You may want to ask around about student photographers, especially if you are anywhere near a fine arts school. I know a few lovely people who have done a lot of discounted work (as in anywhere from covering travel cost to $150) to get the experience and possibly further their portfolio. Just keep in mind that student/amateur does not = terrible all the time, ask to see their previous work.
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…
Advantage in the home is comfort and connection to familiar surroundings. You don’t have to worry about the weather outside. Disadvantage, you have to clean your house so it will look good in the photos. The lighting may not be optimal. Please check with your photographer on how they will address this. Seasoned photographers will use portable off-camera flash if necessary.
The light meter in your camera is a fool. Actually, they are pretty damn clever but they get tricked by large areas of white and black. For example, the camera will compensate for a large area of the photo being white (the wedding dress). You set your exposure bang in the middle of the light meter and the photo is really dark. That’s because the white dress is tricking your camera. Dialling, in a bit of positive exposure compensation here, can sort this problem out. But don’t go too far and blow the highlights as they are harder to recover in post-production than shadows. What we like to do is just check on the LCD screen and keep monitoring it to achieve an accurate exposure.
Nursed Shots – some of the bests shots I’ve taken over the last month have been taken when people have been nursing Xavier. This puts him into a more upright position which makes him look a little more ‘human-like’ and opens up the angles for your photos. Try a number of positions (over the shoulder, sitting him up, laying him back in arms, lying him on his tummy etc) as each one opens up different possibilities. Also remember that your baby is not the only potential subject – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends etc all can add context to the shot and you’ll appreciate having more than just baby by themselves shots later!
You don’t need to tell the couple to kiss slowly during the ceremony, whatever happens, happens. But when you are taking formal photos of the couple ask them to slow their kissing down a little. This way you can grab some lovely intimate shots. They don’t need to eat each others faces off. But encouraging them to hold the kiss for a few seconds will yield great results.
Thank you for this great post! I was looking on the internet a lot about best cameras for beginners and your post is the best. It’s so easy to read! I really want to get Nikon D3300, I actually want to buy the whole package, but your link shows that the package you recommend is unavailable. Could you, please, help me choose another good package to buy?

You may wonder why we called our studio JaNa? Well, let me clarify. Once up on a time, there was a Jafar and a Nasim (this lovely couple to the left of this picture). After exploring the world with their bikes for 2 years (while promoting peace), they chose to call Vancouver their home and bought their many years of photography experience with them. They are the ones who put the wheels on the business and got it up on its feet. They started their dream job by doing lifestyle photography, on location newborn and maternity photography, ect. A little while later they found the perfect home (studio space) right on the corner of boundary and hasting They decided to expand their all-star team so they could create sweet memories for many more family all across the Vancouver lower mainland. They looked to the sky and wished upon a star for 2 amazing photographers. Then came along Maryam and Jacquie (The lovely ladies to the right) and their happy family was complete. Their professional caring hands and artistic abilities were exactly what they wished for! Together they Rock Maternity, Newborn, Baby, and one-year-old cake smash photography day in and day out. Now the happy JaNa family is living their dream one baby at a time with clients coming to them from all over Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and sometimes even from all over the world. Read more about each of us here…
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.
Sounds great right? Well often it’s a bit of pain pairing your phone with your camera. Most apps made by camera manufacturers for smartphones are terrible. Then when you’re actually using the app you’ll find it’s nearly impossible to shoot photos in quick succession (because of the lag between the camera and your phone, and also because it’s tough to repeatedly tap the shutter release button on the app).
"I had been familiar with a lot of Jay's work from the past and knew he was amazing but had no idea how unbelievable he was until I got all the photos back from every event! There wasn't a single detail that was missed throughout any session including engagement, bridals, rehearsal dinner, wedding, or reception! Jay has a gift that is only God given and I wouldn't ever go to anyone else to help capture some of the most imporant events of our lives!"
Don't feel that your outfit needs to match that of your future spouse. Coordination is okay, but I don't encourage matching. Look for colors that compliment each other, or are in the same color family. You will also want to make sure your outfits are harmonious. If you're wearing an evening gown, you will want to make sure your future spouse is wearing something that goes with it. Likewise, you wouldn't want one of you in a formal tuxedo and the other in jeans and a t-shirt!
DO learn the basics. Visit the websites of wedding photographers and see how they do it. "Try assisting an experienced wedding photographer. You will see first hand how it's done, with zero pressure on you," recommends Dennis Pike, the northern New Jersey photographer who shot the couple in the car at left. "The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the people you are photographing will feed off of that."
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.
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.
Just as important as getting some light in the eyes is having it come from a good direction. We’ve established overhead isn’t good direction, neither is straight from camera. So turning on your built-in pop flash isn’t going to give you good light. Neither is sticking a speedlight on top. Light direct from the camera angle flattens the subject, that is not what you want. You want the light to come from the side more, 30-45 degrees from camera is a good starting point. To learn more about this read my article on the 6 Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know.
Missy Mayo Photography is a photography studio in Flower Mound, Texas that serves the entire Greater Dallas, Texas Metro Area. This photographer specializes in child, teen, high school senior, and family photography. Their work has frequently been featured in the national press. Missy Mayo is a CM Pro on Clickin Moms, indicating her high stature as a quality professional photographer.

