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On my blog you will see  my photography work, tips and trick for your upcoming session as well as  mini session information and the occasional personal update. Feel free to comment on  the post with any questions or contact me directly at info@ashleyflugphotography.com. 

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Hruska’s Couple Maternity Session – Phoenix, AZ

Hi gang!

I was so excited to meet up with Illa and Bob at the desert botanical gardens for a stunning – and terribly sweet – maternity session. At the time, Illa was mere 6 1/2 weeks away from giving birth, so you can only imagine how she was feeling while we were roaming around finding the best spots to shoot! She was a trooper, though, let me tell you. Her skin looked amazing, her hair was perfection, and her dress choices from my client closet were on point.

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Bob was a total supportive rock star the entire time. There was a moment when I would tease Bob, for example we were in the middle of a shot and I kept telling him “chin up, chin down, chin up” and Bob kept moving his chin up and down repeatedly. After a minute he finally realized I was just messing around with him. Illa and I thought it was hilarious and laughed for awhile about it. Bob also had his moment of being silly when he decided he wanted a turn wearing the floral crown Illa wore during her session. It’s easy to say that we had quite a bit of fun during the session!

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Since they’re almost at the end of the pregnancy, I asked them about how their journey has been thus far. Illa said, ” It’s been amazing! Im super happy and excited for his arrival. I haven’t had any morning sickness but I have been very tired, the second trimester “energy” skipped me but I’ve still managed to set goals and accomplish them. We have absolutely loved reading to him, talking to him but one of my favorite things has been shopping for him…I just can’t help myself! ” Aww!

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They’re going to be an amazing Mom and Dad duo, and their little bundle of joy is so lucky to be brought into the world with them. Thanks again and congrats, you two!

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Why a Photo Session is the Ultimate Gift

Photos: we have them in our homes, on our phones, in albums, on our computers, they’re everywhere.

Photos remind us of life’s most precious people and memories As we move through life, we get to add new moments to our collections.

Sometimes though, it makes a world of difference to have a professional photographer present for the really big moments in life, including weddings, christenings, milestone birthdays and engagements. Giving the gift of photography is one that won’t soon be forgotten.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a parent, newly engaged couple or friend in your life, here are some reaons why you should gift them a professional photo session instead of the usual gift.

Photography is a gift that lasts a lifetime

How many times have you received a gift that you pretended to like, only to end up storing it in the back of a cupboard a month later? Gadgets, clothing, and accessories all go out of style or become null and void, but professional photos last a lifetime and are something that the recipient can treasure for years to come.

Photography is personal

Gifting someone with a professional photo session is personal and unique. Since it’s far more thoughtful than guessing what someone would like to receive, it’s a gift that truly comes from a place of love.

Photography is an experience

Experiencing something instead of adding something to a growing pile of possessions is far more worthwhile, exciting and meaningful. A photo session gives your loved one a brand new experience that will leave them with lasting memories that they can proudly display around their home or office.

When looking for the right photo session for your loved one, keep an eye out for any specials photographers in your area might be offering. Who knows, you may even find yourself booking a photo session for yourself at the same time.

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Professional Photo Tips for Every Season

Every season has its own unique beauty, from the golden leaves of autumn and the blossoms in spring to the white landscapes in winter and the green grass and blues skies in summer. Every season offers so many wonderful photo opportunities so it helps to know how to take the best photos at any time of the year.

Use the best possible lighting for your photos

Taking advantage of seasonal beauty means most of your photos will be shot outside, which means you should plan your shoots around the sun if you really want the best results.

By keeping track of the sun’s schedule for the day, you can ensure that you’ll have the best natural lighting. Natural lighting will add more depth to your photos and if you take advantage of the Golden Hour you’ll automatically highlight your subject’s best features.

Spend time thinking about your outfits

To make it easier to pick outfits for your shoot, choose a color scheme instead of trying to get everyone to wear matching outfits. A color scheme makes it much easier for everyone to look coordinated without looking exactly the same. Stay away from the latest trends. Opting to wear trendy outfits could backfire when those clothing items are no longer fashionable a few years from now so instead; go with colors and items that are timeless.

It’s also best to stay away from outfits that are really busy and will distract from the people in the photos.

Use a checklist

In order to eliminate any stress on the day of the shoot, put a helpful checklist together that includes your outfits, props and the time and location of your shoot. If you’re working with a photographer, provide them with your ideas for poses, locations and outfit changes ahead of time so that everyone is on the same page about what needs to happen on the day.

A checklist ensures that everything runs on time and that everyone is relaxed and enjoys the experience. Check out more about checklist’s here.

Simple is better

When it comes to creating great photos, the key is not to overdo it. This goes for everything from your outfit and your props to your background and your smiles. Being with a simple portrait to capture the beauty of the season, the more natural the better. You may find that the more basic shots make for the best prints because sometimes a busy photo takes away from the main focus of the photo.

