Fun Family Session In Chattanooga

My Dear Ashley,

What a fun adventure it was to come all the way down to your new home to do portraits of your beautiful family! I loved being able to capture your new normal and explore around the Walnut St. Bridge with you. Your kiddos always make me laugh with their stoic expressions, they’ll love me someday. You family is the epitome of love and connection and you know I always love spending time with you. My hope for you is that your heart stays full and that your smile always continues to light up you whole face!

 


About this outdoor session in Chattanooga, Tennessee

My dear friend Ashley asked me if my family would like to come down for a labor day party she was hosting. Well of course I want to go to TN! Also, we decided that While I was down there we needed to update her family photos. I searched online for the perfect location and came across a GORGEOUS bridge that I knew we had to use! The Walnut Street walking bridge is a beautiful landmark to the charming city of Chattanooga. Mike and I fell in love with it and the city from the moment we got there. We had an early morning session beginning on the bridge and moved down to Coolidge Park right below it. The park was absolutely gorgeous with great art and architecture. We had so fun walking around it almost didn’t feel like we were there for family portraits. I cannot wait to go back to this amazing location.


 

Crystal is a professional photographer based in the small town of Vernon, NY. She specializes in FamilyMaternity, and Newborn Photography. She photographs both in her Vernon, NY studio and on location. Her photography style is light and airy that will blend beautifully in any home. She loves to create natural, organic moments for her clients to showcase who they really are.
Would you like to learn more or are you ready to book a session? Contact her today by clicking here

Newborn Session with Twin Big Brothers

Sweet Colton,

What a life you are going to have! You’ll be following around two wild older brothers and joining in on the chaos. What a day we had! When it was finally time to have your individual photos you slept like a dream baby and gave me so many delicious smiles. You were thrilled to have the studio all to yourself. I have no doubt that you are going to move mountains when you grow up. You have a lot of mischief to get into with your older brothers and a lot of love to get from your sweet Mama and Daddy!

 

About This Studio Newborn Session

I knew I had my work cut out for me with Cole’s Mama told me he had 1 year old twin older brothers. I rolled up my sleeves and got ready for the challenge and told his Mama “We’ve got this!” We had to work, work, work, for the beautiful smiles we got BUT we got them and the images speak for themselves. We chose a simple neutral color palette with some blue to match the photos they had of their twins. I’d say we knocked this session right out of the park!


Crystal is a professional photographer based in the small town of Vernon, NY. She specializes in FamilyMaternity, and Newborn Photography. She photographs both in her Vernon, NY studio and on location. Her photography style is light and airy that will blend beautifully in any home. She loves to create natural, organic moments for her clients to showcase who they really are.
Would you like to learn more or are you ready to book a session? Contact her today by clicking here

CNY Newborn Photographer | Baby Bowen

Sweet Bowen,

What a delight you are! You are so, so loved! You big brother Keegan was so proud to have you with him and be photographed with you. There was the perfect amount of space for you in your lovely little family. They all held you so sweetly and looked at you with so much love in their eyes. I was so thrilled to be able to snuggle you and capture your adorable yawns and tiny smirks. My hope for you is that you have an incredible bond with your older brother and that you fill the lives of others with love and joy. Knowing the footsteps that you are following in I have no doubt that that will come true.

Sincerely,

Crystal

About This CNY Studio Newborn Session

I incorporated a bit more color into this newborn session that I have in the past and I didn’t hate it. The blue backdrop added the perfect touch of color for such a sweet boy. Mama brought in one of dad’s flannel shirts and we wrapped little Bowen up nice and snug. He LOVED it. I loved the personal touch it added to their memories. We got it all done on a very warm day in August, we almost didn’t even need to heat the studio… almost. I absolutely love the family portraits for this session, they’re some of the sweetest moments I’ve had the honor to capture.


Crystal is a professional photographer based in the small town of Vernon, NY. She specializes in Family, Maternity, and Newborn Photography. She photographs both in her Vernon, NY studio and on location. Her photography style is light and airy that will blend beautifully in any home. She loves to create natural, organic moments for her clients to showcase who they really are.
Would you like to learn more or are you ready to book a session? Contact her today by clicking here

A Review: Sleeklens Portrait Perfection

Very recently I was given the sweet opportunity to try out the Portrait Perfection actions for Photoshop by Sleeklins!

One of the most difficult aspects of editing photos is maintaining consistency in the way your photos look. I work very hard to make sure that I deliver galleries that are consistent and cohesive. My clients hire me because they love the way my photos look, I need to make sure I can deliver that look each and every time.

This is why I love actions, they allow me to edit to my style but also save me loads of time so I can finish editing and be with my family!

