The Importance of Being a Natural Photographer

Jun 27, 2023

In this industry full of retouching, air brushing and filters, we choose to take a natural approach at Ivory Tree Portraits. We use natural light, natural posing, natural backgrounds and natural editing.

Why? Simply, because we believe a natural approach is the best way to showcase all of us and to provide our clients with a timeless look that is not tied to industry trends.

But it’s more than that for us. We are also incredibly passionate about preserving and building kids’ self-confidence at Ivory Tree. Celebrating who they are, capturing what makes them unique, their connection to you and their siblings literally gives them a tangible representation of their fabulous selves! Delivering natural portraits also means kids get to see the best of themselves unaltered and we believe that builds confidence rather than destroying it.

Natural Photography and the impact on self Confidence

Lorelai, rocking her confidence

Yes, I totally realize natural photography isn’t an industry term, at least not in the sense that we photograph nature. Within this industry there is so much photoshop. We see it all the time, enhanced, tuned, painted eyes – especially on kids.

The second, literally the second, you tweak a kid’s eyes the message you are sending is that you aren’t enough. You aren’t beautiful as you are, you need to be enhanced. Not only does that hurt my heart it goes against literally every fiber of my being.

The Importance of Doing It Right, Not Easy

Not only does that hurt my heart it goes against literally every fiber of my being. Let’s be honest, we all LOVE those images of our kids with their big, beautiful eyes. Being a natural photography studio means we use catchlight to capture their eyes. 

Catchlight is the light reflected in a subject’s eye, the glimmer that comes from an external light source, it’s the highlight reflected off the surface of the eye.

Catchlight, how you capture their eyes

Doing catchlight correctly is not an easy skill, but we believe it’s the right way to enhance your kids’ natural beauty. And then when they see those images, they see the same thing they see when they look in the mirror. The power is in telling them they are enough, they are beautiful exactly as they are, I believe, transcends into everything they do! It’s why creating a culture of confidence is one of our core values.

Natural Photography Builds Self-Confidence

We’re known for being natural even though you might not realize it. All of our backgrounds are something you could find in your home. It’s our timeless ivory wall, it’s a seasonal wallpaper, it’s our architectural wall that follows interior design trends. We don’t use props, we don’t fill the images with lots of stuff. We really simplify everything because they are enough. Your kids, my kids, your family, my family – it’s about them, their beauty, and their connection.

Natural Photoshop

Natural Beauty

Ok, if you are an existing client, you know we totally retouch every image before it gets to you so let me clarify how we photoshop naturally. We give everyone the best night sleep ever; you’ll hear me say that all the time. Listen, I’m in my mid 40’s (omg, that’s a little hard to write because I still feel like I’m in my 20s), I have laugh lines. We’re not getting rid of my laugh lines, you can see me age (gracefully, I hope) as my kids age. But take a look, Caitie has laugh lines too, when she smiles. You know why? We both smile with our eyes. It’s a family trait I get from my dad. And you know when I see them, I see a happy life filled with a lot of laughs. And I’m not mad at that.

‘I see the magazines (ah-ha) workin' that Photoshop (ah-ha) We know that s**t ain't real Come on now, make it stopIf you got beauty beauty (ah-ha), just raise 'em up Cause every inch of you is perfect From the bottom to the top’.) - Meghan Trainor

Photoshop Banananess

We never, ever, like ever, touch anything that’s permanent – birthmarks, scars etc. Because we want to celebrate what makes us each unique. This is so important for kids to see that is what makes them beautiful. We do remove bumps, bruises, scratches, acne – things that if you came to us next week wouldn’t be there! It’s the best version of themselves.

We won’t change the blue in your kids eyes, make them bigger or smaller. We won’t change their hair color or skin tone. We won’t slim them. There is so much research regarding the dangers of filters and how young it starts!

As for you, mama. We will make you look like the best version of yourself! We’ll smooth a shirt or weird neckline. We will make you feel amazing! We specialize in working with new mamas, like days out of the hospital mamas. Let’s be real, no one looks or feels their best after giving birth, trying to figure out how to feed this new baby, and doing it all with almost no sleep. We know all the right angles, all the right light, all the right poses so you will absolutely be your best – naturally!

Natural is infused in all I do, not just photography

Being natural isn’t just something I say in passing, it’s part of the studio’s ethos It’s at the heart of who we are and infused in everything we do! Building kids self-confidence is also one of my passions, I’ve just seen too much within this industry that makes my heart hurt for our youth to not address it every chance I get. That’s why we will always be a natural photography studio!

About the Author

Lara Aman Mattey

Founder I Owner I Ivory Tree

Lara is the coolest person alive, according to her husband, Nick, & two little ladies, Caitie & Lorelai. But she thinks her time is limited on that statement as they continue to grow older. Lara comes from a large family, with whom she is still very close with & you’ll often see shared through the blog and on social media. She went to Penn State (We Are…) where she met Nick.

Ivory Tree's very own photographer, Marcy shot her newborn photography sessions & Lara was hooked! Lara is not a photographer, super weird, we know. But lives for the experience, creative direction, and meeting all the cool folks who come through the Ivory Tree Portraits studio!

In addition to studio awards, Lara was also recognized at a Women of Influence on the Main Line in 2023.

Follow along as she shares studio antics, personal antidotes, & fun stuff going on in the community.

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