If you have a Children’s session you’d like featured, click here to send us your photos!

Tips On Planning and Posing for Family Sessions


Today’s feature is from Tiffany Bender.

Tiffany says:

“I am so blessed to work with amazing clients, they are what make my job an absolute dream. For this session I was working with a repeat client with whom I really connected with, both personally and professionally.

The first shoot I had with them was epic – and this had to be even more than that! This required a LOT of brainstorming, inspiration, styling and prepping.

I wanted my clients to enjoy the time were spending together and feel like we were creating something magical. The family was full of laughs all evening, we all had so much fun!”

Tiffany’s Photography Tip:

There’s a lot of planning that goes into a Munchkins and Mohawks session, particularly with posing.

A notebook and pen are the perfect tools for creating the list of shots I’m going to capture at the session. I am known to draw stick figure scenes of all the shots I want to capture – they’re not pretty, but they do the trick!

When I’m drawing my stick figures, I’m thinking about creating triangles so that my clients’ heads are at different levels. I start with the family grouping and have poses for them in positions where they’re all standing up and then sitting down.

With groups, I want them to get as close together as possible because I don’t want any gaps between individuals. Most importantly, I draw the scenes exactly as I intend to shoot them, and I don’t compromise when it comes to carrying it out.

It is my job to provide the client with a session that is magical as well as innovative. If it takes 15 minutes to get set up for 1 shot, that’s what we do.

Drawing out the scene shots also helps commit it to my memory as well, and while I’m shooting the session I can also see the little stick drawings in my mind (I still carry my notebook with me though too for quick reference).

That way I also know what setup and posing scene comes next. A posing plan helps me have a smooth session and it ensures that I capture all the posing possibilities I’ve come up with!


Tiffany used a Nikon D3s (affiliate link) with a Nikon 35mm lens (affiliate link), a Nikon 50mm lens (affiliate link), a Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 lens (affiliate link), and a Nikon 200mm 2.0 lens (affiliate link)to capture these images.

Tiffany Bender is a Pittsburgh, PA Children’s photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Posing.

Composition is a big part of posing. If you need help drawing out some of your own diagrams, we highly suggest this guide all about the breakdown of composition.

4 Things To Tell Parents Before a Family Session


Today’s feature is from Madeleine Jonsson Licht.

Madeleine says:

“This session was shot at sunset at Seal Beach in southern California. The location is very near and dear to the clients’ hearts as they live nearby and visit several times a week.”

Madeleine’s Photography Tip:

I love working with kids! But as we all know it can be challenging photographing families with younger kids.

To get mom and dad in the right mindset for the session and to relax, I always send out an email before our session letting them know what to expect – not just from me, but from the kids.

Here are some of the things I go over:

  1. The kids will probably try to run away. Or cry. Or hide behind mom/dad, nor not look at the camera, etc. etc. – and that this is all totally fine! If the kids start to act up, it is OK! I want parents to know this is normal so they don’t freak out.
  2. I ask them to not tell the kids what to do or where to look. Having more than one person giving you directions can be super frustrating for a child.
  3. Don’t yell or raise their voice. If the child doesn’t want to cooperate, yelling and/or raising voices will only make for a bad experience for everyone. You want your clients (big and small) to enjoy the session, not remember it as one big family fight.
  4. Ask if I can bring snacks for the kids. These don’t have to be complicated, and can be things like raisins, M&K’s, a sucker, etc. I want mom and dad to feel like the only thing they need to do is show up and be relaxed, and that I will handle the rest.

When it comes time for the session, my sessions are always about the kids. Right when they pull up to the location I greet the kids before I even talk to the parents.

I’ll ask them things like, “Hey who’s ready to play some games? If you do good I have a surprise for you! Don’t tell mom and dad.. it’s a secret!”

That way, you have the kids on-board from the get-go. If a pose or game isn’t working out the way I planned it, if I can tell the kids are getting restless or bored, we move on right away.

I always follow the kids’ lead and never make them do something they don’t want to do (like holding hands, sitting down if they want to stand up, etc).

All this makes for a smooth session – happy photographer, happy parents, and most importantly – happy kids.


Madeleine used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Sigma 50mm ART lens and a Canon 35mm 1.4 lens to capture these images.

Madeleine Jonsson Licht is a Southern California Maternity, Newborn, Family and Children’s portraiture photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working with Children.

Prepping clients for a session via email is fun – it gets them excited, makes sure they’re ready and know what to expect, etc.

But how do you deal with the difficult client situations and emails? It’s not easy. Pick up a package of templates to help you through it and make sure you not only cover the situation, but also do it with the best possible customer service.

Changing Your Perspective Changes Everything


Today’s feature is from Antje Egbert.

Antje says:

“For my studio’s first birthday I wanted to take some funny pics, so I decided to use the pompoms I created for my first test shoot exactly one year before.
I asked my daughter for help, and so we took these images.”

Antje’s Photography Tip:

Originally I had just planned to just take a few pictures in front of my blue-and-red-dotted backdrop, but you know what happens when you are motivated by one good picture – you want to take more!

But of course, by the time I decided I wanted to take more pictures we didn’t have too much time left, so I couldn’t create a new set or change what I had to be something more complex.

However, a little change of perspective creates a completely different picture!

First we took some pictures with my pompoms, which had a lot of motion. They look and feel like “birthday party is coming, yeah!!!!” and are really fun and playful.

After the pics with the pompoms I took very simple, arranged portraits of Lotta. I took them as a close-up portrait, which subdued the flashy dots on the backdrop (making sure to use the lens wide open so as to focus on the face and create a lovely bokeh).

Just one turn around we found our next and completely different set.

When I first took the pompom pictures I had the daylight from my windows behind me – along with my sofa. So for the next scene, I posed Lotta on the sofa and used the light from the windows, but as backlighting this time.

If I didn’t have the sofa in my studio, I could very well have also had Lotta sit on the floor or in a little chair – another super simple, easy, low-maintenance set that would have also added variety to this session.

Post-production was very minimal, and I edited the images in LR and PS to adjust contrast, brightness, red skin and clipping.

modest portrait
sofa szene
lying on sofa

Antje used a Canon 5D MKIII with a Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens to capture these images.

Antje Egbert is a Germany/NRW Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Camera Settings and Lighting.

Digital pictures are wonderful, but a great way to preserve your memories of your little ones (and your clients!) is by putting together and designing an album for printing.

Don’t know how to design your own album or a little stuck on how to do it? (Or still using Photoshop to do it instead of InDesign? Which let’s face it, is making it ten times harder for you than it has to be?) Learn how to get started here.

Every Day One Month A Year


Parents wish they had more pictures of their kids other than school pictures and the holidays.  This photographer has come up with a clever plan of action to get those photos taken. Designate a photography month, then every day (for that month) snap photos of your kids!

The Importance of Documenting the Most Important People in our Lives

I think most photographers are guilty of not taking enough photos of their own kids. I know I am. But, I do participate each year in a January – ‘photo a day’ project. It’s my way of making sure that a big chunk of their lives have been captured and preserved.

It can be a hard task to remember every day, and sometimes it’s tricky to get the kids to comply (especially the older they get)! But, it is so worth it. And I know we will all enjoy looking back on the memories that we made in their childhood.

