Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How to Prepare For Your Session | Arizona Wedding and Portrait Photographer

It's 2004. The game is about to start. Soccer. That was my life. My passion. As we step onto the field to warm up, the butterflies start kicking in, but soon subside as I realize it's just warm up. Soon, over the announcer's speaker system starts blaring our pump up music. I'm getting in the zone for the game. The louder the music, the more shots I nail as we warm up, the more in the zone I get.

Suddenly, the loud whistle of the referee pulls me back to reality. The music turns off, we gather as a team, and butterflies creep into my stomach once again as we wait to hear who would kick off and what side we'd be on.

As we take our positions on the field, I just feel sick to my stomach. Every time. But I was ready. The whistle blows, the game begins, and I'm off. One minute later, the butterflies are gone, and I'm in full on beast mode.

Okay, so why on earth would I be sharing my 9th grade soccer story when I'm talking about getting ready to step in front of the camera. Because I think it's so easy for people to get nervous before shoots and leading into them. Those first 10-15 minutes, I'm working on getting those butterflies out of their stomachs and getting them into their own "beast mode"--where they're comfortable, relaxed, and having fun.  In soccer, we prepped for games and it made all the difference. Today I want to share a few tips with you to help you get "game day" ready too!

I'd say 99.9% of the people I photograph have never modeled before. And that's great! I start with a clean slate, and I get to teach you as I go. Almost all my pictures turn out relaxed, happy, and beautiful, and the very few that don't I either don't give in the gallery or I do if it was a hilarious moment that I think the couple would have fun looking at.

So, here are some things for all those who aren't models or those that get uncomfortable being in front of a camera, can do to prepare for their photoshoot. And if anyone has any tips that I don't mention, please feel free to comment and share! I love the support of a community!

Photo credit Vanasse Studios
1. Preparation is key. Before my husband's and my anniversary photo shoot last month, he asked me the night before what I wanted him to do--if we should practice posing, different expressions, etc. Want to hear what I told him?

Just don't stress. Don't stress and be happy. I'll do my best to be on time and even if I'm not, don't get mad.

Best advice ever. This shoot went so well because we didn't have to pose awkwardly together because we were angry at each other because he was rushing me and I got mad and he got mad and the car ride was rushed and we were stressed......

Has anyone been there? (Raises hand sheepishly). Yes. And, that's not fun for anyone. :) So, here are a few tips to help keep you prepared.

-Plan the outfits way ahead of time. Lay them out. Put them all on and make sure you like how they fit.
-Have a little mini meeting with everyone the day before. As long as one person takes the lead, they can meet everyone separately. Just create a game plan for the day--what time everyone is showering (especially if it's a big family), what time people are getting ready, what time you're leaving, (plan for at least 15 minutes before you actually would need to leave....something always goes wrong).
-If you're on time, and no one is stressed, then your life is amazing, and why not rock out to some of your favorite music on the way there and make it a party!

With a family as big as ours, this took some serious preparation....and this was a surprise for my mom's Christmas present. I secretly went to each person in my family, told them I wanted to surprise Mom, and asked them to be good sports and cooperate. As you can tell, most of them listened. There were still a few funny faces as per usual, but it was the smoothest family pictures we've ever taken. Even in the middle of winter in Idaho :)

2. Prepare your guys. Whether it be your fiancé, husband, boyfriend, little man. Sometimes they can be the hardest person to get on board with pictures. Let's face it, most guys would rather be paint balling and playing video games in their time off from work. Here's a little tip. Sit him down and tell him how excited you are for these pictures and how much they mean to you. Show him a couple sessions your photographer has done with other couples, families, etc. and just show him how excited you are. He'll jump on board. If not, there is always bribery :)

3. This goes out to my families! If you have children, sometimes it's good to also have a bribe in place. I would go with making a party out of the whole experience and go out to dinner after or something. It's all how you posture it. I just volunteered to photograph a super fun event at my husband's dental school for under served kids who likely would never visit a dentist growing up. The school put on this huge party for these kids while they do dental work for them. So, even though there were some sad kids who got some cavities filled, the rest of the day was a really fun experience. If you make it a party, hopefully the next time will be even easier.

4. Make sure everyone is fed! So you may have to add a little time into your schedule, but trust me. It's worth it. There's nothing worse than someone getting hangry. Yes, I typed that right. "HANGRY". Hunger mixed with anger is a terrifying thing and much harder to get good pictures.....especially if it's a 2 year old. Just saying :)

Our hangry and cold fault. Live and learn. (Photo credit: Marquette LaRee Photography)
5. Trust your photographer and come being open to new ideas. Your photographer will know where the best lighting will be that will look most flattering. Sometimes it's in weird locations. For example, there's this AMAZING desert park I love to shoot at here in the Phoenix area. It has gorgeous red rocks, but I can only get those in the background of pictures for 15 minutes when the sun has just set. Otherwise the light will be too harsh on my subjects and be less flattering. So if there is an amazing background and your photographer is taking pictures of what seems to be the "less cool" angle, ask them why and trust their answer. They're doing their best to make you and the pictures look fantastic.

