Don't base your decision solely on what you see in a photographer's highlights gallery or album. For good reason, photographers show prospective clients a portfolio of their best pictures, all from different weddings, so you're seeing the best of the best. The problem with that is you won't get a well-rounded idea of their work. Ask to see two or three full galleries from real weddings they've shot (not someone else at their company) so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding. If you see that the full gallery photos are just about as good as the ones chosen in the highlight gallery (that is, they're all so good it's impossible to choose!), you're on the right track. And ask to see at least one or two complete albums of weddings that are in similar settings to yours. For example, if you're planning an indoor affair with dark lighting, don't just look at weddings shot outdoors in natural sunlight. And if you're planning to say "I do" on a beach at sunset, you'll want to see examples of that.

Look at an engagement session as a practicing ground for the upcoming wedding. While meeting your clients for a consultation can give you loads of information about them, working with them directly before the wedding and learning their preferences might be very helpful for you while photographing the actual wedding. At the same time, engagement sessions give a great opportunity to your clients to understand how you work behind the camera, and give a chance to practice for their upcoming wedding as your subjects.

In addition to this tutorial, if you want all the info you need in one simple package with lifetime access, check out our Newborn Photography Workshop for the On-Location Photographer which Cole and I have spent months putting together all the necessary knowledge & tools to be adequately prepared for the lovely world of photographing newborns.  On sale for a limited time and all workshop participants also will get Cole’s Essential Newborn Lightroom Collection Presets, the Pricing & Positioning Yourself for Success pricing handbook, exclusive discounts & a whole lot more.  Click below to see the workshop details.


I love using props for my portrait sessions. I have simple props available; however, if you have something specific in mind you are welcome to bring your own as you know your family/child’s preferences/colors and activities/hobbies, etc. I have holiday props for Halloween, Easter and Christmas. Balloons for children’s birthdays make great props too. We use high resolution backgrounds and flooring complimented with designer furniture to create vintage, timeless looks for your portrait session.
AMONG THE HUNDREDS OF PHOTOGRAPHERS AROUND YOU THERE ARE A SELECT FEW WHO ARE TRUSTED BY THE MOST DISCERNING CLIENTS. JAALAM AIKEN HAS BECOME ONE OF THOSE TRUSTED PHOTOGRAPHERS. HAVING PHOTOGRAPHED FAMILIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND TRUSTED BY THOSE WHO ARE ACCUSTOMED TO ONLY THE BEST, JAALAM IS NOW AVAILABLE TO CLIENTS IN SANTA ROSA FLORIDA, DESTIN, PCB AND ALL ALONG THE SCENIC 30-A FLORIDA AREA. HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY CHOOSE PREMIERE AND JAALAM AIKEN FOR THEIR SENIOR PORTRAITS.
Here’s why: The thing that takes the most time with family formals is gathering everyone together and getting people organized. If you set up your wedding day photography timeline to do the bride and her family and the groom and his family separate before the ceremony and then the bride + groom and both of their families together after the ceremony, then we have to gather families three times instead of just one. Moreover, the difference between the group “Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents” and the group “Bride + Bride’s Parents” is just saying “Groom, can you step out for a second?” which takes about 3 seconds to quickly re-arrange and will save you time in the end.
Hey Sherry! Thanks for stopping by & saying hello! I am not familiar with those editing websites (although I did just visit the homepage to check it out)…I CAN say however though, you should forget about the high price of photoshop and get yourself a copy of Adobe Lightroom 5. Lightroom is an amazing program for not only editing but easy storage/file/folder handling of photos and most important it is very easy to use. In fact, I have quite a few tutorials on our YouTube channel. It is “only” $150 or so, and I gotta say, whether someone is a pro or just hobbyist, that $150 will be among the best money you’ll spend on your photos… head over to the adobe site and try it for a free 30 day trial and see for yourself if you’ll like it or not 🙂
5.  Consider some technical details.  There are photos I took 5 years ago that I thought were amazing at the time and now realize they were out of focus, or my editing made the people look purple, or the highlights were blown out.  If you (like a normal person) haven’t spent a lot of time poring over tons of professional photos with a discerning eye, you may not really know what to look for.  Maybe some of these finer technical points wouldn’t bother you, or maybe the photographer you can afford isn’t quite as technically proficient as the photographer who charges $500 more.  That’s okay, these are just a few things to consider.  First let’s talk about focus.  Often, the best way to tell if a photo is properly focused is to look at the eyes.  In the two photos below, you can see a lot more detail in her eyes on the left than on the right.  I missed the focus on the second image, so that one was not given to my clients.

Assuming that you are setting something up, choosing the time of day and the location carefully, you have control of all the elements. Meaning, once you get set up the exposure should not need to change. But if you put it in Aperture or Shutter priority, depending in the metering mode selected, the camera could choose a slightly different exposure for each frame. You do NOT want that! Consistency is very important.
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.
Put simply, an adventure elopement is choosing to forego a traditional wedding in favor of an adventurous experience in the great outdoors. When we help you plan your adventure elopement, we take into consideration your preferred landscape, how much hiking you want to do, the number of guests attending, and many other factors so that we can recommend the best possible locations and timeline for your day. And while we are your elopement photographer team there to capture epic photos, we want your elopement to be about more than just the photos. We’ll help you craft an unforgettable experience that will fill you with awe and excitement all day long, and leave you with unforgettable memories for life.
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.
When it comes to tracking down all those amazingly candid guest photos, these apps and programs can only go so far. "The biggest thing is to include instructions early and remind guests," says Katelyn Wollet of Katelyn Wollet Photography. Whether those reminders are in the invitations, on your wedding website, or at the reception itself in some form, it's up to you as a couple to spread the word about taking and sharing footage.

This comes up a lot, and I’m more than happy to talk through your ideas and offer suggestions. I LOVE coordinating outfits (take a look at my family portraits). My biggest suggestion is coordinate, not necessarily match. Pick 2 or 3 colors that you want to use, keeping in mind the room in your home that you want to display your wall portrait. If you have red walls, do you want to wear greens and have it look too “Christmas-y”? Do you want to wear orange and browns if your family room is teal and grey? I spend a lot of brain power in planning our outfits. But be yourself, and the personality will shine through. *Upon booking your session, I will email you a link with style and color boards with lots of ideas for what to wear, like this:


Unlike the work of your other wedding vendors (music, flower arrangements, cake), photographs aren't things you can hear, smell, taste or even see at first—you don't really know what you're getting until after the fact. That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic style and personal demeanor are extra important when choosing your photographer.
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.

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.


Wedding package two: $1,400: Includes up to 6 hours of wedding day photography, arrival at venue prior to preparation, first look and formal photos prior to ceremony, car service to reception, full coverage of reception, and high-resolution images via digital download. Add-on options: Second (junior) photographer for $200 or engagement photo session (one hour and 10 edited pics) for $200.
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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