3 Tips for taking portraits with your pet

Senior portrait with his golden retriever
A boy and his dog, what a great pair!

As a family photographer, I am privileged to work with many diverse types of families. Many times we work with children, and young children need special attention for getting great photos with them. But young children aren’t the only kids that need special consideration in photography. I am talking of course about Fur Babies!

Our pets can be our children too

Over the years I have worked with dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, horses, and even chickens in portraits with my clients. I love to see the interactions and love that is very obvious when these fur babies come in.


I have found over the years that there are few things that will make the portrait experience more enjoyable when your fur babies join you. So here are 3 tips for making portraits with your pets easier on them and you!

Tip #1: Don’t go against your pets personality
You know your fur baby best. And just like any 2 or 3-year-old, working with their personality not against it will make the whole process much easier.

Dog and girl look sad at getting a photo taken
Sometimes the picture just isn’t going to happen


If your dog is always on the go, it is best not to try and get him to sit still.
If your cat doesn’t usually get held, chances are someone will end up bleeding if you try to hold her for a photo.


Plan to work with your pet’s personality and your result will be better.

Tip #2: Communicate info about your pet to the photographer

Photographers will do their best to work with you and your pet, but any help you can give them will make things go smoother. For example, if your pet always comes to the sound of their name, then it is probably not good for the photographer to continually call their name and have them walk out of frame. If you have a dog that gets aggressive if someone gets too close, let the photographer know so that they can keep their distance. Anything that will help is important to communicate to your photographer.

Kitten on man's back

Tip #3: Keep an open mind and reasonable expectations

Just like working with toddlers, pets will have good and bad days in front of the camera and that’s ok! The important part is that they are there, not that they are perfect. Sometimes it is the quirky imperfections that make a memory endearing, like this kitten who only wanted to be on his dad’s back! Sometimes, that is what makes the cutest photos.

I hope these tips help you the next time you have a family portrait scheduled and you want to include the whole family!

Come Celebrate with Us

The New Studio!

This Friday, August 19th, marks the grand re-opening of the Photos By Orion studio in our new location, and the grand opening of Purple Kat Business Development, my newest brain-child. We are going to have a big event with help of https://epiceventsnj.com/photography-new-jersey/. I hope you can make time to come out and help us celebrate between 2:00 and 6:00 pm. Our official ribbon cutting is at 3:00 pm and I can’t wait! Hope to see you there! Our new address is 2416 13th St SE Suite A Salem, OR 97302.

Cherry Blossoms, Camas, and Japanese Wisteria…oh my!

Beautiful family portraits and preserving them for the future

That special time of year has arrived again! The cherry blossoms are here and that means the camas and wisteria are not far behind. Each year these 3 beautiful flowers offer their blossoms up and families want to take advantage of their beauty for family photos like these:

I always love this time of year because I know the kinds of amazing photos I can give my clients. But it is also a bittersweet time because every year I also see destruction left by those photographers and budding photographers (pun intended) when they take a client or model to these places and knock cherry blossoms off or stamp down the wild camas so their subject can be “among the flowers.” Every year when we take clients to do photos, well anywhere really but especially these one a year treasure places, we always make it our goal to leave the place just like we found it (and sometimes better!).

Sometimes the ends don’t justify the means

There are always ways to get the photo without destruction. For example, To get the falling blossom effect we pick up blossoms off the ground or wait for the wind to knock them down (as it would do whether we were there or not). For the wild camas, we try to put our clients on paths where we look over the camas to them, or use places that have only grass, to get the same effect as planting them on the camas.

Beautiful woman's portrait among the camas flowers of Salem, OR
It is all about perception

So if you are going to be looking into booking a family session to take advantage of these rare opportunities, it is worth taking the opportunity to tell the photographer you choose (though I would love it to be me!) that you want to conserve the natural beauty as much as possible and save the flowers. Our community and your children will thank you!!

Drone wedding photo at Riverbell Farm

Everything You Need to Know About Hiring A Drone for Your Wedding

Guest blog from Dronethusiast.com

Everyone wants their wedding to be a special occasion – a source of wonderful, happy memories that last a lifetime. And of course, you need a photographer (and/or videographer) to capture those memories so that you can revisit them again and again.