For posing, you may have some ideas. That's great! We love ideas and trying new things! Just be open to taking direction from your photographer. She/he is your coach. It's a little give and take. Trust your photographer's posing abilities and preparation and give input when you want to try something new or feel uncomfortable. But again, let your photographer take the lead.

6. Come with confidence. Trust me, you're going to look amazing. I'll make sure that happens. It's so fun when people step out of their comfort zone and try new things. I see this most with senior girls and guys, but also with bride's when I say "show me your model face " (serious face). Some of these may not be the pictures you put out on cards and social media, but they are so fun to try and have in your gallery. And sometimes they turn into amazing shots that you just adore! (These are the fun poses you can practice in front of the mirror before you come.)

7. Last but not least, own that fake laugh! It may be hard to believe that many of those laughs are fake laughs in my pictures, but yes, sometimes I tell my clients to fake laugh, and when they give it 100% and own it, magic happens in the camera. The more awkward you feel, the funnier it is and then the real laughs happen. Just own that fake laugh. You'll love the results.

These girls owned their fake laughs and made this shot so fun!

Finally, it's not normal to be in front of a camera getting photographed by a professional photographer. I even get nervous when my friends take pictures of me on phones.  My job is to get the pictures to show how you truly interact in real life. Show that natural joyful love, happiness, and playfulness. You may feel awkward at times, but you'll relax and those images will be the ones you treasure.


You may also like these posts:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Durango YW | Arizona Wedding and Portrait Photographer

Yesterday I had the chance to teach a class on photography to the cutest bunch of girls! I loaded my powerpoint with gorgeous wedding pictures that I've taken because, let's face it, every girl loves to look at pretty wedding photos. I'm sure it's programmed into our DNA!

My lesson was only about 20-30 minutes on things like ALL the laundry list of things going on in a photographers brain when doing a photoshoot. (There really is a ton!) and things like composition, editing, posing and so on. I loved when they pulled out their phones to take pictures of my slides at one point because they liked the info on them (tips on how to edit their phone images for Instagram).

After the class, we took a little trip to the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert and had a photoshoot. And, holy wow! These girls are so adorable inside and out! I loved getting to know them as they took turns getting their pictures done! You can probably tell from the pictures, we had a ton of fun. Lots of laughing....and fake laughing that turned into real laughing!

Here's a little behind the scenes action shot for you guys :)

Girls! I had so much fun with you!! Thanks for being the cutest models ever! Here's your little sneak peek! :)

 Hope you loved it as much as I did!

You might also like these posts:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

5 Tips For Choosing The Getting Ready Room | Arizona Wedding Photographer

 Any guesses on what my favorite moment of the day is to capture? I usually say details and portraits of the bride and groom, but now, I'm starting to think the bride getting ready is almost about to surpass those two. There's just something so magical about that moment she puts the dress on, slipping her shoes on in that puffy white gown, the way she takes a deep breath as she puts her earrings and jewelry on, prepping herself for the biggest moment of her life. And then, there's the bridesmaids. Their joy, excitement, and giddiness filling the room as they help tie and puff the bride's dress. Finally, there's that moment when her parents see her for the first time, as a bride, and soon enough everyone's trying not to cry in the hope that their makeup will be spared.

Those are truly some of the most beautiful moments of the day! Part of my job is to capture those moments and make them timeless. Those pictures will be heirlooms that people will see for years!

So, the getting ready room... oh boy....the getting ready room.If you haven't ever been married then you probably have grand visions for this room, if you have, you know it's usually a small hotel room  strewn full of duffle bags, makeup, curling irons, fake eyelashes, coffee cups, and even coolers full of food to help keep those bridesmaids peppy! It's not always the most ideal or picturesque place for taking photos. But, I can always make it work.... as long as there is just one thing.

All I need is a window. Just one! The bigger the better! And if you can, the more the merrier! :)

Why a window? The window allows for natural, soft, beautiful light to color your skin and dress. Normal indoor lighting brings in too much yellow and lights things in an interesting way that's so hard to change in editing. My goal is to make your images as beautiful and consistent as possible throughout the day, and I promise, you'll love the look the window provides!

