Dec 27, 2011

tuesday's theme {happy}

For our last Tuesday Theme of 2011 I think we should all take a picture of something that makes us happy.  But remember to step out of the box a little.  We all love our husbands and children but beside that; what makes you happy?? For me, owls make me happy so I took a picture of a little owl I got over the holidays.  Remember Tues Themes should be taken between now and January 10th.  The point of it is to go out and be creative after the theme is given and not to go through archives and find an already taken image that matches the theme ;) 

Dec 15, 2011

january contest winner

      A big congrats to Casey Rose as our first cover contest winner for our January magazine!!  And a big thank you to everyone who entered!! We had over 50 wonderful submissions and it was 'so' hard narrowing it down to 5 amazing finalists!!  And lastly a big thank you to everyone who voted!!
      Details for entering the February contest will be included in the magazine and posted about on January 1st!!  

Dec 13, 2011

tuesday's theme {baked}

            It's the holidays, so I know at some point everyone will be gathering around in their kitchen with friends and family baking up some holiday goodies.   Therefore, in honor of the season...gingerbread men, cookies, candy cane reindeer...our Tuesday's theme will be 'baked'.
come on! get your baking on!


            Speaking of food...keep an eye out for a new blog, 513 {eats}, coming out January 1st created by our very own Gigi about food, foodies and photography.     

Nov 29, 2011

our secret and tuesday's theme

       So I have been 'dying' to share our little secret with everyone, as I am sure a bunch of you have been dying to know.  Yes the multiple e-mails of photogs 'begging' to know kinda gave that one away.  But I wanted to make sure everything was set in stone before I announced the big news.
       As I am sure some of you have noticed, it's been a little slow around L&L recently.   Gigi and I have both been a little overwhelmed/busy with our own businesses the last month, or so, and have had little extra time to put into other things.  In an attempt to make L&L a little more unique and less stressful on us, Gigi and I have decided to do a little changing around here.  Yes, L&L will be getting a makeover.  Keeping up with our L&L blog has been hard for us and when the busy season comes again we don't want to drop L&L because of lack of time.  So our solution is simple.  Turn L&L into a monthly on-line magazine! Yep, you heard right.  L&L will now be a 'free' monthly photographers magazine filled with everything and anything a photographer can dream of.  And as for our little contest we are having.....yep you guessed right.  The winning picture will get to be the cover of our first ever magazine due to be released on January 1st!!  How exciting is that!! And don't worry if you forgot to enter, we will have a contest each month for the cover image!  Gigi and I still want to make L&L all about you guys so we would love to hear your feedback on what you would like to see in the magazine.  Please leave comments below for ideas or comments on our facebook wall!!
      Now for our Tuesday's theme.  This will change a little bit as well so please read on if you would still like to participate in our bi-weekly theme.  A new theme will still be announced every other Tuesday on our blog.  Only images taken after the theme is announced may be submitted.  Remember the point of the Tuesday theme is to go out and be creative.  You can only grow as a photographer if you push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Each photographer who wants to submit a picture must post it on our facebook wall themselves.  Images no longer have to be e-mailed in and if you do e-mail them in you will be told to go back and post it yourself.  Then each month, for each theme held,  Gigi and I will pick, what we think, represents the theme the most from the images posted on our facebook wall and feature them in the magazine.  We 'LOVE' images that show creativity and that step out of the box.  Remember a human does not have to be in ever picture!   So....before I forget to post it,  our theme for the next two weeks is 'sparkle'.  I'll give you a little hint.  Think glitter, bokeh, holiday lights!  It's the holidays, I am sure we all surrounded by lots of shinny things.   And because I know some of you will ask, there is no other limit on the image.  It can be horizontal or vertical or any size/shape you want it to be.
      Again thank you guys so much for being so supportive of L&L.  We still have other big things coming up, like another L&L meeting, but we couldn't do all of this with out the support and help of all of you!!!  p.s. the 5 finalist will be announced today!!

Nov 21, 2011

Winter Contest

I am so excited to share with all of you our big surprise/change that is coming to L&L this winter, but first I have a little contest for you.    The contest involves the surprise and the winner's image will be featured in a very special way!  Below you can find all the information you need for the contest. 
Good luck and have fun!!

