What to wear?

Dressing for your Photo Shoot

One of the most common questions we receive from our clients is “what should we wear”? We love this question because it means that you’re thinking about how to make the most out of your photo shoot. And you should! These pictures are going to be lasting memories for your family; they will be shared with friends, given to relatives, hung in your home, and will be your desktop image on your computer (and probably your smartphone). You want to love them.

Be Yourself

Every family has its own personality and unique way of relating to each other. As photographers, we want to see your family’s personality and capture it in your pictures. If your family loves the beach, let’s go to the beach. If we’re shooting in the studio, we can definitely incorporate your family’s hobbies into the session. You can bring props or a change of clothing for a few fun pics. (ie: sports jerseys for the die-hard Red Sox family).

Use Color

Color brings out the best in people, so why not use it? Gone are the days when families dressed in white shirts and khaki pants for their family pictures (and we are super-excited about that). Life isn’t white and khaki, nor should your photographs be! We use color to adorn our walls, our bodies, our nails – be sure to use color to adorn your family pictures and bring out your best!


First, let’s start by making the distinction between “coordinating” and “matching”. Coordinating = good, Matching = bad. Forcing Dad into matching holiday sweaters isn’t going to being out his personality or his best; we guarantee it. We highly recommend coordinating instead of matching. A great way to coordinate is to use a thread of color to tie your whole family together. For family pictures, it sometimes helps to start with Dad and work from there. One strategy is to figure out what color you want to run through your family. If it’s red, find a shirt with a red stripe in it in Dad’s closet – then maybe Mom wears some red earrings, son wears red socks, and daughter wears a red dress, or perhaps a red bow in her hair. Of course that’s just one example – there are a millions of ways to coordinate without “matching”.

For more help, look at ads for clothing stores and see how the pros coordinate groups of models. Another way to make it easy is to shop at stores that offer coordinating clothes for children, such as The Children’s Place or The Gap.

Say No to Logos

Bring on the polka dots, the stripes, argile patterns, checks, and sparkly tutus, but please – pretty please leave the logos at home. Shirts with “GAP” written across the chest aren’t typically a good choice, heck even The Gap doesn’t dress their models in those shirts! (Photo to the right is a Gap Kids ad from http://www.GapKids.com )

Finishing Strong

Photo shoots are less of an event than they are a process.  Families spend time planning the session, coordinating clothing, strategically scheduling meals and naps, getting hair done, putting on make-up, and more.  The photographer plans poses, thinks through locations, checks the weather, thinks about daylight and optimal time for the family to be shot.

During the actual shoot the family tries to keep everyone in line and obedient to the photographers suggestions.  (The families I shoot are awesome at this).

After the shoot, the family often heads out for a goodie (whatever they used to bribe the little ones with) and the photographer goes off to download and sort through 200+ pictures from the shoot. Then she carefully edits the 20-50 best images and places them in a gallery for viewing.

The family then views the gallery and agonizes about which photos to buy (usually they love them all and can’t decide which one goes on the mantel). Then they need to think through what size frame grandma has and which picture they think she’ll like best.  Then there is the question of “finishes”. What the heck is the difference between lustre and metallic anyway?

This is where most people freeze.

Choosing prints is difficult, but it’ll be okay. I promise.  Here is some help:

Smugmug has these great video clips describing the difference between lustre and metallic.  We also have several examples of each in the studio, so feel free to contact us and we will gladly show you the difference.

The important thing about a photo shoot is to finish strong.  We both go through a lot of effort to get your photographs right.  Be sure to order your favorite prints.  Remember that galleries only stay on Smugmug for two weeks.  If you absolutely need more time, please contact your photographer for an extension.

It Takes A Village

On Sunday I was tickled to host my good friend and photography mentor, Audra Bayette at the studio.

Audra is primarily a wedding photographer, and since weddings are sort of “out of season” in February,  she is enjoying her downtime by doing some fun photography projects.  On Sunday she was shooting a series of kids and their toys. Just for kicks.

Before anyone arrived, we experimented with fill lighting in the studio. It was so fun to just “play photography”. Playing = learning, and learning how to manipulate light is key to becoming a better photographer. (btw, I would have never been able to take this backlit shot without Audra flipping my camera into manual and forcing me to keep in there).

However, my favorite part about having Audra come by the studio was getting to watch her shoot. I rarely get to see other photographers do their thang.  

I found it validating to see that I’m not the only crazy one chasing around 2-year olds.

This is a pull-back shot from a pretty typical photo shoot.  You’ve got your photographer on her knees (I am so getting knee pads), you have the dad on his back trying to help without getting in the way, you have the mom watching from the sidelines (probably praying), and of course, you have the star of the show – an energetic two-year-old who is really all about having a good time and could care less that you are trying to capture memories that she’ll treasure years down the road.

Sometimes it takes a village.

Be My Valentine

One of the fun things about having a bazillion photographs on my computer is that I can then use said photographs to design things.

This past week I’ve been having a ton of fun designing Valentines for kids to hand out to their classmates. Nothing against Sponge Bob, but he’s got nothing on these cutie pies (click on pics to see larger):

Splitting Hairs

I spend a lot of time doing “photography stuff”. Like too much time. Hours and hours and hours and hours.  So much so that during “busy season” I literally sustained a “mousing injury”. Yes – an injury from too much mousing. Lord help me, that makes me feel old and nerdy.

The thing is, as much time as I pour into photography, there is still so much to do.  I’m convinced that there is actually an infinite amount of time that I could spend on it. I am limited only by the need to sleep, spend time with my family, and handle my other grown up responsibilities (such as cleaning the bathroom).

I split my time between shooting (actually using my camera), editing (every image gets edited in Photoshop – which is very time-consuming), learning (it is very necessary to invest time reading LOTS about photography, Photoshop, lighting, my camera, as well as time practicing techniques), and working on business stuff (dreaming up promotions, advertising, getting the studio in order, building client databases, keeping track of all the pennies coming in and going out, tax ID numbers, signage, websites, photo hosting sites, ahhh!).

The money is also split between what I need to pay the bills (rent, utilities, etc), what I need for the studio (props, furniture, decor), and what I need for equipment (a new lens, a lighting set up, flashes, software programs, baby hats, blankets).

Sometimes I have to ask myself if I am insane.  Why in the world do I do all this?

The answer, I suppose, is because I love it.