Portrait Perfection by Sleeklens comes with 56 actions to help you adjust brightness, temperature, color tones as well as make adjustments to all the small details of your image. They we’re easy to install and use right away. It has an easy to follow flow, starting with a base adjustment over your whole image. Next adjusting exposure and warmth, then cleaning and polishing faces, and adding beautiful tones to help your image POP. You finish with some resizing actions so you image looks great on the web. It was very simple to follow the recipe examples they give you in their helpful PDF guide, or create my own recipe!

This action set really helped give my photos the subtle adjustments with the perfect amount of pop!

Before

After


Before

After

 

I was very impressed with how little and how much I could do! I would absolutely recommend this set to beginners and seasoned users of Photoshop.

If you are interested you can get them here. It’s definitely one of the BEST prices I have seen for this many actions as well!

 

You can follow their blog with tons of helpful info here, And check out the entire line of Photoshop Actions they offer here. 

If you prefer Lightroom over Photoshop they also have a whole line of presets! Here are the tutorials for those as well, and their Pinterest page!

Family Session at Lake Delta

Grande Family

Dear Kelly,

I was so excited when you asked me to photograph your beautiful family again! Sweet little Keegan steals a little piece of my heart each time I see him. What an honor it is to be allowed to document such a special time for your family while you are preparing to grow and take on a new adventure. I absolutely loved witnessing the special bond that you and your husband share. My hope for your family is that this transition into a family of 5 is an easy and delightful one, and that you cherish every day you have with all of your boys.

About this Outdoor Family Maternity Session at Lake Delta

We just so happened to do this session on the summer equinox, the longest day of the year. The bugs and sunlight were plentiful on this beautiful June day. While we waited for the sun to drop closer to the horizon we walked along the trails and played among the trees. The light gave these images a lot of contrast and beautiful tones. Though we didn’t get as much golden hour light as I would have hoped for I still love the feeling in these photos.
This family played along with me as I coaxed them through a series of fun little games to loosen them up and get real expressions from them. Keegan really tested my trigger finger as he would run in for a quick, sweet moment and run out just a fast. I still got him! Mom and Dad shared some very special sweet moments and LOTS of fun laughs!
I cannot wait for that sweet baby to come and we can do newborn photos.


Crystal is a professional photographer based in the small town of Vernon, NY. She specializes in Family, Maternity, and Newborn Photography. She photographs both in her Vernon, NY studio and on location. Her photography style is light and airy that will blend beautifully in any home. She loves to create natural, organic moments for her clients to showcase who they really are.
Would you like to learn more or are you ready to book a session? Contact her today by clicking here

Take better photos with Your Cell phone

Capturing great photos of your own children can be such a challenge, amirite!? They’re so quick and and often equipped with the attention span of a gnat. By the time you get that camera app to open they have moved on to the next thing. I know not everyone has the ability to get professional photos of their families. I want to give you guys some of my tips for setting yourself up to get great photos of your kids with the camera you most likely ALWAYS have on you; your phone.

Be patient

To get the one amazing shot you are going to have to be patient and ready. Since your children have no patience to sit still for your dream photo, you have to have patience to wait for them to give it to you. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s true. Wait for that organic moment and that genuine smile rather than forcing them to participate. I love to put down my camera and talk to kiddos about things they love. Dinosaurs are usually a good way to get Ethan smiling, I hold one up and call it the wrong thing and it typically gets a chuckle.

Find the right light

Many people become worried when they’re going to have professional photos done and the forecast says cloudy. Photographers LOVE cloudy days when shooting outside. The sun will cast harsh, strong light and create really dark shadows. Clouds act as a diffuser and help to soften the light and allow for nice soft shadows. If it’s not cloudy, find some open shade and look for even lighting across the skin.
Photographers have 2 small time frames during the day that we prefer to shoot, its called Golden Hour. Golden hour is within an hour of sunrise and sunset, when the suns rays have more atmosphere to travel through and produce longer, softer shadows. So if you want amazing light (and you’re brave lol) take your kiddos out to play just before sunset.

Get down on their level

I love to add interest to a photo by getting down to the kids eye level and seeing the world as they see it. I love sitting my kids in front of a pretty bush to fill the background, eliminate distractions and make sure the focus is on the child.

Emphasize their smallness

I also love to get up above them and shoot down. This perspective shows the viewer how little the child is compared to their world. You can see in the photo below that I’m actually standing on a chair to get above her as she climbs the slide.

