Carrie Smith's two young boys inspired her love of photography, leading to the creation of Carrie Smith Photography. The Dallas photo studio specializes in newborn photography and also provides in-studio or on-site maternity portraits, hospital photos, children's portraits, and family portraits. Clients have praised Carrie Smith for her memorable photos that capture the subject's spirit and her warm, patient personality.
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.
Think about it: Your photographer doesn't automatically know that your wedding photo list would include a shot of your mom with all her sisters, or that you want a photo with all the cousins. Consider this wedding photo list a family portrait checklist for your photographer. By providing this wedding photo list before the big day, your photographer will be able to plan out the portrait timing, and which family wedding photos to take when. Not sure who to include in your wedding family photo list? We've done the hard work for you!
Being a wedding photographer is so much more than just taking great photographs. If you look happy to be there, then the couple will relax and feel comfortable with you around. These conditions generally produce the best environment for awesome wedding photos. Don’t get absolutely wrecked on the jagger bombs but chit chat with guests and enjoy the party. The day will seem much shorter if you’re having a good time.
We do, however, understand that you want to head into your big day prepared, with a clear picture (pun intended!) of which shots you can expect to see in your future wedding album. That's where our comprehensive wedding photo shot list, full of must-have shots recommended by some of the industry's most lauded photographers, comes in. Though this list can be useful in deciding which moments you do (and don't!) want captured, we suggest using it as a general outline—every couple's wedding day unfolds differently, which means that a wedding photo shot list can't and shouldn't be one-size-fits-all.
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!

Maternity photography is a fast growing market for professional photographers, but documenting a woman’s b-o-d-y during pregnancy can be challenging. However with a little sensitivity & planning your shoots carefully, your maternity photography can give expectant mothers not only pregnancy photos they will cherish forever, but an experience they’ll never forget – and hopefully recommend to others! In this post we have added 30 Maternity photography / Pregnancy Photos / Pregnancy pictures for your inspiration.

Finding the perfect location is an important part of planning for the photo shoot of your dreams. I have my favorite places, and usually make a recommendation during our consultation based on your personality and style, but I always welcome your location ideas. I’d love to know if there is a place that is sentimental to your family so we can discuss our options and plan the best location to suit your family.
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.
This could save you a lot of aggravation, upset and possible humiliation. Speak with the Officiant before the Ceremony begins. Ask if they have any particular rules. Generally speaking, a church officiant will be a little more strict than a non-religious officiant. Some places only allow you to stand in certain places, whilst others don’t allow flash photography. Some don’t allow photography at all! If the officiant tells you this on the day of the wedding your best option is to instantly go and speak with the groom. Just explain to him that the officiant has told you that you aren’t allowed to take photographs during the service. This generally doesn’t happen as the couple have already met with the officiant but just be prepared that you might catch them in a bad mood.

“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.”
When shooting outside after a ceremony or during the posed shots you’ll probably want to keep your flash attached to give a little fill in flash. I tend to dial it back a little (a stop or two) so that shots are not blown out – but particularly in backlit or midday shooting conditions where there can be a lot of shadow, fill in flash is a must. Read more about using Fill Flash.
Some family photographers will meet with you in person before your session to brainstorm about creative ideas, locations, clothing, etc. If you can meet with your photographer ahead of time, then you’ll have a head start on your session date, and you and your photographer can make the most of your session time together. You may also be more comfortable being photographed having already met him or her previously. Try not to book your photographer at the last minute so there’s time for a planning/design meeting!
When you reach a certain level of quality it is often the lens that matters more than the camera itself. SLR and DSLR are both single lens, allowing you change the lenses as you wish. The core difference between them is that SLR uses traditional film and DSLR is digital. Of course, there are mirrorless cameras as well, but they are comparatively more expensive than the DSLR cameras.
Get dressed up! And schedule ample time for the shoot. We usually make it the only thing on our schedule for the morning or afternoon, and don’t have anywhere else to rush off to. Often it takes a lot longer than you expect for everyone to get ready, to go and find the perfect spot (we try to figure out where we’ll shoot before the actual day, especially if we have to drive there), take all the shots, and then pack up. And by the end everyone will be a bit tired! So make your shoot a priority for the day, and you’re much more likely to get it done, and enjoy the process.
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)

