Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University Engagement Session | Stephanie & Daniel

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University Engagement Session | Stephanie & Daniel

I feel like I am destined to shoot photos sessions on over cast days! I mean, I set up sessions with my couples and families MONTHS in advance. I always set them up for really, whatever time works best for you, but I always suggest 2 hours before sun set. I feel like more often than not, we have clouds during out sessions more so than sun. Guess what…I am 100% fine with that!

I am able to shoot my sessions in the sun, at sun set, sun rise and even those over cast days. I know everyone usually wants that high sun peek glow but you do not need to stress if it happens to be the day of your session and the sun is not out for most of it. I got you.

Stephanie and Daniel’s engagement session started out overcast. At times we had some cloud movement and we did get some of the sunny sun set glow, but for the most part, its was a cloudy overcast perfect session and I loved every minute with them!

Stephanie and Daniel are High School Sweethearts! I have had a few couples who have been together since High School and it is just the sweetest thing! They brought their fur babies with them and I got to meet Stephanie’s MOH, her sister Emily! They were all so nice and I loved getting to know them! Their pups, Griffin and Sadie were so cute and loved getting their photos taken too! I can not wait to see them all again for their winter wedding next year at the Pavillion at Pinehills! xo.

Family Sessions | What to Wear

Family Sessions | What to Wear

Hi Friends! I have had so many people ask me about outfit choices for their family session, I decided a blog post would be a great way to share that information with you! These are just a few outfit coordinating tips that I have thought about through the years but the most important thing is that you are comfortable!

When thinking about what to wear and props to bring, just know that less is more. I do not provide props for sessions but I am happy to incorporate things that you may want to bring. One thing we can do would be styling to add a little something to your images. We do not need to have a ton of things to style with, maybe just a few.

Here are my tips and tricks for getting ready to have an amazing family session!

Styling your Session

Want your photos to look more editorial? Bring a little extra something with you! Fresh flowers bring an extra “wow” factor to just about everything, especially when they’re attached to something else, like a bicycle basket, tree swing, tent, picnic basket, balloons or car bumper. Whether you want to incorporate larger items like classic cars or bikes, or smaller ones like blankets or hats, even planning for just one extra styled item could be a fun way to make your session more unique.

Coordinating the Crew

As you’re coordinating your outfit with your family, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match.” In fact, I recommend that you avoid thinking about “matching,” and instead think about what “fits” together. This will create more visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through.

How to Mix Colors

The goal for coordinating a family is to visually break up the colors and shades so that you’re not all wearing the same color on top and bottom. The more we can mix that up, the better. I encourage you to think about planning each outfit with “dominant colors” and “accent colors” in mind. A dominant color is the color that you see the most in an outfit, while an accent has a smaller piece of visual real estate. When you’re planning each family member’s outfit, if you can aim for each person to have a different dominant color, and then tie in and vary the accent colors, it’s going to look great all together.

For example, if you’re wearing a blush dress, soft blue earrings and nude heels (blush being your dominant color), then he could wear a navy coat with a white button-down and gray pants, paired with brown leather shoes and maybe even a blush pocket square (making navy his dominant color). Your daughter could wear a soft blue top with a white tulle skirt (making a soft blue her dominant color) while your son wears light beige pants with navy suspenders and a white button down (making white his dominant color). Now each person has their own dominant color while still incorporating a few touches of the others that will pull all the looks together. This will break up the color visually and highlight each personality. Most of my moms choose their dress first, and then build the rest of the family’s outfits based around that.

Remember, I recommend selecting those softer, lighter tones and avoiding those ultra-bright, bold colors. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. Feel free to vary the shades of the colors, too. That softer color palette fits beautifully into a natural environment, and can easily be paired in so many different ways.

Mixing Up the Pieces

If you have multiple children, don’t feel like you need to put them all in the same type of outfit. For example, one of your daughters could wear a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt and boots. One of your sons could wear a bowtie, while the other one wears suspenders. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to the photos.

