So you want to buy a camera…

When I got my first DSLR camera, it was a Christmas gift, and I didn’t have to put any thought into it. I was pregnant with my boys and, like most moms, I wanted to be able to take pictures of them with something other than my phone or the point and shoot camera that had accompanied me out to the bars in college. (Yes, I’m old enough to remember when we took selfies with a camera instead of a cell phone…) It came with a kit lens, and some filters that someone talked my husband into and I was thrilled. I turned it on and snapped away, and soon I realized that I was in over my head because I didn’t have a clue what to do with it unless I had it in auto. I did learn how to use that camera, but that’s a story for another day.

There are so many cameras on the market, and they are all the “best”. One friend says you have to get a Nikon, another friend swears by Canon.  How do you even know where to start?

Here are some things to consider.

  1. Image Quality/Sensor Size: In film days camera sensors were roughly 24×36 mm and a 35mm lens gave you the most true to life imagery. Digital cameras now have full frame sensors (24×36) or crop sensors that are approximately 1.5x. Generally, the larger the sensor the better the image. However, there is a much higher price tag that comes with a full frame camera. For most entry level photographers, a crop sensor body will suit you and your budget just fine.
  2. Resolution: How many megapixels does it have? This is only really important if you plan to enlarge your images. If you plan to print smaller sized prints, email them, and post them on Facebook then you don’t need to worry about them.
  3. Lenses: Many camera bodies can be bought with a kit lens. Most commonly it is an 18-55mm. In most cases, your money would be better spent foregoing the kit lens and upgrading to a higher quality lens. Prime lenses that have a fixed focal point (don’t zoom) are going to be faster and sharper. The thing to remember is if you are buying for a crop sensor camera, your lenses with also have a crop factor. For example, a 35mm lens with shoot at a 50mm focal length, a 50mm lens will shoot at a 75mm focal length. To calculate, take your lens’ focal length and multiply by your crop factor. (Nikon’s is 1.5, Canon is 1.3 or 1.6 depending on the body.) I found this the hard way by buying a 50mm and wondering why I couldn’t get far enough away from my kids when shooting in my living room when everyone said that the 50mm was a perfect portrait lens. Lesson learned.

There are plenty of other bells and whistles to consider when buying a camera, but if you take these three things into consideration, you’ll be off to a good start!

Here are a few beginner cameras that are worth looking into!

Canon Rebel T5i

Canon Rebel T6i

Nikon D5300

Nikon D5200 (this model is discontinued, but it was my starter camera and if you can find a refurbished body, I’d still recommend it!)

Nikon D3300


mankato family session

Mankato Family Session: The E Family

Family sessions that involve toddlers usually go one of two ways. Either the toddler is hiding and crying at the sight of me, and yes sometimes it gives me a complex, or the toddler is a big ham and it takes almost no effort to get them to smile. Logan not only was full of smiles, but he took it one step further. He actually tried to take me home with him. But, more on that later.

Kelly informed me as we were strolling back to our location that they had not ever had family pictures taken. At first I was surprised, but then I realized that it’s probably not that uncommon. You have pictures of your kids, and you snap pictures of one parent or the other, but so often we forget to get everyone in front of the camera and capture the family being together. I’m so glad they came out and I was able to freeze time for them, if only for a few minutes.

So back to Logan, he saw my boys’ fire truck when they pulled in, and he wanted to ride it SO BAD! So, I did what any sane parent did and bribed him with it while we took pictures. “The fire truck is filling up with gas, we will go ride it soon!” came out of my mouth multiple times. A few tickles, games and songs later, and we had beautiful memories for their family to cherish before they become a tribe of four! I held up my promise, and got the fire truck out for Logan to take for a spin once we wrapped up. I think that’s what did it, one fire truck ride and we were buddies for life. He was ready for me to climb in the car and ride home right next to him! Now that’s customer satisfaction. 😉  mankato family session DSC_2406-Edit DSC_2402-Edit DSC_2384-Edit DSC_2376-Edit DSC_2365-Edit DSC_2356-Edit DSC_2352-Edit DSC_2342-Edit DSC_2325-Edit DSC_2315-Edit DSC_2311-Edit DSC_2298-Edit DSC_2294-Edit DSC_2284-Edit DSC_2263-Edit DSC_2252-Edit DSC_2240-Edit

If you are interested in your own session with Kelly Scholl Photography, and would like to be the first to know about upcoming specials, please opt in for my monthly newsletter by using the following link! Click here to subscribe!

