Bay Area

My Favorite Photo Products - 2018 Edition

If there’s one thing about photography that I tell people over and over again, it’s this: photos don’t belong on your hard drive. Photos belong in your hands and in your home. Photos should be on display. You can never have too many photos up in your home.

TL;DR: Print your photos, people!

When ordering prints, it can be hard to know where to start. The amount of diverse print products out there can be a little bit overwhelming. And when you’re looking at products online, it can be hard to judge the quality.

That’s where I come in as your trusty photographer friend! I order a LOT of print products. Here’s a list of my favorite products this year. These are great for display in your home or as gifts for family and friends - especially grandparents. (I’m not affiliated with any of these companies. These are all just products that I have purchased and love.)

Spoiler Alert: If you think you might be getting a gift from me this year, and you want to be surprised, please don’t read any further. ;)

Social Print Studio

I’m a little obsessed with Social Print Studio. They’re an awesome, independent, boutique printing company based here in the Bay Area. Their products are of an exceptional quality, they are extremely reasonably priced, and their customer service is fantastic. My favorites:

  • Poster - this is the first product I ever ordered from them. A few of these framed posters hang in our home and new visitors always spend a few minutes admiring them. You can upload photos straight from Instagram (or your desktop) and they have a few different sizes. You can also vary the number of photos you include.

  • Wall Calendar - I’m old timey, and I love having a wall calendar hanging in my home. I order a couple of these as gifts every year, and always include one for myself. (Hint hint - these make great gifts for grandparents.)

  • Square Magnets - These magnets are large and sturdy, and hold things well on the refrigerator (I hate flimsy magnets.). They’re also incredibly cute. They come in two sizes (2”x2” or 3”x3”). At $15 for a set of six, they make a great, non-traditional stocking stuffer.

sharon kenney photography calendar

Parabo Press

I found Parabo Press about two years ago, and they quickly became one of my go-to spots for printing. I’ve been really happy with the quality of their products.

  • Fine Art Print - My favorite thing that I’ve ordered from them is the Fine Art Print. They’re printed on pure white, archival, matte paper and they come in a variety of sizes. I really love the large ones - a stunning image printed at 16” x 20” or 20” x 24” can make a great statement as a display piece. Pair it with a Wood Rail for hanging as an interesting alternative to a traditional frame.

Artifact Uprising

Artifact Uprising is a favorite company of lots of photographers. They’re a great design company with a simple aesthetic. You can’t go wrong with most of their products.

  • Wood Block & Prints - I love these photo prints that come with a wood block for display. The prints are done on thick, textured paper with a border. I love that you can rotate the photos. I got one of these sets for my mom a few years ago, and my kids love to switch the photos every time they’re at her house.

  • Wooden Photo Ledge - This is the only product on the list that I don’t actually own. But it’s also on my list of things that I want. I just haven’t found a good spot in our home to hang one (or several). Once I do, it will be mine!

ZNO

A photographer friend introduced me to ZNO earlier this year. She shot a documentary session for us, and gifted us one of their albums. I was sold on it immediately.

  • Layflat Photo Album - I love photo books that lay flat. You don’t lose any of the image quality or composition between the pages. The ZNO albums have nice, thick pages with really rich colors. They have a variety of album sizes and cover options too.

Pro tip: ZNO offers discounts and specials pretty frequently, so keep your eyes open.

Pinhole Press

I haven’t ordered a ton of products from Pinhole Press, but I like what I’ve seen so far.

  • “All About…” Photo Book - I found these “All About Me” photo books last summer. The kids and I created “All About Dad” photo books as Father’s Day gifts for their dad. We had a ton of fun doing it, and the books are adorable. It was a great way for little kids to make a customized, long-lasting gift for a parent or relative. They helped picked the photos and wrote their favorite things about their dad. The books turned out really great!

sharon kenney photography photo book

What are your favorite photo products? I’m always on the hunt for more, so tell me in the comments!

What to Wear for Your Family Photo Session

The most common question I get from the families that I photograph is “What should we wear for our session?” Here is my best advice for how to dress for your upcoming family photography session with me.

Be Yourself!

My most important piece of advice is to be the best versions of your everyday selves. Don’t feel like you need to morph yourselves into something you saw on Pinterest. I am capturing memories of YOUR family - as you are at this moment in time. Be perfectly yourselves, and I will show you that your family is perfectly beautiful, exactly as you are.

Dress as you normally would, wear what you’re comfortable in, and look like yourselves. If you’re jeans-and-boots people, wear your favorite jeans and best boots. Like to dress up? Rock a fab dress. Some of my favorite family sessions feature bare feet, shorts, and flip-flops.

sharon kenney family photography mountain view
sharon kenney family photography outfits

Above all else, it's most important that you feel comfortable and feel like yourselves. If you feel uncomfortable, you will look uncomfortable, and that will come through in your photos. So don’t stress about your outfits! Just go for the best version of your everyday, natural look.

sharon kenney family photography bay area what to wear
sharon kenney family photography shoreline

Specific Tips on What to Wear

  • Don't worry about having "matching" outfits. Gone are the days of awkward family photos with everyone in the family wearing matching denim and button down shirts.

  • While not matching, you definitely want your family’s outfits to coordinate. I suggest picking 2-3 colors in the same family that are flattering for all of you, and working those in. Some good examples of color combinations are: blue-purple-gray, brown-tan-red-denim, green-navy-white, blue-khaki-yellow, etc.

  • Classic styles and combos are best. Solid colors and simple patterns work great. Try to avoid anything super-trendy that may look dated in a few years.

  • My family sessions involve a lot of movement. I’ll ask you to walk, sit down, play with your kids, and maybe even dance a little. Choose clothing that you can easily move around in. If you choose to include skirts or dresses in your clothing choices, I recommend full skirts that will allow for movement.

  • Please avoid all-white shirts and/or pants (unless you're wearing a white shirt with a sweater over it, or a similar look.)

  • Please avoid any clothes that have logos, writing or characters on them.

  • Avoid scruffy, dirty sneakers, if possible. (Not always possible with active kids, I know!)

sharon kenney family photography boots outfits
sharon kenney family photography what to wear

Questions?

If you have specific questions, please email me. I’m always happy to review outfit choices or make family-specific recommendations.

Dads Are Awesome! | Bay Area Family Photographer

Over the years I’ve been photographing families, I’ve seen lots of tips about “how to handle dads.” There’s an assumption that dads have been cajoled into a family photo session by their wives and would rather be anywhere else.

I disagree.

Maybe I’ve just gotten lucky, but most of the families that I work with have some pretty amazing dads - dads that are absolutely on board with doing a fun family photography session.

I’ll never ask dads (or anyone in the family, for that matter) to sit stiffly and awkwardly smile for me. I love to photograph dads doing what they do best - playing with their kids, being silly with their kids, and laughing with their families. That’s all I ask - just love your people, have fun with them, connect with them… and try to forget that the woman with the giant camera is there. ;)

In honor of Father’s Day, here are some of my favorite “dad photos” from this past year.

And I can’t forget my all-time favorite dad (hint: I married him)!