Ashley, I loved your post. I am huge on annual family photos. I think it’s so important to capture a nice photo of your growing/changing family at least once a year! I love how your pictures turned out. They are very nice and the same style I like to go for. I am getting into photography and would like to do our own someday. Thanks for all the tips. I completely agree with all of them and try to do them already but seeing it written down helps to instill those ideas even more for our next shoot.

Engagement photos are an increasingly popular option for couples who are eager to announce their proposal to their family and friends. It gives you a chance to display your unique style—not to mention test out your photographer before the big day! But before you jump in front of the lens, you’ll want some inspiration first. We’ve compiled 100 engagement photo ideas across a variety of backdrops, poses and styles to help you get started. Better yet, we added extra filters so you can find inspirational photos that fit you as a couple. Across every season and formal or casual style, we have you covered. We’ve even got ideas if you want to include your furry friend!


DO learn the basics. Visit the websites of wedding photographers and see how they do it. "Try assisting an experienced wedding photographer. You will see first hand how it's done, with zero pressure on you," recommends Dennis Pike, the northern New Jersey photographer who shot the couple in the car at left. "The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the people you are photographing will feed off of that."

Not really! But if you are shooting at a gorgeous venue that’s the reason the bride and groom have booked it. Allow a bit of time to wander around the grounds and capture the venue from various angles. These photos can also be used to practice shots and imagine the couple within them. If you do a good job the venue might want to hire you to take advertising shots of their venue. Equally, they might just recommend you to potential couples. You never know!
Almost as important as quality and expertise is to find a photographer who has a style that resonates with you, and your life. Take some time to think about the style of images you are looking for. Do you want studio (either classic and simple or with props for some shots) or do you want on-location or natural light, and if so, where? Where will you display your images and what are you looking to accomplish with them (i.e. wall displays in a casual or formal room, to compliment a display that has been built over time, a heirloom album showcasing your entire shoot)? It’s extremely important that you choose a photographer whose galleries and portfolio reflect what you are looking for, and reflect it consistently without a constant changing style. Check out their work on their blog and website. You should be able to get a feel for whether they maintain a style and have mastered it, or whether they jump from trend to trend. Regardless, make sure you really assess what you want your outcome to be, as it relates to your life, and your personal style, and try not to be swayed by “what’s hot” as whatever is hot might not really make sense in the big picture. Once you have selected a few photographers that you believe meet your quality, expertise, style and vision goals, make sure you have a conversation with them to discuss planning your session, and your goals. You will want them to understand what you are looking for so they can agree it’s something they can accomplish.

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)
Laura Babb of Babb Photo is an award-winning photographer. She is based between Bath and London but photographs weddings all over the UK and abroad. Her approach is documentary but at the same time playful and profoundly real. She loves to shoot creatively in an attempt to make each shoot truly unique. Laura’s top wedding photography tips are all about light and this one stood out to us from her article ‘The Importance of Light and Planning Your Photography Around It’ she says –
Bella Baby is the face of hospital baby portraiture. We bring experienced, professional photographers into the hospitals to capture your baby's first photograph with a natural, artistic style. We believe that babies look the most beautiful when being held in their parents' arms or cuddled in one of their own baby blankets. Bella Baby captures this beauty by using only "real things"...natural window light, professional photographers and professional grade SLR digital cameras.
When I first began doing maternity work I made a pledge. A commitment I swore I’d stand by through thick and thin. I promised myself I’d never take “the maternity picture.” You know the one. Daddy’s arms around mommy’s belly with hands affectionately forming… gag… excuse me… a heart. There’s NOTHING wrong with this photo. AT ALL. Calm your rage oh you who just did this exact shot this afternoon.
DO be clear about what you're offering. "Make sure the couple knows that you're shooting as a favor and that you can't guarantee results," says New York City-based wedding pro Cappy Hotchkiss. "I've seen many friendships end over this." Limit expectations, and "don't get roped into doing a ton of large family groups. Explain that you will capture groups as they occur," adds the photographer. If it's going to take you months to deliver the photos, let the couple know in advance.
One of my biggest mistakes, when I was starting out, was that I brought all my props/wraps/blankets/headbands to every single session.  When I got set up, I would have a mini panic attack because I had no idea where I should start.  Now I plan 3-4 different setups (based on the client’s preferences and expectations) and that’s all.  I am often inspired by something the client owns as well, such as a blanket knitted by Grandma or something else that’s special to mom and dad, so it is not uncommon for me to not even use everything I bring.

