In contrast, there is an alternative approach for your individual or family portrait that may be more appropriate for a special memory.  Here, you would have your own photo or photographs and then have them professionally done as a canvas painting or an oil painting that could easily be done in in a 20 x 30 inch painting that could be framed.  In some cases, a few individual photographs of family members or an individual can be provided separately and the artist can combine into one painting.
When it comes to props, I gently discourage them. The point of the engagement session is to create beautiful portraits of you two together, and the addition of props is just a distraction. I know that there are many websites that will encourage you to bring vintage items, huge bunches of balloons, signs to hold, and so forth, but then the entire engagement shoot becomes all about those props and less about you two together. If you have always dreamed of running across the Brooklyn Bridge together holding a huge cluster of balloons, then let's do it….but let's open the session with that and then put the balloons away. Likewise, if you have a Thank You sign or a Save The Date sign, let's shoot those quickly and then tuck them in your bag. I want to create a shoot that fully brings to life your vision for engagement pictures, but I also want to focus on you!
Let’s discuss the option involving profession photographer in more detail.  First, you or your family will set up an appointment either at the studio or at your house or other location.  You can expect that most professional photographers will have the proper equipment along with software programs used to subsequently edit, provide proofs, and print photographs.   Just as important, their people skills should make subjects comfortable in front of the camera and posing people to look their best is a skill by itself.  Regardless, you should consider your own family and their ages and the portrait you are trying to achieve along with the background.  You should also understand the package you will receive and if you want larger size prints and the total costs involved for the preparation, shooting and photographs. If you use this alternative, you should check with the photographer to confirm if you have the right to have the photos later done at some point in an oil painting since some photographers may retain ownership of the photo set.

You’ve probably seen a wide variety of newborn baby poses, from a sweet swaddle to a baby in a basket or hanging in a sling from a branch. Lots of the poses you may have seen might take half an hour just to set up, and some actually require having an assistant hold the baby in position and then editing out the assistant’s hands in post processing. Some people love these more creative poses; some people hate them. Personally I think some (when well done) are kind of cool, but I really prefer more natural poses that don’t look contrived. Since my goal here is to help you take better photos of your own newborn at home, I’m going to share three simple, go-to poses that you’ll be able to use without extra equipment (or even extra help).

If you are doing the session in the client’s home, posed newborn sessions require nearly the same amount of prep as a wedding.  You need quite a bit of “stuff” and it is easy to forget something so I make sure to pack the night before and use a checklist so I don’t forget anything (I’m a mom with a very limited memory).  To make your life a bit easier, I’ve made a print ready checklist you can use which is included in the newborn photography toolkit – one of the FREE limited time bonuses included in our online Newborn Photography Workshop.
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.
One thing I learned when I became a parent, was that the baby is the boss regardless of how much control I pretend I have.  The same is true for newborn photography.  If the baby doesn’t want to go to sleep for posing after you’ve tried everything, take some lifestyle shots & keep shooting.  Swaddle tight and try to get some eye contact.  Get images of mommy rocking the baby, be open and flexible – the session doesn’t always go as planned and that might just be the best thing that happens to you.

Hey Jessica! Without knowing what camera body you have right now it is sort of a guess…but I’d look into the Nikon 60mm macro. Brand new (newest versions) are around $500 which is about 1/2 of the 105 macro…you can find used for even cheaper. If you aren’t using a full frame camera I’d actually RECOMMEND that 60mm length over the 105 anyway 😉 The class allows you, the viewer, to tag along on a professional shoot in which you will certainly see and hear Chrystal work throughout the shoot, including when she is getting the close details vs other shots/poses. Give it a shot!! I think it’ll be perfect for you.
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.
It is totally, 110% o.k. if you prefer to wait. We aren’t pushing first looks as the best and only way to plan your wedding day photography timeline (although doing a first look does give you a lot more flexibility in your timeline). We have just heard sooooo many couples say that they want to do a first look, but they think that it will take something away from the ceremony. It doesn’t. If you want to do a first look, then do one. If you don’t, then don’t. This is your wedding, so do what you want to do!

We're getting maternity & newborn photos taken. I think the total is like $650 and we'll get all the photos on a disc. We had a disaster of our wedding photos three years ago and I always said from then on that I wouldn't pass on photos of a once in a lifetime event just because they are pricey. And I'd pay top dollar to get the best if I needed to. It still hurts my heart when I realize that we don't have a single picture of just my husband & I on our wedding day. Not one. When I thought we were taking photos together our photographer later explained she was just "testing the light & setting her settings". Who does that?!
Think about your location and make sure your wardrobe complements the surroundings. For example, at a location in a field with a rustic barn in the background would be perfect for a little girl dressed in a simple, vintage style dress with Hunter wellies, pig tails and carrying a little vintage tin pail full of wildflowers. That same look might be out of place in an urban setting with a graffiti wall in the background. Also, consider how well the colors and patterns in the wardrobes will stand out against the backdrops of your location. A field of bluebonnets might not be complemented by an outfit with a floral pattern or the same blues and greens in it, but would look beautiful with a solid coral colored dress to pop off of the colors of the flowers and grass. Many times I’ll select a location first and then create the wardrobe, accessories and props to fit with the vision I see for the surroundings and session vibe I want to come out of it.
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