Getting Your Images to Stand Out


Today’s feature is from .

Jordan says:

“This session was for a couple who flew out from Texas to visit Seattle and have these photos taken.

When we were talking about location ideas, I asked them where they were willing to go. Their reply was, we will go anywhere, hike anything, we just want to go somewhere epic.

As a photographer, that is my favorite thing to hear from clients.

This session ended up being the longest session I have ever had, because we spent 20 hours together (leaving at 7am and arriving back home at 3am).

All in all, it was one of the best sessions I’ve ever had. It’s always great when clients become good friends afterwards.”

Jordan’s Photography Tip:

I love the outdoors and I love the amazing scenery the pacific northwest has to offer so I began trying to incorporate that into my photos.

It’s a no brainer that an epic location is going to make a photo more appealing to people, so my advice to other photographers would be to get out, explore, and make use of the beautiful nature that is around them.

Yes, it’s much easier in the Pacific Northwest as there is a lot of epic scenery but every state has unique scenery to that area.

I also put a lot of work into my sessions. I do not do 1-2 hour sessions. Instead, I spend around 8-12 hours with a couple (on average) depending on how far we’re driving/hiking.

Having more time during a session can help in many different ways.

First, it generally allows me to plan the shoot around the best times of the day to shoot.

Second, since I’ve been able to spend more time with the couple, when we do begin shooting, they are already comfortable enough with me and we can dive right into it.

With 1-2 hour sessions it can be tough getting couples to open up right away (especially when you’re limited on time). This tremendously helps with posing as well as it’s much easier to pose couples who are comfortable than ones that are nervous.

I tend to have my couples walk around quite a bit as well to loosen them up and capture some genuine moments between them as they walk together.

All in all, I think if photographers want their work to stand out more, they need to go to the places that no one has been to yet. The places less-traveled.

These are the unique photos people like to see because it’s not something they’re used to.


Jordan used a Canon 5D Mark III (affiliate link) and Canon 5D Mark II (affiliate link) with a Canon 35L lens, a Canon 45mm lens, a Canon 50L lens, and a Canon 135L lens (affiliate link) to capture these images.

Jordan Voth is a Seattle/Tacoma Washington Engagement Portraits and Wedding photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Client Personality and Location.

Having your images stand out is great, but nowadays if you can’t get people to find your website online you’re pretty much out of luck.

If you’re not on the ball with website SEO, you’ll definitely be missing the boat here. Make sure you have your site SEO optimized (affiliate link) to make sure you’re getting found.


Bringing Seniors Out Of Their Shell


Today’s feature is from .

Mitch says:

“These images are part of Luke’s senior portrait session that were taken in Anchorage, Alaska.

The first day we went out to photograph it was an absolute downpour of torrential rains, so we were mostly limited to photographing in areas with overhead cover.

For day two of Luke’s session we lucked out with better weather (which is always a blessing in Alaska!) and were able to walk around downtown to photograph in various locations.

We have a general rule at our studio too when it comes to finding great places to shoot – the more awful the place smells, and the more sketchy it looks, its likely the best place for pictures!”

Mitch’s Photography Tip:

One of my favorite parts about working with high school seniors is bringing them out of their shell and showing their character!

A lot of the times Senior Year is a year of self discovery, and oftentimes their senior photos are the first time they are expressing their newly found selves.

Conversation can be a bit awkward at first, but as the session evolves, its important to maintain high energy the entire time.

Most importantly, make sure they feel comfortable in their poses.


Mitch used a Canon 5D Mark III (affiliate link) with a Canon 70-200mm 2.8 (affiliate link) lens, a Canon 24-70mm 2.8 (affiliate link) lens, and a Canon 50mm 1.8 (affiliate link) lens lens to capture these images.

Mitch Kitter is an Anchorage, Alaska and Destination Senior Portraits photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Client Personality and Location.

Working with seniors is a lot of fun, but marketing to them is a bit different than other portrait markets.

The leaders behind Seniors Ignite know this, and there are tons of free resources all about Senior Portrait marketing on their website. Check it out here!


Urban Engagement Session


Today’s feature is from .

Kari says:

“This engagement session was photographed around the West Village in NYC. The couple wanted to get photos that captured their relationship without feeling too posed or structured.”

