Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
Some wedding photographers offer their services on an hourly basis, such as $250 per hour. Hourly rates are not as common as set package pricing — especially during the peak wedding season months of spring and summer — but are typically offered by independent photographers or those just starting out. Hourly rates can vary, depending on geographic location, photographer experience, day of week and time of year. When hiring a photographer on an hourly basis, use a clearly written contract and be sure to specify what printing rights you'll have to the photos, and whether the hourly rate includes post-production editing or if that will cost extra.
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My approach to this particular point may not reflect your opinion as a photographer, but I am a strong believer in a good spa day to make me feel all better. This is true for most of the ladies out there. No offence to boys who are reading this, but my first priority is to make my female clients happy and feel fabulous. After-all, happy wife, happy life, right? Hence, I arrange for a hair and makeup time for my brides right before the engagement session. This is the biggest reason I want them to disconnect from everything they do that day and take a day off. I want them to relax and get their hair and makeup done professionally. This is all done at no charge to my clients. I pay for the services of the hair and makeup artist and I am more than happy to do so. This little trip to the professional salon will assure that your female client will look amazingly confident in front of the camera.

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.


In the past, we have had family photos taken in a variety of ways.  We have simply not done it, we have gone to a studio and we have also hired a professional to take our family photos in an outdoor setting!  My favorite photos are the outdoor, slightly more candid photos and so this year, that is what we wanted.  My husband is a hard one to nail down though, he doesn’t love family photos time, so with my recent purchase of some new camera equipment, he suggested that we take our family photos our self this year.

I don’t mind them most of the time – I think they show your baby as he or she is and there’s nothing wrong with that. However at times they can be a little distracting and for those special shots that you might like to give as gifts you might like to do a little photoshop retouching. Most post processing editing tools will have some sort of airbrush or retouching tool – learn to use it, even if it’s just to smooth over the main marks and you’ll be amazed by the results.
Jilly Bean Photography is an award-winning portrait studio located in the heart of historic downtown McKinney, Texas. Jill is an expert in her field, and is known as the "Baby Whisperer of North Texas." She has over a decade of experience as a newborn photographer. At Jilly Bean Photography we pride ourselves on creating beautiful images of your newborn and growing family in a safe, healthy environment.

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.
First, I would recommend never hiring someone, even a friend, without looking at their portfolio first.  While a portfolio only showcases a photographer’s best work, if their best isn’t very good, you can safely bet they won’t be taking amazing photos of you and your family, and you should think about hiring someone else. Looking at their portfolio will also give you an inclination as to their creative vision and methods.

When shooting in wide open locations and it involves kiddos, I love to have some movement and flow in their clothing and accessories. Little ones are fond of jumping, dancing, and being wild. Nothing better than a twirly, whirly dress to accentuate all that beautiful movement and childhood innocence. Something as simple as a scarf trailing behind or a playful super hero cape can be fun for the boys.
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