Fall Mini Sessions 2015 – Chattanooga Area – Gordon Lee Mansion

This year, we’re offering Fall mini sessions at the Gordon Lee Mansion in Chickamauga (a half hour from downtown Chattanooga.)  These will be on Sunday, Oct. 25.  Cost is $99 and that includes 5 edited digital files, with the option to buy more digital files from your session.  Email crystal@demuredragonfly.com to book a spot or message me through Facebook.

Fall 2015 Mini Sessions Chattanooga Ringgold Dalton

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What to Wear for Family Photos?

I get a lot of emails from clients concerned about what to wear for their upcoming family photos.  And its a valid concern.  The right outfit can make a huge difference in your photos.  Long gone are the days of wearing matching black shirts and jeans (or matching white shirts and khakis.)  You want to coordinate with one another, but avoid matching.  I’m going to show you some examples of how clients have used patterns and colors to make their photos pop.  I’ll do a few different posts over the upcoming weeks for different types of portraits, including seniors and children. I also put together a Pinterest board with great examples of what to wear.  You can find it here.

Below, the blue in the dress is a nice color pop that adds something to the photo.  His cream sweater blends nicely with the cream accents on her dress.

what to wear, photos, family, engagement, portrait, photographer, dalton, chattanooga, atlanta

 A good rule of thumb is to have one family member wear a pattern and have everyone’s outfits pull from a color in the pattern.  Below, dad has a great, colorful pattern and the son is wearing solid colors from that pattern.  They’re still coordinated, but different enough to add interest to the photo.

what to wear, photos, family, engagement, portrait, photographer, dalton, chattanooga, atlanta

Another example of pulling colors from the pattern of one shirt.  The little girl also has on a nice, vibrant color that will make her stand out, but still blend nicely with her parents.

what to wear, photos, family, engagement, portrait, photographer, dalton, chattanooga, atlanta

This family went with lots of blues, but they’re still not too matchy.  The little girl’s pink breaks it up, and so do the ruffles on her shirt.  Textures are always a good idea, as they add depth to your photos.  Sweaters are great for this, as are scarves.  If it’s too hot for that, something like this young lady’s ruffled shirt is a great way to add texture in warmer weather.

what to wear, photos, family, engagement, portrait, photographer, dalton, chattanooga, atlanta

Another great example of helping the little one in the family stand out by using color.  Mom and dad both have great texture with their sweaters and your eye is drawn to the little boy with his brighter yellow, which goes nicely with the purples and grays on his parents.

what to wear, photos, family, engagement, portrait, photographer, dalton, chattanooga, atlanta

Here, mom and baby both have patterns but, as you can see, it works really well.  The baby’s pattern is more bright and bold and mom’s is more understated, with colors pulled from the baby’s shirt.  Dad’s is more neutral but still a color from the brighter pattern.  Mom’s belt and bracelet also add interest to the photo.

what to wear, photos, family, engagement, portrait, photographer, dalton, chattanooga, atlanta

Below, the family did a great job coordinating with dad’s shirt.  Mom’s shirt has awesome texture and her scarf adds a pop of color.  The stripes are a great addition, too.  The little boy blends  nicely with both mom and dad and also has nice texture in his sweater.  The dogs are also a great addition!  We always welcome pets in family photos.  After all, they’re members of the family too.

what to wear, photos, family, engagement, portrait, photographer, dalton, chattanooga, atlanta

Last, but not least, a bit of a different example.  Mom and dad blend really well with one another.  Mom’s dress has an awesome pattern and dad’s shirt is more understated, but still complements her blue dress.  And then their daughter is a nice pop of color.  This wouldn’t work if she were wearing a pattern (since mom is wearing a bold pattern), but the solid red is a great addition to break up the blue.  A solid pop of color tends to work really well when done this way.  And again, we love to include pets!  Look how good he’s being.

what to wear, photos, family, engagement, portrait, photographer, dalton, chattanooga, atlanta

Tiny Dancer

My sweet little 2 year old niece started ballet this week, and her mom wanted some non-posed pictures of her in her dance outfit.  We get a lot of people who would like to do pictures at their house, in their own yard, but they say they don’t have an area that’s pretty enough.  I took these in about 10 minutes in our driveway, a little while before sunset.  It’s always possible to find a usable spot, no matter where you are.  I had her stand in open shade, facing the sky, to get the catchlights in her eyes and my husband (her uncle, who she adores) was interacting with her, which made for happy facial expressions.

And for the photographers out there, this was taken with my cheap 50mm prime lens at f/1.8.  Love that little lens!  They were also processed with my own Photoshop actions, which I hope to have available to purchase soon.