The rules.
Each photographer is allowed to enter one image.
Images must be sent to
Entries must be portrait oriented.
You may place a watermark on your entry but if you images wins a clean images must be available to us.
The contest starts Tuesday, November 22nd. 
You will have till Monday, November 28th to send an image in.  
Our panel of judges will then review all entries and post the top 5 on fb by Thursday, December 1st.
Judges include, Lexi Vornberg, Gina Weathersby and Renee from Ribbons of Red.
On December 1st we will also announce what our surprise is and what the image will be used for.
From December 1st till December 15th you can vote, by liking, one of the 5 images on fb.
The image with the most likes at 12 noon on December 15th wins.
If you have any questions please contact lexi at

Oct 18, 2011

Featured Q&A Photographer Michelle Moore {The Answers}

Yay! It's time to read the answers to YOUR questions from this month's featured photographer
Michelle Moore!
Welcome Michelle! 

Q and A
Sveta asks...  "How did you get started? A few shoots here and there that's what you said, but what next? I am at this point right now - I shot weddings, babies, families, couples and can't decide what to focus on and what to do next. What area to target and how to get the word out? Thanks!"
I shot EVERYTHING, and ANYTHING - ANYTIME as long as it was paid.  Now that you have done it all, it's time to decide what you are most passionate about.  Surely there was a reason you got into photography?  What makes you excited?  What keeps you up at night?  Start focusing on that, and coming up with ways to reach the clients YOU want.  Then go from there!  It's a long, windy and hard journey, but once you are only doing what you truly love the most - it's all worth it in the end.  You can hear more about how I got started on my recent [FRAMED] episode here,

Sarah Perkins Photography asks...  "How did you transition from doing 'everything' photography to just seniors? How do you say no?"
I did it all, until I started to drop things one by one, and then slowly narrowed to a few things that I enjoyed the most (Weddings, Fashion, Seniors & Headshots) and then eventually I did not have enough time to do what I REALLY loved the most (Seniors & Fashion) so I completely cut out Weddings, and now only focus on what I am most passionate about.  It's easy to say no because I am too busy, but at first it WAS scary.  I had to take that leap of faith, but sometimes there are things I can't say no to and I evaluate whether I have time to work on it, or can refer it to someone else in my network.

Kami asks "I would love to know how you get a senior comfortable with going towards a stylized shoot instead of capturing them in their own element? (their own sense of style)"
We actually do not style our high school senior portrait clients.  One of my biggest philosophies in working with our teens is about bringing out their TRUE beauty and TRUE sense of self through their own style.  I have spent years developing my brand based upon being "YOU" and we give suggestions for clothes, and clients read our blog - therefore we attract a very specific client - but they are wearing their own clothes, and style themselves.  I would never want to talk my clients into a stylized session, unless they wanted to create that.  I don't believe in putting props in their hands, or using locations that don't speak to their true identity.  What you are seeing in our high school senior portrait portfolio are REAL teens in their own clothes.

Kerrie Mitchell asks "I would love to know how Michelle converts her shoots to sales. I love photographing teenagers here in the UK but without the same demand for shoots here (we don't have yearbooks) I find it hard to sell any products afterwards. The teens just seem happy with one picture to use on facebook. Does Michelle market to parents instead? Thats an idea I've been toying with but don't want to alienate the teens. It's them that I want talking about me and recommending me to their friends afterall.

I've said this from day one - always give your clients complimentary facebook photos with your logo on them.  They want them - and it prevents them from scanning prints, screen-capturing your proofs, etc.  I always include this, BUT I never post them until they have seen their gallery.  We market towards parents and teens, and we teach them the value of our services, and quality products.  Believe in what you sell, price yourself correctly, and you will win your client's trust (and those sales!).

