Paula Lee Photography: Blog en-us (C) Paula Lee Photography (Paula Lee Photography) Wed, 09 Dec 2020 11:06:00 GMT Wed, 09 Dec 2020 11:06:00 GMT Paula Lee Photography: Blog 80 120 How to prepare your family for their photo session
1. Get an idea of what kind of shoot you’d like to do. Do you want a relaxed shoot at home or an elaborate shoot with props? Thinking about what you want, and then getting realistic about how practical it would be to actually do is the first step. Do you have kids? How many and what are their ages? Keep it simple and enjoyable for all ages.

2. Pick a location (or two) for your photos. 
Personally, I like selecting places that are meaningful to you as a couple or family. I've done photo shoots at clients home, at the park where the kids can play and interact. If your favorite place is visually appealing, all the better! When in doubt, pick a park or other open, outdoor area (weather permitting). If it isn’t a place you or your photographer visit frequently, try scouting the location ahead of time if you can.

3. Pick a date at least a couple of weeks in advance so you can prepare your appearance. Did you overeat on the Halloween candy? You have a couple of weeks to get in a few extra workouts. Need a haircut? You have time. Get a manicure – I always forget how much you end up seeing our hands, especially as the mom who is often holding the baby or kiddo. New shoes or some accessories. Coordinating the family is definitely a must. I can help with that as well.  I have a session style guide I provide for all my clients that are on the books. 

4. Start gathering any props you need to bring your vision to life. This might be as elaborate as a Christmas tree or as simple as a scarf. Just start thinking about what you want to use and gather it up in case you have trouble finding something. Ask your photographer as well, if they are anything like me, I am a prop junkie! Just one or two will do though, always keep it simple.

5. Remember your kiddos are just kids. They aren’t professionals, or even grown ups. So pick the time of day that they are in the best mood. For us, it is the morning. We’ve always shot around 10 am until lunchtime and it works perfectly. For others, it might be after nap time. Whatever it is that works best for your kids, try to work with them. Because if they are going to have a meltdown or be uncooperative, it will be the day you have a photoshoot scheduled. Let your photographer know so they can also consider lighting for these times, plan to be a little flexible. Lighting is key to amazing photos.

6. Make sure everyone has eaten. No one is happy when they’re hungry, especial dad's!  Have snacks and water on hand just in case (and for bribes!)

7. Dress for the weather. If it is cold, wear sweaters and coats – they make for great photos, especially for holiday cards. But if you’re like me, living in Florida where it is still 80 degrees or hotter most days, you’re going to have to do sweater photos indoors or just embrace the weather you’re in. Overheated (or freezing) family members don’t make for happy photos.

8. Coordinate your wardrobe, but not too much. There is a fine line between coordinating and too matchy matchy. Selecting complimentary patterns, or colors (think pastels or varying shades of the same color) are a great way to go. You do not have to match. In fact, it looks better when you don’t. Choose mostly solids and accent with maybe one or two print patterns depending on how many are in your group. Always bring a couple of accessories like hats or scarves and a pop of color is a must!

9. This might be obvious, but find a good photographer (I actually
know a really good one, LOL). I cannot tell you how important it is to have your family documented by a professional who knows what they are doing and can deliver beautiful photos that you’ll always treasure.

10. Relax and just have fun. The best photos are the candid ones of you being a family, rather than the posed ones. Get some of those too, but try to just relax, play, and be yourselves. Try not to focus on what you want the result to be and just enjoy the experience. You’ll get the best (and most honest and real) photos that way. standifer-15standifer-15


(Paula Lee Photography) Wed, 04 Sep 2019 18:55:13 GMT
How to get your kids to smile for a picture
  • First never… EVER!!!   tell your child to say cheese for the camera, well you can but you will probably end up like something you see here on this page. You may see your child sitting on the couch reading or interacting with a sibling. They have genuine expressions, something you can feel
    through a picture. This is what makes a great image…not say cheese! Quick take your shot before they see you. You have seen me work with your children. Next time really watch what is happening. The best images are the camera unaware moments. Most parents are so concerned that their children are not giving me the reaction that I want, that they often go overboard during the session, trying to get their children to smile… Or worse, say cheese. This makes things harder for everyone. Most often the relaxed natural look will be the image you will fall in love with…this is really your child's best expression. 

