*Stay Awhile*When working with groups, be patient. Eleonora Chornaya, a pro from Kiev, Ukraine (www.evachornaya.com), advises that the best shots often come deep into a shoot, when subjects are tiring and lacking the energy for artificial seeming poses. In her father/daughter portrait above, she intentionally left her subjects alone “to give the scene time to settle. I watched them from a distance, and when they relaxed almost to the point of boredom, I took out my camera.” Learn to work with children. Bing Liem, who specializes in shots of his daughters, says that if you’re shooting children you should get down on their level at first. Then change your point of view. “Shoot from slightly above to emphasize the child’s eyes, or from below to give a child a monumental, adult treatment,” he says. Tilting the camera so the subject isn’t square within the frame is an effective way to produce tighter shots that don’t look like elementary-school portraits. “But be careful not to include door jams or windows in the background, because the tilted camera will show these normally horizontal and vertical lines askew, which can be subconsciously off-putting,” says Liem. And, “shoot in relaxed settings that the kids are accustomed to,” he advises. “Hauling out big lights only makes them nervous.” You should work quickly. “Flow from moment to moment,” counsels amateur Nolke. “Work with the child’s poses, expressions and moods. Don’t dictate.”Eleonora Chornaya

If you have a dSLR and any lenses with wide aperture capabilities (like a 28-70 2.8 or even a 50 1.8) I’d recommend using one of those lenses and keeping your aperture open fairly wide, around 2.8. That will help to blur the background and make the photographs look a little more professional. If not, don’t sweat it – turning off your flash will force your camera to use the widest aperture it’s got (using the portrait setting will also help here). Your camera may have a harder time keeping the shutter speed high if it’s not very bright in your house, so consider using a tripod if you have one. Better equipment sometimes makes for better photos, but knowing how to use what you have is really more important. If you have a few months before your baby is born, spend a little time getting to know your camera. If you don’t have time to practice, following my tips will still help you improve your photos.


It's hard to beat the rich colors of fall. Throw in crisp air that won't mess up your hair or makeup and it's no wonder this temperate season is so popular for engagement photo shoots (not to mention weddings). Since temperatures begin to dip in fall, longer sleeves, layers and knits are a must. If you're taking photos outdoors, try to pick a color palette that works with your surroundings. Rich oranges, reds and browns all work for this season, especially if you're in a region where the leaves change color. Check out our favorite fall engagement photo outfits below.

Most couples will be a little awkward about having their photos taken. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As long as your couple is laughing about how awkward it is you will get some great reaction shots. The beauty of photography is that the photo doesn’t know it was an awkward moment all it will see is laughter. Just play on it a little bit and get some great laughing shots. Make it more awkward if you want and get up close with a 24mm lens.

They’re more important than senior class pictures, get more exposure than a drivers license photo, and serve as a visual debut to the world… The birth announcement photo! If you’re like me, newborn photo announcements are a standard parent operating procedure. I have a huge collection of my friends’ and families’ newborn announcements, most of which are still stuck to my fridge.
When shooting a wedding, I like to use a camera with dual card slots (like the Nikon D7000, or many high-end cameras) because it allows me to double up on each photo.   Every photo is recorded to both cards.  This is good insurance, but it also uses a lot of memory cards during a wedding.  I'd never shoot a wedding with fewer than 30 gigs of memory cards in my bag.  I almost never shoot that many shots, but I never want to face the situation where I'm panicking about running out.  (Thanks Robert LeBlanc, who is a regular on the Facebook page)
#1 – it automatically forces you to slow down. That’s a good thing. You can check your settings, review the composition, and exposure to make sure you’ve got everything right. All to often it’s easy to get carried away once you put the camera up to your eye and forget to check something only to see later you had the wrong White Balance, or ISO was 6400, or you accidentally shot Small JPG. Slow down, avoid an “oops”.
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.
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.
If your photographer specializes in maternity, they will likely have maternity dresses, wraps and accessories in their studio available to use. The benefit is you don’t have to go and buy maternity dresses that you only wear a few times—one dress can run you anywhere from $100 – $1000 each! Please check with your photographer about their gown rental policy. Depending on the gown’s quality and intricate detail work, there may be rental and/or dry-cleaning fees.

Avoid hiring family or friends. It may be tempting to hire somebody you know to be your wedding photographer. You may be drawn towards hiring someone you trust, who knows you and your partner well, and you think will understand what kind of pictures you want. While this might turn out perfectly well, it is highly likely that this person will not have the technical skills and experience to give you the best photos.[2]
Ever notice your child in his own world looking at a handful of wiggling worms, blowing his breath against a cold window or watching the dew drops fall off morning leaves? These are the moments that photography was made for. Seize these fleeting moments in time by zooming in close to find that special angle that tells the story from your child’s unique perspective.
Say “yes” to new work opportunities. If an opportunity is slightly out of your niche, don’t turn it down outright because it isn’t your ideal work situation. You may find out that you like something that you thought was outside of your comfort zone. However, you shouldn’t feel forced into doing something simply because it represents a business opportunity.[14]
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. 
Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your individual outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves and belts.
DOCUMENTARY PHOTOS: this is perhaps the least known category for many people. Even tough documentary photography is not new as a style, it has begun to become a bit more popular for commercial family photography in recent years. In this case, the photographer spends time with the family recording their day to day, not interfering in what happens. It can be a whole day or a few hours, and the result is usually quite authentic, since no family is the same. The photographer will be recording not only the connection of you and how you look, but also the essence and small details of the family’s routine. The photos don’t take place in a specific location because they are according to family activities. It can be at your home, on the street, at school, in the car or during your vacation activities, for example. You can search for this style by documentary or photojournalism.
Julie always advises her clients to be natural. That is, where what you would normally where in your daily life… whatever you’re comfortable wearing. And Julie highly recommends not matching. Mainly because that is not natural (for most people anyway :). Also, don’t clean up the house too much. A “lived in” look is how most families live so why should it be any different for your family photos? And finally, try to relax and enjoy the experience even when baby is crying, toddler is running around, and the dog is being ornery. Sometimes, those chaotic, unscripted shots are the best and most memorable.
These sites also have great finds for the rest of the family, even for your home. I find a lot of my jeans there, as well as fun shoes, accessories and sweaters. Some of the brands I’ve picked up for myself there are 7 For All Mankind jeans, Hudson jeans, Paige Denim, Current & Elliot jeans (yes, I love my denim), Free People, some vintage finds when they have a Vintage Bazaar boutique (great for props), etc.
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