Tips

What's so great about mini sessions?

Mini sessions are one of my favorite ways to make sure all of my recurring AND new clients get updated photos of themselves and their families. I have done several rounds of these special events in the couple of years that I’ve been a photographer, and today I wanted to share with you what the best parts of mini sessions are. If you’ve never booked a session like this, you’ll love knowing all of these pros before you decide to schedule one with me or your preferred photographer!

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1 // They’re Quick!

It’s right in the name - mini ! Usually mini sessions are 20 or 30 minutes, which is actually the perfect amount of time to have all the photos you could possibly want. This time frame is especially great for families with 2 or 3 young kids who might not last through an entire 1-hour session. Usually 20 minutes is a perfect amount of time to get a couple full family shots, some individuals, and several candids in between all of those Christmas-Card-and-framed-gift-worthy shots. Plus, no husband or boyfriend has ever complained during these quick sessions ;D

2 // They’re Affordable

I love planning these sessions as many times in a year as I can, because I know that not every family or couple wants to invest hundreds of dollars to update their family photos. Most of my regular sessions happen for big life events - new baby, engagement, maternity, etc - but it’s so important to have new photos of your family as they grow more and more every day. All of those sessions can add up, though! That’s why spending $150 or so a year on these sessions is reasonable for most people. Save your money for the big life events and book a mini session once or twice a year!

3 // They’re Usually Adorably Styled

Personally, almost all of the mini session events I’ve planned come with some sort of “theme” or stylized setting. I like to have it as something special (and honestly to draw people in with my fun ideas ;D) but I usually plan for the fact that not everyone will want to take their photos in front of the setting I have planned. Usually the locations lend themselves well to venturing off course a bit, which is a great way to make your session different from the others I do that day! I also love using mini sessions as a way to connect with other vendors in the area, whether it’s with my girl Katie from She Rents Vintage, Stacey from The Cake Shop CNY, or with a venue I love - like the Sinclair of Skaneateles.

4 // They’re Timely

Any smart photographer will offer mini sessions before a holiday or during a season when people are going to want photos to give as gifts, in celebration of something, or because the weather is getting cooler and the leaves are changing (I’m looking at you, fall!) I like offering mini sessions around Christmas, Mother’s Day, and in September. This year I’m thinking of squeezing in Father’s Day sessions as well! I have also have done some last-minute headshot sessions so that anyone in need of professional looking portraits of themselves can easily have a handful of good ones. Mini sessions are also easy for a photographer to edit within just a few days, especially if they’re during their off season for weddings, so you can expect the turnaround time to be pretty fast!

So, are you itching to have on of these mini sessions for yourself? You’re in luck! I’m planning a whole day of 20 minute sessions at the end of April, just in time for Mother’s Day! Learn more about them here:



 
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For New Moms // Newborn Photography Session Tips

Photographing couples is such a passion of mine, and I'm so lucky that I get to capture the love that couples share with their new babies through newborn and Fresh 48 sessions. It's so important for me to make a new mom feel comfortable and supported for these sessions, because I know exactly how those early days can be - messy, chaotic, tiring and overwhelming. It's my goal to not only capture sweet photos of your new babe, but to leave you feeling calm and happy after a session. Here are some ways you can prepare for a newborn session with me or any photographer, so we all feel calm and supported in your newborn photo experience.

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Just Relax

The internet is not always our friend in the early days of motherhood. We can be overwhelmed with beautiful photos of babies sleeping soundly through their newborn sessions, in what seem like perfectly styled and cleaned houses with well rested, calm parents. This is an illusion most of the time, and I want you to let go of that false reality in preparation for our session. Focus on tidying the areas you want to shoot in, put on some light makeup and just wear something you feel pretty in - even if that's a t-shirt and leggings. If baby is fussy, you'll snuggle them for as long as you need to and we will take our time to calm them down.

