Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Family Christmas Portraits, Not From The Mall

When it’s time to have the family Christmas Portrait taken, there are several things to keep in mind. The first is where to have the portrait taken. There are several options such as hiring a professional photographer or finding a chain studio that is located in a crowded mall. 

A Professional Photographer does this for a living and has a sincere passion for photography. They are guaranteed to work with your budget, help with things like wardrobe, sizing, poses, expressions and promise you’ll avoid the hassle of loading up the kids to head to an over-packed mall where even if you do have an appointment, you get to wait, wait, wait and then wait some more. Professional Photographers provide their own professional equipment and the family is guaranteed to get a professional quality family portrait. The professional photographer will shoot the portrait in any manner desired by the family and has far more flexibility when it comes to different types of shots, timing and locations to ensure that all involved are happy.

In addition to the pros of having an independent professional take the family portrait there are several negative parts of having a mall photography chain provide a few snap shots. The first is the fact that it requires a trip to a very busy location full of people frantically trying to find the best deals on holiday gifts or frantically trying to find a gift for the one person they forgot to add to their list. Most retailers do the majority of their sales during the busy holiday season. Being part of this crowd will add unneeded stress to the photo shoot and give you a blistering headache. Another negative side is the fact that these mall studios often do not have the best in equipment or the equipment may simply be very outdated. This will result in a poor quality portrait since it is one camera setting for every customer no matter how many people in the shot. Mall photography studios fail to provide any kind of decent re-touching or Photoshop enhancements of the picture.  No one should have to remember a Christmas because of a blurry, stiff-posed Christmas Portrait. A grainy pixilated picture is not something that should be sent out in a Christmas card.

Another downside is the mall photographers themselves. They are usually High School kids who have no formal photography training. They are told to greet the customer, have the customer stand on the X and push this button on the camera (literally nothing else).  Anyone will lose the friendly smile and personable charm when having to deal with rushed holiday shoppers, crying babies, belligerent customers and frustrated parents all day. They are often subjected to long hours with low pay and often resulting in substandard performance and crappy pictures. For most mall photographers it's a part-time job so they can get a new iPhone or Android and will often treat it as such where as a professional photographer does this for a living and is very passionate about their work. 

The worst part about a family portrait at the mall studio is the up sale. Since the photographers often work on commission as well as minimum wage, they will try to get the family to purchase the largest package possible. They will relentlessly hound you to get the biggest package that has literally hundreds of photos, out dated picture frames and a jacked-up price for a CD, when all that is desired is a few quality photographs. The family is often conned into buying a larger package then desired because it is the only way to get the desired photographs of the right size due to the fact buying individual photos has an exorbitant cost attached to it. With all these things against it, the mall studio is simple not a good option. It is well worth it to spend a little time searching and a few extra dollars to pay for a beautiful family portrait, photographed with professionalism, care and a genuine concern to meet your families needs. 

Find a local, reputable, professional photographer. Start with asking friends and family. If you have no luck, try Google, AngiesList or ASMP. These are filled with reputable family and portrait photographers who specialize in making your family look their best.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Couples Ads, Twice The Marketing Power

The media today influences us in many ways. Objects, colors, and every detail of an ad we see are analyzed and edited to appeal the consumer. Most of the time there are hidden messages and meanings that affect your mind subliminally. Companies will do anything to have the advantage and make you want to buy their product. There are times when what we see actually triggers certain emotions and gives us a standard, an opinion, perception of what is normal or even change our moral values.

When someone is in a relationship and sees a billboard or magazine ad picturing a couple, they often picture themselves and their significant other. They pay attention to what that picture is trying to sell and often this picture will influence someone who is in a relationship to purchase that item. Going a little deeper into it, a person might also get the perception of what a couple is supposed to look like, or how a couple should act. They will, in a sense, picture themselves as that couple.