It also helps to offer neat and unique products that your clients can not get anywhere else, and that they are dying to have.  We keep our product line-up simple and classic, so they stay fresh and modern for years to come.  Sell products to the parents, and throw in the goodies for the teens (such as Facebook photos), and you'll have a winner!
Jen Story~Storybook Photos asks...  "I would love to know if and how she stays busy all year with seniors? It seems here to be busy a few months leading up to graduation and then nothing until the next year. How do you keep them coming all year long?"
It's a few simple marketing techniques,
1) Educate your client (tell them it's okay to do your portraits year-round)
2) Keep your blog, social media and website updated with work year-round

Many of the schools I personally work with do not have yearbook deadlines, so this helps.  Our season fluctuates - but we do shoot year-round, and as often as the weather will allow it in Seattle during the winter.  Our busy season is April through early November.  January through March we work with the upcoming senior class Senior Reps for our studio.

Ellie asks  "How DO you find magazines that will feature your work? Is it possible to find them and build relationships without needing to physically be in the same place/at the same events?"
Yes we live in a technologically advanced world, but NOTHING beats face to face interaction.  You can try all day to email everyone and their mother about working together, but nothing is going to replace meeting someone in person over coffee, or at an event.  It puts a face to a name.  Going to events, meeting people for coffee, networking and getting your name (and face) out there will get you leaps and bounds further (and faster) in the editorial and commercial world.

Erin Scott asks  "Might be a funny question, but I'm always wondering how to keep both parents and seniors comfortable with the logistical aspects of the shoot.  Specifically, how do you handle transportation logistics? Do seniors come to your studio for their makeup and then drive separately to the location? Do you go back to the studio when the shoot is done?  Thanks!"
We always meet at my office before the shoot, and our clients have their make-up application.  From there we head out to the location.  Clients are asked to drive themselves due to liability reasons.  Everything is laid out for our clients before-hand, so they are completely aware of our policies and what happens "The Day of the Shoot".  Lay everything out for your clients, and there will be no awkwardness or questions the day of.

Toni asks...  "What is Michelle's focusing method? Back button? Centre point recompose? Toggle focal points around? If recomposing, is she doing that wide open? Doesn't that shift the focal plane too much wide open?"
I am constantly switching between focus points on my camera.  Luckily I shoot with the 1ds series, so I have a dynamic range of focus options.  I usually stick between f2 and f2.8 so as to make sure the eyes stay sharp!

To everyone who asked about posing, and working with teens to help them be comfortable in front of the camera, please PLEASE stay tuned to my website and official fanpage in early 2012 for more information regarding this topic.  Can't wait for what's coming next year!!  XOXO

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS:I tried to answer as many questions as I could, so I apologize if I didn't get to yours!  If you want more answers to your questions, please check out my Gear + Photographer Q&A page here,
There are a lot of great interviews where you can glean a ton of information about how to submit work, how I got started, and how to work with natural light.  THANK YOU!


Thank you Michelle for taking the time out to be a guest on our blog and for being so open/honest and inspirational to all. Thank you for all the questions that were sent in! This is what makes this feature work...YOU!!!
Take a minute and thank Michelle for sharing the love!

And...a few more...just because we can!

thank you Michelle!
gigi and lexi

Oct 3, 2011

Questions & Answers {Featured Photographer}

Happy Monday!
It's time for another in our series of featured photographers where you ask the questions.
Up this time...maybe you've heard of her? Michelle Moore. Yes, I thought so...we're beyond excited!

Welcome Michelle Moore!

"Michelle Moore is fashion editorial and high school senior portrait photographer working in both Seattle and Los Angeles.  She had the pleasure of shooting her first Magazine Cover last October with 90210 star Jessica Lowndes. Michelle loves helping high school seniors see their inner and outer beauty with her boutique-like portrait experience, and bringing awareness to healthy body image through her fashion and celebrity editorial work.  Learn more about Michelle and her photography at "

When I asked Michelle what topic she'd like to cover, this is what she sent back:

Topics can be:
Working with natural lighting
How to find your style, or specialize in a market (i.e. finding your niche)
How I got started, any of my background, etc.
How to set up a fashion shoot - how to get started in that
Submitting to magazines, how I got my gig with Jessica Lowndes, working with celebrities, etc.
Why what I do is so important to me
What gear I shoot with, etc.

SO excited!!

