Category Archives: Portrait Sessions

Photoshop’s Slippery Slope

Taking Back the Art of Real Photography…

When my bambinos let me, i.e., when they’re not tugging at me to get on with the business of being their mom, I enjoy playing in Photoshop. It’s amazing! It can take out entire buildings, blur backgrounds, correct white balance issues and fix color saturations. It can even make you look 20 years younger and 50 pounds lighter. That’s cool, isn’t it? Or is it?

I think a great number of photographers take Photoshop and postproduction too far. My mom is my mom; I have no desire to look at a fake, wrinkle-free version of her with smooth skin, perky, fat lips and no rolls around her belly—unless it was from 30 years ago. She earned those wrinkles and rolls, and as a photographer, it’s my job to let her to keep them. Most importantly, it’s my job to help my clients see how beautiful they are, just as they are…not photoshopped (fake verb) to hell and back.

I have a process for my RAW images and here it is: I fix what people do not see when they’re having a conversation with you. And, I remove what isn’t ordinarily there. Fever blisters? Gone. Blemishes? Gone. Moles and freckles? Stay. Necklines? Slightly smoothed, but not completely gone. Why? Because people generally don’t see wrinkles on your neck when they ‘re looking at you. Skin? Only slightly smoothed, and I do mean ever so slightly. Why? Because digital photography (when shooting in RAW) is crisp, sharp, and it can be harsh. It can capture every pore on a person’s face. No one’s eyes are that critical, so there’s no reason to cement that harshness in a photograph that will be around FOR.EVER.

I started in this business having lots of fun in postproduction: I removed buildings; I removed pieces of paper that I found distracting; I even removed toys that were the wrong color in certain images. Like so many, I went down the slippery slope of Photoshop addiction and pushed boundaries to see how far I could go. I changed images into total fakeness—some call it art, I call it bull. I am a recovering Photoshop addict and I have changed. Seriously, I saw a painful future for my kids as they look through old photographs from their childhood. In 20 years, they will want to see their bedrooms as they are today. They’ll want to see our backyard as it is, strewn with plastic toys from one end to the other. They’ll smile when they see our messy kitchen as they recall hectic dinners, brotherly squabbles, lots of laughter… even a certain wooden dish will bring back memories. Wet towels and bath toys on the bathroom floor will transport them back to their nightly splash parties. Our vehicles and hairstyles will tell them the year the photo was taken. And all of that information will bring them back to this time…these amazing moments of imperfection when life is so busy that there’s no way to dot every i’ or cross every “t.” There is no way to make this life perfect, and because of the imperfections, they’re having what we hope is a damn good childhood. They will need to see us, their parents, as real people. They won’t want to see perfect, wrinkle-free, plastic people that they don’t even recognize.

In lifestyle photos, I won’t even remove sweat from brows anymore. That sweat brings us one step closer to the actual moment and makes it almost tangible. Our kids deserve to see real moments when all they have left of us are photos. In portrait and family sessions, where people are the subjects (as opposed to bath time, play time, etc.), I manipulate backgrounds for an artistic flare, but I strive to maintain authenticity in people. In general, if I spend more than 15 minutes on a photo, I’ve spent too much. Beyond that amount of time and I’m back to the slippery slope of too much adding and subtracting from what’s real. When it comes to taking pictures or playing in Photoshop, I choose to take pictures. I am in this to be the best photographer I can be, not the best Photoshop artist. And I choose to keep it real for clients. Our kids deserve to hold real memories of real moments, in real photos.

Portrait with cleaned face–nose (you know how kids are), mouth, etc. Toned to black and white and manipulated background to bring attention to just my subject.
Real “lifestyle” moment between brothers. Cropped image and toned to black and white. No further edits for “perfection.” I got it right in the camera.
Real messes,  real little people…

Day 19: The 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge

“If you build it, they will come.”

