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Over the 4th of July my husband, son, and I went on a road trip up the east coast to visit family. I haven’t seem some of my dad’s side of the family in close to 9 years so we figured it was time to catch up. My cousins and I have all had children who needed to meet, and I wanted to show off my son to my mom’s side of the family in PA as well. So we loaded up our truck and took a road trip family vacation. One of the things I miss the most about living in the northeast is the views. You’re always surrounded by mountains and valleys, the views are amazing, and some of them most significant things in our nation’s history happened in my “backyard.” My husband is a huge civil war freak, and when I say huge I mean he can wow you with historical knowledge of places you have lived your entire life and he’s never seen. He once met a friend of his at Gettysburg and took him on a tour of the battlefield- and it was my husband’s first time there. Needless to say his friend was a little freaked out. So in true typical King fashion we stopped at as many historical sites as possible so that my husband could breathe it all in. Maybe it’s because of the handful of field trips I took as a kid, maybe it’s because history bores me (yes, I know, you can save your finger shaking…..it’s just not for me) but when my son started freaking out in Stonewall Jackson’s home in Lexington, VA I wasn’t all that sad to leave my husband alone and explore the little town for a bit. I was kind of bummed that we missed the hot air balloon festival by one day, even more bummed that it was raining and we didn’t have an umbrella, and seriously hungry. So as we walked around Lexington we happened upon two fantastic little shops that I would highly recommend to anyone if you’re ever in the area. The first is a little bakery called Sweet Treats Bakery. Ah-mazing. I have  a chocolate mocha mousse cake that was absolutely to die for and Justin had a piece of pecan pie. (Note- when in the north the correct way to say this word is PEE-CAN) The owner was so sweet and when he found out we were tourists stopping for a quick snack before hitting VMI (just another place that absolutely leaves my husband in awe) he brought over about 10 pamphlets filled with fun things to do around the area. I can honestly say that if I lived in Lexington this place would be a frequent stop of mine! You can find them here at http://www.sweettreatsbakery.net

The second place that Brody and I found on our walkabout was Lexington Coffee Roasters. I’ve never been in a coffee bar where they have tastings free to you enjoy. Bonus: in the back of the shop is a cheese bar with cheese tastings! The owner let us sample 3 different coffees in these neat little coffee mug/shot glass type of cup and explained to use the roasting process for each. Justin and I are both coffee nuts so this was pure heaven for us. Justin is kind of a spoiled coffee snob as he works with a guy who orders green coffee beans from around the world and roasts his own coffee. He won’t drink anything except this coffee because it doesn’t give him heartburn, like ever. I was amazed when he bought a bag of coffee to take home with us! Lexington Coffee Roasters ship around the US for a fee of $6.00 and you can find them here at http://www.lexingtoncoffee.com

Once we got to our destinations we had a blast catching up with family, eating wonderful food, swimming in the lake, and playing with sparklers. One the way home we took a detour through Skyline Drive in Front Royal, VA (we lived in Front Royal for about a year when we were first married) and even saw a bear! I was so excited but unfortunately couldn’t get a clear picture of him since I was hanging out of the truck as Justin drove by screaming about the bear. I tried though, and will post a very blurry picture for you to enjoy! I mean really, how many times can you say that you’ve seen a bear!?!

All in all it was a very long but very good trip. It reminds me of how much I miss the food, the culture, the views, and my friends and family. I hope everyone’s 4th was as wonderful as mine!!!

 

The past few months I have had a lot of the same conversations with my clients regarding what to wear, how to do their hair, and what types of products to use, etc. I’ve happily advised which bracelets/necklaces/earrings/shoes to mix and match with outfit changes, what colors wouldn’t work with different locations, and seen more hair flips for volume than I can count. I’m beyond flattered that my clients trust my judgement and ask for my advice and guidance on these things, so I wanted to make a quick post on why these things matter and what I recommend.

