1.  Lots of photos!  First of all, you probably want to be able to see lots of photos from a variety of sessions.  It should be safe to assume you’ll be happy with their photos if you can look at their blog and find 5 family photo sessions that you love.  If they just have a gallery on their website with 15 or 20 family photos, those are probably the very best family photos they’ve ever taken.  Maybe all of their photos are that good, but maybe they aren’t actually producing that quality of work consistently.  If they don’t have a lot of work on their blog, you may want to ask to see a sample of a whole session.  I put almost every session up on my blog as long as I have the client’s permission.  Part of why I do this is for visibility and advertising, but another reason is that I want happy clients!  I want you to see not only my very best work, but ALL of my work so that the photos I give you will meet (or hopefully exceed!) the expectations that you have for me.  I think it’s important for you to be able to see how I shoot on sunny days as well as cloudy days and how I pose a wide variety of families.
3.  Evidence of happy clients.  You can probably see this in two forms.  One is through reviews or testimonials on their website.  Another way to see that they have happy clients is to see if people seem to come back to them year after year.  If you scroll through their blog, it’s probably a good sign if you see many of the same families more than once.
Think about it: Your photographer doesn't automatically know that your wedding photo list would include a shot of your mom with all her sisters, or that you want a photo with all the cousins. Consider this wedding photo list a family portrait checklist for your photographer. By providing this wedding photo list before the big day, your photographer will be able to plan out the portrait timing, and which family wedding photos to take when. Not sure who to include in your wedding family photo list? We've done the hard work for you!

Have the couple appoint you someone that knows all the ‘key players'  as your go-to person for questions. Especially helpful during the formal family shots since the bride and groom are in all the shots. They can help point out that uncle or go get grandma from the reception (cause she always manages to leave first to get over there LoL). They are also helpful during the reception to ask questions when you don't want to bother the new couple. (Thanks Melinda Lutz Ledsome)


I am a national award-winning children’s photographer, but I’m also a mom, and I look at kids through the eyes of a mom. I know that some of the most cherished photos you’ll ever have of your children are not the perfectly posed, clean-faced, well-dressed, sweet-smiling photos that our parents wanted, but rather the authentic, digging in the mud, feet in the cake, finger up the nose sort of moments that can’t be duplicated and will never be forgotten (future boyfriends/girlfriends beware!). Now that my own kids are in high school, I think the little things that young kids do are seriously funny, though I realize that right now, you might not see the humor. I promise you, in 10 years, it will become clear when you look at the photos we create together. Optical Poetry is a laid back, high-end portrait experience that begins with collaborative planning of wardrobe and location and ends with the delivery of your artwork as gallery-wrap canvas collections, gorgeous albums and heirloom quality prints to be cherished for generations.
#1 - the umbrella is to make the light spread out over a larger area which softens it. There is a misconception that just diffusing your light with one of those plastic spheres will make it softer - not true. If you are bouncing indoors off the ceiling or a wall then yes it will - but outdoors it will not make the light any softer. Light quality is related to the size of the light source - nothing else.
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I like getting digital images. We live in a digital age, and it is easy and fun to share pictures with others when you have the rights to the digital images from your photo shoot. I like having the digital images so I can use the photos on Christmas cards that I order and “print” myself (a portrait studio can print the cards with multiple images for you otherwise, but usually at a higher cost than can be found online).
Even if you don’t love the Brides dress, which I’m sure you will! Ask her what particular aspects of the dress she absolutely loves. A dress will always look better on the Bride than it will hanging up. But make sure to pay particular attention to capturing the intricate details. Also ask her if there are any other details she wants special photos of such as broaches, hair pieces, shoes etc. It’s easy to overlook these details but they make for fantastic photos. They can also be great to tell the complete story of the wedding especially if the items have sentimental value to the Bride.
The other option for remotes is a physical radio transmitter that you plug into your camera (the receiver plugs into the camera, and you hold the remote transmitter). After trying several different wireless remotes from eBay that all broke, I finally purchased the Vello ShutterBoss. This remote is well built, and has been super reliable. One of the things I really like about it is that the cable that plugs from the wireless receiver into your camera can be swapped out depending on what brand of camera you’re using. So you don’t need to buy a new wireless remote for every different camera system you have (just the cable). Also if the battery dies in the receiver, you can plug the cable directly into the remote transmitter. The Vello ShutterBoss is a bit on the pricey side for a remote ($99), but it will probably be the last wireless remote you ever need to buy.
"I cannot thank her enough for her partnership in this moment in the life of my family. She is simply awesome! She took care of everything (i.e. took time to learn and understand my needs; recommended locations as a result of her gained insight; suggested apparel; etc. etc.). From beginning to end she was responsive, timely, thoughtful, courteous, thorough, engaging, friendly, and collaborative. The images are simply amazing!!!!!! I am hiring her as my photographer for every season of my family’s lives. She will be there to capture every moment! I’m already securing her for my wedding! Ms. Neri is a warm, genuine, and kind soul with a keen eye and instinct in capturing authentic moments. THANK YOU!"

