Location: Forest Park St. Louis Photographer: Amber Green Photography
Location: Pleasant Ridge Park (Fairview Heights, IL) Photographer: Amber Green Photography
In order to be good at what you do, you have to know WHY you do it.
I began a humble little photography business 6 years ago for several reasons. My love (and need) for creativity and my desire to provide meaningful experiences and memories to families were definitely at the top of my list. BUT….
The #1 reason I do what I do is because of the flexibility and freedom it provides me in being with these babies and whatever little ones may be in our future. My kids have little hands and little feet, but beautifully big personalities and wildly adventurous spirits that I know I am called to help grow and refine.
So you see, this business is never “just business.” I appreciate all of our clients, to the utmost. Their support is far more than a check in the bank or a pat on the back…it’s the means to something so much greater, and for that I am always thankful.
I’m often asked how I get such sweet photos of my little busy bees…
Of course it helps to have fancy camera equipment and experience with different settings, but there are also some really practical things you can do to catch the essence of the little ones in your life too.
1. Some of the best photos are taken when your child is NOT looking at the camera and saying “cheese.” Set your child up with their favorite activity/toys or take them outside and let them explore. Then just sit back with your camera and let them be them!
2. If you have a digital camera (especially a DSLR), don’t be afraid to snap LOTS of pictures in a row. That’s the beauty of digital photography! For example, when your child is running around through the fountains at the local splash park, snap a whole bunch of photos one after the other. Now, please don’t store every click of your camera on your computer or hard drive. It’ll take up tons of space, keeping your photos organized will become nightmarish, and you won’t think this is a good tip any longer. Simply go through your photos each time you import a batch to your computer, pick the best few, and delete the rest. It’ll feel painful at first, but remember to think QUALITY, not quantity!
3. Look for natural light. Average indoor incandescent or fluorescent lighting can be really difficult to work with, especially when it’s all mixed together. Ever tried to take a picture in a school gym? Then, you know what I’m talking about. So if you really want to get some good shots of your little ones, either go outdoors or get them near a large window or sliding glass door in your home.
4. Get in close. Ever look at photo some time after taking it and wonder, “what was I even trying to capture here?” Of course getting in close won’t be best in every situation, but remember to switch up your perspective from time to time. Some of the sweetest memories are of little hands, toes, eyes, shoes, etc.
5. Get down to their level. When photographing kids, you lose so much of their expression and the essence of their little world when you shoot from 3 feet above them. Just bending down or sitting on the floor in front of them will make a phenomenal difference.
Let me know if this was helpful, and happy snapping 🙂
You said “yes!” and set the date. Now what?
Now it’s time to design your team of wedding professionals. This can be an unbelievably daunting task with SO many styles and package options available (and let’s be honest, I’m not sure Pinterest really helps).
So from the perspective of a wedding pro, here are some tips to tuck in your pocket and help you find your dream team of wedding vendors!
First, explore. Decide on your style! What kind of wedding are you dreaming up? Vintage, fairytale, traditional, Hollywood glam, rustic… (be sure to scope out your fiancé’s ideas and expectations too). This conceptualization time with help you both eliminate some options and make planning your wedding feel a bit more manageable amidst working, school, buying a home, moving etc.
After you settle on the overall concept of your wedding, your next step is to match your budget to your vision. Prioritizing your vendors is critical in your budgeting process. If photography and florals are the most important to you, go for the top-notch vendors in those areas and make peace with spending more on those aspects of your wedding. Then find more budget-friendly companies or creative alternatives for the things that are lower on your list of importance. Fit your budget according to what matters to you.
Okay. What’s next? Now it’s time for a good excuse to sit down at your favorite coffee shop and talk to friends. Ask the people you trust what vendors they have used and their thoughts on the services provided…
First and foremost, were they friendly? And what kind of friendly? Like I’m genuinely interested in your story kind of friendly? Or I’m going to call and act like we’re best friends every day until you hire me friendly? Ya’ll know what I’m talking about, and that kind of thing might matter to you. Also, what was the quality of their work? Did they deliver what was promised? Did they go above and beyond your expectations? Ultimately, would you use them again? The answers to these questions should help you narrow down your options even further. Now you’re getting somewhere!
Okay, side note…Even if you have a trusted recommendation, be sure to look the vendor up yourself, too. Your friend’s style and preferences might differ from your own, and access to online reviews and portfolios are right at your fingertips with sites like the theknot.com.
Through all of your planning, remember that wedding professionals are people, not just products. They play a huge role in making your engagement season and wedding day a delight (or drudgery!). Having some face-to-face time or at least a phone conversation with your prospective vendors is truly the best indication of who you want on your team and working hard to bring your vision to life.
We’re the Greens…
We’re a pretty cute, crazy, and colorful family of four (yep, it’s kind of like a circus). We love big, hope big, and lay our outcomes in the hands of our good Father. Individually we’re perfectionistic go-getters, and we like things our way (yes, even the 2-year-old), but together as a family each of our rough edges become a little smoother and grace flows more freely.
My heart is for all things real, authentic, and meaningful, which is why capturing families (at all stages of life) within their feeling-filled stories makes so much sense to who I am.
So what else? I turn to “Friends” reruns and coffee for comfort (black, in case you’re wondering), I accessorize with scarves and sparkly copper lipstick, and although I’ve never lived near water, I think sailboats are pretty magical. I dream of a day when all my friends live on the same block and gather regularly at the local coffee house or quaint Irish pub (I’ll settle for either). Oh, and on my most stress-filled numbed-out days, usually a song with a strong beat and tight harmonies can bring me back to life. I kinda love that God wired me that way.
So how about you? What brings you to our corner of the blogosphere? Please send your hellos our way, and don’t forget to join us on this new venture by clicking the ‘follow’ button! We’ll be showing off some beautiful weddings, engagements, families, and little ones as well as sharing some photo tips, techniques, and personal thoughts.
Hope to see you at the coffee house 🙂
“We’re living beneath our privilege as God’s child, when we don’t pursue growth.” -Amie Patrick