Keep location in mind. Another helpful item to consider when trying to decide what to wear in your family photos is the location of your photoshoot. Are you going to be on the beach where there are plenty of neutral tones or under a tree surrounded by bright fall foliage? Select a color palette for your outfits that will complement the setting. Pick out items of clothing in colors that will complement your background and not compete with it.
Pro tip: Once you get the sign and the location nailed down, it's time to concentrate on wardrobe. "Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in," says Tempe, Ariz.-based photographer Melissa Young. "I like the way long dresses and skirts work for maternity. If you have any doubts on the outfits, you may choose to seek advice from your photographer in advance, as they can give tips as to what photographs best for your body type and the location you are shooting at."
This one is a little tricky because you want to be organized and you want to know where you are supposed to be and when and be able to track whether things are running on time. BUT, if you try to plan out every second of your day you will spend all day looking at your timeline (instead of enjoying your wedding!) and it will just stress you out once you inevitably get a couple of minutes behind! What do we mean and what is the difference? Here’s an example of good planning that let’s you know what is supposed to be happening, when it is supposed to be happening, and where it is supposed to be happening:
Over the past few weeks I have been working on something new that will be coming to newbornposing.com A family portrait is the most valuable thing you should own. A big thank you to the Brown family (not related) for allowing me to capture these beautiful memories. #newbornposingdotcom #familyportraiture #family #portraitphotograpy #comingsoon #littlepiecesphotography #spinestreetstudios Backdrop by @shadesofjadeshop
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!
You should also state that taking your own photos is dangerous.. photographers know how to handle babies since that’s what they do… parents when posing have no idea. I love the comments on how parents are going to capture this important milestone.. HAPPENS once in a lifetime with bad photos. N O matter what you state here, this should left for the professionals. Its like having aunt MARY take photos at your wedding, yes you will have photos of your wedding, but don’t you want pretty photos done by a professional? it happens ONCE, that is it.. something people should think about. Just because you have scissors and a tutorial doesn’t mean you can cut hair, just because you have a recipe doesn’t mean you are a cook. Take snapshots but also hire a professional
Wedding photography is the photography of activities relating to weddings. It encompasses photographs of the couple before marriage (for announcements, portrait displays, or thank you cards) as well as coverage of the wedding and reception (sometimes referred to as the wedding breakfast in non-US countries). It is a major branch of commercial photography, supporting many specialists.
Choose practical clothing items. This is an important item to keep in mind for every family member but, especially when you are thinking about what to dress your little ones in. If your kids are not comfortable then you’re going to be in for a long photo shoot. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself or your photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure all smiles.
Another reason to hold a newborn photo shoot soon after birth is because babies change so quickly the first few months, and you don’t want to miss the chance to photograph that uber tiny newborn look. Does this mean you can’t get good pictures when your baby is three weeks old instead of seven days? Of course not. But earlier can be simpler, which is always a good thing.
Dress your partner and other children to complement your style. If you are including your partner and other children in your photo shoot, help coordinate their outfits in advance so that everything will work well with your outfits. Talk to your family about what they would be comfortable wearing and include their ideas and visions into the overall look. Consider having everyone wear a certain style of clothing, or have them dress in varying shades of a particular color.
This isn’t always the case, but often, full-time photographers are more likely to be reliable, responsive and fast; carry business insurance; have backup equipment in case of camera failure; and institute proper backup procedures in case of hard drive failure or memory card loss. A full-time photographer is more likely to be operating legally as a business, be technically competent and be consistently investing in professional development. A full-time photographer is more likely to understand the costs of being in business and is more likely to still be in business and able to serve as a resource for years to come.
This one is a biggie when answering the question of “How do I choose a family photographer.” Are you looking for a cheap, quick and easy process where you only need 1 or 2 good images or do you really value the images that the amount of money you spend is less important? The easiest way to narrow down your list of family photographers is to set a budget. This being said, it’s important to understand that in the photography industry, you get what you pay for. Our pricing is usually based on experience and a professional photographer comes with a professional price tag. Additionally, professionals use price as a way to attract clients who truly value photography. I would rather work with someone willing to communicate and put the time, effort and money into achieving a great set of images then someone who is just bargain hunting. If you’re looking for a cheap and quick photo, consider using a new and budding photographer who is trying to build their portfolio or a set portrait service in a department store studio. If you really do value photography but are low on funds a cheap option is to look for mini-session specials from the photographers you really love. These are usually quick 10-20 minute sessions in a set location that include only a few digital files and photographers of all levels usually do sales on this kind of session at least once a year.
