Italia! | World traveling photographer

Italy!

Ciao Bella!!

I've been a little quiet on here lately, but not for a bad reason! I took a little international vacation in August which meant I had a lot to get done before I left and a lot to catch up on once I got back. But I'm back, somewhat caught up, and ready to share some photos from my amazing trip.

I started this blog back in September and then got so busy that I kept telling myself, "I'll do it before halloween" and finally it turned into "I'll do it for sure by the end of the year". So here it is, December 30th and I am finishing up my blog from a trip I took months ago, but better late than never, right?!

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE pasta. I could eat spaghetti for every meal and never get tired of it. So of course when my friends asked if I wanted to go to Italy I had to say yes! (actually I went back and forth on whether I should, but you gotta travel while you can, right?) I LOVE to travel. I save every nickel and dime that I can all year long so I can take a trip to somewhere I've never been before! I have to say I'm loving it and there were no regrets to taking my trip to Italy. Except, if I were to do it again I would NOT go in August. Talk about hot and sweaty! Ugh. We were in Italy for 10 days so I thought I would share some tips and photos from my trip to help anyone else out who may want to take the trip. If I'm a self employed photographer and can afford it, anyone can, trust me!!

Feel free to read it all or just look at the photos! Just promise not to judge us for our looks. Send a bunch of Coloradoans who are used to maybe 5% humidity to somewhere with 90% humidity and 90 degrees without air conditioning and you're bound to get a hot, sweaty, complaining mess!

Day 1 errrr day 1.75

We had a group of 11 of us that went on the trip and we got to know each other in ways we probably didn't think we would by the end of the trip. Most of us are related in some way; Mom, uncle, future sister-in-law, 3rd cousin once removed, or just Diane. Some of us even got married on the trip... but I'll get to that later. As with most international travel you feel like you spend half your trip just sitting in airports and on planes trying to get to your destination and your first day of travel (which is usually more than 24 hours) seems to last FOREVER, so for that reason, I will consider day 1 the day (or evening) we arrived in Rome.

Sitting in the back of the van on our way to our hotel in rome I started to get a little nervous that our hotel was in the hood. There was graffiti all over the buildings, bars on all the windows of the shops, and it was pretty desolate. We asked our driver if it was a safe area or not because of all the graffiti and he said "Oh, no, just stupid guys". So that was a relief!

We stayed at the River Palace Hotel, which was within easy walking distance from the Metro as well as several of the smaller landmarks in Rome. One thing to note when traveling in Europe is that the rooms are usually TINY and usually only have maybe a double bed in them. So for the triple room we had it was a queen bed and a cot in a very small room. We were climbing over each other the whole time! Also, a lot of hotels have a bar in them with happy hour from 5-10! Talk about a steal!

That night we just went out to eat at a restaurant down the street from our hotel and it was amazing! We soon learned that finding a restaurant in an alley wasn't a bad thing like it may be in the States! It was called Osteria dell'oca and their food was DELICIOUS. By the end I think we had all tried one of everything. I had the Bucatini all'Amatriciana and I think it was one of my favorite dishes of the whole trip. Simple, yet SO flavorful!

After that everyone headed for the hotel and Nichole and I decided to go on an evening adventure and see what we could find! Surprisingly most of the streets were lined with clothing stores, restaurants, or gelato shops. We would walk a ways and decide to take a turn down an alley to see what we could find. The streets were pretty empty, besides a few people walking home from dinner, workers, or a RAT! Saw my first one ever! We turned around one corner and all of a sudden saw hundreds of people surrounding a fountain. That must be where everyone went to hang out or something because that was the only place we really saw a lot of people that night. We kept walking and saw several churches, walked into a GORGEOUS cathedral, and passed by a pub that we thought looked cool, but decided we didn't want to have a rough morning when we had a long day ahead. We walked to the end of the street and saw the Venice Plaza at the end of the street and decided we didn't want to attempt to walk across the round-about so we turned around and made our way back to our hotel to get some sleep before our next busy day.

Day 2 | Roma

We decided to book a 48 hour hop on hop off bus for Rome that would stop at 8 of the major landmarks in the town including the Vatican, Colosseum,  Spanish steps, and more. So our first adventure was to find said bus, figure out which "information" guy was giving us the correct information, and get to our destination. We did learn that many of the sites (as well as the bus) included your receipt for the purchase, which you then had to turn in for a voucher, which you had to turn in for your ticket, so it became a little frustrating to have to run around just trying to get a ticket that you already purchased.

We had skip the line passes for the Vatican and the Colosseum and when we got to the Vatican we were SOOO glad we did because the line was SOOO long. We decided to purchase the audio tour (8 euro) so we knew what we were looking at. With that they give you a map which is the most confusing map ever but there were so many people in the Vatican you really had no choice but to just go where the herd took you. I lost my group after the first room and spent the next two and a half hours wandering through the Vatican wondering if I should slow down because they were behind me or speed up because they left me. I would not suggest losing your group. Learn from my mistakes. 

We saw lots of statues, lots of paintings and smelled lots of smells I would prefer to never experience again. Remember how I said it was hot and humid? Lots of the buildings are so old and also major monuments so they don't have air conditioning in them. Add to that the 90 degree weather, 100s of hot bodies, lots of stairs, and you're wishing you had a pocket full of posies.

