bARNDOOR Blog en-us (C) bARNDOOR (bARNDOOR Tue, 09 Jan 2024 22:15:00 GMT Tue, 09 Jan 2024 22:15:00 GMT bARNDOOR Blog 120 80 What to Expect with your Newborn Photography Session

Newborn Photography: What to Expect

Newborn Photo Session

Newborn photos sessions are not like any other photo session. They are different in almost every way. Many new parents aren’t sure what to expect during their baby’s very first photo shoot.

While every photographer has their own workflow and their own way of doing things, we all have the same goal…to get you amazing photos of your newborn while ensuring the baby’s safety at all times. Let me say that again. We want to ensure the baby’s safety at all times.

Hopefully, all newborn photographers spend hours learning how to comfortably get the baby into the positions we need for that perfect picture.

Newborn photographers have practiced on many, many babies before they were able to perfect the pose. We spend hours rocking babies to sleep and waiting for them to get into that deep sleep state that is needed for most poses.

Let’s just say there is a LOT that goes into newborn photography. And let me tell you, newborn photographers love it all! We love everything about babies and photographing them. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t do it!

So let’s take a look at how a newborn photo session works.


Before you arrive

Before your baby’s newborn session, I’ll have you fill out a short questionnaire asking what colors you would like for your session. Based on your answers, I’ll design several mini sets for your baby. There will be several prop options and we’ll work with whatever your baby is comfortable with. Not every baby likes to be positioned in every pose and I’ll never force a pose on an unhappy baby, so there are always several options in case your baby doesn’t like the pose or the prop is uncomfortable for any reason.

Coming to the studio

Because of the extensive setup involved and prop selection, I only offer traditional newborn sessions in the studio. When you arrive, I’ll have you undress your baby and feed him/her to help them get sleepy. It will be rather warm in the studio as this helps your baby stay asleep a little better, so be sure to dress in layers.

I’ll have water available for you and anyone that comes with you, so don’t worry if you forget your water bottle at home.

The first newborn pictures

Once your baby has had enough to eat, I’ll have you pass him/her to me and I’ll gently rock him/her to sleep. This can take a while, depending on the baby. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes and other times it can take 30-45 minutes. Every baby is different, so there’s really no way to predict how they will feel.

If you would like family portraits, we’ll do those first. After those are done, I recommend young siblings go visit Grandma or head off to day care as it can get quite boring for them in the studio with our focus on the baby.

If you’re not up for family pictures, that’s fine too! I’ll simply get started with the baby by posing him/her on my special newborn posing table. It’s layered with blankets to create a super soft surface for your baby. I’ll position your baby for the photos and start getting some pictures. Here, I’ll add different props around your baby to give you several different looks without having to move him/her much, if at all.

I’ve got hats, coordinating fabrics, mini stuffies, flowers and all kinds of little items that will give you variety in your pictures. These are typically done with the baby either naked or with just a diaper (that will be covered).

newborn hands closeupLittle FingersSweet Newborn Photography Session with closeup of Little Fingers holding on to her mother's ring.

Larger props

Once the poses done on the posing table are finished, I’ll get your baby nice and comfy in a swaddle. Babies LOVE to be swaddled and they usually sleep quite well for me during these pictures. I’ll wrap your baby over the swaddle in some different colored wraps, depending on the scene and your color choices.

As I position the baby on the larger props like the bed, a basket or bowls. I’ll have you stay very near. As soon as the baby is in position, I’ll have you keep your hand on the baby to make sure they stay put, no matter what. Safety is my number one priority…not getting the shot.

I’ll have you pull your hand away and put it back quickly a few times as I take the pictures. We can add hats or props as needed to give variety to these pictures. This is also a great time to introduce any items that you brought with you. A lot of parents will bring an heirloom item or a blanket that Grandma made.

These pictures tend to go a little faster than the previous set because baby stays wrapped and sleeps much better during the newborn photo session.

Final images

After the props area, I’ll move the baby back to the posing table for the final photos. By this time, the baby is usually ready to be awake for a bit. If he/she is a little fussy, I’ll have you try to feed him/her again before getting the last few pictures.

Since the baby is usually awake here, I’ll get some pictures of those beautiful big eyes. Then I’ll get the little details like feet, toes, fingers and little button nose. It’s okay if baby is moving here and I don’t need a sleeping baby for these pictures.

