Why does photography cost so much?

Just a warning before you read this: I’m not trying to convince you to buy a portrait session from me.  I just think it’s important for you to know what actually goes into a photo session so that you can be more informed.  I hope that this article can speak about the blood, sweat, and tears that most professional photographers put into their work.

Why does photography costs so much?

family tea party

Let’s take my 2 hour session, where you get 2 locations, any combo of people within the 2 hours, digital images, printing and posting rights.  This session is priced at $310. (Let me just say also that some photographers think that I’m selling my soul when I include the digital download in my sessions.  So keep in mind that getting the images is VERY valuable, you’re getting an original piece of art!!!!) I want to keep giving the digital images because we live in a digital age – and honestly if I was having a session I’d totally want that! I want to give you what I would want!

Now, it would seem that I pocket $155 per hour based off of this fee.  That I’m actually making $155 as opposed to the minimum wage of $7.25 if I were working at a minimum wage place.  There is a lot of extra time and expenses that the client doesn’t actually see that goes into figuring the cost for each session.  For instance, for the 2 hour session, I don’t  just spend 2 hours on the session, here is the break down of time spent on a 2 hour session (so you can fairly divide this time in half if you’re interested in time spent on the 1 hour session).

1 hour prep before the session (includes emailing client, consultation of what to wear, possibly shopping for fun portrait props like balloons, bubbles, pin wheels, baskets, flowers, etc.)
30 Travel time (this varies obviously with every shoot but on average I spend 30 minutes going to the location, scoping out spots to shoot, and the travel home)
2 hours on location shooting
2-4 hours post editing (for me this is downloading images off of CF card, backing them up on external HD, choosing which ones are keepers, editing them in Lightroom, making your printing/posting rights, resizing your images to upload to my print service, uploading the images to my print service, emailing you that your images are done and that you can see them, contract, printing/posting rights) This only takes into account what I’m doing on your photo session.  This doesn’t take into account answering emails, networking, hustling my business – all that I actually don’t get paid for.  So I might have done this before your session to actually get your business – it’s the behind the scenes.
There is also more time put in when clients order prints or any other add-ons that could be tagged onto this hourly calculation

Total hours spent on a 2 hour session: about 7 hours (So actually I might make $1/hour….oh my goodness)

What also goes into this price calculation is: (So it’s not like I’m really pocketing that hourly fee that you just calculated)

-Business expenses
-Photography experience/education
-Cost of upkeep of equipment or NEW/USED equipment

You might just think that I have 1 or 2 bills to pay as a business owner.  Right now there are a TON of photographers, and I think it’s somewhat because they just think they need a camera and a lens.  There are actually A TON of things that go into actually having a business.  I have thought about each one and truly don’t like to waste money (by now you’re may be getting my point that I don’t actually have money to throw around!) and they serve to make business run smoother and/or to be more professional, after all I am offering a professional service here.

Here are just a sample of bills that needs to be paid in this category I’m calling..

Business Expenses

Service Fee for Invoices (each client gets an invoice so they know their total before I spring it upon them this also serves as a receipt)
Service Fee for accepting Credit Cards (so you can pay your way)
Advertising Fees (which I rarely use because they don’t really work and I have no money!) Networking does work so this is where I like to spend this money or really time
Gas for all those miles I drive to locations and deliveries
–Normal business supplies (paper, ink, printer, staples, etc.)

So those are just some obvious ones.

Photography experience/education

I actually went to school for photography so I know a lot about the art of composition and how to use my camera.  This is more than a person who picks up a camera and offers photo sessions for $25 (nothing personally against someone starting out – I was there once too!).  I look and study posing so that you look your best in your photographs (you do want to look good, right?). The camera doesn’t add 10 pounds, the photographer does.  And I’ve totally been that photographer who didn’t know that…but now I know…that’s why I pay to study posing.   The reason why a lot of people don’t charge a lot for their photography, is because they don’t have experience.  This is what I did, when I first started out I had to prove myself, so I made my prices really low so that I could actually get clients.    Everyone knows that usually you pay for what you get.  If you’re willing to pay that $25 for the person next door to take your photographs then you probably are going to get $25 worth of photography not the “Wow this is great and I’m going to enlarge this to be the 24×36” mantle print!!!” I want your photos to live on well past the time period that they were taken in.  I want you to experience the power of your photos – the appreciation you feel toward your loved ones in your photos.  This is really important to me! If just one person feels appreciation toward their loved ones and not hate/anger/resentment/discontent because of their photos for just ONE MINUTE I feel like I am successful at what I am doing.

