DON'T worry about shot lists. "Avoid getting mired down in a must-have shot list that you found on the Internet," advises Rich Lavigne, who, with wife Anne, operates a wedding studio in South Plainfield, NJ. "Stay alert to the moments that are happening all around you. Look for smiles, laughter, singing, or tears. If you're looking for and photographing these moments, you're doing a pretty good job of capturing the spirit of the day."
Think about your location and make sure your wardrobe complements the surroundings. For example, at a location in a field with a rustic barn in the background would be perfect for a little girl dressed in a simple, vintage style dress with Hunter wellies, pig tails and carrying a little vintage tin pail full of wildflowers. That same look might be out of place in an urban setting with a graffiti wall in the background. Also, consider how well the colors and patterns in the wardrobes will stand out against the backdrops of your location. A field of bluebonnets might not be complemented by an outfit with a floral pattern or the same blues and greens in it, but would look beautiful with a solid coral colored dress to pop off of the colors of the flowers and grass. Many times I’ll select a location first and then create the wardrobe, accessories and props to fit with the vision I see for the surroundings and session vibe I want to come out of it.
Happy family. With male and female childrenHappy family. Happy young family spending time together outside in green natureHappy family outdoors. Happy family is standing near their modern house, smiling and looking at cameraFamily health care and insurance concept. Top viewFamily time father and son watch the sunset. Family time father and son watch and praise the sunsetHappy family: mother father and child daughter on sunset. Happy family: mother father and child daughter on nature on sunsetPaper chain family protected in cupped hands. Cutout paper chain family with the protection of cupped hands, concept for security and careFamily with children blow soap bubbles. NatureHappy black family standing outside their house, dad holding the keyHappy family travel by car in the mountains. Happy family travel by car. People having fun in the mountains. Father, mother and child on summer vacationHappy family having fun on summer vacation. Happy family on the beach. People having fun on summer vacation. Father, mother and child against blue sea and skyFamily Relaxing In Garden With Pet DogHappy family father and children reading a book in tent at hom. Happy family father and children reading a book with a flashlight in a tent at homeFamily of noble deer in a snowy winter forest. Christmas fantasy image in blue and white color. Snowing. Underwater photo. Happy family snorkelling in tropical sea. Happy family - father, mother, child in snorkeling mask dive underwater with tropical fishes in coralBig family have a dinner with fresh cooked meal on open garden t. ErraceNewborn Baby and Family Concept, Parents Holding New Born Child. Newborn Baby and Family Concept, Parents Couple Holding New Born Child in Hands, Mother FatherHappy family. Young father playing silly with his daughter lifting her upClinking glasses of wine. Cheers after speech. Party at cafe or restaurant. Family celebration or anniversary. Portrait happy attractive young family posing embracing. Portrait of multi-ethnic attractive mother father adorable little preschool daughter sitting togetherFamily on a camping trip walking near a lake, back viewHappy Couple Dreaming Of Their New Home Or Furnishing On Blue Background. Family With Sketch Drawing Of Their Future Flat Interior. Back view Of Happy CoupleFamily. Lying on green grass. Children having fun outdoors in spring park. Retro toned imageFamily Carrying Boxes Into New Home On Moving DayFamily outdoors. Family of three generations outdoors, smilingBusy Family Home With Mother Working As Father Prepares MealPortrait of Happy Family Piled Up In Park. SmilingHappy black family standing outside their houseMulti generation black family, parents piggybacking kidsFamily in a hike. Family with two kids have hiking through the mountainsFamily preparing for Easter. Mother and child painting eggs. Happy family preparing for EasterTime with family is always on the first place. We making fun . Rear viewMedical or travel insurance. Man covers the family with his hands from his father, mother, son and daughter. Fallow deer family - doe and fawn babies. Fallow deer family - doe mothers and fawn babiesFamily New Home Moving Day House Concept. Happy family playing into new home. Father, mother and child having fun together. Moving house day and real estatePortrait Of Multi-Generation Chinese Family. Relaxing In Park TogetherHispanic Family Viewing Potential New HomePortrait of happy multi generation family sitting on sofa in living room. At homeBaby Newborn Feet Mother Hands. New Born Kid Foot, Family Love. Baby Newborn Feet in Mother Hands. New Born Kid Foot, Family Love ConceptMother and kids, family coloring Easter eggs. Mother and kids with pet rabbit color Easter eggs. Mom, little girl and boy with bunny ears dying and painting forLaughing family spend time having fun at new home. Multi-ethnic family spend time together sitting on couch in living room have fun play with little preschoolSmiling multi-generation family using mobile phone in living room. At homeHappy family mother and child girl paints eggs for Easter. At homeFamily lying on grass. Outdoors in spring parkTime for family always exists. Young parents playing with daughters at