One of my biggest mistakes, when I was starting out, was that I brought all my props/wraps/blankets/headbands to every single session.  When I got set up, I would have a mini panic attack because I had no idea where I should start.  Now I plan 3-4 different setups (based on the client’s preferences and expectations) and that’s all.  I am often inspired by something the client owns as well, such as a blanket knitted by Grandma or something else that’s special to mom and dad, so it is not uncommon for me to not even use everything I bring.

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!

*Don’t Make It A Big Deal *“I shoot my children not just during the holidays, but almost daily,” says Bing Liem, who lives in Ridgefield, CT. “It lets me document their lives and physical development, plus gets them comfortable with having a camera around.” At the same time, Liem learns more about photography in a risk-free environment with willing models. (Above Photo) Shallow focus helps hold viewers’ attention exactly where you want it.Bing Liem
Laura Squire Photography is a photography studio located in Houston, Texas, serving the entire greater Houston metro area. This photographer specializes in newborn, baby, child, family, couple, maternity, bride, and wedding photography. They also offer lifestyle portraits and high school senior photography. Laura Squire has been shooting professionally since 2009; capturing life’s precious and fleeting moments is her calling.
“I will always treasure the time we got to spend with Kate. She was warm, funny, sweet, and so relaxed. She put us all at ease, and as the mother of a very wild two-year-old, I can assure you that is no easy feat. Kate is a complete professional, delivering exactly what she promises when she promises it, and the entire experience from booking to delivery was easy, fun, and totally worth it.”
Remember that your photographer is the pro, so—while it’s helpful—you shouldn’t spend too much time putting together a detailed shot list for them. Instead, pass along your day-of timeline, give them an idea of what images you’d like captured (like a shot with each of your bridesmaids in addition to wedding party portraits) and let them do their thing. This is also the perfect moment to give them a heads up on any familial or friendship intricacies they should be aware of, like divorced parents, a grandmother that needs to remain sitting for portraits or a groomsman and bridesmaid that don’t get along (hey, it happens!). If you’re hoping to get your wedding day published online or in a magazine down the road, be sure to relay that to your photographer. This way, they’ll put extra emphasis on snapping shots of all your amazing details and will likely come armed with gorgeous styling accessories, like ribbons, linens and more, with the goal of helping your wedding aesthetic truly stand out.
Work with your wedding planner to create a fully written-out schedule of your wedding day, including the wedding photography timeline. Add 5 minutes of “buffer” time throughout the day to account for any hiccups, and don’t forget to factor in travel time if you’re moving between locations. Be sure that all of your VIPs are aware of this schedule, and know where to be at what time. Even if you’re the “always early” type, weddings have a funny way of running late—so encourage your loved ones to stick to the schedule.
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!
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.
Ever notice your child in his own world looking at a handful of wiggling worms, blowing his breath against a cold window or watching the dew drops fall off morning leaves? These are the moments that photography was made for. Seize these fleeting moments in time by zooming in close to find that special angle that tells the story from your child’s unique perspective.
Alysse Renee Photography specializes in newborn, child, and family photography. The photography studio, based in Little Elm, will also shoot maternity photos, first-year milestones, newborn hospital photos pregnancy announcements, senior portraits, and weddings. The studio provides a variety of choices in displaying newborn photos, including mounted prints, canvas prints, luxe metals, heirloom albums, and gift prints. The photographer finds her inspiration in candid shots and pops of color.

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.)
From a professional photographer stand point, I second what a lot of people have said already. Try looking on Craigslist to see if there are any photographers that are just starting out. I know that I brought in a lot of business from Craigslist, and charged very little while I was portfolio building. This is especially great for maternity photos....

In the second option involving the photo to canvas or photo to oil painting, the artist or company will send you a package once you have submitted payment and you will mail back the photo(s) you want included in the painting.  The artist will usually work from one photo of a family as an example or may be able to combine photographs of a few photos.  In addition, an artist may be able to use a slightly damaged photo as part of the painting. As an example, you might include a candid photo rather than trying to take it in a studio.  In addition, the photo might include a background for the painting.  With the painting, you can select the size from 8 x 10 inch to larger than 20 x 30 inch.  Just consider what a great memory this would be in your living room, or to be given as a very special gift.  You can consider a painting of a baby, a wedding, or for grandparents.  It is also possible to order a frame for the painting and is shipped fully framed and packaged safely.  Listed below is a sample that shows the framed oil painting that was done from a photo that may provide you a good idea of the quality of the painting.


Candice Cusic is a Chicago based wedding and family photographer. She believes that the best images are moment-driven and that you don’t need a hundred photographs of the couple smiling for the camera. In a recent audio interview with Nine Dots she was giving her wedding photography tips and had  this to say when asked ‘do you believe there is enough work for everyone?’ She says –
Eden Bao is a maternity, newborn and baby photographer whose work is based in the United States to cover Greater Seattle metro area that is located in Washington, USA. Eden is a member of Master Photographers International and Professional Photographers of America. She cares about capturing those priceless moments of having new babies before they fade or fly to be forgotten forever. Her passion for photography was born with the birth of her first daughter to start capturing the most stunning photos of pregnant women and newborn babies.
#2 – it allows you to get your eye away from the camera so you can actually make eye contact with your subjects. They are very real people and they feel even more uncomfortable staring straight into your lens than they do looking at you. You can make gestures to get kids attention, or make faces. But you’ll get way better expressions by interacting with them than you will looking through the viewfinder. Try it!

