How to Prepare for a Family Session

In todays blog I'll be addressing some common questions I get before a family session. For most photographers we have experienced the full gamut of the stress and joy that goes into getting that perfect family picture. The stresses that are on us are a little different than those of you guys but hopefully I can level the playing field and fill in some gaps of expectations. Getting pictures can be really stressful because you're paying money and you want to make sure you get your money's worth. The photographer wants to make sure you're happy and capture your sweet family in the best way possible. I think the best way you (the client) can approach the pending family shoot is a few things:

1. Relax! What is the worst thing that could happen? OK maybe don't think that but seriously take it easy and have fun. The more easy going you are as parents the more easy going the kiddos will be. So pray, meditate, or look into yourself for patience and tolerance of both me and all the little things that can potentially happen.

Faceswap copy.jpg

2. Before the shoot go ahead and look at pinterest and get ideas, but don't be too attached to the outcome. I cannot recreate a pinterest photo that you saw because the differences are most likely extreme. Things like lighting, moods of kids, angles etc all play a huge part in creating a photo. Pinterest is good for inspiration!

Recently I had a large multi family shoot, and one of the families had never had pictures done before. They were so sweet and lovely, and I enjoyed working with them. The mom really wanted a picture she described as being something like the photo below 


What ended up happening was a mini meltdown, that I captured anyway....mostly because it was funny. Not one for the wall, but definitely a fun one to look back on in a few years. 



3. The best I can do is capture your family as they are at that time, and trust me, no matter the tears and naughty behaviors, I get my shots and some of them may be unconventional but in a few years time you will look back and think "That's so funny!" 


4. Let the kiddos be silly, and take a few play breaks during the session. That's actually when I get my best candid's. When people are just doing their own thing and loving one another, that is when those perfect pinterest moments come.

5. Typically my sessions with kids last about an hour, because kids get tired real quick doing things that they can't control. Also you'd be amazed at how fast I work, and how fast we get stuff done. Even for adults, I've noticed an hour session is just right. 

6. "What do I wear?" I get this question a lot and the truth is, whatever makes you feel comfortable. Matching outfits are hard because not everyone will love the color or fabric, but the rule of thumb is usually colors that go well together like browns, blues and greens etc. Try to keep it on one side of the color wheel. Or change it up! I'm all for rainbow colors! The most important thing is that you're comfortable and feel like you look good. 

7. "Where should we shoot?" The first thing is do you want a natural setting or an urban setting? Both can be beautiful and interesting. Most photographers know lots of places but if there is a place your family go often or means something to you, or even your own home, lets do it there. You never know where you're going to be in 5 years, and it might be fun to look back and have fond memories of places you used to go with the kids. It's fun to explore new areas too! Keep your mind open and we'll have fun, it's mostly about you guys!

Well that's all I have at the moment, I think the most important thing is to have fun and make sure you know your photographer and work well with them. Sometimes personalities clash here and there but most photographers are socially open and will have your best interests in mind. 

Thank you to all of you that support me and my dream!

If you have more questions comment below and I'll try to get to them. 




Reika and Brady Liu Salt Lake Temple Wedding

Salt Lake Temple is one of the most popular temples to get married in. Usually I'm a bit stressed out because I know there is going to be a ton of brides there on any given saturday, and you want to make sure your bride gets the best of everything! Luckily the temple wasn't too busy and we were able to get all the shots I wanted. Also Reika and Brady decided to break up the wedding day and have the reception the night before which worked out well! 


By Way of Salt, BFA show

I've been working on this show for the last year. In the fall I really decided to go for it and just focus on the salt around the lake. I'm so enamored with the Great Salt Lake and all its imperfections, beauty, and even horror. The salt is brutal, it's hard on plants, animals and the land surrounding the lake. It changes every day, nothing stays forever even the lake which in it's hayday used to cover almost the entire western half of utah. This show was the love child of my sciencey love affair with biology and geology, I just wish I could understand the math! If I did, you'd be reading about my science degree! 

Anyway onward! 

