WIN Branding Photography

Do you know a small business that would benefit from a personal branding session with a professional photographer?

Well, here’s YOUR chance to help a local business!

We all know 2020 was a difficult year. More than 400,000 businesses closed their doors nationwide!? I’m astounded when I hear that number-

And it reminds me how fortunate and grateful I am for every opportunity I receive. Each assignment makes a direct impact on my family and keeps my small business alive.

small business branding photography

I love giving back almost as much as I love helping other businesses. So I had an idea… why not give away a branding session to a local business in need??

I am GIVING away a branding session to a local business in need!

To qualify:

  • Be a local Kansas City Business with less than 50 employees.
  • You have a need for professional photographs.
  • You have social media accounts for your business.
  • You are ok with your images being promoted through social media and other sources.
  • COVID negatively affected your business in some form.

In order to make this successful, I’ll need a little help from you!

Take a moment to recommend your favorite local business for free branding photography!

** Submissions accepted through March 15th, finalists announced the following week March 22nd. Winners announced April 1st with your branding session taking place by May 1st.

What are you waiting for?? Follow this link to recommend a local business today!

branding button

Please include contact information and social media accounts!

xoxo adrienne signing off

Valentine’s Day, A Short History

My grandparents were married on Valentines Day in 1947 long before it was the ‘cool’ thing to do. They remained committed to one another until her death in 2019. That kind of commitment today is rare.

Valentines Day always reminds me of their commitment to one another. But it’s also a reminder I still haven’t found the person with which to share in this kind of dedication.

For most, Valentine’s Day is a day to shower your love with roses, chocolates and a Hallmark Card… Commercials and advertisements everywhere brilliantly convincing guilt-ridden husbands to grab trinkets and last minute flowers on the way home.

It sets women & men alike up for expectation. When in fact ‘your person’ will remember you each and every day.

This Day I took back my Heart

I filed for divorce on Valentines Day 2012. My daughter a year old and while I started the process, I didn’t have the strength to go through with the proceedings.

I filed again in 2017 and my divorce was officially decreed on the 16th of February 2018.

Discovering your are Happily Divorced

After any loss in life, you must find yourself instead of getting lost in your grief. Mourn the death of a changed future. Give yourself time and when you’re ready, you’ll start to dream again.

Find the reasons to be thankful for the lessons you’ve learned. Put the past where it belongs and move forward.

It’s a long road to finding happiness but it’s important to find value within yourself!

Celebrate the person you’ve become.

This week, among the turmoil that exists in our current world, I am going to focus on how thankful I am for my freedom.

It wasn‘t free. Everything in life comes at a cost.

What will you give up tomorrow by holding yourself back today?

xoxo adrienne signing off

Covid Kills… Indiscriminately

While inspiration and insight are typically my jam… there are days where my thoughts are dark and deep.

A man named George died this morning.

Today I’ve been stumped by this thought: Covid kills, indiscriminately… without malice, reason, or judgement.

At the end of the day, we’ll once again hear the numbers of deaths resulting from #covid. Perhaps 1 of those lives represents someone you knew or loved?

Today for the first time since it began, those numbers represent someone who was part of my life for a long time. Today those numbers include my step-father, who entered my life 36 years ago.


We were never especially close. But a few months ago he reached out, unexpectedly.

Our conversation was brief, he was never one for getting sappy or emotional.

He asked if I remembered the time I tried calling him ‘Daddy.’

He reminded me why he said No. ‘You already have a dad, so it’s best you call me something else.’

Just like the 446,330 Americans who lost their lives to Covid, he died in isolation, alone.

I’m overwhelmed with empathy and grief for all the lives which have ended this way. It’s a different kind of pain loved ones much continue to endure.

While I attempt to go through my day as ‘normal’ as possible, I’ve found myself reflecting on the life of George Sakmar and the loved ones he leaves behind.

May peace be with you all.

xoxo adrienne signing off

Virtual Learning Pros & Cons and Tips for Successful Students

We are entering a new era. This year our children are being taught by screens…

With a pandemic raging, educators throughout the world assessed the possibilities of how to move forward educating our youth in such an uncertain time. A variety of solutions have been implemented throughout the US. many schools opened only to close their doors a week later.

