Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your camera manual.
oh, lord.  writing this post has me hinting at the husband for another baby.  having photos of myself when i was pregnant with our first was so important to me, as i really wanted to document the time and the experience of pregnancy in photographs.  looking back on these photos makes me realize how important maternity photos are.  it seems like, once the baby is born, you literally forget what feeling pregnant was like.  all those aches and pains when walking, the feeling of baby kicking inside, the waking multiple times a night to pee…those memories can be forgotten, without photos.  but the second i look at these photos, i remember exactly what pregnancy was like.  photos spark a memory, and take you back to that moment.  if you don’t want to hire a photographer for formal maternity photos, taking your own maternity photos is so easy.  in fact, it’s almost better because you can take photos throughout your pregnancy instead of having photos done all in one day.  as you are documenting your growing belly, here are 8 ways you can photography your sweet bump.
Once everything's in one format, be steadfast in backing up your digital files, no matter the means. If you store your images on an external hard drive, DVD, or a storage Website, remember it's only effective if your images make their way onto the device. Get into the habit of backing up your photos immediately by considering it the final step of your uploading process.
Ask for personal recommendations. The best wedding photographers will tend to develop a reputation, and may be known locally to your friends are family. Start your search by asking people you know and trust if they have any recommendations, either through personal experience, or word of mouth. Talk to people you know who have got married in the last few years and ask about their experience.
That’s it! No expectations other than fun. Then prepare yourself. Bring along props, get mom to bring one of their favourite toys or books. I usually have a hand puppet and bubbles in my camera bag along with my gear. If the kids don’t want to sit and smile don’t force them. Then them run around and be kids for a while and shoot that. Play with them, make it fun. Then they may cooperate and sit for a bit a few minutes later.
Natalie Roberson Photography is built of a husband and wife team based in Frisco. The photography studio, founded in 2008, photographs newborns, engagements, weddings, child portraits, corporate headshots, family portraits, maternity photos, and hospital photos. The studio's photobooth service lets guests take silly photos at special events. The business offers digital photos, color prints on luster paper, metal stand-outs, canvas gallery wraps, albums, mini accordion books, announcements, and custom flash drive cases.
A rookie error is to shoot loads and loads of photos of the Bride but from only the waist up. Just make sure you are getting plenty of shots of the Bride full length as well. The Bride will of spent hours and hours agonising over her wedding dress. She will also spend lots and lots of money on acquiring it. So make sure you do it justice by capturing it in its entirety where possible.
Create a shortlist. Once you have been through the profiles and seen some of the photography of a number of wedding photographers, you need to narrow this down to a manageable number. Then you can arrange to meet, interview, and inspect the portfolios of your chosen few. Think carefully about who you want to interview, and consider what elements are most important to you.
The wedding couple has chosen the venue because they like it.  Show up early to the event and take some nice shots of the venue to include in the wedding album.  Little things can make a big difference.  Also, you can chose to share your photos with the venue owner and you might get some referrals! (Thanks Tom Pickering, who is a regular on the site and frequently comments)
It probably depends on who you ask, but everyone we have asked (and we have asked several of our past couples and here is a write-up one of our past couples did about the experience of having a first look) has said that doing a first look did not take anything away from the ceremony at all. We also did a first look at our wedding, so we speak from personal experience when we say that doing a first look is a whole different experience than seeing each other as you walk down the aisle.
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!
With #2, I feel so guilty not doing them. I looked and looked for cheaper photogs but they just didn't have the same quality as the one we used, so we booked her again. Mom guilt kicked in that the kids should be treated the same...this time around we probably won't do as pricey as a pkg since we didn't really do much with the digital files we did buy since you take a thousand pics of your new baby on a weekly basis

