My Life Has a Soundtrack 12/2015

I promised to let you know what music has been swirling around my mind all month and here it is. I also promised no Chipmunk Christmas and I did not disappoint. Most of what’s here has a very calming feel. That’s because I am in a mini-mester class and working full-time and still shooting sessions (and traveling to do it) at the same time. I could use some calm around here. And some beach. But I digress. I hope this gives you a relaxing background to enjoy the start of the new year with. 

See you in 2016!

I Have Always Wanted A Photo of Myself With My Family

How do you want to be remembered in photos?

The folks I photograph know without a doubt just how important I believe it is to live in photos, to live with photos and to enjoy them.  I love capturing the people that mean most to you, so that you can have that moment with them forever. When you are not here, after you can’t be anymore, those images will your legacy.

When I ask how you want to be photographed, I am asking what you want me to preserve for you. I’m asking you who you want to share it with. Ultimately, I am asking you what you love about your life, as it is now.

Lori and Lauren wanted to share a mother daughter session because they have a fun and loving relationship they enjoy very much. They’d be besties even if they weren’t related.

When I look at this photo I am reminded that I don’t have one of my own with my mother, my grandmothers, or even my great-grandmothers. My family lived all over the place when I was young and now most of them are gone. I have a few old prints, but none of me and the person in the photo together. I have always wished I could change that.

Two summers ago I was able to gather my brother’s family and we got a great group photo of us all in Dallas. That was a huge treat. I printed and framed it 16×20, and it maintains pride of place in one of my favorite rooms in the house.

Loving family histories as I do, I can’t help but be passionate about making these images – they get me where I live. So, I encourage you to be in each other’s photos. And I encourage you to think about how you want to be remembered and who you would like photographed with you – sharing your moments.  Remember, these moments mean something – they’ll be here forever as a comfort, a gift, a memory, a sound, a laugh and a smile. They are you and they are loved.

What do I Wear for my Photos?

One of the questions I hear most is “What should I bring to wear in my photos?” and “Should we all wear jeans and a white shirt? We’d like to coordinate for our picture.”  Let’s start  with individual photos.

When I am ding someone’s portrait or making a Senior folio for someone I tell them to bring me 5 different tops with varying necklines. This is an example of the different types of necklines to choose from:

Once I have a few tops to choose from I can then begin shaping the shoot by pairing the colors you have brought with my locations and backgrounds. For men it is a little simpler, they usually have button-up, crew and v-neck shirts and I ask them to bring their sports jersey or jacket if they want to feature it in thier photos.

For families and groups the idea isn’t necessarily to match each other but rather to “go together” and connect visually. This can be achieved with color, style and textures. Here is an example of clothing choices that go together but don’t match:

For the above grouping the main grounding element is not color but mood. Everything is within a similar middle-shade of the colors represented. Here is an example of a warmer palette that still coordinates but is not matching:

You can see that the bottoms here are all about the same darkness. That helps the other colors remain grounded. This color palette has Maroon, Dark Navy, Mustard, Chambray and Grey – a total of 5 colors. It looks cohesive because the grounding color is all the same.

This combination below is a little more subtle in the ways it illustrates connection. The overall grounding color is tan/brown. The second color is blue and the accent color is robin’s egg. The unifying element is pattern, though not on Dad. He will likely hold the baby and will not need a pattern of his own.

As a general rule I prefer people shy away from neon or bright colors near the face. I also tend to prefer solid colors and for people to avoid wearing really intricate or distracting patterns or prints.  There are exceptions to these rules, as always, but using these you can’t go wrong.

Let me know if you have questions anytime!

Monthly Feature : Artist on Art

Thoughts on Edward Hopper – American Painter


Very few painters intrigue me the way Edward Hopper does. The quality of life and light in the things he painted is unique, of course, but there’s something more to it that makes his paintings somewhat timeless. Maybe it’s the relief in his worlk. Maybe I like all the yellow and rust tones in the skin, landscapes (are these the same to him?) and the hair colors he painted. It’s possible that the reason I like these colors is because of how he placed them and used them: they are generally in the picture with a counterweight like sea blue or indigo. Everything seems to be balanced in some way. Rocks are featured with a sea scape. People with ample and simple softness are in rooms with hard angles and painted with lots of contrast. Shapes of homes and buildings are placed in soft flowing fields of grasses, bent against a soft breeze. Why? Why bother balancing? Was it to calm himself? Calm us? Calm the place altogether? I can look on his paintings for the rest of my life. I simply love them all. There are some I’d never hang because I don’t understand them, but I love those, too. Something about the irreverent way things are shared and how plainly the details are included makes me feel like I could have dreamt what he painted. I love that transcendant aspect of his work.

Image credit:
Edward Hopper, Blackhead, Monhegan, 1916-1919. Oil on wood, 9 1/2 x 13 in. (24.1 x 33 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1317. © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Photography by Geoffrey Clements


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