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Greenhouse family photo session at Woodland Gardens in CT

The snow falling in huge chunky flakes was so graceful and peaceful falling with a hush, but it was already late March. Not a one of you wanted your families photographed in the confetti and my own kids were over it. It was time to think outside the box by going into one!

Giddy when Woodland Gardens in Manchester CT opened their doors to us. Their warning was that in April the greenhouse ‘is just starting to look good’. Wow. I mean the color was so welcoming and the air so fresh.DSC_9742

So delighted when some of you braved the unusual idea with me to make some lovely images. Mixing it up was an exciting challenge, especially when I woke up to rain!

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All my wedding photographing experience had me ready to look at different angles, avoid the puddles and greenhouse equipment to make the expected clean and bright images of your relationships.

The bright spring colors in your outfits contrasted what was happening outside and was so inspiring and joyful inside. After glancing around there were lots of choices. We just had to find spots to snuggle for a few to get some updated photos to hang on the wall (or as a gift for Mother’s Day!!!) It was spacious enough to get the touch of play too…

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The mini session vibe and end results are different compared to in-home or park sessions, but I still love love love them.

Mini sessions are even faster paced than a full session with concentration typically on the immediate family but in a fun setting. We did pumpkins and leaves in the fall so spring was a welcomed new opportunity. No matter the setting, my focus always is capturing the family connection. Both types of sessions have a place in my business and on your walls.

They both could work for your family too, it depends what you want the images to reflect. Need some updates to your wall or do you want a full complete story?

Anyway, here’s a little sampling of the lovely love we captured this year during the Spring Greenhouse Mini Sessions at Woodland Gardens in Manchester CT.

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Are you ready to talk about your own family session?

I’m just a message away my friend 🙂 Contact me so we can get to talkin’. And if you think you’d like to do a mini session next time, keep your eyes peeled on instagramor sign up on my email list – I’ll be sure to share info without annoying you with junk. Promise!

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Headshots that reflect your brand, CT Portrait photography

What a drag to get your image made for work, until you start talking about how you want to be presented. I love when people call and say they HAVE to get their picture, especially when they say they don’t like getting their image made.

We all need to haveScreen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.01.25 PM a nice capture especially for LinkedIn which adds so much value to your profile. The pre session conversation is the key.

Teresa wanted some images to show her approachable service to clients. So we decided outside rather than with a backdrop would be best.Sarahcruzheadshot1

She put a thought into her outfit. The best idea is to match your outfit to your eye color, but she had amazing golden eyes, so a dark color felt right. This is our focus for a headshot. What feels right. Don’t go with anything too trendy which would date your image. Be considerate of the setting and then relax. This will project confidence.sarahcruzheadshot3

During our session, I will direct and advise. Naturally curious about people, I’ve been told I’m so distracting in conversation, there’s no getting self conscience because it’s over before you know it!

I move a bit to be sure we have good light and ask you to try different locations, sit, stand, turn this way and that. Until I have a few choices for you to look through.

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Then we’ll get to your favorite. And hopefully you’ll give me a glowing review like Teresa did on Yelp and send me a message like this one…

“I am using that pic for everything! Facebook, LinkedIn, Work pics, head shot for my bio (I have an upcoming speaking gig) and anything else I can think of  LOL 
I have gotten a ton of compliments! Thank you  !!!”
I’ve written other articles on headshots here

Momtography: Connecticut Camera Class geared towards moms.

I’m a licensed teacher, how do you like them apples? Ha! This winter, I went through training to instruct a DSLR photography class designed with moms in mind.

I needed to understand how to explain what I know in a structured way. After learning through a class myself and a few years of mistakes, it’s amazing how much I can share. It’s so fun to connect with other people who have a similar interest and typically are moms too.

During our 4 hours ofFBEvent Picture Momtography, there are lots of stories, laughs, sharing, slides, images to dissect, practice, some technical skills and my favorite a moment when people ‘get it’. It isn’t just my talking, you’ll have exercises to try and some time to work together. This class is great to take on your own or bring your friend.

Come connect with us. When the day is done, you will have opportunities to stay practicing and connected with the other attendees. Also, a larger online community. I know motherhood can be lonely, but pursing a hobby with other people on the same journey is wonderful.

You can find class detail at the bottom of this linked information sheet or shoot me a question at cruzsarah@yahoo.com or below.

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5 Reasons why your family needs Christmas, Holiday or Photo Cards.