As an art major I spent most of my college career memorizing pieces of artwork that were in this building, so it was kind of amazing to see them all in real life. The most stunning of them all was the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican is a maze of the sorts and eventually you file into a room full of people and lots of security guys in suits guiding people through the room. I spent a lot of time in the Sistine Chapel listening to the audioguide and just taking it all in. Understandably, no photos are allowed in the chapel, but I was a little bummed because it was SO amazing and I wanted to share that with others. I stood in the middle of the room looking at the walls and ceilings and seeing how they all mesh together. In the middle of my audio guide I saw my group walk into the room as guards are telling them to keep along the wall and follow it out of the room. There were so many people in the room they didn't even let them stop to look at it as they walked through. That was a pretty big bummer. But, on the plus side, I FINALLY found my people!

After the Vatican we walked next door to St Peter's basilica  which was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I had several audio guides on my phone and listened to them at various locations. The most amazing thing about some of these buildings is that when you think that these were built in the 1600s with no modern machinery they had to do all the work by man or animal power so it took years to build. St peters took over 100 years to build.

I forgot to mention the salesmen on the streets! If you go to Rome, be prepared for people to try to sell you anything and everything. Bottled water, selfie sticks, hats, umbrellas, ponchos, you name it. And they don't take no for an answer. They will also just put it in your hands then demand money. It made the Rome experience VERY frustrating and stressful. On our way back to the bus it was sprinkling and a swarm of these guys surrounded Nichole putting ponchos and umbrellas in her hand. "5 Euro!" they'd shout. I was carrying an umbrella (which I was ready to use as self defense if needed) and Kristi had a rain coat, but apparently you need more than one umbrella because they wouldn't accept our response and followed us trying to bargain. Eventually the guy offered us one euro for the poncho and we said no and scurried away. Remember our response to that question for later in this story...

It soon became a tradition for us to come back to the hotel from our daily adventures, take a shower, then put on a new outfit for the day and go out to dinner. Because it was so hot we felt gross and ended up going through outfits like crazy. Probably the first time I went on vacation, way overpacked, and ended up using everything I brought.

That night we went out to eat at a German-Italian Restaurant. Never thought I would find one of those! After that we told everyone about our adventure and what we had seen the night before and decided to take everyone for a walk to this "cool" landmark. I looked it up and found that we had seen the Trevi Foundation (one of the famous fountains of the city) and told everyone it was about half a mile up the way if they wanted to walk there. So, we took an adventure and soon everyone started asking "Are we there yet? I'm sure we've walked a mile already". When you've been walking all day on cement it sure felt like it, but we kept walking and they kept complaining, then we turned the corner and they all said "Wooooowwww". And it was all worth the walk!

Day 3 | Roma

Although we had purchased the hop on hop off bus, it consisted of a lot of time sitting on the bus waiting for it to go round and round. Since we had purchased a metro pass we decided to opt for that  since it was much faster than the bus. We went and saw the Spanish Steps and made our way to the colosseum then planned to visit the pantheon after that. The colosseum has time slots that you can visit so we decided to go get lunch nearby and try some more gelato before we headed to the colosseum.

As we stood in line for the colosseum it started to thunder pretty constant, then suddenly started POURING. I had my umbrella but it didn't help much at all since the rain was coming down sideways and I had a pricey camera around my neck that was getting wet. Now, remember the guys selling ponchos? Now we are throwing our money at them trying to get 5 euro ponchos we were too cheap to pay 1 euro for the day before. It continued to rain the whole time in line as well as our whole visit to the colloseum. I was SOOO excited to visit the colosseum but the rain mixed with the cluster of people standing inside made it a painful experience for this introvert. By the time we got done at the colosseum we were soaked and grumpy and ready to go home.

The entire city was flooding because of the rain and the subway systems were flooded as well which made the trek home a little difficult considering that fact that our metro stop had about 3 feet of standing water. Our hotel lobby had also flooded so we returned to the whole main floor covered in towels and sheets. Luckily our room was on the 2nd floor.

That night we had special dinner plans for one of the guys' (Mike's) birthday. We had booked a private dinner where you go to this lady's house and she and her daughter cook dinner for you. And Oh my goodness was it amazing. We got to know them pretty well over our 100 course meal and many bottles of wine. Homemade tiramisu, Pesto, chicken and pepperonis (peppers, not sausage), and homemade limoncello. It was all sooo amazing. So if you can book a night with Debora and Fiamma. You won't be disappointed. 

We made our way back to the hotel and decided to go look for the bar we had seen the first night we walked around town. It was the only one in the area and the only place open by the time we got back (many things don't stay open very late) So we went to Trinity College Pub in Roma (if you've been to Ireland you may be familiar with Trinity College) and we had a great night dancing and drinking some new beers. Although the wine was amazing, it was great to have a beer every now and then. I would be lying if I said we just had one.

Day 4 | Florence

We took a train from Rome to Florence and boy was that an experience. The train didn't have any under carriage storage so all of our 50 lb suitcases all had to go in the overhead bins which was quite the adventure when you only have 3 strong guys and 8 girls with lots of shoes.

