Today is Mother’s Day. It’s no surprise, it comes every year. So why was I surprised, when I was looking through my photos that I could not find one of myself with my children from the past year either on my phone, camera or in print by Adoramapix? Yes, I had let a whole year slip away without one picture of me with both my kids.
When I was talking with member Natascha Lee of Natascha Lee Studios out of Colorado, we talked about not only photographer moms not getting in the pictures, but our clients as well were just wanting the kids in the photos. These are such wasted opportunities. Natascha Lee wrote a sweet article on encouraging moms to get into the picture.
Those who have spoken with me know that I am pretty passionate about photographing moms and dads with their children; not just the children alone but children with their parents as well! How else can you truly capture the love and special connection of a family?
When I get a push back on this (“Oh no, I don’t want to be in the photos — just the kids”), I ask:
What is *your* most cherished childhood photo?
Is it the one of you smiling big on your first day of school? The one where you are holding up your Christmas gift? The one where you are sleeping on the beach? Or is it the one, that includes your parents, playing with you, holding you, just being themselves?
For most of us, our most cherished images include our parents, and show the love we felt for each other. They might not be technically perfect but they are real and they are precious.
I worry that mothers are taking hundreds (thousands?) of images of their kids, and not including themselves in hardly any of them! I want to encourage all those moms who take tons of snapshots of their kids, to make sure that they themselves are in at least some of them.
It’s not hard I promise! Have your spouse or partner take a turn with the camera/phone, ask another parent to snap a few or hold the camera or phone out the way you do when you take pix with your bestie.
That photo where your hair wasn’t perfect but you were having a snow fight with your kids? Or the ones where your smile is a little lopsided and you are still in your pjs cuddling with your kids on the couch? That’ll probably be their favorite.
Thank you Natascha Lee, an important reminder to parents. By the way, I did find a picture of myself and my son together. This is how he sees me and I love it.
Happy Muvrs Day!
Senior photography has grown tremendously over the years thanks in part to social media. Teens love to share their photographs with each other. So it’s no wonder that graduation photography is such an important part of their lives. Like any specialty, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when photographing graduates.
1. Know Your Client
Each client is unique. What defines them at this age is their interests. The more you can connect with them on this level the more they will feel comfortable with you and in front of the lens. I know a lot of photographers that will send out a “Get to Know You” questionnaire to their clients. It’s a short survey that asks clients about their hobbies, music tastes, sports, etc. As you prepare for the photo shoot, you may want to have your client bring their ipod or mp3 player loaded with their favorite songs as background music for the shoot. You can also suggest they bring any sports items they have or instruments they played. Anything to make their experience unique and specialized.
2. Dress for Success
Nothing dates an image more than the style of clothes a person wears. When my Senior images were taken, acid wash was the rage. Let the Senior bring their favorite clothes and what makes them feel comfortable. You may also want to suggest to throw in a few more timeless and simple outfits ie, solid colors, no big logos, etc. This way you are covering all bases and will ensure the images will not be outdated as the fads change. Also, if your client wears glasses you might want to suggest they get a pair of frames without the glass. Most glasses give a glare from studio lights or reflections from outside. You don’t want them to look differently without their tradmark specs, but you also don’t want to spend a lot of time retouching glare.
3. Posture and Hand Placement
Posture and hand placement are so important in senior photography. For most Seniors, this is their first time being the solo subject for a professional photographer. So they will not automatically know what to do with their hands and limbs. Typically, girls should have soft hands and boys should have more confident hand placement. Instead of telling your subjects what they should be doing or going in and mechanically moving their limbs for them, show them how to pose. This way, they don’t feel as awkward or embarrassed that they are doing it wrong. This should be a positive experience and the more you can alleviate any stress for them the better.
4. Bring Along Support
You might also suggest they are welcomed to bring a long a friend, parent or sibling. Sometimes having a familiar face in an unfamiliar place makes all the difference in the world. I think it’s often important too to snag a few candids of the Senior with this person. It’s a simple thing to do and it makes for a lasting memory from a great session. Some photographers will even include their support person in the portrait session. Whatever your view is, this person is special to your Senior, so take the time to capture it.
5. Be Social Savvy
It seems like a majority of Seniors are very social savvy with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. It’s imperative to be just as savvy. In your questionairre from step 1, make sure to ask your Seniors for their various handles on social media channels. I always ask if it’s ok to tag them on Facebook and give sneak peeks on other social media channels. I’ve also Instagrammed between set ups where the client is relaxing a bit and laughing. It’s important to find out what they are comfortable with in regards to social media and then target your marketing accordingly.
