From a professional photographer stand point, I second what a lot of people have said already. Try looking on Craigslist to see if there are any photographers that are just starting out. I know that I brought in a lot of business from Craigslist, and charged very little while I was portfolio building. This is especially great for maternity photos....
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.

Most couples will be a little awkward about having their photos taken. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As long as your couple is laughing about how awkward it is you will get some great reaction shots. The beauty of photography is that the photo doesn’t know it was an awkward moment all it will see is laughter. Just play on it a little bit and get some great laughing shots. Make it more awkward if you want and get up close with a 24mm lens.


Maxine Evans is a professional newborn, baby and maternity photographer whose work is based in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. She has over 20 years’ experience in capturing maternity, newborn and baby photographs. Her experience, skills and patience allow her to capture amazing newborn and maternity portraits. Maxine is also a pediatrician and OBGYN approved expert in baby safety which makes her perfect for photographing babies especially the newborns who need more caution while trying different poses.
Frank Simonetti was recommended to my husband and I through our wedding ceremony and reception venue (Casa Ybel Resort). He offers the rare combination of exceptional and reasonably priced photography. Mr. Simonetti was very good about listening to our ideas and offering some of his own, which resulted in beautiful pictures! He is also very good at making the bride feel at ease (even a type A one like me that wanted everything planned out to the minute) and awkward family situations (including divorced parents, estranged family members, etc.). We highly recommend Mr. Simonetti to anyone planning a wedding in the Ft. Myers area!
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.
Timing for the session depends on two things : location and time of year. If you're wanting to shoot in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or downtown Philly, we may need to adjust our start time because of the buildings. What do I mean by that? In the city, the sun goes behind the buildings before it goes below the horizon, so you lose the light in the city before the sun has actually set. Generally as a rule of thumb, I recommend starting engagement sessions in the warmer months around 4:00pm, and around 3:00pm in the winter. 

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.
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Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!
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!).

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.
Yes, you can take newborn photos after two weeks but you’ll have to opt for different poses and concepts. Your newborn will likely be awake during the session so you should go for photos that include the baby with clothes on and wide awake. Taking newborn photos after two weeks isn’t unheard of and your photos will still turn out well. However, your little one won’t curl up so easily after two weeks so we encourage you to take a different approach with your photos. Babies begin to stretch and extend their arms and legs after two weeks, making it harder for them to naturally curl up during photos. Don’t be discouraged though by timing as you should still schedule a newborn session even if two weeks have passed by.

Also look for consistency in their work. This is a way to differentiate an amateur from a professional. An amateur photographer’s portfolio may show nice images, but those images are a compilation of one or two accidentally good images from many sessions. The professional will show quality images consistently in both their portfolio AND recent work on their blog. If you hire an amateur to shoot your session, you accept the risk that there may only be one or two good images from your session vs. the 20-30 great images that a professional will provide in your gallery. When you hire with quality in mind, you buy the assurance and the peace of mind that your special moment is captured perfectly before it is lost in time.
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.
As we reflect on all our memories, it’s hard to recall ones that don’t include our families. There’s something special about looking back on family portraits over the years past. Family photos are a moment saved in time that will be cherished forever. So when it comes to what to wear for family picture day make sure you plan ahead. Whether you are taking family photos for your annual photo Christmas card or looking to get an updated shot to hang above the mantle, you’ll want you and your family to look your best doing so.
We do, however, understand that you want to head into your big day prepared, with a clear picture (pun intended!) of which shots you can expect to see in your future wedding album. That's where our comprehensive wedding photo shot list, full of must-have shots recommended by some of the industry's most lauded photographers, comes in. Though this list can be useful in deciding which moments you do (and don't!) want captured, we suggest using it as a general outline—every couple's wedding day unfolds differently, which means that a wedding photo shot list can't and shouldn't be one-size-fits-all.
This one can be really bad and it is super important. Five weeks before your wedding and on the same day of the week as your wedding (i.e. if you are getting married on a Saturday, then look at the Saturday five weeks prior to your wedding), pull up Sigalert (or any other traffic monitoring site) and see what traffic is like on the routes you will be taking at around the times that you are likely to be on them. Do this every week and you might notice that there is consistently more or consistently less traffic on your routes than you had planned. You can save yourself a LOT of stress (and perhaps even prepare appropriate tasty treats and beverages!) by knowing ahead of time if you are probably going to be sitting in traffic for 45 minutes between your getting ready, ceremony, and reception locations.
I'm not a fan of maternity shots. I'd be lying if I said I felt anything other than a hot mess during both pregnancies. Plus, they always seem kind of forced. My go-to photographer does them and has asked me about getting some a few times. But in every maternity session, it's some glowing woman in a super long dress that attaches around her boobs and is flowing in the wind. Very realistic, no?

