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!
Bring the Fun, Dads: There is nothing more attractive than an amazing father/husband. I KNOW that your wife probably had to talk you into photos. And, I want you to know, I'm thrilled that you're participating. And, if you're at all affectionate with your loved ones, you've probably already melted my photographer heart. Today isn't about smiling and posing, it's about having a blast.  And, I have yet to meet a dad who doesn't know how to break a house rule or two in the name of family fun.  At the risk of minimizing your outfit choice, Dads, the most important thing you can wear to picture day is a good attitude.  If you've got a signature hat, belt buckle, or something that you really love - let's find a way to include it. 
Consider shooting a fake wedding couple in order to practice posing techniques or just to build up some portfolio images. It can be hard to get your feet on the ladder at the start and you need images in order to attract clients. Shooting couples who are friends is a great way to build confidence and experiment with new techniques without the pressures that come with a wedding.
Do you have memories double sipping a chocolate cake shake on your first date, or did the moment you reached to dip your cheese fries the same time as your partner officially seal the deal? Now, we’re making all your wedding wishes come true. Book a two-hour professional engagement session at Portillo’s locations in Illinois and relish in moments along side your first love of Chicago-style favorites.
Imagine there is a line drawn from each face to the next. Try and position them so that no head is directly on top of, or beside (same level) another. Make diagonal lines not totem poles. Use props to seat some people or bring some small folding stools. Have some people sit down, or stand up on something. Use what is naturally in the environment to pose them, or if you have nothing available just arrange them so the heights are staggered.
I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I am not as experienced in newborn shoots as I am with other types and my latest one just kicked my butt! I’ve been trying to edit a particular image for 2 days. And then… I found your tutorials and it made all the difference in the world. I also really needed to see that you started out shaky with your own kids and how you’d improved. Sometimes, I forget it’s ok that I don’t know everything yet. Thanks again!
When you shoot a mommy-to-be in her own home she’s comfortable to let go in a way that she may not be otherwise. This is a fantastic reason to hold maternity sessions at home. This is not however why I do it. As a photographer I feel like it’s my responsibility to help my subjects feel comfortable and capable of giving me their best, no matter where we’re shooting. I pride myself on my ability to do this. To me, it’s a HUGE part of my success as a photographer (Uh oh. I feel a post in this regard coming on… check back soon). I shoot maternity sessions at home primarily because it’s wonderful for a couple to have a capture that truly shows what their life was like at the time their baby came to be a part of their family. I’m a second generation photographer so I’ve got some really lovely shots of my sweet momma awaiting my arrival. My favorite however is a simple picture of her standing by my bassinet with her hand on her tummy. I CHERISH it.
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.

Paige Walker Photography is a photo studio based in Fort Worth that specializes in newborn and twin newborn portraits. The business also shoots child, maternity, family, and senior portraits. The photo studio has a large variety of props and backgrounds to choose from, and Paige Walker's easy going personality keeps newborns calm. Clients have praised the photographer for her ability to make subjects feel comfortable and her beautiful photos.
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 . . .
As you’re looking through portfolios, keep an eye out for what identifies the photographer’s portfolio as distinctly their own. It might be that they take super crisp images with really high quality lenses. Or maybe they use their grandfather’s camera to take old school black and whites. A photographers’ favorite tool will tell you a lot about the way they see the world (and while you can get an idea of this from their portfolio, don’t be afraid to ask them about it. I could geek out forever over my plungercam. And any photographer who uses film could spend hours telling you why).

So, those are our wedding day photography timeline tips, myths and F.A.Q.s! If you are one of our clients, then we are happy to review your responses to our questionnaires and we will give you customized feedback about your wedding day photography timeline. No matter who you are, we hope that this page was helpful and that your wedding elevates the meaning of the word “awesomeness” to a whole new level!!! :)
Hi. I'm having hard time deciding if I want to do maternity or newborn photos or both. I have emailed several people in my area and for the two sessions and rights to the pics we are looking at $400. I can think of lots of other things to buy for baby but I know these pictures are once in a lifetime. Also we do have a nice Nikon camera that I could attempt to take them myself and have someone take them of me. I keep going back and forth because in all honesty what ends up with these pictures anyway? Please help me persuade myself one way or another. TIA!
Timelines, location recommendations, trail stats, vendor referrals, permits and marriage license info, officiants, lodging, travel tips, attire guides, weather…the list goes on. Even though you’re keeping it simple by eloping, there are still lots of details to think about. We bundle all the important info up for you into a custom planning portal website and are available to consult with every step along the way.

