Side note:  In preparing to write this post, I looked up some articles written for photographers about how to make your website stand out.  Many of them said the opposite of what I said here: that I should display ONLY my best work- quality over quantity.   From a photographer’s perspective of getting you in the door and making the sale, sure.  But from a potential client’s perspective, I don’t feel that it would benefit you to see only my best work!

Full Frame sensor – When we started shooting full frame with the original 5D we saw a huge leap in the quality of our photography. Images just looked crisper, the depth of field was shallower, and the shooting experience (looking through the larger viewfinder) was much better. Check out this article for a look at different sensor sizes and how it affects the image


I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I am not as experienced in newborn shoots as I am with other types and my latest one just kicked my butt! I’ve been trying to edit a particular image for 2 days. And then… I found your tutorials and it made all the difference in the world. I also really needed to see that you started out shaky with your own kids and how you’d improved. Sometimes, I forget it’s ok that I don’t know everything yet. Thanks again!
You’ll spend some time getting each pose ready, so take you time making sure you’ve taken a photograph from every angle that might work. Sometimes doing this can “save” a pose that wasn’t really working. In the photos below I made a few mistakes when posing this baby – first – I didn’t tuck her legs under her, which puts her feet closer to the camera than her head is, and second – her hands are stuck under her chin instead of under her had, making her look very uncomfortable. It makes what could have been a cute picture look kind of awkward. However, I moved closer to her head and zoomed in for the next shot, which turned out much cuter. (Note, see how her hand is in a fist in that second photo? It would have looked better had I gently pulled her fingers out so they were visible.)
If you are doing the session in the client’s home, posed newborn sessions require nearly the same amount of prep as a wedding.  You need quite a bit of “stuff” and it is easy to forget something so I make sure to pack the night before and use a checklist so I don’t forget anything (I’m a mom with a very limited memory).  To make your life a bit easier, I’ve made a print ready checklist you can use which is included in the newborn photography toolkit – one of the FREE limited time bonuses included in our online Newborn Photography Workshop.
You obviously have no idea what it takes to be a professional and make a profit. You are giving away everything for such a low price, I doubt you own a studio or nice equipment. And you have the nerve to be upset with people who might have done the math to charge what is actually profitable (something you know nothing about). I highly doubt anyone came to you because some more expensive photographer did a botch job, sounds like a lie to me.

DOCUMENTARY PHOTOS: this is perhaps the least known category for many people. Even tough documentary photography is not new as a style, it has begun to become a bit more popular for commercial family photography in recent years. In this case, the photographer spends time with the family recording their day to day, not interfering in what happens. It can be a whole day or a few hours, and the result is usually quite authentic, since no family is the same. The photographer will be recording not only the connection of you and how you look, but also the essence and small details of the family’s routine. The photos don’t take place in a specific location because they are according to family activities. It can be at your home, on the street, at school, in the car or during your vacation activities, for example. You can search for this style by documentary or photojournalism.

