Longwood Gardens, PA 5/17/17 - Power to the Flower

Over the past few weeks, I have been patiently waiting for my garden to "wake up" so I could have some floral fun with my camera but the weather has been a little less than cooperative.  Finding myself getting impatient, I decided to take a road trip this week to Longwood Gardens, which turned out to be one of the hottest days so far!   I decided before I left that it would be fun to photograph a little bit differently than just going to document flowers.  My thought process was that I knew I wanted to take images of my favorite types of flowers but now create a photo so that a single bloom was isolated capturing its individual beauty.  Luck for me,  I have acquired quite a collection of various mat boards in colors and sizes and found the perfect size black mat board that was fantastic to place behind any bloom I might encounter - and also not damage the rest of the plant when I used it.  I hope you enjoy the beautiful blooms from my trip!

PALMYRA, PA 17033 NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER - BABY MARLO

This special little girl arrived a lot earlier than Mom & Dad expected and had to spend a bit of time in the hospital while she put on some weight!  Still such a peanut when she came to my studio but totally rocked the session!  It was truly a wonderful thing to create these wonderful images for such a special family!    Enjoy some images from her day!

Size Your Images Correctly

Size Your Images Correctly

Over the past year, I have been contacted on numerous occasions by friends and clients who get very frustrated when they cannot get their photographs of trips, etc. to print correctly.  After my most recent call, it seemed to me that this is becoming a more common problem and would be a great thing to blog about.   Adobe Photoshop is a very complicated editing software program and there are specific things you should and need to know when it comes to setting up your images and being able to print them correctly.

The common thread in this frustration level appears when images are being saved incorrectly when it comes to their resolution.  Not understanding the what resolution means to an image can result in making it impossible to print.  I hate to say it … but in Photoshop, size does matter!

Since this is a pretty technical topic, I felt asking a Photoshop professor, John Whitehead, at the  Harrisburg Area Community College to be my guest blogger was the perfect way to go!  I am currently taking his course to refresh and hone my own editing skills.   Not only did he graciously write a wonderful educational piece but also created and YouTube video (you will see the link below) for those of us who find it easier to understand when we watch something!!

I know you will enjoy John’s very informative tips and techniques, which will no doubt help make your life in Photoshop easier!  – Please feel free to share this with anyone who would be interested!

Guest Photography Blogger – John Whitehead,

John Whitehead Images

Saving digital photographs is a very specific process. Even if you don't have Adobe Photoshop, you need to supply the right image format and size. There are many factors that go into preparing an image for the web so I will keep this simple and break this into two specific sections: files for print and files for web.

Files For Print

To prepare a file for print you need a large image size. The size is a combination of width, height and resolution. Width and height are simple; they are usually a ratio of how big you want the image printed. For example, 4 inches by 6 inches which is a 2x3 ratio. In this case, you would select your width of 6 inches and a height of 4 inches. The last and most important setting is resolution. The most common printing resolution is 300 pixels per inch or “ppi.” However, you should always ask what resolution the client or lab that is printing the file. For example, the lab I use is Modern Postcard, and they require 355 ppi. Knowing this ahead of time will give you the correct file size and optimum image quality when it is printed.

The second part of image preparation is saving as the correct file type. Usually, you will be using .tiff or .jpg.  Tif files are uncompressed files saving all digital information.  They will result in the best image quality and the largest files sizes. The “.jpg” is a “compressed” file format and will have a good image quality and small file size. Not all labs will accept .tif files because of their large size.  Also, know that when emailing .tif files, it can be difficult because they will exceed the maximum file size. If this case, you can use a free service like Dropbox, Google Drive or WeTransfer. Jpg files can usually be emailed to the client but check to see so you don't exceed their max file size.

Files for Web or Social Media

Files for the web or social media are very different than files for print. They use height and width in pixels instead of a combination of width, height and resolution. For example, an image for the web might be sized 300 pixels by 200 pixels. This is the same 2x3 ratio as above but sized for a very specific location. If you tried to print this image it would look pixelated and horrible. It is helpful when photographing for the web to know the exact size of the image before you start. This helps you shoot a nice composition for the correct ratio. For example, Revolution sliders, which is a word press plug-in that helps to display your images, uses a very long width and narrow height.  If you shoot full frame on your camera you will lose a large portion of the image.I heard somewhere that the optimum size for social media files are 2024 pixels on the long side but that could be totally wrong.

Another important aspect when it comes to all social media and web files is that they need to be converted to the color space sRGB. So if you are using Adobe RGB, Adobe 1998 or ProPhoto you need to convert the file to sRGB. When saving web and social media files, they are usually saved as .jpg or .png. The .jpg is the most common and .png is only used for files with transparent backgrounds like logos. For the purpose of this blog, I am only going to talk about .jpg since it is the most common file type.

Wikipedia -JPEG (/ˈdʒeɪpɛɡ/ JAY-peg)[1] is a commonly used method of lossy compression for digital images, particularly for those images produced by digital photography. The degree of compression can be adjusted, allowing a selectable tradeoff between storage size and image quality. JPEG typically achieves 10:1 compression with little perceptible loss in image quality.

