@Darlene You have developed a portrait style that works well for you and your clients. If you check out my website, you'll see that we're not all that different... only a matter of degree of "closeness". More power to you if your clients buy 20x30 prints or larger. Mine do not, so having their faces a little more prominent in the frame is important.

Ashley, I loved your post. I am huge on annual family photos. I think it’s so important to capture a nice photo of your growing/changing family at least once a year! I love how your pictures turned out. They are very nice and the same style I like to go for. I am getting into photography and would like to do our own someday. Thanks for all the tips. I completely agree with all of them and try to do them already but seeing it written down helps to instill those ideas even more for our next shoot.
Sounds great right? Well often it’s a bit of pain pairing your phone with your camera. Most apps made by camera manufacturers for smartphones are terrible. Then when you’re actually using the app you’ll find it’s nearly impossible to shoot photos in quick succession (because of the lag between the camera and your phone, and also because it’s tough to repeatedly tap the shutter release button on the app).
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.
Set goals. Create several long-term goals. Then, short-term goals that will bring you closer to achieving the long-term goals. The short-term goals should be measurable and have a time frame or deadline. For example, a short-term goal would be to book 5 new clients in the next three months. This could help you achieve a larger goal of having an established clientele within a year.

Some couples are a little more awkward about having their photos taken than others. That’s a fact! But don’t let that stop you getting great photos. Just approach it a little differently. A great way to do this is to start off from a distance with a long lens and slowly walk your way into the couple. This will give the couple a chance to relax. It might be the first time they’ve been able to talk to each other all day. Just let them talk and enjoy the moment for a minute or two.
Destination weddings will almost definitely increase wedding photographer fees. Some photographers charge their normal rates plus travel, room and board. Other photographers may have an additional fee beyond their standard rates and travel expenses to accommodate the extra effort required for them to pack up their specialized equipment and work remotely.
In my 6 years in business, I have photographed over 300 newborns, I have taken posing and safety workshops, I've had three babies of my own! :) Let's not forget to talk about, insurance; yes, I'm fully insured! Although reasonable DSLR cameras are easily accessible to consumers, what matters most is the skill it takes to manually and creatively use that equipment. I have personally invested over $40k in camera, lenses, studio lighting, computers, latest editing software, management systems. Over 20K in quality newborn props; backdrops, floors, outfits, headbands, hats, wood props, blankets, wraps to name a few but that's just the expense of want it takes to produce an image, it does not include my CODB; taxes, licenses, memberships, subscriptions, fees, marketing..etc. It's an investment I have made and will continue to make into my business. Most importantly and above all else, a commitment I make to every single client of mine that I will produce the best possible photographs.

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. 
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.
Another reason to hold a newborn photo shoot soon after birth is because babies change so quickly the first few months, and you don’t want to miss the chance to photograph that uber tiny newborn look. Does this mean you can’t get good pictures when your baby is three weeks old instead of seven days? Of course not. But earlier can be simpler, which is always a good thing.
As with all photography lighting is key. If you are shooting inside and can’t afford expensive lighting use the most flattering and cheapest form of light there is – sun light! Position your group facing or parallel to a large clean window, if it is a particularly bright day cover it with a thin veil of material, such as a net curtain or peg a white cotton sheet across to act as a diffuser for softer, more flattering light.
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.
Being a wedding photographer is so much more than just taking great photographs. If you look happy to be there, then the couple will relax and feel comfortable with you around. These conditions generally produce the best environment for awesome wedding photos. Don’t get absolutely wrecked on the jagger bombs but chit chat with guests and enjoy the party. The day will seem much shorter if you’re having a good time.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!
4.  Can you really afford them?  Not all photographers list their complete pricing (or any pricing at all) on their website.  There’s nothing wrong with this, it just means they want to chat with you a bit before they tell you what they charge.  You’ll just want to make sure that before you book, you understand what your final cost will be.  If their website says “Session fee of $150, prints and digital images sold separately,” you’ll probably want to think about what you want and make sure you know what it will cost before you book.  We’ll talk about some of this in greater detail in my next post!
Lovely Fitzgerald Photography, based in The Colony, aims to capture the spirit of its portrait subjects in its newborn photography. Jessica, the photographer, was previously an interior designer and has transformed her eye for detail into a love of photography. The business transforms its photographs into artistic products including framed photos, albums, canvas prints, fine art prints, and glass displays. The photo studio's workshops teach students posing, editing, marketing, and in-person sales skills.
Candice Cusic is a Chicago based wedding and family photographer. She believes that the best images are moment-driven and that you don’t need a hundred photographs of the couple smiling for the camera. In a recent audio interview with Nine Dots she was giving her wedding photography tips and had  this to say when asked ‘do you believe there is enough work for everyone?’ She says –
There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with. A sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you, grabbing the lapels of a husbands jacket while pulling him close for a kiss – all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices. Many of my sessions will feature items used outside their intended use or subject. My girls are often seen in mommy’s hats or scarves (scarves can be used in different ways like wrapped around their shoulders, as a hair piece, etc) and they love to wear my costume jewelry.
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