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What to Wear to Your Fall 2020 Portrait Session

What to Wear to Your Fall 2020 Portrait Session

It’s tricky to decide what to wear for fall portrait sessions in the mountains.When the cold comes in early September, sometimes it’s just too cold for a dress and sandals by themselves. I have some suggestions for new fall styles that will help you be fashionable, help you POP in front of those yellow aspen trees, and keep your color tones camera friendly. 

First, let’s discuss color palettes. Just like in the summer, I recommend mute colors over bold primary ones. During fall, warm neutrals such as camel, taupe, cream, champagne, and great always look great. If you’d like to incorporate color into your session wardrobe, choose sophisticated jewel-toned versions of bright primary colors such as: mustard over yellow, burgundy over wed, camel over orange, sage or emerald over green, and navy over blue. These jewel tones will photograph beautifully in the Colorado fall season. 

Now let’s talk about coordinating your outfit with your significant other or even your whole family. Keep in mind outfits will look most cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually match. Meaning don’t everyone wear white and khaki (This isn’t your family photos circa 2010 on the beach, people!)

Wear a different dominant color, but stay within that color palette family. If you’re wearing a blush dress, then the guy can wear a navy coat with gray pants, paired with brown leather shoes. Little tip, it’s easier to pick your outfit first and then put together the guy or kiddos outfits based on that! That’s why I have these selections for you!

Shop this Colorado Fall style:

1 Fedora on Amazon

2 Warm Shaw on Amazon

3 Levi’s Jeans on Amazon

4 Naturalizer Boots on Amazon

5 Kendra Scott earrings on Nordstrom

Shop this Casual Chic Fall style:

1 Basic Dress on Amazon

2 Levi’s Jean Jacket on Amazon

3 Wrap Dress on Amazon

4 Booties on Amazon

5 Kids Cape on Janie and Jack

6 Kids Denim Leggings on Janie and Jack

7 Kids Booties on Janie and Jack

Shop these Flatter Figuring Wrap Dresses for Women and Girls:

1 Shirt Dress on Lulus

2 Girls Shirt Dress on HM

3 Linen Wrap Dress on Madewell

4 Floral Print Wrap Dress on Lulus

5 Navy Floral Wrap Dress on Lulus

6 Long Sleeve Shirt Dress on Amazon

Shop these Mens/Boys Plaid Styles:

1 Men’s Indigo Plaid on JCrew

2 Boy’s Linen Plaid on Zara

3 Plaid Jacket on Amazon 

4 Men’s Cotton Plaid on Toad&Co.

5 Men’s Columbia Shirt on Amazon

6 Men’s Plaid on Gap/Old Navy

I’ve purchased a few of these pieces for my own wardrobe and can’t wait to wear them this fall! I love a good wrap dress so I got the blue striped shirt dress and the navy floral wrap dress from Lulus. I plan to wear them with my new Kendra Scott earrings that I got in my September Trunk Club from Nordstroms. Use my referral link to get a discount on your first trunk

Already in Breckenridge and want something quick for your session? Here are my favorite boutiques on Main Street:
For the Guys, I recommend going to Mountain Goat on Breckenridge’s Main Street. For Ladies, my favorite boutiques in town are Ruby Jane, Beloved, Vintage Sweet and Chick, and Valley Girl. If you have little ones and need some last minute accessories or outfits, check out Ruby Jane and Breckenridge Kids.

I’d suggest clicking the Store links and see if your size is still available. Most of these pieces are handpicked by myself and my sister-in-law, Meaghen, who works for Amazon Fashion. If you choose to shop the Amazon links, I will receive a small commision with no extra cost to you!

Can’t wait for our portrait session!

 

How COVID-19 Affected My Business in 2020

How COVID-19 Affected My Business in 2020

For Photographers and Industry Professionals – May Not Be What You think!

“What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for?

A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw — that it finally forces us to grow.

A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our ignorant slumber.

A year we finally accept the need for change.

Declare change. Work for change. Become the change. A year we finally band together, instead of pushing each other further apart.” 

