First impressions mean everything. Gaining a competitive edge and setting a strong and positive first impression is key to success in this fast paced, overly competitive world. In the age of social media, ensuring someones first impression of you is paramount to even being considered for a job.

What would you spend to make a great first impression? To stand out above the rest and to be taken seriously professionally? To make more money ? Understanding how to work in the system and draw positive attention to yourself is what creates your ‘brand’. Be sure that what you are putting out there is in line with what you want to get out of your professional path.

Once potential clients or employers become aware and interested in you,  they being the online research. I personally take time to review all my clients social media posting and professional profiles so I can get a feel for the types of services they will most likely value. Now, imagine if I was looking to hire you? I can say for sure, those of you with the cropped out cell phone shot or the duck faced selfie, would be the first to go.

By the fourth quarter of 2015 LinkedIn had 414 Million users (1). This is a massive market. Your social media presence is key to people having a positive first impression of you.

How can you best represent yourself in a highly competitive market? Make an amazing first impression? Your headshot MUST be professionally done. This is the first face time you get with people and sets the tone for the rest of their experience with you. Before, a strong handshake and looking them squarely in the eye was a sign of competence. Your headshot is now your first impression. Men would buy a suit, women would spend money on nice clothing, not taking the time to incorporate a quality headshot is the same as coming underdressed to an interview.

headshots01

This is a recent headshot of Apryl. She works professionally in HR and also has a side business selling Scensty. 

You may be one of the many people, like myself, that grew up where your reputation and quality of work were more important than the online presence. Not anymore. If you want to stay ahead of the curve and attract clients and positions from quality sources, you MUST invest in a headshot from a real photographer. They should be in the starting  range from $50-$175 depending on the location and photographer. This is of course for a backdrop and a simple smile for the camera. Portraiture that requires more planning will be more expensive.

 

 

  1. Statista “Number of LinkedIn Members from 1st Quarter 2009 to 4th Quarter 2015). www.statist.com. 2105

Take a moment and think about your favorite pictures.

Whether they are displayed in your house, on the screen of your phone, or pinned up in your office… they trigger a memory and remind you of the things – or people – you love. The most precious images are not just of the major events of your life, but often of you with the people you cherish most.

Last week, I discussed the importance of newborn portraits (if you missed this AWESOME post, check it out here!); But, today, I’m emphasizing why you need to prioritize family portraits.

Concern: So you have children. Often they refuse to wear nice clothes. It’s also impossible to have them stay clean for more than five minutes, and leaving your house can be an exhausting battle. On top of that, you keep waiting until you lose the last 15 (or 40- hello me) pounds before you get your picture taken.

While the leisurely days of single life are gone, remember that now you have a new kind of chaos, and it’s amazing. You love your kids like nothing else, but your priorities have changed. A year goes by as if it was just three months. You always mean to get a family picture done, but coordinating outfits and convincing/bribing/threatening your kids to hold still feels overwhelming. Thus, pictures are often forgotten or put off.

You see that people get portraits done by photo hobbyists, but half the time the parents look awful. Or, you search for a photographer and find hundreds of responses but NO TIME to sort through who is ‘good enough’ and ‘worth the price’. So, you shelve it until the next season, when surely you will have more time.

Reality: Right now… TODAY… you’re as perfect and the youngest you’re ever going to be. Your kids may not be perfect, but YOU LOVE THEM and they are most precious things to you. You will TREASURE images of you all together throughout the stages of your children’s lives. Your family won’t ever judge the way you look, but they will wonder why there are no pictures of you all together. You CAN get your kids to sit still for a few minutes and outfits don’t need to be crazy, just clean and coordinated. A white shirt and jeans (or kaki’s) go a long way in making you all look good.

Kids grow up WAY TOO FAST: you will quickly forget those silly smiles, crazy hair, and will wish you had some great images. Looking back every year of pictures of my children and myself has been such a blessing. We can see how we have grown and changed, and it brings so much joy to me to know that we have taken the time to invest in such an important element of documenting our family. Seeing a beautiful picture of you and your family in your home will be worth the hour of planning and getting ready.

