Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
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.
The wedding can take it’s toll on your body both mentally and physically. It is one of our top wedding photography tips is to seize the moment to relax when you can. This can generally happen when the wedding breakfast is being served. No one wants photographs of people stuffing their faces with food. So use this time to re-charge your batteries (not your actual batteries but you can if you want) relax and catch your breath. The resulting photos will definitely benefit from you taking a breather.
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.
Since we started our studio we have shot a couple hundred weddings and over the years we have noticed that we are regularly giving the same wedding day advice over and over again. So, we decided to put together the ultimate guide for putting together an awesome wedding day photography timeline that will flow as smooth as silk over a baby’s behind. So Marianne and Joe “How do I plan my wedding day timeline?” Glad you asked!

Location is important for family photography sessions and Door County is home to me. Through my landscape photography, I am familiar with plenty of scenic locations up and down this beautiful peninsula that will serve as the perfect backdrop for your images. I shoot with both natural lighting and modified artificial lighting to create a great finished product.  Even though I call Door County home, I am happy to work with you to create beautiful images wherever you are.
1.  Lots of photos!  First of all, you probably want to be able to see lots of photos from a variety of sessions.  It should be safe to assume you’ll be happy with their photos if you can look at their blog and find 5 family photo sessions that you love.  If they just have a gallery on their website with 15 or 20 family photos, those are probably the very best family photos they’ve ever taken.  Maybe all of their photos are that good, but maybe they aren’t actually producing that quality of work consistently.  If they don’t have a lot of work on their blog, you may want to ask to see a sample of a whole session.  I put almost every session up on my blog as long as I have the client’s permission.  Part of why I do this is for visibility and advertising, but another reason is that I want happy clients!  I want you to see not only my very best work, but ALL of my work so that the photos I give you will meet (or hopefully exceed!) the expectations that you have for me.  I think it’s important for you to be able to see how I shoot on sunny days as well as cloudy days and how I pose a wide variety of families.

WHHATTT! I hear you say. Well, do you want the bride to stand in a wet and muddy field? Then bring a white sheet with you. Some brides are more particular than others about how pristine they want their dress to remain. However, if you have a solution to keeping it clean they will be more inclined to explore. This will give you more control over the positioning of the couple. The sheet can simply be tucked under the dress and no one will ever know. It can also be used so that the couple can freely sit on a bench or wall with getting a muddy bum. No one wants a muddy bum.
One thing I learned when I became a parent, was that the baby is the boss regardless of how much control I pretend I have.  The same is true for newborn photography.  If the baby doesn’t want to go to sleep for posing after you’ve tried everything, take some lifestyle shots & keep shooting.  Swaddle tight and try to get some eye contact.  Get images of mommy rocking the baby, be open and flexible – the session doesn’t always go as planned and that might just be the best thing that happens to you.
If newborns can’t hold their heads up, how do you pose them? A beanbag is an easy tool for helping contour the baby into natural poses. Beanbags designed for the task are easier to work with, but a regular beanbag can work too with a bit more finesse and a bit less cash. Another great posing item for newborns is one that many mums have — a u-shaped nursing pillow.
2. Backdrop board. I have a couple DIY backdrop boards that I made for about $10 each (full instructions in this post). I stand one up against the backs of two of my kitchen chairs. The backdrop boards can be used alone for a solid colored background, or can be used to drape blankets from for more background options. The background should be angled so it faces the right or left side of the window, not the middle of it, as you can see in the photo above. This will allow the baby’s head to be a little closer to the window than her feet, allowing the light to hit her forehead first, causing gentle shadows just under her nose and chin. If you don’t have a backdrop board, stand two kitchen chairs backwards here anyway so you can drape a blanket from them. If you use a backdrop board it must be secured with clamps to the chairs it stands in front of to assure it will not fall over.
Trust me, I watch the weather apps on my phone like a hawk in the days leading up to your session.  If it looks like rain, we'll connect a few days in advance to discuss a game plan.  99% of the time that involves picking a new date and moving the session to that new date.  Sometimes clients would rather wait until the morning of the session to see if it really will rain.  I'm totally fine with doing that, but bear in mind that if we start the session and it gets rained out, there will be a fee to reschedule.
Your time in the bridal suite will be packed with poignant moments, which makes capturing them a must. If you're set on snapping the makeup application process, however, you might want to wait until your look is nearly finished, says Elizabeth Davis. "I have found that the majority of my brides do not use or like these images because their bridal look is not complete," she says. "I communicate with their makeup artist to let me know right before the put on the final touches—at that point, I start photographing the makeup process."

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Wonderful article! And congratulations on your 3rd pregnancy! I believe, above all else, emotion is the most important element of beautiful maternity photography. Whatever may or may not be in the background, a beautiful sunset, a window, a bedspread, whatever… the viewer always returns to the subject (consciously or subconsciously) to “confirm” the emotion in the shot. Your photographs all have a strong element of emotion in them. Beautiful work! Cheers, Rob
Now is not the time to be starring dreamily into space – make sure you look at the camera (and remind everyone else in the photo to look into the camera too!). Try to get the “looking at the camera” shots out of the way first when everyone has enough attention. It can quickly get tough to get kids to cooperate, so aiming to get this shot first is key.
Communication and planning are key. Discuss in detail what is going to happen on the day, what the clients will be wearing, and what you’re going to be bringing. Coordinate their outfits with your props, or, say, the baby’s booties with their decor. You have to think of it all. Best of all, if you hit it off with the family, you’ll get that referral and your client base will grow. Speaking of which…
When shooting in wide open locations and it involves kiddos, I love to have some movement and flow in their clothing and accessories. Little ones are fond of jumping, dancing, and being wild. Nothing better than a twirly, whirly dress to accentuate all that beautiful movement and childhood innocence. Something as simple as a scarf trailing behind or a playful super hero cape can be fun for the boys.
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