Senior Photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter

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It’s always fun to do senior photos someplace local, someplace meaningful.  Or, in the very least, someplace that is amazingly gorgeous!  And that’s what Mill Creek Park is — gorgeous.  You might know it as the Library Park, because the Dexter District Library overlooks the park.  Or maybe you know the park as Warrior Creek Park….which it was formerly named in years past.  Whatever you call it, the park is gorgeous.

Let’s just say, if you’re thinking about doing senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter, you won’t be disappointed.  I love the boat launch steps, the walking path under the bridge, the grassy natural areas, and even the playground.  Mill Creek Park offers a nice variety of settings for most types of portrait photography sessions — and, most importantly, there are some nice shady spots to keep you out of the heat of the midday sun!

Here’s a sibling portrait session I did at Mill Creek Park this summer.  N. is a senior at Dexter High School, while C. is a junior this year.  It was nice to get photos of both of them during this senior and not-quite-yet-senior photo shoot!

Since you might want to see what some other parts of Mill Creek Park look like, here’s another senior photo session that we did there.  Well, at least partly.  Madison’s senior portrait session took place in downtown Dexter, and included some senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter too.  I love the one of her with her black lab.  So adorable!

I’ve done various other senior portrait sessions at Mill Creek Park over the years.. the water is almost always nice to wade in, and feels great during hot summer Michigan days. On rare occasion the water is too high, and the current too fast, but usually my older (i.e. teen or adult) clients are able to comfortably wade into the shallows of the water. Here’s a few photos from a teen photo session at Mill Creek Park….

And for those of you who remember what Mill Creek Park was like before the boardwalk and other improvements went in, I haven’t forgotten either.  Here are a few senior photos at Mill Creek Park when it was still known as Warrior Creek Park.  Amazing how quickly we grow accustomed to new improvements, huh?

As an aside, there’s another nice park in Dexter that’s similar, but a little different — Hudson Mills Metropark.  I’ve done senior portraits there too.    If you want to take a peek, you can view Luke’s senior portrait at Hudson Mills Metropark.  Here’s a teaser of his senior portrait blog post:

If you want to explore Mill Creek Park a little more, you might check out this blog post of mine about Mill Creek Park in Dexter.  I have a few more recent sessions on the schedule to share with you at Mill Creek Park, so if you’re dying to see more senior photos at Mill Creek Park in Dexter, definitely sign up for my email updates so you won’t miss those posts.

If you want to learn more about planning your senior portrait session at Mill Creek Park (or elsewhere), please contact the studio today.  We definitely are in a busy season right now, but should be able to fit you in before your yearbook deadline.

 

Family Photos with Baby + Dog :: A. Family

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I photographed the A. Family when this cute little girl was just a newborn. And now here we are, doing a family portrait already… she’s grown so much!  There is nothing more exciting than getting to watch my clients’ children grow up into their own little selves.  Oh, I guess there’s one thing almost as good… and that’s when my clients bring their pets to the portrait session.  I love including animals in family photos (or any type of portrait photo, for that matter!).

infant portrait, digitally painted by photographer dexter mi
I based this digital painting from several photographs we took during the outdoors portion of their family session. It was really fun to create this, and I especially had fun painting the background of the piece.
family portrait with baby girl outdoors dexter mi
Here’s one of the portraits I am talking about. Adorable family portrait, no? You’d never know it was buggy out by their great smiles 🙂
mom with baby girl, portrait session outdoors dexter mi
We got this portrait of mom with baby girl before deciding the bugs were too thick outside …at least in this spot.
family portrait with baby and dog in grass. dexter mi photographer
Before heading into the studio, we did one last set of images out in the grass. I was hoping the bugs would be fewer in number here, but no such luck. They were great sports though! Love this one.
family photo in studio with baby and dog, dexter mi photographer
And after a bit of a break for baby, we started in on the studio portion of the family photo session.
baby sticking tongue out with mom giving her kiss, dexter child photographer michigan
It’s always cute to capture some of those silly baby faces. I love this one of her with mom!
baby smiling while mom holds her, dexter michigan baby photographer
And an adorable baby portrait where she’s all smiles!! I love it.
baby sucking thumb in dad's arms, dexter michigan photographer
Dad’s turn to hold her came next. At this point, she was more interested in her thumb. Too cute!
dad with baby, family portrait photographer dexter michigan
She was getting a little wiggly at this point, but we managed to get this one with dad and babe in arms.
mom and dad looking at baby during family portrait, michigan dexter photography session
Oh my gosh. I totally love this photo. She is looking so sweetly at the camera, and mom and dad are so happily looking at their baby. Love it!!!
outtake from photo session, prepping for baby portrait session dexter mi safe photography
This one is an outtake from the family photo session, but I wanted to share it with you because it’s important to know how much prep work goes into some of these photos. With little ones, we’re always VERY careful about keeping them safe. And then you can’t do a portrait like this with just any dog. They have the calmest, sweetest dog ever. Dad stayed right nearby the whole time, with his hand on his kiddo to make sure she didn’t fall over. That’s when Photoshop comes in handy — I do a little magic and you end up with a safely created portrait.
baby portrait studio dexter michigan photographer. baby girll with chocolate lab dog pet portrait
Seriously. Adorable. Isn’t this the cutest baby portrait ever??? I love how it turned out. And as I mentioned a minute ago, dad was holding onto this kiddo because she’s not quite ready to sit up yet. Sometimes Photoshop magic just makes sense. Safety first.
chocolate lab portrait in studio, pet photographer dexter michigan
And to finish things up, I took one portrait of this well-mannered chocolate lab all by herself. She is really such a sweet pup!!!

I’d love to talk with you about planning a fun family portrait session — whether or not you have pets to include! Call the studio today at 734-424-0472 to start planning for your next family photo.

Senior Portraits at Hudson Mills Metropark :: Luke

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Luke’s senior portrait session started at the studio, but most of his photos were created on location at Hudson Mills Metropark.  When photographing clients at two locations, I always love to start in the studio because those portraits are a little more formal. By the time we get to the second location, everyone is relaxed and comfortable — perfect for more casual location portraits!

So, without further ado, enjoy these senior portraits taken at Hudson Mills Metropark!

