Banff National Park (Alberta, Canada)

View of a train from traveling car in Canada

One of the great things about living in Washington state is the proximity to nature and also our northern neighbor Canada.  Last year (2017, ugh is it 2018 already?), we took a road trip to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

Emily Kistler Photography - Mountain view Banff Canada

We didn’t get to spend as much time in Banff as we would have liked, but the views were beautiful!  Below are a couple of shots of Lake Louise, which was unreal and cold.

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New Year, New Start, New Studio

Emily Kistler Photography studio space for portrait photography in Bothell, Washington

Hey all, I’m back!  But now I’m located in Bothell, Washington and working on revving up on the photo sessions and personal projects!

Emily Kistler Photography studio space

Leaving Florida, I lost all the sunny days.  But on the bright side, I now have studio space.  The space is never as big as you want, but you make do with what you have.

Emily Kistler Photography studio space in Bothell, Washington

Kallie’s already been out to check out the studio.  Check it out!

Emily Kistler Photography studio space for pet photography in Bothell, Washington

Emily Kistler Photography pet photography

A Day at the Beach

Family at Clearwater BeachOne of the great things about living in Florida is how beautiful it is!  There are so many parks and outdoor locations for photo shoots, but the best is the beach, hands down.  Granted you might end up covered in sand by the end of the shoot like I was.  And that might mean that your house is full of sand, which it was…and still is.  But it’s totally worth it!

If you hit the beach at the right time, you can get great light, great skies, and fewer people on the beach.  When I met this family at the beach, I got all three.  Also, I have to say that they did a great job coordinating all the outfits!  Not only do the colors go great with each other but they are sooo fitting for the beach setting!

Parents and Kids at Clearwater Beach

Happy Anniversary!


Cupcakes and Love

This couple didn’t have the opportunity to take wedding photos, so their wedding anniversary was a chance to celebrate their relationship and show off their family.  Interacting with these two and you can tell how special their relationship is and how much they love each other.   Here’s too many more years together!

Couple celebrating their anniversary

Family Photo

Anniversary celebration collage

Photographing Toddlers

So, you’ve got a toddler and you want some photos.  Good luck!  No, just kidding!

Whether it’s a photography session or you’re a parent chasing around your kid with a smartphone, photographing toddlers can be a challenging experience.  But for all the effort it takes, it’s worth it in the end when you get that perfect shoot!  Here are some tips to help you prepare for your toddler’s photo session, so your photographer can get that perfect shot.

1) Don’t expect your toddler to pose!

Toddler dressed as Supergirl

Have you seen any of my photos with toddlers and wondered how I got them to pose that way?  Yeah, I didn’t try to get them to pose.  That was a combination of patience, running around (on my part), and working with a fast shutter speed.  Toddlers tend to be go, go, go, so asking them to sit still isn’t likely to happen for long.  If you want to have a family portrait, try it at the beginning of the session when your little one is feeling a little more shy.  Once they warm up to the photographer and the location, they’re more likely to want to go exploring.

2) Props + toddler = good times

Props are a great way to bring out a toddler’s personality!  But, not every prop will work for every kid.  Props are something you should  discuss with your photographer before the actual photo shoot: what types of props you want in the photos, what types of props your child will be interested in, and who is bringing what to the shoot.  I recommend bringing your child’s favorite toy (or two) to a photo session as a backup in case the other props don’t work.

3) Playgrounds are where it’s at!

Toddler playing in Clearwater Florida park

One way to get a toddler more interested in a photo shoot, is to make it feel less like a photo shoot by holding it at playground.  This also works great if your child happens to be shy.

4) Bring drinks and snacks!

You probably already know this one, but make sure to have drinks/snacks on hand.  Snacks can also be a great reward if you really want your toddler to do something, such as going over to a particular location, look at the camera, etc.  This isn’t a guarantee that snacks will work as a reward, but it can work in some circumstances.

5) A tired toddler is a cranky toddler

Toddler playing in park

Do your best to make sure your toddler is well rested and ready to go!  When you’re scheduling the time of your photography session, keep in mind your toddler’s ideal time – when he/she is happiest and most likely to be well rested.  Try and work with your photographer to schedule during this time.  But keep in mind that your photographer may not be able to schedule the session at the time you’re requesting because of business hours, weather (Florida gets hotter later in the day), etc.

