Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Importance of having your Photographs Printed

Photographs are meant for paper not on screen.  Now this may see a bit contradictory since you are reading this on some form of electronic device, but it's true.

An ancient definition of photography is to "write with light" 

Photos just have a better look and feel when they are on paper.

I am not a photographer that shoots and burns images, I am not a photographer that will have a $50 "mini-session"  special with all images "edited" on a disc ( and by the way it is disc, not DISK) people!

I have delivered thousands of images to various clients and there is absoultely no better feeling in the world to see the look and reaction on a clients face when I reveal a 24x36 image of the them.  I have see reactions of jumping up and down to tears of joy when they see something they have a true emotional connection to.  Simply put you cannot capture the impression or emotion that a large print gives you.  It cannot be captured in a smaller print and that emotion surely cannot be found on a CD.

In studies dating all the back to 1975 have shown that a very powerful aspect of photography is how prints hanging on the wall can boost the self esteem of children in the home.  Again something you cannot measure in a digital image.  It let's children, teens and young adults learn who they are and how they fit in. 

When researching this topic myself I came across this powerful quote, 

“My personal and clinical bias is there is something very powerful in touching your fingers to an actual print,” says Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist who works with children ages five through 13 near Eugene, Ore. “Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or on the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse or a touchscreen but you are not touching the image.

You may be wondering why I posted an old image in this article?  The answer to that is quite simple this image is 69 years old.  It's a PRINT of my wife's parents when they got married in 1947.  

I was able to restore the image by scanning and doing the necessary fixes that can be made in the digital age.  In fact we had the image printed as gifts for her siblings.  

I realize that the digital age and computers and discs were not a thing in 1947, but the emotion of holding a nearly 70 year old image in hand is powerful.  There is emotion and even though none of us were there we have a connection to the day.

I see it this way if you don't print, memories that once were special can and will be lost forever!

Thank you all for your continued support and inspiration.  None of this is possible without all of you!

Kind regards,

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the Stars."

If you have ever been in front of my camera you know this is something that I do. I will always present a before and after image from the shoot.

In this case these two images represent what different light and color toning can do to an image.  
This is a single light setup, shot with the same lens and camera. As a note she has the same makeup on in the both images.

I put this information out here for you to demonstrate when you are researching a photographer to do you work make sure he/she is taking the time to produce the best images possible for you.  

My concentration is headshot, fashion and portrait photography. 

I am not one of those "all in one" photographers, specializing in weddings, events, kids, sports teams, cake smash(whatever that is) etc, rushing you through a shoot, throwing a few images on a disc and sending you on your merry way.  There are plenty of those out there to choose from too.  And no one can "specialize" in every aspect of this business. (And yes this is a business)

Think of it this way if you have a cavity your not headed to an eye doctor, your going to a person that specializes in cavities. The same with photography if you want portraits/headshots done for your professional website, modeling portfolio or senior school year, do you want a "cake smash" specialist capturing those images?

Also, the subject and photographer MUST connect! The picture on the left was the third image in a series of 150 images we took that day.  She had never been in front of my camera, and I had never met her until she walked in the studio door.  So that level of anxiety on both the model and the photographers part exists.  But with simple instruction and conversation both parties feel more at ease and the shoot can flow.

I get to work with people of all shapes and sizes daily. The best advice I ever got from a mentor of mine was make sure the client feels better leaving than when they walked in the door.  
That is my goal with every shoot. Whether it's an actor, model, business professional or high school senior.  I want them leaving feeling better about themselves when they walk out my door.

A talented client of mine posted a picture she drew yesterday that said "Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
I've heard that before, it's such a wise and eye opening quote.  

I'm not shy in saying this I am working hard to be the premiere portrait photographer in my area and with great clients past, present and future.  That goal will be met!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Myth of the Natural Light Photographer...Buyer Beware!

This image would have been very good
had it not been for the side lighting on
the model's nose, that casts an ugly
sharp shadow on the side of the face.
We are cruising into the Easter weekend and I hope all of you are doing well.  In another part of a series in educating the client or future client I wanted to bring to you a thought that many photographers have regarding the term "Natural Light Photography"

There comes a point in the life of every photographer where they’ve heard a single statement that either enthralls the uninitiated or makes the more knowledgeable roll their eyes. This statement is said in five short words: “I’m a natural light photographer.”

