Friday, March 30, 2012

Time to Freshen Up Your Brand

My longtime client, Roman P. wanted to freshen up his brand because he thought he had changed both internally and externally.  Since his 2008 portrait he had expanded his entrepreneurial endeavors to include three additional businesses.  He wanted his new look to genuinely reflect his outer appearance but also his business maturity and acumen.

We talked about a variety of expressions, poses and clothing options.  He chose the clothes, hair and powerful expression that most closely matched his current brand.

Subtle changes, possibly, but it's always important to have your business portraits stay true to your current brand.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fresh Coffee

Fresh Coffee
Such a special treat - FRESH coffee! 

Even when I was at my poorest in 1975, I still wanted to have fresh brewed coffee.

This image was created in celebration of the opening of a new neighborhood coffee shop, The Angry Catfish Cafe & Bicycle Shop, 2010.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Music To My Eyes

Music To My Eyes

This  "Music To My Eyes" portrait was created at one of my favorite times of day.  Sunset light with the long shadows and the kiss of light angled onto beautiful shapes can only be matched by the light at sunrise.

I was gladly held prisoner at this moment as the huge white clouds floated above me, the blue reflected onto the pond couldn't be deeper or more regal and the reeds created a composition that I interpreted as a musical chart with sharps and flats playing its own tune.

After I was satiated with all the images I needed I left this scene to run back into the Pine Stone Lodge where my friends were inside preparing for dinner.  I opened the door and shouted, "If anyone wants to come and create beautiful images you need to grab your camera and follow me now!"

Fortunately my friend Judy B. followed me with her camera and together we photographed until it was dark.
But I intuitively knew that THIS WAS THE ONE. This was the image that resonated for me.

I'm grateful I had the opportunity to be there to create it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dried Milkweed Pods

Dried Milkweed Pods

What can you say when you're outside walking in the very early spring, when you're really looking for a little sign of something green growing and yet you just can't get enough of the dried milkweed pods and dried goldenrods?

I was so fortunate to have picture perfect weather on  a couple of late March days at a weekend retreat at the Pine Stone Lodge in Sandstone, Minnesota.  It was my first weekend in months and months when I had time off and photogenic weather that inspired me to create new portraits.

I enjoyed playing with angles, shapes and abstract images while lying on the ground shooting upward as well as crawling around on my knees.

Even though this image is beautiful in color with the blue sky, I love the feeling evoked from the quiet feeling of this in black and white.

Pine Stone Lodge Dried Flower Studies

Pine Stone Lodge Dried Flower Studies

Four of us rented the Pine Stone Lodge in Sandstone, Minnesota the weekend of March 24-26th with Monday added on.

The original intention was an artist retreat and a Spring Equinox celebration. While it was a great get-away, personally I didn't get as creative as I wanted with non-photographic works.  The camera and the beautiful light sang it's usual "song of the sirens" which I found irresistible.

I walked out onto the wood lined path on Saturday afternoon with the intention of filling a bag of natural items to be used for nature prints.  It didn't take long before my bag was overflowing with materials that were better suited for a dried flower arrangement instead of nature prints.

After about an hour or so, I returned to the Lodge and repurposed a candle holder into an improvised flower vase and made a beautiful dried flower arrangement that kept changing and moving as the sun moved from the east window light to the west window light and I moved outside and back inside.

Needless to say the rustic red wall delivers the biggest color punch on the first variation of the flowers.
Being outside with the trees reflecting on the sky blue water pond in the background is striking.
But I am more partial to the very last photo of the weekend which gained the final touch of the "star relocation program" i.e. picked a star out of one eucalyptus arrangement nearby.

Five different floral portrait studies were created that weekend with these three being among my favorites.

So I guess I was very creative with photography and that's why I am totally passionate about photography.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Professional Speakers Portrait

Speakers Professional Portrait
It was an honor to meet and photograph Bryan who is starting a professional speaking business. 

We talked about a variety of looks for his brand.  He chose this portrait for his "one sheet" marketing piece  that would be presented to the decision  maker who's going to hire his speaking services.  Other portraits were chosen for his audiences  handouts because they more closely mirrored his audience.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Equinox

Remembering Spring Equinox - 2008 - Harbin Hot Springs, Calif.
Spring Equinox 2008 was celebrated at Harbin Hot Springs, a retreat center that is remote, wild, beautiful, secluded in the northern California trees and a one-of-a-kind experience.

The challenge at Harbin is that even  though the grounds are incredibly beautiful with little flower and rock gardens planted on the grounds, they allow absolutely no photography.  Since I could not totally be held back I worked my creative photography juices in our room.  This incredible wall is actually one of the shower walls that I decorated with memorabilia I purchased in the nearby town specifically for a still life portrait.

The story my husband tells about this particular portrait is that we were engaged in a private, intimate moment when I saw the light angled just perfectly so onto the still life elements that I had set up the night before.

