Jennifer Hartman Photography: Blog en-us (C) Jennifer Hartman Photography (Jennifer Hartman Photography) Mon, 03 Jan 2022 18:38:00 GMT Mon, 03 Jan 2022 18:38:00 GMT Jennifer Hartman Photography: Blog 120 88 Rose Edit This sweet girl came into the studio for her sister's newborn session. I decided that she needed a little something special for her as well. As I always do, I asked her what she loved, to which she replied flowers. Specifically roses. She chose the color red and we went into the studio closet to find the perfect dress. There was no concrete idea so I shot her at multiple angles in various poses on green screen knowing that I had plenty of content to work with. 

She was curious as to how I would make it happen and I promised to record the process for her. So here is 2 hours of editing in 1 minute.

(Jennifer Hartman Photography) Mon, 03 Jan 2022 18:37:54 GMT
Fine Art Children's Portraits I'm so excited to be offering Fine Art Children's Portraits! I've been doing these for years with my little ones and they truly are my most favorite thing to do. I'll be offering various ones throughout the year. I'll post about these on my FaceBook page as they come up and if you would like to be in the know on when these are taking place then please send an email to [email protected] to sign up for the newsletter! Spots for these will be limited. A phone consultation will come before each session to insure that we are not only following my vision but taking into account your child's vision as well. We'll discuss wardrobe, location, and vision.

It's the most amazing thing to see a child get so excited about not only having their picture taken but to see that the sky is the limit on what we can do. Imaginations are most welcome!

(Jennifer Hartman Photography) Thu, 30 Mar 2017 21:00:06 GMT
Cinderella Cinderella has always been my favorite Disney princess since I was a little girl. I've been so excited to add her to our Princess Project. I actually sewed the dress from the original movie two years ago but then my daughter and I saw the newest live action movie last year and I knew that we had to do this photo with the newest dress.

I read up on everything that I could about how the dress was made for the movie. Layers of varying shades of purple and aqua that shimmered under the blue. The dress from the movie had thousands of crystals sewn on it and it was made up of many layers of air light fabric. I stayed true to multiple layers with varying shades. I went with a glittered fabric over top a pearlescent fabric and then placed that on top of about 10-15 layers of tulle. I'm so in love with this dress, it has to be my most favorite thing that I've ever sewn.

I have to say a big thank you to my amazing Mom for helping me figure out how to tweak multiple patterns and combine them into one perfect Cinderella dress!

The dress has been done for months but I've been waiting & piecing everything together in my head.

I found the perfect golden carriage this past Fall and have held onto it, just waiting for some green to pop back into the landscape around here. Once the dogwoods started blooming I knew that I could start piecing together a location for Cinderella to be in.

Now I can't wait for Beauty & the Beast to come out next year, because I just know that I'll want to recreate that dress too!


Below are the steps to how Cinderella came to be...

Fabric selection Fabric selection Fabric selection Fabric selection

(Jennifer Hartman Photography) Thu, 26 May 2016 18:41:23 GMT
Iron Man

I love super heroes! I have since I was little. I remember going through my brother's bottom dresser drawer and reading X-Men comic books. I'm such a nerd when it comes to watching The Flash & Arrow and my husband sadly shakes his head at me when I bump him off of the TV.

I'm always spouting off about the latest DC or Marvel movie or critiquing the casting choices (I'm looking at you Ben Affleck..the new Batman just makes me sad) My husband has been pushing Star Wars on my son since birth and it just never took hold. It was trains and then onto dinos with not even a flicker of interest in Jedis or the Dark Side, but to my utter delight he has really taken to super-heroes.

Don't get me wrong, he still LOVES his dinos but now he'll run around the house being Iron Man or Spiderman and it's quite common for those superheroes to encounter dinosaurs. Our newest photo project kind of happened by accident. I got stranded at Wal-Mart in early November with a nail in my tire and had to amuse myself for almost 3 hours while they replaced two tires. I think it was about 2 hours into my forced Wal-Mart stay and I had finally exhausted my perusal of the toy and craft aisles and I found myself in the Halloween Clearance.

I saw a Spiderman costume and a light bulb went off. These would make the best dress up clothes for my little guy to play with and at 75% off I got every single one in his size that I could find. He was ecstatic and ran around as Iron Man for hours.

When December came along and I was out Christmas shopping I found myself in the toy aisle of Target with the coolest Iron Man gloves. They lit up and made some pretty awesome noises. I like to think that I got them for the 5 year old but....

I never knew that the Super hero aisle even existed. I've always been in the dino or train aisle. ALWAYS. There were Captain America shields, Thor hammers, and Hulk fists.  It. Was. Amazing. At that moment I decided that some of these should be under the tree and just maybe we could use these awesome toys in some pics later on.

