Holiday Portrait Preparation in 3 Easy Steps

November 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Preparing for your Holiday Portrait Session


1. Arrive 5-10 minutes early... this gives you plenty of time for last minute issues that may arise. 

No need to be too early you want everyone to be fresh and ready.

Holiday 1Holiday 1Family Photo Card


2. What to Wear.....this can be really stressful for some but DON'T STRESS! When picking out outfits,

pick out the outfit for the most difficult person to dress first & then plan everyone else's outfit around theirs. 

Plan like it one person's outfit.

Too many patterns can be too busy for the eyes but still let it be an expression of YOUR FAMILY!

Check out my Color Palette guide to help you style your family. 

For extended large family sessions dress each family group in their own color or color palette. 

If you have any questions or need guidance that's what I am here for please ask!

Holiday 11Holiday 11Family Tree Farm Holiday Session


3. Don't stress...

laughing+ loving+ calm = BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS!

Not every beautiful photo is cheesy smiles...

in fact the ones that are often the most touching are those natural looks. 

So don't point at the camera to get your little one looking then all we have are fingers pointing!

I may have a little pocket of treats to hand out to age appropriate children

but if you prefer me not to, just let me know. 

Remember if you are not in the picture and are helping to make the children smile or a pet look make sure to  stand nice and close to the camera .... right behind me is the best!

And don't leave the pets at home! If you want to include your pets, dogs or cats let's talk we can capture your family including the furry ones!

Holiday 13Holiday 13Pitbull with floral crown Holiday Photo


After your session your gallery will be available for gallery purchases 2-3 weeks from your session. If you are interested in a RUSH please reach out to have a RUSH payment added.


And don’t forget to order you holiday cards…. Check out our custom card creations or choose option thru your gallery shop.



~Denise, When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise


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for upcoming events and specials!



The Value of Generational Photography Sessions

September 10, 2021  •  2 Comments

DSC_0207Family Family where life begins and love never ends.

We all know the more people involved in anything the more stressful the planning can be! As a KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) kind of girl, I am the first to shy away from the big plan of getting the entire family, the his… the hers…the theirs….the thems…the everybody…. all together for that BIG production of an event with one exception…….. a portrait! The generational portrait is one big production that the benefit and value outweigh the stress and complication. And what if the stress and complication vanished and all that remained was this big 16X20 Canvas of the entire family … laughing … all together … and having fun? Sound impossible? Well, it’s not and the value is immeasurable. 

So, what’s stopping you?

The where? 

The when? 

The what? 

The who? 

The how to? 

Enter …. ME!

Let me guide your family thru the process. From the color scheme to the laughs, let me take you to the immeasurable portrait in every family members’ home. This treasure isn’t just for the family of today either it’s a legacy for generations to come.  


As a memory maker, I value photos of the past possibly more than the ones in the moment. A photos power stops time. It allows for the viewer to go to that moment to react and take in the details of that second in time. Who hasn’t looked at a family photo and said oh my goodness look what dad was wearing or can you believe how small I was now I’m 6’ 7”…. all my clients just chuckled as they envisioned me on my stool all 5 feet three quarters of an inch of me! A generational photo allows future generations to take in the culture, the fashion, and trends of the time as well as see their family.  I know you all love that feeling you get when you see that Facebook memory or TimeHop reminder come up from 5 years or 10 years ago. Sometimes just looking thru a photo album … (hopefully you still put your photos in albums) can remind you of Grandma’s perfume or Grandpa’s cologne. It’s amazing how the brain works! A photograph can literally trigger the 5 senses of a memory. 

DSC_0780-18Grandparents are a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories, and love.


Now I’ve convinced you …. What next? 

Step 1 Let’s chat

Step 2 Contact the family! Put that Family Group Messenger in action. AND don't forget the PETS! Schedule the date. 

PRO TIP… if little ones are involved consider nap times, if pets are involved take them for a walk before to get their energy out. 

