Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Senior Photos: Isabelle

Isabelle kept saying during our shoot, "What should I do? I'm probably doing this all wrong."


No darling, you got it all right. Perfectly, perfectly right.

Are you thinking of senior photos yet?

Class of 2016: The time is coming quickly for YOU to be in front of the camera. Are you ready?

First Frame is a full-service photography studio. You're not walking away with some low-res files you hope you can print at the pharmacy...

You're going to enjoy luxury.
  • professional albums,
  • UV-protected canvas wall art, and 
  • prints guaranteed to last 100 years. 
We're going to get to know you, talk about what kind of session will showcase your style, your persona. You're not going to be rushed through the process - after all, it's taken you 12 years to get here. You deserve to enjoy this rite of passage. We're here to help you love every moment.

In the end, you're going to have luxurious, original ways to showcase your visually ARRESTING images. 


Give us a call at 207.651.1842, or email Gretchen at

The rest of your life awaits. Don't keep it waiting.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Contest!! In the Name of Love

This month is my parents' anniversary - they've been married for 48 years. FORTY EIGHT.
That's a LONG time to put up with one another's shenanigans.
Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad.

48 years together. Amazing.

It's occurred to me lately that one of my favorite things to photograph is couples that have been together for a long time. So, in honor of my Mom and Dad for hanging in there and showing us how to make it work, I'm going to throw a little contest. 

Nominate a couple for a complimentary photo session with a matted 8x10 print (over $300 value)!
Here are the rules:
The couple must be married for over 40 years.
You cannot nominate yourself.
Enter on our Facebook page.  We've set up a contest app that will guide you through the process. 

The contest deadline is Saturday, April 25. Our winner will be announced by April 30, 2015. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Senior Guys: Looking Good and Making it Look Easy

*** This advice applies to everyone, by the way, but I think it especially helps the guys.***
So, I've recently stumbled onto a fun-loving and informative video by Peter Hurley, who explains to us common folk how to look sexier, more confident, photogenic... just plain BETTER in photos. His technique is simple, but surprisingly difficult to explain. Take a peek at the video below to see what I mean.

So... 'squinching', as Mr. Hurley calls it, (or if you're Tyra Banks, it's "smizing") is a quirky little thing that the muscles in your lower eyelids to when you are naturally:
  • smiling,
  • suspicious/ skeptical,
  • in love.
Don't believe me? Think about it.  Now try out the expressions in front of a mirror and focus on how your eyes reacted.
I recently re-designed my website and was digging through this past year's files and found this photo of Jordan that I LOVED, and it HIT me that the reason was: he was doing this "squinch". Check it out.
Jordan's Senior Photo
This is Jordan. Good looking kid. Nice shot, nothing too crazy. Not really phenomenal either.
Senior photos guys
Hands down, my favorite shot of Jordan in this session. Why? It's because he's ever-so-slightly scowling at me. (He really was. I think I was teasing him at the time.)
So what can you do with this information? Well, most of us are not professional models; we find ourselves at a photo shoot, in front of a camera, and feeling painfully awkward.
My trick is to have in mind something to think about that causes your face to adopt this expression. Here are a few ideas to get you rolling: (Or make you laugh, which also works for me!)
  • Imagine your lower eyelid, and literally try to make it form a smile. Think happy thoughts.
  • Make the expression that matches this statement: "I'm really happy to see you, but my eyes are feeling quite dry."
  • Go full-out Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. "I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself."
So if you've got senior pictures coming up, or are contemplating them for next year, you still have time to practice.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

An Exciting New Twist on a Sand Unity Ceremony

If you're getting married, chances are you've heard of a sand ceremony, where the bride and groom pour two sands together as a symbol of being inseparable. It's a sweet tradition.

But what happens with that sand when you get home? You put it in a pretty vase, and then it just... sits there. Well, it sits there till your Labrador puppy or two-year-old bumps into it and the symbol of your unity is now embedded in your carpet for all eternity. Till it gets sucked up by your vacuum.

Last week, I was talking to a business associate of mine who described a fantastic twist on this tradition. Instead of combining sand, the bride and groom combine tiny pebbles of colored glass. After the wedding, they deliver the glass pebbles to her studio, and she fires them together in her kiln into a beautiful, functional work of art.

I became instantly smitten with this idea. Today I photographed samples of her work, and wanted to share it with you.

The glassware is available in numerous colors, styles and shapes. Contact Helen for more details at Get Fired Up, here in Sanford Maine. 

