Jackie Lamas is a destination wedding and portrait photographer based on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She earned her degree in photography from California State University, Fullerton. Jackie has over 10 years of experience as a professional photographer and teacher. When she's not on the beach, you can find her writing on her blog and spending time with her baby and husband.
Just as you do not want the exposure to change from frame to frame, neither do you want the focus to be adjusted. Assuming you’ve taken #1 to heart and are using a tripod, you will not be moving. Likely if you’ve posed your group in a relatively static position, they will not be moving. Not much anyway. We are only concerned with moving closer to, or further away from the camera. So . . .
The worst thing a parent can do to their child at their portrait session is to grit through their teeth “You better smile or else…” Really, they will listen to me MUCH better than they will listen to you (don’t take that personally). Plan on letting me take over and teasing them into smiling. Trust me–I have been there with my kids gritting my teeth and it DOESN’T work! And please don’t be embarrassed with less than 100% cooperation, I’m sorta used to it…I do this a lot and I don’t think anything about your parenting methods–most kids don’t want to be told what to do. I try to make it fun for them.
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.
The temptation with digital is to check images as you go and to delete those that don’t work immediately. The problem with this is that you might just be getting rid of some of the more interesting and useable images. Keep in mind that images can be cropped or manipulated later to give you some more arty/abstract looking shots that can add real interest to the end album.
Ask about the photographer’s experience. One of the key things to talk about in the interview is the level of experience each of the photographers have gained. You should ask how many weddings the photographer has shot, and how many similar to yours. Different weddings have can hugely different requirements and expectations, so it’s important that you understand how much experience they have that is especially relevant to you.
These close-up “detail” shots are not only adorable but they are great accompanying images for albums and accordion books.  Because of the sensitive focus on a macro lens, the best time to get these images is when the baby is very still (in their deepest sleep).  As shown with the newborn workshop where you get to shadow me on an actual on-location shoot, when I notice the baby is deep in dreamland, I’ll just stop whatever I’m doing and I’ll pull out my macro for 10 minutes and get all the shots that I need.

Blankets or fabric to use as backdrops. If you are going to invest in one thing, I’d say go buy a few yards of the cheapest black stretch velvet you can find (use a coupon at Joanns!). Black velvet works really well as a backdrop because it doesn’t show wrinkles and generally shows up as solid black in photos. Otherwise, walk through the house looking for any blankets you might have. Blankets with lots of texture also do a good job hiding wrinkles, like this one:
After receiving your initial questionnaire, I will call you to go over the portrait session and ask some basic questions regarding your expectations. We will discuss important items such as location, wardrobe, your photography style preference and most importantly, your desires for the final product. Each portrait session is completely customized for each individual/family.
Chances are you’ll be here close to 4 hours so I highly recommend eating a good hearty breakfast before you arrive. I know this can be a very exciting and stressful time for you, especially when adding sleep deprivation in the mix! As much as my goal is for baby to be comfortable, I also want you to be comfortable and at ease! Having me photograph this precious moments for you, means a lot to me so anything I can do to make it a smooth journey for you, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

Let the photographer connect with the baby. In order for your baby to feel comfortable, you should avoid crowding your little one. It’ll be tempting to run over whenever your baby becomes restless or cries, but you should do your best to let the photographer comfort the baby so the baby doesn’t feel startled by too many changes. Always remain in the room though during your baby’s shoot.

When it comes to props, I gently discourage them. The point of the engagement session is to create beautiful portraits of you two together, and the addition of props is just a distraction. I know that there are many websites that will encourage you to bring vintage items, huge bunches of balloons, signs to hold, and so forth, but then the entire engagement shoot becomes all about those props and less about you two together. If you have always dreamed of running across the Brooklyn Bridge together holding a huge cluster of balloons, then let's do it….but let's open the session with that and then put the balloons away. Likewise, if you have a Thank You sign or a Save The Date sign, let's shoot those quickly and then tuck them in your bag. I want to create a shoot that fully brings to life your vision for engagement pictures, but I also want to focus on you!
“Kate let our son have his space but also got him back on track playing, having fun, and following her direction. Her reviews are incredible and every positive thing you read is absolutely true. Not only are the photos beautiful, they’re filled with emotion. Anyone can take a picture of you smiling at the camera but to capture personalities and emotion is a special talent.”
Your digital photos aren't going to magically appear in neat, named folders on your computer without a little effort on your part. That said, don't get discouraged -- there's still hope for your precious pics. "Establish a system today and when you have five minutes, go back and organize what you can," says Peter Walsh, organizational expert and author of It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life With Less Stuff.
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.

