My family loves photos. Maybe that’s part of the reason I was drawn to photography, right? Anyways, my mom has a standing request when it comes to family. When we have relatives visiting from out of town, she wants a family portrait. Specifically, she wants me to take a portrait of everyone. Sometimes we’ve been able to go more formal or planned with the portrait session, and other times, it’s on the impromptu side of things.
And that’s where this family snapshot was on the spectrum. Desired, but spur of the moment, as our weekend plans had been put through a blender and the timing was just not conductive for a true family portrait.
Seriously, I think it took me longer to pack my gear before our trip than the photos took for me to take. I spent less than five minutes taking snapshots of the kids, and about five minutes max taking a group portrait of the entire group.
Pre-session planning? Non-existant. Coordinated clothing? On hand, but not being worn. Relaxed session with lots of time for getting people to warm up and smile? Nope, no time for that. You name it, we covered the list of what not to do when planning your family portrait session.
But that’s okay.
Because this wasn’t a family portrait session.
This was a family snapshot.
Sometimes you need to document those moments — and there isn’t time for anything better.
So, what can you do to get a family snapshot with your out of town relatives?
First of all, relax.
Don’t worry about getting it perfect.
It’s okay if not everyone matches
If your kids don’t have their shoes on, don’t sweat it.
Do what you can with the time you have.
Document your family with a snapshot, and know that it will be enough.
Seriously. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Not every family photo will be elegant. But it will be real and authentic. This family snapshot isn’t a portrait I would call award-winning. But it does capture the moment, the spirit of our crazy busy weekend together with my out of town relatives. People are looking at the camera. Almost everyone is smiling. And that’s life.
Sometimes you take what you can get, and have to remind yourself that it will be enough.
You don’t have to do perfect.
You know when I mentioned that family photos tend to happen every time we have out-of-town relatives visit? Well, I wasn’t kidding. And I’m thankful I have these, to show you how different styles of family photos can be valuable and precious — whether they are true studio family portraits or simple family snapshots on the fly.
Here’s a set of family photos from when my cousin and her daughter were visiting from out-of-town. Naturally, we did a portrait of my grandfather with (some of) his great-grandkids.
This last family portrait I’m going to share is the most formal. We did a studio portrait with three generations of extended family. My mom has a set of these displayed in her living room as canvas gallery wraps — they look gorgeous. We used the portrait of my kids for part of our Christmas card :).
So, there you have it. Family photos don’t always have to be perfect. But they will always be representative of your family. Make the best of the situation, get as many smiles as you can,… and if at all possible, have a family portrait photographer do your next family portrait. Because I know from experience. When you’re in charge of taking the picture, it’s a more stressful environment.
That’s why I do this. I want my clients to be able to have memories of their family — without having to go through the stress of getting everyone posed for a family photo. When you tell people to just listen to the photographer — you get to hand off the responsibility. It’s no longer your job to make sure everyone looks good, or that everyone is smiling for the camera. That’s my job. Your job is to relax and trust me to create images you will want to give to your grandchildren one day. For more information about scheduling a family portrait session, call 734-424-0472 or contact the studio via our website. I’ll walk you through the whole planning process and make your next family portrait the most relaxing one yet!
This summer I photographed the Holler family at Island Park in Ann Arbor. I had been talking with Marcy about outdoor locations for their family portrait session… and we settled on Island Park. Why? That’s where she had her senior portraits done way back before kids! (Marcy and her husband Jacob have three adorable girls that did a great job during the session)
The day of the session came, and the weather was great. We met during the morning so it wasn’t too humid and hot out …and I kept everyone in the shade to help with the heat too!
Now, sometimes, kids smile right away, and other times, kids just don’t feel like it. Well, Isabelle, the big sister, was a pro. She made sure to smile for the camera, and was a delightful conversationalist! Her twin sisters, though, fell into that other category. Some people might find that to be a problem. But not me. It’s just a matter of finding the right way to break through that shell and find the smiles I know are waiting to be shared.
Evelyn and Sadie, even when not smiling, were such sweet girls. And about halfway through the session, I found the magic key to unlock their smiles! Honestly, I don’t even remember exactly what the secret was — but it involved me being super silly, making crazy sounds, and waving one of my hands in the air while holding my camera with the other.
Whatever I did, the girls loved it! We got some adorable smiles, and as you might expect, some cute waves too.
In all seriousness, this session was a breeze. I never worry about a situation like this because 99.99% of the time, I can find a solution. And for that 0.01%? Well, honestly, that’s so rare…. but unless they’ve fallen asleep during their portrait session… I am always confident about getting adorable portraits of that child in a more serious or candid style portrait. Life is all about adapting and rising to meet whatever curve balls are thrown your way, right?
