Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lip Service

Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite must-haves for a photo session...well, at least if you are a woman anyway! I'm talking about lipgloss or lipstick. Dry, chapped lips are not very flattering, so I always encourage women to apply a fresh coat right before a shoot. Even young girls will benefit from a quick once over with a clear lip gloss.

If you were to look in my purse right now, you would think I was obsessed with lipgloss. Well, I'm here to tell you that I AM...it's one of my favorite accessories and I have quite a collection! I love lipgloss and that's why I am super excited about a new product that has launched from Sophisticated Rebel called the Slimstick.

This newly designed lipstick is such a smart and innovative way to approach cosmetics...and who doesn't love innovation? Smart design is why we love our iPhones and iPads and why I am a 20 year Mac user. Not only do these products have a hip factor that most of their competitors lack, but they also function in a way that makes them invaluable. You get form AND function in one product! But I digress...

Here are some of the features that make the Slimstick a must have:

  • It's flat shape also doubles as a mirror, so you don't need to pack around a compact
  • The cap is hinged so you just flip it open to use
  • It can be attached to a necklace or keychain and fits easily in the smallest of pockets
  • The new lipstick formula contains less wax than traditional lipstick

Check out the video on their launch page and learn how you can purchase your own Slimstick before they are even available in stores!  >>> Slimstick

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Because you just never know...

There are a lot of things I love about being a photographer. Being a sentimental person, I love the idea of having little snapshots of the things that make up our everyday lives. Irreplaceable reminders of how things were at that moment in time.

As cliche as it sounds, kids DO grow up way too fast and although we can't freeze time, we can use photographs as a way to keep those moments fresh in our minds. At times I am obsessed with taking pictures of every little event in my children's lives, but it wasn't until a terrible tragedy happened that it really struck me as to the importance of capturing these moments for others.

I photographed Cassidy when she came to my studio on her first birthday back in 2009. She was so full of life and had the most beautiful blue eyes and a smile that could just light up a room. We had so much fun with her cake smash session and as you can see, she really loved her cake.

Months passed and life marched along, then one day I got the news. Just six months after her session, at only 18 months old, precious little Cassidy passed away in her sleep. There was no explanation...she was just gone. I was just heartbroken for this new little family that lost their little girl.

So as I sit here reflecting on all those special moments I get to share with my littlest clients, I am reminded of how valuable my job as a photographer really is. Nothing makes me happier than photographing little babies and children in a way that will be remembered long after that moment has passed. It's a responsibility I take very seriously and am so honored for all the opportunities I've had to capture these moments for my clients...because you just never know.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Meet Tessa Rose

I always get excited to shoot newborns. There is just something so magical about how they look when they're asleep...I just love it! This time, however, I was especially excited when I learned that I would be photographing a sweet little girl...I was over the moon! Last year, the majority of my babies were little boys and I was really longing to bring out the pink ruffles and flowers again.

Little Tessa Rose was just a perfect little gem. You may remember her sisters June and Ayla whom I photographed a couple years ago. Just like her older sisters, Tessa is so photogenic! Here are just a few of my favorites from her session!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012 Referral Program

My referral program is simple. When you share your portrait experience with your friends and family via referral cards or online sites, you get referral credits. For each new client who books a session, I will give you one complimentary gift print. Your friend or family member also gets a gift print, so you come out looking like a hero for helping them earn free product! Once you have completed 3 online reviews I will give you $50 in gift print credits! The more love you send my way, the more free portraits you earn!

This year, with the roll-out of the new Facebook timeline, I am pleased to announce that all my new 2012 clients will receive custom designed timeline covers featuring images from their most recent session! In order to receive yours all you have to do is leave a referral on my facebook page using the "Review" tab.

We are updating our website and our marketing materials and are in need of some testimonials from our recent clients. I would love it if you would take a moment to share your experience at Alyssa Ernst Photography. By posting online reviews, you help us spread the word about our studio so we would like to thank you with a gift of a $50 credit towards your next portrait order.

In order to qualify for this gift, you will need to post 3 reviews using the links
provided on my Facebook page under the Reviews tab. Simply click on the 3 links to leave your reviews. One goes directly to me, one is for Yelp and the other is for Yellow Pages Online. Once I have verified the reviews I will send out your referral gift and as a bonus, I will email you a custom Facebook Timeline cover photo like the one pictured below featuring images from your session!