Step 3 Check out the color palette guide. The last thing you want is everyone wearing clashing clothing! 🤣 Consider having each smaller family group wearing their own color. Of course you can go with neutrals tans, white,  grey & black to show cohesiveness. But don’t be afraid of adding color and complimenting colors to show the personality in your family dynamic. You can even have family shirts made. Whatever choice you make I am here for guidance along the way so the end result is valued by all. 

Step 4 HAVE FUN! I know I know we all want that perfection but remember some of the most perfect photos are the authentic in the moment ones where you aren’t trying so hard.

So RELAX … laugh a little and have fun! 

DSC_6748Pets are Family tooTime Spent Together Creates Memories


As always YOU make me Happy when YOU choose When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise 

Tips & Tricks for Capturing that First Day of School

August 17, 2021  •  1 Comment

Calling all MOM-arazzi's & DAD-arazzi's!!!

They are already starting whether it's the College Students heading into their dorms or Pre-K thru Seniors our social media feeds are filling with those soooo important 1st Day of School Pictures!  We all know how much we treasure looking back on those first day of school pictures but we really realize how much we love them when we don’t get to take them anymore. 

So here’s a few tips and tricks to capture those moments and make the memories of your child’s school career! Because before you know it those 12+ years will be gone. 

  1.  For little ones maybe have them sit on a step or lean against a wall. This helps the antsy moves and any first day nerves. BONUS… stairs   are a great place to pop a sign up with all their first day stats! Looking for a sign, check out this  Chalkboard Back to School StatsDon’t fear the close up! Have them sit down and prop their hands under their chin and look up at you! First Day of SchoolFirst Day of SchoolFirst Day of School Photo
  2. Now you don't just have to focus on that crazy hectic morning. Make it a full day theme and snap candid pictures from the clothes laid out to the goodnight kiss! Sometimes the best moments you capture are the candid ones where you aren’t saying say Cheese….PRO TIP…. stop saying cheese! 😆 it actually makes the face unflattering in lots of cases. 
  3. Don’t think the front door is the only place … Use a tree, garden  or florals to spruce up the scene. Make sure to put the sun behind your child if you don’t have a shaded spot. No one wants squinty eyes or worse yet a child yelling the sun is in my eyes. 
  4. If taking inside shots try to position by a window or with a doorway. This allows for natural light.
  5. Get some Props! Get a Custom Sign or try a little nostalgia and each year have your child hold their first first day picture and watch that growth from the first year to the twelfth year. Wanna try something so fun, grab an Adult Sized Shirt with their Class of and each year let them grow into it! 
  6. No one says mom, dad or the siblings can’t crash the 1st day picture party so grab a selfie when you have a silly moment. and bring in the whole family or some of their friends at the bus stop. DON"T forget the pets!
  7. School PhotosSchool Photos Don’t just put them up on social media and let them fade away in the virtual world print one from every year and display them BONUS you now have your first decoration for their Graduation Party!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Last HAVE FUN with it! Last year we became Empty Nesters … insert crocodile tears….while it was a super emotional moment seeing my baby leave nest and head to college I played it up big getting her sister to take some silly pictures of us to make the transition a little more   of a laughable moment! So grab that BYE BYE sign or bottle of wine and make those moments laughable.   Empty NestersEmpty Nesters

    Now there’s always a moment we want captured by a professional. If you want some Back To School professional images Let's Chat! If you are homeschooling or looking for a little more in those school pictures this year we can create some wonderful memories for all ages. And don’t forgot those Senior Experiences. From the Snappy Quick to the Paparazzi Package When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise can create those Senior Moments tailored to your Senior.

         As always you make me happy for choosing When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise !


Rainy Day Photo Memory Activities for Summer

July 20, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

You are my Sunshine When Skies Are Grey!

If you have been keeping up with our Blogs you already know the Story behind When Skies Are Grey Photography By Denise but if not check out What's In A Name to get the story! Now we all know every day can't be sunshine and honey so when those grey days arrive get those photos from your Summer Photography Series and you can turn your day into rainbows! A rainbow makes you smile and so do your summer photo memories!

