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.
Professional photography is an excellent career choice for anyone who wants to get paid for using their creative talents. It's one of the few fields where age and college degrees aren't as important as a good eye, a quality product, and self-discipline. Photography is a competitive field, so be prepared to start small. Then perfect your craft and build a portfolio of your best work.
Before joining the team at A Practical Wedding, Maddie was a sought after wedding photographer and an entertainment industry dropout with stints at the Academy Award-winning independent film house Focus Features, The Montel Williams Show, and Rosie O’Donnell’s documentary production company. She’s been with the APW team going on eight years, and now spends a significant amount of time thinking about internet trends and the future of feminist television. A Maine native, she lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband and their toddler.
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.
For this type of pose I usually move my couch cushions out of the way and put the baby all the way down on the floor. Then I stand on a chair near him and photograph him from directly above (see the first photo below). But if the baby really wants to turn her head to the side it’s worth hopping off the chair and lying down right next to her to get a few photos that show her face better (second photo below).
Instant viewing of your photo session is made available with a custom online slide show posted to the Bella Baby website (protected with a unique password), thus enabling distant friends and family members the opportunity to share the experience. Online viewing and ordering is offered for two weeks to anyone you choose to share your password; immediate in-hospital purchasing is also available.
Great shots. What I've been struggling with recently is the balance between only release your best shots and how many I should deliver as proofs to a client ( along with what the concept of a proof is ). Whilst each of the examples above is a single shot I betting there were many more to choose from as an output from each session. Many of my portrait shoots are around 45 mins to a bit over an hour and in that time I will take a range of head, mid body and full length shots along with various groups. My last session took a bit over one hour with a family of 5 and resulted in around 200 pics ( a good number of which were burst mode of kids jumping off Walls ). I selected a fair range of around 60-70 pics and did some basic proof edit cropping and light balancing, the standard stuff and delivered a disc to the client. As I am starting out my model is to deliver a disc to the client rather than sell prints I don't have that bandwidth just yet and I price accordingly with that in mind. I've had some interesting conversations since that made me think I should have delivered fewer pics ( maybe 1 or 2 of each pose ) which would have meant a delivery set of about 30 pics. So what is the right balance ?
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!
If the baby has older siblings, I try to make the sibling shots my very first priority and then let them go play while we finish the session.  Toddlers simply don’t have the attention span to sit quietly and wait for you to call on them for their picture so get their poses done first while they are curious and excited about your visit.  By the time the session is over, they are usually open to participating again and that is when I try to get some lifestyle sibling shots.  If they don’t want to participate, I’ve found promises of ice cream & candy have magical powers! (as long as that’s ok with Mom & Dad).
Organizations such as the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP), Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC), Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP),Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) and Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA) support the art and business of wedding photography. WPJA awards an annual Photographer of the Year Award to recognize the best in wedding photojournalism.

“Hiring Maddie was without a doubt the best decision we made for our wedding! Maddie is so much more than a photographer - she found us an amazing trail to hike for our photos, helped create a realistic day-of timeline, and even patiently taught me how to drive on rough 4WD roads on the way to the trailhead. Maddie goes above and beyond what you would expect from a wedding/elopement photographer. She provides so much detailed information that wouldn't have even crossed my mind in the planning process. What kind of dress do you wear for an adventure elopement? What do you pack? How do you do your hair and makeup while hiking? She's seriously got it all covered in the files she sends you. So not only is Maddie amazingly detail oriented, she's also super easy to get along with. My husband and I are both shy, introverted, and a little awkward in front of a camera. We were instantly comfortable with Maddie; she gave us such a great pep talk right at the beginning that almost made us forget there was even a camera. We had such an amazing time hiking and exploring with Maddie on our wedding day. Even if you're not exactly sure what you want to do for your intimate wedding/adventure elopement, just talk to Maddie. She's got such a wealth of experience and seemingly endless great ideas; you really can't go wrong. After just one conversation with Maddie you can see just how passionate she is about her work. Just five stars doesn't do Maddie justice; she's an incredible photographer and person.”


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!

The season is upon us!  Holiday cards (or Christmas cards), family photos, falling leaves, Thanksgiving and before you know it, Christmas!  Yikes!  So before this time of year gets too crazy, it is important to plan if you want to take your own family photos!  You can take family photos any time of year!  In fact, I love a good spring family photo session, but my favorite time of year is the fall and so I love to take our photos then!
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!
Imagine there is a line drawn from each face to the next. Try and position them so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another. Make diagonal lines not totem poles. Use props to seat some people or bring some small folding stools. Have some people sit down, or stand up on something. Use what is naturally in the environment to pose them, or if you have nothing available just arrange them so the heights are staggered.
Winter engagement photos are the perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit—after all, you have a lot to celebrate! To pull off a festive photo shoot, consider metallic embellishments when choosing what to wear. Monochromatic embellished pieces (like the gold sequin top above) will give your engagement photos just enough sparkle without becoming distracting. Have your fiancé wear a dress shirt in a crisp solid color to complement your glittery outfit.
I volunteered my time at an event called Help Portrait last year that has photographers, make up artists and organizers giving their time to create portraits for people that otherwise couldn’t afford a professional one. They ended up sending most of the families to me, initially because I had the biggest area to do the group photo and later because the other photographers said I was the best with the kids.  To see some of my photos from that event go to Help Portrait, Edmonton  2012. 

Once you have your first look and bride and groom portrait session, the rest of the family can join in on the fun.  During this time, the rest of the wedding party will come in to take formal wedding photos with the bride and the groom.  Make sure that everyone in the wedding party and immediate family is there on time so that no time is not wasted scrambling to get everyone together. Groomsmen should have their buttoners pinned and Bridesmaids should have their bouquets in hand. If there are children in the wedding party, they should be ready as well.
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:
These sites also have great finds for the rest of the family, even for your home. I find a lot of my jeans there, as well as fun shoes, accessories and sweaters. Some of the brands I’ve picked up for myself there are 7 For All Mankind jeans, Hudson jeans, Paige Denim, Current & Elliot jeans (yes, I love my denim), Free People, some vintage finds when they have a Vintage Bazaar boutique (great for props), etc.
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