Posts in Tips & Tricks
Six Reasons You May Want to Reconsider Getting Only the Digitals
 
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One of the most common requests I hear from clients is: “I only want the digital files”.

That’s pretty normal, because with the surge of personal technologies, such as smartphones over the last decade or so, people have just become conditioned to ask for files and nothing else. Initially you might think that’s all you need, but what’s your long-term plan for your pictures? And is skimping now really worth it in the end? Here are a few reasons you might want to reconsider “just getting the digitals”.

1. Jpegs will become a thing of the past

Jpegs are on their way out, just like 8 tracks and VHS tapes and dinosaurs. They’re a low-quality compression format, and there are already new higher quality compression formats being developed. Within a few years your Jpegs will be ancient file types that are of visibly lower quality compared to the new stuff. Just think of how HD video has changed our world! Here’s an in-depth article about Apple’s HEIC and other future photo formats.

2. Technology is not foolproof

Recently my iPhone crashed and I lost an entire year's worth of photos! Luckily I use my Nikon DSLR for my professional work, but still it was heartbreaking to lose those personal iPhone photos. Technology is great but it’s not foolproof. I have a number of external storage drives, but even some of them have crashed or acted strange in the past. It’s so important to backup your backups!

3. Files get buried in digital clutter on your computer…and gather digital dust

I have a gazillion personal photos on my computer and hard drives. But I hardly ever look at them.

My albums from before “the digital era” are wonderful to page through, or for my kids to see our pre-kid lives when we lived in Europe. Because I have those physical albums I never have a reason to access the files on my computer. Yes, I posted them on Facebook 10 years ago, I got a lot of likes - so there was that - but that was it!

4. Custom printed wall art

Family photos are all over our house. Every time I run up the stairs I look right into my kids’ smiling faces and see me in the photos with them, not just the rest of the family together without me in the picture.

If you love decorating your home you can easily tie your custom printed wall art right into your decor - you can even plan it all before your session. Talk to me about your style - are you traditional? Or do you prefer light and airy images? What colors are in your home? Choose frames and prints that complement your personal style.

Also consider the size of your wall art. If you have some blank walls we can fill them in with appropriate sized prints. Large wall art can make a huge visual impact AND make your home feel like home! Just what you need.

Really think about what you love…because you’ll see it every day without even having to touch your technology.

5. A Tactile Experience

Physical prints and books are a physical experience. They trigger real chemical reactions in our brains that make us feel emotions. The texture of the paper, the smell of the leather, the craftsmanship of the canvas, the weightiness of an album – all of these things indicate value, and signify the personal importance of the subject matter. They trigger feelings of nostalgia, gratitude, and other emotions.

Glossing through files on a computer screen just can’t compare. Think about reading a printed book as opposed to scrolling through your kindle. Yes, it might be the same content, but are you really getting the whole experience? The feel of turning the pages, the smell of the paper, removing your bookmark, the artwork on the cover? Have you ever hugged a book to your chest as you’re falling asleep?

Experiencing the tactile world is far more fulfilling than gazing at screens.

6. Image Resolution and Printing Labs

So you’ve just picked up your prints at the mall and the photos just look blah… too red, too yellow, your blue eyes are now purple! Not at all what you had in mind! Why did it look so stunning during my ordering session with my photographer… but now this? They looked so great on my computer screen, but what happened?

The answer is simple: consumer labs use cheaper inks and papers, and aren’t color calibrated with your computer screen. They often use auto-correction that can distort the original colors, and it can come out looking entirely different than the original.

If you received social share preview files and you printed them at home, they would look all blurry and pixelated. This is due to low resolution compression, like the Jpeg format mentioned earlier. All of the tiny dots or pixels are blown up way bigger than they're supposed to be, and the result is a big blurry mess. Not the kind of quality you’d consider blowing up and hanging on your wall!

As a professional photographer I’ve done my research and have access to the very best professional printing labs! These labs only work with photographers who know how to properly format digital images for print (that’s me!). These are the labs who produce high quality glossy magazine imagery, not your local mall one-stop-shop.

A professional photographer has spent time calibrating their computer screen with the particular labs that they work with. This results in prints of the highest possible quality, with the highest color integrity, and come out looking just as the photographer originally intended! This is, after all, why you’d hire a professional…isn’t it?

 
8 Ways to look Amazing in Photos
 

Whether you’re preparing for a portrait, group photo or love taking selfies, it pays to know how to look great in photographs. 

Start here.

Determine your best feature. Determine your best asset. And then, highlight those features.
But besides the wearing clothing that highlights your features or that feels good, hair and makeup here are some posing tips to help you out:

 

1. Twist a little

If you’ve ever worried about the camera adding 10 pounds to your middle, try this trick to LOSE 10 pounds instead. 
Twist your waist by turning one shoulder toward the camera and the other one away from it. This is a great angle to help anyone look slimmer.

