The first thing that I want to mention is that if you currently own an SLR camera DO NOT immediately go and sell your camera in order to purchase one of the cameras here. Just because I perhaps don’t mention your camera in this article doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for portrait or wedding photography. You may just want to keep this article in mind for future purchase, or upgrades.
Just as important as getting some light in the eyes is having it come from a good direction. We’ve established overhead isn’t good direction, neither is straight from camera. So turning on your built-in pop flash isn’t going to give you good light. Neither is sticking a speedlight on top. Light direct from the camera angle flattens the subject, that is not what you want. You want the light to come from the side more, 30-45 degrees from camera is a good starting point. To learn more about this read my article on the 6 Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know.
I know it's easier said than done, but please don't worry about being "bad" in front of the camera! I've been photographing weddings and engagements since 2001, and have documented hundreds of couples. I can honestly tell you that not a single one of those couples, no matter how much they swore up and down that they would be, were "terrible" in their pictures! Awkward, sure. Uncomfortable, yes. But getting you to feel less awkward and uncomfortable is my job, and I promise that I'm good at it. I promise to do everything in my power to make you feel at-ease and comfortable during your engagement session.
Imagine there is a line drawn from each face to the next. Try and position them so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another. Make diagonal lines not totem poles. Use props to seat some people or bring some small folding stools. Have some people sit down, or stand up on something. Use what is naturally in the environment to pose them, or if you have nothing available just arrange them so the heights are staggered.
Create a contract. Before you agree to go into any photo shoot with someone, make sure that you have a business contract that they must sign. This should include everything that their money is paying for and the things you are and are not liable for. For example, make it clear if you hold liability for photos that are accidentally and irrevocably deleted, or if after signing the contract it is no longer a problem of yours.
As we reflect on all our memories, it’s hard to recall ones that don’t include our families. There’s something special about looking back on family portraits over the years past. Family photos are a moment saved in time that will be cherished forever. So when it comes to what to wear for family picture day make sure you plan ahead. Whether you are taking family photos for your annual photo Christmas card or looking to get an updated shot to hang above the mantle, you’ll want you and your family to look your best doing so.
You should also meet them in person. Some important questions to ask in a face-to-face interview may include: how would they describe their wedding photography style? (i.e. photojournalistic, formal, documentary, or creative); will they be the one photographing your wedding or do they have an assistant?; will both people be taking pictures during the day?; do they have back up plan in case of an emergency?; are you comfortable with their emergency plan?; what wedding photography packages do they have?; do they shoot in color or black & white? You should ask if they have a generic schedule for each wedding (portraits before the ceremony or after), and if they are they flexible and open to suggestions. You should even ask to see a contract.
Paige Walker Photography is a photo studio based in Fort Worth that specializes in newborn and twin newborn portraits. The business also shoots child, maternity, family, and senior portraits. The photo studio has a large variety of props and backgrounds to choose from, and Paige Walker's easy going personality keeps newborns calm. Clients have praised the photographer for her ability to make subjects feel comfortable and her beautiful photos.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
“I cannot say enough great things about Maddie. I'm so ecstatic that we stumbled upon her site. Maddie is truly a genius in her craft and is a hell of an artist. She went above and beyond in every aspect of being a photographer - she helped us plan our day, recommended other vendors, had Skype interviews with us to answer any and all questions, even went as far as to write us out an itinerary for our wedding day. My husband and I had an adventurous elopement - we said our vows on top of a golden sand dune in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Maddie hiked with us all day and captured every magical moment. The pictures that she takes speak for themselves - they're amazing. She captures every intimate aspect of your day and invites you to be who you are as a couple. Not to mention that Maddie is so sweet and welcoming. She's such a people person and meshes so well with, I imagine, just about anyone. She really puts in the extra effort to make you feel comfortable and at ease throughout the entire process. I would recommend Maddie over and over again.”
Krista is natural light portrait, senior, and wedding photographer in Northwest Arkansas. A lover of golden fields, buttery backlight, and authentic emotion, she strives to transform the mundane into the magical by showcasing amazing light and interaction in her photography. She is a devoted wife and mother of a spirited daughter, who also serves as her muse. Krista loves spicy Mexican food, reality TV, the ocean, and connecting with nature. She is the author of Transforming the Mundane Into Magical.
“Kate let our son have his space but also got him back on track playing, having fun, and following her direction. Her reviews are incredible and every positive thing you read is absolutely true. Not only are the photos beautiful, they’re filled with emotion. Anyone can take a picture of you smiling at the camera but to capture personalities and emotion is a special talent.”
When being photographed most, if not all, people are nervous. Yes nervous! Some are down right scared, and some would even go as far to say that they “hate it”. So it is part of your job to help your subjects feel more comfortable and relaxed. That can be hard to do when you’re also nervous, especially if you’re new to portraits. But there’s a big advantage of putting that camera on the tripod. Two actually.
