Monday, November 28, 2016

How Professional Images Actually Help Your Memory

Professional portraits are considered an investment because while we are told our brains save everything we hear, see, read, feel, smell, taste… we have not yet mastered the skill to recall those things at will and with utmost clarity. Try remembering the details of a face you haven’t seen in years… can you do it?

Without high quality images, I wouldn’t remember the details in the baby blue eyes of my now 9 year old - whose eyes have incredibly turned a shade of gold and green. I just couldn’t! Without high quality images, I would hardly remember the mischievous grin,and twinkling eyes of my younger brother who passed away over 10 years ago at age 20.

Images keep long distant relationships alive, and connect us to people we may never see again in this life (or may have never even met). Images keep stories real and memories closer to our mind’s reach. I despair to think how many priceless, precious moments have been lost to oblivion because no one bothered to record anything referencing them. How much more do we cherish the images of our babies - once they’re grown? How much do we cherish images of the best times of our lives - when those times have long since passed?

It is far too easy to let time slip away thinking there is nothing significant about that birthday, that family get together, that random road trip, that whole year, or that Halloween costume. Or have you already experienced the pang of regret that you didn’t get pictures while she was still around or when you went to that one place that ended up meaning a lot to you…

“I wish someone had gotten a picture…” Have you ever thought that?

Now let’s get your pictures taken!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Why I LOVE Family Photos!

Creating timeless family photos is like...
Unleashing a little bit of magic -
that mostly looks like the family you spend so much time with and know so well -
with a hint of other worldiness
that makes you realize how amazing your life really is and
how lucky you are to have these
perfect-for-you people
in your life.
As if your looking through a window you never noticed before and think,
“Yes, I know them, and I can’t believe how beautiful we are together.”

THAT is what I love most about family photography. That is when I know our time and efforts together were successful!

Monday, November 21, 2016

6 Tips to Get Great Pictures of Kids!

Oh, kids.
They can be exasperating to work with.
Let's be honest, a happy child is the most wild, free spirited thing you'll ever know and will hardly sit still or look at a camera long enough to say cheese. BUT if you know a few tricks they can be the most beautiful, magical creatures you've ever worked with! 

Here's a few things I've learned that make photographing kids my favorite! (And they don't even have to smile...)

Connect. You have to have to connect with them somehow. If you connect with them they will be more likely to respond to your direction.

1. Be FUN - throw leaves with them. Play a game of making faces. High five them - a lot!
I think it's really important to know their names, and use it a lot!

2. Change it up. K, now jump around. Look at mom. Make a silly face. Now give me your best smile! Now stop smiling and freeze…. Work with their short attention spans! They're guaranteed to get a little cranky (or maybe a lot) if they are expected to sit still and hold a, now fake, smile.

3. Give them breaks. Again, work with their short attention spans, and give them quick breaks to run around or get a drink or go to mom

4. Encourage good behavior. If mom and dad haven’t already bribed - I mean encouraged - them to be (generally) well behaved, then figure out some kind of reward. Small candies (with parents' permission) like smarties (NO CHOCOLATE) or pez work miracles. If candy is a no-go, simple rewards like hopping up and down can feel like a reward (and also goes along with "give them breaks").

5. Don't make them smile in every shot. Sometimes I like to tell the kids, "don't worry about smiling, just look at me like you're listening." Or, "don't worry about looking at the camera right now... why don't you look at _____________?"

6. Follow them around. Let the kid(s) set the pace for a little bit and follow his or her lead. Ask for their ideas, and go with them. If there is a child who just refuses to cooperate you might be amazed at how they change when they feel like they are in charge! Action shots are another great way to capture their personalities. Follow them around and snap away!

No matter what you do, don't forget to breathe. Don't rush through the experience, try to enjoy it and create those portraits that will be timeless for them and possibly generations to come!

You've totally got this!

What are some of your tricks to get great pictures of kids?
What other challenges do you want to overcome in your portrait photography?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hello, Old Friend!

Apparently the last time I posted anything was in 2014. THAT'S embarassing! With all the different social media platforms available I've been rotating through them... and my blog was sorely sorely neglected. I'm sorry.

But not to worry, I have been taking pictures! To see some of my recent work, you can visit my website, facebook or instagram (@photosbyaliciastates).

