We asked a dozen successful amateur and pro portraitists for tips on better family photos. Our interviews turned up a surprising number of common strategies for succeeding with this classic subject. Here’s how they suggest you capture your family’s personality in pictures. *Keep It Real*Small reminders of daily life are more precious than posed images. The family pictures that will mean the most to you (and others) will be the most candid. Try to capture family members interacting with each other and the world around them. Keep from directing or posing people—it may vex your subjects and reduce your chances for good photos. (Above Photo) Pro Sue Barr chose a Coney Island location for this family portrait. It lent color to the background and coaxed lively expressions from the kids.Sue Barr
it’s so important to take a photo of the two of you, with your growing bump.  when you look back on the pictures of the two (well, three including your baby) of you, it will be so fun to see what you both looked like during that time.  even better, take this photo in your nursery so you can remember what your nursery initially looked like.  for us, we didn’t know the gender of our little one so our nursery changed a bit once we found out our baby was a girl when she was born.  it’s fun to see what the beginning stages of her nursery looked like, while we were planning for pink or blue.

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.
Portrait photographers usually don't work from a tripod when shooting on-location, but it can be especially useful for shooting inside a dimly lit church.  Bring a tripod for these situations so you can get a sharp shot even with a slower shutter speed.  Even if you can get away with shooting handheld inside, you might want the tripod so you can use a lower ISO and get cleaner shots. (Thanks Johnny Quattlebaum)
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).
Do you have memories double sipping a chocolate cake shake on your first date, or did the moment you reached to dip your cheese fries the same time as your partner officially seal the deal? Now, we’re making all your wedding wishes come true. Book a two-hour professional engagement session at Portillo’s locations in Illinois and relish in moments along side your first love of Chicago-style favorites.
Really this is the go-to shooting mode for wedding photographers. Moments happen so quickly on a wedding day and Continuous Shooting Mode helps you capture them. Take the speeches as an example. This is a great time to capture laughter, tears and overall joy on the faces of the couple, their families and their friends. If you use One Shot you might capture a fantastic laugh but the person is mid-blink. Or the person sitting next to them is picking their nose. However in Continuous Shooting Mode if you hold that shutter down and burst 5-10 images you can capture various different expressions of the same situation.
Photographing couples and landscapes without one overshadowing the other is what we do best. But we also capture tighter, more intimate shots, candid shots that tell the story of the day, goofy behind the scenes shots, group photos, and even landscape shots without you in it (sorry, not sorry). Our goal is to deliver an album that drops your jaw, makes you laugh, and floods you with memories big and small from your epic adventure.
Prior to the big day, your photographer will likely ask you for a wedding photo list, which will outline specific family wedding photos you and your soon-to-be spouse want to be sure and take during the wedding. Thanks to WeddingWire's wedding day timeline generator, you know that you have about an hour allotted between the wedding ceremony and reception (or following the first look) for wedding family photos. A complete wedding family photo list will help you and your photographer make the most of these 60 minutes.
Ok now that the formals are out of the way, everyone has a few minutes to just relax, get a drink, and recompose themselves and get ready for the ceremony as guests begin to arrive. One photographer usually photographs the ceremony location and all the details before guests are seated. The other photographer is usually taking candids of guests as they arrive.
Let’s discuss the option involving profession photographer in more detail.  First, you or your family will set up an appointment either at the studio or at your house or other location.  You can expect that most professional photographers will have the proper equipment along with software programs used to subsequently edit, provide proofs, and print photographs.   Just as important, their people skills should make subjects comfortable in front of the camera and posing people to look their best is a skill by itself.  Regardless, you should consider your own family and their ages and the portrait you are trying to achieve along with the background.  You should also understand the package you will receive and if you want larger size prints and the total costs involved for the preparation, shooting and photographs. If you use this alternative, you should check with the photographer to confirm if you have the right to have the photos later done at some point in an oil painting since some photographers may retain ownership of the photo set.
I also suggest the option of styling the session to my clients. While they can style the shoot according to their own taste, I also recommend getting it done professionally. It is relatively inexpensive and saves a lot of time for the couple. I show portfolios of planners, who stylize events and engagement sessions and put my clients in touch with them.
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."
2.  Lots of photos of the specific type of session that you want to book.  Another thing you might want to consider is that although your wedding photographer may have done a fantastic job on your wedding photos, that doesn’t mean she’ll be any good at taking posed photos of your newborn baby.  It’s a totally different skill set!  Similarly, if you’re thinking about using your newborn photographer for family photos, you may want to check out her family sessions and make sure you like her style.  She probably won’t be having you all squish up into a bucket and pretend to sleep, so her family photo style could look quite a bit different from her newborn style. 🙂  If you have young kids, make sure they’ve got a lot of experience working with busy little ones.  If you’re looking for senior portraits, make sure they know how to pose teens in a flattering way.  These are all things that we as photographers study and we’ve all chosen to specialize in different areas.
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.
When I’m photographing kids I make a total idiot of myself. I make funny noises, I sing songs (I’m really bad but they don’t care), I make fish faces, I play peek-a-boo behind the camera.  I run back and forth to the camera with the puppet. I lie on the ground, I stick my butt out. Kids are the ones that have life the right way around, it’s us adults that ruin it. Let them be kids, let them have fun. Then be ready to capture it when it happens.

