Spokesmodel Fun Times A Mill-i-an With Gillian!

We have had an amazing and rewarding winter (and spring) getting to know our spokesmodels of the class of 2015 and photographing them.  We are finishing with a flourish just like we started since this class is strong through and through.  We have three more to present to you starting with Gillian.  Of this year’s spokesmodels we have known her the least amount of time and yet we definitely connected with her and her mom right away when we first sat down with them.  We were excited for this session and we definitely had spokesmodel fun times a mill-i-an with Gillian!  Haha!

We started in the studio just briefly to get a couple quick shots on the black background.  Here is one of our favorites:

Spokesmodel Fun

Then we headed outside for a perfect day – the weather was beautiful!  Gillian’s mom even stopped at the very cool local shop Jen’s Gifts Of Love to pick up some amazing Traverse City Cherry scones to take on location with us.  Just had to give that shout out because they were that good and we love little local joints like that…  But now back to our stunning model!!!

Spokesmodel Fun

We have some really nice back light on the photo above as well as the next one.  We love getting out on the trails in the parks around town especially after this harsh winter and there really are some great ones to choose from!  We have our favorite spots, and as much as we love the meadow we went to next we just had to focus in on Gillian and Gillian only for this photo…  this shot is such a winner!

Spokesmodel Fun

Here is the behind the scenes vine from the session.  We love these!

We were doing really well on time so we went to one more spot we had never photographed before and we love the water as a backdrop!

Spokesmodel Fun

We have images from two more spokesmodel sessions to post so stay tuned for more spokesmodel fun coming your way!  Meanwhile we hope you enjoyed these photos of Gillian!  We certainly enjoyed our time with her!

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Doug’s Rant – Don’t Make These 5 Marketing Mistakes Online

People make mistakes online when trying to advance their interests all the time.  Some of the miscues are flat out awful, but some come from someone just trying to make a dollar and not being aware of the etiquette on social media sites.  I figured I would try to come to the rescue with 5 tips that can apply to you personally or your brand.  So please, don’t make these 5 marketing mistakes online.  Here we go…

5 marketing mistakes online

Ugh – CLEARLY an online marketing mistake…!

  1. Do NOT send requests to strangers on LinkedIn without a professional (or any) headshot in your profile.  Why would I accept a request from a stranger with no picture for me to see if I know them?  I’ve posted about this before regarding Facebook too but I feel it is much worse on LinkedIn.  Some people venture on to Facebook without knowing much about it and are just getting their feet wet.  Fine.  But LinkedIn is a different story – people are literally there trying to network this way.  Like going to a networking event with a bag over your head.
  2. Don’t forget to be social on social media.  I wrote an entire article about this on another blog.  If you are posting things but not engaging with people it is like going to a party and talking at people, and then walking away when they open their mouths to reply.  Make sure your content isn’t all about you, and even if your content is fantastic be sure to reply to people who take the time to comment on it.  This applies to every social media site.  Go to their page and see what they are up to as well.  Be genuine about it because people can spot a fake.  Comment back and build those relationships.
  3. Don’t set up your new business on Facebook as a personal profile.  This can be an honest mistake but it is a big one.  So your brand is a female born in Detroit?  Tell me is your brand single or in a relationship?  Not only does this look silly and signal to people that you don’t quite have a grasp on what you’re doing, but you lose out on many tools for monitoring your progress with the data Facebook provides to business pages.  If you have already made this mistake you should correct it – make an announcement on your personal page that you are launching a proper Facebook business page for your brand and invite people to like it.
  4. Dont mispel werds ore yooz inkorect grammer.  It reely duz hert you’re kredibillity.  Enuff sed.  Hear iz ann inphografic too hellp yoo whith grammmr.
  5. Don’t bore us (or offend us) with your politics.  While I think it is never a great idea to espouse your politics online, it is even more important that you not do this with your brand.  Find a way to inject your personality into your brand because that’s important, but you have to be able to do it without being too personal.  This is another one I wrote about a while back on this blog.