The biggest obstacle to being relaxed during a newborn session is feeling rushed, so I always give us plenty of time to capture the photos that represent this time of your baby's life.

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Feeling relaxed and calm is a big reason why I only offer lifestyle newborn or Fresh 48 sessions now. It allows us to take our time and make you and baby feel most comfortable, while capturing real moments for your family to cherish forever.

Feed the Baby

One of the first things I tell moms when we begin our session is that if the baby is showing you hunger cues, we can pause for whatever amount of time they need to get satisfied! I know personally how nothing good comes from being hungry or wanting a snack - I believe it's called "hangry". And, if breast OR bottle feeding is part of the journey you would like to capture, please let me know! Don't feel rushed - we will resume our shoot whenever you and the baby are ready.

Have Swaddles and Props Ready

Because I feel it's important to capture your family as naturally as possible, I don't usually bring props or blankets of my own - unless we discuss it first. I suggest having at least two cotton swaddle blankets handy to wrap the baby in. One color, patterned, neutral or bright - they're all awesome and will make your session unique! It's also a good idea to have some throw blankets handy to use as easy backgrounds that we can change out with the swaddles. This way, you have a big variety of photos to choose from.

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Also, if there are any heirloom or fun objects you want in the photos it's a good idea to have them out and ready, so when the opportunity strikes I can just grab them and add it to the photo!

Prep your Partner

Many times, these photos are not as exciting for your better half as they are for you. Chances are, they're supportive because they should be at this time of your motherhood journey - woohoo! It's good to let them know that all they're expected to do is snuggle the baby (and you!) I am very careful to capture both parents alone with the baby to make sure everyone feels included, so if this makes your partner feel nervous, just let them know it will be quick and again - just focus on the baby!

Wear Something Neutral

I mentioned before that you should take the pressure off yourself to look like a model right now. Chances are, I'll walk in and be shocked at how amazing you look AND your partner thinks you look like a million bucks anyways, so just keep that in mind if you're feeling less-than. Do your hair and makeup minimally and naturally, and wear something simple and neutral in color so that no matter what the baby is swaddled in or wearing, everyone matches. As far as what you're wearing, think about what you will feel most comfortable in. If that's your favorite maternity jeans and a pretty blouse - great! If that's leggings and a t-shirt - awesome! Motherhood looks great on you, no matter what. Tell your partner the same!

Fresh 48

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Ohhh how I love these sessions. If you haven't seen one or don't know the difference, I suggest you check out this post, this one, and this one! The difficult part of these sessions is when there are interruptions from hospital staff and family. Of course if these are necessary, that's fine but try to let people know beforehand that you plan on having a photographer in your room for about an hour at the time we agree on, so there are little to no interruptions. This is not because I'm selfish and want you to myself, but because introducing more people to the room makes things chaotic and overwhelming for everyone - yourself and baby especially! I want to get in and out as soon as I can so you can go back to bonding and visiting with your family members.

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Siblings

Many of my clients are not first-time moms, and older siblings will be part of the baby's shoot too! This is such a vulnerable time for them, regardless of their age. I try to be sensitive to that and will make sure to get permission from your child to take their picture - especially if it means asking them to do something specific to get "the shot". The last thing I want is for this to be a traumatic experience for them! If they're just not having it, we will let them go do their own thing until they're ready to come back and try again.

I know sometimes what you want most a this time is the sweetest photo of your little loves together, and we will try until it happens. But, keep in mind that this may be overwhelming for the older sibling and kids will not do anything they don't want to do. I feel that at this time of their life, it's important to respect that boundary and settle for whatever we can get!

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So, overall if there is anything you should take away from these points, it's to just stay calm, keep your expectations somewhat low and go with the flow! The MOST important thing is to trust me, and trust when I say this : you'll love these photos so much because when you look at them for years to come, you'll be transported back in time to this incredible time of life for you family.


