How to Prepare for Your Senior Photoshoot

When I was in high school, I was so excited to get my senior photos taken. A whole photoshoot just about me?!

Whether you’re excited or nervous about the opportunity, here are five ways to get the most out of your photoshoot.

1. Find a photographer that matches your style.

Browse local photographers’ websites so you can see the variety of styles available, and determine which photographs jive with you the most. Do you prefer a more casual, lifestyle look? Would you like to look like you belong in a magazine? What images speak to you?

You can also take time to meet with photographers in person to make sure you will feel comfortable spending an hour with them, especially since you want to feel like yourself in front of the camera.

2. Choose outfits that you are comfortable wearing.

No matter how trendy, if you wear clothes that are uncomfortable or need constant fixing, your discomfort will show. Find pieces already in your closet that make you feel beautiful, and not pieces that “wear you” instead of the other way around. If you’re not sure, ask a trusted friend to give you advice.

Wearing layers is also a good way to have outfit variety without having to completely change your clothes.

3. Decide if you want to bring props.

Are you on a sports team? Do you perform in the orchestra? If your extracurricular activities are passionate interests, perhaps you’d like to include them in your photos as a mark of who you are and what you like at this point in life.

4. Think about what makes you feel happy & confident.

This may be another reason to bring along props. Are you happiest holding your viola? Or maybe you find your brother hilarious. Should he come along to make you laugh?

Is your dog your comfort zone? Bring her with you! (Just be sure you also bring a parent or friend to watch the dog for shots without her.)

Karmyn wanted to include pictures of the cathedral where she often performed.

Do you feel strongly about being a country girl or a city boy? Is there a specific place you feel tied to? Knowing where you feel comfortable will help me plan your shoot.

5. Know your school’s yearbook requirements.

Even though there are many ways to share your photos, your school will certainly ask for an image for the yearbook. Do they have requirements for indoor backgrounds, vertical close-ups, or seated positions? Let me know beforehand so we can plan accordingly.

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Browse my portfolio, Karmyn’s senior photoshoot, or my pricing page and let me know if you’d like to schedule a shoot that fits your style.

Labor Day Traditions

When I married into the Ziegler family, I also married into their Labor Day tradition: driving down to Grandma & Grandpa’s house in central Illinois.

With little to do except enjoy the rural beauty & catch up with family (& knit!), the long weekend is always a lovely chance to slow down and breathe.

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This year, I managed to convince my grandparents-in-law (who, especially Grandma, aren’t fond of being caught on camera) to let me take a few portraits.

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Grandma tried to hide from the camera, but Grandpa wouldn’t let her get away with it!

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Staying at the farm also offers ample opportunity to get some snapshots of the season: this liminal period between summer & fall.

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Spaghetti squash, I have plans for you . . .

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And now, back to work.

What are your Labor Day traditions?

Kathleen Turns One!

One of the joys of shooting a birthday party is seeing so much love surrounding the guest of honor. It was a pleasure meeting Kathleen’s family as they gathered to celebrate her first birthday!

Kathleen and Kathleen 🙂

Do ALL one-year-olds try to grab the fire instead of blow it out? 😉

Helpful big brother

A wild brother appears!

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Want pictures of your next event, but don’t want to be too busy to enjoy the party? I’d love to be your photographer! Drop me a line to book.

Travel: Muskegon State Park, MI

Happy anniversary to my husband & me! We decided to celebrate 5 years with a camping weekend just far enough away to not be home.

A day hike from Snug Harbor to the channel and two incredible sunsets made for a lovely mini-vacation.

(This, above, is my FAVORITE shot from the whole weekend! I’m eager to get this printed on a large canvas.)

Does your family enjoy camping? Where are your favorite campsites?

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Baby “Bean,” Due in September

I present to you, in two parts, my reaction after finding out my best friend was pregnant:

Needless to say, I was also thrilled when she asked me to take maternity photos. Anna & Andy wanted to be sure they got some shots with their first “kid,” Griffin, so please enjoy the dog pics forthcoming!

I’m so excited to meet Baby Bean next month!

If you’d like to schedule a maternity shoot, check out my packages and drop me a line.

What to Wear for Your Family Photos

If you’re like me, the most stressful part of getting family pictures taken is deciding what to wear. You can always default to basics like black and white and jeans, but what if you could show a bit more personality?

My friend Corinn (in my opinion) does a great job of dressing her family for pictures. She manages to choose outfits that are creative and go together, but don’t leave everyone looking like twins.

OutfitTips

Corinn has some outfit tips for your next photoshoot:

1. Start with an inspirational piece of clothing.

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This might be a shirt you really love, some fantastic red pants, or an adorable dress you just found for your toddler.

