Don't let seasonality stop you when it comes to wearing white in your fall engagement photos. It's totally acceptable—and even super on trend—to wear white after Labor Day! While your engagement shoot doesn't have to feel overly bridal, a white blouse or dress is a sweet nod to your wedding dress. Consider playing with texture: Cotton-based fabrics like eyelet lace, crochet and Swiss dot all have dimension that shows up well on camera and gives your outfit an instant vintage twist. 
The ability to bounce a flash or to diffuse it is key. You’ll find that in many churches that light is very low. If you’re allowed to use a flash (and some churches don’t allow it) think about whether bouncing the flash will work (remember if you bounce off a colored surface it will add a colored cast to the picture) or whether you might want to buy a flash diffuser to soften the light. If you can’t use a flash you’ll need to either use a fast lens at wide apertures and/or bump up the ISO. A lens with image stabilization might also help. Learn more about Using Flash Diffusers and Reflectors.
Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.
I like that you pointed out how some photographers will be able to give digital copies of the photos by downloading it on a CD/DVD. I will look for a photographer who does that to ensure we have two copies of the images. We just need to have family pictures done starting now that we have kids, and we plan to do it every year on January to save memories of how we look together.
Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your individual outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves and belts.
First, streamline. Take the time to go through the prints from your childhood and have your favorites converted to digital files so you'll always have them, sans the yellow tinge of time or (gulp) water damage. Two popular services are ScanDigital and ScanCafe, both of which require you to send in your negatives, prints, or slides. They'll send back your digital files on a DVD along with your originals. Prices range from 29 to 88 cents per photo.
Carrie Smith's two young boys inspired her love of photography, leading to the creation of Carrie Smith Photography. The Dallas photo studio specializes in newborn photography and also provides in-studio or on-site maternity portraits, hospital photos, children's portraits, and family portraits. Clients have praised Carrie Smith for her memorable photos that capture the subject's spirit and her warm, patient personality.
An experience that is aimed to be “stress-free” for you as a parent.  I allow your children to explore, roam and experience the environment around them – both for the purpose of putting ourselves in the best position to get the most out of your time with me, but to also provide you with photographs that capture the natural essence of what makes your children and your family “who you are”

Posed shoots can happen either in a studio or on location (usually the client’s house). A good posed newborn photoshoot should happen when the infant is still just a few weeks old because they are still pretty sleepy a lot of the time. They are generally photographed with a few well-placed newborn photography props, like a “one-month old!” sign or a cozy blanket (we’ll get into more detail on those later).


Really this is the go-to shooting mode for wedding photographers. Moments happen so quickly on a wedding day and Continuous Shooting Mode helps you capture them. Take the speeches as an example. This is a great time to capture laughter, tears and overall joy on the faces of the couple, their families and their friends. If you use One Shot you might capture a fantastic laugh but the person is mid-blink. Or the person sitting next to them is picking their nose. However in Continuous Shooting Mode if you hold that shutter down and burst 5-10 images you can capture various different expressions of the same situation.
There are a lot of different ways a photographer can set up their business. They may charge a sitting fee (or a session fee), which includes the photographer’s time and talent, but no files or products. Or, they may offer the session and all the digital files for one, all-inclusive price. Some even offer several packages with different combinations of products and/or files. One is not better than another, you just have to make sure you’re happy with what they’re offering, and have a clear understanding of what to expect.
(Above) Balloon Engagement Photo Pose Ideas: There’s something about balloons that just makes everything feel whimsical and filled with joy! Add a dash of whimsy and an extra dose of joy to your engagement photo’s by using a few regular sized balloons or one large giant balloon each as photo props. {Left image by Thousand Crane Photography here, right image by Claire Thomson Photography here.}
Contracts provide mutually beneficial protection to both you and your photographer. Your photographer should send you a contract once you’ve both decided to move forward. The contract should define studio policies, payment and deliverable schedules, and contingency plans. Read the contract before signing; don’t make any payments until the contract is in place.

