It’s time for my yearly Brand Ambassador search! Do you love photos, community, social media, and having your face (or your family’s!) shown off? Then check out the details below!
What YOU get:
~ Bragging rights, obviously! 😉 ~ A FREE modeling session including 5 web size images ~ 20% off discount, plus 10% off for any family or friends who use your rep code ~ Exclusive session opportunities ~ First availability on model sessions, INCLUDING peak season and limited edition sessions ~ Discounted sessions on top of models sessions and sale prices! ~ Stackable discount codes for social media engagement and referrals ~ Complimentary composite images
As a Brand Ambassador, you’ll need to:
~ Be active on social media, tagging IBL Photography or Meraki Fine Arts Studio when applicable ~ Show off your photos on social media pages and to family and friends! ~ Comment, share, react, post, and be active in the Facebook group and on main Facebook page ~ Engage, support, get excited for your photos, and show lots of support (to other brand ambassadors as well)! 🙂 ~ Be willing to work with me on styling and/or wardrobe requirements for modeling shoots ~ Invite family and/or friends to the Facebook group
How you qualify:
I am looking for ambassadors who: ~ are VERY active on social media platforms, specifically Instagram, Facebook, and/or TikTok with a local following of family and friends ~ are inclusive of all genders and ethnicities ~ LOVE quality, professional portrait photography ~ support local businesses ~ have positive, uplifting, and compassionate personalities ~ live in or are willing to travel to the Weber/Davis County area ~ work well with others for group shoots, chats, or styled sessions
If you feel like you meet these and could commit to the requirements, then fill out the questionnaire I’ll share with this and comment with a photo of you, your family, or your child that you are applying for. 🙂 Please keep in mind that applying for a brand ambassador guarantees you consideration, but does not guarantee you a spot.
I can’t wait to start this year’s Brand Ambassador Program with some new (and hopefully some familiar) faces! 😀
The concept was started by a photographer at the beginning stages of the COVID-10 pandemic here in the US. I was going to link her information here, but I’ve been unable to find it now! If I find her, I’ll edit this to include her information as soon as I can!
Anyway, the intention was to document this time for her neighbors. It is such a beautiful concept: the perfect mix of humor and relatability through this tough time! As photographers, we are story tellers. This is what we were born for.
Since she released her images, social media took to it like crazy, and for good reason. She inspired so many photographers to start offering porch sessions of their own clients and behold: many a beautiful images were born.
So, if it’s so great, why am I not offering them?I get asked this almost daily now so, though I completely adore the concept and intentions behind these sessions, here’s why I’ve chosen not to offer them:
1. The trend was set before so many states and counties went on lockdown. Now, more than HALF the states have imposed lockdown measures and non essential businesses have been asked to stop conducting business. Even if I offered this for free, it’s still part of my business and, as much as I hate to admit it, photography is not an essential business.
2. The lovely state of Utah has NOT issued a state wide lockdown procedure yet, as of today (March 31). However, just because something isn’t yet illegal doesn’t mean it is RESPONSIBLE. There is no magic number of feet apart from people where the virus stops to exist. 6 feet away from someone isn’t this mystical bubble of safety. That number is for essential trips out of the house to help keep you safe while you’re running errands. The whole point of the stay at home movement is to limit exposure. Going out and photographing neighborhoods of people is not limiting exposure, it’s pushing boundaries and I ethically cannot risk my clients like that, MANY of whom are immunocompromised.
3. Even if I was extra safe about these (I’ve seen some photographers shooting from their cars, not posing people, etc), who’s to say other photographers won’t see this work and be inspired to do it in a completely negligent kind of way? What would I actually be encouraging here? ESPECIALLY as a photographer that teaches and mentors other photographers? In addition to that, who’s to say clients won’t be making extra shopping trips for props and outfits, further destroying the point of social distancing?
