You want to make sure your photographer is able to correctly expose an image. If an image is overexposed, you won’t be able to make out the details in the highlights. When printing an overexposed image, the blown parts will print white. An underexposed image will be dark and have more grain than a properly exposed image. Below is an example of an overexposed and underexposed image compared to the correctly exposed image.
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!
So many maternity sessions are done in studio. I understand the reasons behind this. I’ve been pregnant. 3 times over. I’m not the petite and pretty pregnant. I’m the gal you find wedged between the double doors at The Sizzler. Studio shoots are great because there’s privacy. I can’t argue with that. Particularly if you’re going to do anything in less than a fully clothed state (that’s my PC way of saying naked). But there’s something about being outside. Taking that natural beauty of a woman who’s ready to bring new life into the world and placing her in the majesty of the great outdoors is simply breathtaking.
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.
Just as important as getting some light in the eyes is having it come from a good direction. We’ve established overhead isn’t good direction, neither is straight from camera. So turning on your built-in pop flash isn’t going to give you good light. Neither is sticking a speedlight on top. Light direct from the camera angle flattens the subject, that is not what you want. You want the light to come from the side more, 30-45 degrees from camera is a good starting point. To learn more about this read my article on the 6 Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know.
Once you have your first look and bride and groom portrait session, the rest of the family can join in on the fun. During this time, the rest of the wedding party will come in to take formal wedding photos with the bride and the groom. Make sure that everyone in the wedding party and immediate family is there on time so that no time is not wasted scrambling to get everyone together. Groomsmen should have their buttoners pinned and Bridesmaids should have their bouquets in hand. If there are children in the wedding party, they should be ready as well.
Ask your partner or other children to join you. Schedule your maternity photos on a day when your partner or other children can join you. Including your family in your maternity photos is a special way to capture your growing family. Ask your partner what day would work best for their schedule. If you have other children, schedule the photo shoot on a day they do not have school, or see if you can sign them out of class for an afternoon.
If the couple has requested family photos let them know how it is going to go. For example, say you will photograph the Brides family first. You will then ask the grooms family to join so you can photograph both families together. Finally, you will ask the Brides family to leave so you can capture the Grooms family. If everyone knows what is going on it makes the whole process a lot less stressful for you and the guests.
Communication and planning are key. Discuss in detail what is going to happen on the day, what the clients will be wearing, and what you’re going to be bringing. Coordinate their outfits with your props, or, say, the baby’s booties with their decor. You have to think of it all. Best of all, if you hit it off with the family, you’ll get that referral and your client base will grow. Speaking of which…
When shooting a wedding, I like to use a camera with dual card slots (like the Nikon D7000, or many high-end cameras) because it allows me to double up on each photo. Every photo is recorded to both cards. This is good insurance, but it also uses a lot of memory cards during a wedding. I'd never shoot a wedding with fewer than 30 gigs of memory cards in my bag. I almost never shoot that many shots, but I never want to face the situation where I'm panicking about running out. (Thanks Robert LeBlanc, who is a regular on the Facebook page)
One more piece of advice that someone gave me on my own wedding day. ‘Things will Go Wrong – But They Can be the Best Parts of the Day’. In every wedding that I’ve participated in something tends to go wrong with the day. The best man can’t find the ring, the rain pours down just as the ceremony ends, the groom forgets to do up his fly, the flower girl decides to sit down in the middle of the aisle or the bride can’t remember her vows….
I use a Canon 50d, which is an older pre-pro model. If you’re starting out in photography, just about any dSLR (that allows you to change lenses) is going to work well. The lenses are actually more important than than the camera body, in my opinion. A 50mm 1.8 lens (about $100) is a great investment if you want to take great portraits of babies, kids, etc. HTH!
Wear solid colors to accentuate your belly. When selecting your outfit for your maternity shoot, consider wearing solid colors that will highlight the shape of your belly. Large patterns can distract or conceal your baby bump. If you wish to wear a pattern with swirls, stripes, or florals, make sure you are happy with how the pattern accentuates your belly.
Most new wedding photographers skip hiring a “second shooter” to back them up on wedding days. If you can possibly make it happen financially, it is definitely worth the money to hire another photographer to work with on the wedding day. The photos will be better, you'll have a second set of gear in case of disaster, and you're extremely unlikely to miss the shot. (Thanks Gabrielle Walker-Jones)
The season is upon us! Holiday cards (or Christmas cards), family photos, falling leaves, Thanksgiving and before you know it, Christmas! Yikes! So before this time of year gets too crazy, it is important to plan if you want to take your own family photos! You can take family photos any time of year! In fact, I love a good spring family photo session, but my favorite time of year is the fall and so I love to take our photos then!
As with most things, there is no substitute for practice and experience…with each shoot you will get better and better, just keep your head in the game! A fellow “kinda” San Diegan?! Cool 🙂 We actually are working on a Newborn Photography Online Course/Workshop teaching everything you need to know, start to finish, including an actual on location photo shoot so you can see exactly what its like and how to deal with common pitfalls when shooting on-location! Make sure to subscribe to Cole’s Classroom so you’ll be in the know when we release it in a few months 🙂
Good article! Something else to mention . . . if you're just starting out, I'd recommend picking up an used or refurb model. I bought a Canon 40D first without knowing what I was buying and payed over a grand (which was good for the time). I ended up buying a refurb Canon Rebel xti as a backup for less than $350, and to be honest, I shoot with it more! The 40D is the better camera and has much better build quality, but the xti gives it a run for it's money and is smaller / lighter. I could have saved the money for a full frame camera or a nice L lens. :)
Lori Wilson Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas that specializes in wedding, travel, puppy, portrait, newborn, child, expecting, family, and engagement/couple photography. Since she was a little girl, Lori has been in love with taking photos. Her mission is to capture beautiful, real moments that make people identify with the subject. Lori Wilson studied photography under the best photographers, including her mom.
Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.