A photographer who’s charging for their work should consistently create excellent photos that are similar to each other in style.  Most photographers either have a website or a Facebook page, so take some time to browse their portfolio. Ideally, their portfolio will include lots of different families, in different settings, to show that the quality of their work is consistent.
Babies have always been a passion of mine. My mother owned an in-home daycare until I was 12 years old and she then became a full time mom. Babies have been my life for as long as I can remember and I love to be around them everyday watching them learn and giggle. This is more than just pictures to me- these are memories. Its your babies personality shining through the images that makes me love this so much more. I am a PROUD surrogate mother of boy/girl twins that are two years old. And, my wife, Ana delivered our own boy/girl twins Ford and Davis in June 2018!
First, I would recommend never hiring someone, even a friend, without looking at their portfolio first.  While a portfolio only showcases a photographer’s best work, if their best isn’t very good, you can safely bet they won’t be taking amazing photos of you and your family, and you should think about hiring someone else. Looking at their portfolio will also give you an inclination as to their creative vision and methods.
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.
Newborn photography can come with many surprises, especially if you aren’t a parent.  I’ve compiled a list of newborn photography tips that have helped me tremendously and I am sure will be helpful for anyone interested in learning more about newborn photography.  Of course, every photographer will have a different way or style of doing things but these are just some of the top things I’ve learned through the years as a newborn photographer.
In real estate it’s location, location, location. In photography it’s quality, quality, quality. When you are looking for a photographer, you want to look at their exposure, white balance, and focus. Is it all correct and consistent? Before you inquire with a photographer on pricing information, you want to make sure that you will receive quality images.  Some families get photos done yearly. Some only get them done every few years, or just once when their kids are little. No matter how often you get photos done, these images will be hanging on your walls, in frames at your office, and in albums that many generations will get to enjoy. Making sure you have a photographer that can deliver you images with correct exposure, white balance, and focus should be top priority.
#1 – it automatically forces you to slow down. That’s a good thing. You can check your settings, review the composition, and exposure to make sure you’ve got everything right. All to often it’s easy to get carried away once you put the camera up to your eye and forget to check something only to see later you had the wrong White Balance, or ISO was 6400, or you accidentally shot Small JPG. Slow down, avoid an “oops”.
“look at photography, talk about photography, read about it, but mostly shoot, shoot, shoot. We found that also networking with other photographers can get you inspired, but the important thing is to not be just networking for the sake of networking, you should be really interested in the other person as well. Too often this exchange remains one-sided and so for one person, it’s not so much of worth to be staying in touch with you. We think it’s also important to shoot for yourself and not just for your client so you can find your own voice and with time the perfect clients for you will cross your way and you will shoot for yourself, but get paid by them.”
taking your own maternity photos is so easy and i hope it is something you do for yourself, and for your baby.  it will be so fun for your little one to see what you looked like when you were expected him or her.  again, it is also a wonderful way for you to remember what your pregnancy was like.  it is amazing what memories a photo can hold and how just one photo can take you back to the moment, allowing you to remember all the details of pregnancy.
The objective of a lifestyle newborn photoshoot is to capture more candid shots of the infant in their own environment, and, usually, include the parents in the shots, as well. These shoots are typically a bit quicker because—as long as the lighting is good—there’s less set-up and deliberate styling. You can anticipate maybe two to three hours in the client’s space for these lifestyle newborn photoshoots.
I attended the University of North Texas and received a Bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television and Film.  In 2011, I received a Master’s in Ed. Technology.  My first thought was I would teach technology/videography at a High School level, but I fell in LOVE with photography after my 1st daughter was born. She came into the world with the most beautiful red hair and striking blue eyes, needless to say, her Dad, her grandparents and myself were shocked!  I picked up a cheap Kodak camera and never stopped taking pictures.  Over the years I have self taught through online workshops, upgraded to a professional Canon Mark iii, purchased several fancy lens and just have gotten better by good ol’ fashion practicing.  I have 3 children ages 12, 10 and 8 who always give me a good reason to shoot what I see!  🙂  I love what I do, which I think truly shows in my work.  Photography and children inspire me.  I am so grateful to be a given a gift to see the world the way I do.
Most people recommend holding a newborn photo shoot within the first ten days of your baby’s life. When babies are this young they are generally very sleepy, which is a good thing for photos. Why? Because a sleeping baby isn’t crying, doesn’t have crossed eyes, doesn’t have a huge pacifier in her mouth, and isn’t flailing her arms about uncontrollably (all of which happen quite regularly when she’s awake). Sleeping newborns look sweet and peaceful, while awake newborns can look a little awkward. If you start your photoshoot while the baby is asleep you can get lots of sweet sleepy pictures, and then a few more when she wakes up.
The "poses" that we'll work with are really just designed to get you interacting together. For example, I might have you take a walk down a long, tree-lined patch. I might instruct you to talk to each other the entire time and not look at me. What I'm looking for here is how you make each other laugh, your reactions to what the other says, and the natural cadence of how you interact. Or I might have you stand close together with the simple instruction of "Hold each other!" I want to see how you naturally put your arms around each other, how you get close to each other, and how excellent your chemistry is. The reason why many clients remark on the believability of my engagement images is because they are real moments. They're not staged interactions. While we do choose a location, set up a scenario, and put you in beautiful places for your portraits, your emotions and interactions are entirely your own.