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2. Build around this piece by finding one thing that matches it for everyone else.

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If your inspirational piece was purchased recently, go back to that store. Typically stores and brands will have the same color scheme for their season’s styles, so it will be easier to find matching colors this way. For Eliza’s first birthday shoot, Corinn liked her bold red/orange shirt with Eliza’s dress, and Nick’s shirt from the same store pulled them both together.

Sometimes you may decide to let that one piece stand out boldly and match people to the more muted parts of the outfit. For their fall shoot last year, Corinn decided to let Eliza’s pants stand out and dressed herself & Nick in more muted, comfortable beige & denim.

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3. Try not to have more than one person in a pattern (or perhaps 2 if you have a larger family).

Otherwise, too many bold patterns can look confusing and busy.

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4. Consider the backdrop.

Think about the season and location where we will be shooting. How can you stand out from it, but not clash?

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If it’s springtime or summer in the park, greens won’t make you pop–but other bold colors or pretty blues will. If you want to wear green (like this adorable dress below that popped brilliantly against the Blue Bridge), try pairing it with another piece that will separate it from nature.

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If it’s autumn in the woods, some colors might pop, but a pattern with fall colors will fight too much with the leaves. Here, denim and beige, though they sound boring, work nicely.

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5. Above all, choose outfits that make you feel confident.

If an outfit doesn’t quite fit or isn’t your style, your discomfort will come through on the pictures.

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Now that you’re dressed, drop me a line to schedule your shoot! (And thanks for the help, Corinn!)

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I typically charge $200 for a one-hour shoot and edited images.

Brittany’s Story

As I mentioned back in January, my church is hoping to share more testimonies from the congregation. I had another opportunity to help with this recently, recording & editing Brittany’s story about reconnecting with God and finding a nourishing community while she was away from home at college.

Enjoy!

Brittany from Ahna Ziegler (Terpstra) on Vimeo.

Thanks for sharing, Brittany!

Invitation Design: More Baby Shower Ideas

Recently I shared my design for a storybook baby shower invitation. Since then, I’ve made a couple more invitations: one for a more “generic” (as in, the theme of the party is “baby shower”) baby shower and one for a cow-themed baby shower. The latter I created as an e-invite, with links in the design to RSVP and view the registry.

There are so many beautiful ideas out there for “generic” baby shower invitations! I decided to go with a dreamy nighttime feel for this one.

The poem was written by the Grandma-to-be hosting this party. I think it’s a cute way to share the reason for this piece of mail you just opened.

I drew those stars in Illustrator and the fonts used are Existence Light and Modesty, both free from dafont.com.

As I said, this next invitation was created to be emailed. I created a Google Form to handle the RSVPs and invitees only needed to click “RSVP” to fill it out, or “View Registry” to choose a gift.

As you can see, we had a lot of fun coming up with cow puns 🙂

I’d love to help you with your invitation needs, whether emailed, punny, or traditional! Contact me to get started.

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I typically charge $40 + printing fees for one-sided invitations & $50 + printing for two-sided.

Invitation Design: A Storybook Baby Shower

When you were a little kid, did you ever wish that your best friend was your sibling? Well, guess what: my wish came true!

And now Anna, my best friend and sister-in-law, is pregnant! I wanted to throw her a baby shower and we both decided a children’s book theme would be really fun.

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That gorgeous calligraphy is brought to you by my friend Lindsey. Check out her Instagram for more of her work. We’re both excited with how this project turned out and are planning to do more designs together in the future!

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The little book icons were hand-drawn by me and digitized (along with the calligraphy) using Adobe Illustrator.

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Are you throwing a party? I’d love to help you design invitations. Contact me for a quote (cost depends on complexity).

 

Travel: Spain!

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that I recently took a trip to Spain.

I visited the United Kingdom in college, but I had never been to mainland Europe before. When my in-laws invited my husband and I to join them on a trip, we decided to brush up on our high school Spanish and fly over the Atlantic!*

Here are some of my favorite photos from our travels to Santander, Barcelona, Seville, Toledo, and Madrid.

*Survivable by distracting oneself with at least 2 in-flight movies

After visiting a friend and enjoying the northern coast in Santander, we flew to Barcelona to dip our toes in the Mediterranean and see why Antoni Gaudí is such a big deal (I get it now).

Natural light shining through the stained glass of La Sagrada Familia
The ceiling of La Sagrada Familia is, as you can see, breathtaking.

Next stop: Seville. A very old city with incredible architecture.

After Seville, we stayed in Madrid.

Toledo is a short high-speed train trip away from Madrid, so we spent a day there exploring the old city where Don Quixote was written.

Until next time, Europe!