Posts Tagged ‘Portrait Photography’


Welcome to the World : Baby Drake

March 30, 2018

Cold, rainy days make me want to stay inside and snuggle up. So when weather hit the day I got to meet baby Drake, and his family, at their home – I couldn’t have been happier!


Home sessions are not something I do often, but they certainly add a quaint, candid feel to photos I can’t help but love. Not to mention, there’s such a short while that new parents get to make a space for someone so little.

Baby Drake’s room was perfectly fit for the rambunctious little boy they’ll soon have. Complete with antlers, bears, and a cozy crib that soothed him so asleep his little lip just refused to stay out without a “pasi!”


The natural light in the Sandall’s home was to die for, and their cute pup had to make sure his new best friend was in good hands at all times. With some reassurance from Mom and Dad, and a few “welcome” licks, he could finally take some to relax. ūüėČ


But to really make the session complete, I had to capture the special bond between mom and son and father and son.. (and, of course, every baby needs a cute hat or two.) What we got, in this photographer’s opinion, is so full of love that the emotion simply speaks for itself!


Thank you all for checking out this gorgeous newborn session! Be sure to leave your comments to help welcome baby Drake to the world.

Remember to also follow along here on WordPress by blog or email. Plus, give that Facebook page a “LIKE” for a daily feed!

Until next time….

Happy Creating!



How To Get Ready for a Boudoir Shoot.

February 23, 2017

Your wedding, anniversary, or even the mid-term of your pregnancy is around the corner and you’ve decide to do something bold – a boudoir shoot. Now the session is creeping up, and let’s face it, most of us don’t do these types of shoots on the regular.¬†So what the heck do you do now to make the most of it all!?


Public Domain Image


Boudoir doesn’t mean you have¬†to find the tiniest piece of lingerie¬†known to man (unless of course you want to!) because there’s really a lot of options. Plus, just like our everyday clothing, there will be things you feel more (comfortable) and sexy in than others. So here’s a few options for your boudoir outfits:

  • Bra/Bralette & Panty Set
  • Corset or Bustier & Panty
  • Babydoll or Teddy & Panty
  • A Button-up Shirt &¬†Matching Panty
  • Sport jersey & Matching Panty

Panties could be boy shorts, cheekies, thongs, or even g-strings depending upon your personal preference, or what works best with the top.



Your look doesn’t stop at the lingerie (or lack there of.) Don’t forget to accessorize just like you would for any other shoot, but on a whole new level!

  • Chunky or long, fancy, fun necklaces
  • Long string of pearls or long plain necklace
  • Body Jewelry: Body chains, arm bands and etc.
  • High Heels – sexy black, colorful, printed or ones¬†full of character
  • Brides – bring your veil and special wedding day/night lingerie.
  • Lingerie accent pieces: hosiery, garters, garter belts and etc.

Public Domain Image


Consider taking your make up look to the next level. Doing so can help really accentuate your best features.

  • Bold, Dramatic & Defined Eyes
  • False Lashes
  • Lipstick – Fun, contrasted colors will really pop!
  • Body Glitter – to give you a little extra glow and shine
  • Hair loose and down – whether curled or straightened – looks super sexy!

Whatever you choose to do, especially if it’s new to you, be sure to practice¬†it ahead of time. One, to make sure you really love it, and two, because there’s nothing more time consuming than applying your cosmetics only¬†to remove them and try again.

Lastly, remember to relax! Boudoir sessions should be sassy, sexy AND fun. You are beautiful, so be confident and your images will reflect how you feel. Clients may even decide to theme their shoot: Pin-up, Classy retro, Rockabilly, Wedding, Girly, Dark & Seductive¬†and so much more! Don’t forget to be strategic in your session scheduling if you’re trying to make it a surprise for your other half.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow me here¬†on WordPress by¬†blog or email. “LIKE” the Facebook page for a daily¬†feed. For those in Noel Photography and Design’s area, I encourage you to check¬†out the Boudoir services now being offered! {BOUDOIR INFO HERE}

Happy Creating!




Why I Choose NOT to Use Digital Backgrounds for Photography.