Their are several different projects similar to the January project that I have heard of…the 365 project, 10 on 10 (where you take 10 images on the 10th day of every month) and 5-minute project. (This particular project was started by one of my favourite Canadian photographers – Dana Pugh).

I chose the January project for a few reasons, though. Living in Australia, our summer school holidays fall over the month of January, so we are more likely to do things like: days at the beach, camping holidays, relaxing at home and all of the other fun holiday type activities.

I also love that it is the beginning of a new year and a fitting way to bring the new year in. Also, the first day back to school always falls at the end of January. Typically, January is also a quiet month for my business so I have that extra time to dedicate to my favourite little clients – my kids.

These are a few of my favourite images from this years project.



Mostly these images are capturing candid moments – whatever is happening at that particular moment when I pick up my camera. I try to get two images each year where I have posed my two children together for a more formal photo – usually one outdoors and one in my natural light studio. That way I have a lovely portrait of them together that I can directly compare to the previous years and see how much they are growing and changing.



I always try to capture real emotion. January isn’t magically filled with rainbows and unicorns and always happy kids; it has its own fair share of tantrums, fights and attitude (refer to image below).

On this particular day, I had decided it would be a good day to get my in studio posed sibling shot. But, when we got upstairs, Miss 4-year-old had this foul attitude, and I couldn’t help but have a little chuckle. So, I documented her just like this and told her brother we would do the posed shot another day, because I had exactly what I wanted for today.

Remember to always go with the flow. My daughter now loves looking back on this image and remembering her day of the grumps!


Some more of my fond January moments…



Choose A Month and Take Photos Every Day of Your Children

I hope this has inspired you to start your own photo project with your own family – whatever that project looks like or what time of year you choose to do it, it is so very worth the effort.

Josette used a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 50mm 1.2L lens and a Canon 100mm Macro lens to capture these images.

Josette Van Zutphen is a Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia Family, Newborn, and Maternity photographer.

More Tips on Working With Children.

Black and white images can really invoke an emotion and feeling that color images can’t. Josette’s are amazing, but creating great black and white images isn’t always as simple as just desaturating an image.

The creators behind Photography Concentrate know this, and created an entire guide dedicated to going over and teaching the finer points of editing black and white images to make sure you get the feeling  you’re going for. Check it out here.


Directing Children in In-Home Sessions


Today’s feature is from .

Roxanne says:

“Last year I took photos of this family of four when they welcomed a new baby. This year, that little boy turned one and we did a session at their home right before the holidays. The session was held in the middle of the day, and we had nice strong midday winter light.”

Roxanne’s Photography Tip:

My main goal during an in-home session is to let families unfold naturally, with their chemistry and groove leading the way. But there is no denying that directing them to the right light is crucial for visually rich photos.

In the beginning of this session, we let the children play in their playroom, roam outside, listen to stories, and jump on their bed – allowing for many playful, unstructured moments.

But before calling the session, I took one last roam around the house and found a pocket of strong light streaming in the dining room window.

I had passed this room on my first round of the house because it felt too formal to let two very small children feel at ease. But on second sighting, I trusted my hunch and we turned one of their big overstuffed chairs into the light for some portraits.

The pocket of light was quite strong, even with gauzy curtains giving us some shield. I wanted to honor the light and let it illuminate their faces, but needed to balance it against the deep shadows it was also creating.

By keeping my ISO between 800 and 1000, I was able to still shoot wide open at 1.4 and get a good range between the glowing pocket and detail in the shadows. Next, I switched to manual focus, which I love to do after taking a few shots on auto.

Doing this gives me greater control while forcing my eye to slow down and be more experimental and selective – resulting in moodier, softer shots – which I love.

For the final photos in this light, we took the chair and put it across the room to get the light facing the window. This light was predictably flatter and more even, and felt like a good way to finish up the series.

I don’t usually set families into poses, yet the images here from the last 10 minutes of session ended up being my favorite. By trying something new and taking a small risk with the stronger light, I was able to offer this family some classic portraits with a bit of a modern twist.

It was a good reminder to take creative risks, even with clients.


Roxanne used a Nikon D700 (affiliate link) with a Nikon 35mm 1.4 lens (affiliate link) to capture these images.

Roxanne Bryant is a Rhose Island Family, Children, and Newborn photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Camera Settings, Client Direction, or In-Home Sessions.

If you’re new to in-home sessions (or want to get started), take a few lessons from a pro like Kirsten Lewis to help get the ball rolling.


Lenses for Imperfect Backgrounds

Little Girl in Red

Today’s feature is from Karen Lewis.

Karen says:

“These are Christmas Mini Session Portraits done for Christmas cards! They were taken in a greenhouse full of poinsettias.”

Karen’s Photography Tip:

These were Christmas Mini Sessions done at a greenhouse here in Anchorage, AK. The greenhouse had lots of unsightly green hoses and fans all around, so I used a long lens (70-200 mm) to make sure the focus was on the children and the sea of red poinsettias.

Some of the kids did want to play around so it is more obvious in their photos that it is a greenhouse, but I felt that the pictures still worked because the energy of the kids was captured!

Moose Hands
Little Girl in a Red Hood
Boy in a Wagon
Little Girl on Bench

Karen used a Canon 5D Mark II (affiliate link) with a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L lens (affiliate link) to capture these images.

Karen Lewis is an Anchorage, Alaska Child and Family Lifestyle Photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working With Children.

Even if you’re only doing mini-sessions, a great way to maximize your sale is by doing in-person sales sessions (affiliate link). This gives you a chance to show the client the images you took, and is a lot more engaging than just having them look through images on an online gallery.

There’s some great software out there to help you with this, and can even show the client what the prints or canvases will look like on their wall (affiliate link).


2014 Best Tips on Working With Children

Children’s photography can be a really fun time – they’re adorable, and energetic. But getting them to cooperate for you can present a challenge that you don’t get when photographing other age groups. Working with children can be a good experience for everyone involved with these tips.

In this article we’ve compiled our best tips on Children’s Portrait Photography that we’ve received in 2014.

Making Kids Feel Comfortable

Remember, kids don’t always really understand what’s going on when you shove a giant lens in their face, and it can make them really nervous and clam up a bit.

A good idea to get them warmed up to you is to put the camera down and just play with the kid(s) at the beginning of the session. That will help you earn their trust and make them less likely to get nervous once you do get out your camera.


This can also make it easier on the parents – once they see their kids having fun, they’ll be less anxious and worried about the session as well.

It’s also important too to remember that kids are kids (sounds obvious right?), so they’re not serious all the time. Sometimes a great way to get them to loosen up is to loosen up yourself!

Let go a little bit, and don’t hesitate to be a little silly to get them to smile and relax.


Directing Children

Once you get them to relax, the next challenge is getting them to (at least sort of) do what you want.

A great way to do that is to think like a child – if you were a kid, what would you want to do? What are fun things you like to do?

One of our featured photographers, Sarah Parker, used this idea to get the kids she was photographing to behave the way she wanted.


For this session (above), she had the older girl pretend she was reading the book to the younger girls, which gave them a task (that they enjoyed) that the photographer used to distract them and capture their natural facial expressions.

Working with Children to Keep Their Attention

Once the session has started, you’re not necessarily racing the clock so much as the kids’ attention spans. But there are a lot of tricks and ideas that our featured photographers use to help combat this that you might find useful as well.

