Also look for consistency in their work. This is a way to differentiate an amateur from a professional. An amateur photographer’s portfolio may show nice images, but those images are a compilation of one or two accidentally good images from many sessions. The professional will show quality images consistently in both their portfolio AND recent work on their blog. If you hire an amateur to shoot your session, you accept the risk that there may only be one or two good images from your session vs. the 20-30 great images that a professional will provide in your gallery. When you hire with quality in mind, you buy the assurance and the peace of mind that your special moment is captured perfectly before it is lost in time.
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!
Wedding photographers offer a wide range of photography styles, so when you start your initial search, review portfolios to find the look you're after. In cities like Chicago and New York, high-fashion editorial-style wedding photos are popular, with couples earmarking a larger part of their wedding budget to lock in well-known photographers. Aesthetic elements of the photographer's style include everything from lenses used and lighting to formality of poses and more. Popular requests among soon-to-be married couples include traditional/formal, candid, artistic, natural/outdoors, and high-fashion photos.
Lighting: If you talk to any photographer, they’ll tell you that lighting is 90% of what makes a photo good or bad. One of the best ways to understand lighting is to hold up your hand and face your palm toward a window. Then start rotating your hand back and forth and look at the different ways shadows are cast on your hand as you move it around. If you face your hand directly at the window, the light falls very evenly and cleanly, but if you start moving your hand at a ninety degree angle away from the window, it creates shadows that make your hand look moody and dramatic. This is what photographers do all day. We analyze light. So as you’re looking through photographers’ portfolios, you’ll start to notice that we all play with light differently. Some photographers prefer really bright photos that make the world look light and airy, while others use light to create mood and emotion. For example, take the photos below. They are of the same bride, taken moments apart, but the light is totally different, and therefore the photos are totally different.

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.


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.
From official portraits to birthdays and christenings, these little tykes are already as photogenic as their parents. George is always darling and dapper in his shorts and knee-high socks while Charlotte is the epitome of precious in her patterned dresses and pastel cardigans. Now that Louis has made his debut, we can't wait to see his personality shine, as well. Take a look — this collection of sweet pics will make your heart melt.
So, those are our wedding day photography timeline tips, myths and F.A.Q.s! If you are one of our clients, then we are happy to review your responses to our questionnaires and we will give you customized feedback about your wedding day photography timeline. No matter who you are, we hope that this page was helpful and that your wedding elevates the meaning of the word “awesomeness” to a whole new level!!! :)
We spoke to wedding photographers Christin Berry of Blue Martini Photography in Toledo, Ohio, Jasmine Norris of Jasmine Norris Photography in Lafayette, Indiana, Kelly Vasami of Kelly Vasami Photography in Scarsdale, New York, Nick Gillespie of Blue Bend Photography in Asheville, North Carolina, and David Stephen Kalonick of David Stephen Photography in Cincinnati, Ohio to find out the answers.
Before joining the team at A Practical Wedding, Maddie was a sought after wedding photographer and an entertainment industry dropout with stints at the Academy Award-winning independent film house Focus Features, The Montel Williams Show, and Rosie O’Donnell’s documentary production company. She’s been with the APW team going on eight years, and now spends a significant amount of time thinking about internet trends and the future of feminist television. A Maine native, she lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband and their toddler.
Really this is the go-to shooting mode for wedding photographers. Moments happen so quickly on a wedding day and Continuous Shooting Mode helps you capture them. Take the speeches as an example. This is a great time to capture laughter, tears and overall joy on the faces of the couple, their families and their friends. If you use One Shot you might capture a fantastic laugh but the person is mid-blink. Or the person sitting next to them is picking their nose. However in Continuous Shooting Mode if you hold that shutter down and burst 5-10 images you can capture various different expressions of the same situation.
Many things can go wrong in the day, so we need to be well prepared. We must have a backup plan (in case of bad weather), charged batteries, blank memory cards, think about the routes and time to get to the places and get a full day itinerary so we know what will happen in the next moment. If possible, we attend the ceremony rehearsal where a large amount of information is gathered about possible positions to shoot from the lighting, the order of the ceremony, etc.
First, streamline. Take the time to go through the prints from your childhood and have your favorites converted to digital files so you'll always have them, sans the yellow tinge of time or (gulp) water damage. Two popular services are ScanDigital and ScanCafe, both of which require you to send in your negatives, prints, or slides. They'll send back your digital files on a DVD along with your originals. Prices range from 29 to 88 cents per photo.
Develop your photography skills. There is no “right way” or "wrong way" to become a better photographer. Some people take a class or get a college art degree with a photography focus. Others believe that college is a waste of time for becoming a photographer. You may find that you can teach yourself about photography from books and experimentation, or you may want to learn from other professionals. Whatever you decide to choose, if you work for it you can achieve it.

