Monday, September 30, 2013

What to expect at a photo session with me.

(or why I'm not charging $50 a session).

The chatter among photographers often turns to conversations on how to know what to charge for our work. The photography market is very competitive, but I choose not to compete with other photographers based on price. I believe that my pricing reflects the value of working with me.

I first "hung my shingle out" aka entered the world of paid photography about 8 years ago, specializing in youth athletics. My heart is still with sport photography but I also offer (and love doing) family portraiture. I have a full time job that I love as well, so I'm not relying on photography to feed my family and pay all of my bills. BUT I know that others do, and I know the costs associated with running a small business, and I know the value of my time. And that's why I'm not charging $50 a session.

I came across an advert for a local (my neighborhood) photographer that is charging $50 a session. Your $50 will get you a half hour of her time to shoot, and all of the edited images. In my world that half hour translates into a minimum of 3 hours of my time

Your family portrait session will include:
  • communicating with you before the shoot so I know what you want, and can help you know what to expect; 
  • travel to the location (if you don't come to my garden studio), 
  • post processing the images because that is a critical part of what I offer, 
  • creating an on line gallery for you to proof the images, 
  • reviewing the images with you to agree on final picks and making sure everything is print ready and to your satisfaction. 
  • creating and delivering any specialty products that you choose.

Before the shoot I'll scout the right location to make sure it will be suitable for our needs. Just last week I found that the fall colors at one park weren't really started and there was a lot of snow fencing around washed out areas of the creek. Because I checked before hand I was able to contact my client and suggest an alternate location, and we got the photos we intended to get.

During the shoot, 
  • I'll work at getting the posing right, including figuring out what to do with your hands and feet, what angles to use, and how to arrange your family so that you will end up with a photo you want to print and hang on your wall. I'm not just going to plunk you all in front of a pretty bunch of colorful fall leaves, and fill the frame with people. 

  • I'll interact with you and your family in a fun and friendly way so we get the best expressions we can. I'll take responsibility for getting the kids to smile and sit pretty, so that hopefully you can relax and look your best.

  • I'll compose the shot to include background elements, but use an aperture that ensures a separation between you (the subject) and the background.
  •  I'll watch for spontaneous, candid moments and try to capture those as well. If your willing to play in a pile of leaves or climb a tree, I'll be ready to take those images too.

After we've taken the photos, I'll spend a good deal of time on the images, starting with eliminating any that are technically flawed or unflattering, comparing similar images side by side to pick the best of the best, editing those that I will show you as proofs for:

  • skin color, 
  • contrast (I prefer contrasty images), 
  • spot removal, 
  • cropping to show you options (square vs. 4x6 vs 8x10 vs 16x9). 
These go into a proofing gallery for you to review in the convenience of your home. I'm available to consult with you on final choices and final editing. Did you want a series in black and white? I can do that.

I also create custom built posters, story boards, books and holiday cards for my clients at their request, for an additional fee to the session.

Your session fee with me starts at $300 and includes $75 credit to spend on products of your choosing from your on line gallery. Those products include regular and mounted prints products, canvas, thin wrap and aluminum ready to hang prints, and digital files. I will sell you "all of the edited images" from your shoot but my goal is to create a portrait of you and your family that you want to print big and hang on your wall. To do that requires more than a half hour of my time. I really hope that you can see the value that my experience and expertise will bring to creating beautiful family keepsakes for you. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bird Photos: One of my favorite things

I received a really nice email yesterday, from BirdNote, asking permission for further use of a photo that I had given them a long, long time ago. A photo that I'd almost forgotten I'd taken and sadly I believe I've lost somewhere along the way. [Actually, this is a great opportunity to speak out against relying on hard drives or CDs to keep your images safe. They fail. Use cloud based storage and professionally printed archival prints to keep your images safe]

The story behind the photo is that robins had nested in our front yard, and we had a fairly good view of the nest from our porch. But to get this particular image required me standing on a ladder, close enough to the tree to see into the nest but not so close as to annoy the parents. Isn't it adorable!