Determine how you will receive your pictures. Find out how long you can expect to wait for the pictures, and in what format they will be presented. You need to make sure you know what your photographer will pass on to you at end of the process. The number of photos, the format and resolution of the photos, as well as the way they are presented are all crucial questions.[13]
Why take engagement photos? The best reason is it's a great opportunity to work with your wedding photographer for the first time and get comfortable in front of their lens and with their style. (Most photographers also include an engagement session in their wedding photography packages.) You can also submit a shot to your local paper with your engagement announcement, use them creatively in your save-the-dates and wedding day décor, or give framed prints as gifts to your families. Read on for the basics to help you make the most of your premarital photo session. 
Let the photographer connect with the baby. In order for your baby to feel comfortable, you should avoid crowding your little one. It’ll be tempting to run over whenever your baby becomes restless or cries, but you should do your best to let the photographer comfort the baby so the baby doesn’t feel startled by too many changes. Always remain in the room though during your baby’s shoot.
Some brides might ask whether it is ok to do a boudoir shoot of them on the morning of the wedding. This has to be something you feel comfortable doing and ideally something you have practised before. A boudoir shoot typically sees your model or in this case the bride photographed in their underwear. You can find out more about this kind of photography by seeing our post on nude photography which shares many characteristics with boudoir imagery. It also talks about how this type of photography can be used to promote body positivity and increase confidence in the person being photographed. Producing these types of images can also make for a great present for the groom.

“My favorite part of the session was how my son connected with Kate…she just has a way to make him laugh and smile. Usually when I ask him to smile for a picture he gives me this hard smile where he pushes his chin forward. It drives me nuts… It doesn’t look like him. But then Kate comes around, works her magic, and he smiles a smile that lightens up the world. Squinty eyes, dimples, and all… and my heart melts.”
Thaddeus Harden Photography is a photography studio based in Southlake, Texas, serving Dallas, Arlington, Irving, Fort Worth, Colleyville, Bedford, Grapevine, Flower Mound Denton, Frisco, Garland, Plano, Carrolton, and Southlake. They have served renowned clients in the City of New York for more than 28 years. Now, Thaddeus Harden brings their talent to Texas as a newborn, maternity, and family photographer. Thaddeus Harden Photography conducts portrait photography services.
Natalie Roberson Photography is built of a husband and wife team based in Frisco. The photography studio, founded in 2008, photographs newborns, engagements, weddings, child portraits, corporate headshots, family portraits, maternity photos, and hospital photos. The studio's photobooth service lets guests take silly photos at special events. The business offers digital photos, color prints on luster paper, metal stand-outs, canvas gallery wraps, albums, mini accordion books, announcements, and custom flash drive cases.
Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. I always encourage mothers to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
Get dressed up! And schedule ample time for the shoot. We usually make it the only thing on our schedule for the morning or afternoon, and don’t have anywhere else to rush off to. Often it takes a lot longer than you expect for everyone to get ready, to go and find the perfect spot (we try to figure out where we’ll shoot before the actual day, especially if we have to drive there), take all the shots, and then pack up. And by the end everyone will be a bit tired! So make your shoot a priority for the day, and you’re much more likely to get it done, and enjoy the process.
Though newborn photography may seem daunting at first, it’s like any other form of photography in that the more you practice the better you become. Take your time, be patient, and don’t second guess yourself. With the proper planning and research, some creative and personalized props, in addition to careful and safety-first execution, you should come away with at least a few good images on which to build your foundation. For more newborn photography tips and tutorials, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop, a full guide to baby and newborn photography, teaching posing, lighting, planning, and post production for newborn photography.
Scrunchy little faces, sweet wrinkles, and rolls…is there anything more precious than a newborn babe?! We think not! That is why today we are featuring the perfect way to savor that precious “newborn stage” with all the best newborn photography tips. Whether you are a skilled photographer or someone who just likes snapping their own photos, we have come up with the perfect tips and ideas for capturing the perfect newborn photos. After seeing all the cute baby picture ideas you won’t want to wait to set up your newborn photo shoot!! Get ready for a serious overload of…

