Amanda Dotson, Maternity Session: Little Crow Photography Studio: Richlands, VA Maternity Photography
Posted on November 23, 2014
Who says you need to travel to take amazing images? Amanda was on bedrest and for that reason we chose to do her session at her home. Luckily for me she has an amazing view from her house!! We traveled literally 50 feet from her front door and captured some AMAZING images. Her story is special and I’m glad to report that she now has a beautiful, healthy precious baby girl.
Such a sweet and wonderful woman! I wish her all the best and congratulations and your amazing new bundle of joy!!
Amanda, it was such a joy working with you, and your story touched my heart. I hope to see you again soon!
Great name by the way 😉
Posted on November 23, 2014
Lukas’s mom was the second contest winner from my big birthday contest in May! Lukas was a dream! Adorable, and slept like a champ! Normally I prefer my newborn clients to be less than 2 weeks and we were pushing it with Lukas, so I prepped Momma with the idea that he may not sleep and we may not be able to get “all” the poses. BOY did Lukas make a liar out of me haha! And it’s a good thing too, I don’t mind being proved wrong when it results in such adorable images!
He was my little surfer boy, I mean, just look at that hair!
Can’t wait to watch this little one grow!!
Christmas Mini Sessions!! Little Crow Photography Studio, Tazewell County Family and Children’s Photographer
Posted on October 29, 2014
Posted on October 13, 2014
Here are some tips and reminders to make sure your newborn session is stress free for you, AND your newest little one.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What outfits do I need to bring?
Honestly, you really don’t need to bring anything. All wraps, hats, outfits, and head bands are provided by myself. Most newborn outfits tend to swallow baby and distract from the photograph. Baby will either be tastefully nude, in a diaper, or in an outfit provided by myself. If you would like a unique outfit for the shoot, there are several newborn photography outfits on etsy that will fit the bill quite nicely. I always welcome any outfits, and we will discuss how we can include them in your session when you arrive. Newborn headbands are always welcome and can easily be worked into any session.
Do I need to bring props?
That depends; Do you have any specific interests? Do you or your partner play sports or have any specific hobbies such as music? If so, feel free to bring a prop and I will gladly find a way to work it into the session. The chances are higher of being able to successfully incorporate your own props into the shoot if you let me know ahead of time that you’ll be bringing something.
Example include: Guitars, baseball gloves, jerseys or helmets of a favorite baseball/football team, footballs, nascar items, job specific items (such as a fireman’s helmet, policeman’s hat, badge, etc,) and handmade items such as crocheted/knit blankets or hats, or an item from baby’s nursery (stuffed animal, knick-knacks).
I aim to make each session unique to your and your new baby. So, I don’t consider anything off limits or out-of-the-ordinary. As long as it can be safely incorporated into your session!
What does baby need to wear to the session?
Put your child in as little clothing as possible, babies hate to be undressed, and I like to start the session with a happy baby! Avoid anything that marks (socks, shoes, tight diapers, or tight hats.) I usually suggest putting baby in a onsie, and if the weather is cool, simply snuggle the baby in blankets in the car seat to keep him/her comfortable and warm! This is generally sufficient for the short trip from the car to the studio.
What/When do I feed the baby?
This can vary on if you are nursing or not.
If you are nursing-try to time your feeding to where you will feed baby as soon as you arrive to the studio, or if it’s a home session, right before or as soon as I arrive to your home. Nursing mothers should avoid spicy foods and any foods high in fiber such as beans, broccoli or acidic foods that can cause tummy upset. You should be prepared to feed baby a little more often during the session, as this is generally a trick we use to get baby to sleep soundly!!
Formula fed babies are the same, without food restrictions for Mom, obviously. Be prepared to feed baby as soon as you arrive to the studio. You may also need to feed baby more often (although smaller amounts) because a full baby is a happy, sleepy baby!
What if they won’t sleep?
Then we will get images of them awake. There are always ways 🙂 As long as baby is happy and not in full meltdown mode, we will keep shooting. Otherwise, we can reschedule.
