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  • Welcome to my blog!

    This blog contains updated content about pretty much all the coming and goings of the studio. It also may contain some rants and raves depending on whether there is a full moon. Feel free to leave me a comment. You can also pass these images onto Facebook or Twitter if the spirit moves you!

When I was a junior in high school, my mother insisted I take typing.  She used to say “No matter what, you can always get a job typing!”  So, my first class was filled with much anticipation of learning how to master this weird looking machine.  Now mind you, the photo above looks nothing like what I started with.  My typewriter was a manual version.  Yep, the kind without electric.

As I took a seat in the third row back (I always sat in the same spot), a man entered the room who literally was close to 100 years old (or so I thought being the ripe old age of 16 I was.  He shuffled into the room with a pencil in his hand and pulled down the typewriter chart in the front of the room.  After taking role and scratching his grey hair several times with the eraser part of the pencil, he made everyone sit back in their seat and put their 8 fingers on the center row of keys.  Slowly, we all pecked at two keys at a time… “A,S…. A,S, A,S….S,D….S,D and so on and so forth.  By the third week, I was on to this party and knew I was well on my way to an A in this class.

In my senior year of high school, I moved onto the heavier stuff… Typing 2!.  It was there that the electric typewriter was introduced.  This was the big leagues and we were all timed and graded on how fast we could type.  I never understood why we had to type fast.  If it was correct, who cared how fast I could get it done! For one straight hour, nothing possibly could enter your mind because the screaming of 30 other electric typewriters working at Daytona speed drummed into my eardrum. It wasn’t until I went for my first office job interview that they put me in a room with an electric typewriter and timed me for 5 minutes of straight typing.

Learning to work a typewriter seemed to be quite an accomplishment.  If only learning to use a computer, a camera, a flash meter, Quick Books, fixing a printer jam, designing albums, uploading to labs, and on and on… would be as straight forward as Mr. Keller’s first semester typing class.

As I write this blog, it is 9:30 at night.  Most people are relaxing in front of the box watching their favorite shows.  Being in business for yourself is a constant dive into “how to” books, manuals, podcasts, networking and so on and so forth.  I wish it was as easy as just learning how to type.

Sometimes you just have to keep pushing forward and learning new things to keep your head above the crowd.  I do yearn for those younger years when the phone was attached to the wall, no one called after 9:00 p.m. and no one worked on the weekends.  But, we all must rise with the tide.  Hopefully, I won’t have to read any more manuals in 2017!

Stay well.

donna

P.S.  I made both my kids take “typing” in high school as well!  By then, they called it “keyboarding”.  No one finger typers in this family!

High school senior photographs are one of my main stays of business.  The conclusion of 12 years of schooling is a big deal.  A whole new chapter is beginning for the student as well as the parent.  Although everyone at their home school gets an opportunity to be photographed by their school photographer, why would you as a parent ever want to take the time and have additional photographs taken of your son or daughter?  Well, lets just say in reality, that stiffly posed photograph in a cap and gown that 400 students have worn that day really doesn’t capture the true soul of your graduating child.  Is that snap taken by the school photographer memorable?  Hmmmm… maybe.  Though, is it really who they are?  That’s where my job and my passion come in.

Meet Emma.  I had photographed Emma’s sister a few years ago so I kinda knew what Emma’s family wanted.  However, if this was a cold call, my questions would be more about Emma herself, her personality, what she likes and dislikes.  In this case, I knew that Emma loved the outdoors and that was where her parents felt Emma would shine.

Once we establish a place, then I walk through with Emma and her mom what kind of clothes to bring.  I strongly suggest bringing 3 total looks.  Two of them should be slightly dressy and one should casual.

There are two times a day I love to do outdoor photographs.  Early morning and then again about an hour before sunset.  This is obviously because the light is so beautiful at this time.

I always start out with the dressy look.  It can be a sun dress, a party dress or just a regular fun dress.  This is because I know that in the beginning of the session, the client’s makeup is fresh and hair is perfect.  Sometimes when it is humid out, by the end of the session we are all a sweat mess.

I always love to have the subject look away in the beginning.  They are always very nervous as we start out.  This nervousness lasts about ten minutes or so.  As you can see by her body language in the next two shots, she started to open up and feel comfy.

I am a strong believer of just looking deeply into the camera.  Yes, we all know she has a beautiful smile, but I believe in looking into her soul.    The next photograph was taken when she changed into her casual clothing.  I had her sit down and photographed her through some foliage.  You can see the foliage in the front of the lens.  Notice that her body language is more relaxed.  This was about 30 minutes into the session.

The very last series of photographs I shot were on the deck near the water (see above).  I saw the sunlight highlighting her hair and could not pass it up.  This is one of my favorites.  My super favorite though is the one of her looking away (see up).

