Spring Cleaning - tips & tricks to get it all out

It’s about that time. The time you can open the windows, turn off the heat, and just breathe fresh air. I don’t know about you, but I live for these moments. It’s also that time to start spring cleaning. It’s just something about opening up those windows that just make you want to clean. Am I right?

I still remember growing up and doing our spring cleaning and getting the trash bags out and the boxes that would eventually be moved to the basement. I am pretty sure I might still have some boxes at my parent’s house to be honest (maybe an item on my cleaning list this year).

I wanted to share with you some of the tips I use to get it all out. How to spring clean, if you will. This will help you get it all out, but keep your sanity while doing it.

Tip #1: Make a Storage, Donate and/or Garage Sale and Toss box

This is the lifesaver. I use this tip any time I am doing deep cleaning. I use storage for seasonal items, family heirlooms, things I am not ready to part with, and maybe even some things that I can give to others.

Donate and/or Garage sale box is more for the things that you don’t want anymore but someone else could breathe life into. My family is really big into this almost every other year. I live out in the middle of nowhere so it doesn’t work well for me at my home, but I take my stuff to my parent’s when their neighborhood has their annual garage sale.

The thing you have to realize is that you must use garage sale prices. I can’t tell you how many times people will comment on that to me at my parent’s house. They will always tell me that we are the only ones they see having “real garage sale prices.” You are not looking to make much money off of these things. If you don’t think a resale store would take it, you need to mark it REALLY low.

Now let’s say you do go to a resale store and they don’t take some things. Go to another one and if you think you can get SOMETHING out of it. Put it into storage until you can do a garage sale.

Anything left after the garage sale, donate it. You can also do this anytime of the year if a garage sale is not an option or you just wanted to donate. Look into multiple different places that take this besides just Goodwill. They are great, but there are multiple other places you can look into that just aren’t advertised as much.

Tip #2: As you are moving things around, DUST!!

I cannot tell you how much I gross myself out by seeing things that need dusted when I move things around. I mean, I try to get to it when I am dusting, but some are either hard to reach or you just don’t think about. Like your cabinet drawers or maybe even around some books you NEVER look at (maybe that’s a sign to move the books to storage or donate).

Some places to also look out for that don’t typically get much attention is inside your kitchen cabinets, the “junk drawer,” behind furniture and appliances, and behind anything that sits stationary (desktop computer, phones, decorative baskets, decorations, etc.).

Tip #3: Don’t do too much at once to overwhelm yourself. Do a few rooms at a time.

This one I do all the time. I like to think that somehow it is possible to do the whole house in a weekend. I am very ambitious and it’s not very realistic unless I had a tribe of people helping me. Try a few rooms at a time. That way you can thoroughly go through everything instead of rushing just to get it done. If one room is really big, you can make these into smaller tasks. For example, I do my closet at a different time than the rest of my room because I get too overwhelmed.

I typically start with my room and then work my way down to the main living spaces and then to the basement. I do recommend doing anything with paper documents on a separate day from anything else so that way you can really look into it and come up with a good filing system and see what is super important and what is not.

Tip #4: Don’t buy anything new until you have gone through everything. If you need organizational items, look around your house first before buying something new.

This one is hard for me. I am ALL about the organizational things. I frequent the Office Depot and Target office supply area often. However, you need to look at other things you might already own around the house. I cannot tell you many times I get done cleaning the house and find 5 extra binders, 20,000 file racks, and 1,000,000 storage boxes. So I really don’t need to buy anything else and just use the things that I already have in the house.

Now, if I can go through EVERY room and can’t find anything then I can go make a list to buy things. And yes, make a list. It will help you not get “shiny object” syndrome. That is my problem, I want everything!

Now that you have these tips in place, get ready to organize your house this spring! Let me know if you have any other tips & tricks I can add to this list! Also, send me photos of your hard work after you are done cleaning. I can’t wait to see them all.

Easy props you can incorporate into your session

Props can be a tricky subject. I don't have anything against them, but not everyone knows really what they should use or can use in a session. I wanted to create a quick and simple list of items you can easily use in your session.

