Selling Digital Images….YES, I Caved! {Columbus, Ohio Photographer}

There has been a lot of controversy over the past few years among professional photographers as to whether to sell digital image files or prints.  A digital photo isn’t just a bunch of pixels.  It’s the photographers creation, vision and art.  We plan it, We capture it, and edit it, until it looks exactly the way we want it.  We would be reluctant to show an unfinished proof to a customer, just as a chef would be loathe to serve a half-cooked meal to a diner.

Images on disc photographer Selling Digital Images....YES, I Caved! {Columbus, Ohio Photographer}

 

I have stood firmly on my stance to NOT sell the digital files for many reasons that may not be as obvious to my clients.  So here are a few;

1. Printing.  Where will my clients get prints made?  A good lab, or a horrible cheap one?  A good home printer, or an even more horrible cheap one? There is a HUGE difference in printers and labs.  Walgreens is NOT the place to have your images printed.

2. Size.  Will they choose a print size that’s appropriate to the file size and quality? If you try to print an 16×20 out of a 4×6, you will loose tons of resolution and the print will look pixelated and blurry.

3. Cropping.  If your chosen print size requires cropping (eg 8×10) will they honor your composition?  Will they even bother to check the cropping before pressing “print”?  If you print an 8×10 out of a file sized at a 4×6, someones head is GOING to get cut off!

4. Sharpening.  Will the sharpening you applied to the file be appropriate to their chosen print method and size?  Again, this can make an image look fuzzy or too pixelated.

5. Uncle Joe.  This is the worst one.  It mightn’t be Uncle Joe, of course, it might be cousin Joe, or buddy Joe, or Aunt Josephine.  Somebody with an uncalibrated screen, a dodgy copy of Photoshop, and an enthusiasm to “fix” your images for your customer before they print them.  Be very afraid of Uncle Joe.

6. Will your grandchildren be upset with you? Please refer to an earlier blog here.

Any of the above factors could result in your photo hanging on your customer’s wall looking ghastly. When that happens, the photographer may lose referrals due to the poor quality of the print.

Is it all worth it?  I’m not sure.  BUT, my clients are begging for it! So I have thought long and hard as to HOW to make this beneficial for both my clients and myself.

As a trial for the remainder of 2012, here is what I can up with for Family & Children sessions (high school seniors excluded)

  • 10 Images on disc       $450
  • 20 images on disc       $650
  • ALL images on disc      $750
  • individual image          $  90
  • Images are mid res with copyright release to print up to 11×14
  • My preference is that you print through MPix.com -NOT a pro lab, but better quality than WalMart.

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.

Child Photographer 681x1024 Digital Photography   the good, the bad and the ugly!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 (www.portraitstudiomarketing.com). He’s also a nationally known business and marketing speaker in the portrait industry, and past president of the Professional Photographers of Oregon.

Mini Portrait Session Specials for 2012

As promised, here it is!!!  The Mini Portrait Session Specials for 2012.  I am so excited for these.  They will be tons of fun and will prove to produce some of your favorite portraits from 2012!  Some of my absolute favs are Ties & Tutus, Moms Night Out (I CAN’T wait for the one), Vintage Fields, Dance Recital Costumes and Christmas in September (get your holiday cards done)!  Also, a portion of the proceeds from the Dog Days of Summer will go to the CHA Animal Shelter in Columbus.  Oh yeah and the Halloween Special too.  A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to Safe Kids of Central Ohio – OK…so basically ALL OF THEM!

I know its hard for a lot of you to have your portraits taken as often as you may like and this gives you an opportunity to do that!  It’s also a way for me to see you guys more often….cuz I miss you and love seeing you and your family!  These sessions only take 30 minutes and there is a special price package for these mini’s.  Email or call Brandi or myself and we will get the price list to you.

Spirit.2012.Specials1 Mini Portrait Session Specials for 2012

 

Spirit.Specials.2012.Dates  Mini Portrait Session Specials for 2012

 

Mini Potrait Session Pricing Mini Portrait Session Specials for 2012

 

 

 

 

Photographer’s Tricks – {Columbus Ohio Photographer}

I am going to show you one of the tricks photographers use to get the most unbelievable shots.  It’s photoshop magic!  Many of todays most popular portrait poses look almost too good to be true!  Most of the time they are!!  I am going to show you step by step how to get amazing portraits with photoshop.  This is the final image.

final.portrait.a1 300x261 Photographers Tricks   {Columbus Ohio Photographer}

I don’t have images of the first few steps in this process, but I will tell you that my assistant went into the woods and drug this LIMB into the studio!  We cleaned it up and let it dry for a few days.  In the meantime we went to Hobby Lobby and picked out some silk flower bunches that we liked. When we got back to the studio, Brandi (my creative studio manager) proceeded to patiently plucked off the silk flowers and glue gunned them to this branch hanging out in our camera room!  After that we were ready to shoot!!

So now for the fun stuff!  We started by taking a photo of the limb – camera on tripod to keep the same distance and height, etc.  The image below is what we used as the base image.

set 300x199 Photographers Tricks   {Columbus Ohio Photographer}

Next we moved in a giant bean bag and the baby!  you can see what we got in the next photograph.  Again, camera in same location, same lighting, same white balance, etc.

newborn.demo  300x199 Photographers Tricks   {Columbus Ohio Photographer}

WOW!  Lots of stuff to clone!!  NO NO, its much easier than that!  In the next photo you will see how I used the lasso tool to circle the baby and a bit of the surrounding area. Then switch to the selection too and drag the part you have circled with the lasso onto the base image. as in the following photo.

