Firstly timing your shots is important. Babies don’t move much but they subtly change their position and expressions in ways that can make or break a photo. I’ve had my camera set in continuous shooting mode since Xavier was born because I find that shooting a single frame often misses ‘the moment’. I’ve also ended up with some wonderful sequences of shots by shooting off three or four shots in a row.
The National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) recognizes the accomplishments and creative excellence of its child photographer members. Image competitions reward talent with medallions, priority listing on our directory, press coverage, titles and professional recognition. The distinguished title of Photographer of the Year for NAPCP is the highest award, showcasing outstanding achievement in our International Image Competitions.
Secondly I guess I wanted to remind us all that having a baby is not just a photographic opportunity and that it’s important to put the camera down every now and again. If you’re anything like me you could easily walk around with your camera permanently to your eye and forget to actually enjoy the moment. Don’t just create wonderful images of your baby – create memories with your baby – balance is a great thing!
The light meter in your camera is a fool. Actually, they are pretty damn clever but they get tricked by large areas of white and black. For example, the camera will compensate for a large area of the photo being white (the wedding dress). You set your exposure bang in the middle of the light meter and the photo is really dark. That’s because the white dress is tricking your camera. Dialling, in a bit of positive exposure compensation here, can sort this problem out. But don’t go too far and blow the highlights as they are harder to recover in post-production than shadows. What we like to do is just check on the LCD screen and keep monitoring it to achieve an accurate exposure.
I have been photographing this special family as their Connecticut baby photographer for a few years now, and they feel like family to me. I’ve done big brother Cole’s newborn session, 6-month session, and 12-month session, and I recently did their 3-in-1 family, maternity, and 2-year-old photos just a few short weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to get this beautiful bundle of joy in my studio.
Gently unwrap the baby, keeping the blanket on her back, and lay her down on her tummy on your blanket covered pillows or bean bag (use the setup I describe in part 1). Keep her covered with the blanket for right now and give her another minute to get settled. It helps to rub her back and shush softly into her ear. Again, wait until she has settled back into sleep before moving to the next step.
Portrait photographers usually don't work from a tripod when shooting on-location, but it can be especially useful for shooting inside a dimly lit church.  Bring a tripod for these situations so you can get a sharp shot even with a slower shutter speed.  Even if you can get away with shooting handheld inside, you might want the tripod so you can use a lower ISO and get cleaner shots. (Thanks Johnny Quattlebaum)
With thirteen uncles and aunts on my dad's side, I have a very large extended family. I don't do family portraits often, but when I do, I've found that the best two techniques that work for me for ensuring everyone's looking in the same direction and are ready for the group shot is (1) telling them beforehand that if they can't see my camera's lens from their position in the group, then my camera is likely not going to see them either, so they need to find another position, and (2) I give them a "3-2-1" (or for larger groups, a "5-4-3-2-1") countdown before taking the shot. This usually results in me getting the shot I want pretty quickly, and I don't have to go through dozens of shots to find one where everyone is actually ready for their picture to be taken.
Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings is a wedding planner and photography studio in Dallas, Texas, serving clients in Ft. Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Highland Park, Irving, Addison, and the surrounding DFW area since 2011. This studio specializes in bridal, wedding, engagement, family, child, corporate, and executive photography, as well as wedding planning packages. Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings has been featured in Style Me Pretty wedding blog site.
Be prepared to edit your photos.  I am not talking about crazy amounts of editing, I am talking merely tweaking.  The photos we took were taken in the morning light, so the light was a little bit cool for my taste.  So I quickly imported my photos into Lightroom and warmed them up just a little bit!  I highly recommend using Lightroom to edit photos quickly and in bulk!  You can purchase Lightroom HERE.
