Visit the locations of the different places that you’ll be shooting before the big day. While I’m sure most Pros don’t do this – I find it really helpful to know where we’re going, have an idea of a few positions for shots and to know how the light might come into play. On one or two weddings I even visited locations with the couples and took a few test shots (these made nice ‘engagement photos’).
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.
And suddenly you’re pregnant, or you’ve just had a baby and you decide you want to have your family photographed by a professional. But with so many different photographers on the market, I know it can get confusing, especially if you don’t know anything about photography or if you have never hired a photographer before. So I decided to put together a mini guide with 7 tips for choosing a family photographer.

(Above) Whimsical Engagement Photo Prop Sign Photo Idea: Cute DIY photo prop signage that read “She stole my heart” and “So I’m stealing his last name”. Grab these free engagement photo prop printables here: DIY Engagement Party Projects & Free Printables {Featured here: {Engagement Shoot} A Whimsical Balloon-Themed Photo Shoot | Shot by: Adene Photography}
When reviewing a photographer's album, look for the key moments you want captured: Did they get photos of both the bride and the groom when they locked eyes for the first time? Also look for crispness of images, thoughtful compositions (does a shot look good the way it was framed, or is there too much clutter in the frame?) and good lighting (beware of washed-out pictures where small details are blurred—unless that's the style you're after). It's also very important that you detect sensitivity in capturing people's emotions; make sure the photographer's subjects look relaxed, not like deer caught in headlights. While you two are important, of course, you want to see smiling shots of your friends too.
Whether you are having timeless family heirlooms created, or you are wanting something done of a more private nature, a maternity photographer will give you photos that you'll love. The true beauty that shows through is beyond description. You actually have to see for yourself, and even then it is hard to believe. Even if you had no intention of sharing your maternity photography, you will want these classic beauties to be seen, at least by close friends and relatives. Michael's maternity photography is beautifully taken, lighting is perfect to flatter the silhouette and then the editing process takes the actual finished product to extraordinary heights. You will see your maternity photography and have a whole new appreciation for both the art, and for your body during pregnancy. You will finally see how truly beautiful that you and that pregnancy can be.
Once you have the baby posed, step back and look at the whole picture for a few minutes, checking for details that need fixing. If her hand is visible, make sure you can see all her fingers are visible – sometimes one or two get tucked into a fist and then if the photo it looks like the baby only has three fingers. Also, be sure baby’s eyes are closed completely – in the second photo above the baby’s eyes are not quite closed. A simple stroke down the bridge of her nose will cause her to close her eyes all the way. Make sure the headband is positioned how you’d like, and the background blanket is free of wrinkles, etc. Above all, make sure the baby looks comfortable and peaceful – if not, try again.
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.
Safety should always come first when it comes to newborn and baby photography. The list can get quite extensive for tips on newborn safety, but in general, use your common sense. Never bring in any hard or sharp objects as props. Never place your newborn on high or unsteady surfaces without a spotter. And realize that some of your favorite photos of newborns are actually composites. Below is an example.
[…] One more step to shoot inside, is to really zoom in on your subject. You can get up nice and close physically to your subject or you can put on a lens that allows you to get close without getting in their personal space. By getting close, you eliminate any distractions that might be around the house. Get closer than you normally would – focus on the eyes, or just the face, or little hands and feet. Get all of those little details up close. […]
I really like your site and the tips you give on photographing toddlers, children, and newborns! They are so very helpful. I think your photos look 100% professional! I was wondering if you had any articles on photographing babies (older than newborns)? My son is 6 months old and I want to photograph him. If not, these tips are still super helpful! Especially the other article that includes the links on how to make different backdrops! Thanks!
Great tips! I tend to be the photographer for a family of 10 siblings, with 33 children collectively, and, so far, 16 grandchildren. It can be real challenging to get that many folks' heads even visible from the shooter's point of view. Most of all, it takes practice, practice, practice on the part of the subjects.... and a great sense of humor. That many people are not going to look into the sun, or wait very long to have their photo taken. My best advice is to be prepared and have your equipment set so that expediency will promote spontaneity and candor. That way everyone naturally looks genuinely happy and NOT anxious to "get this over with".
Choosing the right software for importing and managing your files is several stories on its own. There are tons of choices--free, cheap, or expensive, with variations in how many features they offer from the ultrabasic to the nuclear option. Though basic downloading and drag and drop are available within the operating system, a utility that lets you batch rename is a helpful complement (I use FastStone Photo Resizer for batch renaming). If you use some sort of cloud-based syncing, such as iCloud Photo Stream or the Eye-Fi system, to automatically distribute your photos from the device to a home hard drive or an online sharing service, definitely make it a habit to rename and move the photos on a regular basis. Services like that tend to organize everything by date, either by default or as the only option. That makes sense, because the date is the only piece of information that software can guarantee it will find.

