Your time in the bridal suite will be packed with poignant moments, which makes capturing them a must. If you're set on snapping the makeup application process, however, you might want to wait until your look is nearly finished, says Elizabeth Davis. "I have found that the majority of my brides do not use or like these images because their bridal look is not complete," she says. "I communicate with their makeup artist to let me know right before the put on the final touches—at that point, I start photographing the makeup process."
It usually takes at least a month to get all those photo proofs back from your photographer. Why? Your photographer is shooting enormous raw files far bigger than your typical JPG. Shooting raw files gives your photographer greater ability to correct the photo, but it also takes a longer time to upload, process and edit all those files (in order to correct color levels and so on). It varies, but many photographers say they spend an additional 40 hours editing images from a single wedding, so it can take up to six to eight weeks (or longer, depending on the photographer and how busy they are) to get proofs back. Here's what to ask: How many images should I expect? Will they be high resolution or low resolution? Will I be able to get prints made myself, or does the photographer retain the rights to the images? Will the proofs I see be the retouched versions, or does that happen after I select the photos I want? Speaking of retouching, ask about retouching options and special effects (which can range from simple white balancing to beauty retouching and stylized art effects like super-saturated colors) and the additional cost for both.

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.
In terms of wedding photos, you probably plan to hire a photographer or videographer—but what about all those amazing snaps your guests are going to take? Creating a wedding hashtag can help you locate some pics on social media, but it can't capture all the photos your great aunt Edna and Internet-shy cousins took too. And you want to see every. Single. Picture. Right? Here are some programs and technologies out there that can help you gather all the photographic goods.
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.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session.  I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared.  In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session.  Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup.  I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them.  I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
Portrait photography provides parents with lasting images of the first whirlwind months of a newborn’s life. The cost varies based on several factors, including the length and location of the session, the number of photos provided, and the amount of editing and retouching the photographer does. The national average cost for baby photos is $150-$200. Some baby photographers charge by the number of photos provided, typically ranging from an average of $299 for 20 high-resolution edited photos, to an average of $399 for 35 photos, to $499 for all of the images taken in a single session. Props and location affect the cost, too; an elaborate studio shoot with props and professional lighting may increase the cost to $600-$700 for 20-50 photos. Adding a second location or asking the photographer to travel can add $70-$250 to the cost of the session. Photographers may also charge extra fees for providing additional photos and DVDs, scheduling weekend sessions, and shooting siblings. Expect to pay at least a $50 deposit when you book a portrait photography session.
Avoid taking photos earlier than five days after your baby’s birth, since your baby will still be adjusting to feeding times. Your newborn session will go smoother if your baby boy or girl is less fidgety and on a consistent feeding schedule. The sleepier your newborn is, the easier it will be to adjust their poses and photograph them without clothes on to capture some of those classic newborn photo ideas you’ve been looking at for inspiration.
Ahead, you'll discover a set of images that photographers strongly suggest you take. As for the specific photos that you shouldn't stress about capturing? Don't fret over detail shots, like bar signage, cocktail tables, or favors, says Jen Huang: "They're not necessarily important for the story of the day and the story of the couple. I am always up for taking beautiful detail shots, but I think couples should worry less about these." As for shots to completely avoid? Virtually all of our photographers agree that reception table-to-table shots should be skipped. "It's time consuming for the couple, disruptive to your guests and dinner service, and takes away from documenting genuine moments," adds Heather Waraksa.
5. Officially establish your business. Once you have a business name and set up your business structure, you need obtain business license or permits as required by your city or county. Although you may take photos using a digital camera, since you’ll be giving people prints, you may need to collect sales tax if you live in a state that charges sales tax. Your state’s comptroller or tax office will have the necessary forms and information on how to collect and pay sales tax. Once you have your business license, you can open a business bank account.
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!

All the photography advice in the world can’t really prepare you for the unexpected things that can go wrong. Ultimately, this is going to come down to the experiences you have when you’ve shot a heck load of weddings. However, as long as it isn’t completely and utterly devastating you should embrace the unexpected. These are the parts of the day that will particularly stand out as memories for the couple.
I am an award-winning, internationally published photographer. My photos have appeared in Dallas Modern Luxury, D Magazine, Time Out New York, La Gazetta dell Sport Rome, and Time Out London. My studio, conveniently located in central Dallas, offers a comfortable environment for creating my one-of-a-kind images using both natural and studio lighting. I also shoot on location in your home or at an attractive outdoor setting of your choice.
Do you have any advice for when the kids are dogs? It’s really hard to get one, and especially both, dogs looking at the camera at the same time for our family portraits. They are a busy breed (Australian Shepherds) and still young. I’ve been wanting to do self portraits of just me and our dogs as well, however that’s hard to get too since they won’t “sit, stay” while I focus and get back into the picture. My husband isn’t too thrilled about getting into the picture unless we’re on vacation so most of the self portraits are done on my own.
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

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.

