Once you have the baby posed, step back and look at the whole picture for a few minutes, checking for details that need fixing. If her hand is visible, make sure you can see all her fingers are visible – sometimes one or two get tucked into a fist and then if the photo it looks like the baby only has three fingers. Also, be sure baby’s eyes are closed completely – in the second photo above the baby’s eyes are not quite closed. A simple stroke down the bridge of her nose will cause her to close her eyes all the way. Make sure the headband is positioned how you’d like, and the background blanket is free of wrinkles, etc. Above all, make sure the baby looks comfortable and peaceful – if not, try again.

Getting your head around this simple maths problem can save you a lot of anguish on the day. If a couple has allocated 2 hours for photographs, that actually means 1 hour. Weddings are always behind schedule and the smallest of things can upset the rhythm of the day. Wedding co-ordinators will be eager to get the couple in at least 30 mins before they are scheduled to sit down for food. So just bear that in mind when planning your time with the couple.
For this type of pose I usually move my couch cushions out of the way and put the baby all the way down on the floor. Then I stand on a chair near him and photograph him from directly above (see the first photo below). But if the baby really wants to turn her head to the side it’s worth hopping off the chair and lying down right next to her to get a few photos that show her face better (second photo below).
"He was wonderful working on a last minute family photo for our last Easter in the house we grew up in. Waiting for the pictures, but the couple of sneak peeks I have seen, left me impressed and very excited to see the rest. He blended in well while taking pictures of my family and helped guide us through a process that left our event uninterrupted and stress free."

(Above) Balloon Engagement Photo Pose Ideas: There’s something about balloons that just makes everything feel whimsical and filled with joy! Add a dash of whimsy and an extra dose of joy to your engagement photo’s by using a few regular sized balloons or one large giant balloon each as photo props. {Left image by Thousand Crane Photography here, right image by Claire Thomson Photography here.}
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. 
Talk to the photographer about your ideas. If you have a particular pose or setting in mind that you would like to include in your maternity photo collection, chat with the photographer ahead of time. Share your ideas and see if it is something they can accommodate. Be sure that your photographer knows your wishes in advance so they can plan ahead.
Equally important to whether we eat is when we eat. The best time for us to take a few minutes to get a few calories down is when you (the bride+groom) are eating. Why? Because that is normally the only time of day that people don’t really want photos (pictures of people eating are probably the least flattering photos we could possibly take) and when no other events are happening. If we have to wait until after the guests are all served, you will be done eating and ready for toasts, dances, mingling, and other things that make for great photos! So, if possible, let your caterer/coordinator know that we will need to eat at the same time as you and schedule that into your wedding day photography timeline in order to make sure we don’t miss anything.

As photographers we want every photo to be a masterpiece – perfect light, natural expressions, everyone looking at the camera. But sometimes the best photos that you wind up taking are the most ridiculous — a boy with his hand up his nose, a brother embracing his crying sister, or one sibling looking at the other with a crazy face. Don’t stop shooting just because the kids aren’t cooperating for a moment, or the parents are chasing them around. Sometimes these situations can lend to the funniest and most memorable shots.
#2 – it allows you to get your eye away from the camera so you can actually make eye contact with your subjects. They are very real people and they feel even more uncomfortable staring straight into your lens than they do looking at you. You can make gestures to get kids attention, or make faces. But you’ll get way better expressions by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder. Try it!
The season is upon us!  Holiday cards (or Christmas cards), family photos, falling leaves, Thanksgiving and before you know it, Christmas!  Yikes!  So before this time of year gets too crazy, it is important to plan if you want to take your own family photos!  You can take family photos any time of year!  In fact, I love a good spring family photo session, but my favorite time of year is the fall and so I love to take our photos then!

Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:
As a Dallas baby photographer, I love to capturing your little one’s personality with goofy grins and perfect pout while shooting on my all white backdrop. We will also use my collection of simple props, toys and neutral wardrobe to show off their sweet rolls and chunky little toes! All my baby photography sessions include your little one to be dressed in one outfit of your choice. And, of course naked booty cause lets get real everyone loves a nakey baby!
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."
As I said before, this is simply a template for shooting a wedding day. Obviously, different cultures and situations are going to call for different shots. The best thing you can do in any situation is talk to your clients before and get an exact list of what they want. Anything after that is lagniappe. An even better form of communication would be an official schedule of what's happening. This protects you in the end if there is any misunderstandings. I have created a downloadable file for the checklist. Feel free to change this up to fit your needs. I've included PDF, Excel, and Numbers formats.

As we reflect on all our memories, it’s hard to recall ones that don’t include our families. There’s something special about looking back on family portraits over the years past. Family photos are a moment saved in time that will be cherished forever. So when it comes to what to wear for family picture day make sure you plan ahead. Whether you are taking family photos for your annual photo Christmas card or looking to get an updated shot to hang above the mantle, you’ll want you and your family to look your best doing so.


First and foremost, you need to feel like yourself! If you're a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of woman, will you feel comfortable in a cocktail dress during your engagement shoot? If you love wearing flats, will you feel like yourself in a pair of towering heels? Don't feel like you have to dress in a certain way. The most important thing is that you're comfortable, that you feel natural, and that you're wearing something that's representative of who you are.
This is probably my favorite pose, and is always the one I start with if the baby is sleepy (plan to feed your baby right before you try to photograph him so he’ll be more likely to fall asleep). I love how peaceful babies look in this position. It’s also a great pose if you (like me) like newborns to be naked in their photos – you can see their sweet little arms and legs, but nothing else is exposed.
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.
Hi! Great! Thank you for your article. I just started with photography and I have a Canon Rebel T5 bundle (2 lenses), but I would like to focus on portraits, weddings, babies, engagements, seniors, etc, but I feel that those lenses don’t help me a lot. I want to achieve a more professional and sharp image. I’ll really appreciate if you can help guiding me in which accessories (camera, lenses, flashes, everything) do I need to buy in order to take great photos and start my business. I hope you can help me.
Choosing the right software for importing and managing your files is several stories on its own. There are tons of choices--free, cheap, or expensive, with variations in how many features they offer from the ultrabasic to the nuclear option. Though basic downloading and drag and drop are available within the operating system, a utility that lets you batch rename is a helpful complement (I use FastStone Photo Resizer for batch renaming). If you use some sort of cloud-based syncing, such as iCloud Photo Stream or the Eye-Fi system, to automatically distribute your photos from the device to a home hard drive or an online sharing service, definitely make it a habit to rename and move the photos on a regular basis. Services like that tend to organize everything by date, either by default or as the only option. That makes sense, because the date is the only piece of information that software can guarantee it will find.

Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your camera manual.

Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:
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.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session.  I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared.  In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session.  Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup.  I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them.  I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
Ask the bride and groom for just three words to describe their vision of the day, then keep those words in mind as you capture it! If they say “fun”, take every opportunity to “document” a fun moment. If they say “romantic”, keep lighting in mind and snap every sweet moment the newlyweds share that day/night. Yes, you are the photographer, but it is THEIR day. Make your art reflect that! (Thanks Matthew Michaels)
Even before little ones are born, parents begin searching for the perfect photographer to capture the moments that will last a lifetime. The glow of motherhood in maternity portraits. The beautiful delivery details in birth photography. Photography plays such an important role in parenthood, we know those decisions aren’t made lightly. To help answer one of the biggest questions we often receive “Where Can I Find a Photographer?”, we created this guide. 
1) We can start getting ready photos right after the bride finishes hair and just before she starts makeup (that way she is somewhat done before we start shooting. We recommend having your hair done before makeup). Then, presuming that you have booked us for our base package of 8 hours, go forward 8 hours and make sure that we are at the reception late enough to capture all of the events you want us to capture and about 30 minutes-or-so of open dancing. If we aren’t there late enough, you can either adjust our start time or add time to your package. Keep in mind, if you are having a grand exit (sparklers, confetti, lavender, etc.) you may want to double check that we will be there until then!
Professional photography is an excellent career choice for anyone who wants to get paid for using their creative talents. It's one of the few fields where age and college degrees aren't as important as a good eye, a quality product, and self-discipline. Photography is a competitive field, so be prepared to start small. Then perfect your craft and build a portfolio of your best work.
Thank you so much for this article! This past weekend I did my 3rd newborn session which happened to be my grandson. It took 4 hours and I had such difficulty getting him into the poses that I had planned in my head, that when the session was over with I felt totally defeated. I experienced everything you mentioned, including overwhelming myself with too many props. I started doubting myself and wondering if I was even cut out to be a newborn photographer. Your article was very helpful and encouraging at the same time. Thank you so much!
Don't just dump everything in your system's default folders (such as My Pictures), though they're fine to use as a root and might be easier to migrate if/when you switch machines. Figure out how you'll need to find them again, and how often. How do you remember? What's the first thing that comes to mind for you--where you shot something or when you shot it? Do you need different systems for different computers? While keywording and tagging are certainly best practices, they do add extra overhead to a process that you might not be able to maintain and you don't necessarily need to do it. And if you think you'll only need to find a given photo every now and then, you don't need to get very elaborate.
"This was one of the best experiences of a lifetime. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect adventure elopement!!!! The foxes are such talented and sweet people who make your whole day feel at ease. They capture the true essence of you and your significant other while also capturing the natural beauty of the landscapes surrounding you. There was no feelings of force or pressure. I’m so grateful for this experience and for the foxes!!! These are the people to pick for your adventure elopement!!!"

Unless you use flash you will need to learn to use natural light. It can sometimes be tricky to use but does provide the most natural looking photographs opposed to using flash. Try and avoid shooting in the midday sun if possible and also look for shaded areas outdoors. These areas can provide cover so you avoid big shadows on faces and people aren’t squinting in the images.


Maxine Evans is a professional newborn, baby and maternity photographer whose work is based in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. She has over 20 years’ experience in capturing maternity, newborn and baby photographs. Her experience, skills and patience allow her to capture amazing newborn and maternity portraits. Maxine is also a pediatrician and OBGYN approved expert in baby safety which makes her perfect for photographing babies especially the newborns who need more caution while trying different poses.
This one is a little tricky because you want to be organized and you want to know where you are supposed to be and when and be able to track whether things are running on time. BUT, if you try to plan out every second of your day you will spend all day looking at your timeline (instead of enjoying your wedding!) and it will just stress you out once you inevitably get a couple of minutes behind! What do we mean and what is the difference? Here’s an example of good planning that let’s you know what is supposed to be happening, when it is supposed to be happening, and where it is supposed to be happening:
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.

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.

Our children may annoy us and make us go crazy thanks to what they do whether it is inside the home or outside it, but we cannot deny that they also change our life and make us happy. Only those who do not have children can feel and appreciate the importance of kids in this life. There are a few happy moments that we live with our children but unfortunately these moments quickly disappear and we of course forget them over the years to finally find that we do not remember anything about the past and what is left in our minds about the special moments that we lived with our children is almost nothing. So we have to resort to the camera for recording every special moment we live with our young children. You can photograph your children on your own when they celebrate an occasion, play or make any funny thing that deserves to be immortalized. If you find it difficult to photograph your kids on your own, take a look at the following top 10 best child photographers in the world with being based on their experience, creativity and unique ability to capture stunning photographs. 10 Leah Robinson – Australia
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.
The main thing you want to look for in our test results is low-light picture quality. On the whole, a flash isn’t going to produce the best-quality photos unless you’ve got a premium one attached to the hot shoe. The highest-scoring cameras will be able to produce great photos with no flash in low light, for example when you’re in a restaurant or bar, without image noise and compromised picture quality.
taking your own maternity photos is so easy and i hope it is something you do for yourself, and for your baby.  it will be so fun for your little one to see what you looked like when you were expected him or her.  again, it is also a wonderful way for you to remember what your pregnancy was like.  it is amazing what memories a photo can hold and how just one photo can take you back to the moment, allowing you to remember all the details of pregnancy.

