I’m no lighting expert but have found that my best results have been when I’ve used my flash in a ‘bounce flash’ way – shooting it up into a ceiling so that it’s indirect. This diffuses the light a lot which leaves Xavier less washed out in the shots, and more importantly means he’s not blinded by the light from it (we don’t want to blind our little ones by our photographic obsession – I actually asked a pediatrician about camera flashes and his advice was that it wouldn’t do damage but that for a babies comfort that indirect flash (ie bounced and/or diffused flash) would be advisable. I’m sure different doctors would advise different things but I play it safe with my bounce flash – and avoid flash altogether where possible). It also gives a fairly natural looking shot.
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.
Claire Smith Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas. Claire Smith is a natural light photographer who specializes in newborn, baby, child, and family photography. Claire’s style is casual, modern, and fun. Claire Smith Photography aims to document a child’s unique personality, opting for candid shots rather than directed poses.
“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.”

As I said before, this is simply a template for shooting a wedding day. Obviously, different cultures and situations are going to call for different shots. The best thing you can do in any situation is talk to your clients before and get an exact list of what they want. Anything after that is lagniappe. An even better form of communication would be an official schedule of what's happening. This protects you in the end if there is any misunderstandings. I have created a downloadable file for the checklist. Feel free to change this up to fit your needs. I've included PDF, Excel, and Numbers formats.
Sometimes I find an interesting subject, but just not an interesting place to photograph it from.  If you look at professional photos, they are very often taken from non-obvious spots.  For example, a photo of a CEO will be photographed from down low, looking up at the person to make him or her look more powerful.  Or, in the case of photographing a city, we often want to get to a very high perspective to shoot down and see the whole city.

There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with. A sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you, grabbing the lapels of a husbands jacket while pulling him close for a kiss – all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices. Many of my sessions will feature items used outside their intended use or subject. My girls are often seen in mommy’s hats or scarves (scarves can be used in different ways like wrapped around their shoulders, as a hair piece, etc) and they love to wear my costume jewelry.
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