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A Cheat Sheet for Acrylic Frames

The professional framing community is mostly using acrylic instead of glass these days.

Why you ask?

It’s cheaper to ship, shatterproof, and is not as heavy to bend and bow your frame or photos; to name just a few reasons. My families and school families are curious the best way to care for acrylic because this might be their first acrylic frame purchase. Here is a cheat sheet so you can reference the best ways to care for your frames.

acrylic frames cheat sheet kaitlin roten photography dallas family photographer

It seems like I spend at least ten minutes a frame wiping down so that all the dust goes away before it reaches your eyes. So I have a ton of experience getting those frames just perfect for you. If you ever want to update your frames clean the area that you will work on the frame first. The best space in my house is my oversized ottoman. I always vacuum the ottoman before I open any frame boxes! I also lay down a sheet of packaging material as an extra layer of protection from dust.

Once I helped a family update a frame and they laid the acrylic on the floor. The acrylic was crawling with SO MUCH DUST that the only option was to take it to the sink and give it a good water bath. I then wiped it down with a lint free cloth.

You might be interested in reading more about the 411 on acrylic frames and comparing it to glass! Head over here to read about that…

Frame Sizes Displayed and Explained

Have you ever wondered about how to choose the best size of frame for your wall? I’m going to explain the different sizing along with some cropping issues you might not be aware of.

Here are the different sizes of framing that are standard and that I offer. This gives you a good perspective on sizing so that you can buy the right size so that it looks the best on your wall. Even better, you can even send me a photo of your wall so that I can size your wall gallery specifically to your wall!

different sizes on wall-Kaitlin-Roten-Photography-Dallas-Family-Photographer.jpg

All of my frames come with the mats so that is also something that you need to consider. If you are wanting to put 8x10s or 5x7s on your wall I suggest no mat because for the 8x10 frame the print size is 5x7 and for the 5x7 frame the print size is 4x6. Kinda small for a wall gallery. But if those same frame sizes are going up on a photo ledge or bookcase then mat or no mat, it’s up to you. I generally prefer the mats for the bigger frames because I think it gives a finished look. I hope this also gives you a perspective that BIGGER IS BETTER! That 8x10 on a lone wall looks pretty silly.


You might be interested in reading my four mistakes in hanging wall art here!

Cropping

This is a tad confusing but with instagram square crops you will be familiar with this a little. Obviously if you want square photo product some of the image will have to be cropped. The red line indicates which portion of the photo will be printed. So obviously with a square crop you can’t get all of the photo. This photo would totally work, it’s just your preference if you want the whole photo printed. Cropping is a bit more complicated because cameras and standard product sizing aren’t the same ratio. So what that means is that some of the standard product sizing means you’ll have to crop some of your image. Normally your photographer will do this for you so you won’t be involved but sometimes it gets a tad tricky.

Here are the sizes that you get your FULL photo printed: 4x6, 6x9, 8x12, 10x15, 12x18, 16x24, 20x30, 24x36

You’ll notice that those sizes above are not NORMAL frame sizes! Just to make it a tad confusing, right?

So if your photo product is ANYTHING besides those sizes (and they were shot with a regular camera) than some portion of the photo will be cropped off. It’s important to know in some circumstances.

What about if you have a specific spot and your photo needs to have a different crop orientation? For instance, if you have need a horizontal photo but you love the vertical one.

By the way - this is a HUGE communication thing you need to tell your photographer before the shoot! I remember the very fist school that I photographed a mom asked if I could change the crop orientation of her child’s photos because she has a whole wall of horizontal photos and I only photographed vertically. Since then I try to get both orientations but I think I’m more heavy on the vertical photo orientation…no idea why!

You might have some options if you need to change the orientation. Photos that are closer in crop (meaning the subject fills more of the photo) are harder to change crop orientation. This one could work, just depends on your liking of the crop and the other photos paired with it. I also think it depends on the size of the photo product you’re getting this for. Would he want his face HUGE like 20x30? Probably not.

