Most new wedding photographers skip hiring a “second shooter” to back them up on wedding days.  If you can possibly make it happen financially, it is definitely worth the money to hire another photographer to work with on the wedding day.  The photos will be better, you'll have a second set of gear in case of disaster, and you're extremely unlikely to miss the shot.  (Thanks Gabrielle Walker-Jones)
Consider a special service. Rent the Runway offers a genius Wedding Concierge program that helps brides get dressed for their big prewedding events. (In this case, that could mean an engagement photo session followed by an engagement party—talk about two birds, one stone.) Sign up for access to styling consultations and outfit rental options that won't break the bank. 
When it comes to props, I gently discourage them. The point of the engagement session is to create beautiful portraits of you two together, and the addition of props is just a distraction. I know that there are many websites that will encourage you to bring vintage items, huge bunches of balloons, signs to hold, and so forth, but then the entire engagement shoot becomes all about those props and less about you two together. If you have always dreamed of running across the Brooklyn Bridge together holding a huge cluster of balloons, then let's do it….but let's open the session with that and then put the balloons away. Likewise, if you have a Thank You sign or a Save The Date sign, let's shoot those quickly and then tuck them in your bag. I want to create a shoot that fully brings to life your vision for engagement pictures, but I also want to focus on you!

Two months before: Trying out wedding day looks? Schedule hair and makeup trial appointments the same day as your engagement photo session to capture a preview of your wedding day fabulousness on film (you could do the salon in the morning and the photo studio in the afternoon). Factor in some in-between time for damage control, on the off-chance that the salon results aren't as great as you hoped.


Family, just kids, or high school seniors. My favorite portrait sessions are capturing family interaction and play at your own home or favorite family spot or taking a high school senior around town to celebrate adulthood.  The Custom Portrait Session is a collaboration between my ideas and those that hold special meaning to you. Do you love to go get ice cream as a family?  Love to make pancakes together on Saturday mornings? Have a favorite game you play in your yard? I am a “fly on the wall” capturing your family as they are, in a photo journalistic way, not posed.  I want you to walk away from this session with a documentation of a slice of your life. I don’t want you to have a “hard time choosing” because I want you to have them all, so this package is all inclusive! For this purpose, I carefully select the best images from our session with a “storytelling album” in mind, and they are all available to you so you don’t have to choose. Images that paint a picture…the story of you.  Sorry, no newborn sessions at this time.
One more piece of advice that someone gave me on my own wedding day. ‘Things will Go Wrong – But They Can be the Best Parts of the Day’. In every wedding that I’ve participated in something tends to go wrong with the day. The best man can’t find the ring, the rain pours down just as the ceremony ends, the groom forgets to do up his fly, the flower girl decides to sit down in the middle of the aisle or the bride can’t remember her vows….
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're working with a hair and makeup artist for your wedding day, now might be a great time for a trial. If you're just in town for the shoot, I can recommend some wonderful artists for you. While professional hair and makeup are not a must, it can help boost your confidence and ease the getting-ready process on the day of the shoot. I recommend staying away from bright whites, heavily visible logos, or crazy mismatched patterns. While trends heavily lean towards things-that-look-like-they-would-clash-but-they-don't pattern mixing, be careful that you don't go overboard. You don't want your outfits to pull attention from your faces!
The main thing you want to look for in our test results is low-light picture quality. On the whole, a flash isn’t going to produce the best-quality photos unless you’ve got a premium one attached to the hot shoe. The highest-scoring cameras will be able to produce great photos with no flash in low light, for example when you’re in a restaurant or bar, without image noise and compromised picture quality.

