Tony Cooper

Published: 616 articles

Where are your pictures?

I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and saw something that was really depressing.

The brief conversation indicated that a family member was looking for pictures of her brother or cousin.  The common response was “I have some from a couple of years ago,” or “Mine are packed away, but I’ll look this weekend.”  But the most heartbreaking one was “All the pictures I had were lost when my computer was stolen last month.”

You know I’ve long been an advocate of printing your pictures.  Even if you only print a few, print them.  Put them up in your home.  Give them away to relatives and friends.  Keep the memories alive.  But don’t just store them on your computer.  Computers, like all technology, will inevitably fail.  And when they do, it is expensive and time-consuming to recover files from it, if they can be recovered at all.  You can back everything up via various methods, including online.  But ultimately the best method is to just get them printed.  Then they’ll always be there.

Don’t be THAT person.  We offer incentives to get prints versus just the digital files.  We’ll help you decorate your home with pictures of loved ones.  We’ll even be happy to help you print pictures that are on your computer.  And we’ll also help you back them up.  Even if they aren’t pictures that we provided for you.

Please print your pictures.  Before you have to say “they were lost.”

 

How To Dress (or not)!

One of the most popular questions we get from just about everyone is “what should I wear?”  And aside from the smarty-pants answer of “clothes,” we often suggest these options to keep things looking smart when you dress.

For Family Portraits, you want unity.  Unity means (loosely) that you are wearing similar color sets.  For example, all blues, pastels, earth tones, and so on.  If just one person deviates from a color set, you end up with ONE visible standout, and then everyone else in the picture.  Sticking with a color set ensures that everyone is noticed equally.  Here are a few ideas for you that might help inspire your selections:

Clothing-89 Clothing-13 Clothing-47

 

 

For Senior Portraits, we recommend sticking with your style.  If you want real diversity in your images, select something casual, something fancy, and either something from your sport or activity at school, or something that you are really comfortable in.  We are always happy to guide you, of course.

See more family & senior portraits on our website.

Brand New Website!

Our new website is now live!

All new pages and easy to use.  Visit the site right now by going here: tlcphotography.com.  Or, you can just copy that into your browser.  Either way, you get to the same place.  The first ten visitors to take advantage of online booking for a regular portrait session will get a FREE set of THREE 8×10 prints from their session!

Here are some features we’re happy to include as part of our new site:

  • Cleaner design (much less stuff and more information & pictures)
  • Quicker access (fast one- or two-click access to the things you want to know now)
  • Integrated online booking (you can book online from most places on the site, 24/7)
  • Easy to see our current specials and promotions (it’s right on the home page under “Book Now!” – you don’t have to book to see them)
  • Blog and contact access on the first page.  Don’t hunt for a way to get in touch with us, it’s right there!
  • Completely mobile-friendly.  Now, all aspects of our website and support sites are mobile-friendly.  This means regardless the device you are using, or which functionality you are using on our website, your phones, tablets, laptops AND desktops will adjust properly for the best view.
  • Easier updates.  It’s now quicker and easier for us to update the pictures and information on our website.  So, expect to see new stuff more often!

A sneak peek at the area's BEST photographer new website at TLC Photography

Thanks for taking the time to look at our new site.  We hope to hear from you soon!

Spring Flings!

Now is the time for lots of new growth, just about everywhere.  We have started to really settle into our new studio space in downtown Martinsburg, and have so much to be grateful for.  We’re getting familiar with our merchant & residential neighbors and there’s just something in the air that feels positive!  And we’re not about to stop there!

The response to the baby contest was amazing to us, and we were so happy to see so many people acknowledging our posts about it.  But that is our big winter promotion, and now it’s spring.  So, time to offer a little more.

What’s coming up?  Easter is upon us, and we’ve seen more than our share of chicks, bunnies, eggs and pretty dresses.  Now it’s time for high school proms, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

And a new website.

A sneak peek at TLC Photography's new website

And online booking.

Our new website debuts on Friday, April 3.  We’re putting it through its final paces and will reveal the “new look” on Friday at 11am!  There are several new features, including many new links to our social media outlets.  We also simplified our website considerably, making it easier to find what you’re looking for (which users of our old site will remember as tedious and time-consuming), and integrated directly with our client galleries and our new online booking system.  Clean, simple, and easy to use.  Take a look on Friday!

Online booking has been a long time coming… it’s integrated into our new website, and will be prominent on our Facebook page and other social media sites, as well as our blog.  Look for “Book Now” on any of those locations to book portrait sittings, senior portraits, special mini-session opportunities and more.  Soon, we’re going to add much more functionality!  You’ll be able to book your sessions and events 24/7!

Want to try out our online booking?  Here are three specials we have running right now:

Book your prom pictures!  There are area high school proms on April 25, May 2, and May 9.  You can get your pictures taken in your prom best without having to wait in line!  Choose from several different backdrops, have multiple poses taken, and even get some custom-designed street shots taken!  Want to know more?  You can, if you just click Book Now!  But here’s a little secret… there are coupons floating around out there (Dana’s Tuxedo, Sokel Skin Care & Makeup, for example) to take $10 off your picture package!

