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.
Krista is natural light portrait, senior, and wedding photographer in Northwest Arkansas. A lover of golden fields, buttery backlight, and authentic emotion, she strives to transform the mundane into the magical by showcasing amazing light and interaction in her photography. She is a devoted wife and mother of a spirited daughter, who also serves as her muse. Krista loves spicy Mexican food, reality TV, the ocean, and connecting with nature. She is the author of Transforming the Mundane Into Magical.
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.

#2 - it will still be coming straight from camera so will flatten out the subject. The angle of light from that direction adds no texture to the people or their face, and it removes all texture. Perhaps if you are doing a glamour or fashion shoot that would work but for most portraits you want the light from the side to create shadows, which create texture and lighting patterns.


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.
Some brides might ask whether it is ok to do a boudoir shoot of them on the morning of the wedding. This has to be something you feel comfortable doing and ideally something you have practised before. A boudoir shoot typically sees your model or in this case the bride photographed in their underwear. You can find out more about this kind of photography by seeing our post on nude photography which shares many characteristics with boudoir imagery. It also talks about how this type of photography can be used to promote body positivity and increase confidence in the person being photographed. Producing these types of images can also make for a great present for the groom.
Send out an email a day or two before their appointment with the time, date, and place of the session. Provide a checklist reminding them to make sure the kids are fed and they pack any essentials with them. Depending on the season, your checklist will change (e.g., knit hat reminders in winter and sunscreen and water in the summer). A family shoot will never go perfectly, but by making sure the family is prepared, you can maximize the likelihood that things will go as smoothly as possible.
Yes, you can take newborn photos after two weeks but you’ll have to opt for different poses and concepts. Your newborn will likely be awake during the session so you should go for photos that include the baby with clothes on and wide awake. Taking newborn photos after two weeks isn’t unheard of and your photos will still turn out well. However, your little one won’t curl up so easily after two weeks so we encourage you to take a different approach with your photos. Babies begin to stretch and extend their arms and legs after two weeks, making it harder for them to naturally curl up during photos. Don’t be discouraged though by timing as you should still schedule a newborn session even if two weeks have passed by.
One more piece of advice that someone gave me on my own wedding day. ‘Things will Go Wrong – But They Can be the Best Parts of the Day’. In every wedding that I’ve participated in something tends to go wrong with the day. The best man can’t find the ring, the rain pours down just as the ceremony ends, the groom forgets to do up his fly, the flower girl decides to sit down in the middle of the aisle or the bride can’t remember her vows….
Hi. I'm having hard time deciding if I want to do maternity or newborn photos or both. I have emailed several people in my area and for the two sessions and rights to the pics we are looking at $400. I can think of lots of other things to buy for baby but I know these pictures are once in a lifetime. Also we do have a nice Nikon camera that I could attempt to take them myself and have someone take them of me. I keep going back and forth because in all honesty what ends up with these pictures anyway? Please help me persuade myself one way or another. TIA!

I’m going to be taking photographs of my daughter giving birth to my granddaughter next month and I’m panicing. I don’t know a lot about lighting yet except for what I’ve read, I love outdoor photos as they always seem to come out great. I’m concerned about the birthing room lightening. What ISO would you put your camera lighting too? While she is in labor I can experiment, but I would like maybe a heads up with this. I love taking photography of my grandchildren and family and friends, but just started to really get serious about it. So much has happened and I planned on going to some classes for lighting, but do to wedding and shower and death of my Mom, I haven’t had time. If you could help I would appreciate. Please send me a message to my yahoo.com account. Signed Desperate thank you in advance Joyce
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.
Now is not the time to be starring dreamily into space – make sure you look at the camera (and remind everyone else in the photo to look into the camera too!). Try to get the “looking at the camera” shots out of the way first when everyone has enough attention. It can quickly get tough to get kids to cooperate, so aiming to get this shot first is key.
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."

Krista is natural light portrait, senior, and wedding photographer in Northwest Arkansas. A lover of golden fields, buttery backlight, and authentic emotion, she strives to transform the mundane into the magical by showcasing amazing light and interaction in her photography. She is a devoted wife and mother of a spirited daughter, who also serves as her muse. Krista loves spicy Mexican food, reality TV, the ocean, and connecting with nature. She is the author of Transforming the Mundane Into Magical.

