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.
“The idea of walking down an isle and having a bunch of people kind of terrified us—It felt like it wouldn't have been a day for us, but instead for other people. I've heard many people talk about how they don't even remember their wedding day or they were too exhausted to even enjoy it and they spent the whole time trying to talk to everyone who attended it. Eloping takes a lot less planning, which took a lot of stress away”

(Above Left) Letter Props Engagement Photo Pose Idea: Grab a couple of letter props and carry them as you take a stroll together in your neighbourhood. {Featured here: Love and Baking Flour: Kitchen Engagement Session | Shot by: IZ Photography} | (Above Right)  Indie Engagement Photo Pose Idea: Stop by your fave coffee spot and indulge in your regular orders while capturing the moment for your engagement shoot. {Featured here: Indie Summer Picnic Engagement Shoot Session | Shot by: Jeanne Mitchum Photography}
Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. I always encourage mothers to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.
I try and avoid having to add light or dodge in LR when possible. If I'm doing many shots of a group as you mentioned you can't always copy and paste the settings from one to all of them as the heads aren't in exactly the same spots. So you end up having to dodge on every single image and causing yourself a lot more work in post production. That's why if my faces are dark I add a flash (bounced into an umbrella or bounced off a big reflector) off to one side to add light into their eyes. Of the images in the article, NONE of the faces have been dodged.
Timing of the shoot is very important. I often give my couples two options. The first option is to photograph very early in the morning, and the second is later in the afternoon. Both times, the light is soft and often diffused, so there is no harsh direct light to deal with. This way, I do not have to worry about finding a shade, which can be problematic in open nature parks. Educate your clients on the importance of choosing the right timing. You are the photographer and you should know best what light works for you.
One of my biggest mistakes, when I was starting out, was that I brought all my props/wraps/blankets/headbands to every single session.  When I got set up, I would have a mini panic attack because I had no idea where I should start.  Now I plan 3-4 different setups (based on the client’s preferences and expectations) and that’s all.  I am often inspired by something the client owns as well, such as a blanket knitted by Grandma or something else that’s special to mom and dad, so it is not uncommon for me to not even use everything I bring.
With #2, I feel so guilty not doing them. I looked and looked for cheaper photogs but they just didn't have the same quality as the one we used, so we booked her again. Mom guilt kicked in that the kids should be treated the same...this time around we probably won't do as pricey as a pkg since we didn't really do much with the digital files we did buy since you take a thousand pics of your new baby on a weekly basis
If you're planning on taking your engagement photos in winter, don't let chilly air or unpredictable weather keep you from looking stylish. Whether you're rocking a sharp cocktail dress and suit or New Years Eve–inspired glitter, this is the perfect season for you and your fiancé to get a little bit festive. (And, if bad weather does come your way, we've got you covered there too.) Check out some of our favorite winter engagement photos outfits below.

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”.

An hour might not seem like a lot, but depending on your schedule you should be finishing getting ready around this time. If the bridesmaids have robes, it’s fun to do a champagne toast now. Many brides request that we capture the moment of them getting into their dress while others ask us to come in after they are dressed. Either way is fine with us as this is just a matter of personal taste. If MOB is around, it’s nice to have them help you get into the gown along with your bridesmaids.
As with all photography lighting is key. If you are shooting inside and can’t afford expensive lighting use the most flattering and cheapest form of light there is – sun light! Position your group facing or parallel to a large clean window, if it is a particularly bright day cover it with a thin veil of material, such as a net curtain or peg a white cotton sheet across to act as a diffuser for softer, more flattering light.

Start the same way you would for the first pose, with a naked baby in a blanket in your arms. Once he’s sleepy, gently lay him down on his back and remove the blanket. Cross his feet and bend his knees like you see in the photo below and just hold them there with your hand for a few minutes. If he relaxes in that position, you’ll be able to slowly remove your hand and his legs will stay crossed.
DON'T try to do it alone. Need help aiming that off-camera flash? Enlist the help of friends or relatives. "It's nice to have someone help organize your equipment," says Scott. This is especially true if you're working in an environment where someone might walk off with an unwatched camera bag. While you're shooting group portraits, an assistant can gather (and tidy up) the next group.
A rookie error is to shoot loads and loads of photos of the Bride but from only the waist up. Just make sure you are getting plenty of shots of the Bride full length as well. The Bride will of spent hours and hours agonising over her wedding dress. She will also spend lots and lots of money on acquiring it. So make sure you do it justice by capturing it in its entirety where possible.
Before joining the team at A Practical Wedding, Maddie was a sought after wedding photographer and an entertainment industry dropout with stints at the Academy Award-winning independent film house Focus Features, The Montel Williams Show, and Rosie O’Donnell’s documentary production company. She’s been with the APW team going on eight years, and now spends a significant amount of time thinking about internet trends and the future of feminist television. A Maine native, she lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband and their toddler.
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.
While we love our wedding photos, this painting is even more special because we will be able to hang it in our house forever and look at it every day, where our wedding photos are in an album and we may not look at those that often, but the painting will be there every day for us to see and enjoy

Being as I am just started out I figured it might be a good idea to get my feet wet in those editing programs before I take the big leap into Photoshop and pay it’s ungodly price!! (lol) anyhow, if you can think of a better site where I might get a little more practice editing pictures please let me know. And please let me know your honest opinion of the aforementioned websites.
Remember that often a baby is coming into an established family unit (not to say that Mom and Dad alone aren’t an “established family unit” but for the sake of my point, go with me on this one). If the siblings are available, make sure to include them in at least a few frames. I have to mention the dog, because I’ve got a sister-in-law who’s dog, Wanda (seriously that’s her name) is her pride and joy. When she and her hubby have kids, you can trust that Wanda will be right there in at least a handful of her maternity photos. She’s as much a part of the family as the next guy.
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.
Take a look at their blog and galleries. Are they consistent in all that I mentioned above: proper exposure, correct white balance, focus, and lighting? Ask for view a full gallery so you can see what type of variety you would get in a session and that all the images are consistent and flow nicely. You want to make sure that ALL of their images are high quality with exposure, white balance, focus and lighting. Below is an example of a full family session gallery. I typically give 25-30 images in a family session. You can see below that there are images of mom, dad, and baby. They are in several different poses. There are images of just baby, mom and baby, and dad and baby.
Everything you've heard is true: Your wedding day comes and goes so quickly. That's why preparation is key. Once you nail down your photographer (do this 9-11 months in advance!),  it's time to start thinking about your shot list. While your photographer will guide you on the moments they plan on capturing, it's important to know exactly what you want too. After all, you'll want to keep these memories intact with the perfect photo album. Get ready for your close up by taking a look at these pretty picture ideas you might want to include.
After you book your appointment with us, you’ll meet with an award winning photographer at one of our preferred locations. During your session, your photographer will interact with your family to bring out their unique personalities. All we ask is that your family relate with each other as you normally would. Those make some of the best family portraits!
Let the photographer connect with the baby. In order for your baby to feel comfortable, you should avoid crowding your little one. It’ll be tempting to run over whenever your baby becomes restless or cries, but you should do your best to let the photographer comfort the baby so the baby doesn’t feel startled by too many changes. Always remain in the room though during your baby’s shoot.
3. Wait until baby is good and sleepy before you start your newborn shoot. This way you can pose her however you like. If you catch your baby in the first few days of her life, this won’t be a problem. But if, like us, you try to do the photos around day seven or beyond, be prepared to twiddle your thumbs for an hour or so until the newborn is snoozing steadily.

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.

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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