A Father-daughter Wedding Shoot for Ben & Erika Olson

After three decades of shooting weddings, there's no greater honor than being able to put that experience to use for already-existing clients.

 Father-daughter moment by a father-daughter team

Father-daughter moment by a father-daughter team

1 - they already know that I could run circles around those still putzing around with settings.

2 - I don't have to sell myself, we've already established trust and understanding

3 - I get to expose my Instagram-artist daughters to a different form of photography

The kind that transcends today's social posting tools. The type of heirloom images that people risk flood and fire to protect from loss.

Add to that, this particular wedding was one for the daughter of my Pendleton High School classmate Duane Purcell. We connected via social media after decades of stories untold.

 Playing Papa-razzi on Gretchen's first pro gig.

Playing Papa-razzi on Gretchen's first pro gig.

To serve his daughter Erika and now-husband Ben, with the assistance of my youngest daughter Gretchen, added another layer of fun for me.

Gretchen is an Instagram Artist with her phone, but getting her hands on that 70-210mm lens to explore the world of F2.8 was fun for me to watch. Nervous as she was, I had too much confidence in her composition skills to sweat it. (after managing setting for her until those training wheels come off)

It was pretty cool to share this dad and daughter experience, with a dad and daughter that I've grown fond of.

Duane, thank you for adding my name to her options.

 Sneaky Gretch capturing rare siting of Dad-squach in an Oregon City forest...

Sneaky Gretch capturing rare siting of Dad-squach in an Oregon City forest...

Erika, thank you for trusting that your dad wasn't sending you to some old fart that might superimpose your faces in a wine glass. (HA) I did actually shoot in those high-tech film days, but didn't like them even then!

On behalf of this father-daugher duo, I hope that you both/all enjoy YEARS of revisiting this montage.

Lake Oswego Weddings...

Let's face it, we photographers are a dime-a-dozen, right?..

Some are hobbyists, grabbing a few bucks when our "real work" doesn't fulfill us - or working 20 hours a day to do both.

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When you take the proverbial leap, you have to shoot pretty much EVERYTHING in order to sustain yourself. Been there, done that!. Too busy editing seniors to want to shoot a weekend wedding, or too busy editing weddings during the week, to want to even think about portraits.

How I ever survived doing both for twenty-plus years is beyond me. Three parts passion, one part psychotic?..

When I hung the shingle in '96, I had already been shooting weddings as my escape-plan to retail. I chose to focus on HS Seniors, since that could be my 5-10 year plan for future brides. I did this for several years, and thank GOD I cut out the processed food addiction and regulated my scotch intake. Why?..

Because 90% of my weddings are the fruit of my HS Senior days, and the better portion of them were Lake Oswego grads that remembered I looked like Doogie Howser MD back then. (though I wasn't the teen that Doogie was)

I could not be more grateful that I stopped advertising for weddings a few years ago, since it has allowed me to be available to my returning clients. Not only have I never lost the love for shooting them, but my 20 year old daughter Maddie assisted me on one of those LO Brides (See Bruce & Lexi Movie), and my 15 year old just assisted me shooting one for one of my classmates' daughter. (movie nearly done, will edit post to share Erika & Ben Olson later)

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This Friday's wedding will be one of my former Southridge High girls, who will be styled by one of my former Wilsonville seniors-turned-bride-turned-MY-monthly stylist - Sarah Adams. (Jamie & Robert - who's vid. I'll add down the line as well.

Thank you Portland Metro, and especially to you LO peeps that seem to dominate the pack. I LOVE DOING WEDDINGS, despite the name of this blog post... (featuring a Disney wedding photo by, of course, one of my Lakeridge seniors-turned-bride-turned mom...)

I "have" to shoot a wedding!..

WARNING: It’s not a quick read, but intended to be worth every minute, that might save you future legal or counseling fees. : ^)

In a hurry? Skip down to the bullet-points about “nice camera” vs. “photographer”.

I've NEVER said that before. In my 30 years of shooting them (counting the ones prior to my 21 years as Prints Charming). Instead, you'd hear me say that I GET to shoot a wedding".

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to serve my client, she's no "bride-zilla", though I've only chat with her by phone. It's just that I shouldn't have to shoot this wedding.

They've already done the planning, prep, vow-swapping and other exciting stuff, but they have no pictures. Sure a few phone photos here and there, but have you ever tried to print them?

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The issue is, that yet-another person with a "nice camera", discovered that the camera doesn't take great pictures. It's up to the photographer.

I find no joy in sharing this, quite the contrary, I'm seeking solutions.

I've never publicly shared any of these similar stories, where I was hired to recreate what should have been. But in this case, it happened to a dear friend. It sort of hit home with me, since it's also what drove ME to pursue this craft as career.