formal portrait of dexter mi high school senior boy
We started out in the studio for Luke’s portrait session. I like to start in the studio because it gives us a chance to get used to working with each other. Besides, these traditional shots tend to be a little more formal anyways.
senior portrait boy at hudson mills metropark mi
After the studio part of his senior portrait session, we went to Hudson Mills Metropark. Hudson Mills, like most parks, has a lot of nice natural areas. I love that it’s easy to incorporate the river into sessions here too!
senior boy crossed arms in front of river, dexter mi senior portrait
I love this portrait of Luke with the river behind him. Whether you’re a natural in front of the camera, or need lots of directions from me, I will make sure that we get some fantastic portraits 🙂
senior photo relaxed expression high school boy dexter mi
Luke with a slight smile. I love how natural this expression is, and how relaxed he looks in this senior photo.
senior portrait, boy on bench by huge tree. dexter michigan hudson mills metropark
A lot of the time, I will tell my clients “go sit over there on that bench.” Because even if you might not see it, there’s an awesome photo waiting to be taken. And that was the case with this photo. I love the huge old tree in the background, and how Luke isn’t really looking at the camera (yes, sometimes I tell my clients to look at such and so …to deliberately stage a contemplative senior portrait like this one.
senior portrait boy standing on rock by river dexter michigan
After a series of photos on the bench, we walked down the path and stopped by the river bank near the base of that old tree. I had Luke stand on one of the larger rocks so that I could create this cool senior portrait. I love how the leaves are in the foreground…
senior portrait, boy sitting on rocks dexter michigan hudson mills park
While it had been a partially cloudy day, the sun suddenly peeked out from behind the clouds. We got some gorgeous light on the water, and it definitely added a lot of impact to this portrait. Love it!
senior portrait of boy on rocks at hudson mills metropark
Another one from the same series. I just love that light reflecting off the water. Throughout this whole session, Luke did a great job of following my directions so we could create great images like this one.
senior portrait of boy near a fence in dexter mi
A little further down the path, we found a wooden fence. I had Luke lean up against it. This one is the first in the series. Very serious, but I like it.
dexter high school senior boy leaning on fence.
Another senior portrait – I love this capture of Luke.
senior portrait boy near fence in nature park dexter mi
And the sun, again. I love it. The leading lines from the fence draw your eye down the path, and Luke is right in the center of it. Very cool senior portrait!
senior portrait of boy in nature dexter michigan
I had Luke stay where he was, and moved further up the path to create a totally different look from the same exact spot. Love this one too!
senior boy at river edge sitting on rocks dexter michigan portrait
We finished up our session by a boat launch. I had been eyeing this spot from the beginning of the session, but we did wait until after several kayakers got their boats into the water. Luke sat on the rocks, his mom steadied my light for me so I didn’t have to worry about it falling in the water (thanks mom!)…. and we got this great natural looking portrait of Luke!
senior boy sitting on rocks near water in dexter michigan
And, of course, a pull back of the same portrait. I couldn’t decide which was my favorite, so you get to see both! Either would be great for a senior portrait — but I’d use this one for a larger wall portrait 🙂
senior portrait boy sitting near tree roots dexter michigan photographer
As we were wrapping up the session, Luke’s mom asked about doing a few photos near these cool tree roots. I am so glad she mentioned it, because I had seen the same thing and loved it! We did a few photos of Luke here, and I love how the roots all wiggle their way towards the subject of the senior portrait.

Luke was a great sport during his entire senior portrait session. We managed to create all these senior portraits — and more — during his hour long session.

I’m always happy to work with clients who know exactly what they want… and with clients who want me to direct them completely. We will make your senior portraits uniquely you. If you’re interested in planning a laid-back senior portrait session and need someone who knows what they’re doing, call us at 734-424-0472 today!

Baby’s First Year – P. is Ready to Stand!

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One of the best parts of my job is getting to see repeat customers. I love it when my littlest clients come back to the studio, because it’s always so amazing how much they’ve grown! And, let me tell you — if you’re worried about planning a portrait session for your child because he or she just doesn’t behave in front of the camera — don’t worry.

That’s my job — leave the magic to me. I feel a little silly telling you this, but I’ve been called a baby whisperer by clients who were sure the photo session would be a bust. So don’t stress out. After all, that’s why you’re trusting me with your memories, with creating portraits of your loved ones. Relax, and let me do my thing.

baby's first year portrait, hand painted in photoshop, digital painting, master photographer artist dexter mi
I seriously can’t get enough of this smile. P. has the cutest expressions. I just had to do a painting from one of the priceless expressions he shared during his final first year portrait session. I am really excited about how this painting turned out!! LOVE!!
toddler baby boy with wooden car. studio portrait, baby's first year plan, dexter michigan portrait photographer
Like many little boys, P. loves cars. So when his mom told me he was super interested in anything that has wheels, I made sure to hand him a cute wooden car right away. No better way to help a kid relax and get excited about letting me take their portrait!
baby boy one year old, standing with a chair. photographer studio portrait dexter michigan.
Since P. was not quite standing on his own for this session in his baby’s first year plan, I brought out a chair to give him a little support. Now, when photographing little ones (or any clients, for that matter), safety comes first. For portraits where I have a toddler who may topple over, there’s always an adult literally right out of the frame. My rule? “If you feel uncomfortable at any point, grab your kid.” No photo is worth a little one getting hurt.
toddler boy riding rocking horse for baby's first year portrait in studio. dexter michigan photographer
I think P. smiled most of the way through his first year portrait sessions! By now, he’d started moving the chair around as a walking aid, so we switched to a new prop — this lovely wooden rocking horse that used to be one of my nieces’ toys. I’m all for repurposing well-crafted pieces. He was so excited to ride the rocking horse!
baby boy one year old, standing with chair in photographer studio. Baby's first year photos in dexter michigan
P. needed a little break, so we took the opportunity to do an outfit change. I love that his mom planned this portrait to correlate with his older sibling’s portrait at the same age. That will be so adorable to compare their portraits! Of course, the chair thing didn’t last long… but we got a couple before he was off to the races! (pretty typical for a first year session).
toddler boy standing and holding mom's hand during portrait session at dexter mi photographer studio
Here’s the closest we came to having P. stand unassisted. We tried seeing if he would let go of Mom’s hand for any length of time, but he was having none of it. Oh well. No worries, this portrait is still cute! One of the less smiley photos of P. ….but still adorable.
toddler boy with curly hair, smiling at camera. dexter mi portrait session for baby's first year.
And finally… look at those curls!!! I can’t get enough of this cutie. Isn’t it interesting how some siblings look so similar, yet have different features, like curly/straight hair? What a sweetie.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these first year portraits of P. (sigh, I can’t call him a baby anymore, he is getting so big!). If you want to learn more about planing your own portrait session with Betsy’s Photography, please call the studio at 734-424-0472 today. If you have a little one, or are expecting, make sure to inquire about our baby’s first year plan!

A Field of Sunflowers :: Rachel’s Senior Portraits

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Rachel’s mom contacted me this summer about doing her senior portraits in a field of sunflowers.  Cool idea, right?  And we were in luck, because the weather was great on the day of Rachel’s session.  A bit hot for anyone’s liking,…but, hey, it’s Michigan.  We have to work with what we’re given.  You’d never know it from these photos, because Rachel looks absolutely gorgeous, but it was drippingly hot.  Seriously.

Enjoy this slideshow of our favorite images from Rachel’s senior portraits in the sunflower field.