Now, this shouldn’t offend you at all, it should make you think about your choice when hiring an individual to capture obvious memories you want to keep forever. Some folks are genuinely natural light photographers because of the type of work that they do–and so they spend their hours quite literally chasing the light in order to make a living or to one day make it their sole source of income. Famed Australian photographer Peter Lik comes to mind.

Again: they spend their hours quite literally chasing the light in order to make a living or to one day make it their sole source of income. These photographers spend lots and lots of time watching the weather forecasts and determining just the right spots and times to go out and take photos. There are hours of prep and lots of conceptualizing done to make the most of the small window of time.

And again in case it isn’t hitting you: we’re talking about pros and aspiring pros.

These photographers are not the ones that are the focus of this article. Why? Because they’re learned how to actually utilize light no matter what type it is and they learn how to read it and make the necessary adjustments.  
This image was shot in a natural light setting using
a speedlight and single softbox. The results
are soft and beautiful.

The other breed that we’re talking about are the camera owners that hide behind a veil–stating that they only shoot with natural light in some phony effort to make themselves look more nouveau than thou. But what they’re actually saying translates into: “I have not a damned clue how to use a flash, but I’ll use constant lights.”

These photographers are the ones that fumble when they score gigs that require the use of a flash, knowledge of how to set it and work with it,  They’re also the ones that go on to tell clients that they have to wait until there is a cloudy day to shoot in order to get the softbox look. To no end, these are the photographers that fake it in order to make it.

The “Natural Light Photographer” also refuses to learn how to use artificial lighting–and typically work instead to simply capture a scene that someone else puts work into rather than actually manipulating the scene to be what they want it to be. Oftentimes, it’s also fair to say that these shooters don’t necessarily have a creative vision of any sort.

So what’s the problem?

It’s a sign of weakness and it’s nothing but a lie to the client when your images lack what a true creative and knowledgeable strobist can create. These other photographers can theoretically shoot anytime during the day or night and usually find a way to make their images look like it was shot at any time of the day.

And at the end of the day these photographer don't realize they are hurting themselves. Top sushi chefs don’t say that they can serve puffer fish unless they absolutely know how to do it. The best way to actually learn how to light is to adopt the mentality of being an available light photographer. The use of reflectors, umbrellas, flashes, monolights, softboxes and more are the only things that can help you achieve a more tailored vision because there is only so much that you can do with natural light until all of your images look the exact same and someone figures out a way to mimic your technique and do what you do for cheaper.

And if you’re going to shoot in only natural light, at least learn to get exactly what you want and need in a single shot the way that medium format film photographers and large format photographers used to do.

If you are searching for a photographer that states they are "A Natural Light Photographer" ask to see a physical portfolio.  Every reputable professional photographer has one of his/her images. If they don't again buyer beware.  You then have to ask yourself what are they hiding?

I realize my clients are spending a considerable amount of their hard earned money to get in front of my camera.  This article is part of the education they get when we sit in our pre shoot consultation meetings.  I want them to not only know about me and my work to make an educated decision, but I want them to know what is happening in the industry.

I appreciate all of you that have taken the time to part of this blog and community of both photographers and consumers.

If you have questions or comments please direct them to my website and click on the contact us tab.

Have a great Easter and keep shooting!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Why Choose R Nolan Photography for your Senior Photos?

R Nolan Photography is dedicated to providing you with the best experience possible, from the minute we meet in our consultation until your prints (yes I said prints) are delivered.

I get asked this question several times, “Why Should we choose you?” 

So this is where we begin…my first thoughts are why on earth would you want your pictures looking like 400 other graduates from the area, same background, and same poses.  Not to mention the same greenscreen being used by ten other photographers.  WHY NOT BE DIFFERENT?

In my consultations, which I will get to in a bit I’ve come to find that many seniors are under the impression that the school photographer must do their senior pictures.  This is not true; you do have a choice to have your portraits done differently.


That being said what makes R Nolan Photography different?  Why are we the best choice in Steubenville, OH for senior photography?  The answer is simple.  I want you to be YOU.  I want you to be different and I want your photos to be different from the hundreds of others graduating this year.

How does it all begin?  We start our senior experience with a consultation.  This is where I find out all about you, what you like, what you don’t like and what ideas you have for your senior photos.  Then together we will come up with a concept for your shoot.  From that point I encourage you to send me ideas about clothing, hair, makeup and even locations.  We will then talk about anything you may want to incorporate into your shoot.  Then we map out your senior photo session.