DOCUMENTARY PHOTOS: this is perhaps the least known category for many people. Even tough documentary photography is not new as a style, it has begun to become a bit more popular for commercial family photography in recent years. In this case, the photographer spends time with the family recording their day to day, not interfering in what happens. It can be a whole day or a few hours, and the result is usually quite authentic, since no family is the same. The photographer will be recording not only the connection of you and how you look, but also the essence and small details of the family’s routine. The photos don’t take place in a specific location because they are according to family activities. It can be at your home, on the street, at school, in the car or during your vacation activities, for example. You can search for this style by documentary or photojournalism.


See #1 first of all. Then look at #6. Being a photographer means that sometimes you have to also become a comedian, or a clown. Knowing the right thing to say or do to make people smile is mostly experience. Sometimes you’ll get tough adults too. The dad in the photo above by the brick wall pretty much has the same expression all the time. I’ve known this family and photographed them for 13 years, they’re friends too. So I know I can bug him a little bit or get out the ducky to have some fun at his expense.

These are by no means "average rates". They are infact extremely high and the above comment referring to being a "new photographer" wanting to know where to price her work frustrates me. Ive been in the biz for over 5 years and charge $90-$125 per hour including digital images & copyright releases. I am in Palm Beach County Florida so by no means in a small town setting where i need to charge less. Please review where you found this to be average costs. I see so many "newbie" so called photogs charging more than I do with years of experience and it is extremely frustrating the # of calls I get to reshoot portraits that my client originally paid more for from someone else & they are completly dissatisfied. Then they say to me "your price just seemed to cheap" without doing proper research people go by claims like your making here and end up getting screwed.
Inspiration is everywhere – probably even in the form of Pinterest emails from your client.  It is a great idea to have some poses in mind before you arrive at the session.  However, like letting the love story of a wedding day unfold organically, I believe the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of each baby.  Whether it is cute dimples, big beautiful eyes, full lips, or a great head of hair, try to highlight the beauty of the baby.
Around your world in a day: Create a meaningful backdrop for your engagement photos by revisiting nearby sites that are significant to the two of you: the restaurant where you had your first date, the ice cream shop you frequent on Sundays, the bus stop where you shared an umbrella—you get the idea. While the camera's snapping, retell your best couple stories and relive a few of the moments that brought you together—it's a perfect recipe for a series of romantic, fun candids.
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Both of my sisters had babies around the same time last year (they're 10 wks apart).  One sister did the whole enchilada and spent hundreds of dollars on a photo session and got some really breathtaking photos and made some into large canvas wall hangings they put in the house.  My other sister went to JCPenny and had the photo shoot there for about 1/10 of the cost.  While the professional ones were really amazing, they were too expensive for family members to purchase or my sister to give out as gifts unlike the ones from JCPenny that we all got copies of.  The JCPenny ones were not ALL great but there were definitely some gems.
If we're shooting in the city and you won't have easy access to your car, bring a bag to carry your extra items. If you have a change of shoes, your phones, car keys, etc., try to consolidate them into one bag to make transporting it easier. If you want to change up your look without changing clothes, consider an additional layer or a few changes of jewelry or shoes. Try to get everything into that one bag! Trust me, you'll be glad to not have to drag around more than you need to!
You’ve probably seen a wide variety of newborn baby poses, from a sweet swaddle to a baby in a basket or hanging in a sling from a branch. Lots of the poses you may have seen might take half an hour just to set up, and some actually require having an assistant hold the baby in position and then editing out the assistant’s hands in post processing. Some people love these more creative poses; some people hate them. Personally I think some (when well done) are kind of cool, but I really prefer more natural poses that don’t look contrived. Since my goal here is to help you take better photos of your own newborn at home, I’m going to share three simple, go-to poses that you’ll be able to use without extra equipment (or even extra help).
We asked a dozen successful amateur and pro portraitists for tips on better family photos. Our interviews turned up a surprising number of common strategies for succeeding with this classic subject. Here’s how they suggest you capture your family’s personality in pictures. *Keep It Real*Small reminders of daily life are more precious than posed images. The family pictures that will mean the most to you (and others) will be the most candid. Try to capture family members interacting with each other and the world around them. Keep from directing or posing people—it may vex your subjects and reduce your chances for good photos. (Above Photo) Pro Sue Barr chose a Coney Island location for this family portrait. It lent color to the background and coaxed lively expressions from the kids.Sue Barr
It usually takes at least a month to get all those photo proofs back from your photographer. Why? Your photographer is shooting enormous raw files far bigger than your typical JPG. Shooting raw files gives your photographer greater ability to correct the photo, but it also takes a longer time to upload, process and edit all those files (in order to correct color levels and so on). It varies, but many photographers say they spend an additional 40 hours editing images from a single wedding, so it can take up to six to eight weeks (or longer, depending on the photographer and how busy they are) to get proofs back. Here's what to ask: How many images should I expect? Will they be high resolution or low resolution? Will I be able to get prints made myself, or does the photographer retain the rights to the images? Will the proofs I see be the retouched versions, or does that happen after I select the photos I want? Speaking of retouching, ask about retouching options and special effects (which can range from simple white balancing to beauty retouching and stylized art effects like super-saturated colors) and the additional cost for both.