Remember the details

Their toes aren’t always going to be this tiny. They won’t always go down the slide on their bellies. Don’t pass up these sweet moments when your child isn’t into looking at the camera or doesn’t want to smile for you.
The small details are going to be the things you miss most when they grow up. Someday I’m going to see a small child go down the slide on their belly and tell Ev about how she used to ride that way.




Frame them, draw the viewers eye in

Find a way to frame them them in the photo, I love using this circle in the kids play place! This is an easy way to play peek a boo and get them to look at you and smile naturally! Find interesting archways in a hall and put them in it!

Don’t shoot up the nose!

This angle is super unflattering just about any way you do it. No one wants to search for boogies in a photo. Try to aim down the nose if you can 🙂

 

There you have it, some tips to help you take better photos of your kiddos with your cell phone. Get out there and practice! I’ll admit I could use some more practice with my cell phone. I love the control I have with my good camera, my cell phone isn’t as fast so it takes me some time to get that shot I’m looking for. The camera on my phone is what I have available 95% of the time though so it’s what I use and I love it for it’s easy access.

 

Five Tips for Transitioning From One Child to Two

Being a parent in and of itself is a tough gig, and transitioning to two kids takes a lot of work. SO often with my son I thought to myself “man this is hard! How do people do this with multiple kids?” My grandmother had ten kids… TEN! Sure, after a while you’ll have older kids that can help out with the younger kids but those first few years can be rough with little ones when you’re a new mom. Depending on how close your children are in age it can get really rough dealing with different stages.
I am by no means an expert, but I have learned a few things in my experience having two children 22 months apart. I’d like to share them with you!

1. Routine, Routine, Routine

I know, everyone says this. This is probably the HARDEST thing to accomplish when switching to more than one child but it’d the best way to keep your sanity those first few months. Unfortunately, newborns have their own schedules, but they’re also easy to move around or strap to you if you need to get things done. The schedule is really going to benefit your older child, kids LOVE structure and they love KNOWING. Even if you think they have no idea what you are saying tell them “okay buddy, we are going to get dressed, we’re going to eat some toast, and then you’re going to color while mommy feeds baby.” Eventually this routine will stick and your older child will thrive with it.

2. Choose Super Easy Meals

I don’t know anyone that wants to cook dinner after spending their whole day trying to entertain a toddler and be at a newborns beck and call. If you’re ambitious, before baby comes prep freezer meals that you can throw in a crock-pot. Otherwise stick to meals that you can whip together in 20 minutes and throw in the crock-pot to cook all day. Chicken fajitas are super easy to just throw some chicken, seasoning, peppers and onions in the pot while the baby naps and just let cook for 5 hours on low. My all-time favorite new thing are crock-pot liners. These babies are seriously heaven sent for busy moms because you don’t have to clean afterwards. Just pull the liner out and throw it away. The environmentalist in me feels sad over it but I needed efficiency when I was navigating this new stage.

3. Take Some Time for You at Least Once a Day

I found it was so easy to become burnt out from being with two babies all day, especially because I was nursing. At the end of the day I would just want to be not touched by anyone or anything and I just wanted to be somewhere quiet where I could recollect myself. Breastfeeding took A LOT out of me mentally and physically. My space was always being invaded and I needed some time to myself to unwind. My shower time was usually that time. I shut the door, take my time in there and just breathe and relax. Find a space that you can go for even just 30 minutes a day where you can hear the noise of the kids and refocus.

4. Embrace the Chaos

Your house will get super cluttered and messy. Your toddler will probably eat nothing but junk for a while. You will have heaps and heaps of laundry. It is okay to let things slide while you are adjusting to this new normal. Don’t think that you have to have a perfect house and 3 course meals, and folded laundry. Focus on your babies, and focus on you. When you get a moment throw some clothes in fast or run a load of dishes. If you have a crazy, if the baby is being clingy and cluster feeding and you haven’t made it off the couch, DON’T WORRY. It is so okay if you just spent you day trying to survive and keep you kids happy.

5. Utilize Screen Time

I am definitely a mom who likes to get my kids outside playing and using their imaginations. I was raised that if it was nice out kids were to be outside, and those memories are some of my favorites. I am also a mom who views TV time and tablet time an a necessary resource to save my sanity when I need to get things done. In those first newborn months, my toddler was allowed a lot of time on his tablet in the morning because that was the time I struggled the most with the baby. I knew that he would sit quietly on his tablet for at least two hours and that would allow my time to get the baby and myself fed and dressed. I will never feel guilty about that because it helped me, he loved it, he learned a TON, and the baby’s needs were met. Ethan knows his letters, numbers, animals, shapes, and even dinosaurs because of his tablet (mostly.) Plus, we still spend plenty of time playing on the floor together and outside when it’s nice out!

