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Archive for the ‘Headshots & Portraits’ Category

Over the past several weeks I’ve been working with the local LE and Fire departments to do their officer portraits. Tomorrow I have the 3rd shoot with the fire fighters and a makeup shoot with one if the LE officers. These portraits are special in that they will be used for awards or in the event of death. They are a great tribute to the officers.

Today I did head shots for a person who’s business said he needed an update.

I actually enjoy shooting head shots and portraits. I enjoy the interaction with the people and getting shots that make them look great. I’ve devoted a section of the studio for the LE and Fire portraits because I want the all to be consistent. I can change it at a moments notice if I have to, but I like the fact that I have it ready at all times.

If you need head shots, I have a special price that can’t be beat. $65 for a half hour in the studio and 2 edited images on a CD with a release to use and print. It’s great for businesses, personal, and actors/models.

Contact Casual Elegance Photography® today and make an appointment for your Head Shot or portrait session.

Atlanta Photographer

© Casual Elegance Photography

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Over the past couple of months we’ve added mobile recognition code to our site so that when a person without Flash wants to view the site, it automatically takes them to the HTML version so that they can view practically everything. In today’s environment with iPads, iPhones, smart phones, and tablets, we needed a way to allow seamless viewing of our site. But to see the site in its fullest, it’s best viewed on a laptop or desktop with Flash. There are slide shows and additional content that we had a hard time porting to the HTML site.

I’m considering using a WordPress theme as the basis of the website and hosting it on Fatcow where we host the site now. It’s going to take a while to build it, but I’m hopeful that it will make the viewing great for everyone.

The main focus of Casual Elegance Photography® is Boudoir and Nude photography. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t do other venues of photography too. I started CEP doing headshots and portraits. I still do many headshots and portraits as well as maternity and commercial product photography. If you have a need for any type of photography, just ask.

Visit Casual Elegance Photography® and let us know what you think of the site. While you are there, look over our services, review our client testimonials, and take a peek at the samples of or past work. Then make your appointment using our contact page.

Mat025

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This is a blog I wrote over a year ago, but I felt that I need to re-post it because I have been receiving calls from potential clients who have had bad experiences when doing a boudoir session with another photographer in the past.  I told them that these are the things that they should ask right up front.  I know that this isn’t positively going to make sure that the photographer is the right one, but it will help with the short  list.  I’ve sent them this list of questions to help them get started.

I received a call from a potential client back a while ago and I was actually very delighted that she had such a good list of questions for me before she would hire a photographer – especially one that was going to take intimate photos for her. She had done her homework and said that she wanted to be sure she was dealing with a professional and a real business. Here are some of the questions she asked and the answers I gave her.

1. Do you have a business license? (yes – in Sandy Springs where my studio is)
2. Are you a corporation and in which state? (yes – Mark L. Anderson, LLC – Georgia – DBA Casual Elegance Photography®)
3. Do you have insurance? (yes – liability and loss of property)
4. When did you start the business? (2000 – I have been specializing in Boudoir and Intimate photography since 2001. I don’t shoot weddings and have not just added Boudoir photography to my menu of services.  I take the business of Boudoir and Intimate Photography seriously and professionally.)
5. Do you have a Website? – she was referred by a friend (yes – casualelegancephotography.com and my email address is mark@casualelegancephotography.com)
6. Do you have a studio? Can I meet with you ahead of the shoot and see your studio? (yes I have a 15oo sq ft studio in a small quite business park – I encourage that you come in ahead of time to discuss a shoot.  It’s always a good idea to see if you click with someone.  You can see examples of my work and we can go over ideas.)
7. Do you have a Makeup Artist? (yes – I utilize the services of several in the area but work closely with 3 – all licensed estheticians. They all believe in cleanliness and ensure their equipment and products are cleaned between uses. These Makeup Artists and I have worked together for over 10 years.)
8. Can I bring someone to the shoot with me? (YES – I highly encourage you to do that)
9. Will my photos be sold or used by you? ( NO! I do not use client images. If a client wants me to use an image I require them to sign an agreement for me to do so. I don’t even allow anyone other than the client to order prints or a CD)

Another few questions that should also be asked are:

1.  What forms of payment do you accept? (I accept most major credit cards, checks, and cash)

2.  Do you provide Prints or just photos on a CD?  (I can provide either or both.  I can also provide books, calendars, and canvas prints.)

