We asked a dozen successful amateur and pro portraitists for tips on better family photos. Our interviews turned up a surprising number of common strategies for succeeding with this classic subject. Here’s how they suggest you capture your family’s personality in pictures. *Keep It Real*Small reminders of daily life are more precious than posed images. The family pictures that will mean the most to you (and others) will be the most candid. Try to capture family members interacting with each other and the world around them. Keep from directing or posing people—it may vex your subjects and reduce your chances for good photos. (Above Photo) Pro Sue Barr chose a Coney Island location for this family portrait. It lent color to the background and coaxed lively expressions from the kids.Sue Barr
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.
5. Officially establish your business. Once you have a business name and set up your business structure, you need obtain business license or permits as required by your city or county. Although you may take photos using a digital camera, since you’ll be giving people prints, you may need to collect sales tax if you live in a state that charges sales tax. Your state’s comptroller or tax office will have the necessary forms and information on how to collect and pay sales tax. Once you have your business license, you can open a business bank account.
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.
Capturing the details of the entire day help to tell the complete story of your wedding. We tell our brides to be in the finishing stages of hair and makeup when we arrive, but not in the dress yet. While you and your bridal party are in the finishing stages of hair and makeup, your photographer should arrive to photograph the details of the wedding that you are going to want to remember. These details include your dress hanging, shoes, jewelry, and bouquet.

Being as I am just started out I figured it might be a good idea to get my feet wet in those editing programs before I take the big leap into Photoshop and pay it’s ungodly price!! (lol) anyhow, if you can think of a better site where I might get a little more practice editing pictures please let me know. And please let me know your honest opinion of the aforementioned websites.

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.)
Thaddeus Harden Photography is a photography studio based in Southlake, Texas, serving Dallas, Arlington, Irving, Fort Worth, Colleyville, Bedford, Grapevine, Flower Mound Denton, Frisco, Garland, Plano, Carrolton, and Southlake. They have served renowned clients in the City of New York for more than 28 years. Now, Thaddeus Harden brings their talent to Texas as a newborn, maternity, and family photographer. Thaddeus Harden Photography conducts portrait photography services.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!
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.
We photograph you at your house, on your property, a park or any place of your choosing within a 30-mile radius. Multiple poses of your family will be taken. The images are processed on the same day and can be viewed either in our studio or at your location with your photographer. A clothing change for the family can be added for $45. Please call for a quote if your chosen location is farther than 30 miles from our studio.
Ashley, I loved your post. I am huge on annual family photos. I think it’s so important to capture a nice photo of your growing/changing family at least once a year! I love how your pictures turned out. They are very nice and the same style I like to go for. I am getting into photography and would like to do our own someday. Thanks for all the tips. I completely agree with all of them and try to do them already but seeing it written down helps to instill those ideas even more for our next shoot.
Some wedding photographers offer their services on an hourly basis, such as $250 per hour. Hourly rates are not as common as set package pricing — especially during the peak wedding season months of spring and summer — but are typically offered by independent photographers or those just starting out. Hourly rates can vary, depending on geographic location, photographer experience, day of week and time of year. When hiring a photographer on an hourly basis, use a clearly written contract and be sure to specify what printing rights you'll have to the photos, and whether the hourly rate includes post-production editing or if that will cost extra.
Just as important as getting some light in the eyes is having it come from a good direction. We’ve established overhead isn’t good direction, neither is straight from camera. So turning on your built-in pop flash isn’t going to give you good light. Neither is sticking a speedlight on top. Light direct from the camera angle flattens the subject, that is not what you want. You want the light to come from the side more, 30-45 degrees from camera is a good starting point. To learn more about this read my article on the 6 Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know.
Posed shoots can happen either in a studio or on location (usually the client’s house). A good posed newborn photoshoot should happen when the infant is still just a few weeks old because they are still pretty sleepy a lot of the time. They are generally photographed with a few well-placed newborn photography props, like a “one-month old!” sign or a cozy blanket (we’ll get into more detail on those later).
All sessions start with a consultation, so that we can craft the perfect session just for YOU and your family. I include lots of fun elements along the way - gowns for maternity clients, hair & makeup, props for newborn clients, hilarity and corny jokes for baby/child/family sessions, and everyone gets my stellar, completely unique to Kansas City, viewing and ordering process! Did I mention I also print the majority of prints sold at my studio? That means when you come in to order, you'll leave with the majority, if not all (depending on Collection) of your order that day!
Not the first thing you would think of when reading a blog post about wedding photography tips? But comfy shoes and socks can be a lifesaver for a wedding photographer. (Maybe not quite lifesavers) Listen! you’re going to be walking, running, jumping A LOT during a wedding day. Get some comfy shoes. Bring a spare pair just in case the first get wet. There’s also nothing quite like putting a new pair of socks on so bring some of them as well!

