Posts tagged PHOTOGRAPHERS
Timing Your Spring Senior Session
high school senior model with denim jacket in front of flowering dogwood tree

If you want jaw-dropping senior photos, start planning right now! The trees are starting to blossom and nights are coming later, which means that you can get the same color-injected, gorgeous backdrops featured here! Ever wonder how photographers get that warm, deliciously amazing light that makes their photos glow? I certainly did. After lots of soul searching this month, this webinar watching, cash-dropping light chaser vowed to stop saying to myself "I'll just fix it in (computer software of choice)", and decided to get. that. glow.

It all starts with paying attention. If you are planning a shoot, look up when sunset is, and plan your shoot an hour or two before that. Carrie was graciously flexible and patient and we adjusted our start time to make sure her photos would be kick-you-in-the-face gorgeous. Usually somewhere between 5pm and 7pm is a good place to start!

HOW $20 DRASTICALLY CHANGED MY PHOTOS

Photography is expensive. Gear is pricey. Time is valuable. The cost of both is critical is this business, but some simple, good decisions can help you reap major benefits! I bought this $20 reflector in keeping with my vow to never "fix it in (computer software)" again. It makes a HUGE difference in lighting your portrait subject's face, and gives you the freedom to position your new friend in front of those beautiful golden backgrounds and still make sure the light is just right. Plus now you can call yourself a light bender and that sounds kind of cool.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these shots of Carrie's senior session! She is quite an amazing lady - manager of a baseball team at school, a solid member of the volleyball team for years, an advocate for MS, exchange program participant, AP class all-star, and lover of ice cream! Meadows, anyone?
 

high school senior model behind volleyball net with Westchester University college shirt
high school senior model posed with purple volleyball wearing a west chester university college hat
high school senior model with off the shoulder yellow lace top posing in front of arches at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania
high school senior model with yellow lace off the shoulder top holding melting ice cream with rainbow sprinkles in front of the meadows ice cream store in Indiana, PA
high school senior model with denim jacket in front of flowering dogwood tree
high school senior model standing in front of covered bridge wearing a floral summer dress
high school senior model twirling floral summer dress on a back country raos with trees
high school senior model wearing light blue shift dress and blue floral heels looking over shoulder and laughing on top of a parking garage in the city
high school senior model in light blue shift dress standing on top of parking garage overlooking city of Indiana PA
headshot using reflector of high school senior model in light blue shift dress standing on top of parking garage overlooking city of Indiana PA
top down shot of high school senior model laughing in light blue shift dress standing on top of parking garage overlooking city of Indiana PA
 
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Make Your Senior Session Totally Amazing | Indiana, PA Senior Photographer
Blonde high school senior model with white lace dress standing by a tree and sunset.

Thinking about getting your senior photos done, but worried they won't represent you accurately? I'm sharing some tips on how to dress and choose the perfect location to make sure your photos capture everything that makes you amazingly and uniquely you. When I photograph my seniors, it's one of those most fun and magical aspects of my job. I love making your photos fun, vibrant, and "different" from everyone else's.

Lots of seniors come to me because of the colorful, joyful style my photos take on. Maybe it's because I grew up in the 90's with a Lisa Frank Trapper keeper, or maybe it's because I have a penchant for all things rainbow, but one thing is for certain -  I. Love. Color. When I met Erin, after noticing her striking beauty, I couldn't help but be excited about her cool outfit choices. I always encourage my seniors to bring a variety of outfit styles from dressy to casual, colorful to neutral. Above all, I want everything about the senior session to reflect their amazing personalities. Check out Erin's awesome wardrobe and how we were able to pair her choices with the perfect backdrops!

Blonde senior model in black dress standing by roman column at Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Blonde senior model in black dress sitting on wrought-iron bench in front of Fisher Auditorium at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Blonde senior model wearing maroon blouse leaning on a stack of books
Blonde senior model in maroon blouse sitting on white rocking chair on the porch of Sutton Hall at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Blonde senior model with long curly hair flipped to one side
Blonde senior model reading a book outside at Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Interested in seeing more of the cool places we ventured to? Want to see more awesome outfits? Curious about how I get to know my seniors before the session starts? 

HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR SENIOR PHOTOS HAVE PERSONALITY

It pays off in huge ways when seniors take the time to shoot me an email, message me on Facebook, text, whatever, to help me get to know them! I've posted some of my favorite questions to ask seniors below (and your answers just may help us figure out location choices!)

Blonde senior high school model with white shorts and hot pink crop top standing in front of royal blue wall
blonde high school senior model in white shorts and hot pink crop top throwing glitter at camera
blonde high school model in grey crop top and skinny jeans in a seated pose between two brick buildings in an urban environment
Blonde high school senior model with skinny jeans and gray crop top in urban setting between two brick buildings

QUESTIONS FOR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS

. Do you like to spend time outside?
2. What's your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
3. Do you have any hobbies?
4. Do you like to dress up, or are you more of a casual dresser?
5. Do you like dogs/have a dog?
6. What's something you're passionate about?
7. Pick some of these words to describe yourself:  classy, fun, hipster, trendy, elegant, relaxed, sporty, academic, funky, edgy, introvert, extrovert, (and any more you want to add!)

blonde high school senior model standing on lake dock wearing white lace summer dress
blonde high school senior in nature park during golden hour

PAIRING OUTFITS WITH LOCATIONS

Start by going through your closet and choosing outfits that make you feel totally awesome. Don't be afraid to pair old things with brand new things as well. You want to be comfortable and confident throughout your session, so while there's definitely room to go out and splurge on a new top or shoes, mix in the tried and true favorites that really represent you. From there, we can look at the overall feel of the outfit and pair locations that make them shine! If you come with beanies and ripped skinnies, we will probably be heading to the city! If you have a flowered dress, we're going to find a field or a lake! Super colorful top? You already can guess I have colorful places around town scoped out just for you!

Having senior photos done can be a super fun, confidence boosting, and rewarding experience for everyone if you take a little time to connect with your photogrphaer and curate your outfits. This is a milestone you will look fondly back on for the rest of your life! I can't wait to make colorful memories with you!

Did You Forget to Tell Your Photographer Something? | Hippie Wedding at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh PA
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Lately everything is "bespoke" (what happened to the word "custom"?), and weddings are becoming bigger and better than ever with curated details and surprise events that make it a truly unique and personal experience. But, in all that planning, did you forget to tell your photographer about any special details that are significant to your wedding? Not only is it really important to have great communication with your photographer because of personality (if you're a regular around here you know why!), but its also good to keep us in the loop so we can be prepared with the right gear (and literally be in the right place) to make sure every little detail and moment that is important to you is captured to the best of our ability.

Each region of the country (and world!) has different wedding traditions, and while your photographer is prepared for the "normal" wedding day, you can generally assume that anything that makes this wedding unique to you is something that you need to tell your photographer. Is your dress your moms? Wearing grandmas ring? Do you have a crazy Aunt Betty who is a photo nut and will be at your photographers hip each moment? Grooms, are you planning a surprise fireworks show? Are you pulling a rubber chicken out of your bride's dress when you go all "Mission Impossible" under there for the garter? Do you have super cool food options like a food truck instead of the stuffed chicken a la buffet? Tell me! Part of the fun of planning weddings now is that literally anything goes. And I want to be ready to rock it so you can always remember it!

Here are 5 big areas you should cover when you sit down to meet your photographer:

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Family Photos

If it's important to you (or your mom, dad, stepmom - whoever!) to get a photo with a specific combination of family members, you MUST give your photographer a list, especially when blended families are involved. There's nothing worse that leaving someone out or hurting someone's feelings over wedding pictures. Sit down with your fiancé and your family AND his or her family and ask about any family photos they need to have. If the list gets out of hand, just pare it down. You and your fiancé are the boss! It's YOUR wedding! Your photographer will absolutely do everything they can as time allows to get all of the shots, but he or she has to know what shots to get in the first place. And trust me, don't wait until the day of the wedding to just shout out combinations of aunts and uncles. You will be distracted and pulled in a million different directions, not to mention timelines can be tight to fit in portraits and travel to the reception. Don't let that stress you out - let me handle it! 

