Front Porch Photography: Blog en-us (C) Front Porch Photography [email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Thu, 14 Oct 2021 15:25:00 GMT Thu, 14 Oct 2021 15:25:00 GMT Front Porch Photography: Blog 120 80 A Man who Knows what he Wants! There were several firsts in this session with Mr. G.  This is the first time I've photographed a senior guy (yea!!), the first time I've done a senior session in studio (turned out great!) and the first time the senior, himself, has called to set up the appointment!  All in all, an awesome experience:)

Front Porch Photography Senior Studio Session 1 Mr. G. knows what he wants and that was so impressive.  Like I said, he called and booked his own appointment and he listened as I explained all of the options, and the way I usually handle a session.  Then, he called me back and said, "I just want to go with a studio session."  And, though I love my outdoors and natural light, this session rocked! 

Front Porch Photography Senior Studio Session 2 Front Porch Photography Senior Studio Session 3 Front Porch Photography Senior Studio Session 4 Front Porch Photography Senior Studio Session 5 Front Porch Photography Senior Studio Session 6 Front Porch Photography Senior Studio Session 7 Seriously, this young man is going places - first to Hofstra University and then, with his focus, I can only imagine he'll take on the world!  He was gracious enough to let me take a few outdoor shots for my own portfolio.  Maybe I'll share those next;)


[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Northern Baltimore County Senior Photographer Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Wed, 10 Apr 2013 18:51:41 GMT
I Do- Again! A vow renewal ceremony always brings up a picture of a long-married couple celebrating on their 20th or 30th anniversary.  So, when Amy contacted me and said that she was going to surprise her husband on their 2nd anniversary, I was completely intrigued!  At the start of their 3rd year of marriage, they reaffirmed their love and commitment in a private ceremony. 

I was so honored to be invited to capture it! 

Front porch photography family 1 Front porch photography family 2 Front porch photography family 3 Front porch photography family 5 Front porch photography family 6 Front porch photography family 6 Front porch photography family 7 Front porch photography family 8 Front porch photography family 9 Congratulation, Amy and Tony! Many, many, many more years of love and happiness for you both! 

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Family Photographer Northern Baltimore County Southern York County Mon, 18 Mar 2013 17:54:00 GMT
A Good REP is Good to Find! Calling all 2014 Seniors in Southern York and Northern Baltimore Counties:  You only have 2 more weeks to request your application and apply to be a Senior Rep. for Front Porch Photography!  Do it today!!



Front Porch Photography Senior Portrait Rep Search

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Northern Baltimore County Senior Photographer Southern York County Senior Photographer Fri, 15 Mar 2013 16:43:06 GMT
Moving Out of my Comfort Zone Are you a dare devil?  Does the idea of jumping out of a plane or plunging off the top of a bridge, tied to a rubber band, get your adrenaline pumping?  If so, you will NOT be able to relate to me at all (My husband is a dare devil and he doesn't get me either:).  I keep my feet on the ground.  I thrive on security and routine.  Roller coaster, skydiving, climbing to the top of the Empire State Building?  No thank you.  I'll stay down here and watch everyone's bags. 

Even in my photography I tend toward safe:  people.  I am confident and comfortable when there are faces in my viewfinder.  Without a face, I get squeamish.  What will I focus on?  How will I make it interesting?  Ansel Adams, I am not!  But, I have challenged myself to try.  So Last week, when we finally got a hint of spring air and my family went on a walk,  the camera came too.  Determined to push past people portraits, I focused on the landscape around me.  And, it was lovely! 

I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone - and how much I like the photographs! (Though, I'm still not interested in jumping out of a perfectly good plane!).

Front Porch Photography - landscape 1 Front Porch Photography - Landscape 2 Front Porch Photography - Landscape 3 Front Porch Photography - Landscape 4 Front Porch Photography - Landscape 5 Front Porch Photography - Landscape 7 OK, so there are people in this shot, but you can't see any faces!  What about you?  How can you step out of your comfort zone?  I'd love to know (I'll even come and watch your bags:)


[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Northern Baltimore County Senior Photographer Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:39:38 GMT
I am SO there! For the past 12 years you have had your yearly school photo taken in front of the traditional gray background.  And, mom very dutifully changed out the 8x10 in the family room replacing the one that showed your self-cut bangs in kindergarten, or the one that showed your obsession with Hello Kitty in 3rd grade.  Maybe you were sad when the 8th grade picture showing your awesome hair day was replaced with 9th grade's unfortunate zit.  No matter what, you were changing, growing, developing style and personality.  That gray background?  Not so much. 

THIS is your year!  You're a senior and to celebrate it, you're having your final school pictures taken.  Don't you want it to be anywhere but in front of the gray background? In this post all of the benefits of custom senior portraits were introduced.  We've looked at them in order and are going to spend some time today explore the possibilities for the locations/backgrounds for your senior portraits.

The great thing about custom portraits is that they can be taken anywhere (as long as you aren't trespassing:)!  You've played football since you were old enough to carry one?  Portraits on the 50 yd. line should be in your gallery!  Have you worn through more pairs of toe shoes than Tom's?  Let's take some, stage left, w/a spotlight on you!  If horses are your passion, we can most certainly set up a shoot in the barn!  How about the camp where you spend your summers?  Oh, the memories a shoot there will invoke! Or, your backyard because it's your favorite place to be? Let's make sure we get some with your dog too:)  When your clothes, accessories, time of day/year compliment your personality, the background should too!

And, some of the best locations can provide several different looks.  How about a park with stone walls and fall leaves?