Kari’s Photography Tip:

It’s so important for your clients to feel natural while they’re having their photos taken. If clients are uncomfortable or nervous, it comes through in all the photos. Make sure that you spend time talking to your clients so they relax in front of the camera.

Joke with them! Real laughter is beautiful. Have the couple interact while you’re taking their photos.

Even though you’ll have to weed out photos of their mouths open while they’re talking, there are always a few fabulous photos that capture the true nature of the couple’s relationship–and those are the absolute best kind of photos!


Kari used a Canon 5D mark III with a Canon 35mm f/1.4 lens and a Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens to capture these images.

Kari Nichols is a New York, NY Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Client Personality.

Finding a new location or style of shooting is a great way to mix things up in your every day routine – but don’t forget about post! Try out a new action or preset and switch things up a bit!



*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.


Underwater Photography

Arizona senior underwater in prom dress by Phoenix senior photographer Alyssa Campbell

Today’s feature is from .

Alyssa says:

“Ashlee wanted a fun shoot that was different from her friends’ senior photos. Instead of going to all of the usual places, we instead hopping in the water with one of her old formal dresses and created different and beautiful portraits of her in her pool.”

Alyssa’s Photography Tip:

Seniors are looking to stand out from their friends and get social approval and attention. Offering a one-of-a-kind session with something that generates buzz – such as an underwater session – will create word of mouth referrals and keep the inquiries coming in.

I recommend looking at what your competition doesn’t offer – anything from a different type of session or a different kind of product that answers the need of seniors to be different – and marketing that. What would your ideal client respond best to? Where is the best place to market this unique offering that would get eyes on your work?

I have been photographing seniors and couples underwater for about four years. Being underwater creates a lot of challenges, the number one of which is protecting your gear. Research all of the housing options, keeping in mind your specific needs before committing to anything. I have found cheaper housings are not as effective as investing in the more expensive housings.

The second biggest tip about photographing people underwater is lens selection. You want your pool to be as clear as possible. The more water between you and your subject, the more particles you have to clone out later and the more contrast you will need to add. So, a wider, sharp lens is a must – which is why I typically shoot at least as wide as 35mm.

Senior girl in prom dress underwater  by Phoenix senior photographer Alyssa Campbell
Underwater prom dress photos  by Phoenix senior photographer Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa used a Canon 5D Mark II in Ikelite housing with a Canon 17-40 F/4 L lens to capture these images.

Alyssa Campbell is a Phoenix, AZ Wedding, Senior & Underwater Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Client Personality.



*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.

Personal Family Lifestyle Portraits


Today’s feature is from Nate and Amanda Howard.

Nate and Amanda say:

“The shoot took place in the families home in Chicago. It is filled with their traditions and what home means to them. And for them, that’s snuggling and playing in their bed, sharing lunch together, quiet moments in their space and sweet little giggles echoing through their walls.

Our hope with this session, and all of our family sessions, is that we capture all the senses. That they can look back on these images someday and remember how they felt. Remember how their house smelled. Remember how the giggles sounded. We want their favorite day-to-day traditions and spaces to be documented for them to look back on someday.”

Nate and Amanda’s Photography Tip:

We primarily focus on telling stories of families’ real life and love and try to include day-to-day traditions and favorite places. We don’t ever pose our families because we want to capture the emotion, movement, and messiness of real life. To achieve this, we try really hard to get to know our families before we shoot with them.

We want to learn about the nitty gritty of who they are and what matters most to them because 20 years from now, they are going to care a lot less about having pretty pictures of themselves sitting in a perfect formation at the park. They are going to care a lot more about having memories captured at their favorite place to spend time together.

They are going to care about bare feet running across kitchen floors while making chocolate chip cookies and eating sugar straight out of the bag. They are going to care about snuggling in bed with messy hair. They are going to care about their child’s favorite, ratty t-shirt. They are going to care about laughter, tears, and capturing how they felt at this stage of their life.


Nate and Amanda used a Canon 5d MKII with a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens and a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to capture these images.

Nate and Amanda Howard travel nationwide as Wedding and Family Portrait photographers.

Click here to see more tips on Client Relations and Client Personality.

