What To Do When You Can’t Decide On A Photography Style: My Style Story of Switching Back And Forth

Almost exactly two years ago I was looking at my images as a light and airy photographer and was feeling pretty restricted and uninspired.  At that point I felt like my photography style was ruining my photography and that it was limiting the times when I picked up my camera, as I avoided imperfect light.  My first reaction was to try something new and experiment with a moodier style, because why not?  When something feels broken, you try to fix it.  But looking back over two years later, was my photography really broken like I thought?  Many of you have asked me why I decided to switch back to my light and airy style, after experimenting with a more moody look and I am about to tell you a classic story of “the grass is always greener.”  If you can’t decide on a photography style, my style story might be exactly what you need to hear.

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What To Do When You Can’t Decide On A Photography Style: My Style Story of Switching Back And Forth

What To Do When You Can't Decide On A Photography Style: My Style Story of Switching Back And Forth | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

My Instagram feed between styles.

I am an open book.  I love to write and share my story because I feel like, if it can help someone else in just the smallest of ways, it is worth typing out.  Looking back, the real reason why I switched from light and airy images to a more moody look only to switch right back to light and airy is…light and airy is simply who I am.  Are you familiar with Marie Kondo?  If not, you need to read this book, seriously.  She talks about how your possessions should bring you joy instead of that “meh” feeling.  And I firmly believe that this concept applies to photography as well.  When we look at our images we should be full of joy.  We shouldn’t be looking at our photography and saying, “meh.”  For me, the moodier style quickly made me feel “meh.”

Truthfully, any image of my family despite the editing style, brings me joy.  But light and airy images of my family makes me squeal with joy.  And there is a difference there.  There is a difference between being satisfied with an image and being joyful with an image.  While the moodier look that I experimented with for about 7 months was fun and resulted in beautiful images, it wasn’t satisfying my creative cup.  I wasn’t feeling the joy.

And this doesn’t mean that light and airy photography is better than moodier photography.  That’s not what I am saying at all.  In fact, most of my favorite photographers have a completely different photography style than me.  But for me, I wasn’t feeling inspired with shadows.

It really is a story about the grass is always greener.  Or a story about trying to fit a circle into a square hole.  But let’s talk about the grass story first.

Whenever we feel at a rut with our photography, our instinct is to pinpoint what isn’t working.  For me, I thought it was my style.  I thought that my need to find perfect light and time my images around ideal lighting was hindering my photography.  And, in a way it was.  I definitely wasn’t inspired to photograph in every scenario.  But let’s really think about that statement for a second.

I wasn’t inspired to photograph in every scenario.

I highlight this statement because this was my truth and is my truth today.  As a photographer, I am only inspired by certain things.  And my certain things will be different than your certain things.  I am inspired by bright whites and creamy skin and a blown out window and a cream chair and soft textures and blush and delicate details.  I am inspired by light.  And really, everything else is pretty much missable for me.

But let’s be real for one second here.  Not matter the photographer you are and no matter the style you choose, light is your key factor.  Light is what makes or breaks a photo.  Whether you are a moodier photographer or a light and an airy photographer, light is crucial.  It is your style that then tells you what light you love the most.

I thought that my feeling of not wanting to pick up my camera when the light wasn’t ideal was bad, but really it’s just who I am.  And even with my darker style, I wasn’t picking up my camera all the time either.  I am a choosy person and it took switching photography styles to make to realize that, despite my style, I am not the photographer who will photograph all day long anyways.  I don’t pick up my camera everyday, and sometimes I don’t pick it up for a week.  But it wasn’t my style’s fault, it is just the way I am.

I was trying to fix something that wasn’t really broken.  I just thought it was broken.  I thought the light was hindering my desire to pick up my camera but it really wasn’t.  I was trying to fit my circle light and airy self into a square hole of a moodier style.  And after 7 months, it wasn’t working.  It was fun!  It was educational!  But it wasn’t me.

