First Day of School Photo Ideas

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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Featured Favorite

Real cards created by real people like you!

save the date cardsAndrea and Justin’s wonderful Save the Date cards started with the photo shoot. They had a good friend shoot their engagement photos, and they turned out fabulous! Though they hadn’t thought about a save the date card at that point, the photographer suggested using the framed chalkboard as a prop to incorporate their engagement and wedding dates into the photos–one of the all-time-great save the date ideas! (See our blog post on engagement photos for more ideas.)

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Have fun with engagement photos

We see lots of great engagement photo ideas here at Pear Tree, happy couples filled with excitement, sharing their joy in very creative ways. But the pressure to be creative and stand out while staying true to your personalities can be daunting.

For those who may need a little help getting started, we’ve created a Pinterest board to share the engagement photo ieas we love. Feel free to use our ideas, or create your own board of ideas you love.Unique-engagement-session-Michelle-Gardella-11
Image by:

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Modern Christmas cards with vintage-look photos

Holiday photo card ideasLately we’ve seen a lot of unique photo Christmas cards that make use of an age-old technique: the use of antique props or weathered backgrounds to bring a nostalgic, vintage feel to a modern photo.

-A rusty metal sign in the background that makes the subject of the photo (you) look stunningly beautiful in comparison

-An antique picture frame that appears to corral an active modern-day family for a portrait frozen in time

-A vintage, grocery-store scale that proudly displays the birth weight of the new baby sleeping peacefully on top

It’s the juxtaposition of the old and the new, or the ugly and the beautiful that makes the photo interesting and draws your attention to the faces within. So how can you use these vintage photo ideas to make your holiday cards stand out?

If you’re hiring a professional photographer, tell him or her about any vintage photo ideas you have in mind. They most likely have a selection of props and backdrops in their studio that can lend a vintage feel to your portrait. If you’re shooting on location, most photographers have plenty of pre-scouted locations they’ve used, and by letting them know you’re interested in a vintage feel, you’ll be helping them narrow down the options.

If you’re taking the photo yourself, start by looking around your own house. Do you have an antique piece of furniture, picture frame, mirror, or old toy that would make a nice prop? Is there a wall or corner in your house with interesting woodwork? Outside, is there a weathered fence, or exterior wall with peeling paint or wood siding, perhaps? Remember, you don’t need to show all of it, just enough to give a vintage flavor.

If you can’t find anything at home, expand your options. Explore industrial areas, looking for old signage, corrugated metal, stone and brick walls. Explore rural areas for bridges, barns, fences, warehouses, and train or gas stations. Perhaps grandma and grandpa have an old toy or bike of yours, stored in their attic? If your prop has sentimental value, all the better.

Good luck on your hunt. We can’t wait to see the beautiful holiday photo cards our creative customers come up with this holiday season! And if you’re still undecided, read more family photo ideas on our blog.

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Autumn inspires colorful Christmas card photo ideas

Fall photos
As we enter into the peak season for beautiful fall foliage, don’t miss this narrow window of opportunity to take advantage of a stunning color backdrop for your holiday photo cards, courtesy of Mother Nature. The warm yellows, oranges, reds and browns of autumn, are eye-catching, flattering to faces, and available only for a limited time!

A path through the woods, a pile of fallen leaves, or the textural interest of dried grasses and blooms in your garden make wonderful backgrounds for your Christmas card photo ideas. Whether it’s a shot of you with your dog, your significant other, or your family of five, the focus of the photo should be your smiling faces, but it’s fun to play with different angles and aperture settings to bring that colorful background into sharp focus (larger f-stop numbers) or to blur it (smaller f-stop numbers). has a great explanation of aperture settings if you want to experiment, but check your camera first. Many newer models have automatic settings that achieve the same results.

