Family Christmas Traditions in 2020

This year certainly has been an opportunity to focus on family togetherness. Here are ideas to review the year and embrace traditions, old or new.

First, set aside a time for everyone to sit down together and create a list of how you’ve grown as a family. It’s meaningful to chat and see these ideas in writing.

What did you do this year together that was new or special? Have you started a family tradition? Perhaps it’s eating meals together again at the table. Perhaps you began riding bikes or playing board games or creating crafts or learning an instrument. Have you simply been more “fully present” with your loved ones?

Christmas traditions

For our family, it has been a year of the unexpected and of blessings. Here are 10 of my favorite Family Traditions!

  1. Give a tree ornament that represents your child’s interest each year, and then save them to present as a special gift when they leave home.
  2. Make a Christmas Playlist of your favorite songs.
  3. Make a pillow case with Christmas theme fabric, used only in December each year.
  4. Create Christmas cards and wrapping paper.
  5. Make cookies or candies from a family recipe (or create your own traditional recipe), only made in December.
  6. Make a Family Bucket List for things to do by the end of the year.
  7. Have a Christmas Movie Night to watch a favorite holiday movie only watched in December.
  8. Drive to see Christmas lights.
  9. Attend a Christmas Eve service or read the Christmas Story from the Bible and sing Carols.
  10. Create a Family Portrait!

Christmas socks

If you are looking for more Christmas Tradition ideas, Carly the “Mommy On Purpose” has a great blog. You can read her entire list here: 30 Memory Making Family Christmas Traditions To Start In 2020

This is been a year of uncertainty and yes, even a bit crazy. But… It has been a year of togetherness and a year to build traditions!

Wishing you and your family a holiday filled with love and traditions.


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I am a Southern California based Portrait and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.


You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me
or call me (714) 746-2418

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!


“You Must Be a “Kid-Whisperer!”

This message made me laugh. A “Kid Whisperer.” Hahaha!

Here’s what Sondra sent to me:


I have followed your work for years. Though I haven’t had the pleasure of being photographed by you… yet; I hope to next year. 

I realized looking at some of your kid and family photos and reading what your clients have said about their sessions, you must be a “kid-whisperer!”  How you can get kids to do what you ask and end up with such fantastic photos is amazing.

Please continue to share your entertaining and beautiful work with us. I just wanted you to know that you are a true artist.


As most of you know, I simply love being with kids. I hold my early mom-years as a special blessing and still love being a mom to our adult children and, of course, now our grandchildren.

I think there really is something about that intuitive connection with kids. Just never heard it as being the “Kid Whisperer.”

If you have been thinking about creating Family Portraits, and are not sure how your kiddos will behave, now is the time!

Call me … “The Kid Whisperer.”

I am a Southern California based Portrait and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

(714) 746-2418

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

7 Things Toddlers Say about Being Photographed

1.  Don’t tell me to say, “Cheese.” 

Unless you want pictures of me with all teeth and squinty eyes. 

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2.  Don’t make me sit still.

OK, I’ll sit still for maybe one or two pictures.  Let me run, jump, twirl and be silly.

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3.  Let me play.

Let’s play tickle, let’s play peek-a-boo, let’s play tag, let’s race, tell me a silly secret.  I’ll play along and you’re going to get some genuine smiles.

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4.  Don’t bribe me with food.

I know what you’re doing.  If I need a break, give me a break. Let me explore on my own a bit and you just might get some pictures of me enjoying being me.

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5.  Don’t feed me crumbly, gooey foods.

You know they are just going to land on my shirt and stick to my face and my teeth.  Do you really want pictures of that?

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6.  Give me something to do.

I like fiddling with my favorite toy, I like chasing bubbles, I like dancing, I like giggling at funny things you say and do.  Let me do things I like and you’ll see my eyes light up in the pictures.

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7.  Don’t Stress.

Hey … I’m a kid.  Let me be me for an hour.  Don’t get upset, don’t raise your voice, just relax. When you’re relaxed, we’ll have fun together.

