When is the best time of year to do Family Portraits?

When is the best time of year to do family portraits? 
That's a great question and I've got a great answer ... any season that captures how you spend time together as a family is the perfect time of year for you to have your photos taken!

Let's explore family portrait sessions during the four seasons and why each could be the best for you and your family. 

Spring is a lovely time of year. Bushes and trees that have lost their leaves begin to bloom again. The warm sunshine and fresh flowers rejuvenate and inspire us after a gray winter. Does your family like to spend time outside, maybe gardening or hiking together? If springtime brings you to your happy place - outside - then spring is the best time of year for your family portrait session. 

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Summer.... oh the fun memories we make during summer. We like to play at the water parks, swim at the pool, boating at Lake Mead, camp at Mt. Charleston. Summer is a time to relax, rest, and regroup as a family. If summer is the season that brings your family together, then summer is the best time of year for your portrait session. Yes... even here in the desert! I'm game for early morning sessions at Lake Mead, sunset up on Mt. Charleston, and a few places in between. . 

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Fall - who doesn't look forward to fall? The cooling temperatures, shorter days, flannel shirts and a pair of jeans, and a Pumpkin-Spice Latte - O be still my heart! With thoughts of harvesting from the garden and preparing for the long winter nights filling your heads.... this is a perfect time of year for family portraits! 

Winter in the desert means chilly mornings, bundling up with sweaters and a jacket, hot chocolate at the Lodge at Mt. Charleston after sledding in the snow,  and preparing for family get-togethers... another great time of year for family portraits! 

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Which season accurately describes your family? Whichever you choose, that's the best time of year for your family portrait! 

I have lots of location in mind for each season here in the valley. If you and your family live outside of Las Vegas, I love to travel! 

Right now my Family and Senior Sessions come with a 16" x 20" canvas ($125 value) of an image of your choice from your session!  Hit the contact button to send me a note to book your family session for 2018!

Still Life Projects

A few months ago, ok.. maybe 6 or 7, I started working on a still life project called Be Still by Kim Klassem at learn.kimklassen.com.  I haven't been able to work through it all yet, but I've been picking away at it as I can. 

The course appealed to me because I heard of it during a hectic photography season and felt the need to take some time, slow down, and be still. Being still draws me closer to God and I was ready for some of that closeness! 

I like to think I'm creative and occasionally feel pretty good about some of my finished products. I try not to compare against other creatives because then I feel like Pinterest Fail Queen.  I did like combining skills and ideas learned in a food photography class with the Be Still course. 

 

I have so many favorites from these photos.

I love peonies and felt the enjoyment last longer because of the play with the flower petals. I love the texture of the wood and burlap. The birch bark and green clover.  The flower petals and old wood floor.  Strawberry tartlets and powdered sugar on an antique bread bowl from France. 

Which do you like best? 

Source: Stilllifeprojects

Preschool Fine Art School Portraits

I needed a 'little-kid' fix really bad...  lucky for me I was set up to photograph some of the cutest preschoolers in Las Vegas! 

I love the modern twist on the traditional school portrait - capturing authentic expressions while creating a clean and classic portrait for moms & dads to hang on their walls for years. 

Let's Just Go!

How do I relax? By heading out on an adventure in the desert, of course! 

Last Friday, my friend Jamie (jamiezanotti.com) and I headed into Lake Mead National Recreation Area to explore the Northshore Road. To access the Northshore Road, enter Lake Mead through the Lake Mead Drive through Henderson, Nv. Once you go through the park entrance, the road is just 1/4 mile down the way to the left. 

We started with a hike at the 20 mile marker, Northshore Summit Trail. Overall, it was an easy hike, but straight up hill. Our efforts were rewarded with a magical view of the park. 

Onward and up Northshore Road, we took a detour into Echo Bay. Echo Bay is one of the few areas left inside Lake Mead from where you can launch a boat. 

Although this was in essence a photographer's play date, we soon realized we had stumbled upon a phenomenal area for a photo session! We explored all the beautiful little spots and made mental lists, took photos, and began to plan a styled photo session. 

