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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!

I recently received a call from a previous client to do some updated portraits of her son who just graduated high school.  I had done portraits of this young man 3 years ago with his sister.  My client’s son had just graduated and had taken a strong interest in spending time at the gym and perfecting his body lines.  I love when kids take an interest in health and make the effort to stay in shape.  James had worked very hard and perhaps is even thinking of taking his look to a professional level.  His mom and I had discussed various ideas as to what James would wear and together, we came up with a few “looks”.  In the three years that I hadn’t seen James, it was evident, that this young man had put in the effort and it definitely shows.  I wish him the best.

I choose to show you all black and white images.  Why?  Because I strongly believe that when it comes to body sculpture, the eye tends to go to the art of the image rather than be distracted by the color of the jeans or shirt.

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Bubble time

I have super powers.  I’m not tooting my own horn as you may very well think.  My super powers come from the ability to pick up my camera and document a life in a way that they and family members will cherish for years.  You can’t buy super powers.  Nor, can you steal them from anyone.  You can only attain them through education and of course, the immense desire to teach others the value of a great portrait.  I am not a pompous person or declare to see through buildings.  What am I is… a professional photographer.  Not a millionaire.  Far from it.  I believe that what I do brings everlasting joy.  The portraits that I make are worth a million to that certain person or persons.  That one person who wants to remember the joy over a bubble machine that costs $10 and hours of giggles.  Maybe we all should remember that life is only temporary.  Youth is even shorter.  Put away the Pokeman game.  Turn off the television.  And yes, create a memory.

 

Santa Cruz coast line

I will be the first to admit, that burn out comes very easy when you are self employed.  Especially as an “artist”.  So, I always recommend that you either step away from your craft for a little bit, or do something with your craft that made you fall in love with it in the first place.

When I was in California last year for business, I built in some extra time for me to drive the coast line.  I found myself not taking as many photographs as I thought I would which surprised me.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t motivated to, but rather just enjoyed the moment and the views.  I do go back to my files occasionally and pull out a few photos to work on.  Here is a one that I thought was breath taking.  The house on the right has an amazing view and yet, it wasn’t one of those mulit million dollar homes.  Lucky them….  Me…., I would be enjoying coffee in the morning on the patio, and dinner in the evening listening to the Pacific ocean and it’s music.

It never hurts to dream.  Working on these types of images gives me a break from the business of photography.  The paperwork, the computer work, the client work, so on and so forth.  So, this is my outlet.  What’s yours?

All of us, at one time or another, have eaten fast food.  Drive through hamburger joints acquired the term “fast food” only because the food was available rather fast.  The quality was sub par, and yet, you purchased a hamburger, fries and shake anyway knowing it probably wasn’t the most healthiest hamburger meat out there.  Does cheap = good?  That yummy taste for me, has in the past, been not so yummy about an hour or so after ingested.  I felt sluggish and could seriously take a long nap.

As a child, I remember going out to a fine restaurant or two for special occasions growing up.  The food was incredible.  Once I saw a menu with the prices on it and was shocked.  $7.00 for a steak dinner with a baked potato and a salad!!!  I realized then that good food doesn’t come cheap.  And yet, hours later I felt okay with no lingering effects!

As a professional photographer, I am often asked “How much for….?”  I am always glad to explain my pricing followed with another explanation as to the value of my work and why.  In a sea of photographers, wanna be photographers, photo enthusiasts, hobbyist, weekend warrior photographers, Uncle Dave photographers and moms with cameras, getting ahead and staying above the fray in this business on a daily busy is becoming more and more a struggle.  Getting the client to see the difference is what I try and educate my clients and hopefully, new clients.

Several times a year when I photograph either a family, a headshot, a couture photograph or in general a portrait session, the client will say something like, “Geez, this is nothing like the last session I had with ‘so and so insert another photographer’s name here”.   Years ago, I asked why they said that.  The answer was usually something like, “They didn’t have studio lights, they didn’t advise me how to stand, the images that I received were dark, there was a tree coming out the back of my head, so on and so forth.”  I knew right then that the photographer wasn’t qualified and more than likely, he was a “drive through” photographer. (See above regarding drive through food.)

If you want a great outfit that fits you perfectly and you look amazing, would you go to the cheapest store in town?  If you wanted laser eye surgery to correct your vision, would you hire someone offering a huge discount? So, why not hire someone with experience and talent?  Okay, okay, I am that person!  LOL.  This blog isn’t about paying more.  This blog is about hiring the best.  It’s all about decisions in life.  Do you want to look great or well… just okay?      Great portraits just don’t “happen”.

 

donna

 

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

 

There are no two photographers alike.  We all have our “styles”.  Yes, even me.  This blog post is not about bashing other photographers.  This blog post is about an opinion.

I take professional headshots seriously.  As a business owner myself, I know the value of getting your name and your face out there.  If you are up on statistics regarding how long a person is on your web page, you fill find that the image of your face can make or break a sale.  Of course I’m not saying that you have to be beautiful to get work.  That’s silly!  But your image should be a combination of great light that accents your hair, facial features, an awesome body pose, a genuine expression and mild retouching.  Yes, I did say that awful word….  “retouching”.

I have seen the worst cases of retouching in some of the best magazines.  For example… I love Oprah. Who doesn’t?  She is brilliant, open, forthcoming and rich.  Most of us would give our right hand to spend an hour with her.  However, in my opinion, the images of her magazine cover are so “over” retouched that I just want to scream “TONE IT DOWN”.  A 62 year old woman has wrinkles.  Surely, we don’t need to see all of them!  However, toning them down about 50% would satisfy me.  Removing all of them is wrong.

Here is a composite of someone who came into my studio last week.  She had her makeup professionally done which is what I recommend.  The first image was her “walk in” photo.  The second or middle image is straight out of camera WITHOUT retouching.  The far right image is with a little tweaks.  See the tweaks listed below her photograph.  Your final image should not look like you are glowing…. This means you are over retouched if that happens.  It should also not look blurry.  Eyes should be crisp.

Time and time again, I am asked to do “Headshot” parties.  The answer today is no.  The answer tomorrow and the next day will also be no.  Why?  Because I take your branding and marketing image very seriously.  To set up a background in someone’s living room, shoot 6 images of you after you have had a glass of wine and give you all the images on a DVD is in my opinion, not my cup of tea.  If you want to succeed in your business, you try to always put your best foot forward.  You wear your best outfit to your networking meetings.  You look finished.  If you were to get a facelift for example, would you go to the cheapest doctor in town or the best?  After all, it is your face for gods sake!

Send me your questions at lerephoto@gmail.com.  I would be happy to answer any and all.  I am also happy to make your image something to be proud of.

Headshot composite

Here is the work that was done on this image:
Remove fly away hair
Remove lint on jacket
Remove gold bracelet
Reduce under eye lines 28%
Reduce lines between eyes 18%
Whiten eye area 5%
Open lazy eye 3% on left eye
Whiten teeth 5%
Soften hair fuzzy on chin
Overall skin soften 15%
M o r e   i n f o