Print Your Memories, Your Life

As a member of Professional Photographers of America, I see it as both a perk and a responsibility to educate my clients on why it is important to print images. Once your photography session is completed and you have the chance to view your gorgeous images, think about where you can display them. Where will you most enjoy looking at them, every day? Maybe you want to hang a portrait in your living room for all your visitors to see. Maybe you’ll put one in your stairway landing so your family sees it as they come and go each day. Maybe you want a family portrait in your bedroom so it is the first and last thing you see each day. I hope you will also see the importance of getting your valuable and memorable images printed so you will have them for life and you can pass them down to your future generations to cherish and enjoy! Help your children and their children know their history, their ancestry. PPA has provided the information below and I find it quite compelling. I hope you will as well.

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Choosing Clothes for your Portrait Session

What to wear? Whether you are preparing for your family photography session, senior session, or business headshot, clients always struggle with this basic question. Here are a few suggestions to get you started!

Number 1 - Select clothing that is comfortable! Something that you like. Something that you have been told looks good on you.

Number 2 - What color are your eyes? Wear something that brings out the color in your eyes. Your shirt, a scarf, a necklace, a sweater.

Number 3 - Solid colors win the day, but small prints like small checks or narrow stripes will work and may add interest. Bold florals or strong geometric patterns usually are more distracting.

Number 4 - Wear a couple of layers of clothing such as a light sweater, a wrap, or vest or jacket. Add a colorful scarf, tie or belt to add subtle interest.

Number 5 - Iron your clothes if they are wrinkled!

Follow these suggestions to be well on your way to looking fabulous in your portrait session! Here’s to your gorgeous self!


Choosing a Photographer

3. How should I prepare my family before the session? Pros will give you tips so your family can feel comfortable and have fun while being photographed. They might even ask for things you would not have thought. Professional photographers will also be able to answer questions such as: What colors and styles of clothing are best to wear? Should you bring a change of clothes? How do you handle a fussy child or plan for nap times? Trust them: they have their timing down and know what works.

4. Where can I find you online? Photographers’ websites are a great place to view their portfolios, read client testimonials and get a better sense of their personality. Of course, like a resume, websites often put “their best foot forward,” so be sure to dig a little deeper. Look at their social media pages and read customer reviews, as these can be very telling.

5. How will I obtain my photos and when can I expect them? Professional photographers have a reliable system for delivering photos to you in a timely manner. Be sure that you understand their process to avoid any false expectations!

6. What does your fee include and what products and packages do you offer? It is important to have a clear understanding of the session fees, what is included, and sample prices for print products and packages.

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Digitals vs Printed Images

Since we live in a digital age and because we are visual people, it is not uncommon for clients to assume that having their images in a digital format is the way to go. Seems like this makes good sense. After all, digital files don’t take up that much space and if they are on your phone, you can easily get to them, right?!.

I’d like to share with you a different perspective on why you should print your images:

  • Because your prints are for today, tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that.

  • Because prints remind us of what love really feels like.

  • Because they’re only young once.

  • Because the place to save money is not on the most important purchases.

  • Because when there’s a fire, what’s the first thing you grab?

  • Because so many photos get lost, or even worse, deleted off of old hard drives.

  • Because you put too much work into your family not to show them off!

  • Because technology comes and goes.

  • Because a memory stick in a drawer is pointless.

  • Because your parents and grandparents won’t be around forever.

  • Because a hard drive doesn’t trigger a smile.

  • Because memories are tied to touch.

  • Because there’s nothing like sitting down by a fireplace and flipping through the pages of a family album.

  • Because there are moments you can’t get back, but a print can make you feel them again!

Preparing for your Portrait Session

For most people, choosing what to wear to their portrait session can be a challenge. Below are a few guidelines that will help.

1) For most types of portrait sessions, you want to think long term. Meaning, when you look back at your image or images in 10-15 years, will you say, “What was I thinking? Why did I wear that that?” You want your clothing and style to be timeless - classic. It should compliment who you are not detract. An exception to this is senior photos, which I will cover in another post.

2) Select clothes that look good on you, that fit you well, and that are comfortable. Try them on in advance of your session and move around in them in front of a mirror checking for gaps at button closures. Clothes that provide some definition to your shape are more complimentary than baggy clothes.