Prepping Your Little Ones

Before your session, pack a bag with snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops) that might help me get their attention when it’s time for them to look at the camera. If they are old enough to understand you, it’s a good idea to prepare them for what’s to come before the session starts. Explain how much the photos mean to you so they know to be on their best behavior. A lot of families discuss and pick something fun in advance as a treat after the session if they’re good listeners, like an ice cream cone, for example. It also helps if they’re bellies are full and they’ve has some good rest beforehand. Once you prepare them physically and mentally, then feel free to give them (and you!) grace! They’re little, and I know that some days don’t always go as planned. I’ve seen it all and will make sure to get you great photos, regardless of their moods. My goal is to make this as fun and stress-free as it possibly can be for you and your family!

I hope this is a helpful guide when it comes to getting your family ready for your photography session! If you have any questions or more things to add, let me know, I would love to hear from you!

xoxo,

Alex

20 Things to do the week of your wedding day | Wedding Wisdom

20 Things to do the week of your wedding day | Wedding Wisdom

Hi Friends! Happy Tuesday! I am so glad you’re here! Are you a list person like I am… I’m talking bullet points, hand written, have several notebooks with different color pens highliting the most important things you NEED to do in that moment?? You are?! Did we just become best friends?

After months ( or maybe years) of planning, your wedding day is almost here! You have all your vendors confirmed with a time line in place, your dress is ready to be worn, RSVPs have been returned. You Got This!

The week before your wedding can be a little hectic with last minute to-dos. Here is a list to look over to be sure you are not missing anything! With years of being in the wedding industry, and being a bride myself ( almost 9 years ago!) I’ve got you, girl.

Don’t stress. Somethings on this list you can have someone help you with. Thats what bridesmaids are for, right?

Remember to try to stay as flexible as possible during this final countdown. Last minute tweaks will happen, so go with the flow. Just stay on top of things and try to keep your end goal in mind: getting married in a few days!

1.Pickup your wedding dress– You’ll need to pick up your dress the week of the wedding, but don’t stop there! Try it on in full. Be sure to include trying on your shoes and jewelry. Practice that walk down the aisle and make sure everything looks and feels comfortable. Some dresses might require you to test drive a bathroom run to be sure that part of the day can go smooth.

2. Break in your shoes– They’re likely brand new and you’ll be wearing them for a while on the big day. Wear them for a short period of time each day around the house and walk around on a few different surfaces. The ballroom dance teacher in me always recommends to try your first dance together in your shoes. Let your feet get used to them so come the big day you are not in pain because your shoes are hurting your feet.

3. Complete everything you need to do for work– Take care of any big projects or assignments at work early on that week so that you don’t have a to-do list of work tasks floating around in your head. Work is the last thing you want to think about as you head into your wedding weekend. It’s time to relax and enjoy each moment! Go back super refreshed and MARRIED!

4. Last minute RSVP’s- Time to call anyone who hasn’t RSVP’d yet. Reach out to the last-minute guests who haven’t told you whether or not they’re coming to your wedding. You might not want to bother them or cause any wedding drama, but just know that those MIA guests might show up and have nowhere to sit. It’s a great reason to check in with them.

5. Inform Venue of FINAL head count- You’ll want to give the final headcount to your hotel or caterer on the Monday before the wedding (or whenever required by your contract).

6. The Seating Chart- Most of the RSVPs should be in by now, so sit down with your spouse-to-be and finalize the seating arrangements. Be sure to send a copy to your vendors who need it.

7. Confirm Honeymoon Itinerary- Double check your flight times and confirm your hotel bookings and any other activity or dinner reservations you might have.

8. Toasts on the wedding day- If there are a couple of people who are reading a little something special to you and your better half at the wedding or rehearsal dinner, check in with them and confirm. You can also let them know the time frame that they should expect to speak, so that they feel calm and ready for their role.

9. Wedding Gift Captain– Choose a family member to collect the card box, any wedding gifts that guests brought, and any decorations you may want to keep and take them home for you. You may be too busy to remember to do this, or you may be heading to your wedding after-party. Assigning this task to someone else (and someone responsible) will help make sure everything makes it home to you safe and sound.

