Jackie and Jackson - Maternity Portraits - Amanda Kraft Photography

Woah Baby!

As many of you know... babies and kids aren't in my typical photo wheelhouse, but dang! I can totally get into creating super styled and glamorous maternity portraits. 


Momma J is only days away from welcoming her little man into the world and know he is going to be absolutely beautiful like his momma and father. I can’t thank Jackie and Jackson enough for allowing me to take creative control of this photo shoot and push boundaries. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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Oh… I can’t wait for these two to come back to the studio with Baby L for a newborn and family portrait photo shoot.

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With Mother’s Day around the corner don’t forget to treat mom to an experience like a personalized glamour photo shoot. Give her the full experience of being pampered with hair & makeup, playing dress up, and creating a collection of portraits that embrace her own definition of beauty. Plus, we can add in the family at the end of the photo shoot which you know will make her day that much better!

JENNIE - EMBRACE YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF BEAUTY - AMANDA KRAFT PHOTOGRAPHY

How would I describe Jennie? Well… her hair says it all. She is wild, crazy, and fiercely passionate about living life to the fullest, drinking good coffee, and being a proud momma. I have had the honor and privilege of working with Jennie for the past two and a half years and I know this to be true about her. We joke that we are wonder twins - ACTIVATE POWER! - but it’s the truth, we are quite alike.

When Jennie and I discussed her photo shoot the one thing I told her that I wouldn’t do is photoshop her vitiligo. If you are unfamiliar with vitiligo, it’s a disease that causes your skin to lose its color and pigmentation. And here’s why she and I agreed against any editing of the “spots” - these spots might be part of her story, but she sure as hell won’t let vitiligo define her. Talk about embracing one's own definition of beauty!

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As wild and crazy as I know this powerhouse to be, when it came to the morning of her photo shoot, she was a ball of nerves. I could sense these feelings as soon as her Jeep rolled into the parking lot - see twin intuition! Thirty minutes later paired with a good playlist her nerves passed and we began creating incredible portraits.

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Why I am so passionate about boudoir/glamour/embrace your own definition of beauty photo shoots is because you might think the photo shoot is a “gift” for someone else - it’s actually the greatest gift you can give yourself. It’s a celebration of WHO YOU ARE, WHO YOU HAVE BECOME, AND WHO YOU ARE CONTINUING TO EVOLVE INTO.

So ladies…let’s throw the idea of this being a “gift” for someone else out the window and do it for yourself. Why… because you deserve to see and celebrate yourself.


The Self Portrait Project - Embrace Your Own Definition of Beauty - Amanda Kraft Photography

I'd be lying if I didn't say this post scares the absolute sh*t out of me to share.

I am no longer in my early 30's (currently 37) and am heavier now than I was two years ago (up 15 pounds), but still less than when I started my wellness journey a few years ago. I am in the process of relaunching a business from the ground up and lose sleep at night. I censor myself with every post I make in fear of what a perfect stranger or my parents might think. I rely on CBD to keep my anxiety at bay and am far from picture perfect.

But one morning last year... I had finished reading a bit of personal development and was reflecting on what I had been reading. My focus for such a long time had been on where I didn't measure up, especially on how I viewed myself.

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Can you relate?

At the bottom of my journal, I wrote EMBRACE YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF BEAUTY. .
For me, that meant embracing my thick thighs that allow me to stand-up paddleboard all summer long, to embrace my less than perfect vision that allows me to create beautiful portraits of my clients, and to accept that my weight won't define me unless I give it the power to define me.

I challenged myself to create a self-portrait series knowing that if I wasn't willing to get in front of the camera and bare my soul than I couldn't expect anyone else to do the same. So... here I am... scared to death but, hoping this post will encourage you to embrace your own definition of beauty (and life) without censoring your thoughts, feelings or actions.

To the woman who doesn't feel beautiful or worthy enough to have taken portraits of herself, to go after the job or man she wants because she doesn't feel pretty enough, or can't find love for her body... know that I am cheering you on and hope that you find inner peace and EMBRACE YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF BEAUTY.

5 Tips for Planning Your Next Social Media Content Creation Photo Shoot

1 -PLAN YOUR PHOTO SHOOTS WELL IN ADVANCE!

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Far too many holidays and events pop up that we often forget about or fail to plan for in advance. Leaving us with limited time to create a well designed marketing campaign, throwing us into a reactive mindset rather than a proactive one. Planning in advance will help maximize your marketing dollars and hopefully return a greater ROI.

Plan your marketing around the seasons or holidays that impact your business.

