Monday, December 19, 2011

I Heart Faces Challenge: Holiday Bokeh | Helena, Montana Children's Photographer

Bokeh is a Japanese term used to refer to the effect of shallow depth of field that creates a pleasing blur of color behind the subject. Christmas offers ample opportunities to take advantage of this aspect of photography. For this week's I Heart Faces challenge, I offer this shot of my baby hanging out in front of the tree a couple days after we put it up.


Merry Christmas!
Check out more fun entries at I Heart Faces!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Get digital. Cyber Monday deal on digital files | Helena, Montana Photograhper

Cyber Monday calls for a deal on digital files, don't you think?!

Here's your one and only chance to get all your files from a previous session with Zo-Mak Photography.


Low Resolution (suitable for print up to 5x7) for $249, or
High Resolution for $449.

(That's a savings of over $200 and $450 respectively!)

Get your files on disc in a custom designed keepsake case along with a 4x6 spiral bound proof book of all those images.

Of course there's always fine print, but nothing too surprising:

*This offer is non-refundable
*Offer is good only on galleries that have already been completed.
*Payment must be made on Monday, 11.28.11 by paypal, credit card or cash
*email me at to place your order beginning now through 11:59 p.m. Montana time on 11.28.11

Get one, Give one | Helena, MT Photographer

It's simple -- 'tis the season of giving. And getting. So give a gift of everlasting memories from Zo-Mak Photography, and get one for yourself.

Two sessions -- one for yourself and one for someone else -- for $150.

That's it. Sit back, relax, and enjoy knowing that you gave someone a priceless gift that will last for generations. (...and start thinking about what you're going to wear to yours!)


The fine print:
*Both sessions must take place in 2012
*Offer is good for any baby, child, family, senior or maternity photography session (the value of the gift may be applied toward a wedding package, but is not valid for an entire wedding)
*Minimum print order applies for both sessions
*Payment must be made on Monday, 11.28.11 by paypal, credit card or cash
*email me at to place your order beginning now through 11:59 p.m. Montana time on 11.28.11
*You will receive two gift certificates by mail, each good for one full photo session with Zo-Mak Photography

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Heart Faces - Autumn Splendor | Helena, Montana Family & Child Photographer

When I saw the theme for this week's I Heart Faces challenge, I knew immediately that this was the image I would submit. So much love and such a happy memory preserved.


Head on over to IHF to check out some other awesome entries.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Committment | Helena, Montana Family Photographer

I had the unique opportunity to spend some time with a very special couple recently who are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. I eagerly looked around for inspiration for this session since I generally spend my time with kids and families, and needed some idea of what direction I wanted to go. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that having spent so much time together, there have to be many stories to tell, many memories living between them. That's what I wanted to capture.

So I went to this session with an open plan -- I knew I wanted to see what made them "them", but I also wanted to really try to show the love and the history that they have shared over the years.

We spent about two and a half hours together. I probably could have spent all day. What we came away with are images that I hope they and their family cherish for many years to come. I know they were a bit nervous, afraid they weren't photogenic and a little awkward in front of the camera, but I think we got past that. In fact, I know we did.

I'm looking forward to getting through all the images and making a keepsake album from our morning together.

Bob and Jan, I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did -- and I hope you enjoy this little sneak peek. (Oh, and by the way, Happy Birthdays!)




Day 316: {wise}

Oh, and by the way, Bob, I hope there's not a test later ;)


Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11 Canvas Sale | Helena, Montana Photographer

In honor of Veteran's Day and 11.11.11, I'm jumping on the sale bandwagon. Yay!!

Now's the chance to upgrade that favorite image of yours from this past year from a print to a beautiful gallery wrapped canvas. Your image will be printed on beautiful heirloom quality canvas and stretched over a custom built 1.5 inch deep wooden frame. Each canvas comes ready to hang in your home!