Scrunchy little faces, sweet wrinkles, and rolls…is there anything more precious than a newborn babe?! We think not! That is why today we are featuring the perfect way to savor that precious “newborn stage” with all the best newborn photography tips. Whether you are a skilled photographer or someone who just likes snapping their own photos, we have come up with the perfect tips and ideas for capturing the perfect newborn photos. After seeing all the cute baby picture ideas you won’t want to wait to set up your newborn photo shoot!! Get ready for a serious overload of…
Talk to each other: (Duh, right?) DON'T match. But DO coordinate.  Wearing clothes that are the same level of dressiness is really as matchy as it needs to be. You guys already look like a family. Don't hamper each person's individuality by forcing the matching.  Let's be honest: You guys always look awesome together, you don't need special matching outfits for that. 

The majority of professional photographers offer wedding packages, which are typically less expensive than a la carte pricing. Flat-rate packages typically include a set number of hours, retouched photos, and other deliverables. The more services you receive, the higher the package cost. The various digital or printed components of a photo package — beyond time, locations and number of photographers — also affect the overall cost. The best wedding photographers deliver the final package as a CD or DVD, online with access to digital proofs and high-quality images or quality prints, as physical proofs and prints, as a photographer-made photo album, or some combination of these. A package can offer great cost savings while allowing you to purchase more high-quality images at a future date. The photographer can typically recommend the best wedding photography package options for your budget.
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Give clients what they want. You may like to take creative portraits of people, but your clients might just want to look pretty.[10] Remember that, especially when you are starting out, you need to make money. The best way to do that is to have your clients buy prints (or digital images with rights to print). They are more likely to buy prints if they like what they see!
DO learn the basics. Visit the websites of wedding photographers and see how they do it. "Try assisting an experienced wedding photographer. You will see first hand how it's done, with zero pressure on you," recommends Dennis Pike, the northern New Jersey photographer who shot the couple in the car at left. "The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the people you are photographing will feed off of that."
Few styles of portrait photography are as tricky as newborn photos — the unpredictable infant is always in charge! The best way to ensure a successful photo shoot is to work with a local newborn photographer within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. Some photographers even work with hospitals to offer newborn sessions within a day of the baby’s birth. But newborn photographers usually recommend scheduling a shoot during the baby’s first two weeks of life, while the baby is still sleepy and relatively cooperative, especially for posed or studio shots. During this time, babies are easier to swaddle in blankets and dress in hats or headbands, and, because they often nap or nurse, can be staged with various props or be cuddled by their parents. For casual photos, most newborn photographers recommend shooting within the first six weeks of a baby’s life. Lifestyle portrait photography is more flexible and doesn’t require the baby to cooperate with multiple poses or props.
Hi Linda! Perfect, so glad you love the article I hope you signed up for our mailing list to get your newborn toolkit and other freebies to help get you going quickly and lastly, you are among the first to know that we are working on finishing up our complete Newborn Photography Workshop Course which will be out at the end of the year…it will be an amazing product though which we are so excited for!
See #1 first of all. Then look at #6. Being a photographer means that sometimes you have to also become a comedian, or a clown. Knowing the right thing to say or do to make people smile is mostly experience. Sometimes you’ll get tough adults too. The dad in the photo above by the brick wall pretty much has the same expression all the time. I’ve known this family and photographed them for 13 years, they’re friends too. So I know I can bug him a little bit or get out the ducky to have some fun at his expense.
Shutterfly may be a bit pricier than Snapfish online, but the app offers even more free perks. (And chances are, you can probably find a coupon for Shutterfly.) The Shutterfly app offers free unlimited 4 x 6 prints, a free 4 x 6 photo book every month, and free, unlimited cloud storage for your photos. That’s a big plus for casual photographers who need to backup their files, since paid cloud storage options get pretty pricey. If you’re looking for the most freebies, the Shutterfly app could be the one to download.
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Spring is the perfect time to take your photo idea outdoors. Choose from beautiful pastel colors are more prominent in the springtime, along with white and blue hues. Other trendy springtime outfit ideas include floral patterns, which can be incorporated throughout accessories or clothing items. Dresses and skirts are also popular for spring family photos. These springtime trends paired with simple basics will give your family photos a polished and fresh look.