Cost of Upkeep of Equipment

So it’s no secret that photography costs a lot.  I think one of the most common comments I get when people see my camera for the first time is “wow that must cost a lot”! Yup, you’re right! Photography would be a ridiculously expensive hobby of mine, so I’m glad it’s not just a hobby! I would have a hard time justifying purchases that cost so much if it were just a hobby! A nice camera body can run you over $2000 and that’s not even accounting for the lens you’ll need! Those can cost somewhere around that to even more! And then there is flashes ($500+) and other gadgets that actually make your photographs better.  Oh and did I mention the external hard drives you need to keep all of these photographs ($100+).  I haven’t even talked about the price of editing software Lightroom ($$) and all the other things that come with it.  Professional photography also requires a really nice computer.  My husband built me mine (hallelujah!) but honestly I’ve been thinking  a laptop would be a great way to showcase my work to potential clients and work on-the-go.  (Adding that to my long wish list….)

Now I haven’t even mentioned the cost of actually living, like food, rent, etc.  I’m not even factoring that in to this equation.

Something also that has been on my heart (now that I have a family) is although I LOVE photography and giving people that appreciation they need for their loved ones – photography is my job and requires me to take time away from the ones I love.  That is so precious I can’t even really put a monetary value on it.

Phew! That stresses me out just thinking about all of that stuff!

So I hope that after you’ve read this you understand a little why professional photography created by a professional costs so much! I’m certainty not trying to rob you! Please leave your comments/questions, your Amens and hallelujahs!

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The Berry Family

Sneak peak of this fun beautiful family session! I feel like this age of kids is SUPER important to have family photos because the kids are

  1. usually naked — OR—
  2. have cheerios stuck in very unusual folds in their necks.

But most importantly is this stage is super super hard and having family photos really helps us to appreciate the ones closest in our lives! And we all need a little more appreciation to go around, right?

I have some tricks up my sleeve to help keep the little ones happy so that you can get these family photos to help you remember how little these ones are!

family of 4 in field

Cute brother and sister! Nice pose, Whit! I didn’t even ask you to squat, but I LOVE it:) You just never know what your going to get from the little ones. brother and sister

family of four in field

toddler girl in white dress

couple in fieldSuch a sweet face from Myla here!

family of 4 in field

Love the blue eyes with the darker blue on the outside! baby boy with blue eyes

Location: Friends on Furneaux Creek on the Carrollton Greenbelt

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Surprise! Baby Cohen is here!

Cohen came a whopping three weeks early! I say “whopping” because it’s a big deal to be 9 months pregnant in heat like this! I’m sure his mommy is very happy to not be pregnant anymore and get to hold this super snugly super cute baby boy.  He was the best baby to photograph! Very sleepy and content.  I love his hair and his birthmarks – so sweet.

newborn boy

His Aunt made this cute crochet hat and diaper cover! newborn as dinosaur

His parents have three (just had 4!) rescue dogs, so this outfit is so perfect for him! He didn’t really flinch when the dogs came close to sniff and lick him! newborn baby with puppy outfit

newborn boy with puppy hat

newborn boy with dinosaurs

newborn baby blue hat

newborn boy with puppiesWelcome to this world little guy!

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What to wear Wednesday’s – cold shoulder dress for your little girl

Back again for What to Wear Wednesday’s! If you missed my last post be sure to check it out for your little dapper boys…this week is all about the sweet little girls in your lives.

Just so you know, all my clients when booking receive my exclusive style guide that helps them choose time of day, location, tricks and tips, and clothing suggestions. Today’s suggestion comes straight from my recommendation of putting your little girls in dresses for your photo experience. If you haven’t checked out my previous posts about this check here and here or to see all search “what to wear” in the search tab in the upper right.

Meet Donna Van Pham from Arlington, Texas.
Designer and creator of baby and children clothing specifically highlighting her adorable and stylish “cold shoulder” little girl dresses. All custom made.
Currently the blush floral and red and white are in 2T and READY to be shipped to YOU! (I’m talking to you!!)
Her store also has little girl choker dresses as well as shift dresses. Her prices are awesome! They are as much (or less!) as you would pay in a store but they’re custom made! Any first order with sydneyjadeco will get 10% off. Please DM her for code.
Donna says she’s “living my dream and tackling one thing at at time. I grew up wearing and watching my mom making handmade clothes for all eight of us siblings. And now here I am making clothes for my daughter and I hope that you all love my creation.”

When you look your best you act your best.
This style never goes out of style.

Having professional photographs taken is an enjoyable experience that produces tangible memories. Documenting this time helps retain memories for all those involved. Time flies by too fast to forget the little feet and little hands that occupied all of your time. Even after the session when you hang these photos you see and feel how you felt about each other in that moment. It helps you appreciate those in your family, everyone needs a little more appreciation in their lives!
Partnering with SydneyJadeco to help your little girl look super sweet and fashionable for your photo experience. Looking their best will help them retain their memories and help them to act their best (along with my other techniques!) during their session.

