Amy Wenzel Photography » A website featuring creative portrait photography of babies, kids, families and high school senior girls. Sacramento, CA / San Francisco, CA.

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Jonas Paul Eyewear Photo Shoot

Who knew that photographing 12 pairs of glasses and 10 children in one day would require me to burn the same amount of calories as running a marathon?  I’m pretty sure I hobbled to my car afterward, haha.  Seriously though, despite the supernatural amount of energy required to pull off a shoot like this, I was in absolute heaven.  These kids were so adorable and inspiring to work with and it was really cool to see all of their different personalities shine though in the images.

I was extremely honored to be chosen to work with Jonas Paul Eyewear on this project and I am a die hard fan of their vintage inspired kids frames.  If your child wears glasses, you definitely need to check out this company!  Awesome style, really amazing people with a very inspirational back story.  In addition, for every pair of frames purchased, they donate to CBM International to bring vision to a person in need.  What’s not to love??




Jasmine - OMG!! Mini hipsters!! I absolutely adore this shoot!!

Dennis Bullock - This is so awesome Amy. Congrats on the amazing images!

Jamie - Amy,
LOVE LOVE LOVE these!!!!! I’d love to know if you shot these with special non-glare lenses, or no lenses, or with special lighting that wouldn’t cause glare!? My sweet girl and I both wear glasses, and they often work just fine in photos, but sometimes there is some wonky-ness with glare and such. :0) Any tips for ensuring the kind of perfection you’ve created here??!!?

2013 Holiday Card Templates for Photographers

I’m excited to showcase my 20 new holiday card designs available at over at my online store Swiss Miss Design Haus.  I put a lot of love into these babies and I’m excited for them to brighten up homes all over the world this holiday season as they showcase your beautiful photos!  Below are the 5×7 folded and flat templates with unique front, inside and back spreads.  All of the colors, text and graphics can be altered in Photoshop.  Thanks for checking them out.

Beautiful Place + Beautiful People

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Texas to photograph this fellow photographer and gorgeous mama with her babies. It was such an honor to finally meet her kiddos after following her online for years and hearing bits and pieces of her story.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about all of them and I am excited to share a quick preview of our session together on that beautiful, muggy evening.  Thanks for an awesome time, Kelly!!  You guys shine.

Shane Shine - Really beautiful images! The last one is my favorite – I love how much emotion you captured!

Emily - Beautiful images!! Absolutely love the last one!!!

Sailboat Session + Lighting Nautical Portraits

When it comes to utilizing beautiful natural light for your portraits there are a myriad of options…back light, tunnel light, open shade, full sun, or reflected light to name a few.  I’m sure many photographers can relate to the fact that learning to understand light and wield it to our photographic prowess is a challenging journey!  But promisingly, if you can master lighting it is an essential contributing factor to the level of professionalism and artistic merit we so long to obtain our craft.






















This was one of my favorite sessions from last August.  It took me months to track down the sailboat, but it was so worth it.  I love to shoot near water since I find it so incredibly inspiring and iconic. However, lighting nautical images presents a few obstacles if you don’t like to shoot in full sun.  It means you’ll need to work with the sunrise or sunset unless you have an overcast day. If you back light your images with the sun rising or setting behind your model, the light is harsher, more direct and results in dramatic loss to the color and detail of the water. Because of this fact, I often prefer to light nautical images from the ‘front’ if possible to preserve the dreamy blue of the water and create a soft, glowy light on my subject’s skin.






















To achieve this, you need to shoot in an area where the sun is rising or setting behind a dune bluff or tree line that will act as a filter for the sunlight hitting the subject’s face, thus creating a ‘shade‘ effect. This session took place about an hour and a half before sunset. My subjects faced the sun directly as it sank behind a distant tree line creating a smooth even light on their skin. Keep in mind that shooting that late works best with slightly older children who won’t be falling apart emotionally by evening.


A few tips to keep in mind for lighting:

Know the look you want to achieve.  Lighting sets the mood, conveys emotion and dictates a certain aspect of your artistic style.  Does the type of light you’ve selected for the shoot mesh with the theme and feel you are aiming for?  Will it set you up for successful retouching as you finish the images in your editing software?

Have a well thought out plan in place.  Scout your location ahead of time and identify what the lighting will look like at the exact time of day and time of year where you’ll be shooting.  Lighting conditions can alter drastically from one month to the next as the equinox changes.

Estimate the time constraints.  You may only have a certain amount of time to work with before the lighting changes…i.e. the sun starts setting or disappearing behind other objects, so make sure that you can realistically carry out your whole plan before you lose the light.

I hope these tips are helpful and thanks for reading!

Christin - These are wonderful! I love the softness and saturation in your images. Thank you for the tips! Very helpful.

Scott Novitsky - Love the colors in your images, I find it dificult at times to capture nice color tones without bumping up saturation levels.
Very nice, thanks for the tips.

Kristyn - Love you Amy! Thank you for this. I think you are just the best, and I love hearing your take on things like this.