Saturday, November 23, 2013

’Tis the Season for Custom Christmas Cards & Holiday Gifts

Are you in that crazed and dazed stage of the holidays where you are about to attack your shopping list, prepare the turkey, get the house decorated to impress everyone you know and then, oh yeah, squeeze in that holiday family photo session AND order your cards? I can relate to the big flurry of tasks and sleepless hours ahead, my friends. So as a girl who always likes to help her friends out, I have partnered with to make the holidays just a tad bit easier for each of you...and honestly, me too! Yes, you may know that I have designed many a Christmas card, invite, etc. myself, but I was searching for a way to offer more awesome options for my family, friends, design and photography customers and found it here. So check out my new CWD SHOP, the place for fantastic and fun custom photo products, cards and more!  Click on the image below to check it out.

You will find great, customizable cards for Christmas, Hannukah and all of the other holidays of the year. This can be your shop for birthday invites, moving notices, birth announcements and other great life celebrations. Here is just one of the trendy new designs they have, ready for you to customize with your family’s name and photo...

Three EASY WAYS you can order cards & other photo products:

1. My Cheri Wenger Design Photography customers can select up to 3 images from their photo session. Fee is $15 for upload service. ( I am waving this for all new shoots before Dec. 15th, so book your photo session now!) 321.243.3051. I will add you as a client on my gift shop site and send you an email link to the storefront where you can shop and use the photos from your photo tray to customize the products. As this is a busy photo season, allow some time for me to do this which takes a little while for the high res files to upload. Contact me for pricing if you want more than 3 photo added to your tray. Customize your products and complete your order online. Be sure and let me know what you thought of your shopping experience by emailing me at

2. DO it YOURSELF cards with YOUR IMAGES - Start at Use the tabs to select the style you want, photo or product you want to order. There are pet cards, Christmas cards, ornament cards and more! Have fun choosing.  Here is one example of one of the cute ornament cards available. Talk about an extra treat for the recipient!

3. Order First, Upload Later - For those of you who know what design you want, know which photo(s) you want from your customer gallery, you can complete your order, send me the order # and I will upload the photo. Once I submit, you will receive confirmation that your order is complete along with a client proof to review. Pretty easy, huh? Just $15 fee for any previous photo shoots. Any new shoots booked from now until Dec. 15th will receive this free of charge.

Still need to accomplish that family photo shoot?
Book a session today, spaces still available for family mini and full sessions. Call 321.243.3051.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A girl and a horse and beautiful farm

As a photographer, part of the process of capturing truly memorable images and considering the location for the shoot, the time of day that will convey the lighting and vision you have in mind, and of course figuring out how to utilize the lighting, posing and scenery to your creative advantage.

Through the generosity of my friend, Holly, I was able to indulge Ashley’s fantasy to do a farm/western style photo shoot with her. Since she was little, my daughter has always loved horses and has always known how to play to the camera and pose. So much of my work was pretty simple, however the technical aspects of on location, natural portraiture brings challenges in capturing the images you sometimes have in mind.

Here are my top 12 favorites from the session...

 If you would like to view more of the images, check out my fan page on facebook where I have posted the album or view the gallery directly on my Cheri Wenger Design Photography website. If you aren't a fan of the music, just hit mute while you browse the site, and if you want to see any of the photos at a larger size, just hit the slideshow button in the upper right and hit escape key to exit when done viewing.

Please leave me comments, suggestions and inquiries if you are interested in having me take photos of you or your family. If you are on the facebook fan page, be sure to like my page and help me expand my fan base. Thanks! Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oh, The Sunlight in Your Hair!

There is something so simple and beautiful about the sun painting a radiant glow along the edge of flowing locks of hair. This is something that can be so beautifully captured as the sun begins to set. It is the perfect kiss of color of nature’s purest highlights that can turn an ordinary portrait into a brilliant result. You can literally watch the sun work it’s magic to breathe life into the frozen frame of a portrait.

