Happy Friday! Today is the last post in the Photo Project, and I'm so excited to introduce you to Sami, of Sami Renee Photography! Sami and I met at Creative at Heart, and instantly became friends. She's one of the most genuine, inspiring, and enthusiastic people I know, and is an incredible cheerleader for my business. She also happens to be incredibly talented, and I tell her often that she should move to Jersey so I can hire her at a moment's notice!
Well hey there! I am Sami Orndorff, a Wedding + Family Photographer, High School English Teacher, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, and Momma-To-Be based out of the Midwest (Indianapolis, Indiana to be exact!). I am so excited to be chatting with you today from the blog of one of my favorite stationery artists -- Jillian is the best!
As a soon-to-be momma myself, I am getting a first-hand taste of the expenses raising a family adds into life. And, while I wholeheartedly believe in the value of professional family photographs, I also know that investing in them consistently isn’t always possible. Whether it’s due to budget constraints, busy fall sports schedules, or just plain WAIT-HOW-THE-HECK-IS-IT-EVEN-DECEMBER-ALREADY-ANYWAY brain slips, scheduling time for professional photos is hard!
However, I also strongly believe everyone deserves great photos of the ones they love, so I wanted to offer five quick tips for mastering that perfect holiday card photo without breaking the bank!
1 | TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MINI-SESSIONS
If a full family session is out of the budget, this is always my number one recommendation! A lot of amazing photographers offer holiday mini-sessions around this time of year, and, for a fraction of a typical session price, you are able to get quality photos and have the whole family in on the fun! Granted, most mini-sessions have a strict time limit and print order number, so make sure you arrive on time (with well-rested kiddos, full bellies, & snacks) in order to ensure you make the most out of your session :)
But sometimes, even a mini-session is too much! These last four are for the DIY-mom out there who wants to make things happen on her own :)
2 | LOOK FOR THE LIGHT
A lot of people make the mistake of assuming location is key when choosing a spot to take photos. True, your mantle may be the best thing the human eye has ever seen (Helloooo, Joanna Gaines’ fall style!!), but if the lighting in your living room is lacking, it won’t matter how gorgeous of a backdrop you’ve created. This goes for any location -- inside and out!
Instead of hanging out inside the house or shooting in blaring direct sun, try stepping into your yard during the last hour of daylight. Even better -- head out to your local park or unique urban backdrop! Photographers refer to this time as “golden hour”, and it yields the most amazing color and lighting a gal could ask for! That photo of me & my tiny baby bump up there? My husband snapped it about 30 minutes before sunset in our backyard right before running errands :)
Remember, lighting is more important than the location every time.
3 | BE CONSISTENT
Of course, one of the downsides of taking photos yourself is not being able to have the entire group in one image. However, there are a lot of great card layouts that offer a collage of several different images, so you can still get everyone in on the excitement. My tip for this option? Make sure you stay consistent in how you take individual photos. Nothing will ruin a gorgeous collage layout like awkward angles, different lighting, and clashing backgrounds.
Instead of putting together an assortment of random photos, find some great lighting and have each family member take turns in the same location. Not a fan of the individual family photos? Switch photographer roles back and forth with your hubs to get some fun photos of everyone -- all the girls, just the men, siblings only, you name it! The key here is shooting consistently: either all with flash or without, from the same angle, and with the same camera settings.
4 | FRAME YOUR PHOTO
This one is ESPECIALLY true if you’re working with a smartphone camera! Shoot in good light, make sure you’re consistent, but most importantly, pay attention to how you frame your photo. In other words, make sure you take your pictures as close to the size you would want to use IN CAMERA.
Cropping a photo taken on your iPhone dramatically reduces the resolution and makes images super pixel-y. This is made even more obvious when printing, as your photos must be 300dpi in order to print at the standard 5x7 size. An iPhone 6 captures images at 326ppi (pixels per inch), so if you crop it even slightly, you will soon be under that limit!
5 | HAVE FUN!!
Remember, it’s the season for JOY and laughter! And while those words don’t always go hand-in-hand with holiday cards, it doesn’t have to be that way! Suggest a fun treat for after your photos, or bring your camera along to the annual Christmas Tree picking adventure! Yell out a “BE SILLY!!” pose and then make sure to capture the giggles that come after :) Bring your kids into the process by giving them input into picking the photo for the card! Make a new family tradition out of addressing the cards: hot cocoa and cookies, comfy jammies, and roles for everyone! Jillian has an awesome address stamp that would allow even the littles in on the fun!!! With the right attitude & loads of patience, holiday cards suddenly become not-so-bad after all :)
Thats all for the Photo Project! Be sure to check back on Tuesday to see the launch of our 2016 Holiday Cards. I'm so excited to share this year's collection with you!