Leaving clients with life-long keepsakes is a wonderful thing, and one of the best ways to do that is with prints and albums. If you’re not super familiar with creating your own albums, don’t worry – there’s plenty of info out there to get you started.



*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.

5 Tips for Bringing Out Romance in an Engagement Session

embracing couple photographed through flowers

Today’s feature is from Miranda Zynda-Kneeland.

Miranda says:

Angie and Dave had a beautiful evening for their engagement session! We had a lovely time making our way through the gardens, witnessing a woodpecker work its magic on a tree, and discovering a couple of really unique trees along the way.

The two of them have been a couple for over a decade, and we’re excited to have the honor of being their engagement and wedding photographers.”

Miranda’s Photography Tip:

After nearly eight years of photographing people in love, our couples have come to seek us out for our ability to create compelling and romantic images. We’ve learned to take something that can be potentially awkward (public displays of affection in front of a photographer) and make it into a fun and natural experience.

Most people aren’t familiar with what it’s like to have their portrait taken, are camera-shy or are self-conscious about something, and it’s our job as photographers to help them feel great about themselves. Photography can also be such a helpful tool in reigniting that spark for couples and showing them just how great they are together.

It can be a really rewarding and inspirational experience for clients to see that their relationship looks as great as it feels.

Here are our top 5 tips in bringing out the romance in your couples’ portraits:

1. Get to know them. Romance means something different to each couple, so we really like to get to know our clients as best we can. We give each couple a questionnaire to fill out together (after doing such, our clients often report back how much fun it was to complete), and their answers really influence our approach in capturing the two of them.

We learn what drives them, and we can reference it throughout the session to bring out their authentic emotion.

2. Choose a location that’s relevant to them. By learning our couple’s story, what they like to do together, and their style, we are happy to help our couples decide on a location for their shoot that tells something about them. Normally people think about where they should have their photos taken instead of where they could have them done.

We often incorporate a couple’s favorite bar, bench, restaurant, hiking trail, etc. When they’re in a location that sparks positive memories for them, they’re naturally more joyous and affectionate with each other.

3. Compliment them. Because we love getting to know our couples, we also really enjoy discovering what makes them special. By letting them know what a great couple they are during our session, their confidence is boosted and they become even more appreciative of each other. Pretty soon, we don’t even have to ask them to kiss or snuggle!

4. Give them some space. Shooting with a longer focal length, especially in the beginning of the session, will make them more comfortable with being romantic in front of the camera. It also gives them the opportunity to whisper to each other without us hearing them. That means great candid photos!

Starting out further away for some full-body shots and then moving in for the close-ups will help them adapt to being in front of the camera, too.

5. Pay attention to their body language. It’s great to come prepared for a shoot with some posing ideas that you have for your clients, but we also pay attention to how they naturally interact with each other during our session. We use those subtleties throughout the shoot to make our poses more customized and the couple, in turn, more comfortable.

This also ties into tip #4 because when you give a couple some space while you’re setting up a shot, you can observe how they naturally snuggle, joke around, tease, hold hands, etc.

There you have it! Remember to have fun doing what you love, and that will be sure to rub off on your images, too!

walking hand-in-hand alongside giant leaves
bird's eye view
whispering sweet nothings by the white fence
kiss-on-the-cheek close-up

Miranda used a Nikon D700 with a Nikon 35mm lens and a Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens to capture these images.

Miranda Zynda-Kneeland is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin Wedding & Portrait photographer.

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

These images are lovely, and one thing clients love to do is show off their lovely images. Make it easy for them, and get your clients to do the marketing for you.



*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.

Using Interests to Inspire a Shoot


Today’s feature is from Sophia McClure.

Sophia says:

“For this photo session, we wanted to create something unique that properly represented her personality. We gathered some props that helped me tell her story and went over to the forest, which thankfully had phenomenal lighting.

It was the golden hour, around 5:30 in the afternoon here in Illinois, so those golden rays were brilliant. Good lighting always makes everything easier, from posing all the way through to editing.”

Sophia’s Photography Tip:

As a portrait photographer, it’s essential that you create images that are creative and unique for whoever you are photographing. Sometimes this can be really hard to do, especially because Pinterest makes it so hard not to copy other photographer’s ideas. Here are my suggestions for how to take original photographs that portray your subject’s personality.