This is great news for you photographers who want to try out different types of photography, or make a little money from your photography. Newborn baby pics are also an amazing addition to your online photography portfolio; a great newborn photoshoot can really show off your skill and range as a shooter (to say nothing of your subject wrangling skills!).
Let’s discuss the option involving profession photographer in more detail.  First, you or your family will set up an appointment either at the studio or at your house or other location.  You can expect that most professional photographers will have the proper equipment along with software programs used to subsequently edit, provide proofs, and print photographs.   Just as important, their people skills should make subjects comfortable in front of the camera and posing people to look their best is a skill by itself.  Regardless, you should consider your own family and their ages and the portrait you are trying to achieve along with the background.  You should also understand the package you will receive and if you want larger size prints and the total costs involved for the preparation, shooting and photographs. If you use this alternative, you should check with the photographer to confirm if you have the right to have the photos later done at some point in an oil painting since some photographers may retain ownership of the photo set.
*Don’t Make It A Big Deal *“I shoot my children not just during the holidays, but almost daily,” says Bing Liem, who lives in Ridgefield, CT. “It lets me document their lives and physical development, plus gets them comfortable with having a camera around.” At the same time, Liem learns more about photography in a risk-free environment with willing models. (Above Photo) Shallow focus helps hold viewers’ attention exactly where you want it.Bing Liem

Though newborn photography may seem daunting at first, it’s like any other form of photography in that the more you practice the better you become. Take your time, be patient, and don’t second guess yourself. With the proper planning and research, some creative and personalized props, in addition to careful and safety-first execution, you should come away with at least a few good images on which to build your foundation. For more newborn photography tips and tutorials, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop, a full guide to baby and newborn photography, teaching posing, lighting, planning, and post production for newborn photography.

Consider the Lilies Photography offers portrait sessions in the North Dallas and surrounding areas. All digital images are beautifully edited, high-resolution and delivered in both color and black-and-white for your unlimited self-printing, with the option to purchase additional professional-quality prints and products. Working with Consider the Lilies Photography, you’ll choose from portrait session packages that fit your family’s needs, such as the “Watch Me Bloom” mini portrait session that captures and preserves all of those precious childhood moments without investing in a multi-hour portrait session. A unique offering is the “Newborn & Family Lifestyle” in-home portrait session which highlights the connection of your loved ones in the natural and relaxed environment of your own home — perfect for welcoming a precious newborn baby. If you’re looking for beautiful portraits to adorn your home and to create memories of your loved ones that will last a lifetime, visit the website to learn more today!
Tools: Most wedding photography advice will tell you to ask your photographer what kind of camera he or she uses. Unless you are a camera buff, this is usually a wasted question (heck, most of the time I don’t even know what the best camera on the market is). But as you look through portfolios, you’ll notice that certain photographers have different tools that they use to tell a story in their own voice. I’m a hopeless romantic, so for me that’s a lens that I’ve hacked onto a sink plunger that makes soft photos like this one.
Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:

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?

