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.
I know it's easier said than done, but please don't worry about being "bad" in front of the camera! I've been photographing weddings and engagements since 2001, and have documented hundreds of couples. I can honestly tell you that not a single one of those couples, no matter how much they swore up and down that they would be, were "terrible" in their pictures! Awkward, sure. Uncomfortable, yes. But getting you to feel less awkward and uncomfortable is my job, and I promise that I'm good at it. I promise to do everything in my power to make you feel at-ease and comfortable during your engagement session.
There are the more obvious search engines like Google & Bing, but don’t forget about social media sites like Facebook & Pinterest. Facebook search has become pretty robust—and most photographers have a Facebook page where you can see their recent work. Or, try searching Pinterest for your location + “photographer,” and browse through options visually, to find someone with a style you like.
[…] One more step to shoot inside, is to really zoom in on your subject. You can get up nice and close physically to your subject or you can put on a lens that allows you to get close without getting in their personal space. By getting close, you eliminate any distractions that might be around the house. Get closer than you normally would – focus on the eyes, or just the face, or little hands and feet. Get all of those little details up close. […]
When I’m photographing kids I make a total idiot of myself. I make funny noises, I sing songs (I’m really bad but they don’t care), I make fish faces, I play peek-a-boo behind the camera.  I run back and forth to the camera with the puppet. I lie on the ground, I stick my butt out. Kids are the ones that have life the right way around, it’s us adults that ruin it. Let them be kids, let them have fun. Then be ready to capture it when it happens.

They are very similar and both are cute pictures. However, the bottom photo is much more flattering to the baby’s face. In the top photo I was slightly closer to his feet and shooting up his nose, which makes his nostrils very prominent in the photo. It also makes the bottom half of his face look larger than the top half. The second photo shows his face in much better proportion. (Did you notice his hand? I should have pulled that pinky finger out so the whole thing would be visible – it’s those little details that really make a beautiful photo.)
As a Dallas baby photography we love to give the best birthday experiences! Cake Smash sessions are a great way to celebrate your baby's  milestone! One year cake smash sessions are typically held a month before your child’s first birthday. We offer two cake smash set up options, Classic White set up or Themed Cake set up and we will be provide the cake for both types of sessions. These sessions include anywhere from 15-40 images depending on how well your child responds to the cake smash. Every child reacts differently but it is very rare we can not get good images! We got you covered! Our studio has a bath tub and we keep everything on hand, including towels, wash cloths, baby soap and plastic bags for your dirty clothes!
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.
Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.
Specializing in family, newborn, birth, and maternity photography sessions in Dallas, Jenny Leigh is an expert at combining her artistic eye with your vision to produce cherished pictures of some of the most important times of your and your family’s lives. While primarily operating in the DFW area, on-location shoots outside of Texas can be accommodated – please contact Jenny Leigh for additional information.

Do this exercise of wondering why you want the pictures. For example, are these photos for an album, a frame, or for social media posting? Do you want a simple portrait your family? Do you prefer something more magical? Or do you want pictures that show the love and connection you have? Or maybe do you want to keep the memories of life exactly the way it is today?
Aside from being flexible, be safe.  The most important thing on this list is to research newborn photography safety before you start. Many traditional poses are actually composites with spotters and safeguards in place so the baby is out of harm’s way.  Lastly, don’t give up.  I remember the first time I went snowboarding when I got back before I could open my mouth, my friend said I need to do it 5 more times before I decide to give up, that the learning curve is steep and that it gets easier.  The same is true for newborn photography.  My first session left me feeling very defeated, but I’m glad I got back up and did it again (and again and again)…and hopefully, this list removes some of your growing pains.

