Danelle Hevron Studio: Blog https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog en-us (C)Danelle Hevron Studio info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Fri, 10 Sep 2021 19:22:00 GMT Fri, 10 Sep 2021 19:22:00 GMT https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/img/s/v-12/u93919402-o724733070-50.jpg Danelle Hevron Studio: Blog https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog 80 120 Back to Basics: Revisiting film photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/10/back-to-basics-revisiting-film-photography

Christmas came early this week! We have 35mm photos!

A little history
I recently found our 35mm camera with film still in it. I had to know what was on it, but the process of getting the camera workable and then getting the prints in my hand was somewhat involved.

First, there was the matter of the dead battery. I knew film was in the camera, but this particular model is self-winding so a battery was necessary to eject the film. Naturally, the battery wasn't readily available. Online shopping to the rescue.

After a few days of waiting, the battery arrived. I popped it in and the camera started right up.

Prior to sending off the film to a lab (which required another online search), I did a few test shots to see if it still worked.

Then, it took another online search to recall how to self-wind the film short of the total exposures. (This camera self-winds but only when you shoot the entire roll.)

Finally, I shipped the film off to a lab for printing.

This Week
Honestly, I had put the film development in the back of my mind. I had no idea how long it would take to get the prints back. On my Tuesday visit to the post office, however, I was presented with "the envelope" from the lab. I was so excited, I couldn't wait the 2 minutes it takes to get home to open it. Special thanks to Gina for lending me a scissors and ending the suspense.

The first thing I found inside was the contact sheet containing the image thumbnails. Then, there were the plastic sleeves of negatives. I'd forgotten how much I missed this part, the familiarity of it all. I couldn't wait to tear into the images, yellowed with time, to see if I could place a date on when they were taken. It was actually pretty easy to figure out.

Several family images punctuate the roll of film, but upon initial glance, it was hard to pinpoint the timeframe. It was the fourth photo that actually gave it away. Though we can't pin down the occasion, I am definitely pregnant with the twins in this photo. It's 2005.

When I first pulled out this photo, I didn't think much about it. It's simply a family photo. The longer I look at it, however, the more our life timeline falls into place. The year before had been filled with loss - a miscarriage, failed in vitro attempts under our belt, and the loss of three grandparents. 

And then, in November 2015, a family of two became a family of four.

The film may have yellowed in the camera, but this image is crystal clear in my mind, and so is...

The Future
I can't explain the challenge and joy I had making images on 35mm film last week. There's a completely different thought process that goes into taking photos when you know each image costs you money to develop and you don't have an LED screen to check your work. Today, the 35mm camera is officially joining the lineup with the digital cameras. Let the search for film begin. What goes around comes around.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) bw camera film flat rock illinois photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/10/back-to-basics-revisiting-film-photography Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:38:32 GMT
A New Project on the Horizon: Cross Your Fingers https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/9/a-new-project-on-the-horizon-cross-your-fingers

If all goes according to planned, today I will be able to test out the 1987 35mm film camera that has been buried in the depths of our closet. It's been nearly a week since I found it fully loaded with images from another decade. Sadly, without a battery, it's been resigned to collect dust in the office for six LONG days.

With any luck, that will change today. A fresh battery is slated for arrival.

A film camera with a battery? I like to call it an upgrade to the 35mm cameras where cranking was required to load the film. The battery gives this little gem the ability to essentially self-load. It also has a small LCD screen on the top that, if I remember correctly, provides all the vital stats (F-stops, exposure number, etc.). It isn't digital by a long shot, but the top screen makes it feel a little more like today's digital models (of course, without the perks of being able to review your images).

The last time this camera was used was probably in the early 2000s, and then I was still getting a feel for photography by simply using the "auto" mode. This time around will be completely different. Auto is not allowed. Like the battery, this little experiment is also going to require patience. I'm going to have to send the film to a lab and then wait to see the fruit of my labor. This will definitely be a challenge. As an added bonus, I've decided to dedicate this camera to black-and-white film only.

While I feel pretty confident about this project, I know there will be a distinct learning curve. I hadn't even considered shooting film again until I recently had an opportunity to by a film camera by a different manufacturer. As I was considering the purchase, the expense list quickly started tallying through my head - new film, new lenses, learning how to operate something from scratch. It was easy to fall back on our old 35mm, with the lenses and gear already purchased and ready to go.

As an added plus (and we did this on purpose), when we moved to digital, we stayed with this manufacturer and chose our lenses appropriately so they could transition with us from film to digital cameras. Even the lenses I've purchased in the last couple years are a perfect fit to the 35mm.

So now I anxiously wait for the battery. If, upon installation, everything is still operational, I can begin relearning the art of shooting film images and start ordering film. If it doesn't work, I'm going to be sorely disappointed. Stay tuned.

When was the last time you shot film? What type of camera were you using? Have you stuck with that manufacturer?

** As a side note, my husband corrected me after last week's post to remind me this 35mm is actually his camera. Guess it's pretty obvious who got the most use out of it.

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 35mm black and white film flat rock illinois photography portrait project robinson https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/9/a-new-project-on-the-horizon-cross-your-fingers Wed, 27 Sep 2017 15:38:54 GMT
Traveling naked: Why leaving home without your camera gear isn't always a bad thing https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/9/traveling-naked-why-leaving-home-without-your-camera-gear-isnt-always-a-bad-thing

Last week, my husband and I escaped. That's right. We took a five-day break from reality and traveled without our three girls in celebration of our anniversary.

If you've ever traveled without children, you know there is a LOT of prep work prior to leaving them. You have to find someone to watch them, get them to activities, and keep them from killing each other. But that's only the beginning. Once that is taken care of, you have to make sure everyone's clothes are clean, the house is presentable, and you've packed everything you need for the trip.

We'd already determined we were traveling light (one carry-on between us for five days). As I was packing our clothes, I started thinking about my camera. It was a short internal conversation. I've been to Las Vegas - our destination - numerous times. I've pretty much photographed everything I've wanted to. Nope, this trip was about relaxing and the camera was staying home.

Our short trip brought much needed relaxation: casino visits, a spa visit, lots of walking, eating, sleeping late, and taking in some shows. We were left with no set plans for our last day of the trip. We threw around ideas and finally decided to go to the Grand Canyon. My husband mentioned the camera we left at home. I hadn't even thought of it until then. A small part of me regretted leaving it at home, but a bigger part of me, the one who had been relaxing for several consecutive days, was completely OK with it.

The next morning, we hopped on the bus and headed to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. We made three stops around the Rim Area. We enjoyed lunch and took in the sights together. The scenery was spectacular and, minus the gear, I felt like I could truly take it all in. I didn't have to worry about where my gear was, the weight of it on my back in 110-degree heat, or the pressure to nab a spectacular shot from this trip. I climbed a large mound of rocks to grab a couple snapshots on my phone, but capturing the scenery wasn't a priority. It didn't have to be.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) arizona grand canyon photography portrait travel west rim https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/9/traveling-naked-why-leaving-home-without-your-camera-gear-isnt-always-a-bad-thing Thu, 07 Sep 2017 19:31:12 GMT
Things to think about before considering photographing Monday's eclipse https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/8/things-to-think-about-before-mondays-eclipse

You know something is a big deal when rural towns are posting "no vacancy" signs in their windows, camping spots are sold out or at a premium, and even parking spots are commanding top dollar. Even more surprising is that this "big deal" has nothing to do with a musical act or celebrity.

Aug. 21, the contiguous United States will play host to the first total eclipse since 1979. According to the NASA website, "everyone in North America plus parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will see at least a partial solar eclipse, while the thin path of totality will pass through portions of 14 states." 

The path of totality conveniently goes straight through Carbondale, IL, a few hours drive from Robinson, IL. The city of 26,000 is preparing for a whopping 90,000 visitors to watch the 2 minute, 38 second total eclipse. They even have a dedicated webpage Carbondale Eclipse to help tourists maneuver the college town.

My immediate thought when I heard of the upcoming eclipse was "how am I going to photograph this," and then the hardcore research began. After reading article after article and watching YouTube video after video, I've decided this eclipse is going to stay in my memory not on my memory card. Jeopardizing my eyesight and gear isn't worth the risk.

Obviously, documenting such a huge event is doable with the correct gear. You MUST have the appropriate eye protection and you MUST have a solar filter to protect your camera sensor. There are NO cheap DIY workarounds on this one. Safety is paramount for you and your gear. 

Eye and gear protection aside, photographing this event takes a vast amount of planning. There is about a 12-stop variation in nailing this exposure and, guess what, a majority of those really cool photos you're going to see after the event are composites. That's right. There are people who will be setting up, not one, but dozens of cameras fitted with remote triggers and different lenses on tripods. The cameras will be bracketed at different exposures, so that following the 2-minute event, the images can be seamlessly stitched into a single spectacular photo in post-production. Mind blown.

Rather than blow my eyesight, my gear, or my sanity for 2-plus minutes, I'll be kicking back in my funky eclipse glasses safely enjoying the show. I'll take my camera but if I document anything, it will be all the people clamoring for the perfect shot only very few will get and only after hours and hours of post-production. 

Be careful out there Monday!

 

As a side note, after weeding through numerous article, I found these to be the most helpful and interesting. Enjoy the eclipse and be safe!

NASA eclipse site

Slacker's Guide to the 2017 Solar Eclipse

How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) aug. 21 eclipse event illinois photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/8/things-to-think-about-before-mondays-eclipse Thu, 17 Aug 2017 17:35:56 GMT
The importance of taking first day of school pictures https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/8/the-importance-of-taking-first-day-of-school-pictures

An Indiana native, I sometimes miss living in the Hoosier state. Fall is not one of those times. As I watched my Facebook news feed blow up today with first day of school photos from my Indiana friends, I'm glad I have one more week with everyone at home. Summer goes way too fast. It seems like we just packed away all the used school supplies and here we are dragging it all out again. 

Like many parents, I'll have my camera ready to document the first day of school in Illinois next week. While some people are committed to the ritual, making fancy signs for their children to hold or selecting the perfect outfit for photos, we keep it pretty low key (mainly, because we have a hard time getting everyone out the door in a timely fashion). First day of school photos don't have to be fancy. They are just fun to have. 

Our kids aren't fans of this annual ritual, but I constantly remind them they will do the same thing for their children one day. To keep the process as painless as possible, I prep my camera the night before so I'm ready to quickly grab a handful of images before we hop into the car and head to school. Mom is happy, and kids only endure a couple minutes of torture.

I obviously wouldn't have to document every first day of school, but having these photos reminds me how quickly our children are growing into young people. It makes me sad and excited at the same time.

This year, we are entering a new phase - middle school. I only slightly remember the stress of trying to manage twin feedings, diaper changes, and the blur I call "the first three months of raising multiples." Those months were filled with a LOT of sleepless nights followed by a ridiculous amount of caffeine-fueled mornings. I'm sure there was more than one morning I thought "this has to get easier." Then, five years later, we had Baby No. 3 (much easier but still hard after a five-year hiatus).

We've come a long way. All three are in school, and thankfully, I can look back at these photos and smile at how our girls have grown. They aren't the only ones.

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) children event flat rock photography portrait robinson school https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/8/the-importance-of-taking-first-day-of-school-pictures Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:12:56 GMT
Backing up your memories https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/7/backing-up-your-memories

If we are Facebook friends, you know I've been posting photos of our recent family vacation. Normally, I wouldn't subject everyone to our "boring vacation photos," but my reason for posting them online are two-fold. One: I enjoy revisiting the trip (it was a blast), and two: by posting them online, I've created an additional backup of the photos.

No one wants to think something will ever happen to those precious photos on their computer, but the reality is that at some point, your computer will die. It will die a slow and miserable death. You will feel it in the pit of your stomach as those wonderful photos you've stored on your computer's hard drive will be gone in seconds.

I lost my last computer a couple years ago. My initial thought was "Crap, I'll have to invest in a new computer, I'll have to reload all the software, set everything back up, and it's going to be a pain in the butt." The one thing that was NOT going through my head was, "OMG, I've just lost every photo I've ever taken."

I like to back my photos up, and I'd like to think I'm pretty thorough in my process.

1. External hard drives. I actually have two per time frame. For 2013 and prior to that, there is a labeled master external drive and a second identical external drive. Same for 2014 to present. Why two? Like your computer drive, external drives may also fail. Been there, done that. External memory is reasonably priced. Get yours today and sleep tight knowing those photos are safe.

2. Online storage. I use my website server for unlimited storage, but there are many many sources out there: Carbonite, Dropbox, Google, Amazon, and more. There's usually a fee involved, but it is well worth it. Do your homework and find the right service for your needs.

3. Prints. I try to make prints of my favorite photos monthly, but I'm currently way behind. I'm OK with that, however, because I still have the other backups in place. I'll catch up once the kids are back in school.

4. Facebook. I wouldn't rely on this as my only means for saving photos, but it is a convenient backup.

So you may have noticed CDs were not listed in my backup plan. I'm not saying they are a bad backup method, however, I don't rely on them because the media is becoming obsolete. My computer doesn't even have a CD drive. CDs can scratch, become unreadable, break and become lost. You can still use them as a backup but do so knowing these things.

It's easy to preserve those vacation memories. All you have to do is have a backup plan.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) backup flat rock illinois photography portrait robinson https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/7/backing-up-your-memories Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:24:47 GMT
When to get your child involved in photo taking https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/7/when-to-get-your-child-involved-in-photo-taking I still remember the first time one of the girls reached for my expensive camera. I felt like I was going to throw up. As the permanent keeper of the camera, I was startled she'd even think shed' be allowed to grab the complex piece of equipment I was now holding in a death grip. She was probably 6 or 7.

It was my own fault. I was enjoying the whole photo-taking process a little too much in the studio and she wanted to see what the excitement was about. The minute I gave her the "I don't think so" look, I could see her disappointment and I quickly changed my tune. There had to be a way she could enjoy photography without causing Mom equipment anxiety. As I tightly held onto the strap, I handed her the camera body so she could capture a few frames.

Today, all three of our children have somewhat of an interest in photography. My equipment grabber, now 11, is now allowed complete control of our older DSLR and enjoys learning about the settings, what they do, and how to process photos on the computer. We've been known to chase sunsets together. Sometimes we're successful, and sometimes nature fails us. We always have fun.

Her twin enjoys taking candids with her friends with her retro Instax mini. It's fun to instantly grab the photos out of the camera, give them a few shakes and have that trademark photo with the white frame instantly at her fingertips.

Our youngest has been into photography since age 5. The minute she could figure out the camera button on the smartphone, I was inundated with selfies and images of her stuffed animal collection.

So when is the best time to introduce your child to photography? The best time to introduce them is when they first express an interest.

I'm not saying hand over your expensive camera body to a 5 year old. A smartphone is a wonderful start. 

Once you open their world to photography, you'll be surprised how interesting it is to see the world through their eyes. A photographer friend once told me he gave his young son a cheap point-and-shoot camera to use while they were on vacation at Disney World. He said he was shocked to see his son's final images when they returned - all the photos were taken in ride lines and all included the queue railing. Poor kid couldn't see anything above the railing.

Photography is about perspective, and children have a wonderful and unique sense of it. This fact becomes obvious when you allow them to capture images.

As the child - and potentially his or her interest - in photography grows, you can consider moving them from a smartphone to a point-and-shoot camera, and so on. Someday, you will be happy to relinquish control of your camera and you may even find yourself in front of the camera rather than behind it.

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) children flat rock illinois photography portrait robinson https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/7/when-to-get-your-child-involved-in-photo-taking Wed, 12 Jul 2017 23:30:00 GMT
Preparing for senior photos: Facebook Live https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/6/preparing-for-senior-photos Click on "watch on Facebook" in the Unavailable icon. Coding is a little over my head - for now;)

 
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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) flat rock illinois photography portrait robinson https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/6/preparing-for-senior-photos Fri, 30 Jun 2017 16:00:38 GMT
What to do with vacation photos: Facebook Live https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/6/what-to-do-with-vacation-photos To watch, click "watch on Facebook" in the Unavailable icon.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) facebook live flat rock illinois photography portrait robinson vacation https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/6/what-to-do-with-vacation-photos Fri, 30 Jun 2017 15:33:29 GMT
Traveling with Camera Gear https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/6/traveling-with-camera-gear

You've made the reservations, confirmed the flight/mapped the route, and are packing your clothes.

If you're like me, you run through the mental checkout as you pack: 

PJs
Tops
Bottoms
Shoes
Socks
Undergarments
Bathing Suits
Toiletries

But are you doing the same with your camera gear? Are you safeguarding them while you're on vacation?

Here are a few tips to make sure you keep it all together and have everything you need for successfully documenting your next trip.

1. Consider the type of vacation before you ever pack your gear.
I don't like to lug around gear I don't need, so before I pack I consider what types of photos I'll be taking while I'm on vacation. This year, animals and mountains are going to be the theme. Since I have no intention of getting up close and personal with a bear, I'll be taking both an extreme zoom lens for the animal photos and a wide-angle lens to capture the mountain ranges. When we went to Disney World a couple years ago, I got away with a simple all-purpose zoom (one lens, less weight and hassle).

2. Pack your gear like you pack your children.
Whether you have a $100 Polaroid camera or an expensive DSLR, pack your camera with care. A padded bag that includes space for your camera and all the accessories you want to tote with you is a no-brainer. My favorite for my DSLR is a padded backpack. I don't have to worry things are banging around and there's literally a customized spot for everything so I'm not searching for a camera card in another bag (Father's Day hint).

3. Make sure you're packing everything you need. This includes point-and-shoot cameras as well as DSLRs.

Checklist time:
Camera body

Lens cloth 
Multiple film/camera cards 
Batteries x2
Battery charger
Lenses (if applicable)
Flash (optional)

Camera strap (see additional discussion below)
A list/photo of everything packed in your camera bag (keep this separate from the bag)
 

4. Let's hop back to protection for just one minute. (This is directed at those of you with DSLRs. Feel free to skip if you don't have one.)
If you don't have a UV filter on the end of every single lens you own, get online and order one now! This extra layer of protection is simply a round piece of glass that screws onto the end of your lens. There's one for every size lens. It is a line of defense between the environment and your expensive lens. When I worked an 8 a.m.-5 p.m. job, I cracked several of these just banging around the camera during everyday use. Never once have I scratched or cracked a lens and I totally credit that to a piece of $5 glass that takes seconds to screw onto every lens I own. It's called cheap insurance. Can you still break a lens with this on? Yes, but you'd have to try really hard. 

5. Straps.
The easiest way to provide drop-proof protection is to secure your camera with a strap. Whether you are wearing it around your neck or slung across your shoulder, it's another line of defense against drops. Personally, I prefer a sling. One trip to the Magic Kingdom with a scratchy manufacturer's camera strap was a hard-learned lesson in what is and what isn't comfortable.

6. Heat.
Today's cameras are built tough, but they aren't indestructible and they aren't a fan of heat. You wouldn't leave your smartphone in a hot car, don't leave your camera in a hot car. Think of your camera as a fine-tuned computer and treat it accordingly. Another reason to take your camera inside is security or lack thereof. If I have my camera with me, I'm not worrying about its safety in the car.

Vacations are a time to have fun and make memories! Take loads of photos and make sure as "the family photographer," you actually get in a few frames.

Safe travels!


 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) flat rock gear illinois photography portrait robinson travel https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/6/traveling-with-camera-gear Thu, 15 Jun 2017 17:47:59 GMT
The tissue trick explained https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/5/the-tissue-trick-explained Who knew a tissue could cause such interest? Yet, after last week's Facebook Live video, I've had several people approach me about the subject.

If you haven't seen the video, the link is in last week's blog and also here.

https://www.facebook.com/danellehevronstudio/videos/1481853578512453/

I briefly mentioned someone once told me you could use a tissue as a diffuser to soften the light coming out of your on-camera flash. This morning, I decided to actually show what the tissue can do. The camera settings for each photo were exactly the same and, other than the Cheerios dust I removed from her lip, these photos are completely unedited. Sadly, it was a beautiful morning so this demo didn't turn out as dramatic as it could have been. If, however, you have ever tried taking a photo and your subjects are so dark you can't make out who they are, it's time to use that flash and grab a tissue.

The starting point: The first photo of Lindsey is with natural light taken early this morning. Nothing wrong with this photo, but had this been taken later in the day and I had not made appropriate adjustments, there is a good chance my camera would have tried to expose for the light background, leaving Lindsey completely in the dark.

To lighten her face, I popped up my camera's built-in flash for the photo below (check out your camera instructions to see how you can do this manually). Now, the photo looks flat. Shadows define a photo. Thanks to that flashlight burst coming out of my built-in flash, there are no shadows in the photo below. I need to make adjustments.  (I you take away one thing from today's blog, it's that you can use your flash during the day.)

Below is Lindsey with one layer of tissue covering the flash. This photo mimics the natural-light photo. It's a little more dramatic, definitely softer than the photo directly above and her skin tone is a little more in line with what my eyes actually saw (yes, she's a sunburned). Rather than blend into the background like in the original photo, in this photo, the side of her face is more defined. There is also more separation between her and the background. 

For fun, I doubled the tissue up for the last photo. This one looks even more like natural light with a little more separation from the background. She is starting to get darker than I like, however, so I know I may be pushing this tissue thing a little too far. I could easily fix this in post-production, but if I can do this in camera when I take the photo, I've just saved myself some time.

Below, is what the camera looks like when applying the tissue. A single layer is covering the flash. Easy.

It's amazing how different things can look when you simply manipulate the light coming out of that pop-up flash, and you aren't limited to a tissue. It's nice to know, in a pinch, something as simple as a tissue can produce results.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) diffuser facebook flat rock illinois photography portrait robinson tissue video https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/5/the-tissue-trick-explained Wed, 17 May 2017 17:35:05 GMT
Photographing Graduation: Live from Facebook https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/5/photographing-graduation-live-from-facebook Click here to view video

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/5/photographing-graduation-live-from-facebook Wed, 17 May 2017 15:52:16 GMT
Taking the guesswork out of Mother's Day gift-giving https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/5/taking-the-guesswork-out-of-mothers-day-gift-giving

Mother's Day used to sneak up on me every single year. Nestled in the busiest time of the year for our girls, the holiday always seemed to appear out of nowhere and I'd be scrambling to come up with a gift.

A few years ago, I finally decided to lump Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts in with Christmas. The gifts became bigger and the stress became less. But old habits die hard. I still have a hard time letting go of getting my mom at least a little something throughout the year - a souvenir from a short trip or a book I know she's been eyeing on my bookshelf.

With Mother's Day just around the corner, May 14, I thought I'd list a few ideas with those still trying to figure out what to give the person who gave you the ultimate gift - life. 