I always prep my parents to not expect anything in particular. We will attempt for the sleepy, posed shots; however, not all babies are up for this. The images will be beautiful no matter what.
Any other tips?
I always encourage my parents to arrive about 5-10 minutes earlier than their scheduled time, this allows us time to complete the necessary paperwork that unfortunately is part of the process, and for me to get to know you and your new little one! It also gives me a chance to discuss outfits, and let you choose your “must haves” from the set-ups I have prepared. I will usually have 4-5 different props/setups in place for your baby. We will generally in a typical session, use 3 of these. In a perfect session we will use them all. This isn’t really up to us, it’s up to your newborn, we work on their terms!
Newborn sessions are scheduled for 2 hours, I reserve a 3 hour window and 50% of the time the extra hour isn’t needed. Worst case scenario, if your little one isn’t “having it” that day and just doesn’t want to have pictures taken, we will reschedule at another time at no additional cost to you. As mentioned before, we work on their terms!
Also, I encourage my parents to bring a pacifier, even if baby isn’t taking one. Even breastfed babies can be soothed during the session with a pacifier which makes for a quicker workflow and a smoother session. Typically, by the time a nursing baby is scheduled for a newborn session, they have established a good latch and nursing pattern, so nipple confusion is not of big concern, especially when only used for a short period. This, however, is up to you Mom! I will never try to pressure you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable concerning care of your infant. So, if use of a pacifier is something you are strictly against, then we won’t even attempt it!
I also always encourage at least two people (either both parents, or the mother and a grandparent) to come along to the session, especially if siblings will be present. I sometimes need assistance to ensure adequate safety is in place (such as spotting when baby is placed on a posing beanbag) and I need whoever is assisting me to be completely undistracted. Also, nursing mothers, your baby can smell you and having you nearby may lead to restlessness and the want to nurse by your little one. So having someone else there can be helpful.
Those are my most frequently asked questions regarding a newborn session. If you have any others than I haven’t covered here, always feel free to ask me! You can message me on facebook through my business page at any time, text, call, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a wonderful blessed day!!
Posted on July 4, 2014
Have you ever left the house feeling perfect, and as if your makeup was just right…then take a picture with a friend and you think you look like you didn’t even try this morning? It happens to all of us at some point!
Makeup for a session is completely different from the makeup you would use everyday, this is mostly due to the 25% rule. The camera “eats” approximately 25% of your makeup, no matter how nice or expensive the camera is, or how great the lighting is. This concept applies to both video, and still imagery. If you were to talk to a newscaster face to face, she would probably look like a clown, but once on the screen…her eyes pop, she has the perfect amount of eyeshadow, you get the picture…
The most important thing to remember is to FORGET Photoshop!!! These are tips to make your session natural, great straight out of the camera, and how to highlight your beautiful self.
Baby, where we’re going, we don’t need Photoshop! Or…at least only a little 😉
- If you are prone to oily skin, hit your T-Zone with an oil zapping astringent, or invest in some blotting papers!
- If you are prone to breakouts, discuss blemish removal with me before we start your session. Let me know what you want removed. I generally remove any “non-permanent” markings from your skin in post processing while still maintaining a natural appearance. This includes acne, cuts, scrapes. If there is a specific spot you would like to eliminate, make sure you tell me.
- Exfoliate regularly, but don’t do it within 2 days of your session, it causes redness.
- If you change your skin care regimen, don’t do it within 2 weeks of your session. If you have a reaction to your new product, it will have time to clear beforehand.
- Moisturize elbows, knees, or any areas that tend to become dry, as these can appear grey/flaky in camera.
- As for spray tans….my general rule is “just say no” but if you regularly spray tan, don’t do it within 3 days of your session. This gives it time to “tone down” a little. If you don’t regularly spray tan, and you’re worried about looking “pasty” please don’t do a spray tan! There is always a chance that it could go horribly wrong. I speak from experience!
