After receiving your initial questionnaire, I will call you to go over the portrait session and ask some basic questions regarding your expectations. We will discuss important items such as location, wardrobe, your photography style preference and most importantly, your desires for the final product. Each portrait session is completely customized for each individual/family.
Beg, borrow, hire or steal an extra camera for the day – set it up with a different lens. I try to shoot with one wide angle lens (great for candid shots and in tight spaces (particularly before the ceremony in the preparation stage of the day) and one longer lens (it can be handy to have something as large as 200mm if you can get your hands on one – I use a 70-200mm).
1. Decide what types of photography services you’ll offer. Businesses and individuals need photographers for many reasons. Businesses need pictures of their products for brochures. Realtors need images of the homes they’re selling. Magazines need photos related to the articles they’re publishing. Or you can stick with non-business photography and take portraits or photograph weddings.
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.
First of all, thank you so much for all of your advice and explainations that are always so clear and to the point. I keep going back to reading various articles once in a while to remind me or to re-inspire me. It is a scary time for me as I am about to launch my photography full time in a new country (I am originally from France and after spending time in the UK and Dubai, i have relocated in Asia). I own a Canon 60D which I love, I am still at crop frame but hopefully I will be successful enough to be able to afford full frame at some point! I was just curious to know what your take was on 60D as I value very much your experience and opinions. In regards to lenses, I have at the moment a canon 50mm f/1.8 which I use a lot for portraits and a tamron 18-250 mm which I have used for portraits as well and has given me some really good shots. I do get frustrated at times with the lack of sharpness so I do look forward to using more prime lenses and a full frame camera when time allows.
Excellent points, especially about using a tripod. The main benefit is that you'll need taking many nearly identical photos in order to get "the one" where everybody in the group is looking their best. Unless you've done this before, you'd be surprised how many shots it can take. Somebody's always looking away, blinking, has their head/hands etc. in a less than ideal position. Once everything is all set up as Darlene says, just shoot as many shots as you can in a very short amount of time.
If the price is too much for you and you have an idea of what you want for newborn photos, they sell tons of affordable props you can use for your own photo session. They have websites that sell the cute hats, hammocks, blankets etc. Then you can set them up all the time for each mile stone too. Regular cameras are so much better than they used to be. It won't be the same, but you could get a lot more for your money by setting it up yourself.
Knowing the reason why you want the photos, it’s easier to choose the style of photographer you will look for. You already know that you want a family photographer (or newborn, birth, birthday’s party, etc). Then you can start by searching on Google, Instagram, or Facebook along with the name of your city. You will have a good idea of some options that you will have.
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.
My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read together? Bring some books. Is your favorite dessert ice cream? Bring some ice cream bars or drumsticks to your session or better yet… hire an ice cream truck to come to your session. Love to play board games or cards? Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.
One of the challenges of weddings is that there are often people going everywhere – including the backgrounds of your shots. Particularly with the formal shots scope out the area where they’ll be taken ahead of time looking for good backgrounds. Ideally you’ll be wanting uncluttered areas and shaded spots out of direct sunlight where there’s unlikely to be a wandering great aunt wander into the back of the shot. Read more on getting backgrounds right.
One of my biggest mistakes, when I was starting out, was that I brought all my props/wraps/blankets/headbands to every single session. When I got set up, I would have a mini panic attack because I had no idea where I should start. Now I plan 3-4 different setups (based on the client’s preferences and expectations) and that’s all. I am often inspired by something the client owns as well, such as a blanket knitted by Grandma or something else that’s special to mom and dad, so it is not uncommon for me to not even use everything I bring.
Some photographers work only on location; others work only in studio with backdrops. Think about the setting you prefer, as well as your timing constraints. Do you have extended family visiting for a limited time who will be part of your portrait session? If so, even if you prefer outdoor photography, you may still need a photographer who also has a studio so that you have a rain plan.
Send out an email a day or two before their appointment with the time, date, and place of the session. Provide a checklist reminding them to make sure the kids are fed and they pack any essentials with them. Depending on the season, your checklist will change (e.g., knit hat reminders in winter and sunscreen and water in the summer). A family shoot will never go perfectly, but by making sure the family is prepared, you can maximize the likelihood that things will go as smoothly as possible.
A lot of shots that you see of babies in Flickr are quite amazing in how smooth and perfect they make them look. The reality is that many babies are not quite so ‘perfect’ (however much their parents think they are). Little scratches, sleep in the eyes, snotty noses, dried milk around the mouth, blotchy skin, birth marks and bumps etc are common for all babies.
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!
Honestly, dads are often my toughest cases. Moms, dad might need a little incentive, too:) Sometimes, I get the kids to tickle dad to crack that natural smile. Oh yeah, and mom, don’t be too hard on yourself. Wear a shirt that you feel good about yourself in and plan the family clothing options around it. I recognize that if mom doesn’t look good, she won’t love the portraits, and I want you to LOVE them! I am a big advocate of moms being in pictures with their kids because they are often the unseen behind the camera.
The importance of beautiful family pictures can not be understated. Cars and televisions eventually break down and have to be replaced, but investing in your family portraits is something that will last a lifetime. Make sure that you select a Las Vegas family photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, timeless, and classic portraits for your family. This is definitely not the time to shop for a bargain photographer – invest your money wisely in a skilled photographer and you will have family portraits that you are proud to hang on your walls for a lifetime.
Lisa Holloway of LJHolloway Photography is a Las Vegas Family Photographer. Lisa has years of experience photographing families and children of all ages. Lisa works on location capturing natural portraits of families in beautiful light and locations. If you would like the best Las Vegas Family Photographer, please contact Lisa to begin planning your custom portrait session!
Wow Annie thank you thank you so much for the “what to wear” guide!! I just cant stop reading it! you have made my day and made me see colour marchers in a whole new way! you have covered everything!..(i only wish the places you linked to were available in New Zealand..But im sure i can find beautiful clothes over here 2!:) And the cool examples at the bottom of the page!!! YAY love to see little outfits you have put together im so going to take this post with me the next time i get to the shops!:) You are truly AMAZING in everything you do and thank you again for shearing your Amaziness with the world <3