I think the best way to get family pictures is a little of both – print and digital – especially since photographers generally charge a lot for their rights to be released via digital images/CDs. If I am limited in the package deal to only 1 image on a CD (like when we’ve gone to Sears or JCPenney), then I generally choose the family group shot as my one image, and get prints of the individual shots.

Nope. Makeup artists and hair stylists are infamously bad about keeping schedules (but we love them anyways and they do awesome work!) It is not really their fault since most of the time they can’t schedule a consultation and meet up with every single person whose hair and makeup they are doing before they give you a time estimate, so they really can’t be certain of what all they are going to have to do on the day of your wedding (we have even seen makeup artists unexpectedly have to cover up groomsmens’ black eyes from sports accidents on the morning of the wedding!). They will also be a little slower on your actual day than they were at your hair/makeup trial because they are working their hardest to make you look the best you can and they really want to get it just right, which is awesome! Regardless of whether it is their fault or not, they can’t send people out without them being done and if the hair and makeup professionals are running late, it is usually photo time that gets cut to make up for it. Instead of relying solely on their estimates, give yourself a little bit of a buffer (approximately 5-10 minutes more per person being done than what your professionals are asking for), just to be safe.
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.
Ask the bride and groom for just three words to describe their vision of the day, then keep those words in mind as you capture it! If they say “fun”, take every opportunity to “document” a fun moment. If they say “romantic”, keep lighting in mind and snap every sweet moment the newlyweds share that day/night. Yes, you are the photographer, but it is THEIR day. Make your art reflect that! (Thanks Matthew Michaels)
In newborn photography, you are generally going for two looks, peacefully sleeping or awake and happy. If the baby is uncomfortable, you run the risk of him or her being fussy, potentially crying, and overall causing a difficult time for everyone involved in the shoot. Consider wearing gloves if your hands are cold. Use Heating pads, and consider space heaters if the room is not nice and warm. For a full list of non-photographic accessories for Newborn Photography, see our Workshop.
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.

If you’re preparing your birth announcements, don’t forget take a look at our guide on birth announcement wording to answer all of your questions on birth announcement etiquette. If you’re still in the beginning stages of your pregnancy and not yet ready to schedule newborn photos a few months out, you can start preparation for your maternity photos instead, using our time frames on when to take maternity photos.Bella Baby is the face of hospital baby portraiture. We bring experienced, professional photographers into the hospitals to capture your baby's first photograph with a natural, artistic style. We believe that babies look the most beautiful when being held in their parents' arms or cuddled in one of their own baby blankets. Bella Baby captures this beauty by using only "real things"...natural window light, professional photographers and professional grade SLR digital cameras.


