“While it’s sometimes hard to develop trust in someone you just met, I truly believe that Kate always had our best interests in mind. She listened to what we had envisioned and acted on it with the most positive attitude. My favorite part of the session was how comfortable Kate made us feel. Neither my husband nor I love posing for pictures, but Kate made us feel at ease in a very relaxed and fun way!”
Sounds great right? Well often it’s a bit of pain pairing your phone with your camera. Most apps made by camera manufacturers for smartphones are terrible. Then when you’re actually using the app you’ll find it’s nearly impossible to shoot photos in quick succession (because of the lag between the camera and your phone, and also because it’s tough to repeatedly tap the shutter release button on the app).
A common mistake with amateur wedding photographers is busy photos with cluttered backgrounds. Some of the tips throughout this tutorial can instantly improve your images and this is one of them. If your backgrounds are as clean and clutter free as possible it gives the best chance for your photos to look great. When taking formals consider simple backdrops which will really allow you to focus on the couple or the group being photographed. Distractions in photos can often be resolved by simply getting a little bit lower with the camera. Natural features like bushes, trees etc also make fantastic backdrop as there is less concern about symmetry.
Your beautiful blessing has arrived! While everyone anxiously waits to meet the newborn, it is impossible to make room for every family member or friend to pay a visit. Birth announcements are the perfect way to show off your little bundle of joy. However, having an idea and plan for photographs is the best way to go, especially since newborns don’t do well with impromptu activity!

Women don’t generally feel very sexy when they’re pregnant. Understandably so, and trust me I connect with this feeling as much as the next gal. But just because an expectant mother doesn’t feel sexy, that doesn’t mean she’s not totally knock out. Bring that out in her. Pull that beauty out of her. A good way to do this is by talking as you shoot. It’s perfectly appropriate to say things like: “That’s beautiful!” “Yes, perfect!” “Oh that’s just LOVELY.” “Pregnancy looks good on you girl!” Whatever works! If you’re a male photographer you’ll need to be careful about what you say in this crazy world of sexual harassment, but you’re even more capable of pulling the beauty out of her than a female photographer. It’s one thing when your girlfriend tells you you’re beautiful, but when your girlfriend’s brother tells you that you’re looking good, you actually believe it. Obviously be careful and be genuine. The success of this tip will depend on your personality, but you can help her help herself. If she feels pretty she’ll look a whole heck of a lot better. It’s that simple.


Bad lighting is the enemy of good photography. Unfortunately, unless you are professionally trained, you might not know that the midday sun is not the best light for photographs. Hamilton explains, “You actually want your subjects to be in shade rather than direct sun and you also don’t want them facing the sun because this causes squinting.” Consider doing your photo sessions in early morning or late afternoon for beautiful soft light. Cloudy days are also great for photo shoots.
Label, label, label. Remember to permanently label images with the names, dates, locations and relationships you’ve discovered. If you’re the keeper of the family photos, do this now so your children aren’t left to do it all themselves.If you’ve already scanned your photos to a digital format, remember that it’s just as important to include full notations on digital images as it is on hard-copy images, or all your efforts and expense will be for naught when they’re viewed by people without knowledge of your family’s history.From sleuthing to sharing, there are many ways to enjoy historical images.With a little time and creativity now, your photographs can be treasured for generations to come.
On here, you listed there will be a “part two” that “will have recommendations for those on a tight budget” and for those using a Canon. Personally, I’m just wondering when you might be posting the info on a tight budget? My dad used to be a photographer and can probably recommend a lower end camera that still works great, but I would like to see what you recommend. (:
I do TONS of newborn shoots professionally. The #1 best advice I have ever received along the way is that if you are comfortable, baby is freezing (assuming s/he is down to the diaper or less). You should be sweating. I bring a big heating pad and leave it on low and use a space heater. On top of that I put a flat (not fitted) diaper station changing ‘sheet’ (they are about 2 for $7 at Target and washable). Then, whatever blanket/backdrop we want- layer them if you want multiple. All of this is over a bean bag. Baby will be completely moldable because they will be OUT! ALWAYS have baby freshly fed and changed. Other than that, newborn shoots can be some of the easiest. Make sure to get the details- the toes, hands, ears- put them onto something big to show how small they are. And unless you’re doing that- showing how small they are- get SO CLOSE. And for all portraits, focus on a specific eye to get the shot perfectly sharp!
Communication and planning are key. Discuss in detail what is going to happen on the day, what the clients will be wearing, and what you’re going to be bringing. Coordinate their outfits with your props, or, say, the baby’s booties with their decor. You have to think of it all. Best of all, if you hit it off with the family, you’ll get that referral and your client base will grow. Speaking of which…

