If you decide to photograph in a state or a national park, always be very careful with rules and regulations – most state and federal parks do not allow commercial photography without a permit. Always do your homework beforehand, so that you do not get yourself kicked out by a park ranger in the middle of a shoot – apply for permits months in advance. Personally, I avoid the hassle of applying for permits and typically stay away from state or government-owned lands and facilities.
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!
I’ve been a professional photographer for 15 years and if I’ve learned anything about the business in that time it is that as a client you have to be a thoughtful consumer. People don’t always realize how unregulated the industry is. There are a LOT of ways that photographers differ from each other. The advice I always give when you’re looking to hire a photographer is this:
So you’re at a wedding. More than likely there are a few unmarried couples at the wedding. One idea is to display some photos from earlier in the day. You can take your own computer and make a quick slideshow of say 20 images to play during the evening. The couple get to see some sneak previews of what you have captured. Meanwhile, potential future couples have seen you in action and the results produced. Obviously ok this with the couple beforehand but it can be a win-win for everyone.
In addition to providing this wedding photo list of family portraits to your photographer, you also want to give some consideration to the overall photography timeline of your wedding day (we have sample wedding photography timelines here). Think about the different location options for your portraits, and discuss these locales with your photographer. Also, make sure you settle the "first look" debate with your soon-to-be spouse. Finalizing your wedding photo list, portrait locations and other details in advance of your big day will ensure that your wedding portraits and family wedding photos go smoothly and, best of all, quickly.
One of the challenges of weddings is that there are often people going everywhere – including the backgrounds of your shots. Particularly with the formal shots scope out the area where they’ll be taken ahead of time looking for good backgrounds. Ideally you’ll be wanting uncluttered areas and shaded spots out of direct sunlight where there’s unlikely to be a wandering great aunt wander into the back of the shot. Read more on getting backgrounds right.

All albums are printed on archival photo paper, NOT press paper. The short term difference is thickness, richness, and color. The long-term difference is archival ability. Your album should be passed on to your grandchildren in beautiful condition. My albums feature leather cover options and my favorite, lay-flat pages to allow beautiful panoramic spreads across the entire album.
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.
There are many aspects to keep in mind when deciding what to wear for your family photos. Coordinating outfits for family photos doesn’t need to be difficult. You can never go wrong with selecting a few focal colors and textured clothing items, as well as considering the season. Focus on accomplishing a cohesive look and dressing in outfits that will allow your photos to take on a timeless feel.  Of course, the most important part of your family portrait is to document the love that your family shares. We’re here to help you with the rest. These family photo outfit ideas below will allow you get a one-of-a-kind portrait that has a close-knit family feel.

Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings is a wedding planner and photography studio in Dallas, Texas, serving clients in Ft. Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Highland Park, Irving, Addison, and the surrounding DFW area since 2011. This studio specializes in bridal, wedding, engagement, family, child, corporate, and executive photography, as well as wedding planning packages. Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings has been featured in Style Me Pretty wedding blog site.