Don't let seasonality stop you when it comes to wearing white in your fall engagement photos. It's totally acceptable—and even super on trend—to wear white after Labor Day! While your engagement shoot doesn't have to feel overly bridal, a white blouse or dress is a sweet nod to your wedding dress. Consider playing with texture: Cotton-based fabrics like eyelet lace, crochet and Swiss dot all have dimension that shows up well on camera and gives your outfit an instant vintage twist. 
While you can always DIY family portraits with your point and shoot camera and a tripod and timer for no cost at all, it will likely not look so great, considering you are not a professional photographer, aren’t using a great camera and don’t know how to set up the shoot for optimal lighting and composition.  Your camera will be limited in its size and quality abilities.

Love is Love Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas that serves the areas of Keller, Grapevine, Dallas, Fort Worth, and beyond. This studio specializes in candid family portraits. Clients pay $350 to secure their reservation. With Love is Love Photography, no image two images are the same; they take each photo with a unique stylistic approach.


No doubt there are many wedding moments you won't want to miss. The best way to ensure your photographer captures the right moments for all posterity is to provide a suggested shot list. Of course, the style and number of these images will all depend on the photographer you've chosen and how long you've hired that pro for, but a shot list of photos you'd love to have is a great way to cover your bases. Since you should count on at least five minutes per shot, it's unrealistic to expect all the photos below, but pick and choose those shots that mean most to you.
Think about how personable the photographer is. You will use the interview in part to determine the technical skills and style of the photographer, but it is also an invaluable opportunity to assess her soft skills. Think about how personable the photographer is. If you take a disliking to her for whatever reason, this could create a negative dynamic or atmosphere on your big day. Keep in mind some basic questions, and discuss your response with your partner after the interview.[16]
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!
"I cannot thank her enough for her partnership in this moment in the life of my family. She is simply awesome! She took care of everything (i.e. took time to learn and understand my needs; recommended locations as a result of her gained insight; suggested apparel; etc. etc.). From beginning to end she was responsive, timely, thoughtful, courteous, thorough, engaging, friendly, and collaborative. The images are simply amazing!!!!!! I am hiring her as my photographer for every season of my family’s lives. She will be there to capture every moment! I’m already securing her for my wedding! Ms. Neri is a warm, genuine, and kind soul with a keen eye and instinct in capturing authentic moments. THANK YOU!"
Our portrait studios have multiple camera rooms featuring professional lighting systems, along with the latest trends in scenic and full-color backgrounds. Our trained photographers use professional hand-held digital cameras, allowing them to move and interact with you to capture candid expressions.  Once your session is complete, you'll sit down with your photographer to select your favorite images, add special effects and even order custom photo gifts and keepsakes using your portraits.  All of your portraits are printed on-site, using a cutting-edge digital printing system that produces breathtaking, high-resolution images printed on the finest archival-quality, portrait paper guaranteed to last a lifetime.
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.
Our children may annoy us and make us go crazy thanks to what they do whether it is inside the home or outside it, but we cannot deny that they also change our life and make us happy. Only those who do not have children can feel and appreciate the importance of kids in this life. There are a few happy moments that we live with our children but unfortunately these moments quickly disappear and we of course forget them over the years to finally find that we do not remember anything about the past and what is left in our minds about the special moments that we lived with our children is almost nothing. So we have to resort to the camera for recording every special moment we live with our young children. You can photograph your children on your own when they celebrate an occasion, play or make any funny thing that deserves to be immortalized. If you find it difficult to photograph your kids on your own, take a look at the following top 10 best child photographers in the world with being based on their experience, creativity and unique ability to capture stunning photographs. 10 Leah Robinson – Australia
"Hi I’m David. Photography has always been a hobby for me I'm currently starting a business in photography to make this hobby a career. My website has not gone live and I am currently working on a project for a couple of my friends with their engagement and eventually their wedding photos so as soon as I have the content I will upload to here. My prices are always negotiable so feel free to get ahold of me by phone or email. Also, go check out my Facebook page @russomphotography for promotions and discounts. Also check out my website at russomphotos.com for updated work that I have done."