Both of my sisters had babies around the same time last year (they're 10 wks apart).  One sister did the whole enchilada and spent hundreds of dollars on a photo session and got some really breathtaking photos and made some into large canvas wall hangings they put in the house.  My other sister went to JCPenny and had the photo shoot there for about 1/10 of the cost.  While the professional ones were really amazing, they were too expensive for family members to purchase or my sister to give out as gifts unlike the ones from JCPenny that we all got copies of.  The JCPenny ones were not ALL great but there were definitely some gems.


These are great tips to take photos of your pregnancy. The best dates for pregnancy photo shoot are going to be towards the end of your pregnancy but not too soon as to be in the possible delivery window. Yes there are early babies and they just want to come out and see you sooner. Ask your photographer to book your maternity photos from weeks 34 and 35 where you will be showing the most and still have several weeks til possible delivery.

Almost as important as quality and expertise is to find a photographer who has a style that resonates with you, and your life. Take some time to think about the style of images you are looking for. Do you want studio (either classic and simple or with props for some shots) or do you want on-location or natural light, and if so, where? Where will you display your images and what are you looking to accomplish with them (i.e. wall displays in a casual or formal room, to compliment a display that has been built over time, a heirloom album showcasing your entire shoot)? It’s extremely important that you choose a photographer whose galleries and portfolio reflect what you are looking for, and reflect it consistently without a constant changing style. Check out their work on their blog and website. You should be able to get a feel for whether they maintain a style and have mastered it, or whether they jump from trend to trend. Regardless, make sure you really assess what you want your outcome to be, as it relates to your life, and your personal style, and try not to be swayed by “what’s hot” as whatever is hot might not really make sense in the big picture. Once you have selected a few photographers that you believe meet your quality, expertise, style and vision goals, make sure you have a conversation with them to discuss planning your session, and your goals. You will want them to understand what you are looking for so they can agree it’s something they can accomplish.
Speaking of having your first look on the aisle—Huang actually prefers this moment (and its resulting photos) to a pre-arranged first look ahead of the ceremony: "I find that couples are passing up the irreplaceable moment of coming down the aisle for something that was originally created as a back-up for tight wedding schedules. I think they can be really beautiful, but I would always recommend walking down the aisle as your true first look—there's nothing like it!"
Hey Jessica! Without knowing what camera body you have right now it is sort of a guess…but I’d look into the Nikon 60mm macro. Brand new (newest versions) are around $500 which is about 1/2 of the 105 macro…you can find used for even cheaper. If you aren’t using a full frame camera I’d actually RECOMMEND that 60mm length over the 105 anyway 😉 The class allows you, the viewer, to tag along on a professional shoot in which you will certainly see and hear Chrystal work throughout the shoot, including when she is getting the close details vs other shots/poses. Give it a shot!! I think it’ll be perfect for you.
Engagement photos are an increasingly popular option for couples who are eager to announce their proposal to their family and friends. It gives you a chance to display your unique style—not to mention test out your photographer before the big day! But before you jump in front of the lens, you’ll want some inspiration first. We’ve compiled 100 engagement photo ideas across a variety of backdrops, poses and styles to help you get started. Better yet, we added extra filters so you can find inspirational photos that fit you as a couple. Across every season and formal or casual style, we have you covered. We’ve even got ideas if you want to include your furry friend!
We thought ahead about location, poses, logistics, and timing.  If you have a plan, it is easier to get in and out and end up with photos that you are happy with!  Take the photos of the whole family first, then the children together and individually, and then couple photos if desired.  You can realistically take great family photos in 30-60 minutes by yourself if you have a plan.
Think about your location and make sure your wardrobe complements the surroundings. For example, at a location in a field with a rustic barn in the background would be perfect for a little girl dressed in a simple, vintage style dress with Hunter wellies, pig tails and carrying a little vintage tin pail full of wildflowers. That same look might be out of place in an urban setting with a graffiti wall in the background. Also, consider how well the colors and patterns in the wardrobes will stand out against the backdrops of your location. A field of bluebonnets might not be complemented by an outfit with a floral pattern or the same blues and greens in it, but would look beautiful with a solid coral colored dress to pop off of the colors of the flowers and grass. Many times I’ll select a location first and then create the wardrobe, accessories and props to fit with the vision I see for the surroundings and session vibe I want to come out of it.
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