    • Sing! Certain age groups will laugh if you sing either in a silly voice, or if you get the words wrong. I never sing a song correctly…. I’ll tell them I just learned this song yesterday and could they listen for me and let me know if I’m getting it right. Somewhere in there they start laughing and telling me how badly I’ve messed it up. And I’ll capture those smiles and laughter. I can use this a few times, throwing in different mistakes every time. For babies and toddlers, do it straight. This age group love songs, so get familiar with a few favourites that are easy to remember and you’ll always get smiles.

    • You can talk about something you ate, making it as disgusting or weird as you can. “I’m so full, I had a broccoli milkshake for breakfast with monkey hair and dirty socks!”. I’ll tell them I’m really hungry and I feel like some soup. Ask them for soup ideas, throw in a few disgusting suggestions, and watch them take it from there. The idea is to get them focused on anything besides the camera.

    • Ask for a high 5, up high, down low, too slow. Keep pulling your hand away at the last second and capture the laughs and smiles in between. This also works with siblings, ask them to play a clapping game with each other like "patty cake".

    • So when I’m about to take a photo, I’ll say "If I could change my name, I would be Sponge Bob Square Pants, what would you change your name to? Any other ridiculous name will work… Go around to each child and let them answer so everyone feels included. MOM & DAD can play along too!

    • Ask them to try and scare you. Little ones will often do this by playing peek-a-boo, and when they say “boo!”, over act with fright, and be ready to capture their laughter. This is a very popular game with ages 3-6.

    • Kids love games, play a game of "Simon Says" that involves them telling you what to do. Like stand on one leg, or make a monkey sound, give them some examples of what they can have you do. They will laugh at you but they will be facing the camera, smiling and not actually being the ones in full motion.

    I hope this gave you a fresh perspective on how to tackle some snap shots to share on social media or even a quick update on how the kids are doing to relatives that may not be local. I always say, the best camera is the one you have with you. TAKE THE SHOT! Of course practice makes perfect. This is what I do everyday. Keep in mind there is a reason you get your hair cut by a professional and a reason don’t do your own taxes…even though you could! 




    When it’s important to capture that innocence that will disappear all to soon… Leave the job to a professional. This is what we are trained to do. 


    (Paula Lee Photography) cheesy pictures get your kid to smile kids smile Wed, 04 Sep 2019 18:44:58 GMT
    Cake smash sessions are so sweet! The work that goes into each session is very unique to say the least. I do my best to work with each parent on their themed requests for each cake smash session. I just had to write about this last session I did for this adorable little angel named Raegan. Her mother requested a BOHO theme. (Short for Bohemian) Meaning free or wild spirit, people that live by unconventional rules. LOL I had to look it up myself but it seems to come with a Native Indian feel, like tee-pee's, arrows and feathers.  So I accepted the challenge, gathered my supplies and got CRAFTY!

    I have the parents agree to "trusting" my creative flow of the studio setting that I am preparing and I have yet to let anyone down. I ask they do not restrict me with 2 pages of specific requests, but just provide me with a guideline of colors, themes and maybe one or two specific requests. I have a lot of experience with children and sometimes too much is really a bad thing. I like to control the environment in the studio to a point. Let's face it though, we all know that the one year old is really in control. LOL

    One of the most important parts of this session is the CAKE of course. I use a sole provider for my cake smash sessions. Diana, is the owner of Stella's Custom Cakes and Desserts, located right here in Parrish, Florida. She has always exceeded my expectations on a personal and professional level. When scheduling your cake smash session, we like to keep the cakes simple, yet themed. This allows the overall focus to remain on the birthday girl/boy.

