Archive for 'Personal'
If you love Pinterest like we do, you’ve surely seen some of these portraits pinned. It has to be one of our most popular shoots of all time! Kerri Cupcake and I planned it all out back in 2010. We wanted to do something creative and fun just for ourselves. Kerri and Sweet Indulgence designed this amazing confections table with every treat imaginable while the HHP team and I transformed the studio into a Mermaid paradise with hanging lanterns, silk pillows, soft streamers, a real sand floor and bubbles galore! We gathered up a group of adorable girls ranging from 2-5 and we let them dance and play in their dream world. Most of them didn’t want to leave. This shoot made a beautiful spread in the 2012 issue of Bliss Celebrations magazine and has made countless pin boards and blogs since! Here it is, The Heidi Hope Photography and Sweet Indulgence Mermaid Party from early 2011.
Photography: Heidi Hope Photography
Confections Table: Sweet Indulgence
Shirts: Gigi’s Glitzy Boutique
Pettiskirts: Dreamspun KidsGoogle+
January 5th, 2013. Dan proposed to me in the middle of the woods, in a snowy clearing. He had been carrying the ring in his shirt pocket for the entire day, waiting for the right moment to get down on one knee. Of course I said “YES!”, and wedding planning almost immediately commenced.
Since we got engaged, the one question I keep getting asked is…
“Who are you hiring to be your wedding photographer?”
Good question! Haha. I was a wedding and portrait photographer before joining HHP, and I always knew it would be a tough decision to hire a photographer for my own wedding. But, my experience also gave me insight on what to look for in an excellent artist.
So, if you want to choose a wedding photographer like I did, here are the things to consider:
1. THE ARTIST
First, no matter who you’re hiring for your photographer, you’re hiring a PERSON. This person sees the world with a unique lens, and they are drawn to certain moments that other people aren’t drawn to. At the same wedding, two different photographers would capture it totally differently. One might choose more smiling, kinetic moments, and others might choose the quieter moments. One might capture a tear rolling down your cheek, and one might wait until you laugh at yourself while you’re crying to take the shot. It all depends on who that person is, and what’s real to them. It’s the first step to developing your own style as a photographer- trusting your choice of the moments you capture.
Personally, I love photos that show joy, kinetic movement, and beauty in small things. When choosing a photographer, I:
- looked at their portfolio to make sure I agreed with the moments they choose to capture,
- checked out their blog to see that they present their business in a positive, professional way, and
- made sure I felt comfortable and happy when I met them.
That PERSON is going to capture YOU. So you should agree with how they approach you and your life. It will show through the camera!
As a commercial photographer, I’ve also learned that you can make a photo ‘say’ certain things about a subject. If I shoot a male subject from below, I’m making him look ‘epic’ and ‘powerful’. If I shoot him from eye-level, I’m presenting him as approachable and straightforward. If I shoot from above, I make him look friendly. The angle a photographer chooses in a split second can make all the difference!
Similarly, the photographer’s equipment and post-processing conveys their style. Some photographers use a prime lens to really blur the background, and some like to keep the background a part of the story. Some photographers take an image and make it colorful and bright, and some photographers make it darker and contrasted. Some photographers add a ‘haze’ or filters to photos to make them seem hyper-real. The specific moment, combined with the way the moment is captured, combined with the way the image is processed makes the finished product.
Here are some examples of completely different (awesome) styles:
- Andrea Hanki captures weddings with an emphasis on creative angles, epic moments, and darker, contrasted processing.
- Marta Locklear captures weddings with straightforward angles, romantic moments, and soft processing.
- Mike Ash captures weddings with heavily conceptual moments and dramatic, cinematic imagery.
- Jay Eads captures weddings with an emphasis on personality and honesty. This is my friends’ wedding…you’ll see me in there!
For me, I wanted my wedding to be captured in a classic, timeless way. I wanted it to be bright and colorful, and as joyfully captured as possible. So, I chose a photographer that captures the day as it is, with a preference for the joyful moments, that processes on the bright, minimal side.
