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.


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 -NOT a pro lab, but better quality than WalMart.

Wedding Day! {Columbus Ohio Photographer}

As most of you know, I don’t choose to do a lot of wedding day photography. It’s not that I don’t enjoy photographing weddings, because I do. It’s more because it is VERY time consuming and exhausting; in addition to the fact that I have an 11 year old son and I don’t want to book EVERY saturday with a wedding. But when I do shoot a wedding…it is magical. This quick video that I am sharing is a family members wedding and it was AMAZING! I hope you enjoy!


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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Family Pictures- Take Better Vacation Photos

I have compiled a few tips on how to take better family photos on your next special event or vacation. Being a professional photographer, I used to be a SLAVE to my camera over vacation…I felt like it was my duty. Thankfully I have learned that quality is way better than quantity. I spend more time interacting with my family and less time behind the lens (and they are thankful and less aggravated as well!)

1. Capture the Moments: Most of us have gotten into the habit, at one time or another, of ONLY getting posed shots by the Christmas tree, in front of Cinderella’s castle at Disney or beside the Washington Monument. While there IS certainly a place for those in your photographic history, those images generally do not evoke the emotion nor do they conjure up the memories from that particular trip or event. The images that capture our imaginations, the ones that will stick you as a warm embrace are never – yep, never the ones of everyone lined up and posed. They’re moments – individual, natural moments. They are also the ones that your family doesn’t grunt and groan over having to “line up AGAIN!” Looks for the moments that will tell the story of your trip…the things that you will look back on and say “Awwwe, remember when you….”

2. Walking Away: Yes, you read that right. An image I love is the one of someone walking away. This moment will come back to you time and again. The example I am using here is one of my nieces at the beach in the fall. Notice the relationship of the older niece teaching her younger sister and their contrasting sizes. This image is priceless to me.

3. Use Props to tell your story: In this image, my son was taking his first surfing lesson. He was 8 years old. I had the instructor hide behind the surf board to hold it up for us so I could show the size comparison. He is sporting the “hang loose” sign that is popular with surfers.

4. Full Sun Lighting: The toughest situation for taking family vacation photos must certainly be on the beach in bright sun! Obviously the best beach pictures are taken early in the morning or later in the day around sunset or in the shade. Although we all know that 90% of our time at the beach is spent in the bright midday sun. When you aren’t in optimal lighting, the best way to remedy this situation is to keep the subjects back to the sun (no squinting) and pop up your flash. Most consumer cameras will automatically adjust for having the flash on during the day and the extra light will prevent the harsh shadows on your subjects face.

5. Change Your Perspective: Get down on your 2 year olds level, shoot a pic of all their tiny sandy feet after they write their names in the sand in front of them, tilt the angle of your camera, the possibilities are endless. With todays digital cameras, you CAN’T make a mistake and you wont waste film…just delete and try again! Just make sure to invest in a large memory card!

6. Refer to #1: Tip number 1 on this post is worth repeating. If you capture the moments rather than a posed portrait, you will be forever thrilled with the memories you have captured! Good luck and have a GREAT VACATION!!

2012 Senior Session Special ~ Columbus Ohio Photographer

Wow, we have been really busy with our 2012 Senior Spirit Models this past month! If you don’t know one of the models personally, check their pics out on Facebook; message them and I am sure they would LOVE to get one of their discount cards to you! If not, I have worked up a session discount schedule for any 2012 high school senior. These early sessions book up quickly, so give us a call to discuss your dream senior portrait session. 2012 is your year! Make sure to get the pictures YOU want ~ Come visit our studio for a consultation and how we can make you be a model for day and get the best portraits and products. Consultations are free so make an appointment – 614.332.7915 or

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

Family Portrait Clothing Suggestions

Senior Portraits & Custom Photo Graduation Announcements

Our custom senior portrait cards are keepsakes! Ready to stand out and send a graduation party invitation or graduation announcement that will leave a lasting impression? Our graduation cards will leave your mailing list wanting to frame your card, not just tack to the fridge!

Our Graduation Announcements are the ultimate way to not only announce your graduation and invite friends to your celebration, but show off your awesome senior portraits! Each design is colorful with big bold text, and of course portraits from your senior session! You better believe they will wow your friends and family, and maybe even earn you more graduation presents (we can always hope, right?).

All of our designs are custom just for you. No two will be alike from your senior class! We will work with to create a card that fits your style and personality.

Haven’t gotten your senior pictures done yet? Don’t like the portraits you had done at school? Its not too late! You are still a senior for a couple more months, so call us and get to the studio to have portraits done that you will LOVE and cherish for a lifetime.