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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!

A few days ago I came upon a blog post from Creative Live about some of the things photographers hear pretty much on a regular basis.  It actually made me laugh because yes, I too, experience many of these comments.  I thought I would share a few of them and some of my very own encounters.  I would say without a doubt that the folks that say these things are genuine good people trying to strike up a conversation with me hoping to perhaps bond on our photographic knowledge insights.  When I first started hearing several of these comments, I would comment something nicely back.  Heck, I thought, why be rude?  Now, instead of comments, I just nod my head and smile.  After I read the comments, I thought there should be more of these websites that explains things like “10 things never to say to a physician.”

Here are a few from the Creative Live blog:

“I could take great pictures too if I had a camera like that.”

“Nice photo, you must have a really good camera.”

“I really have a good eye, but my camera isn’t great.”

“My eye phone has more pixels that your expensive camera.”

“So, your photos are photoshopped?”

Here are some more that I have personally experienced:

“My father (uncle, sister, grandfather) was a photographer but now he is a plumber (carpenter, retired, custodian).”

“My mother always said I had a good eye.”

“Who needs a camera when you have a good I Phone?”

“Let me tell you about all the photo gifts I made for everyone at Christmas.”

“I don’t need to hire a professional, my neighbor takes great photos.”

“You can photoshop that out right?”

“My son fell out of bed yesterday and woke up with a black eye.  I figured since we had the appointment, you could work wonders and fix it in photoshop.”

“My child woke up this morning with a fever but I brought her anyway since I took the morning off from work. Hope we get some good stuff!”

“We have to be somewhere in an hour and fifteen so let’s go.”

In closing, I could go on and on but I think you get the idea.  I could easily retort back with some smart comment, but it really doesn’t pay.  As I said earlier, I just don’t believe that the majority of these folks realize what their comments actually sound like to a professional.  Again, the best thing is to just nod my head and smile.










I use a makeup artist on many of my photo shoots.  Whether it is a professional headshot or a couture portrait session, makeup artists are invaluable for adding that special finishing touch.  We all have “some” experience putting on our day makeup, but for special occasions, I highly recommend bringing in a specialist for my clients.  Before the session begins, I always try to sneak in a “before” photograph.  There is no better explanation of why it is worth going the extra mile then seeing before and after photographs.  Clients are truly amazed when they see the difference.

I have asked one of my makeup artists Susan Carabello to take over the blog this week and give us some valuable pointers for using a makeup artist for your next headshot session. Susan travels frequently to both New York and Philly for various fashion shows, fashion week, photo assignments.  Her website is:   If you are on the border about whether or not to hire a makeup, read her article below.  Questions are always welcome!


Makeup Artist

Susan Carabello

Why you need to hire a makeup artist for your headshot


I am sure that you are reading this headline and thinking “Really? I need a makeup artist for headshots?” Headshot makeup is vitally important to the digital age. Headshots are used for everything from corporate websites, social media and yes, dating sites. If you are looking to make a great first impression, you need a makeup artist for your headshot.


Makeup artists, like photographers, understand lighting, what looks good on camera and how to make you look like the best version of yourself. We also understand what products work and what may not. Most people do not want caked on makeup in their photos, right? You want to look natural and most importantly, like yourself.


Here are few things to remember when hiring a makeup artist for your headshot session:


  1. Has this person done headshot makeup before? This is the most important. You want to make sure that the artist you hire understands color theory and trends, but also they need to understand what products are going to give you the best end result. We all remember Glamour Shots, don’t we?


  1. What will you get when you hire a makeup artist? You will get someone who has educated themselves on makeup application, proper techniques and product knowledge. Makeup artists must also learn current trends, business and much more.


  1. Can I choose the makeup I want to wear? A makeup artist will have a consultation with you before your session. We will go through how you wear your makeup, any allergies and any skincare issues that may need to be addressed.


  1. I’m a guy, I don’t need a makeup artist. Think again. Makeup artists get hired all the time to do men’s grooming, especially for headshots. Men’s grooming is one of the areas that has been growing for makeup artists over the last few years.


Makeup artists work in a variety of areas. But, working in an area such as headshots requires someone who can execute a clean, natural makeup look without being overdone. They will have you looking your best!

Sooner or later you will realize that you are in need of something more professional looking on your website other than the photograph of you taken against the wall with a cell phone.  That’s where I come in.  More often than not, the first question out of the gate is “How much do you charge?”  Fair enough question to ask.  But I often wonder if they had checked out my work before asking that very important question.  It seems like such a little thing to ask, but everyone must do their homework before hiring someone to capture their image that will potentially make or break a web page.

I have jotted down a few things that I thought are rather important why you should include these questions in your search.  Hopefully, your answers will land back to me.

Okay, think of hiring a headshot photographer is pretty much equivalent to purchasing a new car.  Okay, it’s weird to associate the two but hear me out.  You definitely need a photograph, that’s a given.  Do you want professional lighting?  Do you want someone who knows different body types to assist you in how you pose?  Do you want some retouching because you have allergies and most often, your eyes are red?  Do you think that the sweater that was gifted to you looks great on you…. but maybe not?  So, you bring it and nothing else only to find it screams “GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

These are all things to consider.  Would you buy a car without air bags?  How about without air conditioning?  Or, would you prefer to get the stripped down version with 4 wheels, a motor, and roll down windows?  Thus the reason car dealers sell very little, if any, manual (stick) transmission vehicles.


So, here is tip #1:

Do you have the option to bring in several clothing changes?  Hopefully… yes.