This technique of hair lighting works with any color hair, but with lighter shades, it is often most striking. For these casual senior portraits, the location was the side of the road, yet you can see how the sun against the dark green palette illuminates, Kylie in her photos.

We later moved to a brighter location away from the trees to allow some brighter light to shine down. And for these shots, I really wanted to showcase her long beautiful hair so I asked her to turn away from the camera and tilt her head up. Then I asked her to bunch up her hair and play with it. These shots were a mix of dramatic and playful images...and ones that became our mutual favorites from the evening photo session.

Photo Tip: When you feel like you are running out of ideas and poses to try. Ask your model to touch or play with her hair. Since it is ultimately attached to the person, there becomes some type of emotional attachment that unveils itself before the camera. It also helps to loosen up their hands and get them more comfortable with posing. Depending upon their hairstyle, you might want to introduce a clip, a headband, a hat or some other prop. Try this out at your next shoot and share with me your results!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Impromptu Sessions - Just Grab Your Camera and Shoot

During our recent vacation in the Florida Keys an unexpected photo opportunity arose when we stopped off at a cute little oceanside park just past the 5 mile bridge. My daughter’s boyfriend starting climbing a tree, and soon after, she followed. With camera in hand, I snapped some photos of them climbing, sitting and posing for a few couples shots. We had to work around the wind, but I have to share with you this tree shot that is just priceless of the two of them. Here is the sepia-toned image followed by the color version. There are a few others, but I love how her hair was flowing in this amidst the backdrop of the twisty branches.

And here is the color version (below)

If you choose to do a similar tree shoot. Compose your shots to work with the branches rather than fighting them. Below, the widespread branches acted as a support for James in the background, while the larger trunk made a great ledge for Kylie to be seated in the foreground. Another perk of shooting from this angle is that you also get the beauty of the blue sky peeking through the branches.

Seated and smiling, they look very happy and relaxed sitting in the tree. Be sure when shooting from below to utilize a zoom lens to enable you to get close to the couple, and be mindful of their clothing and positioning of their legs so the shots aren't overly revealing or awkward.

Also pay attention to how the light is falling to avoid harsh shadows or harsh patches of sunlight across faces. Unfortunately, I did not have my flash along with me to use a fill flash, however, I think we still managed to pull off some great images considering these were mid day shots, not the ideal time for lighting.

Getting a very natural portrait of a guy, especially a teen male, can be challenging since they aren't typically as into having their photos taken as girls their age. That is why I seized the moment to take some quick portraits of James, having fun and looking very relaxed.

On the ground, the wind proved to be a big challenge (part of the reason we started exploring other areas and shooting by the trees). I did manage to snap this solo beachside shot of Kylie by the tree post.

The lesson learned from this impromptu photo shoot is that when your subjects feel relaxed and in their element, it will show in the portrait session. With family, or even clients, you can stage and pre-plan portrait sessions, but sometimes you have to just throw caution to the wind and work with great opportunities as well as nature’s wonderful props. Forget that they may not have on the perfect outfits or makeup, and just roll with the real life experience. You may be surprised with some of the best, most natural portrait sessions yet! Happy Snappin'!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Entry for Chic Critique's Cover Contest

When I heard about Chic Critique's Cover Contest, I immediately thought of one of the images I was editing from my shoot the other night. It fit the criteria, 3/4 pose, serious expression, creative layout that would allow for headlines and featured articles, so I thought, WHY NOT?

Why shouldn't this great image of Ashley showing off her hot new lacey dress be the one they chose to grace the cover of the next issue. It is the perfect goodbye to summertime fun and moving on to the road ahead.

Be sure to stop by the Chic Critique site and check out all of the enteries. Feel free to leave comments of support, if you like. I will be sharing other great images from some recent shoots, however moving two kids off to college in one week has us a bit busy.

Look for my entry...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Live Life Creatively: Lifestyle Photography — Not just a pretty picture

Live Life Creatively: Lifestyle Photography — Not just a pretty picture: As an on-location, natural light photographer I learn to work around a lot of things such as weather, lighting, confined spaces and pers...