4. I care about the photography industry too much. We HAVE to bounce back from this. The goal is we all make it. And as passionate as I am about photography, it is STILL my business: it feeds and clothes my family. Most of the photographers offering these are doing so for free (and that’s a GOOD and beautiful and selfless thing). I am genuinely not saying this to be greedy and anyone who knows me knows I donate THOUSANDS of dollars worth of photography volunteer work every year ($5,000 or more to be exact). If I offered free sessions now, how would my business and the thousands of other photography businesses here survive when we CAN all book paying sessions again? Would YOU want to book a summer session when you just got a beautiful collection for free? Be honest, the chances are no. I probably wouldn’t, either.
5. There are other ways to spread joy. Guys, my business is suffering. I KNOW how this is hurting photographers and I also know the rush it is to give such immense joy back to people. Free porch sessions are a fabulous way to get my name out there, and I know this sucks for photographers in ways MUCH deeper than the financial aspects. And I also know there are other ways to be gracious with our talents and resources. Giving to local charities, creating online content, photographing shippable products for other small businesses, shouting out to other businesses that offer online shopping, etc.
I’m not here to judge anyone offering porch sessions or people looking FOR porch sessions. I know a BUNCH of photographers I ADORE who are offering these (and I can give recommendations too!). As I said in the beginning: the concept and intentions are brilliant. Most photographers offering these are doing it with beautiful intentions and are doing what they can to share beauty and hope back to the neighborhoods. The reasons above are just why I’M not offering them, despite wanting very much to! They do not reflect any feelings I have about people who choose to done or people who are currently offering them. I can also provide a list of WELL known photographers who are making this same choice, too… and honestly a few of them (the lawtog included) heavily impacted my decision on this.
Brand gift bag (because who doesn’t love presents?!
First pick and exclusive pricing on modeling and mini/limited edition sessions (INCLUDING Halloween and Christmas minis!)
Exclusive chat group with posting suggestions, tips, and session ideas
As my Brand Ambassador, you’ll need to:
Post on social media at LEAST 5 times a month (for 3 months) about Inspirations By Liz Photography and/or your experience or images
Add 10 people to the VIP group
Be willing to work with me on style and wardrobe requirements for your model session
Be active and post in the group (you’ll be added as a moderator so you can schedule posts whenever you want!)
Give out your referral codes
Be willing to give a testimonial and possibly a video testimonial on your experience
Sign a contract and model release allowing me to show off your cute images all over the place!
If this sounds like something you’d love to do and you want to join the team, just fill out a quick questionarre and add 10 people to the VIP group! Please be aware that I will be limiting this to 3-5 people only and filling out the questionarre and adding people only qualifies you for consideration, it does not guarantee you a spot. Jump on my VIP group and request the questionarre to get started!
*exclusion dates apply for discount to be applicable
Wardrobe panic looming between you and your portrait session?
For a lot of families, the what-to-wear question is the most stressful part of the whole experience, and it can become quite the ordeal when working with more than one person!
My what to wear for fall guide was a huge hit and my most requested link last year! So here’s for all my spring and summer clients!
Tip 1: choose a color scheme
You can see some of my favorite palettes on my Pinterest board for spring sessions Here and my favorite palettes for summer tones Here. Sometimes it’s helpful to choose one outfit (usually mom/wife/family goddess) and then choose a coordinating color palette for everyone else around that one. When we do our family portraits, I almost always choose my outfit first, and then build off of it with everyone else’s outfits. When we book your session and choose a location, I can give you a good idea of what colors will be flattering for your session, too! Some locations are soft and neutral, others are dark and moody and earthy, and others are vibrant and colorful. You don’t want to compete with your location for attention, so I can also direct you in a color scheme for the location we choose!
Tip 2: Patterns and prints Normally I caution against prints 100%. But with all these florals, animal prints, and geometric patterns in style right now, I can’t honestly say they’re all heinous to photograph. Just use caution. Look for more subtle patterns and do NOT put everyone in a pattern or print. Try choosing one outfit (like a floral dress) and then putting others in coordinating solids!
Tip 3: beware of the brights!
I LOVE bright colors in photographs. But I love it within boundaries. By all means, wear a pop of color. Go vibrant, be bold, ESPECIALLY in summer! This is the BEST time of year to go a little louder with your color scheme! Just don’t make it a BIG, solitary piece. Bright blues, greens, yellows, reds, etc all cast that weird cast to your skin tone. Everything reacts to light. White reflects, black absorbs. Colors tend to bounce and the last thing you want is to feel like your neck and chin got extra sunburned in the spring because your cherry blouse was too close to your face. Still wear the blouse, but try throwing a denim jacket or sweater over top and just have part of it showing. YOU need to wear your outfits, don’t have them wear you.
