The Studio

Introducing my studio space…There is so much natural light I didn’t turn the lights on to photograph the space.  The images are straight out of camera,I didn’t edit them as I just wanted to share the space with you.

 

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My dog, Daisy, goes to the studio with me every day.

 

 

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The stairway to my second floor space.

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The entrance is to the right.


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How to Choose a Photographer

Digital photography has opened the door for many people to purchase a camera and call themselves a photographer.  Some are enthusiasts or hobbyists,  others amateurs making their way to become professionals, and others, true professionals.  The question is which photographer is best for you and your needs?  In this post I will outline some specific information you should evaluate before hiring a photographer to; do a family portrait session, take head shots, work with your children, or photograph your special event.  Photographs can last a life-time if taken and printed properly so you want to be happy with your choice of photographer and their work.  If you are unhappy with the final product, you will have wasted both time and money.

To begin your search for a photographer, collect names of photographers from friends and family members.  Friends and family members can often direct you to photographers that they have worked with and have been satisfied with.  If you can see the photographic work done for your friends and family, even better.  From there, you need to be the judge of who will work best for your family and help you achieve your goals of hiring a photographer.

Once you have a collection of names, visit the websites of all photographers recommended to you.  You will know at first glance if the photographer has attention to detail and has a style that you favor and that will work for your needs/desires from the photo session.   When reviewing websites, here are a few things to keep your eye out for:

  • Style –
    • Does the photographer’s style fit your style?
    • Does the photographer use props, if so, do you like them?
    • Does the photographer take only posed shots or does the photographer also do candid or action type shots that really show family life?
  • Quality of images –
    • Is the work over exposed (too bright or flat or lacking detail)?
    • Is the work underexposed (too dark or dull)?
    • Is the work noisy/grainy (not smooth or with distracting lines or dots on the images)?
    • Has the photographer taken good care to use light in his/her images?
    • Do you see catch-lights in the eyes of the subjects?
    • Do the images look too blue or too yellow?
    • Does the photographer have a diversified portfolio?
  • Creativity –
    • Do all of the poses look the same?
    • Are there unique and fresh ideas on the website that you maybe didn’t see on other sites?
    • Can you see the photographer’s love of their art in their work?
  • Location –
    • Does the photographer have a studio?
    • Does the photographer do on-location shoots?
  • Website –
    • Is the photographer’s website easy to navigate?
    • Does the photographer offer details about their photography sessions:
      • Pricing
      • What to wear
      • Contract
    • Is the photographer connected to social media?
    • Does the website load quickly?
    • Does the website work on your mobile device? – This is important for sharing your proofs with your family and friends.
  • Pet friendly –
    • Your pets are part of your family too.  Does the photographer allow you to bring your pets to their studio or on-location?

Once you have reviewed the websites, you need to narrow your selection down to a reasonable number of photographers to contact.  Most photographers will have a contact page on their website.  It is fine to email the photographer, but I encourage you to take the extra time to telephone them directly.  Calling them will give you additional insight as to whether or not the photographer is someone you want to work with.  Here are things to consider when speaking to the photographer you are considering:

  • Is the photographer friendly?
  • Is the photographer warm and welcoming?
  • Is the photographer flexible with scheduling around your schedule?
  • Does the photographer ask you questions that demonstrate he/she is interested in what you are looking for?
  • Does the photographer seem organized and together?
  • Does the photographer seem eager to work with you and please you?
  • Is the photographer open to working with your pet as part of your family?
  • Does the photographer print holiday cards or business cards, depending on the purpose of your photo session?
  • What is the turn around time for orders?  Will you have the prints in time to give them as gifts?
  • Does the photographer offer pre-shoot interview sessions to determine your desires, or to evaluate the setting of the event?
  • How much time should you allow for the photo session?  Hint: a family session should take approximately an hour and a newborn session should be between 2 and 4 fours.
  • Pricing, if not included on the website.
  • What is included in the sitting fee – prints, digital images?  See the information on pricing below for additional considerations.
  • Is the work of the photographer during the session under warranty?

Now that you know the photographers’ personalities, their skills, and their style you are ready to take the last step in finalizing your decision.  The last consideration is going to be pricing.  If you are working on a budget, and who isn’t these days, price must be a consideration.  Below are a few considerations on pricing:

  • How does the price compare to the other photographers you have evaluated:  Much higher?  Much lower?
    • Throw caution to the wind before hiring someone who is under priced compared to other photographers.  If the price is too low, question whether or not they are putting time into post-processing and the details needed to provide quality print orders.  Photographers’ time is valuable.  They don’t make a lot per hour when you factor in the time for sessions, post-processing, order placement, and delivery/pick-up.  If they are under priced question how much they value their expertise, their time and their work.  If the sitting fee is very low, the photographer may be making up the difference on the price of prints or digital images.   See the full picture before hiring someone.
  • If the price is much higher than others don’t be afraid to ask why.  If prints or digital images are included, then maybe that raises the price.  If not,  you want to be sure that you are paying for expertise, not pride.
  • Are there hidden costs?
    • Travel time
    • Mileage
    • Are prints included in the price of the session
    • Are there additional fees for digital images
    • Blemish removal

You have now done your homework and should be able to make a sound decision that you will be happy with for years to come.  Enjoy your photographs!

 

copyright Robyn Graham

All material presented within this page is the work and opinion of Robyn Graham and is under copyright.