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are both rapidly approaching.  We’re ahead of the game, though, and have created two mini-session opportunities for you to take advantage of.  You check either or both of them out below:

Mommy & Me sessions in Martinsburg

For our Mommy & Me mini-sessions on April 18, click Book Now!

Daddy & Me mini-sessions are here!

For the Daddy & Me mini-sessions on May 30, click Book Now!

See how easy that is?  We’re looking forward to showing off more of what we can do in the near future.  Meanwhile, it’s back to work shining up the new website for you.  See you on Friday!

Most Beautiful Baby 2015

A Brief Baby Contest History

Thirteen years ago, we had no idea what we were creating when we crafted a tiny fundraiser for a very big cause.  Our objective was to raise funds for a worthy charity.  Since then, it has become our annual fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Every year has been different.  But one thing remains constant; the babies are all beautiful.

The concept is simple enough.  The session/entry fee is donated to St. Jude (this year, we raised $560 via the fees), we get quality time with some wonderful families and their babies, and everyone gets great pictures!  But there has to be an end result… there has to be a winner – it is a contest after all.

So, there are winners.

How It Works

Each parent picks the photo they want to enter into the contest from the portrait sittings we do.  Some choose black & white photos, others color.  Some select smiling photos, others where their child is looking away in wonder.  But in each case, it’s their own view of just how beautiful their own baby is.  And we couldn’t agree more this year with the choices.  So many beautiful babies.

There are four judges.  Two are in other parts of the country, and two are closer to home.  We always make sure that the judges do not know any of the contest entrants or their parents.  Their anonymity is also important to the contest results.  They are presented the photos in a numbered gallery (no names are used), and rank their favorites based on a very specific criteria (which we explain to each of the parents).  They send us their selections as #1, #2 and #3.  The baby with the most points… well, wins.

There are five winners.  Two honorable mentions, a third, second and grand prize winner.  Gratefully, there was no conflict in the numbers… no tie-breaking was needed.

The Results

Here’s how it played out.

Our two honorable mentions:

Baby Scullen at TLC Photography Baby Albanese in Martinsburg, West Virginia

The third place winner:

Baby Mia at our portrait studio downtown

Our second place winner:

Baby Cromwell in the baby contest

And this year’s grand prize winner and our Most Beautiful Baby:

Baby Scullen was part of the contest at TLC

The winners are being contacted separately about prizes.

We want to thank our participants, judges, and everyone else who was involved in the contest this year.  It was a fabulous fundraiser, and we are planning many more in the future.

To see more of the baby pictures from this year’s contest, visit our Facebook Page.  To learn more about our children’s program, visit our website.

Concepts: The Amazing Black Dress

Sometimes concept shoots have a theme, or they are things I want to do to explore some technique or idea.  And sometimes they are borne out of a cooperative effort between multiple people.  This particular shoot was just that.

I had worked with Cindy Alderton a few times, on weddings, shoots, and collaborations of various ideas we had.  The graveyard shoot was one such concept shoot.  Her approach in that shoot was more intense than mine, but we achieved mutual results that were quite usable.

This time was considerably different.  Cindy designed and created the Amazing Black Dress, and we collaborated on the design of the hair, although Cindy ended up doing the updo work.  The design concept for the shoot was mostly mine, although the shooting angle and developmental approaches differed after the shoot.

I welcome collaborations with other artists.  We only grow through diversity.  Cooperation outweighs solitude by at least a hundred-fold.

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This first image comes from the idea that something is attempting to take the young woman away, a “something” that is scary and has her wrapped up in its way with the red sheer fabric.  It’s all quite open to interpretation, really.  I was going for the lighting concept more than anything else.

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Now trapped, the young woman must plead for her safety.  What is at stake is not quite known, but it could get dire.

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As punishment for her pleas, she is banished to the cold and to a less beautiful surrounding.  The model here, Veronica, made it look easier than it actually was.  With temps in the upper 30s, we spent brief periods of planned shots and lighting while she remained wrapped in a coat, and then unwrapped her, took the photos and wrapped her back up.

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Sometimes you just have to make the best of a bad situation, and accept that the cold is not your worst enemy.  Perhaps your mind is.  The outside portion of this shoot took less than 30 minutes.  Cindy also did the model’s makeup… she’s sort of universally talented like that.

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Finally, there is hope.  The potential of a rescue, a hero… perhaps a knight in shining armor?  Whatever it may be, at this point she’s hoping that it happens soon.

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Blissful in rescue, our heroine rests knowing that soon there will be warmth and peace.

BlackDress07224Finally back in the comforts, she wraps up and rests.  No more monsters for her.

Thanks for indulging the commentary.  The Amazing Black Dress shoot was a collaborative effort that had many facets of wardrobe, makeup, lighting, and image-making.

We like collaborating with other photographers, designers, makeup artists and more.  Please contact us to begin creating a new concept!

 

Concepts: Painting with Family & Friends

We frequently test concepts that are related to requests from clients and ideas we have for future shoots.  We have a commercial client who wants to explore using paint as part of an upcoming shoot.  In order to practice timing, quantity, angles, lighting and much more, we made a model call so we could test the concept.

