Listen. I get it.  It’s hard to get in the frame and in front of a camera when most often it’s been days since you have showered and your clothes are covered in spit up or something you pray is chocolate pudding.  Everything you do is for your kids but take a step back and think of this. Do you think when they are 40 years old they are going to want a.) hundreds of photos of themselves to frame in their home or b.) a photo of them as a child with their Mama or Dada holding them?  Chances are it’s B.

kid photography

They don’t care if you haven’t had your hair done in months.  The bags under your eyes mean you stayed up all night rocking and comforting them.  They don’t care your nails look like you blindfolded yourself and painted them. Those pesky few pounds you have been trying to shake off are likely because you treated them to ice cream and had some yourself or sat them on the kitchen counter to help you make chocolate chip pancakes  – and yes – you ate a few along the way.

But do this… take a moment and ask your kids if they could travel the world with anyone and do anything they want and go anywhere they want – would would they choose to want to go with?  They could even pick a superhero or their favorite character but they can only choose one person.  What is their answer?  You will probably quickly realize you are, in fact, their favorite person in the world – their hero and their everything.

kid photography

There will always be a better time to do anything in your life.  The days your kids will want to remember are happening today so hand the camera to a friend, kid, significant other and get in the frame.  If you want to give your kids an amazing gift – let them have memories the way they see it and the way they see you.  They will thank you one day!

Photo Credit – my six year old daughter, Maria

xoxo,

Susie

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Color cast can sneak up on ya.  For the longest time you don’t even realize it’s there.  The wonky yellows in all your indoor photos.  The blue-ish colors in images when its overcast out that make everything look just a wee bit sad.  It can be a tint that affects the entire image or just a portion of it. Many of which can be fixed with proper white balance and improved lighting.  You can often correct it in post. In some instances it can be completely avoided so you don’t have to deal with it at all.

Here I have included an example of color cast that is avoidable. You can see right next to my red bag on the light stone there is a subtle red tint to the stone just around it.  This is incredibly common.  It doesn’t matter too much when you are taking a picture like this but say it was an image of a mother wearing  a red dress holding a baby in a sweet little white outfit.  Instead of the outfit being a pretty crisp white like a Tide commercial – it would look like the stone next to the bag and the skin tones would be way off.  Not ideal.

I typically ask my clients (newborn session clients especially) to avoid really bright colored tops like reds, magentas, greens/yellows and opt for a more muted tone or cream/white ensemble for this very reason.  That way colors don’t transfer onto other individuals or clothing when we are taking snuggly family photos.

Whites are crisp.  Colors pop. Skin tones are accurate.  Win!  So if you are picking out clothes for a session maybe pass on the really bright hues and save it for a date night.  If you are a photographer, be open to offering recommendations to clients to steer them in the right direction.  I often have clients email or text me outfit options or just show up to a session with a few things to choose from and we find what works!

xoxo,

Susie

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There are many simple tricks that can drastically improve your photography that apply across the board to from whether you are using your phone or the fanciest of cameras.

I love a good ikea hack post so I thought I’d offer one up for photography.

Turn off the flash

Use available light at any opportunity to give your photos a much more natural feel.  Flash is just a bit harsh for most day to day images and isn’t necessary most of the time.  It pops up when it detects the slightest shadow and often results in a deer in headlights type of photo.  Let the light fall where it naturally does and create shadows where it wants to. Turning up your ISO is better option unless there is a situation that absolutely requires flash.    

Shoot from different angle

Creating visual interest is often as easy as changing your perspective.  Sit on the floor.  Stand on a chair.  Lay down.  Squat down.  Hold you camera way up high.  I have a step ladder in my car at all times and have been known to climb trees or get on roofs which I don’t recommend but worth considering when taking proper precautions.  If you only take a photo while standing you are seriously limiting your options.

