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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!

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%

There is a great quote from Lara Whatley:

“Why?  It’s an excellent question.  But an even better one is…. Why not?”

All too often, it is easier to slide into the t-shirt today.  Then the day after tomorrow.  And then on the weekend.  So on and so forth.  Then, one day, the stained shirt becomes the everyday “go to” for comfort.  And yet, comfy at first, we find ourselves feeling unsexy.  Cause not too long later after the t-shirt is the standard go to, the sweat pants come out.  Carpooling, cooking, shopping and in general, letting the greatest feeling of what made you… well you, disappear.

What is your story?  Wouldn’t you just love to feel pampered again?  Even for just a day?  Maybe bring some excitement back?  Think about what it would be like to have someone do your makeup, style your hair and then have a professional photoshoot with awesome outfits.  A photograph of you by someone who knows how to pose you, light you and find every best angle you have to be photographed.  Now that would definitely warm your heart.  Plus, isn’t this the image you want your kids to fight over in 30 years.

For more information about how you can feel sexy for a day, call me.  I’ll walk you through how to get your mojo back.  215.968.5220 is the studio line.

comparison

 

 

Wedding equipt_2016

 

One of the most often asked questions both at weddings and in general is “What kind of equipment do you have?” or “What’s in your bag?”  So, in response to that, I thought I would give you an insight as to what I bring with me on a pretty regular basis and why.  Please note that there are also things that are not shown that I bring which I will address later on in this blog.  This is the gear I would bring for a wedding.  If I were doing on-location portraits, this would be somewhat different.

Cameras:  Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 5D Mark II.  My main camera is the Mark III.  Occasionally I will put a lens on the Mark II as backup.  For example.. when the bride comes down the aisle.  Always have a second camera ready in case the first camera fails.

Lens:  My main stays are the 24-70L 2.8, the 50mm 1.2 and the 70-200IS.  Yes, I use the lens hood frequently.

Flashes:  Three Canon 600 EX-RT…  speedlights (Marked “A,B and C”)

Light Meter:  An old Minolta which I love and still use.

Flash cards:  Tons and tons of SanDisk Extreme.  Yes, I have 16 GB cards, but prefer to use the 8GB.  Why?  Because I hate to put all my images on one card.  I could use the smaller card as a backup since these cameras allow for one, but never do.  Call me crazy.

Batteries:  4 fully charged Canon batteries.  Will I use all 4?  No.  Do I change out halfway through the wedding?  Sometimes.  If I shoot a lot of pre-ceremony stuff… like 400 plus images, I sometimes like to drop in a fresh battery right before the ceremony.  However, these batteries will last the entire day no problem.  I also carry tons of AA batteries.  Yes, I have rechargeables.  And I admit, I have a love/hate relationship with them.  That’s a whole other post.

Flash Brackets:  3 Flash brackets to securely put on the 600 EX-RT’s.  I am looking for more secure brackets currently. I am not happy with these.

Miscellaneous stuff:  A hot shoe for flash.  When I place a flash behind the bride/groom for cool lighting.

Gaffer tape.  Think gaffer tape for you never know what.

Business cards….

A small first aid package.

Excedrin… Sometimes I get migranes and this is the only cure.

Lipstick… A girls gotta look good

Ear Plugs…  See above “Excedrin”

A squeaker…. To get the cuties to look at me

$20…. Yes, I keep some cash in my bag.  Sometimes when there is a lull and I need a coffee, soda or snack, I have some cash to purchase something if a store is nearby within walking distance.

Mints…. Nothing worse than bad breath.

Video Light… An amazing little diddy that helps with detail shots.

NOT SHOWN IN ABOVE PICTURE BUT IN CAR:

In a separate bag that I keep in the car is my emergency equipment.  This is an old Canon 5D with 4 cards, an old flash and batteries.  Yes, it’s all about backup.

Pole Bag:  4 light poles… 2 lightweight and 2 heavyweight to put speedlights on.  Also 2 umbrellas for these   (you never know)

Reflector:  A huge round reflector that is a pain to carry but couldn’t live without.

Cooler:  Ice cold water, a sandwich and some snacks.  You never know if and when you will get time to grab a bite.

Shoes:  A comfy pair of slip on shoes.

Jacket:  If it gets cold

 

NOT IN CAR AND NOT IN CAMERA BAGS:

Insurance…. Yes, I am have liability insurance.  Something many photographers DO NOT HAVE.  In the event that someone trips over my stuff and gets hurt or my equipment gets stolen, I have insurance.

Knowledge:  I left this one for last.  Because I want to see how many of you read to the bottom of this blog post.  This list of equipment means nothing without the knowledge of how to photograph, how to light, how to pose and how to light a room with room lights.  Also, what lenses to use, where to be, how to handle all kinds of people, so on and so forth.  This stuff comes with experience and years of education.  This stuff is already pre-packed in my brain.  If you get to this last line, drop me a comment and tell me your thoughts.  Thanks!

Dance under the sun

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8th.  Indeed I am early with this post.  Hopefully you won’t click that “X” in the upper right hand corner and move on to something else without reading this through.

So, I obviously “Googled” gifts to give on Mother’s Day.  Yikes, the posts were endless.  “Top Ten”, “Top 3″, Fun Activities”.  All ideas brought forward seem like popular ideas only because they are the easiest to come up with.  Yes, treating mom like a queen for the day starting with breakfast in bed is definitely a plus.  But what happens when your children have moved out and are on their own?  Does the day include taking mom… or in this case… even Grandmom out to breakfast, followed by a wonderfully wrapped box of Isotoner slippers and of course, a gas station tulip?

What if you said to mom instead… “Mom, I have arranged to have you professionally photographed.  Hair and makeup included, you will be treated like a model for a day.  Because you are beautiful and I want more than anything… for you to FEEL beautiful.”  You are not just giving a gift, you are giving an experience.

So, now you ask… what does this cost?  Simple.  $175 for a professional photoshoot in my studio.  It includes:  A professional hair stylist to blow out your mom’s hair and style it.  A professional makeup artist to apply her makeup as one would during a photoshoot.  PLUS, she would get a credit to my studio for $100 towards any purchase she or you may wish.  The whole experience takes about 4 hours.  Then, take mom out to dinner because she will look amazing and feel amazing.

There is no better gift you can give her than saying to her that you want a portrait of her.  Leave the slippers at the department store.

Donna

215.968.5220

Make her feel she’s worth more than breakfast in bed.

M o r e   i n f o