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What to Expect from your Lifestyle Family Session | Atlanta Family Photographers

When potential clients reach out to me about booking a family session I get really excited! I get excited to get to know the family and what makes their family special. People typically book a family photographer once a year at certain times, whether it’s the spring, the holidays, or to celebrate a new addition to the family. Or maybe the family books sessions through out the year.

I want to get to know the families briefly on the phone, learn everyone’s names, and learn about what the children like to do. It is also important to know how their children typically behave in front of the camera. Some children really love the camera and others might not want anything to do with me. It is always helpful to know this information ahead of time so I can be a match to the family’s goals and expectations of their family session.

Once I am able to gather details from the family that will help me capture the connection and tell a story through images, I mention to them what to expect.

Here a few things that I aim to do during your family session.

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Here are 3 tips for what to expect during your lifestyle family session:

  1. Have fun

    First and foremost, getting your photos should be fun! I know it can be stressful to figure out what to wear, or figure out the best location for your family, but hopefully I can take the stress out of that for you and share ideas for What to Wear. Aside from that, clothing doesn’t really matter. What matters is that your family has fun. Have fun!

    This family had two young children, that at times were interested in the camera and other times didn’t really care that much. It’s important that I keep your family close together while you keep your children engaged in fun! This can mean tickling your little guy, or seeing how he can pile up and hug on Mommy. It can also mean allowing your little guy to play with leaves and talk about the color or shape! Or maybe your little girl just wants to he held. I’m there to document that for you!

  2. Follow your Child’s Lead

    Once we get the important shots out of the way, you know, the ones for the grandparents with everyone looking at the camera, we can relax a little bit. My favorite images are always the ones where we allow the child to naturally explore and get into something he or she wants to do. When we let the child lead the way, they will naturally be motivated to interact and play, and this helps to bring out natural expressions from the child as well.

    This little guy would stick with us for a few shots and then wanted to explore nature. He wanted to collect leaves big and small, and he wanted to look at the little bugs crawling on the stone. It was totally fine, we are at a park! Let’s have fun and allow me document your child’s interest at this age. Let’s let them lead the way! Sometimes if your child doesn’t really show interest or maybe there is something that you know he or she will like, we can plan an activity.

  3. engage your child in an activity

    I was actually photographing Mama and baby girl for a little while when I glanced over and saw this little guy exploring the rocks and the water. Dad was already there supervising for safety so I encouraged Dad to stay close to the little guy and just be with him and that I would photograph them. And that’s exactly what happened. I didn’t need to set up this activity, it was already going with the two of them. You can see how engaged they were in this activity to find the bugs and look at the water. We didn’t really know this ahead of time or before the session that the child would be interested in just that, but the activity naturally unfolded. I love the way they are together and enjoying what they are doing.

    I can’t wait to meet your family and take unique photos that help to tell your family’s story. Check out more images in the family gallery. If you think you may be interested in booking a session, please say hello on this contact form and we can chat!

10 Ways to Tell a Story During your In-Home Newborn Session

I love love love lifestyle newborn sessions.

Being a lifestyle photographer means helping to tell a family’s story and incorporating meaning and emotion into the image from the session.

Looking through my last few newborn sessions I realized there are some important detail shots that I tend to take that help to document the special time of welcoming a new baby into the world.

Here are 10 ways to use photography to help tell a story during your in home newborn session.

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1. Include the Entire Family

Sometimes Dad’s aren’t particularly jumping to the opportunity to get their photo taken. I like to take a few photos of the entire family at the beginning of the session and then let Dad be on his way. 

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2. Focus on the Baby within the Family Photo

While I still have Dad’s attention and the family is still together, I like to crop in tight to get a shot of the baby. This might mean moving the family around a little bit, but it’s a nice way to create variety within a family shot. The baby was awake for almost this entire session and I love this photo with her eyes open.

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3. Photograph the Baby Feet

I don’t think I could have a newborn photo shoot without photographing the baby’s feet! The baby is so precious and new and getting close up photos of the baby’s legs and feet is so important. They grow so fast at this age so make sure you don’t forget that detail shot!

