Chrystal Cienfuegos, owner of Chrystal Cienfuegos Photography, offers a natural & organic style of newborn & portrait photography in Southern California. She is passionate about telling love stories through elegant and timeless imagery that is inspired by the unique beauty of each client. She's a San Diego native and mother of two fun little ladies. Among her favorite things are Chargers football, swimming, impromptu family dance parties, wine (of course), and evening walks with her neighbors.
I know it's easier said than done, but please don't worry about being "bad" in front of the camera! I've been photographing weddings and engagements since 2001, and have documented hundreds of couples. I can honestly tell you that not a single one of those couples, no matter how much they swore up and down that they would be, were "terrible" in their pictures! Awkward, sure. Uncomfortable, yes. But getting you to feel less awkward and uncomfortable is my job, and I promise that I'm good at it. I promise to do everything in my power to make you feel at-ease and comfortable during your engagement session.
Young or old, everyone loves little gifts. Stop by the Dollar Store before your next shoot and pick up some bubbles, a baseball, stickers or a tiny stuffed animal. If it’s autumn, stop by a farm market and a grab a small pumpkin. Summer? Grab a bunch of wildflowers. These tiny gestures will take some pressure off the parents, gain you points with the kids, and have the added benefit of making the pictures more fun and interesting. It’s a win – win.
Two years, ago, I did one of these sessions for a delightful young couple in Florida at the beach. It was a lot of fun! I was clad in Bermuda shorts, flip-flops, shades, and sunscreen, no less, as I attempted to immerse myself into the celebratory nature of the event. That would my personal advice to beginning photographers doing these sessions. Have fun doing it! Smile, laugh, enjoy yourself, too, and do throw in an occasional compliment on how great your clients look and are doing throughout the session. It would go a long way in making your clients comfortable and pleased with the session. :-)
Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.

Hello there. Did that $200 fee cover just the photo cd or both the photographers time and the cd? Just seems to be such a reasonable price! My fiancée and I are returning to the Big Island in February and have decided to tie the knot while we are there (just us, a minister and a photographer). We love the Hilton at Waikiloa; it's gorgeous albeit a bit windy. Also wondering if you happen to recall the name of the photographer?

Carrie Smith's two young boys inspired her love of photography, leading to the creation of Carrie Smith Photography. The Dallas photo studio specializes in newborn photography and also provides in-studio or on-site maternity portraits, hospital photos, children's portraits, and family portraits. Clients have praised Carrie Smith for her memorable photos that capture the subject's spirit and her warm, patient personality.
While you may be tempted to wear all white for your engagement photos (you're going to be the bride after all!), bright colors really pop on camera. Plus, bolder colors will give your photos an instant celebratory feel, and are perfectly appropriate in a casual summer setting. To make bright colors work, pick ones that play off each other without being too matchy-matchy, like yellow and blue. If you're sporting prints ( say, polka dots and argyle), make sure they're big enough to show up on camera, but not too big—you don't want to get lost in an oversize print.
Perhaps now you’re wondering why I even bother posing newborns at all if I want them to look natural. A couple of reasons: 1) Newborns have very little control over their limbs, so they tend to flail about. Left to their own devices, their arms and hands can look very contorted. 2) Most newborns burrow their heads into whatever is nearest them, meaning they will generally hide their faces in any blanket or pillow you lay them down on. 3) Newborn’s legs are long and skinny, and they just don’t look good in photographs when they are sticking straight out. Tucking their legs up underneath them makes for a much tidier looker photo.
Standing at the front during the Ceremony can be a great place to capture intimate images of the couple exchanging vows, rings, kisses etc. Keep your movements to a minimum so you don’t attract more attention than the couple getting married. This angle gives you a unique perspective on the Ceremony. At the same time, it allows you to capture the emotional reactions of the wedding guests.
