Your Outdoor Photography Session — How To Prepare

A Guide to Your Outdoor Photography Session with Jena Lee Photographs

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Man, I love photographing outside. There is so much space to move people around, it is so fun to combine landscapes and moments, and the ever-changing light offers endless creative opportunities … Yes, I realize these are probably not the same reason that you love outdoor photos, so let’s get to that.

Most people love outdoor photos because it speaks to who they are as a person. Sometimes my clients request a mountain location because they hike together as a family, some parents love bringing their kids to the beach and want their photos to be near the water. Your photos can literaly be anything you want and I love when families choose locations that represent them and add to their story.

If you have been thinking about an outdoor photography session — perfect for both Family Sessions and as part of Your Baby’s First Year Bundles by the way — I have put together a little guide so you can be as prepared as possible:

1. Clothing

The ever important question, what do I wear? Golden BC and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort are nestled between three different mountain ranges, which means the weather changes a lot and very quickly. It is not uncommon for it to rain, thunder, hail, and then be sunny again all within the hour, especially up at Kicking Horse. I always recommend wearing layers because it will help you stay comfortable if the weather changes and because it will also look great in your photos.

For example, if you are wearing a dress, you could add a hat and a shawl. This adds variety to your photos and gives you freedom to adjust to the weather. Another example, you can get these really great pants that zip off into capris and then also zip off into shorts … I AM KIDDING. Keep those for hiking, do not wear those to your portrait session.

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2. Shoes

Depending on our location, I recommend wearing something that is comfortable and practical. I get people to move around a lot during their portrait sessions to create those wonderful natural and candid moments… so high heels might not be your best option. I love Vans, Birkenstocks, and Blundstones. If those aren’t your style, anything that lets you walk around, slow run while holding hands, and that you can keep on your feet for longer than an hour will be fine.

*While we are here, barefoot = also fine.

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3. Your Kids …

If you can get them dressed and at your portrait session on time, your job is done. I am an expert at taking great photos of kids. I let them lead the photo session (to an extent) and play lots of fun games with them to create photographs that really capture who they are. We will do lots of treasure hunts, skipping, dancing, wiggling, and hugging. They are guaranteed to be entertained and to enjoy taking photos. Most of them don’t even realize the jedi mind tricks I play on them because they are having so much fun. I expect kids to listen, have fun, and be kind, but I never expect them to sit still or be perfect. Even if there are tears, snuggling up to Mom or Dad makes beautiful portraits.

*That being said, if a full meltdown happens we can definitely reschedule your portraits and try again later.

4. What should I bring?

Bug Spray: For outdoor photo sessions here in Golden/Kicking Horse, bug spray is a must. I try my best to have some in my bag, but it’s not a bad idea to spray before you come and during the session as well. The Spring and Fall are usually tolerable for bugs here, but if you have spent any time here in the Summer, you know how savage they can get.

Sunscreen: If we are photographing at the river or will be outside in the Sun, make sure to slather the kids and yourselves before your session. Nobody enjoys a sunburn.

A blanket: This is optional. Blankets make a great prop for wrapping around everybody and for creating a comfortable place to sit down together. An old family quilt or a favourite beach blanket is perfect. Please keep in mind how your blanket will fit in with what you are wearing and feel free to send me pictures if you aren’t sure.

Your kids favourite toy: Sometimes kids want to bring their favourite toy and I think that’s great. If this is a time in their lives when a small object brings them comfort then I absolutely think it will be a great prop in your photos. Anything that adds to your family’s story in a meaningful way is always welcomed.

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5. Time Of Day

Photographers are always stressing about the time of day, with good reason though. The quality of light can affect the whole look and feel of your portraits and it’s important to us that you get what you are looking for. I am going to ask you whether your family are morning or night people and then try to pick a time as close to sunrise or sunset as possible. I realize with kids that staying up a bit later or getting up earlier might affect their mood a little bit, but if we can plan ahead and try to sneak them an extra nap, it has been worth it every single time. You know your kids best, so if you really don’t think the morning/evening will work, I can do my best to find you a great spot in the afternoon. But if you think you can swing it, I promise that morning and evening light is 100% worth it.

