I attended the University of North Texas and received a Bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television and Film.  In 2011, I received a Master’s in Ed. Technology.  My first thought was I would teach technology/videography at a High School level, but I fell in LOVE with photography after my 1st daughter was born. She came into the world with the most beautiful red hair and striking blue eyes, needless to say, her Dad, her grandparents and myself were shocked!  I picked up a cheap Kodak camera and never stopped taking pictures.  Over the years I have self taught through online workshops, upgraded to a professional Canon Mark iii, purchased several fancy lens and just have gotten better by good ol’ fashion practicing.  I have 3 children ages 12, 10 and 8 who always give me a good reason to shoot what I see!  🙂  I love what I do, which I think truly shows in my work.  Photography and children inspire me.  I am so grateful to be a given a gift to see the world the way I do.
Thank you so much for this article! This past weekend I did my 3rd newborn session which happened to be my grandson. It took 4 hours and I had such difficulty getting him into the poses that I had planned in my head, that when the session was over with I felt totally defeated. I experienced everything you mentioned, including overwhelming myself with too many props. I started doubting myself and wondering if I was even cut out to be a newborn photographer. Your article was very helpful and encouraging at the same time. Thank you so much!

Thank you for this great post! I was looking on the internet a lot about best cameras for beginners and your post is the best. It’s so easy to read! I really want to get Nikon D3300, I actually want to buy the whole package, but your link shows that the package you recommend is unavailable. Could you, please, help me choose another good package to buy?


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.

They are very similar and both are cute pictures. However, the bottom photo is much more flattering to the baby’s face. In the top photo I was slightly closer to his feet and shooting up his nose, which makes his nostrils very prominent in the photo. It also makes the bottom half of his face look larger than the top half. The second photo shows his face in much better proportion. (Did you notice his hand? I should have pulled that pinky finger out so the whole thing would be visible – it’s those little details that really make a beautiful photo.)
Weddings always run late.  Always.  It's as sure as the fact that Uncle Bob will annoy the photographer.  If the bride says they'll have an hour to do a shoot with you, immediately translate that sentence into half an hour.  Your time to work alone with the bride and groom is precious, so you need to be confident that you can get the shot in only 30 minutes with many weddings. (Thanks Meagan Thompson)
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Once everything's in one format, be steadfast in backing up your digital files, no matter the means. If you store your images on an external hard drive, DVD, or a storage Website, remember it's only effective if your images make their way onto the device. Get into the habit of backing up your photos immediately by considering it the final step of your uploading process.
Consider your location as well when you're preparing your engagement shoot outfits. If we're shooting in a peaceful field or secluded park, consider a casual dress or jeans and a vintage tank top. If we'll be in downtown Manhattan, what about a cocktail dress or sleekly tailored trench? Another thing that can be very effective is deliberately not matching your outfit to your location. A flowing evening gown in a field is against the norm, and it's contrast to the scene can be very compelling.
Some couples are a little more awkward about having their photos taken than others. That’s a fact! But don’t let that stop you getting great photos. Just approach it a little differently. A great way to do this is to start off from a distance with a long lens and slowly walk your way into the couple. This will give the couple a chance to relax. It might be the first time they’ve been able to talk to each other all day. Just let them talk and enjoy the moment for a minute or two.
As photographers we want every photo to be a masterpiece – perfect light, natural expressions, everyone looking at the camera. But sometimes the best photos that you wind up taking are the most ridiculous — a boy with his hand up his nose, a brother embracing his crying sister, or one sibling looking at the other with a crazy face. Don’t stop shooting just because the kids aren’t cooperating for a moment, or the parents are chasing them around. Sometimes these situations can lend to the funniest and most memorable shots.
Blooming Tree Photography is a family-oriented photography studio located in Frisco, Texas. Jessica, their photographer, specializes in child, family, and newborn photography, and is an expert in custom portraiture and lifestyle photography. Blooming Tree Photography’s style is natural, and driven by Jessica's passion for capturing intimate family moments to be shared with everyone.