So head over to her etsy shop and support a small business AND have your little girl look stunning in your photos!

And just look at this awesome dress that would be PERFECT for a little girl birthday sessions?

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Danielle Bridal

After a long day of work with a photo session at evening golden hour, I usually come home and crash but this time Danielle’s portraits were just too beautiful for me to give in to sleep. I stayed up WAY to late swooning over them, nothing 4 cups of coffee can’t fix the next day! From the moment I met Danielle (and Felix too!) they were the perfect couple that I dreamed about photographing! Isn’t Danielle’s sweet heart neckline amazing?! I also LOVE her hair and am so glad she had in down in her portraits.  In fact I loved her portraits so much that one is going on my new business cards and a huge canvas print for a new wedding venue open house at The Nest at Ruth Farms on June 11 at 3:300-6:00 in Ponder, Texas.   bride portraits torso looking off camera

bridal portrait full gown with trees

bridal portrait

bride with flowers

bridal portrait addison texas

bride portraits looking at camera

bride with veil

bridal portrait addison texas

bride with dress in back

 

bridal portrait torso golden hour

bridal portrait of full dress

Wedding dress from LuLu’s Bridal Boutique
Location: Vitruvian Park, Addison, Texas

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What to wear Wednesdays: For the little gentlemen

Today I’m partnering with London Jae Apparel from Ft. Worth.  She has an etsy shop that sells these cute little boy suspenders and bow-ties.   These will definitely help your little ones to look super studly for your photo experience!

How is style important family photos?

Having professional photographs taken is an enjoyable experiences that produces tangible memories.  Documenting this time helps retain memories for all those involved.  Time flies by too fast to forget the little feet and little hands that occupied all of your time.  Even after the session when you hang these photos you see and feel how you felt about each other during in that moment.  It helps you appreciate those in your family, everyone needs a little more appreciation in their lives!

Looking their best will help them retain their memories and help them to act their best (along with my other techniques!) during their photo session.

London Jae Apparel is owned by Synthia Davis who is a mom, designer, and stylist.

“I  have always been interested in women’s fashion however raising 2 boys has sparked a passion for styling boys. Nine years ago my efforts to style London Jae often let me empty handed and discouraged. It seemed as though finding fashionable clothing for boys at an affordable price was virtually impossible. From that experience, London Jae Apparel was born. I love running London Jae Apparel yet my greatest job will always be mom to London & Knightley!”

She suggest wearing the vintage inspired suspenders  for all the dressy occasions, they also look perfect with a t-shirt and denim and her LJA oxford shoes. Her kids always get lots of compliments! I’d love to see my clients in these!

 

Ok and guys GUESS WHAT?!!! London and Jae Apparel is so generous to offer a DISCOUNT CODE!!! If you head over to her Etsy shop you can be apart of an exclusive 10% off deal! Just enter “KAITLIN10” to receive the discount code! THANK YOU SO MUCH to London Jae Apparel for this!

I’d also like to point of the super affordable prices of her items in her shop already! $8.75-18.99 depending on size and style.

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Happy Birthday Milo!

This kid! Milo is almost 2! Isn’t his outfit so perfect? I LOVE IT! I had to work pretty hard at getting this guy to smile for me – but it was totally worth it – so sweet! He was such a great model and listener.  Courtney and Jenn are going to look back on these photos even when he’s just a few months older and marvel at how much he’s grown! Even through the challenges of raising kids – photographs (especially having the photos on display in your houses) help us appreciate our family members.  Everyone needs a little more appreciation in our lives, right?

I love love love ideas for family photo sessions.  The are super sweet and cute AND the biggest advantage is that they keep the littles entertained, involved in doing something, and not focused on taking photos but having fun.  I love getting playing and walking photos to accomplish this, but when you have a theme the shoot has more possibilities for different sets of photographs.  Courtney, Jenn, and Milo had a really cute tea party! Set with a tiered tray, cups and saucers, adorable teacup, and yummy munchies. (Psst! Check out the bottom of this post for different ideas for your family’s themed photo shoot!)

toddler boy in blue shirt

I love showing outtakes from shoots.  Parenting is so like this…”you guys stand over here and look really snugly and cute…Milo you sit over here right next to me and I’m going to take some photos while you get a break…” 1 minute later…he totally walks in the shot! I love this image though because it is so real!

family outtakes

This image…ahhhh… so beautiful!

couple portrait

Their cute tea party details! Milo said he was serving coffee..not tea.  tea party detail

family tea party

Also because I always like to comment on a good set of outfit choices – here it is! It looks so effortless but I know that much thought was given into colors and what kind of outfits – it’s so great! Way to go guys! family tea party