Personal Projects

Pine trees at Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake in May

Tell us a little about yourself…

So I thought I’d do something a little different this week, and share what I do when I’m not taking your portraits or editing your photographs. Free time is starting to become a foreign word to me.  But when I have it, I love to travel even if it’s just to a different city in Florida.  This year I’ve been fortunate enough to visit several national parks.  And this year was the National Park Service’s 100 year anniversary, so a perfect time to hit the highlights!  If you want to see more photos of my adventures, follow me on Instagram:

Earlier in the year, we hit parks in Oregon and Washington: Crater Lake, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park, North Cascades, and San Juan Island!  I know what you’re thinking, “San Juan Island, isn’t that in Puerto Rico?”  No, San Juan Island is actually located off of Washington state and Canada.  I know, I was a little suspicious at first too.

May at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake in May.  There was over 6 feet of snow in May!

Mount St Helens hidden by clouds

View of the base of Mount St. Helens.

View of mountains at North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park.  There wasn’t much snow here but it was really cold!

Old Growth Forest Olympic National Park

Old growth forest in Olympic National Park.

Dark-eyed Junco on San Juan Island

Dark-eye Junco posing for me on San Juan Island.

American Camp at San Juan Island

Path at the American Camp on San Juan Island.  San Juan Island National Park is divided into the American Camp and the English Camp, and there’s a whole story about a fight involving a pig.

Make a New Year’s Resolution…Why You Should Print Your Photos in the New Year!

Couple poses with toddler

Looking to do something different for your 2017 New Year’s Resolution.  How about printing your photos?  It’s a great way to preserve precious memories and it doesn’t involve giving up your favorite foods.  Sounds like a win-win to me.


Oh, but  I just want digital files, no prints.  So this topic came up in conversation with a client the other day.  And unless you’re a photographer or some lost of your precious photos, it’s probably not something you’ve really thought about.  These are some reasons I think it’s important to print your photos.  It may not change your mind right now, but hopeful it’ll stop and make you think about all the digital photos you’ve accumulated.


Reason #1:

Digital files don’t last forever.

If you’re old enough to remember regularly using a film camera, then you always printed your photos!   But with the advent of digital cameras and smart phones, it doesn’t seem as important anymore.  After all, we can just save them up on our computer, post them on Facebook and Instagram, and they’ll always be available, right?  Well maybe not… Digital files don’t last forever.  Have you have saved a document on your computer only to come back later and find it’s “corrupted”?  Or smart phone crashes and you weren’t backing up your photos to the cloud properly.  Or, maybe your computer crashes and you can’t recover anything on your hard drive?  And don’t even get me started on technology changes.  Remember diskettes?  These things happen all the time.  They may never happen to you but I’ve experienced them all in my lifetime, either directly or through a relative.

Granted prints are susceptible to their own problems, such as exposure to the sun or water.  But they’re a lot easier to maintain.  Even if you decide you’d rather keep most of your photos digital, please save them in more than one location.  So that you always have at least one back up, especially for those photos that are very special to you.

Brother and Sister Hug on St. Pete Beach


Reason #2:

You’re not just printing for yourself, you’re also printing for your children and grandchildren.

But I don’t even have kids yet, let alone grandchildren!  That’s not what I meant.  What I mean is that you’re printing photos so that future generations will be able to enjoy them.  Do you remember looking at old family photos with your parents and grandparents?  Do you remember how much fun it was to see them when they were younger?  How funny their hair looked and those clothes they were wearing?  Were you lucky enough to see your great-grandparents and possibly your great-great-grandparents?   If you don’t print your photos, chances are the next generations of your family won’t have that opportunity – see reason number 1.

Father swings boy in air


Reason #3:

You just paid to have your portrait taken, why limit it to a tiny image on Facebook?

So you just paid to have your family portrait taken, what are you going to do with it?  Did you really just want to share it with your friends on Facebook?  Or do you want to hang some of the best photos on your walls, so that you can enjoy them with your family and show them off to your friends?  Your photos were meant to be enjoyed in a larger format and not just on the small screen!

