Once your session is booked, we will have a phone consultation so that I can get to know you and your style, as well as your hopes and dreams for your shoot! I want your session to be as uniquely you as we can. We will discuss location - do you want dreamy backlit field images, or are you an uptown girl who likes to dress up in the city, want an editorial shoot? We’ll also talk about styling, outfit choices, accessories, hair and makeup, etc.to match your location choice.  You will then receive a beautiful Welcome Packet from me in the mail that covers everything you could ever think of. It even has a checklist for you for session day!


Claire Smith Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas. Claire Smith is a natural light photographer who specializes in newborn, baby, child, and family photography. Claire’s style is casual, modern, and fun. Claire Smith Photography aims to document a child’s unique personality, opting for candid shots rather than directed poses.
For this type of pose I usually move my couch cushions out of the way and put the baby all the way down on the floor. Then I stand on a chair near him and photograph him from directly above (see the first photo below). But if the baby really wants to turn her head to the side it’s worth hopping off the chair and lying down right next to her to get a few photos that show her face better (second photo below).
My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read together? Bring some books. Is your favorite dessert ice cream? Bring some ice cream bars or drumsticks to your session or better yet… hire an ice cream truck to come to your session. Love to play board games or cards? Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.
Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings is a wedding planner and photography studio in Dallas, Texas, serving clients in Ft. Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Highland Park, Irving, Addison, and the surrounding DFW area since 2011. This studio specializes in bridal, wedding, engagement, family, child, corporate, and executive photography, as well as wedding planning packages. Cinnamon Dreams Photography & Weddings has been featured in Style Me Pretty wedding blog site.
Finally, 9 out of 10 times someone will forget that they were supposed to show up early for family photos before the ceremony (or they get caught in traffic or they are busy dealing with the florist or they forgot their boutonniere or their little kids took longer to get dressed than expected… etc.) which typically results in everyone spending time getting everyone together only to discover that someone is missing and then spending more time trying to figure out where that person is and then finally deciding to just do that side of the family’s photos after the ceremony.
I love reading your articles. I am not a Pro Photographer but just a hobbyist and will only do it when time permits. I have a day job that I think I can’t afford to quit if I’ll go full time on photography. Anyways, what I can suggest to those beginners or let me say… to the people that who just found or discover their passion in photography a very big welcome to photography world. Photography is awesome. Believe me! :)
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.
At the image below, both of them are not in focus. If you look closely, in the top image you can see that focus fell on his shirt. That is the most clear part of the image. His eyes and his face (what you normally want in focus) is blurry and out of focus. The bottom image is also out of focus. This one is because of a too low shutter speed and there is motion blur. Images can also be out of focus because of a camera error. Your photographer should cull all those images and not present them to you.

I am a national award-winning children’s photographer, but I’m also a mom, and I look at kids through the eyes of a mom. I know that some of the most cherished photos you’ll ever have of your children are not the perfectly posed, clean-faced, well-dressed, sweet-smiling photos that our parents wanted, but rather the authentic, digging in the mud, feet in the cake, finger up the nose sort of moments that can’t be duplicated and will never be forgotten (future boyfriends/girlfriends beware!). Now that my own kids are in high school, I think the little things that young kids do are seriously funny, though I realize that right now, you might not see the humor. I promise you, in 10 years, it will become clear when you look at the photos we create together. Optical Poetry is a laid back, high-end portrait experience that begins with collaborative planning of wardrobe and location and ends with the delivery of your artwork as gallery-wrap canvas collections, gorgeous albums and heirloom quality prints to be cherished for generations.
During the couples shoot, it’s a great idea to get some shots of just the Bride on her own. She has probably spent a lot on hair and makeup to look especially beautiful for this big day. Not to mention the dress as well. Shoot a variety of different photos to add variance to your shoot. Brides also really like to see photos of the backs of their dresses so make sure you grab some.

