Monthly Archives: January 2012

Editing & Stylistic Choices | JayLee M.O.

As we have talked about in our business practices post, we are pretty particular about editing. It seems that within the photo-industry a lot of photographers say they didn’t get into this business to be editing wizards… they got into it to be photographers. We believe that a photo is not complete until after it has come through editing. That said, we also believe that the image should come out of the camera pretty darn solid. There are always things that can be improved, and we want our clients to receive the best version of of the photos they can. We include editing and styling in our prices because you are paying us for amazing images and should not have to work on them yourself or pay extra to receive the best version of an image. This post is not for photographers…we aren’t looking to get into super technical aspects of editing, but wanted to go over some basics on our process for clients.

1. Black and White or Color: Client meetings are great because they bring up more and more questions. Recently, we have had a few clients ask us this question, now: “How do you decide which pictures to turn black and white or ‘sepia’?”  While we don’t actually edit in black and white or sepia, we do edit in what we consider to be a “warm black and white” that has some brown and reddish hues to it, or a “cool black and white” that has more of a grey tone to it. There are a lot of options, and this is what defines a photographer’s brand and style. When it comes to deciding which images we turn black and white, we just know. It may have to do with the emotion in the image and how we want it to feel, or the photo may just look better black and white. Usually, in a series of images that are similar (a couple about to kiss), we will turn some from the series black and white and leave some in color.

This shot was part of a series of images, but we liked it in black and white because of the moment shared between the couple and the way the black and white really shows off her eyes.

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We liked this image in color, as it was taken at an art event and the purple lighting added a lot to the photo. The skin tone and colors add to the image.

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The framing, shadows, and light in this photo look much better black and white. The wall was colored yellow, which blended into the bride’s skin and hair. This edit also suited the emotion of the bride right before the first look. This is one of our “most loved” images by clients (and one of our favorites, too)!

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2. Our Edits: Josh and I usually cull our images together, or one of us will go through to find the “good ones” and then the other will review them. Then, we take turns editing or each will take on a separate editing project. Once we are done with the first round of editing, we look over each other’s work (it’s nice to have a second pair of eyes on things). Obviously, the goal is to get our images as close to how we want them right out of the camera. For this reason, we don’t use excessive pre-sets anymore. We want our images to remain true to the day we took them, producing lasting memories for our clients. We do, however, take editing very seriously. We know exactly how we want our photos to look. So, we put together a few examples to show you photos we would never produce (over/under contrasted, over/under exposed, etc.) and what they look like next to our edited image. Hopefully it will give you some insight into the photo-editing process and make you more aware of these elements of photography in general.

Contrast: (1) Low Contrast Example, (2) High Contrast Example, (3) Jaylee’s Final Image

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Exposure: (1) High Exposure Example, (2) Low Exposure Example, (3) JayLee’s Final Imageseattle baby photographer, exposure photography


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Sweet Shot | Kids in Prayer

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The Keller Family | Baking Sugar Cookies | Part II

You can see Part I from this session here.

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Posted in: Family, Portraits

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My Wife | Newlywed Post

Yup. She’s one pretty lady. Constantly in awe that I was able to nab her.

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Tips On Rocking Your Wedding Photos | JayLee M.O.

Yeah, it’s our job to take awesome photos on your wedding day. But, here are 12 tips on ways you can help ensure they turn out super rad and just how you want them!

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1. Let your photographers get to know you as people before your wedding. We make it a point to get to know the couples we work with by talking to them through e-mails, on the phone, and most often through Skype and client meetings. We like to hear your stories, how you met, how you got engaged, and what your plans are for your wedding day. Because we are with you throughout your wedding day, it is important to us that you think we “fit” with the vibe of your day and the people who are a part of it. Our client meetings are more like double dates. The couples we work with are pretty diligent about researching their vendors, so by the time we meet with them, we are free to chat about them and just answer a few questions if they have any. A lot of our couples will meet us for coffee, for fun, more than once. We love hearing about different stages of your planning process. If you hired us, that usually means we get along with you (we are pretty darn lucky to have clients we enjoy). The more we know you, the more you know us, the more you trust us to take your photos. We want photo to be the last thing you stress about. Yes, we can show up to a stranger’s wedding and shoot it and the pictures will turn out great, but… where’s the fun in that? If you don’t like your photographers as people, we think you shouldn’t hire them. If we get along with you, your wedding party, and your guests, the pictures will turn out better. Promise.

2. Make time in the schedule for the photos you want. Although wedding photography is generally pretty photojournalistic in nature, we do carve out a good chunk of time for “formals”. We aren’t stuffy photographers so the word “formals” isn’t really quite right. Essentially, these are the pictures you will want to frame and your mom will ask you for. Making time in  your schedule for photographers to take the two of you away for portraits, and then returning to your chosen location for bridal party and family photos is usually what we recommend. We make those portraits of you as a couple on your wedding day a priority. Between the first look and the end of these portraits can take around 2 hours. We are huge advocates of the first look for this very reason. It gives you time together as a couple and time for us to take the best possible pictures of you (makeup is fresh and you’re not tired, hungry, or worried about your guests yet). The more time you can give us, the better. If these photos are rushed, you’ll be able to tell when you get your disk of image (there will be less of them).

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3. Be natural in front of the camera. This sounds silly and obvious, but something about cameras makes people a little…weird. Having a lens in your face may cause you to contort your face, blink uncontrollably, stick out your tongue, or bolt under a table. It’s some odd, innate fear most of us tend to have of immortalizing our face in that particular moment for-ev-er. That said, people tend to look good at weddings. Brides look terrific. Men are all cleaned up. The more natural you act in front of the camera, the happier you will be when you get your photos. Try to talk to your bridesmaids and groomsmen before the “getting ready” pictures too. We photographers are not out to catch you looking your worst…really, we aren’t. If a photographer isn’t asking you to look at the camera or smile and they are sneakily (not so sneakily) taking pictures while you fix your hair, take this advice and go with it. Resist the urge to grimace or run or put your hand in front of your face.