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Time Line

Speaking of the time, it's essential you tell your photographer the timeline of your wedding. If you are doing a first look, getting ready in a different location other than the church, or if there is a good amount of travel time from location to location, these are all things that your photographer will be grateful to know ahead of time! If the logistics and scheduling of everything is giving you a headache, let your photographer and DJ help. We have been to hundreds of weddings and can tell you how much time things take, including those sneaky time-suckers like receiving lines that you may not have thought about. Just as important, if a time or location changes, even day of, your photographer should be in the know about that too. We are constantly keeping track of the time (I have a watch in my camera bag in case my phone dies) and trying to fit in everything you want to do while keeping a fun vibe (but on schedule!), so delegate that stress to us!

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Lighting

A lot of churches frown upon using flash, so be sure to check with the little old church secretary (I can say that because I'm basically my church's secretary lol), and see what the officiant's preference on flash is. If your photographer is used to using flash everywhere, it's definitely worth bringing up. Most photographers have lenses that are up to the job no matter what the lighting is like, but just make sure they know in advance so they can pack correctly.

Also. Sparklers. Please, please PLEASE tell us when you are using sparklers, or even glow sticks (that was a rad wedding!) for an exit. If there's fire or other low-light fun things happening, we've gotta know so we can be in place with the right gear. It's helpful, too, if you can take your time walking through all the beautiful sparks instead of sprinting the heck outta there! Your honeymoon can wait 30 more seconds, I promise ;)

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Special Details

One of the things that make weddings so dear and personal are details. It's really a great way to infuse your personality, family, history, and anything significant to you into your wedding. My rule of thumb when photographing weddings is that if you made it or paid for it, I'm going to photograph it! But if there is something very important to you that may not be on display or obvious, make sure to let us know so we can snap a pic!

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Surprises

I love it when grooms and brides surprise each other with things during their wedding. Be it a gift or prayer before the ceremony, a note, a fireworks show, a game during the reception, a choreographed dance, whatever, let us in on the secret! We promise we won't tell, and you can be sure that we will be in the right place at the right time!

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It's my goal to teach you that your photographer is so much more than a lady or dude snapping photos on your wedding day. Something that is so intrinsic to my personality and my only really true passion is service, and it's essential to being a good photographer. Your photographer should be there to calm you down, keep you on track, encourage you, direct you, create with you, laugh with you, and take care of you. The more information you can give us, the better we can serve you - and that's what it's all about!

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5 Things To Look For In A Wedding Photographer
5 things to look for in a wedding photographer

It's really easy, and necessary, to book a photographer based on their price. There are so many expenses to a wedding, and it is absolutely true that photos last a lifetime. Of course a photographer is going to tell you to prioritize your budget for photos, but I'm ACTUALLY telling you to ask yourself "what's the most important thing to me?" It may be tempting to go with a new photographer that has rock bottom rates, but after checking out their photos and seeing if you like their style, also consider some of these things beyond the price to ensure your photos AND YOUR WEDDING DAY are everything you hope for:

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1. HARD WORKING

At the end of the wedding day, I feel super close with my couples, because I am in. their. face. all. day. Not literally of course, but I make sure to capture as much as I can about their wedding day. Isn't that why you're paying a photographer? To capture the moments you can't be a part of? The best way to tell if a photographer is hard working is to talk to other couples he or she has photographed. A true professional will go above and beyond to try and be everywhere at all times. 

2. THOUGHTFUL

I say this jokingly - among being a comedian, navigator, technical nerd, pack mule, and robot who doesn't need food or water, a photographer has to by psychic too. But in all seriousness, a photographer always has to be thinking ahead. He or she should always be wanting to help make your day go smoother, because a less-stressed bride and groom look (and are!) much happier in photos. I pin boutonnieres, bustle dresses, put veils in hairdo's, help dress the flower girls, clasp necklaces - it's all about being servant hearted. Why should I hang back and let a problem unfold if I can step in a solve it? There's plenty of time to photograph the happy moments of the day if your photographer is helping to ensure they happen.

