Something I see being discussed constantly in photo groups and wedding groups I'm in is... how does one choose a location for a photo session?
The most important thing for every photographer is that our clients are happy! So of COURSE we are going to want to know what you envision for your pictures. Do you want a body of water included in your images? Mountains? Flowers? a Meadow? All of my clients receive a free consultation to discuss these details.
Once I know what my client wants in their pictures, the hunt for the perfect spot begins. I typically give my clients 3-4 location options to choose from, also letting them know that if they think of a better location that we can do that too!
We decided to go with the graffiti wall since there is also a bit of nature surrounding the Kennedy Soccer Fields that we were able to utilize for nice, neutral portraits. He was SO excited to be able to get portraits done in front of the graffiti wall, and after his mom saw how colorful and fun it was, she loved it too! We just had to make sure that no inappropriate language or images were included in the background.
They informed me they were staying in Denver, but would not mind traveling a bit to go to the right location. So, I sent them the following four options, two that were further away, and two that were closer:
I also sent them images I had taken of the locations along with the google image pages to help them decide. They ended up selecting Chautauqua Park, and I absolutely love how the images turned out - but more importantly, they do too!
This moment was captured right after she almost slipped off the bars she was sitting on. He, of course, caught her, but they both burst into laughter, creating this beautiful moment. Always have to be trigger-ready as a photographer!
Consulting with a photographer is SO important to ensure you get what you want out of your photo shoot, and don't let the photographer lead you astray either! I find it to be very important to listen to what my clients want and work with it! If I truly don't feel that what they want will look right in photos, I will bring back up plans, just in case.
It also helps to speak with your photographer about potential props you want to use, or ideas you have - some of us keep props from other shoots or random items we would love to use in a future shoot, so it doesn't hurt to ask!
In 2017, my parents decided to fly me out to California to get me away from a negative situation I was in. I was able to go on a lot of adventures while I was out there, but one of my favorite places that we went to was Yosemite Park. I have wanted to go to Yosemite Park for a long time, ever since I started studying film photography and came across Ansel Adams and his inspiration, John Muir.
It is said that these two knew more about Yosemite than anyone else, having documented it through photography for years. It held a special place in both of their hearts, and as soon as my parents and I arrived, I could see why.
El Capitan, pictured above, is one of the most photographed cliff faces on Earth. It is one of the welcoming landmarks when entering Yosemite Park, and you can see Yosemite Falls to the left of it in the image above. These sights are extremely easy to get to, as this area of the park is the most visited by tourists, it features paved roads and scenic paved trails that are easily accessible for those with mobility issues.
Once upon a time in a land far, far away called Venezuela, I shot my very first maternity session. Jaqi, the mother being photographed, was barely showing at 7 months pregnant, we we got a bit creative in what we wanted to do to show off her teeny baby bump.
We took the photographs at this little private resort on the Northern coast of the country at a little place called Guakamaya. A lot of the huts were empty while we were there, so we took the liberty of using up different spaces to get different poses and looks. The weather on the coast was perfect for a photoshoot as well, with enough warmth mixed with an ocean breeze to stay at a perfect temperature the whole time.
The charm and atmosphere that these beach huts had to give made for beautiful, interesting backgrounds in each shot.
Keeping Jaqi's small bump in mind, we had to be strategic with her poses and hand placements to show that these were more than just personal portraits - she was carrying a child!
In the left image above, we had Jaqi arching her back up to push her belly out more, while cradling her precious bump with her hands to further accentuate it. In the right image above, as it was hard to tell there was a baby bump at all when she sat in a normal position, we had her tuck her dress to help accent the belly, with her making a heart with her hands to tell the viewer that love was growing inside of her.
In the images on the left above and below, we continued having her cradle her small bump, with the lifesaver behind her creating a nice frame within a frame, and a focal point for her head to lean towards.
Obviously, having your client gaze down lovingly at their growing belly is going to make it obvious to the viewer that there is more going on in the portrait than just a pretty client.
Interested in booking a maternity session? Let's chat!
As some of you already know, Jeremiah and I had our engagement portraits taken on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
Normally before I go take photographs I get what I can only compare to "pre-show jitters". I tend to be a little anxious, and the only thing that makes me feel better is checking and re-checking my camera bag, SD cards, and batteries to ensure I am prepared. Oh, and re-checking again. And then again when I get to the car just to make sure some pixie didn't steal anything out of my backpack between the time I walked out of my condo and climbed into Storm Trooper (my white Rav4).
