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Ariana V
Top 10 Tips for Kid's Photography 2022

You have chosen to confront the (sometimes) bittersweet challenge that can be taking professional and loving family photos– with kids.

As a mother of a toddler myself (and survivor of raising another), I know first-hand that if you want any kid to cooperate, you’ve got to speak their language!

Before the big day, be sure that you have spent some time talking with your little ones about this exciting adventure you’re all about to embark upon with the entire family, especially your toddler(s). Tell them a little bit about me and what we’ll be doing together! Share pictures of where we will be going for our session together to get them excited!

Get your kids involved by talking to them about where we’ll be meeting for our session together.

Get them excited about the journey in a way that encourages them to look forward to the destination.

For example, if your session is going to be at a location such as the generously gorgeous Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden, you can get the kids excited about being greeted with gloriously breathtaking resident peacocks. Be sure to mention all of the plants and flowers you will meet along the way!

The point is to find something that they can get excited about, depending on where you’re going. Show and tell them about it and watch their imagination soar!

Including them in the process is sure to foster a sense of importance and belonging.

If you are going to expect anything, expect to have FUN!

As a parent, I can completely relate to any sense of frustration that might come when dealing with an uncooperative toddler. As your professional bestie, however, I’m up for the challenge!

Your time is just as valuable to me as my own. While it’s true that not all children are created equal, my goal is to equip and educate you with what I have found to work best, based on my professional experience throughout the years.

In my experience, I’ve found that kids don’t take kindly to being told what to do. I’ve also learned that it’s all in the approach. Without the right approach and the right tools, a professional family photo session with kids might be a little overwhelming, but it certainly doesn’t have to be.

Speaking of tools, use ALL the props!

Bring their favorite toy, security blanket, or both!

Trying to force kids into doing anything that wasn’t their idea doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience (for anyone involved). I think you deserve more than just your average traditional family portrait with forced smiles.

Most kids love their toys, especially mine. Perhaps yours has that one item they refuse to leave home without. No judgment here. I think bringing their favorite possession to our session would be an excellent idea!

Not only would they have the comfort of knowing they have their favorite item, but it’s also a great tool that I can use as an ice breaker to help ease any shyness. Kids love talking about their favorite things, and I have a talent for capturing the natural glow in their faces, sparkle in their eyes, and organically gorgeous smiles, while they do.

Having an item they are emotionally attached to might facilitate memory building and they can associate the item with our family session experience– making the event all the more sentimental for them! Moreover, props allow personality to shine through when used in photos. Every family portrait is an opportunity to share your uniquely beautiful story and express your family values, culture, passion, and more.

The result? Organic expressions of joy and love.

I used her favorite Christmas ornament to capture this gorgeous (organic) smile!

Don’t forget the travel bag — did you pack the snacks and extra outfit(s)?

Parents everywhere know that kids love a good snack– in fact, mine don’t cooperate at all if they’re even a little bit hungry (hangry). Some kids might be in a stage of development where they are still learning how to eat without making a mess, or how to use a napkin. It’s a good idea to pack messy-free snack options, water, and probably an extra outfit (just in case). I always overprepare when it comes to packing travel bags for the kids.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

― Benjamin Franklin

There will also be times when I will act as a fly on the wall of your beautiful, natural, moments; capturing live-action memories of your family as we go forth on our adventure together during this session.

If you have any questions, or if you need some more ideas, feel free to contact me directly! I’m here and happy to support you in making sure you feel prepared and at ease when it’s time for our session. Schedule your free consultation today!

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Ariana V
How to Prepare for Your Engagement Photo Session

Woo-hoo! You’ve leveled up your relationship to the next level.

I like to think of myself as your professional bestie. From one bestie to another, here are some of my pro-tips for how to prepare for an engagement session with me as your photographer.

Your recent engagement is something to share with the world! What better way to flaunt your undying love for each other than with a professional photo session. You have much to plan and prepare for, so maybe you’re wondering where to start.

No worries though, I’ve got your back. Hiring me as your engagement photographer in advance will show you why I’m the best choice as your wedding photographer, too.

The best part about investing in a professional engagement session with me is that I genuinely care about highlighting the uniqueness of your bond. Plus, you’ll gain first-hand experience with my expertise, style, professional chemistry, and the artistic eye that I have for encapturing the essence of your love.

Pro-Tip: Nobody knows your love better than you and your partner.

As your professional bestie and photographer, I want to do everything I can to make sure that your love shines through in the most glorious ways.

Are you and your partner romantic and playful, or do you prefer a traditional look?

Perhaps your love is versatile, fostering various sentiments and shifting from day-to-day. After all, feelings constantly flow and change–love is no exception.

Knowing what the sentiment of your relationship is serves as an important starting point for getting the most out of our engagement session together.

