Welcoming Little Brother | Orlando Maternity and Newborn Photographer

This beautiful expecting mama contacted me soon after I moved back to Central Florida. She was pregnant with her second baby (a boy this time!) and was on the hunt for a photographer to tell the story of welcoming a new baby into her family. She wasn’t looking for traditional, posed “maternity” portraits – her vision was to capture some real moments with her daughter before little brother’s arrival. And, once the baby made his arrival, she wanted a more candid approach to newborn images.

When I heard that, I immediately knew we would be a good fit for each other – and that my Belly and Baby package was the perfect collection for her since it includes a family session with a focus on the bump and in-home newborn session! 

A few weeks later, I got the call that baby boy had arrived. Once they were home and settled in, I came back for the  This sweet little guy was a dream to photograph. Here are just a few of my favorites from his gallery.  

If you’re expecting, I’d love to hear from you! I offer family (in-home and outdoors), maternity, fresh 48 and in-home newborn sessions. CONTACT ME to learn about my availability. 

 

Five Tips for Photographing Halloween Like A Pro!

It’s been two years since I’ve been motivated to photograph Halloween with my girls. I mean, technically, I could have photographed last year – but it was dark and raining in Costa Rica. ¡La lluvia no es buena para las fotografías!

The year prior to last, I did pull my camera out for a few shots, but only for portraits of the costumes (remember Kenzie the cupcake? OMG. Sooo tiny and bald!).

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Anyone who knows me or follows my work knows I love to tell stories with my pictures, and last time I really captured the entire story of trick-or-treating Maddie was two and Kenzie was in my belly. C

A few friends and Click and Capture alumni have reached out over the past two weeks asking if I have any tips for photographing Halloween. Instead of responding to each individually, I promised to put together a blog post for some very basic tips for photographing your kids trick-or-treating. Well, in usual Ashley Rogers fashion, I’ve waited until the last possible second. But I work best under pressure. So here goes nothing….

1)    Safety First. Maybe it’s being back to work in the corporate world, but I feel it is necessary to say that the first thing you should always consider when taking pictures outdoors with lots of excited and distracted kids (and drivers) roaming the street is to be mindful of your surroundings. Please, don’t be too distracted by your quest for the perfect image. No image is worth anyone getting hurt.I have no image to share with tip one, because I am always safe. Haha <3

2)    Time your “head out time” according to the sunset! You can google “Sunset on October 31, 2017 in Oviedo, Florida” for example and amazing Google will tell you the exact time it will set. For the best light, you want to plan to head out trick-or-treating the hour before sunset. Where I live, the sun will be setting at 6:40 p.m. So I plan to head out around 5:45 -6. Any sooner, you might end up with really harsh light (if it isn’t cloudy) and it can be difficult to take photos in harsh light. Once the sun dips low enough (starts to happen the hour prior to sunset) you get nice, even, golden light – and that’s much more flattering.

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3)    Be mindful of composition. Looking back at some of my photos from two years ago, a lot of what I’m seeing in them that makes them seem less “technically strong” is my composition. There are simple things you can do to make an image stronger. Like in this image, if I would have stepped back a bit, I wouldn’t have chopped her feet off. Her tap shoes are part of her costume, hence part of the story. Look before you click. If you’ve chopped off a leg or an arm, take a step back and try the shot again – limbs included!

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And in this shot, I had her right in the center of the frame. This one would have been stronger if I would had positioned my camera differently. If i would have taken a few steps to my right (to put her on the first third of the frame), gotten lower to the ground and shot her straight on (so the garage door would be the background instead of the random patch of grass) it would have made such a difference here!

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4)    Don’t forget the candid shots. Of course, all moms want the “look at me and smile” shot but don’t put the camera down after you’ve checked that off the list. Some of my favorite images from two years ago are the candid ones of Maddie checking out her candy, strolling on the sidewalk, walking up to the door of a neighbor’s house to trick or treat. Seeing these takes me right back to that moment two years ago. My, how fast time flies.

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5)    Just say no to pop up flash. I know, your fancy camera has a pop up flash and it triggers automatically when it needs to in auto mode. Makes your life so much easier. I get it, I do. But please, just try. Just TRY to avoid using that thing. Pop up flash is not flattering. If you’ve never shot in manual mode, do not try tomorrow. Just don’t do it – you will get frustrated trying to figure out what all the numbers mean on your own and give up.  If you have shot in manual but you’re a little rusty, I cannot tell you the magic combination of numbers to use because it’s all about the light you have available to you. But, I would guess that you can try to set your ISO between 400-800 at the start of the evening, your aperture wide open if you’re on a kit lens or 2.8 if you have a nice prime (or wider if your confident in your ability to shoot wide open), and then adjust your shutter speed. If your shutter speed is able to stay above 1/250 with the combination of ISO and aperture you’ve chosen – great. If not, crank the ISO – but don’t dip the shutter. I repeat, do NOT let your shutter speed go too low. You will likely end up with blurry images.  And remember, as the light goes away (as it gets later) you will need to crank the ISO. Your settings at the beginning of the night will be different than the settings at the end of the night.

