Archive by Author

Welcome to 2012! Betties 2.0!

6 Jan

Welcome to the New Year! We know that things have been a little quiet lately, and we all know why – two words: Wedding Season. But that’s not the only reason we’ve been busy. Behind the scenes we’ve been hard at work crafting some new ideas and directions for our organization that we hope will add value and benefit to each and every one of our members that has supported us so far!

First of all – we have a new URL! Though our old one will still remain active and redirect, our new and improved web address is www.photobetties.org. Update your bookmarks!

Also, you may have noticed a few guest posts authored by Betty Editors. This is a new featured role we’re offering to our most enthusiastic members to help bring a fresh voice to the blog and to inspire new thoughts and ideas beyond the founders. Look for more great additions to this program throughout 2012 – and if you are interested in becoming a Betty Editor, let us know!

We’re also working on partnerships with vendors such as Two Bright Lights and other local and national brands that we all know and love to bring special offers and exposure exclusively to verified members. We also plan to implement more events for non-members to network with us – second shooters, assistants, industry vendors etc.  This is an area we will be focusing on greatly as the organization continues to expand. After all, membership should have it’s priviledges, right?

Finally, we’re just tickled pink to see how quickly we have grown! Thanks to all of you, we have been able to make a real difference in the lives and businesses of so many photographers in our area and we want to continue to do so! Many of the changes coming about are in response to the overwhelming support we’ve gained since June 2010. As a result, we’ll be rolling out real, bona fide membership guidelines soon to help grow our organization and allow us to focus our efforts on rewarding those who really embody the Betty spirit! All of you!

So strap on your hats, we’re in for an even more exciting ride this year!

2012: The Year of the Belly! – Guest Blogger Sarah Schulte

15 Nov

As I sat in my chair with a sleeping newborn in my lap, my mind raced…I needed something to distract me.  It was winter, wedding season was over and the next season wouldn’t kick into high gear for another couple of months.  I was caught up on albums, edits and (gasp!) even my marketing.  Maybe, just maybe, it was time to do a project for ME!  Something that would get my creative juices flowing, that had nothing to do with weddings, and that could refresh my mom brain just in time for me to go back to work.  When I was still pregnant, John (my husband) had painted my big belly up like a Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween.  It was cute, it got lots of comments on Facebook…it must be cool…wouldn’t it be fun to paint other pregnant bellies?  Surely, John wouldn’t mind it if I volunteered his services…and I bet pregnant moms would jump at the chance to jazz up their bellies.  I could take a snap when they were done, keeping the elements as uniform as possible, and find a way to display them.

How to display them?  I sure didn’t want to do all this work just to leave them on the computer…how about 12 bellies, 12 months – a calendar!  What a cute gift that would make…I could sell them and give the money to a charity!  I  wanted a charity that was uplifting, joyful, and for children.  I chose Little Smiles because I love what they do for children…bringing smiles to the faces of kids in local hospitals, shelter and hospices.  They remind kids to be kids.  I had donated several sessions to their Little Smiles Ball Silent Auction in the past, and it was an important organization to several of my clients.

All that in the span of one nap…and now, almost one year later, the calendar is done!  I didn’t think it would ever get finished…waiting for bellies to be the right size, for John to be available, for the expecting moms to be available…but we made it and I am so excited and beyond thrilled with how they came out.  If you want to purchase on of these bad boys, send an email to calendar@sarahschulte.com.  Please include your full name and mailing address and specify if you would like to pay by check or through PayPal.  Orders will be collected and invoices will be emailed out on a first-come, first-serve basis until the calendars are gone!  Calendars are $31.50 (includes tax and US Postage) each and should arrive in time for the holidays.  I’ll be taking orders through the month of November, and $10 of each calendar sale will go to the Little Smiles Organization.

Sarah Schulte is the owner of Sarah Schulte Photography and is a proud member of the Photo Betties Network.

Becoming Women of Heart: Art for a Cause Recap!

