Free Holiday Cards

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In 1843 Sir Henry Cole, a civil servant who had helped set up the “public record office” (now known as the post office), wondered how it could be used more by ordinary people.  Thus he and artist, John Horsely, came up with the idea of the Christmas card.

Christmas cards appeared in the United States in the late 1840’s but were so expensive most people couldn’t afford them.  In 1875, Louis Prang, a printer originally from Germany, started mass producing cards so more people could afford them.  His first cards featured flowers, plants, and children.  In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, who are still one of the biggest card makers today!

Annie Oakley, the famous sharpshooter and star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show sent the first known “personalized” Christmas card in 1891.  She was in Glasgow, Scotland and sent cards back to her friends and family in the USA featuring a photo of herself on it.  Since she was in Scotland, she was of course wearing tartan in the photo!  Annie reportedly designed the cards herself and they were printed by a local printer.

How fun to think we still enjoy spreading holiday cheer in the same way all these years later.  Not wearing tartan mind you, but putting photos of ourselves on our cards.  I wonder who Annie Oakley’s photographer was.  Someone had to take that picture of her otherwise there would have been nothing for her to design; nothing for her to print.

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Let me be your Holiday card photographer this year!

Through December 13th I am offering Holiday mini sessions which include a 30-minute photo shoot and  5 professional edited digital image files for $125 plus a free box of holiday photo cards if ordered through me.  Sessions must be done between now and the 13th to insure cards are received in time for the holiday.  Call or message me if you have any questions or would like to book a session, and Happy Holidays!  636-293-5728

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What to Wear to Your Family Portrait Session

I was leaning against my car adjusting the settings on my camera when I saw them pull into the parking lot. We smiled and waved to one another as they parked next to me. Mom hopped out, dressed in a cute silky top. She held up a cardigan in each hand. “Which one, black or gray?” she asked. I quickly assessed the rest of the family’s outfits and answered, “Gray.”

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When outfitting your family for portraits it is not so important that you match precisely in colors or style. In fact, exact matching, such as all in blue jeans and white shirts, is out of date these days. What works best is to coordinate color pallets in terms of tones. Wear muted tones that are a bit subdued especially for outdoor nature portraits.

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Muted tones

Muted tones make sure that no one person stands out and that the focus remains on faces and not clothing.

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For larger groups pick 2-3 complimentary color tones and have everyone dress within that color pallete. For example, navy, dark green and burgundy are all dark jewel tones. Light olive green, denim, and tan are lighter, softer tones. When in doubt keep cool tones with cool tones and warm tones with warm tones.

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Come casual or dressy; both work. Bring your own style, but have everyone dress in the same style (i.e., not some casual and others dressy.)

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I find that many families wear jeans, which are very versatile. You can make the outfit as dressy or casual as you want depending on what top you wear. Jeans also make some poses like sitting on the ground and piggy back rides a little easier! 🙂

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When things start getting goofy, sometimes they get really goofy!

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No matter what you wear, however, I guarantee the love and smiles and joy we capture during your session will shine through in your images.

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For information on scheduling a portrait session for your family, please fill out the contact form and I will be happy to assist you. Your information will always remain private.

Lifestyle Portraits

Lifestyle Photography is something I have been doing for a long time.  It is creating artistic images of people doing everyday activities in unposed, natural ways.  It is not merely snapping generic pictures, but rather defining moods, telling stories, and developing interest.

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Lifestyle photography is a great way to document family traditions like weekly game nights, yearly Christmas cookie baking, trips to the pumpkin patch, or how after each big snow fall, dad shovels the driveway while the rest of the family goes sledding.

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Lifestyle photography is never about the “Look here and smile” photos, but if that happens naturally it is certainly okay.  As the subject in the photos, it is about being in the moment, forgetting that the camera is there, and enjoying the time with your loved ones.

As the photographer, it is about communicating with the adults ahead of time about what is important to everyone and gently documenting those meaningful activities by recognizing and capturing all the nuances and details that exist and present themselves throughout the entire experience.

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“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”  ~ Elliot Erwitt, Documentary Photographer

I now offer Lifestyle Photography sessions, which run approximately 2-3 hours and yield 40-70 fully edited proofs to choose from when ordering printed products.  Images are captured in the clients’ natural environments, whether it be their homes or places they frequent such as a park, the pumpkin patch, the local donut shop, the swimming pool, or their own backyards, doing everyday activities in realistic, candid ways.  Contact me for more information.