Screen Shot 2011 12 29 at 4.28.31 PM Photographers Tricks   {Columbus Ohio Photographer}Screen Shot 2011 12 29 at 4.29.57 PM 300x202 Photographers Tricks   {Columbus Ohio Photographer}

As you can see the baby is too large for the background image. Simply hit the shortcut “ctl/cmd T” on your keyboard and resize the layer to fit nicely into your background photo. Then just use your erase tool on soft edges to take away the excess around the baby until it all blends nicely.  Flatten your image and VOILA!  Baby hanging in a tree!!  I save my limb/background image in case I want to use again- I won’t have to repeat that step.  Feel free to email me if you have any questions!  Happy Photoshop-ing!

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!

what to wear V2Issue9 2011 What to wear for family photo shoot

Special Kids Photography Charity (Columbus Special Needs Photographer)

Special Kids Photography Charity:  After being involved with Now I Lay me Down to Sleep Organization for a few years, I found that this charity was wearing me down!  I decided to take a break for a while and possibly get my photography  skills involved with a different, more upbeat charity.  I happened upon Special Kids Photography of America (SPKA) and it CLICKED!  I ADORE kids!  Any and all kids!  I feel like I have a special gift for patience and the ability to communicated with them on a different level.  This helps them to feel comfortable with me and their surroundings.  Therefore; it seemed like this charity was a perfect fit for me and my photography studio.  Thankfully, SKPA requires an accreditation process for any of its photographers.  I love that the organization doesn’t just take your money and let any photographer “have at it” so to speak.  SKPA requires the photographer to take a workshop, two exams, get written letters form parents with a Special Needs child AND submit images for review and approval BEFORE they will list you as an approved photographer.  As of now, there is only one photographer accredited in all of Ohio and they are WAY north!

LONG story short…..  I will be looking for several Special Needs Children as models to photograph (with or without their families).  If you are reading this and have or know of anyone with a child (any age) that would fit this criteria, please send this info on to them and ask them to call or email me!  I have included som info below on the foundation.  Stay tuned for SKPA images in the future. Thanks so much for your support!

workshop front Special Kids Photography Charity (Columbus Special Needs Photographer)

 

Special Kids Photography of America (SKPA) began operation in 2000. The concept of training photographers to obtain beautiful images of children with special needs was conceived by Heidi Lewis, who experienced resistance and frustration when attempting to obtain a studio portrait of her one-year-old son, Taylor, born with a severe connective tissue disorder. Although she was eventually successful in convincing the photographer to take the picture, “studio stories” from other mothers with similar children made her acutely aware of the need for education and training of professional photographers from a parent’s point of view.

Through generous sponsorship of Pacific Life Foundation and hosting by Epson America, Inc, the first pilot “Discovery Workshop” was debuted the next year at Epson headquarters in Long Beach, CA. Professional photographers, as well as care providers of special children were invited to attend and offer input in order to establish further goals and direction for the organization.
At the same time, the book, Photographing Children with Special Needsresearched and written by SKPA’s co-founder, Karen Dórame, was published by Amherst Media. This valuable resource is used to educate photographers in achieving heart-warming images of children with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and a number of other well-known conditions.

In addition to workshops for photographers, much of SKPA’s attention is directed toward policy change in areas where special children might achieve increased visibility and positive acceptance in society. SKPA theorizes that if people can get used to beholding lovely images of children who have disabilities, they will not be so inclined to turn away when they see these beautiful children in person.

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!

Family Portrait Clothing Ideas – April Edition- Columbus Photographer

Wearing the wrong colors in a family portrait can be haunting. Those photos are usually found years later in a forgotten closet, and instead of reminding you of the good times in your family’s history, they only point out the wardrobe mistakes of your past. Choosing the right colors can make your family portrait the treasure it was meant to be. We suggest wearing clothes from the same color palette but aren’t exactly the same to keep your family portrait from looking too “matchy-matchy.” Dressing your family in colors that blend keeps the focus of the photo on the family rather than their outfits. When dressing in the same color palette, make sure there is a contrast between bottoms and top. If everyone wore khaki pants with khaki tops, your photo would be a sea of khaki and your family portrait would not very interesting. In addition to blending your colors, try to wear clothing that expresses each family members personal style. This will add interest and personality to your family portraits! If you have questions about your portrait session, feel free to give me a call and we can discuss it further! Take Care & Happy Spring! Stacy

what to wear V2Issue3 2011 Family Portrait Clothing Ideas   April Edition  Columbus Photographer

Family Portrait Clothing Suggestions

Spring Children’s Portrait Special! – Columbus Ohio Photographer

Time to think about your kids Easter Portraits. Spring is almost here! I LOVE spring. it’s my favorite season! Birds chirping, daffodils, tulips, Easter, Easter dresses, kids playing outside…to name a few of my favs. So to celebrate my favorite season, I am having a Children’s Spring Portrait Special! I am doing 20 minute mini sessions with children only on April 4th-8th. Your session will include an (1) 8×10 or (2) 5×7’s and 8 wallets (of your chosen image). All for $65 (save $82) plus get 20% off any additional prints! So bring the kids in their Easter outfits or just something bright and colorful and let’s CELEBRATE SPRING!

Session times for these specials always book up fast, so call and reserve your time! 614-332-7915.