Just like my upcoming client, the "photographer" thought that they were just fine. While I was no expert at the time, I knew the difference between Shinola (shoe polish) and it's opposite, when stepped in...

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So, if you were me, and didn't want to attach your name to the doom-and-gloom potential of letting your "friend with a camera", become unfriended in more ways than one - How would you educate your friends getting married?

If you searched online for "Top questions to ask your wedding photographer", you'll likely find countless "Top 5/7/12..." blogs galore. (so I'll spare you). The #1 question that I'd park on any of those lists (next to having back-up gear) would be "Is your 'photographer' shooting RAW?"

I shot jpg likely longer than anyone I knew in the industry, but it's because of my film/chrome training. Chrome had ZERO latitude-of-forgiveness, meaning you had to know what the capture surface (now sensors) was receiving, even when you couldn't see it on the other side of file processing.

‘Friends-with-nice-cameras’ MUST SHOOT RAW when providing a professional service.
— Brian Geraths

I've had the unfortunate assignment of "finishing" weddings for couple who received image files that would be embarrassing for me to hand over. I saw the potential in the image, but they were jpg files, with no RAW files available. In fact, in '08, I even started a sideline domain "YourPrintLab.com" to fix these as a service. Sadly, there was enough to earn a living off of, but I'd rather create than repair, so I dropped it to focus more on shooting my way out of a bad economy.

Fixing exposure (beyond a 1 F/Stop variance), blasted highlights (ESPECIALLY on a bride's dress - YIKES!), void-of-detail shadows (where the color of eyes are often hiding). OY!!!

I'm not trying to impress or intimidate you with my knowledge, really - I hate even exercising my left brain when talking about ART, but to impress upon you or your "to-be-married" friends, that "Friends-with-nice-cameras" MUST SHOOT RAW when providing a professional service.

Processing image-files is a HUGE left-brain learning curve, but it is your only hope of fixing those "great shots", hidden in the dark ashes of under-exposure. The preview on the back of the camera may look "good enough" until the file is opened on a computer, and the couple wants something larger than your cool new 4" screen.

The info is out there, yet this still happens more often than I want to share.

I stopped reading those blogs, the day I saw that a photographer should be 10% of your overall budget. That number was established when the whole DIY craze of the mid 2000's led us to believe that "cameras know what to do". THEY DON'T!!!

An "average" food budget is $30 per plate x the average 140 guests. That $4200 will literally be flushed down the toilet before bedtime, yet the images of you experiencing your day with them will last forever.

Forgive my bold confidence, but I can take better photos on my iPhone, than most people could with my Pro DSLR on Program.

Why?..

• Because I can manually ("M") manipulate, the automated functions of a phone.

• Because the camera doesn't make you smile.

• The camera doesn't know where to emphasize for highlights or shadows.

• The camera doesn't know composition

• The camera doesn't know hard shadows from soft gradients.

• The camera doesn't know that you want the beautiful scenery to show up AS WELL as your beautiful couple in the foreground.

• The camera doesn't know that a fill flash will be needed to put COLOR in the eye sockets of your groups.

• The camera doesn't CARE if you fancy yourself a "natural light photographer" who doesn't need to buy three sets of lights (backups for more than just cameras) and the batteries to go with them.

• The camera doesn't know what is about to happen - saying "shoot now - then run over there and get THAT perspective..."

• The camera may not know all of this, but the professional knows that when the bride sees her photos for the first time, her/his tears should be those of JOY!  If they cannot see, feel and experience their wedding through your capture - the job is not done!

Again, I am grateful to help right a wrong for my friend of a friend, but I shouldn't have to do it. And if it were me, I would have bent over backward to make it right. Not telling them "good enough" and on-to-the-next!..

I would do everything I could to see that they wouldn't have to hire another photographer to fix what I should've done. This I can assure you, because 20+ years ago - I messed up! YES, I could blame it on renting gear that I was unfamiliar with, or the fact that I was preoccupied with it being my second daughter's "DUE DATE" (pager on hip, scaring the bujeezes out of me) c'mon, you've never heard of a pager? HA - Yes, I'm proud to say I'm that old, because with it - EXPERIENCE!!!

The "rolls of film" with formals were botched, and we had no way of knowing until the next week. My insurance company encouraged me to just give her the money back. I demanded (and won) in getting them to buy the flowers, venue, rentals and every other element in those formals, so that I could give her what she came for.

HUMILIATION BE GONE!!!

The day I delivered them to her, she confessed that it was like Divine order. She was COMPLETELY uncomfortable in every single shot on the original date, because of an uninvited family member essentially removed her (psychologically) from that moment I was unknowingly not capturing.

