Results for category "Portraits"

Newborn: Elsie (and her big sister)

Family portrait with a newborn

Picture 1 of 3

We love newborn portraits. And mainly because they are just so pose-able.  This typically just means that you can put them into any pose or position you want, but we try to remember that they may still want to do whatever they want.  And since this little one has an older sister, it was important to make her part of the portraits, too.

You can see more of our children’s portraits on our website.

Senior: Adam

If you ever wanted to meet the ultimate football player physique, you’d just need to meet Adam.  Of course, it goes way beyond that.  He plays passionately at the game, but is also smart, knows what he wants in life, and has big plans.

Shooting on-location with Adam was a lot of fun, too.  Some weeks we spend more time on-location than we do in the studio.  Adam was accommodating, even when a large number of his teammates showed up to begin practice.

You can learn more about our senior portraits on our Seniors page.

FREE Photo Evaluation

Many of my students over the last couple of years have asked “would you give me some criticism on a photo I took recently?”  My answer is that I’m happy to do so.  But a proper review is more than just a passing glance and a “yes, no or maybe” type of answer.  30 years of experience has given me the opportunity to learn and to teach that kind of experience.  My hope over the years has been to convey at least some of my adventures over the years to others.

So, I’ll make everyone an offer.  You can submit one photo, privately if you wish (via email), and I’ll provide a detailed review of the image and offer constructive criticism that will help you make the image better.  Let me just warn you in advance, though.  If you’ve added HDR to your image, or some kind of overblown special effect, I’m already not going to like it.  Let’s see some real images, with your style attached.

I strongly dislike criticisms that don’t include a “here’s what I would do to make it better.”  I’ll include it with each one.  But please, for now, just one.  If you like what I do for you, I’m happy to help you with others.  There are most likely a lot of images that you’ve thought “hey, I really like this picture” but you weren’t sure if it was because you got some “Likes” on Facebook or because it has good photographic value.

Note: It’s important that you are as serious about your photography as I am about mine.  Please don’t send snapshots and family pictures from vacation.  Your best images from real sessions and weddings only, please.  Let’s see your best work!

If you know me on Facebook, feel free to contact me there as well.  If you want a non-private review, I can do that on Facebook for you.

Why Glitter Makeup is not always your friend

Sorry about the eye staring back at you, but it goes to a bigger point about the use of glitter makeup in portraits and other studio photography.

First, understanding why people use glitter and shine makeup was something that took research.  Not because I didn’t know what it was, but because I wasn’t sure how it is used for a lot of things.  An eye, after all, is a very small part of the human face and a much smaller portion of the human body.  And yet, we spend so much time staring straight into it.

Glitter makeup is used by cheerleaders, gymnasts, dancers, stage performers and more.  They tend to bring your focus back to the eye, the face, which is where human drama is created for whatever performance is taking place.  A glittery toe, for instance, does not evoke near the emotion of intensity that can be generated in an instant by the face (a combination of eyes, eyebrows, mouth, jaw, posture, and angle).

But, it doesn’t do well with studio flash and closeup photography.  Here’s why.

Studio photography typically relies on flash.  Studio flash, momentarily, is very bright.  But that much brightness is utilized by the camera to capture all the significant detail of the face (especially) of the subject.  But since it IS a bright light, it also does a lot of reflecting.  As you can see, it’s reflecting off the subject’s eye quite clearly.  But it is also reflecting, in a different way, off the skin around the eye where the glitter makeup has been used.

The result is thousands of tiny speckles.  Some are so tightly grouped together that they appear as one giant reflection.  And although they truly are thousands of tiny mirrors reflecting the light, they also completely distract from the skin’s natural tons and colors.  Skin is beautiful, translucent and an essential element in the consistency of the face.  Glitter makeup almost completely destroys the skin’s color and translucence.  It leaves only a shine.

The outcome is what you see.  Now, this is a very very very tight crop on a recent subject’s eye.  I hope that’s it’s tight enough that you cannot identify the subject, but so that you can see why studio photographers often warn against using glittler makeup.