I appreciate quality. Gone are the days when I reached for cute little shoes with a cute little price tag. I’m too moody and fussy now, and hopefully too wise, to suffer in shoes that hurt my feet. So instead of buying two or three pairs of cute, “affordable” shoes, I buy one comfortable pair. I guess I’m in the no-nonsense season of life.

Since foreign markets gobbled up American manufacturing, quality has become hard to find, even in the coveted name brands of years past. Those jeans I once loved, the tailored suits that fit so well and felt so nice—gone. I hunt for quality, not just for big-ticket items, but for food, too. I find myself triple checking labels to ensure my kids aren’t drinking apple juice from China or Guatemala. (New York is second only to the state of Washington in apple production, yet most of our apple juice comes from foreign countries. I am not making this up. Check the labels.)

When I find quality goods and hard working folks, I drive the extra miles and spend a little more. I want quality-driven, local businesses to succeed. North Star Orchard is way out of my way, but it’s a local gem worthy of the loyalty. I’ve been a customer since we landed in Central New York eight years ago. They have built a solid business and they’re willing to spend time with their customers. I like that. But their products have to rock too, and they do.

North Star Orchard is an “old fashion” market. I love the smells wafting from the bakery any time I visit. They make their own iced blueberry cookies, as assortment of muffins, breads, pies, buttermilk biscuits, and on, and on. They have New York cheeses in large bricks–blue, aged cheddar, horseradish. They grow their own tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn. Right now they have a long tent with rows and rows of drying garlic, hopefully to be braided (I can never find braided garlic). Their blueberry fields are LOADED this year. Team Turtle did what we could yesterday in the hot sun, but Little Man wanted to eat more than I could pick (Shhh! Don’t tell. He’s only 2!). The 4-year old wanted to talk, a lot, while Mommy chased Little Man, took photos and picked berries. Sigh!

In spring, I go to North Star for their annuals. They are a little pricey, but the plants always grow well and I have blooms from purchase time through the first frost; I know I’m getting quality. With perennials, the store is particular about selling only plants that are zoned for our climate. Unlike big chains, they don’t sell lemon trees in Zone 4.

The store is open from April through December. Spring and summer are bustling with berries, plants and produce. In fall, they rev it up again with a corn maze, apple cider, donuts, kettle corn and hay rides. In November, customers put in their pie orders well in advance for Thanksgiving deserts. During the Christmas season, they make beautiful, handmade wreaths and garlands. I am always a little sad when we near the closing date. They shut down around Christmas and don’t open again until April. I hate to see North Star Orchard all buttoned up for four months. I almost want to celebrate when they reopen in April–their reopening means we can finally come out of our dens.

What I’d like to see: I almost don’t want to say it because I want the store to maintain its homegrown, old fashion wholesomeness, but here is goes. I’d love to see a café at the store, with a few menu items (centered around the fresh food from the gardens), along with a few nice wines. It would be a big endeavor—serving food is never easy–but from the looks of it, nothing they’ve done so far has been easy. I bet they could pull it off, and with class. If they do, I’ll revisit and maybe I’ll blog about it again–what a great excuse to keep going back.

For more local and family photography, check out Lightningbugsphotography.com, and “like” Lightning Bugs Photography on Facebook for photography tips, tricks, and updates!

Why Hire a Professional Photographer?

Photographers show up, snap some photos and they’re wrapped up in an hour. And they charge WHAT?

Our kids cost a lot of money. I’m not talking about the expenses of raising kids. The money we spent on treatments and adoption could have bought a nice, waterfront home, or at least a sizable down payment. We saved, pinched and sacrificed. But we don’t miss that money, or the waterfront home. The greatest blessings cannot be measured.

The same can be said for professional photography. When you’re looking at your family through old photos, or when one of those family members passes away, I promise you will not miss the money you invested in a skilled, professional photographer.

Good photography is a fine art. Images that isolate a subject against a blurred background, with perfect illumination and a catch light that makes their eyes come to life… those images are not captured by luck. It takes years of training, education, talent, and expensive equipment (yes, equipment DOES matter) to capture those beautiful images.