Front Porch Photography Seniors Locations1 This Bed and Breakfast, The Jackson House, next the the York County Rail Trail has SO many different backgrounds!  It's really an amazing location.

Front Porch Photography Senior Backgrounds2 And for something more feminine, a tea house!

All of these shoots were done in one location, with varied backgrounds.  The results are portraits that reflect the seniors and their individual personalities! 

I have approval to shoot at several locations in Southern York and Northern Baltimore Counties.  And, I am always happy to request permission at any location you want to use!  When you're ready to change the background, I'll meet you there!

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Fri, 22 Feb 2013 20:50:59 GMT
When are you never too early, or too late? When you are scheduling your senior portraits!  Remember this post from a couple of weeks ago, with the graphic that showed the differences between custom senior portraits and school package portraits?  We looked at the 1st difference, unique clothing options (click here to go to that post). Now it's time to look at the 2nd difference: scheduling!  

Typically, when schools contract with photography companies for underclass and senior portraits, the seniors are given 2 days in the summer to schedule an appt.  It's usually a 1/2 hr. - 1 hr. on a weekday.  And, honestly, between summer jobs, sports and vacations, the times are inconvenient. Many seniors miss their scheduled times (did I mention that the photography company will tell you the date and time they've scheduled for you - helpful, huh.). And, then there is a mad dash for a make-up session.

I know this to be true because I was the yearbook adviser.  I contracted the photography company and scheduled the auditorium for 2 days in August.  I sent the reminders to the seniors and then wondered why half of the class didn't show up.  And, because sometimes I'm not too quick on the uptake, it took me several years to figure out that if seniors want pictures in the summer, they will schedule them!  And, if they schedule them, it will be when it's convenient for them!  And, sometimes summer is not convenient!

This is why it's so important to look for a custom senior photographer! This is not your driver's license photo or your school ID.  This is serious because it will be on your mom's wall for eternity (I know - that picture of me with the 100% humidity hairdo?  Still. on. the. wall.) Every date you bring home will see it.  Someday, your children will stare at it.  

If you're not a morning person, how do you think your 8am session will go?  What if you have field hockey practice until 4 and your appt. is at 4:30?  Yea, thought so.

How about a fall Saturday, 11am at a local park? Perfect.

Front Porch Photography Senior Timing 1 A Sunday evening in May? Done.

Front Porch Photography Senior Timing 2 A weekday afternoon is more convenient for you?  We can do that!

Front Porch Photography Senior Timing 3 The point is, when you choose the photographer, you also get to choose the time and date.  You can never be too early - spring of your junior year; or, too late - spring of your senior year!  Even January of your senior year can be just the right time if that's when you want it to be!

Now is the right time to schedule your portraits for whenever you want to have them taken!

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Southern York County Senior Photographer Fri, 08 Feb 2013 14:50:44 GMT
Isn't a purse just a purse? Nope.  I'm not going to start fashion blogging.  And, although I will admit to having a SLIGHT addiction to purses, I'm not going into any kind of 12 step program for it (at this time).  And, of course, every woman knows that the answer to that question is "NO!"

Some purses are big enough for us to pack up for the weekend.  Some are only for fancy occasions when we want a license, a little cash and a lipstick.  Others are for everyday and there are some that have no purpose at all, but they look darn cute!

A professional photographer is the same.  Do all purses do the same thing? Sure, they hold our things.  But, some are better at special occasions; some are great for moms; some are big enough to hide the cup you want to sneak out of Texas Roadhouse (what???). 

I am a pro.  But, that doesn't mean I am a pro at everything!  Today, I want to urge you to make sure that the photographer you hire is really a professional at the type of photography you need.  Can I take portraits of newborns, toddlers, seniors, families, engagements and weddings?  Yes.  Am I great at all of those? No.  Just like there is no "one-size-fits-all" purse, there is no "one-size-fits-all" photographer.

If you want family portraits that look stunning in Black and White, I am your girl! 

Front Porch Photography Family Portrait 1 A family portrait in vivid color that captures everyone loving being a family?  Pick me!

Front Porch Photography Family Portrait 2 And, especially if you want stunning senior portraits that show off style and personality - I try really hard to excel at that!

Front Porch Photography Senior Style 1 Front Porch Photography Senior Style 2 Front Porch Photography Senior Style 3 Hire me for any of these sessions and you will be confident that I will give you the best.  But, if you are looking for a wedding photographer?  Erin Dickson of Erin Dickson Photography is making that her specialty and knows what brides need and want!  Newborns?  Are you looking all over Pinterest and drooling for the adorable hats, props, headbands, etc? There are a couple of fabulous ones in this area. Erin rocks the newborns and so does Whitney of Pictures by Whitney Photography!  There are others, as well, who have taken an area of photography and elevated it to an art form. 

Just do your homework and make sure that when you are choosing a photographer who matches your STYLE you choose one who has experience and expertise in the TYPE of photography you need.  And, if you're unsure, just ask us!  We want you to have the best experience possible and if we can't provide it, we will always refer you to one who can! 

My Coach bag and my Vera Bradley bag are both beautiful - but they definitely aren't the same:)

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Northern Baltimore County Senior Photographer Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Fri, 25 Jan 2013 18:42:05 GMT
I'm Not Wearing That! In last week's post, I shared an infographic which highlights the 4 big differences between custom senior portrait photographers and chain store portrait photographers.  And I promised that we would look at each of the differences individually.  The first one is arguably the most important: What to wear! 