There is a program called JPEGmini. It will reduce you file size even more than the traditional .jpg file in Photoshop or Lightroom but keeps the image quality. It does work really good but the price is very high for the program. Watch it goes on sale once or twice a year. They also have a free version which lets you convert a few files a day.

Here is a link to a YouTube video I made to walk you thought the process with Adobe Photoshop.

Below I have listed my steps to process an image. *Note, I shoot my images in raw format. If you shoot jpg images, the process is a little different, and I have listed the steps for that as well below.

Processing a raw image

1.   Tone image

2.   Flatten image layers

3.   Change mode to 8 bit

4.   Size image as stated above

5.   Sharpen image using unsharp mask or smart sharpen

6.   Convert to the correct color profile

7.   Save image as .tif or .jpg

Processing a jpg image

1.   Tone image

2.   Size image as stated above

3.   Sharpen image using unsharp mask or smart sharpen

4.   Convert to the correct color profile

5.   Save image as .tif or .jpg

 

John Whitehead

John Whitehead Images

 

HARRISBURG, PA 17112 NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER - BABY ELOWYN

Meet Elowyn!  What an incredibly adorable and perfect angel!  She was the second newborn for my model call and made all the new props even more precious!  Elowyn and her big brother Fox will most definitely have a great time growing up together! Here are a few images to enjoy!

{Ann Peyton has over five years experience as a professional newborn baby photographers in and around the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area.  Please book your session early in your pregnancy as photo sessions are limited and depending upon the month can fill up quickly.  Email annpeytonphotography@gmail.com or use the Contact form to inquire and book.}

Anne and Chris's Wedding, The Peter Allen House September 4, 2016 - Harrisburg, PA

This Labor Day weekend, I shot a beautiful wedding at the Peter Allen House in Harrisburg, PA.  Anne and Chris's families were so tremendous and relaxed - they made me feel as if I have known them for years!  Everything about the day was perfect, from the weather to the ceremony to the food and music.  Enjoy the photos!

VENDOR LIST:

Venue:  The Peter Allen House:  http://www.thepeterallenhouse.com

Flowers:  Pealer's Flowers:   http://www.pealers.com

Cake:  Kyrsten's Sweet Designs:  http://kyrstenssweetdesigns.com

Ensemble:  Cherrywood Ensemble:  

A Wedding Photographer’s Timeline

A Wedding Photographer’s Timeline – What We Need in Order to Capture Your Day

Planning a wedding is an extremely large and stressful undertaking, as there are so many details and timelines that need to be coordinated.  A wedding photographer is the one “wedding vendor” that is typical with the bridal couple the entire wedding day and in my opinion a key component to making sure the day stays on schedule – as best as he/she/they can.  

After recently talking with one of my overwhelmed brides on how to plan a timeline for the day, I felt this topic would be a great thing to share - what brides need to consider when scheduling their wedding day – from hair and makeup appointments to being announced into the reception.  

Please understand that with the diversity of the cultural aspects, exact wedding photography timelines will need to be taken into consideration and plotted out with your photographer.  There are, however, ideal time frames that every bridal couple needs to consider when planning out their day.  Some of these times may appear to be long, but please keep in mind that:  

1.  Your wedding day will fly by, and 

2.  Most weddings run slightly behind schedule so that is considered in the planning

When brides start planning how their wedding day will unfold, I suggest that they allow for at least 3 ½ hours for photography (add an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour if you are considering a first look) prior to the ceremony.  Below, is a breakdown of your wedding day through the eyes of a photographer:

RINGS, DRESS, SHOES and OTHER DETAILS

* Ideal Time Allotment – Photographer arrives 30 minutes prior to the arrival of the bride coming back from hair/makeup session.

Advice – *Assign the MOH to have the dress (on a nice hanger), shoes, rings, wedding jewelry and bouquet in a pre-determined area so the photographer can find them easily.  Give your photographer at least 30 minutes for details to ensure plenty of time to get great images of the dress, rings, shoes, bouquets, and the other details of the day.  We all know that there will be times when a hotel room is too crowded or simply unappealing; so a photographer may have to take the dress all the way down to the lobby or even outside.

* Ideal Time of the Day – Morning

* Ideal Location – Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite, bedroom

BRIDE/GROOM PREPARATION

* Ideal Time Allotment – 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size of bridal party)

Advice – Giving 45 minutes to an hour to capture bridal preparation is ideal. During this time, a photographer can capture close-ups of the makeup and hair being applied, ties being straightened, and, candid moments, as the bridesmaids and groomsmen get ready for the day. Keep in mind that these can be some of the most emotional and fun times of the day.

* Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon

* Ideal Location – Bridal Suite or Hotel Suite

 

BRIDE/GROOM INDIVIDUAL PORTRAITS

* Ideal Time Allotment – 30 minutes

Advice *Right after prep is the best time for individual portraits of the bride and groom (separately). Besides makeup and hair being completely fresh, the day hasn’t become hectic yet.

**Also, keep in mind that the window lighting in most hotel rooms creates a unique look that can’t be duplicated in any environment throughout the rest of the day.

* Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon

* Ideal Location – Bridal Suite, Hotel Suite, Venue Lobby, or Venue Garden

WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

*Ideal Time Allotment – 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size of bridal party)

Advice – Wedding Party Photos should be around 45 minutes to 1 hour. During this time, a wedding photographer can obtain a variety of shots in a variety of poses. Starting off with the basic, classic photos focused on great expressions and lighting, moving into a set of fun and creative shots and finishing with individual pictures with you and each one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen individually.

* Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon

* Ideal Location - Venue Lobby, Venue Garden, Beach, Park, Off-site Location

IMMEDIATE FAMILY

*Time Allotment – 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size of families)

Advice – It is extremely important to have these additional images with your parents, grandparents, and siblings and family members.  It is also very important for family members to be prompt for this portrait session time as they may be travelling from a different location. 

* Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon

* Ideal Location -Venue Lobby, Venue Garden, Beach, Park, Off-site Location

IF YOU ARE DOING A FIRST LOOK AND DAYTIME COUPLES SESSION

* Ideal Time Allotment – 30-60 minutes

Advice – The first look should be around 30 to 45 minutes. During this time, the bride and groom enjoy seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day. While the actual first look might only be 5-10 minutes, the rest of the time is spent on a few basic portraits of the bride and groom.

* Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Early Afternoon

* Ideal Location – Venue Garden, Empty Venue Hallway (shaded areas with natural light)

CEREMONY DETAIL AND VENUE

* Ideal Time Allotment – 20-30 minutes

Advice – Photographer needs to allow 20 minutes to take pictures of the ceremony site, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area.

* Ideal Location – Ceremony Site

* Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon

POST CEREMONY FORMALS

*Ideal Time Allotment – 45-60 minutes

Advice – Formals should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of Families and any other extended guests invited for these photographs.   One can use the guidelineof 3 minutes per group on average. For example, if you have 10 groups, schedule in a 30-minute time slot.  

It is also highly recommended that this is very organized, with a list of groups and helpers from each side of the family to help round people up, as the photographer would not be familiar with all the who’s who

*Ideal Time of the Day – Morning or Afternoon (Post Ceremony)

*Ideal Location – Ceremony Site

RECEPTION DETAIL AND VENUE

* Ideal Time Allotment – 20-30 minutes

Advice – Please allow 30 minutes for pictures of the reception room, completely set up with no guests or vendors in the area. ** Your photographer may want to arrange to take these images early in the day if the reception venue is set up.

Similar to the ceremony details, this is the only opportunity to capture the beauty of the reception room prior to guest arrival.

* Ideal Time of the Day – Photographer can determine

* Ideal Location – Ceremony Site

COUPLES SESSION - SUNSET (Note: this shot depends on time of year, timeline of events, etc.)

* Ideal Time Allotment – 30-45 minutes

Advice – Couple session should ideally take place 30 to 45 minutes before sunset. This is the best time in terms of lighting.

* Ideal Time of the Day – (Sunset)

* Ideal Location – Venue Garden, Beach, Hotel Lobby, Park

COUPLES SESSION – RECEPTION SNEAK OUT

* Ideal Time Allotment – 20-30 minutes

Advice – During the reception, if you are planning on sneaking out for a couple of night

Shots - only about 20-30 minutes would be needed, so as not to take you away from your guests. The ideal time for this is right after you grab a bite to eat or during the open floor dancing after you’ve danced a few songs and would like a break. Another a suggestion would be to get these shots at the very end of the night once all the guests have departed.

* Ideal Time of the Day – Dusk to Night Time

* Ideal Location – Areas with interesting lights, fountains, cityscapes


Below, I have listed a basic photography wedding timeline, based on a 4:00 p.m. ceremony.  Please remember this is from a photographer’s point of view!  Feel free to start with this timeline and tailor it to your own!  I hope that it will help you create a calm and beautiful day!

I hope this basic wedding schedule will assist in scheduling your hair and makeup appointments as well so that you are able to finish up as close to the time your photographer needs to start capturing the beautiful images as your day unfolds!!

12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Photographer arrives 

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. Bride to step into dress – **if you have corset style dress allow 20 minutesfor lacing up 

1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Bride’s individual photos

1:30 – 1:50 p.m. Portraits of:

  • Bride with Father
  • Bride with Mother
  • Bride with Mother and Father
  • Bride with Siblings
  • Bride with Siblings (and their families)
  • Bride with immediate family
  • Bride with immediate family and grandparents
  • Bride with immediate family, grandparents & extended families
  • Bride with grandparents
  • Bride with bridesmaids and flower girl
  • Bride with flower girl
  • Bride with each bridesmaid

2:00 – 2:15 p.m. Groom Getting Ready and Individual Portraits

2:15 – 2:45 p.m. Portraits of:

  • Groom with Father
  • Groom with Mother
  • Groom with Mother and Father
  • Groom with Siblings
  • Groom with Siblings (and their families)
  • Groom with immediate family
  • Groom with immediate family and grandparents
  • Groom with immediate family, grandparents & extended families
  • Groom with grandparents
  • Groom with groomsmen and ring bearer
  • Groom with ring bearer
  • Groom with each groomsman
  • 2:45    Photographer travel to ceremony venue

