Nursed Shots – some of the bests shots I’ve taken over the last month have been taken when people have been nursing Xavier. This puts him into a more upright position which makes him look a little more ‘human-like’ and opens up the angles for your photos. Try a number of positions (over the shoulder, sitting him up, laying him back in arms, lying him on his tummy etc) as each one opens up different possibilities. Also remember that your baby is not the only potential subject – parents, grandparents, siblings, friends etc all can add context to the shot and you’ll appreciate having more than just baby by themselves shots later!
A new baby is an expanding family — so why not include the whole family in some of those shots? If possible, get a few family shots in the session, including everyone together, some of just mum and baby, just dad and baby and just the siblings and baby. Remember that mom just grew an entire human being and is probably both still recovering and a bit self-conscious.Bella Baby is the face of hospital baby portraiture. We bring experienced, professional photographers into the hospitals to capture your baby's first photograph with a natural, artistic style. We believe that babies look the most beautiful when being held in their parents' arms or cuddled in one of their own baby blankets. Bella Baby captures this beauty by using only "real things"...natural window light, professional photographers and professional grade SLR digital cameras.
With a growing business and two infants at home there isn't a lot we have time for but volunteering is dear to our hearts. Thats why we volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. Along with this gift, I love serving families of Rainbow babies, and have done a story about my work with WFFA. To see the story, you may click here.
Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!
If you have followed our tips from the start you will of discussed any group shots with the couple before the wedding. A good idea is to get these into a list on paper. Having a print out means you can have one copy and the person you have tasked with rounding people up can have a copy. This way you can simply tick them off as you make your way through the list.
I know it's easier said than done, but please don't worry about being "bad" in front of the camera! I've been photographing weddings and engagements since 2001, and have documented hundreds of couples. I can honestly tell you that not a single one of those couples, no matter how much they swore up and down that they would be, were "terrible" in their pictures! Awkward, sure. Uncomfortable, yes. But getting you to feel less awkward and uncomfortable is my job, and I promise that I'm good at it. I promise to do everything in my power to make you feel at-ease and comfortable during your engagement session.
Side note:  In preparing to write this post, I looked up some articles written for photographers about how to make your website stand out.  Many of them said the opposite of what I said here: that I should display ONLY my best work- quality over quantity.   From a photographer’s perspective of getting you in the door and making the sale, sure.  But from a potential client’s perspective, I don’t feel that it would benefit you to see only my best work!
And suddenly you’re pregnant, or you’ve just had a baby and you decide you want to have your family photographed by a professional. But with so many different photographers on the market, I know it can get confusing, especially if you don’t know anything about photography or if you have never hired a photographer before. So I decided to put together a mini guide with 7 tips for choosing a family photographer.
Look beautiful for your maternity photo shoot! Pregnancy is a special time of your life and for many women, (although you may not feel like it) you are at your most natural, feminine and beautiful self. During your pregnancy, your hair is rich and thicker, your breasts are fuller, your skin is glowing and your body has more curves. For many expecting mothers, there’s no better way to remember their pregnancy and chronicle their journey to motherhood than a professional maternity photo shoot. Here are a few tips to help you look and feel your best in your maternity photo shoot.
Don’t stop me now. I’m having such a good time. I’m having a ballll. Ooops got a bit carried away there. Seriously a wedding is fast paced so you need to work at the speed of light. This mainly comes with the experience of knowing what will happen and when. Following this sort of wedding photography tutorial will certainly help to know exactly what to expect.
As tips go this one is pretty simple but something most wedding photographers won’t do. Just have a quick word with the Bridesmaids before the ceremony and tell them to walk slowly and smile. They will thank you for it when they see the photos. Lots of the time Bridesmaid are nervous about walking down the aisle. All eyes are on them. Just remind them that they look great and not to worry as it will be over within seconds.

If an engagement session isn't included in your wedding photo package, hire an à la carte photographer instead. For a basic portrait sitting at a photography studio and a couple prints, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars. Hiring a professional for an afternoon's worth of photo ops will cost several times that much—the final cost will depend on where you live and the popularity of the photographer.