Everyone is unique, so firstly: ask your subject about the things they enjoy doing. This can give you prop ideas which, when incorporated, can get those great ideas in your head flowing. In addition, adding these familiar items or activities usually makes your subject more comfortable because they are utilizing things they’re familiar with.

Another way to get those ideas flowing is a relatively simple concept: try or learn something new! Are you normally a bright, contrast-y editor? Try a low-key edit. Is your posing usually smiley and happy with little direction? Try a serious pose, carefully constructed from the direction of the eyes to the placement of the toes.

However, keep in mind that while it’s great to try new things, you still need to make sure that if you are doing a paid shoot you get enough solid keepers too. If you are nervous about trying something a little bold with a paid session, offer to do a free session to someone with whom you are comfortable. Turn it into a fun get-together and hangout afterwards. That can really get those creative juices flowing.



Sophia used a Nikon D610 with a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens to capture these images.

Sophia McClure is a Sterling, IL photographer.

Click here to read more tips about showing off your Client’s Personality.

Need some creative ideas with your editing? Sophia has the right idea, that every once in a while it’s fun to experiment and try new things – whether it’s with lighting, posing, or even editing.

So next time you sit down to edit, try adjusting the temp and white balance a little different than usual, or adjust the curves and give your images a matte finish, or even try experimenting with some of the great presets and actions 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.

Working With Senior Guys

Urban Senior Guy Photo Session with Grafitti

Today’s feature is from .

Suzanne says:

“Selecting locations for my high school seniors that truly represent who they are and incorporate the things they love is something I pride myself in and have built my business around.

Upon learning Aaron’s passion for music I knew instantly the perfect spot for his senior portraits – a grungy, urban band practice space in an old warehouse building in the city.

Utilizing a variety of locations in and around the building provided us some incredible light, color, and texture, and produced an amazing one-of-a-kind senior portraits session.”

Suzanne’s Photography Tip:

Many high school senior photographers shy away from working with senior guys. I, however, embrace them! The guys are so cool, laid-back, and fun. And believe it or not, just like the girls, they want awesome senior pictures too.

When working with senior guys you have to keep it real. No cutesy looks or awkward poses. Their body language has to flow naturally from one pose to another with a masculine feel. And make it quick – the last thing they want to do is stand around while you snap a hundred shots.

Mix their facial expressions up with some serious and some smiling (those are always Grandma’s favorite). To nail the serious look my trick is to have them look away from the camera. I’ll instruct them to look at me on the count of 3, which usually yields a perfect serious-but-inquisitive look every time.

Finally, pick a location that is of some interest to the senior. Many of my guy athletes want their senior portraits at the local high school – on the track, around the ball field, or in the stadium. I’ve taken my senior actors for shots outside the local theater, and of course, my musician, Aaron, at the band practice space.

Incorporating a senior guy’s likes and hobbies into their session also insures their interest and active participation, which nails a perfect image every time.

Black and White Senior Portrait with Guitar
Grungy Musician Senior Portrait
Senior Guy Musician with Guitar and Grafitti
Senior Guy Portrait in Urban Location
Musician Warehouse Practice Space Senior Guy Portraits

Suzanne used a Nikon D610 with a Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens to capture these images.

Suzanne neace is a Rochester, New York High School Senior Portraits photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Location and Client Personality.

Need a little more experience working with senior guys? Suzanne’s not wrong, in that a lot of photographers can sometimes shy away from working with the guys.

But like Suzanne also said, they can be a lot of fun! At the Seniors Ignite event in February, the senior models they use during the portfolio-building sessions is a mixed crowd of both guys and girls.

So if you’d like closer instruction on working with guys, we definitely suggest you check the event out – but don’t forget to use our special Belovely You discount code!



*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.

How your clients can market for you


Today’s feature is from .

Joey says:

“The session I am submitting was shot with one of my seniors, Molly, whom I met Molly while photographing the plays and musicals at our local high school. Not only is she obviously beautiful but she is a riot as well. So much so that I had been looking forward to working with her since she was a sophomore in high school.

I love working with all the theater kids and Molly is someone very special. We shot in the studio for about an hour then took a forty minute ride to a location where I grew up. Her session yielded over six hundred images so choosing eight here was difficult.

