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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cheesecake Winner!

Congratulations to Katie for winning the Cheesecake Factory Gift Certificate comment contest. I can't believe she won AGAIN, but random number generators don't lie. Enjoy, girl! Thanks to everyone for getting your orders in by the deadline today. It was an awesome crazy month, and I am so grateful to everyone who participated in the Anniversary Event. I beg some patience from everyone while I process their orders - I now have quite a few in the queue. Thanks for helping me celebrate my business anniversary, and keep checking back for more good deals and fun events.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Remodel Report

I thought I'd just give a quick update on how my studio remodel is coming. It's starting to look great. We have all the painting and flooring in, and I'll be starting on the mouldings soon (I hope!) Here's a quick shot of my new floor. SO much better than green carpet! My little one is always so willing to pose for the camera... then she always wants to take pictures of me. It's so cute to have her tell me, "now, just turn your chin to the light...right there!" She's a chip off the ole' block.

Oh, I forgot to thank Mr. H for his help installing the floor. The best kind of neighbor! Thanks to A for arranging his help :-)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pre-meditated Perfection

I have often wondered what it is that propels a portrait session from good to fantastic. After giving it way too much thought, I've come to the conclusion that there isn't just one thing that can make or break it. However, there are always ways to increase the odds. The session I did on Thursday was unbelievable, and one of the easiest sessions I've shot all month. The thing that made it so easy to create great images in this case was the amount of planning that went into the session before I ever pulled out the camera. This little angel's Mom and I have been talking about this session litterally all month. We planned the session for after her nap, in a location that would have great light at that particular time of day. Mom did some searching on the internet to find what kind of artistic vision she had for the finished product, and coordinated every little detail from the bow to the dress, to the antique furniture (which, I might add, I am TOTALLY coveting now.) She even sacrificed her back yard to the weeds just for this one day. I'm telling you, there wasn't any detail she over-looked. The result was that we had perfect light, great props, and a cheerful, cooperative subject. Luck? I don't think so.
A, I am SO SO sorry... you are going to have one heck of a time choosing! :-)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Creating Stories

Photography is such a great medium! When I was in college, we had a whole section on the nature of "photo-realism" and the phenomenon of people believing what they saw in a photo to be "truth." One thing that I absolutely love about photography, is that you can distort the truth, and even use a photo to create a completely ficticious senario, just like any other fine-art medium. One of my college assignments was to make photos of a scene that was contrived, and try to make the situation look as real as possible, so that the viewer would really believe it had happened. I had my best friends and my husband pose in the hospital as if something tragic had happened. It was such a funny experience because my husband is NOT an actor, and therefore not very believable (which is why I didn't use many images with his face in them!) These images still make me laugh more than grieve, but if you didn't know the story, I guess they could be convincing... C&T don't kill me for posting these!

I do have a point for all this rambling! I did a family session last weekend at the park. It was a pretty typical family, with mom and dad being a little stressed out about the behavior of their kids. After I was done, mom asked me if I'd do a portrait of just her and dad. We did just a few last minute shots, and these ended up being my favorite of the whole session. B&R, this image looks like you are on a second honeymoon in some Tuscan garden, and I've just stolen this precious moment without you even knowing it! How's that for a contrived situation? Anyway, I'd love to hear whatever story you want to make up about what really happened!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Good Sports

Hey, a quick peek for the L family: you were ALL very good sports, and it was fun (yes, I said FUN) to get to spend an evening with you. I hope the Jazz's loss won't taint the memory for you!

Oh, it's that crazy lady with the camera... AGAIN!

These poor kids. I don't know what they did to merit a punishment as bad as having to sit through two portrait sessions in a week. They were so good regardless. It's getting really hard to entertain them, though, because they've heard all my jokes, and they see right through me. Kids are so honest - I love it! Maybe that's why I love serious expressions in portraits. Even though smiles are great to look at, and I know that most people want to be remembered as being happy, I feel like a pensive or even tired look has so much more story in it. I remember seeing an image that fellow photographer took of a little boy crying his eyes out, throwing a temper-tantrum. At first the business-woman in me (who, incidentally, rarely gets her say) said, "Boy, that kid's mom is not going to buy a wall portrait of that image!" Then, the artist in me said, "But that's how she will remember that two-year-old on that day, and it will be precious to her anyway!" I don't know, what do you think? Do you prefer smiling portraits, or do you prefer any other expression? Let me know.
BTW, K, you're kids are so stinkin cute... even if they do think I'm akin to the Wicked Witch of the West with a camera.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More on Cousins

Ok, remember the post I did earlier this month about cousins being magical? Well, I just had to post this quickly as the ultimate cousin portrait. These two babies are cousins, and about 8 days apart, but the really cool thing is that they belong to MY cousins. So they have DOUBLE COUSIN POWER! K and T, hang in there! You're previews should be ready very soon. Shugah to my rosepetals, the last roses of the summer....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Worth the Admission