The bulk of the photographer's work takes place in post-production, editing and fine-tuning the photos. Special touches like smoothing out splotchy skin, adding extra sparkle to the rings, or editing out shadows all take time and skill, and are what make your wedding photos really glow. This hard work on the back end is why the cost of wedding photography is based on much more than the 8-10 hours your photographer spends taking photos on the wedding day.
For these, my general rule is to start with the largest family/group and then work down to immediate family. You’ll do this for each side of the family. However, I often start with the ministers since oftentimes they have somewhere else to be or aren't in any additional photos. I usually try to light the room with a two-light setup to avoid shadows and create even lighting on the fly.
Weddings are in the air during this sunny season, but it's also an ideal time to shoot your engagement photos, especially if you want a beachy backdrop or cloudless, rustic setting. If you're opting for the great outdoors, flat shoes, breathable fabrics and shorter hemlines are a must. Whether you like to sport vibrant prints or breezy nautical looks, summer engagement photos are the perfect chance to show off your casual-chic style.
Also, check if there's a second shooter included in the contract, and if there's not, ask about the possibility. It's likely the second shooter can be confirmed later on, but the main benefit to having two shooters is, of course, you get twice as much coverage. For example, during your formal photo session, one photographer can capture the formal photos, while the second one can get behind-the-scenes, photojournalistic photos, like your guests mingling. If you're having a larger wedding (250 guests or more), you might even want to ask about having three shooters so your photography team can be sure to capture the event from all angles.
With everyone home for the holidays, the winter season is one of the most popular times of the year for family photos. There are many aspects of the winter season that are sure to spark outfit ideas. Classic red and green holiday colors and plaid patterns are a few of these style trends that are perfect for your photos. The holiday season is all about the flannels, the furry scarves and the cable knit sweaters. Get ready to bundle up and design a cohesive family style that will make everyone confident in their look. We have plenty of Christmas card photo ideas and christmas card messages to help you showcase your holiday spirit.
Choose practical clothing items. This is an important item to keep in mind for every family member but, especially when you are thinking about what to dress your little ones in. If your kids are not comfortable then you’re going to be in for a long photo shoot. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself or your photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure all smiles.
Choose practical clothing items. This is an important item to keep in mind for every family member but, especially when you are thinking about what to dress your little ones in. If your kids are not comfortable then you’re going to be in for a long photo shoot. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself or your photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure all smiles.
Baby pictures are among the most popular types of portrait photography, and most newborn photographers are well versed in the best places to take baby pictures in their local areas. Some newborn photographers will come to the hospital to shoot the baby within a day or two of birth, while others have set up their studios to accommodate the needs of infants. Some parents prefer to have the newborn photographer come to their home or travel to a favorite park or other outdoor location. Like any portrait photography, the best place to take baby pictures is the place you like best and that will yield the types of photos you want of your baby, whether that’s posed and carefully lit studio portraits or spontaneous, casual photos at home. Work with a local newborn photographer to find a safe, calm location with great lighting and some privacy for your family.

When woven with memories, photographs take on magical qualities. Maternity, newborn & baby photos taken today become vivid reminders of life’s most amazing experiences, capturing fleeting moments that fill our hearts with joy… In the months & years to come, these priceless family photos will become cherished windows through which your children can relive their own childhood.

Being creative is a large part of being a newborn photographer, but so is making sure you get the basic, must-have shots. You should always start with the basics and move towards the more advanced photos just in case the baby gets too fussy and you have to call off the shoot. Below are some of the basic shots you should get before introducing complex, time-consuming, and difficult photographs. For more info on Newborn Posing, please see our Newborn Workshop on DVD.


Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!

Ask the bride and groom for just three words to describe their vision of the day, then keep those words in mind as you capture it! If they say “fun”, take every opportunity to “document” a fun moment. If they say “romantic”, keep lighting in mind and snap every sweet moment the newlyweds share that day/night. Yes, you are the photographer, but it is THEIR day. Make your art reflect that! (Thanks Matthew Michaels)

Frank is a creative and ambitious artist with a passion for photography. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, he developed a love and enthusiasm of his art in his youth. In 2004 Frank became a graphic designer, at the same time he started his professional career as a wedding and fine art photographer. Several years and hundreds of wedding and portrait sessions later, he created Maui Professional Photography dedicated to providing award winning artistry combined with outstanding client service. With a traditional yet contemporary photo journalistic style, Frank will capture those fleeting magical moments of your wedding or special event and turn them into treasured memories. Frank is a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America), Nikon Professional Services and his name appears on the list of preferred professional photographers at the finest hotels & resorts and at other photo related businesses. Frank has also continued to expand his knowledge, learning new techniques at workshops and becoming familiar with latest professional equipment. When not working, Frank can be found exploring the beauty of the islands camera in hand.


Now that you’ve decided who will be included in your wedding portraits, it’s time to figure out where you’ll be taking the photos. The easiest locations are your ceremony and/or reception venues, of course, but the hotel where you’re getting ready can also be a good spot. If there’s a particular location where you’ve always dreamed of taking your wedding photos (a local beach or park, a neighborhood in your city, etc.), you’ll have to factor the travel time into your wedding photography timeline—and plan for transportation so that all of your VIPs get there safely and on time.
Claire Smith Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas. Claire Smith is a natural light photographer who specializes in newborn, baby, child, and family photography. Claire’s style is casual, modern, and fun. Claire Smith Photography aims to document a child’s unique personality, opting for candid shots rather than directed poses.