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Are you putting off creating Family Portraits because you think your kiddo won’t behave? Are you afraid to invest your time and budget for a Family Portrait session when your kids will not sit still?

There is a time for portraits when everyone sits still and smiles at the camera.  Imagine those traditional wedding photos.  Perhaps now is the time in your family’s life for casual, lifestyle portraits that allow your kids to be … kids!

When you look back at these treasured portraits you have created now, you’ll smile when you see the true personality of your family.  What’s most valuable are the portraits that show your family during all the important stages of life, and yes, that includes when they are little run-about bug-a-boos.

Call me. Let’s come up with a session idea where all of you will have fun, and special portraits to remember the time together.

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I am a Southern California based Portrait and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

What to Wear ~ Know Your Color Palette

Do You Shine Like a Diamond?

Not every color looks good on every person. Have you ever looked in the mirror when you’re trying on new clothes and your skin appeared green? The reason for your skin color transformation was due to wearing an unflattering color, according to your skin’s undertone.

So the next question is: Do you know your color palette? You may be a cool, a neutral or a warm. The first step to determining which of the three you are, is to discover your undertone.


While skin overtone can change based upon factors such as sun exposure, illness, or blood pressure, your undertone is defined by genetics and will never change. A simple test to determine if you’re a COOL or WARM is to put a dab of pink-based foundation on one cheek, and a dab of yellow-based foundation on the other. Spread the foundation evenly on each cheek, creating a thin layer. Check the mirror for which foundation blends in versus which one appears painted on. The one that blends is your match.

Pink means COOL and yellow means WARM. Easy peasy. If your husband or son won’t sit for this foundation test, read on to discover other ways to find undertones.

Hair Color

We are talking natural hair color, here.

If your hair is colored, let’s hope your stylist has helped to find a color that goes with your skin undertone.

You cools might rock very dark brown or black hair to sunny blonde. You have skin with a bluish undertone ranging from the fairest of the fair to very dark.

If your hair is dirty blonde, blonde with ashy streaks or warm-toned browns with highlights, these are all considered neutral. Skin tone for those of you who are true neutrals can be difficult to determine and is variable from warm to cool.

You’re probably a warm if your hair color is in the dark brown to dark blonde shades. Skin tones for warms range from greenish to yellow undertones and some have an olive complexion.

For those sporting red hair, the shade of red lets you move between color palettes, but you’ll typically roam within the Neutral Undertones.

What to Wear?

Cool Undertone

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  • Cool colors will include bright to royal and sapphire blues, emerald greens, and moderate to deep purples, like amethyst or shades of lavender.
  • Warm colors might include ruddy hues, such as rose and reddish pinks to tomato.
  • For neutrals, your best bet is pure white, navy and grays.
  • Don’t you dare do oranges or yellows.

Neutral Undertone

color pallets - mix (neutral)

  • You look fabulous in peachy hues, and jade green to muted turquoise.
  • Pinks, such as soft rose and blush-toned pinks are your BFFs.
  • Icy blues should also be included in your fashion choices.
  • Burgundy and fire engine red (don’t be shy) will look amazing on you.
  • Taupe, grey, and off white, like eggshell and ivory, are super when you want to go neutral.
  • Bright (red is the exception) and vibrant colors can overwhelm neutrals.

Warm Undertone

color pallets - warm

  • Your best warm colors are oranges, reds, golden yellow, amber, and honey gold.
  • Cool colors that work equally well on warm skin tones are greens and blues.
  • Olives, deeper turquoise, green moss, fern, pesto, red purples like magenta and orchid are also good choices.
  • If your chosen portrait scheme is more neutral, stick with taupe, light chocolates, off whites and wheat.
  • Colors to avoid are light blues and jeweled tones.


Color is fun to consider in your wardrobe.  However, it is important to keep comfort first. If you are dressed comfortably, you will act more naturally during the photo session. By focusing on colors and styles that look best, you will confidently enjoy the process and the portraits will shine…like a diamond.


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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.


