I do TONS of newborn shoots professionally. The #1 best advice I have ever received along the way is that if you are comfortable, baby is freezing (assuming s/he is down to the diaper or less). You should be sweating. I bring a big heating pad and leave it on low and use a space heater. On top of that I put a flat (not fitted) diaper station changing ‘sheet’ (they are about 2 for $7 at Target and washable). Then, whatever blanket/backdrop we want- layer them if you want multiple. All of this is over a bean bag. Baby will be completely moldable because they will be OUT! ALWAYS have baby freshly fed and changed. Other than that, newborn shoots can be some of the easiest. Make sure to get the details- the toes, hands, ears- put them onto something big to show how small they are. And unless you’re doing that- showing how small they are- get SO CLOSE. And for all portraits, focus on a specific eye to get the shot perfectly sharp!
At the image below, both of them are not in focus. If you look closely, in the top image you can see that focus fell on his shirt. That is the most clear part of the image. His eyes and his face (what you normally want in focus) is blurry and out of focus. The bottom image is also out of focus. This one is because of a too low shutter speed and there is motion blur. Images can also be out of focus because of a camera error. Your photographer should cull all those images and not present them to you.
Start your location search by asking your clients of their favorite spots or favorite parks. If they do not have any preferences location-wise, take the liberty of suggesting good locations for them and have some example photos to show the advantage of the places you want to take them. If you do not have many places to showcase, broaden your horizon by doing some research on your own. Check out local parks, open spaces, downtown, museums, cool book stores, coffee shops and more. You can also look at photos of other photographers in your area. If a certain location strikes your fancy, contact the photographer with a compliment to their work and ask about the location where they conducted the photo shoot. If you ask nicely, you will most likely get a response.
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.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to storytelling. Sure, according to Wikipedia or any online photography forum, there is a right and a wrong way to take a photo. But when it comes to wedding photography, what you’re really looking for is a storytelling technique that matches your idea of how your wedding will be. For example, I was recently photographing a wedding with my assistant and I took a photo of the couple dancing that I really loved. She laughed and shrugged and said to me, “You are such a romantic.” I was kind of surprised, but then I realized that I had specifically chosen to tell a story in a way that made the moment very romantic. This story, for example:
Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings is a wedding planner and photography studio in Dallas, Texas, serving clients in Ft. Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Highland Park, Irving, Addison, and the surrounding DFW area since 2011. This studio specializes in bridal, wedding, engagement, family, child, corporate, and executive photography, as well as wedding planning packages. Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings has been featured in Style Me Pretty wedding blog site.
Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!
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. :)
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.
I am crazy passionate about my career and love to evolve my photography and continually learn. I’m obsessed with beautiful, dreamy light and have been known to chase it, lol! I am also very passionate about this age group of girls (and guys) and I feel pretty lucky that I get to focus on you and get to know you. They way I look at it….I have a small window of time and opportunity in your life, and I have the ability to bring out the best, real you, and photograph that. I say “I photograph confidence” It is SO fun to guide you through this process, the styling tips, make up and hair, molding you in to flattering poses for your body, then showing you on the back of the camera how it’s going…..ahhh I LOVE it! In that small window of time, if I could have some influence in your confidence and seeing yourself in a wonderful way, well that’s just awesome!
Nick Kunzman is a professional photographer with 10 years of experience working with Natalie Roberson Photography. Nick attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos working towards a degree in Marketing. Nick has studied the art of photography independently and under Natalie Roberson. He specializes in creative design and Adobe Photoshop techniques. Nick uses some of the highest resolution cameras on the market today, creating detailed photographs that bring life to his art. Nick is the web designer and technical expert for Natalie Roberson Photography. He specializes in the creative efforts of post-production, lighting, website design and marketing promotions.
You should also meet them in person. Some important questions to ask in a face-to-face interview may include: how would they describe their wedding photography style? (i.e. photojournalistic, formal, documentary, or creative); will they be the one photographing your wedding or do they have an assistant?; will both people be taking pictures during the day?; do they have back up plan in case of an emergency?; are you comfortable with their emergency plan?; what wedding photography packages do they have?; do they shoot in color or black & white? You should ask if they have a generic schedule for each wedding (portraits before the ceremony or after), and if they are they flexible and open to suggestions. You should even ask to see a contract.
Wow Annie thank you thank you so much for the “what to wear” guide!! I just cant stop reading it! you have made my day and made me see colour marchers in a whole new way! you have covered everything!..(i only wish the places you linked to were available in New Zealand..But im sure i can find beautiful clothes over here 2!:) And the cool examples at the bottom of the page!!! YAY love to see little outfits you have put together im so going to take this post with me the next time i get to the shops!:) You are truly AMAZING in everything you do and thank you again for shearing your Amaziness with the world <3
Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!
Two months before: Trying out wedding day looks? Schedule hair and makeup trial appointments the same day as your engagement photo session to capture a preview of your wedding day fabulousness on film (you could do the salon in the morning and the photo studio in the afternoon). Factor in some in-between time for damage control, on the off-chance that the salon results aren't as great as you hoped.
The ability to bounce a flash or to diffuse it is key. You’ll find that in many churches that light is very low. If you’re allowed to use a flash (and some churches don’t allow it) think about whether bouncing the flash will work (remember if you bounce off a colored surface it will add a colored cast to the picture) or whether you might want to buy a flash diffuser to soften the light. If you can’t use a flash you’ll need to either use a fast lens at wide apertures and/or bump up the ISO. A lens with image stabilization might also help. Learn more about Using Flash Diffusers and Reflectors.

