With landscape photography, time of day is absolutely imperative.  95% of the landscape photos in my portfolio of the best shots I've ever taken were photographed in the very early morning at sunrise or late in the evening at sunset.  Beginning photographers often overlook this important tip and try to make a photo in the middle of the day.  That's rarely a recipe for success.
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.
are beautiful and create interest in photos. I absolutely love using multiple textures and layers, especially important when working with a color palette a bit on the neutral or softer side (with a subtle color pop here or there). When I say textures one of the ways to achieve this is with different clothing materials and accents – tweed, crochet and embroidery details, lace, hand knit items, smocking, ribbons, ruffles, etc. Also, having different layers of clothing and accessories can add another dimension to the overall texture of the image. These details and added depth are especially important in black and white images. And it can be done beautifully with colorful brights or just pops of color here and there as well. Follow your own vision and style, also looking to what fits your subjects best.
I’ve been a professional photographer for 15 years and if I’ve learned anything about the business in that time it is that as a client you have to be a thoughtful consumer. People don’t always realize how unregulated the industry is. There are a LOT of ways that photographers differ from each other. The advice I always give when you’re looking to hire a photographer is this:

Chances are you’ll be here close to 4 hours so I highly recommend eating a good hearty breakfast before you arrive. I know this can be a very exciting and stressful time for you, especially when adding sleep deprivation in the mix! As much as my goal is for baby to be comfortable, I also want you to be comfortable and at ease! Having me photograph this precious moments for you, means a lot to me so anything I can do to make it a smooth journey for you, please don’t hesitate to let me know!


Thank you!! I am not yet enrolled in photography classes, but at 32 if I hear one more person say “so why aren’t you a photographer?” I will cry. I love photography, just got my first SLR which I completely don’t understand yet, (aperture what??!?) but I will be learning. And since I am 7 months pregnant I was looking for some good tips in taking my own newborn photos, I appreciate you writing this! Very good info and depending how it goes, I may be pursuing a new career!
Two months before: Trying out wedding day looks? Schedule hair and makeup trial appointments the same day as your engagement photo session to capture a preview of your wedding day fabulousness on film (you could do the salon in the morning and the photo studio in the afternoon). Factor in some in-between time for damage control, on the off-chance that the salon results aren't as great as you hoped.

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While we love our wedding photos, this painting is even more special because we will be able to hang it in our house forever and look at it every day, where our wedding photos are in an album and we may not look at those that often, but the painting will be there every day for us to see and enjoy
How do I choose a family photographer? Ask everyone else how they did with theirs! One of the best ways to find a great photographer is by asking someone who has great family photos already! Word of mouth is a great place to start to find your family photographer. If you don’t have anyone to directly refer you, go ahead and reference reviews during your research to see if people had a pleasant experience with this family photographer. ***When you’re looking at reviews it’s important to understand that there are some truly great photographers out there who don’t have a huge pile of reviews merely because they aren’t asking clients to write reviews, so take this one with a grain of salt!*** With that being said, it should absolutely send up a red flag if the photographer has multiple awful reviews written about them – and I’m talking about more then just one or two. I’m talking about loads of reviews saying the same thing over and over about the service provided. We live in a world where people who receive bad service feel compelled to take to the internet and tell the world as a way of preventing other consumers from going through the same pain. So, keep an eye out for this warning sign and if you come across someone who has lots of people saying they had a bad experience or felt swindled. This can be a big problem with those photographers who have a price that seems too good to be true. Heed the warning and move on to someone who has a better stamp of approval.
K-Rae Images is a luxury MATERNITY, BIRTH, and NEWBORN portrait business located in Frisco, TX. Clients are provided with heirloom quality art designed to last for generations. Parents are treated wonderfully from the initial consultation to the final Reveal, with a closet of maternity gowns to select from as well as newborn props that are sure to create stunning images. Documenting Birth Stories is another way Kristin (photographer) captures the raw and fleeting moments of a new baby’s arrival. Parents can relax knowing that Kristin will take care of their entire portrait experience. K-Rae Images has received the prestigious “Best of Frisco Portrait Studio Award” for 3 consecutive years, and is a Premium Member of INP (International Association of Newborn Photographers) and Best Newborn Photographers. Set up your complimentary Portrait Design Consultation today, and come see why clients continue to choose K-Rae Images for all their portrait needs!

