Bad lighting is the enemy of good photography. Unfortunately, unless you are professionally trained, you might not know that the midday sun is not the best light for photographs. Hamilton explains, “You actually want your subjects to be in shade rather than direct sun and you also don’t want them facing the sun because this causes squinting.” Consider doing your photo sessions in early morning or late afternoon for beautiful soft light. Cloudy days are also great for photo shoots.

That’s it! No expectations other than fun. Then prepare yourself. Bring along props, get mom to bring one of their favourite toys or books. I usually have a hand puppet and bubbles in my camera bag along with my gear. If the kids don’t want to sit and smile don’t force them. Then them run around and be kids for a while and shoot that. Play with them, make it fun. Then they may cooperate and sit for a bit a few minutes later.
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.
Price should be the LAST thing you consider when you select your photographer. Really? What if I come up with a list of photographers I can’t afford? First you have to define “afford.” No doubt custom photography is an investment, and also a luxury expenditure. And everyone has different levels of either saved or disposable income that can be allocated to a session. When defining your budget, determine whether you will save, and then have that set amount to spend or whether you can make that decision once you see your images. Then decide what your product goals are: digital files, a few select prints, a gift album. Understanding what you really need as well as what you want, will help you determine what you can spend with a particular photographer. You may have a budget that will allow you to purchase ALL images from one photographer of mediocre quality or SOME images, but exactly what you need, from an exceptional one. As we’ve said before, try to not get locked into the idea of “all” before you know what “all” looks like. You may even be able to work with specific photographers to find out when they schedule less expensive options such as studio or seasonal mini-session events as many photographers offer a scalable way for you to receive their services without the truly significant investment. It’s with hesitation and a sigh that we say that with most budget photographers, “you get with you pay for.” In a few rare, and very fortunate circumstances, you receive outstanding images for a fraction of what they are worth. But more often than not, if you aren’t investing in someone who has invested in the quality, expertise, style and vision, you will receive images that reflect just that. That said, there are tremendously talented photographers in every market segment, catering to any budget, and with research and patience and maybe a referral, you can find one that meets your specific needs. Circling back to the point that you barely have time to do it once, once you’ve finished the end to end coordination of schedules, wardrobes, weather and moods… you most certainly don’t have the time, or money, to do it over. Start with planning your own session goals, including what you would like to DO with your images, then consider the style and vision you would like them to reflect. Spend some time looking at portfolios and gathering recommendations, and assess as best you can, the quality and expertise of a range of photographers, and once you’ve created a short list, begin to think about pricing and budget and the best way to marry what you need with what you can afford. And if you have a gut feeling that you are cutting corners in any of those orders, take a step back. It’s okay to put an idea on hold until you are really sure about it. It’s your investment, make the most of it.

Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion. Show your photographer who you really are, so that she has the opportunity to capture your love through her lens.
Aside from being flexible, be safe.  The most important thing on this list is to research newborn photography safety before you start. Many traditional poses are actually composites with spotters and safeguards in place so the baby is out of harm’s way.  Lastly, don’t give up.  I remember the first time I went snowboarding when I got back before I could open my mouth, my friend said I need to do it 5 more times before I decide to give up, that the learning curve is steep and that it gets easier.  The same is true for newborn photography.  My first session left me feeling very defeated, but I’m glad I got back up and did it again (and again and again)…and hopefully, this list removes some of your growing pains.
As a Dallas Newborn Photographer and a mom, I believe the first year of life is one that deserves to be captured forever in images. It’s a time that should be slow, so you can totally enjoy it. But, it’s one of the most fleeting times in the life of your new family. It’s a time that’s meant to be enjoyed forever. With newborn photographer Jessica Cook, she can help you have a record of those special times. As a result, you will receive beautiful photographs of your snuggly little bundle that will be treasured forever. Jessica specializes in providing you those stunning images of the love of your life through her photography.

