6. A spotter. Anytime you are photographing a baby, you really need another person as a spotter. The other person’s only job is to make sure the baby doesn’t roll off the cushions onto the floor. If you are photographing a newborn it’s extremely unlikely they’ll be strong enough to roll anywhere, especially once they are nestled inside the boppy pillow or bean bag, but you can never be too safe. So make sure your “assistant” sits on the floor within arms length of the baby.
Your photographer may have some unique locations and places in mind for your photo shoot. Chat with them to see if those locations interest you. “I would like to take some photos by the water. Do you know of a nice lake or stream nearby that might serve as a good location?” Your photographer may have a list of their favorite spots for you to choose from.
Whether you have a friend’s recommendation or not, I’d say to have a look on the Internet. Find the photographer you’ve been recommended and see if it’s what you’re looking for. Look for other photographers of the same style and see which one you like best, which makes your eyes shine or what emotions their photos evoque you. The more specific you are in your search, the better. Photographers who appear in Google’s search gain a point of trust as they need to have a serious job to be there. It is very important that you trust the professional, and consulting the reviews of Google or Facebook can already give you an idea of what customers think. But a talk with the photographer himself will probably give you a better idea of what to expect.
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!
Know ahead of time how formal the wedding will be, and how you fit into the event. Some wedding photographers, like David Ziser, like to wear a suit to every wedding. Other photographers think it is perfectly appropriate to wear slacks and a shirt. Some female photographers wear a dress, and others wear jeans and a nice polo. I wouldn't say that there is one right answer here, but it is worth thinking about beforehand.
After receiving your initial questionnaire, I will call you to go over the portrait session and ask some basic questions regarding your expectations. We will discuss important items such as location, wardrobe, your photography style preference and most importantly, your desires for the final product. Each portrait session is completely customized for each individual/family.
Please do whatever you can to keep the noise to a minimum during our session. Maintaining a calm environment is also a big key to a successful newborn shoot. I do have a white noise app that I will keep close to baby during the session to help soothe him or her. Babies love strong and rhythmic sound. Amazingly! that’s the sound the heard 24/7 in the uterus!
I’m no lighting expert but have found that my best results have been when I’ve used my flash in a ‘bounce flash’ way – shooting it up into a ceiling so that it’s indirect. This diffuses the light a lot which leaves Xavier less washed out in the shots, and more importantly means he’s not blinded by the light from it (we don’t want to blind our little ones by our photographic obsession – I actually asked a pediatrician about camera flashes and his advice was that it wouldn’t do damage but that for a babies comfort that indirect flash (ie bounced and/or diffused flash) would be advisable. I’m sure different doctors would advise different things but I play it safe with my bounce flash – and avoid flash altogether where possible). It also gives a fairly natural looking shot.
Every wedding will require a bit of crowd control during the family group photos. This can be a stressful time for the photographer as you aren’t aware of the specific family dynamics. Sometimes you don’t know who Uncle John is. Plus he’s probably at the bar, the toilet or anywhere other than where he should be. One of our great wedding photography tips is to get the couple to nominate a family member or someone from the bridal party to organise the people. They can gather the guests for the photos and you can concentrate on taking the photos.
As tips go this one is pretty simple but something most wedding photographers won’t do. Just have a quick word with the Bridesmaids before the ceremony and tell them to walk slowly and smile. They will thank you for it when they see the photos. Lots of the time Bridesmaid are nervous about walking down the aisle. All eyes are on them. Just remind them that they look great and not to worry as it will be over within seconds.
Chrystal Cienfuegos, owner of Chrystal Cienfuegos Photography, offers a natural & organic style of newborn & portrait photography in Southern California. She is passionate about telling love stories through elegant and timeless imagery that is inspired by the unique beauty of each client. She's a San Diego native and mother of two fun little ladies. Among her favorite things are Chargers football, swimming, impromptu family dance parties, wine (of course), and evening walks with her neighbors.
This is more of a personal choice, but I tend to choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style. Whatever your style is, make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now (or months in the case of some quickly passing trends). I personally love to use softer or neutral tones (with a color pop here and there) and classic shapes, then add interest with accessories, layers and lots of interesting textures. I also happen to love bright and colorful as long as it’s not obnoxious or distracting from the subject’s personality and face. Of course, this is a personal choice and many families will choose to go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choices as a sort of time stamp in their images.