“Search no more! After our first inquiry, we had a phone date with Amber so we could get to know each other. She is easy to talk to & sooo happy! We were excited to move ahead. Planning a destination wedding blind is tough but Amber helped us and we kept in touch A LOT! It felt like she really cared about our day as much as we did. We met Amber for the very first time the day before our wedding. She is absolutely the cutest thing, super smiley & having never had professional pictures taken of us before - she made that so very easy on us. While we did have a storm roll in on our day—a hiccup that could easily ruin any brides big moment—it was easily quickly tempered with Amber's calm & cool approach. She made my husband feel confident and her mood set the tone & we had the most epic wedding day. After the storm, we were blessed with DOUBLE rainbow. Looking at Amber as we were basking in the after wedding love glow was a highlight. She was smiling from ear to ear, so incredibly happy to be doing what she loves with people who are in love. I can't express how much that meant to us. Having flown across the country, sight unseen, hiring a complete stranger to capture our most precious event we couldn't have been more confident we made the right choice. We were lucky enough to work with Amber & she was a big part of making our elopement the best day of our lives—she's an absolute gem. She got our photos to us quicker than the projected timeline. They are ridiculous good! Do yourself a favor & just hire them, you'll die from happiness. You're welcome!”
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.
Be certain not to schedule your photo session around your child’s nap or bedtime.  The best time for lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise.  If this is a bad time for your children, talk with your photographer.  Good photographers will be able to shoot at any time of day by utilizing areas of open shade that will give your skin a beautiful hue and put a sparkle in your eyes.  Don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach.  I meet many families who come to a photo session with dinner scheduled at the end.  If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the photo shoot.
Deciding what to wear in family photos can be just as challenging as finding the perfect photographer. These are photos you are going to hang on your walls and cherish for years to come. It can seem overwhelming when considering what to wear but it doesn’t need to be. Use these tips to help you pick out the perfect wardrobe for you and your family.Even before little ones are born, parents begin searching for the perfect photographer to capture the moments that will last a lifetime. The glow of motherhood in maternity portraits. The beautiful delivery details in birth photography. Photography plays such an important role in parenthood, we know those decisions aren’t made lightly. To help answer one of the biggest questions we often receive “Where Can I Find a Photographer?”, we created this guide. 
Or in this case, your pictures are worth thousands of £/$/€ (depending on your currency). Once you have delivered your photos to the couple and they absolutely love them. Ask them if they know anyone else who is getting married and have they booked a photographer yet. Referrals are a great way to acquire bookings as their friends have often seen you working at the wedding. They also then get to see the end result in the form of wedding photographs.
Alysse Renee Photography specializes in newborn, child, and family photography. The photography studio, based in Little Elm, will also shoot maternity photos, first-year milestones, newborn hospital photos pregnancy announcements, senior portraits, and weddings. The studio provides a variety of choices in displaying newborn photos, including mounted prints, canvas prints, luxe metals, heirloom albums, and gift prints. The photographer finds her inspiration in candid shots and pops of color.
Nursed Shots – some of the bests shots I’ve taken over the last month have been taken when people have been nursing Xavier. This puts him into a more upright position which makes him look a little more ‘human-like’ and opens up the angles for your photos. Try a number of positions (over the shoulder, sitting him up, laying him back in arms, lying him on his tummy etc) as each one opens up different possibilities. Also remember that your baby is not the only potential subject – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends etc all can add context to the shot and you’ll appreciate having more than just baby by themselves shots later!

As a luxury Photographer in North Atlanta, Turning Leaf Photography specialized in high school senior glamour photography, family portrait photography, maternity and newborn photography.  Turning Leaf Photography is located in Marietta, GA, on the border of Cobb County and Cherokee County.  Turning Leaf Photography is Atlanta's Best Senior and Family Photographer as voted by Kudzu and is a professional photographer servicing the North Atlanta area including Marietta, Woodstock, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Johns Creek, Acworth,  Holly Springs, Canton and Vinings Georgia.

Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.


