Family Summer Photos in St.Louis, MO by Resa Design Photography ©2015

I had so much fun with this sweet family during their session in a beautiful meadow. It started with, “HI RESA!!!!” as the little guys jumped out of the car and ran to me. I mean, how could it not be amazing. He had never met me but was so excited to make a new friend and let me capture his sweet face.

Family Summer Photos in St.Louis, MO by Resa Design Photography ©2015

The sky isn’t always this amazing for me.. We pushed back a night because of crazy high heat, and I am SOOOOO glad we did.
Family Photos by Resa Troyer for Resa Design ©2015

This left shot is one of my favorite to get of young children. To capture this shot, have the child lay down. Step over them (so their body is between your feet). And shoot. If the child is little, it’s easy to gently use the sides of your feet to hold them from rolling over.

Family Summer Photos in St.Louis, MO by Resa Design Photography ©2015 Family Summer Photos in St.Louis, MO by Resa Design Photography ©2015

It’s so hard to get toddler to stay in one spot or even near one spot for family photo sessions. I always pack some vintage toys for shoots like this. It keeps them busy and interested, and well they still run away, but not the whole time. Family Summer Photos in St.Louis, MO by Resa Design Photography ©2015

The end of a session is sometimes my favorite. Everyone is done trying to pose, and either tired or relaxed. These sweet moments will be cherished I am sure.

3 month baby girls pictures by Resa Design Photography ©2014

When you are exercising your body they really need to remind you, that you will not see these results for at least 3 months. I feel that way with photography right now. I have spent years practicing the art of capturing light. It’s a tricky business and although there is science, lots of it, it’s ever-changing and seeing results can take a while.

This winter I dedicated myself to refining my skills and increasing my knowledge of photography. I wanted to step up my images to the next level. I also wanted to grow my business in a sustainable way (work smarter not harder kinda way).

To do this I spent hours and hours taking photography classes. I examined other photographer’s work from a new perspective. Practiced how to get the image I want and just cross my fingers and hope it appears (which is an over exaggeration, but you get it).

Also, I did a lot of research; and drafting and redrafting; to create a business plan that works for my company. I would be remiss if I didn’t add that I upgraded equipment too, but I don’t want this to be about “doing better with better equipment” because all the best equipment in the world doesn’t great a lasting product, the creator does.

It was a lot of work. Not always fun. Sometimes really, really boring actually. But…. last night when I was editing…. it happened. I saw the muscles I had been working so feverishly during the winter, appear finally!

3 month baby girls pictures by Resa Design Photography ©2014

So… I didn’t write this to toot my own horn. I did write this to encourage you, the discouraged photographer (OR enter whatever title you are HERE) to keep at it. Don’t give up. Push yourself. As long as you are moving forward you WILL see results.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do no return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing see to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:10-11 (New American Standard Bible)

3 month baby girls pictures by Resa Design Photography ©2014

©2014 Resa Design Photography, by Resa TroyerThe yawn. One of my FAVORITE newborn image. I love how it’s a whole body experience for them, and looking at the image brings back so many sweet memories.©2014 Resa Design, LLC by Resa TroyerI shot this session in a WARM home (mom pumped up the heat before I arrived, my suggestion), and in front of a window with great light. I always bring a heating pad and warm up any place I am going to lay the new baby. It really helps them stay asleep and relaxed. Next time I need to remember how warm the house can be, and dress accordingly.

©2014 Resa Design, LLC by Resa TroyerCapturing siblings together can sometimes be tricky depending on who close in age they are. It’s hard to get them to all look at you, and attend to the newborn safely. This time I skipped that and just had them draw their attention to baby brother. Mom was thrilled how this session turned out. A happy client, is the best client :)©2014 Resa Design, LLC by Resa Troyer©2014 Resa Design, LLC by Resa Troyer

©2014 Resa Design, LLC by Resa Troyer

Grandma was at the home taking care of mom and the family when I was there. I asked her if she would like to pose with the baby for a shot or two. She was reluctant, (since she was cooking and not really “ready” for pictures) but I love how these turned out. What special images to have for your children when they are grown. Note to photographers: Consider suggesting grandma, or other special family member be present during a in home lifestyle session. They are a great help with kid wrangling, and you might even be able to get them to step in front of the lens for you too.