So, enjoy these portraits of of the Holler family 🙂
If you want to have a family portrait done, but are worried about whether the photographer will be able to get your kids to smile, don’t be! Get in touch with me and we can go through all the details, and I’ll be more than happy to work with you to create a family portrait session. Contact the studio at 734-424-0472 or via our web form today so we can get started!
When senior year finally rolls around, there’s a lot going on! Add senior portrait decisions on top of that, and you might feel a bit overwhelmed, right? After all, senior portraits have come a long way in the past 30 years or so. What used to be a simple studio formal portrait with one outfit has become a mini model session with multiple outfits and even multiple locations.
Senior portraits are no longer just a milestone. The senior portrait has become an experience, a rite of passage.
And with that, the stakes are a bit higher. Not only do you have to find a decent-looking outfit, you have to pick the right location for your senior portrait session. If your photographer is like me, they’ll be able to list off a bunch of neat spots based on your interests. But still, it can seem a hard to commit to just one spot.
Maybe you’re worried about the weather being bad.
Maybe you’re concerned that the location is “too popular” and your photos won’t look special.
Maybe you’re not sure if the location is really a meaningful spot to you personally.
You’re not alone in feeling this way.
But don’t worry!
Let’s take this step by step.
Could bad weather ruin your senior portrait session on location?
Honestly, it won’t ruin your senior portraits. But bad weather might make us change the date. When planning a senior portrait session outdoors, I always tell my clients that bad weather is a possibility. That’s why we watch the weather in the days leading up to the session — if it looks like it will be rainy or stormy, I’ll touch base with you to discuss options for rescheduling for another day, or moving to an alternate (indoor) location. It’s as simple as that! No fees to reschedule either :).
What if the location for your senior portraits is popular?
Definitely a possibility. But, here’s the thing. Your senior portraits will be special because of who’s in them. You like the location? Cool. You like the photographer’s style? Great! You’re still a bit concerned? No prob! Just talk to your photographer. When I know you’re looking for something a creative or different at a popular location for senior portraits, I can make adjustments to the session so you end up with totally unique images. The more you share your vision with me, the better job I’ll do of making that dream a reality!
I’ve done senior portrait sessions on the same day as other photographers, even passed them on the paths. And I can guarantee that even with the same location, each photographer can create totally different looking images. The location is just one facet of a senior portrait. Trust me.
Maybe you just aren’t feeling like any location is “meaningful”?
Yeah, that can happen. But trust me. If you’re not set on a particular location, there are things we can do to make sure you end up with senior portraits you love. If you like being downtown, we can plan a session in downtown Ann Arbor, Dexter, Chelsea, or wherever you like to hang out! If you are more of a nature person, you’re in luck. The greater Ann Arbor area has a ton of parks with grass, trees, paths, and even water. If one park doesn’t stick out to you, that’s fine! We can pick a park that is convenient and easy to get to — because if forests and trees are your thing, you’ll love the results regardless of the park you pick as the location for your senior portrait session.
Now for those tips. Which are really questions to make you think….
10 Questions to Help You Choose a Meaningful Location for Your Senior Portraits
You can think of this as a list of tips, formatted as a questionnaire. By answering these questions, I bet you’ll be able to see what types of locations are really meaningful for you! Or, if you can’t, maybe a family member, or even your photographer, will be able to help you connect the dots.
1. Where do you go, or what do you do, when you have had a stressful day and just want to relax?
You might go for a run. Or maybe you head to your favorite cozy chair and curl up with a book, a blanket, and your favorite hot beverage. You might have an instrument you pick up and let out some chords and melodies, letting the stress of the day fade away. You could be a nature person — you head outdoors to breathe in some fresh air. What works for you?
2. What are your hobbies? Where do you go to do what interests you?
If you like to swim, you’ll head to the pool. If working out is more your thing, you’ll go to the gym, or maybe the great outdoors for a cross-country hike. Maybe you meet up with some friends to make music together. Or you’re an artist at heart and you love going to your studio… or downtown Ann Arbor so you can sketch passersby. Where do you go when you do what you love? Think about how we can incorporate your hobbies into your senior portrait session!
3. Do you have any pets? Or do you like animals?
While some people are ambivalent when it comes to pets, most of us know where we stand! If you have a dog, a cat, a horse, or any other type of animal… do you want to include it in your senior portraits? Some pets, like dogs, are pretty versatile and you can easily transport them to most locations for a senior portrait session. On the other hand, if you want senior portraits taken with your horse, we’ll probably head to head to the barn where your horse is stabled. Cats are rather particular about their surroundings, so if you want to include your feline, that likely means a senior portrait session at your home. It’s all about making the animal feel comfortable. I’m happy to photograph a variety of animals, and am personally not afraid of bugs/insects/snakes — but it’s always best to let your photographer know ahead of time if you plan to include your pet. I like to be prepared!
