Long after the wedding cake is eaten, your wedding photo albums and wedding video will be the way you revisit some of the best moments of your wedding day. Seems like a pretty significant set of vendors, right? The wedding photo album and wedding video can become keepsakes to be passed down to kids (and grandkids!), so here’s how to find the perfect wedding photographer and videographer to capture your big day, as well as wedding photo ideas make sure you end up with a well-rounded wedding photo album. First, consider having engagement photos taken. Not only is this a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera, a lot of couples use their engagement photos in other wedding details (in wedding photo books or the save-the-dates, for example), and engagement photo sessions have recently become super creative shoots. Check out our Engagement Photo Blog to get wedding photo ideas and inspiration. Be sure to read our tips for finding a great wedding photographer so you end up with a pro who has the same wedding photo ideas you do. And don’t forget about the wedding video -- the options for wedding videos are practically limitless, from photojournalistic shots of the ceremony and reception to cinematic masterpieces complete with Hollywood-style editing and effects. Our local vendor guides can help you find a wedding photographer and videographer who will help you perfectly capture your wedding memories for posterity and create wedding photo books for you and your parents. From "must-take" shots to the hottest wedding photography trends, we have all the tips and advice you need to get perfect wedding photos.
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. 
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.
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!

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. 
35. Newborn Photography Ideas At Home in the Nursery – Taking a newborn’s pictures in the nursery is such a great idea! Not only do you capture the sweetness of a newborn, but also the personality of the the family in their environment! The new addition will love to see these photos years from now. When you have your photos all complete, make sure you display one. This is one of our favorite newborn displays.
*Staging Is Okay*While it’s not good to pose people, it can help to stage a shot. Know, for example, where the best light in your home is, and coax your subjects into it. If possible, declutter those spots beforehand. Sue Barr, a pro based just outside of New York City (www.suebarr.com), recommends semistaging a shot using wardrobe. “Try to dress everyone in similar tones—it will visually unify the group and makes exposure easier, too. Not too matchy, though.”(Above Photo) For this after-dark shot of his child, Teddy Madison mimicked daylight by placing his strobe out on the lawn.Teddy Madison
There are recognizable markers that trigger the “fall feeling” in each of us. With the weather cooling down, the leaves changing, and a trip to the pumpkin patch in the near future, fall is full of inspiration you can use for your outfit choices. If you are taking your family photos during the fall season, incorporate seasonal earth tones, rich maroons or burnt oranges. Wear layers and have fun playing in the leaves. Use the following Fall styling tips to guide your clothing selections.
Wonderful article! And congratulations on your 3rd pregnancy! I believe, above all else, emotion is the most important element of beautiful maternity photography. Whatever may or may not be in the background, a beautiful sunset, a window, a bedspread, whatever… the viewer always returns to the subject (consciously or subconsciously) to “confirm” the emotion in the shot. Your photographs all have a strong element of emotion in them. Beautiful work! Cheers, Rob

Excellent points, especially about using a tripod. The main benefit is that you'll need taking many nearly identical photos in order to get "the one" where everybody in the group is looking their best. Unless you've done this before, you'd be surprised how many shots it can take. Somebody's always looking away, blinking, has their head/hands etc. in a less than ideal position. Once everything is all set up as Darlene says, just shoot as many shots as you can in a very short amount of time.
Plan on spending at least an hour to get some good shots. I generally spend two hours when I photograph a newborn (some pros spend twice that much time). If you’re taking pictures of your own baby, you could also plan to spend just half an hour but try once a day for the first week. Figure out what will work best for your schedule, but realize this won’t be a quick process. Also, the photoshoot will be much easier if you have someone to help you, so rope your husband/mom/friend into being your assistant.
Lighting: If you talk to any photographer, they’ll tell you that lighting is 90% of what makes a photo good or bad. One of the best ways to understand lighting is to hold up your hand and face your palm toward a window. Then start rotating your hand back and forth and look at the different ways shadows are cast on your hand as you move it around. If you face your hand directly at the window, the light falls very evenly and cleanly, but if you start moving your hand at a ninety degree angle away from the window, it creates shadows that make your hand look moody and dramatic. This is what photographers do all day. We analyze light. So as you’re looking through photographers’ portfolios, you’ll start to notice that we all play with light differently. Some photographers prefer really bright photos that make the world look light and airy, while others use light to create mood and emotion. For example, take the photos below. They are of the same bride, taken moments apart, but the light is totally different, and therefore the photos are totally different.
Choosing whether or not to do a “first look” is a personal decision. Many photographers think it’s a good idea because it allows you to take many of your wedding photos before your ceremony so that you can enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests. If you decide to stick with tradition and wait until the ceremony to see your partner, you can expect to spend your entire cocktail hour (and possibly more) taking portraits. Be sure to decide which path you prefer to take before creating your wedding photography timeline.

