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CLASS OF 2017 FILLING THE SCHEDULE NOW! Class of 2017, now it’s your turn! We are already planning late summer and fall shoots. The calendar is filing up faster than ever before and we only shoot 100 Senior Sessions a year! Find out the details of our Senior Sessions here or call the Studio M-F. Leave a message! 606-436-1988
To Book click here!
Whether it’s writing her new fashion blog, traveling with friends, or visiting a local winery, Tori Shay, of www.shaystyleblog.me has rounded up tips and tricks that my senior girls can rely on to take everyday experiences from WHATEV to PERF, especially senior portrait day. Tori was a Senior in 2014 and is now devoting her time to her classes at the University of Kentucky. A few days ago, I came across her Instagram feed (I love to keep up with my former seniors) and was immediately hooked on her new style blog. With a quick text, I set up an interview with her and am BEYOND EXCITED TO SHARE!
Read on. . . My questions are in bold black and Tori’s answers and beyond gorgeous senior portraits are to follow.
- How to jump start your morning:
I always drink black coffee and I usually stick to eggs or greek yogurt.. I am a pretty basic and plain jane when it comes to my mornings. But, the day of taking pictures for my blog I try to eat really healthy just so I do not feel bloated taking pictures and I will feel more comfortable in the clothes I am modeling.
- How to pick out senior portrait outfits:
I am not going to lie, when picking out my senior outfits I was stressed to the max.. And was going all hay wire trying to pick the “perfect outfits”. But, when it came down to it, I realized that less was more… Some of my most simple outfits made for the prettiest photos. Let the outfit represent your personality and style, but don’t let it distract from your natural beauty and the natural beauty of your surroundings. I remember for my senior pictures that I wanted them to be different from everyone’s and the best. (Who doesn’t?) But, you can’t think like that. Everyone will come up with different ideas that you wish you would’ve thought of and that is okay. Just be happy with your experience with your senior pictures because you only get this experience once in your lifetime… I honestly wish I could go back. I had so much fun picking out my outfits, playing dress up and working with Suzanne.
So… when choosing what theme or style I wanted to go with I tried to think of my interests and what represented me. Instantly, what came to mind was fashion. Easy enough right? Luckily, with fashion you are able to have as many different styles as you would like and can collaborate all of them together. One of the many reasons I love this field!! So, I knew I loved fashion.. Now what? Well, for starters I went to my staples.. I asked myself what do I wear the most? Well that was easy enough, black. Ha-ha So, I put together a simple, yet trendy black outfit for one of my choices. The all black look allowed for my background and scenery to be basically anywhere and honestly who doesn’t look good in black? We all know our best colors, just as we all know which side is our “good” side!
Going off of that, you HAVE to choose outfits that flatter your body in pictures. I know that sounds picky, but it’s true. Your mom can be your best friend is this scenario and save the tears of disappointment. My mom was brutally honest with me and I dearly commence her for that. I have more of a curvy figure, so flowy and straight dresses do not really flatter my image as well as they might on others. So, I tried to stick to tighter fitted clothing. Also, I am super weird about my arms so I tried to avoid going sleeveless. Even a size 2 girl can feel self-conscious about their bare arms in a photo… So, if you can, avoid that.
Patterns?? I would honestly try to avoid them at all costs unless you absolutely have to wear them.. But, they can be distracting in pictures, make you look larger than you really are and also can cause the photo to be dated. That is why I recommend solids and simple outfits to make the portrait more about you and your accomplishments thus far.
- How to save your “face” on social media?
Well, as most people would, we want to uphold “good reputations” on social media. I would stray away from posting anything that you wouldn’t show to your grandmother or father. Also, it is never too soon to begin preparing yourself for your future job. Employers really do look at your social media accounts when interviewing for new positions. Another scenario that I had to take into account as I was entering my senior year was what I wanted sororities to perceive of my social media accounts. Coming from a current sorority member, girls do take notice of what you are posting on the Internet.
- How did your love of fashion turn into creating your own blog?
To be honest, I have been in love with the latest fashions and creating my own trends ever since I can remember, but it wasn’t until this past semester that I really considered doing it. I’m not going to lie; I was quite intimidated by the whole thing in beginning and still am a little. But, I wanted to just take the initiative and turn my interests into a hobby, which will hopefully (fingers crossed) turn into a career. I enjoy being able to inspire girls with different looks that maybe they didn’t think would look good together and just being able to relate to girls on a fashionable level.
