Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus. Turn on the Live View so you can see the image on your screen. Hit your “zoom” button (it may have a magnifying glass or a “+” sign on it) once or twice. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. Press zoom again to return to normal view and turn off Live View.

While you can always DIY family portraits with your point and shoot camera and a tripod and timer for no cost at all, it will likely not look so great, considering you are not a professional photographer, aren’t using a great camera and don’t know how to set up the shoot for optimal lighting and composition.  Your camera will be limited in its size and quality abilities.
It usually takes at least a month to get all those photo proofs back from your photographer. Why? Your photographer is shooting enormous raw files far bigger than your typical JPG. Shooting raw files gives your photographer greater ability to correct the photo, but it also takes a longer time to upload, process and edit all those files (in order to correct color levels and so on). It varies, but many photographers say they spend an additional 40 hours editing images from a single wedding, so it can take up to six to eight weeks (or longer, depending on the photographer and how busy they are) to get proofs back. Here's what to ask: How many images should I expect? Will they be high resolution or low resolution? Will I be able to get prints made myself, or does the photographer retain the rights to the images? Will the proofs I see be the retouched versions, or does that happen after I select the photos I want? Speaking of retouching, ask about retouching options and special effects (which can range from simple white balancing to beauty retouching and stylized art effects like super-saturated colors) and the additional cost for both.
Even if you don’t love the Brides dress, which I’m sure you will! Ask her what particular aspects of the dress she absolutely loves. A dress will always look better on the Bride than it will hanging up. But make sure to pay particular attention to capturing the intricate details. Also ask her if there are any other details she wants special photos of such as broaches, hair pieces, shoes etc. It’s easy to overlook these details but they make for fantastic photos. They can also be great to tell the complete story of the wedding especially if the items have sentimental value to the Bride.
A summertime family photo shoot offers beautiful landscapes for your photos and warmer weather. The season reflects a laid back vibe that can be mirrored throughout your family’s outfit selections. Take advantage of light cottons, pretty sheers, denim and slip into your sandals for a casual look. If your family is taking a summer vacation, use this time to take your family portraits. No matter where you may be during summertime, you can take advantage of the following summer color arrangements and styling tips to guide your selections.
“The key is developing and following one’s own style. One should not try and copy others but develop their own style and try and create a niche segment around it with their expertise in that field. This way the increasing competition does not affect one’s business. Good branding is an important aspect as well. So developing a niche style and promoting your business around that style is the key to survival and growth for every wedding photographer.”
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 🙂
Adjusting the composition is an easy way to add more variety. Take a full length shot then take a head and shoulders. Shoot one from directly above and another on their level and maybe another somewhere between those angles. Consider more adjustments than just height too — moving a few feet to the right or left can add some variety and emphasize different aspects of the pose too.
Talk about the photographer’s style. The first thing to discuss is the style and ideas of the photographer. You will have seen some pictures, but you will be able to get better and more complete understanding by talking it through in person. Ask the photographer to describe the style they shoot in, and be sure to ask any further questions if anything is unclear to you.[8]
It seems like every wedding planning blog we look at makes this recommendation but we have absolutely no idea why they are telling couples to do this! The only shot list we need from you is the list of family formal photos you would like (which we will ask for in the questionnaires we send to you) so we can make sure to budget enough time to get your family formals completed and that will help that part of the day run much more smoothly. For the rest of the day we will be watching for important moments. If we are having to check things off a list it is very likely that we will miss something that we otherwise would have been able to capture because we were staring at a piece of paper trying to make sure we “get the shots on the list” instead of paying attention to what is going on at your wedding! We shoot many, many, MANY weddings and understand the flow and key moments of a wedding day and you will get our absolute best work if you let us pay attention to what is happening around us instead of hunting down shots on a list.
This could save you a lot of aggravation, upset and possible humiliation. Speak with the Officiant before the Ceremony begins. Ask if they have any particular rules. Generally speaking, a church officiant will be a little more strict than a non-religious officiant. Some places only allow you to stand in certain places, whilst others don’t allow flash photography. Some don’t allow photography at all! If the officiant tells you this on the day of the wedding your best option is to instantly go and speak with the groom. Just explain to him that the officiant has told you that you aren’t allowed to take photographs during the service. This generally doesn’t happen as the couple have already met with the officiant but just be prepared that you might catch them in a bad mood.
Ok, this isn’t a novel idea, but I use this a lot (even still) and think it’s worth the small investment for the random times it’s used.  I have this tripod with a bag carrier, found on Amazon for $14.99. It’s a handy tool for years to come.  Many times I’ve set my tripod up, and RUN into the picture. The toughest part about this method is making sure all the kids look in the right direction, and not at you running back.

