How to keep children authentic during family sessions


Today’s feature is from Cadence Feeley.

Cadence says:

“Jaymie and her family live in upcountry Maui, so they decided to do their session near home. Spending time with Jaymie, Mike, and Wesley was a dream — we played disc golf at the Poli Poli course, and explored the forest and fields at sunset.

On our way down the mountain, I couldn’t help but pull over at a gorgeous Jacaranda Tree on Kula Highway for a few more shots. If anyone has experienced Kula when these amazing trees go off, it is unexplainable – bursts of vibrant purple that seem to come from another planet!

I’m always so grateful for adventurous families. Mahalo to the Harrison’s!”

Cadence’s Photography Tip:

Wesley was full of energy — not unlike many other little ones around his age! Here are some tips and tricks I use to keep children engaged and authentic during family sessions:

1. Move around. Don’t spend too much time in one position. By keeping things moving quickly and exploring the area you are shooting in, little ones will not get restless and stiff! They will be their wild and free selves.

2. Let them play. Taking quick breaks makes a huge difference. I let the little ones chill while I get portraits of mom and dad, and after a couple of minutes they want to be back in the center of attention — sometimes they even sneak back in the shot when we see how much fun we’re having!

3. Get down on their level. I always squat down when talking to kids, and sometimes whisper to let them feel like they are in on a secret! This helps me get to know a few things about them that help me photograph their true essence.



Cadence used a Canon 5D Mark III (affiliate link) with a Canon 50mm 1.2 lens (affiliate link) and a Canon 35mm 1.4 lens (affiliate link) to capture these images.

Cadence Feeley is a Maui Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working with Children.

Cadence, unlike a lot of us, doesn’t have to travel too far for an exotic location (being she lives in Hawaii!).

If you’re thinking about getting into travel photography though so you can take awesome pics of your own in crazy cool locals, check out this article here about travel photography.

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.

A Recipe for Soft, Natural Newborn Images

A Recipe for Soft, Natural Newborn Images


Today’s feature is from .

Kelly’s Photography Tip About Soft Newborn Images:

For this particular session, my clients wanted to keep it really simple and make each image purely about capturing their baby. To make sure I was able to accommodate their desires, I chose to use soft, neutral tones and textures so as not to distract.

My studio has an abundance of beautiful natural light. But, to keep with the soft, natural images, I used my sheer curtains to diffuse the light. I personally prefer this type of lighting because it gives the images that beautiful, soft look while also highlighting all of the baby’s features.

When positioning the baby, I like to light the area from a 45-degree angle. Then, I look for where the light falls across the baby – changing my exposure in camera to suit.

For camera settings, I generally shoot wide open at f2.8 which also contributes to that soft feel each image has.  In post, I used my ‘workflow action set’ to adjust the contrast, skin reds, and  give the images a nice warm tone for these newborn images.


Kelly used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 24-70 f/2.8L lens to capture these images.

Kelly Brown is a Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Maternity and Newborn photographer.

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

Online photo galleries are a great way to deliver your lovely images to your client, manage sales, etc. But a great way to maximize your sales per client is to do an in-person sales session with each of your portrait clients.

If you’ve never done them before, this can sound pretty intimidating – but believe me when I say you wouldn’t be the only one to feel that way. If you need a little help figuring out how to do an IPS (what to say, when to say it, etc.), there are guides out there to help you get started.


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.


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 Best Tips On Newborn Portrait Photography


Newborn portrait photography can be very rewarding – but since your subject can’t really talk to you or move on their own, it’s also a little bit different than your average portrait session.

We’ve compiled our best newborn photography tips that we received in 2014 to give you an idea of some of the things you need to consider before starting in on newborn portrait photography (or if you’re a seasoned pro, give you some new inspiration for future sessions!).


Safety is #1 when it comes to working with newborns. Their immune systems are underdeveloped, they can’t move on their own or tell you if they’re uncomfortable, and are completely dependent on you (and the parents) during the session.