4. Do you play any sports, or are you on any teams?
If you play football, you might want to do your senior portraits at the high school stadium. Or if you are on track, it might be cool to create some portraits of you at the starting line. If you know you want to do something sports-related during your senior portrait session, but you’re not particular about the location, we can definitely work that into your senior portrait session! I’ve done sports-themed senior portraits in the studio. And if you play soccer or another outdoors sport, it’s pretty easy to find a nice looking patch of green grass for your themed portrait if you don’t feel the need to pose by a soccer goal! Think about the sports you are involved with, and which might be good to incorporate into your senior portrait session. This should help you come up with some senior portrait session location ideas!
5. Do you like the outdoorsy, nature look?
In the greater Ann Arbor area, we have a TON of parks and recreational areas. I am always happy to suggest locations if you need ideas. Some of my clients are happy with whatever location I suggest, as long as it is outdoors and is some sort of natural setting. Other clients want me to do portraits at a specific park where they spend a lot of time. I’m happy to make suggestions, but it’s ultimately up to you. If you like being outdoors, I bet you have some places that you go to frequently. If you go there a lot… chances are it might make for a meaningful location for your senior portrait session!
6. Do you like going downtown?
If the answer is yes, think about where you go when you head downtown. Is it to a particular park? Maybe you go window shopping, or maybe you love being right downtown by Michigan Theater. I’ve done senior portraits all over the place… and no two senior portrait sessions ever look alike. If gritty urban portraits are more your thing, we can definitely talk about a visit to graffiti alley — they walls are always changing so you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a unique backdrop for your senior portraits.
If a smaller downtown scene is more your thing, we can look into downtown Dexter, Chelsea, Saline, or even Ypsilanti. Each city has their own unique charm, so if one spot means more to you, by all means, let’s head there! If you like going to Depot Town in Ypsilanti, it’s always a nice spot. If you want to head downtown Ann Arbor, expect to do a bit of walking. I will add that parking is usually plentiful, unless you want to have your session downtown during the week of the Ann Arbor Art Fair (been there, done that!)…and then it’s going to be more walking!
7. Do you have a favorite hangout?
Over the years, I’ve photographed seniors in coffee shops, libraries, book stores, restaurants… you name it. If there is a place that you go to hang out, chances are good that we can plan a senior portrait session there. If you love the store where you work, maybe you want to have senior portraits done there. Maybe you go to Nichols Arcade a lot, and want portraits there. Get the idea? If there’s a place that you go with your friends for fun, maybe we can make that into a location for your senior portrait session. It would definitely be memorable!
8. If you had a friend visiting from out of town, where would you want to take them?
The spots that you want to share with an out of town friend may include a great place for your senior portrait session. Maybe you want to take them to Gallup Park because of all the cool walking paths and bridges over the Huron river. Maybe you would take them on a walking tour of downtown Saline because you love that area (followed by a side trip to Curtiss Park). Or maybe Michigan Theater would be at the top of your list. Wherever the spot — you’ve chosen it because it’s important to you. So maybe it’d be a great location for your senior portrait session!
9. When you scroll through your phone’s camera roll, is there a spot where you frequently take photos or selfies?
If you have location tagging turned on, take a peek at the different spots where you tend to take photos. Do any of those locations seem like a fun spot for senior portraits? You might be surprised to find some ideas for where to have your senior portrait session!
If you take a lot of selfies, think of where you were when you tend to take those photos. Maybe we could use that location for a fun “candid” senior portrait of you taking selfies!
10. Does your family have a location that is meaningful to you as a family?
Okay, I know these are your senior portraits. You want them to be special to you,… but sometimes part of that “special” comes from doing portraits in a location that you’ve gone to since you were little. So, if you can’t come up with any ideas, but know you want something special… try asking your folks! You could do your senior portraits at the same park where your mom or dad took you as a kid, or maybe your backyard has many happy childhood memories for you. We can incorporate those memories into your senior portraits by choosing that as your location! If you have older siblings, your parents might suggest the same location as their senior portraits. If so, don’t worry about your senior portraits looking the same. We will be able to make your experience unique to you, I promise.
Also, if you end up doing your senior portraits at your house, we could do some pictures of you in your environment — your room! That’s up to you, of course. Some people prefer to stay outside in the backyard for senior portrait sessions at their house. But I will say, choosing your home as your senior portrait location all but eliminates your travel time. And outfit changes will be a breeze!
Now, look through your answers….
Do you see any similarities? Any locations listed more than once? Maybe that’s a spot to consider for your senior portraits. Seriously, though, there is NO wrong choice when it comes to a location for your senior portraits.
