2017 Christmas Gift Guide for the Photographer in your life {photo tips}

2017 . Fall HOF bag-4

The mom-tog (or dad-tog):

-Photographer Assistant Onesie – $
This is the sweetest little onesie for your favorite little model and assistant.
– Easy and portable pop up studio $$
If you are looking into product photography a portable light box is incredibly helpful.
-Shutter Hugger $
Getting kids to look at the camera can be tricky, but these are a huge help and I often use the Dalmatian.
Artifact Uprising gift card $-$$$
This is perfect for the parent who loves a modern look and to print their photos!

The rugged photographer:

Cell phone Waterproof Dry Bag $
The worst thing is to ruin your phone due to water, I love this one because you can still use it through the bag.
-Fingerless Gloves $
Warm and cute is a hard combo to find, but these gloves are great for those winter outdoor adventures.
Bendable Tripod $
I literally just ordered this one for myself and am excited to possibly actualy be in some of my family photos this year! It is also great to get those selfies with incredible outdoor backgrounds.
Camera Rain Shell $$
This protective shell is great to throw in a backpack and takes up little space.
Drone $$$
This might be the bad mamma jamma of drones, even I think it is pretty.

The super girly photographer:

-Stay Focused Wall Print $
Beautiful and encouraging is the perfect combo for wall art.
-Cute Photography Slouchy T-shirt $-$$

I’m pretty sure I love all of these options. The funny and very true phrases are exactly how I feel most of the time.
Stunning Camera Strap $$
Love how a camera strap can become a beautiful accessory.
-House of Flynn Camera bag – $$$
I just got this for myself (see above) and I can’t wait to show you all how much I love it.

The shutter happy grandma:

Camera Cookie Cutters $
Now these are just super cute and great for making cookies with those grandkids.
– Modern Children Photography book – $
This is a great book on how to get modern and natural photos with kiddos! I deeply appreciate all of the practical advice.
-Camera Planter $$
I know I put this in the ‘Grandma’ section, but I love this planter.
-The Cutest Camera Bookends – $$
This is another product that is super cute and perfect for any camera lover.

Price Key:
$- less than $25
$$- $25-$100
$$$- Over $100

CREVE COEUR CAMERA PHOTOPALOOZA . November {WORKSHOP RECAP}

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I was so excited to see Creve Coeur Camera offer another Photopalooza workshop after attending the one in July.  I thought it might be a one time offering, or even a once a year workshop, but they put on another less than 4 months later! This time they also packed it with non-photography topics like running a business and social media, so for those who claim it is only for photographers- you are wrong! This event would be great for anyone who owns a business or has children or just enjoys to learn!

I attended three worshops:

  • Business Portraits – On Site Studio with Tom Tussey
  • Senior Photo Session – Laura Hicks (origionally it was supposed to be with Austin Pekarek)
  • Lifestyle Portraits – Laura Hicks

I would have attended more (and the ones on Friday) if this fall season didn’t have me so booked.

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Some suggestions for people who attend it next time:

  • Make sure you sign up for the sessions early!
  • Go with a friend. You will meet a ton of wonderful photographers but it is nice to go with someone you know. I would encourage you to go to different sessions and compare notes during breaks.
  • Plan food options. There are a ton of local restaurants to check out.
  • Take advantage of the great discounts that day. Go in with a list of items you are looking to buy and price things out while you are there. You might get a really great deal.
  • Talk to the vendors there. Want to know what new products Nikon is putting out? More than likely a representative might be there to chat up.
  • Bring a notebook. These sessions are top-notch and you will take in so much, so bring something to write down all of the tips they share.
  • Network with your session leaders and other attendees. St. Louis is smaller than you think so go meet your fellow photographers and remember that #communityovercompetition is key!

If you attended photopalooza this year, tell me your favorite session in the comments.

Client Props {Tips}

One of my favorite questions that I am asked at a session is “What do I do with my hands?” and in my opinion the best way to handle that is to fill them with something. Either I would suggest is holding your dress or pushing back your hair…. but that is where props come in handy (see what I did there!) as well. If any of these options look like something you would like to include in your session, please let me know!

