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!
Talk to each other: (Duh, right?) DON'T match. But DO coordinate.  Wearing clothes that are the same level of dressiness is really as matchy as it needs to be. You guys already look like a family. Don't hamper each person's individuality by forcing the matching.  Let's be honest: You guys always look awesome together, you don't need special matching outfits for that. 
Timing for the session depends on two things : location and time of year. If you're wanting to shoot in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or downtown Philly, we may need to adjust our start time because of the buildings. What do I mean by that? In the city, the sun goes behind the buildings before it goes below the horizon, so you lose the light in the city before the sun has actually set. Generally as a rule of thumb, I recommend starting engagement sessions in the warmer months around 4:00pm, and around 3:00pm in the winter. 

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.
@Leslie yes it is certainly easier to get people at ease outdoors without the studio lights and all the stuff that goes with it that can be intimidating. Try putting on some soft music that's relaxing, or some funky music to get people a bit more relaxed. The best way to get people to pose more easily is to talk to them! It's that simple. Stop focusing on the technical stuff, do that before they get in front of the camera. Then interact and talk to them. Ask them about them, their day, etc. It's also easier to show people how to pose by doing it first in their place, then have them repeat it. Hope that helps.
In terms of wedding photos, you probably plan to hire a photographer or videographer—but what about all those amazing snaps your guests are going to take? Creating a wedding hashtag can help you locate some pics on social media, but it can't capture all the photos your great aunt Edna and Internet-shy cousins took too. And you want to see every. Single. Picture. Right? Here are some programs and technologies out there that can help you gather all the photographic goods.
Great tips, I especially love the one about safety first, it’s scary the positions that some people put newborn babies in for the sake of photos! I also agree with your comment about the images looking the same at times. We have to remember that while it might be the same old thing for us, it’s the first time for this family portrait session, and this baby.

The conclusion: if all of this seems like a ton of information to digest, then keep it simple and look for two criteria: Do you like the photos and do they make you feel happy? Not a super visual person? Then it’s totally fine to ignore the first question and move onto the second: Do you like the photographer and do they make you feel happy? More important than lighting, composition, or any fancy technology, those are the power rules to live by.

The first thing that we do together is choose a location. Then, we set a time for the shoot. On the day of the shoot itself, we will meet at our pre-determined location and get started! Instead of just walking from landmark to landmark and working through a set of pre-chosen poses, we'll take a walk and stop to shoot along the way. I'm looking for beautiful light, incredible backgrounds, and interesting compositional scenarios that we can use for your portraits. While I will set you in "poses", they're more gentle guides to interaction. I want to see how you are together, and how you're comfortable. If you're less inclined towards public displays of affection, rest assured that I won't have you do anything that doesn't feel natural to you. If you're exuberant and outgoing, I won't set you into poses that are reserved and hands-off.

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.
Newborns aren't the only subject we love to photograph... we love to capture all of the milestones of family life. Using a photojournalistic style approach to photography, we capture your baby learning to stand, your 5-year old riding his bike with no training wheels, and your teenager's last photograph before she becomes an adult. Go to our Bella Life section to view samples of these important family moments.
Love the way you make this tutorial so easy to follow and understand every step of the way. Eager to start taking precious photos of my active three great grandkids, 3-4- and 10. Wished I knew like you how to take The Great Photos when they were each born. A friend will be having her baby soon, maybe I will get the second chance again Keep up the good work your doing here Autumn, looking forward to learning more, even at my age. Being a Grandma and having a camera are two of my favorite things in Life !
That’s it! No expectations other than fun. Then prepare yourself. Bring along props, get mom to bring one of their favourite toys or books. I usually have a hand puppet and bubbles in my camera bag along with my gear. If the kids don’t want to sit and smile don’t force them. Then them run around and be kids for a while and shoot that. Play with them, make it fun. Then they may cooperate and sit for a bit a few minutes later.
Another mark of a good photographer is proper white balance.  Instagram filters a cool and all, but a photographer should be able to edit in a way that makes skin look skin-colored.  Photographers tend to have different preferences on white balance and sometimes make an artistic choice to alter it a bit (I tend to lean toward the warm side of things), but people probably should not look like smurfs or oompa loomplas.  White balance can be a part of a photographer’s style, so just make sure you like what you see.  Here’s an example:  
There are recognizable markers that trigger the “fall feeling” in each of us. With the weather cooling down, the leaves changing, and a trip to the pumpkin patch in the near future, fall is full of inspiration you can use for your outfit choices. If you are taking your family photos during the fall season, incorporate seasonal earth tones, rich maroons or burnt oranges. Wear layers and have fun playing in the leaves. Use the following Fall styling tips to guide your clothing selections.
“My kids never sit still and they certainly don’t listen to me when I ask them to look at the camera. Somehow Kate was able to earn their trust right away and capture amazing photos. All I can remember is how happy the kids were and how much giggling was going on while they were in front of the camera. Kate had a warm personality and was the type of person that I would want to invite into my home and life.”
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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.