Step away from your point-and-shoot and ask yourself this: Are the 200 photos you took on your baby's first birthday sitting in the same desktop folder as shots from the neighborhood block party -- from, ahem, three years ago? Have you broken countless promises to your in-laws to share last year's family vacation pics? Did the most recent photo you printed out come from your college graduation (a picture that's now collecting dust in the attic)?
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.
Not really! But if you are shooting at a gorgeous venue that’s the reason the bride and groom have booked it. Allow a bit of time to wander around the grounds and capture the venue from various angles. These photos can also be used to practice shots and imagine the couple within them. If you do a good job the venue might want to hire you to take advertising shots of their venue. Equally, they might just recommend you to potential couples. You never know!
The double session is for families who really want to take time to get that perfect family photo.  This session is 1.5-2 hours long.  This gives you lots of time to focus on each shot, outfit changes, and even explore multiple locations.  Door County is such a beautiful place.  We have so many great photo locations and a double session allows you to get a great variety of backdrops for your family photos.
Although this website title may suggest focusing only on using a professional photographer to create a family portrait, there are  two different approaches to nave that special memory for your own family or if you planning to give it as a gift.  The first approach is to hire a professional photographer and have an appointment at their studio or at your home and have a set of individual or family photographs or portraits taken.  Once completed, you would likely receive a set of photographs that may likely include enlargements that could be framed.  With software available today, the photographer could also touch up some of the shots prior to printing.
Leah Robinson is an award-winning photographer who specializes in capturing child, wedding and family photographs. Her work is based Melbourne, Australia and she focuses on her photographs on capturing those special moments that deserve to be immortalized. Waiting for the right moment to capture is highly responsible for helping Leah Robinson to create amazing photographs especially while photographing young children. 9 Elena Shumilova – Russia
Anyway, thanks for these tips… For a guy with boys of two, it’s pretty neat to read that I have been doing the right thing all this while… There’s no such thing as enough photos when it comes to self-triggered shots.. One thing that I have to seriously put into action is the “Make it An Event” part.. most often than not, we tend not to put priority on the group photos as we get busy planning the place to visits, transportations, FOOD!, etc. I will surely put this one in my checklist for our next family vacation…
Frank is a creative and ambitious artist with a passion for photography. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, he developed a love and enthusiasm of his art in his youth. In 2004 Frank became a graphic designer, at the same time he started his professional career as a wedding and fine art photographer. Several years and hundreds of wedding and portrait sessions later, he created Maui Professional Photography dedicated to providing award winning artistry combined with outstanding client service. With a traditional yet contemporary photo journalistic style, Frank will capture those fleeting magical moments of your wedding or special event and turn them into treasured memories. Frank is a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America), Nikon Professional Services and his name appears on the list of preferred professional photographers at the finest hotels & resorts and at other photo related businesses. Frank has also continued to expand his knowledge, learning new techniques at workshops and becoming familiar with latest professional equipment. When not working, Frank can be found exploring the beauty of the islands camera in hand.
Instant viewing of your photo session is made available with a custom online slide show posted to the Bella Baby website (protected with a unique password), thus enabling distant friends and family members the opportunity to share the experience. Online viewing and ordering is offered for two weeks to anyone you choose to share your password; immediate in-hospital purchasing is also available.
All sitting fees are non-refundable and due at the time the appointment is scheduled. Sitting fees do not include the cost of digital images, albums or prints. Prints and additional products are sold A La Carte at the Ordering Session. Sitting fees do not include any additional costs associated with venues/locations/parking/permits; additional fees may be required. Clients are responsible for the venue/location/parking/permit costs. Locations beyond a 30 mile radius from our studio will be charged an extra Destination Fee. Our payment methods include: cash, check, visa and Mastercard accepted through Paypal. Please let me know if you are going to pay using a credit card and I will send you an invoice through Paypal. We charge a 3.5% credit card transaction fee for every purchase through paypal. We offer payment plans for purchases over $250. Please call or email us for more details. There is a cancellation fee of $185 for all appointments not cancelled within 48 hours. All returned checks, regardless whether services have been rendered, will be charged a $25 returned item fee if the check bounces.
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Kimberly Fain Photography is located in old town Burleson. This photography studio specializes in newborn, maternity, and the first year of life sessions. Owner and photographer Kimberly Fain provides many options to display the beautiful images, including prints, mounted prints, gallery wrapped canvases, metals, acrylics, and beautiful heirloom albums. Clients may purchase digital packages, print packages, or à la carte prints as well. Kimberly's clients have left rave reviews for her abilty to create stunning galleries with a welcoming personality, and she is also a member of the Professional Photographers of America.
