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A Picture Paints a Thousand Memories

Karen Reuter Shares Insights on Professional Photos

We’ve all heard that “a picture paints a thousand words.” I can’t help but think teenagers today are completely missing the point as they spend their days relentlessly “Snapchatting” an endless stream of smartphone selfies.

Photographs document our most cherished memories and life events with family and friends. Every moment caught through the camera lens is a moment in time captured forever… Just as hearing an old song brings back long-forgotten memories and emotions, photos can have that very same effect.

It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that digital cameras became accessible. So, unfortunately, most of us over fifty don’t have a large library of old photos to enjoy. Because of this, we understand that taking at least one professional-quality family photograph annually is a great way to document that blur in time we call parenthood. No one wants those memories to fade. We asked our favorite photographer, Karen Reuter, for her advice:

DO YOU HAVE MANY CLIENTS THAT TAKE FAMILY PHOTOS ANNUALLY?

I do! I’ve photographed this adorable family for their Christmas card for 8 years. Their cards are super creative and theme-based. We’ve done Raiders of the Lost Arc, Pokémon Go, Toy Story, Coco, and last year was a recreation of the Loteria game card. I design the cards too, which is super fun!

WHAT’S THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR PHOTOS?

In Orange County, any time of year is great. The only limitation is the sun, which sets by 4:30 in the winter (a problem for busy families who aren’t available until 5:00 on weekdays) and around 8:30 in the summer (a problem for young children who struggle with late hours). Weekend sessions are my solution to this!

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR THE BEST LOCATIONS? CLOTHING TO WEAR?

Choosing a location has a lot to do with how the photos will be used. For wall art, I recommend a location that compliments the decor of the room. For Holiday photos, it could be somewhere that is special to the family. Senior portraits can be at locations that are important to the student, a coffee shop, sports field, their room, a movie theater… Family members should wear clothes of the same theme: fancy, casual or chic.  The colors should be cohesive and compliment the colors of the location. I recommend that the color scheme be limited to three colors with one color that is on each person in some way, be it a scarf, belt, undershirt, etc.  

WHAT SHOULD THEY DO BEFORE THE SHOOT TO PREPARE?

Get a good night's sleep! People can be anxious about having their photos taken, so being well-rested and fed really helps! It’s easy for me to say, “don’t stress”, but that is the one thing that’ll make or break a session. Once you are at the location, let go of the feeling that you need to coach the kids during the shoot. That’s the photographer’s job. So, relax and enjoy the experience! It’s my job to make sure that everyone is not only photographed beautifully but also has a fun time together!

Karen Reuter Photography is based in San Juan Capistrano. A local favorite for families throughout South County, she can be reached at (949) 488-3144 or through her website, karenreuterphotography.com

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