Molly started singing in elementary school and performed in shows whenever she had the opportunity, and was one of the leads in Aida – which is her favorite to date. Once she graduates in 2015, she will be pursuing a career in business and finance and her top choice schools so far are Northeastern, George Washington Univ, and Boston Univ.

For our session she created her own personal clothing style by mixing trendy pieces with basics.”

Joey’s Photography Tip:

You need to have a genuine interest in the kids.

My career has never been just about taking pictures for money. There is a purpose to my work.

I’ve often been asked to do workshops or teach on a PPA level but have always refrained because my work or personal style really is generated from my relationships and conversations with my seniors (I am very much a conversationalist) and I don’t know how to teach that other than explain that it’s just my personality.

I am genuinely interested in every kid that I get to work with. I photograph young adults who are nearing the end of the comfort and safety of their childhood. I want to know everything about them. Their family dynamics, what their plans for their future are, how are they doing in school, who their friends are, crazy stories about their childhood, etc.

I don’t consciously look at it as a goal to make a new friend, either; rather, my goal with every session is for my subject to never feel as though they are being photographed, but rather more like they’re just hanging out with a friend. We then become good friends in the process.

I can relate to every ‘food group’ of kids too – jocks, nerds, burnouts, and non-conformists. I’ve been told I can have an intelligent conversation with a tree.

The way I see it, I have a responsibility not only as a photographer but as a mature adult (and a dad myself) to give the best experience and images to the kids as well as have a genuine interest in the well-being of the kids for their parents and our school community.

Because I’m neutral and non judgmental (not a teacher nor their parent), the kids will open up freely in conversation and truly express themselves. I will never take that responsibility for granted, and my images show it. Not only that, but the kids know it, and so do their parents.

Here is an example of what one of my seniors, Amanda, wrote about her session recently:

Joey and I had worked together previously, as he photographed most of our shows at Cheshire High School. It was amazing and fun to work with him, but I could never have imagined the level of awesomeness I experienced. My session was an absolute blast. Joey has an easygoing way about him that made me feel as though I could be my honest self around him, and that’s what makes his portraits so real. He captures the essence of everyone’s unique beauty and makes you feel like more than just a high school senior. In fact, I never felt like a senior. The portraits express my character and tell a story of who I am. They are worth a thousand words and more. I could never thank him enough.

When you reach that point where everyone knows you genuinely care about them  (and you’re getting reviews like the one Amanda left me above), you’ll create a following and you will never have to market yourself. Your clients will do it for you.


Joey used a Nikon D3 with a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, a Nikkor 50mm lens, and a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens to capture these images.

Joey Jones is a New Haven, CT Senior Portraits photographer. Joey is also one of the lead shooters at the Seniors Ignite event in San Diego in February 2015.

Click here to see more tips on Client Relations and Client Personality.

Want to watch Joey in action and see how he interacts with clients? Joey is one of the lead shooters at the 2015 Seniors Ignite event, which means that event attendees will get a chance to work with Joey directly.

If that sounds like something you’d love to, check out more about the Seniors Ignite event here, but don’t forget to use the special Belovely You discount code!



*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.

Editorial Athletic Senior Portraits


Today’s feature is from .

John says:

“Kylee is a senior from Beauregard High School in Alabama and she comes to us from about an hour away. She is an amazing track and field athlete and we love and attract a lot of senior athletes.

I love showing both sides of our incredible senior athletes – both their strong, athletic side and images of them looking and feeling their best with hair and makeup done.”

John’s Photography Tip:

For Kylee’s sports shot I wanted to convey the power and beauty of a track and field athlete with an editorial style look. The sky and clouds were perfect that day for the background (which was great), but to really pull off this look you have to utilize an off-camera light.

The sun was setting off to camera left and gave me some great rim light. A beauty dish is just out of the frame, camera right, to serve as my source of light. And closing down my aperture allowed me to bring that background in and convey the look I was going for.

For post-production, I performed some slight desaturation and shadow control in Lightroom to help finish pulling the look together.


John used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 85mm 1.2 lens, a Canon 50mm 1.2 lens, and for the athletic shots the Canon 17-40 f/4 lens.