Many couples are now choosing drone photography as a way to make their wedding videos more dynamic and instantly unique . But this technology – and its adoption by the consumer mainstream – is still fairly new, so it’s understandable that you might have questions about what drone wedding photography looks like. Well we at Dronethusiast – the premier source for drone news and reviews online – are thrilled to partner with the Photos by Orion Blog to share some insight into hiring a drone for your wedding.

Wedding family walking on Beach
Wedding couple walking down beach with their family

1. Why You Should Hire A Drone Photographer

As Orion recently covered in more detail, style is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a wedding photographer. Drone photographers and videographers are mainly hired because they bring a unique perspective (quite literally!) to their work.

Aerial photography used to be extremely expensive – it involved hiring not only a professional photographer with an expensive specialized camera, but also a helicopter for them to fly in. Now that drones with cameras are more readily available, their main advantage is that they can provide beautiful aerial photography for a fraction of the cost – and they can do so in areas that a helicopter or airplane can’t reach!

2. Discussion Points

Here are some basic things to ask when hiring a drone photographer:

  • Are you licensed? In the United States, commercial drone pilots are legally required to have an FAA certification. Never hire an unlicensed drone pilot or a pilot who tries to convince you that a license isn’t necessary.
  • Are you insured? Even a skilled drone pilot can lose control of a drone due to equipment malfunction or inclement weather. Such incidents are rare, but you still want to make sure your photographer has liability insurance, just in case.
  • Can I see samples of your work? A portfolio will give you a good idea of the photographer’s style, which will help you see whether or not it matches your vision for your wedding. A good drone photographer will provide stable video with a unique, polished look thanks to a good editing skills and By the way, for video editing, using HDDs will slow your team down so with us you own’t have to worry.
  • What is your availability? For obvious reasons, you need to make sure the photographer you hire is available at the time and day you want your pictures taken.
  • Do you provide interior work? Some drones can only be flown outdoors, while others are small enough to be flown inside as well. If you’re interested in interior photographs, you need to make sure that’s something your photographer provides before hiring.

3. How Much to Pay

Drone photography price will vary by location, by contractor, and depending on the type of work you’re looking for. For photography itself, you generally don’t want to pay more than $500 an hour. For an entire wedding photography package which includes drone photography along with other services, you can often expect to pay between $2000 and $6000 depending on how many photos and what type of video you want.

4. The Hiring Process

The process of hiring a drone wedding photographer usually looks something like this:

  1. Look for a photographer online and find someone who suits your needs.
  2. Reach out to them over Email or phone and bring up your discussion points. An in-person meeting is always ideal if you can manage it.
  3. Choose a photography package and pay the photographer accordingly.
  4. Integrate your photographer into your wedding plan. When do they need to show up? When are you taking your photos with the wedding party? Will you be going through a “Traditional” or “First Look” schedule? Make sure you and the photographer both understand each other’s needs and responsibilities.
  5. After the wedding, you should receive your photos digitally or in the mail at a time specified by the photographer beforehand.

5. Think Outside of The Box

Sometimes what makes your day extra special is your imagination

A good drone photographer can do more than just take videos of your wedding, although this will most likely be their primary role. They can help you create unique memories, taking engagement videos and helping give your online invitations a unique flair. Be sure to think outside the box and speak to potential candidates about what they can do to make your special day even more special.

We hope this article has helped you understand what to look for in a drone wedding photographer and videographer. For more information on the ever-expanding drone industry, visit our website at Dronethusiast.com.

This article is published in conjunction with our friends at Dronethusiast.com. If you are thinking about drones or purchasing a drone it is a great website to consult. Our thanks to Mike and his great team!

Two children hugging

5 Tips to help you get the best portraits of your kids

Here at Photos By Orion, we love working with children! They are so fun and spontaneous, and they can have such engaging smiles! But kids, like pets, have only a short amount of time and attention they are willing to give to a photographer, so here are a few tips for helping you get beautiful portraits of your child.

Baby portrait in the Photos By Orion studio

Being well rested and having a full tummy helps little ones create great photos.

 

  1. Have them well fed and rested 

No one does well in photos if they are hungry or tired, so the best time to do a photo session that will involve children is right after lunch and a nap. It is also best to keep the photo session short, so don’t plan on having your child involved for an entire hour. When we do photo shoots with small children (under the age of 5) they are regularly finished early so the child doesn’t have to be “on” for that whole time.