The Scoop on Holiday Photo Cards

It's certainly the season to begin thinking about the holidays! I know lots of people who have gotten a head start on buying gifts, putting up decorations, and definitely planning for their holiday cards. I absolutely LOVE that holiday cards are such a "norm", and that they usually include lovingly planned family photos. 

In years past, I have done a small amount of holiday card orders but, while I love designing for this special time of year, I'm hoping to take it slow this December. Plus, I'm obsessed with all of the options there already are for ordering holiday cards! So I've put together this post with all of you holiday card-seekers in mind so that you can find the perfect design, as well as how to choose the best photo for your card.

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Where to Go

Pro Tip:

Plan on ordering your cards no later than December 13th, and getting them in the mail before the 21st for local delivery.

So, you have your family's photos taken and now you're looking for the perfect card design. There are so many awesome places who have pre-made designs where you can just drop in the photo you have in mind, customize, and order! These places usually take a week to ten days for your order to arrive, depending on the shipping options available. Keep in mind that if you want to get them into your recipients homes before December 24th, plan on ordering your cards no later than December 13th, and getting them in the mail before the 21st for local delivery.

Minted

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Minted is definitely a first choice, because their designs are so modern, and the variety they have is unlike any other. Plus, the quality of the card will never be questioned! Go to Minted 

Artifact Uprising

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I am a total Artifact Uprising fan. These designs are SO up my alley - minimal, modern, fun, lots of "white space". Their paper is so beautiful, and the options they have for designs has gotten much more impressive in the last few years! Go to Artifact Uprising

Paper Culture

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Again, a really modernized collection of holiday cards - and with a good cause in mind! Paper Culture plants a tree for every order, which... who wouldn't feel great about that?! Go to Paper Culture

Postable

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Postable is an awesome site for every kind of greeting card especially because if you plan ahead, you can use their address book feature to collect addresses year round, and then the company will send your cards right out for you! If you're one of those people who has big aspirations and small frames of time to do things in, this is for you! This is also a great option if you don't do a photo card, but ant to get cards sent out anyways. Go to Postable

Zazzle

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You've probably heard of Zazzle, and for good reason! They not only have great card designs, but matching postage and address labels for all their card designs! Their interface takes some time to search through to find what you're looking for, but with so many options you will certainly find something you love. Go to Zazzle

Paperless Post

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Paperless Post is another site filled with modern classics by designers like Rifle Paper Co., Kate Spade, Oscar de la Renta (?!?) and The New Yorker, among so many more. They also have greeting cards, in case your family wasn't the most photogenic this year! Go to Paperless Post

Tinyprints

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Last but not least, the much cooler younger sister to Shutterfly... Tinyprints! She has such a great variety of photo card options with upgrades like card shapes, foil, and even matching address labels and postage! Plus, their site is very easy to use. Go to Tinyprints

Choosing the Photo

Pro Tip:
You'll probably have to shop around to find the design that fits your photo

If you've done a photo card before, you know this to be true : you have the photo you want, the card design you want, you go to "customize" your piece of art of a holiday card, and WTF, your photo looks really dumb in that card. The lettering covers your kid's face, you can't see the white letters on the light background of the photo, etc. It does not look as magical as the sample did.

Well, these companies have a large selection of stock photos they insert into all their card designs. These photos are optimized to look great in lots of designs, which is why you see them replicated in many card designs. So keep that in mind when none of your photos seem to work in the card design of your choice. But, you may need to break up with that design and find something else. That's why it's great to have a bunch of these sites in mind, because I bet you'll find something similar between each of them!

Image courtesy of Tinyprints

Image courtesy of Tinyprints

If you choose a design where it looks like your photo will just fit inside a rectangle, circle or square area then you'll probably be safe no matter what design it is. But, if you have a design like the one to the right, you'll want to make sure the photo you have leaves plenty of blank space on the right side, so your childrens' faces aren't covered by words.