July 15, 2016

Let me start off by¬†clarifying “My images I create for fine arts¬†and¬†client photos are not completely free of alterations. In accompany with color and light adjustments, I will use {digital accents} to complete a photograph’s look, when appropriate.”¬†In fact, I would say while¬†never impossible, its¬†rare when an image needs absolutely no post-production.

Then sometimes photographers¬†get those¬†“almost perfect shots.”¬†The ones where just ONE¬†thing is off or could be improved.¬†Maybe it’s¬†a dull¬†grey sky in an otherwise colorful photo. Or¬†a¬†shot that could¬†gain a whole lot of cuteness with a couple imaginary butterflies or bubbles. I mean really? It’s hard to avoid wanting perfection. These are instances where I find¬†¬†“digital accents” acceptable vs dropping in a full digital background. (For those who’d like more clarification on what I’m referring to for a “full digital background” —>¬†CLICK HERE, to see an example.)



“I see a clear¬†difference in using digital aids to accent an image versus¬†using digital resources to ‘BE’ the image.”

Fine Arts Composite Photography using Digital Accents. | © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Fine Arts Photography using my own “Digital Accents” and composite photography. | ¬© Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Instead, I¬†want to focus specifically on the idea of using full digital backgrounds on other types of portrait photography such as: fine arts, weddings, engagements, family, children, seniors, and maternity. There is no doubt, when executed correctly, digital backgrounds can make some stunning pieces. It’s also hard to deny, however, they take away originality, realism, creativity, quality, and maybe even what an artist is being paid to do. Here is why I choose NOT¬†to use full digital backgrounds for portraits:



I find two sides to this reason.

The first is most obvious. “The picture can¬†plainly look fake.” Maybe it’s because you live in Kansas, but there’s majestic mountains in the background, with a perfect ray of sunshine on your face. Or you’re an expectant mother standing in a field of tulips¬†in the middle of October.¬†While they make for nice looking images, it will be obvious to you, your friends and family they are fake. Will those unrealistic photos be¬†wanted on the wall or in your albums??

Secondly, with client-portrait¬†photography I feel my¬†goal is to help clients¬†re-live¬†a particular moment in life forever. To enjoy those snapshots where we are¬†“in the moment.”¬†When you’re all dressed up on your wedding day you’ll want to be photographed in the places where you and your other half¬†have all your memories. The places that will take you back to the magical day you said “I do.”

You will want to not only remember how you felt, but the time of year you were carrying your child. And as your kiddos grow, a posed shot dropped on a beach background will never compare to re-living the way they giggled as their feet squished into the sand. All those realistic things that will be hard to achieve with digital backgrounds.



It was not long ago someone posted photos of their beautiful, new baby to Facebook and I of course had to take a peek. I had already planned to discuss this topic here, but it was ironic this image¬†popped up as I was writing this piece.¬†I scanned through the photographer’s album, but stopped quickly on one particular image. BAM! A digital background! It was so plainly obvious¬†due to not only realism, but also the fact I’d seen this background for sale¬†and even more so – the¬†quality of the image! Lighting seemed peculiar¬†and the background was pixelated, proving further¬†that¬†the only “real” thing in the photo was their adorable infant… It¬†completely¬†ruined the photo for me, but it¬†got me to thinking back a few months to my own experience with quality issues.

When I first began¬†using digital accents, I purchased a set of sky drops from a photographer I found online. Not only did it make me feel a little guilty to use someone else’s images, but the files I bought were much smaller than what my camera was producing for RAW\Original files. Making the two layers – theirs and mine – not really “compatible” for the production process.¬†More often than not, purchased digital backgrounds (and accents such as skies,) are small¬†files that can¬†be downloaded directly from online. If something as small as a¬†sky¬†accent could ruin¬†the quality of my images, I began to imagine what a full background could do!

