Sunday, December 27, 2009

Newborn Portraits | Rochester NY On- Location Newborn Baby Photographer

Lots of fun today with a tiny little newborn baby girl! A family I've worked with many, many times which is one of my favorite aspects of what I do... getting to be part of so many amazing events in someone's life. This was an on-location session at the client's home, and it's a great option for you new moms out there. Stay home in the warmth and let me bring everything to you. You don't even have to get out of your PJ's if you don't want to :-)

At just about 10 days old, this little lady was very alert and only slept for a few minutes! So peaceful...

We tried hard to get her into a cozy cocoon wrap, but it she wasn't having any part of it. With newborns, you have to be flexible and just roll with their personality! I love the contrast of the soft baby bundle with the bold texture of the carpet.

I bought this fabric last week and was really anxious to try it out today. Might be my favorite shot of the day... love the bold, rich color and her alert expression.

Thanks for letting me play today... hope you enjoy them so far!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Feeding the Chickadees

Ben & I went with my parents and a few other families out to Mendon Ponds Park yesterday for a fun morning of feeding the chickadees! It was the perfect day... 30+ degrees, no wind, just a touch of sun and not much snow on the ground.

The birds feed right out of your hand, and it's a really cool experience! If you've never done it, you should check it out. Park at the Nature center and take the Birdsong trail right from there. It only took a little over an hour to walk the trail including stops to feed the birdies along the way.

Ben loves being outside, and he had so much fun.

I love a day of outside fun! Have a fabulous day everyone!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Newborn options for 2010

2010... just a week or so away already! One of the new features I'm offering for Newborn Photography is simply more options. My goal is always to give my clients what they need, what they want, and what they can afford.

With in-studio sessions as low as $25, it's the affordable way to get great portraits of your newborn, without relying on the hospital. Perfect for newborns that are past that super sleepy stage of the first week or two, or if you simply prefer the traditional look.

A few examples:

This is my favorite... give me an hour or two with your little one and we can create some absolutely stunning images. It only works when baby is under 14 days because they're extra sleepy and squishy, so it's best to call me while you're still pregnant to discuss your needs. Contact me for a quote on this custom session!

These were both taken when the babies were about 10 days old:

Whether you want traditional or baby art, the session can be held right in your home! I know how hard it is to get ANYHWERE in the early weeks, especially in the winter, so this is a great option. Contact me for a quote on this custom session!

These were taken at a clients home in Walworth:

I have another on-location session this weekend for a tiny little girl about a week old, I can't wait. Some great new fabrics & props lined up to test out (baby willing). 1 year old twins this weekend too! Look for new posts soon and have a great rest of your week!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Omni Group | Rochester, NY Corporate Event Photographer

I've had the priviledge to work with The Omni Group a few times now. They are a local company specializing in 403b retirement savings plan administration, and they've had a lot to celebrate this year including being #15 in Rochester's Top 100 companies!

All of the owners and managers were in town for a swanky party at ARTISANworks.

Lots of fun:

Lots of food:

And lots of interesting art pieces everywhere you look:

A cool place to check out sometime - and a fantastic place for an event large or small!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ben: almost 11 month portraits

When you're a photographer, you end up with the most randomly timed portraits, because you do them when the mood strikes you & not by the calendar. So today I grabbed Ben for a few quick shots, after I discovered I didn't take a single frame of my child in the month of November. Not one. Not even a snapshot with my pocket camera!!! It was that busy of a month. Now the mayhem has come to a screaching halt and I have a few minutes to breathe, which is always fun but just for a week or two :-)

Next week he'll be 11 months old. HEY, WHERE DID MY BABY GO... THIS LOOKS LIKE A LITTLE BOY!!!

If we're friends on Facebook you probably saw the video too.... HE'S WALKING. Oh boy, mommy's in trouble now :-) Happy almost Friday everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I love good customer service

Just wanted to take a minute to thank Dr. Ryan Swain of "6 Month Braces" in North Chili.... I had cosmetic braces in 2006 and he repaired a tooth as part of the whole cosmetic overhaul. Well it broke this week when I was eating a cookie. Darn it!!!

