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photography tips

Macro Photography Roundup: Tips, How-To’s and Inspirational Links

Macro Photography by Timothy Burns

Macro photography is one of my favorite ways to see the world. Below is a round up of some fantastic macro photography artists and series worth checking out. If you’re looking to brush up on your macro photography skills, checkout the great round-up of how-to’s below as well. Continue reading

Three Steps for Getting Started in Maternity Photography

Maternity Photography 101

Today’s guest blog post comes from photographer Kay Eskridge, owner of Kay & Co. Photography portrait studio in Phoenix, AZ. We’re thrilled to have her share her expert tips on getting started in maternity photography on the blog today!

If you have a passion for maternity photography or are thinking about adding maternity sessions to your photography business you have to remember the #1 most important thing…it’s all about ‘her’.

Her comfort, her desires and her connections.

If you can tap into all three of these points you’ll be well on your way to establishing a prosperous maternity division to your business. Here are three easy steps to learn, follow and get you started.

Her Comfort

Let’s talk first about her comfort and the elements needed to make your studio (home office or retail location) a place where she feels she is being taken care of. The following are steps you need to consider:

  1. Discuss her clothing comfort level in advance (fully, partially clothed or nude figure study?) via a pre-portrait consultation. My preference is to do this in person so she has an opportunity to come to the studio before the session eliminating anxiety the day of the session and stress from not being able to find our location.
  2. Have a robe available for her discretion (thick and warm for winter / satin and light for summer)
  3. Set air conditioning in advance of the session to a cool temperature and or provide a room fan (she’s a human incubator and will always be warmer than normal body temperature).
  4. Stock clothing items ‘just in case’ she’s forgotten to bring something like tube tops, robes, satin/silk material for draping, loose fitting clothing like bathing suit cover ups, etc.
  5. Have plenty of fresh, cool water available.
  6. Snacks to nibble on to settle an upset stomach or if blood sugar drops.
  7. Have skin sensitive or hypo-allergenic body lotion on hand.
  8. Be aware of her constantly changing and highly charged hormone levels.
  9. Powder to tone down a shinny face (mineral based in a few color options).
  10. Don’t spray room deodorizer or burn candles prior to the session as their sense of smell is extremely sensitive (if home based do not cook food that has a lingering odor the night before).
  11. Discuss posing and lighting techniques that will be most flattering to her growing figure prior to the session to reassure her that you have her utmost personal body challenges in mind.

Maternity Photography 101

Her Desires

Next let’s talk about her desires and what items you can offer to help your sales averages grow.

Images as Art for the Nursery
One of the most obvious items to present to your maternity clients would be images as ‘art’ for the nursery. Black and white images are always a huge hit as well as a ‘Watch Me Grow’ type option which would carry you into the Newborn and First Year baby years. You could include images from the maternity session, newborn session and the first year of the baby’s life. It is a ‘growing’ type of plan so images would be selected after each session occurs guaranteeing more sessions than just the maternity. These images can be designed as a collage, multiple album options and video slideshow (see a sample of one we put together below).

Beautiful Belly Albums
Another option would be to create and offer a ‘Beautiful Belly Album’ that would include images from just the maternity session. As a follow-up you could offer a second book from the newborn session as well as sub sequential albums from later sessions – creating a library of the baby’s life. Now you have an opportunity to make them ‘Clients for Life’ by introducing them to the many photographic opportunities you offer such as: My First Year, Birthday’s Rock, When I was one, two, three. A Day in the Life or whatever you call the specialty options you provide.

Creative Birth Announcements
Creative and unique Birth Announcements are also an option for you as the images you’ve captured now become a work of art the family would want to share with loved ones and friends. We use WHCC for their press printed products and LOVE the options provided for options of style and shape. The bottom line is that you have to continue the relationship you’re forming with them by giving them reasons to spend their money with YOU!

Maternity Photography 101

Her Connections

The third tier of this plan is to tap into her connections so you can reach other expectant mothers. You’ve made her happy and she’s hooked so now it’s time to ask her to refer you!

Many times we fail to do something as simple as this. ASK her for her referrals! Who is her pediatrician, her fertility specialist, where did she shop for her maternity clothes, where did she register for her baby shower… do you see where this is going? Tap into the places pregnant women frequent and that is where you want to spend your time and focus with advertising dollars to make it pay off.