It was settled. I didn’t want my images ruined because the original parts of the photo were printing clearly, while the accented parts poorly. I then¬†decided if I was going to use digital accents, such as sky drops, I would be shooting as much of them as I could myself. Not only do I gain the quality that way, but also the creativity to make and call it my own.¬†Leading to my last two reasons…

300 Proof Band Photo | © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

300 Proof Band Photo | © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY



From the time an artist is born {metaphorically} we are ingrained to be different and¬†stand out. Constantly looking for new adventure and creativity. While I have my professional reasons to not use digital backgrounds, I have a long standing promise to myself, as an artist, to be original. Even returning to the same outdoor location or using the same studio background can be made to look completely unique every time its used. Digital backgrounds¬†prohibit¬†perspective and lighting alterations, so expecting it to look different each time is next to impossible. There’s nothing more unoriginal¬†than having the same photo reproduced hundreds of thousands of times. Not to mention, there will come a point that others will notice the lack of creative effort. For¬†those who might have missed it above¬†– The first red flag that the newborn photographer used a digital background was I’VE SEEN IT ADVERTISED 1,000 TIMES! Which means you can be sure it’s been seen by other photographers and clients at least 1,000 times.



Legally speaking, yes,¬†99% of¬†photographers¬†are purchasing a license to use digital backgrounds. It saddens me that as artists, people who by definition create and make their own¬†visions, purchase someone else’s images.¬†Images that take up a large percentage of a¬†final product¬†they then¬†pass off as¬†their own work.¬†Instead of showing our creative abilities, digital backgrounds¬†mostly show an artists¬†ability to cheat nature and our imaginations with technical skills. I find that¬†quite disheartening.

Well—- did I sway you? How do you feel about full digital backgrounds? Love them? Hate them? Leave your comments below, and as always, thanks for reading! Follow Noel Photography and Design here on WordPress by email or blog. Plus, for continuous updates, promotions and all things creative LIKE the {Noel P&D} Facebook page.

Happy Creating!




Nail Tips : Senior Portraits

June 1, 2016

In theory these ideas and tips are¬†great for any kind of portraits. I single out Senior Portraits because they often include A LOT of up close, detailed shots and a wide variety of outfits. As some of you may have read in my other senior tip posts: “One of the biggest challenges is¬†keeping your hair, make-up, and nails relevant throughout the whole shoot.” Seniors have various outfits and styles they are transitioning between in a short amount of time, so its important to make sure their time-consuming¬†details¬†are¬†very¬†versatile. This post is¬†focusing on nails. While I¬†mostly gear this towards our young ladies, Gentlemen¬†I have a few nail tips posted right here at the top for you too!




If you can’t bring yourself to go to a salon, be sure to get these 4 tips done¬†yourself!

1. Wash and scrub any dirt from your hands and under your nails. This will also help remove any dry or dead skin.
2. Trim and file your nails so they are not too long or jagged.
3. Cut back cuticles and any hangnails around your nail.
4. Use just a bit of lotion each day right before your shoot. Cracked, dry skin does not photograph well!
5. Repeat steps 1-4 for your feet and toenails if you plan to be barefoot or wear sandals.



Ladies, of course you also have the option to not paint your nails as well. For those who choose to skip paint, your process will be generally similar to the gentlemen.

1. Clean under and around your nails.
2. Trim and file them to a length and shape you are happy with.
3. Remove cuticles and hangnails.
4. Buff the tops of your nails so they are smooth and shiny.
5. Add a coat of clear polish to give them extra shine and protect them. (Optional)
6. Repeat steps 1-5 for your toenails for any barefoot or sandal shots.



1. My best general tip is summed up in three words: SIMPLE and NEUTRAL.¬†Your nails shouldn’t over power your photo by being to wild. They¬†should also be able to match a variety of outfits and styles.

2. Secondly, paint not only your fingernails but also your toenails. Keep the polish consistent or complimentary between the two. You will likely end up barefoot or even wearing sandals in some of your photos.

3. For those doing it themselves, be sure to practice what you’d like to do a couple times before the shoot. If you don’t feel confident in doing your nails properly, consider visiting a salon or even having a friend help you.

That all being said, let’s jump right in to¬†some painting¬†ideas for your big photo op.