Great tips! I tend to be the photographer for a family of 10 siblings, with 33 children collectively, and, so far, 16 grandchildren. It can be real challenging to get that many folks' heads even visible from the shooter's point of view. Most of all, it takes practice, practice, practice on the part of the subjects.... and a great sense of humor. That many people are not going to look into the sun, or wait very long to have their photo taken. My best advice is to be prepared and have your equipment set so that expediency will promote spontaneity and candor. That way everyone naturally looks genuinely happy and NOT anxious to "get this over with".
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Don't base your decision solely on what you see in a photographer's highlights gallery or album. For good reason, photographers show prospective clients a portfolio of their best pictures, all from different weddings, so you're seeing the best of the best. The problem with that is you won't get a well-rounded idea of their work. Ask to see two or three full galleries from real weddings they've shot (not someone else at their company) so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding. If you see that the full gallery photos are just about as good as the ones chosen in the highlight gallery (that is, they're all so good it's impossible to choose!), you're on the right track. And ask to see at least one or two complete albums of weddings that are in similar settings to yours. For example, if you're planning an indoor affair with dark lighting, don't just look at weddings shot outdoors in natural sunlight. And if you're planning to say "I do" on a beach at sunset, you'll want to see examples of that.
“I believe in people’s individuality and connection. Everyone loves differently and everyone’s story deserves to be told. I try to tell the story I’m presented, not faking things, but instead seeing the beauty in everyone and shooting my story that way.” he later goes on to say “I started shooting weddings because I thought wedding photography was awful, I wanted to see if I could do it differently. And that was always my compass. When the word of “my style” spread it more and more became the norm, but the world is a big place and cultures are different. I always adapt, but I stay true to what I believe in.”

Lori Wilson Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas that specializes in wedding, travel, puppy, portrait, newborn, child, expecting, family, and engagement/couple photography. Since she was a little girl, Lori has been in love with taking photos. Her mission is to capture beautiful, real moments that make people identify with the subject. Lori Wilson studied photography under the best photographers, including her mom.
Get close: You probably don't need to be persuaded to get close to your partner, but do plan to get a few affectionate close-up pictures: hug, hold hands, sling your arm around their shoulders. You're in love, show it off! Besides, if you're planning to submit a photo to a newspaper with your announcement, many publications specifically request close-up couple shots. The New York Times, for instance, asks that couples position themselves with their heads close together and (no joke), their eyebrows on exactly the same level.
hand your camera off to your husband or friend and have them help take some photos of you.  having someone help you can be wonderful when taking more close up, detailed photos of your baby bump.  be sure to tell them exactly what you want, if they don’t have an eye for photography.  but also, let them take the photos they would like, as well.  sometimes their ideas can be really great!
2. Backdrop board. I have a couple DIY backdrop boards that I made for about $10 each (full instructions in this post). I stand one up against the backs of two of my kitchen chairs. The backdrop boards can be used alone for a solid colored background, or can be used to drape blankets from for more background options. The background should be angled so it faces the right or left side of the window, not the middle of it, as you can see in the photo above. This will allow the baby’s head to be a little closer to the window than her feet, allowing the light to hit her forehead first, causing gentle shadows just under her nose and chin. If you don’t have a backdrop board, stand two kitchen chairs backwards here anyway so you can drape a blanket from them. If you use a backdrop board it must be secured with clamps to the chairs it stands in front of to assure it will not fall over.
Newborn photography is our first love and passion. We love nothing more than to create timeless photos of what love has created. The newborn stage is such a precious and fleeting time in yours and your little one’s lives and to be a part of it is truly a privilege. Tiny details only stay tiny for a little while. That is why newborn photography requires a special kind of heart, one that can appreciate how special these moments are and understand the importance of treasuring them down to the last dimple.
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.
If you have followed our tips from the start you will of discussed any group shots with the couple before the wedding. A good idea is to get these into a list on paper. Having a print out means you can have one copy and the person you have tasked with rounding people up can have a copy. This way you can simply tick them off as you make your way through the list.
Give your pictures a life off the computer. "It's easy to laugh at your mother's box of 35mm photos in the closet, but that's what many people's computers are -- just a metal box full of photos like Mom's," says Walsh. Start by printing and framing any special images. You can do it yourself on your home printer using quality photo paper, or order prints for as little as 9 cents each from an online service.