In newborn photography, you are generally going for two looks, peacefully sleeping or awake and happy. If the baby is uncomfortable, you run the risk of him or her being fussy, potentially crying, and overall causing a difficult time for everyone involved in the shoot. Consider wearing gloves if your hands are cold. Use Heating pads, and consider space heaters if the room is not nice and warm. For a full list of non-photographic accessories for Newborn Photography, see our Workshop.


Choosing whether or not to do a “first look” is a personal decision. Many photographers think it’s a good idea because it allows you to take many of your wedding photos before your ceremony so that you can enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests. If you decide to stick with tradition and wait until the ceremony to see your partner, you can expect to spend your entire cocktail hour (and possibly more) taking portraits. Be sure to decide which path you prefer to take before creating your wedding photography timeline.
A summertime family photo shoot offers beautiful landscapes for your photos and warmer weather. The season reflects a laid back vibe that can be mirrored throughout your family’s outfit selections. Take advantage of light cottons, pretty sheers, denim and slip into your sandals for a casual look. If your family is taking a summer vacation, use this time to take your family portraits. No matter where you may be during summertime, you can take advantage of the following summer color arrangements and styling tips to guide your selections.
MOST AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER YOU COULD EVER HIRE. I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO MEET JESSICA WHEN I WAS PREGNANT WITH MY TWINS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. DURING THE LAST 4 YEARS SHE HAS PHOTOGRAPHED MY GIRLS ON MANY OCCASIONS AND WE EVEN GOT TO HAVE HER IN THE OR CAPTURING ONCE IN A LIFETIME PHOTOS OF OUR NEW BABIES BIRTH. SHE TAKES SO MUCH TIME, PASSION, DEDICATION, LOVE AND SO MUCH MORE INTO EVERY PHOTO SHE CAPTURES. HIRING HER WOULD BE THE BEST MEMORIES YOU COULD GIVE YOUR FAMILY!

While doing a senior picture shoot last month (which was filmed for my “Photography Start” class), the model mentioned she had horses. OBVIOUSLY the shoot suddenly included the horses because they are an interesting subject. I wanted to take a photo showing how much the girl loves her horse, so I focused in on the fine detail of just part of the horse to capture this shot.


i love this article. I feel so much more capable of taking my own newborn photos rather then spending an arm and a leg for a photographer. I know O have a lot to still learn but my husband and I have debated on buying a nice camera to have throughout the years. What brand and model would you suggest knowing I want to take newborn photos with it. I feel like there is something out there that doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles but will still get the job done. Thanks so much!
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.
If you want to create a unique photo that dramatically captures life from a child’s viewpoint, get on the ground. Photographer Andie Hamilton explains, “People don’t often think about getting down on the child’s level, but this can create some of the most intriguing shots. I often find myself lying on my stomach on the ground next to the child to get the most interesting angle.”
Select an outfit that is appropriate year round. One of the more popular times for families to take their portraits seems to be around the holidays (when the kids are home from school and everyone is in the same place). The holidays may seem like the perfect excuse to bring out the Santa hats and incorporate props into your family portraits. However, you’ll want these photos to be displayed all year round. Try to avoid purely seasonal accessories and items.
Dears, I am a long-time passionate about dslr photography and having 2 little kids myself I know how difficult it is to take perfect shots when you need to take care of the baby and at the same time you Re the one behind the camera. I experienced a newborn session in an atelier twice with a photographer lady which I adore and now want to go this way too and give it a try. Was waiting for a girl friend newborn in order to get some training first but after I’ve read this I am going to post a note about searching a newborn model and don’t worey about the whoke thing.

