First, I would recommend never hiring someone, even a friend, without looking at their portfolio first. While a portfolio only showcases a photographer’s best work, if their best isn’t very good, you can safely bet they won’t be taking amazing photos of you and your family, and you should think about hiring someone else. Looking at their portfolio will also give you an inclination as to their creative vision and methods.
Natalie Roberson is a photographic artist specializing in newborn, family, children and wedding photography. Natalie graduated from Southwest Texas State University in December 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with Minors in Business and Spanish. In May of 2004 Natalie graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Master’s in Business Administration degree. Natalie studied Photography and Graphic Design at Collin College in Plano, Texas.
If the baby has older siblings, I try to make the sibling shots my very first priority and then let them go play while we finish the session. Toddlers simply don’t have the attention span to sit quietly and wait for you to call on them for their picture so get their poses done first while they are curious and excited about your visit. By the time the session is over, they are usually open to participating again and that is when I try to get some lifestyle sibling shots. If they don’t want to participate, I’ve found promises of ice cream & candy have magical powers! (as long as that’s ok with Mom & Dad).
Talk about the photographer’s style. The first thing to discuss is the style and ideas of the photographer. You will have seen some pictures, but you will be able to get better and more complete understanding by talking it through in person. Ask the photographer to describe the style they shoot in, and be sure to ask any further questions if anything is unclear to you.
*Tell A Story*Shetha Nolke of Portland, OR shot the above photo of a boy encircled in holiday lights and it’s more than just cute. The lights were strung by an older brother, and you can see in the child’s eyes the years of teasing he’s taken from that sibling. Says New York-based pro Andrew Matusik, who took this black-and-white group photo, “I shoot my family like I’m doing a photo essay. I want the photos to tell a greater story and show the bigger picture. To do that, I look for narrative elements that can tie the images together, like the grandchildren in my shot here.”Shetha Nolke
In my 6 years in business, I have photographed over 300 newborns, I have taken posing and safety workshops, I've had three babies of my own! :) Let's not forget to talk about, insurance; yes, I'm fully insured! Although reasonable DSLR cameras are easily accessible to consumers, what matters most is the skill it takes to manually and creatively use that equipment. I have personally invested over $40k in camera, lenses, studio lighting, computers, latest editing software, management systems. Over 20K in quality newborn props; backdrops, floors, outfits, headbands, hats, wood props, blankets, wraps to name a few but that's just the expense of want it takes to produce an image, it does not include my CODB; taxes, licenses, memberships, subscriptions, fees, marketing..etc. It's an investment I have made and will continue to make into my business. Most importantly and above all else, a commitment I make to every single client of mine that I will produce the best possible photographs.
Newborns aren't the only subject we love to photograph... we love to capture all of the milestones of family life. Using a photojournalistic style approach to photography, we capture your baby learning to stand, your 5-year old riding his bike with no training wheels, and your teenager's last photograph before she becomes an adult. Go to our Bella Life section to view samples of these important family moments.
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!
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.
As a Dallas baby photographer, I love to capturing your little one’s personality with goofy grins and perfect pout while shooting on my all white backdrop. We will also use my collection of simple props, toys and neutral wardrobe to show off their sweet rolls and chunky little toes! All my baby photography sessions include your little one to be dressed in one outfit of your choice. And, of course naked booty cause lets get real everyone loves a nakey baby!
In-person photo kiosks are quick and convenient, but they are often inconsistent since there are a number of different factors that affect print quality. One drugstore or superstore may have solid print quality, while the same store by the same name in the next town over may not. We have had some success at one drugstore, only to get 5 x 7s printed on 8 x 10 sheets (and having to dig out the scissors to cut them out manually) at another.
When I was first learning how to use my camera, lighting is what I had the most trouble with. It is so important to learn though. Lighting can make or break a photo. All the other settings can be correct, but a badly lit image will ruin it. When looking at a photographers work, you’ll want to look how their subjects are lit. You want nice even lighting without spots from the sun on a subjects face or front of the body. The image below is back lit. The sun is hitting the back of my son (don’t mind his messy hair!) and rimming him nicely. Notice there are no sun spots on his face or the front of him. The lighting on his face is nice and even. In the second image he was in the same spot, but I moved my position. The sun is now hitting his face. That side of his face is very harsh and the exposure is blown, while the side that is in the shade is correctly exposed. It I had exposed for the sun on his skin, the side in the shadow would have been underexposed. If I moved my position even more the sun would have been completely hitting him on his face. He would have been squinting and the light would not have been pleasing. You also want to avoid dappled light on the subject. Dappled light is when there are clusters of light spots on your subject.
If you are shooting under a large tree you shouldn't be getting dark eyes. I look for exactly that type of location to put people under a large branch. When you block the overhead light it IS darker for sure but the direction of light changes to coming from the front instead of overhead, so you don't get dark eyes. You may just need more exposure overall but the quality of light should be there.
Don’t just shoot what’s always been shot. This is a good general rule of photography. I really try to be “consistently inconsistent” (I recently heard another photographer, Nate Kaiser of theimageisfound.com, use this term and I had to pirate it). Let me explain, you’ve got to approach each shoot as it’s own. I’m very committed as a photographer to tailoring each shoot for the subject I’m photographing. Like I said before, this is a good general rule that applies particularly to maternity photography. Even though millions and millions of mothers have given birth to millions and millions of babies for millions and millions of years, a momma-to-be needs to feel like her pregnancy is miraculous, special and sacred, that the things she’s experiencing are unique only to her. Because they are.
Take a look at their blog and galleries. Are they consistent in all that I mentioned above: proper exposure, correct white balance, focus, and lighting? Ask for view a full gallery so you can see what type of variety you would get in a session and that all the images are consistent and flow nicely. You want to make sure that ALL of their images are high quality with exposure, white balance, focus and lighting. Below is an example of a full family session gallery. I typically give 25-30 images in a family session. You can see below that there are images of mom, dad, and baby. They are in several different poses. There are images of just baby, mom and baby, and dad and baby.
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.
Katie Lamb Photography is a photography studio based in Fort Worth, Texas. All sessions are conducted within the areas of Southlake, Keller, or Grapevine; travel outside of these areas is limited and depends on availability. This studio specializes in family, couple, mommy + me, and boudoir photography. Katie Lamb Photography also creates custom films that are 1.5 to 2 minutes in length.
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.
Nick Kunzman is a professional photographer with 10 years of experience working with Natalie Roberson Photography. Nick attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos working towards a degree in Marketing. Nick has studied the art of photography independently and under Natalie Roberson. He specializes in creative design and Adobe Photoshop techniques. Nick uses some of the highest resolution cameras on the market today, creating detailed photographs that bring life to his art. Nick is the web designer and technical expert for Natalie Roberson Photography. He specializes in the creative efforts of post-production, lighting, website design and marketing promotions.
It can be easy for the photographer to miss the cake cutting, bouquet throwing, etc. While photographers are usually good about setting out a schedule with brides for the big things like when the bride/groom photos will be taken, they often forget to work with the bride about when these things will be so they aren't missed. This is especially true if you're shooting solo. (Thanks Ed Cord, who is a regular on the Facebook page)
Annie, Thank you so much for this post. I found this delightful and amazingly informative post on Pinterest. I’d been on the for hours looking at how to style family portraits. I’m going insane, we have pictures tomorrow and I still don’t know what I’m wearing. I have my husband and the 4 kids (boys age 17, 16, & 11 and our girl age 10) clothes picked out but not myself. Deep breath….. I’m going to try again to find something conducive. Wish me luck