DO pre-plan. "Don't walk into a wedding thinking you can go with the flow. Weddings aren't like street photography, where you can walk around taking pictures," says wedding pro Jonathan Scott, who has studios in both New York and Florida. "Pre-planning will make sure you don't miss important shots." Scout the location in advance for good backgrounds and lighting. Do Internet searches for the venue to see how other photographers capture the location.

Don’t see a shot list as necessarily being a bad thing. Have some shots in mind that you and the couple have discussed prior to the wedding. This way you can discuss the feasibility of the ideas. Plus if they want a shot with Auntie Edna you will know to capture that specific photo. A shot list can be unnecessary for the things you know you will capture. But for the more obscure things a couple wants photos of it can be a great thing.


2. Backdrop board. I have a couple DIY backdrop boards that I made for about $10 each (full instructions in this post). I stand one up against the backs of two of my kitchen chairs. The backdrop boards can be used alone for a solid colored background, or can be used to drape blankets from for more background options. The background should be angled so it faces the right or left side of the window, not the middle of it, as you can see in the photo above. This will allow the baby’s head to be a little closer to the window than her feet, allowing the light to hit her forehead first, causing gentle shadows just under her nose and chin. If you don’t have a backdrop board, stand two kitchen chairs backwards here anyway so you can drape a blanket from them. If you use a backdrop board it must be secured with clamps to the chairs it stands in front of to assure it will not fall over.
One advantage of DSLRs is how much they just “get out of the way”. Maybe it seems silly, but when shooting a DSLR I never really have to think about the process of using the camera, with all the mirrorless cameras I’ve used there always seems to be something that gets in the way (poor EVF brightness or refresh rate, slower autofocus speed, ergonomics, button placement and how quickly they make adjustments – the list goes on).
4.  Can you really afford them?  Not all photographers list their complete pricing (or any pricing at all) on their website.  There’s nothing wrong with this, it just means they want to chat with you a bit before they tell you what they charge.  You’ll just want to make sure that before you book, you understand what your final cost will be.  If their website says “Session fee of $150, prints and digital images sold separately,” you’ll probably want to think about what you want and make sure you know what it will cost before you book.  We’ll talk about some of this in greater detail in my next post!
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.
Both the beanbag and nursing pillow can be disguised with blankets or backdrops, so bring a few different colours if you have them available. Bring more than one of anything you need that the baby will be lying on — or you may be stuck if that item is peed on. Baskets and buckets also work well for posing newborns, but again, make sure you can use those props safely.
Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:

DO learn the basics. Visit the websites of wedding photographers and see how they do it. "Try assisting an experienced wedding photographer. You will see first hand how it's done, with zero pressure on you," recommends Dennis Pike, the northern New Jersey photographer who shot the couple in the car at left. "The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the people you are photographing will feed off of that."
Iqbal. To find out what type of camera, you just download any of the images then right click and select properties…then navigate to details. If the file meta hasn’t been removed, it will be there. The ‘camping’ photo, for instance was taken using a Nikon d700, at a focal length of 50mm, at f1.4 . However, you also want to know that that photo was retouched in Lightrooom, so some of the toning could have been done there.

Thank you so much for sharing your advice! So what do you think - is it easier to pose people outside, with gorgeous backgrounds and the natural terrain/props to help you create interesting portraits, or is it easier in a studio? My business partner and I will be taking family portraits for a fundraiser (indoors, on-location) and it we will be using a backdrop. I much prefer taking photos outdoors because I feel it is easier to put people at ease and there is the option to change things up a little more. I am afraid these mini-session portraits will be boring. I'd love to hear some studio posing tips geared toward family photos if anyone is willing to share them.
Julie always advises her clients to be natural. That is, where what you would normally where in your daily life… whatever you’re comfortable wearing. And Julie highly recommends not matching. Mainly because that is not natural (for most people anyway :). Also, don’t clean up the house too much. A “lived in” look is how most families live so why should it be any different for your family photos? And finally, try to relax and enjoy the experience even when baby is crying, toddler is running around, and the dog is being ornery. Sometimes, those chaotic, unscripted shots are the best and most memorable.