The first obvious choice is a¬†solid, neutral color. This is an easy one that can be done at home¬†if you want to skip the salon. Now-a-days neutrals are very wide spread, so it¬†doesn’t have to be¬†boring. One of my favorites is the “gray” family, because gray can carry subtle undertones of color. Allowing your polish to be neutral while still¬†grabbing some of the¬†colors you may have in your outfits (See example below.) Other neutrals may include black, brown\nude, a true gray, or even navy!

Polish by Essie

Polish by Essie




French tips are probably my all time favorite, because they are elegant and classic. They will compliment any style outfit from casual to formal. While a true french tip is solid white, two variation of this classic look may be to add sparkle or substitute black for the white (As pictured below.)

Classic French Tip

Classic French Tip


Classic French Tip with Glitter.

Classic French Tip with Glitter.


Neutral Black French Tip

Neutral Black French Tip




Some of you probably had your hearts sink when my first tip was a neutral color. So for those who can’t hack neutrals,¬†this may be a better¬†alternative to a full-nail, bold color. French tips by nature are classy, so a color french tip¬†may¬†satisfy your need to “pop,”¬†while still keeping a subtle look that won’t over power your photos. Consider mixing just a little color in with a simple french tip design,¬†like what’s pictured in image 3 below.

Aqua French Tip

Aqua French Tip

Purple French Tip

Purple French Tip

Pink and White French Tip

Pink and White French Tip



This can be a fun way to play with neutrals (and maybe a bit of color.) However, I strongly suggest clients are very careful with this option. Designs can quickly get too wild and take away from your up close shots. Here are a few ideas you may consider for a fun, controlled look.

Black with ring finger design.

Black with ring finger design.


Two Tone French Tip

Two Tone French Tip


Reverse, Two Toned French Tip

Reverse, Two Toned French Tip



The final suggestion¬†for painting¬†is the perfectly, simple ombre. This style is based on 2-3 colors varying from light – dark and typically include a neutral. Therefore, it¬†can be a simple, trendy design that doesn’t get carried away. Just remember to keep it neutral or keep it simple. Here are a few ombre’s I love:

Pink Ombre

Pink Ombre

Gray Ombre

Gray Ombre

White\Blue Ombre

White\Blue Ombre


Good luck and I look forward to seeing what clients come up with. ūüôā Thank you all for reading and be sure to leave any questions or comments in this post’s comment section! Follow me here on WordPress by blog or email, plus, catch me on Facebook by giving the {Noel Photography and Design} page a LIKE.

Happy Creating!


Wearing Glasses in Photos.

May 17, 2016

This tip¬†is short and sweet, but important “food for thought.” If you’re like me, you have been¬†blessed with the inability to see clearly. Literally. In which case you likely¬†sport contacts, glasses or both. For me, I use both¬†and have¬†embraced my curse by finding various frames to rock when I’m not using contacts. So¬†whether¬†you love your frames or they’re your only fix, they’ll be¬†in some or all of your portrait photos. Now¬†here’s our¬†dilemma as a “four eyes…”

public domain image

public domain image



Obviously,¬†glass is reflective. Many objects we come across while¬†photographing cause glares, reflections and various¬†other problems. However,¬†glasses¬†in particular cause the worst kind of issue. Mostly because they cover one of your most important features – your eyes!!! Adding to the parade of problems, eyes are one of the most detailed features of a person. Making the ability to remove the glare extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible without distorting the image. For example,¬†pictured below (before any touch-ups,) this young lady’s glasses would create a purple glare every time she was in any sort of direct sunlight. As you can see the glare(s) cover¬†three very detailed areas: the lashes, the iris, and the reflections in the pupils. Most glares similar to the one below¬†or those that don’t cover the eye can be removed, or significantly reduced. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Not to mention many photographers, including myself, won’t retouch glares for free, because of the time consuming process. Don’t fret! I have a couple easy solutions for you to avoid the hassle and the extra cost.

Glasses Glare | Image © Noel Photography | DO NOT COPY

Glasses Glare | Image © Noel Photography | DO NOT COPY



The first and BEST solution is to remove your lenses for the shoot. (Pictured below.) Doing so will allow you to wear your glasses worry free and no one will notice a thing. As a plus, most eye glass companies will do the temporary removal service for free. While your lenses are out you can wear your contacts, or bring along a backup pair of glasses to wear while off camera.

