Product Photography {Connected}

July 3, 2012 by Karen

Probably the smartest thing I have done for my business is connecting with other business owners.  Not just any business owner, but talented, professional, honest business owners, who carry that reputation with them in our community and throughout social networking sites.  Developing relationships with my clients is a trait that I covet as being “known” for.  But, I’ve found that building relationships with other business owners is just as important.

I can’t imagine a prettier backdrop for a photo shoot than ballerinas on pointe.  For this shoot, I teamed up with Karen Wade, the owner of Stafford Dance Center in Stafford, Virginia.  Tina Dean designed some amazing dance bags, fashioned from plarn, or yarn made of plastic bags.  Yes, grocery store plastic bags.  I’m still amazed at what she does!  Kristal Lacy Lee, owner of Atututudes Hand Made Tutus, sent us some of her amazing tutus for the shoot. Karen loaned us her dancers and instructed them with her wonderful technique and unique style throughout. She makes dance look so easy, and fun.  It turned out to be a wonderful promotional shoot for Stafford Dance Center, Tina Dean Designs, and Atutudes!    We are quite the team, along with our make-up artist Heather Haas, who worked her make-up magic on already beautiful models.   We were so excited about the shoot, and even got some amazing accessories sent to us to use from a couple of other wonderful designers.  Shannon Szemenyei, owner and designer at Sweet Stella’s in London, Ontario, sent us some of her amazing hand sculpted hair pieces.  Susan Nussbaum of Town of Beadrock designed the gorgeous bracelets you will see in the images.   These first images include TDD’s logo for Tina Dean’s promotional purposes and to me have a more finished look.  All of them represent Atutudes and Stafford Dance Center.  I’m so blessed to know these wonderful women. I can tell ya one thing, it’s not an accident that we are connected!

Every shoot is a team effort, and this was no different.  All of us played a major role, and we all bounced ideas off of each other throughout the shoot.  Our dancers had some fresh ideas that we built on.  Enjoy these images from our shoot, and some of my favorite candids of us in action.

I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing more of KPP, TDD and SDC working together in some capacity.  One thing I’m certain of…I’ve fallen into this amazing world of product and editorial photography that I absolutely LOVE!  Stay tuned…the best is yet to come!  xo

Food Photographer, Stafford, VA {Pancho Villa Menu Shoot}

June 22, 2012 by Karen

It was around 9 am one morning in Feb. when I had just dropped my 2nd grader off at school, and I get a phone call.  Hands-free, blue tooth engaged, I answered.  It was  the voice of a man, asking if I take pictures of food.  “Yes, I can do that,” I replied, a little confused.  Then, he tells me, “I own the Pancho Villa Restaurants.”  My jaw dropped.  I immediately, with much enthusiasm said “WE LOVE YOUR FOOD!!!”  We set up an appointment to meet, and I promptly emailed Mr. Pacheco my portfolio.

It was so cool to get this call.  When Hank was deployed, Jackson and I made weekly visits to Pancho Villa.  So many visits, that the wait staff remembered us and what we ordered. Orange rice (as Jackson calls their Mexican rice), cheese dip, and a chicken empanada. So the restaurant holds a special little place in my heart!

Mr. Pacheco hired me to photograph his new menu items, which were to be launched just before Cinco De Mayo.  My fabulous assistant, Stephanie Austin and I arrived at 8 am to start shooting.  Pancho’s amazing chef had been there already for 4 hours, preparing the plates for their big shoot.  As soon as we shot one plate, another was on it’s way out.  It was quite a production.  Very well managed and thought out.  However, with each new dish that came to the shooting table, Stephanie and I were drooling with hunger!  These plates were gorgeous, and the aroma was…incredible.  I could NOT wait to bring my family back in to try some of these new menu items!!  The images do not do justice to the amazing flavors.. Pancho Villa’s food is a fusion between the Jalisco Mexican taste and Southern California Mexican taste.  Authentic, and fabulous.
When you walk into one of Pancho Villa’s many restaurants, I’m proud and humbled that you will see KPP’s images on their menu!  You can enjoy their food from Michigan, to Virginia, to North Carolina. Check out their website for locations!

Summer Ideas

June 15, 2012 by Karen

Summer family shoots are right around the corner. My most FAQ is “what should we wear?” It’s a great question, and if it isn’t asked, I’ll ask, “what are you planning for colors?” Clothing can make or break a picture. Imagine…mom is wearing her best dress, black and white polka dot. It’s gorgeous, but when paired with Dad in a blue button down collared shirt, and jr. in a plaid shirt, sister in stripes, well….you get the picture. That may sound extreme, but I’ve seen the images! Gorgeous family, distracting clothes. This is where I send my families when they ask me what to wear…Check out these awesome ideas that I found on Pinterest!

Source: via Karen on Pinterest

Source: via Karen on Pinterest

Paws and Prints- With Art From the Heart

June 5, 2012 by Karen

My son and I love going to Art from the Heart’s paint your own pottery studio.  We have so much fun chatting and painting, and “gettin’ our creativity on!”  I’m so fortunate to have gotten to know the owners, Lisa Haas and Dolena Sinclair, quite well.  Not only are they wonderful people and friends, but they are savvy business women, always full of advice and experience.  And when you come to their studio to paint, you can bet you will leave knowing how to load your brush!  When they asked me if I was interested in partnering with them to do a Paws and Prints event, I danced a happy dance! (I was just a little bit excited…haha!)

