Mini Sessions vs. Full Sessions . Ft. Wayne IN Family Photographer, Columbia City IN Family Photographer

I almost called this “Pro’s & Con’s of Mini Sessions vs. Full Sessions”, BUT it really just comes down to preferences.  So I don’t want to say one way is BETTER than another way.  It’s totally up to the photographer and client as to what they prefer.  If you’re considering having your family portraits taken, this might be really helpful for you to find what fits your preferences best!

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(Disclaimer: Every photographer is slightly different in how they price, shoot, and deliver their sessions.  So this post is tailored to your experience with me specifically.  This is how Valerie Joy Photography does sessions.  But it may overlap to other photographers in various ways.  I’d suggest clarifying with your photographer how they do things.)

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Mini Sessions:

-Location is chosen by the photographer, not the client.  Typically a themed session (Fall, Christmas, Snow, Sunflower field, Studio backdrop, etc.)

-Photographer chooses the dates that clients have to work around.

-$125.  Lower total cost compared to Full Session.  But not as good of a deal if you break it down per minute.

-15 minutes of shooting.

-Fast paced, to get the most photos during our time together.  This naturally doesn’t leave much time for personal discussions, or breaks for fussy children.  (It has happened that a child was fussy during their mini session, and the gallery was very limited because of that.  If we’d had more time, we could have taken a break to have a snack, and I could have delivered a much larger gallery.)

-Approximately 30 images in final edited online gallery for download.

-Best for clients on a smaller budget, families with members who can’t make it through a full hour of shooting, clients who prefer multiple smaller sessions per year, or only want a handful of images for whatever reason.

(If you want to know when I offer Mini Sessions, be sure to follow me on Facebook & Instagram to see those announcements.)

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Full Sessions:

-Location is chosen by client (based on photographer suggestions, if needed.)

-Client chooses the date and time which works best for them (within photographer’s availability, of course.)

-$250.  Higher total cost compared to Mini Session.  But a better deal if you break it down per minute.

-60 minutes of shooting.

-More casual pace, allowing kids to relax between poses, and photographer and client to get to know each other a little bit.  This pace usually leads clients to be much more comfortable in front of the camera.

-Approximately 120 images in final edited online gallery for download.

-Best for clients who want a larger gallery with LOTS of variety to choose from, who want to have more of a say in when & where their session is, and who want an individualized, relaxing experiences.

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If you’d like to book a Full Session with me, my favorite season for photos is almost here (FALL!!!!!) and my schedule fills up quick, so contact me ASAP!

Matt & Jenay’s Engagement . Ft. Wayne IN Engagement Photographer, Columbia City IN Engagement Photographer

I had the privilege to photograph this adorable couple last weekend while in Sarasota, FL visiting my family.  It brought back a lot of memories, as I’ve known Jenay since she was in elementary school, and we took pictures on the same property where I was married, all in my hometown!  What a nostalgic experience!!

fortwayneengagement_0337I asked Matt & Jenay during our session to describe each other in 3 words.  I think I may start asking all of my couples this!  I loved what it told me about each of them, and about what they cherished in each other.fortwayneengagement_0338Jenay said that Matt was:  Goofy, Loyal, and Cuddly

Matt described Jenay as:  Original, Bold, and Attentive to Detail

(I know…that was more than 3 words, but I’ll allow it. 😉fortwayneengagement_0339fortwayneengagement_0340fortwayneengagement_0341fortwayneengagement_0342fortwayneengagement_0343fortwayneengagement_0344fortwayneengagement_0345fortwayneengagement_0346fortwayneengagement_0347fortwayneengagement_0348fortwayneengagement_0349fortwayneengagement_0350fortwayneengagement_0351fortwayneengagement_0352fortwayneengagement_0353fortwayneengagement_0354fortwayneengagement_0355fortwayneengagement_0356fortwayneengagement_0357fortwayneengagement_0358fortwayneengagement_0359fortwayneengagement_0360God Bless you two!!  I can’t wait for the big day in November!

Payne Family . Ft. Wayne IN Family Photographer, Columbia City IN Family Photographer

While back in my hometown of Sarasota Florida last month I did an extended family session for my Aunt & Uncle and all of their kids and grandkids.  (I’m a tad partial to these folks!  I love them and miss them so much!!)

An Extended Family session is 2 hours long which allows plenty of time for multiple poses of every combination!

Combinations I typically take: the BIG family, individual families, kids, individual kids, couples, Grandma & Grandpa with the grandkids, adult siblings & spouses, and any other cute moments that happen naturally! fort wayne family photographer_0020fort wayne family photographer_0021fort wayne family photographer_0022fort wayne family photographer_0023fort wayne family photographer_0024fort wayne family photographer_0025fort wayne family photographer_0026fort wayne family photographer_0027fort wayne family photographer_0028fort wayne family photographer_0029fort wayne family photographer_0030fort wayne family photographer_0031fort wayne family photographer_0032fort wayne family photographer_0033fort wayne family photographer_0034fort wayne family photographer_0035

Comingore Family . Ft. Wayne IN Family Photographer, Sarasota FL Family Photographer, Columbia City IN Family Photographer

I first photographed the Comingore family 5 years ago when little Zeke was a newborn!  (the little guy in grey)  I love seeing them grow year after year, now Zane being a teenager, and little Remi the new “baby” in the family.  We had a sweaty but gorgeous evening together in Sarasota last week!