 

 

Family of Five

Family of Five

Capturing a Family Portrait with an Active Little Guy

Capturing a Family Portrait with an Active Little Guy

Head Shot - Backlighting

Head Shot – Backlighting

Glamour/Conservative Boudoir

Glamour/Conservative Boudoir

Professional Head Shot

Professional Head Shot

Maternity

Maternity

 

To see more of my featured photographs visit the galleries on my website.

Stairs of Concepts

Stairs of Concepts

Stairs of Concepts

“Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.” – Samuel Johnson

A Strip of Film

A Strip of Film

SS 1/60, f3.0, ISO 1600

“Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music”

– Frank Capra

Colorful Oil and Water

I have recently seen several blog posts that inspired me to play around with oil, water, light and color.  So, a few days ago, that is just what I did.  Below you will find the outcomes of my artistic experiment.  But first, I want to acknowledge the women who inspired me to attempt this moment of creative play.

Rachel Cohen at RCNaturephotos

Beverly Everson at Beverly Everson Photography

Edith Levy at Edith Levy Photography

The links are posted in the order in which I saw the photographs of inspiration.

My creations using oil, water, color and light:

Pastel Oil in Water (Antique Buttons, Oil, Water, and Light)

Pastel Oil in Water
(Antique Buttons, Oil, Water, and Light)

Unity (Rose Petals, Oil, Water, and Light)

Unity
(Rose Petals, Oil, Water, and Light)

Unity II (Rose Petals, Oil, Water, and Light)

Unity II
(Rose Petals, Oil, Water, and Light)

Drama (Antique Marbles, Oil, Water, and Light)

Drama
(Antique Marbles, Oil, Water, and Light)

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not very patient.  Impatience is certainly a fault I am trying to overcome and this was a great exercise for that.  When I tell you I spent quite a bit of time trying to create a unique piece of art I am not exaggerating.  It looked like a bomb went off in my work area.  Oil, dishes of water, a vase of flowers, jars of marbles and buttons, towels, etc., etc. all over the place.  But, it was fun!

The other brilliant photographers that I introduced above may have additional advice for this type of project, but here are a few things I learned:

  • Need a small glass dish without a logo on the bottom
  • Need a slightly larger dish to place the subject in just under the dish of oil and water
  • Need just a little bit of water
  • Need just a bit of oil
  • Oil will settle into a big circle so you need something to break the large bubble apart and/or shape it – I used a rose stem
  • When breaking up larger bubbles, little bubbles form and you must be patient for them to dissolve or merge into a larger bubble of oil
  • Textured items do not work as well
  • Use a shallow depth of field
  • Have great light
  • Equipment I used: Nikon D800, Nikon 60mm 2.8 macro

I can’t wait to hear which image is your favorite.  They are all unique because of the subjects under the oil and water….of course I had to use a flower! 😉

Pressure is On

 

It is dark in the world at times

Life drags and there are no rhymes

Isn’t this my prime?

Tests,

Stress,

Pressure is on.

I struggle through on days

Where it seems all are angry

And Gray.

Rules,

School,

Pressure is on.

People argue

Someone’s to blame

Life can seem so lame.

Practice,

Games,

Pressure is on.

Someone smiles

From across the hall

I no longer feel like crawling up in a ball.

Eyes

Bright

Take pressures away.

An “A”

I am on my way

To success for another day.

Smiles

High fives

Take pressures away.

I no longer feel life is taking a dive.

I see the light

I am going to thrive.

Parents

Love

Take pressures away.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Sends me beams of hope

Life is not a funnel*.

Colors

Hope

Take pressures away.

I’m not spiraling down

I am pushing through

Without a frown.

Excitement

Joy

Take pressures away.

I jump

Life gives way

I begin to enjoy the day.

Faith

Peace

Take pressures away.

I jump,

Again,

I’m over the hump,

I smile,

Awhile.

Copyright Robyn Graham

 *funnel: a smokestack, esp. of a steamship. – Random House Dictionary

Pressure is ON

Pressure is On – A Silhouette

Jump in Silhouette

Jump I  – A Silhouette – Take Pressures Away

Jump in Silhouette II

Jump II – A Silhouette – I Smile Awhile

Golden Peace

A wave of grace

Washes over the soul

As the golden glow

Of the sun recedes

Beyond the horizon.

A wave of golden warmth

Moves the heart

And stirs the emotions

Of then and now,

Of loves lost and gained,

For people who’ve come and gone

With the ebb and flow

Of the waves of life

Flowing near and far

Tempting the soul to grasp

The glory of the golden peace

That often lies beyond our reach.

Until, at last,

We concede to accept

The love and peace

Offered by –

The divine.

copyright Robyn Graham

Golden Peace

Golden Peace

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Best Medicine

The Best Medicine

Medicinal

Excellence

Delivered

In

Capsules and tablets

Incorporating

Nature with Science to

Earn high regards in healing

An Acrostic Poem

copyright Robyn Graham

Best Medicine

Best Medicine

This post was inspired by The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: The Best Medicine.

Keep Your Promise

I see thee

The sun at your back

Water droplets rest

Untouched upon you

Like a kiss so gentle

On a lover’s lips.

 

 

Keep  Your Promise

Your petals so fine

Blow delicately in the breeze

Yet you hang on

With a grasp quite tight

As a flower does

To keep

The promise

Of everlasting beauty.

 

copyright Robyn Graham

In the language of flowers the plum blossom means to keep your promise.  Although the blossoms are short-lived, the beauty of the flower is everlasting in the eye of the one who was blessed to see and smell it.

A Door Closed is Another Door Open…

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Look without Regret

Look Without Regret

 

“God enters by a private door into every individual.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Knock and the Door will Be Opened

Knock and the Door will Be Opened

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8