So, you might be curious about what a session looks like, how long it will take, and what to prepare for.
I am pretty flexible when it comes to sessions, I love love love outdoor sessions, they offer the most flattering NATURAL light, and an outdoor locations makes it easy to really get creative, especially for couple's and family photos. The Vilseck area has tons of nice little places that make great locations, but honestly, you can do photos pretty much anywhere. When you book a session, we will talk locations. I have a few places I really like, but I am also open to your ideas! I do have a studio space for the worst of days that don't allow for lengthy outdoor sessions, and I like to use that especially for babies.
Outdoor sessions usually take place early in the morning just as the sun rises, or late in the afternoon/evening, when the light is the best. On overcast days, the time of day doesn't matter too much, but on very sunny days, I kind of like to stick to the early morning/late afternoon timeframes. It is possible to shoot in noon light, though! For studio sessions, the time doesn't matter, since I don't work with natural light but with studio strobes.
What's your photographer like?
I am not an extroverted person at all, but somehow I become a outgoing person when I take photos. I try to make this as fun as possible, after all, I want you to be comfortable and enjoy this experience. I also hope to get some genuine smiles. If I overdo the cheering-on, please let me know ;), but I have learned, that while parents think that I am nuts, kids do pretty well with a silly photographer ;). Whatever ideas you have, bring them on; I prepare for every single session, I'm trying to change things up a little bit for every client, but I really honestly love when clients have some ideas of their own that we can incorporate in our session. If you are thinking about changing outfits, please stop thinking and just bring the outfits!
How long does a session take?
Session lenght depends mainly on the subject.
I like to take my time for newborns, I would say at least 2 hours. They will get hungry, they need to be changed, they need to be cuddled, and this all takes time. When I do a newborn session, I don't book another session for that day, just so we can make sure to have enough time and to work without any kind of stress. I love babies, they usually are happy and jolly and we can take as much as an hour (or even longer, depending on what baby thinks of this); you can change their outfits as many times as they let you.
For individuals or couples I would say we'll need somewhere around 30 to 45 minutes. Family sessions can be either a little longer than that if you have older kids that will be patient enough to do family photos as well as some individual photos, or maybe shorter if you have young kids/toddlers that have anything on their agenda but to sit still for a second for a photo. With younger kids, stay patient; they are in charge and we will most likely have to work around them in order to get some nice photos.
For pricing and any other questions you may have, please contact me either here or message me via facebook.
When it comes to printing your photos, think about what you'll do with them. Will they go in the album or are you thinking about hanging them on the wall? Many times, I have made the mistake to order a print that I thought would look great on the wall only to realize that they look tiny once I've put them up. The following neat comparison visualizes how different sized prints look when they are placed on a wall.
So, an 8 by 10 might sound like a pretty decent sized print size, but it depends on how you want to use it. Several 8 by 10s placed on a wall would make for a great photo wall, but if you'd like one image to really stand out, you might want to consider choosing a larger print size. A few months ago I've ordered a gallery wrap, and initially I almost felt guilty for spending the extra money on the larger size, but now that the gallery wrap is hanging on the wall and I get to look at it every day, I'm glad I got it. You can check out the gallery wrap here http://sabinereed.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/8/prints.
Aspect ratio is the relationship between an image's width compared to its height. I almost exclusively use an aspect ratio of 3:2. When you order prints, regadless of wether you use this website to do so or whether you venture out and have them printed at one of the instant print stations or order them through another website, make sure you always use the preview option when you order prints sized other than 4 by 6. The 3:2 aspect ratio makes for a perfect uncropped 4 by 6 print. An 8 by 10 print on the other hand, has an aspect ratio of 5:4, which means that you may lose some important parts of a picture when it is cropped to this aspect ratio.
When you order prints of images I have created with an aspect ratio other than 3:2, again, use the preview option, so you don't lose parts of the photo or end up with white blocks on either side. I usually leave enough space on an image for it to be printed in either size without using any important parts, but just in case, always doublecheck. If you have any questions about this, don't hesitate to contact me. I also have a little example here to help visualize what I'm trying to say here in rather technical terms. The transparent areas on the 5 by 7 and the 8 by 10 is what would be cropped. The 4 by 6 is the aspect ratio that I produce.
Growing up, a vacation to the Bavarian Alps sounded to me like the epitome of a boring trip for old folks. My Dad loves the mountains, and my parents have taken my brothers and me on mountain vacations since I can remember. To me, a vacation in the Alps always took place in the summer and meant a lot of walking. A LOT of walking. Well, I have always preferred a beach vacation over anything involving mountains. I did some reading on Berchtesgaden and its surroundings, though, and it got my attention. I thought, it looked like a neat place for a long weekend. The area offers something for everybody; history buffs might be interested in the fact that Hitler spent his vacations in Berchtesgaden at the Eagle's Nest, a house built specifically for him on top of the Kehlstein mountain. Outdoorsy folk can hike for days here, on easy trails, like the one we took Noah on to go see the Eiskapelle, Germany's lowest glacier, or difficult ones (...we opted out on those. Because of Noah. Of course!). Water lovers can hit the lakes to go for a swim or to do some water sports. You may also go on a boat on the Koenigsee, the King's Lake, and listen to the famous echo. If daylight is not your thing, a tour underground in the salt mines might offer a nice diversion for you. If you get tired of all the idyllic picture perfect small towns, Salzburg is in close proximity, where you can stroll in the pretty alleys of Mozart's birth place and do some shopping. For those who like food and beer: You will be taken care off in the whole area.
