Thursday, July 30, 2009

Secret Blog reader role call?

Ok ladies & gentlemen... identify yourselves! (wink wink) But seriously - I get emails & Facebook messages from you all the time!

2 examples TODAY

Natalie says "I check your blog all the time, lol. I love seeing your work and tips! hmmm, I must be one of your top fans!"

Erin says "Katie I love your pictures! I was looking through them and thought maybe you could give me some tux advice...."

Often I even get comments from people who I didn't know were reading! (Or people who I don't know and stumble upon this) So, this is the post where if you're reading my ramblings you should comment. It can be simple, just your name. Go ahead, click the little comment button below. The curiosity is KILLING me! I can see I get lots of traffic - but who are you people? Also, if you comment with something you'd like me to blog about I'll even post it for you. I do love answering wedding questions!

Happy wedding planning, blog reading or photo gazing!

Speaking of photo gazing, here's an iced tea pitcher I shot for Stonewall. I like this one because it's bright and summery and that's the kind of mood I'm in today. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jim & Dee Preview


More photos of Jim & Dee to come... but for now a quick preview! As hard at work as I've been - I wanted to post something for them. More soon!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Frances Benjamin Johnston

A tribute to Frances Benjamin Johnston. She was one of the first women to make photography a career in the late 1800's and early 1900's, when it was still very much a man's all business was.

(All images from the library of congress online digital collections)

TITLE: Miss Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1332 V St., Washington, D.C., makes a business of photographic illustration and the writing of descriptive articles ... / Mills Thompson '95.

"Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) born in Grafton Virginia but was a resident of Washington DC for most of her long life. Johnston was an early photo-journalist and a noted freelance photographer; she was one of the first American women to achieve prominence as a photographer. Trained at the Académie Julian in Paris, she studied photography upon her return to Washington, D.C., in the mid-1880 and opened a professional studio circa 1890. Her family's social position gave Miss Johnston access to the First Family and leading Washington political figures and launched her career as a photojournalist and portrait photographer. One of her scoops as a correspondent for the Bain News Service was to board Admiral Dewey's flagship with a letter of introduction from Theodore Roosevelt and interview the "Hero of Manila Bay" en route from the Philippines. Johnston's documentary work was exemplary and included a renowned series of photographs commissioned by Booker T. Washington for the Hampton Institute in 1899 and the Tuskegee Institute in 1906. While she specialized in the photos of the powerful and elite she also on occasion did scenes of workers and working class life about 1905 she did a remarkable series of photographs depicting mechanics and laborers at work at the Naval Gun Factory.

Today the Library of Congress is the principal repository of the writings and photographs of Frances Benjamin Johnston. She was one of the first contributors to the Library's Pictorial Archives of Early American Architecture and executed a systematic survey of southern architecture with the support of the Carnegie Corporation." John Sharp,

TITLE: [Frances Benjamin Johnston, full-length portrait, standing in garden, right profile] photograph by Gertrude Käsebier.

Considering her bold career choice it strikes me as vastly appropriate that she chose to create portraits of herself dressed as a man.

TITLE: [Frances Benjamin Johnston, full-length self-portrait dressed as a man with false moustache, posed with bicycle, facing left]

The photograph below was considered outrageous because she chose to wear a man's cap and revealed way too much of her stockinged legs! Not to mention the beer & cigarette...

TITLE: [Frances Benjamin Johnston, full-length portrait, seated in front of fireplace, facing left, holding cigarette in one hand and a beer stein in the other, in her Washington, D.C. studio]

Frances Johnston inspires me and reminds me of a quote I once read "Well-behaved women rarely make history." -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich From Johnston's business choice and her provocative self-portraits you can tell that she must have been quite and outlandish woman for her time! While I am very much a girly-girl, I admire and respect the women who came before me who gave me a CHOICE in this. I am fortunate to be able to choose the career of photographer, or any career at all for that matter, and not be a societal misfit. Thank you Frances Benjamin Johnston!

Where did the sudden interest in Frances Johnston come from? I just started an amazing book, A Flickering Light, by Jane Kirkpatrick. It is historical novel about Jessie Anne Gaebele, photographer and the author's grandmother.

About 60 pages into the book, Jessie is just starting her job as a photographer's assistant. Her boss tells her about the photograph above and I just HAD to find a copy to see! It's too bad a copy of the image wasn't included in the book. I can't wait to learn more about Jessie Anne and the other female photographers Jane Kirkpatrick writes about in her novel.
(Jane Kirkpatrick's blog:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lots of engagements!

So many engagement shoots... so little time! All within the last month, and I'm shooting Jim & Diane's engagement photos this weekend!

