January is typically a slow time of year for photographers. After the crazy rush of the holiday season it’s nice to slow down and reflect on all the amazing families I’ve met over the last year. Since I’m not shooting as much this month, it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up on blogging and sharing all of the amazing sessions I shot in 2017.
My very first session in 2017 was this light filled in home newborn session in Morristown, NJ. Newborn sessions are so special when they take place in your home. Think of all the memories you create in your home. And if this is your first baby, like it was for this gorgeous family, everything is so brand new.
One of my most favorite things about an in home newborn session is that you get to give parents all the time they need to snuggle and love on their sweet new babe in the comfort of their own home. If you were at a studio you’d have to remember to pack all of the things you need to sit around for a few hours and then pack it all up again to drive back home. At home we can take breaks if baby gets fussy. You can head to the kitchen for a snack if you’re feeling hungry. Touch up your makeup in the bathroom. And you also get to capture fun details of the baby’s nursery like adorable Dr. Suess print that hung on the wall.
What a year 2017 was!! I photographed over 120 families. And that doesn’t even count mini sessions!
Stacy Mae Photography was voted your favorite photographer in Morris/Essex Life & Health magazine Best of 2017 issue.
The start of the school year was full of mixed emotions as I sent one off to high school, one off to 5th grade, and announced that we’d be adding to our family with another baby girl in March!! 2018 is sure to be full of adventure!!
Before we move on though, I wanted to take a look back at some of my favorite sessions. This isn’t your ordinary best of 2017 post though. These are all bloopers. You know, the shots that don’t always make it to a frame, but they show how much fun we have at family sessions. If you don’t see your family up there it just means that we have to have more silly moments in 2018!
Summer always makes me feel nostalgic, but this year I’m especially sentimental. I guess that happens when you are about to embark on a journey that is unfamiliar and a little bit scary. High School!
So how about we make this summer magical?!
The contest to win a Fujifilm Mini Instax Camera begins today!!! It’s the perfect tool for documenting your summer adventures. Click here and find out how to win!
And I’ve got a few tips for you to help capture those memories in the best, most creative way. No summer story is complete without the details. The who, what, when, and where are important to every story. In this post we’re going to focus on the ‘where’ of your summer story.
Where do you spend your summers?
What are some of the details you can capture about the the places you love? And you don’t have to go far. How about the fire pit in your backyard where you spend your summer nights roasting s’mores. Instead of capturing the whole scene, try getting in close and just focusing on the melting marshmallows. Or the flames themselves. When you add these details to the smiling shots of your children laughing and enjoying the moment, it tells a more complete story.
Do you spend a lot of time at the beach? What are some details of your days at the beach that help to tell your story? Little hands full of broken seashells? Sandy toes? A favorite bathing suit? Pay attention the next time you take a trip to your favorite beach spot. What stands out the most?
Are you taking a road trip this summer? Maybe you’re going a bit further away? Remember to photograph details like restaurants you visit, your favorite meals, street signs, your view out the window of the airplane, etc.
The 4th of July parade in town has always been a tradition my family looks forward to. There have been many years where either one or both of the girls have been in the parade, but this year we’ll be watching as a family. I always bring my camera because I love documenting this tradition. One of my goals is to try and capture my kids enjoying the parade as a whole. Before I told you to get in close and capture details about the setting of your story, but this time I want you to take a step back and include as much of the scene as you can. If you can’t get back far enough, consider using a wide angle lens.
Another trick to make your photos more creative is to experiment with different angles. Try telling your story from a different perspective. I love this shot my little one watching the parade with her hands clasped in her lap. A quiet moment that she is completely mesmerized by.
Keep these tips in mind while you’re out enjoying the summer sun and start collecting moments that string together the story of summer.
You can almost feel it in the air.
Summer is coming.
There are only a handful of weeks left of school and once Memorial Day hits, it’s the beginning of the end.
No more homework. No more early morning wake up calls. No more packing lunches.
Summer is a time to slow down and relax. Ditch the routine and enjoy sun soaked days at the pool or the beach.
I spent the afternoon making plans for the summer. We traveled to Florida twice during the school year so there will be no vacations for us! I do plan to visit the beach though. What about you? Leave a comment and tell me where you’re headed this summer.
