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How to Display Your Photos

This is a quick, easy and CHEAP guide to displaying your photos. It’s long over due that I talk about how to display your photos. I talk about how to get the most out of your time in front of the lens – but I never seem to discuss what happens after the session is over and you get your photos, which is easily the most important part of the whole process. First and foremost it is totally and completely imperative that you PRINT OUT YOUR PHOTOS. It is so heartbreaking to hear the stories from people about how they lost their beloved memories to a hard drive crash or a malfunctioning disc or USB drive. This happens all the time to people! I know because I hear about it. Do yourself a favor and make a hard copy of all those photos that are important to you – don’t trust Facebook or instagram to keep them for you, because you never know. Not to mention there is something so much more touching about having a tangible photograph then just looking at a screen. I could not imagine going to my grandmothers and flipping through a Facebook photo album to see old photos of my family growing up and making memories. It just would not be as real.

 

1. Invest in simple frames WITH white matte and skip the canvas prints! 

My first tip for how to display your photos is to invest in a set of nice matching frames with white matte board framing the image. A white matte on a photo turns it from a snap shot into a piece of art.  It’s a totally classic way to frame a photo – meaning it’s never going to go out of style. I personally really hate the look of photos printed onto canvas. I know, I know, this is like everyone’s favorite thing for the past few years – but to me it’s just a fad that is going to look very dated in the future. Although canvas prints are a big money maker in my industry, I always try to talk clients out of buying them. I make less money off selling prints over canvas, but I honestly believe a print is just a better investment in your imagery. Your money would be better spent on a beautiful frame and nice matte that will never go out of style. Additionally, the print in a frame can be replaced while a canvas print is something you cannot ever change.

The other reason I love the look of a white matte on a photo in a frame is because it maximizes the size of the image. You can easily turn a 5 x 7 print into an 8 x 10 by adding a white matte – meaning it takes up more space on your wall, making it look that much more important. And again, it’s just a big money saver. The bigger the print, the more it’s going to cost, so if you spend less money on a smaller print, you can put more into the frame or buy more prints.

Below is my favorite photo I’ve ever taken. It was in Tel Aviv on the Port of Jaffa in Israel early in the morning. I walked up as the sun was rising to see an old man fishing off the port and a small cat curled up waiting for a snack. Putting this photo into a frame like this makes it feel more important and causes people to stop and really look at it. I have 9 frames just like this one, which I bought from Target for a very reasonable price. I have them hanging in a 3 x 3 square on the wall and they are from my travels all over the world.

Frame available at Target here.

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2. Magnets on the Fridge

This tradition came from two different experiences: growing up my Mom collected magnets from where ever we traveled, so naturally I continued the tradition. Anytime I go anywhere, I buy a kitschy little souvenir magnet and proudly stick it on my fridge. The second reason I started putting my photos on my fridge was because one time I was at a friend’s house and she was telling me all these stories about people I had never met and didn’t know. She would just point to the person in the photos that were covering her refrigerator. It was like a little reference book of her friends – and I just fell in love with the idea. I constantly take polaroids of my friends (as you can see in the photo below) and they make the perfect little images to display on my fridge!

As a photographer, I take it as the ultimate compliment when someone sticks a photo I took on their fridge. I think it’s because I know that they’re going to look at that image every single day. It will be a reference for stories they tell family and friends. To me, it totally fills me with joy to see not only my travels proudly displayed with my magnet collection, but also the faces and memories that I will forever cherish. It makes me grateful every time I open my fridge.