Lifestyle Photography — Not just a pretty picture

As an on-location, natural light photographer I learn to work around a lot of things such as weather, lighting, confined spaces and personalities to capture great images. Not every subject may feel comfortable having his or her photos taken. That is why lifestyle photography is a great method of creating not only fun images, but memorable ones, too.

Have you ever tried taking a photograph of a family member that is less than enthusiastic about having their picture taken? Sure, we have all been there before. What can truly be a game changer is when the person being photographed has a distraction...something that takes their mind off of the task at hand — to capture of picture of them. Think about this as you approach your next photography session. Get your subject talking and telling you about themselves, the love of their life, their favorite activities and watch their expressions and demeanor change.

Sometimes talking just isn’t enough and it takes mixing things up to truly relax your subject(s) and get them into their comfort zone. No, this doesn't require yoga, meditation, or a glass of wine (although that has been known to help ;). You just have to work with your surroundings and bring along a few props to break the ice.

So what makes a good icebreaker? Simply think back to when you were a child and the things you loved to do that were carefree and fun, and let your creativity and imagination flow. Do, however, keep in mind that you don’t want to get the people dirty or too messy for their portraits unless you have mutually decided ahead of time that they are more interested in a lifestyle portrait than in having any formal posed ones. If they want the posed ones, too, then shoot those first.

You know how most people save the “silly shot” for last? That crazy fun one with tongues sticking out, bunny ear fingers behind someone’s head and other outrageous behaviors. Well, ask them to do that first. Break the ice and loosen them up. Bring out the real personality in a subject and it will most likely continue through the remainder of your shoot. In the example above, I brought along some bubbles for the family to play with while sitting on an outdoor swing. Granted, these may not be the selected best shots from the shoot, but it got to show a spirited side of the family having fun together and brought out a very lighthearted playful side.

Try this technique at your next photo session to bring the fun of lifestyle photography into your portrait experience. You may just discover more natural smiles, a more relaxed setting where both you AND the people being photographed are enjoying the photo shoot. Discover lifestyle photography — photos that tell a story and create memories.

Be sure to visit for more photography tips and inspiration. In my next Discover Lifestyle Photography post, I will discuss how to work with your surroundings to break up the monotony. In the meantime, pick up your camera and go beyond the pretty picture — capture true memories!

Friday, August 2, 2013

It's Been A While

Call it burn out from social media overload and combine that with a whole lot of life’s busy-ness and you will understand why I have been away from my blog for so long. I guess I just needed to Live Life Creatively for a while without the pressure of having to share it with the world. Recently, our family took a trip to the keys...a family first and I loved how relaxing a vacation it was. Here is one of many self portraits I took while in Marathon.

So what have I been up to? A hectic senior year with our youngest daughter filled with activities. Keeping up with our other college girl. Accomplishing one of my New Year’s resolutions by not only learning, but switching over to Lightroom 4 for all of my photo organization and editing. Yeah, I still use photoshop for the REALLY creative stuff and in-depth retouching, but I have to admit that despite the steep learning curve, I am starting to enjoy using Lightroom. And I have to give Kim Klassen most of the credit. I took her Round Trip class and it gave me the jump start that I needed.

Professionally, I have still been doing some graphics work while working even harder to develop the photography end of my business. This includes all the work in putting together marketing materials, a website, pricelists and much more, all while continuing to educate myself to become an even better photographer. I am finding a great creative thrill and challenge getting to combine my artistic side with the world of photography. And on the design end, I am creating my own advertising and plenty of photography custom templates for mini albums, cards and more which I hope to start selling soon.

Wanna check out my photography website? Click here, then explore! Be sure to sign my guestbook while you are there. And if you live in the local area, call me if you would like to do a photo shoot. It is never to early to get started on those family Christmas cards!!! Or call my studio at 321.243.3051.

It is good to be returning to a familiar place where I can