By the end of these pictures, baby is usually awake for a bit. If he/she is a little fussy, I’ll have you try to feed him/her again before getting the last few pictures.

Since the baby is usually awake here, I’ll get some pictures of those beautiful big eyes. Then I’ll get the little details like feet, toes, fingers and little button nose. It’s okay if baby is moving here and I don’t need a sleeping baby for these pictures.

By the end of these pictures, baby is usually ready to be done and go back to Mom. So that’s what we do! You are welcome to feed one last time before you go or if you’re anxious to get home, that’s okay too!

A few final thoughts

Not all babies sleep well in the studio and that’s okay! We adjust to the baby as we go and only do what the baby is comfortable with.

It’s not unusual for babies to be extra hungry during their photo session. If you are formula feeding, be sure to bring extra formula and bottles to be ready for any extra feedings that baby might want.

Without a diaper, don’t babies pee and poop on everything? Yep! Sometimes that happens. It’s normal and I’m ready for it! Most of the poses I photograph don’t require that the diaper be off, so it doesn’t always happen. Everything we use that touches a baby gets washed between sessions no matter what, so if baby soils a blanket, that’s okay! That’s what babies do and it’s completely normal.

Most newborn photo sessions take 3-4 hours, so be prepared to hang out for quite a while. You’re welcome to take a nap, have some coffee or we can just chat during your baby’s session.

I look forward to seeing you in the studio soon!



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What to Wear for your Couple's or Family Portraits What to Wear for your Couple’s or Family Portraits


Alrighty then, it’s almost picture time! You’ve picked your portrait session date; we’ve talked about the schedule, where to meet, and brainstormed photo concepts. There’s a lot going on, and I’m sure you’re thinking, “I’m excited, a little nervous, and OMG, WHAT DO I WEAR FOR MY PORTRAITS!?!??!”

As we reflect on all our memories, it’s hard to recall ones that doesn’t include our families or our parents together. There’s something special about looking back on family portraits over the years past. Family & Couples photos are a moment saved in time that will be cherished forever. So, when it comes to what to wear for picture day make sure you plan ahead.

I know your portraits are important to you, and I aim to make your session as seamless and carefree as possible. To help, I’ve built a quick guide for what to wear, so you can look and feel your best for your couples or family portraits.


What to wear for a family session white shirts and jeansBig Family at Cheverie, NSFamily Portrait of large family keeping it simple with white shirts and jeans .

Coordinate colors or color tones

What to wear

  • Neutral, coordinating colours. Do not match! Like I said above, not every colour or fit works for every person. Mix colours that go well together but are not exactly the same. This is easiest done using neutral colours, which will also weather the years better than bright, bold colours.
  • Patterns like plaids, stripes, and florals. You can even mix-and-match them, and don’t be afraid to layer them with solid colours and denims.
  • Fitted clothes. Tailored outfits will always look better than loose-fitting clothing. If you feel the need, wear Spanx to smooth rolls (we all have them). Also, you should choose a cut that works best on each family member’s body type.
  • Closed-toe shoes. There are few instances when you should go barefoot or wear sandals, but in general most people should wear closed-toed shoes. This can include fashionable boots, dress shoes, and sneakers.
  • Jeans. It is not an absolute, but don’t be afraid of them, including torn jeans if that’s your style.
  • Sleeves. Of course take the season into account when choosing the cut of your top, but most people should wear sleeves.
  • Layers. Often my clients like to get a little bit of wardrobe variety in their portrait session, but let me tell you that with kids you won’t have time to change! Family sessions usually move along rather quickly as we try to fit in as many shots as possible while children are cooperating. So by layering rather than bringing a change of clothes you can quickly and easily change up your look.

How to dress your kids

  • Avoid dressing your little ones in short dresses as they have a tendency to ride up. Be sure that the outfit you’ve chosen to dress your little one in is play-time appropriate.
  • Use spandex shorts if you are putting your child in a dress just in case.
  • Try your best to hide diapers. Bloomer pants are a great choice, and a longer shirt (tucked in or not) will help as well. It is not absolutely imperative that diapers are covered up. I recommend that you do a wardrobe test-run and if you find yourself fiddling with your child’s clothing to cover up their mid-section, diaper, or underpants, choose a different outfit.
  • Be careful with accessories. Often children don’t want to wear hats or scarves and will remove them. In other cases they’ll use them to hide from the camera. Remember that the important part is not the outfit, but the moments that are captured of your family. Just go with the flow if your child removes accessories to avoid crying.

