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!
The small details that a couple has spent hours upon hours planning deserve to be photographed. Moreover, these details make for great photographs that you can use to tell the complete story of the wedding. It can sometimes be easy to forget to photograph these or the schedule might not allow it. But there is no doubt the couple will appreciate photos of things like flowers, rings, dress details, table settings etc.
Because one of our best tips is to shoot in RAW we advise getting fast memory cards. RAW files are big and there is lots of data to store on your memory card. You should be looking at the ‘write’ speed measured in MB/s. BEWARE! The speed listed on the card is the transfer speed (the speed in which it transfers the files to your computer). Whilst it can be good to have a fast transfer speed what you want is good write speed. 95MB/s is a good write speed and should easily handle a continuous burst of RAW photos.
More than any other complaint I hear from brides is that the photographer missed getting a certain photo (such as the bride with her high school roommate, her little sister in the pink dress, etc).  The best way to avoid this is to simply meet with the bride before the wedding and have her create a shoot list.  You can even bring some sample photos (perhaps on an iPad?) to the meeting and have her select a few poses she really wants.  Write down the bride's shot list and mark each one off on wedding day.  I usually end up with about 15 “must have” shots.
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.
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!
Don’t just shoot what’s always been shot. This is a good general rule of photography. I really try to be “consistently inconsistent” (I recently heard another photographer, Nate Kaiser of theimageisfound.com, use this term and I had to pirate it). Let me explain, you’ve got to approach each shoot as it’s own. I’m very committed as a photographer to tailoring each shoot for the subject I’m photographing. Like I said before, this is a good general rule that applies particularly to maternity photography. Even though millions and millions of mothers have given birth to millions and millions of babies for millions and millions of years, a momma-to-be needs to feel like her pregnancy is miraculous, special and sacred, that the things she’s experiencing are unique only to her. Because they are.
Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your camera manual.
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Consider shooting a fake wedding couple in order to practice posing techniques or just to build up some portfolio images. It can be hard to get your feet on the ladder at the start and you need images in order to attract clients. Shooting couples who are friends is a great way to build confidence and experiment with new techniques without the pressures that come with a wedding.
One thing I learned when I became a parent, was that the baby is the boss regardless of how much control I pretend I have.  The same is true for newborn photography.  If the baby doesn’t want to go to sleep for posing after you’ve tried everything, take some lifestyle shots & keep shooting.  Swaddle tight and try to get some eye contact.  Get images of mommy rocking the baby, be open and flexible – the session doesn’t always go as planned and that might just be the best thing that happens to you.
Communication and planning are key. Discuss in detail what is going to happen on the day, what the clients will be wearing, and what you’re going to be bringing. Coordinate their outfits with your props, or, say, the baby’s booties with their decor. You have to think of it all. Best of all, if you hit it off with the family, you’ll get that referral and your client base will grow. Speaking of which…
If an engagement session isn't included in your wedding photo package, hire an à la carte photographer instead. For a basic portrait sitting at a photography studio and a couple prints, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars. Hiring a professional for an afternoon's worth of photo ops will cost several times that much—the final cost will depend on where you live and the popularity of the photographer.
Gear can be an expensive investment if you are just starting out in wedding photography. We’d always recommend taking some form of a backup camera body to a wedding just in case. If you can’t afford a second body consider a less expensive model of camera. Or rent one. It might seem like you are taking money off your profits but this could quite literally save you if your main body were to fail on a wedding day.
This is great news for you photographers who want to try out different types of photography, or make a little money from your photography. Newborn baby pics are also an amazing addition to your online photography portfolio; a great newborn photoshoot can really show off your skill and range as a shooter (to say nothing of your subject wrangling skills!).
If you're opting for a nautical vibe with beach engagement photos, don't be afraid to get some sand between your toes. Going barefoot sets a laid-back mood that works in a seaside setting. And this no-fuss approach will save you the trouble of searching for beach-appropriate footwear. To keep your engagement photos looking polished, pair bare feet with structured outfits. Navy blue and white ensembles are a safe bet for pulling off a beach style that's laid-back but still pulled together.
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.
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.
Think 20+ years down the road. I’m sure we all enjoy looking at our own baby pictures, but as an adult, don’t those pictures have more sentiment if they include family and friends? I know it’s easy to see someone else with a camera and quickly try to dodge out of the way equipped with every excuse in the book (My hair’s a mess! Pictures make me look fat! I’m dressed like a bum!). When your baby becomes an adult, I’m sure they’d appreciate seeing themselves surrounded by their loved ones more than having album after album of just themselves.
Make sure that the children can move freely in their outfits and that they aren’t going to be pulling and scratching at their new clothes. You want them happy and comfortable, not grouchy and miserable during the shoot! This means letting them have some input in what they wear. Kids who help dress themselves will not only be much happier campers when shooting time comes, but you’ll let their own beautiful personalities shine through in the images. Also, try not to make kids change outfits more than a couple times – another reason all those layers and accessories can be handy. The same goes for you – make sure that you select an outfit that makes you feel stunning and relaxed.
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