Sunset Family Portraits

The Gonzalez Family

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It is so important for us to capture moments with the people we love while they are with us, and it was such a pleasure to capture these family portraits for the Gonzalez family.

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Amy, the mother, when planning the session wanted to know if her mother who had been battling cancer could be included. We of course wanted to include her as much as possible and nature gifted us with the most beautiful day for the session.

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As the golden hour unfolded we had to wait a few minutes to let the colors set into the clouds. During that time Jan captured some stunning candids of the family as they just relaxed and the children played. Once the children had collected all of their sea glass and the setting was perfect we went forward.

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We are so proud and happy that we were able to capture these portraits for this very special family. These beautiful memories will forever hang in their home for years to come. Most importantly though they serve as a beautiful memory of Amy’s mother, who unfortunately passed away a few weeks after this session.

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How to Organize Your Photos

-Digital and Print-

We have heard you and we are here to help!

Jan has been asked frequently by clients about what is the best way to store their photos. Here are a few ways to store your photos digitally and physically. We hope after you read this article it will jump start you into decluttering your photo collections!

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Amazon Prime

Free Storage: Unlimited Photos & 5GB Video Storage – For Prime Members

Upgrade Storage: Without a Prime subscription it costs $12/month with a 30 day free trial.

Perks: Keeps files as its true form without lowering resolution or quality. You can use face recognition to narrow down the search for people. They have hands free organization. Easily order prints, calendars, cards & more from your devices with free shipping. You can invite up to 5 friends or family members to make a family vault. Access your files from any where on any device. If you are already paying for Prime, I highly recommend this service for you.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201480950

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Google Photos

Free Storage: 15 GB

Upgrade Storage: 100 GB – $1.99/month, 1 TB – $9.99/month, 2 TB – $19.99/month & more

Perks: This is the most space you can get for free, but it does also share space with your email and google drive. It also has the most options for purchasing a larger amount of space. There is a ‘virtal assistant’ that (if you allow) organizes your photos by location, face recognition, date, etc. It also creates videos, panoramas, Gifs and other fun photo variations with out you having to do it. It has image recognition, which can be amazing when searching through thousands of photos. Another perk is that you can edit your photos through the google photo app or website.

https://photos.google.com/

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Sync

Free Storage: 5 GB

Upgrade Storage: 2 TB – $8/month

Perks: They focus on being simple and secure. Your privacy is guaranteed with this company. They have easy ways to share your media, even large files. Sync provides real time backup and deleted file recovery. Access your photos from every device.

https://www.sync.com/pricing/

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Apple iCloud Photo Library

Free Storage: 5 GB

Upgrade Storage: 50 GB – $0.99/month, 200 GB – $2.99/month, 2TB $9.99/month

Perks: Great for Apple users. This is storage for photos, videos, documents, music & more. Your photo library can automatically sync whenever you have wifi without you lifting a finger. It has very easy family sharing options. Access your account from all your devices. It collaborates with Word, Excel, etc. Your photos will be automatically tagged and organized for you.

https://www.apple.com/icloud/

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One Drive

Free Storage: 5GB

Upgrade Storage: 50GB – $2/month

Perks: Mac is to iCloud as Windows is to OneDrive. So this is great for windows users. You can access your photos on a PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. This app links to social media sites. Your files are easily organized by type. OneDrive is also compatible with Microsoft Software (Word, Powerpoint etc) which can come in handy if you use those programs often with your media files.

https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/

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Shoebox

Free Storage: Unlimited Photo Backup

Upgrade Storage: Unlimited Backup with Original Photo Quality Backup – $5/month

Perks: Free unlimited space! It saves your photos in High resolution but not the same quality as the original. You can access your photos from anywhere. This is great for people who have simple photos and aren’t worried about the resolution being disturbed. They also pride themselves on the safety and privacy for your account with bank level encryption.

https://shoeboxapp.com/about

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Shutterfly

Free Storage: Free unlimited storage

Upgrade Storage: Video Storage 60GB – $19.99/year & 2 more video upgrade options

Perks: A storage place for the creative person. Here you can store your images as well as make photo books, personalized gifts, cards, home decor and more. You can also make a free private website to share your photos. They also have an option for video storage but it is not free.

https://www.shutterfly.com/nav/signedOutMySfly.sfly

Sign up special: 50 free 4×6 prints, one free magnet & one free set of address labels

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External Hard drive

Storage Sizes: About 50 GB to 4 TB (prices from below $20.00 to over $200.00)

Perks: Just plug in your device and sync. Your photos will be kept private, just with you and not in the hands of anyone else or owned by a company. You would need to keep it in a safe place to avoid the drive from being damaged. It would be a good idea to have your photos organized by one of the sites above first then export to a hard drive so it will be organized.