His staff got me in the very next day, and he fixed it (better than before even) and DID IT WITHOUT CHARGING ME. Now that's some awesome customer service.

He's amazingly talented to boot. Awesome

Thursday, December 10, 2009

4 month portraits | Rochester, NY Modern Infant, Baby, Child Photographer

So many babies lately, I love it!!!! I had this little guy in a few weeks ago when he was 10 weeks, and he was back for 4 month portaits this week. No, not following the usual 3-6-9-12 month portrait schedule, just getting them done when the time feels right, very cool!

It's amazing how much he's changed in just a few short weeks! He hasn't found his feet yet, but he looooooves his hands, lol. Here are a few of my favorites:

His mommy is a wonderful massage therapist here in Greece - let me know if you need one and I'll give you her info!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

6 month & sibling portraits | Rochester, NY Modern Infant, Baby, Child Photographer

I met this family almost 6 months ago for an on-location newborn session. (You can see the original session by clicking here).

I love seeing babies grow & change and 6 months is such a delicious age, don't you agree???

The kids arrived with hats on (just because it was cold out) but mom said we could do a few shots with them on first. YAY!! She had hats ready for the newborn shoot too... I *heart* kids in hats!

Big brother is at a fun age to work with... old enough to take some direction, and loves silly conversations - love that smile!!

I've had this big basket for years but have never used it... it was perfect! The little guy isn't quite sitting up yet, so we used a Bumbo chair in there. So cute!

Great to see you guys again, looking forward to 1 year/5 year portraits in the spring!! :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Announcements for 2010

I can't believe this year is coming to a close in just a few short weeks, where does the time go. It's been a profound year for me both on a personal level, and professional level.

My favorite personal image - my son at 11 days old!

A few of my favorite client images:

Since starting my business in 2004, every year I like to look back and see what worked well, and what needs to be changed moving forward.

I'm very excited to make the following announcements for 2010 sessions!

Session Fee Arrangement: Session fees have been lowered! They cover my time for the session (set up, paperwork, consultations/questions, the session itself, downloading & backing up your images!), custom editing and enhancement of your images, and a private on-line gallery to view your images. All prints and products are now available separately. As a bonus to this structure, I no longer have to charge you sales tax on the session fee! YAY!!
30 Minute In-Studio – session fee $25
1 Hour In-Studio – session fee $50
1 Hour Outdoors – session fee $75

Session Design: No limits on the number of subjects, outfits, or backdrops to be used! It’s your time, use it however you’d like.

Specialty Sessions: Newborn Baby Art, Baby’s First Year, Cake Smash, On-Location, and Senior Portraits which cannot be accommodated in a standard session. Details will be posted on my website soon, or contact me if you need information right away!

Prints & Products: Still lots of freedom to buy what you want, when you want. Sessions carry just a $100 order minimum.

Individual prints are available ‘ala carte’ wallet-size and 5x7 through 24x36, starting at $12.

Print Collections are attractively priced at a discount and include items that cannot be purchased ‘ala carte’, starting at $175.

Additional prints and Digital Files can be added to any Collection at a 50% discount!

Payment Options: I’m working with my bank to accept credit cards directly (in addition to using Paypal). I’ll keep you posted!

Portrait Club: Clients who book more than one session per year, listen up! Book any (3) sessions and receive a 30-minute session FREE. Ask me for details!

I got to work with a lot of familiar faces this year, as well as meet many new families. I can't wait to see what 2010 brings! Have a great rest of your week... new session post coming this weekend!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From the Weekend

I'm behind on blogging! I hate when I'm behind on blogging!! It's a rare occurance, but I've been busy getting things ready for 2010 and time is just getting away from me. So I'm going to just quickly blog both of this weekends sessions in the same post!

This little cutie is the cousin of another little peanut I had in a few weeks ago. She saw those images and asked Gramma "why don't I get a photo session?". So Gramma called me up, and I was able to fit her in that day since she was only in town for the weekend.

A few of my favorites so far:

Later that day was a session with 5 teenage siblings (there's a set of triplets!). They were all home visiting from college and/or had the night off from work, so it was a perfect opportunity to get them together. A nice casual session with each wearing a shirt to represent their school.