2) Bring a favorite toy

Often times a favorite toy or toys can make the process easier for a child. They feel safe when they have their “snuggy” with them or when they can see it, so bringing a few props like that can enhance the photo shoot. It is also important to remember that YOU are their most favorite, so helping your photographer out by standing right behind them to call out and play with your child can make a huge difference.

Child's portrait in the park in Salem, Oregon

The first photos tend to be the best when working with children

3) Location, location, location!

Choosing where to take photos is a very important decision. Some children do well indoors at a studio (especially the really young children as a studio can be more temperature controlled than an outdoor venue), while others need to be able to run. Whenever we are working with children I tend to recommend venues that are close to, or include, a playground. We use the park as an incentive to get through the “boring” first part of the session, which we try to limit to 30 minutes, and then get fun playing shots at the playground to round out the session and give the children a treat. During the really hot of the summer, three great parks we love to take clients with children are to Riverfront Park and West Bennett park in Salem, and to River Road park near Keizer because each of these parks not only has a playground, but it also has a splash pad where kids can cool off after all that work of looking cute (and it makes for great photo opportunities)!

Young boy plays at the park in Salem Oregon

Having somewhere fun to take photos can be a big hit!

4) Keep directions (and expectations) simple

Kids are good at following simple directions, so when it comes to posing them for photos, the simpler the directions they are given the better. For the photo on the left, all the direction we gave was to sit on the stool, look at the camera, and smile. He naturally posed himself into that adorable pose so we snapped fast and got that great shot. Children don’t always understand why we are getting photos, so to them, posing is weird! They get lost in multi-step directions like “sit up, put your hands here, your feet here, point your nose toward the camera, etc., and will forget to leave their bodies where we put them as they get each new direction. So with your kids, simpler is better. Letting them sit as they naturally do and then changing 1 or 2 things is the best way to get great photos and to set appropriate expectations for your portrait session.

 

5) Be relaxed and remember, this is fun!

Children will take their cues from their parents, so it is important for you to be relaxed and to have the attitude that this will be fun. I know that can be hard to get everyone dress and ready to go, but taking a moment to breath and re-center yourself you can help everyone to be in a better mood and therefore get better photos. These are your memories that will last well beyond your lifetime, but they are also a shared family experience. Whether that experience is good or bad is up to you. Getting family photos each year should be something that is fun for all, because having memories of each stage of your family’s life is so important!

5 of the best spots for senior and family portraits in the Salem area

The Willamette Valley is full of great outdoor locations for Fall family portraits or Senior shoots. Here are 5 of my favorite:

  • Minto-Brown Park

7B4A9722Minto-Brown park is located minutes from downtown Salem, Oregon. It is the largest park in Salem. Numerous fields and paved paths abound in Minto-Brown Park, providing a variety of locations to choose from which makes it a favorite location for me because it has a good variety of location types. There are old stumps with vibrant green foliage, grass fields  and river views that can be taken advantage for excellent backdrops. During a few weeks in the fall, there’s even a little-known road along the slew that has fall leaves everywhere. I tend to take clients to the first parking area near the entrance to the park. From here, there’s a paved pathway that leads around a large field of tall grass (which makes for a great backdrop), past a fallen tree and on towards a new bridge that connects Minto-Brown park with Salem’s Riverfront park. I really enjoy the lighting amongst some of the evenly spaced trees.

There’s a second parking lot that is reached by continuing past the first lot. Near the second lot is a small park with toys for kids to play on and a covered area. From here a path takes a turn towards the river with tranquil views of the water. Proceeding down an alternative path will lead to quiet lakes, some with small viewing platforms.

Any of these locations make for nice backdrops or quiet locations for photos.


  • Deepwood/Bush Park

IMG_9843Deepwood and Bush park are just south of the downtown area in Salem, Oregon.The parks are separated by a small stream, so I tend to stay

IMG_0300in one of the two locations during a single photoshoot. Both locations have numerous great locations to take photos. Deepwood is situated on a street corner and the original house for the property is a historic location featuring daytime tours for those interested. I often use the house as a backdrop for clients, especially family shoots. Surrounding the house are several gardens. The formal garden has nice gated sections that make for great locations. Continuing around the house there is a tennis court that is used for wedding receptions. Around the court are short trails that are quiet and not often walked. I enjoy taking photos along the creek or gather the giant leaves that fall in the Fall to use in portraits.  It’s not difficult to find shade on bright days or a quiet location beside the creek.