Every school morning; every Friday and Saturday night; on vacation; for an interview; before a date you spend lots of time and energy on WHAT TO WEAR!  Why?  Because you want to look your best and look like you!  Style is extremely personal and can communicate so much about who I am - and who you are.  When planning for the photo shoot that will celebrate the culmination of your high school years, shouldn't your look be about you?

Don't laugh - this is my senior portrait:

Front Porch Photography Senior Portrait Flashback (Photo Credit: Blatner's Studio)

Brown background and black drape - classic!  And, it looks like every other portrait in my high school yearbook.  My parents still have it hanging on their walls and though it's not a bad portrait, it doesn't tell you anything about me (except that I had BIG 90's hair!).  Can you tell what my style was?  Can you imagine what I look like when I'm not in a portrait studio, tilting my head at odd angles?  Probably not.

My parents didn't have a choice - there were no custom, on-location portrait photographers in the, umm . . . early 90's (stop counting up the years in your head!). So, I am in no way saying they (or I) should have done things differently.  But, the good news is: YOU DO have a choice!  There are still studio photographers to take the traditional yearbook mugshot.  And, there are very talented custom photographers able to create a portrait session which says something about you!

Let's use Brenna's senior session as an example. We made full use of the location to show off her awesome style!  She's a little bit modern-style and a little bit bohemian.  So, I chose settings to compliment the 2 outfits she put together:

Front Porch Photography Senior Style Session The jacket and shoes (those shoes!!  I was so impressed with her ability to walk in them:) fade a little into the scenery so that her shirt and jeans can pop!  But, at the same time they compliment the texture and colors of the tunnel wall.  I love her look here - it is all her own! 

She brought out her other outfit and it was so different than the first, but completely true to her personality.  And, again, the background just served to enhance it (we'll talk about backgrounds in another post!)

Front Porch Photography Bohemian Senior Session The great texture in this skirt, and the leaves on it, are mimicked in her surroundings.  Could we have done her shoot with these outfits in a different location?  Sure. Would I have been able to capture her unique personality somewhere else?  Yes.  The point is that we had options and the ability to make this portrait session about her style, and highlight her clothing choices. 

No one else's senior portraits will look like Brenna's.  We highlighted and celebrated her! I know more about her personality - carefree, confident and unique.  And, so do you, just by looking at her portraits. 

No matter who you choose to take your senior portraits, make sure the session is all about you and who you are!  Clothing choices are personal and unique.  Your photographer needs to be able to make the location, setting, posing and emotion reflect that.

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Northern Baltimore County Senior Photographer Southern York County Senior Photographer Tue, 22 Jan 2013 00:11:16 GMT
Did You Say My Senior Portrait DOESN'T Have to Look Like Everyone Else's?! Last week I said that I have a new direction and focus for my business.  The opportunities for photographing families, children, seniors, babies and even a wedding also helped me to decide what I really LIKE to do.  I didn't have a bad day on the job, but some days made me more giddy than others.  As I reviewed portraits and reflected on sessions this past year, it didn't take long to understand.  I love families and seniors!!! 

We'll talk about families at another time because today I want to share my passion for seniors!  In a life I lived before children, I coached HS cheerleading, taught 12th grade English and advised the yearbook.  And, I adored "my kids"!  It was so exciting to watch them play out the tug-of-war between the kids they had always been and the adults they were becoming.  Their junior and senior years were filled with frustration, elation, anger, joy, angst and love.  And I loved being along for the ride: as a pseudo-parent, a mentor, a friend, a confidant or a swift kick in the butt.  And, in the last year, as I have gotten them in front of my camera I am remembering all over again why they are such a special group and why this is such an important and magical time in their lives!

I am absolutely thrilled to say that I will be focusing my business in 2 areas of photography, and SENIORS are the first!  Listen up class of 2013 and 2014:

So, why hire me for your senior portraits?  I know.  Your high school has conveniently arranged for photographers to come in to your school for 1 or 2 days in July or August.  And, they will have clothes there for you to wear!  They have chosen your backdrops, your poses and your yearbook image. Fantastic!  Truly!  Go and let them take your picture.  Many schools require the drape/tux photo for the yearbook (I did when I was the yearbook adviser!).  And, grandmas and grandpas always have room on their walls for the last school photo you'll ever have taken:)  There is absolutely a place for those pictures.

But, then I want you to ask yourself if those pictures are "you."  Do they really look like you?  Did they capture your personality?  Your REAL smile?  Your style?  Chances are the answer to all, or most, of those questions is "no."  That's what I will do for you.  I will capture all of those things in a custom portrait session.

Check out this infographic which shows why custom portraits are such a good idea:

Front Porch Photography Senior Portrait Infographic Thanks to for use of the infographic!

Custom senior portraits will always be unique - even if the same photographer takes yours, and all of your friends'!  That's because custom senior portraits are designed just for you!  Your outfits, location, weather and printed images will not be the same as anyone else.  They will be a celebration of you!  In the next couple of weeks I'll be highlighting each of the 4 categories, 1 post at a time, with portrait examples.  Stay tuned for those as you plan your custom senior portrait session! We'll have so much fun!

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Northern Baltimore County Senior Photographer Southern York County Senior Photographer Mon, 14 Jan 2013 19:06:43 GMT
It's Hard to Live so Far Apart - Portraits Make it a Little Easier! During the first few weeks of 2013 I'll blog the MANY client sessions I didn't find the time to blog in 2012.  So many children, families and seniors made my job fun and affirmed my decision to go into business this year!  But, before I get to that, I'm sharing an image that reminds me why photography - your own snapshots or the portraits you hire me to create - are SO important. 