-Leslie Dewight

This poem is my reminder that lifts the absolute burden off my shoulders to feel like I am going to suffer because of all of this. It has totally shifted my perspective and helped me to keep moving forward when it didn’t look like there was much hope for my goals and dreams. 

I know a lot of photographers and wedding industry professionals have taken a major hit this year because of COVID-19 and government restrictions. I’ve listened to webinars where someone will talk about how most won’t make it out of this. I’ve read threads of comments in photographer groups I’m a part of with a lot of disparaging of our industry. Coupled with all the cancellations and state restrictions on gatherings, it was a pretty negative experience.

Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case for me. In fact, I had just had my biggest month ever in June and July. I created additional revenue streams and am offering heirloom wedding albums and more lifestyle sessions. Quickly, I switched gears to focus on small, intimate weddings. Personally, I feel like this has set me up to better adapt to the current economic situation and still flourish. 

Portrait Sessions for Families and Couples

I specialize in weddings BUT I have always offered other portrait sessions as well. I’ve always had a lot of different passions, and I also enjoy photographing Families and Seniors a lot! 

Clients are reaching out again, and I’ve moved to doing much smaller elopement style weddings, engagement sessions, documenting proposals, and am back in full swing with summer family sessions for families vacationing in Breckenridge. I’m actually struggling to find dates to book the oncoming of inquiries for the next couple of months!

Focus on What Really Matters

I feel like this year has boosted me and allowed me to focus on what really matters. At the beginning of this, I told my husband that I was going to allow myself space to figure out what I want to bring with me out of this situation. I say all this to not boast. Trust me, that’s not my character. What I want to communicate to my friends in this industry is to keep your focus on what matters most. How are you doing and what do you plan on bringing with you out of COVID?

What Are Your Priorities?

One thing quarantine brought to light was my priorities. I have always said I wanted God and family to be my number one priority, but to be honest, it wasn’t. I was prioritizing work and being very self-centered. For the last year, everything has been about growing my business and continually filling up my calendar with as much work as possible. I didn’t even stop to think about how it was affecting my husband and daughter. I realized very quickly that “success in my career” was driving me to say yes to everything, not think of how that answer impacted my time with family, and most importantly not making me a healthy, joyous version of myself. There was no light left in me. I was burnt out quick and unsatisfied with where my life was. 

Then in mid-March, I shot my last family session, responded to all the rest of the month-May cancellations and postponements and was forced to stop. 

Space to Feel Joy and Gratitude

So here’s what has changed over the months of quarantine. I finally have that space I needed to feel joy again in my family and my business. I have bucket loads of gratitude. Gaining time back and being intentional with my loved ones has made me very happy. I’ve had to say some hard no’s to people I want to please but just can’t. I have been way more intentional about my relationship with friends and have finally put my husband’s needs before my own. 

As we go into the last half of 2020, I’m going to keep reminding myself what I want in life and what I want to continue to leave in the past. The future may be uncertain, but I’m certain what I don’t want to take with me into the rest of 2020 and beyond. I’m so grateful for this forced time to refocus.

Five Easy Steps To Frame and Hang Family Photos

Five Easy Steps To Frame and Hang Family Photos

This is the best time to frame and hang family photos in your home! Find yourself staring at blank walls lately? Yeah, me too. This whole social distancing thing has got us isolating at home and me with a whole lot more time on my hands. I thought that this is the best time to finally order the prints I’ve been meaning to hang up on my wall and share the journey with you.

Once I placed my order, my prints took two days to get to my mailbox. That’s it. So in two days, you can be hanging up your own family portraits in your home. Don’t be afraid to reuse old frames or check out my affordable recommendations from Amazon, Target, and IKEA and order your own to be delivered straight to your door. 

But let’s take it one step at time. Here are five easy steps I have found to have the best success in hanging family photos around your home.

1. Pick a Spot In Your Home to Hang Family Photos

Think about where you might want to hang family photos. For example, if you want a display above your dining room table, consider one large piece. My lovely family clients from Missouri printed their 24×30 canvas to hang behind their kitchen table.

Think about putting your favorite family photos in the place you’ll see when you first come in your home. So that the second you get home, you’re greeted with your favorite moments of your life. 