Isolate your subject

You can isolate your subject physically by removing any distracting elements from around them.  You can also isolate your subject by using a wide aperture lens.  Most kit lenses allow you to open your aperture to f/3.5 which is moderately wide but not great for indoor/low light situations.  If you are wanting to really isolate your images and be able to photograph subjects in low light situations you might want to consider a lens with a wider aperture – my personal favorite being the 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Get closer

There are instances where incorporating a scene into a frame is what you are looking to do but sometimes it makes a huge difference to get in really close and isolate something like a subjects freckles or unique expression or the little dimples on the knuckles of a baby.  Honing in on something that is unique or special or telling of a particular time.  This often entails interfering in someones personal space but I’m no stranger to doing it and there’s no shame in my game.

Rule of thirds

Since I’m not a big rule follower let’s just take this as a suggestion to be taken into consideration – or ignored – either way.  It is similar to how things arranged in odd numbers are more appealing like flowers or when decorating a mantle.  The basic idea is to pull the focus in an image off center by breaking down the image into thirds horizontally and vertically as detailed in the photo below so you have a grid with nine squares and four lines that are useful in positioning elements in an image.  Positioning a subject off center creates a unique level of interest.

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Let’s get really real for a minute.  I was a horrendous photographer not so long ago.  I positively butchered my daughters newborn photos.  She didn’t deserve it, poor thing.  I was a tragic trio of a camera wielding, penny-pinching , uninformed individual.  I thought that because I had a nice new camera that it would do the work for me.  I was wrong!

So let’s learn from my mistakes shall we?  Here is how to take a terrible photo…

  1. Ignore lighting. Lighting is everything people.  Everything.  Envision this – I had my cute little 3 week old daughter laid out on a boppy lounger with cute little monogrammed bloomers and it was dark so I found some LAMPS to set beside her to light her.  She was orange in all the pictures.  Turn off the lights and open the blinds!!!  Let there be light!!!
  2. Assume that your camera knows better than you. Assume that auto setting will take care of everything.  My mama always told me to “assume” something is to make an ass out of you and me.  She continues to always be right.  You camera does not know if the person you are taking a picture of is sprinting or asleep.  It doesn’t know if you are taking a picture of one person or of 10.  You know best.  Take the reins.
  3. Throw away the manual.  There are some very basic things that are critical to taking a photo that reside in the manual.  Find it.  A memory card, for one.  I don’t know why but on many cameras it will allow you to take photo without a memory card in the camera.  There is a setting to disable this feature so you don’t take 100 photos at your next family gathering only to realize that they were never recorded to anything.  Similarly, I have had many friends contact me saying their images are horribly pixelated and they can’t figure out why.  More often than not the record mode on the camera was set to the lowest possible JPEG file quality.  Great for taking many (super low resolution web quality pixelated) photos that don’t take up much space on a memory card but that look rough when printed.

The good news is where there is a problem there is always an ANSWER! The fact that you are reading this is gold.  There is always room for improvement wherever you are at in your photography journey myself very much included.

So happy you are here.

xoxo,

Susie

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It’s my birthday!  I thought long and hard about what I wanted for my birthday and I decided I want something wildly out of my comfort zone.  I have decided to branch out and expand into (drrrrrrrum roll please) photography education.  This might seem like an effortless transition to most but it’s a huge leap for me.

It surprises a lot of people to find out that I (e-hem….a wedding photographer) was married at a courthouse and our witnesses were two kind folks we met that same day or that I had my college diploma mailed to me having not attended my own college graduation.  I have a habit of avoiding being on stage since I’m much more comfortable in smaller groups or with people I have known since before I had braces.

I have been plenty cozy staying behind the camera over the course of my career and letting images speak for themselves.  Putting my fears aside I have opted to do something that, in my heart, I have wanted to do for a long time now.   I have been in touch with so many friends and clients who want to improve their photography skills and with photographers over the years who have needed help either launching or improving their own photography business.  Through this I learned there are few things that make me happier than when I am able to use my knowledge to help someone check something off their bucket list.  I’m so grateful to finally have created this as a means to help as many people as possible.

You can sign up to receive free photography resources, tips, tutorials, and whatever else I can manage to whip up for you through the contact form on this website.  If you have any specific requests for topics you’d like me to address I’d love to hear them!

xoxo,

Susie

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