Offer expires after 12 months. No cash value. Not valid with other offers.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter Inspiration Board

I just looked at my calendar and YIPES...Easter is in 9 days! I hope you are better prepared than I am, but just in case you are in the same boat and still have to hunt for some cute clothes, here is a little inspiration for getting your kids ready for Easter. They boys outfits are from Gymboree and the girls are from Khols.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Giving Back to a Local School

Every year Damascus Christian School holds an auction to raise money to help support their school. This year I was asked to help with one of the class projects. Until today I had to keep my project under lock and key for the big reveal the night of the auction...Now that the auction is over, I am just thrilled to finally be able to share with you what the top secret project is!

Last January, one of my clients approached me with an idea she (and another mom) had for her daughter's 4th grade class project. She explained that each grade creates a one of a kind piece of art that is auctioned off along with other items that have been donated from businesses in the community. The idea to photograph all the feet of the kids in the 4th grade was a fun one and I happily agreed to collaborate with them on this project.

Angi and Lisa, two of the nicest women you will ever meet!

So, one cold but sunny morning in early February, we all met at Barton Park along the bank of the Clackamas River. I felt so guilty making the kids take their shoes and socks off and step out into the cold sand. They all did a remarkable job considering their feet were probably frozen within the first few minutes into the shoot.

This was somewhat tricky to execute due to the scale of the final canvas. I knew it would be blown up quite a bit, so I didn't want to risk the resolution being soft by simply cropping the feet from the group picture. So what I decided to do instead was to shoot their feet in sections of about 4 kids at a time. This allowed me to get a better angle as well as a much closer perspective of their feet. Once I got home I was able to create a composite of all these beautiful little toes and the result turned out great! I added a significant amount of sand to the bottom of the image to ensure that there would be adequate space for the scripture that they wanted to include.

In case you can't read it, the verse says:

"How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion "Your God reigns!" — Isaiah 52:7.

Saturday night I was on pins and needles, wondering how well the canvas would be received. When Lisa emailed me at 10:30 pm with the auction results, I just about fell out of my chair! Here is what she wrote:

I just returned home from the auction. I wanted to let you know that your photograph was hotly contested during the auction and sold for $1000! Yeah!!! In addition, I had a steady stream of people praising the photograph and asking about you as a photographer. I truly hope the exposure proves to be profitable for you in the future.

Thank you again for all the time and skill you put into our 4th grade auction project!
I feel so blessed to be able to give back to a local school where a number of my client's children attend. What fun we had!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bailey Session: Part Two

Back in late August when the weather was still warm (ahhh...I miss August), I was approached by Angi who was looking for someone to take some portraits of her family. I was thrilled, seriously...but then she told me that she had a prop in mind...a rather large prop—a 1957 Chevy! Are you kidding me??? How much fun are we gonna have with that!!! My brain started formulating all kinds of fun ideas before we were even off the phone. I got online to do some visual research and couldn't find much at all...until I came to a picture of a family enjoying a picnic in front of their car...it was so sweet and what you imagine a typical Sunday may have been like in the 1950's.

Before each session even takes place, I offer my clients a pre-session phone consultation or an inspiration board to help style the shoot. I love creating these boards. They are just as much fun for me as they are for the clients who they are (hopefully) going to inspire. However, since this session was shot, I have discovered Pinterest and let me tell you, it's beyond just inspiring, it's highly addicting!!!

But I digress...After a few weeks of gathering wardrobe options, Angi calls to tell me she is ready to finalize an appointment date and oh, by the way, a friend is lending her a vintage 50's dress that just so happens to fit the color scheme we are working with...I'm secretly doing the happy dance while we are on the phone! She also found her dad's old glasses, vintage pearl jewelry, a fedora and some cute things for her girls to wear...oh and did I mention accordions? Her parents used to play them...they are sentimental and perfect for our shoot! Look out Mad Men, you ain't got nothing on the Baily family!

Without further adieu...here is their fabulous 50's flashback...For part one of this shoot, please click here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bailey Session: Part One

Let me just start off by saying, I have been waiting FOREVER to share this session with all of you, but wanted to present them to my clients first. Well, yesterday was the viewing session so the wait is finally over!

When we were discussing the details of their session and styling the shoot, I suggested going for a look that reflected the retro style of the 50's era. As a result, we ended up with some really fun images which I will share with you tomorrow. Below are some of my favorite images from the session before we flashed back to the past.