Options include (See examples below):

  • Letterboard
  • Chalkboard
  • Child sized antique chair
  • Adult sized modern chair
  • Blue plaid blanket
  • Grey/White knit blanket
  • Pastel quilt
  • Senior Banner

Letterboard:

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Chalkboard:

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Child sized antique chair:

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Adult sized modern chair:

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Blue plaid blanket:

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Grey/White knit blanket:

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Pastel quilt:

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Senior Banner:

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My clients are so creative! Here are some of my favorite props that they have brought!

Wedding Day Detail Photos Checklist {Tips}

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The actual wedding day is filled with a flurry of emotions, stress, and fun. As a bride, you are surrounded by the women who love you most. The excitement of seeing all of your beautiful items and people come together is at times overwhelming. So I created this little checklist of items that I will ask for you to set aside so that I can capture all of your beautiful details while you are finishing getting ready.

  • Wedding (and engagement) rings- please include any boxes you might have as well
  • Any Jewelry you are wearing – please let me know if anything is a family heirloom
  • Invitation Suite & Program- if you used a calligrapher, please include a mock-up
  • Veil, shoes, & dress – if you have a particular place in mind you would like me to take this photo in or around the ceremony site, please let me know
  •  Something old, new, borrowed, & blue – not every bride does this tradition
  • Garter – both the one that is kept and thrown
  • Florals – bouquet (both yours and a bridesmaid) and boutineer
  • Gifts – including any gifts to bride/groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen & to parents
  • Groom details – tie/bowtie, cufflinks, cologne, shoes, cologne, etc.

Not every bride has all of these details, and that is totally okay! Every wedding is unique and personalized to your desires!

Creve Coeur Camera Photopalooza {Workshop Recap}

Over the past few years I have been amazed at the way incredible photographers come around others and share their gift and knowledge. I’ve seen this through the Rising Tide Society (2016 Styled Shoot) and recently through Creve Coeur Camera’s Photopalooza. I was honored to sit in on the sessions with Stephanie Cotta and Trent Broglin.

Bridal Posing with Trent Broglin

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Trent’s Tips for posing:

  • When you ask your bride to laugh- laugh with her!
  • You can do every pose without making the bride move her feet.
  • Always elongate your bride. Be mindful of her body and her angles.

Our model was gorgeous (as they always are) and she was a brave woman as it was hot! Did I mention it was 107 degrees this day? She rocked that dress.

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Outdoor Child Photography with Stephanie Cotta

Now this was a session I was looking for, however I’ve mostly seen her name around Newborn Photography. While she might specialize in newborn, but she wowed us in child photography as well. And if I could be BFF with anyone it might be Stephanie. She is super down to earth and answers questions with honesty, humility, and with a laugh.

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Stephanie’s Tips for Child Photography Posing:

  • Bribery always works – bring smarties!
  • Also bring a few key props- something with movement and a seat (bench/chair/etc.).
  • Get in a pose and then add a simple movement to it.
  • Little kids need to be guided on where to put their hands. Pockets are great for boys and girls can hold on to their dress or parents hand.

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If you attended photopalooza this year, tell me your favorite session in the comments. Some suggestions for people who attend it next year:

  • Make sure you sign up for the sessions early!
  • Go with a friend. You will meet a ton of wonderful photographers but it is nice to go with someone you know. I would encourage you to go to different sessions and compare notes during breaks.
  • Plan food options. There are a ton of local restaurants to check out.
  • Take advantage of the great discounts that day. Go in with a list of items you are looking to buy and price things out while you are there. You might get a really great deal.
  • Talk to the vendors there. Want to know what new products Nikon is putting out? More than likely a representative might be there to chat up.
  • Bring a notebook. These sessions are top notch and you will take in so much, so bring something to write down all of the tips they share.
  • Network with your session leaders and other attendees. St. Louis is smaller than you think so go meet your fellow photographers and remember that #communityovercompetition is key!

