Yesterday I got to do a quick little shoot for my neighbors! We scheduled this a couple weeks ago when Kate decided that it was time to take their first family portraits as a family of FOUR! I still remember little Hailey as a newborn in my grandma’s arms at my high school graduation party in 2011… so crazy how time flies and now they have another little baby, Logan! Fun Fact… Kate and Erik chose not to know the sex of both their babies to keep it a surprise! So when I bought Hailey her first pink blanket Kate was thrilled that she had something girly :) I just love these four and it’s been so much fun watching their family grow over the last couple of years!

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

Now, I’m going to do something I haven’t yet done on the blog and talk a little bit about the technical aspect of shooting this session… in the bright midday sun… with literally NO shade. All the leaves on the trees haven’t come back yet and this park has a ton of open space and even a little beach front to work with, but without my crutch of shady spots to hide under, it proved a little more challenging! Here’s what I did to mimimize the harsh sunlight and avoid blowouts:

– I always placed the sun BEHIND these four!! No one wants to squint into that super bright ball of light in the sky trying to smile for a picture!
– I didn’t shoot wide open :( This is something I’ve always done and I’m just getting away from. So my f/stop here was about 2.8-4.0.
– I shot in Highlight Priority on my 5D Mark III. I’m not super sure exactly how this works, but I know it definitely helped once I turned it on!
– I used Custom White Balance adjustment and bumped to a little more warm and green to add some color.
– I really had to use some elbow grease in the Split Toning and Hue/Saturation/Luminance color bar adjustments in Lightrooms, specifically darkening down the yellows and lighting up the oranges while making the yellows a bit more green rather than magenta.

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

I am RARELY shooting in this kind of scenario where it’s the middle of the afternoon where the sun is still pretty high, not a cloud in the sky, with ZERO shade or dark background whatsoever to work with. If there had been some leaves on the trees, we would have had a more toned down background to pose in front of, but all we really had was bare tree trunks (which can still look really cool if the shot is composed correctly). It was a bit of a photography CHALLENGE which I loved!! It really helped me learn some new tricks in editing and setting camera functions that might come in handy later on down the road! No matter how hard you try, we photographers aren’t always going to have the “perfect” setups at sunset with blooming flowers and a purple/pink sky and rolling waves on the beach. It happens sometimes, but 9 times out of 10, we are meeting our clients right where they need to be served… building shoots around THEM… and making it work!!! Even when the baby misses his nap and we have to push the shoot up by an hour to make sure we catch him in a happy mood before his next scheduled feeding and I end up shooting in my workout clothes because I didn’t have time to take a shower ;) That’s what makes this profession so fun… being flexible, adaptable, open-minded… and getting to be creative through it all!

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

I hope some fellow photographer stumbles along this post and learns something… I’m always SO grateful when someone like Katelyn James or Jasmine Star shares a more educational and informative blog post. I’m usually the first to be reading them and taking notes! Oh the magic of the Internet age… I’ve learned so much by following photography blogs and forums and participating in Facebook groups! And I’ve really come a long way from just two years ago… or even last year! This shoot was the official start to my 2014 season. Tomorrow I’m shooting an adoption announcement (!!!!!) and Sunday I’m meeting one of my 2014 couples in Richmond for their engagement session! Ahhh I’m so excited! Be ready to see it all on the blog in the coming weeks! For now, here’s a few more favorites from the Ulmer’s family shoot… :)

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

Woodbridge Virginia Family Photographer Lifestyle Portrait Spring Leesylvania State Park

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