 

And in case you’re a sucker for web photos instead of video slideshows, here they are!  Rachel was a great sport.  She put up with the hot sun, some windy gusts, and of course, my goofy requests that she pretend to laugh at her mom.  All in all, Rachel’s senior portrait session went very smoothly though.  We got some great portraits that I am sure her family will enjoy for years to come.  And once I’ve designed the memories panel that her mom ordered for their home, I will share that with you too!

senior portrait of a girl in a field of sunflowers.
This photo was one of Rachel’s mom’s favorite portraits in the sunflower field. Love it!
senior girl in sunflower field for senior portrait photo session, Michigan.
I love love love this view of the sunflower field. Rachel’s senior portraits all turned out awesome!
Senior girl with sunflowers behind her.
Love those sunflowers behind Rachel. <3
Senior girl in a sunflower field, Dexter, MI
Another one of Rachel… love that white dress, it looks great with the sunflowers!
senior girl portrait, closeup, with sunflowers. Dexter Michigan Photographer.
Look at those eyes! Gorgeous.
senior photos of high school senior girl in field of sunflowers, Dexter, MI
And it was windy now and then, so Rachel’s long hair looked fabulous (as long as we faced into the wind!).
senior girl in dress, surrounded by sunflowers. Dexter Michigan Senior portrait.
Another one of Rachel, looking great!
Sunflower field for a senior portrait photo session, Dexter Michigan.
Pulling back to get a few more sunflowers in the portrait. Love it!
senior portrait in sunflower field, Dexter, MI - dance.
This one looks a little more formal than the rest of Rachel’s senior portraits, thanks to the pose. I usually try to get a mix of relaxed and more posed portraits to keep the session flowing well.
Senior portrait, girl with hat, sunflower field, Dexter, MI
I love that Rachel brought along this hat!! Isn’t it great?
senior portrait, girl wearing hat in sunflower field, Dexter MI
Of course, with a hat, we had to do something a little more fun and peppy. Love how this portrait of Rachel turned out!
senior girl portrait, Dexter, MI, sunflowers behind her.
I love using one particular lens in my camera bag because you get such a neat perspective. <3
senior girl portrait in sunflower field, sitting on tree stump, dexter michigan photographer
Okay, I have to tell you, we didn’t bring a tree stump to our portrait session. I did a little of my artistry magic to give Rachel something a little nicer to sit on than my white stepstool. Presto chango…voila!
Senior girl with long hair, looking over shoulder, senior portraits in sunflower field, dexter mi photo
Love that hair!
Senior girl relaxed smile, long hair, dexter michigan senior photo
And I love this relaxed photo of Rachel. Great natural smile!
senior girl with hat and long hair, sunflower field dexter mi senior photo
Again, that hair…and that hat. Love it!
senior girl standing in field with sunflowers, wearing hat, dexter mi senior photo
I know, another hat portrait. But she’s rocking it.
senior girl wearing hat, smiling, in sunflower field. senior photo dexter mi
Hats off to you, Rachel, as you enter your senior year of high school. <3
senior portrait, artist painting, sunflower field
It must be the artist in me, but I can’t help myself. I loved painting this portrait of Rachel… it’s so fun to explore the world of digital painting. Seriously, I get to use a paintbrush with my stylus and tablet…. and there is no messy paint cleanup!

 

If you’re looking at doing senior pictures while the weather’s warm, get in touch with me ASAP to plan your session! Or, we can plan something for the fall… your call.  Call the studio at 734-424-0472 to learn more about having your senior portraits done by award-winning master photographer Betsy Finn today!

Studio Portraits of My Dog :: Meet Apollo!

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Life has been pretty busy around here. But, I’ve finally taken studio portraits of my dog.  Yes, we have a new pup! As an aside, if you’re looking for a lab, I highly recommend Northern Lites Labs in Grayling, Michigan.  We made the drive from Dexter to Grayling to pick him up, and it was totally worth it.  This pup is one of the calmest labs I’ve ever met. Except for his mom.  Apollo has got a soft mouth already, and is very tolerant of everything our crazy household has thrown his way.  Plus, he came to us practically housetrained — and he slept through the night in his crate without any issues right from the get-go.  Seriously. Northern Lites Labs is a fantastic breeder.

Now, onto the portraits!  Apollo is a chocolate lab, and he’s not quite 5 months yet. What a handsome guy.  We are so lucky to have found him! Our dog photo session was cut short because one of my little assistants left the treat container on the floor. Yes, open.  So, Apollo naturally got into them… and we had to postpone the rest of the photos for another day. No need for a sick puppy!  Regardless, our mini session was very fruitful.  I think we spent under 15 minutes getting all these studio portraits of my dog.  That’s excluding the two minutes of crazy kid photos you’ll see at the end of this post (my assistants like to pose for the camera).

Studio Portraits of My Dog, Apollo! studio portraits of my chocolate lab puppy, Apollo studio photo of my chocolate labrador chocolate labrador studio photos dog photo by puppy photographer dexter michigan

I have to admit, even though I already think my dog is a good looking pup, when I saw the results of his portrait session I was wowed.  Seriously adorable.  Okay, I’m sure you’re tired of all the gushing about how cute this puppy is!

Before we wrap this post up, here’s the “test shot” or two of my kids.  Yes, my photo assistants wanted to do some silly photos to make sure my camera was working correctly. So, per my usual, I made Toby and Zack smile first.

Although adorable, remember, they are a textbook example of what NOT to wear to your photo session! LOL

....what not to wear for your studio portrait session!

what not to wear for your studio portrait session
….what not to wear for your studio portrait session!

If you are looking to have studio portraits of your dog (or human family), please contact Betsy via the web or call 734-424-0472. Let’s get you set up with some fantastic photos of your own!

Senior Photos With Pets? Yes! :: Madison

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While I love photographing seniors, or any of my clients, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for animals.  So, when Madison’s mom asked me if I ever do senior photos with pets, I enthusiastically said, “yes!!”

A lot of my clients are concerned that their dog might be too rambunctious or energetic to sit still for photos.  But, as I reassured this client of mine, I am happy to include dogs for a portion of any session!  My secret?  Well, besides just liking dogs and being patient with them, it’s a simple matter of getting your dog mostly tired out before the photos happen.  Whether that means a trip to the dog park, or a long walk, or numerous games of tug… it’s usually a pretty good bet that when your pup is pooped, he will be amenable to having his photo taken.

I have to admit, I think this is my favorite photo of the whole senior session. We had Madison stand in the water to coax the pup towards her. Even thought he generally doesn’t like water….it worked! Yes, he was back out of the water within a minute… But, I was able to capture this priceless moment. I initially wasn’t even sure we had captured him looking at the camera!  Now, you might notice this photo looks more like a painting. I used my traditional artistic training and recent training in painting digitally to create this digitally masterpiece. Don’t you love how it turned out???

senior portrait of a girl and her dog in Dexter, Michigan. senior photos with pets
Madison’s black lab doesn’t usually like water, but we coaxed him into the creek for this gorgeous portrait moment. I painted it digitally, because it was just crying “paint me!” I think this is one of my favorite senior photos with pets that I’ve done.

Now, let’s get on to the photos of Madison.  It was such an honor to photograph Madison, she is a great person and I love her cheerfulness!  While I love all of my clients, it’s always fantastic when a session goes smooth as silk. And Madison’s senior portraits just flowed so nicely. Despite the heat, we managed to stay out of the direct sun. …and we created some gorgeous senior portraits in the shady spots of downtown Dexter. Side note — when doing senior photos with pets, make sure to also bring a water bowl and enough water. On a hot day, it’s really essential.  (I’m so glad Madison and her mom planned ahead!).