The objective of a lifestyle newborn photoshoot is to capture more candid shots of the infant in their own environment, and, usually, include the parents in the shots, as well. These shoots are typically a bit quicker because—as long as the lighting is good—there’s less set-up and deliberate styling. You can anticipate maybe two to three hours in the client’s space for these lifestyle newborn photoshoots.
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!
Finding homes for unwanted photographs. Many people feel strongly that no old photo should ever be tossed. However, if you have tons of photos but have no connection to them (or if they’re just not your thing), what can you do with them? One option is to donate them. Historical societies worldwide often accept photos, especially if you can provide information about how they came to you. It can be a point of pride for small towns across the U.S., Europe and elsewhere to see how far and wide their native sons and daughters have traveled over the course of generations.
I’m going to be taking photographs of my daughter giving birth to my granddaughter next month and I’m panicing. I don’t know a lot about lighting yet except for what I’ve read, I love outdoor photos as they always seem to come out great. I’m concerned about the birthing room lightening. What ISO would you put your camera lighting too? While she is in labor I can experiment, but I would like maybe a heads up with this. I love taking photography of my grandchildren and family and friends, but just started to really get serious about it. So much has happened and I planned on going to some classes for lighting, but do to wedding and shower and death of my Mom, I haven’t had time. If you could help I would appreciate. Please send me a message to my yahoo.com account. Signed Desperate thank you in advance Joyce
*Make The Location Count*If you’re not shooting at home, look for colorful locations that your subjects will find stimulating and distracting. Zoos, carousels, circuses, and amusement parks will banish lifeless expressions and drab backgrounds. “Make sure your subjects are having fun,” says Teddy Madison, a pro from central Georgia who specializes in families (www.exodusphoto.com). (Above Photo) Interaction is the key to great family portraits, says Charlotte Geary.Charlotte Geary

Eden Bao is a premier maternity photographer based out of Bothell WA and serves Greater Seattle and the surrounding areas, including Millcreek, Everett, Woodinville, Snohomish, King Counnty, Skagit County, Pierce County, Bellevue, Kirkland, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Monroe, Redmond, Issaquah, Shoreline, Green Lake and Pacific North West. Check out her maternity portfolio!: https://www.edenbaophotography.com/maternity-portfolio-seattle-photographer/

Rachael,I LOVE your picture!!!!! You have an AWESOMELY BEAUTIFUL pregnant belly!!! I couldn’t help but notice that you have a jutting(outie)bellybutton.So many moms-to-be think that a button of the jutting variety makes for an unappealing pregnant belly,but that simply isn’t TRUE.To me a jutting bellybutton emerging from a big round protruding pregnant belly makes said belly that much more intriguing and pleasing to look at!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


You need to give space around them and allow for some composition and negative space otherwise they'll feel crowded. The family all in purples tones feels a bit too cramped for me actually. As for it being about the faces - for me it is and it isn't. If you want a head shot, do that. This is a family "portrait" which means "portrayal" - not what your face looks like. For me showing more of the scene that they chose around them it gives more of a sense of who they are as a family. A portrait for me isn't about what they look like, it should give insight into their personality too.

Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.
You need to give space around them and allow for some composition and negative space otherwise they'll feel crowded. The family all in purples tones feels a bit too cramped for me actually. As for it being about the faces - for me it is and it isn't. If you want a head shot, do that. This is a family "portrait" which means "portrayal" - not what your face looks like. For me showing more of the scene that they chose around them it gives more of a sense of who they are as a family. A portrait for me isn't about what they look like, it should give insight into their personality too.

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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