Solution: If you have really small children, a quick 15-minute photo session is great. Just get everyone dressed, and bribe them with Sweet Frog or their favorite desert to occur immediately after they cooperate for a few minutes. I strategically place everyone so they look amazing, snap away, and get a few perfect portraits. I recommend this for anyone with kids under six!

For parents with children older than six, you can have the more lengthy portrait sessions if you choose. The benefit is more locations for different looks. This is not a necessity, though. If you’re busy, just book a mini session and get it done. But, often you will find that 40 minutes goes VERY quickly and the session is painless.

I make sure to smile, be creative and fun, and keep it flowing quickly. You will always look your best. I give you detailed instructions and constantly evaluate the scene for the best way to document you.

 

I avoided the camera forever after my children were born, I was ashamed because I didnt look the way I used to. But strategic placement and posing, I can still be in the image and have an awesome family photo. Bringing out your BEST and documenting your LIFE is what I do. We got this shot in less than 5 minutes with me setting up the scene, the camera and having my assistant fire away. You have the benefit of me behind the camera. If I can do this for us, imagine what I can do for you...

I avoided the camera forever after my children were born. I was ashamed because I didn’t look the way I used to. But, with strategic placement and posing, I can still be in the image and have an awesome family photo. Bringing out your BEST and documenting your LIFE is what I do. We got this shot in less than five minutes with me setting up the scene, setting the camera, and having my assistant fire away. You have the benefit of me behind the camera. If I can do this for my family, imagine what I can do for you and yours.

 

This was a mini session for a family who is so busy with their new baby. Dad even got in the shot. How do you get a baby to look so adorable in a group photo? I have my tricks :)

This was a mini session for a family who is so busy with their new baby. Dad even got in the shot. How do you get a baby to look so adorable in a group photo? I have my tricks :)

 

These two may fight like cats and dogs, but getting a quick picture of your beloved children quickly will become your most cherished image of all. These are my two kids and this made the christmas card and is the picture next to my bed. See siblings can get along, even if just for a moment :)

These two may fight like cats and dogs, but getting a quick picture of your beloved children quickly will become your most cherished image of all. These are my two kids and this made the christmas card and is the picture next to my bed. See siblings can get along, even if just for a moment :) We did this shot in maybe 15 seconds. Again, a well thought out plan an ability to execute quickly, ensures at least one image where everyone is smiling . <3

 

Hiring a quality professional like myself is key to getting amazing images quickly and letting you enjoy the process.

Don’t wait… these moments are fleeting and the gift of having these moments captured by an experienced, quality photographer will give you a LIFETIME of happiness.

 

 

So, you made it through your pregnancy or adoption process. Your sleep deprived, you can barely get out of a robe, much less get dressed and haven’t touch your make-up in a week. Your lucky if you wash your hair. Your life has changed. For some of us this is easy, for some of us, this is HARD.

Being a parent to a newborn, especially for the first time, is earth shattering. Its beautiful and messy and scary and happy, all at the same time. In a matter of 2 or 3 months, you will be in a groove, you have figured out how to survive the sleepless nights and you can hang with the best of them.

Last week, I discussed the importance of maternity portraits (if you missed this AWESOME post, check it out!); But, today, I’m emphasizing why you need to prioritize newborn portraits.

Concern: These tiny little things GROW so fast. You have friends who have done the stylized shoots, spend thousands of dollars and have ‘perfect’ pictures of their babies hanging in baskets. You hear the story of how the shoot took 6 hours, and lots of planning. You love their images, but you can’t imagine how you could prioritize something like that, much less deal with the planning of an all day production in a studio while spending $1-2 thousand dollars on that session.

Then you have friends who will grab a shot for you, after all they take ‘great’ pictures of their own kids. But, its not too much of a priority because the pictures will be ‘ok’. When you finally have a moment, you don’t want to insist they come over and do it immediately, it is a friend after all… Time passes and you end up skipping it all together.

Reality: There is never a ‘perfect’ time to get portraits. You may be tired, your baby may be unpredictable, but the PERFECT time is NOW. You don’t have to schedule an overly stylized shoot. You can get some amazing images of your baby in your home with a professional who can make the session easy. I understand having a newborn. If you have to hold the baby, you hold the baby.

We work the shoot around you and your baby. There are a million ways to document them and having a ‘perfect’ environment is not necessary to have ‘perfect’ pictures. If you don’t want to do your hair, put on make-up, or get dressed, fine. It won’t offend me.

