Finding the perfect location is an important part of planning for the photo shoot of your dreams. I have my favorite places, and usually make a recommendation during our consultation based on your personality and style, but I always welcome your location ideas. I’d love to know if there is a place that is sentimental to your family so we can discuss our options and plan the best location to suit your family.
Have the couple appoint you someone that knows all the ‘key players'  as your go-to person for questions. Especially helpful during the formal family shots since the bride and groom are in all the shots. They can help point out that uncle or go get grandma from the reception (cause she always manages to leave first to get over there LoL). They are also helpful during the reception to ask questions when you don't want to bother the new couple. (Thanks Melinda Lutz Ledsome)

That’s it! No expectations other than fun. Then prepare yourself. Bring along props, get mom to bring one of their favourite toys or books. I usually have a hand puppet and bubbles in my camera bag along with my gear. If the kids don’t want to sit and smile don’t force them. Then them run around and be kids for a while and shoot that. Play with them, make it fun. Then they may cooperate and sit for a bit a few minutes later.


DON'T be shy about directing your subjects. They want to be told how and where to stand, explains Dennis Kwan, a wedding and portrait specialist with studios in New York City and Los Angeles. Giving subjects direction projects a confidence that allows them to relax when being photographed. "It tells your subjects that you know what you're doing, even if maybe you don't," says Kwan.
Earth Mama Photography photographs newborns and births in the Dallas area. The business will photograph births in any setting, including in the home, at the birth center, in the hospital, and during c-sections. The photographer aims to be discrete during birth photos while photographing the emotions and details of the day. The photography studio's Fresh 48 Sessions omit the labor and capture the moments right after the birth. Earth Mama Photography also shoots child portraits, family portraits, and maternity portraits on-site or in the studio.
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.
So many maternity sessions are done in studio. I understand the reasons behind this. I’ve been pregnant. 3 times over. I’m not the petite and pretty pregnant. I’m the gal you find wedged between the double doors at The Sizzler. Studio shoots are great because there’s privacy. I can’t argue with that. Particularly if you’re going to do anything in less than a fully clothed state (that’s my PC way of saying naked). But there’s something about being outside. Taking that natural beauty of a woman who’s ready to bring new life into the world and placing her in the majesty of the great outdoors is simply breathtaking.
Many photographers include an engagement photo session as part of the overall package, which presents a good opportunity to see your photographer in action. It also gives them the chance to experiment with flattering angles, poses and lighting levels before the wedding day. If you haven't booked your wedding photographer yet, look at engagement photos as a chance to audition your top choice, and book them for your wedding immediately if you love them. 
Adjusting the composition is an easy way to add more variety. Take a full length shot then take a head and shoulders. Shoot one from directly above and another on their level and maybe another somewhere between those angles. Consider more adjustments than just height too — moving a few feet to the right or left can add some variety and emphasize different aspects of the pose too.

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:


Melissa Dieterich Photography is a Fort Worth studio focusing on newborn, children, and maternity photography. Founded in 2006, they have since crafted natural style photographs through classic poses and organic, earthy props. Their team offers in-studio and on-location photo sessions. Customers praise Melissa’s patience with newborns and her ability to put them at ease.