Pro Tip:
Look for photos with "white space" in them where words will be on top of it, whether that's on the top, bottom, left or right

The same goes with these options from Paperless Post... Both use the same photo and look great, but keep in mind this is probably because there is lots of "white space" at the top of the photo. The second one would not look good if your faces are right at the top of the photo. Word overlays also look best with a very simple photo, with not much going on behind them.

Image Courtesy of Paperless Post

Image Courtesy of Paperless Post

Image Courtesy of Paperless Post

Image Courtesy of Paperless Post

Pro Tip:
Consider the feeling of the photo you want to use. Is is elegant, classy, casual, funny, simple, black and white? Choose a design that compliments what's going on in the photo

Finally, consider the color scheme and flavor of the photo you have in mind. Is it classy, elegant, high contrast, maybe glam? You'll want a design that compliments that, with calligraphy or classic fonts, maybe some gold foil, and a very simple design. Maybe it says just "Merry Christmas" in an elegant font, or "let your heart be light." Is your photo funny, whimsical and colorful? You'll want a design that has lots of white in it so your colors pop. Maybe a more casual phrase like "oh what fun" or "may all your days be merry." If you love the more colorful designs that feature some beautiful artwork on them, a simple photo with little color, or one that supports the color scheme of the design will be great!

Pro Tip:
Make these cards your own by adding colorful envelopes, envelope liners, ribbon, washi tape, or a loose photo print to be framed.

Lastly, don't be afraid to make these cards your own! Consider envelope colors, postage, and fun additions like ribbon, twine, envelope liners, or maybe a loose photo print that the recipient can frame for the whole year. Cards and Pockets is a wonderful resource for envelopes and envelope liners. You can find washi tape, ribbon, twine and stickers at your local craft store or my favorite - the Target dollar spot!

Still in need of a holiday card photo? Snag a spot in my mini sessions - spot are filling fast! You'll receive your gallery with enough time to order your cards, even if you sign up for the December 3rd spot. AND, I'll make sure you have just the sort of photo needed to fill in the card design!

Wedding Invitation Etiquette // Part 1: The Invitation

It's invitation design season, friends! These days, I'm brushing up on invitation wording etiquette so I can be sure to know exactly what my couples' invitations should say - so they don't have to! There are so many great resources out there right now, and actually many couples are choosing to go less-formal with their wording, but I still wanted to write some guidelines that will hopefully be helpful as you're deciding on the wording for your invites. My couples all fill out a form that collects their invitation content, and I have a feeling they're doing some Googling to find out how they should be noting their families' names. This is for you.

Wedding Invitation Etiquette // Part 1 : The Invitation Wording // Emma Bauso Design

Your Parents / The Hosts

That first line of the invitation is used to signify who is hosting the wedding. In the days of old, it was only the bride's parents, therefore they were the only ones listed. Nowadays, there are so many different family dynamics or situations happening during the wedding planning that couples are choosing to be more exclusive. Here are some examples of wording with their proper usages:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Brides Mom & Dad request the honor of your company at the marriage of their daughter, "Brides Name" to "Grooms Name" // This is considered traditional and formal. The brides parents are paying for the wedding.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Brides Mom & Dad and Mr. and Mrs. Grooms Mom & Dad request the honor of your company at the marriage of their children, "Brides Name" and "Grooms Name" // Both sets of parents are hosting (paying) for the wedding.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Grooms Mom & Dad request the honour of your presence at the marriage of "Brides Name" to their son "Grooms Name" // The Grooms parents are paying for the wedding.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Brides Mom & Dad request the honor of your company at the marriage of their daughter, "Brides Name" to "Grooms Name", son of Mr & Mrs. Grooms Mom & Dad // The bride's parents are paying but the grooms parents are included in the invitation.
  • "Brides Name" and "Grooms Name" request the honor of your presence at their marriage // The couple is paying for the wedding. There are other variations of this, of course, and you could even change the degree of formality depending on your wedding.
  • Together with their families, "Brides Name" and "Grooms Name" request the honor of your presence at their marriage // Both families and the couple are hosting/paying for the wedding. This is also useful for when one or both sides of the families have complicated relationships, multiple last names, or you want to be inclusive. (Aka no one needs more drama!)