Look for posts soon with all of the 2010 updates!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm looking for a few good clients...

Ok so I HAVE a few good clients already- many, many GREAT clients actually, and I love your loyalty! This post is a follow up to what I learned from my chain studio experience. I learned (all over again) why I love what I do, and what separates D'Marie Photography from "those guys".

I love that my studio is private, and that your appointment time is your time. You never have to worry about waiting when you arrive, and you never have to worry about being pushed out. This is especially helpful for sessions with little ones, because their attention span is short! If you had to waste precious minutes waiting around, they might be all done before it even started. I keep 2 hours between appointments so you never feel rushed.

I love that you can make your session custom, if you want to. Clients often IM or message me on Facebook, email or call to discuss their session. Clothes, backdrops, props, ideas, whatever! The more I know about what you're looking for, the more I can tailor it to fit. And if you don't know what you want, that's ok too. I love a client who trusts my creative instinct!

I love that my backdrops don't have wrinkles. Seriously, I do, lol. Go back & look at portraits you've had done at some of the chains... there's usually a 'wrinkled bedsheet' looking backdrop. I use the highest quality muslin canvas backdrops, which are custom painted by actual artists who sign the back of each one. And I use gorgeous seamless paper for a sleek modern look and fun colors. I have (6) canvas and (10) colors of paper now, and I'm constantly adding more.

I love that every one of your images is enhanced and perfected. There's no magical software that just improves your images, this is a process I do by hand for each & every photo. Yes there is software involved, but it's still a process. One that took me many years of studying to learn, and I'm always looking for more techniques to take things to the next level. I read an article on a photography forum a week or so ago that laid out what goes in to each session. Consultations, studio preparation, downloading & backing up images, enhancements, loading galleries, answering questions, placing orders.... I easily spend 10-15 hours making every session perfect!

I love that my clients understand there is a difference in the experience and quality of what they receive in my studio. I know times are tough financially, and sometimes if you have rock-solid nerves you can get in & out of a chain with a few OK prints, and not spend all that much. I get that, and I'll never compete with that. Did you know that for most chains that are attached to stores, their portrait studio is a "loss leader"? That means it's a product they KNOW won't make them much money (or actually be a loss) but it gets you in the door hopefully to spend money on other things. I don't have t-shirts and laundry soap for sale, so that's not a game I can play. But I am very upfront with my pricing, and you know that for just a little bit more you can get beautiful portraits, enjoy the experience, and build a friendship along the way.

So I'm looking for a few (more) good clients, and if you're new to reading my blog or following my work, I hope you'll come along for the ride! I have exciting things lined up for 2010. Look for the announcement with full details to be posted here soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My experience at a chain studio...

I want to tell you a story about my experience at a local chain studio a week or so ago. Not from a photographer's perspective, but from a mom's perspective. I'm always telling my client's how the experience at my studio is so significantly more enjoyable, custom, exclusive, (not to mention produces high quality PROFESSIONAL images that they cannot achieve).

But I had never actually been through the process at another studio... so a friend and I took along our willing little models and off we went.

The studio opened at 9am, and we had a 9:20 appointment. When I called to book I called a local number, but was greeted by "what city & state please". National call center, hmm, already I'm not thrilled.

We arrive just a minute or two ahead of schedule, and shortly after are greeted and told that they'll be with us soon. It's a nice waiting area with modern couches and a lego table that they boys enjoy.

There are 2 studio rooms where they take the photos, and you can see them from the waiting area. You can also HEAR them... lots of high pitched hooting & hollering trying to get some little one to look at the camera.

10 minutes or so later it's our turn, and the photographer tries to make "friends" with the kids. They're not excited. Ben is leery of men anyways, and my friend's little guy is 2. He just wants to run around, haha. And the way the facility is laid out is very distracting. You can see everything from any spot you stand, and it just keeps grabbing his attention.

A wrinkled white sheet is draped and we're told to place the kids in a specific spot. We struggle to get them sitting and smiling, and mr. photographer will not take a shot unless they are on that exact mark, doing as he requested. This is going to be a long day.

