I know many portrait & wedding photographers love to shoot wide open at f/1.2 & f/1.4.  However, with newborn photography, many of the baby poses can have extreme angles and you often will have better luck with your depth of field and sharpness by shooting around f/2 & f/2.2.  Remember, it will be rare that the baby’s eyes are on the same plane of focus all the time and by closing down my aperture a bit from wide open I get that little bit extra of depth of field that is often needed.
WHHATTT! I hear you say. Well, do you want the bride to stand in a wet and muddy field? Then bring a white sheet with you. Some brides are more particular than others about how pristine they want their dress to remain. However, if you have a solution to keeping it clean they will be more inclined to explore. This will give you more control over the positioning of the couple. The sheet can simply be tucked under the dress and no one will ever know. It can also be used so that the couple can freely sit on a bench or wall with getting a muddy bum. No one wants a muddy bum.
When I’m photographing kids I make a total idiot of myself. I make funny noises, I sing songs (I’m really bad but they don’t care), I make fish faces, I play peek-a-boo behind the camera.  I run back and forth to the camera with the puppet. I lie on the ground, I stick my butt out. Kids are the ones that have life the right way around, it’s us adults that ruin it. Let them be kids, let them have fun. Then be ready to capture it when it happens.
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.
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.
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.

Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.


“While it’s sometimes hard to develop trust in someone you just met, I truly believe that Kate always had our best interests in mind. She listened to what we had envisioned and acted on it with the most positive attitude. My favorite part of the session was how comfortable Kate made us feel. Neither my husband nor I love posing for pictures, but Kate made us feel at ease in a very relaxed and fun way!”

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.
Hi Lina 🙂 I am so happy that you loved this post! Many find their true passion is with Newborn/Baby Photography, but aren’t sure where to start. This post is a great start for quick tips but because of all of our readers who wanted more info, and more detailed information, we created a very detailed and complete Newborn Photography Workshop, it might be something that would be perfect for you. Feel free to check it out right here. If any questions, just email me 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

Wow Annie thank you thank you so much for the “what to wear” guide!! I just cant stop reading it! you have made my day and made me see colour marchers in a whole new way! you have covered everything!..(i only wish the places you linked to were available in New Zealand..But im sure i can find beautiful clothes over here 2!:) And the cool examples at the bottom of the page!!! YAY love to see little outfits you have put together im so going to take this post with me the next time i get to the shops!:) You are truly AMAZING in everything you do and thank you again for shearing your Amaziness with the world <3


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).
I did get a few more ‘portrait’ like shots in that first week but then ended up being more activity based ones, often with other family members. On returning home and over the three weeks since I’ve continued to take the documentary style shots but have seen a move to take a lot more portrait style shots also. Quite a few of our friends have commented on the nice balance between styles.
DO be clear about what you're offering. "Make sure the couple knows that you're shooting as a favor and that you can't guarantee results," says New York City-based wedding pro Cappy Hotchkiss. "I've seen many friendships end over this." Limit expectations, and "don't get roped into doing a ton of large family groups. Explain that you will capture groups as they occur," adds the photographer. If it's going to take you months to deliver the photos, let the couple know in advance.
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.
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!

Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them promotionally (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads). That also means you can't just post the digital proofs they send you—most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you'll have to buy the rights to the images.
Arrange the time for the makeup artist correctly. Talk to the hair and makeup artist and find out how long it will take for her/him to finish the job. Make sure to include everything in the timeline that you will share with the client. For example, if you are planning on meeting your client at the location at 5 PM, you will need to take into consideration how long it is going to take them to drive from the makeup artist’s place to the location. From there, subtract the duration of time the makeup artist needs and tell your clients to be there accordingly. Give about 15-20 minutes of slack time, so that you do not end up rushing everything. This is especially true for late afternoon/evening photo shoots.
On here, you listed there will be a “part two” that “will have recommendations for those on a tight budget” and for those using a Canon. Personally, I’m just wondering when you might be posting the info on a tight budget? My dad used to be a photographer and can probably recommend a lower end camera that still works great, but I would like to see what you recommend. (:
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