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Let’s start planning your portraits!

If you are ready for your own portraits, please get in touch here,  I can’t wait to hear from you 🌻


 

Jena_SelfPortraits_2018-July 05, 2018-12_WebSize Jena LaRoy completed her Professional Photography Diploma at Langara Collge in Vancouver British-Columbia and then returned to her hometown Golden B.C. to launch her photography business (2017). Jena helps you create heartfelt portraits that tell your story and takes pride in helping her clients print and display their images so that they can bring you joy every day. 

 

 

Happy 1st Birthday, Emma 🌻

One whole year of adventure.

All of our phone calls and appointments had to be scheduled between camping trips, family visits, and adventuring. The Petrovics Family takes every opportunity to spend time with each other and planned their Summer full of outdoor activities. Every time I see them, they have new stories about which hikes they have completed and which of British-Columbia’s lakes their two daughters, Brooke and Emma, enjoyed the most.

We all celebrated Baby Emma’s first birthday in their backyard garden playing with bubbles, riding in the wagon, and singing songs to keep her smiling. One of my favourite things about this family is that even though they were all awake the whole night before with Emma, they rolled with everything and kept their photoshoot planned as usual.

Jennifer said something along the lines of ‘if we rescheduled, it would be something else, and that’s our life!’

I have loved getting to know Jennifer and Jordan better and watching their little family grow up. I love their laid-back attitudes, the strong girls they are raising, and how family oriented they are. Thank-you again for having me take your family portraits this year ♥︎

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Family Photographs in the Mountains — Visiting Golden British-Columbia and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Welcome to my hometown, Golden, British-Columbia and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

I am always proud to tell people that I am from this beautiful town and that I love living and having a photography business here. Each year, many travelers love visiting our area to enjoy the outdoors with their families and friends.

Some people come here to see mountains for the first time, some come to meet Kicking Horse Mountain Resort‘s resident grizzly bear, Boo, and some come here seeking adventure on our endless bike trails and whitewater rivers. There is something here for everybody and we love having you here to visit.

No matter what inspired you to visit Golden BC and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, make sure to document your special moments with whatever kind of camera you have. If you are a do-it-yourself type of family, you can read my Tips for Great Summer Family Photos here.

Or, if you would love to have your family vacation professionally documented here in the Rocky Mountains, consider booking a season with Jena Lee Photographs while you are here.

Here is everything you need to know:

In-Person or On-the-Phone Pre-Consultation:
A quick pre-consultation is required to arrange a date, time, and location for your Portraits. This can be done in person if you are already here in town or via phone-call if you are planning ahead. At your pre-consultation, we will also discuss what you should wear, what kind of groupings/moments you would like to capture, and how you would like to display your portraits afterward (printed, digitally, or both).

Your Photo Session:
During your photo session is your time to relax and enjoy spending some time with your loved ones. Sessions are easy-going with lots of chatting and movement, which is perfect for families that might be a bit nervous in front of the camera and for kids who love to be busy. Sessions are designed to make you feel comfortable, create authentic moments to capture real emotions and to leave you feeling connected and full of love for one another afterward.

*Parent disclaimer: Kids are encouraged to run around and have fun during photo sessions. They are free to be themselves and you are free not to have to worry about them sitting still. We play lots of games and move around a lot so they are entertained and having fun while also creating beautiful portraits without even knowing it. That being said, if things really go south and the kids are in full meltdown we can try your photo session again the next day at no extra charge.

Your Ordering Session:
After your photo session, you will meet with Jena one more time to view your beautiful gallery of images. At this time, you will be guided through choosing which images you would like to purchase for printed display or digital sharing.