 Whether you are a fresh new family with a newborn or have a senior graduating high school and college, we cover the whole family spectrum from beginning to end! Turning Leaf Photography loves to help you create a perfectly customized and styled portrait sessions that are unique to you, your children and your family. Please visit the services area to view beautiful magazine worthy images from previous client’s portrait sessions and to learn more about the custom services Turning Leaf Photography offers. Turning Leaf Photography is an editorial cover and article photographer for Atlanta Parent Magazine.


Picturesque Photo Video captures photos of newborns and children as well as engagement portraits, wedding photos, corporate event photos, and senior graduation photos. The Dallas photo studio also captures videos of weddings, Quinceaneras, and corporate events. The business won the 2013 WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards and the 2014 Couple’s Choice Awards. Clients have praised Picturesque Photo Video for its professional photographers and their discrete presence at events.
Here are some basic concepts that will make your choice easier. Of course, there are many styles that don’t fit into these categories, some of which are difficult to categorize and some photographers do more than one style (I do lifestyle and documentary) or a mix of them. But in general terms most of the family photographers in the market will fit (or semi-fit) into at least one of the following categories:
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]
Anamaria Brandt who is also known as Ana Brandt is a maternity photographer who specializes in capturing photographs of newborn babies and pregnant women. Her work is based in Tustin, California, USA where she has her own studio. Anamaria Brandt is a celebrity photographer as well and she is the owner of Belly Baby Love. Ana Brandt is not just a photographer as she is also an author of two books which are “The Art of Pregnancy & Newborn” and “Baby Facts”. Ana has won several awards and her work has been featured in several magazines.
Timing for the session depends on two things : location and time of year. If you're wanting to shoot in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or downtown Philly, we may need to adjust our start time because of the buildings. What do I mean by that? In the city, the sun goes behind the buildings before it goes below the horizon, so you lose the light in the city before the sun has actually set. Generally as a rule of thumb, I recommend starting engagement sessions in the warmer months around 4:00pm, and around 3:00pm in the winter.
It’s amazing post! Clear a lot of my question. I always like to do a photos but just couple month ago I found myself in babies photography. I am just learning but I really enjoy it like never before anything. And I really want to create my carer towards baby and kids photography. I am only concern that I don’t have any qualification, curses or higher degree and that can put people out from me…
The first step to answering How do I choose a family photographer is falling in love with the photographer’s images. This is absolutely the most important thing when picking out a photographer! There are a million ways to photograph the same thing – and when you’re looking at booking a family photographer, chances are there are photos that stand out to you. Personal style is everything in who you choose. If you’re just kind of in love with a few different styles, a good way to narrow down your choices is to consider where and how you’re going to display your images. Do they match your decor? Are you trendy or traditional? Do you like candid images or posed? When you choose a family photographer, if you truly love the photographer’s style then you won’t be disappointed with the images at the end. At the end of the day, photographers are artists – and art is very subjective. There is no wrong answer, there is only the wrong choice of artist. Know your style and choose someone who has images that you just love uncontrollably.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session.  I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared.  In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session.  Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup.  I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them.  I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.

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.

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.


Avoid taking photos earlier than five days after your baby’s birth, since your baby will still be adjusting to feeding times. Your newborn session will go smoother if your baby boy or girl is less fidgety and on a consistent feeding schedule. The sleepier your newborn is, the easier it will be to adjust their poses and photograph them without clothes on to capture some of those classic newborn photo ideas you’ve been looking at for inspiration.

