The Power of a Photograph

Sometimes when I can’t sleep or when I’m having a hard day – I’ll go through the photos on my iPhone. I’ll look through recent photos or some from years prior. I glance through our wedding photos, or our photos from vacations, or even photos from holiday gatherings with friends and family.

I will see photos from the hospital room where I said goodbye to my grandpa. I will see photos of different hospital rooms where I held my best friends’ babies on the day they were born. Photos of Thanksgiving turkey. Photos of cups of coffee from a cafe in California. Photos of me snuggled up to Kyle on a beach in Maui.

As a photographer, I sometimes forget the power of a photograph to brighten a day, to bring back a memory long forgotten or even sometimes – to bring up emotions that I didn’t realize I had.

I am reminded of those beautiful memories when i see the photo. Of our time in Ireland. Or the time in our life when we were first married and every new thing was a “first”. And I am also reminded of some of the tough moments that have happened – and that even when it felt like those tough moments would last forever, I always made it through. 

Life can have REALLY hard moments. Or even days. Or even seasons. It can feel heavy. We can find ourselves searching to find joy when our days feel long, difficult, monotonous, or even hopeless.

But then you might glance at your phone background and see a photo of your smiling kids and remember their first time seeing the snow. Or you see a photo in a frame of your parents and see that you really do look like a perfect combination of both of them put together in one person. You see your husband and remember the butterflies you felt when you first saw him, and again during that sweet first look on your wedding day.

My friend Brianna put it perfectly when she said :

“A photo session captures a moment – in love with a spouse, or holding the hand of a tiny precious human, or a family all grown but closer than ever. When that moment is captured, it’s no longer passing, but forever – and you get to revisit it any time you want…It’s a reminder that life is still good.”-Brianna Wood 

I get it – getting in front of the camera can be hard. When life is busy, or money is tight, or even if you are dealing with feeling insecure about your body or appearance. Being photographed can feel like the LAST thing you want to do or have time for. 

But here’s the deal – you deserve to have beautiful memories captured. I know it takes work to get everyone dressed and to the same place for a photo session – but it is seriously something you will be so grateful you did. 

We had a wildly busy 2019 and we needed a BREAK. We booked a last minute vacation to Maui & even though we were only 3 weeks away from our trip – I booked a photographer for a sunrise photo session. These images are something that I am so glad that I have – to not only remember this season of our lives and this trip – but also to look back upon and remember all that 2019 brought into our lives. We accomplished a lot together, but making time to rest and refresh together was the highlight of our year. These photos serve as a reminder to me to prioritize our relationship and marriage – even in seasons where the schedule is crazy. What a gift.


I am so grateful for the friends who have trusted me to photograph some of the best and brightest seasons of their lives, and others who have trusted me to photograph the hardest seasons as well. It’s not about everyone in the photo being perfect – it’s about the memories that the photos will remind you of. The good, the hard, the bright & shiny, and the not-so-much. 

So if it’s been a while since you’ve stepped in front of the camera, can I challenge you to do that this year? Whether you hire a professional photographer and choose new outfits, or ask a friend to take a photo of your family at a BBQ. You will be so glad you did.

Your life is beautiful & it is worth remembering,
Kels

These Images are from our photo shoot in Maui by Hannah McFall Photography – highly recommend if you are looking for a photographer while on vacation in Maui! She was a dream to work with!

https://www.hannahmcfallphoto.com

F.A.Q : Where Should I Print My Photos? : PRINTED PHOTO SHOWDOWN

THERE IS SOMETHING MAGICAL THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PRINT YOUR PHOTOS.

Whether its one in a frame on your dresser, a canvas on your wall, a leather heirloom album that will one day be shown to your kids & grandkids. They all have a way of making the images come alive.

Friends, images were never meant to just live on our phones & our computer hard drives. Remember the days of sitting on the floor with a box of old photos flipping through them and remembering every moment? That is nostalgic. That is something that will happen when you look at images. Suddenly, you are time-traveling back to past moments in your memory & can recall details that the photos bring to the front of your mind.

So, take all those photos you’ve taken, photos from your last professional photo session, photos from your wedding 14 years ago – and PRINT THEM. Printed photos are the fastest way to complete a room, brighten a space, and personalize your home!

….BUT KELS. WHERE SHOULD I PRINT MY PHOTOS?