A fact of wedding photography: receptions under white tents are AWESOME for lighting. I was so happy whenever I heard the reception would be tented. The tent acts as a huge softbox and never fails to produce a soft, even glow on subjects when you set your flash off. On the flip side, it’s much harder to consistently light subjects in a reception venue like, say, a barn with dark wood. There are so many more variables to think about when you’re trying to light your subjects because you can’t rely on that soft ‘bounce’ you get from a tent.
I give that example to highlight the fact that professional wedding photographers should have the experience and equipment to handle tricky lighting situations like a high, dark ceiling. If their portfolio has just as beautifully-lit photos in a dark barn as they do in a tent or country club with white walls and ceilings, you’re good to go. You should also consider their use of natural light- backlit photos, front-lit photos, and photos in a rainy or overcast situation.
When a photographer shoots skillfully, their camera is like an extension of their body. They change positions, exposure, and ISO intuitively. They are able to react to a fast-paced, ever-changing event confidently. They can focus on what’s happening in front of them, instead of what’s happening in their hands at the moment. You want a photog who knows their stuff!
You get what you pay for in photography, generally. If a photographer sticks to their business policies and doesn’t heavily discount their services, you know they’re professionals who will produce a consistent product for you. Most photographers will work with you to customize a pricing package that fits your day. Local photographers are a cost-effective choice, as you don’t have to worry about their travel fees.
Personally, I knew that the wedding photographer would be one of the most expensive things we paid for. It’s one of the only investments that lasts for more than 24 hours, so it was one of my most important considerations. While the food will be eaten and the band will only play until 10pm, I’ll have the pictures for the rest of my life. And Dan, of course. You get to keep your husband
Is that a ton of info, or what? If you want the easy list, here’s a summary of the above:
- Pick somebody awesome, who you would be friends with in real life. Trust your instincts.
- Agree with their style and way of seeing the world.
- Check out their skillz. Make sure you trust THEIR instincts.
- Expect to pay a little bit more for something you’ll have for the rest of your life.
After all that,
Who did I choose for my own photographer?
Megan Jane Photography. Bright, clean, colorful, minimally processed, happy, and I’ve worked with her before. She’s a local pro who’s worth every cent. Here’s some of her work (see what I mean about bright, clean, and fun?):
Isn’t she awesome? Yes, yes she is. Can’t wait to post my OWN wedding photos!
Wait, did I just say that?
Yes, I said that. I said that even though digital negatives are the most profitable item any professional photographer can sell you after your session. We all know that the material cost of a CD or thumb drive is exceptionally inexpensive compared to producing albums, prints and frames. I said that even though digital negatives still remain one of the most popular products at my own portrait studio.
I’m here to tell you today that a disk of digital negatives should never be the only product you walk away with from your professional photographer. If you do, you are probably wasting your money. We believe in this so strongly at our studio that our team works hard to ensure all of our clients walk away with heirloom, archival safe keepsakes from their sessions in addition to their digital negatives.
Before I get everyone up in arms, let me start out by saying that we sell digital negatives at our studio after almost every session. Digital files certainly have a place for the consumer. We generally sell digital negatives to clients for the purpose of sharing with their family and friends. They love showing off their images on facebook, on their mobile devices, and printing out 5×7’s for grandparents and friends. That is all great, but surely that isn’t the only reason they invested in a professional photographer.
Why hire a professional photographer?
We all now have access to amazing equipment and technology to take everyday photos of our own lives. If we want snapshots of our kids to show off on facebook or print for Grandma, we can do it on our own. We can Instagram, email, Facebook, Tweet, and 1-hour-photo to our hearts content. I’m amazed every day at the artistic and photographic capabilities of Heidi Hope Photography clients. They definitely have a good eye! So many of our clients are amazing photographers in their own right and have equipment at home that rivals ours.
So why does anyone hire a professional photographer anymore?