Don’t see a shot list as necessarily being a bad thing. Have some shots in mind that you and the couple have discussed prior to the wedding. This way you can discuss the feasibility of the ideas. Plus if they want a shot with Auntie Edna you will know to capture that specific photo. A shot list can be unnecessary for the things you know you will capture. But for the more obscure things a couple wants photos of it can be a great thing.
The type of wedding ceremony that you are used to may be completely different in other faiths.  Sometimes photographers get thrown by this and it can affect the photos.  For example, photographers who shoot an LDS wedding shouldn't be surprised that you can't photograph the actual ceremony at all!  Photographers who shoot inside a cathedral shouldn't be surprised if you can't use flash.  Photographers at a Jewish wedding need to know not to miss the bride breaking the glass.  All religions do things differently and you should be familiar with how the wedding goes, and respect the religious differences (Thanks Rebecca Birrell)
4.  Can you really afford them?  Not all photographers list their complete pricing (or any pricing at all) on their website.  There’s nothing wrong with this, it just means they want to chat with you a bit before they tell you what they charge.  You’ll just want to make sure that before you book, you understand what your final cost will be.  If their website says “Session fee of $150, prints and digital images sold separately,” you’ll probably want to think about what you want and make sure you know what it will cost before you book.  We’ll talk about some of this in greater detail in my next post!
Sandra Bianco is a child, newborn, fine art, commercial and editorial photographer. Her work is based in South Florida; however she is available to travel to other areas to allow her customers to get what they want. What makes Sandra Bianco’s photographs amazing is depending on the surrounding beauty of nature in most of her photographs. You can find natural light, butterflies, flowers and more natural items that make the photographs more impressive and help in making children look more beautiful. 5 Amy McDaniel – United States

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.


Keeping your editing simple will mean that the photos you produce will last the test of time. You can’t make a terrible photo good no matter what preset you put on it. A good idea is to stick to one colour and one black and white style. This way your photos will be consistent and your style will become more recognisable. Try to avoid the latest trends and fashions and aim for a classic look that will stand the test of time.
Get Down Low – one key to many natural baby shots is to get down on their level. I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last week or two lying on the floor next to Xavier. It’s something I think we both enjoy anyway but it’s also a great place to use your camera. Getting down low and getting in close (see below) does present some challenges in terms of focal length (I’m using a 24-105 zoom – usually at the widest focal length) but it means you end up with shots that feel like you’ve entered the babies world rather than you’re looking down on it from above.
Lori Wilson Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas that specializes in wedding, travel, puppy, portrait, newborn, child, expecting, family, and engagement/couple photography. Since she was a little girl, Lori has been in love with taking photos. Her mission is to capture beautiful, real moments that make people identify with the subject. Lori Wilson studied photography under the best photographers, including her mom.
I have been photographing this special family as their Connecticut baby photographer for a few years now, and they feel like family to me. I’ve done big brother Cole’s newborn session, 6-month session, and 12-month session, and I recently did their 3-in-1 family, maternity, and 2-year-old photos just a few short weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to get this beautiful bundle of joy in my studio.
DON'T be shy about directing your subjects. They want to be told how and where to stand, explains Dennis Kwan, a wedding and portrait specialist with studios in New York City and Los Angeles. Giving subjects direction projects a confidence that allows them to relax when being photographed. "It tells your subjects that you know what you're doing, even if maybe you don't," says Kwan.
Blooming Tree Photography is a family-oriented photography studio located in Frisco, Texas. Jessica, their photographer, specializes in child, family, and newborn photography, and is an expert in custom portraiture and lifestyle photography. Blooming Tree Photography’s style is natural, and driven by Jessica's passion for capturing intimate family moments to be shared with everyone.
Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
In the days following birth it is especially difficult as babies tend to be kept swaddled in bunny rugs and all you end up seeing of them for 99% of the time is a little red head. Add to that the complication of the bumps, marks, scratches and misshaped heads that newborns also tend to arrive with and finding a flattering angle that will make more than just the proud parents ooh and aah can be difficult.
Set goals. Create several long-term goals. Then, short-term goals that will bring you closer to achieving the long-term goals. The short-term goals should be measurable and have a time frame or deadline. For example, a short-term goal would be to book 5 new clients in the next three months. This could help you achieve a larger goal of having an established clientele within a year.
All sitting fees are non-refundable and due at the time the appointment is scheduled. Sitting fees do not include the cost of digital images, albums or prints. Prints and additional products are sold A La Carte at the Ordering Session. Sitting fees do not include any additional costs associated with venues/locations/parking/permits; additional fees may be required. Clients are responsible for the venue/location/parking/permit costs. Locations beyond a 30 mile radius from our studio will be charged an extra Destination Fee. Our payment methods include: cash, check, visa and Mastercard accepted through Paypal. Please let me know if you are going to pay using a credit card and I will send you an invoice through Paypal. We charge a 3.5% credit card transaction fee for every purchase through paypal. We offer payment plans for purchases over $250. Please call or email us for more details. There is a cancellation fee of $185 for all appointments not cancelled within 48 hours. All returned checks, regardless whether services have been rendered, will be charged a $25 returned item fee if the check bounces.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!