Remember how I said that some of us got married on this trip? This train trip was the reason for that. We booked our trip through a travel agency and we gave them the list of names of people on the trip. They grouped everyone and tried to keep couples together, but, I was traveling with my cousin with my same last name, so the travel agency assumed he was my husband and put us in seats next to each other, and his wife several rows away. We joked the rest of the trip that he was my husband and we were getting a divorce. He divorced me by text in Venice. It was a sad day.

We had some vans pick us up at the train station and take us to our Villa which was BEAUTIFUL! It was an old mansion that had been turned into a hotel. The three of us who had been squished in a 100 sq foot room now shared a 2 bed, 2 bath, with a kitchenette, suite. It was amazing. We had booked a bike ride in florence for that afternoon but hadn't planned on the amount of time it would take for us to get settled at the hotel as well as travel back into town. So we decided to just stay at the hotel, enjoy the pool, have some wine from the honor bar, and relax after our crazy first few days in Rome.

We had dinner at the hotel that night and learned that they had the BEST caprese in all of Italy. Seriously amazing. I liked caprese before, but I have become a full on addict now. I had it every chance possible in Italy. Pretty sure I ate it for breakfast almost every morning.

Although I spent most of my life on the farm and in the country, I think I had veal for the first time ever while I was in Italy. It was good, but I can't say it's on the top of my list of things I'd like to try again.

Although we were bummed we missed our bike tour, it was great to relax at your hotel and refresh before our next adventures. And the sunset that night at our villa was to die for!

Day 5 | Florence | Chianti Wine Tour

One of my favorite days of the trip. Maybe top 3 days. We booked a Chianti wine tour (Through Go-today.com) where we got to visit 2 wineries and 3 villages in Chianti. We got on a big charter bus and drove through some beautiful areas. The first winery we went to was Poggio Amorelli and it was AMAZING. I am not normally a red wine fan, but oh my goodness was it amazing?! We tried 3 of their wines as well as some of their olive oils and vinaigrettes and I broke down and bought a bottle of each because they were THAT good.

We stopped at Casselini, then went to Resecolli for another wine tasting, which is where the lovely photos of the vineyards are from. We stopped at the Piazza in Greve where we had the BEST cannoli's at Dolceforte. I'm sad I didn't stash a couple in my purse for later.

We had dinner at La Tappa with some great food. Our whole bus had about 25 people on it, and our group took up about half of that so we had a whole banquet table to ourselves. Our bus driver sat next to us as the odd man out, and he did not speak english, but since the food was served family style, he and I taught each other a few words to ask if he or I "wanted more", "no thank you", and "I'm finished". More in italian is "encora". Which when you think about it makes a lot of sense! Since italian is very similar to spanish we kept trying to ask him "Mas??" which made no sense to him.

In these pictures you'll see a photo of me imitating a statue with may arms up behind my head. Remember how I said we got to know each other a little too well? My nickname for part of the trip was Leather Pits. DO NOT buy new deodorant before a trip hoping to save a little room in your suitcase unless you have tried said deodorant before, especially in very warm temperatures. That's all I'm gonna say about that...

Day 6 | Florence | Cinque Terre

When we had first started looking at things to do on our trip I had seen several posts about how the hot springs in Italy are so amazing, but then as we thought of it more, the thought of going to hot springs in the middle of August didn't sound very fun, so we found a travel package that would give us a private tour (as well as the 5 other passengers in the van) with a driver/tour guide to take us to the west coast of Italy to the Cinque Terre Villages. There are 5 villages, but we only had time to visit 3 of those villages, and I fell in LOVE. One of my favorite things to do when I travel to coastal areas is to ride on a boat or something to see the land from the water.

Cinque Terre is about 2.5 hours outside of Florence, so we had a long, but beautiful car ride. But the poor 5 year old in our van learned that he gets car sick, so we had to make a little pit stop on our way, and I don't think he thought it was so beautiful.

The first Village we stopped at was Riomaggiore and we spent most of our time there just amazed at how clear and deep blue the water is. We took a walk up to the "lookout" to see the village from both sides and watched a couple kids dive off the cliffs. The second village we stopped at was Vernazza and this is where we stopped to have lunch. I forgot to mention it, but most meals in Italy take several hours. It was not uncommon for dinner to last about 3 hours, so the fact that we had lunch in about 90 mins was impressive. But we had a giant plate of pasta some glasses of wine, then Nichole and I decided to go up to the top of the Doria Castle and see the village from higher up. Climbing up several flights of steep castle stairs after a bunch of pasta and several glasses of wine to go to the top of a castle is not something I would suggest, but was very much worth it!

One thing our tour guide told us is that this area has a lot of the worlds marble, so it was pretty amazing to see it in the rocks and cliffs, both on our way to the villages and while we were there.

The last village we stopped at was Monterosso. We visited the square, then decided to take a dip in the beach there and the water was SOOOO clear! it was incredible how clear it was! I ended up leaving my swimsuit at the van so I just walked in up to my shorts, but it felt sooo good!

On our way home we stopped at the leaning tower of pisa, and it is still leaning! But the amount of detail in it is amazing. No text book does it justice!

