Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your individual outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves and belts.


Have the couple appoint you someone that knows all the ‘key players'  as your go-to person for questions. Especially helpful during the formal family shots since the bride and groom are in all the shots. They can help point out that uncle or go get grandma from the reception (cause she always manages to leave first to get over there LoL). They are also helpful during the reception to ask questions when you don't want to bother the new couple. (Thanks Melinda Lutz Ledsome)

We're getting maternity & newborn photos taken. I think the total is like $650 and we'll get all the photos on a disc. We had a disaster of our wedding photos three years ago and I always said from then on that I wouldn't pass on photos of a once in a lifetime event just because they are pricey. And I'd pay top dollar to get the best if I needed to. It still hurts my heart when I realize that we don't have a single picture of just my husband & I on our wedding day. Not one. When I thought we were taking photos together our photographer later explained she was just "testing the light & setting her settings". Who does that?!
The conclusion: if all of this seems like a ton of information to digest, then keep it simple and look for two criteria: Do you like the photos and do they make you feel happy? Not a super visual person? Then it’s totally fine to ignore the first question and move onto the second: Do you like the photographer and do they make you feel happy? More important than lighting, composition, or any fancy technology, those are the power rules to live by.
@Darlene You have developed a portrait style that works well for you and your clients. If you check out my website, you'll see that we're not all that different... only a matter of degree of "closeness". More power to you if your clients buy 20x30 prints or larger. Mine do not, so having their faces a little more prominent in the frame is important.

It probably depends on who you ask, but everyone we have asked (and we have asked several of our past couples and here is a write-up one of our past couples did about the experience of having a first look) has said that doing a first look did not take anything away from the ceremony at all. We also did a first look at our wedding, so we speak from personal experience when we say that doing a first look is a whole different experience than seeing each other as you walk down the aisle.
As with most things, there is no substitute for practice and experience…with each shoot you will get better and better, just keep your head in the game! A fellow “kinda” San Diegan?! Cool 🙂 We actually are working on a Newborn Photography Online Course/Workshop teaching everything you need to know, start to finish, including an actual on location photo shoot so you can see exactly what its like and how to deal with common pitfalls when shooting on-location! Make sure to subscribe to Cole’s Classroom so you’ll be in the know when we release it in a few months 🙂
As a Dallas Newborn Photographer and a mom, I believe the first year of life is one that deserves to be captured forever in images. It’s a time that should be slow, so you can totally enjoy it. But, it’s one of the most fleeting times in the life of your new family. It’s a time that’s meant to be enjoyed forever. With newborn photographer Jessica Cook, she can help you have a record of those special times. As a result, you will receive beautiful photographs of your snuggly little bundle that will be treasured forever. Jessica specializes in providing you those stunning images of the love of your life through her photography.
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
Photographer reputation and demand have a huge impact on rates. Professional photographers with a widely recognized brand will cost more than those just starting out. Experience will also affect costs. A new photographer looking to build their portfolio will often offer discounts to build clientele, while more established pros will have rates reflecting their experience. Most wedding photographers only work one wedding a day, so if you have your heart set on someone with a cult following, secure their services early with a deposit.
For Teens and Couple sessions we do some location hopping to 4-5 different spots close in driving proximity to each other. We can often include all three types of locations, but usually at least two of these settings. I LOVE photographing couples/engagements, but I do not shoot weddings, and I understand that some want the same photographer for both.
8) Market, market, market. The key to success in a photography business is marketing. You can’t take and get paid for photos if no one hires you. Along with business cards, brochures and a website, use your personal and professional networks to spread the word about your business. Attend trade shows and events geared toward your market. For example, if you want to do wedding photography, attend wedding shows. If you want to take pet portraits, attend dog shows. 
Get Down Low – one key to many natural baby shots is to get down on their level. I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last week or two lying on the floor next to Xavier. It’s something I think we both enjoy anyway but it’s also a great place to use your camera. Getting down low and getting in close (see below) does present some challenges in terms of focal length (I’m using a 24-105 zoom – usually at the widest focal length) but it means you end up with shots that feel like you’ve entered the babies world rather than you’re looking down on it from above.
TIP: Sunset times change everyday and vary depending on where your wedding is located! So, look up the sunset time for your wedding day/location here and schedule a little reception “down-time” (maybe during dinner or near the beginning of open dancing?) during the 15 minutes before sunset so that you don’t have to worry about missing anything important during your sunset photos.
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.
Communication and planning are key. Discuss in detail what is going to happen on the day, what the clients will be wearing, and what you’re going to be bringing. Coordinate their outfits with your props, or, say, the baby’s booties with their decor. You have to think of it all. Best of all, if you hit it off with the family, you’ll get that referral and your client base will grow. Speaking of which…
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.
I know many portrait & wedding photographers love to shoot wide open at f/1.2 & f/1.4.  However, with newborn photography, many of the baby poses can have extreme angles and you often will have better luck with your depth of field and sharpness by shooting around f/2 & f/2.2.  Remember, it will be rare that the baby’s eyes are on the same plane of focus all the time and by closing down my aperture a bit from wide open I get that little bit extra of depth of field that is often needed.
Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
You want your images to be in focus. Who wants blurry images? I don’t! You want to have images that are sharp and in focus. These will look great when you blow them up and hang them on your walls. If you are viewing their work on Facebook, go to their website. Facebook can do funky things to images, but you’ll be able to view better quality on their website and/or blog.
The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other. Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.
Bring it outside: There's no need to spend a day cooped up in a photographer's studio if you don't want to. Visit a nearby arboretum or botanical garden, or hit your favorite downtown landmark. Your photographer may be able to suggest local sites that make great backdrops for pictures too. Talk about locations you like when you make your appointment. 

Any other props or accessories you think you might like to use (hats, headbands, etc.) You want everything ready to go before you start taking photos. Remember, though, that you don’t need lots of props. I think newborn photos look best with fewer accessories and props and more focus on the baby herself. I’ll talk more about this in Part 2: Posing for a DIY newborn photos.
This guy (or girl) is coming to the wedding you are photographing. Make no bones about it Uncle Bob will be there. He/she is an amateur photographer who thinks they know better than the wedding photographer. You need to effectively deal with him/her without being rude and without offending the couple. Be firm but fair. If necessary have a word with the couple. Suggest that you and them get away from the crowd for a while so you can focus on some portraits of just them. At the end of the day let Uncle Bob enjoy taking his/her photos but don’t let it affect the results you are capturing. You’re couple will be much happier if you deal with this on the day and show that you are in charge of the photography. Rather than having loads of photos with Uncle Bob in them.
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.

Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the check. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion. Show your photographer who you really are, so that she has the opportunity to capture your love through her lens.

that blend with the the vibe of the session as well, but keep them simple and meaningful. A handful of flowers that are a natural, neutral color or that coordinate with color pops in the subjects’ clothing, a vintage camera, a basket of apples, or the absolute best type of prop is something that is meaningful to the subject (grandpa’s vintage camera, their favorite stuffed animal, a quilt made by great grandma, the family’s beloved pet). But don’t let the prop be an odd distraction – make sure it “makes sense” being in the photo and blends well with the whole vision you had in mind for the shoot.
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