I realized that everything about my style is light and airy, whether it comes to photography or not.  The clothes I wear, the furniture I choose, the paint samples I pick out, the book covers that attract my eye, and the sliders I feel a magnetic pull to in Lightroom.  It’s just me.  It literally is who I am.

In the end I realized my truth.  I am a light and airy photographer, through and through.  Yes, I might have to wait for good light and yes, on some days that can seem a little limiting.  But I have learned that, like a lot of things in life, waiting is worth it for me.  Good things take time and in the end, waiting always makes me happier with my final images.  I just couldn’t deny the fact that light and airy scenarios were having me run for my camera, and moodier shadows just weren’t my thing.  While other photographers photograph shadows beautifully and I learned to do the same during my 7 months of moodier shooting, it just wasn’t bringing me the joy that I felt when being inspired by an evenly lit room.  Ahh, light and airy is just where it is at for me.

I hope that I am not talking in circles here and that this makes sense.  But the takeaway of this post is, trying something new is always a good thing.  It can either introduce you to a new love or it can show you that what you previously had was right were you should be.  And for me, light and airy is definitely where I should be.  It’s my joy.

If you can’t decide on a photography style, I would definitely recommend spending at least a month photographing in one exclusive style and then try something new for another month.  By giving yourself a long period of time to exclusively photograph one way, you are allowing yourself some time to really take in how the style does or does not inspire you and if it really gives you the joy you deserve to feel with your images.  And be forgiving of yourself if you feel like you can’t decide on a photography style right away, it really is something that just takes some time.

In the end, I feel the strongest with my photography and style today.  I think taking a 7 month break from the light and airy style to experiment with something new really strengthened my photography and my focus, encouraging me to create some of my best work today.

To read more about our everyday to inspire your own everyday and photography, be sure to check out the posts that are trending below.

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What To Do When You Can't Decide On A Photography Style: My Style Story of Switching Back And Forth | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

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Valentine Gifts for Photographers | 9 Must Have Items For Every Photographer

With Valentine’s Day weeks away, it’s time to think through what you’re going to get your honey.  Or if you are the photographer reading this, it’s that time of year for dropping heavy hints about what you would like from your valentine this year.  When it comes to Valentine gifts for photographers, I’ve got you totally covered with 9 must have items that photographers appreciate.  Trust me, these are all sweet things that will make your sweetie think you are the most thoughtful person ever.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I get a commission for items purchased through the link.  Thank you in advance for supporting my blog so I can continue inspiring you with new content.

Valentine Gifts for Photographers | 9 Must Have Items For Every Photographer

Valentine Gifts for Photographers | 9 Must Have Items For Every Photographer | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine

one

Footwear for sessions.  Outdoor sessions can have photographers walking through tall grass and getting in just about any position to get the perfect photo angle.  My favorite outdoor footwear for photography session is Hunter boots.  Not only are they professional and functional, but they are also really practical when photographing in all seasons!  And to really persuade you, they can be paired with skinny jeans or a skirt, making the outfit selections endless.

two

A daily planner.  Listen, I am a pencil and paper type of gal and if the photographer in your life is too, this planner is the only planner I use.  Not only does it help me schedule my professional photo sessions, but it helps me manage our personal life as well.  This planner houses everything from playdates, to photography sessions, to storytime at the library, to blog post ideas.  I will buy this planner year after year after year; it is a slam dunk winner!

three

A better camera strap.  Because let’s be real, the stock camera strap that comes with a camera is just not cute.  A fun way to dress up a camera and show personality is through a nice camera strap.  This camera strap is my absolute favorite brand and earns me compliments at just about every session I photograph.  It’s a beauty and comes in so many colors, allowing you to have a unique version.

four

An iPad case.  Does the photographer in your life use an iPad on the go, during sessions to help with posing or to keep caught up on email between sessions?  If so, this adorable case is a fun way to help protect gear and bring some beauty into her camera bag.

