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”.
Greg has shot the Celebration Luncheon and our annual fundraiser Polo in the Ozarks. He has done such an incredible job at each event over the last few years that one of our first calls is to ensure that Greg is available. At Polo in the Ozarks, Greg goes out of his way to capture amazing moments between the riders and their horses, often arriving during event setup and practice. We use his photos each year for our sponsorship packets, programs, and advertising for the year.
Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive.  What do your dream family photos look like?  If they are soft and elegant?  Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues.  Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family?  Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents.  Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.
By asking yourself that question, you will avoid taking a photo of a person with a blank expression.  You'll recognize that the person's expression isn't conveying a mood and you'll change it.  This can also happen in a landscape.  Look at the photo below of the bird in front of the sunset and you'll see that the exposure which was too bright did not convey a serene mood.

This one is way more important then you might initially think. Portrait and family photography is a collaborative effort. In other words, it takes two to tango! Even a quiet introverted photographer has a communication style. If you’re choosing a family photographer it is important you understand them and they understand you. Essentially you need to vibe with them on a basic level. Simply taking the time to email or talk on the phone is usually enough to have a basic understanding of their ability to communicate with you. If you find yourself having to decode their communication style, or asking them to clarify what they mean multiple times – you might not be a good fit. If you get a photographer who is annoying to you for whatever reason, it will show in the photos. For years to come, you will look at the images you got from the photography session and all you will remember is how annoyed you were with the photographer. So take the time to communicate and get on the same page. It’s free to do, and can save you tons in frustration!

While you can always DIY family portraits with your point and shoot camera and a tripod and timer for no cost at all, it will likely not look so great, considering you are not a professional photographer, aren’t using a great camera and don’t know how to set up the shoot for optimal lighting and composition.  Your camera will be limited in its size and quality abilities.
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.
As with most things, there is no substitute for practice and experience…with each shoot you will get better and better, just keep your head in the game! A fellow “kinda” San Diegan?! Cool 🙂 We actually are working on a Newborn Photography Online Course/Workshop teaching everything you need to know, start to finish, including an actual on location photo shoot so you can see exactly what its like and how to deal with common pitfalls when shooting on-location! Make sure to subscribe to Cole’s Classroom so you’ll be in the know when we release it in a few months 🙂
This is the biggest question I get from almost all of my couples. While clothing is very subjective, your clients will seek assurance from you that their style is worth being photographed in. Regardless of what you say, your clients will probably end up wearing something they feel most comfortable in. However, from your experience, you can guide your clients into choosing to wear things that will look good in the camera.
The key to posing newborns is to take your time. Really take your time. Posing your newborn takes a few steps. First, get the baby naked and wrap her up tight in a blanket, then hold her close to your chest and rock back and forth to settle her back to sleep. It usually doesn’t take long if she was sleepy to begin with, but be willing to wait a few minutes until she’s fully asleep.
From official portraits to birthdays and christenings, these little tykes are already as photogenic as their parents. George is always darling and dapper in his shorts and knee-high socks while Charlotte is the epitome of precious in her patterned dresses and pastel cardigans. Now that Louis has made his debut, we can't wait to see his personality shine, as well. Take a look — this collection of sweet pics will make your heart melt.

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.


