For an adult, trying to come up with a Mother's Day gift that's more unique than the last 30 years of Mother's Day gifts is anxiety-inducing. Every year we are compelled to thank our mothers in the form of flowers, brunch, candles... They deserve all these things and more for putting up with us. But what do moms really want?
Along with all the other things going on in their lives, mothers want to feel close to their children. Whether new moms or grandmothers, they want to make good memories with their loved ones. Particularly because photos are especially hard to get with fully grown children, booking a photoshoot with mom is the best kind of gift. When was the last time she saw you and your siblings in the same room?
This Mother's Day don't just send your mom a card, create a family heirloom. Imagine how endearing it will feel to be able to give these photos to your own children one day.
Find Portraits of Moms in My Real Women Series
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Jessica was the lucky winner of a drawing through Facebook that gifted her with a beauty day and photo shoot. She started at Pure Aesthetics for a Cool Lifting facial treatment by Carissa Miller and then went over to Sarah's Hair Studio for hair styling by Sarah Allen and professional makeup by Kara Winslow. All dolled up and looking gorgeous, we were ready for her shoot!
Jessica is a single working mom of two little boys who has always wanted to feel like a beautiful model, but have never taken the time to seek out a photo shoot with a professional so it was a pleasure to give her this experience!
We took some photos outside of Sarah's Hair Studio in Haile and around the village center, then moved on to Fresco Pizza & Pasta. We poked our head in to see if they'd allow us to take photos inside and they even provided us a glass of wine! Jessica's parents are regulars and love the restaurant, so it was a perfect stop for us.
You might know Jessica from Schneider Insurance, a family owned business here in Gainesville.
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One of my favorite memories was one Thanksgiving when my mother and I sat down together to look through old family photos. We held photographs of my mother and father's grandparents and great aunts and uncles on their wedding days. We admired an old sepia portrait of my great-grandmother when she was a beautiful young woman close to the turn of the century.
When people waver between having photographs professionally printed or only having digitals, I think back to this memory and how grateful we are to have tangible photographic evidence of our beloved family members, and how special it was for me to sit with my mother and look through the photographs together. That’s what portraiture is all about - documenting a moment in time. Digitals may seem like a good idea now, but instead I encourage you to consider how you would like your photographs to be viewed 10, 20, or 50 years from now.
Imagine you’re in your 90s, readying yourself to exit a life full of fantastic memories. An elderly parent who is able to leave their loved ones with photographs of their life becomes such a powerful thing. Giving the gift of an heirloom is precious, but giving the gift of a photographic heirloom can become priceless.
I only imagine what memories are lost through a person’s lifetime. Having that evidence that yes, grandma was once a vivacious, beautiful 30-year-old, and allowing great-grandchildren to hold that evidence is undeniably tear-worthy.
This is why beauty portraits and boudoir shoots with women are so meaningful to me. I want you to share a moment with your own children one day, to look back and say 'Wow, she was gorgeous.'
I chose to do my first boudoir shoot with a bride-to-be in 2013. She wanted to give her husband a wedding present he wouldn’t forget. We rented a room at Magnolia Plantation Bed & Breakfast in Gainesville, excited about the tasteful, yet romantic photos to come.
She had the typical nervousness of a new boudoir clients and I’ll admit that I was, too, nervous for my very first boudoir shoot. But after a few minutes, we both started to loosen up a little bit. It became really fun once we were comfortable with each other - giggling away at how silly it all felt, forgetting about the end result and just having fun.
My favorite part about beauty and boudoir photoshoots is seeing the client’s face once they’re done. When a woman’s face lights up and says Is that me?, that’s when I know I’ve done a great job. Some clients just don’t know how beautiful they are, or that they can be that “kind” of beautiful. It's also important to note that very little editing goes into the photos! I'm not sitting back, letting Photoshop do all the work. It's all about flattering poses to bring out the unique beauty every woman possesses.