POP UP FLASH. JUST SAY NO!

POP UP FLASH. JUST SAY NO!

 

IF that was gibberish to you but you’re motivated, you can put your camera in Aperture Priority and set the aperture as wide open as your lens allows and that will likely get you better results than auto – especially as the sun starts to get lower (when the pop up flash tends to come out).  Then, you can sign up for my mentoring and I’ll teach you everything you need to know about taking control of your DSLR camera. <3

 

I hope these tips were helpful and I wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!

C Family of Five – Costa Rica Family Photographer

Two weeks ago, one of my talented friends, Melissa from Bebecitos Fotos, sent me a message asking me if I’d have time to shoot a session for one of her clients since she had a last-minute conflict. While Costa Rica used to be home for this lovely family, they are currently living in the United States and were only back for a little Pura Vida for a short time. Mom and I connected and set a time and date for her Family Play session.  

It’s rainy season in Costa Rica. Essentially, that means we have torrential downpour every afternoon. Since I’m a chaser of beautiful golden light, my clients have to wake up before the sun to meet me during that ideal time for photos. When you’ve got three kids, that can be quite a challenge and some clients are less-than-thrilled with the idea. Good thing these kids were natural early risers, because mom didn’t hesitate and agreed to meet me at the top of my favorite hill at 6 a.m.

When her three adorable children hopped out of the car, I knew it was going to be a great session. Not only were they the cutest things I’ve ever seen, they each had the sweetest little personalities and I couldn’t wait to capture those for mom and dad.

One of the reasons why I love this particular hill for my Family Play sessions is because it has this great little playground with a killer view. The playground is an amazing tool to make a family photo session less torturous for kids. I don’t like boring – I like fun – and what is more fun than a playground? The view is normally stunning. Normally… but on this particular morning the view was blocked by fog – and lots of it! While I was a tad bummed about that, the fog did keep us all cool and bought us some extra time to shoot before the light got too harsh.

Toward the end of the session, the sun did peek out from the fog and I was able to grab some beautiful shots with the twinkling golden light that I adore so much.

I hope you love your photos as much as I do, C Family!

If you’re in Costa Rica and want to snag a session like this before I leave, CONTACT ME. While I am all booked up on the weekends, I do have a couple weekday mornings available! You will have to wake up early, but I promise it will be worth it!

Adorable Family of Four | Central Florida Family Photographer

It’s been more than 10 years (I won’t say exactly how much more) since I graduated from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale. I have some great and not-so-great memories from that place, but one of the best takeaways from walking those outdoor halls (because if you went there, you know NEVER walk on the grass) is the many individuals I’ve had the privilege of keeping in touch with.

While Social Media certainly has its drawbacks, it’s undeniable that platforms like Facebook and Instagram facilitate keeping up with others no matter the distance. Lucky for me, this beautiful mama and I have stayed in-the-know of what’s been happening in each other’s lives - post high school and college.

When Lauren reached out to me a few months back about my schedule because she wanted some family photos, I was super excited. We had run into each other a few times at a mutual friend's house since we graduated from college, but I hadn’t yet met her adorable boys and it had been years since I’d seen her husband, who I also went to high school with. 

The moment her oldest son hopped out of the car, I knew I was in for some fun. And I sincerely mean that! To me, nothing is better than a rambunctious little kid! I don’t want kids to be on their “best behavior” because that’s boring. I want to capture wild. I want to capture crazy. I want to capture funny faces. I want to capture REAL LIFE. Yeah yeah, we started the session with the whole “Ok let’s get the look at me and smile out of the way with” but that was done and then we were all ready for some fun.

Well, not all of us. Poor baby Finley was NOT having it. I tried to reason with him, but the 5-month old didn’t listen. Weird… But I had some tricks up my sleeve and assured mom and dad not to worry, that I would get some sweet shots of him too. I blame teething for the lack of smiles, because I assure you I am very funny!

While the kids stole the show (they always do!) I absolutely fell in love with one of the shots I got of just mom and dad at the end of the session. When I showed it to mom, she said “That reminds me what I fell in love with at 14.” And I got teary eyed. Because that, my friends, is why I love what I do.

If you want some updated family pictures, I’d love to be the person to capture them! I’m now booking sessions in Central Florida beginning in August. CONTACT ME to get on my calendar.  

Sweet Baby Sadie | Orlando Newborn Photographer

Traveling back and forth from Costa Rica to Orlando so frequently has given me the opportunity to continue to photograph many of my former clients from Central Florida. When I found out Monique and Stewart were expecting their second child, I immediately tried to figure out how I could coordinate schedules so that I would be around to capture not only her growing belly (check out her Maternity session here!) but also her sweet baby girl once she arrived.

The original plan was for Sadie to arrive in early April, so imagine my excitement when I found out I had to plan a trip home right around her due date! Even though she showed up a few days earlier than I did, I had plenty of time to visit their house one morning for an in-home lifestyle newborn session.   