There are certainly plenty of others (like not posting more than one Instagram per day for example).  I am willing to admit I have made plenty of mistakes myself but I see these out there a lot and they have been on my mind lately.  So make sure you don’t make these 5 marketing mistakes online!  What other mistakes have you made or see others making on a daily basis?

 

 

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Rachel Rocked Her Spokesmodel Session!

Yes Rachel rocked her spokesmodel session and we loved it!  Rachel and our own daughter are friends which made this extra special for us, and we must say our Lacey has good taste in friends.  We love Rachel’s red hair and green eyes and could not wait to get outside on location with her in some rural and natural settings.  The red hair against a barn for example?  Yes!  Ally was brimming with ideas for this one and Rachel delivered for sure.

Rachel Rocked Her Spokesmodel Session

We started out with our black and blowy set up and a green shirt to bring out Rachel’s green eyes.  Just stunning really!  We love this.  That was all we did in the studio.  As we mentioned in a previous post our remaining spokesmodel sessions for the class of 2015 will mostly be outside now that the weather is (mostly) warming up.

Next we went to a barn as we mentioned earlier and we got this awesome result.  So pretty!

Rachel Rocked Her Spokesmodel Session

Here is our behind the scenes vine of the session starting with the barn and then moving on to a trail where we focused on some more natural settings of trees and water.

Ally is in love with this next photo – she has always had a thing for the pensive look and the eyelashes.  Beautiful and peaceful…

Rachel Rocked Her Spokesmodel SessionThis last photo is definitely another winner.  It has become a very popular pose for our seniors and Rachel looks comfortable, at ease and so pretty!  The water is a great backdrop and this has been a great spot for us in the past.

Rachel Rocked Her Spokesmodel Session

We hope you enjoyed these!  We are proud to have such a great girl representing our studio and we think you will have to agree that Rachel rocked her spokesmodel session!

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A Pro At Two Months Old!

We had the total pleasure of photographing a family new to our studio with an awesome little smushy two month old baby boy with a thick head of hair and a totally easy disposition.  When babies get beyond two weeks old they start to sleep a little less and it is anybody’s guess how the session will go because sometimes their napping, eating, and pooping schedules start to shift around.  Well this little guy was so easy to work with!  He was really a pro at two months old!

Two Months Old

We did block off plenty of time for this session – sometimes for the little ones you need more time if you are waiting for eating, diaper changing and the like, but we did not need the extra time.  We started with some shots of just the baby since that was priority number one and he was fast asleep and ready to go.

Two Months Old

Next we brought the rest of the family into the act, and when I say the rest of the family I really mean the rest of the family – including the kitty!  We love when families bring the pets along, and Ally loves cats (we have two of our own).  What a nice family – and the dad loves football so that automatically makes him cool.

Here is a fun behind the scenes vine of the action!

…and the family portrait!

Two Months Old

As for the mom – what a sweetheart!  Ally captured this wonderful shot of her and her little man on the grey backdrop after we finished photographing on the white.  So sweet!

Two Months Old

We were so glad to meet these folks and we really enjoyed our time together with them.  Especially the baby – as I mentioned before anytime we get such a pro at two months old in our studio it makes for a fantastic day and fantastic photos!  We hope you enjoyed them!

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Marquian Is The Man!

The Saginaw Valley Cardinals are getting a great addition to their football team this fall.  A good football team is not just made of talent, but of good people.  It is the piece that might be least understood and toughest to measure, but it is critical.  You have to have guys with character who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and will pick each other up and play for each other – for the team!  We are certain Marquian is that type of guy.  His mom is a fantastic lady and we think Marquian is just a really nice kid.  We had a great session with him as you are about to see.  Indeed, Marquian is the man!!!