One thing I love is CRAFTING! I craft images when I capture them but I also love crafting protects too so in this weeks blog I'm taking my two loves, photography & crafting and creating a Rainy Day Smile!


Here are 3 Ideas for a Rainy Day to make you smile when the skies are grey by looking at your Summer Memories. 

1. Photo Book 

Head over to Amazon for the Our Adventure Photo Book the day before you know it's going to be a wash out. It's a One Day Delivery so with Prime you will have it the NEXT day. Take those prints and start gluing them to the pages and write a little or a lot about what that picture means to you or how you got it and where it was. Don't have time to get that photo book ordered? Get acid free photo safe paper cut the paper to the size of your choice, I would do 6x6. Punch two holes in the side of your choice. Get some string or twine and viola you just make your own DIY Photo Book now just start journaling and gluing to create your own personal memory book.

Pro Tip: Use Photo Safe Pens! I am that crazy pen girl so check out one of my favorites Clickart Journaling Pens

DSC_9975Photo Book Summer Photo Memory Book

Who doesn't love a month of their photo memories? Especially of your DOG! 


2. Mason Jar Photo Magnets

This one is a great Rainy Day DIY that not only serves as a memory maker but you could make this as a gift for family & friends. Christmas in July Crafting!!! Knock out that Christmas shopping list, create a rainy day activity and make memories all in one….. that’s a WIN WIN WIN!



Use the lid insert to trace a circle onto your photo if using mason jar lids, then cut it out. Glue the insert to the inside of the lid ring. Be careful… HOT Glue is HOT… I burn myself every time! Don’t be me. Glue the photo to the inside of the lid. If you wanted to make your photo pop out a bit more, you could also trace and cut out a piece of thick cardboard to glue behind the photo. Glue a magnet to the back of your frame. Voila! This would be a wonderful gift idea, too. Maybe for Daddy’s office, or Grandma and Grandpa’s fridge! (Remember DIY Christmas in July means less to do in December!)

PRO TIP: Use MPIX for your photo printing. Check out our upcoming blog on why to use a professional lab not the local drugstore.


DSC_9981Gorilla Glue Hot Glue SticksGorilla Glue Hot Glue All Temerature Sticks for DIY Projects 3. So did you say Denise I’m not crafty … I don’t know or do DIY! Well then grab the SD card or your phone and let’s create a digital album or even better a Photo Book with MPIX Photo Book. Sit back with your photos digitally and let the lab guide you thru creating your very own custom photo book of all your Summer Memories.


Okay now you have your Summer Photo Memories printed and made into a keepsake. Now it’s time to take more!

Looking to capture a special moment Let’s Chat!


As always You Make Me HAPPY When YOU Choose When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise


Location.. Location..Location.. How to select your location for your photo session in Hampton Roads

July 08, 2021  •  1 Comment

Location location location …. It’s like being the prime real estate agent in the 757 area! Sometimes you might think how in the world does my photographer decide where to hold sessions it’s not as hard as you think but there are a few things that you may not be thinking of when you contact your photographer and want to schedule a session at a particular spot. Let’s take a walk through some of the wonderful Coastal Virginia locations in the lovely Hampton Roads cities, perfect for your family photography, your business and personal branding and just for fun memories. 


We all love the idea that we live close to the beach however sometimes the beach just isn’t the best place to find your session for the day. Beaches are crowded ,the sand is hot, and sometimes there’s no shade for that prime part of the day that you have for your family to get their photo moments. So you need to think about a few other places that you can maybe catch those moments and memories or your business branding so that you can accommodate for that hot hot sand full sun kind of day. Hmmmmm…. But where? Isn’t it funny how the brain works sometimes just when you need a plethora of options you can’t think of even one! That’s where your photographer’s expertise comes in. Professional photographers consider lighting, walking distance, climate, temperatures, they are like a meteorologist/ artist rolled into one.

