There is plenty of advice on the internet on how to find a wedding photographer. And you know, most of it is actually pretty good. I assure you that is not a thing). But recently in the comments of some of our sponsored posts, it’s become clear that a lot of the advice out there is geared toward people who already have a handle on photography, people who can look at a photo and say, “Yup, that’s a great image.” But there isn’t really a ton of information out there for people who are at a photographic square one.
Lori Wilson Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas that specializes in wedding, travel, puppy, portrait, newborn, child, expecting, family, and engagement/couple photography. Since she was a little girl, Lori has been in love with taking photos. Her mission is to capture beautiful, real moments that make people identify with the subject. Lori Wilson studied photography under the best photographers, including her mom.
Missy Mayo Photography is a photography studio in Flower Mound, Texas that serves the entire Greater Dallas, Texas Metro Area. This photographer specializes in child, teen, high school senior, and family photography. Their work has frequently been featured in the national press. Missy Mayo is a CM Pro on Clickin Moms, indicating her high stature as a quality professional photographer.
A photographer who’s charging for their work should consistently create excellent photos that are similar to each other in style. Most photographers either have a website or a Facebook page, so take some time to browse their portfolio. Ideally, their portfolio will include lots of different families, in different settings, to show that the quality of their work is consistent.
Photographers who are individual contractors or photography business owners are tipped less frequently than employees of a larger photography company or a photographer's assistant hired for the event. Of course, if you feel the person went above and beyond, coaxing a smile out of your cranky uncle and putting your camera-shy nieces at ease, a gratuity is a wonderful way to show your appreciation. Another even more helpful way to show appreciation is by writing your wedding photographer a positive review. You probably counted on customer reviews to help guide you in the selection process, so by sharing your experience you can pay forward the favor and help your photographer build an even larger clientele.
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”. The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands. The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing. Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
Be very open with your clients about your preference regarding an engagement session and explain how you typically do it. Be very patient with the couple and let them speak their minds before suggesting anything from yourself. As the opportunity presents itself for you to explain what you usually do, lead them the right way while showing examples of your previous work. Ask questions and make the session about them. Find out if they like certain places or if they have strong location preferences where they wish to be photographed. Are they an outdoorsy couple or do they enjoy the city life better?
Let the photographer connect with the baby. In order for your baby to feel comfortable, you should avoid crowding your little one. It’ll be tempting to run over whenever your baby becomes restless or cries, but you should do your best to let the photographer comfort the baby so the baby doesn’t feel startled by too many changes. Always remain in the room though during your baby’s shoot.
This is probably my favorite pose, and is always the one I start with if the baby is sleepy (plan to feed your baby right before you try to photograph him so he’ll be more likely to fall asleep). I love how peaceful babies look in this position. It’s also a great pose if you (like me) like newborns to be naked in their photos – you can see their sweet little arms and legs, but nothing else is exposed.
I love using props for my portrait sessions. I have simple props available; however, if you have something specific in mind you are welcome to bring your own as you know your family/child’s preferences/colors and activities/hobbies, etc. I have holiday props for Halloween, Easter and Christmas. Balloons for children’s birthdays make great props too. We use high resolution backgrounds and flooring complimented with designer furniture to create vintage, timeless looks for your portrait session.
In contrast, there is an alternative approach for your individual or family portrait that may be more appropriate for a special memory. Here, you would have your own photo or photographs and then have them professionally done as a canvas painting or an oil painting that could easily be done in in a 20 x 30 inch painting that could be framed. In some cases, a few individual photographs of family members or an individual can be provided separately and the artist can combine into one painting.
Talk to your wedding photographer about how long he or she will need to take the different types of wedding portraits. For the best results, photographers agree that wedding party portraits take about 30 minutes, family portraits take about 30 minutes (if you’re sticking with only photographing close family), and couple portraits take between 45 minutes to an hour. If you’re having a “first look,” all of these can be completed before the ceremony. If you’re not having a “first look,” you can still take separate family portraits, and photos of the bridesmaids and groomsmen before the ceremony, but any portraits with the couple together will be taken during cocktail hour.
Ask about the photographer’s experience. One of the key things to talk about in the interview is the level of experience each of the photographers have gained. You should ask how many weddings the photographer has shot, and how many similar to yours. Different weddings have can hugely different requirements and expectations, so it’s important that you understand how much experience they have that is especially relevant to you.
“Those early days and weeks go by so fast and are such a blur, so capturing them in newborn photos was very important to us. We loved Kate’s work so much that we ended up purchasing the entire gallery and are looking forward to another session with her this spring. My husband has never been a fan of photo sessions, but even he couldn’t stop raving about how much he loved the photos.”
At Life Cycle Images Photography you can find Nicole Druce who is a maternity photographer and specializes in family, maternity, newborn, baby and child photography. Nicole’s work is based in Australia where she lives and she is available to serve different areas in her country such as North Sydney, Western Sydney and all Sydney. Nicole is not just a photographer as she runs newborn and maternity workshops for all students around the world. Nicole has won several awards such as Silver Award Winner 2014 | Australian Institute of Professional Photography and International Award Winner Best Maternity Photographer | 2011.