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.


Documentary photography has come naturally to me over the years, and making the change to dive into this style fully and completely has been such an eye opening experience. Preserving the genuine interactions and moments between two or more people can elicit emotions in the viewer for many years to come. Providing my clients with a book of feelings transposed into pictures brings me such joy.
For cameras and camcorders, it really pays to buy a card reader if you don't have the necessary media slot in your system, though most recent computers have at least an SD card slot. While you can connect the devices directly to your computer, standalone drives or slots tend to be a bit faster, and the goal of this exercise is to make downloading as painless as possible so that you'll actually do it regularly. Phones, on the other hand, tend to have inconveniently located spots for their flash media, and use tiny, easy-to-lose microSD cards. You're better off leaving those in the device. Tablets fall somewhere between, some with only built-in memory, some with easily accessible SD slots.
With Jessica Cook as your newborn photographer, you’ll get stunning photographs of your growing family. The studio offers digital images with all of our packages. So, you will receive your edited digital files with a print release. They also offer printing services from a professional lab. So, you can get professional prints, albums, canvases and custom woodblocks to feature around your home at an affordable price.
Being creative is a large part of being a newborn photographer, but so is making sure you get the basic, must-have shots. You should always start with the basics and move towards the more advanced photos just in case the baby gets too fussy and you have to call off the shoot. Below are some of the basic shots you should get before introducing complex, time-consuming, and difficult photographs. For more info on Newborn Posing, please see our Newborn Workshop on DVD.

Whether you can admit it or not, our babies don’t always look like the Gerber baby. They get baby zits, cradle cap, thrush, snot, eye crusties, they scratch their little faces…taking coloured photos will, no doubt, capture it all. Black and white, on the other hand, tends to soften an image and eliminates some of the noise. I find black and white photos can tell an entirely different story from colour. Go on, give it a try!

If you and your fiancé are wearing understated autumnal colors, a fun accessory (think: a colorful scarf or bright hat) can add just enough visual interest to your fall engagement photo outfits. For instance, a pop of plaid is the perfect way to give off an autumnal vibe for more rustic or country engagement shoots. Just keep in mind that statement accessories shouldn't compete with your outfits, so if you're going with a bold pattern, keep the rest of your duds neutral. 


Choose coordinating colors, not matching. Knowing what colors to wear for family photos can be tricky. Start off with colors that coordinate well. You can accomplish a cohesive look without every family member wearing the exact same outfit. In fact, that can seem overly-matching. By selecting a color scheme and using hues that complement each other, you can achieve a more natural look across the board. Pick two main colors and then add softer tones to accent and complete your color scheme.
Usually, I recommend a change of clothing in the middle of the shoot, reserving the wardrobe for something classic (a cute dress and heeled shoes for ladies) and for something more casual. If needed, I will send them a color chart to pick out clothing that compliments the background we chose to photograph against. I also send my clients a lot of example photos of what I mean, so that they can visualize my thoughts.
What are you willing to invest in getting the images that will bring you (and your kids) back to this moment? Are you willing to save up for the perfect experience? Are you willing to make payments? Or do you have other things that you have to prioritize and you’ll have to make compromises in one place or another? Of course we all have to manage a budget, and this may be a place where you make it a priority, or a place you are ok with making a compromise.
As a full-service photography studio in Dallas for families, moms-to-be and newborns, her priorities lie not just with producing emotive and stunning photographs, but also the comfort and safety of her clients. In addition to having a child-proof and safe studio for photoshoots, Jenny Leigh also travels on-location to hospitals, homes and other areas of the client’s choosing.
All the photography advice in the world can’t really prepare you for the unexpected things that can go wrong. Ultimately, this is going to come down to the experiences you have when you’ve shot a heck load of weddings. However, as long as it isn’t completely and utterly devastating you should embrace the unexpected. These are the parts of the day that will particularly stand out as memories for the couple.
DON'T try to do it alone. Need help aiming that off-camera flash? Enlist the help of friends or relatives. "It's nice to have someone help organize your equipment," says Scott. This is especially true if you're working in an environment where someone might walk off with an unwatched camera bag. While you're shooting group portraits, an assistant can gather (and tidy up) the next group.
Unless you use flash you will need to learn to use natural light. It can sometimes be tricky to use but does provide the most natural looking photographs opposed to using flash. Try and avoid shooting in the midday sun if possible and also look for shaded areas outdoors. These areas can provide cover so you avoid big shadows on faces and people aren’t squinting in the images.
Wonderful tutorial! I just did some self portraits of my own bump yesterday and I had a blast. I’m actually just a couple of days behind Sarah! She is so incredibly gorgeous, as are YOU! Thanks for all the great info and tips. I can’t wait to do my next maternity shoot so that I can use some of what I just learned 🙂 My cousin’s wife is due in July, so I’ll be doing her photos in a couple of months. Seems like so many women are pregnant right now! Lol

