What Have We Been Up To?
Working with my Amy to pursue the creative things she loves has been such a fun experience. We have photographed outfits in snow, in rain, in summer heat. We have made some tricky locations look great and working with Amy has taught me new things about my own craft as well. Fashion photography is very different from portraiture or event coverage. I thrive on the textures, patterns, colors and flow of each outfit. I can’t wait to see the next ensemble she has for me to photograph.
Working with other local photographers keeps me practicing my craft on the weekends I do not have my own weddings. I take the opportunity to try new things, learn something new and get to photograph a wide variety of locations. Every weekend there is a new challenge. I see many different problems, hiccups, weather and light situations. Each difficulty or new experience makes me a better professional. I learn what to plan for, how to be flexible and what to coach my couples to consider when planning their day. No matter what industry you are in, don’t forget to try new things!
I was contacted by Stacey a couple days later and we set up a networking meeting. As a business owner, it is so beneficial to make connections and grow relationships with other local professionals. I highly value having a list of service providers that I trust to refer my friends and clients to. Stacey explained how passionate she is about changing the face of her industry and calling her peers to a higher service standard. She hopes to see more diversity in the professional world, specifically more women entrepreneurs. Stacey enjoys using her time to network and invest in the community as well.
What is one tip you would give other self-employed professionals who are just starting out? Business can be rocky, especially at the beginning, so it’s important to keep developing ideas—to be innovative, to try new things. Don’t become stagnant. Keep learning—attend conferences, workshops, webinars. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else. Observe and learn what your clients want, and adjust your services accordingly. I’ve learned in life that things often don’t go as planned. This is true in business as well. Don’t fight it; go with it! Being stuck in one certain mindset can be damaging to your business’s success.
Victor and Suzie decided to have an intimate ceremony with only family and close friends. It was a very special event. We definitely laughed during the couple’s lighthearted vows. There were so many smiles as we saw Suzie and Victor’s commitment celebrated. What beautiful moments I get to document as a wedding photographer!
Every business need a strong brand. A large part of building an iconic brand is having professional images that show off your services, products or people. Check out a previous post I wrote about this topic here: “Commercial Branding Shoot. Why You Need One”. Working with local Toledo professionals to create high quality branding images has been a rewarding experience and I enjoy seeing how my services can make a difference in their business.
Danielle contacted me about having some photos done of her and her dog, King. Danielle struggles with some really tough physical and mental health issues. She told me how King has stepped up to assist her in so many ways. King steps in when she has panic attacks and helps to snap Danielle out of the anxiety. He also helps to remind her to take her medication and he is by her side every moment of her day. King was genetically tested and it turns out he is part pit bull and part bull mastiff. He definitely got the size and looks more from his pit bull genes but some of his personality really did reflect the mastiff side. King is loyal and would give his life to protect his family.
Isabella is a self-taught makeup guru and her look was flawless. Bella also does modeling, and working with her was a dream. She knew exactly what to do, and how to look great. I never expect this from my seniors, but it definitely makes my job easier. Bella is truly beautiful, inside and out, and I feel that we captured her personality perfectly.
Commercial photography makes up a good portion of my business. I work with a variety of businesses and professionals in different fields. Some need branding images for their websites, some need social media content, and others are looking for headshots. Every business needs documentation of their product, service or professional faces. High quality commercial images play a large role in marketing to potential clients. I really enjoy being able to offer this service to Toledo area businesses. I love getting to know more about other professions and brands as I work with them on their commercial photos.
Jillian was the winner of my Pet Photo Shoot giveaway for my Fluff-uary pet event. Jilly had over 100 votes cast to help her win the contest. Jillian’s owner, MK, is a student at BGSU in the music program. MK brings Jillian to campus regularly and she has a real fan following. I was told the whole orchestra was voting for her.
Jessica contacted me in the fall to schedule some branding images for her new proofreading and editing business. I have known Jessica since I was in high school and we worked together for a long time. I know how much she loves her dog and I wasn’t surprised at all when she asked to let Rosie join in some of the photos.
Interviewing a writer about her dog produced a lot of amazing information. Check out Rosie’s story and Jessica’s insights into her dog.
The best part about Lauren’s clothing choices was that they matched. She chose one color scheme for her whole photo shoot. Black and white were a perfect fit for her elegant personality. Choosing a color scheme, can make outfit choices much less stressful. When you are required to follow a theme, it is less likely you will become overwhelmed by all of your options. This idea can be applied to family photo sessions and headshots as well.
March 2019 was my fourth year documenting the Water for Ishmael annual fundraising event. Each spring the staff, students, and volunteers put together a special event to raise funds for scholarships for ESL students. Dinner is served and includes dishes from many different countries. Some food is homemade and some is donated by a variety of local restaurants. The event also involves a silent auction, a bazar, cultural demonstrations and traditional dance performances.
Headshots are important in the professional world. Not only do they impact how your peers see you, they can direct how your potential clients think about you. Just like your store front, logo, and website create an experience for your customers, your own image is also an important part of your brand. A person who presents a sloppy appearance could be labeled as someone who might not take pride in their work. A nervous or angry expression could make clients wonder if you are difficult to work with. An outdated headshot may remind you of a younger self, but it will confuse peers when they meet you in person.
I really enjoy working with guys because they come as they are. They don’t have quite as many concerns about wearing the magazine-worthy outfit that some celebrity said they should. I have worked with several who knew how to dress. They looked put together, and they chose pieces that showed off their own style and made them feel comfortable. I have also worked with several young men who struggled to pick more than one look. I enjoy being able to learn a little bit about each, and coach them in their wardrobe choices when needed.