1. Time to herself. 
Grab the kids, Dad, and leave the house for a couple hours. The kids are wild this time of year. Sometimes, Mom just needs a couple hours of quiet.

2. Time out.
Call the babysitter and schedule a spontaneous date with your spouse. She picks the activity.

3. Family time.
Schedule a true family outing. Check out a local museum. Go to the park. Get outside and do something together.

4. Kitchen duty.
Kids and another adult cook dinner for mom and clean up the mess. Cleanup is the biggest gift here!

5. Movie time.
Rent a family movie, put on the popcorn, and enjoy a quiet afternoon.

6. Pick some wildflowers (from home) for mom.
Display them in a nice vase or a pretty teacup.

7. Day off.
Admittedly, I have the hardest time with this one. Mom is NOT allowed to lift a finger on Mother's Day. It will be harder for her than you.

8. Photo time.
How often is Mom actually IN a photo? Make it a priority today to get a snapshot with Mom and the kids in it.

 

If you feel like giving a tangible gift, here are a few more ideas.

1. Books.
Find a great book your mom will enjoy and then give her a little space for reading time.

2. Pampering
What mom doesn't want to escape for a quick local massage, pedicure or a bit of pampering? Schedule it or present a nicely wrapped gift card for services.

3. Hand-written notes.
Find some pretty stationery for mom to use for note-sending. Even better, write a few sentences about how grateful you are for all she does.

4. Wine.
If you have children, there is no explanation for this gift;)

5. Coffee fix.
We are so lucky to have an assortment of coffee shops in the Robinson area offering frothy caffeinated beverages. A gift card to one of these places offers Mom a quick guilt-free jolt to get her week going.

6. Cleaning service.
If Mom is falling a little behind in the housecleaning department, offer a little extra assistance (that can be you, another individual, or even a service).

7. Food service.
So many people I know are absolutely in love with online boxed food services offering recipes with all the ingredients straight to your doorstep. Fast, fresh food at its finest.

8. Professional family photos.
I'm listing this specifically for my mom who really wants a family photo. (I promise we'll get everyone together and get it scheduled.) Moms are proud of their families. I can't think of a better way to show them off.

There are so many things moms can use, but what they really want is your time and attention. Indulge them on May 14:) 

Happy Mother's Day!
 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) china classic flat rock flower illinois mother's day photography portrait robinson teacup https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/5/taking-the-guesswork-out-of-mothers-day-gift-giving Thu, 04 May 2017 13:30:00 GMT
Week 21: Bye-bye shadows https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/4/week-21-bye-bye-shadows

If you've ever committed yourself to a long-term project, you know how difficult follow-through can be. It's crazy how something so "fun" at the beginning can lose its luster several weeks in.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Photoshop World, a conference of everything photography. After three days of as many classes as I could mentally handle (and I can handle a lot), I came away with a lot of great information I'll be able to apply to my portrait photography as well as my photography business. One night as I was sitting in my hotel room mentally replaying the day's classes, I started thinking about the speakers and their passion for personal projects they've worked on. I thought about the weekly Shadowplay project - I'm just not into it anymore.

Time is short, and with summer rapidly approaching, it will also be at a premium. Therefore, I've decided to rededicated this blog to topics that are of more benefit to the reader. Of course, there will be photos to accompany the writing - just no more hiding in the shadows.

As an exit to this project, however, I'm posting some of the shadows I captured in Orlando. 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks flat rock illinois photography portrait robinson shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/4/week-21-bye-bye-shadows Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:43:20 GMT
Shadowplay Week 20: Golden shadows https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/4/shadowplay-week-20-golden-shadows

The sun has finally been out a few consecutive days, so I've been out and about looking for shadows. This photo was taken during golden hour.

So what is golden hour as far as photography? The down and dirty definition, according to Wikipedia, is "a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky."

So why is this period of time so special? Notice the warm, golden glow on the house. This is not the result of post-producing, but straight out of my camera.

I've discovered photographing shadows at this special hour also means blue-toned shadows, an added bonus.

If you want something to do on a lazy day this summer, pick a subject and photograph it at different times of the day. Compare the photos side-by-side and come to your own conclusion on when your subject looks the best.

It's a great exercise.

Be sure to grab your camera this weekend!

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks flat rock illinois photography portrait robinson shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/4/shadowplay-week-20-golden-shadows Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:15:38 GMT
Shadowplay Week 19: Peanuts https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/4/shadowplay-week-19-peanuts I was sitting at the girls' computer when I glanced out one of the bedroom windows and saw this image in the curtains.

My first thought was of Charlie Brown's shirt in the popular "Peanuts" cartoon. I knew I wanted to capture it.

I ran downstairs to grab my camera and was literally within seconds of missing the image. I love overcast days for photographing people, but for this shadow project, Illinois' unpredictable spring weather has been complicating things (well, the weather and our crazy schedules).

While you are out and about today, what shadows do you see? Do they remind you of anything from your childhood?

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks flat rock illinois photography robinson shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/4/shadowplay-week-19-peanuts Tue, 04 Apr 2017 16:27:28 GMT
Shadowplay Week 18: Play ball https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/3/shadowplay-week-18-play-ball

There's something to be said for test shots. In the process of setting up my camera to capture the ambient light (the sunset in this case), I was actually able to get a little more - a fun silhouette of Hunter.

You'd never know if from any of the photos I took of Hunter this particular day, but it was cold and I mean really cold. Hunter was wearing short sleeves and I was wearing a down jacket and gloves. Athletes are hard-core, no kidding.

Because of the temperature, we tried to keep things progressing. Below is a photo I captured of Hunter in the same location as above with my flash.

I'm thankful basketball season is still going on, but I'm looking forward to the warmer weather, sunshine and baseball season:)

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/3/shadowplay-week-18-play-ball Thu, 02 Mar 2017 15:46:35 GMT
Shadowplay Week 17: The Sun Always Sets https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/2/shadowplay-week-17-the-sun-always-sets

I love how the progression of the seasons allows us to appreciate nature at its finest. The morning and evening displays the last couple weeks have been particularly fantastic. We've been able to catch the sunrises before we get ready for school and the sunsets after dinner.

I definitely could have exposed this photo so you could make out the details in the trees and the field, but the silhouette draws more attention to the bigger picture - the beautiful colors of a Southern Illinois sunset. Every night should look just like this one.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/2/shadowplay-week-17-the-sun-always-sets Thu, 16 Feb 2017 16:50:24 GMT
Shadowplay Week 16: Illinois gators https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/2/shadowplay-week-16-illinois-gators Due to the recent string of cloudy days, I took to the studio to work on this week's Shadowplay. I moved various objects this way and that, close to the light and farther away. It was an excellent exercise. 

The results of the project, however, were waylaid this morning by a rare appearance of the sun.

I never really look for shadows while we are in the throes of getting ready for school. There just isn't time.

Luckily, this morning, I didn't have to look too far.

"Look at the alligator," Hannah informed me.

Puzzled at what she was talking about (I was in mom-mode, not photographer-mode at this hour), I glanced out the window to see what she was talking about it.

I've peered out that window thousands of times and never once have I noticed what I saw this morning - a shadowy alligator lurking in our pond.

We spent five minutes trying to figure out what was casting this sinister shadow as we were getting ready. Sadly, it disappeared before we had our answer.

We obviously need to get up earlier;)

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson Shadowplay photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/2/shadowplay-week-16-illinois-gators Thu, 09 Feb 2017 16:29:51 GMT
Shadowplay Week 15: Ladders https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/2/shadowplay-week-15

If you've driven on South Cross just past The Depot lately, you may have noticed some work being done on a property on the west side of the road. 

It isn't the property that catches my attention every time I journey into town. It's the precariously placed ladder on the roof. It makes my hands sweat just thinking about it.

Little did I know as I drove in my driveway this morning, it appears we have our own precariously placed rooftop ladder. 

It's been hidden for weeks, but today, with the sun out, it's in clear view.

It may just be a shadow but my hands are still sweating. Thankfully, no one will be climbing this one.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/2/shadowplay-week-15 Thu, 02 Feb 2017 16:26:42 GMT
Shadowplay Week 14: https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/1/shadowplay-week-14

It has been a super busy week, but I didn't want to neglect the Shadowplay project.

My kids really got into the whole flashlight project when our lights went out twice a week ago. I don't know if it was pure boredom on their part, or if they just thought it was fun.

After putting various toys, cooking utensils and anything else we could find on the flashlight surface, our youngest put her hand on it. We decided it looked a little like an X-ray. Oh the things we do for Mom's little project:)

Have a great Thursday!

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Shadowplay photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/1/shadowplay-week-14 Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:28:12 GMT
Shadowplay Week 13: Power Outage https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/1/shadowplay-week-13-power-outage

If you've ever had the pleasure of unexpectedly losing power to your home, you know how frustrating it can be.

With three kids 11 and under, it's a major inconvenience.

This has happened to us twice in less than a week, so when it went off last night we knew exactly where most of the flashlights were.

Over the weekend, we were lucky and the power returned shortly after the sun went down.

Last night, we weren't so lucky. Around 6 p.m., we were all suddenly sitting in the dark.

After being rescued from upstairs (no flashlights were there), we headed down to the family room.

We grabbed the flameless candles purchased after Christmas, a battery-operated lantern, and we lit several candles.

Thankfully, my husband bought a cool flashlight at a silent auction that has multiple bulbs. He sat it on the table in its stand and pointed it up at the ceiling. It was amazing how much light it projected. (Remind me to stop making fun of him for purchases which at the time make zero sense.)

After a couple drawing challenges, one of the girls sat the flashlight on the floor. It just so happened to catch a corner of the coffee table in its beam. We laughed at "Pac Man" and a new game was born.

We made all kinds of shadows in that beam. The multiple bulbs produced unexpected results as we put different toys, kitchen utensils, and whatever else we could find over it.

As the game dwindled, I looked at my watch. It was almost 9 p.m. and time to go to bed.

Forty-five minutes later, we had power again.

Game over.

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/1/shadowplay-week-13-power-outage Wed, 11 Jan 2017 16:08:22 GMT
Shadowplay Week 12: Mirrored doors https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/1/shadowplay-week-12-mirrored-doors

It's so hard to get back into the routine after the holidays, but I'm so glad to be finally getting there.

This photo was actually snapped just before winter break. I was heading toward the front door to check out the morning sunrise when my attention was averted to the studio door. I love how the sunlight beaming through our front door casts a mirror shadow on the boring interior door. 

I have to admit when I pulled the small version of this photo up on the computer after not having seen it for a couple weeks, my first thought was "why did I take a photo of the front door?" I suddenly remembered it was just the shadow.

Things aren't always what they seem.

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson lifestyle photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2017/1/shadowplay-week-12-mirrored-doors Thu, 05 Jan 2017 15:59:19 GMT
Shadowplay Week 11: Lights, camera, action https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/12/shadowplay-week-11-lights-camera-action I hate picking out light fixtures - or any home fixtures, for that matter. It's overwhelming and, to be honest, I'm just not that interested in it. 

All I know about light fixtures is that when I like something, I know it instantly. That was the case this weekend as I was finishing up a company Christmas party at Stoney Ridge Event Center south of Robinson, IL.

The first thing I noticed about this amber light was the feeling of warmth and coziness it created. It was cold that particular night, and the soft light served as a beacon of warmth.

And then there were those mesmerizing shadows. At first, they made me think of lighthouse glass, then slowly my mind found basketballs.

I love when I can find different forms in the shadows. It's easy to let your imagination run wild. Oddly, it's usually the most basic forms that create the most interesting shadows. People are a little like that, too:)

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/12/shadowplay-week-11-lights-camera-action Thu, 15 Dec 2016 17:26:19 GMT
Shadowplay Week 10: The Man in the Moon https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/12/shadowplay-week-10-the-man-in-the-moon

Earlier this fall, Hannah and I headed outside to catch a glimpse of a very cool Halloween-like moon.

Not being used to photographing the moon, it became playtime on the front porch.

I didn't feel like digging out the tripod for this impromptu session, so I relied on propping up the camera on my leg and then attempting to control my breathing so I didn't shake the camera during the exposure.

I found out a few things: if you don't have a tripod, you have to have a steady hand; you also have to understand how important it is to take a deep breath prior to photographing (breathing can cause shaking during the exposure) your image; and lastly, a tripod will save you more time and aggravation than you can believe.

I finally captured this image with the shadowy clouds surrounding the moon after numerous exposures featuring various states of stacking things to get the right camera angle. Sadly, I missed the spooky clouds directly in front of the moon because I didn't master my makeshift technique until they had already floated away.

Next time, I'll grab the tripod.

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/12/shadowplay-week-10-the-man-in-the-moon Thu, 08 Dec 2016 15:41:18 GMT
Shadowplay Week 9: Singled Out https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/11/shadowplay-week-9-singled-out After a two-week hiatus, the blog is back. Wow, the holidays have a way with throwing us off our routine.

I knew when I photographed the 2016 Robinson High School Color Guard camp, there would be ample opportunities for shadow photos. Upon seeking cool shadows, however, I noticed every time participants were gathered together, their shadows ended up looking like blobs (obviously, not what I had in mind).

Before leaving the clinic, I decided to get a clean shadow photo, I needed to pull one person out and focus on her shadow alone. Mission accomplished. Pulling out the main subject - now there's a good practice when taking any type of portrait.

Check out some of the shadows pictured. Many don't even look like their subjects. It seems like there is always something new to see in the shadows.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/11/shadowplay-week-9-singled-out Wed, 30 Nov 2016 23:46:19 GMT
Shadowplay Week 8: Window Decor https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/11/shadowplay-week-8-window-decor

I have a love-hate relationship with my office.

I love that I have the dedicated space set up just the way I like. I love that it has become my own little private getaway.

I hate that I have a hard time getting any work done at certain times of the day because, despite the curtains, the sun always seems to leak in. 

One day recently, I found the beams of light that found their way into the office particularly annoying. I was annoyed until I happened to look toward the bottom of the curtain to see the shadows of the flowers presenting themselves.

I was confused. We don't have flowers planted outside the office. I opened the curtain.

Tricky bushes;)

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock, Illinois Robinson photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/11/shadowplay-week-8-window-decor Thu, 10 Nov 2016 16:55:10 GMT
Shadowplay Week 7: The Sky's the Limit https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/11/shadowplay-week-7

The thing I love about the dark is that it really makes you appreciate the light.

Nearly every morning, I head to the front door shortly after I get ready to see the sunrise.

Some days, it's rainy and the show is dismal.

Other days, like this morning and also earlier this week, I get this brief blast of color.

While there's no denying the vibrant, beautiful colors in this photo, I've learned to look at the bigger picture the sunrise brings. 

There's something about the shadowy trees that intrigues me. In the morning, they frame the cemetery flag in the distance, seemingly ready to engulf it at any moment. During the day, however, the trees seem to let up on the lonely flag, protecting it from harm.

One thing about the sunrise, you never know where it is going to take you. Sometimes the show is quick and you don't get an opportunity to fully enjoy it. Other days, the sunrise enters in a subtle fashion and then slowly morphs into something spectacular like the photo above.

Life's a little like that.

Have a great week!

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 Flat Rock Illinois Robinson Shadowplay photography portrait weeks https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/11/shadowplay-week-7 Thu, 03 Nov 2016 16:03:25 GMT
Shadowplay Week 6: Castles in the Sky https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/10/shadowplay-week-6-castles-in-the-sky

It's amazing what you see when you open your eyes and your mind to new ideas.

When I started this project several weeks ago, I never realized how it would affect my "vision".

At the beginning of the project, I first looked for bright objects then forced myself to look beyond the light at the shadows and how interesting they can be.

Now I find myself doing the opposite - seeing an interesting shadow and trying to figure out what is creating it.

Case in point, one random school day I was picking up backpacks in the kitchen and noticed a "castle" on the pavers. 

I've never noticed the castle before, and it took me a minute to figure out what was creating the image - the porch handrail.

We've lived in our house nearly 10 years, yet this little gem has escaped me and I know it's been there the entire time.

I can't wait to see what else I discover on my journey through the shadows. Hope you're along for the ride.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52-week Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait project shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/10/shadowplay-week-6-castles-in-the-sky Thu, 27 Oct 2016 20:26:17 GMT
Shadowplay Week 5: A Glimpse into the Future https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/10/shadowplay-week-5-a-glimpse-into-the-future

Kids always seem to be fascinated by shadows, and ours are no exception.

Our youngest likes to manipulate her shadow so she looks taller than everyone else in our family:)

It's all in good fun.

Recently, she wanted me to take photos of her on our front porch. I was happy to have an eager model for my Shadowplay project. 

As she danced across the porch, I directed my attention from my carefree child to her shadow. What I saw made me a little sad. My "little girl" is transformed into a "big girl" in the shadows.

Take a minute today to appreciate your children at their current ages. Time passes too quickly.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait shadowplay weeks https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/10/shadowplay-week-5-a-glimpse-into-the-future Thu, 13 Oct 2016 01:55:49 GMT
Shadowplay Week 4: Take Me to Church https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/10/shadowplay-week-4-take-me-to-church

In preparation for a wedding I was documenting last month, I took an early visit to the Evangelical Methodist Church in Oblong, Ill., for some test images.

Upon my arrival, I met the Rev. Jim Williams who gave me a guided tour. After a great conversation about the church membership and his journey to this beautiful church, he gave me free reign to explore with my camera.

If you've never been in the stately church, it's absolutely beautiful and full of vivid stained-glass windows which accent the dark wood balconies, staircases, and trim.

​Stained glass windows can be a challenge to photograph at 2 p.m. on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. The light streams in hot and fast through the windows and can easily wash out all the details if you don't have the proper camera settings. In this case, the windows weren't my main focus (the shadow on the pulpit was). Had I been photographing this for the windows, my camera settings would have been different.

In my quest to find proper lighting and exposure for my upcoming event, I ended up with some images perfectly fitting the 52-week Shadowplay project.

As an added bonus, the stained glass gave my project tinted shadows.

I love the subtle color on the pulpit and in some of the other photos I made that day. Had the lights in the church been on, I would have lost this.

It's fun to play in the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52-week Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait project shadowily https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/10/shadowplay-week-4-take-me-to-church Wed, 05 Oct 2016 15:21:30 GMT
Shadowplay: The Human Body https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/9/shadowplay-the-human-body

The human body is an amazing thing.

It's capable of bending, breaking, mending.

After taking an extended break from yoga, a friend suggested I take one of Jana's yoga flow classes.

I didn't realize how much I missed it. 

The class is mentally and, at times, physically challenging. It requires complete focus to work through the poses, the stretches. It's awesome to successfully complete - or even get close - to a pose you've been working on.

Everyone works at their own skill level, and there's no judgment. I leave the class feeling strong and healthy.

I knew I wanted to do a photo like this for a long time. I just needed a good subject who could convey peacefulness and strength.

One night at yoga, it hit me. Thankfully, Jana was willing to help out.

I actually did two images with Jana in this pose. The first one, I lit the front of her face. I loved the photo, but it didn't have the feel of this one.

Peace and strength.

May we all find both:)

Note: If you are interested in Jana's yoga classes, "like" her YogaFlow Facebook page. Classes meet at New Breed Athletics in Robinson, Illinois.

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait weeks yoga https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/9/shadowplay-the-human-body Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:43:20 GMT
Shadowplay: Cityscape https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/9/shadowplay-cityscape It's amazing the things you see in your own house.

I wasn't even thinking about the Shadowplay project when I caught this out of the side of my eye.

After taking in the scene for a minute, I decided to move some items around to create the photo above.

When playing with the shadows, I'm learning item placement is key but it also involves thinking backward. I have to look at the shadow while I create, rather than the products I'm using to create the scene. Lining up the items in a perfect row for this shadow didn't look at all like a city.

Talk about messing with your head:)

Below is the assortment of bath products used to create my cityscape. Disorderly equals creativity. I can live with that.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/9/shadowplay-cityscape Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:06:39 GMT
Shadowplay: A new 52-week project begins https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/9/shadowplay-a-new-52-week-project-begins

I still remember our house on Division Road in Southern Indiana.

As I'd slink into bed every evening, my attention would immediate focus on the light fixture over my bed.

The fixture itself was nothing out of the norm - a perfect circle with an opaque glass covering snug to the ceiling. 

But once the house lights went out for bedtime and the hall light just outside my door came on, the magic happened. My boring 1970s light, turned into something magical - a spaceship.

I remember countless nights staring at that shadow playfully stretching across my bedroom ceiling. Often, I'd create adventures about it until I nodded off to sleep.

The next morning, my rocket would be gone, launching itself into the night and leaving my boring white light fixture once again.

I've always been fascinated by the transformative powers of shadows - they can turn a short person tall, a friendly face sinister, and a light fixture into a rocket.

I'd been thinking about another 52-week photo project and though this wasn't the first thing that popped into my mind, it kept lingering there.

Photographers are constantly drilled about "finding the light."

Why not try the opposite?

This project, which I'll blog about weekly, is all about shadows. Post-processing on this project will be minimal. It's all about seeing things in a different way.

Here we go!

 

Week #1 - Music

I was outside picking up, and the grill rack was unexplicably on the ground. As I picked it up, I noticed its shadow looked a little like a musical staff.

The wheels started to turn. What could I do to tweak the shadow and turn it into something even more recognizable?

I tore some slender leaves from a bush next to the grill, added some felt furniture pads for my musical notes and laid my "art" in the path of the sun. (below)

The final product is at the top of the post - "Music in the Hevron Driveway "- #bliss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) 52 weeks Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait shadowplay https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/9/shadowplay-a-new-52-week-project-begins Wed, 14 Sep 2016 15:25:51 GMT
Caught without a recent family photo: Our road to redemption https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/9/caught-without-a-recent-family-photo-our-road-to-redemption  

No words can truly describe the awful quality of this smartphone photo. Yet, due to Mom's lack of motivation as far as having family photos done on a regular basis, our youngest had the distinct honor of taking it to school this week. It was truly a parent fail - hilarious, but a fail. (We were all smiling, do we get points for that?)

I'll be the first to admit, we were so excited for our youngest to head off to school. 

We bought her a new backpack and coordinating lunchbox and sent her on her way.

And then, the first week of school, her homework assignment sent me into a panic.

As part of her first project, she was asked to bring back a sheet of paper that included the following: My Favorite Toy, My Favorite Place, My Favorite Color, My Family.

Yikes! My brain started to race as I tried to mentally recall the last time we had a photo of all of us taken.

I had to dig, dig really far back.

As I was lamenting the fact it had been "awhile" since we had a photo taken, my husband suggested we use the family photo we have displayed in our house.

