Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why You Should Still Hire a Professional Photographer

As a Master of Photography, awarded through PPA, I am very aware of what it takes to be a skilled photographer. After studying with many of the best contemporary photographers, I understand the value of seeking knowledge from the best of the best. I can attest to the money and time spent to refine and redefine my skills and creativity.

But this is not about me! In the last few years, the value of a fine photograph has seemingly decreased. Everyone IS his/her own photographer and spontaneity seems to be the state of the art.

I’m not saying “Bah Humbug,” at all! I am wildly involved and enthusiastic about all the newest technologies and ability for everyone to make a good EXPOSURE. That in itself is creative and fun, and involves just about everyone who wishes to dive in.

I want to just make a point about why spending a little or a lot of money to invest in a portrait by a tried and true professional is important and worth it.

A professional photographer is NOT

Someone who just got a hot new camera

Someone who loves Photoshop

Someone who gives away her/his work for next to nothing

Someone who has gotten some compliments from friends about pretty photos she has taken

Someone who gives away JPEGs for your Facebook page

A portrait photographer takes pride in her work and spends money and time to study and learn all the old and new skills required of a great photographer.

Do you like to eat where a good chef cooks? Do you go to a good dentist and doctor to assure the best health? Do you spend money on café au lait every day for a tasty jolt?

Perhaps by any standard, hiring a portrait photographer is a bit of a luxury and an elective expense. However, down the road when your children and grandchildren look back, they will appreciate your taking the time and making an investment in their family genealogy and heritage.

Don’t mean to sound like your grandmother who walked through snow to school, but my home WAS destroyed by a fire and the portraits were the greatest loss.

I always chuckle when people complain about spending lots of money for wedding photographs, when they don’t wince at what they spend for clothing, flowers and food. Everything disappears immediately after the wedding except the photographs and the memories.

How many times have you heard about someone getting a real deal and hating the results? It is tragic. A professional photographer will not let you down. His reputation depends on it.

A portrait photographer worth their weight in gold will:

Be an artist in their own right

Be able to create a FAMILY portrait that will hold its value and integrity through generations. You can’t even BEGIN to do that unless you are ambidextrous and have
a tripod and self-timer.

Have the kind of personality and psyche that will EVOKE comfort and natural

Allow you to remove yourself from the equation as a mom or dad who is always popping out a camera, thus eliciting surprising, natural and spontaneous expressions.

Know about dynamic composition

Know about SEEING THE LIGHT and make use of it

Make you look as good as you think you look or better without looking like a plastic rendition of yourself. That “disease” is spreading like wildfire.

Have a great relationship with their lab to insure the highest quality archival print.

Staying up with the times doesn’t mean eliminating values from the past. Of course you want your photographer to stay current on trends and technology, but what is most important is their VISION and skill as an ARTIST.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Win Adobe Lightroom 3! Photographing Children!

I'm jumping for joy! Adobe has generously contributed TWO editions of Adobe Lightroom 3 as well as two Adobe books on Lightroom. The contest is on our Facebook Page, and you can enter until October 15th.
The subject of the contest is CH 7: Evoking Expression and Emotion. All photographs should show evidence of knowing about seeing light and great compositions as well.

There are actually two contests on the FB Photographing Children Page. One is judged by my judges, and one by PEOPLE'S CHOICE, which will be determined by the number of "likes." There will be TWO first prizes. ONE ENTRY PER person, please. Your photograph will be considered for both contests.

Thank you Adobe! I am thrilled to offer such a fantastic prize for my readers. The last chapter in my new book addresses creative post-production in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photoshop Elements. How perfect is this prize! Now you can attempt some of the lessons in the book.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dazzling Talent Photographing Children

Mom and children's photographer, Mary Schannen of Melange Photography, generously contributed her images to my book, Photographing Children Photoworkshop, Second Edition. She has always been an artist (mixed media), but when her children arrived on the scene, she couldn't resist applying those skills to her photography.

"As I have taken this journey of motherhood, I have found photography to be a natural extension of what I was already doing as an artist. The color and texture that I have always put onto canvas are now expressed through the use of light and form in the photograph. All elements of the photograph come together to tell a story about the child - the light touching their face, the sweetness of their expression, the joy in their eyes."

Mary really SEES the light and incorporates it into her work, fully taking advantage of its sculpting effect. This is a skill which takes a good and studied eye. You can see an example of this below. A rare talent, indeed!

In the bonus chapter of the new edition, Mary, among other photographers, showed her process with creative post-production using actions and presets. You can see below how her background in painting contributes to her eye for color and energy.

Mary and I became Facebook friends when she joined our group after the publication of the first edition of the book in 2008. She was an avid participant and dedicated to making her work shine. It was very exciting and inspiring being a part of her journey, and I am honored to feature her beautiful images. Mary contributed not only her photographs and some of her processes, but she helped me gather other photographers and vendors. I'm really grateful for her enthusiasm, spirit and support. Thank you, Mary!

In light and love!


