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!

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!

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?

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!