In addition to providing this wedding photo list of family portraits to your photographer, you also want to give some consideration to the overall photography timeline of your wedding day (we have sample wedding photography timelines here). Think about the different location options for your portraits, and discuss these locales with your photographer. Also, make sure you settle the "first look" debate with your soon-to-be spouse. Finalizing your wedding photo list, portrait locations and other details in advance of your big day will ensure that your wedding portraits and family wedding photos go smoothly and, best of all, quickly.
The day has come and your sweet baby boy or girl is finally here! After you’ve settled in at home with your little one, the next step in announcing your baby’s birth is taking newborn photos to share your joy. Loved ones and friends are looking forward to seeing the newest addition to your family and nothing makes a better statement than sending out photo birth announcements. Among many other items on your baby-at-home checklist, we have you covered with suggested time frames on when to take newborn photos below.
Build a complete portfolio. In order to get hired by someone who isn't a close family member or friend, you will need to have a portfolio to show. Use photographs from multiple shoots with different subjects to highlight the range of your talents. Make sure that your portfolio is comprised of more than just five or ten photos. People will want to see the great work you've done.[8]
I am a national award-winning children’s photographer, but I’m also a mom, and I look at kids through the eyes of a mom. I know that some of the most cherished photos you’ll ever have of your children are not the perfectly posed, clean-faced, well-dressed, sweet-smiling photos that our parents wanted, but rather the authentic, digging in the mud, feet in the cake, finger up the nose sort of moments that can’t be duplicated and will never be forgotten (future boyfriends/girlfriends beware!). Now that my own kids are in high school, I think the little things that young kids do are seriously funny, though I realize that right now, you might not see the humor. I promise you, in 10 years, it will become clear when you look at the photos we create together. Optical Poetry is a laid back, high-end portrait experience that begins with collaborative planning of wardrobe and location and ends with the delivery of your artwork as gallery-wrap canvas collections, gorgeous albums and heirloom quality prints to be cherished for generations.
You should also meet them in person. Some important questions to ask in a face-to-face interview may include: how would they describe their wedding photography style? (i.e. photojournalistic, formal, documentary, or creative); will they be the one photographing your wedding or do they have an assistant?; will both people be taking pictures during the day?; do they have back up plan in case of an emergency?; are you comfortable with their emergency plan?; what wedding photography packages do they have?; do they shoot in color or black & white? You should ask if they have a generic schedule for each wedding (portraits before the ceremony or after), and if they are they flexible and open to suggestions. You should even ask to see a contract.
PORTRAIT PHOTOS: these are the traditional posed photos, shot in studios or outdoors. They are usually posed and have eye contact with the camera. You can find this kind of pictures if you search for family portraits. When it’s in a studio, you can shoot a single (or a few) photos, but it can be a complete essay as well. It is easily identified because they have scenarios or situations specially set up for the photos (traditional newborn photography is an example).

If you have an important upcoming shoot, I highly recommend that you start learning composition by at least learning the rule of thirds.  The rule of thirds is the most basic rule of composition that basically tells the photographer to imagine a tic-tac-toe board on the frame of the picture, and to put the most interesting part of the photo on the intersection of those lines.


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.

In order to capture your newborn in adorable curly poses, you should take newborn photos five to twelve days after giving birth. If you want your baby’s sleepy and curly newborn demeanor to be photographed, try not to wait any longer than two weeks for the newborn session. When it comes to setting a date, you should reach out to your photographer before giving birth to avoid any added stress in clearing your calendar. Typically it’s a good idea to schedule the session to take place a week after your expected due date. The date may change seeing as how baby will arrive when baby wants. However, you should do your best to give your photographer a tentative date since classic newborn photos of your baby curled up, like they’re in the womb, have a short window of time to be taken. If you’re working with a popular photographer, book your session 2-3 months in advance of your due date.
Remember that often a baby is coming into an established family unit (not to say that Mom and Dad alone aren’t an “established family unit” but for the sake of my point, go with me on this one). If the siblings are available, make sure to include them in at least a few frames. I have to mention the dog, because I’ve got a sister-in-law who’s dog, Wanda (seriously that’s her name) is her pride and joy. When she and her hubby have kids, you can trust that Wanda will be right there in at least a handful of her maternity photos. She’s as much a part of the family as the next guy.
“My kids never sit still and they certainly don’t listen to me when I ask them to look at the camera. Somehow Kate was able to earn their trust right away and capture amazing photos. All I can remember is how happy the kids were and how much giggling was going on while they were in front of the camera. Kate had a warm personality and was the type of person that I would want to invite into my home and life.”
If you're planning on taking your engagement photos in winter, don't let chilly air or unpredictable weather keep you from looking stylish. Whether you're rocking a sharp cocktail dress and suit or New Years Eve–inspired glitter, this is the perfect season for you and your fiancé to get a little bit festive. (And, if bad weather does come your way, we've got you covered there too.) Check out some of our favorite winter engagement photos outfits below.
Most new wedding photographers skip hiring a “second shooter” to back them up on wedding days.  If you can possibly make it happen financially, it is definitely worth the money to hire another photographer to work with on the wedding day.  The photos will be better, you'll have a second set of gear in case of disaster, and you're extremely unlikely to miss the shot.  (Thanks Gabrielle Walker-Jones)

Annie, Thank you so much for this post. I found this delightful and amazingly informative post on Pinterest. I’d been on the for hours looking at how to style family portraits. I’m going insane, we have pictures tomorrow and I still don’t know what I’m wearing. I have my husband and the 4 kids (boys age 17, 16, & 11 and our girl age 10) clothes picked out but not myself. Deep breath….. I’m going to try again to find something conducive. Wish me luck
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