Tip 4: Layer and accessorize The BEST way to balance both patterns and bright colors is with layers. Layers are really the icing on the cake, with everything else being just another part of a great dessert. Almost every single wardrobe woe can be solved with accessories and layers. Vests, sweaters, jackets, scarves, jewelry, etc are all great ways to adding visual interest without distracting from you. A simple pastel dress can look a million times better with a soft cotton floral scarf and a wide brimmed hat! Your son will look extra dashing with a little khaki vest overtop his button down shirt and blue jeans.
Tip 5: Be consistent Everyone has their own opinions on what they want to wear, but at least agree on how formal/casual you are wanting your photos. It looks really mismatched when Dad shows up in a button down shirt and khaki dress pants, but mom is wearing Adidas workout leggings and a tank top and tennis shoes.
Tips 6: Don’t overmatch I can’t stress this enough: DO NOT WEAR THE SAME THING! The era of matching outfits is OVER (and thank GOODNESS). Solid white shirts or solid black shirts and jeans are a NO GO, GUYS. ONE of you can pull that off (with a jacket and some accessories, of course!), but unless you want to look like the staff at a local restaurant, do not bring the same outfits to your session. Mix it up. Coordinate outfits, don’t match them. Put one daughter in a little light pink sundress with a scarf, your middle daughter in a denim skirt, cream fuzzy vest, and long sleeve navy shirt, and your oldest in a pair of dark wash jeans, a light pink tee lace blouse, and a navy belt or sweater. Use the same color palette, but don’t put everyone in the same thing.
Final note: be comfortable It all really boils down to this. Your kids are going to be upset and angry if we do a session in sundresses and shorts in March in Utah. Your husband will look stiff if his button up shirt feels like it is choking him. You’ll not connect with your photos at all if you choose a wardrobe you’d never actually wear any other time. Choose styles and outfits that YOU genuinely love, not just what you think will photograph well. This is about YOU and your relationships, not what you’re wearing.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed about this, please reach out to me! I’ve gone on so many shopping trips with my clients, including shopping trips to their own closets. I LOVE knowing what my clients are showing up in beforehand anyway, so send me photos, give me a call, shoot me a Marco Polo! I’m here to help and not one single part of your family portrait experience should be overwhelming or stressful. 🙂
I get asked, often, how to take better pictures of oneself. People of all ages are getting on the self portrait band wagon, and studies have been done on the effectiveness of images over text only content. Businesses are being seen online more, and personal connections are less rare among those posting relatable images of themselves. Taking a great selfie isn’t limited to just the younger generations of tech-savvy pros and anyone can get some great images with nothing more than just their cell phone or digital camera.
Here’s some tips from a professional portrait photographer to help you amp up your selfie and online content game.
Find. Your. Light. The light you use can make or break your image and will determine everything from the angle, background, style, and even the quality of your image. If you’re indoors, I recommend looking for a window. Stand by it and experiment with where it falls on your face. Put your back to the window. Turn sideways to the window. Face the window. Keep going in a circle until you start to notice where the shadows fall and what looks best for your face shape. Facing the light directly will minimize blemishes and wrinkles, while having the light to the side will give your face more depth and can have a slimming effect (and its usually my personal favorite). Backlighting can be artistic and a great way to combat harsh shadows. If you are outdoors and the sun is high and bright, look for some space in the shade, or stand in the sun and embrace those harsh rays!
Speaking of light, don’t mix it. Your lamp light is probably considerably warmer than the natural light. When you mix cool tones with warm tones, it’s impossible to make it look natural. Something will always be yellow or something will always be blue. Unless I’m using strobes and my big girl camera, I will 100% of the time choose natural light over artificial if possible.