“Kate let our son have his space but also got him back on track playing, having fun, and following her direction. Her reviews are incredible and every positive thing you read is absolutely true. Not only are the photos beautiful, they’re filled with emotion. Anyone can take a picture of you smiling at the camera but to capture personalities and emotion is a special talent.”
Try to add variance to your group shots by providing the couple with a few different shots. Shoot wide to include all the outfits of the people in the photo. Get in closer and ask them to talk to each other (this generally sparks a reaction of laughter). Providing a couple with a bit of variance to their group shots gives them more flexibility when choosing images for albums or to share online. Additionally, it will add to your overall deliverable opposed to just one shot of people standing, smiling at the camera.
Working with your wedding photographer to come up with some great wedding photo ideas is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. But not to worry, we’ve put together an amazing collection of photos to help get it covered. From intimate shots of your wedding dress and wedding rings, to the dance party at your reception, we’ve pulled together a variety of wedding photo ideas for you. After the wedding, you can slip your favorite shot into your thank you cards so everyone can remember your big day.
Timidity won’t get you ‘the shot’ – sometimes you need to be bold to capture a moment. However timing is everything and thinking ahead to get in the right position for key moments are important so as not to disrupt the event. In a ceremony I try to move around at least 4-5 times but try to time this to coincide with songs, sermons or longer readings. During the formal shots be bold, know what you want and ask for it from the couple and their party. You’re driving the show at this point of the day and need to keep things moving.
As you start looking through photographers’ portfolios, pay attention to the lighting quality in the pictures. Are they dark and moody? Bright and romantic? Each photographer has a certain style, and there will most likely be one that you mesh with better than others. You may also notice while you’re looking through portfolios that some photographers refer to themselves “natural light photographers” which just means that they only use whatever light is available, rather than using a flash or other lighting setups. If you are getting married somewhere dark without a lot of windows, you will want to make sure that the photographer knows how to create light when it isn’t there. Every lighting situation is different for photographers, so make sure you’re looking at photos that have similar characteristics to your venue. An outdoor wedding in the middle of the day with bright sun requires a very different skill than a New Year’s Eve reception in a dark church. (Also, a hot tip: ask to see some reception shots, since many of us don’t include those in our portfolios. Because if you are having an art gallery reception with no light, you want to make sure we can handle it. If all the reception photos are a little blurry and have been converted to black and white, then low-light situations are probably not that photographer’s forte. If you see lots of backlighting and what appears to be bursts of light behind the dancing, it means that that photographer has the ability to create standalone lighting in situations where the light is nonexistent.)
Documentary photography has come naturally to me over the years, and making the change to dive into this style fully and completely has been such an eye opening experience. Preserving the genuine interactions and moments between two or more people can elicit emotions in the viewer for many years to come. Providing my clients with a book of feelings transposed into pictures brings me such joy.
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.
Communication and planning are key. Discuss in detail what is going to happen on the day, what the clients will be wearing, and what you’re going to be bringing. Coordinate their outfits with your props, or, say, the baby’s booties with their decor. You have to think of it all. Best of all, if you hit it off with the family, you’ll get that referral and your client base will grow. Speaking of which…
I really like how you said in your third point that the woman’s head shouldn’t be tilted at a weird angle. I think this is why it’s a great idea to hire a photographer with some expertise to come and do the photos for you. My younger sister is just starting to show and has been contemplating whether or not she should take maternity photos so I think I’ll share this tip with her and see what she thinks!
Frank Simonetti was recommended to my husband and I through our wedding ceremony and reception venue (Casa Ybel Resort). He offers the rare combination of exceptional and reasonably priced photography. Mr. Simonetti was very good about listening to our ideas and offering some of his own, which resulted in beautiful pictures! He is also very good at making the bride feel at ease (even a type A one like me that wanted everything planned out to the minute) and awkward family situations (including divorced parents, estranged family members, etc.). We highly recommend Mr. Simonetti to anyone planning a wedding in the Ft. Myers area!
I really like your site and the tips you give on photographing toddlers, children, and newborns! They are so very helpful. I think your photos look 100% professional! I was wondering if you had any articles on photographing babies (older than newborns)? My son is 6 months old and I want to photograph him. If not, these tips are still super helpful! Especially the other article that includes the links on how to make different backdrops! Thanks!
The natural beauty of a pregnant woman in a beautiful outdoor backdrop is simply breathtaking! The parallel of a mother about to bring to life into the world and Mother Nature is a powerful one. Disadvantages are that the shoot is weather-dependent and shooting hours are limited to the golden hour of sunrise or sunset (when the quality of natural light is at its best). Reschedules can happen and may trigger the rescheduling of other related appointments (e.g. professional makeup and hair artist, florist, venues, etc.) Remember your sunscreen and bug spray! Be prepared to walk/hike to the location and change outfits outdoors.
When choosing a family photographer, you’ll want to take a look at the colors of their images. When I edit my image, I want my subjects to look like they do in real life. I don’t want my subjects to look to yellow or too blue. I want them to look like themselves and their skin tone. Take a look at the image below. The image on the top left is more cool (blue) and washed out looking. The image on the top right is very warm (yellow). The little boy’s skin is yellow and a little orange looking. The bottom image is the correct white balance. Mom’s shirt is cream. Dad’s shoes have white in them, and baby boy is wearing a white shirt. Their skin tone also matches what they really look like.

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.


Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus. Turn on the Live View so you can see the image on your screen. Hit your “zoom” button (it may have a magnifying glass or a “+” sign on it) once or twice. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. Press zoom again to return to normal view and turn off Live View.
Your portraits are beautifully lit and fortunately don't need much retouching. The only exception I see in your examples is the family piled on top of each other on the ground where the mom appears to be in the shadow a bit more than I'd prefer. She could use a quick swipe of the dodge tool, IMHO. I do tend to spend too much time in post production working to "perfect" each file, but that's me.

If your photographer specializes in maternity, they will likely have maternity dresses, wraps and accessories in their studio available to use. The benefit is you don’t have to go and buy maternity dresses that you only wear a few times—one dress can run you anywhere from $100 – $1000 each! Please check with your photographer about their gown rental policy. Depending on the gown’s quality and intricate detail work, there may be rental and/or dry-cleaning fees.


Here’s an important thing to keep in mind: The memories that are brought up when you look at these photos will be complex. The images themselves will trigger memory of what your child looked like and who they were, and of your relationship together, AND it will also trigger memory of what you felt like when those images were being captured. If you were uncomfortable during the session that discomfort will forever be tied to the images.

They say that "cheap photography isn't good and good photography isn't cheap", and I couldn’t agree more. When it comes to Newborn Photography, high quality work is an investment. I would love for potential clients to invest in Lily Hayes Photography’s services, but if they don’t, I’m a firm advocate of giving careful thought to the process of Newborn Photography. The delicate nature of it, as well as the experience of the photographer. The quality of the equipment and props contributing to the end result. Your baby is going to be a itty bitty only once and unfortunately, there are no do over.
If you have pets or kids, please feel free to include them in your session. However, I strongly suggest limiting their involvement. If you're going to bring pets or kids, you're also going to need to bring someone else to handle them. The best thing is to include them in the beginning of the session, for a brief time, and then having a trusted friend or family member take them home. If you don't, we'll spend valuable session time wrangling them. You won't be able to relax and be together if you've got kids running around that you need to keep an eye on, and it's difficult to cuddle up when you're trying to hold your dog's leash in your free hand!
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.
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