So, on an afternoon, in a field, three friends from a local high school answered the call and showed up in black (as requested) to spend an hour or so indulging the concept.

NOTE: The first six images are from the dry paint shoot.  After I’d gotten what I needed for the tests, the girls brought out liquid paints that they provided.  Hence the remainder of the images.

NOTE (AGAIN): We have since scheduled TWO family portrait sessions that involve paint in some way.  We are happy to create a session for you that involves paint and painting.  We use only non-toxic paint in safe situations.  Schedule yours now before it gets too cold!  Check us out on our site.

Lights and paint and angles and timing. A dancer jumping with dry paint Dancer with a toe touch and lots of paint Dance photography with paint Dry color paint can be used in a number of ways in the photo shoot Dancers and dry paint make a stunning combination

The photo above was the last of my tests.  The girls brought their own liquid paint and started… well… flinging it at each other.  The lights were still on, the camera still had plenty of images available, and there was time.  So, I kept shooting.  I did re-position some equipment to protect it (which did no good), but the remainder of these images are without direction… just… messy.

Slinging paint onto each other, models got coated in paint Anarchy erupts after liquid paint was brought out. Flashing a symbol at the end of the paint photo shoot All smiles at TLC Photography after the painting shoot Happy to be part of the painted portrait shoot Fulling painted models at the end of the shoot

Portrait: Kayla’s Trash The Dress Session

So, Kayla got married to the love of her life.  But not before we had a conversation about trashing her dress.

A few weeks prior to her beautiful wedding, Kayla asked about doing a Trash The Dress session between her ceremony and her reception.  And me being me, I told her I was totally up for it.  But there were some shortcomings to consider.  One was the amount of time it would take to get to a proper location for a good shoot, as well as setting up lighting and hoping for good weather.  With that, and the consideration that she would be going through her entire ceremony in a sopping wet dress, she chose to have a separate session on a later date.  This is what we achieved.  Captions are below each image.

Trash the dress session in Martinsburg WV

Enjoying the location and Kayla’s wonderful camera presence.

 

Trash the dress session with TLC Photography

The perfect moment of lighting & posing.

A beautiful portrait in the water

Perfect lighting is seen & used.

Water shoot with a wedding dress on.

From a different perspective, Kayla was a beauty.

The best part about the work we did with Kayla was that we have known her for awhile, and expected no less than a bride who was ready for an adventure.  We had a lot of fun, and the planning process made a huge difference in how the shoot went.

See our website for more information about our weddings or portraits.

Wedding: Kayla and Cody’s Shenanigans

This is one bride whose wedding I was very much looking forward to because we have known each other for over 15 years.  As a dancer, she was precocious and full of life.  And as a dance instructor, she keeps the happy in the dance.

Starting at the beautiful McFarland House in Martinsburg, WV, the wedding preparation was done in their now infamous “bride room.”  Lots of laughter and plenty of smiles, along with those awkward moments that are only shared by sisters and best friends when trying to make sure that the clothing “fits.”  We took a few photos in there, and elsewhere within the McFarland House.

A short trolley ride, courtesy of our friends at Detailed Destinations, and the ceremony was on at the eras-old St. John’s Lutheran Church.  After a few more photos there, we headed back to the McFarland House, but this time the bride and groom rode back via horse and buggy.

Then the real party began!

The happy couple spent the day enjoying their family and friends, the wonderful food and the delicious cake.  There was plenty more shenanigans (see the cake pictures), and lots more laughter.  It was my idea of the “perfect wedding.”

Congratulations to Kayla and Cody.  It was a lovely wedding.  And only a couple of weeks after this lovely wedding, we did a Trash the Dress session the very dress she wore to her wedding.

 

The bride getting ready at McFarland House's Bridal Suite A portrait of the bride by TLC Photography in Martinsburg WV Dad helping the groom with his boutonniere before the wedding ceremony Some last minute adjustments by the bride Just before heading to the ceremony. Cody on his way to St. John's Lutheran Church A smiling bride in Martinsburg WV Kayla on the trolley to St. John's Lutheran Church A first look no-look for Kayla and Cody at the church Moment of decision at St. John's Lutheran Church Sealed with a kiss Beautiful wedding photography in Martinsburg WV Hijinks on the sidewalk at Kayla and Cody's wedding Kayla pets one of the animals after her wedding ceremony Another kiss before the horse and carriage ride to McFarland House in Martinsburg Beautiful Kayla at the wedding reception The maid of honor's toast The best man's toast A cautious moment at the wedding of Kayla and Cody Fun moments at the beautiful McFarland House First dance at Kayla and Cody's wedding Wedding photography fun in Martinsburg WV Pownall373 Bouquet toss at the wedding Pownall425

Senior: Katie

We get great senior kids each year.  Katie was rather unique in that she also gave us an insight into the future of the way people think about how schooling should be done.  She had a lot of her own ideas, brought plenty of her dance costumes and accessories, and some attitude.  One of the most important things was her sneakers, and we made sure to feature them in at least one image.  With pretty red hair and plenty of freckles, Katie provided us a couple hours of great photos and quite a few laughs.

Check out more senior portraits on our Seniors Page.