Entry-level DSLRs are affordable for average consumers, but having a digital camera does not make me, or anyone, a photographer. I am certain I can learn to change my own oil, but that doesn’t make me a mechanic. The cost, time and education that it takes to become a skilled mechanic wouldn’t be worth the benefit, which is why we pull into a service area and let experts fix our vehicles. With the time and money spent to become a respectable photographer, you’d be far better off hiring a professional at least once a year to capture your family memories.

How much should you spend on a yearly family portrait session? Photographers show up, snap some photos and they’re wrapped up in an hour. And they charge WHAT? Hold on! Here’s the reality:

  • We make it look easy because we’re skilled and we have years of experience. You won’t see the two to four hours of prep time that goes into your session; there are lighting considerations, we scout the site, we analyze and prepare our equipment to make sure we have everything we need and it’s all in excellent working order and ready to capture your beautiful images. And you won’t see the hours we spend in post production preparing those images for high quality prints.
  • The cost of doing business. Serious, professional photographers often have THOUSANDS of dollars invested in lighting, cameras, lenses, computers, editing software, etc. There’s also significant time invested daily in marketing, Internet maintenance and web hosting. It’s a business, so there are accounts to maintain, taxes to file, and time sensitive business paperwork that needs attention. Any cost for most small businesses applies to your photographer’s business.
  • There are years and mucho dollars spent on education. Photographers have to understand light—we live and breathe that knowledge to become exceptional. We have to stay abreast of equipment and lighting trends. And there are added skills that many of us bring to the table. For some, it’s a terrific flare and trained eye for art and creativity. For others, it’s years of telling stories through professional journalism. Perhaps one in a million photographers just “shows up” and is immediately amazing. For the other 999,999 of us, we work hard to earn and maintain respect. And the bottom line, most of us LOVE what we do, but we still have to make a living.

There’s a formula that photographers use for pricing, so I’ll be frank: Most highly skilled, professional photographers who aren’t charging at least $650 for a one-hour portrait session (with printing rights) are working for free or very close to it. If they’re really good and you’ve hired them for less, they love you. KISS THEM! Or, they’re beefing up their portfolio and changing direction in their business. Either way, it’s a steal!

Fine art is special. Would you turn a 72-megapixel JPEG into a 20×30 piece of wall art? Just please say NO here! Would you enlarge your family’s professional portrait—a tack sharp, high quality, 270-megapixel image that captures your family in beautiful light? You should! Blow that baby up and display it proudly.

It took becoming a professional photographer to understand this: JPEG images, like the ones on phones (or any camera not set to RAW mode) will not last. Take a look at photos you took a mere 7-10 years ago. Look closely and you will notice the loss of quality. Every time you open a JPEG, you lose information in that photo. JPEGs are “losey,” which is why professionals shoot only in RAW–RAW maintains all of the data in the image. We back up, back up and back up again, and then we save our files in multiple formats. But photographers also understand this very critical piece: you have to print and use high quality paper. Why? Because technology is rapidly changing and files aren’t meant to last. One computer engineer recently told me that the most we can expect from our photo files is THREE years (they may last longer, but there’s zero guarantee). If you want your photos to be around for generations, PRINT, and print on quality, acid free photo paper from a professional lab. I cannot stress this enough.

Snap away and take lots of candids of your family, but budget for your fine art photography. It’s so important! Find a photographer that you love, trust and feel terrific around, and have your family portraits taken at least once a year. The only family portraits you will ever regret will be the ones you never took, and that’s a promise.

Click here to find out more about Lightning Bugs Photography or to schedule a family photo session.

For more local and family photography, check out Lightningbugsphotography.com, and “like” Lightning Bugs Photography on Facebook for photography tips, tricks, and updates!

Day 8: The 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge!

Locals Know!