five

Keep her coffee hot!  Listen, if you know the photographer in your life really well…you know that she spends a lot of time editing.  And, like me, may get so focused on editing that her coffee constantly goes cold.  Is this just me?  Am I the only one grabbing for my cup of coffee between edits to find that it’s a very cold sip?  My girls got me a hot mug for Christmas and, let me tell you, it’s worth every penny!  When it comes to Valentine gifts for photographers, this idea takes the cake!

six

A cozy throw blanket.  Again, editing can find photographers behind a computer screen at all hours of the day, or night.  I love editing with a cozy throw blanket to keep comfy during my long editing sessions.  Plus, it can double as pretty office decor on an editing chair when not in use.

seven

A lens to help photograph in smaller spaces.  We’ve all been in small homes or tighter spaces that make it difficult to photograph the scene we want because of limited space.  Because we can’t move walls to allow us to back up further from our subject, this lens is a must have for a photographer’s camera bag and one of my go to lenses.  Plus, it takes the most sharp and crisp photos of all my lenses.

eight

A lens pen.  This tiny little pen is a must have for every camera bag.  Whether a child accidentally smudges your lens with their fingers or you need to clean dust off the lens, this pen works wonders!  Plus, it is small enough to keep in your pocket so it is very handy.

nine

A book known to boost inspiration.  Have you heard the photographer in your life mention that they are in a creative rut or that they desire a boost in inspiration?  The Everyday Photograph: The Art of Seeing Beauty in Ordinary Moments is a must read for every photographer.  Not only will it help you pick up your camera, but it will help you see everyday things in a new way.  It’s the perfect source for inspiration when you need a little creative boost.

Valentine gifts for photographers has never been more simple.  Whether it is helping her stay cozy during editing marathons, giving her some inspiration, helping her dress up her camera bag or self, or surprising her with new gear, your photographer sweetie will be so thrilled to receive any of these Valentines.  I hope this has helped guide your gift-giving and makes your Valentine feel so very loved!  If you have more Valentine gifts for photographers, be sure to leave your idea in the comment section below!

To read more about our everyday to inspire your own everyday and photography, be sure to check out the posts that are trending below.

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Taking One Year Old Portraits | 6 Easy Ways To Capture Perfect Portraits

Our baby just turned one last week and on her birthday I made sure to schedule time for taking one year old portraits.  I love taking birthday portraits on my girls’ actual birthdays and intentionally schedule the photos for first thing in the morning, before the exciting day gets away from us.  Birthdays can be beautifully exhausting for little ones, as it is a day full of excitement and presents.  Knowing this, I like getting their birthday photos done earlier in the day so their mood is fresh and cooperative.  No matter the age of your child, here are 6 easy ways you can capture portraits of your children.

For a complete guide on how I photograph my baby girl’s first year, be sure to read The First Twelve.  And to learn how I document our everyday moments between milestones, be sure to read The Everyday Photograph.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I get a commission for items purchased through the link.  Thank you in advance for supporting my blog so I can continue inspiring you with new content.

Taking One Year Old Portraits | 6 Easy Ways To Capture Perfect Portraits

Taking One Year Old Portraits | 6 Easy Ways To Capture Perfect Portraits | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

1. Encourage Neutral Clothing

When taking portraits, the focus should be on the child.  Avoid clothing that is bright in color and/or contains text or animation.  Not only does clothing with writing and characters distract the viewer from the child’s face, but it can make for a messy portrait.  Clothing that is bright in color can also present color casting issues in which the bright color from the clothing reflects off of the child’s skin, creating unnatural skin tones.  When choosing clothing, focus on neutral tones and fun texture to add an element of interest that supports the portrait instead of distracts from it.

For my daughter’s first year portraits, I chose a pale pink dress with a tutu skirt and lace bodice.  The texture adds just enough interest to make the photo interesting, while the color is neutral enough to keep the focus on my child.  For a similar styled outfit, here are some similar options from Target, Carter’s, Old Navy, and Janie and Jack.  I also usually size down for portraits so that their clothes fit well and don’t make the child look like they are being swallowed in fabric, which can easily happen when children are photographed in clothes that are too big.

