1. Hire your photographer early
Hiring your photographer several weeks and months in advanced will give you more time to plan with him/her your session. This will give you the time you need to coordinate wardrobes and choose a day that is not a busy one on your schedule. Scheduling a photo session the week of or having a busy day with activities beforehand is not a good idea as it leads to unhappy children which equals unhappy or forced expressions in the photos.
2.Choose a time of day that works best with your children
For outdoor photo sessions, most photographers will suggest morning or evenings for the photo session to take place in order to optimize the best natural light. These times of day also happen to be naturally difficult ones for children, especially young children. Go with your gut and instincts: You know your children the best, whether they are morning people or tend to be more energetic and engaging in the evening. Let your photographer know which time a day is best. This can make a huge difference in the enjoyment of the experience and the end result of your images.
3. Clothing everyone within a color family is in, not matching head to toe
Gone are the days of matchy matchy wardrobes for photo shoots. Look through colors swatches from our Pinterest page for wardrobe color ideas. You may just have the right colors in your wardrobe already! This will help in budgeting and finding a color swatch that matches your family's personality, the time of year the photos are taken, the location and/or fit your current wardrobe. Also keep in mind comfort as you clothe your children. Free flowing, moveable clothes enable your child to still be a kid, while being also adorable.
4. Clearly Communicate your Vision
Most of the time, photographers will have location ideas if you don't have anything specific in mind. He/She will choose your location based on the information she gathers through your questionnaire and conversations. If your family doesn't love the water nor getting messy, but loves clean lines and order, than the beach probably isn't the best choice for you! Messy sand and ocean spray wouldn't only be unenjoyable, but would not capture who you are as a family. A more suitable location may be a city scape or an easily accessible natural area. Choosing a location that fits your family does make a difference in how you feel about your images.
5. Accessories Accessories Accessories!
Probably one of the most important tips for adults is to remember to accessorize. For newborns: hats, bows, wraps and props are important
For children: bows, ribbons, hats and favorite toys can be fun
For adults: it's watches, suit coats, and nice shoes for men and
earrings, necklaces, bracelets, hats, scarves, and heels for women.
You may question heels and suit coats, but heels help elongate the legs, making a lady appear trimmer on film. And we all want that, don't we ladies!
And to answer any questions about a suit jacket, well just ask a woman how she feels about a man in a suit jacket:) She will most likely reply that men look sharp and handsome. Not only does a jacket help a man appear broader and more masculine on film, but also trimmer as it creates a slimming effect with the contrast and position of the shirt and coat. The accessories you wear can most importantly bring confidence in how you feel about yourself during your session, which is ultimately displayed in your images.
(These suggestions are only applicable if they work with the location environment. It may not be suitable at times to be wearing heels or a suit jacket.)
These few short tips will help you LOVE your finished images and ENJOY your family photo session experience.
By layering several of our favorite photos of Joe's and Corrine's engagement, we created a beautiful, abstract montage of their day. This technique offers a dream-like memory of an amazing proposal.
Such a gorgeous and sweet couple, so much in love! This young man really set the bar high for other men out there as he planned this very elaborate surprise engagement. We and the Potomac Point Winery became quite involved as we helped him scheme by creating a mock complimentary photo session drawing that included the winery sending a letter to notify his girlfriend that she had won. He also secretly invited her family from out of state to witness this very special event and he even made a detailed plan of how to keep the family hidden in the winery as we were to move throughout the winery taking photographs.
When the day finally arrived and everything in this elaborate plan was perfectly in place, we arrived at the winery to meet this "new" couple. Joel and I were so nervous that we would blow the surprise. We drilled it into our heads that this was a "couple" session and not an "engagement" session. It was even more difficult to pretend to not know the man behind all of this scheming, whom we have been working with over the last several weeks and had met with on one occasion.
As we worked with the couple and saw how they interacted, there was no question to the depth of their affections and it was revealed even more so as we reflected upon this young man's intricate, careful and considerate plan to express his love to his future fiancé and before all of the witnesses that he invited to take part. Oh what joy and adrenalin as this session carried on smoothly and as we worked towards the "place" where it was to all happen. What a breathtaking evening overlooking this stunning winery and witnessing the confession of an even more breathtaking love.
More images to come!
This is a very late post to a trip taken in 2015, when I returned from an eight-day trip to the "Utah Parks": Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante. When I went, I decided I wouldn't take my DSLR, as I felt it might get to cumbersome along some of the more strenuous hikes I was going to be treking. Now, this very moment, some might be calling me a wimp for not sloshing my camera and camera bag around up in the Narrows (a body of water that flows through a slot canyon in the upper Zion region), but I took the opportunity to see what I could do with my smartphone. I have felt that using my phone to try capturing professional photos was amatuerish as a photographer, and until this trip, never considered taking professional photos with it.
