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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Love for the Friends & Family!

I love my friends and my family!  They are wonderful blessings in my life, friends who make me laugh over coffee together, family who stand behind me and encourage me in every way, they just make my days better.  And I love finding ways to show them how grateful I am for that.

I have especially enjoyed thanking them through my portraits.  But as months and years have passed, it's become harder to do so with a growing business, and a growing calendar.  And so I've come up with something super special for them!

Friends and Family Days!
I am having one day this spring and one day this fall, and I'm treating my friends to free sessions and free images!  All for them!
Sessions will be 30 minutes long, here at my home campus, and I'll have 10-15 wonderful digital images burned to a disc for each of you.
And it's all free!

The two dates are:
Sunday, April 21st
Sunday, September 15th

Sessions are limited for those 2 days though, so hurry up and get your session booked now!

Just my way of giving back to the amazing people I'm so blessed to call friends and family!
You all keep me smiling!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

New Treats: Custom Session Albums

For the past year and longer I've been working completely digital.  I loved the simplicity of it all, creating beautiful images for my clients, and then being able to offer them a CD of high resolution digital files for them to keep and create their own pieces.  It was a win win situation for both my clients and me- or so I thought.

Throughout this past year, I'd get the same email or note over and over.  A client had misplaced her disc and was hoping for another copy.  Or six months after the session (sometimes longer) the client was at a loss as to what she should order and from where.  I was shocked that so much time had passed before discs were discovered lost, or images were even being considered for print, and then I realized that I was at fault.  

The more I thought about this, the more I realized I was short changing my clients.  After all, isn't it my job, my responsibility, to walk my clients through every step of this amazing portrait experience, from our first phone call, until that very last image is displayed?  Shouldn't my clients be able to rely on me to advise them on how best to show off these precious portraits?  They've trusted me to create beautiful pieces for them- is it ok then for me to just hand them a disc and say "Good luck with that!"?  No way.

And so I decided to change things.

Now rather than offer the moon and the stars and every single product under them, I decided to start simple so as not to overwhelm us all!  I thought long and hard about what types of products my clients would like- both my family clients and my high school senior clients.  And through this process I have begun putting together a fantastic menu of amazing goodies for everyone.  I plan to showcase them, bit by bit, here on the blog.

A few weeks ago, I showed off the new sticky albums, which I know my high school seniors will love!  Today I am sharing my Custom Session Album!  This is definitely a piece that we ALL will love- my seniors, their moms, my family clients, and me!

I cannot wait for clients to see this album.  The pages are super sturdy and thick, yet delicate and luxurious in texture.  I love the rounded corners, and I love that I can customize each album to fit the style, colors, and personality of each client and each session.  

And check out how the binding lays flat!  This allows for gorgeous full page spreads and also lets my clients display their albums open, on portrait stands, like a classic art piece.

This is definitely one of my favorite new pieces, and I cannot wait to start creating them for my clients!  

And for those of you still wanting those digital files, don't worry.  They're still available.

The menu is truly fabulous, complete with options to order a la carte, or even create your own package!  It's all about customizing your portraits, and then your pieces, for YOU!

This year is going to be amazing!

Keep smiling!
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Loving Hill Life: Reason #47

I shared with you recently about how my family does not live the typical daily home life, but how we belong to a wonderfully chaotic life and community called "the boarding school life".  I also mentioned that in coming blog posts, I would share with you some of the special ways that Hill (and boarding school life in general) makes everyday life that much sweeter.

So this morning I thought I'd share a piece of Hill life that brings me particular joy on a daily basis.

This is our Hill gym.  Nothing too fancy, it's your typical high school gym, complete with a couple of gymnasiums, a swimming pool, squash courts, and a pretty cool field house.  

However, there are a few things that make me LOVE this place!
First of all, it's about 200 yards from my front door to this building.
Second, I have my own key, and so I can come in and work out at 6am when no one else in my house (nor most of the Hill homes) is awake.
And third, when I walk into this sweet room each morning, I'm sometimes the only one there!

Now don't get me wrong.  I do love spending my early morning workouts along side some of the fab few- women (and maybe a couple of men) who are up just as early gettin' it done!  Ladies, you know who you are!

