Category Archives: Helpful Articles

A Guide to Shooting In-Home Lifestyle Sessions

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In-home sessions are among my favourite type of session to do. No two are alike and each has their own pace and challenges (especially when siblings are involved!). Even with an over the phone consultation, talking with a client about areas in the home they think will work best, and scheduling best as possible around toddlers, you’re still walking into an entirely unfamiliar territory.

I started this session off by spending some off-camera time with this shy big sis, hearing about all her favourite toys and what she learned at gymnastics that week. Once she was suitably sure that I was alright, she led me upstairs to meet her new baby brother.

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I figured I had about 20 minutes or so before big sis checked out, so we worked quickly to shoot as many different poses as we could of them alone. Toddlers generally set the flow of my in-home sessions (let’s be real, they set the flow of ALL my sessions!), so taking advantage of her excitement at the beginning was key!

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Once she had enough of the camera, Dad took her out for a snack break and we focused on pics of mom and the newest little member of the family . Doing an in-home session can start with a wish and a prayer for good light, but luckily this room had the most delicious, creamy winter light which we took full advantage of. If a client doesn’t have the perfect set up with beautiful, light diffusing sheer panels as this client did, I always have an inexpensive (and when I say inexpensive, I mean literally from a dollar store) pair of sheer white curtains to put up with painters tape to soften any hard light coming through.

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Now that big sis was all snacked up and ready to go for round two, it was time for full family photos. Big sis got to decide who she wanted to sit with, which usually gets me a little more co-operation for the short window we have.

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Baby brother was starting to get hungry and while mom was giving him a nice, long feed, I got to spend some more time with my newest little friend. She showed me her favourite book (Robert Munsch, of course) and we got to horse around with dad while we waited!

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Once baby was in a wonderfully dozy, milk-induced coma, I moved on to some close ups of his sweet little fingers and toes, individual shots, and of course, some shots with daddy.

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When it comes to shooting lifestyle, going with the flow is the order of the day. Take a deep breath and know your best laid plans may fall to the wayside, but sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed to give the best images possible.

 

Natalie Balen-Cinelli is an Ontario natural light photographer who loves to work with neutrals and soft pops of color. Whether shooting indoors or out, she strives to make each session as unique as the family she’s photographing. Natalie gets giddy about her clients taking a first look at their photos, and hopes they love them as much as she does.

For more from Natalie, and for booking inquiries, visit the Lolabean Photography website, Like Lolabean Photography on Facebook, and follow Natalie on Instagram and Pinterest.

Photographing Children Through Their Eyes: 5 Ways to Evoke Childlike Whimsy in Your Child Photography

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As child photographers, and in dealing with children on a regular basis, I think we all feel the fascination with this stage of human life!

There is nothing more truthful than children and their imaginations. In childhood everything is true, as dream and reality merge themselves and are one! The world through the eyes of a child is always a new place … colorful, surprising, and unexpected. This is the world in which we all should live!

I’ve always been curious about how children see the world, and my background in psychology helped me to gain better insight into the fragmented and borderless way in which the child exists in the world.

For this reason, when I started photographing children, I soon felt the need to bring to my photos this magical way of seeing and being in the world, as if an image was photographed by the child’s own eyes!

Today I’m sharing a few tips on how can we photograph children ‘through their eyes’, and thereby evoke a magical, whimsical world.

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1. Seek Inspiration in Their World

Inspiration and creativity are fundamental aspects of any artistic activity. If we aspire to see the world as a child sees it, we have to be subject to the same stimuli and look for our inspiration there. Sources where we can look for inspiration are: children’s books, the drawings of children, animated films, the adventures that they are always telling us of, and their ‘theories’ about all kinds of things! We may be surprised by how many interesting elements we can find in these sources, and how we can use them in our photography.

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2. Think Like a Child

There is a saying that there is a little bit of ‘kid’ in each of us! The fact is that as we grow up, we can lose our sense of wonder, and a child’s naivety. So it’s easier said than done when it comes to thinking like a child!