2. Intentional Schedule Portraits

When taking one year old portraits, or portraits at any age, be sure to schedule them for a time when the child is their best self.  Ensuring they have a full belly and are well rested are two great starting points when trying to decide when to schedule your portraits.  I personally like to schedule their portraits first thing in the morning, after they are well fed and before the gifts begin.  Once the presents start, say goodbye to any cooperation from your child…they will be too excited and distracted to cooperative for a portrait or two.

To be inspired by her winter birthday party, be sure to see my post about her Winter ONEderland themed 1st birthday party!

Taking One Year Old Portraits | 6 Easy Ways To Capture Perfect Portraits | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

3. Nail Your Settings Before You Begin

Before I even bring my little ones into the portrait space, I always take the time to set my ISO, aperture and shutter speed.  Preparing my settings before shooting allows me to be completely ready, once I set my child in place for their portraits.  With little ones, you want to reduce any waiting time on their end because they usually only want to cooperate for a short amount of time.  I never want to waste my little one’s patience waiting for me to fumble with my camera settings so I intentionally set up my camera before even bringing my little one in the room.  (Of course, light may shift in the mean time, but those are quick adjustments once my base settings are selected).

For reference, I photograph with my DSLR, my favorite everyday lens, and my portrait lens.  For the portraits within this post, I used my DSLR and my favorite everyday lens to help work within a smaller space.

4. Focus On The Eyes

To ensure your portrait is crisp and in focus, be sure to place your focal point on the subject’s eyes.  No matter what pose your subject is in and what aperture you are using, always make sure you are placing your focal point on your subjects eyes to create beautiful focus and a beautiful final portrait.

Taking One Year Old Portraits | 6 Easy Ways To Capture Perfect Portraits | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

5.  Encourage Sitting

Let’s be real, little ones are fast.  To give yourself a fair chance at achieving a good photo when taking one year old portraits, or portraits of younger children, encourage sitting.  For our baby’s first year portraits, I started the short session by having her sit in a large chair and then we moved to a small child sized rocking chair, which was actually her birthday present!  Because this small rocking chair was brand new to her, she was easily excited and distracted enough to allow me time to photograph some sweet portraits.

Taking One Year Old Portraits | 6 Easy Ways To Capture Perfect Portraits | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

6. Encourage Personality

Some of the images above have my daughter looking off camera or offering a more serious face, but are equally sentimental images because they capture her current personality.  Remember, portraits are more about the subject and who they truly are.  Don’t stress about creating a portrait of your child with the perfect smile with perfect eye contact with the camera.  While those images are always wonderful, be sure to give equal credit to the images that truly show who the child is.  Each of the 7 portraits I shared within this post are equally meaningful to me because they each capture part of her sweet personality at 12 months old.

As you prepare for taking one year old portraits, or portraits of any child, be sure to keep these tips in mind to ensure an easy portrait process with beautiful final images.  Taking the time to think through clothing, preparing your camera settings beforehand and think through your child’s schedule will all help to streamline the process of photographing young children.  I hope these tips help you create portraits that you enjoy forever, with a little less stress!

To read more about our everyday to inspire your own everyday and photography, be sure to check out the posts that are trending below.

And to always be up to date with the latest photography tricks and inspiration, be sure to sign up for my free exclusive list!

Taking One Year Old Portraits | 6 Easy Ways To Capture Perfect Portraits | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

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Winter ONEderland | A Winter First Birthday Party

Saturday found us celebrating our youngest daughter’s first birthday.  First birthdays are always so bittersweet!  On one hand, you find yourself celebrating all the milestones and moments that made up the first year.  But on the other hand, you find yourself grasping for more time and a little sad to say goodbye to that meaningful first 12 months.  It’s always wonderful to watch your baby become more independent, yet we also cling to those moments when they let us cuddle a little longer before they squirm out of our arms.  All that being nostalgically said, having a January birthday means a winter first birthday party for our little one.  And nothing says winter better than snowflakes, cocoa and cupcakes.

