#1 - the umbrella is to make the light spread out over a larger area which softens it. There is a misconception that just diffusing your light with one of those plastic spheres will make it softer - not true. If you are bouncing indoors off the ceiling or a wall then yes it will - but outdoors it will not make the light any softer. Light quality is related to the size of the light source - nothing else.
DOCUMENTARY PHOTOS: this is perhaps the least known category for many people. Even tough documentary photography is not new as a style, it has begun to become a bit more popular for commercial family photography in recent years. In this case, the photographer spends time with the family recording their day to day, not interfering in what happens. It can be a whole day or a few hours, and the result is usually quite authentic, since no family is the same. The photographer will be recording not only the connection of you and how you look, but also the essence and small details of the family’s routine. The photos don’t take place in a specific location because they are according to family activities. It can be at your home, on the street, at school, in the car or during your vacation activities, for example. You can search for this style by documentary or photojournalism.
Documentary photography has come naturally to me over the years, and making the change to dive into this style fully and completely has been such an eye opening experience. Preserving the genuine interactions and moments between two or more people can elicit emotions in the viewer for many years to come. Providing my clients with a book of feelings transposed into pictures brings me such joy.
It was my first wedding to shoot and I had never shot one before. I get stressed out really easily, so doing this was a bad idea for me all the way around. I missed shots, I missed a set of groups, and my lighting for the reception was terrible. On top of not having a clue on how to get a proper exposure for a wedding and what images were important to the couple, I delivered full-resolution files on a plethora of disks that caused more confusion than good. Today, I'm using online galleries provided by Pixieset and flash drives for file delivery. 
Do you have any advice for when the kids are dogs? It’s really hard to get one, and especially both, dogs looking at the camera at the same time for our family portraits. They are a busy breed (Australian Shepherds) and still young. I’ve been wanting to do self portraits of just me and our dogs as well, however that’s hard to get too since they won’t “sit, stay” while I focus and get back into the picture. My husband isn’t too thrilled about getting into the picture unless we’re on vacation so most of the self portraits are done on my own.
Select an outfit that is appropriate year round. One of the more popular times for families to take their portraits seems to be around the holidays (when the kids are home from school and everyone is in the same place). The holidays may seem like the perfect excuse to bring out the Santa hats and incorporate props into your family portraits. However, you’ll want these photos to be displayed all year round. Try to avoid purely seasonal accessories and items.
Some wedding photographers have an office or studio which can double as a retail photography studio. In bigger cities, one might find dedicated wedding photography studios that only cover weddings and may have large studios equipped with make-up, hair, and a selection of gowns ready for the bride to wear. Other wedding photographers may work from a home studio or from a coworking space, preferring to photograph clients on-location. These home based photographers may hire additional photographers to assist them if the wedding program is large or otherwise unmanageable by a single photographer.
With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.
You’ve probably seen a wide variety of newborn baby poses, from a sweet swaddle to a baby in a basket or hanging in a sling from a branch. Lots of the poses you may have seen might take half an hour just to set up, and some actually require having an assistant hold the baby in position and then editing out the assistant’s hands in post processing. Some people love these more creative poses; some people hate them. Personally I think some (when well done) are kind of cool, but I really prefer more natural poses that don’t look contrived. Since my goal here is to help you take better photos of your own newborn at home, I’m going to share three simple, go-to poses that you’ll be able to use without extra equipment (or even extra help).
I know many portrait & wedding photographers love to shoot wide open at f/1.2 & f/1.4.  However, with newborn photography, many of the baby poses can have extreme angles and you often will have better luck with your depth of field and sharpness by shooting around f/2 & f/2.2.  Remember, it will be rare that the baby’s eyes are on the same plane of focus all the time and by closing down my aperture a bit from wide open I get that little bit extra of depth of field that is often needed.
Claire Smith Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas. Claire Smith is a natural light photographer who specializes in newborn, baby, child, and family photography. Claire’s style is casual, modern, and fun. Claire Smith Photography aims to document a child’s unique personality, opting for candid shots rather than directed poses.
Digital cameras are very good at coming to a neutral exposure, but the truth is that the neutral exposure is not always the best exposure.  For example, suppose you are taking a picture of a person on a bright sunny day.  The camera will likely make the face of the person dark and the background too bright.  The “neutral” exposure is mid-way between exposing for the face and the background.