While the quality can vary from location to location, CVS is perhaps the most consistent. Printing at the chain’s Kodak kiosks is quick for consumers who just can’t wait a few days for an online order. Ordering is also fairly simple, though photo printing kiosks aren’t without glitches. Photo quality won’t match up to professional printers, but CVS appears to have the fewest complaints for inaccurate colors and fuzzy images. Expect to pay 33 cents for one print — you can get better results for a slightly lower price at our picks for the best professional photo labs, below, if you’re willing to wait (and pay to ship). Note: You can also send prints to CVS from your smartphone via the CVS or Snapfish apps.

The small details that a couple has spent hours upon hours planning deserve to be photographed. Moreover, these details make for great photographs that you can use to tell the complete story of the wedding. It can sometimes be easy to forget to photograph these or the schedule might not allow it. But there is no doubt the couple will appreciate photos of things like flowers, rings, dress details, table settings etc.
Maternity photos aim to capture life-changing and significant moments in parenthood and motherhood. Before your little one arrives on the scene, consider preserving your experience with some thoughtful, beautiful photos that showcase your baby bump. Plan to schedule your photo shoot when your bump is showing and you are still feeling comfortable. If you plan ahead with your photographer and family and take the time to consider your outfits, your poses, and what you want to capture, you will have beautiful maternity photos that you and your family will cherish.
Hi Lola, thank you for the reply. Yeah I tried the white balance tips but then I sacrifice the ‘non skin’ color tone. I’ll have a look in detail about the targeted adjustment tool. May I beg your pardon, did you use flash? I guess you did as some of the pictures above were in bright background. That made me thought that utilising flash is one of the secret to get natural tone.
As a Dallas baby photographer, I love to capturing your little one’s personality with goofy grins and perfect pout while shooting on my all white backdrop. We will also use my collection of simple props, toys and neutral wardrobe to show off their sweet rolls and chunky little toes! All my baby photography sessions include your little one to be dressed in one outfit of your choice. And, of course naked booty cause lets get real everyone loves a nakey baby!

Twenty-Three Photography offers a full-service, custom portrait experience. We cater to those who can’t stand the traditional book, stress, and receive a cd sessions. Because I want my clients to have beautiful MEMORIES, as well as beautiful photos. Your family is special and unique, your portraits should reflect that. My job is to be a storyteller and create images that evoke raw emotion to convey the love inside you.