If you and your fiancé are wearing understated autumnal colors, a fun accessory (think: a colorful scarf or bright hat) can add just enough visual interest to your fall engagement photo outfits. For instance, a pop of plaid is the perfect way to give off an autumnal vibe for more rustic or country engagement shoots. Just keep in mind that statement accessories shouldn't compete with your outfits, so if you're going with a bold pattern, keep the rest of your duds neutral. 
All albums are printed on archival photo paper, NOT press paper. The short term difference is thickness, richness, and color. The long-term difference is archival ability. Your album should be passed on to your grandchildren in beautiful condition. My albums feature leather cover options and my favorite, lay-flat pages to allow beautiful panoramic spreads across the entire album.
Excellent points, especially about using a tripod. The main benefit is that you'll need taking many nearly identical photos in order to get "the one" where everybody in the group is looking their best. Unless you've done this before, you'd be surprised how many shots it can take. Somebody's always looking away, blinking, has their head/hands etc. in a less than ideal position. Once everything is all set up as Darlene says, just shoot as many shots as you can in a very short amount of time.
Paige Walker Photography is a photo studio based in Fort Worth that specializes in newborn and twin newborn portraits. The business also shoots child, maternity, family, and senior portraits. The photo studio has a large variety of props and backgrounds to choose from, and Paige Walker's easy going personality keeps newborns calm. Clients have praised the photographer for her ability to make subjects feel comfortable and her beautiful photos.
If you are doing the session in the client’s home, posed newborn sessions require nearly the same amount of prep as a wedding.  You need quite a bit of “stuff” and it is easy to forget something so I make sure to pack the night before and use a checklist so I don’t forget anything (I’m a mom with a very limited memory).  To make your life a bit easier, I’ve made a print ready checklist you can use which is included in the newborn photography toolkit – one of the FREE limited time bonuses included in our online Newborn Photography Workshop.
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.
If you already know that you want your photo session to take place in your house, or you’re positive you want it to happen at a park your family loves, you’ll want to find a photographer that shoots on-location, and is willing to travel to the spot you’re considering. Likewise, if you know you want indoor portraits that are more formal, consider hiring someone who has access to a studio.
Creative props can be the difference between a professional photo and an amateur one. Newborn props don’t have to be expensive and you can find most of what you need at home or a local crafts stores. Other recommended locations are Beautiful Photo Props and Etsy. For ideas, consider incorporating the parents’ hobbies, their culture, their favorite colors, or their overall personalities. We came up with the concept below for Ellie because her mother used to live in Paris. For more inspiration and to see how this scene was shot, please see our Newborn Photography Workshop.
Julia Lauren Photography creates relaxed, casual photo sessions in its newborn photography work. The Dallas photo studio also photographs family portraits, maternity photos, and high school senior portraits. Julia Lauren Photography has been featured in Fort Worth Texas Magazine, WFAA 8, and Us Weekly. Clients have praised the photographer for her stunning, meaningful work and fun photo shoots.
The season is upon us!  Holiday cards (or Christmas cards), family photos, falling leaves, Thanksgiving and before you know it, Christmas!  Yikes!  So before this time of year gets too crazy, it is important to plan if you want to take your own family photos!  You can take family photos any time of year!  In fact, I love a good spring family photo session, but my favorite time of year is the fall and so I love to take our photos then!
Hi Lina 🙂 I am so happy that you loved this post! Many find their true passion is with Newborn/Baby Photography, but aren’t sure where to start. This post is a great start for quick tips but because of all of our readers who wanted more info, and more detailed information, we created a very detailed and complete Newborn Photography Workshop, it might be something that would be perfect for you. Feel free to check it out right here. If any questions, just email me 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Like most newborns, baby Maesie snoozed peacefully through her very first photo session, completely oblivious to the fact that she was the star of the show. Her soft, rosy cheeks and dark hair looked so beautiful with the floral headbands. What a little doll! As parents, we’re always a little nervous to see how older siblings will handle the new arrival, but Cole seemed so enamored with his baby sister already, fully ready to take on his new role as protective big brother. I love the photo of the two of them as he kissed the tip of her tiny button nose. He held her gently in his lap so he wouldn’t wake her.

