As the busy fall season for family photography approaches, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts on things you may want consider when choosing a family photographer! If you’re looking at hiring a photographer for the first time, I’m sure the options can be daunting. How does this all work? Why does it cost so much? How do you know you can trust them to do a good job? Whether you’re reading this here in Fort Collins or far away in another state, I want to share some thoughts that might be helpful as you make this decision. This isn’t meant to be a black and white list of dos and don’ts, just some food for thought! I want to start by talking a bit about some things that I think are important to look for when you’re checking out potential photographers’ websites.
When I first began doing maternity work I made a pledge. A commitment I swore I’d stand by through thick and thin. I promised myself I’d never take “the maternity picture.” You know the one. Daddy’s arms around mommy’s belly with hands affectionately forming… gag… excuse me… a heart. There’s NOTHING wrong with this photo. AT ALL. Calm your rage oh you who just did this exact shot this afternoon.
Instant viewing of your photo session is made available with a custom online slide show posted to the Bella Baby website (protected with a unique password), thus enabling distant friends and family members the opportunity to share the experience. Online viewing and ordering is offered for two weeks to anyone you choose to share your password; immediate in-hospital purchasing is also available.
Once you’re through with the type of photos above, use a family member to get even more pictures of just the baby. You’ll notice that I almost always use my piece of black stretch velvet as a background when photographing baby and mom. I just really like the timeless look, and it makes for great black and white photos. In the following photos I asked the mom to wear a black shirt, then draped the black velvet either over them or behind them. Here are a few more fun poses using a family member:
See #1 first of all. Then look at #6. Being a photographer means that sometimes you have to also become a comedian, or a clown. Knowing the right thing to say or do to make people smile is mostly experience. Sometimes you’ll get tough adults too. The dad in the photo above by the brick wall pretty much has the same expression all the time. I’ve known this family and photographed them for 13 years, they’re friends too. So I know I can bug him a little bit or get out the ducky to have some fun at his expense.
In real estate it’s location, location, location. In photography it’s quality, quality, quality. When you are looking for a photographer, you want to look at their exposure, white balance, and focus. Is it all correct and consistent? Before you inquire with a photographer on pricing information, you want to make sure that you will receive quality images. Some families get photos done yearly. Some only get them done every few years, or just once when their kids are little. No matter how often you get photos done, these images will be hanging on your walls, in frames at your office, and in albums that many generations will get to enjoy. Making sure you have a photographer that can deliver you images with correct exposure, white balance, and focus should be top priority.
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.
If you're someone who avoids the oh-so-tedious process of transferring photos from camera to computer, get yourself a wireless memory card -- stat. (We like Eye-Fi's SD card, $50 and up; eye.fi.) This nifty memory card automatically and wirelessly uploads the images on your camera to your home computer and/or favorite photo Website as soon as you enter your home Wi-Fi network.
By having someone else take your photos you’re going to be able to be in a lot more of the shots, and you’ll get a lot more variety. You’ll also be able to focus more on having fun with your family – taking your own photos is definitely a bit of a juggling act! A pro behind the camera can catch a lot more of the special moments that come when you’re simply interacting with your loved ones, instead of worrying about whether your remote is working.
If you're not sure where you'd like to shoot, don't worry! I'd be glad to offer up some suggestions. If you're looking for a Manhattan or Brooklyn location, I have a great list of New York area spaces that are wonderful for engagement sessions. If you're trying to choose a Philadelphia spot for your engagement pictures, I also have a great list for you! If you are looking to have your portraits done in New Jersey, or anywhere other than New York or Philly, just drop me an email and we can talk. I travel often for engagement sessions, and would love to hear about your plans.
Usually, I recommend a change of clothing in the middle of the shoot, reserving the wardrobe for something classic (a cute dress and heeled shoes for ladies) and for something more casual. If needed, I will send them a color chart to pick out clothing that compliments the background we chose to photograph against. I also send my clients a lot of example photos of what I mean, so that they can visualize my thoughts.
Before you do the fancy stuff, like fix red-eye and crop, you must delete! Send awkward faces, closed eyes, blurry, overexposed (too light) or underexposed (too dark) shots to the trash immediately. Next, tackle duplicates. Decide which smile or pose you like the best when photos are very similar, then delete the rest. "The fewer photos you end up with, the easier it is to sort and store them," says Walsh.
Plan on spending at least an hour to get some good shots. I generally spend two hours when I photograph a newborn (some pros spend twice that much time). If you’re taking pictures of your own baby, you could also plan to spend just half an hour but try once a day for the first week. Figure out what will work best for your schedule, but realize this won’t be a quick process. Also, the photoshoot will be much easier if you have someone to help you, so rope your husband/mom/friend into being your assistant.
#2 – it allows you to get your eye away from the camera so you can actually make eye contact with your subjects. They are very real people and they feel even more uncomfortable staring straight into your lens than they do looking at you. You can make gestures to get kids attention, or make faces. But you’ll get way better expressions by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder. Try it!
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.
You can also design a digital photo book to commemorate special events. Photo book-creation sites allow you to put as little or as much effort and creativity into the process as you like -- offering numerous design choices for those who want a hands-on experience or prepackaged options if you're short on time or have a large number of images to include in a single project.