2. Backdrop board. I have a couple DIY backdrop boards that I made for about $10 each (full instructions in this post). I stand one up against the backs of two of my kitchen chairs. The backdrop boards can be used alone for a solid colored background, or can be used to drape blankets from for more background options. The background should be angled so it faces the right or left side of the window, not the middle of it, as you can see in the photo above. This will allow the baby’s head to be a little closer to the window than her feet, allowing the light to hit her forehead first, causing gentle shadows just under her nose and chin. If you don’t have a backdrop board, stand two kitchen chairs backwards here anyway so you can drape a blanket from them. If you use a backdrop board it must be secured with clamps to the chairs it stands in front of to assure it will not fall over.
If you have a dSLR and any lenses with wide aperture capabilities (like a 28-70 2.8 or even a 50 1.8) I’d recommend using one of those lenses and keeping your aperture open fairly wide, around 2.8. That will help to blur the background and make the photographs look a little more professional. If not, don’t sweat it – turning off your flash will force your camera to use the widest aperture it’s got (using the portrait setting will also help here). Your camera may have a harder time keeping the shutter speed high if it’s not very bright in your house, so consider using a tripod if you have one. Better equipment sometimes makes for better photos, but knowing how to use what you have is really more important. If you have a few months before your baby is born, spend a little time getting to know your camera. If you don’t have time to practice, following my tips will still help you improve your photos.
Inspiration is everywhere – probably even in the form of Pinterest emails from your client. It is a great idea to have some poses in mind before you arrive at the session. However, like letting the love story of a wedding day unfold organically, I believe the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of each baby. Whether it is cute dimples, big beautiful eyes, full lips, or a great head of hair, try to highlight the beauty of the baby.
Yes, you can take newborn photos after two weeks but you’ll have to opt for different poses and concepts. Your newborn will likely be awake during the session so you should go for photos that include the baby with clothes on and wide awake. Taking newborn photos after two weeks isn’t unheard of and your photos will still turn out well. However, your little one won’t curl up so easily after two weeks so we encourage you to take a different approach with your photos. Babies begin to stretch and extend their arms and legs after two weeks, making it harder for them to naturally curl up during photos. Don’t be discouraged though by timing as you should still schedule a newborn session even if two weeks have passed by.
Thank you!! I am not yet enrolled in photography classes, but at 32 if I hear one more person say “so why aren’t you a photographer?” I will cry. I love photography, just got my first SLR which I completely don’t understand yet, (aperture what??!?) but I will be learning. And since I am 7 months pregnant I was looking for some good tips in taking my own newborn photos, I appreciate you writing this! Very good info and depending how it goes, I may be pursuing a new career!
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"
This is probably my favorite pose, and is always the one I start with if the baby is sleepy (plan to feed your baby right before you try to photograph him so he’ll be more likely to fall asleep). I love how peaceful babies look in this position. It’s also a great pose if you (like me) like newborns to be naked in their photos – you can see their sweet little arms and legs, but nothing else is exposed.
Start the same way you would for the first pose, with a naked baby in a blanket in your arms. Once he’s sleepy, gently lay him down on his back and remove the blanket. Cross his feet and bend his knees like you see in the photo below and just hold them there with your hand for a few minutes. If he relaxes in that position, you’ll be able to slowly remove your hand and his legs will stay crossed.
Take advantage of this complimentary service, as it eliminates uncertainty, allowing you to play around with different options before investing in them. Once you’ve decided on your artwork collection, some photographers will retouch images ordered. And professional photographers have access to higher quality printing and products that you’re not able to access yourself.
Now is not the time to be starring dreamily into space – make sure you look at the camera (and remind everyone else in the photo to look into the camera too!). Try to get the “looking at the camera” shots out of the way first when everyone has enough attention. It can quickly get tough to get kids to cooperate, so aiming to get this shot first is key.
Think about it: Your photographer doesn't automatically know that your wedding photo list would include a shot of your mom with all her sisters, or that you want a photo with all the cousins. Consider this wedding photo list a family portrait checklist for your photographer. By providing this wedding photo list before the big day, your photographer will be able to plan out the portrait timing, and which family wedding photos to take when. Not sure who to include in your wedding family photo list? We've done the hard work for you!