Artist Statement:

The Great Salt Lake is often misunderstood and described as being a dead lake; there are a lot of misconceptions about the role the lake plays in the northern Utah community. Economically the lake brings in over a billion dollars from hunting, fishing, bird watching, mineral and shrimp extraction, and tourism. One contributing factor to the beauty of the lake is its high salinity. In some parts the lake is over 28% salinity, which is above the saturation point. This causes salt and minerals to deposit along the lakeshore, on rocks, boats, plants, and in some parts even crystallizing on top of the water. The relationship of salt to the surrounding land is profound; sixteen hundred square miles of saltwater and forty miles of salt flats provides a rich ecosystem for many types of animals, provides inspiring views, and is incredibly useful to us. The vast salt quantities of the lake are not what make it dead, but rather what make it uniquely and diversely alive.

-Laura Fox

The days before my BFF Amy was able to come here from AZ and essentially be my most awesome assistant. Though I have a wonderful husband who worked just as hard as anyone, it was nice to have the extra support. Thank you myAmy! 

I hosted my show at the Boxcar Gallery in Provo, it's run by Jake Buntjer and his crew of artists. It's a new place that is in a state of constant remodeling at the moment, but Jake made a perfectly beautiful and wide open space for us. 

The show was a success! My father and mother in law SURPRISED me big time and came all the way here from San Diego, I was SERIOUSLY so happy. I'm so thankful they were able to make it and make my day that much more special.

There were so many pictures I left out, but here are a few of my favorites that I cut but still love! 

And that's a wrap! I have a few hoops to jump through and one math class and I'm done! 

Thank you to all that came and supported me, and to all those who supported me from afar! I love you all!  

Why Hire a Professional Photographer?

Getting married? Graduating? Engaged? Most people want to document these occasions and have either the digital copies or printed copies to look back on. Trying to save some money on a photographer by having a cousin or an uncle twice removed, but with a nice camera who is willing to be your photographer for the day, is quite the risk but what a steal right?! 

Lets look at it from another angle: Weddings are EXPENSIVE.

I know, I got married once. It feels like everywhere you turn anything labled "wedding" prices are most likely higher. Just the basics like flowers, dress, cake etc will run a good chunk of your expenses. More and more people are opting out of the photographer because we are expensive. But often I'm called last minute for a botched bridal, or photoshop work on the priceless photos people are trying to save. Hiring a professional is worth it: the flowers will wilt, the dress will be vacuum sealed, the cake will be eaten and life moves on. But the pictures are the one thing that capture that day, and keep it just the way it was for decades. 

My husband and I at our engagements, I love this because it's us exactly how we were 5 years ago (we were pretty goofy). 

Andrew and I taken by my Brother in law Scott, who is also a photographer-we lucked out. 

Andrew and I taken by my Brother in law Scott, who is also a photographer-we lucked out. 

We edit your photos with knowledge and training. 

In any given photo I will make up to 30 changes within a minute or two, often I will come back to it a day later and make more fine tuned changes.  I often take twice as long to edit the photos as I do actually shooting.  Shooting digital, and especially shooting RAW the image is muddy and swelled with information that needs to be tweaked. Even the photographers of old edited their photos. Ansel Adams himself was a master in the darkroom, creating his photos. Taking the picture doesn't mean it's done, there is still processing. I also color calibrate my computer screen, and printers, so if you get prints, they won't be weird colors. 

Before edits straight out of camera.

Before edits straight out of camera.

After edits

After edits

We've done this before:

We know the timelines, we know how to make picture taking go quick. We get it done! There is so much going on at graduations, weddings, or engagements. We definitely know how to make the session go smoothly and quickly because days of big events everyone is tired and emotionally wiped out. In a good way of course! 

Riley and his sister demonstrate great strength after a session. 

Riley and his sister demonstrate great strength after a session. 

I highly recommend hiring professional photographers for your life events. Reunions, weddings, etc. Also finding the right photographer will make all the difference, so look around! Find one you click with, style you dig, and personality you get along with, and you will get the photos you want and love.