Know your angles. Spend some time looking at yourself, even if it feels weird at first. Whatever is closest to the camera will be biggest and whatever is furthest away will look smallest. Use this to your advantage. If you feel like you have a large forehead, tip your chin up just a little so your forehead is further away from the camera. If you have high cheekbones, emphasize them by turning your cheek towards the camera. Want to make your eyes look bigger? Yup, you’re going to angle them towards the camera. Just like playing with your light, play with your angles. Try moving your camera around your face like a clock and notice how each angle accentuates a different feature. A couple tips here: holding your camera near your chest pointed up at you will give even the slenderest of people a double chin. Don’t. Shoot. Up. Your. Nose. No one wants to know how well you groom those nose hairs. Just… ew. And don’t shoot directly above you unless you are wanting to look like a giant bobble head with a teeny body. Try to keep proportions accurate. Less is more.
Speaking of less is more: clean up your background. YOU might be looking at your face, but if there’s a pile of laundry in the background, everyone else will be looking at your underwear. Take away the distractions. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but tidying up can go a long way, or even just changing angles to hide the mess.
Don’t fake it. People are learning to spot inauthenticity and imperfection is often more flattering than perfection is anyway because it’s relatable. I guarantee people will notice your awkward expression before they notice how perfectly your lips pout. A great way to get a less cheesy expression is to genuinely create the emotion you are wanting to capture. If you want to look happy, think of happy things: your last success, the way someone you loves looks at you when they caught you staring at them, a dumb joke your coworker said, your dream vacation, or that inside joke you have with your bestie. Laugh. Out loud. And then keep laughing at how ridiculous you probably look. Capture THAT. Want to look busy? Then BE busy. Start on that letter you need to send, update your schedule, think of the clients you need to follow up with. If you want to look thoughtful, ask yourself some deep questions and ponder them in your mind. What you are thinking will be expressed in your face. If you think you look awkward, you probably do. Create the emotion you want to capture.
Surround yourself with your favorites. It’s normal to tense up in front of the camera for a lot of people (myself included). Its a bit like stage fright, honestly! If this resonates with you, don’t do it alone. Grab a friend, co-worker, or a loved one and take a few together. Do some silly. Some serious. Some laughing. If you want one of just yourself, then incorporate things that make you… well, YOU. If you’re an artist, get some of your art or art supplies. Coffee addict? Get your favorite mug and a delicious cup of joe. If you love your planner, get it in your shot. Favorite fuzzy socks that don’t go with your outfit? Wear them anyway.
Don’t underestimate the power of the self timer. Set your phone or camera up agains a windowsill, table, or get a tripod and set the timer. This will allow both hands to be showing and make your image seem less “selfie”-ish and more portrait-ish. Once again, don’t forget to play with angles.
Use basic composition rules to make your image more aesthetically pleasing. Use the rule of thirds (imagine a tic-tac-toe board on your image and put whatever you want focused on in one of the intersecting lines, generally off-center), and look for triangular shapes with your body. Basically: if it bends, bend it. Tip your head, pull your arms close so they frame your face, relax your fingers so they are stiff and straight. Pop your hip out a little.
Lastly: don’t overthink it. Even if you take a million shots and end up with one good one, that’s good enough! Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself, make funny faces, roll your eyes. Be silly. It’s part of your story.
I hope these simple tips help you create more more images and more self-confidence! If you have any questions, send me a message or comment below!
It’s no secret that I have a thing for tiaras. I have an ongoing collection of portraits featuring them, I collect them, I pour over photos of them when I am feeling down.
For my birthday, my studio sister bought me one. It’s. So. Gorgeous. Another one of my studio sisters bought me a gorgeous glass box to display it in and they gave it to me together at a surprise party they all threw for me with my husband. I donned it, immediately…. and have literally every single day since, even if it’s just while I edit. It was light hearted and fun at first. Here I am, nearly in my 30s with 4 kids, wearing yoga pants and a stunning jeweled tiara. But as our conversations kept going, I let them in on this thing I do.
Tiara Tuesdays. Yup. Every Tuesday I bust out one (or more) of my tiaras and I wear it. Sometimes for a portion of the day. Sometimes for the whole day. It’s just a thing I do.
