Before my photography business, kids, and a few years working with my hubby (an ultimate test of compatibility before marriage) I worked in the world of corporate and, later, small business marketing.  This was at a time when “Branding” was so ubiquitous that I literally spent years researching and trying to quantify and grow my clients “Brand Equity”.

Of course people no longer just think of brands in relationship to companies and products like McDonald’s or Apple. Nowadays, anything and anyone can be a brand.

Professionals, Creatives, and Entrepreneurs alike all have personal brands now. And no matter what your profession, art or business is you deserve to be seen, heard, and felt.

I have found that almost all business professionals and creatives can benefit from having a great headshot, but I am also finding that many of us need more than just one photo of our face to tell our story. We need images that tell more about us, and what we do. A bigger picture, (pun intended;)) of our work and business.  So that’s why I have created two different sessions and packages to meet different needs.  And to make it easier for you to decide what best meets your needs, I have created an overview snap shot of each.

Here it goes…

A headshot session is best for those:

  • on a tighter budget
  • are not sure exactly what they need, may wish to dip their toe in the water for their first session
  • with limited availability in their schedule 
  • who prefer a simpler appointment, less is more!

A Personal Branding session is best for those:

  • who are looking for a full service
  • have a flexible budget to accommodate a higher level of service including image evaluation as well as a wardrobe & concept planning appointment
  • interested in multiple wardrobe changes, and even hair & make up service
  • wish to elevate their brand with a variety of images to better relate to multiple audiences with a consistent brand message 
  • prefer more photographs to reflect the multiple roles that they have, be able to appeal larger audiences, have a variety of images to reflect the changing seasons etc.

More specifically, here is how the two types of sessions differ:

PERSONAL BRANDING SESSION

HEADSHOT SESSION

In depth process to meet your individual needs

Efficient process by preset appointment

By calendar availability

Limited dates & times

Evaluation of existing imagery vs.vision for new images

Pre-shoot consultation to plan wardrobe, styling of the shoot and poses.

Multiple outfit changes to achieve a variety of looks and take you through different seasons

Arrive wardrobe ready for session.  No outfit changes permitted

Wide variety of posing and crops

Limited posing and crops

FEES AND DELIVERABLES FEES AND DELIVERABLES

$500 for 2hr photoshoot, $100 per additional hour of shooting

Private online proofing gallery

5 edited/retouched high-res and web-ready images included

$50 per additional edited retouched digital image

$250 for 30mins of shooting, $100 per additional hour of shooting

Private online proofing gallery

2 edited/retouched high-res and web-ready images included

$50 per additional retouched digital image

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WHAT TO WEAR?

FALL FAMILY PHOTOSHOOT GUIDELINES

Coordinating multiple outfits can be a daunting task, so I complied some easy tips for styling outfits for a fall photoshoot. 

1. Layer it up! Layers create visual interest and will keep you warm and cozy if we’re heading outside for your pictures. Think tights, cardigans, blazers, vests and scarves.

2. Choose two main hues you love, and develop your colour scheme around them. Use the brightest colour — also known as the accent colour — sparingly.

3. Don’t forget accessories! Accessories not only add to your outfit but they can be fun to use in photos. Necklaces for young girls to play with, a beautiful headband or hats and scarves to hide behind are a few possibilities. 

A few other quick tips:

  • Aim for coordinating colours not matching.
  • Limit patterns and stripes.  Patterns and stripes can look great but generally in moderation.
  • Look for clothing collections in stores.  Purchase from stores that typically have colour coordinating collections.
  • Say no to characters.
  • Avoid all white or all black clothing.
  • Avoid dressing siblings in the exact same patterns and clothing.  Some differences in outfits will make sure all kids pop!

Happy styling!

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I love great black and white photography. When you remove colour from a photo, it sometimes feels like a transformation happens.   

A person’s expression is suddenly deepened and a look is infused with more meaning. An interesting composition becomes bolder and more dramatic.  Images gain a timelessness in black and white.  They somehow transcend the here and now and allow us to focus on the emotion in a photograph.

But how does a photographer (both professional and hobbyist alike) decide which photos they should convert to black and white?

A client asked me recently to create an entire collection of portraits for her in black and white.  I went into the shoot knowing that all of the images I would be taking in colour I would ultimately turn into black and white.  This interesting request made me take a closer look into black and white photography.

