As I write this, Erica and Nik are more than 1,500 miles away in Colorado — and I miss them so much already. Their trips to Virginia are never long enough, but thankfully we had plenty of time to catch up and take some gorgeous photographs.
As a small ode to their beautiful Rockies and adventurous spirits, I planned an evening session on Roanoke Mountain (I know, totally incomparable to what they're used to in Colorado) and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As you can see, the evening glow was nothing short of magical.
Erica met Nik almost three years ago while visiting a college roommate in Denver. She'd been thinking about making Colorado her home and wanted to get a feel for the place. Two months later — a few days before New Year's Eve — she packed up her car and traded the Blue Ridge Mountains for the Rockies. She and Nik started dating shortly after.
"I knew he was going to be a part of my life once I moved there," Erica told me. (Aww!)
It's so easy to see these two were made for each other. I love that their silly, funny personalities only magnify when they're together. Can't wait to see what life brings them!
Let me say first: Beautiful photographs have nothing to do with your camera. Having an expensive camera doesn't equal great photos, and using your phone doesn't mean your pictures are destined for failure. No, beautiful photographs start with how you think and end with where you stand.
To help you get better candid photographs at home, here are six important things I practice when I shoot:
1. Seek emotion. This one is first for a reason. Real, raw emotion is the secret ingredient to great home photography. Home is where we're most vulnerable, so try to capture a range of emotion. Sadness and pain are just as important to your story as joy and excitement.
2. Squat, crawl and climb. Experiencing your day from different angles will result in more interesting photos. This is especially important when photographing children and pets. Get on their level — or way above it.
3. Realize every moment is an occasion. I say this often, but it's so important to the photos I create: The big moments are the small ones. Every day spent with family and friends is a reason to pull out your camera. The more photos you take, the more you'll realize just how many tiny, beautiful moments we let quietly slip by. Photography, instead, says, "No, this one stays."
4. Think of photography as moment-freezing, not moment-creating. Let life happen. Don't force smiles, hugs or poses. Our photos speak loudest when we observe quietly.
5. Pass the camera over every once in a while. Six years ago, I sat on the floor of our living room surrounded by boxes of old photos. I was looking for any and all photos of me and my dad, who'd died just days earlier. There were several, but not enough for me. It wasn't until after he was gone that I realized he was behind the camera most of the time. So don't forget to stop and say, "Here, you take some photos."
6. Print, print, print. Better photos are tangible photos. Promise yourself you'll always have more pictures made from ink and paper than pixels. Promise your children and family they'll always have boxes and albums filled with photos to look at on rainy days. You'll never regret the few minutes it takes to upload and order prints.
Welcome to the blog! I'm Laura, a Charlottesville-area photographer specializing in authentic, natural-light photography and heirloom print art. Hope you'll explore my little online home and reach out if you have any questions!