When I’m taking your photograph, I’m attempting to capture “the real you.” Be your beautiful self!! Nobody wants a photo of themselves where they look like a completely different person. If you are pale, like me, embrace your beauty! Porcelain skin will look more natural, and more beautiful, than a spray tan gone wrong, 100% of the time. And your friendly neighborhood photographer isn’t going to let your look anything but beautiful. Trust your photographer to bring out your natural beauty! You look awesome just the way you are 🙂
Makeup Tips for your Session
- Make sure your makeup matches your skin tone. This is actually quite difficult to do well on your own. Go to a local makeup counter and have your colors done. Most will do it for free! But see the skin tip above, and do it more than 2 weeks before your session in case you have a reaction to a new product.
- Once you have your perfect shade, do your makeup as you normally would for any event that you would want to “look nice” for.
- Follow the 25% rule. Apply your eye makeup and blush about 25% heavier than you normally would to go out.
- Check your work-I tell my clients to take “selfies” with flash and adjust your makeup accordingly.
- Check out You-Tube videos on contouring, the triangle of light, highlights etc. There are SO many amazing
YouTube Makeup tutorials!
- The most important rule of makeup is to actually WEAR it. I know so many lucky women who are blessed with that smooth, blemish free skin, and don’t have to wear it. If you are one of those lucky women, you should still follow the 25% rule. This eliminates blotchiness. It’s more to smooth your skin tone!
- Don’t expect your photographer to fix it after the session.- The biggest misconception is “they can photoshop that.” This is true, but if you want me to put your makeup on in 30 or your final images. Then there will be an added fee. It’s cheaper, and easier, for everyone if we fix it in the session, not afterwards 🙂
As mentioned before, blemish removal and skin touchup are included in every package, but “major” edits are specifically mentioned in the contract as an extra cost.
All of these are to be taken with a grain of salt. Not everyone wants to look like a supermodel for their session. You should take these tips and customize them for what works for you. These are TIPS not rules. Use them to optimize the chances of having the perfect session, straight out of the camera, no photoshop required.
Be your beautiful self, and I’ll capture it accordingly!!
Posted on July 4, 2014
There are countless Pinterest boards with tips on what to wear for your photo session. Feel free to look up anything with “Photo session style tips” or “coordinating outfits for your photo session”
My main tips are as follows
- Coordinate your color scheme– different shades of the same colors are your best bet.
- Match, but don’t be “too matchy”– Everyone has seen the sessions online where everyone is wearing the same sweater….if that’s the type of photo you want, by all means do it. But in order to avoid the “cheese factor” it’s best if everyone has a similar style of outfit, but don’t become a sea of blue, see rule number 1.
- Neutral colors are your friend- Creams, browns, soft blues or pastels. Soft, warm colors. These are best and the most forgiving on almost all skin tones. These help give an overall softness and professionalism to your images. They pull double duty by helping you match your surroundings, but make you pop out at the same time; helping to prevent you from blending in to the scenery, especially in outdoor sessions.
- No bold patterns, and please, no big logos, writing, or statements- Nothing says family togetherness like a Beer Logo, right? No? Okay, then lets keep those on standby for the cookouts this summer. 🙂 Patterns are okay as long as they are soft. No large print plaids, as they tend to overpower and draw attention away from you, and place it on your clothes. Small, fine plaids are good. It’s best to stick with solid colors and save plaid, chevron, and stripes for smaller pieces, or statement pieces.
- Wear clothes that fit! Women (I’m the worst offender of this!) tend to wear baggy clothes that they feel hide parts that they don’t quite love so much. In reality baggy or loose clothing tends to have the opposite effect and make you look larger than you are! A good photographer (this photographer!) will pose you in a way that highlights your beauty and flatters your shape. If there’s a particular body part that you despise (“I hate my arms” for example) then cover them. You won’t like any of your images if you wear a sleeveless dress but hate your arms in every image.