Madison, class of 2018 senior in Whitmore Lake, posing for a photo op during her senior portrait session in downtown Dexter, Michigan.
Madison, class of 2018 senior in Whitmore Lake, posing for a photo op during her senior portrait session in downtown Dexter, Michigan.
I love this photo of Madison laughing during our senior portrait session in Dexter, Michigan.
I love this photo of Madison laughing during our senior portrait session in Dexter, Michigan.
Madison is a class of 2018 senior in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. She came to Dexter for her studio and location portrait session. This brick wall was a great spot for photos.
Madison is a class of 2018 senior in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. She came to Dexter for her studio and location portrait session. This brick wall was a great spot for photos.
Portrait of Madison, a class of 2018 senior, in downtown Dexter.
Portrait of Madison, a class of 2018 senior, in downtown Dexter.
Portrait of Madison, a class of 2018 senior, in downtown Dexter.
Portrait of Madison, a class of 2018 senior, in downtown Dexter.
senior photos with pets? yes! Girl with dog in Dexter, MI
Madison brought along her black lab for some portraits during her senior photo session in Dexter, Michigan. (senior photos
Since it was a hot day, this spot under the bridge in Dexter's Mill Creek Park was a fantastic place to stop and take some senior photos.
Since it was a hot day, this spot under the bridge in Dexter’s Mill Creek Park was a fantastic place to stop and take some senior photos.
Class of 2018 senior Madison posing under the bridge in downtown Dexter for her senior photos.
Class of 2018 senior Madison posing under the bridge in downtown Dexter for her senior photos.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of Madison’s senior portraits. As I mentioned earlier, these were taken in downtown Dexter.  What I didn’t mention is that her entire session took about an hour. Yes, including a quick stop at my studio for the obligatory studio senior portrait.  Easy peasy!

As the senior portrait season ramps up, we’ll be sharing more sneak peeks. I hope you will find these senior photos inspirational as you plan your next portrait session. If you’re interested in learning more about how the portrait planning process works, just contact Betsy via internet or call 734-424-0472.

 

Senior Photos in the Backyard? 3 Reasons you should consider it!

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Senior Photos in the Backyard? 3 reasons  you should consider it!Can you do senior pictures in your own back yard?  Sure!  High school senior pictures don’t have to be in the studio anymore.  These days, it’s possible to hire a photographer to go on location, even to your own backyard, and have senior photos taken there.  Where you have many memories. Where the setting is meaningful to you.  Don’t think that these senior portraits will cut it?  Does your backyard sound too boring and mundane?

If so, here are some reasons why you should consider doing senior photos in your backyard.

Convenient

You don’t have to go anywhere.  Most professional photographers will cheerfully go on location, including to your home.

What are some of the benefits of staying at home?

Well, for starters, you don’t have to drive anywhere on the day of your session — your photographer will come to you.

Then, there’s the whole wardrobe thing.  If you’re planning on multiple outfits for your portrait session, you’ll appreciate not having to bring half your wardrobe with you (like would be necessary if you went elsewhere). Outfit changes will be easy — just head back inside.  No fumbling with clothes in a public restroom, or layering clothing so that you can “change” in the middle of a park.

And, if you have a instruments, a pet, or other items you want to add into the session, you don’t have to worry about piling those into your car to drive to the portrait studio or another location.  Your things are at your house already.  When it’s time for that part of the session, just go get the dog, or bring your trumpet out.

Meaningful

Your senior photos will mean more to you because of the location, the setting, and the memories you’ve made there.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed over the years as a portrait photographer, it’s that people love settings that have memories.  You might think your backyard looks boring and commonplace, but trust me when I tell you, that’s a concern I voiced hear frequently when planning portrait sessions.  Trust your photographer.  Show her the space, and let her work some magic for you.

Your backyard might be ordinary, but it will look fabulous in the pictures.

Unique

If you want your senior pictures to be different from everyone else’s… to be different… then why not choose a location no one else will be using?  Let’s face it.  The local parks tend to be popular portrait destinations.

Your backyard?  Not so much.

By simply selecting your backyard as the location, you’re setting your portraits apart from the masses. Your backyard is different from Jane’s, so even if you both have the same ideas about what you want for your pictures, you won’t end up with a cookie cutter portrait.

No one else will have portraits like yours.

Unless you have siblings who also have their senior portraits done in your backyard…. but that’s a story for another day.

See what I mean?

Here are some high school senior portraits I’ve created for clients… in their neighborhoods or yards.  No park pictures here!

Hire a Senior Portrait Photographer?

Now, when it comes to the question of hiring a photographer or doing it yourself, I’m a bit biased.  Obviously I’d recommend hiring a professional photographer (like myself!) for your senior portraits.  Sure, it’s going to be an investment.  But you get what you pay for — quality portraits that make you look great.  There are several big milestones in life that you can’t let pass by without having your portraits done — and graduating is one of them.

Sure, you could do it yourself, or find a friend with a fancy camera to do it — but this is your high school graduation.  It’s a big thing.

You deserve it.

These pictures will be hanging on your relatives’ walls for years.

One thing to keep in mind?  Scheduling senior portraits can a little hectic if you wait until the last minute. As the school yearbook deadlines get closer, senior portrait photographers like myself get booked up.  Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule something!  Get it on the calendar now.

If you’d like to contact me about helping you plan your senior portrait session, please don’t hesitate to call (734-424-0472) or send me a message.  I’m located in Southeast Michigan.

 

5 Tips for Taking Pictures of Your Child in the Swimming Pool

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Water is an inherently “tricky” thing to photograph.  While I’m not going to get into the science of things, I figured I could share some tips with you for taking pictures of your kids when they are swimming pool.  The images you can get will depend on the camera, the available light, and how far away you are.

5 Tips for Taking Pictures of Your Child in the Swimming Pool - Betsy's Photography - PhotoArt.comToby has been taking lessons at Goldfish Swim School for quite some time.  I’m frankly not quite sure when we started, but I know he has progressed through the various classes and loves every minute of his swim lessons.

The facility is very nice, with numerous windows around the indoor pool, so you have a lot of ambient light.  This is *great* for taking pictures of your child in the swimming pool.  Every so often, I will take some pictures to document his progress — for that memory book I’ll eventually get around to making once I decide what format will be best (Wildflower Ramblings has a nice series on keeping and recording memories).

That being said — you have to get the pictures first.  So here are my tips, which I’ll keep simple and sweet.

1. Don’t use a flash if you can help it.

You heard me.  Water is so reflective that your flash will illuminate all the water droplets in the air as your child swims; the flash will reflect off the water’s surface too.  If you’re trying to capture something underwater, it will not be visible at all.  So, if you have the luxury of a well-illuminated pool like ours, or an outdoor pool on a bright day — don’t use the flash.  If you can’t get a photo without flash because the pool is too dark, well, then cut your losses.  Use your camera’s low light setting, or turn off the flash and see how it turns out.  If that doesn’t work, let the flash do its job.  Take the photo, deal with the flash being present in your image… and don’t worry about it.  Something is better than nothing.

2. Use “Fast” or “Action” settings on your camera.

If your camera has some sort of action setting, this may do the trick.  Basically it will have your camera take the picture more quickly (it uses a faster shutter speed to eliminate blur, to get technical).  These settings usually have the flash automatically turned off, so you won’t have to worry about that.

3. Use a higher ISO (“film speed”) or low-light scene mode on your camera.

Sometimes low light settings will work too — they typically sacrifice detail, but if you’re okay with a “grainy” photo, then have at it.  How good will it look?  Well, this depends on your camera.  As digital technology has improved, cameras have gotten better at capturing details in low light.  So you may find this works …or if you have a low-end camera, it may not be up to par.  You’ll have to experiment.

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4. Closer is better; get close.

The closer you are, the better.  Now, during my son’s lesson, we parents have to sit in the “observation deck” — depending on where my son is in the lane, I’ll be 10-30 feet away from him.  So I’ll usually wait until they come to the near end of the lane for any pictures I want to take.  If you’re taking videos, it can be fun to document the whole “down and back” swim, but this doesn’t really translate to still photos.