Instant viewing of your photo session is made available with a custom online slide show posted to the Bella Baby website (protected with a unique password), thus enabling distant friends and family members the opportunity to share the experience. Online viewing and ordering is offered for two weeks to anyone you choose to share your password; immediate in-hospital purchasing is also available.
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).

These close-up “detail” shots are not only adorable but they are great accompanying images for albums and accordion books.  Because of the sensitive focus on a macro lens, the best time to get these images is when the baby is very still (in their deepest sleep).  As shown with the newborn workshop where you get to shadow me on an actual on-location shoot, when I notice the baby is deep in dreamland, I’ll just stop whatever I’m doing and I’ll pull out my macro for 10 minutes and get all the shots that I need.


DON'T try to do it alone. Need help aiming that off-camera flash? Enlist the help of friends or relatives. "It's nice to have someone help organize your equipment," says Scott. This is especially true if you're working in an environment where someone might walk off with an unwatched camera bag. While you're shooting group portraits, an assistant can gather (and tidy up) the next group.

Create a shortlist. Once you have been through the profiles and seen some of the photography of a number of wedding photographers, you need to narrow this down to a manageable number. Then you can arrange to meet, interview, and inspect the portfolios of your chosen few. Think carefully about who you want to interview, and consider what elements are most important to you.

Try to add variance to your group shots by providing the couple with a few different shots. Shoot wide to include all the outfits of the people in the photo. Get in closer and ask them to talk to each other (this generally sparks a reaction of laughter). Providing a couple with a bit of variance to their group shots gives them more flexibility when choosing images for albums or to share online. Additionally, it will add to your overall deliverable opposed to just one shot of people standing, smiling at the camera.
When it comes to choosing a family photographer, there are some basic questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you’re spending your hard earned money the right way. This very simple guide will help to answer the question of How do I choose a family photographer? I’ve put together 5 basic questions to ask yourself when looking for a photographer. Photography, much like any art form, is very subjective. What makes a good photograph? My answer might be completely different then yours. Luckily, we live in a world where research is very possible and answering these 5 questions can ultimately help to choose a family photographer and is a good place to start the process.
I also suggest my bride to get their manicure and pedicure done according to the colors that they are going to be wearing for the session. Remember that they are scoring a brand new engagement ring and chances are you are going to be photographing it. So, giving a fair warning to your clients about it will save you a lot of work in post-processing and will also save you some great detail shots.

If you're working with a hair and makeup artist for your wedding day, now might be a great time for a trial. If you're just in town for the shoot, I can recommend some wonderful artists for you. While professional hair and makeup are not a must, it can help boost your confidence and ease the getting-ready process on the day of the shoot. I recommend staying away from bright whites, heavily visible logos, or crazy mismatched patterns. While trends heavily lean towards things-that-look-like-they-would-clash-but-they-don't pattern mixing, be careful that you don't go overboard. You don't want your outfits to pull attention from your faces!
Trust your photographer to direct you in posing so you can look your best. What makes maternity photos different from other portraits is that the images focus on you, your personality, feelings and the bond you have with your much-awaited baby. Many maternity poses such as hands on the belly and eyes looking down express emotions and connection to your belly. Other maternity poses empathize the beautiful curves of your body.

As with most things, there is no substitute for practice and experience…with each shoot you will get better and better, just keep your head in the game! A fellow “kinda” San Diegan?! Cool 🙂 We actually are working on a Newborn Photography Online Course/Workshop teaching everything you need to know, start to finish, including an actual on location photo shoot so you can see exactly what its like and how to deal with common pitfalls when shooting on-location! Make sure to subscribe to Cole’s Classroom so you’ll be in the know when we release it in a few months 🙂


Kids are naturally photogenic. Instead of bending over backwards to create posed photos that look natural, try capturing the essence of special moments in your daily life. Take photos of your kids swinging from the monkey bars, splashing along the shoreline or tromping down the side of a large hill. Thanks to digital photography, you don’t have to worry about wasting film. You can take as many shots as you like until you find the ones that have the fresh, yet timeless feel you are looking for.
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