Our team are all experienced destination elopement photographers, so if you’re looking for elopement photography in New York City, then we have the perfect packages available. Whether you’re planning to get on one knee in front of Times Square or at City Hall, our elopement photographers can provide you with memorable snaps of your elopement in NYC.
I find the family photo part of the day can be quite stressful. People are going everywhere, you’re unaware of the different family dynamics at play and people are in a ‘festive spirit’ (and have often been drinking a few spirits) to the point where it can be quite chaotic. Get the couple to nominate a family member (or one for each side of the family) who can be the ‘director’ of the shoot. They can round everyone up, help get them in the shot and keep things moving so that the couple can get back to the party.
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 will always treasure the time we got to spend with Kate. She was warm, funny, sweet, and so relaxed. She put us all at ease, and as the mother of a very wild two-year-old, I can assure you that is no easy feat. Kate is a complete professional, delivering exactly what she promises when she promises it, and the entire experience from booking to delivery was easy, fun, and totally worth it.”
You don't want to be in the position as the wedding photographer of needing to fight the client after the fact (or during!) with what they have and have not paid for.  Before the event, clearly communicate to them what services you are prepared to offer for the price they pay.  Do you include digital files?  How many hours of work will you shoot?  Are you going to shoot the reception too?  Is there a travel charge?  What prints are included?  Will you do an album?  Provide answers or face the wrath of bridezilla. (Thanks Gaelene Gangel)

Hi Lola, thank you for the reply. Yeah I tried the white balance tips but then I sacrifice the ‘non skin’ color tone. I’ll have a look in detail about the targeted adjustment tool. May I beg your pardon, did you use flash? I guess you did as some of the pictures above were in bright background. That made me thought that utilising flash is one of the secret to get natural tone.
At the image below, both of them are not in focus. If you look closely, in the top image you can see that focus fell on his shirt. That is the most clear part of the image. His eyes and his face (what you normally want in focus) is blurry and out of focus. The bottom image is also out of focus. This one is because of a too low shutter speed and there is motion blur. Images can also be out of focus because of a camera error. Your photographer should cull all those images and not present them to you.
Wedding photography is the photography of activities relating to weddings. It encompasses photographs of the couple before marriage (for announcements, portrait displays, or thank you cards) as well as coverage of the wedding and reception (sometimes referred to as the wedding breakfast in non-US countries). It is a major branch of commercial photography, supporting many specialists.
Types of photos requested may be "first look" where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony for first reaction photos rather than first seeing each other as the brides walks down the aisle. Another type of "first look" photo may be having the photo shot of the father of the bride seeing the bride for the first time when she is just about to walk down the aisle with him.
Don't let seasonality stop you when it comes to wearing white in your fall engagement photos. It's totally acceptable—and even super on trend—to wear white after Labor Day! While your engagement shoot doesn't have to feel overly bridal, a white blouse or dress is a sweet nod to your wedding dress. Consider playing with texture: Cotton-based fabrics like eyelet lace, crochet and Swiss dot all have dimension that shows up well on camera and gives your outfit an instant vintage twist. 
As tips go this one is pretty simple but something most wedding photographers won’t do. Just have a quick word with the Bridesmaids before the ceremony and tell them to walk slowly and smile. They will thank you for it when they see the photos. Lots of the time Bridesmaid are nervous about walking down the aisle. All eyes are on them. Just remind them that they look great and not to worry as it will be over within seconds.
LIFESTYLE PHOTOS: this category may have other names, such as candid, natural, etc. They can be done in almost any environment and can be more or less directed (sometimes it is difficult to say if the situation was real or not). They seem unposed, unplanned, and often focusing on true connections and feelings. It is in the middle between the portrait photos and the documentary photos (next category).
If there are small children or babies involved make sure to get their attention. It even helps to have an assistant, tell them to bring Grandma along or a friend to help out. But what always happens is you get the kids all looking and smiling, and what are the parents doing? Looking at the kids!  Oops again! I always tell the parents, “no matter what keep looking at me as I make a total fool of myself, do NOT look at your child”.
With thirteen uncles and aunts on my dad's side, I have a very large extended family. I don't do family portraits often, but when I do, I've found that the best two techniques that work for me for ensuring everyone's looking in the same direction and are ready for the group shot is (1) telling them beforehand that if they can't see my camera's lens from their position in the group, then my camera is likely not going to see them either, so they need to find another position, and (2) I give them a "3-2-1" (or for larger groups, a "5-4-3-2-1") countdown before taking the shot. This usually results in me getting the shot I want pretty quickly, and I don't have to go through dozens of shots to find one where everyone is actually ready for their picture to be taken.
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