 

5. Don’t forget about taking pictures when your child is *not* swimming.

While he waits his turn, it’s amusing to watch my son’s antics.  I’ve taken some adorable pictures of him at the edge of the pool.  Goggle-eyed grins are priceless.  As are photos on “graduation day” …or whenever your swimmer accomplishes something new for the first time.  Toby gets ribbons from time to time for learning a new skill, and there is nothing more adorable than having a picture of him holding that ribbon, just out of the pool.

Swimming

So, there you have it!  A short and sweet list of tips for taking pictures of your child in the swimming pool.  I probably should’ve added a sixth item — don’t get your camera wet!!!  But hopefully that’s a given, right?

Do you have any other great tips for taking pictures of kids at the pool, or while swimming?  I’d love to hear them.

5 Tips For Great Pet Snapshots

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5 Tips For Great Pet Snapshots - bphotoart.comDog owners aside, most pets don’t really listen to their owners. Sure, cats will come for a treat, but often it’s dependent on their mood! So, what’s a pet owner to do when you want some good pet photos? I’m going to share five tips for great pet snapshots (this is a revised list from way back in 2006).

Now, I can’t promise these tricks will word without fail, but they should help you get more used to the idea of photographing something that won’t sit pretty for the camera, like people. Hmm, scratch that — a lot of kids don’t want to sit still for the camera either, right? I’ve covered that in other posts, so today, let’s stick with the topic at hand. Pets. Here are my 5 tips for great pet snapshots!

Step 1: Introduce your pet to the camera

This tip is an obvious one, but sometimes even I have to remind myself of it. The first few times you pull out your trusty camera, your pet probably will be excited or fearful — remember, even though you know what a camera is, your pet either thinks it’s a cool new toy or a one-eyed monster.

Give him some time to get used to the thing before you start clicking away, it usually helps.

Step 2: See how your pet reacts to having his picture taken

Try taking a FEW pictures with him nearby — and see what happens. You may have to distract your pet away from the camera by dangling an enticing toy.

When I initially tried to photograph our cats, I had to resort to distraction — those cameras just look like too much fun! Once your pet is used to a camera being around, you’ll find many cute photo ops…

Step 3: Keep your camera handy!

This of key importance — chances are if you haven’t prompted your pet to do something cute, you won’t have your camera ready. I know, it’s amazing that “hold on kitty, let me take a picture” doesn’t work.

When your pet is sleeping or has just woken up, he’s a whole lot easier to photograph than when he’s playing with that fun toy. Know your pet’s behavior and take advantage of his lazy moments.

Step 4: Get closer to your pet

Sometimes getting on eye level with your pet can make the difference. These pictures I’m sharing of Jake were taken quite low to the ground, from a short distance.

Instead of taking a far-away picture that shows your pet as a furry dot, take some time to sneak up a little closer. With patience and persistence, you’ll get some really great snapshots.

Step 5: Try not to use your flash

You know that “red-eye” feature on your camera? Well, just like people’s eyes don’t always photograph very well with that flash on your camera, neither will your pet’s.

If possible, photograph your pet while he’s basking in the sun, or while outside in your backyard. That way you’ll have enough light so that your pet’s eyes will look normal.

Have more ideas for getting pet photos?

I’m sure you’ll think of some great tips to add to this list — as you find more, feel free to comment or let me know! Hopefully though, I’ve given you enough great ideas to get started — remember, the most important thing is to make sure that both you and your pet have fun.

10 Things to Consider When Planning Your Portrait Session

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One of the things I frequently hear when helping my clients plan their portrait sessions is the desire for individuality, for the pictures to reflect who they are and what they enjoy. I love finding ways to incorporate hobbies and the like into portraits! Here are 10 ways you can make your portraits reflect who you are and what you love.

1. Pick a place that is meaningful to you.

I love creating portraits on location, especially when the setting has memories attached. Like an engagement portrait session at the Arb where a couple met, or a senior portrait session on the football field for an athlete. Location is a big part of pictures. So when it evokes memories, that’s a great thing!

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2. Bring your pet along.

Pets are a big part of peoples’ lives. So, including them in portraits is a natural way to add more personal meaning to photographs. I’m not one to shy away from being around exotic pets, so I’d be thrilled to photograph atypical pets as part of a portrait session. Usually, though, I end up working with the more mundane (but still lovable) four legged furry friends. Dogs are the most common pet my clients bring, but I’ve also done portraits with larger animals like horses (outdoors, of course).

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3. Include your instrument.

As the daughter of a professional musician, I enjoy when my clients want to document their love of music. Smaller instruments can be easily brought to the studio, but I’ve also gone on location to photograph less compact instruments like an alphorn, or chimes.

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4. Show off your sense of style.

I’ve worked with a number of high school seniors who were interested in fashion and clothing design. Naturally, their portraits included several outfits to showcase their sense of style. Sometimes people have a signature hat they always wear, or a wristwatch that is particularly meaningful. items like these can be easily incorporated into portraits either on location or in the studio.

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5. Wear sports paraphernalia.

If you’re a die hard sports fan, there is no better way to show your true colors than in your portraits. I’ve done University of Michigan themed family portraits  — that was fun! High school seniors might want to include their letter jacket, a jersey, or other another sports item (helmet, stick, glove, etc).

Family Portrait Photography - Peony Garden Portraits

6. Choose a specific time of year.

If you love a certain time of year, it makes a lot of sense to plan your portrait session during that season! I’ve done family portraits in the snow, high school senior portraits in autumn, you name it. We can plan ahead to make sure we keep on top of the weather (sometimes it’s tough, for example, to get the fall colors in your portraits).

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7. Coordinate your accessories.

I have had clients personalize their portraits in more subtle ways too. Coordinating accessories isn’t something that really sticks out as a way to personalize your session, but it can really make a difference. I had one high school senior who made her own jewelry — she wore it for her session. A family who loved wristwatches decided they would wear their favorite watches. It’s all in the details. And if the details mean something to you, so much the better!

Family Portrait at Barton Hills Country Club - BPhotoArt.com

8. Incorporate a hobby.

While I’ve photographed family hobbies (such as golfing, see 7 Ways to Personalize Your Family Portraits), more frequently this is something high school seniors really want.  Whether they’re an aspiring artist, a fan of photography, or just an outdoorsman — seniors love to make their portraits communicate interests and hobbies.

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9. Plan a candid session.

More photojournalistic in nature, candid sessions focus on capturing personalities and interactions. The photos forgo careful poses in favor of flow.  For these types of sessions, we’ll often walk around downtown, or through a park, pausing at select areas to create some candid portraits.

Sibling Portrait at Mill Creek Park

10. Be silly.

Along the lines of candid captures — I love “forcing” silliness.  It lightens the mood for everyone, even if we’re doing a more posed and formal portrait.  The more relaxed you are during your portrait session, the more you will love the results!

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So, there you have it. 10 things to consider when planning your next portrait session!

10 Things to Consider When Planning Your Portrait Session - Betsy's Photography bphotoart.com

10 Places to Have Your Senior Portraits

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One of the tough things for any high school senior to decide is where to have their senior portraits taken.  It’s a big part of expressing individuality, or conveying personality.  So, with that in mind, here are 10 places you should consider having your senior portraits done.

1. Indoors at the studio.

Studio portraits are timeless and classic. It’s a great choice if you want to do something simple, or want to avoid the unpredictable weather.  We can do a lot indoors, trust me. Here are some senior pictures taken indoors at the studio.  Click on any image to enter gallery view.