The most important item to keep in mind is to make your client feel at ease. You are documenting a really important time in their life. Keeping it fun, positive and smooth on your end will go a long way in making a great memory.
May and June are typically the months when wedding photographers start to get busy as the season starts. I truly believe, wedding photography is one of the hardest specialities. The reason : You need to be a photojournalist, stock photographer, architectural photographer, portrait photographer, food photographer, a commercial photographer and the list goes on. You need to have knowledge in all these areas to be truly great at your craft. Aside from the technicalities of wedding photography, there are a few things you should keep in mind when photographing the couple on the way to the altar.
I can’t say this one enough. Preparation is key. Have a questionnaire for your couple. In the questionnaire,you should ask the basics : start time, venue location etc. Also ask, about relations and the names of family and wedding party. It’s hard to remember everyone’s name in the wedding party, but learning the names of the parents, grandparents and siblings will take you far. Also, ask if there are any family situations to be made aware of, such as divorces or deaths. It’s important to set expectations with your couple ahead of time instead of having a surprise or problem on the day of the wedding. Remember there is no such thing as too much information when it comes to wedding photography. As far as preparing equipment, check and charge everything the night before if not earlier.
2. Scout your Location
I have always scouted my locations a week before the event. The reason being, I needed to know where the sun set in the sky during the time I would be taking wedding pictures. I may have been at this venue before, but generally the time of day and seasons may have been different. Also, I check to see if there are any races or street fairs I should know about on the wedding date as this might affect traffic to and from the ceremony or the reception. You also want a back up plan. If it rains on the wedding day, you should be prepared with a plan “b”. A plan to execute in case it rains, you don’t want to be left high and dry without a back up plan.
3. The Power of Light
Know your light. Everything from natural to flash to strobe. When working with natural light, do you want a sihlouette or do you want to work with the sun? This will make a difference in your settings. For flash, there are a number of ways to diffuse your flash to make it softer on your subjects. If you don’t know how to use your flash manually, try using a diffuser . You can also bounce it off walls, ceilings, even off reflectors. If you are using strobe, make sure you have tested your triggers or you have plenty of extension chord if it’s a plug in. The key is to have the most flattering light possible on your subjects.
Your couple has spent a lot of time picking out the right shoes, the right tie, the right rings, the right dress , the right suit. Spend some time getting images of these various articles as well as all the little details at the reception. You would be amazed how these detail shots help in setting up a wedding album. They often make the perfect filler or background.
5. Social Media Savvy
I can’t think of a better event to be social savvy at than a wedding. Your opportunities to market are endless. From your questionnaire on step 1, ask for the bride and groom’s soial media handles on facebook ,twitter, instagram and such. Go over your plans with the couple on how you will present their images on your website, facebook and other channels. Some people are still very private, so it’s important to know this ahead of time. Make it fun and get everyone involved. Sometimes coming up with a fun hashtag on Instagram can get the wedding party and guests involved. For example, #MikeandSallyTieTheKnot. Or when loading photos to Facebook, have your couple invite their friends to “tag” themselves in the photo. At the reception, print out little cards with the website and password to the images for the wedding. Marketing is a different world now days with the internet and it’s important to not only discuss this with your couple but to also stay one step ahead of the technology curve.
There are so many more tips and tricks to wedding photography, but these are definite starting points. I have been a wedding photographer for 13 years and I can honestly say, it is one of the most difficult and demanding photography specialties. I admire those who have been in the business for years and I admire those just starting out and pushing the boundaries. Documenting a couple on one of their most cherished days is an honor and more importantly, giving them beautiful images documenting their wedding day is the best marketing you can do for yourself as they show them to their friends and family.
Father’s Day is just around the corner and now is the time to think about photo sessions. If you’re stuck on ideas on how to photograph dads, here’s a hint : Let them play with their kids! Adoramapix Member, Natascha Lee of Natascha Lee Studios (Baby and Family Photography in Broomfield, Colorado), creates vibrant, natural images of families having fun, especially her photos of Fathers playing with their children. So in honor of Father’s Day (June 16th), Natascha shares her top 5 tips for photographing Dads.
Recognize that Dad may being coming along at Mommy’s request and might not be all that enthused about having photos taken. So it’s important to honor his starting frame of mind, which might be, “Let’s get this over with.” By the end of the session, my Dads are amazed at how much fun they had!
Things may have been stressful at home, getting both parents and all kids ready for the photo shoot. So be friendly and upbeat but relaxed; make sure you don’t “bark out orders” or give too many directions, instructions or requirements.