Consider the Lilies Photography offers portrait sessions in the North Dallas and surrounding areas. All digital images are beautifully edited, high-resolution and delivered in both color and black-and-white for your unlimited self-printing, with the option to purchase additional professional-quality prints and products. Working with Consider the Lilies Photography, you’ll choose from portrait session packages that fit your family’s needs, such as the “Watch Me Bloom” mini portrait session that captures and preserves all of those precious childhood moments without investing in a multi-hour portrait session. A unique offering is the “Newborn & Family Lifestyle” in-home portrait session which highlights the connection of your loved ones in the natural and relaxed environment of your own home — perfect for welcoming a precious newborn baby. If you’re looking for beautiful portraits to adorn your home and to create memories of your loved ones that will last a lifetime, visit the website to learn more today!
Wedding package one: $1,000: Includes up to 4 hours of coverage on the wedding day, with most formal photos taken before ceremony, car service (black Mercedes) as needed from ceremony site to the reception, photos of reception highlights (until time runs out), and high-resolution images via digital download. Add-on options: Second (junior) photographer for $200, additional hour of coverage $100 per hour, engagement photo session (one hour and 10 edited pictures) for $200.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m also a newbie to the world of professional photography, but I’ve been a photographer for most of my life. I would usually simply do shots with friends and their families, or just my own, but I’m actually starting to get paid for it now. I had the privilege 3 days ago to shoot my friends newborn son and her older 2 kids. It was my first newborn shoot, and I was thrilled at how the pics came out, but I felt like I could have done better. Fortunately, I get to try again tomorrow, because Daddy was working last time! Your list and examples are fabulous, and I can’t wait to put then into action!
Swaddling a baby is the easiest way to pose her for newborn photos at home. Simple wrap her up tight and lay her down on a pretty blanket of piece of fabric. I usually save swaddled photos for the end of the photoshoot, when the baby has woken up. Newborns love to be swaddled and will usually stay pretty calm if they’re wrapped tight enough (check out this post on swaddling if you don’t know how).
Swaddling a baby is the easiest way to pose her for newborn photos at home. Simple wrap her up tight and lay her down on a pretty blanket of piece of fabric. I usually save swaddled photos for the end of the photoshoot, when the baby has woken up. Newborns love to be swaddled and will usually stay pretty calm if they’re wrapped tight enough (check out this post on swaddling if you don’t know how).
Initially, professional studio photographers might bring a lot of bulky equipment, thus limiting their ability to record the entire event. Even "candid" photos were more often staged after the ceremony. In the 1970s, the more modern approach to recording the entire wedding event started evolving into the practice as we know it today, including a more "Documentary photography" style of photography.[citation needed]
An engagement session is, quite simply, a portrait session of you and your future spouse. Some clients opt for an engagement session to fulfill a specific purpose. Sometimes it's for Save the Date cards, to be displayed at your wedding reception, or to be incorporated into your wedding website. Sometimes it's just a wonderful opportunity to have professional photographs taken of you two together during this time in your lives. The engagement period is a very sweet time in your relationship, and it's lovely to commemorate that with pictures of you both together.
For more than 15 years, Teresa Berg Photography has specialized in newborn and children photography. The photography studio, based in Addison, creates modern and emotional portraits, including maternity photos, senior photos, family photos, and pet photos. The company also shoots business portraits for portfolios and resumes. Teresa Berg has more than 20 years of photography experience.
Adding a tripod to your kit isn’t the most practical of wedding photography tips but hear me out. I’m not suggesting you go around the whole wedding using this. However, if you want to get creative later on at night with flash then a tripod is a necessity. You’ll be able to capture all manner of ambient light and even the stars in the night sky. Use a slow shutter speed and at the same time light the couple with your flash.

