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.
Wedding package three: $2,600: Includes up to 8 hours of wedding photography and all the services of wedding package two; one hour of private portraits after the ceremony; up to 30 edited images for printing; and two 16x20 canvas gallery wrapped prints. Add-on options: Second (intermediate level) photographer for $300; two-hour, two-location engagement photo shoot with 15 edited pictures for $400; photo booth at reception with digital download for $300; and first family Christmas card photo shoot session for $300.
Laura Squire Photography is a photography studio located in Houston, Texas, serving the entire greater Houston metro area. This photographer specializes in newborn, baby, child, family, couple, maternity, bride, and wedding photography. They also offer lifestyle portraits and high school senior photography. Laura Squire has been shooting professionally since 2009; capturing life’s precious and fleeting moments is her calling.
“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!”
I am a national award-winning children’s photographer, but I’m also a mom, and I look at kids through the eyes of a mom. I know that some of the most cherished photos you’ll ever have of your children are not the perfectly posed, clean-faced, well-dressed, sweet-smiling photos that our parents wanted, but rather the authentic, digging in the mud, feet in the cake, finger up the nose sort of moments that can’t be duplicated and will never be forgotten (future boyfriends/girlfriends beware!). Now that my own kids are in high school, I think the little things that young kids do are seriously funny, though I realize that right now, you might not see the humor. I promise you, in 10 years, it will become clear when you look at the photos we create together. Optical Poetry is a laid back, high-end portrait experience that begins with collaborative planning of wardrobe and location and ends with the delivery of your artwork as gallery-wrap canvas collections, gorgeous albums and heirloom quality prints to be cherished for generations.
Bella Baby is the face of hospital baby portraiture. We bring experienced, professional photographers into the hospitals to capture your baby's first photograph with a natural, artistic style. We believe that babies look the most beautiful when being held in their parents' arms or cuddled in one of their own baby blankets. Bella Baby captures this beauty by using only "real things"...natural window light, professional photographers and professional grade SLR digital cameras.

I really like your site and the tips you give on photographing toddlers, children, and newborns! They are so very helpful. I think your photos look 100% professional! I was wondering if you had any articles on photographing babies (older than newborns)? My son is 6 months old and I want to photograph him. If not, these tips are still super helpful! Especially the other article that includes the links on how to make different backdrops! Thanks!
The type of wedding ceremony that you are used to may be completely different in other faiths.  Sometimes photographers get thrown by this and it can affect the photos.  For example, photographers who shoot an LDS wedding shouldn't be surprised that you can't photograph the actual ceremony at all!  Photographers who shoot inside a cathedral shouldn't be surprised if you can't use flash.  Photographers at a Jewish wedding need to know not to miss the bride breaking the glass.  All religions do things differently and you should be familiar with how the wedding goes, and respect the religious differences (Thanks Rebecca Birrell)

DON'T worry about shot lists. "Avoid getting mired down in a must-have shot list that you found on the Internet," advises Rich Lavigne, who, with wife Anne, operates a wedding studio in South Plainfield, NJ. "Stay alert to the moments that are happening all around you. Look for smiles, laughter, singing, or tears. If you're looking for and photographing these moments, you're doing a pretty good job of capturing the spirit of the day."
Take a photo of the bride's ring sitting on the preacher's Bible, a picture of the buttons on the bride's dress, a picture of the cake topper, etc.  The bride has spent months preparing every tiny little detail, and she will appreciate photos of each of those things.  I usually like to take photos of the details while the reception hall is being set up because the lights are turned on and it's easier to get the shot.  (Thanks Kimberly Perry)
Engagement sessions are a big hit with couples and photographers. Almost all couples agree for a session before the wedding, so engagement photography has pretty much become a staple of wedding photography. An engagement shoot is done after a couple gets engaged and it usually is captured before the wedding. Some photographers sell this session as a separate product and most photographers include this session in their wedding packages. Regardless of how you like to approach it, understanding the basics of photographing couples and knowing how to coordinate a shoot that involves more than one person is crucial. Hence, I decided to write a piece to explain what goes into the planning process of an engagement session.
Wonderful tutorial! I just did some self portraits of my own bump yesterday and I had a blast. I’m actually just a couple of days behind Sarah! She is so incredibly gorgeous, as are YOU! Thanks for all the great info and tips. I can’t wait to do my next maternity shoot so that I can use some of what I just learned 🙂 My cousin’s wife is due in July, so I’ll be doing her photos in a couple of months. Seems like so many women are pregnant right now! Lol
With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.