You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

Special Moments for the Holidays

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“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
-Ansel Adams



When Our Heads Forget, Our Hearts Remember

December is a wonderful time to reflect on the past year and reminisce. It’s a time to think about accomplishments, as well as look forward to the upcoming year.

As 2019 is coming to an end, take a deep breath and focus for just a few moments on remembering the highlights. Think about time spent with your loved ones; birthdays, costume parties,  new arrivals, and perhaps sad good-byes.

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Are you suddenly an empty nester? If your answer is yes, sometimes that comes with mixed feelings. There’s now more room in the house, but your heart might just hurt a little each time you walk past that vacant bedroom.

Family Traditions Dictate the Conditions

So now let’s focus on families coming together for the holidays. How do you celebrate? Is it with a handful of guests at the dining room table or with 50 cousins and aunts and uncles gathered at Grandma’s house?

What about party styles, do you do things last minute or are you a planner? And how about traditions, is there something special everyone looks forward to doing together?

christmas cookies and making

No matter the size of your family or your party style, gift giving most likely plays a big part in your celebration.

It’s a Wrap, so Let’s Tie that Bow on the Box

Given that humans are visual beings, it’s hard not to make snap judgments based on presentation, and gift giving is no exception. When a person makes the effort to artfully wrap a gift, it never goes unnoticed.

According to certain studies, we apparently attribute more worth to the exact same present if it was skillfully wrapped in beautiful paper with ribbons than if it was given unwrapped.

Christmas gifts stacked

Here’s a fun fact: The idea of wrapping presents to get them to seem more valuable or make them stand out from the pack is not new. As far back as the Han dynasty in China, paper was used for wrapping, possibly even before being used for writing.

Koreans have practiced the art of gift wrapping presents in colorful and patterned bojagi, a cloth made from a variety of materials, such as silk or ramie, and the art has been traced back to at least the Three Kingdoms Period (220–280 AD).

Love is Capturing Special Moments

A family photograph fulfills many of love language’s ideals, from time spent together to closeness to acts of service. The idea that you went out of your way to gather the family and commit to a few hours outdoors or in the studio, shows your loved ones how much you care.

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So, my holiday helpers, let’s tie a nice, big, fat, red bow on ideas for this season of gifting. As a person who captures images for a living, I get front-row seats to the most joyful moments with families.

My clients tell me that the beautifully framed photographs on the wall have become treasured keepsakes. Knowing how much people love seeing their families, but there are times when they can no longer travel and visit, a family photograph becomes the perfect gift.

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

Plaid Is Not a Neutral ~ What to Wear at your Portrait Session

Never wear anything that panics the cat.
-PJ O’Rourke

So you’ve made the decision to pull together the whole family for one big photo session. You’ve wrangled the hubby and your teens, tweens and toddlers, and now Grandma and Grandpa have asked to join in. You thought setting the date was challenging with syncing everybody’s schedules, but now you’ve got to figure out what to wear.

You’d like to create a beautiful and timeless family portrait and you know that finding the right colors and clothing that will flatter all ages and shapes is important. In order to help ease you into what should be a fun and engaging family time, I’ve listed a few hints on what to wear (and what not to wear) that will tell your loving story.

Roses are Red, Denim is Blue

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For years, white tops and blue jeans were all the rage, but not any longer. Now, pairing blue jeans and simple solid-colored tops are popular for that casual, “We dress like this all the time” look. Denim comes in a variety of shades and styles, so make sure to mix it up with pants, dresses, and jackets that play to each person’s body shape.

Color photos featuring jeans and tees work well, but if you choose the blues, pay attention to the hues. In black and white, everything will be a shade of black and grey, and these types of photos display denim particularly well.


Though your teen may like neon colors, tell Junior to leave the fluorescent yellow tee in his drawer. Neutrals and coordinating colors are best when working with more than one person in a portrait.

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White is Outta Sight

While all-white outfits may seem like a good idea and are very popular (thank you Claire from Modern Family) the color white is not always the best to capture in a photograph. Very pale pastels and whites can make you appear washed out, unless you’re rocking a Southern California spray tan.  When wearing a white top, because our eyes notice white first, you’ll see your blouse and then think, ”Oh that blouse has a face.” We want you to see your face first.  If you want to wear that extra special white outfit, I can compensate by using different backgrounds and lighting techniques.