Your portraits will be a reflection of who you are because you are in them. Your senior portraits will be meaningful because you are special.
You don’t have to stress out over finding the perfect location. It’s okay to flip a coin, or ask others for input.
I hope these tips to help you choose a location for your session have been helpful. I’d be happy to help you plan your senior portrait session in further detail too — just call the studio at 734-424-0472, or get in touch via our web form. I’ll look forward to chatting with you soon!
One of the nice things about creating a painting is that I can meld several photographs into one piece — and it looks totally natural. This painting was based on several photographs that we took during Yara’s newborn portrait session (see the blog post with some of our favorite newborn photos of Yara!). It took me several versions of the painting to get things exactly the way I was envisioning, but that’s why I do this. Because when all the pieces finally fall into place, it looks amazing. Here’s the final painted portrait of Yara with her dad.
If you’d like to learn more about commissioning a painting from an existing photograph, or from a portrait we create during your next portrait session with me, get in touch! I’d love to talk with you about how the process works and help create a family heirloom that matches your lifestyle and vision. Contact the studio via our web form or call 734-424-0472 today!
What’s the whole point of being on a team, anyways? Well, for the kids on the Pistol Prodigies in Manchester, I think it’s to build character and learn responsibility. If you’re looking for a nice group of kids — the Pistol Prodigies team in Manchester definitely fits the label! I’ve done team photos for the group for the past few years, and they are always more than courteous, and exceptionally polite. And this year was no exception.
Why do I say that? The kids always thank me after I take their pictures.
In an era of self-entitlement, that’s actually very special. And while it speaks volumes about the parents who are raising these kids, I think it probably also says the same about the leadership of the Pistol Prodigies team too. Scott and Lisa Poet are down-to-earth, friendly, and do a great job of teaching responsibility and safety to the kids on their team.
Here are a few photos of the whole team for you to enjoy!
For more information about the Pistol Prodigies, visit their website: www.pistolprodigies.com. If you want to see how much the team has changed since last year, check out my post from last year! They placed really well, and have many medals to show for it. Pretty cool that there are still sports out there that are awarding based on merit still!
Every so often, my kids look up at me with those adorable puppy dog eyes and ask, “Mommy, can I be your assistant when your next client comes?” While I think that’s adorable, I have to say no, and promise they can help me another time (when my clients are not there). It’s cute. Just like when I loaned one of my old DSLR cameras to my oldest the other day for experimentation. He took some pictures, came back to me, and asked, “Mommy, am I a professional photographer?” Adorable, right? I smiled and answered, “do you want to be?”
Anyways, today they helped me out with an equipment test photoshoot. I took some portraits of our dog, Apollo, using some equipment I’m testing out (I write articles and reviews for an industry magazine). The kids had fun, and the dog loved all his treats. Here are some of the photos we took. Make sure to scroll to the end so you can see when my assistants jumped in front of the camera for a cute outtake :).
Do you want a nice portrait of your pet, or your kids with your pet… but don’t want the hassle of wrangling all those bodies? Let Betsy help you plan a portrait session for your family, furbabies and all! Contact the studio at 734-424-0472 to get in touch today.
Because of all the musicians in my family, you could say music is in my blood. And yes, I play occasionally — most often piano accompaniment these days. A year or so ago I was able to join the Ann Arbor Grail Singers for a performance, which was really fun! Sadly, my schedule didn’t allow me to continue on singing with them, but I was really excited to be able to come back to photograph the group last year right before their performance!
Now, usually I photograph groups or individuals with some kind of studio lighting, even on location. But in this instance, we didn’t have time to set up any kind of lighting, as the photoshoot happened right after the dress rehearsal and about five minutes before the doors were opened to the public. We literally had less than five minutes to get this group portrait taken. So, we made the best of it!
First, let me show you the beautiful space that the Ann Arbor Grail Singers performed at, and then I’ll share two group portraits of the Ann Arbor Grail Singers with you!
If your ensemble or group is in need of a group portrait for publicity purposes, please contact the studio at 734-424-0472 so that we can discuss your needs and come up with a plan to fit your vision! We can plan for your group portrait to take place either on location, as the Ann Arbor Grail Singers did, or at the studio. It’s all up to you!
I got to meet Yara this summer… and she is adorable! Her mom had the cutest outfits planned for Yara’s newborn portrait session too. The only problem? Yara, who was wide-eyed and cheerful at the beginning of her portrait session, just could not stay awake by the end! No matter how much you plan, this sometimes happens… so we made some adjustments in our plans and instead of creating newborn portraits of a wide-eyed baby girl, we created some adorable sleeping newborn portraits at the end of her newborn session. Not what mom had planned, but sweet nonetheless.