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”.


Love the way you make this tutorial so easy to follow and understand every step of the way. Eager to start taking precious photos of my active three great grandkids, 3-4- and 10. Wished I knew like you how to take The Great Photos when they were each born. A friend will be having her baby soon, maybe I will get the second chance again Keep up the good work your doing here Autumn, looking forward to learning more, even at my age. Being a Grandma and having a camera are two of my favorite things in Life !

Ashley, I loved your post. I am huge on annual family photos. I think it’s so important to capture a nice photo of your growing/changing family at least once a year! I love how your pictures turned out. They are very nice and the same style I like to go for. I am getting into photography and would like to do our own someday. Thanks for all the tips. I completely agree with all of them and try to do them already but seeing it written down helps to instill those ideas even more for our next shoot.

Jason -- Sorry for the late reply! For me, it's all about personality. I've had families who all wore gaudy Hawaiian shirts (you would think it would be horrid with the clashing, but it actually worked beautifully!), all in shades of (color), University sweatshirts, swimsuits and scuba gear, sports uniforms, whatever. Their personality and their own flavor should guide their clothing. As a general rule, I do ask that they don't mix wild patterns (with the one exception above) but other than that, I figure I can work it out by who's standing next to whom, if that makes sense.
We’ve always had photos taken when the kids were newborns, but this is the first time we’ve taken them where I knew they wouldn’t be missing someone - the first time our family has been whole & complete and it’s seriously the BEST feeling! I’m SO happy with how they turned out - I love that each of the kids is captured so well through these and I will seriously treasure them FOREVER. Now, can I please just have  the largest canvas available in every single one? #shameless

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.
Get Down Low – one key to many natural baby shots is to get down on their level. I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last week or two lying on the floor next to Xavier. It’s something I think we both enjoy anyway but it’s also a great place to use your camera. Getting down low and getting in close (see below) does present some challenges in terms of focal length (I’m using a 24-105 zoom – usually at the widest focal length) but it means you end up with shots that feel like you’ve entered the babies world rather than you’re looking down on it from above.
This could save you a lot of aggravation, upset and possible humiliation. Speak with the Officiant before the Ceremony begins. Ask if they have any particular rules. Generally speaking, a church officiant will be a little more strict than a non-religious officiant. Some places only allow you to stand in certain places, whilst others don’t allow flash photography. Some don’t allow photography at all! If the officiant tells you this on the day of the wedding your best option is to instantly go and speak with the groom. Just explain to him that the officiant has told you that you aren’t allowed to take photographs during the service. This generally doesn’t happen as the couple have already met with the officiant but just be prepared that you might catch them in a bad mood.
4. Create a business name. What you name your business will become the brand image, so choose a name that fits the type of photography you want to do. If you want to take kid portraits you can have a whimsical name, but if you want to do business photography or weddings, you’ll want something that sounds professional or elegant. If you don’t use your given name in your business name, you’ll likely need to file a fictitious name statement with your county clerk’s office. You also need to check with the U. S. Patent and Trademark office to ensure the name isn’t protected by trademark.

