One of my biggest mistakes, when I was starting out, was that I brought all my props/wraps/blankets/headbands to every single session. When I got set up, I would have a mini panic attack because I had no idea where I should start. Now I plan 3-4 different setups (based on the client’s preferences and expectations) and that’s all. I am often inspired by something the client owns as well, such as a blanket knitted by Grandma or something else that’s special to mom and dad, so it is not uncommon for me to not even use everything I bring.
You’ve probably seen a wide variety of newborn baby poses, from a sweet swaddle to a baby in a basket or hanging in a sling from a branch. Lots of the poses you may have seen might take half an hour just to set up, and some actually require having an assistant hold the baby in position and then editing out the assistant’s hands in post processing. Some people love these more creative poses; some people hate them. Personally I think some (when well done) are kind of cool, but I really prefer more natural poses that don’t look contrived. Since my goal here is to help you take better photos of your own newborn at home, I’m going to share three simple, go-to poses that you’ll be able to use without extra equipment (or even extra help).
It usually takes at least a month to get all those photo proofs back from your photographer. Why? Your photographer is shooting enormous raw files far bigger than your typical JPG. Shooting raw files gives your photographer greater ability to correct the photo, but it also takes a longer time to upload, process and edit all those files (in order to correct color levels and so on). It varies, but many photographers say they spend an additional 40 hours editing images from a single wedding, so it can take up to six to eight weeks (or longer, depending on the photographer and how busy they are) to get proofs back. Here's what to ask: How many images should I expect? Will they be high resolution or low resolution? Will I be able to get prints made myself, or does the photographer retain the rights to the images? Will the proofs I see be the retouched versions, or does that happen after I select the photos I want? Speaking of retouching, ask about retouching options and special effects (which can range from simple white balancing to beauty retouching and stylized art effects like super-saturated colors) and the additional cost for both.
For us, all we wanted to do all day from the second we got up in the morning was to see one another! Our wedding day was such a huge day for us and we wanted to experience as much of it as we could together. Plus, we aren’t exactly huge fans of being the center of attention, so seeing each other before the ceremony gave us a sense of “ok, we can do this together.” When Marianne walked down the aisle, both of us were just floored because it wasn’t until that moment that it hit us: we are getting married today. We are getting married right now! This is the beginning of the rest of our lives together!
Erin Montante Photography is a full-service studio offering clean, modern custom portraits for clients in the Dallas area. Their team offers maternity, newborn, baby, child, and family photography, and provides additional services such as custom framing, photo stationery, and in-home art consultations. Owner Erin Montante is a member of the Professional Photographers of America.
I am very picky when it comes to photos and Laura just blew me away. The entire process start to finish was a pleasant, seamless experience. And the quality of the photos is unreal! The gorgeous images you see on her Facebook and website are exactly what you can expect to receive. There is no disappointment with her. I couldn't be more happy with our decision to use Laura for these once in a lifetime pictures. I can't wait to get them on my walls!"
What are you willing to invest in getting the images that will bring you (and your kids) back to this moment? Are you willing to save up for the perfect experience? Are you willing to make payments? Or do you have other things that you have to prioritize and you’ll have to make compromises in one place or another? Of course we all have to manage a budget, and this may be a place where you make it a priority, or a place you are ok with making a compromise.
Just as important as getting some light in the eyes is having it come from a good direction. We’ve established overhead isn’t good direction, neither is straight from camera. So turning on your built-in pop flash isn’t going to give you good light. Neither is sticking a speedlight on top. Light direct from the camera angle flattens the subject, that is not what you want. You want the light to come from the side more, 30-45 degrees from camera is a good starting point. To learn more about this read my article on the 6 Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know.
It's funny, but I have seen “Uncle Bob” ruin more wedding photos than you could possibly believe. What I mean by this is that there will (almost) always be someone in the wedding party who likes to get in the way. They either tell people how to pose while you're trying to get everyone in the right spot, or they step in front of you to take pictures, etc. The wedding photographer must be CONFIDENT and take charge. Simply saying something like “Thanks for your help. I'm trying to do something a little different here. Is it all right with you if I go ahead and get the posing set up here?” It might seem forward, but your couple will be glad to see you moving quickly and getting the photos done correctly. (Thanks Julie Gallagher)
Family, just kids, or high school seniors. My favorite portrait sessions are capturing family interaction and play at your own home or favorite family spot or taking a high school senior around town to celebrate adulthood. The Custom Portrait Session is a collaboration between my ideas and those that hold special meaning to you. Do you love to go get ice cream as a family? Love to make pancakes together on Saturday mornings? Have a favorite game you play in your yard? I am a “fly on the wall” capturing your family as they are, in a photo journalistic way, not posed. I want you to walk away from this session with a documentation of a slice of your life. I don’t want you to have a “hard time choosing” because I want you to have them all, so this package is all inclusive! For this purpose, I carefully select the best images from our session with a “storytelling album” in mind, and they are all available to you so you don’t have to choose. Images that paint a picture…the story of you. Sorry, no newborn sessions at this time.