This isn’t always the case, but often, full-time photographers are more likely to be reliable, responsive and fast; carry business insurance; have backup equipment in case of camera failure; and institute proper backup procedures in case of hard drive failure or memory card loss. A full-time photographer is more likely to be operating legally as a business, be technically competent and be consistently investing in professional development. A full-time photographer is more likely to understand the costs of being in business and is more likely to still be in business and able to serve as a resource for years to come.
Once everything's in one format, be steadfast in backing up your digital files, no matter the means. If you store your images on an external hard drive, DVD, or a storage Website, remember it's only effective if your images make their way onto the device. Get into the habit of backing up your photos immediately by considering it the final step of your uploading process.
The key to posing newborns is to take your time. Really take your time. Posing your newborn takes a few steps. First, get the baby naked and wrap her up tight in a blanket, then hold her close to your chest and rock back and forth to settle her back to sleep. It usually doesn’t take long if she was sleepy to begin with, but be willing to wait a few minutes until she’s fully asleep.
Krista is natural light portrait, senior, and wedding photographer in Northwest Arkansas. A lover of golden fields, buttery backlight, and authentic emotion, she strives to transform the mundane into the magical by showcasing amazing light and interaction in her photography. She is a devoted wife and mother of a spirited daughter, who also serves as her muse. Krista loves spicy Mexican food, reality TV, the ocean, and connecting with nature. She is the author of Transforming the Mundane Into Magical.

Some tips for weddings are simpler than others. If you want to be discreet and as unobtrusive as possible then put your camera into silent shutter mode. This is particularly handy during the Ceremony especially if you are in close quarters with the couple. Some times it can feel a bit laggy and slow in comparison to full-on continuous mode shooting. Therefore just adjust it to suit the situation.

If you're working with a hair and makeup artist for your wedding day, now might be a great time for a trial. If you're just in town for the shoot, I can recommend some wonderful artists for you. While professional hair and makeup are not a must, it can help boost your confidence and ease the getting-ready process on the day of the shoot. I recommend staying away from bright whites, heavily visible logos, or crazy mismatched patterns. While trends heavily lean towards things-that-look-like-they-would-clash-but-they-don't pattern mixing, be careful that you don't go overboard. You don't want your outfits to pull attention from your faces!


Jeckyl Photo creates portraits of kids in all stages of childhood. The Fort Worth photo studio shoots maternity photos, newborn photos, and babies at their sitting, walking, and standing stages. The business also shoots senior portraits, engagement photos, and wedding day photos. Clients have praised the company for its beautiful pictures and knowledgeable photographer.
“The key is developing and following one’s own style. One should not try and copy others but develop their own style and try and create a niche segment around it with their expertise in that field. This way the increasing competition does not affect one’s business. Good branding is an important aspect as well. So developing a niche style and promoting your business around that style is the key to survival and growth for every wedding photographer.”

The wardrobe: Whether you're going formal or casual, solid colors are a must. Try to avoid plaids, florals, patterns and head-to-toe black or white clothing—and keep the silhouettes streamlined. Some couples coordinate their clothing palettes to the point of looking a bit matchy, but there's no need to go overboard. If you're worried about color, pick a neutral and a few coordinating color tones you both like and stick to those hues.


Once you have the baby posed, step back and look at the whole picture for a few minutes, checking for details that need fixing. If her hand is visible, make sure you can see all her fingers are visible – sometimes one or two get tucked into a fist and then if the photo it looks like the baby only has three fingers. Also, be sure baby’s eyes are closed completely – in the second photo above the baby’s eyes are not quite closed. A simple stroke down the bridge of her nose will cause her to close her eyes all the way. Make sure the headband is positioned how you’d like, and the background blanket is free of wrinkles, etc. Above all, make sure the baby looks comfortable and peaceful – if not, try again.