Marquian is the man

If you follow our blog you know we like to set things on fire so we started with Marquian in his jersey and a football.  And yes, that is a real flame!  Next we went with some style (and Marquian has plenty) against the grey background…

Marquian is the man

From there we went on location to get some city shots and we had some pretty good weather – maybe a tad chilly but it was fine.  Love the texture and color of the brick wall we found here.

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Next we have a little behind the scenes vine of the session!  You can see that we were indeed dealing with real fire in the studio!

In this last shot here you can see Marquian was clearly having fun during his photo session.  We certainly enjoyed our time with him and we can’t wait to follow his career at the next level in all he chooses to do!  We hope you enjoyed these photos – as we said before Marquian is the man!

Marquian is the man

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Kloe Melted Our Hearts!

We met a beautiful and amazing little girl named Kloe and yes, Kloe melted our hearts!  Kloe’s parents saw the wonderful piece done on our studio by Kam Carman on Fox 2 Detroit about photographing children with special needs and called our studio.  If you have not seen that feature you can watch it here.  Kloe has physical challenges that most people do not have, but you would never know it by her sunny outlook and her pretty smile.

Kloe Melted Our Hearts

We knew Kloe was special from the moment she came in with her parents for the consultation ahead of the photo shoot, and Kloe actually prepared for this session by practicing her poses in the weeks leading up to her photo session!  We had a great time – we put on music from the movie Frozen (very popular lately in our studio as you can imagine) and she was singing along.  She knew all the words to her favorite songs – so cute!  We started out on the white background as you can see above with some shots of Kloe by herself.  Kloe’s parents both got into the act as well.  We loved watching Kloe give her parents hugs and kisses over and over and over and we love these next two photos:

Kloe Melted Our HeartsKloe Melted Our Hearts

As is our usual habit here we captured a nice little behind-the-scenes vine of the action to share some of the fun:

Now we will share with you a photo of where we bumped it up a notch – not sure we have words for this one… well maybe one word – LOVE!!!

Kloe Melted Our Hearts

What a little rockstar!  We are so happy to know Kloe.  We look forward to more times together and watching her grow up!  Kloe melted our hearts without a doubt!

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Spokesmodeling in the City with Ethan!

We went spokesmodeling in the city with Ethan since the weather is finally starting to get warmer, and it was so nice to be able to get outside again without trekking through snow and freezing our tails off!  We will have a few more of these outdoor outings to come before we wrap it all up and move into the senior photos for the class of 2015!

We will “get out to the city” in just a minute.  With Ethan we started in the studio on the grey backdrop.Spokesmodeling in the city

We always talk about how dramatic the photos are on the black backdrop, but we think the photos on the grey have a dramatic look to them as well.  We think Ethan shows a relaxed confidence here.

Next it was time to go outside and in this case just like Jubilee’s spokesmodel session we stuck to an urban locale.  We will get back out into nature more as things start to bloom a little.

Spokesmodeling in the city

We like the grit and the grunge – sometimes it makes things a little more interesting.  We had a great time with Ethan and his mom came along for the shoot as well!

Here is a fun behind-the-scenes Vine of the action while we got the studio shot against the grey above as well as the next photo below against the brick wall.

Spokesmodeling in the city

The textures look great in black and white!  Be on the lookout for our remaining four spokesmodels for the class of 2015 over the next month!  For now we will leave you now with one more photo from the day we went spokesmodeling in the city with Ethan!  We hope you enjoyed these!

Spokesmodeling in the city

 

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The Best Photography Blogs On The Web – Part 2

I could sit at my computer and look at photos all day especially when it comes to great photo blogs.  I love all sorts from big journalistic blogs with multiple contributors to blogs of independent studios like ours.  I wrote a post in 2012 about the 6 best photography blogs on the Internet and since then I have discovered some others that are fantastic, so now I bring you the best photography blogs on the web – part two!  Do your eyes and your soul a favor by clicking on these and bookmarking them!