In my Kansas school district, we were given the option to choose; virtual vs. in-person; however, the public school system is following the advice from the health department and we are currently in the ‘virtual only’ phase.

I chose this option with the intent of homeschooling when and if virtual learning becomes a bigger problem than teaching my child myself. (Which has it’s own unique set of problems.)

An experiment in the making, virtual learning; it’s the wave most of us are currently riding.

Yesterday my daughter runs upstairs crying out my name. Outside my office I hear a mix of sad angry stomps, running down the hallway.

“I’m locked out of art. The video won’t work… I don’t know how to do the project!! I WANTED to do the project!!”

I think back to the scene in the movie Office Space.

It’s one we can all relate to, where they use sledgehammers to smash the fax machine?

Emotions run high when technology fails us. It’s frustrating feeling helpless in our ability to solve the problem. Infuriating… ‘make you want to give up’-

It requires daily evaluation and constant problem solving.

Children learn by exploring the world around them. Screen time is a relatively new phenomena, so we must continue to ask what effect does screen time have on developing brains’?

‘Recent studies have found that excessive screen time can harm children’s health, like increasing obesity and disrupting sleep.

Earlier research focused on television and console videos games, because that’s what was around at the time. But since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, the screen time landscape has changed drastically.’ *Healthline

How to make virtual learning the best of a bad situation?

Set your child up for success by created a space JUST for learning. And no, that’s not their bed. Your child needs 1 or 2 dedicated work areas.

Here are a few things I’ve found helpful:

  1. Flex Space Balance Ball or Yoga Ball to help with posture and restlessness.
  2. An Alexa for setting timer and reminders. I have one Echo Dot Downstairs in my daughter’s workspace and another in my workspace upstairs. If you say ‘Alexa make announcement‘, it records & repeats your message on all other units.
  3. Daylight bulbs to help emulate outdoor light. Mimicking outdoor light can help people feel more comfortable and positive. It can also lessen eye strain.

Setting Digital Boundaries

As I work from home, I get the privilege of listening to the entire day. And for the first week, that is exactly what I did.

I was encouraged by our teacher’s efforts to establish some digital boundaries & setting some standards for proper use. While they’ve promised children won’t actually be on the screen ALL day… they are on the screen MOST of the day. Six hours is far too much for my daughter’s developing brain.

Things teachers should implement to simplify their virtual classroom:

  • Chatting between students should be disabled. Microphones need to be turned off. Background noise should be at a minimum when speaking.
  • Kids need a break from the screen every 30-45 minutes. Don’t trade one screen for another!
  • Mobile doesn’t mean it’s mobile! They hold in their tiny hands an expensive piece of equipment. It shouldn’t travel from room to room UNLESS it’s in between meeting times.

I hope this sets you all up for success! Please share what you’re learning along this journey.

view of downtown kansas city
xoxo adrienne signing off

Newborn Photography; Tricks of the Trade

Achieving Artistic Newborn Photography

Newborn photographs, look easy, right? The baby just curls up and sleeps-

The photographer props their tiny head on their hands and the magic just happens, right?

newborn baby portraits
Hats are a fun way to hide a coney newborn head!

Newborns actually can NOT support their heads by themselves. Their neck muscles develop over time so those images are manufactured in Photoshop.

newborn baby little brother
Nature moments are more intimate and natural than a posed baby.

While PhotoShop can creates stunning effects via post-production… my style is true to life and reminiscent of film.

Using light, texture and a limited color palette, I can create a unique still life every time I work with a newborn without finding any need for elaborate props. (Although, a few personal items can add a fun personal element!)

little brother artistic newborn

Before having my own Newborn, I didn’t know what to do!?

To be honest, I wasn’t always great with newborns! One of my early newborn sessions took place when I was 8 weeks pregnant. The baby cried the entire time! I spent FOUR hours in a futile effort to provide assistance.

As it turned out, the baby was suffering from acid re-flux but at the time, none of us knew.

I didn’t have the skills to calm a baby or comfortably maneuver them into something photo worthy.

Initially, I didn’t think I was cut out for this particular realm of photography; but motherhood was just around the corner to teach me the lessons I needed.

newborn baby boy cooing

Newborn Photography takes a lot of patience and practice.

After the birth of my own child, spending day in and day out with a newborn, gave me the understanding needed to handle newborn babies. Now I work with newborns on a regular basis and my images reflect the vision of a mother.

