If you’re preparing for a photo session with your children, you may be feeling a bit apprehensive. Children aren’t always easy to deal with, which is why the below tips will definitely come in handy before your upcoming photo session.
- Don’t make a huge deal out of it. If you’re stressed out and cranky, your kids will usually pick up on it and act accordingly. Their behavior will usually be better if you are relaxed and having fun. You may have to make some compromises to keep the peace such as letting your energetic daughter’s hair stay straight instead of curling it into because she won’t sit still, but expressions are the important thing here. Focus on the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Don’t tell your kids to “smile”! Trying to coach your kids to smile is actually a surefire way to get fake smiles! An experienced photographer can usually coax real smiles from them, so let him do his job!
Make kid’s photo sessions fun!
- Make it fun. Let the kids have a couple “fun pictures” where they get to pick their own pose or props. You get to keep the more serious photos while they get to keep their silly photos. This way everyone wins. If you are struggling to get your kids to sit still, turn the photo session into a game. Simon Says usually works like a charm. Take a look online for children’s portraits that you really like. You’ll probably find that the ones you like best, and the ones that stand the test of time, are usually not the ones looking at the camera smiling anyway!
Often, the best portraits are not of the child smiling into the camera.
Be prepared. Ensure that your children are well rested and have had their nap. Bringing some drinks, snacks, and activities along is also a good idea. If you are having your own photos taken too then you might want to bring a babysitter or family member along to watch the kids. If you happen to be shooting in a remote location, you never know when you might need something like bug spray, tissues or a first aid kit, so bring that along too.
- Be patient. Save your sanity by trying not to control the photo session too much. Sometimes the best photos come from kids just doing their own thing. Work with your photographer and your photos will look fantastic.
- Have a chat. Get your children talking to both you and the photographer about topics such as school or their favorite songs. This allows them to feel more comfortable around your photographer and will also give your photographer a chance to capture a few candid and cute expressions.
There is a special kind of magic that comes with outdoor portrait sessions in the fall or winter. Beautiful autumn leaves, snow lightly falling, or icicles hanging from trees can create a
Fall portrait at an Annapolis family’s home.
beautiful backdrop for any photo session.
Here are some tips to make your fall or winter outdoor photo sessions go smoothly:
- Dress warmly. You will be surprised at how often this is overlooked for outdoor portrait sessions. Since you’ll be standing outside for a long period of time, short sleeves, thin fabrics, and open toe shoes will not be comfortable for very long. Shivering makes it hard to look happy and pose properly! (Also, for the best portrait, choose colors that coordinate well together. These can include navy, burgundy, or dark gray shades, but even a splash of color can work. Just make sure that everyone’s clothing works well together so that not one outfit stands out from the crowd.)
- Wear sunscreen. Protecting your skin – especially for children – should be a priority throughout the year, not just in summer. Use a good moisturizer to protect everyone’s skin from the chilly winds and low humidity.
- Watch the weather. Warmer days may seem more pleasant, but melting snow can change the entire look of your backdrop. If you are looking for light snow flurries, try and keep an eye on the weather forecast to make sure that you don’t end up with melting or heavy snow.
- Be flexible. If the weather isn’t exactly what you had hoped for, see if you can still make the photo session work. If you had to schedule this session in advance, you may just have to work with the weather on that particular day. (Keep in mind, many photographers charge more for outdoor portrait sessions partly because they often need to be rescheduled due to the weather. When that happens, it means another time slot that the photographer cannot book.)
- Incorporate color. Even though fall and winter have some amazing colors to work with, why not wear a splash of color to really stand out in your photos? For example, vibrant shades of blues, greens, and burgundy look amazing among crunchy brown leaves.
Fall child portrait at Allen Pond in Bowie, Maryland.
Plan your day. Taking your photos just after sunrise or just before the sun sets will provide you with amazing lighting, so try to plan your session around those times. (I usually don’t recommend mornings for fall photos, however, because it’s colder and grass and other surfaces are usually wet with dew. Fog can also block an otherwise beautiful background.)
- Bring warm drinks and snacks. This can be especially important if you have small children – you know how cranky they can get if they’re hungry (husbands, too!). A warm drink can also be great for the adults, and will make the experience more enjoyable for all. (Try hot apple cider or hot chocolate!)
- Talk with your photographer. Plan your session in advance and get further tips for locations, props, and more by talking with your photographer at least a couple of weeks before your session.
It was so sad to learn that just a week after I made these photos, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss (#6) was killed in the crash of his F/A-18 Hornet during practice in Tennessee. Capt. Kuss was a native of Durango, Colorado and had been on the elite demonstration team since 2014. Our hearts go out to Capt. Kuss’ family and friends.
US Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss of the Blue Angels is shown here flying his F/A-18 just days before he crashed and was killed in Tennessee.
After weeks of rain nearly every day, the weather turned gorgeous Tuesday and created a great day for watching the United States Navy’s Flight Demonstration team, known as the Blue Angels. They did their practice runs before their main show on Wednesday. Weather permitting, they visit Annapolis every year during the US Naval Academy’s Commissioning Week (graduation).
It was only fitting that I’m finally posting some Blue Angel images, especially since last year I was privileged to photograph the US Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado Springs, and got some great shots of the Thunderbirds, which is the Air Force’s demonstration team.
Lots of police, including these two MD State Troopers were on hand for traffic control and safety.
The Pittsburgh Steelers … before they were the Steelers!
I copy and restore lots of old photos. Many are historically significant, and others are simply just important to the family and interesting in their own way. Often times they have a great story behind them, and I thought that many of you would be interested in learning about some of them. So with that in mind, I’m starting “Wayback Wednesday” where, once a month or so – on a Wednesday – I’ll feature an old photo and tell a little bit about it. I hope you’ll like this idea!
Did you know that the Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t just play baseball?
The very first photo I’m writing about is one that my client, Tom Whelan from Crofton, picked up last week. His father, also named Thomas J. Whelan, played on the 1933 Pittsburgh Pirates football team. Yes, that’s right – I said the Pirates football team! Even though the city of Pittsburgh already had the baseball Pirates, it was common practice at the time to give NFL teams the same name as the local baseball team. (Not exactly sure why, but that’s what they did.) To distinguish between the two teams, local media took to calling the football team the “Rooneymen”, because the legendary Art Rooney was the owner. According to my client, Mr. Whelan, Rooney bought the franchise for the team in 1933 for $2500. Quite an investment, I’d say, as the team is still majority-owned by the Rooney family, and is now valued at over $1 Billion. The team didn’t actually become the “Steelers” until the 1936 season.
Thomas J. Whelan – the father – only got to play one season for the team due to suffering a knee injury. He had become quite the player during his college years at Catholic University when he was known as “Tommy” Whelan. According to the Catholic University Athletics website, Whelan “was one of college football’s most electrifying players in the 1930s and arguably the greatest running back in Catholic University history. The Washington Herald reported that Holy Cross Coach John McEwan called him CUA’s “George Gipp,” after the legendary Notre Dame running back who inspired Fighting Irish Coach Knute Rockne’s ‘Win One for the Gipper’ speech”. The site goes on to say that the “1932 Cardinals were one of the most dominant teams in CUA history, going 6-1-1 with five shutouts. They outscored their opponents 123-21, with Whelan providing much of the offensive fireworks. In the season-opening 47-0 win at CCNY, he threw a 22-yard TD pass, had a 65-yard kickoff return and scored on a 10-yard run”. Whelan was the 1932 team MVP and an honorable mention All-American.
1933 Pittsburgh Pirates (Steelers) NFL Football team. Art Rooney is the first man on the left in the 2nd row (in the suit). Thomas Whelan is the last man on the right on the front row (seated on the ground).
Unlike most of the old photos I receive, I didn’t really fully restore the photo that Mr. Whelan brought in. Art Rooney had sent the photo to Whelan years ago, and Mr. Whelan just wanted me to copy it and make the faded text a bit clearer. Mr. Whelan has lots of other photos and news clippings from his father’s football days, and it was fascinating to see them.
Thanks to Mr. Whelan for allowing me to share a bit of this history.
Coach Kill Unable to Continue Doing What He Loves
“It was, perhaps, the most gut-wrenching retirement announcement in sports”, CNN said today about the press conference by University of Minnesota head football coach, Jerry Kill. “The football
Head Football Coach Kill of the University of Minnesota.
coach wept at the podium. He stopped every few words, sought to compose himself and then choked up more. His livelihood, his passion, his dream ripped away.”
I’ve had the honor of meeting and photographing Coach Kill and his wife a couple of times, once in DC about two years ago, and then last year in Minneapolis. They are great people, and their entire family has struggled with the effects of his epilepsy. Even after having seizures during nationally televised games over the past couple of years, Coach Kill pushed himself to continue. He was even named Big 10 Coach of the Year last year, but now his career seems to be over. After more and more seizures and complications due to his medications, he decided to retire immediately. He didn’t want to “cheat” the team and university because he could no longer give it his all.
I wish the best to Coach Kill and his family.
Read the CNN article.
The School of Rock held its “Rock 101” concert at the Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge in Annapolis on Saturday, May 16. (See more photos on our Facebook page.)
