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!

Shake what your momma gave ya!

Ask yourself... when is the last time you've embraced your beauty and been photographed? 

I wouldn't be shocked if you told me it's been years.  It's time to stop hiding because If something god forbid happens to you, your loved ones aren't going to care about your weight, gray roots, or any other ego induced idea you think about yourself.

 

Instead, your loved ones will cling to the memories that accompany those photos - not the thoughts your ego is pumping into your mind. 

Let me help you embrace your own definition of beauty and exist in portraits for your loved ones to treasure for years to come. 

 

What should I wear?

What should I wear?  Is the most commonly asked question from my clients. As a fashion lover, helping my clients put together outfits for their photo shoot is one of my favorite parts of the process. 

I truly believe that your wardrobe should reflect your personality and during your photo shoot isn't the time to attempt styles that aren't you.  Of course, you are welcome to add in a few pieces that might not be something you wear daily, but keep in mind you will want these portraits to stand the test of time and not be dated by your clothing selection.

I suggest bringing 4 to 6 outfits that reflect your personal style and brand (if we are creating personal branding photographs).  Adding blazers, jackets, vests, or scarves can transform your look without having to completely change outfits the same can be said by adding jewelry.  

Shoes can also elevate your outfit, but more often than not only a few portraits will show your full body. Most clients are drawn to 3/4 of the body or waist up portraits. That isn't to say if you have a pair of heels or boots that make you happy you can't bring them!  Please do! 

This leads me to one final point. I am going to break my rule of bringing outfits that aren't in alignment with your personality.  If you have an amazing cocktail dress, prom dress, homecoming dress, black tie event gown or pageant gown hanging in your closet PLEASE bring it your photo shoot!  This is the perfect opportunity to wear the dress again and have an ultra glamour magazine style portrait.

Still at a complete loss on what to wear... don't worry I have several Fashion Inspire Guides to help you make wardrobe selection a breeze and an ever-growing studio closet you can choose from.  [Should you have any dresses hanging in your closet that you'd like to donate to the studio closet, please let me know]

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Chelsea and Paxton - The bond between mother and son

As many of you know... I am not a baby or child photographer, but on a rare occasion, I'll work with a client who asks me to incorporate a few portraits with their little one.  Now, that I've been in the studio for several months I've been opening up to the idea of working with more kiddos on a regular basis.  (If you haven't seen the birthday theme tween photo shoot I did a few weeks ago, check it out HERE)

I've had the privilege of getting to know Chelsea over the past year and was so happy that she agreed to return to the studio with Paxton for a mommy and son photo shoot.  

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I also asked Chelsea to share what she has learned in this past year by becoming a first-time mother and a boy mom. 

What is life like as a boy mom?  Life as a boy mom is busy, rambunctious, and I can't forget the cuddles. I think all boys are born mamas boys.

Where do you find the coolest outfits for your little man?  Target and I do a lot of consignment shopping also

What did you wish you knew about boys before you became a boy mom?  
Oh boy, I think this goes for anyone who is a mom of boys or girls... it's HARD. You will cry, yell, feel guilty, feel like you're not doing anything right. But that love you have is unreal, I wouldn't change any of it for the world. 

What's the best advice you could give another mom who is going to have a baby boy? TALK TO OTHER MOMS, you need all the support you can get because you second guess everything you do.

And her last bit of advice: Enjoy every moment, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Local Resources: 

A quick google search provided these possible resources for Lancaster area moms.  Should you have additional resources to share; groups, shops, upcoming events, etc please leave any information you wish to share in the comment section below. 

Fit4Mom

Events and Activities for Kids

Miracles Consignment Shop

Little Bo-tique

 

Embracing Beauty - for him and you

I've joked with Leighanne that she is my spirit animal.   She is the type of person you can get lost in a conversation with and when you end the conversation no matter the topic you feel better, encouraged, supported, and inspired.  Leighanne's passion is helping women glow from within.  She has an incredible touch as an Esthetician and her mantra is "What's good for the skin is good for the soul." 

When Leighanne approached me about a boudoir photo shoot - I was honored that she asked me to help bring her vision to life.  Rather than gift her husband with another tie or electronic for his birthday she wanted to create a keepsake portrait to hang in their bedroom. 

Leighanne put a lot of thought into the look and feel of the photoshoot to push her beyond her comfort zone, but also remain true to herself and I fully believe we made that happen. 