Here's a little something recent to brighten your day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I love those feet

Toes for days!

I love these feet. I love the tiny ones and the bigger ones (though they are all still pretty small). I love that their toes look like little squishy balls.

Oh yeah, and their feet are clean! (But wouldn't that be an image with muddy dirty feet in my clean white bed!)

With 4 boys ages 1-7 this image is kind of a miracle in itself. They were cooperative, and even excited about it. I have an image similar to this of my oldest two that hangs on our wall, and they were happy to try to recreate the image with their younger brothers :)

But those feet! I love their feet! I am grateful for their feet.

Those feet that they stand on, run on, walk on, climb with, kick with (yes, sometimes each other)...

Those feet that will support them throughout their lives. Who knows what grand adventures those feet will take them on! Some they will go on together, others on their own.

Those feet. My GOSH I love those feet.

(Hey! Hey, guys! I don't know if you know this, but I love those feet...) :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

A summer of soul stretching and mind expanding!

This really has been the summer for trying/doing/learning new things!

I absolutely recommend trying new things! It will stretch your soul and help you get in touch with YOU a whole lot better!!



Planted an herb garden for the first time!

Watched my kid ride a sheep in a Kids Rodeo (Muttin' Bustin'!) (Yes, their new experiences qualify as my new experiences too!)

Learned a new lighting/portrait technique

Took a road trip to, and visited the city of Denver Colorado for the first time. I saw some breathtaking scenes along the way - talk about stretching the soul and expanding the mind! We had so many new experiences simply because we were in a new city, and drove long new roads and highways!

Learned how to make flower crowns.

Visited the brand new Museum of Natural Curiosity in Lehi, Utah with all four boys by myself (it was beyond our wildest imaginations and we loved it!)

I'm learning more about probiotics and was introduced to kefir, and it's been so fascinating to learn more about our bodies, they way they should work and how our society as a whole has gotten so far away from real foods! (Not a judgment, just absorbing all this new information!)

My husband and I went to the concert of the ridiculously talented and incredibly entertaining Lindsey Stirling - it's the first time we've ever been to a concert together and it was a life changing and incredibly inspiring experience!

This was a little bit before Summer officially started, but I learned how to make hand stamped jewelry! Can't forget that!!

I had the opportunity to teach 20ish youth (and some adults) about photography! It was so much fun for me and the first time I've been able to teach like that! Aah! It was great!

I've learned to cook some new Thai dishes! That's always fun (and dang delicious!)

Having new, positive experiences is what life is all about if you ask me! My boys (and I) have been thriving this summer as individuals and a family unit. Not saying it's been perfect or that my boys are well behaved all the time... because that would be lying.  :) But, it's been pretty wonderful so far!

I've also been learning a lot about myself in the process! Wow. More on that later, but in a nutshell I've been learning how to truly love and accept myself the way I really am - and these new experiences have helped relearn what I love and what I don't care much for! I've actually surprised myself a number of times! Things I thought I liked... I really, honestly don't and I've realized things that I love! All the while getting to know myself better! I'm finding myself more accepting of my physical self and all my "social imperfections" that just make me - me! I'm imperfect! Physically, socially, mentally, emotionally... so is everyone else! (See I'm rambling now! But really, I'll try to write more about that journey! It's pretty incredible!)

Try something new! Intentionally discover something about yourself! What makes you - you?! Because in all sincerity - You're pretty amazing. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Little Princess... a photo project

I shared a little teaser in my last post of the project I was working on, My Little Princess a Photography Project. Remember I talked about learning new things? One of the things I learned to make was flower crowns, and I used them for this project.  This is a natural light : natural beauty project that emphasizes softness in facial expression, natural lighting, soft colors and texture. This is a photo shop project as much as a photography (straight out of the camera) project. Adding and blending the texture is what I feel make these images more than just nice pictures, but portraits. Pieces of creative art that would make someone want to hang on them on their walls. :) t's all part of the learning curve. Trial and error. Practice, Practice, Practice.

I am super pleased with these images, and hope you enjoy them!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rediscovering Me

Have you ever done or experienced something so life changing that it kind of reawakens a part of you that has been dormant for... well, a long time? No? Go do it.

