*Don’t Make It A Big Deal *“I shoot my children not just during the holidays, but almost daily,” says Bing Liem, who lives in Ridgefield, CT. “It lets me document their lives and physical development, plus gets them comfortable with having a camera around.” At the same time, Liem learns more about photography in a risk-free environment with willing models. (Above Photo) Shallow focus helps hold viewers’ attention exactly where you want it.Bing Liem
We do, however, understand that you want to head into your big day prepared, with a clear picture (pun intended!) of which shots you can expect to see in your future wedding album. That's where our comprehensive wedding photo shot list, full of must-have shots recommended by some of the industry's most lauded photographers, comes in. Though this list can be useful in deciding which moments you do (and don't!) want captured, we suggest using it as a general outline—every couple's wedding day unfolds differently, which means that a wedding photo shot list can't and shouldn't be one-size-fits-all.

Once you’ve taken 10-15 shots of the scene, figure out how you can change the setting without disturbing the baby. This picture below is from the same pose as the first photo in this post, but it looks very different. I unclamped the blanket the baby is laying on from the backdrop board, letting it fall behind her. Then I clamped pretty pink fabric to the backdrop board. Finally, I pull the edge of the blanket the baby is lying on up over her back to make it look like she’s tucked in bed. While I was making these changes the baby was snoozing away, staying perfectly posed. I got two very different looking sets of photos from one pose. This is a great way to maximize the baby pictures you get from your DIY photoshoot.


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Being a wedding photographer is so much more than just taking great photographs. If you look happy to be there, then the couple will relax and feel comfortable with you around. These conditions generally produce the best environment for awesome wedding photos. Don’t get absolutely wrecked on the jagger bombs but chit chat with guests and enjoy the party. The day will seem much shorter if you’re having a good time.

Dads, please cheerfully participate. I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.

Bring the Fun, Dads: There is nothing more attractive than an amazing father/husband. I KNOW that your wife probably had to talk you into photos. And, I want you to know, I'm thrilled that you're participating. And, if you're at all affectionate with your loved ones, you've probably already melted my photographer heart. Today isn't about smiling and posing, it's about having a blast.  And, I have yet to meet a dad who doesn't know how to break a house rule or two in the name of family fun.  At the risk of minimizing your outfit choice, Dads, the most important thing you can wear to picture day is a good attitude.  If you've got a signature hat, belt buckle, or something that you really love - let's find a way to include it. 


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.
Annie, Thank you so much for this post. I found this delightful and amazingly informative post on Pinterest. I’d been on the for hours looking at how to style family portraits. I’m going insane, we have pictures tomorrow and I still don’t know what I’m wearing. I have my husband and the 4 kids (boys age 17, 16, & 11 and our girl age 10) clothes picked out but not myself. Deep breath….. I’m going to try again to find something conducive. Wish me luck

One last thing to look for is that they know how to use light.  Outdoor photography can be difficult when the sun is out.  One thing you might want to watch for is to make sure that people don’t have harsh shadows on their faces.  The light should fall softly on their faces in a flattering way.  Part what makes this difference is time of day (that’s why most photographers like to do outdoor sessions in the evening), but there are a lot of other little tricks for getting the lighting just right.  In the examples below, the photo on the left is a test shot that I took in harsh midday light just to show my client what the location looked like.  See the dark shadows and blown out hot spots on my (super enthusiastic) son’s face?  Then on the right, you see a family posing in the same spot with soft light that is much more flattering.

A rookie error is to shoot loads and loads of photos of the Bride but from only the waist up. Just make sure you are getting plenty of shots of the Bride full length as well. The Bride will of spent hours and hours agonising over her wedding dress. She will also spend lots and lots of money on acquiring it. So make sure you do it justice by capturing it in its entirety where possible.
Wonderful tutorial! I just did some self portraits of my own bump yesterday and I had a blast. I’m actually just a couple of days behind Sarah! She is so incredibly gorgeous, as are YOU! Thanks for all the great info and tips. I can’t wait to do my next maternity shoot so that I can use some of what I just learned 🙂 My cousin’s wife is due in July, so I’ll be doing her photos in a couple of months. Seems like so many women are pregnant right now! Lol
No doubt there are many wedding moments you won't want to miss. The best way to ensure your photographer captures the right moments for all posterity is to provide a suggested shot list. Of course, the style and number of these images will all depend on the photographer you've chosen and how long you've hired that pro for, but a shot list of photos you'd love to have is a great way to cover your bases. Since you should count on at least five minutes per shot, it's unrealistic to expect all the photos below, but pick and choose those shots that mean most to you.
Wonderful tutorial! I just did some self portraits of my own bump yesterday and I had a blast. I’m actually just a couple of days behind Sarah! She is so incredibly gorgeous, as are YOU! Thanks for all the great info and tips. I can’t wait to do my next maternity shoot so that I can use some of what I just learned 🙂 My cousin’s wife is due in July, so I’ll be doing her photos in a couple of months. Seems like so many women are pregnant right now! Lol
Hey Caroline! Glad to hear you’re enjoying the site :) I haven’t personally used a 60D so I can’t comment on it extensively but it looks like a great camera. We started out with 10D’s, 20D’s, 30D’s, and 40D’s – so we’ve worked through that lineup quite a bit. Those cameras served us well! They we’re easy to control, and produced great quality results.
Oh wow!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’ve been looking for information like this for a while and here it is, in a 5 part series. I’ve been asked to take maternity and newborn pictures of my nephew that will be born in about 1 1/2 month…so excited…except I was a bit nervous as I had never done a newborn photoshoot before. Again thank you so much for the information…will be of great use. Great job!