This session is generally scheduled around 32 – 38 weeks. Michael and Sophie view your maternity photography session as the beginning of a beautiful relationship. They look forward to capturing your maternity photography, newborn photography, baby photography, and family photography to be treasured for years to come. Maternity photography in NYC is a beautiful thing. Women in NYC love their baby from the moment they know that he or she is growing inside of them. There is nothing like it in the world, and it is a memory that will be cherished forever. The problem is that many times a woman does not feel attractive during pregnancy. A professional NYC maternity photographer knows the right angles to shoot, and will provide you with beautiful, tasteful and flattering maternity photography that will be a treasured keepsake. We capture time in photos, this is a time that you can now capture forever. Maternity photography is truly art at its very best. Professional NYC maternity photographer Michael Kormos knows how to manipulate the studio lighting to get the best affect.
The importance of beautiful family pictures can not be understated.  Cars and televisions eventually break down and have to be replaced, but investing in your family portraits is something that will last a lifetime.  Make sure that you select a Las Vegas family photographer who specializes in creating beautiful, timeless, and classic portraits for your family.  This is definitely not the time to shop for a bargain photographer – invest your money wisely in a skilled photographer and you will have family portraits that you are proud to hang on your walls for a lifetime.
We thought ahead about location, poses, logistics, and timing.  If you have a plan, it is easier to get in and out and end up with photos that you are happy with!  Take the photos of the whole family first, then the children together and individually, and then couple photos if desired.  You can realistically take great family photos in 30-60 minutes by yourself if you have a plan.
I still remember the first wedding I photographed where the bride and grooms car crashed into a Tram on the way to the park where we were going to take photos. The bride was in tears, the groom stressed out – but after we’d all calmed down people began to see some of the funny side of the moment and we even took a couple of shots before driving on to the park. They were among everyone’s favorites.
You are taking family pictures, do, friendliness can be a big deal. The best family photographers know how to cheer up that crabby child, get everyone’s eyes to the camera, and hopefully a smile from all, at the same time, too.  So, if your photographer is not used to taking pictures of little kids, grandparents, or groups, be wary.  If they are introverted, unprofessional, lazy, tired, or not fully invested in your family photography session, chances are they won’t capture your beautiful family perfectly.

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. 🙂


If a client chose you as their wedding photographer, they put tremendous trust in your artistic vision and abilities to deliver work which they will enjoy for many years to come. If engagement sessions are something that you do not currently offer, I suggest you to look into offering them soon. Educating your client on the importance of an engagement session might prove crucial for your business and your relationship with clients. It is also a great opportunity for you to show your client what you can do without being in a time crunch.
Prior to the big day, your photographer will likely ask you for a wedding photo list, which will outline specific family wedding photos you and your soon-to-be spouse want to be sure and take during the wedding. Thanks to WeddingWire's wedding day timeline generator, you know that you have about an hour allotted between the wedding ceremony and reception (or following the first look) for wedding family photos. A complete wedding family photo list will help you and your photographer make the most of these 60 minutes.
Here’s an important thing to keep in mind: The memories that are brought up when you look at these photos will be complex. The images themselves will trigger memory of what your child looked like and who they were, and of your relationship together, AND it will also trigger memory of what you felt like when those images were being captured. If you were uncomfortable during the session that discomfort will forever be tied to the images.
I have priced my work exactly where I need it to make a living, so I include all the digital files in the cost of the playdate (there are usually over a hundred) as well as the finished storybook. I encourage my clients to purchase their own prints and give recommendations for the best places you can go to get high quality prints. I believe that it’s a waste of everyone’s time to place these simple orders together.
In 2008 Natalie began doing freelance photography for several clients who requested her services. This ultimately led her to formally create Natalie Roberson Photography, LLC. Natalie has traveled all over the United States and internationally documenting people’s lives. Natalie and her assistants use high-resolution Nikon digital cameras and lens to capture their photographic images. All photographs are enhanced by using Adobe Photoshop software.

If the price is too much for you and you have an idea of what you want for newborn photos, they sell tons of affordable props you can use for your own photo session. They have websites that sell the cute hats, hammocks, blankets etc. Then you can set them up all the time for each mile stone too. Regular cameras are so much better than they used to be. It won't be the same, but you could get a lot more for your money by setting it up yourself.