In my job, I work primarily with women and children. We play, we laugh, we cultivate beauty, and it’s SO crystal clear to me what my purpose is when I’m working: I’m here to empower and inspire.
Day after day, I do what I can to pursue that. Sometimes, I get SO focused on everyone else’s potentials, strengths, and beauty that I forget about my own. Its an incredibly common ailment of women now-a-days and something we have in common more often than we think.
So I wake up on Tuesdays, look in the mirror, and put on a tiara to remind myself of what I am, and what I do.
I am a queen who rules her life, and I inspire others. Do I NEED a tiara to feel this way? No. Definitely not. But the visual representation gives me smirk and passing by the mirror makes me feel just a little bit extra on an otherwise boring Tuesday.
I’ve been photographing a series of portraits featuring tiaras for a couple years now, and every single image is a self portrait of my soul. So when my studio sisters gave me my tiara, Tiara Tuesday came up in our discussion and, to my surprise, it escalated.
Now, almost every single one of my studio sisters owns a tiara. I used to just wear mine at home, quiet and shyly self empowered. And then my studio family found out.
And it was JUST like them to feed this little quirk of mine. They fed it. They became inspired by it.
I think it means something just slightly different to all of us, but the end message is the same: you’re a queen. I’m a queen. And collectively, we can build each other up and be just a little bit more than whats expected of us. I see your beauty, you see mine, and we can be inspired and empowered by each other. I have your back. You have mine.
I didn’t quite realize it when it was just a little Liz quirk I did in the safety of my own home, away from judging eyes and old people who have lost their sense of being fabulous, but now that I’ve seen my studio family building each other up with this, I can’t stop. Every woman deserves a tiara. Every woman deserves the wordless solidarity we share for each other’s strengths, divine feminine, and the determination it’s taken us to rise from the ground time and time and time again and continue being the queen we are.
This is my #1 most asked question, so if you’re completely lost then don’t worry. You’re not alone! Let me help point you in the right direction.
Before we get into it, if you have a session booked with me, please remember that I’m here for you EVERY step of the way. This means that if you need to meet up with me at the mall or your favorite clothing store, I’m totally up for any excuse for some pre-session retail therapy! You are also more than welcome to text or email me photos if you’re stuck or unsure. I also have a few pieces I have collected for my clients to use that might give your wardrobe that extra pop it needs to be fabulous so let’s talk if this part has you all stressed out!
First things first: let’s talk about things you should NOT do.
1. Matchy matchy.
Long gone are the days of everyone wearing denim jeans and matching black or white tee shirts. We will get into how to use color palettes in a bit, but for now, don’t dress everyone in the same thing. Unless they’re twins or you’re purposefully going for the Thing 1 and Thing 2 vibe, it’s just going to date your images.
Look, I love fashion. I’m not the most up to date on all the fun trends out there, but I love to check out what T-Swift and other celebs are bringing into style as much as the next girl. But keep those one piece rompers and crop tops out of your family portraits. You remember looking back at photos from the 70’s and 80’s and being able to tell EXACTLY what time period these were from because they’re so horribly outdated? We generally want to avoid this. Let’s choose some classy, timeless pieces and mix it up with some fun accessories for visual interest. This doesn’t mean we are choosing boring things, but lets choose shape over trend.
3. Logos and characters
That huge Aeropostale logo and Wonder Woman symbol are both designed to catch your eye. It’s fun in everyday life, but you don’t want to look at your family portraits and immediately see a character or brand. You want to see the person WEARING it. Unless you’re purposefully trying to tell the story of your child’s obsession with Elmo or Spiderman, they need to keep characters at home.
4. Bright and neon colors
Here’s the thing with color: they can work FOR you or AGAINST you. Bright and vibrant colors are so fun and CAN photograph really well, but this is scary water to tread because they can also throw color casts into your skin that are gosh-darn-near-impossible to remove in editing and will cost you in post processing fees. If you want to incorporate some color, let’s do it in moderation and away from where the light might reflect it back into your skin. More on this later, too.
Ok, now that we have the ground rules, let’s talk about where to start.