Photos taken with I-type Film on a Polaroid One-Step 2 

 

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3. A Simple Store-Bought Photo Album you Love

I have been taking photos for as long as I can remember – and I didn’t start with a big fancy camera. I started with box cameras when I was in middle and elementary school! Being the nostalgia addict that I am I kept every. single. photo. I think the best way to display these kind of silly photos is with a big photo album where you can just slide the photos into the pages. Find one you think is cute that matches your decor and buy it! They are not very expensive, and if you keep it out on a coffee table or on a book shelf, you’ll be surprised how many of your guests pick it up to look through it — and don’t leave out the embarrassing photos!! It’s like watching someone’s “Behind the Music.” We want to see it all, even the weird phases. It’s all part of your story and memories and we all had those awkward years (See images below for a glimpse at mine!) Not only will a photo album like this one help you to display your old photos from way-back-when, it will also serve as a way to protect the photos. If you leave them out and exposed to light, they begin to fade. So images that came from a box camera 10 years ago are totally irreplaceable (unless you are some sort of super human that also kept the negatives) it’s a good idea to keep them behind plastic and in the dark.

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4. Professionally Designed Photo Album

While I’m a big fan of the easy and cheap ways to display photos, there is a time and place to spend some money – and that is on professional photo albums for big moments! These serve the same purpose as the album above – they invite people to look at them and keep photos safe – but they also are professionally curated to tell your specific story to future generations of your family. Most photographers are photographing your event with a story and layout in mind. We want to tell your unique story from the perspective of a fly on the wall – and we aren’t doing it so that the photos will live in a Facebook Album forever! We are designing your album as we are taking the photos. Good times to invest in a professional photo album are your wedding day, like the one below or a child’s first year (from birth photos to first birthday) a family vacation, or a “Day in the Life” session makes a great photo album because as your kids grow they’ll be able to look back and see what a day in their life was like at that age. Professional photo albums are designed to tell a story, and the quality is far beyond anything you can order yourself. NO, SHUTTERFLY BOOKS AREN’T LIKE THE ONES WE MAKE FOR YOU. The pages are big and thick, and the album as weight to it. Essentially it says to future generations : this was important. It’s not the cheapest thing in the world, but it’s an investment that will tell your story long after you cannot. Plus, they’re really beautiful!

Album designed by Kate McLean

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5. Black and White Prints

There is this magical thing that happens when you make an image black and white. It’s suddenly old. It’s suddenly a very specific moment in time. It’s suddenly very cinematic in nature. This is probably the easiest way to take photos you have of your family and display them. Not sure what photo to hang on what wall because you don’t know if the colors go or if it’ll look ok? Turn it black and white. Now, that photo goes with any room decor. Again, this is a totally classic way to display images. I promise you that black and white photos, especially in a nice frame with a white matte, will look stunning in any room or on a wall or on a side table. I think the most compliments I get are on the black and white photos I have around of my family like the one below. It’s just a regular snapshot of my brother and mom laughing on a couch. But it’s black and white and in a white matte, which makes people take a second to look at it. They linger on the facial expressions a little longer because it’s black and white. They appreciate the image on a different level. It brings a whole new perspective to a rather simple photo. When in doubt, go black and white!

 

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I hope this spelled out some of the ways you can display your favorite images and inspired you to print out some memories. I honestly believe surrounding yourself with happy memories from your life can make you a better person. It can lift your spirits on a rainy day to look up and see a happy moment from years before. So don’t be afraid to hang up all those photos! Also, If you have a special way you like to display your images – let me know! I am always looking for inspiration and I love to hear everyone’s take on this kind of thing.

Xo,
Kate

 

To book your session go here.

ALL Sessions come with a free consult about prints and how to display them after we are done! If you want advice on what to do with your images, all you have to do is ask or email me at Kate@KateMcLeanPhotography.com

 

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Florida Summer Photoshoot Tips

Summer in Orlando, Florida is high season for family vacations – which translates to lots of families from all over the country coming together. This creates the perfect situation for getting some fun family photos done – because everyone knows the hardest part of family photography is getting everyone in the same place at the same time! With that being said, Florida’s summers can be absolutely brutal when it comes to the weather. As a life-long Florida native, the summer weather is just a part of life and business for me and I have learned a few tips I thought I should share with anyone looking to do a Summer Photoshoot in Florida.