3:00 – 3:20 Details of ceremony venue (before guests are seated)

4:00 – 4:30 CEREMONY START TIME

4:30 – 5:30 Cocktail Hour for Guests

4:35 – 5:20 – Formal Family Portraits

  •     Bride and Groom with Officiant
  •     Bride and Groom with Bride’s parents
  •     Bride and Groom – bride’s parents & siblings
  •     Bride and Groom – bride’s parents, siblings, grandparents
  •     Bride and Groom – bride’s parents, siblings, extended family
  •     Bride and Groom with groom’s parents
  •     Bride and Groom – groom’s parents & siblings
  •     Bride and Groom – groom’s parents, siblings, grandparents
  •     Bride and Groom – groom’s parents, siblings, extended family
  •     Bride and Groom with Best Man and Maid of Honor
  •     Bride and Groom with Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
  •     Bride with Groomsmen
  •     Groom with Bridesmaids
  •     Bride and Groom with full bridal party mini session

5:20 – 5:40 – Formal Bride and Groom Portraits

5:30 – Reception Begins

5:45    Grand Entrance

  •     First Dance
  •     Toasts/Prayer

6:00    Dinner

  •     Father/Daughter and Mother/Son Dances
  •     Garter/Bouquet toss
  •     Cake Cutting

SUNSET Portraits with Bride and Groom

RECEPTION SNEAK OUT Twilight Portraits with Bride and Groom

SHEDDING NEW LIGHT

Every year, I commit to advance my photography skill and knowledge by attending several on-line seminars or an on-location photography workshop (which I must add is the more expensive route.)  I just returned from a Lighting and Skill Set Boot Camp instructed by one of the most well recognized wedding photographers, Cliff Mautner, in Haddonfield, New Jersey.  

I have been following Cliff Mautner’s beautiful and dramatic imagery for the past several years and was aware that he offered an intense lighting/skill workshop but honestly shied away from taking it because I felt my skill level could not possible measure up to any of his masterful standards.    Earlier this year, I again happened across that he was going to be holding a new lighting and skill set boot camp (which he offers only limited times a year and is not formally advertised) in May.  Something inside pushed me to make a call and inquire more about this workshop.  To my surprise when I called, expecting to speak with a staff person, Cliff in fact answered – which completely threw me for a loop.  We spoke for about twenty minutes and, it felt like I was simply talking to a friend! Needless to say, I signed up within minutes of hanging up and, it was the best decision I have made for my photography business!

With bags in hand and a bundle of nerves standing at attention, I arrived at Cliff’s studio on Monday evening to his welcome reception and was immediately greeted with his warm smile and genuine happiness that I was there.  I sat among 19 other professional photographers – all with a common goals – learning to see light in a new dramatic way – as well as honing off camera flash skills.  What I did not expect to encounter was Cliff’s passion to not only sincerely teach but also to deeply learn about everyone attending.  I have never experienced a workshop where the instructor truly wants to share in depth knowledge and experience so that we may infuse it into our path and journey.

Over the next two and half days, Cliff opened his business like a book for us to read – answered questions on every level, shared his own personal trials and tribulations, and joked with us every minute.  Our days were jammed packed started at 9:00 a.m. and always going past the 9:00 p.m. ending point to ensure nothing was missed.    Cliff’s instruction was meticulous on how to see good light when “technically” it is the worst light.  We were taught how to create beautiful images from locations that I would not readily feel I could see a beautiful and dramatic image.  On both days, there was time set aside to put our “classroom” skills to work and set out with more than enough models – which usually there are never enough models for the number of students.  Our “working” groups were small and never did a battle or struggle over time to instruct or pose the models come into play.  Cliff would turn us loose yet was always floating equally around making sure that we were seeing situations or light in a different way - affording his critique of any image - without a sugar coating of course! 

We ended our time with Cliff doing a formal critique of our images – he asked for a couple of prior images and a couple take during the boot camp.   As you can imagine, all 20 of us sat in intense anticipation of whether we would receive what Cliff referred to as a “@#IT Sandwich.”  Once again, he sat and commented with such sincere care and afforded honest direction as to improvement.  If we nailed with the technical tasks that we came there to achieve, he proudly pointed it out.  My heart beamed when he told me I nailed it!  I worked hard, I listened hard, and I have never been so excited about creating images as a result of this workshop!

Vacation Photo Tips

Summer is around the corner and that means time for vacations. Mobile devices have made capturing your vacation moments and sharing them on social media a breeze. Below are some tips to help you with capturing those perfect photos on vacation. 

1. Pre Vacation. The vacation is going to be great, but the excitement surrounding the build up to leaving on vacation is just as fun. I know that kids are always overly excited about what they are looking forward to. What a great way to show and remember the build up and lead in to your vacation.

2. Don't be a bore. Look for creative ways to take different angles and shots. Don't just have your family stand in front of the ocean, but try some great angles and clever ways to capture it. Play with colors and poses too. Look for items or props that are on site that you can use. 