If you're a senior or teen in the Las Vegas, Henderson, or Boulder City, NV area and are interested in this peaceful location for your senior session, contact me! 

Next, we explored Rogers Spring Trail at mile marker 40. What a treasure! Rogers Spring Trail is a natural warm spring and fills a wide, shallow area suitable for wading. I'm not sure I would though, haha. 

I'd definitely add this location onto a senior session. The palm trees and bridge area perfect. 

We made it all the way into Overton and took a brief respite at the Lost City Museum (and McDonalds). If you've never been through Overton, I urge you to go explore this cute town. The Lost City Museum is full of native Indian relics and history of the area. It's worth the trip.

Back down into Lake Mead NRA, we were racing against time to be back at mile marker 20 for the sunset. We didn't quite make it, but that's okay. Sunset along any spot of Northshore Road will not disappoint. 

We first saw the light play on this spot in the desert just a little before sunset.... 

Down the road a little more and then this happened. 

All this beauty is in our own back yard. 

Would you like to have your family session or senior session right here in Lake Mead? There are so many wonderful areas I didn't touch on! 

Specializing in family desert sessions and senior desert sessions!

Las Vegas Senior and Family Photographer 

 

Fine Art School Portrait Session...

I recently did another Fine Art School Portrait Day event here in Las Vegas. I have to say I'm totally passionate about offering Fine Art School photography - such a personal, modern, and classic alternative to what the 'big' companies offer. 

Here are a few images from my day...

Aren't you ready for a better school portrait? 

Tell your school administration that you want Desertbloom Photography to do your school or homeschool group portraits! There is no cost to the school, the whole ordering process is online, and the school receives a percentage of the profits!

I'm available to photograph schools, daycares, preschools, and homeschool groups in Henderson, Boulder City, Las Vegas, and pretty much ANYWHERE!! 

Desertbloom - Fine Art School Photographer 

Lake Las Vegas Session

The day after Christmas found me up, out and early, to meet up with this sweet mom & her girls. The girls may look familiar as I've photographed them over the years. Actually, I met Mom before daughter's 2 & 3 were born! 

It was a gorgeous morning at Lake Las Vegas and we took full advantage! 

It's always fun photographing these young ladies! They are all joyful, intelligent, and all-around great people!  I did Christina's Senior Photography a few years ago. I can't believe Erica is at Foothills High School - and Meghan is on Crew Team! All athletes - even Mom!

Genio Family - Las Vegas Family Photographer

Here's another sweet little family I had the pleasure of photographing this fall.  This little boy is sooooo cute! He held on to his little Hot Wheels car and would look at me with those deep, brown eyes. Mama, be ready, those girls are going to be chasing him!

I found a REAL aspen tree here in Henderson and it's my favorite place to photograph!

OpLove Session - Las Vegas Family Photographer

Have you heard of Operation: Love Reunited? 

OpLove is a non-profit organization of photographers who volunteer their services to photograph active-duty military families before deployment or at homecoming.

This November, I was blessed to photograph this little family with the cutest kids ever! Dad was deploying soon and we adjusted schedules to fit them in. 

I'm currently the only OpLove photographer here in the Las Vegas Valley. I receive several requests each year to photograph our Southern Nevada military families prior to deployment or at homecoming.  I have to say 'no' sometimes and it breaks my heart. 

If you're a Las Vegas area professional photographer and are interested in volunteering, contact Operation:Love Reunited!

Young-Cheney Family - Las Vegas Family Photographer

 I was excited for our annual Family Session and couldn't wait to catch up on all the news with this sweet family!  One of the blessings of being a family photographer is watching the littles grow up before my eyes.  

We met by Pittman Wash in Henderson, Nv. on a beautiful fall morning. The sunlight streaming through the leaves provided the perfect scene...

An adventurous Morning at the Airport!

When Melissa mentioned doing their family portraits at the airport, I was a more than a little intrigued. Visions of hangar doors, jet wheels, reflective surfaces danced in my head! 