3) Ladies may prefer to cover upper arms, unless you are blessed with or have worked hard to define your shape. And v-neck or scoop neck tops elongate the female neckline and show off a great necklace.

4) Solid colors or small prints work best. Avoid clothing with bold graphics or logos which can detract from your face.

New Year, New Goals

Well, January really flew by and February is here. Despite that, its early in 2019 so I’m thinking it still counts for the New Year. I’m not a big New Year’s resolution person. Always figured if it was important enough to me, I’d just do it and otherwise, I would feel bad if I didn’t follow through. So true to my tradition, I haven’t made any new year resolutions, but I did come across a number of motivational quotes that I found especially meaningful and encouraging that I posted on Facebook in January.

Inspirational Quote #5 is “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau. Those of you who know me well, know that I have had this dream of working full time as a photographer for several years now. And I have been working confidently in that direction. So much so, that this time last year, I thought that I would be making that transition this month or next month, in this year. In August, I was thinking I would keep my full time UTSW job until March of 2019, and then in late September, I thought maybe I needed to hang on until August, 2019. Well, life gets in the way (called bathroom remodel), and some personal financial goals as well as some challenges going on in my UTSW office, such that I’m looking now at making the transition next January. Can’t even believe I’m saying that and I’ll probably question my sanity a few times between now and then. My boss is happy that I’m talking about staying a bit longer, which is nice that I even have the option to extend my stay

Its really a struggle for me though, especially when I read my Inspirational Quote #3 which was “Setting goals is the first step into turning the invisible into the visible.” Tony Robbins. and #4 which says “Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” W. Clement Stone. I did set goals last year, but I know that many days my personal business goals seem to get pushed to the background. And I have clearly had a definiteness of purpose. My home studio demonstrates that as well as through all the pieces that I are in place. As Randy frequently reminds me, “you are building the foundation.”

For now, I will work on updating my goals for 2019 and trust that God will give me clear direction and guidance for the future. What a relief that I can trust a higher power with my future!

Valuing Family Generations

Value. That’s a word that carries a lot of weight these days. Everyone wants a good value. We tend to measure purchases and experiences by whether or not they are a good value to us. What is the price for value? Does good value have a price? What is the value of something that is priceless?

If you’ve read a few of my blogs, you’ve likely picked up on my theme of valuing family. To that end, I’ve started a project where I want to create some portraits representing several generations

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What's on Your Wall?

Sort of like the commercial for Capital One, where they ask “What’s in your wallet?” my question is, “What’s on your wall?”

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of photographing a young family, Rebekah and Michael and their precious 2 year old daughter - Ruth. She was so much fun and had SO MUCH ENERGY!

Fast forward several months and Rebekah forwarded me the images below of her wall portraits that they purchased and now have displayed in their home!

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Generational Photography Project

I am working on a generational photography project. It is currently in the planning stages. I have been thinking about it for some time now and I need to move it past the just thinking about it stage.

One of the main reasons I do portrait photography is to capture the connections in the lives of my clients. Capturing several generations of a family in one image captures the essence of why I am doing photography! What a special gift that one image can be to not only those who are in the photograph, but for many years and generations to come.

Do you have old photo albums passed down to you that you can pull out and look through and remember when?

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Change of Scenery - Good for the Soul!

Randy and I have spent the past week in Angel Fire, New Mexico.  A close friend owns a home in the mountains and she invited us to spend the week here with her.  Two other long time friends joined us and it was great getting to spend times and catch up with one another in the midst of this gorgeous scenery. 

As it always seems to be for me, I need a vacation to rest, but spend some of my time doing work.  This week was no different.  After looking at work emails for the first few days, and actually doing some, albeit minimal, work remotely, I finally stopped looking at the work emails knowing if I was really needed, they would text me.  In my defense, I hate returning to work to 500+ emails so I was trying to minimize that pain!

I also see a week away as a great time to catch up on my photography business that I don't always have adequate time to focus on.  Alas, I was not as productive as I would like to have been, but console myself with the thought that some of the time just relaxing and playing games and taking long walks was needed therapy as well! 