This adorable couple is my niece and nephew.  They live in Baton Rouge and, if I'm lucky, I see them 2x a year.  Haleigh has to be introduced to me all over again each time she sees me and Caden knows I am "Aunt Cole" but doesn't have the warm and fuzzy attachment to that name he would have if I was a constant presence.  (I'm not blaming my sister and BIL for this at all - it's just a fact, and I think my sister would say the same about my children).  So, when we do get to spend time together, I take lots of candid shots and also try very hard (although rarely successfully) to have a portrait session with Caden, Haleigh and my kids.

In June we traveled to Baton Rouge and at the end of the week we made the kids get out of the pool, take baths and put on good clothes.  Then we put them in the car and drove 20 minutes to get to the Campus of Louisiana State Univ. (at dinner time), all the while telling them to sit still and not mess up their clothes.  Then we got them out of the car and made them pose and smile, without exploring, while I chased the fading daylight with my camera.  A good time was not had by all.  The kids were tired, hungry and cranky.  My mom and sister were worried about the kids stepping/sitting in fire ant piles; and I felt pressure for "the shot" because we waited until the last night of vacation to try this! 

As I reviewed the session at home, I was discouraged because none of the shots of my own children were good (you are a photographer's children, darn it - I should not have to tell you how to behave in front of the camera!).  My nephew turned out to be a pretty good model, but his sister (who had just turned 2) wouldn't cooperate without a fruit snack in her mouth (I did try to tell my sister that those were not the best treats to bring but . . . )

My mom was desperate for 1 shot of all 4 kids that she could hang on her wall, and we really didn't get it.  Just to be real with you: I may be able to work wonders with your family and produce gasp worthy portraits for your wall, but my own children could care less about what the woman behind the camera wants and my sister and mother forget that I am a professional and feel the need to run the shoot and the children.  I've already told them to hire someone else next year:)

BUT THEN!  Oh, but then I opened the next to last file and found this!  It was spontaneous and I wasn't sure I had clicked the shutter at the right time, but I did!!!  This made all the rest worth it (maybe) and has become a cherished photo for me, because I had to work hard for it; because these are my sister's babies and I love them; because even though I can't see them very often, I can look at this photograph and remember, and look forward to a day when they will not only call me "Aunt Cole" but also feel like I am their aunt. 

This is my favorite personal photo of 2012:Front Porch Photography Children LSU This is also my entry for Rock the Shot's "Favorite Shot of 2012"!  See more of them at

Rock the Shot
[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Mon, 07 Jan 2013 17:10:43 GMT
Look at How We've Grown! 2012 was such a big year for Front Porch Photography!  What was once just a gleam in my eye was birthed after much labor and love.  And, now that 2013 is here, I would hate to miss something, by not looking back on the milestones of 2012. 

14 years of playing with SLR cameras, taking photography courses, pouring over blogs and tutorials and viewing every moment of my life from an 18-55mm perspective finally gave me the confidence to step up and introduce "Front Porch Photography."  For all intents and purposes this business is my baby and I want to do the very best I can for her (and for you!).  That's not to say I have finished learning, or that she is finished growing.  No way!  We are just getting started!  Each and every time I pick up my camera I make myself learn something new, something to make me grow as a photographer, which will result in business growth and better portraits for you! 

So, here are some of mine (and my baby's) milestones in 2012:

1. Though the camera does not take the picture, and even the worst camera in the hands of a skilled photographer can produce beautiful portraits, I earned my "big girl" camera at the end of 2011, and the 1st portrait I took with it in 2012 is still a favorite (a large canvas greets you as you walk in my front door!)

Front Porch Photography Children Front Porch Photography Children I went back to edit it and found that not only has my editing style grown up, but so have the photo files I take (see #2).  This is the original edit from Jan. 2012.




















And, I went back today to see how I would edit it now.  Not a whole lot changed, but I find that the new edit is a little more true to how Andrea actually looks, and that it is bright and clean - exactly how I would describe my style, as it has matured over this year.





















2. I cut my teeth shooting .jpg, but have progressed to RAW. (A .jpg is equivalent to reading the dust cover of a book - just the information you need to get the large picture is included.  A RAW file is the cover-to-cover read that gives you every last detail!)  Unfortunately, the above image was shot in .jpg.  There's nothing wrong with it, but I could have done so much more with it had I been shooting in RAW at that time.  Frankly, I was afraid of that format and now I have no idea why!  It's kind of like my son's irrational fear of the ocean when he was 3.  He wouldn't even look at it, let alone get in it.  Then, one day he saw how much fun the rest of us were having and he jumped in with both feet!  He can't tell you why he was afraid, he just was.  I am no longer afraid - I am committed to capturing portraits in RAW!  This, in my opinion, is the biggest single step I took to grow from an amateur to a professional.

3. After starting the Front Porch Photography FB page and website, I faced my own fears and professionally, financially and legally created a business!  Wow, I knew I was growing up when I started paying quarterly sales tax to PA!  

4. My little business touched over 30 families this year and really gave me the opportunity to shoot what and how I love.  Along the way I found that some types of sessions are my favorite, and are where I have seen the most growth in my photography.  This leads me to . . .

5. I have a new direction and focus for my business!  I know, just as a baby's personality emerges as she grows, so is the personality of Front Porch Photography growing.    It will be so exciting to share this with you through 2013!

From my first portrait of 2012 to my last . . .

