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.
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!
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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.
If you and your fiancé are wearing understated autumnal colors, a fun accessory (think: a colorful scarf or bright hat) can add just enough visual interest to your fall engagement photo outfits. For instance, a pop of plaid is the perfect way to give off an autumnal vibe for more rustic or country engagement shoots. Just keep in mind that statement accessories shouldn't compete with your outfits, so if you're going with a bold pattern, keep the rest of your duds neutral.
If you're not sure where you'd like to shoot, don't worry! I'd be glad to offer up some suggestions. If you're looking for a Manhattan or Brooklyn location, I have a great list of New York area spaces that are wonderful for engagement sessions. If you're trying to choose a Philadelphia spot for your engagement pictures, I also have a great list for you! If you are looking to have your portraits done in New Jersey, or anywhere other than New York or Philly, just drop me an email and we can talk. I travel often for engagement sessions, and would love to hear about your plans.
Many things can go wrong in the day, so we need to be well prepared. We must have a backup plan (in case of bad weather), charged batteries, blank memory cards, think about the routes and time to get to the places and get a full day itinerary so we know what will happen in the next moment. If possible, we attend the ceremony rehearsal where a large amount of information is gathered about possible positions to shoot from the lighting, the order of the ceremony, etc.
Last summer, at my extended family reunion on the beach, I knew I was going to have to figure something out. My solution was to find a kind soul nearby on the beach and ask for a big favor. I set up the entire family, got the tripod/camera in place, then nervously looked around. There was a nice lady who was in her chair reading a book. I went up to her and asked if she’d mind snapping a few for us. The reason I didn’t do the running thing this time is because there were so many of us, I needed her to just snap 30 in a row to make sure we were all looking. I said that, too. Just take a bunch in one minute, then you’re done!
Gently unwrap the baby, keeping the blanket on her back, and lay her down on her tummy on your blanket covered pillows or bean bag (use the setup I describe in part 1). Keep her covered with the blanket for right now and give her another minute to get settled. It helps to rub her back and shush softly into her ear. Again, wait until she has settled back into sleep before moving to the next step.
Every wedding will require a bit of crowd control during the family group photos. This can be a stressful time for the photographer as you aren’t aware of the specific family dynamics. Sometimes you don’t know who Uncle John is. Plus he’s probably at the bar, the toilet or anywhere other than where he should be. One of our great wedding photography tips is to get the couple to nominate a family member or someone from the bridal party to organise the people. They can gather the guests for the photos and you can concentrate on taking the photos.
…and think outside the box. Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair for girls, jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, etc. – all these things can take a ho-hum image and make it feel “complete.” Don’t let the accessories overwhelm the subject or the photos though. I believe that especially with sweet babies and toddlers that they don’t need much in the way of “accessories.” Little kiddos are beautiful in their simple purity, and I want them to be the star of the show instead of making one’s eye go straight to a giant headband as big as their head as they sit awkwardly in a big bucket. I want the viewer to notice my subject and their personality first. The accessories and clothing should just complement them – not be center stage. Choose your accent colors and fill in outfits with those punches of color in accessories. For instance, if big sister’s patterned dress has tones of aqua, coral and gray, have mom wear a coral headband and little brother in an aqua pair of Converse and bow tie. Show off the kids’ and your unique personality with accessories!