How They Love Their Candids

I had the pleasure of photographing two best friends, and to my surprise they wanted twice as many candid shots as posed ones.  How fun that was!  First, here are a couple of cute poses we got in.

 

But, the majority of the shots were of them doing what they do together: talking, laughing, hanging out, telling stories, and just being there for one another.

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What an amazing thing to witness!

One of my favorite things about being a portrait photographer is capturing those candid moments that highlight the essence of people’s relationships with one another. Let me do that for you and your loved ones. Contact me via the form below and let’s plan your session today.

(Your information will not be published and will remain private.)

Photographing Very Young Kids

A great group of siblings taught me a lot about photographing very young children.  First of all, it’s a lot of fun!  To capture the candid shots as they act silly or ham it up or just run around being care free is a joy.

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Secondly, posing kids under two or three years old is no small feat, because they like to be on the move and focusing on the camera with a smile is not their top priority. Getting them to do it all at the same time as their brother or sister is even more challenging.

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One of the easiest ways to photograph young kids is to do it while they are doing what they love most – playing! In the hose, at the beach, with a ball, at the park, on the swings; even picking up sticks!  Just follow their lead…

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Finally, I think the best thing about photographing kids is getting to see the world through their eyes. Sometimes, as adults, we forget how truly wonderful and exciting it can be!

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All in One Back to School Photography and Parenting Tip

School is back in session for many kids, and for most others it will be this week, which means temperatures will soon be cooling off as summer gives way to fall.  Did you know temperature is involved in photography as well?  Not in degrees of Fahrenheit or Celsius mind you, but in “Kelvin.”

British Physicist William Thomas (Lord Kelvin) played a large part in the development of the Kelvin temperature scale.  During his research, he heated a block of carbon, which produced a dim red light at a low temperature that increased to a brighter yellow as the temperature rose and ultimately a bright white and then blue glow at the highest temperatures.  Based on these findings the following scale could be made:

 

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Temperature in photography is what people refer to as the “white balance” of a photo.  Most people keep their cameras set to auto white balance which works well in many situations.

However, when it comes something special, like sunset portraits, it’s important to not let your camera auto adjust those warm, golden tones right out of your image.  The best way to do this is to manually adjust your white balance to the cloudy or shady setting.  For more precise control, I manually increase the white balance temperature on my camera to around the 6000°K mark.  It may be different for your camera.  It’s best to experiement to find out.

I kind of liken this to how one might parent a child.  If we want those golden behaviors to continue then we have to be continually “warm” (and loving) with our own.

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This is my husband and daughter.  This photo warms my heart to about 10,000°K!

White balance is a bit confusing until you get the hang of it.  At first glance, you might think that increasing the temperature would add more blue tones to your image.  But, what it does is lie to your camera, telling it that there are more blue tones in the environment.  As a result, your camera tries to compensate by adding those warm, golden tones back into your images.

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So, the next time you go out and shoot at sunset (or sunrise), increase your white balance temperature setting.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Ethan: Where It All Began

Exactly one year ago, one of my best friends ask me to take her son, Ethan’s, senior pictures. This kid, now young man, whom I’ve known since the moment his mother exited the doctor’s office after receiving confirmation of her pregnancy with him, was going to be graduating from high school!

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He is the oldest of a clan of thirteen children born amidst four separate families whose moms (one of whom is me) all met in college 20 years ago. Since then to present day, our families get together four times a year, staying weekends at one another’s homes…all 13 kids and 8 adults in one house for the WHOLE WEEKEND. But, that is a story for another time.

You can imagine how special it was for me to be able to use my time and talent for Ethan and his mom to celebrate his final year in school, and at home (as he is off to college this fall), but hopefully not his final times at our special weekend get-togethers.

Ethan lives in a small town and his family has a farm nearby, so we had some awesome backdrops, including an old barn, shed, fence, and the railroad tracks. We made sure to shoot a little before sunset so the lighting was at its best.

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We had the best of both worlds, because while the country setting was beautiful, we also had some really cool, old abandon buildings to work with back in town.

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After arriving at our third location (and probably like my three hundredth shot) a little comic relief was in order.  😀

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We were losing light fast as the sun was almost set below the horizon when we spotted this great white brick wall across the parking lot. It was a perfect opportunity for me to make use of some negative space. One might contemplate possible interpretations of this photo of a young man getting ready to enter the adult world for the first time.

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Overall, the session was a huge success! Mom was happy. I was happy. And everyone in town gushed over how gorgeous of a model Ethan is, and I am guessing that probably made him happy as well. 🙂

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See more from Ethan’s senior portrait session here.