Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion. Show your photographer who you really are, so that she has the opportunity to capture your love through her lens.


This 20 minute mini session will not happen every month. Watch for announcements on Instagram or inquire for the next one. I will select the date and location and will hold firm to the time slots. This shortened session doesn’t lack in beautiful moments captured, just in the variety, and are more posed in nature. Some people worry their kids won’t behave or that won’t be enough time, I PROMISE, it works out! I’ve been doing this time frame for years, and most people are very pleasantly surprised what can be captured in this time frame.
I try and avoid having to add light or dodge in LR when possible. If I'm doing many shots of a group as you mentioned you can't always copy and paste the settings from one to all of them as the heads aren't in exactly the same spots. So you end up having to dodge on every single image and causing yourself a lot more work in post production. That's why if my faces are dark I add a flash (bounced into an umbrella or bounced off a big reflector) off to one side to add light into their eyes. Of the images in the article, NONE of the faces have been dodged.
Make sure that the children can move freely in their outfits and that they aren’t going to be pulling and scratching at their new clothes. You want them happy and comfortable, not grouchy and miserable during the shoot! This means letting them have some input in what they wear. Kids who help dress themselves will not only be much happier campers when shooting time comes, but you’ll let their own beautiful personalities shine through in the images. Also, try not to make kids change outfits more than a couple times – another reason all those layers and accessories can be handy. The same goes for you – make sure that you select an outfit that makes you feel stunning and relaxed.
The formality of the occasion will generally dictate how smart or relaxed you can be with your clothing choice. Say for example the couple are getting married on a beach in Hawaii, the groom is wearing shorts and sandals, you would look pretty out of place in a three-piece suit. There isn’t really a perfect answer for what to wear at a wedding. However, generally speaking, if you keep your outfit quite smart with fairly neutral colours you shouldn’t attract too many complaints. Most of all you should make sure you are comfy and can manoeuvre your body. It is a long day so you don’t want to be restricted by overly formal clothes.
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.
So whilst we aren’t advocates for fixing in post, the RAW format just generally gives greater flexibility in post-production. You get a lot more control over things like white balance, exposure and shadow recovery than you would with a jpeg file. This is particularly helpful with weddings as the lighting is unchangeable (unless you use flash). The ability to manipulate these features after the fact is a great help to most wedding photographers.
Thanks so much for this. I’m not a photographer but I understand lighting and just want to know how to set up and get the “look” of shots I see all the time. I’m so grateful for all of this info especially as I’ve just found out I’m having a boy so now I need to find poses that will work as I can no longer do the whole headband and ruffles thing lol! I can’t wait. 🙂
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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram
Leah Robinson is an award-winning photographer who specializes in capturing child, wedding and family photographs. Her work is based Melbourne, Australia and she focuses on her photographs on capturing those special moments that deserve to be immortalized. Waiting for the right moment to capture is highly responsible for helping Leah Robinson to create amazing photographs especially while photographing young children. 9 Elena Shumilova – Russia
You won't be able to nail down an exact dollar amount until you're sure of what you want, how many albums you need and where your photographer is based, and packages range from $2,500 all the way up to $15,000-plus on the higher end of the spectrum. When interviewing candidates, ask for a general range based on the photographer's standard "shooting fee" and package, plus their standard rates for the type of album you think you'll want and the amount of coverage you're hoping to book them for (day of, full weekend). It's important to find out what's included in the standard package, plus the basic range for any extras you may want, like an engagement shoot, special effects or additional coverage, so you can compare rates. In particular, find out exactly how many hours of coverage are included. Ideally, you want your photographer to be there for your full wedding day—from when you start getting ready until after you make your grand exit from the reception. While packages vary, most include about 6 to 12 hours to cover everything from preceremony events (getting ready with your bridesmaids or first-look photos) to the end of the reception. It's usually better to pay for more coverage if there's a chance you'll run over and you definitely want your photographer there until the end (overtime is usually charged at a higher hourly rate). Also consider whether you'll want to do an engagement shoot or have your photographer shoot other events during your wedding weekend (the guys' golf outing, the bridesmaid lunch). 
With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.
If you want to create a unique photo that dramatically captures life from a child’s viewpoint, get on the ground. Photographer Andie Hamilton explains, “People don’t often think about getting down on the child’s level, but this can create some of the most intriguing shots. I often find myself lying on my stomach on the ground next to the child to get the most interesting angle.”
The beaches are a great location for family photo sessions. Families arrive to get away from the cold winters up north during the holidays. Grandparents who live on the beaches of Fort Myers, Marco Island and Sanibel Island are happy when the grandchildren arrive. I have photographed family photo sessions for over twenty five years in Florida. The beautiful beaches and abundant light in Florida provide for natural portrait photography.
that blend with the the vibe of the session as well, but keep them simple and meaningful. A handful of flowers that are a natural, neutral color or that coordinate with color pops in the subjects’ clothing, a vintage camera, a basket of apples, or the absolute best type of prop is something that is meaningful to the subject (grandpa’s vintage camera, their favorite stuffed animal, a quilt made by great grandma, the family’s beloved pet). But don’t let the prop be an odd distraction – make sure it “makes sense” being in the photo and blends well with the whole vision you had in mind for the shoot.
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