Growing up, the phrase, “We don’t have the money…” was probably our family mantra, or close to it. It was true; we really didn’t have money. But in my adulthood, I have learned that not having money is simply not an excuse for boredom. Nothing on our adventures to date has cost us more than $40. Granted, a vehicle is a must, but having fun doesn’t require big bank. It does require some imagination, a little effort, and a little research. And the research is as simple as listening to what the locals have to say.

For instance, if you want a kickin’ restaurant, look for a place with a packed parking lot and local license plates–no brainer, right? But most community gems aren’t as transparent. You almost have to “pay your dues” by living in a place for a while to get the gouge.

There are some nuggets that I almost want to keep secret; I’m selfish that way. I don’t care for large crowds and I like things to remain special. But at the risk of turning this gem into a hot spot, I’m going to give it up…not that I could keep a state park a secret anyway: Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville. As a fresh water kind of gal, I fell in love yesterday. When I turned onto the park’s main roadway and saw slivers of emerald green water sparkling through the trees on the left, and lush fairways on the right, I knew I’d found a big, local secret. People, it is breathtakingly beautiful!

Green Lakes State Park is an easy 40-minute drive from Utica. It’s $8 to get into the park to enjoy the beach, hiking, bicycling, picnicking, and a very well-designed playground that’s even suitable for kids under 5— Moms, you know that’s a sweet bonus. It’s very challenging to find playgrounds that are safe for the real little guys.

There are several lifeguards on duty in the beach area, which I always appreciate with two little people. I found the bathrooms neat and clean, even toward the end of a sunny day. There’s a snack bar that serves hot food, and a first aid station. As for golf, well, I have never played the game. But I have heard the name Robert Trent Jones and Green Lakes was one of his first golf course designs. And I am an expert in beauty. The golf course is stunning.

If I had a magic genie, I’d have the park provide nice beach chairs so beachgoers wouldn’t have to lug quite as much stuff (especially with kids in tow). Also, as a warning: the water is COLD! June is still early in these parts, so I’m anxious to feel the water temps as summer heats up.

Okay Central New York…I get it! It’s beautiful here…you just have to know where to go. Summer comes, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to enjoy it. Observe, do a little research, and listen to the locals. Finding something special and fun, and dang near FREE, is that simple.

For more local and family photography, check out Lightningbugsphotography.com, and “like” Lightning Bugs Photography on Facebook for photography tips, tricks, and updates!

Day 5: The 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge!

Beauty Really is All Around You…

We drove past Root Glen Gardens three days a week for TWO school years while our son attended preschool at Hamilton College. We never knew this artistic and beautifully manicured treasure was there. I cheated myself, because I am certain that someone told me about the gardens before I started this blog, but I was either too busy or too caught up in my own head to listen.

Walking around the grounds of Root Glen, I tried to concentrate on the joy of the moment, my two beautiful boys beaming with joy as they ran around the grounds, my husband who was delighted by the find, and the correct exposure settings on my daggum camera, but I kept thinking about my mother. Oh, how she would have been in awe over the different species of plants, and the organic, yet well-manicured beauty of the gardens. My mother will soon be moved to a nursing home from a rehabilitation center. She is not recovering—dementia has stolen her memory, and even day-to-day activities are too much for her. I have a hard time reaching her by phone because she cannot remember from one moment to the next how to lean over and answer it. She is completely blind now, so she cannot see the phone or remember where it is. The sadness that shrouds me over her quality of life is exponential, because there really is very little quality now.

My mother loved flowers. She spent years planting pretty things in her yard and couldn’t wait for spring to see their beauty. Flowers and plants truly made my mother happy. I remember how giddy she’d get over the smell of her white Easter lilies. And I smile every time I think about how much she hated pine straw. But even through the fussing, she managed to laugh about having to rake it, because it was a chore that she could accomplish with pride.