Location: Carrollton, Texas; AW Perry Homestead Museum

Different ideas for your family’s themed photo shoot:
-Milk and cookies splurge
-Watermelon feast
-Bucket bubble bath
-Baseball field family game
-Family field day events
-Family Olympics
-Joint canvas painting and paint fight
-Pajama party
-Lemonade stand
-Camping themed

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The Reidys

The first time I ever heard of Molly was when my son came home from school and we looked at a picture of all the kids in their class’ Lego creations.  If you know anything about our family we are SERIOUS Lego enthusiasts.  We totally judged the Lego creations and Molly’s was the best! Fast forward about two years and now Phoenix says Molly is his best friend.  I’m not sure how good Brian and Paula Lego creations are but they’ve become close friends too! We are so grateful for them!

girl sitting in field

On my 10 mile runs I’ve been scoping great spots around the Carrollton Greenbelt to take portraits at – here is one of them! So much green! It reminds me of the east coast spots that I had to take photos.  couple pose

couple laughing

family of three

girl in field

mom and daughter

family of three

Location: Carrollton Texas Greenbelt Furneaux and Cemetery Hill

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Time to schedule your senior shoots

School is almost out here and summer is about to start! Now is the time to schedule your senior shoots! Summer is a great time to knock these out so that you aren’t scrambling in the fall to get these done. My summer is filling up fast so better to get on the schedule! Senior sessions are for 2 hours, 2 locations, multiple clothing changes, digital images, professional printing options, and my style guide (as always!).  The style guide will help you decide what to wear and where to have your session.  My clients tell me they absolutely LOVE the guide and it has helped them plan every detail of their shoot.  The senior sessions are priced at $300.  You can also get the whole family together to add to the senior session for a family photo…bonus!

Allyson Photo Shoot

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What to wear Wednesdays: Color choice

If you missed my last “what to wear Wednesdays: slight casual engagement session” check it out here.  I also have several other clothing suggestion posts for guys for spring portraits, family sessions, and the ladies for their spring sessions.

When I first started doing photography (nearly 10 years ago – whhhatttt???) I mostly suggested choosing the coloring of clothing you felt most comfortable in.  I always remember my grandma and mom saying that I look best in bright colors so for me I often leaned toward choosing brighter colors for photos.  I also am that person who chooses a paint sample and goes for the paint on the brighter bolder side! As I’ve been photographing throughout the years now, I recommend choosing softer more neutral colors for your outfit choice.  In my professional opinion, light colors compliment the skin better and compliment golden hour colors from the sun better (which is when I suggest scheduling your portrait session).  It also takes the attention away from what you’re wearing and puts it on your face!  And from a technical perspective it allows the sun to light up your face making for a brighter and crispier photo!

So for today’s images I wanted to show you the difference between choosing a bold color for clothing verses a more subtle color.  I recently did preschool photos (it was such a good experience too!) and like I always do I gave the parents some clothing suggestions.  The suggestions included choosing more subtle colors.  The first time around the sweetest little girl wore a beautiful dress and then for re-takes she wore a light pink dress. The differences in the photos are AWESOME! Her parents both agreed that the light dress suited for photo much better. (By the way I totally asked if I could share this story!)

 

toddler girl in chair light pink dress

Isn’t she SO cute???? The first photo is totally a great photo (if I do say so myself!) but I think the second photo takes the attention away from her outfit and puts it on her cute little face! I can see the second photo displayed in their house for many many years:)

 

I also give all my clients a very detailed “How to Style your Portrait Session” guide when you book.  It goes over this and much more!

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What to Wear Wednesdays: Slightly Casual Engagement Session

Here’s another plug for my style guide that I provide my clients to help them make the hard decisions for their photo shoot.  Today’s “what to wear” is for an engagement session but really could be extended for a mom and dad on a family portrait session.  I’ve kept the colors light because I think lighter colors compliment the skin better and l think these colors compliment golden hour colors from the sun better.

I usually recommend a longer dress for the ladies because long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially when juxtaposed with nature, like open fields, forest, or beaches.  I LOVE this mint color – it’s really popular right now and I think it compliments a variety of different skin tones. It’s also a casual dress which is what I hear from a lot of clients that they’re looking for.  This material looks like it would be fairly airy in this Texas heat! This would look nice with a pair of strappy sandals or if you wanted to get a few shots with your cowgirl boots standing in tall grass that’d look great too.

I love this shirt for it’s color (and how it compliments the dress color) and for it’s material.  You can pull off several different looks with this shirt by having the sleeves down or rolled up slightly.  You can also bring along a sport coat to throw on for a quick shot to make your photos look slightly different.

Long fitted pants are the most sophisticated and most masculine and help draw attention away from legs and feet and place the attention on the face. Loose and baggy pants make legs look actually bigger than they are.  I always recommend fitted pants.  These khakis are a great match for the shirt and chances are you might already  have a pair like this.  If you don’t, adding them to your wardrobe won’t be hard because they will get a lot of use out of them.  Finish this look off by wearing a pair of brown closed toed shoes.

