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Archive for January 2012

Lifestyle Photography {& some tips for your session}

January 30, 2012

I sat by the adorable Miss Lyra yesterday at our church's stake conference. As she very sweetly shared her books with my daughter Clara, I realized that I still haven't blogged about this photo session we did back in the fall! It was sooo perfect in every way, and I would like to share why I think it went so well, and how you can apply these things in your future photo shoots... (Once again, please don't mind the double watermarks... I was trying new things, and failing with Picasa that day! Sorry.)

First of all, have adorable kids. No, but really... She is so stinkin' adorable it's not even funny.

 We had lots of props for Lyra to play dress up and interact with. When your kids have something to think about, other than the crazy lady with the big scary camera in front of them they are so much more relaxed and just themselves! Let your kids bring their favorite toy, even if you don't want it in all the pictures. The beauty of digital is that we can take a few of them with their "prop" and then get some without as well. They feel more comfortable and it's just something to break the ice with.

We would get set up in a "pose," I'd take a few shots, and then I wanted them to interact with each other...

Lyra would give her mommy kisses and whisper in her ear...

They'd make faces at me...

They'd tickle and laugh and play around just as if I wasn't there... Very little of this was prompted by me at all!

Here's the toy that Lyra brought and just had to get a picture with. Whether you (as a mom or dad) actually want to print this picture and hang it up on the wall is up to you, but it sure did make for one happy Lyra during our photo shoot that she got a picture with her dear kitty. (I think it's an adorable picture, by the way!) 

They were just walking down the path to our next location and I had Lyra turn around... And bam! Another great and natural shot from the session.

We had some chalk to play with... (And recreate an idea seen all over the internet) ;-)

A family blanket to play on... (I love it when clients bring props that mean something to them)

More tickle fights led to some mommy-daughter adorableness...

Lyra dancing, jumping, playing, and just being happy because she isn't being restrained or threatened into "posing" for the camera. Her mom even turned on some tunes on her phone for her to dance around to.

And of course we had to get one of just Becky. Because she is just so beautiful!

And the puppy, who behaved so well for us even being tied up most of the time...

And there you have it. A fun, lifestyle photography session. Kids are happy because they got to have fun and play with props and show off, mom is happy because we got a lot of good pictures to choose from, and photographer is super happy because (all of the above) and it just makes for an all around enjoyable shoot! It totally shows when you're comfortable and natural in pictures. I believe that the less posing and direction I give, the better you will look, so really... just have fun! It should be fun!!!

So to just go over a few pointers and add a few more (and this is from the mom's perspective... Seeing as I am a mom myself and I think moms are the ones to organize the family for photography sessions 99% of the time anyway):

-Let your kids bring something that will make them happy and comfortable (especially if I have never met them before) like a favorite toy or snack. For little ones I love marshmallows because they don't turn your lips blue and they disappear faster than... say... a big 'ol graham cracker in their hand.
-Dress for the weather! I cannot stress this enough. As adults, we can "fake a smile" well enough when we have to, but if your kids are freezing it is really really really hard for them to be happy.
-Bring other props for them to interact with.
-Never threaten with negative consequences, instead go for positive reinforcement (and yes, even bribery!) but be sure they are old enough to understand that the positive consequence (whether it be a sucker you brought with (an awesome prop by the way!) or whatever else comes when we are all done with the shoot.
-This is one I have a hard time "correcting" during a shoot, and I know it is just pure habit to tell your kids to say "cheese" but please please please for your own photographic sake and mine try and break that habit now! Look at yourself in the mirror when you say the long "e" in cheese. Almost any other vowel would give you a lovely smile, but the "cheese" smile is just not the most flattering. It's a hard one to break in kids (and parents!) Instead of outright asking for a smile, try a joke you know they will laugh at, or with littler ones a good game of peek-a-boo behind my back can often bring out some great natural smiles.
-Prepare your husbands. Grumpy dads give the kids an excuse to be grumpy too. Yes dad, you will get to be in more than one picture, and yes dad, you do have to wear that outfit that your wife picked out, and yes dad, the shoot may last as long as an hour and a half (the horror!) but your cooperation is so key to the success of a family photo shoot! To all the dads out there... You are awesome. Thank you for understanding! ;-)
-I will put you in some more formal poses, but then I love to see interaction!  I may just give you a prompt and go with it. I may ask you to do something again because it was really cute. Don't feel like you always have to be looking at the camera and holding a smile. You don't always have to hold still. Don't be afraid to just be you!
-Along with the threatening, please don't make me out to be a bad guy. Saying things like, "do this or Alea is going to be mad at you!" only make kids more scared of an already big scary camera in their face. I promise I am nice and sometimes rather goofy and I am not mad if things don't go perfectly. Trust me, I have kids. I totally understand if it's an off day. I understand spit-up and blow-outs and tantrums and being scared... If things are really just not working out we can reschedule. Really.