"I had been familiar with a lot of Jay's work from the past and knew he was amazing but had no idea how unbelievable he was until I got all the photos back from every event! There wasn't a single detail that was missed throughout any session including engagement, bridals, rehearsal dinner, wedding, or reception! Jay has a gift that is only God given and I wouldn't ever go to anyone else to help capture some of the most imporant events of our lives!"
Think 20+ years down the road. I’m sure we all enjoy looking at our own baby pictures, but as an adult, don’t those pictures have more sentiment if they include family and friends? I know it’s easy to see someone else with a camera and quickly try to dodge out of the way equipped with every excuse in the book (My hair’s a mess! Pictures make me look fat! I’m dressed like a bum!). When your baby becomes an adult, I’m sure they’d appreciate seeing themselves surrounded by their loved ones more than having album after album of just themselves.
The "poses" that we'll work with are really just designed to get you interacting together. For example, I might have you take a walk down a long, tree-lined patch. I might instruct you to talk to each other the entire time and not look at me. What I'm looking for here is how you make each other laugh, your reactions to what the other says, and the natural cadence of how you interact. Or I might have you stand close together with the simple instruction of "Hold each other!" I want to see how you naturally put your arms around each other, how you get close to each other, and how excellent your chemistry is. The reason why many clients remark on the believability of my engagement images is because they are real moments. They're not staged interactions. While we do choose a location, set up a scenario, and put you in beautiful places for your portraits, your emotions and interactions are entirely your own.
That I have been called many times…lol but no worries, it happens! This is completely natural for babies to use blankets or props as there own personal potty. Please don’t feel embarrassed, I reassure you it happens more times that I can remember. Know, I have two young boys on my own so not long ago, it was there never ending mission to make mommy there own personal potty! Have a concern about sanitation? Don’t worry I wash all used props and blankets after each newborn session with non-scented detergent.
Newborn sessions are often a few hours long, all for a handful of pictures. Patience is key when working with newborns. Much of the time during the session will be spent getting the baby calm, moving to new poses and taking the inevitable break because baby is hungry or has a dirty diaper — or worse, but common, dirtied your prop or backdrop because there was no diaper.
You made a good point to advise your client to choose the best clothing they feel comfortable wearing in a photo session. It is recommended to use neutral colors and soft fabric especially if there are children included. Also, you may want to suggest adding some additional accessories such as sunglasses, cowboy hats or even headbands. This should make the photo session very interesting and light. I would make sure to keep this in mind if we ever have one in our family. Thanks.
1. Decide what types of photography services you’ll offer. Businesses and individuals need photographers for many reasons. Businesses need pictures of their products for brochures. Realtors need images of the homes they’re selling. Magazines need photos related to the articles they’re publishing. Or you can stick with non-business photography and take portraits or photograph weddings.
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.
Spring is the perfect time to take your photo idea outdoors. Choose from beautiful pastel colors are more prominent in the springtime, along with white and blue hues. Other trendy springtime outfit ideas include floral patterns, which can be incorporated throughout accessories or clothing items. Dresses and skirts are also popular for spring family photos. These springtime trends paired with simple basics will give your family photos a polished and fresh look.
“When I proudly tell my couples that I have an iPhone app to tell me when it’s golden hour they often laugh at me, but it can be magical if you catch the right light. Because the weather is so variable in the UK and because I shoot a lot of urban weddings where buildings block the sunset, when I see beautiful golden hour light I can’t help but get a bit excited. If you can schedule at least 15 minutes of your portrait session to happen just before sunset, it will totally be worth it if the weather plays its part.”
"AMAZING! Stop looking and just book with him. Garrett is very professional and genuinely cares about his clients. He has amazing prices and really is willing to work with you. I was hesitant about hiring a professional photographer but I am so glad I did because the photos look amazing. If I ever need a photographer I will definitely be hiring him again."
The photographs from your wedding day will be a timeless memento of a truly special day. Wedding photographers can be very expensive, specialise in a number of different styles, and offer a variety of levels of service. Choosing a wedding photographer takes careful thought and consideration about what sort of pictures you want to document your wedding day. Do plenty of research and interview a number of candidate before making your choice.
Because babies rarely arrive on their scheduled due date, your newborn photo session will be scheduled a bit differently than other photo sessions. For newborn photo sessions, it’s best if you get your session booked while you are still pregnant, ideally in the 2nd or 3rd trimester. Scroll down to see a featured session and for more information about the process.

The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session.  I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared.  In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session.  Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup.  I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them.  I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.


