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  • Shooting For Success: How to Take Pumpkin Patch Photos

  • There are many reasons to have children, too numerous to list here, but surely the many occasions to enchant friends & family with  kid photo opportunities is amongst the best ones? Happily, the rise of social media and smart phones has given us even more opportunities to delight (derange) our loved ones with photo opportunities aplenty; once limited to the annual holiday card snap, we now have a host of fall events to (over)share.

    Speaking of opportunities to (over)share photos of your kids, please feel free to effusively praise the models here, Ziem’s youngest Zara & my pumpkin Paige:

    austin photographers | austin newborn photographer | family children | pumpkin patch photo tips

    austin photographers | austin newborn photographer | family children | pumpkin patch photo tips

    If, however, we’re going to treat (terrorize) one & all with photos of our progeny, all the better if those photos are top quality. After all, if we don’t get the right lighting or framing for our shots, how will our Facebook friends know that our wee geniuses are destined for greatness? To that end, photographer-in-chief Ziem is teaching us today how to take the best fall photos on our own, since we don’t always have our favorite photographer on hand. These tips are really applicable to all outdoor shoots but are tailored in timely fashion for  pumpkin patch season.

    First, dress your little “pumpkin” appropriately. Whether it be a Halloween costume, traditional frock, or fall chic, comfort is also key. Don’t overdress them in anything scratchy, and be prepared to deal with mosquitoes, ants, mud and in our situation a PIG (yes, really). In Austin, mosquito repellent and comfortable shoes are requisite. When your child feels comfortable it will show in photos.

    Also, try to bring another adult to help keep the kids engaged & safe, as well to allow you to hop in a few photos. Just check out that unusually good looking mom in the following photo *coughs* #mememememe:

    austin photographers | austin newborn photographer | family children | pumpkin patch photo tips

    The best times to shoot at an outdoor locale like a pumpkin patch are at one hour before sunset or at sunrise. Given that this doesn’t align well with sleep and dinner time, a cloudy day would be the perfect time to run out to visit your local pumpkin patch. Pumpkins look particularly great when shot in well-shaded area without distracting hot spots.

    austin photographers | austin newborn photographer | family children | pumpkin patch photo tips

    As far as staging your shots, stack pumpkins to create dimension and height, but try to put them either below or above your toddler’s height to avoid pulling focus.

    austin photographers | austin newborn photographer | family children | pumpkin patch photo tips austin photographers | austin newborn photographer | family children | pumpkin patch photo tips

    Bring a wagon if you have a newly walking toddler (talking about you, Paige!) as that will keep the little one off his or her feet (and running away from your camera) for a few frames. It doubles as your second set of hands when paying for and transporting the pumpkins to your car:

    austin photographers | austin newborn photographer | family children | pumpkin patch photo tips

    Though it’s clear these photos are staged, that doesn’t mean you can’t snap some candid shots of your kids picking out a pumpkin, sitting on a pumpkin, or walking around patch:

    austin photographers | austin newborn photographer | family children | pumpkin patch photo tips

    If you’re not able to visit a pumpkin patch, you can also purchase a handful locally and stage an at-home patch. Shoot wide and fill the frame with pumpkins to make them appear more plentiful. Don’t be afraid to try different angles – for example, shooting from above or profile shots.

    austin photographers | austin newborn photographer | family children | pumpkin patch photo tips

    With these seven pro tips, your above average children will be the cream of the pumpkin patch Instagram crop – which is, of course, the point of the whole exercise. We kid, of course – clearly it’s only some of the point. Either way, happy shooting!

    ziem photography | contributor

  • Austin Maternity Photographer - Pregnancy Announcement Shoot

  • Who knew that a chance 2012 meeting between then-pregnant Ziem & client Lauren in an obstetrician’s waiting room would lead to both a longstanding client relationship & a great friendship? It only seems fitting, then, that Ziem recently documented an important announcement of Lauren’s & husband Adam’s along the bun-in-the-oven lines . . .

