I think the best way to get family pictures is a little of both – print and digital – especially since photographers generally charge a lot for their rights to be released via digital images/CDs. If I am limited in the package deal to only 1 image on a CD (like when we’ve gone to Sears or JCPenney), then I generally choose the family group shot as my one image, and get prints of the individual shots.


This isn’t always the case, but often, full-time photographers are more likely to be reliable, responsive and fast; carry business insurance; have backup equipment in case of camera failure; and institute proper backup procedures in case of hard drive failure or memory card loss. A full-time photographer is more likely to be operating legally as a business, be technically competent and be consistently investing in professional development. A full-time photographer is more likely to understand the costs of being in business and is more likely to still be in business and able to serve as a resource for years to come.
Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. I always encourage mothers to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.
Blankets or fabric to use as backdrops. If you are going to invest in one thing, I’d say go buy a few yards of the cheapest black stretch velvet you can find (use a coupon at Joanns!). Black velvet works really well as a backdrop because it doesn’t show wrinkles and generally shows up as solid black in photos. Otherwise, walk through the house looking for any blankets you might have. Blankets with lots of texture also do a good job hiding wrinkles, like this one:

The first thing that I want to mention is that if you currently own an SLR camera DO NOT immediately go and sell your camera in order to purchase one of the cameras here. Just because I perhaps don’t mention your camera in this article doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for portrait or wedding photography. You may just want to keep this article in mind for future purchase, or upgrades.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session.  I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared.  In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session.  Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup.  I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them.  I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.

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.


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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