It probably depends on who you ask, but everyone we have asked (and we have asked several of our past couples and here is a write-up one of our past couples did about the experience of having a first look) has said that doing a first look did not take anything away from the ceremony at all. We also did a first look at our wedding, so we speak from personal experience when we say that doing a first look is a whole different experience than seeing each other as you walk down the aisle.
Here’s why: The thing that takes the most time with family formals is gathering everyone together and getting people organized. If you set up your wedding day photography timeline to do the bride and her family and the groom and his family separate before the ceremony and then the bride + groom and both of their families together after the ceremony, then we have to gather families three times instead of just one. Moreover, the difference between the group “Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents” and the group “Bride + Bride’s Parents” is just saying “Groom, can you step out for a second?” which takes about 3 seconds to quickly re-arrange and will save you time in the end.
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.

MOST AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER YOU COULD EVER HIRE. I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO MEET JESSICA WHEN I WAS PREGNANT WITH MY TWINS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. DURING THE LAST 4 YEARS SHE HAS PHOTOGRAPHED MY GIRLS ON MANY OCCASIONS AND WE EVEN GOT TO HAVE HER IN THE OR CAPTURING ONCE IN A LIFETIME PHOTOS OF OUR NEW BABIES BIRTH. SHE TAKES SO MUCH TIME, PASSION, DEDICATION, LOVE AND SO MUCH MORE INTO EVERY PHOTO SHE CAPTURES. HIRING HER WOULD BE THE BEST MEMORIES YOU COULD GIVE YOUR FAMILY!
The key to posing newborns is to take your time. Really take your time. Posing your newborn takes a few steps. First, get the baby naked and wrap her up tight in a blanket, then hold her close to your chest and rock back and forth to settle her back to sleep. It usually doesn’t take long if she was sleepy to begin with, but be willing to wait a few minutes until she’s fully asleep.
If the couple has requested family photos let them know how it is going to go. For example, say you will photograph the Brides family first. You will then ask the grooms family to join so you can photograph both families together. Finally, you will ask the Brides family to leave so you can capture the Grooms family. If everyone knows what is going on it makes the whole process a lot less stressful for you and the guests.
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.

*Tell A Story*Shetha Nolke of Portland, OR shot the above photo of a boy encircled in holiday lights and it’s more than just cute. The lights were strung by an older brother, and you can see in the child’s eyes the years of teasing he’s taken from that sibling. Says New York-based pro Andrew Matusik, who took this black-and-white group photo, “I shoot my family like I’m doing a photo essay. I want the photos to tell a greater story and show the bigger picture. To do that, I look for narrative elements that can tie the images together, like the grandchildren in my shot here.”Shetha Nolke
When it comes to tracking down all those amazingly candid guest photos, these apps and programs can only go so far. "The biggest thing is to include instructions early and remind guests," says Katelyn Wollet of Katelyn Wollet Photography. Whether those reminders are in the invitations, on your wedding website, or at the reception itself in some form, it's up to you as a couple to spread the word about taking and sharing footage.
Once you’re through with the type of photos above, use a family member to get even more pictures of just the baby. You’ll notice that I almost always use my piece of black stretch velvet as a background when photographing baby and mom. I just really like the timeless look, and it makes for great black and white photos. In the following photos I asked the mom to wear a black shirt, then draped the black velvet either over them or behind them. Here are a few more fun poses using a family member:
Documentary photography has come naturally to me over the years, and making the change to dive into this style fully and completely has been such an eye opening experience. Preserving the genuine interactions and moments between two or more people can elicit emotions in the viewer for many years to come. Providing my clients with a book of feelings transposed into pictures brings me such joy.
Earth Mama Photography photographs newborns and births in the Dallas area. The business will photograph births in any setting, including in the home, at the birth center, in the hospital, and during c-sections. The photographer aims to be discrete during birth photos while photographing the emotions and details of the day. The photography studio's Fresh 48 Sessions omit the labor and capture the moments right after the birth. Earth Mama Photography also shoots child portraits, family portraits, and maternity portraits on-site or in the studio.

Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive.  What do your dream family photos look like?  If they are soft and elegant?  Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues.  Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family?  Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents.  Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.


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.
"AMAZING! Stop looking and just book with him. Garrett is very professional and genuinely cares about his clients. He has amazing prices and really is willing to work with you. I was hesitant about hiring a professional photographer but I am so glad I did because the photos look amazing. If I ever need a photographer I will definitely be hiring him again."
When it comes to tracking down all those amazingly candid guest photos, these apps and programs can only go so far. "The biggest thing is to include instructions early and remind guests," says Katelyn Wollet of Katelyn Wollet Photography. Whether those reminders are in the invitations, on your wedding website, or at the reception itself in some form, it's up to you as a couple to spread the word about taking and sharing footage.