These days I have an arsenal of time tested tricks that help me capture these fleeting days with your newborn baby!

xoxo adrienne signing off

Preparing for your Newborn Photography

You ask? How do I prepare when I’ve never had a newborn photography session?

‘Oh no.. it’s happening!’ The new mom exclaims frantically as she uses her hand to shield mustard yellow poop from running onto my spotless, ivory couch.  It’s only spotless because it frequently gets cleaned by me & my good friend Oxy-Clean.  I’ve removed the stains of childhood plenty of times.  It was recently attacked by a toddler with a red crayon and before that, another baby girl who couldn’t hang on to her lunch.

You see, this is normal.  It happens almost every time.

Kids are messy. Life is messy.

I am prepared for these things to happen.  You’ve JUST had a baby & we will work around your newborn!  You will probably nurse your new baby several times… and change them several times.  But the best thing about a single photograph is the power to freeze ‘a moment’… lock that moment down… so that the in-between no longer matters.

Keep reading to see my tips on preparing for your newborn portrait session. 

neborn-preparing-beautiful-baby-portraits

Newborn studio sessions provide plenty of time to allow you to nurse, change diapers, RELAX while Adrienne snuggles your infant!)

You are tired, frustrated and anxious just after giving birth making it hard to want photos. Don’t let THAT keep you from having these first moments documented.

‘Don’t take any photos of me! I look terrible. I couldn’t get it together this morning!?!’

Try not to worry about that.

It’s a vulnerable time and I get it. 

I can’t remember a more stressful time in my life than the first few days after giving birth! Ugh. I didn’t look or feel like myself. The last thing I wanted to do was leave the house.  (That’s ok, I come to you!) 

I felt Gross. Fat. TIRED…. so tired…

I’ve been there and I know exactly how you feel.  I utilize beautiful lighting, creative posing, and the ART of photography to creatively include you in the photographs.  Just snuggle your new little bundle & I will work around the mess.

I’ll admit, I went through a bit of trial and error before I achieved the look I wanted for my newborn portraits. I wasn’t completely comfortable handling newborn babies until after having my own. It is a talent achieved by handling lot of tiny babies and patience, always plenty of patience.

Photographs are like magic… using lighting & creativity I look for the perfect moments to tell your beautiful story.  And if you’ve already met me, you KNOW you are going to be entertained.

I will share with you my life experiences & assure you this happens to everyone!  The photos we create as we chat & soothe your baby.. those photos will become a memory you’ll never regret!  I realize this more with every passing year. 

The photos I have taken are now forever remembered ‘moments’ in a family’s history.  Heirloom works of art that will be special to the children that have yet to be born!

Here’s how to Prepare for your Newborn Photography Session in the comfort of your home.

  1. DO NOT clean the house!! When I arrive I’ll move things around to find the perfect spot with great light. You’ve just had a baby- just relax & I’ll handle the rest.
  2. Warm it up!! Newborns sleep better when they are warm & cozy. Bump the heat a few degrees just before I arrive.
  3. Be prepared to nurse or feed a bottle or two… or three.  In the early days, you’re little one will eat often!  If you are nursing, wear something that will be easy to get on & off. BE comfortable.
  4. Have any props, outfits, stuffed animals set out.  We’ll go through and determine several things to add personal touches to your session. {Anything goes- fun hats, blankets, anything with texture, neat boxes, baskets… anything your baby will fit inside! Think Creatively!}
  5. Home sessions are designed to be relaxed. You might even doze off as I put together several creative scenes for your newborn & get a variety of shots within each artistic set.

newborn-artistic-portraits

xoxo adrienne signing off

COVID Policies

We understand our planned activities are potentially dangerous and involve the risk of serious illness, injury and/or death. We acknowledge  the Covid-19 virus and its ability to be transferred from person to person contact. We are also aware that any person may carry the virus and be asymptomatic. We understand that Adrienne Maples PhotoStudios (hereinafter known as AMPS) cannot guarantee we our guests will not become infected, despite AMPS’s best efforts to abide by state and federal directives, which address the reopening of the applicable state. We understand and agree to abide by all guidelines including, but not limited to, the maximum per-person limit of people at an event, 6-foot physical distancing between non-houshold members, and mask wearing if required at the city, state or national level and/or by venue(s). 