I was ecstatic last week when he came up to me and asked to put on the costume and take a picture. I put up a dark backdrop because I figured that this was going to be a pretty moody looking picture and then we googled Iron Man and looked through images, because I'll be honest, my superhero poses are a little rusty. His eyes lit up when he saw one with Iron Man breaking asphalt with his fist. We shot a pose similar to that and then a few more.

When I pulled the images up on my computer that was the one that screamed at me for editing. He came up behind me and started instructing me on what needed to happen.

"You're going to make a crack right? I'm breaking the cement Mom."

Then he would scrunch up that adorable face in concentration and say.

"I need light beams coming out of my hand."

And off he went leaving me to make his vision come alive. And let me tell you, it's a pretty awesome feeling to be able to do that!

This edit was a couple hours with a quick run around town in freezing temps to locate that nice splintering crack. I'll give our city some credit because I had to find that at an abandoned gas station because our roads are well taken care of.

I was super sad to cover up his beautiful blue eyes but I knew he wasn't going to let it go if his eyes weren't lit up.

On the plus side we also shot two other super-heroes that day and his eyes get to show in both of those!

Below I've attached Before (straight out of camera) and the After. Just look at that blonde hair peeking out, love it!




(Jennifer Hartman Photography) Sun, 24 Jan 2016 21:52:45 GMT
2015 It's always fun to go back and look at the year. 2015 was such a blast. Along with seeing my regular clients I got to meet so many new ones and their newest additions to the family! It was definitely a year full of precious newborns!

I was also able to really do some creative work which is such a passion for me and I hope to continue that into 2016. It was so great to see so many familiar AND new faces at Spring and Christmas sessions this year!

Thank you to everyone who came to see me, waded in creeks with me, sweated through 100 plus degree temps and froze their butts off with me. I love each and every adventure that we went through and I can't wait to do it all over again!

I'm so looking forward to 2016!



(Jennifer Hartman Photography) Thu, 31 Dec 2015 21:05:41 GMT
Jurassic World A lot of people know me by my son's dinosaur pictures. They're a lot of fun to make and he just LOVES seeing them all finished. He is such a ball of energy and it's fun to watch him focus and tell me what he would like to happen in each one. When people see these pics, they immediately ask me how it was done. Well, I'm an open book and I love to talk about photography and compositing so in this post I'm going to walk you through the thought process and how I make them happen. I always tell people that it's a big puzzle and you just have to make the pieces fit. This isn't a tutorial on compositing (give me a yell and I'd be happy to tell you about it), this is about how this image came to be.

So here we go.....

This Summer my children and I are walking around in the toy aisle of Target. My son is going through the dinosaur toys like always and telling me what he wants for his bday that's not until Nov. I'm snapping pics with my phone because there will be consequences if I can't pull these up on demand.  We see this awesome Jurassic World gate and I think, that would be a cool thing to use in a picture.

Fast forward a few months and he has decided that he wants a Jurassic World birthday party for November. My first thought is to do something with that gate. Every time that I picture his birthday invitation I want him walking up to those gates. But composites take time, like a lot of it and I'm going into my busy season with a full editing board. So I pull out my lights and do a couple pics of him thinking that I'd throw a dino shadow behind him on the backdrop. I'm thinking of dark and moody and let's face it, pretty simple. He's throwing out all of these dino hunter ideas and is so excited. That dang gate keeps coming to mind and I finally just give in. I know that if I have a vision then I need to just do it. It's stuck in my head for a reason. So I pull up my the image from Target on my phone and I'm looking at this.

I decide that I'm going to do it. I go out that day and buy the gate. He's super excited for a new toy and thinks that it's the most amazing thing. I'm looking at it and thinking "Those plastic flames are gonna have to go".

Once I have an image in my head, I'm constantly looking for other aspects of the image that I can photograph. So a day after I buy the gate I'm coming home from a session and I see a half paved side road. So half of the road is perfect black asphalt and the other is rock. I need that black half. I know that I want a road way going into the gate. I also know that if I photograph an entire road then I'm going to have to shrink it and I'm going to be messing with my pixels WAY too much and losing resolution. That one perfect half is what I need. So I cross my fingers that no one will be screaming down the road in their vehicle.

One HUGE thing in compositing is angle and by huge I mean if you mess this up then you're pretty much out of luck. I click back to that image in my head and I see that I'm looking up at the gate. I need an incline and this road has a nice hill to it. If I shoot from my height then I just messed with that image in my head. I need to shoot from the road. So I'm on some side road with my camera almost on the asphalt and finding the focal point that my son will be standing. This is another huge thing, I can't stick an in focus child on an out of focus road. The puzzle piece just doesn't fit. I head home with the first puzzle piece shot and now it's time to shoot the rest of them.