Alysse Renee Photography specializes in newborn, child, and family photography. The photography studio, based in Little Elm, will also shoot maternity photos, first-year milestones, newborn hospital photos pregnancy announcements, senior portraits, and weddings. The studio provides a variety of choices in displaying newborn photos, including mounted prints, canvas prints, luxe metals, heirloom albums, and gift prints. The photographer finds her inspiration in candid shots and pops of color.
(Above) Whimsical Engagement Photo Prop Sign Photo Idea: Cute DIY photo prop signage that read “She stole my heart” and “So I’m stealing his last name”. Grab these free engagement photo prop printables here: DIY Engagement Party Projects & Free Printables {Featured here: {Engagement Shoot} A Whimsical Balloon-Themed Photo Shoot | Shot by: Adene Photography}

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!
These are great tips to take photos of your pregnancy. The best dates for pregnancy photo shoot are going to be towards the end of your pregnancy but not too soon as to be in the possible delivery window. Yes there are early babies and they just want to come out and see you sooner. Ask your photographer to book your maternity photos from weeks 34 and 35 where you will be showing the most and still have several weeks til possible delivery.
If you have pets or kids, please feel free to include them in your session. However, I strongly suggest limiting their involvement. If you're going to bring pets or kids, you're also going to need to bring someone else to handle them. The best thing is to include them in the beginning of the session, for a brief time, and then having a trusted friend or family member take them home. If you don't, we'll spend valuable session time wrangling them. You won't be able to relax and be together if you've got kids running around that you need to keep an eye on, and it's difficult to cuddle up when you're trying to hold your dog's leash in your free hand!
Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus. Turn on the Live View so you can see the image on your screen. Hit your “zoom” button (it may have a magnifying glass or a “+” sign on it) once or twice. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. Press zoom again to return to normal view and turn off Live View.
This is probably my favorite pose, and is always the one I start with if the baby is sleepy (plan to feed your baby right before you try to photograph him so he’ll be more likely to fall asleep). I love how peaceful babies look in this position. It’s also a great pose if you (like me) like newborns to be naked in their photos – you can see their sweet little arms and legs, but nothing else is exposed.
I volunteered my time at an event called Help Portrait last year that has photographers, make up artists and organizers giving their time to create portraits for people that otherwise couldn’t afford a professional one. They ended up sending most of the families to me, initially because I had the biggest area to do the group photo and later because the other photographers said I was the best with the kids.  To see some of my photos from that event go to Help Portrait, Edmonton  2012. 
Be prepared to edit your photos.  I am not talking about crazy amounts of editing, I am talking merely tweaking.  The photos we took were taken in the morning light, so the light was a little bit cool for my taste.  So I quickly imported my photos into Lightroom and warmed them up just a little bit!  I highly recommend using Lightroom to edit photos quickly and in bulk!  You can purchase Lightroom HERE.
Photographers often want the bride and groom to stand in flower beds, near water, and in other unexpected places.  Brides don't like to do it because they are worried about their dress getting dirty on the wedding day.  A simple fix is for the photographer to bring a white sheet that the bride can step on to protect the dress.  The sheet is then tucked under the dress and nobody knows!  (Thanks Stacey Knight)
Some couples are very serious about the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding day.  I like to sit couples down and explain that I really NEED at least an hour just with the couple (nobody else in the wedding party) in order to get a decent album together.  Once they realize that they need to commit to this much time and see they can't fit it in the wedding day plans, they are usually open to doing a shoot the day before the wedding all dressed up.  It gives the bride a chance to try her hair and makeup out, and you'll have unlimited time with the couple to nail the wedding photos.
If newborns can’t hold their heads up, how do you pose them? A beanbag is an easy tool for helping contour the baby into natural poses. Beanbags designed for the task are easier to work with, but a regular beanbag can work too with a bit more finesse and a bit less cash. Another great posing item for newborns is one that many mums have — a u-shaped nursing pillow.

Bad lighting is the enemy of good photography. Unfortunately, unless you are professionally trained, you might not know that the midday sun is not the best light for photographs. Hamilton explains, “You actually want your subjects to be in shade rather than direct sun and you also don’t want them facing the sun because this causes squinting.” Consider doing your photo sessions in early morning or late afternoon for beautiful soft light. Cloudy days are also great for photo shoots.
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