Photography Tips from Photographers

Getting ready to take family photos can be a daunting task filled with questions. (What should we wear? Where should we go? How do we get a photo that doesn’t look forced?) We asked a couple of our favorite photographers for some photography tips that might help you feel better prepared for your upcoming photo session.

Tips from Christy Bode Photography & Sarah Halstead Photography:

1. Find someone who shares your style.
Photography Tips from Photographers Themselves
When choosing a photographer, make sure you like their style and their quality of work by reviewing their website, blog and Facebook page. If you only ‘sort of like’ their photos, or ‘sort of like’ their style, definitely keep searching! You want to love your images and finding a photographer with a style you love is the first step. ~Christy

2. Plan what to wear.
Photography Tips from Photographers
This is the most common question I get from families. My advice is to definitely plan your outfits ahead of time. Doing this will help you love your photos even more. With that said, it doesn’t need to be stressful, and don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for help or ideas. I typically recommend dressing the girls first, then go to the boys. If you have all boys like I do, that means starting with yourself. ~Christy

Photography Tips from Photographers Themselves
It is best to color coordinate versus matching. For example, if everyone is wearing the same solid color colored shirt, it may end up looking more like a uniform. Family photos are fun-everyone should get to show their personality! I recommend choosing an outfit scheme of 3-4 colors. Textures and layers show up nicely in photos. Always avoid logos. Timeless looks are the best vs. a current trend. Simple attire with solid colors or small patterns is key! ~Sarah

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More Christmas Card Photo Ideas

We’ve chosen some of our favorite new Christmas cards to illustrate how clothing choices and the use of photo filters in your Christmas card photos can dramatically change the way your cards look. (Of course, starting with one of our awesome Christmas card designs doesn’t hurt!)

If you already have your card picked out, be sure to show it to your photographer because, aside from letting him or her know the style of photo you like, it can inspire location, posing, propping or lighting ideas. Knowing whether you may want to try black and white or a photo filter is important, too. Here are some Christmas card photo ideas from our new collection we wanted to share.

Make your colors count
Merry Merry Picture Frame Christmas Cards
Twinkle Lights Photo Book -- Christmas Cards
The red sweater, green pants and scarf on the little boy in our Merry Merry Picture Frame Christmas Cards absolutely make the photo, especially with the white snow, dog, and relatively colorless background to make the colors really pop. Similarly, the bright colors of the shirts on the kids in our Twinkle Lights Photo Book Christmas Cards match the card’s bright color palette. If you want a bright card, wearing bright clothes is one way to achieve that!

Let your card wear the colors
Joy Full Christmas Cards Sparkly Wishes Christmas CardsTall Tale Photo Christmas Cards Vintage Treescape Circle Photo Christmas Cards
Another way to emphasize bright colors is use black and white photos, and frame them in a colorful card to let the holiday message stand out. To make sure your photo looks great in black and white, wear darker colors than your skin tone so faces are highlighted. And if you are starting with a color photo and adding a black and white filter, try adding the contrast & sharpen filters or the vibrance filter to intensify the lights and darks in the photo. Four examples shown, clockwise from top left: Joy Full, Sparkly Wishes, Vintage Treescape Circle and Tall Tale Christmas Cards.

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Sending Love Any Time of the Year

While Valentine’s Day may be the usual day to send a love note, I had a different idea this year. I decided to send some love to my family and closest friends by tucking photo strips of my son and his ever-changing faces and poses into a note (I chose Long Distance Love from Pear Tree Greetings). My family and friends enjoyed the randomness of receiving a love note in April, so I wanted to share the idea with you. Below are the steps I did to send some love!
Sending Some LoveSending Some LoveSending Some Love Continue reading

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Photography Tips – Kids Valentine’s Day Photo Shoot

I love sending Valentine’s Day cards. And I love taking photos. So, we decided to have an office Valentine’s Day photo shoot with our own kids. Fun day in the office, right? Then, we decided it’d be fun to make a video to share the results with you—not just our cute Valentine’s Day photos, but also a few photography tips on achieving some of those big smiles we all love. For added fun, we threw in some behind-the-scenes video footage because, as a photographer, I always wonder what the real ‘set’ looks like! So check out the video and the tips below to make your Valentine’s Day cards sparkle. :)

Now here are some photography tips and ideas to help you achieve the actual photos you saw in the video.

Valentine's Day Photo IdeasFor our main background, we painted a 4×4 section of plywood with chalkboard paint. Chalkboard paint wasn’t entirely necessary since we didn’t write on it, we just liked the black background against our garland. And speaking of the garland, you can get it as a free printable! It’s easy to cut out and a fun activity to do with your kids.