Imagine there is a line drawn from each face to the next. Try and position them so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another. Make diagonal lines not totem poles. Use props to seat some people or bring some small folding stools. Have some people sit down, or stand up on something. Use what is naturally in the environment to pose them, or if you have nothing available just arrange them so the heights are staggered.
Set up a work schedule. This will largely depend on your client's needs so you'll need to be organized and prepared. When setting up a schedule, consider how long the shoot will need to last and how much time you'll need to edit photos before delivering a product to your client. Realize that some types of photography will demand specific schedules. For example, you'll probably work lots of weekends and evenings if you shoot weddings.[13]
If you are doing the session in the client’s home, posed newborn sessions require nearly the same amount of prep as a wedding.  You need quite a bit of “stuff” and it is easy to forget something so I make sure to pack the night before and use a checklist so I don’t forget anything (I’m a mom with a very limited memory).  To make your life a bit easier, I’ve made a print ready checklist you can use which is included in the newborn photography toolkit – one of the FREE limited time bonuses included in our online Newborn Photography Workshop.
Pro tip: "This was done by using natural light next to a window," Shucart says. "I layered Dad's and Mom's hands over her belly, making sure the rings were showing." And don't forget about black and white, which, the photographer says can be done using photo editing programs on almost any image. "It always helps to pop in some contrast to black and white images, too," she advises.
“While it’s sometimes hard to develop trust in someone you just met, I truly believe that Kate always had our best interests in mind. She listened to what we had envisioned and acted on it with the most positive attitude. My favorite part of the session was how comfortable Kate made us feel. Neither my husband nor I love posing for pictures, but Kate made us feel at ease in a very relaxed and fun way!”

We are a Celina-based, husband and wife portrait photography team who love people and are passionate about photography. We have earned the reputation as one of the top portrait and wedding photographers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Nick and Natalie own and operate Natalie Roberson Photography located in Celina, Texas.  They are supported by a talented staff of employees whose main goal is to provide unparalleled customer service.
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.
Most of my clients opt out of the above and go with adding their own personal touches to the engagement session. This is also a perfectly distracting maneuver. Often times, clients feel awkward in front of the camera and don’t know what to do. Accessorizing the shoot and adding some props will shift their attention from you to the objects around them. If the props hold sentimental value to your clients, it will be better for you.

Pro tip: "Finding the perfect family pose for maternity pictures will vary on the age of your other child or children," photographer Amado says. "Most of the time I work with toddlers and you have to find activities to keep them entertained on the belly. The best family pose on these occasions is the sincere joy and happiness of having big brother or sister interacting with the belly. Something as simple as touching your belly while the family looks on will likely become one of your favorite memories."

Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive.  What do your dream family photos look like?  If they are soft and elegant?  Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues.  Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family?  Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents.  Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.
Take fun photos. It doesn't have to be all serious. Laughter is a wonderful memory. The last one I did was pretty casual. I had the groomsmen and the groom climb a tree and took a wonderful shot. We also did the infamous Charlie's Angel shot of the bride and her bridesmaids. (Thanks Melody Landrum) Also, thanks to Chris Nelson, destination wedding photographer. Submitted some excellent photos from weddings via his site.
Don’t be afraid to move the parents around and tell them where they need to be. Even if you’re just casually photographing your neighbor’s family, you’re the professional and people will listen. If a location isn’t working or the light is poor in a certain area, suggest an alternative in a positive way. Say something like, “Why don’t we try moving into that large open shade area by that tree, it will give us a break from this heavy sun”, rather than, “The light is horrible here, let’s move”.
2. Backdrop board. I have a couple DIY backdrop boards that I made for about $10 each (full instructions in this post). I stand one up against the backs of two of my kitchen chairs. The backdrop boards can be used alone for a solid colored background, or can be used to drape blankets from for more background options. The background should be angled so it faces the right or left side of the window, not the middle of it, as you can see in the photo above. This will allow the baby’s head to be a little closer to the window than her feet, allowing the light to hit her forehead first, causing gentle shadows just under her nose and chin. If you don’t have a backdrop board, stand two kitchen chairs backwards here anyway so you can drape a blanket from them. If you use a backdrop board it must be secured with clamps to the chairs it stands in front of to assure it will not fall over.