3.  What are your hours of operation?  (I’m by appointment only and have appointment hours 7 days per week and on holidays)

She had a bunch more questions but they were related to the process, the shoot, and the timing. As I said, I was delighted that she was taking the task of hiring a photographer so seriously and I gladly answered her questions. It made me very happy that I had followed all the right steps to build my business correctly, and that Casual Elegance Photography® had all the right answers.

Visit our website to learn more about Casual Elegance Photography® and read our client testimonials.

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I think that sometimes we miss the real important point of family portraits.  Should they be perfect photos in the perfect pose of the perfect family?  Or do we want them to be US with the love, fun, and reality we share?

I’ve done a few family portraits lately that I felt like it was of the real family, not the proper posed shots we have all seen on the walls of homes and windows of photographers.  The recent family portraits I’ve taken were just real life fun images that showed the bond between all the family members.  The didn’t have matching outfits, they didn’t have an exceptionally perfect pose, and they didn’t all have the perfect “Colgate” smile.  What they did have was a good time, a natural fun family interaction, and they got some exceptional images that showed who they really are.

The point I’m trying to make is that we are sometimes too critical of the photos we have taken.  I have found that most people look for the “flaws” and miss the good parts.  When one child isn’t doing the perfect pose, but the image is of their real personality, that’s the best shot in my opinion.  I can remember many photo sessions I’ve done with my kids and their families where one or more of the kids were doing something different.  I look at the images today and still get a smile on my face – “yep, that’s so and so…”

So the next time you do a family portrait session think of these few suggestions.  1. Don’t go into the shoot with a mental image of the perfect shot in mind.  Have a general idea of what you want, but don’t have a rigid plan in mind.  2.  Relax and be a family.  Don’t make it a shoot where the kids have to be perfect.  Let them have a little fun and let the whole family be themselves.  3.  Don’t overlook the best images – the ones that show who you really are and how you were as a family.  Years from now you will be able to look back at the photos and think to yourself “yep, that’s so and so…”

Sydney and Payton posing for their Christmas Photos

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Years ago when everyone shot with film the lab was on the hook to ensure the colors were true – well, for the most part.  You had to set your “ASA” (now called ISO) setting to the correct value, and shoot the correct film for the situation (or use a correction filter).  Simplified, but that was mostly it.   Today in the digital age the camera and YOU are responsible to ensure correct colors.  Although most of the cameras today will do a great job at getting the images right, I’ve seen many images that look like the person has a sunburn and the foliage looks like something from a model train landscape under florescent lights and over-saturated to boot.  Did someone change the settings and never change them back?

It all starts with the white balance setting.  Most DSLRs have a white balance setting.  Many people leave it set for Automatic.  That’s okay, but you should really know how to set it manually for the effect you want.  For instance, using the cloudy day setting, the incandescent setting, etc.  When and where to use the Kelvin settings and how they control the temperatures of the lighting.  The camera’s user manual is a good place to start.  They actually have a very good write up on the camera controls and make it fairly easy to understand how and why each control works.

Once you’ve mastered the WB portion, how about the other settings on the camera such as Tone and Saturation.  Today’s DSLRs have fairly good “engines” in them for overall shooting, but knowing how to control the settings is something that many people never even look into.  Are your images over saturated?  Too much red tone or blue tone?  Do you check the camera settings every time you get ready to shoot a new set of images?  Do you make changes to the settings for the environment you are shooting in?   These are all things that most Pros do when setting up for a shoot.  Knowing your camera, understanding the settings and the relationships between them, and understanding light itself are the things that will make or break the image quality at the camera level.  Again, the camera manual has excellent instructions on how to use the controls.  Have you read the manual???  But it doesn’t stop here.

