it's summer! {document it}

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it's summer! {document it}

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Often the moms and brides I work with are also their family documentarians—the ones making sure photos are taken during every event and vacation, and on most of the days in between. I get it, because I play that role in my own family. We want to make sure that it's all remembered: the big moments and the everyday ones, because we know how fast time goes.

Whether your camera is a big DSLR or an iPhone in your purse (or like me, some of each), there are ways to help your photos stand out and tell the story better. Here are a few of my favorite tips for getting better photos of your life and loved ones:

  • Vary your perspective. 

    Make sure to move around and see the scene in different ways. Get big-picture shots that show the setting, as well as close-ups of the details. 
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  • More than just faces.

Portraits with your subject looking at you are always nice of course, but make sure to capture some of the action too. Some of my favorite images are the ones in which no one is looking at the camera. Notice how your baby's toes wiggle and curl as she feels the texture of the grass, and snap a close-up of those delicious chubby feet!

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  • Find the light (and use it well). 

    In the middle of the day outdoors, this might mean looking for some open shade so your photos aren't overtaken by harsh sun. Indoors, I try to stay near windows and avoid artificial light sources in my photos whenever possible, and I never use flash unless I absolutely must, because it's simply not how the scene actually looks. 
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  • Know your equipment.

Learn to use your camera well! Practice nailing your focus so you miss fewer shots. Read the manual so that you can use more of the available features. If you own a DSLR or any other camera that allows you to shoot in manual mode, you will only be getting your money's worth if you learn to do so! If you're shooting on "auto", you might as well be using a much cheaper point-and-shoot. It's really easier than it seems. Check out basic online photography courses for this, from Click or The Define School
Even if you're just shooting with a smartphone, making sure you know how the camera works can make an enormous difference. One feature that I've noticed many people not taking advantage of: most phone cameras allow you to adjust brightness before even snapping the photo, by tapping the spot you want to expose for. For instance, if the people on your screen are showing up too dark, just touch one of their faces drag your finger up a little to brighten them more. 

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So you have all of these wonderful images, but now what to do with them? Please don't let them simply sit on your phone or hard drive. Enjoy them, and let them be seen! I've always loved creating albums, books, and prints from my images, and I also use them on cards and invitations throughout the year. 

I love stationery and paper. There was a time when I never would have considered an email invitation or card for an important event. The standard electronic cards seemed less special, often a bit cheesy and substandard in design, or let's face it: just plain ugly.
My goodness, has this changed! There is no longer a need to compromise good taste in the name of being earth-friendly and clutter-free. It was only after stumbling across Paperless Post last year that I began to see electronic delivery as a legitimate option for invitations, thank-you notes and greetings. I've used their paperless invitations and cards on a few occasions so far, and am looking forward to doing so again for my daughter's second birthday party in September (two years old! can you believe it?!?).

Paperless Post offers so many gorgeous options for weddings, baby showers, birthdays, holidays, and any other occasions. They've partnered with many leading fashion brands and lifestyle designers, including Kate Spade New York, Oscar de la Renta, and Jonathan Adler, so you know these designs aren't just run-of-the-mill.

This was our sweet, simple design for Eaden's first birthday last year.

This post was written in cooperation with Paperless Post, but represents my honest opinion and experience. 

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palm beach weekend

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palm beach weekend

This sweet family of three visited from New York City last August for a weekend on the beach at the Four Seasons, I was lucky enough to spend an hour with them during their trip. They made the entire session ridiculously easy—naturally doing exactly what I was about to ask them to do. It always feels a little like cheating when that happens!  

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wander joyfully

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wander joyfully

We arrived at the park just before the rain began. Already rescheduled once, with a deadline fast approaching, we waited and watched the radar on our phones, hoping it would clear enough to shoot. Finally it did let up, and Stephanie (our lovely model), Sondra (stylist and assistant), and I ventured out. 

During our time on the river, we encountered bugs, humidity, the mortal fear of tipping in the canoe while holding my camera, and other paddlers telling us they'd spotted a large alligator nearby. I have no idea how Stephanie managed to look incredible right up to the end, as I was a hot sticky mess by the time we pulled the canoe safely back to dry ground. The whole thing was a little crazy, but overall we had so much fun!

It turned out that this shoot truly embodied the adventurous spirit of the company it was shot for, Wanderer Bracelets. Wanderer's designs are all handmade in Bali, Indonesia, and provide fair wage jobs for local artisans there. The company also happened to be founded by a fellow alumni of my alma mater, Palm Beach Atlantic, and is located right here is West Palm Beach. 

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love, only love.

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love, only love.

On the day of her family session, Kirsten mentioned to me in an email that she was a little anxious to be photographed. Oh, how I understand! Especially as women, and especially after having a baby, it is so hard to feel like ourselves again—to feel comfortable in our own (somewhat new and different) skin. I know that so many of you can relate. Here's what I told Kirsten...

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katy + jason's at-home wedding | pga national

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katy + jason's at-home wedding | pga national

When Katy first called me about photography, she had just started planning her wedding, and it was only two weeks away. The fact that it came together so beautifully in such a short time is a testament to her skill in making her vision a reality.
This intimate ceremony was such a meaningful, authentic celebration of Katy and Jason's love. It was an honor to be present for it—I definitely teared up behind the camera as they exchanged the vows they wrote together. 

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