As photographers we want every photo to be a masterpiece – perfect light, natural expressions, everyone looking at the camera. But sometimes the best photos that you wind up taking are the most ridiculous — a boy with his hand up his nose, a brother embracing his crying sister, or one sibling looking at the other with a crazy face. Don’t stop shooting just because the kids aren’t cooperating for a moment, or the parents are chasing them around. Sometimes these situations can lend to the funniest and most memorable shots.
#1 – it automatically forces you to slow down. That’s a good thing. You can check your settings, review the composition, and exposure to make sure you’ve got everything right. All to often it’s easy to get carried away once you put the camera up to your eye and forget to check something only to see later you had the wrong White Balance, or ISO was 6400, or you accidentally shot Small JPG. Slow down, avoid an “oops”.
Pro tip: "Finding the perfect family pose for maternity pictures will vary on the age of your other child or children," photographer Amado says. "Most of the time I work with toddlers and you have to find activities to keep them entertained on the belly. The best family pose on these occasions is the sincere joy and happiness of having big brother or sister interacting with the belly. Something as simple as touching your belly while the family looks on will likely become one of your favorite memories."
Michael's photos are infused with the excitement and anticipation of pregnancy. Maternity photography clients love his attention to detail, and his maternity photography focuses on the shape, shadows, and emotions of pregnancy. Most importantly, his photos capture the joy of motherhood, and the special bond between parents and child.  NYC Maternity photographer Michael Kormos does his sessions in-studio, or on location.  Each setting offers its own unique lighting and mood. A new baby coming into a home is no doubt going to receive a lot of love. I always try to include photographs that focus on the strong bond between mom and dad, because bringing a new child into the world with someone you love is, without a doubt, love in its purest form. As a maternity photographer in NYC, that is my ultimate goal.
Nothing is worse than one photographer trying to conduct two large families for photos.  I like to plan a time for the bride's family to be there, and shoot their photos, then I'll have the groom's family come to shoot everyone together, then I ask the bride's family to leave while I shoot the groom's family.  Works like a charm.  The last thing you want is for people to be standing around waiting on you. (Thanks Michaelle Parsons Mulhollan)
Photographs deserve to exist as more than just digital pixels, but despite how easy it is to order a print online or in-store, getting a good quality result isn’t always guaranteed. When moving from digital to print, a photo can take on weird colors, lose detail, gain unexpected borders, and more. So what’s the best place to print photos online? We’ve rounded up the options from personal experience, pro photographer recommendations, and web reviews to put together our seven favorite photo printers, from online to brick-and-mortar.
Meet a few photographers before hiring anyone. Any photographer should be willing to meet with you either in person or by phone before you commit to hiring them just like a contractor would be. (If they aren’t you might want to think twice about working with them because that shows they are not valuing the relationship and are more likely to think of you as a pay check.) Just like when you are choosing a pediatrician, or a pre school, when you hire a photographer you are hiring someone who will be intimately involved with your life. The only way to get beautiful, true images is to work with someone who you genuinely like and trust. True images only happen when you will feel comfortable being yourself around your photographer.
Blankets or fabric to use as backdrops. If you are going to invest in one thing, I’d say go buy a few yards of the cheapest black stretch velvet you can find (use a coupon at Joanns!). Black velvet works really well as a backdrop because it doesn’t show wrinkles and generally shows up as solid black in photos. Otherwise, walk through the house looking for any blankets you might have. Blankets with lots of texture also do a good job hiding wrinkles, like this one:
Once you have the basics set up, you can drape a solid colored blanket over it all. Use clamps to attach the blanket to the backdrop boards and make sure the clamps also attach the board to the chairs so it will not fall over (if you don’t have a backdrop board just attach the blanket to the tops of the chairs). Let it drape down the board until it is level with the pillows, then lay it over the pillows. You want to minimize wrinkles as much as possible, because they will be very distracting in the final picture, so use more clamps on the sides if you need to. Additionally, you might want to clamp the background board to the chairs it’s resting against to be sure it won’t fall during the photoshoot. It should look like this:
The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.
Morning and dusk are the best times to take photos for lighting, but not always the most convenient time.  The lighting right before dusk is my absolute favorite!  It is warm and beautiful but for children, sometimes it is the hardest time of the day.  Morning light is beautiful as well, but sometimes a bit cool, so be prepared to do a little editing.  The afternoon light is just too harsh so avoid it is possible.  If it is not possible, find shade to take your photos in to diminish the risk of harsh shadows.
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