Two Toddlers & a Family Portrait

When Theresa asked me to write this blog post, I had no idea what I would say. I have to admit – most of the time when she asks me to write a blog post I totally avoid it and ignore it until she hopefully forgets. Sometimes she does… sometimes she doesn’t. We recently scheduled a family photo session over at the Northport Marina. When she asked me to write about the experience, I had no idea what I would say. Until, that is, I began to edit the photos from that day.

I was nervous about the shoot. Kristin and I had spoken weeks before and even in the days leading up to the shoot. Her and her husband wanted a family photo session with their toddler twins. I have to admit, my throat closed a bit as this as I said “Great! What days are good for you?” In as much excitement as I could muster. It wasn;t doing the shoot persay – It was that I had never had to photograph TWO toddlers at once – even more so photographing 2 toddlers and a set of parents where everyone will be looking at me??!

Impossible!! I had to take a breather and was grateful for the few weeks before our session to have time to sit on it and gather my thoughts. In the days before the shoot, I reminded Kristin that I was not “Sears,” that if she was looking for that type of posed thing, that it wasn’t me. She was great and laughed at my concerns – I think my reminding her of my shooting style was actually my reminding me. “I capture the moments.” I said “the interactions between family members. The smiles, the faces, the concerns, the questions… I capture memories. Artwork, that I hope you will hang on your walls for years to come.”

Carrie-Anne Gonzalez

We were to meet at Northport Park at 4pm – after nap and snack time, before dinner time. I solicited my 12 year old niece to be my assistant for the day. Not only does she have a really good eye, but I needed someone to hold reflectors and such, just in case. When we arrived we cased out the park looking for not the perfect “scenery,” but the perfect light. To my dismay the sun was still very high in the sky which meant harsh shadows everywhere. Still, that is the photographers plight – find the light, manipulate the light, know the light. The blessing was it WAS a beautiful warm day. As we walked around casing different areas of the park, taking into consideration both scenery AND light, I made mental notes of things I wanted to try – “kid sandwich here, tell me a secret pose, parents hold children’s hands and swing… etc”

All of my planning went out the window as soon as these two adorable, energetic, rambunctious children stepped out of their stroller. I know Kristin really wanted to get all 4 of them in a shot and for a while it was a struggle. One parent, one toddler, or Two parents, one toddler – no problem… but all 4? Finally, I reminded myself – capture the moments… let them play. And that is exactly what we did. I attempted some shots where the parents were behind the children a few feet, but these toddlers were exited to run about in the openness and so… we let them. It was an amazing experience. I have to admit I was not only exhausted, but nervous as to how this was going to come out. All the while Theresa’s voice in my head saying “What are you nervous about? You are a national award winning photographer.” Yes, yes I am…. Everything will be fine.

Carrie-Anne GonzalezAnd everything was. To experience a play date with this couple and their children, To capture the two very different personalities of these twins, was truly an amazing experience. The laughs, the running, the learning… seeing how children look to their parents and how parents adoringly and lovingly see their children. The ending result – art work for their walls.
Carrie-Anne Gonzalez

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Top 10 Questions to Ask Before your Engagement Session

Many of our clients know that they “should” have an engagement session, but don’t really know what to expect or what to look for. We always recommend starting with a creative brainstorm—and a great place to start is Pinterest. Look at various boards for inspiration and ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends that have gotten married about their experience.

Ultimately, the key to a successful engagement shoot is to be yourself—be comfortable, have fun and don’t be afraid to show your love on camera! Below are the top ten questions our clients ask prior to an engagement shoot:

1.      Where should we take our pictures? Choose one or a few locations that are meaningful to you. We recently had a couple select the high school where they first met, and the movie theater where they had their first date.  This always effects the session in a positive way, not only were they excited to be reliving these meaningful moments, but their energy and passion was caught on camera.

2.      What should we wear? First of all, bring multiple outfits. Depending on the lighting and the creative mood you’re in, you may want to change halfway through the shoot or when you arrive at a different location. Dress to your personality, be fun and creative! If you’re sporty, wear your favorite team shirt, if you have a favorite blouse that just cant stay on the hangar, wear it! Remember to try and color-coordinate, keeping it in the same color family. Some additional tips are:

·         For the ladies:   Wear bright colors for one of your looks, the bright colors will enhance the photo and landscape. Changing into a darker or more neutral color will help bring the focus and attention to your faces.

·          For the gents:  Bring a few different shirts to change into to match your partner. A button down shirt will help to frame your face rather than a t-shirt, and also provides more flexibility with your look (sleeves, buttoned up, tucked in, etc.)

3.      What shouldn’t we wear? Well…most of our clients don’t ask us this…but we sometimes wish we would! Do not wear baggy or loose shirts or pants. The baggy and loose clothing will make you look wider in photos and hide your figure. Do not over tan or start tanning the week of your engagement session—you will look orange in the photos. And finally, do not wear stripes and plaid patterns, they never look good in the final shots.