2. In your own backyard.

While you may not think of your yard as picturesque, it likely has potential.  My job, as a photographer, is to make the most of what you’ve got.  So, if you want your senior portraits to be someplace that has lots of memories — your own yard is a great choice!  Here are some portraits taken in my clients’ yards (and outdoors here at the studio too). Click on any image to enter gallery view.

3. In your car.

Ok, so this isn’t a “place” …persay.  But work with me on this one.  If you have a car you’re proud of, I’d love it include it in your senior portrait session.  Cars can be part of a portrait session pretty much anywhere — your home, the studio, a park… you name it.  Click on any image to enter gallery view.

4. Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor.

This is a great park in Ann Arbor, with many acres. There are the peony gardens, the Huron River, wooded paths, open grassy expanses… you name it. This is also a great location if you’d like to bring your dog along for some of the pictures. Click on any image to enter gallery view.

4. Mill Creek Park in Dexter.

I love this park; my son and I visit all the time.  I’ve done all kinds of portraits here.  The greenery is fantastic, and the river is great too.  Since the addition of a boardwalk and walking path, you can even get to Hudson Mills Metropark from this spot.  Though, I wouldn’t recommend that jaunt during a portrait session.  Click on any image to enter gallery view.

5. Downtown Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor’s downtown covers a lot of area.  Some places are easier to get to than others, but there is a lot of neat architecture and urban imagery that can be incorporated into pictures.  One word of advice?  Don’t plan a downtown Ann Arbor portrait session the week of the Art Fair unless you really, really, love the crowds.  That was an experience!  Click on any image to enter gallery view.

6. Graffiti Alley in Ann Arbor.

If you’re going for a contemporary, urban look, then Graffiti Alley is a perfect spot for senior portraits.  The fun thing about this spot?  The graffiti is never the same.  So from year to year, or week to week, the senior portraits could look completely different.  Click on any image to enter gallery view.

6. Downtown Dexter.

Dexter’s downtown is a little more… quaint, perhaps?  But it is a lot of fun for senior portrait sessions.  An added bonus?  Parking is a lot easier than if you’d chosen to venture downtown Ann Arbor.  I love all the different looks we can get within a one block radius.  Click on any image to enter gallery view.

7. At your school.

Maybe you’re a sports fan, or you really love playing sports.  If that’s the case, then pictures at your school would be a great choice.  Pioneer High School has the added bonus of being kiddy corner to UM football stadium, so it’s a two-for-one sports deal!  Click on any image to enter gallery view.

8. Curtiss Park in Saline.

This is a great part for senior portraits, there is a river, grassy open areas, wooded spots, and even a playground. I have done a number of sessions here for high school seniors and it is so much fun.  Click on any image to enter gallery view.

9. Train tracks (near, but not on).

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s dangerous to do pictures on train tracks. But, I’m happy to do senior portraits near them, as in these photos of the young man. The young woman in the photos below actually had her portraits done at the caboose in Depot Town in Ypsilanti — it’s a “permanent fixture” and doesn’t pose any danger to get near (or on). Click on any image to enter gallery view.

10. Go on location indoors.

There are many neat places to go– indoors — for your senior portraits.  Your own home is one great place, or perhaps the local coffee shop where you go all the time.  Or, maybe you love your job and want your senior pictures taken there.  The nice thing about indoor locations?  No need to worry about the weather. Click on any image to enter gallery view.

So, there you have it. This list is by no means all inclusive, I had to leave off some fun places! What’s your favorite spot?

How Newborn Portrait Sessions Are Unique

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It’s so fun to watch families grow.. whether you get to see little kids getting bigger — or get to meet new little ones right after they’ve arrived into the world.  I have enjoyed documenting this family for a number of years, and watching (now-big-sister) A grow from a newborn into a toddler.   And that’s who is the star of the show in these photos… A’s little brother, S!

A little further on I’ll share all the photos from their session, but first, let me explain how newborn portrait sessions are unique.  Newborn portrait sessions are a bit different than most portrait sessions… in three ways:

1. Newborn portraits take longer.

Babies are unpredictable.  They have no schedule, persay …or if they have one, it changes in the blink of an eye.  I block out three hours’ time for each newborn session.  While we don’t use all that time for photographing, it does allow baby time to nurse or feed, be diapered, and tended too.  If baby is cooperative, we finish with plenty of time to spare; but if baby has different plans, the generous time allotment keeps everyone calm and non-stressed.

2. Scheduling during naptime is ok.

Often, with newborn photos, baby will sleep through most of the session (and the portraits). It’s actually not a big deal, because sleeping baby pictures capture the reality of a baby’s days.  Babies sleep a lot.   As newborns get bigger and lose that “new baby” look, there will be plenty of opportunity for wide awake (even smiling) pictures.  So for newborns, it’s ok to capture that fleeting time where baby sleeps incessantly.

3. It’s best (easier?) to stay indoors.

Newborn sessions are the only type of portraits that I recommend my clients stay indoors — either at the studio, or at baby’s home.  Why?  Well, when we’re documenting a newborn baby’s first weeks, things are going to be intimate, close up, and focused on the family.  There isn’t really a need to incorporate the vast outdoors (in which baby will visually “get lost”).  On top of that, it’s just easier when you eliminate variables like the weather and temperature.  The studio is nice and warm for newborn portraits, there are comfortable chairs for nursing baby, and a changing table with supplies is at the ready.  You don’t have those luxuries when you venture outdoors.

Now, as promised, onto the photographs from Baby S’s newborn session.  I love including the whole family in newborn portraits …it is great to see the older siblings dote on their “baby.”

There is no better way to capture baby milestones on camera than to document baby’s first year than with a first year photo album.  Actually, I like to create a series of albums, one for each of the “milestone sessions” (e.g. newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year).  Here is the newborn album that I designed for baby S. …similar to his big sister’s, but different, of course!

It’s hard to pick a favorite image from this session… babies are so adorable, and I love every aspect of newborn sessions.  But I think my favorite picture is the one of big sister A giving baby S a kiss.  Sibling love is so adorable!

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But then there’s this one.  And I love the lines created by the fabric draping down to the floor.  Newborn portraits as art. Peaceful.  Timeless.

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Babies grow so quickly.  It’s hard to believe that my second son has almost exited the newborn stage… Newborns are so tiny, so transient.  Get those snuggles in!

5 Tips for Capturing the Colors of Fall in Your Outdoor Portraits

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This year the signs are pointing to an early — and hard — winter. We had autumn leaves on our deck today, we’ve seen deer with antlers earlier than usual, and my friend reported that up north the trees are already sporting fall colors. This winter may come early and with a vengeance.

That being said, let’s talk fall colors. Outdoor portraits look fantastic when you have the vibrant fall colors on display. I love doing family portraits, senior portraits, and the like outdoors in fall.

So, if you’d like to plan for a portrait session outdoors this fall, make sure to contact me well ahead of time so we can plan and accommodate for the autumn leaves that will likely come — and fall — earlier than usual.

5 Tips for Fall Portraits

1. Earlier is better.

If you’re worried about the leaves falling quickly, it’s better to get your outdoor portrait taken when the fall colors are just starting to fill in.  If you wait too long, you’ll get the tail end of fall, and your setting may not have many leaves on the trees still.