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Jenn Carver Blogs About Photographing Children (Revised)

The following is excerpted from photographer extraordinaire Jennifer Carver's blog today. All of the photographs shown in this post are hers as well!
Today brought such an exciting surprise to my front door. My first copy of Ginny Felch’s new book Photographing Children, in which a few of my images were published! First of all, before I go any further, I must say that before I was even approached to participate in providing photographs for some of the sections in her new book, I was well familiar with the book “Photographing Children."

I remember a few years back when I finally made the decision to start my own business and start this new adventure behind the camera, I had purchased her first book. I had gained so much clarity, so much inspiration and direction.. Its been sitting on my desk ever since, and there are many days when I still go back to it as I evolve as a photographer.

What's wonderful about this book is that it has something for everyone, and is current with many of the trends going on in photography. It's not only great for the pro photographer, but is also great for the parent trying desperately to capture all those tiny precious moments of their children. It is such a great read and I have no doubt that this book will make the best sellers' list just as the other one did.

In addition, when Ginny contacted me, not only was I flattered and humbled that she choose a few of my images for the book, but when I heard who some of the other artists were.. words cant explain, how excited and honored I was. To be included with some of the greats such as Mary Schannen from Melange Photo, who continually makes my jaw drop everytime she posts a photo! Shana Rae from Florabella Collection: I could not live without her incredible action and textures sets, not to mention her beautiful photography. There are also some new artists that I was not as familiar with such as Melanie Johnson and Valeria Spring as well as so many others!

Ginny, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this and for all the encouragement you have given me personally and through this wondeful book.. Congratulations!

Here are a few images of mine that were chosen to be a part of this incredible project! Thank you to my sweet little clients without whom this would not be possible.

Please click HERE to see Jenn's blog.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

See the light! Crop with intention!

Photographing Children doesn't have to be as difficult as one might think. You can literally capture a beautiful portrait very simply if you learn some things about seeing gorgeous light and cropping purposefully. I love the expression: "Simplicity is elegance." Sometimes we are fooled into thinking that one can just snap away and fix or embellish a mediocre photograph in post-production. My philosophy is that you will be much better off photographing in beautiful, contrast-free light, learn a few simple cropping principles, THEN shoot away.

If you learn about really good natural light, you can forget about using a flash! Flash comes in handy when all else fails or you have NO choice about when or where you are photographing. Unless you really know what you are doing with the flash, you are likely to have that "deer in the headlights" look, and your images certainly won't have the dimension that natural light can provide.

In this photograph, I waited until twilight, just after the sun was setting. The light was pink, the tide was low, and the reflection was an important part of the composition. Within this framework, the boy was free to roam in the wet sand. I walked about him as I sought the best and simplest background, so that he would be delivered to the eyes of the viewer. Of course we made sure that he was dressed in complementary colors, so that his skin tones would stand out.

This photograph was made using automatic settings on the camera! You can only imagine how much freedom that gives the photographer to be spontaneous!

In love and light,


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Photographing Children Photoworkshop: Only a Few Weeks!

I spoke with my editor at Wiley today...good news is that the book will be in my hands before the end of the month, and on bookshelves in very early August! This is like the anticipation of childbirth! Ok, well maybe not THAT exciting, but it will be so much fun to see the final product for the first time!

In the meantime, I am entertaining myself by looking at some of the gorgeous photographs that were provided by very talented moms all over the world. (a few dads, too!) Today's feature is a favorite of mine created by Wendi Hiller. It is the chapter introduction photograph for Chapter 7: Evoking Expression and Emotion. I had to crop it a bit to fit it into the square format for the book, but the expression holds through so beautifully. This photograph makes me smile every time I see it.

Thank you, Wendi, for your generosity and willingness to help me create a book that I am proud of!

More to come! Oh! Please "like" the new page for Photographing Children Workshop on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook link to the right! This reminds me of seventh grade...please like me!

In light and love,


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Revised Edition Photographing Children Photoworkshop

Only about a month now until the revised edition of Photographing Children Photoworkshop will be released, and I'm so excited. The majority of photographs have been updated with gorgeous images by incredible children's photographers from around the world. The necessary technical updates were made as well.

Still THE PRIMER for photographing children, the book offers inspiration that I have garnered from MANY (let's leave it at that!) years photographing children and teaching amateurs and professionals. You will learn new ways of seeing light and composition that will enhance your photography forever. I promise! The new book has a bonus chapter on creative post-production using layers and textures. This book is your diving board into a pool of lifetime passion for children's photography.

Many people who want to get started immediately or who wish to give the book as a shower gift have asked me if they should wait to order the new book. The first edition will never be outdated, and has been #1 on Amazon in its category for three years.

Other books have been written before and since, which reveal new trends in photography, or that feature one particular style or another. The Photographing Children Workshop books cover a huge range of styles and encourage finding your own, but teach the BASICS in a very friendly and un-intimidating manner.

If you pre-order the book by clicking on my Amazon Link to the right, the proceeds will be donated to The Compassionate Friends. How happy that would make me!

Keep posted for more exciting news and updates.

In love and light,


PS Don't forget to "like" our new Facebook Page and join in on the conversation!