Most families love a lot of their photos and end up purchasing an Album and one or two favourites for hanging on the wall. Plus, each photo purchased for print comes with the identical web-sized digital copy so you can share with everyone online too! You can have your digital images right away and your printed products will be drop-shipped to you back home (for Canadian and U.S. residents only).

Same Day Service Available:
In most cases with enough notice, Jena Lee Photographs can offer your family same or next-day service. This means that you can see your photos a few hours later or the next day, which is ideal for families who are only visiting Golden or Kicking Horse Mountain Resort for a few days.

If you are visiting Golden or Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, consider having your family vacation documented here in the Rocky Mountains.

Jena LaRoy completed her Professional Photography Diploma at Langara Collge in Vancouver British-Columbia and then returned to her hometown Golden B.C. to launch her photography business (2017). Jena Lee Photographs helps you create meaningful portraits and offers full custom design, framing, and image-printing services so that you have physical images to enjoy, not just digital dust. 

For more information about booking your own family photographs, please visit the Client Guide:

Client Guide

The Michener Family

In many years time, when your children look back on these family photos, what do you hope they feel?

That they are unconditionally loved and that our family moments together are cherished.

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Jena LaRoy completed her Professional Photography Diploma at Langara Collge in Vancouver British-Columbia and then returned to her hometown Golden B.C. to launch her photography business (2017). Jena Lee Photographs helps you create meaningful portraits and offers full custom design, framing, and image-printing services so that you have physical images to enjoy, not just digital dust. 

For more information about booking your own family photographs, please visit the Client Guide:

Client Guide

Capturing Great Family Photographs This Summer — Jena Lee Photographs

We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.

— Winne The Pooh

Family vacation time is a lot of things. It’s exciting to spend quality time together and also sometimes hard to be so close for days/weeks on end. It’s fun to try new things together and to create new memories. Sometimes a family member is being missed or sometimes a new family member is being eagerly anticipated. Whatever season your family is in, when you strip everything down it’s just nice to be together and to explore new areas.

Here are a few ways you can be sure to capture some great moments together and to document your trip:

  1. Bring the device you are most likely to use: It’s great if you have a big DSLR camera and a giant lens for zooming in on your family; however, your big camera won’t be much help if it’s too annoying/heavy to take out of the bag. If your phone or a small point and shoot camera is what you are most comfortable with and what you are most likely to use, then that’s the perfect tool for the job.
  2. Get yourself in the frame: Bring a tripod or get creative by carefully using your surroundings to prop up your camera/phone so that you can be in the picture too. Alternatively, take a good old-fashioned family selfie… Bonus points if you have a selfie stick.
  3. Attach great memories to your photos: The best time to take a photo is during or right after a moment you never want to forget. Our favourite photos are usually the ones we associate with a valued memory or experience. If your kid is discovering something new or you and your significant other just accomplished something together, make sure to capture that moment.
  4. But also, be present: Taking family vacation photographs is important, but so is being present for the actual moment. It is all about balance, try not to live your vacation through your phone screen. Enjoy your moments together, take a quick picture, and be present for your family.
  5. Print your photos when you get home: Living in this digital world is fun because not only can we see our photos right away but we can also share them with friends and family pretty much in real time. I always remind my clients to keep it classic by printing out a few favourites so they have them forever, even if they just go on the fridge or in a photo album. Printing your photos is the only way to guarantee their longevity, because we are all too familiar with lost phones, broken phones, software updates, corrupt files … Plus, printing them lets you see pictures of your favourite people every day 🙂
If you are here visiting Golden British-Columbia and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and would rather have somebody else do the documenting, consider booking a portrait session with Jena Lee Photographs. I would love to help you create beautiful photographs of you and your family here in the mountains.
Otherwise, I wish you a Summer full of relaxing days, warm nights, and effective bug-spray.

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Jena LaRoy completed her Professional Photography Diploma at Langara Collge in Vancouver British-Columbia and then returned to her hometown Golden B.C. to launch her photography business (2017). Jena Lee Photographs helps you create meaningful portraits and offers full custom design, framing, and image-printing services so that you have physical images to enjoy, not just digital dust. 