If you are unable to remove your lenses, the next tip is for both clients and photographers. While looking at the camera, subjects should push their glasses up, and tip their head down every-so-slightly to help move the glare off the center of the glasses. This trick will at least keep your eye from being covered and sometimes even remove the glare from the shot. Making a usable and acceptable image with or without glare retouch.

A third helpful option is to shoot in locations that are shaded. Typically “direct light” is what causes glares and reflections. Therefore by¬†stepping out of the sun¬†glares should be more controlled or eliminated, and¬†again¬†an¬†acceptable image with or without glare retouching should be achieved.


No Lenses Make for No Problems! | Image © Noel Photography | DO NOT COPY

No Lenses Make for No Problems. That’s right, she’s not wearing any lenses! | Image ¬© Noel Photography | DO NOT COPY


Questions or more tips? Comment below. Thank you all for reading and I hope to see all my fellow “four eyes” and their stellar frames in a 2016 shoot!!!! Get¬†more tips and creativity¬†by following {Noel Photography & Design} here on WordPress using your¬†blog or email. Plus, catch all the happenings with me¬†on Facebook by LIKING the {Noel P&D} Facebook page.

Happy Creating!



What to Do BEFORE Your Senior Portrait Session!

April 6, 2016

While a photographer preps and plans every detail of your big photo day, the most important time for senior portrait clients is the few weeks before their session! Today’s post will be covering some of the top preparations a high school senior {along with¬†their family} can do to be sure their special photo op. runs smoothly.


Image © Noel Photography | Do NOT Copy



This is the perfect time frame to be considering the style that best reflects YOU! Artsy? Edgy? Western? Bohemian? Classic? Flamboyant? Sophisticated? Chic? Preppy? Rocker? Maybe of a combination there of!?

Choose several outfits you feel not only fit your personality best, but also your body type. Take the time to try on each of those outfits to be sure you are satisfied with what you see in the mirror.

Lastly, narrow your selection down to however many outfits your sessions allows, plus 1-3 extra outfits. Doing so will ensure you have plenty of options at your session to fit each location scenario best.



Decide what your plan is for hair and nails. (Yes, this tip is for GUYS and GIRLS!!) These are important details that will be noticeable in every single one your portraits.

Hair cuts and colors should be done about 1.5 weeks before your shoot. Decide how you will style your¬†hair, plus any¬†potential hairstyle¬†changes for during your session. Hair changes should be fast, simple and easy, moving¬†from loose to pulled back styles. If you are planning to change your look part way through, I can’t stress enough to practice, practice, practice those changes.¬†You won’t want to eat up session time fixing your hair!

Nails should be groomed about 1-3 days before your shoot. For gals,¬†whether it’s done by you or a¬†professional make sure your nails look nice. Consider neutral colors or french tips to ensure they will match all your outfits. {Don’t forget a pedicure too!}

The same goes for guys! Again whether it’s you or a professional, have your hands and nails groomed. Trimming and cleaning your fingernails¬†for your¬†detail shots¬†will photograph best. {Guys, if you plan to go barefoot, groom your toenails and feet as well!}

Catching all the details for those up close shots!

Catch all the details for those up close shots! | Public Domain Image



Layout and iron all of your outfits you plan to bring to your session. Hang them all on hangers instead of folding them into a bag.

Whether you get everything in the car, or a specific spot in your home, gather all your items in one place. Nothing is more dramatic than forgetting something! Clothes, shoes, accessories, make-up, hair products, special props and etc. Having everything in one place the night before will make the day of less stressful.

Get some sleep!!! I can’t stress enough how important sleep is the night before your session. Not only do you not want to feel tired as we run around to different locations, but you won’t want to LOOK tired in all your photos. Do yourself a favor and hit the sack early!



Take a deep breath and relax! This is the day of fun, where all your hard preparation work pays off. By this time everything should be set to run smoothly, but there’s a few last things to remember!