It might not have been overly successful, but I will say that the photographer tried hard to get the kids to smile. After 30 minutes of frustration, we were finally done and I couldn't have been happier. THEN COMES THE SALES PITCH. High-pressure sales pitch. Think: timeshare sales. We're brought to a table outside of the studio rooms, and it has a nice big plasma screen. Before I even know what's happening there are 3 images up and I need to pick my favorite of them, in about 5 seconds. Next set of 3, same thing - process is repeated until we have narrowed down the images to about 15. WAIT, I ONLY GOT TO SEE THOSE IMAGES FOR A FEW SECONDS!! Too bad, they're gone now and you only get to look at the 'favorites'.

Keep in mind that after 30 minutes of wrangling the kids for photos, they are all done. Hungry, tired, bored, and not wanting to sit. But we don't have an option... you see your ONLY CHANCE TO PURCHASE IS RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT. THAT'S IT. THEY DELETE THE IMAGES AFTER YOU LEAVE.

He started with a $300 package and worked his high-pressure sales tactics to try to persuade us. No. Take something away and it's $250. We keep playing this game, and he keeps pressuring us "it's only $100 for each of you!". Ugh, I don't need this guilt!

Besides the kids fussing and crying, now the studios are working with the next families and the hooting & hollering resumes. Directly next to where we're trying to concentrate & make a decision on what to purchase. My friend's little guy goes running away, and she goes after him. The photographer-turned-salesman STOPS and says I CAN'T CONTINUE UNTIL SHE COMES BACK. We asked him to speed it up, clearly our children won't make it any longer, and neither will our nerves. His answer.... no, I'm just going to finish going through this.

The waiting area is filling up now with another 3 or 4 families, another 2 in sales presentations, and a few more in the studios. Hectic to say the least.

Oh, and can we talk about the images for a minute.... they're not good. Not AWFUL, but not good. They're definitely nothing I would ever show a client. And yet, as we're sitting there we're both feeling GUILTY. This photographer is sitting in front of us, and we have to keep saying to him over & over again "no, I'm not spending my money on those images you just took". That's an uncomfortable situation to be in!!

We finally make our meager selection (this is just an experiment after all, and the images are nothing I'd put on my wall) and I'm going to assume they are paid by commission because he quickly (and with annoyance) dismissed us to the cashier.

Whoa.... just thinking back to that day makes me feel anxious all over again. The end result was a mediocre image and lots of frustration. Definitely nothing I would ever do again. And now I see why new clients tell me that often (I went to such & such and it was a nightmare, never again!!!!).

There is a positive side to my experience, and it's that I learned some valuable lessons on how I operate my own business. Look for Part 2 of this blog post tomorrow - "I'm looking for a few good clients...."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sibling Portraits | Rochester, NY Modern Family Photographer

This is the busiest time of year for child & family portraits! I met this family earlier this year for little guy's 1 year portraits & cake smash (so much fun!!) and they're another department store convert, yay!

Having an older sibling along with any kids in the 1-3 range is always good, and this big brother was especially helpful. He was so aware of the camera & ready all the time so I could get the shot when the little guy was ready.

Mom and I spent a lot of emails earlier in the week discussing what she wanted from the session - minimal props (and whether she could bring along a family heirloom sleigh - yes!), black background, and specifically a request for a nice face close up. She even sent me some sample photos she liked that she found online! Awesome!

I didn't realize I got this shot when it was happening, but it's my absolute favorite from the day:

Big brother missed his school portait this year so we grabbed a few also:

Another cute one together - wait maybe this one is my favorite, haha:

And just to bring a smile to your day here's a funny one:

Great to see you guys again, and I'm looking forward to their outdoor session next spring. Can we just skip winter and do it now?? :-)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sibling Portraits | Rochester, NY Modern Family Photographer

This adorable little family is related to another one of my clients, and had previously tried a session at a department store. Needless to say it was frustrating, and their relative pursuaded them to give me a try. I love department store converts, lol!

A perfect example of how super cute outfits can influence a shot.... this is one of my favorites of the three of them together (which was not an easy feat!!). If you're a facebook fan you saw this same shot posted there, but edited in a different way.