More info from the SOR website:
“For more than a decade, School of Rock has been inspiring kids to rock on stage and in life. Founded as a single school in Philadelphia, PA in 1998, School of Rock has become a growing international franchise, operating over 150 schools in the US and Mexico.
We believe the best way to learn music is to play music. We take students from the lesson room to the stage, developing both their confidence and musicianship with programs designed for all skill levels.
School of Rock teaches guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards, drums and combines weekly private music lessons and group band rehearsals to prepare students to take the stage in front of live audiences in an authentic concert setting.”
You can learn more on SOR’s website.
It’s been so busy lately, I haven’t had time to post, but little Olivia was so good for her 9 month session on Friday that I just had to post a couple of her baby portraits. Olivia’s parents are taking advantage of my Cradle Club, which gives them several sessions from newborn to her first birthday. She’s just so cute!
Olivia at 9 month Cradle Club session
Nashville skyline, as seen from the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. (All photography in this article by David Anderson.)
Nashville certainly lives up to its nickname as the “Music City”. With tons of bars, concert venues, and honky-tonks all over town, you can find live music nearly any time of the day or night. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a place where the music isn’t top-notch. Even the airport bars feature musicians. But, Nashville offers a lot more than just musical entertainment, including world-class resorts, art galleries, and an eclectic variety of shops and boutiques. The city is easy to navigate, and even if you only have a few hours as I did recently, you can see and do a lot, including visiting the only full-size replica of Greece’s Parthenon. That’s right – the Parthenon. (See photos of the Parthenon later in this article.)
The Gaylord Opryland Resort where I recently stayed for several days days, is just 15 minutes from downtown. This huge hotel complex features over 2700 rooms and suites, more than a dozen restaurants and bars, and a large convention center. Once inside this sprawling complex, and after you’ve somewhat figured out how to get from Point A to Point B, you’ll find park-like settings complete with palm trees, water falls, and even a quarter-mile indoor river that offers boat rides. It’s almost like being in a tropical forest at times, and although you can be indoors during an entire stay, the gardens and wide-open glass rooftops can make you feel as though you are outdoors. Like most resorts, the place is a bit pricey – a hamburger can cost $19 (but, that does include fries!). The reason for my visit this week was to attend Imaging USA, which is an annual convention produced by the Professional Photographers of America. Imaging is held at various locations around the country … I was in Phoenix for it last year. With over 11,000 photographers attending this year to take part in the multitude of classes and the huge Expo, even this giant hotel was sold out.
Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland. Tropical forests and waterfalls abound.
One of Nashville’s best-known thoroughfares is Broadway. The area from 1st Ave. to about 5th Ave. is known as “Lower Broadway’, and is where most tourists wind up because it’s the location of the Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman is the famous original home of the Grand Ole Opry, which is now located outside of downtown beside the Gaylord. The Country Music Hall of Fame is also near the Ryman, and also attracts lots of country fans. But, probably the biggest draw to the area on a daily basis is the multitude of bars (honky-tonks) that feature live country music and bluegrass nearly round the clock, and every day of the week. Many famous stars were discovered in some of these places, and in other locations around the City as well.
The Ryman Auditorium and honky-tonks feature live music on Lower Broadway.
More than just Honky-Tonks
Lower Broadway and the nearby streets offer a lot more than just honky-tonks, and New York City isn’t the only place you can enjoy the “neon lights on Broadway”. Just like New York, on Nashville’s Broadway you can enjoy a fun ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or you can just walk the area to marvel at the neon lights, candy shops, and unique boutiques. You’ll also find that the food in most of the establishments is very good, and is reasonably priced. That’s an especially nice treat if you’ve had to pay the prices at Opryland’s establishments.
Fried pickles are a favorite around Nashville. It’s fun to enjoy a good band while having lunch!
Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is one of most popular and unique candy shops in Nashville.
Take a carriage ride, window shop, or enjoy the neon lights on Broadway.
Elliston Place Soda Shop t is a cool little diner in the less touristy west side of Nashville. Having been a soda shop since 1939, it claims to be “Nashville’s oldest continuously operating restaurant in its original location”. We just saw it and decided to have lunch here, but this place is often used to film music videos and commercials, and is frequented by local and national celebrities and politicians.
The Shelby Street Bridge spans Nashville’s Cumberland River and is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world. The Nashville skyline is just across the river, and a park and “spray ground” are at the other end.
Yes, the Parthenon is in Nashville!
A trip to Nashville wouldn’t be complete without seeing the world’s only full-size replica of Greece’s Parthenon. Nashville’s version was first built as a temporary structure in 1897 to celebrate Tennessee’s Centennial, but due to its popularity, the City decided to keep it. The original structure stood until 1921 when the worn structure was torn down and rebuilt with permanent materials. The construction took 10 years, and Nashville is now known as “the Athens of the South”.