Great tips, I especially love the one about safety first, it’s scary the positions that some people put newborn babies in for the sake of photos! I also agree with your comment about the images looking the same at times. We have to remember that while it might be the same old thing for us, it’s the first time for this family portrait session, and this baby.
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”.  The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands.  The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing.  Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
@Leslie yes it is certainly easier to get people at ease outdoors without the studio lights and all the stuff that goes with it that can be intimidating. Try putting on some soft music that's relaxing, or some funky music to get people a bit more relaxed. The best way to get people to pose more easily is to talk to them! It's that simple. Stop focusing on the technical stuff, do that before they get in front of the camera. Then interact and talk to them. Ask them about them, their day, etc. It's also easier to show people how to pose by doing it first in their place, then have them repeat it. Hope that helps.
I want my clients to be comfortable in what they are wearing. I ask my clients to wear something that will match their personality. At the same time, I tell them that I love working with neutral colors (or even pastels). I am also not quite fond of different textures. My preferences are my preferences and if they do not consider them, I do not get upset over it. I keep on reminding my clients of the fact that if they look good, they will feel good. If they feel good, they will photograph outstandingly.
After receiving your initial questionnaire, I will call you to go over the portrait session and ask some basic questions regarding your expectations. We will discuss important items such as location, wardrobe, your photography style preference and most importantly, your desires for the final product. Each portrait session is completely customized for each individual/family.

This is probably my favorite pose, and is always the one I start with if the baby is sleepy (plan to feed your baby right before you try to photograph him so he’ll be more likely to fall asleep). I love how peaceful babies look in this position. It’s also a great pose if you (like me) like newborns to be naked in their photos – you can see their sweet little arms and legs, but nothing else is exposed.


Amber Balous Photography is a portrait studio in Dallas, known for taking exquisite photographs of newborns and expectant mothers. They offer photo sessions including a pre-session consultation, a portrait session, an ordering and reveal session, and professional photo editing and retouching. Customers praise head photographer Amber for her warmth, patience, and genuine care for her subjects.
With a growing business and two infants at home there isn't a lot we have time for but volunteering is dear to our hearts. Thats why we volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. Along with this gift, I love serving families of Rainbow babies, and have done a story about my work with WFFA. To see the story, you may click here.
Before you call a single photographer, have a discussion with your partner about what kinds of engagement photos you'd like—posed or candid, formal or casual. Again, let your decisions be guided by how you plan to use the pics: Will they be hanging on grandma's wall, reproduced in black-and-white newsprint or shrunk down to the size of a quarter for personalized favor stickers? Advance planning will help you make the most of your pictures. Some photo-friendly options to consider for your engagement shoot:

Your newborn baby has his or her own schedule. When they get fussy, be sure to take your time and wait it out. Sometimes you’ll spend 3-4 hours on a shoot with the baby crying the entire time and finally, in the last 20 minutes, you’ll get everything you need. It’s not going to be easy and be sure to plan sufficient time or the shoot. Your shoot duration will vary depending on the number of wardrobe changes and scene setups, but in general be flexible. If you’re doing this professionally, consider charging per session, per image, or per scene rather than charging per hour.
Hello there. Did that $200 fee cover just the photo cd or both the photographers time and the cd? Just seems to be such a reasonable price! My fiancée and I are returning to the Big Island in February and have decided to tie the knot while we are there (just us, a minister and a photographer). We love the Hilton at Waikiloa; it's gorgeous albeit a bit windy. Also wondering if you happen to recall the name of the photographer?

