Do you have any advice for when the kids are dogs? It’s really hard to get one, and especially both, dogs looking at the camera at the same time for our family portraits. They are a busy breed (Australian Shepherds) and still young. I’ve been wanting to do self portraits of just me and our dogs as well, however that’s hard to get too since they won’t “sit, stay” while I focus and get back into the picture. My husband isn’t too thrilled about getting into the picture unless we’re on vacation so most of the self portraits are done on my own.
Long after the wedding cake is eaten, your wedding photo albums and wedding video will be the way you revisit some of the best moments of your wedding day. Seems like a pretty significant set of vendors, right? The wedding photo album and wedding video can become keepsakes to be passed down to kids (and grandkids!), so here’s how to find the perfect wedding photographer and videographer to capture your big day, as well as wedding photo ideas make sure you end up with a well-rounded wedding photo album. First, consider having engagement photos taken. Not only is this a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera, a lot of couples use their engagement photos in other wedding details (in wedding photo books or the save-the-dates, for example), and engagement photo sessions have recently become super creative shoots. Check out our Engagement Photo Blog to get wedding photo ideas and inspiration. Be sure to read our tips for finding a great wedding photographer so you end up with a pro who has the same wedding photo ideas you do. And don’t forget about the wedding video -- the options for wedding videos are practically limitless, from photojournalistic shots of the ceremony and reception to cinematic masterpieces complete with Hollywood-style editing and effects. Our local vendor guides can help you find a wedding photographer and videographer who will help you perfectly capture your wedding memories for posterity and create wedding photo books for you and your parents. From "must-take" shots to the hottest wedding photography trends, we have all the tips and advice you need to get perfect wedding photos.
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…
Two years, ago, I did one of these sessions for a delightful young couple in Florida at the beach. It was a lot of fun! I was clad in Bermuda shorts, flip-flops, shades, and sunscreen, no less, as I attempted to immerse myself into the celebratory nature of the event. That would my personal advice to beginning photographers doing these sessions. Have fun doing it! Smile, laugh, enjoy yourself, too, and do throw in an occasional compliment on how great your clients look and are doing throughout the session. It would go a long way in making your clients comfortable and pleased with the session. :-)
“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.”
Consider COLOR: Most people look their best in certain colors (mine are green and orange).  Although I love hiding in black clothes as much as the next guy, it tends to be a tough color for photographs.  And again - you don't need to match. Pick a color tone (jewel tone) or pallette (pastels) - maybe even select 3-4 colors - and go from there.  Pinterest has some great color ideas for family photos.  Before you go out and buy anything - spend a bit of time with favorite items you already own.  You probably have everything you need. 
We thought ahead about location, poses, logistics, and timing.  If you have a plan, it is easier to get in and out and end up with photos that you are happy with!  Take the photos of the whole family first, then the children together and individually, and then couple photos if desired.  You can realistically take great family photos in 30-60 minutes by yourself if you have a plan.

So much can go wrong on the day – so you need to be well prepared. Have a backup plan (in case of bad weather), have batteries charged, memory cards blank, think about routes and time to get to places and get an itinerary of the full day so you know what’s happening next. If you can, attend the rehearsal of the ceremony where you’ll gather a lot of great information about possible positions to shoot from, the lighting, the order of the ceremony etc


…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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