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4. Use a Window

The master bedroom in this home had really great window light. Most of my sessions are taken with natural light when possible, and for those sessions I like to take some photos near a window. My focus is more on the baby and the family so it doesn’t bother me when the windows are blown out. 

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5. Capture Connection

I typically like to schedule my newborn sessions when the newborn is 2-3 weeks old because the babies are more alert. When they are awake it tends to be a little easier to capture connection. Whether you are photographing the baby’s connection with the family or with the viewer, it can be a nice way to tell a story.

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6. Peek In

For rooms and space that allow, I like to step back and take the photo that allows the viewer to “peek in”. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way for the family dog to join the photo. When taking these peeking-in shots, you can frame the shot with the door and/or crib if the room allows.

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7. Document a Feeding

When Moms are comfortable being photographed nursing their babies it gives me an opportunity to walk around from different angles and document this special time. Newborns naturally eat often so don’t be afraid bring your camera and document a few of these photos for the family to enjoy.

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8. Photograph the Baby in Crib

This photo can be taken with the baby in their crib awake or sleeping and I think it helps to tell the story because this is where the baby spends so much of their time.

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9. Encourage the Parents to Look at the Baby in Crib

Photographing the parents looking at their baby in the crib is another idea to tell the story with a different perspective and creates connection between the parent and the baby. Another thing you can do is have the parents put their hand on the baby. Babies are so small so I always like to incorporate objects, furniture, and people in comparison to document their small size.

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10. Place the Baby on the Bed

Placing the baby on a clean bed and photographing them from different angles is another way to tell the story. This one allows you to compare the size of the baby and remember what they felt like.

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If you’ve had photos taken of your newborn, did you get any of these photos?

If you’re a photographer would you add anything else to this list?

Leave a comment below!  

6 Photo Ideas for Baby's First Christmas

So it’s your baby’s first Christmas and you want to take family photos. Now what? Whether your baby is an infant, sitter or toddler, I’ve listed out 6 photo ideas for your baby’s first Christmas. If you’d like ideas about how to incorporate holiday items and family members that add to your family’s Christmas photo session, keep reading below!

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lighting

The master bedroom in this home had quite a bit of natural light so we took advantage. We sat the baby on the bed and faced him towards the window. This helped to illuminate him and create catch lights in his eyes. I also loved that the bedding was simple so it naturally allows the focus to be on him!

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focus on the details

It wouldn’t be a Christmas photo shoot without some holiday items! I suggest keeping it simple for the shots with the baby. I love a naked baby because you get to see their adorable little body and chunky baby fat! Mom and Dad had some Christmas socks and a hat they wanted to incorporate so we decided to keep it simple so that the focus could be on the little guy and his first Christmas!

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use lights

Mom had the idea to use the Christmas lights and I loved how they turned out! Little ones love putting things in their mouth so you’ll want to be a little close to them just in case they decide it’s a fun toy to put in their mouth. When you plug in the Christmas lights it be easier if you turn off the overhead light. This will help to create the natural look that isn’t too bright. Keep in mind these Christmas lights can get hot if plugged in for an extended amount of time so I would take as many shots as you can before the lights get too warm for baby.

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include family traditions / keepsakes

Of course it’s the baby’s first Christmas but we also want to document this special time with Mom and Dad! You can get creative with these. If there is a tradition a family has during the holidays such as kissing under the mistletoe, feel free to incorporate that into a family photo!

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family christmas pajamas

I typically wouldn’t suggest everyone wearing the exact same thing during a typical non-holiday family session, but with this being a Christmas theme, we can’t forget Christmas clothes! I just loved how adorable they are with their Christmas jammies. I might have to shop around this year just to have a photo like this!

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include the pets

Pets are part of the family! Mom and Dad had this pup before the baby was born so it would be unfair to not include him in the family photos. I just love the pup’s reaction in the photos. Can you tell he is excited?

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If you have any ideas about how to create fun and unique holiday family photos, I’d love to read your ideas below!