3. The Sun is Your Friend. Most vacation photos we are not going to worry too much about if the lighting is just right. Even when the light is not optimal get creative and capture the shot. When you need to, try using your flash. 

4. Look for shade. Look for nice even lighting where something is blocking the sun. The sun could be a building, a tree, a car, an overhang, etc. put your family in front of trees that block the light.  If you look at the ground by their feet you can see very few bright spots and none of the bright spots are on their bodies. The point is to try to find a place that diffuses the light if it's too bright. 

5. Don't Stand Still. Repositioning where you are standing in reference to your subject may just be the answer to the perfect shot. Move around and create different perspectives when shooting. 

6. Natural. Don't always tell your subjects to "look here" and "stay put, let me get your photo". Instead let it be natural. Capture the photos and those shots when they are not looking. These can actually be some of the best photos from your entire vacation. Those natural shots. 

7. What seems irrelevant can be fun. We've all had those amazing meals or shared those moments at the breakfast table at the local diner. These can be some amazing family memories you should not forget to capture. I have shared some great laughs at photos I have shot during the not so relevant times on vacation. 

9. Now What?  Don't forget real time! Upload some of the best of the best relevant photos on your Instagram or other social media platforms.When you return home create albums on your social media platforms where you can upload all the photos and share with friends and family.  Don't forget to print those photos that you can give as gifts or frame for your desk or living room. You would be surprised at the great photos you can capture on your phone during your vacation! 

My 5 Favorite Things About Being A Newborn Photographer

My 5 favorite things about being a newborn photographer

  1. I am a mom myself to two beautiful daughters . There is really no need to explain here, I love my job as a mother and my love for babies. The one thing I wish I did more of when they were small was capture more photos. The ones I do have, still to this day, cover the walls in my home. A smile always appears when I stop and soak up those images and "remember when" .
  2. I love meeting and talking to new moms and dads about their sweet little bundle(s). Seeing the joy and love being shared by parents with their new baby is something that is so exciting for me.  Getting to be present within the first few days after birth is something I truly cherish and take pride in.
  3. I love helping new moms and dads with questions or giving tips/ideas that have worked well for me. I also love hearing how things have changed so much with technology and gadgets that are available now from when I was a new mom. 
  4. I Love seeing the reaction on parents faces when they see how adorable their little darling looks in the images. Taking those first few shots and showing parents how I am able to capture the peace and tranquility of their newborn is something that will never grow old for me.  The reactions I receive are so important to me as I show parents my art. Having their newborns as my muses is incredibly rewarding. 
  5. I get to snuggle babies for a few hours and get my baby fix! That alone should sum it up. How lucky am I? I get commissioned to work with the most precious subjects around. 

Wedding Color Trends Spring 2016

This is the time of year where all wedding photographers including myself are going into high gear in order to prepare for the upcoming wedding season. Shooting weddings is something I truly love to do and being such an integral part of a monumental day for wedding couples is something I cherish.

In connection to this passion I also love to keep up to date on the latest wedding trends from styles of dresses to colors that impact the entire wedding theme.  This year is proving to afford a very soft and romantic feel. If you are still searching for the look of your wedding you might want to check out the colors that are trending for this year below. 

 

Getting married? Know someone getting married? Contact Ann Peyton Photography for details on wedding packages or CLICK HERE.

My Photography Adventure to Cuba

About Cuba, I read someplace:

In this country there is no gasoline, but cars are all over the road
There’s no food, but everybody is cooking dinner
There's no money, but everybody is dancing and drinking rum

Cuba is in a huge state of transition.  There is a sense of true hope among the wonderful Cuban people after the hard life of the “Special Period in Time of Peace” of the 1990's (withdrawal of Soviet subsidies).   The twin curses of dictatorial communism and the American trade policy hopefully will change.  As American politicians debate the end of a foolishly prolonged Embargo, tourism from the States was up almost 20% last year even with the visitation barriers still in place.  Seeing the US Embassy in such barricaded isolation on the Malecon, which is a framed seaside walkway, truly brought home just how sad our foreign relationship has been.  

In the early part of January, I was thrilled to travel to Havana and Vinales as part of a People to People license, organized by the Rochester Institute of Technology Photography School.  Needless to say, my travelling companions comprised of many talented and accomplished photographers ranging from academic, professional and amateur.  Everyone always willing to share images, ideas and techniques.  It was a pleasure to be traveling with that level of talent. 

My trip lasted six (6) days (and nights) in Havana, which was just not enough.  The music, the art, the culture is so vibrant and a part of everyday life here.  As Cuba is known for its vintage cars - they are still everywhere, running on pure Cuban ingenuity (as is everything in Cuba).  I had a couple of opportunities to be driven around in “classic” style.  Some of the cars are in better shape than others, but you end up not really minding as the experience trumps the comfort!  The Cuban architecture is a fascinating mix of neo-colonial and art deco and for some odd reason they blend well together.  Some painted, most you will see not (recently anyway).  Some standing. Some not.  The City is truly trapped in a time capsule.  The Cuban people live their lives with what they have and appear to always have a smile on their face.

