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Top Tips for a Sensational Senior Photo Session

Below are our top five tips for taking on your senior portrait with grace and confidence and leaving with photos that you will love for years to come.

It’s completely normal to feel a little awkward when taking senior portraits. Many seniors tend to feel self-conscious about their appearance because they feel uncomfortable taking photos on their own.

  1. Use your eyes. Use your eyes to express emotion. When you smile naturally your whole face lights up and your eyes look bright and awake. Before the photo session practice smiling in the mirror and use different expressions to see what looks best.
  2. Relax. Great photos happen when the subject is relaxed and confident. Let the excitement of you photo session show through the lens as you take a moment and breathe, relax and just have fun. You may feel silly during this process but we will do everything we can to help you feel more comfortable.
  3. Breathe. This may sound obvious but breathing is key to capturing a natural look. Take time to practice taking a deep breath while smiling in front of the mirror. Slowly release the air while holding the smile and notice how your face and eyes settle into a natural and relaxed expression. Allow your eyes to “smile” by focusing on the apples of your cheeks pressing upwards. When in doubt, just breathe.
  4. Move. Staying stationary can sometimes produce a very staged and cheesy look. Just because you are sitting or standing still doesn’t mean you can’t change the angle of your body to create a look that is fresh and inspired. Try leaning into the camera slightly to appear more engaged, shift your weight from left to right, or simply move your chin slightly up and down for different shots as this gives us a variety of facial expressions to work with.
  5. Extra Effort. Ladies, spend some extra time getting your hair blown out, get your makeup and nails done and choose an outfit that makes you look and feel your best. As for the men, take a shower, shave, and clean your nails. Do not wear clothes that are too tight or uncomfortable to wear – it will show. When you look your best, you feel your best and when you feel your best, you are naturally more confident. Go the extra mile to walk into your senior session feeling confident, attractive, prepared, and inspired.

We Love Our Fur Babies

February is for lovers and this February our studio is honoring one of the greatest loves in our lives … our fur babies!!! 

That special guy that doesn’t care what you look like first thing in the morning.  He doesn’t care that the clothes on your bedroom floor are piling up. He greets you with a sloppy tongue and wagging tail everyday after work, and loves you no matter what mood you’re in.  He knows your deepest secrets as he is your safest and most forgiving confident. He licks your tears away without a need for explanation. He keeps you warm at night – doesn’t care if you ate the last piece of cake AND ice cream.  He is your hiking companion, your best friend, you joy. He is the one who keeps you young and makes you love even when you don’t think you can. He is the extra heartbeat in an otherwise lonely home. The one who gives you pure unconditional love and who you don’t have for nearly long enough in your life. 

It is time to celebrate this relationship in a big way and create lasting artwork that will grow old with you both.

For the month of February our studio is selecting five families to win a $250 gift certificate towards their own personalized session and artwork.  Enter to win today and tell us why you and your pet’s relationship needs to be documented.

BUSINESS IMAGE REBOOT

PUT SOME LIFE IN YOUR BUSINESS IMAGE

It’s that time of year!  A new start for those of us in business – and life!  We review the past year and we get to implement the lessons learned from last year and make new goals.   That time of year when we desperately try to plan out 2020.  

What campaigns are you going to run throughout the year?  What are you going to do for marketing, social networking, serving clients, keeping your business house clean, what orders do you need to make, what will get your clients’ attention?  Service, income, product, employees, networking, insurance, communication, marketing – the tasks are vast and seemingly endless. You feel like you’re getting pulled in five different directions!  Can be overwhelming. You need an online facelift, but what – how? Where do you start?   

As a solopreneur I know what it’s like to need that extra pair of hands and eyes to help with branding and online presence.  It’s hard to do it all on your own. You hear all the advice: videos are king – you need to produce a lot of content – you need to be present every day  . . . okay but how can you be present serving your clients if you are spending so much time putting together photos, selfies, blogs, marketing, social media posts . . . Do you even know who you are attracting?  Is it who you are trying to attract? Do you know who your ideal client is? Are you talking to them?

We all need help and cannot wear all the hats in our business – at least not well.  Outsource! Whether you need a quick freshen up of your website images and headshots or a full set of images to help you be prepared for marketing in the months/year ahead – you don’t have to do this all by yourself.

I’m looking for four businesses to work with during the month of January to help them start their year off right!   I will work with you once a week for four weeks on your plan and help you bring it to life with imagery for your website, marketing materials, social media and wall art for your business. 

If are interested in taking advantage of our introductory offer this month for the Business Image Reboot, please fill out the form and I will contact you.

HAPPY BUBBLE GUM DAY

“The world’s first bubble gum is Dubble Bubble. It was invented in 1928 by Walter E. Diemer—an accountant at Fleer Company.

After his retirement, Diemer admitted that the recipe was discovered by accident. The company founder, Frank Fleer in 1906, attempted to create a chewing gum which he called Blibber Blubber. The resulting product was very sticky and broke easily and was a commercial failure.