Stay hydrated. Bring along a water bottle and be sure to drink plenty. Especially during summer sessions, it’s easy to forget and become dehydrated. Nothing’s worse than feeling light headed while trying to strike a pose and smile.

Remember to eat!! This is equally important as drinking. It’s never a good idea to completely skip a meal. It will be extremely hard to concentrate on your session if you’re sick, light headed or shaky. Keep your meal simple and light as to not feel bloated, but definitely don’t skip it!

Image © Noel Photography | Do NOT Copy

Image © Noel Photography | Do NOT Copy


Near to Noel Photography and Design? View Senior Portrait session info at:

Thanks for reading and be sure to check in again for more upcoming Senior tips! Follow Noel Photography and Design¬†here on WordPress by blog or email, and LIKE the Facebook page for all creative updates. ūüôā

Happy Creating!



Maternity Photo Outfit Ideas.

March 15, 2016

The first day of spring will be here on March 20, can you believe it!? Whenever I think of spring I think of not only beautiful weather, but new life and rebirth. In keeping with the theme of new life, here are some fresh outfit ideas for a mommy-to-be photo shoot!



Plain t-shirts and fun skirts are a great maternity outfit, especially in spring. Bring in patterns and florals, while still showing off the belly in a tight fitted shirt.

Image sample from

Image sample from

Not to mention, it’s an easy outfit to pair with comfortable sandals, flats, or if you’re feeling sassy, a pair of¬†cute wedges!



This is one of my favorite ideas for a maternity shoot. Partly because dresses can be done in so many different ways!


Here I’ve listed just three gorgeous ways to do dresses. First, a more formal look. Not only is a form fitting dress elegant, but it’s the perfect way to show off your baby bump!

The second option is almost in between formal and casual. Still a somewhat fitted dress to show your belly, but adding a floral or fun pattern cardigan brings in casual and comfort. Plus, it looks so floaty, chic and beautiful for mommy-to-be. Love!

Last, but not least, the third look is more casual and loose. This is a fun, summery style¬†that can be worn in a shorter or longer dress. Either way it’s a simple, gorgeous look for a warm weather maternity outfit.



This concept is a classic maternity style that you can never go wrong with. Plus, make it as dressy or laid back as you like.

Maternity top samples found on

Maternity top samples found on

Just as women use belts to accent their waist, belts and ties can be used to do the same for pregnancy tummies! Since tops come in so many styles, lengths and formalities, it’s easy to choose one¬†that fits you and your comfort level. Not to mention, pair them with jeans, dress pants, khakis or shorts to complete the formality or season you’re shooting for!

{TIP: As with any of the ideas above, don’t forget to accessorize!}


Yes, that’s right ladies. I said, “lingerie!” I think as a photographer this might be my absolute favorite idea for maternity photo shoots. Can you say, “Baby Belly Boudoir!?”

Lingerie samples found on

Lingerie samples found on

Pregnancy is a natural, beautiful and sexy part part of life for a woman! Our bodies go through special changes specifically to care for our little human, which makes all the more reason to show off that bump. Lingerie can be the perfect, elegant and intimate¬†way to document this significant¬†time in mommy’s life.

Like with any outfit, lingerie can be revealing or conservative. The overall goal with this type of outfit choice is to show off your belly, and natural beauty of pregnancy.

Samples 1 & 3 feature a more prominent belly shot with just two piece lingerie sets. I especially love using Dad’s shirt for a little coverage.

To achieve an overall more conservative look, use lace or sheer tops and nighties. A perfect way to elegantly show off your baby bump. While the ladies in samples 2 & 4 model this concept, you may even consider a fancy, matching bra to slip under these items for even more coverage!

Lingerie samples found on

Lingerie samples found on


Hopefully these few tips and examples have all you expecting mommies ready to shop for your maternity photo shoot. Whatever style route you choose, just remember to have fun with it and make it YOU! After all, maternity shoots are designed to celebrate you and the beginning of your journey through motherhood.


As always, thank you for reading. I hope to be seeing some local clients for this type of shoot! For more updates follow the Noel Photography and Design blog here on WordPress by blog or email. Plus, remember to hit the LIKE button on Facebook!

Happy Creating!


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