Take your image from this:

To this:
Gallery Wrap Sample

12x12/11x14 -- $150 (regular $250)
16x16/16x24 -- $200 (regular $350)
20x20/20x30 -- $250 (regular $425)
30x40 -- $325 (regular $550)

The Fine Print:
*All orders must be received no later than 12:00 noon (MST) on SUNDAY 11/13/2011
*All orders must be paid for by credit card or paypal upon ordering
*This sale is available to any prior Zo-Mak client who has an existing gallery (contact me to have your gallery turned on if it has expired)
*Due to the nature of custom photography, no refunds are available

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rhet! | Helena, Montana Children's Photographer

I recently finished up another set of holiday mini sessions and am working feverishly on proofs so everyone can choose their images and cards in time for Christmas. This time we were out at Reeder's Alley, and all four of the families who braved the crisp day will be pleasantly rewarded when they get their proofs - promise! (I usually say that clients will receive about 10 images from mini sessions. I think the smallest gallery I've put up so far has 24 images! Sweet!

I've been posting some sneak peeks up on my facebook page as usual, but since I know this little guy's mom doesn't use facebook (how DOES she survive?! -- wink, wink), I just have to post this one image here now.

Love, love, love!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

radley Family | Helena, Montana Family Photographer

I always learn something new every time I go out with a client. Always. This time, it was to not be deterred by the weather, and be sure to have a backup plan. The wind was blowing steadily at 20 mph this afternoon. I got to our location (outdoors, field next to a lake...) a few minutes early and knew there was no way the kids would be able to handle the cold, and that the wind would really detract from the faces in the images. A quick new plan led us to a new location for the first half of the session, nice and sheltered from the wind, then we headed back to the original location after the wind had subsided just in time for some beautiful light before sunset.

Aaaaahhhhhh..... A year or so ago, I probably would have just cancelled. I'm so glad we didn't. As usual, this last session is my new favorite. A beautiful family who really had a good time in front of the camera and weren't afraid to be themselves. That always helps the final images really turn into something to treasure.

And the best part about this family? They booked two sessions -- one now and one this winter. I can't wait to see them again in a beautiful winter wonderland!

radley blog

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Product Highlight: More Card Designs | Helena, Montana Photographer

I have to admit I'm a sucker for Holiday cards. I just came across these great new designs today, and I can't resist. The newest additions to the 2011 Zo-Mak Holiday card collection. So now you can choose between these four, or any of the ones I blogged earlier.

Good Luck :)

Christmas Gifts (trifold)
christmas gifts trifold

Happy Hanukkah
happy  hannukah

(please note, these images are not mine -- photo credit is next to each card)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Baby Jackson | Helena, Montana newborn photographer

Meet Jackson, a wonderfully perfect little guy who, at four weeks, slept better than most of the newborn babies I have photographed so far! I usually schedule newborn sessions within the first 10 days after birth, but due to Jackson being born a couple weeks early, and me being sick, this was as soon as we were able to get together. Must be it was meant to be, because each image I came to was sweeter than the last.

Welcome to the world, buddy! I look forward to watching you grow (and getting to know your mama better!)

jackson blog

Happy Halloween from two little witches | Helena, Montana Children's Photographer

Day 304: {trick}

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Feature: Children's Photography Network | Helena Montana family and children photographer

The Children's Photography Network blog is a great site for photographers and clients alike. Highlighting different photographer's work on a regular basis, it's a great spot for photographers to check out in order to get some inspiration for an upcoming shoot, or for someone to get some ideas of what to wear for their upcoming session.

I'm excited to share today's blog post from them -- featuring Zo-Mak Photography! Yay! Go check it out -- and leave some love ;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Snow | Helena, Montana Photographer

I am totally one of *those* people who LOVES winter. I was as giddy as my girls (two and four) last night as the snow started falling, and I couldn't help myself this morning when I looked outside at the sun rising over the Elkhorn mountains making my whole world sparkle. I had to take my camera out! I am so lucky to live in this little piece of heaven. All these images were taken out my front door, still in my pajamas.... Mmmmmmm, I love it! (Disclaimer: don't call me in April asking me if I still feel the same way. Chances are slim).

first snow

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

John and Senele: Married | Helena, Montana Wedding Photographer

I'm so excited to share these images from a stunning wedding this summer at Chico Hot Springs in Pray, Montana. I had the incredible opportunity to back up Bärbel Morton of Bärbel Morton Photography. I learned a lot and had a wonderful time.

The bride and groom selected Montana as the location for their destination wedding, and gave their friends and family from Los Angeles quite an experience! Everyone was treated to a beautiful, windy Montana day with fantastic views, beautiful vows from beautiful people, and a day no one will forget.