Best Photography blogs

Steve McCurry’s Blog

Steve McCurry is simply put one of the most important photographers of all time.  His photo “Afghan Girl” taken in a refugee camp in Pakistan in 1985 is the most recognized photo in National Geographic’s history.  You have seen it.  Meanwhile his work continues around the world and the photo essays he posts on his blog are amazing.  Take this one for example entitled “Children of the Omo” which takes place in the Omo River Valley in Southwest Ethiopia.

 

The Photo Argus

The Photo Argus has something for everyone.  Photos to enjoy of just about every category are here.  You can also find plenty of photography resources and tips for beginners and pros alike on this site.  Here is a really neat tutorial on night sky timelapse photography.  This one gets pretty technical but the timelapse photography in the first few minutes of the video is really cool.

 

Sullivan J Photography

Here is another blog with plenty of emphasis on education and training for photographers which I like and recommend, but Janice also posts plenty of her photos which are largely macro, travel and landscape.  Her macro photos of flowers are really nice and I also enjoyed this little photo essay of a trip to Oatman, AZ which is an old mining town.

 

Proof

This is the new photo blog launched by National Geographic.  Who didn’t love looking at the photos in National Geographic growing up?  This site is everything you would expect from them like this article about the Chernobyl disaster with truly haunting photos – some of them inside the plant.

 

Twisted Sifter

Twisted Sifter is a unique site I came across recently which states as its objective “to educate, entertain, and inspire each and every day” with three new posts daily as well as a picture of the day.  This “close encounter with a curious cheetah” is unbelievable!

I hope these sites entertain and inspire you, and if you have any to add please comment and let us know!

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A Senior Spokesmodel Jubilee…Literally!

A Jubilee is a type of celebration and we want to share a few peeks from a senior spokesmodel Jubilee…literally!  Jubilee is her name and being around her makes you want to celebrate!  She is smart, funny, pretty and the type of person who lights up a room when she walks in.  We were looking forward to this day for sure.

Senior Spokesmodel Jubilee

As we have done with every spokesmodel for the class of 2015 we spent a little time with the black background.  It seems like a good “warmup” for us to get a session going and it always looks fantastic.  Meanwhile our game plan for this session was to get outside and get some photos in an urban setting.  We have been itching to get some since the only outdoor photos we were able to get so far were snowy.  We love the snow scenes but with the temperatures warming a little we thought we could walk around outside comfortably and get some shots on pavement without snow around.  It turned out we were half right…

Senior Spokesmodel Jubilee

The part we were right about was that we were able to get great shots in an urban setting without any snow around.  The part we were wrong about was that we would be able to comfortably walk around outside.  It was still really cold – windy and frigid!  Jubilee however was a total pro and did not let the cold affect her!

Senior Spokesmodel Jubilee

While it may have been cold we still had some sunlight and the backlight looks nice in the photo above.  The last thing we did was an experiment that we had not tried before and we think it yielded an interesting result.  There was a glass-enclosed stairwell in a parking structure and I suggested that Ally photograph Jubilee through the glass just to see how it would look…  here is a little behind-the-scenes vine:

And here is a resulting photo which we think is unique in that you might not know Jubilee is behind glass except for the reflection on the right side of the photo and some on the left as well if you look closely.

Senior Spokesmodel Jubilee

All in all we enjoyed our “Senior Spokesmodel Jubilee” with Jubilee!  We cannot wait to photograph her again!

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How To Make Cool Instagram Collages

If you follow us on Instagram you have noticed that we don’t post a lot of final images there.  For now we prefer to show what is happening at the studio closer to real time so I usually snap photos of Ally doing her thing with my iPhone.  I am not the pro photographer here – Ally is.  So while the photos we post on Instagram aren’t of professional quality, that’s not quite the point of Instagram in the first place.  That is not to say you can’t post professional and artistic photos on Instagram, it’s just that a professional photo might look better as a fine art piece on a wall.  Meanwhile I am going to show you how to make cool Instagram collages so you can have some fun!  We had a recent session with the men from Tapper’s Jewelry which is down the hall from us here in the Orchard Mall for their upcoming in-house magazine, Accent.  Here is the Instagram collage I made from the photo shoot.