 Trust me, buy this (or other cool shirts linked below) for your REAL photographer friends, (that earn their living creating images) and they'll LOVE you for it!  https://www.spreadshirt.com/the+camera+gifts

Trust me, buy this (or other cool shirts linked below) for your REAL photographer friends, (that earn their living creating images) and they'll LOVE you for it!

https://www.spreadshirt.com/the+camera+gifts

Looking back, that all seemed like Divine order for her, but for me?.. I would not sleep until I know that I delivered what my client came to me for. That is the difference between a professional and an industry-undermining hobbyist that is afraid of the M on their camera!

[Ranting photographer drops mic]

Please, for the love of your friends, help them to know the inherent risks of not hiring a seasoned professional, with back-up gear, indemnity insurance, great timing for the candid and a personality that can raise the levity before every posed click.

While I may not be that for everyone (we're all different, and I'm not attached to being the right fit for all) I do bring a great deal of assurances that prevent this from happening.

Be bold, confront your marrying friends, and assure them that the right photographer will save them a great deal of grief, and in some cases, talk the bride off of the proverbial ledge when everything doesn't go 100% to her plan. (been there, done that, and I felt honored to be their source of levity -  no extra fee for counseling on-the-fly : ^)

It doesn't have to be me, but line them up with a seasoned, reputable photographer that LOVES to shoot weddings - so that they never "have to" hire me later.

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All that said - I'm excited to turn this experience around tomorrow, and expect that she's going to feel like she was love-bombed by a Canon-ball (ha - groaner, but yes, I shoot Canon)

Cheap is expensive, when you have to pay twice. Choose wisely, and feel free to share your saga, as long as it's professional and does not mention your vendors name on my site. I will remove anything that will make me look unprofessional.

The Ebbs & Flows of an Evolving Industry

To say that photography has been transformed over the past two decades is a wild understatement.

Remember "Kodak Moments"? 126 Film Cameras? 110? Disc?..  Yes, I've got at least one each in my camera collection, including the evolving Brownies.

Despite the constant re-purposing of various film cameras, it has been these last 20 years that truly define CHANGE! And for the past 20 years, I've had a sign hanging outside of my office saying that I feed my kids from my craft. (often times, ramen noodles and fingernails, but I'm grateful that I didn't give up)

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Here's a brief overview of this WILD roller-coaster ride called professional photography. By this, I mean that I earn my living at it - business license, liability insurance, back-up gear, peers to back me up, studio lights, location lights, and no Uber stickers on my car (not that there's anything wrong with that until you can make the full leap!)

Ten years ago, it appeared that the D.I.Y. wave was going to kill the craft of portraiture as a viable living. We shifted from high-end, medium format film cameras (something few amateurs would invest in), to mid-range DSLR's that seemed "good enough" and etched away at a market that once supported hundreds of full-time professionals.

Add to that, a radical drop in wallet-size portrait sales (our senior girls used to average 96 wallets each) gave way to the instant gratification of "Likes" on social media pages.

Last year, shortly after moving the studio closer to two major roadways (Interstate 5 and Hwy. 217), it was practically on queue that this market came back to life. PHEW!

It appears that the days of "good enough" for yearbook photos is being edged out once again. The words "Professional quality" are showing up in yearbook specs, and voila!, I get to roll around on the ground again to do what I love to do - see things differently, and justify the investment of hiring a (okay - THIS) professional.

Unfinished images, no retouching, lost, late and all the other unfortunate occurrences that have driven many back to people like me. To this, I say, THANK YOU! Not just because I get to feed my family with it - but because you will now have a visual history of your own family.

I found no satisfaction in hearing about botched weddings, faulty gear (with no back-up equipment or liability insurance) or tweens that have never had a professional portrait prior to seeing us. 

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Now that seeking professionals is on-the-rise, I am even more grateful that I landed in the middle of a thriving tri-county pinwheel. Our newest location is right where Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties merge, putting us in reach of numerous neighborhoods and high schools. 

This year alone, we've seen seniors, kids and families from Lake Oswego, Tigard, Beaverton, Sherwood, Newberg, Gresham, Vancouver, Tualatin, Wilsonville, Canby and seniors from 14 different high schools! We are not quite as busy as those first 10 years, but with the convenience of our expanded reach, one referral from each of you - and it'll be time to hire again!

It's that time again, and not too late to meet most yearbook deadlines with an image that you WON'T regret showing up on your 20-year class reunion name badge! Give us a ring!

Happy 20th Birthday Prints Charming Photography!..

 A 23 year-old geeky photographer and my portrait mentor Louis M. Ver Baere. circ. 1988

A 23 year-old geeky photographer and my portrait mentor Louis M. Ver Baere. circ. 1988

As much as I'd love to say that it was my 20th, I can at least celebrate vicariously through the youth of my business!
 