Keep it simple. Baby having fun with familyHalloween Family shootFall colours


When in doubt, go neutral

You can never go wrong with neutral colors. If you’re struggling to find coordinating color tones, one (or both) of you can always opt for neutral tones. These include shades of black, white, gray, cream, and ivory. Earthy tones are also considered neutral, so colors like navy and olive green are great, too. Neutrals are also a great way to ensure that attention goes directly to your and your family’s beautiful faces — not to what you are wearing.

Comfort is still key

No matter how coordinated you get, both you, your partner and/or family should feel as comfortable as possible. It’s your day to shine in the spotlight, so neither of you want to be thinking about how uncomfortable you are the entire time. In the end, that will make the photos look less authentic. Dress for confidence and show off your personalities through your clothing. When you feel great, your pictures will look great.

What not to wear

  • Unfitted t-shirts. This includes any kind of loose t-shirt or sport top.
  • Anything with logos or graphics. In my experience the only acceptation to this rule is children who cannot yet walk (because they literally cannot object to being dressed in hilariously ironic and adorable clothing).
  • Ball caps or practically any other kind of hat. Though you’ll see fashionable hats on Pinterest, that fashionable hat will leave a shadow over your eyes and a red ring around your forehead.
  • Sleeveless shirts, strapless tops, or halter tops. This is not a hard rule, but I recommend that people wear sleeves. The brightest part of your photographs will be the most noticeable. Because our faces are generally always exposed to the sun and our arms often aren’t, the skin on our arms is usually lighter than our faces. This can be exaggerated in photographs, and result in a very distracting arm situation.
  • Anything that shows your bra straps or under pants.
  • Cargo pants.
  • All white or all black.
  • Velcro sandals, any kind of running shoe or skate shoe, or crocks.
  • Snuggies. (I’ve never seen it happen, but I thought I better put it on the list just in case.)
  • Hoodies.
  • Short dresses. A short dress can significantly limit your ability to pose comfortably for your photos. Test out your favourite dress to see if it’s appropriate for your session by sitting on the ground. If you cannot comfortably sit in it, it will be best to choose a dress that is longer or opt for pants.




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Corporate Headshots and how to prepare. How to prepare for your Corporate Headshot

A Corporate Headshot has one main goal and that is to a convey professionalism. This is often accomplished through the specific posing, setting, facial expression, and clothing.   But remember you need to feel comfortable in your look it will show if you don't.
Follow these tips for your business headshot and you will be one step to success.

Contrast with Your Skin Tone

As a general rule, professional portraits look best when your skin tone, your clothing and your backdrop all contrast. When choosing what colors to wear, make sure the color is significant
ly darker or lighter than your skin tone so you don’t look nude from afar. If possible to create a great monochromatic headshot as well, but make sure you let your photographer know beforehand so we can advise you on your best options.

An example of a awesome choice of colours for a white background.Corporate HeadshotAn example of a awesome choice of colours for a white background.

Coordinate to the background 

Find out what your background will be before you pick your clothing. Is the background is white or light? Consider medium to dark colors and tones for more contrast. If the background is black or very dark, you can wear light or vivid colors. I usually recommend against white clothing because the eye is drawn to the lightest thing in the photo. We photograph using both black and white backgrounds in our 30 minute session but can accommodate other colors.

