Welcome to the Kari Sikorski Photography Blog!

I'm Kari Sikorski, a family photographer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have had a camera in my hands since I was about 7 years old. I grew up taking photographs of everything, and have a ridiculous amount of photo albums from my childhood which I cherish today. My dad first taught me how to shoot manually on his old 35mm that he carried in the Navy. I am a mom to three adorable, loud, rambunctious boys, and photographing them gave me a new appreciation for what a photograph can mean to someone. I started Kari Sikorski Photography in 2009, and love to capture those smiles, milestones, relationships and special moments for my clients.

March 1, 2014

This sweet couple is expecting their firstborn soon…

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This sweet couple is expecting their firstborn soon…

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January 23, 2014

A HeartsApart.org family session.
HeartsApart.org provides soon to be deployed servicemen and women with pictures of their spouses and children at no cost. The photographs are printed on waterproof and durable bi-folded cards, which fit securely in their uniform pocket. HeartsApart.org believes that our military personnel deserve and need the memory of their families to carry them through the difficult times that lie ahead.

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I am so honored to be a photographer for www.HeartsApart.org.

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HeartsApart.org provides soon to be deployed servicemen and women with pictures of their spouses and children at no cost. The photographs are printed on waterproof and durable bi-folded cards, which fit securely in their uniform pocket. HeartsApart.org believes that our military personnel deserve and need the memory of their families to carry them through the difficult times that lie ahead.

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This family was just adorable, and we were all laughing when they pulled out the mustaches for some shots – I even wore one behind the camera!

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They brought my new favorite prop to get this cute little man laughing… a rubber chicken! I must buy one!

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Safe travels Staff Sgt., your adorable family will be so happy to be with you again soon!

 

January 13, 2014

Storm’s birthday party marked the finale of his Ultimate Baby’s 1st Year Package, and it was so fun to photograph his special day!

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filed under: Babies & Children

I have been photographing this baby since before he was born… starting with his mother’s maternity session. Storm’s birthday party marked the finale of his Ultimate Baby’s 1st Year Package, and it was so fun to photograph his special day!

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A relative with a great eye for design decorated for the party, and I was swooning over the cute details and colors!

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Mom, Dad, big sister & the birthday boy!

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The birthday party was held at the Tracy Aviary, in the historic Chase Mill. Guests were treated to story time, and a chance to feed two cute ducks -Salt & Pepper.

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Guests were then given an up close view of owls, hawks and falcons at a private bird show, where a talented McCaw painted a special picture for Storm!

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It was time to head back to the Chase Mill for the celebration…

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I loved how the cake was decorated like a storm!

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and at last… Storm enjoyed eating the frosting and oh yeah… there was cake in there too, lol!

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Happy Birthday Storm! Have a wonderful year!

December 20, 2013

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
in the lane, snow is glistening…

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Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
in the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
we’re happy tonight,
walking in a winter wonderland.

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I was so happy to hear from this family again this Winter for a family session. Their session last year has some of my favorite images and they are such a sweet family!

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These two littles were so good in the cold! Adorable!

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December 10, 2013

This Fall session is a favorite for many reasons…

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This Fall session is a favorite for many reasons… this mama is an amazing Montessori teacher whom my twins adore, they are a super sweet family, and this is one of my favorite locations because of this beautiful tree!

Salt Lake City family portrait photography

cute, cute couple!

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Love this moment…

Salt Lake City, Utah family photography

Salt Lake City, Utah family photography

Salt Lake City, Utah family photographer

Sigh… don’t you just love Fall…

December 5, 2013

Run, whirlwind run
Further and further away
Into the sun

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Run, whirlwind run
Further and further away
Into the sun

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I love these images… the smiles and sun flare make me so happy! Great family = great images every time ;) This family had relatives in town for Thanksgiving & booked an extended family session.

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2014-02-14_0011I love asking couples to give each other a huge squeeze because it always creates big smiles to match!