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.

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.


With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.
Oh Babies! I love babies! They don’t call them bundles of joy for nothing. I specialize in newborn photography due to the monumental joy a new life brings and I want to preserve those moments for your family in a unique and timeless way. Those little toes and sweet features mature and grow so quickly. It always comes as a shock to us mothers how fast time flies. This is why I am so passionate about providing families with high-quality images of their babies in a safe and comfortable environment.
Flatter yourselves, Moms:  Yes, Moms, I'm talking to you. You're organizing, you're planning, you're making it happen, every day.  YOU deserve to look amazing in these photos. Don't forget about YOU.  Play up your assets. If you have great legs, don't hesitate to show them off a little. It's OK to be a hot mama.  If you have an area of insecurity, think about how you can minimize that with your outfit choice. Scarves /pashminas/jackets are awesome accessories that can totally help highlight the best version of you.  If you have insecurities that you want to share with me - please do.  BUT, you're not allowed to do it during your session.  Let's get that out of the way beforehand, so it doesn't bring us down on session day.  :)
Sounds great right? Well often it’s a bit of pain pairing your phone with your camera. Most apps made by camera manufacturers for smartphones are terrible. Then when you’re actually using the app you’ll find it’s nearly impossible to shoot photos in quick succession (because of the lag between the camera and your phone, and also because it’s tough to repeatedly tap the shutter release button on the app).
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.
Kimberly Wylie Photography specializes in newborn photography in the Dallas area. The photo studio uses creative settings to create original portraits of babies, children, families, and expecting mothers. Kimberly Wylie is a PPA Master Photographer who regularly presents photography workshops. The business was voted The Best Portrait Photographer of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area by WFAA Channel 8 in 2015, and Kimberly's work is regularly featured in Fox 4's GOOD DAY. The Kimberly Wylie Photography studio has a kid's playroom to create a stress-free experience.
Blankets or fabric to use as backdrops. If you are going to invest in one thing, I’d say go buy a few yards of the cheapest black stretch velvet you can find (use a coupon at Joanns!). Black velvet works really well as a backdrop because it doesn’t show wrinkles and generally shows up as solid black in photos. Otherwise, walk through the house looking for any blankets you might have. Blankets with lots of texture also do a good job hiding wrinkles, like this one:
Consider your location as well when you're preparing your engagement shoot outfits. If we're shooting in a peaceful field or secluded park, consider a casual dress or jeans and a vintage tank top. If we'll be in downtown Manhattan, what about a cocktail dress or sleekly tailored trench? Another thing that can be very effective is deliberately not matching your outfit to your location. A flowing evening gown in a field is against the norm, and it's contrast to the scene can be very compelling.
Laura Squire Photography is a photography studio located in Houston, Texas, serving the entire greater Houston metro area. This photographer specializes in newborn, baby, child, family, couple, maternity, bride, and wedding photography. They also offer lifestyle portraits and high school senior photography. Laura Squire has been shooting professionally since 2009; capturing life’s precious and fleeting moments is her calling.
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.
Nursed Shots – some of the bests shots I’ve taken over the last month have been taken when people have been nursing Xavier. This puts him into a more upright position which makes him look a little more ‘human-like’ and opens up the angles for your photos. Try a number of positions (over the shoulder, sitting him up, laying him back in arms, lying him on his tummy etc) as each one opens up different possibilities. Also remember that your baby is not the only potential subject – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends etc all can add context to the shot and you’ll appreciate having more than just baby by themselves shots later!
The beaches are a great location for family photo sessions. Families arrive to get away from the cold winters up north during the holidays. Grandparents who live on the beaches of Fort Myers, Marco Island and Sanibel Island are happy when the grandchildren arrive. I have photographed family photo sessions for over twenty five years in Florida. The beautiful beaches and abundant light in Florida provide for natural portrait photography.
With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.
8. Experiment with settings. We’re used to seeing photos of babies in cribs, in beds, the bath, etc. But how about asleep on dad’s chest, nestled inside of a box, or positioned atop a decorative rug? Unexpected settings can add visual interest to your shots. Of course, you want to be extra careful with creative settings too! Most of the amazing pro photos have a spotter’s hand in the shot to keep baby safe, and then is later photoshopped out of the photo. Don’t ever pose baby in a precarious position and then step back to take a photo.
Annie, Thank you so much for this post. I found this delightful and amazingly informative post on Pinterest. I’d been on the for hours looking at how to style family portraits. I’m going insane, we have pictures tomorrow and I still don’t know what I’m wearing. I have my husband and the 4 kids (boys age 17, 16, & 11 and our girl age 10) clothes picked out but not myself. Deep breath….. I’m going to try again to find something conducive. Wish me luck
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