“I feel like I’m supposed to love this, but I don’t.”
Do you ever say that about a photo? Recently, a local business owner showed me the family portrait on her desk and said that. “I feel like I’m supposed to love this, but I don’t.” As soon as I saw the picture, I knew why.
It was an image of her, her husband and their three children. It was a photograph of those she loved, but not a photograph she loved. They were dressed nicely. It had the proper settings, good light, proper positioning, etc., but there was no LIFE in the image. No personality, nothing to remember, or fall in love with. Their eyes seemed glassed over and their smiles forced. It was more of a mug shot than an image of a loving family.
Art vs. Technical
Photographers have to balance doing enough of the things we are SUPPOSED to do with enough of the things we SHOULD do. We have to do both art and technical.
Experience, skill and personal style determine how much is art and how much is technical. Sometimes we focus on one too much over the other. In the example above, the photo was too technical. The family wasn’t engaged in the moment. It lacked real emotion. It was technically right, but felt rushed.
On the other hand, these days, digital technology has put quality cameras in the hands of the public. Inexperienced, yet passionate, people take up photography. Artistic taste drives their work, even at the expense of technical proficiency. They get genuine smiles and emotions, but they can lack the benefits of good lighting (natural or artificial), good color in the skin and focus. The decent shots they get are lucky, and they aren't able to duplicate them for other clients.
When you choose someone to photograph your family, you need to decide for yourself what is important to you. Are you concerned about your weight or complexion? Do you want to highlight your best features? Then go with the technical photographer who understands how lighting, posing and choice of lens can help. Do you want to remember sweet moments and laughter? Do you want to smile every time you see the photo? The artistic photographer is the way to go.
But why not have it all? Carefully choosing a skilled and experienced photographer who carefully balances both technical and art is the best choice of all. Someone who understands both will be able to create photos from the client's list of needs and desires. Technical expertise is almost always needed to execute an artistic vision.
Best of both worlds, and perfectly met client's request.
Take a look at your most recent family photo. Does it show what you look like or who you really are? Can you actually see the color of your eyes? Is your skin the right tone? Is your smile natural? Are your kids comfortable? Do you all look like yourselves? Do you love it? If not, it’s time to find a new photographer.
My fall calendar is booking QUICKLY! The Virginia Department of Forestry predicts peak fall colors
in Hampton Roads in early to mid-November. I have already booked several dates during this time so act quickly to get the remaining ones. There are some amazing outdoor locations in Yorktown, Williamsburg and Newport News and I am very excited about the beautiful things I have planned.In addition, here are the holiday ordering deadlines:
Sessions must be complete by Nov 16 and ordering must be complete by Nov 25 to guarantee
holiday cards by Dec 2
prints by Dec 6
canvas by Dec 13
albums and other items by Dec 20
I do have session dates and times available after Nov 16.
I look forward to seeing all of you!
While it might feel like fall weather outside already, this fall is going to be HOT with the amazing things I have planned. Keep in mind this is the busiest time of year so book QUICKLY to be sure you get the date you want. I only announce specials twice a year, so this is definitely something to be excited about!! Whether you are looking for outdoor family photos, an in-home documentary style session or you are expecting a new baby, I have something for you.
As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. I remember the first time a headshot made a bad impression on me. It was a realtor, whom I had met in person. A few days later, as I was referring her to someone else, I pulled up her company’s website. When I saw her head shot, I was confused. I had to double-check to make sure it was her. There was nothing technically wrong with the photo. She had a pleasant smile and was professionally dressed. The problem was that the photo was obviously very old. It looked nothing like her. Maybe she kept it because she liked that photo of herself, but as a potential client, it made me feel like she was lying, like she was hiding something. If she couldn’t even be honest with a photo of herself, what else was she hiding? How else would she deceive me? I couldn’t shake that feeling. I did not end up hiring her.
We are visual creatures and learn a lot about people by what we can observe.
Not every headshot is right for every person. The image should tell the viewer something about the person with whom they will be doing business. Is this person professional? Casual? Friendly? Trustworthy? What will your headshot tell people? How will your photo make you stand out? Consider the following example:
This woman is an event planner. Her headshot is on the job and in action. Potential clients can tell she is professional, calm and friendly and pays attention to details. These images help them feel more confident about how she does her job.
Here’s another example:
This team wanted to highlight their differences and what they each bring to the company. He is the creative thinker and she is the number cruncher. Together they get everything done. They need their clients to trust them completely and that starts with getting to know a little bit about them through their photos.
There is a place for the more traditional headshots. Some professionals need to be known as someone who is pulled together and poised. Others can be a bit more creative. Professional doesn't have to be boring or stuffy. Either way, having a professional headshot will show that you are truly dedicated to your career and that you have attained a certain level of success. There are many more tips for making the best of a head shot
, and I would be happy to discuss your particular needs
For fun, here is a photo of me, taken by my friend and talented photographer Amanda Adams
. What does it say about me?
A few weeks ago, a client asked me to come to her home the night of the Tabb High School prom. Her son, a senior, and his group of friends and their dates were all meeting at her house for dinner and photos. Alongside many parents, I documented the evening and then took a few minutes to get fun shots like this:
Tabb High School students just before going to prom
As the kids climbed into the limo, I made a joke about being their paparazzi. I snapped a few flashy shots while they made exaggerated faces. To avoid embarrassing the kids, I won’t post them here. Sorry.