Be very open with your clients about your preference regarding an engagement session and explain how you typically do it. Be very patient with the couple and let them speak their minds before suggesting anything from yourself. As the opportunity presents itself for you to explain what you usually do, lead them the right way while showing examples of your previous work. Ask questions and make the session about them. Find out if they like certain places or if they have strong location preferences where they wish to be photographed. Are they an outdoorsy couple or do they enjoy the city life better?
I'm not a fan of maternity shots. I'd be lying if I said I felt anything other than a hot mess during both pregnancies. Plus, they always seem kind of forced. My go-to photographer does them and has asked me about getting some a few times. But in every maternity session, it's some glowing woman in a super long dress that attaches around her boobs and is flowing in the wind. Very realistic, no?
As I said before, this is simply a template for shooting a wedding day. Obviously, different cultures and situations are going to call for different shots. The best thing you can do in any situation is talk to your clients before and get an exact list of what they want. Anything after that is lagniappe. An even better form of communication would be an official schedule of what's happening. This protects you in the end if there is any misunderstandings. I have created a downloadable file for the checklist. Feel free to change this up to fit your needs. I've included PDF, Excel, and Numbers formats.
Once you’ve taken 10-15 shots of the scene, figure out how you can change the setting without disturbing the baby. This picture below is from the same pose as the first photo in this post, but it looks very different. I unclamped the blanket the baby is laying on from the backdrop board, letting it fall behind her. Then I clamped pretty pink fabric to the backdrop board. Finally, I pull the edge of the blanket the baby is lying on up over her back to make it look like she’s tucked in bed. While I was making these changes the baby was snoozing away, staying perfectly posed. I got two very different looking sets of photos from one pose. This is a great way to maximize the baby pictures you get from your DIY photoshoot.
One of my biggest mistakes, when I was starting out, was that I brought all my props/wraps/blankets/headbands to every single session. When I got set up, I would have a mini panic attack because I had no idea where I should start. Now I plan 3-4 different setups (based on the client’s preferences and expectations) and that’s all. I am often inspired by something the client owns as well, such as a blanket knitted by Grandma or something else that’s special to mom and dad, so it is not uncommon for me to not even use everything I bring.
Creative props can be the difference between a professional photo and an amateur one. Newborn props don’t have to be expensive and you can find most of what you need at home or a local crafts stores. Other recommended locations are Beautiful Photo Props and Etsy. For ideas, consider incorporating the parents’ hobbies, their culture, their favorite colors, or their overall personalities. We came up with the concept below for Ellie because her mother used to live in Paris. For more inspiration and to see how this scene was shot, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop.
We prefer to focus on the simple beauty of your newborn with minimal use of props and we provide everything for the session. The studio photographs posed newborn sessions between 6-18 days after birth in our studio located in East Dallas location. We only book a set number of newborn sessions each month, so please be sure to secure your due date on our calendar as soon as you know you want to book. If your baby has already been born we will try my best to squeeze you in so contact me to check scheduling!
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.
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.
But once you’re in front of the photographer, what do you do besides smile? We’ve combined a variety of maternity photo ideas for any mood. You’re sure to find plenty of inspiration from humorous to serious, and artsy to classic. In anticipation of your little one, don’t forget to share the great news of their arrival with an equally sweet birth announcement.
Even before little ones are born, parents begin searching for the perfect photographer to capture the moments that will last a lifetime. The glow of motherhood in maternity portraits. The beautiful delivery details in birth photography. Photography plays such an important role in parenthood, we know those decisions aren’t made lightly. To help answer one of the biggest questions we often receive “Where Can I Find a Photographer?”, we created this guide.
First, you have to make the decision--and stick to it--that you'll download (or upload) all your photos and videos within a day or so of taking them. It's a good idea to get in the habit of at least copying your photos and videos off your device and it really takes no time; once you've got a system in place, you can do it while watching TV, eating dinner, or playing with the cat. Why bother? The last thing you want to do is run out of space on your card at a key moment or lose your media if you misplace or break your device. If you want to keep it portable to share, that's fine. But you also want to be able to hit "delete" or "format" if necessary. And you need to commit to the plan. If you don't, you'll end up more confused, having to remember whether you downloaded something or not before you can start looking for it.
So if you want to shoot weddings you will have to break your duck somehow or another. But diving in at the deep end is not recommended. If you just got a new DSLR for Christmas chances are someone will know someone who is getting married. That’s just the way to world works for some reason. Before you have got to grips with how to actually use your camera you are thrown into the bear pit. Asked to shoot Auntie Jackie’s daughter’s wedding. And you aren’t prepared. Be honest with yourself about how good you are. It’s also an idea to be honest with the couple. Your best option in this situation is to begin your journey by second shooting for a photographer. This allows you to gain vital experience so that you can enter your first wedding full of confidence and more importantly ability.