So I plan a day to take pics and then wait for the sun to go down some more. I'm shooting this with natural light because this gate is shiny plastic and studio lights would bounce off of it and mess the whole thing up. I grab the gate, my dino loving boy and a dinosaur because he insists that there needs to be one in the opening. Here comes that angle thing again. I need to shoot from a lower angle just like I did with the road. This isn't a hard thing to do with a toy. I can stick it on any flat surface and raise it up. My son, not so much. So I notice that my driveway has a nice little height on it. If I get in the street then I can nail that angle. AND since my son will be standing on cement, it will make it lots easier to blend him in with that asphalt that I already shot. I enlist the help of my husband to make sure no one runs me over and then I get down in the street and shoot the gates. They have to be shot at a lower angle than my son because they need to be huge. So belly on the ground I throw that dinosaur in there because why make my life harder by trying to add him later. Small shortcuts can save lots of time. Next it's time to shoot my son. I don't have to lay down to get the correct angle on this one, I just need to be somewhat lower. I now have two more puzzle pieces, but I need a background.


Since I still have pretty much the same evening light I take a drive. I'm looking for trees that frame an opening. I need to be able to throw a gate between them and have a pathway for my road. When I find it, I get out and crouch down low and shoot it. I just got another puzzle piece. I just have one more thing. Those darn plastic flames HAVE got to go. I didn't go through all of this to have plastic flames in the pic. So I grab some lighter fluid, fire starters and head out to my fire pit in the back yard. Sitting on the ground I'm shooting flames from a low angle and making sure to underexpose the image since I know I'm going to have a darker background and this will make cutting those flames out a whole lot easier.

Now I finally get to pull all of my images up on my computer and get to work. I have all of my puzzle pieces and now I just need to make them fit. I mentioned earlier that these things take time. I'll admit that those fences about did me in. With a layer mask I had to erase between all of those slats zoomed into 200%. Four hours....those fences took 4 hours to clean up. I was so over those fences by the time that I was done. I threw some texture on my gate to make it look more realistic. I gave my son a shadow since he's facing an open gate with a lit sky behind it. Added grass up over the fence since it wouldn't make sense for there not to be any. Brought in some fog to add a little moodiness and then got to work shaping flames and adding illumination around them. My son woke up from nap right after I added the flames and he was just in awe that there was real fire there. Those big eyes full of wonder, now that's why I absolutely LOVE doing these.

After I worked a few more hours blending, I shot it out to my Mom, my sis-in-law, and a great friend of mine. They're totally used to this and their job is to pick apart anything that doesn't make sense or looks wonky. After working on an image for so many hours, fresh eyes are needed. They rock and help me to make sure that it has believability to it. With any composite you HAVE to have that believability because someone might not be a compositer or a photographer but we all know when something just doesn't sit right with us. We're not drawn to an image when something is off. Even if we can't put our finger on it, something just doesn't jive and we reject it as believable.

Then the image gets a final look over by the birthday boy and he gives his approval! We now have our final image.







(Jennifer Hartman Photography) Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:13:57 GMT
Sleeping Beauty Sleeping beauty has to be one of my all time favorite projects so far. Since this one is so special to me, I wanted to share a little bit into the making of it.

Last Summer my daughter and I started our Princess Photo Project. This is actually the third dress that we made. I had a pattern and I knew it would be made out of satin and organza. There were so many shades of pink to consider and after perusing the internet and my daughter's bookshelf I had some in mind. I remember my Mother texting me to let me know that it was definitely light and dark pink. Then came choosing buttons and trim. I spent quite a bit of time going back and forth between sequins and the trim that we went with.

After it was all done I just sat back and waited to figure out what to do with it.

I had originally thought of using my daughter's Great Grandmother's spinning wheel but it was so very old, fragile, and we had to wait until we traveled back to her house to shoot it. Months later I decided on doing a levitation picture which my daughter was super excited about. That way we had our own spin on it.  So now we have the dress and a plan, but no castle. 

Then, I decided that I'd just make one up....

This is me on a cold December day shooting those awesome stone walls you see on the right. Castle wall-CHECK! up was making her levitate which worked out pretty well.

Her picture was a composite of 3 images of her. Sleeping Emma, skirt floating Emma, and then after I had it in PhotoShop I realize that I REALLY needed to see those gold shoes. About 2 weeks after we shot her pic I had to recreate the scene with her shoes peeking out. So we did a foot re-shoot. castle floor was a bit dull so I thought 'We need roses'. I looked at bouquets of real ones and settled on some waxy fake ones. I debated on pinks for a while and then went with some that matched her dress.

