There are some changes in the air here at ChrisMcWilliamsPhotography. First of all, while we were in Mexico, my boyfriend, John proposed to me! Yes, we are engaged.
We have no plans yet for our wedding, but we don't want to wait too long. Our major roadblock right now is getting our houses ready to sell. John's house is on 80 acres near Dugald and needs some work done to it before selling. My house needs painting and some other work done as well. We might end up finding someone to help us. Let me know if you have some skills in this area or know someone who might be interested.
Our plan is to move a bit North of the city in the Bird's Hill, Oakbank area. I will continue to have a studio in my home. It will be bigger and better. Stay tuned for that happening.
It's a very exciting time.
In other news, I will be having a gallery show in the near future. No dates are available yet but it likely be this fall. The images that are shown below will be for sale, as well as some others. The show will be at http://www.cre8ery.com/
Cre8ery is having a fundraiser beginning on April 7th and I will have a few prints in that show. If you are looking for some fine art in your home, come to this show. There will be all kinds of art for sale including: encaustic, paintings, drawings, photography, print-making, image transfer, and digital art, to ceramics, glass art, sculpture, fabric art and jewelry.
Here is a link for the show:
Lights, Camera, Editing, Portraits!
It is very important to me that you love the images from your session. I will do my utmost from the beginning of our correspondence to you're receiving your order to make sure that you are happy with the experience and the result. To that end, I want to explain the steps in the whole process.
- You come for your portrait session.
- I put a few of your images on my blog.
- I do an initial editing of your images. This is often called a "soft editing". It involves colour correction, some clean up of the background, lightening if needed and cropping. At this point, your images will not be completely edited, except for the ones on my blog.
- You receive a password protected gallery to review your proofs.
- You send your order to me by email.
- I do a full editing of the images that you ordered. This involves a full background clean up, removing blemishes, smoothing skin, brightening eyes, head swaps if needed, and further corrections for colour and brightness. You can preview these images after I have worked on them if you like. Once you are happy with them:
- You receive an invoice from me, make payment and pick up your order or have it mailed to you.
I accept payment by cash, cheque, interac e-transfer, credit cards and Paypal.
This is the most time efficient way for me to operate. Most galleries have between 20 and 50 images in them. I might work anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes on one image, which makes total editing time on a gallery somewhere around 6 to 50 hours. I think you can appreciate the fact that if I did that, it I would be tied to my computer 24/7 and make pennies an hour.
The Winners Were:
This is a repeat of an article that was on my blog on March 8th, so if you read it already, just skip to the next section.
I love competing in photography competitions and being a member of The Professional Photographers of Canada allows me to do that at a high level. Competitions force me to closely examine my images and perfect them. It is a time-consuming task that involves finding the best of the best in my images and then editing them to perfection. It's a chance to be introspective and analyze my work and make decisions on what I will do differently in the future.
Photo competitions are not for the faint of heart. When you put your heart and soul into an image and then have it criticized or ignored, you can come away with a bruised ego. But it is a learning process and the learning is what counts. Bruised egos heal and the feedback that you get from entering is worth it.
This was my second year of entering in the Professional Photographers of Canada National Salon. Entrants to the Salon are allowed 4 images and they are scored by a panel of 5 judges. The scores are: Excellent, Merit, Accepted and not Accepted. Last year I only had one image that was accepted. This year I received a Merit, had 2 accepted, and one was not accepted. Of course, I would have loved to have had 4 Excellent scores, (which nobody actually attains) and will continue to strive for that, but I am happy that I did better than the year before.
Here are my winning images:
The Face in the Tatters won a Merit provincially in Sask and it got an Accepted Nationally.
Autumn Palette au Metal won all kinds of awards provincially. Nationally, it got accepted. That just goes to show that you never can tell how an image will do!
The Tree of Divination won a Merit Nationally.
You will notice that none of these are portraits, which is mainly what my business is about. I love doing portrait photography, but I also enjoy fine art photography and playing with images. It expands my horizons and my thinking and that is all good!
I have 2 regular specials:
My maternity plus newborn special:
And My Baby's First Year:
And here is a new special:
I am now offering a Watch Them Grow
special which includes 4 sessions and a photo book for $250. In this poster, the little girl is shown from newborn to age 4 and we see her at 5 different ages. It is up to you as to how you want to divide the sessions. They can be every six months starting at 6 months and continuing until your child is 2. You can also use this special if you have done the Baby's First Year plan and want to continue to mark your child's growth with pictures. I think that a photo book is a great way to show this growth.
How to take better pictures:
Do you wish you were a better photographer? All it takes is a little know-how and experience.
Here are some very simple tips:
- Use a plain background. If you are outside, try to avoid having distractions behind your subject.
- Use a flash outdoors to fill in the shadows.
- Move in closer. You should have your subject filling the frame. That is unless the background is important to the image.
- Watch the light outside and try to get the sun as a back light for your subject.
- Use your camera both horizontally and vertically, depending on your subject. If you shooting a tree, then be vertical, for an image of a lake horizontally would probably work better.
- Use 2 hands on the camera to avoid blurry pictures. This was a huge one when I was teaching photography to kids. Two hands make a big difference and keeps your camera more steady.
- Always focus on a person's eyes.
It is not necessary to go out and buy the latest camera. Knowledge of how to use your camera will get you a lot further than the latest camera with a million pixels. Read some photography books, or some blog posts and get out and shoot! Practice makes perfect!
Isn't this the truth?