As well, Birdnote asked if I could provide them with a profile, to add to their list of contributors. That gave me the push I needed to create a collection of my favorite Alberta bird photos to date. The birds, bugs and animal visitors to our yard are my favorite (and constant) photo subjects but my organization of those photos is lacking. I've now got a gallery for favorite bird photos. I hope you enjoy them!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

London by night

without a tripod!

Part 2 of my all too brief adventure in London, England with the fabulous Ana Pogacar.

Arriving in London Wednesday evening, after four days of a busy tradeshow, we really didn't have much of an itinerary planned. We made a feeble attempt to look through guide books Wednesday night, but ended up winging it Thursday anyway. And it turned out wonderfully.

We left our hotel without tripods on Thursday. The decision was not to carry the extra weight since the weather forecast was for rain, feeling we could always return for them if need be. We scouted our evening shoot location before noon, and found there was a nice almost flat perimeter wall that we could set cameras on so the decision to go tripodless stood. The rain let up in the afternoon so the fight against raindrops on lenses ended.

We arrived back on the south side of the Thames near the London Eye around 5 p.m., and a thick fog was rolling in.

The streets were busy with tourists, buskers and business people alike.

As the skies darkened we took up our positions along the wall, and got our shots of Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and the Parliament buildings.

And then we tried a new sport - long exposures (hand held, remember) including moving objects.

Ana at work (that's her on the right hand edge):

We spent quite a lot of time trying for the perfect panning shot, all the while being repeatedly approached by the creepiest panhandlers ever!

And once we were each satisfied with our result, we moved on, walking back toward Trafalgar Square in search of our evening meal, which was derailed by a spontaneous decision to take in a play! A late, very (very) good meal at Cafe Fiori, and one last stop for shots at the National Gallery.

I am pleasantly surprised by how many 'good' shots I got, in such a short time and in such poor shooting conditions. It really is amazing how much better photography is with another photographer, and I can't wait for another opportunity to do this kind of thing! Day 2 and 3 yet to come!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Time to think about Sports Photography

So, it's supposedly spring although you wouldn't really know it given our weather! You can tell, though, by the amount and quality of daylight. I see that local sports organizations are starting spring registration and tryouts for their competitive teams. When we had three competitive soccer athletes in the house this was a very busy time of year for us, with multiple tryouts in many locations around the city. On the one hand I miss the chaos. On the other, not having to manage that chaos means I now have lots more time for photographing your team!

In addition to providing tournament and competition coverage and an on line print/digital file sales system, I also offer game coverage for your team and team/individual photo services for your club or organization (starting at $15 per player).

I've been doing Sports Photography in Edmonton for 10 years. I've been very lucky to have photographed lots of really talented young athletes have success over the years. Check out the 2006 Alberta U16 boys Provincial Team, gold medalists at the national Reese Cup tournament that year. If you're familiar with the local soccer community you will see several familiar faces:

To name a few: Randy Edwini-Bonsu (Eintracht Braunschweig), Marcus Johnstone (UAlberta Bears), Antonio Rago (FC Edmonton), Michal Misiewicz (Canada)

Athletes spend hours perfecting their skills and pouring their hearts and souls into their sport. They'll remember the time with their teammates and their personal accomplishments for the rest of their life. As parents, we are often so involved in supporting them following their dreams that it seems thats all we do. Take it from me, those hectic times do not last forever. Soon enough all you will have are the memories. Make sure that you have great shots of your young athlete through the years to help remember this fantastic time. Book your photography now and save 25% on all services booked by April 15.

Please check out more samples of my sports photography, and contact me to discuss your sports photo needs for 2013.

I'm excited that Edmonton will be hosting some of the 2015 Women's World Cup. It makes me wonder if any of the young ladies that participated in last summers ASA Provincial Championships will be there! There was some fantastic soccer played at the tournament and it was a privilege to be the Official Photographer of the event. The U18 Girls Champions were Edmonton Victoria, a team with much talent and passion.  Will we see any of these young ladies on the pitch then?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Umbrellas Everywhere. Thursday Morning London Town

I've had an adventure. A short, sweet, soggy adventure. I cannot wait for another opportunity like this.

