When it comes to props, I gently discourage them. The point of the engagement session is to create beautiful portraits of you two together, and the addition of props is just a distraction. I know that there are many websites that will encourage you to bring vintage items, huge bunches of balloons, signs to hold, and so forth, but then the entire engagement shoot becomes all about those props and less about you two together. If you have always dreamed of running across the Brooklyn Bridge together holding a huge cluster of balloons, then let's do it….but let's open the session with that and then put the balloons away. Likewise, if you have a Thank You sign or a Save The Date sign, let's shoot those quickly and then tuck them in your bag. I want to create a shoot that fully brings to life your vision for engagement pictures, but I also want to focus on you!

Determine how you will receive your pictures. Find out how long you can expect to wait for the pictures, and in what format they will be presented. You need to make sure you know what your photographer will pass on to you at end of the process. The number of photos, the format and resolution of the photos, as well as the way they are presented are all crucial questions.[13]
If we're shooting in the city and you won't have easy access to your car, bring a bag to carry your extra items. If you have a change of shoes, your phones, car keys, etc., try to consolidate them into one bag to make transporting it easier. If you want to change up your look without changing clothes, consider an additional layer or a few changes of jewelry or shoes. Try to get everything into that one bag! Trust me, you'll be glad to not have to drag around more than you need to!
First, I would recommend never hiring someone, even a friend, without looking at their portfolio first.  While a portfolio only showcases a photographer’s best work, if their best isn’t very good, you can safely bet they won’t be taking amazing photos of you and your family, and you should think about hiring someone else. Looking at their portfolio will also give you an inclination as to their creative vision and methods.
If you're planning on taking your engagement photos in winter, don't let chilly air or unpredictable weather keep you from looking stylish. Whether you're rocking a sharp cocktail dress and suit or New Years Eve–inspired glitter, this is the perfect season for you and your fiancé to get a little bit festive. (And, if bad weather does come your way, we've got you covered there too.) Check out some of our favorite winter engagement photos outfits below.
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.
Bonus tip: If your camera has video capabilities you have a neat way of doing manual focus. Turn on the Live View so you can see the image on your screen. Hit your “zoom” button (it may have a magnifying glass or a “+” sign on it) once or twice. The image on the screen will zoom in (your lens doesn’t) so you can see what is in focus which allows for much most precise manual focusing. Press zoom again to return to normal view and turn off Live View.

Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them promotionally (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads). That also means you can't just post the digital proofs they send you—most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you'll have to buy the rights to the images.


JAALAM IS AN AWARD WINNING, NATIONALLY PUBLISHED PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER. HIS WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN NUMEROUS MAGAZINES AND PUBLICATIONS. PREMIERE IS HIS PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY LOCATED IN COLLEYVILLE, TX. HE NOW SPLITS HIS TIME BETWEEN PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL AND FORT WORTH/ DALLAS, TX WHERE HE CONTINUES TO PHOTOGRAPH HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS, COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY, PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY AND IS AN IN DEMAND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER. AS A PHOTOGRAPHER HIS GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS HAVING HIS PORTRAITS HANG ON THE WALLS OF CLIENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"

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.
In order to capture your newborn in adorable curly poses, you should take newborn photos five to twelve days after giving birth. If you want your baby’s sleepy and curly newborn demeanor to be photographed, try not to wait any longer than two weeks for the newborn session. When it comes to setting a date, you should reach out to your photographer before giving birth to avoid any added stress in clearing your calendar. Typically it’s a good idea to schedule the session to take place a week after your expected due date. The date may change seeing as how baby will arrive when baby wants. However, you should do your best to give your photographer a tentative date since classic newborn photos of your baby curled up, like they’re in the womb, have a short window of time to be taken. If you’re working with a popular photographer, book your session 2-3 months in advance of your due date.

