With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.

“The passion definitely has to be there. More than that, you have to really want it, especially in the beginning. Go out of your way to do shoots for free. Not just any shoots, but “portfolio worthy” ones. Take control – style it, creative direct it, own it. Admit and learn from your mistakes. And finally, only show your very best work. You will be judged by your worst shot”

Just as important as getting some light in the eyes is having it come from a good direction. We’ve established overhead isn’t good direction, neither is straight from camera. So turning on your built-in pop flash isn’t going to give you good light. Neither is sticking a speedlight on top. Light direct from the camera angle flattens the subject, that is not what you want. You want the light to come from the side more, 30-45 degrees from camera is a good starting point. To learn more about this read my article on the 6 Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know.
This isn’t always the case, but often, full-time photographers are more likely to be reliable, responsive and fast; carry business insurance; have backup equipment in case of camera failure; and institute proper backup procedures in case of hard drive failure or memory card loss. A full-time photographer is more likely to be operating legally as a business, be technically competent and be consistently investing in professional development. A full-time photographer is more likely to understand the costs of being in business and is more likely to still be in business and able to serve as a resource for years to come.

Choosing whether or not to do a “first look” is a personal decision. Many photographers think it’s a good idea because it allows you to take many of your wedding photos before your ceremony so that you can enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests. If you decide to stick with tradition and wait until the ceremony to see your partner, you can expect to spend your entire cocktail hour (and possibly more) taking portraits. Be sure to decide which path you prefer to take before creating your wedding photography timeline.
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)
Contracts provide mutually beneficial protection to both you and your photographer. Your photographer should send you a contract once you’ve both decided to move forward. The contract should define studio policies, payment and deliverable schedules, and contingency plans. Read the contract before signing; don’t make any payments until the contract is in place.
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.
As with all photography lighting is key. If you are shooting inside and can’t afford expensive lighting use the most flattering and cheapest form of light there is – sun light! Position your group facing or parallel to a large clean window, if it is a particularly bright day cover it with a thin veil of material, such as a net curtain or peg a white cotton sheet across to act as a diffuser for softer, more flattering light.
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.
Timelines, location recommendations, trail stats, vendor referrals, permits and marriage license info, officiants, lodging, travel tips, attire guides, weather…the list goes on. Even though you’re keeping it simple by eloping, there are still lots of details to think about. We bundle all the important info up for you into a custom planning portal website and are available to consult with every step along the way.

Family photography goes beyond mere traditional gestures. The pictures aren’t just decoration for the entrance table, these are your personal links to times and special moments in your life. The essence of this type of photography spans many themes: something to remember when your children were still kids, to commemorate their graduation, or to celebrate a complete gathering. Family pictures are highly meaningful.
Leah has always had an interest in photography and art but that interest increased when her dad, who has a great eye for photography, gave her her first digital camera. Leah currently uses a Canon 5d mark II and a variety of lenses. She shares a home in Dallas with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. Spending time playing in the yard, taking a long walk, watching a good game, or eating a yummy meal with her family is the recipe for a good day in Leah’s world.
You never know where your next big referral will come from, so you have to be prepared! Make sure to add those stunning newborn baby pics to your online portfolio, so prospective clients can see your infant photography skills. The more amazing newborn photo shoots and newborn photos you have on your portfolio, the more folks will want to hire you to shoot their little ones!
Bella Baby is the face of hospital baby portraiture. We bring experienced, professional photographers into the hospitals to capture your baby's first photograph with a natural, artistic style. We believe that babies look the most beautiful when being held in their parents' arms or cuddled in one of their own baby blankets. Bella Baby captures this beauty by using only "real things"...natural window light, professional photographers and professional grade SLR digital cameras.
In addition to newborn and twin photography, Silver Bee provides a wide range of photography services in Austin, Texas. Newborn photography is one of our favorites as we thoroughly enjoy watching little ones grow up and capturing that growth on camera! Our family photography sessions are quite popular, as well. We really enjoy working with the entire family! And it all starts with the maternity photography sessions. From the very beginning stages we capture those beautiful moments on camera so that your memories can last a lifetime!
I am very picky when it comes to photos and Laura just blew me away. The entire process start to finish was a pleasant, seamless experience. And the quality of the photos is unreal! The gorgeous images you see on her Facebook and website are exactly what you can expect to receive. There is no disappointment with her. I couldn't be more happy with our decision to use Laura for these once in a lifetime pictures. I can't wait to get them on my walls!"

"I cannot thank her enough for her partnership in this moment in the life of my family. She is simply awesome! She took care of everything (i.e. took time to learn and understand my needs; recommended locations as a result of her gained insight; suggested apparel; etc. etc.). From beginning to end she was responsive, timely, thoughtful, courteous, thorough, engaging, friendly, and collaborative. The images are simply amazing!!!!!! I am hiring her as my photographer for every season of my family’s lives. She will be there to capture every moment! I’m already securing her for my wedding! Ms. Neri is a warm, genuine, and kind soul with a keen eye and instinct in capturing authentic moments. THANK YOU!"

Babies have always been a passion of mine. My mother owned an in-home daycare until I was 12 years old and she then became a full time mom. Babies have been my life for as long as I can remember and I love to be around them everyday watching them learn and giggle. This is more than just pictures to me- these are memories. Its your babies personality shining through the images that makes me love this so much more. I am a PROUD surrogate mother of boy/girl twins that are two years old. And, my wife, Ana delivered our own boy/girl twins Ford and Davis in June 2018!

The wedding couple has chosen the venue because they like it.  Show up early to the event and take some nice shots of the venue to include in the wedding album.  Little things can make a big difference.  Also, you can chose to share your photos with the venue owner and you might get some referrals! (Thanks Tom Pickering, who is a regular on the site and frequently comments)


Most new wedding photographers skip hiring a “second shooter” to back them up on wedding days.  If you can possibly make it happen financially, it is definitely worth the money to hire another photographer to work with on the wedding day.  The photos will be better, you'll have a second set of gear in case of disaster, and you're extremely unlikely to miss the shot.  (Thanks Gabrielle Walker-Jones)

Smart is the world’s leading online photography course offering in-depth training, mentoring and classes to creatives of any skill level. With a dedicated wedding photography module, it is sure to help you on your way to becoming a better wedding photographer. Smart’s one to one mentoring programme also puts you in touch with top wedding photographers whose industry knowledge is second to none.
Brittney Davis Photography is a photography studio in Dallas, Texas, serving the entire City of Dallas and the surrounding metroplex area. Brittney Davis is a natural light photographer who specializes in child, family, and lifestyle newborn portraiture. Brittney Davis Photography takes photographs of the newborn in the comfort of their own home, capturing their first moments in a meaningful way.
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.
…hoping to inspire your clients in their choices of clothing and accessories, make sure that the work you are displaying portrays the kind of look that meshes with your style. Offer to help select clothing and even go the extra step to assist in shopping for new pieces or outfits. Many times I’ll arrive at a client’s home and they’ll have put together several options for looks for the kids or family, and then I can assist in making the final decisions. Another quick option is to just have them email you a few quick iPhone shots of the outfits they are considering so you can lend a little guidance. And feel free to point them to this post for pointers and examples!
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