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2. Control your chin

Extend your neck towards the camera very slightly. This may feel awkward, but from the camera’s perspective it doesn’t look awkward at all.
Instead it conceals any hint of a double chin!

 

3. Avoid Direct Sun

Avoid the direct sun at late morning and noon as it will only create deep shadows under your eyes, nose and chin. Instead, look for some shade. 
The diffuse light in the shade will illuminate your face evenly.

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4. Be Yourself

Try to forget there's a camera in front of you and just chat, play and be yourself as much as possible. You'll be able to capture a much more natural expression.

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5. Shoot From Above

Everyone looks better when the camera is looking down from just above the subject. So if you find yourself straight on, rather find something to sit on or squat a little lower.  Looking up at the top of the camera will help to make our eyes look brighter and bigger.

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6. Don’t Say Cheese

We've all said “cheeeese”  in one too many pictures. To help bring out your most natural and genuine smile, think of a joke or try exchanging a few jokes with the photographer.

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7. Do something with your hands

If you’re standing, place the hand closest to the camera on your hip; this adds definition to your upper arm.
If you’re sitting, gently clasp your hands in front of you or place it on your knee. 

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And lastly:

8. Take a breath and drop the shoulders

Right before the snap, take a deep breath and release it. This will relax your features, giving you a more natural look.
Also, drop back those shoulders. Often nerves and discomfort goes straight to the shoulders.


 
Let it snow... Tips for Preparing for Your Winter Session
 
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Now that fall is at an end, let's look forward to the next few months of snow and winter and it really can be a lot of fun.

Some people shy away from winter sessions because, well, it’s cold. But winter sessions make for some prime photo ops, so don’t write off the brr months.

1. Keep tracking the weather. Those white winter days after a lot of snowfall can result in some seriously gorgeous photographs. Booking two months out probably won’t work, and you’ll instead want to book on a shorter notice.

2. Really play up the winter accessories when planning outfits. Think cozy knit scarves, colorful coats, adorable boots, mittens and more. 

3. Plan the day out so that nobody gets fussy or too cold. A bribe of hot chocolate after the session goes a long way. Also make sure that everyone’s dressed warmly. 

4. Don’t be afraid to have fun in that snow. Snowball fights? Snowman building? Angels? The possibilities are endless and this should be all about having fun. 

5. Choose colors and prints that pop. An all white background is absolutely beautiful, but having that pop of red or that flash of gingham can really make for a gorgeous photograph.

6. Pack the necessities. Noses tend to run in the cold, and glasses can fog up. Bring tissues, hand-warming packs, clean clothes and hot beverages to keep everyone perky throughout the shoot. 

7. Because it can be really cold, note that a shorter session may be in order. Make the most of your photos by using every single second to the max, especially at the beginning of the session when everyone’s still warm and spirits are particularly high.

Now, if standing around in the snow and cold is really not for you then I have a fully equipped studio ready for you and your family.

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7 Tips for Preparing for Your Autumn Session
 
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Autumn is one of the most popular months of the year for portrait sessions. After all, nature is doing its thing with all those vibrant colors, plus you get a chance to really play up your wardrobe with accessories in the crisp weather.

1. Make use of accessories and clothing that play up the “autumn” feeling. For example, opt for leather boots, cable knit scarves and comfy cardigans look amazing on the whole family and can really bring a picture to life. Tip: neutrals do really well in the fall against all that foliage. 

2. Timing is everything. Start paying attention to that shift in weather as summer melts into fall. Once the leaves start changing, call up your photog and book a session. I know that I like to plan fall sessions, so chances are I’ve got a session ready for you. 

3. Location is everything. If it’s autumn, you better believe we’re playing outside in the gorgeous weather. I have a lot of locations to choose from that have particularly pretty backdrops. I’m also open to your suggestions. 

4. Plan for a mid-afternoon to early-evening session, when the light is just gorgeous. The days are shorter in the fall, so we need to plan accordingly to get that golden hour light.

5. Play in the environment. Chances are there are leaves on the ground or a few buds lingering around. I may have you throw leaves up into the air or something similar. Remember, this shoot is all about capturing your family bond and having fun, so let loose and get into the season! 

6. Pack the necessities. It can get chilly in autumn, so you may want to bring some necessities on hand. I recommend a lip balm, moisturizer, warm packs for your hands, tissues, and, of course, warm apparel. 

7. Wear comfortable shoes and accessories. Since we’re going to be outside, we’ll probably do lots of walking. If those boots look amazing, but kill your feet, scratch them. If the scarf looks adorable on Timmy, but it’s scratches his face and makes him unhappy, it’s better left at all.



 
How to Choose a Photographer for Your Senior Pictures
 

Graduating from high school is a huge accomplishment, and one of the most fun traditions at this time of year is to have some senior photos taken. Whether you're finishing up your junior year and looking for photos for your yearbook next year, or you're about to graduate this spring and want to capture the moment, here are some tips for hiring the best photographer.

