1. Pick out everyone's outfits sooner rather than later.
a. Wear something you're comfortable in, and make sure that your little(s) are comfortable in their outfit as well.
b. Think coordinating/ complimentary not matching.
c. Avoid busy patterns.
d. If you're concerned about your little ones getting messy or rumpled in the car on the way to your on-location session, just wait and dress them after you arrive. I always build a little cushion of time each session.
2. Make sure everyone is fed and rested (that includes you too).
3. Consider bringing the following with you:
a. non-messy, quick snacks (goldfish crackers, Puffs, apple slices), water, a bobby pin or barrette if you're worried about the wind, lipstick or gloss for touchups, and a hair brush
b. for beach sessions - a towel. It's FUN to finish your session splashing in the water!
c. PJs for your littles - If it's a mid-summer session, we won't be finishing up until close to 8pm. If there's a possibility your little one(s) might fall asleep in the car, bring their PJs with you so you can go ahead and change them before strapping them in for the ride home.
Well-rested and fed children are cooperative children!
happy children photographed in Orange Beach, AL, Perdido Key, FL, and Gulf Shores, AL
4. Prepare your children (and anyone else who may be a bit on the fence about the session). Talk up the session, let the kids pick a must-have shot, and feel free to pick a good bribe (ice cream and suckers are the most popular).
a. If you're concerned your child might be nervous, consider bringing a favorite book, small toy, bubbles, or something else that they enjoy or brings them comfort.
5. Ladies - Even if you don't usually wear much (or any) makeup, wearing a little for your session will do you nothing but favors! Even just a little foundation/powder, mascara, and a swipe of lipstick will look amazing!
6. Once the session has started, relax, play, smile, kiss, and hug. I'll get "the shot!" I don't expect anyone's kids to be angels. I'm a new person, my camera can be intimidating, and your children are probably wearing new clothes. I promise that I'll work with them and get some great photos, and your kids will be relaxed if YOU are.
a. Also, don't forget that you don't have to look at the camera for all of the pictures! I will still get a few more traditional, family portrait-type pictures, but I bet your favorites will end up being the ones where you're interacting as a family!
7. Let me take individual pictures of each child. Every person, every child has their own personality. Let's give them their minute in spotlight to shine!
8. And let me take a picture of just you and your partner! We need more than just a selfie with our significant other! I'm actually a master at holding an infant on my hip while grabbing a quick photo of the two who started it all!
Don't let your wedding photos be the most current professional pictures with your partner!
couples in Orange Beach, AL, Pensacola, FL, and Pensacola Beach, FL
And finally for the in-home family photography sessions...
9. Take a couple of minutes and de-clutter the space where I'll be photographing your family. I'm not saying your house needs to be magazine ready, just consider stuffing those magazines in a drawer, throwing the alarm clock under your bed, and putting a few toys away.
For the past year, I've been adding maternity gowns in a variety of colors and styles to my Client Closet. I want to provide Pensacola, Orange Beach, and surrounding areas the opportunity to have the perfect dress to show off the beauty of their pregnancy!
Not only do these beautiful gowns fit a wide variety of body sizes and shapes ( I have dresses that fit sizes 4 - 24), they're just plain comfortable to wear!
I've received SUCH positive reviews that I'm looking to add more dresses in more sizes, styles, and colors so that every mom has the opportunity to be photographed in the dress that perfectly suits her.
Introducing Stock the Closet - Maternity Portrait Sessions.
This is an amazing new program that benefits both the client and the photographer!
I have a Wish List of fabulous, affordable Maternity Gowns that I would love to add to my collection. How does that benefit you? I'm glad you asked!
Click here to see the dresses on my Wish List.
Order the gown from my list that perfectly suits you.
Wear that gown during your Pensacola, Orange Beach, Perdido Key, etc Maternity Photography session with me, and afterwards, turn it and the receipt in to me for credit towards your session fee!
Another amazing thing about many of these dresses (especially the 3 pictured below - available mid-July) is that they also make a stunning addition to your Newborn Photography, Family Photography, or Breastfeeding photography session!
Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Photography offers Maternity Photography in northwest Florida that captures your family’s connections, emotions, and moments in a fun, natural way. Located in Pensacola and also offering family, newborn, and birth photography, service areas include but are not limited to Perdido Key, Gulf Breeze, Pensacola Beach, Navarre, Pace, Milton, and Cantonment in Florida and Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Foley, Fairhope, and Daphne in south Alabama. Family portrait sessions tend to book up to one month in advance, while maternity, birth, and newborn sessions should be booked early in the second trimester to ensure availability at the time of delivery. Amanda offers a full service experience including a pre-session consultation, exclusive access to her Maternity and Newborn wardrobe, an online proofing gallery to share and download your included high-resolution digital images, and an array of professional print, canvas, and album options. I can’t wait to hear from you and help create your own beautiful heirloom memories!
Pensacola Photographer | Pensacola Family Photographer | Northwest Florida Photographer | Pensacola Newborn Photographer| Gulf Shores Newborn Photographer |Pensacola Maternity Photographer | Pensacola Newborn Photography | Gulf Shores Maternity Photographer| Pensacola Birth Photographer | Pensacola Birth Photography| Orange Beach Family Photographer
Let me prove it!
Though digital images are what my Pensacola family photography and newborn portrait clients most request, I also make a point to let my clients know about the professional print and canvas products I offer! I do this for 2 reasons:
They say "a picture is worth a thousand words", right?
So, I decided to put my money where my mouth is.
I chose the 2 portraits that had gotten the most love on my Facebook and Instagram accounts from last summer’s Orange Beach family beach photography sessions and had 5×7 size prints made by my Professional Lab of choice (Millers), as well as 4 of the most common stores the average consumer uses for prints – Walmart, Target, CVS, and Shutterfly.
The 2 images below are the ones I chose.
Are you ready to start the comparisons? We’ll start with the portrait of the little girl with the sailboat in the background.
I’ll sit here a minute while the shock wears off.
I have to admit I even I was surprised at the extreme difference in some of these pictures. I knew they would be off, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad!
Let’s break it down –
Here’s a close up of the images laid one on top of the other on a white piece of card stock. This let’s you get a really good look at the color differences in the sky!
Ok, on to the second image.
The differences in these prints is MOST noticeable in the skin tone and sky color.
OOO look at all the pretty blues and greens. (There really should be a sarcasm font.)
Ok, obviously, these labs will do if you want snap shots or need 1 hour pictures printed for a school project or something where the quality isn’t that important to you. I’m not saying they don’t have their place in the market. But, if you’ve paid a professional photographer hundreds of dollars to take portraits of your family, why would you then trust a "budget" printing company over a professional printer. The professional labs that I use print on archival quality paper that is made to stand the test of time.
**Disclaimer** Obviously, lab results will vary based on location, machine used, person operating the machine, etc. This post was not made to condemn any discount labs, but to educate clients and other professionals. If you do choose to order from one of these discount printers, please do not select the “color correct” box, your photographer already handled that!
Hi mama! I see you there, cell phone in hand taking pictures of your child(ren). This post is for you. Even though I still want you to book me for your next Pensacola family portrait session, I want YOU to be able to capture all of those great everyday moments of your kiddos lives!
What follows are 6 of my best, quick tips on how to take better pictures of your kids.
3. Have Them Interact
- with each other, with the environment, something
4. Use a Helper
Your helper is there to get the kids to look at you, wrangle the one who tends to wander, quickly brush stray hairs out of someone's eyes, etc. Their most important job is to be your spotter! Safety is my number one priority and anytime I'm at all worried, I have one (or both) of the parents "spot" their child. The picture below is a perfect example of "what actually happened" vs. the final image.
5. Change Up the Angle
You've gotten down on the ground with your kiddo. Now try taking a picture from above above your child looking down. This is a great way to showcase their face and their youth!
And one last thing. make sure you end up in some of those pictures too!
Family vacations can be stressful enough without the added headache of capturing all those memories. But, since capturing those memories are a must, I thought I'd share a few thoughts to help you on your way to great, less-stressful, vacation photography.
