Mom, Pop, and Photoshop ...

There was a time when the options for professional quality family photos consisted solely of the staged, in-studio photographs we all have hanging on our walls and in our wallets.  However, with the advent of accessible digital SLRs, online high quality print shops, and photoshop lots of independent photographers are open for business and opening up options for unique ways to build your family photo gallery .  Here are a few tips for how to find the best photographer for your family.

Browse online photo galleries.  A photographers website/facebook says quite a bit about a their style, client base, and experience. If you can't find at least one or two picture that you love ... odds are you should keep looking for another photographer.  Photographers typically select their favorite images out of sessions for first looks. Given that an online gallery should represent the best work the photographer has to offer.

Check References.  This is particularly important if you do not personally know your photographer.  Look for online references.  If no online references are available and even if they are consider asking the photographer to provide one or two.  Also, don't forget to ask about publications that have featured the photographers work.

Look for a schedule of open or suggested appointment times.  As a mom with a young family, I like to work with photographers that have clearly defined, but flexible schedules.  This way I can be confident that I know when my session is going to take place and cater the time to suite the mood of my littles.

Studio or On Location Policy: Working with photographers that have both options tends to be awesome.  I love taking our family photographs outside.  Our children love being outside and it's where we often see their biggest and brightest smiles.  But, studio locations can be great as well, especially with small babies. The right photographer can make any location ideal.

Look beyond the photographs lipstick.  Of coarse, photos don't really have lipstick.  But with photoshop things like color, lighting, even location can be altered in post-production.  Focus on features of the photograph that are relatively fixed the moment the photographer snaps the shot.

Here are a few shots that caught my eye...

I love the magic of youth and fun captured in this photo by Tiffany Carolyn Photography
This photograph demonstrates the photographers natural talent for finding the smaller details. 
The angle and action in this shot to me are unmistakable artistry.
This is just my favorite studio shot ever!  Made by Pure Life Photography it is the perfect example
of studio shots done well!  It is clean and focused on just a few subjects.  In this case, two adorable ones. 
Studio sessions can get cluttered easily with to many props, backdrops, and what not. 
I like to stick with photographers that clearly demonstrate the ability to smartly and creatively edit props. 

The cake smash!! It's such a classic moment ... if you can have professionally photographed
I highly recommend it.  This shot also snapped by Pure Life Photography exemplifies
the simplicity and honesty captured in each of their amazing photographs. 

This adorable fire side shot defines props done well!  Joay Photography snapped this classic, sweet holiday picture. 
The props here not only accent the subject but provide a wonderful touch of color and nostalgia all at once without being overdone.  

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The Wasting Nothing Philosophy

Playing, cooking, reading, exploring, loving, laughing, and making a mess with your little one is NEVER a waste of time! It is priority one! It's not just about getting to know your little one. It's about letting your little one get to know you!