Professional engagement photos are a prime opportunity to show the world why you are made for each other, and it all starts with getting clear about what you want that to look like for you and your future spouse.

Brainstorming Activity:

Create a list with your partner where you brainstorm themes for your professional engagement session. Feel free to write down the ridiculous ideas too! Not only will they surely make you chuckle, but doing this also makes room in your brain for ideas that are more aligned with the aesthetic you wish to articulate in your professional photos. Be sure to include ideas for props that you can incorporate to home in on your desired aesthetic as well.

Pro-tip: Location, location, location.

Did I mention location? This is one of the most important steps in getting the most out of your professional engagement photos. You want the backdrop of your images to mirror the sentiment and aesthetic of your bond and love for one another.

Whether you’re in nature, amid sun rays during the golden hour, or engaging in all your favorite activities while I tag along like a fly-on-the-wall, your background carries a sentimental value that I want to exude with every image.

If you’re having trouble narrowing it down to one location, always feel free to ask me for some ideas. As your professional bestie AND photographer, I have insider tips on the best locations.

Once I know the overall aesthetic and vision of your photos, I am well-equipped to guide you to the right location for our session.

Pro-tip: Practice strategic time management.

Don’t wait too long after your successful proposal to schedule an engagement photo session. Besides, if your proposal was recent then you’ve also got plenty of endorphins coursing through your veins.

It’s also important to consider the time of day you want our session to take place. For example, if your goal is to capture a passionate kiss during the “Golden Hour” (aka an hour before sunset), then be sure to let me know so that I can schedule our session appropriately.

If you’re planning to create “Save the Date” cards, then you can also use professional, beautiful, and genuine shots from our session!

Pro-tip: Let loose, let live, and let YOUR love shine.

You can expect to feel comfortable and free to be your genuine selves. Feel free to get lost in the moment, too.

I want your photos to look as natural as your love for each other. So let loose, let live, and let YOUR love shine. If there are props that speak to your similar passions, interests, or hobbies, then I want you to bring them! I’ll be sure to find ways to artistically incorporate your personal touch throughout our session.

Pro-tip: Category is…FASHION!

Another great way to highlight your personality is through outfit coordination. What you and your partner choose to wear can compliment the sentiment that you, without a doubt, complete each other.

Don’t be shy, accessorize!

Wear your favorite bow-tie and jewelry. Accessories that enrich the overall sentiment of your personality and love are highly encouraged…and who doesn’t love a pair of matching shoes? TWINNING!

Above all, our session is all about highlighting your love and genuine bond. I am honored for the opportunity to gracefully showcase this intimacy, while also providing you with lasting memories that you can share for generations to come.

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Ariana V
10 Tips When Hiring a Wedding Photographer

Congratulations, you’re getting married! Now you need to hire a wedding photographer–but wait!

Your special day deserves to be perfectly immortalized.

There is no better way to do that than through hiring the best available wedding photographer within your budget.

Not only do you have a bottom line to keep in mind, but you also need to hire someone you are comfortable sharing your big day with–you need a photographer who is professional bestie material.

Someone who can bring out the best in both you AND your guests.

Tip #1: Know your desired style.

There are plenty of options when it comes to the style of your wedding album photos.

Whether your desired look is traditional, photojournalistic, or even fine-art, you need to find a photographer that can deliver quality images aligned with your style without sacrificing your bottom line.

PRO TIP: If you need some inspiration, Pinterest has mood boards and more to spark your desire.

It’s worth it to get those candid shots that immortalize your most precious moments. I like to call it:

“Candid Fine-Art”

It’s always a bonus when you find a photographer with an impressive portfolio in the style you’re looking for.

While consulting with one about your big day, make sure to ask about previewing a full wedding album.

This will give you a better sense of their experience.

RED FLAG #1: If they don’t have a full album available for you to preview, that could be a dealbreaker.

Tip #2: Know your desired venue.

You might already have a location reserved for your wedding day, or at least know the setting (indoor, outdoor, at the country club, or in a gorgeous yard).

Location is as equally important as your style. As such, you want to hire a wedding photographer who is comfortable navigating and adapting to your chosen environment.

Keep this in mind as you browse their gallery.

However, don’t discount a photographer who hasn’t experienced your type of wedding location. Photographers are artists at their core, which means that they can also be versatile and adaptive.

The most important factor is your comfort.

A reputable photographer will have reviews that mirror the quality of service they deliver. This will help narrow down the list of candidates.

Tip #3: Review their reputation.

It’s best practice to investigate reviews online before using any service or product.
Pics or it didn’t happen!

PRO TIP: Use keywords and filters in your search. Make a list of the photographers who stand out and align with your style, location, and core values.

While you’re searching on Google, Yelp, Social Media, or even wedding sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire for the photographer who fits your style and venue, be sure to check out their reviews.

Tip #4: Choose your top 3 faves.

