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.
Our differences are truly our strengths since Nick photographs from a man’s perspective and Natalie from a woman’s point of view.  It’s getting dual artistic coverage of your portrait session from individuals who see life through different lenses!  Because we’ve photographed so many sessions together, we remain calm and happy regardless of the circumstances. We want our clients to be at ease because the best pictures happen when people feel free to be themselves! Every single person is uniquely different from the next so we spend time getting to know each client personally so when we create photos together, they reveal who they truly are.
If your photographer specializes in maternity, they will likely have maternity dresses, wraps and accessories in their studio available to use. The benefit is you don’t have to go and buy maternity dresses that you only wear a few times—one dress can run you anywhere from $100 – $1000 each! Please check with your photographer about their gown rental policy. Depending on the gown’s quality and intricate detail work, there may be rental and/or dry-cleaning fees.
In the past, we have had family photos taken in a variety of ways.  We have simply not done it, we have gone to a studio and we have also hired a professional to take our family photos in an outdoor setting!  My favorite photos are the outdoor, slightly more candid photos and so this year, that is what we wanted.  My husband is a hard one to nail down though, he doesn’t love family photos time, so with my recent purchase of some new camera equipment, he suggested that we take our family photos our self this year.
If your wedding is large, you might request — or your photographer may recommend — a photographer's assistant or additional photographer. If your guest list is very long, you'll want more than one camera to document those magic moments and important guests. Even for small weddings, a photographer's assistant may be needed to handle extra equipment, set up lighting, and ensure your photographer is primed to take those perfect shots. If your wedding takes place at sunset or you have requested a certain aesthetic, such as an editorial style, a wedding photographer may also need an assistant to ensure styling and proper lighting. Adding a second photographer may increase the cost based on an hourly rate, while the photographer's assistant is typically paid at an hourly rate that is lower than that of the principal photographer. In general, extra hands on deck mean a higher cost.

First, you have to make the decision--and stick to it--that you'll download (or upload) all your photos and videos within a day or so of taking them. It's a good idea to get in the habit of at least copying your photos and videos off your device and it really takes no time; once you've got a system in place, you can do it while watching TV, eating dinner, or playing with the cat. Why bother? The last thing you want to do is run out of space on your card at a key moment or lose your media if you misplace or break your device. If you want to keep it portable to share, that's fine. But you also want to be able to hit "delete" or "format" if necessary. And you need to commit to the plan. If you don't, you'll end up more confused, having to remember whether you downloaded something or not before you can start looking for it.
Laura Babb of Babb Photo is an award-winning photographer. She is based between Bath and London but photographs weddings all over the UK and abroad. Her approach is documentary but at the same time playful and profoundly real. She loves to shoot creatively in an attempt to make each shoot truly unique. Laura’s top wedding photography tips are all about light and this one stood out to us from her article ‘The Importance of Light and Planning Your Photography Around It’ she says –
If the baby has older siblings, I try to make the sibling shots my very first priority and then let them go play while we finish the session.  Toddlers simply don’t have the attention span to sit quietly and wait for you to call on them for their picture so get their poses done first while they are curious and excited about your visit.  By the time the session is over, they are usually open to participating again and that is when I try to get some lifestyle sibling shots.  If they don’t want to participate, I’ve found promises of ice cream & candy have magical powers! (as long as that’s ok with Mom & Dad).
When reviewing a photographer's album, look for the key moments you want captured: Did they get photos of both the bride and the groom when they locked eyes for the first time? Also look for crispness of images, thoughtful compositions (does a shot look good the way it was framed, or is there too much clutter in the frame?) and good lighting (beware of washed-out pictures where small details are blurred—unless that's the style you're after). It's also very important that you detect sensitivity in capturing people's emotions; make sure the photographer's subjects look relaxed, not like deer caught in headlights. While you two are important, of course, you want to see smiling shots of your friends too.
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"

I love using props for my portrait sessions. I have simple props available; however, if you have something specific in mind you are welcome to bring your own as you know your family/child’s preferences/colors and activities/hobbies, etc. I have holiday props for Halloween, Easter and Christmas. Balloons for children’s birthdays make great props too. We use high resolution backgrounds and flooring complimented with designer furniture to create vintage, timeless looks for your portrait session.

Why take engagement photos? The best reason is it's a great opportunity to work with your wedding photographer for the first time and get comfortable in front of their lens and with their style. (Most photographers also include an engagement session in their wedding photography packages.) You can also submit a shot to your local paper with your engagement announcement, use them creatively in your save-the-dates and wedding day décor, or give framed prints as gifts to your families. Read on for the basics to help you make the most of your premarital photo session. 
By setting your prices this low is of concern. Also, you charge by the hour. How many hours do you spend on site? Do you give a 'fixed' price on the total job? Do you have high end equipment? Do you do this full time? Before claiming that $300 plus is too high, factor in the above points. If you are only spending an hour of time on-site, what about post processing time? I seriously doubt that you spend less than 3 hours for the entire job. Based on your rate of @125/hour, you are now up to $375, yes? Remember we are a business not a give-away profession. It sounds to me that you are undercutting your pricing which de-values the profession, your talents and everyone who is trying to make a living. Yes, there are young upshots who seem to be charging much more than you. While it is problematic, consider that they may have spent thousands in a college education at a photography school, and have huge loans and debts. It isn't as simple a calculation as you might think. Nancy

Excellent points, especially about using a tripod. The main benefit is that you'll need taking many nearly identical photos in order to get "the one" where everybody in the group is looking their best. Unless you've done this before, you'd be surprised how many shots it can take. Somebody's always looking away, blinking, has their head/hands etc. in a less than ideal position. Once everything is all set up as Darlene says, just shoot as many shots as you can in a very short amount of time.
If you need more inspiration for poses or styling tips, these family photo ideas should help. If you’re taking black and white photos, find inspiration using our guide on how to dress for a black and white photoshoot. Once you get your portraits, share these memories with the ones you love and create a family photo album or a custom home decor piece everyone will adore.

Gear can be an expensive investment if you are just starting out in wedding photography. We’d always recommend taking some form of a backup camera body to a wedding just in case. If you can’t afford a second body consider a less expensive model of camera. Or rent one. It might seem like you are taking money off your profits but this could quite literally save you if your main body were to fail on a wedding day.

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.
Think about the primary reason you are doing the session and dress accordingly. For instance, if it’s for Christmas cards you might want to dress in wintry, seasonal clothing. For a gallery canvas in the living room, think about coordinating with the colors and feel of your decor. For the canvases I hung in my girls’ playroom I dressed them in twirly, pink dresses and they ran dancing through the sand on the beach, which meshed perfectly in the girly room that’s always filled with giggles and play.
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