These pictures are priceless. Seeing how much your child grows so quickly is amazing. If you missed the newborn stage, its FINE. You will want the 6 month portraits just as much. Pictures of your children NEVER get old.

If your house is a mess, your a mess, its fine, I’m a mom, I get it.

Solution: Do an ‘in home’ portrait session. The baby can be held, sat down on blankets, swaddled, naked or dressed. We can get amazing pictures and don’t need to have a huge production. You don’t need to worry. This isn’t a rushed crazy event. Your house doesn’t have to be immaculate. We just need to clean out a small spot.  As a photographer, its my job to make it LOOK perfect and allow you to have a shoot that in as stress free as possible.

You don’t need 500 pictures, only a few amazing ones that you can cherish forever.

I allow buffer time in all the shoots to allow for a fussy baby. We plan the session time for something that works for you and the infant.

They grow so quickly, be sure to document it. These sessions are typically about 90-120 minutes and start at $475 and include ALL your images. If you plan for this, you can also have it added to your registry for a gift.

 

So, mom was in a robe, no make up, had finished feeding her daughter. She was fussy and tired, so we focused on holding the baby to comfort her and allowed the images to unfold. This is one of my favorites of mom holding her tiny head.

So, mom was in a robe, no make up, had finished feeding her daughter. She was fussy and tired, so we focused on holding the baby to comfort her and allowed the images to unfold. This is one of my favorites of mom holding her tiny head.

 

So this little pricess decided she was not going to cooperate being naked. We had mom and dad pick her up and hold her. We had mom join in and got this one of a kind shot. It just happened. I'm here to allow it to unfold and document it. This is the benefit of lifestyle photography. Its your life, perfect and beautiful in the imperfections. I just roll with it and create art.

So this little pricess decided she was not going to cooperate being naked. We had mom and dad pick her up and hold her. We had mom join in and got this one of a kind shot. It just happened. I’m here to allow it to unfold and document it. This is the benefit of lifestyle photography. Its your life, perfect and beautiful in the imperfections. I just roll with it and create art.

 

Capturing the beauty of life’s most special moments is invaluable. You will never regret investing in documenting the most essential parts of your life. But you will regret being too busy to do it.

Disclaimer: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not hire a ‘new’ portrait photographer to take pictures of your babies. Babies must be handled carefully. The pictures of babies in baskets, hanging from cloth and suspended in the air ARE A PHOTOSHOP ILLUSION. NEVER put your baby with live animals. Too many people advertise to be ‘pro photographers’ and believe the images they see produced are created the way they are shown. This is not the case. There is a reason these shoots take 6 or more hours and cost $1,000 or more. The images are layered together post production. Someone is always with the baby and the props are used in conjunction with baby safe items to ensure a safe shoot.

If you LOVE the studio look/Anne Geddies Style. Hire a Insured, Professional, Trained Photographer who has taken Newborn Posting Safety Classes. Your 19 year old niece who just bought her first camera is NOT the person to trust with taking complex pictures with your child.

If you are in the Baltimore Metro area, and looking for more stylized session, I have some great referrals.

Take a moment and think about your favorite pictures. Whether they are displayed in your house, on the screen of your phone or pinned up in your office, they trigger a memory and remind you of the things, or people you love, and bring you joy. You may only glimpse at it for a moment, but now imagine those images were taken away or lost. When we lose our cell phones, the first thing we think of is ‘oh no, my images’ and you frantically check to make sure they are backed up to the cloud. The most precious images are not only of the major events of your life, but often of you being with the people you love most.

There are precious moments in our lives. Our first pregnancy or pending adoption experience. What the nursery looks like when we bring our children home. Our children at different ages. The holidays when we are with our family and friends. All those memories. It seems however, after the wedding day, we forget to take the time to document these things with formal portraiture. There are lot of reasons: life gets busy, we are afraid it’s too expensive, we don’t like the way we look, or we are getting our fix with our cell phone pictures. We may even have an hobbies photographer friend who may be able to take a few pictures (nothing great), but hey it’s better than you can do.

Lets take a minute to think about why portraiture should be a priority for your family and key moments you should ALWAYS hire a photographer for.