Mr. Diemer, an accountant who worked at Fleer liked to experiment in his spare time. In doing so, he stumbled upon a gum recipe that was unique. It proved to be less sticky than the initial versions and was easier to chew. This original gum was pink in color because the factory only had pink food coloring available. This is why most bubble gum is pink today.” (https://www.gumball.com/pages/history-of-dubble-bubble)

So on this special Bubble Gum Day – enjoy a piece of bubble gum and share with a friend!

 

Tips for Beautiful Fall or Winter Photos

Tips for Beautiful Fall or Winter Photos

There is a special kind of magic that comes with outdoor, seasonal photo sessions.  The snow lightly falling and icicles hanging from the branches . . . wait – what?!  We live in Southern California!  Snow or no show – So Cal is gorgeous and there are plenty of places to host a seasonal family session!  And I will travel to Big Bear, etc. for snow! Here are some tips to make your seasonal photo sessions go smoothly.

  1. Dress for the weather. You will be surprised at how often this is overlooked.  Since you’ll be standing outside for a long period of time, short sleeves, thin fabrics, and open toe shoes will not be comfortable for very long in cold weather – as well as when you want a cozy look and it’s 80 degrees outside.  Shivering or sweating makes it hard to look happy and pose properly.  If you want to look cozy in the warm weather, simply layer – wear comfy clothes and just add the cozy scarf and sweater when we actually take the pictures.
  2. Wear sunscreen. Protecting your skin should be a priority throughout the year, not just in summer.  Use a good moisturizer to protect your skin from chilly winds.
  3. Watch the weather.  If we do head up to the snow . . . warmer days may seem more pleasant, but melting snow can change the entire look of your backdrop. If you are looking for light snow flurries, try and keep an eye on the weather forecast to make sure that you don’t end up with melting or heavy snow.
  4. Be flexible. If the weather isn’t exactly what you had hoped for, see if you can still make the photo session work.  I had several sessions in one day that was overcast with light rain and the images came out beautiful as the light was so even.
  5. Incorporate color. Even though fall and winter have some amazing colors to work with, why not wear a splash of color to really stand out in your photos?  For example, vibrant shades of blues and greens look amazing among crunchy brown leaves.  Keep in mind, if we have sunshine, you will not want to wear anything too bright that will reflect on someone else’s face.
  6. Plan your day. Taking your photos just after the sun rises or just before it sets will provide you with amazing lighting so try and plan your session around those times.

Take some hot tea, cocoa or coffee along to make your photo session even more enjoyable and get ready for some beautiful results.

(We can also just create snow in PhotoShop!  LOL)

 

How to Pick the Perfect Professional Photographer

What you need to consider before you pay that photography deposit.

If you’ve started the search for a photographer then you’ll know just how many options there are.  Before you go ahead and book a professional photographer for a shoot though, there are a couple important things to consider.

What style are you looking for?

Photographers have different styles so you need to decide on someone who can help you achieve the end result you are looking for.  This applies to everything from wedding and maternity shoots to family and corporate shoots.  Ask the photographer for some examples of their latest work to evaluate whether they can cater to your needs.
Research and review.

Before you invest in a professional photographer you need to do your homework.  Get online to find a few customer reviews, browse around their website to view their latest work and have a look around their social media pages to find out what others are saying about them.  These platforms will also give you a good idea of their personality and style.  Some other important points to consider when researching photographers are:

  1. Budget.  Do their services fall within your price range?
  2. Expertise.  Are they experienced enough to give you the results you are looking for?
  3. Location.  Are they based in your area and are they willing to travel to a specific location if need be?
  4. Quality.  Is the quality of their photos good enough? Look at aspects such as sharpness, exposure and saturation.

Create a short list.

Once you have done your research, create a short list of professional photographers that stand out for you.  Get in touch with each of them to discuss your needs and to ask any questions that you might have.  It’s important that you chat with the photographer over the phone if not in person as this is the best way to get to know them and find out whether you’ll be able to work with them.  Feeling uncomfortable or stressed out around your photographer makes for bad photos.

It’s important that you pick a photographer that you have confidence in.  Your photos are there to last you a lifetime so while there is nothing wrong with helping out your photographer friend who has just started out, it’s best to choose an experienced photographer for important events and occasions that you can’t relive.

A Not-So-Scary Deal

In celebration of one of my favorite “holidays,” if you book an engagement session during the month of October to take place anytime during the remainder of 2018 or throughout 2019, you will receive a super cool custom guestbook for your wedding!

 

Sister Portrait - Seal Beach, CA

Don’t Leave Your Photos Stranded and Alone

Sister Portrait - Seal Beach, CAWe ALL do it, well unless you are the kind of person I dream of being – completely organized and everything in its place.  We put off printing our photographs.  We always have tomorrow – right?  We are just too busy to sit down and really spend quality time on the computer figuring it all out and then going to the framer or creating an album online – it’s so daunting and time-consuming.  That’s where your professional photographer (me) can be of great service.

My service and price includes printed photographs AND digital files.  I can also provide various types of wall art, including acrylic, metal, professionally framed prints, canvas, and/or custom albums!