Oh, and enjoy some of my various vacation photos from over the years. :)
How many of you have nice, semi-pro (or even professional) cameras but still feel like you have no idea what you're doing? Yep, I thought so.
This morning I thought I'd share my favorite photography books and magazines NOT specifically geared for the professional photographer. If you're ready to start unlocking your photography potential - then read on!
*Finding Beauty in the Ordinary photography receives nothing for promoting the following books and magazines. They are merely books I own and love and magazines I've subscribed to for years.*
We'll start with books.
If, like me, you find it hard to find the time to sit down with a book, I strongly recommend you look into photography magazines. There are many, many options out there. The ones that follow are my personal favorites.
I hope you this post helps you find something to unlock your creative, photography spirit.
Newborn Portrait Session Prep Guide
Family portrait sessions require a little prep work - fixing hair, putting on a tad more make-up than usual, choosing outfits. But, newborn sessions are in a whole other ballpark. You take a new baby, (often) brand new, exhausted, parents, and hormones and emotions that are usually still a bit out of control - and then you add another new person (me) who shows up with 4 bags of "stuff". It's a stressful situation. To help alleviate some of the stress, I've developed (and tweaked) my Newborn Portrait Session Prep Guide. Each Pensacola, FL area parent who books with me is sent a link to to the prep guide. Knowledge is power! And knowing what to expect from your session and what I need from you before the session will help insure that everything goes wonderfully!
First things First -
Let’s get you on the books!
Your first few days & weeks as new parents are incredible, and exhausting, and fleeting! The last thing you need on your plate is the added stress of researching and booking the perfect newborn photographer! This is one of the reasons I strongly recommend you schedule your newborn session BEFORE your baby is born. This ensures you a spot on my calendar and takes the stress of finding the right photographer off your plate as new parents.
Contact me as early as you’d like (I’ve had moms contact me as early as 10 weeks along).
As soon as your retainer is paid and contract is signed, your due date gets penciled in on my calendar. Then, once baby arrives, you can shoot me an email, text or phone call to arrange your session date and time.
So, what if you waited and baby is already here; should you still call? Will I still take your session? Of course you should still call! I will always do my best to work in last minute newborn portrait sessions in the Gulf Coast. I've photographed newborns as old as 24 days. Older newborns usually aren't able to be posed as tightly and curled as younger, but that's ok!
I am proud to provide your newborn portrait session in the comfort of your own home! I bring the entire setup to you – lighting included. You have enough going on without having to worry about getting your brand new baby out of the house! This also works well because baby remains in a familiar environment – everything smells like home because it is home. This also gives you the opportunity to comfort baby how and where you always comfort baby.
Also, if the weather permits and you’re comfortable with the idea, I LOVE to take a few newborn pictures outdoors – especially family pictures! Babies love warmth and most of the year, the Florida panhandle provides us with an abundance of that.
So, don’t worry about cleaning up because I’m coming over. I need less space than you think and I’m more than happy shifting furniture around if I need to (and I promise to move it back when I’m done).
When will I schedule baby’s session?
Traditionally, newborn sessions are done before baby reaches 2 weeks old (between 5 & 9 days old is best). Newborns grow and change FAST and we want to try to capture them during the super sleepy, curly stage. After 2 weeks, babies are more easily disturbed while sleeping as well as learning how nice it feels to stretch out.
So, yes, under 2 weeks is preferred, but this isn’t to say that newborn portraits can’t be done on slightly older newborns! I’ve photographed newborns from day 5 – day 26 and always managed to get the sleepy, curly poses the parents wanted. Just remember that older newborns require more patience and usually more preparation.
Day of preparation
Full babies are happy babies. And happy babies are sleepy babies. And sleepy babies is what we want!
So, how do you get there?
Please don’t be offended if I ask you to turn off the ceiling fan(s) in the area I’m photographing baby in. Newborns are used to being all bundled up and warm, so whatever we can do to help with that is good. I’ll also have a heating pad that I sometimes use to warm the blankets before I put baby on them.
Please do whatever you can to help keep noise to a minimum during the portrait session. I’ll have a white noise machine with me, but it can only block out so much.
