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.
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.
Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
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!
If the couple has requested family photos let them know how it is going to go. For example, say you will photograph the Brides family first. You will then ask the grooms family to join so you can photograph both families together. Finally, you will ask the Brides family to leave so you can capture the Grooms family. If everyone knows what is going on it makes the whole process a lot less stressful for you and the guests.
Excellent points, especially about using a tripod. The main benefit is that you'll need taking many nearly identical photos in order to get "the one" where everybody in the group is looking their best. Unless you've done this before, you'd be surprised how many shots it can take. Somebody's always looking away, blinking, has their head/hands etc. in a less than ideal position. Once everything is all set up as Darlene says, just shoot as many shots as you can in a very short amount of time.

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.
Sometimes I find an interesting subject, but just not an interesting place to photograph it from.  If you look at professional photos, they are very often taken from non-obvious spots.  For example, a photo of a CEO will be photographed from down low, looking up at the person to make him or her look more powerful.  Or, in the case of photographing a city, we often want to get to a very high perspective to shoot down and see the whole city.
Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive.  What do your dream family photos look like?  If they are soft and elegant?  Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues.  Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family?  Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents.  Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.
Know someone in your area who has gotten beautiful photos taken of their own family? Reach out and ask them who they hired! Not only can you feel more secure knowing they’re recommended, but a lot of photographers offer bonuses or discounts when you’re part of a referral. And, if no one comes to mind, you could try posting a status update, asking if anyone can recommend a local photographer.
Perhaps now you’re wondering why I even bother posing newborns at all if I want them to look natural. A couple of reasons: 1) Newborns have very little control over their limbs, so they tend to flail about. Left to their own devices, their arms and hands can look very contorted. 2) Most newborns burrow their heads into whatever is nearest them, meaning they will generally hide their faces in any blanket or pillow you lay them down on. 3) Newborn’s legs are long and skinny, and they just don’t look good in photographs when they are sticking straight out. Tucking their legs up underneath them makes for a much tidier looker photo.
Lovely Fitzgerald Photography, based in The Colony, aims to capture the spirit of its portrait subjects in its newborn photography. Jessica, the photographer, was previously an interior designer and has transformed her eye for detail into a love of photography. The business transforms its photographs into artistic products including framed photos, albums, canvas prints, fine art prints, and glass displays. The photo studio's workshops teach students posing, editing, marketing, and in-person sales skills.
Chrystal Cienfuegos, owner of Chrystal Cienfuegos Photography, offers a natural & organic style of newborn & portrait photography in Southern California. She is passionate about telling love stories through elegant and timeless imagery that is inspired by the unique beauty of each client. She's a San Diego native and mother of two fun little ladies. Among her favorite things are Chargers football, swimming, impromptu family dance parties, wine (of course), and evening walks with her neighbors.
No matter where you shoot, studio, home, outside, 7Eleven, you’ve got to simplify your surroundings. The beauty of a mother anticipating the arrival of her child should be captured in a way that allows the miracle to speak for itself. Pregnancy doesn’t require anything “else” to be present in a photograph to help tell it’s story. Everything in the frame that may not belong will simply serve to distract from the story that’s already being told, naturally. Pay attention to background.
[…] I decided to use the techniques I had practised with during my test shoot with the doll, anbd bring them into the shoot I did with the real newborn, as well as looking online for any tips that could help me with getting the images perfect. I found a site which talked me through the different poses, the best way to move the newborn and then preparation before hand, I found the advice quite helpful: DIY newborn shoots […]
If the baby has older siblings, I try to make the sibling shots my very first priority and then let them go play while we finish the session.  Toddlers simply don’t have the attention span to sit quietly and wait for you to call on them for their picture so get their poses done first while they are curious and excited about your visit.  By the time the session is over, they are usually open to participating again and that is when I try to get some lifestyle sibling shots.  If they don’t want to participate, I’ve found promises of ice cream & candy have magical powers! (as long as that’s ok with Mom & Dad).

With a growing business and two infants at home there isn't a lot we have time for but volunteering is dear to our hearts. Thats why we volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. Along with this gift, I love serving families of Rainbow babies, and have done a story about my work with WFFA. To see the story, you may click here.
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.
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.

For Teens and Couple sessions we do some location hopping to 4-5 different spots close in driving proximity to each other. We can often include all three types of locations, but usually at least two of these settings. I LOVE photographing couples/engagements, but I do not shoot weddings, and I understand that some want the same photographer for both.
Newborn photography is not all as it seems. That baby in a hammock? The little girl propping her head up in that froggy pose? And the little guy in a firefighter helmet? Those are all Photoshop tricks. Babies can’t hold their heads like that, and you should never place a baby inside a prop that may tip over or otherwise endanger the baby without taking proper precautions.
If having the digital files from your session is important to you, then there are some details that you’ll definitely want to understand up front. Does the photographer offer digital files to the client? If so, are they included in the price? And if they’re extra, how much will they cost? Will you get a print release? Some photographers will give you a print release that allows you to print the photos anywhere you want, while others will restrict you to a certain printer, or even to web-use only.
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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