Engagement sessions are a big hit with couples and photographers. Almost all couples agree for a session before the wedding, so engagement photography has pretty much become a staple of wedding photography. An engagement shoot is done after a couple gets engaged and it usually is captured before the wedding. Some photographers sell this session as a separate product and most photographers include this session in their wedding packages. Regardless of how you like to approach it, understanding the basics of photographing couples and knowing how to coordinate a shoot that involves more than one person is crucial. Hence, I decided to write a piece to explain what goes into the planning process of an engagement session.

I am an award-winning, internationally published photographer. My photos have appeared in Dallas Modern Luxury, D Magazine, Time Out New York, La Gazetta dell Sport Rome, and Time Out London. My studio, conveniently located in central Dallas, offers a comfortable environment for creating my one-of-a-kind images using both natural and studio lighting. I also shoot on location in your home or at an attractive outdoor setting of your choice.


Pro tip: "Using props for a maternity session should have a special meaning," Denver family photographer Jermaine Amado says. "The most common props for maternity pictures are shoes, a onesie, an ultrasound picture, block letters for the baby's name and a book. Since you will be incorporating a prop in your pictures, most of the time the focus will be on the prop. But you can change it up and shift the focus from the prop to the family or belly. Sometimes it's an amazing shot to see the belly and family, then have your focus shift over to see blurred baby shoes or an ultrasound picture."
The first thing that we do together is choose a location. Then, we set a time for the shoot. On the day of the shoot itself, we will meet at our pre-determined location and get started! Instead of just walking from landmark to landmark and working through a set of pre-chosen poses, we'll take a walk and stop to shoot along the way. I'm looking for beautiful light, incredible backgrounds, and interesting compositional scenarios that we can use for your portraits. While I will set you in "poses", they're more gentle guides to interaction. I want to see how you are together, and how you're comfortable. If you're less inclined towards public displays of affection, rest assured that I won't have you do anything that doesn't feel natural to you. If you're exuberant and outgoing, I won't set you into poses that are reserved and hands-off.

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!
Your portraits are beautifully lit and fortunately don't need much retouching. The only exception I see in your examples is the family piled on top of each other on the ground where the mom appears to be in the shadow a bit more than I'd prefer. She could use a quick swipe of the dodge tool, IMHO. I do tend to spend too much time in post production working to "perfect" each file, but that's me.
[…] I decided to use the techniques I had practised with during my test shoot with the doll, anbd bring them into the shoot I did with the real newborn, as well as looking online for any tips that could help me with getting the images perfect. I found a site which talked me through the different poses, the best way to move the newborn and then preparation before hand, I found the advice quite helpful: DIY newborn shoots […]
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
Portrait photography provides parents with lasting images of the first whirlwind months of a newborn’s life. The cost varies based on several factors, including the length and location of the session, the number of photos provided, and the amount of editing and retouching the photographer does. The national average cost for baby photos is $150-$200. Some baby photographers charge by the number of photos provided, typically ranging from an average of $299 for 20 high-resolution edited photos, to an average of $399 for 35 photos, to $499 for all of the images taken in a single session. Props and location affect the cost, too; an elaborate studio shoot with props and professional lighting may increase the cost to $600-$700 for 20-50 photos. Adding a second location or asking the photographer to travel can add $70-$250 to the cost of the session. Photographers may also charge extra fees for providing additional photos and DVDs, scheduling weekend sessions, and shooting siblings. Expect to pay at least a $50 deposit when you book a portrait photography session.
“The idea of walking down an isle and having a bunch of people kind of terrified us—It felt like it wouldn't have been a day for us, but instead for other people. I've heard many people talk about how they don't even remember their wedding day or they were too exhausted to even enjoy it and they spent the whole time trying to talk to everyone who attended it. Eloping takes a lot less planning, which took a lot of stress away”
DO finesse compositions. Instead of asking her subjects to move, Hotchkiss moves herself. "You don't want to disturb the moment by heavy-handed posing. I block out unwanted background clutter by tweaking my position left, right, up, or down." She also says to be aware of the lighting. If, in your viewfinder, the lighting looks harsh on your subjects' faces, it may look even harsher in the final image.

Our signature portrait lends itself to this entirely. No photo shoot is complete without a photograph of your child at their most open and genuine. They’re not performing, not pulling the dreaded Instagram-worthy expressions; it’s just them. They might initially seem severe, but that’s because you’re used to their constantly shifting emotions. It’s in this portrait that you can pause and see them in a new way.
When shooting outside after a ceremony or during the posed shots you’ll probably want to keep your flash attached to give a little fill in flash. I tend to dial it back a little (a stop or two) so that shots are not blown out – but particularly in backlit or midday shooting conditions where there can be a lot of shadow, fill in flash is a must. Read more about using Fill Flash.

I used to do newborn photography myself. I had an excellent mentor who still does most of her business off of newborn photography. I would really agree with everything Mama Natural has to say here. Except possibly to recommend some place like Sears. That is a REALLLLLY hit or miss thing I have seen some really awful photos come from places like that. It’s worth the extra to hire a reputable photographer but l guess if you really have to it’s better than nothing.
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.
I am not a huge photo prop person.  However, some props will make your session easier!  We brought a blanket, a wooden crate, and a fun turquoise chair!  All of these allowed us to take certain photos easily.  In the photo above, the crate enabled me to photograph my two children who vary greatly in height a lot easier!  You can tell that my son is shorter than my daughter, but the height difference is not as noticeable as it is when they stand next to each other.
Crafty fun with photos. Gift shops sell wonderful (and expensive) art made from old photos, so why not make your own? Use decoupage or resin to create playful collages for walls, tabletops or just about anything you want to kitsch up. Arranging photographs under glass on a tabletop or desktop would allow you to enjoy multiple photos at once but change them out as the mood strikes.
Be certain not to schedule your photo session around your child’s nap or bedtime.  The best time for lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise.  If this is a bad time for your children, talk with your photographer.  Good photographers will be able to shoot at any time of day by utilizing areas of open shade that will give your skin a beautiful hue and put a sparkle in your eyes.  Don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach.  I meet many families who come to a photo session with dinner scheduled at the end.  If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the photo shoot.
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).
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