First Day of School Photo Tips

2013 Back to School

Summer break is winding down in my neck of the woods. Family vacations, summer camps, and lazy mornings are over and tomorrow is the first day of school. This is met with much jubilation at my house, and I am not being sarcastic. My girls are ready to have some space away from each other (though I have to say that this summer has been one of the better ones as far as spontaneous sib spats go) and I am ready to get back to a more structured routine. In fact, school begins tomorrow, and first day of school photos have been on my mind as I’ve watched some of my friends’ kids hop on the school bus via Instagram and Facebook over the past few weeks. As a result, I am sharing 3 tips for better first day photos here on the blog today.

Tip #1: Plan Ahead!

I’ll be honest: the first school morning is usually a little chaotic at my house. I have high hopes for an organized morning tomorrow, which includes making plenty of time for first day photos with the big camera. Whether you are using a point and shoot, phone, or DSLR, plan ahead for the best results. Make sure everyone knows what they are going to wear (and where it all is) beforehand. You might also want to make your kids aware of the morning plan. For example, I make sure my kids know that I am planning on taking a photo (or 2 or 7) before school. They like to know what to expect. I plan to take their photos before we leave, but after they’ve eaten breakfast and brushed teeth. This isn’t a full blown portrait session, so I just carve out 10 to 15 minutes to take a few photos of my kids before they start to get impatient.

Tip #2: Location, Location, Location!

Where are you planning to take your first day photos? At home? At the bus stop? At the school itself? Wherever your location, be aware of where the sun is located and how it affects your photo. I’ll never forget the photo I took of my daughter on her first day of kindergarten. I was in a hurry to take her picture before school, so I grabbed my camera and snapped her photo without paying any attention to the lighting and how it hit her face. Imagine my disappointment when I looked at the photo a little later…the light was so harsh and she was completely washed out. Some of the details were forever lost. I’ve scouted around my yard since then, finding locations with more flattering light. If you are planning to take your photo at the school, keep in mind that there will be other parents trying to do the same thing and many things vying for your child’s attention…be prepared to work quickly, thus preserving the sanity of both you and your child!

Tip #3: Add a little creativity…2013 Back to School 3rd grade

There are so many fun ways to represent the occasion of the first day photo. The simplest way is to have your child hold up the same number of fingers as their grade. This takes zero prep time and looks great. It’s also easy to maintain consistency of style if you have multiple kids returning to school. If you prepare ahead of time, there are tons of free printables online with nice lettering and charming graphics. Make sure the printable you choose is for the appropriate school year before you print. I love the idea of using a basic spiral notebook with the grade and year written in bright marker on one of the pages. Using sidewalk chalk and some concrete or pavement is another fun way to get creative and supply some details about this big day. And, of course, there’s always the option of adding text to your photo later using a photo editing program. Have fun with it! I started a board over on Pinterest…head here to see some fun ideas and maybe come up with some awesome creativity of your own.

Happy back to school!

 

 

 


Too Cool for School…so he’s outta there!

High school graduation is the end of one era and the beginning of another. A time to reflect back and a time to look forward to things to come. A time to wear a goofy cap and gown and not be embarrassed, because, hey, everyone else is doing it and for once your mom isn’t asking the age old question “If everyone else jumped off a cliff would you do it, too?” (Yes, valedictorians and student body presidents, you may use this paragraph in your speech.)

Every once in a while someone asks what my favorite type of portrait session is and I really have to think about all the sessions I do before I answer, because I love them all. However, I do have to admit that high school senior portrait sessions are very fun for me. I love hearing the plans of these young adults. They’re excited, ready for the changes that come with closing one door and entering another. Some of them know exactly what they want to do. Others are less sure, but know that they won’t miss high school (at least not too much).

I’ve worked with this young man before during family portrait sessions, but this was his first solo session. We had a great time and he was very fun to work with. One of his shirts was worn at the request of his younger (and only) sister…can you guess which shirt it is?

 

Class of 2014

If you are graduating this year and haven’t had senior portraits taken yet, I have a couple of spots open just for seniors.  Just give me a call or shoot me an email and I’ll throw in a Sticky Album as a complimentary gift with any High School Senior portrait session!  If you haven’t seen a Sticky Album yet, trust me — they are super cool and make sharing your portraits sooo easy!

Congratulations to the Class of 2014!

 

 


Gingersnaps 101

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!  Be sure to let us know how your gingersnaps turn out!

 


Hello, November…and a cool announcement!

It’s November already…I feel like time goes faster and faster, especially after Daylight Savings ends.  Now it is light at 7:30 in the morning, but dark by 5:30, the temperature is starting to drop–as in 60 is feeling warm here–and the battle about wearing jackets and coats has begun (my kids think that coats are optional since the temps were in the 70’s last week…never mind that we are hitting the 40’s and 50’s as highs now).  All this aside, fall really is one of my favorite seasons.  The cooler temps are a nice break from the summer heat and I love the smell of someone using their wood burning stove on the chillier mornings.  I can rotate a soup or two into my weekly menus and have the urge to bake fresh bread…although the fresh bread doesn’t get baked quite as often as the urge would like.  I can only do so much, right?  And right now, fall sessions take precedence over baking fresh bread.  To be honest, I don’t mind.  Especially since I have such fun clients to work with.