©2014 Resa Design Photography by Resa Troyer, St. Louis, MODuring this long, long winter, I used my stuck inside time to take some photography classes! I had this on my to-do list for last winter, but it never got done. None the less, I am so glad I did it. One of the classes I took was THIS one on posing with Lindsay Adler. I really like the Creative Live classes and like to watch them live so you can get in on the chat groups happening at the same time, and ask live questions. Anyway, back to the point of this post. Posing. This isn’t something that was totally foreign to me, but the refresher and some new ideas really was just what I needed to jump-start my 2014 sessions. My biggest take away from Lindsay’s class was setting the foundation with foot placement – specifically with women/girls, shifting body weight to one leg/foot.

©2014 Resa Design, LLC. Image by Resa Troyer

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of doing a session with this beautiful and talented high school senior. We had been waiting for a warm day (because like almost everywhere, winter has been long and brutal here in St. Louis). I am thrilled with the images we created, and based on the big hug I got from mom the other day, they are too. I’ll use them to share with you some of my new (and old) posing techniques and how I direct the client- because that’s usually the hardest part for most photographers.

A few tips on posing high school senior girls:

  1. DO STANDARD POSES- They are so easy to work with and willing to try new things- so get creative. But first- do the standard poses (because that’s what mom, dad, and grandma want and will BUY). Lindsay suggests these are: Standing, Sitting, Leaning, Laying. I found it’s not always possible to do all 4 of these at every location. It’s also not always the girls “style”. I like to be flexible with rules like this.
  2. FEET- Even when you are taking head shots, take the time to position the lower body. It will set the tone for their whole posture. Women’s body’s are not flattered by feet placed next to each other pointing forward. So, after you have your client stand where you want them to be, go with this, “Put your weight one one foot. Great. Now take the other foot and turn it to the outside and slide it out. Pop the hip of the foot you have your weight on. Perfect!” Now you are ready to set the upper body. (More on feet below in #9)
  3. HAND PLACEMENT- Pay attention to hands. Always. Fingers can get stiff looking, look like they are missing, look angry, show tension, etc. They can also be used to slim a waist line. It may feel awkward to the client, but when they have their hands on their hips, have them pull their hands closer to the middle. This is a great way to create a waist line, or shrink one. Another tip on hands- direct the client to move their hands when they start looking forced or tense. Say things like, “wiggle your fingers” or “Put your hand on your head, now slide it softly down your head and face.” (then have them stop when it gets to a soft place you like).
  4. CHIN DOWN- When people stand up straight, they usually lift their chin, and you lose the jaw and see too much neck. The other problem that happens is when you are very close to the subject (or a client is looking at another client), their tendency will be to pull their face back and away from you, which is never flattering. If you have trouble getting your client to keep their chin down (and out) try asking them to “Push your forehead out towards me.” This will actually get their whole face at a better angle. Sometimes I say, “Push your forehead out. Great. Now down a little bit.” This gets the chin down a little more if they didn’t do that already. CHIN DOWN is flattering on every woman, I think. You can eliminate almost any double chin.
  5. CHIN DOWN (with glasses)- This IS my key to not getting the reflection off glasses. Well that and lighting. I have found when I am seeing reflection in a clients glasses, if they tip their chin down even a little more, but keep their eyes on me, I can get rid of it.
  6. SHOW THE JAW LINE- Don’t cover the jaw line with hands, or clothing. (You will see I broke this rule in a few of these images. Oops!) The jaw line give the face shape. When you hide it behind a hand or anything else, you lose that curve and shape of the face.
  7. NEGATIVE SPACE- This was something that was really hammered home in the class I took. Negative space draws the eye around the image and can be used to create curves and/or a slimming effect. Look in a mirror with your hands at your sides, now put them on your hips with your elbows out. See the difference?
  8. EYES- Most clients need you to tell them where to look. I love asking my clients to look deep into my lens. “See if you can see the shutter snap (I use the word butterfly when I’m shooting kids).” I also like to position faces so they are pointed off my shoulder or even a little farther, but then ask the client to just move their eyes to look at me. This will get you some great white in their eye, and maybe even some catch light if your lighting is perfect.
  9. SLIMMING the LOWER BODY- To create curves, or slim curves, cross the legs. Brilliant, I know. Picked this one up from that class too. In the image above, second on bottom, you can see this technique in practice. By having the client cross her legs, we created an hourglass shape with her lower half. I also cropped the frame at the knee to help this technique work best. If you use this technique, have them lean forward a little bit too, it will bring their middle half away from the camera, and minimize it more.
    ©2014 Resa Design, LLC. Image by Resa Troyer

