Shellyn Leeper Photography: Blog en-us (C) Shellyn Leeper Photography [email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:31:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:31:00 GMT Shellyn Leeper Photography: Blog 78 120 What to wear for your family photos "What should we wear?" That is by far the most frequently asked question I have from clients. It is also the question I ask myself every time I plan my own family's photo session.  I have to tell you, I do not consider myself an expert in the fashion department, but after years of family photography, I have come up with a few tips that might be helpful as you search through your closet looking for the perfect outfits.

Tip 1- Co-ordinating and not matching!

I recommend finding a color palette you find pleasing and that will also co-ordinate with your home. You will be hanging these photos on your walls after all! So think about your personalities and your decor and find a color scheme that works well with these in mind. Do you prefer earth tones, maybe go for browns and creams with an accent of greens, teals or yellows. Are you bold and energetic, pick deep jewel tones like maroon, navy blue, or deep orange. Maybe you love light and airy colors, try khaki, light blue and pale pink. There are so many options. Think back to art class and the color wheel to remember complimentary colors for a bold look or choose clothing of the same color but different hues for a softer feel.  


Tip 2 Keep patterns to a minimum

Now, I do not mean everyone should be in solid colors by any means, but be sure to choose patterns that are not competing with each other.  If mom is in a gingham dress, do not put baby in polka dots.  Too many patterns will distract the eye for the important parts of the image, the connection of the family.  Try to have one or two people in more bold patterns, while the other family members are in more subtle patterns with some textures.


Tip 3- Find something you feel beautiful in

This one is important! If you, the mom are happy, everyone is happy! I am probably the worst shopper in the world. I dread going clothes shopping.  In fact, I  wear shirts with holes most days because I just don't want to go to a store and try on clothes, but I do want to feel beautiful the day I have my photos taken. In turn, if I feel confident, everyone else feels more relaxed! I am not exactly one to wear dresses most days, but I do love wearing dresses in photos, they give a sense of movement  and feel full of energy and grace.  I often will go dress shopping for my own session. Now don't get me wrong, I will also wear jeans in a lot of photos, because they also have a specific feel of a comfortable casual style. Whatever mood I want to portray in my images, I choose an outfit that makes me feel that specific way. I also am careful to pick clothes that I feel hide my "flaws" I am uncomfortable with my upper arms in photos, so I find dresses or tops with a sleeve to hide that area.  If I want to accentuate my waist line, I"ll go for an A-line skirt. It is important that you are comfortable and that you feel like yourself in the clothes you choose. Remember however, that it is also okay to dress up from your normal everyday clothes! This is a special occasion! Let yourself shine!

Tip 4- Keep it Classic

It is classic for a reason after all! I prefer to find clothes that can not be immediately dated. These images should last a lifetime, generations really. You do not want them to look completely dated in the next few years. This does not mean you need to wear clothes that are not modern and stylish, but try to avoid anything that is extremely trendy, think bell bottoms for example. It is fine to add some more trendy accessories, but try to keep the main outfits more classic in style.  It is easier than you think, jeans, khaki pants, dresses, button down shirts, or polos, all of these have been around for fifty years and won't be going anywhere anytime soon. I normally do not have to go buy my husband or sons anything for photos, maybe a v-neck shirt in a particular color, but their bottoms are always in the closet already.

 Tip 5- Be sure you can move freely!

I can not tell you how often someone says "I can not sit in these pants" well, in a photo session you need to be able to stand, sit, move, and play!  If you are feeling self conscious or worried your dress is too short, or your pants may pop open, find a different choice.  A photo session is more than a few posed pretty pictures, it is a representation of your family's lifestyle.  If you are a rambunctious family, your photos should represent that. If you like to quietly stroll along, that is what we will do, but I may throw in a curve ball and ask your husband to twirl you around!

 Tip 6- A few ideas of what NOT to do

 There are a few wardrobe choices that are better left in the closet!