Please visit the Client Guide for more information about photography sessions with Jena Lee Photographs:

Client Guide

 

Tuesday Thinklings.

When I put the turmeric in the fridge and the coconut milk in the cupboard this morning, I knew that after an incredibly productive week and weekend, it was time for a day at home.

Radio off. Phone off. Tea kettle on. Lists of everything that needs to be done get written out so the unlimited tasks can stop swirling around in my head and live on paper instead. My workspace and house get organized. Everything gets put away. The plants get watered. I make sure to take a few minutes to admire our garden and to watch the quiet street outside the window. I enjoy the fresh green leaves finally erupting and I take in the peacefulness of a morning after a Spring rain.

Listen to yourself and give your soul what it needs.

By taking care of yourself, you take care of your partner, your neighbor, your family.

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Blooming — My Artistic Journey with The Unraveled Academy

As with anything, it is important to continually further your education and to rehearse your skills…

This Spring, I have been participating in a three-week online workshop with The Unraveled Academy. For our second week of the course, we were given a series of questions to answer and then challenged to dream up and style a masterpiece photoshoot, just for ourselves.

Here is my submission for the Becoming Unraveled Workshop and the answers to my questions. My inspiration was to be truly honest. I ask my clients to do this for me all of the time, so I should have to do it too.

If I dug deep, I already knew what being truly honest was for me. Before I knew it, I had foraged a small bouquet and was visiting my Dad’s headstone, for the first time at my own will.

Self-Portraits, for Dad.

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Why are you an Artist?

I think that I have an open mind and heart that accepts all kinds of people and their circumstances. I like to think that others can sense this about me and feel like they can be open to sharing their story. Sometimes I think too much about all of the bad things happening in the world and working with people helps me feel like I am doing something to make it a better place (or at least more kind and more accepting of diversity place) … one photo shoot at a time. 

Why do you create art?

It feels good to create something with someone. A portrait session is a special occasion where people get to share their true selves. We have created a space where it is ok to be open and explore whatever emotions come up. Sometimes people need something that is fun and silly and sometimes they turn out more serious, it’s never the same.

Who or what is part of your dream photoshoot?

Somebody with a story close to their heart that wants to use Photography to explore/validate it. 

Where will this happen?

A meaningful space for them, either in their home or outside somewhere that resonates with them.

What kind of connections are you hoping to make?

I hope they can forget I am there taking their photo and that they turn inside to feel their feelings or to enjoy themselves. Or they use a photo session to connect with somebody they love, like friends, a partner, or their family. 

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Alopecia Awareness with Brooke

The hardest step she ever took was to blindly trust in who she was.

— Atticus

I am going to keep this writing short and sweet because I could go on and on about how beautiful and full of light this woman is. My friend, Brooke, has been dealing with Alopecia — an auto-immune disease that attacks the hair follicles — her whole life. This year, Brooke’s alopecia has changed from being manageable, to losing chunks of hair every day, to finally taking control and shaving all of it off. 

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It was horrible watching it slowly fall out and having to constantly sweep it up off the floor. My husband helped me shave it off and it felt so good.

For somebody to gracefully take a big life change and choose to fully embrace it is no small triumph. It takes incredible strength on the inside and spectacular support system on the outside, which Brooke kept saying she is so thankful to have.

Brooke explained to me that she has many friends and family who have been there for her throughout her journey, but has not been able to find many other support resources specific to Alopecia here in the Kootenays… so she started her own.

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Brooke literally said the words: I think that this was meant to happen to me and be what I do in life.

We talked about how having no hair was a big adjustment at first, but now feels quite liberating and comes with its own perks. We laughed about how she didn’t have to worry during the lice outbreak in one of the schools she was studying in or how simple her morning routine has become.

I know that whatever comes her way, Brooke will always see it as an opportunity to grow and help others.