So...there you have it. Not one, but 7 topics to ask about from today through this week!
Ways to ask your question? You can post in the comments section here on our blog, you can post on our lemonade and lenses facebook page, or you can email your questions directly to michelle at
Look for all the answers on our blog next week. is some eye candy to get you going!

Let's get started!

Sep 27, 2011

tuesday's theme {iphoneography}

i am so excited about this theme!
who doesn't LOVE their phones and all the great apps that add that
little sumthin sumthin to your image!
hipstamatic, instagram, retro camera, toy camera, shake it photo...
can you tell what kind of phone i have???
so...go forth...shoot with your iphone or whatever phone. just shoot with a phone.
just in case you need some cool new apps...check out photojojo's list of suggestions.

can not wait to see what kind of cool, crazy, artsy-fartsy imagery you all come up with!

Sep 19, 2011

Featured Q and A Photographer {Michelle Morris}

It's time to get all your questions answered from this month's featured photographer Michelle Morris!
We introduced Michelle a few posts back (here) and we are so ready to sit back, enjoy, learn, and be inspired by what Michelle has to share with all of us.

Welcome Michelle!

michelle morris photography

Q and A

I would love to know some processing tips.  And her go-to equipment.  I love to shoot wide open, and that seems to be her style too.

Go to equipment - The only camera I use is the Canon 5D Mark II and the lens I use almost 100% of the time is the Canon 50mm f/1.2L.  I don’t use a flash (don’t even own one) and I always work at times I can use natural light (either indoors or out).  I will occasionally use a reflector - but not as a standard practice.

As far as shooting wide open - yes, my goal is to always be as wide open as possible.  Usually when my sessions start (about two hours before sunset) I am somewhere around f/2.5 - f/3.4 when the sun is highest in the sky.  The lower the sun gets, the more wide open I am.  The only times I am down to f/1.2 are in open shade, not ever when I’m shooting directly into the sun.

I would love to know more about her post processing, maybe some before & afters? 

Since there are so many little ins and outs of post processing, I think one of my most valuable “tips” would be to sit down and finish a session at one time.  I’ve found that doing edits here and there from different sessions really interferes with my creative process.  I try to carve out 2-4 hours to sit at one time and just run through an entire sessions edits (that is after I’ve selected which images to edit and I’m good to go).  That has helped me tremendously, not only from a time management perspective, but also from a consistency and creative prospective.  Pandora, coffee, edit.

After a session I download my images, which are anywhere from 600-1200 files from one session, and I rate the images either 5 stars or no stars (trash).  I do that right away upon initial download, and I always go with my gut on what to keep and what to purge.  I can quickly get that 800ish number down to around 100.  Those 100 are my files to edit in Photoshop and whittle down again to about the 50 image mark (for the final proof set).

My editing usually always starts with an adjustment in curves for exposure.  After curves, I will adjust the levels and get the image to where I am ready to play some actions, and I’m happy with the colors and exposure.

I typically use the Florabella Collection on my images that are shot directly into the sun.  On the shots that are more in open shade, I tend to use Totally Rad Actions.  I have the full collection for both of those sets and some of my favorites from the Florabella Collection are Milk, Vanity, Tuesday, and Swoon.  Some of my favorites from TRA are Lux (soft), Flare-Up, Ged Faded (winter), and Pool Party.

When I use actions, I don’t use them at full opacity (that usually looks really funny to me) and I play around with the opacity of all the layers inside the action to achieve the desired look.  I also use masks in Photoshop to apply certain affects of the actions to only portions of the image.

Ok here is one that’s been on my mind!  What’s the best to do: custom white balance, kelvin AWB or other?  If custom white balance what’s the best way to set it?

I use AWB for everything.

How do you deal with focus when shooting into the sun and it’s almost impossible to grab a focus point?

Patiently.  It can be frustrating to not be able to quickly grab a focus point quickly - especially when your subject is two years old and running away from you like you’re a monster.  If I am working with a subject that can be coaxed to stay in one place for a brief minute (usually those older than 5 or 6) I will just continue to talk and engage them while moving around ever so slightly until the camera focuses.  Sometimes it just moving your body inches here or there and then it focuses.  I keep trying while I keep chatting with them, so that when I finally am focused and ready, they are still expressive and natural.

