My Secret Posing Game
April 16th, 2015   |   0 comments
My secret posing game-1

When I shoot, it’s mostly family photography. I guess being a Mom myself, I love creating images of families that they will love as much as I would.

My favorite type of image is with the family laughing together… naturally. And sometimes that can be hard to get. Some families arrive on scene and you can tell the Mom was probably a stress case the whole morning trying to get the kids ready, because there is this awkward tension in the air and NOBODY seems happy to be there.

Other families, the Moms are more relaxed, less stressed, and the whole family is looser, friendlier and ready to go and have some fun with your camera!

Either way, I’ve got to get a happy family laughing together… naturally.  Not so pose-y.

So I invented this game that works every single time. I use it with families that have little kids and I use it with families with big kids. Seriously - teenagers will still play this game with me.

I love the results of using this game so much, that I’ve kept it up my sleeve and haven’t shared it with anyone else - till now…

My secret posing game-1-1

Here is how I work it:

Line up the family in one line with parents in the middle snuggling together, the oldest siblings on each side of the parents kind of side hugging them. (Obviously I adjust depending on the number of kids in the family).

I then take the 2 youngest kids and have them stand 10 feet out on each side of the family, one on each side. I tell them that when I say “go” they are to run up to the family, side hug their brother (or sister), squish the family together a little bit and laugh into the camera.

my secret posing game

Then I back up, make sure my camera is in focus, the exposure is correct and that the composition is right.

When everything seems good I say, “Ready, set, go!”

Then the 2 little kids run from the sides into the family and give them a little squish (or sometimes a big tackle) and everyone cracks up and I get some awesome shots of everyone laughing together.

My secret posing game-1-2

Sometimes I have to play the game a few times, and sometimes I have to re-explain it a little, but I love the movement, the laughing, the connection and the natural energy that exudes from these images!

My secret posing game-1-4

Here is a family with 6 kids, OH WAIT, this is MY family and MY 6 kids!  I love it!!

Feel free to post any questions in the comments...

A “Wow” Studio!
April 9th, 2015   |   4 comments
Amy Pate profile
Amy Pate (shown with her darling family above) is a fabulous photographer in the Birmingham, Alabama area!  She is sharing with us today her love of working in a studio!  I've personally never had a studio, for several reasons, but after seeing Amy's images and reading her experiences, you can see there are so many advantages.  Plus her studio is sooo amazing!  I would love to work in a studio like this, seeing it just made my heart so happy! Check out her awesomeness in her images and story below!

I had to pick an elective class to take in high school, so I "settled" on film photography. My mom bought me my first film camera, I took the class and BOOM I was hooked! I didn't do much after high school with photography but picked it back up when my first daughter was 2. As like most moms I wanted to take great photos of my kids, but I'm very technical and like to know how things work. So I enrolled in the Birmingham School of photography and learned my camera, before I knew it I had taken every course they offered and wanted more! Almost instantly I had a full fledged functioning studio and a business! I've now been in business for 7 years!


I definitely had fears of working in a studio, but I knew I had to have one for what I wanted to do. I opened my first studio in my basement in my home. I didn't have any window so having a natural light studio wasn't an option, I quickly learned how to use strobes and reflectors. My studio now has gorgeous natural light,  and I still use strobes as well.
The pro's of having a studio is definitely that it sets me apart from the photographers that don't, I'm always busy year round and I always have a backup for bad weather. I shoot a lot of newborns so having a studio just seemed like a must. I also have my office at my studio, so I treat my days as a full time job. I no longer come home and sit up all hours of the night working, when I leave my studio for the day I'm off. That's that, when I walk in the door at home my family is my priority. Don't get me wrong the workaholic in me will still answer a few emails after the kids go to bed, but for the most part I stick to my work hours.
The con's of having a studio...hmm this one is probably the toughest. I absolutely love having a studio, so other than the overhead of having one I really can't think of the cons!
Speaking of overhead, that was definitely my biggest fear moving out of my basement. I knew after 2 years of random clients being in my home (and the fact my husband wanted his man cave back) it was time to fly the coop. If you are considering this, do it in the city, like the big timers, be a big girl and put on the big girl panties. It was THE best thing I could have done for my business! Before I made the move I knew for a fact I couldn't afford it, so I started a side business of renting studio time by the hour to other local photographers. It worked like a charm, I got a free studio and helped other new (and veteran) photographers have a studio. I ran this business for about 4 years before finally deciding I was ready to have my own space, so now I'm sharing a space with a fellow photographer/friend of mine. It's a gorgeous retail space in a cool hip upcoming part of our city. For anyone teetering on opening a studio, make sure you do all your homework and know what you're getting into! It's a huge leap, but is so worth it!

Getting Fear Out of Your Way
March 26th, 2015   |   0 comments

Casey McFarland, photographer in Northern Utah shares his experiences of his long career in photography and how he moved past some big barriers that held him back from being successful.  He now chooses his lifestyle, including where he wants to live, who and how he wants to work, how many months he is going to … Continue reading

Should You Sell Your Photography in Person – Chris says “Yes”
February 19th, 2015   |   0 comments
family pictures in utah

By Chris Wood Running a family owned photography studio that’s been around for almost 50 years gives me a unique perspective on the photography business. Here are a few things I’ve learned through trial and error.  Hopefully it will be beneficial and help increase your productivity and business.   In no particular order: 1 – … Continue reading

My Why – Your Why
January 21st, 2015   |   0 comments

  If you’ve every raised a toddler, you might remember the WHY stage? Me:  “It’s time to put your toys away” Toddler:  “But Why? Me:  “Because we are leaving” Toddler:  “But Why?” Me:  “It’s time to go out for dinner” Toddler:  “But Why?” (you see where this is going, right?) I learned early on as … Continue reading

How To Start a Photography Business – the eBook
December 4th, 2014   |   0 comments

When I first started my photography business a few years back, it seemed there wasn’t any “business-y” type help out there for photographers.  I felt lucky that I had spent over 10 years building and growing other small businesses, so I was able to pull very heavily from those experiences to develop my own customer … Continue reading


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