If you’re using props in your session (like Sarah above), you can use those to distract the kids and help keep them still long enough to take a good picture.

seekjoyphotography-13-of-15 If the session is taking place somewhere where toys aren’t readily available, bring some of your own!

Baskets, dolls, games, etc. – all of these are great things you can bring that will entertain a child.

And a lot of times once they’ve started to play with the toys and relax a bit (instead of thinking they have to ‘sit still and behave for the photographer’ you can remove the toy and get some shots of them without it.


Sheets of fabric are even a cheap, fun item that can inspire play.

If you have older siblings present, sometimes they can help you out with the younger ones too. One of our featured photographers suggests ‘telling the oldest kid a secret,’ which is telling them to tickle their younger sibling(s) when you say ‘three’.

If you’ve got little girls in the crowd, you can get them to play by telling them to pretend they’re their favorite movie character, like Elsa from Frozen.


Little girl pretending she’s Elsa during a family session.

But at the end of the day – let them be kids.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you can’t get the kids to do what you want.

And that’s ok.

You can use their energy to your advantage and capture natural interactions with the kids playing with their families and siblings.

If they’re wanting to run around and be active, have them run to their parents and be caught to capture those moments of fun between parent and child.


Mommy catching her active, energetic little boy.

If you’re able, sometimes it’s best to just step back and watch the kids as they are. Camera settings can help with this too, and one of our photographers, Jennifer N., uses a Canon 5D MKIII and 135mm lens (for example) and sets the aperture at its widest possible setting.

The MKII can handle the high ISO, but will give clearer images of busy-body kids with ants in their pants.


Jennifer stepping back and watching her kids do what they do best.

Watch Their Moods

Kids can be a bit unpredictable, but they generally wear their mood on their sleeves. So pay attention to this.

Kids have short attention spans (as we’ve mentioned), so try to keep the session moving at a good pace and try switching up your location regularly.


If you see them getting bored or antsy, take the session somewhere else – outside, nearby park, upstairs instead of downstairs, etc.

If you’re trying to get pictures of each kid separately, do the younger children first. They get sleepy, hungry, distracted, etc., faster, so work with them first in the session so they can be let go sooner.


Another idea is to try and schedule the session in the morning. Kids will have woken up not too long ago, so will be less prone to be tired or cranky.


Or talk to the family and see if there’s a better time of day for their little one(s).

Sometimes though, it doesn’t matter how many of these tips you try – the kids just won’t want to cooperate.

If that happens, just take a break. It doesn’t have to be a long one, but take a few minutes and let the kids do some running and get a little energy out of their system.




What Are Your Best Tip for Working With Kids?

Leave them in the comments below!

2014 Tips for In-Home Sessions


Lifestyle sessions are a lot of fun, but can seem a bit daunting if you’re just starting to get into them – especially if the client has asked you to do them in their home.

We’ve had some very experienced lifestyle photographers contribute some of their best tips on how to handle that situation, as well as ideas for what to photograph once you’re in the home.

But first —

Preparing for the Session: You and Your Client

First off, keep in mind that you’ll be doing the session in your client’s home – ok, it sounds obvious. But my point is that you won’t have access to everything you have at your studio.

Props, lighting, etc. – you can probably bring some reflectors with you, but ideally you won’t want to bring much more than that, your camera bodies, and your lenses.

You can try to bring all of your props and backdrops with you – but that can be a bit cumbersome and time-consuming.

Instead, plan your session ahead of time and think forward on what sort of props or backdrops you’d like to bring (if any). This will drastically cut down on packing/unpacking and time spent setting up gear.


Even simple newborn wraps are a great, simple, easily-transportable prop you can use.

Not only do you want to prepare for an in-home session, but you also want to make sure your clients are prepared as well.

Doing a pre-session consultation is a great way to go over information the family will need to know about the session before it happens (and is great for establishing a client relationship).

This will help clients to trust you and get to know you, which will help them be more relaxed in front of the camera on the day of the session. It’ll also give you a chance to go over how the session will run from the time you arrive at their home until you leave.


One of our featured family portrait photographers, Emily Lapish, puts it this way:

Since every family has their own unique dynamics and quirks, there is no way that pulling out the same tricks and trying the same poses and shots on each session can capture a family authentically – so this pre-session consult is vital.

Another one of our family portrait photographers, Maegan Hall, suggests telling the family to prep any activities at the home that they like doing together before you arrive.

This will insure that you capture some of the family’s favorite memories together instead of leaving it up to chance.


Once You Arrive

When you get to your client’s home, you’ll want to take note of a few things. First, make note of what time of day it is and what direction the light is coming into the house from in the various rooms. This can help you plan what rooms to shoot in at what time of day.

Secondly, take note of the paint on the walls. Dark walls will make your images look darker, walls with solid, vibrant colors will give your client’s skin a color cast, and of course, white walls will give the cleanest light and skin tones.

And of course, as you do your walkthrough, take note of the light quality and intensity in each room – ‘great natural light’ usually means something completely different to your clients as it does to you.

Perfect example of a well-lit in-home portrait.

Perfect example of a well-lit in-home portrait.

Ideas for In-Home Sessions

There are multiple ways you can approach an in-home session too. You can do a Lifestyle-type session, a session that’s more posed, newborn sessions, whole family sessions, etc. etc. – the list goes on.

For newborn and toddler sessions, a great way to approach it is to use your client’s home and things in the home to document the growth of the baby.

If you’ve done a newborn session of your client’s child in their home before, photograph them as a toddler next to or near places or items that you used in the newborn session to document how they’ve grown in their family home.

Or, if you’re planning a newborn session and hope to photograph their child again as a toddler, try to plan for areas like that in the home that you can use for future.


A picture of a toddler in their newborn crib is a great way to document the child’s growth.

If you’re doing a family + newborn session, doing the session in the home is a great idea because the parents will be more comfortable in their own space – which will rub off and affect the mood of the newborn.

Since parents will be holding their newborn for the majority of the session, you want to minimize the amount of moving around you do so as to keep the baby calm and relaxed.

Don’t worry though – this doesn’t necessarily mean that this limits your variety of photos, especially if you remember to work your angles and distances from your subject.

Michael Kormos, an experienced in-home newborn photographer, uses principles of cinematography to accomplish the same goal.

Many times, he will start out with a wide shot (like peeking around a doorway) that sets the tone for the rest of the session, and gives the sense of “peaking” in on the clients’ lives and tender moments with their newborn.

Once that’s established, he’ll start closing the distance between himself and his clients for the closeup shots, which are a great way to capture the emotion and attachment the parents feel with their newborn.

Both of these shots can be done while the client is seated in the same position, but it still provides a variety of images that can be included in a final collection.

If you’d like to forego posing altogether, Kirsten Lewis, suggests capturing the day naturally as it unfolds and taking a documentary-style approach.

She suggests making yourself (more or less) a member of the family for the day – whether the family is going grocery shopping, cleaning, swimming, playing outside, reading books, etc.

She even goes so far as not even bringing any additional lighting equipment, since her goal is to capture a family’s life and interactions exactly how they are – down to every detail.


Working With Multiple Ages

When you’re doing an in-home session (and even when you’re not), working with multiple age groups can be challenging. The older kids want to run around, but if there’s an infant or toddler in the picture, that’s not always an option if you want to get pictures of everyone.

That can be ok though – if your active children want to be active, let them burn off some energy! Capture some shots with mom or dad and baby in the meantime while one of the other parents supervises.

