Fall at The Armour House & Gardens

A few weeks back we had a quick Hurricane (Michael) that blew through.  Just a few days before, I found a beautiful little park that I wanted to use for one of my fall mini shoots, but unfortunately a large tree blew down blocking the entire entrance.  Just a few miles down the road is The Armour House & Gardens, which I have used many times before.  We drove over and quickly did our session, and may I say, I think this is the sweetest session this season.  Check out the Bushey’s beautiful fall gallery below!

 

I had already changed the session location and time once, because I wanted to use the new location instead of our original park.  Because I felt so bad they had to have their location changed last minute (and for reaching 100 “likes” on the Facebook post), I gave them a gorgeous wood print to cherish forever.  I know the style of this families home, and I think it’ll blend beautifully with their decor and colors.  This is a new product I’ve started offering, so I had to capture the beauty of it in the small details.  While pictures never do a product justice, you can appreciate the idea of it through what I’ve captured of her wood print.  These can come in various sizes, and shapes (oval, circle, rectangle, and hexagon).  I really love the soft sanded, and beveled, edges!

 

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Styling Tips for Your Family Portraits

Many times before my family sessions, I’ll get the same question asked to me, “What do you suggest we wear?”and some people will send me pictures of outfits and I’ll give my feedback.  While I am no fashion expert or stylist, I know what will look best in a portrait, and how to balance everyones outfits to blend yet coordinate.  Over the years I have helped countless families, and also styled my family, for various seasons, the two most popular being spring and fall.  I have gathered together some of my favorite looks from these families, and the best tips I know, to help you flawlessly (and easily) style your family for your next session.

 

Tip #1: DON’T TWIN IT.

So I have to be honest here and tell you I totally twinned it with my husband.  When we first moved back to VA after he left the Marine Corps, we were so busy moving in to our house and trying to get settled for our first baby to arrive, we didn’t know where to begin searching for a professional newborn photographer.  So, like most families do, we ended up at Portrait Studio in Walmart.  Boy do I regret that (I’ll have that story to come later).  When we chose the outfits, I thought, “Why don’t we both wear white shirts?”.  I slap myself on the forehead every time I think about saying that.  We put our son in red, and it really looked so strangely styled I really question how sleep deprived I was at the time ha!  When people match, all the colors blend, and white on everyone looks washed out.  The objective is to coordinate but not directly match.  Don’t be afraid of color either!  Variations of the same color family are a GREAT option if you don’t like patterns.  Here is our portrait from that day.  (insert eye roll emoji here)

Great example of coordinating without patterns: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/524247212856655284/

 

Tip #2: JUST SAY NO TO NEON.

You’re probably wondering why I just told you not to be afraid of color, and now telling you to stay away from colors too bright. Well, there is only one reason and it’s a simple one, bright colors reflect.  When you were a kid, did you ever put a buttercup weed under your chin to see if it turned your chin yellow? This is the exact same thing. Bright colors not only reflect against your skin, but the people standing next to you.  This goes for some reds too.  I have seen several clients and family wear a bright red, and the fabric almost appears to blend at the seams and look flat.  So if you choose a red, go for a maroon or burgundy red.  Below is a sample I pulled from the internet of someone wearing very bright clothing, to show the reflective quality of it.

 

Beautiful use of color: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/357754764140094890/

 

Tip #3: PATTERNS ARE OK…IN MODERATION.

I love patterns.  I love animal print, geometric, damask, floral, plaid, polka dots…I could really go on.  Prints are great in your family portraits, when they are used the right way and in moderation.  The general rule of thumb is that if plaid is introduced, it should be either one person wearing the plaid, or in small ways (like a scarf or a vest covering most of the pattern).  Stripes can be worn by several people, if one is wearing super thin stripes, while the other is wearing bulky stripes. Stripes can also be worn with florals.  I love seeing thin stripes with big floral patterns, just as long as there is only two people wearing the coordinating patterns.   A good way to add more excitement to your styling without overdoing the patterns, is by using a textured fabric.  That gives the illusion of a pattern, in a more subtle way.  Here are some of my favorite stylings from clients (and my own family) using patterns!  I’ve also included some great Pinterest links to help better with mixing patterns.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/56787645279541739/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ASqkzXOOqEpudaSMUR9XM7mmgtiaA7Nv9yzE73YIElwD1xR4EymT16I/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/659707045389988590/

 

Tip #4:  BE YOU.

At the end of all of this, I want you to be you.  I want you to feel comfortable in what you are wearing, and confident.  If you don’t feel comfortable, you won’t be confident, and that will convey in your images.  These portraits will be on your walls and in your home for the remainder of your lifetime.  I would hate for you to look back at them and hate how they look, based on how you associate the way you felt that day.  If you love to dress up and want to go all out, dress up!  If you prefer a casual look, I look forward to photographing you casual too!

 

To close, if you are still in need of help, I am 100% telling you to message me.  Throw some ideas at me, bug me with your pictures of outfits laid out on the department store floor.  I want you to look and feel great!

 

Want to take a look at some great fall styles?  Check out these links below!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/218354281913228249/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/584271751633552400/

 

Here are some adorable spring styles to think about for next year!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/748793875514810483/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/294774738093817764/

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A Magical Christmas Mini Session Experience

Last years Christmas mini sessions were truly the definition of magical.  The sounds of Christmas music echoed around the open floor plan, and bounced off the high ceiling.  The smell of hot cocoa filled the air, and the delicious gourmet treats surely melt in the mouths of each family that visited that day.  The most magical part of it all was watching each child twirl around under the falling snow, just like they would on the first snow fall day.