                         I'm so glad I brought my ultra-wide angle with me for this shot! 

                        I'm so glad I brought my ultra-wide angle with me for this shot! 

I could have spent the whole day here photographing this charming family with a whole line-up of lenses. Unfortunately, none of us had all day... but I'm game in the future! 

The light floors and bright morning sun created some dreamy haze, so we embraced it. 

And I have to say, I love being someone's family photographer! I enjoy seeing how the kids have changed from last year, plus they're used to me in their face with a camera and can be relaxed, haha. 

There were just so many cool photo opportunities! 

Thanks again, V family! It was an adventure and I can't wait till next year!

Jason & Angelica, Hilton Lake Las Vegas Wedding, November 6, 2017

Weddings are always a special event. 

They're even more special when the bride & groom are just really sweet people and I get to attend! I met Jason & Angelica last November before he deployed. I casually mentioned 'call me when you get back about your wedding.'  I was thrilled to receive an email from Jason this summer about photographing their wedding! 

November 6th came quickly!  The day started with the bride getting ready with her bridesmaids. It was obvious this group is tight-knit. The laughing was contagious and non-stop!

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As you can see from the photos, the location was simply beautiful. The setting for the ceremony was the Pavilion, which is part of the Hilton at Lake Las Vegas. The ladies gathered for photos on the bridge and the gentleman - by the courtyard and shops. 

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The ceremony began on this beautiful fall afternoon, right before sunset.  The bride arrived on the arm of her father... the groom was bursting with emotion when he saw his bride for first time in her dress. 

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Jason and Angelica wanted sunset photos on the bridge over that spans over Lake Las Vegas, so we made a mad dash for the bridge as the sun was starting to set. We fought against the setting sun and the wind, but I know we won because we have the most gorgeous photos! 

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Jason and Angelica, thank you so much for including me in this most special event. It was a privilege to be a part of your wedding day. 

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Vintage Market Days!

I was thrilled to be asked to be the Event Photographer for the
Vintage Market Days of Southern Nevada in October!

Vintage Market Days' is a upscale market featuring vintage & vintage-inspired items and is featured all around the country.  VMD of Southern Nevada took place at Downtown Summerlin Oct. 27th-29th and it was just fabulous! 

Here is a sampling of some of the wonderful vendor booths! 

This market is definitely my Happy Place! 

I love Fine Art School Portraits!

I remember my kids'  'Picture Days.'  Oh... how I disliked 'Picture Day.' 

I love photos of my kids, but I would cringe when I saw the neon backgrounds or race car tracks around my child. I was not happy having to prepay for photos I didn't know I'd want to keep. And I know I'm not the only mom who felt or feels this way.

Enter Fine Art School Photography. 

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Fine Art School Photography offers a new, classic twist to a traditional portrait.  I am passionate about capturing a child's personality and providing the parents with a timeless portrait... one that hang on their wall for years. No more cheesy backgrounds, no forced smiles, just personality coming through! 

I recently had the opportunity to offer Back to School Portraits to my own Homeschool Group. Yes.. even homeschoolers want Back to School photos!

Seriously.. what cuteness and joy!

I photograph small schools, large schools, daycare centers, preschools, and homeschool groups. No group is too big or too small.  I offer the same products the 'big companies' offer, but with a personal touch.  

Here's some more from my most recent School Portrait session!

Wouldn't you love your child to have a school photo like one of these? It's easy to do. I would love to talk to your school or group about Fine Art School Photography! 

Oh, the mountains are calling, we must go for a photo shoot!

What do you do when it gets too hot in the desert? You head up to the mountains. 

Lydia joined me by Lee Canyon for a stylized session a while back. We packed up the car with clothes, snacks, water, and more clothes, ha ha,  and off we went! We started up by the Bristlecone Trail, where the cool breeze and beautiful dappled light made us think we had entered autumn a little early! 

It was like entering a different world, so far away from the desert 20 miles down the mountain...and we took advantage of it! 

