Artfully Coordinating Your Clothing for Your Family Photography Session

The agony that people go through getting ready for their photo sessions with me is no laughing matter, and I agonize right along with them because I know they want to get it right. I understand the dance and fine balance between coordinating colors and patterns, and it’s the difference between heavenly hues and discordant cartels of color that can make or break an image. Fortunately, I usually manage to steer people in the right direction, but there have been those moments where deep inside, I know the outcome won’t be as good as it should be, as they’ve strayed from the advice I’ve given. So to save you from beating your pretty little head against a wall while trying to get it right, here are some tips to help you style your session with confidence.

There are lots of different things I could tell you that may leave you more confused than not, so the first and best tip I can give you is to choose a favorite outfit for any person in your group. This may be an outfit you have had in mind for some time and you’re just sure someone will be wearing it because it’s your favorite, after all. Now accessorize it and use the colors from this ensemble to coordinate the rest of the outfits for each person in your group. You can see how well this works in the image below. There were a total of 23 family members in this group; some which aren’t pictured, and they nailed it using the colors of the sand and sea! To demonstrate even further, this is technique is best illustrated with visuals, so I’ve chosen a few outfits below from J. Crew & Boden, my favorite places to shop.

You can use a nifty website such as to help you if you have a hard time visualizing. This fabulous tool works great! Upload a picture of your outfit and click around the picture to choose the colors you prefer. This will add the colors to your palette, which you can then make into a collage and keep on your phone for when you go shopping. This is especially helpful for hard to match colors.

Now if you have multiple colors in your favorite outfit, take a look at a color wheel. If you are working with a primary color, such as blue, another primary color like red or yellow will work with it. Of course, this may be oversimplified since there are often other factors to consider, but you get the gist. You can also take a look at what color sits opposite the color you plan to wear on the color wheel. This would be a complementary color and will also work well. Don’t forget textures are also great and can really make a big difference when you need that little extra zip. Accessorize modestly, but with intention. Meaning, don’t let the accessories be the focus, just the accent.

You’ve got this! Now go style with confidence!

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2017 Spring Mini Sessions in CT ⎢ Tolland County, CT Lifestyle Photography

Little boy playing at Bolton Heritage Farm during a mini session

I have four available spots left for mini sessions at the gorgeous Bolton Heritage Farm!  You can click right here to access my booking calendar and reserve your session time. We are hoping for a lovely day, but if the rains come, the rain date will be Saturday, June 10th.  Special discounted print and product pricing applies and will be added to your gallery. If you have questions about minis, you can contact me at

Can’t wait to see you!

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Bad Headshots Are Like A Dirty Welcome Mat ⎢CT Personal Brand Photographer

Dr. Lori Calabrese has branding headshots taken by CT branding photographer, Hallie Westcott


Let’s talk about bad headshots. We’ve all seen them on plenty of social media profiles. Some people use their own selfies and others use cell phone images friends and family have taken. I get it. It’s easy and cheap. You were in a hurry to get that website up, or your social media page started, so you put it off until later. You fully intended to do something about it in the future, knowing a cell picture was not the image you wanted to present to future clients and co-workers, but you never got around to having your headshots taken. Your intentions were good, but unfortunately, your potential clients aren’t judging you on your intentions. They’re judging you on your headshot, which can make or break you and even worse, cause those potential clients to keep scrolling.  So, what does all of this have to do with a dirty welcome mat?

I was walking in the mall yesterday on my way to find something specific for a styled shoot, and I came upon a store where I thought I might find the item. I walked towards the entrance and before I even got to the threshold, I could see it.  A filthy welcome mat; frayed on all sides, stained and thoroughly worn.  No joke, this mat was awful and I have never previously encountered any business using something in such tatters to welcome patrons. It looked like someone salvaged it out of the city dump, and there it was, the only thing standing between me and the store.  I was immediately indignant that anyone would put a mat in that condition down at the entrance to their business.  For one, I was at the mall and you KNOW how expensive the rent is at the mall.  And two, this ugly mat was my greeting to their store; the place they want me to spend my money, but unfortunately, a dirty, worn mat spoke volumes about the business and the person who owns it.  I looked at my daughter and said, “this is not the type of store I want to spend my money in”, and we had a little marketing conversation as we walked to another store.

So, how does the dirty mat relate to bad headshots?  Your headshot is the first thing your potential clients will see. It’s the metaphorical welcome mat to your website.  These clients that you are trying to attract know nothing about you.  They only have your headshot to form an opinion.  Does your headshot create trust? Does it say you are competent?  Good at what you do? Timely? Friendly and easy to work with? Are you forward thinking and on the cutting edge of your profession?  Or do your headshots tell them that you’re dated, worn out, exhausted, and obsolete?  Is your corporate headshot a stuffy and boring studio shot? Have you thought about what your headshot is saying about you?  Is your headshot hurting your brand?  I know, I know, I harp on this a lot, but it matters a lot!