10. Detail Boxes– Prepare boxes of things you’ll need for the wedding—t the guest book, cake knife, toasting glasses, etc. Deliver them to whoever will be in charge of getting them to the right place.

11.Social Media Master– Assign a trusty bridesmaid or groomsman to take care of any social media logistics like testing out your Snapchat filter on the day of, or encouraging guests to use your wedding hashtag.

12. Welcome Bags– Stuff these with candy and goodies for your out-of-town guests and deliver them to the hotel. That way, when they arrive, they have a package of wedding excitement waiting for them. Don’t forget water bottles. Your guests will love you for them later!

13. Emergency Kit– You can buy one specifically for the occasion or go the DIY route. You’ll want to include things like band aids, nail file, hair spray, pain killers, tampons, a small sewing kit, safety pins, extra makeup….Oh and Chocolate… really…. get some chocolate in there.

14. Pack for your Honeymoon– If you’re leaving for the honeymoon within two days of the wedding, pack your bags. You’ll feel much better having that out of the way. You won’t have to worry about doing laundry or adding last-minute items to your suitcase the morning after your big day.

15. Card for your Love– Go out and get a card- write down a couple of words and feelings for your soon-to-be spouse to read on the morning of the wedding. It will help get them excited and emotional for the day ahead of both of you. This also makes a beautiful moment to capture during the getting ready portion of your day. I just love when couples exchange a little note the day of.

16. Spend some quality time with your fiance’– Coffee Date, Ice Cream Date, a walk around the neighborhood. This is your last week being engaged and you need to enjoy every moment together during this time.

17. Check in with your bridesmaids– Reach out to see if they have any last-minute questions and confirm when/where they should meet on the day of. Bonus points if you can organize a fun ladies brunch or happy hour that week with a possibly mani/pedi.

18.Wedding Party Gifts– Those adorable gifts you bought to thank your bridesmaids for all their hard work? Be sure to wrap them up and include a nice, personalized note with each.

19. Confirm Rehearsal Dinner– If another family member is putting this together for you, check in with them and confirm the details. If you are in charge, confirm the menu, timing, etc.

20. Clean your ring– It is without a doubt that I will be photographing your rings while you get ready to include those images as part of your story details. You definitely want it extra sparkly on your wedding day!

I hope you find these little to-do tasks easy peasy the week leading up to your wedding day. Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember to relax! Soon you will be married and dancing the night away with your family and friends!

xoxo,

Alex

#Printyourphotos – ways to display your photos and where to buy

#Printyourphotos – ways to display your photos and where to buy

 

I am guilty. Guilty of not printing our photos out like I would hope to. When my husband and I bought our house, we said we did not want to have tons of frames all over the place, maybe just 1 or 2 photos would be nice but we wanted to keep it minimal. Well, we really only had 1 canvas print of a family photo that was taken at Thanksgiving in 2017. It is not my favorite photo I have ever taken, but it is the first full family photo we have had where we are all dressed nicely for the holiday.

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When was the last time you printed your photos? Has it been way too long and you just realized you should probably back up your cell phone photos to your computer while we are thinking about this subject? You my friend, are not alone! Smart phone photos are so great that you can literally snap the photo, and share it with others on social media in seconds! I love taking photos on my phone… in fact…. my storage is almost full! See… you’re not alone!

SMART PHONE PRINTING-

Something I do is share my family photos on my PERSONAL instagram account. This account gets updated once a week usually ( or when I remember) and I upload many images at once. This is mainly for the purpose of printing through CHATBOOKS.

Chatbooks is a great way to have your cell phone photos printed. The books begin at $10 and once your instagram hits 60 photos, they create a book for you. You can use a consistent hashtag to keep the images you want printed all together and then the book is designed with that. These are a great way to never lose those precious moments you captured with your phone and a great way to have your photos displayed at home in a decor basket under or on a coffee table for guests to see!