We invest in professional photographers to capture the details of our life beautifully and in a way that no one else can. We invest in a service that caters to our specific requests and takes care of the whole process professionally from end to end. I can cook a gourmet meal at home, but there is nothing like going to my favorite fine restaurant and having the amazing staff take care of everything for us. We hire professional photographers to create “artwork” for us and for our families. We hire them to document a time in our lives through their unique artistic eye so that we can enjoy looking back on it for generations. If all you get is a dvd in the mail, upload to the pics to facebook and then stuff your DVD in a drawer, you are missing out on what professional photography truly is! Couldn’t you have just as easily shared some Iphone pics?
Enjoying your professional photography for generations.
“From the iPhone to the Garmin, advancements and gadgets introduced this decade changed the whole world. In the process, a few things that once were considered social mainstays are now either obsolete or well on their way. Remember busting out a map to figure out directions? Or using a cell phone that had actual buttons? Yeah, those days are a bit hazy for us, too.” – Bianca Male Business Insider
I began researching to revamp our 4-year-old website and came upon an astonishing bit of news; Flash is dead. Flash is DEAD? In 4 short years it went from being the darling of visual media, taught in all of my web design classes, to DEAD? Where have I been? It isn’t just flash. CD’s are dead. Desktop computers are soon-to-be dead. Yep, they’re as dead as payphones, road maps, and Blockbuster.
So what happens in 10 years when you finally have some free time and actually want to do something with those photos you had taken way-back when the kids were little? Like most people, you didn’t know what to do with them at the time, so you bought the disk. Where is that disk? If you are far more organized than I and can actually locate that disk 10 years later, chances are, your computer won’t read it. That’s right, computers won’t be manufactured with optical drives much longer. Oh, but you backed it up on that external hard drive. Sorry, fire wires and external hard drives are soon to be extinct too. Desktops won’t be around much longer either, so you probably only have a laptop or tablet that you were never even able to transfer those files to. At least you uploaded them to Facebook. Thank goodness Facebook is still in existence in this future hypothetical! What a shame you can’t print a 16×24″ for your wall off of Facebook.
Okay, maybe your photographer was up with the times and started offering flash drives in adorable little packaging. We’ll be offering flash drives rather than CD’s later this year for the aforementioned reasons. At least they have a longer shelf life. Or do they? Unfortunately, flash drives are equally unreliable with industry experts warning that flash drive failure and file loss is at epidemic proportions. “The price of USB flash drive data recovery services at typical data recovery labs can reach into the thousands and it might take weeks or even months to get your files back“ (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/9/prweb8735457.htm) That’s if you didn’t loose the little thing, like I surely would have.
Well, at least you can contact your photographer. They have a 20% chance of still being in business after the first 2 years. That’s if they were in fact a legitimate business. Did you check to see if they were a registered business? If they weren’t, the statistics are worse. Here’s to hoping they still have those files for you!
See where I’m going with this?
With the rapid change in technology, the only way to preserve your photographs so that they can be enjoyed for generations is by producing something tangible out of them. What’s even greater, I can guarantee that you will be even happier with your investment in professional photography if you do so! No one ever calls to say how much they love their DVD. They call to say how much their friends raved about their greeting cards this year, or how their wall art makes them smile every time they walk by, or how their toddler daughter looks at her newborn album every day!
This is so important to us at Heidi Hope Photography that we don’t sell digital negatives without giving clients their counterparts in print. We also include beautiful heirloom pieces such as wall art and albums in all of our collections that come with digital files. We take the time with clients during their viewing appointments to help them plan and design how to use and enjoy the photography we have created so that their investment lasts a lifetime… or longer! We show wall display options and custom design beautiful storyboards and albums so that the portraits clients adore can be proudly displayed and enjoyed. That is, after all, what you hired us for! We never want someone leaving saying “I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I just bought the disk.”
