What to Wear to your Fall or Winter Portrait Session | Denton County Photographer

Every fall/winter it begins again... my clients rushing to call and book their family portraits in enough time to design and mail holiday cards. The two most frequent questions I get are: "Where are we going to take our pictures this year" and "What do we wear?"

I am emphatically opposed to the matchy-matchy looks of the 90's. You know... everyone in white button ups and jeans, or everyone in black tshirts and jeans... or the other variations of the entire family wearing the exact same outfit. Where is the personality? Where is the color? Do you really want to look like one big blob of white and denim? No. I promise. You don't. 

For the past couple years I've stressed the importance of coordination but not matchy-matchy outfits to the families I photograph. However, some of my clients still get stressed at the idea of picking out the right clothes for each member of the family and having it not only look good, but reflect each individual style while maintaining comfort and confidence.

So I put together a few tips before you go hunting in the closet or the department store to piece together the perfect family ensemble. And since I am a bit obsessed with lists, of course it's in a list form:

1. Coordinate - do not try to "match"... the days of all black or white tshirts with jeans are long over. Please choose outfits that reflect each person's individual personality and don't be afraid to mix texture, color and prints. Think clothes that coordinate, not match. For example, everyone in dressy more formal fabrics but different colors... some in pants and some in skirts/dresses. Or everyone wearing winter wear (coats, scarves, hats) but each one different and unique. 
2. Layers - Speaking of hats and scarves, fall is the perfect time of year to layer your clothes. It adds texture, and also gives you more options of different looks without the hassle of changing outfits.
3. Shoes - comfort verses fashion... the age old dilemma. Do pay attention to shoes, as they will end up in some of your poses ... heels are GREAT, if you know how to wear them and feel comfortable. If you really want heels, but your location isn't ideal for them, bring some comfy shoes to walk around in and change into the heels during poses. 
4. Pants - make sure they are long enough, because if they aren't, your socks and shoes will look funny. Unless they are cropped pants, capris or shorts, they should hit mid-way down your shoe or longer. 
5. Socks - speaking of seeing your socks... when you sit down, we might see them. Choose accordingly.
6. Hats/Scarves/Jewelry - GREAT way to change a look. Just be careful not to wear ALL three. Then you will look overdone. Pick one or two and then keep everything else more subtle. One dramatic accessory can go a long way towards stating your style. Too many, and you will get lost in your outfit.
7. Logos/Prints - Avoid anything with logos, graphics, characters or labels of any kind. These will distract the viewer from the primary subject of the photo (YOU) and will date the image.
8. Color - choose one or two people in your family to be the splash of color. Have them wear a bold colored scarf, or shoes or shirt. Dress everyone else neutrally with maybe small accents of that bold color. It will coordinate but also provide personality and interest. 

9. Comfort - Now isn’t the time to break in new shoes or wear anything tight or constricting. If you’re not comfortable, it will show in the images. Pick clothing that accentuate your best feature or make you feel good.
10. Hair - always get your hair cut and/or colored at least a week before your session, that way if it's the wrong color or needs to settle some, there is time and you don't look too overdone.

I hope these tips helped you as you get ready for your family session in the next week or so.  Trust me, I stress over it as much as you do.  But don't feel like you need to go out and buy all new stuff.  Sometimes the perfect outfit is right in your closet, or in my case, in your sister's closet (ha... I borrowed the dress in our family portraits from my sister... finally payback for years of her raiding my closet).  Everyone in our pictures had these outfits in their closets (or borrowed it, like me).  Nothing was new.  I didn't spending any of our holiday budget to come up with new outfits.  
My daughter wore a shirt of mine that I never wear with my tall black boots, my oldest son wore a sweater he got last year but wore with a different combination of pants and shirt for our family holiday dinner.  The youngest is in a shirt handed down from a friend, jeans from last year and a sweater vest my mom picked up for him from a thrift store.  My husband is wearing his standard button up that he wears to work with his best jeans and boots.  The dress I am wearing was borrowed and my shoes and belt are several years old but I hadn't wore them in a while.  No one person saw our outfits and said "I've seen that before".   (Well except my sister, but she doesn't count).  And we got TONS of compliments on our coordinating (NOT matching) outfits.  Not to mention, we were comfortable, felt confident in what we were wearing and the outfits reflected our own personal style.  

image credit: Snapberry Photographs

Whatever you wear... have FUN and create MEMORIES.  Don't let the idea of family portraits stress you out or cause you and your husband to argue or yell at the kids.  If you smile, have fun and enjoy this moment together, it WILL show in your images.  And you will treasure them for years to come.  

Need to book a family session?  There are limited spots before I close shop for the Christmas Holidays.  Check out www.luckystardesigns.net for current images, promotions and to get my contact information.  Happy Holidays!!