4.      How long is an engagement session? Depending on travel time to your various locations, an engagement session is typically anywhere between 1-3 hours.

 5.       What is the best time of day to shoot? We will typically schedule an engagement session in the early morning or about 2-3 hours before sunset. The lighting truly makes all the difference in the quality of the photographs, so it’s imperative to BE ON TIME.

6.       Should we use a theme? While you do not have to select a specific “theme,” themes can be fun. We’ve had couples set up scenarios for their engagement sessions that fit their hobbies and interests and were really excited about the unique outcome. Some ideas are: camping, baking, picnic, sailing, staying at home, ice skating, etc.

 7.      Should we bring accessories or props? Absolutely! Your favorite hats, ties, sunglasses or scarf can really help to compliment/accent your outfit. Don’t be afraid to bring “out of the ordinary” props with you also—we’ve used old furniture, instruments, pets, toys, balloons and even masks and not only was it fun to shoot, but the couples had a great time and laughed the most, using the props they brought. Finally, as seen on most of our social media, we’re big fans of chalkboards or poster-boards that we can Photoshop text onto…which is always a good idea for your thank you or save the date cards!

 8.      When will we see our photos? Always ask your photographer how long it will take to see the photos. If you saved your shoot for the last minute and need the images for the save the date, make sure you tell your photographer. Depending on the time of year and how booked they are, it typically takes 2-4 weeks for the final photos to be posted to the gallery. We typically get excited and will post our top 10 within a week to our blog or Instagram so that you can share with your family and friends!

 9.       Should we get our hair/make-up done? The engagement session is a great opportunity to test out your makeup/hair styling by using this as a trial. We typically recommend that the ladies get their makeup done and a manicure—regardless of anything, we will be photographing your ring and the last thing you want is chipped nail polish. For the gents, we recommend getting a haircut prior to the shoot and also making sure their nails are manicured.

10.  How do we make the most of our session? Rely on your photographer’s creative input and don’t be afraid to take risks. This may involve some out of the ordinary concepts—but if you want those unique photos that no one else has, trust in your artist. While the photographer is trying to capture the essence of your relationship, remember to act natural, don’t be afraid to play up your relationship by kissing and embracing for the camera.

 Engagement sessions are a great way to create long-lasting memories to share with your friends, family and future generations.  Do some research before deciding on location and don’t be afraid to ask to meet or Skype with your photographer to come up with some creative ideas! We always enjoy sending our favorite photos from Pinterest and magazines to help spark the creative juices!

Please visit our facebook to view our engagement photos or our website for more information! http://www.carriewestonstudios.com

Studio Walkway

Working on the walkway for the studio entrance. Next project – opening the door with the help of JEG Construction!

New Studio Walkway

New Studio Walkway

Why High School Seniors are Breaking Away from Tradition

The New Portrait: Why High School Seniors are Breaking Away from Tradition
By: Theresa Weston, Partner, Carrie Weston Studios

High School Senior PortraitToday’s seniors are looking for a fresh alternative to their senior portrait—a photograph that embodies who they are within this moment in their lives. After all, in a world driven by social media and the here and now, why would the senior of 2013 be interested in the boring, outdated pose?   You know the one with the gray backdrop that looks exactly like your grandparents, grandparents hanging on the wall.

The change is in that all senior portraits don’t have to look the same, in fact they

High School Senior Portrait shouldn’t.  A senior portrait should catch the essence of who this young adult really is at this moment in their life. Whether they are a runner;  a musician; gothic; preppy; an artist; a reader; a writer; a fashionista… whatever their style, whatever their personality, the bottom line is that everyone is DIFFERENT and their portrait should be too.

My sister, currently a freshman in college, refused to let my parents purchase the traditional photograph. Instead, she sought out a photographer and ensured she had a shoot that showcased her personality: an artist, a singer, a performer…she went up on the stage with a microphone and her instrument and hanging on the wall at my mother’s is just that…Catherine Weston, holding the microphone for all eternity. So what should you look for when booking your photo shoot?

  1. Meet with the photographer. Make sure that the photographer has experience with senior portraiture—there is an art behind posing, lighting and selecting the right scenery, make sure they’re credible.
  2. Have a conversation. Let the photographer know exactly what you’re looking for…are you looking for a shoot on the beach, with family, in the City? Having an idea about what you’re looking for before meeting with the photographer can help eliminate hidden fees and ensure that you’re shoot is moving in the direction you want it to.
  3. Ask about make-up and styling (this goes for the men too!). In specific lighting with a strong flash, you want to make sure your eyes pop and your teeth shine…ask if the photographer will be providing you with a licensed stylist—understand that the images online and in their marketing material more than likely had an artist in the room.
  4. Social Sharing. How easy will it be to see and post your pictures?
  5. Printing and packaging. Always ask about what type of printing and packaging is offered—with a true studio, you will not be forced into the traditional packages of wallets and 8×10 prints—you’ll have the freedom to print on canvas, posters and receive custom framing.

