Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.

I’ve been a professional photographer for 15 years and if I’ve learned anything about the business in that time it is that as a client you have to be a thoughtful consumer. People don’t always realize how unregulated the industry is. There are a LOT of ways that photographers differ from each other. The advice I always give when you’re looking to hire a photographer is this:
6. A spotter. Anytime you are photographing a baby, you really need another person as a spotter. The other person’s only job is to make sure the baby doesn’t roll off the cushions onto the floor. If you are photographing a newborn it’s extremely unlikely they’ll be strong enough to roll anywhere, especially once they are nestled inside the boppy pillow or bean bag, but you can never be too safe. So make sure your “assistant” sits on the floor within arms length of the baby.
Once you know that you are pregnant, you feel that you are the happiest person in the whole world and that your life is going to be completely changed. You are going to welcome a new member in your family which makes you start thinking of the future and you wish you can record these happy moments that you live to immortalize them and to easily remember them whenever you want. The only way to immortalize these happy moments and protect them from being forgotten over time is to photograph them. Maternity portraits are captured during pregnancy to allow you to enjoy these happy moments before the arrival of your baby. You can ask your husband or even one of your friends to photograph you and if you feel that the photos are not impressive enough to be kept for the future, then you can choose a maternity photographer to professionally photograph you and make you look gorgeous. To make it easy for you to choose a good maternity photographer, we bring to you the following top 10 maternity photographers in the world and choosing them is based on their creativity and experience.

You won't be able to nail down an exact dollar amount until you're sure of what you want, how many albums you need and where your photographer is based, and packages range from $2,500 all the way up to $15,000-plus on the higher end of the spectrum. When interviewing candidates, ask for a general range based on the photographer's standard "shooting fee" and package, plus their standard rates for the type of album you think you'll want and the amount of coverage you're hoping to book them for (day of, full weekend). It's important to find out what's included in the standard package, plus the basic range for any extras you may want, like an engagement shoot, special effects or additional coverage, so you can compare rates. In particular, find out exactly how many hours of coverage are included. Ideally, you want your photographer to be there for your full wedding day—from when you start getting ready until after you make your grand exit from the reception. While packages vary, most include about 6 to 12 hours to cover everything from preceremony events (getting ready with your bridesmaids or first-look photos) to the end of the reception. It's usually better to pay for more coverage if there's a chance you'll run over and you definitely want your photographer there until the end (overtime is usually charged at a higher hourly rate). Also consider whether you'll want to do an engagement shoot or have your photographer shoot other events during your wedding weekend (the guys' golf outing, the bridesmaid lunch). 

I think newborns look best photographed naked, or in just a diaper, or in a plain white onesie. Most baby clothes are way too big for newborns and just don’t photograph very well. Keeping the clothes extremely simple keeps the focus on the baby. However, naked babies are cold babies, so keep a space heater going right next to your baby the whole time you are photographing him. You’ll end up covered in sweat, but your baby will stay comfortable.


Don’t see a shot list as necessarily being a bad thing. Have some shots in mind that you and the couple have discussed prior to the wedding. This way you can discuss the feasibility of the ideas. Plus if they want a shot with Auntie Edna you will know to capture that specific photo. A shot list can be unnecessary for the things you know you will capture. But for the more obscure things a couple wants photos of it can be a great thing.

Finding homes for unwanted photographs. Many people feel strongly that no old photo should ever be tossed. However, if you have tons of photos but have no connection to them (or if they’re just not your thing), what can you do with them? One option is to donate them. Historical societies worldwide often accept photos, especially if you can provide information about how they came to you. It can be a point of pride for small towns across the U.S., Europe and elsewhere to see how far and wide their native sons and daughters have traveled over the course of generations.


Evaluate your interview notes. Spend some time looking back through the notes you made during the interview to help you decide. These notes are a record of the interview that can give you a good idea of the impression you got from the photographer. You can compare the scores across the different shortlisted candidates with your partner, and evaluate their relative strengths and weaknesses.
Two months before: Trying out wedding day looks? Schedule hair and makeup trial appointments the same day as your engagement photo session to capture a preview of your wedding day fabulousness on film (you could do the salon in the morning and the photo studio in the afternoon). Factor in some in-between time for damage control, on the off-chance that the salon results aren't as great as you hoped. 