Babies have always been a passion of mine. My mother owned an in-home daycare until I was 12 years old and she then became a full time mom. Babies have been my life for as long as I can remember and I love to be around them everyday watching them learn and giggle. This is more than just pictures to me- these are memories. Its your babies personality shining through the images that makes me love this so much more. I am a PROUD surrogate mother of boy/girl twins that are two years old. And, my wife, Ana delivered our own boy/girl twins Ford and Davis in June 2018!
I know many portrait & wedding photographers love to shoot wide open at f/1.2 & f/1.4.  However, with newborn photography, many of the baby poses can have extreme angles and you often will have better luck with your depth of field and sharpness by shooting around f/2 & f/2.2.  Remember, it will be rare that the baby’s eyes are on the same plane of focus all the time and by closing down my aperture a bit from wide open I get that little bit extra of depth of field that is often needed.
Lisa Felthous Photography aims to tell the story behind every portrait. The photography studio, based in Sachse, shoots newborn portraits, maternity portraits, child portraits, adult and couple photos, family photos, senior portraits, and corporate headshots. Lisa Felthouse uses a spontaneous and passionate approach toward her photography. Clients have praised the photographer for her eye for detail, inventive photos, and hard work to get the perfect shot.
4. Create a business name. What you name your business will become the brand image, so choose a name that fits the type of photography you want to do. If you want to take kid portraits you can have a whimsical name, but if you want to do business photography or weddings, you’ll want something that sounds professional or elegant. If you don’t use your given name in your business name, you’ll likely need to file a fictitious name statement with your county clerk’s office. You also need to check with the U. S. Patent and Trademark office to ensure the name isn’t protected by trademark.
You can also design a digital photo book to commemorate special events. Photo book-creation sites allow you to put as little or as much effort and creativity into the process as you like -- offering numerous design choices for those who want a hands-on experience or prepackaged options if you're short on time or have a large number of images to include in a single project.
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.
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.
Don't underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it? When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or are they timid? Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn't irritate you in any way. Remember: They'll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you don't want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way. To get the best photos, your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments, cajoling enough to coax relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests, and calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.
I like that you pointed out how some photographers will be able to give digital copies of the photos by downloading it on a CD/DVD. I will look for a photographer who does that to ensure we have two copies of the images. We just need to have family pictures done starting now that we have kids, and we plan to do it every year on January to save memories of how we look together.

Almost as important as quality and expertise is to find a photographer who has a style that resonates with you, and your life. Take some time to think about the style of images you are looking for. Do you want studio (either classic and simple or with props for some shots) or do you want on-location or natural light, and if so, where? Where will you display your images and what are you looking to accomplish with them (i.e. wall displays in a casual or formal room, to compliment a display that has been built over time, a heirloom album showcasing your entire shoot)? It’s extremely important that you choose a photographer whose galleries and portfolio reflect what you are looking for, and reflect it consistently without a constant changing style. Check out their work on their blog and website. You should be able to get a feel for whether they maintain a style and have mastered it, or whether they jump from trend to trend. Regardless, make sure you really assess what you want your outcome to be, as it relates to your life, and your personal style, and try not to be swayed by “what’s hot” as whatever is hot might not really make sense in the big picture. Once you have selected a few photographers that you believe meet your quality, expertise, style and vision goals, make sure you have a conversation with them to discuss planning your session, and your goals. You will want them to understand what you are looking for so they can agree it’s something they can accomplish.
In spite of this trend, some photographers continue to shoot with film as they prefer the film aesthetic, and others are of the opinion that negative film captures more information than digital technology, and has less margin for exposure error. Certainly true in some cases, exposure latitude inherent in a camera's native Raw image format (which allows for more under- and over- exposure than JPEG) varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. All forms of RAW have a degree of exposure latitude which exceeds slide film - to which digital capture is commonly compared.
“From the moment I reached out to book newborn photos with her she was responsive, friendly and professional. During the session she was absolutely magic getting all of us, especially the toddler, to pose, laugh, and enjoy ourselves. She made it so easy. The final photos were incredible. We have done other professional photos before and I can say Kate was the best experience we’ve had.”
Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
“Kate isn’t just a photographer, she’s an artist. Spending even a few minutes with Kate, you will recognize tremendous talent, patience, and a winning personality that reflect exactly what a gifted photographer should be. Kate arranges the photos but simultaneously lets you be you, such that you almost forget you’re being photographed. I wouldn’t trust my family photos to anyone else!”

Another reason to hold a newborn photo shoot soon after birth is because babies change so quickly the first few months, and you don’t want to miss the chance to photograph that uber tiny newborn look. Does this mean you can’t get good pictures when your baby is three weeks old instead of seven days? Of course not. But earlier can be simpler, which is always a good thing.