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.
The type of wedding ceremony that you are used to may be completely different in other faiths. Sometimes photographers get thrown by this and it can affect the photos. For example, photographers who shoot an LDS wedding shouldn't be surprised that you can't photograph the actual ceremony at all! Photographers who shoot inside a cathedral shouldn't be surprised if you can't use flash. Photographers at a Jewish wedding need to know not to miss the bride breaking the glass. All religions do things differently and you should be familiar with how the wedding goes, and respect the religious differences (Thanks Rebecca Birrell)
Some wedding photographers have an office or studio which can double as a retail photography studio. In bigger cities, one might find dedicated wedding photography studios that only cover weddings and may have large studios equipped with make-up, hair, and a selection of gowns ready for the bride to wear. Other wedding photographers may work from a home studio or from a coworking space, preferring to photograph clients on-location. These home based photographers may hire additional photographers to assist them if the wedding program is large or otherwise unmanageable by a single photographer.
Candice Cusic is a Chicago based wedding and family photographer. She believes that the best images are moment-driven and that you don’t need a hundred photographs of the couple smiling for the camera. In a recent audio interview with Nine Dots she was giving her wedding photography tips and had this to say when asked ‘do you believe there is enough work for everyone?’ She says –
Perhaps now you’re wondering why I even bother posing newborns at all if I want them to look natural. A couple of reasons: 1) Newborns have very little control over their limbs, so they tend to flail about. Left to their own devices, their arms and hands can look very contorted. 2) Most newborns burrow their heads into whatever is nearest them, meaning they will generally hide their faces in any blanket or pillow you lay them down on. 3) Newborn’s legs are long and skinny, and they just don’t look good in photographs when they are sticking straight out. Tucking their legs up underneath them makes for a much tidier looker photo.
As you start looking through photographers’ portfolios, pay attention to the lighting quality in the pictures. Are they dark and moody? Bright and romantic? Each photographer has a certain style, and there will most likely be one that you mesh with better than others. You may also notice while you’re looking through portfolios that some photographers refer to themselves “natural light photographers” which just means that they only use whatever light is available, rather than using a flash or other lighting setups. If you are getting married somewhere dark without a lot of windows, you will want to make sure that the photographer knows how to create light when it isn’t there. Every lighting situation is different for photographers, so make sure you’re looking at photos that have similar characteristics to your venue. An outdoor wedding in the middle of the day with bright sun requires a very different skill than a New Year’s Eve reception in a dark church. (Also, a hot tip: ask to see some reception shots, since many of us don’t include those in our portfolios. Because if you are having an art gallery reception with no light, you want to make sure we can handle it. If all the reception photos are a little blurry and have been converted to black and white, then low-light situations are probably not that photographer’s forte. If you see lots of backlighting and what appears to be bursts of light behind the dancing, it means that that photographer has the ability to create standalone lighting in situations where the light is nonexistent.)
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.
Take a look at their blog and galleries. Are they consistent in all that I mentioned above: proper exposure, correct white balance, focus, and lighting? Ask for view a full gallery so you can see what type of variety you would get in a session and that all the images are consistent and flow nicely. You want to make sure that ALL of their images are high quality with exposure, white balance, focus and lighting. Below is an example of a full family session gallery. I typically give 25-30 images in a family session. You can see below that there are images of mom, dad, and baby. They are in several different poses. There are images of just baby, mom and baby, and dad and baby.
Now that you and your BAE are engaged, it’s time to commemorate the momentous occasion with a romantic photoshoot! But where do you start? There are so many cheesy couples' photos and countless run-of-the-mill shots that it can be a challenge to snap a photo that is truly your own. But thankfully, you don't have to rely on those predictable poses and overdone locations. There are a handful of things you can do to make sure your photos turn out perfectly one-of-a-kind and feel right for you and your parter.
The #1 way to ensure a successful newborn session is to make sure your client knows what to expect and how to best prepare for the session. I send my prep tips a few days before our session to get mommy and daddy prepared. In fact, in our newborn workshop includes the email templates that I send & has a full chapter dedicated to adequate preparation before the session. Many moms choose to feed while I unpack and setup. I have them feed the baby in only a diaper and a loose swaddle blanket so we don’t have to bother the baby with undressing them. I also let them know what I’ll be bringing, the approximate length of the session, to expect messes and frequent feedings, and to warm the house, even though I will be bringing a heater.
Network with everyone. You should take every opportunity to network. If you are working towards a specific specialization, such as wedding photography, network with everyone in your town who has an association with weddings. Talk to and give your card to wedding planners, cake bakers, caterers, other photographers (they may have a conflict and be asked for a referral), wedding dress shop employees, etc.
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