The day of your shoot has arrived and since we have done all of the preliminary preparations we can run a smooth shoot.  You can show up on location or at the studio confident that this is your day (we typically do one shoot a day).  You will have the complete attention of my team and we will help you get picture perfect for your shoot.  You will have your outfits (yes I said outfits) ready to go, all paired up perfectly with the location we are shooting in.

You want your shoot to be an experience…and that all begins with trusting your photographer.

I also would like to make it very clear unlike many photographers WE DO NOT HAVE A SITTING FEE, because I am confident you will love your images! (A small deposit is required and credited towards your final package purchase)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How do I become a Model...A question I get asked a lot!

Before I really dig into the answers I want to say this, not everyone is cut out for the profession, just because you post a few pictures on Facebook and Instagram that friends and family "love" doesn't mean you are ready to go sign a contract.  
Reputable agents and talent scouts are brutally honest and very choosy about who they have representing them in public.
This is a very competitive and lucrative career if you connect yourself with the right people, if you don't it can be a costly and damaging career if you find yourself listening to the scammers that are out there.  My advice DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

So a few answers to that question, How do I become a Model?

Know the type of modeling you want to do…

The first step in becoming a model is knowing what type of modeling you want to do. There are quite a few areas to choose from–print focuses on magazine photo shoots while runway models walk the catwalk for labels. There are also more commercial options such as being a swimsuit or catalogue model. Plus size modeling has made an impact in the recent years too. 

Find the right agency…

Now, that you have figured out what type of modeling you want to do–look for an agency that specializes in the field. You can search online for agencies quite easily. A simple “model agency” query will garner a lot of results. Search for an agency that’s local to your area, and it’s important to remember to research an agency first. Think: What models do they represent? What type of jobs do they book? Are there complaints online about this agency?
And remember, if an agency asks for money upfront, charge you for "workshops" or promise you tons of jobs and money you should stay away at all cost. So called “modeling” schools are also suspect too. There are plenty of scammers out there looking to take advantage of aspiring talent.

Take the right photos…

After you have researched the right agencies for the field you are interested in, you will want to contact them. Most agencies have forms online where you can send in your photos and stats. Stats include your height, measurements and weight. They will also want to see photos of you. Don’t worry, you do not need to get a professional shoot done. And you should never be tied to an in-house “agency photographer” But I would say professionally digital photos are what most agencies prefer.  Make sure to do a head shot and full-length shot. Wear no makeup and a simple tank top and pants. Take the photo in natural light so people can see your features. Look for a response within (usually) 4 weeks.
Some agencies will do open calls, where they will see aspiring models from the street–bring your digitals or past professional work printed out. Once again, keep your styling minimal. You may be told you are not what they’re looking for or get a callback later.

Image: Gisele Bundchen in H&M Campaign
Be prepared and think ahead…

If you are lucky enough to get signed, you should also know all the difficulties that come with the job. Depending on the jobs you book, traveling can take you away from home a lot. Rejection is also something, especially at the beginning of the career, you need to get used to. Even if signed, some models have part-time jobs. That’s why we recommend having a backup plan just in case your modeling career doesn’t pan out. But, if you manage to make it, there is a world of opportunities. Models like Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss have transformed their looks into lucrative careers with their business smarts. Think ahead, always!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Why You Should Still Hire a Professional Photographer

It's been some time since my last post and I have been doing a lot of thinking.  The question I get asked more often than "what camera do you use?" is "Why should I Hire a Professional Photographer, my uncle takes pictures and I can print them at a big box store for less?"

I want to just make a few points about why spending a little or a lot money to invest in a portrait by a tried and true professional is important and worth it.

A professional photographer is NOT

*Someone who just got a hot new camera
*Someone who loves Photoshop
*Someone who gives away her/his work for next to nothing (you get what you pay for)
*Someone who has gotten some compliments from friends about pretty photos they have taken
*Someone who gives away files on a disc and leaves it up to the client to have their images produced

A portrait photographer takes pride in her work and spends money and time to study and learn all the old and new skills required of a great photographer.

Do you like to eat where a good chef cooks? Do you go to a good dentist and doctor to assure the best health? Do you spend money on great coffee every day for a tasty jolt?

Perhaps by any standard, hiring a portrait photographer is a bit of a luxury and an elective expense. However, down the road when your children and grandchildren look back, they will appreciate your taking the time and making an investment in them and their heritage.