1. Flowers - I love to use flowers as a prop because they can be whimsical and natural. It doesn't look to forced and it brightens up the photos.
2. Toys - Children are always playing with toys. This won't look unnatural because of that fact. If I get a photo with a toddler and their favorite toy, that will be normal. It's a part of who they are and what they like. It's also super easy because it will make them happy to have that with them while I am taking their photos.
3. Jackets - Jackets are most definitely a prop. You can wear it, swing it over your shoulder, wrap it around your waist, etc. Since it's a part of your wardrobe, it looks natural and no effort is put into it.
4. Blankets - These work really well with couples to wrap each other in. It brings them closer together and it looks really lovey. This trick also works well with children.
5. Announcement pieces - Examples could include: engagement ring, ultrasound photos, baby booties, house keys (first place to live, bought a house), etc. These little things are easy to carry and help make announcement photos clear. You want someone to know you are announcing something very specific and these are key things to do that with.

This is just a small list of things you can use easily in your session without needing a lot of thought behind it.

Want to incorporate your furry family members in your photos? Here are tips on how to

Our little furry family members are our whole world. (Well, to me they are). I often get asked about incorporating them into the family photos and if I am able to do that. If they are in your family, they deserve to get photographed as well.

My little fur child, Kora, has always been the subject for me in my photographs, so I have been able to practice a lot with her. I have learned little tricks how to get her to look at me and how I want her to "pose."

Now I understand not every dog (or cat) can do these things so I came up with a little list of things you can do to help out on the day of your session.

1. Bring a treat bag - this can be with some favorite treats, toys, things that make noise, etc. I can use this during the session to get their attention and help them behave.
2. Practice with them - Teach them sit, stay, get them to love wanting a treat. This honestly helps get their attention and to keep them staying still for photos.
3. Let me know if there is anything I should be aware of (my animal hates hats, they get scared with loud noises, they get aggressive with strangers, my dog will get distracted by anything that moves, etc.) so I can prepare for this session as well. If your animal hates people with hats, I won't wear one. If your cat hates strangers, I can try to meet before hand so they aren't afraid of me with the camera.

If you go with these tips, this will help tremendously the day of the session.

7 tips to posing without looking posed

One question or comment I always get is "How do I pose without looking posed?" or "I don't know how to look natural when I get my picture taken." So, I wanted to give you some tips and tricks to help you while you are at your session. 

Tip #1: Relax.

It seems so much easier said than done. If you are uncomfortable in front of the camera, the camera will pick it up. Just breathe and trust your photographer, it's their job to help you.

Tip #2: Smile, naturally.

Again, it seems like something so simple to say. If you relax, your smile will come more naturally. If I don't think you are smiling naturally, I will show you what it looks like on the camera. I will also try to make you laugh so you look more natural in front of the camera. 

Tip #3: Enjoy the moment. 

This session is a memory that you are choosing to capture. Cherish this. It will come across on the camera. If you are having fun and enjoying your time, you will be able to tell. 

Tip #4: Come up with a "happy" (also for couples "I'm so in love with you") moment.

This simply means, go back in your memory bank and come up with one of your favorite "happy" or "I'm so in love with you" moments. This should include the members that are in the session with you. If you are just getting portraits with yourself, remember a good time in your life or something you are looking forward to that gets you so excited. I am going to have you think of that moment when we are taking photos. I want that look to come through your eyes when I take your portraits. It's amazing what it does. 

Tip #5: Come up with a "funny" moment. 

This is very similar to the tip above only change it to funny. This is how you get your natural candid laughing photos. Because you're thinking of a real funny moment, it doesn't seem as forced when you are laughing, it is more natural and genuine. 

Tip #6: Don't take direction from your photographer as criticisms. 

I am here to direct you to make your photographs look the best they can be. If I ask you to move your face, your body or your hair, it's not because you have a flaw, it's because I want to make the photograph look the best it possibly can. I want you to love your photos. Even as a photographer, it is hard to know what the camera sees when you're in front of it. When I get my photos taken, my photographer tells me to look different places and tilt different ways because she can see directly what the camera sees, and almost 100% of the time she is right. Trust your photographer to help you look like the best version of yourself. 

Tip #7: Have fun.

Don't take it too seriously. If your kids are acting up, your fiance is not taking it seriously (aka making fun of it), your hair decides to get real frizzy, it is going to be okay. Have fun with it. I am documenting your life how it is. We all have imperfections, we all have crazy in our life, let it be. Just have fun!

Kaytee Lorentzen
Owner & Photographer