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.
Many photographers include an engagement photo session as part of the overall package, which presents a good opportunity to see your photographer in action. It also gives them the chance to experiment with flattering angles, poses and lighting levels before the wedding day. If you haven't booked your wedding photographer yet, look at engagement photos as a chance to audition your top choice, and book them for your wedding immediately if you love them. 
I set up our family shots with my DSLR on a tripod and then I used a 10-second timer to take the photos!  I also set my camera to take three photos in a row.  So I had 10 seconds to run into place, fix my clothes and hair and smile at the camera!  All the while my kiddos yelled, “run mommy run!” Believe me, we got some genuine smiles and laughter from them watching mommy run and act like a crazy person!
Here’s an important thing to keep in mind: The memories that are brought up when you look at these photos will be complex. The images themselves will trigger memory of what your child looked like and who they were, and of your relationship together, AND it will also trigger memory of what you felt like when those images were being captured. If you were uncomfortable during the session that discomfort will forever be tied to the images.
Melissa Dieterich Photography is a Fort Worth studio focusing on newborn, children, and maternity photography. Founded in 2006, they have since crafted natural style photographs through classic poses and organic, earthy props. Their team offers in-studio and on-location photo sessions. Customers praise Melissa’s patience with newborns and her ability to put them at ease.
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:
Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:
Specializing in family, newborn, birth, and maternity photography sessions in Dallas, Jenny Leigh is an expert at combining her artistic eye with your vision to produce cherished pictures of some of the most important times of your and your family’s lives. While primarily operating in the DFW area, on-location shoots outside of Texas can be accommodated – please contact Jenny Leigh for additional information.

I have been photographing this special family as their Connecticut baby photographer for a few years now, and they feel like family to me. I’ve done big brother Cole’s newborn session, 6-month session, and 12-month session, and I recently did their 3-in-1 family, maternity, and 2-year-old photos just a few short weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to get this beautiful bundle of joy in my studio.
One of my biggest mistakes, when I was starting out, was that I brought all my props/wraps/blankets/headbands to every single session.  When I got set up, I would have a mini panic attack because I had no idea where I should start.  Now I plan 3-4 different setups (based on the client’s preferences and expectations) and that’s all.  I am often inspired by something the client owns as well, such as a blanket knitted by Grandma or something else that’s special to mom and dad, so it is not uncommon for me to not even use everything I bring.
Once you’ve taken 10-15 shots of the scene, figure out how you can change the setting without disturbing the baby. This picture below is from the same pose as the first photo in this post, but it looks very different. I unclamped the blanket the baby is laying on from the backdrop board, letting it fall behind her. Then I clamped pretty pink fabric to the backdrop board. Finally, I pull the edge of the blanket the baby is lying on up over her back to make it look like she’s tucked in bed. While I was making these changes the baby was snoozing away, staying perfectly posed. I got two very different looking sets of photos from one pose. This is a great way to maximize the baby pictures you get from your DIY photoshoot.
Whilst this isn’t one of our essential wedding photography tips it can be a useful one. Shooting with two camera bodies means you have at least two memory cards storing the photos of the day. If one card was to break you have a backup. Moreover, two camera bodies allow for speed on the day versus changing lenses on one camera body. If you have one camera set up with a 35mm lens and the other with an 85mm you can quickly get two different perspectives of the same scene.

In the second option involving the photo to canvas or photo to oil painting, the artist or company will send you a package once you have submitted payment and you will mail back the photo(s) you want included in the painting.  The artist will usually work from one photo of a family as an example or may be able to combine photographs of a few photos.  In addition, an artist may be able to use a slightly damaged photo as part of the painting. As an example, you might include a candid photo rather than trying to take it in a studio.  In addition, the photo might include a background for the painting.  With the painting, you can select the size from 8 x 10 inch to larger than 20 x 30 inch.  Just consider what a great memory this would be in your living room, or to be given as a very special gift.  You can consider a painting of a baby, a wedding, or for grandparents.  It is also possible to order a frame for the painting and is shipped fully framed and packaged safely.  Listed below is a sample that shows the framed oil painting that was done from a photo that may provide you a good idea of the quality of the painting.


Their portraits are offered in color, black and white, or sepia tones. Her website showcases several of her favorite maternity photography, newborn photography, baby photography, child photography, family photography and wedding photography. Albums are the heirlooms for your family, and your images will shape how you remember these days for generations. We believe in creating timeless, elegant images fit to grace the pages of magazines and tell the unique stories of your family. We aim to create beautiful, dramatic, personal images that capture your personalities and your day.
MOST PARENTS PHOTOGRAPHING THEIR DAUGHTER IN A SWIMMING COMPETITION WOULD BE HAPPY TO GET A SHOT LIKE THE ONE ON THE BOTTOM. BUT A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER REMOVES ALL OF THE ABERRATIONS OR CLUTTER OUT OF THE BACKGROUND. I SHOT THIS PICTURE IN A HOTEL POOL, SO I CREATED A BLACK BACKGROUND TO GET RID OF THE UNNECESSARY CLUTTER SO THAT ALL THE VIEWER'S ATTENTION WOULD BE PLACED ON THE ACTION.
Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we'll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once. 

