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.
[…] One more step to shoot inside, is to really zoom in on your subject. You can get up nice and close physically to your subject or you can put on a lens that allows you to get close without getting in their personal space. By getting close, you eliminate any distractions that might be around the house. Get closer than you normally would – focus on the eyes, or just the face, or little hands and feet. Get all of those little details up close. […]
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.
In-person photo kiosks are quick and convenient, but they are often inconsistent since there are a number of different factors that affect print quality. One drugstore or superstore may have solid print quality, while the same store by the same name in the next town over may not. We have had some success at one drugstore, only to get 5 x 7s printed on 8 x 10 sheets (and having to dig out the scissors to cut them out manually) at another.
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.
When being photographed most, if not all, people are nervous. Yes nervous! Some are down right scared, and some would even go as far to say that they “hate it”. So it is part of your job to help your subjects feel more comfortable and relaxed. That can be hard to do when you’re also nervous, especially if you’re new to portraits. But there’s a big advantage of putting that camera on the tripod. Two actually.
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.
In addition to providing this wedding photo list of family portraits to your photographer, you also want to give some consideration to the overall photography timeline of your wedding day (we have sample wedding photography timelines here). Think about the different location options for your portraits, and discuss these locales with your photographer. Also, make sure you settle the "first look" debate with your soon-to-be spouse. Finalizing your wedding photo list, portrait locations and other details in advance of your big day will ensure that your wedding portraits and family wedding photos go smoothly and, best of all, quickly.
During the couples shoot, it’s a great idea to get some shots of just the Bride on her own. She has probably spent a lot on hair and makeup to look especially beautiful for this big day. Not to mention the dress as well. Shoot a variety of different photos to add variance to your shoot. Brides also really like to see photos of the backs of their dresses so make sure you grab some.
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”. The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands. The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing. Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
In choosing Expressions Photography, not only are you choosing experts in newborn and family photography, you are choosing to protect your family’s health and safety. All Baby Face Portraits and Expressions Photography photographers are thoroughly background screened through County and National Criminal Databases, National Sex Offender Violent Abuse Registry, a Social Security Trace and Address History screen. In addition, all of our photographers who photograph families in hospitals, homes or our studio have been immunized to the same health standards required by our hospitals. These include seasonal flu shot, whooping cough (Tdapt), annual TB screening, measles, mumps, rubella, rubeola and varicella (Chicken Pox).
My husband and I were just talking about how we haven’t done a family portrait since our youngest child was born; that was five years ago! I like your tip about how a good family photographer will know how to help cheer up the crabby child. We may need to look into getting this done soon. I’ve always enjoyed looking at people’s family pictures hanging on their walls.
For Teens and Couple sessions we do some location hopping to 4-5 different spots close in driving proximity to each other. We can often include all three types of locations, but usually at least two of these settings. I LOVE photographing couples/engagements, but I do not shoot weddings, and I understand that some want the same photographer for both.
Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.