2. Scout out your location.

Even within a five mile radius, the onset of autumn can vary, depending on how well the trees are sheltered or how much they are exposed to the elements.  Plus, the type of tree matters — different kinds of trees will change colors and lose their leaves at different rates.

3. Make a backup plan.

While you can prepare for most scenarios, it is always good to have a backup plan.  Be flexible, just in case you need to make on-the-fly changes.  I’ve changed locations at the last minute, and even changed appointment dates to work around the weather (or in this case, the leaves).

4. Dress appropriately, and bring a sweater.

The weather can change so quickly during autumn.  Sometimes we have been ok in short sleeves, other times a light sweater is not enough.  So, be prepared — and remember that the wind can make it seem much colder than you might anticipate.

5. There’s always next year.

Life happens, and sometimes capturing that moment you had envisioned ….well, it just doesn’t work out exactly as you wanted.  But that’s ok.  We do the best we can to ensure success, and then go with the flow.  Seasons come and go incessantly.  There will be more fall colors next year — if you miss out this year you can always try again come next fall.

Some Inspiration…

Now, for some past client portraits, taken during the fall.  I figure this will help get those creative gears turning, get you inspired and excited for fall to come (even though you might not be ready for it yet).

Family portraits like this one below are always gorgeous, but even more so in the fall.  There’s just something transient and ethereal about fall colors, don’t you think?

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And of course, senior portraits have just a little added warmth when taken in fall.  This scene would have been gorgeous with full greenery in the foliage, but by waiting for the leaves to turn golden, it has a little more interest.  There are leaves already falling, they rest on the steps, on the path, and you can enjoy the full range of greens to golden oranges in the setting.  We actually planned this senior portrait specifically to capture the autumn leaves at this location.  Our timing was impeccable.

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And another senior portrait taken during the fall, after the leaves had started to turn colors.  This one was taken at my client’s home, so the setting was important and meaningful.  The fact that autumn is a transitional season, that it doesn’t last very long, also adds another layer of meaning into senior portraits, don’t you think?  Senior year is a time of transition, towards independence and adulthood — becoming your own person.

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And one final senior portrait.  We spent a good twenty minutes searching for fall colors that would photograph well — sometimes scheduling constraints keep us from planning the “perfect” fall portrait session.  But, imperfect is normal…. it’s a part of life.  And we were able to find this stand of trees that had already started to turn.

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I’ll reiterate myself now — plan ahead.  Fall comes quickly, and if you’re not careful, you might miss those gorgeous autumn hues that really make an outdoor portrait pop.

Case in point?

This week we noticed the leaves in our yard are already starting to turn.  The leaves are falling.  And it’s only August.

3 Tips for a Successful Outdoor Portrait Session

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When planning a portrait session for someplace outside, you have to do a little more planning.  There are more variables to consider, more possibilities, more potential problems.  A little later on, I’ll share 3 tips to make sure you have a successful outdoor portrait session.  But first, let me share some images from one of the portrait sessions I’ve done this summer since my son’s birth.

Debbie and Holly are both flutists in the Ann Arbor area; they came to me looking for an updated Flute Fusion group portrait.  This time around, they wanted something more casual, contemporary, and natural.

Something outdoors.

So, planning for the portrait session to take place outdoors was a natural choice.  They knew they wanted something green, maybe with some trees — something kind of “edgy” but not too much so.

Here is one of my favorite photographs from their session.  Sometimes it’s ok to not be looking at the camera 🙂

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Now, let’s get to those tips for a successful outdoor portrait session.  When planning for an outdoors portrait session,

1. Make Backup Plans

We all know how often the weatherman is wrong, no?  While checking the forecast is a good idea, it’s a better idea to have a backup plan.  Maybe an alternate (indoor) location in case of rain, or plans to reschedule for another day.

Debbie and Holly wanted their photos outdoors in nature, so we had scheduled their session with wiggle room — enough time to do the portraits another day if the weather failed to cooperate.

2. Wear The Right Shoes

If you’re going outdoors, chances are good that you’ll be traipsing through mud, dirt, loose gravel — you name it.  Sometimes I’ll recommend my clients wear a pair of walking shoes and then change into their dress shoes once we have walked to our location.  Stiletto heels, in particular, can be difficult to wear while walking through a field or grassy area.  Those heels poke right into the ground.

For the portraits in the field of Queen Anne’s lace, Holly wore her dress shoes, as they had a low heel and kept the hem of her pants from dusting the ground.  Debbie changed out of her heels into walking sandals, as her other shoes would’ve been difficult for walking in the field.

3. Coordinate Your Attire Based on the Location

You don’t have to go with boring clothing, but when you’re outdoors, there is already a lot going on.  Simpler clothing can help draw the focus to the main subject when the setting is more complex.

Imagine if Debbie and Holly had worn patterned blouses.  For the images with the railing, where they are separated from the background by a good distance, it probably would have worked.  But in the field with the Queen Anne’s lace?  It would have made my eyes hurt!

That’s All…For Now!

So, there you have them.  My 3 tips to help make sure your next outdoor portrait session will be a success.  I’m sure that, given time, I could add to this list (my mind is already brainstorming things like: bring a brush, include your puppy). But that’s something to be tackled another day.  Hopefully seeing how these three tips applied to Debbie and Holly’s portrait session was helpful for you!

Do you have any ideas for ensuring a success next time you have your photographs taken outdoors?

Some more images from Debbie and Holly’s session are below.  Enjoy!  Click on any image to open in gallery view mode.

Peony Garden Family Portraits

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Nichols Arboretum, or the Arb, as it is affectionately known by Ann Arborites, is a wonderful park to visit. It’s one of my favorite places to do family portraits (or any kind of portrait photos, for that matter). And if you’re so lucky as to visit when the peonies are in bloom? Well, then you’re in for a treat.

This family portrait session was planned not only in the Arb, but in the peony garden. And if you know anything about plants, some are limited in how long the blooms are vibrant and fresh. So we planned this family portrait session carefully, based on advice from the peony garden’s website. The peak bloom time is usually late May to early June — but depends on the weather.

Fortunately, the peak bloom time coincided with this family portrait session, and we even had a wonderfully sunny day. During the summer months, I try to plan portraits like this during the earlier morning hours so it hasn’t had a chance to get muggy or sticky out. And the weather on this particular day was great. I love how everything turned out, and that the entire family coordinated to wear University of Michigan attire.  Since, as you know, Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan.

All of these images were also compiled into a custom-designed coffeetable photo album. I think albums are a great way to tell a story, to include more images than you could feasibly display on your wall. And, it’s a great place to include those silly outtakes that I always think have such personality.

 

How to Stay Stylish for Senior Portraits

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Today I have a guest post from a Kalin of Modesty is My Policy. Kalin is a teen who lives on a small farm in Tennessee with her five older sisters and one younger brother. She is a homeschooler, loves to write, and enjoys spending time with her animals.

Kalin will be sharing some thoughts on how to dress modestly yet stylishly for senior portraits, as well as how important it is to stay true to yourself! She has some great suggestions on how to ensure your clothes will be flattering too, including some tips that I’d not thought of before this!

— Betsy

How to Stay Stylish for Senior Portraits

Senior year, what an exciting time, right? Senior portraits are so important to remember that special time in your life, and it’s important to make sure that you don’t regret your hairstyle, outfit choice and etc years later! When picking your clothes, you not only want to make sure everything goes well and accentuates your natural beauty, but you want it to reflect your style — whether you choose a frilly sundress or old cowboy boots! After all, these portraits are OF you and FOR you!

