Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Favorite Shoot Locations updated 12/27/2010

I prepared this PDF for a potential client who is looking for a place to shoot during the winter but, of course, this is helpful to others as well.  Enjoy!  If you have a favorite place to take photos let me know.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What to Wear

I'm the first to admit that I am no fashionista (seriously) but I am often asked for my expert opinion about what to wear in photos.  Coming from a video media background I alway advise against small prints or busy fabrics.  In video these can pixilate and while that is certainly less of a problem in digital photography you are still dealing with distracting fabrics that take away from the subject in the photo.  That's why I tend to recommend bold solids and less busy patterns as well as items that bring texture into the photo such as denim jackets and sweaters.

If there is more than one subject in the photo I suggest you pick clothing that is all in the same color family and perhaps one person's fabric could be the starting point.  For example, below, this is the York family (and yes, mom-Erica is a fashionista who owns a children's clothing company called Ella Couture).  See how the older girl's shirt ties everyone together with its mix of black, white and gray.  I also love how the family mixed classic elements such as jeans and plaid with more modern and sassy pieces like the younger daughter's fluffy petti-skirt and the mom's ankle boots.

When it comes to engagement and couple photos you should think about complimenting one another as well as your background (or in some cases how you want to contrast your background if going for that modern v. rustic look).  This is Stacy and Todd, below, and I liked how their clothing choices brought color and texture into the photo while complimenting one another and also the fall foliage.

Props-- yes, no, maybe?  I enjoy having props to fall back on especially with kids.  Cowboy hats are a favorite of mine!  But really it's about what is an organic addition to the picture.  If shooting pics of a young child you might want to add in their favorite toy because, after all, it's about who they are at this moment in time.

But most of all, when you come to a photo shoot with me dress for fun!  If your clothes are too tight or your shoes hurt it's hard to get a natural smile.  If you want those 3" heels in the shot bring them along and change into them when we get you set up.  Because, as you can see from the below photo of young Harrison, we usually do some walking and getting silly and sometimes we are even known to do some running and jumping.

Hope these tips help you pick out the perfect outfit for your next photo shoot with mandyshoptaw.com.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Love & Marriage

I've been looking forward to the month of October since the spring.  Not just because I love the fall and all of the rich colors that make photographs pop but because I was contracted to help my friend Polly Hartley with so many weddings (Polly owns Simply Digital and Heart Shot Photography studios in Central Arkansas and I often work as her second or back up photographer--www.heartshotphotography.com).

I didn't realize that I had so many wedding photos in my files from 2010 until today when I went to upload a few to my website.  Wow!  I had so many shots that I love that had to divide out the engagements from the weddings-- you can see the work under "Love Stuff" and "Wedding Stuff" at www.mandyshoptaw.com in the Mandy's Photo section... or you can get a preview here in this post. 

This was a beautiful wedding (above) and that vintage car can be rented out by contacting Distinctive Designs by Tanarah in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Tanarah's husband restored it and serves as chauffeur.

The guys and I called this the "Abby Road" shot.  In fact, this group of groomsmen really got, er, into the "swing" of things and enjoyed putting together this golf inspired photo (below). 


I enjoy so much being a second photographer on these shoots because I get to focus on the detail shots that help to tell the story of a bride's special day-- like the bouquet above and the rosary that the bride carried with her down the aisle.  Thanks to the confidence I've gotten working with Polly, I've started to photograph small weddings on my own and it is so rewarding to see the finished project and to know that you've captured incredible memories for a family.      

Up next... updating the many family and children photos I've taken this year so stay tuned for more progress from the photography front.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mac Attack

I've spent the past few days learning to navigate my new Mac Book Pro (an early Christmas gift from my parents-- thanks, mom and dad).  There were times when I questioned my logic for converting from PC but at the end of yesterday with my first project complete I think I finally feel good about the switch.  In fact, once I got all the photo editing software and actions installed plus the photos moved to the proper folders the actual editing time was greatly increased.  Hallelujah!  This is good news since mandyshoptaw.com has a most busy weekend in the Hot Springs area taking photos for five different families (looking forward to seeing y'all and enjoying this great weather).

The mail runs late at my house so if I am expecting something in the post the day is usually filled with a sort of anticipation.  However yesterday was just an ordinary mail day with one pleasant surprise tucked between political ads and bills.  A few months back a very sweet family asked me to do some photos at my friend Casi's farm.  The mother couldn't pick which photos were her favorites and so I ended up doing a great deal of extra editing.  I didn't expect to be paid for it, I was just trying to be helpful, but this kind woman sent me a check anyway and it came on a day when I really needed to know that my work was appreciated.  Thank you, Tami Threet!  Below are a few photos from the Threet's shoot that I just love because they capture the western spirit that the family was looking for at the farm.

Now, I write about Tami's kindness to say that what may seem like a small act to you may actually be an enormous boost to someone else.  I encourage you to follow the lead of this charming woman and do something nice for someone today-- or as my mom would say "bless someone."  Maybe it is simply reaching out over Facebook or sending an email to a friend you haven't spoken to in some time, maybe it's making cookies for your office or rolling your neighbors garbage can from the curb to the driveway... whatever act of kindness you choose I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Nearly a year ago my husband and I stepped into the bank and took out a small loan to purchase camera equipment.  My family and I played around with different business names but I went with mandyshoptaw.com because it could be about anything I wanted to try-- photography, writing, event management.  In fact, in this first year I've called it the "mandyshoptaw.com project" more than a business because it is something that is always growing and morphing.

As I look back over the first year I am proud of the progress we have made and I hope that this blog will allow me to showcase a few of the special events, projects and happenings in my life and in the life of mandyshoptaw.com.

For example meeting this charming young man getting ready for his first birthday at his grandparents farm.  I love taking photos of children and families!

Right now we're running a special: $50 for a mini-shoot.  That's 30-45 minutes of photography ideal for holiday cards.  As always, with mandyshoptaw.com you get a disk of the edited images with rights to reprint and share as long as mandyshoptaw.com is given credit.  Let me know if you'd like to schedule a shoot soon-- dates are filling up fast!!  Just email me at mandy@mandyshoptaw.com or call 501.766.1879.