For example: You’ll want to begin marketing for Christmas in November (if not sooner, with sneak peeks) - which means you’ll need to create your product/content no later than the end of September. Allow yourself plenty of lead time to design products or content, schedule a photo shoot, have your photographs edited and delivered so you can create marketing pieces, update your website, social media, online stores, and newsletters. Waiting until November 1st to start creating content will have you playing catch up all holiday season.

2 - FIND YOUR STYLE & STICK TO IT!

Avoid falling victim to building your brand (and branding) around trends.

Example: if mason jars and burlap aren’t your brand, don’t incorporate it. Same with colors -if your colors are black and white, pick one accent color and stick with it. Don’t bounce between black, white, pink for a week and switching to black, white, and orange the following week. Or always looking for a new logo or how to tweak your current logo.

Take it from personal experience - nothing is worse than scheduling a photo shoot, sourcing wardrobe/props, to receive your photos and not see your vision or brand in the photographs because you tried to be something or someone your not.

Years ago, I scheduled a photo shoot to update my headshots. Picture an open field, denim jacket, and white & orange chevron dress. Sounds lovely, but that isn’t me! I’m an all black, heel wearing kinda girl who wears minimal makeup with a bold lip and either nude or black nails.

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3 - DO THE WORK

Successful photo shoots don’t happen by chance, instead you (and your team) are going to have to put in a little extra work to bring your vision to life with props, location scouting, wardrobe planning, and making sure your products are picture perfect.

Hoping that it all works out doesn’t work when developing a content creation photo shoot. Having a shot list is also incredibly helpful to make sure that key elements or products aren’t forgotten or overlooked.

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4 - GO PRO

Work with a photographer who understands how to photograph products, food, people, buildings, etc. You sort of need a jack of all trades when it comes to creating social media content and let me tell you the D-i-Y approach with a few filters doesn’t work. After seeing “real” photos you’ll never want to go back to camera phone images, at least that has been my experience.

5 - LESS IS MORE

Avoid overwhelming yourself, your team, and your photographer with a list of 100 must have photos. Instead focus on creating a smaller collection of high quality photographs that you can use during the next month or two. Same goes for props and products. Sometimes keeping it simple can make a greater impact than a cluttered photo. If your budget allows for monthly content creation that’s a bonus, if not, plan out 4 shoots a year to work with the seasons, product or program launches.

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All social media & branding clients go through a personalized consultation with me to discuss their objectives, vision, how the photographs will be used, and any other details that are key to include. More details about working with me to create your social media content can be found HERE.



Collaboration Photo Shoot - Amanda Kraft Photography with Erica Colon & Cindy Burry of Trans4mation Salon

Working so closely with the ladies of Trans4mation Salon has afforded me the luxury of designing collaboration photo shoots at the drop of a hat, and it pushes us beyond our comfort zones, which I think is important for all creatives. It’s really easy to fall into a routine or overlook challenging ourselves by learning new techniques, lighting stylings, or simply seeing and thinking differently.

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When I learned of the hair transformation Cindy was creating for client, Abbie, I knew something amazing was about to happen. It’s not every day a client walks through the doors of a salon hoping for vibrant pink hair let alone transitioning out of vibrant pink and into silver hair with a pink/purple faux hawk.

Following Abbie’s initial appointment with Cindy we started to brainstorm a photo shoot. I wanted to keep the styling simple to show off Abbie’s confidence and personality - You got to be pretty damn confident to rock a multi colored faux hawk! Plus, I wanted to highlight the talents of Cindy’s as a stylist, and Erica’s insanely flawless makeup magic.

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When you can’t decide if you are more in love with muted colors or black & white…. you post both!

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COLLABORATION TEAM:

Cindy Burry - Stylist at Trans4mation Salon

Erica Colon - Freelance Makeup Artist & Trans4mation Salon Makeup Artist

Photography - Amanda Kraft Photography



Scatko Family Chiropractic - Amanda Kraft Photography - Lancaster, PA - Personal Branding & Social Media Content Creation

There aren't enough words to describe how much I value the professional and personal relationship that Dr. Kristi and I have developed over the past few years. 

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I was a high school athlete when I had my first experience with a chiropractor and have been an advocate ever since.

Dr. Kristi isn’t little miss back crack as most people tend to associate chiropractors with. Dr. Kristi is far more concerned with how your body moves, how you feel, and how she can offer a holistic approach to support your bodies needs.

Dr. Kristi has helped me find ways to continue enjoying what I love to do; working out, running, spinning, paddleboarding, and photographing without having to turn to pills or potions. Don’t be surprised if I arrive to your photo shoot in a funky color or pattern of kinesiology tape or a little smelly from a CBD infused lotion.