[…] I decided to use the techniques I had practised with during my test shoot with the doll, anbd bring them into the shoot I did with the real newborn, as well as looking online for any tips that could help me with getting the images perfect. I found a site which talked me through the different poses, the best way to move the newborn and then preparation before hand, I found the advice quite helpful: DIY newborn shoots […]
Nope. Makeup artists and hair stylists are infamously bad about keeping schedules (but we love them anyways and they do awesome work!) It is not really their fault since most of the time they can’t schedule a consultation and meet up with every single person whose hair and makeup they are doing before they give you a time estimate, so they really can’t be certain of what all they are going to have to do on the day of your wedding (we have even seen makeup artists unexpectedly have to cover up groomsmens’ black eyes from sports accidents on the morning of the wedding!). They will also be a little slower on your actual day than they were at your hair/makeup trial because they are working their hardest to make you look the best you can and they really want to get it just right, which is awesome! Regardless of whether it is their fault or not, they can’t send people out without them being done and if the hair and makeup professionals are running late, it is usually photo time that gets cut to make up for it. Instead of relying solely on their estimates, give yourself a little bit of a buffer (approximately 5-10 minutes more per person being done than what your professionals are asking for), just to be safe.
WHHATTT! I hear you say. Well, do you want the bride to stand in a wet and muddy field? Then bring a white sheet with you. Some brides are more particular than others about how pristine they want their dress to remain. However, if you have a solution to keeping it clean they will be more inclined to explore. This will give you more control over the positioning of the couple. The sheet can simply be tucked under the dress and no one will ever know. It can also be used so that the couple can freely sit on a bench or wall with getting a muddy bum. No one wants a muddy bum.
They are very similar and both are cute pictures. However, the bottom photo is much more flattering to the baby’s face. In the top photo I was slightly closer to his feet and shooting up his nose, which makes his nostrils very prominent in the photo. It also makes the bottom half of his face look larger than the top half. The second photo shows his face in much better proportion. (Did you notice his hand? I should have pulled that pinky finger out so the whole thing would be visible – it’s those little details that really make a beautiful photo.)
2. Backdrop board. I have a couple DIY backdrop boards that I made for about $10 each (full instructions in this post). I stand one up against the backs of two of my kitchen chairs. The backdrop boards can be used alone for a solid colored background, or can be used to drape blankets from for more background options. The background should be angled so it faces the right or left side of the window, not the middle of it, as you can see in the photo above. This will allow the baby’s head to be a little closer to the window than her feet, allowing the light to hit her forehead first, causing gentle shadows just under her nose and chin. If you don’t have a backdrop board, stand two kitchen chairs backwards here anyway so you can drape a blanket from them. If you use a backdrop board it must be secured with clamps to the chairs it stands in front of to assure it will not fall over.
The other option for remotes is a physical radio transmitter that you plug into your camera (the receiver plugs into the camera, and you hold the remote transmitter). After trying several different wireless remotes from eBay that all broke, I finally purchased the Vello ShutterBoss. This remote is well built, and has been super reliable. One of the things I really like about it is that the cable that plugs from the wireless receiver into your camera can be swapped out depending on what brand of camera you’re using. So you don’t need to buy a new wireless remote for every different camera system you have (just the cable). Also if the battery dies in the receiver, you can plug the cable directly into the remote transmitter. The Vello ShutterBoss is a bit on the pricey side for a remote ($99), but it will probably be the last wireless remote you ever need to buy.
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
Ashley, I loved your post. I am huge on annual family photos. I think it’s so important to capture a nice photo of your growing/changing family at least once a year! I love how your pictures turned out. They are very nice and the same style I like to go for. I am getting into photography and would like to do our own someday. Thanks for all the tips. I completely agree with all of them and try to do them already but seeing it written down helps to instill those ideas even more for our next shoot.

We prefer to focus on the simple beauty of your newborn with minimal use of props and we provide everything for the session. The studio photographs posed newborn sessions between 6-18 days after birth in our studio located in East Dallas location. We only book a set number of newborn sessions each month, so please be sure to secure your due date on our calendar as soon as you know you want to book.  If your baby has already been born we will try my best to squeeze you in so contact me to check scheduling!


Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!

A good list Zakk. I am now retired from wedding photography. I started off in the film era and then transitioned to digital.I worked out a shot list early and kept it on 4 cards in my top pocket until it became memorised and I knew what I was doing. Here is a link to my blog where I wrote about my shotlist. In preparation I also found a shoot timetable ,worked out with my couple ,was essential to things running smoothly, Someone once said if you fail to plan you plan to fail. https://geoffthompsonsblog.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/wedding-photography-s... keep up the good work.
When I’m photographing kids I make a total idiot of myself. I make funny noises, I sing songs (I’m really bad but they don’t care), I make fish faces, I play peek-a-boo behind the camera.  I run back and forth to the camera with the puppet. I lie on the ground, I stick my butt out. Kids are the ones that have life the right way around, it’s us adults that ruin it. Let them be kids, let them have fun. Then be ready to capture it when it happens.
In contrast, there is an alternative approach for your individual or family portrait that may be more appropriate for a special memory.  Here, you would have your own photo or photographs and then have them professionally done as a canvas painting or an oil painting that could easily be done in in a 20 x 30 inch painting that could be framed.  In some cases, a few individual photographs of family members or an individual can be provided separately and the artist can combine into one painting.