And, you may think I'm crazy when I say to turn off all the lights and stand by the window. Even if it's a little dark, I promise,  my camera can handle it and the images will look so much better with all that natural light streaming in on you!

Now, a few other tips for the getting ready room:

1. Don't feel like you have to put on your dress in the same room as you get your makeup done! We can find a big room with large windows, lots of space, and plenty of light to get some gorgeous shots. It's also a good excuse to "invest" in a cute bathrobe. (I always tell my husband I'm "investing" in things because it makes me feel better about buying them :))

2. I love rooms with white walls for getting ready rooms! If you can't have white walls, choose a room with light colored walls! The lighter the color, the more light that reflects off of the walls and onto you and your bridesmaids! Plus, I just LOVE white in pictures! It makes them look so light and airy!

3. A large room is great, but if we don't have any room, don't worry! I've been known to move things, clear walls, push beds back, move desks. So don't stress when you're picking a hotel, we'll make it work!

4. Last but not least, do your best to keep that window spot clear of water bottles, makeup, coffee cups, etc. :)

5. This one isn't really about the room, but plays a big role in how the getting ready pictures turn out. Try to have all the bridesmaids in their dresses with hair and makeup done before the bride gets in her dress. It makes for some beautiful pictures of the bridesmaids fluffing the dress, laughing, helping her get her shoes on, and continuing to tell the color story for the day!

Well, there you have it! Everything you need to know to make your getting ready room a beautiful photographic experience!

Follow these links for more tips and inspiration!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

15 Detail Shots Not To Miss On Your Wedding Day | Wedding Wednesday | Phoenix Wedding Photographer

When I was planning my wedding a few years ago, (way before I even dreamed of becoming a photographer!) I didn't quite understand what wedding photography was really about. That sounds pretty ridiculous when you say it like that, but here's what was going on in my head. I thought that I would just hire someone to take my engagement pictures to hopefully make me look gorgeous (of course, that's what everyone wants right?), document my ceremony, and then get some photos of dancing and the cake at the reception. That's all I thought I wanted. Just to document what happened during the day, make me look awesome and it on Facebook. (Oh, I'm so embarrassed for saying that!)

As I've become a wedding photographer, my attitude and thoughts have shifted a lot! Now my opinion has changed. It's not all just about documenting the day. It's about telling the story of the day and making it special and specific to that couple. From capturing the excitement and joy of the bride as she's getting her hair and makeup done, the bridesmaids' giddiness as they dress the bride, the nerves of the groom, the first look where they see each other the first time, and so on and so forth. The photographer has so much control over the feel of those images and the story they tell about the day!

One things I feel that's often overlooked is the importance of capturing the little details. Those are a big part of the story!  A LOT of thought goes into planning the wedding day....(I was so tired of planning by the time I got married, haha) The things the bride is wearing are significant! Whether it be family heirlooms, a heart cut-out from her dad's shirt hand stitched by the bride into the dress (true story), the earrings that the bride spent forever searching for, or the invitations that took so much effort to put together. If the things the bride is wearing aren't heirlooms already, they will be.

The details are the perfect start to beginning the story of the day. Those photos will became priceless to their children. Ever wonder what kind of perfume grandma wore on her wedding day? Wanted to see the watch grandpa wore? Well, if you haven't yet, you just did :) I personally love looking at my parent's and in-laws wedding pictures. I wish there were more to look at!

So, when you're wedding comes along, just remember to schedule your photographer about 45 minutes to an hour to photograph the details. If you have them ready for him/her when you get there that's an extra bonus on your part because 1. You won't have stress on the wedding day searching for them or forgetting any and 2. Your photographer will have more time to get creative and display your details in the most amazing way possible!

For me, I usually do the details first. It's what gets my creative juices flowing for the day. I love that portion of the day!

Well, so....details, details, details. What kinds of things should you leave out for your photographer to capture? These are the main ones, but there's always room for other special details. :)

1. The Rings--all of them, wedding bands, engagement ring, the Groom's ring.
2. Jewelry--Any necklaces, bracelets, or earrings that might be worn by the bride or have significant importance to the family.
3. Special hair pieces
4. Something old, new, borrowed, and blue if you choose to have those
5. Perfume
6. Invitations--everything that's included, even the envelopes!
7. The bouquet
8. The DRESS!!
9. A Bridesmaid's dress
10. The veil
11. The shoes! Don't forget those!
12. Any heirlooms, special gifts, or important things to the bride
13. The Groom's shoes
14. Groom's cologne
15. Ring box

Last but not least! If you really want to score big points with your photographer, ask your florist if they can spare a few flowers to give to the photographer. Those can add amazing touches to the detail shots!

 I hope this was helpful!

Blog Design by Get Polished