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.
Whether you can admit it or not, our babies don’t always look like the Gerber baby. They get baby zits, cradle cap, thrush, snot, eye crusties, they scratch their little faces…taking coloured photos will, no doubt, capture it all. Black and white, on the other hand, tends to soften an image and eliminates some of the noise. I find black and white photos can tell an entirely different story from colour. Go on, give it a try!
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.
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.
Loni Smith is a maternity, newborn and child photographer whose work is based in Utah, USA to cover different areas such as Riverton, Sandy, Salt Lake, Draper, South Jordan in addition to other surrounding areas. Loni believes that she is given a great chance to capture the happiest moments in life and this is why she does her best to create amazing photographs that immortalize the most precious and shortest moments in life for the parents and the coming generations.

Earth Mama Photography photographs newborns and births in the Dallas area. The business will photograph births in any setting, including in the home, at the birth center, in the hospital, and during c-sections. The photographer aims to be discrete during birth photos while photographing the emotions and details of the day. The photography studio's Fresh 48 Sessions omit the labor and capture the moments right after the birth. Earth Mama Photography also shoots child portraits, family portraits, and maternity portraits on-site or in the studio.
Do you ever find that when you’re summoned to participate in a group photo, you’re suddenly angling your body slightly left to hide that mommy tummy or tilting your head up a fraction to lose the double-chin? Maybe we do this because we can’t trust the photographer to take the photo at our best angle, so we try achieving it ourselves. Babies are going to have to trust us as the photographers to capture their best angle (Can you picture your baby saying, “Oh please, this angle is so not right for me, all you can see is my cradle cap!"?). Play around with different angles as you take your photos and don’t stop once you think you’ve got a good one. If you’re baby is still holding his pose, keep shooting!

Take a photo of the bride's ring sitting on the preacher's Bible, a picture of the buttons on the bride's dress, a picture of the cake topper, etc.  The bride has spent months preparing every tiny little detail, and she will appreciate photos of each of those things.  I usually like to take photos of the details while the reception hall is being set up because the lights are turned on and it's easier to get the shot.  (Thanks Kimberly Perry)
“The key is developing and following one’s own style. One should not try and copy others but develop their own style and try and create a niche segment around it with their expertise in that field. This way the increasing competition does not affect one’s business. Good branding is an important aspect as well. So developing a niche style and promoting your business around that style is the key to survival and growth for every wedding photographer.”

I set up our family shots with my DSLR on a tripod and then I used a 10-second timer to take the photos!  I also set my camera to take three photos in a row.  So I had 10 seconds to run into place, fix my clothes and hair and smile at the camera!  All the while my kiddos yelled, “run mommy run!” Believe me, we got some genuine smiles and laughter from them watching mommy run and act like a crazy person!
Ashley, I loved your post. I am huge on annual family photos. I think it’s so important to capture a nice photo of your growing/changing family at least once a year! I love how your pictures turned out. They are very nice and the same style I like to go for. I am getting into photography and would like to do our own someday. Thanks for all the tips. I completely agree with all of them and try to do them already but seeing it written down helps to instill those ideas even more for our next shoot.

