Elm Grove Family Photographer

Tonawanda Elementary learns photography | High Interest Day

Last week I spent the day back in elementary school.

No, I didn’t forget my A, B, C’s. I was teaching photography for high interest day. If you’re unfamiliar, High Interest Day is sorta-kinda like Career Day for little kids with some marshmallow rockets and relay races tossed in.

I showed the kids some neat tricks that made them ooh and aah. As grownups, you may not be overwhelmed with awe at seeing a BLUE kid, but let me tell you, they loved it!

First I shared what a simple reflector can do. They now know they don’t even need a real reflector - a white piece of paper can do the trick!

Next I showed the kids how to turn that reflector into a portable, non-electric fan. A little bit of fake breeze can really liven up a portrait. Check out the before and after:

All the girls with long hair wanted in on this. They felt (and looked!) like models.

This next trick one was their collective favorites. It’s truly every kid’s dream to look like a Smurf, isn’t it? I asked them two questions:

1. what is your favorite color?

2. what does that color make you feel?

Here are some of the results…

Lastly, since I was on a roll with the Wow Factor, I showed them how I can make a fully lit room look pitch black. Sure they were impressed. However, once I saw these shots appear on the screen, I knew what I had done. These are two of my favorite (non-Smurf) photos of the day.

These two photos were taken in a bright room, with lots of (gross) overhead fluorescent lights.

Thanks to Tonawanda Elementary School for inviting me in for the day. You guys were so much fun to hang out with!

The Kids Are Back in Town | Estock Family Sneak Peek

When is the best time for family portraits?

The fact is, there is no perfect answer. I tend to be much busier with families during the second half of the year - so if you want some extra TLC, you may want to consider a winter or spring session.

Also, if one of your goals is to get holiday cards from your family session, I’ve got you covered! I’ve had families as early as June ordering Christmas cards. (They come with a free reminder to send them out!)

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the ideal time of year for your family portraits.

Is your family in town?

If your kids are older, winter break is an ideal time for family photos. They’re already home from college. Your session will take less than two hours and just like when they were little, you can bribe them with food.

Do you want to be indoors or outdoors?

If you are absolutely set on outdoor photos with warm fall foliage in the background, I think you’ve answered your own question. If you want snow photos and nothing else, we clearly know when and where you are destined to go.

Ed. Note: Tomorrow is your magic snow day. Call Abbie immediately and start getting the kids geared up first thing in the morning.

On the other hand, if you love outdoor photos but really don’t mind a nice, clean studio session either, then you’ve opened up a whole year of opportunity. I have a spacious studio in Elm Grove, Wisconsin that is just waiting for you and your family - from three to thirty - quantity is no concern. Bring them all!

What is your decorating style?

No, this isn’t some weird personality test. But knowing how you decorate your home does help me choose where to go for your outdoor session - and what type of setting we use for your indoor session.

Do you like long walks on the beach or roughing it in the woods? Those settings are self-explanatory. We might go to the beach or to the woods. (See? You’re so good at this!) Do you lean more modern and urban? Maybe we go downtown. Are you into the hottest barnwood trend? I know of places you would just adore!

The key to location choice truly is coordinating your family photos with your decorating style. Afterall, you will be decorating your home with a piece of portrait art - and we want it to pop off your wall in a beautifully natural way.

You don’t have to have all the answers.

I will guide you along the way with phone calls, emails, questionnaires and more. By the time your session rolls along, we will know where and when and why.


So, let’s talk about Tracy.

She knew her kids would be home for Christmas.

She bribed them with haircuts and lunch.

Since it was December, we smartly planned on a studio session. I worked with Tracy on selecting a set that would suit her style and clothing choices.

Here’s a Sneak Peek of Tracy and her sweet little family. Well, they’re not so “little” anymore, are they?

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Let’s talk about scheduling your family photos. You don’t have to know any of the answers, but let’s start the conversation.


2018 | what a year!

Whew. The calendar has flipped.

All the 2018 in reviews are floating around. All the lists of things to do in 2019 (cleverly disguised resolutions - I see through you!) are being shoved down our throat. I’m still reeling from the amazing year I had. Stop making me plan my next move - I’m just happy to be here!

Why so happy? Let me give you that long awaited (or not) 2018 recap…

JANUARY. My head literally exploded. OMGee. I won the Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee award for Best Children’s Photographer. It was an out of body experience and such an honor. Thank you sososososo much for your support and votes and pats on the back.

(In case you’re wondering about 2018’s award - they closed down my category! Does that mean I get to be the reigning champ?!)