Polka Dots, Paisleys and Prints. Oh My!

Colorful prints are so much fun to wear. The selection is mind-blowingly endless, and the blaze of colors help you stand out in a crowd. My suggestion, though, is to keep busy patterns to a minimum. Wild prints tend to draw the eye. One print may create visual interest, but two is a crazy party. The focus should be on your faces and not on summer prints and Grandma’s garden blouse.

Here is a spontaneous family portrait at a reunion:

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A Family of Twins

Matchy-matchy is now a no-no in the photography world. A very good rule of thumb to follow is: No mini-me’s. Matching outfits are not only totally ’70s but are sure to land you on the awkwardly family photo website.



Allow your kids to be kids and let them rock what they’re comfortable wearing (of course, within reason). When they wear clothes they like, rather than a suit and tie with a starched white shirt, their enthusiasm will shine right through the lens and you’ll capture happy-happy kiddos. A proper suit may be appropriate for office wear, but not for a family-fun photo.




To reiterate, color coordination is your aim. Solids are the best. Basic black, grays, deep purple, and navy all work well with jeans and slacks alike.

 The Long Sleeves Rule

When dressing for your studio session, avoid no-sleeve and short-sleeved clothing, and short pants. My mantra is, with long, you can’t go wrong. Three-quarter length sleeves work well, too.  Even in casual portraits long pants trump shorts. Every. Single. Time.

Exposed arms and legs are a major fleshy distraction to the visual storytelling we do with portraits. Do you want friends and family commenting on your large biceps (girls, please) skinny white legs (got you, mister) or your beautiful face? I thought so. Leave certain things to the imagination, and remember, pictures are a forever thang.

Accessories: Dress for Success, Not Excess

Jewelry, hats, scarfs and the like should be strategically used to compliment and not overwhelm. Less is more, if you get my drift.

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Keep comfort first. If your family is dressed comfortably, they will act more naturally during the photo session. By focusing on styles that look best on each family member, everyone will confidently enjoy the process and the portraits will shine.

See you in the studio!


“I capture personalities in Portraits.”  ~ Donna Edman


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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

Capture Personalities in Portraits (Wrestling the Alligator!)

“A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.”
-Jerry Seinfeld

Wrestling the Alligator

For some of you, especially those of you with young children, the thought of taking family photos makes your hands clammy and fills you with more dread than a root canal. I understand your anxiety.

Children have abundant stores of energy and usually choose to release bursts at the most inappropriate times. These bursts often bring about fits of laughter in those of us who are parents, but generally, getting those kiddos to behave is like wresting an alligator. Eventually, you tire them out but expect to get bit a few times in the process.


When the time comes for taking that trip to the photographer’s studio or (perish the thought) out in public, here are a few tips for getting the best photos of your children that you’ll cherish forever.

Capturing Personalities in Portraits

I know I’m not the only one who’s laughed at silly family portraits online. You know what I’m talking about; those awkward family photos. Everyone is trying to be so serious while one child is knuckle deep in his nasal cavity. It happens. It’s the reason America’s Funniest Home Videos was so popular. Staid and static are boring.

In this photographer’s space, there’s no chastising for goofy behavior. In fact, playfulness is encouraged. We’ll talk about that in a minute, so hold on.


Can you relate to the evergreen musings of Erma Bombeck?

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen.  When they’re finished, I climb out.”


Here’s my suggestion to parents of toddlers and young children before we start the photo session. Don’t expect your kids to suddenly become little robots, who will sit still until you give them the command to move.

The expressiveness and unabashed nature of a child is really what we want to capture. When your adorable rambunctious 4-year-old has grown up and suddenly breaks out the old photo album, laughter trumps cringing any day of the week.

During the time I spend behind the lens with the children, I want to not only see, but feel their energy and personality in the finished product. Believe me. You’ll thank me later.