  • Keizer Rapids Park

_MG_3424Keizer Rapids park is located in Keizer, Oregon, which is north of Salem, Oregon. This park seems to be going through changes every year. They currently have a large playground called The Big Toy that can be used as an excellent opportunity for kids to play on. There is a boat down with a large field surrounding it. I’ve taken photos of families at the amphitheater that boarders a treed area. In the trees is a Frisbee golf course and if you want to explore further, a wide bend in the Willamette river has fields of rocks where the river floods in the winter. I’ve often seen small rivulets that would make excellent backdrops.


  • Riverfront Park

IMG_1015Salem’s Riverfront park has become an increasingly popular place for senior photos. Also if you are a senior check the best Home Care Assistance if you are suffering from some illness, we can do a shoot at home. Riverfront park is located along the Willamette River and is situated right next to downtown Salem. Many events and carnivals can be found here at various times of the year. As for photo locations, there are two walking bridges at each end of the park that cross over the river. The one to the north is an old train tressle made into a walking bridge. I’ve taken many photos here using the bridge pattern as a backdrop.  The park has nice grassy fields and a splash park that kids love, even when it’s not on. I find it a good place for photos featuring smaller kids. The main feature of the park is a carousel which can be used for photos. If your photoshoot is during the winter, the park also features a temporary ice skating rink!

For the seniors, I usually walk across the street from the park to capture those cool brick-walled backgrounds. It’s not uncommon to find someone has written on the wall the graduating year, which I like to take advantage of in pictures.


  • Downtown Salem

IMG_1700IMG_0031Downtown Salem, Oregon is ripe with old and new buildings, and maintaining these buildings in good conditions is important and people that want to do this, try Central Penn Contracting Services which specialize in this kind of work. Between many of the streets are neat little alleys that people often use for photos. From arched alleys to wide steps to twisty trees, a short walk easily brings together a variety of brick locations and quiet spots available for your photo session.

Hopefully any of these locations spark your interest in outdoor photography locations. If you’re wanting outdoor photos but aren’t sure where to choose, we will work with you to take advantage of the best each location has to offer at the time of your photoshoot.

Budgeting for your wedding

Weddings are expensive. Let’s face it.

According to CNN, the wedding industry is a 53.4 billion dollar market and the average wedding costed about 28,000 in 2012. Those are some crazy numbers, and I’m certain they are only rising. That doesn’t mean that you have to take a second job just to be able to afford your special day. Plenty of brides are on a budget and their wedding days are magical. If you were to check out IslandEventPlanners.com, you’d get a paradigm on how those brides make it possible, and also get an idea of devising the perfect theme that doesn’t cost an extra penny.

I believe that there are two main factors that need to come into play when you’re planning and budgeting for a wedding:

  1. Prioritization
  2. Effort

Wait, what?

Granted, those traits sound quite boring, but they are of utmost importance in my opinion.

What I mean for prioritization is to organize what you want your wedding day to be and then prioritize each component. We also offer 13 exciting hen party ideas in London. Think about all the things you want in your wedding and then place them in order of importance. For example, you have a list like this:

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Officiant
  • DJ
  • Cake
  • Flowers
  • Dress
  • Etc

Then you need to organize them in importance to you. Perhaps flowers are at the bottom of your list and the venue is at the top. Order flower delivery in Deer Park TX. Then list everything else in order, for example:

  1. Venue
  2. Dress
  3. Officiant
  4. Photographer
  5. Cake
  6. Catering
  7. DJ
  8. Flowers
  9. Videographer

For this list, I put the venue at the top because I think that getting married in a beautiful location is the most important thing. Videography is at the bottom because I am not very interested in watching my ceremony video years down the road. Videography is still on the list though, because I put some importance to it. If my budget allows, I will hire someone to make a video. Perhaps the dress isn’t a big deal to you. List it lower. Maybe having photos is really important. List it higher. Once you have your basic list organized, you can really start seeing how much your wedding is going to cost when you start approaching vendors and seeing their price lists.