After an easy drive we got here in the early afternoon. We went down to the Koenigsee, but decided not to go on a boat yet because we didn't want to have to rush. We just checked out the place a little and then went on to drive the Rossfeldstrasse.
This panorama road is a beautiful street carved into the mountains and offers fantastic views of the area surrounding Berchtesgaden and - on the other side - of Austria. We lucked out with having wonderful fall weather. You actually have to pay for driving this road, but oh well, it was beautiful and worth it. Since it was still kind of early in the day, we went on to Ramsau, where I took my calendar shot of the little church and the bridge on a creek.
From there we went on to Salzburg and walked the town untill we ended up in a nice big Biergarten.
We got up early to beat the crowd at Koenigsee. The first boat leaves at about 8 am, and we got there relatively early. It was still foggy when we went on the boat and we really couldn't see that far, but it was actually pretty nice to be on the lake in the morning mist. The guide on the boat played the trumpet for us in order to demonstrate the echo. Pretty cool stuff. After an about 35 minute trip, we reached the little chapel of St. Bartholomae, where we left the boat. It was still foggy.
We hiked up to the Eiskapelle, or ice chapel, which is Germany's lowest glacier. The hike up there was pretty intense (well, at least for those of us who don't regularly hike...). Noah did awesome and walked the whole trail by himself. He also talked non stop. Little kids amaze me sometimes, so much energy, they talk and talk, walk and walk, and I'm there, totally out of breath. Since we got there so early, we were pretty much the only ones on the trail. It took us about an hour to get up to the ice chapel. At its end, the trail fades into the rocks that have been moved by the glacier, you have to cross the little creek coming from the glacier and its rock bed in order to move on.
For kids Noah's age, this is a perfect playground. Well,that is, if you have good nerves as a parent and don't get phased too much about them climbing up impossible looking rocks and then jumping down. I've learnd a while ago that Noah has developed a pretty good judgment of what is doable and what is maybe a not so bright idea, so teeth grindingly, I endure his endeavours. He LOVED it! When we got back to St. Bartholomae, we hit the Biergarten there.
Bier, Weinschorle, and and Apfelschorle never tasted so good!
We made our way back on the boat, this time in glorious sunny weather. Next on our agenda was the Eagle's Nest. In order to get there, you have to find your way to the parking area at the Dokumentation Salzberg, hit the bus, and get a lift up the mountain. The drive is spectacular, another road carved into the steep moutain. Once you are up at the bus parking lot, you have the choice of either walking up to the top of the Kehlstein, the mountain, the Eagle's Nest is built on, or to walk through a tunnel to an elevator, that has been used by Hitler and his guests back in the day and is still functioning. We took the elevator; it is kind of strange to think that Hitler was in there and along with him some of the biggest names of Nazi history. This is the tunnel that leads to the elevator up to the Eagle's Nest:
Even weirder is the thought that you are walking on paths that were walked upon by this creep once you are up on the mountain. The Eagle's Nest, or Kehlsteinhaus, is now a restaurant, situated in a very peaceful location with a wonderful view, yet busy due to the amount of tourists up there. It is hard to believe that the Nazi elite used to enjoy their vacations there.
For dinner we went to a cute Italian place in Berchtesgaden called Pizzeria Bella Napoli. They have basic Italian food, pizza and pasta, but it was very good, and the place is the the cutest Italian place I have seen in Germany so far.
Day 3 was supposed to be a rainy day, so we headed out super early to go to the salt mines. Super early, because when the weather gets bad here, there is not much indoorsy stuff that can be done, so we figured, we should get there as soon as possible to beat the crowds. Well, we got there at 9:15, got our ticket, and went on the tour within 10 minutes. People that arrived later had to stand in line and wait forever, so either go on a sunny day if you have enough time, or go very early. The tour is great, it is informative, but also very fun. You get to wear overalls and feel like a miner. A little wagon train brings you deep into the mines - sounds claustrophobic, but it really didn't feel like it. From there, you go on by foot. There are two wooden banisters or slides that you have to slide down on, you get to go on a little ferry that brings you across a salt lake in the mountain, and you get tons of information on how salt mining works. The tour takes a good hour and a half, and really I thought it was great, and especially with kids, this is a lot of fun.