**The image used is from a great article about the top hard drives of 2017. Click the link here:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400958,00.asp

I recommend keeping your digital photos on at least two storage sites not including your personal device. If one server crashes, you would have the other and nothing would be lost. I use iCloud, Google Photos and Amazon Prime for digital storage. You should ALWAYS  have everything backed up daily or at least every other day. I have my settings to sync all the photos, music, etc every time I use wifi so I never forget.

I also recommend printing your favorite digital photos. MPix.com is our preferred retail lab as they are owned by one of the professional labs we use at the studio.  MPix has great customer service and great quality products.  Shutterfly and  Amazon also provide an affordable way to print photos.

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/comparing-the-best-ways-to-store-your-photos-online/

Organize your Print Photos

If you ordered your portraits from Jan Gratz Photography, then I know you are off to a great start! Ordering Jan’s one of a kind image boxes to help keep your photos neat and organized is a beautiful showpiece for your home. Here are a few more ways to keep your prints well-kept and safe.

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Plastic Storage boxes –  sizes 4×6 and 5×7 – $2.49/$2.99 ea

These are very convenient storage cases for photos. It will keep them organized and safe from damage. They are inexpensive and you could also buy the large container to put multiple 4×6 or 5×7 in.

Buy from Target, Container Store, Micheal’s & many other places.

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Photo Memory box – $2.50 & up

Could be placed in the living room cabinet or its simple to slide under the bed. These are stackable and easy to label. I like how they come in various sizes and colors to match any room.  It will not be as safe as the plastic organizers but it can still help you stay organized.

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Photo albums – $5.99 & up

Buy the photo albums that come with the plastic photo sheets so you can slip your photos in with ease. An album also provides an attractive way to display your photos and is very easy to have on a bookshelf or coffee table.

Organizing your print photos will be time consuming but once it’s done it will be well worth it. It could also be something fun to have the whole family help while reminiscing about fun memories. 

I  use every one of these methods to store my photos. The photos I am very proud of, are in a photo album or scrapbook for me to show off to visiting company. Then the other photos that are more for private family sharing are neatly labeled and tucked away under my bed or in our family fireproof safe.

I hope this article will help you out in the best way possible! If you have any other great ideas we should add just let us know! We’d love to hear from you!

Links to products above:

https://www.containerstore.com/s/clear-photo-cases-with-hinged-lids/d?productId=10035061&q=photos

http://www.michaels.com/craft-organization/photo-box/809188641

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Written by Guest Blogger, Hannah Litten

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The Yearwood Family

Family Portraits with Pets

It is always so important to us that we find the most perfect and meaningful location for family portraits. The Yearwood family wanted to capture their Jan Gratz Family portrait at the community beach where they have enjoyed so many summer days and boat rides.
 
One brown eyed beauty perhaps ended up being the most photo ready member of the session. This was, of course, the family pup Mason!
 
All in all it was another beautiful evening on the Chesapeake. The soft hues accenting the skies created the perfect backdrop for another beautiful family portrait for the client’s home.
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Want to include your pup in your family portrait session? Here are some tips to think about ahead of time!
1. Wear them out! – In the case of portrait sessions a tired dog is a good dog! Depending on your pup’s energy level this may mean a quick walk around the block or maybe a romp around the dog park. While we can of course work with any situation a tired pup who is happy to just sit in your lap for awhile is the best case scenario.
2. Who will they sit with? – Now we don’t want to play favorites and flexibility is key but it is important to think ahead about who your dog will be most comfortable with. Be sure to let your photographer know who will calm down the pup as opposed to riling him up for the posed photos.
3. Be spontaneous! – Sometimes, everyones favorite portraits are those that are the least expected. When dogs and children are involved it is inevitable that life will come into play!  An adorable professional portrait of your family playing with mans best friend is not only capturing a moment that is so rarely appreciated, but could also tire him out for the posed portraits to come.
4. Dress him up! – Fido needs some fashion too. If you are planning on including your dog in the family portraits you might want to look out for a collar or leash that will work with your family’s outfits.
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Women’s Portraiture