While the quality can vary from location to location, CVS is perhaps the most consistent. Printing at the chain’s Kodak kiosks is quick for consumers who just can’t wait a few days for an online order. Ordering is also fairly simple, though photo printing kiosks aren’t without glitches. Photo quality won’t match up to professional printers, but CVS appears to have the fewest complaints for inaccurate colors and fuzzy images. Expect to pay 33 cents for one print — you can get better results for a slightly lower price at our picks for the best professional photo labs, below, if you’re willing to wait (and pay to ship). Note: You can also send prints to CVS from your smartphone via the CVS or Snapfish apps.
Once you know that you are pregnant, you feel that you are the happiest person in the whole world and that your life is going to be completely changed. You are going to welcome a new member in your family which makes you start thinking of the future and you wish you can record these happy moments that you live to immortalize them and to easily remember them whenever you want. The only way to immortalize these happy moments and protect them from being forgotten over time is to photograph them. Maternity portraits are captured during pregnancy to allow you to enjoy these happy moments before the arrival of your baby. You can ask your husband or even one of your friends to photograph you and if you feel that the photos are not impressive enough to be kept for the future, then you can choose a maternity photographer to professionally photograph you and make you look gorgeous. To make it easy for you to choose a good maternity photographer, we bring to you the following top 10 maternity photographers in the world and choosing them is based on their creativity and experience.
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Long after the wedding cake is eaten, your wedding photo albums and wedding video will be the way you revisit some of the best moments of your wedding day. Seems like a pretty significant set of vendors, right? The wedding photo album and wedding video can become keepsakes to be passed down to kids (and grandkids!), so here’s how to find the perfect wedding photographer and videographer to capture your big day, as well as wedding photo ideas make sure you end up with a well-rounded wedding photo album. First, consider having engagement photos taken. Not only is this a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera, a lot of couples use their engagement photos in other wedding details (in wedding photo books or the save-the-dates, for example), and engagement photo sessions have recently become super creative shoots. Check out our Engagement Photo Blog to get wedding photo ideas and inspiration. Be sure to read our tips for finding a great wedding photographer so you end up with a pro who has the same wedding photo ideas you do. And don’t forget about the wedding video -- the options for wedding videos are practically limitless, from photojournalistic shots of the ceremony and reception to cinematic masterpieces complete with Hollywood-style editing and effects. Our local vendor guides can help you find a wedding photographer and videographer who will help you perfectly capture your wedding memories for posterity and create wedding photo books for you and your parents. From "must-take" shots to the hottest wedding photography trends, we have all the tips and advice you need to get perfect wedding photos.
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”.  The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands.  The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing.  Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
Sierra Blanco Photography specializes in Artistic Wedding Photojournalism with and edgy modern feel. We not only photograph weddings in Phoenix but in Scottsdale, Sedona, and other locations in Arizona. We have also photographed weddings at destinations thought the world. As photographers, we believe that your wedding marks one of biggest milestones in your life. Whether you have a small intimate gathering, traditional cultural wedding, or a destination wedding, your photography should reflect the joy and spirit of the occasion, as well as those special moments among friends and family. It is these special moments that drive our commitment to creating progressive wedding and portrait photographs that will immortalize this important event.
