Not Your Grandmother’s Wall Portraits {Interior Design Photographer}

Too many of us think that displaying portraits on our walls will make our home “look like Grandma’s house”.  Honestly, this is NOT TRUE!  There are a few tricks to prevent that “look”.  The number one trick or rule is….8×10 is NOT a wall portrait.  If you hang one or many 8×10’s on a wall in an unorganized and unfashionable way…then you risk having your home look “old fashioned”.  Secondly, choose portraits that are artsy and in a similar color palate to each other.  I can help design a display for your home!  It is not a well known fact that prior to becoming a professional photographer, I graduated from  Interior Design School…A little BONUS you get with me!  Please let me know PRIOR to your session that you are interested in this option so we can plan your shoot accordingly.  We also have a program that can take a photo of your existing wall space and digitally display your portraits in various arrangements and sizes until you are happy with the look!   Contact me today and I will be happy to discuss your ideas, wants and needs!  You’d be surprised what amazing artwork photographs of your loved ones can make in your home!  It NEVER goes out of style.  It’s the best kind of artwork… artwork that MATTERS.

The above is a canvas wall collage I just finished in my home.  Yes, I live in Ohio…But a girl can make believe, right?

My studio manager, Brandi, ordered this display before she came to work with me.


My Photography Gear and other related stuff….

I often get e-mails with questions from other photographers, so I’ve posted some of the more frequently asked questions here:

What Equipment do you shoot with.  What Equipment would you recommend to a photographer just starting out.

What’s MOST important?? The glass (lens).  Invest MORE in your lenses than in your camera body.   It is a good idea to get a zoom lens that goes down to f/2.8.  Always get your equipment from a reputable dealer.  I use B & H photo. Learn from my mistakes! – DON’T buy from ebay or used….UNLESS you KNOW the person you are buying from and trust them.

Here is a list of my equipment ;

Camera Bodies                                                                                                             




What actions do you use to post process your images.                                                 I use Lightroom to organize and catalog my images and Photoshop CS5 for most editing.     I mostly use a combination of the Florabella actions – Totally Rad Actions and OnOne Software, along with other actions I’ve created. I never really do the same exact thing to an image, and I usually never use an action to its full strength.

Do you offer mentoring sessions?                                                                                    At this time, we do offer one on one personal mentoring sessions where we discuss all aspects of running a photography business, including photography and editing skills,     Half day and full day sessions include a sample photo shoot with a couple and all shoots include notes and sample business forms. Please contact us for more information on pricing and what is included in a half or full day session.

Digital Photography – the good, the bad and the ugly!

Will Your Grandchildren Be Upset With You?   Author: Fred Molesworth, Salem, Oregon

I’m willing to bet your grandchildren will be upset with you. Here’s why. Imagine, 50 years from now, as your grandchildren or great grandchildren are going through the boxes in the attic. They are enthralled with the treasures and keepsakes they find and how they tie into the story of your life. Amongst all the old items, they find a number of round silver objects. Some have writing on them, some are blank, but they resemble some kind of a small platter about 4? across, with a hole in the middle. Puzzled, they take them to their parents. “What are these, Mom?” they ask. “Oh, I think those are all of grandma’s photographs. Yep, here’s one labeled ‘My Wedding’. Here’s some more labeled ‘Family Photos,’ and some more labeled ‘Vacations’.” “How do we look at them?” they ask. “Well, I’m not sure we can. First of all, no one has the device that reads these anymore. Besides that, I doubt after all these years that they’re any good anymore. Being stored in the attic, the heat and cold probably ruined them.” The kids are very disappointed. Nowhere amongst all the treasures are any actual prints. All that history is lost. Their connection with the past and all the wonderful stories that might have gone along with all those photographs are gone as well. Along with all the wonders of our digital age come some significant problems that most people have never thought of.

Did you know that over 90% of all images taken on today’s digital cameras are NEVER PRINTED? I’m guilty of that myself. I have gigabytes of personal photographs that have never been seen other than on a computer screen. In the old days, film went to the lab and everything that was printable was printed. Even if it was a bad photograph, it still was a hard copy, a part of your family history and it had permanence. Even if they never went in an album, they at least went into a box, to be discovered as treasures years later. The same problem exists in professional portrait studios today. Many people are simply asking for the images on CD. “I’ll print them later” or “I’ll design my own wedding album” are common phrases. Usually this is done with the thought that they’ll save some money by doing it themselves. But you know what? Most never make it into any kind of an album. Life gets busy and 20 years later they’ll be looking for some way to read those disks. I bring this up only to point out the importance of what we, as a professional studio do. Our job is not just to create the images, to create wonderful story telling photographs about the people in front of our camera; it’s to create a final product, whether it be a professionally retouched and printed single image, a family heirloom wall portrait, or an incredible storybook album using a collection of the images that were created. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a wedding, a newborn baby, a senior or a family. Having the final product created for you is important. To do less is to leave the job half done and to short change the customer. So, if you’re asked for a disk with all the images “so I can print them later”, that’s fine, just make sure your customers understand that if not printed, the conversation their grandchildren will want to have about their family history may never be able to happen.

Fred Molesworth In addition to running a full time portrait studio in Salem Oregon, Fred Molesworth is a small business teacher and advisor, and the author of the Portrait Studio Marketing blog ( He’s also a nationally known business and marketing speaker in the portrait industry, and past president of the Professional Photographers of Oregon.