Shutterfly may be a bit pricier than Snapfish online, but the app offers even more free perks. (And chances are, you can probably find a coupon for Shutterfly.) The Shutterfly app offers free unlimited 4 x 6 prints, a free 4 x 6 photo book every month, and free, unlimited cloud storage for your photos. That’s a big plus for casual photographers who need to backup their files, since paid cloud storage options get pretty pricey. If you’re looking for the most freebies, the Shutterfly app could be the one to download.
You should be able to get amazing newborn and baby photography results with almost any camera and lens if you simply learn the proper lighting, creativity, and camera angles for newborn photography. Though a professional camera like a Canon 5K Mark III, a full frame camera, will give you better overall image quality than an advanced point and shoot camera like a Sony NEX, a camera like the Sony NEX will likely be sufficient for capturing great images of newborns. Below is a quick side-by-side showing images from the two cameras mentioned above with the Canon 5D Mark III image on the left and the Sony NEX image on the right. For more on this, be sure to check out our Newborn Photography Workshop.

Most of my clients opt out of the above and go with adding their own personal touches to the engagement session. This is also a perfectly distracting maneuver. Often times, clients feel awkward in front of the camera and don’t know what to do. Accessorizing the shoot and adding some props will shift their attention from you to the objects around them. If the props hold sentimental value to your clients, it will be better for you.
Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.
While I had visions of taking lots of ‘cute’ shots of Xavier in his first week I found that what actually happened was that the first week of his life ended up being more like a documentary shoot. The focus of my shots ended up being of a lot of ‘firsts’. First moment with Mum, first bath, first time on the scales (he was just under 9 pounds), first outfit, first manicure (he had long nails from day one), first time meeting grandparents etc. I ended up taking a picture of him with every visitor that came (these will make nice gifts) and decided to leave the ‘cute’ shots until when we got back home and he’d settled a little more.

You made a good point to advise your client to choose the best clothing they feel comfortable wearing in a photo session. It is recommended to use neutral colors and soft fabric especially if there are children included. Also, you may want to suggest adding some additional accessories such as sunglasses, cowboy hats or even headbands. This should make the photo session very interesting and light. I would make sure to keep this in mind if we ever have one in our family. Thanks.
Few styles of portrait photography are as tricky as newborn photos — the unpredictable infant is always in charge! The best way to ensure a successful photo shoot is to work with a local newborn photographer within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. Some photographers even work with hospitals to offer newborn sessions within a day of the baby’s birth. But newborn photographers usually recommend scheduling a shoot during the baby’s first two weeks of life, while the baby is still sleepy and relatively cooperative, especially for posed or studio shots. During this time, babies are easier to swaddle in blankets and dress in hats or headbands, and, because they often nap or nurse, can be staged with various props or be cuddled by their parents. For casual photos, most newborn photographers recommend shooting within the first six weeks of a baby’s life. Lifestyle portrait photography is more flexible and doesn’t require the baby to cooperate with multiple poses or props.

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.