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People having fun on summer vacation. Father, mother and child against blue sea and skyFamily Relaxing In Garden With Pet DogHappy family father and children reading a book in tent at hom. Happy family father and children reading a book with a flashlight in a tent at homeFamily of noble deer in a snowy winter forest. Christmas fantasy image in blue and white color. Snowing. Underwater photo. Happy family snorkelling in tropical sea. Happy family - father, mother, child in snorkeling mask dive underwater with tropical fishes in coralBig family have a dinner with fresh cooked meal on open garden t. ErraceNewborn Baby and Family Concept, Parents Holding New Born Child. Newborn Baby and Family Concept, Parents Couple Holding New Born Child in Hands, Mother FatherHappy family. Young father playing silly with his daughter lifting her upClinking glasses of wine. Cheers after speech. Party at cafe or restaurant. Family celebration or anniversary. Portrait happy attractive young family posing embracing. Portrait of multi-ethnic attractive mother father adorable little preschool daughter sitting togetherFamily on a camping trip walking near a lake, back viewHappy Couple Dreaming Of Their New Home Or Furnishing On Blue Background. Family With Sketch Drawing Of Their Future Flat Interior. Back view Of Happy CoupleFamily. Lying on green grass. Children having fun outdoors in spring park. Retro toned imageFamily Carrying Boxes Into New Home On Moving DayFamily outdoors. Family of three generations outdoors, smilingBusy Family Home With Mother Working As Father Prepares MealPortrait of Happy Family Piled Up In Park. SmilingHappy black family standing outside their houseMulti generation black family, parents piggybacking kidsFamily in a hike. Family with two kids have hiking through the mountainsFamily preparing for Easter. Mother and child painting eggs. Happy family preparing for EasterTime with family is always on the first place. 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Multi-ethnic family spend time together sitting on couch in living room have fun play with little preschoolSmiling multi-generation family using mobile phone in living room. At homeHappy family mother and child girl paints eggs for Easter. At homeFamily lying on grass. Outdoors in spring parkTime for family always exists. Young parents playing with daughters at homeHappy loving family. Mother and her daughters children girls playing and huggingFamily New Home Moving Day House Concept. Happy family playing into new home. Father, mother and child having fun together. Moving house day and real estateConcept housing young family. Mother father and child in new h. Concept housing a young family. Mother father and child in new house with a roof at empty brickMulti Generation Family Giving Children Piggybacks OutdoorsFamily in iceland. Back view of family, father and son, enjoying beautiful view at iceberg lagoon in jokulsarlon national park in iceland, copy space on rightHappy family shopping. A happy family is shopping together in a mallPretty yong family in bed. Parents kissing their baby, top viewEnjoy family. Family enjoy playing singing togetherHappy family: mother, father, children son and daughter on sunset. Happy family: mother, father, children son and daughter on nature on sunsetHappy family mother and daughter read a book in evening. Happy family mother and daughter read a book in the evening at homeHappy family mother and baby son on autumn walk. Happy family mother and baby son playing and laughing on autumn walkMother and child daughter practicing yoga together at home. Sport and family concept. Mother and child daughter practicing yoga together in living room at homeYoung woman having fun with kids doing yoga. Family sport concep. T. Close upEvening family reading. father reads children . book before going to bed . Evening family reading. father reads children a book before going to bedAmerican soldier with family outdoors. Military service. American soldier with happy family outdoors. Military serviceHappy African-American family of four on beach. Happy African-American family with two children on beachFamily reading bedtime. Mom and child reading book with a flashlight under blanket. Family reading bedtime. Mom and child daughter reading a book with aFamily on Easter. Happy holiday! Mother and her daughter with painting eggs. Family preparing for Easter. Cute little child girl is wearing bunny earsHappy family father, mother and child daughter launch a kite on. Nature at sunsetHappy family father and daughter reading book in bed. Happy family father and child daughter reading book in bedLarge Family by Tree. 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Wear solid colors to accentuate your belly. When selecting your outfit for your maternity shoot, consider wearing solid colors that will highlight the shape of your belly. Large patterns can distract or conceal your baby bump. If you wish to wear a pattern with swirls, stripes, or florals, make sure you are happy with how the pattern accentuates your belly.
