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08 August, 2013

A Family Session: Meet The Whittakers + What I Learned

High school friends and now co-workers, I have been blessed to know Mandi for almost half my life, and her husband James for almost a decade.

An artist at heart, James is also dabbling in photography but the family needed someone to take on-location photos of all three of them.

I am honored they thought of ME!

We had a great time!  They came prepared with stunning coordinating outfits as well as several pose ideas of their own.  Even working with their seven week old, Layla, the session went by quickly.  In fact, we were all shocked that we worked for a solid three hours.

It's such a joy to work with such happy and loving families!

What I learned with this session:

Technically Speaking:

  • I am officially a RAW convert. No looking back.
  • We had a later start than I wanted so by the end of the shoot the sun was too harsh.  
  • Mostly used my Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC lens. Again, great for some of the narrower spaces at one of the locations.
  • I'm taking fewer shots of each "look" Though I'm not taking enough time to factor in all the details of the pose, AND lighting, AND composition. I had to throw out a lot of great shots because of an awkward crop (missing toe, etc) or not carefully posed hands (ie resting on crotch weird, baby grabbing boobs, etc)

Subject Matter:

  • The difference between a 13 day old and a 7 week old is amazing. Layla still can't quite focus her eyes, but there were hints of it that I could capture. And she has a much more animated face!
  • The more subjects the more to factor in the pose: the perfect smile, the best chin tilt, baby hand positions, etc.  I can see why photographers have a base price for a family of 3 or 4 and then charge extra for additional family. It's a lot more to consider with each pose.


  • Getting more critical - I can already see a difference in just a shoot or two ago
  • Faster editing
  • Being able to tell which presets will look best for each look much quicker.
  • I need to slow down and focus on three things: pose, lighting and composition IN camera

I am still working to build my portfolio.  Discounted photo sessions at a location of your choice along the GA-400 corridor are still available. Please email me:


  1. Great photos! What software do you use for editing?

  2. Thanks!! Lightroom 4 -- I've downloaded a few dozen free presets from around the Internet to get me started, too.

  3. Beautiful photos! I can't wait to have you shoot us! I love reading what you've learned. There's always stuff to learn! I love my Tamron lens (different size) myself! You and I should have like a field trip. Bring Erie, our cameras, go on a drive and just experiment! I really need to pick up Lightroom. I hear amazing things but I'm just so used to Photoshop. It's all I've known since 2007. I might try a trial version. Have you heard of nik software? I hear good things about that, too. Xo

  4. WOAHHHH MAN i just got so excited for your excellent talents to capture Scallie (that's mine and Shane's combined name ;) )!!!!!!


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