Hey Jessica! Without knowing what camera body you have right now it is sort of a guess…but I’d look into the Nikon 60mm macro. Brand new (newest versions) are around $500 which is about 1/2 of the 105 macro…you can find used for even cheaper. If you aren’t using a full frame camera I’d actually RECOMMEND that 60mm length over the 105 anyway 😉 The class allows you, the viewer, to tag along on a professional shoot in which you will certainly see and hear Chrystal work throughout the shoot, including when she is getting the close details vs other shots/poses. Give it a shot!! I think it’ll be perfect for you.
Hello there. Did that $200 fee cover just the photo cd or both the photographers time and the cd? Just seems to be such a reasonable price! My fiancée and I are returning to the Big Island in February and have decided to tie the knot while we are there (just us, a minister and a photographer). We love the Hilton at Waikiloa; it's gorgeous albeit a bit windy. Also wondering if you happen to recall the name of the photographer?
If you're not sure where you'd like to shoot, don't worry! I'd be glad to offer up some suggestions. If you're looking for a Manhattan or Brooklyn location, I have a great list of New York area spaces that are wonderful for engagement sessions. If you're trying to choose a Philadelphia spot for your engagement pictures, I also have a great list for you! If you are looking to have your portraits done in New Jersey, or anywhere other than New York or Philly, just drop me an email and we can talk. I travel often for engagement sessions, and would love to hear about your plans.
While the quality can vary from location to location, CVS is perhaps the most consistent. Printing at the chain’s Kodak kiosks is quick for consumers who just can’t wait a few days for an online order. Ordering is also fairly simple, though photo printing kiosks aren’t without glitches. Photo quality won’t match up to professional printers, but CVS appears to have the fewest complaints for inaccurate colors and fuzzy images. Expect to pay 33 cents for one print — you can get better results for a slightly lower price at our picks for the best professional photo labs, below, if you’re willing to wait (and pay to ship). Note: You can also send prints to CVS from your smartphone via the CVS or Snapfish apps.
This is probably one of the most important wedding photography tricks. Preparation is the key to success with weddings. Being one step ahead can give you an advantage and allow you to capture great moments throughout the day. Spare batteries, blank memory cards, running order with timings and a backup plan are all essentials to being as prepared as possible for every eventuality.

Baby pictures are among the most popular types of portrait photography, and most newborn photographers are well versed in the best places to take baby pictures in their local areas. Some newborn photographers will come to the hospital to shoot the baby within a day or two of birth, while others have set up their studios to accommodate the needs of infants. Some parents prefer to have the newborn photographer come to their home or travel to a favorite park or other outdoor location. Like any portrait photography, the best place to take baby pictures is the place you like best and that will yield the types of photos you want of your baby, whether that’s posed and carefully lit studio portraits or spontaneous, casual photos at home. Work with a local newborn photographer to find a safe, calm location with great lighting and some privacy for your family.
Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.