A few months ago we had the opportunity to attend the #WomensEmpowermentExpo, meet some incredible women from all around our area, and capture some women’s portraiture.

A few years ago, we met a very special woman, Wendy, and her daughter Kayla while photographing for a local magazine.  Their story inspired Jan to choose them to be a part of her women’s portraiture portfolio.  Jan was immediately drawn to Wendy’s vibrant personality, smile, and strength!

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After her second child was born, Wendy was diagnosed with MS. Now she is a wife and mother of two young children and a professional woman who travels weekly for her job. Not to mention is leading the Maryland chapter for the MS Society in its fundraising efforts.

Needless to say, Wendy is a woman of great strength and confidence and we are thrilled to have been able to capture that in these portraits.  She is a true blessing to know because one hug and smile from her will warm your heart and bring joy to your day.

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Dorm Room Decor: Making Your Dorm Room Cozy and Fun for the New Year

It’s that time of year again. Stores are filling their aisles with school supplies and dorm room furniture, so here are some tips and trips for putting together a dream dorm.

Choose a Theme

Dorm rooms are typically small and shared between two people, which can make for a cluttered space. Choosing a themed design will help you keep your room looking trendy and clean.

Themes to try:

  1. Boho Chic: This is a very common theme to have in a dorm, with a purposefully messy look. All you need is a large tapestry, a few posters and a string or two of fairy lights to land this carefree yet cute design.

 

 

  1. Classy Coachella: If you’re a flower child at heart and want to bring summer vibes to your dorm, try this look. Statement pieces are key to nail this design. Colorful and textured throw pillows and a few classy art pieces will make any boring dorm room feel like a place to make memories.

  1. Minimalist: This is one of my personal favorites, and an easy way to keep your room looking crisp and clean. It focuses on neutral palettes and the bare essentials. A few personal pictures on the wall and some simplistic throw pillows keep this look clean and classy.

  1. Vintage: Records and Polaroid’s. The simplest of designs, and satisfies the wannabe hipster in us all. Vintage designs are a great way to make a room feel personal and show personality.

  1. Artistic: This design tends to look messier to an outsider’s eye, but feel like a haven to the one who occupies it. It’s simply decorating with personal artifacts, such as books, drawings, paintings, and photographs, to create a lived-in look.

Do It Yourself

Dorms are all about the bare necessities, meaning anything other than a bed, a desk, and in some cases a dresser, is up to you to provide. So don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands to find easy and affordable ways to upcycle your dorm.

 

Who to Follow

            The best part about DIY-ing is that you can get all of your ideas online, with instructions, so here are a few youtube accounts that can make your wallet, and you, smile.

 

  1. Anne Le {Anneorshine}
  2. Kate
  3. House And Home
  4. AnneMarieChase
  5. Bea Jonite

 

Know the Essentials

There are a few things that every dorm seems to have in it recently, that can help upgrade your room.

  1. Fairy Lights: Never underestimate a little extra light. They’re a cute and cozy feature to tie a room together.

 

  1. Throw Pillows: The can dress up a bland bed and make all the difference in a bland dorm. Finding some fun textured pillows or some printed with cute quotes can complete a design.

 

  1. Photographs: They don’t necessarily have to be your own, but pinning a few photos to your wall can bring a little personality to finish a room.

 

  1. Storage Units: Although it’s an obvious necessity, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an eye sore. Finding something practical and pretty will make you look forward to keeping your dorm clean.

 

  1. Plants: Real or fake, being a college student can lead to a lot of hours spent indoors, whether you’re stuck in a classroom or holed up in your dorm, adding a bit of greenery gives a dorm room new life.

Written by Teen Guest Blogger, Becca Thompson

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