It’s just that I didn’t want to do the typical maternity image that every mother who’s every had her belly photographed has in one of her 9 baby albums (9 for the first child that is… 1 for the second…a few images in an envelope somewhere for the third… and oh, that poor fourth child, he has to borrow pictures from his brother when he’s highlighted on the bulletin board in Kindergarten). I marched right into that first session ready to stand by my commitment to creativity! I’d no sooner pulled out my camera than mom, all giddy with excitement, said “Woo! Can we do that shot with Daddy’s arms around me and our hands forming a heart over my belly button?!?” I stood by that pledge of mine for a full… well, 2.4 seconds. Of course I did the shot. But guess what? I did a lot of other stuff that she’d never have dreamed of. Guess which image DID NOT get purchased. Belly button heart.
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.
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.
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:
Start your location search by asking your clients of their favorite spots or favorite parks. If they do not have any preferences location-wise, take the liberty of suggesting good locations for them and have some example photos to show the advantage of the places you want to take them. If you do not have many places to showcase, broaden your horizon by doing some research on your own. Check out local parks, open spaces, downtown, museums, cool book stores, coffee shops and more. You can also look at photos of other photographers in your area. If a certain location strikes your fancy, contact the photographer with a compliment to their work and ask about the location where they conducted the photo shoot. If you ask nicely, you will most likely get a response.

Start your search by reading reviews from recent newlyweds and browsing local listings, like the ones on The Knot Marketplace. Carefully review potential photographers' websites and blogs to check out photos of other weddings they've shot, which will give you an idea of their style. How do they capture the moments important to you, like a mother bustling her daughter's gown or an emotional first look? The design of the website may also have clues about the photographer's personality and sensibility. Check out their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages too, if possible. Is the feedback from clients positive? How does the photographer respond? How do they interact with their Instagram followers, do they seem friendly and personable? You get the idea. 
Before you call a single photographer, have a discussion with your partner about what kinds of engagement photos you'd like—posed or candid, formal or casual. Again, let your decisions be guided by how you plan to use the pics: Will they be hanging on grandma's wall, reproduced in black-and-white newsprint or shrunk down to the size of a quarter for personalized favor stickers? Advance planning will help you make the most of your pictures. Some photo-friendly options to consider for your engagement shoot:
Wonderful tutorial! I just did some self portraits of my own bump yesterday and I had a blast. I’m actually just a couple of days behind Sarah! She is so incredibly gorgeous, as are YOU! Thanks for all the great info and tips. I can’t wait to do my next maternity shoot so that I can use some of what I just learned 🙂 My cousin’s wife is due in July, so I’ll be doing her photos in a couple of months. Seems like so many women are pregnant right now! Lol
This is more of a personal choice, but I tend to choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style. Whatever your style is, make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now (or months in the case of some quickly passing trends). I personally love to use softer or neutral tones (with a color pop here and there) and classic shapes, then add interest with accessories, layers and lots of interesting textures. I also happen to love bright and colorful as long as it’s not obnoxious or distracting from the subject’s personality and face. Of course, this is a personal choice and many families will choose to go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choices as a sort of time stamp in their images.
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