Gently unwrap the baby, keeping the blanket on her back, and lay her down on her tummy on your blanket covered pillows or bean bag (use the setup I describe in part 1). Keep her covered with the blanket for right now and give her another minute to get settled. It helps to rub her back and shush softly into her ear. Again, wait until she has settled back into sleep before moving to the next step.
Although this website title may suggest focusing only on using a professional photographer to create a family portrait, there are  two different approaches to nave that special memory for your own family or if you planning to give it as a gift.  The first approach is to hire a professional photographer and have an appointment at their studio or at your home and have a set of individual or family photographs or portraits taken.  Once completed, you would likely receive a set of photographs that may likely include enlargements that could be framed.  With software available today, the photographer could also touch up some of the shots prior to printing.
Next, gently lift her head and position her hands and arms underneath it, then lay her head back down, turning it so she’s look out at you instead of down into the pillow. The photos below show why it’s important to tuck the hands under her head – if you don’t, they’ll likely end up right in front of her face, as in the first photo. In the second photo you can still see her hand, but it doesn’t block your view of her face.
Our baby is pretty predictable in terms of his daily routine (we seem to have got him pretty settled into one already somehow) but there are moments all day long that he does something cute, disgusting, funny and worth capturing. Without the camera handy you’ll miss these moments as they are usually fleeting. We tend to leave our DSLR in our livingroom where we spend most of our time with him but also have a point and shoot in the bedroom for other shots.

Once we have completed your portrait session, we ask that all parties plan a viewing session in one week at our studio to review the images taken during the session. This allows you to hand pick your favorite images from the portrait session.  This Viewing/Investment session is where your product choices will be made and payment is expected at this time.  We do offer payment plans.
Chrystal Cienfuegos, owner of Chrystal Cienfuegos Photography, offers a natural & organic style of newborn & portrait photography in Southern California. She is passionate about telling love stories through elegant and timeless imagery that is inspired by the unique beauty of each client. She's a San Diego native and mother of two fun little ladies. Among her favorite things are Chargers football, swimming, impromptu family dance parties, wine (of course), and evening walks with her neighbors.
Just as you do not want the exposure to change from frame to frame, neither do you want the focus to be adjusted. Assuming you’ve taken #1 to heart and are using a tripod, you will not be moving. Likely if you’ve posed your group in a relatively static position, they will not be moving. Not much anyway. We are only concerned with moving closer to, or further away from the camera. So . . .

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.


Remember that often a baby is coming into an established family unit (not to say that Mom and Dad alone aren’t an “established family unit” but for the sake of my point, go with me on this one). If the siblings are available, make sure to include them in at least a few frames. I have to mention the dog, because I’ve got a sister-in-law who’s dog, Wanda (seriously that’s her name) is her pride and joy. When she and her hubby have kids, you can trust that Wanda will be right there in at least a handful of her maternity photos. She’s as much a part of the family as the next guy.

You made a good point to advise your client to choose the best clothing they feel comfortable wearing in a photo session. It is recommended to use neutral colors and soft fabric especially if there are children included. Also, you may want to suggest adding some additional accessories such as sunglasses, cowboy hats or even headbands. This should make the photo session very interesting and light. I would make sure to keep this in mind if we ever have one in our family. Thanks.


I am an award-winning, internationally published photographer. My photos have appeared in Dallas Modern Luxury, D Magazine, Time Out New York, La Gazetta dell Sport Rome, and Time Out London. My studio, conveniently located in central Dallas, offers a comfortable environment for creating my one-of-a-kind images using both natural and studio lighting. I also shoot on location in your home or at an attractive outdoor setting of your choice.
The easiest way I’ve found to take pictures of sibings who aren’t old enough to be trusted holding the baby is demonstrated in the photo below. When your have the baby positioned on your bean bag or couch cushion (like we talked about in posing), have the older sibling come stand, kneel, or sit (depending on how tall the sibling is) right next to the baby. Ask the sibling to gently lean his head in close to the baby and snap away, leaving the baby happy and snoozing the entire time.
Don't base your decision solely on what you see in a photographer's highlights gallery or album. For good reason, photographers show prospective clients a portfolio of their best pictures, all from different weddings, so you're seeing the best of the best. The problem with that is you won't get a well-rounded idea of their work. Ask to see two or three full galleries from real weddings they've shot (not someone else at their company) so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding. If you see that the full gallery photos are just about as good as the ones chosen in the highlight gallery (that is, they're all so good it's impossible to choose!), you're on the right track. And ask to see at least one or two complete albums of weddings that are in similar settings to yours. For example, if you're planning an indoor affair with dark lighting, don't just look at weddings shot outdoors in natural sunlight. And if you're planning to say "I do" on a beach at sunset, you'll want to see examples of that.
"We expect to see the photos in a few weeks and will update work quality comments at that time. This review is on his handling of the event. Tandy knows how to shoot weddings. He was punctual with his assistant. There was an initial conflict with the venue staff but it was quickly resolved when I intervened. We were pleased with his help during the ceremony and the reception. He can be a little abrupt but is easy to communicate and work with. He knows what it takes to get the pictures he needs to take. Most of the time we hardly knew he was around. We'll definitely keep him in mind for future events."
Timelines, location recommendations, trail stats, vendor referrals, permits and marriage license info, officiants, lodging, travel tips, attire guides, weather…the list goes on. Even though you’re keeping it simple by eloping, there are still lots of details to think about. We bundle all the important info up for you into a custom planning portal website and are available to consult with every step along the way.

