Commercial Work and YOUR BUSINESS!

If you have questions about what exactly commercial work means in the photography industry, here's a list of things I can do for you and your business. I have tips to help your company, events and people shine. Just ask and I'll be glad to help you figure out how to best capture the image of your business.

1. People: this can be getting headshots with studio lights, or photographing in a more natural light setting at your office or facility. If you work from home, I can also help you figure out the best way to get a great headshot - even from your home office. Makeup and hair needs to also be considered, and I have a few people I trust to make you feel awesome about your look. If you need a more environmental image, we can include more of the background of where you choose. It's important to show your space if you have people coming to you for expertise.

Many people just need an online profile headshot that is professional versus one from your selfie albums. Let's talk about how to make you look your best in these type of shots - especially if you are job shopping!

 

2. Events: I really like being on the outskirts of large crowds and then getting close ups of your people enjoying themselves. I've photographed week-long events, graduation ceremonies, corporate events for companies to wine and dine clients, birthday parties and events at music venues.

3. Products: your company might sell products that need to be highlighted with a simple backdrop, or you may want those products in a real life environment complete with models. I can help with studio shots of your products as well as prop shopping and model scouting. It's really important to get great lighting on your product, I will assure you'll get what you need.

4. Locations/architecture: maybe you have a client that want to celebrate their new space, or you've just built a LEED certified building. Getting excellent photographs of these spaces are very important and I can work with you to make these places gorgeous. I work with people on props, plants, landscape ideas and how to best make your space look more appealing in your images.

Call me for more ideas about how I can help you and your business - no matter how large or small!

 

From the other side of the lens – family portraits :: a 3-part series PARTS TWO AND THREE

In November I wrote a blog about getting family portraits taken. These are the last two parts of that post. Hopefully this spring these tips will help if you didn’t get a chance to get portraits in the fall. 

Since I went over communication strategies and how to prepare for the shoot ahead of time, these tidbits of wisdom will help during the actual session and then after the actual session. 

part two :: DURING THE SESSION

CONVERSATION

You have prepared and have on your clothes, your kids’ shoes are tied and you’re driving to the studio or location for pictures. Depending on the age of your children, you may want to have a fun conversation on the way there. Sharing laughs will definitely make your images more enjoyable, so try to keep conversations light when you get there.

  • While the photographer changes lenses or sets up a light, talk to them. They want to hear about your story. Tell them fun things that have happened in your family and make sure to involve the kids. 
  • Ask the photographer about their work and maybe even their family. Making it more personal helps both you and the photographer get better acquainted. This makes them want to collaborate with your family and get the best images possible (trust me).

TO POSE OR NOT TO POSE

You never know how small children will respond to posing. This little guy got a bit distracted by a truck driving down the street behind me. Many times you won't get the smileys from everyone. And that's okay!

You never know how small children will respond to posing. This little guy got a bit distracted by a truck driving down the street behind me. Many times you won't get the smileys from everyone. And that's okay!

Photographers should be well versed in a variety of poses and they’ll help guide you. There are variables that will change with each session: the location, ages of your family members, time allotted and lighting. Sometimes you’ll be in a great pose, the lighting can change quickly, so they’ll work quickly and then move you. I’ve even been photographing a family in a park and a runner jog right into the shot. I had to wait, but I let the family know why I had stopped and just made small talk so the kids didn’t run off.

They had a super cute pose and in two seconds, he decided he didn't like his shoe. It made for a really cute reaction shot - this is more of real life things that happen. Keep these images, these faces say it all about parenting littles.

They had a super cute pose and in two seconds, he decided he didn't like his shoe. It made for a really cute reaction shot - this is more of real life things that happen. Keep these images, these faces say it all about parenting littles.

If you have chosen a life style session with no posed shots, let your photographer know which rooms or areas you like the most. Also let them know what you like to do as a family. Be open to showing them around and letting them explore. They may see something with new eyes that you don’t always see. 