How to make cool instagram collages

Get Your App

First download an app from your app store.  I use the free version of Snap Collage which I find to be pretty user friendly and effective.  There is a paid version but so far I haven’t felt like I’ve needed it.  For this little tutorial we will be using Snap Collage.  Some of the other apps are similar and the steps will be similar as well.

Think Ahead

Keep in mind the type of collage you want to make when taking your photos or at least give yourself some options by taking some vertically and horizontally so that when you’re trying to fit your photos into your collage you’ll have more flexibility.  You’ll get better at this as you go.  You may even want to clean up your photos with another app before you start – I just started using VSCO and I think it is a great app.  Here is an iPhone screenshot showing the sharpening tool within VSCO.  The process of taking photos and editing them on a smartphone is a whole other topic that I won’t go into in detail here.

How to make cool instagram collages

1.  Launch the app

You’ve got your photos now let’s go to our Snap Collage home page.  You will see the different galleries available there – just click on one and it will bring up thumbnails of the photos there as you can see below:

How to make cool instagram collages

2.  Select the photos you want to use.  The nice thing is that Snap Collage automatically slots them into a few different templates which you can choose from along the top of the screen.  You can add or remove photos by tapping the thumbnails.

How to make cool instagram collages

3.  Pick the collage template you want to work with.  I have picked 4 photos I want to use and Snap Collage has automatically slotted them into several 4 photo templates for me.  You can scroll along the top to look at the choices and if there is a template you like but don’t like the way the photos are arranged then just deselect one of the photos and re-add it and the photos will rotate within the template.  Tap the one you like to see it in full screen.  Note the options at the bottom – we’ll be using the “borders” option shortly.

How to make cool instagram collages

4.  Edit each photo if necessary.  Tap on a photo in the template and Snap Collage will bring it to the forefront where you can play with it.  Pinch and expand to zoom and/or rotate the photo to reposition it to your liking, and you can see there are a number of tools you can use to make more changes to that photo.

How to make cool instagram collages

5.  Add color, drop shadows, rounded edges, and/or themes to your collage frame.  There are several tools in the app to do this.  First tap again on the zoomed in photo to get back to the whole collage and then tap on the “borders” button at the bottom.  This will bring up the dashboard for editing the frames of the collage.

How to make cool instagram collagesThe ratio choices at the far left determine the aspect ratio of the whole collage – ideally I go for the 1:1 or square ratio which is the Instagram standard.  The icons directly under the highlighted word “Frame” indicate which aspects of the frame you are adjusting as you slide the white circles next to each to the left or right.  In this case I’ve already adjusted a couple of them including giving my frames some drop shadow to give them a little dimension (this is 5th and last icon at the bottom that I’ve slid almost half way across).  The 4th one down allows you to round the edges as such:

How to make cool instagram collages

As you can see I’ve adjusted it more than 50% to the right and the edges are quite rounded.  That’s a little more than I want so let’s slide it back a little:

How to make cool instagram collages

There that’s a little better.  Next let’s click on “Color” and start adding a little color to the frame.

How to make cool instagram collages

You can now simply slide the vertical scale with all the colors of the rainbow to the right and then within each palate range hone in on the exact color you like in the square.  You can see I’ve selected black and grey for the border and inner frame.  There are also pre-loaded patterns you can select instead of colors if you click on the “Pattern” button.

6.  Share your collage!  When you have it just the way you want it you can either save it to your device or open it directly in Instagram right from the app.

How to make cool instagram collages

As you can see in the last screen shot you can use this app and save these collages for use anywhere – not just Instagram.  I’ve used it for posting elsewhere often.  This is not the final word on Instagramming or making collages so please share your own techniques!  I learn something new every day as I use these tools and play with all the different options.  What tips do you have to add?

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