*If older siblings are being photographed along with baby, I recommend we plan on taking their portraits at the beginning or end of the session so they aren’t stuck waiting around. After their part of the session is over is a great time for a family member or sitter to take them to the park.
A Little Patience & Relax
Many parents are very surprised (and a bit daunted) when they see that my newborn portrait sessions include up to 3 hours of my time. That’s a lot of time. BUT, it’s pretty much guaranteed I won’t be shooting the entire 3 hours (this isn’t a wedding, lol). I allocate 3 hours because it often takes a bit of time to get baby to sleep, plus we’ll have potty breaks (or potty clean up breaks), feeding breaks, and just snuggle breaks. So relax, put your feet up, take a shower, take a nap, update your Facebook, whatever. Many parents take turns hanging out with and spotting for me so they each get a little break.
*Oh, and a recent client suggested I make sure to mention - baby will most likely cry. He/she is perfectly ok! Think about it - you and I can discuss when things are new or different, but baby's only way to communicate is to cry. Oftentimes, I'll continue to wrap baby while they cry and you'll see that as soon as they're snug and secure, all crying will stop.*
Newsflash, babies poop. And pee. A lot! They even spit up. And baby’s going to be naked a lot. No worries; I’m prepared. It’s part of the gig! I bring extra tri-fold diapers (old-school cloth diapers) to help with clean up. This is also why I was ALL baby props and blankets between each session. If you had some rags, or paper towels, or wipes available nearby that’d be awesome too. Who knows, maybe we won’t need them.
*If you want shots with baby in his/her diaper, then I strongly suggest getting a cloth diaper or diaper cover in a solid color. Editing Elmo and Big Bird off newborn Pampers is time consuming and not always easy to do. J
Don’t worry, this is not a PSA about why you should or should not circumcise your little man. This is a plea to please let me know if you are planning to (this can be something we discuss before baby even arrives)! Circumcision often leaves the area raw and a bit painful for a few days after the procedure which can make posing and keeping baby content during their session difficult or impossible. Because of this, baby’s newborn session needs to take place BEFORE the procedure or at least 5 days after. (Before is definitely my preferred option.)
If I should arrive at your home and find baby freshly circumcised, I’ll be forced to reschedule your session. Baby’s comfort and safety is my highest priority!
Sibling & Parent Portraits
If baby has older siblings that you’d like photographed with the newborn, we’ll do these at the beginning or very end of the session (preferably first). I recommend having children in coordinating outfits with no logos. Little boys looks adorable shirtless for pictures with the new baby and little girls looks so pretty in simple cream or white (I can even use one of my newborn wraps as a simple top for big sister).
*Please make sure to let me know on your Newborn Client Questionnaire or via email, text, or phone call if you’d like siblings included in the session.
I strongly encourage parents allow me to capture their portraits with the new baby. Trust me, someday that selfie isn’t going to cut it when you’re looking for a picture of you with the baby! No need to get all dressed up: brush your hair and put on a tad of makeup and a clean top and you’ll be all set! Maybe check that your nails are clean. This is a great “excuse” for why you need some extra alone time and a long shower that morning! Feel free to blame me!
I promise you won’t regret it.
One final note…
Props & Requests
My newborn photography consists of posing on white or light colored backgrounds with very simple props – hats, wraps, or little pants – or au natural. And my posing style is simple – keeping baby in a more comfortable/organic pose. I want the main emphasis of the portrait to be baby itself. To this end, yes, I’ll definitely try to incorporate your requests into the session as long as baby’s safety is guaranteed.
If you see a specific item in my albums that you’d like me to be sure to bring, just let me know!
It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to show off some the awesome photography products that we carry. Plus, since I’ve added a few more goodies, what better way to introduce them than to show them off!
Since it is the Christmas season, I am going to start off with these super cute, and affordable, custom Christmas ornaments. On the left is a bamboo ornament that comes in your choice of 13 sizes & shapes (the one show is 4″x2.5″). They’re ~1/4″ thick and show the beautiful, natural grain of the bamboo through the image. On the right is a sweet metal ornament that can be ordered in the design shown or a snowflake.
