Jason -- Sorry for the late reply! For me, it's all about personality. I've had families who all wore gaudy Hawaiian shirts (you would think it would be horrid with the clashing, but it actually worked beautifully!), all in shades of (color), University sweatshirts, swimsuits and scuba gear, sports uniforms, whatever. Their personality and their own flavor should guide their clothing. As a general rule, I do ask that they don't mix wild patterns (with the one exception above) but other than that, I figure I can work it out by who's standing next to whom, if that makes sense.
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.
When shooting outside after a ceremony or during the posed shots you’ll probably want to keep your flash attached to give a little fill in flash. I tend to dial it back a little (a stop or two) so that shots are not blown out – but particularly in backlit or midday shooting conditions where there can be a lot of shadow, fill in flash is a must. Read more about using Fill Flash.

This camera is accomplished with its Creative Auto mode that simplifies instructions for the layman and has several pre-set modes of shooting. Once you get the idea, you can then do everything manually. The learning curve doesn’t exist. All it takes is one quick browse through the manual, or a run through on auto mode. You can pick up all those advanced tactics on the go.

I really like how you said in your third point that the woman’s head shouldn’t be tilted at a weird angle. I think this is why it’s a great idea to hire a photographer with some expertise to come and do the photos for you. My younger sister is just starting to show and has been contemplating whether or not she should take maternity photos so I think I’ll share this tip with her and see what she thinks!
Morning and dusk are the best times to take photos for lighting, but not always the most convenient time.  The lighting right before dusk is my absolute favorite!  It is warm and beautiful but for children, sometimes it is the hardest time of the day.  Morning light is beautiful as well, but sometimes a bit cool, so be prepared to do a little editing.  The afternoon light is just too harsh so avoid it is possible.  If it is not possible, find shade to take your photos in to diminish the risk of harsh shadows.
By having someone else take your photos you’re going to be able to be in a lot more of the shots, and you’ll get a lot more variety. You’ll also be able to focus more on having fun with your family – taking your own photos is definitely a bit of a juggling act! A pro behind the camera can catch a lot more of the special moments that come when you’re simply interacting with your loved ones, instead of worrying about whether your remote is working.
*Keep Lighting Soft*Direct flash almost never works—it often fights the sense of intimacy, warmth, and naturalness that characterize the best family portraits. “I avoid direct flash like the plague,” says Sue Barr. “It will flatten an image and drain it of all spontaneity.”To work without flash, you’ll want the fastest lens you can afford. This allows you to shoot in low light, defocus (and thereby declutter) backgrounds, and use fast, kid-freezing shutter speeds.Another lighting tip: avoid direct sun. “I like shooting on cloudy days,” says Barr, “and I use gold or silver reflectors to add spark.” The latter helps lighten the shadows of wrinkles, making it helpful with older family members. Family portraiture is rewarding because it gives you the chance to celebrate something that’s life affirming and positive. As amateur photographer Jeremy Rule (www.fiickr.com/ photos/JeremyRule) of North Bend, WA—whose portrait of an extended family above —says, “Family portraits rarely focus on disease, divorce, fighting, business, addiction, or a recession. When you hand a family a portrait, you’re giving them something to celebrate, bond, and rally around.”Jeremy Rule
Most of the time when I meet with potential clients, they say the same thing. They don’t want their parents’ wedding photos. They want natural, unposed documentation of their wedding from someone who isn’t going to interrupt the natural flow of the day. The good news is, many (and I’d argue most) wedding photographers have already moved towards this kind of wedding photography. With the exception of a few photographers who have built a reputation on the fact that they will pose and move you during the events of the day to create perfect images (and please do ask photographers about this. There is nothing worse than being poked and prodded and posed all day if what you really wanted was someone to hang back and blend in with the scenery), a good majority of photographers are going to capture your wedding as it happens. But if most wedding photographers are approaching their work from a similar logistical standpoint, well, the end results couldn’t be more different. So how do you know what makes a good photo? What should you be looking for when you look at a photographer’s portfolio?

(Above) Balloon Engagement Photo Pose Ideas: There’s something about balloons that just makes everything feel whimsical and filled with joy! Add a dash of whimsy and an extra dose of joy to your engagement photo’s by using a few regular sized balloons or one large giant balloon each as photo props. {Left image by Thousand Crane Photography here, right image by Claire Thomson Photography here.}
If you are looking for an adventure elopement any type of adventure photography sessions you MUST have these two amazing humans do it!! Gabi & Brandon are such amazing photographers and it shows in their work!! My husband and I Never had professional pictures taken before so we were a bit camera shy but immediately got over that with them by our sides. Every picture came out to be absolutely beautiful. Seriously, just pick these guys as your photographers...they were born to do this. You will not be disappointed!!
This one is a biggie when answering the question of “How do I choose a family photographer.” Are you looking for a cheap, quick and easy process where you only need 1 or 2 good images or do you really value the images that the amount of money you spend is less important? The easiest way to narrow down your list of family photographers is to set a budget. This being said, it’s important to understand that in the photography industry, you get what you pay for.  Our pricing is usually based on experience and a professional photographer comes with a professional price tag. Additionally, professionals use price as a way to attract clients who truly value photography. I would rather work with someone willing to communicate and put the time, effort and money into achieving a great set of images then someone who is just bargain hunting. If you’re looking for a cheap and quick photo, consider using a new and budding photographer who is trying to build their portfolio or a set portrait service in a department store studio. If you really do value photography but are low on funds a cheap option is to look for mini-session specials from the photographers you really love. These are usually quick 10-20 minute sessions in a set location that include only a few digital files and photographers of all levels usually do sales on this kind of session at least once a year.
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.
Ansley Beth Photography is a Grapevine-based portrait photographer offering candid photo sessions for individuals and families. They specialize in portraits of newborns, expectant mothers, families, and high school seniors, and also provides photo coverage for intimate weddings. Clients commend the team of Ansley Beth Photography for their patience and ability to make subjects feel comfortable and confident.
Anyway, thanks for these tips… For a guy with boys of two, it’s pretty neat to read that I have been doing the right thing all this while… There’s no such thing as enough photos when it comes to self-triggered shots.. One thing that I have to seriously put into action is the “Make it An Event” part.. most often than not, we tend not to put priority on the group photos as we get busy planning the place to visits, transportations, FOOD!, etc. I will surely put this one in my checklist for our next family vacation…
We photograph you at your house, on your property, a park or any place of your choosing within a 30-mile radius. Multiple poses of your family will be taken. The images are processed on the same day and can be viewed either in our studio or at your location with your photographer. A clothing change for the family can be added for $45. Please call for a quote if your chosen location is farther than 30 miles from our studio.
…hoping to inspire your clients in their choices of clothing and accessories, make sure that the work you are displaying portrays the kind of look that meshes with your style. Offer to help select clothing and even go the extra step to assist in shopping for new pieces or outfits. Many times I’ll arrive at a client’s home and they’ll have put together several options for looks for the kids or family, and then I can assist in making the final decisions. Another quick option is to just have them email you a few quick iPhone shots of the outfits they are considering so you can lend a little guidance. And feel free to point them to this post for pointers and examples!
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