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Our annual Holiday Card sale has begun! Now through the end of October take 15% off your custom holiday cards at Penny Post. We love doing holiday cards for folks, especially the photo kind because we get to see your lovely families. It’s such a treat! To make getting those family photos a little easier I reached out to my good friend and photographer extraordinaire, Rashmi Pappu, for a few tips for getting the perfect shot and working with a professional photographer such as herself. 

First, a little about Rashmi. She has been working with families in Alexandria for more than a decade. Her Instagram page is practically a family album chronicling children from 2 to 10. Right there they grew in the blink of an eye. Her philosophy is to keep things simple. She can be trusted to gently guide you during the shoot and to find the perfect light to make your family shine. What I love about Rashmi is how genuine she is. With her what you see is what you get and I can promise that you always get a delightful experience.  

To book an appointment email Rashmi and to see her work visit her website. Bonus: she is giving a $100 discount on your fall photo session if you mention Penny Post when booking! And to prepare yourself for your upcoming photoshoot, read these tips for making the most out of what will be a fun family event.

What do I wear? 
It's not called Sweatah Weatha for naught. Jeans, cords, sweaters, sport coats, button downs are all classic. Yes we all want the 'perfect' family photo, but if the kids want to wear their favorite polka dot dress or Batman t-shirt, let them. The only people really keeping these photos forever are you, and grandma. Stay away from big logos or bold stripes or patterns. Pay attention to shoes and socks too! Wear your hair and makeup how you would naturally. You don't want to be unrecognizable to yourself when you see the photos! If in doubt, lay out all the outfits on a bed, take a quick photo and email it to me.

What can you expect from the experience?
Everyone wants that unposed candid photo where the entire family is looking at each other and laughing with the sun hitting them just right. I always joke that a photo tells a thousand lies...and the reality is that it is COMPLETELY UNNATURAL to be dressed up and standing in front of a photographer. So the photographers job is to put you at ease, give you directions how to 'pose' and put you in the best light (literally). You will be given directions on what to do! There will be family photos, individual photos of kids, and just the kids etc. IF there is a photo that you really want, let the photographer know! If you are bringing a pet, let the photographer know.

What's the process? 
Process - Discuss pricing, book a session, sign contract, pay a deposit, settle on a location and date. On the actual day, after a bit of chit chat and initial awkwardness, everyone warms up and we take photos! The photographer edits photos and shows them in an online gallery. Client purchases photos and they are either delivered digitally or via prints. Albums, gift prints and other products are discussed if the client wants some keepsakes.

What's the best lighting or time of day? 
Best lighting is like asking me what is the best camera (answer - the one you have on you at all your phone). Ideally right before sunset. But if your toddler goes to bed at 5:30pm (wait was that just my kids??) , then obviously we will work around that. We can shoot indoors if the sun is too high. I am not fond of cloudy days (lighting is not dramatic) or freezing cold or rainy days. If we are not shooting outdoors and using lights indoors, then day or night does not matter. 

What if my kids are not in the mood or misbehaving?
I mean, they are kids. It will happen. I mean I throw a tantrum some days. It is what it is. We will try and make it work. Snack bribes are okay. I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Make sure they have rested. Make sure there are no itchy clothes or uncomfortable shoes. I have found that when someone tells me to Calm Down, it has the opposite effect. So everyone stay calm. It is just photos. Worst case we can reschedule. I try and keep sessions short. Nobody wants a two hour session with a million different poses, locations, clothes. What even would you do with all those photos? Remember, we are just trying to capture a moment in time with everyone in the family in the photo (one that isn't a selfie). It's sweata weatha.. it will all be fine!

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