In years past you dropped off the film to the lab and waited to get your prints/slide/negs back.  When they came back, other than errors in exposure, the color were fairly true.  Today we import our images into programs such as Photoshop and work on them to produce the “Negative” to be printed.  But how many people actually calibrate their monitors and use the ICC profiles of the lab to ensure that what they are seeing is what they will get back.  You may be looking at an image and say “perfect”, but the lab (or others viewing it online) seeing the same image on their monitors may say “it’s too red” or “it’s too saturated”.  And if you send it to the lab for printing it may come back entirely different from what you saw on your monitor.  So who is at fault?   The answer is in the set-up.  Is your monitor calibrated to the standards?  Did you soft proof using the ICC profile of the lab?  Was the environment you edited the image in conditioned for editing?  Did you use the correct ICC profile for the image?   These are all questions the Pros know only too well.  It’s becomes a routine to calibrate and ensure the editing environment meets the requirements to get the best results.  These kinds of things are why you pay a little more for a professional.  But it’s things like this that give you more bang for the buck too.

At Casual Elegance Photography® the 4 computers that are used for editing or viewing are all calibrated using the same calibration software and hardware.  When I see an image on the screen in the shooting room, it will look the same on the editing system where the final editing is done.  And prior to every shoot a test target is shot to ensure that the camera, computer, settings, and lighting all match the standards.   Yes, it takes a bit longer to set things up (even in a natural light or on location shoot), but I feel that it’s my responsibility to make sure I do a reasonable check of things before I begin to shoot so the client gets the highest quality of images out of the shoot.

Visit Casual Elegance Photography® and book an appointment today.

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I keep  talking about the cycles of this business.  They can be cycles in the type of shoot, cycles in the style of shoots, or cycles in the questions I receive in emails or phone calls.   Well this week breaks the cycle.  It’s going to be a week of everything.  I’ve got Head Shot sessions, Art Nude Sessions, and Boudoir Sessions planned throughout the week.  It’s nice to have a full week of shoots because (here’s that cycle again) the past two weeks have been in the “slower cycle”.  This slow cycle has given me an opportunity to get a few overdue things done, launch the Studio 7730 site (a division of Casual Elegance Photography®), migrate over to a new editing computer, and do some research to help my son out with a car problem he has been having.  But a full week is something I love and it will be good.

If you haven’t seen the new Casual Elegance Photography website, it’s been launched along with our Studio 7730 website – a division of Casual Elegance Photography ® – our Family, Head Shot, and Pet Photography site.

Are there any topics that you would like to have me discuss on my blog?  Let me know and I will try to with it.

Visit Casual Elegance Photography® today!

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I just read an article in the PPAs Professional Photographer Magazine about what it takes to start up a professional photography business.   I’ve written about questions that you should ask when selecting a photographer for your Boudoir photos.  It was really nice to see what the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) said and how well their view meshed with mine.

For instance, obtain a license, become a business entity in your state, create a website (not just a Facebook account or something), have a custom email address rather than a hotmail or yahoo address, obtain liability insurance, etc.   These are the basic things a business needs to operate and show professionalism.  Yet there are individuals who don’t do these basic things and promote themselves as a business.  If something were to happen during one of their shoots, they could lose everything including personal assets because they have not separated themselves from their business by doing the basic things.

In a related article the PPA discussed the topic of Mastering the Craft.  The line that got my attention was “It’s up to the photographer to get it right.”  Many people get a digital camera and don’t learn basic photography yet advertise themselves as Professional Photographers.  They use the automatic modes of the camera and don’t understand how it really works.  The automatic modes in themselves are not bad, but as the photographer you are expected to get the photo right.  As the PPA said (paraphrased) “Mr X. has a grand piano in his living room. He can’t play the piano  but through some software in the piano he can hit a few notes and the piano can play by itself.  Can Mr. X bill himself as a piano player?”  It’s the same with cameras and photographers.  You have to understand how the camera works, what the settings are doing, and understand the relationship of each.  Knowing basic photography can help you overcome many of the limitations of the automatic modes and use the camera to its fullest.

When you put all of the above elements together the point is, know who you are dealing with and know if you will be receiving the level of professionalism you are paying for.   At Casual Elegance Photography® you can be assured that we are a licensed, insured, and registered business with a professional outlook, attitude, and philosophy toward the photography business and our clients.

Visit Casual Elegance Photography® and book your appointment today!

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