Front Porch Photography Children Growing, and watching your families grow, has been such a joy!

Thank you all for your love and support in 2012!  Come and grow with me in 2013!




[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Thu, 03 Jan 2013 18:39:15 GMT
Friday Focus on: Having Good Vision Does Not Mean Good Eyesight! While it's true that some of the best portraits are the ones we didn't plan for or expect to capture, that's not an excuse to shoot without a plan. Seize a fleeting moment without thinking.  I didn't plan for this shot - I couldn't have!

Notice that the colors are off; the focus is out and it's crooked.  If I had taken the time to get everything "right," I would have missed the guilty moment:)  I simply picked up the camera to record my mischievous son!  Those types of pictures are taken without vision or a plan - and that's OK.  We aren't talking about those pictures today.  Today we are talking about the times you or I purposefully pick up the camera to shoot.  Sometimes you are coming to me for portraits.  Before our session begins, we have a purpose and I need a plan.  I always have a direction to go in and a priority order of shots to take.  But, it's important for you to have a plan as well. 

When the S family called for portraits, mom said they hadn't had a family picture taken in a few years, and a new baby had been added to the family since then!  She KNEW the 1 shot she wanted was of the family walking away from me.  She had a VISION for the portrait she wanted on her wall.  As a result, I knew that I needed to spend time at the beginning of our session (before anyone got cranky) setting up that shot!  I'm happy to say we achieved her vision and got several great results:

(Early morning sunlight makes me giddy:)

And this one that mom called "the money shot" and now hangs as a big canvas on her wall:

Hi chubby baby cheeks:) 

Good vision should also be used when you are taking pictures at home.  Are you taking pictures for a special occasion?  Are they for grandparents far away?  Is it a family tradition you are documenting for a scrapbook?  Know your purpose and then have a plan to achieve it.  Easter egg dying and you want to take pictures while they do it themselves for the first time?  You should probably clear space at the kitchen table so you can move around them, instead of setting them up at the kitchen counter where you'll be taking pictures of their backs!

Not a great pic. because I couldn't get in front of him.  So, The next year I was smart and put them at the table:

Do you take the kids strawberry picking every year?  Do you want a picture you can put on your mantle, or send to the grandparents? Are you frustrated by your attempts when the kids squint into the sun and the red, ripe strawberries clash with the purple in your child's shirt?  Have a VISION for the strawberry patch.  PLAN primary-color clothing and arriving first thing in the morning, before the sun is too bright (if you can arrange for a cloudy day, that would be GREAT!)

Good vision means good photographs, whether you are a professional photographer or a proud mom!  So, go ahead and plan:)


[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Fri, 26 Oct 2012 18:26:57 GMT
Where is my mommy? Mommas, we give up a lot for our kids.  We give a lot of ourselves for them.  But, we can all agree that we gain so much from them too - around our middles, on our hips, across our rears, extra chins. . . (grin).  And, as forgiving as we are with our babies, we are equally unforgiving with our looks. So (and I am speaking to myself) we take the pictures and don't offer the camera up to someone else.  We cringe when we see ourselves straight-on, or in profile (or, heaven forbid, from behind). 

I'm late to the blog party on this one, because in recent days so many have said it more eloquently, but we need to get in there with our kids and let it be recorded (for all of eternity for them to remember).  It's going to be scary.  We will have to do it NOW, not after we lose 15 pounds, or color our hair, or change out of our stained shirts.  We will have to look at ourselves without our own critical eyes, and with the loving eyes of our babies.

After spending so much time photographing families, and the relationships between moms and kids, I can say with absolute certainty that the kids don't care!  They think squishy bellies are a soft place to rest, 2nd chins make it easier to grab mommy's face, and wider hips can carry them better. Still don't believe me?  Take a look at these mommas being loved by their children:

He stole my heart when he raised his hand and asked me if he could give mommy a big kiss!  

Right before I took this picture, the oldest daughter slipped her hand into mom's.  I hope my girl does that when she's a teenager!

Isn't this how every mom in the word feels?  I think we would all do well to embrace the hugs that hold our legs in place!

They love us, no matter what we look like, and often in spite of how we act, and we need to document it - for them, and for us.

Get out your camera, your phone, or give me a call!  But, make sure to take pictures of your kids WITH you!

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Northern Baltimore County Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Mon, 15 Oct 2012 20:38:30 GMT
Come in and Make Yourself Comfortable in My New Studio! There are many, MANY beautiful portraits on my computer, just waiting to be bragged blogged!  But, first I need to show you my new studio space!  You'll have to use your imagination on the "before" pictures because I forgot to take them (bad photographer!).  Picture a kids' playroom that is upstairs and away from mommy's view.  Then, picture 2 kids playing in that room without much oversight.  That's the "before." 

About 8 months ago, in the throes of winter, when no one wanted to venture outside for portraits, I started to dream about an indoor portrait space.  Let's face it, as much as I would love to only shoot outdoors in natural light, until my husband agrees to move to San Diego, I will have to deal with northeastern winters.  So, an indoor space is necessary from December-March.  And, the yummy window light in the kids' playroom was perfect for that need!  (Please don't feel bad for my children; we moved all of their toys across the hall to a room that is 2x the size).

With a vision and a purpose I approached my husband (because, let's be honest, he was going to be doing the bulk of the work).  He agreed to help me, but is so busy that we had to wait until he had a break.  This past month he was able to get to work.  And, he worked hard!  Spackling, sanding, painting, scraping!  And, I could not be happier with the results!!!  It's light, bright and matches my new logo!