You can also design a digital photo book to commemorate special events. Photo book-creation sites allow you to put as little or as much effort and creativity into the process as you like -- offering numerous design choices for those who want a hands-on experience or prepackaged options if you're short on time or have a large number of images to include in a single project.
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.
Nursed Shots – some of the bests shots I’ve taken over the last month have been taken when people have been nursing Xavier. This puts him into a more upright position which makes him look a little more ‘human-like’ and opens up the angles for your photos. Try a number of positions (over the shoulder, sitting him up, laying him back in arms, lying him on his tummy etc) as each one opens up different possibilities. Also remember that your baby is not the only potential subject – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends etc all can add context to the shot and you’ll appreciate having more than just baby by themselves shots later!
Incorporate yoga poses into your photo shoot. If you are an avid yogi and feel comfortable striking a downward dog while pregnant, try to include some yoga poses in your photo shoot.[12] Posing in a fierce warrior pose will showcase your strength and will perfectly silhouette your baby bump. Facing the camera while sitting down in a lotus pose will highlight your belly and create a tranquil and mindful scene.
Cant wait for your next part of this article. I once read an article on the internet about the focal length of the lens and the type of portraits you get with it. Short focal lengths bring out the nose too much and make the face look too long. the longer focal lengths make the face look too round and make the person look shorter then he/she is. the ideal focal length for portraits according to that article is between 70-140mm.
Spring is the perfect time to take your photo idea outdoors. Choose from beautiful pastel colors are more prominent in the springtime, along with white and blue hues. Other trendy springtime outfit ideas include floral patterns, which can be incorporated throughout accessories or clothing items. Dresses and skirts are also popular for spring family photos. These springtime trends paired with simple basics will give your family photos a polished and fresh look.

One last thing to look for is that they know how to use light.  Outdoor photography can be difficult when the sun is out.  One thing you might want to watch for is to make sure that people don’t have harsh shadows on their faces.  The light should fall softly on their faces in a flattering way.  Part what makes this difference is time of day (that’s why most photographers like to do outdoor sessions in the evening), but there are a lot of other little tricks for getting the lighting just right.  In the examples below, the photo on the left is a test shot that I took in harsh midday light just to show my client what the location looked like.  See the dark shadows and blown out hot spots on my (super enthusiastic) son’s face?  Then on the right, you see a family posing in the same spot with soft light that is much more flattering.

While you may be tempted to wear all white for your engagement photos (you're going to be the bride after all!), bright colors really pop on camera. Plus, bolder colors will give your photos an instant celebratory feel, and are perfectly appropriate in a casual summer setting. To make bright colors work, pick ones that play off each other without being too matchy-matchy, like yellow and blue. If you're sporting prints ( say, polka dots and argyle), make sure they're big enough to show up on camera, but not too big—you don't want to get lost in an oversize print.
Jane Dowd Photography is a photography studio based in Southlake, Texas, serving the areas of Dallas/Fort Worth, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville, and beyond. This studio specializes in high school senior, family, and engagement photography, and also offers workshops. Jane Dowd Photography crafts exquisite images that are both organic and timeless, earning them 4.7 stars out of 5 stars on their Facebook reviews.
Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your camera manual.
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.
Get dressed up! And schedule ample time for the shoot. We usually make it the only thing on our schedule for the morning or afternoon, and don’t have anywhere else to rush off to. Often it takes a lot longer than you expect for everyone to get ready, to go and find the perfect spot (we try to figure out where we’ll shoot before the actual day, especially if we have to drive there), take all the shots, and then pack up. And by the end everyone will be a bit tired! So make your shoot a priority for the day, and you’re much more likely to get it done, and enjoy the process.
Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.
MOST PARENTS PHOTOGRAPHING THEIR DAUGHTER IN A SWIMMING COMPETITION WOULD BE HAPPY TO GET A SHOT LIKE THE ONE ON THE BOTTOM. BUT A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER REMOVES ALL OF THE ABERRATIONS OR CLUTTER OUT OF THE BACKGROUND. I SHOT THIS PICTURE IN A HOTEL POOL, SO I CREATED A BLACK BACKGROUND TO GET RID OF THE UNNECESSARY CLUTTER SO THAT ALL THE VIEWER'S ATTENTION WOULD BE PLACED ON THE ACTION.
Start the same way you would for the first pose, with a naked baby in a blanket in your arms. Once he’s sleepy, gently lay him down on his back and remove the blanket. Cross his feet and bend his knees like you see in the photo below and just hold them there with your hand for a few minutes. If he relaxes in that position, you’ll be able to slowly remove your hand and his legs will stay crossed.
Our low-priced portrait packages help you celebrate all of the important family moments and people in your life. After over a quarter of a century of photographing families, we understand no two are alike. That’s why we take family portraits that are uniquely yours – at an affordable price. Whether you’ve recently added a new member to the family or you’ve gathered extended family from near and far for one momentous shot, you’ll want to book a session with us.
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.