Breaking away from our romantic time together I (allegedly)  said, "look at the light. I've got to make a portrait before the light changes."  And off I went.

When he retold this story to a fellow photographer my friend Allen said, "of course, she did. She had to do it when the light was just right.  Whatever you were doing could be done any time."

ohhhh, I love my photography friends and allies who come to my rescue and validate my determination to get the photo made when the light is right.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 Self Portrait On Blue

2012 Self Portrait on Blue
The joy of being a photographer and married to a photographer is that when one of us has an idea, we're both IN on the execution.

During the last couple of years I had fallen in love with formalized floral portraits.  So whenever the floral bouquet was "just right" and the lighting was "just right" at whatever location I was at, I'm create a portrait.

After doing this a dozen times or more at home I decided I had to take it to the next level.  So after talking about it for about a month I finally was ready to take action and go boldly forward "eyes wide shut" as we like to say (obviously quoting the Tom Cruise movie by the title).

Sunday morning and come hell or high water I was determined to get the supplies we needed at Menards and come home and figure a way to make a teeny tiny micro studio in our front porch.  The weather was perfect and the lighting was "just right."

Karl did his genius work installing the over head structure to hold backdrop cloths.  I hooked up the newly purchased fabrics after minutes and minutes of slaving over a hot iron (iron - a four letter word, for sure).

Last but not least got out the tripod (gotta love a good tripod), the camera, lens and battery hungry remote control for the camera trigger, cranked up the music and went crazy with self portraits.

After a light touch of Photoshop retouching it's ready for the world appearance.  Voila'

More to come, I'm sure.

Spring Floral Bouquet on Blue 3/18

Spring Floral Bouquet on blue

What a fun weekend with lots of photography.  First I bought the spring bouquet thinking the Saint Patrick's Day holiday but ended up with a variety of colors and florals that were less traditional.

Yesterday I had a blast using a brown background simply hammered on to the walls of the porch.

This morning I collaborated with husband Karl and after a delicious spinach omelette at a local restaurant we went off to the big Menards store to find supplies to create a small studio photo area on the front porch that can be used for  "en plein aire" photos.

Karl brilliantly installed the ceiling hanger and I installed the fabric cloth clips that turned out to be just the right tools.  What a brilliant team we are when we're really clicking.

So here is the blue background with the same floral bouquet as yesterday but the blue really picks up the iris.

Love it !

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Portrait of Allen J. 3/17

Allen J.  3/17
Oh how I love the way photography and light and a visiting friend can all come together with no planning at all. 

After setting up the brown background today and photographing the Spring Bouquet 3/17 our very good friend Allen J. came over for dinner.  Allen had stopped by after spending the day with his youngest daughter who had just given birth to her and her husband's second daughter.  Allen was quite the happy grandfather.

While he was sitting on the couch talking I couldn't help but notice how the evening sunset light was highlighting him so nicely.  I literally walked over to him, took him by the hand, said "keep talking but follow me" and I posed him in my new temporary studio area.  The evening light was so lovely on his face and hair plus you won't believe that I was using a freshly polished antique sterling silver dinner tray as a reflector to bring the light back in his eyes.

He loved the way the picture turned out so I wanted to share it here for all to see.

Spring Bouquet on Brown 3/17

Couldn't wait to put together a spring bouquet today.  Originally I was going to focus on greens of course because it's Saint Patrick's Day. But one thing led to another and then I purchased this gorgeous brown cloth at a new fabric and textile shop in our neighborhood. Voila so it turned out to be a spring bouquet on this rich brown background.  Still like it.

Nonetheless, Saint Patrick's Day greetings to all.

High Key or Rich Brown

High Key and Rich Brown

Love having the opportunity to experiment with different colored backgrounds. 

My initial reaction is that I love the bright white but conversely you cannot go wrong with the rich cocoa brown.

not a bad choice, either way.

Spring Floral Bouquet on High Key White 3/17

Spring Floral Bouquet on High Key White

Playing with my new floral bouquet that I purchased for the Saint Patrick's Day holiday.

Didn't actually purchase typical overly green and commercialized props but I'll always remember
when and why it was created.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Memories of Ireland 2003

Ballynahinch Castle and Hotel - Ireland 2003

It's funny how you remember taking so many hundreds of photographs when you go on a trip.  I know I took hundreds of photos of our 16 day road trip around Ireland.  Of course in those days we each had two film cameras plus I know we also carried two relatively new digital cameras that recorded small file sizes.

Whenever I think of those memories and all the places we went to I always come back to our days at Ballynahinch Castle and Hotel.  Not that the other memories were less but this was so special, so secluded, actually so hard to find at all we had to stop and ask for assistance twice to find it.

The weather was a little cool, jacket weather but the colors were so lush and saturated because they had had rain before we arrived.

It was just a magical time and place.  Who wouldn't want to stay at a castle?  And I'd love to go back.