HOLDING YOUR COMPOSURE

Children can act a bit nutty during the session, here are some tips to remember and to keep your composure:

  • Bring a snack and their favorite toy. Bribery goes a long way. 
  • For babies, make sure to have food on hand (mom may need to nurse or cap them off with a bottle for a bit if the session runs long).
  • Most kids act differently in front of the camera lens if you’re not holding the camera.
  • Try not to feed into frustration if your kids act up. Don't let your temper get the best of you. Photographers should be able to deal with kids and allow them to be themselves. Let the photographer control the situation unless the child is becoming too unruly. I have clients that just let me hang out with the kids so they’re not taking over and slicking down their hair every two seconds, making the kids mad. 

One of my favorite clients has two little boys. The oldest loved me from the minute I walked in and we’re big buddies. His little brother, however, does not feel the same fondness. He’s a great little guy, he just starts crying as soon as I pick up my camera to get images of him. It’s created some of the funniest Christmas cards! At first I was going to cull the images of him crying, but his parents said they really liked them, so we kept them. That started our love for trying to get the funniest card each year. So far, I think the first one was the doozy. And it landed on the front page of my web site for over a year.

One day we will get one without the tears … this is one of the funniest times. Real life, people. 

One day we will get one without the tears … this is one of the funniest times. Real life, people. 

part three :: AFTER THE SESSION

Follow up either the same day or the next day just to be on the same page.  This list will help you ask the right questions and prepare for anything that comes up.

  • Do you need to schedule time to review the images together? Double check on date, time and location. Ask how much time should be allotted. 
  • When will a gallery of online proofs be available? What is the duration of the gallery and can you send that link to others?
  • What is the cost of products and prints? This should have already been given to you, but you may need a refresher... or if you’ve taken a while to order, ask for an updated price guide.
  • Go over details of any deadlines with the photographer. For example, some people send out pictures when celebrating life events, so let them know when you’ll need the products in your hands.
  • Make sure to pay what you owe them. If you have an outstanding balance, pay that quickly.
  • Some photographers are more busy in different seasons than others, so don’t listen to your friends when they say they got their images in three days, four weeks or six months. Ask your photographer specifically when to expect YOUR images - both proofing and final products.
  • Learn the terminology about copyrights. When a photographer or artist creates something, it is their copyrighted original. However, if you buy a copy of the digital images from a photographer, you’re not buying the actual copyright. You can get a letter stating you have the right to make prints and products, but legally they still own the copyright and you just own a file. Some photographers don’t sell digital images, they only sell prints or products. Back in the film days, it was a rare occasion that photographers sold the negatives. I sold the negatives to my clients when I moved from Tennessee to Kentucky because honestly, I didn’t want to have to store all those negatives in the move. Again, communicate BEFORE the session to make sure you understand how they work. 
  • If you do get digital images, back them up on separate computers and also on an online gallery (either the Cloud or on a company that creates prints and products). Don’t solely rely on one backup — anything can happen. Make prints and products quickly so they don’t just become digital clutter. Ask how many years the photographer will promise to keep them on file as back up as well.
  • Remember to book early and as often as your pocketbook will allow. You will never regret the images that you get from a professional that you love working with. 

Getting to know my clients is something I truly enjoy. I love seeing you grow and change and how your relationships bloom. Find a photographer that will love your people and want you to look the best in your images. Be creative and have fun!

From the other side of the lens – family portraits :: a 3-part series

So you've decided to get family pictures taken … please read this three part series of blog posts. I hope it will help you from being on the other side of the lens (we just had family portraits taken). Great results can happen with your images by open communication and planning ahead. This will be a three part series, so sit back and relax... feel free to make notes and forward this to your friends and family as well. 

part one :: BEFORE THE SESSION

1.  Practice POSES and facial EXPRESSIONS in front of the mirror and with the other people who will be in the portraits. Make sure you like their facial expressions. You can even give names to certain poses that you come up with together. Let your kids come up with some fun stuff, too. It will give them some ownership in their own images. If you want a "serious" posed picture, make sure you tell them the difference between looking too mad and just serious. Our son decided that angry and serious were very similar … so we had to help him a little with those ideas.