Thank you Becky and Lyra for doing this shoot with me. 
They were a great example of exactly how much fun a photo shoot should be! 
I just love the natural lifestyle genre portraits and I hope for my sessions in the future to lean more and more towards this style.

{Kinley} 1 Year Cake Smash!

January 25, 2012

Cake smashes are so much fun... Everything starts out so calm and perfect...

And then you add a soon-to-be one-year-old to the scene...

And there may be some wonder and trepidation at the mound of yumminess that lies before them, like "mom, is it really okay that I eat this???"

But eventually Kinley decided she liked this frosting business. She is just as adorable as ever.

I am so glad that her beautiful momma has let me take her pictures throughout her first year.

All of her sessions have been some of my favorites. Her expressions are just priceless!

Just look at those eyes!

Her mom's life is about to change... Drastically. She was standing all on her own!

To be honest, I have never met such a tidy baby! She liked to lick the frosting off her fingers, but didn't seem to enjoy the messiness of it all. Maybe that mentality will continue through toddlerhood... Wouldn't that be awesome?!

Kinley, you are precious and perfect and I just CAN'T believe you are one year old!

The Andersen Family

January 17, 2012

This session was before Christmas, but I had to post about it because it turned out so great! You know how we have had such a warm, mild winter so far? Well we just happened to pick the coldest, windiest day for our shoot (of course!) Everyone was so tough to brave the cold and put on some smiles for the pictures.

Seriously... Isn't the location beautiful?! It's down in the canyon at the Blue Lakes Country Club. I absolutely loved getting to shoot there.

I know all of the Andersen girls from the studio I teach tumbling at. Caroline (the mom) is also an instructor there and I had each of her girls in tumbling. I just love this family. They have been so much fun in my classes and I'm so glad I had the chance to get to know them.

I decided that Caroline needs to coordinate all of the wardrobes for my shoots... Don't they all look perfect?

We were very excited to be done and go inside to warm up by the fire! 

My editing style

January 12, 2012

This post is prompted by a video I just watched. Check it out. Right now. It gave me a good chuckle!... But at the same time it's ALL TOO TRUE these days! Digital editing techniques have really changed our perception of beauty and reality.

Have you ever seen an old statue of Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love & beauty? You'd notice that, other than the fact that she's almost always naked, (it must've been hot in Greece or something because they didn't wear much for clothing!) she actually looks like a real person with real proportions. Back in the day she was the standard of beauty. When did that all change to give us all (especially women) such unrealistic standards to try and live up to?

I wish I knew why and how to fix it, but I do know that my personal beliefs on the subject reflect in my editing style. I once heard a quote about makeup that I thought was perfect, but by George I can't find who actually said it (maybe I should just claim it as my own, eh?) It's something like: "beautiful is the girl that wears just enough makeup that no one knows she's wearing any at all." I believe the same about "photoshopping" images.

My goal is to enhance, not to change. As someone who has struggled with acne all her teen and adult life, I don't think anyone would decline the removal of blemishes from their skin. I am certainly capable of removing or smoothing out freckles and wrinkles but I generally don't unless I'm asked.  We've all seen photos of people so air brushed that they look like mannequins. It's not really my style. Just like the video mentions, there are also tools in photoshop to warp a body to make it look thinner. I never use this tool. I do however believe in dressing for the right body style, and using flattering poses no matter your shape. I also like to brighten the eyes to help draw the focus into the face, but very very rarely (unless requested) change the eye color. Once again, I think there's a fine line to be drawn.

As far as overall color editing, my favorite images are often those that are bright and colorful, but not so saturated that your normally beautiful skin looks like an oompa-loompa. Depending on the picture, I also love a good faded or vintage edit, and black and white is always classic. (FYI I custom edit my black and white images to be a bit warmer and more contrasted than if you were to just click on "black & white" when you're ordering prints, so be sure to print the black & white images I provide you and not rely on the printers to do it for you!) Selective color (where most of the image is black & white except for one focal piece) can also be a fun editing technique when used in moderation, so if there is an image from your session that you would like to see in selective color, please let me know!

I love post production of images. It's my favorite part of the entire process. Just a few little tweaks, not a photoshop "overhaul" can take an image from good to great. You can be confident that the images I provide will be a representation of your best self! ...All of the beauty and light that each one of us uniquely possesses!

Senior Pictures {Dylan}

January 2, 2012

It's just not okay when your youngest sibling gets all grown up and graduates from high school. Dylan and I were pals as kids. We both loved books and nerdy sci-fi movies and building stuff. He'd love to take clocks apart and build robots, and his favorite toy was duct tape. If I ever needed a favor he would always be willing. He'd even watch muppets with me when no one else would.

Now one of his favorite things is to use words that nobody knows just so he can be mysterious and frustrating. ;-) But seriously, I don't know many people that are as smart all just around great as he is, and artistic too! He's just one of those guys that's great at everything. (Doesn't that just drive you crazy?!)
He's got a lot of decisions ahead of him, and so many exciting opportunities in the near future.
Go class of 2012!