As December approaches, I feel that pressing weight of that one needed image to represent our year. My goal was to grab it during the first snow, but thboysfix (1 of 1)en we had a year without December snow and it completely stressed me out. So I threw the kids against a white wall of our house in their gear and that represented 2012. OR in 2004 when we dressed our oldest (an only at the time) as baby new year because it was so late.

The first year we had 3 kids, our cards came out Jan 4th, the 12 days of Christmas were almost up, but we made it! Last year was the first time I hosted my extended family of 20 and I never sent any out.

Cards get me worked up and after you get the image, you gotta go through all the provider choices, then all their options to find the most aesthetically pleasing with the image you have determined to use. Then there’s ordering, printing, getting them addressed, buying enough stamps, stamping, decorating and mailing. And yet, when the cards start to flutter into my own mailbox, I delight and look at the detail in each one and am so glad I did it.  They are hung on ribbon on our kitchen wind, blocking the drafts and sparking a smile.

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Reason 1. You show people you care. So simple, I don’t even write in them. In fact, I printed labels so some my kids assembled for me. The effort though was made and I know someone we care about will check the mailbox and see something fun.

Reason 2. You maintain connect with old friends and family. It’s always fun to look back and see families grow up, and then remember fun you had together when that 15 yr old in the card was 3.

Reason 3. They force you to capture your family. Professionally or not, each family needs more images! And they give a personal spin to your holiday greetings.

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Reason 4. You see how your own family has changed. Of course I have a ton, but some of my favorite and most often posted photos were also those I used for our cards. That image at the top of the 3 in the snow is framed and printed on our hall wall, but also on my mousepad at my home office and matted at my work desk. One of my all time favorites and only came about because it was a make them today or forget cards this year day.

Reason 5. Displaying cards is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Visiting others’ homes,  it’s fun to see their collections as well.  My mom gathers hers in a basket which I curiously poke through. Some people put them on the door frame or make displays.

So incase we didn’t get one out to you through snail mail, here is our 2017 family card. And below our awesome outtake.

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One last thought is sending a card to a recovering American Soldier…

A Recovering American Soldier

c/o Walter Read Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20307-5001

What to expect … Family Photography in South Windsor, Connecticut

Some thoughts on making the most of your family photography session.

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I send tips on dressing and Pinterest links to help you, but choosing clothing helps determine the kind of images you will have. Soft and elegant?  Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues.

Fun?  Choose coordinating bold colors like hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents.  Add scarves, headbands, hats, or a prop like a flag. Some families have their hair and makeup professionally done.  Whatever makes you feel most put together and true. sarahcruzphotography

Rest up.

The best lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise, but I am able to shoot at any time of day. Many families come to a photo session and schedule dinner after.

If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the photo shoot. I encourage drinks to be brought especially during the summer when we are meeting outside. Blankets and mittens if it’s the winter.

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Participation.

Most teens dread the family photo session and some dads too, but I work fast and keep things moving. Most are pleasantly surprised. I’ve yet to be overwhelmed by a toddler DSC_8437either. I chat and interact  with your children to get natural, gorgeous smiles.  It really is painless and worth any anxiety for the time together and amazing photographs.  If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other your smile will be natural. Knowing this will be shared with your grandchildren, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.

Have fun with your family.

Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air.  Kiss your spouse on the cheek or whisper how much you love them  Have fun. Laugh. Snuggle. Play.  This captures emotion and relationship –  your love through my lens.DSC_3190

Incorporating an activity that the family loves to do together is an easy way to do this. When we meet at a park and the kids run or play that’s one aspect, but making something like a campfire is another. Its’ something to do with your hands, engages everyone, and brings an authentic smile to your face.  Do you cook together? Let’s make something. Do you love to read together?  Bring some books.  Love to play board games or cards?  Plan to play a round of cards during your family photo session.  Other ideas include: bike riding, hiking, picnics – families that are engaged will have authentic photographs that reflect who they are. This will make the most of the photography session and celebrate your family to create images you love.

 

What it feels like to hire a professional family photographer – CT Family Photography

For most, a family photo means a stranger’s snap in front of a vacation spot or the waiter when you realize everyone is together at an event table.

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Hiring someone for something you can do for yourself seems odd and yet we go to a restaurant or buy a pie at the farmer’s market for the experience and self reward.

I reached out to some of my recent clients to get their feedback and included some more details on what the experience is like when we work together.

