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!

As the busy fall season for family photography approaches, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts on things you may want consider when choosing a family photographer!  If you’re looking at hiring a photographer for the first time, I’m sure the options can be daunting.  How does this all work?  Why does it cost so much?  How do you know you can trust them to do a good job?  Whether you’re reading this here in Fort Collins or far away in another state, I want to share some thoughts that might be helpful as you make this decision.  This isn’t meant to be a black and white list of dos and don’ts, just some food for thought!  I want to start by talking a bit about some things that I think are important to look for when you’re checking out potential photographers’ websites.


 Greg has shot the Celebration Luncheon and our annual fundraiser Polo in the Ozarks. He has done such an incredible job at each event over the last few years that one of our first calls is to ensure that Greg is available. At Polo in the Ozarks, Greg goes out of his way to capture amazing moments between the riders and their horses, often arriving during event setup and practice. We use his photos each year for our sponsorship packets, programs, and advertising for the year. 

Hello! My name is Kayla and I’m here to explore and appreciate all forms of photography; whether it be food or a fresh newborn & family. I love everything about all of it. I strive to give you the best and most out of your budget by offering a 48hr turnaround time on all edited images and an abundance more edits than my competitors! Please feel free to contact me over any questions or concerns about your future session!

This one is way more important then you might initially think. Portrait and family photography is a collaborative effort. In other words, it takes two to tango! Even a quiet introverted photographer has a communication style. If you’re choosing a family photographer it is important you understand them and they understand you. Essentially you need to vibe with them on a basic level. Simply taking the time to email or talk on the phone is usually enough to have a basic understanding of their ability to communicate with you. If you find yourself having to decode their communication style, or asking them to clarify what they mean multiple times – you might not be a good fit. If you get a photographer who is annoying to you for whatever reason, it will show in the photos. For years to come, you will look at the images you got from the photography session and all you will remember is how annoyed you were with the photographer. So take the time to communicate and get on the same page. It’s free to do, and can save you tons in frustration!


Everything you've heard is true: Your wedding day comes and goes so quickly. That's why preparation is key. Once you nail down your photographer (do this 9-11 months in advance!),  it's time to start thinking about your shot list. While your photographer will guide you on the moments they plan on capturing, it's important to know exactly what you want too. After all, you'll want to keep these memories intact with the perfect photo album. Get ready for your close up by taking a look at these pretty picture ideas you might want to include.
As I said before, this is simply a template for shooting a wedding day. Obviously, different cultures and situations are going to call for different shots. The best thing you can do in any situation is talk to your clients before and get an exact list of what they want. Anything after that is lagniappe. An even better form of communication would be an official schedule of what's happening. This protects you in the end if there is any misunderstandings. I have created a downloadable file for the checklist. Feel free to change this up to fit your needs. I've included PDF, Excel, and Numbers formats.
If the baby has older siblings, I try to make the sibling shots my very first priority and then let them go play while we finish the session.  Toddlers simply don’t have the attention span to sit quietly and wait for you to call on them for their picture so get their poses done first while they are curious and excited about your visit.  By the time the session is over, they are usually open to participating again and that is when I try to get some lifestyle sibling shots.  If they don’t want to participate, I’ve found promises of ice cream & candy have magical powers! (as long as that’s ok with Mom & Dad).
I used to do newborn photography myself. I had an excellent mentor who still does most of her business off of newborn photography. I would really agree with everything Mama Natural has to say here. Except possibly to recommend some place like Sears. That is a REALLLLLY hit or miss thing I have seen some really awful photos come from places like that. It’s worth the extra to hire a reputable photographer but l guess if you really have to it’s better than nothing.
“The passion definitely has to be there. More than that, you have to really want it, especially in the beginning. Go out of your way to do shoots for free. Not just any shoots, but “portfolio worthy” ones. Take control – style it, creative direct it, own it. Admit and learn from your mistakes. And finally, only show your very best work. You will be judged by your worst shot”