I attended the University of North Texas and received a Bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television and Film.  In 2011, I received a Master’s in Ed. Technology.  My first thought was I would teach technology/videography at a High School level, but I fell in LOVE with photography after my 1st daughter was born. She came into the world with the most beautiful red hair and striking blue eyes, needless to say, her Dad, her grandparents and myself were shocked!  I picked up a cheap Kodak camera and never stopped taking pictures.  Over the years I have self taught through online workshops, upgraded to a professional Canon Mark iii, purchased several fancy lens and just have gotten better by good ol’ fashion practicing.  I have 3 children ages 12, 10 and 8 who always give me a good reason to shoot what I see!  🙂  I love what I do, which I think truly shows in my work.  Photography and children inspire me.  I am so grateful to be a given a gift to see the world the way I do.
If you're not sure where you'd like to shoot, don't worry! I'd be glad to offer up some suggestions. If you're looking for a Manhattan or Brooklyn location, I have a great list of New York area spaces that are wonderful for engagement sessions. If you're trying to choose a Philadelphia spot for your engagement pictures, I also have a great list for you! If you are looking to have your portraits done in New Jersey, or anywhere other than New York or Philly, just drop me an email and we can talk. I travel often for engagement sessions, and would love to hear about your plans.
(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.}
i love this article. I feel so much more capable of taking my own newborn photos rather then spending an arm and a leg for a photographer. I know O have a lot to still learn but my husband and I have debated on buying a nice camera to have throughout the years. What brand and model would you suggest knowing I want to take newborn photos with it. I feel like there is something out there that doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles but will still get the job done. Thanks so much!
All sitting fees are non-refundable and due at the time the appointment is scheduled. Sitting fees do not include the cost of digital images, albums or prints. Prints and additional products are sold A La Carte at the Ordering Session. Sitting fees do not include any additional costs associated with venues/locations/parking/permits; additional fees may be required. Clients are responsible for the venue/location/parking/permit costs. Locations beyond a 30 mile radius from our studio will be charged an extra Destination Fee. Our payment methods include: cash, check, visa and Mastercard accepted through Paypal. Please let me know if you are going to pay using a credit card and I will send you an invoice through Paypal. We charge a 3.5% credit card transaction fee for every purchase through paypal. We offer payment plans for purchases over $250. Please call or email us for more details. There is a cancellation fee of $185 for all appointments not cancelled within 48 hours. All returned checks, regardless whether services have been rendered, will be charged a $25 returned item fee if the check bounces.
See #1 first of all. Then look at #6. Being a photographer means that sometimes you have to also become a comedian, or a clown. Knowing the right thing to say or do to make people smile is mostly experience. Sometimes you’ll get tough adults too. The dad in the photo above by the brick wall pretty much has the same expression all the time. I’ve known this family and photographed them for 13 years, they’re friends too. So I know I can bug him a little bit or get out the ducky to have some fun at his expense.
There are a wide variety of albums and manufacturers available, and photographers may provide traditional matted albums, digitally designed "coffee table" albums, contemporary flush mount albums, hardbound books, scrapbook style albums, or a combination of any of the above. Albums may be included as part of a pre-purchased package, or they may be added as an after-wedding purchase. Not all photographers provide albums; some may prefer to provide prints and/or files and let clients make their own albums.
Thank you for this great blog post. Brilliant hints and tips. I also ask clients to lay their outfits out at home together to check that they all look good together. Also I remind clients to press their clothes (I think sometimes they think that I can ‘photoshop’ creases out!) I love putting together visual ‘what to wear’ guides – here is one I did this week for a mother and daughter photo session http://www.sarahoffley.com/what-to-wear/what-to-wear-mother-and-daughter-photo-shoot/