Miranda & Tom, You’ve created a beautiful little tribe!Fort Wayne family photographer_0100Fort Wayne family photographer_0101Fort Wayne family photographer_0102Fort Wayne family photographer_0103Fort Wayne family photographer_0104These beauties were perched on a tree as we started our session!  I had to stop and take their photo too!Fort Wayne family photographer_0105Fort Wayne family photographer_0106Fort Wayne family photographer_0107Fort Wayne family photographer_0108Fort Wayne family photographer_0109Fort Wayne family photographer_0110Fort Wayne family photographer_0111Fort Wayne family photographer_0112Fort Wayne family photographer_0113Fort Wayne family photographer_0114Fort Wayne family photographer_0115Fort Wayne family photographer_0116Fort Wayne family photographer_0117

The Webster’s: Day in the Life . Ft. Wayne IN Family Photographer, Sarasota FL Family Photographer, Warsaw IN Family Photographer

I flew back to my hometown in April, and while I was there I got to visit a dear friend.  A few years ago, her family moved out to the country, and she and her husband have really established a homestead out there; compete with a homeschool room, goats, chickens, bunnies, and amazing home design everywhere.  Becca & Erik are so talented!

This shoot was a typical “Day in the Life” of Becca and her two children.  Unfortunately, Erik couldn’t be in on the session because he was working.  But the other three were amazing models!fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0196fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0197Follow Becca’s Homeschooling journey on Instagram: @mirthandqueryfort wayne family photographer home shcool_0198fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0199fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0200fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0202fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0221fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0201fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0203fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0204fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0205fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0206fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0207fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0208fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0209fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0210fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0215fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0211fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0212fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0213fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0214fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0216fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0217fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0218fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0219fort wayne family photographer home shcool_0220

Savannah is 7! . Ft. Wayne IN Family Photographer, Sarasota FL Family Photographer, Warsaw IN Family Photographer

Savannah turned 7 last month!  And she was such a willing model for her “7-year-old” photo shoot!  This girl is a performer and had lots of pose ideas for us to try out!  Such as: Cartwheels, Splits, Jumping on the Trampoline, and the ‘ol hands-in-the-air gymnastics pose.

After those fun poses….(insert crying laughing emoji) we tried a few of my boring ideas.  😉 Love ya, Savannah!

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What to wear for your Engagement Session? . Ft. Wayne IN Engagement Photographer, Sarasota FL Engagement Photographer, Warsaw IN Engagement Photographer

Engagement sessions are possibly my favorite type of portrait session to do!  I LOVE love!  So to have two fiancé’s in front of the camera is super sweet to me!

But before you go into your engagement session its important to put some thought and effort into your look to make sure your photos are the best they can possibly be!  Here are a few tips to consider…

Coordinate but don’t match.

A good rule of thumb is one or two pops of color between both of your outfits, and the rest can be neutrals.

(Neutrals: denim, black, grey, brown, khaki, white, cream, navy. Get it?)

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Dress for your portrait LOCATION.

Springy blooms?  Go with lighter neutrals or soft pastels.what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0102Summertime picnic in the park?  Stick with light weight clothing to stay cool.what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0110In home session? Don’t be afraid to get a little romantic.what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0117Holiday time engagement?  Get festive for a few shots.what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0111Winter session?  Stay warm, so you’re not miserable! And layers look great when it’s chilly out.what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0119

Take this opportunity to dress up a little bit!

Go shopping for a new dress, some new heels, get your guy his first suit!  Pay the extra money to have your hair and makeup done professionally.  It can give you a really good idea of how you’ll look on your wedding day.  You’ve only got one shot for that, so it’s a great chance to practice during your engagement session!  Pay attention to your nails as well, as I’ll be focusing on your left hand for a few shot.what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0108

Accentuate your best features. 

Got great legs? Show them off with a cute pair of heels and cocktail dress!what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0103I love Teresa’s red hair, and she did a great job accenting it with her dress color!what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0104

Bring along a prop that fits your relationship!

A bouquet is a gorgeous accessory to make your photos extra classy.what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0118Is one of you musical?  Maybe we can work that into a few photos.what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0105Like having fun together? Be playful with a classic tree swing, or old fashioned bicycle.   what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0106Winter session?  Work a fun activity into your session!  (Ice skating, sledding, snowball fight.)  Winter is fun!  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to laugh together.what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0114Bring along a bottle of your favorite beverage for a toast!what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0107Accessorize with a hat or light shawl.  Then take them off for a totally different look!what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0109what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0116

Get your ring cleaned before your session.

I always take a few shots of your bling during our session.  Close ups, on your hand and on it’s own.  So the more sparkly and smudge-free, the better!what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0112

Bring multiple wardrobe options to your session.