My mother’s life was splattered with more than her fair share of sadness, but she never lost hope. I am truly amazed by that. I could call my mom and tell her that I was blue about this or that, and she would talk to me as long as I needed her, and she’d tell me not to be sad. Somehow, by the time we hung up, she most always cheered me. Through the years, we had awful, stupid squabbles. I know she forgives me, and I sure forgive her. I got to see her a couple of weeks ago at the rehabilitation center near Charlotte, NC. She kept saying that she wants to go home. I tried to encourage her to work harder and break through. I told her “…fight! Fight hard, Mama! Don’t you lay there and die on me.” But the two strokes were most likely too much. I can’t bear to tell her that she’s probably never going back to her home here on Earth. If there’s the tiniest bit of hope left, I refuse to rob her of that. I want to believe that she can break through some how.

I did not start writing again to bring sadness. I started this blog to inspire and hopefully bring about community or personal awareness. I want it to be fun, but sadness needs its moments, too, or we cannot grow. We have lived in this community for seven years, and through this blog I am seeing my town for the very first time. My mother visited here several times before her health failed—even as recently as Thanksgiving. She used to talk about how pretty the yards were here. I wish I had known about Root Glen Gardens. I wish I had listened when people told me about it because I would have loved taking my mom there. She would have been inspired and blessed to walk through it. Go to Root Glen. Spend some time there. It’s peaceful, and full of life—flowers and species that you’ve never heard are all around. The serenity makes it one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I bet you have an arboretum near you. Don’t take it for granted. Go see it, and take someone special with you. There’s life there, and hope. Beauty is all around you.

For more local and family photography, check out Lightningbugsphotography.com, and “like” Lightning Bugs Photography on Facebook for photography tips, tricks, and updates!

Day 4: The 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge

When was the last time you paused for just five minutes to take in your miracle moments?

The boys and I have the crud—head colds, congestion. We weren’t feeling so great this morning—well, the kids were springing around at supersonic speed while I had to peel myself off the pillow. But the 30-Day Challenge! I couldn’t surrender to this crud; I made a promise to myself—a solid commitment! Then I read an email from a mentor and award winning Denver photographer, Meghan Hof. It was about taking 5 minutes as a photographer and a MOM to capture “…miracle moments. It might be the way the sunlight is hitting your daughter’s face, the steam coming off your morning cup of coffee…” It’s up to interpretation, but they are the everyday moments that “make up your everyday life.”

Wow! When was the last time I took just five minutes and said, the heck with that sink of dishes, lunches that need to be made, showers, or, in today’s case, figuring out how to fulfill my 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge? Life gets so busy that I often cannot remember yesterday. So this morning, when my babies jumped onto the bed that I was making and dove into the fluffy, white pillows, I let them. In fact, I joined them! I didn’t set a timer or worry about a schedule, or the messy house, or anything else on that To-do list that sabotages my everyday miracle moments. I thoroughly enjoyed those messy covers and playing hide and seek in the sheets. We laughed and played and my baby boys climbed all over me until we were all exhausted.

When my 4-year old wanted to go to a movie, I said YES! He took me on a date to see “Inside Out.” (Precious movie!) The miracle moments came in tsunamis: he held my hand the entire time, and even in the dark theatre, I could see his smooth, beautiful young skin against my wrinkled hand . I nearly cried at the beauty of it–yes, even my wrinkled hand was beautiful because he was holding it. I loved the way he covered his ears and turned his head during inappropriate previews (“Pan” looks scary to me, too!). And as we were leaving, we stopped at the toy vending machines—you know, those chintzy toys in plastic bubbles. In one of those bubbles he scored a metal band molded like a wedding ring. When we got in the car, he pulled it out and said, “Mommy, I wanna go to the place you and Daddy got married so I can marry you.”

He knocked a base hit on his final play of his first Tball season.
He knocked a base hit on his final play of his first Tball season.
Miracle moment: I love how the helmet swallows his entire head.
Miracle moment: I love how the helmet swallows his entire head.
Movie date. He paid!
Movie date. He paid!