1. Find a color palette. I have a great Pinterest board for this, located right here. I HIGHLY recommend considering what colors are in your house and near where you want to display your images for this part. But also consider time of year. Spring sessions aren’t the best mix for reds, blacks, golds, and plaids, but they’re fabulous for softer pastels, creams, and grays! Likewise, you probably wouldn’t use vibrant pinks and ocean blues in the fall, but in summer they can be so fun! If you get stuck on this part, look to nature. There’s a reason its so beautiful. Earthy tones are flattering 100% of the time and MUCH easier to coordinate than bolder tones. Choose some neutrals and then pair it with one or two of your favorite colors.
2. Work with your family within this color palette. If we are doing a family session, this isn’t all on you. Let your husband have a say if he wants to shop for himself. Kids will value the experience more if they feel confident and excited about their outfits. Give them the color palette and some guidelines and make it a fun experience. You don’t have to do this part alone. This will also keep you from accidentally staring at that color palette too long and making everyone match. You’ll just want to make sure any colors you add are either tones that absorb light (rather than reflect it) or they are not near the face where the light can bounce the color back onto the neck or chin.
3. Layer. Layer. LAYER. Hey, did I mention layers, yet? Sure, you can’t go wrong with a pair of dark wash jeans and a solid tee shirt when you’re in a pinch. But imagine your husband sporting those great jeans and tee shirt with a well fitted button up shirt and a vest overtop. Bonus points for a well tailored sports coat. Sweaters and scarves will forgive a multitude of those imperfections us ladies all overanalyze about ourselves. The key here is to look for textures and shape. Chunky sweaters are cozy and cute, but they need to be fitted and show off those curves rather than hiding them and adding unwanted weight.
4. Have fun with accessories. Vests, scarves, jewelry, hats, jackets, etc will all add depth and are a fun way to be a little more expressive without being distracting. Just make sure you aren’t using loud pieces like extremely chunky jewelry or reflective sequined vests.
5. Patterns and solids were meant to be mixed. Its SO easy to go overboard with textures and patterns so if you’re completely lost, choose solids and then add accessories to make it more interesting. But patterns are very popular and can add some great visual interest when done right! An easy rule of thumb for family photos is to only choose patterns for one or two family members. I recommend staying far away from stripes of almost any kind, but plaids and florals are very much in style! Look for patterns that are softer and not as big and loud. Remember, you want to wear your clothes, you don’t want them wearing you and you don’t want to look like all of your outfits are competing with each other. When I had my family photos done, I chose a dress that had a floral pattern to it and used it to make my color palette. It made everything much easier for me!
One last note: talk to your photographer if you’re unsure of something. Most of us care DEEPLY what you show up in and we want to this to be as stress free as possible for you! We might also have some suggestions for you based on the location and time of day/year we are shooting. 🙂
“Hi. I’m a professional portrait photographer. I specialize in children and family and I charge an arm and a leg.” -said no photographer ever.
First of all, an arm and a leg have legitimate costs! Check out this workers compensation break down . I’m not here to break down my cost of doing business and list off all my business expenses. There are SO many great resources on google to explain all that and I do encourage everyone investing in photography to at least take 5 minutes to skim through a blog or two explaining these things, because every business is different and have a varied cost of doing business. But this isn’t that post.
THIS post is going to help you decide what IS an arm and a leg and how to avoid a rip off. I mean, let’s be clear: ain’t no one got time fo dat.
If you HAVE looked up how much money a photographer actually profits from a session, you’ll already know that $25 isn’t sustainable for any professional portrait photographer. I’m not here to judge, I did $25 “micro-minis” once too. But… ok let’s be honest, why should you care? If a photographer is uneducated on how to run a business, isn’t experienced, and has no idea the value of their work; then you end up getting a great deal on a session. It works out great in your favor, right?
RIGHT! It’s NOT your problem and if you love your images, it’s all good! Like I said, I’m not here to judge, I’m here to show you how to get the best experience possible, which includes not sending you into financial ruin from your portrait session. You know the old adage, “you get what you pay for”? It’s applicable here 99% of the time.