I gave him my best side-eye as I explained Caitlin was still in diapers at the time the photo was taken.

OUCH!

It was then that the repeated suggestions by one of our older girls resonated in my head. "We should take a new family photo." "When are we going to take a new family photo."

This particular day, I now remembered every one of those conversations. Three years later, we still hadn't acted on her idea.

Had it truly been that long since we sat for a family photo? Apparently so.

Immediately, I started scoping out the external drives for Christmas photos, Easter photos, vacation photos, anything. I found a workable family photo, but the most recent one I could locate was taken in 2014. Caitlin would have been only 3.

What happened to the times when we did a family portrait every year? Has our family really become so busy that things like documenting our family together no longer matter? Does it take a kindergarten assignment to bring us back to reality?

Knowing the project was due at the end of this week, we did what any panicking parents would do - we dug out the selfie stick and planted ourselves on the sofa.

I know what you're thinking. Why didn't you just set up a tripod and timer and take a professional photo yourself?

I've found to get a decent photo of our family, they need human interaction - or apparently a selfie stick. (We've done the tripod setup once. I can still see Caitlin standing next to the tripod with her back to the family in protest as we tried in earnest to coax her into the frame. It was a "never again" moment.)

So for this particular assignment, the impromptu photo at the top of this post, featuring Caitlin as the photobomber, will have to make the grade.

I'm not sure who learned more this first week of school - Caitlin or us.

And yes, we will make it a point to have a real family photo taken this year - minus the selfie stick.

Time is just moving too quickly not to.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson family photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/9/caught-without-a-recent-family-photo-our-road-to-redemption Thu, 01 Sep 2016 19:40:51 GMT
Finding treasures in unexpected places https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/8/finding-treasures-in-unexpected-places

It's 3 a.m. Illinois time and I'm tired. I mean really tired.

It's Friday morning and I've already promised our two oldest we'd make our annual journey.

We're not going somewhere exotic, just treasure-hunting in Southern Indiana.

It's an annual event. Sometimes we hit it big. Other times, we come home completely empty-handed.

I have no idea what is in store for us this visit. I just know it's really early and I'm dying for a cup of coffee.

We get dressed quickly and hop into the vehicle. We stayed with the grandparents so we didn't have to drive so far this morning.

The grandparents and little sister are now snug in bed. I'm totally jealous but excited for our little hunt.

Arriving at our destination, we stand in line with everyone else waiting for the local band fund-raiser to open at 4 a.m. Illinois time at the local fairgrounds. There will be new furniture, upholstered chairs, kitchen cabinets and such (we won't know until the big garage doors open), as well as flea market finds in the adjacent building.

As we stand, I'm running through a possible checklist in my mind of things I want for the studio - cozy chairs, unique props. I can still vividly see the red fainting couch that got away a few years ago in this very building. I just didn't see it fast enough. At $15, it was one of the first things to disappear. 

Other sales have netted us some great items: a new queen-sized bed frame, a new navy ottoman (pictured), stools, and plenty of craft items for the girls.

As the doors open, the girls lead the way. We know the drill and walk past all the kitchen cabinets without so much as a glance. We aren't here for those today.

Heading back to the upholstered chairs, Hannah immediately spots a navy toile wing-back. The chair is beautiful, but the price is a little more than I want to spend for such a specific pattern. We move on. 

Realizing we aren't having any luck, we head to the next building where Lindsey quickly finds a figurine. 

We head to the next building - no luck.

We head to the fourth building. The price is right but the color scheme isn't.

We repeat all the buildings and pick up another figurine for Lindsey. 

We've spent $2 and the gas it took to get here.

Forty-five minutes later, at 4:45 a.m., we're back in the car.

I text my husband about the two figurines. His response - "OMG."

Tired, we run past the bagel place and pick up a dozen tasty treats.

I hate when we can't find anything. The girls hate it more.

Not willing to admit defeat, (we drove to Indiana specifically for this sale), I have my mom watch the girls in the afternoon and I strike out on my own to search for props. 

Visits to local stores don't bring much luck. I see my infamous red couch in white and had this one been red, it would now be sitting in the studio.

I visit shop and after shop after shop. Just before calling it a day, I hit this out-of-the-way place I've been to before. It was a total crapshoot.

Two huge rolls of upholstery fabric later, I'm not feeling quite so defeated. I've spent a whopping $3 and change. It's a bargain and I see endless uses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will we return next year for another sale? Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/8/finding-treasures-in-unexpected-places Wed, 10 Aug 2016 15:38:30 GMT
Back to School: Tips for improving "first day" photos https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/8/back-to-school-tips-for-improving-first-day-photos

I am already mentally preparing myself for that first day.

Despite planning the night before, that morning will be rough.

We'll rush around the house, trying to get ourselves ready in a timely fashion. My normally calm voice will suddenly take on the tone of an impatient drill sergeant as I constantly glance at my watch and the time quickly ticks by.

Once the final bowl of Cheerios is gone and the backpacks are packed, I'll grab my camera and the eye rolling will begin.

What would the first day of school be like without a "first day" photo?

Every year, we go through the ritual. 

When the girls were little, they were thrilled to step in front of the camera. Not so much now. However, thanks to our agreeable youngest, the oldest begrudgingly agree to participate.

I'll take the obligatory first day photo and we'll head off to school.

By the end of the day, my Facebook feed will be filled with the smiling faces of the children I see regularly and those I only see on occasion. Many will have grown what seems like 6 inches since I last saw them.

In light of this annual ritual, I thought I'd share some simple ways to improve those first day photos. The best part is that they are all free.

1. Set your camera out the night before.
The first day tends to sneak up on us and in our quest to have lunch prepared, clothes picked out and everything else ready, it's easy to forget about taking the first day photo. Make sure you have your camera battery charged, loaded and in a convenient location so you are ready to take the image before heading to school.

2. Make sure your child's back is to the sun.
If they are facing the sun, there's a good chance they will be squinting. Your photo may also be slightly overexposed.

3. Declutter your background.
The focus should be on your child, not the car in the driveway (or if you're inside, the dishes on the counter...lol). Remove anything that will distract the viewer from the subject (your child). If you can't do that, move your child or get at a higher or lower angle when you take the photo.

4. Turn on your flash. 
A flash on a sunny day? Sadly, your camera wants to expose for the brightest thing in your photo (the sun) which means if you don't use a flash as a fill light, your children will be dark like in the photo below . Even point-and-shoot cameras usually have an option to manually turn on the flash, so does your phone. The photo at the top of the post? An on-camera flash. It's a little thing that makes a huge difference.

5. Don't expect perfection.
As much as I love taking first day photos, I realize the girls are all a little anxious about meeting their new teachers and seeing who is in their class. They aren't as relaxed as usual and the photos usually show it. I'm not aiming for a Pulitzer, I'm just documenting a time in their life. It goes by quickly.

*Note: Is last year's photo perfect? No. I literally had about 5 minutes to get this image made. Had I more time, I would have put the girls at the bottom of the steps and shot down to crop out the driveway in the back. I would have done some post-processing ... I would have... I would have.... Reread #5 and have an awesome year!

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson children photography portrait school teens https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/8/back-to-school-tips-for-improving-first-day-photos Thu, 04 Aug 2016 13:03:50 GMT
Photos and preteens: Why your preteen is rebelling against the camera? https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/6/photos-and-preteens-why-your-preteen-is-rebelling-against-the-camera

If you have a tween, a child between 9 and 12, you know how hard it can be to get him or her in front of a camera.

At our house, the gamut of excuses is fast and furious the minute the camera comes out.

"I have nothing to wear."

"My hair doesn't look good today." 

"I'm busy."

"I'm not doing it if she (her sister) is doing it."

My favorite yesterday was "You can take my picture, but don't get my face in it at all." 

It's enough to make any mother run for the hills.

So what's going on with our tweens and what do they have against photos right now?

It's actually pretty simple.

 

Change. Our tweens recently experienced huge growth spurts. We've been in one size, had to go up a size, and then back down a size. One daughter has moved into the world of junior-sized clothing, most of which is a little too revealing for her taste. No one is comfortable in their clothes right now, let alone their own skin. No one wants to feel "different," yet that's exactly where we are. YIKES!

Fear. We have tried to mentally prepare our children for puberty and what it brings. (Getting them to refer to it as anything other than the "P word" right now is out of their grasp.) Again, there is a big fear of the physical changes coming, as well as the social changes. Friends have shifted. School will be different in the fall as they start rotating teachers. They are also starting to understand the bigger picture (what is going on in the world) and that is highly disturbing to both of them. Ignorance is truly bliss.

Acceptance. This is a big one, and social media be damned. Comments, followers, ugh, it all plays into this new need for acceptance from peers, both face-to-face as well as online. It's amazing how tweens who won't have their photo taken will spend a good amount of time perfecting a selfie or a music.ly video for their friends to see. They want acceptance and they want to control how they are perceived.

 

As much as I hate to observe what is going on in our house, I totally get it. I have a fourth-grade photo I'd like to go away permanently. (I'd have included it, but I couldn't find it....darn)

So what do you do when your child hits the "awkward stage" and you're dying for a photo of your tween? 

Just a few ideas.

 

1. Schedule a session just for them.
Tweens secretly want to be the center of attention. Who doesn't? Don't rely on a school yearbook photo to capture this time in their lives (trust me, they will want to burn their yearbook later). Schedule a solo session with a professional photographer. Let them bring their own props and involve them in the planning process.

2. Talk to your photographer prior to the session.
Discuss any issues your child may be self-conscious about. You'd be amazed what can be done with posing - and editing software - to hide real and conceived flaws. It also helps when the photographer knows a little something about your tween (their interests, etc.) in advance. You'd be amazed how tweens will open up to someone who shows an interest in them and their hobbies.

3. Build excitement by getting your tween involved in the planning stage.
If you want to do a family photo, talk to your tween about how important it is to you and how fun it will be. Give him or her a chance to offer input. Tweens are maturing and they want to be involved in the big decisions. Here's one case where it's totally acceptable. When families work together, everyone gets excited. 

4. Patience and timing.
As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes you can ride out a phase or simply approach your tween with something at the right time for the desired outcome. I'm admittedly no expert on tweens, but I have found there is a certain skill I'm developing as far as timing. Play their mood.

 

I'm told tweens eventually grow out of this stage, and I'm patiently awaiting the day their current insecurities are well behind them. For now, I'm happy with those moments when "the walls" come down temporarily and the camera is ready to capture it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait preteen tween https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/6/photos-and-preteens-why-your-preteen-is-rebelling-against-the-camera Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:59:45 GMT
Taking the drama out of dressing the family for group photos https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/6/taking-the-drama-out-of-dressing-the-family-for-group-photos It's family photo time.

You've scheduled the appointment.

You've given the family the head's up and now you're forced with the biggest challenge of all - figuring out what everyone is going to wear.

If you're like me, this is where the stress begins. I like color - lots of color! Unfortunately, so do our three girls.

Over the years, I'm always impressed by my family clients who have absolutely nailed coordinating outfits for photos.

Looking at some of my favorites, I noticed a few common threads (note the pun).

Here are just a few ideas for outfitting the family for your next photo session.

1. Start with black (or even gray) as a base color. 
Not only is black slimming but with the simple addition of a solid bright scarf here or solid color top there, everyone seems pulled together. It doesn't get any easier than this. They key to making this work is keeping patterns to a minimum, which these guys totally nailed.

 

2. Pick one outfit and build around it.
This is actually my favorite technique, especially when you have a family member who is ultra picky about what they wear. Let them be the base. I'm sure Morgan (the young girl with the striped sweater) more than likely is not the picky dresser in this photo, but notice how everyone coordinates with her outfit. If they don't pull directly from her orange, yellow or off-white sweater or brown boots, they blend seamlessly by wearing neutrals like soft browns and black. Perfection! Note how all patterns are fairly small.

 

3. Monochromatic with a twist.
Don't be afraid to go all one color like the Housers, but feel free to add in some brown textures and patterns for fun. This just screams autumn. The subtle patterns, note I said subtle, work together. Larger patterns would fight for attention.

 

4. Pick three basic colors.
The Adams family has this down pat. Courtney's plaid shirt is the perfect base here - it includes pink, blue and a little white/light gray. The rest of the family just had to follow suit. Easy.

 

5. The color wheel.
Remember your grade school art class and basic color theory using the color wheel? Complementary colors, colors opposite each other on the color wheel (like orange and blue pictured here), create maximum contrast. Check out the graphic below. Find your favorite color and draw a diagonal line for maximum punch.

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Robinson family photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/6/taking-the-drama-out-of-dressing-the-family-for-group-photos Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:55:18 GMT
Pulling the trigger on vacation photos https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/5/pulling-the-trigger-on-vacation-photos

So I finally decided to pull the trigger - and, relatively speaking, it was a little costly.

We had been planning our Walt Disney World trip for almost a year. The condo was booked nine months out. I snatched the coveted character dinner reservations at 180 days out. I got up at midnight every night for a week to book FastPasses at 30 days out. By April 22, we were totally prepped and ready to go.

During the planning phase, I glanced at the advanced MemoryMaker package, Disney's photo service that captures you and your loved ones with characters, on rides and at various locations in the park.

Notice, I said "I glanced."

At $149, the price seemed a little steep at the time, especially after paying five-day park admission for four adults (10-year-olds pay adult admission) and one child. 

My cart went without the MemoryMaker package.

We went on the trip at the end of April. Every day we were in a Disney park - and that was five days - I found myself dragging my camera.

I had prepped the digital monster, stripping off the hand grip and selecting a lightweight lens that would fulfill all my travel needs. I left home anything I felt would be too heavy to carry.

During the days in the park, I didn't mind capturing our youngest child's moments with her favorite Disney characters or the iconic Disney castle. We'd even rented a double stroller so there was ample room to put the camera in our bag when it wasn't in use.

I couldn't imagine NOT taking it to any of the parks. I might miss a moment.

The trip was wonderful and I looked forward to culling the images I had taken during its duration.

Once we arrived home, however, I made a startling discovery - apparently our children had made the journey on this wonderful trip alone.

Photos of kids and scenery - 300+

Photos of dad - 1 (test shot)

Photos of mom - 0 (not even an elbow)

In our quest to beat the long ride lines, take in all the sights, and make our FastPass times, we completely neglected to get in a photo.

I suddenly flashed back to the friendly Disney cast members scanning our MagicBands after taking photos and the screens showing our ride photos.

I found myself scanning the Disney website in search of the elusive parents who accompanied our children on vacation.

I  was shocked at what I saw.

In the Hevron Disney gallery were more than 280 photos - several with my husband and I in them. We are in ride photos and I'm even in some character photos. 

I selectively chose which photos to purchase to prove our children do indeed have parents. At nearly $15 per photo download, I kicked myself for not buying the MemoryMaker photo package in advance. My after-the-fact shopping cart showed $119.60.

I could have gone ahead and purchased the post-trip group of downloads for $169, but several of the photos were character duplicates (our youngest visited the same characters repeatedly). I had already taken those photos myself.

What can I say, I bit the bullet and hit the "submit order" button for my eight ride photos, gritting my teeth the entire time.

Photos now downloaded and issue over, we've since discussed the Disney photo package. This definitely would have been the year the MemoryMaker prepurchase would have made sense for our family. I wouldn't have had to worry about lugging around the camera, our youngest wouldn't have been looking at two different cameras trying to figure out who was photographing her during character stops, and I wouldn't have had to repeatedly fight the ordering system (there were a few glitches getting the cart to work) trying to get these eight downloads ordered within 45 days after the trip.

We'll return to Disney in the next five years but things will be different next time. The kids will be older and they won't care about character meet-and-greets, character meals, or being photographed. They will just want to have fun.

The camera may stay at home next time.

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson candids event photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/5/pulling-the-trigger-on-vacation-photos Wed, 18 May 2016 15:41:56 GMT
Adding pizzaz to family photos with the Hawkins - 2015 https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/5/adding-pizzaz-to-family-photos-with-the-hawkins---2015 Spring is in the air, and tomorrow I'll be tromping around Marathon's Neal Pit to tag along with area students in their exploration of nature.

One person I always look forward to seeing at the biannual event is Marathon employee Susan Hawkins.

Our paths have been crossing since our children attended the same day care as infants. They are all now fourth-graders!

When Susan contacted me last winter to take advantage of the studio's Christmas card sessions, I was thrilled - not just because it was great to see her and little Jack (who isn't little anymore) again, but because I knew it would be fun. That's just the way their family is.

They didn't disappoint.

We headed out to the barn for some casual outdoor image.

Their interactions were great. Their smiles were easy.

But something seemed a little off.

Then, Susan pulled out a large pile of colorful holiday hats. It struck me like a lightning bolt. 

Any family can pull off traditional, but this family is so full of personality I'd set my expectations high. It just took a few fun hats for the personalities to spill out. When they did, any nerves dissipated and the full picture unveiled itself.

These were the people I knew! Comical, silly and full of personality. 

The last half of the session everyone laughed, especially me. They were more comfortable, more at ease.

If any single photo celebrated the holiday season to me this year, it was the one they chose for their Christmas card (at the top of this post). It just oozes holiday spirit and it is totally them.

I know this post may seem off for May but there are actually a number of items to be learned from it as this year's busy season begins.

1. When you prepare to be photographed, try to stay relaxed.
Formal photos are wonderful and they definitely have their place. That being said, so do fun photos. Why not consider both options?

2. Dress "you" and be "you".
I was super guilty of not doing this before getting into the photography business. We did the whole gamut of getting our kids dressed to the nines for photos only to have them totally miserable because they didn't like what they were wearing (concessions had to be made to make everyone coordinate). My favorite photo of our girls (a 24x30-inch canvas no less) is actually a casual photo of them. It is totally them - from their facial expressions to their attire. The Gap is fashionable, right?

3. Adjust your perspective. 
Go into a photo session with the right attitude. It's going to be fun. You're going to have a great time. It isn't going to hurt, I promise. And as an added bonus, you're going to have photos to remember how much fun you had.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson family lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/5/adding-pizzaz-to-family-photos-with-the-hawkins---2015 Wed, 11 May 2016 15:32:36 GMT
Photographing your children's events https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/4/photographing-your-childrens-events

It’s April.

If you have children or grandchildren in school that means your calendar is more than likely jam-packed with end-of-the-year concerts, recitals, prom, awards ceremonies, graduation.

It’s hard to stay on top of it all, and even harder to document sometimes.

In light of the busy season, today’s blog is full of some quick tips to help you make the most of photographing those end-of-the-year events.

A week ago, we gathered the family, including grandparents, and headed to the grade school spring concert. Of course, I knew I wanted to document the performance so I started out by getting some general information from the kids.

Rule No. 1: If your child is a performer or seated in of an audience, find out where. I tend to sit on the same side the kids are on so I can get a close image. That means staking out your seat early. When picking out your seat, it’s also important to know the limitations of your gear (Rule No. 2).

Rule No. 2: Know the limitations of your gear. I waited until a few minutes before the students were filing in and then took a few test images of the stage so I could figure out exactly how to adjust my camera for the light. The auditorium stage at this event was pretty dark (photo, right). If you are armed only with a pop-up flash on your camera and you are seated at the back of an auditorium, know your flash won’t reach your target on the stage. Practice makes perfect.

Rule No. 3: Try to get a clear shot at your target. Again that means going to the venue earlier than the average Joe to capture a prized aisle seat.  Sometimes even that doesn’t help.  From my vantage point at this concert, one of our girls was partially obscured by the director (photo, left). There wasn’t much I could do other than move myself or time my photos so I had a clear line of vision. The aisle seat also didn’t help me this time because of where my subjects were located on the stage (I had an open view of one but not the other) which meant I was shooting over the people in front of me. Yes, there are some heads in the shots and yes, they will be cropped out later.

Rule No. 4: Realize there may be “hot spots” on the stage (Siana, photo, below), areas where the lighting is super strong. You have a couple choices here. You can make adjustments in your camera so you don’t overexpose your subject, or you can wait until your subject is no longer in the “hot spot” to photograph them.

Rule No. 5:  Patience. Don’t give up if you aren’t getting the images you want during the performance. Yes, photographing these events can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t get exactly the shots you want. Thankfully, most venues take into account you will want great photos of your child and they allow you to photograph your child after the event. Then you can choose a perfectly lit spot with no obstructions.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson children event photography seniors https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/4/photographing-your-childrens-events Wed, 20 Apr 2016 19:37:57 GMT
Limited edition session with the Murphy family https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/4/limited-edition-session-with-the-murphy-family

I love the holidays.

They mean smiling faces, holiday decorations, and friends and family.

Last December, I decided to host abbreviated sessions to allow families to get that all-important holiday photo taken for cards or gift-giving.

One outfit, 15 to 20 minutes. Perfect for families to get in and out with little to no pain.

I knew it would be a little bit stressful for me trying to get smiling shots for each participating family in a short amount of time. Compare it to a blind date - if there isn't an almost instant connection, there's a whole lot of awkward.

Lucky for me, the first limited session of the season was Veronica, Cody and Rylee.

I'd never formally met Veronica and Cody until the day of their session, but I'd seen Veronica repeatedly on my emergency runs to town for forgotten items.

In tow was baby Rylee who was initially pretty leary of a stranger waving a large contraption (the camera) in front of her face.

We started with some family images which quickly settled her. She started smiling.

Then we decided to pull Rylee aside for some solo images. She wasn't so sure about that.

After a short warming up period with mom and me quickly pulling out all every stop, noise, and stunt we knew, Rylee started to smile again and even giggled.

I love the images we came up with in a very short amount of time and the fun we had making them.

I see photos of Rylee now and even though their session wasn't that long ago, she's grown a ton. I'm sure her family captured many images of her during the holidays. Someday, Rylee will look back and enjoy every one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois children family photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/4/limited-edition-session-with-the-murphy-family Wed, 13 Apr 2016 15:26:50 GMT
RHS cheer squad 2016 https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/3/rhs-cheer-squad-2016 I have to admit, there was a time I really wanted to be a cheerleader. 

Who wouldn't?

Confession: I even tried out for my middle school squad. 

I can still remember standing in front of the judges thinking "what in the world am I doing here?"

A gangly soft-spoken sixth-grader with zero tumbling skills, I was a sure bet for the squad - or not.

I think the realization hit me right as the judges directed me to begin the first cheer.

I didn't make the squad that day - or ever - but I'm still awed by those who do.

Defying gravity. 

Rousing crowds numbering in the hundreds.

That is impressive.

What's more impressive is not only do these young women support their fellow athletes, but they also dedicate time perfecting their own sport.

There's more to it than just cheering. They all tumble, they move in unison, they chant in unison.

It's a team effort.