 Maternity:

Excuse: Ok, your pregnant. All you can think of the first two trimesters is baby clothes and how excited you are to start ‘looking pregnant’, but when you get to the point you actually show… all you can think about is sleeping, how big your butt is, and you just don’t feel like you should have a reminder of how freakishly large your belly and boobs are. The thought of trekking up a hill or though a field for a portrait sounds like torture, and those initial thoughts of glamours portraits went out the window (along with the high heals and the thoughts of never eating junk food).

Reality: This is a moment in your life you will look back on and miss. I know its hard to fathom, but as your children get bigger and you realize you are getting older, you will miss that part of you. This time is so fleeting and when your in it, the reality of it can seem like portraiture is not important. But it is. Your kids will love to hear stories of what they did in your tummy, wonder what you looked like before they came, and, when you look at these portraits, you will realize how beautful it was.

Solution: Ok, you may be chunky, wobbly or less than fit, BUT it’s my job to make sure you look awesome. A quality photographer takes time to tell you how to stand, where to put your hands, how to move your head. Making sure to have you pose and move your head to maximize your best assets and minimize your flaws. No one is perfect, but I can always make you look your best. Too tired, thats ok. Sessions don’t need to be hours long. I offer mini sessions (15 minutes), 1/2 sessions (40 minutes), and they are more affordable and fast moving.

And for those of you adopting, there are key elements we can photograph. The room getting ready, you two with your important documents, and all the anticipation.

You will NEVER regret investing in an amazing image of yourself during such a momentous time of your life.

Highlight the changes in your body but draw your eye out of the image so you don't linger on any less than perfect spots. Long sleeves with a pop of color paired with a fun monochromatic dress breaks up the look and adds great contrast to the location.

Highlight the changes in your body, but draw your eye out of the image so you don’t linger on any less than perfect spots. Long sleeves with a pop of color paired with a fun monochromatic dress breaks up the look and adds great contrast to the location.

 

Show of your belly and highlight the beauty of your body. She is beautiful and well posed to pick up on the most stunning aspects of her pregnancy.

Show off your belly and highlight the beauty of your body. She is beautiful and well posed to pick up on the most stunning aspects of her pregnancy.

 

 

 

 

This strategically placed shot highlights the bump and silhouettes the body while avoiding anything 'extra'. I had the client cross her legs too, slimming the silhouette.

This strategically placed shot highlights the bump and silhouettes the body while avoiding anything ‘extra’. I had the client cross her legs too, slimming the silhouette.

 

Casual Outdoor portrait. If you freeze when looking at the camera, we can have you face each other! Your grin doesn't have to be perfect to still have a perfect shot.

Casual Outdoor portrait. If you freeze when looking at the camera, we can have you face each other! Your grin doesn’t have to be perfect to still have a perfect shot.

You will never regret having it done, but you will regret skipping it.

You spend countless hours obsessing over every detail, planning the perfect wedding, reception and making sure you look picture perfect.

Here are a few tips to ensure you look your best on your wedding day.

  1. Hire A Make-Up Artist- this is KEY to looking amazing. Airbrushed make-up custom blended to your skin, lashes and the perfect amount of make-up to ensure you look amazing in your images. Professional Make-Up artists can create a flawless look that lasts all day. It may seem like you can do it yourself, but in most cases, I would say, spend the money and hire someone to help you look perfect. There is a difference between daily wear and formal make-up needs. There is a reason celebrities spend hours in a make-up chair. Let the pro’s emphasize your assets and minimize your flaws using top of the line make-up. Be sure to do a trial too!
    getting your make-up professionally done is imperative to make sure your skin & make-up look flawless all day

    Getting your make-up professionally done is imperative to make sure your skin & make-up look flawless all day.

    2. Use False Lashes- for those of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s false lashes where things reserved for Tammy Faye Baker and Drag Queens. Many people still perceive them as ‘over the top’. False lashes have come a long way and look AMAZING! They open the eye, brighten the eye and allow you to look younger, more alert and runway ready. Options can include day of lashes placed from your make-up artist to semi-perminant lashes applied a few weeks before. Regardless, after seeing the results for my clients that use these, I can surly say that I ALWAYS recommend false lashes. They look perfect. Set aside your fear and bat away luscious lashes, you won’t regret it.

    close up of lash extensions. Thick and dark, but not overpowering. They look amazing.