Day 7 | Florence

Our last day in Florence wasn't too exciting as we just went into the town and did some site seeing and souvenir shopping. One of the downfalls of our hotel is that it was so far out of town the only way to get into town was by Taxi (which had a surcharge for being out of town) and by private van for 70 euro. This made going into town pretty pricey, so we all tried to go at the same time to split the bill.

We walked down the Ponte Vecchio bridge, which is FULL of jewelry shops. So many gorgeous items there but oh my gosh was it pricey. I just held my hands behind my back and window shopped.

One of the difficult things about Italy is that public restrooms are hard to find, and you often have to pay to use them, which makes things a little difficult sometimes. So,  if you see a bathroom you have to a) decide if you need to go bad enough to spend up to 2 euro to use it, or b) remember where it is so you can walk back when you do need to use it.

Nichole and I had lunch at Caffe la Terrazza which is at the top of the Rinascente which is a 5+ story department store. The Caffe overlooks the whole city so it gives you a nice view of where you've been and where you need to go. After that we walked back to find the rest of the group, and they had found a restaurant that served beer, so we had to savor a few while we could before we ventured back out to wine country. Along the way we saw several street artists who were doing amazing 3D chalk drawings on the streets as well as one man who was drawing amazing portraits of individuals.

We made our way back to our hotel for another dinner that night with some more amazing food that we savored since it was our last night at our delicious hotel restaurant. I wish I had taken more photos of my food! If you could see how some of it looked you'd be impressed, let alone if you could taste it too!

Day 8 | Venice

Everyone told us how we would hate Venice so I was worried that our last leg of our trip would be terrible. We got off the train in Venice and walked down the road a little ways to our hotel. I instantly loved Venice because there were nooooo cars. During our whole time in Rome I was terrified we were going to get hit by a car on the streets so it was a relief to be in the city and not have to worry about cars and crazy drivers. Italians do not yield to pedestrians. We got to our hotel a little before we could check in so we decided to have a few drinks at the hotel bar until we could take our things to our room.

We got our things into our room and decided to wander down the streets and see what there was to see. We got a couple blocks down the road and found a cute little bar that served beers in big ole beer mugs. This was the first place we had seen that had really served beer from the tap, so we decided to keep drinking and enjoy a few beers and paid an accordion player to sing to our friend.

We did a little walking around the town and I loved looking down each of the little canals at all the boats along the way. It seemed so peaceful! We decided to keep it a calm day and just relax, which felt great after rushing around so much over the last few days.

Day 9 | Venice

Our 2nd day in Venice was packed full of adventures but it was BEAUTIFUL. We booked a walking tour and gondola ride to start off the day. Our walking tour was SO informative and actually quite amazing. We assumed there would be a lot of people on the tour, but surprisingly it was just the 3 of us from our group that went. We learned that most of the main levels of the buildings were used as warehouses since they tended to flood frequently and the homes were on the upper levels of the buildings.

There were a lot of little alley ways and and you would walk through them for a bit and then walk into a big courtyard which usually had a well in it. Back in the days when they used these wells as their primary source of water, each family was allowed 5 liters of water a day. When you think about it now, each family probably just drinks that amount of water a day, let alone using it for washing, bathing, etc.

I knew Venice was an island, but I had no idea that it was made up of 118 different islands and 400 bridges. Some of the islands are abandoned, but it is still crazy to think that to travel around this city, you have to have a boat or travel by public (water) transportation.

After our walking tour we booked a trip to some of the other islands. Our walking tour took longer than expected so we had to skip out on our gondola ride in order to make it in time for the ferry ride to the islands, but everyone we talked to said the gondola ride was overrated anyways.

The first island we started at was Murano which is where a lot of the countries glass comes from. We watched a glass blowing demonstration and it was AMAZING. The guy made a glass horse in the matter of a few minutes. I can't imagine how much time and practice goes into learning how to do that.

After the demonstration we walked through the glass gallery and shop to see some for sale items. We spent a long time looking at all the amazing glasswork.

The next island on the trip was Murano, where there were tons of pretty and bright colored houses and stores. Murano is known for the lace that is produced there.

Finally we went to Torcello and decided to take it easy and have some beers and pizza at the outdoor patio there and made our way back to the main island. It was amazing to see all the islands along our way, some of which were abandoned. It was also interesting to see things like mile markers in the water and what seemed to be lanes for the boats to stay in when going back and forth between the islands.

We got back to the main island and didn't have any plans for the rest of the day so Nichole and I decided to adventure around the island and do some shopping. We saw a bar during our walk that looked interesting so we decided to walk in and have a beer during happy hour. The bar was called Bacaro Jazz and had a fun atmosphere, and we talked girl stuff and caught up on life and enjoyed looking at all the different kinds of bras that were hanging from the ceiling. There were two kinds of beer we enjoyed during our trip. Most places had Moretti beers and some had Peroni, which was a little on the lighter side and more similar to a bud light.

We did some more walking and wandering and the little city got a little busier in the late afternoon/early evening. The canals that had been used for the morning deliveries during our walking tour in the morning were now FULL of gondolas. We stood on the bridges and watched all the gondolas come from each canal and merge into the larger canals. They almost ran into each other as they made their way down the crowded canals. Everyone we talked to said the gondola rides were fun for the first 5 mins and then got a little boring and repetitive as they went on.