Would a ball game have the same "feel" without them cheering on the sidelines?

I've had the opportunity to work with this particular group of young women more than once. They are some of the nicest, most well-rounded people you'll ever meet. 

Pick up the local newspaper and you'll find their names on the honor roll, competing on athletic and academic teams, and involved in their community, church, and other high school club activities.

They set a great example for young girls with their dedication and commitment.

Next time you see one of the girls in the photo above, thank them for their effort. They truly deserve the honor.

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson groups high school photo photography portrait teens https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/3/rhs-cheer-squad-2016 Wed, 30 Mar 2016 15:30:42 GMT
Split senior sessions - Duncan Round 2 https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/3/split-senior-sessions If someone said "quick, pick your favorite season," I'm sure I'd stutter.

They each have their pros and cons.

Winter - The snow creates a beautiful winter wonderland but the wind can be biting.

Spring - Everything is blooming but it can be totally unpredictable. Warm one day, cold the next.

Summer - Long days and beautiful sunsets. In the Midwest, however, that can mean hot and humid.

Autumn - Beautiful color but that and the temperature can turn quickly.

I photographed Duncan's first session at the end of June. The weather was perfect for photos outside. We hit up Duncan's favorite haunts - the tennis court, the Robinson High School track, and various other locations.

As we talked, however, I discovered he's a hunter. Summer isn't "in season" for anything around here so we decided to split his session, doing part in June and finishing up in November as hunting season was under way.

I actually love splitting senior sessions. It gives the senior a chance to be photographed in activity-appropriate weather.

When Duncan arrived for his second session in November, the weather and natural backdrop didn't disappoint. 

It was just as pleasant outside this time, but the game had changed a little. The leaves were no longer green, but instead vibrant orange, yellow and red. The sun was more golden than it had been back in June.

Both sessions had something to offer and both were completely different. 

If you love several seasons, a split season session may be something to consider. The results can be amazing.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson family photo photography portrait senior https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/3/split-senior-sessions Wed, 23 Mar 2016 18:17:10 GMT
Celebrating Cheer - Kalee 2016 https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/3/celebrating-cheer---kalee-2016 I love it when high school seniors share ideas for their sessions.

Sometimes clients just know what they like and what they want, and that's what I try to create.

I completely get that.

In some regards, clients with ideas make my job easy. On the other hand, it also creates a fair amount of stress on my end to deliver what they envision.

I'd photographed Kalee in July in a beautiful patch of Southern Illinois sunflowers. It was an ideal evening. The weather was perfect. There was a slight breeze. The site she had picked out was a dream. Despite me losing my footing by the lake and nearly making my own splash, I couldn't have asked for more. Days like that in Southern Illinois can be few and far between.

When I was contacted again in late October to do some cheerleading photos for Kalee, I was nervous about the weather, which in Southern Illinois is completely unpredictable.

We met at Robinson High School. It was a mild evening, but it certainly wasn't July anymore. The leaves crunched on the ground beneath my feet and that "you know it's almost winter" chill was already in the air.

Kalee, however, was prepared. She had several ideas in mind, and we were able to quickly bang through her list.

Because of the chill, and the fact that Kalee was dressed in her cheer uniform, I tried to keep us moving from site to site so we'd stay warm. It wasn't freezing outside, just uncomfortable.

Kalee was game.

There are several images that stand out in my mind from her session, but it's the image of her doing a back handspring that was the most fun for me to photograph. It was the only image we truly had to "plan" out.

Kalee had wanted a photo of her flipping over the 50-yard line, so placement of her and where the flash should be was fairly easy with a few minor adjustments. Assessing the background was a no-brainer - to the west was a parking lot and to the east was the press box and bleachers.

​We set up the poms and put Kalee into position.

Now all I had to do was time the image to capture Kalee arching perfectly over the 50-yard line.

​It took a couple attempts to capture her at just the right moment. Thankfully, she's a great tumbler so she was willing to repeat the action so we could get it just right.

I remember looking in the viewfinder and seeing this shot right after I took it. The human body and its capabilities never cease to amaze me.

I'm always up for a challenge and even now when I look at the photo, I see there are things I might have adjusted here and there. It's still, however, one of my favorite senior images this year. 

Special thanks to Kalee and her mom for the privilege!

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson high school senior photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/3/celebrating-cheer---kalee-2016 Wed, 16 Mar 2016 15:36:18 GMT
Family matters - Richart https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/3/family-matters---richart

It's no secret. I am - and have always been - smitten by family portraits.

There's just something about getting Mom and Dad together with their children and grandchildren that gives me the "feels."

Last fall, I did a session with the Richart family, and it was all about family fun and "the feels."

We met at Mike and Jodie's home one beautiful autumn evening for photos around the pond.

If you've ever tried to try to juggle the schedules of your children and their growing children, you understand what a feat it must have been to get this large group together.

We took individual family photos first, then gathered all the grandchildren together for my favorite photo, "the cousin shot." 

Admittedly, my cousins and I used to hate these photos. It meant we had to stop playing long enough to sit still for a photo that took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to make. Now that we don't live close to each other, I cherish every one of these photos. I'm sure these guys will too.

With the help of patriarch Dave and his grandsons, we prepped for the large group shot. I'd like to think I'm in pretty good physical condition but after watching the Richart men toss hay bales like they were pillows, I'm rethinking that "pretty good physical condition" statement. 

Since the youngest member of the Richart family was still in a fantastic mood, I assembled the entire family for the"whole family" image. The smiles came easily as Owen provided ample entertainment, hiding behind hay bales and giggling. It was a family moment I couldn't have orchestrated had I tried.

The whole session was filled with sweet moments and smiles.

Before calling it a day, I took a moment to photograph Dave and Brenda with their three sons, and then just Dave and Brenda.

After raising three boys and years of marriage, the couple are still smiling. There's hope for us all.

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson family landscape photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/3/family-matters---richart Wed, 09 Mar 2016 20:41:09 GMT
Vincent 6 months https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/2/vin

Six months may not seem like a long time, but in baby years, it is truly an eternity.

Those sweet little faces seem to change on a daily basis.

I'm always taken a little aback when I have a newborn or toddler back in for photos 6 months later or even a year later. He or she may look like a completely different child. 

For parents, the change happens gradually. When you don't see the child every day, however, it's dramatic.

The sweet little swaddled bundle is now a moving personality. It's so fun to see and so completely amazing.

Vin was in the studio this fall for his 6-month photos.

When I last saw him in person, he was cuddled up against mom. He was so little. The newborn cried only briefly during that first session and then was completely content.

At 6 months, I was surprised at how much he'd grown. How bright-eyed and smiley. How easily he now sits. How much he favors his older sister. How he continues to be completely easy going. How completely loved he is. He is a joy!

Mom and Dad are obviously on to something:)

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson children photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/2/vin Wed, 24 Feb 2016 15:55:34 GMT
Bigger is Better https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/2/bigger-is-better We have nothing on the walls of our house.

There, I admit it. With all the photography the studio does, I've neglected our own home.

The kids agreed. It was time to do something.

​Prompted by the fact that I recently moved my office into a dedicated space rather than in the middle of our chaos and the fact that we switched rooms around, one of our oldest made the brilliant observation that our home is sparsely decorated.

I'd like to claim I prefer minimalist design but the reality is I just have never seen "the walls" as a huge priority. Between chasing and running three children, my former full-time job, running a business, and helping with the family honey hobby, the walls have been put on hold - for approximately eight years.

Now, however, as I sit in my new office, (which I dearly love, by the way), the reality has sunk in. Our walls are...gasp...almost totally naked.

I've decided I've had enough.

I started small and bought a yellow clock - yes, yellow for the office. Functional and bright.

Then, I did something I'd been putting off for awhile - buying a large canvas photo (24x30 inches) of our daughters.

As I prepared to hit "buy," I hesitated. This was probably the largest print of anything I've ever ordered.

Would it be obnoxiously large for the space?

What if I had second thoughts when it arrived? 

I hesitated, and then I let the thought of looking at my favorite photo of our three sweet girls every day take over. I committed and ordered it.

Less than a week later, it arrived in a HUGE box.

I was nervous. I don't usually spend a lot on wall art and here it was. YIKES!

One of the girls wasn't thrilled with the choice of photo when I was ordering it, but I assured her she'd love it when it arrived.

Now that the canvas was here. I was nervous. 

What if she really didn't like it? It's a little hard to hide from a canvas that big.

The suspense was killing me. I pulled out a knife and carefully opened the end. 

Hannah and I slowly wiggled the large piece of art out of the box.

I was immediately struck by the vibrant colors and the three smiling faces grinning back at me. It was love at first sight. 

Then I looked at my dissenter for approval.

"I didn't think I'd like it, but I really do," she said, smiling.

Later that afternoon, my husband and I eyed all four empty walls trying to decide on a good location for it. The final spot has yet to be determined, mainly because, believe it or not, my HUGE canvas looks tiny on the wide open expanse. Bigger obviously is better when it comes to naked walls.

I have no idea why the thought of something big intimidated me. I absolutely love it - and these little girls.

Long after they have moved out of our house, this canvas will remain as a testament of the beautiful fall day I was able to photograph them just hanging out in our backyard.

This can only mean one thing - more large canvases and less bare walls.

I highly encourage it:)

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/2/bigger-is-better Wed, 17 Feb 2016 20:11:22 GMT
"The Nerd" https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/2/-the-nerd

 

I saw the cast list and immediately smiled.

Each name was familiar. They'd all appeared on the Lincoln Trail College stage before.

This time, however, was different.

The characters I've known from the LTC productions were all listed together and the production was a comedy, "The Nerd."

As I found my place in the theater the night of rehearsal, I mentally prepped myself for what was to come.

Steven Bruce as the too-nice-for-his-own-good architect, Brennan Tracy as the sarcastic and often-inebriated friend, Rachel Carter as the love interest, and finally John Sharma as the nerd Rick Steadman, rounded out the lead characters.

"The Nerd" revolves around Bruce's character, Willum, and his encounter with the fellow soldier who saved his life in Vietnam, Rick Steadman. After the rescue, the men continued to exchange correspondence and we find Willum prepping for a visit by his fellow serviceman.

Once "Rick" arrives, however, things get crazy hilarious as Steadman leeches on to Willum with wild abandon, wrecks his career, and just mainly, causes chaos in Willum's steady and predictable life.

With this cast and the over-the-top characters, I had a preconceived notion this production would be all fun and games. I left the theater, however, with a much bigger picture.

The minute our friend the nerd, "Rick Steadman," arrived on stage and began interacting with the other characters, I couldn't stop smiling and even laughing out loud in parts. Each character contributed their own brand of humor.

Hidden beneath the laughs, however, was a tale of true friendship and support.

Sometimes your friends do know what is best for you, even before you do. To watch an unexpected friend guide Willum down the path he needed to go rather than the safe route, even if it was using less than scrupulous means, made this show not only hilarious but touching. 

Such a great show with such a great message. Never doubt your close friends. The good ones will always have your best interest at heart.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson event photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/2/-the-nerd Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:18:16 GMT
Making It Click - Hawkins https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/1/MAKING-IT-CLICK

Of all the things I photograph, I'd have to say family photos are among my favorite.

​It isn't that they are easy. In fact, they are usually more challenging than the portrait of a single person.

There's posing to consider. 

Am I doing a good job directing the subjects where they need to be and getting them there before the little ones completely lose interest?

Is the lighting right?

Can I see everyone's face?

Is everyone looking their very best when I'm about to take the photo?

Do I have everyone's attention when I'm about to take the photo?

Family portraits require a lot of thinking on one's feet.

When they click, however, it's magic. 

I've had the pleasure of photographing the Hawkins for several years, and they always click.

They don't take themselves too seriously, so there is an adequate amount of horseplay and laughter. I look forward to their sessions, not just because we've been friends forever, but because everyone approaches the session with such a relaxed attitude.

This year's Hawkins' family session was tagged onto the end of their daughter Stephanie's senior session.

It was a perfect fall day and the leaves were still putting on their annual show.

Because I have photographed the family numerous times, I had to think of places on the farm we hadn't been and things we hadn't done recently in the way of poses.

​ This year, we hit the dock and then a different section of the backfield than usual.

The group also had some fun poses they wanted to do, so we fit those in as well.

After much laughter (and near insurance claims...just kidding), we called it a day.

Sessions like this make me smile long after they end. 

As a photographer, I have the distinct pleasure of meeting wonderful individuals. But you never truly know a person until you see them interact with the people closest to them. #bliss

A special thank you to the Hawkins family for years of friendship, support, and wonderful sessions!

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson family photography portrait senior https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/1/MAKING-IT-CLICK Thu, 28 Jan 2016 16:37:39 GMT
Light Up the Night https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/1/light-up-the-night

More than 225 girls descended on Robinson High School this fall for the high school's annual Colorguard Clinic.

With the theme Neon Dance Party, girls ages 4 and older flooded the RHS gym, picked up their T-shirt and bow packets, and received their equipment for the morning clinic and evening performance to the song "Shake It Off."

Once everyone was situated and seated in the bleachers, the RHS Colorguard assembled on the gym floor and demonstrated the full routine the girls would be learning for the day.

Following rousing applause, participants broke into their respective age groups to learn the moves.

There were nervous smiles, giggles, and lots and lots of twirling flags as the girls
                                                                                                                    moved from station to station, learning the routine section by section from the patient          and energetic members of the color guard.

​As a finale to the morning clinic, the participants were able to put all the pieces of the routine together on the RHS football field during a final run-through.

Bright colors filled the sky, hips shook, hand movements perfected, and nerves addressed in anticipation of the evening performance.

Once night fell, the girls filled the field in their neon shirts, hair bows, and coordinating flags. 

As the music started, smiles spread across the faces of the participating girls as they performed the routine in front of the hometown crowd. In the audience, there were broad smiles as well, as parents, grandparents, friends and siblings pointed out their favorite girl.

It was a spectacular way to spend an autumn evening!

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson event photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/1/light-up-the-night Wed, 20 Jan 2016 15:18:19 GMT
Building a Future - Mark Class of 2016 https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/1/building-a-future

It never ceases to amaze me how children grow from toddlers to high school seniors in the blink of an eye.

I was recently going through a stack of old letters and photos and found a photo of one of the high school seniors I had photographed this summer. She was probably about a year old in the photo. While it seemed like only yesterday we had received the beautiful photo, it was nearly 18 years ago.

That train of thought reminded me of Mark's session.

I still remember when the bright senior pictured above was in grade school creating Lego masterpieces in his family home.

We've known Mark's parents for years, but with job moves and life paths no longer crossing, somehow time had suddenly frozen Mark at around age 8 in my mind.

When Mark's mom approached me about making Mark's senior photos this summer, it hit me. Mark wasn't in grade school anymore.

Then, one overcast day in September, Mark arrived at the studio. 

In front of me stood a young man with an incredible future ahead of him. 

As I photographed him, we talked about his future plans (think "big"), the classes he's currently taking (think "hard" and his interests (soccer, band).

The more he talked, the more I realized the little boy with Legos is working on a much larger project - building a future. 

 
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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait senior https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2016/1/building-a-future Tue, 12 Jan 2016 20:11:24 GMT
Last-minute gifts https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/12/last-minute-gifts It's Dec. 17 and the clock is ticking.

Soon Santa will arrive, and it will be time to exchange gifts.

Sadly, this time of year, heading to the city to search for that "perfect gift" is a "perfect headache."

The traffic, the store lines, the reduced inventories. This girl isn't doing it.

I may be a planner, but I still have some last-minute items to buy. Trying to get to town with three kids in tow, when I'm trying to buy items for them, just isn't feasible, so I started thinking about things I could buy locally or online in a hurry. It's actually impressive what you can find at the last minute without leaving town, or changing out of your pjs.)

Here are just a few ideas:

* Gift cards for professional photo services and products. They are good for session fees, photo restoration, prints, digital images and other fun products. There's no easier way to check a gift off your list that will last a lifetime. (Shameless plug, but it's just so easy) Danelle Hevron Studio

* In the same vein, why not create a custom piece of art by having your recipient's favorite snapshot or photo enlarged and framed. Bonus points if that photo includes you and the recipient.

* Local food products. Fresh honey and honey products like lotion and lip balm, Hevron Gold (second and final shameless plug); Mullins Dressing; fruit baskets, wine from area wineries, fresh breads and pastries from area outlets.

* Movie gift card and theater popcorn bucket. I think this was my favorite gift I received last year. The best part was with this prize from Eagle TheaterI could fill the popcorn bucket for discounted prices all year. Sweet.

* Gift certificates for spa services. Whether it's for a manicure, pedicure, massage, tanning, etc., I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be happy with this gift. There are places all over offering these services and associated health/beauty products.

* Gas cards. Perfect for college students or travelers.

* Newspaper subscription. 

* Fresh flowers from any of the local vendors make a beautiful addition to the holiday table.

* Car detailing. We live out of our vehicle. It would be nice to have someone else clean it.

* A night out for your favorite couple with young children. Offer babysitting services so they can escape (oops, I mean go out).

* Magazine subscriptions. 

* Subscription boxes. I love Naturebox.com for healthy snacks. Birchbox.com for grooming and beauty samples. Fabletics.com for athletic wear. Hellofresh.com for meals. The list goes on and on.

* Concert/theater tickets. Buy online and your tickets are in your inbox minutes later.

* Instead of gifting, plan an activity with the recipient - movie night, golf date, shopping trip, ballgame.

* Dinner delivery. Plan to make a homemade dinner for your recipient at a date after the holidays. Show up with it hot and ready to eat. 

* Storage containers. Because there's always that piece that doesn't have a lid...lol

* Still need ideas? Visit your local pharmacy. Wait, what? Harmon's Pharmacy in Oblong and Bertram's Pharmacy in Robinson have a great selection of gifts. Who knew?

Just a few ideas to get you through the next few days. Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson family photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/12/last-minute-gifts Thu, 17 Dec 2015 16:37:44 GMT
A walk on the wild side https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/12/a-walk-on-the-wild-side Twice a year, Marathon Petroleum plays host to area grade school students at Neal Pit, the private conservation area it maintains near Palestine, Ill.

It's an opportunity for youth to experience the great outdoors by rotating through stations ranging from a nature walk to crafts.

The morning is truly a team effort, with Marathon employees manning the stations and sharing their love and knowledge of nature.

It's amazing to watch these second-graders taste fresh honey for the first time, dissect a flower, and calculate the age of the trees.

Put a pair of binoculars in a child's hands, and the magic just happens.

During the nature walk, the second-graders become detectives, searching for things like deer antlers, hoof prints and other items they don't typically see on the playground.

A solar project has them using stencils and the sun to create artwork, while a nearby pedal-powered station gives them an opportunity to create their own electricity using foot power.

Every station offers hands-on opportunities for the students, and they take full advantage, packing their bags full of crafts and completed projects as they rotate through each one.

After a picnic lunch provided by Marathon, they head back to the classroom, their heads full of new-found knowledge and a more complete appreciation of the world around them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children event photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/12/a-walk-on-the-wild-side Wed, 09 Dec 2015 01:13:04 GMT
Why printing photos matters https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/12/why-printing-photos-matters I still remember visiting my grandparents when I was a kid. 

Once we wore ourselves out playing on their farm, we'd come in to cool off and I'd immediately head for the my grandma's small cabinet in the family room. Inside it was a bounty of treasure, stack upon stack of photo albums filled with mysterious strangers I'd never met but with whom I shared a common bond - my relatives.

Sometimes, I'd ask my grandma to tell me who these wonderful strangers were. Other times, I'd make up my own stories about them and their pasts. I may have gotten older as time passed, but the game never did.

Before our oldest girls were born, I restored old photos from each of our families and framed them for the play room. Occasionally, the girls ask me the same questions I asked my grandma. Who is that and where was that taken? They learn a little something about their family and I get an opportunity to relive some of those long-forgotten memories.

Within the frame's boundaries are photos of other generations in their prime, great-grandparents and grandparents in their youth, my husband and I as toddlers, family farms. It's hard to believe how quickly the time goes, how quickly things change.

According to Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a licensed clinical social worker and a professional photographer in St. Louis, Missouri, “displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced."

More studies on printed photos and their link to self-esteem in children can be found by clicking on this link: Self-esteem and photography. It's a good read.

I don't know about you but I love how I feel when I see a photo with my girls or my family in it. It makes me feel good. I rarely notice what we are wearing or how we are posed, but I always recall how we were feeling when the photo was taken. Photography is actually more emotional than visual for me. It's the closest thing I have to freezing time.

Photos can turn even the most ordinary day into a spectacular day. If you photographed it, it must have been special, right?

To be honest, the thought of relying solely on digital images scares me. 

I always wonder what happens as technology and file formats change? What happens when the computer crashes or the CD becomes unreadable? What happens when you can't remember where on your computer or hard drive you've filed that special photo you're looking for? Or, what happens if something happens to the keeper of the files? Where do you even begin to find things?

What if you or your child's visual memories were gone in a breath?

These thoughts are what keeps me printing my favorite photos monthly and backing up my digital images. My kids may think I'm paranoid, but someday when my grandchildren come to visit and head straight for the photo albums, I'll know I've done my job:)

Food for thought:)

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson family photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/12/why-printing-photos-matters Thu, 03 Dec 2015 19:34:32 GMT
Tis the season for holiday cards https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/11/tis-the-season-for-holiday-cards Every November, I feel the impending doom of preparing our Christmas cards.

Gone are the years I could dress up the girls in practically anything, and they'd gamely stand wherever I'd want and pose over and over and over.

They are no longer "into" the coordinated clothing photos and they constantly fight me when I try to dictate what they wear for photos (or anything else for that matter). 

In light of this, I finally surrendered to the madness.

Two years ago, I was extremely lucky to capture a moment following the grade school program. The older two girls were dressed up on stage and baby sister ran up and snuggled with them. Bang! Christmas photo done:)

Last year, I decided to try the coordinated effort again. Snow was falling gently in early November. It was beautiful against our late-blooming burning bush. Older sisters were smiley and sweet. Little sister wasn't having it.

We ventured to French Lick, Ind., to see Christmas lights a few weeks after the failed attempt, and I was sure I'd get something great to use for "the card." Now, however, one of the older sisters wasn't feeling it - at all. It wasn't until we went to the West Baden Hotel and the girls found a huge chaise lounge chair they could all fit in that their mood perked up. No one matched but they were so happy, I couldn't resist using the photo for our cards. I was onto something.

This year, I decided I was completely done fighting the perfect family Christmas photo. One beautiful Saturday in October, I was experimenting with a new studio toy and asked one of the older girls to model so I could practice. She jumped at the chance (they always do when it's a solo thing). Minutes later, she was joined by her two sisters. They were laughing, they built a pyramid with little sister on top, and they were having a great time. I never put my camera down.

