Category Archives: Uncategorized

Selfie sabotage

She clicks “post” and watches closely, she wonders how many people will like her latest selfie? 10 mins go by, 30 mins, 1 hour, 2 hours and the self talk in her head begins…

“I only have 20 likes, maybe I should have posted it a little later in the day when more of my “friends” will be scrolling through their news feeds. Will they notice me, will they think I look pretty in this photo?  It took me a long time to get it “just right”. I must have taken like 50 photos of myself before I found the right one.

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 “Don’t let mean words from an insecure soul blind you from the truth of your beauty. You are beautiful by design…just the way you are.” -Dr Steve Maraboli

Ugh, it’s tomorrow morning already, and I still only have 29 likes.  “What is wrong with me”? These are the thoughts running through her mind, ” I am not pretty enough, no one likes my selfie”.   It was a perfect hair day, and my makeup looked awesome.  She continues to check her news feed, waiting, wondering, continuing to think “I must not be pretty” or “no one likes me”.  She notices that her friend had over 200 likes on her latest selfie.  She checks out her other friends page and notices the same thing.  She continues to criticize herself, the voices in her head keep telling her she is not pretty enough.

This is a common scenario among our young girls these days.  Value and self worth based on the number of likes they get or the types of comments on their posts. They look for affirmation through the use of social media which is hard to tell if it is real or manipulated these days.  Middle school through high school, and even some elementary girls as the smart phone and social media reaches our kids younger and younger.  I photograph many young woman and girls and I hear it all the time. Comments about things they do not like about their appearance.  I work hard to minimize the areas they are uncomfortable with, but hearing it makes me wonder, why?

Why is it so hard for girls and women to love themselves just as they are? To appreciate all of their features and traits. To not have to compare themselves to other girls and women that they see in the media.  And what will it be like for the even younger generations to come? Will they be basing their appearance and self worth on what others write on social media?   I believe we can come together and empower young girls together, as a community.  We can lift them up, give them self confidence and the tools they need to look past the thoughts that the media sometimes plants in their heads.

 

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I remember as a young girl, focusing on the parts of my face that I didn’t like. I thought I had a big forehead and I hated my curly hair, etc etc.   I imagine I heard someone say make reference to that, or I based it on a photo of someone I thought was more perfect than I.  What is it that makes us see ourselves a certain way, and not feel good enough or pretty enough? Why can’t girls and women just be themselves and love and accept themselves the way they are and stop measuring themselves through the number of “likes” and comments written on their online walls?

 

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“Beauty doesn’t live in your skin.  Beauty lives in the lining of your heart.”   -Ann Voscamp

 

We are all here on this earth to be ourselves, to be who God made us to be, not to be like someone else. You are uniquely you and no one else can be you.

Be the best YOU that you can be, and let the others be the best that they can be.

Comparison and competition have evil roots.  They will lead to self sabotage and self doubt every time.

You are beautiful,  do not let the media define you with “likes”,  as a measure of your beauty.

 

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“Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face, it is about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and most importantly a beautiful soul.”

-Sharon

P.S. Share with all the beautiful girls in your life.

www.sharonwardphotography.com

“The pregnancy is not viable, it appears to be a blighted ovum…”

They called to tell me that my pregnancy is not viable, it appears to be a “blighted” ovum.  How could this be?

It was 1997, at my place of work, where I received this phone call from the nurse.  I headed to my boss’s office in tears to tell him the news and that I would need some time off.  Luckily, at the time I was working for a Reproductive Endocrinologist, so I could speak openly of these things, as it was his familiar territory.  The first thing he said was “call the lab and have them re-run the test using the bloodwork that they already had” and that “sometimes the lab can be wrong”.

This moment, of hope, and of disbelief all at the same time, was indescribable for me, it was truly a moment of God’s grace in action. And one of my first realizations that science is not always as accurate as they would like you to believe. The labs were inaccurate.