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!

Definitely safety first, agree. The problem I have with most newborn photography, especially with props is that they all look alike. I could take photos from 20 different photographers and put them up and I couldn’t tell you which one is the signature look, their style. I am not sure I found the solution, but I just focus on the baby interacting with the parents, and if props are brought it in, they have meaning to that family, not some basket or luggage I brought. Still am working on my own style for that, but just a point I wanted to share and see other folks’ take. Thanks.


Lori Wilson Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas that specializes in wedding, travel, puppy, portrait, newborn, child, expecting, family, and engagement/couple photography. Since she was a little girl, Lori has been in love with taking photos. Her mission is to capture beautiful, real moments that make people identify with the subject. Lori Wilson studied photography under the best photographers, including her mom.

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.
I'm not a fan of maternity shots. I'd be lying if I said I felt anything other than a hot mess during both pregnancies. Plus, they always seem kind of forced. My go-to photographer does them and has asked me about getting some a few times. But in every maternity session, it's some glowing woman in a super long dress that attaches around her boobs and is flowing in the wind. Very realistic, no?
Avoid taking photos earlier than five days after your baby’s birth, since your baby will still be adjusting to feeding times. Your newborn session will go smoother if your baby boy or girl is less fidgety and on a consistent feeding schedule. The sleepier your newborn is, the easier it will be to adjust their poses and photograph them without clothes on to capture some of those classic newborn photo ideas you’ve been looking at for inspiration.
Timidity won’t get you ‘the shot’ – sometimes you need to be bold to capture a moment. However timing is everything and thinking ahead to get in the right position for key moments are important so as not to disrupt the event. In a ceremony I try to move around at least 4-5 times but try to time this to coincide with songs, sermons or longer readings. During the formal shots be bold, know what you want and ask for it from the couple and their party. You’re driving the show at this point of the day and need to keep things moving.
For us, all we wanted to do all day from the second we got up in the morning was to see one another! Our wedding day was such a huge day for us and we wanted to experience as much of it as we could together. Plus, we aren’t exactly huge fans of being the center of attention, so seeing each other before the ceremony gave us a sense of “ok, we can do this together.” When Marianne walked down the aisle, both of us were just floored because it wasn’t until that moment that it hit us: we are getting married today. We are getting married right now! This is the beginning of the rest of our lives together!
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.
Now that you and your BAE are engaged, it’s time to commemorate the momentous occasion with a romantic photoshoot! But where do you start? There are so many cheesy couples' photos and countless run-of-the-mill shots that it can be a challenge to snap a photo that is truly your own. But thankfully, you don't have to rely on those predictable poses and overdone locations. There are a handful of things you can do to make sure your photos turn out perfectly one-of-a-kind and feel right for you and your parter.
Thank you!! I am not yet enrolled in photography classes, but at 32 if I hear one more person say “so why aren’t you a photographer?” I will cry. I love photography, just got my first SLR which I completely don’t understand yet, (aperture what??!?) but I will be learning. And since I am 7 months pregnant I was looking for some good tips in taking my own newborn photos, I appreciate you writing this! Very good info and depending how it goes, I may be pursuing a new career!
The image on the top left is underexposed. Everything is dark and gloomy. The opposite is on the top right. This image is overexposed. You can not see a lot of the detail in dad’s shirt as well as the older sister’s skirt. Their faces are also very bright and will not print well. On the bottom you can view the properly exposed image. You can see the details in their faces, dad’s shirt and the older sister’s skirt.
You want to make sure your photographer is able to correctly expose an image. If an image is overexposed, you won’t be able to make out the details in the highlights. When printing an overexposed image, the blown parts will print white. An underexposed image will be dark and have more grain than a properly exposed image. Below is an example of an overexposed and underexposed image compared to the correctly exposed image.
Dears, I am a long-time passionate about dslr photography and having 2 little kids myself I know how difficult it is to take perfect shots when you need to take care of the baby and at the same time you Re the one behind the camera. I experienced a newborn session in an atelier twice with a photographer lady which I adore and now want to go this way too and give it a try. Was waiting for a girl friend newborn in order to get some training first but after I’ve read this I am going to post a note about searching a newborn model and don’t worey about the whoke thing.
Our studio family session offers multiple poses of your family. The images are processed and ready for your viewing approximately 30 minutes after your session is complete. Several scenes are available and will be selected based on the style of your clothing. If you can’t agree on just one outfit for all, add a clothing change for the family for $45.