I am part of various online forums where I converse with other photographers from around the world. This allows me to submit my work for constructive criticism, go to them for any problems I may be having and ask for a solution, share my work, learn their tips and tricks, and vice versa. With the warm weather in full swing we are getting an influx of weddings, bridals, cake smash, senior, and family sessions (yay!) and so many of our clients want to stay far away from the muted colors of fall and winter and celebrate the change of seasons and the warmth with bright and flashy colors. Depending on how this is done it can be a wonderful thing, or a terrible thing. I am all for pops of color here or there, I love bright colors on little kids, a flash of color on adults, maybe some standout jewelry or even a head scarf to accessorize with. I love bold statement pieces and I absolutely applaud people who take chances with fashion and are able to express their personal style. I have a hard time pulling off bold colors, they just don’t look right one me and never have, so you will rarely ever see me wear anything neon or extremely bright. Even my bathing suits are standard blue/black/tan/white, possibly a yellow. If you are shooting at an outdoor location a lot of this can work and look amazing in pictures. However, if you are shooting at an indoor studio or having an indoor/in home session please be careful. One of the discussions I just saw posted was for some help on a newborn shoot. The backdrop was a beautiful pink, the little girl was wrapped in a pink swaddle, and the dad wore a super bright red shirt. The problem was the shirt directly contrasted with the background, and the color of the shirt cast onto his skin and his daughter’s. So in post she is struggling with muting the color of the shirt only and removing the cast. I’m very familiar with this problem and have had to deal with it a few times as well. If you’re wearing a neon shirt and there is a reflector used, or anything that could cast the color onto skin, it will absolutely show on your skin. And while you may not notice it most photographers do. I’ve had to remove green tints from children, reflections from blankets onto babies, and mute overpowering colors. My advice is to ask the photographer what he/she suggests based on your location and time of day. Make sure to check out Pinterest pages that belong to different photographers. A lot of us will have a board pertaining to color schemes for photo shoots. Pin away!! It also never hurts to snap a cell phone picture and send it to your photog prior to the shoot and ask for some input! Remember, you are choosing your photographer based on their portfolio and style, so asking their opinion will be more helpful than hurtful!!

And now onto the next…

…hair hair everywhere! Earlier this year I posted from a senior session that I did with Maddie Webb. Absolutely stunning girl with great style. Maddie had the “problem” that a lot of women face- flat hair. She had these amazing curls and waves in her long blonde hair but struggled to keep the volume up to her standard. Unless you have a team of stylists maintaining your mane I’m guessing that you may have this problem too. A few years ago I got turned onto this blog that I found floating around Pinterest. It’s called “The Small Things” blog. The girl who runs it is a hairdresser and she has absolutely amazing hair. She has the asymmetrical bob and it falls just below her shoulders. Her hair always has crazy volume!! She always take pictures of her styles and posts them with how to’s so that her followers can try her flawless style. It was there that I found this hair product called AQUAGE Uplifting foam. oh.my.word….amazing!!! Not only will this foam breathe some serious life into your tresses but it doubles as a hairspray (at least it does for me). I don’t normally use any product in my hair for everyday around the house use. I’m chasing around after my 1 yr old or sitting at my computer editing photos, so my hair is pretty boring and up in a ponytail. But on the days where I have errands/meeting friends/want to look like a human for my husband I put some of this product in. (Please note- I am in no way affiliated with this company, they are not sponsoring this post at all, I simply love the product) I section my hair off and spray it directly to my roots, rub it in all over my scalp, and dry my hair upside down. The upside down part is the key because this is where you will get the lift you’re looking for. Once it’s dry I either straight iron it or curl and and I’m done. I don’t use any hairspray because I don’t need it, but you may as everyone’s hair is different. I buy mine from amazon.com because it’s easier for that way. When you have a 1 yr old the process of getting him in/out of the car to run into a store for 30 seconds is less than appealing, so this way it’s delivered right to my door!

