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Category Archives: Family Portraits

Family Reunion with 25 People by Durango CO Photographers

It was Thomas’ birthday – he turned 70 yrs old, and is the grandpa to 12 grandkids – 12!  His wife Cynthia and he had four daughters and one son (Suzanna, Amy, Elizabeth, Annie, and Sam) and they are married (except one of them) and have all of those young ones.

The kids were amazingly cooperative during the entire portrait session – I usually sweat bullets trying to photograph that many kids. I did have to do some head swaps because you can never get that many all looking at the camera and smiling at the same time:-}

Try to follow this: Suzanna and OJ got married and at their wedding Suzanna’s brother met OJ’s sister and fell madly in love, got married and had kids of their own. This makes eight of the cousins genetically half-siblings.

We did break out portraits of all of the family groups, the kids, the grand kids, and grandparents and so many more. They have lots and lots of portraits to remember their time together. They came from California, Colorado, Missouri, and Illinois.

Enjoy and Thanks for Looking!

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Family Reunion Portrait

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Mom and her 4 Daughters

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Suzanna and her Family

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Annie and her Husband

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Grandparents with all the grandkids

Luv, Karen

Photographers in Durango CO

http://www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

A Family celebrates Kathy’s recovery from leukemia by Durango Photographers

Kathy and Mike are the parents and grandparents of this large family and Kathy had recently recovered from leukemia but was doing very well, although she tired easily. They live in Texas along with three of their other sons and their families. All four of the boys are their kids – I can’t image raising four boys, oh my. Their other son and his family live in New Mexico.

They all came to Durango and stayed at the Red Cliff House because they don’t get to see each other all that often. They love to joke and raz around a lot so we had a great time.

Enjoy!

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Mom and her four sons

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The whole family

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Dad and his daughter

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The Four Brothers

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Grandparents and the Grandkids

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One of the Family breakouts

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Family Portrait

Thank you for looking,

Luv, Karen

Durango CO Photographers

http://www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

 

60th Birthday and Family Reunion Portraits by Durango CO Photographers

Lauren and Annie live in Ft Collins CO and have 3 sons, all of whom are married. They have never done family portraits, so the sisters-in-laws set it up as a surprise for Annie’s 60th birthday. They had to tell them before they left home to come to Durango CO so everyone brought nice clothes that looked good together – and they did an awesome job. The other family members came from Arizona and Texas.

I felt very honored to be chosen as their family photographer and they are in love with Durango (well, who isn’t:}  They rented a house on County Road 250 and there was amazing views.

Enjoy!

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Family Reunion Portrait

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The 3 Brothers

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The women of the family

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The men in the family

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Swinging their daughter

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Dad with his little son

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Group portrait in the tall grass

Thanks for Looking

Luv, Karen

Durango CO Photographers

http://www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

 

Family Reunion by Photographers in Durango CO

This awesome family came from all over the country; Denver CO, Texas, and Missouri.  They also brought along 6 doggies!

It’s always a challenge to photograph fur babies, but these guys were well mannered and pretty easy to get to look at the camera.  I just had to do a lot of barking, meowing, and making other strange noises – I’m glad there was nobody else around :}

After photographing the family and their doggies at the house they were renting, we then left the dogs at the house and drove down the road a ways to photograph just them with some beautiful scenery in the background.

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These two owned 4 of the dogs

njoy!

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The Family and their Fur Babies

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Brick Wall by the house they were renting

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Showing off some leg (she’s a runner)

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Couple hanging out by the fence

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Family without their doggies

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The mom and dad hugging

Thanks for looking,

Luv, Karen

Durango CO Photographers

http://www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

 

A Wedding at Vallecito by Durango Wedding Photographers

Lauren and Brenden live in the state of Kansas.  Brenden grew up in Bayfield CO (which is near Vallecito), but Lauren had never been here.  Naturally she wants to move here some day because as we all know, CO is much prettier than KS (sorry Kansas).

Their wedding took place at the Vallecito Recreation Center, which is just outside of Durango CO.  It was a little windy that day and the wooden arch behind them blew over.  We had to find some big rocks to hold it down, which worked.  We sure didn’t want that falling over on them during the ceremony.  Tedda Bachman was the wonderful minister who presided over the wedding ceremony.

As you can see from the images, Lauren is expecting her 3rd child.  The tiniest flower girl and the young bridesmaid belong to them – I don’t know if she’s having another girl or a boy this time.  I doubt they care either way.

We did a First Look session with Lauren and her dad.  While I was standing outside with her dad waiting for Lauren, he got a little teary and was telling me that he is just so happy to be able to see his daughter get married.  He had recently had a heart attack and they didn’t expect him to make it.  Then I got teary and am doing it again while I write this story.  It’s hard to take photographs when your eyes are watery.

I designed a beautiful album that contained all of their wedding images and Lauren wrote to me that she had received the album and was beyond happy.  They now have a gorgeous Wedding Story Album to relive their time here in Colorado and it’s also a family heirloom.

Enjoy!