It goes without saying that this is an unbelievably rich photography location.  Some of the fantastic surprises during the trip were encountering a local choir of neighborhood children singing “Hey Jude” while we were touring the Art-Factory, young boxers training at the Rafael Trejo Boxing Club, fantastic street scenes on Calle Obispo, a building under rudimentary construction in the Old Havana, and The Art Market by the railroad terminal, which houses hundreds of original paintings, photos and local crafts.  You can't help but fall in love with the street scenes, the architecture and the cars. 

Even though our days were filled with sites, my husband and I managed to dive into the music scene as well.  The music clubs are great.  The styles of music that became our favorite were Cuba casino and salsa.  One in particular venue was a very diverse, triple show at El Gato Tuerto – starting with modern fusion, three members of the National Opera and finishing off with fantastic salsa band. Opera in a bar! Phenomenal! Where else could you get that?

Please enjoy the album documenting my fabulous adventure/excursion to Cuba!  I hope you like them.  If you have the desire to see for yourself - my advice – go to Cuba as soon as you can before it changes forever.


  

How To Capture The Best Holiday or New Year Photo with Your Smartphone

How To Capture The Best Holiday or New Year Photo with Your Smartphone

This holiday and new year will present you lots of opportunities to capture some special moments with your smartphone. Everywhere you look the backdrop scenes are endless for Family functions, outings to New Years celebrations as all the lights and decorations are there for you to capture some memorable photos. I thought it would be fun for me to list some simple tips below to help you take some great holiday and new year's photos. 

  1. First get familiar with your phones camera options. Smartphone cameras have really advanced and provide a multitude of fun options.  Everything from burst mode, timed/countdown shot, HDR, slo mo and I’m sure the list can go on and on. There are many image editing functions hidden with the options as well that you need to locate and become familiar with - such as being able to lighten, enhance the contrast, etc.
  2. Sometimes you will also find the need to have some sort of accessory to help you get that perfect image.  We all have been in the spot where our arms just are not long enough!  There are many inexpensive accessories from tripods to selfie sticks that will work perfect with your smartphone. Take a look at all the options for your specific phone.
  3. Think about/Identify a photo op. Yep, you have to first figure out where your photo op is. Whether it’s planned out or candid shots you have to know the time and place to take the photo. Your phone is probably on you at all times like the rest of us. Shoot as much as you can.  Know when it is time to pull that phone out and get shooting.  Also, don't be afraid to fill the frame of the camera with your subject and eliminate unnecessary backgrounds.
  4. FORGET THE FLASH. I would highly recommend that you stay away from using your smartphone's camera flash.  Figure out lighting instead. I have yet to see a good photo with a phone camera flash. Work with the lighting you have. There are also lots of cool apps out there to help your touch up those darker photos after you take them. Remember filters are our friends!  A couple of my favorite apps are:   Snapseed, and Camera+
  5. Family shots! What better time to grab the entire family, Uncle Buck that you have not seen and probably only see once a year, now is the time to get those moments. Don’t miss a once in a lifetime opportunity. 
  6. Try creating your own photo booth setup. This idea I have seen a lot lately. You don’t need those professional photo booths you can create one yourself. Grab some probs and create a background that makes sense. This is so much fun and people really enjoy it. Makes the shy people not so shy anymore. 
  7. Keep a watchful eye for those non-posed photos, those candid shots are really what makes us know what our holiday function was all about. People interacting, opening gifts or cheering a glass of champagne in the moment is great fun to have as memories. 
  8. Finally, share via social media. Share to the world your photos. Let us see. There is nothing more joyful than seeing what our friends are doing during this time of year and how they celebrate.  Create an album on your Facebook page or continue to share on Instagram. Even create a special hashtag for your family so that they can find your photos on platforms using that hashtag. 

Enjoy your Holiday and New Year with whatever you decide to do. Just remember to have that camera pointed!

HAIR TODAY – GONE TOMORROW

HAIR TODAY – GONE TOMORROW

After 34 years, I have decided that it’s time to publicly share my story of dealing with the auto-immune disease, Alopecia Areata, which causes your hair to fall out.  Years ago, this would be a very difficult story to tell as I spent a lot of energy trying to appear “normal” as if I had hair.  Today, I am thrilled to say wear my baldness loud and proud!  Through sharing, I hope when you are finished reading my story, I may have helped someone suffering from this disease to know they are not alone and advanced the knowledge to people not aware of this disease.  

For purposes to those who are not aware of this chronic auto-immune disease, there are several levels ranging from reoccurring patchy bald spots to the universal hair loss, which if you have that your hair typically does not grow back. I suffer from the latter Alopecia Areata Universalis.   Go big or go home – right!  Fortunately, for me this is a disease that is not life threatening, but, on the other hand is a disease that can be mentally debilitating and life altering.  I have in fact been on the receiving end of many of those long probing stares, hurtful statements and frequent concerns that I am suffering from cancer.  For obvious reasons, the latter is the most difficult aspect for me to deal with.  But as a result of the trials and tribulations, the most joyous aspect is the person I have grown into as a result.