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3. CONFIDENT

Chances are, there will be some sort of timeline to your wedding day. Chances are, your photographer will have to work under pressure with deadlines. A confident photographer will feel comfortable being a natural leader. Often times, I need to make polite but firm requests of people that are much older than me. You want to book a photographer that is not afraid to speak up, speak loud, and speak with authority. It's very different than being "mean." It's making sure family members are present for photos, it's wrangling those rowdy groomsmen for a group photo, it's having go-to poses to keep things moving quickly. The best way to see if your photographer is confident is to ask them questions like, "How do you handle family photos after the ceremony?"  or "What will you do to control my groomsmen?" 

4. SKILLED

And I don't just mean having "blah blah" camera and shooting on "manual" mode, I mean being skilled at bringing out the best in people. Sometimes people are really shy in front of the camera. Sometimes people are flustered, sometimes they are silly, sometimes they have a squinty smile, on and on. It's the photographers job to make sure they know how to handle each unique situation so they can bring out the best in you. I use a stool to shoot down on subjects that may be a little bigger (and IM a little bigger so I can say that!!) Your photographer should also know some go-to seated poses for couples that have over a foot in height difference, or how to pose family members in wheelchairs. Take a peek at his or her portfolio and look for these diverse situations and how they were handled.

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5. FUN!

If laughter, smiles, and happy guests matter to you, you'll want your photographer to be fun. Like, extroverted fun. You want someone who can make you laugh, who gets in amongst your guests and dances and talks with them, and who just seems joyful. If you're into moody, artistic, serious posing, this might not be as important, but most people want to look happy on their wedding day! How do you know if your photographer is fun? Meet them! Hang out with them! Make them buy you coffee! (I buy everyone coffee. Want to go get coffee?)

Jill Gearhart Photography
Evan + Kim | Fedora and Suspenders Wedding at Carrolltown Fire Co. Banquet Hall
Double exposure of bride and groom and church

Evan and Kim's gorgeous fedora and suspenders wedding at Carrolltown Fire Co. Banquet Hall was an absolute blast right from the beginning. These two were high school sweethearts - I actually photographed Evan's senior photos and snuck in a few of his then-girlfriend Kim. It it so honoring to me that these wonderful people showed so much loyalty to my business, not only recommending me to other family members for senior portraits, but being blessed to shoot this super fun wedding so many years later! During their engagement shoot, we had to make some time for some funny shots that really let their personality shine. You'll have to check out the one with the tractor

Their wedding was just as fun and carefree. When I asked them what they were looking forward to the most, they said "partying and having fun!", so I made sure to capture lots of laughs. Kim was absolutely stunning in her mermaid-style gown from White Lace Bridal. Her "anything goes" easy personality made her willing to sit, jump, twirl, and get picked up by her hubby in that gorgeous dress too. After spending just a little time with there bridesmaids, who looked stunning in their gowns from Pine Ridge Bridal, I could see why they were all friends. These girls were so sweet and accommodating, willing to help me fluff dresses, hold lists, and anything else I asked of them. 

I was particularly spoiled this wedding because I was able to shoot with the amazing Nathan Ballash of Ballash.s Photography who spent time with the guys in the morning, getting some awesome shots of their suspender and fedora hat wedding day style! 

HOW TO BE AN AWESOME SECOND SHOOTER

Today, most couples want all of their bases covered when it comes to photography on this special day that a lot of thoughts (and dollars) were poured into. I was so excited that Nathan was able to be my amazing assistant for the day. Being thoughtful and attentive is a must for a second shooter. Listen to some of the amazingly mindful things Nathan brought to make my day, and everyone else's, easier:

Second Shooter selfie with bride and groom
  • Shared location details with the "Find my Friends" app so we could keep tabs on each other while we shot at separate spots around town.
  • Familiarized himself with my shooting style (I shoot primes) and brought zoom lenses to offer variety and versatility.
  • Held all of my crap. And kept track of my car keys. He was basically my purse.
  • Noticed needs I didn't even realize I had. Like shading me with my reflector when I was shooting in the sun.
  • Learned my "modern" posing style and confidently stepped in (but not in a bossy way) to do more classic posing when I was done.
  • Offered (and set up) a lighting system for the reception that was totally different than mine so I could try something new!

I feel like the fun, love, and thoughtfulness shown by everyone, vendors and bridal party alike, really show in these photos. I hope you enjoy these highlights of Kim and Evan's best day ever!

