Who is thinking about their Holiday photos in August? Me of course! Late summer early fall is the perfect time to have you holiday portraits done. Why? Because the weather is perfect. Everyone still has a touch of the summer sun left on their skin and there are many choices of outdoor back drops. So book today and check one thing off your holiday list early!
Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~ Sam Keen
I love the summer vibe. Sand between the toes, late night sun, the clock seems to have flexibility. There is always things to be done yet in summer there is no rush. To bad that wasn’t true for autumn, winter and spring. Right now I will be hope my laziness finds respectability
In this “new” world of never-ending selfie taking, there seems to be no shortage in photos. This is a good thing. Maybe not the duck faces, but the capturing the moment. Think of the old photos that you have. When you see them, they bring you back to a time, stir up memories. How often do we hear something like “This was the Easter when I was 6, and I’m wearing my favorite dress!”, or “do you remember that night, this was taken at John’s house”. Even better, “wow, you look a lot like your Grandpa when he was your age.”
Without photos, we would depend on memory. Human memory, which gets fuzzy with time. Photos can bridge time, photos can fill in the gaps, photos can bring smiles to our faces. So keep snapping away, but maybe leave the duck face at home.
Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been – Mark Twain
On Easter Sunday, I set up a my new backdrop. I wanted to test it out, and to test a few things out on my camera. I had hoped to get pictures of my Mom who is turning 75 this week. While waiting for my “models’ (my children) I asked my Mom to sit for me. She declined stating that she does not like her picture taken due to her wrinkles. I expected that answer so like a child, I said “paaleeeeaaassseee Mom.” She smiled and said she would.
The photo shoot was quick but fun. Just because the woman sitting before me is not the exact same mother I had before FT Dementia and Alzheimer’s, I was blessed with seeing old parts and new of her. Though words don’t come as easily Mom is still vain like many of us. She wanted to look good and young and communicated that she does not like her wrinkles. “I look like a really old lady!” she stated. At one point she decided to pull her skin-tight on her face to lessen her wrinkles. Her behavior was that of a silly five-year old. She had me in stitches and soon she was in stitches too. Mom continued with her child like behavior. It was sweet and endearing. She showed me there is no age limit to vanity.
I honestly don’t remember my mother without her wrinkles. When she was a young child into adulthood she spent every summer at the beach. Then she smoked two packs of Winston a day for over forty years they both took their toll. I bet some of those wrinkles are from her five children (not me of course).
What I got to see through the lens and then on print was a mischievous, sweet woman, wrinkles and all. I am so happy she sat for me! Happy 75th birthday Mom!
As a photographer, I am not a fan of Paris Hilton. Her duck face, hand on the hip posing technique has made my job harder. Not everyone can pull off the duck face look, in fact no one really can. Now the hand on the hip, that is hit or miss. As a photographer who shoots a lot of teens, I see it often. I want to capture who the teen really is, not who they think they should look like.
A few years after Paris, Kim Kardashian takes over reality television. Not only does Kim’s derriere take over, so does her speech patterns. Teenagers are now sticking out there tush to get a more desirable booty. Did you ever listen to teens or twenty somethings in line at Starbucks? Their conversations go something like this, “Like, o h – m y – G o d – d i d – y o u – s e e- h e r – o u t f i t?” It is a slow drawn out 80’s Valley Girl talk. Quite frankly it is just as annoying as the Valley Girl talk was in the 80’s. I want to tell these young ladies that speaking that way makes them sound less intelligent, but I digress and close my Mom my mouth.
So here I am, trying to take a photo of a fourteen year old, sixteen year old, you fill in the age. The session often goes like this: First the hand goes on the hip, the booty gets stuck out, the chest is pushed in the opposite direction and the lips become pursed. It has to be uncomfortable, right? There is only one Paris and one Kim. I want to know this child that I am photographing. I want family and strangers to look at the finished product and understand who the subject is. Now I have a barrier to break through. I try to spend more time with this teen, talking and just having them become comfortable. I talk about school, their other activities, what their summer plans are (and maybe boys!) Trying to have them forget a camera is in front of them. After a little time, it works and we all get to see their true beauty. Girls being themselves. Girls being who THEY truly are. I have broken the Paris and Kim effect.