Jilly Bean Photography is an award-winning portrait studio located in the heart of historic downtown McKinney, Texas. Jill is an expert in her field, and is known as the "Baby Whisperer of North Texas." She has over a decade of experience as a newborn photographer. At Jilly Bean Photography we pride ourselves on creating beautiful images of your newborn and growing family in a safe, healthy environment.

Hi, I was reading your post and need the help of someone who knows what they are talking about . I just purchased the canon T6i which comes with a standard lens and I’m not really familiar with the photography world so my question is what would be a good relatively inexpensive lens to get for portrait photography ? If it matters , I’m just a mom wanting to take some great pictures of my son and don’t want to spend a lot . Thank 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.

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.
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.
(Above Left) Rustic Picnic Engagement Photo Pose Idea: Plan a beach side picnic and capture a beautiful moment featuring a few scrabble letters in the background for your rustic engagement shoot. {Featured here: {Engagement Shoot} Rustic Broadbeach Picnic | Shot by: stayconnelly Photography} | (Above Right) Country Engagement Photo Pose Idea: A romantic rock ‘n roll country themed engagement shoot photo idea set in a field filled with flowers. {Featured here: Rocking the Country {Engagement Shoot} | Shot by: Shirock Photography}

You should also meet them in person. Some important questions to ask in a face-to-face interview may include: how would they describe their wedding photography style? (i.e. photojournalistic, formal, documentary, or creative); will they be the one photographing your wedding or do they have an assistant?; will both people be taking pictures during the day?; do they have back up plan in case of an emergency?; are you comfortable with their emergency plan?; what wedding photography packages do they have?; do they shoot in color or black & white? You should ask if they have a generic schedule for each wedding (portraits before the ceremony or after), and if they are they flexible and open to suggestions. You should even ask to see a contract.
I have priced my work exactly where I need it to make a living, so I include all the digital files in the cost of the playdate (there are usually over a hundred) as well as the finished storybook. I encourage my clients to purchase their own prints and give recommendations for the best places you can go to get high quality prints. I believe that it’s a waste of everyone’s time to place these simple orders together.

1) We can start getting ready photos right after the bride finishes hair and just before she starts makeup (that way she is somewhat done before we start shooting. We recommend having your hair done before makeup). Then, presuming that you have booked us for our base package of 8 hours, go forward 8 hours and make sure that we are at the reception late enough to capture all of the events you want us to capture and about 30 minutes-or-so of open dancing. If we aren’t there late enough, you can either adjust our start time or add time to your package. Keep in mind, if you are having a grand exit (sparklers, confetti, lavender, etc.) you may want to double check that we will be there until then!


Some photographers will sit with your family after the session to review images together, allowing you to order portraits on different print media or with custom framing. These photographers can help you identify the best places in your home to hang wall portraits, even using real pictures of your home to digitally demonstrate what your favorite family portraits will look like hanging above your furniture in different sizes, groupings, or frames.
“I will place my couples in a location that I want them to be in and “pose” them but always letting them know that the “pose” is simply a starting point and to make it their own. Remembering that they are not mannequins and can move. Additionally, most of the images I share online show my couples connecting: being with each other, holding each other. So I often get hired by couples who are comfortable in their own skin and are not overly shy with their partners.”
Determine how you will receive your pictures. Find out how long you can expect to wait for the pictures, and in what format they will be presented. You need to make sure you know what your photographer will pass on to you at end of the process. The number of photos, the format and resolution of the photos, as well as the way they are presented are all crucial questions.[13]
Hello, thanks a ton for these tips, I’ve got my first wedding shoot coming up in mid April and am doing some overall research on anything I’ve missed. What tips would you give to someone who is going in solo? I just recently moved out of state and haven’t found a helper so if things keep up like they are, I will most likely end up having to go in by myself hahaha it’s more of a “if worse comes to worse”, but if you have any tips for such an situation, I’ll gladly listen thank you
That is not to say that we don’t want to know what is important to you! We absolutely DO want to know all about the special details that you have planned for your day and we want to capture those for you. That is why we also ask you to tell us as much detail as you can about any special details, events, and surprises that you are planning for your day in our questionnaires! :)