©2014 Resa Design, LLC. Image by Resa Troyer©2014 Resa Design, LLC. Image by Resa Troyer©2014 Resa Design, LLC. Image by Resa Troyer©2014 Resa Design, LLC. Image by Resa Troyer

What are your favorite posing tips?

(Shot in Chesterfield, MO / St. Louis, MO by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography)

©2014 Resa Design PhotographyHere is a look behind getting this shot. It’s not as hard as you might be thinking. You can even do it with your phone!

STEP 1: I laid the blanket out in an area of the yard with even light. This session was purposefully schedule towards the end of the day. I usually allow 2 hours for family sessions. In the fall it’s tricky scheduling them because the later in the fall it gets, the shorter the days get. One year I made a HUGE mistake and forgot about day light savings time and schedule all my sessions after that day at the wrong time. I won’t do that again! NOTE: I faced their chins toward the sun. I did this because I didn’t need their hair lit as much as I wanted their faces lit.

STEP 2: I put the littlest head in the middle. Well relatively in the middle, since there are four kids. Then I planned to put the “biggest” head on the outside, and well I didn’t want the boys and girls together so I staggered them. I wanted the littlest head in the middle so I could get a little bit more angle and pull them closer together by differing the hight a little big. I also didn’t want her head to fall off the side and throw off the proportion of the composition.

HDUGTS_kidsHeads_bSTEP 3: Squish them together. You can see there are a few shoulders overlapping. My goal was to get their heads together as close as possible. This will feel uncomfortable, so if your clients are not into closeness, save the squishy part until the end.

STEP 4: Stepped behind the kids heads. I know! You thought I was right over their bellies right? Tricky, tricky. I was standing behind their heads (see my toes here). Why? 1- no chance of any shadows on their faces. 2- I got them to look a bit more because they almost had to look backwards. 3- it’s more comfortable for the clients, usually, if you aren’t standing “on” them.

©2014 Resa Design PhogotraphySTEP 5: Photograph! I took quite a few pictures in this pose. Them looking right at the camera smiling. Not smiling. And finally I got them to laugh. I’m not sure how, but a fart joke usually does the trick with kids. Also, threatening to tickle can do it sometimes too. Honestly, I usually start with, “Give me your best fake laugh.” If that doesn’t work, I move to the previous suggestions.

HDUGTS_kidsHeads_eSTEP 6: Rotate in editing software and edit as needed. In this case I had to take my toes out of most of the images. I also brightened them up a little bit and applied my favorite filter, all in Lightroom.

©2014 Resa Design Photography HDUGTS_kidsHeads_c

Cheers to happy posing! -Resa


Free Valentine Facebook Cover Preset for Lightroom ©2014 Resa Design Photography

I made this bright Lightroom print preset for Facebook for upcoming Valentines Day. ©2014 Resa Design Photography Facebook Cover layout

Please share with your clients, but you may not sell or take creative rights for the layout and image.

©2014 Resa Design Photography Facebook Cover Layout for Lightroom

Download this Lightroom Print Preset –  FB-Valentine-2image.lrtemplate

Download the Heart Love Background – facebook_background_valentineLOVE_byResaTroyer.jpg

Leave a comment if you download it and what you think.

Happy Editing- Resa


Facebook Covers with images by Resa Design Photography ©2013FacebookCover Are you a photographer looking for ways to spice up your image delivery? Last year I started delivering a Facebook cover image to my clients along with their digital flies. They love it! Most people don’t have the ability to collage their photos, therefore only posting one image at a time.