Sometimes the adventure takes you home, or to your ordinary places—let it. Truly surrender to it. For five minutes today, my challenge to you is to stop, look around, find the beauty in whatever you’re doing. It can be the way your toes look in fresh cut grass, the way your husband takes your hand while you’re walking into an ordinary grocery store, the way your teenager looks at you when he has something exciting to tell you, the way the Tball helmet swallows your little boy’s entire head, or those tiny hairs on your child’s smooth face as he plays in the sun… These are your miracle moments and there is NO REPLAY BUTTON. Grab them. Savor them. Truly LIVE them.

For more local and family photography, check out Lightningbugsphotography.com, and “like” Lightning Bugs Photography on Facebook for photography tips, tricks, and updates!

Day 2: The 30 Day Summer Adventure Challenge!

Fly Creek Cider Mill!

It’s day 2 of our 30-day adventure challenge and I’m already wondering how on earth I’m going to do this. Before I get into the cuteness and fun factor overload, I need to get a few things out in the open…there is nothing easy about getting kids ready for an outing. If there was a method distributed in some mommy manual, someone has stolen it and hidden it for all eternity. While I thank God for my beautiful children, and you KNOW how grateful I am, these boogers are high maintenance. There’s the whole pre-trip saga: making sure their bellies are full, cleanup time, showers or baths, and my favorite—getting them dressed. It’s a game for our 23-month old; he makes me chase him around the house at least five times. When I do catch him, the alligator wiggles out of my arms and off we go through the house again. He thinks it’s hysterical; I am rarely laughing about it. Our 4-year old has things he will and will not wear, and he has his own timeline for everything, which never synchs with mine. I was exhausted before we even hit the road.

But, with the car loaded up with treats, drinks, extra clothes, diapers… we did hit the road. Wooo-hoooo! Every time I can report that we got out, I have this aura of pride: Hey world, look at me! I have two kids in tow and we’re actually doing stuff. Am I the only mom who feels that much pride over getting out of the house? I would never have imagined that getting out would be such a remarkable feat. What’s the big deal? They’re kids! Throw their butts in the car and go! Bah. Ha. Ha. The joke is absolutely on me. For all of you moms who got the raised eyebrows from me for not getting out, I now raise my wine glass to you. I had no idea what your days were like. Thanks for not hitting me over my head with your diaper bag because I sure as fire deserved it.

Onto the fun… you know we had to do it: Fly Creek Cider Mill! It’s a beautiful 45-minute drive from Utica through rolling hills, green pastures and farmland. As I was driving I thought, Wow, just the drive is worth the trip.

The Fly Creek Cider Mill is a real treat for little ones. Mine would have loved to feed the exotic waterfowl the entire time. I have no idea how many species the mill has. Some have tufted crowns, others have beautiful coloring, and I’m fairly certain regular, run of the mill geese and ducks just fly in for the free food and pampering. There are vending machines for corn, so bring lots of quarters. The birds alone will keep the kids occupied for at least an hour! Oh, and it’s baby season—lots of fuzzy little chicks to see.

There’s too much to taste inside to stay with the geese and ducks. I think I saw a sign on the way in that said 400 samples daily. I’m not sure. Anyhoo, the samples are my favorite part: salsas, dips, peanut brittle, fudge, cider, and, um, hard cider and wine—that was a real treat after my morning.

It doesn’t cost anything to mosey about the grounds, but you’ll likely buy something when you taste the yummy dips or eyeball those beautiful pies. When you do, you’ll get 10% off at the café on your receipt—nice for some ice cream or a cold drink. The café has a full menu, so if your car isn’t loaded down with snacks like ours was, it’s a good option. There are plenty of shaded picnic tables, and the service was very pleasant. Oh, and I noticed something this year that I never noticed before–the cafe sells glasses of hard cider and wine. Cheers mums and dads!

Tomorrow is another busy day! Stay tuned.