BUT...I needed petals. So I tore these guys to pieces and threw them all over the floor. THEN I shot them individually because I want them to float. At this point I'm all pumped about this photo until I pulled them up into Photoshop and realized that these guys were going to take hours. Each petal had to be cut out and then shadows added individually in Photoshop. Then it was about arranging them and turning them to where I felt they should fall.

Then it was all about the editing. I decided that her hair needed to float so I cut and moved hair around (She LOVED seeing this happen). I gave it all that dark castle look and BOOM we have one of my favorite images to date. Yes, these pieces take hours & hours to make. Sleeping Beauty was months in the making, but so worth it.

(Jennifer Hartman Photography) Sat, 28 Feb 2015 18:56:36 GMT
Let it go! My daughter LOVES Frozen. LOVES it. Surprisingly we don't have to watch it every day but you can bet we pretend play Elsa and Anna at least once a day. I'm always's just not fair...that's a lie, sometimes I'm Olaf. I sing 'Let it go' in my sleep now and can probably write down the script word for word if pressed. 

So Miss Priss decided that she would have a Frozen birthday party somewhere oh..around November last year. Her birthday is late July so that gives us lots of time to prepare for it. She is a party planning extraordinaire to be 5. She has the theme, the games lined out and a guest list all ready for Me. Luckily we hit the after Christmas sales and bought up every snowflake, blue ornament, and bag of fake snow we could get our hands on and then I just crossed my fingers that she wouldn't change her mind. I guess she still can since we're a couple months out but it might just kill me. 

I've discovered that Frozen has become this crazy thing. Party stores are sold out with product backordered for months and the elusive Elsa dress was certainly a challenge to get my hands on. I happened onto her party supplies online at midnight one night and I stalked a Disney store to get a hold of the dress when their shipment arrived, all over the phone since we don't have a store here. Instead of the news I check every morning looking for the figures for her cake.  What I thought was crazy early planning has actually turned into scrambling to get a hold of things before they sell out within minutes of being put online.

Anyway so that brings me to Miss Priss's pictures. Frozen is visually stunning and I love to watch it because it's downright beautiful. My daughter came home about a week ago with a loose front tooth and that kick started me into taking her invitation pictures. She will be the most beautiful gap toothed girl but we decided to go ahead and get her pics done ASAP. We'll get those gap tooth shots a little later.

This was the first time that she has been THIS excited about pictures. When I pulled out the camera, she had her poses all ready for me. Once I added some magic snowflakes to her pictures she exclaimed "Oh My Good Night!" and jumped up and down. It was priceless.

My three year old son came in the room, studied her pics and said "How you did that Sissy?" My husband critiqued the placement of snowflakes comparing them to Elsa pictures that he pulled up on his phone. It was a complete family affair. 

On the way to school this morning my daughter was giving me more ideas for some other pictures for her. MY daughter suggesting pictures?! I'm not quite sure what this world is coming to. But I like it and I hope she has the most fantastic Frozen birthday ever!

(Jennifer Hartman Photography) Thu, 15 May 2014 00:06:42 GMT
Birthday Princess Every year my daughter gets more and more excited about her birthday. I mean every kid does, but she really gets into the details just like her Mom. When she was younger I would draw out pictures of different themes and she would pick her favorites and that's how the parties were made. Now though she is very into picking the theme and helping me figure out just what we want it to be like. Of course she also changes her mind about little things, like Oh, I don't know...THE ENTIRE COLOR SCHEME! So when we picked up a princess dress and matching accessories on our vaca in Florida, we had a very Rapunzel theme going with purple and golds. She wanted princess for sure, but Rapunzel was the fan favorite in the house. Well, after invitation pictures and the invites were sent out, she decided that the dress got too much glitter everywhere (as if that is a bad thing?!).  Well, it's her party and so I went with it. Went through her closet, picked out a cute pink outfit and took it from there. Luckily the crowns my amazing Mother found for all of the little girls went with everything. Emma had picked out pink heart straws at the birthday expo earlier in the year (maybe she knew all along....). And they looked pretty great with the new color scheme.  

I had planned on making a purple fondant cake with pearls and a gold gumpaste crown and then my daughter decided on a purple rosette cake (super easy, I did a happy dance) and THEN she changed her mind. (She's really good at that). So I ended up spending 10 plus hours on an 18 inch tall castle cake. And it was all worth it just to see her face when it was all done.  She told me after her party that it was the best day of her life. Words to make my heart melt!

So here are some of our Rapunzel-esque photos we did when we were shooting invitation pics and down at the bottom is a little pink from her actual party.


(Jennifer Hartman Photography) Tue, 27 Aug 2013 19:08:39 GMT