Some of the most important things to consider before even starting the session include:

  • Immunizations – because of the delicate state of the newborn’s immune system, make sure you are up to date on your immunizations for at least two critical diseases: DTap (Diptheria, Tetanus, and pertussis), and MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella).
  • Personal Hygiene – keep your nails clean and well-trimmed with no chips in your nail polish, as this will help reduce the spread of germs that live underneath and around your nails.
  • Snacks – if you’re headed for a long day at a client’s home, you might want to bring your own snacks with you. But make sure you ask the parents first if anyone at the household has any food allergies, and/or just bring snacks without nuts.
  • Preparing clients – have your clients turn up their house temperature before you arrive (or turn up your studio temperature) to about 85 degrees, as newborns lose heat rapidly. This will help keep them comfy during the session and more likely to be pleasant babies.
  • Props – make sure all blankets and/or wraps that you bring with you are clean and that you wash and sanitize them between each and every session. Make sure to use unscented detergent that is free of perfumes and dyes

Also make sure that any props you are using are safe. Some props that are considered unsafe would be:

  • Props made of glass or anything that can break and/or shatter
  • Anything that requires placing the baby up high (like on a book shelf)
  • Placing the baby inside something that is prone to tipping (such as an unstable basket)
  • Putting the baby inside some type of appliance, like a mailbox, refrigerator, etc.
Example of a safe, sturdy prop

Example of a safe, sturdy prop

Relaxing The Baby

Having an upset baby during the session can make the session incredibly difficult, so keeping them happy and content is very important.

One of the best things you can do is make sure the parents prep the newborn for the session by feeding them beforehand so they’re more likely to sleep.

To prep you and your studio, make sure the studio is warm, or if you’re doing the session at your clients’ house, tell them to turn up the temperature in their house to about 85 before the session starts.

Also tell the parents to make sure the baby is fed right before the session so they’re more likely to sleep.

A couple other great things that come in handy is both a sound machine and warm hands – you can even take it one step further and use gloves when handing the newborn as many times adult hands can be cold and may startle a sleeping baby.


Don’t forget about parents either; often times, if the baby’s parents are anxious or nervous, it will rub off on the baby and they’ll be more likely to be fussy.

Another good idea is to have the parents sitting close to the baby during the session (but just out of frame, or in such a way that they can easily be cropped out) so they can reach out and comfort the baby or rock them between shots.

The infant's mother's hand is located just out of frame in this shot.

The infant’s mother’s hand is located just out of frame in this shot.

If you’re still having issues comforting the little one, one of our featured photographers, Renee Barber, also recommends reading through “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp.

The book has a lot of tips on soothing and comforting babies, and Renee swears it’s one of the best things she’s done for her newborn photography business, as it gave her some great ideas on how to soothe and comfort a cranky newborn.



When it comes to posing, always consider safety first – if the infant is put in a situation where there is a risk of falling or being unstable, either don’t do the pose at all or do it as a composite image. Even then, you still may not wish to do the pose – and that’s ok.

A couple popular infant poses are the head-on-hand pose and the head-on-wrist pose (which is also known as the Froggie Pose).

When doing the head-on-hands pose, use a large bean bag and center the infant on the bean bag – that way if for some reason they squirm and start to tip, they won’t fall off the prop.

Secondly, use a lens you can shoot close to the baby with – like a 35mm. This will allow you to reach out a helping hand quickly and easily if the baby does start to tip.


Before doing the head-on-hands pose, it is absolutely crucial that you check with the baby’s parents and make sure that the newborn has not been diagnosed with Congenital Hip Dysplasia (CHD), because the positioning of the legs for this pose would cause the infant’s hips to be dislocated.

When doing the head-on-wrist pose, it’s best to do it as a composite as newborns have no control over their balance and could easily tip over when put in this position.

It’s best to do this pose in two shots – one shot with a helper holding the baby’s wrists, and a second shot with the helper stabilizing the baby’s head (see examples here).

When combined in Photoshop the extra pair of helping hands can be edited out, giving you the desired pose but without sacrificing the baby’s safety.


Composite image created from two separate images, both with different stabilization points.

And finally, when posing the baby in any pose, always keep an eye on their skin tones and color – if you see their skin turning purple or blue, their circulation is being cut off and they need readjusting.


One of the most common styles of lighting for newborns is soft, even lighting, which is often achieved when you correctly utilize the play between light and shadows and feather the light.


Even, feathered light on the baby’s front with depth created by shadows.

The lighting setup for creating this type of lighting is relatively simple, and includes a safe resting place for the baby (and most likely a backdrop of your choice), and a softbox (preferably one that is relatively large in size; a 50×50″ softbox would work perfectly).

Place the softbox at 180 angle and about 6 inches in front of the baby and backdrop setup. This placement will ‘feather’ the light onto the subject, which will create softer shadows and even lighting across their face.


Example of lighting setup used for feathering the light.


Final product of light feathering setup.


