Swaddling a baby is the easiest way to pose her for newborn photos at home. Simple wrap her up tight and lay her down on a pretty blanket of piece of fabric. I usually save swaddled photos for the end of the photoshoot, when the baby has woken up. Newborns love to be swaddled and will usually stay pretty calm if they’re wrapped tight enough (check out this post on swaddling if you don’t know how).
Excellent points, especially about using a tripod. The main benefit is that you'll need taking many nearly identical photos in order to get "the one" where everybody in the group is looking their best. Unless you've done this before, you'd be surprised how many shots it can take. Somebody's always looking away, blinking, has their head/hands etc. in a less than ideal position. Once everything is all set up as Darlene says, just shoot as many shots as you can in a very short amount of time.

One last thing to look for is that they know how to use light.  Outdoor photography can be difficult when the sun is out.  One thing you might want to watch for is to make sure that people don’t have harsh shadows on their faces.  The light should fall softly on their faces in a flattering way.  Part what makes this difference is time of day (that’s why most photographers like to do outdoor sessions in the evening), but there are a lot of other little tricks for getting the lighting just right.  In the examples below, the photo on the left is a test shot that I took in harsh midday light just to show my client what the location looked like.  See the dark shadows and blown out hot spots on my (super enthusiastic) son’s face?  Then on the right, you see a family posing in the same spot with soft light that is much more flattering.
Sierra Blanco Photography specializes in Artistic Wedding Photojournalism with and edgy modern feel. We not only photograph weddings in Phoenix but in Scottsdale, Sedona, and other locations in Arizona. We have also photographed weddings at destinations thought the world. As photographers, we believe that your wedding marks one of biggest milestones in your life. Whether you have a small intimate gathering, traditional cultural wedding, or a destination wedding, your photography should reflect the joy and spirit of the occasion, as well as those special moments among friends and family. It is these special moments that drive our commitment to creating progressive wedding and portrait photographs that will immortalize this important event.
Remember that often a baby is coming into an established family unit (not to say that Mom and Dad alone aren’t an “established family unit” but for the sake of my point, go with me on this one). If the siblings are available, make sure to include them in at least a few frames. I have to mention the dog, because I’ve got a sister-in-law who’s dog, Wanda (seriously that’s her name) is her pride and joy. When she and her hubby have kids, you can trust that Wanda will be right there in at least a handful of her maternity photos. She’s as much a part of the family as the next guy.
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.
Now is not the time to be starring dreamily into space – make sure you look at the camera (and remind everyone else in the photo to look into the camera too!). Try to get the “looking at the camera” shots out of the way first when everyone has enough attention. It can quickly get tough to get kids to cooperate, so aiming to get this shot first is key.
Once you’re through with the type of photos above, use a family member to get even more pictures of just the baby. You’ll notice that I almost always use my piece of black stretch velvet as a background when photographing baby and mom. I just really like the timeless look, and it makes for great black and white photos. In the following photos I asked the mom to wear a black shirt, then draped the black velvet either over them or behind them. Here are a few more fun poses using a family member:
Jason -- Sorry for the late reply! For me, it's all about personality. I've had families who all wore gaudy Hawaiian shirts (you would think it would be horrid with the clashing, but it actually worked beautifully!), all in shades of (color), University sweatshirts, swimsuits and scuba gear, sports uniforms, whatever. Their personality and their own flavor should guide their clothing. As a general rule, I do ask that they don't mix wild patterns (with the one exception above) but other than that, I figure I can work it out by who's standing next to whom, if that makes sense.
Flatter yourselves, Moms:  Yes, Moms, I'm talking to you. You're organizing, you're planning, you're making it happen, every day.  YOU deserve to look amazing in these photos. Don't forget about YOU.  Play up your assets. If you have great legs, don't hesitate to show them off a little. It's OK to be a hot mama.  If you have an area of insecurity, think about how you can minimize that with your outfit choice. Scarves /pashminas/jackets are awesome accessories that can totally help highlight the best version of you.  If you have insecurities that you want to share with me - please do.  BUT, you're not allowed to do it during your session.  Let's get that out of the way beforehand, so it doesn't bring us down on session day.  :)
Adding a tripod to your kit isn’t the most practical of wedding photography tips but hear me out. I’m not suggesting you go around the whole wedding using this. However, if you want to get creative later on at night with flash then a tripod is a necessity. You’ll be able to capture all manner of ambient light and even the stars in the night sky. Use a slow shutter speed and at the same time light the couple with your flash.

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 🙂
“When I proudly tell my couples that I have an iPhone app to tell me when it’s golden hour they often laugh at me, but it can be magical if you catch the right light. Because the weather is so variable in the UK and because I shoot a lot of urban weddings where buildings block the sunset, when I see beautiful golden hour light I can’t help but get a bit excited. If you can schedule at least 15 minutes of your portrait session to happen just before sunset, it will totally be worth it if the weather plays its part.”

All albums are printed on archival photo paper, NOT press paper. The short term difference is thickness, richness, and color. The long-term difference is archival ability. Your album should be passed on to your grandchildren in beautiful condition. My albums feature leather cover options and my favorite, lay-flat pages to allow beautiful panoramic spreads across the entire album.
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.
I did a research with mothers about their experience in hiring a photographer. One of the questions was about regrets and one of the top regret reasons was hiring a cheap photographer with bad quality pictures. I have more than 50 answers and not even one mentioned expensive service as a matter of regret. It doesn’t necessarily mean that more expensive photographers will always be better, but there is often a price/quality correlation. The tip I give you is: if you need to limit your budget, it’s better to choose a simpler product of the photographer you liked the most than a top package of a photographer that is only ok. After a while, you won’t remember how much you paid, but the beautiful photos (or not) will always be with you.
This guy (or girl) is coming to the wedding you are photographing. Make no bones about it Uncle Bob will be there. He/she is an amateur photographer who thinks they know better than the wedding photographer. You need to effectively deal with him/her without being rude and without offending the couple. Be firm but fair. If necessary have a word with the couple. Suggest that you and them get away from the crowd for a while so you can focus on some portraits of just them. At the end of the day let Uncle Bob enjoy taking his/her photos but don’t let it affect the results you are capturing. You’re couple will be much happier if you deal with this on the day and show that you are in charge of the photography. Rather than having loads of photos with Uncle Bob in them.

Start your location search by asking your clients of their favorite spots or favorite parks. If they do not have any preferences location-wise, take the liberty of suggesting good locations for them and have some example photos to show the advantage of the places you want to take them. If you do not have many places to showcase, broaden your horizon by doing some research on your own. Check out local parks, open spaces, downtown, museums, cool book stores, coffee shops and more. You can also look at photos of other photographers in your area. If a certain location strikes your fancy, contact the photographer with a compliment to their work and ask about the location where they conducted the photo shoot. If you ask nicely, you will most likely get a response.
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.
Patterns can add visual interest and texture as well as a good dose of personality. Just make sure that either just one person is in a pattern with the rest of the subjects in simple, more solid color pieces or the patterns are subtle and complementary (for instance, a teeny tiny polka dot tie on a little boy next to his sisters bold color blocked pattern can look very complementary).
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