Or direct their energy a different way and have mom or dad play games with them while you capture their interactions – it will help hold their attention but still allow you to get in some good shots.




What are some of your best in-home session tips?

We’ve told you ours, now it’s your turn! Post some of your best tips for in-home sessions below!

Games to Play to Engage Children

Finding treasure on the beach

Today’s feature is from .

Angela says:

“This photo session was great because I was able to get a lot of candids of the family enjoying Maui. I am always very conscious of the ocean and the amazing energy it brings to my photo sessions, and letting kids play in the surf aways brings out great candids!”

Angela’s Photography Tip:

This sweet family came all the way to Maui from Texas. To celebrate their time together as a family, they booked me for a session on the beach. It was a morning session, which is always best for young children as they are typically happy in the mornings.

There were three children ranging from ages 8 to 3, which is a pretty large age gap maturity-wise. So I knew this session would be all about playing games.

I immediately got the oldest, Ava, to be my assistant. She was going to help me with the younger ones because she was an expert with her younger siblings. Even if that meant calling her over before a posed shot to “tell her a secret”–which was just when I said “THREE!” she would give them a tickle!

The girls had long dresses, so I asked them to pretend they were Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” and twirl around int he surf, which they loved. So they pretended to be princesses–and they took it hook, line, and sinker, and were easily won over by the idea.

The little boy, Pierce, was a different bundle of energy. He wanted to run, jump, climb and look for treasure!

So, naturally, we were monkeys! We had contests about how high we could jump, how fast we could run, and how high we could climb (but don’t worry, the branch wasn’t that far off the ground). We even found a coconut treasure!

As soon as the kids were playing, the parents were able to loosen up too. And before I knew it, the whole family was playing in the surf and having fun. It made for the absolute best candid session I have had!

Even mom got her dress wet in the surf!
Running to try the jump again! "This time I can jump HIGHER!" she said.
Jumping siblings
Letting the surf twirl her dress
Pierce pretended to be a monkey and climb the tree!

Angela used a Nikon D800e with a Nikkor 85mm 1.4 lens and a Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8 lens to capture these images.

Angela Nelson is a Maui Portrait and Wedding photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working with Children.

Being a destination photographer can present a bit of a challenge since you’re generally not marketing to local people within your area of residence.

You really have to make sure that potential vacationing clients can not only clearly understand your website, but that they can also find it amongst the many photography websites out there.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Water Droplet Portraits


Today’s feature is from Nadia Stone.

Nadia says:

“We just moved into a new house with a big forest garden and  automatic sprinklers, so we decided to take advantage of our new surroundings and have some fun!”

Nadia’s Photography Tip:

My garden is exposed to the South, so I had my kids stand with their back to the light and had the sprinklers come in from camera left.

At first I had the sprinkler setting too high, and the water obscured their faces. But all I had to do was turn down the intensity of the sprinkler spray a little bit and the water droplet size was perfect.

We used two umbrellas to catch the water from the sprinklers, and I use a long shutter speed to stop the movement of the water.

For the editing, I just use a lot of clarity to really outline the droplets of water.


Hiding spot



Nadia used a Nikon D4 with a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G lens to capture these images.

Nadia Stone is a Southwestern France (Labenne, Hossegor) Children, Family, Couples, and Wedding photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Camera Settings and Lighting.

Nadia’s black and white images are really lovely, but to really get a solid black and white image, remember that you have to edit them differently than you do your color images.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

A Glimpse into Kristina’s 365 Project


Today’s feature is from Kristina Dominianni.

Kristina says:

“I’m not a professional photographer – just a mom with a camera that loves capturing moments with my 3 year old. While I’ve been into photography for years, I’ve been a pretty lousy photographer for most of them.

By just picking up my camera and actually learning how to use it, day by day I’m getting better and making images my daughter will one day be proud of. While I still make mistakes and have my fair share of failures, my 365 project is my way of working though those failures and growing.”

Kristina’s Photography Tip:

I’m a hobbyist photographer and committed to a 365 project earlier this year. While there are times I hate it – I can truly say it is the single best thing to help me grow as a photographer. There is no better way to improve your photography skills than by picking up your camera and just shooting everyday.

Because I have a full time job, a spouse and dinner to make, I try give myself 20 minutes of shoot time a day. It’s not a lot of time, but I generally shoot with a plan in place and a vision of what kind of image (and how I want to edit it) in my head. I preplan what I can but still try to capture organic, storytelling moments – but just in an expedited way.

Shooting daily with a 365 has the obvious benefit of documenting our daily lives and telling our story – but beyond that, it is a great way for me to really visualize my progress and inspires me to keep going.

In only 145 days, my 365 has made me finally able to see the light and know how to use it. I know where the light is best in my yard/home/neighborhood at any given time and I can plan my shoot accordingly based on our schedule and based on the mood of the photo I want to create.

Shooting in manual is a breeze since I literally pick up my camera every day. I’ve learned to intuitively know what my settings should be before I check the meter, and taught myself how to use Kelvin. I streamlined and refined my editing workflow and keep it clean (but I’m still a sucker for matte processing… I can’t help it!).

The most important thing however, is that I can finally see my voice – my “visual style” forming all on its own. It’s really amazing to see!

Just to give you an idea of how far I’ve come, I’m sharing day my day 1 image (it’s not even in focus!) and some of my last few days. Proof positive shooting daily works!

1/365 - Day One



Kristina used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 70-200 2.8 lens to capture these images.

Kristina Dominianni is a Middle Island, New York photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Camera Settings.

Kristina is right, in that shooting regularly is really the only way you’ll get to using your camera intuitively. But keep in mind there are guides out there to help jump-start you on the path.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.


Storytelling – It Doesn’t Need to be Complex


Today’s feature is from Andrea Strunk.

Andrea says:

“I love to shoot toddlers, kids and teens, and this year have started with newborn sessions as well. And I sometimes do shoots for my friends with their children and adorable puppies.”

Andrea’s Photography Tip:

I always aim to tell a little and simple story with my images, so good planing is very important. When I approach children’s sessions, I first collect some ideas and scout locations, and then discuss ideas and locations with the parents.

For this session, I used a couple different short story ideas. For the images with the flowers, I used springtime as my inspiration and like to call it “Helping spring to come with planting some tulips.” For the picture of the little boy with the dog, it was very simple – “A little boy taking a walk with a huge dog.”

Since the kids are too young to understand something like a storyline, I instead just show them something that would be fun to do – like hang out with the family pet or pick flowers. Then I photograph them from a distance, mostly lying on the ground to make sure I’m on their level, and just document what they are doing.

Conceptual shoots that tell elaborate stories and portray elaborate messages are fantastic and super fun to put together – but don’t overlook the small, simple things in life either. They can make for just as good of a session.


Andrea used a Canon 6D with a Canon 70-200 2.8 lens set at 200mm to capture these images.

Andrea Strunk is a Wenden, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany Children’s Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working With Children.

Keeping up with active kids can be tough, and you really need all hands on deck. Make sure you have the right equipment so everything you need is right within arm’s reach.



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Using Props to keep Children Engaged


Today’s feature is from .

Katie says:

“This session was a style shoot for a local children’s boutique. I love collaborating with others in creating styled sessions as it allows me to be creative and work with an array of children while providing the store with images they can use to promote their store and clothing brands.