Ok, here’s the shameful, vulnerable side of me being brave and admitting to something. When I was charging $50 a session, y’all, I was ripping my clients off. I never had any complaints and my clients were seriously some of the best of humanity. But they didn’t know what I WASN’T giving them: authentic moments of genuine creativity. All they knew is that they walked away with a bunch of cute pictures that, honestly, anyone could have taken for free.
Photography is becoming a lost art. It isn’t regulated, so there are so many baby photographers running around, peacocking with big lenses and fancy lighting, pretending they know what they’re doing (maybe they genuinely think they do), and ripping. You. Off. Because they really think it’s just about copying a picture they saw on Pinterest and pushing a button.
Meanwhile, photographers who have devoted decades learning and perfecting their craft and investing thousands and thousands of dollars into their education and equipment are literally starving because the standards of photography are lowering.
So what does this have to do with YOU, as a non- photographer person trying to save money?
Consider what you’re paying for. For YOU. Not for me. I can go on about my costs, but that’s not about you. You pay a little bit, and what do you get?
I’m going to guess. 5-500 digital images on a USB drive or an online gallery. They’ll be posted on social media and enjoyed for a day with all your other snapshots from your cell phone and forgotten for a lifetime. Digital dust is a thing.
Ok ok print yo pics. What’s new?
Take a good, solid look at your images. Do you see a bunch of people smiling at the camera? Or do you see all the little quirks that make up your family, your relationship, and makes your heart want to explode?
I’m gonna sound like my head is so big, it can’t fit through the door. But us photographers, Y’all. We are freakin magicians. We have SO. MUCH. POWER. Did you know light can tell your brain how to feel? Did you know angles and poses can say more in one photo than a million gifs sent back to back?
Do you like your pictures? Tell me why?
Because of how you feel when you look at them, and if you’re a momma like me, you probably like them because you made some damn good lookin babies that make everything beautiful.
Then why did you just spend money on a professional? So you could be in them? Maybe that’s part of it, but I’m also going to point out that we want to have a tangible way of remembering these moments on the days when we can’t stand them. Because we ALL have those moments.
You know what I mean. You crave those newborn rolls and sweet lips you see when you look back on those newborn photos, even when that babe is now a threenager throwing a fit at Target. You need to remember those pigtails, diaper bottoms, expressive eyes, and those gorgeous lashes. You need to remember looking down and seeing them because in a few years, you’ll be looking up. You need these memories to remind you how far YOU have brought this little person in their journey. You need it because you ARE a kickass momma.
An inexperienced photographer can. Not. Give. You. That.
An inexperienced photographer can not use light to highlight those fine hairs and tiny, dirty fingers.
And inexperienced photographer cannot use angles to remind you just how little your kids actually are.
An inexperienced photographer cannot use posing to show the viewer that you are a freaking goddess for giving birth and still using that body to nurture and raise a human after literally being split in half for them.
An inexperienced photographer cannot use color and color theory to insinuate a memory, childhood innocence, or passionate adoration between you and your significant other.
An inexperienced photographer cannot use prompts to ignite the moments your kids actually DO prove they love each other.
An inexperienced photographer cannot identify what moments matter to YOU and what YOU need to remember.
An inexperienced photographer CAN likely capture what THEY see, which is not what always IS.
An inexperienced photographer CAN try to get a cheesy smile from your 6 year old. And this is not a personal dig at new photographers. I was one. There IS a place for learning photographers. There’s a HUGE piece of my heart that will always belong to new photographers and will help them cultivate all these skills . But that’s a different topic for a different day and not about YOU.
But why pay someone to do something YOU can do? If all you want is some pictures of you and your family together, ask a friend to take some quick shots with their phone. There’s also a timer option. You’ll be doing the same thing with the pictures anyway. But if you want to FEEL these memories when you look at your images, if you want to document all these moments (good and hard ones), and have evidence of a life well lived, stop throwing your money away. Save it. Invest it. Ask for a payment plan, because oh momma, you. Are. Worth. It. Your kids are. Worth. It.
If you want someone to take pictures of all of you at the same place at the same time and you don’t want to do it yourself, and your budget allows, sure. Pay someone a little bit to get those snapshots. But don’t let that be what you go back to on the dark days. Don’t limit yourself to snapshots to boost your kids’ confidence (there’s another post coming about this soon). Don’t rely on those quick pics to document your life with these precious little humans we agonize over raising. They don’t and won’t ever do it justice.
