Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!
DON'T try to do it alone. Need help aiming that off-camera flash? Enlist the help of friends or relatives. "It's nice to have someone help organize your equipment," says Scott. This is especially true if you're working in an environment where someone might walk off with an unwatched camera bag. While you're shooting group portraits, an assistant can gather (and tidy up) the next group.
Knowing the reason why you want the photos, it’s easier to choose the style of photographer you will look for. You already know that you want a family photographer (or newborn, birth, birthday’s party, etc). Then you can start by searching on Google, Instagram, or Facebook along with the name of your city. You will have a good idea of some options that you will have.
Consider your location as well when you're preparing your engagement shoot outfits. If we're shooting in a peaceful field or secluded park, consider a casual dress or jeans and a vintage tank top. If we'll be in downtown Manhattan, what about a cocktail dress or sleekly tailored trench? Another thing that can be very effective is deliberately not matching your outfit to your location. A flowing evening gown in a field is against the norm, and it's contrast to the scene can be very compelling.
Thank you so much for this article! This past weekend I did my 3rd newborn session which happened to be my grandson. It took 4 hours and I had such difficulty getting him into the poses that I had planned in my head, that when the session was over with I felt totally defeated. I experienced everything you mentioned, including overwhelming myself with too many props. I started doubting myself and wondering if I was even cut out to be a newborn photographer. Your article was very helpful and encouraging at the same time. Thank you so much!
Get dressed up! And schedule ample time for the shoot. We usually make it the only thing on our schedule for the morning or afternoon, and don’t have anywhere else to rush off to. Often it takes a lot longer than you expect for everyone to get ready, to go and find the perfect spot (we try to figure out where we’ll shoot before the actual day, especially if we have to drive there), take all the shots, and then pack up. And by the end everyone will be a bit tired! So make your shoot a priority for the day, and you’re much more likely to get it done, and enjoy the process.
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.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!
Think about how personable the photographer is. You will use the interview in part to determine the technical skills and style of the photographer, but it is also an invaluable opportunity to assess her soft skills. Think about how personable the photographer is. If you take a disliking to her for whatever reason, this could create a negative dynamic or atmosphere on your big day. Keep in mind some basic questions, and discuss your response with your partner after the interview.
4. Can you really afford them? Not all photographers list their complete pricing (or any pricing at all) on their website. There’s nothing wrong with this, it just means they want to chat with you a bit before they tell you what they charge. You’ll just want to make sure that before you book, you understand what your final cost will be. If their website says “Session fee of $150, prints and digital images sold separately,” you’ll probably want to think about what you want and make sure you know what it will cost before you book. We’ll talk about some of this in greater detail in my next post!
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
In addition to this tutorial, if you want all the info you need in one simple package with lifetime access, check out our Newborn Photography Workshop for the On-Location Photographer which Cole and I have spent months putting together all the necessary knowledge & tools to be adequately prepared for the lovely world of photographing newborns. On sale for a limited time and all workshop participants also will get Cole’s Essential Newborn Lightroom Collection Presets, the Pricing & Positioning Yourself for Success pricing handbook, exclusive discounts & a whole lot more. Click below to see the workshop details.