September 12, 2013

To help you plan your Fall portrait sessions and Holiday cards…

Kari Sikorski Photography is fully booked for September.
Session dates are available in October and November.

December 1st will be the last available session date of 2013, and KSP will reopen on 1/6/2014 for the new year.

I am excited to wrap up the year with some gorgeous Fall color and snow!

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To help you plan your Fall portrait sessions and Holiday cards…

Kari Sikorski Photography is fully booked for September.
Session dates are available in October and November.

December 1st will be the last available session date of 2013, and KSP will reopen on 1/6/2014 for the new year.

I am excited to wrap up the year with some gorgeous Fall color and snow!

Fall:Winter

August 25, 2013

As a family photographer who takes student, class and staff photos for 2 private schools, and a mother of 3 boys, I’ve compiled some tips to help you prepare for your children’s school photos along with some of my favorite images. Many of these tips work for teachers as well!

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The new school year has started… children are settling into their new classrooms, and in September school photos will be taken in many schools around the country.

Everyone has a funny story about one of their own school photos. I cut my own bangs at a 45 degree angle just before my Kindergarten school photos. I know my mother was horrified at the time, but we laugh about it now and that photo is priceless to me.

As a family photographer who takes student, class and staff photos for 2 private schools, and a mother of 3 boys, I’ve compiled some tips to help you prepare for your children’s school photos along with some of my favorite images. Many of these tips work for teachers as well!

Tips for Great School Photos

Clothing:

Avoid logos, slogans, even large images of a person, cartoon or animal. They are distracting & take away from the subject. Cropping can cause words & images to be cut in half anyway. Let the focus be on the subject.

Plan your outfit ahead of time. Make sure it is comfortable and fits properly.

What works best:  solids, simple patterns, darker colors vs. white & pastels which can wash you out. Colors that bring out your eye color look great!

If you know the background color ahead of time, wear a color that compliments it, don’t match it or you’ll be a floating head.

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Grooming:

Haircut – cut it at least a week ahead of time. Give it a chance to grow out just a bit, and yourself time to learn to work with a new style.

Hide the scissors from your little ones – every year in the school photos I take, I have at least one kindergartener that has cut his or her bangs themselves.

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Special instructions:

Send them in a note either attached to the photo form, or give it to the teacher directly. Examples:  glasses on/off, jacket or sweater zipped or buttoned up or left open, etc.

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Smiling:
Don’t over-coach your kids on smiling. Saying “cheese” doesn’t produce a natural smile. (I actually prefer to use the word “honey” if needed). Try them both and see how your smile looks.) Ask your child to think of something that makes them happy or that is funny, or think of a best friend or a pet. Sit up straight and smile.
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Teens:
 Less is more with makeup & accessories.
Check your hair, teeth & collar in a mirror before your photo.

Acne – many school photographers offer touch up services for a small fee. This would be easier in many cases & the end result will look more natural than going overboard with concealer.

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Other options:

If you would rather forgo the school photos – have your family photographer take individual photos of your children during your family portrait session & order them in wallet or small sizes to share with family & friends.

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High School Senior Photography is all about bringing out the personality and style of the student, and sessions are personalized just for them. I love shooting these sessions… they are a lot of fun and capture a special time in their lives as they are looking towards their bright future.

While many of the tips above may still apply, there are others that are more specific to this age bracket and style of photography, so I will consult with clients to make sure that the photographs truly express who they are. Seniors are encouraged to bring multiple outfit changes, accessories, jewelry, items to represent their interests (ie. sports, music, hobbies, etc.). Girls may opt to have their hair and makeup professionally done. Locations are discussed – I love that part & have many favorites to choose from.

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Final Tip:

After all of that advice, remember to embrace who your child is right now and let their school photo reflect that. The goal in the end isn’t really a perfect picture, it’s a memory of who they were at that age.