Surprisingly, we love working with teenagers (honestly). It requires a very different approach to the one we use with the little ones. Some teenagers come expecting the worst. We put ourselves in their position, having been forced by their parents to attend a family portrait shoot and wear clothing they dislike, and can see why it might be interpreted as less than ‘cool’ - you might agree. 
Full Frame sensor – When we started shooting full frame with the original 5D we saw a huge leap in the quality of our photography. Images just looked crisper, the depth of field was shallower, and the shooting experience (looking through the larger viewfinder) was much better. Check out this article for a look at different sensor sizes and how it affects the image
No doubt there are many wedding moments you won't want to miss. The best way to ensure your photographer captures the right moments for all posterity is to provide a suggested shot list. Of course, the style and number of these images will all depend on the photographer you've chosen and how long you've hired that pro for, but a shot list of photos you'd love to have is a great way to cover your bases. Since you should count on at least five minutes per shot, it's unrealistic to expect all the photos below, but pick and choose those shots that mean most to you.
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!
There are a lot of different ways a photographer can set up their business. They may charge a sitting fee (or a session fee), which includes the photographer’s time and talent, but no files or products. Or, they may offer the session and all the digital files for one, all-inclusive price. Some even offer several packages with different combinations of products and/or files. One is not better than another, you just have to make sure you’re happy with what they’re offering, and have a clear understanding of what to expect.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think it’s more important to have the time in your life captured…than making sure it’s captured professionally. I want to cry when I hear that some families have never had an official family photo, and so many moms just don’t get in pictures at all with their families. I’m here to offer some advice on how you can get it done this year–promise me if it hasn’t happened for a while, that it will happen for you this year!
Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings is a wedding planner and photography studio in Dallas, Texas, serving clients in Ft. Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Highland Park, Irving, Addison, and the surrounding DFW area since 2011. This studio specializes in bridal, wedding, engagement, family, child, corporate, and executive photography, as well as wedding planning packages. Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings has been featured in Style Me Pretty wedding blog site.
Our portable newborn photography backdrop stand is a must have accessory for any photographer taking baby pictures. It fits any size/type posing bean bag and it's tubular design allows you to clip your backdrop or blanket directly to the top and sides to get the perfect wrinkle free stretch (includes two full size metal clamps as shown in the photos). This lightweight stand easily assembles in minutes and is ideal for photographers who not only shoot in their studio but who also travel and would like to shoot on location. Comes complete with an easy to follow instruction diagram for fast assembly. 

“When shooting a wedding I try to keep my set up really simple. I find that the more toys to play around with takes time away from the thing I am most interested in documenting: the people. Generally, I roll with 2 DSLR bodies, 2 lenses (Canon 50mm f/1.2L/Canon, 24mm f/1.4L) and a Pelican case full of cards in my pocket. I have other gear there on the day just in case but that’s pretty much it.”


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.
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.
Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion. Show your photographer who you really are, so that she has the opportunity to capture your love through her lens.
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.
This session is generally scheduled around 32 – 38 weeks. Michael and Sophie view your maternity photography session as the beginning of a beautiful relationship. They look forward to capturing your maternity photography, newborn photography, baby photography, and family photography to be treasured for years to come. Maternity photography in NYC is a beautiful thing. Women in NYC love their baby from the moment they know that he or she is growing inside of them. There is nothing like it in the world, and it is a memory that will be cherished forever. The problem is that many times a woman does not feel attractive during pregnancy. A professional NYC maternity photographer knows the right angles to shoot, and will provide you with beautiful, tasteful and flattering maternity photography that will be a treasured keepsake. We capture time in photos, this is a time that you can now capture forever. Maternity photography is truly art at its very best. Professional NYC maternity photographer Michael Kormos knows how to manipulate the studio lighting to get the best affect.
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)
The first step to answering How do I choose a family photographer is falling in love with the photographer’s images. This is absolutely the most important thing when picking out a photographer! There are a million ways to photograph the same thing – and when you’re looking at booking a family photographer, chances are there are photos that stand out to you. Personal style is everything in who you choose. If you’re just kind of in love with a few different styles, a good way to narrow down your choices is to consider where and how you’re going to display your images. Do they match your decor? Are you trendy or traditional? Do you like candid images or posed? When you choose a family photographer, if you truly love the photographer’s style then you won’t be disappointed with the images at the end. At the end of the day, photographers are artists – and art is very subjective. There is no wrong answer, there is only the wrong choice of artist. Know your style and choose someone who has images that you just love uncontrollably.
As with most things, there is no substitute for practice and experience…with each shoot you will get better and better, just keep your head in the game! A fellow “kinda” San Diegan?! Cool 🙂 We actually are working on a Newborn Photography Online Course/Workshop teaching everything you need to know, start to finish, including an actual on location photo shoot so you can see exactly what its like and how to deal with common pitfalls when shooting on-location! Make sure to subscribe to Cole’s Classroom so you’ll be in the know when we release it in a few months 🙂
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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!

If you’re looking for a photo product from calendars to pillow cases, chances are, Snapfish has it. Snapfish is a quick, simple consumer option for printing out snapshots at affordable prices. In many categories, Snapfish is more affordable than its main competition, Shutterfly. For example, a 4 x 6 print starts at 9 cents instead of 15 cents. While Snapfish won’t get you the same quality as the pricier professional printing options, its prints are solid compared to other similarly priced competitors. Plus, partnerships with Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens lets you pick up your orders from those retailers.
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.
I find the family photo part of the day can be quite stressful. People are going everywhere, you’re unaware of the different family dynamics at play and people are in a ‘festive spirit’ (and have often been drinking a few spirits) to the point where it can be quite chaotic. Get the couple to nominate a family member (or one for each side of the family) who can be the ‘director’ of the shoot. They can round everyone up, help get them in the shot and keep things moving so that the couple can get back to the party.

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.
Annie, Thank you so much for this post. I found this delightful and amazingly informative post on Pinterest. I’d been on the for hours looking at how to style family portraits. I’m going insane, we have pictures tomorrow and I still don’t know what I’m wearing. I have my husband and the 4 kids (boys age 17, 16, & 11 and our girl age 10) clothes picked out but not myself. Deep breath….. I’m going to try again to find something conducive. Wish me luck
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