Wardrobe for Men

  • Shirts - Avoiding a plain white shirt works best but try to stay away shirts with patterns or strips solid colours only. 
  • Suit/Jackets - As for the suit or jacket dark greys, black, navy blue and very subtle pinstripe are fine but stay away from gridlines patterns as they tend to stand out on camera.  Think classic and choose a well-fitting suit that doesn’t bunch up when you button up or when you sit down. 
  • Ties - Ties look best when their tone lands between the suit and the shirt– so a light shirt, a dark s
    uit, and a tie in a shade somewhere between them. Some ties are too shiny– try to stay away from really reflective, shiny, silk ties.  Subtle patterns are ok but no bold patterns; solid colours are fine, if it works well with the shirt and suit.  A sample of a great choice in shirt and tie for a Corporate HeadshotPeter Roger Corporate HeadshotA sample of a great choice in shirt and tie for a Corporate Headshot
  • Casual - If you don’t wear a tie, again no white shirts especially if your company has chos
    en a white background. And if you wear a button-down shirt, it’s best to wear a jacket or sweater of some kind to layer the look. If not, choose a darker color shirt or something with pockets or details to avoid it looking like a head floating on a blank, boxy shirt, and unbutton a button or two. And make sure we can’t see your undershirt beneath the button-down shirt: wear a v-neck or no undershirt at all.
  • Try to stay away from anything with bold, distracting patterns or colors. Clothing with really tight grids or a small herringbone pattern can have a moiré pattern effect on camera, so stay away from tight grid-like patterns.
    Thin stripes that are a little further apart are okay

Wardrobe for Women

  • Business Jacket
    or Blazer - Think about the fit and color of the jacket such as medium to dark tones like medium to dark grey, blue or navy. Red jackets photograph well. Stay away from white. Black jackets can work, but make sure you bring some other lighter options. Add a little pop of color by picking a collarless blouse or camisole with a jewel or crew neck. Try some options other than white on the blouse. Colors that work well are medium grey or medium colors like blue, red and even non-traditional colors like jewel tones.  Stay away from big patterns that can distract.  Think a clean professional look.
  • Shirt or Blouse Only - If you are shooting on a white or light background, think contrast, try a bold, dark colours.  Stay away from white or light colors. Consider jewel tones like emerald or sapphire blue. Purple, green, red or orange can work well too. If you want something more neutral, a medium to dark grey can work.  Try to stay away from patterns and strips.   Consider texture if you want something besides a solid consider texture.
  • Neckline and collars - A classic headshot is cropped at or above the sternum. Draped collars look great in person but may be too low for the headshot.  A v-neck, scoop or lower neckline, work well in a slightly wider crop or vertical photo. Watch the lower neckline it may end up cropped out of the photo. Square ne An example of a classic blazer with a textured shirt the correct colour  with a necklace and earrings..  This works great with her chosen background and her profession.Paula Greene HeadshotAn example of a classic blazer with a textured shirt the correct colour with a necklace and earrings.. This works great with her chosen background and her profession.
    cklines tend to be too deep.
  • DressesIf wearing a dress with a bold color or fabric texture Heavier fabrics than a standard blouse or shirt look very nice. If it is appropriate for your business and audience, a sleeveless dress that shows shoulders can look vibrant. Some businesses prefer that arms and shoulders do not show. Make sure to check with your company before


  • Jewelry - Necklace and earrings can be great as an accent or splash of color. In a headshot, anything that goes below your sternum may be cropped out of the final shot. Consider clipping the necklace behind your neck to shorten it. Doubling your necklace is another good strategy.  Often, less is more on jewelry. Simplicity looks classic and stunning. But here again, stay with your personality and consider your audience. For earrings a lot depends on your hair style as to whether they will even show. Simple studs or pearls look great with short hair. Longer earrings can work well too. 



  • Natural Look

For headshots, you want natural-look makeup. “Light” makeup is suitable as long as it is natural and evenly applied. It is more important to aim for a natural look than “light.” Although both can be accomplished simultaneously, it is important to prevent an uneven application. To avoid this, use a minimum amount that ensures uniformity. Also, don’t be afraid to apply setting powder, more than when you are making up for in-person activities, say, going to a workplace or a party. What you need is even coverage combined with natural look finish.

Always a good start is clean and healthy skin, well moisturized. Use primer where appropriate.

  • Color of foundation

Match the color of the foundation to the natural color of your skin in neck/chest area. Some people (especially with fair skin) often choose a shade darker than the skin tone, and that is fine for social events. However, in photography, always match your foundation color to the rest of your skin. If you prefer to alter the skin tone in your photograph, the whole skin color can be adjusted darker or warmer to make it look most attractive during editing.