Safety is my utmost number one top priority when handling your baby, so either mom or dad will be my spotter/assistant. All eyes and hands are to be kept around baby during posing. During the session I will be handling and posing baby, but don’t worry I have plenty of experience handling a newborn (don’t know if I mentioned I have three boys of my own!) I will hold and care for him or her as if they were my own, I promise!
At the other end of the spectrum is Eversnap, a full-service app that does it all. Dish out $99 to $399 and you'll get 200 instruction cards to either include in your invite envelopes or toss into those fun guest bags. Then, wedding-goers can snap pics through the app and use special photo filters or upload from their fast-growing galleries during the big day. It'll even work if you're in an area with bad service and there's no connection. Digital-camera mavens can add photos through the website while Windows or Blackberry phone users can email them to a unique address that will automatically add them to the main folder, which you can then share with your guests if you wish. You can also set up a live moderated slideshow during the reception so everyone can view a livestream via projector or screen as the fun unfolds for up to six hours. Plus, the folder will pull and add all photos from social-media channels with your personalized hashtag.
Trust your photographer to direct you in posing so you can look your best. What makes maternity photos different from other portraits is that the images focus on you, your personality, feelings and the bond you have with your much-awaited baby. Many maternity poses such as hands on the belly and eyes looking down express emotions and connection to your belly. Other maternity poses empathize the beautiful curves of your body.
These are interesting examples, but I can't think of any client that I've had who would actually purchase the subway shot. What does it say about their family? There isn't congruence in their expressions - that isn't 100% necessary, of course, but in this image it makes me wonder why the photographer chose to present them this way. Middle and bottom sister are just not in to making this image and to me it is very distracting. Now, if it were simply an interesting image, all this is fine - but if we are talking about portraits that mean something to the subjects (who presumably commissioned the work), then I think we need to work harder to engage the people in the shot.
“From the moment I reached out to book newborn photos with her she was responsive, friendly and professional. During the session she was absolutely magic getting all of us, especially the toddler, to pose, laugh, and enjoy ourselves. She made it so easy. The final photos were incredible. We have done other professional photos before and I can say Kate was the best experience we’ve had.”
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.
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.
Depending on the feasibility it can be an idea to check out the location ahead of the wedding. However, things change so it can sometimes be best to play this by ear. You could scout the location on the morning of the wedding. Equally, you can wander around the venue when the couple are eating their food. Having an idea of where you are going to take the couple for their photos can drastically improve the end result. This is definitely one of our top tips for beginners.
Natalie Roberson Photography is built of a husband and wife team based in Frisco. The photography studio, founded in 2008, photographs newborns, engagements, weddings, child portraits, corporate headshots, family portraits, maternity photos, and hospital photos. The studio's photobooth service lets guests take silly photos at special events. The business offers digital photos, color prints on luster paper, metal stand-outs, canvas gallery wraps, albums, mini accordion books, announcements, and custom flash drive cases.
We spoke to wedding photographers Christin Berry of Blue Martini Photography in Toledo, Ohio, Jasmine Norris of Jasmine Norris Photography in Lafayette, Indiana, Kelly Vasami of Kelly Vasami Photography in Scarsdale, New York, Nick Gillespie of Blue Bend Photography in Asheville, North Carolina, and David Stephen Kalonick of David Stephen Photography in Cincinnati, Ohio to find out the answers.
By having someone else take your photos you’re going to be able to be in a lot more of the shots, and you’ll get a lot more variety. You’ll also be able to focus more on having fun with your family – taking your own photos is definitely a bit of a juggling act! A pro behind the camera can catch a lot more of the special moments that come when you’re simply interacting with your loved ones, instead of worrying about whether your remote is working.
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.
i love this article. I feel so much more capable of taking my own newborn photos rather then spending an arm and a leg for a photographer. I know O have a lot to still learn but my husband and I have debated on buying a nice camera to have throughout the years. What brand and model would you suggest knowing I want to take newborn photos with it. I feel like there is something out there that doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles but will still get the job done. Thanks so much!
Babies look peaceful while sleeping — and they are also easier to work with for photographs because they aren’t going to pull out of that swaddle. That doesn’t mean you can’t photograph a newborn that’s wide awake, but be aware that many of the poses you see aren’t possible with an alert baby because they wiggle out of that perfect placement of the hands and toes.
Thank you for the tips on choosing a family photographer! I’m planning to have a family portrait taken before the end of the year, and this will certainly be helpful. You stated choosing a photographer that can get everyone’s eyes to the camera, and hopefully also a smile from all. I have little kids, so this is certainly something I’d highly consider. I want to make sure everything can go as smoothly as possible.
If you want to create a unique photo that dramatically captures life from a child’s viewpoint, get on the ground. Photographer Andie Hamilton explains, “People don’t often think about getting down on the child’s level, but this can create some of the most intriguing shots. I often find myself lying on my stomach on the ground next to the child to get the most interesting angle.”