    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer

    One of Z’s favorite job perks is getting to know a family over the years as she shoots their life events. She’s been honored to participate in a number of Lauren + Adam’s family milestones, including their adorable Stella’s first birthday party.  So when Z got the top-secret news about the Baby #3, she was thrilled to be a part of the pregnancy announcement. Ziem let the ever-stylish Lauren organize the shoot, because from Stella’s glam-chic celebration to Super Man birthday parties for son, Doc, this trendy mom leaves no detail behind.

    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer

    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer

    Bonus – by “stylish” and “trendy” we do mean ” little boy bow ties OMG“:

    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer
    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer
    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer
    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer
    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer
    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer

    As if that bow tie weren’t enough, the rustic elegance of the Stems Design Studios setting perfectly framed this photogenic family of soon-to-be-five:

    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer
    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer
    pregnancy announcement gender reveal austin family photographer

    Although the game plan Ziem & Lauren had devised didn’t work out – as plans with young children tend to (always) do – it’s challenging not to get a good shot of this stunning family. Ziem is so thrilled to be a part of this big news & hopefully more celebrations to come – too soon to plan for baby #4? I mean, with a family this wonderful, they may owe the world more offspring, right? Right??? #joking #mostly

    ziem photography | contributor

  • Shooting for Success: How to Dress for Holiday Card Photos, Equestrian Trend Edition

  • Holiday card photography here in Austin involves a certain suspension of disbelief. We bravely don our sweaters and heavy boots for eighty degree plus temperature photo shoots, as if the holiday garb itself will somehow push the thermostat down into holiday adjacent territory; “If we wear it, winter will come” seems to be our civic mantra.

    On that festive if fictitious note, today our Austin photographer-in-chief Ziem interprets the trendy equestrian look for your holiday card consideration. After all, if we dress as if there might be a pony under our Christmas tree, perhaps winter and a horse will come:

    holiday fashion austin family photographer

     holiday fashion austin family photographer

    holiday fashion austin family photographer

    As one prone to dressing as if I’ve wandered off a nearby polo field, I embrace this look, but what say you, Austin – are you ready to do your civic duty and saddle up to the horsey trend?

    ziem photography | contributor

  • Austin Children's Photographer - Foodie Kids

  • What do you get when you have a city full of foodies and their Whole Foods born & bred progeny? If you’re lucky enough to be an Austin resident, you get Foodie Kids, a haute cooking school & party pad for your wee chef in training. How charming is this place?

    austin photographers | family, children, newborn foodie kids

    Before you fill your head with visions of children being force fed organic free range fun free alfalfa sprouts or similar, here’s the thing about Foodie Kids – it’s not only a pretty place for kids to learn about cooking,  it’s also *fun*. A lot of fun, in fact:

    Not only is the food preparation fun for the Foodie Kids chefs, Owners Barbara and Kaley know the secret to keeping your young foodies engaged for the hour of class – constant motion. The owners and instructors manage to be both creative & entertaining as they expertly guide the kids through each dish:

    We parents of tots know this universal truth, but it was poetry in motion watching these ladies lead the kids (including my own personal wild child) through the preparation of three different meals:

    Can you think of a more fun, more Austin-y place for your little gourmet to celebrate a birthday or take cooking classes? Speaking of birthdays, little Miss J sure enjoyed her mock birthday celebration for this commercial photo shoot. {She turned five today!}.

    austin cake smash portraits birthday photography

    austin cake smash portraits birthday photography

    In fact, our photographer-in-chief Ziem loves Foodie Kids so much, her adorable baby girl Zara is celebrating her 2nd (2nd! How?!) birthday there soon.