We met up with the rest of the group for a happy hour/buffet at the hotel then decided to go to a late dinner at a restaurant down the street called Trattoria Povoledo for our last italian meal. We sat on the patio which looked out over the Grand Canal. It was so pretty to see the city at night and it was a great way to finish up our Italian vacation.

Day 10 | Leaving Venice and Flying home

We woke up early on our last day to get a water taxi  at the back of our hotel to take us to the airport in Venice. It was so crazy to see an airport with boat docks as the passenger drop off.

We had a quick flight for the first leg of our trip from Venice to Switzerland where we had a few hour layover there before the long flight to Denver. Switzerland is on my list of countries I'd love to visit so it was a nice little preview of what it would be like there. The airport had lots of yummy chocolate, which was fine by me!!

I did have one of the most expensive club sandwiches I've ever had while I was there, but, when in Rome, right! Or something like that.

I slept most of our flight back, but did wake up for a little bit of the flight to be able to look outside while we were flying over Greenland, and it was beautiful!

We landed in Denver with the group of 11 that started the trip and all went our separate ways with lots of dirty and sweaty clothes, fun souvenirs, and many, many fun and happy memories.

If I go back someday....

If I ever go back...

  • I would spend more time in Tuscany and more time at the Cinque Terra Villages.
  • I don't know if I would want to go back to Rome. It was great to see some of the monuments, etc. But I don't know if I would want to see them again. I would love to go back to the Colosseum and the Pantheon, just without the rain.
  • I would NOT go in August. Although, when we got back to Colorado, it didn't seem near as hot here!
  • I would spend more time in Venice!
  • I would definitely do another wine tour in Tuscany
  • I loved our little villa, but I would try and find a place in Florence to cut down on taxi expenses.
  • The hop on hop off bus tour was great to give us an idea of locations, etc. But I would probably only do it for 1 day instead of two just because by day 2 we wanted to utilize our time and get places faster instead of driving around the city from stop to stop.
  • I would eat more Gelato. Obvs!
  • We tried to plan a few things ahead of time, but I think we underestimated how long some things would take so we missed out on a couple things we booked or had to rush them. We booked our bike tour in Florence, but didn't end up getting to it, and we missed out on our gondola ride because we overbooked ourselves that day, but I do have to say some things were great to have booked in advance!

It was an amazing trip and I am SOOO happy I ignored the voice in my head that was saying "Can you afford this? Can you take the time away from your business". Life is short. Travel when you can. I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to take an international trip with my best friend and I am SO happy I didn't turn it down! Make a budget, add travel to it, and put away money monthly and you will thank yourself for ever!

I hope this wasn't a terribly painful blog to read, that is, if you read the whole thing!

Preparing for your Headshots | Fort Collins Headshot Photographer

Headshots

How to prepare

What is your "look"?

Your Headshot is the photo that gives off the first impression of you as a business owner, employee, consultant, or whatever the situation may be. So you have to think about what you want people to think of when they see your photo. I wrote a little blog about "What does your headshot say about you" to give you an idea of the impact your headshot has on the people who see it.

Often the first question I get when people are getting ready for their session is "What should I wear?" and that is hard to answer because it changes for everyone based on how they want to appear. Do you want people to see you as a professional in a suit and tie or as a casual jeans and button up kind of person? Picking out your outfit is something that is so subjective depending on the purpose of the photos. But I do have a few tips about things to think of and avoid for your headshots.

What not to wear

It's hard to say a general "You should wear this for your session" so it is easier to say what you SHOULDN'T wear.

  • Wrinkled shirts. Yes, I can do some photoshop and smooth your shirt out, but it can be difficult, time consuming, and not natural looking, so just do me a favor and pull the iron out in the morning and give it a little press for me.
  • Clothes covered in lint and hair. If you have a furry friend, make sure to run a lint roller over your shirt or jacket before our session to get rid of all the hair that may be on there. Those are little things that will make your photographer very happy! 
  • Ill fitting clothes. I know sometimes suits and jackets can be a little small, tight, and busting at the seams, but when you get ready for your session in the morning, make sure that it doesn't LOOK small. If you are testing the limits of some of your buttons, it is probably best to pick a different outfit. If your bra straps show, or your shirt doesn't stay tucked in, pick out something else, because you will have to be doing lots of adjusting throughout the session to make sure everything fits right.
  • Be comfortable. If you are wearing a shirt that you are very uncomfortable in or doesn't fit well, you are going to feel uncomfortable and it is going to show in the photos. So make sure that above all else, you feel comfortable.
  • Avoid very bright colored shirts. If you wear a bright (think neon colors) shirt it may reflect a little color off your shirt which will cast a weird color onto your face. So it is best to wear colors that are a little more mellow.

 

Locations

I have lots of suggestions for locations we can go to for you photos, but if there is a place that would better fit you, your brand, your "look" then let me know! Think of what people associate with you. Do they picture you in your office or outside or with an outdoorsy look or an urban look? We can always toss around ideas, but think of a place that says "you". And I can scope it out and see if it will work for your session.

