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.
They’re more important than senior class pictures, get more exposure than a drivers license photo, and serve as a visual debut to the world… The birth announcement photo! If you’re like me, newborn photo announcements are a standard parent operating procedure. I have a huge collection of my friends’ and families’ newborn announcements, most of which are still stuck to my fridge.
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.
I know it's easier said than done, but please don't worry about being "bad" in front of the camera! I've been photographing weddings and engagements since 2001, and have documented hundreds of couples. I can honestly tell you that not a single one of those couples, no matter how much they swore up and down that they would be, were "terrible" in their pictures! Awkward, sure. Uncomfortable, yes. But getting you to feel less awkward and uncomfortable is my job, and I promise that I'm good at it. I promise to do everything in my power to make you feel at-ease and comfortable during your engagement session.
Burner—a mobile app that works with both iOS and Android to create temporary phone numbers—has a special Dropbox Burner Connection that can store all those photos your guests take in one easy-to-access folder for the bride and groom. Rather than spend your honeymoon on Facebook and Instagram searching for any elusive pics you might otherwise miss, ask attendees to text their snaps to your dedicated Burner number, either as they're being shot or after the wedding. This requires an extra step from your guests, but it's totally worth it since you'll have private access to all the photos (with the option to share the folder too), which may be appreciated if they aren't social-media inclined. You can also use Burner to keep track of all RSVPs, use it as a voicemail "guestbook" to collect messages from your friends and family, or have it act as a wedding-guest text-message hotline to answer FAQs regarding your ceremony and reception. As a new user, you can snag a number for free for 30 days, then pay $4.99 a month after that.
Just as important as getting some light in the eyes is having it come from a good direction. We’ve established overhead isn’t good direction, neither is straight from camera. So turning on your built-in pop flash isn’t going to give you good light. Neither is sticking a speedlight on top. Light direct from the camera angle flattens the subject, that is not what you want. You want the light to come from the side more, 30-45 degrees from camera is a good starting point. To learn more about this read my article on the 6 Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know.
When shooting in wide open locations and it involves kiddos, I love to have some movement and flow in their clothing and accessories. Little ones are fond of jumping, dancing, and being wild. Nothing better than a twirly, whirly dress to accentuate all that beautiful movement and childhood innocence. Something as simple as a scarf trailing behind or a playful super hero cape can be fun for the boys.