10 Nov

Last Tuesday, the Photo Betties partook in an amazing event, one that inspired 13 Philadelphia area artists to create and donate a body of work to turn art into hope for thousands of families across the  area who are struggling with Cancer: Women of Heart: Becoming Art for a Cause. While it took the help of many to bring this dream to life,  no one worked harder than Katie Bradford Obsbourne, the founder of Women of Heart – who dreamed up this amazing idea in order to honor the memory of her father – another victim of Cancer. Katie not only created the idea for the cause and carried it through to success, but she inspired over a dozen other artists to follow her lead and submit some beautiful work that went on display on November 2nd at Studio 5 in Philadelphia.

A concept born from the grief of losing someone so dear to her, Katie wanted to find a way to use her art to flip sadness on it’s head and create a movement that would not only help heal those wounds, but would help others who are now battling the disease. “I think the thing I’m most proud of is giving myself a chance to have good memories that day by doing something. Instead of making a day that was HIS- his 60th birthday- about me and my grief. Or about grief at all! A birthday is a celebration of life, and I certainly celebrate that he was here for almost 57 years”. And so the gallery was filled with amazing pieces of her work and many others, and after months of determination and commitment, Women of Heart came to life. “There was a moment I’ll never forget when everything was up, and I stopped and just looked at it all. I could feel my dad saying, ‘I’m really proud of you, Sugar,’ and it just hit me that I really made it happen.”

Along with Katie’s body of work, juried pieces from Catherine Bogart-Rome, Brendan Burke, Caitlin Domanico Katherine Fraser, Brittany Koch, Patty Kropp, Helen Orombi, Jennifer Osborne, Alix Passage, Jenna Walcott, and  Christie Young displayed their work throughout the gallery and musical artist Matthew-Billy Williams of Williamsboy Band performed soulful sets of acoustic guitar that created the perfect atmosphere for the crowd. The event drew over 60 people to North Philadelphia to view the works and purchase and donate for the cause, The Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia.

Katie featured two main bodies of work for the event, The Women of Heart Series and Mixed Media. “My Portrait of a Woman program is my passion, and this is exactly why. These are all regular women who put aside their insecurities to ‘become art for a cause,’” speaks Katie about the Women of Heart Series, “and mixed media is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I’ve always been fascinated with it- it’s a different way of thinking when your photograph is the jumping point instead of the finished product. I played with alternative printing techniques, interesting materials such as tissue paper, and LOTS of black acrylic paint! The end result is something I am truly proud of as an artist- these pieces really reflect me- who I am and where I’ve been”.

Totals from donations are still being calculated, but regardless of the number there is no question that this event was a true success and marks only the first of many of it’s kind. “Now that the event is behind me I’ve had a chance to think about where I would like to see it going, and I know for sure that it’s not over! It’s a little up in the air where I’ll be this time next year, but wherever I go, I can certainly see Women of Heart following me. I am SO passionate about this cause – being able to, in some way, do my part to help others whose lives have been affected by Cancer and also give other artists a way to do that, too.”

Donations can still be made in the name of Women of Heart toward the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia. Contact Katie for information on how you can contribute or get involved.

Tips on Tuesday: Preparing for your destination wedding!

23 Aug

So you’ve booked a destination wedding – and you’re totally pumped. You’re thinking about all the amazing and inspirational new spots you’re going to see once you arrive at the wedding resort and your mind is racing with ideas! The one thing you’re probably not thinking about? The boring logistics on how to prepare yourself AND your business for a smooth and successful trip worth every single awesome photo you’re bound to take home with you. I know, because when I booked mine, I certainly wasn’t.  So here are some helpful hints that I learned firsthand (some of them, the hard way) that will hopefully arm you with all the wisdom necessary to make your next destination wedding a smooth sail.

If you are traveling to a destination by air, this ups the ante significantly. When you are hitting a destination wedding by car, you have that wonderful, roomy trunk to fill with back-ups and emergency kits and step ladders and props and, well, just about anything else that you fancy to aid you in pulling off the perfect wedding. You also get to avoid pesky airline regulations that are bound to pose a problem no matter what you do. With luggage restrictions and the need to simplify your packing list, your planning needs to start well ahead of take-off. The following is a checklist you should review in advance of your trip – and is tailored to the international traveler – but still most tactics apply no matter where your fabulous destination happens to be!