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Almost as important as quality and expertise is to find a photographer who has a style that resonates with you, and your life. Take some time to think about the style of images you are looking for. Do you want studio (either classic and simple or with props for some shots) or do you want on-location or natural light, and if so, where? Where will you display your images and what are you looking to accomplish with them (i.e. wall displays in a casual or formal room, to compliment a display that has been built over time, a heirloom album showcasing your entire shoot)? It’s extremely important that you choose a photographer whose galleries and portfolio reflect what you are looking for, and reflect it consistently without a constant changing style. Check out their work on their blog and website. You should be able to get a feel for whether they maintain a style and have mastered it, or whether they jump from trend to trend. Regardless, make sure you really assess what you want your outcome to be, as it relates to your life, and your personal style, and try not to be swayed by “what’s hot” as whatever is hot might not really make sense in the big picture. Once you have selected a few photographers that you believe meet your quality, expertise, style and vision goals, make sure you have a conversation with them to discuss planning your session, and your goals. You will want them to understand what you are looking for so they can agree it’s something they can accomplish.

Before you call a single photographer, have a discussion with your partner about what kinds of engagement photos you'd like—posed or candid, formal or casual. Again, let your decisions be guided by how you plan to use the pics: Will they be hanging on grandma's wall, reproduced in black-and-white newsprint or shrunk down to the size of a quarter for personalized favor stickers? Advance planning will help you make the most of your pictures. Some photo-friendly options to consider for your engagement shoot:
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
If you're opting for a nautical vibe with beach engagement photos, don't be afraid to get some sand between your toes. Going barefoot sets a laid-back mood that works in a seaside setting. And this no-fuss approach will save you the trouble of searching for beach-appropriate footwear. To keep your engagement photos looking polished, pair bare feet with structured outfits. Navy blue and white ensembles are a safe bet for pulling off a beach style that's laid-back but still pulled together.
There are many aspects to keep in mind when deciding what to wear for your family photos. Coordinating outfits for family photos doesn’t need to be difficult. You can never go wrong with selecting a few focal colors and textured clothing items, as well as considering the season. Focus on accomplishing a cohesive look and dressing in outfits that will allow your photos to take on a timeless feel.  Of course, the most important part of your family portrait is to document the love that your family shares. We’re here to help you with the rest. These family photo outfit ideas below will allow you get a one-of-a-kind portrait that has a close-knit family feel.
A fourth style that is popular in Asian countries, especially in China, is wedding studio photography (Chinese: 婚纱摄影; pinyin: hūn shā shè yǐng). Typically, couples will make an appointment with a studio for an in-studio or a location shoot, with support from a hair stylist and make-up artist in addition to the photographer and the couple. The couple will go through many changes of clothing and backgrounds in a similar manner to the fashion based approach.
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.
When you shoot a mommy-to-be in her own home she’s comfortable to let go in a way that she may not be otherwise. This is a fantastic reason to hold maternity sessions at home. This is not however why I do it. As a photographer I feel like it’s my responsibility to help my subjects feel comfortable and capable of giving me their best, no matter where we’re shooting. I pride myself on my ability to do this. To me, it’s a HUGE part of my success as a photographer (Uh oh. I feel a post in this regard coming on… check back soon). I shoot maternity sessions at home primarily because it’s wonderful for a couple to have a capture that truly shows what their life was like at the time their baby came to be a part of their family. I’m a second generation photographer so I’ve got some really lovely shots of my sweet momma awaiting my arrival. My favorite however is a simple picture of her standing by my bassinet with her hand on her tummy. I CHERISH it.
Winter engagement photos are the perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit—after all, you have a lot to celebrate! To pull off a festive photo shoot, consider metallic embellishments when choosing what to wear. Monochromatic embellished pieces (like the gold sequin top above) will give your engagement photos just enough sparkle without becoming distracting. Have your fiancé wear a dress shirt in a crisp solid color to complement your glittery outfit.
The main thing you want to look for in our test results is low-light picture quality. On the whole, a flash isn’t going to produce the best-quality photos unless you’ve got a premium one attached to the hot shoe. The highest-scoring cameras will be able to produce great photos with no flash in low light, for example when you’re in a restaurant or bar, without image noise and compromised picture quality.
The secret to being a successful photographer and not lose the passion for the craft is to constantly work on personal projects. Make the time to shoot what you love for yourself and your passion will grow by trying various digital photography techniques. At the same time your confidence as a professional will also grow. This is true for any hobby that becomes a business.