The majority of professional photographers offer wedding packages, which are typically less expensive than a la carte pricing. Flat-rate packages typically include a set number of hours, retouched photos, and other deliverables. The more services you receive, the higher the package cost. The various digital or printed components of a photo package — beyond time, locations and number of photographers — also affect the overall cost. The best wedding photographers deliver the final package as a CD or DVD, online with access to digital proofs and high-quality images or quality prints, as physical proofs and prints, as a photographer-made photo album, or some combination of these. A package can offer great cost savings while allowing you to purchase more high-quality images at a future date. The photographer can typically recommend the best wedding photography package options for your budget.
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.
This is not a decision that can be made on looks alone—you must meet your potential photographers in person. If you like what you see on their site—and their fees are in your ballpark range—call to see if they're available for your wedding date. If available, go ahead and send an introductory email with a bit about you and your soon-to-be spouse, you event and the vision for your day, and feel free to attach five or so of your very favorite photos from your research so they know what you love. If the photographer is already booked on your date, you may want to see if they have an associate or can recommend another shooter with a similar style. Set up in-person meetings with three to five potential photographers who are available on your wedding date to look at more of their work and assess whether your personalities mesh. Be prepared to talk about your venue, wedding style and what you envision for your photos.
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.  :)
Last tip is to no take yourself so seriously. Create a few really whacky shots at the end of the session (or even in the middle if the energy seems to be fading). Tell them to do a group squish and really get them to squish. Often they will start laughing and as they pull apart you grab the shot. Do a pile on down in the grass. Ask them to jump in the air or make goofy faces (you make one too). It breaks the tension and lightens up the mood.
All albums are printed on archival photo paper, NOT press paper. The short term difference is thickness, richness, and color. The long-term difference is archival ability. Your album should be passed on to your grandchildren in beautiful condition. My albums feature leather cover options and my favorite, lay-flat pages to allow beautiful panoramic spreads across the entire album.
If you want to create a unique photo that dramatically captures life from a child’s viewpoint, get on the ground. Photographer Andie Hamilton explains, “People don’t often think about getting down on the child’s level, but this can create some of the most intriguing shots. I often find myself lying on my stomach on the ground next to the child to get the most interesting angle.”
In the past, we have had family photos taken in a variety of ways.  We have simply not done it, we have gone to a studio and we have also hired a professional to take our family photos in an outdoor setting!  My favorite photos are the outdoor, slightly more candid photos and so this year, that is what we wanted.  My husband is a hard one to nail down though, he doesn’t love family photos time, so with my recent purchase of some new camera equipment, he suggested that we take our family photos our self this year.

"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!"

Before joining the team at A Practical Wedding, Maddie was a sought after wedding photographer and an entertainment industry dropout with stints at the Academy Award-winning independent film house Focus Features, The Montel Williams Show, and Rosie O’Donnell’s documentary production company. She’s been with the APW team going on eight years, and now spends a significant amount of time thinking about internet trends and the future of feminist television. A Maine native, she lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband and their toddler.
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.
Hey Caroline! Glad to hear you’re enjoying the site :) I haven’t personally used a 60D so I can’t comment on it extensively but it looks like a great camera. We started out with 10D’s, 20D’s, 30D’s, and 40D’s – so we’ve worked through that lineup quite a bit. Those cameras served us well! They we’re easy to control, and produced great quality results.

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!
For instance, if you decided that you want a posed portrait in a studio, and the photographer you found shows only lifestyle sessions outdoors, it may not be a good match. Likewise, make sure you really like the style of the photos—the posing, the composition, the editing. If their work is consistent, you should expect that your session will turn out similar to their other work, so make sure you like it!