...And if you're from out of town, out of state, or even farther, contact Helen anyway - the kit is easy to ship wherever you are. 

At the beginning of the ceremony: Two vessels, two colors.

During the ceremony, the grains of glass are poured together.

Once combined, they're virtually inseparable. 

Several types of containers are available for the kit - or you can use your own.

A closeup of the two colors before, and the finished piece of fused glass.
Stunningly beautiful, and surprisingly durable.  

Choose many different colors, shapes, styles.  Personalizing is also available. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Brides - Be Ready... for Anything.

When you get ready for your wedding, chances are there will be a moment when everyone says, "Do you have a ____?" and nobody will have one. 

Do you know who knows with almost certain accuracy what that thing will be? 

Your photographer.

Believe me... hanging out with dozens and dozens of brides again and again before the wedding has taught us the things that bridal parties most often need but don't pack.

The top two?  Scissors and tissues.

Tissues? Really?
Yes, believe it or not, brides and bridesmaids often forget to pack tissues. There are a lot of girls walking down the aisle with toilet paper tucked away somewhere. 

We're excited to say that you can win our custom-created Bridal Emergency Kit at the Sanford/Springvale Wedding Expo on October 26, 2014. Come see us at the Town Club from 11 to 2 and enter to win.

Brides, do you want to make your own kit?  Here's a complete list of what we recommend to be in the bag.
safety pins
needle and thread
double sided tape
breath strips
earring backs
lint roller
stain remover pen
granola bars
first aid kit

tylenol or advil
water bottle
dryer sheet (gets rid of static cling)
a 1-shot bottle of whiskey or vodka (or your beverage of choice)

Voila!  A great kit that you're sure to use.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do Brides Have All the Fun?

Let's face it.  When the day of the wedding comes, all eyes are on the lady in white.  But we can't resist the charm and charisma of the guys too.  Here are just a few of our fun moments hanging out with the guys.  After all, it's the groom's wedding too.  Right?  :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bridal Bouquets

Simple or detailed, inexpensive or elegant, we love bridal bouquets of all kinds.  What is most important is that the flowers match the feel of your day.  Here are a few of our most recent brides' bouquets.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Family Fun

I've been so happy to be busy this summer taking family sessions into my schedule.  All of these sessions have included beautiful, vivacious kiddos.  They are a fun type of challenge!

Here are a few favorites from just one of these sessions:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Guest Books - 2014 Remix

There aren't a lot of things that are used less at a wedding than a guest book.  Not everyone signs it, and once the wedding is over, you realize that it's one of the first things to get thrown out.

The ugly truth is that guest books aren't all that great.  Guests file in and sign their name, and for most weddings, only one or two pages are used.  Of course, a great idea is the matted wedding photo, where you have your guests sign the mat with their thoughts and best wishes.

Would you like another great alternative to a guest book?  We've got one for you!

This is a wildly popular alternative to a guest book: The Irish Blessing Stone Tradition. (originally featured on, a now defunct website) It's rich in meaning, and costs next to nothing. You'll need about as many palm-sized smooth stones as you'll have guests, a white or silver waterproof paint pen, and a pretty basket.

Couples in Irish tradition married by a body of water because these places were considered sacred.  Guests of the wedding were invited to toss stones into the water along with their wishes and blessings.  Keep this sweet tradition alive by inviting each of YOUR guests to write their name and wishes on a stone, then drop it into the dish of water on the table.  After the wedding, dry the rocks and keep them in a glass vase or basket as a sentimental decoration.

What do you think?  As a Maine wedding photographer, I would love to see more meaningful guest "books".  Have any good ideas of your own?  Share them with us!  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Love Letters

I just got the most wonderful email from one of my clients and wanted to share it.

Hi Gretchen!!

I wanted to let you know I am finally sitting down to look through these pictures again to pick out my final order and I am having SUCH a good time! I will be in touch soon to let you know the ones I want, but I just had to share with you what joy your work is bringing to me! :) We just celebrated our one year anniversary and looking back at these pictures is bringing back so many memories of that special day! I am also noticing little things I didn't notice a year ago when I was looking through, and it's funny some pictures have more meaning now then they did then for some reason!
Anyway, I am sure you have a busy wedding season lined up but I just wanted to thank you again for your beautiful work!

-Randi Sanborn

Oh! One more thing! I have been telling EVERYONE about the "first look photo shoot" that we did... It was truly the most special part of our wedding day so I like to share that with others who are getting married! Feel free to pass that along if people are wondering if they should do it or not!