A lot of shots that you see of babies in Flickr are quite amazing in how smooth and perfect they make them look. The reality is that many babies are not quite so ‘perfect’ (however much their parents think they are). Little scratches, sleep in the eyes, snotty noses, dried milk around the mouth, blotchy skin, birth marks and bumps etc are common for all babies.
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.
If you're opting for a nautical vibe with beach engagement photos, don't be afraid to get some sand between your toes. Going barefoot sets a laid-back mood that works in a seaside setting. And this no-fuss approach will save you the trouble of searching for beach-appropriate footwear. To keep your engagement photos looking polished, pair bare feet with structured outfits. Navy blue and white ensembles are a safe bet for pulling off a beach style that's laid-back but still pulled together.
Our differences are truly our strengths since Nick photographs from a man’s perspective and Natalie from a woman’s point of view.  It’s getting dual artistic coverage of your portrait session from individuals who see life through different lenses!  Because we’ve photographed so many sessions together, we remain calm and happy regardless of the circumstances. We want our clients to be at ease because the best pictures happen when people feel free to be themselves! Every single person is uniquely different from the next so we spend time getting to know each client personally so when we create photos together, they reveal who they truly are.
The day has come and your sweet baby boy or girl is finally here! After you’ve settled in at home with your little one, the next step in announcing your baby’s birth is taking newborn photos to share your joy. Loved ones and friends are looking forward to seeing the newest addition to your family and nothing makes a better statement than sending out photo birth announcements. Among many other items on your baby-at-home checklist, we have you covered with suggested time frames on when to take newborn photos below.
No matter where you shoot, studio, home, outside, 7Eleven, you’ve got to simplify your surroundings. The beauty of a mother anticipating the arrival of her child should be captured in a way that allows the miracle to speak for itself. Pregnancy doesn’t require anything “else” to be present in a photograph to help tell it’s story. Everything in the frame that may not belong will simply serve to distract from the story that’s already being told, naturally. Pay attention to background.
Julia Lauren Photography creates relaxed, casual photo sessions in its newborn photography work. The Dallas photo studio also photographs family portraits, maternity photos, and high school senior portraits. Julia Lauren Photography has been featured in Fort Worth Texas Magazine, WFAA 8, and Us Weekly. Clients have praised the photographer for her stunning, meaningful work and fun photo shoots.

From a professional photographer stand point, I second what a lot of people have said already. Try looking on Craigslist to see if there are any photographers that are just starting out. I know that I brought in a lot of business from Craigslist, and charged very little while I was portfolio building. This is especially great for maternity photos....
Some wedding photographers have an office or studio which can double as a retail photography studio. In bigger cities, one might find dedicated wedding photography studios that only cover weddings and may have large studios equipped with make-up, hair, and a selection of gowns ready for the bride to wear. Other wedding photographers may work from a home studio or from a coworking space, preferring to photograph clients on-location. These home based photographers may hire additional photographers to assist them if the wedding program is large or otherwise unmanageable by a single photographer.
Destination weddings will almost definitely increase wedding photographer fees. Some photographers charge their normal rates plus travel, room and board. Other photographers may have an additional fee beyond their standard rates and travel expenses to accommodate the extra effort required for them to pack up their specialized equipment and work remotely.
Kristina McCaleb Photography is a newborn photography studio based in Garland. The business also shoots senior portraits, child portraits, and family portraits, and holds mini photography sessions that create quick portraits for kids. Clients have left positive feedback for Kristina McCaleb's ability to capture personalities and for her warm, friendly, and professional attitude.
Thanks for bringing to my attention the importance of leaving plenty of time to get ready before a family photo shoot. It’s been many years since our last family picture, so I want to have another one taken soon. I imagine that trying to get ready last minute would only lead to stress and unhappy parents and kids, so I’ll make sure to give us lots of time beforehand.

Earth Mama Photography photographs newborns and births in the Dallas area. The business will photograph births in any setting, including in the home, at the birth center, in the hospital, and during c-sections. The photographer aims to be discrete during birth photos while photographing the emotions and details of the day. The photography studio's Fresh 48 Sessions omit the labor and capture the moments right after the birth. Earth Mama Photography also shoots child portraits, family portraits, and maternity portraits on-site or in the studio.
"Simply put, Gabi & Brandon were the best decision we made at our adventure elopement. They captured every moment so effortlessly and made both of us feel so comfortable in front of the camera, which is a huge deal for two awkward people like ourselves. We couldn't be happier with how our photos turned out, and hope to work with these two again someday! Thanks for everything you two!"

If the price is too much for you and you have an idea of what you want for newborn photos, they sell tons of affordable props you can use for your own photo session. They have websites that sell the cute hats, hammocks, blankets etc. Then you can set them up all the time for each mile stone too. Regular cameras are so much better than they used to be. It won't be the same, but you could get a lot more for your money by setting it up yourself.
Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them promotionally (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads). That also means you can't just post the digital proofs they send you—most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you'll have to buy the rights to the images.
Not the first thing you would think of when reading a blog post about wedding photography tips? But comfy shoes and socks can be a lifesaver for a wedding photographer. (Maybe not quite lifesavers) Listen! you’re going to be walking, running, jumping A LOT during a wedding day. Get some comfy shoes. Bring a spare pair just in case the first get wet. There’s also nothing quite like putting a new pair of socks on so bring some of them as well!

