Category: Client Education

Size matters.


I blame school pictures for brainwashing us to think 8×10 is a suitable size to hang on the wall.  In those packages of awkward smiles and cheesy backgrounds, 8x10s sound big compared to the tiny wallets we were supposed to give to Grandma.  Have you ever seen one hanging solo on the wall?  In the example above, the 8×10 looks pretty lonely, doesn’t it?  A little frame in a sea of wall space.  Can you even tell what the picture is of or what their expressions are like?  The faces are barely the size of a penny! I don’t want any guests crawling onto my bed to take a better look.  8×10 and smaller are called desk prints.  They’re the perfect size to put on your desk to remind you what really matters in life when you’ve been sitting at the computer for hours.

When it comes to hanging photos on the wall, your photos become more than just photographs but peices of art to decorate your home.  If you have ever bought curtains, you didn’t just buy some off the shelf without knowing which window they were going on.  You pre-visualized and measured to find the perfect color and length for that window.  You should do this with your photography too!

Before your photo session, think about where you might want to hang your photos.  Draw inspiration for clothing from the decor in the room.  Stay within the tonal range and use the accent colors for a professional designer style.  Measure the area you’d like to hang photos and think about using 2/3 to 3/4 of the wall space for a print.

So knowing the 8×10 is way too small for over the bed, let’s look at something bigger.

A 16×20 is the smallest I’d recommend for a wall print.  For over the bed, it still isn’t making a big impact.  There’s wall space on the sides that could be filled in with other prints to create a beautiful wall gallery or you could step up to the next size.

Now that’s more like it!  The 20×30 provides a beautiful focal point for the bedroom.  With this size, you can still choose a ornamental frame or go frameless with a canvas.  This is the size I would go with.

But for kicks, let’s step up one more time:


The 30×40.  This extra large print wouldn’t work in my home due to low ceilings but if you have high ceilings, this size would look amazing over a fireplace.  It makes a huge impact that will stop houseguests in their tracks.  Do you have that perfect family portrait that is full length with lots of background?  This is perfect for that.

I know it’s hard to visualize.  Once the numbers are in front of you, it gets overwhelming and it’s easy to default to that safe little 8×10.  That’s why I offer digital designing to my clients.  Send me a photo of where you’d like your portrait to hang and I can show you how your images would look in various sizes and wall galleries.  Soon you’ll have company and they’ll be exclaiming how much they love that big print on your wall.

Katie Smith is a family and couple photographer in Killeen, Texas.
She used to be stuck in the 8×10 rut but stepped up to a 16×20.
After realizing that was still too small, she proudly shows off her 20×30 canvas over her mantle.
Find Katie Smith Photography on Facebook.

Cherished Album: Product Spotlight

I squealed like a little girl when I received tracking information for my new sample album.  I paced the house like an anxious 1950’s dad waiting for their brand new baby boy to be delivered as I waited for the UPS guy and it’s amazing I didn’t climb in the truck and get it my own self!  I’m just so excited about this book and can’t wait to show it off.

Read more…

This is the Cherished album.  In all it’s 10×10 awesomeness, your family memories will be beautifully displayed across a 12×24 spread or beautifully grouped together to tell your story.  Unlike flimsy consumer books, this is a luxurious flushmount album with thick sturdy pages and a solid spine that makes it destined to be a family heirloom.

I researched so many companies to find the right company to trust with my client’s memories.  I wanted something a client would cherish forever, something that would hold a place of honor in their home, something their grandchildren would fight over in fifty years…  Because I work with families, I wanted the sturdy pages that would not fold or tear when turned by an overly anxious toddler.  I wanted something that would display images large, something you could leave on a coffee table or set on an easel by the fireplace.  Something that you could decorate your home with instead of just leaving it on the shelf.

I chose Forbeyon as my chosen vendor.  They have wonderful customer service.  The choices of covers range from a luxurious black leather to a fun modern bright pink- I ordered “champagne” to mock the color of sand.  No matter where we photograph your family, they have a cover option that will fit the vibe of your photos.  The textures are divine and the craftsmanship can’t be beat.  I honestly believe this is an album to be treasured for generations.  Small prints in a run of the mill photo album do not do your family’s memories justice like a Cherished album does.

forbeyon-blog copy

Katie Smith is an on location, family and couples photographer based in Pittsboro, NC.
She loves designing albums and wall galleries that will take her client’s breath away.
With two boys of her own, she knows the importance of document life and showcasing it in a way that her children will be able to look back on it.
She looks forward to sharing this sample album with her future daughter-in-laws, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Find Katie Smith Photography on Facebook

Behind the scenes

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at Katie Smith Photography?  Probably not but I’m going to tell you anyways!

If you think my job is done when I leave the session, you’re saddly mistaking.  My work is just beginning!  It usually starts with me sitting at the computer with some chocolate and listening to the Breaking Benjamin station on I Heart Radio.

Getting down to business, I start uploading.  I take 200+ pictures during the session.  It takes a little while to transfer all the images.

Now it’s time to sort.  Unflattering expressions, out of focus, and any other images that don’t pass my strict guidelines get 1 star and are banished to the computer’s recycle bin.  I only want to show you the best.  Then I go back through and find my favorites.  I double check them at 100% (so close I can count your eyelashes!) for perfect focus.  If it passes, I give it five stars.  I’ll end up going back through those and cutting images that are too similar.  There’s a minimum of 20-25 images but I’ve been known to do 40 when I can’t bare to cut anymore pictures.

Next up is Lightroom editing.  This is mostly basic work.  Fixing the exposure so it’s not too dark or too light and fine tuning the white balance so you aren’t too blue, yellow, green, or magenta.  I try to get it pretty close in camera but stuff happens.  Clouds pass over.  Strange color casts come from walls.  I shoot RAW so I can fix these items with no damage to the digital file.

It’s finally time to export to Photoshop!  Once there, I do a little contrast.  While this example shows a flawless model, I do fix blemishes including but not limited to cleaning up runny noses, tucking in muffin tops, removing acne and scratches, smoothing fly away hairs, and softening skin.  If there’s a background object that I couldn’t move at the session, such as a car, trash can, or powerlines, I use the clone tool to make it disappear.  Then it’s time to darken and saturate the color on the background.  That’s going to give the image some depth and make it look rich.  Each file gets individual attention so it can go from “eh…” to “WOW!”

From start to finish, the process takes 5-7 hours depending on how extensive the editing is.  It’s all worth it in the end though when it goes from a good image to a professional portrait.

Have questions?  Feel free to ask using the contact page!