No one is dressed to the nines and the matching of two of the girls is purely coincidental, but I love how I can feel their sisterly bond. As I whipped through the frames that night, I found myself loving each frame more than the one before. The girls were so relaxed. It was so "them" on a good day.

One day, we may try to coordinate again but for now I'm more than happy with this year's "perfect" Christmas card photo.

I hope this holiday season you find peace on this Earth. For me, it was in my backyard on a random Saturday in October.

As a side note, these are the photos that did NOT make the Hevron Christmas card. Preteens are pretty particular about how they are portrayed. My favorite, however, did make the back of the card. Watch for it closer to the holidays:)

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson children family lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/11/tis-the-season-for-holiday-cards Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:56:12 GMT
Wedded Bliss https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/11/wedded-bliss

 

Some of the most beautiful people I know are convinced they aren't photogenic.

Mae would be one of those people.

As attractive as she is funny, I couldn't believe it when she told me point-blank she was NOT photogenic.

We'd been meeting up for several weeks leading up to the conversation, and I always found her to be a breath of fresh air. Always smiling and always funny, I looked forward to seeing her. She is such a positive force I couldn't imagine that NOT coming across in a photo.

Yet she is one of many people who I'd classify, with myself, as "camera shy."

 

When her fiance Mike scheduled me to photograph their wedding celebration, I was convinced I could prove her wrong.

As I was documenting her getting ready for the celebration, I vaguely recalled her words: "Can you make me look good?"

I laughed. It would be an easy task, mainly because she was so relaxed and having so much fun. Special thanks to Mike for that:)

Everyone can benefit from these key words - "relax" and "have fun." 

Photography shouldn't just be about documenting how you look on family picture day, but also how you are, your personality, how you react with your family. Those are the photos people love to see. They are genuine, and they are the photos future generations will enjoy.

Congrats to Mae and Mike! May you enjoy every moment.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson event photography portrait wedding https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/11/wedded-bliss Wed, 04 Nov 2015 16:58:29 GMT
You can't blame a girl for trying https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/10/you-cant-blame-a-girl-for-trying As I laid pajama-clad on our sidewalk Monday night, several thoughts coursed through my head.

1. I definitely should have dressed warmer.

​2. I definitely need my glasses prescription updated. 

3. I'm so glad we live in the country where I can randomly take outdoor shots in my pajamas without the authorities getting a phone call.

No, this was not a typical night at the Hevron residence. This particular night, I had stayed up late and was browsing the Internet when I read about a halo around the moon. It was happening right then, as I peered at my computer screen.

It was around 11:30 p.m. and the girls were already in bed, so I decided to venture outside.

I was expecting a small halo closely encircling the heavenly orb.

I was shocked to see a huge circle around the moon.

I ran inside to grab my camera to document the halo.

First, I had the wrong lens. A zoom lens couldn't take in the whole scene.

Then I ran back inside and grabbed a wide angle lens. 

Ugh, still didn't capture the whole thing.

Normally when I can't capture something the way I want, I change my perspective. Lying on my back seemed to be the easiest way to capture the heavenly moment.

Unfortunately to fully capture the whole scene with the equipment I had convenient, I would have had to be circling the earth in a space shuttle or about 10 feet below the sidewalk, far enough away to get it all in. This realization sank in about 5 minutes after I laid on the cold sidewalk.

Accepting defeat, I put down my equipment and sat on our front porch steps and just took in the sight in front of me.

Had I to try this again, I'd have planned ahead (that's key in successfully capturing images), dug out the tripod, and really worked the scene. The end result would have been something far more interesting than the blazing dot you see above. Lesson learned.

The next day, I watched the Internet to take in all the photos of the scene I had missed the night before.

Locally, the photos were few and far between, other than some smartphone shots. Wish I had thought of that;)

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson landscape photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/10/you-cant-blame-a-girl-for-trying Wed, 28 Oct 2015 19:04:22 GMT
Building a photo https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/10/building-a-photo I love a challenge, and back in September, Tom Moore presented me with just that.

He wanted photos of the facades of his business, Kemper CPA, for use on the business website.

While I typically specialize in things that smile back at me, I was totally game.

Unlike the smiling faces I usually capture, however, making a building come to life was a whole other ballgame.

Some gear I had recently ordered was begging for professional use and finally, this was the project that necessitated it. I couldn't wait to start building the images.

The rural location, pictured, presented the biggest challenge with its dark entryway. The sun was quickly setting which wasn't helping the situation.

My first shot (top) left me feeling a little flat. This building has the coolest architecture and my first attempt was obviously lacking.

Then, I started playing with light. I moved my flash around, bouncing it off the glass windows and doors, off the pillars, and off the awning until I found the effect I wanted.

Once I was satisfied with the light, I played with perspective. I shot at eye level, from the right and from the left, from the seat of the van, and finally, from a seated position on the ground.

Amazing how different things look with a pop of light or changing your position. Sometimes to get where you want to go, you just have to start with some basic building blocks and expand from there - much like building a business.

Special thanks to Tom for the opportunity.

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson corporate photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/10/building-a-photo Wed, 21 Oct 2015 21:59:43 GMT
Lifejackets and moms https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/10/lifejackets-and-moms I sometimes find it amazing parents don't age, but their children do.

Such was the case when Brenna came to the studio for senior photos in August with her mom.

In my mind, I can still see "little" Brenna toddling around a houseboat in her lifejacket, her Mom just a breath away at all times to prevent her from falling overboard.

That was not the Brenna who appeared in front of me this particular day for senior photos.

This older Brenna is extremely sure-footed and confident. As we traveled around the farm, the Marshall High School senior spoke of the senior year activities that would fill her time and her hopes for college. 

As the three of us chatted on the ride, I found myself constantly trying to wrap my head around the fact that this was the little girl in the lifejacket.

When did she become a near-adult?

How did it happen so quickly?

And how many parents of high school seniors are thinking the exact same thing?

​I'm sure college will treat Brenna well - she seems to excel in everything she does. Rest assured, however, if she feels like she's going to toddle over the edge, Mom will be there with the lifejacket:)

Thank you so much, Brenna and Gretchen for the trip down memory lane.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait senior https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/10/lifejackets-and-moms Wed, 07 Oct 2015 15:38:37 GMT
Perfectly 3 https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/10/perfectly-3 Some parents might disagree, but I love age 3.

There's just something about their energy, their need to exercise independence and test their boundaries.

While it may be difficult to live with at times (believe me, I know), it is truly amazing to watch.

I was so excited when Maggie's mom brought her over for photos a couple months ago. I've known Lyndie for a while and recently worked with her through her business, Magnolia Moments Bridal Consulting and Party Planning. (Check it out, by the way. She has the coolest ideas and supplies.)

I think the minute Maggie stepped out of their vehicle, she was ready to go outside. It was beautiful out and who would I be to argue with a 3-year-old?

As we traveled around the farm, Maggie pretty much called the shots. When she became restless at one location, we simply loaded her back into the vehicle and moved to another spot. With a 3-year-old, I've found it's best to go with the flow - their flow.

At each location, she had to get out and explore before I could get her in position for photos. Just watching her reminded me of my own girls at that age, so curious and beginning to show signs of their unique personalities.

As I reviewed Maggie's gallery this morning, I was struck by her amazing range of facial reactions in an hour-long session - smiley, cheesy, quizzical, thoughtful, full of attitude.

I love age 3. The view of the world is just so pure.

Maggie hugged me before she left. She may have taken a little of my heart with her.

If they could just stay little a little longer.

Age 3 would be perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) FLAT ROCK Illinois Robinson children photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/10/perfectly-3 Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:16:49 GMT
Mother Knows Best https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/9/mother-knows-best "I don't want to offend you, but I think next time we should hire someone to take the family photo."

As we broke out of position, I had to agree with my mom. I was beyond frazzled.

It was a great idea - in theory. My sister set up her family photo, "but I think Mom would like a whole family photo" at the same time.

The red flag in my mind immediately went up.

When you are actually in front of the group, you can engage them. You can see if someone has their cell phone out (Dad), if someone is making goofy faces, etc.

When you are part of the group, you have no clue. 

There are only 11 of us and I knew it was going to be challenging since the youngest subjects (ages 3 and 4) would have no one to engage them. I have a noisy ball that I usually use to get kids' attention. The "plan" was to throw it at the tripod so they'd look toward the camera on the tripod. That didn't happen.

Let me explain the rest of "the plan."

1. We would use a remote control. To rule out any unfortunate accidents (my uncle broke a toe that way one Christmas), there would be no running from the tripod to the group in order to beat a camera timer. My husband Greg would control the remote (I have no idea why it was him and not me.)

2. We set up the lighting and where everyone would stand before anyone stepped one foot outside.

3. The adults were to stay put.

4. "The plan" was blown out of the water almost instantly as our lovely gift to my mom quickly turned into a National Lampoon movie.

And here is how it went down - literally.

With the adults in place, I started placing the kids.

En route to her place, my 3-year-old niece walked through a pile of ashes with her black outfit on...oops. Same niece also decided she wanted to hang on to the noisy ball (so much for that).

We dusted her off and put her in place. That left our 4-year-old who typically loves the camera.

This particular day, however, she said "I don't want to be in the picture." 

In fact, she went so far as to stand right beside the tripod with the camera on it and turn her back to the group.

We prodded.

We begged.

Do you want to stand by Grandpa? No.

Do you want Mommy to hold you? No.

I put a hairbrush in my pocket and had her chase me to get it out. In my mind I thought once she approached the group, she'd happily hop into the photo. I should have known better.

I thought about photoshopping her in, but she was on to that game and made sure she never stopped moving so we could snap a usable photo.

Finally, I came up with the idea to include her in a group hug - her favorite thing. This totally worked and she hopped in the photo but not before things in the group had gotten a little "loose."

Hair was messed up (especially mine since I was now sweating). Nerves (mine) were frazzled. Smiles were gone. Posture was gone. Grandpa's cell phone was out and now in the frame. (Had I been behind the camera, I'd have picked up on this.) The older kids were now making faces and acting silly.

Instead of the photographer, I was now the frazzled parent and I didn't like it - at all.

Typically after a session, I start loading photos on my computer as the subject is pulling out of the driveway. Not this time.

I waited until Monday and fixed myself a strong, strong cappuccino before even firing up the computer.

Looking at frame after frame, I watched the sitcom unfold. Oddly, instead of feeling immediately stressed out, I saw it for what it was - a comical error.

You just can't multi-task a family photo. Be the photographer or be the subject. By trying to be both, you miss out on what the photo should be - fun.

As a side note, the top photo was the final product after a fair amount of editing. Would I do this again? Uh, I think I've already established that...lol

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson children photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/9/mother-knows-best Wed, 23 Sep 2015 16:02:23 GMT
25th Annual Bee https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/9/25th-annual-bee

Every week, I pull out my session calendar and see where I am as far as blogging.

Ironically, this week it's the Lincoln Trail College production of the "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." (A year ago this week, I put in my last day as a full-time employee at the college. For some reason, however, I can't seem to let go of the theater family;) )

It was a big year for me and for the director of this play, Brennan Seth Tracy.

"The Bee" was the first full-length show he's directed. Additionally, he acted in it - which was pretty ambitious. He nailed both jobs!

I'm not sure if it was the welcome slightly adult content that had me in stitches, the audience participation, or the shock of seeing Mindy Evans' over-the-top 'do for the first time, but I found myself laughing out loud with the rest of the audience.

Throw in Lauren Wiseman's lisp, Grant Oxford's hilarious facial reactions, and strong showings by acting veterans Tara Gallion (yes, you have graduated to the veterans' club), Tom Moore, Evans, and Amy Drake and the show was assured success. Newcomer Jennifer Vela, in her second LTC performance, also gave a spot-on performance as overachiever Marcy Park.

The biggest surprise, in my opinion, however, was taking in the performances by the young actors I'd personally watched grow up on the stage via LTC's Children's Theater - Wiseman, Oxford, Will Devin, and Jace Logan. It's wonderful (and I never use that word) to see how this program is developing actors who are graduating into productions beyond "Beauty and the Beast," "Jungle Book," "Annie," etc. (Incidentally, many more actors crowds see regularly on the stage are LTC Summer Children's Theater graduates!!!)

Not only is this program developing future actors but also directors (Tracy was also involved in children's theater) and crew members.

How lucky is Crawford County to have such a strong theater community? And one that people of all ages can be involved in.

As a side note, auditions for the fall production, "The Nerd" continue today, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Zwermann Arts Center Theater. Even if you don't want to act, there are ways you can get involved. For more information, call 618-544-8657, ext. 1433.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson event photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/9/25th-annual-bee Tue, 15 Sep 2015 15:06:43 GMT
Girl's Best Friend https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/9/girls-best-friend When I was a kid, I always remember wanting a dog.

My parents were unmoved by this fact, filling our home instead with fish, a bird and even a couple of cats.

Never a dog.

The road we lived on was way too busy, they said. They were totally correct, but that fact constantly went right over my head.

I eventually got over my need for a dog, but I'm always jealous of people who have those "great" pet dogs. 

Johnna is one of those people. She brought her sweet miniature Schnauzer to the studio back in July.

I swear I spent the entire session wondering where this small wonder's zipper was. You know, the zipper that, when pulled, would reveal a miniature human hidden beneath the sweet furry exterior.

It was entertaining watching Johnna and Asher interact, he playing up to her for a treat and then stubbornly teasing her on and off. Dogs are way too smart - and playful.

In my head, I have a fantastic picture of them snuggled on the couch watching television or taking walks together. They just click.

I think I might have been able to sway my dad on a dog like Asher - small, well-behaved, sweet.

Everyone should have such a great buddy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson pet photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/9/girls-best-friend Tue, 08 Sep 2015 18:59:29 GMT
Mother Nature Round 2 https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/mother-nature-round-2

If you read last week's blog, you know that the Hevron sunflowers have been disappointing so far this year (fingers crossed, there's still a patch out there) and that Kalee Childress had uncovered a patch of sunflowers that defied description with its sheer magnitude and beauty.

So to pick up where the story left off, I knew another Robinson High School senior who had mentioned she'd love photos in the sunflowers. Following Kalee's session, I pulled into my driveway and immediately shot off a message to Stephanie.

It went something like this: Sunflowers at our house are "iffy," but I have a lead. We'll need to do it soon.

She was game, and three days later we were on our way to "the spot."

Because we grow sunflowers at our farm, I know how quickly their appearance can go south. I also know there are always a few clusters that beat to their own drum and grow after the pack. Plus, this particular location offered backup scenery in case all else failed.

As we pulled in, the golden yellow field was definitely past its prime but as expected, my little late bloomers were there to provide a perfect backdrop for this senior's sunflower session.

After picking out the best spot, we started Stephanie's session. 

Unlike Kalee's session a few days earlier, it was also hot - really hot.

Always a great sport, Stephanie muscled through the heat as well as a couple clothing changes in the car with ease.

We had some great laughs, and it turned out to be a beautiful evening!

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait senior https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/mother-nature-round-2 Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:00:00 GMT
Oh, Mother Nature https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/ohmothernature Part of being a photographer is working with the elements and, if you live in Illinois, that can be pretty hit or miss at times.

Every spring, my husband takes special care to plant our fields in a series of plots so that, depending on the time of year, I constantly have sunflowers to work with if I want.

This spring was no different.

And then Mother Nature intervened.

Strike No. 1 - We chalked this one up to farmer error. Maybe they were planted a bit too close together. The sunflowers came up, but they were small and thick. While this presented an excellent backdrop for toddlers and dogs, it wasn't so great for anyone or anything over 3-feet tall. 

Still, I remained hopeful. There were two more plots in the ground.

Strike No. 2 - Rain, rain and more rain. The remaining plots of sunflowers turned into two plots of dirt with random plants scattered throughout. As exciting as mud might be to a kid, it makes for a less-than-attractive backdrop.

Strike No. 3 - The wait. We have since planted more sunflowers but now we have to wait until Mother Nature decides their fate.

In light of our farming woes, I knew I had at least one client who expressed interest in summer photos taken in the sunflowers, sunflowers now in question. 

I'm racking my brain one night over possible solutions when I get a message.

"I don't suppose you would be available to take a few pictures of Kalee in the sunflower field at...."

Wait, did I just read that?

I swear I read it five times before it registered.

We set up the session for the next evening and headed out.

I'm always skeptical when someone says there is a huge field of flowers.

How big is huge? A garden-sized plot? A house-sized plot?

What I didn't expect when we arrived at our destination was more sunflowers than I'd ever seen in one place in my life.

Acres and acres of beautiful golden sunflowers in full bloom. 

I should have had Kalee and her mom take my photo as we came upon the site.

I can't even begin to describe how beautiful the sunflowers were. You'd think I'd have taken photos of just the flowers but in my haste to make sure we had enough time for Kalee, the thought didn't even register.

Everything about the evening was absolutely perfect - the scenery, the unseasonably pleasant July temperature, the relaxed subject.

Mother Nature was in her glory.

In fact, the minute I arrived at my car, I shot a message to my first client who wanted sunflowers to explain the Hevron sunflower situation and this new alternative location.

Three days later, I was back to Kalee's spot.

And so was Mother Nature, but I'll save that story for next week...lol

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock, Illinois Robinson photography portrait senior https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/ohmothernature Tue, 25 Aug 2015 16:00:17 GMT
Happy Half Birthday https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/happy-half-birthday I remember being envious as a child, envious that all the "other" kids celebrated their birthdays during the school year while I was stuck celebrating in the heat of summer at home - in July.

​It wasn't until we had our three children - two in November and one in March - I realized the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Hayes fits in this camp. Like our oldest, he was born close to the holidays which I've been told by our girls is just "the worst."

Imagine getting all your gifts - birthday and Christmas - within one or two months' time.

This year, however, Hayes' parents played the ultimate "cool parent" card and threw him a half-birthday party in July.

Complete with a bouncy slide and house, cousins and family members enjoyed a summer get-together without the craziness of the holidays coming into play.

Unlike in December, the crew of all boys were able to play outside in shorts! 

They swam.

They bounced.

They had water-gun battles.

The kids had their share of fun, too;)

What a great idea! (I may have to steal it.)

Thanks to the Dishongs for sharing a fun afternoon!

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children event lifestyle photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/happy-half-birthday Wed, 19 Aug 2015 18:49:39 GMT
Taking on the Ogre https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/taking-on-the-ogre

Every spring, we wait.

For school to be out.

For the homework to taper off.

And to hear what the Lincoln Trail College Summer Children's Theater Production is going to be.

After the announcement, our girls were on the fence. 

"Shrek Jr." They weren't huge fans of the movie, but what about the musical?

We headed for our favorite resource - YouTube.com - and Lindsey signed up the next day.

A month later, a whopping 80 local youth were signed up.

I often wonder how a director handles this many kids, ranging in age from kindergarten to incoming high school freshmen. I would imagine it's a situation you either embrace or run from...lol

Thankfully, director Tara Gallion embraces it and, in four short weeks, she put together an amazing show full of humor, surprises and beautiful music.

I've never actually seen "Shrek, Jr." the musical or "Shrek" the movie in their entirety, so I photographed it with a completely open mind. I have to admit, I was amazed at the humor as well as the talent by the youth on the stage.

After the rehearsal, I found myself asking our daughter "who sang that part" and "who sang that." Where did these local stars come from? 

It was awesome to see such a vast age range bridged by a common thread - putting together a summer musical.

It's so amusing to watch these rambunctious children prior to hopping on stage. They can be loud and unfocused (my child included). Once the curtain goes up, however, it's all business.

Crawford County is blessed to have such an outlet for its youth and such wonderful people to take on the task.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson event photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/taking-on-the-ogre Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:21:52 GMT
Growing pains https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/growingpains

I still remember when we brought our twins home from the hospital.

It was stressful. 

We had spent several days in the hospital after their birth and had parents in and out for the first few weeks.

And then, it was time to go solo.

First-time parenthood is hard. There are so many new things to learn, life adjustments to make, as the family expands by one.

A friend of mine and her husband welcomed Baby Oliver in April.

Tracey and Kevin had moved away from the Robinson area during Tracey's pregnancy. The first few weeks after his birth, family came and visited and helped.

And then, it was time to go solo.

Tracey actually worked in the nursery at the local day care when our girls were little so often I'd ask her questions. If anyone is equipped with the knowledge to handle a baby, it's Tracey.

But once their baby was born, I found myself thinking of Tracey often. Having that first child is hard, especially when the sweet baby has a touch of colic.

I was blessed to not have a colicky baby, but my sister (five years younger) was one. I remember playing outside with the neighbor kids a lot after my mom brought her home. The baby cried - all. the. time.

I recently asked my mom how long colic lasted, and she laughed. At 41, we joked my sister still has it. (just kidding)

My mom is extremely patient but she said there were times the baby's long crying spells had her near tears. It was just so frustrating. They visited several doctors as colic ran its course.

Colic may be a distant memory to my mom today but the fact she recalls it vividly today, speaks volumes.

Soon Oliver's colic will subside. According to Mayo Clinic, by ages 4 to 5 months, a majority of babies with the condition have improved.

The day of his 3-month session, he was pretty mellow as you can see. I think the light is at the end of the tunnel.

Still, for some new parents, colic is real and it continues to be a challenge. 

No baby is perfect and, as parents, each challenge we conquer feels like a small victory. We just need to be loving, caring, and patient during each difficult phase (and there are many).

All too soon, they will be out of the house and on their own. We'll be the ones crying then.

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson children photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/8/growingpains Tue, 04 Aug 2015 21:17:57 GMT
Changing Faces https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/changing-faces

It always amazes me how high school seniors change during the course of their session.

At the beginning, they always look so young to me. Maybe they are nervous about the session or about meeting someone new.

By the end, however, there's a confidence that maybe passed under my radar before. Sometimes it surfaces in their attitude, sometimes it's a facial expression. 

Duncan was no exception and he may have even been the extreme.

We met in Robinson for some images of the high school tennis player in action and then headed over to the park.

Duncan is pretty laid-back and once his session was well under way, the smiles weren't hard to get.

Then I changed gears. Smiling nonstop can be hard so we went serious.

There was a sudden rush of deja vu. I couldn't put my finger on it until days after the session.

When our twins were toddlers, I vividly remember dropping them off at day care one morning. That afternoon, I picked them up and couldn't find them playing in the Wobbler Room. Then one of them called to me. She'd been in front of me the entire time. It was a shock to suddenly notice how much both of them had really grown. They weren't babies anymore. They were reaching the next stage.