Approach family sessions with the intention to include Dad + Kid photos. If your mission in similar to mine (to provide priceless family memories in a highly artistic fashion), then capturing the relationship between Daddy + Kids is a crucial part of providing that service. I also always photograph just Mommy + Daddy (or Mommy + Mommy, or Daddy + Daddy), for the same reason: to honor and celebrate their relationship as adults, as well as parents.
4) Set it Up
I now offer headshots to parents during my family sessions. It provides a great looking photo to use on LinkedIn and enables me to set up my Daddy + Kids opportunity. First I photograph Daddy alone. Then, when it’s Mommy’s turn, I ask Daddy to please take the kids “over there” (someplace with a great background) and “just play with them.” When I’m done shooting Mommy’s headshot, Daddy is inevitably playing adorably with the kids.
5) Shoot It!
First I’ll observe and take candid photos of them playing together. Then I’ll start to ask for some/all to look in my direction. I don’t want to interfere too much, just to capture the natural love and energy they have together.
When I edit for the final gallery, having photos of Daddy with the kids makes for a much fuller (and harder to resist) gallery to present to your clients. It also creates two parents who are jointly AND individually thrilled with the experience and the images.
We have now moved on to the next level of our contest Your Best Shot of 2012. We have asked some amazing, award winning photography judges to lend their expertise in helping us narrow down the top 100 images to the top 25. With years of experience behind them, they offer some great insight and skill into choosing the best of the top 100 gallery.
Meet Joy Vertz.
Joy Vertz, has grown in just a few short years from a one-woman show in her basement to now running 2, thriving high end, boutique style studios with a team of 7 employees and having sustained this growth for 10 years! She is a self-proclaimed numbers girl with a firm grasp on the business aspect of running a photography studio at all levels. Joy’s studio, Shoot the Moon Photography has maintained a steady profitability despite the decline in the economy and continues to flourish. It is incredible to hear the organization system that Joy has implemented to ensure that thousands of clients think they are her one and only!
She has judged prints for several PPA State Conventions as well as the NAPCP quarterly image competition and has a degree in Studio Art from Lawrence University. She also runs an educational website for photographers. You can view it HERE. She has also been kind enough to give our members access to her free Pricing for Profit Guide. You can find the free download HERE.
You can see more of her fabulous work HERE.
Meet Dan Frievalt
Dan Frievalt of Frievalt Photography is a photographer that enjoys blending creative light with graphic design to create artistic images that evoke drama and tell a story. Dan’s formal education includes an Associate degree in Marketing Communications and has worked as a Graphic Artist for 12 years before changing his career path to photography in 2005. “I always enjoyed photography but ever since digital capture I have found a new voice in creating images by combining my design background with my eye for photography.” He has a list of awards behind his name, the most recent being the 2013 Wisconsin Photographer of the Year and 2013 Wisconsin Outstanding Achievement Aware.
You can check out his amazing work HERE.
Since opening Beautiful Portraits by Michael in 2001, Michael Mowbray has gone on to win many awards for his portraiture and was named International PPA Photographer of the Year in 2011 and 2012. He has had the highest scoring wedding portrait in Wisconsin five out of the past six years, including Wisconsin Best of Show-Wedding 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. He has won the prestigious Kodak Gallery Award five times, and the Fuji Masterpiece Award for Outstanding Wedding Portraiture three times. Michael has also been named one of the Top 10 photographers in Wisconsin multiple times and “Best of Madison” by the readers of Madison Magazine.
You can check out his amazing work HERE.
Pierre Stephenson, Cr. CPP is the owner of the multi-photographer studio Pierre’s Portrait Art Company which, over the past 18 years has come to be recognized for its
innovative style. His training started out in the commercial large format studio arena, miles away from the Urbanist Portrait Journalism that has become his passion.
Pierre’s unique approach has led to international awards, media attention, and his work has been published nationally in magazines including Professional Photographer, Modern Bride, PDN, Rangefinder, and more. In 2006, he founded The Wisconsin Pro Photographers Forum and has taught seminars and workshops to professional photographers from around the world. He is a regularspeaker at WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) holding Masterclasses and “Night on the Strip” shoot outs at the MGM Las Vegas for the past four years, and lectures around the country. Pierre teaches advanced location lighting classes at Madison College and is a founding mentor of the LIGHTn Tour. He is a PPA Certified Professional Photographer and was awarded PPA Silver Photographer of the Year 2010, Best of Show Weddings at WPPA 2009, received his Craftsmen at Imaging USA 2010, and will be receiving his Master Photographer at ImagingUSA in 2014.