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Love, family, autumn and people concept - smiling couple with engagement ring in small red gift box outdoorsFamily with baby. On winter bridgeHappy family on the beach, silhouette of couple at sunset, man and woman. Happy family on the beach, silhouette of couple at sunset, men and women relationshipsLove, relationships, engagement and wedding concept - man proposes a woman to marry, red box ring, happy young romantic couple. Love, relationships, engagementSelective focus of an engagement ring. Symbol of love. Selective focus of an engagement ring being on a female handEngagement couple. Engagement Photos, rings visible on the hands in the nature. focused rings. blurred background. love storyYoung man makes a marriage proposal to his girlfriend and surprises her with a beautiful engagement ring. CloseupValentines day with woman and bearded man. Date of family couple in romantic relations, love. Couple in love at the. Valentines day with women and bearded manHappy Family. 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Enthusiastic family members sitting at a dinner table and clapping their hands at the person making a toastWedding couple hands with engagement rings over lake background. Italy, Venice. Family with sled. In the parkThe man gives the girl an engagement ring, couple in christmas lights and decoration, dressed in white, fir tree on dark wooden ba. The men gives the girl anFamily. winter. Family lies. winterBeing sad wife looks at the ring in the palm in front of him, nostalgic about a former husband, family, marriage. The concept of a. Being sad wife looks at theHappy couple choosing engagement ring in mall. Sale, consumerism, shopping and people concept - happy couple choosing engagement ring at jewelry store in mallEngagement. A metahpher for an engagement or weddingMatching Wedding and Engagement white gold Rings. Isolated on white backgroundHappy couple in love on a summer holiday vacation.Celebrating holiday,anniversary,engagement. Woman laughing at a joke. Making women laugh.Humor in relationshipYoung man making marriage proposal, engagement ring, lady reject. Young men proposing to girlfriend, asking to marry, engagement ring box, indoor. Unhappy ladyYoung man holding engagement ring, making marriage proposal to g. Young guy holding box with engagement ring, making marriage proposal to girlfriend, requestingLooking at vintage printed family photos. Young engaged or married female person sitting at white desk holds photograph and chooses pictures for family photoLove, relationships, engagement and wedding concept - man proposes a woman to marry, red box ring, happy young romantic couple. Love, relationships, engagementFamily raising glasses in a toast. Elegant dinner of a multigenerational family, with its members raising glasses in a toastMother of the bride blesses the bride for a happy family life. Bride on wedding day holding her mother`s hands. Mother of the bride blesses the bride for aElegant dinner of a multigenerational family. With a grandmother raising her glass in a toastFamily of three. winter. sun. Family with baby. winter. sunWoman engagement. Happy young women with fiance showing her engagement ring to her motherFamily of three . winter. TreesCouple engagement. Couple in love having engagement dinner at the restaurantWinter family on sled. The winter family on sledConceptual hand writing showing Engagement. Business photo showcasing Formal agreement to get married arrangement for doing someth. IngHappy Family Sitting on Grass. A happy family are sitting and smiling on the grass near several treesSad girlfriend looking her engagement ring. Sad girlfriend crying while is looking her engagement ringJewels of family. Rings with precious stones in acollection of family jewelsEngagement Ring Couple. Close up of a young couples hands and diamond engagement ring with platinum and gold accents. Shallow depth of fieldMan with engagement ring making proposal to woman. Love, anniversary, surprise, people and holidays concept - happy men with engagement ring making proposal toHappy couple in love on a summer holiday vacation.Celebrating holiday,anniversary,engagement. Woman laughing at a joke. Making women laugh.Humor in relationshipClose up of woman and man with engagement ring. Proposal, holidays, jewelry and people concept - close up of happy women and men with engagement ring in gift boxWedding photography. Happy family. Groom and bride in white dress on background of the arch. Wedding ceremony. Happy familyProposal concept - Portrait of man showing an engagement ring diamond to his beutiful girlfriend over isolated white. Proposal concept - Portrait of men showingLove, relationship, engagement and people concept - happy couple. Love, relationship, engagement and people concept - happy kissing couple in love outdoors inCouple showing his engagement ring to a friend. In a coffee shopDivorce, separation: man removing wedding or engagement ring. 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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.
If you’re scared to get in peoples faces with your camera then you’ll be missing out on some great shots. At the same time, you need to be self-aware and not too obtrusive. Again it’s all about the situation. Don’t be up in the couples grill in the Ceremony, you’ll probably get kicked out by the Officiant. But on the dance floor or during the formals it’s much more appropriate to have a little more swagger and to be more noticeable.