Bride wearing veil clasping necklace before putting on wedding dress
Mermaid dress from While Lace Bridal in Indiana PA
Bridesmaids in Pine Ridge bridal dresses attending to the bride as she puts her dress on
Groom wearing fedora hat getting ready before wedding ceremony
Fedora and Suspenders Wedding
wide shot of church and wedding guests during ceremony in Ebensburg, PA
Bride and groom exchanging rings during wedding ceremony
Bride and groom walking down steps outside of Ebensburg PA church as guests blow bubbles
formal family portrait during wedding in Ebensburg PA church
Bridal party walking and laughing in front of old Cambria County Jail in Ebensburg, PA
Bridesmaids posing for a silly group shot at Old Cambria County jail in Ebensburg, PA
Groomsmen throwing groom up in the air in a basket toss while ring bearer runs away
Bride smacking groom in the face with bouquet at Old Cambria County Jail in Ebensburg, PA
Groom throwing bride over shoulder and smacking buttFedora and Suspenders Wedding
Fedora and Suspenders Wedding
Fedora and Suspenders Wedding
black and white close up of bride and groom at Lake Rowena in Ebensburg, PA
close up of wedding bands
Fedora and Suspenders Wedding
yellow icing small cake with yellow roses and ruffled fondant
Bride and groom cutting cake at Carrolltown Fire Co. Banquet Hall 
Bride and groom smashing cake in each others faces at Carrolltown Fire Co. Banquet hall
Bride and groom with icing on their faces after cake smash at Carrolltown Fire Co. Banquet Hall
Bride and groom sharing first dance under sweeping tulle and lights at Carrolltown Fire Co. Banquet Hall
Father daughter dance during wedding reception at Carrolltown Fire Co. Banquet Hall
Mother son dance during wedding reception at Carrolltown Fire Co. Banquet Hall
Fedora and Suspenders Wedding
Fedora and Suspenders Wedding
Fedora and Suspenders Wedding
Matt + Stef | A Fireman's Wedding at Contres-Greer Social Hall, Northern Cambria PA
Bride looking over shoulder with serious expression showing her keyhole lace dress and braided wedding hairstyle.

There's something really special about being a wedding photographer. Spending 10+ hours with someone on their wedding day is a really great way to learn a lot about someone. Matt and Stef were really great to work with - definitely very relaxed, thoughtful, and people that genuinely cared about everyone around them, especially their family.  I loved finding out the things that were special to them and capturing how they wanted to include it in their big day. Stef wanted to honor her grandpa that passed in 2015 by wrapping her beautiful bouquet in his shirt sleeve, her "something blue." She finished it off with lace from her great, great grandma's veil. Talk about stunning! I also learned that Matt has been a volunteer fire fighter at the Summerhill Boro Fire Company for over 10 years! What an amazing servant heart! It was such a joy to capture the camaraderie and friendship between he and his fire-fighting buddies! And how do you photograph a fireman's wedding? In front of a fire truck, of course! The reception venue at Contres-Greer Social Hall was the perfect choice to house all of those close friends and family - and there were quite a few!

A few days before their wedding, I called them to just catch up since their engagement shoot and to see how they were feeling in general about the day. When I asked them what they were most excited about, Matt said "the first look", and Stef agreed. It is so sweet to see couples that genuinely love each other deeply. I really wanted to be intentional about getting that authentic, genuine emotion in their photos.

AUTHENTIC POSING

I spent a lot of time in the week leading up to their wedding researching and planning just how to bring out the best in these two that I knew a little about, but not a ton. I've always been drawn to photos that show emotion, movement, activity. One of the easiest things to photograph is laughter - but it sure isn't easy creating it (especially if you're kinda lame sometimes, haha!!) If you're curious about the things I said or instructed to get some of the big smiles and the sweet looks, you can download my shoot notes here!


I hope you enjoy the highlights of Matt and Stef's amazing day! (and everyone knows it takes a village to pull off a wedding! Lots of thanks to Brent Labarko of DJ Jack Labarko, Inc. for amazing lighting and music during the reception, and Joelle Hadix of Wedding Elegance by Joelle for giving me some gorgeous florals to photograph!)
 