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Leighanne is a mom of two and an Esthetician so taking time out of her busy schedule for a photo shoot was also a gift to herself - a chance to reclaim her personal identity from being wife, mother, and service provider.  

We created a mixture of glamour inspired portraits with a boudoir flare using cozy blankets and white sheets.    

If you are ready to EMBRACE YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF BEAUTY - I'd love to help you bring your photo shoot to life!  

 

Embrace your own definition of beauty - Glamour Shoot with Nichole

Allow me to introduce you to Nichole, some of you may already know Nichole as she has been my in-house hair stylist and makeup artist for years.  Our working relationship turned into one of my greatest friendships and someone who I can go weeks without talking to and never feel like we skip a beat when we see each other again. 

Due to our close working relationship and friendship, I've gotten to be part of so many milestones in her life and one of the biggest ones has been her weight loss transformation.  I've watched this woman bust her butt in the gym, spend hours in the kitchen prepping meals for herself & kids while transforming from the inside out. 

When Nichole asked me to photograph her a few weeks ago in the studio I couldn't say no.  Like many women, Nichole has a few "problem areas" she wanted to hide and rather than focus on their areas we shifted our focus to the features she does love.  

Following our photo shoot, I kept thinking about Nichole and her incredible beauty, not only physically, but how amazing her heart is. She inspired me to create this idea of EMBRACING YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF BEAUTY.  We (women, girls, humans) spend so much time focusing on what we don't like about ourselves rather than celebrating what we do love.  If I've learned anything on my 36 years circling this planet is that we will never be perfect and we will never have this time in our lives so why wait for "perfect", instead let's embrace your own definition of beauty! 

Because, Nichole surely has and I can't be more proud of her and honored that she allowed me to create this series of photographs. 

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For those of you interested in EMBRACING YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF BEAUTY I would love to connect with you.  Perhaps you want to explore the idea of a glamour or boudoir style photo shoot or maybe spend the day with your daughter(s), best friend(s), sister(s), or mother.  We need to exist in photographs for our loved ones and more importantly for ourselves. 

 

 

Commercial Photo Shoot with Erica Colon Makeup and Kristie High

I LOVE collaborating with other local business owners who are looking to build their portfolios and business.  I invited Erica Colon of Erica Colon Makeup and hairstylist Kristie High into the studio for a day-long photo shoot to showcase their talents. 

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A very special thank you to Candice Hoover of Country Petals for creating the headpiece worn in the photo shoot featuring Abbey and to Krista Pelletier of Lititz Bridal Boutique for providing two of the dresses shown in the photos featuring Kelsey.

 

In the studio with Jill

This is my first full photo shoot in the new studio and to say that I am in love is an understatement. While it's a completely different environment with it's own unique challenges, I am excited to see how my portfolio will evolve over the coming weeks and month.

Jill kindly agreed to be apart of my model search and I am so thrilled that she was willing to come in for a mini photo shoot with me.  I've gotten to know her over the years since photographing her daughter's senior portraits and also following her on social media.  

I enjoyed spending my morning with her and chatting like two old girlfriends. 

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These are my two favorites from her photo shoot.  I love Jill's contagious smile and her absolute confidence that she radiates!  

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Jill, from the bottom of my heart - thank you for being apart of this journey! 

 

A note from Jill:

You and Nichole are sorceresses! I am in love with the minimal, dramatic simplicity of your photos in the new studio. My mom was right, she dressed me in royal blue as a kid, and it is my color. The older I get, the more I appreciate my mother's wisdom. 

Thank you for making me look beautiful - it's not the beauty of my 20's, but guess what, the beauty acquired from experience shines brighter with the enhancements of knowledge and confidence. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

GRACE BEFORE AND AFTER

When I told Nichole that I was looking to expand my portfolio and to include women of all ages (not just high school seniors or brides) she mentioned having Grace come in for a photo shoot.  I was so thankful that Nichole asked Grace to join us for a day of hair, makeup & dress up!  We had so much fun creating this collection of images and be the first shoot of this new direction for us! 

BECOME YOUR OWN AFTER PHOTO

Before you read this post I feel the need state a major disclaimer. I am not sharing this because I feel that any of my photo clients need to work with a coach or trainer prior to their photo shoot. I’m sharing this because so many women have shared how uncomfortable they feel when a camera is pointed in their direction and are tired of standing in the back row or using an oversized purse or a kid to camouflage themselves.