If someone is single and they see a picture of a couple on an ad, it might trigger negative emotions. It might make them feel lonely or It might influence them to go out and try to find someone. It really varies by person. The message being delivered has the same goal but can affect the person in various ways. Either way, by publishing these ads, companies will influence people to spend money or want to spend money. It is surprising to see how much money companies spend on advertising and studying the effects of every little detail that goes into a billboard or magazine ad including everything from gender demographics to age and longevity.

 Having two people in the same ad or picture is beneficial to companies. Humans aren’t meant to be alone, we are made to interact and form relationships. That being said, having a male and female upon a billboard is more likely to catch people of both genders attention. We are always more attentive to things we can identify with. Though it might surface negative emotions to someone that is single, humans generally all want the same thing and that is not to be alone. This plays a major part in what we pay attention to and how we feel about relationships.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Are Camera Phones Replacing Professional Photographers?

It is easy to determine the difference between a photograph taken by a skilled photographer using a high-end Nikon camera and a picture taken by an amateur using their point and shoot camera or phone. Things like image quality and the use of the skill of the trade allow even an untrained eye to spot the difference with without even knowing exactly which elements make the photographer’s work stand out. While an amateur might be able to replicate a few of these techniques slowly, a photographer trained with a Nikon SLR camera can easily apply all of these techniques quickly to capture that timeless image perfectly.   

The first major difference an onlooker might see is proper use of depth of field to help identify and isolate the subject. The subtle changes required to aperture setting are simple to make in a practiced hand using a high end camera, but nearly impossible to make in time to capture a moment with substandard equipment in an untrained hand. By placing the focus directly on bride and groom and lowering the depth of field, a skilled photographer can turn what might have otherwise been a cluttered and busy photo on the reception dance floor into a captured moment between a happy couple in love, simply by adding a slight blur to the surrounding objects.

While a camera phone might be able to use a flash to capture a moment in a dark room, it takes real skill and professional equipment to immortalize that instant into a true work of art. By using a diffused hand held flash synchronized via a hot shoe and matching the speed of the camera’s shutter, the right tools and skills easily transform what might have been made a flat white image by flash, into a stunning full color display.

Lastly and most importantly, a professional Nikon camera allows a trained hand to move away from automatic focus into the realm of manual focus photography. Quick adjustments can be made simply by moving a dial on the lens, without taking away any focus from the moment. This sort of focus can be achieved on a point and shoot or camera phone, but only after digging through a on screen menu of options and forcing the moment to become staged instead of easily capturing a true and spontaneous moment like only a professional photographer with a professional/high-end camera could obtain.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Your Smile Is Your Best Feature

It is said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that is never more true than when you are not even there to make the impression. More than ever before people get their first impressions of an individual through social media and internet presence, and the biggest portion of this impression is made by looking at the profile picture

Profile pictures are your face to the world, and are often the most prominent part of your page. If you want to make that great first impression - the most important thing that you can do is to remember to smile for the camera. Smiling in your profile picture makes a bigger and better impression in a variety of ways, and will have a positive impact on how you market yourself.
Whether you have a simple profile for personal use or a professional profile meant to promote your business, smiling in the profile picture is the key to establishing an immediate relationship with the viewer. 

The greater part of human communication is nonverbal, so you are speaking to the viewer without even needing to say a word. It is imperative that you make that message a positive message. Smiling is an important step in establishing a relationship. It puts the other person at ease and makes them desire to smile in return. This sense of ease and reciprocity is important because whether you are seeking a job or a personal relationship, you are selling yourself. Your smile will tell the hiring manager and the potential friend alike that you are a happy person who has a strong sense of self worth and a high degree of self confidence.

In the event that you are promoting a business or a company, it is important to emphasize pictures that include smiling faces. A prospective client or job searcher that sees a website filled with pictures of hard work and toil might be impressed with the work ethic of the company, but they will not have a sense of affiliation with it. 

Whether it is smiling workers or a smiling executive, these pictures promote that vital sense of fraternity that you desire to establish. An image of a positive, upbeat workplace will draw in both top notch employees and prospective clients, whereas pictures of stoic determination will fail to appeal to them. So remember that when it comes time to promote yourself or your business, Smiling for the camera is Smiling for yourself.