Summer Reading: Earn a Free Mini Session!

Summer reading has come to Through the Lens Images, and your child can earn a FREE “The Magic of Reading” mini session!

Books and fairy tales are a huge source of inspiration in my work, and in my everyday life, and I want your children to love reading as much as I do. To that end, I’ve decided to offer my own summer reading program for the summer of 2018.

I will also be posting daily book finds for all ages on my social media (fb.com/throughthelensimages and instagram.com/throughthelensimages) Look for #magicofsummerreading.

Summer Reading Sample-3 web

Click here to sign up!

How it Works

Step 1: Enroll

Click here to enroll your rising K-8th grade student. (Leave the reading log portion blank and submit without it. You will receive an email once submitted to go back and add the books read later) To enroll multiple children, please submit a separate form for each of them.

Step 2: Read and Log

K-3rd graders should read 15 books, and 4th-8th graders should read 10 books, between June 15 and August 31. Children can add their books to the log either as they go, or all at the end.

Post a picture of your child reading toward their goal with #magicofsummerreading and tag @throughthelensimages to show off your child’s progress!

Step 3: Redeem

Once your child’s reading log has been completed, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to schedule your child’s free “The Magic of Reading” mini session.

Each child will get one digital image formatted for web and social media, which will be chosen on site at the mini session. You will also have the option to schedule a viewing appointment to see the final versions of the images and purchase additional images and wall art at a 30% discount.

Click here to sign up now!

Terms and FAQs

Completed logs MUST be submitted no later than August 31 to redeem prize.

All participants must be willing to sign a model release.

Students are welcome to log books they read prior to signing up for the program, so long as the were read between the dates of June 15 and August 31, 2018.

Mini session dates/times/locations are TBD. Once I have a better idea of how many participants there will be I will determine several date options. I will also do my best to tailor location options based on any clusters I see in where participants are located, but cannot make any promises for specific locations. (there will be options for both NOVA and Maryland though)

DIY Your Fresh 48

Congratulations! You’re having a baby!!

I won’t lie, it’s a whirlwind. And EVERYONE you know is going to have an opinion. Stores are going to try to convince you that you need to fill your house with an intimidatingly massive amount of gear and gadgets. Most of them you’ll never even use, but how are you supposed to figure out what you need and what you don’t? It’s not like you’ve had a baby at home before…

Quick tip: make a wish list or registry on Amazon/Target/etc and let yourself go completely crazy with everything you think you’ll need or want, then sit down with a couple of mom friends and go through it together to have them tell you which items were invaluable to them, and which ones they got but never actually used. (and WHY) Make your own decisions based on their feedback, and you’ll come away with a much more efficiently curated list of gear that will actually be useful!

When it comes to professional photography to capture this newest chapter in your journey, it can be much the same way. There are SO many memories to capture, how do you decide which ones need a professional? Here’s a better way to consider it: what would you want to put on your walls as artwork?? Here’s a timeline of photo opportunities throughout your pregnancy and my thoughts on which to hire a pro for and which to DIY:

  • Pregnancy announcement: DIY
  • Gender reveal: DIY
  • Maternity portraits: Professional
  • In the hospital: DIY
  • Newborn portraits: Professional

Notice that events are DIYs and “portraits” are for the pro? I firmly believe that every family should have beautiful artwork of themselves in the glow of coming motherhood, and of their beautiful new baby. These things deserve to be immortalized as true heirloom art, and for that you need a true professional with an artistic voice and the skill to execute their vision. You should also NOT try to do a studio newborn style session yourself. There are some significant potential safety issues in not doing some of the poses properly, (for example, some poses are done as a composite of multiple images for safety reasons, and trying to do it in a single capture could be very dangerous) and a professional will know how to execute those poses without risking your baby’s safety. The pregnancy announcement and gender reveal are fun to be sure, but not everyone feels the need to do them, and there are tons of great ideas out there for those that are totally doable on your own.

The documenting of your first hours in the hospital with your brand new baby is the one that could go either way. A professional photographer can create beautiful lifestyle images for you to cherish but, with a bit of advice to guide you, you can do a pretty good job yourself too. The following guide is to help you get beautiful pictures of your newborn in the hospital and, as a bonus, how to announce your new baby on social media.