  1. Never wear anything NEON

Neon will leave a terrible color cast, What is that you ask, well it is when the color of something bounces on to something else. In this case a bright neon pink shirt. You can see how the pink bounces up on to the chin. It would also bounce onto anyone standing near by.  

   2. Wear colors and not black 

Now, if you have ever met me, you probably are really questioning this one. I wear black 7 out of 7 days in one way or another, but when it comes to photos, I always go with a softer color. Black washes you out and looks so harsh in a smiling family photo.  It also is typically not the best choice for outdoor images with natural tones as the back drop. Now if you are wanting head shots, I'd say black is perfect, but for cuddling with your babies, pick brighter softer tones.

  3. Try to avoid graphic T-shirts or logos

Your child may love Mickey Mouse or Minecraft, but these images can distract from what is important, the connection between your family. It also adds a cluttered look to the images.  It is great to get snap shots of your kids in their favorite characters, but it is not really what you want attention drawn to on the day of a family photo shoot. The same goes for logos. I know my son loves wearing Nike, but I make sure to have more classic shirts available when I want a lasting image. 

Tip-7  Don't over think it

It can cause a lot of stress finding outfits for your entire family. If this is the case, find one inspiration piece and co-ordinate everyone else to that piece. This year I fell in love with a dress for my daughter.  I based everyone else around the colors in her dress. If you feel like shopping for the entire family, choose stores that offer clothes already co-ordinating for all family members. (some examples are, Old Navy, Gap or Kohl's)  

Well, that sums up my advice for what to wear to your up coming family photo shoot! I hope this advice was helpful. If you have any tips to add to this, I'd love to hear from you!

If you would like to have some new memories captured of your family, please contact me! 







[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) and are connected connection family family photography family photos perfect gift photos are forever ohio photographer south carolina photographer perfect moments connected images forever gift images" lifestyle newborn lifestyle photography portrait family connection new philadelphia ohio love baby happy love happy baby family memories moments mother's day perfect gift photos are forever ohio photographer south carolina photographer perfect moments connected images new philadelphia north east ohio ohio perfect perfect outfits photo photographer photos session"" south Fri, 05 Oct 2018 20:41:07 GMT
5 Tips to help you capture some perfect Mother's Day memories! Mother's Day is Sunday!  If you are like me, you are eagerly awaiting all the fun activities your children are preparing.  Mother's Day is one of those days we cherish for the sentiment above all else! I love the hand made cards, the excited squeals of my children as they secretly make my gift, even the early morning wake-up call because they are just too excited to hand me my surprise, and of course the traditional breakfast in bed!!  All of these moments make Mother's Day a day I want to remember.  So, each year, my kids know that the only thing I ever really want, is a photo of us together. I like to dedicate Mother's Day as a day to get this photo for two reasons; one it's easy to remember and I have a yearly image of me and my kids that really highlights how much they have grown, and two, it's hard to say no to mom on Mother's Day! With that said, it's still not always easy to get all four of us in the frame, so I decided to share a few tips I've learned along the way to help you capture that sweet moment you are longing to cherish this Mother's Day!


This is one of my favorite things to say to my clients during a session. Everyone starts out standing near one another, but that's not enough, snuggle together, touch each other, hug, or hold hands.  Being snuggled together shows the connection between you and your loved ones, and it lets your relationship become the star of the show!  So get close, they are your babies after all after all!





If you want a happy photo, make sure you have happy kids! Sounds easy enough right? The truth is, it is not that easy to get everyone in one place smiling and looking at the camera. Trust me when I say, we all have those moments where we are screaming "just look at the camera and smile!" Well, that sort of ruins that perfect Mother's Day mood for you, so think less about the poses and more about the fun! Grab your kids and tickle them, or swing them all around. Have your son tell a joke, if it has anything to do with bodily sounds, it's sure to get a laugh! Tell them they can tackle you on the count of three.  Whatever it takes to get laughs! Just remember, happy kids= happy mom= even happier memories!


