DO pre-plan. "Don't walk into a wedding thinking you can go with the flow. Weddings aren't like street photography, where you can walk around taking pictures," says wedding pro Jonathan Scott, who has studios in both New York and Florida. "Pre-planning will make sure you don't miss important shots." Scout the location in advance for good backgrounds and lighting. Do Internet searches for the venue to see how other photographers capture the location.
Before you call a single photographer, have a discussion with your partner about what kinds of engagement photos you'd like—posed or candid, formal or casual. Again, let your decisions be guided by how you plan to use the pics: Will they be hanging on grandma's wall, reproduced in black-and-white newsprint or shrunk down to the size of a quarter for personalized favor stickers? Advance planning will help you make the most of your pictures. Some photo-friendly options to consider for your engagement shoot:
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.
For Teens and Couple sessions we do some location hopping to 4-5 different spots close in driving proximity to each other. We can often include all three types of locations, but usually at least two of these settings. I LOVE photographing couples/engagements, but I do not shoot weddings, and I understand that some want the same photographer for both.
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.
Women don’t generally feel very sexy when they’re pregnant. Understandably so, and trust me I connect with this feeling as much as the next gal. But just because an expectant mother doesn’t feel sexy, that doesn’t mean she’s not totally knock out. Bring that out in her. Pull that beauty out of her. A good way to do this is by talking as you shoot. It’s perfectly appropriate to say things like: “That’s beautiful!” “Yes, perfect!” “Oh that’s just LOVELY.” “Pregnancy looks good on you girl!” Whatever works! If you’re a male photographer you’ll need to be careful about what you say in this crazy world of sexual harassment, but you’re even more capable of pulling the beauty out of her than a female photographer. It’s one thing when your girlfriend tells you you’re beautiful, but when your girlfriend’s brother tells you that you’re looking good, you actually believe it. Obviously be careful and be genuine. The success of this tip will depend on your personality, but you can help her help herself. If she feels pretty she’ll look a whole heck of a lot better. It’s that simple.
An hour might not seem like a lot, but depending on your schedule you should be finishing getting ready around this time. If the bridesmaids have robes, it’s fun to do a champagne toast now. Many brides request that we capture the moment of them getting into their dress while others ask us to come in after they are dressed. Either way is fine with us as this is just a matter of personal taste. If MOB is around, it’s nice to have them help you get into the gown along with your bridesmaids.
K-Rae Images is a luxury MATERNITY, BIRTH, and NEWBORN portrait business located in Frisco, TX. Clients are provided with heirloom quality art designed to last for generations. Parents are treated wonderfully from the initial consultation to the final Reveal, with a closet of maternity gowns to select from as well as newborn props that are sure to create stunning images. Documenting Birth Stories is another way Kristin (photographer) captures the raw and fleeting moments of a new baby’s arrival. Parents can relax knowing that Kristin will take care of their entire portrait experience. K-Rae Images has received the prestigious “Best of Frisco Portrait Studio Award” for 3 consecutive years, and is a Premium Member of INP (International Association of Newborn Photographers) and Best Newborn Photographers. Set up your complimentary Portrait Design Consultation today, and come see why clients continue to choose K-Rae Images for all their portrait needs!
In choosing Expressions Photography, not only are you choosing experts in newborn and family photography, you are choosing to protect your family’s health and safety. All Baby Face Portraits and Expressions Photography photographers are thoroughly background screened through County and National Criminal Databases, National Sex Offender Violent Abuse Registry, a Social Security Trace and Address History screen. In addition, all of our photographers who photograph families in hospitals, homes or our studio have been immunized to the same health standards required by our hospitals. These include seasonal flu shot, whooping cough (Tdapt), annual TB screening, measles, mumps, rubella, rubeola and varicella (Chicken Pox).
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.
"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!"
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!
Firstly timing your shots is important. Babies don’t move much but they subtly change their position and expressions in ways that can make or break a photo. I’ve had my camera set in continuous shooting mode since Xavier was born because I find that shooting a single frame often misses ‘the moment’. I’ve also ended up with some wonderful sequences of shots by shooting off three or four shots in a row.
Set your rates. Consider the amount of time required for each shoot, the cost of your gear, the cost of the prints or CD of images as the end product, and your experience. Avoid pricing your photography sessions too high or too low. A price that is too high will scare away most clients, while setting a price very low makes you seem desperate or unattractive as a photographer.