2. Develop your business plan. The business plan outlines the details of your business, including the services you offer, how you’ll differ from the competition, financial projections, and marketing strategies. This is a good time to determine your pricing structure. For example, if you want to make $50,000 per year and believe you can book 26 weddings a year, you’d need to charge nearly $2,000 per wedding. Your pricing needs to take into account the cost of equipment, supplies, and travel, as well as your time.

We are updating this page constantly. We simply want to make sure that we are able to offer you the absolute best photographers in our mind. Feel free to scroll down, check out our selected artists and click on their profiles. See more images, visit their websites and make sure to contact them for your elopement in Arkansas. If you are constantly looking for amazing photographers or videographers you might also be interested in our global artist search.


I had what I consider my first “real” maternity session a couple weeks ago. I call it my “first” because at the real first one I didn’t give any direction at all on what to wear and she came dressed in a black lace top with matching lace fingerless gloves! EEEK! Not exactly my style or what I wanted to show in my portfolio. But this time I was much more certain of the shots I wanted and was able to tweak the client’s prop ideas to get what she wanted and, secretly, what I wanted as well.

The wardrobe: Whether you're going formal or casual, solid colors are a must. Try to avoid plaids, florals, patterns and head-to-toe black or white clothing—and keep the silhouettes streamlined. Some couples coordinate their clothing palettes to the point of looking a bit matchy, but there's no need to go overboard. If you're worried about color, pick a neutral and a few coordinating color tones you both like and stick to those hues.

Kristina McCaleb Photography is a newborn photography studio based in Garland. The business also shoots senior portraits, child portraits, and family portraits, and holds mini photography sessions that create quick portraits for kids. Clients have left positive feedback for Kristina McCaleb's ability to capture personalities and for her warm, friendly, and professional attitude.

"Objects and details that are culturally and emotionally meaningful to the union" should be photographed, advises Jen Huang. You will, however, want to notify your photographer of these accents, especially if they're small or easily overlooked, notes Jiu: "As photographers we aim to get all the photos that are important to you. But sometimes, we may not notice the really small things without you pointing it out to us. So if you're carrying your grandmother's rosary or your groom has a picture of his grandparents on his cufflinks, we want to see it all!"

Give clients what they want. You may like to take creative portraits of people, but your clients might just want to look pretty.[10] Remember that, especially when you are starting out, you need to make money. The best way to do that is to have your clients buy prints (or digital images with rights to print). They are more likely to buy prints if they like what they see!

Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we'll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once. 
Some photographers will sit with your family after the session to review images together, allowing you to order portraits on different print media or with custom framing. These photographers can help you identify the best places in your home to hang wall portraits, even using real pictures of your home to digitally demonstrate what your favorite family portraits will look like hanging above your furniture in different sizes, groupings, or frames.
“The key is developing and following one’s own style. One should not try and copy others but develop their own style and try and create a niche segment around it with their expertise in that field. This way the increasing competition does not affect one’s business. Good branding is an important aspect as well. So developing a niche style and promoting your business around that style is the key to survival and growth for every wedding photographer.”
Family, just kids, or high school seniors. My favorite portrait sessions are capturing family interaction and play at your own home or favorite family spot or taking a high school senior around town to celebrate adulthood.  The Custom Portrait Session is a collaboration between my ideas and those that hold special meaning to you. Do you love to go get ice cream as a family?  Love to make pancakes together on Saturday mornings? Have a favorite game you play in your yard? I am a “fly on the wall” capturing your family as they are, in a photo journalistic way, not posed.  I want you to walk away from this session with a documentation of a slice of your life. I don’t want you to have a “hard time choosing” because I want you to have them all, so this package is all inclusive! For this purpose, I carefully select the best images from our session with a “storytelling album” in mind, and they are all available to you so you don’t have to choose. Images that paint a picture…the story of you.  Sorry, no newborn sessions at this time.
Most couples will be a little awkward about having their photos taken. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As long as your couple is laughing about how awkward it is you will get some great reaction shots. The beauty of photography is that the photo doesn’t know it was an awkward moment all it will see is laughter. Just play on it a little bit and get some great laughing shots. Make it more awkward if you want and get up close with a 24mm lens.
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 🙂
As an experienced NYC photographer team, we are your number one choice for elopements but also weddings & surprise proposals. We can also take care of holiday photography, valentine’s day and family portraits. We understand that when you are away on a family vacation, you want lasting memories – especially of your children. Family portraits taken while on vacation in New York are a great way to capture lasting memories of special time spent – show off your happy moments at City Hall and other iconic landmarks. Our New York portrait photographers are happy to cater to families of up to five at no additional charge – but larger groups can also be accommodated for.
“Those early days and weeks go by so fast and are such a blur, so capturing them in newborn photos was very important to us. We loved Kate’s work so much that we ended up purchasing the entire gallery and are looking forward to another session with her this spring. My husband has never been a fan of photo sessions, but even he couldn’t stop raving about how much he loved the photos.”
Nope. Makeup artists and hair stylists are infamously bad about keeping schedules (but we love them anyways and they do awesome work!) It is not really their fault since most of the time they can’t schedule a consultation and meet up with every single person whose hair and makeup they are doing before they give you a time estimate, so they really can’t be certain of what all they are going to have to do on the day of your wedding (we have even seen makeup artists unexpectedly have to cover up groomsmens’ black eyes from sports accidents on the morning of the wedding!). They will also be a little slower on your actual day than they were at your hair/makeup trial because they are working their hardest to make you look the best you can and they really want to get it just right, which is awesome! Regardless of whether it is their fault or not, they can’t send people out without them being done and if the hair and makeup professionals are running late, it is usually photo time that gets cut to make up for it. Instead of relying solely on their estimates, give yourself a little bit of a buffer (approximately 5-10 minutes more per person being done than what your professionals are asking for), just to be safe.
JAALAM IS AN AWARD WINNING, NATIONALLY PUBLISHED PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER. HIS WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN NUMEROUS MAGAZINES AND PUBLICATIONS. PREMIERE IS HIS PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY LOCATED IN COLLEYVILLE, TX. HE NOW SPLITS HIS TIME BETWEEN PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL AND FORT WORTH/ DALLAS, TX WHERE HE CONTINUES TO PHOTOGRAPH HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS, COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY, PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY AND IS AN IN DEMAND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. AS A PHOTOGRAPHER HIS GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS HAVING HIS PORTRAITS HANG ON THE WALLS OF CLIENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
M. Bradbury Photography is a Frisco-based custom photographer focusing on newborn, baby, and child photography. Head photographer Melissa Bradbury has over 10 years of experience in photographing newborns, infants, children, and expectant mothers. She offers comfy seats, snacks, and drinks for parents during newborn photo sessions. Clients praise Melissa for her ability to capture every special moment beautifully.
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.
In contrast, there is an alternative approach for your individual or family portrait that may be more appropriate for a special memory.  Here, you would have your own photo or photographs and then have them professionally done as a canvas painting or an oil painting that could easily be done in in a 20 x 30 inch painting that could be framed.  In some cases, a few individual photographs of family members or an individual can be provided separately and the artist can combine into one painting.

[…] I decided to use the techniques I had practised with during my test shoot with the doll, anbd bring them into the shoot I did with the real newborn, as well as looking online for any tips that could help me with getting the images perfect. I found a site which talked me through the different poses, the best way to move the newborn and then preparation before hand, I found the advice quite helpful: DIY newborn shoots […]
Rosy Posie Photography is a portrait photography studio in Sachse, known for their expertise in beauty, maternity, and family photography. Their team offers in-studio and on-location photo sessions for children, newborns, expectant mothers, families, couples, and high school seniors, as well as corporate headshots and boudoir photos. Rosy Posie Photography is perfectly rated on Facebook.
With thirteen uncles and aunts on my dad's side, I have a very large extended family. I don't do family portraits often, but when I do, I've found that the best two techniques that work for me for ensuring everyone's looking in the same direction and are ready for the group shot is (1) telling them beforehand that if they can't see my camera's lens from their position in the group, then my camera is likely not going to see them either, so they need to find another position, and (2) I give them a "3-2-1" (or for larger groups, a "5-4-3-2-1") countdown before taking the shot. This usually results in me getting the shot I want pretty quickly, and I don't have to go through dozens of shots to find one where everyone is actually ready for their picture to be taken.
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