Hey Sherry! Thanks for stopping by & saying hello! I am not familiar with those editing websites (although I did just visit the homepage to check it out)…I CAN say however though, you should forget about the high price of photoshop and get yourself a copy of Adobe Lightroom 5. Lightroom is an amazing program for not only editing but easy storage/file/folder handling of photos and most important it is very easy to use. In fact, I have quite a few tutorials on our YouTube channel. It is “only” $150 or so, and I gotta say, whether someone is a pro or just hobbyist, that $150 will be among the best money you’ll spend on your photos… head over to the adobe site and try it for a free 30 day trial and see for yourself if you’ll like it or not 🙂
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!
Not the first thing you would think of when reading a blog post about wedding photography tips? But comfy shoes and socks can be a lifesaver for a wedding photographer. (Maybe not quite lifesavers) Listen! you’re going to be walking, running, jumping A LOT during a wedding day. Get some comfy shoes. Bring a spare pair just in case the first get wet. There’s also nothing quite like putting a new pair of socks on so bring some of them as well!

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.


Hi. I'm having hard time deciding if I want to do maternity or newborn photos or both. I have emailed several people in my area and for the two sessions and rights to the pics we are looking at $400. I can think of lots of other things to buy for baby but I know these pictures are once in a lifetime. Also we do have a nice Nikon camera that I could attempt to take them myself and have someone take them of me. I keep going back and forth because in all honesty what ends up with these pictures anyway? Please help me persuade myself one way or another. TIA!
Baby pictures are among the most popular types of portrait photography, and most newborn photographers are well versed in the best places to take baby pictures in their local areas. Some newborn photographers will come to the hospital to shoot the baby within a day or two of birth, while others have set up their studios to accommodate the needs of infants. Some parents prefer to have the newborn photographer come to their home or travel to a favorite park or other outdoor location. Like any portrait photography, the best place to take baby pictures is the place you like best and that will yield the types of photos you want of your baby, whether that’s posed and carefully lit studio portraits or spontaneous, casual photos at home. Work with a local newborn photographer to find a safe, calm location with great lighting and some privacy for your family.
"Cai took our family photos. We had very specific requirements, such as outdoor photoshoot at the location we wanted. He was able to accommodate every request we had and our timeline. He is very responsive and I never had to wait long for a reply from him. Cai had spent some time on the location, even before we got there, to familiarize himself with the place. He spent an hour with us, taking his time and creating unhurried atmosphere. Cai is very artistic and worked with us on creatively positioning our family members so that we looked our best. He encouraged us to use our props and to have fun. Our two boys, who normally despise taking pictures, for the very first time were amused and entertained with the entire process! The finished photos were wonderful, but we wanted more drama, so Cai had edited them to add more mood and drama and they are breathtaking now! We believe we got rather lucky finding such talented photographer! We absolutely recommend Cai and will use his services again!"
"Simply put, Gabi & Brandon were the best decision we made at our adventure elopement. They captured every moment so effortlessly and made both of us feel so comfortable in front of the camera, which is a huge deal for two awkward people like ourselves. We couldn't be happier with how our photos turned out, and hope to work with these two again someday! Thanks for everything you two!"
Yahay! What an exciting time – you’re engaged and apart from planning your wedding celebration, we’re guessing that you’re on the lookout for ways in which to celebrate your engagement! Planning an engagement party may be the first step, and if it is, then be sure to check out this 5-step Planning Your Engagement Party {Wedding Planning Series} guide! Next, we suggest that you have a little fun with an e-shoot inspired by your personalities and by this collection of handpicked Engagement Photo Poses and Ideas! GO ahead and dig in!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think it’s more important to have the time in your life captured…than making sure it’s captured professionally. I want to cry when I hear that some families have never had an official family photo, and so many moms just don’t get in pictures at all with their families. I’m here to offer some advice on how you can get it done this year–promise me if it hasn’t happened for a while, that it will happen for you this year!
In the days following birth it is especially difficult as babies tend to be kept swaddled in bunny rugs and all you end up seeing of them for 99% of the time is a little red head. Add to that the complication of the bumps, marks, scratches and misshaped heads that newborns also tend to arrive with and finding a flattering angle that will make more than just the proud parents ooh and aah can be difficult.
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.

