Family Photos by Resa Design Photography ©2014

Trying to catch up on posting sessions from this year! How is it October already?

We had such a fun time with this family in the summer. Mom had a specific look she wanted and I think we nailed it. She brought along these giant letters and I may have tried to take them home they were so cute. Loving the neutral tones and pop of color.
Family Photos by Resa Design Photography ©2014

This was one of our “Preppy” Session. One location up to one hour with a print credit. Taken at a Chesterfield, MO area park. Family Photos by Resa Design Photography ©2014 Family Photos by Resa Design Photography ©2014 Family Photos by Resa Design Photography ©2014 Family Photos by Resa Design Photography ©2014 Family Photos by Resa Design Photography ©2014 Family Photos by Resa Design Photography ©2014

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

Family Photos by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

We (or maybe just me) had a fun time during this family photo session at Busch Wildlife in St. Charles County, MO. It was such a beautiful (although windy) evening. Dad, professional musician and song writer, brought along his guitar, and we did a little impromptu sing-a-long which photographed so beautifully. Littlest brother was so interested in the guitar he would not turn for anything, but when you are photographing a two year old, sometimes you just have to let it go.

I later found out the guitar is a family heirloom. It’s a beautiful guitar, which I was also able to photograph (I’ll share those soon). What a special way to include something important and sentimental into your family photographs. Another great way to do this subtly would be with a family quilt or blanket; or a chair. Clients, something to think about. Let’s chat if you have something you want to try to include, I bet we can make it work seamlessly, like we did here.

Family Photos by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

In technical news, I recently upgraded to a Cannon 7D. Wow! I am really enjoying the versatility, added strength and detail it brings to my images. Plus now my clients can print their images on giant canvases and prints. This summer I printed a 20×30 canvas for my parents and it is amazing!

Family Photos by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

My clients do such a great job styling their sessions. I love when they ask me to help and send me text pictures of what they are thinking about wearing. We sometimes go back and forth on a few items, and then I wait and see what they (we all know this is mom’s job) show up in at the location. This family did a great mix of spring colors, or as my drama teacher used to say, “ice cream colors”. Now you’re hungry. Sorry!

Family Photos by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014Family Photos by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

This sweet, beautiful, girl… her eyes just suck me in every time. And maybe it’s because I only have sons, that I LOVE capturing the details like toe nails, shoes, and headbands?

Family Photos by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014Family Photos by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

Two year olds make the toughest subjects (I think). And for whatever reason this spring half of my sessions have involved two year olds. I think it helps that I have had a few two year olds of my own, but it still requires a lot of patience, and movement (on my part), to get anything worth developing. This little guy gave me a run (literally) for my money, but I ended up with about 6 great images to deliver to the family. The parents are usually so concerned about how the child is behaving, but I’m totally cool with it. The more you “make” them do anything, the more they rebel. So mom’s and dad’s reading this before your session with a two year old– “JUST LET THEM BE.” These parents were surprised and excited we got anything useable out of the whole session, just because the little guy was, well, acting 2.

Family Photos by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

p.s. I am annoyed with how this images uploaded on the blog. not nearly the coloring they should be. Hopefully I can figure out the problem and re-upload them soon.



Newborn by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

I know I say this a lot, but it is really a huge honor to be invited into the lives of my clients. They trusting me to capture very special moments and memories with skill and creativity. So when a client asks me back, it’s huge.

Newborn by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

This little brother was 1 month old when mom called for me to come take pictures. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to do sleepy newborn like photos, but we got some great wide awake ones.

Newborn by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014Newborn by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014Newborn by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

This is the third time I have worked with this family (first, second). Big Brother and I are buds now. He was nearly begging to have his picture taken. It was adorable.

Newborn by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014Newborn by Resa Troyer for Resa Design Photography ©2014

©2014 Resa Design, LLC. 3 month old baby boy photos.This little man. He’s such a looker and a sweet boy. These are a few of his 3 month photos.

©2014 Resa Design, LLC. 3 month old baby boy photos.Patten_8How sweet are these brothers? They are two of four! I have a feeling these two have a lifetime of memories ahead. Big brother was so proud to be with his little brother. And then he just looked at me and made these images happen. I’d say, he’s a natural. Not a “normal” two-year old session, that’s for sure.

©2014 Resa Design, LLC. Photographs of brothers.Entire session shot with window light. My favorite.

©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


Family Photos in St. Louis by Resa Design Photography ©2013I have been playing with photography for years. My parents always had a camera around, and they now have thousands of photos. As a child I loved looking through my parents photo albums. There were some standard photos of people smiling, but there seemed to be a lot of “real life” photos. People singing, cooking, cleaning, playing, sleeping… Those are the ones that always kept my attention. St.Louis family photos by Resa Design Photography ©2013

St.Louis family photos by Resa Design Photography ©2013As a family photographer, I try to do this with my clients. It’s sometimes difficult in such a short time period, to capture a story of a family. This sweet family is always so much fun to photograph. They have so much love between them, and now with a new sister, even more joy.

Family Photos in St. Louis by Resa Design Photography ©2013

St.Louis family photos by Resa Design Photography ©2013The better you know a client, and the more comfortable they feel with you, the easier it might be to get the emotion you want out of a session. With this family, we had worked together before and were very comfortable together. I did bring along some props that I thought would engage the children.

St.Louis family photos by Resa Design Photography ©2013When they arrived at the location I was all set up and ready for them. After we met in the parking lot and adjusted some clothing, we got right to it, playing! Sometimes parents are concerned the children are “messing things up” but I try to assure them it’s fine. I let them explore the toys and props and actually try to get some shots right away.Family Photos in St. Louis by Resa Design Photography ©2013Family Photos in St. Louis by Resa Design Photography ©2013

St.Louis family photos by Resa Design Photography ©2013

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.

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