High School Senior Portrai Long Island New YorkConsidering the shoots I’ve had the privilege of going on, it makes me jealous that I don’t have a picture of myself at 18 on the track to show my kids. I hated dresses, I hated make-up and straightening my hair, and that’s exactly what’s hanging on the wall in my living room—someone else, which will be the monumental image for generations in my family to gawk at.

Gone are the days of the traditional…these young men and women are about to embark upon the world—it’s time their images resonated just that.

Theresa Weston is a national award winning marketer who is  a partner at Carrie Weston Studios. With years of marketing experience, Theresa is adept at understanding client needs, working within budgets and turning a creative idea into a reality. She co-founded Pandora Marketing Consultants and Carrie Weston Studios with her partner, Carrie-Anne in 2011, and has since then won numerous awards and has been featured in several local publications. As a second-shooter and adept at thinking on her feet and multi-tasking, Theresa is responsible for ensuring all shoots run smoothly and those candid, memorable moments are caught on film. For more information, visit www.carriewestonstudios.com.

Helping other women feel as beautiful as we do.

We had long decided that the two of us needed some shots in the studio. Professional, playful, sexy… photos for our marketing material and website. While we had gone out a few weeks earlier, those were casual outdoor photos (we will totally still be posting those as well). But we needed to engage in the full experience that all of our clients are experiencing when they come to us – hair, make up, flattering outfits… beauty and laughter. Now, after our shoot, all I can say is WOW. We looked AMAZING!

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You can view the full album on our Facebook page here.

So before I say the rest, know that this is Carrie-Anne writing. Great 🙂 That being said – I will tell you this. There was a period of time where I just wasn’t feeling sexy, let alone beautiful. It was easy for me to bring out the beauty I see in others, but when I looked in the mirror, I just couldn’t find her… the strong, confident, SEXY Carrie. Where the heck did she go and why?! Okay, I know why – lack of going to the gym, weight gain, clothes that just don’t seem to fit me right anymore… I felt like just everything, was exuding “not sexy.” Then we did a Carrie Weston Studios shoot; and there I was. Our team came together to make ME feel beautiful; my hair done by Shears of Elegance in East Northport and my make up done by BettyLynn Tims. The end result astounded me.

Now, I have to tell you this and it is completely un-narcissistic, I swear it! But, I have a photo from that shoot as my screen saver on my iphone and whenever that doubtful Carrie appears, I just click on my phone and look at me. That woman, that woman on my screen – she is beautiful, she is confident, she is ME. She needs to be on my wall in a canvas print!

This is the feeling we wish to give to all of you. Come to Carrie Weston Studios. Don’t make excuses, don’t wait to loose a few extra pounds, don’t wait until you can afford new clothes, don’t wait at all… just come now and allow us to show you how beautiful you really are – right now- in this moment of your life. No matter what your inner-self may be saying – know this – You ARE beautiful and we can show you if you’ve forgotten.

Time to refinish and rebuild

We put it out to the universe that we wanted different shelving and a TV unit for the studio. Something that hides our stuff, but looks classy and simple. Then this was pretty much left on our door step. Well not literally 🙂 We had to pick it up. In a matter of days after “putting the energy out,”  we got the call that our friends were redoing their living room and would like to know if we needed this (and 3 other shelving pieces) for free! We took it.

CarrieWestonStudios_LongIsland_NewYork_Wedding_Photography_03  CarrieWestonStudios_LongIsland_NewYork_Wedding_Photography_02  Now, I know it doesn’t look very pretty right now; but I’m hoping that its nothing a  trip to Home Depot and a little Rust-omleum Furniture Transfomations can’t handle!

CarrieWestonStudios_LongIsland_NewYork_Wedding_Photography_01  We think a rich black would be perfect! Stay tuned for photos!

The New High School Senior Portrait – Part 2

Truly a once in a lifetime experience. Today’s High School Seniors want to be seen for who they are; from jocks to preps, from band, to goths, to hippies… today’s senior just want to BE SEEN. They are not like everyone else, they are unique in their own right.  Why not record your senior as they truly are in this moment of their lives? Book your senior portrait session today…you won’t be disappointed.

View the full album of our a recent on location shoot with 18 year old Andrew here.

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Sisters

The painted backdrops and reflectors worked amazingly. We were able to bounce around the natural light in order to achieve the look we were going for. It was such a pleasure photographing these sisters in the studio. With make up by Betty Lynn Tims and custom jewlery by Callie Contopoulos Viegas, these sisters got the girls day out they were looking for.

To view the full album, check out our facebook page here.

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Salvation Army

Found this gem at the Salvation Army for 50% off. Just steam cleaned it and put it in place! For those if you who don’t know, it’s also Theresa’s favorite colour – Emerald Green.

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