Perhaps it's the sense of renewal from taking this leap 20 years ago, but seriously, these eyes are great for another 30 years.
 
We're celebrating this anniversary with a purge of our archives. (Ten years of the 20)
 
I'm in optimal health, but space is getting a tad tight.
 
My creativity has not only been reignited, but after seeing 70% of our 2015 business to be commercial, I knew it was time for a more business-like name for my growing B2B clientele.

 My first commercial studio location - grand opening flyer. RIP James Allen - you were my hero at 5yrs AND at 38 years!

My first commercial studio location - grand opening flyer. RIP James Allen - you were my hero at 5yrs AND at 38 years!

Though commercial photography was the primary service I had orginally intended, it took me 20 years to finally bust out in the form of PhotoMediaProductions.com.
 
Now only four mos. old, it has already gained recognition as a destination for quality Pitch Videos and commercial photography. My writing gets put to great use by drafting succinct scripts, storyboards and directions for my video editors.
 
Headshots continue to be our staple offering. Just read the online reviews, and you'll see that there are no "DMV was here" experiences. Instead I get to mastermind with my clients, coach them on styling, expression and share my LinkedIn knowledge with them on projecting the right image. (that's a subtle invitation to connect with me, if we haven't already)
 
Add to that, my prior career as a systems-junkie retail manager have been getting noticed as well. I'll be presenting at my third Chamber of Commerce presentation next week, and it has increased the traffic on my personal project and sharing site, Gratitudaholic.com. (because who can remember how to spell "BrianGeraths.com" right?)
 
Be sure to check out the class info, high school senior specials, and if you even suspect that someone you know is (or would like to be) one of our clients, be sure to forward this onto them.
 
 
THANK YOU for keeping me in my creative Genius zone for the past 20 years, and CHEERS to the next couple of decades. I absolutely THRIVE at creating money-generating images for you and your craft!

Clouds Literally Part for our Clients!..

Nobody would believe me, were it not for my thousands of client-witnesses since 1996. Much like the miraculous weather shift for the Lake Oswego Fire Department last year, High School Senior Jack Klein got to see for himself.

Raining all night, and early morning on December 30, 2015, I began to question my own faith in this long-running streak. Not a single water drop had to be edited out of his shirts, and the extra rain in the creek made for the perfect enhancement.

Thank you Jack for bringing the sun, and to prior client Lori Miller for the great referral.

Here are a few of his favorites.

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App Author an Apple Ally Also?.. (he says “Agnostic”)

What's a Mac-user-sort like me doing mingling with a guy who writes for Microsoft products?.. Well, it's a playful thing, and enough so, that I went to his book signing at the Microsoft Store in downtown Portland to get him to sign my book - MacBook Pro, that is...  

 Matt Katzer signing my book. (MacBook, that is)

Matt Katzer signing my book. (MacBook, that is)

Yes I really did, and being the good sport that his is, he even signed it. I've known him long enough to know he'd get the last word in on our playful jeer, and he did so by announcing - "I'm agnostic about computer preferences" to the crowd of mostly Windows users. "Brian is even mentioned in the acknowledgements of the book".

 The Mac-Microsoft rival hits a new level!..

The Mac-Microsoft rival hits a new level!..

The week prior, he publicly handed me a signed copy, highlighting his kudos for the photography I've provided him. Headshots, Book Cover for his other co-creation "Under Attack", and team photos for his thriving KAMIND IT business.

This is the very thing that I love about my work. I get to discover the real people behind the business. To get past tribal consciousness, titles or facades. To get to "that place" in a person where authenticity shines in the form of a genuine smile.

It's even more encouraging when it's a client thriving at what they most love to do. Matt is clearly passionate about his cloud-based tools, and Barbara could not be a greater support. (They even met while working for Intel!)

 "Mac users love Office CS... Office 365 Rocks!" Thank you Matt!

"Mac users love Office CS... Office 365 Rocks!" Thank you Matt!

On my return from Kenya in 2013, Barbara was nice enough to offer her former cooking school "In Good Taste" as venue for a fund-raising dinner that I put together with Grace Kuto for Chwele Kenya. Thanks to Matt and Barbara, we had an amazing dinner, complete with Mayor Kent Studebaker as our featured guest.

Thank you Matt and Barbara for your patronage, friendship and being a great example of leaning in to what you love!

Cyber Monday Injuries?

I've got a free gift for you on this so-called "Cyber Monday". It's a free photo and a chuckle, in case you're delete finger is as sore as mine!

Holy cow!.. When did we sign up for so many lists?.. Am I alone?