John Pyle is a Columbus, GA and surrounding areas Senior Portraits photographer. He also works with Seniors Ignite and is one of the lead photographers at the Seniors Ignite event in February.

Click here to see more tips on bringing out your Client’s Personality and Lighting.

Need to up your senior portraits game (sports pun intended)? The masterminds behind Seniors Ignite put together an amazing event every year in February – centered around everything related to the senior portrait business.

There’s awesome workshops for marketing, business, and of course – creative shooting. And you get to learn from some of the top leaders in the industry. Check out details for the 2015 event 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.

Showing Your Senior’s Personality


Today’s feature is from .

Jen says:

“Brooklin’s session was one of my favorites – her style and clothing choices show off all of the different sides of her. We worked together up front to plan her outfits so that she would have all of the details put together for each one from head to toe.”

Jen’s Photography Tip:

When I’m working with seniors, I want to ensure that the setting, the lighting, and the outfit complement each other.

This way each set of images I produce for each ‘look’ shows off a different side of the senior’s personality, and also gives her a lot of variety.

It’s also important to vary your lighting during your sessions in order to create different ‘looks’ for your senior – otherwise the images are simply the same type of image with a different outfit.

Your goal is to create an experience for them that shows every side of their personality and individual style.


Jen used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II lens, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens, and the Canon ED 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens to capture these images.

Jen Basford is an Edmond, Oklahoma Senior Portraits photographer, but also works with clients and seniors across the country. She is also one of the masterminds behind the website dedicated to senior portrait photography, Seniors Ignite.

See more tips on bringing out your Client’s Personality.

Need help with lighting ideas? Natural light photography is awesome, but you can really broaden your lighting horizons (and start bringing out the most of your client’s personality, just like Jen did in this session) when you start incorporating off-camera flash.

It’s not always easy at first, but there’s lots of literature and guides out there to help you get started with the basics.



*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.

Emphasizing Similarities from People Around the World


Today’s feature is from .

Oded says:

“During the last ten years, my work has brought me to meet a lot of really interesting people around the world: from hanging out with the young and very cool people of Tokyo, to traveling with a nomadic group in Kyrgyzstan.

Although I met what we like to call “exotic” groups of people, in my photography, I try to remove the differences and emphasize the similarities.”

Oded’s Photography Tip:

My best tip is – get closer. When photographing a person from a distance, it is easy to emphasize the “different” and “exotic”. I find this kind of photography a bit old-fashioned.

Instead, try to get closer in order to tell the story of the individual. Showing a person with a tribal hat is nice to watch, but telling a story about this person, for me, is much more interesting.

In order to make it easier to carry out the previous tip, here is another one – leave your tele-lens at home. If you take a tele-lens with you, you will use it. If you use it, you will keep photographing people from a distance.

A wide (less than 50mm lens) will force you to get closer. Now, a lens which is wider then 50mm may create a distortion (expand the subject). That’s true. But then, so what?! Let it add a unique aspect to your image instead.


Oded used a Canon 5D Mark III (with a Canon 40D as a backup) with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens to capture these images.

Oded Wagenstein is an International Travel photographer and writer, and regular contributor to the National Geographic Traveler magazine.

And, if you think this tip is interesting, check out Oded’s newest eBook SNAPN TRAVEL and learn how to create better travel photographs on your next journey!

*Special thank from the author to Jane Cowan for help in writing this article.

Click here to see more tips on Client Personality.



*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.

How to Personalize a Family Lifestyle Session

Are you ready for this?

Today’s feature is from Lisa Novakowski.

Lisa says:

“This lovely couple have an active toddler, and those precious toddlers grow into big kids so fast!

The mother Nicole loved the idea of my “A Day in the Life” documentary-styled sessions, and wanted their session to focus mostly on capturing their sweet boy in this short, ever-changing stage of life.

We started the session fairly early in the morning on what turned out to be a hot summer day, choosing a location that had both fun play areas and lots of open shade that helped keep us cool as the day heated up.”

Lisa’s Photography Tip:

My lifestyle family sessions are my absolute favorites.

The focus is always in telling a true-to-life story of this day in the life of a family, and while we do make some portraits, even those are loosely structured, as the intention is to show personality and focus on the relationships represented in the frame.