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Do Some Research

This kind of research is a lot more fun than the kind you do for history class because it involves looking at photos and albums from a bunch of different photographers out there. Every professional photographer has a different style, and getting the perfect senior pictures means finding the photographer whose style matches your personality and whose images really speak to you. Check out the photographer’s website, review several albums, and picture yourself in the photos to figure out if they would work for you.
 

Meet the Photographer in Person

Great photography happens when you connect with the person taking your photo, which is why it’s a good idea to meet the photographer in person before you hire them. You can ask them questions, review their work, and talk about what to expect before, during, and after the shoot.   When you feel comfortable and relaxed during your session with a photographer you really "click" with, you'll get photos that reveal your personality and your true self instead of ones that look forced and awkward.
 

Look for More than Just Picture Quality

You want more than just great pictures.   That’s why it’s a good idea to ask about other services that are included with your photo shoot.   For example, is the photographer prepared for emergencies during the photo shoot with things like hairspray, bobby pins, and makeup?   What would they do if something unexpected came up, like a really windy day or unexpected rainstorm?   Could they improvise and still get great photos?   Also ask about what happens after the shoot - do they do touch-ups and editing, will you get the photos on a disk or in some other format, do they offer services such as albums and prints, and how long will it be before you can expect to see and order the pictures?
 

Discuss Budget and Get Your Parents Involved

We understand that these are your senior pictures, and you may not really want to work with your parents, but in many cases they can offer some perspective and advice that will help you get photos that will stand the test of time. If they are footing the bill for the photos it’s also a good idea to discuss the budget with them, or bring them along to talk to the photographer about how much it will cost, so they get what they expect cost-wise and there are no surprises.

Finding the right photographer to preserve the memories of this important milestone is a big job, but if you do it right you'll have the perfect pictures for life.

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10 Tips for Photographing Littles
 

Every parent want a documentation of their little one’s lives. Here are a few tips. Follow along click by click.

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TIP 1: RECORD IT

When my children are grown up, I want them to be able to look back at the photos I took and remember; their favorite stuffed animal, the shirt they insisted on wearing everyday for a week, the proud look they have after figuring something out. It’s their history and ours as a family, and I want to record as much of it as I can.

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TIP 2 PLAY ALONG AND GET IN THE PHOTO

It always helps to play a long and be silly with my kids. If they’re rolling around in the grass, I'll roll around too. This not only helps me photograph my little ones in a more authentic way, but it keeps me present and living fully with my children which comes first, always. They also love it when they see adults acting totally silly and not so serious. Don't wait till your hair is perfect or you loose 5 more pounds. Rather get in the photo and have fun.

TIP 3: GET LOW Get FAST

Shooting at a child’s eye level will allow your photo to be framed at their perspective This angle helps to portray that sense of wonder they have about the world. If shooting with a DSLR camera, use shutter speed of at least 1/125 second to capture kids in focus, no matter what they are doing.

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TIP 4: CONSIDER YOUR POSITION

To eliminate distractions within the frame, sometimes it's as simple as panning a few degrees to the right or the left to crop out a group of people. Other times I need to move to a new position so that the lighting is on the right side, or the backdrop is less busy. And sometimes, I just get up and move some things out of the way quick.

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TIP 5: GIVE THEM SPACE

What works best for me is to give my kids their space. I won't give them an exact spot to be, but rather point them to a general area. That way, they can choose to move however they want and do what feels natural to them. My aim is to simply let them enjoy the experience as I try to weave my way around it.

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TIP 6: FORGET ABOUT YOUR FEED/WALL

Spend less time planning your next Facebook or Instagram post and instead just capture events as they happen in real time. If it works out that the composition is right and the lighting is good, I'll post it otherwise I'll keep it on file for printing later. Either way, I have the moment as a record.

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TIP 7: BE SELECTIVE

When it comes to choosing which photos to keep, I try to save only the ones that really move me. Ask yourself “does this photo bring me great joy?”. Relax your kids are well documented and you will still have plenty of photos.

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TIP 8: STAY IN THE MOMENT

I was guilty of shooting too many photos. Nowadays, I try to anticipate moments that will photograph well, snap a few photos, and move on. There's no point in taking a photo to remember a moment that you missed because you were too busy taking the photo! Sometimes a moment is just too special to interrupt.

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TIP 9: TEACH THEM

Invite them to be part of that fun and let them see what inspires you, a beautiful scenery, great lighting etc. When you get a great shot, call your kids over to take a look. They’ll learn something from you. They’ll take a bit of ownership for being part of that photo that brings you joy. My kiddos will show me a great scene when we are out and occasionally even suggest taking a photo in that moment. I know this might make people nervous but in a save environment (neck strap around neck or resting a camera on a table hand them the camera for a bit and let them try it out.

TIP 10: PRINT BOOKS

When I’m deciding between a few photos of the same scene or moment to keep, I often consider, “which one of these am I going to print?” Printing photo books for our family also helps to keep my photo-life organized. When my second child was born, I printed a book for my oldest from his first year of life – he cherishes this book and loves having something of his own.

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