I understand the desire to have access to digital files so that you can print and design on your own. I also believe some people actually do create beautiful artwork at home out of their digital files, even when I’m hesitant to give up the control of quality that is lost when we can’t check over the final product. If you are one of those people who still hasn’t ordered your wedding album however, you probably need some professional help figuring out what to do with all of those gorgeous photos you’ve had taken! If you do opt for digital files in addition to your heirloom pieces from your professional photographer, please back them up in multiple locations on a variety of platforms so that you have them to enjoy in the years to come.
Yes, in our digital world, digital files still certainly have their place, but you are cheating yourself, and wasting your investment, if all you walk away with is the files.Google+
“Do you think I’ve gone round the bend?”
“I’m afraid so. You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
It never seems to happen like I plan. The idea for this shoot started out as something completely different. I found the skirt last year at a time when Giuliana was obsessed with ballet and princesses. I could picture the joy on her face when she got the chance to twirl around in it. I thought it would be amazing for Grace’s newborn portraits. I envisioned Giuliana finding her new baby sister swaddled in a basket, deep in the woods. That shoot never happened. It turned out to be much too lofty a goal for a sleep deprived new mother.
The summer came quickly and I had a new vision for the skirt. I could see Giuliana running down the beach at sunset, the tulle of her skirt skimming the shallow water, stomping in tide pools, twirling in sunflare. That never happened either. Then autumn approached and I pictured Giuliana as a woodland fairy gathering fallen leaves and picking apples. You guessed it… never happened.
And so, the skirt collected dust atop a pile of props in our studio basement. Every time anyone tried to pull a prop, the skirt fell down and consumed them in a maze of tulle. Everyone began asking me, “Are you ever going to use that skirt?”
I was. But when?
I had started thinking that perhaps I would wait for a snowy day and finally get the pictures of Giuliana in the skirt before she outgrew it. I was waiting for the perfect winter day. I needed fresh snow cover, but warm enough temperatures that my kids wouldn’t freeze or be miserable.
Coincidentally, this past Friday I started looking around for a favorite photograph I took of Giuliana in the snow a few years ago and found that the original is gone. All I have is the watermarked version from Flickr. Do you remember this one?
Still grieving the loss of my favorite snow photo, on Saturday morning I saw the forecast for the weekend and decided I would FINALLY use that skirt for once and for all! While I was at it, I would recreate my old favorite portrait and include Grace in it as well.
Contrary to popular belief, Giuliana does not like modeling for me and no amount of bribery will change her mind. When I tell her we are going to take pictures she gives me a giant “aaaawwwwwww I don’t want to!” and proceeds to hide behind the nearest large object while sucking her finger. She’s a typical four year old, only probably worse because she’s had a camera in her face her whole life and she’s a pretty shy kid. I actually showed her the “Princess Skirt” that I bought thinking it would be her dress-up dream-come-true and she immediately whined, “Mom, I’m not wearing that! It’s silly. It’s too big. I don’t want to do pictures.”
Given her aversion to having her picture taken, whenever I do a photo shoot with her, I have to turn it into something fun so she forgets she’s having her picture taken. As I hurriedly shopped and plundered the studio for the shoot, the idea for a scavenger hunt came together.
Giuliana ended up having a ball running through the woods, trying to sound out the words scribbled on tiny slips of paper and finding each of the treasures I had hidden for her amidst the snow. Sweet Indulgence was the icing on the cake, giving us some sweet little confections to scatter throughout our set. G has never met a jellybean she doesn’t like! We even brought Grace out at the very end for a quick snap to pull off the infamous bunny tea party, version 2.0.
It all came together even better than I could have planned. Sometimes, things just happen that way. Here is my Alice, in her winter wonderland.
“Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.”
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in WonderlandGoogle+
I was waiting to lose the rest of the baby weight. I was waiting for Shaun to be able to take an afternoon off. I was waiting for the perfect time of day when the kids wouldn’t be cranky. I was waiting to score the perfect outfits or to dream up the perfect concept. I was waiting to have enough time in my schedule to do it all…
Then I looked at Grace, her two bottom teeth sprouting out of her gums, and realized it is all passing me by too quickly. First days of school and leaving for prom flashed in my hormonal mind! I don’t want my girls to grow up!