Thank you for thinking of and trusting me for your photos Brooke, it was truly my pleasure ❤︎

Brooke has started a Facebook group for anybody with alopecia looking to join a safe and supportive community. Click this link to visit!

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Brooke has started a Facebook group for anybody with alopecia looking to join a safe and supportive community. Click this link to visit!

 

FEAR of Photography — Honest thoughts with Jena Lee Photographs

I will get photos done when __Insert your perceived flaw here___.

This post is for women and men, adults and children, and anybody who has ever ducked out from in front of the camera or felt insecure about having their photo taken.

Doing those things is perfectly normal. As a photographer, I know that I am asking a lot from you. I want you to be vulnerable and have that documented forever and that is scary.

I know that fears, body insecurities, shakey self-esteem, jiggly thighs, frizzy hair, big noses, chins that do that thing when you smile too big, other squishy body parts, dopey feet, freckles, not enough freckles, broken nails, squinty eyes, big cheeks, small cheeks, poofy eyebrows, thin eyebrows, or unibrows are all terrifying reasons not to get in front of the camera for most people. I have had enough experience working with people as a photographer to tell you with two thousand percent honesty: your flaws are the reason you should get in front of the camera.

It breaks my heart at the number of people I hear from that won’t get their photograph taken because they think they are too heavy, too skinny, their hair isn’t long enough, they’re waiting until after their diet, they want new clothes first, they hate their arms, their legs aren’t the right size, they don’t like their smile, the list goes on.

The sheer volume of put-downs I hear people say about themselves is astounding. One time a woman said she isn’t that beautiful so she didn’t want her face to be in too many of the photos. Many people only agree to be in a photograph if they can be in the back so their body is hidden. I have had hundreds of people ask if I can photoshop 10 pounds off of them. It’s not even just adults, it’s children too. One time an 8-year-old girl told me that she didn’t want her photo taken because she thinks she is hideous.

Does that break your heart as much as it does mine?

Last weekend, my family and I went to the Fearless Women’s Summit in Calgary, Alberta. All of it was amazing and inspirational but one quote stuck with me:

Would you say your own insecurities about your best friend or children?

Imagine telling your best friend she shouldn’t get her photo done because her nose is too big. That sounds ridiculous. Say that out loud right now and it sounds even more silly. Yet we are so quick to be hard and judgemental about ourselves. It’s time for that to end.

Your feelings are legitimate but my goal as your photographer is to help you leave them behind. Kick them to the curb. Throw them to the wind. Let’s say it again: your flaws are the reason you should get in front of the camera. They are what makes you, you. They are the best part of you. They are what others love most about you. Your flaws make you different and unique and it’s time to own them. Right meow.

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I’ll go first.

My insecurity is my hair. It’s thin and lifeless and sometimes frizzy. In photography school, I felt like my portraits would always look nicer if I just had better hair.

But I don’t. And I am sure as heck not going to not have photos of myself because of my hair. I decided a long time ago to stop worrying about it and stop letting it have control over me. Now I let it do what it wants to and sometimes its good and sometimes its bad, but it sure feels wonderful not to worry about it.

Then, last week, I got in front of the camera and tried to be myself. Myself is kind of shy, loves plants, loves to create, enjoys working with people and lives for connection. Here is all of that in some photos of me that make me feel happy. Anybody can have this experience. It’s not always easy, but growth as a person is often uncomfortable.

Here is my message to you: Don’t miss out on photos with friends/family/pets because of a superficial insecurity. Get in there and be different and be you. This is my push to you to own your flaws, starting today.

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Available Jena Lee Photographs sessions include Your Baby’s First Year photography bundles and Family Connection Sessions.

Jena LaRoy completed her Professional Photography Diploma at Langara Collge (Vancouver B.C., 2017) and returned to her hometown Golden British Columbia to launch her photography business (2017). Jena Lee Photographs offers a full-service photographic experience of personalized photography sessions and custom professional printing and framing services. Serving the East Kootenay and Rocky Mountain areas of British-Columbia.