 I sent her an email the day after my son was born and she got back with me right away. She sent me a list of available dates and times within that first week, making it easy and convenient for mom and baby to pick a time that worked best for us. Laura was also really patient during the shoot and wasn't bothered by the fact that my son was a light sleeper."
Thank you!! I am not yet enrolled in photography classes, but at 32 if I hear one more person say “so why aren’t you a photographer?” I will cry. I love photography, just got my first SLR which I completely don’t understand yet, (aperture what??!?) but I will be learning. And since I am 7 months pregnant I was looking for some good tips in taking my own newborn photos, I appreciate you writing this! Very good info and depending how it goes, I may be pursuing a new career!
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
Lisa Felthous Photography aims to tell the story behind every portrait. The photography studio, based in Sachse, shoots newborn portraits, maternity portraits, child portraits, adult and couple photos, family photos, senior portraits, and corporate headshots. Lisa Felthouse uses a spontaneous and passionate approach toward her photography. Clients have praised the photographer for her eye for detail, inventive photos, and hard work to get the perfect shot.
The wedding couple has chosen the venue because they like it.  Show up early to the event and take some nice shots of the venue to include in the wedding album.  Little things can make a big difference.  Also, you can chose to share your photos with the venue owner and you might get some referrals! (Thanks Tom Pickering, who is a regular on the site and frequently comments)
There are a lot of different ways a photographer can set up their business. They may charge a sitting fee (or a session fee), which includes the photographer’s time and talent, but no files or products. Or, they may offer the session and all the digital files for one, all-inclusive price. Some even offer several packages with different combinations of products and/or files. One is not better than another, you just have to make sure you’re happy with what they’re offering, and have a clear understanding of what to expect.
Set goals. Create several long-term goals. Then, short-term goals that will bring you closer to achieving the long-term goals. The short-term goals should be measurable and have a time frame or deadline. For example, a short-term goal would be to book 5 new clients in the next three months. This could help you achieve a larger goal of having an established clientele within a year.
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.
Hi Lina 🙂 I am so happy that you loved this post! Many find their true passion is with Newborn/Baby Photography, but aren’t sure where to start. This post is a great start for quick tips but because of all of our readers who wanted more info, and more detailed information, we created a very detailed and complete Newborn Photography Workshop, it might be something that would be perfect for you. Feel free to check it out right here. If any questions, just email me 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Get Down Low – one key to many natural baby shots is to get down on their level. I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last week or two lying on the floor next to Xavier. It’s something I think we both enjoy anyway but it’s also a great place to use your camera. Getting down low and getting in close (see below) does present some challenges in terms of focal length (I’m using a 24-105 zoom – usually at the widest focal length) but it means you end up with shots that feel like you’ve entered the babies world rather than you’re looking down on it from above.
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.

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.


Mpix offers high-quality photos printed in the U.S. that are ready for delivery in 24 hours. The image quality from Mpix is much higher than what you’d get from a drugstore, superstore, or consumer online print shop, and its lab techs check every photo by hand. Mpix offers three different paper options and 4 x 6 prints start at 24 cents if you order more than 10.
I highly recommend if you’re solely breastfeeding to pump and bottle feed your milk for your babies session. I’ve had mom’s that breastfeed for up to an hour and unfortunately that does delay the session quite a bit and does count against your allotted time coverage as well. If you don’t pump, my only alternative is to formula feed just for this session only. As a mother to 3 boys I’ve realized breastmilk doesn’t keep our babies fuller longer so choosing to formula feed for the session, will not only be a little easier for you but it will keep them asleep longer during the handling and posing for a scene. Moms, please just be advise, it’s just a recommendation so if you choose to do neither, its completely okay. As a newborn photographer, I just feel it’s my duty to offer any advice or tips that you as a parent can use to maximize the time we have in the studio and in return you’ll be able to showcase and display more than the average number of baby photos! ♥
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!
Also, check if there's a second shooter included in the contract, and if there's not, ask about the possibility. It's likely the second shooter can be confirmed later on, but the main benefit to having two shooters is, of course, you get twice as much coverage. For example, during your formal photo session, one photographer can capture the formal photos, while the second one can get behind-the-scenes, photojournalistic photos, like your guests mingling. If you're having a larger wedding (250 guests or more), you might even want to ask about having three shooters so your photography team can be sure to capture the event from all angles.
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.
DO be clear about what you're offering. "Make sure the couple knows that you're shooting as a favor and that you can't guarantee results," says New York City-based wedding pro Cappy Hotchkiss. "I've seen many friendships end over this." Limit expectations, and "don't get roped into doing a ton of large family groups. Explain that you will capture groups as they occur," adds the photographer. If it's going to take you months to deliver the photos, let the couple know in advance.
Ok, this isn’t a novel idea, but I use this a lot (even still) and think it’s worth the small investment for the random times it’s used.  I have this tripod with a bag carrier, found on Amazon for $14.99. It’s a handy tool for years to come.  Many times I’ve set my tripod up, and RUN into the picture. The toughest part about this method is making sure all the kids look in the right direction, and not at you running back.