Remember, our precious babes are small for such a short period of time. It’s so much more fun to capture that magic together and then enjoy the pictures for a lifetime.

Can’t You Just Settle Down?

What I encourage the parents to understand is not to expect the tykes to settle down. How has that worked the rest of the time? I thought so. Let them have fun with the whole process.

My motto is: If they want to run, let ‘em run… and jump… and twirl. Let them burn off the excess energy. If that expressiveness is stifled, you better believe it’ll show up in the pictures.



Most photographers who work with children have seen it all, and a time out will not improve the situation. A pouting child does not a good memory make.

Leave the duct tape at home.

Encourage, Don’t Discourage.

Each child has their own individual personality, and it’s that uniqueness you want to capture. Encourage them to make faces and behave silly for the camera. These are the so called “Kodak” moments.


A forced smile on your unhappy child will make you cry when you look at these family photos on his/her wedding day, but for the wrong reason.

It’s Not Play Time?

It may seem counter intuitive but preparing for family photos is exactly the time to play. Getting your wee one to act natural in an unnatural situation isn’t easy. Making up games, or playing old standbys, like Simon Says, can be an excellent way to get your stiff soldier to loosen up and have some fun.

If your shy, quiet child won’t smile, try playing a game where they’re not allowed to smile. Reverse psychology works.  Music works too!  Load up a few of their favorite songs on your phone.  Of course, for your wee ones, singing a few verses of “Baby Shark do do do do do do” is always engaging.


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Security Blankets and a Hairless Barbie

Another tip I like to tell my parents is to bring props (e.g., favorite toys, stuffed animals, sports equipment, and hats) which is a good way to get your child to focus on something else besides the lens.

Candid shots with an unaware child at play can be the best. I know you weren’t expecting to have a pink bear in your photos, but a big smile on your little one’s face is priceless.

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My Kingdom for a Fruit Snack and a Juice Box

No matter if the session lasts 20 minutes or two hours, kids are always either starving to death or dying of thirst (when they’re not running to the bathroom) within ten minutes of starting the session. Am I right?

Children’s metabolism is usually on eleven and they burn more fuel than a fighter jet. It’s wise to pack some light, non-sticky snacks (NO SNICKERS or other chocolate/sugary stuff) and water, especially when outdoor locations are scheduled.

Now, whether you use it as a reward or bribery is up to your discretion.

Relax. Kids will be Kids

To sum this all up, kids will be kids. Every moment is fleeting and never to be repeated. Try to relax and enjoy the ride.

As they grow older, you’ll long for these days. Enjoy their exuberance and innocence. Make memories for your children by letting their personalities shine like diamonds in these photos.

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Do a little exercise for me now. Think about what brings you joy. I bet a screaming and crying child was not conjured.

So in order to set you up for success for your next family portrait session, do these things I suggest. You, too, will be seen as content when the finished product is seen hanging on the wall.

Wouldn’t you like your memories to reflect the sweet, silly and fun time you spent with your family in front of the camera? I thought so.

“I capture personalities in Portraits.”  ~ Donna Edman



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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!


Why Do I Create Photo Images?

Hands 2When I was asked to describe my “Why,”  I did some soul searching.

Encouraging people, and blessing others, is my whole life passion. In my role as a professional photographer, encouraging an individual during their portrait session and blessing the work of worthy organizations, is the answer to my “Why.”

During a portrait session, when a client is nervous, self conscious about how they look, or thinks everything has to be perfect, genuine compliments with eye contact can help them relax and begin to see themselves as others do. It’s wonderful to see their body posture and expressions change as they begin to enjoy our time together.

During a family portrait session, when the kids run a muck, the parents can feel embarrassed.  With a love and life-long experience with kiddos, I encourage the parents to let me take care of the session.  They can sit back and relax.  Their kids “enthusiasm” is common and can be incorporated into the final images.  I see the parents’ “Awww, thanks” moment.

It can be when  be when a charitable organization asks me to capture images for their event, or make a donation to their silent auction.

