Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!

If you are doing the session in the client’s home, posed newborn sessions require nearly the same amount of prep as a wedding.  You need quite a bit of “stuff” and it is easy to forget something so I make sure to pack the night before and use a checklist so I don’t forget anything (I’m a mom with a very limited memory).  To make your life a bit easier, I’ve made a print ready checklist you can use which is included in the newborn photography toolkit – one of the FREE limited time bonuses included in our online Newborn Photography Workshop.
Talk to each other: (Duh, right?) DON'T match. But DO coordinate.  Wearing clothes that are the same level of dressiness is really as matchy as it needs to be. You guys already look like a family. Don't hamper each person's individuality by forcing the matching.  Let's be honest: You guys always look awesome together, you don't need special matching outfits for that. 
I knew I loved shooting weddings but the pressure was a little overwhelming, as anything that you’re new to can be. I also spent hours and hours watching tutorials and learning my equipment. You need to be really familiar with all of the worst case scenarios that you can possibly run into and find solutions for them before you shoot a wedding. Some of those situations are going to be discovered after you gain a little experience, however. When I felt completely defeated after my first wedding, I went searching for a good list that would help me get through the wedding day and came up dry every time. So, in an attempt to help anyone that’s new to this out, here is my list of shots that I don’t leave the wedding without.
If you want to create a unique photo that dramatically captures life from a child’s viewpoint, get on the ground. Photographer Andie Hamilton explains, “People don’t often think about getting down on the child’s level, but this can create some of the most intriguing shots. I often find myself lying on my stomach on the ground next to the child to get the most interesting angle.”
For this type of pose I usually move my couch cushions out of the way and put the baby all the way down on the floor. Then I stand on a chair near him and photograph him from directly above (see the first photo below). But if the baby really wants to turn her head to the side it’s worth hopping off the chair and lying down right next to her to get a few photos that show her face better (second photo below).
Timing of the shoot is very important. I often give my couples two options. The first option is to photograph very early in the morning, and the second is later in the afternoon. Both times, the light is soft and often diffused, so there is no harsh direct light to deal with. This way, I do not have to worry about finding a shade, which can be problematic in open nature parks. Educate your clients on the importance of choosing the right timing. You are the photographer and you should know best what light works for you.

Yahay! What an exciting time – you’re engaged and apart from planning your wedding celebration, we’re guessing that you’re on the lookout for ways in which to celebrate your engagement! Planning an engagement party may be the first step, and if it is, then be sure to check out this 5-step Planning Your Engagement Party {Wedding Planning Series} guide! Next, we suggest that you have a little fun with an e-shoot inspired by your personalities and by this collection of handpicked Engagement Photo Poses and Ideas! GO ahead and dig in!

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:
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.
This is more of a personal choice, but I tend to choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style. Whatever your style is, make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now (or months in the case of some quickly passing trends). I personally love to use softer or neutral tones (with a color pop here and there) and classic shapes, then add interest with accessories, layers and lots of interesting textures. I also happen to love bright and colorful as long as it’s not obnoxious or distracting from the subject’s personality and face. Of course, this is a personal choice and many families will choose to go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choices as a sort of time stamp in their images.
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