FacebookCoverI have a few different templates I have used, but currently JL Photography’s FREE Facebook Templates for Lightroom are rocking my world. They are FREE! Easy to install, and so quick to use in Adobe Lightroom. (By the way, if you are a photographer and haven’t tried Lightroom yet, DO IT! I’ll write more on my big switch and how much time Lightroom has saved me another day.)

FacebookCoverBe sure to mark your custom Facebook cover with your company name. This will not only give you well deserved credit, but acts as a marketing tool for anyone seeing your beautiful images.

Happy Editing! – Resa


UPDATE: check out this free Lightroom Facebook Cover presets and backgrounds.

Fixing Teeth in Photoshop by Resa Design Photography ©2013

My beautiful client was just days away from getting braces when we shot her Senior Pictures. I went out on a limb and fixed the one obvious tooth to gently improve her smile. The client was so excited she asked me to do a few more of the photos.

Step by step tutorial on MOVING TEETH in PHOTOSHOP: (I use PS5)

Senior Photography by Resa Troyer ©2013 Resa Design Photography

STEP 1: Lasso the tooth with a feather set at 4.

Photoshop Tooth correction by Resa Design Photography

STEP 2: Copy (CTRL C)

STEP 3: Create new layer. Then Paste (CTRL V).

Tooth_2_transformCTRL T to Free transform. I moved my tooth down into position during this step since it was so high up. You can see the double layer of tooth here. If you need to twist, or adjust your tooth shape in any way, it’s easy to use with the WARP tool.

To use the WARP tool, right-click on your selected shape while it’s in FREE TRANSFORM. (See below) You can then move each point in the grid box until you get the tooth shaped the way you want it.


STEP 4: When you are happy with the tooth position, FLATTEN the image (in layers box). You will still see where your new tooth meets the old tooth at this point. Now it’s time to clean up the gum area, and finish fixing the tooth area. Duplicate the layer and name it Tooth Fix.


STEP 5: You probably want to zoom in nice and close to do the rest of this edit. I jump around between the HEALING BRUSH TOOL, SPOT HEALING TOOL, and CLONE STAMP to get the gum just how I want it. Here is some progress using only the HEALING BRUSH TOOL. I like this tool because I can select the skin really close to where I need to fix it, and it will keep sampling the original area for me. This usually gives me the most natural healing/fix.


While you are editing you can click back and forth between your original image and the layer you are editing on to make sure you are keeping things looking natural and getting the final effect you desire.

STEP 6: I touched up her skin in a few spots on a new layer I named Skin. You can also brighten the teeth if needed using the DODGE tool under 10%.


STEP 7: I have a fantastic portraiture plug-in that is really worth getting if you do a lot of portraits. I erase the effects of the Imagenomic retouching off the hair because it makes it too soft for my taste. Tooth_7_portraitAction

STEP 8: Finally I do a High Pass filter with a radius of about 4. Then change the layer to Overlay or Soft Light and then I adjusted the opacity to 63%. Tooth_8_highPass63p

STEP 9: Flatten entire image and save. Yay! You are an Orthodontist now. Well maybe just in Photoshop, but your client will be thrilled that you’re fees are cheaper than the local orthodontist.

Let me know if you found this tutorial helpful by leaving a comment below.

Happy Editing, Resa


©2013 St. Louis Family Photographer Resa Troyer of Resa DesignAfter you have chosen a photographer, what to wear, and maybe even where to take your photos, you might be wondering what will happen when that day comes.

Here’s what I share with my clients: (I wrote this with some tips from another photographer, whom I can’t remember, sorry I can’t give you proper credit.)