Mankato Baby Session: Josie and Hazel

I knew coming into this baby session that it was going to be adorable. Josie’s mom contacted me about a mini session for her 10 month old daughter and her best friend, and I couldn’t help smiling because they aren’t even a year old yet, and they already have each other. When the girls showed up, they were wearing matching tutu dresses, because what else would you wear with your best girlfriend to a photo shoot? They clearly are not amateurs. As we made our way through the morning, I chatted with their Mom’s and it was so clear that family is number one in their lives and their children are so very precious to them, which is why they were there supporting The Potato Head Project. Josie jumped right into the session with big grins and silly faces. She seems to get that jolly personality from her mom. Hazel was sweet and cautious. She wasn’t quite sure of me at first and her biggest smiles came out when she was safe in her mama’s arms. So we took some time playing and laughing, and capturing some of my favorite images from the session. The connection between a mom and her baby is just one of my favorite things to witness. The girls ended their session with their sweet little tutued tushes in the dirt. And Hazel showed that she wasn’t always quiet and shy, if you get some booty shaking music going, she lights right up. DSC_2448-Edit  DSC_2652-Edit DSC_2648-Edit DSC_2630-Edit DSC_2609-Edit DSC_2595-Edit DSC_2591-Edit DSC_2590-Edit DSC_2577-Edit DSC_2565-Edit mankato baby session DSC_2534-Edit DSC_2529-Edit DSC_2526-Edit DSC_2517-Edit DSC_2514-Edit DSC_2501-Edit mankato baby session DSC_2482-Edit mankato baby session DSC_2459-Edit mankato baby sessionmankato baby sessionIf you are interested in your own session with Kelly Scholl Photography, and would like to be the first to know about upcoming specials, please opt in for my monthly newsletter by using the following link! Click here to subscribe!

Mankato Mini Session: Jenna and her girls.

If you haven’t heard, Kelly Scholl Photography is proudly supporting The Potato Head Project during the upcoming Mini Sessions for Hope event June 2nd, 4th, and 5th. This inspiring organization is supporting families of micro preemie babies through the use of Potato Head toys. They are a new organization and while the support for the foundation has been overwhelming, so have the requests for support of new babies. Join me in spreading hope. Contact me to book your mini session at our beautiful country location today!


If you don’t know Jenna, you’re missing out.  She’s a gem of a woman. The love for her family shines through in everything she does. She’s kind hearted with a sense of humor. I totally appreciate her personality. We have a few things in common so conversation flows easily when we get together. I first met Jenna at a Ready for Kindergarten event through our local community ed. Since then, we’ve become part of the same play group, and supported each other’s businesses. So, when I needed a model family for my upcoming mini session fund raiser, I thought of her and her sweet girls. Jenna runs her own business, designing and creating bows and headbands for little girls. Bumbelou is a brand that is stocked in my studio for sessions, and if I could convince my boys to wear them I just might let them! 😉

While all three ladies were stunning during the session. Lexi really stole my heart. We were chatting about princesses, and I asked which princess was her favorite. She responded with “Princess Mater”. Now, if you are completely out of touch with kid friendly movies, Mater is the red-neck truck from Cars. Princess Mater had me cracking up all day. Lexi’s imagination explodes out of her. She is strong and determined. She is silly and loving. Like I said, she stole my heart.

After their session, Jenna and I spent some time talking while the kids played. We have found through many shared stories that my Owen and her Lexi are like peas in a pod. We commiserated over the sheer will it takes to parent a spirited child while still maintaining your sanity. We shared some techniques and favorite authors who have inspired our parenting styles. But, it was eye opening being around another parent’s “Owen”. I was relaxed and enjoying the energy, curiosity, and fun that Lexi shares with the world. I’ve had so many people tell me that Owen is their favorite, that he makes them laugh. And while he does make me laugh, there are many days that I’ve felt defeated because all of my “techniques” just didn’t work and everyone ended up in tears. We talked about letting go of the unreachable expectations. I’ve been trying to do just that ever since that session. I will see the amazing in my little ball of energy. I will join him in his curious exploration of the world.

Thank you Princess Mater, for reminding me to let go.























