I set up our family shots with my DSLR on a tripod and then I used a 10-second timer to take the photos!  I also set my camera to take three photos in a row.  So I had 10 seconds to run into place, fix my clothes and hair and smile at the camera!  All the while my kiddos yelled, “run mommy run!” Believe me, we got some genuine smiles and laughter from them watching mommy run and act like a crazy person!
See #1 first of all. Then look at #6. Being a photographer means that sometimes you have to also become a comedian, or a clown. Knowing the right thing to say or do to make people smile is mostly experience. Sometimes you’ll get tough adults too. The dad in the photo above by the brick wall pretty much has the same expression all the time. I’ve known this family and photographed them for 13 years, they’re friends too. So I know I can bug him a little bit or get out the ducky to have some fun at his expense.
DO pre-plan. "Don't walk into a wedding thinking you can go with the flow. Weddings aren't like street photography, where you can walk around taking pictures," says wedding pro Jonathan Scott, who has studios in both New York and Florida. "Pre-planning will make sure you don't miss important shots." Scout the location in advance for good backgrounds and lighting. Do Internet searches for the venue to see how other photographers capture the location.
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.
Light stands – You need one stand for each light. As a rule of thumb, the heavier your light is (along with the light modifier), the sturdier your stands need to be. Don’t invest in cheap gear or you will risk your lights being too unstable and wobbly. Prefer stands that extend to 2.4 metres and higher, as often the lights are above the model. It is also useful to have a small stand. This can light the model from below or to hide your rim/background light behind the model.
Teenagers, more than at any other stage, are establishing their identity. They try on different personalities for size, negotiate continually changing moods and eventually work out who they’re going to be. Our signature portrait cuts away the artificial and leaves a study of the complexity of who your child is becoming - and who they will always be.
With Jessica Cook as your newborn photographer, you’ll get stunning photographs of your growing family. The studio offers digital images with all of our packages. So, you will receive your edited digital files with a print release. They also offer printing services from a professional lab. So, you can get professional prints, albums, canvases and custom woodblocks to feature around your home at an affordable price.
“Hiring Maddie was without a doubt the best decision we made for our wedding! Maddie is so much more than a photographer - she found us an amazing trail to hike for our photos, helped create a realistic day-of timeline, and even patiently taught me how to drive on rough 4WD roads on the way to the trailhead. Maddie goes above and beyond what you would expect from a wedding/elopement photographer. She provides so much detailed information that wouldn't have even crossed my mind in the planning process. What kind of dress do you wear for an adventure elopement? What do you pack? How do you do your hair and makeup while hiking? She's seriously got it all covered in the files she sends you. So not only is Maddie amazingly detail oriented, she's also super easy to get along with. My husband and I are both shy, introverted, and a little awkward in front of a camera. We were instantly comfortable with Maddie; she gave us such a great pep talk right at the beginning that almost made us forget there was even a camera. We had such an amazing time hiking and exploring with Maddie on our wedding day. Even if you're not exactly sure what you want to do for your intimate wedding/adventure elopement, just talk to Maddie. She's got such a wealth of experience and seemingly endless great ideas; you really can't go wrong. After just one conversation with Maddie you can see just how passionate she is about her work. Just five stars doesn't do Maddie justice; she's an incredible photographer and person.”
As the busy fall season for family photography approaches, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts on things you may want consider when choosing a family photographer!  If you’re looking at hiring a photographer for the first time, I’m sure the options can be daunting.  How does this all work?  Why does it cost so much?  How do you know you can trust them to do a good job?  Whether you’re reading this here in Fort Collins or far away in another state, I want to share some thoughts that might be helpful as you make this decision.  This isn’t meant to be a black and white list of dos and don’ts, just some food for thought!  I want to start by talking a bit about some things that I think are important to look for when you’re checking out potential photographers’ websites.
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”.  The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands.  The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing.  Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
Ok, the children are on vacation, this includes staying up late, watching TV and eating ice cream everyday! A fact, there are more great ice cream parlors on Sanibel Island than there are gas stations! So, of course the children are in a great mood. I try to capture these great moods in different areas of Fort Myers, Marco and Sanibel Islands. Parents will give me an idea of what they want from their family vacation photo session and we then plan the best location and time. On this blog page are pictures I recently created for a family that vacationed on Sanibel Island. Everyone was in a great mood, we created hundreds of images in just an hour or so. I think the parents did the ‘after this, we go for ice cream’ bribe. 🙂
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
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.