That I have been called many times…lol but no worries, it happens! This is completely natural for babies to use blankets or props as there own personal potty. Please don’t feel embarrassed, I reassure you it happens more times that I can remember. Know, I have two young boys on my own so not long ago, it was there never ending mission to make mommy there own personal potty! Have a concern about sanitation? Don’t worry I wash all used props and blankets after each newborn session with non-scented detergent.

Know ahead of time how formal the wedding will be, and how you fit into the event.  Some wedding photographers, like David Ziser, like to wear a suit to every wedding.  Other photographers think it is perfectly appropriate to wear slacks and a shirt.  Some female photographers wear a dress, and others wear jeans and a nice polo.  I wouldn't say that there is one right answer here, but it is worth thinking about beforehand.


In addition to this tutorial, if you want all the info you need in one simple package with lifetime access, check out our Newborn Photography Workshop for the On-Location Photographer which Cole and I have spent months putting together all the necessary knowledge & tools to be adequately prepared for the lovely world of photographing newborns.  On sale for a limited time and all workshop participants also will get Cole’s Essential Newborn Lightroom Collection Presets, the Pricing & Positioning Yourself for Success pricing handbook, exclusive discounts & a whole lot more.  Click below to see the workshop details.

(Above) Balloon Engagement Photo Pose Ideas: There’s something about balloons that just makes everything feel whimsical and filled with joy! Add a dash of whimsy and an extra dose of joy to your engagement photo’s by using a few regular sized balloons or one large giant balloon each as photo props. {Left image by Thousand Crane Photography here, right image by Claire Thomson Photography here.}
We mentioned earlier in one of our wedding photography tips about having a running order of the day. In addition, it is also a good idea to get the times of the quicker moments such as the cake cut, bouquet toss, confetti and sparklers. You don’t want these moments to happen whilst you are having a quick sandwich or have just nipped to the toilet. These moments are over in a flash so it is best to have the timings locked down if possible.
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.
Due to the nature of the bulky equipment and lighting issues, wedding photography was largely a studio practice for most of the late 19th century. Over time, technology improved, but many couples still might only pose for a single wedding portrait. Wedding albums started becoming more commonplace towards the 1880s, and the photographer would sometimes include the wedding party in the photographs. Often the wedding gifts would be laid out and recorded in the photographs as well.
Nope. Makeup artists and hair stylists are infamously bad about keeping schedules (but we love them anyways and they do awesome work!) It is not really their fault since most of the time they can’t schedule a consultation and meet up with every single person whose hair and makeup they are doing before they give you a time estimate, so they really can’t be certain of what all they are going to have to do on the day of your wedding (we have even seen makeup artists unexpectedly have to cover up groomsmens’ black eyes from sports accidents on the morning of the wedding!). They will also be a little slower on your actual day than they were at your hair/makeup trial because they are working their hardest to make you look the best you can and they really want to get it just right, which is awesome! Regardless of whether it is their fault or not, they can’t send people out without them being done and if the hair and makeup professionals are running late, it is usually photo time that gets cut to make up for it. Instead of relying solely on their estimates, give yourself a little bit of a buffer (approximately 5-10 minutes more per person being done than what your professionals are asking for), just to be safe.
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.
You never know where your next big referral will come from, so you have to be prepared! Make sure to add those stunning newborn baby pics to your online portfolio, so prospective clients can see your infant photography skills. The more amazing newborn photo shoots and newborn photos you have on your portfolio, the more folks will want to hire you to shoot their little ones!
Keeping your editing simple will mean that the photos you produce will last the test of time. You can’t make a terrible photo good no matter what preset you put on it. A good idea is to stick to one colour and one black and white style. This way your photos will be consistent and your style will become more recognisable. Try to avoid the latest trends and fashions and aim for a classic look that will stand the test of time.
*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
Once you have the basics set up, you can drape a solid colored blanket over it all. Use clamps to attach the blanket to the backdrop boards and make sure the clamps also attach the board to the chairs so it will not fall over (if you don’t have a backdrop board just attach the blanket to the tops of the chairs). Let it drape down the board until it is level with the pillows, then lay it over the pillows. You want to minimize wrinkles as much as possible, because they will be very distracting in the final picture, so use more clamps on the sides if you need to. Additionally, you might want to clamp the background board to the chairs it’s resting against to be sure it won’t fall during the photoshoot. It should look like this:
When I’m photographing kids I make a total idiot of myself. I make funny noises, I sing songs (I’m really bad but they don’t care), I make fish faces, I play peek-a-boo behind the camera.  I run back and forth to the camera with the puppet. I lie on the ground, I stick my butt out. Kids are the ones that have life the right way around, it’s us adults that ruin it. Let them be kids, let them have fun. Then be ready to capture it when it happens.