But sometimes, it's just so nice to be alone in here.  To have the whole place to myself.  To sweat alone, and work hard alone, and start the day off with power.

And when I walk out of that room, and head back home (just a 2 minute walk- how sweet!) I walk past these amazing Hill School team photos and am inspired by the young athletes who smile back at me.

And sometimes, I'll even stop and smile at two special faces staring back at me and remember the love story of two teacher/coaches who met, fell in love, and got married right here on campus (a blog post for another day), and I'll go home to the wonderful family those two have made together!

And THAT is just one of the many reasons why I love this place!

Keep smiling!
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Location, Location, Location! Creating Portraits that are truly YOU!

Late winter is one of my favorite times of year!  As a photographer, NOT as a mom, and certainly not as a mom with cabin fever!

But I do love this time of year as a portrait photographer, and more so, as a high school senior portrait photographer.  This is the season when some seniors like to book their portrait sessions, and this is the time when current juniors begin making their portrait plans.   Spring is just around the corner, and so are the next group of wonderful high school faces!

But with those new faces must come new places!
If there's one thing that remains consistent with every single high school session, it's that these guys do NOT want to look like everyone else.  They want to be unique!  And a huge key to that is finding a unique location when shooting.

So start thinking about that now.
When you are planning your senior session, consider your personality and brainstorm places that suit that.  For example, Jackie (below) has a sunny and bright personality and it seemed perfect to have her portraits reflect that (literally).  Not to mention that this was taken at Hill, which is home for her.

Sometimes it's fun to take that personality and play it against an opposing location.  Below we've got Alec dressed rather traditionally for his senior portraits.  But knowing that this is one senior whose personality extends far beyond what you see, I thought it fun to play the shirt and tie agains the grungy, rusty staircase and alleyway.  It was one of his (and mom's!) favorite shots.

Sometimes the ideas are pretty basic and pretty obvious, but can complete an image like nothing else.  Here, Taylor wanted to showcase his passion for running, and track & field.  The choice to shoot at a track was an obvious one, but an effective one.  A shot with him simply holding his running cleats would never have worked as well.  

And think outside the box.  Sometimes the most random places make the coolest settings. Here, we shot right on High St, in the middle of Pottstown.  Busy traffic, ecclectic store fronts, and colorful busses made for a super fun backdrop to Nancy's feminine and soft look.  Don't rule out a location based on preconceived impressions.

 Of course, it is my job as the photographer to have a whole bunch of fabulous locations to offer as suggestions, and I love scoping out new spots for my clients.  But nobody knows you better than YOU!  So start thinking about locations that compliment your style, locations that are special to you.

Where's your favorite hangout?  What places in town best show off your style?  What are the most beautiful, most vibrant, most "YOU" spots around?

Whether it's the local diner, the high school pool or ice rink, or your back yard, I'm game for it.  I'm always excited to find new locations!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fabulous New Stuff: Sticky Albums

I am in love with a new product! 
Last month, at an amazing trade show, I discovered Sticky Albums.  These albums are awesome!  They are albums that you can share, with tremendous ease, right from your mobile phone.  Particularly fun for high school seniors, who do everything from their phones, these albums are the new "it item" for JLP.  

No longer do my seniors need to carry around rep cards or printed wallets that might make them feel a little lame when handing them out.  Now they just pull out their phones and pull up their albums (which by the way, are an app on their phones with their face as the app- how cool is that!)

The album looks like the image below when it's pulled up on your phone.  You simply click on any image, and then slide back and forth to view the rest.  At any point, clients and their friends can click on my logo to check out my website, they can contact me by phone or email with a simple click, or they can share with their own friends via FB, Twitter, Pinterest, or email.  So easy!!!

Want to see how easy it is?
Then just click HERE from your mobile phone and download this album yourself.
Then share with anyone and everyone.  It's so fun!

Even better than that, how about your own album?
For my past clients, I'd love to offer this new product to you with the images that you've already purchased.  I'll be offering these albums at a special price through the end of February.  Consider it my Valentine's treat, since I'm absolutely IN LOVE with these little treats!

