If you like variety in your images, you may consider an outfit change during your portrait session. When clients ask me if it's feasible, I generally think it is!
If it's quick, go for it! You'd be surprised what we can fit into one hour, a quick change won't interrupt us.
Things to consider:
Don't stress yourself out about these little details, enjoy the session and trust your photographer to guide you!
We all know how sophisticated the iPhone camera is getting. The images I can take using that phone blow my mind.
At first, that was a real bummer for me and fellow photographers. We've worked really hard to run a business that Apple could seemingly wipe out by the time we hit iPhone 10.
Is the really the case though?
Probably not. Photographers & all of our crazy equipment serve a purpose and can bring something to the table that iPhone (or Samsung, etc.) cannot. Let's get into it.
Understanding how light hits your subject cannot be "guessed" by an iPhone. The way light affects your subject from behind, the side and head on. The way light changes from room to room or sunrise to sunset. The different colors of light and how to edit appropriately... We plan shoots around the time of day, we choose locations based on how the lighting will affect that location, we know when to use artificial lighting, we're ready for all circumstances!
1. Styling food. Hot food, cold food, whole food, cooked food. It all acts differently and not everyone is equipped to manage it (melting ice cream? boring filet mignon with no interesting shape? how to incorporate ingredients into final dish image?).
2. Styling products. Some products are MADE to be photographed! They look good from every angle, they are simple in design and size. The colors are so perfect with this backdrop! How about those fidgety products that are wrinkly or super flat or boring colors, how do we bring those to life? Styling learned from trial & error plays a big role in successful photos.
3. Posing people. Creating flattering angles, accommodating for shyness, group photos with everyone smiling + eyes open. Creating those company portraits is no easy feat and we work to make them uniform, approachable and flattering.
There are soo many great programs and apps to edit out there, you can really do a lot from your phone or computer with little investment. What about when something completely unexpected happens? Someone in the group shot blinks so much that you never find a photo with everyone's eyes open. No phone app can fix that. Glare on sunglasses... in 780 images? Yikes. Professional editing software to the rescue!
Building a relationship with a photographer after 1-2 sessions is priceless. We hear your requests, your concerns and we adjust for them with every shot. We note your brand colors, the style of your company, the feel of your Instagram feed + Facebook page + website, the energy you put out into the world and the relationship with your clients. Believe it or not, that's all part of our preparation for a shoot and it produces results.
Under beautiful lighting with the perfect backdrop, the iPhone is your BFF. It will do all the work and you can create magic. And I hope you do! Photos are an important part of life so keep snapping' pics! But. What about when the only time you can shoot is just before dusk and you don't have enough light to use the new Depth Effect? Or at noon when everyone has shadows under their eyes?
Someone once asked me how did I know that I was ready to take on paying clients and I said it was when I knew I could produce good images in the crummiest setting. Unfortunately, we don't always have control over locations, timelines, models, products, props and that's when it's important to have the equipment and know-how to still produce results.
The strange obstacles we come across in every session and are unpredictable. Ruthless reflections on products, unprepared collaborators, delays in must-have-shot-lists, equipment failure, chaotic environments, strict timelines, boring products that need oomph, crazy prop requests, creativity slumps. With experience tackling all of these hurdles, we become more and more prepared for the next one!
An iPhone isn't a problem solver, a photographer is.
I'm not trying to convince you to hire me, I'm trying to convince you that investing in a professional when you're ready will be worth it because they're prepared and can't be replaced... just yet ;)
February is here and surprisingly warm! At least here in Asheville. I'm soaking it up because I know it won't last! With February being the month of Valentine's Day, I had to pick a at least one color you may find in a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a love note on the 14th.
Berry is such a versatile color. Berry can be heavy with reds or purples and still be considered "berry". It's a flattering color for almost all skin tones when considering clothes or makeup. It can also be appropriate through all the seasons!
Jewel tones such as berry often look the most striking when paired with a more natural color. It takes the edge off of a strong color and brings warmth and approachability. One of my favorite artists I see utilizing color this way is Steve McCurry. He does not shy away from vibrant colors but he also incorporates muted or natural tones to set the mood of the image. A few of my favorites of his work below.
Taupe is also a versatile color. I think we could look at a few different shades of brown+white+grey and call them all taupe. It's a favorite for wall color when you're sick of plain white and can be sophisticated shade for clothing and shoes... a taupe suit for a groom in the warmer months for example.