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Bride and her daughter’s boots

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Bridesmaids helping Bride with dress

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Bride and Dad’s First Look

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Three little flower girls

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Ring Bearer with Bride Sign

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Wedding Ceremony at Vallecito

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The whole family

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Bride with Parents

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Bridesmaids loving on baby bump

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Groom and Groomsmen

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Bride and Groom Portrait

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First Dance

Thank you for Looking

Luv, Karen

Durango Photographers

http://www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

6 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Children

All parents want to take great photos of their kids, but you know how it is with those kiddos – they don’t stay still for more than a second (sometimes not even that long).   I know, your children smile on command and stay still while you get that amazing picture – yeah right!

It can also be difficult if you have less than a professional camera.  If you’re able to change settings on your camera, that helps a lot, but sometimes you have to depend on the camera to do the right thing and it doesn’t always know what you want to do.  My tips here are fairly generic and may not work with everyone’s camera, but I’m sure you can use some of these tips.

  1.  Get down to their level.  Depending on their age, you can lay on your tummy, kneel, or squat.  Shooting at their level helps them make eye contact, makes them curious (at least for a couple of seconds), and they look more natural.
  2.  Sometimes you will have to photograph them when they’re playing or doing something besides paying attention to you.  These can be really special moments when they’re deep in concentration and not making nasty faces at you.  When they’re sleeping is the absolute best time – haha.
  3. If you have the ability to set the shutter speed, set it at 250 or higher.  If it’s a bright day, you can set it 1000 as a starting point.  Getting nice portraits outside is going to work better for most of you than indoors unless you have a great big window with soft light coming through.  Then you can set them next to the window and see how long they stay put.  Get the exposure right before you try to get the kids posed.
  4. You can also try talking and joking around with them and try to get their minds off the camera.  If you have someone to help out, blowing a bubble gun makes for some really fun photos.  If you have a long telephoto lens, these work great because the clutter in the background will be blurred.
  5. The lighting is what makes a portrait great (the word “photography” means “writing or painting with light”).  When I do family portraits or children’s portraits, I do them in the evening, put the sun behind them, and then use a flash with an umbrella to light the faces.  Don’t use the flash on your camera though, it would be better to face them into the sun when it’s lower on the horizon.
  6.   Get yourself into the picture – use the self timer and a tripod
  7. Durango CO Photographers, Photographers Durango CO, Durango Family Photographers, Durango Baby Photographers

    Dressed in his red sweater and tie for the holidays

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    Two Kids in a Tube

If you need any other suggestions or help with these tips, let me know.

Luv, Karen

Durango CO Photographers

Website

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

970.884.5292

What Do You Charge? by Durango CO Photographer

This is the question I usually receive when someone is making an inquiry about my photography services.  It’s also a very hard question to just answer with no other information.  For instance, if they in asking about wedding photography, I need to find out their wedding date, where they are getting married, how many guests they are inviting, how long the ceremony will take, where they are getting ready, how long they plan to have the reception and is everything at the same place.  Most of this information is to help them figure out a time line so they know how many hours they will need to hire me for.

For weddings I have several Collections as well as a la carte items from which they can choose.  I really want to help them get the most bang for their buck so they aren’t just paying for a few hours and a cd of the images.  While the cd is important in this day and age, I am a firm believer that a wedding album is so important because it is the first family heirloom that will be passed down to their children and all future generations.  Studies have shown that 95% of people never do anything with the cd of wedding images and my unscientific inquiries show the same thing.  I even know many photographers who have never done anything with their own wedding cd.

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The same issues apply to a family who wants a portrait of the wife, husband, and kiddos.  A cd will more than likely be put into a drawer and will become useless in around 5 yrs.  A wall portrait, an album, an image box, and gift prints are so much better than a few 5x7s or 8x10s printed at Walmart (which has terrible prints due to cheap paper and ink and they’re way too glossy).  I realize it may seem expensive if you just look at the total investment, but take that amount and view it as a lifetime of having those memories for yourself, and all later generations.  As my tag line says “Portraits are not expensive, they’re priceless”!

 

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Here’s your CD hanging on the wall:{

Now, I realize there are a gazillion other photographers out there.  Many do terrific work and I have no problem with people hiring them – many of them are friends.  Then there are the “photographers”  who bought a nice camera, set it on auto and let the camera decide the exposure.  They claim to be “natural light photographers”, which simply means they don’t know how to use off camera flash or strobes.  It also means you will probably have raccoon eyes and dark faces, or they’ll face you into the sun and you’ll be squinting.  Neither is a pretty look.  If  you really want to have beautiful portraits, hire a professional.  You really do get what you pay for.

When I photograph families, seniors, wedding parties, and almost everything else, I always use an off camera flash with a white umbrella which makes nice soft beautiful light.  When the flash is off the camera the shadows sculpt the body it makes for a more 3d look instead of flat 2d.   I always put my subjects with the sun at their back or to their side and I try to shoot at the time of day that has the best light.  These are things professionals know how to do as well as using the camera and flash on manual for complete control, how to pose subjects so they look their best, how to instruct them on what to wear and the best locations.  I’ve invested a lot of time and money to learn these things and practice to perfection because I want happy clients.

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Fall Family Portrait

 

So, now it’s your turn.  I would like to hear your opinion on professional photographers, what you have done to get your family or wedding portraits, and anything else you would like to add to this post.  Thank you in advance!

by Karen Skelly, Durango CO Photographer

970.884.5292

www.karenskellyphoto.com

karen@karenskellyphoto.com

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