It’s almost March (thank goodness) and Easter is just around the corner! Time to get your Easter photos of the kids, right? Why not try something different this time and instead of going to a “box” photo studio at one of the chain superstores or in the mall check out Lens Friends, a one of its kind DIY photography studio located just outside Philadelphia in Huntingdon Valley, PA.
I recently had the chance to check out Lens Friends with my two girls and I fell in love with the place AND the incredible owners, Kara and Rick. Lens Friends has been around for a little over two years now and was the brainchild of Kara Raudenbush who decided to create a studio space with fabulous props, sets, professional lighting, backdrops and of course the pro cameras. But the twist is that YOU take the photos! You can get in and start snapping pix of your kids or your friends and family or even your pets! It’s a great way to use a pro space and set-up but not feel totally out in the breeze with it as you have the help and guidance of Kara and Rick who are both professional photographers and ready and right there by your side to take some fabulous shots. You can use the professional grade cameras there or even bring your own camera (and so many folks have DSLRs now and aren’t 100% sure if they’re using them correctly) – you decide! It’s a one of its kind concept in DIY photo studios for the amateur photographer! At the end of your session (typically 30 minutes) you review the photos taken with Kara and Rick and then they provide their combined years of expertise to help you with selecting images and even post shoot editing and enlargements (if desired). When you leave you get a high resolution CD with all the images you took or you can have Kara and Rick print them out there. Whatever you prefer!
|Photo Credit: ME!!|
What my two girls loved about it the most though was how FUN it was. The place had props and cool stuff like boas and sunglasses and purses and hats and more in every visible place as well as a humongous back closet with yet even more props to take any regular old photo shoot to the next level. When we recently went the Valentine’s Day backdrop and set were up and included an old stove (which Kara had expertly DIYed herself to look so cute) and aprons, hats, cakes, spatulas and lots of hearts so that it looked like the girls were baking a sweet Valentine’s treat. And, indeed they were (or at least loved pretending to!) That’s what was so great about it was that my girls had so much fun “playing” they didn’t even hardly think about the fact that we were there to take photos. And, let me tell you this is a BIG plus these days because my littlest daughter (now almost 3) has apparently become terrified of photo places. We tried this past Christmas to get photos of the girls as we typically do at our old regular chain photo studio and BOTH times we went (yes, I tried twice!) were complete and abject failures. My little one refused to have her photo taken and was screaming and crying and red and puffy faced from her new terror of photo studios. Both times we had to abort the photo mission and I was so bummed to not have the traditional Christmas photo to send out to family. I had sort of assumed we were just going to have to miss photo shoots for a while but now that I have found Lens Friends I 100% know we’re going to get fabulous photos and have already booked my Easter photo shoot (for this weekend in fact!).
|Photo Credit: Kara Raudenbush|
You see, for Easter and Spring photos Kara and Rick pull out all the stops and even have LIVE BABY CHICKS in the studio on weekends (Fridays – Sundays through March up through the day before Easter) so your little ones can have their photos taken with the little spring chicks and get to hold them and see them up close and personal. How cool is that, right? (Just between you and me, I am SO excited to go see the chicks myself I don’t know who is going to have more fun with them – me or the girls?!)
Lens Friends also does unique birthday parties where you can bring your child and their guests in for a two hour dedicated photo shoot with only you and your party guests in the studio with full access to props, sets, fun and more. Birthday parties include pizza, drinks, paper products and goodie bags which include a high res CD of all the images taken during the party. Isn’t that so cool?? I LOVE this idea – especially for a budding photographer who would enjoy getting to take pix of his or her friends and have a great fun time, too.
For the adults, Lens Friends also offers some great classes including Intro to Digital Photography and Photoshop Simplified for the amateur photographer to get in and learn a bit more hands on from the pros about using their high end cameras and honing their photo editing skills. They also do custom/individual photo classes for the amateur looking for a bit more personalized instruction.
If you are at all inclined to try out Lens Friends, I honestly and truly cannot recommend them enough. Kara and Rick are so wonderful and easy to work with and just so much fun. They made us feel comfortable and at ease from the minute we walked in. We had more fun than I ever expected and I truly can’t wait to go back.
If you go please tell them that you heard about them on phillyfun4kids because right now they’re running a super contest with the chance to win a new Nikon SLR just for sending folks their way. And while it would be fun to win a Nikon SLR, I really just want you to go experience the fun and ease of Lens Friends for yourself – you won’t be sorry!!
Lens Friends is located at 2531 Huntingdon Pike – C-1, Huntingdon Valley, PA. Phone: 215-938-9801. You can book your appointment online (and reserve your spot with the baby chicks now!). And follow them on Facebook for the latest special events and contests. Or on twitter @LensFriends
To read more about the incredible full story of how Lens Friends Got Started check out this great article about Kara and Rick’s journey to launching the only DIY Photo Studio around.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I visited Lens Friends and worked with Kara and Rick on some new headshots and the kids Valentine’s photos. I received a complimentary photo session in to come and try out Lens Friends. As always all opinions expressed about Lens Friends being the best idea in photography for families EVER and Kara and Rick being so wonderful are my own.