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.
Not only is it handy to have two camera bodies for a wedding as insurance against gear failure, but it also enables you to have a different lens on each body.  This way you can very quickly switch from telephoto to standard zoom as the wedding party moves around.  Once you've tried it, you'll never go back to shooting just one body.  Fortunately, you can rent the lens and camera body for cheap.  (Thanks Kati Lewis)

My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read together? Bring some books. Is your favorite dessert ice cream? Bring some ice cream bars or drumsticks to your session or better yet… hire an ice cream truck to come to your session. Love to play board games or cards? Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.

An engagement session is, quite simply, a portrait session of you and your future spouse. Some clients opt for an engagement session to fulfill a specific purpose. Sometimes it's for Save the Date cards, to be displayed at your wedding reception, or to be incorporated into your wedding website. Sometimes it's just a wonderful opportunity to have professional photographs taken of you two together during this time in your lives. The engagement period is a very sweet time in your relationship, and it's lovely to commemorate that with pictures of you both together.
Clothing is the most important element of a photograph. I welcome multiple wardrobe changes during my photo sessions. I generally recommend dressier, layered, non-matching clothing as it adds more depth and character to the photograph. An easy way to achieve this look is to add, scarves, leg warmers, boots, big costume jewelry, jackets, glasses, hats, etc. It is important to keep in mind that photographs will appear more fluent with low contrasting colors. This includes not only your clothing but also the location, background, lighting and surroundings.  Please click here for our “What to Wear Guide”.
The easiest way I’ve found to take pictures of sibings who aren’t old enough to be trusted holding the baby is demonstrated in the photo below. When your have the baby positioned on your bean bag or couch cushion (like we talked about in posing), have the older sibling come stand, kneel, or sit (depending on how tall the sibling is) right next to the baby. Ask the sibling to gently lean his head in close to the baby and snap away, leaving the baby happy and snoozing the entire time.
As you start looking through photographers’ portfolios, pay attention to the lighting quality in the pictures. Are they dark and moody? Bright and romantic? Each photographer has a certain style, and there will most likely be one that you mesh with better than others. You may also notice while you’re looking through portfolios that some photographers refer to themselves “natural light photographers” which just means that they only use whatever light is available, rather than using a flash or other lighting setups. If you are getting married somewhere dark without a lot of windows, you will want to make sure that the photographer knows how to create light when it isn’t there. Every lighting situation is different for photographers, so make sure you’re looking at photos that have similar characteristics to your venue. An outdoor wedding in the middle of the day with bright sun requires a very different skill than a New Year’s Eve reception in a dark church. (Also, a hot tip: ask to see some reception shots, since many of us don’t include those in our portfolios. Because if you are having an art gallery reception with no light, you want to make sure we can handle it. If all the reception photos are a little blurry and have been converted to black and white, then low-light situations are probably not that photographer’s forte. If you see lots of backlighting and what appears to be bursts of light behind the dancing, it means that that photographer has the ability to create standalone lighting in situations where the light is nonexistent.)

A summertime family photo shoot offers beautiful landscapes for your photos and warmer weather. The season reflects a laid back vibe that can be mirrored throughout your family’s outfit selections. Take advantage of light cottons, pretty sheers, denim and slip into your sandals for a casual look. If your family is taking a summer vacation, use this time to take your family portraits. No matter where you may be during summertime, you can take advantage of the following summer color arrangements and styling tips to guide your selections.


Thank you for this great post! I was looking on the internet a lot about best cameras for beginners and your post is the best. It’s so easy to read! I really want to get Nikon D3300, I actually want to buy the whole package, but your link shows that the package you recommend is unavailable. Could you, please, help me choose another good package to buy?

I live in this dichotomous world in my head.  I’ve always been a thrifty DIY gal who loves to shop garage sales. However, I’m also a professional photographer who charges according to my expertise, which aren’t necessarily garage sale prices.  I think that every 2-3 years, investing in a professional photographer is ideal. There are many price ranges out there, and with a little researc, you can find someone in your area that meets your needs. I also know that taking Family Pictures just isn’t in the budget each year for most people, so I’m going to share some tips on How to Take your Own Family Pictures.