It seems like every wedding planning blog we look at makes this recommendation but we have absolutely no idea why they are telling couples to do this! The only shot list we need from you is the list of family formal photos you would like (which we will ask for in the questionnaires we send to you) so we can make sure to budget enough time to get your family formals completed and that will help that part of the day run much more smoothly. For the rest of the day we will be watching for important moments. If we are having to check things off a list it is very likely that we will miss something that we otherwise would have been able to capture because we were staring at a piece of paper trying to make sure we “get the shots on the list” instead of paying attention to what is going on at your wedding! We shoot many, many, MANY weddings and understand the flow and key moments of a wedding day and you will get our absolute best work if you let us pay attention to what is happening around us instead of hunting down shots on a list.
"I cannot thank her enough for her partnership in this moment in the life of my family. She is simply awesome! She took care of everything (i.e. took time to learn and understand my needs; recommended locations as a result of her gained insight; suggested apparel; etc. etc.). From beginning to end she was responsive, timely, thoughtful, courteous, thorough, engaging, friendly, and collaborative. The images are simply amazing!!!!!! I am hiring her as my photographer for every season of my family’s lives. She will be there to capture every moment! I’m already securing her for my wedding! Ms. Neri is a warm, genuine, and kind soul with a keen eye and instinct in capturing authentic moments. THANK YOU!"
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.
Ask your partner or other children to join you. Schedule your maternity photos on a day when your partner or other children can join you. Including your family in your maternity photos is a special way to capture your growing family.[3] Ask your partner what day would work best for their schedule. If you have other children, schedule the photo shoot on a day they do not have school, or see if you can sign them out of class for an afternoon.
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.
Build a complete portfolio. In order to get hired by someone who isn't a close family member or friend, you will need to have a portfolio to show. Use photographs from multiple shoots with different subjects to highlight the range of your talents. Make sure that your portfolio is comprised of more than just five or ten photos. People will want to see the great work you've done.[8]
4.  Can you really afford them?  Not all photographers list their complete pricing (or any pricing at all) on their website.  There’s nothing wrong with this, it just means they want to chat with you a bit before they tell you what they charge.  You’ll just want to make sure that before you book, you understand what your final cost will be.  If their website says “Session fee of $150, prints and digital images sold separately,” you’ll probably want to think about what you want and make sure you know what it will cost before you book.  We’ll talk about some of this in greater detail in my next post!
We thought ahead about location, poses, logistics, and timing.  If you have a plan, it is easier to get in and out and end up with photos that you are happy with!  Take the photos of the whole family first, then the children together and individually, and then couple photos if desired.  You can realistically take great family photos in 30-60 minutes by yourself if you have a plan.
Engagement sessions are a big hit with couples and photographers. Almost all couples agree for a session before the wedding, so engagement photography has pretty much become a staple of wedding photography. An engagement shoot is done after a couple gets engaged and it usually is captured before the wedding. Some photographers sell this session as a separate product and most photographers include this session in their wedding packages. Regardless of how you like to approach it, understanding the basics of photographing couples and knowing how to coordinate a shoot that involves more than one person is crucial. Hence, I decided to write a piece to explain what goes into the planning process of an engagement session.
Be certain not to schedule your photo session around your child’s nap or bedtime.  The best time for lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise.  If this is a bad time for your children, talk with your photographer.  Good photographers will be able to shoot at any time of day by utilizing areas of open shade that will give your skin a beautiful hue and put a sparkle in your eyes.  Don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach.  I meet many families who come to a photo session with dinner scheduled at the end.  If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the photo shoot.
You don't want to be in the position as the wedding photographer of needing to fight the client after the fact (or during!) with what they have and have not paid for.  Before the event, clearly communicate to them what services you are prepared to offer for the price they pay.  Do you include digital files?  How many hours of work will you shoot?  Are you going to shoot the reception too?  Is there a travel charge?  What prints are included?  Will you do an album?  Provide answers or face the wrath of bridezilla. (Thanks Gaelene Gangel)
Don't underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it? When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or are they timid? Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn't irritate you in any way. Remember: They'll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you don't want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way. To get the best photos, your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments, cajoling enough to coax relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests, and calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.
A. We usually recommend that we start when our brides have their hair close to completed and just before they are starting make-up. We recommend that our grooms be showered (because we are pretty confident that you don’t want photos of that…) and have their pants and undershirt on (no collared shirt, tie or jacket on). You will also want to plan on having any details you want photographed out and readily available (dress, shoes, invitations, garter etc). That way we get to experience and capture all the parts of your day and really tell the full story.
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.
are beautiful and create interest in photos. I absolutely love using multiple textures and layers, especially important when working with a color palette a bit on the neutral or softer side (with a subtle color pop here or there). When I say textures one of the ways to achieve this is with different clothing materials and accents – tweed, crochet and embroidery details, lace, hand knit items, smocking, ribbons, ruffles, etc. Also, having different layers of clothing and accessories can add another dimension to the overall texture of the image. These details and added depth are especially important in black and white images. And it can be done beautifully with colorful brights or just pops of color here and there as well. Follow your own vision and style, also looking to what fits your subjects best.
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