So if you’re looking for a Denver family photographer to document your family’s lives and adventures both now and, hopefully, for many years to come, Julie’s your girl. She’s enjoyed the great privilege of working with many of her clients year in and year out, documenting their family’s lives as the kids grow older and new members of the family are added. Learn more about my approach here.
I’m no lighting expert but have found that my best results have been when I’ve used my flash in a ‘bounce flash’ way – shooting it up into a ceiling so that it’s indirect. This diffuses the light a lot which leaves Xavier less washed out in the shots, and more importantly means he’s not blinded by the light from it (we don’t want to blind our little ones by our photographic obsession – I actually asked a pediatrician about camera flashes and his advice was that it wouldn’t do damage but that for a babies comfort that indirect flash (ie bounced and/or diffused flash) would be advisable. I’m sure different doctors would advise different things but I play it safe with my bounce flash – and avoid flash altogether where possible). It also gives a fairly natural looking shot.
While you may be tempted to wear all white for your engagement photos (you're going to be the bride after all!), bright colors really pop on camera. Plus, bolder colors will give your photos an instant celebratory feel, and are perfectly appropriate in a casual summer setting. To make bright colors work, pick ones that play off each other without being too matchy-matchy, like yellow and blue. If you're sporting prints ( say, polka dots and argyle), make sure they're big enough to show up on camera, but not too big—you don't want to get lost in an oversize print.
Unless you use flash you will need to learn to use natural light. It can sometimes be tricky to use but does provide the most natural looking photographs opposed to using flash. Try and avoid shooting in the midday sun if possible and also look for shaded areas outdoors. These areas can provide cover so you avoid big shadows on faces and people aren’t squinting in the images.
Some couples want every aspect of their wedding day photographed, from early-morning gown and tux shots in the dressing rooms to the last guests snacking at the midnight food truck. If the photographer has to travel between multiple locations, such as the getting-ready location, the bridal party limo ride to the wedding site, the ceremony site and the reception hall, costs can be greater. Multiple destinations don't always mean a higher price range though, especially if you've purchased a wedding package that covers the full day.
Your portrait session should be a reflection of your family. Before our session we will have a phone or in person consultation so we can discuss your expectations, ideas, and goals for our session. Preparation and communication are the keys to a successful portrait session, so make sure to share all your ideas and concerns with me during our consultation or on your questionnaire!
I did get a few more ‘portrait’ like shots in that first week but then ended up being more activity based ones, often with other family members. On returning home and over the three weeks since I’ve continued to take the documentary style shots but have seen a move to take a lot more portrait style shots also. Quite a few of our friends have commented on the nice balance between styles.

“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.”
Hello, thanks a ton for these tips, I’ve got my first wedding shoot coming up in mid April and am doing some overall research on anything I’ve missed. What tips would you give to someone who is going in solo? I just recently moved out of state and haven’t found a helper so if things keep up like they are, I will most likely end up having to go in by myself hahaha it’s more of a “if worse comes to worse”, but if you have any tips for such an situation, I’ll gladly listen thank you
Newborns aren't the only subject we love to photograph... we love to capture all of the milestones of family life. Using a photojournalistic style approach to photography, we capture your baby learning to stand, your 5-year old riding his bike with no training wheels, and your teenager's last photograph before she becomes an adult. Go to our Bella Life section to view samples of these important family moments.
I attended the University of North Texas and received a Bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television and Film.  In 2011, I received a Master’s in Ed. Technology.  My first thought was I would teach technology/videography at a High School level, but I fell in LOVE with photography after my 1st daughter was born. She came into the world with the most beautiful red hair and striking blue eyes, needless to say, her Dad, her grandparents and myself were shocked!  I picked up a cheap Kodak camera and never stopped taking pictures.  Over the years I have self taught through online workshops, upgraded to a professional Canon Mark iii, purchased several fancy lens and just have gotten better by good ol’ fashion practicing.  I have 3 children ages 12, 10 and 8 who always give me a good reason to shoot what I see!  🙂  I love what I do, which I think truly shows in my work.  Photography and children inspire me.  I am so grateful to be a given a gift to see the world the way I do.
"This was one of the best experiences of a lifetime. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect adventure elopement!!!! The foxes are such talented and sweet people who make your whole day feel at ease. They capture the true essence of you and your significant other while also capturing the natural beauty of the landscapes surrounding you. There was no feelings of force or pressure. I’m so grateful for this experience and for the foxes!!! These are the people to pick for your adventure elopement!!!"
Talk to each other: (Duh, right?) DON'T match. But DO coordinate.  Wearing clothes that are the same level of dressiness is really as matchy as it needs to be. You guys already look like a family. Don't hamper each person's individuality by forcing the matching.  Let's be honest: You guys always look awesome together, you don't need special matching outfits for that. 

