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.
Good article! Something else to mention . . . if you're just starting out, I'd recommend picking up an used or refurb model. I bought a Canon 40D first without knowing what I was buying and payed over a grand (which was good for the time). I ended up buying a refurb Canon Rebel xti as a backup for less than $350, and to be honest, I shoot with it more! The 40D is the better camera and has much better build quality, but the xti gives it a run for it's money and is smaller / lighter. I could have saved the money for a full frame camera or a nice L lens. :)
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.)
I do TONS of newborn shoots professionally. The #1 best advice I have ever received along the way is that if you are comfortable, baby is freezing (assuming s/he is down to the diaper or less). You should be sweating. I bring a big heating pad and leave it on low and use a space heater. On top of that I put a flat (not fitted) diaper station changing ‘sheet’ (they are about 2 for $7 at Target and washable). Then, whatever blanket/backdrop we want- layer them if you want multiple. All of this is over a bean bag. Baby will be completely moldable because they will be OUT! ALWAYS have baby freshly fed and changed. Other than that, newborn shoots can be some of the easiest. Make sure to get the details- the toes, hands, ears- put them onto something big to show how small they are. And unless you’re doing that- showing how small they are- get SO CLOSE. And for all portraits, focus on a specific eye to get the shot perfectly sharp!
There are recognizable markers that trigger the “fall feeling” in each of us. With the weather cooling down, the leaves changing, and a trip to the pumpkin patch in the near future, fall is full of inspiration you can use for your outfit choices. If you are taking your family photos during the fall season, incorporate seasonal earth tones, rich maroons or burnt oranges. Wear layers and have fun playing in the leaves. Use the following Fall styling tips to guide your clothing selections.

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.

Young or old, everyone loves little gifts. Stop by the Dollar Store before your next shoot and pick up some bubbles, a baseball, stickers or a tiny stuffed animal. If it’s autumn, stop by a farm market and a grab a small pumpkin. Summer? Grab a bunch of wildflowers. These tiny gestures will take some pressure off the parents, gain you points with the kids, and have the added benefit of making the pictures more fun and interesting. It’s a win – win.


Hold a photo party. A wonderful way to bring people together, share photos and learn a little more is to hold a photo party. Invite family and longtime members of the community to peruse boxes, piles or albums of photos placed around the room and just let people mingle and remember. Have a notepad near each stack and ask guests to share what they know. Send each person home with a small box of treasured photos or create a scanned album of favorites to share online.
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.
As you know, photographers are artists – and you are investing in art that will give you a portal back into this exact moment. You are also investing in giving life to a story that you will be sharing with your child(ren) for the rest of their lives. When you tell them how much you loved them, or how strong they were, or how tiny your first house was, or about the dog they grew up with, they hear your words… But when you show them the pictures, and read words you wrote in that moment, they truly get it – and they love those stories. They love them next year, and they love them in a different way the year after… I see it over and over again. And I experience it first hand with my own childhood photos.
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…
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.
Ask the bride and groom for just three words to describe their vision of the day, then keep those words in mind as you capture it! If they say “fun”, take every opportunity to “document” a fun moment. If they say “romantic”, keep lighting in mind and snap every sweet moment the newlyweds share that day/night. Yes, you are the photographer, but it is THEIR day. Make your art reflect that! (Thanks Matthew Michaels)
Rachael,I LOVE your picture!!!!! You have an AWESOMELY BEAUTIFUL pregnant belly!!! I couldn’t help but notice that you have a jutting(outie)bellybutton.So many moms-to-be think that a button of the jutting variety makes for an unappealing pregnant belly,but that simply isn’t TRUE.To me a jutting bellybutton emerging from a big round protruding pregnant belly makes said belly that much more intriguing and pleasing to look at!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
DON'T try to do it alone. Need help aiming that off-camera flash? Enlist the help of friends or relatives. "It's nice to have someone help organize your equipment," says Scott. This is especially true if you're working in an environment where someone might walk off with an unwatched camera bag. While you're shooting group portraits, an assistant can gather (and tidy up) the next group.

This is more of a personal choice, but I tend to choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style. Whatever your style is, make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now (or months in the case of some quickly passing trends). I personally love to use softer or neutral tones (with a color pop here and there) and classic shapes, then add interest with accessories, layers and lots of interesting textures. I also happen to love bright and colorful as long as it’s not obnoxious or distracting from the subject’s personality and face. Of course, this is a personal choice and many families will choose to go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choices as a sort of time stamp in their images.
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