Monday, July 23, 2012

Senior portraits in the evening light

I haven't been doing many session previews, because I have discovered that I love watching people seeing their portraits for the first time at their viewing sessions! But I enjoyed meeting this beautiful senior so much, and we have some scheduling conflicts so she's not going to see her whole session for a little while.  Isn't she beautiful?
Albuquerque senior portraits photography


Albuquerque senior portraits photography

We caught that soft evening light - it was perfect.  Such a good time of day for senior pictures.
Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Albuquerque senior portraits photography

It all looks very pretty here, right?  THEN THE MOSQUITOES CAME OUT!  Yikes.  I still have itchy legs.  I think she got it worse than I did (sorry!).
Albuquerque senior portraits photography




Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Now is a great time to book a senior session - give me a call if you would like to get one scheduled! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Country Road" senior portraits

This is another of my Class of 2013 models - our theme was "Country Road" and I am so happy with how these turned out!  I had some really specific images in mind and I feel like we really got what I wanted.  Thanks so much to this gorgeous model! :)

She played some amazing violin for us (my daughter came to help me out, that's the "us").  She was telling me how she is planning to major in performing music in college, I'm pretty sure she said piano.  A tough major! 
 Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Here is that gorgeous evening light at work. 
Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Yes, we were carrying an antique chair down the country road. :)  I'm always so happy when I can find some tall grass!  Albuquerque needs more meadows.
Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Albuquerque senior portraits photography

It's hard to pick but this is one of my favorites.
Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Albuquerque senior portraits photography

The students who are my models get an extra senior session - the themed session like I'm showing here - and cards to pass along to any of their friends or classmates who may be interested in getting senior portraits with me.  Then they both get a bonus if their friend brings that card to their session.  Now I have to decide which pictures to use for her cards!
Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Albuquerque senior portraits photography
If you like this location (like I do!) & want to go here for your senior portraits as well, or are interested in working with me for your senior portraits anywhere, give me a call! I'd love to meet you!

Monday, July 16, 2012

"What should we wear for our family portraits?"

I have been mentally composing this blog post for years. :) Finally I have the set of images I've been wanting to make my post complete.  Thanks to my sister in law Rebecca for helping me out.

If you are considering investing in custom family portraits, probably one of the things that's on your mind is what you should wear. I get asked this question all the time, and while there is no right or wrong answer necessarily, I would love to share my thoughts on the question.  First of all I need to specify that for this post I want to address family portraits, and the more posed family portraits specifically.  So if you would like a family portrait where your family is close together, and more or less looking at the camera, that's what I'm talking about today.  (For senior portraits, baby portraits, two cute little brothers, etc., my recommendations would be quite different.  Go crazy!)

I know some photographers who tell families to wear whatever they like best, and I know some photographers who tell families to wear matching long-sleeved solid dark shirts.  My preference is definitely somewhere in the middle.  To illustrate my point, here are two portraits of my family.  (Let me preface this by saying that we were on vacation here, so our outfit options were limited.)  In the first picture, we all wore our favorite outfits (from our suitcases).  99% of my son's shirts are striped; that is his favorite.  My husband prefers shirts with funny graphics (his shirt has a knuckle sandwich on it).  My daughters love sundresses, the brighter the better.  And I thought some floral would go nicely into the mix.
Albuquerque family photography

In the second picture we wore solid color shirts, in more or less the same hue values (or as close as we could come with the clothes we had).  The location is the same, the pose is pretty much the same, but the portraits are very different.  As you can see, having the clothing be harmonious allows the focus to be on our faces.  In the first picture, your eye bounces from shirt to shirt, never resting on the faces at all.  In the second portrait, my eyes go right to our faces.
Albuquerque family photography

My sisters-in-law also did a great job with this, and their families' clothing also illustrates the point that you don't necessarily need solid colors.  You just need a cohesive plan.  They each picked a color theme to use, so their clothes make sense together. 
Albuquerque family photography
Often it helps to pick one family member's shirt first (usually this is one of the mom's :) ) and then come up with a color plan that goes along with that.