What's the difference between beige and taupe? Beige has warmer undertones (orange) and taupe has cooler undertones (blue + grey). I consider beige stereotypically boring and doesn't create striking combinations with other colors. I consider taupe to be more modern and definitely pairs well with other colors. Also taupe can't be too boring if it made Sherwin Williams 2017 Color of the Year!
Berry and taupe. How do these colors make you feel when paired? These photos are heavy on the taupe with the detail of berry popping out from Sarah's makeup and butterfly crown. If they were switched, and berry was the dominating color, how would this image change?
A few Instagram feeds to follow that often play with similar combos if you want to see more:
Alternative color combinations that evoke similar vibes if berry + taupe isn't working for you:
Garnet & Grey
Blush & Grey
Burgundy & Taupe
Styled shoot contributors: Thank you to Ali Lawless for the gorgeous makeup & hair, my sweet friend Sarah as the stunning model, the talented Megan of The East Western for the slave bracelet & EtenIren shop for the whimsical butterfly crown.
See you next month with a new color combo to explore!
Or should I say, you need more.
Hiring a photographer is not just about (finally!) getting photos of that thing you sell. Photography is about selling your brand. Everything includes photos, even Twitter posts!
Photos step in when your words fall short. Photos represent you at your best even if you're having a lazy day. Photos sell your stuff.
Here is what you need in your photography package if you're running a small biz...
How will photos tell your story?
Some photographers love getting into the zone to edit away and some photographers prefer to outsource it.
I land somewhere in the middle.
I like having control over the final image and I like practicing my editing skills. However, I don't like the idea of being glued to a computer for hours on a daily basis. So I try to make my editing flow as efficient as possible.
And now I'm here testing out sleeklens lightroom presets and portrait flows.
I've tested out a number of their adjustment brushes, let's walk through the process.
Here we have an image from a recent styled shoot that is raw and sooc. This model is gorgeous and does great work, I just need to make some style choices and touch up her skin. The image below is our "before".
For my first steps, I worked on the appearance of her skin by using these Lightroom adjustment brushes from sleeklens:
The image already looks better and I'm getting closer to my vision!
Next I wanted to enhance her eyes a touch (they are cast away from camera so not much work to be done) and also enhance the beautiful details from the makeup artist.
I used the following adjustment brushes:
For my final touches I increased highlights all around and slightly adjusted my white balance.
Below is the final image!
And one in black an white to see the effects of monotone as well.
sleeklens portrait workflow is something I'll continue to explore and play with. So far it has been a great tool to quicken my pace when editing!
Do you have any favorite tools or shortcuts?
[Please note that this was a promotional blog post in cooperation with sleeklens.]
There's a rumor going around that family portrait sessions have to be awkward, involve matching white tee shirts and ridiculous poses on the beach.
Welp, they don't.
I've had the pleasure of photographing two lifestyle sessions for the modern family recently... two sisters at the Biltmore Village Inn B&B and a mother and son in their downtown loft.
Family sessions are exactly what you want them to be. Loved ones, favorite spots that bring up beautiful memories, clothes that make you feel amazing and minimal posing.
This sister session was a surprise from one to other and just for fun!
The original plan was to venture out into the woods for beautiful scenery but they both were feeling sick my the time the session rolled around. New plan! We roamed the grounds of the B&B they were staying at to capture memories of their stay there. Going with the flow is key.
The downtown loft session was with a newly single mother and her 4 year old son. They were currently house sitting this killer Asheville loft and wanted to make the most of their time there! So they dressed up, read books, played with legos and ate snacks while I captured it all.
Play time speaks to them more than a pose in front of a backdrop.
Lifestyle photo sessions can seem a bit... vague.
What do I wear? What do I bring? Is there a schedule to this?
First up, create your own goals for the day. Somewhere along the way, it was decided to bring a photographer out to document [fill in the blank]. What you're hoping to get out of the session, communicated with everyone involved, will answer all other questions.
Most people looking for Lifestyle Photography would agree with this:
"I'm looking for natural photos of our family interacting in a way that you forget a photographer is present."
If this is you then...
1. I'd suggest no matchy-match clothing. But do wear clothes that flatter and are well-kept. A cohesive look with a family works well too (aka all bright colors or all neutrals).
2. Bring items that play up personalities. Stuffed animals for little ones, an umbrella for rainy days, cocktails for the happy adults, etc.
3. And there is no schedule but some thought-out activity is ideal. Playing a game together, cooking a meal, taking a walk.
All of these suggestions create natural interaction and bring out a great side for portraits.
Your session is unique though, chat with your photographer about what details should be highlighted in your lifestyle session.