homeHappy loving family. Mother and her daughters children girls playing and huggingFamily New Home Moving Day House Concept. Happy family playing into new home. Father, mother and child having fun together. Moving house day and real estateConcept housing young family. Mother father and child in new h. Concept housing a young family. Mother father and child in new house with a roof at empty brickMulti Generation Family Giving Children Piggybacks OutdoorsFamily in iceland. Back view of family, father and son, enjoying beautiful view at iceberg lagoon in jokulsarlon national park in iceland, copy space on rightHappy family shopping. A happy family is shopping together in a mallPretty yong family in bed. Parents kissing their baby, top viewEnjoy family. Family enjoy playing singing togetherHappy family: mother, father, children son and daughter on sunset. Happy family: mother, father, children son and daughter on nature on sunsetHappy family mother and daughter read a book in evening. Happy family mother and daughter read a book in the evening at homeHappy family mother and baby son on autumn walk. Happy family mother and baby son playing and laughing on autumn walkMother and child daughter practicing yoga together at home. Sport and family concept. Mother and child daughter practicing yoga together in living room at homeYoung woman having fun with kids doing yoga. Family sport concep. T. Close upEvening family reading. father reads children . book before going to bed . Evening family reading. father reads children a book before going to bedAmerican soldier with family outdoors. Military service. American soldier with happy family outdoors. Military serviceHappy African-American family of four on beach. Happy African-American family with two children on beachFamily reading bedtime. Mom and child reading book with a flashlight under blanket. Family reading bedtime. Mom and child daughter reading a book with aFamily on Easter. Happy holiday! Mother and her daughter with painting eggs. Family preparing for Easter. Cute little child girl is wearing bunny earsHappy family father, mother and child daughter launch a kite on. Nature at sunsetHappy family father and daughter reading book in bed. Happy family father and child daughter reading book in bedLarge Family by Tree. A large family with two parents and eight children, some biological and some adopted, multi racial children by a cool treeFamily moving into their new home. Young happy family moving into their new homeFamily with red umbrella. Happy funny family with red umbrella under the autumn shower. Girl and her mother are enjoying rainfall. Kid and mom are playing on theExcited Family At New Home Sweet HomeMerry Christmas! happy family mother father and child with magic. Gift near treeHappy family mother and children on autumn walk. In parkFamily. Mother and daughter. Together. Family, mother and daughter on the river bank. The girl bends over and says something to her daughter. Girls in whiteHappy family. Young mother and father with baby boy, leafy green trees in backgroundKangaroo family on the beach. A family of kangaroos enjoying a beach sunset on the Australian coast, hopping in unison on the wet sand that shows theirFather`s day. Happy family daughter hugging dad and laughs. On holidayFamily walking through poppy field. Holding handsFamily reading bedtime. Pretty young mother reading a book to her daughter. Happy time at homeHappy family on a camping trip relaxing by their tentChristmas magic gift box and a happy family mother and baby. Christmas magic gift box and a women happy family mother and Child babyHappy family in kitchen. mother and children preparing dough, ba. Happy family in the kitchen. mother and children preparing the dough, bake cookies
Lighting: If you talk to any photographer, they’ll tell you that lighting is 90% of what makes a photo good or bad. One of the best ways to understand lighting is to hold up your hand and face your palm toward a window. Then start rotating your hand back and forth and look at the different ways shadows are cast on your hand as you move it around. If you face your hand directly at the window, the light falls very evenly and cleanly, but if you start moving your hand at a ninety degree angle away from the window, it creates shadows that make your hand look moody and dramatic. This is what photographers do all day. We analyze light. So as you’re looking through photographers’ portfolios, you’ll start to notice that we all play with light differently. Some photographers prefer really bright photos that make the world look light and airy, while others use light to create mood and emotion. For example, take the photos below. They are of the same bride, taken moments apart, but the light is totally different, and therefore the photos are totally different.
I'm a huge fan of “framing” in weddings. Shooting through a crowd and having the only thing in focus be the bride and groom makes the viewers feel like they are a part of the action every time they look at it. Shooting through glass, using architecture to frame, people, nature, etc etc. It gives you a super dreamy and romantic look. (Thanks Mandy Drake)
Portrait photographers usually don't work from a tripod when shooting on-location, but it can be especially useful for shooting inside a dimly lit church.  Bring a tripod for these situations so you can get a sharp shot even with a slower shutter speed.  Even if you can get away with shooting handheld inside, you might want the tripod so you can use a lower ISO and get cleaner shots. (Thanks Johnny Quattlebaum)