But as an 8x10 his face wouldn’t be as huge :)

crop orientation.jpg

If your subject doesn’t take up as much room in the photo, like there is a lot of extra space, then the changing the orientation of the crop might not be as severe like this example…

crop orientation 2.jpg

That’s a basic as I think you need to know as the consumer! One thing I would again say is COMMUNICATE with your photographer if you need something specific beforehand!

Survival Tips for the working Mom

Raising kids AND working can feel like this…

tenor.gif

It can be tricky but you’ll need to have a few tricks up your sleeve to battle all the things you have to get done.

I meet a LOT of moms so I asked their best tricks to staying sane and getting everything done. Here is what they’ve said…

Julianna (her kids were my FAVORITE models for a school model call I did!) said…

“Stay as organized as possible is a lifesaver. Use a calendar and a planner for events/activities. Set reminders and alarms on {your} phone for al events. Make sure to take regular sanity breaks with friends and significant other are CRITICAL to survival!!”

Tiffany (she’s with her kids during the day and her husband is with them at night…)

“I work part time so we really have no free time. The only way that things can work is for us to share responsibilities. Communicate with your spouse about how to share the burden of household responsibilities. My husband and I alternate meal planning every week. Whoever’s turn it is will pick the meals and write the grocery list and we will shop on the weekend together so one person doesn’t have to shop with both kids. We try to prep as much as we can ahead of time. 
We both will tag team laundry.”

Many moms agree (me too!) that exercise is key! See here is me exercising with my kids. There are SO many options of exercising with your kids so if you’re short on time you can try that tactic out too!

kaitlin+roten+photography+working+out+with+kids+staying+sane+while+working+with+kids+tips+in+dallas+texas

Katie Predergast says,

“Don’t cut out personal time to do what feeds your soul, no matter how busy you are.
Schedule everything and stick to the plan. Say “no” to things you don’t want or don’t need to do. Ask for help/hire help.”

This is GOLD. I think the world would be a better place if more people said no to things. Saying no to things is saying yes to other things, like more time with your family.

Adrienne Scott said something really good,

“Having "people" in your corner makes a huge difference. Momming can be isolating, despite what I planned before having kids. Being able to be real and share with others is a real necessity for me. Getting enough sleep, adequate sleep makes the biggest difference.”

Something that was pretty universal was doing things to make dinner easier. This was using crockpot recipes, insta pot, and the thing that was said most of all was GROCERY PICK UP! Don’t feel guilty over using these modern technology conveniences!

Have you tried grocery pick up? Or any of these tips? I’d love to hear below!

Should you buy new outfits for your session?
Style Guide Cover

My style guide (which comes in the mail to you before your session) goes over some serious details about what they best colors and clothes are that look best on camera.

Gone are the days of everyone wears the same thing. The idea is for your family to look natural, but styled so that all the colors look great together.

So should you buy new outfits for the session?

Most of my families do in some aspect buy something new for the session.

After you’ve received your style guide, you should look to see what you already own. I’m not one to waste, so I’d hate for you to buy something if you already have something you could wear. I think buying something new attributes to family photos as being special.

Once you’ve seen if you actually need to buy something, you can see if you can incorporate things you already own into your session.

Accessories are a great addition and you might already have something that could add that extra wow piece to your session. Accessories are also a great thing to ask to borrow. Chances are your friends won’t be needing that necklace the time of your session and they will be more than happy to lend it to you. They probably will feel special that you asked!

Necklace accessory for photo shoot

Many women are more than happy to use this as an excuse to rent something from Rent the Runway. I have some examples here on my blog of options. CLICK HERE TO SEE

What about this one for a spring session?