Build a complete portfolio. In order to get hired by someone who isn't a close family member or friend, you will need to have a portfolio to show. Use photographs from multiple shoots with different subjects to highlight the range of your talents. Make sure that your portfolio is comprised of more than just five or ten photos. People will want to see the great work you've done.[8]
Jackie Spivey is a Keller-based photographer crafting high-quality portraits of families and newborns for over 10 years. She offers in-studio and in-home photo sessions for newborns and babies, and also takes family, wedding, and maternity photos on location. Jackie Spivey was once voted by the WFAA as one of the Top 5 Wedding Photographers in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Pose your engagement ring and wedding bands prettily on your wedding day—they're symbolic of your union, after all. Photographer Cassi Claire says she returns to this particular shot over and again, especially when flipping through her own wedding photos: "I don't often wear my engagement ring while traveling, so this photo has been referenced many times."
Step away from your point-and-shoot and ask yourself this: Are the 200 photos you took on your baby's first birthday sitting in the same desktop folder as shots from the neighborhood block party -- from, ahem, three years ago? Have you broken countless promises to your in-laws to share last year's family vacation pics? Did the most recent photo you printed out come from your college graduation (a picture that's now collecting dust in the attic)?
First of all, thank you so much for all of your advice and explainations that are always so clear and to the point. I keep going back to reading various articles once in a while to remind me or to re-inspire me. It is a scary time for me as I am about to launch my photography full time in a new country (I am originally from France and after spending time in the UK and Dubai, i have relocated in Asia). I own a Canon 60D which I love, I am still at crop frame but hopefully I will be successful enough to be able to afford full frame at some point! I was just curious to know what your take was on 60D as I value very much your experience and opinions. In regards to lenses, I have at the moment a canon 50mm f/1.8 which I use a lot for portraits and a tamron 18-250 mm which I have used for portraits as well and has given me some really good shots. I do get frustrated at times with the lack of sharpness so I do look forward to using more prime lenses and a full frame camera when time allows.

3.  Evidence of happy clients.  You can probably see this in two forms.  One is through reviews or testimonials on their website.  Another way to see that they have happy clients is to see if people seem to come back to them year after year.  If you scroll through their blog, it’s probably a good sign if you see many of the same families more than once.


Ask your partner or other children to join you. Schedule your maternity photos on a day when your partner or other children can join you. Including your family in your maternity photos is a special way to capture your growing family.[3] Ask your partner what day would work best for their schedule. If you have other children, schedule the photo shoot on a day they do not have school, or see if you can sign them out of class for an afternoon.
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In my 6 years in business, I have photographed over 300 newborns, I have taken posing and safety workshops, I've had three babies of my own! :) Let's not forget to talk about, insurance; yes, I'm fully insured! Although reasonable DSLR cameras are easily accessible to consumers, what matters most is the skill it takes to manually and creatively use that equipment. I have personally invested over $40k in camera, lenses, studio lighting, computers, latest editing software, management systems. Over 20K in quality newborn props; backdrops, floors, outfits, headbands, hats, wood props, blankets, wraps to name a few but that's just the expense of want it takes to produce an image, it does not include my CODB; taxes, licenses, memberships, subscriptions, fees, marketing..etc. It's an investment I have made and will continue to make into my business. Most importantly and above all else, a commitment I make to every single client of mine that I will produce the best possible photographs.
In order to capture your newborn in adorable curly poses, you should take newborn photos five to twelve days after giving birth. If you want your baby’s sleepy and curly newborn demeanor to be photographed, try not to wait any longer than two weeks for the newborn session. When it comes to setting a date, you should reach out to your photographer before giving birth to avoid any added stress in clearing your calendar. Typically it’s a good idea to schedule the session to take place a week after your expected due date. The date may change seeing as how baby will arrive when baby wants. However, you should do your best to give your photographer a tentative date since classic newborn photos of your baby curled up, like they’re in the womb, have a short window of time to be taken. If you’re working with a popular photographer, book your session 2-3 months in advance of your due date.

it’s so important to take a photo of the two of you, with your growing bump.  when you look back on the pictures of the two (well, three including your baby) of you, it will be so fun to see what you both looked like during that time.  even better, take this photo in your nursery so you can remember what your nursery initially looked like.  for us, we didn’t know the gender of our little one so our nursery changed a bit once we found out our baby was a girl when she was born.  it’s fun to see what the beginning stages of her nursery looked like, while we were planning for pink or blue.
On here, you listed there will be a “part two” that “will have recommendations for those on a tight budget” and for those using a Canon. Personally, I’m just wondering when you might be posting the info on a tight budget? My dad used to be a photographer and can probably recommend a lower end camera that still works great, but I would like to see what you recommend. (:
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