While last years sessions were what dreams look like, this year I have incorporated that same dreamy feeling, but with the traditional Christmas look, and the things that bring you back to your childhood.  Hot cocoa will still warm the belly, and the taste of those cookies, (that were meant for St. Nick but you snuck one for yourself) will be sure to delight the kids and the parents alike.  This years cookies will be made from the wonderful Sugar Fix Bakery in Ashland, VA, so if you’ve never had the pleasure of eating one, you’re in for a treat!  Take a look below for a sneak peek of our setup this year!

 

And here is the full size back drop, fit for families and the taller crowd!

 

The sessions this year are Cozy Cabin style and will have the additional white backdrop set up just for children 4 and under.  For $200 + tax, these limited sessions are 15 minutes in length, but plan to stay an additional 15 minutes so we can chat and you can enjoy these holiday refreshments!  Your price will include 10 Christmas cards with your choice of up to 5 images (and the digitals to accompany them), and a special holiday collectible gift from me as a “thank you” for choosing me for your holiday portrait experience.  As always, additional products are available for purchase, including additional Christmas cards. These sessions will take place on November 10th, please inquire about remaining dates as they may change often.

If you’d like to see just how magical these sessions are, take a look at this quick video from our Christmas experience last year!

 

I look forward to seeing you at my Cozy Cabin Christmas Minis this holiday season!

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Children’s Consignment coming to King William!

If you’ve ever traveled through King William, you’d know its a small and quiet area.  Too country for some people, but for my family it’s the perfect place to reside.  I grew up in a very small town where you had to travel 45 minutes to get to the nearest Walmart, and that was always an exciting trip for me as a kid.  We lived an hour and a half from the nearest mall, and even the food selection was pretty limited.  One thing I like about a small town is the community.  You know when you walk in to the grocery store you are likely going to see someone you know, and spend a few minutes chatting and catching up, something we barely have time to do anymore these days.

Four years ago we moved to King William from Hanover because of the affordable living, and while I wish Target was still in my backyard, I do enjoy the quiet nights, the spacious yard space, and the small restaurants this little town has to offer.  If you are ever looking for an amazing BBQ spot, King William offers the best BBQ restaurant just around the corner.  I find myself craving Chillin’ & Grillin’ Shack bbq sandwiches more than I’d like to admit.  We are even getting a donut shop this summer and you know I can’t wait to have my share of delicious donuts at KDubs!

On the flip side of that, I like to shop.  It is extremely important to me to support other small businesses like myself, and it’s usually with those small businesses I find the best products/food, and the best customer service.  One thing I wish there was more of in King William (aside from the internet options — insert eye roll here), is small shops.  That is soon to change this weekend!  A few weeks back a mom from my son’s T Ball team approached me about her children’s consignment shop opening at the end of the month.  This was so exciting for me because my youngest had outgrown all of her baby things (even though I was hanging on to them in denial that she is officially in toddler sized clothing).  I quickly gathered all of her old clothes, some baby shoes, and a few other things that never got worn and drove them out to a little shop called Lots 4 Tots.  I was so surprised to see how much people had brought in. When I came back to photograph the store for her I was amazed at how well it came together so quickly, and how adorable everything looks!  I am always on the hunt for last minute things, and consignment shops are a great go to for something extremely last minute.  There is so much to offer at this little shop, from clothing and shoes, to toys galore!  The official opening date is Saturday, June 30 at 10am, and there will be prizes, *cough* mini sessions with me *cough*.  Come out at 7717 Richmond Tappahannock Hwy, in Aylett to see what this quaint little store has, and if you’ve got some children’s items to consign, this is a great place to bring them in!

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Baby Ava | An On Location Newborn Session In Short Pump Va

A little over a month ago, I had just come home from Verizon from upgrading my phone.  I was in the process of switching the data from one phone to the other when I received a phone call.  I didn’t recognize the number at first but the number was saved in my phone as Carmen.  For a split second I though Verizon gave me the wrong phone and I had someone else’s ha!  As soon as I answered I immediately recognized the voice on the other end.  Two years ago Carmen hired me for her sweet baby girl Gloria.  I remember thinking how absolutely stunning this family was and couldn’t wait to show her the images from the day.  She called again for another newborn session for her third baby, and I couldn’t have been more surprised and excited.  Their little family grew again, and as usual everyone looked absolutely stunning.

 

 

I even caught the most perfect smile! What a true Angel!

 

After the session was over, I spent the next week editing the images, choosing the absolute best to show, printing and matting each image, and placing them in a folio box for beautiful display.  Originally Carmen intended to purchase only 10 images, but once she saw the full gallery, there was no denial she loved them all.  If this was presented to me for my baby, I wouldn’t be able to walk away with half either.  These are the sweetest children!

With the purchase of the full gallery, I gave an additional 5 surprise images!

 

I look forward to seeing them again in a few months!  It’s always great to see clients again years later, or even months later.  I love interacting with children, growing that relationship and forming friendships that last a lifetime. Watching parents gush over their own newborn brings such joy and happiness to my heart.  Newborns are most definitely at the top of my favorite part of photography. If you’ve ever considered newborn photography and you are expecting, I’d love to talk with you!

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