This comes up a lot, and I’m more than happy to talk through your ideas and offer suggestions. I LOVE coordinating outfits (take a look at my family portraits). My biggest suggestion is coordinate, not necessarily match. Pick 2 or 3 colors that you want to use, keeping in mind the room in your home that you want to display your wall portrait. If you have red walls, do you want to wear greens and have it look too “Christmas-y”? Do you want to wear orange and browns if your family room is teal and grey? I spend a lot of brain power in planning our outfits. But be yourself, and the personality will shine through. *Upon booking your session, I will email you a link with style and color boards with lots of ideas for what to wear, like this:
4.  Can you really afford them?  Not all photographers list their complete pricing (or any pricing at all) on their website.  There’s nothing wrong with this, it just means they want to chat with you a bit before they tell you what they charge.  You’ll just want to make sure that before you book, you understand what your final cost will be.  If their website says “Session fee of $150, prints and digital images sold separately,” you’ll probably want to think about what you want and make sure you know what it will cost before you book.  We’ll talk about some of this in greater detail in my next post!
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.
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:  
Cant wait for your next part of this article. I once read an article on the internet about the focal length of the lens and the type of portraits you get with it. Short focal lengths bring out the nose too much and make the face look too long. the longer focal lengths make the face look too round and make the person look shorter then he/she is. the ideal focal length for portraits according to that article is between 70-140mm.
Just as you do not want the exposure to change from frame to frame, neither do you want the focus to be adjusted. Assuming you’ve taken #1 to heart and are using a tripod, you will not be moving. Likely if you’ve posed your group in a relatively static position, they will not be moving. Not much anyway. We are only concerned with moving closer to, or further away from the camera. So . . .
Doing engagement shots is one of the crucial tasks a photographer may ever encounter in his career. Engagements shots are usual for couples who are financially capable. Couples having no financial issue are expected to have an engagement shots session. The photos help them creatively narrate their love story. Wedding photographers who are new to this field should get a lot of tips from seasoned wedding photographers as well as from a blog like www.keepsake-images.net, which has some very useful and practical tips. It would also do a lot of good if they can get some experience by volunteering as a second photographer to some experienced wedding photographers. The photographer should be capable of visualizing how he wants to tell the story of the couple’s love story. Whatever the plan is, the photographer should consult with the couple to make sure they are on the same page.
As professional photographers, and as a husband and wife team, we are passionate about capturing these timeless moments for our clients. With that understanding, we create beautiful images making all the special moments last forever for you and your family to cherish for a lifetime. We specialize in modern classic portraiture and service the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Natalie Roberson Photography is available for travel throughout the State of Texas and for destination photography.
Jessica’s outdoor sessions are all done in beautiful spots around the Dallas area. Our Field location’s provide a fabulous backdrop and stunning lighting for her gorgeous sunset photography. Along with all the props, blankets and hats for newborn and baby photography, the studio offer maternity gowns for clients to use too. As a baby and newborn photographer, Jessica focuses on capturing the squishy goodness of your little bundle. While there are props, hats and blankets for the infant, they don’t distract from the details of your newborn like tiny, perfect toes and chubby, little cheeks.
4. Create a business name. What you name your business will become the brand image, so choose a name that fits the type of photography you want to do. If you want to take kid portraits you can have a whimsical name, but if you want to do business photography or weddings, you’ll want something that sounds professional or elegant. If you don’t use your given name in your business name, you’ll likely need to file a fictitious name statement with your county clerk’s office. You also need to check with the U. S. Patent and Trademark office to ensure the name isn’t protected by trademark.
Now is not the time to be starring dreamily into space – make sure you look at the camera (and remind everyone else in the photo to look into the camera too!). Try to get the “looking at the camera” shots out of the way first when everyone has enough attention. It can quickly get tough to get kids to cooperate, so aiming to get this shot first is key.
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.
Good article! Something else to mention . . . if you're just starting out, I'd recommend picking up an used or refurb model. I bought a Canon 40D first without knowing what I was buying and payed over a grand (which was good for the time). I ended up buying a refurb Canon Rebel xti as a backup for less than $350, and to be honest, I shoot with it more! The 40D is the better camera and has much better build quality, but the xti gives it a run for it's money and is smaller / lighter. I could have saved the money for a full frame camera or a nice L lens. :)
Lisa Holloway who is commonly known as LJHolloway is one of the most creative and professional photographers in the world and not just in the United States. She is a fine art portrait photographer who focuses on bringing out the beauty of the object that is photographed through her lens. She specializes in custom portraiture and her work comes to be based in Las Vegas. She captures photographs of pregnant women, newborns, babies, children, high school seniors and families not just in Las Vegas but in other areas around the world as well. In addition to capturing photographs Lisa runs small group workshops for those photographers and beginners who want to make use of her experience and skills. Lisa’s work has been internationally published and she received several awards as a creative fine art portrait photographer. The main secret behind the success of Lisa is depending on natural light and choosing breathtaking locations for capturing her stunning and impressive photos.
Not only is it handy to have two camera bodies for a wedding as insurance against gear failure, but it also enables you to have a different lens on each body.  This way you can very quickly switch from telephoto to standard zoom as the wedding party moves around.  Once you've tried it, you'll never go back to shooting just one body.  Fortunately, you can rent the lens and camera body for cheap.  (Thanks Kati Lewis)