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.
The wedding can take it’s toll on your body both mentally and physically. It is one of our top wedding photography tips is to seize the moment to relax when you can. This can generally happen when the wedding breakfast is being served. No one wants photographs of people stuffing their faces with food. So use this time to re-charge your batteries (not your actual batteries but you can if you want) relax and catch your breath. The resulting photos will definitely benefit from you taking a breather.
Wedding photographers offer a wide range of photography styles, so when you start your initial search, review portfolios to find the look you're after. In cities like Chicago and New York, high-fashion editorial-style wedding photos are popular, with couples earmarking a larger part of their wedding budget to lock in well-known photographers. Aesthetic elements of the photographer's style include everything from lenses used and lighting to formality of poses and more. Popular requests among soon-to-be married couples include traditional/formal, candid, artistic, natural/outdoors, and high-fashion photos.
When most people think about hiring a professional photographer, they don’t consider their home as the backdrop they are looking for. But why not??? Beautiful portraits in the place you spend the most time as a family offers the most unique atmosphere. I would suggest this only if you love the decor in your home, and it is free of clutter. I often like to create activities such as hanging out on the couches, sitting around the piano, jumping on the trampoline, or even having a cookie making event in the kitchen. Possibilities are endless–what does your family love to do at home together?
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.
#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!
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!
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)
"The photo was taken 2 days after my son and daughter-in-law`s wedding. There was a horse on the beach (a day after wedding get-together) that was the same breed as the horse she was taught to ride by her late uncle. The owner of the horse offered to photograph her for free, in her wedding gown, at sunrise. I had the photo done as oil painting, as a gift for Christmas. Simply beautiful.
An experience that is aimed to be “stress-free” for you as a parent.  I allow your children to explore, roam and experience the environment around them – both for the purpose of putting ourselves in the best position to get the most out of your time with me, but to also provide you with photographs that capture the natural essence of what makes your children and your family “who you are”
Chrystal Cienfuegos, owner of Chrystal Cienfuegos Photography, offers a natural & organic style of newborn & portrait photography in Southern California. She is passionate about telling love stories through elegant and timeless imagery that is inspired by the unique beauty of each client. She's a San Diego native and mother of two fun little ladies. Among her favorite things are Chargers football, swimming, impromptu family dance parties, wine (of course), and evening walks with her neighbors.
I have priced my work exactly where I need it to make a living, so I include all the digital files in the cost of the playdate (there are usually over a hundred) as well as the finished storybook. I encourage my clients to purchase their own prints and give recommendations for the best places you can go to get high quality prints. I believe that it’s a waste of everyone’s time to place these simple orders together.
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.

Once everything's in one format, be steadfast in backing up your digital files, no matter the means. If you store your images on an external hard drive, DVD, or a storage Website, remember it's only effective if your images make their way onto the device. Get into the habit of backing up your photos immediately by considering it the final step of your uploading process.
You made a good point to advise your client to choose the best clothing they feel comfortable wearing in a photo session. It is recommended to use neutral colors and soft fabric especially if there are children included. Also, you may want to suggest adding some additional accessories such as sunglasses, cowboy hats or even headbands. This should make the photo session very interesting and light. I would make sure to keep this in mind if we ever have one in our family. Thanks.
I’ve been a professional photographer for 15 years and if I’ve learned anything about the business in that time it is that as a client you have to be a thoughtful consumer. People don’t always realize how unregulated the industry is. There are a LOT of ways that photographers differ from each other. The advice I always give when you’re looking to hire a photographer is this:
Baby pictures are among the most popular types of portrait photography, and most newborn photographers are well versed in the best places to take baby pictures in their local areas. Some newborn photographers will come to the hospital to shoot the baby within a day or two of birth, while others have set up their studios to accommodate the needs of infants. Some parents prefer to have the newborn photographer come to their home or travel to a favorite park or other outdoor location. Like any portrait photography, the best place to take baby pictures is the place you like best and that will yield the types of photos you want of your baby, whether that’s posed and carefully lit studio portraits or spontaneous, casual photos at home. Work with a local newborn photographer to find a safe, calm location with great lighting and some privacy for your family.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to storytelling. Sure, according to Wikipedia or any online photography forum, there is a right and a wrong way to take a photo. But when it comes to wedding photography, what you’re really looking for is a storytelling technique that matches your idea of how your wedding will be. For example, I was recently photographing a wedding with my assistant and I took a photo of the couple dancing that I really loved. She laughed and shrugged and said to me, “You are such a romantic.” I was kind of surprised, but then I realized that I had specifically chosen to tell a story in a way that made the moment very romantic. This story, for example:
The day has come and your sweet baby boy or girl is finally here! After you’ve settled in at home with your little one, the next step in announcing your baby’s birth is taking newborn photos to share your joy. Loved ones and friends are looking forward to seeing the newest addition to your family and nothing makes a better statement than sending out photo birth announcements. Among many other items on your baby-at-home checklist, we have you covered with suggested time frames on when to take newborn photos below.

