Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Senior pictures are a BIG deal, friends.  You have watched for years as your older friends and classmates have posted their senior pictures and waited longingly for your day to arrive.  And now it's here.  It's time.  The wait is over.  YES!

It's also a really HUGE deal for parents.  Your baby girl is a high school senior.  She is in the final stages of your care from the safety of your own home and about to embark upon the rest of her life as an adult.  She's beautiful.  She's unique.  And most importantly, she's yours.  This is a monumental transition in her life (and yours, let's be honest!) and her senior year will be filled with memories that you'll never want to forget.  Senior photos are not only a way to give her the experience of a lifetime that she deserves, but they also capture the things about her right now that you want to remember forever...the silly wrinkled nose laugh that you adore so much, the fierce competitiveness that you see in her eyes that let's you know she's a fighter and she's going to do just fine in this thing called life, and that giant, genuine smile that reveals the heart you've adored for almost 18 years.  

So how do you make sure that you get senior photos that capture all of this?  How do you ensure that the experience is everything you dreamed it would be?  Below are my tips to make sure you get phenomenal senior pictures...ones both the senior and the parents will love. :)  

1. Choose your senior photographer wisely.  If you read no further into this blog post, read this one.  Who you choose to take your senior photos will 110% have an impact on how they turn out...and maybe not for the reasons you think.  Yes, some photographers are more talented than others...they understand lighting, how to pose in a flattering way, which camera and lenses to use, etc.  But beyond talent, there are two things for you to look at when choosing your senior photographer... 1) Their style and vision.  Do your homework and study not only the websites of photographers, but look at their blog posts and their social media.  Do you love their style?  Their vibe?  The way they tell the senior's story?  Do they shoot with great, soft light or do they do an amazing job at creating drama with harsh shadows and contrast?  All of this is a reflection of that individual photographer's style and how they view the world.  This is their art, so this is exactly how you will be portrayed.  

And 2) Do you connect with the photographer personally?  I know that you probably haven't met face-to-face with the photographers you are considering, but there are ways to tell if you will connect.  Again, follow their social media and blogging closely.  Do they have similar interests to you?  Do they make you smile and laugh by the words they write or their snapchat video stories?  Are they encouraging and uplifting? Do they look like someone you would want to be friends with?  All of this matters.  Why?  Because posing for a camera is hard and nerve-wracking enough, but it's WAY harder when you don't connect with the person behind the camera.  You want them to make you laugh and put you at ease, not make you more nervous.

2. Spend time planning your wardrobe and style.  You guys, this is one of the most fun parts about senior pictures!!  And it's one of the best opportunities for Mom and daughter to bond and share in the fun experience of shopping and putting together outfits!  I cross my heart promise you will be sooooo much happier with your photos if you spend some time in this area instead of just grabbing clothes out of your closet that you've had for a few years (or longer).  And if you aren't great at putting outfits together, places like Nordstrom have incredible personal shoppers available to you at no additional charge.  (If you are one of my clients and would like help finding a great personal shopper, let me know and I'll hook you up!) In addition to the clothing, adding just the right accessories, shoes, etc, REALLY make it all come together.  This is such a passion of mine and I LOVE helping my clients not only put their outfits together, but also accessorizing them.  So don't feel overwhelmed...be sure to ask your photographer for help!

3. Talk to your friends.  Did your friends have a phenomenal senior picture experience?  Did they love their photographer and the way their photos came out?  Moms, where did your friends' daughters have their senior photos taken?  Word of mouth and referrals are the very best way to find a photographer that you will absolutely love and who will take care of you every step of the way.

4. Relax and HAVE FUN!  Sounds easier said than done, right!?  And this one really goes back to what we discussed in number 1...choosing the right photographer will really make a huge difference here.  If you are able to connect, relax, laugh, and have fun with your photographer, your pictures will show it.  There is something so beautiful about a natural laugh and smile that can't really be faked.  

5. Be creative and think outside the box.  This is true for location, for wardrobe, for props.  These are YOUR senior pictures and they should be a reflection of you and what you love.  Your senior photos shouldn't look like everyone else's.  Talk with your photographer and brainstorm together about your favorite hobbies and interests.  Could pictures with your track shoes or volleyball be cheesy?  Ummmm, YES.  But they can also be done super classy, cool and unique assuming you connect with the right photographer.  It's ok to have opinions and ideas about where you'd like to shoot or something different and unique you'd like to wear.  Be YOU, girl!

6. Make the decision to invest in the experience.  Here is the deal about spending money on photography...you have a LOT of options.  Your daughter will have friends with a camera who "shoot senior pictures", you can find 9000 photographers online who will do a photo shoot and give you all the digital images for $150, and maybe even your cousin Sally has a nice camera.  And that's completely ok if that's what you are looking for.  But understand that in the world of photography, it is very much like Motel 6 vs. Ritz Carlton...you get what you pay for.  A great photographer who knows how to create incredible photos for every client and how to offer an incredible experience, also knows what he/she is worth. In addition to having a super nice camera, a talented and seasoned photographer also understands lighting, how to pose you in fun and flattering ways, and how to edit your photos to enhance your beauty while at the same time not altering the way you look.  Other than your wedding day, this is likely the only time you will spend money to have professional photos taken just of yourself -- you deserve the whole package!