Almost as important as quality and expertise is to find a photographer who has a style that resonates with you, and your life. Take some time to think about the style of images you are looking for. Do you want studio (either classic and simple or with props for some shots) or do you want on-location or natural light, and if so, where? Where will you display your images and what are you looking to accomplish with them (i.e. wall displays in a casual or formal room, to compliment a display that has been built over time, a heirloom album showcasing your entire shoot)? It’s extremely important that you choose a photographer whose galleries and portfolio reflect what you are looking for, and reflect it consistently without a constant changing style. Check out their work on their blog and website. You should be able to get a feel for whether they maintain a style and have mastered it, or whether they jump from trend to trend. Regardless, make sure you really assess what you want your outcome to be, as it relates to your life, and your personal style, and try not to be swayed by “what’s hot” as whatever is hot might not really make sense in the big picture. Once you have selected a few photographers that you believe meet your quality, expertise, style and vision goals, make sure you have a conversation with them to discuss planning your session, and your goals. You will want them to understand what you are looking for so they can agree it’s something they can accomplish.
Great shots. What I've been struggling with recently is the balance between only release your best shots and how many I should deliver as proofs to a client ( along with what the concept of a proof is ). Whilst each of the examples above is a single shot I betting there were many more to choose from as an output from each session. Many of my portrait shoots are around 45 mins to a bit over an hour and in that time I will take a range of head, mid body and full length shots along with various groups. My last session took a bit over one hour with a family of 5 and resulted in around 200 pics ( a good number of which were burst mode of kids jumping off Walls ). I selected a fair range of around 60-70 pics and did some basic proof edit cropping and light balancing, the standard stuff and delivered a disc to the client. As I am starting out my model is to deliver a disc to the client rather than sell prints I don't have that bandwidth just yet and I price accordingly with that in mind. I've had some interesting conversations since that made me think I should have delivered fewer pics ( maybe 1 or 2 of each pose ) which would have meant a delivery set of about 30 pics. So what is the right balance ?
Thank you so much for this article! This past weekend I did my 3rd newborn session which happened to be my grandson. It took 4 hours and I had such difficulty getting him into the poses that I had planned in my head, that when the session was over with I felt totally defeated. I experienced everything you mentioned, including overwhelming myself with too many props. I started doubting myself and wondering if I was even cut out to be a newborn photographer. Your article was very helpful and encouraging at the same time. Thank you so much!
You may wonder why we called our studio JaNa? Well, let me clarify. Once up on a time, there was a Jafar and a Nasim (this lovely couple to the left of this picture). After exploring the world with their bikes for 2 years (while promoting peace), they chose to call Vancouver their home and bought their many years of photography experience with them. They are the ones who put the wheels on the business and got it up on its feet. They started their dream job by doing lifestyle photography, on location newborn and maternity photography, ect. A little while later they found the perfect home (studio space) right on the corner of boundary and hasting They decided to expand their all-star team so they could create sweet memories for many more family all across the Vancouver lower mainland. They looked to the sky and wished upon a star for 2 amazing photographers. Then came along Maryam and Jacquie (The lovely ladies to the right) and their happy family was complete. Their professional caring hands and artistic abilities were exactly what they wished for! Together they Rock Maternity, Newborn, Baby, and one-year-old cake smash photography day in and day out. Now the happy JaNa family is living their dream one baby at a time with clients coming to them from all over Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and sometimes even from all over the world. Read more about each of us here…
I am a national award-winning children’s photographer, but I’m also a mom, and I look at kids through the eyes of a mom. I know that some of the most cherished photos you’ll ever have of your children are not the perfectly posed, clean-faced, well-dressed, sweet-smiling photos that our parents wanted, but rather the authentic, digging in the mud, feet in the cake, finger up the nose sort of moments that can’t be duplicated and will never be forgotten (future boyfriends/girlfriends beware!). Now that my own kids are in high school, I think the little things that young kids do are seriously funny, though I realize that right now, you might not see the humor. I promise you, in 10 years, it will become clear when you look at the photos we create together. Optical Poetry is a laid back, high-end portrait experience that begins with collaborative planning of wardrobe and location and ends with the delivery of your artwork as gallery-wrap canvas collections, gorgeous albums and heirloom quality prints to be cherished for generations.
Love the way you make this tutorial so easy to follow and understand every step of the way. Eager to start taking precious photos of my active three great grandkids, 3-4- and 10. Wished I knew like you how to take The Great Photos when they were each born. A friend will be having her baby soon, maybe I will get the second chance again Keep up the good work your doing here Autumn, looking forward to learning more, even at my age. Being a Grandma and having a camera are two of my favorite things in Life !
Choose coordinating colors, not matching. Knowing what colors to wear for family photos can be tricky. Start off with colors that coordinate well. You can accomplish a cohesive look without every family member wearing the exact same outfit. In fact, that can seem overly-matching. By selecting a color scheme and using hues that complement each other, you can achieve a more natural look across the board. Pick two main colors and then add softer tones to accent and complete your color scheme.
Gently unwrap the baby, keeping the blanket on her back, and lay her down on her tummy on your blanket covered pillows or bean bag (use the setup I describe in part 1). Keep her covered with the blanket for right now and give her another minute to get settled. It helps to rub her back and shush softly into her ear. Again, wait until she has settled back into sleep before moving to the next step.

Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
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.

Imagine there is a line drawn from each face to the next. Try and position them so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another. Make diagonal lines not totem poles. Use props to seat some people or bring some small folding stools. Have some people sit down, or stand up on something. Use what is naturally in the environment to pose them, or if you have nothing available just arrange them so the heights are staggered.


There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with. A sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you, grabbing the lapels of a husbands jacket while pulling him close for a kiss – all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices. Many of my sessions will feature items used outside their intended use or subject. My girls are often seen in mommy’s hats or scarves (scarves can be used in different ways like wrapped around their shoulders, as a hair piece, etc) and they love to wear my costume jewelry.
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