I live in this dichotomous world in my head.  I’ve always been a thrifty DIY gal who loves to shop garage sales. However, I’m also a professional photographer who charges according to my expertise, which aren’t necessarily garage sale prices.  I think that every 2-3 years, investing in a professional photographer is ideal. There are many price ranges out there, and with a little researc, you can find someone in your area that meets your needs. I also know that taking Family Pictures just isn’t in the budget each year for most people, so I’m going to share some tips on How to Take your Own Family Pictures.

Jackie Spivey is a Keller-based photographer crafting high-quality portraits of families and newborns for over 10 years. She offers in-studio and in-home photo sessions for newborns and babies, and also takes family, wedding, and maternity photos on location. Jackie Spivey was once voted by the WFAA as one of the Top 5 Wedding Photographers in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Some photographers will sit with your family after the session to review images together, allowing you to order portraits on different print media or with custom framing. These photographers can help you identify the best places in your home to hang wall portraits, even using real pictures of your home to digitally demonstrate what your favorite family portraits will look like hanging above your furniture in different sizes, groupings, or frames.
Jackie Lamas is a destination wedding and portrait photographer based on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She earned her degree in photography from California State University, Fullerton. Jackie has over 10 years of experience as a professional photographer and teacher. When she's not on the beach, you can find her writing on her blog and spending time with her baby and husband.
Erin Montante Photography is a full-service studio offering clean, modern custom portraits for clients in the Dallas area. Their team offers maternity, newborn, baby, child, and family photography, and provides additional services such as custom framing, photo stationery, and in-home art consultations. Owner Erin Montante is a member of the Professional Photographers of America.

For good portraits you must turn off your flash. Your camera’s pop-up flash does more harm than good in most photography situations, so make sure you aren’t using it when you try to photograph your newborn. Instead, find a good source of natural light, like a large window or glass door, and set up close to it. If you have enough light coming in you won’t need either your flash or your overhead lights (which are also not a good plan when taking portraits). If it’s warm enough you can even set up in your garage with the door up to allow lots of light in. Start paying attention to the light in the room in yourself with the largest window – notice when the room is bright, but you can’t see the shadow of the window on the floor in front of it (see this post for more explanation of this). That’s the time of day when you want to plan your newborn photo shoot.
Another reason to hold a newborn photo shoot soon after birth is because babies change so quickly the first few months, and you don’t want to miss the chance to photograph that uber tiny newborn look. Does this mean you can’t get good pictures when your baby is three weeks old instead of seven days? Of course not. But earlier can be simpler, which is always a good thing.
Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:
Lisa Felthous Photography aims to tell the story behind every portrait. The photography studio, based in Sachse, shoots newborn portraits, maternity portraits, child portraits, adult and couple photos, family photos, senior portraits, and corporate headshots. Lisa Felthouse uses a spontaneous and passionate approach toward her photography. Clients have praised the photographer for her eye for detail, inventive photos, and hard work to get the perfect shot.
Avoid hiring family or friends. It may be tempting to hire somebody you know to be your wedding photographer. You may be drawn towards hiring someone you trust, who knows you and your partner well, and you think will understand what kind of pictures you want. While this might turn out perfectly well, it is highly likely that this person will not have the technical skills and experience to give you the best photos.[2]

Know someone in your area who has gotten beautiful photos taken of their own family? Reach out and ask them who they hired! Not only can you feel more secure knowing they’re recommended, but a lot of photographers offer bonuses or discounts when you’re part of a referral. And, if no one comes to mind, you could try posting a status update, asking if anyone can recommend a local photographer.
After receiving your initial questionnaire, I will call you to go over the portrait session and ask some basic questions regarding your expectations. We will discuss important items such as location, wardrobe, your photography style preference and most importantly, your desires for the final product. Each portrait session is completely customized for each individual/family.