CandidShutters aim is to capture all things beautiful. They are a passionate team of wedding photographers and cinematographers that love to capture and preserve the most beautiful of emotions. They are based in India and it is really great to hear wedding photography tips from different cultures and whether there are any differences in priorities. However, Pranjal from CandidShutter’s tip is universal and all about being authentic and true to yourself, he had this to say –
"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!"
If a client chose you as their wedding photographer, they put tremendous trust in your artistic vision and abilities to deliver work which they will enjoy for many years to come. If engagement sessions are something that you do not currently offer, I suggest you to look into offering them soon. Educating your client on the importance of an engagement session might prove crucial for your business and your relationship with clients. It is also a great opportunity for you to show your client what you can do without being in a time crunch.

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."
Anamaria Brandt who is also known as Ana Brandt is a maternity photographer who specializes in capturing photographs of newborn babies and pregnant women. Her work is based in Tustin, California, USA where she has her own studio. Anamaria Brandt is a celebrity photographer as well and she is the owner of Belly Baby Love. Ana Brandt is not just a photographer as she is also an author of two books which are “The Art of Pregnancy & Newborn” and “Baby Facts”. Ana has won several awards and her work has been featured in several magazines.

Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”.  The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands.  The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing.  Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
Don’t be afraid to move the parents around and tell them where they need to be. Even if you’re just casually photographing your neighbor’s family, you’re the professional and people will listen. If a location isn’t working or the light is poor in a certain area, suggest an alternative in a positive way. Say something like, “Why don’t we try moving into that large open shade area by that tree, it will give us a break from this heavy sun”, rather than, “The light is horrible here, let’s move”.

Jackie Spivey is a Keller-based photographer crafting high-quality portraits of families and newborns for over 10 years. She offers in-studio and in-home photo sessions for newborns and babies, and also takes family, wedding, and maternity photos on location. Jackie Spivey was once voted by the WFAA as one of the Top 5 Wedding Photographers in Dallas/Fort Worth.
*Don’t Make It A Big Deal *“I shoot my children not just during the holidays, but almost daily,” says Bing Liem, who lives in Ridgefield, CT. “It lets me document their lives and physical development, plus gets them comfortable with having a camera around.” At the same time, Liem learns more about photography in a risk-free environment with willing models. (Above Photo) Shallow focus helps hold viewers’ attention exactly where you want it.Bing Liem
If there are small children or babies involved make sure to get their attention. It even helps to have an assistant, tell them to bring Grandma along or a friend to help out. But what always happens is you get the kids all looking and smiling, and what are the parents doing? Looking at the kids!  Oops again! I always tell the parents, “no matter what keep looking at me as I make a total fool of myself, do NOT look at your child”.
Paige Walker Photography is a photo studio based in Fort Worth that specializes in newborn and twin newborn portraits. The business also shoots child, maternity, family, and senior portraits. The photo studio has a large variety of props and backgrounds to choose from, and Paige Walker's easy going personality keeps newborns calm. Clients have praised the photographer for her ability to make subjects feel comfortable and her beautiful photos.

This is not a decision that can be made on looks alone—you must meet your potential photographers in person. If you like what you see on their site—and their fees are in your ballpark range—call to see if they're available for your wedding date. If available, go ahead and send an introductory email with a bit about you and your soon-to-be spouse, you event and the vision for your day, and feel free to attach five or so of your very favorite photos from your research so they know what you love. If the photographer is already booked on your date, you may want to see if they have an associate or can recommend another shooter with a similar style. Set up in-person meetings with three to five potential photographers who are available on your wedding date to look at more of their work and assess whether your personalities mesh. Be prepared to talk about your venue, wedding style and what you envision for your photos.