Women’s mint dress, Light blue Maxi Dress from Express $49.99

Guy’s Band Collar Linen-Blend Shirt Chalk color from Express $35

Guy’s Skinny Fit Flex Stretch Light Brown Chino Pants from Express $69.90

 

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MacElroy Spring Shoot

I have a spring shoot to share with you guys today and coral and blue, I love those colors! Reagan and Jackson are so cute and did such a great job considering we had our photo shoot at photographers geek term “golden” hour which also means toddler bedtime.  This time of year is hard scheduling shoots at dreamy light hours and around toddler sleeping time – but they did great! It probably helps that their mom is a Pediatric Sleep Expert – where was she 5 years ago when I needed help with my oldest???? I love these ones we took by the amphitheater.

Vitruvian Park is a really cool place to take photos.  I think I could have spent a good solid three hours going to the different spots that were really cool looking!

Good job looking awesome!

family spring shoot

kid with blue shirt and hat

I love the hat here as an added piece to his outfit!

mom with her kids

two kids

Location: Vitruvian Park, Addison Texas

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Irie – boho styled children portrait

I tried to explain the word “hippy” to Irie as I placed her lace headband boho style on her head.  I wasn’t prepared for a five year old definition of the word.  After I looked at a few photos on the back of my camera I told her that however her photos came out, she could use them to understand the word! I love the colors of her shoot! Irie’s hair is one of her most striking features and I love the way the curls fell and floated in the slight breeze.

As a natural light specialist, it’s really important to choose the right time of day for your shoot! In your style guide (that I send all my clients!) I go more into this.  I love the warm tones as the evening sun in this session!

children photograph in flowers

I love the pop of peonies here! I also go more into detail on what to bring to your photo shoot in your “style guide” when you book.  Details can be a great element to your photo shoot to make it look more like you and unique.

children photograph in flowers, boho kids

children photograph in flowers, boho kids

children photograph in flowers, boho kids

children photograph in flowers, boho kids

children photograph in flowers, boho kids

children photograph in flowers, boho kids

children photograph in flowers, boho kids

children photograph in flowers, boho kids

Location: Carrollton Green belt
This is definitely a favorite place to shoot.  If you missed other locations to have your photo shoot – look here! 

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Pretty Blue Eyes

I am a sucker for blue eyes.  It all started with my husband – beautiful blue eyes.  Then both of my kids got them and now I’m kinda partial.

When we lived in China most times it was the first (or second!) thing the locals pointed out in my kids.  Many people said that they had never seen a blue-eyed in person.  The second thing (if you’re interested) was how white my son’s skin was!

Look at little Mason’s eyes! It works even better because of the choice of color for his shirt.  LOVE this! Such a cute little guy! I also think this photo is sweet because they decided to have their photo shoot at their house.  It will bring special memories of this place for years to come.  Don’t ever rule out your house as a location possibility!

You might have heard me say it before but I think that getting photos of you and your family help you appreciate the people in your life more.  When we look at photos of our family together all the craziness of the day melts away and we slow down and appreciate the time and the people more. Everyone could use a little more of that in their life, right?

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Zack and Lyssa Sneak Peak

I’ve been looking forward to photographing in Dallas for a while now! There are so many nooks and crannies of great spots! I had such a fun engagement session today with Zack and Lyssa.  We started out at Klyde Warner Park (photos to come!), went to Bishop Arts to snag this heart shot, and then to the great Deep Ellum.  It was a long wait to meet this couple and they exceeded my expectations in awesome-ness. I’m so excited to share this sneak peak but can’t wait to post more! Congratulations Zack and Lyssa!

bishop arts hearts sign

engagement couple in deep elllum

engagement couple in deep elllum

engagement couple in deep elllum

engagement couple in deep elllum

Locations:
“you + me = <3” at 504 N Madison Ave, Dallas
“Forever” at July Ave, Dallas
“Deep Ellumphants” at 3501 Main Street, Dallas

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Boyea Spring Session

Spring is in the air! And so are the Texas blue bonnets.  One of the best things about my job is seeing little ones grow up before the camera! I photographed little Caleb when he was a newborn and again at 4 months and now he’s such a big guy at 8 months! Hair and all! 

family photo

Every mom needs a photo like this with each of their kids.  Everything about this photo is so beautiful!! 
mom and baby

siblings by barn

Usually monogrammed clothing pieces bunch up and the initials are really hard to read in photographs-
but these were so great! kids in basket by barn

baby boy

Location: AW Perry Homestead Museum in Carrollton

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What to wear to your mini-sessions: the men

So you tell your significant other you’ve just scheduled a mini-session with me for spring photos…and he totally rolls his eyes, right? It’s ok! I’m here to help! After booking you’ll receive my complimentary style guide that’ll help you have the right tools to ease his eye rolls. 