Sometimes the perfect posed photo is just not going to happen. Kids are kids after all, so think of an activity you can do that will keep the kids contained and entertained. Maybe it is playing a game of cards, swinging on a porch swing, skipping hand in hand. (Be sure you have a fast shutter speed for any activity that includes movement. If your camera has a sports mode, this would be the time to use it!)  One of my favorite things to plan, is reading together. It is a perfect choice because we all need to be snuggled up to see the pictures!  Plus, they really get involved in the book, so getting several shots is easy. 



Every mom wants a photo of herself and all of her kids. It's a great way to showcase just how your family is right now. You will notice the differences in the ages and sizes of the children.  It also shows exactly how that sibling dynamic looks today! So snuggle them all up, see tip one is really important, and get the group shot! Don't stop there, because, it is equally as important to capture a photo of you and each child individually! This will highlight that special and unique bond you have with each child. Everyone loves a little one on one time with mom! I'm sure these photos will be very treasured in years to come!


Sometimes we get so caught up in the day to day business of mothering, that we forget to get new photos of ourselves with our own mom.  Just as you love having a photo with your kids, your mom loves having a photo with you! If you're lucky enough to have several generations gathered together, grab a photo! We often forget to include some of the people who mean the most to us in our photos. Mother's Day is a day you may have a large family gathering, so get your siblings gathered up after brunch and snap one for mom! This will be the best gift you can give her and yourself in years to come!

This year, just remember to get a least one photo that includes you! You can hand the camera off to your spouse, a random stranger, or set the timer for a few self portraits. My preferred method of portraits with my kids is to use the interval timer and put my camera on a tripod, but I've used a napkin holder as a tripod in a pinch! One last bit of advice, bribery is okay if that's what it takes to get a picture! I find ice cream works perfectly for my kids, but pick your pleasure! 

I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day!



[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) family photography mother's day perfect gift photos are forever ohio photographer south carolina photographer perfect moments connected images Fri, 11 May 2018 14:11:49 GMT
Sage is 3 months  I have been truly blessed to photograph this family for some time now, and I can honestly say that every time I am with them, I feel so thankful to have spent a few hours in their company. They are the kindest family, they love so deeply, they are so tender with their little ones. You know they cherish their time together and do not take each other for granted.  They never hesitate when I ask them to just be themselves or snuggle in a little closer.  One of the very best parts of photography, is capturing a family in a way that shows how truly comfortable they are with each other, being able to peek into their lives and offer specific moments captured in time for them to treasure in years to come. I get to freeze moments of a beautiful sibling relationship as it is developing. Of course nothing ever compares to seeing the love of parents looking at their precious littles.  I really have enjoyed watching Briana and Jim parent their darling girls. I think it is pretty obvious how loved these two girls are. This is a family you see and just know they are truly happy being together!  I am so honored to capture these milestones for them. This photo shot was for Sage turning three months! Three months is actually one of my favorite baby stages, honestly, I LOVE all baby stages, but at three months the little baby is making eye contact, she is interacting, she is cooing, and she still wants to be held all the time, my absolute weakness! I loved capturing some of these adorable images of Sage at this precious age! She is undeniably adorable! I look forward to seeing Sage grow this year and for many years to come!

[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) lifestyle photography portrait family connection new philadelphia ohio love baby happy Tue, 03 Apr 2018 23:06:15 GMT
Welcome baby Wade There is something so amazing about a newborn lifestyle session. Capturing a family in their home, seeing them interacting with authenticity has a special magic unlike any other. Bringing home a baby is enchanting, the sweet baby smell, the snuggles, the pure love, it is full of delight.  I'm not saying it's all easy, there are certainly difficult adjustments to be made, but it is still a time of magic when a family is together in a little cocoon learning how to adapt to new roles that a second child brings.