Don’t be afraid to move the parents around and tell them where they need to be. Even if you’re just casually photographing your neighbor’s family, you’re the professional and people will listen. If a location isn’t working or the light is poor in a certain area, suggest an alternative in a positive way. Say something like, “Why don’t we try moving into that large open shade area by that tree, it will give us a break from this heavy sun”, rather than, “The light is horrible here, let’s move”.
"I needed a photographer to capture moments for an informal wedding ceremony. I am so glad that I went with Darold from Oniwagrafx! Not only was he extremely professional and punctual, he is truly a master behind the lens. He captured beautiful memories, which I received in less than a few days! I highly recommend Oniwagrafx for any and all photography/videography needs. He won't let you down."

Also, check if there's a second shooter included in the contract, and if there's not, ask about the possibility. It's likely the second shooter can be confirmed later on, but the main benefit to having two shooters is, of course, you get twice as much coverage. For example, during your formal photo session, one photographer can capture the formal photos, while the second one can get behind-the-scenes, photojournalistic photos, like your guests mingling. If you're having a larger wedding (250 guests or more), you might even want to ask about having three shooters so your photography team can be sure to capture the event from all angles.
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!

In addition to this tutorial, if you want all the info you need in one simple package with lifetime access, check out our Newborn Photography Workshop for the On-Location Photographer which Cole and I have spent months putting together all the necessary knowledge & tools to be adequately prepared for the lovely world of photographing newborns.  On sale for a limited time and all workshop participants also will get Cole’s Essential Newborn Lightroom Collection Presets, the Pricing & Positioning Yourself for Success pricing handbook, exclusive discounts & a whole lot more.  Click below to see the workshop details.
Emotional moments during the ceremony—everything from belly laughs to happy tears, both of which come out during the vows—are especially worth capturing, notes Gil. Huang says shooting poignant ceremony happenings is often both the most challenging and rewarding aspect of wedding photography: "The ceremony can be difficult because it is wildly out of the photographer's control in terms of timing, location, and lighting, but I find these moments tend to be the most real and the most sacred," she says. "It's a balance of creating beautiful images without disturbing the sanctity of the ceremony that I love."

Patty Othón is a maternity, newborn and wedding photographer whose passion for photography has motivated her to capture the happiest and most important moments in people’s lives. Patty’s work is based in Los Angeles, California and comes to cover other surrounding areas such as Orange County, Pasadena, Corona, Riverside and more areas to immortalize the happiest moments that people live there.


Newborn photography is not all as it seems. That baby in a hammock? The little girl propping her head up in that froggy pose? And the little guy in a firefighter helmet? Those are all Photoshop tricks. Babies can’t hold their heads like that, and you should never place a baby inside a prop that may tip over or otherwise endanger the baby without taking proper precautions.
“While it’s sometimes hard to develop trust in someone you just met, I truly believe that Kate always had our best interests in mind. She listened to what we had envisioned and acted on it with the most positive attitude. My favorite part of the session was how comfortable Kate made us feel. Neither my husband nor I love posing for pictures, but Kate made us feel at ease in a very relaxed and fun way!”
Some wedding photographers have an office or studio which can double as a retail photography studio. In bigger cities, one might find dedicated wedding photography studios that only cover weddings and may have large studios equipped with make-up, hair, and a selection of gowns ready for the bride to wear. Other wedding photographers may work from a home studio or from a coworking space, preferring to photograph clients on-location. These home based photographers may hire additional photographers to assist them if the wedding program is large or otherwise unmanageable by a single photographer.
Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. I always encourage mothers to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.

Every wedding will require a bit of crowd control during the family group photos. This can be a stressful time for the photographer as you aren’t aware of the specific family dynamics. Sometimes you don’t know who Uncle John is. Plus he’s probably at the bar, the toilet or anywhere other than where he should be. One of our great wedding photography tips is to get the couple to nominate a family member or someone from the bridal party to organise the people. They can gather the guests for the photos and you can concentrate on taking the photos.