I take time beforehand to talk about what’s going on in the family right now, what activities they love to do together, where they like to go, and even a bit about the children’s personalities.

The more I know, the more personalized their experience will be.

I also tend to start the session at what is generally the happiest time of day for the youngest child!

Sometimes I start the session at the family home to document life there, and sometimes we shoot the whole thing at an outside location where they can just spend time together and enjoy the sunshine!

With this session, for instance, that Teddy bear is Mateo’s absolute favorite thing, he sleeps with it and it goes EVERYWHERE with him, so I knew Teddy had to be featured in the photos.

He also loves his trucks, so I wanted to make sure to get some shots with them as well.

Mateo’s mom told me he’s at the stage where everything is fascinating…. for about 17.5 seconds until he finds the next fascinating thing, so I knew I had to be prepared to move fast!!

Communicating closely with the family beforehand means that they will know how your session is going to go, and they will be more relaxed and confident in you.

The result for everyone is a relaxed, fun session, with images that tell the real story of their life and their relationships.

Sunshine at the park
Higher Daddy!
Little Man
Pure Joy.

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

Lisa Novakowski is a Kamloops, BC Wedding and Documentary Family Sessions photographer.

See more tips on working your Client’s Personality into their session and Working with Children.



*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.

How to Prep a Family for a Lifestyle Session

Emily Lapish Photography - authentic lifestyle session

Today’s feature is from .

Emily says:

“True lifestyle photography is what moves my heart – real families being real with each other. My business tagline is “Life is beautiful. Life is art,” and I believe that with all that I am.

I was so thrilled when the mother of this beautiful family wanted to do a lifestyle session with me. In our pre-session consultation, we planned some activities that were typical for their family to really enjoy together.

Since the kids were young, we kept the activities simple and engaging. The day of their session, we started with some family cuddle time, reading a favorite book.

Then on to cookie making (producing a lot of mess and fun). Then we headed to downtown Chattanooga (one of my favorite shooting locations) to explore the gorgeous Riverwalk area, and finished with some gelato at our favorite local dive.”

Emily’s Photography Tip:

For me, with the type of customized lifestyle photography I do, a pre-session consultation is an absolute must. I love meeting with clients in my cozy studio over coffee and just getting to know them – it’s vital to establish that relationship so that they:

  • Trust me to capture great photographs without the urge to micromanage me during a shoot
  • Relax in front of the camera
  • Have awesome portraits that really show who they are as a family
  • Know exactly what to expect at every stage of their experience.

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.

Emily Lapish Photography - authentic lifestyle session
Emily Lapish Photography - authentic lifestyle session
Emily Lapish Photography - authentic lifestyle session
Emily Lapish Photography - authentic lifestyle session

Emily used a Canon 6D with a Canon 24-70 2.8L lens to capture these images.

Emily Lapish is a Chattanooga, TN Family and Beauty Portraits photographer.

See more tips on Client Direction, Client Personality, and In-Home Sessions.



*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.

Modern Maternity Portraits by Sally Ann Field

I turned around to change my lens and look what I see? This reflection in the van was my favorite surprise of the day.

Today’s feature is from .

Sally Ann says:

“While our session was most certainly a celebration of maternity and that cute little baby bump, I wanted to capture this future Mom and Dad as naturally as possible, doing what they do and going where they normally go. So a walk around their beloved neighborhood made for the perfect afternoon.”

Sally Ann’s Photography Tip:

Make it personal.

My clients are a modern, creative, non-traditional couple. Mom is a hairdresser, wigmaker and milliner. Dad is a skater, performer and actor. So it makes perfect sense to bring some of these things to the shoot. Familiar surroundings and having the board in tow immediately made the session more real. And if a photobomb happens… it happens. 😉

Talk to your clients and find out what makes them tick. The things that matter to them right now. And find a way to bring that to your session.

What I wouldn’t give to have photographs of my parents right before I was born, just hanging out and doing the stuff they loved. Kids today are so darned lucky.

A colorful cubby.

Photobomb #1

The bump.
Pretty alley.
The kiss.

Sally Ann used a Canon 5D Mark3 with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM + Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens to capture these images.

Sally Ann Field is a Los Angeles Lifestyle photographer.

See more tips on how to work your Client’s Personality into their session to make it more personalized.


*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.