I travelled to the UK for the tradeshow Focus on Imaging, the largest UK photography tradeshow of the year. Tradeshows sound exciting, but the reality is that you work hard and don't really get to see the sights. How could I go all that way and not explore? So, I asked a colleague if she'd consider spending a couple days in London with me and (yay!) she agreed.

The very talented travel and landscape photographer, Ana Pogacar, and I spent less than 72 hours in London and were able to cover an amazing amount of the sites, sounds and smells of the city; walking, talking, eating and shooting. Here's a small look at our first morning.

It rained softly all morning. Not enough to soak through our clothes (we saved that experience for day 2) but enough to cause havoc from rain drops on our lenses, and awkward stances trying to balance camera and umbrella.

Grey skies and rain certainly take care of the problem of harsh daylight and provide washed out skies and soft, dreary colors. Umbrellas were one of the few things adding a pop of color to the scenery.

Hyde Park:

Pink and Purple:

Saint James Park Lake:

Westminster Bridge:

Busy People Everywhere:

The River Thames:

And my fantastic travel companion, Ana:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Look at all these cute faces! Modern Mama 2013 Face of the Year Contestants

The Modern Mama (St. Albert) Face of the Year shin dig took place February 27, 2013 at Ron Hodgson Chev Buick GMC.   The event sold out, and 60 precious little faces smiled, slept, blew bubbles, and goofed off for me, Raj from Patient Man Productions and Larissa from LMack Photography Studio. Beautiful little girls with pig tails and bows in their hair, mischievous busy boys, some deadpan serious babies, some real ham toddlers, made for a really fun night of photography! There were displays by local family friendly businesses and sponsors, a beautiful cake and bright shiny cars to use for backdrops.

I've uploaded many selections for each of the little people that I photographed. I'm a sucker for little ones, and must admit that I was not 'brutal' in culling my shots! I find delight in the whole spectrum of facial expressions little people make and I hope you will too. I did force myself to pick one image each to share here:

I'm offering 10% off  prints and digital files until April 30, 2013. The discount code to use to redeem the 10% discount is entered during the check out process, on the payment details page. It is ModernMaMa10, and it is case sensitive.

I offer some really beautiful ready to hang products, metal (aluminum) prints, thin wraps with a satin finish, as well as metallic print paper. These are products not readily available here in Edmonton. My print lab is Bay Photo in California, and there are shipping charges on prints ordered from my site. Bay Photo is a very high quality professional print lab, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all print products ordered through my site.

I also offer digital files in three sizes: a web sized version for $2, perfect for sharing on social media or your family blog, a 1MP size that will print very well up to 5x7 inches (possibly larger) for $10 and a 4MP size that can print big, for $50. There are no limitations to the number of copies that you can make with your personal use license for these photos. Digital files provide you with great flexibility in terms of the way you make use of them, and there is no shipping cost or wait time for digital file purchases!

The photos from this event are ready for you. I do hope that you enjoy them. I offer family photo sessions at a setting of your choosing, in my garden or in your home (I have portable studio lighting), starting at $300 with a $75 credit toward prints or downloads. For more information, please contact me! You can always leave me comments here too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Modern Mama Face of the Year Photo Contest

Calling all Beautiful Babies and Busy Toddlers! Modern Mama St. Albert is holding a contest to select the  Modern Baby Series 2013 face of the year; babies under 12 months as well as the Social Tots 2013 face of the year; toddlers 12 months – 4 years.

Windermere Studios, Patient Man Productions and Beyond the Smile will be on hand at Ron Hodgson
to create the photos for the contest. 

Be sure to register. The first 30 families that do so receive swag bags with special offers. 

February 27, 2013 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Ron Hodgson
5 Galarneau Place
St. Albert,AB T8N 3V4

Winner’s Prize:
Mini session with one photographer ($75 value)
Annual Seasons Pass to Prairie Gardens ($120 value)
Winner of the baby category image used in promotion of St. Albert Modern Baby Series.
Winner of the toddler category image used in promotion of St. Albert Social Tots Program.
$10 gift card to Stay in Your Jammies Consignment.
Personalized book from Just 4 Me Songs for our baby winner (valued at $16.95).
Children of the world memory game from Just 4 Me Songs for our toddler winner (valued at $16.95).

Check the Modern Mama contest page for all of the details! See you there!