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Mankato Child Session: Jonah and Owen

When we set out this afternoon, I knew I wanted some pictures of the boys picking flowers. I didn’t have any idea if they would be cooperative and I’d get what I had imagined, or if they would have great big toddler melt downs and I’d end up with pictures of them crying in the ditch. I had the best of intentions to take the boys out separately to do 3 year old photo sessions, but between the packing and the daily grind, that hasn’t happened. So, when I sat down and uploaded these images and loved so many, I thought, why not call this their birthday session and just move on with life?

Three seems like a big deal. Each birthday has brought along it’s changes and with it the sentimental tug of missing my “babies”, but three just seems so big. And so do they. It’s mind blowing, the things that they accomplish on their own each day. I think it’s blowing their minds too. Because, more often than not, they seem to surprise themselves with what they can do. And then the pride just shines. Three is fun. It’s liberating and exciting. It’s so darn hard, and stubborn, and independent. If you’re parents, I know you understand.

Three is strengthening the bond. They are pretty inseparable. They are a team, in both the good and the mischievous.

Three is also strengthening the individual. Although a package deal, they couldn’t be more different.

Owen lives big. His thoughts, dreams, feelings, and actions are all larger than life. You see it in his imaginative play. There was a time not too long ago that he so vividly imagined that a log was a big iguana, that it took careful preparation to build up the strength just to walk past it. His emotions are strong and big. Not just the frustration and disappointment, but the joy and the excitement as well. There is no guessing what he feels, and no changing it either. You hear his creativity in his made up words and silly games. I try to remind myself that at some point, he will not make up goofy words for every object, and I will finally know what he is talking about. And then, I’ll probably miss his goofy language. Owen is a hands on, down on the ground, pushing and pulling, scooping and dumping, right in the action kind of kid. He is curious, and the “why” phase is just getting going.

Jonah is purposeful. He has the patience and concentration for puzzles and board games. He enjoys creating things, and for that reason, has access to an art caddy for whenever the mood strikes. Jonah is a lover. He loves to snuggle and give hugs. I will never tire of hearing phrases like “I love you so much!”, “That is so beautiful!” and “I”m so glad you’re here!”. He has a positive attitude that you can’t help but catch. Jonah is independent, and is thoroughly enjoying figuring things out for himself. Dressing, brushing his teeth, and cooking on his own are all things that bring about a sense of great pride. Between his curly hair and gap tooth grin, I just can’t get enough of my sweet boy.

As with anything that’s worthwhile, three will be a challenge. It will be full of dirty knees and scraped knuckles, brotherly disputes and power struggles. But, three will be amazing too.

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If you are interested in your own session with Kelly Scholl Photography, and would like to be the first to know about upcoming specials, please opt in for my monthly newsletter by using the following link! Click here to subscribe!

Mankato Lifestyle Family Session: The Krogman’s

A lifestyle family session may be a new concept for some people, but it’s something that I am growing to love capturing. Sometimes, you want more than just a posed, everyone look and smile portrait. Sometimes, you want to capture the feelings the family experiences when they spend time together. Portraits are wonderful, don’t get me wrong. I love a beautiful styled image with bright happy eyes staring back at me. In fact, that’s exactly how we started the session with baby Taylor. But, there is something special about catching a genuine laugh, a silly game, or a tender moment that is part of a family’s journey through life.

Tony and I went to school together. Considering we grew up in a small town, we saw each other plenty. And since he is good friends with my husband, we continued to see each other through college and even ended up sharing a home town again. Tony is a joker, he’s always got some kind of smart comment to make you shake your head and chuckle. When I heard Tony was getting married, I couldn’t help but think that she was in for a wild ride! But, he’s also the kind of guy who will drop everything to help out a friend. So, when they recently tied the knot and I was asked to capture their ceremony, I jumped out of my comfort zone and did my best to provide them with those special memories. (No, I still don’t do weddings!) I haven’t known Becky nearly as long as I’ve known Tony, but from the time we have spent together, it seems that he couldn’t have chosen a better partner. Not only is she adorable and sweet, she compliments his goofy personality with the most wonderful big laughs. And don’t get me started on their daughter Taylor. Good grief this little girl’s eyes are so blue. And well, like most 6 month olds, she is smiley and happy, and makes you think that babies are just the best thing ever! They fit seamlessly together. They don’t just look happy, they are happy. You can feel it.