This is his "I'm a serious songwriter" look. Not for family portraits, son. Please. : )

This is his "I'm a serious songwriter" look. Not for family portraits, son. Please. : )

2. Pick out CLOTHES that are your style - not the ones shown only in pinterest pictures or in magazines. If you're not super trendy, don't pretend to be. If you want a funky, stylized shoot, that's okay, but make sure you change into your regular clothes, too. Talk to your family about the outfits and get their opinions. Make sure you either text a picture to your photographer if you need color coordinating advice, or send it to your friends that are color theory experts (or at least know your style and won't steer you toward something stupid). I sent a text to two college girlfriends from our art department, and they gave me good tips. It makes it more fun to get a little advice. Let kids add a touch of their personalities - at least for a few shots or more.

Our son wore a vest that he loves, it's retro, from when my brother was a kid, so he loves it -- and it's not itchy. Make sure you pick out clothes well in advance -- at least a week or more -- and have a back up option that you don't hate in case your kid tries to pull a last minute switcheroo. You don't have to go out and buy new clothes, just look at your own wardrobes with new eyes. Don't wait until the day of the shoot to tell your kids what they'll be wearing. I've never had that be successful in all the years I've photographed families. AND! If you do choose to get new clothes, wash them prior to the shoot. I've had babies super angry because of an itchy, uncomfortable outfit and the moms can't figure out why they're crying. 

This was the first shot I texted to my girlfriends. One responded that I would look like a rockstar and the guys, well, more like my back up singers. Maybe not in those words, so I changed this to a navy jacket. Subtle changes do make a difference! And only ask your honest friends, your mom will either tear it all down or she'll think you look great … but not so much. 

This was the first shot I texted to my girlfriends. One responded that I would look like a rockstar and the guys, well, more like my back up singers. Maybe not in those words, so I changed this to a navy jacket. Subtle changes do make a difference! And only ask your honest friends, your mom will either tear it all down or she'll think you look great … but not so much. 

3. Talk with your photographer about LOCATION ideas if you're not using your own property. Talk to the owners or event coordinators of locations well in advance if you have a good relationship with them, but perhaps your photographer doesn't know them from boo-tattoo. There is nothing more embarrassing than saying you did talk with someone, and then get kicked out during the session. So get permission!

Jean Ann and I always work together to come up with fun Christmas cards. This year's session included time at the barn where her horse is boarded. But, I won't show you the images we got for their card (I love surprises!). They are one of the best families that I work with and I love seeing them every time we do a session. In the past we've done studio stuff and also shots in their backyard and at a park.

Jean Ann and I always work together to come up with fun Christmas cards. This year's session included time at the barn where her horse is boarded. But, I won't show you the images we got for their card (I love surprises!). They are one of the best families that I work with and I love seeing them every time we do a session. In the past we've done studio stuff and also shots in their backyard and at a park.

As a photographer, I also try to find more unique places than what is trending at the time. There's nothing original or cool about your pictures' backgrounds looking like every friend you have. Be proactive about driving around and scouting out new places if your photographer doesn't have ideas. Work together to figure out a good place for everyone involved. Parks typically require a permit, so if your photographer doesn't have one, talk to them about it before you get there. Also, if you want to take portraits in businesses like coffee shops or even the zoo, you MUST get permission first (not during the session, have the photographer call in advance -- or take responsibility and call them yourself.) Newbie photographers have told me they never call in advance. What? That's like someone coming onto your property to have a picnic and just plopping down to eat and then playing corn hole on your yard without your permission. Would that be cool? No? Okay, so yeah … be considerate.

Let's say you find a cool location. Take a picture and text or email it to the photographer. Make sure it's at the same time of day, and if possible on the same day of the week (because the city is busy during the week, but not so much on certain weekends) ... that way they can see shadows and where light falls. You may only see a cool backdrop, they'll see what kind of equipment they'll have to bring to get the light right. I never take all of my equipment on location, it's just too much. So make sure you talk with the photographer beforehand

4. Share IDEAS with your photographer well in advance. There is nothing more frustrating than when a client shows up with a list and says, "I just stayed up all night and printed these Pinterest ideas for you." If you have some ideas, feel free to talk those out with your photographer, talk with them about work you've seen on their web site, but don't always show them other people's work. Remember, you don't like being compared to every mom, dad, kid or worker, they don't like it either. So be respectful and talk – before the day of the session.