During a Personal Branding Session for a psychiatrist, I wanted to take a look at other local professional’s headshots, and branding in my client’s field of practice, and what I found was astonishing.  Nearly 80% of psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists were using cell phone images to promote themselves to patients!  If I were looking for someone to treat me for any type of mental health issue, I would like to know that they aren’t working from the back seat of their car, which, unfortunately, is how many their profiles appeared.  They were unprofessional at best and if I were a client, I would keep on scrolling.

I hope you’re getting the point, and I know you will.  Honestly, I’m rooting for you and for your business, whatever that may be.  And I’m here to help!  Just shoot me an email; I’ve got you covered.  Next, we’re going to talk about Personal Branding Photography, how it differs from headshots, when and why you need it.  In the meantime, take a look at Your Guide to Great Headshots.

Please comment below and tell me what you think when you find a professional with a cell phone image representing them?








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CT Mini-Sessions Make Mother’s Day Memorable⎢CT Children’s Photographer

I know some of you may be thinking about the family photo session you’d like to schedule when you get around to it…but let me say, we only get one shot at photographing our love of spring and our families in it.  It’s here and it’s gone. It’s kind of a rip-off; I know.  The colors, oh, the colors.  Blooms abound, daffodils, flowering cherry trees….sigh.  Color everywhere and I can’t get enough, but the good news is, you don’t have to miss it.  You can look at those beautiful images on your walls all year long.  Mini-sessions are literally just around the corner.  On June 3rd, to be exact, with a couple of rain dates in our back pockets, just in case mother nature does us wrong.  The session fee is $99, with special mini-session pricing on prints.  So if you’re thinking about that session you haven’t had the time to plan, now’s the time!  Especially if you’re a mama that is rarely in any picture with your children. You know who you are.   Click here to pre-register and get your first choice of appointments as soon as the details are cemented in.

Oh and dad’s, look no further, here’s the Mother’s Day gift you’ve been looking for!

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Winter Headshots in CT for US Coast Guard Vocalist

Professional headshots in CT for CT based vocalist

As a CT headshot and branding photographer, I meet the most interesting people, and I love it that I get to help them, in a very tiny way, attain success in what ever career they have chosen. A couple of weeks ago, I met Megan, who is a vocalist with the US Cost Guard Band. She hired me to take her professional headshots, though, Megan’s inner and outer beauty demanded that I needed to take more than just headshots, so I did because these opportunities should never be wasted.

On one of the most lovely days we’ve had this spring, we walked along a scenic dirt road, close to her home in the country – trees near bare, just the way I like them, and the remains of winter hanging onto the still, dead ground.  The twinkle of light through the trees, as the sun descended, made the most beautiful bokeh and I could tell as we walked, that as beautiful the day, we were all anticipating spring buds on the trees and greener ground. We stopped at several places along the way and took some beautiful images of Megan, and even a few of her with her little guy, who came along to support his mama.  It couldn’t have been a nicer day, spent with a nicer person.  I know I say it often, but I love my job as a photographer and I’m so grateful God lets me do this every day.

If you’re ready to improve your online or business presence, elevate your brand or just update your headshots, let’s chat.  The process is super simple and lots of fun. I promise, you won’t regret it!

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Jeremy & Melissa’s CT October Wedding │ Tolland, CT Wedding Photographer

I don’t really consider myself a typical CT wedding photographer; not in the traditional sense anyway.  I take a few weddings a year and that’s enough for me, but it’s not every day you get the chance to photograph your friend’s – second photographer’s wedding.  Actually, that’s kind of an understatement.  Jeremy is more like my other arm in all-things-photography, as well as the kick in the backside that I often need.  He’s also a walking alarm and reminder system and mostly, a huge encourager – always ready with a positive word, joyful spirit and an incredible sense of humor.

As for Melissa, she’s always loaded with energy and super fun to be around.  She’s always laughing and I have no doubt, the life of any room in which she’s standing.  It’s no wonder these two make such a perfect couple.  And how could I possibly say no to that?  In fact, I may even have been converted to a lover of wedding photography since photographing this wonderful wedding, with these two wonderful people.

Jeremy and Melissa… thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your photographer.  And thank you for your patience waiting for me to pull together a new computer in the midst of editing your wedding.  I wish you both the best in every single way.

Dea…thank you for second shooting….you are amazing!



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MON-FRI 10-5




MON-FRI 10-5


Since 2008


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