She was just a couple hours shy of being a July baby. If you are a mom, I probably don’t need to tell you how blessed, and afraid and excited and worried I was all at the same time!

Skipping 7 years ahead, it was the day of the Nutcracker ballet auditions, she was beginning 2nd grade.  I received a phone call saying “Now what do I do, she won’t go in, and she’s crying in the parking lot.”  I had been away on a girls weekend and asked my husband to be sure to get her to the audition on time. I knew as the mom, that she had a gift, a talent, a passion, deep down inside her that needed to be tapped into and nurtured. If she would only break away from the fear of stepping out of her own shadow, I thought to myself.

She never went back in to audition that day, my sweet shy 2nd grade girl, but once again, by the grace of God, the dance instructor allowed her to take part in the show and assigned her the role of an ANGEL, dressed in white with her skirt flowing to the ground, gliding along on the dark stage with a little lit candle in hand. My heart jumped with excitement and joy.

Dancers speak to us with their bodies, they flit and float and glide and twirl, each move with grace and purpose.  I couldn’t have been more proud of her at that moment, even though she struggled with the audition, she did it, she got on stage for the first time!

Fast forwarding to this past December, the Sugar Plum fairy steps onto the stage and my heart sinks once again, tears in eyes, as I am behind the camera documenting this moment. Tears of love, joy, and accomplishment, with a hint of bittersweet sadness, knowing this was her last Nutcracker as she soon heads off to college. If you are not a dance parent, you should know that, “little ballerinas dream of being the Sugar Plum Fairy” and her “little” big dream had come true. And I feel blessed to have been able to document it all in photos.

As we approach her high school graduation and her 18th birthday all within the same couple of weeks, I couldn’t be more proud of who she is.  I admire her for overcoming these fears and insecurities and pushing through to accomplish something she knew deep inside she was passionate about.  From a shy young girl who used to run out of birthday parties in tears because she was afraid of the unstructured social scene, to a poised, confident young adult who persevered with grace, courage and beauty, both inside and out.

There really is no manual on parenting and motherhood, it is a self tutorial course in life, you learn as you go. It is an emotional journey, from the long nights of lying awake with a sick child, to those heart tugging moments when they are afraid to go to school for the first time, or when they had their feelings hurt by someone they thought was a friend.

As much as we want to see them grow up and thrive and spread their wings and fly, it is gut wrenching hard.  No matter what anyone tells us, these transitions in life, such as dropping them off to their first day of kindergarten to dropping them off to their first day of college are difficult.  It is a journey like no other, because the love that a parent feels for their child is so powerful.  We want to protect them every second, even though we know they need to learn on their own.   Some days I wish I could just go back in time to their early years, just to observe them and soak it all back in.  Just for a moment.

As a parent there is nothing that my kids can do that will change my unconditional love for them, or the infinite pride of being their mama, even when they mess up and fall down.  For we are on this journey in life which brings us down many paths.  Sometimes that detour is where we are meant to go for a reason. It is all for a reason.  It is these detours in life where personal and spiritual growth happens.  You can put your heart and soul into something and have the door slammed right back in your face.  That is okay, because this is where real authentic growth happens, this is where self esteem, character, confidence, faith and humility develops. This is also where you can turn to your parents, and to God and ask for help. This is life.

Over these 18 years, I have witnessed her commitment and persistence, her long hours of dance practice, even on the days she didn’t feel like it.  This may not have turned out this way had it not been for our unconditional love, encouragement and guidance, her dance teachers’ endless hours of pushing, coaching and nurturing, her courage to follow through, and the grace of God which has allowed her gifts, talents and light to shine through.

If you have one of those little ballerina’s, afraid of their own shadow, encourage them, over and over again, nurture them, again and again. Help them to realize that they have a gift and talent that needs to be tapped into. For this world can be cruel and harsh at times, and kids can be mean to one another,  but you are one of their biggest fans cheering them on. You are their best role model.