There is still some work to do - more portraits to hang, a better table/chairs set-up for client viewing sessions, etc.  But, I love it!  So, come on in:

The Front Porch Photography Studio:

These are prop/supply storage dressers (and great places to show off portraits!), and the window where natural light sessions take place.

Another view of the same space!   I love the little bits of yellow:)

Some props and the open space for shooting.

The chalkboard is leftover from my kids' playroom, but I also have some fun ideas for incorporating it into portrait sessions! (I should have closed that door - it goes to the spare bedroom.)

This is the space I need to work on.  It needs to be more cheery for client viewing/ordering sessions.  But, please notice the print above the table.  That's my first ever portrait published in a magazine!!!

Thank you for coming in and taking a tour!  I hope to see you there soon!  And, if you see my wonderful husband, please thank him all of his hard work!  :)

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Thu, 04 Oct 2012 19:11:03 GMT
Friday Focus on . . . Removing Distractions We all struggle with distractions, right?  So, I could make this post into a long metaphor about removing the distractions in your life to focus on your loved ones.  But, I won't go there;) 

I will say that with today's tip, your pictures will be less distracting!  Have you looked at some of the incredible portrait work on Facebook, Pinterest, and the internet and wondered: What makes a professional portrait more interesting than mine?  Why am I drawn to stare at them, and just glance through my own snapshots?  More importantly, how can I make the pictures of my own children, friends, loved ones, pets, better?  The first and easiest tip I can give you is to remove the distractions!  Take a look at the picture below.  C was not terribly interested in learning how bee pollenation helps apples to grow. (Apparently, neither was I).  But, I saw that she was intent on something and took a picture of it:

Huh, I don't feel anything when I look at this, even though she is "posed" really well - gazing off with her knee and hip popped, hair caught by the breeze. It's not a bad picture of her, and if I were mom and wanted to put it in her scrapbook, I would just crop out all of the other kids (you can't tell what they're supposed to be focusing on anyway.)  So, in order to crop it and make it a shot I want to put on my wall instead of in the scrapbook, (say it with me . . . ) I NEED TO REMOVE THE DISTRACTIONS!  So, I move.  I walk around to the other side of the kids and shoot C, without anyone in the way.  Take a look at this:

How pretty is this?  It's frame-worthy and I didn't change her clothes, hair or location.  I just moved.  Now the backdrop fades and I can concentrate on C.  She rewarded me for my efforts by picking up a flower and concentrating on it. 

There's no clutter, or distraction.  There's nothing too busy that makes me want to rush to the next picture.  I want to follow her gaze to the flower.  I want to wander around the shot and take in the details.  I want to stay in this moment. 

Try it this weekend.  You don't have to go to an apple orchard, just follow your kids, husband or dog around with your camera and remove the distractions.  Then come back here and let me know how you did!  I can't wait to hear!

(And, maybe then I'll tell you why I didn't ask her to look at me and say, "cheese!")

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Family Photographer Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Fri, 28 Sep 2012 20:33:30 GMT
Mark your Calendars Now!!! I want to invite you an exciting Family Festival taking place!  On October 20, Camp Puh'Tok, in Monkton, will be hosting a Fall Fest!  There will be so many fun things for families to participate in that day!  Games, food, live music, pumpkin painting, nature zoo and horse-drawn hayrides are all on the agenda!  They will also be having a silent auction and guess who was thrilled to be asked to participate in that??? ME!!

Check it OUT:

Doesn't that sound like a great item to bid on?  I was honored and excited when they asked, and of course, I had to ask Kim at Night Owl Custom Design to get in on the fun!   Head over to Camp Puh'Tok on October 20 and tell all of your friends and family!  It's the place to be!

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Camp Puh'Tok Family Photographer Northern Baltimore County Tue, 25 Sep 2012 14:33:18 GMT
"Hey! Wouldn't THIS be a great location for portraits?" Does anyone else drive around and think, "Hey, wouldn't this be a great location for portraits?" No? Just me? Huh.

Everywhere I go, I look for lighting and backdrops.  I passed this field/bridge for 2 years, every day, morning and afternoon, and drooled.  After 2 years, I got up the nerve to ask permission to shoot there!  The owners were completely gracious and said, "yes!" 

When a client asked for an old barn and a stone wall, I knew the perfect spot - and screwed up my courage to ask the owners' permission to shoot there (are you sensing a theme in my bold behavior? ;)  Again, the owners obliged.

(Side note: If a super-cute family brings out their shades and looks adorable, go ahead and shoot into the sun.  Otherwise, this shot is a no-no;)

This summer, I took a big deep breath and e-mailed a local business that I pass everyday, The Jackson House Bed and Breakfast, in Railroad.  Almost immediately Pam, the owner, e-mailed to say she thought it was a wonderful idea for 2 local businesses to support each other!  This morning I went to The Jackson House where she served a fantastic eggs benedict breakfast; her guests and I chatted; and, we talked about working together.  I have just scheduled my first session there in early October, and I can't wait to share it with you!  Please take the time to click on the link to her B&B.  It is beautiful and the food is wonderful.  I didn't get to try out the hot tub, but I'm guessing it's great;) 

If you drive by a beautiful spot, let me know.  I'll breathe into a bag ask for permission to shoot there and we'll create some gorgeous portraits!