How to Prepare for your Senior Session | Fort Collins Senior Photographer

Senior Sessions

How to prepare

Clothing

The question I get all the time is "How many outfits should I bring". Depending on which senior portrait session package you choose will determine how much time we have, but I typically tell my seniors to bring 3-5 outfits that they love. We may not use all of them, but it at least gives us some options based on the weather, the location, and how you're feeling. For ALL of my sessions, senior or not, I tell my clients the biggest thing is to make sure you are comfortable because it will show in the photos and you don't want to be tugging at your shirt and trying to make sure everything is all in the right place.

Don't be afraid to wear something fun and out of the box. If that's who you are, do it! I also tell my seniors that they can do some casual and some dressy outfits if they would like. Your senior photos are about YOU. What makes you, you? Keep that in mind when picking out your clothes. If you are a skinny jeans and Chuck Taylor's kind of person, wear that! Don't be afraid to express your personality! 

Do you know where you're going to school or what your will be majoring in or sports you will be playing? Include that! Bring a shirt with your future school's mascot or something with their colors. 

Girls, don't forget to accessorize! Bring options of necklaces and bracelets. Even bring scarves, hats, jackets. Whatever you like to wear, bring it. That is probably the one thing that most clients forget is the jewelry. And while I'm talking to the girls, don't forget the appropriate bras and underwear for your outfits! If you need a strapless bra for an outfit, bring it!

Props

Props are quite possibly the most important part of your senior session. Whether you enjoy music or sports or animals or underwater basket weaving, we can work to incorporate your hobbies into your session. Let me know what some of your interests are and we can make sure that your location and outfits match your props you may have. If you want photos with your horse, I will want to select a location that has some good space. If you want to include your dog, toto, I will make sure to bring some of my "tools" to get his attention. And if you want to include books or basketballs or cars, we can do it!

I LOVE when seniors incorporate their interests. If you're not creative and don't know how, lets chat and we can throw some ideas back and forth on what you like and how we can turn that into a fun and creative shoot! I can't stress enough about how these photos are about YOU and the things you love and that mean a lot to you. Even if you think it might be odd or tough to make look good, let me know and we can always try something. Maybe you're into art, we can do pictures in an alley with fun murals or find some cool sculptures.

The options for your senior photos are endless, so lets make it fun for you! And if you're having fun, I'm having fun! I love when seniors get into their photos!

Locations

Your location for your session is what is going to bring it all together. I typically ask clients if they have a location in mind and if not, I ask if they prefer outdoorsy or urban. Depending on your outfit choices and prop options, this will influence the location we choose. If you're an outdoorsy or country person, I would likely not put you in an alley downtown because it might look out of place. 

I do have a couple requirements on locations as a comfort and liability for both of us

1- We have to have permission to use the location. Whether its private property or a park with permit requirements, we have to follow the rules and make sure we are allowed to use this location.

I know that a lot of seniors use train tracks as a location for their photos, but railroad tracks/crossings are private property and taking photos on them would be trespassing and subject to punishment. Not to mention it is not a safe place to take photos. So, unfortunately I will have to nix any photos suggested on railroad tracks.

2- It has to be a safe location. The last think I want is for anyone to get hurt so if something doesn't feel right or the scene looks unsafe, I will suggest another location. I've heard horror stories of photographers not trusting their gut when it comes to safety and I will learn from their mistakes.

I know that now I sound like a rule stickler and lame, but other than those two simple requirements, I am option to all kinds of options for photos. Whether it is your family farm, your school, a cool alley, or a beautiful park, I am open to getting creative and having fun!

Mazie’s First Year HLHS Warrior | Fort Collins Kids Photographer

Mazie's First Year

HLHS Warrior

Oh Mazie. This little girl stole my heart from the very beginning and if I could give her my heart, I would!

Mazie was born with HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) and underwent heart surgery at just three days old and has since been fighting and getting stronger every day.

I met Mazie for the first time when she was about 2 months old, when we did her first session and I was amazed at her mother’s amazingness (that is a word, for this blog’s sake), Mazie’s strength, and her sisters patience while her parents tried their best to take care of Mazie and their little 2 year old.

Mazie was admitted into children’s hospital the evening of our shoot and after a lot of struggles and ins and outs of the hospital, they ended up doing her second heart surgery a little earlier than expected.

A few months after Mazie’s second surgery we did a little mini session/almost 6 month old session, and she was doing great! Her incision had healed up nicely and she was doing so much better!

I stay in touch with Mazie’s family and always have her on my mind while her family is back in Children’s, waiting for tests and answers. I don’t know how they do it! They are my heroes! I watch videos of them taking Mazie via flight for life to the hospital and they are always so strong and faithful. It seriously amazes me!

For Mazie’s first birthday, my intern and I spent the afternoon with the girls, taking photos of mazie and her sister. I stayed for dinner with the whole family, and I can confidently say that girl has an army of love and support to help her through this!

It has been a tough year for Mazie and her family, but I believe whole-heartedly (see what I did there??) that if they made it through the last year, they can make it through anything.

Happy birthday miss Mazie! I can’t wait to see where you go in the next year!

20 Fun Facts About Me | Fort Collins Photographer

20 Fun Facts About Me

We're getting personal..

I think I am in the mood to share some fun facts about me, so here is your edition of "Meet your Photographer"! I am going to try up with 20 fun facts about me that are NOT photography or business related! This might be hard...