The paparazzi moment got me thinking about how celebrities deal with them. I certainly do not want to be part of that lifestyle, but it would be nice to have life documented. Many fun moments, special occasions, celebrations would all be on permanent record. Even more, everyday moments like going to Starbucks with your best friend or taking your kids to the playground would be caught on film. Paparazzi photos are designed to capture the celebrity, not the special moments. They don’t show the complete picture of her life, but she’s in them. She really lived those moments. The photos aren’t the whole picture, but they are part of it.
Today’s smartphones, photo apps and cost-friendly cameras let us document our lives more than ever before. I once read that “Every 2 minutes today we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800s.”
But as you document, are you in the photos? Are you the subject of the photos or the paparazzi? There is something to be said for having your life documented with you IN the photos. And more than the popular selfies (self-portraits), these photos should be natural and spontaneous. This is where the advantages of the paparazzi come in. I will never condone their tactics, but I would like to have photos of those sweet moments in my life. I wish I could have a photo of the time my two-year-old daughter so proudly shared her ice cream with me. Or the first time I helped my four-year-old son ride his bike. Or even just one of the moments they climbed up into my lap for a cuddle.
It may be time to for me to hand the camera over to my own paparazzi – my husband, my friends, even my kids. At least for a while. In the meantime, I need to schedule another photo session with my own family. Yes, even photographers hire photographers. We know we can't document it all ourselves. How will your family be documented? Will you be in the photos of the story of your lives? Let's talk about it
Short post today, but I have an ongoing need for models for a few projects. No professional experience necessary, although occasionally I will need that as well. If you're interested, please read more about how it works
. I look forward to hearing from you!
This is Malorie. She is a junior at James Madison University and is in the School of Media Arts & Design. When she graduates, she will pursue a career in film or video. Learning a good foundation in photography will set her up for immense success as she starts digging into her courses this fall.
She has been working with me for few weeks now and I can't believe how lucky I am to have her. She is smart, poised and works hard. I took her out for her very own session last week because I think it's important she understand what it is like to be on the other side of the camera so that when she is working with me at client sessions, she knows how they are feeling. I also used it as a training opportunity so that she could see the difference in herself in photos with good lighting and bad. We talk a lot about light and seeing the impact of it on her own face really helps to drive home the lessons.
Sooo, here she is! Beautiful and kind.
Just a quick post today, inspired by this video
. When I am talking to clients, before I ever take the first photo, I often ask "What do you not like about yourself in photos?" I do this because I've learned over and over that people see themselves differently than the rest of the world does. The responses range from bumps on noses to large foreheads to "everything." I'm almost always surprised by what they say. I ask so that I know what I need to do to minimize something with lighting, posing or editing. If I don't ask, and I make my own assumptions, I'm almost always wrong. Most people ask me to "use a lot of Photoshop" to make them look their best. It makes me sad, but then I realize I do the same thing to myself. We get so caught up in our perceived flaws that we fail to see how beautifully it all comes together. I believe that expression and "the smile in your eyes" (my head shot clients know this phrase!) are what makes the true beauty shine through. My ultimate goal is to take the best photo of someone so that they truly look like themselves, but the best version of themselves. Also, don't forget my grand opening party next weekend! Details and RSVP HERE.(Oh, and in my dream world, I would build a studio that would look a lot like that amazing space in the video! But in the meantime, the one I have is pretty awesome.)
It's been a little while since I've posted a session, so today I'm going to share a sweet little newborn. Newborn photography has become extremely popular over the past several years. It used to be that 'newborn baby picture' meant the one you got at the hospital. Now you can choose anything from dressing up your baby like a mermaid to having professional photos of the birth itself. I prefer to keep things simple and sweet -- some wonderful individual images of baby, usually color-coordinated with mom's preferences or to match the nursery, and then some with the parents, both posed and candid. Depending on the family's preference, I'll take even more of a photojournalist approach and document the details of their new daily life. I personally love tasteful breastfeeding photos, but I understand they aren't for everybody.
This family kept things simple for their little girl to make sure the images are about her and their family at this point in their lives. These pictures are timeless.
If you're like most people, you put off getting a new head shot and it remains near the bottom of your priority list. I'm here to remind you that a current, professional and true-to-you head shot photo is extremely important to your business! Potential clients do judge you by the quality of the image they see. If your business relies on relationships and trust, you NEED a great headshot photo. Don't forget about your profile pictures on social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter. (Don't need it for business, but want to make a great impression on Facebook or online dating? No problem. I can do that, too!)
So to make this easy, I'm scheduling a day in my new studio for you to come on in and get it done. I promise it won't be painful. I take my time with each client to make sure we showcase the features you love best and minimize the ones you don't. Whether you need a serious suit-and-tie photo or a relaxed casual look, I can make it happen!The date for this head shot event is April 24 in my studio at 4112 George Washington Memorial Hwy in Yorktown, VA. I have openings as early as 7:30am.
You'll receive three fully-retouched high-resolution images to be used for internet or print. As always, I guarantee my work! Price is $100, which is the lowest price I ever offer for head shots. Contact me today
to reserve your preferred appointment time.