If you have an important upcoming shoot, I highly recommend that you start learning composition by at least learning the rule of thirds.  The rule of thirds is the most basic rule of composition that basically tells the photographer to imagine a tic-tac-toe board on the frame of the picture, and to put the most interesting part of the photo on the intersection of those lines.
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).
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Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc. These tend to take the “finished” look of a professional portrait down a few notches, can be distracting (who wants people to first notice the Nike or Gap logo before the adorable little kid’s smile?) and will date a photo quickly. I’m having flashbacks to me wearing Esprit tee-shirts with my Guess jeans back in grade school, right along side my little brother in his Gotcha shirt (and if you’re sitting there wondering what I’m talking about, you must not be an 80’s child, LOL). Note: There are a few instances where a more stylized graphic on a shirt can look good if it fits the vibe of a photo, for instance, in my six year old’s birthday session we did a total punk rock theme to go along with her party. She wore a Johnny Cash tee with her tutu and baby sis rocked a Ramones tee.
[…] 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. […]
Standing at the front during the Ceremony can be a great place to capture intimate images of the couple exchanging vows, rings, kisses etc. Keep your movements to a minimum so you don’t attract more attention than the couple getting married. This angle gives you a unique perspective on the Ceremony. At the same time, it allows you to capture the emotional reactions of the wedding guests.
Think about the primary reason you are doing the session and dress accordingly. For instance, if it’s for Christmas cards you might want to dress in wintry, seasonal clothing. For a gallery canvas in the living room, think about coordinating with the colors and feel of your decor. For the canvases I hung in my girls’ playroom I dressed them in twirly, pink dresses and they ran dancing through the sand on the beach, which meshed perfectly in the girly room that’s always filled with giggles and play.
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