Meet: Dr. Kristi Scatko
Website: www.scatkofamilychiropractic.com

What problem/challenge do you help solve for your clients? Anything from neck and back aches to headaches and plantar fasciitis! I work at finding the cause of the pain and addressing that rather than relying on treatments that just mask the pain. 

What services and/or products do you offer?  Chiropractic care, Cupping Therapy, RainDrop Therapy, Custom Orthotics, and Rock Tape.

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What is the best advice you've ever been given?  "Everything happens for a reason".  That has become my life motto and helps me get through any rough times.  Good or bad, whatever happens in life is meant to be and we can't always see WHY but over time, we learn to understand why.

What are three things you couldn't go without? 

  • Hot tea in the morning...not a coffee girl!

  • Candy...it's my weakness!

  • Coconut oil! The only moisturizer I use and it's changed my skin dramatically!

Anything else you'd like to share about WHO YOU ARE & WHAT YOU DO? 

I enjoy getting to know my patients and often feel like they are an extension of my family. My office visits are about 30 minutes in length so I can take my time with each patient. Pregnant mamas are my specialty! 

Her why for building a successful practice:

My daughter and husband are my reasons for working hard at getting my business booming! I want to make them proud.

Fur babies: We have an overactive, hypersensitive mini Australian Shepherd and and overweight dwarf cat who keep life interesting.

Weekly Must Do Chore: I NEED to meal plan for the week or I feel completely overwhelmed during the week. 

How to connect with Dr. Kristi: Emailing is the best way as I'm often away from the phone working with patients. scatkofamilychiropractic@gmail.com or www.scatkofamilychiropractic.com


Personal Branding Portraits - Jeff - Amanda Kraft Photography, Lancaster Pa

“Style is knowing who you are,

what you want to say,

and not giving a damn.” 

– Orson Welles

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I’ve focused so much of my business on photographing women that I have often overlooked the opportunity to photograph men. Within this past year, I’ve began photographing more and more male clients and if I’m being honest, I am loving the change of pace and style.

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Jeff was introduced to me through one of the stylists, Missy, from Trans4mation Salon. He had needed a fresh cut to update his headshots and Missy suggested that Jeff connect with me. A week later he was in the studio for his photo shoot.

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Jeff provided me with a bit of background as to his personal branding photography needs and we ran with it. He brought a few looks to be photographed in; a suit jacket with a tie and two other jackets. My favorite portraits had been those of Jeff in his dark brown suede jacket paired with a crisp white shirt and jeans. Very James Bond meets the cover of Cigar Aficionado.

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While our objective was to create a collection of portraits that Jeff could use for an upcoming award he will be receiving, he could also use these portraits for an updated website profile, LinkedIn, or social media accounts he might have.



Legacy Boxes - Amanda Kraft Photography - Lancaster, PA

Many of my clients tell me that they don’t have space in their home to hang large wall portraits or perhaps some of the portraits aren’t ones you’d like hanging for your mother-in-law to see.

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Legacy Boxes are the perfect alternative for keeping your portraits private, yet accessible. Each box is handcrafted and assembled with beautiful fabrics containing individually matted portraits inside. Legacy Boxes can hold up to 25 - matted prints offering plenty of room to add additional prints or keepsakes.

Imagine starting your legacy box as a high school senior; collecting keepsakes and portraits throughout your post high school/college days as you create new memories as you get engaged, walk down the aisle, and begin your family legacy.

Next time you visit the studio be sure to ask to see my Legacy Box so you can see the handcrafted beauty in these boxes.

Is photo shoot planning stressing you out? - Amanda Kraft Photography - Lancaster, PA

Are you planning an upcoming photo shoot, but the planning feels a tad bit overwhelming? Girl… I feel your pain. I’ll obsess about outfits, hairstyling, and makeup for weeks (also know as… spending countless hours on Pinterest). Only to remind myself that wearing all black makes me feel polished, professional, and confident. And, trusting my hair stylist and makeup artist to make me camera ready. See all the worrying was for nothing.

Easier said than done! Yep, I know. That’s why I’ve created a Photo Shoot Planning Guide to help eliminate the overwhelm with checklists, wardrobe suggestions (and examples), and a list of location & prop ideas.

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I’ve taken 16+ years of experience of planning engagement photo shoots on the hottest summer day during a heatwave to working with a client who lost all of her luggage at the airport the day before her engagement portraits. Or working with high school seniors who are sometimes afraid to show their true style or selves in their portraits.

