Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tips for Your Portrait Photo Shoot

A couple of years ago, I wrote some tips on engagement shoots specifically. With much more experience under my belt and a couple more years having passed, I thought I would revisit the topic. This time, you can consider this as relevant for all types of portrait photo shoots.

#1 (this is #1 for a reason!): When thinking of your location, your clothes, hair, shoes and what types of poses you might want to do, keep this in mind: BE COMFORTABLE! Don't go anywhere, or wear or do anything that makes you feel awkward. Photographer's pose suggestion feel a bit forced? Let them know and adjust to be more comfortable and relaxed. Trust me, if you aren't feelin' it, it will show in the photos.

#2: There are 5 things I suggest you consider when choosing what to wear:

Comfort - If you'll be climbing around on rocks or walking on the beach, flip-flops would likely be a better idea than stilettos. Long sleeves and/or layers on a warm day could make you sweaty and you could freeze if it's cool out without a sweater!

Location - As aforementioned, be sure you're comfortable. Also remember where you're going and dress for the place. A cocktail dress and suit isn't necessarily appropriate for urban or beach photos (though, at the same time, that contrast could also provide for some interesting photos!)

Color: Deep shades of colors ("jewel tones"), like magenta, ruby (deep red), emerald (deep green), sapphire (deep blue), and amethyst (purple) all generally work out well in just about any situation. Orange and yellows can also be good for brunet(te)s and those with darker complexions. That doesn't mean you can't wear other colors, so don't be afraid to throw whatever colors you'd like into it. Try to stay away from busy patterns. Ultimately, wear the color(s) that you think complement you best.

What Your "Portrait Partner(s)" is/are Wearing - Matching exactly isn't really suggested or recommended unless you're going for a coordinated look (I'm sure everyone has seen the photos of families wearing all white shirts with jeans :) ), but planning your outfit(s) to coordinate well definitely is. Keep styles in mind (everyone casual, everyone formal, etc.) is a good idea, as is wearing colors that go well together or wearing different shades of the same color.

Looking Like Yourself
 - Don't feel that you have to "dress up" to look great in your photos!

#3: (This is mostly for you, ladies) Don't force anyone to wear anything they really don't want to wear. You may not feel that your husband's choice of shorts if a good one, or you may feel that your wife needs to wear a dress to look nicer... Or you may think your child's choice is a bit odd. But, suggestions aside, it really is often best to let them decide. (Obviously, if it's a very young child, they may want something ESPECIALLY strange, not excluding running around in their birthday suit, haha. Within reason, it could still be the best idea to give them SOME choice in the matter. Perhaps give them a few outfit choices and see what they'd like best?)

#4: Look around at photos online or in magazines and send any you'd like to try to recreate to your photographer ahead of time (or bring them with you to your session). There are no guarantees that the situation will be perfect to capture them, but there's no harm in trying! Besides that, it can give your photographer a better idea of what you'd like.

#5: Do not be afraid to let your personality shine through! Many peoples' favorite shots are exactly those "silly" or sweet captures from when they weren't thinking about the camera aimed at them. Laugh, smile, tease... Bring things with you that have some meaning (Sports fan? Bring a ball, bat, racket, or hat for your favorite team! Pregnant? Bring ultrasound photos, baby shoes, or a favorite plush animal!). Just have fun with YOUR photo shoot! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sheann & Ryan's Wedding: Sneak Peak

Still working my way through the photos from Sheann & Ryan's wedding, but felt like sharing a few of them (I always enjoy giving a bit of a teaser :) ).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A few thoughts on finding the right photographer

I've seen a few other photographers write about what they feel is important when searching for a wedding photographer and a few have made points that I agree with (while others seem to be writing more of a "Why you should hire me" list). What follows this paragraph is not me trying to sell you on hiring me for your event, but my sincere thoughts on things to consider during your search.

