I’ve been a professional photographer for 15 years and if I’ve learned anything about the business in that time it is that as a client you have to be a thoughtful consumer. People don’t always realize how unregulated the industry is. There are a LOT of ways that photographers differ from each other. The advice I always give when you’re looking to hire a photographer is this:
At the end of the day, it all comes down to storytelling. Sure, according to Wikipedia or any online photography forum, there is a right and a wrong way to take a photo. But when it comes to wedding photography, what you’re really looking for is a storytelling technique that matches your idea of how your wedding will be. For example, I was recently photographing a wedding with my assistant and I took a photo of the couple dancing that I really loved. She laughed and shrugged and said to me, “You are such a romantic.” I was kind of surprised, but then I realized that I had specifically chosen to tell a story in a way that made the moment very romantic. This story, for example:

As I said before, this is simply a template for shooting a wedding day. Obviously, different cultures and situations are going to call for different shots. The best thing you can do in any situation is talk to your clients before and get an exact list of what they want. Anything after that is lagniappe. An even better form of communication would be an official schedule of what's happening. This protects you in the end if there is any misunderstandings. I have created a downloadable file for the checklist. Feel free to change this up to fit your needs. I've included PDF, Excel, and Numbers formats.


Brittney Davis Photography is a photography studio in Dallas, Texas, serving the entire City of Dallas and the surrounding metroplex area. Brittney Davis is a natural light photographer who specializes in child, family, and lifestyle newborn portraiture. Brittney Davis Photography takes photographs of the newborn in the comfort of their own home, capturing their first moments in a meaningful way.
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
If you have a location in mind, I'd love to hear about it! Many clients know precisely where they'd like to shoot, because they have a location that is important to them. Maybe it's your parents' backyard, maybe it's your childhood neighborhood, maybe it's the street that you live on now, and maybe it's the park you went to for your first date. Choosing a location that's meaningful to you will give your engagement pictures even more impact.
Once you have the basics set up, you can drape a solid colored blanket over it all. Use clamps to attach the blanket to the backdrop boards and make sure the clamps also attach the board to the chairs so it will not fall over (if you don’t have a backdrop board just attach the blanket to the tops of the chairs). Let it drape down the board until it is level with the pillows, then lay it over the pillows. You want to minimize wrinkles as much as possible, because they will be very distracting in the final picture, so use more clamps on the sides if you need to. Additionally, you might want to clamp the background board to the chairs it’s resting against to be sure it won’t fall during the photoshoot. It should look like this:
Once you have the baby posed, step back and look at the whole picture for a few minutes, checking for details that need fixing. If her hand is visible, make sure you can see all her fingers are visible – sometimes one or two get tucked into a fist and then if the photo it looks like the baby only has three fingers. Also, be sure baby’s eyes are closed completely – in the second photo above the baby’s eyes are not quite closed. A simple stroke down the bridge of her nose will cause her to close her eyes all the way. Make sure the headband is positioned how you’d like, and the background blanket is free of wrinkles, etc. Above all, make sure the baby looks comfortable and peaceful – if not, try again.
You are taking family pictures, do, friendliness can be a big deal. The best family photographers know how to cheer up that crabby child, get everyone’s eyes to the camera, and hopefully a smile from all, at the same time, too.  So, if your photographer is not used to taking pictures of little kids, grandparents, or groups, be wary.  If they are introverted, unprofessional, lazy, tired, or not fully invested in your family photography session, chances are they won’t capture your beautiful family perfectly.

Weddings are in the air during this sunny season, but it's also an ideal time to shoot your engagement photos, especially if you want a beachy backdrop or cloudless, rustic setting. If you're opting for the great outdoors, flat shoes, breathable fabrics and shorter hemlines are a must. Whether you like to sport vibrant prints or breezy nautical looks, summer engagement photos are the perfect chance to show off your casual-chic style.