In anticipation of Saint Patrick's Day in two days --  Happy St. Patrick's Day to all Irish relations.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Facebook Tips for new Timeline

Apparently, I cannot get enough helpful tips this week. 

This Facebook Cheat Sheet is super helpful.

I'll post it here for myself and others.

Big picture for timeline

This is the big picture (also known as cover photo) for Facebook’s timeline.

Put Your Pictures in Social Media

Thank you  Christine Kane for sharing your insights on Jeff Bullas's Blog. Great tips.  I am especially fond of this because, as a photographer, I am all about the visuals. 

"5 Reasons Images are King with Social Media Marketing"
  »    for Jeffbullas's Blog

"It’s a well-known fact that people are visual.
So why do so many business bloggers forget this little tidbit? Why are their sites filled with words and empty of color, photos or images?

Here are five reasons to add images to your blog, Facebook, and other social media accounts right now.

1. Drive Traffic from Pinterest

The new big thing in social media, Pinterest is all about the pictures. This growing monster is something all businesses should keep an eye on and utilize as soon as possible.
Everyone can see everything on Pinterest, which makes it ripe for the picking. All you need is one great image and people will come flocking, people will click on the link embedded in the image and end up at your website or blog.
Of course, the image will need something to back it up or it is sort of pointless, but still. The idea is there."
via @jeffbullas

Thursday, March 8, 2012


In Celebration of the 101th Anniversary of International Women's Day I am reposting this 2011  image and the story about its creation process  that I made last year for the 100th Anniversary.

"Interested in the story behind the photo?
I continue to follow my passion, which is still photography.  Yes, I can go into visual overload sometimes but at the end of the day, I am still a passionate portrait photographer whose deep roots originate in the classic style of film photographers.   I love, love to create portraits of flowers, trees, people, light, shadows and it’s perfect if I can combine them all into one image.  And occasionally an event or a situation compels me to create a new image that will be added to my series, “In a Friend, In A Flower” which displays a floral arrangement as metaphorical representation of a person or a significant event that is important to me.

The floral arrangement above  is an Homage To My Grandmother and all the grandmothers that were alive in 1911 on the occasion of the 1st anniversary of International Women’s Day, and I had no choice about making or not making this portrait.

As Kody Bateman, CEO of Send Out Cards calls it, I  “experienced a prompting – the strong need to act” and I could not walk away from it until I created this portrait.
Honestly, my mind/body/spirit strongly prompted me to put this floral arrangement together in my almost 100 year old vase formerly owned by my grandmother. Mind you, I’ve never taken this vase out of the curio cabinet since the day it arrived. But after receiving two floral gifts for this centennial occasion, one from my husband and another from a business colleague, I truly felt I had very little free will to do anything other than combine the two flower arrangements, place them in this antique vase and photograph them. Thanks to two consecutive sunny days with the window light calling to me at two different times, from two different rooms, again, I just had to create two different photographs.

And my personal epiphany during this creative process is the discovery of my own personal formula:

This formula feels true for several of my photographic sojourns, from client portraits to flowers to very recent self-portraits. Do you have a similar formula for your work? If you’re comfortable posting it here, I would love for you to share it.

I’m grateful that I followed my passion and the strong  prompting that compelled me to focus a lot of my time and attention on composing my grandmother’s 100 year old vase in a portrait.  And it’s interesting that now for me, the picture is more about the woman’s face on the vase and how it makes me think of my grandmother and in a bigger context, all the grandmothers that were alive in 1911.  I wonder how many of them were able to follow their passions in 1911?  I sincerely hope many of them in their day and many of us in our day now.  "

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Portrait of Diane W. 3/7

Diane 3/7
I had the privilege to photograph speaker extraordinaire Diane W. and she was a great example of someone who understands the importance of a good portrait.

We had talked over recent months about her previous 2011 photo session experience with another photographer she tried.  Unfortunately, it resulted in an "okay" portrait but she came home and had to learn how to do her own retouching to try and fix the problem issues with that photo.

For this session, she was totally prepared with her color selections, her grooming, her intention, her brand and the end result locations where the portraits were going to be displayed.

I highly recommend advance planning when you're investing the time and money in an important brand building portrait.  The better planned you are, the better results you should experience.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Facebook Does Not Show Every Status Post

I always feel compelled to share new tips that are eye openers for me.

per Patrick O'Malley "Facebook does not show every status post to everyone who "Likes" your page. In fact, estimates are that when you first start to post, your posts are only shown to 7% (yep, seven percent) of the people who clicked "Like" on your business page. Other estimates are that most business' posts are only seen by 17% (not a typo, seventeen) of their fans."

Who Needs Visuals?

More great tips for today.

I love this article. Who else needs visuals???

"Photographs, Images & Graphics – Reader Eye-Candy"
"Photographs, images and graphics are eye-candy readers can’t resist. As visual beings, we’re hard-wired to pay attention to these bright shiny objects. When it comes to content marketing, each picture and illustration is worth a 1,000 words. .... " via @heidicohen