Sentimental wedding details like a sweatshirt from the bride's grandfather used as her something blue along with a lace veil from her great great grandmother.
Wedding bouquet by Wedding Elegance by Joelle featuring pink roses, succulents, purple cala lilly's, and purple tulips.
Close up shot macro photo of engagement and wedding rings nestled in a pink rose.
A groom wearing a charcoal suit form Vera Wang's Black collection sees his bride for the first time during their first look.
Bride wearing Tiffany's pearls and her groom sharing an intimate moment under a lace veil
Bride and groom smiling at eachother in front of a vintage 1980's fire truck at the local Summerhill Volunteer Fire Company.
Bride standing in monastery garden in front of blooming arbor, looking over shoulder at her lace wedding gown train
Headshot of smiling groom wearing Vera Wag Black collection suit and cala lilly boutineer
Bride sitting on a stone wall in a garden with groom standing beside her, smiling at eachother
Blue and grey bridal party walking in a garden laughing arm in arm
candid wedding photo of bridesmaids wearing blue one-shoulder dresses with pink bouquets
Candid photo of five groomsmen and a groom standing in a garden laughing
bride and groom kissing in front of a willow tree with pink and purple wedding bouquet covering faces
Wedding cookie table with fudge, truffles, and butter mints
Wedding reception table with fairy lights under a white table cloth and blue uplighting by Dj Jack Labarko
Bride and Maid of Honor sharing a hug after the maid of honor speech at the reception
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Mother Son Dance at the reception at Contres Greer Social Hall in Northern Camrbia
Authenic Posing: How To Get Kids To Smile For Photos
Boy with blonde curly hair smiling at the camera

I started my photography journey humbly enough, working as a seasonal employee at the MALL portrait studio. I can't knock it too much, though - I really did learn some pivotal PS skills, great customer service, but perhaps the most valuable of all, I learned tips on how to make kids smile! Of course it's different for every kid, so don't be discouraged by blank stares or "who the heck are you" expressions - SOMETHING will work!

WHAT TO SAY FOR SMILES

Group photo of young children playing the the leaves

"Say cheese" is so cliche and it DOESNT WORK. Kids are rehearsed smilers, so you can often get that wide toothed, looks-like-their-dentist-is-pulling-their-lips-open kind of plastic smile. Try having your kiddos say these things instead:

  • "Boogers" (popular with boys!)
  • "Dirty diapers" (also, boys)
  • "Mommy/Daddy stinks" (are the parents cool?)
  • "Hurry up lady" (works great with older kids - maybe because they are getting a free pass to yell at you?)
  • The name of their favorite TV Show/Movie (Power Rangers! Come to think of it, this would work for one of my wedding couples next year!)

PLAY A GAME

I like to put something (a toy, usually) on top my head and have kids "blow it down" on the count of 3. Ideally, it's a rubber duck, and when you say "3" you shake your head to make it fall and the kids laugh hysterically. My camera bag has lots of weird things in it! You can also use jangly keys or anything else that makes noise if you're having trouble getting their attention. Another strategy I've had success with in the fall is having them throw leaves in the air on the count of 3. The count to 3 thing is vital - they sit still anticipating it, and often they are so excited they are STILL and SMILING before the promised action happens.

PRETEND TO SNEEZE

Another tactic to use with the duck/toy/keys/whatever. Put the item on your head, and instead of telling them to blow it down and starting that magical 1...2...3...., instead say "I hope this doesn't fall down" and go "aaaa.....aaaaaa....achoooo!" This variation works better when the kids are very small and may not understand your instruction, but totally get when you're being goofy.
 

large group photo of young children sitting on hay bales on a farm

TICKLE THEM!

I like this strategy when the parents are holding the kids or they are nearby. A simple "I'mmmmm gunnnaaa tickle youuuuu!!!" and then making a goofy sound while tickling their belly sometimes gets to grumpiest little one to crack a smile. Even better when you have have an assistant do this so you don't have to jump back and forth from tickling to standing the appropriate shooting distance away. 