Of course I have no control over that, but what I can do is put everything else aside and make my family portraits a priority! So I did.
We began our journey of incorporating video portraits into our studio offerings last year with our newborn sessions (see a sample here!). We loved the finished product: “A Birth Story” (check it out here!) so much that we decided to offer video portraits to all of our Heidi Hope Clients. Now, you can add on a video component to any Heidi Hope Session. Information about our video portraits is sent with your welcome package when you book your session, but give us a call to learn more about it!
Mariah and Joe were happy to use my fam as a sample so you can all get an idea of how our Video Portraits work. You can see the gorgeous photography from our session by visiting Mariah’s blog post here!
Was I afraid to jump in front of a camera… no liquifying or airbrushing…. for the whole world to see? HECK YEAH! But, I can’t possibly express how much the resulting movie and portraits mean to me. I don’t even see what I was worried about. I see my beautiful, happy, blessed family, being exactly who we are in this perfect little moment of our lives. The messy hair, chapped lips, extra tummy… they all take on a significance I didn’t even know I appreciated until now. I am so thankful we did this. And I am so thankful to Mariah and Joe who captured it all so beautifully for us.
So, without further ado, here is a sneak peek of our family video portraits!
I still cry every time I watch this… I can only imagine what prom night will be like! ~ HeidiGoogle+
Wow! Holiday madness is in full swing at the studio! As we started brainstorming our 2012 Holiday Studio card, I became sentimental. It has been SUCH a good year! Both personally, as Shaun and I moved into our new home and were blessed with our new baby girl Grace, and professionally as we had our best year in business yet. What I am most thankful for is our clients, who have become like family to us. All of you moms have become my girlfriends, all of these adorable babies have grown up before my eyes, and I’ve been honored to take pictures of it all along the way! When I got teary eyed at a recent cake smash, I realized just how much I love my clients.
We’ve had lots of new families sign up for our Baby Plan in 2013 and I’m already thrilled just thinking about being a part of their lives. And for each new family who joined ours this year, another family returned to us with their second or third babies. I was able to watch my former newborns become amazing big brothers and sisters or celebrate their first birthdays. I feel so grateful looking back on it all. So THANK YOU to our amazing clients who choose us time and again. Thank you for trusting me to capture the most special time in your lives. And thank you to all of these babies for making me burst with joy (and giving me my daily baby fix so I’m not eternally pregnant)!
Here’s our studio card from 2011! We can’t wait to thank you again with this year’s card!
Best wishes for a joyful Holiday season!Google+
Who would have known that this location was our Plan B? We had another location all planned out, but as luck would have it, the whole team pulled up just in time to be told that it was closed for maintenance for the afternoon! Of course, we weren’t going to just cancel the shoot- Heidi’s family was styled, and we had our videographer, Joe Maggiolo, in tow, to capture the whole shoot on film.
So, we packed up the team and drove just down the road to a little field we had seen driving in. Plan B became Plan Awesome as we realized that the field was even better for Fall portraits. The color, the grass, the light- everything just came together for an awesome backdrop. I couldn’t love the results more! (Phew!)
Why did we have a videographer? We recently announced “A Birth Story”, our newborn sessions captured on film by Joe Maggiolo. We’re expanding our video portrait product to encompass all types of sessions- even outdoor family sessions! Your family is captured interacting on film throughout our photoshoot, and the footage edited as a professional movie set to music. We wanted to show just how stunning the result is, so we invited Joe along to capture Heidi’s family creating memories! We can’t wait to show you the video. In the meantime, there are a few behind-the-scenes shots sprinkled into the family shots below to give you an idea of how we work with Joe.
Ready for an epic Fall family post? Here we go!