The KIDS

What about your kids? My kid’s clothes are usually pretty beat up so in my case I always buy new clothes for them. The secret? Once Upon a Child. Besides saving money (obviously!) I love that place for photo shoot clothes because they are sorted by COLOR! I already know what color scheme I’m working with and I’m in and out in a matter of minutes! It’s seriously the best! The even have kid’s shoes, which can be tricky to have for a photo session.

Target also has some great affordable options for the kids.

The MEN

My thing that I stress for guys is wearing pants. Now I’m not talking about skinny pants exclusively because not all guys can pull the skinny pants off. In fact, if your guy has muscular legs, don’t do the skinny pants! Go for the fitted pants that can be found at most stores. You can also rent stylish clothing items for your guy from The Black Tux (more than just tuxes). I’d suggest renting if your guy doesn’t have to wear the clothes again for work or going out. If he’s not going to wear them again then you should rent or BORROW! Here is a really details post about what the guys should wear. You can also read a funny story about my husband borrow an item for a photo shoot

Maternity Session (Family rep!)

Introducing one of my family reps for 2019! Now technically you have to be a family of three to be a member of the family rep, but that’s only a “rule” so that I can really focus on families with kids and not just couples BUT this is almost a family of three!

Doesn’t it seem like everyone’s pregnancy and labor goes by way faster than your own? It really does feel like yesterday Rebecca told me she was pregnant and that I needed to clear my calendar for December!

A while ago I wrote a post about the unspoken rules of where to hang different types of portraits. Like, is it appropriate to hang family photos in your bathroom? It got me thinking after we painted our bedroom and I (finally!) could hang something on the wall.

So what about maternity photos? The post addresses maternity photos so you should read about it here

Is there a spot in your home that maternity photos shouldn’t go?

For instance, this huge print of Rebecca (she looks GORGEOUS!) over the couch contrasted with an album….

maternity photo on wall design

Large maternity print contrasted with large album

photo album design

To me, and this is totally my design opinion, but the album feels more natural for a maternity session. Once the baby comes, the baby will be the center of your walls. You could totally design a wall gallery with baby and maternity photos, I just would advise a smaller version of your maternity photos - and using an image of you and your partner would also be nice!

What do you think? Have you ever gotten wall art that you thought after the fact wasn’t fitting for the specific room? I’d love to hear about it!

Welcome to the World Sadie!

How your kids will act during a photo session

How you want your kids to act during a photo session and how they will act are two very different things…

as is life, right?

But I’m a firm believer that if you know they won’t act the way you want them, and let me take charge of them, it’ll set you up for those photos you’ve always dreamed for your wall.

family photos in lumen room in dallas texas

Every parent wants their kids to sit when they’re told, smile GENUINELY when they’re asked, and make the most precious reactions to my prompts for candid photos.

Guess what???

That almost never happens.

Here’s all the things that could totally go against your perfect session plan:
(And these have ALL happened to people I’ve photographed in the last 10 years…)

  • Your kids won’t nap the day of

  • They’ll get up early that morning

  • You’ll find you have your security tag still attached to your dress, so you’ll have to run by the store before the session and then your kids will either be screaming for food or fall asleep.

  • They’ll get a black eye the day before and be super grumpy

  • They’ll throw up in the car on the way to the session

  • They’ll be showing signs of getting a cold

The list of possibilities is endless…

I feel like that commercial for the insurance company “mayhem is striking at your door” muawhahaha!

family photo dallas texas lumen room

I want to let you know that SOMETHING with your kids is going to be off the day of your photo shoot.

But wait!

So how do I get those great candid and smiling photos of your kids if it seems like there is no hope???

If you’re a new parent you might not know this but…in general

Your kids act better for other people

true story.

family session lumen room red dallas texas

I have a ton of tricks up my sleeve to get your kids to forget whatever their problems are and to be happy, for a bit. Now, this being said, you totally know your kids better than I do. If you think they’re being pushed a little too far and everything is about to hit the fan, do speak up.

Just ask politely for a break for them!

Breaks are definitely allowed.