These ornaments not only look lovely on your own tree, they make a fantastic gift for grandparents!
Next up is an item I’ve been proudly using for 2 months now: a custom cell phone case.
What a great way to show off your babies – without having to even unlock your phone screen.
Cases are black rubber grip with interchangeable photo inserts. These aren’t sold as “protective cases” like Otterbox, Lifeproof, etc – BUT, my toddler has dropped and thrown my phone multiple times on quite a few different surfaces, and so far, no damage has occurred to my Samsung S6.
Cases are available for the Samsung Galaxy S6, iPad Mini, and iPhones 4, 5, 6, & 6 Plus.
The base order includes 1 case and 1 insert – additional inserts can be added to your order or ordered at a later date.
The gorgeous picture above is my 2nd favorite new product: the 3″x3″ accordion mini album. This beautiful, sturdy mini album comes with your choice of up to 10 customizable panels and your choice of cover: fabric, leathers, suede, or (my personal fave) custom photo. Accordion Mini albums come in sets of 3 boxed up in a little manilla colored box – PERFECT for grandparent gifts (can you not just picture grandma whipping this out of her purse to show off to everyone) or as a display in mom or dad’s office!
Next up, you can NEVER go wrong with a custom, 1 1/2″ gallery wrap canvas! It’s classic, it’s sturdy, and you don’t even need a frame.
Each gallery wrap canvas is finished with saw-tooth hangers and corner bumpers.
I’ll wrap up with something many of us are knee deep in this time of year – Christmas cards.
I am proud to offer, high quality, customized Press-Printed & Foil Pressed greeting cards in a variety of sizes.
Custom designed cards are perfect for new baby announcements, Birthday invitations, Graduation announcements, Christmas cards, etc.
So, now you’ve seen the beautiful, high quality, and affordable products we carry for our clients. But, just because you don’t see it here doesn’t mean we can’t get it. So, if there’s ever something special that you have in mind, just ask!
What’s the cause of one of mom’s biggest stresses before a Family Portrait Session?
If you answered “What do I/we wear?” – then you’re right! More than half of my clients like to run clothing ideas by me or get my clothing suggestions before a session. And you know what, I LOVE that part! I’ve even received texts from dressing rooms.
But you know what, it makes sense. In color photography, one of the first things our eyes are drawn to are the clothes.
There are 3 Big Trends (we’ll call them the Big 3 from now on) in family portrait clothing coordination, especially for beach pictures. I’m sure you’ve seen them: white shirts and jeans, white shirts and khakis, or all white. Don’t get me wrong, I get it; these are clothes that everyone has. No one needs to go shopping, mom doesn’t need to stress, etc. I’ve shot these pictures. I’ve actually been IN these pictures.
These pictures are fine. There’s nothing wrong with them (outfit-wise) – everyone looks happy and coordinated. But there’s no wow factor either – nothing to set you apart from the hundreds of other “family beach pictures”. Consider adding some color to your portrait session! This doesn’t have to involve a family wide shopping trip – if you want to go with one of the Big 3, add a funky belt or shoes, colorful jewelry, or a scarf.
Another idea is to put the adults in one of the Big 3 options and have the kids be the pops of color.
If you’ve decided to add color for the whole family, don’t be scared! I’m here to help! An easy idea is to find an patterned item of clothing that you love and then use the colors in that item to pick outfits for everyone else. And don’t hesitate to ask your photographer for suggestions – he or she knows the area where you’re shooting as well as the time of day. I even have a Pinterest board specifically to help with color combination ideas here.
The second biggest decision to make when booking is where to have your portrait session. My coverage area extends from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach through Pensacola to Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach as well as north to Cantonment and Milton.
I have my favorite locations in every area. But, there are plenty of times a client comes to me with a specific location already in mind.
Where we take your pictures has a lot to do with determining HOW your portraits will look in the end. Is it in an open field or beach (bright, open), urban/ warehouse area (dim, grungy, edgy), or in your home (personal)? I want the location of your session to be about you which I why I really like your input on where we shoot. As I said, I have my favorite locations and can definitely make suggestions, but at the end of the day, this is your session and YOU need to be happy with the look of your pictures.