As a Dallas baby photography we love to give the best birthday experiences! Cake Smash sessions are a great way to celebrate your baby's  milestone! One year cake smash sessions are typically held a month before your child’s first birthday. We offer two cake smash set up options, Classic White set up or Themed Cake set up and we will be provide the cake for both types of sessions. These sessions include anywhere from 15-40 images depending on how well your child responds to the cake smash. Every child reacts differently but it is very rare we can not get good images! We got you covered! Our studio has a bath tub and we keep everything on hand, including towels, wash cloths, baby soap and plastic bags for your dirty clothes!
Please come out and support the Lehighton Area High School Girls Volleyball team on Thursday, September 28th as they take on North Schuylkill.  This is the annual Match with a Meeting night, which they pick a local organization to support.  Proceeds collected this year will benefit Program of Wellness, Empowerment and Recovery (POWER).   There will…
Your portraits are beautifully lit and fortunately don't need much retouching. The only exception I see in your examples is the family piled on top of each other on the ground where the mom appears to be in the shadow a bit more than I'd prefer. She could use a quick swipe of the dodge tool, IMHO. I do tend to spend too much time in post production working to "perfect" each file, but that's me.
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)
Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
In the past, we have had family photos taken in a variety of ways.  We have simply not done it, we have gone to a studio and we have also hired a professional to take our family photos in an outdoor setting!  My favorite photos are the outdoor, slightly more candid photos and so this year, that is what we wanted.  My husband is a hard one to nail down though, he doesn’t love family photos time, so with my recent purchase of some new camera equipment, he suggested that we take our family photos our self this year.
“It is no small feat keeping a 3- and 6-year-old happy and engaged, but my kids had so much fun with Miss Kate that they kept asking when our next play date with her would be! From the moment I first contacted her until the day my final photos were ready, Kate was responsive, detail-oriented, full of helpful information, and a pure joy to work with! And the photos? Simply gorgeous. She captured my children’s personalities beautifully.”
Laura Babb of Babb Photo is an award-winning photographer. She is based between Bath and London but photographs weddings all over the UK and abroad. Her approach is documentary but at the same time playful and profoundly real. She loves to shoot creatively in an attempt to make each shoot truly unique. Laura’s top wedding photography tips are all about light and this one stood out to us from her article ‘The Importance of Light and Planning Your Photography Around It’ she says –

As a Dallas baby photographer, I love to capturing your little one’s personality with goofy grins and perfect pout while shooting on my all white backdrop. We will also use my collection of simple props, toys and neutral wardrobe to show off their sweet rolls and chunky little toes! All my baby photography sessions include your little one to be dressed in one outfit of your choice. And, of course naked booty cause lets get real everyone loves a nakey baby!


Digital cameras are very good at coming to a neutral exposure, but the truth is that the neutral exposure is not always the best exposure.  For example, suppose you are taking a picture of a person on a bright sunny day.  The camera will likely make the face of the person dark and the background too bright.  The “neutral” exposure is mid-way between exposing for the face and the background.
I volunteered my time at an event called Help Portrait last year that has photographers, make up artists and organizers giving their time to create portraits for people that otherwise couldn’t afford a professional one. They ended up sending most of the families to me, initially because I had the biggest area to do the group photo and later because the other photographers said I was the best with the kids.  To see some of my photos from that event go to Help Portrait, Edmonton  2012. 

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."
Maternity photos aim to capture life-changing and significant moments in parenthood and motherhood. Before your little one arrives on the scene, consider preserving your experience with some thoughtful, beautiful photos that showcase your baby bump. Plan to schedule your photo shoot when your bump is showing and you are still feeling comfortable. If you plan ahead with your photographer and family and take the time to consider your outfits, your poses, and what you want to capture, you will have beautiful maternity photos that you and your family will cherish.

Dana Menendez Photography is a Carrollton-based photographer, dedicated to capturing organic, heartfelt moments within family interactions. Owner Dana Menendez specializes in newborn, maternity, and family photography, and offers additional services such as wall prints, canvas gallery wraps, and keepsake albums. Her studio is equipped with different hats, wraps, blankets, and props for producing colorful, lively images. Dana Menendez Photography is highly rated on Facebook.