Network with everyone. You should take every opportunity to network.[15] If you are working towards a specific specialization, such as wedding photography, network with everyone in your town who has an association with weddings. Talk to and give your card to wedding planners, cake bakers, caterers, other photographers (they may have a conflict and be asked for a referral), wedding dress shop employees, etc.
Avoid taking photos earlier than five days after your baby’s birth, since your baby will still be adjusting to feeding times. Your newborn session will go smoother if your baby boy or girl is less fidgety and on a consistent feeding schedule. The sleepier your newborn is, the easier it will be to adjust their poses and photograph them without clothes on to capture some of those classic newborn photo ideas you’ve been looking at for inspiration.
Are you interested in booking your own family photography session?  The booking process is easy!  Contact me through the form below or give me a call (920-495-2029) to check availability.  Then we will find a perfect setting for your photos.  I like to shoot family photography sessions outdoors because I feel a natural setting make for the very best images.  If you have a special place that you have in mind, that’s great!  If not, I have many places in mind that I would love to suggest.

When you set the wedding date: Have a photo taken for your wedding website or save-the-date—many couples incorporate photos of themselves into the design. If this appeals to you and you're planning to send guests an early heads-up, have photos taken 8 to 10 months before the wedding, in time to print and send save-the-dates no later than six months before the wedding.

I think it all comes down to storytelling. Each photographer has a personal take on the best way to tell a story through photos. The way a photographer perceives storytelling is going to inform what they take photos of, how they take them, where they are when the important events happen, and everything else in between. And there are a few variables that photographers manipulate that will make all the difference from one portfolio to the next:
Nursed Shots – some of the bests shots I’ve taken over the last month have been taken when people have been nursing Xavier. This puts him into a more upright position which makes him look a little more ‘human-like’ and opens up the angles for your photos. Try a number of positions (over the shoulder, sitting him up, laying him back in arms, lying him on his tummy etc) as each one opens up different possibilities. Also remember that your baby is not the only potential subject – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends etc all can add context to the shot and you’ll appreciate having more than just baby by themselves shots later!

Morning and dusk are the best times to take photos for lighting, but not always the most convenient time.  The lighting right before dusk is my absolute favorite!  It is warm and beautiful but for children, sometimes it is the hardest time of the day.  Morning light is beautiful as well, but sometimes a bit cool, so be prepared to do a little editing.  The afternoon light is just too harsh so avoid it is possible.  If it is not possible, find shade to take your photos in to diminish the risk of harsh shadows.

You should be able to get amazing newborn and baby photography results with almost any camera and lens if you simply learn the proper lighting, creativity, and camera angles for newborn photography. Though a professional camera like a Canon 5K Mark III, a full frame camera, will give you better overall image quality than an advanced point and shoot camera like a Sony NEX, a camera like the Sony NEX will likely be sufficient for capturing great images of newborns. Below is a quick side-by-side showing images from the two cameras mentioned above with the Canon 5D Mark III image on the left and the Sony NEX image on the right. For more on this, be sure to check out our Newborn Photography Workshop.
The easiest way I’ve found to take pictures of sibings who aren’t old enough to be trusted holding the baby is demonstrated in the photo below. When your have the baby positioned on your bean bag or couch cushion (like we talked about in posing), have the older sibling come stand, kneel, or sit (depending on how tall the sibling is) right next to the baby. Ask the sibling to gently lean his head in close to the baby and snap away, leaving the baby happy and snoozing the entire time.
I did a research with mothers about their experience in hiring a photographer. One of the questions was about regrets and one of the top regret reasons was hiring a cheap photographer with bad quality pictures. I have more than 50 answers and not even one mentioned expensive service as a matter of regret. It doesn’t necessarily mean that more expensive photographers will always be better, but there is often a price/quality correlation. The tip I give you is: if you need to limit your budget, it’s better to choose a simpler product of the photographer you liked the most than a top package of a photographer that is only ok. After a while, you won’t remember how much you paid, but the beautiful photos (or not) will always be with you.

Identifying faces and places. It can be both fascinating and frustrating to see the faces of strangers gazing back at us, piquing our curiosity about their stories and their connection to us. Often there is scant information available other than cryptic notations in an unfamiliar hand, or the faces themselves that bear a subtle or profound family resemblance. With a little sleuthing, however, you may be able to fit the pieces together.
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