The best type of foundation is the liquid type. For headshots, oil-free (water or alcohol based) is best. In particular, oil-free matte finish foundation is most common for headshots, but some find it a bit difficult to apply, as they dry quickly, and it also makes a caky look if applied too thickly. Avoid “sheer look” (or glowy or dewy) type as they give excessive shine in the pictures. (Those latter type of makeup is popular for party makeup, as some like the way they look in person, and they last for many hours, especially the ones that are silicone-based. Very few makeup artists who are familiar with photo shoots use those, at least for commercial work in the US.) Powder or compact foundation doesn’t provide the right level of coverage for photo shoots.

  • Lips

The color of the lips should be one notch darker than the best look in person. The lips should be shifted in the direction of darker red. Also, lip gloss is often used in making the lips fuller.

  • Eyes

Wax your eyebrows a couple of days in advance. Trying to reshape the brows through retouching process is possible, but costs more time and money than getting them waxed in real life.

Fill in your brows, especially if you are not going for a retouching option. Make sure your eyebrows are clear and dark enough when viewed in soft natural window light.

Mascara is also appropriate for headshots. Darker color works better for mascara, so black is usually the best choice, even if you usually use brown.

For natural look headshots like actress audition or corporate bio, there is no need to use heavy eye makeup at all. But if you are going for more styled photographs, the eye accents should be one notch darker or vibrant.

You can wear false lashes for most types of work other than the actor’s headshot. In photographs, the lashes do not look as long and drastic as you see in the mirror.

Keep this in mind: the photographic lighting biases your face color to the lighter side, and eyes are where you get the most attention.

  • Blush

Use blush in one small notch darker than the best look in person. However, please make sure to make a few well-diffused applications in small quantities. The first time should be applied and spread in a wide circle, and the second and third in progressively smaller areas. This is to make sure that the edges of the blush are gradual and not abrupt. You can always add more, but once you apply too much, it is tough to blur the edge or remove some.        

  • Powder

Don’t be afraid to use a lot more powder than usual. A lot of setting or finishing powder is routinely used in fashion and beauty photography to reduce shimmer and make the skin look matte. You will realize that a professional makeup artist will keep applying powder every 10–20 minutes of the shoot to prevent shiny skin. You should bring yours and apply extra powder regularly. However, if you are taking a corporate or professional headshot, you probably want to use the next technique to control the shiny skin instead.

For party makeup, shimmer can look great, but for photography, use a matte finish.

  • Oily skin

The best way to control oily skin is a blotter sheet (available in the studio). If this is not enough, mattifying gel (cream) is easy to apply and works well with the skin of all types and colors (also available in the studio).

A more traditional recommendation is colorless translucent powder, mattifying mineral finish powder (also available in the studio), which works well for light skin, but not on darker skin. For fashion and beauty shots, a lot of powder is used, but for clean, natural look makeup, you want to use powder to adjust the look and not to control the shine.


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Tips: Help your Photographer get Amazing Wedding Pictures He swooped in for the kiss and the veil flowed in the wind.The KissWedding Photography by bARNDOOR in Windsor, NS Canada. Image of this beautiful couple taken at King-Edgehill Baptist Church. As a Wedding Photographer, for many years, the one thing that I have learned is that, all those amazing, outstanding and creative images have one thing in common.  The photographer, the bride and the groom work together as a team.  The bride and groom listen to me, their photographer, because they know they are paying for my expertise to get those amazing, outstanding and creative images.  So,  I have written a booklet that give many of the observations and tips I have learned over the past 30 + years.   I share this booklet with my clients when we meet for the first time.

Here are a few tips from that booklet ‘Tips – Help your photographer get Amazing Wedding Pictures’.  Call me to book a meeting to discuss your wedding and receive your free book with lots of tips.

Schedule plenty of time for wedding formals:

This is one of the most important tips other then hiring a professional.  Slow down its not a race.  The more time you allow for your photographs, the more I can get creative, help you to relax, and get some great shots. The best photos I’ve created came from brides and grooms that allowed a good amount of time for photographs.

Select portrait locations that mean something:

I love portraits in the park with all the pretty flowers but that’s not the only option. If there is a special place nearby…consider using it instead. Was your first kiss in front of your high school? We could shoot there. Do you have a favorite local hang out? See if the owners would mind a 20-30 minute session the day of your wedding.  Don’t discount the location that is not pretty, like an underpass with graffiti it can make a great backdrop for the bride. Just don’t be afraid to do something different. There are cool backdrops almost everywhere.