However, there is a time in our daily lives when our mind functions closest to its a childlike state: at night, while we dream. During sleep our unconscious mind is expressed more freely and is not as affected by all the limitations that we as adults are subjected to in everyday life. The challenge at this point is to remember our dreams! I encourage you to develop the habit of taking note of your dreams in a diary, just after waking up. Your ability to retain and remember the stories and scenarios that exist in your nights will increase dramatically!

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3. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Color

Children love color and everything that is colorful and vibrant! By listening to them talk, draw, and even letting them choose their clothes, we realize that this is true! In my photos I try to represent this fact by choosing a dominant color, and then composing with other colors from different elements. Ideally, the final composition is a set of harmonious, vibrant colors.

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4. Keep Things Simple

Photographic composition should be well composed, and free of unnecessary complexity. Our attention should be immediately driven to the main subject!

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5. Create and Use Characters, Animals, and Symbols

Children’s relationship with animals is fascinating, perhaps because they speak the same language: that of innocence! By including animals in the photos, we are not only using a very present element in the world of children, but we are also increasing the chances of capturing unique and special moments.

In addition to the animals, we can create and use characters, whether they be from children’s stories, or even archetypal characters and symbols recreating a fantastical world. In addition to being elements with which children can interact, characters can also help create a greater emotional component.

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With the birth of his daughter … Porto, Portugal landscape photographer Ricardo Silva realized that what he really wanted to do was capture smiles, interact with people, and capture their moments, expressions, and lives. What attracts him to portrait photography is recording the essence and truth of people, and for this reason especially he loves photographing children. Ricardo and his team also photograph family lifestyle sessions, weddings, baptisms, anniversaries, and any special moments his clients want to remember.

For more from Ricardo, and for booking inquiries, please visit his website, Like Tales of Light by Ricardo Silva on Facebook, and follow him on Instagram.

Priorities and Productivity, with Free Printable!, from Erin Fisher of Erin Fisher Photography

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I have a confession to make: I’m not always very productive.

Now, before you start imagining me laying on the couch all day watching soap operas and eating bonbons, let me clarify: I’m always busy. I’m just not always productive.

There are many different things that I need to accomplish through out the week, and sometimes I just have a hard time prioritizing the things that need to get done over the things that can get done. It’s a problem I’ve had forever, but one that seems to have become ever more pervasive as my roles in life have multiplied and expanded… I’m now a mom and wife, the boss lady of the home front, and the girl behind the camera at Erin Fisher Photography.

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So really, I do lots of stuff. Just not always the right stuff.

So today I decided that it was time for a change. I woke up this morning and got to the business of putting together a daily worksheet to guide my choices (if that doesn’t get you excited about managing priorities I don’t know what will…).

I firmly believe that we have the ability to make every day fabulously productive if we have our priorities straight. If we can separate out the things that need to get done, from the good things that can get done, from the things we probably shouldn’t be doing, then we’re off to a really good start.

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I’m really excited about making this process a part of my day, and I’m prayerfully hoping that it makes a difference. I decided to share it with you all here, knowing that many of you might be feeling the exact same way. This weekend also happens to be Daylight Saving, which is pretty much the perfect time to have a “redo of the new year.”

Let’s start spring off with a bang, and choose to make each day fabulous. Not because we’re going to become supercharged versions of ourselves who work beyond what is reasonable or required, but because we’re going to focus on doing only what actually needs to get done before we set about doing anything else.

There are three questions I plan on asking myself every morning (or every night before bed.)

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What do I need to do today? What can I do today? What should I not do today …

Deep cleaning the bathroom when a client’s gallery is coming due is probably not the best choice. Updating all of the images on my website when the pantry is empty and the kids are due home in 2 hours is probably not the wisest course. And sometimes, spending chunks of time scrolling Facebook, reading blog posts, and stalking fabulous photographers just doesn’t need to happen at all.

This worksheet is meant to be a guide to get us thinking, and set our hearts and minds in the right direction from the start. I also included two little boxes that I think can make a huge impact on the quality of our days, and ultimately our lives…

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One is a box that simply says “Choosing joy.” This is where I want to write down the reasons why I can approach the day with a joyful heart. Maybe it’s something I’m thankful for, something I’m looking forward to, or something sweet that happened days before… Whatever it is, it puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step

The other is a box that says R A K, which stands for Random Act of Kindness. I think most of us intend to bless others every day – whether in big ways or small – but we get distracted with the craziness of life and our good intentions fall short of any actual follow through.