Take time to choose the right background

Make a decision on the kind of background you’d like to have ahead of your shoot. You can choose to use a natural background that offers natural light or you can choose to incorporate props. Remember to check that your background won’t clash with your outfit. Your background plays an important part in the overall shot but it’s important that it doesn’t detract from the focus of the photo.

Working with the seasons will always leave you with beautiful photos, timeless photos that you you’ll be proud to display in your home. Getting the basics right is all you need to create the best possible photos at any time of the year.

 

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Tips for Preparing for your Newborn Session: Part 2

How to prepare the baby to ensure they are happy and cooperative during the session

In my last post, I discussed what to bring and wear to your session. Now it’s time to talk about how to ensure your baby is happy and cooperative once you are at your session. Check out part 1 here.

  1. Make sure your child is well fed before the session. Try to schedule the photos around feeding time. If your baby has a full belly, that usually equals a happy baby.
  2. In addition to that, you should also be sure your baby has a fresh, clean diaper. No child is cooperative sitting in a dirty diaper. This may seem like an obvious tip, but in the rush of everything, sometimes we forget the basics.
  3. I mentioned this before, but it is important, so I’m saying it again: bring a pacifier to your session. Even if you are not allowing your child to regularly use one, it will be good for a short time just to help him or her calm down during this time of potential stress. If your baby starts to fuss and we cannot stop the crying by other means, this will typically help ease the baby’s nerves.
  4. Keep your baby warm. Newborns are used to being in a small, warm place. That’s where they’ve been the past nine months,and they are uncomfortable when they are cold. We like to keep our studio warm on session days for this reason. If we are doing a session at your house, we suggest bumping the heat up as well. We will also have plenty of blankets handy for in between photos.
  5. I suggest playing soft music or white noise to create a soothing environment for your newborn.
  6. This is probably the most important thing to note: be OK being a part of the photos. If your child is not cooperating with the session, the best way to soothe newborns is to hold them and rock them to let them know everything is OK. Sometimes babies just need to be held. A lot of new moms are uncomfortable in front of the camera during the first weeks after birth, and I completely understand. If you do not want to be in photos, I can work around this, but I may need to borrow your arms. You just have to make sure not to tense up when you get in front of the camera. Babies sense these things and will, in turn, think they need to tense up as well because something must be wrong. If you’re absolutely against being in photos at all, I could cover you with a backdrop and rest the baby on you. This will help your baby feel secure while keeping you off camera.

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Outfits to Avoid in Your Family Photo Sessions

Family photo sessions are great fun but deciding what everyone should wear so that they’re comfortable and happy and that your photos look great can be a whole other mission.

If you’re unsure about what you should be wearing to your session, here are the types outfits that you should avoid at all costs:

  • Matchy-matchy.

    The days of wearing matching outfits are long gone. There are many other ways to still coordinate your outfits without them all being the same. Incorporating various shades of the same color without it being the exact same item of clothing is one such option.

  • Bold patterns and logos.

    Wearing clothing that has logos or boasts bold patterns is one way to distract from everyone in the family photo. While patterns are fine, make sure that they’re subtle. It’s best to stay away from logos and characters completely.

  • Short sleeves and pants.

    Family portraits always look better when you aren’t exposing too much skin as this once again distracts from people’s faces in the photo. Depending on the style of your shoot and the location, try and keep exposed areas to a minimum and try to avoid shorts.

  • Bold accessories.

    While it’s perfectly fine to wear accessories to a family photo session, make sure that they’re subtle and won’t distract from the main subjects in the photo. Chandelier earrings and large, heavy necklaces are always a no-no.

  • Uncomfortable clothing.

    When you’re uncomfortable in your clothing, it shows up in your photos. While you may love the new dress you bought or your son looks super cute in his new hat, if you aren’t 100% comfortable and fidgeting, it’s best to choose something else.

  • Neon Clothing.

Pops of color are great but neon clothing will almost always affect your skin tone and your photos so it’s best to stay away     from these types of items completely.

  • All white or black.

    When you wear an outfit that is all white or all black, you tend to lose a lot of detail in the photo that clothing would normally bring in. Wearing neutral tones is fine but try to mix it up with a different color.

Most importantly, to avoid any additional stress during the days leading up to your family photo session, plan ahead so that everyone can fully enjoy themselves on the day.

 

Check out these blog post to help you choose the perfect outfit!

Dressing for fall family photos.

How to decide what to wear for your photo shoot.

 

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VW Bus and Vintage Truck Christmas Mini’s

Seriously, how adorable are these going to be!?!

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Making the Most of Your At-Home Lifestyle Photo Session

Lifestyle photography is so beautiful because it’s real.

It captures those raw, everyday moments that stick in the back of your mind and make you smile.