As the girls got ready, Ryan spent his time focusing on the bride leaving me to get details and more candid shots. Being a second shooter, allows me to experience the day from a different perspective. I can be more creative and play with new ideas. Later, I get to use those tested ideas on my own clients. From the shoji in the room to the mirrors in the hall, the Westin gave me much to experiment with.
Watching siblings play and interact at family photo sessions is always interesting. Some siblings tease, some wrestle, some even argue. I never expect kids to be perfectly behaved. Often, the adults struggle to listen to directions themselves. Not everyone feels comfortable and confident in front of a camera. That is ok. I make every effort to create a lighthearted and comfortable experience for all my clients. Sometimes, that means tossing the plan and trying something different.
We have had a special promotion running this month! February has been deemed FLUFF-uary! The whole month has been focusing on pets and animals! I have decided to give away a pet photography session to one lucky winner! All entrants were required to post their pet with a brief bio on our Facebook page. Now how do they win? You get to be involved in choosing the winner! Read through this article and pick your favorite fluffy entry. Fill out the form at the bottom with your choice's number to cast your vote! Entrant with the most votes wins!
You don’t have to be a photographer to enjoy documenting your life through photos. Many of us snap pictures on our cell phones on a daily basis. Kids, food, pets, friends, and activities; do you ever encounter a subject that you wish you could take better photos of? All living creatures are a bit of a challenge. They move, the make weird expressions, they don’t always listen or know how to pose. In this article I specifically want to talk about photographing your wiggly woofers.
When we scheduled June’s photos, she had to bring her sister, Paizley, along. Kysha recommended the Whiteford StonceCo Community Park in Temperance, MI. June was a couple of months post-op and her surgical site was all healed up. She jumped out of the car, ready to play, as though she had lived her whole life on three legs. It is truly inspiring to see the hardships dogs can overcome to have a good life.
Fall leaves were really showing and the whole area was full of golden colors. Unfortunately the day we scheduled happened to be one of the colder days of October. The girls were not excited to take their coats off. Luckily, Jay stepped in to be the hero of the day. He played fun games with the girls to keep them distracted from the cold. He was positive and upbeat and the girls fed off of his energy. Cassandra and Jay make family one of their highest priorities and it shows in their relationships with their daughters.
Fall was just at its peak at the Toledo Botanical Garden when we met for these portraits in November. The boys were quick to smile and help their sister have a good time too. I love seeing siblings interact with each other. Toward the end of the session we let lose and played in the leaves. Elaina did not seem super impressed, but the boys loved it.
When I ask couples what they most want documented, I get a wide variety of answers. For some it is the details, for others the wedding party as a group. Mackenzie and Ian said that they wanted me to document people having a good time at their wedding. I can 100% do that. It is one of my favorite things. Their guests made my job easy. Everyone had a wonderful time dancing, and eating, and congratulating the couple. The reception was held at the Master’s Building at the Wyandot County Fairgrounds. It was spacious and comfortable. The DJ, Nyte Flyte, kept the timeline on track and gave all the guests some great entertainment.
Holly is a Nurse Practitioner. When I asked her how she felt about entering a new decade she said, “I’m excited about turning 30! It will be a new adventure”. What a fabulous outlook. Holly was so wonderful to work with. She was positive and completely laid back. We had the session in the studio space at the Big Fab Lab in Bowling Green. Holly decided not to risk the Ohio weather by shooting outdoors. It was the right call because all of those balloons would have been blown away.
Rachel and Forrest were a dream to work with. They were fun and relaxed. They were cute and VERY into each other. It is so refreshing to see people who are so passionate about their relationship. We started the session by exploring the Toledo Botanical Gardens together. The gardens have so many unique spots, they provided some beautiful variety! Next, we went to the cute main street area of Downtown Sylvania for a slightly more urban look. I am so happy with how this session turned out. Congratulations Rachel and Forrest!
Witch is your favorite? It started as one model… simple. Then I had two, and then three. At this point I had decided to do a sort of boho-witch theme. I began researching costumes and culture. I discovered that in the Wicca belief system, each point of the pentagram represents an element. Air. Spirit. Earth. Fire. Water.
Now I had to have five models.
I have many adventures as a second shooter. I shoot weddings all over Ohio, not only for myself, but with other photographers. I have an awesome network of wedding photographers who give me work when I am not busy with my own clients. This season I have 17 dates set up to second shoot. That is a lot of Saturdays, but I truly love it. Everyone I work for does things differently and I often learn something new. Being a second shooter allows me to experiment with creative techniques and hone my skills.
Wildwood Metropark was a perfect choice for this summer day. Teresa said that they DID NOT coordinate their outfits, but look how they all chose complimenting neutral tones. The Rice family is very laid back and they preferred not to make their portraits too formal. My goal as a Toledo family photographer is to make my client’s photos as genuine and comfortable as possible. I love to learn about each person’s goals and concerns regarding their session. Learn a little more about the Rice family.
During the session, Ted was about eaten alive by mosquitos but he played it cool and you would never know. Brinley loved exploring the park and walking with her daddy. We got to capture some really cute moments of these four interacting together. Secor Metropark is a place I have not shot at in a while. Since moving back to Sylvania, I am really enjoying exploring this park. It was the perfect location for this family session.
There are numerous things to consider when thinking about what to wear for your family pictures. Colors, patterns and styles are all part of the, don't mind my pun, picture, but don't just think about the externals, think about your family as a whole and what they are going to feel comfortable standing in front of the camera in. Some people have a hard enough time getting their picture taken and feel totally awkward in front of the lens, but then add to that trying to make them wear clothing that is not their style or color preference and the smiles are not going to be very natural.