This photo ^^^^^^ is probably my favorite from the day! We were having too much fun! Did I mention Lydia is also a photographer? She is comfortable on both sides of the camera, as I rarely had to lead her into a pose. 

We headed down towards the Upper Meadows and just found a bunch of aspen dreaminess along the way! 

Little did we know the beautiful meadow that was awaiting our arrival! 

We were racing with the sun to our last location, and the sun had set before we set up our last shots. Not to worry, because the light after sunset is beautiful, in it's own special way!

Thank you, Lydia, for a wonderful adventure! 

Engagement Session at Corn Creek with Jason & Angelica!

I originally met Jason and Angelica last November, when we did an deployment session with Operation Love Reunited ( I'm a volunteer photographer with OpLove).  They told me their wedding date and I said 'Oh I'd love to photograph you're wedding!'

The November wedding date is soon approaching so we gathered together for engagement photos at Corn Creek Station, part of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. 

Jason and Angelica met all my 'posing' ideas with enthusiasm..

I was less enthusiastic when I realized my toes were covered in goat heads, lol! 

 

We moved on as the sun was setting very quickly behind the Spring Mountains, to the south-west of us.  I love how the light played on the red mountains of the Sheep Range... and I had to snap this intimate moment and light. 

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We raced against the setting light for more photos...

Jason and Angelica, I'm so happy to be celebrating this time in your life with you! 

Glorious day on the mountain!

Moriah's Senior Session! 

Moriah is no stranger to my camera. I've known Moriah throughout her high school years and have had the pleasure of watching her grow and mature into the beautiful young woman she is today. She's a precious soul on the inside, kind and generous. She's smart and shy, with a little bit of sassyness thrown in to boot!  I really wanted to go up to Mt. Charleston and do a session among the trees and cool air and Moriah was on board!  

Moriah brought a long a few special props...

I love all the flannel, plaids, denim, texture, and turquoise and tangerine! 

Moriah, I thank you for one for one of the 'funnest' sessions I've ever had! 

 

A little adventure every now and then is good for the soul!

Our trip didn't go as planned, and it was probably more fun!  Sailor Boy made it back from the seas a few days early, so our Navy-sponsored Family Cruise was cancelled.  The benefits were we didn't have to wait around for a phone call to drop & go and got to spend more time with Sailor Boy and his wife, Sailor Girl. We spent their 3rd anniversary together with them and shared some good ol' home made comfort food! 

 Home made macaroni & cheese

Home made macaroni & cheese

 with Key Lime Pie for desert

with Key Lime Pie for desert

We also had more time to explore the area! The kiddos live in the Paulsbo area of Washington, west of Seattle. We spent a day exploring by foot and a few days exploring by car and foot. 

Port Ludlow was a beautiful stop on our tour. It seems to be a retirement community, lol -  maybe our next neighborhood? (Nah - don't ever let me do that!!) 

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This little sea otter was sunbathing and he let us know he didn't want company!  That's ok.... hubby found a huge starfish that enjoyed the attention. 

 Love this view of Port Ludlow Marina on the Olympic Peninsula 

Love this view of Port Ludlow Marina on the Olympic Peninsula 

Some scenes from the peninsula 

 Port Hadlock - not much there but the private marina and this bear 

Port Hadlock - not much there but the private marina and this bear 

 Wild berries and rose hips everywhere! This was taken in Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland. Such a beautiful place! 

Wild berries and rose hips everywhere! This was taken in Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland. Such a beautiful place! 

 Spent a little time with family on the east side of Seattle... Juanita Bay Park. 

Spent a little time with family on the east side of Seattle... Juanita Bay Park. 

All in all, this was my favorite place every morning... 

 Viking Brew

Viking Brew

And my favorite place every evening.... 

 Sailboats, Sunsets, Paulsbo Marina 

Sailboats, Sunsets, Paulsbo Marina 

Where do you start?

Over the last 2-3 months, I have been asked by several people to help them with their various photography questions, relating to gear or how to get a certain look. I thought I'd take some time, here on the blog, to cover some of the questions that I get asked more often. 