- Who is your target audience?
I would say young teens 15 to about early/mid twenties.
- Favorite place to shop online and in person?
For the majority of the time I live in Lexington, so when I shop in person I like to go to Macy’s, Bevello and Morton James. But, of course when I shop online (which is where I do most of my shopping) I like to stay loyal to Nordstrom. Their customer service and loyalty is unbeatable and of course their clothes and shoes are pretty awesome too.
- What you want to accomplish with your blog?
I hope that I am able to inspire girls to not be afraid to try different looks, give them pointers on different fashion tips and mainly just express my love for fashion to others. Not to mention, I LOVE when people give me new ideas and what they would like to see go up on my fashion blog. So recommendations or requests are always wanted!! Also, I would love for it to turn into a job where I can partner with different places and promote their clothing & accessories.
Traveling to London, KY to shoot this newborn session was an honor! Give me some beautiful hard wood floors and great window light and I’m your girl. Oh, and throw in 2 precious little girls and you will not be able to get rid of me.
What an exciting day. I love this family. I’m beyond blessed to have them call me their family photographer. They have relocated 4 times in the past few years and have now settled in London, KY. When they asked if I could travel to their home to shoot this session, I jumped at the chance.
I will add more images from this session after they see them on Friday. SOOOOOOOO EXCITED! Here is a #sneakpeak of her birth announcement.
Every mom wants a beautiful portrait of her kids. Anyone who says otherwise is totally full of it.
Read on to find out some of my secrets for success with sibling photo shoots! (That’s a total tongue twister).
As a photographer, the goal is to get them as close in proximity that’s comfortable for them, AND make the mom GASP when she see’s the finished result. I prefer window or studio light for 2 siblings, and tend to go outside for more than 2. Below are examples of my studio work, I’ll blog part 2. in the future!
I like to keep the background simple, no distracting clothing for the most timeless, classy look.
Secret #1. Photograph them in a way that I would if it were my own children. This means, keep them connected. I’ll use their arms, cheeks, etc. to create a circle of love.
This was shot with window light, one reflector, mid-day. This is what every mother should have of her kids! I want this of my kids!!!! I am putting this on my bucket list.
If the siblings are younger it can be way more challenging, but just as rewarding. These twins were totally unaware of me, I was secretly pretending to photograph their new baby twin brother and sister. They had climbed up my step ladder, as soon as I got down. I had to act quick and turn my camera away from their siblings and catch this fleeting moment. So, Secret #2. Don’t let them know you are shooting. And when they see you, smile. They will smile back 9 out of 10 times. DON’T TELL THEM TO SAY CHEESE!
Secret #3. Find the emotion. Remember, it’s not about the CLOTHES, it’s about the connection they share, the bond. . . Emotion is the element I try to thread through all my images of children. Kids will mimic adults’ emotions, happy, joy, laughter, and then, in the moments right after, you may capture something like this. . .
Secret #4. Don’t over think it! This brother/sister duo above came in for sports montages so they weren’t prepared to bring extra portrait clothing. No need to worry, take the shirt off the brother, wrap the sister in a neutral colored fabric, and voila!
I’ll leave you with one of my favorites sibling shots this year . . .
COMING SOON . . . SECRETS TO GETTING WHAT EVERY MOTHER WANTS PART 2. . . Siblings Outdoors.
Contact Us to book a sibling session! 606-436-1988 or fill out this quick email form and we will contact YOU!
I shot this series in about 5 minutes, during a break in a girl’s softball team shoot. This precious little Lucas kept saying there was no way I was taking his picture! His mom stepped out of the camera room for a few minutes, so I quickly grabbed him, told him we could surprise his mom with pictures since there was “no way”she would believe it he did it.
Immediately, it became a challenge and GAME ON! This 4 year old wasn’t about to back down from this game of, “I dare you” to get in front of the camera.
Read on for 5 Amazing tips in getting these adorable, natural expressions from your own child.
- Set up the lighting before you ever invite someone into your space for shooting. If you are a mom and notice the lighting is perfect by your living room window, grab your camera first, then invite your child over to play or sit. Keep reading for the best tip EVER.
- Please please please please please don’t ask them to say CHEESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE, I SAID IT! STOP THE CHEESE MADNESS. Parents always wonder why their kids have a fake smile, well it’s because you make them say a word that does NOT evoke a smile. Try the word, “Hi” . . . I promise you will get better results. Talk to your kids, make them laugh, don’t make them speak! They are not circus poodles. Tell them they better NOT smile, that surely will crack them up. They can rarely hold a straight face when you tell them not to smile. Make a game out of not smiling.