A rookie error is to shoot loads and loads of photos of the Bride but from only the waist up. Just make sure you are getting plenty of shots of the Bride full length as well. The Bride will of spent hours and hours agonising over her wedding dress. She will also spend lots and lots of money on acquiring it. So make sure you do it justice by capturing it in its entirety where possible.
Eden Bao is a maternity, newborn and baby photographer whose work is based in the United States to cover Greater Seattle metro area that is located in Washington, USA. Eden is a member of Master Photographers International and Professional Photographers of America. She cares about capturing those priceless moments of having new babies before they fade or fly to be forgotten forever. Her passion for photography was born with the birth of her first daughter to start capturing the most stunning photos of pregnant women and newborn babies.
As professional photographers, and as a husband and wife team, we are passionate about capturing these timeless moments for our clients. With that understanding, we create beautiful images making all the special moments last forever for you and your family to cherish for a lifetime. We specialize in modern classic portraiture and service the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Natalie Roberson Photography is available for travel throughout the State of Texas and for destination photography.
I did a research with mothers about their experience in hiring a photographer. One of the questions was about regrets and one of the top regret reasons was hiring a cheap photographer with bad quality pictures. I have more than 50 answers and not even one mentioned expensive service as a matter of regret. It doesn’t necessarily mean that more expensive photographers will always be better, but there is often a price/quality correlation. The tip I give you is: if you need to limit your budget, it’s better to choose a simpler product of the photographer you liked the most than a top package of a photographer that is only ok. After a while, you won’t remember how much you paid, but the beautiful photos (or not) will always be with you.