Don't underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it? When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or are they timid? Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn't irritate you in any way. Remember: They'll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you don't want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way. To get the best photos, your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments, cajoling enough to coax relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests, and calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.
Unless you use flash you will need to learn to use natural light. It can sometimes be tricky to use but does provide the most natural looking photographs opposed to using flash. Try and avoid shooting in the midday sun if possible and also look for shaded areas outdoors. These areas can provide cover so you avoid big shadows on faces and people aren’t squinting in the images.
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.
If there are small children or babies involved make sure to get their attention. It even helps to have an assistant, tell them to bring Grandma along or a friend to help out. But what always happens is you get the kids all looking and smiling, and what are the parents doing? Looking at the kids!  Oops again! I always tell the parents, “no matter what keep looking at me as I make a total fool of myself, do NOT look at your child”.
Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:

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.
Network with everyone. You should take every opportunity to network.[15] If you are working towards a specific specialization, such as wedding photography, network with everyone in your town who has an association with weddings. Talk to and give your card to wedding planners, cake bakers, caterers, other photographers (they may have a conflict and be asked for a referral), wedding dress shop employees, etc.
Hi Linda! Perfect, so glad you love the article I hope you signed up for our mailing list to get your newborn toolkit and other freebies to help get you going quickly and lastly, you are among the first to know that we are working on finishing up our complete Newborn Photography Workshop Course which will be out at the end of the year…it will be an amazing product though which we are so excited for!
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"
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).

Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your camera manual.


There are a lot of different ways a photographer can set up their business. They may charge a sitting fee (or a session fee), which includes the photographer’s time and talent, but no files or products. Or, they may offer the session and all the digital files for one, all-inclusive price. Some even offer several packages with different combinations of products and/or files. One is not better than another, you just have to make sure you’re happy with what they’re offering, and have a clear understanding of what to expect.
I try and avoid having to add light or dodge in LR when possible. If I'm doing many shots of a group as you mentioned you can't always copy and paste the settings from one to all of them as the heads aren't in exactly the same spots. So you end up having to dodge on every single image and causing yourself a lot more work in post production. That's why if my faces are dark I add a flash (bounced into an umbrella or bounced off a big reflector) off to one side to add light into their eyes. Of the images in the article, NONE of the faces have been dodged.
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.
A good list Zakk. I am now retired from wedding photography. I started off in the film era and then transitioned to digital.I worked out a shot list early and kept it on 4 cards in my top pocket until it became memorised and I knew what I was doing. Here is a link to my blog where I wrote about my shotlist. In preparation I also found a shoot timetable ,worked out with my couple ,was essential to things running smoothly, Someone once said if you fail to plan you plan to fail. https://geoffthompsonsblog.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/wedding-photography-s... keep up the good work.

1.  Lots of photos!  First of all, you probably want to be able to see lots of photos from a variety of sessions.  It should be safe to assume you’ll be happy with their photos if you can look at their blog and find 5 family photo sessions that you love.  If they just have a gallery on their website with 15 or 20 family photos, those are probably the very best family photos they’ve ever taken.  Maybe all of their photos are that good, but maybe they aren’t actually producing that quality of work consistently.  If they don’t have a lot of work on their blog, you may want to ask to see a sample of a whole session.  I put almost every session up on my blog as long as I have the client’s permission.  Part of why I do this is for visibility and advertising, but another reason is that I want happy clients!  I want you to see not only my very best work, but ALL of my work so that the photos I give you will meet (or hopefully exceed!) the expectations that you have for me.  I think it’s important for you to be able to see how I shoot on sunny days as well as cloudy days and how I pose a wide variety of families.
One of the challenges of weddings is that there are often people going everywhere – including the backgrounds of your shots. Particularly with the formal shots scope out the area where they’ll be taken ahead of time looking for good backgrounds. Ideally you’ll be wanting uncluttered areas and shaded spots out of direct sunlight where there’s unlikely to be a wandering great aunt wander into the back of the shot. Read more on getting backgrounds right.
So whilst we aren’t advocates for fixing in post, the RAW format just generally gives greater flexibility in post-production. You get a lot more control over things like white balance, exposure and shadow recovery than you would with a jpeg file. This is particularly helpful with weddings as the lighting is unchangeable (unless you use flash). The ability to manipulate these features after the fact is a great help to most wedding photographers.
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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