For more local and family photography, check out Lightningbugsphotography.com, and “like” Lightning Bugs Photography on Facebook for photography tips, tricks, and updates!

Day 1: The 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge!

I have passed it a dozen times and always wanted to stop: Candella’s Farm & You Pick Strawberries (here they are on Facebook). Finally… we were ready this year and the strawberries are ripe! We picked a doozie of a day—rain, mud–in fact, it poured on us. We got soaked, dirty, and my kids stuffed their faces with red, plump, juicy strawberries. How wholesome is that!

It was a good, low-key start to our 30-day adventure challenge. The kids were fired up and couldn’t wait to get there. In fact, as we pulled into the muddy parking area, my 4-year old said, “I can’t stand it I’m so excited!” He’s crazy fun that way. What I loved so much about our adventure was that our youngest, the 23-month old, had fun just standing in the rain eating strawberries. Yep, truly cuteness and innocence overload!

It was certainly affordable–gas to get there and $8.00 for a whole slew of strawberries, and that included the container that we purchased at the pay shack. (You can bring your own container and save about a buck.)

The attendant who drove us into the field in a little golf cart even had some pointers on how to pick ’em. “Get into the middle of the plant. Most people only pick on the outside, but the good strawberries are in the middle.” Good to know!

I don’t want to go off on a diatribe, but we’re losing old fashion forms of fun. Remember when we skinned our knees, climbed fences, got into trouble… I read an article recently that discussed the harm we’re doing to our children by “over parenting.” I would have thought that was nonsense before I had kids of my own. But maybe there’s something to that. One thing is clearly different between our two children: the oldest (the one I was so neurotic with) is more apprehensive than our youngest. With the baby, we haven’t jumped with every boo-boo or fall. While we remain very protective, we are trying to let our kids pick themselves up more and dust themselves off, and we’re letting them have more adventures in the mud.

I am guilty of giving my kids electronic devices or “…one more show” while I finish a load of laundry, or, sadly, to get a moment of peace. But that’s part of the 30-Day Summer Adventure Challenge. Get out there! Go local! Get dirty! Put the devices away and share what you’re doing. Oh, and give me some suggestions of your favorite local places–it could be your own shop or one of your favorite haunts. We just might make an adventure out of it.

A little hint about tomorrow’s local adventure: We’re looking for unusual animals! Check back in tomorrow to see where we go! I’ll post photos, courtesy of Lightning Bugs Photography, and I’ll blog about it. Stay tuned!

For more local and family photography, check out Lightningbugsphotography.com, and “like” Lightning Bugs Photography on Facebook for photography tips, tricks, and updates!

Oh, but what will I wear?

What to Wear for Your Portrait Session...

I get this a lot, so I thought I’d address it as simply as possible. Wear what you’d wear on a first date with a guy or gal that you really like! Remember, this is the kind of date that you’d introduce to your lovely, sweet, elderly parents. Would you go get an up-do for that date? Most likely, no. Would you get your nails done and spend extra time primping and grooming? Absolutely!

I recently did a photo session with a beautiful family. One of the young girls had gotten her hair done in a very fancy up-do. She normally wore her hair long and curly, but for the photo session, she had it straightened and pulled up off her shoulders. She was uncomfortable and obviously unaccustomed to wearing her hair that way. I took several photos until the family completely relaxed. Then I suggested that this beautiful young lady pull her hair back just as she often wore it. Bam! She was suddenly comfortable and laughing, and that’s when we all started clicking. The photos turned out amazing!

The moral here: be yourself, but your well groomed self. Be that person, with a bit of extra primping. And ladies, wear a little makeup. Yes, even if you don’t ordinarily wear makeup, cameras wash us all out. Experiment with makeup a few days before our session…mascara, powder, and a little lipstick will go a long way in making sure that you don’t look pasty.

And as an added bonus, check this out… This lovely photographer has some terrific tips. Read them! I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t. And remember, this is FUN! We’ll have a blast, so be comfy in those threads.