When I booked our session with Tyler Zoller, it was because I have seen his work and I know he does amazing things with studio lights. His work is great and he's a good friend. I wanted something funky and clever for our session along with candids. I already had an idea in mind that not everyone could pull off, I thought of him immediately. So I called him and asked if he'd even be willing to do this with us because he typically works with models and seniors. He asked me a few questions and we worked it all out. Making sure you've seen the person's best work is helpful. Again, make sure you're communicating with the photographer up front.

5. Other things to discuss BEFORE the session  –––

  • MONEY:: don't make $$ the only reason you're using that photographer ... The best way to handle money issues is not to just start with a talk about how much the photographer charges. Talk with them about their work first and how they work Ask them about how you'd like the session to go (candids, posed, etc...) and THEN you should talk with them about money. If you can't afford their prices, don't freak out and tell them that their prices are out of control. Just nicely tell them that is out of your budget. You never know, they may need some of your services. Let's say you are a potter, so ask them if they'd be willing to barter. But never bring that up as the only way to pay them. You should work together on the ideas of bartering to make sure it's a win/win for both parties. You could say, "Oh, that is a little out of my budget. How could we work together with XXX for a budget?" 
     
  • TIME:: session length, editing and deliverables (proofs, prints, digital files, etc) ... Talk to the photographer about how much time to set aside for the actual session. If you have to take off work, take into consideration how long it takes you to get to the location, the length of the actual session and getting back to work. Don't make it a problem for the photographer. If possible, don't leave halfway through and let your spouse deal with the kids alone. If you truly only have a few hours, tell them that upfront, but don't wait until the day of and rush them. TJ was great and we talked it out beforehand, so he took off the whole day. You may not be able to do that, but consider these portraits as probably a once a year thing. Seriously, you have an hour or two of time you can use for these important images. Just remember that years later you'll be grateful you took the time out. Your family will outlive your working hours.

    Before the session, make sure to ask how long it will take to get a gallery of the images and how long before you'll receive the finished deliverables. Every photographer delivers different products on different timetables, so make sure you get that spelled out well in advance. If you think you want digital files along with prints, please ask them if they even sell the files.
     
  • BEST ATTITUDE & OTHER IDEAS:: make sure you discuss the best time of day for the attitudes of all involved. The kids probably won't be so happy if you don't feed them breakfast. Also, don't plan the session during your baby's nap time. Make sure everyone is fed and have had naps or at least a good night's sleep. Again, think ahead. I've had people bring kids that have just had their vaccine shots, so not only are they in a bad mood, but most of the time they've been crying, so their little faces are splotchy. I know there are people with more than one kid, but think like them. Would you want YOUR picture taken after crying because of a shot? Okay, and this is a no brainer I think, but make sure your kids aren't sick. If their nose is running non-stop and it's green, you should call and reschedule. The photographer doesn't want to get sick, thank you. 

    And this might be tough, but try to keep fighting to a minimum before and during the session. Talk with your family about positive things. Bring up happy things that have nothing to do with the day, maybe about something they've done that you can praise them for.... Talk to them about things they like to do and how fun the session will be. Answer questions they might have … just make sure to try and keep it upbeat. The better your attitude is about the session, the better everyone will cooperate. If everyone is Grumpy Gus before they show up, sometimes I will just want to turn around and leave. But I don't and I also tell corny jokes to get them thinking of something else besides what is about to happen. 
Think about lighting and certain times of day are the best. You won't always be able to schedule at those times, but think differently than just in a field with weeds or at a park. Simple sunsetting shots can make a gorgeous image. You just have to think ahead. 

Think about lighting and certain times of day are the best. You won't always be able to schedule at those times, but think differently than just in a field with weeds or at a park. Simple sunsetting shots can make a gorgeous image. You just have to think ahead. 

Remind everyone that it's not brain surgery. It might be awkward, but try to relax and enjoy your time. And it is only one moment in time, you'll cherish the images later.

**This may seem like a long blog post, but it's so worth looking into this to make your session a success. The next blogs in this series won't be as long, but you see how important it is to communicate prior to the actual session. I'm sure your photographer will love it when you plan ahead. 