  • Call your airline in advance to make sure there are no weight restrictions on your carry-on luggage – well-packed camera bags are heavier than you think – and you don’t ever want to be separated from your gear.
  • Make sure you have a sturdy, international airline approved rolling bag to transport your gear that will keep everything well protected in the overhead compartment and in the event of severe of shifting or turbulence (I used my ThinkTank Airport Airstream – FABULOUS).
  • If you are traveling for an international gig, you must document your gear (anything that has a serial number i.e. camera bodies, lenses etc.) with the customs department nearest to you (Note: you can do this at the airport customs office on your day of departure, but make sure you allow for extra time before your flight to accomplish this) otherwise, you risk paying a hefty tariff when it comes time to re-enter the states.
  • Bring additional folded bags incase you have to redistribute weigh or bulk for your carry on bags at check-in- this happened to me – now I know why all collapsible vendor bags at WPPI are so valuable!
  • If you can, travel with a partner – it lowers the stress level by leaps and bounds!
  • Triple check that you have as many back-up batteries, CF cards, and rechargeables that you can fit in your bag – depending on where you are going it may be impossible to find replacements.
  • Do the proper research and find out what voltage you’ll be dealing with at your destination – and make sure you have converters for your battery chargers, laptop etc. if necessary.
  • Back it up, Back it up. back it up, back it up. Don’t leave that wedding on your CF cards and then travel with them. If possible, upload your files to an FTP for back up, use your laptop for temporary storage and if possible, travel with a portable external hard drive.
  • If you are shooting in a tropical location – where the temperature and humidity will differ significantly between inside and out – bring gallon sized ziplock bags to keep humidity out of your lenses and bodies as you travel between the two environments – allow for 15-20 minutes when you first embark outdoors into the heat and humidity to give time for your lenses to defog.
  • Pack one change of clothes (in addition to the outfit you plan to shoot in) in your carry on luggage.
  • Check to make sure that you insurance policy covers you outside of your domestic domain – and purchase travel insurance as an additional safety measure.
  • Finally – remember that you are going to be shooting in a totally different environment – one that may present unusual challenges – whether it be uncommon weather patterns, different sunrise/sunset times, language and/or cultural barriers or a infinite number of things. Expect the unexpected and do as much research ahead of time as possible!

Finally – enjoy the amazing experience of being able to travel as a photographer! It’s exhilarating and an incredible way to infuse new inspiration into your work and portfolio!

Tech Tuesday: Free at Last!

22 Jun

It may seem odd to some of you that Tech Tuesday is being posted on a Wednesday. But this week there is a good reason – I found my FREEDOM. Now, what may appear on the surface as an anti-technology topic is actually a true tech-worthy tidbit in disguise.

As photogs, we spend hours upon hours editing in Lightroom on a weekly basis. Now, if you had to be honest with yourself, how many of those minutes within each of those hours are attributed to sneaks to Facebook, checking email, responding to a quick one, tweeting about your editing progress, web-surfing for a sleek new pair of shoes for your next date-night, distracting yourself with a new blog post that just popped up in someone’s status…. I could honestly go on forever here listing all the things I know I do while I’m trying to barrel through post-production. We can’t help it – it’s in our nature! Or, can we…

Introducing Freedom, a PC productivity software that restricts your internet access while you perform certain tasks – and you set the boundaries. Absolutely have to finish a wedding by 5PM tonight? Set Freedom to curb your desire until delivery time. This program will keep your mitts off the internet for up to 8 hours at a clip – forcing you to find the will-power that always seems scares if left to your own devices. Can’t you just turn the program off, you ask? Well, that’s the beauty. If you really find yourself overcome with desire, the only way to reverse the process is to REBOOT. Yeah, I don’t know about you, but that’s not happening while I have a catalog open and am blowing through images.

“Endless digital distraction” – that’s what Slate terms this sickness we all suffer from in a quick video review here. Almost every major publication has given this app a shout out and you can review them all on the Freedom landing page.

