Examine a photographer’s online presence. As with anybody advertising themselves on the internet you will need to think carefully and critically about how they present themselves. Try to find reviews of the people you are interested in by searching for their names. You should be cautious with reviews and be prepared to make up your own mind, but the more information you have the better.
You may have already done a shoot with the couple just after the Ceremony and safely have some awesome shots. However, there is something special about the light just as the sun is setting and you should definitely exploit it. Learning to use the light at sunset will once again come with experience. Do you want to shoot with the sun on the couple? Or do you want to shoot backlit? Both methods can yield stunning mantelpiece worthy photos.
Here’s an important thing to keep in mind: The memories that are brought up when you look at these photos will be complex. The images themselves will trigger memory of what your child looked like and who they were, and of your relationship together, AND it will also trigger memory of what you felt like when those images were being captured. If you were uncomfortable during the session that discomfort will forever be tied to the images.
If an engagement session isn't included in your wedding photo package, hire an à la carte photographer instead. For a basic portrait sitting at a photography studio and a couple prints, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars. Hiring a professional for an afternoon's worth of photo ops will cost several times that much—the final cost will depend on where you live and the popularity of the photographer.
So whilst we aren’t advocates for fixing in post, the RAW format just generally gives greater flexibility in post-production. You get a lot more control over things like white balance, exposure and shadow recovery than you would with a jpeg file. This is particularly helpful with weddings as the lighting is unchangeable (unless you use flash). The ability to manipulate these features after the fact is a great help to most wedding photographers.
If a client chose you as their wedding photographer, they put tremendous trust in your artistic vision and abilities to deliver work which they will enjoy for many years to come. If engagement sessions are something that you do not currently offer, I suggest you to look into offering them soon. Educating your client on the importance of an engagement session might prove crucial for your business and your relationship with clients. It is also a great opportunity for you to show your client what you can do without being in a time crunch.
If the baby has older siblings, I try to make the sibling shots my very first priority and then let them go play while we finish the session. Toddlers simply don’t have the attention span to sit quietly and wait for you to call on them for their picture so get their poses done first while they are curious and excited about your visit. By the time the session is over, they are usually open to participating again and that is when I try to get some lifestyle sibling shots. If they don’t want to participate, I’ve found promises of ice cream & candy have magical powers! (as long as that’s ok with Mom & Dad).
I know many portrait & wedding photographers love to shoot wide open at f/1.2 & f/1.4. However, with newborn photography, many of the baby poses can have extreme angles and you often will have better luck with your depth of field and sharpness by shooting around f/2 & f/2.2. Remember, it will be rare that the baby’s eyes are on the same plane of focus all the time and by closing down my aperture a bit from wide open I get that little bit extra of depth of field that is often needed.
It’s important to know a little about the photographer you are choosing. Read their “about” page, talk to them, understand their motivations and style. If they have a blog, read their blog, look for connections, ask them questions. When a connection between the photographer and the family happens, the chances of the job flowing well are huge. The family feels more relaxed and the photographer feels free to create. The result is usually the best it could be.
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"
As I said, there is a photographer for all likings and likings for all styles of photographers. The biggest mistake you can make is to treat a photographer only as a service provider. Photography is NOT the same from one professional to another and the result can be completely different. Photography is art. So check the photographer’s work, their style, how they express and how their work makes you feel. Imagine your family having those kind of pictures. Remember that these photos are what you will keep forever, throughout your life and probably in the next generations. If you really want to have this photographer for your family, go ahead.
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
I am not a huge photo prop person. However, some props will make your session easier! We brought a blanket, a wooden crate, and a fun turquoise chair! All of these allowed us to take certain photos easily. In the photo above, the crate enabled me to photograph my two children who vary greatly in height a lot easier! You can tell that my son is shorter than my daughter, but the height difference is not as noticeable as it is when they stand next to each other.
Probably not the first thing that springs to mind in the equipment section of our wedding tutorial? Didn’t think so! Some caterers are lovely. However, some will do whatever they can possibly do to get out of giving you any food even if it has been paid for by the couple getting married. It’s always a good idea to have a plan B when it comes to food. Keep some crisps, chocolate, energy drinks or anything edible in your car. A wedding zaps a lot of energy so stay hydrated and full of energy to avoid the dreaded wedding hangover the next day (yes wedding hangovers are real!)
“My husband was hesitant of the cost at first, but at our session I remember thinking, ‘yep, she’s worth it.’ Kate brought her A-game and we were both significantly impressed with Kate’s patience, positivity and consistent high energy with the kids. We had never experienced this before and realized THIS is why Kate’s the best. No fake smiles, no fake laughs. There’s a reason the best photographers come at a price.”
Jonas Peterson has been in the wedding photography scene for a long time. With blog posts on his website along going back as far as 2008 it’s clear to see why he is highly regarded within the industry. We get the sense that with Jonas’s work it is all about the story. We found this quote from an interview he did with Norwegian Wedding Blog where he says –
Scott Peek Photography is a photography studio in Plano, Texas that specialize in family, child, high school senior, and commercial portraiture. This studio also conducts event photography for corporations, companies, and non-profit organizations hosting parties, conferences, and meetings. Since 2009, they have been a proud member of the Professional Photographers of America and the Texas Professional Photographers Association, Inc. Scott Peek Photography was recognized as the Dallas A List's Best Portrait Photographer.
WHHATTT! I hear you say. Well, do you want the bride to stand in a wet and muddy field? Then bring a white sheet with you. Some brides are more particular than others about how pristine they want their dress to remain. However, if you have a solution to keeping it clean they will be more inclined to explore. This will give you more control over the positioning of the couple. The sheet can simply be tucked under the dress and no one will ever know. It can also be used so that the couple can freely sit on a bench or wall with getting a muddy bum. No one wants a muddy bum.
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.
For instance, if you decided that you want a posed portrait in a studio, and the photographer you found shows only lifestyle sessions outdoors, it may not be a good match. Likewise, make sure you really like the style of the photos—the posing, the composition, the editing. If their work is consistent, you should expect that your session will turn out similar to their other work, so make sure you like it!
When shooting outside after a ceremony or during the posed shots you’ll probably want to keep your flash attached to give a little fill in flash. I tend to dial it back a little (a stop or two) so that shots are not blown out – but particularly in backlit or midday shooting conditions where there can be a lot of shadow, fill in flash is a must. Read more about using Fill Flash.
Assuming that you are setting something up, choosing the time of day and the location carefully, you have control of all the elements. Meaning, once you get set up the exposure should not need to change. But if you put it in Aperture or Shutter priority, depending in the metering mode selected, the camera could choose a slightly different exposure for each frame. You do NOT want that! Consistency is very important.
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
While we love our wedding photos, this painting is even more special because we will be able to hang it in our house forever and look at it every day, where our wedding photos are in an album and we may not look at those that often, but the painting will be there every day for us to see and enjoy
One thing I learned when I became a parent, was that the baby is the boss regardless of how much control I pretend I have. The same is true for newborn photography. If the baby doesn’t want to go to sleep for posing after you’ve tried everything, take some lifestyle shots & keep shooting. Swaddle tight and try to get some eye contact. Get images of mommy rocking the baby, be open and flexible – the session doesn’t always go as planned and that might just be the best thing that happens to you.
Kids are naturally photogenic. Instead of bending over backwards to create posed photos that look natural, try capturing the essence of special moments in your daily life. Take photos of your kids swinging from the monkey bars, splashing along the shoreline or tromping down the side of a large hill. Thanks to digital photography, you don’t have to worry about wasting film. You can take as many shots as you like until you find the ones that have the fresh, yet timeless feel you are looking for.