DO be clear about what you're offering. "Make sure the couple knows that you're shooting as a favor and that you can't guarantee results," says New York City-based wedding pro Cappy Hotchkiss. "I've seen many friendships end over this." Limit expectations, and "don't get roped into doing a ton of large family groups. Explain that you will capture groups as they occur," adds the photographer. If it's going to take you months to deliver the photos, let the couple know in advance.
"The painting was a gift for my wife for our first wedding anniversary. I wanted to play on the traditional gift of paper and thought canvas and a painting would be a nice modern twist on the traditional gift. The painting depicts our wedding day and turned out to be my wife`s favorite photo from that day. She loved the painting and the way Paul the artist captured everything from that amazing day.
When being photographed most, if not all, people are nervous. Yes nervous! Some are down right scared, and some would even go as far to say that they “hate it”. So it is part of your job to help your subjects feel more comfortable and relaxed. That can be hard to do when you’re also nervous, especially if you’re new to portraits. But there’s a big advantage of putting that camera on the tripod. Two actually.
The conclusion: if all of this seems like a ton of information to digest, then keep it simple and look for two criteria: Do you like the photos and do they make you feel happy? Not a super visual person? Then it’s totally fine to ignore the first question and move onto the second: Do you like the photographer and do they make you feel happy? More important than lighting, composition, or any fancy technology, those are the power rules to live by.
So many maternity sessions are done in studio. I understand the reasons behind this. I’ve been pregnant. 3 times over. I’m not the petite and pretty pregnant. I’m the gal you find wedged between the double doors at The Sizzler. Studio shoots are great because there’s privacy. I can’t argue with that. Particularly if you’re going to do anything in less than a fully clothed state (that’s my PC way of saying naked). But there’s something about being outside. Taking that natural beauty of a woman who’s ready to bring new life into the world and placing her in the majesty of the great outdoors is simply breathtaking.
Keep your day job at first. You will probably not be able to transition from an amateur photographer to a professional photographer in a manner of weeks. It will take time to establish and build business before you begin making enough money to support yourself. As such, you may want to keep another income source until you become established as a professional.
Any other props or accessories you think you might like to use (hats, headbands, etc.) You want everything ready to go before you start taking photos. Remember, though, that you don’t need lots of props. I think newborn photos look best with fewer accessories and props and more focus on the baby herself. I’ll talk more about this in Part 2: Posing for a DIY newborn photos.
We recommend planning your scenes using the website Kuler by Adobe. On there you’ll be able to find complementary and analogous color combinations that work well together. Being able to see the colors together visually prior to going out and looking for the props and backdrops will save you hours. On Kuler we arranged the pink and yellow combination you see in the left image below prior to searching for actual newborn props and accessories.
Danielle and Tony are the husband and wife team of professional photographers behind Mon Petit Chou Photography. Based in Toronto, we specialize in maternity, newborn, baby, family and lifestyle photography. Our style is natural and relaxed, and we strive to create a custom experience for each family that we work with. Learn more about us or get in touch.
Quality should be the primary driving factor because no matter how great the deal, you barely have time to do it once, let alone time (or money) to do it over. So what do we mean when we say “quality?” While “style” may influence the overall appearance and presentation of the final gallery, a level of technical expertise should be demonstrated by the photographer. Images should be properly exposed. The highlights and shadows of the images should not be void of any color, to bright or too dark, saturation should not be so intense that that colors will be comprised when they are printed. Subjects should be in focus and images should never be be pixelated or posterized when printed. Composition should be intentional and the photographer should be able to capture subjects with flattering light and angles. Images shouldn’t be “saved” by Photoshop actions and should look as good printed at 24×30 as they do online. Typically being able to CONSISTENTLY perform to a level of quality requires significant experience rather than just a hobbyist who can pull out 5-10 great shots out of 100 snapped. One of the best ways a photographer can demonstrate quality and experience is to have a portfolio and a broad representation of full client galleries to show.