I don’t mind them most of the time – I think they show your baby as he or she is and there’s nothing wrong with that. However at times they can be a little distracting and for those special shots that you might like to give as gifts you might like to do a little photoshop retouching. Most post processing editing tools will have some sort of airbrush or retouching tool – learn to use it, even if it’s just to smooth over the main marks and you’ll be amazed by the results.


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.
Thanks for bringing to my attention the importance of leaving plenty of time to get ready before a family photo shoot. It’s been many years since our last family picture, so I want to have another one taken soon. I imagine that trying to get ready last minute would only lead to stress and unhappy parents and kids, so I’ll make sure to give us lots of time beforehand.

The conclusion: if all of this seems like a ton of information to digest, then keep it simple and look for two criteria: Do you like the photos and do they make you feel happy? Not a super visual person? Then it’s totally fine to ignore the first question and move onto the second: Do you like the photographer and do they make you feel happy? More important than lighting, composition, or any fancy technology, those are the power rules to live by.
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:
A lot of photographers like the warmth of film. Film has a texture and a quality that just can’t be reproduced in digital format (no matter how hard we try). Also, if someone says they use film, it means they were probably trained in a darkroom and have an understanding of cameras that goes beyond digital, so not only will your photos look different, but the experience of being shot on film will be different than working with a strictly digital shooter.
Even before little ones are born, parents begin searching for the perfect photographer to capture the moments that will last a lifetime. The glow of motherhood in maternity portraits. The beautiful delivery details in birth photography. Photography plays such an important role in parenthood, we know those decisions aren’t made lightly. To help answer one of the biggest questions we often receive “Where Can I Find a Photographer?”, we created this guide. 
We are a Celina-based, husband and wife portrait photography team who love people and are passionate about photography. We have earned the reputation as one of the top portrait and wedding photographers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Nick and Natalie own and operate Natalie Roberson Photography located in Celina, Texas.  They are supported by a talented staff of employees whose main goal is to provide unparalleled customer service.
Nations Photo Lab may have slightly longer processing times (up to two days for prints), but it has an excellent customer service team — in our experience, the company was quick to offer a reprint or refund when an order didn’t turn out as expected. Nations offers pro-level quality, even though you don’t have to be a professional shooter to place an order, and its online platform is easy to use. Compared to Mpix, its product range is a bit wider, including custom wood or metal USB drives for delivering digital files, but, again, its processing is a bit slower. A 4 x 6 print starts at 32 cents, though the company usually has frequent sales.
Beg, borrow, hire or steal an extra camera for the day – set it up with a different lens. I try to shoot with one wide angle lens (great for candid shots and in tight spaces (particularly before the ceremony in the preparation stage of the day) and one longer lens (it can be handy to have something as large as 200mm if you can get your hands on one – I use a 70-200mm).
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.
A summertime family photo shoot offers beautiful landscapes for your photos and warmer weather. The season reflects a laid back vibe that can be mirrored throughout your family’s outfit selections. Take advantage of light cottons, pretty sheers, denim and slip into your sandals for a casual look. If your family is taking a summer vacation, use this time to take your family portraits. No matter where you may be during summertime, you can take advantage of the following summer color arrangements and styling tips to guide your selections.
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"
Light can either make or break a photo. The best light is natural light and the best natural light comes just after sunrise or just before sunset. Bright midday light will either produce shadows on your baby’s face or cause him to close his eyes or squint – neither result is what we want. If you’re taking photos throughout the day, try moving your baby under the shade of a tree or umbrella. Alternatively, if you’re taking photos indoors, try moving towards a window to utilize the light from outside. Note that you shouldn’t have the light come from behind your baby or you’ll end up with a silhouette. The best way to learn is by experimenting. Try different lighting techniques to discover what works best for you. When you’re indoors and you don’t have the option of using outside light – try taking advantage of nearby lamps. Explore taking photos with your flash turned off to see what results you can accomplish.
I still remember the first wedding I photographed where the bride and grooms car crashed into a Tram on the way to the park where we were going to take photos. The bride was in tears, the groom stressed out – but after we’d all calmed down people began to see some of the funny side of the moment and we even took a couple of shots before driving on to the park. They were among everyone’s favorites.
Blankets or fabric to use as backdrops. If you are going to invest in one thing, I’d say go buy a few yards of the cheapest black stretch velvet you can find (use a coupon at Joanns!). Black velvet works really well as a backdrop because it doesn’t show wrinkles and generally shows up as solid black in photos. Otherwise, walk through the house looking for any blankets you might have. Blankets with lots of texture also do a good job hiding wrinkles, like this one:

Pro tip: Once you get the sign and the location nailed down, it's time to concentrate on wardrobe. "Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in," says Tempe, Ariz.-based photographer Melissa Young. "I like the way long dresses and skirts work for maternity. If you have any doubts on the outfits, you may choose to seek advice from your photographer in advance, as they can give tips as to what photographs best for your body type and the location you are shooting at."

