Monday, June 28, 2010

Ben, Kate & Baby

I finished editing Ben & Kate's maternity session. This was such great photo shooting! Kate has a beautiful pregnant body; and she was willing to try all sorts of different things to get great shots. She even went for a bit of a swim in her bikini! Hey, I went in too! Luckily Ben was equipped with his iphone to capture the moment.

It also didn't hurt that Ben is a videographer and is easily excited about am I. Here's a slideshow of most of the images. We even managed to get a few with their (not small) dog Schnitzel! I'm in on some fun, I know the top secret baby name but I had to hide those photos from blog. (for now) I'll post them after his birthday because we did some cool shots with his name. I can't wait to meet their baby. With parents like these, he's sure to be a cool little dude.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wedding Tip #32 - Planning a bridal shower

I was asked:

"I am helping to throw a bridal shower for a friend, but she lives in
CA and the shower is at her mother's in PA. She would rather people
ship presents instead of bringing them, as she won't be able to take
them on the plane. Is there a nice way to say that on invitations?
Also, can you think of any creative ideas for a theme or something
that may go along with that?"

For most wedding showers, the main activity it gift opening. Therefore, I think some people might be put-off by the idea that they should ship gifts to the bride's home rather than be able to watch her open them. Although showers are a parties where gifts are certainly expected, it's usually considered rude to request specific types of gifts. Some couples do throw "money" showers, but I personally find these tacky. (I bet I'm not alone on this) I can see two ways to tailor the gifts to the bride's needs.

1) Have a themed shower
• Lingerie - just be sure bride & her mom aren't shy
• Honeymoon - attire & gift certificates ( for activities/meals
• Foodie - register for small kitchen items, gorumet foods, & list the brides's favorite restaurants for gift cards
• Movie buffs - register for DVDs (@ Target or Amazon) & ask for movie theater gift passes.

2) Adjust the registries that you show on the invitation so that they only include certain, more portable, items. Don't forget, they can always add to the registry after the shower for wedding gifts.
Ideas: silverware, kitchen utensils, games, DVDs, kitchen/bath towels (larger but could be used as packing material), photo frames, placemats/napkins, coffee/tea, gourmet foods (you know I like Stonewall Kitchen), small card/board games (I love bananagrams), digital camera, video camera, digital frame, scrapbook, sheets or duvet cover (wait on matching comforter or duvet for the wedding).

If you can't find a registry to fit your needs, try 'Wish List' or 'My Registry'

However, even if you do both of these things, someone may have pre-planned or pre-purchased a gift and you can't really expect them to change. I think you should prepare your friend for the possibility that she may need to ship some items back to her home. Perhaps the bridal party could gift a pre-paid shipping label & supplies just in case!

Do YOU have any ideas to help this bridesmaid throw a great shower? Please comment and help her out!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And now for something different...

In light of my full time photo job, I've decided to shoot fewer weddings and more family, baby & maternity sessions. Don't get me wrong, I love weddings, but that type of work is a full time job all on it's own! If you love my wedding tips not to worry- I plan to keep posting those!

Right now I'm editing a great maternity session from this weekend with Kate & Ben. I can't wait to share the photos! I'm totally in awe of the beauty of Kate's pregnant body. Amazing. They're almost ready, but to tide you over here are some of my new family/baby photos. Enjoy!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

What makes a photographer a professional?

This is becoming an increasingly difficult question to answer as professional level cameras are making their way into the consumer market. Professional training and vision are surely important to being a professional. The biggest difference to me can be seen in the lighting. An amateur photographer can get lucky and take a good shot with “found” light. What makes a photographer a professional is to be able to deliver spot-on photos that suit the clients needs. At a wedding almost everyone has a camera… but few know how to choose between available light and flash (or mix the two) to get a great shot. A non-pro wouldn’t think to backlight the shot and underexpose (at least according to the in-camera meter) to get an amazing silhouette of the couple. Or to bring the rings and bouquet and position them in perfect window light to shoot … in the soft light right next to the bright harsh beam coming in the window. With commercial photography the demands are even greater. I need to know how to get just enough focus to highlight the product and blur the background. I need to be able to adjust each of my lighting sources and know when and how to add a pop of hard sparkling light vs when to add a soft glow. I can’t just make a pretty photo; I need to know how to fine-tune it to meet with the vision of my art director. I need to be a problem solver to fit a shot that lends itself to a horizontal photograph into a vertical advertisement. Artists too need to be able to know their craft so as to portray their message. A beautiful photograph on it's own isn't art, there should be deliberate intentions behind the work! Only if one knows the medium (in this case photography) extremely well can use one use it as a vehicle for their message.

A professional photographer needs to know all the little tricks of the industry…like helping the bride pre-scuff her shoes so she doesn’t slip and fall - or that gravy master and water looks just like coffee. I think the hardest part of all, is that professional photographers need to remember to value all of these skills and not under bid the job to compete with the amateurs! I’m not saying I’ve never taken a cheap job or given away my work…I’ve done it too. However, the industry is in an odd place with so many photographers trying to make it as pros! I think the best that professionals can do is to educate clients on the value of working with a pro photographers, charge what they’re worth, and to continue to make quality photographs.