Every high school senior session is different.  As a photographer, I pride myself on listening.  It takes ears as well as eyes to capture one’s soul.  Knowing what the client likes is one step closer to creating amazing portraits that will be treasured for years to come.

Joy!

donna

Dear Friends…
The past week has been filled with so much grief and tragedy as a result of  result of Hurricane Harvey hitting the Houston area as well as the New Orleans coast.  According to the Daily Mail, the devastation has reached $35 billion dollars.  Yes… Billion.
Compassion and thoughtfulness is the name of the game.  How can we help?  How can any of us help?  The answer is to donate.
This Sunday and Monday, Labor Day weekend, anyone who books an outdoor portrait session will have 50% of their portrait session fee donated to the American Red Cross.   Of your session fee of $125.00, half $62.50 will be donated to the American Red Cross for Harvey victims.
“But wait… there’s more….” 
Any wall portrait purchase will receive an additional 8 x 12 custom print on metal!  These new unique images have been the talk of the town and would make a wonderful holiday present or stand alone statement on an easel.  This is a $275 value in my studio!
 
All portrait sessions must be paid in full at booking.  I will be photographing sessions at two Bucks County Parks duringSunday and Monday.  
 
Call the studio asap to get your time allotted.    Be a part of Harvey’s help.  It is a win win for everyone this way!
Thank you.  
Donna Lere

As we approach the end of summer, all of our thoughts are geared to squeezing the last possible ounce of outdoor fun in before school starts.  Yes, even though I have no kids in school anymore, I always feel that the beginning of the school season marks the beginning of fall and my crazy busy season.  It is September that everyone returns to their normal workflow and daily routines are back in place.  It is this time that my phone starts getting hot with inquiries regarding holidays, business portraits and couture sessions.  Summer for me consists of family portraits and high school senior sessions.  My fall consists of pretty much everything on steroids!

I try to send out gentle reminders right around this time every year for everyone to try and get the mojo going in mid August.  Schedule that new headshot now so you have it when you hit the ground running in September.  Schedule that fall family portrait now to secure the best date that fits into your schedule and mine!  Sadly, the summer is in fact coming to and end and we all must plan for the fall.

I know, it’s painful to think of colder weather coming.  But for me, by the time August 20th hits, I have had it with. hot sweaty weather, gardening, weeds, outdoor sultry portraits and in general, living inside when it is 95 degrees out side.  On my day off this week, I cut down all the summer flowers and popped them right out for garbage day.  My husband knows this is normal for me, so when he pulls in at the end of the day and sees the garden totally clean again, he knows that I am now back in super woman work mode.

So are YOU ready with your fall business plan?  I am!  Lets create great images!

Donna

Having been a photographer for close to 3 decades, I get a variety of phone calls asking me to describe my services.  I am happy to chat with everyone and give them a bit of instruction on how I work.  If the client isn’t a referral, then they have checked out my work on either this blog, Facebook, Instagram or my web page.  So, they know my style of work and were interested enough to make the call.  Every photographer has a “style” and it has taken many moons for me to establish my own.  In the beginning of my career, I photographed anything, any way, any how just to give clients a variety of styles to chose from in my work.  I would purchase any new prop, new background, different studio lights, etc. to try and cover every possible aspect a client may want.  I had props out the wazoo!  I bought wicker chairs, wicker tables, tons of paint splattered backgrounds, dark backgrounds as well as huge rolls of background paper.  I remember when I first opened my studio, there were some photographers who would build a mini pond in their studio to get cute pictures of kids pretending to fish.  Yes, the thought of filling my studio with a little pool had crossed my mind for a brief moment.  Some photographers hung a swing from the ceiling to get cutsie pix of kids pretending to be outside.

However, over the years my branding became more refined and I dropped all the paraphernalia that other photographers employed.  Getting rid of that stuff was liberating.

So this brings me to the subject of this blog.  “How to hire a photographer.”  It basically relates to the same question when you purchase a designer dress.  You purchase a Vera Wang dress because you like Vera’s style.  You purchase a Stella McCartney, Versace or Karl Lagerfeld dress because you there is something about their style that you like.  So it intrigues me so when the phone rings and goes like this:  “I saw your web page and want to hire you to take my photograph, however, I want you to change this, do that, incorporate this…… ”  Then there are the clients who feel the need to direct me during a portrait session by telling those in the picture where to stand, how to stand and what background they want.  Would that same client buy a Versace dress and then rip it apart sewing a different type of hem?  NO!   Their only experience with posing and lighting is perhaps what they saw on Pinterest and feel the need to re-arrange my style based on their concept of a great portrait.   It is so important to accept the style of the photographer, their professional experience and their knowledge of light.  Let me work my professional magic.  Trust me.

donna

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