 •Actual BAND-AID not included. Limited to the one in the photo, but download it for FREE! HA!

•Actual BAND-AID not included. Limited to the one in the photo, but download it for FREE! HA!

Well, I've just declared this now "Make 'em Laugh Monday" in hope to ease your unsubscribing agony, as I gamble on you doing the same with mine. I hope that I at least got you to chuckle before you cut me off.

Happy MLM!

Brian

P.S. Since your here... (no offers, don't cringe) check out my newly launched site of my more personal, Purpose-driven works. (Scenic photography, Poetry, upcoming Book and Classes) http://www.Gratitudaholic.com

There is a separate opt-in box there if you want updates on new posts and project info.

Cheers!

B

Purpose, Honor and History

When I was 19, working closely under the wing of an AMAZING portrait artist named Lois M. VerBaere, I was taught the real value of my then-future profession. Lou had moved to Pendleton OR from Chicago IL, where he operated a portrait studio while teaching photography at a local college.

I went to him to critique my scenic work, lacking any desire to ever photograph people. Despite his differing opinion, I returned after work each day to learn a little (okay, a LOT) more that I could've ever anticipated.

Among those lessons, was to value the past even more than my clients. In so many words, he conveyed to me that his job was what I now call "Visual Historian"

"These people think they're just coming in for an annual check-up of sorts, but your job is to treat the experience like a piece of priceless history."

Remember, I'm 19, so my thought-bubble would've read something along the lines of, "Okay?.. whatever!" His era was over, he was old, what does he know. You know, the stuff a teen would never admit to thinking - all to later experience a profound epiphany. (a.k.a. Realization that he was wise and right!)

In the 80's, he sent me to his storage in the basement beneath his downtown Pendleton studio. "Go pull last year's negatives and bring them up for me". This was the first time I'd been in a basement this old. Besides the awe I felt, discovering a hole in the brick wall that would later become the "Pendleton Underground Tours", I also found his photo archives that were older than me.

After he ribbed me for taking so long, I asked "Why in the hell would you keep negatives of customers that are likely gone?" My bold assertion was mild compared to his heated response. "Your not in this for yourself. You probably won't even live long enough to discover the true value of your responsibility, so get over it. You just need to take care of that stuff that one day will mean something more."

 The Prints Charming Archives (1994 - NOW)

The Prints Charming Archives (1994 - NOW)

Not only did I learn to never bang that hornets nest again, but I was also there a few days later for his vindication. A mom called to say that her son had passed away, and they wanted to reorder some photos from 15 years prior to display at the memorial. With my tail between my legs, I retrieved the 1969 box with an apologetic "I get it." as I put it on his production table.

As if he's here in my studio with me, I carry that torch for my amazing mentor.  Knowing that what I create for my clients each day will outlast Facebook. That these people might one day put their lives at risk to rescue their family albums from fire or flood. That one day, they might call me to say... "Is there any chance you still have..." To know that my negatives date back to 1982, and Prints Charming negatives dating prior to actually opening in 1996, I feel honored to serve and preserve.

Hearing from my clients at the Lake Oswego Fire Department, that they hadn't done this in 30 years, I felt an instant value in my assignment. I also felt like HUGE Spiritual forces were at work on that June 1, 2015 after a notable storm overnight.

 As if my mentor story wasn't enough - I received this message (God as my witness) the day I moved my archives to the new studio, half wondering if I should stop storing after a decade. My answer - NO!..

As if my mentor story wasn't enough - I received this message (God as my witness) the day I moved my archives to the new studio, half wondering if I should stop storing after a decade. My answer - NO!..

Four of their stations had to be covered by a neighboring Tualatin Valley Fire Department, to assure that public safety was not at risk for a photo. Worry of rain was high to the unfaithful, and my assurance that "For 18 years, if you schedule me to shoot outside, it won't rain". I have over 50 witnesses, that the rain ceased just in time for the photo. (dark wet spots digitally removed from photo)

For the four firefighters that had to miss the initial photo, we rescheduled them to pose for the gaps we left. On THAT day, equal Forces were at work. Instead, it was sunny and bright which would foil my plan to match the lighting for an authentic digital installation.

As soon as I climbed up on the ladder truck (HOW COOL?..) did the sun get blocked by a timely cloud to allow me matching contrast. 

In the process, I learned that two of these fire-fighters were in their last group photo in the 70's. Shortly after I created this image, two or three retirements were announced. (none from the stress I caused by orchestrating this I hope).

In honor of my late, amazing mentor Lou, I stopped by to see the image at the station. To re-mind myself of the value of my work. While I'd prefer that it's appreciated during my life, it still gives me a little pang of joy to know that my creative work will outlive me. (and THANK YOU GOD for having my back on the weather!)

