Tag: family portraits

Generations of Love

This photograph is approximately 94 years old. It is my father, his father, his grandmother and great grandmother. My great great grandmother was born in 1866 in Illinois. My great grandmother was born in 1882 in Arkansas. My grandfather was born in 1901 in Illinois and my dad in 1926. I have this photo hanging on my wall and look at it every day. It is a piece of my history. (I’m so curious why my dad and grandfather were not looking at the camera hahaha – I bet my grandmother was on the side of the photographer trying to make my dad smile.)

Generation sessions show your history. Where you came from – who you came from. You can see the connection and the honor my grandfather and great grandmother felt for my great great grandmother. They wanted to make sure their family was documented for future generations. I’m so thankful they did this.

During the month of March our studio is honoring Irish History Month – by focusing our efforts on all family history – your history. We are looking for families with three to four generations to come in for a special photo session. If your loved one cannot come to the studio, we will go to them. We want to know and tell your story. Enter here and let us know why you want a special multi-generation photo session.

Four Generations of Love and Beauty

How to Style Your Photo Session

One of the most common questions people have when preparing for their photo session is what to wear and what to bring.  You want everyone in the photos to look their best, but you also want all the details in the photos to tie together so it looks cohesive and not overly matching.  These simple tips will give you a better idea on how you can style your own outfits, accessories, and props so that everything meshes, but still pays tribute to who you are as a family.

Styling Your Photo Session

  • Coordinate Colors

Most families tend to match their outfits by pattern or color but for the best results, you’ll want to skip putting everyone in matching clothes and colors and instead coordinate their outfits to play off one another.  Let one of the family members secretly be the star of the photo shoot.  Dress them in a patterned outfit that consists of at least three colors.  Keep the rest of the family’s outfits simple with pops of color that coordinate with the star of the show’s outfit.  And don’t forget to take the shoes into consideration as well.

  • Accessories

Think about adding hats, scarves sweaters, vests, jackets or even flowers to hold or put in the hair.  Consider accessorizing your kids in layers, textures and offer something for everyone to interact with.  You don’t want the accessories to overwhelm the photo, but they can be a great way to offer a lot of variety throughout your session.  Think of things that can be easily taken off or put back on.

  • Props

It can be easier to work with children especially if they have something to play around with or hold for some of the images.  Think about adding in some props that are meaningful to you and your family, maybe a favorite stuffed animal, family quilt or heirloom or even the family pet can be a great addition to your photo session.  When choosing props ensure that they fit in well with the photo session and coordinate with the colors in your outfits – no bright pink bottles of bubbles with an earth-tone outfit.  Nature’s decor like flowers, apples, or pumpkins are also a few great ideas for props.

How to Find the Perfect Photo Shoot Location

Choosing a photo shoot location might seem like a big deal but it really doesn’t have to be difficult. A location usually drives some of the other decisions you will need to make about your shoot so it’s important to choose the right place.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you decide on a location:

  1. What kind of theme do I want?  If a particular building or natural backdrop would work well with your theme, look around your area for spots that meet your requirements. If you don’t know what kind of backdrop you want, take an afternoon drive around your city for inspiration. It’s easy to overlook beautiful spots that are practically in your backyard.  Ask family, friends or your photographer for ideas too.

  1. Are you allowed to take pictures there? Make sure that you can legally take pictures at the location that you have in mind. If it’s not public property or available to the public you will need to get permission first.

For example, this is an adorable English cottage facade, it is located at a venue that charges $300 an hour to photograph there.  Is the venue worth it?  My answer is yes, of course!

A great number of sought-out venues require a fee and many others need permits purchased ahead of time – so make sure you do the homework.

  1. Is it accessible? Consider that not all outdoor locations may be available all year round or you might not be able to get to them at all. Your safety is also an important aspect to think about before you decide on a location. Taking pictures on a mountain ledge may look neat but it’s best not to put yourself in harm’s way.
  2. How do you get to your location? Will it be easy to walk to the session location and if not, are you able to change your clothing and touch up your hair and makeup before the shoot? You should also find out whether there is a restroom that’s close enough in case you need it.

  1. Will the photo session be in a public place? If the location you have chosen has a lot of foot traffic, you need to ask yourself whether you are comfortable being photographed in front of others or if they will get in the way.  You might want to rethink your choice in location.

Make sure that your location doesn’t become a distraction and that there is shelter nearby if you need it. Your location tells a story so it’s worthwhile to choose a meaningful spot.

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

Together We Rise – Holiday Family Photo Sessions

 

 

“Every day, 1,200 kids enter foster care in the United States.”  Together We Rise is a non-profit that changes the way they experience the system.