Baby skin can often be red and blotchy, which isn’t as appealing as smoother, creamy skin tones. To help with that, reduce the reds in post production to help even their skin tones out a bit.

You could even use a preset or action to do this for you, and may even be able to find one made specifically for newborn skin.


And Remember…

Babies are super cute, and we really hope this post gave you some inspiration for where to start if you’re just looking into newborn portrait photography, or just some new tips you maybe didn’t know if you’re already a seasoned pro.

But remember – at the end of the day, if a pose or prop or lighting setup or anything whatsoever seems unsafe for the baby, or you’re not completely comfortable with it – don’t try it! It’s not worth the risk to the little one.


Here are some other products we recommend for Newborn Portrait Photography:

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.31.02 PMTo really maximize your portrait sales, nothing beats in-person sales sessions. But just getting into them can be intimidating – which is why Matt and Katie have created a guide to teach you exactly how to conduct one. Complete with scripts for you to follow, it’ll help take the edge off of figuring it out on your own.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.34.45 PMA lot of the lighting techniques above discuss off-camera lighting, but if you’re not familiar with off-camera lighting that immediately puts a damper on trying out some of the lighting ideas above. Andy from Simple SLR has put together a great guide on off-camera lighting, and even if you’re a seasoned pro it can serve as a great reference piece for future sessions.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.41.34 PM

None of the information in this post is valid if you don’t have a solid contract in place. The Newborn Photography Contract is written by photographer-lawyer Rachel Brenke at The Law Tog, so you know it’ll cover all the legal basics and necessities (including the contract itself, model releases for adults and minors, print releases, and more).


Baby skin can sometimes be mottled and blotchy, so doing skin smoothing on newborn portraits can help give the image a cleaner, finished look. Doing it by hand can really eat up your time though. We love and recommend the Portraiture plugin from Imagenomics, which automatically does a lot of the skin smoothing for you in just a click of the button.

before-after-72111-1024x337Black and white images are a great way to evoke emotion, but oftentimes just cutting the saturation doesn’t quite have the same affect because it’s important to remember that you must edit a black and white image differently than a color image, and Photography Concentrate has created a guide to show you how to do just that.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.46.27 PMIf there’s one thing new parents like to do, it’s show people pictures of their family’s newest addition. StickyAlbums is the mobile app made for just that, and allows clients to easy share pictures of their session with friends and family (which in turn is amazing free marketing for you!).


Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.52.35 PMA great way to get your client their images is with a personalized flash drive – no more burning files to a disc, just drag and drop onto a flash drive and send it along. Plus the personalization gives it that extra professional touch, and since CD drives are sort of on their way out, a flash drive will probably have greater longevity.


Thank you for using the links in this post, as they help us earn a commission and support the site, keeping it free for everyone.

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.

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.



*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 Little Ones


Today’s feature is from .

Katy says:

“This session was a family session featuring their newest addition.”

Katy’s Photography Tip:

For this session I focussed on getting that feeling of the unique time when there is something new in the house. I did this by looking for interesting light, moments that were evoking some kind of mood, or relational feeling.

After we were done shooting inside, we headed outside. The older sibling had a love of being free and running, running, running.  I feel like it is always really important to speak the language of your littlest client and allow them to put on their ‘show’ for you, so we tried to harness her energy by asking her to run and be caught.


Katy used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 35mm 1.4 lens to capture these images.

Katy Tuttle is a Seattle, WA Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working With Children.

Black and white images can be stunning, and invoke a certain level of emotion that colored images can’t. Don’t forget though – editing black and whites is different than editing colors.



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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.


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.



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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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How to Have a Laid-back Family Session


Today’s feature is from .

Deanna says:

“This family was such a great crew to work with! They drove to our little mountain town for a weekend getaway and some family photos on our property.

Casey, the mother, is a fantastic photographer whom I met online a while back when she was a student in one of my online workshops. It was an honor to finally meet her in person and be able to photograph her and her family.”

Deanna’s Photography Tip:

I strive for my sessions to be extremely laid back, and I find the key in that is communication. From the first email to the first time we meet I try to have an upbeat, positive energy that I think rubs off on them.

After all, I want my clients to be excited and relaxed – though it can be difficult to get them to relax at first. I find that if we start with some small talk before jumping into the shooting it helps take the edge off.

For these guys we even took a small walk before we started, which helped everyone feel more comfortable and at ease.