 

 

Schedule Your Shoot Early in the Day

If you’re not from Florida, you might not realize what our summer weather schedule is like. Being that the sunshine state is a tropical climate, we get rained on. Everyday. Every. single. day. Luckily, it’s a pretty safe bet that the rains don’t show up until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon – and they usually only last maybe an hour. Sometimes, it’s raining across the street and the sun is literally shining on your side of the road. But after the rain lets up, the sun comes back out and now the humidity feels like your wrapped in a wet hot blanket. My go-to joke is that Summertime in Florida feels like you’re walking into someone’s mouth. Hands-down the best time for a photoshoot in the summer months is at sunrise. The light is beautiful, the heat has not caught up yet and the rains are hours away. Plus sometimes our sunrises are stunningly beautiful. Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer to wake up at the crack of dawn – we might not like it when the alarm goes off, but as soon as we see that morning light it’s totally worth it!

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Photo taken at Sunrise at Cocoa Beach Pier 

 

 

Have a Rain Plan

Rain in Florida Summers is inevitable. Every summer, since I was a little kid, I have seen the “wall of rain” phenomenon. It’s just what you think it is – a huge, unrelenting wall of rain. It’s not a cute light mist or sprinkle, it’s what Forrest Gump would call “Big ol’ Fat Rain.” And you will get soaked. That means when you’re planning a photoshoot – if you can’t convince your family to get up early and you’re forced to schedule your shoot later in the day, pick a location that has indoor and outdoor options for photoshoots. These types of locations are hotels with large windows, or a readily available covered porch. I recently did a photoshoot in the rain at Leu Gardens, and their huge covered porch proved to be a stunning backdrop for the large family.

 

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Photo taken at Leu Gardens in Downtown, Orlando

 

Dress Comfortably

As much as I love it when families dress up for family photos, summer is not the season for your best ballgown or a tuxedo. The best way to beat the heat is to be comfortable and stick to the Florida way of dressing! There is a reason why every native is wearing a Columbia shirt and boat shoes, it’s comfortable and practical. Girls – stick to skirts or dresses. They’re comfortable, stylish and look great if you twirl! Guys – colorful shorts and a nice loose fitting linen shirt looks great and will keep you cool. This time of year it’s a great idea to do bright and playful colors. Also, make your shoe choices based on your location choice. Don’t wear sneakers and heels on the beach, or flip flops at a fancy hotel. Stay practical in your choices. It’s ok to look like you’re dressed for summer in Florida – because you’re making memories at summertime in Florida!

 

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Photo taken at Omni Resort at Championsgate in Orlando, Florida 

 

Invest in matching umbrellas

If you’re totally freaked out by the whole possibility of rain or just the weather in Florida – invest in cute umbrellas for your family! I love clear umbrellas because they don’t create crazy lighting colors on people’s faces and they look classic. Umbrellas are even a great idea if there is no rain in the forecast – as photographers in Florida we are always looking to create some nice even shade on people’s faces and an umbrella is a super classic and cute way to do that! They’re a great and practical prop to bring with you on your shoot, so go ahead a shop around till you find something extra cute to bring to your shoot with you.

 

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Photo taken at Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida. 

 

Be in touch with your Photographer

This one is important! When you’re booking a photographer for a summer shoot in Florida, make sure you clearly understand how the rain plan will go. Ask questions. I personally love to be available for my clients via text so that they can ask me any question that pops into their head the day of the shoot. Florida’s weather is extremely hard to predict – so sometimes you cannot call a rain plan into effect until an hour or so before the actual shoot. So being on the same page and communicating quickly with your photographer is a must. Let them know your concerns, and remember they are a professional! They know how to deal with this kind of thing so if you’re unsure about something, defer to them.

 

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Photo taken at Disney Springs in Orlando Florida 

 

Plan your shoot around a water-based activity

I love this one! Firstly, consult your photographer before you do this so they are properly prepared, but the kids LOVE being in the pool in the Florida heat – so why not make some memories while they’re swimming around. I have done shoots in backyard pools, at water parks and at the beach. The only real way to completely beat the heat is to have water around, so embrace that! Even a slip and slide can be a great place to get photos of the kids having a great time. It’s real-life photos and memories that the kids are no doubt going to remember the rest of their lives.