I had the privilege of creating portraits at La Jardin yesterday. They do charge their own location rental fee in addition to my session fees, so most people are very hesitant to use it. I just want to go on the record as stating that it is worth TWICE what they charge. Not only is it always in bloom, meticulously groomed, and gorgeous inside, but I never have to worry about lighting or weather conditions, and that makes for awesome portraits! It's like having the beauty of a location session mixed with the consistencey and predictability of the studio. *SIGH* It just doesn't get any better than this.
P.S. I LOVE the "anti-portraits" - those shots inbetween the "real" shots when kids are just being themselves. Sure, they're not looking at the camera, and yes, they're wiggly. It just emphasizes their ages and personalities. Thanks so much, S for giving me the honor of creating these images!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A quick peek

Here's a sneak peek for M! I'm working hard to get these ready for you to view. Hope this whets your appetite!

The expression on the left is one that needs to be preserved for future girlfriends and even farther future grandchildren. Priceless!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Surely this isn't Work

Being a portrait artist who mainly works with children has it's rough days. There's the child (mine!) who just won't look at the camera, the child who missed her nap, the child who won't hold still... There are all sorts of tricks and exhausting shennanigans that one employs to get that perfect shot. However, once in a while, you catch a break and have the rare opportunity to work with a little one like Sassy Miss K here. She was just pure JOY to create images of. All I had to do was keep pushing that shutter button, and she kept delivering stunning image after stunning image. Man, I can't believe I get paid to do this...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cousin Power

There's always been something magical to me about cousins. Some of my best memories are of summertime cousin sleepovers, and eating entire bags of popsicles from our Grandma's freezer. These munchkins have a very strong cousin bond. I always tell moms to keep their expectations low when we do groupings of children, but these images exceeded even my expectations, so I had to post them right away. M & A, your kids are movie stars, and I have more of your family sessions that I'll post if I have time...

Pulling Teeth

My husband once made the statement that he'd rather go to the dentist than have his portrait taken. I think most people feel like the process of being photographed is awkward, if not downright painful. I like to think it doesn't have to be that way. Take Miss B here: she got up very early on Saturday morning to hang out with a woman she's only barely acquainted with. What could have been a very uncomfortable situation turned out to be a huge blast! We had so much fun trying new things, giggling at lookers-on, and just talking. This was seriously so much fun for the both of us, I didn't once feel like I was pulling teeth! :-)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Advertisement as Art

Somehow, Kodak has taken all that I feel about photographs and put it into a single commercial. This advertisement affected me powerfully. I don't know how many people will understand why I cried through this, or what it is that drives me to continue capturing people's lives in portraits. Kodak gets it: I help people live forever.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

This is my sistah's brand new baby girl, born today at 2:41 pm. I'm not ommitting her name on purpose - she doesn't have one yet, as far as I know. She was 8 pounds, 9 ounces, and was 20.5 inches long. She was not a happy little munchkin until she left the nursery and was being held tight by her mama. I'm actually quite surprised that she calmed down enough after her bath to grab this shot. Look at that big tear dripping down her cheek. What a round, pink, little angel!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

What does one get for herself for her anniversary?

So, what am I getting for 10 years in business? A GREAT BIG MESS! As of last Thursday, my studio is under construction. I have been wanting to update and remodel since we bought the house almost four years ago, and with the "economy stimulus" checks in the mail (I HOPE!) I decided to go for it. I had to start with some lighting, so I had the guys at Rentmeister Electric come install some recessed cans. Let me tell you - this was the best decision I have made regarding this project so far. They had an appointment scheduled within three days of the initial bid, and the project completed in under two hours. I've heard horror stories about getting crews in for remodel jobs, but this was just so swiftly, expertly and beautifully handled (they only had to cut one hole in my dry-wall to wire six different lights! Unbelievable!) I could sing their praises for several paragraphs, but I think my point is this - there are times when hiring a professional to do a job is WELL worth the money you pay. If I would have attempted to do this job (or nag my husband to do it), I'm positive it would have taken several weeks, and we would've made a huge mess out of the whole thing. Thank you, thank you thank you, Rentmeister Electric!!
Anyway, we got all the demolition done this weekend, which I'm pleased with, and I'll start mudding/patching tomorrow. I'll keep you all posted on updates...it's going to be so beautiful when I'm done! :-)
P.S. I only have 2 Anniversary Event Sessions still available in the last week of May. If you know of anyone who wants one, tell them to call right away! And keep those comments coming... increase your odds of winning a $50 gift certificate to The Cheesecake Factory!

Before I went completely insane and started this project...

Eeek! My studio is nekid!

Check out those awesome lights!