Once you know the preferences of your clients, setting a rough timeline will help you determine what to do next. Some of my clients want colorful autumn foliage as a background and we wait for that perfect season to capture what they want. Advise your clients to choose the season wisely and know what to expect as the weather changes. As the season gets closer, check the weather forecast to determine the exact date of the shoot. Make sure that chances of precipitation are not very high and that you have an exact location to go to.
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It’s just that I didn’t want to do the typical maternity image that every mother who’s every had her belly photographed has in one of her 9 baby albums (9 for the first child that is… 1 for the second…a few images in an envelope somewhere for the third… and oh, that poor fourth child, he has to borrow pictures from his brother when he’s highlighted on the bulletin board in Kindergarten). I marched right into that first session ready to stand by my commitment to creativity! I’d no sooner pulled out my camera than mom, all giddy with excitement, said “Woo! Can we do that shot with Daddy’s arms around me and our hands forming a heart over my belly button?!?” I stood by that pledge of mine for a full… well, 2.4 seconds. Of course I did the shot. But guess what? I did a lot of other stuff that she’d never have dreamed of. Guess which image DID NOT get purchased. Belly button heart.
Engagement photos are an increasingly popular option for couples who are eager to announce their proposal to their family and friends. It gives you a chance to display your unique style—not to mention test out your photographer before the big day! But before you jump in front of the lens, you’ll want some inspiration first. We’ve compiled 100 engagement photo ideas across a variety of backdrops, poses and styles to help you get started. Better yet, we added extra filters so you can find inspirational photos that fit you as a couple. Across every season and formal or casual style, we have you covered. We’ve even got ideas if you want to include your furry friend!
The outfits you choose help set the mood of your engagement photos, so wear pieces that feel like "you." If you aren't into dresses, don't wear one! Instead, try a pretty printed romper or jumpsuit. If your fiancé is into accessories, let him or her rock a trendy straw hat or colorful shades—simply put, you can't go wrong with pieces that channel your personal style.
Standing at the front during the Ceremony can be a great place to capture intimate images of the couple exchanging vows, rings, kisses etc. Keep your movements to a minimum so you don’t attract more attention than the couple getting married. This angle gives you a unique perspective on the Ceremony. At the same time, it allows you to capture the emotional reactions of the wedding guests.
Inspiration is everywhere – probably even in the form of Pinterest emails from your client.  It is a great idea to have some poses in mind before you arrive at the session.  However, like letting the love story of a wedding day unfold organically, I believe the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of each baby.  Whether it is cute dimples, big beautiful eyes, full lips, or a great head of hair, try to highlight the beauty of the baby.

A great way to keep your couple happy after the wedding is to send them a few preview images. They might be expecting this if you have discussed it in your contract but if they’re not it can be a great surprise. Just drop them an email telling them how much you enjoyed their wedding and give them some indication as to when the final images will be complete. This is a great way to keep them in the loop. Additionally, they might share the images on Facebook or with family and friends which can be great for referrals.
I volunteered my time at an event called Help Portrait last year that has photographers, make up artists and organizers giving their time to create portraits for people that otherwise couldn’t afford a professional one. They ended up sending most of the families to me, initially because I had the biggest area to do the group photo and later because the other photographers said I was the best with the kids.  To see some of my photos from that event go to Help Portrait, Edmonton  2012. 
Why take engagement photos? The best reason is it's a great opportunity to work with your wedding photographer for the first time and get comfortable in front of their lens and with their style. (Most photographers also include an engagement session in their wedding photography packages.) You can also submit a shot to your local paper with your engagement announcement, use them creatively in your save-the-dates and wedding day décor, or give framed prints as gifts to your families. Read on for the basics to help you make the most of your premarital photo session. 

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!

“When I proudly tell my couples that I have an iPhone app to tell me when it’s golden hour they often laugh at me, but it can be magical if you catch the right light. Because the weather is so variable in the UK and because I shoot a lot of urban weddings where buildings block the sunset, when I see beautiful golden hour light I can’t help but get a bit excited. If you can schedule at least 15 minutes of your portrait session to happen just before sunset, it will totally be worth it if the weather plays its part.”
My most successful family sessions have incorporated an activity that the family loves to do together. This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read together? Bring some books. Is your favorite dessert ice cream? Bring some ice cream bars or drumsticks to your session or better yet… hire an ice cream truck to come to your session. Love to play board games or cards? Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.
You obviously have no idea what it takes to be a professional and make a profit. You are giving away everything for such a low price, I doubt you own a studio or nice equipment. And you have the nerve to be upset with people who might have done the math to charge what is actually profitable (something you know nothing about). I highly doubt anyone came to you because some more expensive photographer did a botch job, sounds like a lie to me.