Creating photo images is what I do for a living.  It is also what I do to bless those around me.


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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!



What to Wear for Your Photo Session

Getting ready for your photo session?  Here are some helpful ideas!

Coordinate and Compliment
but no Mini-Me

 When styling a photo session, let’s start out with a basic color palette.  For group sessions no patterns are best.  If there is a “Center Stage” person who is to stand out, it helps to have just that one person in a pattern of which the rest in the group can pull from with complimentary colors and accessories, keeping their outfits more simple.  Another idea is to have all folks in your group wear different colors but all within the same tone.  This means for all colors to be bright, dull, or neutral.  For pants, jeans or dark colors are best.



… add color & interest

Think outside the box.  Scarves, hats, jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, flowers in the hair for girls – All of these things can make an image look interesting and feel complete.  However, don’t overwhelm the subject, as the viewer’s attention should remain on the subject’s face.  See how in this photo, her blue headband is accessorizing his blue shirt, and his tie is accessorizing her nail polish? The location colors also compliment the subjects!



Layers and Texture
… add detail and depth

Tweed, crochet and embroidery details, lace, hand knit items, smocking, ribbons and ruffles can add interest to a photo creating layers and textures.  Also adding different layers of clothing and accessories can add another dimension to the overall texture of the image.  These are especially important in black and white images.




Subtle Props
… add meaning

The absolute best prop is something that is meaningful to you.  This can be grandpa’s vintage camera, a child’s favorite stuffed animal, a vintage magazine, mom’s handmade quilt or the family’s pet.   Without distraction, props add meaning to, and compliment  your image.


On Your Feet
… shoes matter

The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit.  Slipping on a pair of hip distressed boots, colorful stylish flats or funky colorful Converse can tie everything together. Pick a color or texture to accent your clothing. Sometimes wearing no shoes at all look best, especially if you’ll be posing where the bottoms of shoes can be seen.  And don’t forget to add another splash of color with some funky socks if your overall look is fun and bright.



How Will They be Used?
… where will they be displayed?

Think about the primary reason you are doing the session and dress accordingly.  For a business or actor’s head shot, consider your industry standard.  Then decide to match or deviate from it.  What message do you want to portray – conservative, artistic, trustworthy?  Will the image be displayed on a business card, website, brochures? Will the family or children’s image be displayed in the drawing room, family room, bedroom?  Is the image to say, “conservative”, “fun”, “funky”?

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Don’t Date Yourself
… A timeless look extends the life of photos

Considering Who You Are Today, choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style. Use soft neutral tones with a pop of color then add interesting accessories, layers and textures.  I do love color so consider bright and funky as long as it’s not distracting from your face or personality.  Of course, this is a personal choice and many folks will go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choice as a time stamp.


… clothing that flows and moves

In both the studio and in wide open locations, I love movement and flow.  Nothing better than a twirly, whirly dress or scarf or hat that moves when dancing, spinning, jumping.



Get Comfortable
… to be You

Make sure clothing and accessories are comfortable, without the pull or scratch of some new items, especially with children.  Allowing children help to pick out their outfit can make them much happier during the session and  allows their beautiful personality shine through in images.  Think of layers instead of changing outfits.  For both children and adults, make sure you select an outfit that makes you feel stunning and relaxed.


Patterns are Good
… in moderation

Patterns can add visual interest and texture as well as a good does of personality.  Just make sure that either just one person is in a pattern with the rest of the folks in simple, more solid color pieces or the patterns are subtle and complementary.  A patterned dress can actually be the secondary focus  and part of the story as long as it doesn’t distract from the face.


Think About Location
… dress to compliment

Make sure your wardrobe complements the surroundings.  In a park, a little girl can be dressed in a simple, vintage style dress with boots.  That same look might be out of place in an urban setting in front of a harsh graffiti wall.