When it comes to props, I gently discourage them. The point of the engagement session is to create beautiful portraits of you two together, and the addition of props is just a distraction. I know that there are many websites that will encourage you to bring vintage items, huge bunches of balloons, signs to hold, and so forth, but then the entire engagement shoot becomes all about those props and less about you two together. If you have always dreamed of running across the Brooklyn Bridge together holding a huge cluster of balloons, then let's do it….but let's open the session with that and then put the balloons away. Likewise, if you have a Thank You sign or a Save The Date sign, let's shoot those quickly and then tuck them in your bag. I want to create a shoot that fully brings to life your vision for engagement pictures, but I also want to focus on you!
As a wedding is a one-time event, the photographer must be prepared for the unexpected. Covering a wedding is both exhausting and invigorating as the photographer is constantly looking for good angles and opportunities for candid shots. Communication and planning time-lines before the event will alleviate many of the stresses associated with photographing a wedding. The ability to tactfully take charge also helps - particularly when photographing large groups or families - a common expectation after the ceremony. Having a run list with all of the expected shots is also a useful tool. A photographer may work with an assistant who can carry equipment, arrange guests, and assist with clothing adjustments or holding of reflectors.

*Look For A Full Range Of Emotions*Grab your camera, even when family members are bored, tired or cranky. The tendency is to shoot only when a scene seems funny or “sweet,” but sweet just tells part of a family’s story. Every emotion your parents, siblings, or children display is worth capturing—fascination, tears, passion, even boredom.Interaction between family members will prompt these emotions. “I try to tease out character by prompting unscripted behavior,” says Charlotte Geary, a pro from Manitou Springs, CO (www.charlottegeary.com).“I give vague suggestions instead of specific poses. I’ll ask, for example, that subjects touch or hold each other, or I’ll say, ‘Try to make her laugh.’ They interpret my requests, and the reactions usually look natural and realistic.”Andrew Matusik
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.
It can be easy for the photographer to miss the cake cutting, bouquet throwing, etc.  While photographers are usually good about setting out a schedule with brides for the big things like when the bride/groom photos will be taken, they often forget to work with the bride about when these things will be so they aren't missed.  This is especially true if you're shooting solo.  (Thanks Ed Cord, who is a regular on the Facebook page)
Any other props or accessories you think you might like to use (hats, headbands, etc.) You want everything ready to go before you start taking photos. Remember, though, that you don’t need lots of props. I think newborn photos look best with fewer accessories and props and more focus on the baby herself. I’ll talk more about this in Part 2: Posing for a DIY newborn photos.
Ansley Beth Photography is a Grapevine-based portrait photographer offering candid photo sessions for individuals and families. They specialize in portraits of newborns, expectant mothers, families, and high school seniors, and also provides photo coverage for intimate weddings. Clients commend the team of Ansley Beth Photography for their patience and ability to make subjects feel comfortable and confident.
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.
Be prepared to edit your photos.  I am not talking about crazy amounts of editing, I am talking merely tweaking.  The photos we took were taken in the morning light, so the light was a little bit cool for my taste.  So I quickly imported my photos into Lightroom and warmed them up just a little bit!  I highly recommend using Lightroom to edit photos quickly and in bulk!  You can purchase Lightroom HERE.

Perhaps now you’re wondering why I even bother posing newborns at all if I want them to look natural. A couple of reasons: 1) Newborns have very little control over their limbs, so they tend to flail about. Left to their own devices, their arms and hands can look very contorted. 2) Most newborns burrow their heads into whatever is nearest them, meaning they will generally hide their faces in any blanket or pillow you lay them down on. 3) Newborn’s legs are long and skinny, and they just don’t look good in photographs when they are sticking straight out. Tucking their legs up underneath them makes for a much tidier looker photo.
It doesn’t matter what kind, type or brand of camera you are using as long as you know how to use it. Important thing is you are familiar with all the knobs and controls, DOF, exposure etc… to capture the shot. Elements & lights are very important too when doing landscape photography… make sure you know at least to use the MANUAL instead of AUTO function. I am talking all of that for the non-Pro level. But when it comes to Pro level that would be a different ball game. For me, Pro level are those persons who are making money for their photography (i.e. wedding, event, sports photographer) they need to produce what the payee are expecting for. But like me a hobbyist or beginners… it is much better to concentrate on how to capture a nice image or how to work with lights.
We’ve always had photos taken when the kids were newborns, but this is the first time we’ve taken them where I knew they wouldn’t be missing someone - the first time our family has been whole & complete and it’s seriously the BEST feeling! I’m SO happy with how they turned out - I love that each of the kids is captured so well through these and I will seriously treasure them FOREVER. Now, can I please just have the largest canvas available in every single one? #shameless

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.