To keep the budget on a lower side, I use the standard chatbook with a soft back and instagram photos.

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GALLERY WALL-

I have seen so many blogs and pinterest photos of these GORGEOUS gallery photo walls! I am telling you, I am obsessed with how these look! You can use photos from your phone, and edit them to make them all consist in color, you can use professional photos as well knowing that when these are edited, the color will be consistent and all you have to do is select the frames!

Since we moved we now have beautiful wall space that having a gallery wall will look so nice! We just need to decide where we want to display it. I printed out 9 photos that I made all black and white since the photos were not from one session rather than from over the past few years so I knew the colors wouldn’t be consistent. I got 9 gold frames from Walmart- Better Homes and Garden 11×14 matted for 8×10 photos. I love how this looks and I can not wait to see it hanging on the wall all together.

The best thing about a gallery wall?? You can easily take the frames down and change out the photos when you want to!

Here are a few gallery wall inspirations I found online. **Note these are not my images but just images to give you an example of a gallery wall.

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@ALSOPFAMILYADVENTURES- Katelyn James Photography

 

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Once our gallery is hanging up, I will be sure to share how it came out! 🙂

FAMILY YEAR BOOK-

This is the same thing as a photo book only for me, I am creating this to be a yearly book where I have all our adventures captured and organized and at the end of each year I will place them into a book. My cousin, Jordan Brian Photography does something similar to this but instead of a printed book, he creates a slideshow with music and video. That is a wonderful Idea, however I am sticking to the hard back, paper pages and these books will be out all the time for us and guests to see!

Each year I take thousands and thousands of photos! I have been wanting to create these books since Ethan entered the world and I just kept putting it off. I never wanted to carry by “big” camera around because watching that and watching my live children run around in crowded places, I did not want to worry about my camera! So, here is something I realized I can do!

  1. Use my cell phone. Edit the cell phone photos with my Ali B Preset that I use on all my photos in Lightroom Mobil. This will help them to look professional even when they are not. If you do not have Lightroom- I recommend the app PIC- TAP- GO. This app is $1.99 and has nice filters to help make your photos professional. ( My favorite filters are: Bright side and air)
  2. Keep my FIRST “big” camera downstairs on a console table so that I can access it quickly while at home. Since I started doing this, I have taken more photos with a real camera than I usually do of my own kids and family! ( you have no idea how happy that makes me!)
  3. I am using my FIRST big camera because then I am not stressed out and worried that something will happen to my work camera I use for clients. This takes a huge weight off my shoulders- I still am careful but knowing I do not need that one for work is kinda a big deal!

So, I finally made the time to go through folders and folders of images from 2014-2018 and I am starting to create the books! I edited the images pretty quickly since some were already edited from that time, and I am creating the year books through BLURB. These books will be HUGE. There are so many photos from the years and because they will be huge, I am using a hard cover with floppy pages like an actual year book so that I can fit as many photos and pages as I can inside.

Once these are printed and I get them in my hands, I can not wait so share them along with you on social media and this blog!

WEDDING GUEST BOOK-

I have had several brides print their own album from their engagement session which will be used as their wedding guest book! I love this idea…. now I may be biased because this is what my husband and I used for our wedding guestbook, but really its so fun getting to look back on your engagement sessions together and then reading all these nice things your guests have said to you on your wedding day! All of my wedding packages come with the rights to your photos which means you can print from anywhere you’d like! I have sugestions on where to print for the optimal quality photos but its totally up to you and your budget how much you want to spend. This year I am also offering album options printed from a professional printing lab. They are absolutely Ahhhhhmazing!

Photobook Printing suggestions:

Blurb.com

Artifactuprising.com

shutterfly.com

Chatbooks.com

Canvas Printing Suggestions:

Canvasondemand.com

Artifactuprising.com

Artisticphotocanvas.com

If you are a client and looking to print your photos, you can do this right off of your digital gallery website!!! Email me for more details!

xoxo,

Alex