At this particular session, we focused on a fall line of clothes for boys. I loved the preppy-meets-outdoors theme.”

Katie’s Photography Tip:

Photographing young kids can be challenging, and three active little boys even more so. To help with this, I suggest making sure you keep the children engaged.

For this shoot, we accomplished that by telling the little boys silly jokes, using humor, and encouraging them to play with the props.






Katie used a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 85 1.8G lens to capture these images.

Katie Preuss is a Greenville, SC Newborn and Children Portraits photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working With Children.

Networking is a great way to work on getting future referrals, but don’t forget that it’s not just shop owners that network and send referrals, it’s your past clients too.

And there’s plenty of ways you can beef up and/or put together a solid referral program to give your clients an extra push to send their friends your way.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.


Tips on Taking Amazing Winter Portraits


Today’s feature is from .

Niki says:

“I live in Finland where there are really cold winters. Last year’s winter was exceptionally cold and without snow, and our lake froze quickly and had only a very thin layer of powder snow on top of the black ice.

Sunsets come here in winter around 3-4pm, which is an ideal time to take family portraits.”

Niki’s Photography Tip:

Since I am well-acclimated to working in the cold, I’m going to pass on my best tips for chilly weather sessions (though keep in mind these aren’t necessarily in order of importance):

1. Dress warmly. This doesn’t always mean that you have to have a winter jacket on either – adults or children (though it is a good idea to have one nearby in case someone gets super chilly). Layers of wool with more layers of functional winter underwear is really the ticket.

Gloves are a must, however, as are warm socks. It’s also helpful to have a thermo-bottle full of hot tea (and perhaps a splash of something sharper for adults).

2. No dry lips. Two words: lip balm! Don’t skip this, dry lips hurt and they will only get dryer. Treat your lips well before the shoot. Dry lips look bad, in real life and in pictures. Can I make it go away in Photoshop? Yes. Do I want spend my precious time like this? Not really. Lip balm!

3. Action. No matter how warmly dressed you are, if you are not moving, you will be freezing soon and there is really no reason to catch a pneumonia because of a photo. Have some fun action ready for your subjects. If you get cold, start running and jumping and doing crazy stuff. But as with everything, it only works if you put your heart in it, so have a ball!

4. No sitting on snow. If you must, supply something warm and fluffy (such as the winter jacket, currently not in use, or a fluffy blanket) or you risk a frozen bottom. You can always make it disappear in the photo with creative posing or clothing adjustments.

5. Planning. Scout your location, plan the time of day, plan the photos. If you can, plan it so you can take most of the images within a few minutes of a well heated home. Because the truth is, you will get cold.

Perhaps in half hour, most likely sooner, especially if it is windy. When your models start feeling cold, don’t push it – pack your gear and march home. Remember, locations are everywhere, you just have to start seeing them.

Good luck getting them awesome winter portraits!







Niki used a Nikon D4 with a Nikkor 2.8 70-200mm lens to capture these images.

Niki Strbian is a Helsinki, Finland Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Location.

Family portraits are great, but if they only stay on a disc or USB drive it sort of defeats the purpose.

Make sure you’re giving your client a good assortment of physical products to choose from (and doing an in-person sales session to make sure they understand the value of physical products!).



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Tips on Film Photography


Today’s feature is from Barb Shoop.

Barb says:

“This submission is just a few frames of my six-year-old twins. I try to photograph them at least once a month. I can usually only shoot about one roll of film before they’re completely out of control and I can’t get a single frame in focus. They are very close and I often photograph them hugging and kissing each other.”

Barb’s Photography Tip:

This was shot on Fuji 400H film. The secret to shooting this film (and with Kodak Portra films as well) is to overexpose it, because the Fuji 400H has a soft, pastel look when overexposed in soft light like this session. How much depends on the film stock and the lighting conditions, but generally, one to three stops will produce well-exposed images.

This shoot was shot in late evening just before the sun went down so I rated my film at 200 (overexposed by one stop), took a meter reading in the shadows with a hand-held light meter, and set the aperture and shutter speed on my Contax.

The Contax can be quite difficult to focus at f/2, but when you get it right, the look is soft and dreamy with the subject in sharp focus.


Barb used a Contax 645 with a Zeiss 80mm f/2 lens to capture these images.

Barb Shoop is a Central Pennsylvania Wedding and Family Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Lighting.


*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.

Working with Antsy Kids


Today’s feature is from .

Jennifer says:

“I take pictures of my kids everyday, so these are just a few of the images I’ve taken of them!”

Jennifer’s Photography Tip:

As parents, we know for a fact that kids don’t like to sit still (and my kids are no different!). Here are a couple technical things I’ve learned that help me deal with my children’s active behavior.

Firstly, I generally shoot wide open. so, if i’m using my 135 (for example) I set my aperture to 2..the widest it will go. It took a bit for me to get used to that, but a higher ss helps with kids who do NOT like to stay still.

I’d rather have a higher ISO (which the Canon 5D MKIII can handle) than blurry images from my kids moving around. I also use back button focusing a lot, which helps with kids who might suffer from ants in the pants.

Using my camera with these settings allows me to take a step back and let my kids be kids, and not worry about posing or getting them to be still. I can just sit back and watch the fun unfold – and know that I’ll still capture the moment perfectly.


Jennifer used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens, a Canon 35mm f/1.4. lens, and a Canon 135 f/2.0 lens to capture these images.

Jennifer Nobriga is a Northern Virginia and DC Area photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working with Kids.

Need some help using your camera in manual? Working with active kids is tough to begin with, and you definitely don’t have time to look down at your camera for long lengths of time (or you’ll miss the moment!)

If you need a little help feeling 100% comfortable with your camera, check out this awesome guide from Photography Concentrate and start perfecting your technical camera skillz that’ll put you on your way to mastering your camera in a matter of hours.



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.


Working with Other Vendors


Today’s feature is from .

Jamie says:

“I was inspired to do this session after walking in the woods one day with my daughter. I loved how the trees were starting to bud leaves and flowers, and the new life after a long winter.

My daughter is starting to lose the little girl look and I knew I only had a small opportunity left to capture her being a kid. When thinking about a theme, I knew I wanted to emphasis the saying, ‘what little girls are made of.’

I was able to coordinate with multiple vendors for props, flowers, and hair to pull it all together and bring my vision to life.”

Jamie’s Photography Tip:

As a photographer, you have a unique trade to offer other vendors. If you have a vision in mind it can be easy to get other vendors to contribute by letting them use the images you create with their products as sample images for their own clients.

I offered my services for their services and accomplished some beautiful images that I could not have done without a great team of professionals. In turn, they have some great images they can use in their portfolios as well.

Plus – it’s a great way to network with vendors in your area for potential future referrals!







Jamie used a Canon 5d Mark II with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens and a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L lens to capture these images.

Jamie May is a West Michigan Wedding, Portraits, and Events photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working with Children.

Need a little bit more help getting referrals? Working with vendors is a great way to generate referrals, but using your current and past clients to generate referrals is just as good, if not better.

If you need help putting together a successful referral plan, check out this audio class dedicated to helping you do just that – and start getting your clients to do your marketing for you!



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Stylized Shoots in Natural Lighting


Today’s feature is from .

Katie says:

“This was a stylized child session, shot in Denver, Colorado. This shoot features Tutu Du Monde Dresses, and was planned in advance for Sophie.”