Do you have any advice for when the kids are dogs? It’s really hard to get one, and especially both, dogs looking at the camera at the same time for our family portraits. They are a busy breed (Australian Shepherds) and still young. I’ve been wanting to do self portraits of just me and our dogs as well, however that’s hard to get too since they won’t “sit, stay” while I focus and get back into the picture. My husband isn’t too thrilled about getting into the picture unless we’re on vacation so most of the self portraits are done on my own.
Why take engagement photos? The best reason is it's a great opportunity to work with your wedding photographer for the first time and get comfortable in front of their lens and with their style. (Most photographers also include an engagement session in their wedding photography packages.) You can also submit a shot to your local paper with your engagement announcement, use them creatively in your save-the-dates and wedding day décor, or give framed prints as gifts to your families. Read on for the basics to help you make the most of your premarital photo session. 

As you start looking through photographers’ portfolios, pay attention to the lighting quality in the pictures. Are they dark and moody? Bright and romantic? Each photographer has a certain style, and there will most likely be one that you mesh with better than others. You may also notice while you’re looking through portfolios that some photographers refer to themselves “natural light photographers” which just means that they only use whatever light is available, rather than using a flash or other lighting setups. If you are getting married somewhere dark without a lot of windows, you will want to make sure that the photographer knows how to create light when it isn’t there. Every lighting situation is different for photographers, so make sure you’re looking at photos that have similar characteristics to your venue. An outdoor wedding in the middle of the day with bright sun requires a very different skill than a New Year’s Eve reception in a dark church. (Also, a hot tip: ask to see some reception shots, since many of us don’t include those in our portfolios. Because if you are having an art gallery reception with no light, you want to make sure we can handle it. If all the reception photos are a little blurry and have been converted to black and white, then low-light situations are probably not that photographer’s forte. If you see lots of backlighting and what appears to be bursts of light behind the dancing, it means that that photographer has the ability to create standalone lighting in situations where the light is nonexistent.)

Marie Osmond represents her country America as a professional actress, singer and doll designer. She was born talented and started pursuing her career as a singer at very early age. She started her career as a singer by appearing on concerts with her brothers’ group The Osmonds. Her debut song was Paper Roses, which was released in 1973 and became the top country hit song on Billboard Magazine. After establishing her career as a singer, she moved to acting industry. She made her acting career debut through a hit film Hugo the Hippo which released in 1975. She has not only worked in film industry as an actress but also hosted number of shows too on American television industry. This versatile singer has recently released an album Music Is Medicine in 2016. Please scroll down for more information about Marie Osmond, family, husband, children, age and height.

Remember that often a baby is coming into an established family unit (not to say that Mom and Dad alone aren’t an “established family unit” but for the sake of my point, go with me on this one). If the siblings are available, make sure to include them in at least a few frames. I have to mention the dog, because I’ve got a sister-in-law who’s dog, Wanda (seriously that’s her name) is her pride and joy. When she and her hubby have kids, you can trust that Wanda will be right there in at least a handful of her maternity photos. She’s as much a part of the family as the next guy.


Whether you are all playing outside in the falling leaves, posing by the cozy fireplace or walking along the beach, you are the ones who will make the photo unique. We know that it sometimes takes the inspiration from others to get your creative juices flowing, so we have put together a list of 80 photo family photo ideas. Sort through the filters to find the best fit for your family. Don’t forget to share your photos with friends and family—easily order prints from your desk or mobile phone. And for additional inspiration check out this article: family photo wall ideas.
Introducing personal elements is part of what makes some of these creative props for newborns so great. However, guitars aren’t the most stable surfaces for newborns so a spotter is enlisted. With the camera on a tripod, the composition of the image does not shift. One photo is taken of just the guitar (left) and another picture is taken with the newborn on the guitar but with someone securely holding the baby in place (right).

Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your individual outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves and belts.
Excellent points, especially about using a tripod. The main benefit is that you'll need taking many nearly identical photos in order to get "the one" where everybody in the group is looking their best. Unless you've done this before, you'd be surprised how many shots it can take. Somebody's always looking away, blinking, has their head/hands etc. in a less than ideal position. Once everything is all set up as Darlene says, just shoot as many shots as you can in a very short amount of time.