Mentally preparing to get my own pictures was, of course, a completely different experience, and just like with the photo shoots where I am the photographer, my preparations started well ahead of time.
Athletes are often told to visualize their success and it will help that success come true. For example, if a basketball player visualizes themselves making a free-throw basket, they are more likely to successfully shoot the ball.
The same thing can apply in photography! I LOVE it when my clients share their Pinterest boards with me! While photography is more unpredictable because you can't necessarily prepare for something you don't know is going to happen, there are certain things you can prepare for. For example, you can pin portrait pose and prop ideas. This can help a photographer get a visualization of what they want to accomplish with their client's photo shoot.
So how did this apply to me preparing to have my pictures taken? I started a Pinterest board to get ideas for what I wanted my pictures to look like! I knew I wanted to include our two doggos, and went to Pinterest and found a few portraits that included dogs for inspiration. I found portraits at different angles I appreciated, and different focal points. I, of course, shared this with my photographer!
PS - want to connect on Pinterest? I would love to collaborate on photo shoot ideas, or just enjoy each other's board!
There are several things one can do before the day of their photo shoot to prepare, beyond the Pinterest board.
1. Pick your outfit
For Jeremiah and I, we decided to wear our wedding colors in our engagement portraits. I wore dark green, and he wore dark purple. I had found a sweater dress online that I ordered ahead of time, and planned that I would wear that with black leggings and black boots. Jeremiah wore his purple button up shirt with blue jeans and black dress shoes.
With these clothes, we knew that even if it ended up being a chilly day, we would be able to tough it out with the long sleeves and pants.
2. Pick your beauty options (hair, make up, nails)
Jeremiah's hair had gotten a bit long, head and beard. He decided he was going to get a trim before portraits.
I knew I'd want to wear my hair down, or mostly down, and minimal make up. I rarely wear make up as it is, and I didn't want to have a heavy layer of make up on in my portraits and have it look like someone else.
3. Make appointments as necessary (hair, make up, nails)
Jeremiah made an appointment with his hair stylist, Kendall, of Salon Bouvier in Aurora, CO on Friday. He decided to trim his own beard, however, and did that Sunday morning.
I originally had a hair appointment set for Sunday morning with a stylist I had never worked with before (all the stylists I know either don't work Sundays or were off that day). I chickened out though, afraid that this person who has never touched my hair before would mess it up, or have my hair straightened for pictures. I ended up doing my own hair and make up at home. I did make sure to paint my nails the night before and applied a fresh coat of paint on Sunday morning.
Day of Preparations
The day of our photo shoot, Jeremiah probably had to tell me to sit down and relax three or four times (maybe more). The photo shoot wasn't until 4:00pm, and of course I woke up at 7:00am just anxious to get ready and get 'er done!
I made sure to shower early as my hair takes forever to try (and I hate using hair dryers). Believe it or not, I showered around 10:00am and my hair was still damp for our photo shoot six hours later, even though I had my hair down all day.
After throwing some styling products into my hair after the shower, Jeremiah and I sat down on the couch and watched TV, played a few games, and "bummed" until 1:30pm when I told him I needed to start getting ready. Per usual, I started getting ready too early. I had my hair half-up in a clip and my make up done by 1:50pm and was dressed and ready to go by 2:15pm. It was still too early to leave, so Jeremiah (who was ready before me) and I sat and relaxed for another half hour before leaving an hour and fifteen minutes early to go to Golden. PS, the drive is only about a half hour.
We figured if we left early we could walk the dogs a bit and tire out the puppy. That didn't work out too well, as she just got excited again once Courtney (photographer) showed up.
As per usual, as soon as the pictures started, I calmed right down.
Now I'm just anxious to see my portraits!
Golden, Colorado is a quaint town which is nestled up to the Rocky Mountains eastern front, not too far from Denver. It's one of those towns that offers everything while maintaining the "small-town feel" and intimacy. Of all of the day adventures I have gone on in Colorado, Golden is still one of my favorite places to visit.
Downtown Golden is home to many locally owned shops and restaurants. Every restaurant I have eaten at in Golden has had superb food, and all of the shops boast unique gifts.
Photographer, visual artist, mother to four fur-babies, and travel enthusiast.