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.
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)

8. Experiment with settings. We’re used to seeing photos of babies in cribs, in beds, the bath, etc. But how about asleep on dad’s chest, nestled inside of a box, or positioned atop a decorative rug? Unexpected settings can add visual interest to your shots. Of course, you want to be extra careful with creative settings too! Most of the amazing pro photos have a spotter’s hand in the shot to keep baby safe, and then is later photoshopped out of the photo. Don’t ever pose baby in a precarious position and then step back to take a photo.
Some photographers also include high resolution photograph files in their packages. These photographers allow their clients limited rights to reproduce the images for their personal use, while retaining the copyright. Not all photographers release files and those who do will most likely charge a premium for them, since releasing files sometimes means giving up any after wedding print or album sales for the most part. In the cases where photographers release the high resolution images they are usually supplied on CD, DVD or USB Stick however, this depends on the individual companies and it's recommended the client(s) checks what is included with the photographers wedding photography package before signing any contracts.
You should also meet them in person. Some important questions to ask in a face-to-face interview may include: how would they describe their wedding photography style? (i.e. photojournalistic, formal, documentary, or creative); will they be the one photographing your wedding or do they have an assistant?; will both people be taking pictures during the day?; do they have back up plan in case of an emergency?; are you comfortable with their emergency plan?; what wedding photography packages do they have?; do they shoot in color or black & white? You should ask if they have a generic schedule for each wedding (portraits before the ceremony or after), and if they are they flexible and open to suggestions. You should even ask to see a contract.
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.
Thanks for bringing to my attention the importance of leaving plenty of time to get ready before a family photo shoot. It’s been many years since our last family picture, so I want to have another one taken soon. I imagine that trying to get ready last minute would only lead to stress and unhappy parents and kids, so I’ll make sure to give us lots of time beforehand.
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.
Leah Robinson is an award-winning photographer who specializes in capturing child, wedding and family photographs. Her work is based Melbourne, Australia and she focuses on her photographs on capturing those special moments that deserve to be immortalized. Waiting for the right moment to capture is highly responsible for helping Leah Robinson to create amazing photographs especially while photographing young children. 9 Elena Shumilova – Russia

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.


The "poses" that we'll work with are really just designed to get you interacting together. For example, I might have you take a walk down a long, tree-lined patch. I might instruct you to talk to each other the entire time and not look at me. What I'm looking for here is how you make each other laugh, your reactions to what the other says, and the natural cadence of how you interact. Or I might have you stand close together with the simple instruction of "Hold each other!" I want to see how you naturally put your arms around each other, how you get close to each other, and how excellent your chemistry is. The reason why many clients remark on the believability of my engagement images is because they are real moments. They're not staged interactions. While we do choose a location, set up a scenario, and put you in beautiful places for your portraits, your emotions and interactions are entirely your own.
Yes, you can take newborn photos after two weeks but you’ll have to opt for different poses and concepts. Your newborn will likely be awake during the session so you should go for photos that include the baby with clothes on and wide awake. Taking newborn photos after two weeks isn’t unheard of and your photos will still turn out well. However, your little one won’t curl up so easily after two weeks so we encourage you to take a different approach with your photos. Babies begin to stretch and extend their arms and legs after two weeks, making it harder for them to naturally curl up during photos. Don’t be discouraged though by timing as you should still schedule a newborn session even if two weeks have passed by.
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.
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!
I highly recommend if you’re solely breastfeeding to pump and bottle feed your milk for your babies session. I’ve had mom’s that breastfeed for up to an hour and unfortunately that does delay the session quite a bit and does count against your allotted time coverage as well. If you don’t pump, my only alternative is to formula feed just for this session only. As a mother to 3 boys I’ve realized breastmilk doesn’t keep our babies fuller longer so choosing to formula feed for the session, will not only be a little easier for you but it will keep them asleep longer during the handling and posing for a scene. Moms, please just be advise, it’s just a recommendation so if you choose to do neither, its completely okay. As a newborn photographer, I just feel it’s my duty to offer any advice or tips that you as a parent can use to maximize the time we have in the studio and in return you’ll be able to showcase and display more than the average number of baby photos! ♥
Some family photographers will meet with you in person before your session to brainstorm about creative ideas, locations, clothing, etc. If you can meet with your photographer ahead of time, then you’ll have a head start on your session date, and you and your photographer can make the most of your session time together. You may also be more comfortable being photographed having already met him or her previously. Try not to book your photographer at the last minute so there’s time for a planning/design meeting!
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.
Talk to each other: (Duh, right?) DON'T match. But DO coordinate.  Wearing clothes that are the same level of dressiness is really as matchy as it needs to be. You guys already look like a family. Don't hamper each person's individuality by forcing the matching.  Let's be honest: You guys always look awesome together, you don't need special matching outfits for that. 
Thank you for this great post! I was looking on the internet a lot about best cameras for beginners and your post is the best. It’s so easy to read! I really want to get Nikon D3300, I actually want to buy the whole package, but your link shows that the package you recommend is unavailable. Could you, please, help me choose another good package to buy?
"Cai took our family photos. We had very specific requirements, such as outdoor photoshoot at the location we wanted. He was able to accommodate every request we had and our timeline. He is very responsive and I never had to wait long for a reply from him. Cai had spent some time on the location, even before we got there, to familiarize himself with the place. He spent an hour with us, taking his time and creating unhurried atmosphere. Cai is very artistic and worked with us on creatively positioning our family members so that we looked our best. He encouraged us to use our props and to have fun. Our two boys, who normally despise taking pictures, for the very first time were amused and entertained with the entire process! The finished photos were wonderful, but we wanted more drama, so Cai had edited them to add more mood and drama and they are breathtaking now! We believe we got rather lucky finding such talented photographer! We absolutely recommend Cai and will use his services again!"
If you notice that you aren't getting the bride and groom to relax and interact with each other while you're taking photos, the best thing you can do is to switch to a longer lens (like 200mm) and scoot way back.  The couple will naturally begin to interact with each other and you'll be able to get the shot since you're out of their way.  This is my favorite way to START a wedding shoot of the couple.  By starting far away, they feel like it's just them and they can get used to the camera from a distance.