You’ll spend some time getting each pose ready, so take you time making sure you’ve taken a photograph from every angle that might work. Sometimes doing this can “save” a pose that wasn’t really working. In the photos below I made a few mistakes when posing this baby – first – I didn’t tuck her legs under her, which puts her feet closer to the camera than her head is, and second – her hands are stuck under her chin instead of under her had, making her look very uncomfortable. It makes what could have been a cute picture look kind of awkward. However, I moved closer to her head and zoomed in for the next shot, which turned out much cuter. (Note, see how her hand is in a fist in that second photo? It would have looked better had I gently pulled her fingers out so they were visible.)

If you’re preparing your birth announcements, don’t forget take a look at our guide on birth announcement wording to answer all of your questions on birth announcement etiquette. If you’re still in the beginning stages of your pregnancy and not yet ready to schedule newborn photos a few months out, you can start preparation for your maternity photos instead, using our time frames on when to take maternity photos.Bella Baby is the face of hospital baby portraiture. We bring experienced, professional photographers into the hospitals to capture your baby's first photograph with a natural, artistic style. We believe that babies look the most beautiful when being held in their parents' arms or cuddled in one of their own baby blankets. Bella Baby captures this beauty by using only "real things"...natural window light, professional photographers and professional grade SLR digital cameras.
You should also meet them in person. Some important questions to ask in a face-to-face interview may include: how would they describe their wedding photography style? (i.e. photojournalistic, formal, documentary, or creative); will they be the one photographing your wedding or do they have an assistant?; will both people be taking pictures during the day?; do they have back up plan in case of an emergency?; are you comfortable with their emergency plan?; what wedding photography packages do they have?; do they shoot in color or black & white? You should ask if they have a generic schedule for each wedding (portraits before the ceremony or after), and if they are they flexible and open to suggestions. You should even ask to see a contract.

We know you’re not models. Fear not! We keep things super laid back and will subtly direct you into poses that look natural and EPIC. We’re usually talking and laughing the whole time, unless we’re hundreds of yards away capturing that big wide shot, in which case we’re probably telling you how epic you look through a walkie talkie 😉 Our main goal is to have fun out there together, making some stunning images in the process.


Hi Debbie! Babies are HARD to photograph, especially as they get a little older and more mobile. And babies at that age always have their hands in their mouth! I really love my 50mm 1.8 lens for portraits – it doesn’t zoom in or out, meaning you just have to move yourself to get a closer (or further away) photo, but it lets in tons of light and does a great job blurring the background. It’s around $100, so it’s very reasonable for a nicer lens.
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.
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.
Jennie Pyfferoen is a maternity and newborn photographer who specializes in capturing photographs of newborns, babies, children, families and pregnant women. Her work is based in Nashville, Tennessee where she has her own studio. Jennie offers her services in Nashville, Brentwood, Fairview, Franklin, Hendersonville, Mount Juliet, Gallatin, Spring Hill, Leipers Fork and she also shoots on location in other surrounding areas.

You should also state that taking your own photos is dangerous.. photographers know how to handle babies since that’s what they do… parents when posing have no idea. I love the comments on how parents are going to capture this important milestone.. HAPPENS once in a lifetime with bad photos. N O matter what you state here, this should left for the professionals. Its like having aunt MARY take photos at your wedding, yes you will have photos of your wedding, but don’t you want pretty photos done by a professional? it happens ONCE, that is it.. something people should think about. Just because you have scissors and a tutorial doesn’t mean you can cut hair, just because you have a recipe doesn’t mean you are a cook. Take snapshots but also hire a professional
In addition to this tutorial, if you want all the info you need in one simple package with lifetime access, check out our Newborn Photography Workshop for the On-Location Photographer which Cole and I have spent months putting together all the necessary knowledge & tools to be adequately prepared for the lovely world of photographing newborns.  On sale for a limited time and all workshop participants also will get Cole’s Essential Newborn Lightroom Collection Presets, the Pricing & Positioning Yourself for Success pricing handbook, exclusive discounts & a whole lot more.  Click below to see the workshop details.
Over the past few weeks I have been working on something new that will be coming to newbornposing.com A family portrait is the most valuable thing you should own. A big thank you to the Brown family (not related) for allowing me to capture these beautiful memories. #newbornposingdotcom #familyportraiture #family #portraitphotograpy #comingsoon #littlepiecesphotography #spinestreetstudios Backdrop by @shadesofjadeshop
Usually, I recommend a change of clothing in the middle of the shoot, reserving the wardrobe for something classic (a cute dress and heeled shoes for ladies) and for something more casual. If needed, I will send them a color chart to pick out clothing that compliments the background we chose to photograph against. I also send my clients a lot of example photos of what I mean, so that they can visualize my thoughts.
To get crystal-clear photos with a dreamy, blurred background, experiment with using lower F-stops. This means you will have to take your camera off auto-focus, but the results are more than worth it. The F-stop on a camera tells you how much light you let in while exposing your photo. Photos taken with a lower F-stop have a wider aperture to let in more light, but the depth of field is very shallow. This is what creates stunningly vivid portraits with gorgeously blurred backgrounds.
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