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If you are interested in your own session with Kelly Scholl Photography, and would like to be the first to know about upcoming specials, please opt in for my monthly newsletter by using the following link! Click here to subscribe!

Mankato Baby Session: James is One

Baby sessions are always fun! One year old sessions are no exception, and with family friends it’s always relaxed. Adam and Megan are full of sarcasm and totally photogenic, which means I had a blast! Megan allowed me to provide wardrobe options for her and James. I was dying to photograph a mama in a new lace gown I picked up.  She looked stunning! James’s chunky legs peeked out of his shorts as he toddled around, and who doesn’t love a handsome dad in classic jeans and a t-shirt? There is something timeless and pure about neutral colors that let the emotion and connection shine through in an image. Their family is no exception, the affection for their son is so obvious! James was the star of one of my first newborn sessions and it always humbles me to have clients, especially friends, come back.  James started walking just days before his first birthday session which added a level of excitement. Once they are on the go, I have to be ready for action! James was full of serious, “what is this crazy lady doing?” expressions at first, but I pulled out my bag of tricks….tractors, bubbles, balloons…and he perked up quite a bit! This little guy has a million adorable facial expressions! Not to mention when we set a cake topped in real whipped cream in front of him. Well… he wasn’t concerned about walking away anymore. Hands, fingers and toes are all valid choices for scooping cake! If the goal was for James to be COVERED in cake, he succeeded with flying colors! My favorite part of the session was clean up. Sink baths are so sweet, and our babes are small enough for such a short while.

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If you are interested in your own session with Kelly Scholl Photography, and would like to be the first to know about upcoming specials, please opt in for my monthly newsletter by using the following link! Click here to subscribe!

What to Wear Guide: Kelly Scholl Photography

You’ve booked a photo session, and then the panic sets in. What are we going to wear?! Have no fear, most likely the answer is already in your closets!

The number one rule I have is that you need to feel comfortable. If you don’t feel good, and at ease in what you are wearing, it will show in your images. The second most important rule I have is “coordinating, NOT MATCHING”. We know you are a family, that’s why you’re being photographed together. There is no need for you to adorn a uniform of matching pants and white t-shirts in order for us to understand your bond! Now that I’ve got those out of the way, lets dive into some guidelines that will help you style your family with ease!

  1. Keep it simple.  Especially when newborns or babies are involved, it is important to stick to neutral tones and muted colors. Grays, whites, creams, or even black are excellent choices that won’t distract from the newness of your little one. My favorites are the creams and whites. I love the clean, airy feel it gives to the images. Busy patterns can distract as well. Instead opt for solids or textures that will allow the true subject to shine. Always avoid neon clothing. The super bright colors can cause color casts on your face, making you look like a highlighter. If you’re session is outside, avoid wearing lots of green, as you will blend into your surroundings. Instead, if you want a pop of color, think shades of primaries; red (maroon, brick) blue (navy, royal, turquoise) and yellow (mustard). DSC_6596-EditDSC_8438-Edit
  2. Coordinate. Like I mentioned before, coordinating is wonderful. Full on matching is not. When everyone is wearing the same thing, it looks awkward. A good way to coordinate is to start with one outfit that you really love. Maybe that’s Mom’s flattering maxi dress and statement necklace, or it could be your son’s t-shirt, blazer and hat that stops you in your tracks. Next you want the other outfits colors to mesh well with that special outfit. Look for accessories, and layers that help pull the group together and add texture and style. This family rocked the clothing category. There are plenty of colors, patterns and textures, but none of them overpower the other or take away from the expressions of the people. DSC_0134I love this families pop of red against the snowy backdrop. They also nailed the layers with hats, scarves, sweaters, boots, and ponchos. Adorable! DSC_2537-Edit
  3. Layer, make sure it fits, and shoes count! Layering an outfit helps you look polished and put together. In the summer, add belts, a vest, or statement jewelry. In the winter, think belted cardigans, scarves, hats and blazers. It’s important for your clothes to fit, and fit well when you are dressing for photos. Jackets or jeans that are too big will look bulky or sloppy. Especially with jackets, go for a more tailored look. When choosing an outfit for your kids, make sure they don’t have “room to grow”. I tend to buy big because kids grow so fast! But, when it comes to picture outfits, it’s best to have something that fits right now. Pay attention to your shoes. You may have picked out the most adorable outfit for your little guy, but if you slap on his beat up Elmo sneakers, it will take away from the look. Same thing goes for the rest of the family, avoid flip flops and crocks. Instead go for wedges, boat shoes, cute flats, leather boots, strappy sandals, or Mary Janes. If all else fails, strip off the shoes and socks and show off the bare feet!DSC_1459-EditDSC_0070-EditDSC_0072-Edit-2
  4. Flaunt your assets. We all have insecurities about our bodies, but we all have features that we love as well. Play to your strengths. If you love your legs, go for that short dress with a cardigan and wedges. Or grab some skinny jeans and strappy sandals or heels. Tall shoes automatically elongate your legs. If you feel you’ve lost your waist, opt for a high waisted pant or a tailored jacket. Maxi dresses are flattering on any body type and are so versatile. Pair one with a bold statement necklace and some strappy sandals and you’re set! sneak-3