Every wedding will require a bit of crowd control during the family group photos. This can be a stressful time for the photographer as you aren’t aware of the specific family dynamics. Sometimes you don’t know who Uncle John is. Plus he’s probably at the bar, the toilet or anywhere other than where he should be. One of our great wedding photography tips is to get the couple to nominate a family member or someone from the bridal party to organise the people. They can gather the guests for the photos and you can concentrate on taking the photos.
Kevin Cook is a newborn, child, family, senior and wedding photographer whose work is based in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is also the owner of KCC Photography and is fond of capturing photographs of different things in life such as people and places. Capturing photographs for Kevin Cook is like writing a book to document history but without using words. It is more interesting and makes his life exciting which motivates him to capture fabulous photographs that record those special moments in life. 6 Sandra Bianco – United States
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 🙂
Lifestyle newborn sessions – Are a bit more casual approach to newborn photography.  There may be some posing but the intention is to capture more natural images of the baby and their home.  These sessions can be done up to 6 weeks old and usually last 1-2 hours max.  My favorite thing about lifestyle newborn photography is capturing the wonder and amazement between the family members.  Newborns are incredible but so is the love in the air.  Memories of this time-frame often become fuzzy for new parents and that is precisely why I feel these types of shoots are so important.
"The painting was a gift for my wife for our first wedding anniversary. I wanted to play on the traditional gift of paper and thought canvas and a painting would be a nice modern twist on the traditional gift. The painting depicts our wedding day and turned out to be my wife`s favorite photo from that day. She loved the painting and the way Paul the artist captured everything from that amazing day.
A. If your wedding location doesn’t have a view of the sky then “sunset photos” will probably not be very… sunset-ey. BUT! We can set aside that same time to do some night photos instead and they are super awesome too! Even if you DO have a view of the sunset, feel free to schedule some time for some night photos in addition to your sunset photos for a double dip of awesomeness!
Swaddling a baby is the easiest way to pose her for newborn photos at home. Simple wrap her up tight and lay her down on a pretty blanket of piece of fabric. I usually save swaddled photos for the end of the photoshoot, when the baby has woken up. Newborns love to be swaddled and will usually stay pretty calm if they’re wrapped tight enough (check out this post on swaddling if you don’t know how).
Hello there. Did that $200 fee cover just the photo cd or both the photographers time and the cd? Just seems to be such a reasonable price! My fiancée and I are returning to the Big Island in February and have decided to tie the knot while we are there (just us, a minister and a photographer). We love the Hilton at Waikiloa; it's gorgeous albeit a bit windy. Also wondering if you happen to recall the name of the photographer?
Depending on the feasibility it can be an idea to check out the location ahead of the wedding. However, things change so it can sometimes be best to play this by ear. You could scout the location on the morning of the wedding. Equally, you can wander around the venue when the couple are eating their food. Having an idea of where you are going to take the couple for their photos can drastically improve the end result. This is definitely one of our top tips for beginners.
Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
Think about how personable the photographer is. You will use the interview in part to determine the technical skills and style of the photographer, but it is also an invaluable opportunity to assess her soft skills. Think about how personable the photographer is. If you take a disliking to her for whatever reason, this could create a negative dynamic or atmosphere on your big day. Keep in mind some basic questions, and discuss your response with your partner after the interview.[16]
Just as you do not want the exposure to change from frame to frame, neither do you want the focus to be adjusted. Assuming you’ve taken #1 to heart and are using a tripod, you will not be moving. Likely if you’ve posed your group in a relatively static position, they will not be moving. Not much anyway. We are only concerned with moving closer to, or further away from the camera. So . . .
Speaking of having your first look on the aisle—Huang actually prefers this moment (and its resulting photos) to a pre-arranged first look ahead of the ceremony: "I find that couples are passing up the irreplaceable moment of coming down the aisle for something that was originally created as a back-up for tight wedding schedules. I think they can be really beautiful, but I would always recommend walking down the aisle as your true first look—there's nothing like it!"
Now that you’ve decided who will be included in your wedding portraits, it’s time to figure out where you’ll be taking the photos. The easiest locations are your ceremony and/or reception venues, of course, but the hotel where you’re getting ready can also be a good spot. If there’s a particular location where you’ve always dreamed of taking your wedding photos (a local beach or park, a neighborhood in your city, etc.), you’ll have to factor the travel time into your wedding photography timeline—and plan for transportation so that all of your VIPs get there safely and on time.
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)
If you do not know where to start, I give you a tip to realize what’s important to you: think about what you’ll want to remember in a couple of years. Or what you think your kids would like to remember in like 10 or 20 years (or more). If it’s hard to imagine, think about your childhood pictures. The ones you like the most. And also the ones you would like to have but you don’t.

Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers – unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo – not necessarily on the subject themselves, but rather match little sister’s bright turquoise shoes to the sweater or scarf her mama is wearing. It ties everything together without looking too match-y match-y. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty. And don’t forget some funky socks to add another splash of color or personality if your overall look of the session is fun and bright.

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