While I had visions of taking lots of ‘cute’ shots of Xavier in his first week I found that what actually happened was that the first week of his life ended up being more like a documentary shoot. The focus of my shots ended up being of a lot of ‘firsts’. First moment with Mum, first bath, first time on the scales (he was just under 9 pounds), first outfit, first manicure (he had long nails from day one), first time meeting grandparents etc. I ended up taking a picture of him with every visitor that came (these will make nice gifts) and decided to leave the ‘cute’ shots until when we got back home and he’d settled a little more.


I live in this dichotomous world in my head.  I’ve always been a thrifty DIY gal who loves to shop garage sales. However, I’m also a professional photographer who charges according to my expertise, which aren’t necessarily garage sale prices.  I think that every 2-3 years, investing in a professional photographer is ideal. There are many price ranges out there, and with a little researc, you can find someone in your area that meets your needs. I also know that taking Family Pictures just isn’t in the budget each year for most people, so I’m going to share some tips on How to Take your Own Family Pictures.
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.

As I said before, this is simply a template for shooting a wedding day. Obviously, different cultures and situations are going to call for different shots. The best thing you can do in any situation is talk to your clients before and get an exact list of what they want. Anything after that is lagniappe. An even better form of communication would be an official schedule of what's happening. This protects you in the end if there is any misunderstandings. I have created a downloadable file for the checklist. Feel free to change this up to fit your needs. I've included PDF, Excel, and Numbers formats.
Oh wow!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’ve been looking for information like this for a while and here it is, in a 5 part series. I’ve been asked to take maternity and newborn pictures of my nephew that will be born in about 1 1/2 month…so excited…except I was a bit nervous as I had never done a newborn photoshoot before. Again thank you so much for the information…will be of great use. Great job!
This one can be really bad and it is super important. Five weeks before your wedding and on the same day of the week as your wedding (i.e. if you are getting married on a Saturday, then look at the Saturday five weeks prior to your wedding), pull up Sigalert (or any other traffic monitoring site) and see what traffic is like on the routes you will be taking at around the times that you are likely to be on them. Do this every week and you might notice that there is consistently more or consistently less traffic on your routes than you had planned. You can save yourself a LOT of stress (and perhaps even prepare appropriate tasty treats and beverages!) by knowing ahead of time if you are probably going to be sitting in traffic for 45 minutes between your getting ready, ceremony, and reception locations.
This 20 minute mini session will not happen every month. Watch for announcements on Instagram or inquire for the next one. I will select the date and location and will hold firm to the time slots. This shortened session doesn’t lack in beautiful moments captured, just in the variety, and are more posed in nature. Some people worry their kids won’t behave or that won’t be enough time, I PROMISE, it works out! I’ve been doing this time frame for years, and most people are very pleasantly surprised what can be captured in this time frame.
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

Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.
2. USE A PHOTOGRAPHER. I have a real problem with people who buy themselves a nice camera and decide that means they can take their own amazing photos. Not usually true. Yes a nice camera is helpful, but for newborn shoots, there is SO much involved as far as lighting and posing goes that if you don't know what you are doing, it won't look good and it could even put the baby in danger. Before I ever started shooting newborns, I did a ton of research on best practices and safety and comfort for the baby. Plus, the pictures probably just won't look as good. 
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).
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.
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:
Get close: You probably don't need to be persuaded to get close to your partner, but do plan to get a few affectionate close-up pictures: hug, hold hands, sling your arm around their shoulders. You're in love, show it off! Besides, if you're planning to submit a photo to a newspaper with your announcement, many publications specifically request close-up couple shots. The New York Times, for instance, asks that couples position themselves with their heads close together and (no joke), their eyebrows on exactly the same level.

Consider the value of the photos. Price will no doubt be a factor in your decision, but try to think carefully about the value of these photos to you. It will be hard to value them quantitatively, as they are a record of the biggest day of your life, which you will always look back on. You will want a photographer that will capture the emotion of the day, as well as all the key moments.


Identifying faces and places. It can be both fascinating and frustrating to see the faces of strangers gazing back at us, piquing our curiosity about their stories and their connection to us. Often there is scant information available other than cryptic notations in an unfamiliar hand, or the faces themselves that bear a subtle or profound family resemblance. With a little sleuthing, however, you may be able to fit the pieces together.
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