Some things to note about your session:
  • I’ll start by introducing myself to everyone and getting to know the participants a little better. This will help everyone get comfortable, and I’ll get a feel for each person’s personality a little bit.
  • I keep things relaxed. Sometimes kids need some time to warm up. So I’ll just go with the flow and we’ll start with whomever is the most ready. (That said, often the best photos are taken towards the middle of the session when every one is relaxed and warmed up.)
  • I’ll take A LOT of pictures (the benefit of digital photography).
  • If you have small kids, it’s a good idea to bring a non-messy snack, and/or favorite soothing item. There tends to be a lot of moving and pausing during photo shoots.©2013 St. Louis Family Photographer Resa Troyer of Resa Design
  • Small kids are usually not used to being the constant center of attention for such a focused period of time. It’s a good idea to arrive well rested and fed, and know they may be tired or cranky when the shoot is over.
  • Don’t worry about cranky kids, crying babies, spit up, etc. I do this a lot. It comes with the territory. No need to apologize.
  • My photography style, which you hopefully already know, captures people in a natural state. I’m not a portrait photographer, although we will do some posing. Feel free to be yourselves, and relax. Everyone doesn’t need to smile or be looking the same way all the time.
  • You don’t have to be the director! I’ll take charge of the shoot, so you can sit back and enjoy your time in the spot light.
  • I’ll be watching what happens in the lens, so please be sure you keep an eye on your children.
  • If you want any special props in the photos feel free to bring them along. ©2013 St. Louis Family Photographer Resa Troyer of Resa Design
  • If there are any specific poses you want (or know you don’t want) please let me know. You can send me links to images, or just describe them to me. I’ll do my best to accommodate you.
  • The screen on camera’s is not the best view of your photos, so I won’t be using it to show you the images I capture. I will do my best to send you 1 or 2 images in the week following your shoot as a sneak peek if you would like.
  • No gum chewing please.
  • With the exception of shirtless kids, or naked babies, I will not shoot anyone dressed (or undressed) inappropriately.

©2013 St. Louis Family Photographer Resa Troyer of Resa Design

Fall Family Photos by St. Louis photographer Resa Troyer of Resa Design

I began professionally photographing clients over five years ago. What started out as a nearly life long hobby, turned professional the day the first client paid for my service. (Or maybe the second or fifth client?) Since then I have had the privilege of quite a few return clients year after year. I am so grateful for them and the friends they have referred to me.

My tip for getting return clients?

Clients are attracted not only to the photos they receive, but also the experience they have with you when they are in front of the lens.


It’s easy to get caught up in the technical aspects of photography, because there are A LOT of them. The more familiar and practiced you are with your camera and photography in general, the less consuming this part can be. My shoots go downhill (sometimes fast) if I am having equipment or technical problems. So try to nail those out before your paying sessions start. Posing also proves challenging for may new photographers. My advice is to have a game plan. When I started I even wrote it down. I had a list of shots I wanted to get (or the client wanted) in the order I wanted to get them. Sometimes you have to get creative depending on setting or people issues, but this will really help you feel like you have a handle on the session.

Let your personality shine. If you are very reserved, this might be more challenging for you and you might need to dig deep. Sometimes I have to jump around. Sometimes just being silly with little kids will help them warm up. With all children (who can speak) I spend a lot of time asking questions. I also do my best to explain to them when we are doing so they are not so freaked out in front of the camera. For older kids this usually helps take the performance pressure off of them.



Being prepared with a plan for your session will really help with this. Be sure you have scoped out your location in advance and have a plan on where you want to stage your photos. If it’s a public place, I always check the city website to see if there will be any events happening at the time of our session.

When I look at photos of my own family, I don’t just see what’s printed on the paper, I remember the experience. I remember the mood, the weather, the smells, the laughter (and the sometimes fighting). So what I’m really seeing is the whole experience. Your clients do the same thing when they look at the photos you deliver. If they had a good time, felt cared for, had fun, etc.. those feels come back when they see their images. I’m always reminded of this when a client falls in love with an image that didn’t stand out to me. Instantly I realize they are having an emotional connection to that image. A connection I may or may not even understand.


This was the third year in a row I have photographed this family (others here and here). The first year a few of the boys were not so interested in having their photo taken. They were skeptical of me and what was going to happen. This year I am excited to share, even the most unwilling participant smiled and even talked to me! Yay! Patience and time are the best methods for clients like that I think. I anticipate next year’s photo experience being even better.

Leslie2 Leslie4