So, many apologies for this Tech Tuesday coming a little late, but I had to try it out for myself. And that meant, waiting until this morning to give myself the internet green light. And no matter how disciplined you think you are, no matter how efficient you believe your workflow is, trust me when I say we can all use a little Freedom.

Tech Tuesday: The burgeoning art of iPhoneography

14 Jun

I think it’s fair to say we all share the sentiment that the iPhone (even for those who don’t have one) was revolutionary. For more reasons than just one – it completely reshaped the way we think about a mobile device. Well, for some photographers, it has also reshaped the way they think about photography. And if you really think about it, I’m sure in some way, it has done the same for you. With all the amazing apps out there that help us create more captivating images than ever thought possible with a camera phone, who wouldn’t think about how to turn it into a craft of it’s own?

Glyn Evans Founder of iPhoneography, and Editor of the iPhoneography blog, the worlds #1 iPhone photography website.

Take iPhoneography. Here’s a blog entirely devoted to iPhone imagery featuring artists that take the medium very seriously. iPhoneographers share their experiences with iPhone camera apps and showcase (in most cases) the AMAZING images they are able to create with them. Images on this site will blow your mind – and seriously make you question whether they were truly taken with an iPhone. There is even a free forum for folks to share ideas, comments and questions about achieving cool photo results with the featured apps.

(Even if you don’t find this concept worthy of press, at the very least, you can browse the imagery and check out what’s new in the iphone app library and test them out for yourself.)

Beyond the ambition to elevate camera phone technology to a reputable genre, pro-photogs are using apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic, two totally awesome digital apps with an analog feel, to communicate their brand on social networking sites. In particular, Instagram, an app built specifically to link directly to your Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts, makes it effortless to snap a cool, stylized photo on the go and post it to your online presence. I, myself, use this technique to not only stay connected with my clients and “followers”, but more importantly to try to show how I see life through a lens everywhere I go. I love the convenience of being able to make a photograph no matter where I am – whether in the middle of mundane daily tasks or spending time off the photog-clock with family and friends – because you never know when you just might see something worth capturing… such as these:

 

(That last image holds a special place in my heart…)

I know I have joked in the past about shooting a wedding exclusively with an iPhone. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has considered the absurd notion. The truth is, we’re probably not far off from someone taking this challenge by the horns and making it a reality – opening up a whole new realm of possibility with little, accessible technology.

How do you use your iPhone camera?  Have you seen someone making “iPhoneography” work for them? Tell us about it!

Tech Tuesday: Adobe Nav

17 May

Looking for a way to improve workflow in Photoshop? Not ready to invest in the Motiboto Skin system or a Wacom just yet? Got an iPad? Well, Adobe may have just come up with a suitable stop-gap. Introducing Adobe Nav for CS5 – an app released last month to make using Photoshop just a little bit easier – and more intuitive.

Adobe Nav is a touch app designed with customizable features that allow you to turn your iPad into a toolbar for Photoshop with the commands and tools you use most often right at your fingertips!

Features include:

•Use your fingertips to select Photoshop CS5 tools from your iPad screen.

•Customize the way the Photoshop CS5 toolbar appears on your iPad screen to make your most-used tools easily accessible. You can save one Adobe Nav toolbar configuration with up to 16 tools.

•Browse, reorder, view, and zoom in on up to 200 open Photoshop documents on your iPad screen.

•Tap any open document in Photoshop on your iPad to make it the active document in Photoshop CS5.

The app is priced at $1.99, so in some respects you may get what you pay for. Some reviews have noted that the features are somewhat limited for pro use, while others rave about the ease with which you can now breeze through workflow. The verdict will come down to you – and how you use Photoshop individually. In the end, it’s a darn good price for a product that just might save you some time in post.

So if you have CS5 (system requirement) and are looking for a new way to make your iPad earn it’s keep, try Adobe Nav. And tell us what you think!

Tried Adobe Nav? Got any tips or feedback? Post comments you comments below!

May 19, 2011: Save the Date!