Don’t be afraid to move the parents around and tell them where they need to be. Even if you’re just casually photographing your neighbor’s family, you’re the professional and people will listen. If a location isn’t working or the light is poor in a certain area, suggest an alternative in a positive way. Say something like, “Why don’t we try moving into that large open shade area by that tree, it will give us a break from this heavy sun”, rather than, “The light is horrible here, let’s move”.
Incorporate yoga poses into your photo shoot. If you are an avid yogi and feel comfortable striking a downward dog while pregnant, try to include some yoga poses in your photo shoot. Posing in a fierce warrior pose will showcase your strength and will perfectly silhouette your baby bump. Facing the camera while sitting down in a lotus pose will highlight your belly and create a tranquil and mindful scene.
The biggest mistake I hear from people is that they hired someone because it was easy, their website looked good enough, and the price was right, and then regretting it down the road when the moment was past and the pictures weren’t what they had really wanted. Photographers all have different styles. At least, they should. If you are looking at a photographer’s website, and they don’t have a clear style, that is a sign that they have not found their voice yet. They don’t have confidence in their craft, and they probably aren’t going to be able to deliver what you want.
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.
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.
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 🙂
Hopefully this post has helped you answer the question of How do I choose a family photographer. Still want to learn more about choosing a family photographer for your shoot? Here is another great blog about choosing the right photographer which covers some of the same tips as well as additional information on the topic. I love to include other people’s writing on the same topic just because I myself am kind of a research addict for big purchases! Remember, Proper prior planning is everything and research is where it all starts!
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.
Most photographers provide a set of proofs (usually unretouched, edited images) for the clients to view. Photographers may provide hard copy proofs in the form of 4x5 or 4x6 prints, a "magazine" of images with thumbnail sized pictures on multiple pages. Alternatively, they will provide an online proofing gallery. The images will sometimes include a digital watermark/company logo on the images. Some photographers provide these proofs for the client to keep, and some photographers require the client to make final print choices from the proofs and then return them or purchase them at an additional cost.
Alysse Renee Photography specializes in newborn, child, and family photography. The photography studio, based in Little Elm, will also shoot maternity photos, first-year milestones, newborn hospital photos pregnancy announcements, senior portraits, and weddings. The studio provides a variety of choices in displaying newborn photos, including mounted prints, canvas prints, luxe metals, heirloom albums, and gift prints. The photographer finds her inspiration in candid shots and pops of color.
I did get a few more ‘portrait’ like shots in that first week but then ended up being more activity based ones, often with other family members. On returning home and over the three weeks since I’ve continued to take the documentary style shots but have seen a move to take a lot more portrait style shots also. Quite a few of our friends have commented on the nice balance between styles.
One more piece of advice that someone gave me on my own wedding day. ‘Things will Go Wrong – But They Can be the Best Parts of the Day’. In every wedding that I’ve participated in something tends to go wrong with the day. The best man can’t find the ring, the rain pours down just as the ceremony ends, the groom forgets to do up his fly, the flower girl decides to sit down in the middle of the aisle or the bride can’t remember her vows….
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.
For these photos, I did not add contrast, vibrance or saturation! The lighting was perfect and made our outfits pop. I prefer not to over edit photos, but I do love to tweak them a bit. Believe me, I earned every wrinkle I have and I do not plan to edit those out! But I will fix cool lighting if I need to. These Lightroom Presets are another fun way to edit photos if you want a quick solution!
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.
Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings is a wedding planner and photography studio in Dallas, Texas, serving clients in Ft. Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Highland Park, Irving, Addison, and the surrounding DFW area since 2011. This studio specializes in bridal, wedding, engagement, family, child, corporate, and executive photography, as well as wedding planning packages. Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings has been featured in Style Me Pretty wedding blog site.
DON'T worry about shot lists. "Avoid getting mired down in a must-have shot list that you found on the Internet," advises Rich Lavigne, who, with wife Anne, operates a wedding studio in South Plainfield, NJ. "Stay alert to the moments that are happening all around you. Look for smiles, laughter, singing, or tears. If you're looking for and photographing these moments, you're doing a pretty good job of capturing the spirit of the day."
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.
Bad lighting is the enemy of good photography. Unfortunately, unless you are professionally trained, you might not know that the midday sun is not the best light for photographs. Hamilton explains, “You actually want your subjects to be in shade rather than direct sun and you also don’t want them facing the sun because this causes squinting.” Consider doing your photo sessions in early morning or late afternoon for beautiful soft light. Cloudy days are also great for photo shoots.