I was iffy about maternity photos however I definetly want new born photos. I found a photographer who has a package including 30min maternity session (perfect because I only want a few) and hour newborn session for $100 that comes with photos on cd and the rights! Or another package for $200 including 30min maternity 45min newborn and 30 min 6month and 1year sessions again it's the cd and rights! Therefore I will be doing the 4sessions for $200! Just can't beat the price and I won't regret any missed photo oppurtunities:)

Sam helped us really figure out what we were wanting and how to achieve that feeling...and gave us the confidence to stick to our wishes, even if they were non-traditional! She honestly felt like working with a goofy friend. The pictures were more than we could have imagined...and for my husband who really is shy in front of the camera? You never would have known! Sam made it SO easy.


Your portrait session should be a reflection of your family. Before our session we will have a phone or in person consultation so we can discuss your expectations, ideas, and goals for our session. Preparation and communication are the keys to a successful portrait session, so make sure to share all your ideas and concerns with me during our consultation or on your questionnaire!
Build a complete portfolio. In order to get hired by someone who isn't a close family member or friend, you will need to have a portfolio to show. Use photographs from multiple shoots with different subjects to highlight the range of your talents. Make sure that your portfolio is comprised of more than just five or ten photos. People will want to see the great work you've done.[8]
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.
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.
Sometimes I find an interesting subject, but just not an interesting place to photograph it from.  If you look at professional photos, they are very often taken from non-obvious spots.  For example, a photo of a CEO will be photographed from down low, looking up at the person to make him or her look more powerful.  Or, in the case of photographing a city, we often want to get to a very high perspective to shoot down and see the whole city.

An 8hr to 9hr hour timeline is the most ideal from a photographers standpoint.For us, this works best to ensure all the key moments of your wedding day are captured and no special moments are missed. Here is a rough draft and sample of an 8 hour wedding day with the ceremony starting at 5:30 PM. This timeline can be adjusted to your specific needs,but should be a good starting point for you when planning your day.
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.
Nations Photo Lab may have slightly longer processing times (up to two days for prints), but it has an excellent customer service team — in our experience, the company was quick to offer a reprint or refund when an order didn’t turn out as expected. Nations offers pro-level quality, even though you don’t have to be a professional shooter to place an order, and its online platform is easy to use. Compared to Mpix, its product range is a bit wider, including custom wood or metal USB drives for delivering digital files, but, again, its processing is a bit slower. A 4 x 6 print starts at 32 cents, though the company usually has frequent sales.
Prior to the big day, your photographer will likely ask you for a wedding photo list, which will outline specific family wedding photos you and your soon-to-be spouse want to be sure and take during the wedding. Thanks to WeddingWire's wedding day timeline generator, you know that you have about an hour allotted between the wedding ceremony and reception (or following the first look) for wedding family photos. A complete wedding family photo list will help you and your photographer make the most of these 60 minutes. 

It seems like every wedding planning blog we look at makes this recommendation but we have absolutely no idea why they are telling couples to do this! The only shot list we need from you is the list of family formal photos you would like (which we will ask for in the questionnaires we send to you) so we can make sure to budget enough time to get your family formals completed and that will help that part of the day run much more smoothly. For the rest of the day we will be watching for important moments. If we are having to check things off a list it is very likely that we will miss something that we otherwise would have been able to capture because we were staring at a piece of paper trying to make sure we “get the shots on the list” instead of paying attention to what is going on at your wedding! We shoot many, many, MANY weddings and understand the flow and key moments of a wedding day and you will get our absolute best work if you let us pay attention to what is happening around us instead of hunting down shots on a list.
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
that blend with the the vibe of the session as well, but keep them simple and meaningful. A handful of flowers that are a natural, neutral color or that coordinate with color pops in the subjects’ clothing, a vintage camera, a basket of apples, or the absolute best type of prop is something that is meaningful to the subject (grandpa’s vintage camera, their favorite stuffed animal, a quilt made by great grandma, the family’s beloved pet). But don’t let the prop be an odd distraction – make sure it “makes sense” being in the photo and blends well with the whole vision you had in mind for the shoot.
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