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.
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:
Even if you don’t love the Brides dress, which I’m sure you will! Ask her what particular aspects of the dress she absolutely loves. A dress will always look better on the Bride than it will hanging up. But make sure to pay particular attention to capturing the intricate details. Also ask her if there are any other details she wants special photos of such as broaches, hair pieces, shoes etc. It’s easy to overlook these details but they make for fantastic photos. They can also be great to tell the complete story of the wedding especially if the items have sentimental value to the Bride.
Clothing is the most important element of a photograph. I welcome multiple wardrobe changes during my photo sessions. I generally recommend dressier, layered, non-matching clothing as it adds more depth and character to the photograph. An easy way to achieve this look is to add, scarves, leg warmers, boots, big costume jewelry, jackets, glasses, hats, etc. It is important to keep in mind that photographs will appear more fluent with low contrasting colors. This includes not only your clothing but also the location, background, lighting and surroundings.  Please click here for our “What to Wear Guide”.
I did a research with mothers about their experience in hiring a photographer. One of the questions was about regrets and one of the top regret reasons was hiring a cheap photographer with bad quality pictures. I have more than 50 answers and not even one mentioned expensive service as a matter of regret. It doesn’t necessarily mean that more expensive photographers will always be better, but there is often a price/quality correlation. The tip I give you is: if you need to limit your budget, it’s better to choose a simpler product of the photographer you liked the most than a top package of a photographer that is only ok. After a while, you won’t remember how much you paid, but the beautiful photos (or not) will always be with you.

…and think outside the box. Scarves, hats, flowers in the hair for girls, jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, etc. – all these things can take a ho-hum image and make it feel “complete.” Don’t let the accessories overwhelm the subject or the photos though. I believe that especially with sweet babies and toddlers that they don’t need much in the way of “accessories.” Little kiddos are beautiful in their simple purity, and I want them to be the star of the show instead of making one’s eye go straight to a giant headband as big as their head as they sit awkwardly in a big bucket. I want the viewer to notice my subject and their personality first. The accessories and clothing should just complement them – not be center stage. Choose your accent colors and fill in outfits with those punches of color in accessories. For instance, if big sister’s patterned dress has tones of aqua, coral and gray, have mom wear a coral headband and little brother in an aqua pair of Converse and bow tie. Show off the kids’ and your unique personality with accessories!

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