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Thank You, Veterans.

Each year, the Veterans Day National Ceremony is held on today’s date at the Arlington National Cemetery.   The well known ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and then continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries.
I’ve been to this sacred place in Virginia and have witnessed the changing of the guard first hand. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful yet so somber in my life.  It truly is an eye-opening experience to take in. If you didn’t know, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in any weather. This ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Many of us have at least one family member or a very close friend that either has served, or are currently enlisted in the military. I have several amazing family members and dear friends who are veterans from various branches.  But today, I want to personally recognize and thank my grandfather, Al Koohy. AlKoohyArmy

My gramps was a culinary specialist in the Army. Though that may not sound like the most glamorous or brag-worthy of positions, I definitely think it is! It takes a special kind of man to wake before everyone else and prepare quality meals for countless people every day.  In fact, I learned he was the #1 honor graduate in his class for the food service course in 1973. I can definitely be thankful for the skills he learned there… He is still an amazing cook today and I will always volunteer to be his taste tester whenever I visit! LOL

 

Here’s a photo taken from his basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina (top row, middle). AlKoohyArmyGroup

And another of him holding my mom back in Iowa in uniform – I had my grandma send me this one. Proof that printed photos are a timeless and priceless treasure. I think this serves as a perfect reminder to my followers that photographs are so incredibly important in preserving your family history and legacy.  

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Some of you may not know this, but I have always and will continue to offer ALL RETIRED AND ACTIVE DUTY military personnel (and first responders, too!) a discount on my services and artwork orders year round – not just on observed holidays like most businesses.  You’ve sacrificed so much and I understand that quality photographs aren’t always affordable, so I feel this is the least I can do to thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I hope everyone takes a moment today to think about the meaning behind Veteran’s Day and be thankful for all those who have served. blogsig

What Should I Wear?

What Should I Wear?

This is probably one of the most frequent questions I get asked after booking a session with me. Obviously we all want to look good in our photos, right?! I mean, these photos are going to be hanging up on your wall… So naturally this is a concern for most – especially if you’re anything like me and are slightly fashion-challenged… Talk about overwhelming.

Thankfully, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing fashionistas and local boutiques to help me along the way, and I also have to give a huge shout-out to Pinterest for some fabulous clothing inspiration as well!

So if you’re considering having fall family portraits done this year and you aren’t even sure where to start, I’ve got a few tips and tricks up my sleeve for you to keep in mind the next time you’re out shopping or trying to figuring out just what in the heck to wear.

1. Coordinate Colors That Aren’t Matching
Wait, did you just read that correctly? Yes! Long gone are the days of everyone wearing blue jeans and an identical matching white T-shirt.  Here’s a few autumn palette ideas to get your creative juices flowing.autumncolorpalette

2. Look At Your Home Decor
You’re going to want to choose something that compliments your style and flows with your home decor. Do you have lots of vibrant pops of color or does your home have more neutral and earth tones? If you’ll be hanging your photos you want to make sure they don’t clash with your current style.

3. Accessories, Accessories, Accessories!
Did I mention accessories? These little embellishments not only add to your overall outfit but they can be super fun, too! Maybe have the man of the house wear a tie for the woman to hold. Necklaces for the kids to play with or hats to hide behind.
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4. Patterns V.S. Solids
Moderation is key here. I personally LOVE an outfit that has all your desired colors in it, whether it be floral or plaid! However, you definitely don’t want to over-do it with the designs as it can become a distraction – so I recommend a mixture of both. It’s also a good idea to incorporate layers like a vest, sweater, or scarf to help break things up a bit. Ultimately whatever you decide on, please make sure its comfortable and fits properly. And just for the record, leggings ARE pants and undeniably comfortable.

5. Look for Collections
When shopping for clothes, head to stores that typically have color coordinating collections. You can then purchase clothes for all the kids from one store, ensuring everything coordinates and you won’t be left to second guess yourself or make an extra trip to exchange items last minute.

6. Plan Ahead
This one is simple enough even the most fashion-illiterate can accomplish. Heck, you might even be able delegate this task to your hubby! Once you book your session, it’s important to start thinking of the clothes right away. You may think certain clothes will still fit your kiddos or that one dress is already clean. If you wait until the day of or day before you may run into an issue of clothes not fitting properly, being dirty, or needing to be dry cleaned. Nobody wants that kind of last minute stress.

7. Say NO To Characters
I know, I know… that Paw Patrol and Nirvana shirt is super awesome! Your favorite designer brand T-shirt with the big ‘ol logo in the front is pretty great, too. But just trust me on this one. They honestly don’t photograph well and 10+ years down the road you might not like them so much.

8. Textures
I am a huge fan of a plain jane basic cotton fitted shirt. However, in photographs, I like to add different textures like a lace top or even leather belts to add a little more to the image. Large woven sweaters are great for this as well! Don’t shy away from different textures.