DO pre-plan. "Don't walk into a wedding thinking you can go with the flow. Weddings aren't like street photography, where you can walk around taking pictures," says wedding pro Jonathan Scott, who has studios in both New York and Florida. "Pre-planning will make sure you don't miss important shots." Scout the location in advance for good backgrounds and lighting. Do Internet searches for the venue to see how other photographers capture the location.
Inspiration is everywhere – probably even in the form of Pinterest emails from your client.  It is a great idea to have some poses in mind before you arrive at the session.  However, like letting the love story of a wedding day unfold organically, I believe the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of each baby.  Whether it is cute dimples, big beautiful eyes, full lips, or a great head of hair, try to highlight the beauty of the baby.
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Three months before: If you plan to submit a shot with your newspaper wedding announcement, check their guidelines for specifics and schedule a picture-taking session at least three months before the wedding. Larger newspapers ask to receive wedding submissions up to six weeks before the event, and you'll want to factor in four to six weeks before that deadline to see your proofs and make prints.


Love the way you make this tutorial so easy to follow and understand every step of the way. Eager to start taking precious photos of my active three great grandkids, 3-4- and 10. Wished I knew like you how to take The Great Photos when they were each born. A friend will be having her baby soon, maybe I will get the second chance again Keep up the good work your doing here Autumn, looking forward to learning more, even at my age. Being a Grandma and having a camera are two of my favorite things in Life !
Give clients what they want. You may like to take creative portraits of people, but your clients might just want to look pretty.[10] Remember that, especially when you are starting out, you need to make money. The best way to do that is to have your clients buy prints (or digital images with rights to print). They are more likely to buy prints if they like what they see!
Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!
One of the most helpful tips I’ve been given about Wedding Photography is to get the couple to think ahead about the shots that they’d like you to capture on the day and compile a list so that you can check them off. This is particularly helpful in the family shots. There’s nothing worse than getting the photos back and realizing you didn’t photograph the happy couple with grandma!
Patty Othón is a maternity, newborn and wedding photographer whose passion for photography has motivated her to capture the happiest and most important moments in people’s lives. Patty’s work is based in Los Angeles, California and comes to cover other surrounding areas such as Orange County, Pasadena, Corona, Riverside and more areas to immortalize the happiest moments that people live there.
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
Organizations such as the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP), Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC), Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP),Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) and Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) support the art and business of wedding photography. WPJA awards an annual Photographer of the Year Award to recognize the best in wedding photojournalism.
As the busy fall season for family photography approaches, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts on things you may want consider when choosing a family photographer!  If you’re looking at hiring a photographer for the first time, I’m sure the options can be daunting.  How does this all work?  Why does it cost so much?  How do you know you can trust them to do a good job?  Whether you’re reading this here in Fort Collins or far away in another state, I want to share some thoughts that might be helpful as you make this decision.  This isn’t meant to be a black and white list of dos and don’ts, just some food for thought!  I want to start by talking a bit about some things that I think are important to look for when you’re checking out potential photographers’ websites.
As a Dallas Newborn Photographer and a mom, I believe the first year of life is one that deserves to be captured forever in images. It’s a time that should be slow, so you can totally enjoy it. But, it’s one of the most fleeting times in the life of your new family. It’s a time that’s meant to be enjoyed forever. With newborn photographer Jessica Cook, she can help you have a record of those special times. As a result, you will receive beautiful photographs of your snuggly little bundle that will be treasured forever. Jessica specializes in providing you those stunning images of the love of your life through her photography.
Jake Olson is an award winning portrait, commercial and fine art photographer whose work is based in Blair, Nebraska and covers the surrounding areas. He specializes in capturing senior and children photographs. He believes that the world around us is beautiful and this is why he makes use of everything around him while capturing his photographs. His unique style of photography allows him to turn the ordinary subjects that we see everyday into amazing photos. He focuses on using natural light and showing the amazing colors in the surrounding nature. Jake Olson’s work has been published in different countries all over the world and his photographs have been featured in several books and magazines such as Vogue Magazine UK, Digital SLR Photography Magazine and more. 1 Magdalena Berny – Poland
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.
JAALAM IS AN AWARD WINNING, NATIONALLY PUBLISHED PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER. HIS WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN NUMEROUS MAGAZINES AND PUBLICATIONS. PREMIERE IS HIS PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY LOCATED IN COLLEYVILLE, TX. HE NOW SPLITS HIS TIME BETWEEN PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL AND FORT WORTH/ DALLAS, TX WHERE HE CONTINUES TO PHOTOGRAPH HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS, COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY, PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY AND IS AN IN DEMAND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. AS A PHOTOGRAPHER HIS GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS HAVING HIS PORTRAITS HANG ON THE WALLS OF CLIENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
Aside from being flexible, be safe.  The most important thing on this list is to research newborn photography safety before you start. Many traditional poses are actually composites with spotters and safeguards in place so the baby is out of harm’s way.  Lastly, don’t give up.  I remember the first time I went snowboarding when I got back before I could open my mouth, my friend said I need to do it 5 more times before I decide to give up, that the learning curve is steep and that it gets easier.  The same is true for newborn photography.  My first session left me feeling very defeated, but I’m glad I got back up and did it again (and again and again)…and hopefully, this list removes some of your growing pains.