The wedding can take it’s toll on your body both mentally and physically. It is one of our top wedding photography tips is to seize the moment to relax when you can. This can generally happen when the wedding breakfast is being served. No one wants photographs of people stuffing their faces with food. So use this time to re-charge your batteries (not your actual batteries but you can if you want) relax and catch your breath. The resulting photos will definitely benefit from you taking a breather.


Blooming Tree Photography is a family-oriented photography studio located in Frisco, Texas. Jessica, their photographer, specializes in child, family, and newborn photography, and is an expert in custom portraiture and lifestyle photography. Blooming Tree Photography’s style is natural, and driven by Jessica's passion for capturing intimate family moments to be shared with everyone.
Ask for personal recommendations. The best wedding photographers will tend to develop a reputation, and may be known locally to your friends are family. Start your search by asking people you know and trust if they have any recommendations, either through personal experience, or word of mouth. Talk to people you know who have got married in the last few years and ask about their experience.
We’ve always had photos taken when the kids were newborns, but this is the first time we’ve taken them where I knew they wouldn’t be missing someone - the first time our family has been whole & complete and it’s seriously the BEST feeling! I’m SO happy with how they turned out - I love that each of the kids is captured so well through these and I will seriously treasure them FOREVER. Now, can I please just have the largest canvas available in every single one? #shameless
Keeping in mind these two instructions will most certainly give you a well rested baby. In return we’ll be able to maximize the time you have in the studio with plenty of scenes and photos so for that reason please do not underestimate and risk how well your baby sleeps after a feeding. We need your bundle of joy to be very exhausted, tired and a bit hungry. I know it will be hard, atop of your own sleep deprivation but I promise you, it will be well worth the effort!! ♥
This could save you a lot of aggravation, upset and possible humiliation. Speak with the Officiant before the Ceremony begins. Ask if they have any particular rules. Generally speaking, a church officiant will be a little more strict than a non-religious officiant. Some places only allow you to stand in certain places, whilst others don’t allow flash photography. Some don’t allow photography at all! If the officiant tells you this on the day of the wedding your best option is to instantly go and speak with the groom. Just explain to him that the officiant has told you that you aren’t allowed to take photographs during the service. This generally doesn’t happen as the couple have already met with the officiant but just be prepared that you might catch them in a bad mood.

Chrystal Cienfuegos, owner of Chrystal Cienfuegos Photography, offers a natural & organic style of newborn & portrait photography in Southern California. She is passionate about telling love stories through elegant and timeless imagery that is inspired by the unique beauty of each client. She's a San Diego native and mother of two fun little ladies. Among her favorite things are Chargers football, swimming, impromptu family dance parties, wine (of course), and evening walks with her neighbors.


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!
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.

*Keep Lighting Soft*Direct flash almost never works—it often fights the sense of intimacy, warmth, and naturalness that characterize the best family portraits. “I avoid direct flash like the plague,” says Sue Barr. “It will flatten an image and drain it of all spontaneity.”To work without flash, you’ll want the fastest lens you can afford. This allows you to shoot in low light, defocus (and thereby declutter) backgrounds, and use fast, kid-freezing shutter speeds.Another lighting tip: avoid direct sun. “I like shooting on cloudy days,” says Barr, “and I use gold or silver reflectors to add spark.” The latter helps lighten the shadows of wrinkles, making it helpful with older family members. Family portraiture is rewarding because it gives you the chance to celebrate something that’s life affirming and positive. As amateur photographer Jeremy Rule (www.fiickr.com/ photos/JeremyRule) of North Bend, WA—whose portrait of an extended family above —says, “Family portraits rarely focus on disease, divorce, fighting, business, addiction, or a recession. When you hand a family a portrait, you’re giving them something to celebrate, bond, and rally around.”Jeremy Rule


"Objects and details that are culturally and emotionally meaningful to the union" should be photographed, advises Jen Huang. You will, however, want to notify your photographer of these accents, especially if they're small or easily overlooked, notes Jiu: "As photographers we aim to get all the photos that are important to you. But sometimes, we may not notice the really small things without you pointing it out to us. So if you're carrying your grandmother's rosary or your groom has a picture of his grandparents on his cufflinks, we want to see it all!"

There are recognizable markers that trigger the “fall feeling” in each of us. With the weather cooling down, the leaves changing, and a trip to the pumpkin patch in the near future, fall is full of inspiration you can use for your outfit choices. If you are taking your family photos during the fall season, incorporate seasonal earth tones, rich maroons or burnt oranges. Wear layers and have fun playing in the leaves. Use the following Fall styling tips to guide your clothing selections.

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.


Tipping a photographer for family portraits is not standard etiquette. A great way to recognize a family photographer who goes above and beyond is to write them a glowing review. You probably found your photographer by reading online reviews, so paying it forward by letting everyone know how much you appreciate their work is a great gift. Write your review after they have delivered the final edited photos on time and you’ve confirmed that you’re happy with the terrific portraits they took.
Thank you for this great blog post. Brilliant hints and tips. I also ask clients to lay their outfits out at home together to check that they all look good together. Also I remind clients to press their clothes (I think sometimes they think that I can ‘photoshop’ creases out!) I love putting together visual ‘what to wear’ guides – here is one I did this week for a mother and daughter photo session http://www.sarahoffley.com/what-to-wear/what-to-wear-mother-and-daughter-photo-shoot/
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