Adrian Sommeling is not just a professional photographer as he is also a graphic designer, digital artist and web developer. The main secret behind making Adrian’s photographs really stunning is his unique style of photography. He captures his photographs in a unique way and adding the cartoon effect to the photos increases their beauty and makes them more impressive. If you find that Adrian Sommeling’s work is impressive and want to make use of his experience, then why do not you attend the workshops that he gives around the world?
I am a national award-winning children’s photographer, but I’m also a mom, and I look at kids through the eyes of a mom. I know that some of the most cherished photos you’ll ever have of your children are not the perfectly posed, clean-faced, well-dressed, sweet-smiling photos that our parents wanted, but rather the authentic, digging in the mud, feet in the cake, finger up the nose sort of moments that can’t be duplicated and will never be forgotten (future boyfriends/girlfriends beware!). Now that my own kids are in high school, I think the little things that young kids do are seriously funny, though I realize that right now, you might not see the humor. I promise you, in 10 years, it will become clear when you look at the photos we create together. Optical Poetry is a laid back, high-end portrait experience that begins with collaborative planning of wardrobe and location and ends with the delivery of your artwork as gallery-wrap canvas collections, gorgeous albums and heirloom quality prints to be cherished for generations.
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.
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. 🙂
It is totally, 110% o.k. if you prefer to wait. We aren’t pushing first looks as the best and only way to plan your wedding day photography timeline (although doing a first look does give you a lot more flexibility in your timeline). We have just heard sooooo many couples say that they want to do a first look, but they think that it will take something away from the ceremony. It doesn’t. If you want to do a first look, then do one. If you don’t, then don’t. This is your wedding, so do what you want to do!
For good portraits you must turn off your flash. Your camera’s pop-up flash does more harm than good in most photography situations, so make sure you aren’t using it when you try to photograph your newborn. Instead, find a good source of natural light, like a large window or glass door, and set up close to it. If you have enough light coming in you won’t need either your flash or your overhead lights (which are also not a good plan when taking portraits). If it’s warm enough you can even set up in your garage with the door up to allow lots of light in. Start paying attention to the light in the room in yourself with the largest window – notice when the room is bright, but you can’t see the shadow of the window on the floor in front of it (see this post for more explanation of this). That’s the time of day when you want to plan your newborn photo shoot.
Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!
There is plenty of advice on the internet on how to find a wedding photographer. And you know, most of it is actually pretty good. I assure you that is not a thing). But recently in the comments of some of our sponsored posts, it’s become clear that a lot of the advice out there is geared toward people who already have a handle on photography, people who can look at a photo and say, “Yup, that’s a great image.” But there isn’t really a ton of information out there for people who are at a photographic square one.

I did get a few more ‘portrait’ like shots in that first week but then ended up being more activity based ones, often with other family members. On returning home and over the three weeks since I’ve continued to take the documentary style shots but have seen a move to take a lot more portrait style shots also. Quite a few of our friends have commented on the nice balance between styles.
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.
The key to posing newborns is to take your time. Really take your time. Posing your newborn takes a few steps. First, get the baby naked and wrap her up tight in a blanket, then hold her close to your chest and rock back and forth to settle her back to sleep. It usually doesn’t take long if she was sleepy to begin with, but be willing to wait a few minutes until she’s fully asleep.
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!
Your digital photos aren't going to magically appear in neat, named folders on your computer without a little effort on your part. That said, don't get discouraged -- there's still hope for your precious pics. "Establish a system today and when you have five minutes, go back and organize what you can," says Peter Walsh, organizational expert and author of It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life With Less Stuff.

Meet a few photographers before hiring anyone. Any photographer should be willing to meet with you either in person or by phone before you commit to hiring them just like a contractor would be. (If they aren’t you might want to think twice about working with them because that shows they are not valuing the relationship and are more likely to think of you as a pay check.) Just like when you are choosing a pediatrician, or a pre school, when you hire a photographer you are hiring someone who will be intimately involved with your life. The only way to get beautiful, true images is to work with someone who you genuinely like and trust. True images only happen when you will feel comfortable being yourself around your photographer.