The rest of the wording is pretty straightforward. You need to address the WHEN (Date and Time), WHERE (Venue Name and address) and a simple line about the reception.

About the Reception

If the reception is in a different location than the ceremony, you have two options - include the venue on the invitation with the address, or add reception info to the details card. You can put the reception on the invitation if it will immediately follow the ceremony. If there will be a cocktail hour before, it's best to list the time that begins and when the reception begins on a separate card. You want your guests to be aware of the timeline in advance, especially if there are large gaps between the ceremony and reception.

Details

Will there be a dress code? Should your guests dress casual? Is there a theme? Make sure you tell them! If you have room blocks at any hotels, the details card is a good place to list instructions for those. If you're planning any specific activities for your reception, it's a good idea to casually mention them on the details card - especially if they affect what your guests should wear or how long they should commit to staying at the reception.

The No, No

Times have changed, that's for sure! But some things don't change - and that means never include registry information on your invitation. This is reserved for bridal showers or word of mouth by the couples' family members. You could work around this by including your wedding website on the details card, but never the invitation itself.

All of this info is compiled from the following sources, which I suggest you take a peek at if you have additional questions! If you're working with me on custom invitations, I am always happy to answer your questions or do the research on your behalf! Your wedding professionals are here to make your life easier - so use us!

Wedding Paper Divas - General Invitation Etiquette

The Emily Post Institute - Formal Invitation Wording Examples

Additional articles that are really helpful with general invitation ettiquette are:

A Practical Wedding - Invitation Etiquette and The Knot - 10 Invitation Questions Answered

Next up : Addressing! 

All About Save the Dates

I'm so excited to be starting the stationery process with my 2017 clients. I have an amazing set of brides (and their grooms!) so far, who all have such diverse, exciting ideas for their special days. Some of them are beginning their stationery now, with custom save the date designs. It gets me to excited to think of how their stationery will all be cohesive and matching from start to finish!

In honor of save the date season for so many couples, I'm sharing some designs I've been working on for my clients as well as some ideas for any brides out there who need some inspiration.

First things first - when are you supposed to send these out?

Consider your guest list - do you have a lot of people coming from far away lands? If so, you'll want to give them 8 to 12 months to make travel plans. If most people aren't traveling far for your day, 6 to 8 months is fine. Far may be one or more states away, not so far would probably be within the same state or closer.

To be safe, try to get them out around 9 months from your wedding. September brides - get started now so you can have them out after the holiday madness! I think it's best to wait until after that has died down so they don't get lost in the Christmas card shuffle.

This is a save the date I designed last month that I love so much! It's minimal, sharp and features such a classic photo by this couple's photographer. Photos are a personal choice, but it could be fun to add one from an engagement shoot. People love photos and having a good one to go along with your save the date serves as a quick visual connection to your date - especially if they see it every time they go to their fridge!

I'll be working with Amy and Michael on their invitation suites, so we made sure to get the fonts right at this point so that we can carry them through the design process. We'll also plan to use other design elements in their invitations - including their wedding logo which was printed on the back side of these save the dates!

Save the dates are my favorites because they dont call for a lot of information (usually!) so the design can be really minimal and simple, while bringing in subtle hints of what is to come in the invitation suite.

A great way to make sure your guests keep your save the date within view (so they can actually save the date!) is to have the design printed to a magnet! That way guests can hang it on their refrigerator and be reminded of your date often. This is really popular with my clients this year! 

If you're planning a summer - fall 2017 wedding, have you thought about save the dates yet? It's definitely not too late! I'd be happy to get something started with you - contact me today!

