Apr 6, 2017

5 Ways to Create Magic at Your Photo Session

I realized the other day that somehow, and I have no idea how, I never shared our family photos here on the blog! If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, or perhaps if you voted in the Shoot and Share Contest this year, you’ve possibly seen a few shots. We are SO in love with our photos. Natalia with Island Moon Photography created pure magic for us. It was AMAZING!

There were a few factors that all came together to create the magic, and these factors are things that can create magic not only in family sessions, but in your engagement session, or any session really! So rather than only gush about our photos (because I’m seriously obsessed with them!!), I figured I’d share 5 key factors to creating magic for photo sessions!

1. We chose our location to fit her strengths and experience. 
I first had the gorgeous Ben Lilly Cliffs picked out as our location for family photos. It would have been gorgeous. But then I realized something. I’ve dreamed of a session on the dry lake beds for years and years. I LOVE them. They fascinate me. But they are out of the way for most photographers, and I know they’re hard to shoot on. As I thought of Natalia’s style and background, I suddenly realized that she would NAIL photos at the lake beds. She used to live in the Caribbean, so she had experience shooting out on the beach and open water. Why did this make a difference? We weren’t on a beach, or near any water, but we were out in the middle of a dry lake bed with no cover, no shade, nothing. Nothing but us, the distant mountains, and a ton of dirt. But from her experience shooting on the beach and on the water I knew she would have the experience to know how to handle this setting. And boy did she ever!

She would have created gorgeous shots at the cliffs, no doubt about it. But when I realized that she could make the dream of mine come alive, I knew we had to switch. I brought up the idea to her and she was all aboard, even though it meant driving an hour. We all feel like it was WELL worth the drive!

2. Aligning vision

One of the first questions Natalia had for me was what my vision was. Having looked at her previous work, I knew my vision aligned right with so much of what she already did. I wanted family portraits that captured us and moments, not just the static posed family shot. Knowing what I was looking, and me knowing that she already shot like this, meant that we both were relaxed at the shoot. I told her, “If we don’t get a shot of all of us looking at the camera, I’m not worried at all. I don’t need us all looking at the camera. I just want US.” So we got out there and just started playing, and she caught such fun moments!

Had we picked a photographer that specialized in formal poses (which there is nothing wrong with, it just wasn’t my vision for this particular session), asking them to go more candid and free-form wouldn’t have been utilizing their strengths. Finding a photographer that shoots the way you want your session to be shot is important!

3. The outfits. 

I know, outfit choices are on every list. But they are that important! I wanted something that was more formal than what we normally wear every day (because that just makes for an extra bit of fun in the photos!), but not uber formal. I searched Amazon and came across my skirt and knew that was what I wanted to wear. Once I found that “must have” piece, I built the other outfits around it. Trying to incorporate small touches of rust along with the neutrals.
My theory with picking outfits is that you never regret dressing up! It makes you feel extra special, and the photos turn out a notch higher! Most photographer LOVE giving tips with the styles of clothes to choose for sessions. If you have questions, reach out! We’ve seen a lot of what works and what doesn’t through the years.

4. Trusting her artistic eye

The biggest thing you can do is to trust your photographer. Before the shoot I let Natalia know that I trusted her completely. I knew that she’d pick the best angles, she’d grab the special moments, and that she’d instruct us if/when we looked awkward. We did combine ideas, but I never dictated what happened and didn’t micromanage. I just let go and snuggled with my family and let Natalia do what she is amazing at. That trust and release of control goes a LONG way to creating magic!

5. The Time of Day

As photographers, we love sunrise and sunset. The light is beautiful, and much much less harsh than at midday. It produce gorgeous creamy skin tones, makes shadows less of an issues, and then of course there’s always the chance of a beautiful sunset!

I tore the side of the lantern by accident when I was opening it, so we never got the lantern to float, but this picture was completely worth bringing it and lighting it! It was nice we were out where we could light it…there was nothing for it to catch on fire!

The only problem we have had with this whole experience is deciding which ones to print and hang up. I love them all so much. Natalia rocks!

You can find Natalia and her work with Island Moon Photography on Facebook and Instagram! Go leave her some love!

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  1. Karen Shoufler

    April 6th, 2017 at 7:37 am

    This is a great post and she absolutely rocked these photos!! I hope you have a lot of wall space. 🙂

  2. Marquette LaRee

    April 7th, 2017 at 8:36 am

    We do…but we’re hopefully moving in a few months so I haven’t printed anything out yet and it’s killing me!

  3. Candi

    April 6th, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Beautiful photos and great tips!!

  4. Joanna Moss

    April 6th, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I LOVE that location!!!

  5. amy

    April 6th, 2017 at 9:54 am

    SUCH great tips!!! I definitely need to remember to post something like this on my own blog. Everything was spot on!!

  6. Marquette LaRee

    April 7th, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Thank you! And I’d love to see your post when you write it!

  7. Mindy

    April 7th, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Oh my goodness. I love everything about this session. The outfit choice, the kids, the way your husband looks at you. EVERYTHING perfection.

  8. Marquette LaRee

    April 7th, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Ah! Thank you! You are so sweet!

  9. Jill

    April 7th, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL- great tips to accompany simply gorgeous work!