The small details that a couple has spent hours upon hours planning deserve to be photographed. Moreover, these details make for great photographs that you can use to tell the complete story of the wedding. It can sometimes be easy to forget to photograph these or the schedule might not allow it. But there is no doubt the couple will appreciate photos of things like flowers, rings, dress details, table settings etc.

Flatter yourselves, Moms:  Yes, Moms, I'm talking to you. You're organizing, you're planning, you're making it happen, every day.  YOU deserve to look amazing in these photos. Don't forget about YOU.  Play up your assets. If you have great legs, don't hesitate to show them off a little. It's OK to be a hot mama.  If you have an area of insecurity, think about how you can minimize that with your outfit choice. Scarves /pashminas/jackets are awesome accessories that can totally help highlight the best version of you.  If you have insecurities that you want to share with me - please do.  BUT, you're not allowed to do it during your session.  Let's get that out of the way beforehand, so it doesn't bring us down on session day.  :)
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.
The natural beauty of a pregnant woman in a beautiful outdoor backdrop is simply breathtaking! The parallel of a mother about to bring to life into the world and Mother Nature is a powerful one. Disadvantages are that the shoot is weather-dependent and shooting hours are limited to the golden hour of sunrise or sunset (when the quality of natural light is at its best). Reschedules can happen and may trigger the rescheduling of other related appointments (e.g. professional makeup and hair artist, florist, venues, etc.) Remember your sunscreen and bug spray! Be prepared to walk/hike to the location and change outfits outdoors.
Around your world in a day: Create a meaningful backdrop for your engagement photos by revisiting nearby sites that are significant to the two of you: the restaurant where you had your first date, the ice cream shop you frequent on Sundays, the bus stop where you shared an umbrella—you get the idea. While the camera's snapping, retell your best couple stories and relive a few of the moments that brought you together—it's a perfect recipe for a series of romantic, fun candids.
"Hi I’m David. Photography has always been a hobby for me I'm currently starting a business in photography to make this hobby a career. My website has not gone live and I am currently working on a project for a couple of my friends with their engagement and eventually their wedding photos so as soon as I have the content I will upload to here. My prices are always negotiable so feel free to get ahold of me by phone or email. Also, go check out my Facebook page @russomphotography for promotions and discounts. Also check out my website at russomphotos.com for updated work that I have done."
Natalie Roberson Photography Studio is a full-service professional photography studio specializing in custom wedding, maternity, newborn and family portraiture.  Our 5,000 square foot studio is located in Celina, TX at Custer and CR 171.  The space is clean, charming and warm.  There are plenty of places to sit, relax and even take a nap.  We take great pride in our experience, having photographed over 5000 clients, and our goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your session.  Our state of the art photography studio is located on 15 acres which allows for our clients to have the opportunity to photograph their portraits in our beautiful studio or outdoors in a field.
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.
Being as I am just started out I figured it might be a good idea to get my feet wet in those editing programs before I take the big leap into Photoshop and pay it’s ungodly price!! (lol) anyhow, if you can think of a better site where I might get a little more practice editing pictures please let me know. And please let me know your honest opinion of the aforementioned websites.
If you are doing the session in the client’s home, posed newborn sessions require nearly the same amount of prep as a wedding.  You need quite a bit of “stuff” and it is easy to forget something so I make sure to pack the night before and use a checklist so I don’t forget anything (I’m a mom with a very limited memory).  To make your life a bit easier, I’ve made a print ready checklist you can use which is included in the newborn photography toolkit – one of the FREE limited time bonuses included in our online Newborn Photography Workshop.

Young or old, everyone loves little gifts. Stop by the Dollar Store before your next shoot and pick up some bubbles, a baseball, stickers or a tiny stuffed animal. If it’s autumn, stop by a farm market and a grab a small pumpkin. Summer? Grab a bunch of wildflowers. These tiny gestures will take some pressure off the parents, gain you points with the kids, and have the added benefit of making the pictures more fun and interesting. It’s a win – win.
Clothing is the most important element of a photograph. I welcome multiple wardrobe changes during my photo sessions. I generally recommend dressier, layered, non-matching clothing as it adds more depth and character to the photograph. An easy way to achieve this look is to add, scarves, leg warmers, boots, big costume jewelry, jackets, glasses, hats, etc. It is important to keep in mind that photographs will appear more fluent with low contrasting colors. This includes not only your clothing but also the location, background, lighting and surroundings.  Please click here for our “What to Wear Guide”.
At Maui Professional wedding Photography, we know how important it is to capture right shots at the right moment. Our wedding photographers in Maui are talented and know fine art really well. They are 100 percent capable of providing memories for life. Being experienced since years, we realize the importance of tender moments and subtle and sweet glances.
Pro-level prints not enough? Germany’s WhiteWall is a photo lab that only produces gallery-quality products, and it has launched a U.S.-based facility for even more efficient service. While it is more expensive than other options, WhiteWall offers a higher level of quality. The company offers a full range of products, from standard photo paper, to canvas, to acrylic and metal prints. Because of the high quality, print costs start in the several dollar range, not cents.