“look at photography, talk about photography, read about it, but mostly shoot, shoot, shoot. We found that also networking with other photographers can get you inspired, but the important thing is to not be just networking for the sake of networking, you should be really interested in the other person as well. Too often this exchange remains one-sided and so for one person, it’s not so much of worth to be staying in touch with you. We think it’s also important to shoot for yourself and not just for your client so you can find your own voice and with time the perfect clients for you will cross your way and you will shoot for yourself, but get paid by them.”
Yes, you can take newborn photos after two weeks but you’ll have to opt for different poses and concepts. Your newborn will likely be awake during the session so you should go for photos that include the baby with clothes on and wide awake. Taking newborn photos after two weeks isn’t unheard of and your photos will still turn out well. However, your little one won’t curl up so easily after two weeks so we encourage you to take a different approach with your photos. Babies begin to stretch and extend their arms and legs after two weeks, making it harder for them to naturally curl up during photos. Don’t be discouraged though by timing as you should still schedule a newborn session even if two weeks have passed by.
You never know where your next big referral will come from, so you have to be prepared! Make sure to add those stunning newborn baby pics to your online portfolio, so prospective clients can see your infant photography skills. The more amazing newborn photo shoots and newborn photos you have on your portfolio, the more folks will want to hire you to shoot their little ones!
Talk to each other: (Duh, right?) DON'T match. But DO coordinate.  Wearing clothes that are the same level of dressiness is really as matchy as it needs to be. You guys already look like a family. Don't hamper each person's individuality by forcing the matching.  Let's be honest: You guys always look awesome together, you don't need special matching outfits for that. 

Do you ever find that when you’re summoned to participate in a group photo, you’re suddenly angling your body slightly left to hide that mommy tummy or tilting your head up a fraction to lose the double-chin? Maybe we do this because we can’t trust the photographer to take the photo at our best angle, so we try achieving it ourselves. Babies are going to have to trust us as the photographers to capture their best angle (Can you picture your baby saying, “Oh please, this angle is so not right for me, all you can see is my cradle cap!"?). Play around with different angles as you take your photos and don’t stop once you think you’ve got a good one. If you’re baby is still holding his pose, keep shooting!
The conclusion: if all of this seems like a ton of information to digest, then keep it simple and look for two criteria: Do you like the photos and do they make you feel happy? Not a super visual person? Then it’s totally fine to ignore the first question and move onto the second: Do you like the photographer and do they make you feel happy? More important than lighting, composition, or any fancy technology, those are the power rules to live by.

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!
…hoping to inspire your clients in their choices of clothing and accessories, make sure that the work you are displaying portrays the kind of look that meshes with your style. Offer to help select clothing and even go the extra step to assist in shopping for new pieces or outfits. Many times I’ll arrive at a client’s home and they’ll have put together several options for looks for the kids or family, and then I can assist in making the final decisions. Another quick option is to just have them email you a few quick iPhone shots of the outfits they are considering so you can lend a little guidance. And feel free to point them to this post for pointers and examples!
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