One of our wedding photography tips that divides opinion is to visit the venue beforehand. Whilst this can be beneficial to a beginner the more seasoned wedding photographer will say it’s a waste of time. The light won’t be the same, it might rain etc. However, it may aid a beginner in putting them at ease to visit the venue. They can formulate a loose plan in their head and it may give them confidence going into the wedding.
With thirteen uncles and aunts on my dad's side, I have a very large extended family. I don't do family portraits often, but when I do, I've found that the best two techniques that work for me for ensuring everyone's looking in the same direction and are ready for the group shot is (1) telling them beforehand that if they can't see my camera's lens from their position in the group, then my camera is likely not going to see them either, so they need to find another position, and (2) I give them a "3-2-1" (or for larger groups, a "5-4-3-2-1") countdown before taking the shot. This usually results in me getting the shot I want pretty quickly, and I don't have to go through dozens of shots to find one where everyone is actually ready for their picture to be taken.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think it’s more important to have the time in your life captured…than making sure it’s captured professionally. I want to cry when I hear that some families have never had an official family photo, and so many moms just don’t get in pictures at all with their families. I’m here to offer some advice on how you can get it done this year–promise me if it hasn’t happened for a while, that it will happen for you this year!
Before you do the fancy stuff, like fix red-eye and crop, you must delete! Send awkward faces, closed eyes, blurry, overexposed (too light) or underexposed (too dark) shots to the trash immediately. Next, tackle duplicates. Decide which smile or pose you like the best when photos are very similar, then delete the rest. "The fewer photos you end up with, the easier it is to sort and store them," says Walsh.
1. Lots of photos! First of all, you probably want to be able to see lots of photos from a variety of sessions. It should be safe to assume you’ll be happy with their photos if you can look at their blog and find 5 family photo sessions that you love. If they just have a gallery on their website with 15 or 20 family photos, those are probably the very best family photos they’ve ever taken. Maybe all of their photos are that good, but maybe they aren’t actually producing that quality of work consistently. If they don’t have a lot of work on their blog, you may want to ask to see a sample of a whole session. I put almost every session up on my blog as long as I have the client’s permission. Part of why I do this is for visibility and advertising, but another reason is that I want happy clients! I want you to see not only my very best work, but ALL of my work so that the photos I give you will meet (or hopefully exceed!) the expectations that you have for me. I think it’s important for you to be able to see how I shoot on sunny days as well as cloudy days and how I pose a wide variety of families.
Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
Your portrait session should be a reflection of your family. Before our session we will have a phone or in person consultation so we can discuss your expectations, ideas, and goals for our session. Preparation and communication are the keys to a successful portrait session, so make sure to share all your ideas and concerns with me during our consultation or on your questionnaire!
Creative props can be the difference between a professional photo and an amateur one. Newborn props don’t have to be expensive and you can find most of what you need at home or a local crafts stores. Other recommended locations are Beautiful Photo Props and Etsy. For ideas, consider incorporating the parents’ hobbies, their culture, their favorite colors, or their overall personalities. We came up with the concept below for Ellie because her mother used to live in Paris. For more inspiration and to see how this scene was shot, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop.
Unless you use flash you will need to learn to use natural light. It can sometimes be tricky to use but does provide the most natural looking photographs opposed to using flash. Try and avoid shooting in the midday sun if possible and also look for shaded areas outdoors. These areas can provide cover so you avoid big shadows on faces and people aren’t squinting in the images.
Pro tip: Once you get the sign and the location nailed down, it's time to concentrate on wardrobe. "Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in," says Tempe, Ariz.-based photographer Melissa Young. "I like the way long dresses and skirts work for maternity. If you have any doubts on the outfits, you may choose to seek advice from your photographer in advance, as they can give tips as to what photographs best for your body type and the location you are shooting at."
Perhaps now you’re wondering why I even bother posing newborns at all if I want them to look natural. A couple of reasons: 1) Newborns have very little control over their limbs, so they tend to flail about. Left to their own devices, their arms and hands can look very contorted. 2) Most newborns burrow their heads into whatever is nearest them, meaning they will generally hide their faces in any blanket or pillow you lay them down on. 3) Newborn’s legs are long and skinny, and they just don’t look good in photographs when they are sticking straight out. Tucking their legs up underneath them makes for a much tidier looker photo.
Destination weddings will almost definitely increase wedding photographer fees. Some photographers charge their normal rates plus travel, room and board. Other photographers may have an additional fee beyond their standard rates and travel expenses to accommodate the extra effort required for them to pack up their specialized equipment and work remotely.
Choose coordinating colors, not matching. Knowing what colors to wear for family photos can be tricky. Start off with colors that coordinate well. You can accomplish a cohesive look without every family member wearing the exact same outfit. In fact, that can seem overly-matching. By selecting a color scheme and using hues that complement each other, you can achieve a more natural look across the board. Pick two main colors and then add softer tones to accent and complete your color scheme.
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.
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.
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!
Think about your location and make sure your wardrobe complements the surroundings. For example, at a location in a field with a rustic barn in the background would be perfect for a little girl dressed in a simple, vintage style dress with Hunter wellies, pig tails and carrying a little vintage tin pail full of wildflowers. That same look might be out of place in an urban setting with a graffiti wall in the background. Also, consider how well the colors and patterns in the wardrobes will stand out against the backdrops of your location. A field of bluebonnets might not be complemented by an outfit with a floral pattern or the same blues and greens in it, but would look beautiful with a solid coral colored dress to pop off of the colors of the flowers and grass. Many times I’ll select a location first and then create the wardrobe, accessories and props to fit with the vision I see for the surroundings and session vibe I want to come out of it.