Plan for the weather:

Most of my weddings take place in Nova Scotia.  I wish I could promise you blue skies and sunshine but unfortunately for all of us we could have a blizzard in May.  Make sure you have a backup location in mind. There are many indoor locations that you can use but almost all require advance notice and some have a fee.  Believe me when I say this is a small price for not having to worry or scrambling to find umbrellas.  But if you do need to bring those umbrellas, coordinated the umbrellas for the pictures.


Speaking of looking good, a bride always looks best without the deer-in-the-headlights-look. Take a deep breath. Laugh. Do whatever it takes to feel beautiful. You’ve hired a trusted photographer, right? Trust me and own that pose

Arriving at the ceremony:

  • As you pull up in the bridal car wind your window down, that way I can have a good unobstructed shot into the car without having to deal with the window reflection.
  • Don’t be too quick to get out, wait for me  – It might be “old school” but a photo of your dad (or whoever for that matter) assisting you out of the car makes for a great shot.
  • Breath!!


  • Take your time down the isle, give me lots of opportunity that great shot.
  • Rings, now girls I know you have been practicing this and can get a ring on a man’s finger in .3 seconds flat – Well done! I can’t however shoot that fast so give me a moment why don’t cha… take your time
  • Both of you: A long soft kiss looks much better on camera than the “passionate bedroom explorer”, give each other a big slow hug after, it makes for a great shot especially if you can see the smiles of your guests in the photo too


  • Give me at least 20 to 30 minutes to get the formal pictures.
  • Assign a Brides maid or Maid of Honour to keep a close eye on your dress and makeup.  I am looking through the small screen of the camera so this helps insure that you are always as beautiful as when you started.
  • You have probably spent hours looking for a great photographer, let me be great! Give me at least 60 minutes with the two of you, none of us like to keep our guests waiting but this is something you do once.  The day goes by so fast and you will be asking did we really just get married the next day.  You proof is in the pictures to hand down to your children and your grandchildren.
  • HAVE FUN!!! If you guys have fun with each other the photos of the two will be fabulous!! There are very few pictures when we are smiling and having a good time that don’t look great.


  • First Dance, Cake Cutting, Garter and Bouquet: Make sure you inform me in advance! I like to set up a few lights to create mood and give you the best shots for each moment this only takes a minute, telling me 30 seconds before it’s about to happen is not particularly useful.
  • First Dance: Dance the whole song through before inviting your family, give me as much time to get great photos as possible. Check with the DJ that he will do this, its usually the DJ that invites everyone else on 30 seconds into the dance – I make a point of letting them know that the whole song should run it’s course with just the two of you.
  • Don’t put the photographers table in another room, I need to see what’s going and I am always looking for a great shot I can’t do that from the back room.
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Passport Photos done right. Passports photos don’t have to be the worst picture you have ever taken.  You don’t have to have a picture on your next passport that you hate showing for the next 5 years or more.   With only one pose to use and no smile to give that picture some sparkle let's give you some tips on what to wear and more.

Do not wear white or very light colours as you don't want to have a floating head look and may be rejected if your shoulders blend into the white background. Think about framing the face.  So, choose clothes that so just that.  A V-neck, rounded, or collars work well to help to do that turtlenecks do not. Like my portrait tips on what to wear passport photo tips are no different so stick to no strips or patterns.  Dark or neutral colours work well but you can add a scarf to help add a little colour to or your passport photo.

As for the woman out there, what to do with your hair?  Up or down?  Down.  Bringing your hair down help with the basic rule of framing your face but it must be off the face.   Also if you choose to wear your hair up no high buns as that may be a problem with the amount of white space required from the top of head to the top of picture. But if you are a man with long hair, please tie it back.

As for jewelry nothing too overly big but nice small simple pieces can add a nice touch.

Make up should be a slight and I mean slight heaver then daytime makeup but not as heavy as nighttime makeup. Colour on your lips can really make a difference in pictures so at the very least try some colour there.

For the men out there please the lip colour is not necessary 😉


Click this link for the government requirements Passport photos -

Checkout my blog on "Tips for Corporate Headshots" for more tips

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