I don’t expect to photograph your kids for an hour straight. That’d be bonkers.

Something that definitely works to my advantage (besides my training as a photographer for 10 years) is my camera! My camera is really fast!

It can capture nearly 23 photos in 1 second!

I can guarantee that your kids will probably not cooperate in some fashion - especially if they’re between the ages of 18months and 3 1/2.

Here’s what you can do…

I can definitely tell when kids are done with photos. Let me do some of my tricks to get them back on track and interested in taking the photos.

Something you should probably not do…stand next to me to try over and over and over again to say cheese. It’s really confusing when there is more than one person talking to them at the same time. If I need your help, and I’m sure at several points I will, I will totally ask you to do a specific thing to help. One more thing about saying “cheese”, they always look like they’re pooping when they do this - so let me do some of my other tricks.

Your help is so graciously needed at these times.

I think if you stick with those understandings then you’ll be surprised at the genuine photos I get of your kids.

Location: Lumen Room (Red), Dallas Texas

Pre-session planning meeting

Do you like when people listen to you?

One of my pet peeves is when people are more interested in themselves when I’m trying to talk to them about something that is important to me. It’s a give a take relationship because you think what you’re talking about is important but at the same time you have to listen to the other person because they’re important too. It’s a mind swirling kind of thing.

It’s something we emphasis in our home every single day. Other people are important, they’re more important than ourselves. Treat other people as more important than you.

So that’s what I bring to the pre-session planning meeting.

Usually this happens in your home and I come and sit and listen to you. I’ll ask you a few leading questions, but I’m really there to listen to what you say. Because it’s IMPORTANT, you’re important!

Here are some of the questing I might ask (this isn’t based off of a script so they’re never the same!)

  1. When was the last time you had photos taken?

  2. What was that like? 

  3. Where do you see your photos from our session living in your home?

  4. What are some characteristics of your kids that you want me to focus on during the

    photo session?

  5. What do the photos look like that you've always imagined on the walls of your home?

So why do you have to answer all these questions?

Well you’re important to me! Also, it sets up both up for success! I always give this example…

If you’ve always dreamed of having square photos in your living room, but you never tell me…then you might get photos that you’re disappointed with. If I don’t ask - or don’t listen…then I’ll never know this about you! Not all photos can be cropped as squares!

This photo’s crop is very tight! I would suggest using a rectangle crop instead.  The sisters on the end look like they’re being pushed out of the family!

This photo’s crop is very tight! I would suggest using a rectangle crop instead. The sisters on the end look like they’re being pushed out of the family!

This is a much better example of a photo that can be cropped square.

This is a much better example of a photo that can be cropped square.

So all in all, setting out all the expectations is the way I like things to roll! Everyone is happier in the end!

FAQ: What size looks best over a fireplace?

Next to “what should we wear?” maybe the second most asked questions I get is “what size looks best over the fireplace?”

The fireplace seems to be a great spot for hanging a family photo. In most floor plans, it’s naturally where your eye is drawn so it makes a good choice for hanging an art piece from your family photo session.

I love being able to virtually show my families what sizes will work over their specific fireplace - it’s a great “try before you buy” kind of thing.

So what sizes work the best for over the mantel? It depends on some factors, mostly what else you have going on up there. Here are some size references for you..

Something else to consider (that is slightly related): do you see the 16x16? This photo works just fine as a square BUT some photos do not translate very well to square format. This is one of the reasons I LOVE my pre-planning meetings with my families so that we can talk about what the family wants out of their photo session. There have been many times in the past (when I didn’t do pre-planning meetings) and a family has wanted a square print and it just wasn’t possible. So it’s great to set those expectations up front so that everyone is happy!

Did you miss my post about mistakes in hanging wall art? You might find it interesting…

Locations: Nature

Before I talk anything about location, I want to also stress that as much as you might worry about location and clothing, your photo session is about the time that you spent with your family and making memories. 