I always like to get some individual shots too. Big brother wasn't giving up smiles easily, but I love how he can't contain the smile in his eyes!

Little brother is at a great age for photos, where he doesn't run away and digs my silly humor. Adorable!

Little sister was none too happy with me but we got a few shots before the tears arrived!

I couldn't resist a brothers shot in those matching hats... could it be any cuter???

Thanks for giving me a try, and I hope you enjoy the preview!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Junior Portraits | Rochester, NY Modern Portraits

Today I had a session with a beautiful girl whose family I've known since I was a little girl. Somehow she's a teenager now (and I'm old, lol). Working very hard to accomplish her goal of graduating high school early, she's tackling Junior & Senior year at the same time! So these were the practice run for next summer's full-blown senior portrait session :-)

Seriously, every frame... GORGEOUS. Her mom asked about glamour processing that they saw on a friend's portraits, so I'm showing this first image in a traditional edit, and glamour edit. The difference is subtle (especialy on a face without any blemishes!) but it just makes the skin glow a little!



A few of my other favorites...

Mom wanted a few shots of them together. I took some traditional ones, but for the last few shots I asked for a little creative license. I wanted mom a bit out of focus in the background for a cool looking-thru-time effect. See where she gets her good looks?? UM HELLO, THIS IS FIERCE!

It was fun girls, hope you enjoy the preview & I'll let you know as soon as the gallery is ready!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Looking ahead to 2010

Wow, I can't believe we're only about 6 weeks away from the end of the year. It hardly seems possible! This year I learned a lot... motherhood is not only the most profound thing I've done on a personal level, but it has helped me grow in a big way professionally too. NOW I GET IT, MOMS.

I learned the studio waiting room needed to be more child-friendly, with less clutter and more toys (which are cleaned obsessively!).

I learned what kids can do at what ages, and how that translates into capturing great images.

I learned that from the time kids are walking until about 4, the session will be hectic, but we'll still get the shots.

I learned that outdoor sessions can be a great option for busy little ones because they can run around and have fun.

I learned that sometimes it's useful to put the camera on a tripod and use the remote trigger.

I learned that some props work well, some don't work at all, and there are some I still need to get.

I learned more techniques to enhance your photos.

I learned that I love bouncing ideas off my new photographer friend (DAILY).

And I learned that there are some changes I want to make for next year!

(That was a really long ramble, so if you're still reading, THANKS, lol. And now for the interesting part that you might actually care about...)

I'll be announcing the first 2010 change (well this is actually an ADDITION) as a sneak peek on the D'Marie Photography Facebook fan page ONLY on Black Friday, November 27th. ARE YOU A FAN YET? Find the icon right here on the blog and become a fan today!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family Portraits | Rochester, NY Modern Family Photographer

This is my 2nd family with triplets!! And my hat goes off to them because I can only imagine how much work that is! With the kids being under 3, it was a very busy session. The only other time they've attempted a family photo was about 2 years ago, at Sears, and mom said it was a disaster. Sadly not a surprise, I hear this A LOT from new clients. The big chains rush you in and rush you out and it's exasperating for everyone.

It may not be any easier for me to capture the shot with kids this age, but at least the EXPERIENCE is much easier :-)

This is my favorite family shot from the day, with the little guy in the middle even smiling! YAY!!

What you should know about this shot is, when I first saw it I was SO BUMMED because it was almost perfect. Except mom's eyes were closed! Lesson for my clients: I'm very determined at every session to get the perfect family photo, at least one worthy of your wall, even if it takes a little photoshop work to swap out a head, lol. Here's the original shot:

The kids didn't sit for long up on the trunk, and the reason I was so excited that little guy in the blue shirt was smiling in the shot above, was because he was not happy with me for the rest of the session. Case in point, haha:

Kids at this age only give you 15-20 minutes of attention before they are just DONE. Every client thinks it's their kids, and they apologize, but honestly it's every kid from 1-4. It's totally normal! So we gave the kids a break to play with the super cool microwave toy in the meeting room and took a few shots of mom & dad. They haven't had any pics taken since their wedding!!

I hope you enjoy the preview, and it was great to work with you!!