Although I don’t know what God has in store for her when she walks out the door on this new journey in life, I do know that she will inspire many little hopeful ballerinas who are afraid to step out on stage. I pray that she will keep God in her life decisions. I pray that she will love and be loved back, that she will be respected and show respect back.  I hope that she will carry the morals and values that we have taught her, close to her heart. I hope that she will make good choices and wholesome friends. I hope that she will dance, and when she does, that she will shine as bright as the candle that little angel carried across the stage in 2nd grade.

No, I am sorry nurse, on the other end of the phone, she is not and never was a “blighted ovum”, she is life, she is love, she is grace, she is beauty, and she is a part of my heart.

And when she walks out that door, you better believe I will shed a tear.  I will shed a tear of joy, and of bittersweet sadness as we all transition into this new phase. But I know that by God’s grace, once again, He will continue to fill that little part of my heart, and I will continue to love her and watch her grow to be the woman she is meant to be in this life.

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I hope you will enjoy these photos that I have collected over the years. These will be treasured for years and years, to remind me, always, of the the love that comes from keep inside a mothers heart.

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Megan Senior Prom 5-21-16-18

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On this graduation day and your 18th birthday, know that I love and admire you, dear daughter.

~Mom xo

 

 

My Mother

If I am being truly honest here, there are times when I am not quite sure that I have been the best daughter or the best mom that I could be.  Like many of us, there are instances that we wish we could “do-over” to try to get it right.  But God only gives us this one chance to do it right and sometimes His plan for us doesn’t make it so convenient. To be a daughter and to be a mother the very best way we can.

We are scattered about, most of us kids.  I know exactly what my mother would say she wanted for Mother’s Day, and that is to have us all together.  Travel for her is difficult due to her health and this summer she turns 80.  Although we are not able to be together on this day of celebration of Mothers and Daughters, it is a connection that will never be broken, a deep love within our souls.  For our moms have known us the longest, breathed life into us, held us close to their hearts, worried when we were sick, cried when we cried, laughed when we laughed and raised us to be all that we are today.  Although there are things that I wish I could “do-over”, my love for her never changes and never will.  See that’s one thing that God is good at, he pours love into our hearts and it binds us together forever.  It is an unconditional love, one that cannot be changed by distance or words unsaid.

I often remind my girls to love family first, be kind and respectful to your parents and siblings, because when shit hits the fan and everything around you falls apart, and friends come and go, you can always count on us to be there to help lift you back up.  I pray that they keep this in their hearts when they walk out our door to embark on their own journey in life.  I pray that they are happy and blessed and find true joy and love in life.

I know that to be true for my mom that her wish for me as a child was to thrive and grow, to love and be loved, to be all that I can be, to use my talents to help others, to have faith and to know and trust God. And now I know that I have found all of these things.  And I know that if this crazy world we live in today, falls apart around me, I can still step right back into the hearts that gave me wings to fly.

On this Mothers Day, I don’t really want the cards or the flowers, or things wrapped up in fancy bags or paper. This mother’s day, all I really want is for my kids to feel safe, safe to trust people, to dream big, to believe they can do great things in this world, to be kind to others, to try hard even if it means they fail, with the confidence to get right back up and try again, to love large and to know that they are loved back, to open their wings and fly but not forget to circle back around  to the hearts that gave them the wings to fly.

For it is she who has already given me all of those things. My wish for my mother, as well as my daughters is to remember the good, the love, the laughs, the happy tears, the stories, and the tender “I Love You’s”,  and smile every time they do. To know that they are loved.

A black and white tribute to my Mother.

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When we reach the end years of our lives, what’s most important is not how much money we made, how far we climbed up the ladder, how many countries we visited, how many books we read or wrote… what’s important is how we loved, how we helped others, that we were kind, that we forgave, and that we inspired others simply by being the person God meant for us to be.