I also find that when a family has small children, the young ones tend to be a bit timid around my camera (or myself). To help remedy this, I ask them to sit on a blanket for the first series of images.

This allows me to be on their level with them, and helps them get comfortable and acclimated with me. I mainly focus on the kids while doing this and as they warm up to me I start to slowly back away to focus on the entire family.

If this doesn’t work, then I just go with the flow. Their older boy was full of energy and the baby needed nursing as soon as we sat down, so I took the 3-year-old to look for bugs in the grass and I was able to snap a few portraits of him while we explored.

While this was going on I was also able to turn around and snap a photo of Casey nursing her youngest, which ended up being my favorite from the entire session.

When I let my guard down and just let things flow naturally is when the magic seems to happen. What the families do on their own is often better than anything I could dream up and prepare for.

I am not a portrait photographer, but I do think portraits are important to have each year to mark growth. I do the portraits during the first half of the session so that the rest of the session can be completely laid back and focused on their connections. If another opportunity for a portrait presents itself then I take it, but I don’t force it.

I also make sure the family knows ahead of time that while they will receive a portrait, their session is based on connection. Being up front and honest like this with what you produce and what the end product will be is key to finding your ideal clients.

At the end of each and every session I ask to photograph the mom and dad alone because in my experience, the last time most of them had been photographed as a couple vs. mom and dad was on their wedding day.

At the end of the session I am left with a series of images to present the family that capture their personalities and honest, raw moments that celebrate their bond and love.


Deanna used a Nikon D700 with a 35mm 1.4 lens to capture these images.

Deanna McCasland is a Hardy County, WV Portrait photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Client Direction and Working With Children.

Need help composing the perfect image on-the-go? Let’s face it, these kinds of sessions are pretty face-paced.

You won’t have an opportunity to pose your subjects as you want, so you’ll have to be picking up on the natural composition of your surroundings pretty quick. To help better train your eye to see the perfectly-composed piece, check out this awesome guide all about photography composition!



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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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Using Location to Help Kids Relax


Today’s feature is from .

Rebecca says:

“This was a portrait session for 2-year old Leeland which took place at The Farm in Door County, Wisconsin. While I don’t normally travel so far for a portrait session, I knew when I talked to Leeland’s Mom about the location that it would be totally worth it. And it was – it ended up being one of my favorite sessions from last year!”

Rebecca’s Photography Tip:

This session was successful because of our careful consideration for the location. When Leeland’s Mom and I spoke to plan his session, we brainstormed many different ideas.

We decided on The Farm in Door County because it’s one of Leeland’s most favorite places, he had been there numerous times, and there are tons of fun things for kids to do!

Having a complete stranger point a camera at you can be uncomfortable for anyone, but especially for toddlers! So choosing a location that they are really familiar with can make a huge difference in their level of ease.

It’s also helpful to have something interactive for them to do so they’re more apt to forget about your camera and have a good time.

At The Farm Leeland was able to feed the baby goats, watch new chicks hatch, climb on the tractors and wagons, play in the puddles, and run around…so I was able to get some great images of him playing and just being a happy kiddo!

Most toddlers won’t sit still for a photographer for more than 2 seconds…but you can still get great images that their parents will cherish!

Just choose a familiar environment and make sure there are lots of fun things for them to play with or do, and you’ll be able to capture a level of authenticity that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to achieve.








Rebecca used a Canon 5d mark II with a Canon 24 – 105 L lens to capture these images.

Rebecca Pfeifer is a Sheboygan Portrait & Wedding photographer.

Click here to see more tips on Working With Children and Location.



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Newborn Safety Tips Tutorial, Part II


This article is the second half of a tutorial on infant safety during Newborn and Infant photography sessions. To read the first half of the article, click here

The second half of the article is based around infant posing and safety during posing, and is written by the same author as the first half of this tutorial, Anya Wait.

The safety of the littlest ones when taking photographs is very important. Not only is the environment very important, but even the equipment that the newborn rests on must be free of hazards.

Newborn Safety Tips for Infant Posing

I do not do any images that are composites.  I am sure some of these can be done safely; however, I personally don’t feel comfortable hanging babes in slings or doing the chin-on-wrists pose (as I will discuss below).

If a photographer is going to do these types of images, where baby has the potential to fall over or be unstable, they should always be done as a composite.

Below are a couple examples of poses that I do (or don’t do along with reasons why) and suggestions on how to complete the poses safely.

