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Chic Critique is THE elite magazine, community, & resource for women who love photography (yes, we’re biased!)
Our mission: critique | confidence | community
Get your CHIC on with our Celebrity Photographers who inspire, teach, and critique to help increase confidence and improve your images!


Each Monthly Mentor creates a video just for you and will answer any questions you may have regarding my video & business ALL MONTH LONG…so bring it!

SEPTEMBER MENTOR- Haley Gilreath of HWG Photography

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We have monthly Chic Challenges for our fabulous Chic Members.  Stretch your creativity and win a prize at the same time.  This months winner receives a $40 dollar coupon code to the winner of this month’s challenge!.  We would love to see all of our readers become a part of these challenges too!  Enter the challenge HERE!


We are so excited to announce the winner of our Last Chic Challenge, which was Backlighting! Congratulations Trina of VioletRay Photography.  Your image was gorgeous and had amazing backlight!





Guest Contributor | Haley Gilreath of HWG Photography
Taming The Toddler: How to Capture Perfect Candids of Those Busy Little Clients
You have a new client inquiry who wants family photos of her, her husband, and their two-year-old little boy…are you one of the many photographers who frown a little at the thought of  chasing down a rambunctious and hyper little person?  You can handle demanding brides, commercial photography deadlines, even tax season, but when you see a toddler on the schedule, you wish you had been too ‘busy’ to take them on as clients.  We’ve all been there once or twice, but during my determination to conquer those dreaded toddler sessions, I actually grew to love them.  Now, toddlers are my favorite genre and I would love to help you guys not only conquer those toddler sessions, but also get excited when you book one!
Toddlers are so busy, and curious that they almost never cooperate during a session, (generally speaking).  I tell everyone that one reason toddlers are my favorite is because when I can show my clients a gallery full of expression, personality, and precious candid shots of their usually hyper and ‘too-busy-for-the-camera’ toddler, there is such a sense of accomplishment unlike any other because I know that worked so hard for those shots!   All of the running, singing, waiting, playing, and everything else I had to pull out of my hat to capture those split-second moments was worth every minute.  You cannot pose or recreate life moments and toddlers do not become embarrassed or awkward when they are told to ‘act natural’ or candid, so the trick is to get them to be themselves in front of your camera without getting in their way.  The way to your client’s heart is through their children, so when I sell to potential clients, I do not focus on the pomp-and-circumstance that they will get from a custom boutique photography experience.  Instead, I simply get them to see how important portraits are while their children are young.  How quickly these moments slip away, and also once they are gone, how they will be able to look back and remember exactly how their toddler acted at that moment in time.   I hope these 4 simple tips help you with your next toddler session!
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So how do you tame those stubborn toddlers?  Here are few tips that will help you pull those gorgeous, natural expressions form your most difficult little clients.
1. Inform and Educate Your Parents.  This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be so surprised at how many photographers do not do this!   Photographer-parent communication is so important, especially when you are shooting their toddler.  Many parents love to bribe their children, but toddlers are way too smart for that.  They know that they will probably get, or not get, what they have been promised whether they cooperate or not…or if they are anything like my toddler, (pictured above), then they simply do not care about incentives.   Parents need to know upfront that this is not an effective way to start their photo session.  Once your toddler shows up to their session without any prizes that they are expected to ‘work’ for, they are more likely to view the session as a fun and new way to explore their environment as opposed to feeling like the session is just another structured experience where they have to ‘behave’ and sit quietly.
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2. Leave grandparents and extra adults/children at home. This also falls under photographer-parent communication, but I inform my parents that toddlers do much better when they are not distracted by additional adults or children.  Parents love to bring a ‘favorite adult’ or sibling to help make the toddler smile/interact…this almost never works out!  When you do get a shot of the toddler smiling, they are usually looking away from the camera.  When shooting toddlers, the most important thing to keep in mind is connection.  You need that little person to connect with you and the lens and when there are adults standing around behind you trying to grab their attention, it hinders the whole session.  So explain to your parents that you will be the only one who will grab baby’s attention, and to trust you.  This also relaxes the parents and  helps them trust you more as the professional because you have already considered and have a solution for one of their biggest concerns with their session.
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3. Ask parents to bring one favorite toy.  If your toddler is having a meltdown moment, or just does not want to do anything other than cling to mom’s leg, I have found that putting the camera down, and playing with a favorite toy helps them loosen up enough to get to know me  a little better.   Also, I always start out my sessions with a hug~it may take a little time for them to let me hug them, but hugging is a huge way to get them to trust you, and feel secure around.  This really breaks the ice and I always get my toddlers to interact with me whether I am shooting, or just sitting and playing with them before we start our session.
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4.  Keep props simple.  Toddlers are very easily distracted and they will certainly want to play with everything in your studio if they see it.  Before toddlers come visit me, I put everything out of sight and only have what I’m using close by.  I like my set ups simple anyways, but with toddlers, I really try not to use any ‘props’ unless they are chairs, baskets, stools, etc…  By doing this, they are forced to interact with me only without reaching or crying for toys.   I ask questions, sing songs, and anything else to get them to look my way during studio sessions, because I believe a stare, or frown is just as beautiful as a smile.  Again, it is all about connection.  If you can get that toddler to connect to you and the camera, you will blow your clients away with profound, and emotion-provoking images of their child.
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Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 8.55.38 PM I am a mother of two beautiful little girls the wife of a very hard working firefighter.  We live in the North Georgia Mountains with our two dogs, an English Bulldog named Penelope, and a Blue Tick Hound named Molly.  I began my photography career 5 years ago after I graduated college with a degree in Early Childhood Education.  I decided that teaching was not for me, and I quickly fell in love with the creativity, freedom, and challenge of photography.  I own a fully equipped home-studio and I have a wonderful Studio Manager named Courtney.  After 4 1/2 years of juggling the business alone, Courtney has been a blessing and now that I have her, I don’t know what I’d do without her!