Your daughter & mother of your grandchildren,

-Sharon xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just not my cup of tea

It is my great procrastination.  When I don’t feel like working, it has me heading back down to the kitchen. I used to be a coffee junkie, but it has climbed the ladder to beat my old coffee addiction hands down. It has calmed nerves during stressful times, kept me hydrated when I forgot to hydrate.  It’s with me when I am mom taxi driver around town. When I am in a funk and can’t seem to get my thinking cap on straight, it comes to my rescue every time.

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It is the perfect friend. It listens to all my deep conversations with my girl friends. When I feel chilled, it warms me from the inside out. As I write this on yet another damp dreary rainy New England morning, you bet it’s right here along side of me.

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Yes,  did I say I was a coffee junkie.  At least 4 cups a day.  I couldn’t imagine my life without coffee, I would go to bed thinking about the aroma of my cup of coffee the next morning.    But as my health and well-being came crashing down upon my head, back in 2011, I had to kiss Mr. Coffee goodbye.  It was a sad and difficult departure, but it didn’t take long before my next addiction came running through my door.

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Tea.  Herbal Tea in particular. Well, to take it one step further, my real love lies with Chai.  It is not just a cup of tea, it has grown to become my saving grace. Not just during difficult times but on a daily basis.  It is my go-to, my simple pleasure in life.  Tea is so very versatile.  It helps to break the ice with guests, “would you like a cup of tea?”  I say, then, you know that some good conversation will come next.  It’s a good lead way into any conversation. It is also a treasured gift from friend who knows you well.

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Honey, would you like a cup of tea?  Speaking of honey, for me, a good cup of tea must always come with a spot of honey.  They go together like sugar and cream.

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There is a wonderful farmers market in the lovely village of Woodstock, VT, that I often visit on some recent trips there.  My first stop is the tea section to scour the shelves for the Rooibos Chai by the Vermont Tea and Trading Co.  The aroma of the chai tea and spices is just my perfect combination for a cup of heaven.

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Luckily, when on the go,  I don’t have to worry too much because there are other favorite stops locally where I can tend to my Chai addiction, to include Bonhoeffers Café, The Riverwalk, A&E Coffee Roastery, The Cozy Tea Cart and even Starbucks has a favorite of mine, the Chai Latte.  Yet even fancier, the Oprah Chai Latte.  Even Oprah knows how to fuel my addiction.

My family may think I am crazy, not only because of my overfull tea cabinet, but you will often find a small bag full of tea bags in my purse.  If I find myself at a place where they don’t carry my cup of tea, you bet I am diggin’ in my purse and then asking for a cup of hot water!   The way I look at it, if it’s just the little things in life that make you happy, then why not go for it, as kooky as one may seem.

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So goodbye Mr Coffee and hello Mr Chai.  Dunkin Donuts you are just not my cup of tea anymore.

Yours truly,

-Sharon

 

 

Top 5 reasons low res meets high expectations…and preserves the art of photography

Let’s go back in time for a bit.  Traditionally, in the days of film, photographers only offered prints. Facebook didn’t exist and scanning negatives didn’t really have a point. Heck, you could always get re-prints from the photographer later on. Everyone bought prints from their photographer and a photographer would never give the clients the negatives, it just wasn’t an option back then.


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Today with digital photography being the norm and the explosion of social media in our lives, people want to share their photos online. It is just a part of our culture these days.  Clients love it because their professional photos really standout against all the selfies on Facebook and they can easily share with friends and family.

As a photographer, I have been struggling with this question from clients for some time now:  “Can I get the high resolution images?”  So I thought I would reflect on this question to shed some light on the topic and to help educate people a little bit about what I believe they are really looking for and what it is I will provide for them.

My first and foremost goal for my business and my clients is to make them HAPPY.   What I like to ask my clients from the start is:  What are the memories you are trying to capture and where would you like to see those end up?  Would you like to showcase your images with large prints, as wall art or canvases? Would you like to showcase your images as a small print gallery on your wall? Would you like to see all of your images in a coffee table photo album that can be viewed over and over again for years to come.  Would you like to share your photos on social media for friends and family to see?