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram


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.
Composition: After lighting, the next thing you want to look at in someone’s portfolio is composition (hint: Meg talks about this a lot in sponsored posts, because she went to art school and composition is something that gets drilled into you there). This basically means, how did they set up the photo? Even when photographers are capturing moments as they happen, we’re still looking for interesting ways to tell the story. Take the below photo, for example. It uses the backs of the the bride and her father’s heads to frame the groom’s face as she walks down the aisle. By doing this, not only do your eyes know exactly where to go the moment you look at the photo, but you also get the added storytelling of seeing the groom’s face from the bride’s perspective.
Talk to each other: (Duh, right?) DON'T match. But DO coordinate.  Wearing clothes that are the same level of dressiness is really as matchy as it needs to be. You guys already look like a family. Don't hamper each person's individuality by forcing the matching.  Let's be honest: You guys always look awesome together, you don't need special matching outfits for that. 
All albums are printed on archival photo paper, NOT press paper. The short term difference is thickness, richness, and color. The long-term difference is archival ability. Your album should be passed on to your grandchildren in beautiful condition. My albums feature leather cover options and my favorite, lay-flat pages to allow beautiful panoramic spreads across the entire album.
Jane Dowd Photography is a photography studio based in Southlake, Texas, serving the areas of Dallas/Fort Worth, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville, and beyond. This studio specializes in high school senior, family, and engagement photography, and also offers workshops. Jane Dowd Photography crafts exquisite images that are both organic and timeless, earning them 4.7 stars out of 5 stars on their Facebook reviews.
Sandra Bianco is a child, newborn, fine art, commercial and editorial photographer. Her work is based in South Florida; however she is available to travel to other areas to allow her customers to get what they want. What makes Sandra Bianco’s photographs amazing is depending on the surrounding beauty of nature in most of her photographs. You can find natural light, butterflies, flowers and more natural items that make the photographs more impressive and help in making children look more beautiful. 5 Amy McDaniel – United States

Maternity photos aim to capture life-changing and significant moments in parenthood and motherhood. Before your little one arrives on the scene, consider preserving your experience with some thoughtful, beautiful photos that showcase your baby bump. Plan to schedule your photo shoot when your bump is showing and you are still feeling comfortable. If you plan ahead with your photographer and family and take the time to consider your outfits, your poses, and what you want to capture, you will have beautiful maternity photos that you and your family will cherish.

[…] One more step to shoot inside, is to really zoom in on your subject. You can get up nice and close physically to your subject or you can put on a lens that allows you to get close without getting in their personal space. By getting close, you eliminate any distractions that might be around the house. Get closer than you normally would – focus on the eyes, or just the face, or little hands and feet. Get all of those little details up close. […]
Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them promotionally (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads). That also means you can't just post the digital proofs they send you—most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you'll have to buy the rights to the images.
Clothing is the most important element of a photograph. I welcome multiple wardrobe changes during my photo sessions. I generally recommend dressier, layered, non-matching clothing as it adds more depth and character to the photograph. An easy way to achieve this look is to add, scarves, leg warmers, boots, big costume jewelry, jackets, glasses, hats, etc. It is important to keep in mind that photographs will appear more fluent with low contrasting colors. This includes not only your clothing but also the location, background, lighting and surroundings.  Please click here for our “What to Wear Guide”.
Kimberly Wylie Photography specializes in newborn photography in the Dallas area. The photo studio uses creative settings to create original portraits of babies, children, families, and expecting mothers. Kimberly Wylie is a PPA Master Photographer who regularly presents photography workshops. The business was voted The Best Portrait Photographer of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area by WFAA Channel 8 in 2015, and Kimberly's work is regularly featured in Fox 4's GOOD DAY. The Kimberly Wylie Photography studio has a kid's playroom to create a stress-free experience.
Michael Kormos Photography is a boutique family portrait studio in NYC specializing in maternity, newborn and baby photography.  We strive to create an enjoyable, creative and giggle-filled experience, while delivering stunning photos of the highest quality.   With an eye for candid moments and genuine interactions, we have been recognized worldwide for our fresh style, creative perspectives, and portraits that celebrate the love and joy of families.  We offer maternity portraits in our Midtown Manhattan studio, newborn photography in the comfort of your home, and family photos in beautiful outdoor settings.   You can view samples of our portrait sessions on the Blog. We're excited and honored to share these special moments in your family's journey!
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"
Family portraits are a great way to mark the passage of time, create lifelong keepsakes and have gorgeous-looking photos for your annual holiday card. The national average cost for hiring family photographers ranges from $150 to $200. Pricing can range higher depending on where you live, length of the photo shoot, the number of edited photos you request, and the background and reputation of your family photographer. Before hiring, make sure you understand their fees up front. Ask how many finished images are included in the quoted price and whether you will receive all the photos taken (not just edited photos). Ask whether you’ll be able to download digital photos or if you’ll have to print them or purchase digital copies through the photographer. Here are some average examples of family photographer pricing:
Couples looking for a free iPhone or Android app should check out WedPics. There are premium features available for a price, but a basic photo-sharing folder—to be filled with either recently taken pics or those taken in the app itself—comes free of charge with unlimited storage. Decide whether you want to order custom invite cards with your names, wedding ID, and simple user instructions. Or digitally streamline the process and send custom generated emails, text messages, or Facebook invites. Guests who are toting digital cameras or other mobile devices can also upload their snaps to the WedPics site. And you can even print photos through the program.
Baby pictures are among the most popular types of portrait photography, and most newborn photographers are well versed in the best places to take baby pictures in their local areas. Some newborn photographers will come to the hospital to shoot the baby within a day or two of birth, while others have set up their studios to accommodate the needs of infants. Some parents prefer to have the newborn photographer come to their home or travel to a favorite park or other outdoor location. Like any portrait photography, the best place to take baby pictures is the place you like best and that will yield the types of photos you want of your baby, whether that’s posed and carefully lit studio portraits or spontaneous, casual photos at home. Work with a local newborn photographer to find a safe, calm location with great lighting and some privacy for your family.
Consider shooting a fake wedding couple in order to practice posing techniques or just to build up some portfolio images. It can be hard to get your feet on the ladder at the start and you need images in order to attract clients. Shooting couples who are friends is a great way to build confidence and experiment with new techniques without the pressures that come with a wedding.

Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.

It usually takes at least a month to get all those photo proofs back from your photographer. Why? Your photographer is shooting enormous raw files far bigger than your typical JPG. Shooting raw files gives your photographer greater ability to correct the photo, but it also takes a longer time to upload, process and edit all those files (in order to correct color levels and so on). It varies, but many photographers say they spend an additional 40 hours editing images from a single wedding, so it can take up to six to eight weeks (or longer, depending on the photographer and how busy they are) to get proofs back. Here's what to ask: How many images should I expect? Will they be high resolution or low resolution? Will I be able to get prints made myself, or does the photographer retain the rights to the images? Will the proofs I see be the retouched versions, or does that happen after I select the photos I want? Speaking of retouching, ask about retouching options and special effects (which can range from simple white balancing to beauty retouching and stylized art effects like super-saturated colors) and the additional cost for both.
DO learn the basics. Visit the websites of wedding photographers and see how they do it. "Try assisting an experienced wedding photographer. You will see first hand how it's done, with zero pressure on you," recommends Dennis Pike, the northern New Jersey photographer who shot the couple in the car at left. "The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the people you are photographing will feed off of that."
While we love our wedding photos, this painting is even more special because we will be able to hang it in our house forever and look at it every day, where our wedding photos are in an album and we may not look at those that often, but the painting will be there every day for us to see and enjoy
First of all, thank you so much for all of your advice and explainations that are always so clear and to the point. I keep going back to reading various articles once in a while to remind me or to re-inspire me. It is a scary time for me as I am about to launch my photography full time in a new country (I am originally from France and after spending time in the UK and Dubai, i have relocated in Asia). I own a Canon 60D which I love, I am still at crop frame but hopefully I will be successful enough to be able to afford full frame at some point! I was just curious to know what your take was on 60D as I value very much your experience and opinions. In regards to lenses, I have at the moment a canon 50mm f/1.8 which I use a lot for portraits and a tamron 18-250 mm which I have used for portraits as well and has given me some really good shots. I do get frustrated at times with the lack of sharpness so I do look forward to using more prime lenses and a full frame camera when time allows.

Lovely Fitzgerald Photography, based in The Colony, aims to capture the spirit of its portrait subjects in its newborn photography. Jessica, the photographer, was previously an interior designer and has transformed her eye for detail into a love of photography. The business transforms its photographs into artistic products including framed photos, albums, canvas prints, fine art prints, and glass displays. The photo studio's workshops teach students posing, editing, marketing, and in-person sales skills.
I know many portrait & wedding photographers love to shoot wide open at f/1.2 & f/1.4.  However, with newborn photography, many of the baby poses can have extreme angles and you often will have better luck with your depth of field and sharpness by shooting around f/2 & f/2.2.  Remember, it will be rare that the baby’s eyes are on the same plane of focus all the time and by closing down my aperture a bit from wide open I get that little bit extra of depth of field that is often needed.
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Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
Jason -- Sorry for the late reply! For me, it's all about personality. I've had families who all wore gaudy Hawaiian shirts (you would think it would be horrid with the clashing, but it actually worked beautifully!), all in shades of (color), University sweatshirts, swimsuits and scuba gear, sports uniforms, whatever. Their personality and their own flavor should guide their clothing. As a general rule, I do ask that they don't mix wild patterns (with the one exception above) but other than that, I figure I can work it out by who's standing next to whom, if that makes sense.
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