If you have a dSLR and any lenses with wide aperture capabilities (like a 28-70 2.8 or even a 50 1.8) I’d recommend using one of those lenses and keeping your aperture open fairly wide, around 2.8. That will help to blur the background and make the photographs look a little more professional. If not, don’t sweat it – turning off your flash will force your camera to use the widest aperture it’s got (using the portrait setting will also help here). Your camera may have a harder time keeping the shutter speed high if it’s not very bright in your house, so consider using a tripod if you have one. Better equipment sometimes makes for better photos, but knowing how to use what you have is really more important. If you have a few months before your baby is born, spend a little time getting to know your camera. If you don’t have time to practice, following my tips will still help you improve your photos.
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!
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.
6. Gather needed equipment and supplies. If photography is your hobby, you may already have much of the equipment you need; however, you’ll have to assess if the quality is high enough to charge for services. Along with a camera, you’ll also need lenses, flashes, batteries, photo editing software, quality photo paper and packaging used to deliver the photos to clients. You may also need lights and screens to control lighting.
Once you have the basics set up, you can drape a solid colored blanket over it all. Use clamps to attach the blanket to the backdrop boards and make sure the clamps also attach the board to the chairs so it will not fall over (if you don’t have a backdrop board just attach the blanket to the tops of the chairs). Let it drape down the board until it is level with the pillows, then lay it over the pillows. You want to minimize wrinkles as much as possible, because they will be very distracting in the final picture, so use more clamps on the sides if you need to. Additionally, you might want to clamp the background board to the chairs it’s resting against to be sure it won’t fall during the photoshoot. It should look like this:
As we reflect on all our memories, it’s hard to recall ones that don’t include our families. There’s something special about looking back on family portraits over the years past. Family photos are a moment saved in time that will be cherished forever. So when it comes to what to wear for family picture day make sure you plan ahead. Whether you are taking family photos for your annual photo Christmas card or looking to get an updated shot to hang above the mantle, you’ll want you and your family to look your best doing so.

Tools: Most wedding photography advice will tell you to ask your photographer what kind of camera he or she uses. Unless you are a camera buff, this is usually a wasted question (heck, most of the time I don’t even know what the best camera on the market is). But as you look through portfolios, you’ll notice that certain photographers have different tools that they use to tell a story in their own voice. I’m a hopeless romantic, so for me that’s a lens that I’ve hacked onto a sink plunger that makes soft photos like this one.
Engagement sessions are a big hit with couples and photographers. Almost all couples agree for a session before the wedding, so engagement photography has pretty much become a staple of wedding photography. An engagement shoot is done after a couple gets engaged and it usually is captured before the wedding. Some photographers sell this session as a separate product and most photographers include this session in their wedding packages. Regardless of how you like to approach it, understanding the basics of photographing couples and knowing how to coordinate a shoot that involves more than one person is crucial. Hence, I decided to write a piece to explain what goes into the planning process of an engagement session.

It's funny, but I have seen “Uncle Bob” ruin more wedding photos than you could possibly believe.  What I mean by this is that there will (almost) always be someone in the wedding party who likes to get in the way.  They either tell people how to pose while you're trying to get everyone in the right spot, or they step in front of you to take pictures, etc.  The wedding photographer must be CONFIDENT and take charge.  Simply saying something like “Thanks for your help.  I'm trying to do something a little different here.  Is it all right with you if I go ahead and get the posing set up here?”  It might seem forward, but your couple will be glad to see you moving quickly and getting the photos done correctly.  (Thanks Julie Gallagher)
Unless you use flash you will need to learn to use natural light. It can sometimes be tricky to use but does provide the most natural looking photographs opposed to using flash. Try and avoid shooting in the midday sun if possible and also look for shaded areas outdoors. These areas can provide cover so you avoid big shadows on faces and people aren’t squinting in the images.

I set up our family shots with my DSLR on a tripod and then I used a 10-second timer to take the photos!  I also set my camera to take three photos in a row.  So I had 10 seconds to run into place, fix my clothes and hair and smile at the camera!  All the while my kiddos yelled, “run mommy run!” Believe me, we got some genuine smiles and laughter from them watching mommy run and act like a crazy person!
Intern with a professional photographer. If you are an amateur photographer or you’re just starting out, you should intern or apprentice with a professional photographer to get a sense for how a photography business should be run. It’s likely that you won’t agree with the way your mentor does everything in her business, but it will give you a good idea of the “big picture” of running a photography business.
…and think outside the box. Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair for girls, jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, etc. – all these things can take a ho-hum image and make it feel “complete.” Don’t let the accessories overwhelm the subject or the photos though. I believe that especially with sweet babies and toddlers that they don’t need much in the way of “accessories.” Little kiddos are beautiful in their simple purity, and I want them to be the star of the show instead of making one’s eye go straight to a giant headband as big as their head as they sit awkwardly in a big bucket. I want the viewer to notice my subject and their personality first. The accessories and clothing should just complement them – not be center stage. Choose your accent colors and fill in outfits with those punches of color in accessories. For instance, if big sister’s patterned dress has tones of aqua, coral and gray, have mom wear a coral headband and little brother in an aqua pair of Converse and bow tie. Show off the kids’ and your unique personality with accessories!
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