Katie’s Photography Tip:

Since stylized photography is heavily based on planning, I try to control as many elements as I can so that I am entirely prepared for every session far in advance.

Here are a few elements I take into consideration.

First, what is the mood and essence of my session? What message, feeling, or theme do I want to convey?

For this shoot, I aimed to create a whimsical and ethereal mood. I chose my location because of the lush forest-like greenery and planned all the elements of the wardrobe accordingly.

Each dress and hairpiece was preselected before the shoot. I also purchased flowers to add a touch of summer sweetness.

Even with all the planning I try to do, however, there are aspects I can’t control, such as natural light and how a child will feel on the day of her session.

For lighting, I shoot with 100% natural light. Light changes significantly depending on the time of day that you shoot, the season, and your location. I like to shoot in the later part of the day, preferably an hour before sunset (also know as the golden hour).

In case the sun is too direct or it’s hazy I have an assistant hold either a diffuser or reflector, which makes a drastic difference when shooting in less than ideal lighting conditions.

For this session, I was lucky because Sophie was amazing to work with. Friendly, beautiful and charismatic, Sophie was a dream. However, I am not always so lucky, because some children (especially ones under 4) have a very difficult time focusing on the shoot.

If you are working with a child who does not want to cooperate, I suggest using parent-approved motivators. However, if all else fails, just have fun with your client/model and capture his/her natural expressions and poses.

I like to plan every element in my shoots; nonetheless, some of my sweetest photos are natural moments that happen organically during the session.


Katie used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 85mm 1.2L lens to capture these images.

Katie Andelman is a Denver, Colorado Children, Family, Maternity, and Senior Portraits photographer.

Click here to read more tips on Lighting.

Need a great way to show off your rockin’ stylized session? Stylized sessions are super fun, super cool, and usually everyone loves seeing them (and your clients love showing them off to people too).

The StickyAlbums app makes showing off your stylized sessions easy for both you and your clients (you can do it right from your smart phone!), and allows your clients to do your advertising for you. Check out StickyAlbums here!



*Please note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and don’t affect you as the buyer but do help support us and keep this site free for everyone.


Planning a Themed Children’s Session


Today’s feature is from Amy Jensen.

Amy says:

“I love working with children. They are often unpredictable, but always give me some of my favorite photos.

These photos were taken in a small farming community in beautiful Cache Valley, Utah.”

Amy’s Photography Tip:

When creating a stylized photo shoot, planning is very important. Everything must be hand-selected, from the models to the location and everything in between.

Here’s how I approached the planning for this vintage-inspired session:

Models – Picking models with the look that inspires your vision is a must. I knew I wanted to use my little boy as one of the models and needed to find a girl of a similar age.

By putting out a casting call on my Facebook page I quickly found an adorable little girl that fit my vision perfectly.

Location – I envisioned the shoot in an open field with little distractions. I also knew I would be shooting in the evening and wanted the sun to be the backlighting in my photo.

Lucky for me we live in a small community with plenty of choices, so finding a location that fit with my idea was relatively easy.

Props – I knew I wanted to shoot the kids on an old vintage truck, so as I drove around scouting the location I was also looking for the perfect vehicle positioned to get the backlight I was going for.

This old green truck was perfect.

The other props included their clothing as well as the suitcase. You can request that your models bring their own clothing that fits the theme or you can purchase the clothing (and if well-maintained, can probably use it again multiple times).

I usually do a combination of both, as I am a big fan of thrift stores and yard sales and use both places to find many of my props.

Once you’ve got your models, a location, and the props, all that’s left is picking a date and shooting.






As long as your planning is meticulous and you’re mindful of all the pieces you need to create the final vision, your results will be stunning.

Amy used a Nikon 610 with a Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 lens to capture these images.

Amy Jensen is a Logan, Utah and Cache Valley Portrait photographer.

Want to give your photos a vintage, filmy look? The Realgrain plug-in for Photoshop has a ton of film presets built in, plus gives you the ability to tweak any aspect of the preset so you can get just the vintage, filmy feel you’re looking for.

Click here to check it out!



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Placing Your Subjects in Relation To The Sun


Today’s feature is from .

Audrey says:

“I’ve started to dive into Tweens lately. This is a full sun session that was shot both downtown along the beach, and at my studio.

When shooting this age group, I also like to incorporate a friend or two.”

Audrey’s Photography Tip:

Because I shoot in full sun a lot without flashes or portable reflectors, I make sure that I keep the sun to the backs of my subjects while maintaining ambient light onto their faces.

This ensures I can keep the faces properly exposed – which is always my goal!






Audrey used a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 85mm 1.4 lens to capture these images.

Audrey Woulard is a Chicago, IL Children and Family Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Lighting.



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Tips on Fine Art Photography

Dreamers of Flight

Today’s feature is from .

Tara says:

“All three of these images are of my daughter, and illustrate the different degrees you can take fine art (subtle, to extreme) using photoshop.

In the image with the child laying on the mattress with the butterflies all around her, I wanted the viewer to feel as if they were looking down into this ‘surreal’ moment of a child sleeping and getting a glimpse into her dream – which is to fly, as most children dream of doing.

I added the texture of the roots holding the mattress down as the symbolism that we must let go of things or people that hold us back, break free of negativity in any form, in order to be able to let our dreams take flight.

In the session with the girl sitting in the chair, I wanted to capture the innocence and childlike features that are starting to mix with the young woman attributes that my daughter is becoming.

Time is so fleeting, I look at her sometimes and I can literally see the woman that she is becoming. Other times I am easily reminded of her young age when she needs tucked in at night or the look in her eyes when someone hurts her feelings.

The last image I am showing is a simple black and white that I added textures and overlays to give a “Wet Plate” effect.

Wet plate photography dates back to the 1800’s when photographers had to insert a new glass plate each time to take an image, then as soon as it was taken they would have to place it immediately into their darkroom tent while still ‘wet’, which would oftentimes create this ‘condensation’ effect around the edges of the photograph.

I hope this gives a bit of an insight into what I do at my child fine art sessions. Each photo is very different, and unique to my vision or the clients. They are carefully crafted and thought-out before I ever pick up the camera; from the inspiration, clothes, and even the post-processing, I know what I want the end result to look like.”

Tara’s Photography Tip:

When I first started doing fine art photography with my daughter it was a struggle – she would get bored posing, and didn’t understand why we were doing these weird things, etc.

But once I started to explain the end results of the image and that if she sat ‘this certain way’ I can then turn her into a mermaid (for instance) with my ‘magical program’, everything changed.

Now she begs me to do photo shoots with her and often times she comes up with some brilliant ideas for shoot on her own.

It all comes down to the fact that when working with children for fine art shoots, you have to make it fun! If you can do that, more often than not, they’re more than happy to cooperate for the duration of the shoot.

So I make sure to tell my daughter or my client that is posing for me the story that I want to tell with the shoot and how fun and magical it will look when it’s done.

A tip on editing: In my post-production I use Photoshop CS6 and in almost every fine art image that I create I add some kind of textured overlay.

Where do I find these textures?

I find my textures everywhere. Everywhere I go I am constantly looking at sidewalks, sides of buildings, the wood on floors, everything around me, and then I will take a day and go out and shoot these textures that I have scouted.

If you cannot find any textures or do not have a way to go out and shoot, you can find some amazing free ones online to play around with and get a feel for what they can do.