As you may recall, the Bailey's requested a family shoot prior to selling their family's vintage 1950's Chevy. This beautiful car has been in their family for a couple generations and is now restored to it's original sassy condition. As I understand it, the car was previously owned by my client's mother who lovingly restored it and left it in her daughter's care after she passed away. According to my client, the day of her mother's memorial, the passenger side window mysteriously cracked and left a starburst pattern in the glass as you can see in a couple of the images below.

The beauty of this series is that it tells the story of a family's relationship with a truly remarkable car. It has hints of time gone by and is fun in it's own right, however, these images have special meaning to the family, especially to Mrs. Bailey who grew up riding in this classic Chevy. It was truly an honor to be a part of such a special session...Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Sunrise Christmas Eve

Happy New Year! This year, one of my goals is to blog more...not very original, I know, but it's sincere for sure! It's not that I haven't had plenty to share, or that I don't enjoy writing, but I was hoping to have a newer updated blog by now. What can I say, my hubby (aka web designer extraordinaire) has been swamped with clients too, but I'm hoping to have a beautiful new blog to call home early this year. So to ease back into blog land, I've decided to post little pieces of my life here as well as tidbits about my studio until my new blogsite is completed!

Sunset, this evening!

At any rate...How about tonight's sunset!! Wasn't it gorgeous?? These images were taken in the field behind our home...just five minutes apart! It's amazing to me how much more dramatic the colors in the sky are in the second image!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What to Wear: 50's theme

Not long ago, I was asked if I would shoot some family pictures for the Bailey family who would soon be selling their vintage 1950's Chevy! I have always loved this era and all the kitchy, brightly colored kitchen appliances makes me wish I had 2 kitchens so I could decorate the other one in PINK!!!

I started to do a little visual research and came across the above photo taken of a family picnic. I loved how it combines a casual summer picnic while featuring the car in the background. This got me thinking about how fun it would be to stage a little picnic for the upcoming shoot. I was super excited to receive a photo of the car in my email box not long after we discussed the idea! Just looking at the cool details on this car gave me so much inspiration. Ideas started flooding in and so I began searching for the perfect images to style this shoot. Take a look:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Christmas in July

As of yesterday, Christmas is just 5 months away! Can you believe I'm already thinking about Christmas portrait sessions?
Well, the truth is, I've been thinking about my Christmas sessions for about 9 months now and I've got some really exciting things planned...including this fun give-away!

I really love all the Organic Bloom frames I have ordered thus far. They are so unique! I love their whimsical shapes and the versatile color palate that can be customized to match any decor. This month I want to give you the opportunity to see for yourself how chic they really are! For the first time, I'm excited to announce that as part of my Christmas in July special, I will be including a complimentary mini frame ornament with your holiday order...so make sure to take advantage of this limited time offer and reserve your session date!

Here is a cute example of how the frames will look on your tree:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spring Cherry Blossoms

Last year I found this cute Asian top at a thrift store, took it home with a specific photoshoot in mind with my daughter. I spent quite a bit of time during spring break that year looking for a paper umbrella, but by the time they were available in stores, all the cherry blossoms were gone. So I tucked all my props away for another day.

Fast forward to this spring and I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull it off. I re-located the props, the trees had blossoms, but it kept raining...and raining...and raining. FINALLY, yesterday, the sky was clear, we didn't have soccer practice and so I decided it was time to let my daughter in on my plan. She isn't always a willing model, due I'm sure to the large number of takes and retakes I request from her, but she loved the umbrella, so I knew there was a good chance she'd be up for my scheme!

Midway through the shoot, she had had enough, but of course, I was just getting started...so I did what any mom would do—I bribed her...with money. She was a good negotiator. I started off at $1 and she got me up to $5!!! But she deserved it...a bargain if you ask me! Here are some of my favorite shots from our beautiful spring day...enjoy!

As we were shooting, Natalie's uncle stopped by and jumped into the shot. I just love how this image turned out. You can really see how much Natalie loves her uncle...probably the biggest smile of the day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tulip fields

Last week I visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip farm in Woodburn, Oregon. It was such a beautiful day, sun was out and it was warm! It felt so good to be outside after so many rainy days. This is my favorite picture of some PINK tulips...

Just having some fun using different vintage textures to age these tulips!
(click on the image to see it larger)

Happy Spring!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nathan's 3 month session

Photographing babies is sooo good for my soul. Yesterday's session with Nathan was such a joy, his smile is just infectious! I completely lost track of time, but I think he kept me busy for over 4 hours! As you know, time goes by quickly when you are having fun. Capturing Nathan's first smiles and even his sleepy spells was the highlight of my afternoon!