If you want your life made into tangible pieces art, like a beautiful mosaic of memories, with the magic and the beauty of authenticity, light, and lightheartedness, and if you want to celebrate the breathless whimsy that is love, then save your money and INVEST in someone who can give you that.
*Still not sure what actually goes into professional photography? Candace Castor explains what it means to be legally registered, pay taxes and be insured in this blog post.
“You cannot serve from an empty vessel” -Eleanor Brown
I recently asked a variety of moms what the hardest thing about parenting is for them. There’s this epidemic in American moms and it honestly shocked me that SO many admitted to it when I asked them that question. It’s the belief that we don’t have time to care for ourselves.
You see… moms have to come from a place of service. We are CONSTANTLY serving others. The kids have to come first. Or is it the husband? The housework, finances, pets, school, extra curricular activities, Dr. appointments, in-laws, work events, grocery shopping, meal prep, and laundry (oh my gosh, the LAUNDRY!) have to all get fit in somewhere, too.
But there’s no God-given gift that makes us immortal to exhaustion, stress, tension, emotions, and the inevitable burn out and guilt that all moms will get. Utah has been ranked the #1 most depressed state in the country according to a Mental Health America. It also ranked #1 in the highest birth rate in the country. Perhaps this is partly because we are struggling. Moms, we’ve gotta get this together.
So here it is. I’m saying it for you. You cannot survive on your forgotten meals, missed sleep, and jammed schedule. You cannot serve from an empty vessel, you need to fill yourself. You officially have the permission, no, the REQUIREMENT, to take time for yourself.
How can I do that when I’m already stretched so thin that I don’t have time for the things I HAVE to do? I get it! I do! I’m a full time, stay at home, homeschooling, working mom with my own business. But I realized that until I could get myself together, my family would suffer because of me. Because. Of. Me. You love your family? Your kids? Your spouse? Then you owe it to THEM to make some time. Here’s some suggestions that have helped me!
1. Create a routine and schedule yourself in there. If you’re constantly jumping from one thing to another, chances are you’re missing things anyway. Managing our time is among the most important things we can do as moms. Once you get things written down, take a look and find out what isn’t a necessity. Extra things CAN wait. Down time is good for your mental health and the mental health of your kids, too! You’ll also be able to see how much of your time is devoted to non essential things (mine was social media!).
2. Treat yourself. Remember to schedule this in. Find whatever makes YOU happy. Do you love books? Go get a coffee or tea at the cafe of a local bookstore. Take a bath… without the kids. Meet a friend for lunch. Get your nails done. Go to the mall…. ALONE! Take a class you’ve been dying to take (money and time is never waisted on learning something new!).
3. Create something. Once upon a time you didn’t have kids. Once upon a time, you had talents outside of wiping noses and changing diapers. I believe, with all my heart, that humans are created to create. Even the most scientific, technical, left brained person is still a creative person… they just see creativity differently. I create art, paint with light, and create tangible memories of times otherwise forgotten. I also color like a 2 year old, crochet like a 90 year old grandma, and craft like a bored housewife! Doing something with a tangible end product is both satisfying and productive and you owe it to yourself to remember that you’re capable of more than just house work and running errands.
4. Meditate. Before you write this off as some new age excuse for being bored, hear me out. There are scientific studies that prove the benefits of meditation and grounding techniques. It can take 2 minutes, it can take 2 hours, it’s all up to you and it can be done whenever and wherever you are. The easiest and most productive that I’ve found (so far) is to become present in the immediate moment by engaging all your senses. Ask yourself, “what do I feel? Hear? Smell? See? Taste?” Now… don’t go tasting the dish soap or snorting the laundry detergent, but you can really do this anywhere. Be specific with your answers. And for the record, psychiatrists also recommend this one for people with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I LOVE doing this one with my kids, too.
Those are what have helped me and yes, there has been a SIGNIFICANT improvement on my family life by implementing some of these. There’s no more excuse not to care for yourself a little and mom guilt has no place in your life when you do. “You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”