For those that don’t really stay still.... I will pull out my bag of tricks in making animal noises and singing and doing everything an unashamed mommy/photographer will do to get their attention.  As I keep trying to get their attention with my nutty behavior, I work on the focus.  It’s multitasking at its finest!

The image below shows one of my favorites from a shoot earlier this summer where the camera grabbed the weeds as a focus point and not my senior, and it ended up being one of my favorite shots.  I loved the perspective of both her in and out of focus.  So again - patience is key, and sometimes you get lucky with a neat shot that was otherwise unintended but turns out nicely in the end.

Best time of day for sunflare?

I tend to get my best sunflare about 1 hour before the sun sets.  Afternoons always seem to work better for me than mornings.  There’s a little window of time in there where the sun is too bright and the flare is just very exaggerated, and then the sun sets a bit too much and there’s no flare, just a golden glow.  I like to find that 30ish minutes of time where the flare is just enough to be fun, but not so much that everything is blown.  I usually start working about two hours before the sun sets, or about 20-30 minutes after the sun rises.  I find that working during those times gives me a good variety.

For example, the first image (1.jpeg) shows quite a bit of exaggerated sunflare, and was taken at the beginning of the session.  The second image (2.jpeg) was taken about thirty minutes later and while it still has sunflare, it’s not over the top.  The last image (3.jeg) was taken just before the sunset and there really is no flare at all, just a nice soft glow.  I think it’s important to walk that fine line with your clients of providing consistency in style, but also variety.

f/2.0, shutter 2500

 f/2.5, shutter 2500

 f/1.8, shutter 2000

I have also found that it’s important to only work during those times that you know will produce your best product.  Weddings and events are different in that you have to work with the timing of the day - but for me in my work with children and families, I only schedule sessions during those times.  I am familiar with how the sun falls and rises in those times and sessions are easy and comfortable for me because of that.

How do you keep the subject fully lit from the front while still catching that beautiful sunflare?

The truth is that the subject is not usually fully lit from the front, SOOC.  First that has to be dealt with in camera using proper exposure techniques.  And secondly, that’s adjusted during editing.  There are several examples below that show the SOOC (straight out of the camera) file and then the edited finished product.  You can see that the face and focal point of the subject is not perfectly lit until some editing is done.  However, as it is said frequently, you’re not going to be able to really “fix” an image with editing.  It needs to at least start with proper exposure in camera.  All of the edits listed below have the cliff notes version of how the edit was completed.  It’s worth noting though that all of these images had some form of hand editing and masking to achieve the final look.  For example, I may lighten the face in an image using masking, so that the rest of my image stays “as is” and I am only adjusting the selected areas by hand.

How do you get your school portraits so well lit and crisp?
I work closely with the Directors and Principals of each of my schools and we chat about what’s best for them logistically as well as what’s best for me from a technical aspect.  We always have a plan in place with a detailed schedule before we start shooting.  I prefer to shoot all school portraits outdoors, facing the kids into light - but using only open shade.  I use a professional backdrop and stand, layering my backdrop with additional fabric to keep all the light from filtering through the back.  I have the children stand up (I have found that to be better than sitting) and I use the light to my advantage, which usually requires me to move my setup around a bit here and there throughout the day.  I place the kids anywhere from 3-6 feet away from the backdrop to create that bokeh.  Proper exposure is everything and in these cases so important because I have less than a minute with each child to get the “money” shot.  My settings for school portraits are usually somewhere around f/2.5 - f/4.5 and shutter around 300-800 depending on the time of day.  I check my shots frequently throughout the day to be sure I’m on the right track.

The crispness and light in the images are all handled in camera, and the school pictures are minimally edited as a finished product due to the high volume, and the fact that everything is batch edited and nothing is done by hand.