Finding the perfect location is an important part of planning for the photo shoot of your dreams. I have my favorite places, and usually make a recommendation during our consultation based on your personality and style, but I always welcome your location ideas. I’d love to know if there is a place that is sentimental to your family so we can discuss our options and plan the best location to suit your family.
I attended the University of North Texas and received a Bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television and Film.  In 2011, I received a Master’s in Ed. Technology.  My first thought was I would teach technology/videography at a High School level, but I fell in LOVE with photography after my 1st daughter was born. She came into the world with the most beautiful red hair and striking blue eyes, needless to say, her Dad, her grandparents and myself were shocked!  I picked up a cheap Kodak camera and never stopped taking pictures.  Over the years I have self taught through online workshops, upgraded to a professional Canon Mark iii, purchased several fancy lens and just have gotten better by good ol’ fashion practicing.  I have 3 children ages 12, 10 and 8 who always give me a good reason to shoot what I see!  🙂  I love what I do, which I think truly shows in my work.  Photography and children inspire me.  I am so grateful to be a given a gift to see the world the way I do.
Engagement photos are an increasingly popular option for couples who are eager to announce their proposal to their family and friends. It gives you a chance to display your unique style—not to mention test out your photographer before the big day! But before you jump in front of the lens, you’ll want some inspiration first. We’ve compiled 100 engagement photo ideas across a variety of backdrops, poses and styles to help you get started. Better yet, we added extra filters so you can find inspirational photos that fit you as a couple. Across every season and formal or casual style, we have you covered. We’ve even got ideas if you want to include your furry friend!
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.
If newborns can’t hold their heads up, how do you pose them? A beanbag is an easy tool for helping contour the baby into natural poses. Beanbags designed for the task are easier to work with, but a regular beanbag can work too with a bit more finesse and a bit less cash. Another great posing item for newborns is one that many mums have — a u-shaped nursing pillow.
We love photographing newborn babies, so when a twin photo session happens, it is twice as nice!  Twice the snuggles, twice the piggies, and twice the love. It’s absolutely amazing to witness how a child’s personality develops right after birth and in the early days of life. Newborn twins are gifted with such distinctive personalities right away, and we love to capture those little differences. With newborn twins, we also make sure to take individual shots so that Mom and Dad can see all the tiny special details inherent in each baby.
#1 – it automatically forces you to slow down. That’s a good thing. You can check your settings, review the composition, and exposure to make sure you’ve got everything right. All to often it’s easy to get carried away once you put the camera up to your eye and forget to check something only to see later you had the wrong White Balance, or ISO was 6400, or you accidentally shot Small JPG. Slow down, avoid an “oops”.
Yep, you asked and we listened!  Ever since we aired our 101 Tips and Ideas for Couples Photography, 101 Family Picture Tips & Ideas, AND 50+ Tips and Ideas for Newborn Photography, we’ve had several of you asking for MATERNITY photography inspiration.  Well, today we are delivering! To make browsing easier for you, we’ve divided the post into 3 categories that you click on to go straight to the content you want!:
Julie always advises her clients to be natural. That is, where what you would normally where in your daily life… whatever you’re comfortable wearing. And Julie highly recommends not matching. Mainly because that is not natural (for most people anyway :). Also, don’t clean up the house too much. A “lived in” look is how most families live so why should it be any different for your family photos? And finally, try to relax and enjoy the experience even when baby is crying, toddler is running around, and the dog is being ornery. Sometimes, those chaotic, unscripted shots are the best and most memorable.
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.
…hoping to inspire your clients in their choices of clothing and accessories, make sure that the work you are displaying portrays the kind of look that meshes with your style. Offer to help select clothing and even go the extra step to assist in shopping for new pieces or outfits. Many times I’ll arrive at a client’s home and they’ll have put together several options for looks for the kids or family, and then I can assist in making the final decisions. Another quick option is to just have them email you a few quick iPhone shots of the outfits they are considering so you can lend a little guidance. And feel free to point them to this post for pointers and examples!
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