Yes, you should be comfortable in what you’re wearing, but it’s ok to push yourself outside of the box. Take a friends shopping and try on something new that you normally wouldn’t. It may be a total disaster and you’ll have a good laugh, or you may find a new favorite!

If you are interested in your own session with Kelly Scholl Photography, and would like to be the first to know about upcoming specials, please opt in for my monthly newsletter by using the following link! Click here to subscribe!

Mankato Newborn Session: Olivia Jean

You never know how a newborn session is going to go. Sometimes baby is sensitive to touch, or going through a growth spurt and wants to eat the whole time. Sometimes you change the backdrop four times because baby’s digestive system is working on over drive. 😉 And sometimes, you hit newborn baby gold. A rare myth in the newborn photographer world!

Meet little miss Olivia Jean;  six pounds four and a half ounces and nineteen inches of pure perfection! She arrived in this world a little early and was 14 days old at her photo debut. I have a special place in my heart for preemies being that I have two of my own! I have never had a newborn session go as quickly as hers did. This tiny little rock star showed up sleeping, snoozed peacefully during parent shots, and kept right on sleeping until we had gotten every shot we were hoping for and then some. Only then did she ask for a bottle. Let me tell you, she was so peaceful while she was sleeping, but when she decides it’s time to eat, you’ll know!

Her parents were gems as well. Amber was calm and collected, which is a big reason why her little lady was as well. Being a nurse, she never even batted an eye at bodily fluids that made their way where they usually shouldn’t. That’s a big deal for first time moms! Usually, it’s a cause for embarrassment, but really, I take their diapers off…I have it coming! Andrew was there to do all the things new dads are supposed to do…dote on Mom and baby! It was such fun to capture the love within this new family of three, and preserve the first memories of their baby girl. Really folks, I’m living the dream!

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If you are interested in your own session with Kelly Scholl Photography, and would like to be the first to know about upcoming specials, please opt in for my monthly newsletter by using the following link! Click here to subscribe!

Mankato Baby Session: Stella

One of the best ways to have a baby photo session is with a best friend during a play date! When it’s your friend you don’t have to worry about finding someone to watch your kids, or making sure your house is perfect. All good things in my book!  We meant to capture Stella at 3 months, but between busy schedules and sick kids, it’s more like 4. This sweet girl is working on growing a tooth and spends most of her waking hours with her fingers (as many as she can fit) in her mouth!

It’s so fun to watch siblings grow and see how different they can be. Stella’s big brother Oliver is one of my boys’ best buds. They really didn’t have a choice in the matter, when you’re a toddler, your parents pick your friends! He’s sweet, and quiet and will usually start out just watching and taking things in before he jumps in to play. I think Stella is going to be a “jump right in there” kind of girl. She always wants to see what’s going on, she loves being tossed in the air, and gets a big kick out of the big kids. Look out world, once Stella figures out how to move, I don’t think she will stop!

Some of you may remember Stella’s newborn session. Even then she was feisty, making me work to get the shot. Now she is bright eyed and so animated! I can’t wait until the next milestone so I can dress her up and capture those adorable leg rolls!

Newborn Stella
Newborn Stella

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If you are interested in your own session with Kelly Scholl Photography, and would like to be the first to know about upcoming specials, please opt in for my monthly newsletter by using the following link! Click here to subscribe!