*Stay Awhile*When working with groups, be patient. Eleonora Chornaya, a pro from Kiev, Ukraine (www.evachornaya.com), advises that the best shots often come deep into a shoot, when subjects are tiring and lacking the energy for artificial seeming poses. In her father/daughter portrait above, she intentionally left her subjects alone “to give the scene time to settle. I watched them from a distance, and when they relaxed almost to the point of boredom, I took out my camera.” Learn to work with children. Bing Liem, who specializes in shots of his daughters, says that if you’re shooting children you should get down on their level at first. Then change your point of view. “Shoot from slightly above to emphasize the child’s eyes, or from below to give a child a monumental, adult treatment,” he says. Tilting the camera so the subject isn’t square within the frame is an effective way to produce tighter shots that don’t look like elementary-school portraits. “But be careful not to include door jams or windows in the background, because the tilted camera will show these normally horizontal and vertical lines askew, which can be subconsciously off-putting,” says Liem. And, “shoot in relaxed settings that the kids are accustomed to,” he advises. “Hauling out big lights only makes them nervous.” You should work quickly. “Flow from moment to moment,” counsels amateur Nolke. “Work with the child’s poses, expressions and moods. Don’t dictate.”Eleonora Chornaya

I’m brand new at this photography thing, i really am falling in love with it and its time for me to buy a camera. I tend to do more portraits, head shots and dance photos, But it would also might be nice to grow into something like shooting a wedding so I’m looking for a camera that has fast autofocus, something where the f stop remains the same on the zoom, probably a 85-100mm lens. Anything you could perhaps recommend? I was looking at the EOS 70D or the 6D. What do you think?-Zach
Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!

One of my biggest mistakes, when I was starting out, was that I brought all my props/wraps/blankets/headbands to every single session.  When I got set up, I would have a mini panic attack because I had no idea where I should start.  Now I plan 3-4 different setups (based on the client’s preferences and expectations) and that’s all.  I am often inspired by something the client owns as well, such as a blanket knitted by Grandma or something else that’s special to mom and dad, so it is not uncommon for me to not even use everything I bring.


It's funny, but I have seen “Uncle Bob” ruin more wedding photos than you could possibly believe.  What I mean by this is that there will (almost) always be someone in the wedding party who likes to get in the way.  They either tell people how to pose while you're trying to get everyone in the right spot, or they step in front of you to take pictures, etc.  The wedding photographer must be CONFIDENT and take charge.  Simply saying something like “Thanks for your help.  I'm trying to do something a little different here.  Is it all right with you if I go ahead and get the posing set up here?”  It might seem forward, but your couple will be glad to see you moving quickly and getting the photos done correctly.  (Thanks Julie Gallagher)
Twenty-Three Photography offers a full-service, custom portrait experience. We cater to those who can’t stand the traditional book, stress, and receive a cd sessions. Because I want my clients to have beautiful MEMORIES, as well as beautiful photos. Your family is special and unique, your portraits should reflect that. My job is to be a storyteller and create images that evoke raw emotion to convey the love inside you.
Beautiful collection! But just an idea for future reference, you may want to put foster/adoption first (in my opinion). My husband & I have had multiple miscarriages over 12 years and now starting the foster to adopt process. Looking through all the maternity pictures was hard for me personally. Although I am happy for all these other ladies, it’s still rough. Again great job!

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 live in this dichotomous world in my head.  I’ve always been a thrifty DIY gal who loves to shop garage sales. However, I’m also a professional photographer who charges according to my expertise, which aren’t necessarily garage sale prices.  I think that every 2-3 years, investing in a professional photographer is ideal. There are many price ranges out there, and with a little researc, you can find someone in your area that meets your needs. I also know that taking Family Pictures just isn’t in the budget each year for most people, so I’m going to share some tips on How to Take your Own Family Pictures.
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. 
Prior to the big day, your photographer will likely ask you for a wedding photo list, which will outline specific family wedding photos you and your soon-to-be spouse want to be sure and take during the wedding. Thanks to WeddingWire's wedding day timeline generator, you know that you have about an hour allotted between the wedding ceremony and reception (or following the first look) for wedding family photos. A complete wedding family photo list will help you and your photographer make the most of these 60 minutes.
Create a contract. Before you agree to go into any photo shoot with someone, make sure that you have a business contract that they must sign. This should include everything that their money is paying for and the things you are and are not liable for. For example, make it clear if you hold liability for photos that are accidentally and irrevocably deleted, or if after signing the contract it is no longer a problem of yours.[24]

Julia Lauren Photography creates relaxed, casual photo sessions in its newborn photography work. The Dallas photo studio also photographs family portraits, maternity photos, and high school senior portraits. Julia Lauren Photography has been featured in Fort Worth Texas Magazine, WFAA 8, and Us Weekly. Clients have praised the photographer for her stunning, meaningful work and fun photo shoots.
As far as being too far away from the subjects - that's well - subjective. I agree you're not doing a landscape photo but we go to great lengths to select the location so let's see some of it. I also tend to sell large wall portraits and face size is dependent on print size. So once you make these into a 24x30 or so the face sizes are quite good. I just took another look and of all the images the only one that's maybe a bit looser cropped is the family in black sitting on the rock (3 young kids). Other than that I wouldn't crop any of them any closer no matter what print size.
I would love to meet up and talk about your hopes and dreams — Meet your partner in crime, and little(s), and hear your love story. I hope you will give me the chance to get to know you. I will bring some samples, talk about what it’s like to do a playdate with me, answer all of your questions and calm your anxieties, and you can get a feel for what it is like to work with me.
This is more of a personal choice, but I tend to choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style. Whatever your style is, make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now (or months in the case of some quickly passing trends). I personally love to use softer or neutral tones (with a color pop here and there) and classic shapes, then add interest with accessories, layers and lots of interesting textures. I also happen to love bright and colorful as long as it’s not obnoxious or distracting from the subject’s personality and face. Of course, this is a personal choice and many families will choose to go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choices as a sort of time stamp in their images.
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