Happy Anniversary Cathy!.. In a Heartbeat...

I'd do it all again, that is. Today is the day that I sealed-the-deal with my Ultimate Partner - Cathy.

You may be in LA tonight, but after dating from 8000 miles away, (New Zealand) you're still HERE!

Thought I'd repost this entry, which was my very first BLOG entry (EVER) in 2009. "Happy Anniversary Cathy, got you on my, mi - hind..." (Can you hear Little River Band?)

My first blah blah blog...

 

Well what better way to start off this journal, than to share that "I GOT MARRIED!" Cathy Sheree Morland, left her native New Zealand, to take on the difficult task of accepting my last name of Geraths. (to those that care, we pronounce it Garretts).

Our dear friend Kary used to be a judge, and made herself available for the intimate/legal wedding to hold us over until October 10, 2009 (something a bit more ceremonial then). It will take me that long to find a photographer I am sure...

So, I have NO idea where blogging will fit into my day, but I'll give it a whirl until it begins to fill narcissistic... You have plenty more to be doing in life than to sit at a computer, but once in a while, I might just come up with a nugget of wisdom that will be impossible not to share.

Live full, die empty!

More later, but we're off to Vegas for a week of WPPI. Photographers, come see us at the http://www.morephotos.com booth, plugging this software that we LOVE to use!

Posted 13th February 2009 by Brian Geraths

Labels: Brian and Cathy Geraths Brian Geraths

The Sorry Side of a Selfie

Let's face it (pun not intended), since Oxford's inclusion of the word selfie in the dictionary, the definition has become a bit more pluralized than "photograph taken of oneself".

Every memorable place you go, couples and groups are staring up at the hand of the person on the end. (or a waiter that doesn't have time for my composition suggestions)

If you are the taker, this tip is for you. If you are a subject - THIS TIP IS ESPECIALLY FOR YOUR DIGNITY.

For sake of bad examples, I didn't have the heart to distort any friends, so I found a few examples to illustrate where you want to be in a Selfie-composed snapshot. PLEASE NOTE: My head is not REALLY 3x larger than the people with me - swallow your comments, and enjoy becoming the most normal looking person in your next "Groupie".

1 - Notice where your camera lens is located.

Notice all faces below are on different focal planes

 Notice table direction is in-line with post in background. Photo was shot about 35 degree angle - me on the Sorry Side of the Selfie, but fully aware. (Couldn't sit on table to camera-left)

Notice table direction is in-line with post in background. Photo was shot about 35 degree angle - me on the Sorry Side of the Selfie, but fully aware. (Couldn't sit on table to camera-left)

2 - Think Focal Plane - It Matters!..

  A  - where you look,  B  - Averaging by auto focus,  F  - what's in focus and  P - The focal Plane

A - where you look, B - Averaging by auto focus, F - what's in focus and P - The focal Plane

 Now look a little closer, considering head sizes. The lady with the amazing aura, while slight in build, makes me question what growth hormones were on my lunch plate.

Now look a little closer, considering head sizes. The lady with the amazing aura, while slight in build, makes me question what growth hormones were on my lunch plate.

3 - Pose everyone an equal distance from the camera (as possible)

 The handsome dude on the LEFT - Joe Dickey and the guy with the giant left hand on RIGHT (me), were only 12" closer to the camera than Mary Morrissey in the middle - yet look at the huge variance in head sizes. See next photo...

The handsome dude on the LEFT - Joe Dickey and the guy with the giant left hand on RIGHT (me), were only 12" closer to the camera than Mary Morrissey in the middle - yet look at the huge variance in head sizes. See next photo...

 Mary Morrissey may have 45,000 more Likes on her FB page than me, but I've got a bigger head! (Courtesy of poor camera plane consideration distortion)

Mary Morrissey may have 45,000 more Likes on her FB page than me, but I've got a bigger head! (Courtesy of poor camera plane consideration distortion)

"SmartPhone" not "SmartCamera" - Use Wisely...

 Notice the lens is in the bottom right corner, WAY off the ideal center point. The distortion has begun the instant you look at the screen, thinking you are centered with the group. The closer this device is to you, the more the distortion will show.

Notice the lens is in the bottom right corner, WAY off the ideal center point. The distortion has begun the instant you look at the screen, thinking you are centered with the group. The closer this device is to you, the more the distortion will show.

 Heads much closer to the same size, though the distance decreases the quality for a such a tiny little sensor - #noise #grainy #fuzzy #hireprofessionalswithnicehugesensors #shamelessbrian #seeofferbelow

Heads much closer to the same size, though the distance decreases the quality for a such a tiny little sensor - #noise #grainy #fuzzy #hireprofessionalswithnicehugesensors #shamelessbrian #seeofferbelow

Thinking for your camera, you can minimize distortion. Pose everyone as close to the same focal plane as possible.