We understand AMPS may alter shooting practices based on the situation. Altered practices include, but are not limited to, shooting from a farther distance (with appropriate lenses), and shooting for shorter periods of time if safety precautions aren’t being adhered to (too many people gathered, no masking, etc.) Reception coverage will be limited for safety reasons (groups of people dancing closely, restrictions being relaxed due to alcohol consumption, no masking, etc.) and after AMPS has adequately documented events, coverage will cease. We understand events planned throughout the reception may not be documented by AMPS.

During the event, AMPS or any of its contractors feel uneasy or apprehensive about the number of people or the health condition of individuals at the event, or feels like propersafetyl precautions are not being followed, AMPS orits contractors may be excused from performance of his/her duties and distance him/herself from the event for a period of time not to exceed thirty (30) minutes. If measures are not taken to correct the issue(s) after a period of thirty (30) minutes, AMPS or its contractors may be excused from performing further duties at the event without penalty. In the event of such a situation, Client will not be entitled to a refund of any monies paid.

We hereby exclusively waive and release any and all claims, now known or hereafter known against AMPS and it’s officers, directors, employees, agents, affiliates, successors, and asigns (collectively ‘Releasees”), on account of illness, injury, or death arising out of or attributable to our participation in the activities, and all of our guests’ participation in the activities. We agree not to make or bring any such claim against AMPS or any other Releasee, and forever release and discharge AMPS and all other Releasees from liability under such claims.

We shall defend, indemnify, and hold harmless AMPS and all other Releasees against any and all losses, damages, liabilities, deficiencies, claims, actions, judgements, settlements, interest, awards, penalties, fines, costs of expenses of whatever kind, including attorney fees, fees and the costs of enforcing any right to indemnification under this Agreement, and the cost of pursuing any insurance providers, arising out or resulting from any claim of a third party related to the activities. This includes all third-party claims made by guests at the activity.

Art of Photographing Children

Half-way through, she told me how she’d thought about canceling.. or pushing back her family photo session.

‘It never feels like the ‘right’ time? Ya know?’

You want to feel ‘less-frumpy’ and less like the ‘work-from-home-I’ve-gained-a-few-pounds-since-quarantine– look.

Trust me, I understand!

My first session back since quarantine, provided every reminder of why I tell stories.

Children grow quickly, we blink and babies become toddlers. They never stop growing and evolving. Those first 18 years are already half done for me.

It’s important to remember despite the current world climate, it’s important to focus on what makes YOU happy. Stay positive and make small steps in the direction of happiness every day.

When you don’t know the future, simply continue doing the NEXT right thing.

Whitney found me last year when searching for a photographer to help celebrate her daughter’s first birthday.

I was smitten. From our first phone call when we discovered we were both from red-heads who moved to KC from the South. This instant connection still excites me after all these years photographing families!

So what will you miss tomorrow, after it’s past?

I miss my daughter’s toothless grin.

But I fell in love her new smile, the one full of baby teeth. When those began falling out, we celebrated singing, ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!’

It became part of our memories, celebrating milesstones together.

As I look back through these memories, I realize I have few images of my daughter and I together. While I know I was there in all of them, I long to see us together- even if I felt ‘frumpy-and-gross’ at the time.

As a mother and woman whom often judges her own reflection with criticism, trust me when I say this:

I DO NOT SEE YOU THIS WAY!

(Plus, it’s about the kiddo anyway.)

I promise that together, we can create something magical and celebrate the beautiful people and moments in your life.

Let’s celebrate the HAPPY now!

Stuck in our homes with our children, day-in and day-out is exhausting. Believe it or not, a photo shoot outside is a perfect way to spend the afternoon!

The photograph below was inspiration in the moment. With a little trust from Whitney and a few items from my collection, we wrangled the baby into the frame below.

We can do the same with a few simple items from your closet just ask me how and we can brainstorm together!

xoxo adrienne signing off

Mother’s Day FREE Printables

My love language is acts of service…

Words of affirmation are important to me as well but there is nothing better than a little extra help when I’m not expecting it. But my daughter is nine and ‘cleaning up after herself’ is a hard won battle.