Well, I’m your photo Godmother. Because I decided to order the SAME print from 3 different common places and give you all the details so you can know EXACTLY where to print and why!

The Contenders : MPix.com, Shutterfly.com, & My Client Gallery*

*Every client that I photograph receives a 10 year online gallery of their photos. This gallery is connected to my PRO print lab & allows clients to order DIRECTLY from my lab in their gallery. The link can be shared with family and friends & they can do the same!

Why did I choose these 3 options? Because I have clients from all over, and choosing online options meant that anyone can read this and has the opportunity to order from these 3 retailers. I also have recommended MPix to my friends & clients in the past, and wanted to see how their quality is lately. I know that Shutterfly is a SUPER common place for people to order photo books, Christmas Cards, & prints – and they offer frequent sales & coupon codes – so I wanted to see if their quality could match up!

I chose this image to print in all the sizes at ALL the retailers. I wanted to choose the same image that also had a lot of white in the image because one thing that differs between printers is their ability to keep consistent colors. I wanted to be able to look and instantly know who keeps their printed images as close to the original as possible. This will help when ordering photos of people, knowing that your skin won’t appear to yellow/green/pink/orange based on the quality and output of different printers.

I also chose the standard photos from each place. Instead of upgrading to different finishes – I wanted to see what the quality was of their standard images, because I think that is what most of my clients would default to ordering.

I also chose the cheapest shipping options from each retailer. PASS did not come with tracking, but Shutterfly & MPix did.

8×10 images are a different ratio than most digital images, so when you order an 8×10 the image will need to be cropped. MPix and PASS allowed me to choose & preview my crop, which would be helpful when ordering images where you want to make sure nothing important will be cropped out on the final image.

All images were ordered at 3:30PM on 4/26/18.

Contender #1 : Mpix – $7.97

Cost of Images : 4×6 – $.29 | 5×7 – $1.14 | 8×10 – $2.40 | Economy 4×6 $.19

**Note that I ordered 2 different 4×6’s from Mpix. I wanted to see the difference between their standard & economy 4×6. Even with the extra print added, MPix was still the cheapest.

Cost of Shipping : $3.99

Date Arrived : 5/5/18

Quality of Prints : Without having to pay extra, these prints arrived with Luster Coating on all of them. We could barely tell a difference between the economy 4×6 & the regular 4×6, which means if you are ordering a large amount of 4×6’s, the economy version would save you some cash!

Overall Review : 9/10.  The quality of the prints was excellent & the color compared to the digital image on my phone/computer was very similar. Having the images show up with Luster coating was a very big plus.  Luster coating helps resist fingerprints and also makes the image look more vibrant. However, these images took the longest to arrive. Overall (shipping included) MPix was the least expensive. But if you are on a crunch for time (or are impatient like me) you might want to order something that arrives a little faster, or upgrade the shipping.

*One thing to note – MPix also offers “Color Correction” as a default option. As I always professional edit & fine-tune the colors of my images before sending them to my clients, I would recommend not color correcting. Also – by color correcting, you won’t know what the image will look like until it arrives. However, if you are printing vacation photos or personal photos and have not edited them – this would be an option to get the colors maybe a little brighter or better before the prints arrive.

Contender #2 : Shutterfly – $13.42

Cost of Images : 4×6 – $.15 | 5×7 – $.99 | 8×10 – $3.99

Cost of Shipping : $7.07

Date Arrived : 5/1/18

Quality of Prints : The colors were bright, and the quality was nice. These prints were glossy, which is my least favorite finish of a print – but by far, the most common. Glossy images tend to have a glare when looking in certain light, and also tend to show fingerprints very easily.

Overall Review : 7/10. There is nothing wrong with these images – but I would recommend MPix or the PASS gallery before recommending Shutterfly. These prints arrived the fastest, but were also the most expensive overall (shipping included). If you had a coupon code or something to bring the price down & wanted to order some prints – I wouldn’t tell you not to – I just prefer the other prints, mainly for the finish of them.

Contender #3 : PASS Online Gallery – For My Clients – $12.99

Cost of Images : 4×6 – $1.00 | 5×7 – $2.00 | 8×10 – $4.00

Cost of Shipping : $5.99

Date Arrived : 5/2/18

Quality of Prints : Without having to pay extra, these prints arrived with Luster Coating on all of them. THIS alone is worth the extra cost as the luster coating is a much higher quality finish than a standard glossy finish. Luster coating helps resist fingerprints and also makes the image look more vibrant. The Color of the prints was exactly the color of my digital file. You can know that the color you are seeing on your device will be the color that shows up on your doorstep.