    Think of a Foodie Kids class as an investment in your future that your kid will actually enjoy – after all, if you’ve birthed the next Franklin’s BBQ founder, maybe you can skip those pesky three-hour lines . . . ah, Austin #firstworldfoodieproblems

    ziem photography | contributor

     

  • Austin Cake Smash

  • “The details are not the details. They make the design.” – Charles Eames. True words when it comes to many things, perhaps especially when it comes to photo shoot design – yes, even wonderfully wild cake smash ones involving (messy) toddlers and (even messier) cakes:

    austin cake smash photographer
    austin cake smash photographer

    Darling Nora, this freshly minted one-year-old and big sister, is of course the best detail of all, but notice those perfect background bits too. From the Marvelous Tea Parties chandelier to the vintage high chair to the bunting custom made by mom Christina to the bubbles that delighted the baby & camera alike, the  details of this shoot are the frosting on the adorable cake.

    I know, I know – that joke was terrible. Here, let me quickly distract you with some more cake smash goodness from a session that took place back in May:

    austin cake smash photographer
    austin cake smash photographer
    austin cake smash photographer
    austin cake smash photographer
    austin cake smash photographer
    austin cake smash photographer

    Ziem had a blast planning this shoot with Christina, a former event planner who knows how those little details can make a party or a photo shoot sing. Speaking of parties, Christina was able to use photos from this shoot at Nora’s birthday party, which thankfully happened just before Baby #2 arrived. Do we think baby Nora may have had an inkling of what was to come?

    austin cake smash photographer

    See how those little details just take the cake? (Sorry.)

    ziem photography | contributor

  • Shooting for Success, Part 3: How to Dress for Holiday Cards, Neutrals ed.

  • Today’s post is the third in our ongoing “Shooting for Success” series, intended to help you get the most fabulous Austin family photos possible. Check out our first installment on holiday card fashion here and our second on holiday card trends (complete with three FREE card templates) here.

    ****

    Show of hands – who remembers those matchy-matchy holiday card outfits of yore, the ones that included identical white shirts & Mom Jeans on everyone, not just Mom?

     

    [sample photos redacted to protect the innocent]

     

    For those of us who are old grew up traumatized by the Olan Mills school of holiday photos, the recent family photography trend of coordinating colorful outfits that aren’t identical – and identically unflattering in photos – is a relief. How then to incorporate fashion’s latest trendy neutrals without falling back into the dread matchy-matchy zone?

    Thankfully our chic photographer-in-chief Ziem is here to advise us, handpicking some of her recent neutral favorites with textures and accessory accents that pop on camera:

    neutral holiday fashion

    Modern winter whites are more subtle than the identical polos of our holiday card past. Mix in different textures and trendy gold, grey, or black to break up the look, or take a walk on the wild side & add a pair of leopard flats.

    Not an unfortunate Mom Jean in sight, right? For those of you still just too traumatized by matching polo shirts past, however, stay tuned for next Monday’s tutorial on updating traditional holiday colors for your photo wardrobe . . .

    ziem photography | contributor

  • Austin Family Photographer - Things in Motion a.k.a Toddlers

  • A great family photographer knows that a shoot involving a toddler requires “the three ps” – preparation, patience & prayer:

    austin family portraits | austin photographers

    austin family portraits | austin photographers

    A toddler mama herself, Ziem offers a consultation to all family clients, helping with location selection & wardrobe as well as getting to know the family’s children. She knows one essential to working with a kid is to know what (if anything) will distract that particular child from the dread Toddler Tantrum. Ziem has worked with longtime clients Dana & Jay here since their little boy Matthew was in utero, so she knew just the right airplanes, cars, and books to keep Matthew smiling through his second birthday shoot:

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    One other toddler trick Ziem employs is keeping her young clients – and, yes, their poor parents – in motion. You can’t always outrun a tantrum, but between some quick thinking and even quicker feet, Ziem snapped some fabulous, fuss-free action shots in the fading light, complete with nearly-fall foliage (and a lot of alliteration, apparently):

    austin family portraits | austin photographers austin family portraits | austin photographers austin family portraits | austin photographers

    Not a tantrum in sight, wow! Think we could ask (beg) Ziem the secret to that for non-photo situations too?

    ziem photography | contributor

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