Most of the time children are oblivious to any seriousness involved in a wedding day. Just let them do their thing and they will more than likely provide you with comedy gold. They will yawn in the ceremony, pick their noses during the speeches and dance like there is no tomorrow. If the children belong to the couple getting married all the more reason to photograph them. The couple will love these types of shots. Plus they are great blackmail tools for the parents to use when they are older.
In terms of wedding photos, you probably plan to hire a photographer or videographer—but what about all those amazing snaps your guests are going to take? Creating a wedding hashtag can help you locate some pics on social media, but it can't capture all the photos your great aunt Edna and Internet-shy cousins took too. And you want to see every. Single. Picture. Right? Here are some programs and technologies out there that can help you gather all the photographic goods.
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:
You should also state that taking your own photos is dangerous.. photographers know how to handle babies since that’s what they do… parents when posing have no idea. I love the comments on how parents are going to capture this important milestone.. HAPPENS once in a lifetime with bad photos. N O matter what you state here, this should left for the professionals. Its like having aunt MARY take photos at your wedding, yes you will have photos of your wedding, but don’t you want pretty photos done by a professional? it happens ONCE, that is it.. something people should think about. Just because you have scissors and a tutorial doesn’t mean you can cut hair, just because you have a recipe doesn’t mean you are a cook. Take snapshots but also hire a professional
These close-up “detail” shots are not only adorable but they are great accompanying images for albums and accordion books.  Because of the sensitive focus on a macro lens, the best time to get these images is when the baby is very still (in their deepest sleep).  As shown with the newborn workshop where you get to shadow me on an actual on-location shoot, when I notice the baby is deep in dreamland, I’ll just stop whatever I’m doing and I’ll pull out my macro for 10 minutes and get all the shots that I need.

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.


Pro tip: "This was done by using natural light next to a window," Shucart says. "I layered Dad's and Mom's hands over her belly, making sure the rings were showing." And don't forget about black and white, which, the photographer says can be done using photo editing programs on almost any image. "It always helps to pop in some contrast to black and white images, too," she advises.
It’s amazing post! Clear a lot of my question. I always like to do a photos but just couple month ago I found myself in babies photography. I am just learning but I really enjoy it like never before anything. And I really want to create my carer towards baby and kids photography. I am only concern that I don’t have any qualification, curses or higher degree and that can put people out from me…
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.
Now is not the time to be starring dreamily into space – make sure you look at the camera (and remind everyone else in the photo to look into the camera too!). Try to get the “looking at the camera” shots out of the way first when everyone has enough attention. It can quickly get tough to get kids to cooperate, so aiming to get this shot first is key.
The cost of your professional wedding photographer will be based on how long you hire them for, the number of retouched photos you want, whether any additional photographers or assistants will be on hand, the reputation of the wedding photographer, your geographic location, the day of the week, and the season. Wedding planning pros recommend you hire your wedding photographer in early planning stages: first the planner (if you're working with one), then the venue, followed by the caterer and photographer. Popular professional wedding photographers can book up fast during high season, so once you know who you want to document your day, don't hesitate to put down a deposit to lock them in for your date. It's standard practice to pay a deposit of anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent upfront, and the remainder on the day of the event or a few days before it.
Destination weddings will almost definitely increase wedding photographer fees. Some photographers charge their normal rates plus travel, room and board. Other photographers may have an additional fee beyond their standard rates and travel expenses to accommodate the extra effort required for them to pack up their specialized equipment and work remotely.
Choosing the right software for importing and managing your files is several stories on its own. There are tons of choices--free, cheap, or expensive, with variations in how many features they offer from the ultrabasic to the nuclear option. Though basic downloading and drag and drop are available within the operating system, a utility that lets you batch rename is a helpful complement (I use FastStone Photo Resizer for batch renaming). If you use some sort of cloud-based syncing, such as iCloud Photo Stream or the Eye-Fi system, to automatically distribute your photos from the device to a home hard drive or an online sharing service, definitely make it a habit to rename and move the photos on a regular basis. Services like that tend to organize everything by date, either by default or as the only option. That makes sense, because the date is the only piece of information that software can guarantee it will find.