On November 12, 2017, I will be hosting holiday mini-sessions at Yorba Regional Park.  The entire session fee will be donated to Together We Rise for their scholarship program.  See information here – as well as additional packages offered.

I cannot imagine for one second what these kids go through and I applaud the hearts of those that can and do open their homes and hearts for these kids.

But what happens to kids when they “age out” of the system?  I can’t even imagine the difficulty unless by some miracle they get lucky with a foster family that can continue to support them and pay for their school.  What are their options?  How are they going to work and go to school?  It must feel really hopeless and scary!  Together We Rise has partnered with the Fund ll Foundation (Family Fellowship) to support youth in foster care with financial, educational, and wrap around support.  They invest up to $90,000 per student.

I absolutely love the work that Together We Rise does for kids in the foster program and I hope you will join me in showing them some love this holiday season.

Also visit their website to see how else you can help!  There are a lot of really cool and fun programs for which you can volunteer to help!

HOLIDAY MINI-SESSIONS!

‘Tis the season for getting those family photos taken for creative special gifts and holiday cards for your loved ones!

Here is a list of the upcoming sessions and their locations – packages start at $150:

November 12 – Yorba Regional Park – benefiting Together We Rise – Scholarship Program – Entire Session Fee is donated

November 22 & 25 – Gum Grove – Seal Beach

November 26 – Horsethief Canyon Park – San Dimas  LAST ONE!

No One Wants Pictures of Me or I’m Too Fat, Old . . . Fill in the Blank

Here is one personal story about why those objections are not going to fly with anyone . . . First of all – everyone who loves you wants pictures of and/or with you – so knock that off now.  You are who you are today and your photographer is trained in posing, wardrobe advice and post-production to help you look your absolute best – we know all the tricks!

So being a photographer – you would assume I am constantly taking pictures of my family – not with my phone.  You would also think that I would practice what I preach – and have a family photo that I’m in.  NOPE.

I CANNOT stand to have my picture taken.  I think I look horrible – yes that is the word I use – HORRIBLE.  Lots of shame going on with my self-image . . . I am not AT ALL the way I want to be remembered – or seen.  I’ve had 40-50 pounds to lose since my last child – 14 years now!  Okay so with that thinking – unless something drastically changes – like I actually get serious about my weight – my children won’t have a picture of me with them except for the little selfies we take and post on FB (facebook).

This past Christmas, I said okay this is stupid!  I need to take family pictures with me and my kids.  The ONLY portrait I have of me and any of my kids, I took of my first child and me when she was three – it was a self-portrait and it was fun and I still cherish it – I weighed 40 lbs less than I do today – it’s a big difference.  I’m a different person physically and it is upsetting – HOWEVER – it was more upsetting that I could possibly be in my grave before I took pictures with my kids – and the dog!

So being the photographer I am, I chose an outfit that would compliment my body the best, got clothes for the kids so we all coordinated and asked my photographer friend, Karen ReVelle Photography, to take our family photo!  I am so glad we did this and we will do it probably every year now – which is what I hear from other mothers that resist doing this.  As soon as their session is over and they see the results – they are thrilled and hooked!

Since we had a time limitation with light, I took some photos ahead of time of the kids while we were waiting for Karen.  All-in-all, we laughed a lot and it was great family time.

In my experience – the family sessions I do go like this – the family shows up, the kids are usually grumbling or look like it took some fighting to get everyone coordinated and out the door – during the session we have fun, laugh and then they go out for a fun meal.  Getting family photos done is not just something you REALLY need to do for yourself and future generations, or a chore, it’s something to do together and can be super fun.  Think about venues – places you like to go and schedule a family session there.  Make the session about your family’s personality.  One of my packages offers a longer session so we can do some lifestyle photos of kids playing, parents torturing their kids or kids torturing their parents – whatever.  This certainly does not have to – and should not be – a chore.  The more fun we have, the more receptive the kids will be to having their photos taken.

The next VERY IMPORTANT step to the family photo session experience is PRINT YOUR PHOTOS!  Get a folio box of matted images, photo album or book, framed wall art . . . GET THOSE IMAGES ON PAPER OR CANVAS and put them on your walls.   “Let’s sit around the computer and look at pictures,” said no one ever.  I can help you with this!  I can handle everything from concept to framing.

If I do your family session, we will talk ahead of time about what you would like the end product(s) to be and we will shoot with that in mind.  Then after your session, we will get together and go through your images and decide what goes where and how.

Any other objections you can think of to not take family or individual portraits?  Throw them my way and I will bat them down!