Did you miss my urban locations post? Check it out here! 

On my urban location post I talked about "What goes into choose the perfect location".  It might not be what you think, so I'd go and check that out.  

One of the first things that I'm going to discuss with you in our pre-session planning meeting is where you want your photos to live.  This is the biggest factor in deciding where your photo session should take place. 

If you want a gallery wall in your living room and the color scheme is brown and green then I'd suggest going for a nature location. You also need to look at the art that is already hanging in your space.  If you have mostly nature locations for your photo shoots already hanging up, then I'd also suggest sticking with an nature location. I can advise during our planning meeting.

 

This is a real example of a family of mine. They chose a nature location and I think it pairs really nicely with the decor going on around it!

This is a real example of a family of mine. They chose a nature location and I think it pairs really nicely with the decor going on around it!

A few nature locations in the DFW area

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the most popular places to photograph in the DFW area.  I don't photograph at the typical locations because I think it's REALLY weird to be around a lot of other people who are taking photos. I think there are some better places around town that can get you the same effect. But if your heart is really set on a specific place that gets a lot of photography traffic, I'd suggest scheduling the session for the middle of the week in the morning. 

 

Your portrait session includes travel time anywhere in the Dallas area. If you’d like to go somewhere outside the city, I’m up for the adventure! Travel fees may apply for outside the area at .57/mile both ways.

I’d love to make your perfect location work! I’ve traveled to far away beaches, New Hampshire, and even Seattle. If you’d like me to meet you in a destination outside of Dallas for your portrait session where I don’t already have plans to visit, just let us know and I can get you a custom quote.

 

Places I'd like to photograph: 

Rock Ledge Park (Grapevine)

Lewisville Lake Environmental Area

Addison Circle Park

Stephens Green Park in Frisco

Oak Point Park in Plano

Lakeside Park in Highland Park

Little Elm Beach

 

 

 

411 on my frames: Glass vs. Acrylic

When you think of a photo frame, chances are you think of a traditional wood or metal frame and a glass pane. It’s what you’d probably find on the walls at your parent’s house. But there’s a new kid in town that we’d like to introduce you to: acrylic.

Let's chat about glass first

Glass is classic and the weighty feel of it makes the frame feel luxe. It’s been a mainstay for years and when you walk the home decor aisle of any superstore, or even in your own home, glass is always there. This is mainly because glass is inexpensive, lowering costs of production for manufacturers, and durable, being able to withstand some rough treatment from cleaning agents. A couple of pro photo labs use glass in their photo framing as well.

But I have quickly learned, glass is a huge pain. Huge. Here are the realities of glass:

It’s highly breakable. Especially in transit. I can’t even tell you the number of times I had shipping damages when my frames were comprised of glass. Too many. It’s for this reason that many online retailers, prefer frames with acrylic. It also weighs less than half of glass, which helps keeps shipping costs down. So because I hand deliver or ship my frames, acrylic is the superior option.

Because of the risk of injury that comes with glass frames, they should never be used in rooms where children frequent - living rooms, nurseries, etc. Anything could happen, and you don’t want the risk of the glass breaking and injuring someone. Not to mention when glass breaks it can seriously damage the photograph itself. Plus the pain of having to sweep of all that broken glass? Ugh, no thanks.

That weighty, luxe feeling that we all love? Yeah, that’s not a good thing when it comes to medium and large sized frames. The weight of the glass will cause the frame to bow. There’s not much that can help you avoid this issue. Even at a professional custom frame shop, acrylic will be recommended in frames over 16x20 and in frames with modern, thin profiles.

The glare and tint. While most don’t realize it, glass is not completely color-free. It commonly has a green tint due to the iron content which Compromises the viewing quality of your work. No one wants to see a greenish tinted wedding photo.

That's it for now! I'll be sharing the pros and cons of acrylic soon! 

Did you see that you can get my FREE guide to a wall make-over? just CLICK HERE!