The most important thing is whether their style meshes well with your style. Do they take the types of shots you would want on display on your walls and in your albums? If not, keep looking - your photographer is out there! Remember that you have options, no matter what your budget is. Also remember that just because you feel a photographer has talent doesn't mean they are the right photographer (you can admire a wedding dress that isn't quite what you're looking for, right?).

Next, keep in mind that the most important thing is the style and quality of a photographers work and not what school they went to (or whether they even have a degree) or how much they cost. Neither of those things are necessarily an indication of their talent - the photos they take are. So don't let their BA in Photography or their $5,000 price tag make you believe they won't disappoint you (no photos from a wedding they shot by themselves? Well, there's a haggling point if ever there was one!)

Third, before putting down your deposit, be sure you have seen photos of the things that would be important to you. Some photographers are better at photojournalism, while others are best at posed shots. I've seen a few portfolios that only have amazing posed shots which don't indicate how well the photographer works under the pressure and timing of a live event. Just how important is it to you that the photographer get a great shot of "the kiss" or the smashing of cake into your new spouse's face cake cutting?

Fourth, do you get along well with your photographer? I've found that I, personally, get the best results when I click with my clients. They feel more relaxed and I feel as though I know better what they want. Meet up with your photographer before the event so you can get a sense of how well your personalities mesh.

And now, I have some photos to get through!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meagan & Tony's Wedding

I had the pleasure of spending July 23rd with Meagan, Tony and Gavin (Meagan's super cute toddler) as they officially became a family. There was a lot of love in the air and a lot of laughs. :) They got married on campus at California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo, CA. What a great spot!

You can see all of the photos here.

Here are some of my favorites from the day:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Inside Edition

I had to take a break just now from editing the photos from Tony and Meagan's wedding. Having just gotten through most of the "getting ready" shots and the formal/posed shots, I stopped near the beginning of the "pre-wedding" shots. Those are the shots where the bride, groom, wedding party and immediate family are all a mix of relaxed and a bit anxious as they are all ready to go and just waiting to start the walk down the aisle.

Over the past month in particular, one thought has stuck with me. And that thought is this: I love not only capturing memories, but am also touched and honored to be "on the inside" of things. Can it be stressful to be sure I get all the shots I feel I'm expected to get? Sure, a bit. But honestly, I find that I'm so caught up in the fact that I'm involved in some of peoples' most precious moments that I rarely actually feel stressed.

I think the way I feel about photographing people is something that really adds to the quality (and quantity, for that matter :P) of the moments I catch. Constantly, I'm thinking about how much what is on the other side of the lens could mean to people. Some of the photos will wind up in albums; others on walls and mantles; still others on thank you cards, invitations, and save the dates; one might be someone's Facebook profile photo or the shot they use for their 'record' album cover.

But not only did I get to shoot and see so much, I get to be a part of so much. I get to talk and laugh with the stars of the day, their "supporting cast" and everyone else special to them.

And now, going through the photos from my latest gig, I keep finding myself smiling or laughing.

I'm sure all of this sounds sappy, but I so very much enjoy getting to hand over a little bit of a time machine where people can relive some of their happiest days. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Melanie & Jimmy's Engagement Shoot

My husband and I met up with Mel & Jimmy at Cal Lutheran University weekend before last and spent nearly 2 hours walking around campus taking some engagement photos. It was a lot of fun hanging out with them and they are seriously a cute couple - both have a great sense of humor and aren't afraid to be a bit silly (my favorite type, as is obvious to anyone who knows my husband, Mike, haha).

The campus is a great place to shoot as it has a lot of different areas and is very aesthetically pleasing (I like to take my dog for a walk around there several times a week, in fact!). I also got to make them my guinea pigs with my new heart chalkboards I made that week (which turned out well, if I do say so myself).

Here are a few of my favorites:

As you can see, I had a lot of favorites! :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Art Box, Atelier, First Annual Art Show

The Art Box, Atelier, had its first annual art show and boy, are were some talented artists on display! Check out the full gallery here, and keep scrolling to see some of my favorites from the show.

Okay, so I sneaked in a photo of Emma, the owners' daughter, but is she not a little cutie? ;)