No, we’re not advocating that you turn up to the wedding in your favourite caped crusader outfit. We’re talking batteries and lots of them. Battery life varies from camera to camera but we’d generally recommend three batteries per camera. We’d also advise bringing a charger to the wedding. This way you can charge one BAT whilst having two fresh BATS to destroy your enemies… I mean take photos.
If the baby has older siblings, I try to make the sibling shots my very first priority and then let them go play while we finish the session.  Toddlers simply don’t have the attention span to sit quietly and wait for you to call on them for their picture so get their poses done first while they are curious and excited about your visit.  By the time the session is over, they are usually open to participating again and that is when I try to get some lifestyle sibling shots.  If they don’t want to participate, I’ve found promises of ice cream & candy have magical powers! (as long as that’s ok with Mom & Dad).

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. 
Carrie Smith's two young boys inspired her love of photography, leading to the creation of Carrie Smith Photography. The Dallas photo studio specializes in newborn photography and also provides in-studio or on-site maternity portraits, hospital photos, children's portraits, and family portraits. Clients have praised Carrie Smith for her memorable photos that capture the subject's spirit and her warm, patient personality.

We love photographing newborn babies, so when a twin photo session happens, it is twice as nice!  Twice the snuggles, twice the piggies, and twice the love. It’s absolutely amazing to witness how a child’s personality develops right after birth and in the early days of life. Newborn twins are gifted with such distinctive personalities right away, and we love to capture those little differences. With newborn twins, we also make sure to take individual shots so that Mom and Dad can see all the tiny special details inherent in each baby.


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.