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9. Avoid All Black Or White
When you wear an all white shirt, it is very easy to blow out (over expose) parts of your shirt causing it to lose its detail. Same can be said with all black, it’s easy to have clipping on black clothing and the detail gets lost. Remember; patterns/colors, layers, and textures are your friend.

10. Consider Your Surroundings
What I mean by that is, think about WHERE your photo session will be taking place. Since my sessions are typically outdoors, this generally isn’t much of an issue. Essentially though, if we are shooting in an area with lots of green grass and foliage you probably won’t want to wear greens. Or if we are doing a fun winter session with lots of snow, you’ll want to avoid bright/white colors. This way you don’t get lost and blend in too much with your background.  If you’re ever unsure about this though I’m ALWAYS here to help you decide!

I hope these ten tips have helped you brainstorm at least a little bit when it comes to deciding what to wear for your photo session. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your professional photographer or a knowledgeable sales assistant when shopping.
And though this seems like common sense, please dress accordingly for the weather. If it’s going to be chilly out I want you to be warm and cozy! No one enjoys being cold and miserable… and unfortunately if you’re uncomfortable, it’ll show in your pictures.

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P.S. – Those little hot hand pocket warmers are TOTAL life savers for late fall and winter portraits!
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Because It Matters

Print What You Want To Preserve

I cannot stress how important this phrase is. 
Your children, family, and future generations need to see your photos on the wall or in an album. To have something tangible to hold on to and admire. I cannot tell you the joy it brings me and my family to see our memories up on the walls – or to sit on the couch together flipping through albums, and having countless conversations reminiscing about old times.  And I cannot tell you how heartbroken I am to know that so many thousands of wonderful memories are sitting on parents’ computers, old phones, and even CD’s, never to be seen!

Preserving your story, and making it accessible, is one of the most important things you can do for your family… For this reason, I am committed to getting your images OFF your computers and into, dare I say it, REAL LIFE.

Sure, digital images are suuuuper easy to share with today’s technology and social media. The truth is though, technology is constantly changing, and the things that were once common are now totally obsolete… Take floppy disks, 8-tracks, and VHS for example. Even new laptops no longer have a CD drive. And, well, cell-phones get lost and die all too often… BUT I bet your grandparents wedding photo still works just the same!

It feels so good to hold your beautiful photos in your hands, and smile at them every day when you walk into the room. You’re busy though, I know. That is why I have done extensive product research and collaborate with the best labs in the U.S. to be able to provide you with the highest quality artwork available to professionals. I am absolutely thrilled to offer you this line of gorgeous products that will showcase your artwork for generations to come!

Click on any of the links below to preview some of the different options I offer so we can turn your digital images into a treasured reality.

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Thanks for reading all of this, and hopefully I’ve inspired you to consider printing out some of your own digital images! Just because they aren’t taken by a professional, doesn’t make them any less special. I have TONS of my own photos printed that were taken with a cellphone- and even Polaroids! So what are you waiting for?

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, PRINT WHAT YOU WANT TO PRESERVE.
You won’t regret it. ❤

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Without Rain, There Would Be No Rainbows

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Rainbow Baby” at some point or another.
What exactly does that even mean, though?

A rainbow baby is a baby born shortly after the loss of a previous baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or death in infancy. This term is given to these special babies because a rainbow typically follows a storm, giving us light and hope of what’s to come.

What Makes A Rainbow Baby So Special?
Having a baby soon after losing one brings a slew of emotions, and many rainbow moms will tell you that not all are positive emotions. Many mothers who have weathered the loss and gone on to have another baby feel a tremendous sense of self-doubt and guilt at times. They fear that others will think they have gotten over their previous loss, or that they have moved on or replaced their baby. They fear that having a rainbow baby after stillbirth in some way dishonors their baby who has passed, and that the joy of the next baby will prevent the mother from properly grieving.

But a rainbow baby does not mean that your loss should be forgotten; such a devastating loss can never be forgotten! Rather, your rainbow baby will carry the torch of the love you will always have for the child you lost, and when you hold that precious baby in your arms, you will fully understand the meaning of the term. The beautiful rainbow baby stories told by rainbow moms are triumphant tales of renewal and healing; the underlying emotions ranging from bittersweet happiness to overwhelming joy.

Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of photographing and celebrating just that – a beautiful rainbow baby bump! Here’s a sneak peek!

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From blowing glitter to painting rainbows, this Momma and Daddy got crafty! They even brought along big brother Jensen’s stuffed monkey as a heartfelt momento. Maybe it’s just me, but the shadow on it resembles a heart… Baby Axel is SO loved already!! Congratulations again you two, I cannot wait to meet your little man! ❤ blogsig

Senior Style: Free Culture

I’m sure you’re well aware that with each passing day, we are that much closer to the beginning of the new school year. Many of you likely have your back-to-school shopping all taken care of. But for those of you still needing to add to your wardrobe or are looking for some inspiration for own your Senior Portraits – keep reading!