Overall Review : 10/10. HIGHLY Recommend. The cost was not substantially more than the other options, but the quality of the prints was outstanding. Truly a professional quality print at consumer prices! Also – we thought (Kyle & I) that the color of these images were the closest to the digital image on our computer/phone. Which means you are not going to be surprised when you open the package, because these images will look very similar to the ones on your phone!


So friends, I hope this helps you when choosing where to print your photos & encourages you to get those beautiful images off your phones & computers and into your REAL LIFE! Buy a frame or two, and brighten up a dresser, a wall, or a bookshelf with some images of you & your family!

Also – if you have a favorite place to print your photos – let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for a new place to try out!

Kels

F.A.Q. : What To Wear!

HELP! What Should We Wear to Our Photo Shoot!?!?

This question, I get this question multiple times a week. From more than just my clients. I have friends from out of state message me and ask what to wear for photos & girlfriends texting me photos of their outfits asking if things match!

I’m going to break it down for you. Every photographer is different & what someone else tells you might be different than what I say here – but over the past 7 years, I have found some tricks that make everyone look good in front of the camera.

There are going to be lots of words here – but I will post some photos at the end so that you can get inspiration! I’m going to give you ALL of my tips & tricks on what to wear. This should relieve stress, not add to it! 

1.) You Do Not All Have to Wear the Same Outfit

For family shoots – years ago, it was common for everyone to show up in the same outfit. Don’t feel like you have to do that anymore! Feel free to mix colors, textures, patterns! I wouldn’t put more than one or two people in a pattern, as it can be busy – but if Dad wants to wear a plaid flannel shirt, that’s totally okay! My best suggestion is to choose complimentary colors or 2-3 colors to have in your whole outfit scheme. That way there isn’t TOO much going on, but still gives some variety.

2.) Dress Up rather than Dress Down

I know that people want to feel like themselves in photos. But, I would venture to say that everyone wants to feel like the BEST version of themselves. Choosing something that is a little more formal than casual can elevate the quality of your photos. Don’t believe me? Search Pinterest. In a ballgown in the mountains? Awesome.

2b.) LAYER & ACCESORIZE

I feel like this is one of the best ways to elevate your outfit from casual to a little more dressy. For men, adding a jacket, a watch, a tie, a sweater. For women, jewelry, a sweater or jacket, a scarf, a hat. These are all things that you can add to a simple outfit to add layers and make your outfit look amazing! Plus – layers can be taken on and off during different parts of your session to add variety without changing an entire outfit. During colder months, adding hats and scarves that are bright colors can take contrast the simple colors of winter for some vibrant images!

3.) Avoid Text & Graphics on Clothing

This is one thing that I think can make or break a photo shoot. Depending on how you are moving and posing, it is possible that only some of the text or graphic will be visible in the shot. Especially with words, it can be very distracting to the photo. Patterns & prints (plaid, floral print, stripes, etc.) are all good! I am talking about a Seahawks logo, or a child’s shirt with a graphic of an animal or something on them.

4.) Wear Things You Feel Comfortable In

If you are pulling and tugging on your outfit in front of the mirror. TAKE IT OFF. The last thing you want to be doing during your photoshoot is constantly adjusting. You want to feel like yourself in your photos, but the BEST version of yourself. Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy a brand new wardrobe for your photo shoot. If you want to, GO AHEAD!

5.) Take Photos on your Cell Phone of the Outfit Before Your Shoot

Have someone take a picture of the front, back, and side of your outfit if you are worried about how it looks. FIRST – be kind to yourself. Cell phone photos are hardly ever flattering – but it can help you see things that you might normally miss. It can help you to see if you need to add an undershirt, or choose a different bra, or if you like it better with a sweater than a jacket.

6.) You do NOT have to wear heavy makeup.

I hear this all the time. “Oh! I need my makeup to be more dramatic, since we are being photographed.” Ummmmm. That might be true if we were in a studio with giant flood lights shining at your face, or if you were performing on stage. But with me – we are shooting outside with natural light. Don’t feel as though you need to have an extra smoky eye. In fact, sometimes too dark of makeup can make your eyes appear smaller than they are, and can have the opposite effect you are going for.