4 Photography Resolutions for 2017 {Tips}

 

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There are two major camps when it comes to resolution making – either you love it at least until February or you don’t understand why they exist. If you are not a fan of resolutions then consider this a challenge.

Consider taking on one of these Photography Resolutions/Challenges:

  • Photo A Day – Document your daily life – yes even when it seems monotonous. I encourage you to find the beauty in it.  One of the most popular is the #project365 and even if you miss a day or two it is an easy one to pick back up. This will help you hone your awesome photography skills.
  • Being Present – Mommas, I am talking to you. Make sure you get into the photos you are taking. Yes, ask that total stranger to take a photo of you and your babes. The one thing I fear the most is when I’m 80 and going through old photos that I never see myself interacting with the ones I love.
  • Print Your Photos – Naturally, as a photographer I want you to print every photo that is ever taken. However, I know this is not always a realistic option, but I do encourage you to not leave your photos on your phone or on facebook/instagram. Print your photos! Create art with your photos! There are so many great (and easy to use) online options to print your photos. You can order anything from individual prints to photobooks. I, personally, create a photo book each year and enjoy looking back at them.
  • Yearly Family Session– Make it a priority to book a family session each year. Yes, I know husbands typically hate them and it is difficult to get all the kids dressed up. However, even if it is just for the sake of the yearly Christmas card it is worth it. They will only be that little once. And if the frustration of getting everyone looking their best is too much, consider doing a lifestyle session. What is a lifestyle session, you ask? It is where you invite a photographer into your home to document what happens on a typical Saturday morning. This could be making pancakes in pajamas or cartoon filled mornings. Perhaps you want to capture decorating your Christmas tree or Easter lunch with your entire family. Lifestyle sessions are great for those who want more ‘natural’ looking photos.

I would love to hear which resolution/challenge you are taking on for 2017! To share please let me know in the comments below.

Why are Family Photos so Important? {Tips}

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You are only at this point in your life once.

Let that set in a bit.

Your child will only have that adorable gap in their teeth once. Your sister may only rock that baby bump a couple of times in her life. Your grandfather may not always be here to give your son that big bear hug.

These are just a few reasons to make sure you get that family photo at least once a year. And we are huge advocates of capturing yearly family photos, so much so, that you get to see OUR family photos. Yes, our family may only include two, but that is where a family starts- with two.

Our dear friend, Maria – Owner of Sketchbook Photography, took these photos for us to represent exactly where we are in this point of our lives.

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The joy of being photographers is that our family sessions typically involve cameras as props and this year we snuck in some other liquid props!

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And Yes, I know he is a stud! That man can ROCK a bow tie. I totally married up. Behind that small smile is most likely some quick witted joke.

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As women, we are so quick to be harsh with ourselves and our bodies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I’ll get family photos after I lose 10 pounds” or “Can you photoshop my double chin.” Embrace who you are at this moment. Love who you are at this moment. Capture your family exactly how it is at this moment. I promise you will never regret the moments you capture, only the ones that you don’t.

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Favorite St. Louis Locations {Tips}

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We love everything about St. Louis (minus the humidity!). Seriously, the lists could go forever: toasted ravs, a ton of FREE museums, Cardinal baseball, etc. And so we are blessed to have a ton of great locations to shoot at. Clients are always asking about our favorite spots, so here they are and we will share some of the things you will see.

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Outdoor:

  • Forest Park – Iconic spots, open fields, old trees, water options, classic buildings, contemporary buildings, flowers
  • Tower Grove Park – Classic brick building, ‘ruins’, water options, colorful buildings, old trees
  • Lafayette Park – Classic brick building, open fields, black iron fences, water options
  • Concordia Seminary – Classic brick building, old trees, courtyard with seating
  • Creve Coeur Lake – water options, wooded trails
  • Faust Park – Rustic houses, open fields, old trees
  • Malcom W. Martin Memorial Park – Iconic spot, water option
  • Carondolet Park – Classic brick buildings, water option
  • City Garden – Water options, Iconic spot, colorful scultpures

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Indoor:

  • Jewel Box: Lush greenery, flowers, bright
  • City Museum: Classic brick, unique items, dark
  • Missouri History Museum: Contemporary building, bright
  • Ameristar Casino: Classic brick
  • Central Library: Classic building, Contemporary, bright, gold iron door

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If you know of any great places, let us know and we will work on updating our list!