When you (and him!) look back on your photos you won’t even remember how he whispered under his breath when you told him about getting photos done.  What you’ll see are AWESOME photos of you and your family that you’ll love for all of time.  They won’t just look awesome, you’ll have a GREAT experience on the shoot to change his experience of having photos taken.  Promise.  

I really think having family photos help you love and appreciate your family even more.  We all need a little more of that in our lives, right? 

Did you see my tips about what women should wear to your spring session? And kids

The most important tip for you guy is TAILORED! Tailored pants will make him look like a hot stud. Because it’ll be spring (and super hot in Texas already) you can have him wear a tailored short sleeve shirt.  If your husband is anything like mine, he gets super grumpy when he’s hot.  So just leave the grumpiness at home and have him wear a tailored short sleeve dress shirt (plain colored or very light pattern).  If he doesn’t have a tailored short sleeved one, go for a long sleeved one.  Tailored is just that important.  You can find affordable examples from H&M, Target, and Old Navy.  

Next time you walk by a JCrew store you’ll see the models have several layers on at a time.  This looks really awesome.  Tell him he’s going to look like a hot stud if he does this.  OR – tell him you want him to try this look so that you can see IF he can look better than the models – guys LOVE competition! 

Read these tips here that I provided earlier about how to style your guy.

So only if he will wears a sports coat can these shirts be successfully pulled off.  You also have to look at any other pattern that you have going on in your family’s clothing choices.  But I think these are stylish examples of what your man can wear.  Pair them with tailored (SLIM) pants and brown closed toes dress shoes to look like a hot stud.  Remember – photo sessions are totally ok to beg and borrow clothes and accessories from friends.  

Guy shirt #1: Slim fit Indigo Patterned Shirt $22
Guy shirt #2: Slim Fit Classic Shirt $12-24.94
Guy shirt #3: Slim fit floral shirt $15.00-20.00
Linen blend blazer $69.94

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What to wear to your family mini-session: kids

Did you see my recommendation for what to wear to your mini-session? I laid out a solid outfit for you! It’s super great! You’ll look A-MAZING!!! I also will post about what your guy should wear..stay tuned.  

So then what do  you put your kids in? You’ll definitely look so super great if you follow my lead in what you’ll wear, so your kids need to follow suit as well.  I’d recommend going with the same foundations what I say for mom and dad.  Mom looks best in dresses (maxi in length if you have squirmy ones that you’ll have to chase after) or skirts — both with heels.  Dad looks most masculine in a tailored shirts and tailored pants.  Same goes with the kids! Here are some options for your kids! In my style guide (which I deliver after booking a session with me!) it will go into detail about all of this.  It will also help you with some ideas of how to prep the others in your house (husband and kids!) as to the importance of this event for you.  

An easy option for your little boys.  Go with khaki slim pants or slim jeans.  Also don’t skimp on the shoes for little boys.  Just like their dads, shoes will make or break the outfit.  Go with brown close toed dress shoes.  Remember – portrait sessions are totally ok to beg and borrow from friends.  You’ll also want to bribe them into putting a tad bit of gel or wax into their hair.  boys blue buttoned up shirt

For your little girls for the safer bet I’d go with a skirt that looked a little like mom’s.  This color goes really well with your skirt that I picked for you and the creamier colors will look awesome! gold sequins skirt

If you’re feeling a little more bolder I think you could do this for your little girl! I LOVE it! I’d definitely recommend cream colored leggings underneath.  But it’s super fun – especially if you have a spunky girl like me :) I’d definitely pair this top with a light pink top – nothing too dramatic! A cute pair of brown booties will complete the look.  
And remember – if you haven’t scheduled your spring mini-session there are only a FEW SPOTS left

 

Boys shirt: Button Down Shirt by Cat & Jack Blue Stripes $14.99
Girls skirt #1: Tute skirt Cat and Jack – Cream with Gold Sequins $17.99
Girls skirt #2: Multicolor Xhilaration $14.99

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What to wear to your family portrait mini-session

I wanted to give some spring tips for those of you doing the mini-sessions.  (By the way there are only a few spots left! Sign up before they’re all gone!).  Before I wrote a detailed post for women about what women should wear and you should definitely check it out.  I also provide a detailed style guide when you book a session that give you recommendations for clothing for everyone, location and time of day info, what to bring to your session, and what to expect.  I love this tulle skirt from Charlotte Russe! Tulle texture looks AMAZING in camera.  It provides some different options for posing because it’ll move with you.  And when else will you ever get a chance to wear a tulle skirt?! Best excuse ever…this one is only $27! It totally depends on what you feel most comfortable for top options.  I could never pull off a top like they have in the picture, but you might be able to! Just do whatever you feel best! I love the below top options too.  They also have full sleeved versions of the top if you feel self conscious about your arms.  You’ll definitely need a pair of nude heels to go with this one.  A portrait session is a perfect time to beg and borrow from friends! Something like the heels below will be perfect! Also from CR for $30. I really really believe that you’ll look SO SUPER awesome if you’ll follow my style guide tips! 