Will there be professional lighting?  Although “natural light” is beautiful, more often than not, a professional headshot is done with lighting that makes the eyes “pop”.


Will the photographer direct you based on your body type?  Yes, curvy folks are posted differently than thinner folks.


Will your final image include retouching?  This is huge.  You can get a DVD of 100 images, but none are any good if you woke up with dark circles under your eyes that day, a blemish, a stray hair.


Will your photographer walk you through the entire process, start to finish.  This means going over the images with you and suggesting ones that work?

All of the above are included in what I do….. and more.  Headshot pricing ranges anywhere from $99 to $1000.  Typically, closer to New York, it is in the upper range.  Advertising your business is advertising yourself as well.  A headshot is not a body shot.  It is not a 3/4 image down to your waist.  It is not sitting in an office chair either.  If you spend hundreds of dollars every year on simple things like going out to dinner or a night out on the town, why wouldn’t you invest in a professional photographer that makes you look good?  (sorry for the rant!)

Here are some before and after photographs with and without retouching.  Enjoy.




Hi Friends!

Well, January is over and we are heading into the middle of February.  Brrrrrrrr.  Every January, I take the time to evaluate and re-evaluate everything from advertising, office practices, and various implemented ideas.  February is the time I start to put everything into motion that was decided on in January.  Admittedly so, being in the business of photography for close to 30 years does not come without fault on many of my glorious ideas!  When I first decided to open my studio many moons ago, I had no idea of just about anything that had to do with legalities.  I was working at a local newspaper at the time and running my business out of my home.  But once you step into opening up your own studio in a real location,….. well that opens up a whole new can of worms.  Everything from landlords, alarms, commercial insurance, phone systems, employees and yes, even real studio hours.

For me, there was no text book on how to proceed.  So, everything that was done was new to me.  I had to come up with an employee handbook when I hired my second employee.  Why?  Because without anything written in stone, my first employee took advantage of everything I was gracious enough to bend the rules once or twice.  Then I had to come up client rules.  Yes, there is such a thing.  For example…. I will gladly meet any client on a Tuesday or Thursday evening.  My last appointment is 6:00 p.m.  Before this rule was implemented, I would start my day by opening the studio up by 10 and then a client would want to come in around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m.  My kids were young then, so time with them was very precious in the evenings.  One client who had a 7:30 appointment didn’t show until 8:15.  Her excuse was “I wanted to eat dinner with my family.”  Well, duh…

My dentist gave me the best advice. He said… “You have to treat yourself as a professional (which I thought I was)  …… and your clients will find a way to make it in during your assigned hours.”  It wasn’t until Christmas eve of my first year having a studio that I implemented his idea.  I had a client that received his portrait order early in December.  On December 22nd, he called me and begged me for a re-order.  I told him that the only way it would come in time for Christmas was to put a rush on it at the lab (which was in California) and there would be a rush charge.  He said, “no problem, just do it.”  I put the order in and immediately called him and had an overnight delivery sent to my studio on December 24th.  At 4:00 the package arrived and I called his house leaving a message.  At 5:30 I called his house again and left another message.  At 7:00 I again called his house and left another message.  Finally, at 7:45 on Christmas eve, I locked up my studio and went home.  He never called me back.  Finally, on Dec 27th, he called and was upset I wasn’t in the office between Christmas and New Years.  I asked him where he was on Christmas eve that he just had to have this extra portrait.  His response…. “Well, I figured I didn’t need it that much and went out to dinner with family.”  Lesson learned!  Now, Christmas cut off for ordering is December 10th.

When you are new in business, you try to please everyone, even if it means sitting in your studio alone on Christmas eve waiting to please a client.  But now, as a seasoned business person, I have learned by previous decisions and have moved on to strong business practices.  It’s not that I won’t bend the rules once in a while, but there has to be rules in everyone’s life.  You can’t make everyone happy I know.  But, if I want to continue to be happy with my business, then I need to set business practices that work.

In the future, if you call me at 8:45 on a Tuesday night and I don’t answer, please don’t get upset.  Would your dentist answer your phone call at 8:45 at night?  LOL


“When a women becomes her own best friend life is easier.”

-Diane Von Furstenberg



As we slowly head through January, my thoughts push forward to longer days, sounds of birds coming back and in general, a kick in everyone’s step.  I often wonder why Valentine’s Day has gotten so big over the years.  I honestly think it is because not only are we one step closer to sticking out heads out the front door, but, it is a general slap on the back to recognize the people you most adore in your life.  We shouldn’t have to wait until that special day in February to reward ourselves.  By “reward”, I mean taking time out of everyday’s busy life to thank yourself for what seems sometimes like a thankless job.  Yep, taking care of everyone else.  No doubt you are appreciated, but do you take the time to appreciate your self?  Your well being?  To say to your self “I am worth it.”

Getting a portrait of your self is not saying that are only thinking of your self.  But rather, you love your life.  A comment that is said quite frequently in my studio is “I haven’t had a photograph taken of me since my wedding!”  Yes, school pictures, holiday pictures, special event pictures…… but none of just YOU.

Right before the conclusion of 2017,  I was honored to photograph a 3 generation session which included grandmom, mom and daughter.  Stephanie realized the importance of taking the time to record her family’s history.  Her young daughter will always have memories of having photographs taken with her grandmother.  These images will surely be passed down through generations.

Here is a little slide show of Stefanie’s session.  Enjoy.  It runs about 3 minutes.  Please watch it.  I hope you will feel the need to be your own Valentine.  Call the studio and set up your session.  If not for you, but for your kids.  215.968.5220

Stephanie’s wonderful session click here

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