Whether you are all playing outside in the falling leaves, posing by the cozy fireplace or walking along the beach, you are the ones who will make the photo unique. We know that it sometimes takes the inspiration from others to get your creative juices flowing, so we have put together a list of 80 photo family photo ideas. Sort through the filters to find the best fit for your family. Don’t forget to share your photos with friends and family—easily order prints from your desk or mobile phone. And for additional inspiration check out this article: family photo wall ideas.
It’s true when they say a picture is worth a thousand words – the stories that are told, tears that are shed, and jokes that are made when looking back at old family photos truly show the power and importance of photographs to preserve family memories. When choosing a photographer in Dallas, it’s not just about selecting someone with superior technical skills; it’s connecting with a photographer that understands the tremendous responsibility they are undertaking.
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.
Destination wedding photographers may run into challenges not typically associated with their normal weddings, ranging from location familiarity to client familiarity. Photographers may be familiar with venues if they are shooting locally; but if they travel, everything is new. For example; a Tampa wedding photographer is used to shooting a beach wedding where the sun sets over the ocean. In Miami, the sun no longer sets over the ocean. When planning for a local wedding a photographer may often meet the couple over coffee or dinner, or handle their engagement shoot. These jump start the getting-to-know-you process and create client familiarity. Typically, a destination wedding does not afford those conveniences.
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.
Sometimes I find an interesting subject, but just not an interesting place to photograph it from.  If you look at professional photos, they are very often taken from non-obvious spots.  For example, a photo of a CEO will be photographed from down low, looking up at the person to make him or her look more powerful.  Or, in the case of photographing a city, we often want to get to a very high perspective to shoot down and see the whole city.
Thank you for the tips on choosing a family photographer! I’m planning to have a family portrait taken before the end of the year, and this will certainly be helpful. You stated choosing a photographer that can get everyone’s eyes to the camera, and hopefully also a smile from all. I have little kids, so this is certainly something I’d highly consider. I want to make sure everything can go as smoothly as possible.
Let’s discuss the option involving profession photographer in more detail.  First, you or your family will set up an appointment either at the studio or at your house or other location.  You can expect that most professional photographers will have the proper equipment along with software programs used to subsequently edit, provide proofs, and print photographs.   Just as important, their people skills should make subjects comfortable in front of the camera and posing people to look their best is a skill by itself.  Regardless, you should consider your own family and their ages and the portrait you are trying to achieve along with the background.  You should also understand the package you will receive and if you want larger size prints and the total costs involved for the preparation, shooting and photographs. If you use this alternative, you should check with the photographer to confirm if you have the right to have the photos later done at some point in an oil painting since some photographers may retain ownership of the photo set.
It can be hard at times to remember that you are at a wedding and NOT a photoshoot. If you make the wedding all about the photos and as behave like you are the most important person the couple won’t thank you for it. Some couples are extroverts and won’t mind but others may be more reserved. Just find some middle ground between them having a good time and you capturing what you need.

If you decide to photograph in a state or a national park, always be very careful with rules and regulations – most state and federal parks do not allow commercial photography without a permit. Always do your homework beforehand, so that you do not get yourself kicked out by a park ranger in the middle of a shoot – apply for permits months in advance. Personally, I avoid the hassle of applying for permits and typically stay away from state or government-owned lands and facilities.

"This was one of the best experiences of a lifetime. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect adventure elopement!!!! The foxes are such talented and sweet people who make your whole day feel at ease. They capture the true essence of you and your significant other while also capturing the natural beauty of the landscapes surrounding you. There was no feelings of force or pressure. I’m so grateful for this experience and for the foxes!!! These are the people to pick for your adventure elopement!!!"


A summertime family photo shoot offers beautiful landscapes for your photos and warmer weather. The season reflects a laid back vibe that can be mirrored throughout your family’s outfit selections. Take advantage of light cottons, pretty sheers, denim and slip into your sandals for a casual look. If your family is taking a summer vacation, use this time to take your family portraits. No matter where you may be during summertime, you can take advantage of the following summer color arrangements and styling tips to guide your selections.

“My favorite part of the session was how my son connected with Kate…she just has a way to make him laugh and smile. Usually when I ask him to smile for a picture he gives me this hard smile where he pushes his chin forward. It drives me nuts… It doesn’t look like him. But then Kate comes around, works her magic, and he smiles a smile that lightens up the world. Squinty eyes, dimples, and all… and my heart melts.”


Make sure that the children can move freely in their outfits and that they aren’t going to be pulling and scratching at their new clothes. You want them happy and comfortable, not grouchy and miserable during the shoot! This means letting them have some input in what they wear. Kids who help dress themselves will not only be much happier campers when shooting time comes, but you’ll let their own beautiful personalities shine through in the images. Also, try not to make kids change outfits more than a couple times – another reason all those layers and accessories can be handy. The same goes for you – make sure that you select an outfit that makes you feel stunning and relaxed.
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