It’s not uncommon for my Senior clients to tell me they have no idea on what to wear for their photos. The stress of planning can be pretty inundating and sometimes even confusing. Lucky for you guys though I offer my clients style guides and tips to make the whole process THAT much easier! So if you’re not exactly fashion savvy or aren’t sure where to even start, not to fret – I’ve got you.

Most parents and schools prefer your portraits to be a little more posed and formal for a classic and nostalgic feel. But let’s not forget about your own personal day to day style! I always encourage my clients to bring a long some casual/comfortable clothing for variety and I promise you’ll be happy you did 10+ years down the road.

Free Culture is a small local clothing store located in Richland, next to Porter’s BBQ and Pink Pearl Boutique. Comparable to Pacsun’s style but with that small-business local charm, they have a fantastic selection of both dressy and casual for guys and girls alike!

From joggers and element skateboards to backpacks and even socks, they have a little bit of everything to offer, at an amazing price too, I might add. I definitely recommend checking this place out for your back-to-school clothing needs! Here’s just a few photos I took of a few girls fashion pieces available in store right now worn by the lovely Bianca.

You can go stop in at 708 Jadwin Ave. Richland, WA  and check it all out for yourself or even follow Free Culture on Instagram to stay up to date on deals and get more local clothing inspiration. Happy shopping! 🙂

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Ki-Be Senior Reps 2018

So I know I’ve been slacking a little bit as far as blog posts go… BUT that’s not to say I haven’t been busy!

In fact, today I finalized two Senior Representative choices that will be graduating from Kiona-Benton City High School in 2018. These two lovely ladies have so much personality with their own unique styles and ideas that I cannot wait to capture through the art of photography!

I would like to formally announce and congratulate
Mikayla B. and Hunter A.
of Benton City for being selected as this years Senior Reps! I am so excited to have you on my team!

These two girls will be receiving not only a complimentary portrait session, but also professional make-up (helllooo pampering!)  done by local MUA Leigh of MAC cosmetics/ Mint Salon (follow her on IG: vanitybyleigh), customized Rep Cards, a free 8×10, AND discounted prints on top of their earned incentives! Talk about AWESOME!

 

I am still actively searching for more reps in a few other school districts though, so you do still have the chance to apply to be selected for a FREE session and earn lots of free prints!

Are you wondering what on earth a Senior Rep is?
Are you, or do you know of, an upcoming Junior or Senior that would be interested in participating
Click HERE to take you directly to my Senior Rep info page for the application details!

Feel free to share this post as well with anyone you think may be interested in this amazing opportunity – As I only select up to 2 reps from each school, this is a limited offer. Many schools require their senior portraits to be submitted by September or October of the students senior year, so there isn’t much time left for those of you graduating in 2018! You juniors that will be graduating in 2019 have a bit more time for your photo sessions to take place, but I still wouldn’t hesitate to apply!

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Wake The Squatch

Mud drags, roll-overs, big air, and campfire s’mores is what my 3 day weekend consisted of up at the Purcell Trench Ranch. And I loved every second of it!
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For those of you that have never heard of Mountain Mafia and are into motor-sports, wheeling, camping, and adrenaline, this is one place you definitely want to make time to visit this summer – And be sure to bring the whole family, too!
Whether you bring a rig or side-by-side to play in or just plan on just spectating, this place has entertainment for everyone… even when the sun goes down!

With drivers and spectators alike coming from all directions and hundreds to thousands of miles away (including Canada!), this park is the real deal. There’s tons of trails in the backwoods, rock courses to test your ability, Hill ‘N Hole track that even the smallest of rigs catch big air on, as well as a 3 acre mud hole and a two lane drag pit with crazy fast action. There’s no doubt that Sasquatch is out of hibernation after this weekend!

Mountain Mafia is also home of Mountain HAVOC – a once a year competition of the baddest and most elite group of drivers from Canada and the US.  HAVOC will be hosted this year June 2-4, 2017. HAVOC is a spectator only event (unless you’re competing). So mark your calendar, grab your cooler and your friends, and come camp and enjoy this epic event! I’ll see you there 😉

Mountain Mafia is my home away from home. The staff and volunteers that make this place happen are like none other. You can see the all the hard work, dedication, and passion for the sport from all of them is definitely paying off.  It’s only growing from here… I hope you’ll come check this place out and be a part of it, too!

If you’d like to see more photos I took from this year’s opening event (trust me, you want to see the roll-over of BIG IRON!) check out my album on Facebook HERE.
While you’re there, give my page a little love with a “like” or feel free to share the images if you know someone who would think they’re cool!

Be sure to follow Mountain Mafia on Facebook as well to stay up to date on events like the OUTLAW 4 SHOOTOUT, POWERSPORT SUMMIT, SUMMERS END BASH, & PTR FALL CLASSIC!

Take a peek at my friend Allan’s teaser video from this event, you don’t want to miss the next one!

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