Archives for Portrait

The Vegas Getaway

Last week, I spent a few days in Las Vegas for my sister’s wedding.   There are few places in the world like Las Vegas.  It literally overwhelms the senses with lights and sounds.  There is constant activity 24 hours a day -which can be great or can drive you nuts.  It is also a wonderful place for a wedding – go figure! We arrived a couple of days before the wedding and spent the morning creating portraits.  With so many options available, we had to narrow our time to two specific locations. First stop was the Neon Museum – a collection of signs from the Vegas strip.  Now you have to reserve the place- so don’t just show up there next time you are in Vegas and expect to shoot.  If you can work it out, however, it is incredible. The signs make wonderful backdrops for just about every type of portrait.   From there we went about 45 minutes outside of town to this cool old mining town.  It was truly a photographer’s dream!  Everywhere you looked there were old buildings, old cars – even an old airplane! Although it didn’t have the Las Vegas feel that we
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Rise of the iPhone and the Fall of Photography

Some time ago, I wrote a post about the death of the point-and-shoot camera at the hands of the camera-phone.  We see it all around us – people hoisting their phones in the air to take a photograph.  When was the last time you saw someone under the age of 50 using a point and shoot camera?  It is rare. Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of those people.  When it comes to pictures of my family, the breakdown is probably about like this 10% DSLR, 10% point-and-shoot and 80% iPhone.  The scary part is… I’m a professional photographer!  I bet it is safe to assume the average family is 100% phone. My cell contract comes up for renewal in November and I can’t wait to get the newest iPhone.  Is it because of Siri or some of the other new features like the bigger screen?  Heck now- I just want to upgrade my everyday camera!  Apps like Instagram have changed the world of photography- but is it all good? The Decline of Photography As a society, we set our standards according to what we see around us.  Every day, we are inundated with images on Facebook, Twitter, texts, etc.
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My Three Hits Of The Summer

The Competition Every year, I participate in the Professional Photographers of America’s International Photographic Competition. The way it works is that you send them your four best images and if they are judged to be good enough, they are accepted into a collection of images that are displayed at the national convention the following year. Going LOAN! One of the biggest honors an image can receive is to go a step further and be accepted into the Loan Collection.  These images are the best of the best and go into a coffee table book each year.  It is quite an honor to get one of your images accepted into the Loan Collection – so I was thrilled to find out that I had THREE of my images “go Loan” this year!  Here’s a quick look at the three entries: School Spirit This image was created for a high school senior last year and I mentioned it in my post on senior photography at the time. It was based on my Week 1 image from the 40@Forty Project and proved to be a cool alternative to the traditional “letter jacket” use of the letter.  The image was painted in Corel Painter,
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Is Photography A Good Investment?

Some time ago, I wrote a post on the value of photography as an investment.  Honestly, I think a lot of people miss the true value of a timeless portrait.   These days, people are trying to make smart financial choices.  That makes it the perfect time to revisit the post-with just a few updates… Choosing The Right Investment A lot of times, you hear the word investment used very loosely. You have time investments, emotional investments, and of course – financial investments. Now everyone agrees that stocks and bonds are an investment, but is photography really an investment? I might be slightly biased, but I think it is a wonderful investment. Let’s say you had an extra $1000 sitting around the house and couldn’t decide how to spend it… I know, a good problem to have! Obviously, there are tons of options for you to choose from, but I’d like to just narrow it down to three. Fun With $1000 The first option would be something Dad would love – a 50” plasma TV for the den. Weekend football just got a whole lot better! Depending on how much television you watch, you could get a lot of enjoyment
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Why Enter Photography Competitions?

ARE YOU READY? Late next month, registration starts for PPA’s International Photographic Competition – a chance for photographers to enter their best images and see how they stack up against the best photographers in the world.  Will you be entering?   You might be surprised to find out why it is so critical to your success. THE CONCEPT Art competitions are nothing new.  The concept is actually very closely based on the Paris Salon.  During the 1700s, the Paris Salon was what every artist aspired to do.  If your work was accepted by the Salon, and displayed in the Louvre, you had truly made it!  Print competition works in much the same way.  A group of masters judge your work and if it meets a certain standard, it is accepted into the show. Why PPA? There are hundreds- probably thousands- of photographic competitions every year, but the one sponsored by Professional Photographers of America is the gold standard.  The judges are put through a rigorous training system that ensures a fair, consistent judging from year to year.  Trust me – I’ve gone through this process and it is no easy task.  Because of these high standards, the PPA competition attracts
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Smiles For Everyone!