I'm at a good place in my life right now, (a calm before a storm? I hope not! knockonwood) and have been motivated to learn new things. I've been brave enough to start growing my own herbs, we're eating healthierish (yeah it's a thing), I've been trying new lighting/fabric/textures in my photography and I'm loving the results! Today I even set up my sewing machine!

It's no secret that I'm not fan of Winter, and finally summer is here! I thrive in the summertime!

I considered starting a new blog for the things I'm learning and experiencing... but let's be honest... there's a pretty good chance it will be badly neglected. So I'll share somethings here. Hope you don't mind!

And for your viewing pleasure... A beautiful little princess! (I've also learned how to make flower crowns and I'm in love with them!)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Little Boy Blue {A 3 Year Old Photo Session}

This kid is so dang cute.

And he's mine.

I've been trying to do better at at least getting birthday pictures of my (four) boys! It's harder work than it should be. I have been a slacker with my older boys, and I need to get pictures because they are both in their jack-o-lantern phase... and boy is it awesome. (Hey! Everyone goes through it!)

Anyway, here's my darling boy. I'm super pleased with these as I didn't intentionally over-expose them. I usually avoid mid-day like the plague, but it's the time we had to work with so there you go! We survived, and got a few gems that I will cherish for always!

Playing with available light

I love playing with light and trying new things. This is 100% natural light from her bedroom window. Yep! I saw this light and had to have it. ;) Obviously it worked perfectly with some texturing too! I am super pleased with this image and can't wait to play with this technique more! 

Prom 2014

My first time doing Prom pictures! It was an adventure to say the least and it was pretty dang cold... and obviously we were lacking some sleeves. Kindly, the gentlemen offered their jackets to their dates. :) I do have more images, and I'll try to remember to resize them, throw a watermark on them and share them! I have a few other photo sessions I need to get caught up with!! 

(If you want to see more images, "like" Alicia States Photography on Facebook!)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Winter Pearls

We had a fun mini session up in the mountains - where we found some snow! It may not seem like it since you don't really notice it in these images, but the snow really created the feel of this session. And do you like the pearls? I love 'em! :) These are my favorite images of each of them. It was a really mini session since it was so dang cold! But obviously a success!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Family Fun

I'm still behind on sessions! This is from a session in November just before the winter really set in! It was dang cold but these kids were exceptionally well behaved and we got some great images during this mini session!

This one is my favorite since it is so spontaneous and fun! It makes me smile :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I'm back... and ready to rock and roll!

I have a few shoots to preview here, but for now I'm just going to put this beautiful family up. This winter has been rough for me... creatively and mentally/emotionally. It's like this every year. I just can't seem to find a way to enjoy being out in the cold! I think (hope!) that for the most part, we're past the ridiculously cold temperatures... I can work with 30 ish degrees (still ew, but that's my compromise!). 

My point is, I'm back! My creative side is unleashed and ready to rock and roll!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Illustrative Portraiture

I would be lying if I said I wasn't thrilled about these images of my boys. I bought new reflectors (reigniting my love for manipulating light) and was exposed to the concept of illustrative portraiture by photographer extraordinaire, Sue Bryce and decided to give it a try. I am blown away at the impact of these images, and maybe I'm biased because they're my own offspring, but I worked hard on these images! The lighting and expressions were intentional, and adding the texture has made these my favorite portraits to date! I've already ordered large prints of each of them and can't wait to have them up on my walls! 

I'm kind of in love with this technique and plan to do a lot more of it! The timing is kind of perfect because it's getting cold outside! (I still plan on doing lots of outdoor sessions too, but this will balance me out!)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Portrait Party... aka Photo Partay!!

I am super behind on posting images from the past few sessions, but these girls are dying to see their pictures, so I'm "throwing" them up here! 

We laughed a lot as these girls worked the camera. :) Really, they're just naturally beautiful girls and getting incredible shots of them was easy peasy. 

My sister (the first one pictured) will be going back to Hawaii at the end of the month and wanted some fallish pictures before she leaves (haha pun not intended)! The colors weren't as brilliant as we had hoped, but obviously we got some good shots even if they don't scream Autumn! 

Honestly, so much fun!


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