Young or old, everyone loves little gifts. Stop by the Dollar Store before your next shoot and pick up some bubbles, a baseball, stickers or a tiny stuffed animal. If it’s autumn, stop by a farm market and a grab a small pumpkin. Summer? Grab a bunch of wildflowers. These tiny gestures will take some pressure off the parents, gain you points with the kids, and have the added benefit of making the pictures more fun and interesting. It’s a win – win.


Amy McDaniel is a child, newborn and maternity photographer. She is the owner of Dewdrops Photography and her work is based in Alabama, United States. Amy McDaniel loves children and this is why she is interested in photographing them. She focuses in her photographs on fun, simplicity, capturing a moment in time and recording those true expressions which make the photos look stunning even with those babies who are not easy to be photographed. 4 Dave Engledow – United States
While it may work out amazingly, you run the risk of things getting a bit awkward with your friend if you really don’t like the pictures (know your friend and their sensitivity to such things: will they be completely offended if you don’t like the shots and decide to get a different photographer or if you want to take photos again? You don’t want to damage a friendship over family pictures!).

I like getting digital images. We live in a digital age, and it is easy and fun to share pictures with others when you have the rights to the digital images from your photo shoot. I like having the digital images so I can use the photos on Christmas cards that I order and “print” myself (a portrait studio can print the cards with multiple images for you otherwise, but usually at a higher cost than can be found online).
With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.
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.
Most people recommend holding a newborn photo shoot within the first ten days of your baby’s life. When babies are this young they are generally very sleepy, which is a good thing for photos. Why? Because a sleeping baby isn’t crying, doesn’t have crossed eyes, doesn’t have a huge pacifier in her mouth, and isn’t flailing her arms about uncontrollably (all of which happen quite regularly when she’s awake). Sleeping newborns look sweet and peaceful, while awake newborns can look a little awkward. If you start your photoshoot while the baby is asleep you can get lots of sweet sleepy pictures, and then a few more when she wakes up.
This camera is accomplished with its Creative Auto mode that simplifies instructions for the layman and has several pre-set modes of shooting. Once you get the idea, you can then do everything manually. The learning curve doesn’t exist. All it takes is one quick browse through the manual, or a run through on auto mode. You can pick up all those advanced tactics on the go.
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 . . .
In the second option involving the photo to canvas or photo to oil painting, the artist or company will send you a package once you have submitted payment and you will mail back the photo(s) you want included in the painting.  The artist will usually work from one photo of a family as an example or may be able to combine photographs of a few photos.  In addition, an artist may be able to use a slightly damaged photo as part of the painting. As an example, you might include a candid photo rather than trying to take it in a studio.  In addition, the photo might include a background for the painting.  With the painting, you can select the size from 8 x 10 inch to larger than 20 x 30 inch.  Just consider what a great memory this would be in your living room, or to be given as a very special gift.  You can consider a painting of a baby, a wedding, or for grandparents.  It is also possible to order a frame for the painting and is shipped fully framed and packaged safely.  Listed below is a sample that shows the framed oil painting that was done from a photo that may provide you a good idea of the quality of the painting.

With thirteen uncles and aunts on my dad's side, I have a very large extended family. I don't do family portraits often, but when I do, I've found that the best two techniques that work for me for ensuring everyone's looking in the same direction and are ready for the group shot is (1) telling them beforehand that if they can't see my camera's lens from their position in the group, then my camera is likely not going to see them either, so they need to find another position, and (2) I give them a "3-2-1" (or for larger groups, a "5-4-3-2-1") countdown before taking the shot. This usually results in me getting the shot I want pretty quickly, and I don't have to go through dozens of shots to find one where everyone is actually ready for their picture to be taken.
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