If you are doing the session in the client’s home, posed newborn sessions require nearly the same amount of prep as a wedding.  You need quite a bit of “stuff” and it is easy to forget something so I make sure to pack the night before and use a checklist so I don’t forget anything (I’m a mom with a very limited memory).  To make your life a bit easier, I’ve made a print ready checklist you can use which is included in the newborn photography toolkit – one of the FREE limited time bonuses included in our online Newborn Photography Workshop.
I would love to meet up and talk about your hopes and dreams — Meet your partner in crime, and little(s), and hear your love story. I hope you will give me the chance to get to know you. I will bring some samples, talk about what it’s like to do a playdate with me, answer all of your questions and calm your anxieties, and you can get a feel for what it is like to work with me.
Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
When it comes to props, I gently discourage them. The point of the engagement session is to create beautiful portraits of you two together, and the addition of props is just a distraction. I know that there are many websites that will encourage you to bring vintage items, huge bunches of balloons, signs to hold, and so forth, but then the entire engagement shoot becomes all about those props and less about you two together. If you have always dreamed of running across the Brooklyn Bridge together holding a huge cluster of balloons, then let's do it….but let's open the session with that and then put the balloons away. Likewise, if you have a Thank You sign or a Save The Date sign, let's shoot those quickly and then tuck them in your bag. I want to create a shoot that fully brings to life your vision for engagement pictures, but I also want to focus on you!
Newborn sessions are often a few hours long, all for a handful of pictures. Patience is key when working with newborns. Much of the time during the session will be spent getting the baby calm, moving to new poses and taking the inevitable break because baby is hungry or has a dirty diaper — or worse, but common, dirtied your prop or backdrop because there was no diaper.
Think about it: Your photographer doesn't automatically know that your wedding photo list would include a shot of your mom with all her sisters, or that you want a photo with all the cousins. Consider this wedding photo list a family portrait checklist for your photographer. By providing this wedding photo list before the big day, your photographer will be able to plan out the portrait timing, and which family wedding photos to take when. Not sure who to include in your wedding family photo list? We've done the hard work for you!
Our baby is pretty predictable in terms of his daily routine (we seem to have got him pretty settled into one already somehow) but there are moments all day long that he does something cute, disgusting, funny and worth capturing. Without the camera handy you’ll miss these moments as they are usually fleeting. We tend to leave our DSLR in our livingroom where we spend most of our time with him but also have a point and shoot in the bedroom for other shots.
It seems like every wedding planning blog we look at makes this recommendation but we have absolutely no idea why they are telling couples to do this! The only shot list we need from you is the list of family formal photos you would like (which we will ask for in the questionnaires we send to you) so we can make sure to budget enough time to get your family formals completed and that will help that part of the day run much more smoothly. For the rest of the day we will be watching for important moments. If we are having to check things off a list it is very likely that we will miss something that we otherwise would have been able to capture because we were staring at a piece of paper trying to make sure we “get the shots on the list” instead of paying attention to what is going on at your wedding! We shoot many, many, MANY weddings and understand the flow and key moments of a wedding day and you will get our absolute best work if you let us pay attention to what is happening around us instead of hunting down shots on a list.
Purchase equipment frugally. Having quality equipment is important for taking high-quality photos, but you need not invest all of your savings in brand new, high-end equipment before you really start your career. You can buy used equipment in good working condition, purchase older models at a discount after a new model comes out, rent equipment, or even borrow equipment until you are sure that your business will be successful.[3]
Get dressed up! And schedule ample time for the shoot. We usually make it the only thing on our schedule for the morning or afternoon, and don’t have anywhere else to rush off to. Often it takes a lot longer than you expect for everyone to get ready, to go and find the perfect spot (we try to figure out where we’ll shoot before the actual day, especially if we have to drive there), take all the shots, and then pack up. And by the end everyone will be a bit tired! So make your shoot a priority for the day, and you’re much more likely to get it done, and enjoy the process.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lighting: If you talk to any photographer, they’ll tell you that lighting is 90% of what makes a photo good or bad. One of the best ways to understand lighting is to hold up your hand and face your palm toward a window. Then start rotating your hand back and forth and look at the different ways shadows are cast on your hand as you move it around. If you face your hand directly at the window, the light falls very evenly and cleanly, but if you start moving your hand at a ninety degree angle away from the window, it creates shadows that make your hand look moody and dramatic. This is what photographers do all day. We analyze light. So as you’re looking through photographers’ portfolios, you’ll start to notice that we all play with light differently. Some photographers prefer really bright photos that make the world look light and airy, while others use light to create mood and emotion. For example, take the photos below. They are of the same bride, taken moments apart, but the light is totally different, and therefore the photos are totally different.
For cameras and camcorders, it really pays to buy a card reader if you don't have the necessary media slot in your system, though most recent computers have at least an SD card slot. While you can connect the devices directly to your computer, standalone drives or slots tend to be a bit faster, and the goal of this exercise is to make downloading as painless as possible so that you'll actually do it regularly. Phones, on the other hand, tend to have inconveniently located spots for their flash media, and use tiny, easy-to-lose microSD cards. You're better off leaving those in the device. Tablets fall somewhere between, some with only built-in memory, some with easily accessible SD slots.
Sam helped us really figure out what we were wanting and how to achieve that feeling...and gave us the confidence to stick to our wishes, even if they were non-traditional! She honestly felt like working with a goofy friend. The pictures were more than we could have imagined...and for my husband who really is shy in front of the camera? You never would have known! Sam made it SO easy.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!
I set up our family shots with my DSLR on a tripod and then I used a 10-second timer to take the photos!  I also set my camera to take three photos in a row.  So I had 10 seconds to run into place, fix my clothes and hair and smile at the camera!  All the while my kiddos yelled, “run mommy run!” Believe me, we got some genuine smiles and laughter from them watching mommy run and act like a crazy person!

We are so delighted that you are here. The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is an association whose mission is to promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. To accomplish this mission, NAPCP provides the most comprehensive resources for its members, bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their skills, their artistry, and their businesses.
The fall family photography season is upon us. This is the busiest time for family photographers, especially here in Connecticut with the changing leaves and beautiful fall colors. With so many photographers to choose from, I thought it would be helpful to do a post with helpful tips on how to choose a family photographer. Whether you hire me, or another CT professional photographer, you’ll want to keep these suggestions in mind.  I hope this posts helps you know how to choose a family photographer from the start that is professional, experienced, and will provide you with quality images you will cherish forever.
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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