Photographer reputation and demand have a huge impact on rates. Professional photographers with a widely recognized brand will cost more than those just starting out. Experience will also affect costs. A new photographer looking to build their portfolio will often offer discounts to build clientele, while more established pros will have rates reflecting their experience. Most wedding photographers only work one wedding a day, so if you have your heart set on someone with a cult following, secure their services early with a deposit.
Hey Jessica! Without knowing what camera body you have right now it is sort of a guess…but I’d look into the Nikon 60mm macro. Brand new (newest versions) are around $500 which is about 1/2 of the 105 macro…you can find used for even cheaper. If you aren’t using a full frame camera I’d actually RECOMMEND that 60mm length over the 105 anyway 😉 The class allows you, the viewer, to tag along on a professional shoot in which you will certainly see and hear Chrystal work throughout the shoot, including when she is getting the close details vs other shots/poses. Give it a shot!! I think it’ll be perfect for you.
Consider COLOR: Most people look their best in certain colors (mine are green and orange).  Although I love hiding in black clothes as much as the next guy, it tends to be a tough color for photographs.  And again - you don't need to match. Pick a color tone (jewel tone) or pallette (pastels) - maybe even select 3-4 colors - and go from there.  Pinterest has some great color ideas for family photos.  Before you go out and buy anything - spend a bit of time with favorite items you already own.  You probably have everything you need. 
“After people have a big traditional wedding, I hear so many of them say that they are so glad it's over. This is not the feeling we wanted to have after our wedding. We wanted the most amazing and memorable experience possible—we wanted something fun, unique and special. We want to look back and wish we could do it a million times over. We wanted more than what a traditional wedding could offer us.“
(Above) Engagement Photo Prop Sticker Ideas: Print out and slap these cute and colourful stickers onto reused jam jars. Top your jam jars up with a yummy refreshment and retro chevron straws such as these found here: Chevron Wedding Ideas {Trendy Tuesday} {Featured here: {Engagement Shoot} A Whimsical Balloon-Themed Photo Shoot | Shot by: Adene Photography}
To get crystal-clear photos with a dreamy, blurred background, experiment with using lower F-stops. This means you will have to take your camera off auto-focus, but the results are more than worth it. The F-stop on a camera tells you how much light you let in while exposing your photo. Photos taken with a lower F-stop have a wider aperture to let in more light, but the depth of field is very shallow. This is what creates stunningly vivid portraits with gorgeously blurred backgrounds.
“The idea of walking down an isle and having a bunch of people kind of terrified us—It felt like it wouldn't have been a day for us, but instead for other people. I've heard many people talk about how they don't even remember their wedding day or they were too exhausted to even enjoy it and they spent the whole time trying to talk to everyone who attended it. Eloping takes a lot less planning, which took a lot of stress away”
Nothing is worse than one photographer trying to conduct two large families for photos.  I like to plan a time for the bride's family to be there, and shoot their photos, then I'll have the groom's family come to shoot everyone together, then I ask the bride's family to leave while I shoot the groom's family.  Works like a charm.  The last thing you want is for people to be standing around waiting on you. (Thanks Michaelle Parsons Mulhollan)
Avoid taking photos earlier than five days after your baby’s birth, since your baby will still be adjusting to feeding times. Your newborn session will go smoother if your baby boy or girl is less fidgety and on a consistent feeding schedule. The sleepier your newborn is, the easier it will be to adjust their poses and photograph them without clothes on to capture some of those classic newborn photo ideas you’ve been looking at for inspiration.
Most photographers provide a set of proofs (usually unretouched, edited images) for the clients to view. Photographers may provide hard copy proofs in the form of 4x5 or 4x6 prints, a "magazine" of images with thumbnail sized pictures on multiple pages. Alternatively, they will provide an online proofing gallery. The images will sometimes include a digital watermark/company logo on the images. Some photographers provide these proofs for the client to keep, and some photographers require the client to make final print choices from the proofs and then return them or purchase them at an additional cost.
#1 - the umbrella is to make the light spread out over a larger area which softens it. There is a misconception that just diffusing your light with one of those plastic spheres will make it softer - not true. If you are bouncing indoors off the ceiling or a wall then yes it will - but outdoors it will not make the light any softer. Light quality is related to the size of the light source - nothing else.
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.

Both of my sisters had babies around the same time last year (they're 10 wks apart).  One sister did the whole enchilada and spent hundreds of dollars on a photo session and got some really breathtaking photos and made some into large canvas wall hangings they put in the house.  My other sister went to JCPenny and had the photo shoot there for about 1/10 of the cost.  While the professional ones were really amazing, they were too expensive for family members to purchase or my sister to give out as gifts unlike the ones from JCPenny that we all got copies of.  The JCPenny ones were not ALL great but there were definitely some gems.
When shooting in wide open locations and it involves kiddos, I love to have some movement and flow in their clothing and accessories. Little ones are fond of jumping, dancing, and being wild. Nothing better than a twirly, whirly dress to accentuate all that beautiful movement and childhood innocence. Something as simple as a scarf trailing behind or a playful super hero cape can be fun for the boys.
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