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.

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.

Thanks for bringing to my attention the importance of leaving plenty of time to get ready before a family photo shoot. It’s been many years since our last family picture, so I want to have another one taken soon. I imagine that trying to get ready last minute would only lead to stress and unhappy parents and kids, so I’ll make sure to give us lots of time beforehand.
Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.
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!
“The key is developing and following one’s own style. One should not try and copy others but develop their own style and try and create a niche segment around it with their expertise in that field. This way the increasing competition does not affect one’s business. Good branding is an important aspect as well. So developing a niche style and promoting your business around that style is the key to survival and growth for every wedding photographer.”

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…


Clothing is the most important element of a photograph. I welcome multiple wardrobe changes during my photo sessions. I generally recommend dressier, layered, non-matching clothing as it adds more depth and character to the photograph. An easy way to achieve this look is to add, scarves, leg warmers, boots, big costume jewelry, jackets, glasses, hats, etc. It is important to keep in mind that photographs will appear more fluent with low contrasting colors. This includes not only your clothing but also the location, background, lighting and surroundings.  Please click here for our “What to Wear Guide”.
Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.
I’m a newbie trying to get into the awesome career of Photography. My friend is pregnant with her 3rd child. First girl! I’m shooting her maternity photos in 2 weeks! I am super excited but very nervous about it at the same time. This helped A LOT! I’ve got a lot of ideas but I’m still trying to figure out ‘my style’. Thanks so much for the tips! Might post some photos later on…get some feedback? That would awesome!

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.


Whether you are all playing outside in the falling leaves, posing by the cozy fireplace or walking along the beach, you are the ones who will make the photo unique. We know that it sometimes takes the inspiration from others to get your creative juices flowing, so we have put together a list of 80 photo family photo ideas. Sort through the filters to find the best fit for your family. Don’t forget to share your photos with friends and family—easily order prints from your desk or mobile phone. And for additional inspiration check out this article: family photo wall ideas.
Pose your engagement ring and wedding bands prettily on your wedding day—they're symbolic of your union, after all. Photographer Cassi Claire says she returns to this particular shot over and again, especially when flipping through her own wedding photos: "I don't often wear my engagement ring while traveling, so this photo has been referenced many times."

Good article! Something else to mention . . . if you're just starting out, I'd recommend picking up an used or refurb model. I bought a Canon 40D first without knowing what I was buying and payed over a grand (which was good for the time). I ended up buying a refurb Canon Rebel xti as a backup for less than $350, and to be honest, I shoot with it more! The 40D is the better camera and has much better build quality, but the xti gives it a run for it's money and is smaller / lighter. I could have saved the money for a full frame camera or a nice L lens. :)

Thank you for this great post! I was looking on the internet a lot about best cameras for beginners and your post is the best. It’s so easy to read! I really want to get Nikon D3300, I actually want to buy the whole package, but your link shows that the package you recommend is unavailable. Could you, please, help me choose another good package to buy?
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”.  The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands.  The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing.  Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
If you have followed our tips from the start you will of discussed any group shots with the couple before the wedding. A good idea is to get these into a list on paper. Having a print out means you can have one copy and the person you have tasked with rounding people up can have a copy. This way you can simply tick them off as you make your way through the list.
Whether you are all playing outside in the falling leaves, posing by the cozy fireplace or walking along the beach, you are the ones who will make the photo unique. We know that it sometimes takes the inspiration from others to get your creative juices flowing, so we have put together a list of 80 photo family photo ideas. Sort through the filters to find the best fit for your family. Don’t forget to share your photos with friends and family—easily order prints from your desk or mobile phone. And for additional inspiration check out this article: family photo wall ideas.WeddingWire makes the search for the perfect professional wedding photographer easy. All you need to do is enter a zip code or specific city and WeddingWire will show the local wedding photographers in your area. We have thousands of reviews from real couples, just like you, which are an absolute necessity when looking at all vendors, especially wedding photographers.
Your portrait session should be a reflection of your family. Before our session we will have a phone or in person consultation so we can discuss your expectations, ideas, and goals for our session. Preparation and communication are the keys to a successful portrait session, so make sure to share all your ideas and concerns with me during our consultation or on your questionnaire!
I live in this dichotomous world in my head.  I’ve always been a thrifty DIY gal who loves to shop garage sales. However, I’m also a professional photographer who charges according to my expertise, which aren’t necessarily garage sale prices.  I think that every 2-3 years, investing in a professional photographer is ideal. There are many price ranges out there, and with a little researc, you can find someone in your area that meets your needs. I also know that taking Family Pictures just isn’t in the budget each year for most people, so I’m going to share some tips on How to Take your Own Family Pictures.

As you start looking through photographers’ portfolios, pay attention to the lighting quality in the pictures. Are they dark and moody? Bright and romantic? Each photographer has a certain style, and there will most likely be one that you mesh with better than others. You may also notice while you’re looking through portfolios that some photographers refer to themselves “natural light photographers” which just means that they only use whatever light is available, rather than using a flash or other lighting setups. If you are getting married somewhere dark without a lot of windows, you will want to make sure that the photographer knows how to create light when it isn’t there. Every lighting situation is different for photographers, so make sure you’re looking at photos that have similar characteristics to your venue. An outdoor wedding in the middle of the day with bright sun requires a very different skill than a New Year’s Eve reception in a dark church. (Also, a hot tip: ask to see some reception shots, since many of us don’t include those in our portfolios. Because if you are having an art gallery reception with no light, you want to make sure we can handle it. If all the reception photos are a little blurry and have been converted to black and white, then low-light situations are probably not that photographer’s forte. If you see lots of backlighting and what appears to be bursts of light behind the dancing, it means that that photographer has the ability to create standalone lighting in situations where the light is nonexistent.)


Hi. I'm having hard time deciding if I want to do maternity or newborn photos or both. I have emailed several people in my area and for the two sessions and rights to the pics we are looking at $400. I can think of lots of other things to buy for baby but I know these pictures are once in a lifetime. Also we do have a nice Nikon camera that I could attempt to take them myself and have someone take them of me. I keep going back and forth because in all honesty what ends up with these pictures anyway? Please help me persuade myself one way or another. TIA!
Hold a photo party. A wonderful way to bring people together, share photos and learn a little more is to hold a photo party. Invite family and longtime members of the community to peruse boxes, piles or albums of photos placed around the room and just let people mingle and remember. Have a notepad near each stack and ask guests to share what they know. Send each person home with a small box of treasured photos or create a scanned album of favorites to share online.
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