Also, remember when adding textures that there are many different types of layers you can make it.

I commonly use “Multiply, Soft Light, or Overlay” and then I play with the opacities and add sometimes up to 8 or so different textures! It all depends on the look you are going for in the image.

If you want to take your fine art image to the next level, I highly suggest you just start playing around with different textures at different opacities and layer modes.

And don’t be afraid to add more than one either – layer them up and get creative! On the image with the butterflies for example I believe I used somewhere around 15 textures!

I challenge you to add just one to your next image and see how different it can make the whole composition and feel of your photograph.

In This Age

Tara used a Canon T4i with a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens to capture these images.

Tara Eveland is an Olney, IL Fine Art for Women & Children’s photographer.

Need a little help navigating the world of Photoshop? Check out a free trial from Lynda.com and learn Photoshop from top experts and industry leaders!

Click here to see more tips on Client Direction and Editing.



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How Finding Your Zen Zone Affects Your Images


Today’s feature is from .

Heather says:

“This is one of my favorite sessions with my own daughter, my most difficult subject.”

Heather’s Photography Tip:

Like many photographers, I started out photographing my own daughter. She was my main subject in the beginning, and my most unwilling, difficult one at that.

I wanted to create beautiful images of her so badly, to capture the brilliant blue in her eyes, the highlights in her hair, the beauty I see every day, but it wasn’t happening.

I got frustrated. I got mad. I drove her and my husband crazy trying to capture the perfect image…until I let go.

Now my friends often tell me it’s impossible for me to take a bad picture of my daughter. I have to laugh at that, because I have plenty, I assure you.

My photographer friends exclaim how their children are impossible to photograph, and I know the feeling. I studied light, posing, camera settings, anything and everything to be able to pull off a session with my kid.

It wasn’t until I let go of the idea of a perfect image that everything kind of clicked. The thing that needed to change was ME.

So, as an experiment, I took my daughter to a local park and I just let her play. I didn’t try to pose her. I didn’t try to get her attention. I took a lot of deep breaths to calm myself down, stood back, and followed her around, capturing whatever I could.

One of my favorite images from that session is the back of her head. No kidding, I love it.

So I started trying to go into each session in a very calm state of mind. I listen to music that makes me feel good, I breathe, sometimes I dance. I talk myself out of going for that “perfect” image.

I call it my zen zone. It has changed the way I photograph newborns, babies and children, and I’m now certain they can feel the difference.

The moment I get wrapped up in wanting a shot more than my subject wants to give it to me is the moment they unravel.

This particular session with my daughter was no different. I listened to music on the way. My expectations were null and void. I followed her around with very little instruction.

I stood back, I got up close, circled around her, got up and got down to get as many different looks and angles as I could.

I did this at 30-something weeks pregnant too so there were times I was laying on my side in the dirt, but I often leave a session wet and dirty. That’s how I know I gave it my all, while staying in the zen zone.








Heather used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 135L lens to capture these images.

Heather Solima is a Nashville, TN Maternity, Newborns, Babies and Children’s photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working With Children.



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Inspiring Play for Better Children’s Photos


Today’s feature is from .

Leah says:

“This session took place on the top of a local parking garage. I wanted to highlight the monochromatic, industrial tones and contrast them with lots of feminine touches like the glitter and the soft pink scarf we used as props.

I made the wire crown and brought my own pearls for my little model to wear; these touches made her feel special and connect with me right away and set up some really beautiful moments.”

Leah’s Photography Tip:

One of my favorite tricks for working with kids is to bring simple props that inspire action and play. Boxes, big numbers, and baskets can only go so far.

They are great for posing but since my style aims more for an organic approach at capturing personality, I like to embrace a child’s playfulness and encourage play that photographs well.

Bringing props doesn’t mean that they have to be in every photo, either. Sometimes, just having something new and fun that the children can interact with helps them feel more comfortable and move away from the idea that they have to “sit still and behave” during the session.

For some kids, especially if they are shy, even just providing something to hold can do wonders for their confidence in front of a new person pointing that scary-looking lens in their face.

Once they cross that line, you can remove the prop and try other poses if you wish!

Some of my favorite “action-inspiring” props include bubbles, balloons, wagons, petals, books, kites, and kazoos!

I also encourage parents to let their kids bring a favorite toy or item of their own from home, which also adds some sentimental value to the pictures.

A happy kid means photos with joy, real laughter, and authentic expressions. Utilizing simple props for play can lighten the mood and create that fun atmosphere for your sessions.





Leah used a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens and a Nikon 70-200 2.8 lens to capture these images.

Leah O’Connell is a Charlottesville, Virginia Children and Families photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working With Children.



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Getting The Most Out Of a Single Location


Today’s feature is from .

Sally says:

“This session was a just-for-me photography playdate with another photographer, and everything just came together – the gorgeous little models, the location, the swing, and the beautiful Texas evening weather.”

Sally’s Photography Tip:

I consider it vital, during a session, to pick a location that will provide a lot of variety (and this spot had it all!).

But don’t just change up your backgrounds – change up your lighting, your angles, your orientation (vertical and horizontal), how close up or far away you might be, etc.

Take detail shots, then back up and take far-away shots with a lot of environmental framing. Watch how the light changes quickly as the sun goes down, and observe how much the same spot can change over the course of the session.

The more aware you are of what one location can give you, the more interesting a set of pictures from a single session and single location will be. It’ll tell a fuller story, and give the clients a large variety of images to choose from (without having to change locations multiple times!).








Sally used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L II lens to capture these images.

Sally Molhoek is a Dallas/Ft Worth Portraiture and Wedding photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Location.


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Best Tips for Working with Kids

Pretty me!

Today’s feature is from .

Rekha says:

“This was a children’s portrait session for two high-energy, happy little girls. Mom wanted some fun, casual and lifestyle images to remember this stage in her children’s lives.

This fits my style perfectly, and I had a wonderful time creating these images for them. There’s nothing more precious and delightful than capturing children, just the way they are.”

Rekha’s Photography Tip:

I think the main thing that made this session a success was my interaction with the subjects. Since my subjects in this case were children, I did that through conversation and play.

Here are some of the things I did to help the girls loosen up and relax:

  • Peek-a-boo never gets old! It’s the one game that gets most little kids interested and giggly. I used a white throw over the girls and peeked under it to get the first shot below.
  • Having small props for the child to hold and play with is great to keep them focussed for a few minutes, since their attention spans are short. It also allows us to catch some great candid shots and get authentic moments and expressions, like the photo with the mirror.
  • Make sure to get shots with the littlest ones first, because they get sleepy, hungry or just distracted, faster.

Interacting with your subjects is key to getting authentic portraits, especially so with children. It helps keep the session stress-free and fun, and gives you the ability to capture their true personalities.

My best friend in the mirror
A sister is a friend forever

Rekha used a Nikon D90 with a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens and a Nikon 18-55mm 3.5- 5.6 lens to capture these images.

Rekha Varghese is a Portland, Oregon photographer.

See more tips on Working with Children.



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How to Get Your Children to Relax During a Family Session

Addyson Liew by Alliny Nunes

Today’s feature is from .

Alliny says:

“Addyson used to have regular photo sessions with her parents. When I spoke to her parents about our session, it was clear to me that they were expecting a somewhat unnatural and very posed photoshoot, which made Addyson shy and very reluctant.