Finding the right wedding photographer can make a big difference for your ceremony. Nationally, the average wedding photographer’s price ranges from $800 to $1,000, but costs can be much higher in areas like Chicago, New York or Los Angeles where some couples spend $2,000 to $5,000 or more for the photographer they want. Factors that can affect your wedding photographer prices include the photographer’s reputation and experience. Heavy hitters can command top rates, especially during wedding-season weekends. Day of the week also affects your cost. You may get a $200 discount on wedding photographer prices if you get married on a Friday in November rather than a Saturday in June. Time onsite is also an important cost factor. Hiring a photographer to snap photos from the moment you wake up until after last call at the reception is going to cost more than five hours of pictures during the day. Multiple photographers, special lighting, and videography will also increase your costs. Ultimately you want to find someone who has a style you love and can provide the number of edited shots you want for a price you can handle. Learn more about hiring a wedding photographer.

Newborn photography can come with many surprises, especially if you aren’t a parent.  I’ve compiled a list of newborn photography tips that have helped me tremendously and I am sure will be helpful for anyone interested in learning more about newborn photography.  Of course, every photographer will have a different way or style of doing things but these are just some of the top things I’ve learned through the years as a newborn photographer.
Select an outfit that is appropriate year round. One of the more popular times for families to take their portraits seems to be around the holidays (when the kids are home from school and everyone is in the same place). The holidays may seem like the perfect excuse to bring out the Santa hats and incorporate props into your family portraits. However, you’ll want these photos to be displayed all year round. Try to avoid purely seasonal accessories and items.
We spoke to wedding photographers Christin Berry of Blue Martini Photography in Toledo, Ohio, Jasmine Norris of Jasmine Norris Photography in Lafayette, Indiana, Kelly Vasami of Kelly Vasami Photography in Scarsdale, New York, Nick Gillespie of Blue Bend Photography in Asheville, North Carolina, and David Stephen Kalonick of David Stephen Photography in Cincinnati, Ohio to find out the answers.

Excellent information! I’ll be doing my first maternity shoot in a few months. A friend of mine is preggers and we are getting so excited about doing her session. Just bought the cutest basket to put her sweet baby girl in once we get to the newborn session!! The information here is going to come in so handy for me shortly!! Thanks for posting this!! 🙂
Love is Love Photography is a photography studio located in Dallas, Texas that serves the areas of Keller, Grapevine, Dallas, Fort Worth, and beyond. This studio specializes in candid family portraits. Clients pay $350 to secure their reservation. With Love is Love Photography, no image two images are the same; they take each photo with a unique stylistic approach.
Set up a work schedule. This will largely depend on your client's needs so you'll need to be organized and prepared. When setting up a schedule, consider how long the shoot will need to last and how much time you'll need to edit photos before delivering a product to your client. Realize that some types of photography will demand specific schedules. For example, you'll probably work lots of weekends and evenings if you shoot weddings.[13]
Hey Sherry! Thanks for stopping by & saying hello! I am not familiar with those editing websites (although I did just visit the homepage to check it out)…I CAN say however though, you should forget about the high price of photoshop and get yourself a copy of Adobe Lightroom 5. Lightroom is an amazing program for not only editing but easy storage/file/folder handling of photos and most important it is very easy to use. In fact, I have quite a few tutorials on our YouTube channel. It is “only” $150 or so, and I gotta say, whether someone is a pro or just hobbyist, that $150 will be among the best money you’ll spend on your photos… head over to the adobe site and try it for a free 30 day trial and see for yourself if you’ll like it or not 🙂
As I said before, this is simply a template for shooting a wedding day. Obviously, different cultures and situations are going to call for different shots. The best thing you can do in any situation is talk to your clients before and get an exact list of what they want. Anything after that is lagniappe. An even better form of communication would be an official schedule of what's happening. This protects you in the end if there is any misunderstandings. I have created a downloadable file for the checklist. Feel free to change this up to fit your needs. I've included PDF, Excel, and Numbers formats.