I'm no Ansel Adams, Scott Kelby, or Sue Bryce... I'm basically a mom with a camera who has been passionate about photographer for like, ever, and who decided to be brave and make a business out of what she loves to do. I do some photography well. I'm also a good teacher. So why not share some information with those of you who want to know? I'm not planning on writing a book for each topic, just a few pointers I might give you if we were out shooting together. And please, if you have questions regarding any type of photography or gear, ask away. I might not be able to tell you much, but you get full access to my brain. 

So I put a bunch of topics (that I've been asked about) into a hat and drew out LANDSCAPE. So we're starting w/ Landscape Photography. 

Landscape photography typically shows wide-open spaces in our world. Most of the landscape photos we see focus on nature. Landscapes are not restricted to nature, but can highlight several other views - including man-made objects. Landscapes can show us forests and deserts, mountains and valleys. 

Look at a landscape photo on Flickr or in a National Geographic magazine. What do you notice first? Light? Color? The beauty of the scape? What you will also notice, but maybe not realize is everything is in focus from close-up to far away.  

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Not a strong example of a great landscape, but you can see everything is sharp from close to far away. This is because I set my aperture to a higher #, which actually means my lens is opening up just a tiny bit. I shot this @ f/16.  

One 'rule' of landscape photography is that the horizon line should never go in the middle of your frame. It should lie in the bottom 1/3 line or top 2/3 line of the frame. Look above, and imagine dividing this photo into 3's, horizontally, then place the horizon line accordingly.  And you can see how I did not do that in the above photo. Here's one where I did. 

If I'm shooting for a client or to be published in a magazine, then I'd pay more attention to the horizon line. If I'm shooting for myself... I put it wherever I want. Know the rules first, then break the rules.  Sometimes you just gotta grab the shot as it is, before the view disappears.

Composition is an important element in landscape photography. We see a beautiful sight, and we snap a photo, but it doesn't look amazing on the back of our camera. Not as pretty as we see with our eyes. This is where elements of composition come in. Something is needed to help draw the viewer's eye into the photograph. Elements like leading lines or a strong foreground come into play.

My eyes see lines. I can't help it... call it a curse if you must, but that's what I see.  Used well, they can draw the viewer's eye into the picture. Here's an example.  The fence line begins on the front left of the photo and the fence leads our eye to the middle. The curve of the road takes our eyes back right to the treeline which leads us to the mountain peaks. Movement. 

Another element in landscape composition is to have a strong foreground... something in the front third of the photo to grab the viewer's eye. This item should be in focus most times, when it's not it is for artistic purposes. Here are examples of one w/out the strong foreground and one with. 

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It's an okay photo but nothing to write home about. 

The yellow grass and wildflowers grab out attention and our eyes look up and back to take in the rest of the photo naturally. 

 2 other questions regarding landscape photography. First is what lens do I use and secondly, where do I focus?  You can really use any lens you have for landscape photography. I prefer an wide to ultra-wide angle, such as the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 or Nikon 24-120mm f/4.  Having a fast lens (aperture 1.2-2.8 for example) is not necessary for landscape as you'll be shooting with f/stops in the 2 digit range, so a 16-35mm f/4 or 24-120mm f/4 is fine. I've seen beautiful landscapes taken with a 70-200mm zoom lens. This lens will offer some nice compression in your shot. Now where to focus in your frame. I've read to and practice focusing about 1/3 into my frame. It works for me. 

The final aspect of landscape photography (I thought i wasn't writing a book) is whether or not to use a tripod. I've used them and I've not used them. The more I advance into photography and my skills increase, the more I use it. I am able to visualize a shot and realize what I need to capture it. Sometimes, I need that tripod, especially if I'm bracketing.

So that's it. I hope you're able to pull out a nugget or two of useful information. Please let me know if you 1) enjoyed this post 2) learned anything new from it 3) have any questions! 

Blessings!

Here's a little about me & photography.....I offer clean, classic photography for my clients, with a twist of authentic lifestyle! I specialize in senior and family photography. I love macro and landscape for personal projects.