In addition to providing this wedding photo list of family portraits to your photographer, you also want to give some consideration to the overall photography timeline of your wedding day (we have sample wedding photography timelines here). Think about the different location options for your portraits, and discuss these locales with your photographer. Also, make sure you settle the "first look" debate with your soon-to-be spouse. Finalizing your wedding photo list, portrait locations and other details in advance of your big day will ensure that your wedding portraits and family wedding photos go smoothly and, best of all, quickly.
Determine how you will receive your pictures. Find out how long you can expect to wait for the pictures, and in what format they will be presented. You need to make sure you know what your photographer will pass on to you at end of the process. The number of photos, the format and resolution of the photos, as well as the way they are presented are all crucial questions.
Hi Linda! Perfect, so glad you love the article I hope you signed up for our mailing list to get your newborn toolkit and other freebies to help get you going quickly and lastly, you are among the first to know that we are working on finishing up our complete Newborn Photography Workshop Course which will be out at the end of the year…it will be an amazing product though which we are so excited for!
Natalie Roberson Photography Studio is a full-service professional photography studio specializing in custom wedding, maternity, newborn and family portraiture. Our 5,000 square foot studio is located in Celina, TX at Custer and CR 171. The space is clean, charming and warm. There are plenty of places to sit, relax and even take a nap. We take great pride in our experience, having photographed over 5000 clients, and our goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your session. Our state of the art photography studio is located on 15 acres which allows for our clients to have the opportunity to photograph their portraits in our beautiful studio or outdoors in a field.
Natalie Roberson is a photographic artist specializing in newborn, family, children and wedding photography. Natalie graduated from Southwest Texas State University in December 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with Minors in Business and Spanish. In May of 2004 Natalie graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Master’s in Business Administration degree. Natalie studied Photography and Graphic Design at Collin College in Plano, Texas.
If the baby has older siblings, I try to make the sibling shots my very first priority and then let them go play while we finish the session. Toddlers simply don’t have the attention span to sit quietly and wait for you to call on them for their picture so get their poses done first while they are curious and excited about your visit. By the time the session is over, they are usually open to participating again and that is when I try to get some lifestyle sibling shots. If they don’t want to participate, I’ve found promises of ice cream & candy have magical powers! (as long as that’s ok with Mom & Dad).
The pre-ceremony photos, for me at least, are the easiest part of the day. This is usually the timeframe I use to grab most of my detail shots and bridal party photos. During this time, I usually send my second shooter to wherever the guys are while I shoot with the girls. Keep in mind that some of these shots may only be able to be taken during the reception if the venue isn’t open until then.
Few styles of portrait photography are as tricky as newborn photos — the unpredictable infant is always in charge! The best way to ensure a successful photo shoot is to work with a local newborn photographer within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. Some photographers even work with hospitals to offer newborn sessions within a day of the baby’s birth. But newborn photographers usually recommend scheduling a shoot during the baby’s first two weeks of life, while the baby is still sleepy and relatively cooperative, especially for posed or studio shots. During this time, babies are easier to swaddle in blankets and dress in hats or headbands, and, because they often nap or nurse, can be staged with various props or be cuddled by their parents. For casual photos, most newborn photographers recommend shooting within the first six weeks of a baby’s life. Lifestyle portrait photography is more flexible and doesn’t require the baby to cooperate with multiple poses or props.
Composition: After lighting, the next thing you want to look at in someone’s portfolio is composition (hint: Meg talks about this a lot in sponsored posts, because she went to art school and composition is something that gets drilled into you there). This basically means, how did they set up the photo? Even when photographers are capturing moments as they happen, we’re still looking for interesting ways to tell the story. Take the below photo, for example. It uses the backs of the the bride and her father’s heads to frame the groom’s face as she walks down the aisle. By doing this, not only do your eyes know exactly where to go the moment you look at the photo, but you also get the added storytelling of seeing the groom’s face from the bride’s perspective.
Next, gently lift her head and position her hands and arms underneath it, then lay her head back down, turning it so she’s look out at you instead of down into the pillow. The photos below show why it’s important to tuck the hands under her head – if you don’t, they’ll likely end up right in front of her face, as in the first photo. In the second photo you can still see her hand, but it doesn’t block your view of her face.
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.
Thank you for this great blog post. Brilliant hints and tips. I also ask clients to lay their outfits out at home together to check that they all look good together. Also I remind clients to press their clothes (I think sometimes they think that I can ‘photoshop’ creases out!) I love putting together visual ‘what to wear’ guides – here is one I did this week for a mother and daughter photo session http://www.sarahoffley.com/what-to-wear/what-to-wear-mother-and-daughter-photo-shoot/