Thank you so much for this article! This past weekend I did my 3rd newborn session which happened to be my grandson. It took 4 hours and I had such difficulty getting him into the poses that I had planned in my head, that when the session was over with I felt totally defeated. I experienced everything you mentioned, including overwhelming myself with too many props. I started doubting myself and wondering if I was even cut out to be a newborn photographer. Your article was very helpful and encouraging at the same time. Thank you so much!
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.
Initially, professional studio photographers might bring a lot of bulky equipment, thus limiting their ability to record the entire event. Even "candid" photos were more often staged after the ceremony. In the 1970s, the more modern approach to recording the entire wedding event started evolving into the practice as we know it today, including a more "Documentary photography" style of photography.
*Tell A Story*Shetha Nolke of Portland, OR shot the above photo of a boy encircled in holiday lights and it’s more than just cute. The lights were strung by an older brother, and you can see in the child’s eyes the years of teasing he’s taken from that sibling. Says New York-based pro Andrew Matusik, who took this black-and-white group photo, “I shoot my family like I’m doing a photo essay. I want the photos to tell a greater story and show the bigger picture. To do that, I look for narrative elements that can tie the images together, like the grandchildren in my shot here.”Shetha Nolke
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Imagine there is a line drawn from each face to the next. Try and position them so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another. Make diagonal lines not totem poles. Use props to seat some people or bring some small folding stools. Have some people sit down, or stand up on something. Use what is naturally in the environment to pose them, or if you have nothing available just arrange them so the heights are staggered.
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).
The night before the shoot I’m usually scouring Google for “family photo tips” or pulling the “How to Pose Children” books off my shelf. Preparation is essential. But photographing a family is a mixture of luck and skill, and when you’re in the thick of it and things aren’t going as planned, you’re going to have to improvise. Kids won’t sit still? Pop on a telephoto lens, back off and let them run around a bit. You might be surprised at the photos you get when you’re forced to do what wasn’t planned.
Timidity won’t get you ‘the shot’ – sometimes you need to be bold to capture a moment. However timing is everything and thinking ahead to get in the right position for key moments are important so as not to disrupt the event. In a ceremony I try to move around at least 4-5 times but try to time this to coincide with songs, sermons or longer readings. During the formal shots be bold, know what you want and ask for it from the couple and their party. You’re driving the show at this point of the day and need to keep things moving.
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I like that you pointed out how some photographers will be able to give digital copies of the photos by downloading it on a CD/DVD. I will look for a photographer who does that to ensure we have two copies of the images. We just need to have family pictures done starting now that we have kids, and we plan to do it every year on January to save memories of how we look together.
Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus. Turn on the Live View so you can see the image on your screen. Hit your “zoom” button (it may have a magnifying glass or a “+” sign on it) once or twice. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. Press zoom again to return to normal view and turn off Live View.
#1 – it automatically forces you to slow down. That’s a good thing. You can check your settings, review the composition, and exposure to make sure you’ve got everything right. All to often it’s easy to get carried away once you put the camera up to your eye and forget to check something only to see later you had the wrong White Balance, or ISO was 6400, or you accidentally shot Small JPG. Slow down, avoid an “oops”.
Don’t stop me now. I’m having such a good time. I’m having a ballll. Ooops got a bit carried away there. Seriously a wedding is fast paced so you need to work at the speed of light. This mainly comes with the experience of knowing what will happen and when. Following this sort of wedding photography tutorial will certainly help to know exactly what to expect.
Hello, thanks a ton for these tips, I’ve got my first wedding shoot coming up in mid April and am doing some overall research on anything I’ve missed. What tips would you give to someone who is going in solo? I just recently moved out of state and haven’t found a helper so if things keep up like they are, I will most likely end up having to go in by myself hahaha it’s more of a “if worse comes to worse”, but if you have any tips for such an situation, I’ll gladly listen thank you
Advantage in the home is comfort and connection to familiar surroundings. You don’t have to worry about the weather outside. Disadvantage, you have to clean your house so it will look good in the photos. The lighting may not be optimal. Please check with your photographer on how they will address this. Seasoned photographers will use portable off-camera flash if necessary.
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