The double session is for families who really want to take time to get that perfect family photo.  This session is 1.5-2 hours long.  This gives you lots of time to focus on each shot, outfit changes, and even explore multiple locations.  Door County is such a beautiful place.  We have so many great photo locations and a double session allows you to get a great variety of backdrops for your family photos.


Dears, I am a long-time passionate about dslr photography and having 2 little kids myself I know how difficult it is to take perfect shots when you need to take care of the baby and at the same time you Re the one behind the camera. I experienced a newborn session in an atelier twice with a photographer lady which I adore and now want to go this way too and give it a try. Was waiting for a girl friend newborn in order to get some training first but after I’ve read this I am going to post a note about searching a newborn model and don’t worey about the whoke thing.
Composition: After lighting, the next thing you want to look at in someone’s portfolio is composition (hint: Meg talks about this a lot in sponsored posts, because she went to art school and composition is something that gets drilled into you there). This basically means, how did they set up the photo? Even when photographers are capturing moments as they happen, we’re still looking for interesting ways to tell the story. Take the below photo, for example. It uses the backs of the the bride and her father’s heads to frame the groom’s face as she walks down the aisle. By doing this, not only do your eyes know exactly where to go the moment you look at the photo, but you also get the added storytelling of seeing the groom’s face from the bride’s perspective.
Spring is symbolic of new beginnings, so what better time to celebrate your new new life as a married couple? This gorgeous season is all about pretty pastels, florals and dreamy details, so don't be afraid to add lively touches of color and whimsical prints to your spring engagement photo outfits when deciding what to wear. As far as accessories are concerned, let your romantic leanings take over: Floral details, flower crowns and vintage-inspired pieces are a fresh place to start.
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.

I love to celebrate each of my client’s uniqueness during your photographic session. No experience will ever be the same, which is what I love the most about what I do! I strive to learn as much as I can about each individual in your family before our photo session so that each individual’s personality shines through in your images. Don’t forget to request my style guide for great tips on what to wear, location ideas, and everything in between!
Rachael,I LOVE your picture!!!!! You have an AWESOMELY BEAUTIFUL pregnant belly!!! I couldn’t help but notice that you have a jutting(outie)bellybutton.So many moms-to-be think that a button of the jutting variety makes for an unappealing pregnant belly,but that simply isn’t TRUE.To me a jutting bellybutton emerging from a big round protruding pregnant belly makes said belly that much more intriguing and pleasing to look at!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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
The formality of the occasion will generally dictate how smart or relaxed you can be with your clothing choice. Say for example the couple are getting married on a beach in Hawaii, the groom is wearing shorts and sandals, you would look pretty out of place in a three-piece suit. There isn’t really a perfect answer for what to wear at a wedding. However, generally speaking, if you keep your outfit quite smart with fairly neutral colours you shouldn’t attract too many complaints. Most of all you should make sure you are comfy and can manoeuvre your body. It is a long day so you don’t want to be restricted by overly formal clothes.

Once you’ve taken 10-15 shots of the scene, figure out how you can change the setting without disturbing the baby. This picture below is from the same pose as the first photo in this post, but it looks very different. I unclamped the blanket the baby is laying on from the backdrop board, letting it fall behind her. Then I clamped pretty pink fabric to the backdrop board. Finally, I pull the edge of the blanket the baby is lying on up over her back to make it look like she’s tucked in bed. While I was making these changes the baby was snoozing away, staying perfectly posed. I got two very different looking sets of photos from one pose. This is a great way to maximize the baby pictures you get from your DIY photoshoot.
Think about your location and make sure your wardrobe complements the surroundings. For example, at a location in a field with a rustic barn in the background would be perfect for a little girl dressed in a simple, vintage style dress with Hunter wellies, pig tails and carrying a little vintage tin pail full of wildflowers. That same look might be out of place in an urban setting with a graffiti wall in the background. Also, consider how well the colors and patterns in the wardrobes will stand out against the backdrops of your location. A field of bluebonnets might not be complemented by an outfit with a floral pattern or the same blues and greens in it, but would look beautiful with a solid coral colored dress to pop off of the colors of the flowers and grass. Many times I’ll select a location first and then create the wardrobe, accessories and props to fit with the vision I see for the surroundings and session vibe I want to come out of it.
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