I had the same feeling when Duncan gave me his game face (below). It was a tiny glimpse that this affable senior is moving into the next stage - adulthood. 

I'm sure many senior parents wonder where the time has gone. When their toddler turned into a high school senior and what lies ahead for them.

What an exciting time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson photography portrait senior https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/changing-faces Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:49:37 GMT
Chasing Butterflies https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/chasing-butterflies

Last week, I received a text from my husband.

It wasn't the usual "can you take care of this today" or "I need to do this this week" but rather a single photo of an award Marathon Petroleum in Robinson, Ill., had recently received - Monarch Sustainer of the Year.

So what do butterflies and an oil company possibly have in common?

It wasn't until our two girls reached second-grade I finally got a grasp on how truly involved Marathon is in local conservation.

Every spring and fall, Crawford County, Ill., grade school students are invited to Neil Pit, the private wildlife habitat maintained by Marathon Petroleum, to participate in stations that range from bees, nature hikes, crafts, trees, and more. Each stationed is manned by Marathon employees taking the lead in nature conservation.

But the annual field trips are truly only one part of the company's conservation efforts.

Last month, I was invited to photograph a North American Butterfly Association Butterfly Count at Neil Pit.

Joined by a group of Illinois Environmental Protection Agency interns, the day began with instructions, distribution of milkweed seeds, and the distribution of butterfly guides for identification purposes. We then broke into groups and set off to identify the different types of butterflies observed at Neil Pit.

I can honestly say I've never really paid attention to butterflies, their flight patterns, unique designs, and behaviors.

If you can get close enough to them, they are truly fascinating, as I found out tagging along with Ed Spevak, director of the Center for Native Pollinator Conservation at the St. Louis Zoo during the excursion.

Tromping through high weeds, he identified Gray Coppers, Eastern-Tailed Blues and Silvery Checkerspots before I could even spot them on their hidden perches.

He laughed as he explained he can remember butterfly species easier than people's names.

It's truly his passion.

And that of many others who are currently fighting to save monarchs from extinction.

Vicki Wojcik, research director of The Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems, was also on hand at the butterfly count to discuss the importance of maintaining sustainable habitats.

Local wildlife conservation and enhancement efforts were addressed by biologist Bonnie Doggett of Blanton Associates, an environmental consulting firm that works with Marathon.

​The company's efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The Monarch Sustainer of the Year award now residing at the Robinson office recognizes a U.S. business that has shown "exceptional leadership and action in providing habitat and awareness for monarchs along their migratory corridors." It is a new initiative by the U.S. Business Council on Sustainable Development and the Pollinator Partnership.

According to the Pollinator Partnership website, to be eligible for the award, a business must: provide clean and safe habitats for monarchs (providing milkweed and nectar plants year-round in a pesticide-free environment) and take a leadership role in developing programs that go beyond habitat installations (providing opportunities for community members and employees to engage in monarch conservation activities).

Those attending the Butterfly Count observed numerous monarchs. Hopefully, with awareness and education, the monarchs will flourish once again in North America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife Habitat Council and Pollinator Partnership Presentation by Bonnie Doggett and Vicki Wojcik  

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson event nature photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/chasing-butterflies Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:56:03 GMT
Growing up and on https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/growing-up-and-on

I can still remember the first time I met Tracey. 

It was nine years ago and I was sitting in the office where I was working full-time. She popped her head in the door and introduced herself. 

It took me totally off guard. I knew her face instantly but for some reason my brain couldn't wrap itself around where I knew her from.

In true Tracey form, she picked up on my confused state immediately.

"I am in the nursery with your twins," she explained.

We had just started taking our 3-month-old twins to day care and, to be perfectly honest, we were still trying to figure out how to keep to two tiny babies on schedule and keep them semi-happy while maintaining our sanity on zero sleep.

We became fast friends, and she became our No. 1 babysitter, a position she held for years. She was a lifesaver and all three of our girls absolutely love her and her husband Kevin.

Recently, they transferred away from Robinson, but we message often and we all look forward to their visits.

I was thrilled when they expanded their own family in April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was equally thrilled when she asked to do a family session last month. During the course of our friendship, I've had the opportunity to meet various members of her family, all of whom are among the nicest people you will ever meet.

Not only did my girls and I get to see their little boy for the first time the weekend of the session, but I had an opportunity to visit with her entire family for a fun morning of photos.

No family member was ignored. We shared some laughs and Baby Oliver showed us a great range of emotions.

The fact that it was a perfect morning was no surprise. The morning light danced its magic in the trees, revealing areas I seldom see during my evening sessions. It wasn't blistering hot as would be expected for June.

It was a great morning, tailor-made for some great friends!

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson children family photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/growing-up-and-on Wed, 15 Jul 2015 13:33:11 GMT
Yosha+Nile tie the knot https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/yosha-nile-tie-the-knot It was Monday, the week of Yosha and Nile's June wedding, and once again, I found myself checking my weather app on and off all day.

I'd already been to the location, a beautiful campsite with a breathtaking overlook of the river. The first time I was there, it rained. I was crossing my fingers the same wouldn't hold true for their wedding day.

I'm an optimist and, as the week went on, the weather started to turn in their favor. Of course, they had a backup plan but their wedding venue begged to be photographed, especially since they had opted for the perfect time of day - right around golden hour, when the sun casts its beautiful golden glow on anyone or anything that gets in its path.

About Thursday, I contacted their wedding planner, Lyndie Howard at Magnolia Moments. The couple would decide the final game plan Friday night.

I received word Saturday morning. Game on!

Saturday proved to be beautiful but the clouds still loomed early in the day. I loaded up the van with backdrops, gear and anything I needed IN CASE the wedding was to be moved inside.

Around 3 p.m., the dark clouds dissipated and the sun made its way to the forefront.

It was going to be a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding! I couldn't have been more thrilled.

There were so many special touches to their intimate wedding, I can't even begin to describe them all. From the eclectic mix of table decor set on colorful tablecloths to the handmade signs, guitar ensemble, chicken dinner and cobbler (you heard me) reception, and laid-back atmosphere, it was one of the neatest weddings I have ever attended, let alone photographed.

During the reception, the bride's father sang and played a touching song to his daughter on the guitar. People lounged on couches under a big white tent and a DJ played music through the night.

I have never seen a bride and groom smile throughout the entire process but Yosha and Nile did. There's just something special about when two people find each other and connect - magic!

Congratulations, Yosha and Nile! Thank you for allowing me to document your special day:)

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children event photography portrait wedding https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/yosha-nile-tie-the-knot Tue, 07 Jul 2015 14:34:33 GMT
The Joys of Being 2 https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/the-joys-of-being-2

Ahh, the joys of being 2.

They call them "Terrible 2s," and though they can be trying at times, they are also a great thing to witness.

The twos are a time for discovery and exerting newfound independence.

No two 2-year-olds are alike when they get in front of a camera. Some are timid and hide behind Mom's legs at first, others lead me on a session-long chase.

Sessions with 2-year-olds are always exciting in that you never know what is going to happen until they are in front of you, and you start working with them. 

Austin, who I photographed recently, was no exception.

We originally planned to photograph him in the studio with his favorite toys of the moment - a bat and ball.

Only a few clicks in, however, I realized he was getting bored with me and we needed a change of scenery.

Outside we went.

It was so fun to watch his eyes light up as he realized he was going to ride in the side-by-side, with the added bonus that we were going to the other side of the pond.

After a several camera clicks - and renditions of children's songs - we decided to move again.

This time we headed to the back field which meant another ride. Wheeee!

The sun was hitting prime spots as we hit various locations - some of which Austin liked and some which he wasn't so fond of. It was easy to tell the difference. If he didn't like where we were, we simply moved.

We finished up on the dock which proved to be a great fascination for the sweet 2-year-old. We tossed rocks in the water and looked at the boat before finishing up.

If you ever think you are taking your home or your property for granted, invite a young child to explore your world. Pay attention to what interests them, what excites them. You'll see it through totally different eyes next time you go out:)

Thank you Jennifer and Austin for a fun evening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Flat Rock Illinois Robinson children photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/7/the-joys-of-being-2 Thu, 02 Jul 2015 00:27:06 GMT
Flashback https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/6/flashback

A while back, a good friend of mine from high school messaged me.

Her parents will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and she wanted to know if I'd be willing to take family photos.

I jumped at the chance.

This weekend, I packed up the van with gear and headed west of Ireland, Ind., to meet up with Jane and her family at her parents' house for an on-location session.

As I pulled onto the long county road I used to know so well, I suddenly felt a pang of nervousness. The scenery on the road was familiar, yet foreign. 

I knew I was on the right road but, wow, things were different. A coal mine now filled my vision to the east, swallowing the farmland I once remembered.

The last time I was on this road, I was probably 18. I was driving a red Pontiac Sunbird at the time, and I'm sure we were concocting some type of mischief to get into. I remember some deep conversations about boys and life in Jane's upstairs bedroom. I'm sure we thought we had it all figured out. Little did we know, we weren't even close.

Things for Jane and I are dramatically different since I was at this house last time. We're both married with children now. We both have college degrees and careers under our belts. We have different friends, the old high school gang long-since disbanded with the exception of random run-ins.

As I approached the end of the road, I started to wonder if I'd even recognize the house or its occupants anymore. Then there was that sudden thought: "What would I feel like as an adult in this house." I'd only known it as a teen.

In "teen" mode, I immediately went to the side door. It wasn't a thought-out move. It was automatic.

A familiar face answered the door - Jane's mom, Joyce. She sent me to the front door where I could unload my gear directly into the makeshift studio. I think that was probably the first or maybe the second time I've ever gone in the front door. 

Dragging all my gear into the living room, I could hear the bustle as everyone was getting ready for photos. I had to laugh. As the mother of three, I understand the concept of trying to herd cats. 

As I set up, I anxiously awaited a real glimpse of Jane or her younger brother John. It had been a long time since we'd seen each other or even talked other than on social media.

Time creeps when you're anxious.

I can't remember who I saw first but suddenly, the room was filled with familiar faces. Any sign of nervousness I may have had was drowned in the din of familiar voices.

It was great seeing Jane, her husband Eric and their children. I barely recognized Jane's "little" brother. The last time I saw him, he was in the eighth grade. He's now a grown man with a family of his own. 

As I was doing breakouts of each family and we were collectively trying to engage a teething 2-year-old, I glanced at Jane's dad sitting relaxed in the upholstered chair to my right. He was grinning from ear-to-ear, never saying a word. It was so "Jane's dad" - the calm in the storm.

Joyce and Jerry are exactly as I remembered. There may be a little more gray in their hair and wrinkles on their face but had I closed my eyes, it would be as if no time had passed.

Apparently, they've come up with a pretty good formula - beautiful life, beautiful family and, come September, 50 years of marriage under their belts.

Congrats -

And thanks for inviting me back into your home after all these years.

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson family photo photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/6/flashback Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:04:11 GMT
Rolling with It https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/6/rolling-with-it

I used to be an avid planner.

I'd plan exactly how things were going to go, when they were going to go, and how I could be in complete control of every single situation.

And then I had twins and five years later, another girl.

Parenthood has taught me a thing or two - like the world won't end if there are dishes in the sink at bedtime and that once you have kids, there are no definite plans.

Recently, I photographed a sweet newborn.

I had grabbed every prop out of the prop room in preparation. Visions of photographing him outside danced through my head continuously. We could go there, and there, and there.

The day prior to the session was warm and balmy. It was perfect.

I secretly knew I was setting myself up.

Overnight, the weather decided to throw a kink in the plan. It was a cool, cool May 31.

The weather called for a quick rethink on my part.

Warmth in the studio was easy. The lights get hot, and I had my little space heater to provide additional coziness.

But how were we going to get at least one image outside?

As the session continued, V's parents and I discussed how we could make it happen.

We tried warm blankets - not warm enough.

We swaddled V in tighter - nope.

And then there was an "aha" moment - the space heater and an extension cord would reach outside far enough to make the visions a reality.

Then Dad took it one step farther by suggesting we warm V's "nest" first. We checked the temperature, put baby V inside it and cranked up the space heater.

Mission Accomplished. 

Sometimes it really does take a village - and a flexible working plan.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children family lifestyle newborn photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/6/rolling-with-it Tue, 09 Jun 2015 21:21:47 GMT
Goodbye Middle School https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/6/Goodbyemiddleschool I vaguely remember what it was like to finish up my eighth-grade year of school, that swirl of excitement coming over every time someone asked me how old I was and being able to answer "a freshman."

It was a big bridge to cross. The possibilities were endless.

As I grabbed my gear from my studio near Robinson, Illinois to head to Nuttall Middle School's eighth-grade graduation dance last week, I wasn't sure what to expect.

In my mind, "freshman" still brings to mind that feeling of sudden maturity. In reality, today's freshmen look incredibly young in comparison to me, a long-ago graduate of that term.

As I entered Quail Creek Country Club, the room burst into light and sound as the DJ cranked the latest songs, most of which I had never heard of.

A few freshmen were gathered on the floor dancing, some snacked, some talked at their tables, some grabbed their phones to capture their last eighth grade dance moments.

Then, a good song came on and the dance floor became a magnet.

Everyone hit the floor and showed off "their moves."

Then another song came on - they stayed.

High heels were flung into a corner and the dancing continued into the night.

They aren't eighth-graders anymore. They are more - they are freshmen:)

Congrats to you all!

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson event photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/6/Goodbyemiddleschool Tue, 02 Jun 2015 14:46:38 GMT
All about family https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/5/all-about-family

I don't know about you but when I go to someone's home for the first time, my eye immediately goes to their photos.

Some people carefully cull their collection of photos and display the ones where everyone is looking at the camera, hair is perfectly coiffed, clothes are coordinated, and smiles are perfect.

Others frame their favorite candid moments. The ones where no one is looking at the camera, Johnny's screaming and siblings are giggling like our failed Christmas card attempt.

Still others, display a collection of both.

Obviously, everyone has their own taste.

Over the last several years, I've had the privilege of photographing many, many families. 

No two are the same.

I think when most people go into a family photo session, they have illusions of grandeur. We will walk into the studio, everyone's hair will have survived the car ride intact, and at the appropriate time, everyone will smile in unison as the shutter clicks.

And then I wake out of my idealist daze.

Yes, this is my personal illusion and, for the longest time, I set myself up for failure - not once, but every single time.

The photographer (and this was in the days we went to a department store) would always get at least three of the five of us in picture perfect mode but then there would be one or two who would not be so in the moment. If we did individuals, one child would be in front of the camera and two feet away, another would be sobbing she didn't like what she was wearing for the photo. When I was younger, the hot mess of the photo was usually me by the way. 

The longer the photographer would work at it, the worse it would get. Even I know when the party is over, like our failed Christmas card attempt on the far right.

Now that I have my own studio near Robinson, Illinois, I am happy to make those picture perfect images, but at the end of the day, as I'm culling through hundreds of photos, they are the last ones to grab my attention.

There is no better way to document your family history than a straight-on photo. But if you want to show who your family is and how they interact, make sure you consider throwing in a few candids. Sometimes, they show a more complete picture:)

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson family photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/5/all-about-family Wed, 20 May 2015 00:06:42 GMT
A walk in the woods https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/5/a-walk-in-the-woods

There's just something about watching a child discover something in nature for the first time.

Maybe it's a bug.

Or a deer print.

Maybe even a snake (ewww, maybe not the snake).

But seeing children soak in their environment is as breathtaking as it is entertaining.

I remember a year ago, my own children were on the second-grade Neil Pit field trip near Palestine. The private conservation area maintained by Marathon Petroleum was a great experience for them. They learned about bees (well, Dad helped present this one so I'm not so sure they didn't chime in as well); learned how they could estimate the age of a tree; found animal prints, antlers and more on a nature hike; made turkey calls and sun photos; and then dissected owl pellets (that made for some hilarious photos).

When I was asked to photograph the annual second-grade field trip to Neil Pit again, I jumped at the chance.

This time, a new batch of second-graders from Oblong, Palestine, Hutsonville and New Hebron Christian schools experienced slightly different stations.

The day started out unseasonable cool but sunny as the children popped off the buses and vans full of excitement.

After a quick run through the agenda, the students headed out to explore nature via stations including topics such as: bees, trees, nature walk, crafts, flowers, and solar crafts. Most stations were hands-on, and the students couldn't wait to dig in.

Each child received their own nature pack including a clipboard, binoculars, and a bag to carry all the goodies they'd be taking home.

Whether it was making tissue paper butterflies, dissecting flowers, or peddling a stationery bike to turn on a light bulb, there were smiles everywhere.

I'm not sure who was smiling more: the children or the Marathon employee and helpers who put it all together. Truly a great school event!

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children event lifestyle photo portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/5/a-walk-in-the-woods Tue, 12 May 2015 20:32:08 GMT
Shoot for a Cure https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/5/shoot-for-a-cure A while back, Tracey Smalley approached me with an idea.

I was just starting up my photography business near Robinson, Illinois, and she asked if I'd be interested in doing an evening of photo sessions at her day care for the clients and employees. Benefits would go toward Gingerbread House Day Care's Relay for Life team.

Shoot for a Cure was born!

Scheduled every spring, the event is now in its third year and I'm happy to say we continue to raise money for Relay for Life thanks to the generosity of the GBH employees and clients who participate.

My assistant and I recently spent four hours coaxing shy little ones, capturing smiles and sweet glances, as well as chasing down runners at the event. It was a great evening!

I thought it might be fun to flashback to some of the families who participated that first year and this year. There have been so many friends and family in between and so many memories made during this event.

Here's a little trip down memory lane, along with a special thanks to my helpers in the final two photos. Enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children family photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/5/shoot-for-a-cure Tue, 05 May 2015 17:57:29 GMT
Brothers https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/4/brothers

Occasionally, when I'm in the middle of a photographing a session I catch a glimpse of something.

It's not actually something tangible but rather a familiar feeling.

I had that sensation a couple weeks ago when Teresa brought her sons, Michael and Max, to the studio near Robinson, Illinois.

After some quick photos of Michael in the studio, the boys changed into baseball gear and we headed outside.

I placed the two athletes next to each other to do some "big brother/little brother" shots.

I had them look directly at me, and they gave me their best intense athlete shots.

It was perfect but, in my mind, I was looking for a little something more.

Having had the opportunity to photograph the family before, I had a pretty good idea of how these two boys interacted with each other, Mom and older sister Maggie. It was all too familiar.

All I had to do was ask them to face each other and then take one step closer to each other.

They started laughing. I think there might have even been a little trash talking involved.

This time rather than that familiar feeling slowly creeping up on me, it hit me like a baseball bat. I was suddenly back in church sitting with my mom, dad and younger sister. Mom was eagle-eyeing us to be quiet but I could feel the laughter bubbling up. I knew if I even glanced at my sister I'd lose it and there would be hell to pay when we got home. Sometimes, we just couldn't help ourselves. We had to make eye contact. Dad even got in trouble a few times for seemingly encouraging us.

The same held true for Michael and Max (had they been in church, Teresa may have had a different opinion). The images of them together were among my favorites of the day, not because they are great images of athletes but because they are images of great brothers.

You can feel it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/4/brothers Tue, 28 Apr 2015 23:08:30 GMT
Behind the Scenes: Peter Pan https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/4/behind-the-scenes-peter-pan It all started with an innocent encounter at Huck's in Robinson, Illinois.

I pulled up to fill the tank, and at the next gas pump was Larry Quick, the special effects wizard for Lincoln Trail College productions.

Quick is a regular fixture in the LTC theater department. He and the backstage crew create those special effects that give each show that extra pop.

We've worked together many times, so the course of the conversation obviously led to the college's current production of "Peter Pan."

I pumped him about how the production was going, and quickly the conversation led to the big effect in this show - Peter Pan and the Darling children flying.

Theater director Barb Shimer had explained to me how the counterweight apparatus worked but I'd been dying to see for myself.

Then I heard Larry utter the phrase I'd been dying to hear.

"I really wish I could get some photos backstage..."

I think I blacked out for a split second and then quickly volunteered my services. Shooting in my studio near Robinson, Illinois, is always a blast, but going out to photograph someone flying in the air was beyond anything I could imagine.

Here I was with a bona fide invite, and I didn't even have to ask.

I was in heaven.

 

Just before rehearsal, I met up with the flight crew of Larry Quick, Robert Quick, Daniel Boatman and J.D. Dollahan. Josh Quick was missing the night of rehearsal. His flyer, Wendy, was out sick.

My crew was relaxed as they waited for their "moment."

It was amazing how quickly things happened backstage. In fact the first appearance by Peter Pan, I totally missed the backstage pull. 

It happens quickly, they told me.

Now I was prepared.

The first scene went by and we were joking around a little backstage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They agreed that most of the crew work actually takes place before the production opens not during the show. This show was a bit different in that there were bursts of activity backstage when they were all pulling their weight (pun intended) to send the Darling children and Peter Pan soaring across the stage.

After observing how hard the pulls were backstage, it was easy to see how the crew members had built up quite the arm muscles from the week the apparatus arrived to the last show. The crew pulled in unison as the Darling children soared together. There was almost as much rhythm occurring backstage as on the stage.

Everyone knew their job, with each flyer tethered to a puller behind the scenes. 

I imagine it took a pretty good gulp of courage the first time each of the performers soared across the stage.

Yet they all looked so graceful during the performances.

Once the pulling was done and the scene ended, there was quiet. I put down my camera.

Suddenly, the quiet was broken by characters transporting the bedroom set backstage at lightning speed as they prepared for the next scene.

I leaped out of the way so they could do their job, packed up my gear and drove home with a huge smile on my face. Now I know what a magician's assistant must feel like - and so do you:)

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson event photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/4/behind-the-scenes-peter-pan Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:00:00 GMT
Prom time https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/4/prom-time

It’s that time of year.

For one night this spring, area teens will abandon their everyday T-shirts and jeans for sharp black suits ands elegant formals fit for the Oscars.

It’s prom time, and my have proms changed since I was that age.

Gone are the long, full dresses that required a hoop and crinoline. Almost always a pastel color, they required two people to get in your date’s car. We won't even discuss the battle to get into a bathroom stall.

Ugh…

And can we talk about those sleeves. Oh they were awful. They were so big I think they had their zip codes.

I’ll stop at the big, permed hair so popular at the time.

There is a reason my prom photo has mysteriously disappeared.

Annually, my studio near Robinson, IL, plans some type of prom session to complement what is offered at the school. In advance, I choose a model and we do some early images for advertising.

This year was no different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephanie was such a great sport.

As usual, the March weather the day of her session was questionable. The clouds were ominous and, though it was warm the day before, the wind had picked up and it was chilly. In light of the pending forecast, we moved her session up an hour.