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The answers to all of the questions above is usually a yes. In summary, people want to showcase their images in some form or fashion on their walls to enjoy day after day.  They would also like to be able to share their images on social media for friends and family to enjoy.

Here are 5 reasons why low res preserves the art of photography and meets high expectations:

  1. Low res does not take up as much space on your pc. A professional high resolution image is extremely large:  With technology changing every year, a high res image nowadays can be upwards of 25MB. It takes up a ton of space on your hard drive, professional photographers have hard drives that exceed 2 TB in storage space for this reason.  The raw (untouched) high res images are useful for photographers bc they can go back to them in Lightroom or Photoshop to edit and touch up before a print is produced in the final stage.  The image is then compressed and saved as a jpeg file which is still very large with professional cameras, and from that point they are also resized once more for enjoying online through the web and/or Facebook and other social media.  All of the images that you see online are resized for web.  A high res image is just too large for web.  So when we refer to the digital images as low res, they are just a smaller version of a jpeg file, with less pixels per inch(ppi) perfect for web and will still look great on your screen or phone to share with friends and family. I re-size my images to a size that is most appropriate for clients so that they will not look pixilated (or fuzzy), but are at a manageable size for my clients to share online and are not too large to take up a lot of space on your phone or pc and are perfect for web and social media.  They are also at a size that would be appropriate for a 4×6 print, so the quality still remains at this size.L_Mobile-Drive-Mg_MacBook-Ipad
  2. High res images often never get used, they often remain tucked away on a CD or hard drive and never make it as a framed piece of art for your walls. To be honest with you, I am guilty of not printing some of my own family photos recently, so I know many of you are in the same boat. We lead busy lives and this is just put on the back burner as the kids continue to grow. After the excitement on Facebook wears off and life carries on, the high res images sometimes sit on a CD, or flash drive in your drawer or hidden in a file deep within your hard drive and that is often the last time they’re ever seen. Hopefully that disc doesn’t get lost or the hard drive doesn’t crash. I’ve seen it happen, it happened to me with my family photos before I had a backup system in place with my business. Not to mention when the DVD or flash drive becomes obsolete 20 years down the road, and the pc crashes, where are those files?  The DVD or flash drive will one day become obsolete just as the VHS, and floppy disks did. And some DVDs do not work on some pc’s if they were not formatted correctly.102716265p-03-03Multilple_DVD_Placeholder
  3. They allow me to provide professional quality prints to display in your home As your professional photographer, it is my passion and duty to supply for you timeless, beautiful prints for your home and walls that you can enjoy for years.  I am not selling just photo paper when you purchase your prints, I am selling emotions. I am providing you with a tangible piece of art so you can be reminded of these feelings and emotions each time you glance at them.  It is my hope that when you see your images, you will be filled with joy over and over again.  And your friends and family will enjoy seeing them too every time they come to your home.  I want this for my clients, I want them to smile every time they see that print of their kids laughing together.  I want them to feel like they have something tangible for their walls, a piece of art, filling their homes with love and memories as their children grow up and leave for college. This is what you are purchasing from me, “the feeling”, or emotion, not just a documentation of “this moment in time” printed on paper.  Printing your high res images at Walmart or Walgreens will not provide th finished work of art that I will provide for you. Packages that offer high res don’t bring added value, they may actually take away from value if left to sit on a pc or DVD.dufoe display 2014
  4. They prevent me from providing a disservice to my clients:  Giving only high res images on a CD would make me feel that I am doing a huge disservice to my clients and their family. I do not consider myself a shoot and burn photographer who just shows up to your session, and then hands over the CD to you. I spend countless hours on each session, choosing and editing and retouching each photo individually. Each photo is unique and deserves individual attention before it is printed professionally. I have seen my images printed at non-professional labs in the past and it has made the hair on my arms raise.  My computer monitor is calibrated to my professional print lab, offering you the highest quality prints on professional grade paper. I believe that the best way to see a photograph is printed, framed and hung on a wall or printed for a photo album.  I believe that you can also enjoy them on your computer as a digital image re-sized for web for sharing and archiving.  And now you know that having both prints and digital files is possible through low res.150110-133012
  5. The Myth of “it’s the thing to do” or “the thing to have”…”just in case”.  Sometimes clients get confused about what it is they really would like and just assume that they need the high res images.  They think they need it, however, in the end they really just want digital images to share with friends and family or to archive away. Low res is just what they need. In reality, when people ask for high res digital images, they may end up printing lower quality wall art, and it takes up a lot of space on their pc or phones, and is usually filed away and forgotten. Where’s the art in that? Where is the retouching, emotion and professional printing quality of true photography? Clients have high expectations for high res. And I just don’t think it delivers them the best answer to what they really want.