Ask for the name of the owner or manager of the stores she shares with you and then use a letter of introduction with her name on it so you have a verified connection method instead of a cold call. Follow up with a phone call to arrange a ‘person to person’ meeting and then show them how this relationship will benefit both businesses. Talk to them about partnership marketing cards you can share as well as the option of displaying your work in their business. A Partnership Marketing Campaign is a win-win in today’s economy when everyone’s bottom line advertising dollar has become smaller and more guarded.

The next step is to ask your happy clients for referrals to their group of friends. Using facebook, Twitter and blogs you can post images and video slideshows that your happy moms will be able to brag about and send new clients directly to you. They’re proud of the blessed life they are now experiencing and if you can give them a photographic reason to share you’re setting yourself up for a gold mine of other expectant mothers.

As a wrap up, remember it’s her comfort, her desires and her connections. Hit all three and you’ve reached the tri-fecta of maternity photography. Implement them effectively and you’re sure to move this portion of your photography business into a successful direction!

Video made in ProShow Web using the ‘Sweet Pea’ theme.


Fall Photography Tips + DIY Projects

Fall photo tips

The Fall season is always jam-packed with photo-worthy events and activities, not to mention it’s one of the prettiest times of the year to be outdoors. To help you capture the season’s highlights, we’ve rounded up some helpful photo tips and a little bit of inspiration via Pinterest:

Halloween Pinterest Board


5 Really Helpful Tips for Taking Great Family Photos

Today’s guest post comes from Virginia-based photographer Rebecca Danzenbaker.

There are lots of tips flying around out there on taking good family photos, but I wanted to give you some gems that you might not stumble across as often.

1. Locations, locations, locations (yes, plural)

When scouting out a spot for family photos, be sure there’s a lot of variety. Though family photos at the beach sound great, having the ocean in the background for every single image becomes monotonous both during the session and when looking through the photos later. So, if you are at the beach, go toward the pier, an inlet or a grassy hill to vary the scenery.

I’m blessed to live in a neighborhood that has a farm, tons of conservancy land with wildflower fields, tree-lined paths, and some amazing rustic buildings and fences. Not only does the variety of locations bring diversity to the photos, everyone also gets a nice break while walking from place to place.

rebecca danzenbaker family photographer

2. Relax

Think of how much stress everyone was under trying to look nice (and stay that way) to get to this session. I have so many families who arrive 10-20 minutes late because, let’s face it, getting young children and yourselves beautiful and into the car at a specific time just isn’t realistic.

Instead of telling people to smile, where you get the forced “cheese” grin and no light in the eyes, I tell people to take a deep breath and relax. I would much rather have a “no-smile” photo, than one with strained lips, eyes, and foreheads. After everyone is relaxed, and I get a few great shots that way, I inevitably do something to make a fool of myself (like a goofy dance celebrating the photo we just took), which brings out the real smiles. The camera comes back up to my face just then.

rebecca danzenbaker family photographer

rebecca danzenbaker family photographer

3. Watch out for that crazy sun

Yes, you can get great photos in the middle of the day! Here’s how: Find a location with bushes, trees or anything else dark in the background. Place your subject with their back to the sun anywhere from 10-100 feet in front of the background, but in the sunlight, not the shadow. The sun will cast a gorgeous halo all around them and your dark background will ensure they remain defined by that light.

Here’s an example, two hours before sunset, where I was shooting with the sun to my right instead of behind them:

rebecca danzenbaker family photographer

But then I moved around so that the sun was behind them:

rebecca danzenbaker family photographer

So much better, right?! There’s nice even light on their faces and a glow all around them. If you shoot like this close to sunset, you’ll also get some really pretty lens flare, but beware of your camera’s auto-focus acting up when you direct it toward the sun. Just be patient, and make some small adjustments in your position. It will come around.

4. Connect everyone together

Have mom lean on dad’s shoulder and daughter take mom’s hand. Let the little guy hug dad’s leg or sit on his lap. Make sure everyone looks included and connected. Heads should tilt slightly toward one another.

rebecca danzenbaker family photographer

5. Remember why you’re there

When you do a family session, don’t forget the main reason why you’re taking the photos – to show the love and relationships between everyone in the family. Though a family is one unit, it is also made up individuals who each have a unique relationship with the other people there. Try pairing up people for photos to capture the bond between the two of them. How great would it be to have a photo of just you and your dad, no other siblings or people in it? That is priceless.

rebecca danzenbaker family photographer

Watch this family’s slideshow for even more inspiration!

Slideshow made in ProShow Web.

Rebecca Danzenbaker is a professional newborn, family and maternity photographer in Northern Virginia. She’s also really fun to work with! 🙂 You should think about calling her for your next session!
Rebecca on Facebook