With landscape photography, time of day is absolutely imperative.  95% of the landscape photos in my portfolio of the best shots I've ever taken were photographed in the very early morning at sunrise or late in the evening at sunset.  Beginning photographers often overlook this important tip and try to make a photo in the middle of the day.  That's rarely a recipe for success.
Hi Lola, thank you for the reply. Yeah I tried the white balance tips but then I sacrifice the ‘non skin’ color tone. I’ll have a look in detail about the targeted adjustment tool. May I beg your pardon, did you use flash? I guess you did as some of the pictures above were in bright background. That made me thought that utilising flash is one of the secret to get natural tone.
*Staging Is Okay*While it’s not good to pose people, it can help to stage a shot. Know, for example, where the best light in your home is, and coax your subjects into it. If possible, declutter those spots beforehand. Sue Barr, a pro based just outside of New York City (www.suebarr.com), recommends semistaging a shot using wardrobe. “Try to dress everyone in similar tones—it will visually unify the group and makes exposure easier, too. Not too matchy, though.”(Above Photo) For this after-dark shot of his child, Teddy Madison mimicked daylight by placing his strobe out on the lawn.Teddy Madison
Send out an email a day or two before their appointment with the time, date, and place of the session. Provide a checklist reminding them to make sure the kids are fed and they pack any essentials with them. Depending on the season, your checklist will change (e.g., knit hat reminders in winter and sunscreen and water in the summer). A family shoot will never go perfectly, but by making sure the family is prepared, you can maximize the likelihood that things will go as smoothly as possible.
Thanks so much for this. I’m not a photographer but I understand lighting and just want to know how to set up and get the “look” of shots I see all the time. I’m so grateful for all of this info especially as I’ve just found out I’m having a boy so now I need to find poses that will work as I can no longer do the whole headband and ruffles thing lol! I can’t wait. 🙂

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.


Probably not the first thing that springs to mind in the equipment section of our wedding tutorial? Didn’t think so! Some caterers are lovely. However, some will do whatever they can possibly do to get out of giving you any food even if it has been paid for by the couple getting married. It’s always a good idea to have a plan B when it comes to food. Keep some crisps, chocolate, energy drinks or anything edible in your car. A wedding zaps a lot of energy so stay hydrated and full of energy to avoid the dreaded wedding hangover the next day (yes wedding hangovers are real!)
I like getting digital images. We live in a digital age, and it is easy and fun to share pictures with others when you have the rights to the digital images from your photo shoot. I like having the digital images so I can use the photos on Christmas cards that I order and “print” myself (a portrait studio can print the cards with multiple images for you otherwise, but usually at a higher cost than can be found online).
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.
I love to celebrate each of my client’s uniqueness during your photographic session. No experience will ever be the same, which is what I love the most about what I do! I strive to learn as much as I can about each individual in your family before our photo session so that each individual’s personality shines through in your images. Don’t forget to request my style guide for great tips on what to wear, location ideas, and everything in between!

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.
To get crystal-clear photos with a dreamy, blurred background, experiment with using lower F-stops. This means you will have to take your camera off auto-focus, but the results are more than worth it. The F-stop on a camera tells you how much light you let in while exposing your photo. Photos taken with a lower F-stop have a wider aperture to let in more light, but the depth of field is very shallow. This is what creates stunningly vivid portraits with gorgeously blurred backgrounds.
3. Wait until baby is good and sleepy before you start your newborn shoot. This way you can pose her however you like. If you catch your baby in the first few days of her life, this won’t be a problem. But if, like us, you try to do the photos around day seven or beyond, be prepared to twiddle your thumbs for an hour or so until the newborn is snoozing steadily.
Flatter yourselves, Moms:  Yes, Moms, I'm talking to you. You're organizing, you're planning, you're making it happen, every day.  YOU deserve to look amazing in these photos. Don't forget about YOU.  Play up your assets. If you have great legs, don't hesitate to show them off a little. It's OK to be a hot mama.  If you have an area of insecurity, think about how you can minimize that with your outfit choice. Scarves /pashminas/jackets are awesome accessories that can totally help highlight the best version of you.  If you have insecurities that you want to share with me - please do.  BUT, you're not allowed to do it during your session.  Let's get that out of the way beforehand, so it doesn't bring us down on session day.  :)
…and think outside the box. Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair for girls, jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, etc. – all these things can take a ho-hum image and make it feel “complete.” Don’t let the accessories overwhelm the subject or the photos though. I believe that especially with sweet babies and toddlers that they don’t need much in the way of “accessories.” Little kiddos are beautiful in their simple purity, and I want them to be the star of the show instead of making one’s eye go straight to a giant headband as big as their head as they sit awkwardly in a big bucket. I want the viewer to notice my subject and their personality first. The accessories and clothing should just complement them – not be center stage. Choose your accent colors and fill in outfits with those punches of color in accessories. For instance, if big sister’s patterned dress has tones of aqua, coral and gray, have mom wear a coral headband and little brother in an aqua pair of Converse and bow tie. Show off the kids’ and your unique personality with accessories!
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