As you start looking through photographers’ portfolios, pay attention to the lighting quality in the pictures. Are they dark and moody? Bright and romantic? Each photographer has a certain style, and there will most likely be one that you mesh with better than others. You may also notice while you’re looking through portfolios that some photographers refer to themselves “natural light photographers” which just means that they only use whatever light is available, rather than using a flash or other lighting setups. If you are getting married somewhere dark without a lot of windows, you will want to make sure that the photographer knows how to create light when it isn’t there. Every lighting situation is different for photographers, so make sure you’re looking at photos that have similar characteristics to your venue. An outdoor wedding in the middle of the day with bright sun requires a very different skill than a New Year’s Eve reception in a dark church. (Also, a hot tip: ask to see some reception shots, since many of us don’t include those in our portfolios. Because if you are having an art gallery reception with no light, you want to make sure we can handle it. If all the reception photos are a little blurry and have been converted to black and white, then low-light situations are probably not that photographer’s forte. If you see lots of backlighting and what appears to be bursts of light behind the dancing, it means that that photographer has the ability to create standalone lighting in situations where the light is nonexistent.)
While it may work out amazingly, you run the risk of things getting a bit awkward with your friend if you really don’t like the pictures (know your friend and their sensitivity to such things: will they be completely offended if you don’t like the shots and decide to get a different photographer or if you want to take photos again? You don’t want to damage a friendship over family pictures!).
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I am not as experienced in newborn shoots as I am with other types and my latest one just kicked my butt! I’ve been trying to edit a particular image for 2 days. And then… I found your tutorials and it made all the difference in the world. I also really needed to see that you started out shaky with your own kids and how you’d improved. Sometimes, I forget it’s ok that I don’t know everything yet. Thanks again!
Now is not the time to be starring dreamily into space – make sure you look at the camera (and remind everyone else in the photo to look into the camera too!). Try to get the “looking at the camera” shots out of the way first when everyone has enough attention. It can quickly get tough to get kids to cooperate, so aiming to get this shot first is key.
DON'T worry about shot lists. "Avoid getting mired down in a must-have shot list that you found on the Internet," advises Rich Lavigne, who, with wife Anne, operates a wedding studio in South Plainfield, NJ. "Stay alert to the moments that are happening all around you. Look for smiles, laughter, singing, or tears. If you're looking for and photographing these moments, you're doing a pretty good job of capturing the spirit of the day."
Really this is the go-to shooting mode for wedding photographers. Moments happen so quickly on a wedding day and Continuous Shooting Mode helps you capture them. Take the speeches as an example. This is a great time to capture laughter, tears and overall joy on the faces of the couple, their families and their friends. If you use One Shot you might capture a fantastic laugh but the person is mid-blink. Or the person sitting next to them is picking their nose. However in Continuous Shooting Mode if you hold that shutter down and burst 5-10 images you can capture various different expressions of the same situation.
It is totally, 110% o.k. if you prefer to wait. We aren’t pushing first looks as the best and only way to plan your wedding day photography timeline (although doing a first look does give you a lot more flexibility in your timeline). We have just heard sooooo many couples say that they want to do a first look, but they think that it will take something away from the ceremony. It doesn’t. If you want to do a first look, then do one. If you don’t, then don’t. This is your wedding, so do what you want to do!
Here are some basic concepts that will make your choice easier. Of course, there are many styles that don’t fit into these categories, some of which are difficult to categorize and some photographers do more than one style (I do lifestyle and documentary) or a mix of them. But in general terms most of the family photographers in the market will fit (or semi-fit) into at least one of the following categories:
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.
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.

Depending on the feasibility it can be an idea to check out the location ahead of the wedding. However, things change so it can sometimes be best to play this by ear. You could scout the location on the morning of the wedding. Equally, you can wander around the venue when the couple are eating their food. Having an idea of where you are going to take the couple for their photos can drastically improve the end result. This is definitely one of our top tips for beginners.


JAALAM IS AN AWARD WINNING, NATIONALLY PUBLISHED PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER. HIS WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN NUMEROUS MAGAZINES AND PUBLICATIONS. PREMIERE IS HIS PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY LOCATED IN COLLEYVILLE, TX. HE NOW SPLITS HIS TIME BETWEEN PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL AND FORT WORTH/ DALLAS, TX WHERE HE CONTINUES TO PHOTOGRAPH HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS, COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY, PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY AND IS AN IN DEMAND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. AS A PHOTOGRAPHER HIS GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS HAVING HIS PORTRAITS HANG ON THE WALLS OF CLIENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
We are a Celina-based, husband and wife portrait photography team who love people and are passionate about photography. We have earned the reputation as one of the top portrait and wedding photographers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Nick and Natalie own and operate Natalie Roberson Photography located in Celina, Texas.  They are supported by a talented staff of employees whose main goal is to provide unparalleled customer service.
Nursed Shots – some of the bests shots I’ve taken over the last month have been taken when people have been nursing Xavier. This puts him into a more upright position which makes him look a little more ‘human-like’ and opens up the angles for your photos. Try a number of positions (over the shoulder, sitting him up, laying him back in arms, lying him on his tummy etc) as each one opens up different possibilities. Also remember that your baby is not the only potential subject – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends etc all can add context to the shot and you’ll appreciate having more than just baby by themselves shots later!
Yep, it's true… and it has been true for over 150 years.  If you want the dress to stay white instead of a dull gray, then you'll probably need to dial in some positive exposure compensation.  The light meter in your camera will see the white dress and think it's bright, but it isn't bright–it's just white!  The camera tends to compensate for this large “bright” spot in the photo and makes the exposure of the dress too dark.  Positive exposure compensation fixes this problem in a jiffy (Thanks Jess Joey)
At Maui Professional wedding Photography, we know how important it is to capture right shots at the right moment. Our wedding photographers in Maui are talented and know fine art really well. They are 100 percent capable of providing memories for life. Being experienced since years, we realize the importance of tender moments and subtle and sweet glances.

Hi Lina 🙂 I am so happy that you loved this post! Many find their true passion is with Newborn/Baby Photography, but aren’t sure where to start. This post is a great start for quick tips but because of all of our readers who wanted more info, and more detailed information, we created a very detailed and complete Newborn Photography Workshop, it might be something that would be perfect for you. Feel free to check it out right here. If any questions, just email me 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
3.  Evidence of happy clients.  You can probably see this in two forms.  One is through reviews or testimonials on their website.  Another way to see that they have happy clients is to see if people seem to come back to them year after year.  If you scroll through their blog, it’s probably a good sign if you see many of the same families more than once.
For these, my general rule is to start with the largest family/group and then work down to immediate family. You’ll do this for each side of the family. However, I often start with the ministers since oftentimes they have somewhere else to be or aren't in any additional photos. I usually try to light the room with a two-light setup to avoid shadows and create even lighting on the fly.
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.
Yahay! What an exciting time – you’re engaged and apart from planning your wedding celebration, we’re guessing that you’re on the lookout for ways in which to celebrate your engagement! Planning an engagement party may be the first step, and if it is, then be sure to check out this 5-step Planning Your Engagement Party {Wedding Planning Series} guide! Next, we suggest that you have a little fun with an e-shoot inspired by your personalities and by this collection of handpicked Engagement Photo Poses and Ideas! GO ahead and dig in!
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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