It’s a great idea to bring a casual option and a formal option to your session.  This way your final gallery will have even more variety.

what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0120what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0121what to wear engagement session fort wayne photographer_0122Find my Pinterest board of wardrobe ideas here!

Hiring your Engagement Photographer . Ft. Wayne IN Wedding Photographer, Sarasota FL Wedding Photographer, Warsaw IN Wedding Photographer

If you’re in the midst of wedding planning, or looking forward to that exciting season in the future, here’s something to consider when choosing your Engagement & Wedding photographer….

There are several benefits to choosing the SAME photographer to shoot your engagement session and wedding day.  Some things to consider…  fort wayne engagement wedding photographer_0131

  1. Being in front of the camera is hard for most people.  It’s a little uncomfortable at first, and you’re not sure what to do with yourself.  But think of your engagement session as a practice run for your wedding day!  It’s a learning experience for couples AND photographers on how to get the best images together in this unique client/artist relationship.  Couples can learn posing techniques during their engagement session that will make portrait time on their wedding day much smoother!  Every photographer works a little differently, so learning your photographer’s specific instruction really helps you feel more confident in front of the camera.  Your photographer is also learning what poses YOU look best in, so on the wedding day they know exactly which ones to jump into.fort wayne engagement wedding photographer_0134
  2. In addition to learning posing techniques, you also get the chance to test your chemistry with your future wedding photographer.  If you enjoyed yourself during your engagement session, felt comfortable and encouraged, and are happy with the final images, then you should feel pretty confident working with them again for your big day!  (*AS LONG AS you’ve seen a solid portfolio of how they handle shooting a wedding day in all lighting situations.  Engagement Sessions are a lot more controlled than wedding days!  So, while figuring out how good your chemistry is, it’s also equally important that you feel confident in their technical ability to photograph in any situation. ie. dark church, bright sun, dark dance floor, etc. )fort wayne engagement wedding photographer_0133
  3. If you’re using the same photographer for your engagement session & wedding day, you’ll end up with consistent images.  The style of the final edited images will feel cohesive, which is nice when framing photos around your new home together.  Using two different photographers MAY mean that you get two different shooting/editing styles.  It’s not a right or wrong thing, just consider what you’d prefer before making the decision.fort wayne engagement wedding photographer_0135
  4. Your wedding photographer spends about as much time with you on your wedding day as your significant other!  Weird, but true.  They’re with you every step of the day; from getting dressed, to romantic portrait time, and touching base throughout the rest of the evening.  All of that to say, it’s so helpful to achieve a certain comfort level with that person; to have spent time getting to know each other over the months leading up to the wedding day.  And the engagement session is the perfect time to establish that relationship. fort wayne engagement wedding photographer_0132  (Just for the record, I don’t typically make people hold hands and skip. 😉  But these two are hilarious and their session was full of goofy poses.  So I love that black and white engagement image because it’s so specific to their quirky personalities.  Not everybody can pull that off.)

Payne Family . Ft. Wayne IN Family Photographer, Sarasota FL Family Photographer, Warsaw IN Family Photographer

Meet the Payne FAMILY!   Tanner (my cousin), Elisabeth and baby Jude.

I got to photograph Tanner & Liz’s engagement session & wedding a few years back, but this was the first time I photographed them as a family of 3!  We were together in Florida last week and squeezed in a little portrait session in my parents backyard.  They live in California now, so I only get to see them about once a year.  It was so nice to catch up with them and see them in this new role as parents!

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Wytch & Alli’s Wedding . Ft. Wayne IN Wedding Photographer, Sarasota FL Wedding Photographer, Warsaw IN Wedding Photographer

I’m so thankful that my talented friend, Alisia Thompson, still asks me to second shoot with her once in a while when I’m back home in Sarasota, FL!  This wedding on Sietsa Key, from early November was GORGEOUS!

Wytch and Alli were so kind and laid back, it was so easy working with them.  Their special day was complete with friends and family flown in for this destination event, a live band (who KILLED IT, despite several power outages), an adorable ice-cream cart, epic florals everywhere, and a view of the intercostal.  I mean, what more could you ask for?!

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I got some shots of the guys getting ready while Alisia went with the ladies…sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0101sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0102sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0103sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0104

Wytch had his brother, Ben, as his best man. sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0105sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0106sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0107sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0108

As the second shooter, I have the opportunity to capture some really precious moments in between poses, when clients think no one’s looking.  ;). I LOVED these mama faces, as she teared up over her boy getting married.sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0109sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0110sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0111sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0112sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0113sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0114sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0115sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0116sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0117sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0118sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0119sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0120sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0121sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0122sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0123sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0124sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0125sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0126sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0127sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0128sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0129sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0130sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0131sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0132sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0133sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0134sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0135sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0136sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0137sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0138sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0139sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0140sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0141sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0142sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0143sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0144sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0145sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0146sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0147sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0148sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0149sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0150sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0151sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0152sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0153sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0154sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0155sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0156sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0157sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0158sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0159sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0160sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0161sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0162sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0163sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0164sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0165sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0166sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0167sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0168sarasota siesta wedding photographer_0169