This one is a bit harder to understand from a client’s perspective. Understanding the question of “How do I choose a family photographer” means also understanding the difference in the services they offer. The photography industry does not have one set way to do things when it comes to charging for things and it can vary wildly from photographer to photographer. When I was starting my business, even I had a hard time understanding the pricing structure of photography packages (which is why I opted to keep it simple and just treat my clients the way I would expect to be treated). Some photographers charge a sitting fee, require you buy a certain number of prints, then charge a premium for digital downloads. Sometimes editing is not included in the price. Some photographers don’t offer products at all and only deliver digital downloads. There are fees for travel outside of specific areas, outfit changes, multiple locations, weekend shoots and there are usually ALWAYS fees for larger families. Understanding what EXACTLY is included in the fee listed on their website is extremely important to understanding what you are choosing. If digital downloads are important to you, make sure you ask your prospective family photographer if that is part of what you’re paying for. If you are ever unsure about what to expect, always ask – and get the answer in writing so you can refer back to it during the process.
Digital cameras are very good at coming to a neutral exposure, but the truth is that the neutral exposure is not always the best exposure.  For example, suppose you are taking a picture of a person on a bright sunny day.  The camera will likely make the face of the person dark and the background too bright.  The “neutral” exposure is mid-way between exposing for the face and the background.
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 sent her an email the day after my son was born and she got back with me right away. She sent me a list of available dates and times within that first week, making it easy and convenient for mom and baby to pick a time that worked best for us. Laura was also really patient during the shoot and wasn't bothered by the fact that my son was a light sleeper."
That’s why we compiled 100 newborn photo ideas to help inspire your upcoming photo shoot. There are endless ideas for newborns including fun costumes, poses with their big brother or sister and options for parents who want to keep it simple. When your baby is done being the star of their own photo shoot, use these pictures to decorate your baby’s room with custom nursery decor.
Bring it outside: There's no need to spend a day cooped up in a photographer's studio if you don't want to. Visit a nearby arboretum or botanical garden, or hit your favorite downtown landmark. Your photographer may be able to suggest local sites that make great backdrops for pictures too. Talk about locations you like when you make your appointment.
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.

Natalie Roberson Photography is built of a husband and wife team based in Frisco. The photography studio, founded in 2008, photographs newborns, engagements, weddings, child portraits, corporate headshots, family portraits, maternity photos, and hospital photos. The studio's photobooth service lets guests take silly photos at special events. The business offers digital photos, color prints on luster paper, metal stand-outs, canvas gallery wraps, albums, mini accordion books, announcements, and custom flash drive cases.


Safety should always come first when it comes to newborn and baby photography. The list can get quite extensive for tips on newborn safety, but in general, use your common sense. Never bring in any hard or sharp objects as props. Never place your newborn on high or unsteady surfaces without a spotter. And realize that some of your favorite photos of newborns are actually composites. Below is an example.

A new baby is on the way! To document your the tiny bundle of joy’s life from the very beginning, many expecting mothers will choose to do a maternity photography session. Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, maternity photography is a great way to capture this special time in life. Not only is it a chance to take snapshots of the glowing mother-to-be, it can also be an opportunity for couples or family photography.


Unlike the work of your other wedding vendors (music, flower arrangements, cake), photographs aren't things you can hear, smell, taste or even see at first—you don't really know what you're getting until after the fact. That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic style and personal demeanor are extra important when choosing your photographer.

I know that many readers feel that they don’t have the time for shooting in RAW (due to extra processing) but a wedding is one time that it can be particularly useful as it gives so much more flexibility to manipulate shots after taking them. Weddings can present photographers with tricky lighting which result in the need to manipulate exposure and white balance after the fact – RAW will help with this considerably.
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.
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.
Patterns can add visual interest and texture as well as a good dose of personality. Just make sure that either just one person is in a pattern with the rest of the subjects in simple, more solid color pieces or the patterns are subtle and complementary (for instance, a teeny tiny polka dot tie on a little boy next to his sisters bold color blocked pattern can look very complementary).
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