Such is life! Next time Yara comes to the studio, she will be a bit older, and I know we’ll capture some portraits with her not-so-sleepy-personality on display!
So, here’s a sneak peek of Yara’s portraits…. enjoy!
That’s all I have for a sneak peek, but there is another adorable portrait in the works. I have a little more work to do on it yet, as I’m making a digital painting…. but I’ll share that with you when it is ready for the world to see :). So, for now, enjoy these portraits, and try to decide which is your favorite!
If you have a newborn, or are expecting soon, please contact me at 734-424-0472 to learn more about our Baby’s First Year plan! It’s a great alternative to an a la carte portrait session, and you will love how easy your portrait experience is! I’ve worked with babies of many temperaments, and it’s always fun to help bring out their personalities so you will end up with adorable portraits like these ones of Yara. Not one newborn portrait session is alike, I can tell you that for sure!
Caitlin came to the studio this summer for her senior portrait session. Last summer, when I did her brother’s senior portraits at Mill Creek Park in Dexter, Caitlin tagged along too. It was fun getting to see her again, and create some new, updated, portraits of Caitlin for her very own senior pictures. This time, we stayed inside the studio for most of Caitlin’s portrait session, since the weather was ominous and all.
Our plan, assuming the weather held off? To finish off the session with a series of outdoor soccer portraits. Thankfully, the weather turned out beautifully (isn’t it crazy how that always happens?)…. and Caitlin’s senior portraits were able to go as planned. Bonus? You’d never know it was terribly muggy and humid from the photos. Love that Michigan weather, right?
I really can’t say which of these outfits was my favorite. Caitlin did such a nice job of curating (or is it coordinating) her own outfits, down the accessories. While I’m happy to give advice, I love it when my clients are confident in their own style and know what looks good on them!
So, without further delay, here are her senior portraits. Enjoy!
Have you been thinking it’s time to plan your senior portrait session, but maybe you just want to enjoy your summer first? No problem! Give us a call (734-424-0472) or email us so that we can get the planning process started. Let’s set a date now, and iron out the details as your session date gets closer.
Life is sometimes so busy it’s hard to find time to do things for yourself. Even if it is something helpful to your business, like getting an updated headshot portrait, right?
Well this past month Sydney came to the studio for a session, and she was on a tight schedule. We scheduled the session to be an hour before she needed to leave for an appointment… no problem, right? Well, add an unfortunate traffic jam into the mix, and things got a little more complicated.
Fortunately, I knew we could get a nice headshot in 15-20 minutes, easily. Sydney was relieved to know she would have plenty of time to get a nice business portrait …and still meet her client on time.
Sydney and I briefly discussed how she wanted to look in her portrait…. Not too big of a smile, but definitely smiling, and a word that came to mind was “approachable.”
So, here’s the final headshot portrait that Sydney settled on. I love this one! She looks so approachable, friendly, and I think it really captured her personality well.
If you need to update your headshot but haven’t because of a busy schedule, know that we can easily fit a basic headshot portrait session into most busy schedules. Contact the studio at 734-424-0472 to learn more today!
What family portrait session would be complete without a little bit of crazy? Because, honestly, that’s life with kids. Fortunately, part of my job is to make the portrait experience be fun for the whole family… and we definitely succeeded during this portrait session.
When Cynthia and I chatted about what she wanted from her portrait session, she told me she was really just looking for one good portrait of everyone together. Well, I think we accomplished that — and more. The kids definitely had me improvising, but that’s what I love about working with little ones!
We planned the family portrait session to take place at their home in Ann Arbor. So, on the day of the session, we started out the session in the family room, and when I asked Samuel, Joseph, and Elijah to sit on the couch for me… the older two boys listened a bit better than their younger brother. No worries. He got to hide behind the couch for some portraits. I convinced him to come out for a few portraits to check and see if my camera was working — and told him that he was invisible for my camera’s pictures.
That trick lasted pretty much the whole session…. and didn’t get old!
Once the rest of the family was ready, I photographed everyone on the couch before we headed outside to the backyard. We did a series of portraits outside…. most of which were casual and on the fly. I try to get a couple posed family portraits during a typical session, but am totally willing to create family portraits where kids can be kids. Ryan and Cynthia were so patient with their kids’ antics, and I am glad they trusted me with creating their family portrait.
By the end of the session, I could tell that we were losing the two youngest kids. It’s hard to try and sit still, right? I used a few tricks to get a few last portraits in, and then we called it quits.
Well, almost. We realized that Liliana hadn’t been wearing her bow during the portrait session — so Cynthia asked if we could give it a shot. Of course, I said yes! It didn’t take long for someone to figure out how to take off the bow, but I captured several adorable portraits of her wearing it. After a few more rounds of Mom putting on the bow, snapping a photo, and seconds later Liliana pulling it off…. we were all set.