Develop your photography skills. There is no “right way” or "wrong way" to become a better photographer. Some people take a class or get a college art degree with a photography focus. Others believe that college is a waste of time for becoming a photographer. You may find that you can teach yourself about photography from books and experimentation, or you may want to learn from other professionals. Whatever you decide to choose, if you work for it you can achieve it.


The objective of a lifestyle newborn photoshoot is to capture more candid shots of the infant in their own environment, and, usually, include the parents in the shots, as well. These shoots are typically a bit quicker because—as long as the lighting is good—there’s less set-up and deliberate styling. You can anticipate maybe two to three hours in the client’s space for these lifestyle newborn photoshoots.
The key to posing newborns is to take your time. Really take your time. Posing your newborn takes a few steps. First, get the baby naked and wrap her up tight in a blanket, then hold her close to your chest and rock back and forth to settle her back to sleep. It usually doesn’t take long if she was sleepy to begin with, but be willing to wait a few minutes until she’s fully asleep.
"AMAZING! Stop looking and just book with him. Garrett is very professional and genuinely cares about his clients. He has amazing prices and really is willing to work with you. I was hesitant about hiring a professional photographer but I am so glad I did because the photos look amazing. If I ever need a photographer I will definitely be hiring him again."

3. Wait until baby is good and sleepy before you start your newborn shoot. This way you can pose her however you like. If you catch your baby in the first few days of her life, this won’t be a problem. But if, like us, you try to do the photos around day seven or beyond, be prepared to twiddle your thumbs for an hour or so until the newborn is snoozing steadily.


Inspiration is everywhere – probably even in the form of Pinterest emails from your client.  It is a great idea to have some poses in mind before you arrive at the session.  However, like letting the love story of a wedding day unfold organically, I believe the best images are unplanned and inspired by the uniqueness of each baby.  Whether it is cute dimples, big beautiful eyes, full lips, or a great head of hair, try to highlight the beauty of the baby.

Don't let seasonality stop you when it comes to wearing white in your fall engagement photos. It's totally acceptable—and even super on trend—to wear white after Labor Day! While your engagement shoot doesn't have to feel overly bridal, a white blouse or dress is a sweet nod to your wedding dress. Consider playing with texture: Cotton-based fabrics like eyelet lace, crochet and Swiss dot all have dimension that shows up well on camera and gives your outfit an instant vintage twist. 


During the couples shoot, it’s a great idea to get some shots of just the Bride on her own. She has probably spent a lot on hair and makeup to look especially beautiful for this big day. Not to mention the dress as well. Shoot a variety of different photos to add variance to your shoot. Brides also really like to see photos of the backs of their dresses so make sure you grab some.