The second thing that I think is really important in planning a wedding I’m calling effort. What I mean is that the amount of effort you put into your wedding day should give it greater importance in your life. I don’t necessarily mean that you should try to arrange all your flowers or make your own cake, but by all means do so if that interests you. For me the wedding ring I gave my wife was really important. I wanted to make sure that not only did I choose a beautiful ring for her, but I actually wanted it to cost more money than I normally would have spent. I had to work more hours and save more money to buy her ring, but it was so worth it. For the extra hours and saving, I’ve ensured a lifetime of her being proud of her ring and the symbol it stands for. I’m not saying that anyone who chooses to buy a cheaper ring is going the wrong way. When you have your list of priorities, you’ll list what’s the most important thing first and I think you should work extra for that. If you really want your guests to have a great memory of your wedding day, perhaps a DJ who can keep the day upbeat and rocking is your thing.

So really take time to prioritize your list of wedding things by importance to you and then put in the extra effort for the important items on your list and you will be more successful at keeping to a budget and you’ll still have your special day, perfect for you.

3 Tips for Getting Better Photos

Capturing great images usually rests firmly in the hands of the photographer, but I have found that the people I photograph who come prepared often capture the best photos. Here are three tips you can do to improve photos of yourself:

1. The “turtle”

IMG_5607-PMIMG_2136Kathryn and I have nicknamed a method of removing double-chins in photos as the “turtle”. The “turtle” is a method of elongating your chin towards the camera. Think of it like pushing your face away from your neck then lowering your chin. It often feels awkward, but the effect when you see the photo will surprise you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Props

7B4A8793Props can make a huge difference in your photos. The best props are ones that say something about who you are. For example, I would recommend a senior bring their sports equipment or musical instrument. These kinds of props always add to the photo, and if it’s something you really love will often help you to be more comfortable in front of the camera.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Clothing choices

IMG_2905

Nadia Senior Photo at Salem's Riverfront Park

Nadia Senior Photo at Salem’s Riverfront Park

Nadia Senior Photo in downtown Salem

Nadia Senior Photo in downtown Salem

Clothing helps us define who we are and clothing choices at a photoshoot are no exception. I recommend families attempt to match each other when they come in or perhaps even have a change of clothes or two. Senior photoshoots should have at least 3 outfits, one that shows the formal you, one that shows the casual you and one that you are most comfortable in.

Photo recreation, Richard Weddle story

Occasionally we get a client who wants to recreate a photo. I especially like the recreations that are funny because of the posing or styling of the original.

Today’s post features the photo of two brothers as young children. They contacted us and told us about the photo, saying it was going to be funny to remake and indeed it was. Obviously the brothers were older and the younger wouldn’t even fit in the photo like the original, but we posed them. They brought a blanket similar to the original and wore similar clothes. The backdrop we had in studio was the same color as the original. Even their poses had to be the same, hence the tongue sticking out. As an added bonus, we had difficulty getting the angle of each brother to be close to the original pose. It wasn’t until I held up the pillow on the right that the angle looked correct. It was certainly a first for me to literally be underneath the blanket holding him up!

The purpose of the photo was to print and frame it for their parent’s wall right next to the original for Christmas. I hope their parents enjoy their joke each time they pass their new family portrait!

I really enjoy capturing the creative visions of clients, even for a joke =-)

The original photo the clients requested we remake

The original photo the clients requested we remake

A remake of a funny photo

A remake of a funny photo

The best weather conditions for portraits

My favorite weather conditions to take portraits in is when it’s cloudy. Can you believe it? Bright sun definitely makes for a boost in morale, but it’s really the days when it’s cloudy that I prefer to take portraits in.

Nadia Senior Photo

Why is that, you ask?

When it’s cloudy, the light is spread out better and colors are more even. If you’ve ever been in a photo studio, you might have noticed those large white screens. Those screens are small versions of clouds. Light is bounced around and reduces shadows, leaving your photos looking better. Fortunately for me, I primarily shoot in the Pacific Northwest where clouds abound. I feel very luck in this respect. I have even nicknamed Oregon the “land of diffuse light”. =-)7B4A0262

Don’t get me wrong about sunlight though. I love to shoot on the sunniest of days as well. Sometimes I’ll position you in the sun for shots, but on these kinds of days, I will usually have the light blocked with either a scrim or I will just position you in the shade.

So don’t worry about scheduling your outdoor photo shoot with me during the fall, winter or spring in the Pacific Northwest. I will keep tabs on the weather so that we can get great images for you!7B4A0961

Nadia Senior Photo