For example, I met up with this cute family a few weeks ago to shoot some family portraits and they were a joy to work with!  Every one of them had a great attitude and they even brought grandma along to help out (which she did…I put her to work!)  I had such a fun time with them.  Check these out:

L Family 6

L family 5

L Family 4

L Family 3

L Family 2

L family

L family

Now, not only did we take some very fun family portraits, we did a video at this session as well.  Yes, you read that right.  Video.  At the Blue Lily GoPro Reunion in September, one of the presentations was about making videos during portrait sessions.  I wasn’t sure I could do it at first, but after making one video, I was hooked!  What a fun addition to a family update letter at Christmas or as a gift to grandparents who are far away.  Wanna see what I’m talking about?

https://vimeo.com/78696759

How fun is that?!?  We had such a great time…and every time I watch the video, I remember that.  Now if I, the photographer who just met this family for the first time on this same day, feel that way, how would you feel about your own video?  How will your kids feel about it?  And since the portraits match, the L family has their own personal gallery of this fun day.

Doesn’t that make you want a video of your own?  Well, guess what?  You can get one–at a special introductory price, no less!  From now until December 31*, you can add a video to your portrait session for only $75**!  Interested?  Call me to schedule…the fall leaves may be faded, but there are still great places to take family portraits!
 
*Session must be scheduled for a date between Nov 13 and Dec 31, 2013.
**Price does not include tax.
 
 

start spreading the news…..

…I’m leavin’ today…I want to be a part of it!  New York!  New York!”

 

I have had this song stuck in my head for weeks and now finally the day is here!  I am heading out to the Blue Lily GoPro Reunion today and will be spending my first (yes, FIRST) day ever in NYC tomorrow!  I am beyond excited.  A little nervous, but very excited.  I have technically been to New York City before, but it was when I was 16, on my way back from a choir trip to England, late at night and stuffed in a rental car headed from JFK to Newark.  All I remember is falling asleep in my new and not-yet-comfortable Doc Martens.  So I am counting this as my first New York trip.  I will only be there for a day…the reunion itself is in a shore town in New Jersey, but I’m sure this will not be my last trip, so I’m not too stressed about the amount of time I’ll be there.  I’ll be taking lots of photos, too.  I’m excited to get back to the blogging scene with lots of fun stories and photos to share!

 

In the meantime, it’s starting to feel like fall around here, just a little bit.  I announced this on Facebook last week, but have been swamped and haven’t made it here to post.  I am excited to announce a limited run of mini sessions for the fall!  These are 30 minute sessions that are perfect for updating your kids’ portraits with a little more personality than the traditional school photos or for catching a family portrait for your Christmas card.  Check out the details below:

details about mini sessions from Gray Wren Photography

And guess what is so cool?  You can earn one of these mini sessions for FREE!  For every completed session or mini session that you refer to me, you get $20 off your next session fee.  So if you send 4 friends my way before October 12th, you can have a free mini session for yourself!  Pretty cool, huh?  I know you have 4 (or more) friends who need portraits done this fall, so spread the word and earn yourself a free mini session…or even a regular session…to get your fall portraits done!

 

Well, I better get rolling…I’ll be back with all kinds of fun next week.  Have a great day!


it’s all in the details…

One of the things I love about doing what I do is the opportunity to meet some really fantastic people.  It’s fun to get to know them, learn about their personalities, see them interact with family or friends (depending on the occasion), and be a part of their lives, even if it’s just for an hour portrait session…or in this case, a whole afternoon and evening for a wedding and reception.

Salt Lake Temple Wedding Portraits, Gray Wren PhotographyI met with Ben and Beccah shortly before their wedding to go over the schedule and details and also just to get to know them better before their big day.  They first met during a superhero movie marathon that a mutual friend was hosting for the benefit of another friend who had never seen a superhero movie in her life.  (Are you following here?  This is important.  And there will be a quiz on this later.  Just kidding.)  As the group of friends continued to get together to watch movies, Ben took advantage of every opportunity he could to get closer to Beccah…think along the lines of “Oh, there’s a lot of people on this couch…I guess I better free up some room by putting my arm around this girls next to…hey, look!  It’s Beccah!  How you doin?”  He was attracted to her sense of humor, her intelligence, and many other qualities, including, he says, that she is a fellow nerd.  I think they are some of the cutest self-proclaimed nerds I have ever had the pleasure of photographing.  Their wedding day was a perfect reflection of their personalities.  I was so glad to be there and loved every minute!

Salt Lake Temple, Gray Wren Photography

Salt Lake Temple, Gray Wren Photography

Salt Lake Temple wedding portraits, reception details, Castle Park Events Center Lindon UT


Wedding Reception details, Castle Park Events Center Lindon UT

Wedding Reception Castle Park Event Center Lindon UT Gray Wren Photography

Wedding Reception, Castle Park Events Center Lindon UT, Groom & Groomsmen

Gray Wren Photography, wedding reception details, Castle Park Events Center, Lindon UT

 

 

 


shades of May

It’s May…I don’t know what that means for other places, but around here May means a couple of key things.  First, we *should* be done with snow until October, at least in the valleys.  No guarantees, but it should be okay to plant your tomato plants.  Just in case you’ve been wondering about that.  Warmer weather = more garden chatter at our house.  Maybe we can plant the bean plants that have been growing by the kitchen sink now?

The other major topic of conversation around our house is the approach of the end of the school year.  For my kids, that just means the beginning of summer vacation…for the high school seniors in our neighborhood it means graduation!  I have been looking forward to sharing these photos with you for a couple weeks.  This session was very fun…car problems and all!

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(p.s.  We wouldn’t have gotten this photo without the car problems…)

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Are you or is someone you know graduating at the end of the month?  There’s still time for last minute senior portraits!  Call or email me to schedule a session!


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