Contact me now and let's get you your own Sticky Album!
Let's share those images with everyone!
Keep smiling!
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Bloom Where You're Planted: Being Grateful for Home

I had an idea this past weekend and I thought I would share it with you.  Many of you might not know this, but I am the wife of a boarding school teacher.  What's more, I once was a boarding school teacher myself.  I have spent the last 15 years living this boarding school life, six years out in Colorado, and the other nine here at The Hill School.  

Now, many of you are not familiar with this life, with this type of environment, so I thought I'd try to explain it.  Simply put, we live on a campus together with about 500 high school students, some who are "boarders" and live in dorms with us all school year long, and some who are day students, and come from home daily to attend school here.  

Our home is unique and most likely not like yours.
You see, this is our house, this beautiful old stone dormitory.

Mostly, our home is just like the typical home.  We've got our kitchen (most often NOT this clean!), and our living room, and the kids' rooms, and our room, and so on and so forth.

This is our front door, which is just like any other.  We come and go, often in a rush on weekday mornings, some days even forgetting it's not your "everyday house".

But see here?  This is where it gets interesting.  This is our back door.  And unlike your back door, which most likely opens up to a back yard, or a garage, or something like that, our back door opens up into a hallway- a hallway usually bustling with 12 high school boys who are, at times loud, at times stinky, and at most times super awesome and great with our kids and our family.

So why am I sharing all of this with you?
Well, for years I have gone back and forth with how I feel about living the "boarding school life", how I feel about being a dorm parent, and how I feel about a life so "not normal"!  I've fought it, stressed about it, questioned it, and most recently, I've truly and completely embraced it.  

I love our home.  I love our dorm.  I love Hill.
I love that our kids can go run and play anywhere on campus and be completely safe and secure.  I love that this door shown above can ALWAYS stay open (and it does) because we have 12 teenage boys who might need us or want to talk or want to come in for some chocolate chip banana bread.  I love baking for their birthdays (got one this week), watching them take our kids under their wings, and watching them learn how to be responsible and maybe hold their tongues in front of little ears.

And recently, I've come to love the realization that living this "not so normal life" allows me to connect with the subjects that I am most passionate about photographing.  How many other senior portrait photographers out there actually LIVE with 500 of their favorite models?  It's an absolute blast being a part of their everyday lives.  And it tricks me into thinking I'm still young!

In embracing this crazy part of who I am, I thought it would be really fun to share with you some of the quirks, the treats, and the challenges of living the boarding school life, and being the boarding school wife/mom.  I'll share with you the chaos of dining hall life (no cooking, no dishes!  Woot woot!!!), the friendly faces that make Hill life so awesome, and the situations that make this crazy place unlike any home I've ever known.

Ever wonder what's beyond those Hill gates?
Have questions about this life?
Let me know what you want to know about!
Let's have some fun together!

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

It's Here! The 2014 JLP Senior Model Program!

I am so excited to announce this year's JLP Senior Model Program!
Class of 2014, this is for you!
Invites went out yesterday and I'm beyond excited about the group of high school juniors who are on board to be a part of this team!  
If you know of any juniors who might be interested in being a JLP Senior Model, but did not receive an invite, just comment here or email me.  I'm sure we can make room for a few more!

Get ready for an amazing spring, filled with fabulous images of some fabulous JLP Models!
I can hardly wait!

Keep smiling!

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Monday, February 4, 2013

JLP Seniors 2013: Thank You!

Happy February!
February is one of my favorite times of year as a portrait photographer because this is the month to kick off the new year's JLP Senior Model Program!  This year is going to be the best EVER and I am beyond excited to share with you the amazing plans I've got for my 2014 JLP Seniors!  That news is coming very soon (class of 2014, BE READY!)

But before I launch into the next year of fabulous models, I wanted to take time to say a special thank you to my 2013 JLP Seniors.  This was my first group of JLP Seniors, the seniors who started it all.  And they were FABULOUS!  Amazing people, inside and out, they confirmed for me how truly awesome it is to photograph high school seniors.  And they brought me lots of other fabulous seniors just like them!  

Here they are, my 2013 JLP Senior Reps!

So thank you to my 2013 JLP Seniors!  You were super fun in front of my camera, made my job super easy and super enjoyable, and have helped me get ready for another awesome year of JLP Seniors!

I wish you tremendous success and joy as you head out on amazing journeys.  May you never forget how fabulous you all are!

Keep smiling!

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