Swaddling a baby is the easiest way to pose her for newborn photos at home. Simple wrap her up tight and lay her down on a pretty blanket of piece of fabric. I usually save swaddled photos for the end of the photoshoot, when the baby has woken up. Newborns love to be swaddled and will usually stay pretty calm if they’re wrapped tight enough (check out this post on swaddling if you don’t know how).
Newborns aren't the only subject we love to photograph... we love to capture all of the milestones of family life. Using a photojournalistic style approach to photography, we capture your baby learning to stand, your 5-year old riding his bike with no training wheels, and your teenager's last photograph before she becomes an adult. Go to our Bella Life section to view samples of these important family moments.
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
Your photographer may have some unique locations and places in mind for your photo shoot. Chat with them to see if those locations interest you. “I would like to take some photos by the water. Do you know of a nice lake or stream nearby that might serve as a good location?” Your photographer may have a list of their favorite spots for you to choose from.
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
Professional photography is an excellent career choice for anyone who wants to get paid for using their creative talents. It's one of the few fields where age and college degrees aren't as important as a good eye, a quality product, and self-discipline. Photography is a competitive field, so be prepared to start small. Then perfect your craft and build a portfolio of your best work.
I’m no lighting expert but have found that my best results have been when I’ve used my flash in a ‘bounce flash’ way – shooting it up into a ceiling so that it’s indirect. This diffuses the light a lot which leaves Xavier less washed out in the shots, and more importantly means he’s not blinded by the light from it (we don’t want to blind our little ones by our photographic obsession – I actually asked a pediatrician about camera flashes and his advice was that it wouldn’t do damage but that for a babies comfort that indirect flash (ie bounced and/or diffused flash) would be advisable. I’m sure different doctors would advise different things but I play it safe with my bounce flash – and avoid flash altogether where possible). It also gives a fairly natural looking shot.
Oh Babies! I love babies! They don’t call them bundles of joy for nothing. I specialize in newborn photography due to the monumental joy a new life brings and I want to preserve those moments for your family in a unique and timeless way. Those little toes and sweet features mature and grow so quickly. It always comes as a shock to us mothers how fast time flies. This is why I am so passionate about providing families with high-quality images of their babies in a safe and comfortable environment.
With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.
Don't feel that your outfit needs to match that of your future spouse. Coordination is okay, but I don't encourage matching. Look for colors that compliment each other, or are in the same color family. You will also want to make sure your outfits are harmonious. If you're wearing an evening gown, you will want to make sure your future spouse is wearing something that goes with it. Likewise, you wouldn't want one of you in a formal tuxedo and the other in jeans and a t-shirt!
Trust your photographer to direct you in posing so you can look your best. What makes maternity photos different from other portraits is that the images focus on you, your personality, feelings and the bond you have with your much-awaited baby. Many maternity poses such as hands on the belly and eyes looking down express emotions and connection to your belly. Other maternity poses empathize the beautiful curves of your body.
Baby pictures are among the most popular types of portrait photography, and most newborn photographers are well versed in the best places to take baby pictures in their local areas. Some newborn photographers will come to the hospital to shoot the baby within a day or two of birth, while others have set up their studios to accommodate the needs of infants. Some parents prefer to have the newborn photographer come to their home or travel to a favorite park or other outdoor location. Like any portrait photography, the best place to take baby pictures is the place you like best and that will yield the types of photos you want of your baby, whether that’s posed and carefully lit studio portraits or spontaneous, casual photos at home. Work with a local newborn photographer to find a safe, calm location with great lighting and some privacy for your family.
Few styles of portrait photography are as tricky as newborn photos — the unpredictable infant is always in charge! The best way to ensure a successful photo shoot is to work with a local newborn photographer within the first two weeks of the baby’s life. Some photographers even work with hospitals to offer newborn sessions within a day of the baby’s birth. But newborn photographers usually recommend scheduling a shoot during the baby’s first two weeks of life, while the baby is still sleepy and relatively cooperative, especially for posed or studio shots. During this time, babies are easier to swaddle in blankets and dress in hats or headbands, and, because they often nap or nurse, can be staged with various props or be cuddled by their parents. For casual photos, most newborn photographers recommend shooting within the first six weeks of a baby’s life. Lifestyle portrait photography is more flexible and doesn’t require the baby to cooperate with multiple poses or props.
Ask for personal recommendations. The best wedding photographers will tend to develop a reputation, and may be known locally to your friends are family. Start your search by asking people you know and trust if they have any recommendations, either through personal experience, or word of mouth. Talk to people you know who have got married in the last few years and ask about their experience.
Choosing the right family photographer is a daunting task. Perform an internet search on “Family Photographer” for your area and inevitably you will be barraged with hundreds of options, spread over many pages (hint: if they are in the sidebar, or highlighted/sponsored in the top space, they are paying to be there). You’ve probably seen a studio located on a main street in your town, or seen friends on Facebook tagged or blogged by their professional photographer in their own family sessions. And finally, there is no end in sight to the number of friends and family who have “a great eye,” a “nice camera” and “know there way around Photoshop.”
Talk to the photographer about your ideas. If you have a particular pose or setting in mind that you would like to include in your maternity photo collection, chat with the photographer ahead of time. Share your ideas and see if it is something they can accommodate. Be sure that your photographer knows your wishes in advance so they can plan ahead.
If you need more inspiration for poses or styling tips, these family photo ideas should help. If you’re taking black and white photos, find inspiration using our guide on how to dress for a black and white photoshoot. Once you get your portraits, share these memories with the ones you love and create a family photo album or a custom home decor piece everyone will adore.
"The photo was taken 2 days after my son and daughter-in-law`s wedding. There was a horse on the beach (a day after wedding get-together) that was the same breed as the horse she was taught to ride by her late uncle. The owner of the horse offered to photograph her for free, in her wedding gown, at sunrise. I had the photo done as oil painting, as a gift for Christmas. Simply beautiful.
When you shoot a mommy-to-be in her own home she’s comfortable to let go in a way that she may not be otherwise. This is a fantastic reason to hold maternity sessions at home. This is not however why I do it. As a photographer I feel like it’s my responsibility to help my subjects feel comfortable and capable of giving me their best, no matter where we’re shooting. I pride myself on my ability to do this. To me, it’s a HUGE part of my success as a photographer (Uh oh. I feel a post in this regard coming on… check back soon). I shoot maternity sessions at home primarily because it’s wonderful for a couple to have a capture that truly shows what their life was like at the time their baby came to be a part of their family. I’m a second generation photographer so I’ve got some really lovely shots of my sweet momma awaiting my arrival. My favorite however is a simple picture of her standing by my bassinet with her hand on her tummy. I CHERISH it.