- Be quick! This shoot took 5 minutes, no shirt and voila! This mom will have a wall portrait hanging in her home with NO effort from her! Now, that’s a photo shoot any mom would love. What a great way to celebrate a 4 year old.
- Let them know how awesome they did! Lucas was beyond proud of himself. In fact, as soon as he saw his mom again he said, “I did it mom!” Now, he has a good memory associated with having portraits made, and will not run from me the next time he comes to the studio.
- Reward them! We bake cookies for all the kids at our studio that are old enough to eat them. It seems this works out better than a bribed trip to Wal-Mart. Plus, it puts it on me and takes the pressure off the parents.
THERE YOU HAVE IT, quick and easy tips . . .
If you don’t want to worry about shooting your own “expressions” session, we are offering these at our studio this summer as an affordable way to be a part of our family and capture this precious age of your child.
Suzanne Deaton Photography “Expressions Session” include: One kid, simple clothing, 15 minutes, includes a 20×20 expressions heirloom wall portrait, and COOKIES! These are $300 and are ideal for 3-7 year olds. You DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS AGE!
Our studio is known for being easy to work with, delivering on time, being kid friendly and enthusiastic about children’s portraiture. Call us and we can have some fun! 606-436-1988.
- Find Inspiration: Without inspiration, your beach pictures will look like everyone else’s. Inspired by my Dad’s old navy sailor pants (circa 1967), we headed to Myrtle Beach, S.C. to bring make this dream come true and honor a man we both miss very much. My Dad passed away over a year ago. McKenna and I thought he would be thrilled if she could wear his old sailor pants for a photo shoot. My Dad was a small man, as you can see by the fact that a size 4 teenager can button them! (All 30 buttons! Wasn’t easy with acrylic nails, LOL) . . .
- Beach Style: Use the colors you see in the ocean when planning your wardrobe. I love bright turquoise, blush, navy and green, and please and forgo solid white from top to bottom. I wanted a nautical, Ralph Lauren feel for this senior shoot. I created a board on pinterest with some great looks for beach portraits.
- Wait for the golden light hour when on the beach. This session was shot around 6:30 to 8:00pm. As you can see below I kept the sun behind my subject for most of the shots. I love the backlit look and you don’t have to worry about squinty eyes. If you will be photographing toddlers, you may want a sunrise session instead of sunset.
3. Don’t be afraid to make your subject or kids get dirty, sandy, it’s the beach after all! Embrace the wind, sand, and waves, whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
4. Take Action: Take action shots of your subject, running, splashing, playing, etc. Show the happiness of feeling the wind at your back! Action shots are so easy with children, because they have a difficult time being posed all the time anyway.
5. Use open Shade: Which means, get in the shade and use the sun as a side or back light. Sometimes this will cause your subjects eyes to go a little dark, so in this case we had a white reflector on hand. A reflector is cumbersome when chasing toddlers but essential to all my senior work.
6. Camera Equipment is important: I used a Canon 5D Mark III for the body and 3 prime lenses: 50mm 1.2 L for the wider shots, 85mm 1.2 L for a few full length shots and a 135mm 2.0 for everything else. It’s easy to get rid of people or seagulls in the background when using the 135L. It’s sharp and fast and has beautiful bokeh. To purchase anything I’ve mentioned click here.
7. Know when to stop! Don’t kill your kids by over shooting! Get the shot and move on. I suggest doing posed shots in the first 15 minutes while they are still willing to please you, then let the fun unfold, and know when the FOLD ‘EM.
8. Hire a Pro! If you will be in the Santa Rose area of Florida I love Kansas Pitts Photography. Check her work out here. She’s amazing!
9. Shoot what you love: Having a daughter that’s going to be a senior next year is surreal. It makes me view my photography in such a different way. I now can put into words what I couldn’t have before. I specialize in creating images that show who a senior is at heart, what they have been through and what lies ahead. What sets me apart is I KNOW how moms want to see their daughters, AND I know how to make this fun and exciting for the senior as well, to pull out emotion, and mix it with fashion forward trends.
My advice to other photographers, shoot what you love and shoot from the heart and your senior’s inner beauty will shine.
Thank you McKenna Deaton for helping me mend a little bit of my broken heart through this session . . .
To book your own senior session give us a call and we will start the planning process for your own session! 606-436-1988.