One more time – there are only a few mini-sessions spots left! I’m scheduling them anytime before May! 

tulle skirt Charlotte Russe
charlotte Russe zip up blouse

nude heelsSkirt: Tulle Full Midi Skirt $26.99
Blouse: Zip-Front Top $21.99
Shoes: Satin Pointed Heel Pumps $30.99

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Flippen Park in Dallas

I think I referred to Flippen Park as “wedding heaven”. It’s so so so so so so…so so so so so so beautiful! I love the way the photos turned out from John and Stephanie’s wedding.  It is such a beautiful location for the flowers, gazebo and then the fountain pool! There are 30 year old trees and the street that is on both sides have gorgeous Dallas houses.  flippen park gazebo and pool

flippen park fountain dallas

flippen park gazebo
flippen park dallas

Location: Flippen Park.  Recommended for weddings, bridal portraits, and family photos

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Series for the brides: Bridal Style Bag

Weddings are stressful! I’m providing some tips to make your day go smooth.  This is the 3rd in the series.  Be sure to check out the fist about the getting ready shots and another about first looks.

I love photographing wedding details! I’ll have you gather your wedding details beforehand so that I can photograph them before the wedding while I’m also photographing the getting ready shots.   It will be helpful to have your items in a bag for me to grab.   Here are a few things to put in your bridal style bag…

-Wedding invitation
-Save the date
-Veil
-Shoes
-Garter
-Bridal shoes
-Bridal jewelry 
-Bridal bouquet
-Personalized gifts for the bridesmaids and or groomsmen
-Swatches of significant lace or fabric
-Heirloom pieces
-Rings (I might photograph them while you’re getting ready and at the reception)

wedding veil

wedding dress

wedding detail

wedding dress hanging

wedding rings on golf course

wedding rings close up
bridal flowers orange

details bridal shoes with flowers

wedding rings details
wedding rings

wedding rings details Also another plug for going the extra distance for that awesome wedding gown shot by purchasing a personalized wedding dress hanging.  There are a ton of options to fit your style.  Here is one of my favorites! 

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Spring Mini Sessions

I officially announced my spring mini sessions! The first time around I listed some great spots around for location choices.  Click here to look at some options if you’re stuck with “the where”! 

spring mini sessions

My schedule is booking up! If you’re interested in securing a spot there are only 5 spots left! After booking you’ll receive my free Style Guide that will help you with clothing, props, location, time of day, what to expect, ect.  It is so helpful! The best time of day is morning or evening around sunrise and sunset.  You’ll get creamy dreamy photos because the light will be really wonderful! 

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Spring Mini Sessions: Official Announcement

mom and daughter laughing

Check out my other post why Spring Mini Sessions are GREAT here and here. There are a variety of great spots for your mini sessions. You can check out recent photo sessions you can consider by clicking on the links below.

Carrollton Homestead Museum
Flippen Park (Dallas)
Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens (fee depending on which garden you choose)
Dallas Arboretum (possible fee)
Carrollton field (off of Marsh Lane and Hebron) 
Myers Park (Celina) 
St. Andrew’s Methodist Church (Carrollton) 

Use the contact form below to grab one of the spots that are left! 

 

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Series for the brides: First Look

Weddings are stressful! I’m providing some tips to make your day go smooth.  This is the 2nd in the series.  Be sure to check out the fist about the getting ready shots.  

By now I’m sure you’ve heard the term “first look”.  It’s basically the same as seeing each other before the ceremony.  I am a wedding photographer so this may be a little biased towards prioritizing photography, but there are more reasons than just photography to consider doing a first look.  On your wedding day, clients are number one and I really think that by having a first look that your day will go a lot smoother. 

Traditionally couples don’t see each other before the ceremony.  Have you ever thought where this tradition comes from? The tradition comes from when marriages were arranged and the couple were meeting for the first time at the time of marriage.  According to CNN not seeing each other before the ceremony was giving the couple a chance to change their mind about the arranged marriage.  This is a nice way of saying they might change their mind about marriage if they didn’t like the way the other person looked! Yikes! 