I am sharing this in the event I can help one person than I know I’ve posted this for the right reasons.

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Many of you already know my story, I was 60+ pounds heavier just a little over 5 years ago, I had a meltdown on the floor of my closet with nothing to wear and I didn't want to exist in photos.

In fact, it took me FOREVER to embrace our wedding photos because I was so unhappy with who I was at that time in my life. I was overweight, overworked, and simply not in a good place with my self image or self love.

Through my own journey of weight loss and self-discovery, I began to share my struggles and through a lot of encouragement, I decided to pursue a year long certification at IIN for holistic health coaching to soak up as much wellness and nutrition information as I could.  

Hands down, during almost every photo shoot the conversation organically turns to poor self-image, weight gain, or guilt and shame come to the surface. I can't begin to count how many times I've heard...

"I'd love to do a photo shoot when I ......."

"Can you photoshop my arm"

"I hate ....... about myself".

It breaks my heart because we live in a world that is so photoshopped and over processed that we hop from one fad diet or workout to the next leaving a trail of lackluster results behind us and feeling worse about ourselves than when we "attempted to start".

Or if we have body confidence we feel shame or embarrassment for actually embracing what we do love about ourselves for fear of being cocky or conceited.

As I began designing my signature coaching program I wanted to incorporate "before and after" photos into the program. Not because I wanted to show a glossy photoshopped transformation of my clients, instead I wanted my clients to have a visual representation of who they fought so hard to become during our coaching sessions and celebrate this incredible milestone in their lives.

You are so much more than the women who wears black hides in the back row and who attempts to camouflage herself with an oversized purse. (Been there, done that)

You are incredible, vibrant, strong, and beautiful .... and my goal is to help you create a solid foundation for lasting change and no longer feeling guilt, shame or embarrassment or saying....

"I'll do IT (whatever it is) when....."

So here's the deal... if you've been sitting on the sidelines watching what feels like everyone else around you have it all figured out with their health, wellness, and life and you don't... it's time to take action because what you've been doing isn't working, am I right? 

I'm opening 5 spots for 12-weeks of personalized wellness coaching for late summer and into the fall...

 ...and to sweeten the deal... I am inviting you to take part in the "after" photo shoot experience as a gift from me to you. It's time you exist in photographs and felt comfortable in your own skin.

 

Are you still unsure if working with a coach is right for you?  Send me an email and we can schedule a time to chat and gauge if I am the right coach for you!  

WHY I BELIEVE IN WORKING WITH A HAIR & MAKE-UP TEAM - AMANDA KRAFT PHOTOGRAPHY - LANCASTER, PA PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER

WHY I BELIEVE IN WORKING WITH A HAIR & MAKE-UP TEAM

 

From a personal standpoint - The likelihood of having both a good hair day and good makeup day for me is slim to none.  I can rock one or the other but rarely both which leads to anxiety and stress the day of a photo shoot.  After experiencing these failed attempts from than a handful of times I began enlisting the help of pros, which helped me feel confident in front of the camera!  

 

WORKING WITH MY PROFESSIONAL TEAM

I'm picky to say the least when hair and makeup is involved.  I never want my clients to look anything but themselves and we've all seen how makeup can enhance one's features or go horribly wrong! My team has a clear understanding of what looks good through the camera, how to apply just the right amount of makeup for the camera and play up your features.  

 Working with a professional team allows you to be stress free the day of your photo shoot by eliminating bad hair days or failed attempts at a smokey eye.  

WHAT TO DO THE WEEK OF YOUR PHOTO SHOOT TO HAVE GLOWING SKIN 

  • Apply moisturizer the days leading up to your photo shoot to avoid dry or flaky skin.

  • Drink plenty of water to ensure that you have well hydrated and glowing skin.

  • Avoid overexposure to the sun Strive for a good night of sleep leading up to your photo shoot - even though I am sure you’ll be excited and a tiny bit nervous!

  • Use a lip moisturizer to keep chapped lips at bay

HOW TO PREPARE FOR HAIR AND MAKEUP THE DAY OF YOUR PHOTO SHOOT

The day of the photo shoot, you’ll want to arrive with dry hair and a makeup free face.  Once you are settled, you’ll meet with your stylist/makeup artist to finalize the look for your hair and makeup that will best complement your wardrobe.