It can be tempting to reach out to all the 5-star photographers, but it might save time if you create a list of your top 3 favorites. You also want to check their availability.

PRO TIP: Talented photographers know other talented photographers; it doesn’t hurt to ask for a referral if the one you want to hire isn’t available.

Take time to interview and get to know a wedding photographer before you commit to hiring them.

Professional photographers will have a contact form that you can use to send over the general details of the event and confirm availability.

Before reaching out to confirm a wedding photographer’s pricing and availability, make sure you know how many hours your event will take place so that they can accurately assess their availability.

Tip #5: Know your day-of schedule & VIP guests.

You want everything to go just right on your big day, and so does your wedding photographer.

Are there specific moments you want to capture?

Your photographer will diligently work to immortalize the memories of your wedding.

Keeping them informed about the timeslots for any vendors, as well as your guests, will ensure that your photographer can capture the maximum amount of genuinely precious moments, as smoothly as possible.

Ideally, you want the photographer you hire to know how to work with large groups AND the schedule.

Open communication is key.

Tip #6: Consider your budget and add-on options

Do you have specific poses, special effects, or props in mind? Are you incorporating videography? What other pivotal moments would you like to capture along this wedding journey?

When hiring a wedding photographer, you want someone who can offer plenty of options without sacrificing your bottom line.

You want value in your investment.

Some offer all-inclusive deals at different levels such as bronze, silver, or gold. However, the best photographers know that choice is everything.

Ask about a-la-carte options where you only pay for what you want.

Either way, make sure you know what is included in their price. If anything seems unclear, always ask for clarification.

Some irresistible photo ops to consider:


Bridal Portraits



Behind the Scenes

Day After Session

After considering your options, you may be feeling more than prepared to hire a wedding photographer.

Before you decide to commit to your hiring decision, keep scrolling for more tips to ensure you hire the best wedding photographer for your special day.

Tip #7: Schedule a free consultation

By this point, you might have a good idea of who you want to hire.

Whether in person, over the phone, or on a video call–meeting with your potential professional bestie before committing to their contract is a perfect opportunity to test for chemistry.

RED FLAG #2: If the photographer doesn’t offer free consultations, then that could be a dealbreaker.

You want to hire someone with who you feel comfortable sharing some of your most intimate moments.

First impressions are everything.

Don’t shy away from asking questions about their process during the free consultation.

The best photographers use assessment techniques to get to know you better and determine how they can best serve you. This is your chance to assess them as well.

Inquire about their experience, package options, and contract. You want to hire a photographer who is on the same wavelength regarding your preparation, commitment, and passion. Your wedding is a memorable event that should be mesmerized by an equally memorable wedding photographer.

Once you have a contract proposal in front of you, there are some important factors to consider BEFORE you sign.

Tip #8: Review the contract proposal

A professional photographer always uses a contract.

Hiring any vendor or service for your wedding is an investment, and for the most part, you want to be in control.

The wedding photographer you hire must fit into your budget.

Read every section of the proposal with a special focus on policies for pricing, cancellation, rescheduling, and publishing.

If there is any part of the contract that you do not agree with or completely understand, be sure to reach out for clarification and ask more questions.

RED FLAG #3: If they aren’t using a contract, they probably aren’t legit.

From day-of expectations, to post-edit delivery methods, and image copyright, always ask for clarification on any unclear or conflicting information before signing any contract.

Tip #9: Read the fine print–know what to expect

The contract proposal in its entirety is important to review and agree with. More importantly, you should know the rights you have with digital images.

Hiring a wedding photographer means you’re paying for their creative services and professional editing.

Most of the time, you’re able to use the images in print for personal use as you please. However, if you want to share them digitally (like on social media) then you typically have to credit the photographer every single time (i.e., watermark or tag).

For other circumstances, the photographer may be willing to sell you the rights to a few photos, but remember that you are hiring an artist for a service, and the photos they capture/edit are original works of authorship.

In other words, they are (by default) the legal owner of any image they capture.

The best photographer knows how to cater to your needs.

Don’t sacrifice your vision if you can’t reach a mutual agreement. Move on to someone else if the vibes are off at any point before you sign a contract.

The bottom line is that you need to know what your package includes and what to expect day-of.

Tip #10: Core values aligned with yours

Our values are the foundation of who we are as human beings. You don’t want to leave any room for bias affecting the memories of your wedding.

This is especially true if you need someone who will be comfortable honorably capturing any of your sacred family traditions.

Speaking of family, if you happen to have little ones, check out this great blog with tips on how to prepare.

Think back to first impressions.

Who’s worth the commitment? Are they capable of capturing your essence? Can they work well with your loved ones? Do they fit into your budget?

If you can answer these questions favorably, then that’s when you know you’ve found “the one” wedding photographer you want to hire.

Undeniable chemistry!

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