A little self-love

"Wow, that woman really loves herself!"

I was having coffee with a marketing consultant last week and talking about my website. We had stopped on the homepage and right up there at the top I show a picture of a beautiful, white living room with light pouring through the windows and a collage of three images of one of my clients hanging above the sofa. When I explained the subject was a senior, my coffee companion nodded. "That makes more sense" she said. 

It doesn't stop when the shutter clicks...

It doesn't stop when the shutter clicks...

If you've been into my studio, you know I use a very minimalist set up. I could have a ton of props and backdrops, but it would mean a lot of repetition, and I love to make my client's images unique and express their personality. That means not using the same set or backdrop over and over again.
Not every image merits this much photoshop - I was aiming for a very stylized look for this particular image - but this is a good example of what we can achieve with it. Enjoy!

Local business feature: Empowered and Poised

I love supporting other local businesses. So I'm going to take a tour of some of the amazing women I've met in the process of getting my business off the ground. 

First up is Leah Berdysz, the founder of Empowered and Poised - a network which helps young women navigate today's society. I'll let Leah tell you more...

Leah touches on some important issues around how we brand ourselves publically.  It's easy to forget that everything we put online is out there for everyone to see. Even if you think it's private or temporary, once it's out there, it's out there. 

I hope you enjoyed meeting Leah and don't forget to check out her website at www.empoweredandpoised.com. If you have suggestions for another business in the Cleveland area that should be featured on the blog, let me know!

Personal branding: the importance of images

A few weeks ago, I decided it was finally time for a new hair cut. Now, I haven't cut my hair since my last stylist left to have a baby - probably 2 years ago - so it's long overdue and I needed to look for a new stylist. I decided to try out a salon that opened on the main street near my home a few years ago, so Great! Even better, there were several stylists available that day for me to book. 

I didn't know them at all, so I checked out their stylists page to learn more about them. Since I wasn't price shopping, there wasn't much to choose between them, so I ended up relying on their pictures to select who I thought I might like to work with best - and the two stylists with no pictures at all were immediately discounted. 

This happens more than you might realize. People work with us because they think they can get along with us - because they see something in us that they can connect with. Your profile pictures become how you connect with people you haven't spoken to yet, and people will absolutely discount you for how you present yourself online. A fellow photographer posted on Facebook  just yesterday about an accountant who had been recommended to her but who she chose not to go with because his professional-facing photo was of him holding a bottle of scotch in one hand and a cigar in the other. She couldn't connect this picture with the image she had of the accountant she wanted to work with so she looked elsewhere. 

Your image matters. It matters to your business and it matters to your bottom line. Which is why I work with all of my clients to identify how they want to be perceived, and we work together to make sure that vision comes across in your images. 

If you're interested in learning more about how I can help you with photographs that define your personal brand, contact me now to set up a no-obligation consultation. 

3 ways to add variety in a photo session

3 ways to add variety in a photo session

A photo session is an investment of time and money, so why not make the most of it? Here are three easy ways to get different looks in one session.

Change clothing

Clothing has an enormous impact on the final photograph. Different colors, textures, looks, and styles can produce very different results even with the same lighting and backdrop. 

Z is for Zoom

A zoom lens is a lens with an adjustable focal length, allowing the photographer the flexibility to get more or less environment in the photo with their lens, not with their feet.

The zoom lens (with the exception of the most expensive lenses) trade off optical quality for convenience, a sacrifice many photographers are prepared to accept. Optical quality is hardly poor on good zoom lenses, but the difference is clear when compared to a comparable prime lens at the same focal distance. Optimum optical quality is usually found 2 or 3 stops higher than the widest aperture the lens can support. 

W is for Wide Angle

Wide angle lenses are lenses with a short focal length and wider field of view than can typically be seen by the human eye; on a 35mm (or equivalent digital) camera, that is any lens shorter than 50mm.

Typically used in landscapes, wide angle lenses can also be used in portraits to introduce some of the environment into the image and tell a story around the subject. Because of the way wide-angle lenses emphasize features in the foreground, close-up pictures of people with a wide-angle lens can distort facial features, making the feature closest to the camera look disproportionately larger than features further away. 

 

V is for Vignette

A vignette is an artifact caused by light falloff at the edge of the image.

Photographers sometimes add a vignette the post-production phase to direct the viewers eye within the image. The added effect can be darker or lighter than the central image.  A lighter vignette gives a dated effect to the image and can be distracting on images that are not already high key.

Vignetting caused by the lens is often undesirable and needs to be corrected in post-processing.