Trying to fill an empty hallway or entryway? Consider doing three large prints side by side that compliment each other. That’s one project that I’m working on right now. I love keeping things symmetrical, so I’m printing 11×14 prints to go in these three frames from IKEA. For our hallway wall, all of the ones I printed are from Fall, so that the colors compliment each other well.

Hanging craft paper before you hang your frames

Want to know a Stark family rule? No family pictures in the bathroom! It’s my only DO NOT DO when it comes to family pictures. Please don’t hang family pictures in your bathroom. Just don’t. No one wants eyes watching them when they’re doing their business! Maybe I’ve watched too much Harry Potter and think that the portraits are alive and can see and talk to you. That’s just my preference, so do what you want, but that’s a rule in the Stark house. 

2. Choose Your Arrangement to Hang Family Photos

How many photos are you framing? Do you need a collage frame or one large frame. How about no frame at all? My most popular product in the print store is 24×36 gallery wraps. Eliminates the need for frames all together! 

To figure out which pictures I want to hang together and in what order here’s what I did:

Use a program like Google Slides or Docs. Insert your images to one slide and make sure they look good together. Don’t be afraid to move them around and take out a picture you originally thought you would use for one that better fits. Use pictures from the same session, season, or at least have the same color tone. I also recommend changing up the dynamics of the images. One close up in the middle, with a far away shot to the left and a medium shot to the right looks really nice together.

How to hang three pictures together

These are not all from the same shoot. Put they were all taken during the Fall season. It helps the color tones stay more consistent which is important when pairing multiple photos together.

Black and White Prints

Thinking about printing in Black and White? I love black and white. Especially if you don’t want a lot of color in your bedroom or in a certain place in your home. I love prints with a lot of white in them so that there is a good amount of negative space in the image. If I didn’t edit your image in black and white, just send me a quick email and I’ll add a nicely edited black and white image of your favorites to your personalized online gallery. You can always request a color and black and white version of each picture before I deliver your online gallery, too.

3. Pick Your Style and Size of Your Frames

Once you have an arrangement in mind, you can choose your size and frame styles to hang family photos. Once you have a photo you want to frame, think about getting the frame before you buy. Your high resolution family photos look awesome when styled in a diptych, which is two pictures side by side. I like to style one close up and one further away.  

Pick a frame style that works with your home decor. If you have a traditional style, opt for a classic frame like these white frames at Target. For the minimalist, opt for the beautiful natural grains of wood like these from Ikea. When in doubt, a clean white frame or sleek black gallery frame work in most interiors.

Shouldn’t your home be a reflection of the people living in it? I’ve learned a few little things from the one and only Joanna Gaines in her 2018 Winter edition of Magnolia Journal. Her story about “Reframing Gallery Walls” taught me a few things about hanging up frames for gallery walls. 

Designing a Gallery Wall

You can read the full article here, since I’m not an interior designer. Though because I am a former English teacher, I’ve written a quick summary of the few inspiring ideas I learned from the expert:

  1. Mix it up to help tell your family story on your walls. A gallery wall is one of the most literal ways your home can tell your story. Mix in family portraits, candids from family trips or even moments in your home, and anything else that brings you joy. 
  2. Once you’ve decided on the art content, choose your frame sizes and color. Consider canvas prints for a more laid-back look, grid of identical frames in a symmetrical arrangement (this is my personal favorite), or a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. The third option would have been my favorite about 10 years ago. 
  3. Your gallery wall can and should evolve over time, just as you do. Don’t get hung up on choosing your family portraits from your family session. You can change your prints in your frames out as often as you’d like!

Add dimension to your gallery by placing frames on a shelf or ledge. Think about using a picture ledge to rest your frames on. It also keeps you from hanging each frame on the wall and you can switch out the photos more often, layer the frames, and decorate the ledge with the change of season. My BFF Joanna says it helps to keep the overall look from feeling flat and brings the wall to life.

5 Easy Steps to Choose Photos For Your Walls

I’m a visual perfectionist who takes photography and family photos very seriously, so again, here’s a few quick tips to choose and hang family photos in your home your home. 