My Alopecia was found when I was 16 years old while on vacation with my family at the beach.  My hair was thick and had a beautiful wave to it – every girl’s dream right?  The first bald spot was found by my sister, approximately the size of a quarter (which is typical size for the bald spots of this disease.)    My bald spots continued to appear and become larger in size. Over the next several years, my parents drove me tirelessly to appointments so that I could try every treatment the doctors (and there were many) could think of including pills, creams, and injections into the scalp (sometimes up to 50 injections per visit). I even was being driven to the Cleveland Clinic and was part of their research project for Alopecia.  Most of these medications were some form of steroid, which had unfavorable side effects, and though many of these treatments have worked for other people, they did not work for me.  A vivid memory I have is sitting in class while at school running my fingers through my hair and coming away with handfuls of hair without feeling any pain whatsoever.  The same was true with my eyelashes and eyebrows.  All the while, every day I would go to any length to appear as if nothing was wrong.  By my senior year, I was almost completely without hair, gained over 60 lbs. due to the steroids and forced to the point of having to wear a wig.  Keep in mind this was 1981, and the advancements in wig making were not where they are today.  I began my senior year in high school wearing a short, wavy, brown old lady wig, and I was embarrassed and felt I stuck out like a sore thumb.  I am sure my classmates had questions but they never asked.  I spent a lot of time being concerned about what if people figured out that I was wearing a wig and what they would do.    I felt people were constantly staring at me even if they really were not. That year, I quickly learned who my true friends were, learned how it feels to be different and learned how mean some people can be.  I did actually encounter kids that indicated they wanted to rip my hair off in public.  When I finished all medications after high school, I made a conscious choice to not continue being involved in research and take what appeared to be unnecessary medications.  This was my first step in acceptance of me.

How does one deal with a disease that wreaks havoc not only on your immune system but your who you are- my answer is twofold, love yourself from the inside and have a very good sense of humor!  I had the privilege of being raised (my parents have since passed away) not only by two loving and but two whacky parents.  At a time in my world when I felt I was the only person who had this disease, they taught me the beauty of laughter and of course not once ever made me feel I looked any different.  Being given the gift of laughter has definitely given me a strength has helped me get through uncomfortable and “embarrassing” moments that could only come from wearing a wig.  A favorite story of mine is …. Don’t get me wrong, there have been also many times where this disease has been extremely difficult to deal with and the laughter was not present.  I have been approached many times by wonderful people out of concern that I am sick with cancer.  These are difficult encounters as you can imagine.  , but I am fortunate to say that I have a plethora of funny stories which have occurred because of this disease.   To this day I still hope that maybe someday my hair will return or maybe I will grow just eyelashes and eyebrows but know that probably is still a dream.  I have worked and struggled over many years to build my confidence and be 100% comfortable with myself and free myself from this disease and the unnecessary obligation I have felt to wear a wig in order to feel accepted.  


Run Without Hair

Ann Peyton Runs For Bald Girls Do Lunch

Ann Peyton Runs For Alopecia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HARRISBURG, PA SEPTEMBER 25, 2015Ann Kennard, owner of Ann Peyton Photography will be running for Alopecia. Bald Girls Do Lunch , the nonprofit organization devoted to Alopecia, is Fjoining Ann in hosting Run Without Hair on Saturday November 28, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. beginning at For Hunter Park and ending at The Federal Tap House. Donations can be made HERE and all proceeds will go toward Bald Girls Do Lunch.

“After 34 years, I have decided that it’s time to publicly share my story. Years ago this would be a very difficult story to tell as I spent a lot of energy trying to appear normal as if I had hair.  Today, I am thrilled to say I wear my baldness loud and proud!  Through running, I hope when finished I may have helped someone suffering from this disease to know they are not alone and advanced the knowledge to people not aware ofthis disease.”  Ann Kennard - Ann Peyton Photography

There are several ways you can participate and help raise funds for this worthy cause. 

  • Donate via Ann Peyton’s online donation website

  • Show your support and raise awareness for Alopecia by shopping with Athleta Harrisburg Saturday October 31st and Sunday November 1st.  When you shop on those days with Athleta  10% of your sale will go towards Bald Girls Do Lunch. 

  • Show up and show your support for Ann the day of the run. Join her after the run at Federal Taphouse Harrisburg for celebration. 

About Bald Girls Do Lunch: Bald Girls Do Lunch is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicating to improving the quality of life for the women today and to inspiring the women of tomorrow living with alopecia areata.

By bringing them together at lunches, dinners and events where they can meet others who are living with autoimmune disease (often for the first time in their lives), we strive to enhance self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of community while also increasing their capacity to effectively manage the various aspects of living with alopecia areata.

Furthermore, we seek to improve the acceptance of bald women nationally and internationally by increasing public awareness, knowledge and understanding of alopecia areata. We educate  with resources for coping, talking and answering common questions and concerns.