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Thu, 20 Sep 2012 18:45:31 GMT
Who Needed a Makeover? Me!!! From the time I began to dream of having my own photography business, there had only been two names I considered.  And, when all was said and done, "Front Porch Photography" was the perfect choice.  I look at both of my children and know that their names suit them perfectly.  My business name is no different!  I believe it articulates the feelings and emotions I try to evoke in my portraits.

The "brand" for my business, however, is a different story.  Certain stores call to me when I shop for my son or daughter.  When they model the outfits I bring home, the style "fits."  And, friends and family know the style and are quick to say, "That outfit/shirt/skirt/etc. looks like you!" I appreciate that they can recognize me in my children.  Unfortunately, I didn't feel that way about the brand I had created for Front Porch Photography.  The design was exactly what I asked for, but it wasn't who I wanted my business to be!  So, after just a few months of being in business I contacted 2 companies and together, they put together a brand and logo that look like me!  I'm so excited to introduce you to the new Front Porch Photography!

Isn't it lovely?  It's clean, bright and classic - all of the things I hope you think of when you look at Front Porch Photography's portraits!  I am so thankful to Sarah Harris at Studio 160 Design for happily making ALL of my requested changes and for exceeding my wildest dreams!

And, my right-hand and biggest cheerleader in this business has been Kim Williman of Night Owl Custom Design!  She has created gorgeous custom templates and card designs for my clients.  But she has also redesigned my FB timeline cover and will be helping me rotate it on a more consistent basis to showcase more of my beautiful families! 

Oh, how I love this!  The colors are perfect and the portraits just pop!  This one will be around for a little while and then wait until you see what she has designed for the holidays!

As I write, my husband is upstairs in my studio spackling and sanding so that he can paint it this weekend.  Then, I'll be able to hang all of the portraits of YOU and the indoor studio will be open for business as well!  Can you guess what colors my studio will be???  Leave a comment for me:)  And, check back soon to see the before and afters of my studio!  I can't wait to share them with you!

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Northern Baltimore County Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Tue, 18 Sep 2012 18:38:14 GMT
It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas in Southern PA and Northern Maryland! I promised a more frequent presence on the blog, and I'm delivering!  First up, a reminder that yes, Christmas really is just around the corner!  Now is the best time to schedule your portraits, and have your cards created!  Won't it be such a relief to make your December "To Do" list and realize that is one thing you can already cross off? 

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Family Photographer Northern Baltimore County Southern York County Mon, 17 Sep 2012 20:30:00 GMT
Did you miss me much? 5 months have passed since my last blog post!  I could ask where the time went, but I think I know:  I officially became a business on May 4 ("officially" meaning the state of PA and the IRS now know about me and expect timely checks;) and then I turned around and it was summer vacation!  This was a very busy summer, too.  2 trips to the Gulf Coast; camp for both kids; VBS; photo shoots and lots of "unscheduled" fun! 

Knowing that you were most definitely having your own fun and making amazing memories instead of checking your computer for blog posts (and therefore, not missing them!) makes me feel so much better.  But, with summer over and the kids back in school it is time to get back to business!

I have so many things to share with you in the next few months.  And, I promise to post frequently and consistently!  Photo sessions will continue to be blogged - lots of those I need to share already.  And, I also plan to teach tips and tricks to help you prepare for a professional photo shoot, or to take better snapshots of your loved ones. 

With so much to share, I'll get busy writing posts and leave you with a glimpse of some of the memories my family made this summer:) My niece, Haleigh, in her preferred mode of transportation on Gulf Shores, AL.

My nephew, Caden, is looking for shells.  He's using daddy's coffee cup to collect them:)

Jack, surveying the kingdom at Dutch Wonderland.

Andrea, getting the llamas to eat out of the palm of her hand at the Wildlife Adventure in Louisiana!

It was a wild, fun, family summer and I'm grateful for that time with my husband and kids!  I hope your summer was filled with memory-makers and that you remembered to take your own snapshots!


[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Family and Senior Photographer Thu, 13 Sep 2012 04:00:00 GMT
Boys Will be Boys! Has it really been a month since I have posted on the blog?  It's yearbook crunch time and I am spending my days dealing with deadlines and production problems!  But, I have also been able to photograph some adorable children and I am getting their blog posts ready for you to read ASAP!

First up are Michael, Nicholas and Jacob.  After postponing their shoot for storms, we met on an overcast and misty day (has anyone else noticed that the weekdays this spring have been beautiful and the weekends a soggy mess? ).  I love this area of the Gunpowder for the open grassy area, stream, and rocks.  Usually the evening light through the trees is wonderful (when you can see the sun!) and the colors are great.  Usually.  On an overcast day, it can be a little dark.  Thankfully their mama chose browns, oranges and turquoise which POPPED against the backdrop.  I love the color combos!

The boys indulged me and my posing requests for all of 5 seconds and then the water, rocks, trees, mud, etc. called to them and they were off!  I'm pretty sure we should have known this setting would be too tempting to them!  So, I let them lead and I followed.  And, I truly believe that is when the best portraits are taken - when children are being themselves and loving what they are doing.  They have a pretty great mom to hang back and let them go, in new clothes:)

I did manage to get them to look my way every once in a while:

And, I am so happy that I witnessed them being incredibly sweet and loving brothers:)



[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Tue, 24 Apr 2012 19:26:26 GMT
Isn't Bright Sunlight a Good Thing? We all want to play outside on a bright sunny day and if we're doing something fun, we bring our camera along.  Why not?  That full golden sunshine makes colors brighter, our skin glow and our dispositions happier!  Bright shiny sunlight is perfect at the beach, the ballpark and the playground. On a family photo shoot?  Not so much.  The same light that makes our skin glow and clothing pop, makes our eyes squinty and puts  harsh shadows on our skin and clothes.  (And, it makes some of us sweat, but we aren't talking about that today.)