gallery wrap ad 1In conclusion, I feel passionate about preserving the “art” of photography, and I believe the packages I offer are a true reflection of that.

This year I have redesigned my packages offering a nice balance of print sizes and digital files for you to choose from.

And I can’t wait to work with you!!

-Sharon

www.sharonwardphotography.com

 

 

 

 

The low-down on the Senior Portrait Session

Priceless Art -The low-down on the Senior Portrait Session

You just dropped your child off at preschool crying because they didn’t want to leave your side, or vice versa, you didn’t want them to leave you. In what seems like the blink of an eye, they are preparing for their last year of high school and the long awaited “Senior Portrait Session”.

I know exactly how you feel, my daughter is a senior this year. Last year I had the same ache in my heart, wondering where time went, and how I was going to be able to photograph my own daughter so that I could create priceless pieces of art for our walls.  Yes, I consider these pieces of art, for a few reasons, but the primarily the fact that your child is one in a million; no one else can be him or her; no one else loves them as you, the parent, loves them.  They are unique, they are beautiful, and you are the reason they are thriving here on this earth, with a little help from the big guy above, of course. These portraits will be capturing this monumental moment in their lives, as well as your favorite expression that only a parent can love, the smile that melts your heart, the eyes that you have been so used to looking at, for the last 16 or 17 years.

It is priceless for the fact that you cannot get this time back, they are on the cusp of being a full fledged adult and right now they are still under your wings until the day that comes soon where they will lift their wings and fly away.  Their senior portraits will be a constant reminder of the days that passed and the life you have provided for them. Whether they move further away or stay close by, it will always be a special memento of this transition into their next stage of life.  That piece of art on your walls just may be the last formal portrait session that you have of them until the day they say “I do” to someone else whom they choose to love and dedicate their lives to.  This being said, I consider these portraits both priceless and pieces of art.

The art of senior portrait photography to me is much more than just producing pictures on paper. It’s about capturing the ‘essence’ of  your senior in a stress-free, fun and relaxed outdoor environment. My approach is simple, to bring out the best in them, by connecting with them,  for just one or two hours, where I will learn a little bit more about who they are and what they love to do now and in their future.  One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is truly getting to know the seniors, so that I may present to you, portraits that reflect their true ‘spirit and personality’.

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Timeline:

Once we book your senior session, I will be in touch over the course of the weeks leading up to your session, including 1-2 days before, to help them you prepare for this special day.

Approximately 7-10 days after your session a password protected online gallery will be uploaded to my website for viewing your proofs.  1-3 days after the session, I may post a sneak peak of a few of my favorite images from your session on my Sharon Ward Photography facebook page. I encourage you to comment, like, and share with friends and family on facebook or use as your profile image.

Your final print choices with your order from your session will be due approx 10-14 days after the proofs are uploaded to my gallery for viewing.