The Head-On-Hands Pose

I have heard that a lot of photographers do the head-on-hands pose as a composite image. However, because I am so conscientious about the safety of the newborn, I do this pose frequently and don’t actually do it as a composite.

Here’s how I do it.

For safety purposes, I use a very large bean bag (like one from Shoot Baby or Newborn Nest) and place baby closer to the center of the bean bag to insure that if the baby’s head does start to fall over, the baby is safe and will not fall off of the prop.

I also shoot this image very close (with my 35mm), which allows me to be within very close proximity of the infant at all times in case I need to use a steadying hand.

Oftentimes when doing this pose I’m just moving my hand slightly to capture the images and rapidly shooting to get as many as I can in the shortest amount of time.


When the baby is in this pose (and really, when you’re putting the baby in any pose where you’re posing the feet and/or hands), pay close attention to circulation.

If baby is in one position too long and I see the baby’s hands and/or feet starting to turn red or purple, that’s an indication to me that their circulation is starting to change. When this happens, I gently adjust the baby again to restore good circulation.

This is why I try to shoot as quickly as possible, so I don’t have to leave the baby in a certain position for very long.

Head-On-Wrist Pose (also known as Froggie Pose)


Photo Credit: Hope Brown Photography — used with permission.

This is a pose I do not do for a variety of reasons; however, I ultimately believe that if this pose is done with safety in mind, it will not harm baby in any way.

First and foremost, when it comes to approaching this pose, I believe it should always be done as a composite. This is because newborns have no control over balance and could easily topple over in the middle of the pose.

Secondly, prior to doing this pose with a newborn, it is crucial that you ask the parents if their newborn has been diagnosed with Congenital Hip Dysplasia (CHD), as the positioning of the legs could cause the infant’s hip to become dislocated.

CHD is found in 1 – 1.5% of the population and according to Dr. Melissa Murphy, DC,

An infant with unrecognized congenital hip dysplasia will risk full dislocation if placed in that posture.  Dislocation can lead to chronic pain and life-long problems with mobility, so make absolutely sure that doctors have ruled out CHD before placing an infant in that pose.

To do this image as a composite, hold the baby up by the wrists (shown below):


Photo Credit: Jennifer Snook Photography – used with permission

Then, once the baby is positioned safely with you bracing their wrists, take the image quickly.

Next, hold the baby up by their head (shown below):


Photo Credit: Jennifer Snook Photography – used with permission

Then, as before, once the baby is positioned safely with you bracing their nead, take the image quickly.

Once the session is over and you’ve moved on to post-production, merge the two images in Photoshop to get the final product:


Photo Credit: Jennifer Snook Photography – used with permission

shoot, hold the baby up by the head, shoot, and then merge the two images during post-processing in Photoshop later.

By creating a composite image, you will guarantee that the infant will always remain in a safe position for the duration of the pose.

In the end….

Infants and newborns are exceptionally fragile, and their safety during the session is in your hands.

It’s up to you to always make sure that you have their health in mind – from making sure you’re healthy and prepared to work with the newborn before the shoot even starts, to posing and working with the newborn during the session.

And finally, if you don’t feel comfortable or familiar with a particular prop, shooting location, or pose – DON’T DO IT! It is not worth the health and safety of the baby if (heaven forbid) something should go wrong due to your inexperience and/or lack of knowledge.



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Working with Mixed Ages During a Session

Family Time

Today’s feature is from .

Rachel says:

“This is a newborn/family session done on-location at my client’s home. There is something so magical about a new child being born into a family and I really wanted to capture this time in a way that showed the beauty of having a new life added to a family.

Rachel’s Photography Tip:

We started this session in the master bedroom for the first setting. It was fun to watch the father and son interact as they held little sister, and I was able to capture that candid moment where the father was helping his son hold the baby.

We also used the nursery as one of our settings since the mother really wanted to remember that space as it was. Their dog wanted to hang out with us and was being cooperative so it was a nice touch to have her in the scene as well.

In order to get my young kids to sit in their parent’s lap I will often have the parent play with their child to distract them from the fact that they are being made to hold still.

I will have them toss the little one into the air and as soon as the child lands I tell the parent to look at me and smile. Sometimes I will just take the shot of the parent laughing as they interact with their child since that is genuine.

As this particular session wore on, the older son started to get a little energetic and started bouncing all over the place, which started to stress the parents out.

If and when that happens, I have everyone take a break or let them have a break and play while I photograph someone else. I always say “the two-year-old is in charge!”

