Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram


Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
There are three factors to consider in choosing a lens. Number one is the quality. Better crafted (and typically more expensive) lenses will provide you with a clear image. Remember that it's always better to invest in better lenses as opposed to buying an expensive body. Number two is the aperture. Different lenses will allow you to stop up to larger apertures (lower #'s). If you are in low light or want a shallower depth of field, you may choose a lens with a wider maximum aperture. Thirdly, focal length arguably has the greatest effect. A longer focal length (higher #) will compress the foreground and background more.This can be useful for portraits as it makes a subject look more natural.

Some photographers will sit with your family after the session to review images together, allowing you to order portraits on different print media or with custom framing. These photographers can help you identify the best places in your home to hang wall portraits, even using real pictures of your home to digitally demonstrate what your favorite family portraits will look like hanging above your furniture in different sizes, groupings, or frames.
Thank you very much for the tips. My son is 9 months old and I have took thousands of pictures but I never satisfied with the end result. We had to use professional photography when he was new born. It was very expensive. He is very chubby, charming and beautiful boy but it does not justify in the pictures. Now I have learnt few tricks thanks to you I will definitely try it once and I will let you know. I have bought one of the fancy expensive camera but I have no idea how to get the good result.
I had what I consider my first “real” maternity session a couple weeks ago. I call it my “first” because at the real first one I didn’t give any direction at all on what to wear and she came dressed in a black lace top with matching lace fingerless gloves! EEEK! Not exactly my style or what I wanted to show in my portfolio. But this time I was much more certain of the shots I wanted and was able to tweak the client’s prop ideas to get what she wanted and, secretly, what I wanted as well.
although sitting down can hide your bump a little, it still makes for a beautiful photo.  this photo and the photo before it, standing up, were actually taken on the same day.  note how much smaller sitting down made my bump appear to be.  never the less, sitting down is a beautiful way to take a photograph of your baby bump.  even better, take this photo in your nursery to create a feel of you waiting for your baby.  look at your bump, like you would look at your sweet baby.
DO learn the basics. Visit the websites of wedding photographers and see how they do it. "Try assisting an experienced wedding photographer. You will see first hand how it's done, with zero pressure on you," recommends Dennis Pike, the northern New Jersey photographer who shot the couple in the car at left. "The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the people you are photographing will feed off of that."

Think about the primary reason you are doing the session and dress accordingly. For instance, if it’s for Christmas cards you might want to dress in wintry, seasonal clothing. For a gallery canvas in the living room, think about coordinating with the colors and feel of your decor. For the canvases I hung in my girls’ playroom I dressed them in twirly, pink dresses and they ran dancing through the sand on the beach, which meshed perfectly in the girly room that’s always filled with giggles and play.
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