To be pregnant is the most exciting and memorable period of any woman’s life. At this stage, she touches the heights of emotions. This overwhelming experience not only brings a change in her thoughts but also changes her shape. That small baby bump keeps growing each month and the love of a mother-to-be for her baby intensifies too. Many girls want to hold these incredible moments in photographs. Here we have some touching maternity quotes for photography that you too can use on your photographs.
I love to celebrate each of my client’s uniqueness during your photographic session. No experience will ever be the same, which is what I love the most about what I do! I strive to learn as much as I can about each individual in your family before our photo session so that each individual’s personality shines through in your images. Don’t forget to request my style guide for great tips on what to wear, location ideas, and everything in between!
“I believe in people’s individuality and connection. Everyone loves differently and everyone’s story deserves to be told. I try to tell the story I’m presented, not faking things, but instead seeing the beauty in everyone and shooting my story that way.” he later goes on to say “I started shooting weddings because I thought wedding photography was awful, I wanted to see if I could do it differently. And that was always my compass. When the word of “my style” spread it more and more became the norm, but the world is a big place and cultures are different. I always adapt, but I stay true to what I believe in.”
When you set the wedding date: Have a photo taken for your wedding website or save-the-date—many couples incorporate photos of themselves into the design. If this appeals to you and you're planning to send guests an early heads-up, have photos taken 8 to 10 months before the wedding, in time to print and send save-the-dates no later than six months before the wedding.
I had what I consider my first “real” maternity session a couple weeks ago. I call it my “first” because at the real first one I didn’t give any direction at all on what to wear and she came dressed in a black lace top with matching lace fingerless gloves! EEEK! Not exactly my style or what I wanted to show in my portfolio. But this time I was much more certain of the shots I wanted and was able to tweak the client’s prop ideas to get what she wanted and, secretly, what I wanted as well.
Español: convertirse en fotógrafo profesional, Deutsch: Ein professioneller Fotograf werden, Português: Se Tornar um Fotógrafo Profissional, Italiano: Diventare un Fotografo Professionista, Français: devenir photographe professionnel, Nederlands: Professioneel fotograaf worden, Русский: стать профессиональным фотографом, 中文: 做职业摄影师, Čeština: Jak se stát profesionálním fotografem, Tiếng Việt: Trở thành Nhiếp ảnh gia Chuyên nghiệp, ไทย: เป็นช่างภาพมืออาชีพ, 한국어: 사진작가 되는 방법, 日本語: プロのカメラマンになる, العربية: احتراف التصوير
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.
If I ever should think about some wedding photo checklist I would just packed my work and leave ASAP from wedding photography. Everyones wedding is unique and different and following a checklist in mind that I have "ALL" images done, would be a nail to a coffin for my very creative hungry modern brides and grooms :)... just my 50 cents, have been happily photographing 'some time' without any lists and my clients love it more and more from wedding to wedding... Happy shooting guys :) - http://www.povazanphotography.com/Vancouver-wedding-photographers-Povaza...WeddingWire makes the search for the perfect professional wedding photographer easy. All you need to do is enter a zip code or specific city and WeddingWire will show the local wedding photographers in your area. We have thousands of reviews from real couples, just like you, which are an absolute necessity when looking at all vendors, especially wedding photographers.

Tools: Most wedding photography advice will tell you to ask your photographer what kind of camera he or she uses. Unless you are a camera buff, this is usually a wasted question (heck, most of the time I don’t even know what the best camera on the market is). But as you look through portfolios, you’ll notice that certain photographers have different tools that they use to tell a story in their own voice. I’m a hopeless romantic, so for me that’s a lens that I’ve hacked onto a sink plunger that makes soft photos like this one.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session.  I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared.  In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session.  Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup.  I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them.  I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
This one is a biggie when answering the question of “How do I choose a family photographer.” Are you looking for a cheap, quick and easy process where you only need 1 or 2 good images or do you really value the images that the amount of money you spend is less important? The easiest way to narrow down your list of family photographers is to set a budget. This being said, it’s important to understand that in the photography industry, you get what you pay for.  Our pricing is usually based on experience and a professional photographer comes with a professional price tag. Additionally, professionals use price as a way to attract clients who truly value photography. I would rather work with someone willing to communicate and put the time, effort and money into achieving a great set of images then someone who is just bargain hunting. If you’re looking for a cheap and quick photo, consider using a new and budding photographer who is trying to build their portfolio or a set portrait service in a department store studio. If you really do value photography but are low on funds a cheap option is to look for mini-session specials from the photographers you really love. These are usually quick 10-20 minute sessions in a set location that include only a few digital files and photographers of all levels usually do sales on this kind of session at least once a year.
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.
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