There are recognizable markers that trigger the “fall feeling” in each of us. With the weather cooling down, the leaves changing, and a trip to the pumpkin patch in the near future, fall is full of inspiration you can use for your outfit choices. If you are taking your family photos during the fall season, incorporate seasonal earth tones, rich maroons or burnt oranges. Wear layers and have fun playing in the leaves. Use the following Fall styling tips to guide your clothing selections.
In the days following birth it is especially difficult as babies tend to be kept swaddled in bunny rugs and all you end up seeing of them for 99% of the time is a little red head. Add to that the complication of the bumps, marks, scratches and misshaped heads that newborns also tend to arrive with and finding a flattering angle that will make more than just the proud parents ooh and aah can be difficult.
We thought ahead about location, poses, logistics, and timing.  If you have a plan, it is easier to get in and out and end up with photos that you are happy with!  Take the photos of the whole family first, then the children together and individually, and then couple photos if desired.  You can realistically take great family photos in 30-60 minutes by yourself if you have a plan.
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.

1. Decide what types of photography services you’ll offer. Businesses and individuals need photographers for many reasons. Businesses need pictures of their products for brochures. Realtors need images of the homes they’re selling. Magazines need photos related to the articles they’re publishing. Or you can stick with non-business photography and take portraits or photograph weddings.
3. Pay attention to where your light is coming from. If you’re using the same setup you used to take photos of the baby alone, your subjects should already be positioned correctly in relation to your light source (large window). They should be facing either the right or left edge of the window (which is where you’ll be standing). Light coming at a 45 degree angle casts nice, soft shadows that define both baby and Mom’s features, while also providing nice catchlights (bright spots) in their eyes.
Your newborn baby has his or her own schedule. When they get fussy, be sure to take your time and wait it out. Sometimes you’ll spend 3-4 hours on a shoot with the baby crying the entire time and finally, in the last 20 minutes, you’ll get everything you need. It’s not going to be easy and be sure to plan sufficient time or the shoot. Your shoot duration will vary depending on the number of wardrobe changes and scene setups, but in general be flexible. If you’re doing this professionally, consider charging per session, per image, or per scene rather than charging per hour.

Jake Olson is an award winning portrait, commercial and fine art photographer whose work is based in Blair, Nebraska and covers the surrounding areas. He specializes in capturing senior and children photographs. He believes that the world around us is beautiful and this is why he makes use of everything around him while capturing his photographs. His unique style of photography allows him to turn the ordinary subjects that we see everyday into amazing photos. He focuses on using natural light and showing the amazing colors in the surrounding nature. Jake Olson’s work has been published in different countries all over the world and his photographs have been featured in several books and magazines such as Vogue Magazine UK, Digital SLR Photography Magazine and more. 1 Magdalena Berny – Poland
Some tips for weddings are simpler than others. If you want to be discreet and as unobtrusive as possible then put your camera into silent shutter mode. This is particularly handy during the Ceremony especially if you are in close quarters with the couple. Some times it can feel a bit laggy and slow in comparison to full-on continuous mode shooting. Therefore just adjust it to suit the situation.
Weddings always run late.  Always.  It's as sure as the fact that Uncle Bob will annoy the photographer.  If the bride says they'll have an hour to do a shoot with you, immediately translate that sentence into half an hour.  Your time to work alone with the bride and groom is precious, so you need to be confident that you can get the shot in only 30 minutes with many weddings. (Thanks Meagan Thompson)
This one is a bit harder to understand from a client’s perspective. Understanding the question of “How do I choose a family photographer” means also understanding the difference in the services they offer. The photography industry does not have one set way to do things when it comes to charging for things and it can vary wildly from photographer to photographer. When I was starting my business, even I had a hard time understanding the pricing structure of photography packages (which is why I opted to keep it simple and just treat my clients the way I would expect to be treated). Some photographers charge a sitting fee, require you buy a certain number of prints, then charge a premium for digital downloads. Sometimes editing is not included in the price. Some photographers don’t offer products at all and only deliver digital downloads. There are fees for travel outside of specific areas, outfit changes, multiple locations, weekend shoots and there are usually ALWAYS fees for larger families. Understanding what EXACTLY is included in the fee listed on their website is extremely important to understanding what you are choosing. If digital downloads are important to you, make sure you ask your prospective family photographer if that is part of what you’re paying for. If you are ever unsure about what to expect, always ask – and get the answer in writing so you can refer back to it during the process.
Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers – unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo – not necessarily on the subject themselves, but rather match little sister’s bright turquoise shoes to the sweater or scarf her mama is wearing. It ties everything together without looking too match-y match-y. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty. And don’t forget some funky socks to add another splash of color or personality if your overall look of the session is fun and bright.
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