This birthday was a couple months in the making, as I shopped and browsed for the perfect winter details to bring this party vision together.  I knew I wanted to incorporate a little snow, cocoa, snowflakes, and tiny coffee cups to bring the Winter ONEderland vision to life.  To recreate this party for your own little one, be sure to check out the source list located further into this post to see where I found each item.

As a birthday gift, my husband and I spent a lot of time thinking about what to get her.  First birthdays are so meaningful and we wanted to get her something special, as we did our first baby.  I fell in love with the idea of giving her a white rocking chair, as I had something similar when I was very young.  To say the least, she adores it.  And looks so big sitting in it by herself!

For a complete guide on how I photograph my baby girl’s first year, be sure to read The First Twelve.  And to learn how I document our everyday moments between milestones, be sure to read The Everyday Photograph.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I get a commission for items purchased through the link.  Thank you in advance for supporting my blog so I can continue inspiring you with new content.

Winter ONEderland | A Winter First Birthday Party

Winter ONEderland | A Winter First Birthday Party | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

Having quite a few young toddlers in attendance, I knew I wanted to keep the food simple.  We served popcorn and cupcakes, with cocoa and cocoa cups given as party favors to enjoy at home.  We created the cocoa jars and cups using some simple ribbon and snowflake punches that are linked below.

Winter ONEderland Party Source List

ONE balloons | purchased locally, can be found here

window frames | purchased locally, similar ones here

large white snowflakes | amazon

pale pink snowflakes | amazon

1 cake topper | purchased locally, similar one here

cocoa cups + lids | amazon

mason jars | amazon

circle punch for mason jar tops | amazon

large snowflake punch | amazon

small snowflake punch | purchased locally, can be found here

snowflake cupcake decor | amazon

white child rocking chair | amazon

birthday banner | amazon

table streamers | purchased locally, similar one here

gold party hats | purchased locally, similar idea here

small cupcake pedestal | purchased locally, similar one here

Winter ONEderland | A Winter First Birthday Party | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

Our toddler loved singing “happy birthday” to her little sister multiple times on her actual birthday and sweetly insisted that it was her birthday too.  At two years old, it is rather confusing for only your sibling to receive presents, but she had fun helping her open gifts and sharing her new toys.  And really, in a way, it was her birthday too.  It was the day that she became a big sister!  To make her feel extra special, we gave her and her baby sister small ballerina dolls to celebrate her “big sister birthday.”  And to make the day extra special, the girls’ grandma came to visit and spend some very special time with us and the girls to celebrate!

All in all, her first winter first birthday party was everything I hoped it would be.  Sometimes all of the planning can be a little stressful, as I make sure I have all of the supplies and ensure all the details go together.  But once everything is set up and I hear laughter of little ones enjoying the party, I sigh in relief and silently whisper a prayer of thanks that everything turned out how I hoped.

To plan your winter first birthday party, be sure to shop the links above to help your party come together as smoothly as mine did!  And a word of advice, definitely opt for the cocoa jars!  Not only are they so adorable and exciting for the kids, but the kids love having their own miniature cups to enjoy it at home in.  Plus, you won’t have to worry about a hot cocoa mess with a large number of toddlers, but can simply say, “Enjoy this at your house!”  Smart momming!

To read more about our everyday to inspire your own everyday and photography, be sure to check out the posts that are trending below.

Winter ONEderland | A Winter First Birthday Party | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

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Our Cozy Snow Day | Taking Photos in the Snow

For a week, we saw that beautiful snowflake icon on our weather app…teasing snow in the forecast.  My husband and I are from the west coast and grew up with snow.  We absolutely love it and have found ourselves longing for some snow to complete this winter season.  As the days led up to that little snowflake icon, we filled our grocery cart with cocoa and marshmallows and prayed that we would wake up to a winter wonderland.  As we put the girls to bed, a light snow began to fall and we thought, just maybe our dream of a snow day with our girls might just come true.  My husband, a big lover of snow, excitedly thought about playing in the snow with our two year old for the first time together, while I excitedly thought about taking photos in the snow.  We both went to bed that night thinking of snowflakes and I am not ashamed to say that I woke up several times throughout the night to peek out the window.  Snow has a way of taking adults back to childhood and making them children themselves.  We were giddy.  We were hopeful for snow.