Albuquerque family photography

In our family portrait below, I picked the color scheme first - purple, bright pink, and navy.  Then we (let's be honest - I - ) came up with clothes that worked together.  I had to buy my shirt and my son's, but the rest we already had.
Albuquerque family photography

I don't think your colors necessarily need to match, though that can work too, but it helps if you have colors in the same hue value.  (That means the same amount of lightness/darkness.)  Because this family's shirts are all bright and colorful, there isn't a big contrast between them, and your eyes can rest on their faces.
Albuquerque family photography

This family matched a little more - I love their combination, it fit them perfectly.  One thing that I think is important is that solid colors are perfect here.  Picture this location, with the very busy - beautiful - tile, and plaid shirts instead of solid.  Yikes.  I often recommend solid colors when I do portraits outside on location, for exactly this reason.  Even in the bosque - where there are fewer colors - there are lots of patterns already, and extra patterns on clothes can be distracting.
Albuquerque family photography

And here we have the outfits that many people choose - white shirts and jeans.  Obviously it works visually.  From a photographer's standpoint, the bright white shirts can reflect light strangely on your face, and the contrast with a dark background can be distracting.  So it's not my favorite to work with.  Though in this case, because the background was not dark and the path was as light as their shirts, it is perfect.
Albuquerque family photography

When you look at a posed family portrait, your eye is going to go first to the area of greatest contrast.  You can use this however you want to use it.  This family chose to dress in solid neutral colors, and then have their daughter stand out with a bright patterned tunic.  (They had a change of clothes for her as well, if you were wondering.)  As you can see, in the portrait your eye will go to her first, because of the contrast between her shirts.  It's a great idea and I see lots of families do exactly this with their little girls.
Albuquerque family photography

This family did the same thing - they are all dressed neutrally except for their new baby, whose colors look great with the others, but the contrasting pattern draws your attention.  Perfect for emphasizing the newest member of the family!
Albuquerque family photography

What about for larger family groups?  This extended family chose blues, and I think it worked great.  They did a good job of dispersing the darkness and lightness of their shirts across the various family members.  Their clothes don't compete with the beautiful bosque and river behind them.  There is no large contrast to distract you from their faces. 
Albuquerque family photography

The next 2 family groups are even larger, and they one method that I see a lot for large groups - each smaller family group is wearing matching shirt colors.  I love how this keeps the family groups together, but in a non-distracting way. 
Albuquerque family photography

If everyone were to wear their favorite shirt, and there are 20 of you, it's going to be very distracting and hard to focus on faces.  Solid colors are definitely helpful with large groups.
Albuquerque family photography

I hope these examples have been helpful in some way.  Obviously my commentary here is just my opinion, but I've looked through a lot of family portraits in the last 5 or 6 years, and I'm just calling it how I see it.  If you are interested, I have a pinterest board where I collect family clothing ideas:
http://pinterest.com/pamchristison/what-to-wear-family/

I also have a page posted with lots of other ideas about how to get the best results from your family session - check it out here! And if you are interested in booking a family session, please give me a call!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Senior session - Junkyard theme!

I am so excited to show this session! This gorgeous girl is one of my models for the class of 2013. My model program is new this year - I have more information here - and I am LOVING it.  I don't usually exert a lot of control over my sessions, but I'm wondering if I should :) - choosing these themes is working really well.

The theme here was meant to be junkyard, but junkyards are surprisingly hard to do photography in.  We used more of a salvage yard here, and if you are wondering if the distinction is important, yes it is. :)  But anyway I love this location - it couldn't have been more perfect (unless it had a big rusty bus in it - that would be perfect).  Anyway.  We had a great time - who knew salvaged equipment could be so fun?


Albuquerque senior portraits photography

 Albuquerque senior portraits photography

I think this one is my very favorite.  She is really good at both serious and smiles.  Some people have a hard time with that (I can't do serious at all, I always look mad).
 Albuquerque senior portraits photography

A tire swing?  Perfect! :)
 Albuquerque senior portraits photography





Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Albuquerque senior portraits photography

 Albuquerque senior portraits photography

 Albuquerque senior portraits photography

This one & the next one - my other two favorites.
 Albuquerque senior portraits photography

Seriously, who looks this pretty in front of a bunch of scrap metal??? :)
 Albuquerque senior portraits photography

 Albuquerque senior portraits photography

 Albuquerque senior portraits photography

 Albuquerque senior portraits photography
If you are interested in being a model for Etherdox Photography, I'd love to meet with you! You can find more information here, and you can fill out an application here.