“When shooting a wedding I try to keep my set up really simple. I find that the more toys to play around with takes time away from the thing I am most interested in documenting: the people. Generally, I roll with 2 DSLR bodies, 2 lenses (Canon 50mm f/1.2L/Canon, 24mm f/1.4L) and a Pelican case full of cards in my pocket. I have other gear there on the day just in case but that’s pretty much it.”
“My husband was hesitant of the cost at first, but at our session I remember thinking, ‘yep, she’s worth it.’ Kate brought her A-game and we were both significantly impressed with Kate’s patience, positivity and consistent high energy with the kids. We had never experienced this before and realized THIS is why Kate’s the best. No fake smiles, no fake laughs. There’s a reason the best photographers come at a price.”
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.
Fans – A fan can introduce some motion into your portrait (think wind-blown hair or clothes). But they can also make it comfortable to work in hot studios. Continuous studio lights and strobes with modelling light generate a fair amount of heat. A fan can help provide some comfort. (In a small photography studio, you may prefer to use small speed lights.)
“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.”
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!
She advises against using a Speedlight mounted on the camera. While this may be her preference, and often for good reason, it really depends on your location's light. I tend to shoot in open shade under a large tree where it can get pretty dark. Shadows under the eyes, nose and chin can be eliminated with a slight flash fill. In post processing, I'll using Lightroom's dodge tool to add more light to faces, if necessary. Even a half-stop boost will make your subjects stand out.
Nothing is worse than one photographer trying to conduct two large families for photos. I like to plan a time for the bride's family to be there, and shoot their photos, then I'll have the groom's family come to shoot everyone together, then I ask the bride's family to leave while I shoot the groom's family. Works like a charm. The last thing you want is for people to be standing around waiting on you. (Thanks Michaelle Parsons Mulhollan)
Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus. Turn on the Live View so you can see the image on your screen. Hit your “zoom” button (it may have a magnifying glass or a “+” sign on it) once or twice. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. Press zoom again to return to normal view and turn off Live View.
We used to photograph both larger weddings and elopements, but these days we are 100% elopement photographers. We want to focus on delivering the absolute best expertise in this niche that we can. From beginning to end, we’re deeply involved in the whole planning process, because your elopement is about a lot more than just epic photos. We want you to have an unforgettable experience that leaves you wishing the day would never end! Having photographed many elopements all over the country, we know exactly what goes into crafting and capturing a perfect elopement experience. We love being tour guides, and we love taking pictures, but our favorite part of being an elopement photographer is hands down the fun times we have romping around these epic landscapes with our new friends.
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Both of my sisters had babies around the same time last year (they're 10 wks apart). One sister did the whole enchilada and spent hundreds of dollars on a photo session and got some really breathtaking photos and made some into large canvas wall hangings they put in the house. My other sister went to JCPenny and had the photo shoot there for about 1/10 of the cost. While the professional ones were really amazing, they were too expensive for family members to purchase or my sister to give out as gifts unlike the ones from JCPenny that we all got copies of. The JCPenny ones were not ALL great but there were definitely some gems.
This is the biggest question I get from almost all of my couples. While clothing is very subjective, your clients will seek assurance from you that their style is worth being photographed in. Regardless of what you say, your clients will probably end up wearing something they feel most comfortable in. However, from your experience, you can guide your clients into choosing to wear things that will look good in the camera.
I like that you pointed out how some photographers will be able to give digital copies of the photos by downloading it on a CD/DVD. I will look for a photographer who does that to ensure we have two copies of the images. We just need to have family pictures done starting now that we have kids, and we plan to do it every year on January to save memories of how we look together.
Being as I am just started out I figured it might be a good idea to get my feet wet in those editing programs before I take the big leap into Photoshop and pay it’s ungodly price!! (lol) anyhow, if you can think of a better site where I might get a little more practice editing pictures please let me know. And please let me know your honest opinion of the aforementioned websites.
Finding the perfect location is an important part of planning for the photo shoot of your dreams. I have my favorite places, and usually make a recommendation during our consultation based on your personality and style, but I always welcome your location ideas. I’d love to know if there is a place that is sentimental to your family so we can discuss our options and plan the best location to suit your family.
Kids are naturally photogenic. Instead of bending over backwards to create posed photos that look natural, try capturing the essence of special moments in your daily life. Take photos of your kids swinging from the monkey bars, splashing along the shoreline or tromping down the side of a large hill. Thanks to digital photography, you don’t have to worry about wasting film. You can take as many shots as you like until you find the ones that have the fresh, yet timeless feel you are looking for.