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About Salina J Photography

Hi, I am Salina, a senior portrait photographer working in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota (based in Lakeville, but my sessions are not limited to that city). My availability for 2015 is limited, so 2016 high school graduates, contact me soon to set up your session! I look forward to hearing about your ideas and helping you turn them into amazing senior pictures.

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Class of 2015 Senior Portraits – Minneapolis – The Importance of Light

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

First things first – Minnesota high school seniors, I am now booking into September and October for senior portrait sessions. Contact me today to get on my schedule as open slots are dwindling! If you’re looking for a family photographer this fall, I am booking past clients and referrals from past clients only, but I’m happy to refer you to some great family photographers in the area if you are new to Salina J Photography as I am no longer accepting new family/child clients at this time (focusing instead on senior portraits and head shots – anyone can book with me for those!).

Now… anyone who has heard me talk about photography knows I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to the technical side. My vision as an artist is first and foremost, but photography is nothing without the right light. When shooting outdoors, the light doesn’t always cooperate. My clients and I might be outside and there’s too much sun in a spot with a great view, or if we’re in a wooded area, there might not be enough light to take advantage of the pretty background and still get light in the eyes and a proper balance between the illumination of the face and the background.

I don’t always need it, but I bring supplemental lighting to every  session. Not only can I help boost the ambient (natural) light wherever I am, I can also do some creative shots that simply aren’t possible without additional lighting. For example, if you’ve seen my photographs of seniors with beautiful sunsets behind them, I had to use a light in an umbrella to create those. Otherwise the face would be totally dark in order to see the sunset.

Here’s a great example from a recent session showing why I bring my lighting gear to a session. I was photographing this class of 2015 Lakeville senior in Northfield and wanted to use a path in the outdoor area we were in. The sun was behind Rachel which highlighted her hair perfectly, I loved the trees and the light filtering through them, but it was too dark to get catchlights in Rachel’s eyes. In order to keep the background looking the way I wanted, without a flash Rachel’s face would be underexposed. I could increase my exposure so that her face would be bright enough, but that meant sacrificing the background (also, a too-bright or “blown” background draws the eye away from the subject). So I quickly set up my flash on a light stand and was able to get the gorgeous shot of Rachel on the right, with both her face and the background in perfect balance, lighting-wise.

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Head over to my Instagram feed to see the portrait I took of Rachel at the end of her session with the amazing sunset behind her – also made possible by my trusty flash and lighting skills.

 

Go Big or Go Home – Choosing the Right Print Size for Your Walls

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

I love offering printed products to my clients. Digital negatives are convenient, and my clients do purchase them, but they and I know that a digital negative is more likely to rest on a hard drive or in a tablet’s photo album than be seen in the home. We are so accustomed to having photos available to us in pixels we forget to print those photos and display them in our homes, either as prints or in albums.

My clients know the value in seeing their portraits professionally printed – they hire me because they know that I, as a print-focused photographer, know how to prepare my digital negatives for the print process. Colors will be rich, skin tones will be natural and there will not be distracting areas that are too bright or too dark. To help my clients with their selections, one benefit I offer is in-person ordering. After the session is complete, my clients can schedule an ordering session at my studio or in their home, where they can see and touch samples of different albums, canvases or large prints.

One of my favorite parts about this is bringing multiple sizes of prints to a client’s home. In some cases, my clients have never ordered a print larger than an 8×10. They think of that as the “large” size, when in reality an 8×10 is considered a desk print, or is meant to be clustered in a grouping of other photos or art work. So during our ordering session, when I recommend a 16×20 for a particular wall where they’d like to display the smiling faces of their kids, at first they are skeptical… until I compare how the wall looks adorned with an 8×10 and then with a 16×20.

Prints seen from a distance, like those displayed on a wall, should be large enough that the faces are clear without someone having to walk up to inspect. Clients should also take into consideration the scale of the walls and the furniture. A print meant for a shelf in an office can be smaller, but so many newer homes now have soaring ceilings and rooms with oversized furniture.

A client sent me a photo yesterday of her bedroom with a print of her children newly hung above the bed. At her ordering session, I first held up some 16×20 prints, as they initially thought about ordering one 16×20 of each child. Then I held up my 20×30, the largest sample I have. The clients loved the idea of having one bigger print for the wall, but my client said “I don’t think that’s big enough.” So we ordered the portrait as a 24×36 Elevated mount (this is a modern option that comes ready to hang, and the edges can be finished in black, white, silver or wood-tone).

Here you can see the finished product! I am so happy she shared this photo, I love seeing the results.

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Just for fun, I edited the image to show what the print would look like had she ordered it in an 8×12 size. The difference is amazing! So the next time you order a print of your favorite portrait, whether through a photographer or on your own, think about sizing up. Use a piece of newspaper or cardboard cut to a larger print size and tape it to the wall where you’d like to hang your photograph and see which size works best for your space. Big isn’t always the answer, but in many cases it will help fill your space and showcase the smiling faces all the better.

Salina J Photography Blog Image

Best-Dressed Family in Minneapolis – Portrait Photographer Northfield, MN

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

I think many moms know what I’m talking about – the excitement that comes from planning the wardrobe for family pictures. And as a photographer, I get just as excited. I can help my clients choose the best outfits to help ensure their sessions are successful. As much as we’d like to say the clothes don’t matter, they really do. Or at least, the wrong clothes can have a negative impact on how my clients look and feel.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I met Dana and Kevin and their three gorgeous-eyed children. Dana did a phenomenal job styling her family. I love how everyone is in tones of blue without being overly matchy. The shirts and dresses (and Dana’s shoes – perfect!) all complimented our urban scenery in just the right way.

Thank you, Dana and Kevin, for a fun night during the session! I just received the album they ordered and it’s beautiful – a wonderful and compact way to enjoy their portraits for years to come.

Minneapolis MN Family Photographer

Julia – St. Paul, MN Senior Pictures

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Julia attends a small private high school in St. Paul. We lucked out for her session held in late April – our beautiful, warm day was tucked in between some cold and less-than-gorgeous evenings. Here are some of the favorites from Julia’s session. Are you searching for a photographer for your senior pics, class of 2014? Contact me today to talk about details, then we’ll get you on the calendar! I have some exciting specials and offers for this summer and fall.

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Alex – Class of 2013 in Snowy St. Paul, MN

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Alex is a student at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts, and he and his parents wanted a senior portrait session that would reflect his musical side as well as use the downtown area as a backdrop, as a reminder to where Alex spends so much of his time.

Yes, it was cold. Yes, there was snow on the ground. But we Minnesotans are hardy and Alex never let it show if he was freezing. We moved through skywalks and along sidewalks and I chose some great spots with wonderful light. The first image of Alex of his guitar was officially my first favorite senior picture of 2013. As soon as I clicked the shutter I knew it was spectacular, and I was right – Alex’s parents ordered it as a 16×20 canvas and it was stunning!


Minnesota class of 2014 students – it’s not too early to start thinking about who will take your senior pics! I am offering a discount to 2014 seniors who book before the end of June, so give me a call or write soon (612-567-312p or salina@salinajphotography.com). Now that it appears the snow is gone for good (finally!) it’s time to start thinking about summer and what to wear for your portraits. Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

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