One of my favorite things about these non-posed newborn sessions is how laid back they are! No one is stressed out about whether or not the baby will sleep the entire time or how often he/she will need breaks for feedings and/or diaper changes. There is minimal prep involved for the new parents which, obviously, is a huge benefit. It’s one less thing to worry about when they’re already in such a chaotic phase in their lives. When I showed up, Sadie was eating and (with mom’s permission of course) I just started snapping. Sadie made the rules – I just went along with whatever she had planned.

Once she was ready to take a break from one of her many meals she had this morning, I walked into baby’s stunning nursery and found some adorable patterned blankets and knew I had to incorporate them! I loved the soft neutral tones with slight pops of color. Three simple swaddles allowed me to get some sweet shots of baby alone, each with a beautiful background that matches her nursery perfectly.

I used several rooms in their home to tell the story of Sadie’s arrival into her new family. Big brother Brantley was so sweet and interested in his baby sister – I just love the way I was able to capture him sweetly kissing her on his bed. We also spent a lot of time in Mom and Dad’s room. As you can tell, things even got a little wild!

Despite the fact that Sadie spent at least 85 percent of the session eating (haha), I was able to deliver a diverse gallery filled with moments that this family will cherish forever. Mom plans to make an album will all of the images, so when Sadie is older she can look back on her first few days at home.  

Sadie’s big brother Brantley was one of the first newborns I photographed several years ago, and this sweet family has continued to trust me to capture all of their family’s milestones over the years. I’m so thankful to have them as repeat clients, and more importantly wonderful friends.

If you're expecting and would like some classic and timeless newborn photography, I'd love to help! I'm now booking Family/Maternity, Fresh 48 and Lifestyle Newborn sessions in Central Florida starting in August. CONTACT ME to learn more about my availability and the collections I offer. 

Storytellers Blog Circle April

Those who know me know that I have a passion for photography – and those who know me well may even call it an obsession. And I don’t deny it – I never will. I admitted it here first; I am obsessed with photography. Whether I’m doing school drop off, taking a trip to the grocery store, heading to the park in the afternoon or venturing out on a vacation getaway, my camera and a couple of my favorite prime lenses are always by my side (I’m still working on declaring a favorite).  

When I left my job in the corporate world two years ago, I had this void of feeling what my “thing” was.  I was the communicator, the writing and editing guru. I used words to tell my stories. But that responsibility left when we moved to Costa Rica for my husband’s career, and I was left wondering how my stories would continue. What was my “thing” now? And that’s when I decided to attempt my second 366 project (yep – overachiever over here starting on a leap year).  My “thing” quickly became obvious – to me and to others.

For an entire year, I used daily pictures to tell my story. My story of leaving the United States with my two girls, aged 3 and 1 at the time. Storytelling through my photographs helped keep my family and friends feel close to us – even when they were in another country. With just one picture a day, mindfully selecting the focal length of my lens, aperture and shutter speed, I could ensure that my family and friends didn’t miss a thing.

When I was approached about joining the Storytellers Blog Circle, a monthly educational series, I immediately jumped on board.  The hard part was selecting one image to feature, and to explain the thought and technical process behind the final product. So, I paused to think about why photography is so important to me. I closed my eyes… and the image that I saw was this –  one of my favorites from my project last year. This right here, this is why it’s important. Because moments like this come and go, but, because I clicked that shutter, I have it forever.

So let me tell you a little bit about this image. This is my Poppy and my oldest daughter. My Poppy and my Grandmere have, for as long as I can remember, held Sunday breakfast at their house. One of the saddest things about moving away was knowing how many Sunday breakfasts we would miss. This image was taken during one of our visits home. We were all eating on the deck on a Sunday morning, with harsh sun and a distracting backdrop. But, I still had my camera (Nikon D750) and my trusty Sigma 24 mm 1.4 by my side. This moment happened on its own. I did not direct, I just observed them interacting and got my camera set up with the appropriate “safe” settings for the light I was working with (ISO 800, f/3.2, SS 1/400), so I would be ready at any moment to click. I intentionally closed down my aperture a bit because I was quite close to them, and wanted to make sure I didn’t blow the shot and miss focus by shooting wide open. I also kept my shutter speed up because they were playing and wanted to be ready to freeze motion if I needed to.

And, this is what I got. No wow factor, right? I almost didn’t want to feature the image because more processing went into this than my normal photographs, but I also wanted to make a point to share that processing can also enhance a story. I’m so glad I had faith in this image and didn’t just give up or not take the shot at all because the light and backdrop wasn’t flattering.

While this is quite a dramatic before and after, the processing was quite simple. I simply converted this to black and white, and then darkened the background so I could create some negative space and remove distracting elements. Now, when I see this image my eyes go straight to where I want them to go – to the moment that I captured, of my Poppy and his first great grandchild. They may be 89 years apart, but they sure do know how to play, laugh and love. I can feel it when I look at this image, and I hope you can too. This is why storytelling is important.

If you’d like to see more storytelling images, click through this blog circle to learn about the thought process behind the other talented featured artists!  Next up, here,  my friend Rebecca Hunnicutt Farren from Hunnicutt Photography.