 

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Photo from a Family Photojournalism Session at Champion’s Gate in Orlando Florida.

Waterproof makeup is worth the investment

It took me years to learn this one. I love doing my makeup, but I never understood why people would buy foundation for 4x the price of the one I bought. Well, it’s for that waterproof magic! If your shoot is outside at all, you’re going to sweat. And when you sweat, your makeup becomes a Jackson Pollack painting – only not a masterpiece. I finally got on board with the waterproof makeup last summer and it is a huge game-changer. Obviously no one wants to look terrible in their photos and every little bit helps, so invest the extra money in good makeup. You’ll be surprised at the difference.

 

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Shoot Location: Disney’s Four Season’s Resort Orlando, Florida 

 

Keep the theme of “Summer” in mind

If you love the look of boots and dark hair and leaves on the ground, wait until fall to schedule your shoot. You will be miserable and sweaty and it will show in your photos. If you really just want to make family memories that look great – lean into the fact that it’s summer! Bring your sunglasses, a beach ball and all things summer. Don’t shy away from the season just because it’s hot. Personally, I want my photos to reflect real life memories which means they need to make sense! So if the only time your family is all together is during a hot Florida summer that doesn’t mean you can’t make great long-lasting memories. Just embrace the summer idea and run with it.

 

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Photo from Calendar Photoshoot for Family First Firm in Orlando, Florida

 

 

If you’re interested in booking a summer photoshoot with us, you can do so by emailing Kate@KateMcLeanPhotography.com or Book Online Now! 

Check out our Family Photography Portfolio.

 

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Orlando Family Vacation Photography Omni Resort ChampionsGate

 

There is nothing better then playing ambassador to out-of-towners during their Orlando Family Vacation Photography Omni Resort ChampionsGate.  Leanne emailed me a few months ago excited to share their story and book a family photography session on their Orlando Family Vacation. When she inquired about my services, and included the story of her and her husband’s wedding which took place at Orlando’s Omni Resort at Championsgate. Their wedding was a destination wedding, as they hail from the United Kingdom and chose our beautiful sunshine state to tie the knot. She was excited to share the location with her two kids and capture their trip down memory lane together.

Needless to say, the chance to capture such a memorable moment in a beautiful resort like Omni had me totally thrilled – a feeling which only doubled upon seeing their absolutely lovely family walk up to the rendezvous spot. The ladies in their perfectly pink skirts and the gentlemen donning a totally Florida-appropriate look made for a perfectly styled look while allowing everyone to remain comfortable in the setting.

When we started, the little miss was having none of it – but after her older brother, and real star of the show, started to get hugs and tickled by his parents she could hardly wait to join in. I quickly learned she loved to run and move which is one of my favorite challenges in child photography and as per usual, yielded the best photos. Ever the antagonist of the family, she had me laughing and could not have been cuter as we strolled down memory lane through the Omni Resort.

We wandered through the beautifully manicured grounds of Championsgate’s Omni Resort ending up at the very gazebo under which Mom and Dad were wed. It’s times like these my heart grows three sizes and my camera shutter is all a flutter. The kids were more then happy to follow my instructions to run in circles until they were tired while we had a nice moment with Mom and Dad under the gazebo where they said their I dos and started their family.

All – in – all it was one of my favorite sessions to date. I had a wonderful time capturing these memories and meeting this lovely family.

XO,

Kate

Location: Omni Resort at Champions Gate

Book Online: Here 

Learn more about Family Session Pricing with Kate McLean Photography: Here 

Planning an Orlando, Florida Vacation? Here is a great place to start

 

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The Reasons Your Last Photoshoot Didn’t Go Well

Your last photoshoot was… less then stellar. What are the reasons Your Photoshoot didn’t go well? You decided to invest in a professional photoshoot. After combing through the internet and friend’s recommendations you finally picked out a photographer and hammered out the details with them. Then you went through getting your whole family dressed and to a certain location on time only to get your images back and not really like them. What are the reasons why your last photoshoot didn’t go well? What went wrong? Is it your fault? Is it the photographer’s fault?