Have the couple appoint you someone that knows all the ‘key players'  as your go-to person for questions. Especially helpful during the formal family shots since the bride and groom are in all the shots. They can help point out that uncle or go get grandma from the reception (cause she always manages to leave first to get over there LoL). They are also helpful during the reception to ask questions when you don't want to bother the new couple. (Thanks Melinda Lutz Ledsome)
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.
Visit the locations of the different places that you’ll be shooting before the big day. While I’m sure most Pros don’t do this – I find it really helpful to know where we’re going, have an idea of a few positions for shots and to know how the light might come into play. On one or two weddings I even visited locations with the couples and took a few test shots (these made nice ‘engagement photos’).
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.
CandidShutters aim is to capture all things beautiful. They are a passionate team of wedding photographers and cinematographers that love to capture and preserve the most beautiful of emotions. They are based in India and it is really great to hear wedding photography tips from different cultures and whether there are any differences in priorities. However, Pranjal from CandidShutter’s tip is universal and all about being authentic and true to yourself, he had this to say –
Whether you can admit it or not, our babies don’t always look like the Gerber baby. They get baby zits, cradle cap, thrush, snot, eye crusties, they scratch their little faces…taking coloured photos will, no doubt, capture it all. Black and white, on the other hand, tends to soften an image and eliminates some of the noise. I find black and white photos can tell an entirely different story from colour. Go on, give it a try!
#2 - it will still be coming straight from camera so will flatten out the subject. The angle of light from that direction adds no texture to the people or their face, and it removes all texture. Perhaps if you are doing a glamour or fashion shoot that would work but for most portraits you want the light from the side to create shadows, which create texture and lighting patterns.
I was iffy about maternity photos however I definetly want new born photos. I found a photographer who has a package including 30min maternity session (perfect because I only want a few) and hour newborn session for $100 that comes with photos on cd and the rights! Or another package for $200 including 30min maternity 45min newborn and 30 min 6month and 1year sessions again it's the cd and rights! Therefore I will be doing the 4sessions for $200! Just can't beat the price and I won't regret any missed photo oppurtunities:)
For more than 15 years, Teresa Berg Photography has specialized in newborn and children photography. The photography studio, based in Addison, creates modern and emotional portraits, including maternity photos, senior photos, family photos, and pet photos. The company also shoots business portraits for portfolios and resumes. Teresa Berg has more than 20 years of photography experience.
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 🙂
It’s amazing post! Clear a lot of my question. I always like to do a photos but just couple month ago I found myself in babies photography. I am just learning but I really enjoy it like never before anything. And I really want to create my carer towards baby and kids photography. I am only concern that I don’t have any qualification, curses or higher degree and that can put people out from me…
Michael's beautiful maternity photos capture the beauty and intense emotion of this special time. Pregnancy is a life-changing experience, and these invaluable memories are captured as art with Michael's beautiful maternity photography. With over a decade of experience, nyc maternity photographer Michael Kormos specializes in fine art studio photography and lifestyle maternity photography. Michael has gained a reputation as an esteemed nyc maternity photographer. His maternity photography celebrates the voluptuous curves and natural glow of pregnancy.

Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we'll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once. 
I love to celebrate each of my client’s uniqueness during your photographic session. No experience will ever be the same, which is what I love the most about what I do! I strive to learn as much as I can about each individual in your family before our photo session so that each individual’s personality shines through in your images. Don’t forget to request my style guide for great tips on what to wear, location ideas, and everything in between!
Love is Love Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas that serves the areas of Keller, Grapevine, Dallas, Fort Worth, and beyond. This studio specializes in candid family portraits. Clients pay $350 to secure their reservation. With Love is Love Photography, no image two images are the same; they take each photo with a unique stylistic approach.
With thirteen uncles and aunts on my dad's side, I have a very large extended family. I don't do family portraits often, but when I do, I've found that the best two techniques that work for me for ensuring everyone's looking in the same direction and are ready for the group shot is (1) telling them beforehand that if they can't see my camera's lens from their position in the group, then my camera is likely not going to see them either, so they need to find another position, and (2) I give them a "3-2-1" (or for larger groups, a "5-4-3-2-1") countdown before taking the shot. This usually results in me getting the shot I want pretty quickly, and I don't have to go through dozens of shots to find one where everyone is actually ready for their picture to be taken.
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