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The Difference Between Good and Mediocre

The problem with good is it’s always a leap of faith. It exists in stratified territory, where the new intersects with the enduring, and it is, by its nature, the unknown. Worse yet, the greater the ‘good’ is, the more it departs from convention, so the less likely people are to believe in it. And there’s not even a guarantee it will make you a dime. Not all things good succeed. Not all things that succeed are good. But if good is bad, then the opposite is worse. When we refuse to budge or fail to move in the face of the empty unknown of the future, we are staring down a lifetime of mediocrity. This is the true opposite of good, and it is

Why Shooting Hugs & Mugs Can Be Fun and Profitable

Jim and I discovered something surprising about ourselves. When looking at our wedding photos, we realized that we would love to have more images of the people who came from all over the country to celebrate with us. It never occurred to me to ask our amazing photographers for “grip-and-grins,” but looking back, that was the only part of the coverage that was missing!  Some of our dearest friends don’t dance, and are more comfortable being in the background. Since they weren’t part of the main wedding “action,” they weren’t included in our wedding images. So now, we intentionally photograph wedding guests because those images may be more meaningful to our clients than they – or we – even realize. Honestly, I used to think these

How to Build A Successful Family Photography Business

Let’s be honest – it’s a tough time to build a successful family photography business. Just sit down for coffee with anyone running or starting a business and you’ll hear chatter about how new technology and undercutting by beginners make it harder to book clients. It’s a conversation that, quite frankly, I’m tired of having. And I think it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems photographers face when working to build a client base. Recently, while at a popular tourist destination with my own kids, I noticed how many parents were carrying around DSLR cameras. I estimate it was at least half of the parents there. Sure, my camera was bigger than their cameras, but we all know that

A Real Life Review of Pocketwizards

This started as a real life review of Pocketwizards. Basically it said, “Pocketwizards are bulletproof and if you know the tricks, they work over 95% of the time.” And then last weekend happened. Over the course of two weddings, three of my eight wizards broke. One of them – a Mini TT1 model – broke during the rainiest and most humid wedding of the year. I accidentally overtightened the plastic shoe and by the time I realized it, the humidity and overcranking combined to cause the Pocketwizard‘s plastic shoe to jump off its track. Over the next day and a half, I managed to drop a Flex TT5 model, snapping the plastic off of its shoe, and then the battery door on another Flex TT5 snapped off

Tips for Instantly Improving Your Next Engagement Session

Engagement sessions are great ways to get to know your clients and to boost their confidence in themselves so that they’ll know their pictures will be beautiful when you show up at their wedding. Here are some simple, practical tips for instantly improving your next engagement session. Have them start in a sitting position. People often talk about not knowing “what to do” while they’re being photographed. If they’re standing, they can start getting nervous and move around a bit. I try to put people in a position where they don’t feel stiff and they don’t have the option to move around too much. Having them sit is a great way to accomplish that! My favorite sitting position is to have the groom sit while the bride

How to Select the Right Light and Cameras for Every Shoot

All photo shoots were not created equal. To select the best camera equipment for every shoot, consider a few important details. Here’s my gear selection process: Determine the shoot location Identify the lighting scenario Research the subject thoroughly Storyboard the desired mood and select the lighting that will best convey that feeling. Carefully consider which camera body and lenses are necessary to capture different angles desired for each shot. Controlled Light in Studio or On Location If I am shooting in studio or I simply want more controlled light on a location shoot, I have a variety of lights that I pack. Much depends on the mood I am trying to achieve. I use Broncolor and Profoto heads and packs as my main light sources

How to Donate Your Photography Services to a Cause or Charity

Everyone has a story, and every photographer wants to tell stories. But it’s not that simple. Some stories are difficult, but they still deserve to be told. How do you photograph mental illness, autism, cancer? With compassion, respect, kindness, dedication…and patience. Both of my grandmothers had breast cancer, so it was natural for me to get involved with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and even more so after I spoke to breast cancer survivors about Boudoir Photography. After volunteering at the Susan G. Komen Gala, I was inspired to organize a fundraiser. Even though I had volunteered for other charities, I had never organized anything this extensive! Regardless, I decided to jump right in, to the deep end! So how did we organize and

Boudoir: A Clients’ Perspective

Introduction by Kelly Segré Many times photographers receive thank you letters and testimonials from clients. It is wonderful to know how much they appreciate what you did for them, but it is not often we realize the entire experience from their perspective. Some boudoir photographers say to fully understand what it is like you need to pose for your own boudoir session. While this is exciting and fun, it is not always the same for a photographer-turned-client as it is for the everyday woman who decides to experience her first boudoir session! This article was written by an actual boudoir client about her experience from beginning to end – the words are her own. My Experience with an Intimate Portrait Session by Pamela Fletcher Several times

Women Who Changed The Face of Professional Photography – Part 2

As a lover of the history of photography, I greatly appreciated Rachel LaCour Niesen’s post profiling Women Who Changed the Face of Professional Photography. As women and as photographers, we stand on the shoulders of these trailblazing photographers. Here are a few who most inspire me and my work. Frances Benjamin Johnston Frances Benjamin Johnston wrote the manual for women photographers, literally. In 1897, the Ladies Home Journal published her article “What a Woman Can Do with a Camera.” From art to business, so much of her advice is as relevant today as it was 115 years ago. On the art of photography, Johnston wrote: To those ambitious to do studio portraiture I should say, study art first and photography afterward, if you aim at distinction and

Marketing Through a Charity Means Defining Your Mission

“How were you able to start marketing through a charity?” This is such a great question and one that I am often asked. Although my involvement with the March of Dimes came from the local director reaching out to me, there are some steps you can take to utilize your photographs in a charitable way to market your studio. Here are my top tips for marketing through a charity by defining your mission: Be passionate. Regardless of the charity you choose, you have to have sincere passion for the cause. What do you love? What touches your heart? Is there a cause that reaches close to home, or that has affected you personally? Be proactive. Charities always need photography of their events. I got started

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The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!
The NEW ShootQ is Complimentary while in Beta mode for the next few months.  Enjoy!