Often I get asked what should we wear for our family photo shoot. There are few rules you should follow:
Stick with two to three complimentary colors. You are all familiar with the beach shot, white shirt, khakis or jeans. This looks nice because it doesn’t compete with the background. It also looks nice if you choose three colors and mix and match them such as navy, purple and white or green, tan and pink.
Do not wear large patterns. If everyone is wearing a pattern, in the finished photo it will look very busy. Limit the pattern wearing to just one person in the group. Also, some small check and stripes can give a warped appearance in the finished photo.
Not everyone has to be in the same exact outfit. A variation of the outfit is fine. One year for the cousins photo they did a zebra print theme. One girl had a zebra dress, another a zebra skirt, one boy had a zebra print tie another had suspenders with a zebra print. Never too much print on one person, but the theme was carried out.
If you know you have to hold a child or stand next to a certain person, please make sure you coordinate. You don’t want the baby in orange and you in bright red.
Choose a clothing color palette that you like. Remember it needs to look good in your home if you are going to hang the photo up!
Try to dress season neutral. That way you don’t feel that you have a summer photo hanging in the winter. Save the red and green clothing for your Christmas card photo
Layer, layer, layer! Not for warmth, but for texture. A vest, a scarf all add depth to your photo. It also gives you the opportunity for different looks in your photo by taking an item off as the shoot goes on.
When in doubt go classic. Styles that stand the test of time. Anything that is to trendy is going to look out of date hanging on your wall in five years from now.
I recently had the opportunity to do a photo shoot for a group of families who have kids on the spectrum. It was a service project for a local organization and I happily took the assignment. For years I have photographed children on the spectrum. Some assignments were easy, some not so easy. I was unsure how a whole day of shooting ten families would go.
The weather could not have been more perfect. A long winter had pushed back spring and the days before were not to nice. The morning of shoot, the sky was bright and the weather a perfect 74 degrees. A wonderful start!
Each family had a 20 minute time slot, with a 10 minutes buffer between the next client. As with many kids on the spectrum, it was not easy to get eye contact with the camera. But that was fine. I shot the kids as they wanted to be shot. Sitting on the steps, running through the fields. However they felt comfortable. I had a blast getting see each of them in their full freedom, being themselves.
What really stuck with me that day was the interaction between the child on the spectrum and their siblings. The love that bound them was endless. It was so evident, that my assistant for the day, my 15 year old daughter was also blown away with the compassion, empathy and love they have for their siblings. That day, I saw pure love and it was beautiful.
As exhausting as that day was and the weeks that followed editing so many photos, it was by far my favorite shoot. This is why I love this job!
November 14, 2013
The fall brings such a rush of feelings. Many people measure their children’s growth by how they changed from last year’s first day of school. Its the “backslide” before the end of the year. First day of school, next a new Halloween costume, Thanksgiving then Christmas and Hanukkah time. Smushed in between all that busy time, I get many phone calls of people wanting to get their holiday cards done. I love this time of year. Many of my customers are repeat, so I get the privileged of seeing how their children have grown. Who now has braces, what little brother is now taller than their sister, a whole year brings so much.
I can’t wait each year to take my children’s Christmas card photo. They are all old enough now to know just to give in to their crazy Mom. They wear what I ask, and smile easily, mainly because they know the faster they do, the sooner they are done. I love to hear the jokes between them, the comments of “what will next year be?” (with trepidation in their voices) I can see each year the change in them. Not just the physical change, but the maturation. Its quite a honor to be along for the ride with not just my family, but my clients family too. That one little snapshot in time reveal so much.