Photography Tip: Try placing something on your head and asking the child to blow it off. Just about anything works. I used a paper heart. It should either be something the child will physically be able to blow off, or that with a slight tilt of your head, they’ll think they did! Also setting the child on a box or a crate typically keeps them in one spot, long enough at least for a few quick photos!

Valentine's Day Photo IdeasFor this background, we used two sets of gold metallic curtains, right on top of each other. Inexpensive, and they come in many colors!

Photography Tip: Giving kids a prop like sunglasses allows them to interact and play with something, which keeps them occupied long enough for photos. And even the motions of taking off the glasses can be really cute!

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Using photo filters to enhance your photos

Using photo filters to enhance your photosThese days you don’t have to be a professional photographer to follow the latest photo trends. We all now have the ability to create special effects and filter colors and light with a simple click in our photo editing software—no messing with lenses, filters or film.

These three very different looking photo Christmas cards were created using Pear Tree Greetings’ easy-to-use Personalization tool. After choosing a card and uploading our color photo, we clicked on the photo filter tab and tried two different filters on it, saving each card to see which one we liked best. The first is the original photo; the second was made using the black & white, plus contrast filters; and the third using our vibrance filter.

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Top 10 Family Photo Tips

Family PhotoGetting ready to take the annual family photo for your Christmas cards, New Year’s cards or Thanksgiving cards? We see a lot of family photos, and wonder how our customers manage to take such great ones. To make your photo session easier, we’ve compiled our top 10 family photo tips, especially for those who have lots of family members to organize or little kids to corral.

10. Choose your time carefully
Make sure the kids are fed and rested. We all know what happens when we skip nap time, and even adults get cranky when they’re hungry.

9. Bring toys or treats
Don’t be caught empty handed. You’ll need to take quick action if you have to turn that frown upside down or want to reward good behavior.

8. Set a rain date
If you’re shooting outside, or are hiring a professional photographer, be sure to set a rain date in case someone gets sick or the weather isn’t perfect.

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Family Christmas Photo Ideas – What to Wear for the Family Photo

It’s time to start collecting family Christmas photo ideas if you haven’t already taken that perfect photo. For us, one of the most important (and difficult!) decisions when planning your family photo is deciding what to wear. But it’s worth the effort. Coming up with some sort of theme, even a simple color palette, can turn an ordinary family photo into a portrait worth hanging on your wall—not to mention a beautiful Christmas card!

If you’re having your photos taken by a professional photographer, be sure to ask them for clothing ideas that will work best in the location you’ve chosen. He or she is certain to have a few ideas. To give you some examples, we’ve gathered a few family Christmas photo ideas that we love, focusing on the clothing choices and how they affect the photo.

Light colors
When the whole family is wearing light colors, it focuses attention on the darker colors in the photo, such as facial features, hair color, or the beautiful scenery in the background. We like a mix of light colors, which looks more natural than everyone wearing the same color.
Light Colors
Light colors
Top photo by: Christy Bode Photography
Left photo by: Ashlee Raubach; Right photo by: Ashlee Raubach

Dark colors
The dark colors this family is wearing make them stand out against the lighter sky and field. The dark blue color solidly grounds them and gives them the appearance of a tight unit, which is a nice subliminal message for a family photo.
Dark colors
Photo by: NikkiJamesPhotography.com

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Back to School Photo Contest

Happy Back to School Week! It’s a time of mixed emotions for kids and parents, as summer draws to a close and the excitement of a new school year begins. We hope you’ll be capturing this special moment by taking plenty of photos, because we’re having a photo contest!Back to school photo ideas

Submit a photo of your child, taken on their first day of school, fall 2012, and send it to contests@peartreegreetings.com along with your first name, your child’s first name, and the grade they are entering. We will be posting each photo on our blog so friends and family can see the photo!

We will draw three winners at random to receive $100 towards www.peartreegreetings.com. Just in time for Halloween photo cards, Christmas cards or teacher gifts! This back to school contest ends Monday, September 24th.

Image by: Tracy Enoch Photography

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First Day of School Photo Ideas

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Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the photo so many times, but I remember my first day of kindergarten with perfect clarity. I was terrified, and it showed in my face. Thanks, Mom.

There are certain landmark days in a child’s life that Mom somehow just knows to capture in a photo. And the first day of school is one of those photo ops you just don’t want to miss.

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Planning a summer vacation? Think Christmas photo ideas!

Whatever you do, the experienced moms at Pear Tree say, don’t forget to bring the camera along on your summer vacation. Not just for the memories, but because those vacation photos may just be the best family photos you get all year. And come November, when you’re looking back over the year’s highlights for something to include in the annual Christmas photo card, you’ll be awfully glad you have them.Christmas in July photos

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