I hung up the phone with a reporter a few weeks back who was writing a piece on the popularity of cake smashes in portrait photography today and how the trend all began years ago. I had fun reminiscing with her about the first “Cake Smash” session I did with my daughter Giuliana when she was 10 months old. I simply thought a giant cupcake would be cute and wanted to snap a few photos of her tasting it for the first time. I plopped it on the grass and fired away. Soon after, Heidi Hope clients began clamoring for Cake Smash sessions and our Cake Smashes went from a simple giant cupcake to an all-out-stylized set. Teaming up with Sweet Indulgence, we started getting creative! First, just a few balloons and bunting, now each cake smash session is an original production. Our Cake Smash sessions here at the studio are widely followed and I have LOVED seeing all of the sets we’ve created inspiring others around the world.
I got to thinking. I would love to start a monthly feature on the blog where we showcase all of the amazing work out there. So let’s do it!
Have you been inspired by one of our sets? You could be featured on our blog and have your work seen by our hundreds of thousands of viewers and thousands of facebook fans! I would love to see the amazing work you’re doing, and hear about how we inspired you! From newborn, to cake smash, to senior portraits, your entry could be anything! Please see our entry requirements below and submit you photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our favorite photographer each month will be featured in their own blog post, and our runners up will also be showcased on the blog and our facebook page! If you are our monthly favorite, you will receive a gorgeous Heidi Hope Blossom Band and a 30 minute Skype session with me (Heidi), where you can ask me anything about business, photoshop, photography, whatever!!
How to enter:
Please email email@example.com with:
Your studio name (if you have one, you don’t have to be PRO to enter!)
Up to 5 images inspired by a Heidi Hope Photography Set (at least 1000px wide, watermarked please)
A brief description of your images
Heidi Hope Photography is seeking a part-time Photography Studio Assistant!
We’re looking for an outgoing, inspired, creative individual that thrives in a busy environment and enjoys working with kids and the general public. You’ll help with studio maintenance, client relations, photo editing, administrative tasks, product management and packaging, and photoshoot preparation and execution. Be prepared to do lots of crafting and making people smile!
We’re looking for:
- A good understanding of Photoshop and photo editing workflows
- Ability to assist during shoots with equipment and clients
- Impeccable customer service skills with a friendly, outgoing personality
- Excellent organizational and multi-tasking skills
- A confident approach to problem-solving, and the ability to work independently
- A love of the arts, photography, crafts, and anything creative!
Hourly Wage: $8-$10/hour, DOE
Shift: Monday-Friday, 8am-2:30pm
TO APPLY: Please send a resumé and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Only email submissions to this address will be considered- please, no phonecalls!
~ The Heidi Hope TeamGoogle+
Giuliana’s 4th birthday rolled around on us much too fast this summer. On her birthday we happened to be across the country with kids in tow for my best friend’s wedding. It was only 8 weeks after having Grace and 10 weeks after moving into our new home. Giuliana had a red velvet cupcake for breakfast in San Francisco and spent the rest of her day on a plane heading back to Rhode Island. Probably a great adventure for a 4 year old, but as her mommy, I was ridden with guilt that she spent her day sugared-up, over-tired, and glued to an ipad as we dragged her cross-country. We decided to “make it up” to her by throwing a big party at the new house, boxes still not unpacked, complete with a water slide (that she was terrified of but still claims was her favorite present) and a brand new Barbie bike. We really wanted to make her feel like a princess for the day. Kerri Cupcake came to the rescue and created the most amazing confections table perfect for my girl who dreamed of a “princess ballerina” party. It was honestly the centerpiece of the whole party, which was a lucky thing because I never did have time to hang the decorations. My older brother, an admitted sweet junkie, couldn’t stray from that corner of my kitchen all day. He even had to taste the soft pink rose petals that blanketed our tulle-lined table just to see if they were made out of sugar too. Every guest at the party raved about not only how gorgeous everything was, but also how amazing it all tasted. I can attest that when we cut into our cake filled with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, even I couldn’t resist a giant slice. In fact, I secretly didn’t want to give it over to the 4 year olds! Enjoy your sneak peek into our sweet day… and be prepared to drool on your keyboard!
See more amazing sweets at Sweet Indulgence!Google+