But you wanna know something?!

mothers day freebie fill in the blank

Lately my daughter is surprising me with coloring pages to show her appreciation?!

She figured out how to print out pages from my computer and gives them to me once they are completed. They are a little token of love from her to me. And I get it!

Her primary love language is gift giving.

Mothers Day Free Printable from @AMaplesPhoto

But just in case your budget is running low & your gift is a day full of papering mom, you can print these out or send them in an email to help make mom’s day!

Mothers Day Free Printable from @adrienneAMaplesPhoto

CLICK here to download these Mothers Day FREE Printable’s from my Google Drive.

xoxo adrienne signing off

Believe in Yourself. Always.

scad building at night

‘You’ll never be any good at photography’

It was my soft more year & I was taking the very first photography class of my collegiate career.

By now, I’d already dedicated two years toward obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The Savannah College of Art & Design required students to finish all core classes before taking classes within your major.

With my core classes complete I was finally back in the darkroom, where I belonged.

Photography is a very expensive hobby

Before digital technology made film & processing costs irrelevant, I was spending thousands of dollars on film, paper and other basic needs.  I was still shooting with my first film camera, a Minolta X-370 and the camera body hadn’t been serviced in years- if ever?!

Everything was manual. And I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!

Exposure was determined by an internal light meter which measured ‘middle gray’.  Focusing, metering & changing out fixed lenses was just another part of the process.

As a college kid on a diet of ramen noodle, I didn’t have funds to purchase anything fancy. While I was envious of my classmates and their shiny new lenses, I pushed forward with what I had learning the hard way.

My instructor was Jaclyn Cori. It was early in her years of teaching but she was already known for ripping people apart. I recall her as impeccably dressed, petite woman with beautiful olive skin.  Something about the way she carried herself made her intimidating.

I haven’t forgotten the sinking feeling I had when I met with her for my midterm review.

‘You’ll never be any good at this.’

She said coldly from across the room. She rose from behind her desk and floated across the room, closing the door behind me. She circled back and sat on the edge of her desk before inviting me in to take a seat.

I stumbled into the room dazed, like that of a frolicking deer shocked by the sudden burst of headlights.

She pulled out a stack of black and white contact sheets from a folder on her desk.

Contact sheets were essentially xerox copies of your film.  We’d slide our film negatives into pockets on an 8.5×11 sheet made for preserving 35mm film.  Then we’d create a positive print of the entire page- like a copier. This was how we were graded and helped us determine good vs. bad exposure.

‘Do you know what you are doing wrong?’

She asked as she handed over the contact sheets which I recognized as my own. I shrugged working hard to hold back tears, trying to find the words to speak.

It was true I was struggling with my exposure. My images lacked contrast. While I was writing down every exposure & corresponding frame (yeah, that’s how we did it before digital), somehow I was missing my mark every time?

I was frustrated and hoping for something, inspiration perhaps?

She continued, ‘I’m not exactly sure what you are doing? But these exposures are all muddy. It looks like you are consistently underexposing 1-2 stops? If you want true blacks, meter for middle gray and reduce two stops.’

(If you missed that, it was all photo gargon for: you are not exposing properly but mostly you suck at this.)

Try, try and try again.

I didn’t let this talk discourage me. In my next class, we ran tests on our camera’s and I discovered my light meter was off 2 stops!  Pushing forward in spite of my own doubts, I built a website and launched my business my senior year.

When I originally built my website, I had nothing but time. It was my senior year and I was taking a computed class with Professor Tan. He was a Turkish man who spoke often about the conflict in his home country.

He was an inspiration. I always enjoyed his class even if we spent the day hearing about stories from his youth. He knew his stuff and I took advantage. While the other students were completing a final project on animation, I got his approval to build my first website and get it online.

After graduation in 2002, I’d already begun picking up jobs and slowly adding the new equipment I needed.

Jaclyn called me shortly after graduation.

She’d recently gotten engaged and stumbled across my website while searching for photographers. She remembered having me as a student but she didn’t remember the conversation in her office quite like I did.

She was impressed with my site and congratulated me on the work I was producing. I hung up the phone ready to charge forward again. It was just what I needed at the time in order to get me to the next level.

Until next time-

 

 

Hi, I'm Adrienne
I'm doing my part to keep my clients safe. Earning their trust as I continue to put their families first.

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