There’s this photographer named Jen Rozenbaum that I really admire. She focuses solely on boudoir photography and she’s got this campaign called #ShamelesslyFeminine. Showing women that they can be feminine without necessarily being “girly” is extraordinary for women who want to feel beautiful but don’t have an affinity towards pink.
Sue Brice is the reason I got into beauty photography. An inspiring campaign she created is #ExistInPhotos. Many times women and moms are so busy taking care of others that they forget to make themselves included in photos. Sometimes women think that now isn’t the time to take boudoir photos. They’ll wait until the baby weight is gone, or until they get a facial, or whatever they think needs to be “fixed” before they go in for a shoot. What I want every woman to know is that those things are not necessary! It’s my job to make you look and feel beautiful. I’m trained in using the best possible poses to make you look fabulous, no matter what size you are.
So you've decided that you're ready to get some professional photos done so to represent yourself and your business. That's great! If you want to look your best, then it is important to consider your wardrobe when planning for your session.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind when deciding on what to wear for your session:
Firstly, how formal should you dress? Obviously, this varies with your profession. To start, what do you normally wear for your job on a day-to-day basis, particularly when meeting with clients? I’d start there and then maybe go a half step more formal.
Secondly, think about how you want your photos to feel when someone looks at them and what is best for your profession. Is it your goal to come across as trustworthy, established, and very high end? A suit might be the best option in that case. Would you like someone to see you as approachable, friendly and knowledgeable? A nice button-down shirt with rolled up sleeves for men or a pretty blouse and necklace for women might be right choice in that case. If you are going to wear company polos or button downs for group photos, ensure that everyone on the team has a shirt in the correct size and color prior to the shoot date.
Next, think about colors. If you know you would like to use your photographs on your website or business cards, what colors are in the branding? Be sure that the colors you choose complement the brand colors. For professional head shots, I recommend that you wear solid colors with little to no patterns. One more note about colors - bright red and bright hot pink can be difficult for digital cameras to translate in certain lighting conditions, so avoid solid pieces in those colors if possible. It is no problem if the colors are muted, textured, or a secondary color in the piece.
If you are thinking of changing your look during the session, I would suggest using layers and accessories to easily get that effect. It is easy to dress up or dress down an outfit with a blazer or suit jacket, a neck scarf, adding or removing a tie, jewelry changes, rolling sleeves up or down, etc.
Also, while loose, boxy clothing may seem like the best way to hide a waistline that you might be self-conscious about, large, boxy shirts or jackets tend to make people look bigger in photos than they really are. For both men and women, I recommend something slightly fitted over something very loose.
Regarding grooming, take a quick look in the mirror and check to see whether your hair or beard (or ears or nose?) needs a trim. If you color your hair, check to see whether the roots need to be touched up. If possible, set your hair appointment for one week before the shoot.
Lastly, ladies - a few things: 1) I do recommend professional hair and makeup and can refer you to some excellent folks if you need some guidance; 2) avoid strong lip colors - while they can be a lot of fun to wear, they can be very distracting in the photo (the most important thing in the photo should be your eyes!) and is is sometimes difficult to find a strong lip color that complements your skin tone, the color of your teeth, and the color of your gums - something a bit more soft and neutral is usually a safer bet; 3) if you are self-conscious about your arms, consider wearing long or three-quarter length sleeves instead of sleeveless or short-sleeved tops or dresses. Please feel free to let me know about any of your concerns ahead of time so that I can help you look and feel your best in your photos.
Of course, if you have any questions, please reach out!
Are you looking for advice on what to wear for a couple's session? Check out this post!
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Where to even start? I love these two. Amanda and Dave reached out to me to help them create some photos to celebrate their anniversary. One of the many things I love about them is that they actively choose to work on their relationship and to be better people for each other. The thing is - they are already incredibly sweet and thoughtful! It was an absolute honor to work with them and I can't wait to deliver their artwork this week! I know they're going to love it. :)