BRIBE THEM WITH CANDY

So while I don't normally endorse bribery (and discourage parents from doing so too - after all, we are going for "authentic" here!), I do think rewarding good behavior is always a nice gesture at the END. A while ago I saw this method of attaching a PEZ dispenser on your camera's hotshoe to gives kids a fun focal point, and a sweet treat to look forward to. Check out the video to show you how: 

family of four children in close pose as if they are hugging

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, EMBARRASS YOURSELF

Kids like to laugh - at other people. When the above methods don't work, I resort to the "pig nose" (push your nose up like a pig and snort. yep.), or the "raspberry" - you know, sticking your tongue out and the like.

Ans always, always make time to be silly. Kids love to run and jump and laugh and play - so if you are willing to do that too, you will be much more than "the camera lady/man" and your photos will be much more than "nice pictures."

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Tips On How To Dress And Where To Go For A Senior Shoot | Indiana, PA
Blonde high school senior model with white lace dress standing by a tree and sunset.

Maybe it's because I grew up in the 90's with a Lisa Frank Trapper keeper, or maybe it's because I have a penchant for all things rainbow, but one thing is for certain -  I. Love. Color. When I met Erin, after noticing her striking beauty, I couldn't help but be excited about her cool outfit choices. I always encourage my seniors to bring a variety of outfit styles from dressy to casual, colorful to neutral. Above all, I want everything about the senior session to reflect their amazing personalities. Check out Erin's awesome wardrobe and how we were able to pair her choices with the perfect backdrops!

Blonde senior model in black dress standing by roman column at Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Blonde senior model in black dress sitting on wrought-iron bench in front of Fisher Auditorium at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Blonde senior model wearing maroon blouse leaning on a stack of books
Blonde senior model in maroon blouse sitting on white rocking chair on the porch of Sutton Hall at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Blonde senior model with long curly hair flipped to one side
Blonde senior model reading a book outside at Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Interested in seeing more of the cool places we ventured to? Want to see more awesome outfits? Curious about how I get to know my seniors before the session starts? 

HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR SENIOR PHOTOS HAVE PERSONALITY

This bit of advice is really advanced. You read for it? To get to know your seniors, all you have to do is... ASK! It pays off in huge ways if you take the time to shoot them an email, message them on Facebook, text, whatever! I've posted some of my favorite questions to ask seniors below (and their answers just may help you figure out location choices!)

Blonde senior high school model with white shorts and hot pink crop top standing in front of royal blue wall
blonde high school senior model in white shorts and hot pink crop top throwing glitter at camera
blonde high school model in grey crop top and skinny jeans in a seated pose between two brick buildings in an urban environment
Blonde high school senior model with skinny jeans and gray crop top in urban setting between two brick buildings

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR

. Do you like to spend time outside?
2. What's your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
3. Do you have any hobbies?
4. Do you like to dress up, or are you more of a casual dresser?
5. Do you like dogs/have a dog?
6. What's something you're passionate about?
7. Pick some of these words to describe yourself:  classy, fun, hipster, trendy, elegant, relaxed, sporty, academic, funky, edgy, introvert, extrovert, (and any more you want to add!)

blonde high school senior model standing on lake dock wearing white lace summer dress
blonde high school senior in nature park during golden hour

PAIRING OUTFITS WITH LOCATIONS

Here's the logic I used for using Erin's personality traits and pairing them with her outfits and locations:

  • Academic: Blacks, neutrals, business casual - Sutton Hall, IUP.
  • Fun: bright pops of color, fun accessories, casual - local auto garage with bold royal blue paint job.
  • Elegant: lace, whites or cream, dresses - Blue Spruce Park
Photographers: Make Your Prime Lenses Pull Double Duty!
Jill Gearhart Photography Wedding-6.jpg

Here's a short and sweet blog post for #TipTuesday! Did you know that you can use your prime lenses as macro lenses too?!

If you're anything like me, you love finding out new tricks to repurpose things you already have. While I can't quite spring for a $$$$ macro, I found a helpful article from the Digital Photography School that shows you how to reverse-mount your prime lenses to make them work like a macro!

While it's definitely not a substitute, it's a great way to experiment before making the investment! Read more about the how-to's in Chas Elliot's blog post here.