  1. I am the baby of 5 and there is a whopping 16 year age gap between my oldest brother and me. And yes, we all have the same parents.
  2. I. Love. Spaghetti. It is seriously my weakness and I have no "I'm full" warning when I'm eating it. The same might go for Fruity Pebbles...
  3. I have a lot of people who ask me if I have a nickname since Elizabeth is so long. My friends call me Libby, and I'll give you permission to do the same if you'd like 😉 How did I get the nickname of Libby? I came home from school one day when I was in 2nd grade and told my mom that my name was SOOO long compared to everyone else in my class (my first and last name are 18 letters total. Try fitting all that on a bubble test. I get a lot of mail for Elizabet because the H won't fit!) So my mom gave me a book with nicknames for Elizabeth and I thought Libby was good! And the rest is history!
  4. I love tomatoes and I am a vodka drinker, but I HATE Bloody Mary's
  5. I was a whopping 10 lbs when I was born, but I wasn't even the heaviest baby in the family. My brother was 11 lbs. 10 oz. His son was 12 lbs. 1 oz. I come from a family of very big babies!
  6. I am a Colorado sports fan. The Broncos, Nuggets, Avs, and Rockies are my teams! I have to admit that I was a Houston Rockets fan for a few years in high school while I was playing basketball and wanted to grow up to be like Yao Ming!
  7. I drank about 4 cups of coffee a day for a few years, and quit cold turkey last January! It was soooo hard, but after the first few months it was much better!
  8. I love to travel and hope to visit all 50 states in my lifetime. I have a list going right now and am up to 20 (plus Washington D.C.) I have a lot of traveling to do in the south, Midwest, and East Coast! I think I want to visit New England next!
  9. I grew up about 2.5 hours from the Kansas border, but have NEVER been to Kansas!
  10. I am currently learning Italian! It has been an interesting little adventure!
  11. I am also doing some sewing during my slow season! I sewed my best friend a baby blanket for her little munchkin that is due here in less than a month! The other day I made a really pretty Kimono that I LOVE! I also tried to make some leggings, which was successful, but they will have to be my "Just for home" leggings as I found out the fabric is pretty see through. Oops!
  12. I grew up in a small town. And when I say small town, I mean population 225. I went to a Pre-k- 12 school and had 15 classmates and went so school with 8 of them all the way from Kindergarten till graduation.
  13. I am 5'11" tall. They say your wingspan should be as long as you are tall, but I have a 6'1"+ wingspan. There is a reason you will rarely see me wearing full length sleeves or mens long sleeve shirts HA!
  14. I HATE seafood. Just the smell of shrimp makes me start to gag. YUCK!

  15. I love me some Kraft Mac 'n Cheese, but only when it's fresh. It can't be re-heated!

  16. I went all 4 years at college without ever ditching a single class. I missed a few due to sickness, but part of me wonders if I missed out on the whole "college experience" by not having 1 day of notes from a class because I stayed in the dorm watching movies or taking a nap.

  17. I get nauseous at the sight of blood, which I just looked up and it is called Vasovagal Syncope. Most of my family has the same issue. I HATE hospitals because of this. The littlest things make me sick. I hate to admit it, but I've had to take a few breathers (and lay down with my feet up) while visiting family in the hospital...

  18. One of my biggest pet peeves is mouth noises. I hate when I can hear people licking their lips, chewing, grinding their teeth and smacking their lips. Sometimes I go crazy when I can hear people over-exaggerating their breathing. It is the worrsttt.

  19. I have been learning how to play the violin! It is by far the hardest instrument I've played, but I love the challenge!!

  20. I love trying new breweries. I have almost visited every brewery in Fort Collins, but new ones keep popping up! I love trying craft beers, but when I'm hanging with friends my beer of choice is usually Bud Light. I know, I'm terrible, but I gotta watch my girlish figure!

Porter’s First Year | Fort Collins Children’s Photographer

Porter T.

Baby's First Year

I cannot believe this little munchkin is already a year old! And I have a slight confession, it makes me SO sad that I am not going to see him everything 3 months behind my camera!

I have loved watching this little boy grow up this past year. Newborns and 3 month olds are just so cute and all you want to do is snuggle them the whole time, but by the time they're 6, 9 and 12 months they start to develop such a personality and I LOVE photographing that with little ones.

The last two times I photographed Porter it was so awesome to see him start to become his own little person. As a farm girl myself, it was so awesome to see Porter running around the farm like the owned the place, but also to see how much this little human loves his cows at such a young age!

I can't wait to see where this little blonde hair, blue eyed farm boy goes in the next few years and I love watching his little family grow! I have been documenting this family since the engagement and can't wait to see what the future brings! 

Here are a few of my favorite photos from Porter's first year!

An Irish Blessing | Fort Collins Photographer

St. Patrick's Day

A Bittersweet Holiday

Christmas | Irish Blessing | Fort Collins Photographer

St. Patrick's Day has become one of my favorite holidays over the years. I grew up only knowing one of my grandparents, A red headed irish woman named Patricia, who was born on St. Patrick's day. Green was one of my grandma's favorite colors, even when it wasn't March 17th. She always wore a green pin on St. Patrick's day and when I would go to her house as a child she would ask me if I was wearing my green, because if not, she was going to pinch me. Saint Patrick's day was her favorite holiday, and soon became mine.