Photographing little Wade and his family was such an honor. I have had the privilege of photographing the Migonis on two previous occasions. This time, like before, I enjoyed every moment of being with them. This family amazes me with their quick smiles, easy connections, gentle parenting, and endless love.  

When you are in someone's home, you get such a sense of what matters to them. It was clear that family is the center for Brent and Heather. They took time to nurture the new relationship between big brother Roland and baby Wade, they were sure to comfort Roland when he needed it,  they snuggled their newest addition with unconditional love,  they included their fur baby, Bella, in all their activities, and they still were able to laugh with each other. 

I think these little boys will have such an amazing childhood filled with love, support, and a lot of fun!


"Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life."      

Lisa Weedn

[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) massillon ohio new philadelphia canton connection family photography lifestyle newborn love happy baby family north east ohio Thu, 11 Jan 2018 23:20:41 GMT
The only picture you will ever regret, is the one not taken! For several months I have been meaning to write about the importance of having your family's photos taken. It isn't easy to put into words all the thoughts I have on this subject. I have a tendency to lean towards the overly sentimental when writing, but in this case I didn't quite want to open the flood gate of emotions, but I do think it is important to share some of these thoughts with you on why I feel it is so important to have tangible memories to hold onto. I hope you find inspiration from this to always take the shot, to always get in the frame, to be a part of your family's memories. 

In June I attended a friends final farewell, a celebration of life. During the ceremony a slide show of photos showing her life played on a screen. I was mesmerized  by her life. She was a performer, an actress, a mother, a friend. She had snapshots and headshots, gorgeous memories, and blurry images, but they all were moments never to be had again. This unfortunately was the second member of Mr. E Murders who passed away within six months of each other.

our last performance with Kelli and Susan

 Before saying goodbye to Susan, we said farewell to Kelli.  She was my dear friend, mentor, advisor, book club member, fellow actress, and the godmother to my children.  She was the one person I could guarantee loved my children nearly, if not equally, as much as I do, and for no other reason except for them being unequivocally them.  She loved every ornery, messy, noisy moment. She actually encouraged a lot of those! She is missed deeply by us. Her passing has left a huge hole in our hearts. I think of her daily.  

I have some great photos, a lot of snapshots, some not great quality images, photos from my phone, but they are memories I love and I am grateful to have.  It is important to document those you love!

the day before Kelli left for treatment at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Oklahoma

ginger bread houses were our tradition, this is 2014


It is not only important to have memories of those who have passed, but it is important to have the memories of your own life. You need to see how joyful you look when your children hug you.

You need to see the smile that radiates love when you and your husband laugh together.

 you need to see that you were there too!

I know it's hard to get in front of the camera, I understand, I want to lose some weight or maybe get a miracle wrinkle cream,  but how sad would it be to miss out on this time in our lives because of our insecurities.  Also, believe me when I say your children will never notice the wrinkles, all they will see is their beautiful loving mother, or superhero father having fun with them! It is important to document you being a part of your family! I think it is important to mark the different occasions in your life, both big, and small.  It is important to document the different phases in your life, early parenthood, small children, tweens to teens. You name, it, it is important!  Our lives go quickly and so often we over look how incredible each phase really is. You are not always aware of how remarkable a time is when you are in the thick of it, but then you look back at an image, you will notice how all of the beautiful emotions come rolling right back to you.  When you see the newborn photo, you may remember the 3 am feedings, but it is the joy that resonates more than than the fatigue.   An image can draw you right back to the time when your baby snuggled ever deeper into your arms, to the time your oldest lost his first tooth, to the year you become the shortest in the family.  These moments are important to document.

 It is important for your children to see they are apart of something larger than themselves.  They feel connected when they see images of themselves with their parents and grandparents.  They know they belong to something, that they are a part of a unit and that they are valued and fit in somewhere.   Family photos help give a sense of security to children. They are a time capsule for you and a legacy to future generations.  This time doesn't last forever, but the memories can! Don't let another year slip away without getting in the shot, get your family photos taken, or just document all those around you.

 below my grandparents, sisters and I. This continues to be one of my most cherished belongs. I have had it displayed since it was taken. It traveled the country with me, and continues to bring a smile to my face each day as I pass it on my wall.

