Few styles of portrait photography are as tricky as newborn photos — the unpredictable infant is always in charge! The best way to ensure a successful photo shoot is to work with a local newborn photographer within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. Some photographers even work with hospitals to offer newborn sessions within a day of the baby’s birth. But newborn photographers usually recommend scheduling a shoot during the baby’s first two weeks of life, while the baby is still sleepy and relatively cooperative, especially for posed or studio shots. During this time, babies are easier to swaddle in blankets and dress in hats or headbands, and, because they often nap or nurse, can be staged with various props or be cuddled by their parents. For casual photos, most newborn photographers recommend shooting within the first six weeks of a baby’s life. Lifestyle portrait photography is more flexible and doesn’t require the baby to cooperate with multiple poses or props.
To get crystal-clear photos with a dreamy, blurred background, experiment with using lower F-stops. This means you will have to take your camera off auto-focus, but the results are more than worth it. The F-stop on a camera tells you how much light you let in while exposing your photo. Photos taken with a lower F-stop have a wider aperture to let in more light, but the depth of field is very shallow. This is what creates stunningly vivid portraits with gorgeously blurred backgrounds.
Talk about the photographer’s style. The first thing to discuss is the style and ideas of the photographer. You will have seen some pictures, but you will be able to get better and more complete understanding by talking it through in person. Ask the photographer to describe the style they shoot in, and be sure to ask any further questions if anything is unclear to you.
*Staging Is Okay*While it’s not good to pose people, it can help to stage a shot. Know, for example, where the best light in your home is, and coax your subjects into it. If possible, declutter those spots beforehand. Sue Barr, a pro based just outside of New York City (www.suebarr.com), recommends semistaging a shot using wardrobe. “Try to dress everyone in similar tones—it will visually unify the group and makes exposure easier, too. Not too matchy, though.”(Above Photo) For this after-dark shot of his child, Teddy Madison mimicked daylight by placing his strobe out on the lawn.Teddy Madison
Also look for consistency in their work. This is a way to differentiate an amateur from a professional. An amateur photographer’s portfolio may show nice images, but those images are a compilation of one or two accidentally good images from many sessions. The professional will show quality images consistently in both their portfolio AND recent work on their blog. If you hire an amateur to shoot your session, you accept the risk that there may only be one or two good images from your session vs. the 20-30 great images that a professional will provide in your gallery. When you hire with quality in mind, you buy the assurance and the peace of mind that your special moment is captured perfectly before it is lost in time.
We love photographing newborn babies, so when a twin photo session happens, it is twice as nice! Twice the snuggles, twice the piggies, and twice the love. It’s absolutely amazing to witness how a child’s personality develops right after birth and in the early days of life. Newborn twins are gifted with such distinctive personalities right away, and we love to capture those little differences. With newborn twins, we also make sure to take individual shots so that Mom and Dad can see all the tiny special details inherent in each baby.
"I needed a photographer to capture moments for an informal wedding ceremony. I am so glad that I went with Darold from Oniwagrafx! Not only was he extremely professional and punctual, he is truly a master behind the lens. He captured beautiful memories, which I received in less than a few days! I highly recommend Oniwagrafx for any and all photography/videography needs. He won't let you down."
Due to the nature of the bulky equipment and lighting issues, wedding photography was largely a studio practice for most of the late 19th century. Over time, technology improved, but many couples still might only pose for a single wedding portrait. Wedding albums started becoming more commonplace towards the 1880s, and the photographer would sometimes include the wedding party in the photographs. Often the wedding gifts would be laid out and recorded in the photographs as well.
A lot of photographers like the warmth of film. Film has a texture and a quality that just can’t be reproduced in digital format (no matter how hard we try). Also, if someone says they use film, it means they were probably trained in a darkroom and have an understanding of cameras that goes beyond digital, so not only will your photos look different, but the experience of being shot on film will be different than working with a strictly digital shooter.
As with most things, there is no substitute for practice and experience…with each shoot you will get better and better, just keep your head in the game! A fellow “kinda” San Diegan?! Cool 🙂 We actually are working on a Newborn Photography Online Course/Workshop teaching everything you need to know, start to finish, including an actual on location photo shoot so you can see exactly what its like and how to deal with common pitfalls when shooting on-location! Make sure to subscribe to Cole’s Classroom so you’ll be in the know when we release it in a few months 🙂
Laura Babb of Babb Photo is an award-winning photographer. She is based between Bath and London but photographs weddings all over the UK and abroad. Her approach is documentary but at the same time playful and profoundly real. She loves to shoot creatively in an attempt to make each shoot truly unique. Laura’s top wedding photography tips are all about light and this one stood out to us from her article ‘The Importance of Light and Planning Your Photography Around It’ she says –
If the baby has older siblings, I try to make the sibling shots my very first priority and then let them go play while we finish the session. Toddlers simply don’t have the attention span to sit quietly and wait for you to call on them for their picture so get their poses done first while they are curious and excited about your visit. By the time the session is over, they are usually open to participating again and that is when I try to get some lifestyle sibling shots. If they don’t want to participate, I’ve found promises of ice cream & candy have magical powers! (as long as that’s ok with Mom & Dad).
Another mark of a good photographer is proper white balance. Instagram filters a cool and all, but a photographer should be able to edit in a way that makes skin look skin-colored. Photographers tend to have different preferences on white balance and sometimes make an artistic choice to alter it a bit (I tend to lean toward the warm side of things), but people probably should not look like smurfs or oompa loomplas. White balance can be a part of a photographer’s style, so just make sure you like what you see. Here’s an example:
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
I did get a few more ‘portrait’ like shots in that first week but then ended up being more activity based ones, often with other family members. On returning home and over the three weeks since I’ve continued to take the documentary style shots but have seen a move to take a lot more portrait style shots also. Quite a few of our friends have commented on the nice balance between styles.
There are a lot of different ways a photographer can set up their business. They may charge a sitting fee (or a session fee), which includes the photographer’s time and talent, but no files or products. Or, they may offer the session and all the digital files for one, all-inclusive price. Some even offer several packages with different combinations of products and/or files. One is not better than another, you just have to make sure you’re happy with what they’re offering, and have a clear understanding of what to expect.
If you need more inspiration for poses or styling tips, these family photo ideas should help. If you’re taking black and white photos, find inspiration using our guide on how to dress for a black and white photoshoot. Once you get your portraits, share these memories with the ones you love and create a family photo album or a custom home decor piece everyone will adore.
Not really! But if you are shooting at a gorgeous venue that’s the reason the bride and groom have booked it. Allow a bit of time to wander around the grounds and capture the venue from various angles. These photos can also be used to practice shots and imagine the couple within them. If you do a good job the venue might want to hire you to take advertising shots of their venue. Equally, they might just recommend you to potential couples. You never know!
Patterns can add visual interest and texture as well as a good dose of personality. Just make sure that either just one person is in a pattern with the rest of the subjects in simple, more solid color pieces or the patterns are subtle and complementary (for instance, a teeny tiny polka dot tie on a little boy next to his sisters bold color blocked pattern can look very complementary).