Remember that your photographer is the pro, so—while it’s helpful—you shouldn’t spend too much time putting together a detailed shot list for them. Instead, pass along your day-of timeline, give them an idea of what images you’d like captured (like a shot with each of your bridesmaids in addition to wedding party portraits) and let them do their thing. This is also the perfect moment to give them a heads up on any familial or friendship intricacies they should be aware of, like divorced parents, a grandmother that needs to remain sitting for portraits or a groomsman and bridesmaid that don’t get along (hey, it happens!). If you’re hoping to get your wedding day published online or in a magazine down the road, be sure to relay that to your photographer. This way, they’ll put extra emphasis on snapping shots of all your amazing details and will likely come armed with gorgeous styling accessories, like ribbons, linens and more, with the goal of helping your wedding aesthetic truly stand out.
That’s it! No expectations other than fun. Then prepare yourself. Bring along props, get mom to bring one of their favourite toys or books. I usually have a hand puppet and bubbles in my camera bag along with my gear. If the kids don’t want to sit and smile don’t force them. Then them run around and be kids for a while and shoot that. Play with them, make it fun. Then they may cooperate and sit for a bit a few minutes later.
All the photography advice in the world can’t really prepare you for the unexpected things that can go wrong. Ultimately, this is going to come down to the experiences you have when you’ve shot a heck load of weddings. However, as long as it isn’t completely and utterly devastating you should embrace the unexpected. These are the parts of the day that will particularly stand out as memories for the couple.
Get Down Low – one key to many natural baby shots is to get down on their level. I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last week or two lying on the floor next to Xavier. It’s something I think we both enjoy anyway but it’s also a great place to use your camera. Getting down low and getting in close (see below) does present some challenges in terms of focal length (I’m using a 24-105 zoom – usually at the widest focal length) but it means you end up with shots that feel like you’ve entered the babies world rather than you’re looking down on it from above.
Or in this case, your pictures are worth thousands of £/$/€ (depending on your currency). Once you have delivered your photos to the couple and they absolutely love them. Ask them if they know anyone else who is getting married and have they booked a photographer yet. Referrals are a great way to acquire bookings as their friends have often seen you working at the wedding. They also then get to see the end result in the form of wedding photographs.
Thaddeus Harden Photography is a photography studio based in Southlake, Texas, serving Dallas, Arlington, Irving, Fort Worth, Colleyville, Bedford, Grapevine, Flower Mound Denton, Frisco, Garland, Plano, Carrolton, and Southlake. They have served renowned clients in the City of New York for more than 28 years. Now, Thaddeus Harden brings their talent to Texas as a newborn, maternity, and family photographer. Thaddeus Harden Photography conducts portrait photography services.
Excellent information! I’ll be doing my first maternity shoot in a few months. A friend of mine is preggers and we are getting so excited about doing her session. Just bought the cutest basket to put her sweet baby girl in once we get to the newborn session!! The information here is going to come in so handy for me shortly!! Thanks for posting this!! 🙂
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!
Consider the Lilies Photography offers portrait sessions in the North Dallas and surrounding areas. All digital images are beautifully edited, high-resolution and delivered in both color and black-and-white for your unlimited self-printing, with the option to purchase additional professional-quality prints and products. Working with Consider the Lilies Photography, you’ll choose from portrait session packages that fit your family’s needs, such as the “Watch Me Bloom” mini portrait session that captures and preserves all of those precious childhood moments without investing in a multi-hour portrait session. A unique offering is the “Newborn & Family Lifestyle” in-home portrait session which highlights the connection of your loved ones in the natural and relaxed environment of your own home — perfect for welcoming a precious newborn baby. If you’re looking for beautiful portraits to adorn your home and to create memories of your loved ones that will last a lifetime, visit the website to learn more today!
Instant viewing of your photo session is made available with a custom online slide show posted to the Bella Baby website (protected with a unique password), thus enabling distant friends and family members the opportunity to share the experience. Online viewing and ordering is offered for two weeks to anyone you choose to share your password; immediate in-hospital purchasing is also available.
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.

This comes up a lot, and I’m more than happy to talk through your ideas and offer suggestions. I LOVE coordinating outfits (take a look at my family portraits). My biggest suggestion is coordinate, not necessarily match. Pick 2 or 3 colors that you want to use, keeping in mind the room in your home that you want to display your wall portrait. If you have red walls, do you want to wear greens and have it look too “Christmas-y”? Do you want to wear orange and browns if your family room is teal and grey? I spend a lot of brain power in planning our outfits. But be yourself, and the personality will shine through. *Upon booking your session, I will email you a link with style and color boards with lots of ideas for what to wear, like this:
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.
If you have a dSLR and any lenses with wide aperture capabilities (like a 28-70 2.8 or even a 50 1.8) I’d recommend using one of those lenses and keeping your aperture open fairly wide, around 2.8. That will help to blur the background and make the photographs look a little more professional. If not, don’t sweat it – turning off your flash will force your camera to use the widest aperture it’s got (using the portrait setting will also help here). Your camera may have a harder time keeping the shutter speed high if it’s not very bright in your house, so consider using a tripod if you have one. Better equipment sometimes makes for better photos, but knowing how to use what you have is really more important. If you have a few months before your baby is born, spend a little time getting to know your camera. If you don’t have time to practice, following my tips will still help you improve your photos.
Don't just dump everything in your system's default folders (such as My Pictures), though they're fine to use as a root and might be easier to migrate if/when you switch machines. Figure out how you'll need to find them again, and how often. How do you remember? What's the first thing that comes to mind for you--where you shot something or when you shot it? Do you need different systems for different computers? While keywording and tagging are certainly best practices, they do add extra overhead to a process that you might not be able to maintain and you don't necessarily need to do it. And if you think you'll only need to find a given photo every now and then, you don't need to get very elaborate.
As with all photography lighting is key. If you are shooting inside and can’t afford expensive lighting use the most flattering and cheapest form of light there is – sun light! Position your group facing or parallel to a large clean window, if it is a particularly bright day cover it with a thin veil of material, such as a net curtain or peg a white cotton sheet across to act as a diffuser for softer, more flattering light.
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