Frankly, it’s probably a combination. I have been doing this now for 5 years, and let me tell you when I look back at my images from when I started it makes me cringe. At the time these images were taken, I was not charging for my services – So I don’t feel too terrible. Which leads me to my first lesson for Family Photographer consumers!

 

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Photo taken at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort 

1. You Get What You Pay For!

This lesson is  hard pill to swallow for a lot of people. It is kind of like when you ask someone how they lost all that weight and they tell you “Diet and Exercise.” It’s never a surprise, but it also is always a let down because you already know this one! I started in photography not charging people because I had a full time job that paid my bills and I knew I needed to PRACTICE. Photographers are just like musicians or athletes – practice is the only way you get better.  And in portrait photography, just knowing how a camera works isn’t enough; you also have to know how to direct people. There are hours and hours and hours of classes on all different kinds of posing. There are actual RULES on where to put people and how to make people look their best. Then, on top of that, there is each photographer’s personal style of photography. These things all take lots of time to develop. Which means if you got a great deal on that family session and you aren’t totally over the moon about your images – your photographer is probably just starting out and hasn’t figured things out yet. We all start somewhere — and it’s usually at the lower end of the price totem pole.

 

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In Home Family Session in Orlando, Florida.

2. Styling

You feel like your favorite plaid shirt makes you look like you’re 100 lbs heavier then you actually are. Your whole family looks like a cult in matching white shirts and jeans. If this is how you feel about your last photoshoot Styling is the reason your photoshoot didn’t go well. Taking time to research a little bit about what you want to wear at your session is SO IMPORTANT! There are a few standard tricks and tips to making your family look totally awesome in images while still keeping their style in mind. Although some families are just so good at looking effortlessly cool, IT ISN’T EFFORTLESS. They think about it, plan it, and know the rules. This topic is SO important that I actually wrote a blog about it already with some extra references included for what I didn’t cover (Check that out here. )

If you’re still have questions about this topic, ask your photographer! They usually have a standard “Dos and Don’ts” list of their own to help guide you down the path of style choices to the glorious land of beautiful family photos!

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Same Sex Wedding at their Home in Orlando, Florida 

3. Not Enough Communication

Although I would LOVE to be telepath and read every one of my client’s mind’s to ensure they get exactly what they are looking for – I am just plain not. Neither was your photographer (unless they are some sort of alien sent back via temporal shift in time like a Star Trek episode… in which case, give them my number) they were really just guessing at what you wanted. This is where communication is so key! The bigger the family the more communication needs to happen prior to the session. Let your photographer know EXACTLY which groupings you MUST HAVE. If there is a pose you are dying to recreate, tell them. Send them an example of what you mean – and understand that the photo you are sending them is merely an inspirational image – not something they can copy exactly. If you have a “side” or something you’d like to be keen on hiding, let them know! This is what you’re paying for – a professional who knows how to get a great image. Make use of them – and do it BEFORE they take the photos – not after they are done. Retouching in photoshop takes tons of time and can get expensive VERY quickly. Most of the retouching I get requested is something I could have fixed during our shoot if I knew the client was self conscious about.

 

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Photo taken at Horse Power Ranch in Geneva, Florida

4. Wrong Time of Day

I’d rather take photos of a poorly styled family next to a dumpster with good lighting then a perfectly styled family in a manicured park with bad lighting. Lighting makes ALL the difference in the world. You want that perfect rose gold glow from the sun? You can’t get that at noon. No matter what. When your photographer suggests a time, it is usually based on sunset. I like to start my larger family shoots an hour and thirty minutes before sunset — and if your photographer suggests a sunrise shoot — it’s because the light is SO amazing at that time, not because we want to torture you by making you wake up at the ass crack of dawn. No one looks good in direct sunlight at noon – and if they do it’s because they’re a model. You’re not a model. Your husband isn’t a model. You’re going to look like you’re hot and squinting – because YOU ARE!