3 May

Accounting for Photogs

Thursday, May 19th
7-9PM

Yup! It’s already that time again – the next Photo Betties Quarterly Meeting is right around the corner and this time we are making it all about numbers. Join us for a no-holds-barred open forum about all things accounting, a topic we know has been hot on everyone’s mind as of late!

Now that the 2010 tax season is behind us, get your business primed for 2011′s tax filings as Richard C. Capasso, CPA, Vice-President and Shareholder of CPC Financial Planning, opens his doors to a special Betty gathering, offering advice & answers to your questions about your most complex accounting issues.

This is one Betty event you don’t want to miss!

Register for Quarterly Meeting: Accounting for Photogs in King Of Prussia, PA  on Eventbrite

If you have attended previous Photo betties events, you were emailed a, invitation and password that allow you to register with the link above. If you didn’t receive the email, or we be in the Philadelphia area and would like to attend, send an email to info@phillyphotobetties.com.

Meet Dawn Shields!

21 Apr

When Heather and I sat in on Dawn Shield’s presentation at WPPI, we weren’t expecting what we got. We’d heard she gave a good talk and we had the evening free. What were we expecting, you ask? A good talk from a talented photographer. What did we get? In a word: Inspiration. We laughed. We cried. We cried A LOT. We were moved. We got chills. We were amazed. And we were also stunned by how real, down to Earth and humble Dawn was after having given a talk that evoked such emotion.

Shields won the WPPI Grand for her album, Legacy, in 2010 – a chilling story about her journey discovering the true identity of her beloved grandfather. She is a living example of how cultivating and pursuing your personal photographic projects can not only catapult your career, but also your sense of self. We couldn’t wait to speak to her after her lecture and invite her to contribute to the Betty network, and we are truly honored today to share with you her “conversation” with us here in this Industry Interview.

What are your specialties?

Looking through my lens and finding the story, I try not to limit myself to being any certain “type” of photographer.

Are you a morning or an evening person?

Depends if I’m in Vegas or not.

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee, cappuccino to be exact :)

Something that’s overrated:

The term “rockstar”.

Something that’s underrated:

Humility.

What did you have for lunch yesterday?

Sushi.

What are the blogs/websites you visit daily?

Facebook.

I am passionate about…

My children. I hope to raise them to be strong confident adults who are empathetic to others while always having their own sense of self.

To tweet or not to tweet?

Tweeting is not necessary for obtaining clients but is a fun way to stay in touch with others in our great industry.

Why did you become a photographer?

To photograph my own children. I never had intentions of owning a photography business. I am so happy that I ended up where I am though!

Tell us about your very first shoot.

All my first shoots were of family and friends, so they were happy with anything I did no matter how bad it was….love is blinding ;)

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

Success can be hard on friendships. As my success grew in the photography business it was very hard on a couple of close friendships. I wish I knew how to have made them confident that I was not “too busy” for them. It was hard watching friends I loved distancing themselves because they felt we were no longer in the same place in life. Not being a stay at home mom like them seemed to change the dynamics more than I ever thought. If you love your friends make sure to make special time for them. When you are embarking on a new journey without them, its very hard for them to not feel on the outside.

What is the secret to balancing your role as business owner and the role of mother/wife?

Being a mom and wife has to come first. I always take my kids to school and pick them up. I do not want anyone else there besides me when they need to talk about their day.

When it comes to being a wife, an evening out just being adults really helps us to connect and not to forget why we fell in love with each other so many years ago. My family is where I find my true happiness – my career is an artistic outlet that fulfills a small part of me that my family cannot.

What inspired you to create and launch Metropolitan Bride Magazine and how has it affected your photography business?

This is a hard question! I knew our area deserved and would embrace a regional publication with a “national feel”. The effect on my photography business is that I now have two jobs. So my time is not 100% dedicated to photography but also to a publication and bridal expos. That has been a change for me but I love both companies!

Personal projects are an important part of your life (Legacy, Rhema Marvanne). Can you offer a bit of advice to photogs on making time for these valuable journeys?