Some family photographers will meet with you in person before your session to brainstorm about creative ideas, locations, clothing, etc. If you can meet with your photographer ahead of time, then you’ll have a head start on your session date, and you and your photographer can make the most of your session time together. You may also be more comfortable being photographed having already met him or her previously. Try not to book your photographer at the last minute so there’s time for a planning/design meeting!
Thank you!! I am not yet enrolled in photography classes, but at 32 if I hear one more person say “so why aren’t you a photographer?” I will cry. I love photography, just got my first SLR which I completely don’t understand yet, (aperture what??!?) but I will be learning. And since I am 7 months pregnant I was looking for some good tips in taking my own newborn photos, I appreciate you writing this! Very good info and depending how it goes, I may be pursuing a new career!
Gear can be an expensive investment if you are just starting out in wedding photography. We’d always recommend taking some form of a backup camera body to a wedding just in case. If you can’t afford a second body consider a less expensive model of camera. Or rent one. It might seem like you are taking money off your profits but this could quite literally save you if your main body were to fail on a wedding day.
Krista is natural light portrait, senior, and wedding photographer in Northwest Arkansas. A lover of golden fields, buttery backlight, and authentic emotion, she strives to transform the mundane into the magical by showcasing amazing light and interaction in her photography. She is a devoted wife and mother of a spirited daughter, who also serves as her muse. Krista loves spicy Mexican food, reality TV, the ocean, and connecting with nature. She is the author of Transforming the Mundane Into Magical.
This is not a decision that can be made on looks alone—you must meet your potential photographers in person. If you like what you see on their site—and their fees are in your ballpark range—call to see if they're available for your wedding date. If available, go ahead and send an introductory email with a bit about you and your soon-to-be spouse, you event and the vision for your day, and feel free to attach five or so of your very favorite photos from your research so they know what you love. If the photographer is already booked on your date, you may want to see if they have an associate or can recommend another shooter with a similar style. Set up in-person meetings with three to five potential photographers who are available on your wedding date to look at more of their work and assess whether your personalities mesh. Be prepared to talk about your venue, wedding style and what you envision for your photos.
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
While you can always DIY family portraits with your point and shoot camera and a tripod and timer for no cost at all, it will likely not look so great, considering you are not a professional photographer, aren’t using a great camera and don’t know how to set up the shoot for optimal lighting and composition.  Your camera will be limited in its size and quality abilities.
All sitting fees are non-refundable and due at the time the appointment is scheduled. Sitting fees do not include the cost of digital images, albums or prints. Prints and additional products are sold A La Carte at the Ordering Session. Sitting fees do not include any additional costs associated with venues/locations/parking/permits; additional fees may be required. Clients are responsible for the venue/location/parking/permit costs. Locations beyond a 30 mile radius from our studio will be charged an extra Destination Fee. Our payment methods include: cash, check, visa and Mastercard accepted through Paypal. Please let me know if you are going to pay using a credit card and I will send you an invoice through Paypal. We charge a 3.5% credit card transaction fee for every purchase through paypal. We offer payment plans for purchases over $250. Please call or email us for more details. There is a cancellation fee of $185 for all appointments not cancelled within 48 hours. All returned checks, regardless whether services have been rendered, will be charged a $25 returned item fee if the check bounces.
I really like your site and the tips you give on photographing toddlers, children, and newborns! They are so very helpful. I think your photos look 100% professional! I was wondering if you had any articles on photographing babies (older than newborns)? My son is 6 months old and I want to photograph him. If not, these tips are still super helpful! Especially the other article that includes the links on how to make different backdrops! Thanks!
As a team of experienced and passionate elopement photographers in NYC, I Heart New York is your first port of call when looking for a portrait, wedding or elopement photographer. The team have all lived in The Big Apple for some time now, and each of us have found this city to be a photographer’s dream – from the urban oasis that is Central Park, through to the yellow taxis that polka dot the city, the Lower East Side grit, City Hall, and of course the best slices of pizza in the world. When it comes to taking stunning destination photos in New York, IHNY knows all the best locations, from the Upper West Side to downtown city hall. Elopement photographers with local insider NYC knowledge provide more than amazing photos – they can show you the all best bits that the city has to offer.

Some couples are very serious about the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding day.  I like to sit couples down and explain that I really NEED at least an hour just with the couple (nobody else in the wedding party) in order to get a decent album together.  Once they realize that they need to commit to this much time and see they can't fit it in the wedding day plans, they are usually open to doing a shoot the day before the wedding all dressed up.  It gives the bride a chance to try her hair and makeup out, and you'll have unlimited time with the couple to nail the wedding photos.
As we reflect on all our memories, it’s hard to recall ones that don’t include our families. There’s something special about looking back on family portraits over the years past. Family photos are a moment saved in time that will be cherished forever. So when it comes to what to wear for family picture day make sure you plan ahead. Whether you are taking family photos for your annual photo Christmas card or looking to get an updated shot to hang above the mantle, you’ll want you and your family to look your best doing so.
When most people think about hiring a professional photographer, they don’t consider their home as the backdrop they are looking for. But why not??? Beautiful portraits in the place you spend the most time as a family offers the most unique atmosphere. I would suggest this only if you love the decor in your home, and it is free of clutter. I often like to create activities such as hanging out on the couches, sitting around the piano, jumping on the trampoline, or even having a cookie making event in the kitchen. Possibilities are endless–what does your family love to do at home together?
Identifying faces and places. It can be both fascinating and frustrating to see the faces of strangers gazing back at us, piquing our curiosity about their stories and their connection to us. Often there is scant information available other than cryptic notations in an unfamiliar hand, or the faces themselves that bear a subtle or profound family resemblance. With a little sleuthing, however, you may be able to fit the pieces together.
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