First and Foremost: LIGHT

Light is the single most important element in your picture and, lets be honest, the light in your hospital room is going to suck. It just is. I have yet to ever see a hospital room with pretty light. But there IS hope. You have a window. That window will give you beautiful, dramatic light that is perfect for the editorial/documentary look we are going for. Here is what you need to know to get good light for your pictures:Hornberger Hospital-17

  1. Soften the light: If it’s overcast outside, this has already been done for you. If there are blinds on the window, sometimes you can adjust them to soften the light, just make sure you’re not casting a pattern from the blinds across the room. If you want to bring something from home, a white sheet or sheer curtain works great. If all else fails, position all of your pictures so they are out of the direct path of the light. The point is to not have harsh shadows everywhere with distinct edges.
  2. Treat that window like the sun: It will cast shadows the same way the sun would. Either lift your subject’s faces toward that light, or turn them all the way away. Whichever one you do, make absolutely sure that your camera is using the face to decide exposure. (Even most cell phone cameras now allow you to choose a point in the frame to determine focus and exposure, but if you’re not sure, play around with whatever camera you’ll be using before the big day so you know how to do it once you’re there.) The idea is that you don’t want shadows cutting directly across the face.
  3. Be aware of shadows you or other items in the room are casting. You don’t want to turn your subject’s face toward the sun to avoid shadows across the face, only to step directly in front of them and cast a shadow on them yourself.

Composition:

11950353_1025652110789122_3905836480579443755_oOur brains LIKE asymmetry, it’s more interesting, and it gives the eye somewhere to go in the picture. If you center your subject, it comes across as blunt and aggressive. Not the tone we want in pictures of a newborn baby. If you move the subject off-center, either to the side or at an angle, it will be a much more pleasing picture. Also be aware of what’s behind your subject. The scene should look natural, but not cluttered, and you want to make sure there’s not an IV stand growing out of someone’s head. Finally, never crop at a person’s joint, it gives the mind the impression that that limb has been amputated.

Suggested Shot List:

Now that you have the tools to take the shots, what shots should you take? Never fear, I have a sample shot list for you:

Bare minimum:

  1. Baby in the bassinetHornberger Hospital-1
  2. Close-up of baby’s face
  3. Family together
  4. Stat card

Extras:

  1. Each family member with baby
  2. Baby in the bassinet with parents together in the background (looking at either the baby or each other)
  3. Details around the room (flowers, balloons, etc)

 

Social Media

Ok, you have the shots, on to the fun part: announcing your new arrival on social media so your friends and family can ooh and ah over the little darling. When you make your announcement, be sure to include the baby’s full name (leave out the last name if you feel it’s necessary, but presumably the last name can be inferred from your name anyway), date and time of birth, and weight and length at birth. (Trust me, if you don’t include it in your post, a million and one people will make sure to ask.) I’ve included sample wording below, please feel absolutely free to copy/paste it and make any tweaks to customize it to your preferences:

“Ten little fingers and ten little toes! Please join us in celebrating the arrival of our new little snuggle bug. (insert baby’s full name here) came into the world on (date) at (time). (He/She) was born (length) long and weighing (weight).”

Make sure when you add your pictures to the post that you select the picture you want to be featured first. Also make sure you tag your partner so it shows up in their news feed too.

Bonus!

Nothing takes the wind out of your sails like excitedly logging onto Facebook to post your announcement, only to find that someone has beaten you to the punch! Friends and family, in their excitement and support, plaster your feed with well wishes and congratulations before you’ve even had a chance to make your announcement, and by the time you get your post up, the excitement has already started to wind down. For this reason, it is becoming increasingly popular for expectant parents to post preemptive requests for restraint on the part of family and friends. Below is sample wording for a post to that effect. I would recommend posting it around 38 weeks, and with one of those big color backgrounds. (If you go into labor early, post it when you do. People who don’t already know aren’t likely to suspect). A quick search online will also yield plenty of options for premade graphics you can use, (You can also ask your maternity photographer to make a graphic for you out of one of your maternity portraits. This is something I offer my clients. Not all will, but it never hurts to ask!) but again, feel absolutely free to copy/paste this if it suits you best!

“Hello Family and Friends,

We are due to have our baby soon!

We have anxiously awaited this moment for 9 long months.

Please allow us the pleasure of announcing our baby’s arrival.

We thank you ahead of time for not mentioning I’m in labor or that baby is here until we have done so ourselves.”

 

Interested in booking your professional maternity and newborn sessions? Call 571 882 9153 to schedule your complimentary, no obligation style and concept consultation!

Headshots: 5 Do’s and Don’ts to Shape Your Digital First Impression

 

With the start of the new year, many of us are looking forward to how we will grow our careers in 2018. How will we make the year ahead better and more exciting than the year behind? Whatever your goals, they will require connecting with other people. In the digital age of social media, that first impression often takes place online. Clients, contacts, and recruiters are going to decide whether to further their contact with you based on your website or profile.