Well, now we have a place to make an actual plan. What can we do each day to bring a smile to someone else? It can be something as small as shooting off an encouraging text to someone who is down, to something as big as taking a new friend out to lunch. If every day is always only about us and our own needs, our perspectives are going to be a little off.

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I hope this little worksheet encourages your hearts and helps set your days in the right direction!! As dorky as it probably sounds, I’m kind of exited to wake up in the morning, make a sweet cup of coffee, and think through the choices I can make to make tomorrow fabulous.

Simply click here and print your own copy!

Lots of love,

Erin

 

Erin Fisher is a Hawaii natural light, lifestyle, family photographer specializing in family shoots, events, and military homecomings.

For more from Erin, and for booking inquiries, please visit her website, Like Erin Fisher Photography on Facebook, and follow Erin on Instagram.

6 Tips for a Successful Session, with Kristen McKay

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At the heart of it all, I am a mom. I am busy, always pulled in 100 different directions, am forever watching our budget, and my family is my world. When I became a professional photographer, I developed my business based on what I would look for when hiring a photographer and how an ideal session for my family would be run. Here are my tips for not only a successful session but creating a great customer experience.

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1. Create an Experience for Your Clients

From our first interaction via email or social media, to a hand-written thank you letter after a session, I want my clients to feel important, special, and that their session was customized to their unique family needs.

When clients reflect on their experience, I want it to feel personalized, well-organized and easy! After all, as family and child photographers, most of our interactions are with busy moms who are wanting beautiful keepsakes but don’t want the experience to feel like a second job.

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2. Make it EASY

Families are busy. I don’t want them to dread their session or any of the session “to-dos”. I use an online all-in-one management system that streamlines and simplifies the process both for my clients and myself. Payments, contracts, questionnaires are all handled in one place and online. I can’t tell you how many clients have thanked me for such a simple process.

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3. Communicate Expectations Prior to the Session

I would say 80% of your success will come from taking the time to communicate properly with your clients prior to your session. Provide a general outline of the process, give them ideas on styling, give them your contingent plan in case of weather or illness. Also, a lot of the general information can be gathered in a simple questionnaire. Ask questions like, Who will take part in the session? What are their ages? What are your ‘must have’ shots? What is your family’s style? What makes you laugh? What do you like to do together?

All of these questions help you to get to know the family, understand their needs and then help you formulate a plan for their session.

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4. Prepare a Gameplan

This doesn’t have to be formal. Once I get the questionnaire from the family and know ages, types of shots they want, etc. I prepare a mental gameplan for the session. I determine the location, depending on the time of day, I know general areas within the location to use, I plan props if necessary (like stools, benches, chairs, blankets), I determine the shot list (for example, if a family shot is most important, that is what we focus on first). Finally, but certainly not least, I think about the equipment I will need (lenses, lighting, etc.) and how I will use it.

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5. Be Yourself

It’s the day of the session and the family hired you because of your work, your style and because you’re you! You have prepared for the session, contracts and payments are all taken care of, you have the gameplan in your head. All you need to do is be you and do what you do best.

Welcome the family, briefly get acquainted, verbally review the general plan with the family and get to it! Have fun with it, shooting is the fun and creative part!

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6. Follow Up

After the session, I always send a thank you email within 24 hours. I thank them for their time, try to mention a memorable moment from our time together and lastly provide them a timeline on when to expect their gallery and where to look for it.

After the gallery is delivered, as part of my client experience, I like to send a hand-written note. I tell them how much I love their final gallery, that I can’t wait to work with them again and I also include a small gift as a thank you for their patronage.
A successful photography session is not just about producing great photography, it’s actually just one slice of the pie. Yes, your images and style will draw customers in, but the experience you create and the service you provide will produce referrals and repeat clients that will set your business apart and make you successful in the long-term!

 

Kristen McKay is a portrait and lifestyle photographer operating in the Highland, Milford, Commerce, and White Lake, Michigan areas. For more from Kristen, and for booking inquiries, please visit her website, and Like Kristen McKay Photography on Facebook.

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