Three cheers to you for getting your portraits taken! 

 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/

Two week retreat to this old house!

December 21 through Jan 2 :: Melissa Mann Photography is taking two weeks off! A shut down. An unplug. A retreat to this old house! (and all the walls are singing amen for more paint colors)

If you need a family photo session, dates are available below, but please call now! They're filling up faster than the leaves are falling. Gift certificates are available all year (except this two week shut down), please call or email me before the 19th.

Open times for family sessions include:

• Saturdays :: November 14, 21 and December 5, 12 and 19 **If you book your session ON the 19th, you won't be getting pictures printed in time for Christmas gifts, just an FYI...

• Some days during the week. I know you're working. I know. We're all "busy" -- but take a long lunch break. Take off early. Do this for your family. And for yourself. You'll thank me later for this little tip.

Thanks to all my clients - both commercial and families. You are helping to build great things yet to come for this small business! (And yes, I am fully aware it's before Halloween, but every year someone says that Christmas snuck up on them. : )) BOO! Gobble Gobble and Ho Ho HO!!

 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/mmbean

Calling all image hoarders ... yes, that means you ...

This week's blog is a bit different, I want to help educate instead of just showing images and telling a story.

It had been a while since I sat at my laptop, which I use on the go and to backup phone images. Today as I am looking through all these images, I realize I have a problem. I'm an image hoarder. You may say, "Well, you're a photographer, you SHOULD have tons of pictures." Or should I? I'm no different than you when it comes to saving personal images. I need to weed out the junk and just keep what I want Aiden to see one day. And, I really need to think about the pictures before I click and keep.

Afterall, every time you touch the shutter button, you're wearing out your device. Read:: if you want to keep an image, don't just keep clicking. Really THINK about light, composition and color. Yesterday I met a man with a camera and he said he pretty much just wings it now because of the digital world. Ugh.

Example number one:: a potty. I was having a yard sale. The potty is long gone. WHY DID I KEEP THIS PICTURE OF A POTTY? It's going to the trash. Please, do this for your sanity and someone's sanity one day. GET RID OF THE POTTY PICTURE so they don't have to look through them all!

Example number one:: a potty. I was having a yard sale. The potty is long gone. WHY DID I KEEP THIS PICTURE OF A POTTY? It's going to the trash. Please, do this for your sanity and someone's sanity one day. GET RID OF THE POTTY PICTURE so they don't have to look through them all!

I'm giving you the GO CLEAR THE CLUTTER commandment today -- start with 15 minutes a day. Be vigilant. If you say, "Aw, but I need all 12 images I took of little Larry that day..." Seriously, think about how Little Larry will feel if he sees all these images and not one is in focus, not one is good. Just do it. Delete. I know, some of you are gasping (Rachel, I hear you from Shelby County)... But in all honestly, if we clear the clutter out of our house, we need to clear the clutter in our digital house too. Also, who wants to clear out all that crap when you croak? 

I have no idea why I took this picture of my tea kettle. Maybe it was to write a blog one day on slowing down to brew a cup of tea and delete bad pictures? Okay, done. Gone.

I have no idea why I took this picture of my tea kettle. Maybe it was to write a blog one day on slowing down to brew a cup of tea and delete bad pictures? Okay, done. Gone.

I've started a PRINT folder on my computers so that I know which ones I want to print for walls, as gifts, etc... You may want to do this too. You could even name it PRINTS FOR GIFTS. Please make prints. Your computer, phone, ipad, i-whatever devices will not last forever. At least a print can help you retain some memory without eating up all the memory on the devices.

We spared a baby bunny from the dogs, but the bunny is now probably having bunnies of its own. Delete. (And just for the record, I had THREE of these images... )

We spared a baby bunny from the dogs, but the bunny is now probably having bunnies of its own. Delete. (And just for the record, I had THREE of these images... )

 

This might help you... my rules of deleting files (for personal pictures, I keep client files for other reasons but still cull like crazy):: 

1. If I wouldn't want anyone to see this image (a really blurry shot, it's not even halfway becoming of the person in the shot, it's a picture of a potty...)