Falling Leaves FriendsFalling Leaves FriendsOak Grove Lake Park, Chesapeake, Virginia Best Friends Fall Fun Session

Down the rabbit hole we will go and start in Chesapeake just because they have several parks that are wonderful for family photography, your business branding, and for just those all around fun sessions. One of my favorite fun sessions are best friend sessions. You can grab those over at Oak Grove Lake Park in the fall and it’s wonderful. You can play in the leaves or maybe check out Chesapeake Arboretum one of my favorite trees is located right there when you enter the park. These are great places to go for middle of the day sessions. They have a little bit of shade, it’s not dealing with hot sand and it also is free to use. Yes!!!! there are some parks in our area that your photographer is required to pay a usage fee or pay to use; therefore, if you’re trying to get your family photos on more of a budget using those places and locations that do not charge your photographer is probably your wisest choice. 

DSC_6527-3Ft. Monroe Hampton, Virginia Branding Photography Hampton, Virginia

Now let’s take a trip across the water and head through one of those tunnels and get over to Fort Monroe. Yeah, it’s a beach and you can go out on the beach if you want but one of the great things about Fort Monroe is it offers many different textures and feels to give your portrait session a wonderful historic look. A beautiful gazebo adorns the grounds, the waters of the Chesapeake Bay in the background and you don’t even have to truck through the sand to get that water shot.

DSC_6618Neon District Norfolk, VirginiaCity Vibe Branding Photography in Norfolk, Virginia

Now let’s head over to Norfolk and the Vibe district in Virginia Beach to get more of a city feel. We have a beach here a beach there everywhere beach but sometimes you just want that city look!  Norfolk offers The Pagoda Garden and the Neon district which extends great images for your photography session and if you’re looking for a little bit more of those art murals Virginia Beach has a great opportunity in the Vibe District. So here we walked 4 of the 7 cities of the Hampton Roads area that offer great locations for your family photography, business branding & headshots, or just for a fun day to get photos done.


Some other things to consider when scheduling your family or branding photography is time a day. Different locations have different opportunities for those times so if you’re heading out to the beach we definitely want to get that early early morning or that Golden Hour  in the evening when the sun is going down. If you’re heading into one of the parks in Chesapeake you can probably find some shade and get a session anytime of the day to accommodate your family or your business schedule, same goes with the city shots. Often you can find great locations that offer a little bit of shade so you don’t the heat of the sun beating down on you. 


Now there are also some great opportunities for portrait sessions that come with an additional usage fee. If you’re looking to add a little bit of extra $$$ to your portrait session places like Botanical Gardens in Norfolk, Greenbrier Farms in Chesapeake, and several others offer so many acres of wonderful photo opportunities; however, there is a professional photography usage fee so you want to include that in your budget when you’re planning out your session. Your photographer is responsible for paying that fee so you want to expect that to be included in your price. We’ll visit the topic of why your photographer charges what they charge another day!

DSC_9515Sunflower Mini Session Goldpetal Farms Virginia Beach Sunflower photography sessions in Virginia Beach

Now if you are looking for that wonderful beach location there are several wonderful Hideaway getaways that When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise can accommodate that are less crowded, with not so much hot sand and can even offer a little bit of shade but I’m not telling anybody where they are you’ll have to schedule your session to get that inside info!


When you’re ready to get that photography session scheduled give me a call, send me a text, or hit me up with an email LET'S CHAT!. Be sure to check out my color palettes styling guidance as well as my private client closet full of tutus, dresses, bowties, jewelry and everything to spiff you up for that wonderful session that you have planned! And don’t forget the dog! We offer a full closet of props & accessories for your pampered pooch too! Many locations mentioned are all pet friendly so we can include your family pet in your sessions or even your branding session. Whether you’re looking for Maternity, Holiday Family Photos, Branding Your Business and social media photography marketing strategies we can include all the props and everything you want in your session.

DSC_9531Pet Friendly Parks and Places in Virginia BeachPet Portrait Photography Sessions in Virginia Beach

As always YOU make ME happy when you choose When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise!


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