 

July 28, 2013
Fantastic job Laken! Best of luck to you in your...
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filed under: Graduates

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Fantastic job Laken! Best of luck to you in your future!

July 25, 2013

How to photograph fireworks…

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filed under: Photography

Our plans for the 4th of July included taking in the Salt Lake Bees baseball game and watching the fireworks afterward. I have always wanted to bring my dSLR and photograph fireworks, and with tickets in the front row on the upper deck I had room to bring my tripod.

Camera Settings: ISO 100, F5, Bulb Exposure (B) setting

The Bulb setting allowed me to press the shutter as the firework was going up and release it when it was finished. My shutter time varied from 1-4 seconds as I played with short & long exposures for different effects.

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The key is to have a long exposure and keep the camera steady.

1. Use a Tripod

Longer shutter speeds will not only capture the movement of the fireworks but any movement of the camera itself. The best way to keep your camera still is with a tripod.

2. Remote Release

One way to ensure your camera is completely still during fireworks shots is to invest in a remote release device.

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3. Framing Your Shot

Scope out the location early – get a good, unobstructed position. Think about what is in the foreground and background of your shots and make sure you won’t have people’s heads in your shots (also consider what impact you’ll have on others around you also). Take note of where fireworks are being set up and what parts of the sky they are likely to be shot into.

Find Out the Direction of the Wind – You want to shoot up wind, so it goes Camera, Fireworks, Smoke. Otherwise the images will come out hazy. Make sure you are ready to take pictures of the first fireworks. If there isn’t much wind, you are going to end up with a lot of smoke in your shot as the show goes on. The first explosions are usually the sharpest ones.

Watch your Horizons - This is especially important if you’re going to shooting with a wide focal length and will get other background elements in your shots (ie a cityscape). Make sure your camera is level on your tripod.

Vertical or Horizontal? Vertical works well because there is a lot of vertical motion in fireworks. Horizontal shots can work if you’re going for more of a landscape shot with a wider focal length or if you want to capture multiple bursts of fireworks in one shot.

Remember your framing – spend less time looking in the viewfinder and more time looking at the sky. Doing this will also help you to anticipate the right time for a shot as you’ll see the light trails of unexploded rockets shooting into the sky.

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4. Focal Length?  I recommend using a zoom lens. Wide angle or zoomed in… experiment for variety

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5. ISO & Aperture

Set your ISO to 100 – fireworks are bright, and a low ISO has less noise/grain. Set your aperture to f/8.

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6. Shutter Speed

Set the shutter speed to Bulb (B) setting. Bulb leaves the shutter open for as long as you depress the shutter release, and it’s a great way to make sure that you capture exactly what you see in the sky because you control when the exposure starts and stops. Hit the shutter as the firework is trailing up into the sky, and hold it down until it’s finished exploding (about 1-2 seconds).

Don’t keep your shutter open too long. fireworks are bright and it doesn’t take too much to over expose them, especially if your shutter is open for multiple bursts in the one area of the sky.

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8. Switch off your Flash

If you’re using an SLR, simply lowering the flash and setting the camera to Manual mode will keep the flash from going off.

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8. Manual Focus

If you leave your camera set to auto focus the lens will whir backwards and forwards trying to find something to focus on in the black sky and you’ll end up missing a lot of shots.

Set the lens to manual focus and set it to the ∞ (infinity) mark and leave it there. The fireworks will be far enough away that the camera would focus at infinity anyway.

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9. Experiment and Check Results

Throughout the fireworks display occasionally check your results, but don’t check after every shot or you’ll miss the show.

When you’re shooting fireworks at night, the aperture controls the brightness of the lights, and the shutter speed determines how long the light trails appear in the photo.

If you want brighter fireworks, open the aperture by making the f number smaller (f5.6).

If the overall photo looks overexposed, make the f-number bigger (f11). Try again until you get an exposure you like.

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10. Post-processing—darken the sky for increased contrast

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