Yearbook:

Once you notify me of your yearbook choice from the proofs, I will take care of all the rest for you. I will submit the digital file directly to your school yearbook coordinator before the due date. Please keep this in mind when choosing a date for your session, that we will need at least 3 weeks turnaround time before the yearbook image is due.

Be Yourself:

I tend to be a relaxed and flexible person, but I also understand that some people can be nervous in front of the camera. I will start out by asking you some questions so that it gives me some insight into your personality.  I want this session to be about you, I focus on your best features and work with you to find your comfort zone. I will be chatting with you throughout the session so that being photographed will not feel awkward to you. I work hard to make it an enjoyable time so you will feel relaxed and at ease during your session.

Choosing Clothes

The tone of your head shot will be set by your expression, background, and lighting, but your clothes play a significant supporting role in defining who you really are.

First and foremost, choose clothes that are comfortable and fit you well. No amount of retouching will make the shirt that’s two sizes too small or two sizes too big look right on you. Avoid patterns and logos, that are too busy. They draw attention from your face. Pay attention to the neckline of your outfits, making sure the neckline is not too low. Clothes should be clean and pressed. It’s worth the trouble to iron your shirt, as sometimes it can be difficult to retouch wrinkles on your clothes Bring several different tops to your session in a variety of colors, collars/necklines and styles. Some collars and sleeves can look funky if the image is cropped tightly. If you are self conscious about your arms, avoid wearing sleeveless tops. Some shots will be close up and some will be 3/4 or full length. So pay attention to what you are wearing on the bottom. Mix it up, Something dressy, something casual, something in between. Accessories for the girls (scarves, belts, jackets, head bands)are fun, but make sure they define who you are. Shoes are important for both the guys and the girls. Old run down sneakers will not look good with a dressy outfit and they may be in some of the images.

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Choosing Colors

Choose colors to complement your face and not distract from it. Most people look good in mid-tones (blue, green, brown). Not everyone looks good in white and be careful when choosing paler colors up against your skin tone (beige,tan,peach) sometimes are fine. For fair skin and blue eyes, try pinks, blues and grays. For green eyes, try browns, greens, cranberry and burnt orange. If you have medium or dark skin and brown eyes, most colors are okay, but avoid those that closely match your skin tone as there may not be enough contrast. Guys the plaid shirts are a nice option if you like that look.  Send me a picture of yourself so I can help you with your choices.

The Rest of You

Makeup:  Makeup is important for the girls. You will want to do your makeup fresh before your session. Don’t over-do, but apply it so that it looks natural. If you do not feel comfortable wearing makeup and it is not a part of your daily routine, that is fine too. Bring your lip color with you so we can be sure you have it for touch-ups.

Hair: There is no magic button in photoshop for making your hair look it’s best. So please pay attention to how you want to style it a few days before your session. Avoid haircuts and color at least one-two weeks before.   Guys, be careful shaving to avoid cuts and redness, it is preferred you do not shave right before the session.

2 days before: Drink lots of water, avoid lots of caffeine and stay out of the sun. Sun burn cannot be retouched. Girls remember to moisturize. I can touch up acne and pimples, so try not to focus on that.

The night before: Get a good nights sleep because tired eyes do not make for a nice portrait. Press clothes and have makeup and outfits all ready to bring with you to your session. Bring at least 2-3 outfits with you to your session.  If you have more and are unsure just bring them along and we can decide when we meet up.

The day of your session:  Arrive on time.  I schedule my sessions early evening around the time frame that the sun is low in the sky and to capture the evening sunset as back lighting. So it is essential that we keep the appointment moving along before the sun actually sets and it gets too dark.

Poses:

I will be taking a variety of poses, always with the goal in mind of capturing a natural smile, look and expression.  Some of the images I will create may look more artistic and some will be more appropriate for the yearbook.  I assure that you will have plenty of options to choose the most appropriate image for your yearbook.  But remember, it is not just about the yearbook here, it is also about finding the best pieces of art for your walls.

