Back-to-school Sunshine Mini-Sessions

The end of summer is creeping up and I’m sure a lot of you parents are starting to think about back-to-school. Every year I document my kiddos on their first and last day of school (just like a lot of you parents do) and I love seeing how much they grew that school year. So, I have decided to offer something brand new! I am doing mini – mini sessions, specially for back to school.

My normal photography sessions are 1 hour long, and anything shorter (mini-sessions) are only in the spring and fall, and those are 30 mins long. This is the first time that I am offering something shorter then a 30 minute mini-session. If the back-to-school sunshine mini-sessions go well then I just may offer end of the school year graduation mini’s. Bring on the confetti!

If these slots fill up and there’s a lot of interest then I may open up a second day.

Here’s the details:
When: Saturday July 15th
Where: Outside in SE Gilbert
How long: 15 minute time slot – between 4:30-6:30 – quick and painless!
What you get: 5 high resolution retouched images, delivered via electronic download within 48 hours of your shoot, no watermark and signed printing rights release

I will have a variety of props – vintage school desk, apples, pencils, stack of books, chalkboard to personalize with your child’s name and grade. Your welcome to bring your own signage as well.
If your as excited about this as me and want in, drop me an email to connect and get scheduled at: memoriesthroughtime@mac.com

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How to make an awesome family home video – Part 2 of 2

In case you missed part 1, or need a refresher, you can scroll down or simply click here. In part 1, I covered a lot of the shooting elements that you will want to consider when capturing your video. In part 2, I am sharing helpful tips for editing, music selection, audio, and sharing your home video.


I used an iPhone 7 for this video.

#6 – As you decide which one song you want to use for your highlight video, make sure it won’t get kicked off popular online video sites such as Facebook, Vimeo, or YouTube. The most time consuming part of editing your highlight video will be cutting each clip to the beat of the song. There is nothing worse than putting in all those hours of getting it just right and then realizing you have to start over with a different song. Websites are required by copyright law to flag and take down videos with music that hasn’t been legally purchased. Luckily, you can avoid this problem by going to websites such as songfreedom.com that offer you an endless selection and the ability to purchase the licensing rights for as little as $25. Remember, the better your highlight video turns out, the more you’ll want to be 100% certain everyone can watch it online.

#7 – When cutting your video clips to the beat of the song (also known as syncing), it’s always best to sync the fast actions parts of your video with the fast action/climax parts of the song. For example, in my Colorado highlight video, I made sure to place the boys zip lining and rafting on the rapids at high points of the song so the energy matched. Likewise, sync your less energetic and slower clips with the slower/softer parts of the song. A trick editors use to accomplish this is to lay out the high energy video clips with the climax parts of the songs right away. After making those decisions, you can then “fill” the in-between parts of the song with the rest of your clips. This also gives you a strong direction of how many slower video clips you’ll need to fill out the rest of the video and help you decide which clips to toss out. Never make the mistake of editing individual clips (color correcting, fine detailing, etc.) until after you’ve laid out your story and know for certain that clip will be part of the finished video.

#8 – Even though you might have chosen a song with lyrics instead of an instrumental song, it doesn’t mean you can’t allow some of the live audio to be heard at different parts of the highlight video. About 90% of the Colorado video has no live audio but I was able to improve the energy and emotions of some clips by raising the live audio. For example, even though the song is playing at the same volume throughout, I can still hear my son singing on the raft, the drilling in the mine, and the fish splashing in the water. You can even improve the viewer’s ability to hear live audio by strategically placing those clips in parts of the song where there’s no lyrics. Of course, the most honest reason to use music over live audio is so you don’t have to hear your own voice or all the times you shouted at the kids to knock it off and smile for the camera.

#9 – Never publish or share your finished video online until you’ve had a chance to watch it several times. Without fail, you will get creative ideas that will make it better and notice mistakes you need to fix. If you’re really smart, you’ll ask your spouse or someone else to watch it that will tell you the truth. I have a rule that I never upload a video online the same day I finished editing it. It never fails that the next day I will catch things I missed during my first “final” edit. Don’t be the person who takes down a video only to repost the new and improved version. Not only is that annoying but most people aren’t going to watch your video a second time.

#10 – Now that you’ve made your awesome highlight video and posted it online, you have to decide what to do with all the original video clips. When I grew up, this meant keeping all my VHS video tapes and breaking a tab off the tape so no one could accidentally record over it. Fortunately, all our video clips today are digital and can’t get tangled up when rewinding or fast forwarding. If your hard drive is large enough, keep all of the video clips in the program you used to make your highlight video. Once you decide to move or delete them, you’ll have to go through the painful process of reconnecting all the clips if you ever want to make changes to your highlight video. You should also copy all the video clips to an external hard drive and keep this external hard drive detached from your computer. We’ve all lost files because our computer’s hard drive crashed or we got a computer virus.

In addition to our boys loving the videos we’ve made, it also give me evidence for when they become teenagers and complain about how they never got to do anything fun or go anywhere. The moment I hear those words, I’ll pull up every one of our family highlight videos and make them watch them one by one.

- Mike

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