Instant viewing of your photo session is made available with a custom online slide show posted to the Bella Baby website (protected with a unique password), thus enabling distant friends and family members the opportunity to share the experience. Online viewing and ordering is offered for two weeks to anyone you choose to share your password; immediate in-hospital purchasing is also available.
Aside from being flexible, be safe.  The most important thing on this list is to research newborn photography safety before you start. Many traditional poses are actually composites with spotters and safeguards in place so the baby is out of harm’s way.  Lastly, don’t give up.  I remember the first time I went snowboarding when I got back before I could open my mouth, my friend said I need to do it 5 more times before I decide to give up, that the learning curve is steep and that it gets easier.  The same is true for newborn photography.  My first session left me feeling very defeated, but I’m glad I got back up and did it again (and again and again)…and hopefully, this list removes some of your growing pains.
Hey Sherry! Thanks for stopping by & saying hello! I am not familiar with those editing websites (although I did just visit the homepage to check it out)…I CAN say however though, you should forget about the high price of photoshop and get yourself a copy of Adobe Lightroom 5. Lightroom is an amazing program for not only editing but easy storage/file/folder handling of photos and most important it is very easy to use. In fact, I have quite a few tutorials on our YouTube channel. It is “only” $150 or so, and I gotta say, whether someone is a pro or just hobbyist, that $150 will be among the best money you’ll spend on your photos… head over to the adobe site and try it for a free 30 day trial and see for yourself if you’ll like it or not 🙂
*Keep Lighting Soft*Direct flash almost never works—it often fights the sense of intimacy, warmth, and naturalness that characterize the best family portraits. “I avoid direct flash like the plague,” says Sue Barr. “It will flatten an image and drain it of all spontaneity.”To work without flash, you’ll want the fastest lens you can afford. This allows you to shoot in low light, defocus (and thereby declutter) backgrounds, and use fast, kid-freezing shutter speeds.Another lighting tip: avoid direct sun. “I like shooting on cloudy days,” says Barr, “and I use gold or silver reflectors to add spark.” The latter helps lighten the shadows of wrinkles, making it helpful with older family members. Family portraiture is rewarding because it gives you the chance to celebrate something that’s life affirming and positive. As amateur photographer Jeremy Rule (www.fiickr.com/ photos/JeremyRule) of North Bend, WA—whose portrait of an extended family above —says, “Family portraits rarely focus on disease, divorce, fighting, business, addiction, or a recession. When you hand a family a portrait, you’re giving them something to celebrate, bond, and rally around.”Jeremy Rule
Pro tip: "Using props for a maternity session should have a special meaning," Denver family photographer Jermaine Amado says. "The most common props for maternity pictures are shoes, a onesie, an ultrasound picture, block letters for the baby's name and a book. Since you will be incorporating a prop in your pictures, most of the time the focus will be on the prop. But you can change it up and shift the focus from the prop to the family or belly. Sometimes it's an amazing shot to see the belly and family, then have your focus shift over to see blurred baby shoes or an ultrasound picture."
If you’re scared to get in peoples faces with your camera then you’ll be missing out on some great shots. At the same time, you need to be self-aware and not too obtrusive. Again it’s all about the situation. Don’t be up in the couples grill in the Ceremony, you’ll probably get kicked out by the Officiant. But on the dance floor or during the formals it’s much more appropriate to have a little more swagger and to be more noticeable.