And honestly, unless you're a food photographer or a farmer, you MUST delete the food pictures. This doesn't even look good. I wonder why I even shot this? 

And honestly, unless you're a food photographer or a farmer, you MUST delete the food pictures. This doesn't even look good. I wonder why I even shot this? 

 

2. If I wouldn't print this image, it needs to be in the Delete category -- especially if it's food or something I shot to send as a text just for a funny story to a friend.

3. If I'm running super low on storage space on any device, it's time to purge. That may mean putting things on an external hard drive. BUT delete first, and print the ones I want just in case my back up to my back up fails.

4. If I need a "clear the clutter" moment but don't want to clear out physical clutter, I can take 15 minutes -- instead of reading yet another article about food or unwanted clutter (haha) -- to clear out some hard drive clutter. Let's face it. We use "but I'm too busy" as an excuse for just about anything these days. We're not really that busy.

5. And for all you artists out there freaking out, thinking, "But your images are your sketch book..." Seriously. Maybe so, but for the love, just delete the stuff that's not even bringing back any memory in your head. Just get rid of that so your digital memory can breathe. I applaud you artist hoarders. I'm one too. But you'll have more peace if you delete (and especially if you're not "tech savvy")!

This is an okay image, but I took it because of the flooding of the Ohio. Along with about 10 more pictures. So this one goes. 

This is an okay image, but I took it because of the flooding of the Ohio. Along with about 10 more pictures. So this one goes. 

This one stays. Simply because we went for a walk down by the river and it was flooded...and Aiden didn't get to play on the playground. But it's in a folder called Personal Photographs/date/OhioRiverFlood15. And that's the only one that I'm keeping. If I wanted to send the other nine to the UofL archive, that is fine, but there's no need for me to keep these. 

This one stays. Simply because we went for a walk down by the river and it was flooded...and Aiden didn't get to play on the playground. But it's in a folder called Personal Photographs/date/OhioRiverFlood15. And that's the only one that I'm keeping. If I wanted to send the other nine to the UofL archive, that is fine, but there's no need for me to keep these. 

Now, go clear some digital clutter! Have a great day and remember to always click responsibly. 

 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/

Come experience Kentucky next week! Bardstown will be booming during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Here are some highlights from last year's Kentucky Bourbon Festival:: 

Aaron Kiser, an Owensboro painter, was commissioned to paint live during the Hall of Fame Luncheon. Congratulations to Maker's Mark! 

Aaron Kiser, an Owensboro painter, was commissioned to paint live during the Hall of Fame Luncheon. Congratulations to Maker's Mark

Chef John Varanese serves up some great menu items all infused with Jim Beam bourbons.

Chef John Varanese serves up some great menu items all infused with Jim Beam bourbons.

Cigars and Jazz was a delightful evening

Cigars and Jazz was a delightful evening

The Great Barrel Race is a good time to see the distilleries show off their muscle. The barrels each weigh 500 pounds!

The Great Barrel Race is a good time to see the distilleries show off their muscle. The barrels each weigh 500 pounds!

The Great Tasting and Gala is a crowd pleaser and a time to get nicely dressed and go out on the town. The food, drinks and dancing makes for a very fun evening.

The Great Tasting and Gala is a crowd pleaser and a time to get nicely dressed and go out on the town. The food, drinks and dancing makes for a very fun evening.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/

New web site... new ideas!

Thanks for stopping by my little corner on the web!

In the past I've concentrated photographing weddings, families and babies. As our family changes and my love for the craft changes, so does my business. I will continue to refer you to great wedding photographers, but I want my Saturdays (and the many hours involved with weddings) to concentrate on other ideas. 

Now I'm concentrating solely on commercial work, families and children. And I've also added a bit of artwork if you want to purchase for your walls in your office, home or to give as gifts. 

I love working with you to promote your businesses and your people in those businesses.

I love working with you to preserve the memories for your families.

I love working with your children and getting fun images of them for you and to cherish for the rest of your lives together. 

When you need a professional, but personable photographer, please give me a shout and we can talk about your project. I am excited about the creative process that grows from just an idea to the finished piece, so please give me a chance to help you.

Thanks for your continued support for my business and letting me take care of your image!