How to ROCK your Corporate Headshots | Denton County DFW Photographer

If you are in the corporate world today, you know that image is everything.  Companies are not the only ones with brands and corporate identities to protect.  With social media taking over nearly every aspect of our daily lives, we each are our own personal brand and image.  We are are not only an extension of our family, our companies and our organizations, we are an example of it.  The window in which others look through to get a snapshot of what you are representing.

So it's important that your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, website and other media outlets have something more professional than a cropped cell phone picture that your daughter snapped of you.

I'll be honest.  It's growing beyond just the typical industries of real estate and mortgage to have professional images of yourself.  The list of companies requesting their employees to have professional head-shots on file is growing.

As a professional photographer, it's been a year of corporate work for me.  Several assignments to take corporate headshots of entire teams and a couple events.  I really enjoyed myself, even though there isn't as much artistry to corporate stuff, it tends to be more conventional and conservative.   I do pride myself on making my clients feel comfortable and helping them get their personality to shine through.  Getting images for your business cards or online social media does not have to be painful.  Do I daresay it can even be fun sometimes?

Now, as you can see from my examples here, many people go for the standard black background for a more conservative look.  And it does look sharp on business cards and websites, I do admit.  Black just states "I mean business", "You can take me seriously", "I know what I am doing."

However, I urge you to consider an on-location set-up for your head-shots. Take it outside or even in front of your corporate office.  Take it to the street, especially if what you do is more in the field than behind a desk.  Let your clients see you in your natural habitat.  

Still nervous?  Not convinced head-shots are for you.  Want more specific information on how to ROCK your head-shot session?  

These are my top five tips 
for taking great professional images:

1.  Have Fun:  Don't be afraid to smile.  The more casual and approachable you seem, the more people will want to pick up the phone to call you for your product and/or service.  Get some serious images if you think you need them, but smile too and be sure it's a genuine one.  Even laugh.  Think of something that makes you happy.  Enlist a friend to stand behind the photographer and talk about things that will make you chuckle.  A natural smile is the most attractive thing every person possesses.

2.  Clothes:  I tell all my clients that they don't need to go buy new clothes for a portrait session.  If you feel it's necessary though, be sure you have a few basics covered.  Don't wear anything with a logo (unless it's your corporate or business logo, but even then, I say post the logo online separate from your picture.  It will be too small to see anyways and only distract from the subject).  Don't be afraid of prints, but keep them simple.  Stripes, poka dots, chevron... they all work to bring in some personality and color.  You just don't want anything too small (you won't be able to see it anyways) or too busy and bold.  Stick to classic styles.  You may have this picture for 5-10 years if you don't like getting them done often, so wear something that won't go out of style by next fall.  And most important, whatever you wear needs to be comfortable!  Make sure it fits well, that you can stand AND sit in it and you feel good in it.  If you are not comfortable or feel confident in what you are wearing, it will show in your picture.  Women, stay away from big or bold jewelry.  Keep it simple. 

3.  Hair and/or Makeup:  Whatever you do, don't get a haircut RIGHT before you get pictures done.  You always feel better about a new hairstyle or color a few weeks after it's settled and you have gotten use to fix it (especially women).  Don't do any drastic changes.  If you feel comfortable, don't be afraid to go get your hair professional styled the day of, but keep to a style that fits the way you look normally.  Women, having professionally applied make-up helps too.  They tend to go a little darker and dramatic.  If you do your own make-up, be sure to put on a little more than you usually do.  False eyelashes are great too if you want your eyes to pop and standout.  Stick to subdued lipcolor.  Bright and dark lips can make the rest of your face look washed out in pictures.

4.  Posing:  A good photographer will be able to pose you and help you relax and look your best.  But there are a few tricks to remember for posing in the most flattering way.  Don't forget your posture.  You want to look relaxed and comfortable, but you still need to make sure your shoulders are back and you don't slouch.  Positioning is important too.  Although you want your face to the camera, it always looks better if your body is angled away slightly.  This helps slim your body and bring attention to your face.  And don't forget to relax.  I always tell my clients that if it CAN BEND then it SHOULD BEND... so relax those fingers, elbows, knees, neck, etc.  Bend them slightly so you don't look stiff.  And finally, take a deep breath, think of something happy and smile while looking directly at the lens.

5.  Location:  As I mentioned earlier, you don't have to do the standard black or gray background.  You can of course, if that's what works for you.  But there are so many other options.  Go to a downtown area, or a park, or a museum.  Just pick a location that reflect you and what you do.  Don't feel limited to what others have done.  There is no real standard here, and if their was, we should be breaking the mold anyways.  It's not about what is behind you anyways, it's all about what's ahead.  Make eye contact and show your clients where you want to go, with confidence and experience.