  1. Choose frames first or print canvases so that you don’t even need frames
  2. Pick where you’re going to hang the photo and if it’s going to be horizontal or vertical
  3. Choose your favorites in your gallery and order your prints straight from your gallery
  4. Print pictures from the same shoot, time of day, and season to hang together

Here are some of my favorite ways my clients have styled family photos:

4. How To Actually Hang the Frames On the Wall

Now to the fun part! I use craft paper and painters tape to plot out my plan for hanging the pictures. Nothing is worse than being the one who’s trying to hold up the frame to the wall and stretching back to see if it’s going to look good. This way, you can step back and see where the frames are going to look best without putting a single nail in the wall. 

It’s easy to create these paper templates. I just got a roll of craft brown paper from Walmart and measured each frame by tracing them and cutting it out. When you’re ready to hang, mark where the nail goes on the paper, and hammer the nail through brown paper. 

How To Hang Family Photos On a Wall

Andrea Stark Frame and Hang Family Photos

Use craft paper on the wall first before hanging your prints

Sorry, my kid lives in just a pull up these days.

How to hang family photos

5. Where To Get the Prints Made and Purchase Frames For Your Family Photos

Get the look:

IKEA

Light wood single picture frames

White Three picture collage

Target

Black Frames

Amazon

Natural wood magnetic frame

I print through the same print lab that my clients use in their personalized online gallery. My clients photos come from Millers Lab, and they are my favorite for all high quality printing in pretty much every size you could want. Choose your favorite family photos from our session, order them to fit the frame you like and that fit your space, and you’ll love having them around just like I do every time I come home.

Having these family photos all around the house is something that makes me so happy, and I love that we were able to frame them all in such a simple, classic, and timeless way. Hopefully, my tips will help you with your own family photos.

To get you started, use the code STARK10 to receive 10% off your next print order in your online gallery. If you’re not a client yet, and you want to schedule a family session, I’m starting to book Summer sessions starting June 1st. Now’s the time to get on my calendar because summer sessions fill up fast. 

Thank you to all my clients who sent me a peek into their homes of what their prints from our session look like! I love them and am so honored to be able to create memories for your family!

What to Know About Having a Snowy Photography Session

What to Know About Having a Snowy Photography Session

A lot of my couples are Southern like me. Some of them have never seen snow before. I love the opportunity to document the first trip to see snow in our beautiful winter town of Breckenridge. When planning for a winter session in Breckenridge it’s good to know a few things before. Hint, there will be snow! I wanted to cover what to expect, how to stay warm, and what looks best for a snowy winter session.

First thing I want my clients to know is dress warmly! Absolutely wear that cute winter outfit, but also wear thermals underneath and a big coat. Most of my clients will shed their coats and gloves for photos, and immediately put it back on in between photos. Staying warm ensures that we get to shoot longer and you get more pictures!

Also, the location I’ll suggest will be accessible and walkable, but I’d still wear tall boots or snow boots with wool socks as you’ll be walking in the snow. I’ve been known to come to a location after a fresh snow fall and pack down the snow while wearing my snowshoes. I want to make sure you can walk to our locations without getting buried knee deep in snow.

Styling Suggestions For Winter Photo Sessions

Some of my clients like to know my styling suggestions, too. As far as styling your session, a statement coat with a beanie, scarf and gloves or a warm, oversized, snuggly sweater with tall boots and a hat is super cute. The great thing about snow is it creates a beautiful white backdrop, so even though it might seem counterintuitive, soft pastel, muted colors like soft pinks and powder blues still look great! And, remember, regardless of the setting, you can never go wrong with neutrals!

Seeing Snow For the First Time

When India emailed me, she made sure to tell me this was her first time to see snow. She just wanted to document her and her husband, Matt’s trip with a playful couples session. We had the best time with all the new fresh flakes and I just love how their images turned out!

India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-1India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-2India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-3India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-4India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-5India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-6India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-7India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-8India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-9India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-10India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-11India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-12India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-13India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-14India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-15India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-16India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-17India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-18India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-19India_and_Matt_first_time_seeing_snow_Colorado-20

Here’s to my couples who end their session with snow angels and a snow ball fight! If that sounds like fun to you, let’s chat!

