Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Busy Week & I Published an Article!

Last weekend I had a Senior portrait session, as well as an even to shoot.  The night before both, I had an idea for an article, so I submitted it to EzineArticles.com, and found out yesterday that it was published. :) This is always a good thing!

Friday evening I was trying out the new camera body with my son and the green screen.  I plugged the CF card into the card reader, and the photo-uploader did its thing, EXCEPT that it didn’t convert any of the raw images to digital negatives.  THIS was a problem.  I was twelve hours away from the Senior shoot, and could NOT for the life of me figure out why the RAW images weren’t converting to DNG!

Fortunately, I didn’t panic, AND I remembered that I’d seen something in a review on the camera body I ended up buying that mentioned firmware and RAW images.  So I found the review, realized what step I had omitted, and made the appropriate adjustments, and lo and behold, there they were; my DNG’s! It’s good not to panic!

After updating the camera’s firmware, I sat down and typed up an article on what to wear to a portrait session.  The article can be found here.  I was excited to find out, Monday evening, that not only had it been published, but I had been given “Expert” status. :)

The following morning, we got up, got the studio ready for the day’s shoot.

My client (and friend), Angela, had come all the way from Fayetteville (a little over an hour’s drive) to have her son’s Senior pictures done.  (You’ll see his pictures peppered throughout this post.)  This is a kid that has it all together, and I simply cannot say enough nice things about him!

After Angela and Michael left, I did a quick change from studio comfy clothes to business casual so that we could go off to shoot a surprise 80th birthday party. My youngest son, Tim, and I had a great time shooting candids for a few hours. :)  Event photography is as fun as studio portraiture! :)

We have several new projects in the works, and will keep you posted, as they develop, if you will. :) (No pun intended.)

Until Next Time….

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Portraits for Portfolios - You Can’t Miss This!

I wanted to let all of you know that we are overhauling our web site and newsletter and that we are also needing to update our portrait portfolio! We noticed that we need brides and expectant mommies/families!

If you (or someone you know) is getting married or having a baby, please let them know about the following Portraits for Portfolios Program that Wall 2 Wall is running for sessions booked prior to May 1, 2010. (Session does not have to be taken in April; we can “shoot” for May, as well!)

In exchange for a signed model release (this allows me to use their images on my web site and marketing materials), brides and expectant mommies will receive two free (yes, that is correct, free) 8x10 portraits!  The only thing we ask is that brides have their dresses, and that moms-to-be are showing (even a little bit is ok, too).  That’s it.  A signed model release for two 8x10 portraits. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Please let your friends and relatives know!  What bride or mommy-to-be doesn’t want a couple of 8x10 portraits free of charge?  There are no high-pressure sales, no big pitch about how you should order a gazillion reprints of the session; just a relaxed and fun session.

Thanks, all of you, for helping me spread the word!

Until Next Time!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Two Quick Things...

Happy Monday, Everyone!

I just wanted to update you on a couple of goings-on, here at Wall 2 Wall Photography.

The first is that we joined the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce.  It was a long time in coming, but we finally decided to do it during a membership drive last week.  Johnny and I are very excited to be a part of business in Wayne County, North Carolina! :)

We are looking forward to getting to know other Chamber Members!

The other item of interest is that we have scheduled our first ever “Social Networking” Session day!

Just about everyone has a Face Book, MySpace, Linked-In, or Twitter account or is on a dating site.  Most people don’t have a professionally done image to post as their profile picture and resort to using a snapshot, instead.
We’ve got the fix for that!
On Saturday, March 20, 2010 from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. we will be offering mini-sessions for those of you that simply want a great profile picture for the networking site(s) of your choice.  All sitting fees will be waived for these sessions, and we are happy to offer one shot for $15, two shots for $25, and three shots for $30 (plus tax).  You will have your choice of one background, and we will take several poses so that you have a various images to choose from.
Proofs will be available to you online within a few days of the session, and when you order your images before the cut-off date (two weeks from the date of the shoot; in this case, on or before April 3, 2010), your selections will be emailed to you upon receipt of payment.  You can also receive your images on CD for an additional twenty dollars so that you’ll always have a back up of your web-ready images.
Appointments are limited, so reserve yours today by calling Johnny at 919-921-6318.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Portraiture and Sticker Shock