Speaking of the beach, I’d love to do more beach shoots this summer. Do you have a house down the shore? Invite me over!! I love Seven President’s Beach in Long Branch as well as Windward Beach in Brick. Both have lots to offer besides sun and sand!!
I’M THROWING A PARTY AND YOU’RE INVITED!
Along with enjoying some down time, I also want to make it a fun summer. I’ve got a couple things planned that I hope you’ll love. Did you know Sunday, July 16 is National Ice Cream Day? There’s nothing that can bring my family together faster than the promise of mint chocolate chip ice cream! I’d like to invite you to an ice cream party to celebrate! It’ll be held at my home and clients are invited to bring their little ones to beat the heat with some yummy treats and pictures. If you’re free, come on by! More details will be provided soon, but save the date – Sunday, July 16!
PORTRAITS FOR PARENTS
Sunday’s in the summer are going to be the best! Not only do we have National Ice Cream Day, the following Sunday, July 23 is Parents Day. Who knew that even existed? Apparently, it’s been a holiday since the 90’s. When was the last time you and hubby had a photo of just the two of you? Well, now is the time! Introducing Limited Edition Me & You Mini Sessions! These sessions will focus on mom and dad first. You’re welcome to include the kids towards the end for a quick family shot, but I want to make sure that the focus of the session is you as parents. Sessions will be 30 minutes and include 3 digital images. There will also be an option to purchase prints and additional digital images right from your gallery. These mini sessions will be scheduled in the early evening at a park in Morristown. BOOK YOUR MINI SESSION HERE.
A SUMMER GIVEAWAY
Summers are so magical, aren’t they? So many amazing photos ops too. How awesome would it be to win a camera that you can use to capture your summer adventures? I’m hosting a super fun giveaway on Instagram to kick off the summer. READ MORE ABOUT IT HERE.
I’m not sure I can express how much fun this session was. I met Ainsley and her mama at Jockey Hollow in Morristown and we walked around exploring the grounds by the Wick House. If you’ve never been, it’s a really interesting part of our history. It was built in the 1700’s and served as the winter headquarters for the Continental Army. Pretty cool, huh?
Whenever I schedule a family session, I tell clients to bring something fun for them to do. An activity that they enjoy doing together so that we can capture shots of them interacting and engaging with each other. Simple things like bubbles or books. Sometimes I also ask if there’s a special toy or stuffed animal that a child loves and tell them to bring that too.
Miss Ainsley brought Uni (the unicorn) along with her for our shoot. I love, love, love photographing kids with their lovies. In fact, I even created an Instagram account that features kids and their favorite doll, blankie, or stuffed animal. Click here to check it out!
Ainsley also brought along some of her favorite shades and we played around with them too.
Before I left my house, I grabbed a jar of pink glitter that was sitting on the counter. My daughter has used it in a craft project and their was only a little left so I knew she wouldn’t miss it. I thought it would be a fun way for Ainsley to celebrate her birthday during the session. Plus, her mama is expecting so there’s a lot to be happy about!
Three year olds are constantly on the move so we had to get creative for a few mommy and me shots. Asking kids to play games like ring around the rosy, smell the flowers, or even dance is a sure-fire way to get them to slow down and engage with their mama.
When the stars align and your whole family is going to be together for a weekend, you make it a priority to schedule a photo shoot!
This extended family session in Summit, NJ was one of my all time favorites. Truth be told, large groups can be tricky to photograph. Throw in a toddler and a dog and it can be a recipe for chaos. That could not have been further from the truth for this extended family session though! This lovely family welcomed me with open arms and the whole session was easy as pie.
Speaking of pie, Amanda booked this session during my wacky Pi Day promotion back in March. Her family has a special connection to pie! Not the mathematical kind. Apple pie!! The little girl you see in these photos is Claire. Claire’s grandmother once won an award for the BEST apple pie. And guess what? Claire’s due date fell right around Pi Day (which is 3/14). In fact, everyone in the family was hoping she would be born on Pi Day.