At-home lifestyle photography sessions have become a very popular choice amongst families and if you’ve recently booked your very own session, here are a few tips that you can use to make the most of your time with your photographer.

  1. Let the light in.

    Since you will be shooting indoors, let as much natural light into your home as possible in order to achieve exceptional photos.

  2. Keep it tidy.

    While your home doesn’t need to be free of every speck of dust, it’s important to tidy up the rooms that you will be using the most. Don’t go overboard though; the point of a lifestyle session is to actually capture you and your family in your home as you experience it.

  3. Incorporate activities.

    Lifestyle sessions are all about natural, candid shots and if you’re feeling a bit nervous about just winging it, line up a few activities for you and your kids so that you’ll have something to do during your session. You can just let things flow from there.

  4. Plan your outfits.

    Just because you will be at home, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan what you’re going to wear. Decide on the types of photos that you would like to capture and choose your outfits accordingly. Even if you’re opting for your PJs, make sure that they’re not too busy and that you’re not wearing the socks with the holes.

  5. Let your kids take the lead.

    If you do have young kids in the house, sometimes it’s best to just let them take the lead and you can jump in and have fun with them where it seems most natural.

  6. Move outside the living room.

    When people think lifestyle sessions, they very often set everything up in the living room but if you really want to get a wide variety of shots, don’t discount the bedroom and the kitchen as these can make for some great backdrops too.

You will always get the very best lifestyle photos when you relax and have fun. Your photographer will be there to guide you so just focus on taking it all in and making some memories with your beautiful family.

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Creative Ways to Capture the First Day of School Photos

The first day of school is such a milestone for any parent and a day that should be captured, not only for yourself and the grandparents but for your kids too.

Below are some really cute ideas that you can use to make your child’s first day of school photos memorable and unique.

  1. Get a shot of the outfit. 

    You’ve spent the time choosing the perfect outfit for this day so why not hang it up somewhere and get a shot of it before they get dressed? Lay the outfit out on your child’s bed and take a shot from above or place it on a cute hanger and hang it against the door.

  2. Use a blackboard.

    Incorporate a cute blackboard with a frame into the photos. Fill the blackboard with facts such as the date, their age or even what they want to be when they grow up. Easels also work really well for this and will give you more space to be creative. Get your child to draw themselves on their first day of school and include this in your photo.

  3. Show their progress.

    While taking a picture on the first day of school is a must, make a point of taking a photo on the last day of the school year too. You’ll be amazed at how much your child has changed when you compare the two photos. Another cute idea is to get your kid to pose with their first day of school photo from the previous year to show their progress.

By having fun and making this moment a big deal for your children, you will instill confidence in them and prepare them for the day and year ahead.

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How to Create a Day of Photo Shoot Checklist

You might be under the impression that you can just wake up the morning of your photo shoot and go but there are a few things that you should properly prepare for. While you want to look your best there are minor details that can be easy to forget about. As you prepare for your upcoming photo shoot be sure to review this quick checklist.

 

Photo Shoot Check List:

 

Confirmation.

The day before the shoot you want to reconfirm with your photographer the time and location of the shoot. This will also allow you a chance to go over any details as far as props, wardrobe or weather concerns (if your shoot is outdoors) that you may have.

 

Shot list.

No matter what type of session you are having you want to make sure the photographer knows what – must have shots – you expect. Going over what shots you want from the shoot will help things go smoothly and ensure you get everything you want out of the session. Consider who will be at the shoot or in the images. Let the photographer know who you want to be paired up with images and how many images of each person you would like.

 

Wardrobe.

There are many ways you can dress for your shoot and depending on where you are having the shoot, you may be able to bring along outfits to change into. If you are trying to coordinate your outfit with your family or others who will be in the images try to avoid matching too much. Instead, choose a color scheme to stick with and have each person choose their own outfits that include the colors.

 

Don’t forget to bring some accessories. If doing a full outfit change isn’t possible because of the location of the shoot or the timeline, then consider some easy to take on and off accessions. Hats, scarves, jackets, ties, vests, and belts are all easy items that you can take on or off during the shoot that can help add more variety to the shoot.

 

Personal care.

You want to look your best for the shoot so you want to take the time to pamper yourself a little. Cut, color, and style your hair. Give yourself a facial and don’t forget to take care of your nails as well. When doing your make up the day of the session, keep it at a minimum or go for a more natural look. You can always add more color and makeup as the shoot goes along so you can bring some along with you.

 

Props.

Props can help make a shoot more personal and can make it easier to get everyone else into the shoot. Bring along a few items that you can hold, the kids can play with, or things that you can interact with that are not too bulky or hard to carry with you.

 

Bonus Tip:

If you are planning a family shoot with younger kids you want to bring along a snack. Even if they have eaten prior to the shoot have something easy for them to snack on later on in the shoot can be a huge saver.

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