Newborn photography is not all as it seems. That baby in a hammock? The little girl propping her head up in that froggy pose? And the little guy in a firefighter helmet? Those are all Photoshop tricks. Babies can’t hold their heads like that, and you should never place a baby inside a prop that may tip over or otherwise endanger the baby without taking proper precautions.
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.
Exactly! The couple doesn’t want hundreds of photos of the Groom’s Bestman’s Sister’s Son…Jamie do they?! Probably not. Whilst Jamie might be doing loads of cute things throughout the day it’s best to focus on photos of people the couple really want to see. If the couple has kids of their own then shoot away. But just grab a few of Jamie and then leave him be.
Determine how you will receive your pictures. Find out how long you can expect to wait for the pictures, and in what format they will be presented. You need to make sure you know what your photographer will pass on to you at end of the process. The number of photos, the format and resolution of the photos, as well as the way they are presented are all crucial questions.
If you are shooting under a large tree you shouldn't be getting dark eyes. I look for exactly that type of location to put people under a large branch. When you block the overhead light it IS darker for sure but the direction of light changes to coming from the front instead of overhead, so you don't get dark eyes. You may just need more exposure overall but the quality of light should be there.
Do you have any advice for when the kids are dogs? It’s really hard to get one, and especially both, dogs looking at the camera at the same time for our family portraits. They are a busy breed (Australian Shepherds) and still young. I’ve been wanting to do self portraits of just me and our dogs as well, however that’s hard to get too since they won’t “sit, stay” while I focus and get back into the picture. My husband isn’t too thrilled about getting into the picture unless we’re on vacation so most of the self portraits are done on my own.
Network with everyone. You should take every opportunity to network. If you are working towards a specific specialization, such as wedding photography, network with everyone in your town who has an association with weddings. Talk to and give your card to wedding planners, cake bakers, caterers, other photographers (they may have a conflict and be asked for a referral), wedding dress shop employees, etc.
Anyway, thanks for these tips… For a guy with boys of two, it’s pretty neat to read that I have been doing the right thing all this while… There’s no such thing as enough photos when it comes to self-triggered shots.. One thing that I have to seriously put into action is the “Make it An Event” part.. most often than not, we tend not to put priority on the group photos as we get busy planning the place to visits, transportations, FOOD!, etc. I will surely put this one in my checklist for our next family vacation…
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.
Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. I always encourage mothers to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.
When you shoot a mommy-to-be in her own home she’s comfortable to let go in a way that she may not be otherwise. This is a fantastic reason to hold maternity sessions at home. This is not however why I do it. As a photographer I feel like it’s my responsibility to help my subjects feel comfortable and capable of giving me their best, no matter where we’re shooting. I pride myself on my ability to do this. To me, it’s a HUGE part of my success as a photographer (Uh oh. I feel a post in this regard coming on… check back soon). I shoot maternity sessions at home primarily because it’s wonderful for a couple to have a capture that truly shows what their life was like at the time their baby came to be a part of their family. I’m a second generation photographer so I’ve got some really lovely shots of my sweet momma awaiting my arrival. My favorite however is a simple picture of her standing by my bassinet with her hand on her tummy. I CHERISH it.
Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!
Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive. What do your dream family photos look like? If they are soft and elegant? Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents. Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.
Get close: You probably don't need to be persuaded to get close to your partner, but do plan to get a few affectionate close-up pictures: hug, hold hands, sling your arm around their shoulders. You're in love, show it off! Besides, if you're planning to submit a photo to a newspaper with your announcement, many publications specifically request close-up couple shots. The New York Times, for instance, asks that couples position themselves with their heads close together and (no joke), their eyebrows on exactly the same level.
Think about the primary reason you are doing the session and dress accordingly. For instance, if it’s for Christmas cards you might want to dress in wintry, seasonal clothing. For a gallery canvas in the living room, think about coordinating with the colors and feel of your decor. For the canvases I hung in my girls’ playroom I dressed them in twirly, pink dresses and they ran dancing through the sand on the beach, which meshed perfectly in the girly room that’s always filled with giggles and play.