"We expect to see the photos in a few weeks and will update work quality comments at that time. This review is on his handling of the event. Tandy knows how to shoot weddings. He was punctual with his assistant. There was an initial conflict with the venue staff but it was quickly resolved when I intervened. We were pleased with his help during the ceremony and the reception. He can be a little abrupt but is easy to communicate and work with. He knows what it takes to get the pictures he needs to take. Most of the time we hardly knew he was around. We'll definitely keep him in mind for future events."
Jessica’s outdoor sessions are all done in beautiful spots around the Dallas area. Our Field location’s provide a fabulous backdrop and stunning lighting for her gorgeous sunset photography. Along with all the props, blankets and hats for newborn and baby photography, the studio offer maternity gowns for clients to use too. As a baby and newborn photographer, Jessica focuses on capturing the squishy goodness of your little bundle. While there are props, hats and blankets for the infant, they don’t distract from the details of your newborn like tiny, perfect toes and chubby, little cheeks.
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”.  The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands.  The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing.  Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
Creative props can be the difference between a professional photo and an amateur one. Newborn props don’t have to be expensive and you can find most of what you need at home or a local crafts stores. Other recommended locations are Beautiful Photo Props and Etsy. For ideas, consider incorporating the parents’ hobbies, their culture, their favorite colors, or their overall personalities. We came up with the concept below for Ellie because her mother used to live in Paris. For more inspiration and to see how this scene was shot, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop.

Say “yes” to new work opportunities. If an opportunity is slightly out of your niche, don’t turn it down outright because it isn’t your ideal work situation. You may find out that you like something that you thought was outside of your comfort zone. However, you shouldn’t feel forced into doing something simply because it represents a business opportunity.[14]
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.

Definitely safety first, agree. The problem I have with most newborn photography, especially with props is that they all look alike. I could take photos from 20 different photographers and put them up and I couldn’t tell you which one is the signature look, their style. I am not sure I found the solution, but I just focus on the baby interacting with the parents, and if props are brought it in, they have meaning to that family, not some basket or luggage I brought. Still am working on my own style for that, but just a point I wanted to share and see other folks’ take. Thanks.


Location is important for family photography sessions and Door County is home to me. Through my landscape photography, I am familiar with plenty of scenic locations up and down this beautiful peninsula that will serve as the perfect backdrop for your images. I shoot with both natural lighting and modified artificial lighting to create a great finished product.  Even though I call Door County home, I am happy to work with you to create beautiful images wherever you are.
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.
Magdalena Berny is a self-taught photographer who specializes in capturing photographs of children. She is inspired by what surrounds her whether it is in the place where she lives or the other places that she visits. She has her own style of photography which is really unique and allows her to create amazing photographs. Her creative work has been published nationally and internationally to be found in the Polish press and the foreign one. The photographs that are captured by Magdalena Berny are affected by her feelings and this is why her photographs are used to record those moments lived with children, their look and emotions in addition to her own emotions that play an important role in creating such stunning work.

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.
Trust your photographer to direct you in posing so you can look your best. What makes maternity photos different from other portraits is that the images focus on you, your personality, feelings and the bond you have with your much-awaited baby. Many maternity poses such as hands on the belly and eyes looking down express emotions and connection to your belly. Other maternity poses empathize the beautiful curves of your body.

*Keep Lighting Soft*Direct flash almost never works—it often fights the sense of intimacy, warmth, and naturalness that characterize the best family portraits. “I avoid direct flash like the plague,” says Sue Barr. “It will flatten an image and drain it of all spontaneity.”To work without flash, you’ll want the fastest lens you can afford. This allows you to shoot in low light, defocus (and thereby declutter) backgrounds, and use fast, kid-freezing shutter speeds.Another lighting tip: avoid direct sun. “I like shooting on cloudy days,” says Barr, “and I use gold or silver reflectors to add spark.” The latter helps lighten the shadows of wrinkles, making it helpful with older family members. Family portraiture is rewarding because it gives you the chance to celebrate something that’s life affirming and positive. As amateur photographer Jeremy Rule (www.fiickr.com/ photos/JeremyRule) of North Bend, WA—whose portrait of an extended family above —says, “Family portraits rarely focus on disease, divorce, fighting, business, addiction, or a recession. When you hand a family a portrait, you’re giving them something to celebrate, bond, and rally around.”Jeremy Rule

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.


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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