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4. Utilize go-to people. Wedding days are pretty chaotic. There can be a lot of details to remember, things to bring, and people to corral. We suggest having a few people in charge of a few different things. Someone should be in charge of saying who should be in what family portrait, someone to deal with wedding day issues, and someone to take care of the bride specifically. Whether it’s a wedding planner, bridesmaid or a friend, it is helpful to have someone who can focus on these little details and help out. A plastic bag may end up on the floor behind where you are getting ready, your veil may come loose, or your eye makeup may run from crying. Men may need help tying ties. Photographers are pretty good at framing shots so that ugly things (such as trash cans) don’t make their way into the shot, and yes, there’s always photoshop; however, the less distractions in your photos the better. We do our best to keep track of these details as we are shooting (we would totally tell you if your lipstick was looking’ rough), but it does help to have that right-hand guy/gal. In the same vein, if something comes up with a vendor, issues arise with the cake, or someone can’t find the dj, the bride and groom are the last people who should be notified. Have a go-to person to keep an eye out, hold on to your vendor contact list, make sure everything is as it should be, and worry so you don’t have to. The less you are worrying about details, the more you can enjoy your day and the better your pictures will turn out.

5. Be honest with the photographer about what you want. From the get-go, communication is key. If you have any special expectations, heirlooms you need photographed, pictures that you can’t live without, etc. tell your photographer. The style photographers have posted on their website and blog is what they do. If there is something else you want the day of your wedding that you didn’t tell them ahead of time, be sure to speak up. We basically follow you around all day, so if you need us in a certain location, we should be there to do it. We try our best to be on top of every moment and of course capture the obvious important ones, but we are not mind readers. Most all of this should really be ironed out in a client meeting, but on the day of the wedding things come up, schedules change and so do priorities.

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Posted in: JayLee M.O., Weddings

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The Keller Family | Holiday Cheer | Part 1

It’s that time in January where most everyone has taken down their Christmas trees (sad), so we are inserting a little leftover holiday cheer into the blog today! Frankly, we love sessions like this one. We did take some lovely Christmas card photos, but we didn’t stop there! This was a true lifestyle shoot that included hanging out with the Keller family at their beautiful home, wandering off to a couple of cool locations (a barn, a field), incorporating cute props, and then baking some cookies. We really try to encourage clients to think outside the box and apply more personality to their photos, whether it be for a family shoot or engagement session. As you will see, Jenny has a natural eye for styling and happens to be a very talented baker, so hanging out at home and baking with her kids was a special activity to document. Putting a little thought into photos can make all the difference visually, but what really makes this session fantastic is how playful this family was and how willing they were to interact with one another. When you consider ideas for your lifestyle shoot, try to think of activities you enjoy with your spouse, fiancé, or family, and how you can make that a part of your shoot.

That said, we truly had a great day with the beautiful Keller family (and those kids really couldn’t get any cuter or sweeter). We were also fortunate to meet Scout (the dog) and the elves on the shelf (don’t you love them?). Thanks for the tasty cookies, inviting us into your home, and trusting us to not only take your holiday photos but also document some memories. Did we mention we loved the cookies? num.num.num.

Be sure to check back for Part II to see some pretty impressive cookie decorations. // Josh + Ali

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Our First Snow of the Year | Newlywed Post

Regular date nights were a part of our marriage resolutions… so, this weekend on the first snow of the year we  took a nice little walk down the street to a favorite dinner spot. I had butternut squash enchiladas and Josh had a chimichanga (yum!). It’s always nice to go out and get dressed up. One of my other favorite days this week included a snowy walk to snap some pictures followed by pj-time, hot chocolate/coffee, mini pear pies, and a few episodes of Dexter under a cozy blanket. We hope you’re keeping warm and enjoying some date nights too. If you live in Seattle, you’ll know that this post is pretty timely, as it’s pretty blizzard-y out again today! //Alihappy marriage blog, newlywed blog, wedding photography blog, snow on alki photography, snow in west seattle 2012


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A Case for the First Look | The JayLee M.O.

One of my favorite things about being a photographer is that the clients we get to work with choose us out of a massive pool of our competition because they connect with our images and they connect with us as people. A great perk of the latter connection is that we tend to see eye-to-eye on most things creative, practical and logistical, with the exception of one pretty big issue: The First Look.

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The wedding industry as a whole is pretty messed up, showing you tons and tons of lists of things you’re “expected” to do, and ways you’re supposed to look and behave and feel.  Luckily, we’ve been excited to see more and more couples moving away from traditions that don’t make sense to them and toward a Love Celebration that’s uniquely them. The First Look, though, seems to be the one tradition that pulls at our heartstrings just enough to keep us from wanting to do it any other way. We’ve heard couples upon couples talk about the joy, excitement and suspense of seeing their soon-to-be spouse for the first time as they walk down the aisle. They tell us they appreciate our input, but have resolved this is how they wanna do it. And you know what? We’re pretty rad, and we want you to have your day the way you want to have it. So, whether you do The First Look or not, we’re there to snap every moment of it, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you the three main reasons you should seriously consider doing The First Look instead. So here we go…

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Posted in: JayLee M.O., Weddings

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Tricia and Justin | Two Frames

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Posted in: Engagements

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And Abigail Makes Three | Phoenix, AZ | Family Session

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