Her family mentioned that in previous sessions they had done their daughter would just get stuck under the pressure. Therefore, I tried to make the photoshoot more natural so that didn’t happen, and aimed at getting the very unique expressions her parents were used to seeing at home.”

Alliny’s Photography Tip:

Kids are not always willing to be photographed. Remember, their parents are the ones who actually care about the photos.

When dealing with a reluctant child it might be helpful to ask the parents to step aside for a moment. Have a little waiting area with a couch in the studio, so they can watch without interfering.

Take a couple of minutes to just play with the child before starting the session. After you get the child to trust you, try a couple of shots and get the parents to come back so you can carry on with the family session.

When you get children to trust you and have some fun before starting the session they see the photoshoot as something playful, so they will be more engaged.

It makes it a lot easier for parents as well. Once they see you got their child to enjoy the session they will let go of any worries and the whole family will just have a good time.

Addyson Liew by Alliny Nunes
Family Portraits by Alliny Nunes
Addyson Liew by Alliny Nunes
Addyson Liew by Alliny Nunes

Alliny used a Nikon D300 with a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens to capture these images.

Alliny Nunes is a Brasília, Brasil Family Portraits photographer.

See more tips on Working with Children.



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How To Direct Children to Where You Need Them To Be

Sunset story time

Today’s feature is from .

Sarah says:

“I wanted to create something sweet, warm, and all about childhood. This session features two sisters and their best friend.

For the set up, I brought a camping bed frame, an extra twin mattress, white blankets and a nursery rhyme book. We planned it right at the end of the “golden hour” of the evening.”

Sarah’s Photography Tip:

When dealing with children it is best to think like one! By figuring out what they love and giving them something distracting to do, you’ll have an easier time capturing their true personalities.

For this particular session, once the kiddos arrived, naturally they wanted nothing to do with the bed and only wanted to run around the field.

So, to get them into story time mode, we guided them onto the “set”, handed the book to the big sister (who can’t quite read yet) and started asking about the pictures on the pages, asking them to find mother goose or count the stars, etc. (This is where the distraction part comes into play.)

That way, we were able to capture their natural expressions and personalities while they sat and “read” the book.

A little guidance and zero interference provided natural and relaxed results. Their mothers were also on set to help with the reflector as well as fix hair/wardrobe malfunctions.

Best friends
Story time and friends

Sarah used a Sony A77 with a Minolta 50mm 1.7 lens to capture these images.

Sarah Parker is a Tacoma, Seattle, and Olympia Washington Children, Seniors, and Family photographer.

See more tips on Working with Children.



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How to Always Keep a Fresh Perspective in Your Photography

Jumping for Pink Joy

Today’s feature is from .

Christa says:

“I was out exploring the beautiful island we live on and by accident found this amazing and wonderful hot pink laundromat. I KNEW I had to take my 2 girls there for a stylized session.

We grabbed all of their hot pink and black clothing, including 80’s style gloves and sunglasses and headed over the small laundromat on a beautiful sunny day.

We were lucky that no one happened to be laundering at the time and had the entire place to ourselves to laugh and have fun.”

Christa’s Photography Tip:

Photos that convey a colorful and fun spirit are what speak to me in my own photography journey.

I think it’s important to keep photography fresh by exploring the area in which I live, looking for new and fun locations to take clients.

I often go on photo field trips looking for these fun locations (while also looking at light), as it really reignites the passion for why I do what I do.

It gets me excited to take my own family there for photos or present it to a client and discuss how we will make their session fun and colorful at the particular location.

If you’re always on the lookout for new and interesting places, and take the time to really search them out, you’ll always have a fresh perspective and a renewed energy in shooting at an unfamiliar location.

All You Need is A Guitar and Some Pink
Sisterly Love

Christa used a Canon 6D with a 24-70mm L series lens to capture these images.

Christa Paustenbaugh is a Okinawa, Japan and (soon to be) Newport, Rhode Island Family, Maternity and Child photographer.

See more tips on Location.


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Playful Children’s Portraits by Elise Judd

Boho Sisters

Today’s feature is from .

Elise says:

“I did a Boho Valentine’s session that was bright and colorful. My subjects were two sisters who were giggly and full of energy. Their mom wanted some ‘nice’ photos of the girls together, but also some fun ones.”

Elise’s Photography Tip:

I put up several layers of sheer curtains on the windows and set the bed just in front of it. This provided a beautiful and soft backlight. The light coming in from the window also reflected off the white foam core boards that I put up on each side of me at a 45 degree angle, acting as giant reflectors.

If you create a similar lighting setup, you’ll get a soft, clean backlight that is reflected back onto the subjects.

We Are the Wild Ones
Puppy Eyes
Valentine Mischief
Colorful Enlightenment
A Little Light Within
A Whole Pile of Love

Elise used a Canon XTi with a Canon 24mm 2.8 lens and a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens to capture these images.

Elise Judd is a Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada Children and Families photographer.

See more tips on Lighting and DIY.


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Emotive Children’s Portraits by Lisa Holloway


Today’s feature is from .

Lisa says:

“This was a portrait session set up to document the relationship between two identical twin girls – Zoe & Zelda. The session was shot in the beautiful old town of Jerome, Arizona as well as Red Rock Crossing in Sedona.”

Lisa’s Photography Tip:

These little girls were absolutely amazing to work with! It was such a joy to document their relationship with each other. Two things that are absolutely imperative to me in any photo session is lighting, and connecting with my subjects. Nothing can kill the feel of a portrait session faster than not taking the time to connect with or get to know your subjects, and bad, poorly thought out lighting.

In this session, I utilized a lot of back lighting to highlight the twins’ gorgeous, long red hair. You really need to wait until the last hour or so before sunset (or the first hour after sunrise) for this type of lighting to be the most effective. If you do it too early in the afternoon, you will end up with a large blown spot on top of your subject’s head as well as the dreaded raccoon eyes – shadows in the eye sockets caused by the high position of the sun. Once the sun is low enough on the horizon, back lighting can really illuminate your subject and help separate them from the background.

One problem that photographers often encounter when using back lighting is haze, or sun flare. To avoid haze, I will make sure that I am not shooting directly into the sun with my lens, and I will try to filter the light through something. In this session, I filtered it through the trees that were in the background. Sometimes, haze can add a beautiful warm glow – don’t be scared to experiment! Move around and try different vantage points and locations and see what you get!

The second thing that I think is absolutely essential in any portrait session is taking the time to develop a good rapport with your subjects. This is especially important when working with children. I cannot stress taking your time, going slow, and talking to and getting to know your littlest subjects enough – it is crucial! Don’t be afraid to leave your dignity at the door – I will do anything to get a silly smile, as well as a good serious look from the children I work with. I provide light guidance and let them do the rest. If you are patient, you are bound to get a few magical moments.

Since these were identical twin sisters, I suggested that they ‘hold hands’, ‘tell your sister a secret’ and ‘give each other a hug’….the rest was all them. I just sat back and documented their beautiful relationship with one another.

You are bound to get some well lit photos with genuine, well connected expressions.



Lisa used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 200mm 2.0L and Canon 85mm 1.2L lens to capture these images.

Lisa Holloway is a Las Vegas, NV custom portraiture photographer.

See more tips on Client Relations, Lighting, and Working with Children.



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