Many “natural light” (I still don’t know what this phrase actually means -isn’t all light natural?) photographers may want to start warning their subjects that glitter makeup adds considerably to the amount of retouching that needs to be done to maintain a good “flow” in the skin.  Right now, if I hadn’t said something about glitter makeup, it could easily be perceved as sweat, oil, or something else.

Any questions?

Baby photos!

I’m a big fan of babies… and while there have been a lot of new posing techniques revealed and extolled by many photographers, I remain a fan of the classics, too.  Simplicity makes it all about the baby…

baby pictures charles town beautiful babies in harpers ferry

Senior: Jasmine

Another of the home-schooled students we’ve had the pleasure of photographing this year, Jasmine was the one (of her two other siblings) who wanted pictures the most.  She was fun, enjoyed posing, and wanted plenty of variety.  We have that!

home-schooled senior pictures

Retro Senior

You know, we get a lot of really great people in our studio.  Some have outrageous ideas, and others have no ideas at all.  We work with ’em both, of course.

This young lady wanted something a little more retro than most, so we accommodated her.  She graduates as a home schooled senior this year, and we wish her all the best.

martinsburg senior picture

Do You Really Want The CD?

So, when your photographer advertises that big special offer, which might include a CD of images from the session, you’re ready to jump on it because you love getting the CD, right?  What’s not relevant here is how many images you get, or the circumstances.  What’s important is that if you only got a CD, you’re not only cheating yourself, but you’re getting cheated.  Read on.

Notwithstanding that a CD might cost less than a buck, and that your photographer with a certain style might spend less than a hour on your images, what are you really getting?  Yes, you get the experience and professional photography.  You get good customer service, a fun time with a genuinely nice person, and even some good pictures.  But are you getting something that will last forever?

Do you remember the 8-track tape?  Cassette tape?  Most people don’t use CDs anymore (they only hold about 700MB), and most use DVDs (which hold over 4GB).  But with the advent of Blu-Ray, how long will it be before that DVD is out of date?  Or that file format?  What will you do in ten years when DVDs are no longer supported by computers (most computers today no longer support floppy drives)?

Here’s something else to consider… where will you store your disk?  What will you do with the images on it?  Post them on Facebook?  How long will they stay there?  They may remain on your photo gallery for a long time, but they will get pushed to the bottom like all the others have over time.  And forgotten.  The disk may get lost or damaged (do you know how to take care of a DVD properly?)

It’s time for you to take control.  If your photographer offers only a disk, ask for more.  Demand prints.  Tell them you want your images to be on the wall, in full view, for all to see.  Be proud of your portraits, your wedding, your children and your family!  Don’t hide them away on a disk anymore.  Put them out for the world to see!

Here’s more to consider.  Did you know that children who see pictures of themselves on the walls have a greater sense of well-being and self-confidence as they grow up?  They can’t see those pictures of they’re on a disk.  And couples who put their wedding pictures on the walls and in an album are more likely to stay together than those who don’t. We have clients who regularly share their pictures on the walls with us – and they have fabulous relationships, wonderful families and beautiful children!

Listen… this is not hard to understand.  And yes, we DO sell the image files for most of our sessions and weddings.  But we always offer you prints at the same time.  And we always will, because they mean you will always see the pictures that you have tucked safely away in a dark storage place (after you made a backup, right?)

So, what are you going to do next time your photographer offers a disk-only portrait session?  That’s right, demand prints!


Senior Portrait: Eddie

Eddie seemed quiet at first, but quickly became a good conversationalist.  We talked about track & field, his desire to work in law enforcement, and graduation.

musselman senior portraits

When rain falls


Today was our third installment of street portraits. We got about a half hour in before the rain started. And while Mother Nature decided against me today, it’s okay to realize the higher power that is the weather.

We’re excited about continuing this series and want your feedback. What do you think we should do? Another city? A different time of day? Or perhaps move indoors?

Stay dry. Enjoy your Sunday. We’re headed off for more adventure!