Monday, May 10, 2010

Beat Back Blah Photos

I get pretty tired of the "kid against the tree" photo that you see year after year and page after page in every senior yearbook. Portraits should be a little bit exciting and different. They shouldn't trigger the yawn response. So I was thrilled to meet Bekki and learn that she wanted an urban look to her images. She met me at the skate park in St. Johnsbury to start our session. The skate park has large murals that look like very artistic and socially aware graffiti with an unkempt look that gives the shots an edge. When you put a beautiful young lady in this setting it is like finding a flower growing up through the crack in the sidewalk--stunning. That dandelion on your lawn with it's hundred cousins doesn't even register but in the crack of the sidewalk it suddenly becomes note-worthy and beautiful.

Our next stop was in the rail yard where the sun was streaming in emphasising Bekki's blonde hair and blue eyes. The tracks guide your eyes straight to Bekki and she is the last thing you expect to see there. For more of this photo shoot check out the whole gallery here:

So, don't be afraid to get creative with your portrait and step away from the ordinary. It pays with truly unique and surprisingly beautiful images. One more example before I go is my three sons, all dressed for my oldest's wedding shot at one of those horrid motels on the steps. Setting certainly isn't everything!

Safegaurd you memories

The other day my neighbor, a bride from three years ago, showed up at my door. Her father had died and she wanted images for the funeral which I was very happy to provide. She also had moved and her disc had been damaged and her wedding pictures lost. This is the third request for a new disc this month. Life has a way of causing loss and destruction over the years. It's a good thing she had her pictures professionally shot because they will be in my archive for as long as I'm around--hopefully a good long time!

Whenever there is a disaster, like a flood or a house fire, and the newsman shows up to interview the victims they always say the same thing...that the insurance will rebuild their home and replace their furniture but a lifetime of memories is gone for good. That won't happen if you use a reliable photographer. Having a backup somewhere else is the best insurance for your memories that you can have.

Make sure that your professional photographer has your back...ask about your backup. I have met people who shoot weddings who just get done at the end of the night and hand the couple a disc. First of all, any editing that would improve the photos falls to you now...most people don't have the costly professional editing software to do this properly (without damaging the photos). You pay a lot for professional photography and you shouldn't have to spend the hours editing (often 24-40 hours) your own shots. Second, you probably can't count on a backup.

Discs begin to degrade after about three to five years. Your photos should be on your hard-drive and your disc and the disc should be checked every year at least once. Hard drives fail without warning and take your images with them so make sure you have both. Finally have a backup somewhere else. A family member's house can be good but remember to check the disc every year. Your professional photographer will keep your images in two places as well to insure they aren't lost.

Another good idea is to have portraits done each year...especially of children. Portraits are not costly and you would have a photo-record of your child's growth that would be safegaurded against disaster. It may seem like a good deal to go to Walmart or to use the school photograph to commemorate those precious memories but they do not have your back--or your backup. I'd like to be watching the news sometime and hear someone say to the reporter "I did lose a lot but fortunately I have a backup for my most precious memories" that would be a happy ending.