So, what can you do to stand out from the crowd? Professional headshots, well tuned to your personal or company brand, make a monumental difference in your ability to jump off the results page. But it takes more than just throwing a selfie up on your profile. Here are 5 do’s and don’ts to help you craft the perfect headshot:

  1. DO consider your brand and the tone you want to set. Are you a lawyer who need to project confidence and authority? A doctor who needs to show caring and empathy? Maybe you’re a party planner who needs to look glamorous and fun. Whatever you do, your headshot needs to, through styling, posing, and expression, reflect the subtle undertones that would normally be apparent in a face to face meeting.
  2. DO consider your brand colors when choosing wardrobe, backdrops, etc. You want your headshot to look at home on your website and profile pages, and colors that clash or are wildly different will detract from that.
  3. DO ensure that the images are of high technical quality in terms of lighting, exposure, and color balance. A poor image capture simply cannot be made into a professional looking headshot.
  4. DO make sure that your images are properly formatted for the context you are going to put them in. The wrong color profile will make an image look muddy and dull. Images that are uploaded at a larger size than they are going to be displayed at can actually end up looking out of focus. A very large file size can make your website slow to load, making it more likely that the viewer will loose interest and move on to a different site.
  5. Whatever you do, DON’T let your profile go with no picture at all!!! Studies have shown over and over again that profiles with a picture are exponentially more likely to be viewed. We live in an incredibly visual society, and most people expect to be able to put a face to the person they are working with, even if they haven’t actually met. On that note, it is also important that your headshot be up to date.

Now that we’ve established what goes into a quality headshot, how do you go about actually producing one? You could always do it yourself, and there is no reason you can’t produce your own quality headshot…. so long as you understand light, exposure, color design, posing and body language, ICC color profiles, image resolution algorithms, etc, etc, etc.

Let’s assume for a moment that you don’t. What are your options? You could do the research and figure it out for yourself, and probably come up with a pretty good headshot, but it’s going to cost you a LOT of time. You could settle for a substandard headshot, but then you’re stuck with a substandard headshot, and that costs you impression value. OR you could hire a professional photographer to produce your headshots for you.

A professional photographer is literally in the business of understanding everything that goes into producing a quality headshot. They know how to translate what you want your first impression to be into a visual image with professionalism and impact. Here are a few things to consider when hiring a photographer to produce your headshots:

  1. What steps do they take to make sure your headshots match your brand?
  2. Will they conduct the session at your office, or do you have to travel to their studio?
  3. Do they provide image files formatted for your website and social media?
  4. Do they retouch your images?
  5. Do they provide on-site image selection at the end of the session?
  6. How long does it take to get the final images back?
  7. How many images are included in the price?
  8. Is there group pricing and/or day rates available for whole offices?
  9. Do they provide a commercial use license for the images? (A general copyright release is not sufficient if you need to use your images in any commercial advertising.)

At Through the Lens Images, I have built my headshot packages around personalization and convenience. I offer a specialized pricing model, exclusive to my headshot line, with options for both individuals and businesses, as well as options for either traditional backdrops or “lifestyle” sets that showcase you in your place of business. I come to you for your session, and you get to see your images, with basic processing, on the spot at the end of your session so that you can select your images. The cost includes three images per person and those images are fully retouched, formatted, and delivered to you by email within a week of your session. The final image set you receive includes three copies of each image (high resolution, website, and social media) and a full commercial use release.

My goal is to make your experience as low-maintenance as possible, while also providing you with quality images that honestly represent you and your career/business.

Call (571)882-9153, or email sarah@throughthelensimages.com for your complimentary, no obligation consultation.

 

The Grand European Extravaganza Tour!!

 

And so it begins….

We lived in England for about three years. Of course, when we were getting ready to embark on this new overseas adventure we came up with all these plans for all the places in Europe we wanted to see: Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, etc, etc. We were probably more than a little overly ambitious, but ambition is a good thing right? We finally made our move and, of course….life. Over and over again, all those wonderful sounding plans we had made took a back seat as things came up in our everyday life. We did get to see quite a bit of England, but we only ventured outside English borders a couple of times. Enough to whet our appetite, but not nearly enough for us to move back to America without feeling like we had missed a major opportunity to see the world (or at least the previously unexplored continent of Europe).

Continue reading → The Grand European Extravaganza Tour!!

The Lake District

The Lake District was actually the first vacation we took after arriving in the UK. Granted, it was almost a year after we moved, but until then we had other things on our minds, like moving into our new house and having a baby. This was our anniversary getaway and, while there are many touristy things to do in the Lake District, we did exactly none of them. Our sole purpose in taking this trip was to get away from home, find some beautiful scenery, and just sit back and relax for a few days. In this, the Lake District delivered in spades. My photography from that weekend, I think, reflects the relaxed tone of our trip with perfect accuracy.

Continue reading → The Lake District