For anyone thinking of booking their 2012 wedding, now is the time! I'm currently booking them at my 2011 prices. Call by the end of December to get on this year's prices for next year's weddings.

Congratulations, Senele and John!

senele and john details

senele and john ceremony

senele and john post-ceremony

senele and john reception

The Photographer's Kids | Helena, Montana Children's Photographer

I don't often include my own kiddos on my blog, but I can't resist sharing these. I got them out recently (before it got WAY too cold for short sleeved dresses) to capture some images to use on our Christmas cards this year. They did really well (in-between shivers). It's nice to have them growing up a little bit - although if I had it my way, they'd stop right now!) - so I don't have to bribe them too much, or use too many tricks. Maybe at this point in the game they're just used to it.

Either way, here are a couple early favorites from our quick session.

My baby.....
baby zoe

and my big girl...

mak and zoe

Daddy even got in on the action for a couple minutes.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Product Highlight: Seasonal Accordion Mini Book | Helena, Montana Photographer

One of the most popular items that my clients love are the mini accordion books. They're great for gifting to grandparents, aunts and uncles and anyone else who might want to brag a little about their loved ones.

Available in 3" square or wallet size, these little accordion books have a hidden magnet closure and each ones comes with a clear protective plastic sleeve to keep it looking its best.

I'm excited to offer this "Thankful" design to any of my 2011 mini-session clients to add on to your package. And since I'm thankful for you all, mention this blog post to save $20 when you order three of them.

thankful sample cover

thankful sample front spread

thankful sample back spread

thankful sample back cover

Happy Fall!

Strauss Family | Helena, Montana Family Photogrpaher

Fall in Montana
Families in love with each other
Good sports
Positive attitudes
Dads who are into it
Little girls in fluffy skirts
Smiles and laughs

These are all things that I love. These things that I love all came together beautifully last Friday evening during my session with this wonderful family. So glad to have been able to do this for you all! Enjoy.

strauss blog storyboard

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What to Wear - Fall/Winter Family Portraits | Helena, Montana Family Photographer

I've got a lot of mini sessions coming up with families who keep asking me what they should wear! We face a bit more of a challenge here in Montana dressing for outdoor fall and winter photos than someone in, say, Texas or Georgia, that's for sure. But then again, given that we ARE Montanans, I am convinced that we can accept the challenge and make it awesome.

What this means to you as you sit there staring into your kids' closets wondering if you're going to have to drop a small fortune on clothing before you even get to your session (quick answer: no, you're not): You're going to have to work a little, but the effort will be totally worth it years from now when you look at these photos on the wall, a tear comes to your eye and you think to yourself "Wow, fall and winter in Montana are so gorgeous, and I'm so glad we got out there and took that picture. I can't believe the kids were ever really that little. Look how they're holding hands. Look how my hubby is holding *my* hand. Look how we're all laughing and smiling and loving life. That was a memory worth making."

Just a couple rules:

-You will not show up in your ski and/or hunting gear bundled so that only your nose and eyes are showing (unless, of course, I'm going on location with you and the whole point is to capture you and your family doing what you love to do....)

-You will not all show up matching. Please, for goodness sakes, do not match. There's a fine line between matching and coordinating. We're aiming for coordinating. (If you haven't heard me say it before, do NOT and I mean DO NOT show up to our session wearing all jeans or khakis and matching white collared [or any color for that matter] shirt. I'll tell you to go home and try again. For real.)

-You will not spend an arm and a leg on brand new clothes just to look good for your family pictures.

-You will accessorize (that means heels for you, mamas!) are awesome. Jewelry, scarves, hats, shoes... Go for it! This is your chance to dig out all that stuff you bought before you had kids then stuffed into a drawer somewhere.

So how's it work? Start small. Choose one person's outfit first, then everyone else's based on that choice using a palate of two or three colors (you can always use black and white as *free* choices).

Make sense?

Some samples from my fashion-savvy family clients:

Love these choices for winter pictures. Very festive, but they don't *scream* MERRY CHRISTMAS at you. Red, blue and gray.