So when Amanda read about my promotion in a newsletter she just had to book a session. And to top things off, I showed up to their session with a fresh apple pie in hand. Lol!
It was a chilly, windy day, but it was so so perfect! We did part of the session in Amanda’s parents backyard – the house they grew up in. Amanda has an adorable pup named Shay that loved having her picture taken. And Claire was the perfect subject! She’s so lucky to be the first grandchild in this lovely family. She was showered with love and attention the whole time.
These are just some of my favorite shots from this session. There were over 100 that I delivered to Amanda and her family!! If you’re getting together with grandparents, cousins, siblings who live far away and you want to schedule an extended family session with the whole gang, click the image below!
I’ve been photographing this mama and her girls for years. This year we did their mom and me mini session at Reeves Reed Arboretum. If you’re in the area, it’s a hidden gem in Summit, NJ. We were there the weekend before their annual Daffodil Day, which boasts thousands and thousands of beautiful flowers. There were just enough yellow and white daffodils to add a pop of color to our session thankfully.
I love this family because mama makes it a priority every year to get in the frame with her girls even though they are getting older. Check out the email she sent me when she opened her gallery. I could cry every time I read it!!
“You know every year I think to myself- I wonder if they are getting too old for this? But every year I love what you send me. Seriously. If I showed you their spring school pictures (that I didn’t buy.. bad mommy!!).. you would not guess these are the same children. There is something to be said for letting them run and have fun and just taking pictures of exactly who they are, at that moment in time. And I’m glad I didn’t force them to dress up. Cause it’s not them and I bet they would have been slower to warm up.”
Everything she wrote is exactly what I want a photo shoot to be. Fun. Laid back. Stress free. But most of all, I want the images I capture to reflect who each person really is. Don’t get me wrong, wardrobe is important, but it’s emotion and connection that I want you to see. Not the clothes. Although, you’ll see from these photos, that mom had on some pretty sweet red Converse!!
Here are some of my faves from their session.
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and I am so excited to be photographing lots of beautiful women and their kids. However, they’ve all expressed some anxiety over having their picture taken. I get it ~ really I do. I would feel the same way if it were me in front of the camera. Awkward, sefl-conscious, shy … all of the above. Still I would do it in a heartbeat. With that said, I’ve found some great tips for helping you look better in pictures so I thought I would share some with you. These tips will work if you are having your picture taken by a professional, if you are find yourself in front of the camera at a family party, or you’re taking a selfie.
My number one tip for looking your best in photos is to shoot from above! This will get rid of a double chin and is the most slimming angle. If you’re taking a selfie, hold the phone above you slightly and make sure you’re facing the light for pretty catchlights in your eyes!
Stick your neck out. Slightly. Don’t overdo it, but if you just push your face forward slightly it will make your face look slimmer and get rid of any sign of a double chin.
Angle your body to the camera. When your shoulders are square to the camera , it can make you look wider than you really are. Instead twist your torso. Celebrities do it on the red carpet, why can’t you?! Turn one shoulder toward the camera and the other away from it.
If it bends, bend it. You don’t want to look like a statue in a picture. Slightly bending your limbs ~ elbows, knees, wrists, etc. ~ will create a more natural image. And don’t slouch!
Look for good light. Avoid standing under a light if you’re taking pictures inside. They create ugly shadows under your eyes. Instead, get your butt near a window or shoot in the shade if you’re outside. You want light that’s even and flattering.
Practice in the mirror. Study your face. Is there one side that is more flattering than the other? Do you like a subtle smile or a grin that’s wider? Find some pictures of yourself that you like and see what’s similar about them all. And don’t tell me you hate every picture you see. There’s got to be one or two. Find them and figure out why you like them.
Got any other tips? I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment.
Last week my family and I took a quick trip to Universal Studios in Florida during spring break. We hadn’t been there in 3 years and were excited about checking out the new rides, especially Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. We LOVE Harry Potter in our house so seeing iconic places like Diagon Alley and Honeydukes come to life was pretty cool.