Creating a Cohesive Wedding through Stationery

It's music to my ears when a prospective bridal client mentions wanting every aspect of her wedding to be cohesive. I think that most couples know they want the decoration and visual elements of their day to look as though they belong to the same wedding, but this varies to different degrees from wedding to wedding.

If you're planning your wedding and wonder if you've got this down or even what it means, check out some of the key points below!

Before the Wedding

You can start thinking of creating this flow before your wedding even happens! Some good ways to tease your guests with elements of your wedding are through save-the-dates, the engagement party, a wedding website, bridal shower(s), and then, perhaps more obviously, invitations.

In a time when a girl might have a running "dream wedding" Pin board for years before she even gets engaged, many times you have a good idea of the look you'd like your wedding to take very early on. If this is the case, you might as well lean into that as early as the engagement party and with all the events leading up to the wedding itself. Working with the same stationery designer and/or wedding planner the entire time is a great way to make sure this happens.

Invitations

So, you've done some planning according to your vision. You've got floral ideas, your bridesmaids dresses are probably picked out, and even if things aren't falling together perfectly, you have a really good idea of what the day looks like by the time you're ready to send invites.

Sharing your entire wedding inspiration with your stationery designer is a great way to clue them in on what you're looking for. So many times I ask my brides questions they might not have been expecting, such as their ideas about flowers, do they plan on having any metallic accent colors, what does their dress look like, etc. The more I know, the better! In my perspective, there can be so many variations within the "soft, pastel, blush romance with lots of greenery" scheme that I could get your wedding all wrong. 

The invitation design is a great place to start implementing design elements like a wedding "logo", fonts, original artwork, and specific colors. If I design a logo for a couple and they want to use it on something they're doing outside of my services, I'm happy to pack it up for them. If I can share font sources, I'm glad to do that as well! All of these things make the details look well thought out and planned. AND, isn't it easier to use the same couple of things that have already been created, over and over? I LOVE finding new ways to use the things I've made for a couple within their invitation suite in other places of their day. Which brings me to...

The wedding day

When it comes to the wedding day details, there can never be too many. That's not to say you should blow your budget on drink stirrers, but keeping little things in mind within your budget pump up the volume on your day. There are so many little ways to inject style into these details:

  • menus
  • programs
  • signage
  • framed prints
  • table numbers, seating charts and escort cards
  • favor labels
  • out of town welcome gifts

When you have these details in mind early in the planning process (ok, maybe towards the middle) you can always ask your stationery designer to price them out for you and keep them in mind while designing the invitations. In the end, it works out great for me when I already have ideas and design elements for a menu design months in advance!

After the Wedding

The paper doesn't stop at the wedding day! It's always a good idea to thank your guests, even if it's with a simple flat card with your favorite photo and "Thank You!" I love advising my clients to make their thank you cards versatile, so if they don't want to add a personalized note to the card it doesn't look unfinished, but if there's something special they want to thank their guests for, they can easily write it into the same design. 

Another way to bring your wedding day into your daily life is to have address labels or a stamp and/or personalized stationery (because who doesn't love sending OR getting happy mail??). Other good ideas are moving/name change announcements, or marriage announcements to anyone who couldn't attend the wedding.


My favorite way to plan any event is to create a board within Pinterest where I pin anything and everything that I'd love to actually do. After spending a little bit of time with the board, scroll through and notice where you started and how things have changed over time. If it's been a long amount of time, your tastes may have changed and you can delete some of the old things. But if you notice patterns (dress colors, design elements, font choices, certain kinds of flowers) in the images you're saving, make that an "ah-ha" moment and run with it. If things are sticking over periods of time, chances are you can't go wrong by implementing them in your day. 

To help you get all of your thoughts in order, I've created a free stationery planning checklist! Use this as a guide for all of the paper and graphic design related things for your wedding. There are even some blank spaces for you to add things that will make your wedding truly unique.

I hope this has helped! I would love to delve into the idea of creating a cohesive wedding design some more. If you have any questions or comments about this topic, I've enabled comments so feel free to leave one!