 

There we have it! Just a couple simple things that I learned after having my second baby. It was definitely a hard adjustment, my daughter was a totally different baby than my son so I had to learn how to do everything all over again with her. She ate differently, slept differently, and was comforted differently. The most important thing to note is that no one knows your children better than you. Trust your gut and go with the flow. You do not have to be perfect, your babies will never remember that you didn’t wash their clothes and their wearing the same shirt three days in a row lol. They will remember the time you build the best blanket fort under the kitchen table though.

CNY Newborn Photographer – Reygan

Baby Girl Reygan,
What a sweet, sweet girl you are. I could have stared at your cute little chin and lips all day long. You are such a lucky, loved little girl. It was so clear that your Momma, Grandma, and Great-Grandma were just infatuated with you. We had such a lovely time bonding over how cute you looked and how ready you were to take photos, you kept looking right in my camera,. You knew what was going on! I hope you continue to grow into a strong, amazing woman like your Momma, and that your life continues to be so fun of love.

Love,

Your oh so patient photographer, Crystal

About this Central New York Studio Newborn Session

Reygan’s Momma contacted me after seeing my newborn photo with the gorgeous flower wreath around it. I absolutely love creating those images and putting the thought into my favorite flower colors and placement. They add just the perfect amount of pop and flair to my favorite neutrals and soft colors without taking away from the beauty of the baby. I did this session with studio lighting so that her Momma could schedule a later time session and bring in family members to be a part of it too. The family portraits from this session may be some of my all time favorite images I’ve taken. In a decade those images are going to mean so much to Reygan and her Momma and I am certain they are going to love looking at them on their walls every day.

To see more of my newborn art go here

If you are ready to book your own newborn session please contact me here. I would LOVE to help you plan your dream session!

Richards Newborn Session

Newborn session in Hammondsport, New York

Sweet baby Richard,

I could have just held you forever. Your momma and daddy are the most incredible people and I love them dearly, and they certainly love you so, so much. You came into this world a bit ahead of schedule and surprised everyone. After you spent some time packing on the pounds and growing that little body of yours I was finally able to get my hands on you for your newborn session. I think you are definitely the funniest baby I have ever photographed, you had us all laughing! I hope that you continue to grow and maintain that feisty little attitude of yours!
Love forever and always,

Aunt Crystal<3

About this Session

For this session I actually traveled to the family to their camp on beautiful Keuka Lake. Their home there was absolutely gorgeous and I loved being able to use the natural light that spilled in those windows for some of the images. I kept the color palette neutral and simple in order to ensure these images will remain timeless and can be display in their homes for many years to come. We had such an amazing time and it was wonderful catching up with my friends from college again

To book your newborn session click here

Dress For Success

clothing colors

Just about every photo session I have had my clients have all asked me one question… “WHAT do we wear!?” Don’t worry, I thought the same thing when I had to dress my family for our session in November. There are a few things to consider when choosing clothing for photos.

Comfort

The main thing is you want to be comfortable! You want to make sure that you like what you are wearing and you’re happy in it. Be sure it matches your typical style; if you don’t usually wear heels in your everyday life, don’t wear heels. You don’t want to look back at your photos and think about how much you disliked your outfit or felt like it didn’t represent you.

Style

The second thing is to think about the style of your home. How do you normally decorate? Is your home full of bright colors and patterns? Maybe you decorate with muted neutrals and natural wood. Think about how your clothes can match your walls, you want your photos to look like they belong in your house.

Timeless

Last, think about looking back at these photos in 30 years. How many people do you know look at a photo of themselves from the 80’s and say “oh man why did I wear my hair that big!?” You want your photos to be timeless. In 200 years that photo should still be able to be placed on the walls of a home and still match wonderfully.

So, how do we do this? Well my suggestion is start with a neutral tone or two; grey, beige, eggshell etc. Then, choose at least two “pops” of color in each outfit; pink & teal, burgundy, and navy, peach and mint etc. You don’t have to put every color on every person, and you don’t want to dress “matchy,” you want to coordinate. Add color in necklaces, scarves, & shoes, it doesn’t have to be just on clothes. Also, don’t be afraid of mixing textures. Fun texture can add a lot of interest to a photo; lace, linen, and knit are all textures you can mix and match in layers of clothes.

My final suggestion is to start with mom’s outfit first and build other outfits from there one at a time. Check out Pinterest for color palette ideas, they have some seriously awesome ones there, it’s a great point of inspiration. There you have it, some easy things to think about when you’re trying to dress your family for photos.

My family photo is included above courtesy of Kayla McDonough Photography <3

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