I’m so glad we did.

Upon her arrival, she traded her casual outfit for a beautiful navy formal and probably the highest heels I’ve seen in quite some time.

Her mom in tow for adjustments, we hopped on the side-by-side and headed out to the west side of the pond.

We knocked out several poses and then I had her model some of the cool corsages provided by The Rocking Horse in Palestine, IL.

And then I thought I felt something.

And then she did too.

Rain.

It was time to move the party inside.

Once we were dry and warm in the studio, we talked about the prom. We talked about who she going with, what her flowers looked like, and most importantly, how in the world she was going to dance in those shoes.

Oh, the shoes were coming off as soon as the prom started.

Some things never change.

Prom specials listed below. Reservations required.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson photography portrait prom https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/4/prom-time Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:49:55 GMT
Breaking a Leg https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/4/breaking-a-leg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love spring!

There's just something about waking from hibernation and getting out and enjoying all that Robinson and the surrounding communities have to offer.

April is a busy month for the studio located near Robinson, IL, and the spring fun begins with photos of this week's dress rehearsal of Lincoln Trail College's production of "Peter Pan."

Set to open April 10, the show features 38 area performers who have spent the last two months singing, learning lines and choreography, and, in some cases, learning to fly.

Under the direction of Theater Director Barb Shimer, the production is sure to entertain audiences of all ages.

I have photographed these productions year after year. Each time, I'm always amazed by what Barb and her crew of "Lost Boys" come up with to delight crowds. 

In light of this, when she told me the college would be performing "Peter Pan" in the spring and that Peter Pan would actually fly, I just shook my head. If someone could figure out how to make flying across the stage happen, it would be Barb and special effects genius Larry Quick.

I've pumped Barb a few times about the flying mechanism, where they got it, and how it works. It's actually pretty straight-forward.

Am I going to share that information here?

No way. The illusion is too fun - and this production will be too.

Make sure you check it out, as well as the accompanying character events. For tickets to character events, call 618-544-8657, ext. 1433.

“Pizza with Pan!” 
Friday, April 17
10 p.m. (or after the Friday night performance) 
Monical’s Pizza

"From the 'Forum' to Neverland" Breakfast
Sunday, April 19
9 a.m.
Tuscany Grill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson event portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/4/breaking-a-leg Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:42:30 GMT
And baby makes three https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/and-baby-makes-three

 

Guilty.

I had dismissed everyone's comments about not photographing Child No. 3 as much as the first two, yet there I was last week loading CD after CD into the disc player in my studio near Robinson, IL, only to discover one thing - I was totally guilty of this very thing.

I started replaying in my mind how it had happened and traced the roots all the way back to early 2000.

After four years of trying to get pregnant - and four IVFs - in 2005, we became the proud parents of twin girls.

Oh my was our camera busy.

Everything was so new. We have photos of their first bath, their first slobber, and so on and so on. We knew no boundaries.

As the girls aged, we continued to take photos, not as many, but still a lot.

Then, in 2011, we found out another Hevron baby was on the way.

I don't know what happened, but 9 months flew by and suddenly, the calm household of four because a chaotic group of five.

It was a whirlwind.

Three months later, I woke up wondering where the time had gone.

Trying to keep up with two 5-year-olds while caring for a newborn was hard, not to mention trying to get the older girls out the door for preschool without the benefit of having a full night's sleep.

I told myself when the twins were at preschool, I'd have time to take newborn photos, something that wasn't a realistic option with tiny multiples born during flu season.

I remember recuperating on our couch, envisioning the sweet little poses in which I could pose our new baby.

The reality was the second C-section was hard on my older body, really hard. When sweet baby slept, so did Mommy.

When I was awake, I was consumed with caring for our new bundle of joy and the laundry - lots and lots of laundry.

With the older girls, we had professional photos done at 3 months, 9 months and a year. With our youngest, it was 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and a year. It seems everyone has their own consistent monthly photo progression that first year, well everyone but us.

I did do a fair share of what I would call "studio" portraits of all our girls and plenty of candids. Today, the photographer in me has a hard time relinquishing control and allowing someone else to take our personal family portraits, yet there's is nothing more freeing than doing just that. There's a huge disparity between being "in" the moment and "documenting" it. 

Trust me, as quick as these girls are growing, I'll take "in" the moment anytime.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/and-baby-makes-three Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:05:27 GMT
A leap of faith https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/A-leap-of-faith

I am as close as I'm going to get to photographing a sun dog, the atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either side on the sun created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere.

Sadly, I'm in the car and without my camera.

Thinking I can still make the shot, I race up the driveway of my studio near Robinson, IL, run inside, throw a card in the camera and head outside.

I set my ISO to 100, ignoring all other settings, and bang off a quick shot.

Well that was a little disappointing. That is not what my eyes saw - at all.

If you've ever tried to capture a bright sky photo in auto mode or, like me, without checking out your settings, this may be what you discovered in your viewfinder, a hot mess.

So what happened?

The camera's built-in light meter tends to compensate for objects in the photo that are either too light or too dark. In this case, it tried to compensate for the dark trees. In the process, my beautiful blue sky turned white. I would venture to say even the trees don't look so hot, though they are visible. 

Thankfully, despite my haste to get the image, I did a test shot and immediate saw my error.

Two quick settings adjustments later, I was able to capture the photo below without even moving my feet.

Whoa! Big difference.

Do I care you can't see the details in the trees? Not this time.

Switching out of your camera's auto mode can be daunting, but with a little practice, you'll be surprised at what you find.

Take the leap today!

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson landscape portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/A-leap-of-faith Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:15:24 GMT
The picture of pain https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/the-picture-of-pain  

Ugh!

There they were on the shower wall, glaring at me - those moving spots.

I tried to shake it off as being overtired or dehydrated, but in my heart I knew exactly what was happening - the onset of a migraine.

I quickly finished what I was doing and headed for the medicine cabinet for the ibuprofen. If I could stop the aura, maybe I could stop the freight train.

This wasn't a new experience for me. The first train arrived when I was in the first grade anddespite my efforts to explain their onset to other people, I can never quite do the "aura" justice.

When I saw the aura one week ago today, I took the required medication to knock it and then followed up with the migraine medicine to knock myself out.

As I woke from my medically induced stupor hours later, I started wondering if I could somehow photographically represent what I consistently see right before the tidal wave of pain rolls in and knocks me out for the better part of a day or more. Once I felt human again, I headed for the studio computer.

Sometimes the aura is just as bad as the migraine.

The dictionary describes an aura as "a sensation, as of lights or a current of warm or cold air, preceding an attack of migraine or epilepsy."

If you've never had one, consider yourself blessed.

I took the above photo of Caitlin last month. I love this photo of her but after one "aura" edit, I can't even look at it for fear it will throw me into another headache.

If you look at the bridge of her nose, you'll see a "C" shape. Suddenly, as you look around the photo you'll start noticing "C"s appearing everywhere.

That is what my migraine aura usually looks like. The only difference between this photo and my reality is these shapes are constantly moving, causing nausea.

If you get migraines, I'm sure you're all too familiar with this phenomenon or something similar.

Sometimes I get lucky and I get rid of the aura and never get the headache. Other times, I get both and it feels like a freight train through my skull. Sometimes it's somewhere inbetween. You take the meds, find a dark corner (migraine sufferers may experience sensitivity to light and motion and, in my case, it's both) and lay your head on an ice pack until it passes.

Migraines can be triggered by various things - stress, weather, foods, and so on.

Can you function with a migraine? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I found a neurologist who provided me with a magic bullet about six years ago, so thankfully I'm down to about two or three migraines a year, rather than two or three a week which I had experienced in the past. 

I have a deep sense of empathy for those still seeking their magic bullet for migraine pain or any chronic pain - either physical or emotional.

I can represent a part of my pain in a photo. Others can't.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children photo photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/the-picture-of-pain Tue, 17 Mar 2015 14:25:44 GMT
Lauren's senior session in the snow https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/laurens-senior-session-in-the-snow When Lauren scheduled her session, there was no snow on the ground. 

I was already mentally placing her in the back field, in the woods, by the pond.

The winter foliage would contrast perfectly with her dark hair.

The session was in March. It would be cold but at least it would be warming up.

Then, Mother Nature intervened.

Flat Rock was hit with 8 inches of snow early in February and then another 8+ inches the weekend before Lauren's session.

I messaged her. I was game if she was.

March 3, the day of her senior session, brought some seriously nasty weather. Not only was there tons of snow on the ground but it also insisted on spitting rain the entire morning. I had a game plan and we proceeded.

 

 

 

 

We started inside in the studio where it was warm and cozy. 

Once we had all the studio shots complete, I asked if she was still game to move outside. I always leave it up to the client as far as comfort level. Obviously, if he or she isn't  comfortable, it will show in the images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We headed onto the covered front porch for photos. I could still get that outdoor feel without getting Lauren soaking wet. Note to self: huge snow forts henceforth will be made in a location other than the front yard since that limited my options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rain looked to be letting up a bit so we headed into the drive.

I had to position Lauren so the rain wasn't beating her in the face.

We were out just long enough for me to grab some images I was happy with (I shot from one of the snow forts so that one will be allowed to stay in the future), then we headed back inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really wanted to take advantage of the snow outside without putting Lauren in the elements again. Thankfully, before they arrived that morning I had thought of the studio doorway which faces the pond. I opened the door, popped Lauren into it and finished up her session.

 

It always amazes me how many unique challenges each session presents. Sometimes it's the subject (how old are they? are they camera shy?). Other times, it's a technical issue (how am I going to photograph a group and evenly light them). And then there was last week (how do I work around the weather?).

I remember talking to my husband the morning of Lauren's session.

"You can't control everything," he said.

I beg to differ:)

Thanks to Lauren and her mom, Paula, for being such great sports and the weather for providing a fantastic and challenging backdrop.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson photography portrait senior https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/laurens-senior-session-in-the-snow Tue, 10 Mar 2015 17:55:46 GMT
The 5-minute difference https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/the-5-minute-difference

It was much like any other day that the scene presented itself.

I was rushing through the house in typical morning drill sergeant fashion, when I happened to catch a glimpse of color out our dining room window near Robinson, Illinois.

It takes a lot to stop me when I'm in "morning mode" but the color was so vivid.

I took a breath - and a brief minute - to look out the window. 

The sun hadn't made its way to the horizon yet, but from the way the scene was playing out, it looked like it was going to be a spectacular sunrise.

Clad in a T-shirt, workout capris and gym socks, I grabbed my camera and swung open the front door. The bitter wind stung my face and I suddenly realized I was underdressed for taking photos in the frigid February weather.

Already on the porch, I snapped five shots and headed back inside to warm up and find a coat while the sun finished its journey across the horizon.

One of our daughters was ready for breakfast. The cereal flooded the bowl as I tried to focus on not making a mess on the table and not missing the scene I knew was unfolding outside.

Breakfast prepared, I ran back out onto the porch with my camera, ready to photograph that beautiful sunrise. 

I was warm, I was dressed appropriately, I was armed with gear, and I was sorely disappointed.

Only five minutes had passed, but the brilliant colors were all but gone.

The photo above is one of the few snow landscapes I've been totally satisfied with straight out of the camera, but had I gone outside five minutes later (photo below), I would have totally missed that shot. 

Like everything else, sometimes you have to take advantage of an opportunity when it's presented to you. You may find yourself awestruck or unprepared, but once the moment is gone, like that predawn show, it's gone.

Take advantage of those opportunities:)

Who needs a coat anyway;) 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson landscape photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/3/the-5-minute-difference Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:36:06 GMT
Maleah cake smash https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/2/maleah-cake-smash Oh how I love to hear the words "cake smash" from clients coming to my studio near Robinson, IL.

I'm not sure what gets me more excited - the sweet smiles from the little ones eating that sugary sweet confection or the potential of a catastrophic mess as cake flies everywhere.

One thing is for sure - no cake smash is ever the same.

What is a cake smash? 

Just what it sounds like. Celebrating your child's birthday with professional photographs of them smashing or making a mess in their first birthday cake.

How involved the child gets in the process varies.

One a couple years ago brought a full out cake tossing - messy but providing me with one of the best cake smash memories ever.

Other kids are more timid, content to simply enjoy the delicious cake without making a real mess.

Earlier this month, I had a sweet 1-year-old in the studio for photos. The session wrapped up with a "smash."

I always recommend parents "practice" with the child. When we put cake in front of our own 1-year-olds, they didn't even know what to do, other than look at the cake and then us. What now, they seemed to ask.

Maleah had practiced but you still never know what's going to happen. Like many, she looked at the cake then her mom then the cake, unsure of what she was supposed to do and then if she was going to get in trouble for doing it.

Then a finger went in and a smile spread across her sweet face. Then another finger dragged across the icing.

This was fun and what do we do when we're having fun? We run to Mommy with messy icing hands.

We set her back into position and a foot suddenly found itself in the cake. More sharing.

Then, we got it on our nose and that, my friends, to young Maleah was the deal breaker. 

She giggled when I put it on my nose too but other than a brief smile, the cake event was over.

Thankfully, we had taken it slow at the beginning and she was super happy for all but the last frames.

If I had to guess, I'd say she was in a sugar-induced coma on the ride home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson cake children photo photography portrait smash https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/2/maleah-cake-smash Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:31:58 GMT
Building a positive community https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/2/buildingapositivecommunity

There are so many positive things to be said about Robinson High School's recent Cheer Clinic - the energy, the kids, the teamwork, the performance.

Everything about it was so positiveSo positive, in fact, I was moved to start writing about it last week. I was nearly finished when a Facebook post by one of the RHS cheerleaders prompted me to hit the delete key and start over.

It was the use of two simple words with a clinic photo I had taken - role model.

My daughters have participated in these and similar clinics year after year. Now, after scanning photo after photo of little girl looking dreamingly up at each of the high school cheerleaders, I'm questioning if it was actually their desire to perfect their various skills or the opportunity to be near these older students who seem to "have it together."

When a cheerleader or athlete they've met at a clinic recognizes or says hello to them after the event, it is a BIG deal. I know for a fact, it isn't just my kids who get this rush.

Watch what happens when any older student in a leadership role makes himself or herself accessible to younger students. The younger student's eyes light up.

As a parent, it warms my heart to see the interaction. The gesture subtly tells me "I remember your child and he or she is special."

The message to my child? "This really cool big kid remembers me! I want to be just like him or her."

Who wouldn't want to feel that? Who doesn't want that for their child?

How many students truly realize their boundless influence among the children they reach at these clinics?

It's an awesome honor and a great responsibility, with immeasurable rewards.

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson athletes cheerleaders event high photography portrait school https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/2/buildingapositivecommunity Tue, 17 Feb 2015 20:05:55 GMT
RHS The Wedding Singer https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/2/rhs-the-wedding-singer

"We built this city."

"We built this city.

We built this city on rock and roll."

The Starship lyrics echoed in my head as I paused briefly, smiled, and then continued to prep my gear to document Robinson High School's Feb. 4 rehearsal of "The Wedding Singer." It was nice to be out of my studio near Robinson, IL, and with high school students who were obviously immersing themselves in a culture with which I was quite familiar - the 1980s.

Hearing that song took me back - way back. I could almost see myself as a high school student. I may not have had the big hair (though it was a lot bigger than it is now), but I did wear my share of neon, and polo shirts with flipped up collars. If I looked hard enough, I could probably find a pair of acid-wash jeans in my parents'  basement.

For me, these weren't costumes but rather everyday attire. My kids would be thoroughly embarrassed.

This particular night, however, more than 20 teens proudly boasted some of the biggest hair I've seen in the last 35 years, and the attitude was as strong as the required hairspray. It was glorious!

As I fought the urge to belt out those awesome '80s preshow tunes, the students beat me to it by collectively bursting into song as they set up the stage.

Based on the movie featuring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, the production follows the paths of wedding singer Robbie Hart and the waitress he continually runs into and becomes smitten with during his wedding gigs, Julia Sullivan. Of course, there are plot twists that keep these two from getting together.

It's a tale that stands the test of time, and it could have just as easily been set in 2015 (without the awesome fashions, of course).

For those of us who had a chance to see the show, it was a great trip down memory lane. 

For the younger generation, it was a great taste of the 1980s, may they rest in peace.

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson event high photography portrait school https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/2/rhs-the-wedding-singer Tue, 10 Feb 2015 15:30:06 GMT
Backup your files - today https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/2/theartofthebackup To say last week was interesting would be a gross understatement.

Like many other weeks, I was chugging along at the usual crazy pace in my studio near Robinson, IL.

I added a last-minute session for Wednesday and was processing the final gallery proofs that night when I noticed a thin oddly colored line running through the subject's hair.

Usually that type of quirk means the Mac is tired and it's time to restart. So, with only 10 images left to process, I shut down my computer.

Sadly, that is the last time my computer has seen life.

Upon restart, the ugly symbols and foreign text began to scroll.

I knew it was bad.

A wave of nausea slowly crept through my body and I grabbed my smartphone and began the desperate Google searches: "Mac recovery,""Mac not restarting," "How to maintain your sanity in a Mac crisis," etc.

After shutting it down and restarting it numerous times (I don't know is 10 unsuccessful restarts really numerous or just desperation?).

Then, in the middle of my panic, it suddenly hit me. I was covered. All my photos and files are backed up on a schedule, they are on my host server and they are on two external drive.

I calmly unclenched my hand from the mouse, shut down the computer, and went to bed knowing my files and photos were safe and sound.

What could have been a catastrophe turned into a mere annoyance. I can live with that.

Could you? 

When was the last time you backed up your files? Your photos?

Start today:)

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson photo photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2015/2/theartofthebackup Sun, 01 Feb 2015 15:55:51 GMT
Remembering Loved Ones https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/9/remembering-loved-ones I love it when a client presents a project to the studio, located near Robinson, IL, and he or she has a distinct vision of what they want.

In this case, it was my friend Cora who I've done restoration work for in the past.

One of 14 children, she said the surviving children meet annually and have their photo taken. Sadly, this tradition was missed by a sister who had passed the previous year.

Could we incorporate an old photo of her sister into one of the group photos?

Of course!

There were so many directions my mind was going. I initially tried putting her in the top right corner (where it is now) but the trees were in the way, so I opted to put her in the window. I wasn't happy with it it, but I knew if I showed it to Cora, she'd show me which way to go.

I could tell I went the wrong way and I told her about my concern with saving the trees in the background. After bouncing ideas back and forth a couple times, we'd figured out exactly how to make the piece work.

I love doing compositions like this because they mean so much to the client and his or her family. It also gives me a chance to really flex some creative muscle.

Every artist has their own perspective on the pieces they do. I love working with clients and getting their perspective. It's when the two perspective meld that the magic happens.

Thank you, Cora, for allowing me to work on such a great project!

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) compositing manipulation photo photography portrait restoration https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/9/remembering-loved-ones Mon, 09 Sep 2013 22:30:00 GMT
Senior session with Bridget https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/8/senior-session-with-bridget I was so excited to have Bridget come to my studio near Robinson, IL last weekend. Bridget is the studio's senior representative this year. The first session I had with her was more of an advertising piece for the studio. This session was all her.

Bridget asked if it would be OK if she brought her dog Harley. For some reason, I expected Harley would be a much larger dog so when this sweet little dog popped out of the car, I immediately started laughing. Sweetest dog ever! He totally played up to the camera.

 

Bridget had some great ideas for her session - one of which included bubbles. After some trial and error (and a few bubble-blowing) lessons, we captured some cool moments as the sun was setting.

Bridget also had an idea she found on Pinterest. I have to admit the Pinterest ideas I've tried in the past have had limited success other than being absolutely hilarious. True to form, this one took on a life of its own. The idea was to catch Bridget's reflection in the mirror. We opted to do it in the studio sunflower patch but we couldn't get the sunflowers in the reflection or Bridget at the right angle. After we figured it out, it turned out pretty Pinteresting (worst pun ever)!

 

 

I'd like to think that when clients come out to the studio, I give them a truly unique experience - a pressure-free session where we share some laughs and the client can relax and actually enjoy being photographed.

Bridget and I received a pretty good laugh about five minutes after this photo was taken.

I had just put up the mirror and placed her in a great patch of sunflowers. The sun was starting to set. She was in some great light and I started to settle in to take the photo.

I think I had one knee on the ground when I looked to my left and saw a beautiful fluffy black and white tail standing straight up about a foot to my right. It wasn't moving and, at that point, neither was I. It was a skunk.

My husband had smelled the skunk earlier in the day. We had all smelled it. And there it was in all it's glory. I wasn't exactly concerned since it was in the drive yet all I could see was the tail. I guessed maybe Greg had hit it with the tractor earlier in the day but I wasn't willing to chance it. I gave Bridget a quick nod toward the tail at which point we both decided to move for less risky spot. Oddly enough, her flipflops were about a foot away from the skunk in the other direction. We'd both missed it.

(As a side note, the skunk was gone the next morning. For the sake of argument, I'm saying an animal drug it off.)

The rest of the session was full of laughs and beautiful light.

 

 

 

 

This weekend we'll finish up her session with a re-creation of a shot that was taken of her mother when she played high school volleyball. Her mom will be in the stands this time, Bridget will be on the court and the skunk will be far away...lol

Can't wait! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/8/senior-session-with-bridget Sat, 24 Aug 2013 03:39:19 GMT
Happy photo accidents https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/8/happy-photo-accidents

It never ceases to amaze me how I can meticulously set up a shot, get the lighting just the way I want it, the posing just right and the mood perfect in my studio near Robinson, Illinois, and my favorite shot ever is the one I reached down for my camera in the crappiest midday light ever and just clicked.

I call it the happy accident and it's the most fun and most aggravating photo you'll ever shoot. 

You know it's special the minute you see it on the back of the camera and then you lament the fact that, as hard as you try, you'll never be able to duplicate it. It's just so pure.

When I think of happy accidents, my mind always comes back to this one. 

Everyone who has seen this photo of my now 7-year-old daughter has a definite opinion about it - they love it or they hate it. 

People always try to figure out "the story" behind this photo. (Isn't that what a photo is supposed to do?) Is this child hungry? Is she alone? Is she in need?

So what is her story. Pretty simple: I had just purchased a new lens and was playing with it at a parade. It was the dead of July and miserably hot. We found some sparse shade and I called her name, she turned to me and I shot the photo. No planning at all, just instinct.

I think I'm the only family member who likes it and so it hangs by my computer for me alone to enjoy. I'm OK with that. 

Think of your favorite photo. What story does it tell? Does it have a story only you know? What storyline would an outsider attach to it?

Interesting....