These close-up “detail” shots are not only adorable but they are great accompanying images for albums and accordion books.  Because of the sensitive focus on a macro lens, the best time to get these images is when the baby is very still (in their deepest sleep).  As shown with the newborn workshop where you get to shadow me on an actual on-location shoot, when I notice the baby is deep in dreamland, I’ll just stop whatever I’m doing and I’ll pull out my macro for 10 minutes and get all the shots that I need.
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.
Her newborn photos were stunning and she was willing to accommodate some props we brought along with us. Thanks to her and her assistant, I felt that my newborn was safe and in good hands the entire time. I loved all the props and poses she was able to use in her studio. Editing was super fast and her customer service skills are excellent. Laura is so talented that we had trouble narrowing it down to the images we wanted. I definitely would recommend Laura to others and plan to use her again in the future for child and family portraits. Thanks Laura!"
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!
In addition to newborn and twin photography, Silver Bee provides a wide range of photography services in Austin, Texas. Newborn photography is one of our favorites as we thoroughly enjoy watching little ones grow up and capturing that growth on camera! Our family photography sessions are quite popular, as well. We really enjoy working with the entire family! And it all starts with the maternity photography sessions. From the very beginning stages we capture those beautiful moments on camera so that your memories can last a lifetime!
Secondly I guess I wanted to remind us all that having a baby is not just a photographic opportunity and that it’s important to put the camera down every now and again. If you’re anything like me you could easily walk around with your camera permanently to your eye and forget to actually enjoy the moment. Don’t just create wonderful images of your baby – create memories with your baby – balance is a great thing!
oh, lord.  writing this post has me hinting at the husband for another baby.  having photos of myself when i was pregnant with our first was so important to me, as i really wanted to document the time and the experience of pregnancy in photographs.  looking back on these photos makes me realize how important maternity photos are.  it seems like, once the baby is born, you literally forget what feeling pregnant was like.  all those aches and pains when walking, the feeling of baby kicking inside, the waking multiple times a night to pee…those memories can be forgotten, without photos.  but the second i look at these photos, i remember exactly what pregnancy was like.  photos spark a memory, and take you back to that moment.  if you don’t want to hire a photographer for formal maternity photos, taking your own maternity photos is so easy.  in fact, it’s almost better because you can take photos throughout your pregnancy instead of having photos done all in one day.  as you are documenting your growing belly, here are 8 ways you can photography your sweet bump.
As a professional Dallas newborn photographer, we try our best to make sure our newborn photography pricing is affordable to fit any budget. Our newborn photography packages include beautiful products as well as digital images. We also offer our clients access to our printing lab directly from your online gallery so you can have the quality of my print labs at your fingertips!
“The best thing you can do for your couples is to allow them to be awkward at first. I think a lot of couples see the images of our clients in these poses and moments and think that they will never be like that or look like that. But what most of them forget is that it took time to get these. They didn’t see the build-up to these moments or the silly, awkward moments before or after the image we chose to share.”
I love reading your articles. I am not a Pro Photographer but just a hobbyist and will only do it when time permits. I have a day job that I think I can’t afford to quit if I’ll go full time on photography. Anyways, what I can suggest to those beginners or let me say… to the people that who just found or discover their passion in photography a very big welcome to photography world. Photography is awesome. Believe me! :)
The worst thing a parent can do to their child at their portrait session is to grit through their teeth “You better smile or else…” Really, they will listen to me MUCH better than they will listen to you (don’t take that personally). Plan on letting me take over and teasing them into smiling. Trust me–I have been there with my kids gritting my teeth and it DOESN’T work! And please don’t be embarrassed with less than 100% cooperation, I’m sorta used to it…I do this a lot and I don’t think anything about your parenting methods–most kids don’t want to be told what to do. I try to make it fun for them.
First and foremost, you need to feel like yourself! If you're a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of woman, will you feel comfortable in a cocktail dress during your engagement shoot? If you love wearing flats, will you feel like yourself in a pair of towering heels? Don't feel like you have to dress in a certain way. The most important thing is that you're comfortable, that you feel natural, and that you're wearing something that's representative of who you are.
Start the same way you would for the first pose, with a naked baby in a blanket in your arms. Once he’s sleepy, gently lay him down on his back and remove the blanket. Cross his feet and bend his knees like you see in the photo below and just hold them there with your hand for a few minutes. If he relaxes in that position, you’ll be able to slowly remove your hand and his legs will stay crossed.
Talk about the photographer’s style. The first thing to discuss is the style and ideas of the photographer. You will have seen some pictures, but you will be able to get better and more complete understanding by talking it through in person. Ask the photographer to describe the style they shoot in, and be sure to ask any further questions if anything is unclear to you.[8]
Morning Sessions will be provided by Kristina. She is freshly getting into photography and will be establishing her own style and techniques with every shoot she creates. Sunset sessions will be captured by our lead photographer Stan. With over 10 years of experience Stan has a developed style that is seen all throughout the website. He is sure to provide you and your family with experience and stunning images you will love.
Twenty-Three Photography offers a full-service, custom portrait experience. We cater to those who can’t stand the traditional book, stress, and receive a cd sessions. Because I want my clients to have beautiful MEMORIES, as well as beautiful photos. Your family is special and unique, your portraits should reflect that. My job is to be a storyteller and create images that evoke raw emotion to convey the love inside you.

