos are.  it seems like, once the baby is born, you literally forget what feeling pregnant was like.  all those aches and pains when walking, the feeling of baby kicking inside, the waking multiple times a night to pee…those memories can be forgotten, without photos.  but the second i look at these photos, i remember exactly what pregnancy was like.  photos spark a memory, and take you back to that moment.  if you don’t want to hire a photographer for formal maternity photos, taking your own maternity photos is so easy.  in fact, it’s almost better because you can take photos throughout your pregnancy instead of having photos done all in one day.  as you are documenting your growing belly, here are 8 ways you can photography your sweet bump.
"AMAZING! Stop looking and just book with him. Garrett is very professional and genuinely cares about his clients. He has amazing prices and really is willing to work with you. I was hesitant about hiring a professional photographer but I am so glad I did because the photos look amazing. If I ever need a photographer I will definitely be hiring him again."

When it comes to tracking down all those amazingly candid guest photos, these apps and programs can only go so far. "The biggest thing is to include instructions early and remind guests," says Katelyn Wollet of Katelyn Wollet Photography. Whether those reminders are in the invitations, on your wedding website, or at the reception itself in some form, it's up to you as a couple to spread the word about taking and sharing footage.

I think it all comes down to storytelling. Each photographer has a personal take on the best way to tell a story through photos. The way a photographer perceives storytelling is going to inform what they take photos of, how they take them, where they are when the important events happen, and everything else in between. And there are a few variables that photographers manipulate that will make all the difference from one portfolio to the next:
Hi, I was reading your post and need the help of someone who knows what they are talking about . I just purchased the canon T6i which comes with a standard lens and I’m not really familiar with the photography world so my question is what would be a good relatively inexpensive lens to get for portrait photography ? If it matters , I’m just a mom wanting to take some great pictures of my son and don’t want to spend a lot . Thank you
A. Much like with a mogwai, making your photographer wait to eat until after midnight is a bad life decision. Wedding photography is a super active profession and by the time your reception starts we will have trekked several miles with very heavy equipment hanging off of us the whole time. So, we need to eat or else we risk passing out or getting sick from our blood sugar getting too low. A nice hot meal will get us back in action, refreshed and ready to rock the rest of the evening!
Drew is a family photographer and owner of DrewB Photography. In addition to her blog, Mom*tog, Drew has released her new photography guide UnManual2. To see more of Drew’s work, follow her on Instagram. With so many family photographers out there it can be overwhelming to find the right one for your family. And, typically, it’s a big investment. … Continue reading How to Choose Your Family Photographer
Ask your photographer to capture your paper suite alongside a mix of meaningful big-day objects, like your wedding rings, day-of stationery (like ceremony programs and vow transcripts!), and any family heirlooms, advises Shannon Moffit. Fill out negative space with ribbons in shades that reference your color palette and flowers featured in your bridal bouquet. The result? A photograph that serves an entryway to your big day—and one that'll make the ultimate album opener.
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."
Bella Baby is the face of hospital baby portraiture. We bring experienced, professional photographers into the hospitals to capture your baby's first photograph with a natural, artistic style. We believe that babies look the most beautiful when being held in their parents' arms or cuddled in one of their own baby blankets. Bella Baby captures this beauty by using only "real things"...natural window light, professional photographers and professional grade SLR digital cameras.
You’ll spend some time getting each pose ready, so take you time making sure you’ve taken a photograph from every angle that might work. Sometimes doing this can “save” a pose that wasn’t really working. In the photos below I made a few mistakes when posing this baby – first – I didn’t tuck her legs under her, which puts her feet closer to the camera than her head is, and second – her hands are stuck under her chin instead of under her had, making her look very uncomfortable. It makes what could have been a cute picture look kind of awkward. However, I moved closer to her head and zoomed in for the next shot, which turned out much cuter. (Note, see how her hand is in a fist in that second photo? It would have looked better had I gently pulled her fingers out so they were visible.)

Now that you’ve decided who will be included in your wedding portraits, it’s time to figure out where you’ll be taking the photos. The easiest locations are your ceremony and/or reception venues, of course, but the hotel where you’re getting ready can also be a good spot. If there’s a particular location where you’ve always dreamed of taking your wedding photos (a local beach or park, a neighborhood in your city, etc.), you’ll have to factor the travel time into your wedding photography timeline—and plan for transportation so that all of your VIPs get there safely and on time.
In the second option involving the photo to canvas or photo to oil painting, the artist or company will send you a package once you have submitted payment and you will mail back the photo(s) you want included in the painting.  The artist will usually work from one photo of a family as an example or may be able to combine photographs of a few photos.  In addition, an artist may be able to use a slightly damaged photo as part of the painting. As an example, you might include a candid photo rather than trying to take it in a studio.  In addition, the photo might include a background for the painting.  With the painting, you can select the size from 8 x 10 inch to larger than 20 x 30 inch.  Just consider what a great memory this would be in your living room, or to be given as a very special gift.  You can consider a painting of a baby, a wedding, or for grandparents.  It is also possible to order a frame for the painting and is shipped fully framed and packaged safely.  Listed below is a sample that shows the framed oil painting that was done from a photo that may provide you a good idea of the quality of the painting.
The double session is for families who really want to take time to get that perfect family photo.  This session is 1.5-2 hours long.  This gives you lots of time to focus on each shot, outfit changes, and even explore multiple locations.  Door County is such a beautiful place.  We have so many great photo locations and a double session allows you to get a great variety of backdrops for your family photos.
Communication and planning are key. Discuss in detail what is going to happen on the day, what the clients will be wearing, and what you’re going to be bringing. Coordinate their outfits with your props, or, say, the baby’s booties with their decor. You have to think of it all. Best of all, if you hit it off with the family, you’ll get that referral and your client base will grow. Speaking of which…
Your magic window for Newborn Photography is within the first 14 days of birth. Newborns are easiest to work with during this time because they are sleeping for most of the day. They are also the most easy to adjust during this time-frame. Consider taking your baby’s photos after his or her umbilical cord has fallen off (which is typically after 5 days or so).
If you are shooting under a large tree you shouldn't be getting dark eyes. I look for exactly that type of location to put people under a large branch. When you block the overhead light it IS darker for sure but the direction of light changes to coming from the front instead of overhead, so you don't get dark eyes. You may just need more exposure overall but the quality of light should be there.

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.


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.
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