Back in January of this year, I made the decision to seek out other local photographers and build myself a support group. Lucky for me, a support group had already been created right here in my backyard, the Tallahassee Professional Photographer’s Guild (TPPG). It’s a wonderfully supportive networking group created to promote the education and training of local professional photographers, like myself.

TPPG Monthly Meeting: I’m on the very far right

Even more lucky for me, I joined right as they were putting together Mini Seminars taught by some of Tally’s finest photographers. So here’s a quick overview of several of the seminars I attended in order to better what Poppie Studios has to offer you, my clients!

How to Photograph Newborns: Kate Bellflower. We went over how to photograph newborns the safe way and she shared tips and tricks on how to achieve a happy session for all parties. 

How to Photograph Newborns: Kate Bellflower

The Anatomy of a Wedding: Mary Beth Tyson. We discussed how to take the ugly and and turn it into the beautiful: ugly spaces and venues, cluttered rooms, boring locations, timelines that fall behind and force you to shoot in the dark. Like she said, “Creating something out of nothing is what makes a photographer an artist.”

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Camera: Terri Smith

Selling Without the Sleaze: Olyn Long. Let me be honest with you real quick. It used to be terrifying to me to ask clients for money – even though I had done a service for them, therefore they owed me monetary compensation. With help from Olyn, we learned that when done well, selling is an opportunity to maximize the satisfaction of our clients. He helped us understand our position in the relationship between photographer and client: we are the experts our clients trust to not only create fantastic images but decorate their homes.

Why Film Works for Me: Shannon Griffin. This seminar really had me geeking out. She is also a hybrid photographer (using film and digital) just as I am. So it was a great opportunity to be reminded why I fell in love with photography in the first place – because of film and everything that goes with it: metering, exposures, developing film and prints.

I attend seminars like these so that I can stay on top of my game, thus providing my clients with the best, most educated, up-to-date version of myself possible. Regardless of your profession, I would encourage you to find a support/networking group that you can learn from and grow with.

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Gone are the days when a greeting card was only sent out during the holidays. Keep everyone in the loop year-round by having Poppie Studios create customized cards exclusively for you.

Introduce the world to your beautiful new baby with a Birth Announcement. From baby’s first year to every decade milestone, I also make great Birthday invitations. Save-the-Date’s announce your upcoming vows and then we can create unforgettable wedding invitations with our fully customizable cards and elegant card stock. Don’t forget about Bridal and Baby Showers, Graduation Announcements, Holiday Parties, Corporate Events and Fundraisers. Whatever the occasion, ensure no one misses your event!

 Cards come in a variety of sizes, flat or folded. There’s also a variety of cardstock options: including glossy, matte, pearl and even eco-responsible bamboo.


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Theme parks offer great opportunities for shooting photos of smiling children for several reasons. First, there are some recognizable landmarks in these parks, things that will be memorable for your family later on when you’re reviewing the photos. Second, the weather is usually great, with plenty of sun, which is perfect for shooting photos. There’s plenty of things to do at a theme park, which means the potential subject matter for your photos is almost endless.


It’s everywhere in parks and pools. Find it and incorporate it into your photos. Rides, food, scenery all make for great photographs.


Eye Catching Spots
Does a rollercoaster or water slide dip over the sidewalk? Stand there when your children pass by, making sure they know to look for you and wave when they do.


For these fast-paced photo opportunities, sunlight makes shooting at faster speeds easier. And when you shoot at faster speeds in optimal light, you’re able to “freeze” a moment without it being blurry.


On the other end of the spectrum is nighttime. These places usually have really colorful lighting illuminating landmarks and attractions. Did somebody say fireworks? Nighttime is not the time to put your camera away, but rather to capture some cool opportunities.


Eye Level
You’ll probably end up with posed photos next to characters. To make the most of this opportunity, bend down to your child’s eye level to take the photo, this makes for noticeably more engaging photos.


Put It Down
Most importantly: remember to make memories. I know you want to capture every moment from behind the lens, but go have some fun! You may remember everything your kids did but you don’t want them to remember your face with a camera attached to it.
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Sometimes for children (and dads), it can be like pulling teeth to get a real smile with true emotions. Here are some tips for parents who take photos of children and need help capturing real smiles:
No Cheese
While saying “cheese” will make the corners of your mouth turn up, it doesn’t get the rest of the face to smile. True smiles involve the whole face, especially the eyes.

When I photograph children, I talk with them beforehand and try to establish a little trust with them. The same goes for parents photographing their own kids. Just talk with them, not at or to them. Ask them about their day, share a secret, talking about plans for later – anything to make them feel like this is fun and not a chore.

Reverse Psychology
It’s true. And it works. Saying “No smiling. Under no circumstances should you smile. Stop!” will almost always result in a smile.

Goof Off
Have some fun! Be silly! Have the children show you different faces: angry, silly, sad, confused, happy, surprised. They may not be “smiling” but they’ll have some pretty funny faces for sure!
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