The Parthenon, with my friends Al and Jackie who graciously drove me around town.
Overcast skies gave way to big wet snow flakes as Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. was sworn-in as the 62nd Governor of the State of Maryland today. Hogan’s running mate, Boyd K. Rutherford, was also sworn-in as Maryland’s 9th Lt. Governor.
The official Oaths of Office were actually given in the Senate Chambers at twelve noon, and they were broadcast over TV monitors outside. All the officials and dignitaries then moved outdoors to the stage set up on the West Portico of the Statehouse. Immediate past-Governor Martin O’Malley and several former governors were on-hand to watch as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie officially presented the new Governor.
Larry Hogan, accompanied by his wife Yumi, took the oath of office from Mary Ellen Barbera, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, to become the 62nd governor of Maryland.
Former Governor Bob Ehrlich welcomes everyone to the ceremony.
Clockwise, from top left: SGT Louis Velez leads the Pledge of Allegiance; James Brady, Master of Ceremonies; Hogan’s daughter, Jaymi Sterling; Archbishop William Lori gives Invocation; Marshall Porter, son of new Lt. Gov. Rutherford formally presents his father.
Maryland’s 9th Lt. Governor, Boyd Rutherford, takes the ceremonial oath of office, and Gov. Chris Christie presents Maryland’s new Governor, Larry Hogan, while the crowd gets covered with large wet snow flakes.
Chief Warrant Officer Donald Teesdale of the Md. National Guard sings “America the Beautiful”, while the Bowie State University Concert Choir listens to Dr. Kwang Kyu Lee sing the Star Spangled Banner.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie formally presents new Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan.
The Bowie State University Concert Choir, the U.S. Naval Academy Band, and CWO Donald Teesdale perform.
It was good to see world-renowned photographer, and Canon Explorer of Light, Clay Blackmore.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” -”
― Michael Altshuler
First, a little about 2014
Another year has flown by, and I had a good year here at the studio. My year started out with a trip to Phoenix for ImagingUSA, where I served as a mentor to photographers attending for the first time. Throughout the rest of the year I photographed somewhere around 200 portrait sessions, covered several corporate events and conferences as far away as Minneapolis, did a few magazine shoots, and finished numerous other commercial projects. I also copied and restored hundreds of old photos, provided framing services, designed a bunch of custom greeting cards and other press-printed pieces, and made custom canvas portraits as large as 5 feet long. I shipped portraits to several different states, and even as far away as Japan. Not bad for a (mostly) one-man operation! Also, with the help of a couple of others, we taught several classes through our new Annapolis Photo School. All in all, it’s been a pretty darn busy year!
Now, on to the coming year
2015 is shaping up to also be busy – at least based on what we have scheduled for the first half of the year so far. Five weekends in January and February are already booked up with sessions and events. Plus, along with more than 10,000 other photographers from around the world, I’ll again be attending ImagingUSA, this time in Nashville at the beginning of February. I’ve been told that some of my work will be featured at one of the events this year, so I’m looking forward to that!
The current year isn’t yet over, but I’m also starting to book USNA Midshipman portraits. I have some scheduled for the studio starting in January, but most of these will be done in the spring on the “Yard” once the flowers are out. I then scramble to have the previews ready so that parents can come see them when they’re in town for Commissioning Week in May. Of course, photographing Midshipmen is to be expected for a studio based in Annapolis, but last year I was fortunate to also make portraits at the United States Military Academy at West Point. And now, to top it all off, this year I’ve been commissioned to do portraits at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs! I’m definitely looking forward to that, and if the timing works out, I’ll take the family with me on that one.
Also, in March and April, I’ll be photographing Junior Class Models from the Class of 2016, and will photographing late-comers from the Class of 2015. Our annual fundraiser for Operation Smile is also in April, so I need to get to work on that soon, too!
Our Annapolis Photo School is shaping up for the year as well, with Amazon currently selling our introductory camera classes. The first few classes will be held at the Annapolis Hampton Inns and Suites, but we’re also adding more extensive workshops for small groups of up to eight students here in the studio.
Whew! So that’s a summary of what we’re working on for the first half of the coming year … as best I can remember off the top of my head right now! We’ll see what’s in store for the second half of the year, but as always, I never want to be so busy that I can’t give individual attention to every client. In any case, I hope 2015 will be successful for us — and for you! Happy New Year!
(Because I’m so busy at Holiday time, we seldom get out cards to friends and clients until New Year’s – or after. This time we did something a little different, and photographed my daughters on my new motorcycle. Hope you like it!)
Happy New Year from David Anderson Photography (and Family)!