Take fun photos. It doesn't have to be all serious. Laughter is a wonderful memory. The last one I did was pretty casual. I had the groomsmen and the groom climb a tree and took a wonderful shot. We also did the infamous Charlie's Angel shot of the bride and her bridesmaids. (Thanks Melody Landrum) Also, thanks to Chris Nelson, destination wedding photographer. Submitted some excellent photos from weddings via his site.


If there are small children or babies involved make sure to get their attention. It even helps to have an assistant, tell them to bring Grandma along or a friend to help out. But what always happens is you get the kids all looking and smiling, and what are the parents doing? Looking at the kids!  Oops again! I always tell the parents, “no matter what keep looking at me as I make a total fool of myself, do NOT look at your child”.
If the question is whether or not to take maternity and newborn pics, I would say absolutely take them! When else will you be pregnant? lol I just booked a package and it was about $640 (that's after a 30% discount) for maternity and newborn session. If I had a nice camera, I'd probably take a stab at capturing some nice moments myself, or having a friend do it. Also, if you're close to a university you can see if student photographers would do a photoshoot for you for cheap. If you do go with a package, you probably only really need a few poses. So don't buy into the hype of buying the files at $40 each!
In this digital age, clients love having their photographs in digital format. You'll notice not many photographers sell their digitals, let alone the entire gallery and when they do, you’ll notice that they are priced a lot higher than fine art prints. Reason being, digital files are amongst the highest priced items to photographers, because once I give you the files, I lose any future sale from your session. For this reason, I need to ensure a reasonable profit is made. If you tell me you’re being charged $150 for both the session and digitals, chances are that the photographer is not operating a legal business and likely doesn't have the best equipment/props or much experience in the field. At that price, alongside all the many business expenses, it’s impossible to make profit at that price point. So you say you don’t have the money, but investing in photography is a worthwhile decision—saving up is the ideal way to go about it. Whether it’s for my newborn photography, maternity photography, or other services, you'll be making a quality investment in something that’s worth the effort, time, and money for that reason most clients tend to book months in advance to help save for their custom Newborn Photography session. 
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.

Next, gently lift her head and position her hands and arms underneath it, then lay her head back down, turning it so she’s look out at you instead of down into the pillow. The photos below show why it’s important to tuck the hands under her head – if you don’t, they’ll likely end up right in front of her face, as in the first photo. In the second photo you can still see her hand, but it doesn’t block your view of her face.

Larger prints require extra care in order to guarantee the best possible print. So for big prints, I would highly recommend that you order larger prints through your online gallery.  If a print is going up on a wall, I want the print to be perfect.  Many big box print labs are cheap, and they differ in paper choice, color accuracy, sharpness, photo brightness, and overall quality.  I work closely with the same professional printing lab partners I use for my fine art landscape prints and together we ensure you get the perfect prints.
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.
An experience that is aimed to be “stress-free” for you as a parent.  I allow your children to explore, roam and experience the environment around them – both for the purpose of putting ourselves in the best position to get the most out of your time with me, but to also provide you with photographs that capture the natural essence of what makes your children and your family “who you are”
Another mark of a good photographer is proper white balance.  Instagram filters a cool and all, but a photographer should be able to edit in a way that makes skin look skin-colored.  Photographers tend to have different preferences on white balance and sometimes make an artistic choice to alter it a bit (I tend to lean toward the warm side of things), but people probably should not look like smurfs or oompa loomplas.  White balance can be a part of a photographer’s style, so just make sure you like what you see.  Here’s an example:  
Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc. These tend to take the “finished” look of a professional portrait down a few notches, can be distracting (who wants people to first notice the Nike or Gap logo before the adorable little kid’s smile?) and will date a photo quickly. I’m having flashbacks to me wearing Esprit tee-shirts with my Guess jeans back in grade school, right along side my little brother in his Gotcha shirt (and if you’re sitting there wondering what I’m talking about, you must not be an 80’s child, LOL). Note: There are a few instances where a more stylized graphic on a shirt can look good if it fits the vibe of a photo, for instance, in my six year old’s birthday session we did a total punk rock theme to go along with her party. She wore a Johnny Cash tee with her tutu and baby sis rocked a Ramones tee.
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