My parents, sisters and I, another of my favorite images! Hanging among a family wall gallery.


  If you need even more of a push, it's pretty amazing to see yourself or your children hanging as art work on your living room wall!




[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) and connection family love memories photography Thu, 02 Nov 2017 18:35:58 GMT
The Fishleys I went into this session expecting to have a great time, and this extended family did not disappoint! There are some families that just have such a fun carefree demeanor, this is one of those families! They were easy and relaxed, ready for fun, and willing to try any of my shenanigans, even the teen and tween boys, which says a lot about their manners! We met early in the morning for this session and although the grass was extremely dewy, the light was perfect and everyone arrived chipper and ready to play. There may have been a little coaxing on some hugs, but that's to be expected between married couples! 

It's particularly interesting to watch extended family dynamics. I really enjoy seeing the interactions of multiple generations. Grandma and grandpa clearly adore their grandkids, and the grandchildren admire and love their grandparents. The kids showed respect and gratitude to their grandparents. It is clear that the roots in this family run deep and strong. This entire family has an ease about them, they are comfortable together, and it is truly clear that they enjoy being with each other. That is such a remarkable gift, to have a family you love and enjoy! There is nothing better!

"Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter".-Brad Henry


[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) family photographer childrens photos connected photography Thu, 05 Oct 2017 19:43:55 GMT
Rachel I had the pleasure of photographing Rachel for her senioor photos. Rachel is a very remarkable young lady. When I asked her about her future plans, she told me she plans to go into science and her face lit up with such joy! Although I could not quite understand all of the scientific lingo, we did agree strongly on a few very important topics, such a recycling, and the need for more public recycling bins though out our town!  I have to say,  it gave me great hope for the future to see someone so young, already actively concerned about preserving our planet.  We also were able to share exciting conversations about theatre! She is currently in a production at our local community theatre and enjoying this time on the stage. I loved hearing stories of her theatre experiences. She will have a lifetime of happiness through theatre. Theatre opens doors to so many wonderful adventures! There is so much going for this lady. She has a heart of kindness,  a passion for learning, and a charismatic personality! There are great adventures in store for her, and I know she will "climb on" no matter what mountain is in her way! Best wishes for your future Rachel!

[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) Tue, 26 Sep 2017 23:18:27 GMT
Sydney Photography is always amazing, it captures a moment in time,  when you look at an image some years later, you are brought directly back to that specific moment. You remember the sounds, the smells, how you felt. It is an amazing art.  As I  take more and more senior photos, I realize why senior portraits are so important to capture. This is such an unique time in life. The brink of adulthood, the end of an era, the beginning of so many amazing things, and the end of life under the parents roof often.  Photographing my own niece is a greater insight into this metamorphosis of child to young adult. I see her as a child holding a tea cup and chatting away with the grown ups, I see her picking flowers in the middle of a soccer game that she was playing, I see her sitting behind the wheel the first day she got her permit. I see her, a young lady, ready to embrace the world, confident, smart, courageous, and talented.  I see her future laid out before, a path filled with excitement and challenges. I'm so proud of her and all of her accomplishments. I know this turning point in life is not over looked by her. She is remarkably aware of the changes that lie ahead. How different it will be to take a step into the world in a different capacity. There is a sadness to leaving behind childhood, it will be a void left unfilled in their home. Relationships will change as situations change. There are some changes that hurt, leaving behind the daily conversations with your sisters over ice cream, of having your parents there each evening,  but these relationships don't end, they transform and grow. There is so much to look forward to.  Life begins after graduation in a way you can not imagine. New experiences await, new ideas to explore, knowledge of the world to soak in. I know Sydney will have an amazing senior year, but more importantly, I know her life will be filled with wonder, with friendship, with adventure,  with accomplishments, and with strength. Most importantly, she has a strong foundation, a family that will always be here to offer her love, support, and encouragement.  We are so excited to see all the places she'll go!