- Have a statement piece- A scarf, special necklace, headbands for children (Or adults) a neutral wardrobe with one statement piece that “pops” brings out your unique sense of style without clashing with family members or you being lost in your wardrobe.
- No baseball caps, no sunglasses- There are some exceptions to this rule. If that’s what you’re going for in a particular pose, we’ll definitely go for it! The problem with hats is they tend to cause a harsh shadow on your face, making you faceless, and sunglasses are pretty self explanatory. The reason I mention it is because if you’re like me, if you are outside you automatically have your sunglasses on. Fedoras, newsboy caps and floppy sun hats are one of the exceptions to the “no hats” rule. But even they shouldn’t be worn for the entire session. We want to see your beautiful face!
For more inspiration, check out Pinterest for ideas, but a perfect example is Amelia and Valencia!!
Amelia couldn’t have picked out the more perfect session style for these two.
[click to enlarge image]
They followed all the rules and absolutely rocked their session!! Notice that they coordinate, but aren’t “matchy,” and used neutral tones. The cream colors warm their skin tones and make details pop. Notice how they pop from the background, but blend with their surroundings at the same time? Amelia’s belt accentuates her profile and serves as a statement piece, and her necklace is perfection. They nailed it. Case closed. 🙂
Of course, the most important rule of all, is to wear what makes you comfortable, wear what makes you happy. If you love your outfit, and feel beautiful; then, rules aside, that’s the most important thing of all.
Posted on June 28, 2014
I did a shoot with the first of the three contest winners from May!
(If you missed the contest make sure you are a “fan” on my Facebook Page so you don’t miss another!)
Amelia was our first winner, and she and her daughter Valencia rocked their session!
I’ve actually known Amelia for quite some time! We went to high school together, she shares my same goofy sense of humor and that’s what I love about her! She’s passed along her awesome personality and style to her b-e-a-u-tiful daughter!
No kidding, these two absolutely nailed everything about this session. Their choice of outfits were perfect and everything was flawless! I’m in the process of drafting posts about “what to wear for your shoot” and “makeup tips for your shoot” and they will definitely be in my “example” shots! You’ll notice that Miss Valencia is also my new cover model for the site! This image was actually taken when we were walking BACK from the field. I didn’t have my flash, but saw an opportunity and just tweaked my in-camera settings to make it work. I’m so glad I did because the image came out with this haunting, beautiful haze that I just adore. See more from their shoot below! Click on an image to open the gallery.
Thanks for entering the contest Amelia! I hope to work with you and Valencia again soon! So much fun!
And to you, as always, thanks for stopping by!
Posted on June 4, 2014
All sessions include a $50.00 “session fee” which is always applied towards the total cost of your package.
Now you can pay it online! No paypal invoices or driving to town required! Simply follow the “SHOP” tab! This will direct you to my Big Cartel page.
Simply click on the link and follow the instructions to pay your session fee through paypal. So easy! So fun! So nice!
Big Cartel has a BETA system in the works to be able to accept credit card payments. So, as soon as it’s activated I plan to upgrade to this!
Those who book and pay for their session online will be emailed a copy of the session contract.
and I hope, as always, this post finds you on the best day of your life!!
Posted on June 1, 2014
Little Crow has been accepted to 2 professional print companies! Up until now I’ve been able to provide prints, but only the “basics” such as 4×5, 5×7 and 8×10.
Soon I will be able to offer everything from wallets to canvases!
Just a few more tweaks to perfect my print packages and I’ll roll them out!
Thanks for stopping by!!
Posted on May 24, 2014
So many lovely new things in my little studio 🙂
New backdrops, new props, new furry little blankets, new outfits. So much NEW!
and new session information posted as well 😉
You can now find all the session information by clicking the “Session Information” tab at the top of the home page.
And as always feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
As for the new, new, new!
Two new backdrops installed, one more waiting to be installed. Because I’m short, and need assistance. These things are TALL!
Can’t wait to try these out! All I need now are some volunteers!
As always, I hope this post finds you on the best day of your life, which is hopefully every day!
Much love and many blessings!