Most of the time when I meet with potential clients, they say the same thing. They don’t want their parents’ wedding photos. They want natural, unposed documentation of their wedding from someone who isn’t going to interrupt the natural flow of the day. The good news is, many (and I’d argue most) wedding photographers have already moved towards this kind of wedding photography. With the exception of a few photographers who have built a reputation on the fact that they will pose and move you during the events of the day to create perfect images (and please do ask photographers about this. There is nothing worse than being poked and prodded and posed all day if what you really wanted was someone to hang back and blend in with the scenery), a good majority of photographers are going to capture your wedding as it happens. But if most wedding photographers are approaching their work from a similar logistical standpoint, well, the end results couldn’t be more different. So how do you know what makes a good photo? What should you be looking for when you look at a photographer’s portfolio?
If you have an important upcoming shoot, I highly recommend that you start learning composition by at least learning the rule of thirds.  The rule of thirds is the most basic rule of composition that basically tells the photographer to imagine a tic-tac-toe board on the frame of the picture, and to put the most interesting part of the photo on the intersection of those lines.
Some photographers will sit with your family after the session to review images together, allowing you to order portraits on different print media or with custom framing. These photographers can help you identify the best places in your home to hang wall portraits, even using real pictures of your home to digitally demonstrate what your favorite family portraits will look like hanging above your furniture in different sizes, groupings, or frames.
Both the beanbag and nursing pillow can be disguised with blankets or backdrops, so bring a few different colours if you have them available. Bring more than one of anything you need that the baby will be lying on — or you may be stuck if that item is peed on. Baskets and buckets also work well for posing newborns, but again, make sure you can use those props safely.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!
Thank you for the tips on choosing a family photographer! I’m planning to have a family portrait taken before the end of the year, and this will certainly be helpful. You stated choosing a photographer that can get everyone’s eyes to the camera, and hopefully also a smile from all. I have little kids, so this is certainly something I’d highly consider. I want to make sure everything can go as smoothly as possible.
Adrian Sommeling is not just a professional photographer as he is also a graphic designer, digital artist and web developer. The main secret behind making Adrian’s photographs really stunning is his unique style of photography. He captures his photographs in a unique way and adding the cartoon effect to the photos increases their beauty and makes them more impressive. If you find that Adrian Sommeling’s work is impressive and want to make use of his experience, then why do not you attend the workshops that he gives around the world?
Erin Montante Photography is a full-service studio offering clean, modern custom portraits for clients in the Dallas area. Their team offers maternity, newborn, baby, child, and family photography, and provides additional services such as custom framing, photo stationery, and in-home art consultations. Owner Erin Montante is a member of the Professional Photographers of America.

When being photographed  most, if not all, people are nervous. Yes nervous! Some are down right scared, and some would even go as far to say that they “hate it”. So it is part of your job to help your subjects feel more comfortable and relaxed. That can be hard to do when you’re also nervous, especially if you’re new to portraits. But there’s a big advantage of putting that camera on the tripod.  Two actually.
Dana Menendez Photography is a Carrollton-based photographer, dedicated to capturing organic, heartfelt moments within family interactions. Owner Dana Menendez specializes in newborn, maternity, and family photography, and offers additional services such as wall prints, canvas gallery wraps, and keepsake albums. Her studio is equipped with different hats, wraps, blankets, and props for producing colorful, lively images. Dana Menendez Photography is highly rated on Facebook.
K-Rae Images is a luxury MATERNITY, BIRTH, and NEWBORN portrait business located in Frisco, TX. Clients are provided with heirloom quality art designed to last for generations. Parents are treated wonderfully from the initial consultation to the final Reveal, with a closet of maternity gowns to select from as well as newborn props that are sure to create stunning images. Documenting Birth Stories is another way Kristin (photographer) captures the raw and fleeting moments of a new baby’s arrival. Parents can relax knowing that Kristin will take care of their entire portrait experience. K-Rae Images has received the prestigious “Best of Frisco Portrait Studio Award” for 3 consecutive years, and is a Premium Member of INP (International Association of Newborn Photographers) and Best Newborn Photographers. Set up your complimentary Portrait Design Consultation today, and come see why clients continue to choose K-Rae Images for all their portrait needs!
I'm not a fan of maternity shots. I'd be lying if I said I felt anything other than a hot mess during both pregnancies. Plus, they always seem kind of forced. My go-to photographer does them and has asked me about getting some a few times. But in every maternity session, it's some glowing woman in a super long dress that attaches around her boobs and is flowing in the wind. Very realistic, no?
…hoping to inspire your clients in their choices of clothing and accessories, make sure that the work you are displaying portrays the kind of look that meshes with your style. Offer to help select clothing and even go the extra step to assist in shopping for new pieces or outfits. Many times I’ll arrive at a client’s home and they’ll have put together several options for looks for the kids or family, and then I can assist in making the final decisions. Another quick option is to just have them email you a few quick iPhone shots of the outfits they are considering so you can lend a little guidance. And feel free to point them to this post for pointers and examples!
×