Thank you Michelle for putting so much effort in and taking the time to answer such great questions. Thank you everyone who asked such great questions! If you learned or were inspired by anything here, take a moment and thank Michelle personally at
It's photographers like her who are so open to sharing that make this such an incredible industry.
I think it's pretty evident that Michelle likes to teach and likes to share. So much so, that she is launching an entirely new store and site that is called UNPACKED and it's a "for photographers" business complete with one on one mentoring and lots of instant downloads and tutorials.  There is not an official launch date, yet, but we will be watching for it to be announced and will surely share it on our facebook page with all of you too!
And...just because we love her imagery so is more of her lovely sun drenched
eye candy for you!

thank you Michelle.
gigi and lexi

Sep 15, 2011

tuesday's theme {blurry}

Sorry this is coming a little late, that would be my fault (lexi). 
I'm sure as we all know sometimes life gets busy ;)
For our next theme I want to push everyone to be creative and a little out of focus.  Yep that's right, our theme is {blurry.}  We are always trying to make sure what we are shooting is in focus, why not try making sure it is out of focus now.  Some of my favorite images are actually a little blurry and I feel like it adds a little artsyness to it!  (And yes I just made that word up)
I'm excited to see what everyone comes up with.  Enjoy!!

Sep 7, 2011

Questions & Answers {Featured Photographer}

if you're new to this feature...this is where we introduce inspirational photographers and instead of us asking all the questions, we open the floor up and get all of YOUR questions. that's right...YOUR questions. the one's you've always wanted to ask, maybe afraid to ask. here is your chance to get some answers from amazing photographers who are willing to share and inspire.

so...who is our featured q&a photographer this time? 
it's the wonderfully talented michelle morris.
michelle morris photography

{While I love (*really, love*) being a photographer, I will always relish in my identity as a wife and mother first and foremost to a wonderful, honest, and real family.  My life is so full - and is only getting busier each passing day.  Between loving my husband and empowering and encouraging my
three young boys to become solid, confident, strong men, I'm also a full time photographer.  I'm absolutely in love with light, laughter and movement.  I believe photographs multiply in substance and power over time and I'm daily encouraged at how a simple photograph can bless and speak to
the soul of another.  I'm a firm believer in the simple, and capturing the simple moments is where I'm most content.}

we were especially drown to michelle's work because of her magical use of light.
one look at her imagery and you'll know why. here are a few that we just love...

for the rest of this week you have a chance to ask michelle about her images, her approach, who inspires her, how she looks for light...anything. just post your questions in the comments section on our blog, on our facebook wall or if you're a little on the shy side, you may also email your questions directly to michelle at

we can't wait to see your questions, michelle's responses and more of her gorgeous light filled imagery on next week's blogpost!
gigi and lexi

Aug 30, 2011

tuesday's theme {yellow}

i am absolutely gaga over the color yellow. it really can't make you anything less than happy.
earlier this year i joined in on a hue/texture project hosted by marta locklear that revolved around colors and textures. so much fun.
a couple week's ago, i noticed this on lindsay's little one love blog, and was totally inspired again to make yellow our theme for this time.
just think of the possibilities...even all the names for yellows are fabulous!
mustard, marigold, lemon, butter, ocher, banana, daffodil, maize, goldenrod, sunflower...
are you inspired!

so, go out and create some new imagery around {yellow}

here are one of the boards i put together for the hue/texture project and to give you some ideas...

Aug 29, 2011

good morning mondays {inspiraton}

stylized sessions. they're hot right now. so hot, you almost never see a session blogged without 'some' styling involved.  for some this is a breeze, for others, no clue of where on earth to begin.

the very first workshop i ever attended was amy wenzel's.  it was everything i thought it would be and more. amy was (is) a wonderful, giving, sharing human soul. one of the many reasons i was drawn to her photography was the fabulous sense of styling she showed in her sessions. everything from locations, wardrobe, even the smallest details, it's all important and she knew how to pull it all together.

so, for our good morning mondays {inspiration}, we thought we'd get you all a little extra excited about your next styled session and share a post directly from amy's blog called, 'tips for styling your shoot.'

thank you amy!
{and a little birdie told me you'll be seeing more of amy on our blog...soon!}

Tips for Styling Your Shoot

I’m fascinated with kid’s fashion.  I must admit it’s a huge source of inspiration for my photography.  I’m always excited to get the new Crew Cuts or Mini Boden catalog to see the adorable way they’ve photographed the kids in the clothes. Heaven help the day that I have my own children and constantly “dress them up” to take their picture.  Maybe they won’t like their mommy so much, ay, ay, ay.