And snow, it did!  We woke up to a beautiful blanket of snow and, while most days find us thankful that our girls sleep in, we were practically making noise in hopes they would wake up early to see the snow too.  I always planned to take photos of our daughter’s first time playing in the snow, but at the last minute grabbed my camera to photograph her waking up to snow.  And I am so grateful that I did.  She was completely ecstatic to see the white outside her window and instantly wanted to build a snowman.  While our 1 year old didn’t understand snow this year, she definitely understood our excitement and found herself so excited just because all of us were.

To learn how I photograph Christmas with my children and get all the photos I want, without the stress during the holidays…be sure to read The Thoughtful Christmas: A Complete Guide To Intentionally Photographing Your Holiday Memories.

One of my favorite things about snow is that it is the best natural reflector and instantly brightens up our home.  The moment we opened the curtains, beautiful light bounced into the room and allowed me to easily photograph bright and airy photos early in the morning.  (around 9:00am)

For a complete guide on how I photograph my baby girl’s first year, be sure to read The First Twelve.  And to learn how I document our everyday moments between milestones, be sure to read The Everyday Photograph.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I get a commission for items purchased through the link.  Thank you in advance for supporting my blog so I can continue inspiring you with new content.

Our Cozy Snow Day | Taking Photos in the Snow

Our Cozy Snow Day | Taking Photos in the Snow | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

For these photos, I chose to photograph with my DSLR and favorite everyday lens.

Upon seeing the snow, both of our girls were instantly smiles.  Between peeking out the window at the snowflakes and playing peek a boo with her comforter in bed, there were a lot of giggles as we woke up on Sunday.  And while we usually don’t allow jumping on her bed, if there was ever a day to break a rule…it was a snow day.  So jumping on the bed in her pajamas, she did!  Her excitement was contagious and had us all excited to spend a cozy day in the snow.

Because am often asked for resources, to shop her bedroom items, here are links to the following: bed, bedding, ballerina sheets

To see more of her brand new bedroom and get additional links, be sure to read more about how I designed her toddler ballerina room.

After a hot breakfast, it was snowman time.  After bundling up our toddler to the point where she could barely move her arms, we ventured out the front door to put our first footprints in the snow.  As the snow fell and our littlest watched excitedly from the front door, our toddler played in the snow for the first time.  She was a little hesitant to walk in the snow, so it actually looked more like her telling her daddy how to build a snowman while she patiently watched Frosty come to life.  Every once in a while she would pat the snow, but was happily content watching the snow fall around her.  I had so much fun taking photos in the snow and documenting this moment, before my husband ushered me indoors to find the fixings for Frosty.  We were out of coal and carrots, but our Frosty came to life with a celery nose and fresh ginger for eyes.  He was a fancy snowman.

Our Cozy Snow Day | Taking Photos in the Snow | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

Our snow day was pretty perfect.  Not only did the girls experience their first snow together, but it proved to be a cozy day for the whole family.  After building our snowman, we stayed cozy inside and checked on Frosty from the window to make sure he was still smiling.  Truth be told, this was my very first time taking photos in the snow so I was really excited.  Aside from a few snowy photos in the past, I haven’t ever truly taken a storytelling series in the snow and it was so much fun!  Snow acts as the perfect natural reflector, allowing me to get beautiful bright photos with just my camera and favorite everyday lens.

When all is said and done, our snow day was definitely a day to remember.  It’s so nice to just slow down and be.  To not be able to go anywhere and to not feel guilty about having a simple day full of simple fun.  And ensuring that my camera was ready for taking photos in the snow proved well worth it!  We love these final images!

To read more about our everyday to inspire your own everyday and photography, be sure to check out the posts that are trending below.

Our Cozy Snow Day | Taking Photos in the Snow | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

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