    Close up of lash extensions. Thick and dark, but not overpowering. They look A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

    3) Offset those lashes with powdery perfection darker eyeshadow blended with luminous colors to brighten and pop those baby blues, gorgeous greens or sultry browns.

    Dark Lined Eyes with luminous shadow create stunning and feminine finished look to this beautiful bride.

    Dark Lined Eyes with luminous shadow create stunning and feminine finished look to this beautiful bride. This is also another view of those great lashes!

     4. Shape those Brows! The brows define and shape your entire face. These little ladies are often ignored. Making sure they are well manicured and cleaned up, make for amazing close-ups of you as well as perfect portraits of you after the wedding. Go to someone you trust and open up those eyes, you won’t be disappointed.

    MakeUp0002-2

    Perfectly shaped brows and natural make-up give Caitlin and picture perfect finish on her wedding day. Make-Up done by Up Do’s for I Do’s in Baltimore- Jess & LeAnne. Lashes- NovaLash at Spa in the Valley Hunt Valley MD.

     

    5) Subtle Lip- To balance out the look of your face and keep your images timeless, stick with a somewhat natural color in the pinks, violets or browns. Hints of color are important to make sure you look properly finished. So those of you who shy away from lip color, don’t. All day wear colors are great and adding a bit of shine on top creates a perfect pout. Avoid greasy lipsticks or ones that don’t stay. After that kiss, the only place your glossy goodness should be is on you!

    This nude lip accents the more natural look Holly wanted for her wedding. The complete look was created by Abby De Rosset at Abby De Rosset Hair & Make-Up in Baltimore Maryland.

    This nude lip accents the more natural look Holly wanted for her bayside wedding. The complete look was created by Abby De Rosset at Abby De Rosset Hair & Make-Up in Baltimore Maryland. (look at those lashes!)

     

Everyone talks about the new face of the American family. We are women, men, children, of all races, ages and sizes. We have come to view our furry friends as family, as beloved to us as any other family member!  Pet lovers know the intimate connection between themselves and their pets.

Many of my clients include their pets in their portraiture. With some planning and a little assistance from a friend from behind the scenes to secure your pet, you can easily work your pooch into the portraits.

Here are just a few of my clients and their favorite Pooch Pics!

 

Many & Cole had their parents waiting in the wings to help out with their pup while we did their engagement portraits.

Many & Cole had their parents waiting in the wings to help out with their pup while we did their engagement portraits.

 

Ryan & Jackie along with their pup in their engagement portraits.

Ryan & Jackie along with their pup in their engagement portraits.

 

All the 'paws' in a row

All the ‘paws’ in a row

 

This couple adopted their pup from BARCS in Baltimore and he has been their best friend ever since

This couple adopted their pup from BARCS in Baltimore and he has been their best friend ever since.

 

What a better way to announce your wedding, than with your pup and a sign!

What a better way to announce your wedding, than with your pup and a sign!

 

This family isn't complete without their pup Riley included in the family. This beautiful Boxer rounded out the Cromer's family portrait.

This family isn’t complete without their pup Riley included in the family. This beautiful Boxer rounded out the Cromer’s family portrait.

Andrea & Carey with their Italian Sponone, Watson.

Andrea & Carey with their Italian Sponone, Watson.

 

Tables, Tables, Tables. From centerpieces to favors, here are a few of my favorite “tablescapes”.

  1. Nautical Theme: This table is dressed with blue and white chevron linens, white washed picture frames, nautical lanterns and finished with pink peony center pieces. Guests received hand made cookies with anchors and hearts. This table is clean, preppy, and fun. Set it up near your perfect waterfront location, and guests will be sipping their cocktails and enjoying your classically styled wedding.
Nautical Table: Blue and White Chevron accented with Gold, white and Pink