7.) Too Loose AND/OR Too Tight

I would recommend wearing things that fit, but there are two extremes that you will want to avoid. Wearing things that are extremely loose and flowing while flattering in person, in photos it can make you appear larger than you really are. On the flipside, things that are too tight and have pulling & tugging can also make you appear larger.

8.) Darker Colors Hide & Slim

We’ve all heard that darker colors are slimming, and it is true on camera as well. However, I would not come with everyone in all dark colors. If you are self conscious about an area on your body, choosing a darker solid color can help with slimming and hiding things you are worried about.

9.) Be KIND to yourself.

Getting photographed can bring up insecurities in even the most beautiful people. Don’t believe me? I will tell you that you are not the only one who feels nervous about looking good in front of the camera. So, here’s the deal. It is my job to make you look good. The pressure is on ME, not you! Be kind to yourself. Trust me to make you look good & you will LOVE your images!

Hope this post is helpful & you can walk into your closet without stress when choosing your outfits!

 

Every Year, Whether I FEEL like it or not.

I read somewhere when I first started photographing weddings that a photographer should spend time in front of the camera at least once a year to remember how it feels to be photographed. Since reading this, I have made it a priority. And can I be honest? Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t so good at remembering things. Because I don’t always want to get my photo taken.

*And I’m a PHOTOGRAPHER.*

Sometimes, it’s scary. Sometimes, I don’t FEEL beautiful, FEEL attractive, or FEEL photogenic. So I put it off. And tell myself that it can wait. And I think that sometimes, we all feel that way. We might not be feeling like we look our best. Or feel like spending $$ taking photos that we are not sure we are going to like.

But every time. EVERY TIME. I end up falling in love with some of the images and realizing that what I FEEL about myself is not always true.

I might FEEL like I am a #hotmess. I might feel insecure, or like my skin is imperfect, my hair is a mop, my trunk has a little more junk than I want.

So let me be completely honest when I say, I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. 

But how I feel is not ever what shows up in the images. What shows up in the images is joy. and love. and reality.

I get the feelings that you might have about stepping in front of the camera. You might feel as though your body is different now than it was before you had 3 babies. But can I tell you something? It probably is.

You probably look different than you did when you were 20. Or 30. Or 16. Or 40. But look at all of the goodness around you. Your body might be different, but you now have those beautiful babies. You might have more wrinkles on your face than you did. But let’s be grateful that you with each wrinkle is another year that you have spent enjoying your family and friends.

I think it’s hard to accept any kind of change. And especially when it comes to our appearances. It’s HARD to see that we might not look the same in a bathing suit that we did when we were 21 years old. So we hide. We hide from the camera. We hide under baggy sweatshirts and messy buns. Because we hope that if it isn’t documented that we have changed, then maybe we haven’t.

But in doing so, we are missing out. On seeing ourselves through someone else’s eyes. On seeing our smile and laughter captured on the camera of a stranger, or a friend. By someone who desires only to show you the beautiful parts of yourselves. We are our own worst critics, am I right?

So can I challenge you with something this year? No More Hiding. Make this a priority. Make you a priority. Allow someone to show you how beautiful you are, or your family is, or your relationship is. Get in front of the camera. Because you deserve to see yourself through someone else’s eyes. And those picture frames around your house could use some bright images of your beautiful self!

So, I took my own advice, once again. Kyle and I took a weekend trip to Portland for my birthday in October. And it was time for us to get in front of the camera. To remember how it feels to be photographed. We had a shoot with the wonderful Olivia Strohm Photography. She captured us, being us. And looking through the images I am reminded over and over again that my husband can make me laugh harder than anyone else. That I close my eyes when I think something is really funny. That we are snuggly. That we are in love. I will forever treasure these photos of us drinking coffee together.

View Olivia’s Website Here, She’s AMAZING : http://www.oliviastrohmphotography.com

kylekels(4of117)kylekels(13of117)kylekels(15of117)kylekels(37of117)kylekels(46of117)kylekels(49of117)kylekels(56of117)kylekelss(23of40)

kylekels(25of117)

kylekelss(16of40)kylekelss(22of40)

Cheers Love,

Kels