What to wear for family photo shoot

As a photographer, the number one question I get is on the topic of what to wear to their photo shoot. When booking a portrait session I think it is almost always a given that the client is going to ask for suggestions on what to wear. I struggled with this question when I was first starting out. My clients would come dressed in matching outfits or in the same color head to toe. These clothing choices do not make for the most visually appealing image.

I knew that I had to change my clients way of thinking when it came to choosing outfits for their portraits. I personally believe that is part of my job to help style a session. This gives my clients another reason to hiring me over going to a chain portrait studio. I always tell them to choose items with good color, texture (ie, knits, ruffles, denim) and accessories. I tell them to think coordinating not matching. I even go as far as offering to come to their homes and dig through their closet with them or tell them to bring a trunk full of options and we can put together outfits on location.

I am guilty of dressing my family in white shirts and khaki pants. I now realize how visually unappealing that is, so I really stress to my families to think coordinating outfits not matching. I tell them to browse their favorite stores websites for new collections and a lot times you will see outfit ideas that coordinate really well together. I honestly think that when you let your clients know that it is OKAY not to have matching outfits it lifts a weight off their shoulders. Now they can look for outfits that fit each family member individual style but tie all the looks together by picking a few select colors to coordinate. Trying to find one color and style that works for every family member is hard! I use to dread picking out family outfits for pictures now it is one of my favorite parts!

Black and White Photography – Turn the ordinary into extraordinary!

Black and white photography has the ability to make even an everyday image seem like a beautiful work of art. Since we are accustomed to viewing color photos on a daily basis, black and white portraits often comes across as much more sophisticated and elegant. This makes black and white photography very popular for timeless family portraits.

Style & Color
An off-white or charcoal top with a stylish neckline or collar helps direct attention to the face. Clothes should cover the shoulders, arms and legs. Wear styles with simple lines. One option is to bring a change of clothes with a different neckline or sleeve style. Essential any color is fine, after all it will be photographed in black and white. The primary goal to to wear flattering clothing! When dressing a family or group, try to stick with all light color or dark color clothing. This will make your portrait timeless and classic!

Patterns & Textures
Fabric should be solid colors or subtle patterns. Avoid clothing with slogans and logos. Loud, busy designs such as wide stripes, checks, plaids or dots are distracting and could date the image. At a black and white photo shoot, wearing textured fabric can give a sense of richness to the final image. Clothing shouldn’t distract attention from facial expressions in the images.

Makeup and Accessories
A light dusting of translucent face powder helps reduce shine. For dry lips, try a non-waxy lip balm that leaves no white residue. Women should avoid lip gloss or high-gloss lipstick. Also avoid dark-toned lipstick, such as burgundy. Choose non-reflective accessories with elegant shapes, such as classic pearls.

I love to talk black and white so if you have any questions on your session, please feel free to give me a call or email us anytime!

What is custom photography? Columbus Ohio Portrait Studio

The photographic art you choose to place on your wall is ultimately the result of the vision of the photographer. This vision, coupled with what you wear to your session, the environment, the lighting, even the mood the subjects are in at the time of photographing creates the work that you will want to proudly display on your walls forevermore.

Your first step in the process is more about determining who you are, who your family is and then seeking a photographer that reflects your style. The photographer you probably should choose is a photographer who has style is very similar to the style you desire.

What custom photography ultimately is all about is choice and experience (as in THE experience). Custom photography is about finding someone who will photograph your family, give you devoted 1:1 attention without worry of the next ‘in line’ or the feeling of a crowded portrait studio. A custom photographer will typically show you a fairly extensive gallery culled to only show the good images that meet the photographers’ creative sensibilities. Often the images are fully edited images-color corrected with blemishes and undereye circles removed. Custom photographers are also known as boutique studios, offering a range of products and unparalleled service. Think Lexus vs. Hyundai, think Nordstrom vs. WalMart.

Custom photography should have you, the client and your experience in mind.

More Exciting News!

I am currently converting an older home in the Northern Columbus area into the new Spirit Photographers Portrait Studio!  Although I will still shoot on location, this will enable me to offer more variety, framing, and a wider variety of sample portrait sizes to choose from.  I am very excited about the possibilities for my clients!

Stay tuned for the Open House (hopefully in March) with special offers for those attending!  Until then, I’ll get back to stripping floors and painting. UGH.

Tips for Hiring a Professional Photographer – Digital Know-How – Columbus Ohio Photographer

One myth of the photography industry is that the advent of digital technology reduced both the difficulty and cost of processing images. While some hobbyists may have seen savings and faster reproduction of their photographs, professional photographers have needed to master another skill set during the past decade to offer their clients optimum quality.

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What to wear to your portrait. – Columbus Ohio Family Photographer

Selecting the proper clothing for your portrait is a critical factor. If the clothing is too noticeable, it could easily become a distraction. Clothing that does not attract attention to itself is the ultimate goal. It could be the difference between a very successful portrait and just another picture.

Dark Clothing Tends to Slenderize

Light colors seem to add weight to the body. Darker clothing also helps to blend a body with the background, so that the face is the most important part of the photograph.

Bright colors attract attention away from the face.

White shirts and/or blouses under a dark jacket work well.

A scarf loosely tied around the neck also helps to frame a face beautifully when a collarless blouse or sweater is worn.

Neckties should be toned-down in color and with a minimum of pattern.

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