Wow- what a weekend! On Saturday, we put together a charity photo session to benefit Operation Smile.  We set out to raise money to pay for kids to have corrective surgery and it was a great success.  If you are unfamiliar with the program, you can read about it in my last blog post.  It really is a great cause.   SMILE! Several people showed up to flash their wonderful smiles and help a child fix their smile. I was thrilled that we had so many generous people show up to help.  In all, we raised enough money for three surgeries!  How great to spend a few hours of your time and truly impact three lives like that?! NEXT YEAR Now that we’ve got the hang of this whole thing, we will really take it up a notch next year and raise even more money.  If you missed out this year, I hope you will join us next time!    
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Make Me Smile!

Smile!!! On April 21st, we will be participating in the 2012 Celebration of Smiles, a fundraiser to benefit Operation Smiles. Founded in 1982, Operation Smile treats children around the world who suffer with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities. Every year, more than 100,000 children are born with a facial deformity in Operation Smile’s 26 partner countries. I couldn’t believe that! On Saturday the 21st, I will be setting up at The Westwood School’s high school campus to photograph friends, clients or anyone else who wants to help. Here’s how it works… For a minimum donation of $24, I will create a fun headshot of you and your fabulous smile! I’ll give you a retouched file that you can share on Facebook, email or whatever you want. It costs Operation Smile $240 to perform one surgery, so for every ten people we photograph, we can fix one smile. How cool is that? If this sounds like fun, please put it on your calendar and stop by on Saturday. You can even RSVP at: FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE Spread The Word I would really appreciate it if you would spread the word to any of your friends in the DFW
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How To End Fake Smiles

How To End Fake Smiles Every portrait is ultimately judged by the expression on the subject.  It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer or a client- everyone hates fake smiles. Nothing spoils a session like a long, dramatic “CHEEEEEEEZZZEEEE!”. So how do we avoid it? First Things First Like most projects, the planning is a critical part of the process. When you are scheduling a portrait session for your child, there is absolutely no need to prep your child in any way. A good photographer will know how to work with your kids to get the expressions that they need.  Any coaching you do ahead of time will only make the photographer’s job harder.  Kids are pretty good at just going with the flow, so they don’t need a whole lot of build-up for the portrait session. Clothing One common snag that will derail a portrait session is when a child is forced to wear an outfit they don’t want to wear.   I was lucky to not ever have this issue with my boys – they would generally just put on the outfit and be done with it.  If your child isn’t so tollerant, try this:  Bring two
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Twitter Face-Off Championship

Wow- we had a couple of close battles this week.  The two winners were @cloudhq with 54% of the vote and @vMistyque with 52%.  Congrats to @WarriorotCross and @EmElEEE for making it such a close battle. Now we are down to two – the final matchup!  We will take votes through 11pm Friday (CST) – so we can wrap this thing up before Christmas Eve. THE FINAL CONTENDERS   CAST YOUR VOTE! Now it is YOUR turn.  Take a good, long look at both profile pictures.  Decide which one you like best and cast your vote.  Remember, the one with the most votes by Friday night will win the $25 iTunes gift card – so choose wisely! Also- if there is a tie, the tie-breaker will be the person with the most comments below.  Please take the time to let us know which one you chose and WHY.  Your comment could be the deciding factor in the Championship. Best of luck to both of the contestants! Don’t forget to leave a comment and help your favorite win! ************************************ *** UPDATE *** ************************************ Well, the votes are in and here they are:   Congratulations to @Cloudhq for winning the title!  Thank
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Improve Your Digital Photography in 2012

Are Your Best Photography Days Ahead Of You? It doesn’t matter if you specialize in wedding photography or portrait photography, your goal should always be the same- to get better!  So often we hope that buying a new camera will make our photography get better.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.  If you want to be a better photographer, you will have to work at it.   Here are a few goals you can set for yourself for 2012. 1.  Do a Google search for “photography tips” or “black white photography” and you will be amazed at the results that come back.  There are tons of great photographers and teachers out there.  The trick is to find them!  Dedicate an hour each week to looking for a new technique or style that can add a fresh look to your workflow.  Nothing major – just a small tweak here or there. 2.  Do you remember black and white photography?  If you shoot film, go out and buy yourself a roll of black and white film and shoot something just for fun.  If digital photography is your thing, switch your camera to black and white mode and experiment a bit.  Scenes
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