Talk to your wedding photographer about how long he or she will need to take the different types of wedding portraits. For the best results, photographers agree that wedding party portraits take about 30 minutes, family portraits take about 30 minutes (if you’re sticking with only photographing close family), and couple portraits take between 45 minutes to an hour. If you’re having a “first look,” all of these can be completed before the ceremony. If you’re not having a “first look,” you can still take separate family portraits, and photos of the bridesmaids and groomsmen before the ceremony, but any portraits with the couple together will be taken during cocktail hour.

A lot of shots that you see of babies in Flickr are quite amazing in how smooth and perfect they make them look. The reality is that many babies are not quite so ‘perfect’ (however much their parents think they are). Little scratches, sleep in the eyes, snotty noses, dried milk around the mouth, blotchy skin, birth marks and bumps etc are common for all babies.


Timing for the session depends on two things : location and time of year. If you're wanting to shoot in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or downtown Philly, we may need to adjust our start time because of the buildings. What do I mean by that? In the city, the sun goes behind the buildings before it goes below the horizon, so you lose the light in the city before the sun has actually set. Generally as a rule of thumb, I recommend starting engagement sessions in the warmer months around 4:00pm, and around 3:00pm in the winter.
Digital cameras are very good at coming to a neutral exposure, but the truth is that the neutral exposure is not always the best exposure.  For example, suppose you are taking a picture of a person on a bright sunny day.  The camera will likely make the face of the person dark and the background too bright.  The “neutral” exposure is mid-way between exposing for the face and the background.
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!
You may have already done a shoot with the couple just after the Ceremony and safely have some awesome shots. However, there is something special about the light just as the sun is setting and you should definitely exploit it. Learning to use the light at sunset will once again come with experience. Do you want to shoot with the sun on the couple? Or do you want to shoot backlit? Both methods can yield stunning mantelpiece worthy photos.
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.
Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!
When I was first learning how to use my camera, lighting is what I had the most trouble with. It is so important to learn though. Lighting can make or break a photo. All the other settings can be correct, but a badly lit image will ruin it. When looking at a photographers work, you’ll want to look how their subjects are lit. You want nice even lighting without spots from the sun on a subjects face or front of the body. The image below is back lit. The sun is hitting the back of my son (don’t mind his messy hair!) and rimming him nicely. Notice there are no sun spots on his face or the front of him. The lighting on his face is nice and even. In the second image he was in the same spot, but I moved my position. The sun is now hitting his face. That side of his face is very harsh and the exposure is blown, while the side that is in the shade is correctly exposed. It I had exposed for the sun on his skin, the side in the shadow would have been underexposed. If I moved my position even more the sun would have been completely hitting him on his face. He would have been squinting and the light would not have been pleasing. You also want to avoid dappled light on the subject. Dappled light is when there are clusters of light spots on your subject.
Choosing the right family photographer is a daunting task. Perform an internet search on “Family Photographer” for your area and inevitably you will be barraged with hundreds of options, spread over many pages (hint: if they are in the sidebar, or highlighted/sponsored in the top space, they are paying to be there). You’ve probably seen a studio located on a main street in your town, or seen friends on Facebook tagged or blogged by their professional photographer in their own family sessions. And finally, there is no end in sight to the number of friends and family who have “a great eye,” a “nice camera” and “know there way around Photoshop.”
Great shots. What I've been struggling with recently is the balance between only release your best shots and how many I should deliver as proofs to a client ( along with what the concept of a proof is ). Whilst each of the examples above is a single shot I betting there were many more to choose from as an output from each session. Many of my portrait shoots are around 45 mins to a bit over an hour and in that time I will take a range of head, mid body and full length shots along with various groups. My last session took a bit over one hour with a family of 5 and resulted in around 200 pics ( a good number of which were burst mode of kids jumping off Walls ). I selected a fair range of around 60-70 pics and did some basic proof edit cropping and light balancing, the standard stuff and delivered a disc to the client. As I am starting out my model is to deliver a disc to the client rather than sell prints I don't have that bandwidth just yet and I price accordingly with that in mind. I've had some interesting conversations since that made me think I should have delivered fewer pics ( maybe 1 or 2 of each pose ) which would have meant a delivery set of about 30 pics. So what is the right balance ?
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