What if you miss the boat and all the fall leaves are gone by the time you start thinking about Christmas card photo ideas? Don’t worry, there are plenty of fall activities that make great photo opportunities, such as the all-important pumpkin-choosing day, pumpkin carving, raking leaves, apple picking, hayrides—even Thanksgiving if you can wait that long! Since great photos are the key to fabulous photo Christmas cards, the more photos you take, and the sooner you start taking them, the better your selection will be.

Once you have a photo you love, you’ll be ready to start creating your holiday photo cards. Still looking? Read more family photo ideas on our blog. The holidays will be here before you know it!

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Outdoor Photography Tips

Spring is here and we all want to get outside. A winter’s worth of shooting portraits inside is enough to make any photographer go stir crazy. But today the greens are vibrant, flowers are blossoming, trees are budding, and it all makes a great setting for outdoor portraits. All you need is a camera, a subject, and some decent weather!

Shooting in Natural Light
One of the true perks of shooting portraits outdoors is you don’t have mess with studio lighting, flashes or any of that mess. You’re au naturale. Here are just a few outdoor photography tips to keep in mind:

The sun is your friend
Here are a few outdoor photography tips to keep in mind #peartreegreetings #phototips

When shooting in sunlight, keep the sun to the side of the subject. Shooting with the sun directly behind you just results in a squinting model and flat lighting. Shooting with the sun behind the model leaves you either with a correctly exposed background and a face in shadow, or a well lit face and a blown out background. Keep that sun to your side and you’ll get an evenly exposed shot with nice contours on your model. This happy couple on the right wanted an impromptu portrait taken while the cherry blossoms were poking out in Washington D.C.. The sun was a little too harsh and a little too high for our liking, but they were happy.

But so is the shade
Here are a few outdoor photography tips to keep in mind #peartreegreetings #phototips

Shooting in shade is kind of like shooting in a giant softbox. Your light is soft, you don’t have to worry about highlights that are too hot or shadows that are too dark. You can just focus on your model. What a relief!

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Organizing and Digitizing Old Photos for Graduation

How to organize your old photos #peartreegreetings #phototips #organizing

There’s nothing like your child’s senior year of high school to separate the crafty moms from the techies, and the organized from the disorganized. Every time you turn around someone’s asking you for photos — baby photos, sports photos, senior photos, life-size posters made out of your kid’s photos. Aaaack! It’s a total nightmare if you don’t have scrapbooks and photo albums, let alone digital copies. Here’s how to organize your photos and create digital copies you can use for the graduation party and beyond.

Step 1: Editing Your Photos
If you already have all your kids’ baby photos displayed in scrapbooks or photo albums, you may skip to Step 2. But if your photos are stored in shoe boxes and drawers, like mine were, you’ll need a way to organize them. Don’t worry. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. I did it in just a few hours!

  1. Purchase or create a large photo organizer/storage box. Google it. The best ones hold over a thousand photos and have dividers or index tabs inside for organizational purposes. Avoid the ones with snap-close divider boxes inside—a simple card-like filing system is easier to work with.  Continue reading

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Fall photo ideas for creative cards

From picking apples, to carving pumpkins, to the annual Thanksgiving touch football game, our customers had some very creative ways to capture the season in a photo card. Here are some of our favorite fall photo ideas:  Continue reading

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Photography tips for taking great baby photos

Baby AnnouncementsBaby AnnouncementsBaby Announcements
We’ve all received them—birth announcements that look like something out of a magazine. Some of us are fortunate to have the help of a talented photographer, but what if you don’t? Here are a few newborn photography tips for the non-professionals who want that gorgeous photo:

Newborn photography tipsA close up is best.
Remember your baby is the hero! Your loved ones will want to see your baby’s features, and share them with others. A close-up will show just how special your little one is, and how daddy’s nose has been passed on to another generation. Use a nursing pillow if you have one, to prop your baby up for the perfect shot. Cover the nursing pillow with a blanket and place your baby in it for the photo. This makes it much easier to get a good angle of baby’s adorable little face.
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