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…
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.
First, streamline. Take the time to go through the prints from your childhood and have your favorites converted to digital files so you'll always have them, sans the yellow tinge of time or (gulp) water damage. Two popular services are ScanDigital and ScanCafe, both of which require you to send in your negatives, prints, or slides. They'll send back your digital files on a DVD along with your originals. Prices range from 29 to 88 cents per photo.
The photographs captured NOW will be the story starters for the future. As your photographer, my job is to document your family exactly as you are… in all of the candid, crazy and fun moments that truly capture the personality of each family member, and all of you as a whole.  Just as important? That you can use your time in front of my camera to disappear from the daily stress and distractions of life,  have fun and simply “be” the incredible family that you are.
Don't let seasonality stop you when it comes to wearing white in your fall engagement photos. It's totally acceptable—and even super on trend—to wear white after Labor Day! While your engagement shoot doesn't have to feel overly bridal, a white blouse or dress is a sweet nod to your wedding dress. Consider playing with texture: Cotton-based fabrics like eyelet lace, crochet and Swiss dot all have dimension that shows up well on camera and gives your outfit an instant vintage twist. 

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.


Price should be the LAST thing you consider when you select your photographer. Really? What if I come up with a list of photographers I can’t afford? First you have to define “afford.” No doubt custom photography is an investment, and also a luxury expenditure. And everyone has different levels of either saved or disposable income that can be allocated to a session. When defining your budget, determine whether you will save, and then have that set amount to spend or whether you can make that decision once you see your images. Then decide what your product goals are: digital files, a few select prints, a gift album. Understanding what you really need as well as what you want, will help you determine what you can spend with a particular photographer. You may have a budget that will allow you to purchase ALL images from one photographer of mediocre quality or SOME images, but exactly what you need, from an exceptional one. As we’ve said before, try to not get locked into the idea of “all” before you know what “all” looks like. You may even be able to work with specific photographers to find out when they schedule less expensive options such as studio or seasonal mini-session events as many photographers offer a scalable way for you to receive their services without the truly significant investment. It’s with hesitation and a sigh that we say that with most budget photographers, “you get with you pay for.” In a few rare, and very fortunate circumstances, you receive outstanding images for a fraction of what they are worth. But more often than not, if you aren’t investing in someone who has invested in the quality, expertise, style and vision, you will receive images that reflect just that. That said, there are tremendously talented photographers in every market segment, catering to any budget, and with research and patience and maybe a referral, you can find one that meets your specific needs. Circling back to the point that you barely have time to do it once, once you’ve finished the end to end coordination of schedules, wardrobes, weather and moods… you most certainly don’t have the time, or money, to do it over. Start with planning your own session goals, including what you would like to DO with your images, then consider the style and vision you would like them to reflect. Spend some time looking at portfolios and gathering recommendations, and assess as best you can, the quality and expertise of a range of photographers, and once you’ve created a short list, begin to think about pricing and budget and the best way to marry what you need with what you can afford. And if you have a gut feeling that you are cutting corners in any of those orders, take a step back. It’s okay to put an idea on hold until you are really sure about it. It’s your investment, make the most of it.
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.
Think about it: Your photographer doesn't automatically know that your wedding photo list would include a shot of your mom with all her sisters, or that you want a photo with all the cousins. Consider this wedding photo list a family portrait checklist for your photographer. By providing this wedding photo list before the big day, your photographer will be able to plan out the portrait timing, and which family wedding photos to take when. Not sure who to include in your wedding family photo list? We've done the hard work for you!

The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.
The absolute beauty of digital photography is that you can shoot and shoot and shoot. It might be tempting to delete images that don’t work right away but just hold fire. There is plenty of time for culling in post-production. You don’t need to add another job on the wedding day. Additionally, you have to think that images can be manipulated in the editing, whether that’s cropping or sharpening slightly. Another point is that your mistakes allow you to see where you went wrong and help you to improve.
“After people have a big traditional wedding, I hear so many of them say that they are so glad it's over. This is not the feeling we wanted to have after our wedding. We wanted the most amazing and memorable experience possible—we wanted something fun, unique and special. We want to look back and wish we could do it a million times over. We wanted more than what a traditional wedding could offer us.“
Twenty-Three Photography offers a full-service, custom portrait experience. We cater to those who can’t stand the traditional book, stress, and receive a cd sessions. Because I want my clients to have beautiful MEMORIES, as well as beautiful photos. Your family is special and unique, your portraits should reflect that. My job is to be a storyteller and create images that evoke raw emotion to convey the love inside you.
Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.

Take a photo of the bride's ring sitting on the preacher's Bible, a picture of the buttons on the bride's dress, a picture of the cake topper, etc.  The bride has spent months preparing every tiny little detail, and she will appreciate photos of each of those things.  I usually like to take photos of the details while the reception hall is being set up because the lights are turned on and it's easier to get the shot.  (Thanks Kimberly Perry)


Weddings always run late.  Always.  It's as sure as the fact that Uncle Bob will annoy the photographer.  If the bride says they'll have an hour to do a shoot with you, immediately translate that sentence into half an hour.  Your time to work alone with the bride and groom is precious, so you need to be confident that you can get the shot in only 30 minutes with many weddings. (Thanks Meagan Thompson)
This is great news for you photographers who want to try out different types of photography, or make a little money from your photography. Newborn baby pics are also an amazing addition to your online photography portfolio; a great newborn photoshoot can really show off your skill and range as a shooter (to say nothing of your subject wrangling skills!).
Whether you are all playing outside in the falling leaves, posing by the cozy fireplace or walking along the beach, you are the ones who will make the photo unique. We know that it sometimes takes the inspiration from others to get your creative juices flowing, so we have put together a list of 80 photo family photo ideas. Sort through the filters to find the best fit for your family. Don’t forget to share your photos with friends and family—easily order prints from your desk or mobile phone. And for additional inspiration check out this article: family photo wall ideas.WeddingWire makes the search for the perfect professional wedding photographer easy. All you need to do is enter a zip code or specific city and WeddingWire will show the local wedding photographers in your area. We have thousands of reviews from real couples, just like you, which are an absolute necessity when looking at all vendors, especially wedding photographers.
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/
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