3 Tips to Have the Best Senior Session

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Congratulations! You (or your child) has accomplished so much and in fact you both deserve a photoshoot to celebrate your accomplishments to getting your student to their senior year. We are excited to share some of our favorite tips to have the best photo session (but would love to also chat about booking a portrait or couple session for the parents that made this life event happen!). Welcome to our 3 tips on having the best senior session!

  1. Prepare. But first we need to know the style of the senior. Are they the free spirit, rustic type? Do they love long flowy formal dresses? Do they like clean lines and modern aesthetics? Are they the athletic type that would hate to be put in a dress?Once you know the style that you want, we can plan locations, outfits, hair/makeup, and props. And yes, all of those things are important.-We have locations that can meet any preferences from urban to rural, from bold to soft, and from industrial to lush fields of floral. And if you want a mix of both? We have that too!

    -Outfits. Bring a variety (and understand that it might be difficult to do a full change so make sure your bottom pieces work to your advantage) of outfits. Bold and bright colors without patterns work the best to photograph. We recommend at least having one more formal outfit and one fun outfit. And over everything else, make sure you feel comfortable in what you choose. Pulling or swimming in your clothes never looks great on camera. Oh, and layer, layer, layer. Bring along some accessories that we can add or subtract as we go!

    – Hair and Make Up. This might seem extreme but consider getting these done professionally. Artists know exactly how your hair and face will photograph using their products, that is why they are the experts. Make sure, however, that you pick a style that is natural to you. The photos only happen once and so you don’t want to worry that your eyeliner is fading or those flyaways are bothering you. Oh, don’t forget to polish up those nails!

    – Finally, props. What do you find yourself drawn to? Are you always eyeing that flower crown, new book or family pet? Then consider bringing it. Are you a three sport athlete? Then bring items relating to that. Do you love to sing or play an instrument. Lets incorporate it!
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  2. Let’s have fun. We want you to feel super comfortable in front of our camera. This should be a fun experience. We understand you introverts, as we claim that status too, but now is the time to let your hair down and relax in front of our camera. Please share some photos you would like for us to create, but understand that you are your own person and will have a different experience then the person in that pinterest photo. And to add some fun, we might just bust out some tunes and have a mini dance party with you!
  3. Support. It is totally okay to bring a parent, sibling, or a friend. As long, as they bring the best out in you. We love encouraging people, so bring along that person that makes you feel amazing. The person who yells out, “you look gorgeous” and believe them, because they are right!

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How To Handle a Rainy or Snowy Family Session {Tips}

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1. Be willing to be adventurous! Yes, this change of plans may through everything in a tizzy, but it can also be beautiful. Rain equals a ton of fun accessories – galoshes, umbrellas, rain coats. Children are adorable when they are splashing in puddles, and how much better to catch their fun personality! Snow is simply beautiful. The air is full of quiet excitement that is shown perfectly in photography.

2. Be prepared. With inclement weather you need more items (and so do we- as we protect our equipment) and those items might take a while to get together. And if you have already planned outfits for the family, it might be hard to find gear that coordinates. However, these items are necessary to make the session a success! And not only are they necessary, they are cute.

3. Be open to adjusting location. Yes, that local adorable park would be perfect for a slightly overcast day. However, we may have to adjust a bit. We still might be able to go to that park for fun rain puddle moments and umbrella cuddles. But why not start at your favorite coffee shop first? We can get some nice dry shots and you get some caffeine. Sounds like a win-win to me!

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If after reading these tips you are still not convinced that it will work for your family, let me know. I want you to have the best family session, and will do my best to find a reshoot date. No matter what, your family photos are reflective of your family at this time, and a little rain/snow/wind won’t change that.