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/8/happy-photo-accidents Wed, 14 Aug 2013 02:04:06 GMT
Studio Celebrates First Birthday https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/8/studio-celebrates-first-birthday

In celebration of Danelle Hevron Studio's first birthday this week, I really wanted to do one of those down and dirty cake smashes. You know, the ones where everyone and everything gets messy.

I bought the cake, set up the backdrop and found a friend to come to my studio near Robinson, IL, fully prepared to make a mess.

Business is messy, especially when you're a newbie. A cake smash seemed fitting.

Being creative comes naturally, running a business, however, is something entirely new and different for me. This year has come with its share of challenges and celebrations.

Last year at this time, I was still trying to build the website - one element at a time. I didn't lose heart but I thought I'd lose my mind:)

Take a look on Facebook. There are photographers everywhere. Digital cameras and social media have made it somewhat easy to throw up a business. But there's a lot more to it than being able to navigate social media.

There's the gear - you have to have it, you have to know how to use it, you have to maintain it, you have to know how to improvise when it craps out on you when you least expect it.

There's the creativity - you have to keep up with the trends while staying true to your own style. (You have to figure out your own style, too.)

There's the time - the set up, the actually shooting time and the editing time.

There's the passion - you have to love what you're doing.

And then there's the business end - the taxes, the price lists the orders and the customer service.

I have to say the biggest learning curve for me has been managing the time.

I'd been wanting to have a studio for a long time, but there never seemed to be a good time to do it. Finally, last summer, I decided the time was now. I'd waited long enough. 

I want to say passion pushed me over the edge. I have a full-time job and three active children. Adding another ball to juggle wasn't going to be easy.

I applied for my business license, visited the accountant, finished up the website (it took a full month), built an identity on a few social media sites and started photographing people I knew.

In the beginning, I managed the time horribly. Each session saw way too many frames to manage, too many hours nitpicking at the computer and then playing with final edits. My daughters hated when I had a session because they knew it meant Mommy would be on the computer for a long time afterward.

It isn't like that now. 

The workflow is down to a science and, while I may load images immediately after a session, the real work doesn't begin until the little ones are in bed and even that doesn't take as long as it used to. 

Is the business where I want right now? Not yet but there's room to grow and I'm now fine with that.

I've been blessed to have a wonderful support system! My children, who stand in whenever I want to check out a new lighting setup or play with a little gossamer; my friends, who have set a firm foundation for my business by booking me for photos and referring me to their friends; and especially my husband, who watches the kids while I go romp in the woods, tows out the transportation in the back field when I get hung up and who helps me with the business-side of things.

As a rule, I'm not a huge risk taker. If all my friends were jumping off a bridge, I'd be the one saying "maybe this isn't such a good idea." 

This time, however, I took the plunge and I haven't regretted it for a second. It's allowed me to see possibilities I never dreamed of.

So you may wonder why are Caitlin and I aren't covered in cake? While the smash seemed like a good concept initially, one finger full of that cream cheese icing was enough to make me change my mind about the whole mess idea. Why waste a good cake when you can savor every bit of it?

Thanks everyone for a great year!

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/8/studio-celebrates-first-birthday Mon, 05 Aug 2013 23:00:00 GMT
Ruth's newborn session https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/7/ruths-newborn-session Last weekend, I was privileged to shoot not one but two sessions of children under 9 months in a single day in my studio south of Robinson, Illinois. If you read last week's blog, you met Hayes. This week, I'd like to introduce you to Ruth.

I love children and their spontaneous nature. It always amazes me how unique each child truly is.

When I received a call to photograph Daniel and Jennifer's newborn Ruth, I jumped at the opportunity.

I don't photograph a lot of newborns but I love doing it. It reminds me of what it is like to have a baby, how helpless they are, how you play guessing games as to what they need at any given point in time. Was that the hungry cry, the gassy cry or the poopy cry? Just sorting it out is such a challenge.

Luckily, Daniel and Jennifer are quick studies when it comes to figuring out sweet Ruth's needs.

When we started the session, Ruth was content but seemingly unsure of the whole photo thing. (Obviously, her parents don't put her in antique washbowls at home...lol). I'd like to say she was yawning here, but she was just not really feeling the whole photo experience...

that was until we got Daddy involved. He's under the blanket, and now we're happy:)

I was able to get some sweet shots of her in daddy's arms but then became restless and needed a quick snack from Mom. After that, Ruth needed a change of scenery so we decided to go outside. Hello, people! That's all I wanted. (Makes me sleepy just seeing these now...lol)

Hello, Sunshine!

After a number of shots outside, we were all a little warm so we moved back inside. Ruth was way sleepy and in the zone. Mom and Dad carefully attempted to slide on her hairbow and I caught this image while she was happy. (As a side note, she has a hairbow to match everything. My 7-year-olds would have been envious:))

For something different, we took off the bow and Ruth smiled. She was really sleepy now.

But not sleepy enough to notice when Daddy put a flower in the photo. (This was only a second later.)

Congrats, Daniel and Jennifer! She's absolutely beautiful - smiling or crying:)

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson newborn photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/7/ruths-newborn-session Sun, 28 Jul 2013 22:10:03 GMT
Hayes turns 6 months outtakes https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/7/hayes-turns-6-months-outtakes I'm not the best when it comes to keeping up with the blog but I'm vowing to do better. This weekend presented a variety of experiences to share. The first of which I'll share this week. These are all outtakes from Hayes' 6-month session. They were just too cute not to share.

You never know what you're in for when you're taking photographs of a 6-month-old. Some stay in one place and some are pretty mobile. 

When Darby and Kyle brought Hayes over this weekend, I thought I was pretty prepared. I knew he didn't like to sit unless he had his hands occupied, that he could roll and that he was pretty laid back. What I wasn't prepared for was this little boy's big personality and funny facial expressions.

Because Hayes isn't too fond of sitting, we took the necessary precautions, with Mom or Dad always just out of the camera shot ready to catch Hayes should he attempt a face plant.

 

Hayes did pretty good at first. He was mesmerized by blocks - well, chewing them anyway. I think a new tooth may be his future. (below)

We weren't too thrilled when Mom took away our teething toy.

And then, we discovered the bumpy, shaky ball. "Hooray! Shake it Mommy, shake it!"

We really liked the bumpy, shaky ball. Oops, it hit the floor. That did not go unnoticed.

The ball was only fun for so long so we moved Hayes onto his belly where he decided the grooves in the floor were hilarious. Hmmm....

When we got bored (I know bad pun) with the hardwoods, we discovered, aha, our drawstring.

 

A clothing change and we were ready to roll - literally. Here's the setup...

and the dismount....lol.

When my 2-year-old strolled into the studio. Hayes was mesmerized. Even Daddy couldn't grab his attention.

"Hey, where's she going? I didn't get her digits."

Finally, we headed outside. "OK people, let's wrap this up. I gotta get that girl's number."

"And while we're at it. I think I may need a nap."

Special thanks to Darby and Kyle for letting me share these. What a fun session with an animated little boy!

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/7/hayes-turns-6-months-outtakes Tue, 23 Jul 2013 00:56:49 GMT
Moving on through Photography https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/7/moving-on-through-photography It was just over a week ago that I received one of those phone calls no one wants to get - one of those calls that, even when you're prepared, still tends to knock you upside the head and throw you into an emotional tailspin. Someone close to you has passed away.

I this case it was my grandpa. 

At 89, he had been in ailing health for the last few weeks and I had been prepared by my mom (it was her father) that the end was drawing near. The last couple weeks, every time the phone rang at night, I secretly cringed. Then, July 5, the call came. He had passed away peacefully.

I'm not a child and death is nothing new but this was my last grandparent. It seemed to felt the hardest.

My grandpa was always mistaken by those who didn't know him as being a LOT younger than his years. He was a bundle of energy and extremely self-sufficient. Up until three years ago, when he had a minor stroke, he lived alone on the farm he grew up on. It wasn't an easy life but he loved the farm and tending to it.

As a child, I loved it when he'd take us down to the creek to wade or to fish in one of the ponds. He always had a dog and was a foster parent to some of the mangiest farm cats I've ever seen. He was the only elderly person I ever knew who drove a four-wheeler too fast. In the last week, I found out he'd wrecked it more than once. A daredevil - I'm not surprised in the least:)

Prior to the funeral, my mom asked me to print a recent photo I took of her and my grandpa at Christmas. I dug through the album (yep, that old-school photo album) and pulled one out. As I glanced through the other photos taken that winter day, I thought to take the whole book with us for the funeral as Grandpa was in several of the photos. We framed three for final display.

During the days following his death, I remember my mom saying more than once how glad she was we took photos that day. I wish now we'd have taken more.

This will always be one of my favorite photos of my Grandpa. I know composition-wise it isn't the world's greatest photo but right now that doesn't matter. This is how I'll always remember him - young beyond his years and still cracking jokes.

With a lump in my throat, I put this photo back in its sleeve in the album this weekend, knowing it and he are safe and sound.

You may wonder what the point of this post is. It's simple - photos are important.

Our 2-year-old will never remember her great-grandparents. My grandpa was the only one alive at the same time she was.

Thanks to photos, she'll know the face and the stories of my grandpa and those who passed before him. 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/7/moving-on-through-photography Mon, 15 Jul 2013 02:32:56 GMT
Bridget https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/5/bridget I'd like to introduce Bridget Yockey, Danelle Hevron Studio's first senior representative. 

This Palestine High School volleyball player works at a local nursing home. She has a great energy and was game for about anything during this session, including driving through a muddy field in a vehicle that had been hung up just 30 minutes prior to her arrival:) The minute she said "that's OK" and pulled out a pair of flipflops, I knew we'd have a blast!

Here are a few shots from her initial session. We'll be doing her actual session later this summer. 

As a senior representative, Bridget will have access to discounts for her fellow high school seniors. If she doesn't hit you up, ask her for a discount card. Great images for a great price. Now that's something to smile about!

@danelle hevron studio

 

@danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio @danelle hevron studio

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson photography portrait senior https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/5/bridget Fri, 31 May 2013 14:26:31 GMT
Challenge https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/4/challenge I'll admit it. I am perfectly content to be the one behind the camera, be it as part of Danelle Hevron Studio or personally.

It wasn't until a few weeks ago when I was putting photos away that I had an epiphany. While I have literally thousands of photos of my children, very rarely am I, or even my husband, in the photos. 

I started to wonder if I was the only shutterbug who was guilty of the same crime - hence, the Easter challenge to my friends, family and business page fans.

On the surface, it doesn't seems like a big deal. Our three daughters know who Mommy and Daddy are, as do their grandparents and aunts and uncles. But what about future generations? 

The more I thought about it, the more it started bothering me. Will future generations think these children raised themselves? They are the only ones who seem to appear in the photos. And who are those "other" people who occasionally show up for a photo once every third photo album? Babysitters? Distant relatives?

Someone once gave me a great piece of advice: Don't get so caught up in taking photos of your children that you don't get in the picture every once in awhile. I took it to heart. You may be seeing a little more of me in photos. I hope to see more of you as well:)

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/4/challenge Wed, 03 Apr 2013 14:20:29 GMT
Ella and Taylor behind the scenes https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/3/ella-and-taylor-behind-the-scenes When family comes into Danelle Hevron Studio, it's always a good time. There are giggles, smiles and always a bit of chaos. So was the case when my nieces came a couple days ago for their 1- and 6-year-old photos. Not much to say on this post, I think the photos speak for themselves. So much fun. Outtakes are always the best in a family that includes five granddaughters!

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) Illinois Robinson children lifestyle photographer photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/3/ella-and-taylor-behind-the-scenes Thu, 28 Mar 2013 01:14:35 GMT
When Your Child is a Photographic Challenge https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/3/when-your-child-is-a-photographic-challenge If you're a parent, more than likely, you've been to the dark place where Danelle Hevron Studio in Flat Rock, IL is about to take you. You spend weeks picking out the perfect coordinating outfits for that wonderful family photo. You set up the appointment with the photographer, pack the snacks, extra clothing and then head out.

Everything is fine, the kids are fine, you are fine and then you get to the studio.

Game over.

Junior has a meltdown right before or even during the session.

Been there, done that.

Sadly, it's usually Mom who has the hardest time pulling herself back together after the dust clears. 

I've been the photographer at a couple of those sessions, but sadly, most of the time, our family is that session.

One daughter doesn't want to be in the photo, the other one is too into the photo taking and the third is, well, usually screaming. At any given session, each personality will swap so we never really know who the biggest challenge will be for any given session.

People on the outside must think I am a terrible mother, at least that's what I used to think.

Now I know better.

I'd much rather be on the photographer's end of the scenario. I have more options. We can take a snack break, we can get out the toys, we can go outside and take a walk. (I usually can shoot the entire time.) Or, we can just reschedule.

I had one shoot in particular that involved a number of children under 10. We had a good idea of where the kids would all be placed. The parents just had to do the initial wrangling and keep them in place - not an easy task since their were toddlers in the crew.

The moms were bustling about getting everyone just so. They'd apologize over and over when Child A would walk out of the photo or Child B would lay down in the middle of the shoot. They were miserable, but the kids were having a blast and so was I. The photos I was getting were priceless. After all was said and done, one of the most popular photos was the one were the kids were just being themselves - kinda everywhere.

Still, as a mom, had it been me, I'd have done the same thing. We want our kids to  present themselves as perfect when we forget, they are just kids. They don't sit still and, if they are new walkers, they want to walk everywhere.

I took our youngest child's photos over the weekend. She just turned two. Her two older sisters tried to help but it just went south quickly. Finally, instead of trying to pose her, I just let her run for a few minutes. She burned off a little energy and I was finally able to some photos I love, none of which were truly posed. 

I have to say when I go through clients photos and my own, I pick out the pretty posed ones but the the ones that always capture my attention are the ones where the kids are simply being themselves. When I go back and look at photos 20 years from now, I think that's what I'll want to remember. 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) children event lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/3/when-your-child-is-a-photographic-challenge Sun, 24 Mar 2013 03:32:15 GMT
Elbow Grease https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/3/elbow-grease

Every once in a great while, I find myself obsessing over some "thing" I think I have to have for my photography.

A few years ago, it was a lens. All I could think about was this particular lens. How great it would be. What I could do with it. But then, there was this other thing about it I couldn't stand - the price tag. No matter how great it was, I just could stand the thought parting with the money it would take to obtain that lens. 

It took me two years of talking about the lens to decide that I couldn't live without it. Well, actually, it took two years for my husband to say "please, buy the lens, I'm sick hearing about it." 

So lately, I've had my eye on portable flooring for the studio. I have to admit I prefer the outdoors over studio setups but I like both. Indoors, you get to be a little more creative. I get on the internet and begin pricing roll-up neoprene flooring. If you've never seen it, it looks like real wood but it's basically just artwork printed or painted on canvas and glued on a piece of neoprene, rolled up and then shipped to your door. Immediately, the floor envy begins. It's not that they're outrageously expensive but they aren't the real wood and, of course, I don't want to spend money if I can find something better for less.

Someone directs me to a tutorial for building "real" wood studio flooring and, bonus, you can build two moveable platforms for the cost of one roll-up floor. I'm now making arrangements to meet my husband at the lumber yard after work. I think he realizes, he'll be building these and I'll be, well, in the room.

Sunday rolls around and I make a request to work on the "floor." Within a couple hours of him doing hard labor and me wiping dirt off the boards, it's assembled and I'm asking for No. 2 to be built. I probably should have waited until he had stopped sweating and had a cold drink in his hand. Lesson learned. 

I'm ready to whitewash my brand new studio platform and I mention I want to move it.

"Uh, you can't lift this," my husband tells me.

This statement isn't ACTUALLY true. I can lift it but it takes about 20 minutes with breaks for me to carry this monstrosity from one end of the basement studio to the other. It is HEAVY!

Between my husband, myself and our two 7-year-olds, platform No. 1 gets the paint treatment and is exactly what I want (excluding its hefty weight, which I'll take over a heavy price tag for now).

Monday morning, I found myself still pumped from the conclusion of Phase 1 of studio projects, which included making the pictured banner, getting the pink backdrop shipped, hunting down a textured backdrop, a few new props and of course, the new platform. There's just something about seeing a project or two...or three to their conclusion. Satisfaction:)

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) children flooring lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/3/elbow-grease Thu, 07 Mar 2013 00:51:30 GMT
Photo Albums: A Lost Art https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/2/Photoalbums I can still remember visiting my grandparents when I was a child. Inside their family room cabinets were stacks upon stacks of those old-time photo albums of everything from photos to old cards. If you have any age on you at all, I'm sure you remember these albums. They had sticky pages to place your photos on and then see-through sleeves that went over each page. They were great if you liked random photos falling out anytime you looked at the albums. The sticky never seemed to stay sticky.

Photo albums have come a long way since those in the 1970s though I think I've seen the albums I've described above recently. I am probably one of the few people who still print photos on a regular basis. Are you?

I've tried to keep my photos stored on an external hard drive (yes, I am doing that now), but I need to see them. I need to get the package, open it and savor each one of them - and on a monthly basis. What is the price for this you may ask? About 17 200-photo albums with presectioned sleeves and that's just over the last seven years. I didn't number the pre-children albums. Though they also exist.

So why the need for prints? When one of my children asks "what did I look like when I was a baby," all I have to do is get out album No. 1. I do it for myself as well. At heart, I'm still the child who'd ask Grandma if I could sit on the floor and "look at the photos." There's also the freezing of time issue. If you've ever thought to yourself "if only I could freeze this moment in time," here's your chance. I love enlarging my favorite photos and then hanging them, though I have to admit it's a sizable task. Still, it's so worth it when they're up on the wall.

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) event lifestyle photography portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/2/Photoalbums Mon, 18 Feb 2013 02:13:38 GMT
Grease https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/2/grease @danelle hevron studio
If you haven't checked out your local high school, college or community's latest theater production, you are truly missing out. 

The time and effort put into these productions and the quality of the products churned out are nothing short of amazing, especially when you consider a few things - many of these groups are putting on these productions with funds they are raising themselves, with talent who are juggling homework, jobs, families and, in some cases, all three.

I recently had the opportunity to take photos of Robinson High School's production of "Grease." Who wouldn't jump at that chance?!

The student actors started trickling in around 6 p.m. for hair and makeup, while director Dana Wachtel put some final touches on the set. Behind the scenes, the crew were busy with costumes, lights and sound checks. RHS productions are in the school cafetorium which means every night after rehearsal, an extra 30 minutes or so is spent disassembling all the lights and sound equipment so the facility is student-friendly the next day. No one complains. It's all worth it to be part of something special.

As sound checks were completed, things began to roll. The lights, the music, the dancing. I recognized several of the faces as children who went through Lincoln Trail College's Children's Summer Theater. They weren't the baby faces I remembered. They've grown into their voices.

So much action, so much legwork, so much fun! It didn't take long for my memory cards to fill. 

Arriving home, I immediately started importing the photos. I couldn't wait to see them!

Our own kids were excited to see them as well.

What was the show about? Who is that girl? Who is that boy? Why does she have pink hair?

They had to know every detail. In fact, they were so intrigued we decided to attend the Saturday night show.

They were mesmerized. I have to say I was too.

When you attend a rehearsal you only THINK you have a feel for what the production will be like. Having photographed plays before I can honestly say that isn't the case. Something happens when actors perform in front of a crowd. The performances become bolder, the acting more effortless.

The energy that graced the stage Saturday night was incredible! The big voices coming out of some of these young actors was astounding. To keep two 7-year-olds - and their mother - entertained for more than an hour is no small feat. Trust me!

I often wonder how children perceive plays and musicals when we attend, so after any show we take them to I immediate pump them with questions. Did you like it? What was your favorite part? Which characters did you like? Which ones did you not like? I know it drives them crazy, but I love getting their perspective.

This play was no different. I didn't get any straight answers since it was late and all they wanted to do was sleep on the way home. They were, however, obsessed with the watching the movie the next day. About 30 minutes in, they had completely lost interest. One begged for the iPad, while the other buried her nose in a library book.

"It was set in olden times," Hannah said. "The people were so old." (I can't imagine Olivia Newton-John as old in the movie, but I'm not 7 years old.)

"Did you like Saturday night's show better?" I asked.

"Oh yes."

There is something to be said for live theater. It is so much better!

@danelle hevron studio

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) event lifestyle photography portrait theater https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/2/grease Wed, 13 Feb 2013 01:17:47 GMT
Adventures with Hayes https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/2/adventureswithhayes  

@danelle hevron studio

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of documenting little Hayes' first two weeks on this earth.

@danelle hevron studio

We decided it would be easier for me to travel to Hayes. Those of you who remember those first days of parenthood remember how much easier it is for people to come to you than the other way around. No diaper bag to pack, no bottles, no diapers.

After tapping out the address on Martha (the loving name I have given our GPS system), I loaded up the minivan (yes, I just fessed up to the hot wheels I now drive) and headed west. It was unseasonably warm and a great day for a drive in the country. 

To say Darby and Kyle live in rural Illinois is an understatement. I was convinced the GPS had me in the middle of nowhere. I still have only a vague idea of where I actually was and if I had to get in or out of there in the dark, I would be totally sunk. I think it was a calculated move on their part. It may totally ruin this sweet boy's future dating potential:)

Darby greeted me at the door and, after a quick assessment, I found the perfect spot to photograph Hayes. Had I realized the beautiful natural light that beams in their kitchen, I would have packed far less gear.

Hayes had been awake and alert all morning, Darby said. However, for some reason, my mere presence threw him into a lovely slumber that even an outfit change and several position changes wouldn't interrupt. 

As I set up then went on to capture the images, we talked about new parent woes - sleepless nights, diaper changes, getting into a new routine. 

It's amazing how having a child can disrupt your regular routine, while making your life complete at the same time. 

Darby and Kyle preferred the focus to be on Hayes the day these photos were taken, but I did convince them to be in at least one shot. It was the last one of the day and is one of my favorites. May they enjoy each one of Hayes' baby days. They pass far too quickly.

@danelle hevron studio

 

 

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) lifestyle newborn portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/2/adventureswithhayes Sat, 02 Feb 2013 21:29:56 GMT
Your Life in Photos https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/1/your-life-in-photos Danelle Hevron Studio is a studio focusing on lifestyle photography. Our philosophy is that even everyday memories should be documented. Whether you're having those first photos taken of your newborn or documenting a special family occasion, we want you to enjoy your day with us. Today is all about you and those who are important in your life. Enjoy! We'll do the work and present you with a lasting memory. Contact us today!

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info@danellehevronstudio.com (Danelle Hevron Studio) lifestyle portrait https://www.danellehevronstudio.com/blog/2013/1/your-life-in-photos Sun, 27 Jan 2013 19:18:58 GMT