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10 Ways to Add Variety in a Lifestyle Portrait Session

When we think portraits we might often think studio or a close up headshot. Here I have listed 10 ways you can incorporate several backgrounds, poses, and props to add variety in your lifestyle portrait session. Let's get started!

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1. Incorporate Movement

Typically when you get your subjects moving, they relax. When people relax they are usually more photogenic and this results in a fun and interesting portrait. If you are photographing your subject in a flowy dress, try to have her twirl in her dress. It might sound silly but it can make for a great photo! You can also create movement with hair. Here she just started shaking around her hair and I snapped away. The photos are so fun!

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2. Use a Unique Background

I love putting my subjects in front of unique backgrounds. This could mean putting them in front of a brick wall, a staircase, or a fun window. Take a look around your environment and see what kinds of areas that would make your subject pop. Keep in mind what your subject is wearing and make sure their outfit can compliment the background.

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3. Use a Simple Background

Simple backgrounds are also great for photos! Again, keep in mind what your subject is wearing to make sure the outfit and background compliment each other. It might be a good idea to ask your client what they will be using the photos for. If your client wants a portrait with a simple background, try to look around for a space with few distractions and a clean wall.

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4. Use their Home

One way you can learn about someone is photographing them in their natural environment. Taking photos in your home can add a personal feel to the photo. Whether you are a food photographer or a family photographer using your natural environment helps to create a warm photo.

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5. Shoot from Above

I like to get a few close-up shots during my lifestyle portrait sessions because it keeps the focus clear on the person. I like to shoot a little elevated from where they are standing and this helps to give you a variety of perspectives from the same pose.

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6. Use Small Props

If you are a coffee drinker, experiment with having the coffee as a prop in your photo. These types of photos have more of a blogger style but I feel that it helps to add a personal touch to the photo. I also like to take photos of photographer friends with and without their camera. Holding a camera (or a coffee in the previous example) gives your subject something to do with their hands and relaxes them. And like mentioned earlier when people are relaxed they are photogenic!

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7. Play with Hair or Face

This is another way you can give your client something to do with their hands. Have them run their finger through their hair or stroke along their face and will naturally give them a way to create interesting elements in the photo.

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8. Use a Chair

Using a chair can be another way to incorporate a prop into a photo and keep the photo and the subject looking natural. A chair can add interesting dynamics to a photo and will give you variety of looks within your gallery.

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9. Photograph your Subject Laughing

One of the jobs of being a photographer is interacting with the people you are photographing. Don’t forget to take some photos of them laughing! You will want to engage with them, bring out natural expressions, and relax them. It can be hard to act natural in front of a camera so when you are talking with your subject, make sure to capture the moment they make a candid and genuine expression! Some of my favorite photos of myself are ones where I’m laughing because it’s not a super posed expression!

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10. Take a Close-Up Shot

Most of the lifestyle portraits I take include the environment, background, props, outfits, and other elements. It might be helpful to take a couple of close up shots that allow your subject to fill the frame and be the focus in the photo.

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Do you have any other tips that should be included in this list?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

atlanta family photographer | {zembillas family}

I love meeting new families and photographing them for lifestyle family sessions! Typically families reach out to me to welcome a new baby, celebrate a birthday, or because they want some updated blog/business portraits but I think summer is the perfect reason (and season) to have family photos taken! That's right, you don't have to wait until a holiday to take family photos!

I hadn't met Dad until today but I had taken Mommy and Me photos of Cole and his Mama and you can tell they have so much fun together. I love taking photos of families doing what they love to do. In this case, this little guy is so into rocks and throwing them into the pool (sorry Mom and Dad) so I wanted to incorporate that into our lifestyle family session. Of course during these lifestyle family sessions, there's always room for snuggles, hugs and kisses too. This little guy also loves chalk so I definitely wanted to capture the little artist at work.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do! Interested in booking a family session? Head on over to my contact page and send me a message. I also have a FAQ page to let you know what to expect. Interested to see what else I offer? Head on over to the blog