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UCF Graduation Shoot taken at University of Central Florida at Sunrise.

5. Too Much Planning

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Believe it or not, your plan can be one of the Reasons Your Photoshoot didn’t go well. So I totally get that this is the opposite advice from number 3 — but there is a point where too much planning kills the moment. I think the key is to make sure you communicate everything to your photographer PRIOR to your shoot (and for the love of God, do it in an email so we can go back and read your concerns before the shoot. It’s so hard to keep everything straight if it’s not written down.) Then when you arrive at your shoot, let go. Relax. Stop yelling at the kids. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Your photographer is a control freak. We love photography because we get to control everything about the shoot. Step back and let the photographer do what you paid them to do. As long as we don’t have to read your mind before hand, we can deliver great images and a great experience if you just step back and LET us.

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Image taken at Winter Springs Town Center 

6. Location, Location, Location

Here is a little tip: Lakes look crappy in photos. Unless it’s a huge lake, surrounded by mountains or some other kind of interesting thing, they look super crappy. I am sorry. I have taken SO many images next to lakes because clients request it. I am not in the business of telling people no. But they never, EVER like the final product because Lakes make for crappy backdrops. Find things like this out from your photographer. Ask them what they think. Ask your friends what locations they used. Take my advice, and do your homework. Take your photographer’s suggestions into consideration. It can change the whole outcome!

This is so important! I wrote an entire blog about where to go in Orlando: Here 

 

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Photo taken at Leu Gardens in Downtown Orlando, Florida

 

 

Check out my Family Photography Portfolio Here.

Book Online today! Here 

 

 

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Graduation UCF Photography Session

Graduation UCF Photography Session starts with an early morning wake up call, and a jacket because it’s been so chilly out! I’ve been so busy out collecting photographs – I haven’t updated my blog in so long! The good news is, I have some stellar images to share and inspire your next shoot from this Graduation from UCF Photography session, to your next family photo shoot. I have examples out the wa-zoo!

If you’re new to the blog-o-Kate, then you might not know my adoration for early morning light. This Graduation from UCF Photography session is a perfect example of why I love it SO much — that total glow of a morning sunrise session is just hard to beat! When you pair that with a happy family celebrating Ana’s Graduation from UCF with her freaking PHD + Champagne, uh… there just isn’t a better set of photography circumstances out there folks!

This Graduation from UCF Photography Session just totally captured my heart. I mean, not only do I like waking up for sunrise sessions (Seriously, I get as excited about watching the sunrise as people get about new Star Wars movies, BECAUSE I’M A BIG OL’ NERD) — I’m straight up obsessed with Rose Gold. {cue my ever repetitive line, “Dat Rose Gold Doe”} So when I saw the Rose Gold windows on Millican Hall along with the classic brick – OH SNAP. I was not about to let that background go to waste on this cool morning.

We had a good time laughing as we shuffled through the family photos. Graduation UCF Photography Sessions usually start with a few individuals then I have everyone get their time with our star: the Grad! When the whole fam is there to watch you graduate with your HARD EARNED PHD, you take time to get a few frames of everyone together laughing and looking just right. Next up was the Champagne — because CHAMPS DRINK CHAMPS!

I laughed pretty hard at the littlest’s face and reaction the popping the champagne – he was not super excited and a little nervous of how this bottle was going to be opened. It totally cracked me up! But once the cork was popped, everyone was all smiles as they passed their celebratory bottle back and forth on the walk towards the main event: graduation!

Congrats to Ana on all her hard work in earning your PHD from UCF – and thank you for letting me capture your fun a fabulous family!

 

XOXO,
Kate

Location: UCF, Millican Hall 

Champagne: Veuve Clicquot

Book your session: Here

See my Portfolio: Here

 

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