France Family Photos by Blue Lily Photography

by Kelli France | Editor-in-Chief

About a month ago, we drove up to the Salt Flats to meet up with one of our Celebrity Photographers, Wendy Whitacre of Blue Lily, for family photos. And of course we had to get some shots of us reading our print issues of Chic Magazine ;0)

I have to say that I am SOOOOOOOOOO happy with how they turned out! The photos are just so…us.

I can’t believe that she got some shots of my kids behaving. Normally, they have P.K.S. (Photographer’s Kid Syndrome) and have a hard time looking at a camera or staying still. Wendy’s got mad skillz. That’s all I have to say.

This pic is my fave. I already bought a 30×40 canvas of this:

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cobalt dress | Target (only in stores) |similar

moto jacket |Forever 21

heels | Lilly’s Kloset |similar

belt | Bella Ella Boutique

earrings | She Inside

ring | Lia Sophia



skirt | Amazon

b&w striped shirt | old | similar

boots | Target

ring | Lia Sophia




Congrats Jenn Bullen! Your image is so precious that we had to feature you as the Chic of the Week.


Love the connection between a boy and his dog.  You captured the emotion so well is this image there was no way I could let it slip by without sharing it in a CHIC of the Week post.

Congrats again to Jenn Bullen of Watch Them Grow Photography!  You’ve been awarded a gift certificate from one of our vendors for being selected as Chic of the Week!

Which photo of your own would you like to see featured on the site?

If you upload your favorite photos to the forum, we just might feature yours next.


Hi, I live in Melbourne, Australia, married with our beautiful 9 year old boy and two dogs. After I purchased my first digital camera my business started by accident at my sons’ playgroup. I was asked if I could be the official photographer for the group after they viewed the photos on the back of the camera. The business took off from there. I’ve always had a passion for photography and studied film and darkroom technique years ago but never dreamed I’d eventually have my own business. Being able to combine my love of children and photography and still be there for our son has been a dream come true.
I specialise in natural light newborn, maternity, children and family lifestyle photography, on location.

Image Stats:

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I turned around and saw our dog Maggie hugging our son as she had never bonded with him because she was the baby before he came along. Shot with my Canon 5D Mark II at ISO 500, RAW, 1/400, f/stop 1.6, 50mm 1.4 lens. It was taken late afternoon around 5pm under the shade of our front tree. Edited with Photoshop CS4 and a Lilyblue Action.

What critique from Chic Critique Forum did you find helpful after sharing this image?

I took part as a silent member of Jennifer Tonetti-Spellmans’s critique.



Then & Now, Part 1 | See How These Photographers Have Evolved

We asked our blog readers to send in Then & Now photos to see how they’ve evolved. The slideshow below shows photos of 5 photographers’ photos from when they first started out compared to where they are now.

We wanted to show how much you can improve with hard work and persistence. Thank you everyone who was brave and sent in photos for us to use.


Simply send your Then & Now images to We’ll be featuring of 5 different photographers each week.




Blog Love Week 37

Chic Critique Forum Blog Love

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