[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) Tue, 15 Aug 2017 21:50:55 GMT
Presley and Austyn I had such a fun evening photographing these two darling sisters.  They are so full of energy and spunk! I've been fortunate to have photographed Presley several times, so she knows me and feels comfortable right away. In fact she asked for very specific photos, her doing a cartwheel, showing off a split, and smelling the roses! A girl after my own heart, amused by everything and happy to frolic through the flowers. I also loved photographing Austyn! She is such an incredibly happy baby! She smiled the whole evening even though she was teething! Best of all was watching their sweet sister bond that is already so strong! Presley has become quite the big sister and Austyn is eager to follow along. I'm sure these two will be the best of friends!

[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) Thu, 13 Jul 2017 17:54:33 GMT
Keeping up with the Joneses You may have heard the old saying, "keeping up with the Joneses," well this Jones family keeps that saying relevant. Family members where in town from, Singapore, San Diego, and one very special visit home for Nathan, who is active duty in the Navy. There where also four very active generations at this photo shoot! It really is a very special occasion to have so many family members in one location. I was thinking how memorable this visit will be in years to come. Visiting great grandparents, meeting baby Eleanor for the first time, spending time with Aunt Bekah, and getting to bond in ways only long summer nights allow. There was a magic in the air as the family gathered on their family farm that runs generations back. I'm sure stories were told long into the night of past adventures, while the children developed schemes of their own. I enjoyed watching the deep connections of this family, they are playful, genuine, respectful and loving. I keep thinking of the saying, "like branches on a tree, we may grow in different directions, but our roots remain as one." Enjoy this time together Jones family!

[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) Fri, 07 Jul 2017 15:02:48 GMT
Welcome baby Koleson I was so honored to photograph brand new Koleson and his family. I have been photographing this family for  three years when now big brother Jaxson was born. I've always enjoyed spending time with them and capturing their energy and bond. The more time I spend with them, the more fun we have. I love their honest connections, their contagious laughter and their genuine love and devotion! This session was really wonderful.  There are a few things I've been thinking while I edited their gallery, one baby Koleson is going to have an amazing childhood. There will be fun times, big adventures, simple pleasures, and an abundance of laughter.  I've also been thinking how loved this little boy is! He is adored by his brothers, has an amazing extended family and so many friends who are all in awe of him.  The thing that stood out the most however, is the look his parents had when they gazed upon him, pure unquestionable, unconditional love.  A parent's heart grows with each child that joins their family. "A parent's love is whole no matter how many times divided."

Welcome to the world little one!

[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:39:10 GMT
Dipping my toes into the Blog! I have never tried to blog before, but as I'm trying to figure out a way to grow my client base, I decided I might need to start sharing more of my story!  I don't really even understand how my blog will be seen, but I'm giving it a try! 

I've long loved photography, I view the world as if it was all a photo waiting to be taken.  I love seeing a moment frozen in time that I can turn back to and remember exactly what I was feeling, what smell was lingering in the air, the laughter ringing in my ears...  That is my goal for each client session I photograph.  I want you to remember just how your children were at that time in their lives! It is the ordinary moments that make up a life, it is the beauty in the simple things that you will long remember when these fleeting days have passed.   I have such a long way to go to become the photographer I dream of being.  I work daily to improve and I am really enjoying the journey! I have grown so much already and I absolutely love capturing the moments that make up a life well lived! My children offer me daily inspiration to be a better photographer, as well as a better mother and person.  It is amazing to see the world through innocent eyes! I feel blessed and renewed when I just sit back and watch them grow and explore.  I hope you are able to take a moment today to celebrate the simple pleasures in your life!

Until next time,




[email protected] (Shellyn Leeper Photography) Sat, 18 Jul 2015 14:49:12 GMT