We foster healthy living with practical tips for talking about alopecia areata and provide real world experiences.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES CONTACT: 

Kate Elfatah : HoM Consulting

homconsulting@gmail.com or 484-725-5009

Getting Personal And What It Means To Me

Imagine if you could help others preserve memories that last a lifetime with the simple click of a button?  Well, that’s what I am fortunate enough to do and I am blessed to be able to pursue my dream of becoming a professional photographer.

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, I moved to Harrisburg, PA twenty-seven years ago to marry the love of my life, Norman Kennard.  We have been married for twenty-five years and have two fabulous red-headed daughters, Lauren & Sara.  We are known for being a very close-knit family with fantastically funny family experiences.  It is not uncommon for us to hear our friends indicating they would like to be a fly on the wall – just to catch a glimpse of the wonderful wackiness of our family.  Norm has practiced privately as a public utility lawyer for over thirty years and is now working within the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.  Although some would describe him as a serious, quiet and reserved man, he possess an unbelievably quick sense of humor that will make anyone’s cheeks hurt from laughter. 

Our oldest daughter, Lauren, graduated from the Pastry Chef program at Harrisburg Area Community College and is currently rounding out her education with a degree in Accounting from Shippensburg University.  Her dream is to own and operate a unique coffee/bakery shop possibly in Annapolis, MD.  Our youngest, Sara, is employed with Drayer Physical Therapy.  Since high school, she has possessed an unsurpassed sensitivity with respect to caregiving, as well as having impressive knowledge in creating and maintaining healthy lifestyles.  Her future aspirations are to be certified as a Yoga instructor as well as a personal trainer.

When I am not behind my camera, there are two places you can find me.  Either I am running or on a sailboat.  I have been an avid running for the past six years and have competed in 10 half-marathons, as well as some minor races.  Although running isn’t for everyone, it actually is a stress reliever and a creative outlet for me.   I can shut out the noise of the day and let in the creative process which result in fantastic ideas for sessions.  The other favorite place for me to be is sailing with my family.   Tremendous family memories have been captured on our sailboat, which is currently located in Annapolis.  

For the past five years, I have been a professional photographer in the Harrisburg, PA area.  My love of photography resulted from being a painter and needing to learn how to operate my camera better in order to take better reference images for future paintings.  What I found is that photography paired with my artistic eye allowed me to branch out into a new genre that I could share with everyone.  Photography is art. I am an artist; it was a natural fit.

I have been attending Harrisburg Area Community College’s photography degree program and will be receiving my degree shortly.  Having a formal education in this field in my opinion, I feel is crucial in creating a sound career within the photography world.  I have also additional knowledge and experience while working with Peter Hurley, a New York based headshot photographer, learning the art of the headshot – and there is a definite art to capturing the perfect headshot.   Learning how to bring out the personality of a model/client was solidified while participating in a life-defining workshop with the late Mary Ellen Mark.  Notorious for her photo journalistic images as a street photographer, as well as being a highly sought after film set photographer, it was her instruction that resounds in my photography still.  She taught me that it is one thing to take a beautiful picture but it is another to really capture the inner beauty of your subject through personally connecting with the people I was photographing.    

I am continually growing with every click of the shutter and am currently honing my skills with creating photography pieces that are painterly in nature.  I am more than thrilled to now literally be able to combine both of my artistic talents.  My clients are thrilled to have this unique piece of art to hang as well as a great conversation piece in their homes.

There are so many things about photography that bring me total joy.  Having a trained artistic eye, I know that every session will be filled with a unique and personalized experience.  I love knowing that the images I create for clients will become lasting and cherished memories.  Most importantly, I love taking away the uneasiness people have when in front of a camera and hearing clients say at the end of a session what a fantastic time they had.  How many people can say they finally figured out what they want to be when they grow up!

Why Seniors Portraits are a Big Deal

Still on the fence about if you should get your Senior Portraits Done? Below find a few good reasons why you shouldn’t wait.

1. Senior Portraits date back to the 1920s, yep, can you believe that. What better reason than just for the tradition of it. I’m sure your parents had them, keep up with the age old tradition and make your parents/family happy. 

2. If you’re using your Senior Portrait for your yearbook, well I said it. It’s for your yearbook. That thing is going be around for a long time. Pulled out at different moments in life to be shown to all. Make sure that photo is timeless.

3. The photos can be used for many things. They don’t have to be used just for the yearbook or for your family to get all emotional and proud. Use these photos to start your career as a young adult by using them on your social media platforms like LinkedIn. A lot of time photos are needed for all different things in college and in your adult life. Having a great photo or headshot is a must. 

4. An opportunity to dress it up. Most of the time you’ve probably only been able to show off your best gear, hair and makeup for weddings and big affairs. Use this as a day to pamper yourself and get out your best and show your best. Get pampered for the day or prior to the day of the shoot. Hair, nails etc. 

5. I hate to say this, but everyone is doing it. Yep, most graduates have a senior photo or senior portrait session to some extent. Make yours stand out. Find a creative photographer that will help you capture exactly what it is you want to showcase. Put your best foot forward and come up with a plan and strategy about what you want to show the world. This could be a first impression. 

Contact me today to schedule your Senior Portraits.