One St. Patrick's day I was in California visiting my sister and we went out to the beach to celebrate the holiday and got a phone call from my dad, who had called to tell us Grandma has passed away. It was her 84th birthday. 

Saint Patrick's day was grandma's favorite holiday, her birthday, and the day she passed. Because of that, this holiday will always hold a spot near and dear to my heart.

I wish you all a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day. And in the words of Brian Buffini "I'm going to leave you today with a little irish blessing" (Which my grandma had hanging in her house)...

Irish Blessing | Fort Collins Photographer

Ellis Ranch Bridal Show 2018 | Fort Collins Photographer

Ellis Ranch

2018 Bridal Show

Bridal Show Flyer 2018 | Ellis Ranch | Fort Collins Wedding Photographer

Come visit me!

If you are getting married this summer/fall, come on over to the Ellis Ranch bridal show and check out all the vendors! Even if you aren't getting married at Ellis you can still chat with the vendors you are looking for!

Be sure to stop by my booth and say hi and enter to win a free photo shoot!!

March 25th noon to 4 at Ellis Ranch!

Elizabeth Fehringer

Best of.. Fort Collins Photographer

Best of

Fort Collins

Expertise Badge
2018 Best Portrait Photographer in Fort Collins

I am not one to boast or brag about what I've done or where I have been, in fact, I hate talking about myself most of the time. Today I'm going to step out of my shell and brag a little bit, but mostly it's as a thank you to all of my amazing fans, friends, and clients out there who helped me get to this point!

Last year I was named on of the best family photographers in Fort Collins by Expertise.com. To get an award like that it so great when working in such a competitive industry with photographers al the way from beginner/hobbiest to someone with 20+ years of experience working full-time with a 6 figure income! Getting to say that you're one the best family photographers in Fort Collins is an amazing feeling!

Then this year I found out I received the same award for 2018 and I was so honored!

A few months ago, Hula Frog, (a blog that shares things to do and businesses to use that are family oriented and kid friendly) started a contest for the "Most Loved Family Photographer" in Fort Collins. They listed several photographers that were in the contest and asked viewers to vote for their favorite photographer. I shared it when I found out I was in the runnings, but quite honestly I forgot about it! A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my emails and saw one listed "Best of Fort Collins" and it wasn't until I clicked on it that I realized what it was. I went to their blog and found that I was listed as the winner! Because of the love and support of so many of my amazing clients and friends and family I am proudly able to post this badge! It is such an honor!

Thank you to everyone who voted, shared, and as always, has supported me through all of this!

 

Elizabeth Fehringer | Fort Collins Photographer
Fort Collins Most Loved Photographer Award

What does your headshot say about you?

Headshots. No I'm not talking about sniping someone. I'm talking about the photo that you put on your linkedIn profile or website to show the world who you are. We tend to cheap out on headshots. Whether that means hiring an amateur or using a selfie from your phone, I think sometimes we forget what we are trying to convey with that image.

Your headshot is probably the first impression you will make with people. If they are shopping around for someone, they may try to find someone that looks trustworthy and friendly, but if your headshot does not convey that you could be losing business.

After spending about 10 minutes on LinkedIn the other day I was amazed at the quality (or lack there of) of some of the profile photos some people have. I am LinkedIn with recent College graduates, people that work for S&P 500 companies, and some small business owners. Some of the photos are made up of selfies, lots of cleavage, and photos of people eating a sandwich or chugging beer. Now, please don't take this the wrong way, but unless you are trying to get a job as a beer taster at Budweiser or as a sandwich taster at Subway, those photos are not showing off what you have to offer. QUIT CHEAPING OUT ON YOUR HEADSHOTS! Hire a professional and I can guarantee it will pay off in the end.

As much as I would like to share some of the "bad" photos I have seen on LinkedIn, I decided to spare those people the humility and decided just to share some of my favorite headshots.

If you're a dentist, you want a photo that is going to show that you are friendly, personable, but professional.

And the same with an optometrist. And why not show a part of your office in your photo? Who said headshots all had to have a solid black or white backdrop with a cheesey smile and silly pose. Don't be afraid to show off your profession and your personality.

Think of your headshot as a way to tell a story to your target market. If you are using your headshot so that clients, patients, etc. can see what you look like, then also show what your business looks like. And never be afraid to show what your personal values are. If you are an outdoor loving person, why shoot inside? Why not enjoy the outdoors in your photos too?

I am a Colorado native and absolutely LOVE this state. In the photos I did for my Christmas card I decided to wear some clothes to support my Denver Broncos, because to be honest, my business revolves around the Broncos games during football season. But why not also show off some of the beautiful weather we get here in the centennial state?

And if your job is a business coach, then take a photo that shows that you are approachable, yet confident and motivational!

And lastly, if you are putting photos on LinkedIn, DO NOT put photos on your LinkedIn profile that you would also put on your online dating profile. Don't show any cleavage, make sure you have a good background, and please, no selfies. When you take a professional headshot your goal is to end up with a professional photo that is clean, classy, and makes you look like the trustworthy and beautiful person that you are!