More from the red/blue/gray families (dad took off the sweater for most of the shots, but I love the extra splash it adds here)


OK, so this doesn't help with what to wear in the winter, but it's a great example of taking the jeans/white shirts up a notch. Or twelve. You could totally do this with sweaters and tights added in, hats and chunky scarves.... Seeing it yet??


Remember when we started I said to choose one person's outfit first, then everyone else's based on that? (It's OK, you can go back and re-read it.....) Three guesses who this family chose first. And this also proves that you don't need to be afraid of patterns. Just put the pattern on one person and pull colors from it for everyone else.


OK, again, this isn't necessarly helping with what to wear to be warm, but those colors are AWESEOME.


Blues and purples! Love it!


Oh, yay, more blues and purples!!! (Little brag here - these aren't my photos, but they're my family. I actually hired a photographer (special thanks again to Jeffrey Foote Photography) to take my own family photos last year when my grammie turned 90. We surprised her with a birthday party and all her grandkids in one place at one time. I told everyone to wear blues, purples and grays. It worked - even from long distance).


And just check out those peacoats (from Old Navy) and tights and boots on my babies! They totally stayed warm and looked adodrable all at the same time. Anything is possible!



OK, so to recap.

1. Don't match, coordinate.
2. Choose an outfit that you love for one person first, and base everything else on that.
3. Use a palate of 2 or 3 colors to start with, and fill in with black/white.
4. Accessorize.
5. Do not wear your ski or hunting gear. Unless it's ONLY for warming up inbetween. That's TOTALLY fine (as is hot chocolate. For me or your kids. Whatever).

Phew. I think we did it. Please don't hesitate to call if you have questions on anything! And if all else fails, google "what to wear for family portraits in fall". Be prepared. There's a whole lotta info out there.

See you soon!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Christa & Paul are married | Helena, Montana Wedding Photographer

I've had the incredible opportunity of second shooting some weddings this summer and fall with the incredibly talented Rab Cummings of Rab Photography. I've learned a lot, experienced a lot, taken a lot of beautiful images of beautiful people and am grateful for it all.

Christa and Paul were married in early September at the Gallatin River Hideaway in Bozeman. Everything about the day was perfect -- as you can see below.

Congratulations, Christa and Paul!

At the risk of totally overwhelming the viewer with images, here you go! Enjoy!

Krista_Paul getting ready

Krista_Paul preceremony

Krista_Paul ceremony

Krista_Paul Formals

Krista_Paul reception

Your favorite of 2011 | Helena, Montana Family and Child Photographer

It's time for another contest!

Day 202: {float}

I've been going through all my images from 2011 so far and reminiscing about the clients, the sessions, and learning from each one. Somewhere along the way, I decided that a give-away needed to be involved. So I picked my 12 favorite images from this year to date (I tried to get it down to 10, but that just didn't happen....) and posted them in an album on Facebook. Now it's up to YOU all to decide which is your favorite.

Go to Suzie's Favs of 2011 -- Canvas Contest and vote for your favorite image by "liking" it (you'll have to "like" Zo-Mak Photography in order to like the image. But come on, tell the truth... you really Love Zo-Mak Photography, right??!!)

...I digress... The family whose image has the most votes by the end of the day Friday October 21 2011 will win a 16x20 or 16x24 gallery wrapped canvas of that image.




Tell your friends!!!

Then call me to schedule your own session so you can some of your own memories preserved forever.


Find Zo-Mak on Facebook

About Me

My photo

Originally from upstate NY, then transplanted to Alaska where I found my husband and started the family chapter...  Moved to Montana after 8 years in AK -- lived in Bozeman for 4 years and settled in the mountains south of Helena for the rest of the story...

Contact Me!

Let's talk about the awesomeness we can bring into your home in the form of one-of-a-kind images that will be cherished for generations! Give a call or drop an email today.


Session Info

Regular Session Information:

The $125 regular session fee includes up to 2 hours of shooting time at a location of your choice and 20-30 edited proofs to choose from at your in-person ordering session (*proofing will be available online for those clients outside the Helena area).

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Zo-Mak Photography is an on-location custom portrait studio based in Helena Montana. I specialize in people - all people; the people who are special to you. Bringing a fresh perspective to custom photography, Zo-Mak Photography loves vreating images of your family, children, newborn baby, roly poly baby, high school senior and wedding that will be cherished for generations.

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