Jackie Spivey is a Keller-based photographer crafting high-quality portraits of families and newborns for over 10 years. She offers in-studio and in-home photo sessions for newborns and babies, and also takes family, wedding, and maternity photos on location. Jackie Spivey was once voted by the WFAA as one of the Top 5 Wedding Photographers in Dallas/Fort Worth.
(Above Left) Letter Props Engagement Photo Pose Idea: Grab a couple of letter props and carry them as you take a stroll together in your neighbourhood. {Featured here: Love and Baking Flour: Kitchen Engagement Session | Shot by: IZ Photography} | (Above Right)  Indie Engagement Photo Pose Idea: Stop by your fave coffee spot and indulge in your regular orders while capturing the moment for your engagement shoot. {Featured here: Indie Summer Picnic Engagement Shoot Session | Shot by: Jeanne Mitchum Photography}
Because one of our best tips is to shoot in RAW we advise getting fast memory cards. RAW files are big and there is lots of data to store on your memory card. You should be looking at the ‘write’ speed measured in MB/s. BEWARE! The speed listed on the card is the transfer speed (the speed in which it transfers the files to your computer). Whilst it can be good to have a fast transfer speed what you want is good write speed. 95MB/s is a good write speed and should easily handle a continuous burst of RAW photos.
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.
4. Position your subjects so you can see both their faces. A mom or grandma will probably hold the baby up on her chest, the baby facing in. This can make it hard to see both faces at once in a photo, so ask your subject to stand sideways and gently turn the baby toward you while she turns her head toward you as well. (An over the shoulder pose like the one above works well too.)
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.
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!
“Kate let our son have his space but also got him back on track playing, having fun, and following her direction. Her reviews are incredible and every positive thing you read is absolutely true. Not only are the photos beautiful, they’re filled with emotion. Anyone can take a picture of you smiling at the camera but to capture personalities and emotion is a special talent.”
We are a husband and wife adventure wedding + elopement photography team with an emphasis on epic landscapes and grand adventure. Our photography style is adventurous, full of stoke, and centered around telling a true story. We strive to capture your wedding day in an authentic way, creating photos filled with emotion and beauty. We are outdoor enthusiasts (and advocates!) inspired by windy mountain tops, rocky deserts, icy glaciers, and red dirt (oh how we loooove that red dirt!). We believe there is no such thing as bad weather if you have the right attitude. Our couples prefer a peaceful, relaxed wedding day with an emphasis on their love for each other and for the outdoors. We capture the landscape AND the couple, and don’t believe one must be less than the other.
Great shots. What I've been struggling with recently is the balance between only release your best shots and how many I should deliver as proofs to a client ( along with what the concept of a proof is ). Whilst each of the examples above is a single shot I betting there were many more to choose from as an output from each session. Many of my portrait shoots are around 45 mins to a bit over an hour and in that time I will take a range of head, mid body and full length shots along with various groups. My last session took a bit over one hour with a family of 5 and resulted in around 200 pics ( a good number of which were burst mode of kids jumping off Walls ). I selected a fair range of around 60-70 pics and did some basic proof edit cropping and light balancing, the standard stuff and delivered a disc to the client. As I am starting out my model is to deliver a disc to the client rather than sell prints I don't have that bandwidth just yet and I price accordingly with that in mind. I've had some interesting conversations since that made me think I should have delivered fewer pics ( maybe 1 or 2 of each pose ) which would have meant a delivery set of about 30 pics. So what is the right balance ?
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