Back when I was a shoot and burn photographer, I would photograph my client, edit their images and then upload the photographs to a site where they could download them to their computer.  I have had clients (not many but enough to know there are probably more) contact me and ask me to either send them the link to their photos again or inquire as to where their photos went – several years later!   Wait – what?  You paid a professional photographer to take your photos or record your wedding and they are still floating in cyberspace?!  Yes, I could have given a disc or flash drive, but that could just as easily get lost.  THIS is one of the biggest reasons I am no longer a shoot and burn photographer.  I value my work and photographs too much to not print and share them.  Putting your photos online for you to download sounds super convenient, but I’m not serving you – my client – by doing this.

My service includes the printed photographs mounted and matted and placed in a gorgeous folio box you will want to show off, or even framed if you like.  Or you can have them printed in a beautiful keepsake album.  You will have something to put on your coffee table and share with guests or just look at from time to time – and pass down through the generations.  Do you still get your digital files – YES!  But all the other work has been done for you.

I am a boutique business and boutiques are all about personalized service to their clients.  I don’t just take photos and then leave you to sit in the dark after work trying to figure out how to download 1,000 photographs from your wedding or spending half a day searching for that little flash drive or disc you put in a “safe place.”

When you see prices and packages of professional photographers like me, you probably step back and say, “But all we want are the digital files.”  “It’s so easy – you just take the pictures and upload them right?”  “Why do you charge so much and why can’t I just get a disc?”  Because I care about you, my level of service and your photographs.  There is a lot that goes into those photographs:

  • You get a free consultation right off the bat – whether you hire me or not.  We discuss what your end-game is – do you want large wall portraits, gifts, album(s) . . . etc. – what you are looking for in the style of your photographs – locations, etc.
  • Before the session, I am visualizing, creating a shoot list, possibly buying props – you are on my mind a lot.
  • The photo session:  We have a great time, different poses, play, and connect.  We are done when we are done – if we want to hang out and wait for the sun to nearly set – we do that – simply to obtain the best photographs that you are dreaming of.
  • I don’t think I need to mention all the education, workshops, years of practice, and expensive equipment I have.
  • Then culling and editing.  This takes much longer than your session did I guarantee you.  I sit with your images, I toss those that are duplicative or not perfect and then I create.  I retouch, head swap in family photos if someone blinked or looks better in another photo, sometimes I add textures and special tones, and I analyze how I want each and every separate photograph to look.  I put great effort into making sure every photograph is ready for printing and hanging.
  • Reveal session.  We get together and you get to see at least 30 photographs all retouched, printed, mounted and matted ready to take home.  AND you get the digital files for every image you purchase!  Win-win!

Wouldn’t it be a shame to only put your images online after all the work and love that went into them?

family portrait oak glen, ca

IF NOT NOW – THEN WHEN?

I know I’ve written on this subject before, but it’s a conversation I have often with friends.  “It’s just so hard getting everyone together.”  I bet if it was a wedding or a funeral, everyone would figure it out.

Family photos and individual portraits are so so important to our lives.  I know I’m uber passionate about photographs – I can’t help it!  When I find an old photo I haven’t seen before of one of my ancestors, I feel like they are reaching out to me from beyond to say hi and connect.  I get very excited and curious.

How special it would be to have a generation photo for future generations to know who we are and where they came from.  I treasure this photo.  This is my dad, grandfather, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother.  These are my people.  I feel a connection just through this photograph and the stories my dad would tell.  This is where I came from.

There is such a huge focus these days on our DNA – our heritage.  When I get started, I spend hours searching on Ancestry.com for hints of my ancestors’ lives.  Why make your descendants search and wonder who you were and where you were from . . . what you were like.  (#Existinphotos) Have portraits done and print them – regularly.  Photographs are representations of your life – freezing life at that moment.  It is our history that we can leave behind for future generations – not selfies that are just going to die with our phone or computer (#printyourphotos).

About a month ago I was talking to a friend and I said I wanted to do a photo shoot of her and her daughters for marketing materials.  We set a date. Then a week before the session, when discussing what to wear, she casually threw out there the idea of wearing authentic Khmer outfits.  Needless to say, I was like, “Oh heck yeah!”  THEN, completely on a whim, her mom to her, “Well I want to do it too!”  Then BAM – I had a gorgeous group of women (and a baby) – three generations in authentic clothing from their country of origin.  My friend’s extended family wanted to do a shoot after they saw the images – my friend is so happy they did this.

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Friends, this is so so so important.  Don’t use the excuse that you have a hard time getting people together.  Pick a date a few months out, give me a call and just schedule it.  Another famous excuse is, “Well I want to lose weight first,” . . . really?  If you’re anything like me, that could be when you’re dead.  Your family loves you and wants you in their photos – don’t “weight” to be photographed.  It is my job to make you look the way everyone else really sees you – beautiful.  If you want to lose weight – great – take the photos and then schedule a special “look at me now” session when you lose the weight – problem solved.

Life is too short to not honor yourself and your life with beautiful photos of you and your family.

Don’t wait to be photographed.  If not now – then when?

Contact me now for a consultation – we will create something special for you.