Our trip started on a sour note though after our flight was delayed 4 hours. In fact, we missed most of our first day and didn’t arrive at the hotel until close to 11:00 at night. Apparently there were mechanical problems with our plane. We also experienced a pretty scary scene during boarding when a mom came running through the gate screaming for an ambulance for her little boy. I’m not sure exactly what happened because there was lots of commotion, but I did hear someone say that he wasn’t breathing so I’m guessing he choked on something. I do know that he was breathing by the time we started to board and I thought about the poor little boy a few times during our trip. I hope he’s ok!
Our first day we got up super early and headed to Islands of Adventure. We knew we wanted to go straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because it might be our only chance to get on a ride without waiting hours. This was the first time in a really long time that I brought my big camera on vacation with me. I wanted to challenge myself so I only brought one lens, (a 50 mm 1.4) and only used it one day. I wanted to capture as much as I could, but I also wanted to be present during our time together and not worry about my equipment.
I learned so much trying to take pictures while enjoying time with my family and also coming up with creative ways to capture the sights. It can definitely be tricky so I wanted to share a few things with you.
First things first, make sure your battery is fully charged and your memory cards are empty.
Get creative with your angles. Theme parks are crowded. Especially during a holiday. If you don’t want a whole bunch of strangers in your photos, it’s important to get creative with your angles. I like to shoot up high so that I can avoid the crowds.
When you do want to include your family, seek out areas that have less foot traffic. Sometimes you’ll find them behind a ride or in corners.
This was taken while we rode the escalator so it’s not super sharp, but it’s one of the few I have of them together so it’s a keeper.
This one is also hazy and not super sharp, but I love that I can see my reflection in her sunglasses.
Capture details about where you stay. There wasn’t anything particularly interesting about our hotel so I tried to create some depth in this shot by including something in the foreground.
Nothing too great about this spot either except that the light was pretty and this is where we waited for the bus to pick us up and take up to the park. Little details like this will stir up memories so it’s important to capture them just as much as the big sights and attractions.
We don’t have palm trees in Jersey so I had to snap a photo of these gorgeous trees.
This might be my favorite shot from the whole vacation. I actually had no idea she took this picture inside the hotel room until I uploaded the pictures!
Don’t be afraid to shoot on auto. I was more concerned about capturing memories than getting my images technically perfect so I decided to shoot on aperture priority mode. Plus the light was difficult to shoot in since we were constantly going from bright sun to shade. I did switch to shutter priority mode for a few shots because were were walking. My husband wasn’t going to slow down to wait for me to take pictures!!
Turn your camera vertical to capture the height of the attractions. I actually really love that you can see the crowds in these photos. I think it adds to the story.
One thing I did forget to do was hand my camera over to include more of myself in our vacation.
I did manage to sneak in a few cell phone shots though.
Here are a few more shots from our spring break. I can’t wait until our next vacation! I told my husband it has to be a beach somewhere though. Disney and Universal Studios are fun, but absolutely exhausting!
5 Days to Better Photos – Using Color
This blog series has been so much fun! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning some new ways to compose your images. I told you it was going to be easy! The hardest part will be practicing your new found skills. In case you missed the last few days, here’s a quick recap.
Your last tip has to do with color. Color can be used in a couple of ways. It can grab the attention of the viewer or it can set the mood in your image. If you want to grab attention using color it has to be bold and intense.
Maybe a dramatic sunset or fall colors when the seasons change.
You can also use color as contrast. Keep everything else in your image simple and then add a pop of color like this adorable little monkey’s pajamas.
If you’re using color to set the mood in your photograph, think about how it can enhance the mood. Different colors can elicit different moods. For example, blue is a calming color. Or it can be used to make the viewer feel cold. Green can make your scene feel lush and refreshing. Yellow and orange give you a sense of warmth and comfort. Think about how color is going to add to the mood in your photo.
Now that the series is over, what’s next? Well, come join us in the Click & Capture Facebook group for some more photography fun! It’s a great place to post pictures, ask for feedback and get more tips and tricks to help improve your photography. You can also sign up for my weekly Click & Capture newsletter where we dive even deeper into how you can photograph your kids more creatively. And, if you’re local to NJ sign up for one of my in person classes. I’d love to have you!
Don’t forget about the free ebook too!! 5 bonus composition tips! Grab your copy below.
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