Lessons From My First Photography Session

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Last week, I had the opportunity to take maternity photographs for a friend.  I have had absolutely no experience in photographing people (unless you count my niece!) and have solely tried to perfect my landscape photographs.  When I was asked to take maternity photos, I was incredibly nervous but also excited.  I knew that this was a huge deal and I wanted to take the best pictures I could for my friend.

I met Alexis back when I worked as a lifeguard in high school.  She was so sweet and kind, and really hasn’t changed at all!  We haven’t seen each other in years so being able to catch up while taking her pictures was a blast.  I loved reconnecting with her and capturing photographs of such a special time in her life.

Because this was my first time taking pictures like this, I decided to put together a list of everything I learned in hopes that it’ll be helpful to someone else!  I’m not perfect and I made plenty of mistakes, but I was able to capture some really great photos (in my completely biased opinion) that I am really proud of.  I cannot wait to do this again!

7 lessons I learned when shooting my first photography session on location.

  1. Get location recommendations from other photographers.  I researched a lot of locations online but I received the most helpful recommendations from other photographers.  Most have websites where you can check out their pictures from locations you’re interested in having sessions at.  If you can’t get to a location right away to check it out (or if you’re in a pinch) this is a great way to see if a location will work for your vision.Maternity Photo Shoot at Algonkian Park
  2. Check to see if locations charge a permit fee.  Some locations charge photographers permit fees for us to be able to take pictures in area parks.  If you’re scouting a location, make sure you check to see if you need to fill out paperwork!  I found a website that specifically talks about permit fees for the Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia areas and I am sure there will be websites giving out similar information for whatever area you’re living in.
  3. Check the weather before you set up a session!  This may be common sense, but some people really don’t think about this stuff (myself included sometimes!).  The day I set up a session with Alexis, I pulled up the weather app to make sure it wasn’t going to rain on the day we wanted to take pictures.  Lucky for us, it was going to be sunny and hot.Maternity Photo Shoot at Algonkian Park
  4. Pack more than you think you’ll need in your photography bag.  This is specifically for newbie photographers because if you’ve done this before you’ll have a good idea of what you’re going to use/need.  I had no idea so I packed everything: my tripod, extra batteries and memory cards, and my wide angle and kit lens.  I ended up just needing my long range lens but in those situations I’d rather have too much stuff than not enough.
  5. Stay calm.  Sometimes the picture we want to capture just isn’t happening for us. Do not get frustrated or upset because that will put a damper on the shoot! Instead, take a deep breath and come back to the shot.  And then, if you still can’t get the shot you want, walk away from it.  Sometimes things just don’t work out and that is okay.

    I just could not get this photo right, no matter how hard I tried.  Looking at it now, I realize that I needed to use my flash to illuminate her face.  Another photographer helped me out with reflectors, but because of my position with the camera it wasn't really helping.
    I just could not get this photo right, no matter how hard I tried. Looking at it now, I realize that I needed to use my flash to illuminate her face. Another photographer helped me out with reflectors, but because of my position with the camera it wasn’t really helping.
  6. Talk to your clients.  Getting to know your client gives them a sense of trust with you.  It also gives them a chance to let you know what they want out of the session (if there are any specific photos they’d like, poses, etc).
  7. Send positive comments and encouragement to your clients!  Clients are in front of the camera, so they can’t see what you see.  If there is a pose that you love, let them know.  If a shot comes out exactly how you wanted, tell them. Any positivity that you express to them only encourages them and makes them feel confident about your ability.Maternity Photo Shoot at Algonkian Park

I honestly learned so much from this shoot, and I am so thankful I was given the opportunity to do it!  Alexis is gorgeous and she was so easy to photograph.  There are so many great pictures of her I don’t think I can choose just one so I’m just going to share a few more that I love.  Enjoy!

Maternity Photo Shoot at Algonkian Park

Maternity Photo Shoot at Algonkian Park

Maternity Photo Shoot at Algonkian Park

Maternity Photo Shoot at Algonkian Park

Maternity Photo Shoot at Algonkian Park

0 Comments

    1. Thank you!!! The ones by the water are my favorite too. It really helps when you’re taking pictures of someone who is just so photogenic! haha I cannot wait to do this again!!! 🙂

  1. The ones by the water are stunning – especially the ones in the hat. Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing them with us!

    Stacy

    1. Thank you Stacy! Those are my favorites as well. I was so lucky that she is so incredibly photogenic, which made taking her pictures a fantastic experience.

  2. Your work turned out gorgeously from your first session! I’ll keep these tips in mind the next time I am having photos taken.

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