7. Pay close attention to your photographer's advice regarding hair and skin preparation.  For those of us who have been doing this for a while, we've learned a thing or two about how to best prepare yourself for your senior photos.  I, personally, send out a magazine to all of my clients with a ton of tips about preparing your hair and skin so that you are completely ready for your professional hair and make-up artists.  Other photographers will do it differently, but most will give you super helpful information that I highly encourage you to read and follow - you won't regret it!

8. Opt for an amazing overall experience.  When most of us remember our senior picture experience it most likely went something like this... we walked into a studio.  The photographer didn't know our name and quickly moved us from one backdrop to the next.  We came with our own hair and make-up done (although very few of us knew how to do our hair and make-up properly for photography).  We were posed in the same 5 or 6 poses as everyone else and, in the end, our pictures looked identical to all of our friends'.  You guys, it doesn't have to be like this.  I've said it a few times already, but this is a BIG DEAL.  And it's such a huge and special time in your life.  Find a photographer who will give you an experience that knocks you off your feet.  Let someone do your hair and make-up for you.  Be spoiled.  Be treated like a princess for a day.  You deserve it!

9. Do your research.  The one thing that will end your senior picture experience poorly, is to be caught off guard by extra costs, etc.  Read the photographer's website, read their emails, read the material they send you in the mail.  And if they don't include that information, ask!  Go into this knowing all the facts about what is included, what costs extra, etc, so that once you have the facts and have made a decision, you can just enjoy the rest of the ride.  Just because a photographer's website says that senior photos are $300 doesn't mean that you get anything with that.  What appears inexpensive up front may not be the whole story.  Dig deeper.  Ask questions.  Do you get the digital images for that price?  If so, how many?  Are they all edited?  Are they full-sized images?  Do you get any prints for that price?  If not, how much do those cost?  The bottom line is educate yourself so that you're not nervous about being caught off guard and you can just enjoy the process.  Because again, this should be an experience (for both parents and seniors) that you remember forever in the best possible way!

10. Above all else, be YOU.  With all of this above information said, the most important advice I can give you is to be true to yourself.  Choose the photographer with a style you love, choose a wardrobe that is an accurate reflection of your style, and pick locations that make you feel comfortable and at "home".  I provide professional hair and make-up to every single one of my clients.  You might hate that idea.  And girl, that's 1000% awesome.  That means I'm not the right photographer for you, but I promise there is one out there who is the perfect fit.  Find someone who will celebrate who you are and capture you in a way that reflects your incredible personality!

I can say with utmost honesty that this blog post isn't written to convince you to hire me as your senior photographer.  If I've convinced all of you to do that, I've done a poor job.  My intent with this post is that I think every high school girl deserves the experience of a lifetime that builds your confidence and helps you to see how unbelievably beautiful you are and how your uniqueness is what makes you stunning.  I want, above all else, for you to be so happy.  I hope these tips are helpful in making that happen.  If you have any questions or if I can help you navigate this process at all, don't hesitate to comment below!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Helloooo!  I hope all of you are having an amazing day and enjoying what appears to potentially be our last super warm week of summer.  (Although it is Denver, so you just never know, right!?!  It could snow next week or be 90 degrees.)  It's an adventure and we like it that way. :)  So I've been taking this online class recently that has taught me a TON about a myriad of business principles.  One random thing that I learned is that in the blogging world it is really (really) good to blog consistently....as in the same day and time every single week.  I had NO IDEA!  So for those of you who pop in here and check out this blog on a regular basis, you will be happy to know that I will now be posting each Tuesday at -- or as close to as possible -- 2PM mountain time.  Yay!  So for all of you type A personalities who like things a certain "way" and predictable, there you have it.  Done and done. :)

For my first blog post on this new and improved schedule, it is such an honor to be featuring my friend, Jasmine Anderson.  Jasmine attends Conifer High School and you guys, this girl is the bomb.  She loves her some Comic Con and Harry Potter.  You'll see down towards the bottom that she wears a couple Captain America shirts.  Personally, I think she has her own version of super hero qualities going on.  This girl just lights up a room.  She squeals when she's happy and her joy and energy are contagious.  Jasmine, you are the BEST and I truly had the most incredible time working with you.  I wish you a life full of joy and success.  Hugs, darlin. :)

Model: Jasmine Anderson, Conifer High School
Photographer:  Stacey Kyler  www.staceykyler.com
MUA:  Allison Beach www.alli-b.com
Hair Stylist:  Jennifer Dean
Photo Assistant: Sophia Beierle

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