I hope you enjoy these family portraits as much as I enjoyed creating them. It’s always so much fun to work with kids — I love their energy and vibes!
If you have been putting off planning a family portrait session because it seems too stressful, or you’re worried your kids won’t be able to sit still…. please don’t wait any longer! I love working with kids who are on the move, and it’s part of my job to create great family portraits while your little ones are on the move. Contact the studio today at 734-424-0472 so we can chat about your family and what kind of family portrait you’d like me to create for you!
For sleeping newborn portraits, it’s almost always best to do the session when baby is less than a week old. Why almost? Well, because every once in a while, you get a stalwart nap objector — like Jacob! Jacob was determined to stay awake for his newborn portrait session, even though there was sleepy dust in the air!
It was actually really adorable. I used a number of my photographer tricks to help Jacob try to fall asleep, but ultimately we gave up and went for photos where he just looks like he’s sleeping. Too funny, right?
Jacob’s big sister was very intrigued by the whole portrait session process. She wanted a front and center view of the action. And I literally mean that. Fortunately, mom and dad came prepared with snacks, and I had a stash of new-to-her toys — so big sis was happily occupied for a lot of the portrait session.
Life is all about making adjustments and being flexible. And that’s how I manage my portrait sessions too.
Usually when we create sibling portraits in the studio, I have all the kids in front of the camera at the same time. But, for this set of siblings, I could tell that just wasn’t going to work!
I am so grateful that my clients were willing to trust my vision… because by thinking outside the box, I was able to create an adorable portrait of both kids. Before we photographed Jacob, I had big sis hunt for cheerios on the crate. We got some cute individual portraits of her, and then it was time to swap kids! My retouching magic put both kids in one portrait, and made the cheerios disappear.
I know you’ve been dying to see these portraits — so without any more chatter from me…. here you go!
If you are expecting a baby, or have a newborn, I’d love to chat with you about planning a laid-back and stress-free newborn portrait session with me at the studio! We can do a standalone portrait session, or to help you plan ahead, we can discuss the benefits of my Baby’s First Year plan. Contact me today at 734-424-0472 to learn more!
Last week I had a family portrait session here in Dexter — and the weather forecast was looking rainy as all get out. After conferring with Angela, we decided to go ahead with the session even if it ended up being indoors at my studio. Work schedules can be so tricky to work around, and they hadn’t had a family portrait done in a long time, so this family portrait would be happening, rain or shine!
When Roger and Angela Snyder showed up to my studio, the sun was shining, the sky looked gorgeous, and everyone was happy to be outside. What luck!
After saying hello to my clients, I knelt down to greet the littlest member of the Snyder family — an adorably sweet miniature pinscher. She greeted me happily, although I have a hunch she was more interested in the smells of my dog, than in letting me pet her.
That all changed when Roger gave me the bag of treats. Can we say treat motivated? I love that — it makes my job easier! Although, I have a hunch that the pup would say I was too stingy in doling out treats. 🙂 We chatted briefly about Angela’s vision for the session one last time. She didn’t have anything specific in mind, aside from wanting a photo of her and Roger walking away in the distance.
I knew the perfect spot for that photo!
So we worked our way around the edge of my woods, where there is a nice place for walking. Yes, we took some portraits on the way, both with and without the dog. Since she’s such a small pup, I offered to multitask and hold the leash while photographing Roger and Angela. Though, I had to laugh to myself a bit as I took pictures with a leash in hand! There’s no way I would have done that with a large breed like my 75 lb Labrador! I guess, another convenience of the miniature breeds, right?
The session went very smoothly, and the sun stayed out the whole time. It was fantastic. I am so glad we decided to pull through regardless of the weather!
Here is a sneak peek from the Snyder’s family portrait session. So many awesome ones, don’t you think?
If you haven’t had a family portrait done in a while, please contact me at 734-424-0472 so that we can plan a session that will be perfect for you and your family. I’m happy to work with you whether you have a clear and precise vision for your family photos or if you simply know “it’s been a while” and you simply want a great looking family portrait to put above the fireplace!
Don’t you love being outdoors? I’m so glad that the warm weather has finally showed up! Although, with spring and summer comes a flurry of activities. Baseball, swimming, golf, nature walks, you name it!
My oldest son, Toby, has moved up to machine pitch baseball with Dexter Little League this year, so we’ve been spending quite a bit of time at the ball diamond. My husband is coaching for the fourth season, so we constantly have baseball gear coming out of our ears. It might seem like a big time commitment, right? Yes… but it’s worth it.