The further you get from the camera, the less the distortion will occur, thus you are more likely to like your image (or it's taker).

If you really care about your image, hire a professional (shameless seed-planting - hey, I've got to eat too!), but for those moments when I just can't be there for you, I hope this tip will provide you some more memorable groupies!

Practice now, because were only a few blinks from those live holiday events.

 The Portland Team of Mary Morrissey's global - LifeSoulutions - Hiedi Simon & Cathy Geraths. Notice all of the men are behind them, yet heads have not shrunk?.. FOCAL PLANE - EVEN!..

The Portland Team of Mary Morrissey's global - LifeSoulutions - Hiedi Simon & Cathy Geraths. Notice all of the men are behind them, yet heads have not shrunk?.. FOCAL PLANE - EVEN!..

And for those moments that you can plan ahead for (or PRICELESS stocking stuffers) - we've got a deal for you!

Buy one $100 Gift Card, get a second one for free! 

• (no expiration on useage, but the Buy One Get One FREE Offer expires on 12/31/14)

• You may use TWO of them per session for a guaranteed savings, just by using them for yourself! (it's okay to gift to yourself - you deserve it!)

• Great way to save on gifts for staff, family, friends or to stash for future sessions with us.

• Gifts are 4x6 in size and delivered for free to the purchasing address. Ask us about shipping your gift directly if desired.


CLICK HERE to BUY NOW

PASSWORD = gift100



Psst... Your Head is on Backward!

 

I didn't want to embarrass any clients, so I will humble myself for sake of this explanation.

You get up in the morning, you look in the mirror to fix your hair, brush your teeth, floss, put on your make-up and perhaps to make sure that you lined up your buttons correctly.

As you lean into that reflected version of you, look again.

Your left eye is on the wrong side of your face! Really. You see your left on your left, and your right on your right.

Take a photograph of yourself, and then you see yourself as the world sees you.

Here is how you see me... (when hiding in a corner typing at Starbucks - less the cheesy smile)

 As you would see if you were across the table from me.

As you would see if you were across the table from me.


Here is how I see me...

 What I think you should be seeing based on how I gelled my hair in the mirror...

What I think you should be seeing based on how I gelled my hair in the mirror...

When I see this guy above in the mirror in the morning, Because we all do it, I'll point out an imperfection I'd see in my face. My nose (after years of pressing a camera against my left eye) pushes to the side.

Unconsciously, I look at this mug full of off-balanced features and identify it as me.

You, on the other hand, look at the image prior and have your own idea of what my normal is. So if I'm picking pictures of myself, I will ALWAYS yield to my wife's opinion because of perspective.

Try this for yourself:

• On a Good Hair Day, take a picture of yourself.

• Look at the photo on your phone/camara for the one that you like most.

• Now hold the photo up in the mirror. Chances are you will love it even more reflecting your perceived version of you.

And here is what a symmetric version of my face to help you appreciate your own non-symmetry.

 Two wrongs may not make a right, but two rights really do make a WRONG!!!

Two wrongs may not make a right, but two rights really do make a WRONG!!!

The next time you're debating over the best version of yourself during a photo presentation, just ask us to show you your morning face and we'll flip your head on right.

As my portrait mentor Lou always told me... "You're alright, it's the whole world that's wrong!.." Something he'd likely retract if he was alive to see my two-left-faces image above.

 BOGO Offer expires 12/31/14 - The Certificates do not!.. : >)

BOGO Offer expires 12/31/14 - The Certificates do not!.. : >)

Top 5 Reasons to Not Hire a Professional Photographer

I've finally comprised this verbal collage of my favorite, DSLR-era, reasons why some of us have not yet returned to a professional photographer. Just in case I don't scare you away, there's an offer to follow...

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Reason 5 - I have enough pictures of my kids.

We live in this generation of immediate gratification when it comes to seeing our photographs the instant they happen.

Pang, saw myself, on to the next. It used to be that the whole purpose was to preserve a moment, display it in a physical album for your kids to flip through, smiling at the old version of themselves.

Today: Click, post, forget... Guilty? You're not alone. We don't have time, we're over-stimulated and smart phones didn't come with file management instructions. (though I do have classes planned)

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4 - My clients don't care what I look like.

Ha!.. Guess again. Unless your clients are machines, that card you just handed them at networking will be tomorrows head-scratcher. "Is she the one I talked to about?.." "Dang, was this the guy who said he could?.."

Beyond forgetting the faceless business card,, we have just enough human in us to be judgemental. We absolutely DO judge books by their covers.  Ask any book publisher!