I have been asked on numerous occasions why portraits are so expensive, especially when compared to the large retail outlets.
Well, here’s the hard truth about why private studio portraits are more expensive than the chain store guys...
In chain stores (and this has been MY experience only; I can’t speak for everyone) we felt as if we were at a cattle call.  Yes, we had an appointment.  Yes, we arrived about 10 minutes prior to our appointment time.  Yes, we waited in line.  Yes, we were able to watch the families in front of us get their portraits taken.  Yes, the people behind us in line were able to watch us have our portraits taken.  Yes, THAT was uncomfortable. It can be hard to be in front of the lens, and then to have an audience of strangers (or even worse, an audience of people you actually know) would make anyone squirm, and squirm, I have!  Let’s visit the proofs. It’s hard too look natural under duress like that, and the camera doesn’t lie.  You get “x” number of shots, poses, and boom you are done, and if you don’t like what you see? Well, dem’s da berries, I guess.  Have a big pimple in the middle of your cheek on portrait day? Mmmm...sorry about that. Now, mind you, I haven’t had a chain store portrait done in many years, because now I do ours myself (wireless remote is a Godsend).  At any rate, I’m going on the assumption that the people behind the camera are not professional photographers.  It’s been my experience that these folks are trained to set the subjects where they’ve been told to put them.  Tall ones in the back, shorter ones in the front, etc.  These guys probably aren’t making more than $8 or $9 an hour.  
I’m not saying that these retail photo studios don’t have their place.  If you want a few quick shots right now, run in and out, and boom, you’re done, then great.  But remember, you do get what you pay for.  Ask me about the last retail portrait we had done of our family and I will tell you how we were placed in just such a way that the tallest person’s head appeared extremely small, especially when compared to my youngest son’s head, which appeared to have the dimensions of a basketball next to the rest of us.  Poor kid.  Took a couple of years for him to live that down. :)
Now let’s look at a private studio portrait photographer.  Not just me, but any of us.  Many of us have been taking photographs with SLR’s for years, have mastered the actual controls of the camera (aperture, shutter speed, white balance, etc.). With the wonderful world of digital photography having opened up to us in recent years, this gives us the opportunity to have instant photo gratification, thus enhancing turnaround time, but on to that in a moment.  We are professionals, and we also had better possess some really outstanding people skills, since not everyone has the ability to make someone feel at ease and comfortable in front of the lens.
Some of us have taken classes, gotten degrees, spent many hours experimenting, or with our noses in books honing our techniques.  That big pimple I mentioned earlier?  Private studio photographers not only know how to make that go away (as well as those pesky dark circles and stray hairs), but will take the time during post processing to fix the issue, whatever it may be.  We will also color correct and take the time with you to make sure that you are relaxed and in a private setting without the world watching you.  Now in my case, I do green screen, which opens up an entirely new choice of settings to pick from, so now my clients get the mood that they are shooting for (no pun intended). 
I know that many of us try to keep our overhead as low as possible so we don’t have to charge our clientele through the nose, but please do be mindful that we need to make a living, also.  After all, would you want to go to work if your employer only paid you a fraction of the salary you are making now?  Portrait photographers are very skilled; not just at the taking of the picture, but the work that goes into your memories after the shoot.  Depending on the situation, the portraits that took an hour or less to shoot have several hours of additional work to be done on them, not to mention the time we spend backing up the processed photos, uploading them to the processor, etc.  I won’t go into all the sordid details, but a one hour shoot usually turns in to an honest 8 hour day’s work afterward for a professional private studio photographer, so when you see that sitting fee, please understand that you are paying us for a day’s work...Hopefully that will put into perspective the cost behind that precious memory that will be hanging beautifully on your wall for many years to come.

Until Next Time…..

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wall 2 Wall Photography and Relay For Life Team Up!

Now we’re REALLY excited!  Ava Brewington, from the 4th floor AMU at Wayne Memorial Hospital, and I met with our Relay for Life team co-captains this afternoon.  We’ve gotten the dates nailed down for our 8x10 fundraiser.

We will be shooting portraits on Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., Sunday, April 18, 2010 from noon until 6:00 p.m., and on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 from 5:20 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.  Cost of vouchers/certificates is only $15.00 and all sitting fees are waived.  You will have your choice of one of five backgrounds, and several poses to choose from when you select your 8x10” portrait.

We only have a limited number of session slots available, so please feel free to contact Ava at ava.brewington@waynehealth.org or me at julie@wall2wallphotos.com for information on how to purchase your voucher.  All money made will go to Relay for Life, and I will donate 10% of any reorders or enlargements from the original fundraiser to the Relay, also!

Below you will see the five background choices we are offering for this year’s fundraiser:

Thanks for reading!

Until next time!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Portrait Parties

Looking for a way to earn a portrait collection that you’ll display with pride?

If so, think about hosting a Wall 2 Wall Photography Portrait Party!  What’s needed?  Only four to five families of smiling faces, a room available to capture images, an area for snacks and socializing, and food and beverages.  Leave the rest to us!  Portrait parties are really no different than other home parties that you have hosted or attended, only instead of consumable products, you are getting a modern heirloom that you will be able to pass down for generations to come!

Sound like fun?  It is.  Just like in our studio, your portrait party guests will be treated with the same outstanding personalized service in your home that they would receive in our studio, but at a fraction of the cost.

Do you need a theme?  Of course not, but some fun themes to consider are Holiday, Family Portraits, Graduation/Cap & Gown, Summer Fun, Sunday Best (after Church portraits), etc.  The possibilities are limitless!

If you or anyone you know might be interested in more information regarding a Wall 2 Wall Photography Portrait Party, please feel free to email me at julie@wall2wallphotos.com.

Until next time!  :)