It was wildly successful. Teehee.  The concept is just beautiful…Art from the Heart pressed the paws of our four legged clients into clay, and KPP set up in AFTH’s studio to take portraits.  The doggies were fabulous.  Their peeps were perfect. We had way too much fun doing this….I just can’t get over some of these images.  Of course many of my faves are the behind the scenes shots that I was able to capture in between the actual portraits.  Dolena was a master trainer for the event.  With treat in hand, she had those pups rolling over, high-fiving and even dancing with her!  Lisa was so gentle with each pet as she pressed their little paws into the clay…what a memory that made.  
Here are a few of our little models for the evening…

I love this first one…he is so intrigued by me and my camera..but yes, he finally found Dolena and his treat.

Always enough time to give mom high fives..

It’s so funny how different things bring joy to different people. Looking at these images makes me happy..teary-eyed and all mushy. The love of an animal is just precious. I’m so happy that KPP and Art From the Heart made these memories for these pets, and their peeps. Can’t wait till the next Paws and Prints!

She’s 5 months….

May 29, 2012 by Karen

I’m sure it flew by. The next 5 will, and the 5 after that… Little Miss R was full of smiles! Of course, a 5 month-old needed a few breaks during our shoot! But, that was perfectly fine by me. She was a joy to have in the studio. Her grandma brought her to me for her portrait session as a surprise for mom. (Can’t get any more precious!) Here are a few of my favorite shots. Hope you love…

At the Battlefield

May 22, 2012 by Karen

When this Dad called me to take his family pictures, I was beyond thrilled.   Hank and his brother were Naval Academy roommates, and we are so fond of their entire family.  When we met for their portrait session, I felt like we were having a reunion with long time friends.   That’s just how they are, wonderful, welcoming, fun, and real.   Mom warned me that her kids are just like their dad and uncle..and I knew exactly what she meant.  I laughed out loud…this is a marathon-running, record-breaking  kind of family!   But, I assured her, we will get some wonderful shots!   And, we are some of my faves from this beautiful family session, at the Battlefield.

The Martha Stewart of Plarn- Tina Dean Designs

May 15, 2012 by Karen

A few weeks ago I asked Tina Dean, “What is plarn?” She directed me to her blog post that illustrates the process. Plarn, plastic yarn, made out of plastic bags, like the ones we get whenever we go to the store and make a purchase (unless you never forget your reusable bags!) When I read her blog post, I was blown away. I had seen her designs, which are fantastic…but after reading about and seeing the process of how plarn is created and these amazing bags are made, I look at her designs in a whole new light. Really, blown away. It has been a huge honor to photograph these amazing creations. For the first shoot, I took some of Tina Dean’s Designer bags to Coastal NC to shoot them on the beach. I was so inspired on the beach with these bags! All I could think was….thank God these plastic bags are woven into this wonderful design and NOT slung all over the beach! Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about the beach and the ocean, and the animals that call it home.  So, Tina Dean, THANK YOU for keeping our beaches clean!


The next shoot we brought to the studio, with our fantastic model, Nancy. This first bag is the Eco Evening Wristlet Clutch.  It is fantastic!  So you might be wondering where she found the black plastic bags…well, this little beauty is made out of upcycled video cassette tape.  Again, blown away!!!

And finally, for the grand finale of this blog post, The Tenley.  It was designed by Tina for the lovely actress, Tenley Molzahn.  This is one of my favorite of her designs!  It’s so chic and stylish..I love it!  

Now after seeing them, can you believe they were once grocery bags and video tape?   Tina Dean is the Martha Stewart of plarn!  Tina Dean Designs.  Where Upscale meets Upcycled.  To see more of her work, go to her website:

Spring Ideas

May 13, 2012 by Karen

Gone are the days of white shirts and khaki pants for family portraits! I often get asked, “What should we wear!?”  And I usually scout Pinterest to find the latest trends to share with my clients.  I found these wonderful ensembles while pinning today! I love the yellows and blues for a Spring shoot!

Source: via Tami on Pinterest

Source: via Monica on Pinterest

At the Marina

May 8, 2012 by Karen

For this family shoot we went from their own back yard for a few pics with their precious four legged family member, to the Marina with the amazing views and fantastic boats as our backdrop.  The light was so dreamy at 9 was perfect!   I have to laugh during my shoots where we have a toddler who seems like he isn’t cooperating…I always tell Mom, “You’ll be surprised at the beautiful images we get!”  And they always are.  The candid, ‘in the moment’ images are a popular fave among my families. As a matter of fact, it’s what they tell me they  are looking for when we have our consult before the shoot (ok when I say they what I really mean is Mom)… I’m hoping that it is FINALLY sticking to me..KP is the candid, everyday life, capture you as you photographer.    

Do I really need to add that I loved this family?  Fun, easy going, beautiful family.  Ohhh, and Mom…she’s a teacher.  What better day to blog this shoot than on Teacher Appreciation Day!?  Another soft spot for KP…teachers!  WE love them.  Love what you do for our children…thank you for all of your incredible work!  I’m so happy I was able to get a few shots of Mom and Dad alone:-)  Here’s a little preview of their shoot.

Double Trouble!

April 30, 2012 by Karen

Not really… I’ve watched these two kiddos grow over the past 2 years…they are incredible little people!  And their mommy is equally incredible.   This particular shoot was a studio mini session.  Mom needed a formal picture of her in her uniform with them, and it turned out beautiful!   Little E was so happy to be in the studio in front of my camera again!   She definitely had been practicing her model moves!  And her brother, the handsome little H, was one cool kid in front of the camera.  We had a great time:-)

By the way…we LOVE our service men and women, so very thankful for them!  Did you know that May is National Military Appreciation month?  It sure is!  I think every month should be… Thank you for your selfless service!!!!