Avoid hiring family or friends. It may be tempting to hire somebody you know to be your wedding photographer. You may be drawn towards hiring someone you trust, who knows you and your partner well, and you think will understand what kind of pictures you want. While this might turn out perfectly well, it is highly likely that this person will not have the technical skills and experience to give you the best photos.[2]
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
An hour might not seem like a lot, but depending on your schedule you should be finishing getting ready around this time. If the bridesmaids have robes, it’s fun to do a champagne toast now. Many brides request that we capture the moment of them getting into their dress while others ask us to come in after they are dressed. Either way is fine with us as this is just a matter of personal taste. If MOB is around, it’s nice to have them help you get into the gown along with your bridesmaids.
Timing of the shoot is very important. I often give my couples two options. The first option is to photograph very early in the morning, and the second is later in the afternoon. Both times, the light is soft and often diffused, so there is no harsh direct light to deal with. This way, I do not have to worry about finding a shade, which can be problematic in open nature parks. Educate your clients on the importance of choosing the right timing. You are the photographer and you should know best what light works for you.
Speaking of having your first look on the aisle—Huang actually prefers this moment (and its resulting photos) to a pre-arranged first look ahead of the ceremony: "I find that couples are passing up the irreplaceable moment of coming down the aisle for something that was originally created as a back-up for tight wedding schedules. I think they can be really beautiful, but I would always recommend walking down the aisle as your true first look—there's nothing like it!"
We are updating this page constantly. We simply want to make sure that we are able to offer you the absolute best photographers in our mind. Feel free to scroll down, check out our selected artists and click on their profiles. See more images, visit their websites and make sure to contact them for your elopement in Arkansas. If you are constantly looking for amazing photographers or videographers you might also be interested in our global artist search.
Inconsistent exposures create more work in post processing, as you have to even them all out. It also can cause a slight color shift, increase noise (if underexposed) and other undesirable things. To keep your exposures consistent through the whole shoot, use Manual Mode. Just remember that each time you change the pose, location, etc, you need to check exposure again. I just fire off a quick test shot, review the histogram, adjust if necessary and continue.
Dears, I am a long-time passionate about dslr photography and having 2 little kids myself I know how difficult it is to take perfect shots when you need to take care of the baby and at the same time you Re the one behind the camera. I experienced a newborn session in an atelier twice with a photographer lady which I adore and now want to go this way too and give it a try. Was waiting for a girl friend newborn in order to get some training first but after I’ve read this I am going to post a note about searching a newborn model and don’t worey about the whoke thing.
Thank you so much for this post! I too am trying to “learn” newborn photography, just did a shoot of my friend’s 10 month old daughter (they turned out beautiful!), but the little one month boy was another story! I am shooting another one month old little girl tomorrow, hopefully I will learn from my mistakes I made today! I am doing the pictures for free to learn, but this is so hard! I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, or do I just need to practice? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Oh, I was raised in San Diego, my whole family is there, will be visiting for Christmas this year. Will be there for 2 weeks to pack up my mom and move her! Maybe I can get in on a photo session??? Hopefully I will have it figured out by then!
Photographer reputation and demand have a huge impact on rates. Professional photographers with a widely recognized brand will cost more than those just starting out. Experience will also affect costs. A new photographer looking to build their portfolio will often offer discounts to build clientele, while more established pros will have rates reflecting their experience. Most wedding photographers only work one wedding a day, so if you have your heart set on someone with a cult following, secure their services early with a deposit.
…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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