2. USE A PHOTOGRAPHER. I have a real problem with people who buy themselves a nice camera and decide that means they can take their own amazing photos. Not usually true. Yes a nice camera is helpful, but for newborn shoots, there is SO much involved as far as lighting and posing goes that if you don't know what you are doing, it won't look good and it could even put the baby in danger. Before I ever started shooting newborns, I did a ton of research on best practices and safety and comfort for the baby. Plus, the pictures probably just won't look as good. 

The beauty of shooting digital and especially in RAW is that you can convert your files to black and white at a later date. If you have trouble seeing contrast you can even shoot the whole wedding in black and white. This really simplifies the photography as you don’t get distracted by colour. You can then convert them to colour in post-production. Black and White conversion can be particularly helpful with the unpredictable lighting you get as a wedding photographer. It isn’t a substitute for bad photography but I can definitely make an emotional photo pop.
Gently unwrap the baby, keeping the blanket on her back, and lay her down on her tummy on your blanket covered pillows or bean bag (use the setup I describe in part 1). Keep her covered with the blanket for right now and give her another minute to get settled. It helps to rub her back and shush softly into her ear. Again, wait until she has settled back into sleep before moving to the next step.

While I had visions of taking lots of ‘cute’ shots of Xavier in his first week I found that what actually happened was that the first week of his life ended up being more like a documentary shoot. The focus of my shots ended up being of a lot of ‘firsts’. First moment with Mum, first bath, first time on the scales (he was just under 9 pounds), first outfit, first manicure (he had long nails from day one), first time meeting grandparents etc. I ended up taking a picture of him with every visitor that came (these will make nice gifts) and decided to leave the ‘cute’ shots until when we got back home and he’d settled a little more.
When shooting a wedding, I like to use a camera with dual card slots (like the Nikon D7000, or many high-end cameras) because it allows me to double up on each photo.   Every photo is recorded to both cards.  This is good insurance, but it also uses a lot of memory cards during a wedding.  I'd never shoot a wedding with fewer than 30 gigs of memory cards in my bag.  I almost never shoot that many shots, but I never want to face the situation where I'm panicking about running out.  (Thanks Robert LeBlanc, who is a regular on the Facebook page)

The photo on the left is from the very first newborn photoshoot I ever did, while the photo on the right is me (hi!) and was taken by my mom when she was taking pictures of me and my baby girl. In that first photo I just asked the mom to snuggle the baby close so I could take a picture. It’s cute (they’re cute!) but as a photo it has a few problems, while the second picture looks much better. Here are some things to remember when photographing mom/dad/grandma etc., holding the newborn baby:
You can also design a digital photo book to commemorate special events. Photo book-creation sites allow you to put as little or as much effort and creativity into the process as you like -- offering numerous design choices for those who want a hands-on experience or prepackaged options if you're short on time or have a large number of images to include in a single project.

First, I would recommend never hiring someone, even a friend, without looking at their portfolio first.  While a portfolio only showcases a photographer’s best work, if their best isn’t very good, you can safely bet they won’t be taking amazing photos of you and your family, and you should think about hiring someone else. Looking at their portfolio will also give you an inclination as to their creative vision and methods.


Once you’re through with the type of photos above, use a family member to get even more pictures of just the baby. You’ll notice that I almost always use my piece of black stretch velvet as a background when photographing baby and mom. I just really like the timeless look, and it makes for great black and white photos. In the following photos I asked the mom to wear a black shirt, then draped the black velvet either over them or behind them. Here are a few more fun poses using a family member:
Try to add variance to your group shots by providing the couple with a few different shots. Shoot wide to include all the outfits of the people in the photo. Get in closer and ask them to talk to each other (this generally sparks a reaction of laughter). Providing a couple with a bit of variance to their group shots gives them more flexibility when choosing images for albums or to share online. Additionally, it will add to your overall deliverable opposed to just one shot of people standing, smiling at the camera.
If there are small children or babies involved make sure to get their attention. It even helps to have an assistant, tell them to bring Grandma along or a friend to help out. But what always happens is you get the kids all looking and smiling, and what are the parents doing? Looking at the kids!  Oops again! I always tell the parents, “no matter what keep looking at me as I make a total fool of myself, do NOT look at your child”.
Hold a photo party. A wonderful way to bring people together, share photos and learn a little more is to hold a photo party. Invite family and longtime members of the community to peruse boxes, piles or albums of photos placed around the room and just let people mingle and remember. Have a notepad near each stack and ask guests to share what they know. Send each person home with a small box of treasured photos or create a scanned album of favorites to share online.
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