If you’re mindful of the attitudes (and attention spans!) of all the members of the family and do your best to cater to each one in turn, you’ll be more likely to have a stress-free and fun session, giving you natural and authentic images.

Father with his Children
Brother and Sister

Rachel used a Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 2.8 70-200mm lens and a Nikkor 85mm 1.8 lens to capture these images.

Rachel Paulus is a West Central Wisconsin On-Location Portrait photographer.

See more tips on In-Home Sessions and Working with Children.


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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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Advice on First Year Toddler Sessions


Today’s feature is from .

Sarah says:

“Since this little one’s newborn session I have photographed her quite a few times. She is such a sweet and curious baby and so much fun to photograph.”

Sarah’s Photography Tip:

First birthday sessions are very special and memorable for your clients – the parents.

Therefore, I make sure to treat this session as special as their newborn session. After all, they have made it through a joyful year – yet most likely with a few challenges along the way.

To make the overall experience a memorable one, I suggest including the parents in the fun. Letting them choose the colour theme and helping them pick the wardrobe will make for a session the parents are sure to love.

For the session itself, I typically run through 2-3 setups without the cake first and then finish off the session with the cake smash. Baby will most likely get a bit messy (hopefully!) so the session will be done once the cake smash portion is over.

As a final note, remember that not all babies will smile all the time.

And that’s okay.

Parents love those curious little faces just as much as the smiles. So don’t hesitate to capture all of the moments of the session, not just the smiling faces.


Sarah used a Canon 6D with a Sigma 35 1.4 and Canon L 70-200 2.8 lens to capture these images.

Sarah Martin is a Hamilton, Halton and GTA Newborn, Babies and Family 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 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.



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Hipster Baby Family Portraits by Ryan MacDonald

Elijah and camera

Today’s feature is from .

Ryan says:

“Amanda and Ami were wedding clients. They now have two active and curious little boys keeping them busy in Victoria, BC. Amanda is a photographer and wanted images to remember life at this moment, even if it’s often chaotic.”

Ryan’s Photography Tip:

For many of my sessions, I like to begin in the home of the clients. There was no posing necessary because I the just did what they’d do as a family on a normal weekend.

At the time of our session, Elijah enjoyed taking photos and wanted to show me his room and talk about Star Trek. I don’t have a clue about Star Trek, but I listened and asked questions. From that point, all I had to do was follow them around documenting the next few hours. Take a genuine interest in your clients and you’ll earn their trust.

With kids I also try to keep them moving. We went outside to their parking lot just for some different light and variety. Changing a location can sometimes change a mood, so if I feel that a kid is getting impatient, I suggest we move a little bit or burn a little energy. It usually does the trick (for a while!).

Pay attention and listen to your clients, especially kids and especially their mood(s). I’m always moving around in sessions with kids because I want to maximize their patience. Happy kids make for happy photos! Find out what they’re interested in so you can engage with them when needed.

Bike concentration and family.
Baby Luc.
Bunk beds and Star Trek.
Bike wipe out.
Chasing Papa.

Ryan used a Canon Mk III with a Canon 35mm f/1.4 lens to capture these images.

Ryan MacDonald is a Victoria, British Columbia + Nova Scotia Portrait and Wedding photographer.

See more tips on 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.

Fun Family Portraits by Ana Pascos

Relaxed Family

Today’s feature is from .

Ana says:

“This was a truly incredible session! Originally intended to be a maternity-slash-family session, it turned out to be a super fun, tickle fest of curiosity.

Like all young children, these munchkins were much more interested in playing with their newly-discovered toys than paying attention to the camera.

But by embracing their curiosity and allowing them the freedom to be themselves, I was not only able to capture the authentic versions of their young personalities, but allowed them to have a great time doing it!”

Ana’s Photography Tip:

The best tip I can give to a photographer shooting young children is to just go with it!

Kids can be a bit of a challenge to pose, calm down, or made to look at the camera. But sometimes it is just as important to let them be themselves and have fun with you.

Once you interact with them and they start having a good time, the photos speak for themselves!

If you remember this tip when working with children, you’ll be able to capture authentic smiles and interactions that are precious at this age and dear to a parent’s heart.

Silly Face
Who's there?
Family time
Tickle time

Ana used a Nikon d300 with a Nikon AF-S 24-70 F2.8 lens to capture these images.

Ana Pascos is a Toronto, Canada Newborn and Family photographer.

See more tips on 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.

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.



*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.