Rocky Mountain Bride Feature – Bachelorette Weekend in Breckenridge

Rocky Mountain Bride Feature – Bachelorette Weekend in Breckenridge

I was featured on Rocky Mountain Bride’s Instagram! This was very exciting for me because Rocky Mountain Bride is a very big deal in the wedding publication industry in my area. They publish gorgeous weddings from the Rocky Mountain region, from Colorado to Canada.

It was awesome getting to take these 10 girls up to one of my favorite spots to capture them during Abbi’s bachelorette weekend. This was such a fun shoot! When planning locations, anything wintery was a go, so I took them up to one of my favorite places in Breckenridge to capture a snowy, wooded landscape. I knew they were going to be wearing faux furs, but I didn’t know how amazing they would be until I saw them in this environment! Even in the frigid temps, no one complained and we had the best time! 

Their entire bachelorette weekend was all flawlessly planned by Jetset Bachelorette (formerly Blush and Bashful bachelorette) which booked the girls an awesome victorian home right off Main Street Breckenridge, a personal chef, in home private yoga session with my favorite local yoga studio, Meta Yoga, and tubing at Copper Mountain. If you know someone who is looking for an all inclusive planning for a momentous occasion like a bachelorette weekend, reach out to Jetset Bachelorette. She plans fabulous bachelorettes around the country.


IMG_D3DFDB8FD245-1.jpeg

 

A few more of my favorite images from this shoot:

Contact Me For Your Bachelorette Party

If you are planning your bachelorette party in Breckenridge and want some fabulous pictures with all your best gals, let me know! I could do these fun sessions all day long!

My Feelings About going Full-time and Leaving Teaching

My Feelings About going Full-time and Leaving Teaching

I counted it up just now. 40 photography clients in 2019! (and growing as I’m still booking sessions for the Holiday season) That’s 40 brides, families, mamas, and graduating seniors that have trusted me behind the camera. It is so humbling to get to do what I do now. For the first half of this year, I was still teaching full time. I worked my butt off to get here, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity now to do photography full-time.

Full-time Photographer in Colorado

In June this year, I left my teaching job. Now, I can say, I’m a former English and Journalism middle school and high school teacher. For almost a decade, I taught students how to write their own stories and also analyze other writer’s. I would celebrate with my students when they went off to college and got their journalism degrees or published their own work. I have several students that are now professional photographers or writers of their own accord.

I loved [almost] every moment of being an educator. I spent my teaching career working towards that next award for my yearbook and newspaper programs, or increasing my students’ growth in Language Arts. One day, something clicked. My students were getting to achieve their dreams, and they wanted me to do the same. It was time to rewrite my chapter.

I left my local teaching job to become a full-time photographer and wedding professional. I’m determined to make a difference in every one of my client’s lives by providing them an amazing experience and giving them a product that will be their family heirlooms. My clients’ images will live on. Now, that’s my goal.

Similarities Between Teaching and Photography

Last night, I had the most amazing dinner in Denver with Julie Hill, owner of Elysium Productions, and Emily and Samantha of Bella Design and Planning. We got to talking about how we got into this wedding industry, and realized 3 out of 4 of us have Master’s degrees in Education. I think that says something amazing about teachers! Sure, we left the classroom, but that doesn’t mean that we left the attributes and training we gained, and love for students/people, and life-long learning when we left. We just brought all of that into our current professions.

Because I was a teacher, I can manage large groups at weddings, make a teenage boy laugh, connect with my clients and build relationships. My wedding photography timelines are flawlessly planned out (just like my old lesson plans), and I can keep everyone on schedule no matter how crazy a wedding day gets. I also have a thirst for learning, and I’m always signing up for a workshop and following prominent blogs and educators in the photography industry.

Though I sometimes miss being in the classroom, I love living out my passion everyday and going after my dreams of being a wedding and portrait photographer; telling my clients’ story in whatever season of life they are currently in.

Booking Photography Sessions for 2020

I’m already booking weddings and photography sessions for 2020, and I’m so excited to work with more amazing people out of my home of Breckenridge, Colorado and other mountain towns!