Kristin & Chris
see more photos @ Http://






Kristin says "Katie is an excellent photographer! She really listened to how we wanted to take our pictures instead of making us "pose" in ways that wouldn't be natural for us. She was able to now where and how to take the pictures that captured the best light and background. It was just a great overall experience and that was just for our engagement shots. I am even more confident now that our wedding pictures will be wonderful!"

Colleen & Mike
see more photos @ Http://






Colleen says "Thank you SO much for these photos!! I cannot stop smiling! I love them all, especially the ones I wasn't so sure of. I know we will have these for a long, long time, and I can't wait to share them with my friends and family. You definitely went above and beyond what we had in mind, in terms of background and poses. You definitely captured Mike and I in these photos and we just love them!"

Lindsey & Ryan
see more photos @ Http://






Lindsey says "Oh my goodness, I don't know what to say!!!! We're so incredibly happy with the photos and of course you're timing is just amazing! I'm so excited to have such amazing and natural pictures of the two of us. Thank you thank you thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Welcome Joey & this week's workshop

This week's workshop

This week I taught a photography workshop at the Worcester Museum of Art. Check our photos here:

It was QUITE a learning experience! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such great kids. However, I've also learned that I think digital photography & my teaching skills are better suited to older audiences, and a group of kids AND one age group at a time - this group was ages 5-17! In the future I think I'll teach, high school, college and/or adults so I can really get into advanced concepts of photography. Although I do have to brag ... ask any of these kids what an aperture is and they could tell you!

Welcome Joey!

Born July 6th, photographed July 9th... posted July 19th! Still balancing the time to post to my blog and my job, oh right, make that jobs (plural)! ;) Good thing I like shooting food at Stonewall, teaching & weddings/portraits so much!





See more photos here:

There are a few things I learned from my first in-hospital portrait sitting! The first few days are busy! Everyone wants to visit and that makes for very crowded small rooms! If possible I think it would be best to set aside a small amount of time with no visitors so that we could focus on getting awesome photos! Speaking of awesome photos - I did love doing an in-hospital session. The first few moments a family has together are so special - they should be captured! There is photo of my mom holding me as an infant, and I remember seeing the photo as an adult and being able to tell how much she loved me in the moment. Powerful stuff like that deserves to be photographed. That's why my favorite shots are of Jackie kissing baby Joey and the new little family together on the bed. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wedding Tip #25 - Photography, copyright, and getting all the facts up front from those you hire!

Background... There was a post in Wedding book from a bride who wanted her photographer to give her high resolution digital negatives & he refused to give her anything but low resolution images with proof #'s on them. She also made some mention of the photographer "doing the wedding as a favor" but I don't have all the info on that. There were a lot of comments on the thread but I threw in my 2 cents. I'm posting it because I hope it will be helpful to others. The advice about putting all your expectation in a contract is important for ANY wedding vendor you hire. I said:

"First, I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles! For anyone reading this and thinking of booking a photographer - this is why you put exactly what you are paying and what you are getting in writing! By having a contract with everything spelled out you know what the expectations are and can protect yourself.

As for "doing the wedding as a favor," if this is true they should have told you exactly what the discount they gave you was - their bad! However, you should consider what their advertised rates are, or average photo costs in your area, and then what they charged you. If they charged you substantially less they may consider having done your wedding as a favor even if you paid them. (I have no idea - but I'm only trying to guess at the situation)

At this point I think your best bet would be to discuss what the added cost would be for high resolution photos. Most photographers are more than willing to sell you this (myself included) especially if you order prints/album from them. I would also explain to them that you'd like to share photos on Facebook. I always provide Facebook photos for clients and include a tasteful watermark with my name. It's a win win - you get to show off photos & your photographer gets recognized for their awesome work.

The reason you pay extra for a disc is because that's how photographers make a living. Their fees are often broken up into shooting fees & print fees. I could go on to explain the rising costs of cameras, computers, advertising, online image hosting... but the bottom line is every photographer's business plan is different but there are a lot of costs many people don't think of (estimates are the photogs only keep 30% of their earnings after costs). What seems so unfortunate to me is that it doesn't look like your photographer explained their policies to you beforehand. You should always know the added costs for photos BEFORE booking a photographer!

If you are unable to negotiate this situation on your own, you may want to consider bringing in an intermediary, such as the better business bureau. However - they do not always side with the client, you'll need to be able to prove what you're entitled to so it's always best to work it out with the business first one-on-one first.

I wish you the best of luck!

Katie Ring (

P.S. Scanning professional prints or copying images from a website is illegal if you haven't paid to use the photos this way! (That's why there are copyright notices or watermarks on photos) It's just like stealing music - just because many people do it doesn't make it OK. The good news is photographers love having their work out there and many are more than willing to share digital copies with you. They just want their photos to be seen as high quality copies and to be given credit for their work."