Do it! Its a career changing moment. You will go in a photographer and come out an artist. It is the best thing I have done for myself.

Top 5 things on your photographer’s wish list:

1. Non-stop beautiful weather
2. A self cleaning desk
3. My own personal jet (no delayed flights!)
4. To be independently wealthy so I can shoot every session for FREE!
5. Oh…and a 50mm 1.4 :)

What is the most rewarding & what is the most difficult about being a photographer?

Most rewarding? Making people feel beautiful and happy in their own skin. When people look at images of themselves and love them, that is when I feel so good about sharing the gift of photography. The most difficult thing for me is that I’m an “in the moment” type of a person. Photography requires me to make appointments to be artistic in the future, that is a really hard thing for me. I have to find ways to get inspired because “planning” to be in that artistic place is not realistic for me.

Times they are a changin’…where do you see the wedding industry in 5 years?

Booming! People are still going to be getting married and photography has been an important part of most families lives for a very long time, I don’t see that changing now or anytime in the near future!

Love learning about Dawn? Send an email to info@phillyphotobetties.com if you want to hear her give her amazing talk here in our neighborhood!

Book ‘em Danno

12 Apr

Some of you might know that thanks to an incredibly awesome lecture by Dawn Shields, the super sponsor of said lecture, Black River Imaging and the fast feet and generosity of one awesome Betty, Heather DiPiazza, I won an iPad at WPPI. Quite possibly the coolest moment I’ve experienced in a long time. And since then, I’ve been working hard to figure out all the innovative new ways this device can become an indispensable business tool. For those of you who have one, you probably know that list gets longer and longer every day. But here’s one way I’m making it work for me and loving it:

I’m a walking transaction machine.

With the app-combo of Square and Zosh, I can now meet with clients and close deals instantly, from the contract to the deposit.

So picture this: You’re meeting a client you’ve spoken to on the phone who seems interested in your packages. Loves your work, wants to meet in person, is still considering all their options. You’re hoping you’ll make a connection – and a good impression. You order your Starbucks soy latte and and you wait for them to arrive. But today, you’re armed with your iPad and a few nifty apps that are going to help you close the deal. Just as you’d hoped, you and the couple have chemistry and you think they’re sold. Before this particular meeting, at this point in the game you’d have an awkward exchange about how they didn’t remember their checkbook and you didn’t have all the information you needed to complete the contract before you left the house so you both walk away and you continue pursuing the “sale” for a few more days, chasing paper and waiting for that deposit check to arrive in the mail.

Not today.

Today, you whip out your happy-little-light-box (as my husband likes to call it) and pull up their contract with Zosh. You make a few additions to the wording, add a couple of specifics on the location and perhaps make some tweaks to the package and then hand it to the client – to SIGN. No stylus, just with their finger. Then BOOM. Transmit the doc and you both have a copy waiting in your inbox. Signed, sealed, delivered.

Then, you plug in your Square card reader, make the swipe and take the deposit to hold the date. You are now, in a matter of seconds, BOOKED. And the client is impressed, by the way. You look so. darn. legit. Even if you are meeting at a coffee shop to do business.

How it works.

Square enables everyone to accept credit cards – not just entrepreneurs. A simple and painless set up process online with a bank account verification and you’re in business. They send you a credit card swipe device for free which plugs easily into your iPad headphone port (or you can type numbers in manually allowing you to take payments over the phone). The money is deposited into your personal or business checking within 24-48 hours.

And Zosh is an e-signature application that allows you to make additions (unfortunately, not fully edit yet) PDF documents that you can pre-load onto your mobile device. Using your finger on the touch screen, you can capture signatures onto contracts and transmit them via email – eliminating any paper exchange. Simplifies the process while also being a great Green alternative!

There are other applications like Zosh out there such as Right Signature, Docusign and Autograph, but I chose Zosh because it was free and allowed the most features. The company has plans to add other types of document formats to their repertoire soon and expand their editing capabilities.

Don’t have an iPad yet? Good news – you can do everything I mentioned above on your iPhone and most smartphone devices!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and book ‘em, Danno!!

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