If you're photo looks like a selfie or an 80's church directory, guess what?.. (client nose wrinkles before recycling). We need to feel that we will connect with the person. If your cover (photo) is not authentic, telling or even up-to-date, at least make sure that it's on recyclable paper.

On my last batch of studio cards I removed my own photo. My thought... That seems egotistical, they want to see my work, not my image.

That was before I realized I wasn't the only photographer in the room. I found myself with 4 cards in my hand after a networking event. One of them I was very interested in working with. Two of them were of the same trade. Crap! Which one to call?.. If you think it's egotistical, get over it! My next batch of cards will have, even if small, my headshot to make sure that I AM THE PHOTOGRAPHER THEY MEANT TO CALL!

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3 - I own an iPhone.

EEK!.. I hear a chalkboard scratching somewhere.

Last week I photographed a senior that "got it".  He is a photography enthusiast who laughingly told me that a friend offered to do senior photos stating, "I have the new iPhone". Photographers reading this can now hear the same scraping of fingernails across a dry surface... Sorry, but had to!  

If you're looking for something that looks like the same five filters of Instagram, I've got unlimited variations pre-programmed in Lightroom. Want something unique!.. I'd love to help!

 2 - My camera has a timer for family portraits

Okay, I've done it. Technically - it was phenomenal. As for the content of expressions - I couldn't even find one to label with the dreaded term -"Good enough"

It sucked. Never again. 'Nuff Said. Have someone with a personality that can juggle the varying personalities of your family "push the button". A teen sneering impatiently at dad is NOT likley wall portrait material. Yes, it really is more than the camera that creates a portrait. If you don't agree, please unsubscribe from this newsletter. I don't like clutter, so don't let me add to yours.

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1 - I can buy a DSLR camera for less than your portrait package..

Okay, at least a cheap variation of what most professionals use. This misconception that "the camera does it" used to really grind on me. Not because I was desperately missing out on a sale, rather for historic values. We are taking WAY more photos, yet do nothing to get them into the hands of our future generations.

DIY (Do It Yourself) wedding sites of the early 2000's taught budget-brides how to gather up all of the guest photos and call it (artists plug your ears) - "good enough". My 1992 wedding photos were such a bad memory, that I decided I needed to do this for a living.

Like it or not, professional photographs play an important role in holding on to important memories. Monumental events don't happen every year. YES - Snap away often. Remember all the places you've been - wall-worthy or not. Whether you hire a professional or not - just remember to BACK THEM UP!.. Print them, share them with your family. Leave a legacy for the next few generations.

No desire to leave a visual history for your future family?
Not concerned about your clients remembering you?
Still believe that "the camera takes the picture"?..

...Seriously, I'm not your guy.
Why?.. Because I'm going to create something to prove all five of these notions as myths. As fair warning, I will badger you with questions if I need to know you better before we shoot. You will not walk out with everything I shoot. You will only leave with perfected versions of the ones you really want to say - "that's me!"

Just in case I didn't scare you away, I'm offering $100 just for making it this far... ($200 in portraits, for $100)

 

Buy one $100 Gift Card, get a second one for free! 

• (no expiration on useage, but the Buy One Get One FREE Offer expires on 12/31/14)

• You may use TWO of them per session for a guaranteed savings, just by using them for yourself! (it's okay to gift to yourself - you deserve it!)

• Great way to save on gifts for staff, family, friends or to stash for future sessions with us.

• Gifts are 4x6 in size and delivered for free to the purchasing address. Ask us about shipping your gift directly if desired.

 

CLICK HERE to BUY NOW

PASSWORD = gift100

 

 

BONUS OFFER - Brian's first-ever TBT

(throwback Thursday for you non-Tweeters or Facebook usuers)

 Here I am with my Portrait Guru, Artist Extraordinaire, Lois M. Ver Baere. The man that made me care about all things above. Circ 1989. He was 70, me, I was 12 (ish)...

Here I am with my Portrait Guru, Artist Extraordinaire, Lois M. Ver Baere. The man that made me care about all things above. Circ 1989. He was 70, me, I was 12 (ish)...

Ah... A little blast from the past! I've never done a "Throwback Thursday" photo, so I decided to bury my first at the end of a post where I try to scare people away from me... You may never see it, but I did it!

This reminded me that we used to actually remove those big hunks of glass before a session!

We had people stop by their eye doctor to borrow a duplicate pair of glass-free frames, or to have them remove the glass. Gotta love our Anti-Reflective coatings and Photoshop to make life easier in the modern photo studio!

 Now THIS is a great use for an iPhone. Pictures of pictures that only land on the web!

Now THIS is a great use for an iPhone. Pictures of pictures that only land on the web!