Most people recommend holding a newborn photo shoot within the first ten days of your baby’s life. When babies are this young they are generally very sleepy, which is a good thing for photos. Why? Because a sleeping baby isn’t crying, doesn’t have crossed eyes, doesn’t have a huge pacifier in her mouth, and isn’t flailing her arms about uncontrollably (all of which happen quite regularly when she’s awake). Sleeping newborns look sweet and peaceful, while awake newborns can look a little awkward. If you start your photoshoot while the baby is asleep you can get lots of sweet sleepy pictures, and then a few more when she wakes up.


Thanks so much for this. I’m not a photographer but I understand lighting and just want to know how to set up and get the “look” of shots I see all the time. I’m so grateful for all of this info especially as I’ve just found out I’m having a boy so now I need to find poses that will work as I can no longer do the whole headband and ruffles thing lol! I can’t wait. 🙂

Due to the nature of the bulky equipment and lighting issues, wedding photography was largely a studio practice for most of the late 19th century. Over time, technology improved, but many couples still might only pose for a single wedding portrait. Wedding albums started becoming more commonplace towards the 1880s, and the photographer would sometimes include the wedding party in the photographs. Often the wedding gifts would be laid out and recorded in the photographs as well.


Professionalism is seen in the details. Pay attention to how their presentation is, the care with their website, with their social networks, the attention that the person gives you. Does the photographer treat clients as just one more job? Or do every customer is important? Do you realize that they love what they do? Paying attention to these little details can help you choose or discard professionals.

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.


Clothing is the most important element of a photograph. I welcome multiple wardrobe changes during my photo sessions. I generally recommend dressier, layered, non-matching clothing as it adds more depth and character to the photograph. An easy way to achieve this look is to add, scarves, leg warmers, boots, big costume jewelry, jackets, glasses, hats, etc. It is important to keep in mind that photographs will appear more fluent with low contrasting colors. This includes not only your clothing but also the location, background, lighting and surroundings.  Please click here for our “What to Wear Guide”.
Pro tip: "This was done by using natural light next to a window," Shucart says. "I layered Dad's and Mom's hands over her belly, making sure the rings were showing." And don't forget about black and white, which, the photographer says can be done using photo editing programs on almost any image. "It always helps to pop in some contrast to black and white images, too," she advises.

MOST AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER YOU COULD EVER HIRE. I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO MEET JESSICA WHEN I WAS PREGNANT WITH MY TWINS SEVERAL YEARS AGO. DURING THE LAST 4 YEARS SHE HAS PHOTOGRAPHED MY GIRLS ON MANY OCCASIONS AND WE EVEN GOT TO HAVE HER IN THE OR CAPTURING ONCE IN A LIFETIME PHOTOS OF OUR NEW BABIES BIRTH. SHE TAKES SO MUCH TIME, PASSION, DEDICATION, LOVE AND SO MUCH MORE INTO EVERY PHOTO SHE CAPTURES. HIRING HER WOULD BE THE BEST MEMORIES YOU COULD GIVE YOUR FAMILY!
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.
Pro tip: "Using props for a maternity session should have a special meaning," Denver family photographer Jermaine Amado says. "The most common props for maternity pictures are shoes, a onesie, an ultrasound picture, block letters for the baby's name and a book. Since you will be incorporating a prop in your pictures, most of the time the focus will be on the prop. But you can change it up and shift the focus from the prop to the family or belly. Sometimes it's an amazing shot to see the belly and family, then have your focus shift over to see blurred baby shoes or an ultrasound picture."

Annie, Thank you so much for this post. I found this delightful and amazingly informative post on Pinterest. I’d been on the for hours looking at how to style family portraits. I’m going insane, we have pictures tomorrow and I still don’t know what I’m wearing. I have my husband and the 4 kids (boys age 17, 16, & 11 and our girl age 10) clothes picked out but not myself. Deep breath….. I’m going to try again to find something conducive. Wish me luck
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