When not requested by a client directly, how do I choose which photos stay in colour and which are converted into black and white? Do I rely on some kind of rigorous scientific method or differ to my totally unscientific gut feel?

Initially my gut feel is exactly what I relied on!  It was all a matter of trial and error.  This did build knowledge and experience, but was it an efficient use of my time?…definitely not long term.

As time has gone on I have learned more about the technical elements that make for great black and whites and why some photos lend themselves better to monochrome than others.

There is a long list of elements to look for but for the purpose of this blog post I wanted to narrow the scope to the first 3 qualities I look for in a Portrait that usually make it a great contender for conversion.  

1. EXPRESSIONS

When it comes to images of people, a strong black and white can be truly compelling. So when there is a great expression on a person’s face, be it wonder, delight, or melancholy, I try converting it to black and white. Removing colour can bring remarkable focus to the subject. The simplicity of black and white seems to heighten the connection between the subject and the viewer.


2. TEXTURE

Textures really stand out in black and white, particularly when they create a lot of contrast. So give shots with a lot of texture a try, and don’t be afraid to experiment with high contrast in your editing. The results can be outstanding!

3.  DISTRACTING COLORS

Simply put black and white is distraction free.  Busy, colour saturated pictures can often confuse the eye—sometimes there is simply too much going on. Black and white images on the other hand can be wonderfully simple and it’s often easier to focus on the subject in the picture.

 

So there you have it, a quick “snapshot” 😉 of the first 3 qualities I look for when deciding whether to go monochrome!  

I read an article on this very subject recently and this one line stuck with me:

“When you convert colour images to black & white, do it with conviction. The clue’s in the name!”

 

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What’s all this Legacy talk about anyway?

Although google tells me otherwise it felt like a eureka moment when I first said the words “legacy portrait”. 

A camera shy friend was asking me to convince her why she would ever want to have pictures taken of just herself.  She could understand the once a year obligatory family holiday portrait, but portraits of just she alone were nowhere on her radar.

I stepped up onto my invisible soapbox and started my appeal.

“Portraits of you are not just for you!” I explained. “Of course, you should have photographs you truly love of yourself that you are proud of and can enjoy today.  But if  you don’t even want to look at them, I’m okay with that, because ultimately legacy portraits are for your children, your grandchildren and all of the future generations to come.”

The question I asked myself when I discovered I was literally missing in all of our photographs after our girls were born, and the question I now ask all mothers I speak to is this:  “There will come a day when your children and grandchildren will go looking for pictures of you.  What will they find?”

For me legacy portraits not only stand the test of time, they capture your extraordinary.  They are treasures to be enjoyed today and cherished tomorrow.  Legacy portraits are for you and everyone who loves you!

 

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After a winter of shooting indoors I am certainly looking forward to working outside again with the best lighting in the world, but after my first season shooting portraits in a proper studio, I will be approaching my outdoor photoshoots with new eyes.

I am a natural light photographer through and through, using flash sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. So when I set up my studio this year I continued to light my photos the same way, bouncing and reflecting the natural sunlight coming through the windows onto my subjects.

The major change in my style of photography, however, was the simplification of the environment I was shooting in and backgrounds I was shooting my subjects on. My portraits were no longer a mix of sky, trees, lakes, beaches, parks, gardens, mountains, fields and faces. My subjects were the images.  I think it’s human nature when we are surrounded by a gorgeous environment, we want to capture so much of it in one picture. Yet, I realized some of my most underwhelming portraits were shot in the most magnificent, but busy scenery. With simplified backgrounds all of the focus (pun intended) was on my subjects. In a sense I felt I was better able to capture the essence of people just a little bit better.

I read a very clever line in an article on landscape photography recently but I thought it very much applies to my own new revelation; Pick a Tree — Don’t Photograph the Entire Forest. I believe the difficulty lies in subtraction. There’s some sense that we wouldn’t be conveying the full beauty of the moment if we can’t fit it all into one photograph. But I have now realized nearly the opposite is true.

With this in mind, I am still going to continue my love affair with outdoor photography but I am going to start picking my tree very wisely and savour the entire forest with my own two eyes.

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