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My Journey

My photography journey started by making fine art images and continues to be one of my passions today. As I contemplate and envision my future, I'd really love to have a brick and mortar fine art gallery some day. Until that physical gallery is a reality, I've been building a website for my fine art images. I invite you to take a moment to check it out. This is through a much larger organization which provides a way to market my images in a variety of finishes and provides a means for you to purchase and receive the prints directly.   And if you see an image you like that you'd like to have a favorite scripture added to it, contact me directly.

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Appreciating Life

As many of you know, I work at UT Southwestern in the Cardiothoracic Surgery department.  The doctors in my department save lives and accomplish miracles everyday.  And I must say, it is pretty awesome to know that I am part of that in some small way.  

Today, as I got off the elevators to go to lunch, one of our surgeons was waiting to get on the elevator.  He was smiling big and said he had just run into 3 of his transplant patients in the lobby of our building. They were all doing well, and no doubt expressed their gratitude and appreciation to him once again.  He said, "I should come over to the office more often!"

Knowing the life-threatening nature of the health conditions of many of our patients makes me very thankful for my health and what a blessing life is and how easy it is to take these blessings for granted.  So hug someone you care about and tell them you love them, say your prayers tonight giving thanks for your many blessings, and next time you see your doctor, tell him or her how grateful you are for their knowledge, skill, and dedication!  

More Life Connections

I continue to be reminded of the importance of connections in our lives.  Yesterday, I attended the funeral of my cousin, Tim.  Tim’s life ended much sooner than we normally anticipate for his age, but such is the case with cancer.   Attending a funeral always causes me to become introspective as I listen to the words spoken about the individual being honored and remembered. And I always wonder what kind of legacy I am creating, and what will those left behind when I am gone be able to say about me?

In Tim’s case, there were many, many friends and co-workers from his years in police work, in addition to our family members.  They had many wonderful things to say about him and I was sad that I had not had more opportunities to know him better as an adult.   

I was also sad that not many of our family members were able to be present and that again reinforced for me the importance of connections in our lives.  As I hugged his brother and said good-bye at the grave site, I commented that we would have to have a family get together under happier circumstances.  He said, “but we won’t do it, we never do.” 

So there is my challenge to help make sure it does happen, and it is a challenge to all of us, to make sure that we look for and create opportunities to maintain those important connections in our lives, whether it is family or friends. 

Life Connections

I was having lunch with Randy after church this past Sunday.  We were at Jason’s Deli, it was crowded and noisy.  My cell phone rang and I did not recognize the number.  I almost did not answer it because these clever marketers call using local numbers so it is more difficult to discern.  I’m glad I decided to answer it.  The call was from Vicki, one of my many cousins, reaching out to let me know her father was in ICU and that she had received a message on her voice mail from another relative about their son, Tim, who was hospitalized and not doing well.  The message had very limited information and may have been cut off.  She was calling me to see if I knew what was going on with Tim.  I did not, so I called another cousin who I was pretty sure would know, and she did.   Turns out both of these cousins are in the same hospital.  Bobby, with pneumonia and more senior in age is expected to recover, and the other, Tim, is dealing with an aggressive cancer and likely looking at end of life decisions.   Tim is 5 years younger than me.   

By the end of the day, I had talked on the phone and in person with 3 of my cousins, got caught up on several others, and on my way home, thought of a couple of others who I need to call.  I’ve mentioned previously that I was adopted as a baby.  My mom was child #7 of 10 children.  That resulted in a lot of kids and although I was raised an only child, I grew up with a lot of cousins, and fortunately we spent time with many of them, frequently. 

What’s the significance of that you may ask?  Well, these are the connections in my life, and while I don’t see these relatives anywhere near as frequently now as I did growing up, they still hold a special place in my heart and life.  They brought me into their family and gave me critical and life-long connections as a child that were extremely important then and are still felt today.  It is fun to reminisce about things we did as children, the times we got into trouble, places we went to together, and to talk about things that others don’t know but we do because we experienced it together!

I hope you have similar connections in your life to resurrect fond memories, and I hope you have pictures that you can hold and look back through to remind you of these connections that shape us and ground us even when we don’t realize it.  We certainly seemed to do a better job of printing out photos in past times (because that was the only option if you wanted to see them) than we do in this digital age.

Hug one of your connections today and then take a selfie with them - and then print it!