Now go get cleaned up and get those head-shots.  
Stop procrastinating.  Don't wait.  

Are you a corporate professional or business owner? You realize that your first impression is everything and that includes how you present yourself online through mediums such as Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Professional head-shots can make all the difference in attracting new clients and business prospects.  Let me help you capture classy and professional images of you at a location of your choice.  I even have group specials where I can get everyone in your team or company done on the same day. 

Headshots run from $60-120 per person and include digital images for your use on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other online uses.  Need a quote?  Contact me today to schedule your session! 

Copyright 2013 Lucky Star Designs & Photography. All Right Reserved. For better quality images, visit www.luckystardesigns.net.


Class of 2013: Rocking those Senior Sessions (Denton/DFW Area Photographer)

It's no lie when I say some of my favorite subjects to photograph are high school seniors.  There is just an energy about them.  The excitement, anticipation and sense of nostalgia too is evident when I meet with them.  They are closing one chapter and embarking on a new one in their lives. 

Caitlin was so much fun to work with.  When her mom first contacted me, we had planned to break her session into two meetings, one early in her Senior Year and one later after she got her cap and gown.  This is a great option for clients that want to get their senior stuff ordered early, but don't want to miss out on those more traditional cap/gown portraits as well.

Now I'll be the first to admit, girls like getting their pictures taken more than guys do.  It's just a fact.  Guys just don't like all the fuss, the haircut, the changing outfits and the posing.  I feel for you guys, I truly do.  But moms love to see their little men all dressed up and smiling for the camera.  Just accept it.  And you are about to venture out into the world and choose when and how you do stuff from now on, no one to tell you what to wear (except your boss someday) or how to cut your hair, or even to nag you about your gas tank level or if you have eaten breakfast.  Let mom have the last opportunity to be mom and capture you as the boy, turned man, that she helped raise.

Grayson was a great sport at this.  He managed to keep his eye-rolling and brooding sighs to a minimum as his mom joked and cajoled him into smiling and showing us that handsome dimple. 

Congrats 2013 Seniors, Caitlin and Grayson!  It was a joy to be your Senior Portrait Photographer.  Good luck to both of you as you venture towards independence and knowledge.  I know you will both do GREAT!


Alex + Chase Engagement Session by Denton County Photographer

Engagement Sessions may be my favorite thing to do.  And meeting with a new couple is always exciting.  It was a ridiculously windy day, and meeting in the middle of the Las Colinas Canals didn't help.  This gorgeous couple completely rocked their session however and I was left spellbound by the love that exudes from them both.  

 Alex is the niece of another client and dear friend, and I could tell right away she inherited her aunt's sweet spirit.  I enjoyed my time with her and even had fun helping her tease Chase to get some genuine smiles out of him (we all know how much guys hate this whole picture-taking thing). 


And did you see that ring?  Absolutely beautiful.  When I told Alex, "He did good!", she just beamed at me, looked at Chase, smiled and said, "Yes.  He did."   Sigh.  Isn't love sweet?

 Congratulations Alex and Chase.  You are a lovely couple, both inside and out.  It was a pleasure and a joy meeting you and capturing this special time in your life together.  Enjoy the journey towards marriage and beyond.  Wishing you many blessings.


Spring 2013 DSLR Workshop in Denton County

If you haven't seen my most recent post, you may not know I've recently partnered with Texas Tatertot Photography to offer DSLR Workshops (and Photoshop Classes) in the Denton County area.  We are so excited about our first class coming up in April.  Space is limited to 10 participants and we already have a few signed up, but more classes are coming.

You can find out more by going to www.clicksngiggles.com or clicking the image below.  Be sure the fan the Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clicks-n-Giggles/376063959158787.  Contact info@clicksngiggles.com for more information.

2013 High School Senior by Denton Area Photographer

As we wrap up February, I know many of my clients are getting excited about the upcoming Spring.  Not just because of the warmer temps and sunshine and flowers, but especially those that are graduating from high school and college to move on to new exciting adventures.

Caitlin was one of my favorite high school seniors to shoot.  Vibrant red hair, beautiful smile and a cowgirl attitude... what's not to love?  

We headed to one of my favorite locations for her senior session in the middle of one of our coldest days in December.  This girl is no sissy, she brought short sleeves, dresses and of course... her boots.  (Thank goodness she also brought mom and sister along to carry a blanket, jacket and help warm her up between shots).

If you are a 2013 High School Senior, it's NOT too late to get your session done.  Contact me soon, as slots fill up fast in the spring.  Are you a 2014 High School Senior?  I am accepting applications for my Senior Rep Program, contact me for more details.  (email miranda@luckystardesigns.net).

Thanks to Caitlin and her mom for such a fun senior session and thanks to little sis, Kenzie, for being my awesome lighting assistant that day as well.  Ya'll rocked!