Included is a checklist to help remind you of when to schedule hair and nail appointments, how to arrive to your photo shoot, extra things to back and WHAT NOT TO PACK. And please by all means, download your guide, read it over and let me know if I forgot to add something that saved the day and might be helpful to add!

Behind The Scenes - Social Media Content Creation - Amanda Kraft Photography - Lancaster, Pa

A little behind the scenes of social media content creation for Trans4mation Salon in Lancaster, Pa. I’ve been working closely with the their team of Stylists and in-house Esthetician to create social media content that matches the look and feel of their brand.

Cathy, the owner of Trans4mation Salon, and I have discussed ways to feature their clients, the talented team of ladies, and their favorite products to use on their website, in-salon marketing, newsletters, and social media.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be adding a Social Media Content Planner to the new photo shoot planning library to help elevate your personal branding and social media content.

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I have 3 spots left for personal branding and social media content creation left for March, please email me to learn more about my process and to pick a date for a photo shoot of your own!

Personal Branding In-Studio Mini Headshot Special

One of my favorite things about my natural light studio is having the opportunity to work with some many local business owners; accountants, financial planners, yoga instructors, bitcoin gurus, graphic designers, fellow creatives, and hair stylists. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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When did you have your headshot taken last? Has it been longer than a year? If so, let's look at our calendars and book a personal branding & headshot photo shoot. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Mini photo shoots including hair & makeup start at $199. ($99. without hair & makeup) to include a 30 to 45-minute mini photo shoot & three digital files.
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Call the studio or send me an email(amandakraftphotography@gmail.com) to book a photo shoot.



WHY STORYTELLING IS SO VITAL IN BUSINESS - AMANDA KRAFT PHOTOGRAPHY - PERSONAL BRANDING & SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT CREATION

For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the behind-the-scenes aspect of photo shoots. Giving the viewer (me at the time; a 13-year old girl who dreamed of being a photographer) a chance to see what it really took to bring an idea full circle to finished piece or product.

Thanks to technology; the ease of creating eye catching photographs and video paired with ability to share on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube we have more access to seeing the behind the scenes process than ever before.

Any Devil Wears Prada fans? I’ll admit that I am a DWP superfan and LOVE the movie for so many reasons, but it gave viewers a chance to understand the visual story that is being told through fashion editorials using models and clothing to tell the story. Plus, a look at the not-so-glamourous side of what working at a fashion magazine could be.

Storytelling is shared daily - Every heard of Gary V? Gary V is an incredible storyteller sharing what it takes to be a business owner - he has pulled back the curtain and shows us the grit and commitment it takes to build and sustain a business daily.

Why am I sharing all of this on a photography blog, because we must become storytellers in our lives & businesses. We can no longer post a few photos and wait for the phone to ring. I truly believe we need to show to process no matter how messy it can be, it gives us a relate-ability factor.

For those in business, how many times have you heard someone say… “I’ve been following you quietly for weeks, months, or years before reaching out to you, joining your program, or hiring you.” Several clients have told me this over the years and many of my high school senior clients younger siblings have told me how excited they have been for it to finally be their turn for a photo shoot. Because they have watched the story unfold.

Of course, you don’t have to air your dirty laundry, but giving your audience the opportunity to understand the process behind WHO YOU ARE & WHAT YOU DO does matter in today’s world of business, and it might actually matter more now than ever before.

Let’s chat about ways to weave your story in your brand and business.

  1. Creating a series of behind the scenes photos of how you take a project or idea from your head to paper and from paper to final product gives the viewer/consumer a better understanding of the level of craftsmanship involved. You can do this through still photography and small video clips.

  2. If you are personal trainer, wellness coach, or life coach - maybe you could show what a day in the life is like for you. Showing a glimpse of how you meal prep, plan or design your workouts, interact with clients, and balance juggling a family. Allowing your viewers to see that you walk the talk yourself.

  3. Maybe you are a food truck owner (ever see Chef?!) and you want to use your online presence to build buzz about where your truck might be for the day, what your current specials are, and tell the story of what food means to you.

  4. A small custom t-shirt company - sharing how the designs are created, the meaning or connection to why you create what you create along with why you choose to use the vendors you do might matter to your customers as much as it means to you.


Another behind the scenes moment of how I create natural light food photographs for my stock photography site and personal blog.

Another behind the scenes moment of how I create natural light food photographs for my stock photography site and personal blog.

A behind the scenes photo when I spoke to fellow photographers on the importance of creating a health and wellness plan within their business

A behind the scenes photo when I spoke to fellow photographers on the importance of creating a health and wellness plan within their business


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I’d love to hear how you weave storytelling into your business and brand in the comments below.