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!
Maternity photography is a fast growing market for professional photographers, but documenting a woman’s b-o-d-y during pregnancy can be challenging. However with a little sensitivity & planning your shoots carefully, your maternity photography can give expectant mothers not only pregnancy photos they will cherish forever, but an experience they’ll never forget – and hopefully recommend to others! In this post we have added 30 Maternity photography / Pregnancy Photos / Pregnancy pictures for your inspiration.
For good portraits you must turn off your flash. Your camera’s pop-up flash does more harm than good in most photography situations, so make sure you aren’t using it when you try to photograph your newborn. Instead, find a good source of natural light, like a large window or glass door, and set up close to it. If you have enough light coming in you won’t need either your flash or your overhead lights (which are also not a good plan when taking portraits). If it’s warm enough you can even set up in your garage with the door up to allow lots of light in. Start paying attention to the light in the room in yourself with the largest window – notice when the room is bright, but you can’t see the shadow of the window on the floor in front of it (see this post for more explanation of this). That’s the time of day when you want to plan your newborn photo shoot.
So, those are our wedding day photography timeline tips, myths and F.A.Q.s! If you are one of our clients, then we are happy to review your responses to our questionnaires and we will give you customized feedback about your wedding day photography timeline. No matter who you are, we hope that this page was helpful and that your wedding elevates the meaning of the word “awesomeness” to a whole new level!!! :)

Thank you so much for sharing your advice! So what do you think - is it easier to pose people outside, with gorgeous backgrounds and the natural terrain/props to help you create interesting portraits, or is it easier in a studio? My business partner and I will be taking family portraits for a fundraiser (indoors, on-location) and it we will be using a backdrop. I much prefer taking photos outdoors because I feel it is easier to put people at ease and there is the option to change things up a little more. I am afraid these mini-session portraits will be boring. I'd love to hear some studio posing tips geared toward family photos if anyone is willing to share them.
Maternity photos aim to capture life-changing and significant moments in parenthood and motherhood. Before your little one arrives on the scene, consider preserving your experience with some thoughtful, beautiful photos that showcase your baby bump. Plan to schedule your photo shoot when your bump is showing and you are still feeling comfortable. If you plan ahead with your photographer and family and take the time to consider your outfits, your poses, and what you want to capture, you will have beautiful maternity photos that you and your family will cherish.
I’m going to be taking photographs of my daughter giving birth to my granddaughter next month and I’m panicing. I don’t know a lot about lighting yet except for what I’ve read, I love outdoor photos as they always seem to come out great. I’m concerned about the birthing room lightening. What ISO would you put your camera lighting too? While she is in labor I can experiment, but I would like maybe a heads up with this. I love taking photography of my grandchildren and family and friends, but just started to really get serious about it. So much has happened and I planned on going to some classes for lighting, but do to wedding and shower and death of my Mom, I haven’t had time. If you could help I would appreciate. Please send me a message to my yahoo.com account. Signed Desperate thank you in advance Joyce
Hi Debbie! Babies are HARD to photograph, especially as they get a little older and more mobile. And babies at that age always have their hands in their mouth! I really love my 50mm 1.8 lens for portraits – it doesn’t zoom in or out, meaning you just have to move yourself to get a closer (or further away) photo, but it lets in tons of light and does a great job blurring the background. It’s around $100, so it’s very reasonable for a nicer lens.

Mpix offers high-quality photos printed in the U.S. that are ready for delivery in 24 hours. The image quality from Mpix is much higher than what you’d get from a drugstore, superstore, or consumer online print shop, and its lab techs check every photo by hand. Mpix offers three different paper options and 4 x 6 prints start at 24 cents if you order more than 10.
We are a husband and wife adventure wedding + elopement photography team with an emphasis on epic landscapes and grand adventure. Our photography style is adventurous, full of stoke, and centered around telling a true story. We strive to capture your wedding day in an authentic way, creating photos filled with emotion and beauty. We are outdoor enthusiasts (and advocates!) inspired by windy mountain tops, rocky deserts, icy glaciers, and red dirt (oh how we loooove that red dirt!). We believe there is no such thing as bad weather if you have the right attitude. Our couples prefer a peaceful, relaxed wedding day with an emphasis on their love for each other and for the outdoors. We capture the landscape AND the couple, and don’t believe one must be less than the other.

When shooting in wide open locations and it involves kiddos, I love to have some movement and flow in their clothing and accessories. Little ones are fond of jumping, dancing, and being wild. Nothing better than a twirly, whirly dress to accentuate all that beautiful movement and childhood innocence. Something as simple as a scarf trailing behind or a playful super hero cape can be fun for the boys.
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