    For more information on my cake smash sessions or to schedule your own session for your baby's birthday, click this link.  Cake Smash Session Info



    (Paula Lee Photography) cake smash Mon, 06 Mar 2017 19:19:14 GMT
    "What location would you suggest?" A question I hear often from my clients

    "What would you suggest?" A question I hear often from my clients. This question is in reference to the locations that I would choose for their photo shoot. Obviously I have a diverse type of photography sessions that I offer, such as family's, seniors, toddlers, couples... so this would play a huge role in my suggestion each time this question is asked.



    We, meaning my clients and I, are located in one of the most beautiful setting in the world. Our Florida Suncoast Beaches is a national attraction to travelers and locals alike. I would say that this is the most diverse location for ANY session that I do. It is large enough for big families and romantic enough for just couples. I have vast experience with the bright environment and can capture some awesome lighting in these portraits. Each beach session has always turned out different depending on the weather and time of year.  I have always been pulled to a few main locations here in the area. Here are a few links about each location.


    Lido Beach, SarasotaCoquino Beach, BradentonBeer Can Island, BradentonThe Venice Pier, Venice







    My second would be our local parks(well I like these locations just the same), first park is called Greenbrook Adventure Park. It has ponds, a huge walkway wooden bridge, lots of tree canopy's and green open fields, even play grounds (which are awesome for casual family shoots with small children). The options here are limitless. So many different backgrounds in one location. So maybe you nature loving families would prefer this location over the city or even the beach. I also love the Heritage Harbor Park, lots of trees and  a pier overlooking a beautiful pond. An additional option of a couple private properties that I have access to for a more private setting with the "country ranch" feel. These portraits are always so warm and inviting with the peaceful background of the woods. Here are just a couple that are popular in our area.

    Greenbrook Adventure Park, Lakewood RanchHeritage Harbor Park, Bradenton

    The CITY is a great place to find diversity. This location is great for senior portraits and family shoots. Lots of things to get into... stairwells, benches, city-scapes. Lots of texture and dimension with building structures and roads. Sarasota or Bradenton down towns are quaint enough for that small down town feel in your portraits.

    Down town BradentonSarasota down town


    Well there you have it, just a few locations off the top of my head, this should get you thinking about which location would best fit your photography needs.

    (Paula Lee Photography) best photo places photography locations in bradenton fl photography locations in sarasota fl Thu, 15 Dec 2016 20:12:16 GMT
    What to wear... The biggest question of them all. "What do we wear for our shoot?" I hear this from every client I have. Even the most coordinated people can use a few tips in this area.

    If you are the only person in your photos, this may come a little easier than managing the wardrobe of a whole group. Here are a few tips to follow...

    1.) First, keep your photo location in mind, appropriate footwear for the city may not be appropriate for the beach or even grassy fields. The shoes may be super cute with the outfit while at home but make sure its practical on scene.

    2.) Second, pick solid colors. This will most definitely keep the focus on you, not your outfit. Busy patterns can sometimes clash too if you already have a busy background. Sometimes the background is part of what your trying to capture in your portrait.

    3.) Try and match the season you are in. Most likely you will be surrounded by some sort of a theme. coordinating and looking a part of your surroundings are important. (notice I did not say blend in with your surroundings, see #5)

    4.) Time of day. If you are shooting in the middle of a bright day avoid whites. These have a bad effect on the outcome of the picture as a whole. It will consume the photo and wash out the important features. Some adjusting can be done with editing but avoiding this color at this time of day is best.

    5.) Contrast is good. Make sure you set yourself apart from your background.

    6.)Most important, be comfortable. If you are not comfortable in what you are wearing this will definitely show in your photos. Wear clothes that are flattering to your body shape as well. Poorly fitting clothes, whether too tight or too loose can make or break the look you want to achieve. Let your clothes compliment you.

    If your photography session involves two or more people. Please use these next few tips as a guideline for colors and outfits...

    1.) Wear outfits that don’t match each other, but go together. Like those that have a similar color palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones.  Tan, a lighter olive green, and denims – all lighter, softer tones.

    2.) see images below for a visual effect of how your family may "dress for portrait success"!

    Click here for more ideas of what to wear, I have collected a series of colors outfitted for family photo sessions on my Pinterest Board.


    (Paula Lee Photography) Wed, 23 Sep 2015 15:36:28 GMT