I get to set my to-do list aside and simply watch Toby being a kid. And I get to chat with other parents who are doing the same thing! And the little siblings have fun too, in their own way (Zack, my younger son, loves to playing on the bleachers, or in the ball diamond dirt). I love the community that comes with baseball.
Most days, you’ll find me happily carrying a pocket camera. But, every so often, I’ll bring my DSLR camera and zoom lens to a ball game. For me, there’s just something about capturing a moment, a memory. It’s the process of creating and documenting life… and while I’m often busy doing this for my clients, it’s important to me that I do the same for my own family!!
So, with that in mind, here are a few photos from one of Toby’s recent games. Enjoy!
Thanks for letting me share these family memories with you! I hope that you’ve found fun ways to capture memories of things you enjoy doing as a family. 🙂
On Saturday I left my older son Toby’s baseball game to go hang out at Mill Creek Park for an engagement photoshoot. Since Steven (my husband) was coaching the baseball team, I took our younger son Zack with me. Which was actually helpful…. because this wasn’t a typical engagement portrait. My client hired me to photograph her son as he proposed to his girlfriend.
And I had to be inconspicuous.
So, I figured, what better way to be inconspicuous than to have a toddler in tow? Right? I mean, no professional photographer would be hanging out at the park with a kid, a toddler bike, and a wagon full of snack supplies!
It was kind of exciting, too! I hadn’t met the couple, I didn’t know what they looked like (aside from a photo that the mom had texted me). I knew where he was planning to propose (at the friendly troll statue next to the boardwalk. And we had a general idea of the time it would take place.
So about 45 minutes before the proposal was set to happen, Zack and I headed over to the park. Zack was on his bike, and I brought the wagon along just in case he got tired, so we could make it in time. We set up a “picnic” on a bench near the troll, and waited. Since I figured Zack might not be good at keeping a secret, I didn’t tell him what we were doing — we were there to “look for birds and other animals.”
For a three year old, he was a trooper! We hung out, I pretended to look for birds while secretly checking out everyone coming down the path — I didn’t want to miss the soon-to-be-engaged couple! Towards the end, Zack got a little antsy and wanted to start biking again. Fortunately, I was able to persuade him to stay a little longer with a cup of trail mix.
That was around the time when I saw my couple walking down the path. I tried to look the part of mom with camera, looking for birds with her toddler. When I saw him start to pull the box holding her ring out of his back pocket, I stopped trying to be secretive and just made sure I was in the right spot to get the best photos of them.
So, while my cover was blown, at that point she was focused on something other than me — her ring. It was so much fun to document her reaction; seeing people so excited always makes me happy :). At that point she kind of looked around at everyone standing and watching — and I said, “congratulations!”
He had succeeded in surprising her, and she started to piece things together. We introduced ourselves, and I took a few more posed portraits of them next to the troll. And that was it. I congratulated them a final time, and then they went back the way they came, arm in arm.
I was really proud of Zack for holding himself together, so we headed off for a celebratory ice cream cone at Dairy Queen (this time he didn’t bike; I pulled him in the wagon). What a fun day!
Here are some of my favorite images from the session (and to see the whole series, you’ll find a slideshow at the end of this post!)
And, as promised, here’s the slideshow:
Congratulations!!! I am so excited to have been a part of your big day 🙂
I can’t believe it’s already April! You’ve probably started planning your senior graduation party by now, right? And one part of graduation festivities is senior graduation announcements.
But are senior graduation announcement cards a thing of the past?
That depends on who you ask.
Some of my clients opt out of senior graduation announcement cards, true.
But many more discover that these cards are really nice to send out to family members, good family friends, and other people who care that you’re graduating. Yes, they might come to your graduation party. Awesome!
Pssst…. seniors, I’m going to let you in on a secret.
Before you decide senior graduation announcements are a outdated and a thing of the past, consider this. If your parents invite their grown-up friends to your graduation party, chances are good that these people care about you. And these people often congratulate new graduates ….with a congratulations card, yes… that more often than not contains money.
Parents, feel free to use that point when having the “can we send out graduation announcement cards” discussion with your kid.
It works, trust me.
But what if I don’t have time to put one together?
That’s where I come in.
Over the years, I’ve helped many of my high school senior clients get prepared for their parties — what role do I play? I assist you from the sidelines. Help you get one more thing checked off your to do list.
I love to create custom designed senior graduation announcements and even senior graduation party invitations! Sometimes the two are rolled into one, depending on my client.
I have a number of design options for you to choose from, and you can opt to keep the text as is, or customize it to your heart’s content. Senior graduation announcement cards are available in sets of 24, and come with envelopes included.
If you want to learn more about this time saving service, please contact the studio today!
What choices do I need to make to get senior graduation announcements designed for me?