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Finally:

Relax & have fun. Every senior I have photographed in the past has truly enjoyed their session with me, even if it takes a little bit to warm up and feel relaxed, that is okay.  By the time the session is done I am confident that we will have captured some special images of your senior that you will love to use as artwork for your walls as a reminder of this priceless transition in their lives.

If you would like to book a session with me, please complete the contact form on my website or drop me an email.  If you book before March 31st for your upcoming senior you will be eligible for my early bird special rate.   Email me at sharonwardnh@comcast.net if you have any questions.

And remember, you are beautiful already, let me help you see it, through my lens.

-Sharon

My right hand man

From my office above our garage, I heard the motor stop dead in its tracks. In hindsight, the silence should have been a big red flag for me, but I hear this all too often, the start and stop of the snow blower in winter.  We know it was probably time to buy a new one, as this one has seen its days and worked when it felt like it.

I’ve been replaying the words in my head this past week, over and over and over, even as I settled in bed for the night, these words keep coming back to me.  The voice I know so well and love so dearly, calling out for me. “ I need your help, I cut my fingers off”!!!

As the front door flies open and I hear his plea for help, I jump out of my office chair and down the office steps, feeling my heart beat out of my chest, and thinking is this really happening?  I recall tripping over our new puppy gate leading into the living room yet catching my fall as I headed for the phone to dial 9-1-1.   I quickly scurried around the kitchen while talking with the operator, thinking of what else I need to take to help him.  I grab a kitchen towel, throw on my boots and notice the flowers that he just laid on the table for me as he arrived home from work shortly before this surreal moment.  My heart sinks into my chest a little bit further.  I run out the door, phone to ear, to catch up with my husband who was heading back out to the snow blower. I follow the trail of blood drenched snow on the front porch leading down the steps and down the driveway to where he was so desperately trying to find the finger tips that disappeared so violently into the cold snow bank.  Moments later I could hear the distant sound of the ambulance as I pressed the towel firmly to his bloody hand,  praying to God to make this turn out okay.

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Sparing us all from reliving the gory details of this incident, I will quickly jump to the more important aspect of the reason I am writing this down in words.

It is the reason I needed to remind you all how fragile life is at any given moment. It is the reason I need to let my husband know how sorry I am that this happened to him, yet how blessed I am that it wasn’t any worse.

There is never time to process what is happening, while it is happening, when the person you love, the rock of your family, your soul mate, husband, and best friend, tells you something like this. You just move forward, pray, and try to keep yourself together to stay strong for him. This is the man who extends his hand to everyone who is in need of help, regardless of the situation.  On this cold snowy winter evening in New England, it was no different than any other day, as he extended his hand to help the elderly woman across the street, except that this time, part of that helping hand was taken away.

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How does one come to terms with this?  If you know my husband, you know that he is one of the most thoughtful, helpful persons around. He has worked around machinery his whole life, tending to tractors and motors and farm equipment on my parent’s farm, even as a young teenager when we had first met.  Here in Nashua, he is known as the local “handyman”, who helps many with whatever they need.  He is one of the smartest, most honest persons I know, who knows how to do all of these things, but in the cold of the night, something snapped and there was no turning back time.

 

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Lakehouse 2014-125Two fingertips from my right-hand man may be an inconvenience for awhile, but it is insignificant to who he really is.  He was doing what he does every day-extending a hand in love.  Those words keep coming back to me over and over again, and I imagine in time it will fade, but yes I wish we could reverse time to before I heard the silence of the motor,  so that I could head out to tell him to be careful.   But sometimes we never fully learn or understand why bad things happen to good people.

But what I do know is that he will always be my right-hand man.

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He may be missing two fingertips on his right hand, but he still has his heart/my heart,  his soul/my soul, and nothing can take that away from us, not even a junkie ole snow blower.

And I couldn’t love him more.

xo

SW

 

 

 

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