“The idea of walking down an isle and having a bunch of people kind of terrified us—It felt like it wouldn't have been a day for us, but instead for other people. I've heard many people talk about how they don't even remember their wedding day or they were too exhausted to even enjoy it and they spent the whole time trying to talk to everyone who attended it. Eloping takes a lot less planning, which took a lot of stress away”
3.  Evidence of happy clients.  You can probably see this in two forms.  One is through reviews or testimonials on their website.  Another way to see that they have happy clients is to see if people seem to come back to them year after year.  If you scroll through their blog, it’s probably a good sign if you see many of the same families more than once.
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.
Ashley, I loved your post. I am huge on annual family photos. I think it’s so important to capture a nice photo of your growing/changing family at least once a year! I love how your pictures turned out. They are very nice and the same style I like to go for. I am getting into photography and would like to do our own someday. Thanks for all the tips. I completely agree with all of them and try to do them already but seeing it written down helps to instill those ideas even more for our next shoot.
Hi, I was reading your post and need the help of someone who knows what they are talking about . I just purchased the canon T6i which comes with a standard lens and I’m not really familiar with the photography world so my question is what would be a good relatively inexpensive lens to get for portrait photography ? If it matters , I’m just a mom wanting to take some great pictures of my son and don’t want to spend a lot . Thank you
But once you’re in front of the photographer, what do you do besides smile? We’ve combined a variety of maternity photo ideas for any mood. You’re sure to find plenty of inspiration from humorous to serious, and artsy to classic. In anticipation of your little one, don’t forget to share the great news of their arrival with an equally sweet birth announcement.
Label, label, label. Remember to permanently label images with the names, dates, locations and relationships you’ve discovered. If you’re the keeper of the family photos, do this now so your children aren’t left to do it all themselves.If you’ve already scanned your photos to a digital format, remember that it’s just as important to include full notations on digital images as it is on hard-copy images, or all your efforts and expense will be for naught when they’re viewed by people without knowledge of your family’s history.From sleuthing to sharing, there are many ways to enjoy historical images.With a little time and creativity now, your photographs can be treasured for generations to come.
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