In order for me to design your senior graduation announcements, I’ll just need some simple decisions from you.
First, you’ll get to choose the photos that you want on the cards!
I’ll help you select a design that works with your favorite portraits.
You tell me the details for your graduation party — date, time, place, etc — so that I can put that information on your announcement card.
Then I work my magic and design your card with all your details!
You get to approve a digital preview of the card, and after that, it goes to the printer!
What sort of information should I put on my senior graduation announcements?
This is the cool thing — it’s up to you! These days, anything goes!
Here are some options to consider:
Include where you will be going to school in the fall, along with contact information (like phone, email info).
Details for your school’s official cap and gown ceremony (this is usually done in lieu of the next option).
Details for the graduation party your parents are hosting for you (date, time, place).
Some people keep it simple and just include their name, and their graduation year (i.e. Jane Smith, Class of 2018).
It’s really much simpler that it appears. I promise. In the time it’s taken me to write this blog post, I could have been sitting down with you and completely designed your senior graduation announcement cards …and you could have approved the digital preview.
Isn’t that cool?
Now, I know you’ve got a million things on your plate this year. You have to make it through the end of the school year. You have to figure out everything you need to do before college. You need to… oh, ok… I know you get the point.
But my point is this — let me help make your life easier. Give me a call so we can design your senior graduation announcement cards.
It's that time again... that time when we start planning ahead towards next year. Maybe you're really excited to be finished with junior year, and can't wait to be a senior! Well, if you want to get a jump start on all awesomeness that comes with being a senior, you should look into our Class of 2019 Senior Representative Program.
Being a senior rep is fun AND easy! You will be able to earn photos, cash, and more ....just for referring new clients to Betsy's Photography. And that part will be easy, because you're going to love the senior photos we create for you.
Learn more about what's involved and find out how to become a senior rep today! You can click on the button below to access a Google Drive hosted PDF with information about our Class of 2019 Senior Representative program.
Welcome back to our ABCs of Photography series! With 2018, we’re relaunching this as a biweekly series, to help you finish working your way through the alphabet ABCs. This week, we’re on the letter “S” … so we’ll be learning about shutter speed.
What’s shutter speed? It’s how long the shutter is open, or the length of time that the exposure is for the photo you are taking (Check out our learn about exposure activity if you’re not sure what the term means).
To simplify things, let’s break down shutter speed into slow and fast.
A slow shutter speed means:
The camera is taking the photo for a longer time
Your camera has more light for the exposure (you can take photos in darker places this way)
Things are more likely to be blurry, or even abstracted
The image may look shaky if you don’t hold the camera steady (tripod, anyone?)
A fast shutter speed, on the other hand, means:
The camera takes a fraction of a second to take the photo
The bigger the number on the bottom of the fraction, the faster your shutter speed. Some cameras will even have longer shutter speeds, as in 1″ or 30″ — but we’re not going to get into nitty gritty details here.
Now, the question is, what can you photograph with different shutter speeds?
If you’re a photography guru, you might decry the fact I’m leaving out aperture and film speed here — yes, I know that it’s a multi part equation, but we’re keeping this as simple as possible. Only one variable: shutter speed.
With slower shutter speeds you can photograph:
people or animals that know how to sit still and not move
nature landscapes or buildings that definitely don’t move
night photos that have streaks of light from moving stars (this would be a really slow shutter speed – maybe even minutes long).
With faster shutter speeds you can photograph:
kids running around at breakneck speed
sports athletes during a game
hummingbirds in flight
Learn About Shutter Speed Activity
Now, onto the fun part! Let’s learn about shutter speed by doing an activity or two! Depending on the ages of your kids, you might want to just do one or the other.
First, let’s look at some photos and try to guess which one has a fast or slow shutter speed. I’m not worried about exactness, so use this as a dialog as to “why” they are either slow or fast. Click on each photo to enlarge it, and read the caption while it’s enlarged to find out if you’re right! (these are all stock photos used with permission via pixabay.com)
Alternate Activity for Learning About Shutter Speed
Okay, now for one more activity. This one might be fun for younger kids. Get out your camera, or cameraphone, and start taking pictures of your kids. See if they can “trick” the camera into photographing them as blurs by moving fast so that the shutter speed is too slow to catch them. You can also have them see if they can sit/stand super still so that the camera can catch them.
If you have more than one kid, you can tell one to sit still while the other runs through the room — and take the photo. One kid should be crisp and in focus, while the other will probably be blurry. Make sure to let them take turns!
Well, I hope that was a helpful dialog about shutter speeds. As you learn more about photography, you’ll find that this only touches the surface. But that was the entire point behind this ABCs of Photography series. To simplify photography terms so that kids (and adults!) can start to understand them!