Perhaps now you’re wondering why I even bother posing newborns at all if I want them to look natural. A couple of reasons: 1) Newborns have very little control over their limbs, so they tend to flail about. Left to their own devices, their arms and hands can look very contorted. 2) Most newborns burrow their heads into whatever is nearest them, meaning they will generally hide their faces in any blanket or pillow you lay them down on. 3) Newborn’s legs are long and skinny, and they just don’t look good in photographs when they are sticking straight out. Tucking their legs up underneath them makes for a much tidier looker photo.
At Maui Professional wedding Photography, we know how important it is to capture right shots at the right moment. Our wedding photographers in Maui are talented and know fine art really well. They are 100 percent capable of providing memories for life. Being experienced since years, we realize the importance of tender moments and subtle and sweet glances.
Most couples will be a little awkward about having their photos taken. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As long as your couple is laughing about how awkward it is you will get some great reaction shots. The beauty of photography is that the photo doesn’t know it was an awkward moment all it will see is laughter. Just play on it a little bit and get some great laughing shots. Make it more awkward if you want and get up close with a 24mm lens.
Flatter yourselves, Moms: Yes, Moms, I'm talking to you. You're organizing, you're planning, you're making it happen, every day. YOU deserve to look amazing in these photos. Don't forget about YOU. Play up your assets. If you have great legs, don't hesitate to show them off a little. It's OK to be a hot mama. If you have an area of insecurity, think about how you can minimize that with your outfit choice. Scarves /pashminas/jackets are awesome accessories that can totally help highlight the best version of you. If you have insecurities that you want to share with me - please do. BUT, you're not allowed to do it during your session. Let's get that out of the way beforehand, so it doesn't bring us down on session day. :)
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.
Ask for personal recommendations. The best wedding photographers will tend to develop a reputation, and may be known locally to your friends are family. Start your search by asking people you know and trust if they have any recommendations, either through personal experience, or word of mouth. Talk to people you know who have got married in the last few years and ask about their experience.
The photo on the left is from the very first newborn photoshoot I ever did, while the photo on the right is me (hi!) and was taken by my mom when she was taking pictures of me and my baby girl. In that first photo I just asked the mom to snuggle the baby close so I could take a picture. It’s cute (they’re cute!) but as a photo it has a few problems, while the second picture looks much better. Here are some things to remember when photographing mom/dad/grandma etc., holding the newborn baby:
"Cai took our family photos. We had very specific requirements, such as outdoor photoshoot at the location we wanted. He was able to accommodate every request we had and our timeline. He is very responsive and I never had to wait long for a reply from him. Cai had spent some time on the location, even before we got there, to familiarize himself with the place. He spent an hour with us, taking his time and creating unhurried atmosphere. Cai is very artistic and worked with us on creatively positioning our family members so that we looked our best. He encouraged us to use our props and to have fun. Our two boys, who normally despise taking pictures, for the very first time were amused and entertained with the entire process! The finished photos were wonderful, but we wanted more drama, so Cai had edited them to add more mood and drama and they are breathtaking now! We believe we got rather lucky finding such talented photographer! We absolutely recommend Cai and will use his services again!"
Loni Smith is a maternity, newborn and child photographer whose work is based in Utah, USA to cover different areas such as Riverton, Sandy, Salt Lake, Draper, South Jordan in addition to other surrounding areas. Loni believes that she is given a great chance to capture the happiest moments in life and this is why she does her best to create amazing photographs that immortalize the most precious and shortest moments in life for the parents and the coming generations.
While doing a senior picture shoot last month (which was filmed for my “Photography Start” class), the model mentioned she had horses. OBVIOUSLY the shoot suddenly included the horses because they are an interesting subject. I wanted to take a photo showing how much the girl loves her horse, so I focused in on the fine detail of just part of the horse to capture this shot.
Spring is symbolic of new beginnings, so what better time to celebrate your new new life as a married couple? This gorgeous season is all about pretty pastels, florals and dreamy details, so don't be afraid to add lively touches of color and whimsical prints to your spring engagement photo outfits when deciding what to wear. As far as accessories are concerned, let your romantic leanings take over: Floral details, flower crowns and vintage-inspired pieces are a fresh place to start.
I knew I loved shooting weddings but the pressure was a little overwhelming, as anything that you’re new to can be. I also spent hours and hours watching tutorials and learning my equipment. You need to be really familiar with all of the worst case scenarios that you can possibly run into and find solutions for them before you shoot a wedding. Some of those situations are going to be discovered after you gain a little experience, however. When I felt completely defeated after my first wedding, I went searching for a good list that would help me get through the wedding day and came up dry every time. So, in an attempt to help anyone that’s new to this out, here is my list of shots that I don’t leave the wedding without.
Love the way you make this tutorial so easy to follow and understand every step of the way. Eager to start taking precious photos of my active three great grandkids, 3-4- and 10. Wished I knew like you how to take The Great Photos when they were each born. A friend will be having her baby soon, maybe I will get the second chance again Keep up the good work your doing here Autumn, looking forward to learning more, even at my age. Being a Grandma and having a camera are two of my favorite things in Life !
Wow Annie thank you thank you so much for the “what to wear” guide!! I just cant stop reading it! you have made my day and made me see colour marchers in a whole new way! you have covered everything!..(i only wish the places you linked to were available in New Zealand..But im sure i can find beautiful clothes over here 2!:) And the cool examples at the bottom of the page!!! YAY love to see little outfits you have put together im so going to take this post with me the next time i get to the shops!:) You are truly AMAZING in everything you do and thank you again for shearing your Amaziness with the world <3