Now let’s talk about the two most requested location types as well as thoughts on what kind of clothing to consider and the best times of day to shoot based on each location.
What to wear for a beach session?
Think about the colors that are already there – blues like the sky, greens and yellows of the sea oats and sea grasses, and teals like the Gulf itself. Another fun way to go for a sunset session would be to wear warm colors – reds, orange, pink as compliment to the beautiful sunset colors.
Best time of day for beach portrait sessions – Beach portrait sessions have the most beautiful light in the hour after sunrise or within an hour of sunset. The combination of our beautiful, sandy WHITE beaches and the glaring sun can lead to harsh (read: unflattering) shadows and squinting during daytime sessions. Overcast days are another great option for beach portrait sessions.
Parks – If we’re being honest, parks are MY favorite session location. There are so many great parks in Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, and surrounding areas! Every area photog has their favorites. Park setting suggestions are great for the area forts as well!
My only “what-not-to-wear” suggestion is red. Unless we’re shooting for Christmas pictures, you want to avoid red when in a primarily green location. I’m sure you can figure that one out. If you’re into neutrals, that’s beautiful, play with blacks, browns, blues, whites. Parks are also a great place to really play with some color: purples, yellow, pinks, bright teals – they all look great in a park situation.
Park sessions can offer us a little wiggle room as far as session time also. Depending on the amount of available shade, we can make many times of day work.
Most importantly – be comfortable. Make sure your kids are wearing something comfortable. And pick a location that you love!
Part I - Where are your pictures?
In this three part series, we'll discuss what to do after your portrait session is over! Part One will talk about what you're doing with your digital files. How are you safe keeping them? Part Two will discuss how where you have your pictures printed matters. And Part Three will give you ideas about how to best display your portraits after you print them.
Did you know that over time, CDs and USBs can become corrupt and unreadable? What would you do if your hard drive crashed? Yes, you'd most likely lose important documents, but you'd also risk losing all of your family's pictures. Did you know that most professional photographers only keep client's images for a couple years? We just don't have the storage space - plus, when we save files it's on at least 3 different devices.
We hear it and read it all the time. "Do I get the digital files?"
In many cases, the answer is yes.
My question to you though, is this - What are you doing with those digital files?
Are you ordering professional quality prints and albums from your photographer? Or are you trusting the nearest big box store or corner drug store with your printing needs?
If you actually order prints, what are you doing with them? Are you displaying them on the walls of your home? Are you adding the prints to baby books or photo albums? Or, are they just getting dumped in a photo box?
I would like to bet that if I stopped 10 random people and asked them what they do with their digital files, more than half of them with answer me with, "They're still on the CD/USB the photographer gave me," or, "I shared them on Facebook," or if they downloaded the files, "They're in a folder on my hard drive."
Say you get the digital files from your photographer. Did you read your contract and/or print release? If you have a professional photographer, at least one of those documents will have instructions on how to safe guard your images. My personal Print Release card contains the following statement: "All digital media can become corrupt over time. I highly recommend that you download the images off the CD/USB onto at least one computer to ensure the safe keeping of your images." My Portrait Contract has the following clause: "FBO Photography is responsible for providing storage of their images for one year only. After one year, images may be deleted or removed. Client releases FBO Photography from liability of photo storage after one year."
This is not to say that I actually delete client's files after a year, but it does mean that I could. And I know several professional, top of their field, photographers who do.
*The pictures throughout this post are of my family. Some are professional portraits, and some are just snap shots. But all are memories that I'm not prepared to lose.*
Amanda is the prop buying, location scouting, mom-bun rocking, flip flop wearing, owner/ operator/ and woman behind the camera for Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Photography.
I proudly provide
Family Photography, Newborn Photography, Maternity photography, Milestone Photography, and Birth photography in Pensacola, FL, Cantonment, FL, Perdido Key, FL, Pace, FL, Gulf Breeze, FL, Navarre, FL, Crestview, FL, and Pensacola Beach, Florida and Orange Beach, AL, Gulf Shores, AL, Foley, AL,, Fairhope, AL, Daphne, AL and Spanish Fort, Alabama..