Family portrait in Tampa Bay


Reason #4:

Ok, so this one isn’t a reason necessarily for just printing your photos.  It’s more of a reason of why you should choose to have your photographer print your photos.  So yeah, you can print your photos at a drugstore, office supply company, and even bulk-discount stores.  But these places don’t offer the same quality of prints.  They also don’t offer the same range of products that photographers using professional printing services can.  Purchasing prints through your photographer also takes all the work off of you.  After all, that’s why you hired me right?  That’s especially true for albums, trust me on this one.

Family walks on Clearwater Beach

What to Wear to Your Photo Shoot

So, you’re getting your photo taken by a professional photographer, and you’re not sure what to wear!  Or, maybe you and your family are getting a yearly portrait taken, and you’re overwhelmed at the idea of picking out clothes for everyone.  Don’t worry!  A lot of people have these concerns about clothing.

I’ve complied a few suggestions for what to wear.  Now this isn’t all inclusive, but it’s a start!  I’ve also included some photos to help demonstrate what I’m talking about.

1) The photo is about you and not your clothes.

Whether we’re talking about an individual portrait or a family photo, it’s best to stay away from graphic tees and neon colors!  While that Darth Vader sugar skull t-shirt is super awesome, it takes everyone eyes off your face.  Same goes for the neon colored shirt/pants/hat/you name it!

Distracting clothes for photo session

Look at these cute kids!  Oh wait, I can’t.  I’m distracted by the tee and blinded by the neon!

2) Families and couples – coordinate and compliment!

If you’re in a photo with someone else, try to either coordinate your colors or make sure they compliment.  That doesn’t mean you have to go all 1990s everyone wearing matching black turtlenecks.  Instead, go with similar colors or even complimentary colors.  If you don’t remember art class in elementary, complimentary colors are red-green, orange-blue, and yellow-purple.


In this example, our lovely models demonstrate similar colors: black and gray.  And we even got a little bit of Star Wars in there with a Death Star polo! Afterall, having well coordinated outfits doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or show personality.

3) Patterns are cool!  Just don’t go overboard.

Patterns are great!  Go for it!  Just remember that if the pattern is too much or too loud visually, it’s going to take over the picture.  So, limit the number of people wearing the pattern!  Remember we’re not going back to the ’90s turtlenecks – unless you want a tongue-in-cheek holiday card – if so, contact me;)


Looks like these two are in love, right?  He’s actually holding his hair in place with my head!

4) One light/bright, one dark!

Here’s an interesting one I came across on the internet.  If you have someone in a bright shirt, have the other person in a darker color.  It can work for families, too.  Have some of the members in a brighter color and others in a a darker color.


Ooo look, not only is one person in a bright color but they also have a pattern!  And here’s another example.


And I know what you may be thinking.  But you never changed pants!  Well, that’s part of our personality.  Ross is more of a cargo shorts kind of person, and I’m more jeans.  And, that brings me to my last point.

5) Ultimately, the photos are for you.  (Or maybe your parents – if you’re a kid).

And, if your favorite photo is the one with the Dark Vader sugar skull tee and your spouse in a neon shirt, then that’s great!  Clothing choices shouldn’t be overwhelming, they should just compliment you and your personality.

Hope this helps and happy posing!

Happy Holidays Pet Edition

Happy Holidays Pet Edition

It just wouldn’t be the holidays with out our furry family members.


Pug wearing pom pom hat during holiday portrait
Pug wearing pom pom hat during holiday portrait


Being in Florida, it can be a little difficult to represent winter in your photos.  In Florida, we start to get cold when the weather dips into the 70s but it still looks like Spring or Summer. So for the pups’ holiday session I decided to use winter hats I found at Target with a simple string of white lights.

Pug wearing pom pom hat during holiday portrait
Pug wearing pom pom hat during holiday portrait
Pug wearing knit pom pom hat
Pug wearing pom pom hat


It’s hard enough to get dogs to sit still on their own let alone when you put hats on them.  So I put the pugs on a barstool, which is a trick I used to help them sit still.  Please keep in mind that they were supervised, so if they did decide to jump someone would be there to stop/catch them.

Pet holiday portrait
Dogs check each other out during holiday portrait
Dog poses for photo wearing aviator hat
Dog wearing aviator hat gives a raspberry.