Tools: Most wedding photography advice will tell you to ask your photographer what kind of camera he or she uses. Unless you are a camera buff, this is usually a wasted question (heck, most of the time I don’t even know what the best camera on the market is). But as you look through portfolios, you’ll notice that certain photographers have different tools that they use to tell a story in their own voice. I’m a hopeless romantic, so for me that’s a lens that I’ve hacked onto a sink plunger that makes soft photos like this one.
Let the photographer connect with the baby. In order for your baby to feel comfortable, you should avoid crowding your little one. It’ll be tempting to run over whenever your baby becomes restless or cries, but you should do your best to let the photographer comfort the baby so the baby doesn’t feel startled by too many changes. Always remain in the room though during your baby’s shoot.
Step away from your point-and-shoot and ask yourself this: Are the 200 photos you took on your baby's first birthday sitting in the same desktop folder as shots from the neighborhood block party -- from, ahem, three years ago? Have you broken countless promises to your in-laws to share last year's family vacation pics? Did the most recent photo you printed out come from your college graduation (a picture that's now collecting dust in the attic)?
Photographers who are individual contractors or photography business owners are tipped less frequently than employees of a larger photography company or a photographer's assistant hired for the event. Of course, if you feel the person went above and beyond, coaxing a smile out of your cranky uncle and putting your camera-shy nieces at ease, a gratuity is a wonderful way to show your appreciation. Another even more helpful way to show appreciation is by writing your wedding photographer a positive review. You probably counted on customer reviews to help guide you in the selection process, so by sharing your experience you can pay forward the favor and help your photographer build an even larger clientele.
For example, I (obviously) use the photos I shoot for work differently than than those I shoot on my own time--and because the two overlap, I end up with a lot in both locations, but I keep them organized differently. At work I put everything in folders by camera name; at home, by date and location of the shoot. For a coarse level of retrievability, if you just use a utility to rename all the files to something basic but meaningful, like "stair cats in Queens," (plus a file number increment, of course) you can search the file system. Then it's pretty easy to visually scan the thumbnails for the photo you want. If you'll need to find photos more frequently, then it pays to step up to a program that, say, lets you flag the photos you like; flagging quickly narrows down the results of your search when you're looking, but doesn't take a lot of time up front (especially if you use software that lets you quickly scan and flag).

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!
This Canon model holds your hand in the beginning until you’re more accustomed to how such cameras operate. It literally holds your hand too, by being one of the smallest DSLR style cameras on the market. If you have dainty digits, the EOS 100D has you covered. A lot of people have trouble holding on to the bigger cameras out there because of their sheer size. Not so with the EOS 100D.
Great shots. What I've been struggling with recently is the balance between only release your best shots and how many I should deliver as proofs to a client ( along with what the concept of a proof is ). Whilst each of the examples above is a single shot I betting there were many more to choose from as an output from each session. Many of my portrait shoots are around 45 mins to a bit over an hour and in that time I will take a range of head, mid body and full length shots along with various groups. My last session took a bit over one hour with a family of 5 and resulted in around 200 pics ( a good number of which were burst mode of kids jumping off Walls ). I selected a fair range of around 60-70 pics and did some basic proof edit cropping and light balancing, the standard stuff and delivered a disc to the client. As I am starting out my model is to deliver a disc to the client rather than sell prints I don't have that bandwidth just yet and I price accordingly with that in mind. I've had some interesting conversations since that made me think I should have delivered fewer pics ( maybe 1 or 2 of each pose ) which would have meant a delivery set of about 30 pics. So what is the right balance ?
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