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ballet, dance, portrait, photography, dalton, ringgold, chattanooga, atlanta, portrait photography, children, toddler

Fall Mini Sessions in Dalton, GA

For the first time ever, we’re offering Fall mini sessions.  There will be two dates: October 4th and November 1st, 2014 (both are Saturdays.)  I only announced these today, and I already have several spots reserved for both dates.  These will be in Dalton, GA.  The October date will be located right off exit 333 in Dalton. These will have a Fall setup with pumpkins, hay bales, etc.  And they will take place in a beautiful outdoor courtyard area. The November date will be at Prater’s Mill, to take advantage of the Fall colors on the trees.  You can email me at crystal@demuredragonfly.com for more information.

Individuals, couples, families, kids, pets are all welcome!  :)  There are 4 packages to choose from.  Contact me for all the details!

fall photo sessions, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta, portraits, children, kids

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Circus-Themed Photo Session

This was something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.  I have a lot of wild animal photos I’ve taken over the years, a few fun costumes, and a niece who loves to play pretend.  So we decided to try a circus theme.  This first photo is a collaboration with my husband, Mario.  He drew the wagon and sign directly onto the photo before I edited.  You can see the “making of” at the end of this post.

child, portrait, fantasy, circus, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta

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Avonlea Making of

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Just a few that I’ve edited from yesterday.  It was a circus-themed session and I can’t wait to see how the rest turn out.

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And this next one is my favorite for obvious reasons:

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How did we get that great, happy expression, you might ask?  This is what she was looking at:

The things poor Mario ends up doing when he helps me.  (Actually, that was all his idea.)

Why we don’t like to say “Smile!”

I very rarely tell my subjects to smile.  Almost never, in fact.  If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that kids will tune you out at a certain point.  Especially if you’re shouting “Smile!”  loudly, over and over.

Of course, I understand the parents’ dilemma.  You want your child looking happy in their photos.  That makes perfect sense.  But if the child feels rushed and pressured, it’s going to lead to some unhappy faces.

My approach is to let the child get comfortable in the environment, which is often our farm.  There are a lot of fun things for kids to explore at the farm, once they relax and have a chance to look around.   Whether it’s the rope swing, the rowboat, the ponies, the cats, the flowers, or any other number of things.  Something there will catch their eye and they’ll want to interact with it.  So, I wait.  We don’t rush.  This can be applied to any location we use, not just the farm.  There’s always some way to get the child to interact with their environment in a way that will leave them happy and at ease.  That’s when we get the lovely, natural faces.

If your child has a photo session coming up, I recommend making sure they’re fed and well-rested just before coming.  A good post-session bribe is also favorable.  And bring along a couple of favorite toys or books that would also look good in photos. We’ve also had families bring along pets.  What better way to get happy and natural faces than to have them interacting with their family pet? child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta The young lady in the photo below was very upset when she arrived, due to her nap being interrupted.  She wasn’t interested in ponies, cats, flowers, boats, or anything else.  Until she spotted the swing.  She loved the swing.  We went from tears to natural smiles in just a couple of minutes. child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta Alannah (below) loves princesses.  I told her to show me how a princess dances. child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta Oh yeah, ponies are also very good at making the little ones happy. child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta With the sisters below, I had them cram onto the chair, which had them laughing at each other.  With siblings (provided they get along well), I will also usually let them laugh and joke with each other.  They tend to be good at cracking each other up. child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta Bringing along a reward for “after” photos is always a great idea.  And often makes for cute photo opportunities. child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta We’re also not opposed to enlisting my husband, Mario, to help make the little ones laugh.  Something as simple as this silliness:     Can lead to this sweet expression:LC1_0139 copy Also, keep in mind that you want to document your child how they actually are (which of course is not always smiling.)  Serious faces also make for lovely, and often more realistic, portraits.  I strive for a mix of happy faces and relaxed, normal kid faces during our sessions.  We usually end up with a nice balance. child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta LC1_5331 SMALL child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta child, portrait, photographer, dalton, ga, chattanooga, atlanta

Composite Magic

Creating composite photos is very relaxing for me, despite the fact that it’s also time consuming and difficult.  I love combining images to create magical scenes like this one.

The photo of the horse was taken several years ago (one of my first photos after switching from film to digital) and the photo of the girl (my niece) was taken last year.  Scroll down to see the original images.

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Alannah and the Zebra

I had fun playing with this picture today.  I love composites and hope to work on more of these in the future.  My niece, the subject of the photo, thought it was way cool to see a picture of herself petting a zebra.  Scroll down to see the two images I combined to make this image, and a quick rundown of how I did it.

dalton, ga, photographer, chattanooga, atlantaSo I used an image of her petting the pony,  removed the pony and replaced it with the zebra photo below.  As far as the editing style, once the composite was finished, I edited just the zebra with layer masks to create a similar look to the rest of the photo.  Then I flattened it, and used several layer masks (at varying opacities), the oil paint filter, and liquify tools to create the overall dreamy look.

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