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.
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Ask about the photographer’s experience. One of the key things to talk about in the interview is the level of experience each of the photographers have gained. You should ask how many weddings the photographer has shot, and how many similar to yours. Different weddings have can hugely different requirements and expectations, so it’s important that you understand how much experience they have that is especially relevant to you.
Take advantage of this complimentary service, as it eliminates uncertainty, allowing you to play around with different options before investing in them. Once you’ve decided on your artwork collection, some photographers will retouch images ordered. And professional photographers have access to higher quality printing and products that you’re not able to access yourself.
These close-up “detail” shots are not only adorable but they are great accompanying images for albums and accordion books.  Because of the sensitive focus on a macro lens, the best time to get these images is when the baby is very still (in their deepest sleep).  As shown with the newborn workshop where you get to shadow me on an actual on-location shoot, when I notice the baby is deep in dreamland, I’ll just stop whatever I’m doing and I’ll pull out my macro for 10 minutes and get all the shots that I need.
Thank you for this great blog post. Brilliant hints and tips. I also ask clients to lay their outfits out at home together to check that they all look good together. Also I remind clients to press their clothes (I think sometimes they think that I can ‘photoshop’ creases out!) I love putting together visual ‘what to wear’ guides – here is one I did this week for a mother and daughter photo session http://www.sarahoffley.com/what-to-wear/what-to-wear-mother-and-daughter-photo-shoot/

She advises against using a Speedlight mounted on the camera. While this may be her preference, and often for good reason, it really depends on your location's light. I tend to shoot in open shade under a large tree where it can get pretty dark. Shadows under the eyes, nose and chin can be eliminated with a slight flash fill. In post processing, I'll using Lightroom's dodge tool to add more light to faces, if necessary. Even a half-stop boost will make your subjects stand out.
…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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