First off, you need to make sure your outfit isn’t too tight or too baggy. Tight clothes often reveal everything that we don’t want them to, but you also don’t want the clothes to be so baggy that you can’t see your shape. Portraits can make you look a bit different than you do in real life, sometimes making you look smaller or bigger, all depending on your clothing choice! Ill-fitting clothes can also be a HUGE annoyance during longer photoshoots – who wants to be tugging at pants all day long or pulling the neckline of a dress up? Here are a few standard tips to keep you looking your best!

Selecting Pants That Are Flattering

You should be able to grasp handful of fabric on thighs, knees and groin area. This will make different poses and etc much, much easier.

Your pants need to be loose enough so you can bend down, jump, etc without the pants/jeans riding too low.

You don’t want to have to constantly be tugging on your jeans or pulling them up during the shoot! These issues will be annoying, and are a sign of a bad fit.

Picking Out Flattering Shirts

You should be able to bend over without revealing too much chest. If it doing so does reveal too much, you can try adding a layering tank, or even a tube top, underneath for coverage.

Like the pants, having to worry about a neckline that is exposing too much would become quite an annoyance during a longer photo shoot, and may even limit how you can be photographed (you need to make sure you can do more than one kind of pose).

Shirts should not crease in-between chest. This is a tell-tale sign of a poorly fitted shirt!

Your shirt should loose enough for you to grasp fabric on your stomach area. Tight clothing can make the most petite person in the world look larger, and vice versa for baggier clothing.

Make sure your clothing doesn’t show all of your lines from undergarments, etc.

Choosing Flattering Dresses/Skirts

The same rules apply for dresses as for shirts. Additionally, knee Length and below is typically best so you don’t have to be quite as careful during the different poses and moving around during the shoot. If you decide to wear something shorter, try pairing it with a pair of shorts or leggings underneath! They won’t be visible for photos, but they make moving around much easier!

You should be able to bend down, squat, jump, etc without the waistline riding down or revealing too much upper-leg.

Make sure you can grasp a handful of fabric on the thigh area of the dress/skirt. Just like with tighter shirts, dresses/skirts can cause unflattering lines.

Stylish Makeup + Hair

As for makeup/hair, keep it simple! Senior photos are for showing who you are at that point of time. Don’t stray to far from your personality and what you normally wear! It’s always good to wear a bit more makeup than you would on a normal day because different lighting and such can make you look washed, but don’t go overboard!

Sparkles and glitter are typically not a good idea because it can look like dry skin or dandruff. Pack a little makeup bag with you for the shoot so you can remove or add more if needed and do touch-ups!

Your Style Should Stay True To Yourself

I know how hard it is to remain true to yourself, especially during high school years and later on! We get so much pressure from everyone, especially us girls, to mold ourselves into what the world wants us to be. I know that I’ve gone through so many phases, so many styles, so many changes, and it is extremely hard and confusing! Use this time to get to know YOU better! God created you to be the person that you are; don’t change yourself because of society’s standards and desires.

Make your own rules! Don’t worry about modeling yourself after someone else when taking these photos, use it as a time to show off your own personality, as fancy, quirky or casual it may be.

Think about bringing something special with you to make the senior photo shoot even better. If you play an instrument, ask if you can incorporate it! If you have a passion for a certain era of the past, add a vintage flair. If you have a passion for something, show it off and make it your own. Make these photos something to be proud of, something that shows your individuality and passions.

As someone who is so passionate about modesty and being different from the world, I know how difficult it is to hear people’s laughter and mocking. I’ve been teased a lot, and I would be lying if I said it got easier! The only thing that keeps me from caving in is the fact that I know God gave me these convictions and passions for a reason, He made me different for a reason!

No matter who you are, God made you into the person that you are today, tomorrow and 10 years from now. Those people only criticize because they are insecure about themselves. They have problems, just as we do. They have insecurities, just as we do. Remember to stay true to yourself no matter how hard it may be.

And I’m not just talking about for senior photos. 🙂

— Kalin

What Are Your Thoughts on How to Select Stylish Clothing?

I think Kalin’s perspective on clothing is refreshing and I love her encouraging words on staying true to yourself. High school (and beyond) can be such a challenging time, and the pressure to follow along with the current trends can sometimes be overwhelming (Modest is Hottest: How to be Stylishly Modest).

Ultimately, though, it is important to be comfortable in the clothes you wear — whether or not they are in line with the latest trends. Remember, there are timeless outfits that will never go out of style!

Do you have any stories or thoughts on how to select clothes that are flattering, true to you, and modest enough you won’t feel uncomfortable? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

5 Tips for Great Studio Portraits

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Studio portraits may seem overly simple, but the thing I love about creating studio portraits is how all the attention is on the people, their personalities and relationships.  There is no background setting to tell a story, true, but the simplicity of a studio setting ensures all your attention will be on the people.  That being said, I do have some tips for the next time you plan a studio portrait session.

5 Tips for Great Studio Portraits

1. Coordinate Your Attire – While you don’t have to wear “uniforms” or have matching shirts, when photographing multiple people in the studio, I always recommend coordinating the attire.  Maybe something simple, like shades of black and gray with jeans.  Jewel tones like purple can work well too.  If you’re unsure, it never hurts to ask for your photographer’s opinion (just saying!).

2. Details Matter – What you wear will be front and center, your accessories will be visible.  They will either draw attention away from you, or compliment you in the portraits.  For women, jewelry choices are important to consider.  Do you want to go with something more classic, like pearls?  Or more modern?  Make sure to pay attention to where the necklace falls in relation to the neckline of your shirt or dress.  For men, a sharp tie can add to the portrait, while a loud and cheesy patterned one can detract.  Details are important, so make sure to consider your entire outfit when planning your studio portrait.

3. Go With a Tried and True Hairstyle – Stick with a style or haircut that you know you love.  Don’t go trying something new the day of your portrait session, because if you don’t like how your hair looks in the portraits, you’re not really going to love the portraits themselves either.  For those concerned about receding hairlines or stray hairs, know that qualified photographers have tricks of the trade to take care of these concerns and minimize the appearance of issues like this.

4. Avoid Transition Lenses – If you wear glasses, that’s ok — qualified photographers know how to work with glasses and eliminate lens glare.  The only thing we can’t really do much about?  Those nifty glasses that automatically become sunglasses when you go outdoors.  Transition lenses tend to have issues photographing well, so it’s best to leave those at home in favor of a more traditional set of glasses.

5. Be Yourself – Don’t try to force a smile that isn’t “you,” or wear clothing that is totally out of character for you.  You will feel most comfortable being yourself, wearing what you normally wear, or smiling like you usually smile.  Fake smiles are easy to spot — and you won’t like the end results from your studio portrait session if your smile looks forced or awkward.  I always do my best to capture a variety of expressions and smiles, just to give you options during the ordering process.  While I might know which smiles look natural and genuine, ultimately it’s your opinion that matters — these studio portraits will be enjoyed by you and your family, so you want them to look right!

Family Studio Portraits

I love photographing families when they get together from out of town.  The studio portraits below are of a brother and sister who live multiple states apart.  We did a portrait session in the studio, something simple, but relaxed enough to capture their unique sibling relationship.

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