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MARCH. I had a BLAST collaborating with some beautiful and talented people on the Spring Style Guide. Did you get your copy? The tips inside won’t ever get old! Check it out.

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APRIL. I was featured in an article in Professional Photographer Magazine. This was a huge honor considering all the options for photographers they have at their fingertips. Definitely a super-proud moment for me.


MAY. I volunteered to do headshots for a group of women at a makeover event sponsored by Cabi. This was an exhausting day - physically and emotionally - but it was worth every single minute. When someone walks away from me believing - perhaps for the first time ever - that they ARE truly beautiful, my heart fills. This happened over 50 times in one single day. Oh my heart. Ironic that the event is called The Heart of Cabi? I think not.


AUGUST. I had an article published in an industry magazine. If you don’t know my secret past life, I went to college with plans to be a journalist. My life goals twisted and turned and somehow I ended up being a journalist! It was literally a life goal - accomplished! Blow me over!


SEPTEMBER. They say that if you don’t ask, you don’t get, if you don’t try, you don’t win. Well, I asked and tried — and got it and won! I asked to write again for the September issue of Toffee + Honey. She said yes! And THEN. In the same month I was published in Behind the Shutter Magazine. Wowowowow.

P.S. this is the month Shadow the Dog became a diva. Help me.


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OCTOBER. WHUT??? Again?? Speechless. And giddy. And a little bit hungry.

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NOVEMBER. Thanks to some generous sponsors and amazing support, I photographed 21 active duty soldiers and their families for Portraits of Bravery. They all received a package of holiday cards, prints and gifts. Merry Christmas, indeed.

This has been an amazing, mind-blowing year for me. I have to say, before you go, that if it weren’t for the loyal Stories Framed Photography family, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish any of this. You support me, you build me up. And I am TRULY GRATEFUL for you.

This one’s all you…. THANK YOU for being so GREAT in 2018. Now let’s BREAK RECORDS in 2019. What else do we have going on? CONTACT ME TODAY to get on my fast-filling calendar this year.

xo

Smith Siblings Sneak Peek

Imagine if your grown children got together behind your back.

But instead of whining about how hard their childhood was (or celebrating how great it was!), they were actually gathered for a surprise photoshoot for your Christmas gift.

That was this group. You’ll have to wait to see the entire group until after the holidays. However, there’s a story inside this story that I need to share…

It just so happened that this giggly married couple never had engagement or wedding photos.

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Maybe she wasn’t wearing white lace and he didn’t have a tuxedo, I was honored to capture these two in their first professional portraits of their couplehood.

I had them stand face to face and they could barely hold it together! They were cracking themselves up! It was endearing to watch.

Is your clan due for some updated (or never had) family photos? I would love to help you out with that! And don’t think that the weather outside will keep us from a great session… I have a comfortable studio that can fit any size group. Seriously… I’ve had families of 30+ and networking groups of 70+.

Click below to learn more about my family portraits.


Local Business Spotlight | Ali Gully

NAME
Ali Gully

BUSINESS
Ascent Astrology

POSITION
Chief Stargazer and Personal Life Navigator

Who is your ideal client?
Someone who is at a crossroads in their life and wants to do something different for a better outcome.

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How did you get started in your field of work?
I opened my first astrology book when I was 11.  After 20 years of being a therapist and 30+ years of astrology studies, I figured out a way to sync my two talents.  I adore helping people get to new flashes of insight about their lives.  I can impact an individual more in one astrology session than in 3 months of therapy.  

What is something people THINK they know about your job?
It’s not just the sun sign!  It’s so much more than the horoscope in the newspaper.  There are 10 planets and their angles and their positions in time and space that influence everything.  I take the chart of the sky the moment you took your first breath and decode the narrative of your natal talents and life path.

Name one thing you WISH people knew about your job?
Astrology is not fortune telling and it’s not fate.  It’s the ongoing planetary cycles interacting with your personal chart.  I give you information so you can make better life decisions.  Having a personal astrologer is an ongoing relationship.  I get consulted for relationship topics, parenting strategies, fertility, weddings, career decisions, and even year ahead forecasts.  

What do you love most about your job?
My clients

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?
Read a ton and find a mentor already in the field. Get a professional reading to see if they are a good fit for you.

What is the ONE book that you think I should read RIGHT NOW?
"The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology" by April Elliot Kent. Its a wonderful introduction book and her writing has a lot of humor.

CONTACT ALI HERE:
WEBSITE
www.ascentastrology.com
EMAIL ali@ascentastrology.com


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Stories Framed Photography.
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