Tips & Tricks Archives - Family, Maternity and Newborn Photographer in Goodyear, Arizona

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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5 Tips for Rocking Your Outdoor Photo Session

Whether you’re shooting a new family portrait or you’ve just found out your are expecting, there are so many options to choose from when it comes to selecting an outdoor setting for your shoot.

If you’ve never done an outdoor photo session before though, there are a few things that you should know if you want to truly enjoy the experience and get the best possible photos.

Here are a few useful tips that you can use for your upcoming outdoor session:

  1. Timing is everything. 

    When it comes to outdoor photo sessions, lighting is everything, and you will always have the best lighting around one hour after sunrise or before sunset. This is called the Golden Hour. If possible, aim to have your shoot during this period. If this is not possible, choose a location that does offer some shade should the light become too harsh.

  2. Think twice about your outfit. 

    When deciding on an outfit for your shoot, keep the theme of the shoot as well as the location in mind. It’s important that your outfit doesn’t look out of place.

  3. Start with the basics first. 

    While having an outdoor shoot leaves you with endless creative possibilities, start with some basic shots first and get creative from there. Chat with your photographer about some of your ideas if you’re not sure.

  4. Add some color. 

    If your shoot is taking place in winter, incorporate some beautiful pops of color using clothing or props to liven up your photos. Autumn, spring and summer don’t usually require as much color since your backdrop will bring in a lot of character all on its own.

  5. Preparation is key.

    To avoid any unwanted surprises, it’s important to visit your desired location ahead of time to make sure that it’s the right fit for your shoot and to pick out a few spots for your photos. It’s also helpful to bring an extra set of clothes, especially if your shoot will include children as you never know when you may need to change.

An outdoor photo session will leave you with beautiful, unique photos that you can treasure for a lifetime and are the perfect addition to your photo wall at home.

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Tips for Including Your Dog in Your Family Photos

Your furry companions are already a part of your family, so it only makes sense to feature them in as many of your family photos as possible. Whether it’s a wedding, engagement or family photo shoot, dogs really bring something extra special to the shot.

It can, however, be slightly trickier to get your dogs to cooperate long enough for you to get a few good shots, so here are a few tips that will definitely help for future photo sessions:

  • Tire them out. 

    A tired dog makes for the best photo subject as he won’t be wriggling around and wanting to play. Have some fun with your furry friend an hour before your shoot so that he’ll be more willing to sit still for the camera.

  • Keep it close to home. 

    The more familiar your dog is with his surroundings, the calmer he will be. When you bring a dog into a new setting, he’ll automatically want to explore, which won’t help when you’re trying to take photos.

  • There’s no perfect shot. 

    While you may see some perfect photos of families and their pets online, those shots are rare. It’s important to embrace imperfection when it comes to taking photos with your pets and to rather enjoy the candid moments that will take place during the shoot.

  • Use your time wisely. 

    When it comes to dogs, you never quite know what’s going to happen so if you get a period of calm, use it to take some photos as their next burst of energy might be just around the corner.

Some of your best memories are made with your four-legged friends so take every chance you can get to include them in your family photos.

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7 Tips to Make Your Next Photo Session Your Best One Yet

Whether you’ve booked a family, children or maternity photo session, every shoot should be a memorable one.

While I do everything I can to make your photo session as successful as possible, there are a few things that you can do to ensure fantastic results every time too.

Here are 7 tips to help you prepare for your next photo session:

  1. Give your location some real thought.

    Your backdrop makes all the difference to your photos. What energy and atmosphere will really bring this particular shoot to life? Taking the time to scout out the best possible location will leave you smiling from ear to ear when you see the end results.

  2. Find some inspiration.

    Do you have a specific vision in mind for your shoot? Head to Pinterest or Google and collect a few images that you can share with me ahead of time.

  3. Grooming matters.

    While you may not want to spend extra money on a hair stylist or makeup artist, being impeccably groomed can change your photos completely so spend time on your hair and makeup before your shoot, even if you just get a friend to help you out.

  4. Food and sleep are your friends.

    While this is particularly important when you’re shooting with kids, having a good night’s rest will also ensure you fully enjoy your photo session as an adult too.

  5. Speaking of food, forget the cheese.

    Saying cheese right before someone takes your photo will result in a smile that looks forced and unnatural. Relaxed faces and happy memories are all you need to have a natural smile in your next set of photos.

  6. Think about your face first.

    If you want the best possible results, don’t wear anything that will distract from your face in your photos.

  7. Think real life.

    When thinking of photo session ideas as a couple or as a family, incorporating your life into your shoot is the easiest way to be original and have fun at the same time. What do you enjoy doing together? Where do you spend time together? These are all aspects that can be used to create a photo session that’s unique to you.

Don’t forget to check out any additional tips and tricks on the blog that you may find useful before and during your shoot. Now just relax and enjoy.

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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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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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Tips for Stress Free Photos of Your Kids

When it comes to family portraits most parents’ number one concern is how to get their little ones to pose and cooperate during the shoot. There are always challenges to face when trying to get everyone in the family to look their best and look at the camera altogether but it is not something you need to stress about. These simple tips will help you prepare your young ones for their big day in front of the camera whether it’s for family portraits or birthday pictures.

 

5 Tips to Prep Your Kids for Your Family Shoot

 

  1. Scheduling

You’ll want to schedule your shoot around you kids schedule. Work around naps or feeding times so they aren’t fussy or cranky during the shoot.

 

  1. Make it a big deal.

You want your children to be excited about the shoot so let them know about it well in advance. Make it into a special occasion so they can get more excited and interested in taking part in it. Even offer a special treat for after the shoot.

 

  1. Bribes

While you may not like the idea of bribing it can be a good idea to have a small piece of candy to give your kids for right after the shoot is done. A small treat can go a long way in helping avoid the additional stress of an uncooperative toddler.

 

  1. Let The Photographer Give Directions

It’s natural for parents to want to give their children directions during a shoot or make adjustments to their clothing but this often leads to parents not looking at the camera. Let your photographer take the reins and you just focus on looking good and being camera ready yourself. Kids also tend to listen better to another adult so it can make everything a lot easier for everyone.

 

  1. Enjoy the Experience

Of course, you want each shot to be amazing but your focus should be on enjoying the moment with your family and children. Sometimes the most picture perfect moments are the ones that don’t seem so perfect in the moment. Don’t set expectations of how you want the perfect family portrait. Instead focus on having the perfect family moments. The more fun you are having the more fun your kids will have too.

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