Even though that’s not the reason today (!!) you’ll need to decide if you want to do a first look.  Here are just a few reasons I’ve complied for you…

  1.  It makes you less nervous
    I was terrified of everyone looking at me when the doors opened at my wedding! In my experience, most couples are really nervous before the wedding.  It’s not about if they’re getting cold feet, it’s about having all those emotions all together.  I think having a first look calms your nerves because you see each other in a private setting.  There are a lot of details that go into a wedding day.  Depending on your personality there can be a lot of built up anxiety about all the details working together.  Having a first look can organize your day better.  This give you more alone special time with your groom.  Having a first look and seeing your significant other can help you to calm down and have a special moment.  I wanted to see my husband before the ceremony so that we could have a special moment to ourselves and not in front of everyone! 
  2. Less Risky
    There are many things that can go wrong on the wedding day! Planning on a first look puts the timing into your own hands.  I’ve seen it over and over again after the ceremony the bride and groom are excited and tired and just want to get to the ceremony.  Photos they claim they REALLY want beforehand get sidelined and in the end they choose not to do them because they just really want to relax at the reception.  If getting to your cocktail hour quicker sounds more appealing to you,  then a first look is for you! 
  3. It’s still special
    Since you’ve been dreaming about your wedding day for forever you’ll want it to be special! You can still have a special moment with your significant other with a first look AND the moment you walk down the aisle.  Many moments of the day will go by in a blur but even if you choose to go a first look, you’ll still remember seeing your significant other when the doors fly open.
  4. More photos! 
    If photos are important to you then I highly recommend the first look! You’ll have more photos and time for more of a variety of photos.  
  5. Time of day
    You’ll definitely want to aim for the best time of day for your photos! I’ll go more into that in a later post.  Typically this means two hours before sun set or 2 hours after the sun rises.  If for some reason this isn’t possible, then you’ll want to factor in lighting situations for your photos.  In some cases the sun will have already set by the time the ceremony is over and you won’t have any sun for your photos! You’ll definitely want to avoid inside photos so to get around this you might consider a first look so that you’ll have enough daylight.  

Enjoy this photos from first looks! The last photo if one of my favorites of a wedding party.  The couple did a first look so there was plenty of time to do more wedding party shots.  

bride and groom flippen park

first look bride and groom

first look bride and groom in forest

first look bride and groom

first look bride and groom

first look bride groom

wedding party

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Series for the brides: Getting ready shots

This is a series that I have.  The second in the series (first looks) can be found here! 

Weddings can be super stressful to plan! Even now with pinterest there is a feeling of planning the PERFECT wedding.  What really matters is planning the perfect wedding for you and your future spouse! I am going to start a series that you can read before you plan anything from a photographers point of view.  Just some things to consider.  I’ve been to countless weddings and so I hope to impart some wisdom to make your wedding day truly stress-free. If you think about these details before hand, I think it will provide you with a seamless day.  Stay tuned for more…

Getting ready shots.  These are the time where you and your girls are getting are prepared for the ceremony.  This usually happens in hotel rooms, homes, church choir rooms, or somewhere like this.  A good general rule to get great photos at this point is to remove clutter.  During my wedding day getting ready shots I jokingly told my bridesmaids “ok, ladies the photographer’s coming in soon for photos.  Let’s get rid of everything ugly. Millie (my best friend) you get under the table”.  ha! I could only tell her that because she literally is drop dead gorgeous.

At this stage you’ll want to put everything that is unsightly out of the way, maybe even delegate someone else to be in charge of this .  You can hide things under tables, under beds, or in the bathroom.  You can get cute matching containers for your girls to put all their stuff in.  This also applies to the guys place they’re getting ready too.  I will get some shots of them getting ready and if they can prepare their room to remove any unsightly things that’d be great too! This also factors choosing more aesthetically pleasing rooms for getting ready. If there is a choice between a room with huge windows verses a room in the back of the church that has hand drawn stencils on the walls, then I’d pick the window room.  When you’re booking a place, always ask to see the rooms they have for you and the groom to get ready. 

In general I try to take things off the walls if it’s disctracting in the getting ready photos.  I try to do this as much as I can and there are some exceptions. One exception is in the bride photo below. There is a cool painting on the wall on the right.  In general, hotels have ugly things hanging on their walls so for better photos, let’s just remove it.  We’ll put it back after! Don’t worry about nails I can remove those later very easily

At this point I also like to take photos of your wedding dress and possibly some part of the groom’s attire.  The photos of your dress on a personalized hanger looks so much better than the hanger that your dress comes with.  Here are some great options to get something like that.  Thank goodness for etsy! 

In planning the getting ready stage I’d also suggest planning for at least two and a half in between getting ready and the time the ceremony starts.  I’ll go into that later but that would give time for the most perfect wedding shots you’ve dreamed for. bride pre ceremony

wedding dress

bride getting ready with mom

mom seeing bride

bride and mom

getting ready pre wedding ceremony

bride getting ready
bride getting make up on
bridesmaid getting gift
bride pre ceremony

bride getting ready One of my favorite personalized wedding dress hangers

I love these personalized bridesmaides gift boxes! 

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