TIP: Sunset times change everyday and vary depending on where your wedding is located! So, look up the sunset time for your wedding day/location here and schedule a little reception “down-time” (maybe during dinner or near the beginning of open dancing?) during the 15 minutes before sunset so that you don’t have to worry about missing anything important during your sunset photos.
Two months before: Trying out wedding day looks? Schedule hair and makeup trial appointments the same day as your engagement photo session to capture a preview of your wedding day fabulousness on film (you could do the salon in the morning and the photo studio in the afternoon). Factor in some in-between time for damage control, on the off-chance that the salon results aren't as great as you hoped.
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.
For good portraits you must turn off your flash. Your camera’s pop-up flash does more harm than good in most photography situations, so make sure you aren’t using it when you try to photograph your newborn. Instead, find a good source of natural light, like a large window or glass door, and set up close to it. If you have enough light coming in you won’t need either your flash or your overhead lights (which are also not a good plan when taking portraits). If it’s warm enough you can even set up in your garage with the door up to allow lots of light in. Start paying attention to the light in the room in yourself with the largest window – notice when the room is bright, but you can’t see the shadow of the window on the floor in front of it (see this post for more explanation of this). That’s the time of day when you want to plan your newborn photo shoot.
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.
Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your individual outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves and belts.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to storytelling. Sure, according to Wikipedia or any online photography forum, there is a right and a wrong way to take a photo. But when it comes to wedding photography, what you’re really looking for is a storytelling technique that matches your idea of how your wedding will be. For example, I was recently photographing a wedding with my assistant and I took a photo of the couple dancing that I really loved. She laughed and shrugged and said to me, “You are such a romantic.” I was kind of surprised, but then I realized that I had specifically chosen to tell a story in a way that made the moment very romantic. This story, for example:
Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your individual outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves and belts.
The photo on the left is from the very first newborn photoshoot I ever did, while the photo on the right is me (hi!) and was taken by my mom when she was taking pictures of me and my baby girl. In that first photo I just asked the mom to snuggle the baby close so I could take a picture. It’s cute (they’re cute!) but as a photo it has a few problems, while the second picture looks much better. Here are some things to remember when photographing mom/dad/grandma etc., holding the newborn baby:
I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I am not as experienced in newborn shoots as I am with other types and my latest one just kicked my butt! I’ve been trying to edit a particular image for 2 days. And then… I found your tutorials and it made all the difference in the world. I also really needed to see that you started out shaky with your own kids and how you’d improved. Sometimes, I forget it’s ok that I don’t know everything yet. Thanks again!
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.
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.

Nothing is worse than one photographer trying to conduct two large families for photos.  I like to plan a time for the bride's family to be there, and shoot their photos, then I'll have the groom's family come to shoot everyone together, then I ask the bride's family to leave while I shoot the groom's family.  Works like a charm.  The last thing you want is for people to be standing around waiting on you. (Thanks Michaelle Parsons Mulhollan)
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.
#2 – it allows you to get your eye away from the camera so you can actually make eye contact with your subjects. They are very real people and they feel even more uncomfortable staring straight into your lens than they do looking at you. You can make gestures to get kids attention, or make faces. But you’ll get way better expressions by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder. Try it!

Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!

I set up our family shots with my DSLR on a tripod and then I used a 10-second timer to take the photos!  I also set my camera to take three photos in a row.  So I had 10 seconds to run into place, fix my clothes and hair and smile at the camera!  All the while my kiddos yelled, “run mommy run!” Believe me, we got some genuine smiles and laughter from them watching mommy run and act like a crazy person!

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