Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
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.
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!

Set your camera up to do one of the following: use focus lock, back button focus, or use manual focus. With any of those options the focus will not change from shot to shot. If you use the shutter button to focus and someone moves a little bit so that the focus dot hits the background, you got another “oops”. If you aren’t sure how to do this, consult your camera manual.
For good portraits you must turn off your flash. Your camera’s pop-up flash does more harm than good in most photography situations, so make sure you aren’t using it when you try to photograph your newborn. Instead, find a good source of natural light, like a large window or glass door, and set up close to it. If you have enough light coming in you won’t need either your flash or your overhead lights (which are also not a good plan when taking portraits). If it’s warm enough you can even set up in your garage with the door up to allow lots of light in. Start paying attention to the light in the room in yourself with the largest window – notice when the room is bright, but you can’t see the shadow of the window on the floor in front of it (see this post for more explanation of this). That’s the time of day when you want to plan your newborn photo shoot.
Greg has shot the Celebration Luncheon and our annual fundraiser Polo in the Ozarks. He has done such an incredible job at each event over the last few years that one of our first calls is to ensure that Greg is available. At Polo in the Ozarks, Greg goes out of his way to capture amazing moments between the riders and their horses, often arriving during event setup and practice. We use his photos each year for our sponsorship packets, programs, and advertising for the year.
Do you have any advice for when the kids are dogs? It’s really hard to get one, and especially both, dogs looking at the camera at the same time for our family portraits. They are a busy breed (Australian Shepherds) and still young. I’ve been wanting to do self portraits of just me and our dogs as well, however that’s hard to get too since they won’t “sit, stay” while I focus and get back into the picture. My husband isn’t too thrilled about getting into the picture unless we’re on vacation so most of the self portraits are done on my own.

Be prepared to edit your photos.  I am not talking about crazy amounts of editing, I am talking merely tweaking.  The photos we took were taken in the morning light, so the light was a little bit cool for my taste.  So I quickly imported my photos into Lightroom and warmed them up just a little bit!  I highly recommend using Lightroom to edit photos quickly and in bulk!  You can purchase Lightroom HERE.
“Hiring Maddie was without a doubt the best decision we made for our wedding! Maddie is so much more than a photographer - she found us an amazing trail to hike for our photos, helped create a realistic day-of timeline, and even patiently taught me how to drive on rough 4WD roads on the way to the trailhead. Maddie goes above and beyond what you would expect from a wedding/elopement photographer. She provides so much detailed information that wouldn't have even crossed my mind in the planning process. What kind of dress do you wear for an adventure elopement? What do you pack? How do you do your hair and makeup while hiking? She's seriously got it all covered in the files she sends you. So not only is Maddie amazingly detail oriented, she's also super easy to get along with. My husband and I are both shy, introverted, and a little awkward in front of a camera. We were instantly comfortable with Maddie; she gave us such a great pep talk right at the beginning that almost made us forget there was even a camera. We had such an amazing time hiking and exploring with Maddie on our wedding day. Even if you're not exactly sure what you want to do for your intimate wedding/adventure elopement, just talk to Maddie. She's got such a wealth of experience and seemingly endless great ideas; you really can't go wrong. After just one conversation with Maddie you can see just how passionate she is about her work. Just five stars doesn't do Maddie justice; she's an incredible photographer and person.”
Portrait photography provides parents with lasting images of the first whirlwind months of a newborn’s life. The cost varies based on several factors, including the length and location of the session, the number of photos provided, and the amount of editing and retouching the photographer does. The national average cost for baby photos is $150-$200. Some baby photographers charge by the number of photos provided, typically ranging from an average of $299 for 20 high-resolution edited photos, to an average of $399 for 35 photos, to $499 for all of the images taken in a single session. Props and location affect the cost, too; an elaborate studio shoot with props and professional lighting may increase the cost to $600-$700 for 20-50 photos. Adding a second location or asking the photographer to travel can add $70-$250 to the cost of the session. Photographers may also charge extra fees for providing additional photos and DVDs, scheduling weekend sessions, and shooting siblings. Expect to pay at least a $50 deposit when you book a portrait photography session.
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.
By setting your prices this low is of concern. Also, you charge by the hour. How many hours do you spend on site? Do you give a 'fixed' price on the total job? Do you have high end equipment? Do you do this full time? Before claiming that $300 plus is too high, factor in the above points. If you are only spending an hour of time on-site, what about post processing time? I seriously doubt that you spend less than 3 hours for the entire job. Based on your rate of @125/hour, you are now up to $375, yes? Remember we are a business not a give-away profession. It sounds to me that you are undercutting your pricing which de-values the profession, your talents and everyone who is trying to make a living. Yes, there are young upshots who seem to be charging much more than you. While it is problematic, consider that they may have spent thousands in a college education at a photography school, and have huge loans and debts. It isn't as simple a calculation as you might think. Nancy
I'm not a fan of maternity shots. I'd be lying if I said I felt anything other than a hot mess during both pregnancies. Plus, they always seem kind of forced. My go-to photographer does them and has asked me about getting some a few times. But in every maternity session, it's some glowing woman in a super long dress that attaches around her boobs and is flowing in the wind. Very realistic, no?
Visit the locations of the different places that you’ll be shooting before the big day. While I’m sure most Pros don’t do this – I find it really helpful to know where we’re going, have an idea of a few positions for shots and to know how the light might come into play. On one or two weddings I even visited locations with the couples and took a few test shots (these made nice ‘engagement photos’).

These are interesting examples, but I can't think of any client that I've had who would actually purchase the subway shot. What does it say about their family? There isn't congruence in their expressions - that isn't 100% necessary, of course, but in this image it makes me wonder why the photographer chose to present them this way. Middle and bottom sister are just not in to making this image and to me it is very distracting. Now, if it were simply an interesting image, all this is fine - but if we are talking about portraits that mean something to the subjects (who presumably commissioned the work), then I think we need to work harder to engage the people in the shot.
Just as you do not want the exposure to change from frame to frame, neither do you want the focus to be adjusted. Assuming you’ve taken #1 to heart and are using a tripod, you will not be moving. Likely if you’ve posed your group in a relatively static position, they will not be moving. Not much anyway. We are only concerned with moving closer to, or further away from the camera. So . . .
A lot of shots that you see of babies in Flickr are quite amazing in how smooth and perfect they make them look. The reality is that many babies are not quite so ‘perfect’ (however much their parents think they are). Little scratches, sleep in the eyes, snotty noses, dried milk around the mouth, blotchy skin, birth marks and bumps etc are common for all babies.
Pro tip: Once you get the sign and the location nailed down, it's time to concentrate on wardrobe. "Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in," says Tempe, Ariz.-based photographer Melissa Young. "I like the way long dresses and skirts work for maternity. If you have any doubts on the outfits, you may choose to seek advice from your photographer in advance, as they can give tips as to what photographs best for your body type and the location you are shooting at."
…hoping to inspire your clients in their choices of clothing and accessories, make sure that the work you are displaying portrays the kind of look that meshes with your style. Offer to help select clothing and even go the extra step to assist in shopping for new pieces or outfits. Many times I’ll arrive at a client’s home and they’ll have put together several options for looks for the kids or family, and then I can assist in making the final decisions. Another quick option is to just have them email you a few quick iPhone shots of the outfits they are considering so you can lend a little guidance. And feel free to point them to this post for pointers and examples!
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