As a wedding is a one-time event, the photographer must be prepared for the unexpected. Covering a wedding is both exhausting and invigorating as the photographer is constantly looking for good angles and opportunities for candid shots. Communication and planning time-lines before the event will alleviate many of the stresses associated with photographing a wedding. The ability to tactfully take charge also helps - particularly when photographing large groups or families - a common expectation after the ceremony. Having a run list with all of the expected shots is also a useful tool. A photographer may work with an assistant who can carry equipment, arrange guests, and assist with clothing adjustments or holding of reflectors.
Portrait photography provides parents with lasting images of the first whirlwind months of a newborn’s life. The cost varies based on several factors, including the length and location of the session, the number of photos provided, and the amount of editing and retouching the photographer does. The national average cost for baby photos is $150-$200. Some baby photographers charge by the number of photos provided, typically ranging from an average of $299 for 20 high-resolution edited photos, to an average of $399 for 35 photos, to $499 for all of the images taken in a single session. Props and location affect the cost, too; an elaborate studio shoot with props and professional lighting may increase the cost to $600-$700 for 20-50 photos. Adding a second location or asking the photographer to travel can add $70-$250 to the cost of the session. Photographers may also charge extra fees for providing additional photos and DVDs, scheduling weekend sessions, and shooting siblings. Expect to pay at least a $50 deposit when you book a portrait photography session.
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.
Once you have the basics set up, you can drape a solid colored blanket over it all. Use clamps to attach the blanket to the backdrop boards and make sure the clamps also attach the board to the chairs so it will not fall over (if you don’t have a backdrop board just attach the blanket to the tops of the chairs). Let it drape down the board until it is level with the pillows, then lay it over the pillows. You want to minimize wrinkles as much as possible, because they will be very distracting in the final picture, so use more clamps on the sides if you need to. Additionally, you might want to clamp the background board to the chairs it’s resting against to be sure it won’t fall during the photoshoot. It should look like this:
 I sent her an email the day after my son was born and she got back with me right away. She sent me a list of available dates and times within that first week, making it easy and convenient for mom and baby to pick a time that worked best for us. Laura was also really patient during the shoot and wasn't bothered by the fact that my son was a light sleeper."
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.
*Look For A Full Range Of Emotions*Grab your camera, even when family members are bored, tired or cranky. The tendency is to shoot only when a scene seems funny or “sweet,” but sweet just tells part of a family’s story. Every emotion your parents, siblings, or children display is worth capturing—fascination, tears, passion, even boredom.Interaction between family members will prompt these emotions. “I try to tease out character by prompting unscripted behavior,” says Charlotte Geary, a pro from Manitou Springs, CO (www.charlottegeary.com).“I give vague suggestions instead of specific poses. I’ll ask, for example, that subjects touch or hold each other, or I’ll say, ‘Try to make her laugh.’ They interpret my requests, and the reactions usually look natural and realistic.”Andrew Matusik
You should be able to get amazing newborn and baby photography results with almost any camera and lens if you simply learn the proper lighting, creativity, and camera angles for newborn photography. Though a professional camera like a Canon 5K Mark III, a full frame camera, will give you better overall image quality than an advanced point and shoot camera like a Sony NEX, a camera like the Sony NEX will likely be sufficient for capturing great images of newborns. Below is a quick side-by-side showing images from the two cameras mentioned above with the Canon 5D Mark III image on the left and the Sony NEX image on the right. For more on this, be sure to check out our Newborn Photography Workshop.
I am crazy passionate about my career and love to evolve my photography and continually learn. I’m obsessed with beautiful, dreamy light and have been known to chase it, lol! I am also very passionate about this age group of girls (and guys) and I feel pretty lucky that I get to focus on you and get to know you. They way I look at it….I have a small window of time and opportunity in your life, and I have the ability to bring out the best, real you, and photograph that. I say “I photograph confidence” It is SO fun to guide you through this process, the styling tips, make up and hair, molding you in to flattering poses for your body, then showing you on the back of the camera how it’s going…..ahhh I LOVE it! In that small window of time, if I could have some influence in your confidence and seeing yourself in a wonderful way, well that’s just awesome!
Ask your photographer to capture your paper suite alongside a mix of meaningful big-day objects, like your wedding rings, day-of stationery (like ceremony programs and vow transcripts!), and any family heirlooms, advises Shannon Moffit. Fill out negative space with ribbons in shades that reference your color palette and flowers featured in your bridal bouquet. The result? A photograph that serves an entryway to your big day—and one that'll make the ultimate album opener.
You don't want to be in the position as the wedding photographer of needing to fight the client after the fact (or during!) with what they have and have not paid for.  Before the event, clearly communicate to them what services you are prepared to offer for the price they pay.  Do you include digital files?  How many hours of work will you shoot?  Are you going to shoot the reception too?  Is there a travel charge?  What prints are included?  Will you do an album?  Provide answers or face the wrath of bridezilla. (Thanks Gaelene Gangel)
It probably depends on who you ask, but everyone we have asked (and we have asked several of our past couples and here is a write-up one of our past couples did about the experience of having a first look) has said that doing a first look did not take anything away from the ceremony at all. We also did a first look at our wedding, so we speak from personal experience when we say that doing a first look is a whole different experience than seeing each other as you walk down the aisle.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram
Jilly Bean Photography is an award-winning portrait studio located in the heart of historic downtown McKinney, Texas. Jill is an expert in her field, and is known as the "Baby Whisperer of North Texas." She has over a decade of experience as a newborn photographer. At Jilly Bean Photography we pride ourselves on creating beautiful images of your newborn and growing family in a safe, healthy environment.
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:
You should also state that taking your own photos is dangerous.. photographers know how to handle babies since that’s what they do… parents when posing have no idea. I love the comments on how parents are going to capture this important milestone.. HAPPENS once in a lifetime with bad photos. N O matter what you state here, this should left for the professionals. Its like having aunt MARY take photos at your wedding, yes you will have photos of your wedding, but don’t you want pretty photos done by a professional? it happens ONCE, that is it.. something people should think about. Just because you have scissors and a tutorial doesn’t mean you can cut hair, just because you have a recipe doesn’t mean you are a cook. Take snapshots but also hire a professional

One thing that I’ve done at every wedding that I’ve photographed is attempt to photograph everyone who is in attendance in the one shot. The way I’ve done this is to arrange for a place that I can get up high above everyone straight after the ceremony. This might mean getting tall ladder, using a balcony or even climbing on a roof. The beauty of getting up high is that you get everyone’s face in it and can fit a lot of people in the one shot. The key is to be able to get everyone to the place you want them to stand quickly and to be ready to get the shot without having everyone stand around for too long. I found the best way to get everyone to the spot is to get the bride and groom there and to have a couple of helpers to herd everyone in that direction. Read more on how to take Group Photos.


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.


Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.
Melissa is a newborn photographer whose work is based in Colorado Springs and specializes in newborn, birth and maternity photography. She loves to photograph the tiniest and most beautiful creatures on earth and she also cares about immortalizing all the happy moments that are associated with having babies. Melissa started her career as a retail manager and her passion for photography forced her to become a newborn and maternity photographer.
Once you have the basics set up, you can drape a solid colored blanket over it all. Use clamps to attach the blanket to the backdrop boards and make sure the clamps also attach the board to the chairs so it will not fall over (if you don’t have a backdrop board just attach the blanket to the tops of the chairs). Let it drape down the board until it is level with the pillows, then lay it over the pillows. You want to minimize wrinkles as much as possible, because they will be very distracting in the final picture, so use more clamps on the sides if you need to. Additionally, you might want to clamp the background board to the chairs it’s resting against to be sure it won’t fall during the photoshoot. It should look like this:

I find the family photo part of the day can be quite stressful. People are going everywhere, you’re unaware of the different family dynamics at play and people are in a ‘festive spirit’ (and have often been drinking a few spirits) to the point where it can be quite chaotic. Get the couple to nominate a family member (or one for each side of the family) who can be the ‘director’ of the shoot. They can round everyone up, help get them in the shot and keep things moving so that the couple can get back to the party.
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
Ask for referrals and repeat business. If someone is happy with the photographs you took for her, ask her to refer you to her friends. Additionally, try to build repeat business; if you took 6-month portraits for a baby, contact the family 4 or 5 months later and ask whether they would like to book a 1-year portrait session. Your business can snowball through word-of-mouth.[18]
Jane Dowd Photography is a photography studio based in Southlake, Texas, serving the areas of Dallas/Fort Worth, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville, and beyond. This studio specializes in high school senior, family, and engagement photography, and also offers workshops. Jane Dowd Photography crafts exquisite images that are both organic and timeless, earning them 4.7 stars out of 5 stars on their Facebook reviews.
A. We usually recommend that we start when our brides have their hair close to completed and just before they are starting make-up. We recommend that our grooms be showered (because we are pretty confident that you don’t want photos of that…) and have their pants and undershirt on (no collared shirt, tie or jacket on). You will also want to plan on having any details you want photographed out and readily available (dress, shoes, invitations, garter etc). That way we get to experience and capture all the parts of your day and really tell the full story.

Ahead, you'll discover a set of images that photographers strongly suggest you take. As for the specific photos that you shouldn't stress about capturing? Don't fret over detail shots, like bar signage, cocktail tables, or favors, says Jen Huang: "They're not necessarily important for the story of the day and the story of the couple. I am always up for taking beautiful detail shots, but I think couples should worry less about these." As for shots to completely avoid? Virtually all of our photographers agree that reception table-to-table shots should be skipped. "It's time consuming for the couple, disruptive to your guests and dinner service, and takes away from documenting genuine moments," adds Heather Waraksa.
“I will always treasure the time we got to spend with Kate. She was warm, funny, sweet, and so relaxed. She put us all at ease, and as the mother of a very wild two-year-old, I can assure you that is no easy feat. Kate is a complete professional, delivering exactly what she promises when she promises it, and the entire experience from booking to delivery was easy, fun, and totally worth it.”
“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.”
Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your camera manual.
This is probably one of the most important wedding photography tricks. Preparation is the key to success with weddings. Being one step ahead can give you an advantage and allow you to capture great moments throughout the day. Spare batteries, blank memory cards, running order with timings and a backup plan are all essentials to being as prepared as possible for every eventuality.
I think it all comes down to storytelling. Each photographer has a personal take on the best way to tell a story through photos. The way a photographer perceives storytelling is going to inform what they take photos of, how they take them, where they are when the important events happen, and everything else in between. And there are a few variables that photographers manipulate that will make all the difference from one portfolio to the next:
Timing for the session depends on two things : location and time of year. If you're wanting to shoot in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or downtown Philly, we may need to adjust our start time because of the buildings. What do I mean by that? In the city, the sun goes behind the buildings before it goes below the horizon, so you lose the light in the city before the sun has actually set. Generally as a rule of thumb, I recommend starting engagement sessions in the warmer months around 4:00pm, and around 3:00pm in the winter. 

An hour might not seem like a lot, but depending on your schedule you should be finishing getting ready around this time. If the bridesmaids have robes, it’s fun to do a champagne toast now. Many brides request that we capture the moment of them getting into their dress while others ask us to come in after they are dressed. Either way is fine with us as this is just a matter of personal taste. If MOB is around, it’s nice to have them help you get into the gown along with your bridesmaids.
Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.

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.  :)
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)
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.
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