As with all photography lighting is key. If you are shooting inside and can’t afford expensive lighting use the most flattering and cheapest form of light there is – sun light! Position your group facing or parallel to a large clean window, if it is a particularly bright day cover it with a thin veil of material, such as a net curtain or peg a white cotton sheet across to act as a diffuser for softer, more flattering light.
LIFESTYLE PHOTOS: this category may have other names, such as candid, natural, etc. They can be done in almost any environment and can be more or less directed (sometimes it is difficult to say if the situation was real or not). They seem unposed, unplanned, and often focusing on true connections and feelings. It is in the middle between the portrait photos and the documentary photos (next category).
I had what I consider my first “real” maternity session a couple weeks ago. I call it my “first” because at the real first one I didn’t give any direction at all on what to wear and she came dressed in a black lace top with matching lace fingerless gloves! EEEK! Not exactly my style or what I wanted to show in my portfolio. But this time I was much more certain of the shots I wanted and was able to tweak the client’s prop ideas to get what she wanted and, secretly, what I wanted as well.
My husband and I were just talking about how we haven’t done a family portrait since our youngest child was born; that was five years ago! I like your tip about how a good family photographer will know how to help cheer up the crabby child. We may need to look into getting this done soon. I’ve always enjoyed looking at people’s family pictures hanging on their walls.

Nope. Makeup artists and hair stylists are infamously bad about keeping schedules (but we love them anyways and they do awesome work!) It is not really their fault since most of the time they can’t schedule a consultation and meet up with every single person whose hair and makeup they are doing before they give you a time estimate, so they really can’t be certain of what all they are going to have to do on the day of your wedding (we have even seen makeup artists unexpectedly have to cover up groomsmens’ black eyes from sports accidents on the morning of the wedding!). They will also be a little slower on your actual day than they were at your hair/makeup trial because they are working their hardest to make you look the best you can and they really want to get it just right, which is awesome! Regardless of whether it is their fault or not, they can’t send people out without them being done and if the hair and makeup professionals are running late, it is usually photo time that gets cut to make up for it. Instead of relying solely on their estimates, give yourself a little bit of a buffer (approximately 5-10 minutes more per person being done than what your professionals are asking for), just to be safe.


You’ll spend some time getting each pose ready, so take you time making sure you’ve taken a photograph from every angle that might work. Sometimes doing this can “save” a pose that wasn’t really working. In the photos below I made a few mistakes when posing this baby – first – I didn’t tuck her legs under her, which puts her feet closer to the camera than her head is, and second – her hands are stuck under her chin instead of under her had, making her look very uncomfortable. It makes what could have been a cute picture look kind of awkward. However, I moved closer to her head and zoomed in for the next shot, which turned out much cuter. (Note, see how her hand is in a fist in that second photo? It would have looked better had I gently pulled her fingers out so they were visible.)
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.

Depending on the feasibility it can be an idea to check out the location ahead of the wedding. However, things change so it can sometimes be best to play this by ear. You could scout the location on the morning of the wedding. Equally, you can wander around the venue when the couple are eating their food. Having an idea of where you are going to take the couple for their photos can drastically improve the end result. This is definitely one of our top tips for beginners.


Hopefully this post has helped you answer the question of How do I choose a family photographer. Still want to learn more about choosing a family photographer for your shoot? Here is another great blog about choosing the right photographer which covers some of the same tips as well as additional information on the topic. I love to include other people’s writing on the same topic just because I myself am kind of a research addict for big purchases! Remember, Proper prior planning is everything and research is where it all starts!

Thanks so much for this. I’m not a photographer but I understand lighting and just want to know how to set up and get the “look” of shots I see all the time. I’m so grateful for all of this info especially as I’ve just found out I’m having a boy so now I need to find poses that will work as I can no longer do the whole headband and ruffles thing lol! I can’t wait. 🙂


Prior to the big day, your photographer will likely ask you for a wedding photo list, which will outline specific family wedding photos you and your soon-to-be spouse want to be sure and take during the wedding. Thanks to WeddingWire's wedding day timeline generator, you know that you have about an hour allotted between the wedding ceremony and reception (or following the first look) for wedding family photos. A complete wedding family photo list will help you and your photographer make the most of these 60 minutes.
Your clients need to have a clear understanding of what the newborn photoshoot day is going to look like. An email template is probably your best bet. Prepare a template outlining the usual itinerary and what will be included (what you’re providing or bringing), along with what your clients should provide or bring, including any newborn photography props they want to try out.
This is probably one of the most important wedding photography tricks. Preparation is the key to success with weddings. Being one step ahead can give you an advantage and allow you to capture great moments throughout the day. Spare batteries, blank memory cards, running order with timings and a backup plan are all essentials to being as prepared as possible for every eventuality.
Secondly I guess I wanted to remind us all that having a baby is not just a photographic opportunity and that it’s important to put the camera down every now and again. If you’re anything like me you could easily walk around with your camera permanently to your eye and forget to actually enjoy the moment. Don’t just create wonderful images of your baby – create memories with your baby – balance is a great thing!
Dears, I am a long-time passionate about dslr photography and having 2 little kids myself I know how difficult it is to take perfect shots when you need to take care of the baby and at the same time you Re the one behind the camera. I experienced a newborn session in an atelier twice with a photographer lady which I adore and now want to go this way too and give it a try. Was waiting for a girl friend newborn in order to get some training first but after I’ve read this I am going to post a note about searching a newborn model and don’t worey about the whoke thing.
While you may be tempted to wear all white for your engagement photos (you're going to be the bride after all!), bright colors really pop on camera. Plus, bolder colors will give your photos an instant celebratory feel, and are perfectly appropriate in a casual summer setting. To make bright colors work, pick ones that play off each other without being too matchy-matchy, like yellow and blue. If you're sporting prints ( say, polka dots and argyle), make sure they're big enough to show up on camera, but not too big—you don't want to get lost in an oversize print.

…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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