As a photographer, if you are working towards a commercial or editorial look, clothing choice can make or break an image.  Putting in the extra effort to help my clients select wardrobe helps me achieve the “Amy Wenzel” look and keeps me in love with what I do!  For those of you who would like to invest more creative vision into your shoots, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on how to go about it.  I’ll start by sharing a few favorite images from a shoot that I styled in June. 

1. Start with a Vision
If you don’t know where you are going, how will you ever get there?  I approach each shoot with a distinct vision for the look and feel of the photographs.  In custom portrait work, you are not only the photographer but also the creative director, so I like to keep a running list of ideas and ‘dream shoots’ I hope to carry out someday.  When I book a new session, I see if the client is a good fit for any of my current ideas and then I suggest my concept to the parents.  Sometimes clients come with their own great ideas and that works too!   Usually I choose the location first, and then select clothing that will compliment and complete the vision.  The above session took place in the evening at this family’s farm, so I wanted the clothing to be soft and elegant with a touch of ‘country’ to it.

2. Offer to Style the Session
I don’t personally style every single shoot, but I always like to offer assistance with wardrobe to the parents.  My level of involvement is different with each client, but most of the time they take me up on my offer when I explain how strongly styling affects the final outcome of the photographs.  Help your clients become excited about what you are excited about and they will want to come on the creative journey with you.  Be sure to tell them how fashion inspires your work and that you’d like their session to reflect your personal artistic vision.  Remind them that the styling in your portfolio is part of what drew them to your images.

3. Go the Extra Mile
There are many approaches to styling a session.  Possibilities range from consulting with their current wardrobes to shopping with Mom online or in person.  I often send emails with links to clothing that inspires me, and I’ve even shopped for clients at the local children’s boutique and left clothes on hold for them to make selections.  Do whatever works for your business plan, but make your session fee is high enough to compensate for the added time and effort.  Remember that better photographs can also mean higher sales, so I personally believe in going the extra mile to make my photos as awesome as possible!!

4. Compliment Your Subject and Environment
When choosing wardrobe, I look for unique items with a great cut and fit.  I tend to choose fashion forward clothing rather than traditional styles.  I’m not afraid of using patterns and mixing colors, and I usually suggest an entire size down from what the parent typically buys.  This ensures the clothes fit snugly without the “growing room” for which parents usually allow.  I always keep in mind which colors look good for individual skin tones, and I also consider the colors in the setting so that the outfit will stand out against the back drop.  For instance, a green dress in a green field isn’t so compelling.  But a royal blue dress in a yellow field is dynamite!  Remember your complimentary colors (red & green, blue & orange, etc) to know what will look exciting in your composition!

5. Don’t Skimp on the Details
It’s amazing how simply adding a headband can complete the look and take it to the next level.  Never underestimate the power of a hairstyle, a pair of shoes, or a bangle bracelet.  Props should blend seamlessly with the vision and should enhance your image but never distract!  I bring along a couple of small props to each shoot.  I may or may not use them but I like to have options.  The little antique fishing pail featured in this session was a prop I’d been holding onto for awhile just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.  Also remember that it never hurts to take a few risks, so I’m not afraid to suggest a change in hairstyle if I think it will compliment my client’s face structure or add interest to the look.  Great style is from head to toe, so don’t go to all the work to pick out a great look and then just throw on any old pair of shoes.  In this farm session I think her Hunter galoshes make the whole outfit!

6. Inspire Through Your Website
It’s a great rule of thumb not to display photography on your website that isn’t an accurate reflection of the type of work you’d like to do. For instance, if you don’t want to shoot families in matching white shirts, don’t put that type of work on your website.  If you can point your clients toward a dynamic portfolio filled with images in cute clothes, it’s much easier for them to lay hold of your vision and select an appropriate outfit.  If necessary, do a few free shoots for friends where you style the kids yourself to build your portfolio.  It will be well worth the investment even if you have to pay for the clothing yourself!  Your website is your selling tool and should attract the right type of client for you!

I hope these tips are helpful for both parents and photographers as you approach an upcoming session.  Thanks for reading!

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