Nautical Table: Blue and White Chevron accented with Gold, white and Pink

Homemade Anchor Cookies made by Cooper Pearl Confections LLC

Homemade Anchor Cookies made by Cooper Pearl Confections LLC

2. Nature Lovers: White & Wildflowers- This is a classic clean look that pairs itself well for the couple with an upscale outdoor wedding. The couple chose to wash the room in white with the only accents being natural centerpieces. This creates a very intimate, clean and naturally romantic feeling. Napkins and runners, in a light sage, were topped with wildflowers nested in wooden boxes. Guest cards were displayed in river rocks wrapped neatly in silver wire flanking jars of homemade jelly from locally sourced ingredients. The touches finished this table, creating a charming and feminine personalization for these nature lovers. Guests listen to the birds sing, stroll the grounds while sipping high end cocktails and relax immersed in the natural setting. TableDecor0006
  locally sourced jelly & wildflower centerpieces great guests at their seats

Roses and Ivy along with other wildflowers, nestled in vintage boxes create a warm and romantic feel to the otherwise clean lines of the room

Roses and Ivy along with other wildflowers, nestled in vintage boxes create a warm and romantic feel to the otherwise clean lines of the room

3. Cinderella’s Castle: for the more upscale bride that wants the most elegant style, fill the table with finest china, crystal and overflowing bowls of roses. Allow uplighting to wash the tables in your favorite color. Accent that table with a handmade books allowing guests to leave you words of encouragement and wisdom that you read on each anniversary. Alternating lavish centerpieces allows for more of a dramatic feel. Get swept away in the style of this romantic and feminine tablescape.

Fine China and Chrystal fill this table creating a fine dining experience for guests

Fine China and Chrystal fill this table creating a fine dining experience for guests

Fine China and Golden Bowls Overflowing with Roses

4. Urban Legend: This is a great style for the city lover. Take all the flavors of textures, colors and historic styles and blend them together for a mash up  creating an eclectic table. This tablescape includes vintage apothecary jars of white and brown glass, each showcasing a single floral stem. Table runners are textured eyelit lace or a South American theme. Variety, color and texture rein supreme here. Balance it all out white white plates and  wax stamped place cards and your guests will be in awe of the artistic eye you have to bring this all together. This look showcases style, daring and dreams.

Eyelit runners scattered with a medley of glass jars create a visual texture of art and style

Eyelit runners scattered with a medley of glass jars create a visual texture of art and style

South American Style table cloth topped with a mash-up of apothecary jars and a variety of glass votive holders. The pop of red in the flowers bring this look all together.

South American Style table cloth topped with a mash-up of apothecary jars and a variety of glass votive holders. The pop of red in the flowers bring this look all together.

Shannon & George were married just before Christmas at the DACOR Bacon Foundation House in DC. They had an intimate ceremony and reception which exuded romance and friendship. Tables were decorated with their favorite wines and beads. Guests dined in candlelight. Here are two sneak peeks from their special day.ShannonGeorge0001 ShannonGeorge0002

Venue: DACOR Bacon House (Ringgold-Carroll House) http://www.dacorbacon.org 

DJ: TJ at DJ TJ Wedding & Event Services DJ TJ Wedding & Event Services

Rachel & Jacob were married Saturday at St Francis de Sales in Abingdon, MD and had their reception at the Wellwood in Charlestown, MD. Here are a few images I pulled up while I am cataloging their gallery. A sneak peek will be up soon!

This beach shot was taken before a series of sunset shots. The lighting was soft as clouds created a diffused light over the beach area.  There are a myriad of views at the Wellwood. This is a simple image but has great light and a sweet quality.

This beach shot was taken before a series of sunset shots. The lighting was soft as clouds created a diffused light over the beach area.
There are a myriad of views at the Wellwood. This is a simple image but has great light and a sweet quality.

In front of St. Francis de Sales in Abingdon. This is a historic landmark for Hartford County and such a beautiful backdrop for a wedding day portrait.

In front of St. Francis de Sales in Abingdon. This is a historic landmark for Hartford County and such a beautiful backdrop for a wedding day portrait.

Candid wedding photo taken moments before the wedding ceremony while bride was behind a curtain hiding her from her incoming guests.

Candid wedding photo taken moments before the wedding ceremony while bride was behind a curtain hiding her from her incoming guests.

Courtney0001 Courtney0003Friday, I had a spectacular wedding in downtown Baltimore with the ceremony at St Aplhonsus Church and the reception at Baltimore Museum of Industry. Thank you to Courtney & Castel for allowing me to be a part of your day. A full sneak peek will be available soon!