Ashley, I loved your post. I am huge on annual family photos. I think it’s so important to capture a nice photo of your growing/changing family at least once a year! I love how your pictures turned out. They are very nice and the same style I like to go for. I am getting into photography and would like to do our own someday. Thanks for all the tips. I completely agree with all of them and try to do them already but seeing it written down helps to instill those ideas even more for our next shoot.

Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your camera manual.
In my 6 years in business, I have photographed over 300 newborns, I have taken posing and safety workshops, I've had three babies of my own! :) Let's not forget to talk about, insurance; yes, I'm fully insured! Although reasonable DSLR cameras are easily accessible to consumers, what matters most is the skill it takes to manually and creatively use that equipment. I have personally invested over $40k in camera, lenses, studio lighting, computers, latest editing software, management systems. Over 20K in quality newborn props; backdrops, floors, outfits, headbands, hats, wood props, blankets, wraps to name a few but that's just the expense of want it takes to produce an image, it does not include my CODB; taxes, licenses, memberships, subscriptions, fees, marketing..etc. It's an investment I have made and will continue to make into my business. Most importantly and above all else, a commitment I make to every single client of mine that I will produce the best possible photographs.
I also suggest the option of styling the session to my clients. While they can style the shoot according to their own taste, I also recommend getting it done professionally. It is relatively inexpensive and saves a lot of time for the couple. I show portfolios of planners, who stylize events and engagement sessions and put my clients in touch with them.
Their portraits are offered in color, black and white, or sepia tones. Her website showcases several of her favorite maternity photography, newborn photography, baby photography, child photography, family photography and wedding photography. Albums are the heirlooms for your family, and your images will shape how you remember these days for generations. We believe in creating timeless, elegant images fit to grace the pages of magazines and tell the unique stories of your family. We aim to create beautiful, dramatic, personal images that capture your personalities and your day.

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
5.  Consider some technical details.  There are photos I took 5 years ago that I thought were amazing at the time and now realize they were out of focus, or my editing made the people look purple, or the highlights were blown out.  If you (like a normal person) haven’t spent a lot of time poring over tons of professional photos with a discerning eye, you may not really know what to look for.  Maybe some of these finer technical points wouldn’t bother you, or maybe the photographer you can afford isn’t quite as technically proficient as the photographer who charges $500 more.  That’s okay, these are just a few things to consider.  First let’s talk about focus.  Often, the best way to tell if a photo is properly focused is to look at the eyes.  In the two photos below, you can see a lot more detail in her eyes on the left than on the right.  I missed the focus on the second image, so that one was not given to my clients.

You don't want to be in the position as the wedding photographer of needing to fight the client after the fact (or during!) with what they have and have not paid for.  Before the event, clearly communicate to them what services you are prepared to offer for the price they pay.  Do you include digital files?  How many hours of work will you shoot?  Are you going to shoot the reception too?  Is there a travel charge?  What prints are included?  Will you do an album?  Provide answers or face the wrath of bridezilla. (Thanks Gaelene Gangel)
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."
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.
I want my clients to be comfortable in what they are wearing. I ask my clients to wear something that will match their personality. At the same time, I tell them that I love working with neutral colors (or even pastels). I am also not quite fond of different textures. My preferences are my preferences and if they do not consider them, I do not get upset over it. I keep on reminding my clients of the fact that if they look good, they will feel good. If they feel good, they will photograph outstandingly.
Visit the locations of the different places that you’ll be shooting before the big day. While I’m sure most Pros don’t do this – I find it really helpful to know where we’re going, have an idea of a few positions for shots and to know how the light might come into play. On one or two weddings I even visited locations with the couples and took a few test shots (these made nice ‘engagement photos’).
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.
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.
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”.
Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc. These tend to take the “finished” look of a professional portrait down a few notches, can be distracting (who wants people to first notice the Nike or Gap logo before the adorable little kid’s smile?) and will date a photo quickly. I’m having flashbacks to me wearing Esprit tee-shirts with my Guess jeans back in grade school, right along side my little brother in his Gotcha shirt (and if you’re sitting there wondering what I’m talking about, you must not be an 80’s child, LOL). Note: There are a few instances where a more stylized graphic on a shirt can look good if it fits the vibe of a photo, for instance, in my six year old’s birthday session we did a total punk rock theme to go along with her party. She wore a Johnny Cash tee with her tutu and baby sis rocked a Ramones tee.
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