A Few More Tips
… things to do & not to do

  • Avoid anything with logos, graphics characters, labels, etc. They distract from the face and take the professional portrait down a few notches.
  • Wait two weeks after a hair cut for the most natural look.
  • Don’t make everyone wear the same color. Matching is boring and dated.  Let everyone have a their own spin on the same color palette.
  • While staying current, avoid obvious fashion trends that will be dated soon.
  • No bright white socks and no sneakers unless we’re talking about something fashionable like funky Converse. Remove watches or jewelry not complementary to the session’s look.
  • Clothing should cover your arms to at least the elbows. All that extra skin can distract from your face.  With that said this depends on the purpose of the portrait.
  • Nails should be trimmed and clean. Gals, newly applied nail polish or none at all.
  • Guys, make sure your neck and any facial hair is trimmed of those pesky little hairs.

Check out Pinterest for some great examples at “Paint the Moon” and other fashion pages.

These ideas were gathered from Annie at Paint the Moon.  The best  collection of What to Wear tips I’ve found.

Images are selected from my work, Annie’s and a few others. 


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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Fine Art and Commercial Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

How to Choose a Professional Photographer: Family & Children Photography

Many people think of hiring a professional photographer for baby portraits and weddings. However, a professional can help you in almost every event and time of your life.

All professional photographers have special areas of interest, their own personality and artistic style.  Areas of expertise can include one or more of these:

  • Family & Children Portrait Photographers
  • Senior Portrait Photographers
  • Commercial Photographers
  • Photo Restoration and Retouching
  • Wedding Photographers

Let’s start with Selecting a Family & Children Portrait Photographer.


The images created by professional photographers touch every aspect of your life and give you a beautiful way to preserve those memories. A portrait can be enjoyed in many ways, whether you incorporate it as a wall portrait in your home décor, create an album or purchase copies of the final print for the entire family.

Consider the following tips on selecting and working with a photographer for your family’s portrait needs:

  • Interview several photographers.
    They should be willing to take the time to listen to what you want and ask questions about you and/or your family. A photographer needs this information to create images that tell the story of who you are, or who you would like to be. Keep in mind that you are not hiring someone to simply take a picture, but to tell your story.
  • Ask about style.
    Do you like photo-journalistic images? Or is your style more classical, whimsical, vintage or romantic? Let the photographer know what you have in mind, and ask if he or she has experience in that area. You want them to use the style that best captures your personality.
  • Look at samples.
    Ask to see some of the photographer’s work. This will give you an idea of both the style and quality each photographer provides.
  • Additional services.
    Some professional photographers may provide specialized services in addition to photography. These services may include retouching, for removing blemishes or otherwise altering images; photograph restoration, which can help preserve memories from past generations; and custom framing, to make your portrait look its best. While your photographer may not offer all of these services, he or she can refer you to a quality vendor.
  • Communicate.
    Make sure the photographer has a clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to discuss the services and fees involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings. The conversation can include asking what you receive for the fee, how you will see and choose from your proofs, amount of editing and retouching, the digital and printing options and how long it takes to receive your final images.
  • Ask about credentials.
    Membership in a professional association, certification or a photography degree shows a certain level of commitment to the profession. Ask for proof of insurance.  These types of credentials can help you determine which photographer is right for you.
  • Check references.
    A friend’s recommendation, the Better Business Bureau and professional associations are excellent sources of information.

The photographer should take time to talk to you about your family and their favorite activities, as well as offer suggestions on location and coordinating clothing and colors. The photographer will use this information to create a photograph that tells your family’s unique story.

In fact, many families make their portraits more memorable by turning them into an event. One way of accomplishing this is traveling to your favorite location, like local parks, your family’s place of worship, or at a family member’s home.

Now ask yourself …

While chatting with each photographer, how did you feel?  Which photographer understood your vision/story, will help you prepare, make you feel at ease and look your best?

After reviewing images from each website, which photographer has the skill needed and the style you desire?

Are you ready?

Call me.  I’d sure enjoy hearing about your vision and telling your story!

Check out my website.  As you browse through the Galleries, you will see samples of my artistic style.

Website Home Page 2018 stroke

Information for this blog was gathered from the Professional Photographers of America.


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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Fine Art and Commercial Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!