It seems to me that more-and-more people are using their phones to take photos, and it also seems like phone companies are continuing to evolve the technology to fit this trend, by improving the resolution and mega pixels of these "smart" phones, and they're doing it faster than a squirrel on nuts-and that's fast! It's not that I never use my phone for pictures, but these were mostly for fun, and not for "professional" purposes. This being the case, I felt this would be a perfect opportunity for me to see what I could do; to see if a smartphone could actually capture professional photos. Here are my conclusions:
Here's a photo outside of Zion National Park - f2.8, Ziess Smartphone lens, Samsung Droid Razor
One of my favorite types of photo sessions are high school senior portraits. There is always so much energy and excitement as they are about to embark on this new chapter of life. I love to hear their dreams and plans and watch them light up as they tell me. I love to encourage them and share in their joy. It's so important to me in photographing seniors, that I look carefully over their pre-session questionnaire, planning their session uniquely for them. I want to capture their personality and who they are as much as I can, choosing poses that would come natural to them. I want them to feel beautiful and comfortable in expressing who they are.
I have done several senior portrait sessions lately, but the one I am sharing here is special. This is my girl…the one I carried in my very womb; the one I have watched in awe as she transformed from baby to child and from child to young woman. I am so thankful that she asked me to document this important year of her life and I feel overwhelmingly blessed by her friendship. I love her quiet, and sometimes not so quiet, confidence.:) I love that she is comfortable with who God made her and I love her passion for ancient history, her deep affections for classical literature, and her desire for travel and adventure. She reminds me of me at her age in many ways. She sees the horizon as endless and dreams attainable, no holding back. As I watch, I pray for her to not lose that drive in the face of the mundane and to continue to withstand the presence of fear, through her unmovable faith. It is a bittersweet season that I have been preparing for for years, by asking the more wise how they made it though it with grace and ease. As I think of the fact that this season has finally arrived, I know it won't be easy, but it is good and I know I have been forever changed since the day she made me "mom".
Yes it was the coldest and windiest day in November, but no it didn't stop this family from enjoying the adventure! Family H. was celebrating their parent's 30th Wedding Anniversary and the children had planned a very special day for them, starting with this morning shoot at the beach.
Not only were they celebrating an anniversary, but there was also much excitement about the first grandchild being on the way and expected to arrive in the spring!
It was so much fun being around this family as their laughter and joy was so contagious. Their deep love and respect for each other was so easily seen and naturally captured. It was a beautiful day.
Location:Steve Rula with Cary Hill Plantation 1741
Inside style: Annette Lindsey and Patti DeBlass with Schmidt's Flowers and Accessories
Outside Style: Christy O’Neal with Events by Truly Yours
Flowers: Patti DeBlass with Schmidt's Flowers and Accessories
Cake: Kadi Spruill with Kadi Bakes
Sweets:Cari Mezick with It’s All Sugar 2 Me
Food Spread:Tess Schaffner with Off the Vine Market Inc
Dress and jewelry: Celebrity Bridal
Makeup and Hair: Kirsty Smit Wingfield with Richmond Make Up Artist
Models: Berkley Perkins and Truman Swan
Photography: Leah and Joel Martinson with White Black Photography
We had the pleasure of photographing another gorgeous styled shoot. This styled shoot was photographed at Cary Hill Plantation 1741, located in Charles City. This beautiful venue is nestled in a serene and picturesque region of Charles City which creates the perfect setting for a private and romantic wedding.
This styled shoot had a very Tuscan, romantic feel and could have easily taken place in some quaint period estate somewhere in Europe. The beautiful lace gown, the 1741 home, the florals throughout, the spread of exquisite food and wine and the overall decor really transported all of us to the countryside of Europe.
There were countless hours of hard work and creativity invested into this styled shoot by all of the professionals involved and can definitely be seen in the quality of their work and products provided. It was such a privilege working with everyone involved and we look forward to working with these vendors in the future.
Last week we had the privilege to photograph a styled photo session at The Settlement at Powhatan Creek in Williamsburg, Va. Many amazing professionals came together to make this event absolutely stunning!
Location: The Settlement at Powhatan Creek
Flowers: Patti DeBlass at Schmidt's Flowers
Hair and Makeup: Kirsty Wingfield of Richmond Makeup Artist
Bride: Delia DeBlass
Dress: Debbie Wesolowski Glitter Events
Photography: us, White Black Photography
Cake: Cakes by Tawanda
Candy Bar and Table Scapes: Annette Lindsey at Schmidt's Flowers
Everyone involved had a wonderful time working together prepping, setting tables, staging shots, and sharing stories. Joel and I were very impressed with the professionalism and quality that everyone brought. This made our job of photographing such a pleasure.
We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful location with exquisite ambiance and on site spaces for creating fabulous images. And the "bride", Delia DeBlass was so outstanding to work with. She put up with hours in her hot gown in the extreme heat outdoors and under our professional lighting indoors, while keeping a great sense of humor and fun.
Despite the extreme heat and humidity, the bride and her makeup remained flawless and everyone managed to keep moving and persevere with determination. With over 2 months of planning, 5 hours of on site preparation and 3 hours of photographing, this styling event turned out an absolute success! We are all very pleased with the results and look forward to working together in the future.
I had a great time working with this fabulous model, capturing these great Fourth of July shots. We couldn't live in a better place, than our home town, colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.