Another product that I am in love with is Kerastase Lotion Densitive GL. One of the stylists at my salon (Daniel Shay of Memphis) told me to try it. Up until last week I had pretty long hair and loved to curl it almost every day. I absolutely hated the process of curling it because my hair is so so thick that it takes literally 30 minutes for me to section it out and go through the whole process. I know you’re probably wondering why I am using a thickening treatment for thin hair if my hair is already super super thick. I use it as a substitute for hairspray. When my hair is wet I will spray that all over my hair, brush it out and blow dry it, and then I will curl it. I may use a teeny tiny bit of hairspray on top of it, but usually not. This stuff holds like no other. I can sleep with it in and wake up the next day with curls still in tact! I absolutely love it. It’s a little expensive and runs around $40 depending on where you get it, but I love mine and think it’s worth the investment. For family photos I will usually be using one of these two products to keep my hair the way that I want it.

 

I hope this short blog has been helpful and that you’ll pin it or share it!

For the entire month of June I am running a senior/graduate session promo! If you book during the month of June you will get the special rate of $225 which includes 10 edited images to a disc and 1 5×7 print. This is quite a steal! A normal session has a $100 session/retainer fee with the option to purchase prints a la carte or a disc of the day. This is a potential $300-400 cost, so this promo is a fantastic way to get your senior photos done at a great price. This offer must be claimed during the month of June, but you have 6 months to use it. This give you ample time to see where your child will be attending college, what activities your child is taking part in during senior year, and it lets you work around any summer vacations. As always, if you wait until after June to book your senior session you must pay full price as this promo is only good if claimed during the month of June. Just fill out the contact me form and let me know you are interested!

A few months ago I posted a giveaway on my Facebook page. The giveaway was for a wedding sometime between the months of April and June of 2014. Since opening my business I have been very blessed and fortunate to have a pretty steady stream of fantastic clients. It’s more than I could have ever asked for, and I am so very thankful for the amazing opportunities that God has blessed me with. I decided that I wanted to give something back, a little pay it forward if you will, so I opened a contest for a free wedding. The giveaway would include up to 8 hours of time and a disc with all the photos from the day. I opened the entry area to anywhere up to 3 hours away from Memphis, and I really didn’t think I would get much response. I was pleasantly surprised when my contest kept getting Facebook “likes” and entries, and had my work cut out for me to find a winner. Laura Wilson (now Swann!) entered the giveaway with a heartfelt message about how she and her fiancé were not able to afford a photographer for the big day and were going to rely on photos from the guests to document her big day. Her bridal party was small, consisting of only 2 bridesmaids and groomsmen and one flower girl and ring bearer. Laura is a Memphis resident and I felt like that she would benefit the most from my giveaway, so I when the deadline came I chose her. The wedding had its challenges- as I wasn’t allowed to photograph the ceremony close to the bridal party and had to stay in the back of the church. I was also not allowed to use flash inside the ceremony area. To compensate for this I used a 70-200 lens on my camera and upped my iso in order to get bright, close up photos of the bride and groom during the ceremony. It was the first wedding that I have done with restrictions, so I was a little apprehensive of how the ceremony photos would turn out, but was pleasantly surprised at the outcome! Here are a few photos from the day. 

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to photograph a sweet family of 6 at the Davies Manor Plantation. It’s a local plantation home that has historical significance and is open to the public. When the Sparks family contacted me Shanna told me that she got married at Davies and that was in fact first wedding ever held on the grounds! I knew we had to use the location, and after some schedule re-arranging and working with time slots open on the grounds we were able to get the session done. Because of the time constraints we had to shoot around 10 am, which can cause a problem with shadows and make lighting a bit of a challenge. When the family arrived Shanna told me the boys were not enthusiastic about having family photos done (that’s not the first time I have heard that!) so I knew that getting them to relax and smile was going to be a bit of a challenge. I love challenges and embraced the opportunity to let the kids be themselves and show their personalities. After the session she messaged me to tell me the boys said it wasn’t that bad, so I gave myself a little pat on the back. I was even more excited when I started to edit the session and found a photo of her oldest son with the most genuine smile on his face! I consider that a success and am so happy to have had the opportunity to work with the Sparks family.