I always chuckle when people complain about spending lots of money for wedding photographs, when they don't wince at what they spend for clothing, flowers and food. Everything disappears immediately after the wedding except the photographs and the memories.

How many times have you heard about someone getting a real deal and hating the results?  In this profession it happens a lot and it is tragic. A professional photographer will not let you down. His reputation depends on it!

A portrait photographer worth their weight in gold will:

Be an artist in their own right

Be able to create a portrait that will hold its value and integrity through generations. You can't even BEGIN to do that unless you are ambidextrous and have a tripod and self-timer.

Have the kind of personality and psyche that will EVOKE comfort and natural expressions.

Allow you to remove yourself from the equation as a mom or dad who is always popping out a camera, thus eliciting surprising, natural and spontaneous expressions.

Know about dynamic composition

Know about SEEING THE LIGHT and make use of it

Make you look as good as you think you look or better without looking like a plastic rendition of yourself. That "disease" is spreading like wildfire.

Have a great relationship with their lab to insure the highest quality archival print.

Staying up with the times doesn't mean eliminating values from the past. Of course you want your photographer to stay current on trends and technology, but what is most important is their VISION and skill as an ARTIST.

Thanks for stopping by and supporting my blog.

Kind regards,

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Major Announcement...NO MORE SESSION FEES!!!

As I begin to wind down 2015 and head into a new year I want to thank my clients that have trusted us with their memories.  As consumers we all have a choice where to spend our money and I am grateful that you have come to us and supported our business.
It seems everyday I wake up a new “photographer” has emerged from the woods and is now in “business.”  Do I view this emergence as competition? And the answer to that question is NO, I worry about my clients and the quality images I am delivering on a daily basis.  I also don’t view them as competition because I have a product focused business model; I photograph portraits and headshots that is it!
Could I do weddings, engagements, babies, events etc.? Sure I could but I’d be just like everyone else and I’ve never been nor will I be like the 98%.  I want to be part of the 2%, the ones doing it differently! 
If you browse other photographer websites you will see one consistent theme and that is “Specializing” in weddings, portraits, seniors, babies, engagements, events, families etc. I find this funny every time I see it because nobody can “specialize” in 7 areas, that would be like going to the dentist to have a broken arm put in a cast.  They’re both doctors right?
Again that 2% thing I mentioned.
Well after that small little educational and hopefully humorous piece, here is the big announcement.  This will apply to all current clients as well as clients going forward… WE ARE ELIMINATING OUR SITTING FEES!  That’s right, you see that correctly no more sitting fees! Some of you may be reading this a saying oh no, business must me down, and you couldn’t be further from the truth.  One of the things I learned early on in my career is that once someone is in front of your camera, and you produce beautiful work, people will want your images.  As a result, I do not want to put up a barrier or wall for potential clients to come to me, so that is why I have ditched all session fees.

The most important thing is to create some amazing images, and then if you like them, you may purchase them.  It’s that simple.

5 important reasons to have a good headshot photo visible on your profiles

1. Credibility
To be successful today, most professional jobs require knowledge and skill with social media. Profiles without photos are usually either not very active or just plain out-of-date. And, very few employers want to hire someone who is so demonstrably clueless.
In addition, many “spam” social profiles exist to sell products or collect information, and those profiles usually either have no photo or the photo is obviously a model or someone extremely attractive in a very professional-looking photo. Recruiters, in particular, are not interested in fictional profiles.

2. Recognition
Someone who already knows you from your past or a recent networking meeting will, hopefully, recognize that photo and know who you are. Also, that friend from your last job (or the job before that) who is looking for you will find you in the long list of people who have the same – or a very similar – name.

3. Consistency
Someone who follows you in other social networks will find, and probably follow, you in new social networks. So, the reach of your social media visibility will be expanded and connected, and your “social proof” will be strengthened.

4. Personal Appeal
Any profile is more appealing when a person’s face is associated with it. LinkedIn has said that entries in LinkedIn search results with photos beside them are 7 times more likely to be clicked than entries without photos. So, that recruiter looking for someone with your job title will probably not click on your name unless there is a photo beside it in the search results listings.

5. Personal Branding
When used with your professional activities in social media, your photo represents your brand – your personal logo – particularly when you use the same photo for all of your professional social visibility.

Keep shooting,