Afterwards, the rain got really bad, but it didn't stop us from checking out a cool waterfall across the border in Austria. Again, due to the weather, we had the place almost to ourselves, and Noah got to climb on rocks, check out the water fall, and walk the little trails.
Back in Berchtesgaden, we went to the Hofbraeuhaus by Bob's demand. Yum. I like Italian and Greek food, but man, nothing tastes better than a Schnitzel when you are hungry. I am very German like that. Afterwards, we went back to our hotel and Noah and his Dad went to the pool there.
Nobody was ready to leave yet, so after checking out of our hotel, we decided to go up a mountain. We used the Jennerbahn to go to the top of the Jenner mountain. The weather was picture perfect and we got to enjoy beautiful views.
I still wasn't quite ready to go home - I never am - so we stopped at the Wimbachklamm, a small gorge with plenty of small and big waterfalls.
We finally started our drive back home, but thanks to a Stau, we made a pit stop at beautiful Chiemsee (I think, this will be a future four-day-weekend destination for us) where I got my Italy fix in a nice restaurant overlooking the lake.
I highly recommend the Berchtesgadener Land for a four day. In fact, it would serve as a great destination for even a couple of weeks, there is just so much to do there. Because with the military you never quite know what the schedule is like, I booked a hotel that would have allowed us last minute cancellation, but was slightly more expensive than other hotels (https://www.booking.com/hotel/de/alpenhotel-denninglehen.en-gb.html?sid=67e70d7868b133597c207eea3d2f66a5;dcid=2). I am sure you can find a great little B&B for a lot cheaper, though, and that's the only thing I would do differently on this trip.
Well, after a day of just hanging out at the pool we got bored and decided that we should go up Mt. Vesuvius. We hopped in the car after breakfast to drive there, which should have been easy breezy. Well, stupid GPS sends us through some shady neighborhoods in Naples, nothing too crazy, but of course the streets were narrow, drivers crazy, and I was traumatized by the experience in the narrow alley where we had the near-car-is-stuck-in-alley-experience. Somehow, we made it through traffic and up to Mt. Vesuvius. Even though our GPS insisted on continuing to go straight ahead, we had to stop at a parking lot just before the entrance to the protected nature reserve.
We had to pay a small fortune to hop on a big cool bus to be driven up to the volcano's crater. An older Italian guy got into a heated argument with the guys working there, from what I understood he was outraged by the high prices. It was highly entertaining, loud, lots of use of gestures, very Italian. In the end, the trip was well worth the money. Noah had a good old time on the bumpy ride!
We had to climb up the last few hundred meters to the craterwhere you can walk on the rim and look inside the volcano. A nice lady from Israel insisted on taking a picture of us, so here it is ;)
There are guides up there that tell you a lot about the history and the geology of Mt. Vesuvius, which was pretty neat. The volcano is dormant right now, so while it is pretty interesting to see, right now, it's not too spectacular. The last eruption occurred in 1944, before that, you couldn't look into the crater as it was covered by a hardened layer of lava that you could actually walk across. There also used to be a chair lift going up the volcano, which has been destroyed in the 1944 eruption, along with that lava layer. There is one little spot where you can see smoke coming out of the volcano, but other than that, it really is calm and quiet. The guide told us, though, that it is only a matter of time untill Mt. Vesuvius will erupt again, and since Naples and the surrounding towns and villages are getting bigger and bigger, and are among the most densely populated areas in Europe, the evacuation will be a nightmare. It was kind of hazy, so we couldn't see too far, but the view has to be amazing from up there on a clear day, when you can see Naples and the Sea from the top of Mt. Vesuvius.
Well, it wasn't too late in the day, so we decided that we should to a pit stop at Pompeii. Again, I have to mention how awesome my Noah is as a traveler, we walked around the ruins of Pompeii for about three hours, and Noah did great.
The size of Pompeii is impressive, as is its history. It was an ordinary town, its inhabitants underestimated the power of Mt. Vesuvius. I guess, small eruptions happened frequently, so the people just didn't take them too seriously. Once they realized how severe the eruption was, it was too late to escape. What I thought was so strange about Pompeii is how very well preserved some the walls in the houses and the paintings on them were, but how little effort is taken to actually protect them from the masses of tourists walking through Pompeii every day.
Some of the best preserved paintings are sperated by little ropes from visitors, but to others, you can walk up to and touch. There are no employees or volunteers like in other museums that kind of watch over these relicts. I guess, the size of Pompeii makes it impossible to maintain it. A lot of items have been brought to a museum in Naples, however. Much of Pompeii is yet to be discovered, and from what I understand, they are trying to make it a more holistic kind of archeological site, where things stay where they were found but are to be protected better.
We ended our day trying to get back to Sorrento. Traffic was crazy, the scooters passed us like swarms of bees, but you know what, I'm writing this from my boring German home, and I miss Italy. Traffic looks like a big chaos, but actually, it is pretty organized, and people are very corteous. You just have to be brave and use your gas pedal, watch out a little, and people will let you merge in.