So, what do I do when I'm shooting on a bright sunny day?   Look for some open shade!  Thankfully, this weekend The Ackerman family and I met at a beautiful farm with plenty of sunlight and a great area of open shade!  We took some pics. in the sunshine - even donning sunglasses;) 

But, when we moved into the shade, everyone was able to relax their facial muscles and stop squinting.  The result?  A beautiful family, beautifully lit now has some incredibly perfect pictures!  Take a look for yourself!

When you are taking snapshots of your own children this spring and summer, find some open shade for them.  You'll love the results.  And, even better, let me take portraits of your whole family!  I can't wait!

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Carroll County Northern Wed, 21 Mar 2012 15:31:51 GMT
From Snow to Sunshine! This was a great winter for portraits!  It was so mild, and there was so little snow, that I was shooting outdoors through January!  But, wouldn't you know that on a warm sunny Saturday, I arrived at the shoot location to be met with SNOW!  The warmer weather made the pretty white flakes a wet mess.  Even though Kylie and Savannah were troopers, we only shot for about 30 minutes before I said, "Let's reshoot when it's sunny and warmer!"  Everyone was eager to pack it in and warm up! 

Fast forward to last Saturday which was a little chilly, but dry and SUNNY!  Best of all, we had the golden hour sunlight that every photographer lives for:  dreamy golden light that halos the children and casts a warm glow on everything.  I am always giddy when I find it during one of my sessions!

First up was Kylie.  She is an adorably fun and mischievous imp!  The only way to get her to do what we wanted was to tell her NOT to do it.  (Fortunately, I have my own 4-year-old imp at home, so I know how to work with them:).  But her giggles and joy made us all laugh along with her and her shots are great!

Next up was Savannah and she is as quiet and shy as Kylie is loud and fun!  She is also a grandma's girl and basked in grandma's attention. I love seeing that:)

My favorite images though are the ones of the sisters together.  They just adore each other and we didn't have to coax them to show that to us!

I'm thankful for the opportunity to capture not only each girl's personality, but their sister love! 

[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Mon, 12 Mar 2012 16:57:50 GMT
Looking back My journey to a photography business started with a love for pictures.  Then a few people asked me to take their pictures.  And, a few more people said "your pictures are really good!" And, you would think that was all I needed to hang out my virtual shingle on the world wide web, and set up shop!  But, MANY people take really good pictures.  What was going to set me apart?  What right did I have to call myself a "pro"?  And, other than taking really good pictures, did I know enough about all of the other aspects of photography to provide my hypothetical clients with quality images they would want to hang over the mantle for years to come? 

It took me several years to be able to answer these questions well enough to satisfy my own doubts.  And, when I look back, I  know it's a very good thing that I listened to myself!  What started as a small whisper has grown into a confident voice inside me that assures me I am a pro, set apart by the fact that I took the time to learn not only the fundamentals of a good photograph, or my camera manual, but how to take the SOOC (Straight out of Camera) image and edit it properly. 

Here is an image from my first "shoot" in November of 2009:

I still love the composition of this portrait and the spontaneous hug that shows just how much these boys love each other.  But, it's REALLY yellow!  I really loved oversaturating, apparently.  The colors are unnatural, and the boys' faces have a pink cast to them. 

I brought this picture out today and re-edited:

Wow!  So much better!  The grass is a more natural green; the boys' skin is more natural and the sled now stands out, instead of blending in with the stone wall.  I would be very proud to have that client hang this one over the mantle!

I haven't learned everything - I hope I never stop learning and growing!  My business and I are still a work in progress.  But, after taking a look back, I can be confident in moving forward.  

You may not be a photographer, but there is something you love to do, or create.  Have you taken a look back to where you started?  I hope so.  And, I hope you will celebrate just how far you've come!


[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Wed, 07 Mar 2012 21:45:34 GMT
Welcome to Front Porch Photography!

Welcome, thank you for coming over to Front Porch Photography! Pull up a rocking chair and let's talk. Pictures, photos, portraits, stories without words - these have always been my passion. As a child I obsessed over an album of yellowed pictures my grandmother kept in her living room. I wanted to see the "shunshine" picture. It was a candid of me, as a baby, squinting into a bright ball of lemon colored sunshine. I thought it was magical. It made me feel warm, loved, and at home.

I detoured to other loves through the years, including teaching English and journalism to high school students. But, the pull of those wordless memories continued even then. I learned to look for moments and emotion as a journalist. I also found that sometimes the best shots are the ones where nobody knows the camera is on them. Teaching photography skills to students made me want to improve my own skills, so I took classes, read books, and took pictures! Lots and lots of pictures! Some of them weren't any good, but some of them stopped me in my tracks, and made me laugh, cry, remember. My passion was back on track - making sure that all of my photographs made people really feel.

From this passion, Front Porch Photography was born. My goal is not to take your picture, but to give you quality images that will make you want to sit on the porch, in your rocker, and remember. Remember with tears, laughter and every emotion in between. Remember, because these are the people, places and moments you never want to forget.

I am a mother, daughter, wife and friend. I am also a photographer, and I can't wait to get to know you and share your story!

*This is the first family I photographed in 2012 and the laughter rang out until tears came!


[email protected] (Front Porch Photography) Southern York County Fri, 02 Mar 2012 17:00:00 GMT