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I think newborns look best photographed naked, or in just a diaper, or in a plain white onesie. Most baby clothes are way too big for newborns and just don’t photograph very well. Keeping the clothes extremely simple keeps the focus on the baby. However, naked babies are cold babies, so keep a space heater going right next to your baby the whole time you are photographing him. You’ll end up covered in sweat, but your baby will stay comfortable.
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.
When shooting a wedding, I like to use a camera with dual card slots (like the Nikon D7000, or many high-end cameras) because it allows me to double up on each photo.   Every photo is recorded to both cards.  This is good insurance, but it also uses a lot of memory cards during a wedding.  I'd never shoot a wedding with fewer than 30 gigs of memory cards in my bag.  I almost never shoot that many shots, but I never want to face the situation where I'm panicking about running out.  (Thanks Robert LeBlanc, who is a regular on the Facebook page)
Brittney Davis Photography is a photography studio in Dallas, Texas, serving the entire City of Dallas and the surrounding metroplex area. Brittney Davis is a natural light photographer who specializes in child, family, and lifestyle newborn portraiture. Brittney Davis Photography takes photographs of the newborn in the comfort of their own home, capturing their first moments in a meaningful way.
As with most things, there is no substitute for practice and experience…with each shoot you will get better and better, just keep your head in the game! A fellow “kinda” San Diegan?! Cool 🙂 We actually are working on a Newborn Photography Online Course/Workshop teaching everything you need to know, start to finish, including an actual on location photo shoot so you can see exactly what its like and how to deal with common pitfalls when shooting on-location! Make sure to subscribe to Cole’s Classroom so you’ll be in the know when we release it in a few months 🙂
Hey Jessica! Without knowing what camera body you have right now it is sort of a guess…but I’d look into the Nikon 60mm macro. Brand new (newest versions) are around $500 which is about 1/2 of the 105 macro…you can find used for even cheaper. If you aren’t using a full frame camera I’d actually RECOMMEND that 60mm length over the 105 anyway 😉 The class allows you, the viewer, to tag along on a professional shoot in which you will certainly see and hear Chrystal work throughout the shoot, including when she is getting the close details vs other shots/poses. Give it a shot!! I think it’ll be perfect for you.
Pose your engagement ring and wedding bands prettily on your wedding day—they're symbolic of your union, after all. Photographer Cassi Claire says she returns to this particular shot over and again, especially when flipping through her own wedding photos: "I don't often wear my engagement ring while traveling, so this photo has been referenced many times."
Price should be the LAST thing you consider when you select your photographer. Really? What if I come up with a list of photographers I can’t afford? First you have to define “afford.” No doubt custom photography is an investment, and also a luxury expenditure. And everyone has different levels of either saved or disposable income that can be allocated to a session. When defining your budget, determine whether you will save, and then have that set amount to spend or whether you can make that decision once you see your images. Then decide what your product goals are: digital files, a few select prints, a gift album. Understanding what you really need as well as what you want, will help you determine what you can spend with a particular photographer. You may have a budget that will allow you to purchase ALL images from one photographer of mediocre quality or SOME images, but exactly what you need, from an exceptional one. As we’ve said before, try to not get locked into the idea of “all” before you know what “all” looks like. You may even be able to work with specific photographers to find out when they schedule less expensive options such as studio or seasonal mini-session events as many photographers offer a scalable way for you to receive their services without the truly significant investment. It’s with hesitation and a sigh that we say that with most budget photographers, “you get with you pay for.” In a few rare, and very fortunate circumstances, you receive outstanding images for a fraction of what they are worth. But more often than not, if you aren’t investing in someone who has invested in the quality, expertise, style and vision, you will receive images that reflect just that. That said, there are tremendously talented photographers in every market segment, catering to any budget, and with research and patience and maybe a referral, you can find one that meets your specific needs. Circling back to the point that you barely have time to do it once, once you’ve finished the end to end coordination of schedules, wardrobes, weather and moods… you most certainly don’t have the time, or money, to do it over. Start with planning your own session goals, including what you would like to DO with your images, then consider the style and vision you would like them to reflect. Spend some time looking at portfolios and gathering recommendations, and assess as best you can, the quality and expertise of a range of photographers, and once you’ve created a short list, begin to think about pricing and budget and the best way to marry what you need with what you can afford. And if you have a gut feeling that you are cutting corners in any of those orders, take a step back. It’s okay to put an idea on hold until you are really sure about it. It’s your investment, make the most of it.
Know someone in your area who has gotten beautiful photos taken of their own family? Reach out and ask them who they hired! Not only can you feel more secure knowing they’re recommended, but a lot of photographers offer bonuses or discounts when you’re part of a referral. And, if no one comes to mind, you could try posting a status update, asking if anyone can recommend a local photographer.
Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters, labels, etc. These tend to take the “finished” look of a professional portrait down a few notches, can be distracting (who wants people to first notice the Nike or Gap logo before the adorable little kid’s smile?) and will date a photo quickly. I’m having flashbacks to me wearing Esprit tee-shirts with my Guess jeans back in grade school, right along side my little brother in his Gotcha shirt (and if you’re sitting there wondering what I’m talking about, you must not be an 80’s child, LOL). Note: There are a few instances where a more stylized graphic on a shirt can look good if it fits the vibe of a photo, for instance, in my six year old’s birthday session we did a total punk rock theme to go along with her party. She wore a Johnny Cash tee with her tutu and baby sis rocked a Ramones tee.
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