Consider COLOR: Most people look their best in certain colors (mine are green and orange). Although I love hiding in black clothes as much as the next guy, it tends to be a tough color for photographs. And again - you don't need to match. Pick a color tone (jewel tone) or pallette (pastels) - maybe even select 3-4 colors - and go from there. Pinterest has some great color ideas for family photos. Before you go out and buy anything - spend a bit of time with favorite items you already own. You probably have everything you need.
"Cai took our family photos. We had very specific requirements, such as outdoor photoshoot at the location we wanted. He was able to accommodate every request we had and our timeline. He is very responsive and I never had to wait long for a reply from him. Cai had spent some time on the location, even before we got there, to familiarize himself with the place. He spent an hour with us, taking his time and creating unhurried atmosphere. Cai is very artistic and worked with us on creatively positioning our family members so that we looked our best. He encouraged us to use our props and to have fun. Our two boys, who normally despise taking pictures, for the very first time were amused and entertained with the entire process! The finished photos were wonderful, but we wanted more drama, so Cai had edited them to add more mood and drama and they are breathtaking now! We believe we got rather lucky finding such talented photographer! We absolutely recommend Cai and will use his services again!"
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.
“After people have a big traditional wedding, I hear so many of them say that they are so glad it's over. This is not the feeling we wanted to have after our wedding. We wanted the most amazing and memorable experience possible—we wanted something fun, unique and special. We want to look back and wish we could do it a million times over. We wanted more than what a traditional wedding could offer us.“
"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!"
Whilst this isn’t one of our essential wedding photography tips it can be a useful one. Shooting with two camera bodies means you have at least two memory cards storing the photos of the day. If one card was to break you have a backup. Moreover, two camera bodies allow for speed on the day versus changing lenses on one camera body. If you have one camera set up with a 35mm lens and the other with an 85mm you can quickly get two different perspectives of the same scene.
Ahead, you'll discover a set of images that photographers strongly suggest you take. As for the specific photos that you shouldn't stress about capturing? Don't fret over detail shots, like bar signage, cocktail tables, or favors, says Jen Huang: "They're not necessarily important for the story of the day and the story of the couple. I am always up for taking beautiful detail shots, but I think couples should worry less about these." As for shots to completely avoid? Virtually all of our photographers agree that reception table-to-table shots should be skipped. "It's time consuming for the couple, disruptive to your guests and dinner service, and takes away from documenting genuine moments," adds Heather Waraksa.
Many things can go wrong in the day, so we need to be well prepared. We must have a backup plan (in case of bad weather), charged batteries, blank memory cards, think about the routes and time to get to the places and get a full day itinerary so we know what will happen in the next moment. If possible, we attend the ceremony rehearsal where a large amount of information is gathered about possible positions to shoot from the lighting, the order of the ceremony, etc.
Before you begin researching photographers, you'll need to first decide what type of photography style you prefer, as that will help determine which kind of photographer you'll want shooting your wedding. Get inspired! Spend time pouring over any kind of imagery you love, from décor shots to a fashion blogger's Instagram feed. Once you have a good collection of inspiring photographs, try to narrow in on what draws you to them specifically and dissect what feels most authentic to you and your partner. Maybe that's formal-posed portraits, a classic photography style or a lifestyle, photojournalistic feel. If you love sharp and contrast-y shots, perhaps a photographer with a flair for the dramatic is the right choice for you. Remember that you don't necessarily need to narrow in on one style in particular, since many wedding photographers can do a blend of portraiture and documentary-style shots, a mix of black-and-white and color images and so on. But if there's a special style you love, make sure to focus on photographers who specialize in it.
Patterns can add visual interest and texture as well as a good dose of personality. Just make sure that either just one person is in a pattern with the rest of the subjects in simple, more solid color pieces or the patterns are subtle and complementary (for instance, a teeny tiny polka dot tie on a little boy next to his sisters bold color blocked pattern can look very complementary).