Some wedding photographers offer their services on an hourly basis, such as $250 per hour. Hourly rates are not as common as set package pricing — especially during the peak wedding season months of spring and summer — but are typically offered by independent photographers or those just starting out. Hourly rates can vary, depending on geographic location, photographer experience, day of week and time of year. When hiring a photographer on an hourly basis, use a clearly written contract and be sure to specify what printing rights you'll have to the photos, and whether the hourly rate includes post-production editing or if that will cost extra.
As professional photographers, and as a husband and wife team, we are passionate about capturing these timeless moments for our clients. With that understanding, we create beautiful images making all the special moments last forever for you and your family to cherish for a lifetime. We specialize in modern classic portraiture and service the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Natalie Roberson Photography is available for travel throughout the State of Texas and for destination photography.
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 knew I loved shooting weddings but the pressure was a little overwhelming, as anything that you’re new to can be. I also spent hours and hours watching tutorials and learning my equipment. You need to be really familiar with all of the worst case scenarios that you can possibly run into and find solutions for them before you shoot a wedding. Some of those situations are going to be discovered after you gain a little experience, however. When I felt completely defeated after my first wedding, I went searching for a good list that would help me get through the wedding day and came up dry every time. So, in an attempt to help anyone that’s new to this out, here is my list of shots that I don’t leave the wedding without.
Some photographers specialize in only posed portraits, or only lifestyle photos, while others combine both into a single session. Then, there are those who shoot both types of photos, but will schedule your session differently (in terms of time and location), depending on what you’re looking for. You may find that photographers brand themselves as either ‘portrait’ or ‘lifestyle,’ or you may need to look at their portfolio in order to tell what type of photos they take.
Anyway, thanks for these tips… For a guy with boys of two, it’s pretty neat to read that I have been doing the right thing all this while… There’s no such thing as enough photos when it comes to self-triggered shots.. One thing that I have to seriously put into action is the “Make it An Event” part.. most often than not, we tend not to put priority on the group photos as we get busy planning the place to visits, transportations, FOOD!, etc. I will surely put this one in my checklist for our next family vacation…
Safety and comfort are the most important things when it comes to newborn twin photography sessions here in Austin. We treat each and every baby as if they were our own, every single day. You can rest assured that your precious new twins are in the safe hands of one of the best twin photographers in Austin. Check out Hillarry’s article, 4 S’s for Soothing a Fussy Baby, for a look into how she approaches soothing babies for shoots.

Set your rates. Consider the amount of time required for each shoot, the cost of your gear, the cost of the prints or CD of images as the end product, and your experience. Avoid pricing your photography sessions too high or too low. A price that is too high will scare away most clients, while setting a price very low makes you seem desperate or unattractive as a photographer.[26]
When shooting in wide open locations and it involves kiddos, I love to have some movement and flow in their clothing and accessories. Little ones are fond of jumping, dancing, and being wild. Nothing better than a twirly, whirly dress to accentuate all that beautiful movement and childhood innocence. Something as simple as a scarf trailing behind or a playful super hero cape can be fun for the boys.
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