“I am SO happy that we had the photos done. As you know, the kids grow up exponentially fast! Photos are such a perfect memento of capturing that point in time that you want to be able to remember forever. Our living room wall is covered with those pictures and I love looking at them. Just the other night I was looking at one of the pictures of my middle child and he ALREADY looks different, older, and it wasn’t really that long ago. For instance that front tooth that was loose in the picture is now gone, but we still have this adorable picture of him and that front loose tooth that I won’t forget 🙂 “- Cara

“I absolutely love love all the pics you took. Especially the spaghetti ones. I have some displayed in frames in the kitchen and the others in a photo book! People are always commenting on the pics! ” – Tina

“We gifted my in-laws the huge canvas and they love it!” – Dayna  

“We hesitated to have photos taken not realizing how valuable they are now that the time is gone. I’m really glad we made the time. ” – Diane

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High School Senior Yearbook Portraits

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After taking photos with her sister, it was Maddy’s turn to be alone in front of the camera. We had several outfits to go through a majority of them being natural, casual and sporty so our location was perfect. So was she, because this gal was willing to try lots of poses and looks.

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Flexibility and the a willingness to relax really makes for a good image, even when you are worried about getting poked by the grass or losing a bracelet in the field.

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That willingness to let go makes room for conversation while I’m coaching where to place hands or shift so the light hits just so.

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Props like sports equipment or a book gives provides something else to focus on and will mark the time you spent in high school in a way the yearbook may not.

Yearbook formals through the school or as part of your session with me is a memorable way to mark the end of your time in High School. Celebrating what the time has meant to you and making a photo of that creates new memories.

Congratulations Maddy and the class of 2017!

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Sisters – High School Senior Graduation Photography – Suffield, CT

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Moms know their kids so when it was time for Maddy’s graduation photos, she smartly suggested we add sister images because sometimes a sibling can’t just hang on the sideline.

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So we captured Maddy and her sister. Making images of the girls together as formal DSC_6113portraits and each of them alone.
They were easy with each other and wanted a formal look so we did those before Maddy changed her outfits to get images to mark all her High School Senior moments.
High School Senior Graduation portraits celebrate the senior but also everyone who helped them get there.

So we have to do some of the graduating student with their parents.

Extending a High School Senior Photography Session with a plan means everyone has the chance to gussy up and feel their best for a portrait rather than the snapshots I’ll take when mom’s say “oh no, just get the grad!”  See Maddy’s images next on the blog..

Winter Snow Baby Outdoor Photo Session with Hulafrog South Windsor, CT

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Being cold and pushing snow off my car after a long shift of waitressing at Friendly’s convinced me to move to CA as soon as I finished my degree at UConn. A few (?) years later the white stuff is so enchanting, temperature is an after thought.

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The world is all different covered in snow. A giveaway with the newly launched Hulafrog South Windsor was a match to encourage people to move outside.Happily. the winner had a new baby to celebrate and was cool with winter.sarahcruzphotography3-1-of-1

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We just had to wait for the magical fluff to fall, so even though the contest was in November, we just had an outdoor winter session. The wait gave the baby a chance to grow, master smiling and lifting her head.

Fortunately, there wasn’t wind. The last time I had been in these woods was for a freezing fall shoot and this February day was more comfortable.

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So being in the snow is much like other sessions, there are posed and play shots, though it may all happen a bit faster if the wind picks up.

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Special thank you to Hulafrog South Windsor for connecting me with this family, follow them on Facebook for other contest opportunities and to keep posted on family happenings in our town.http://hulafrog.com/south-windsor-ct hulafrogs-most-loved-badge-winner-2017-200

No Place Like Home. Great Indoor Family Photos.

Tag your family is it – as you play and I capture images. Running through the grass or snow, outside family images are energetic and fun.

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Indoor images can be just as spontaneous even though the movement is limited.They require a more controlled approach, but home is where the heart is. Your family is already comfortable there and it adds meaning to images.

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If being in the snow isn’t your thing, consider shooting in your home. A location doesn’t need to be magazine ready or even straightened up, just a few windows and we’re good to go. dsc_0719

My wedding experience gives me the flexibility to roll with what is available. I have been known to move a stack of magazines or a bright colored throw from the background. I’ve also in some situations, like this one, had to freak out about the amazing expanse of windows and warm afternoon light we had.

All my typical fooling still comes out even though it’s a little less that I’m about to back into a random bush and instead leaning toward you from behind a chair.

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The cool part is that the consistent set up for the images make a nice display.

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