What do I want and WHY do I want it?

 

What do I want?

  What do I want and why I want it? The WHY part actually matters more to me. We often get confused about what is beneficial for us and what is it that we end up achieving to impress others. I am not proud of it but sometimes I also found my goals vain and when I do I take a different direction. Speaking of photography I want to become one of the best portfolio shooter in my area. So there I said it. 

Impressing others

Impressing others is the one of the most common reasons why we all go down the wrong path. If you still have people in your surroundings who have not recognized your struggles and so to speak "yet to be 'impressed' by your achievements"-  they are not rooting for your success. I learned this on the hard way that some people prefer you to be unhappy . Sad but true. They will never congratulate you and they will never recognize your accomplishments. So move on. Kill them with kindness but you can really kill them with your success. Let them choke. Your day will come. 

How do I make progress

The truth is that there is always going to be someone who can do it better than me. Rather then obsessing over the gap between my work and the photographers' I really admire, I try to focus on how can I grow myself. All the incredible photographers were once beginners.  For the very same reason my favorite mentors are the ones who are not afraid to share their struggles, and show their " crappy" pictures from the beginning of their careers. The way I learn the most is by making mistakes, do it over and over again, adjust my angles, move my lights around and constantly engage with my models. Everyone who walks into my studio should feel like a million bucks, I make sure I work my models/portrait clients' self esteem is up even if mine is not all the way up yet. 

How I deal with failure

More you fail better you get at it. I have failed so many times, in the past 7 years of my photography career that I learned how to bounce back quicker every time. However I came really close to never picking up my camera again this September. I was mistreated, under appreciated, tired and even bored of my own work. I needed to walk away, to be free from it. Shake it off so to speak. I needed to think and rethink what was going wrong. I came to the conclusion that I was not appreciated simply because I did not value my work, my time, my time away from my family. "If you put a small value on yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price."  I also realized that I cannot fight the love between the camera and me. It won't go away. It is under my skin, everywhere I go and everywhere I look. It is hard for me to go anywhere without looking or thinking at lines, angles, textures, faces, feelings, reflecting surfaces, lenses, lights...  Every waking hour I think about this!!  I decided to come back and of course perhaps get kicked in the teeth again, but hopefully working smarter and better. I am scheduling work for next year as we speak. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to become a photographer for model agencies?

1. Work up a decent portfolio

Make sure that you have a portfolio that can convince an agent of your knowledge of lighting posing an composition. You don't have to have " text book" models in your portfolio to get the job. Models associated with agencies are usually only allowed to shoot with photographers that are approved by their agents. To gain experience ask good looking people in your network if they be willing to shoot with you. Have images taken in studio and outside as well. It is important to show to the agencies that you are capable to work in and outside of studio.

2. Locate agencies near you

Find agencies near you, go to their website, study their style and find out who is the person in charge for male or female models.

3. Contact the agent

Short and sweet. This is your first round. It will be a relatively short conversation unless you are a well known photographer. Introduce yourself and ask if you could email your website/ portfolio. Email your link to your website and give it a few days. If you don't hear from them it does not mean that they did not like your work.

4. Follow up

If you don't hear from them after 3-5 days call them and ask if they had a chance to review your portfolio. There is a good chance that they were just busy with fashion shows, castings or recruiting new faces. It happened to me more than once that an agent reviewed my portfolio with me over the phone. If they like your work they will be sending you new faces for test shoots and there is how you get one foot in the door. If they don't give you an opportunity right away it is quite alright. Ask for feedback and how can you further improve yourself and try again.

5. Test shoot

When you first work with model agencies you are most likely will be photographing new faces to contribute into their portfolios. Portfolio shoots are usually expected to be clean and simple focusing on the models' physical attributes and their ability to showcase different expressions. 

6. Build relationships with agents

Agents, depending on their models' book will ask for certain shots. Whether they need more indoor, outdoor, commercial, more skin or casual, I always shoot for the agency first. After that is done I ask the model if he wants me to shoot anything particular and/ or I just sneak in a few shots with a new kind of lighting I am experimenting with and show it to the agent anyway. 

7. Get Paid

Agencies normally want you to do a couple of free test shoots but after that if they are pleased with your work you could absolutely initiate a discussion about being compensated for your time and talent.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 ways to ensure client satisfaction

1. Communication

Listen and ask questions to better understand your client's needs. I don't normally meet my clients in person before a portrait session but I always make time to have a phone conversation when we can discuss all the details regarding a portrait session and I can answer any questions they may have.

2. Set expectations

If expectations are set from the get go there is no room for disappointment later. I talk about the length of the session. Most my clients are working professionals and I need to make sure that they can dedicate the time that is necessary to produce quality work. I ask them about what are they planning to wear, I make suggestions if needed and I ask them to bring options. I make sure that clients take a look at my portfolio before they hire me so I know that they like the way I photograph people. Not all clients are my clients and I learnt that on a hard way. 

3. What is your client want to convey through his/her image?

Most of my head shot clients come to me to be photographed for two reasons. They either want a fresh image for work or they looking to have a more casual shot for their friends and families. To me as a photographer the answers to those questions will determine mood, wardrobe,posing, lighting and expression.

4. Have your client participate in image selection

It took me a while to realize that the images I like of my clients may not be the same as the ones they like of themselves. I am looking for portfolio images to advertise my services while they are choosing images based on very personal reasons. Therefore I make sure that my clients can choose the image what they think the best represent themselves. 

5. Under promise, over deliver

 Always discuss turn around time. I tell my clients that I normally need two weeks but I rarely need that much time. Most of the time I have their images retouched in the gallery within 3 days after the shoot. This way they are pleseantly surprised and in case I still have a 2 week period to deliver without disappointing my clients.  

 

 

 

 

 

The things I do for love...

Every once in a while I give in to opportunities that I don't necessarly feel comfortable doing but the possibility of creating lifetime memories to a dear friend conquered my fear. I was invited to photograph a surprise birthday celebration of an  83 year old grandmother who spent her entire life taking care of her beautiful family. 

She was invited over for a casual lunch to her granddaughter's ( my dear friend ) house while the rest of the family was hiding down in the basement. At the beginning I was a bit scared and I was not sure if I was about to photograph a look of disbelief or pure joy of this beautiful lady.

Enjoy the event as it unfolds. 

I feel so lucky that I was able to catch her first reaction of seeing her grandson and his fiancé from the West Coast. 

Real feelings, real emotions, lovely family.

Work, Life, Balance

Countless books and seminars have been dedicated to this topic. Personally, I don't think that most people can perform 100% in all areas of their lives at the same time. At least not me for sure. I believe in prioritizing and making a very short list of things that matter the most and focusing on them periodically. My list is the following: family, work, fitness. I am a mother, a photographer and a wife who loves working out. I often soar in one department and fail in others. We don't have to forgive ourselves for not succeeding in all areas at once. That is just a recipe to feel guilty all the time. I accepted that there are going to be times when I'll perform poorly even as a mother and instead of feeling terrible about it I tell myself  " Hey, today you did not make it to the cover of a parenting magazine, big deal! You'll do better tomorrow! " The next day or so I make sure I do! I pick up the boys early from school, we stop at Swirls for frozen yogurt, then jump in the swimming pool! Here is another example. Work gets busy, I skip a couple of days at the gym and I immediately put on four pounds! Like literally overnight! Do I care? Heck yeah, and I know that four pounds will be gone in two weeks. 

Spending quality time with my family is priceless to me. At the same time I love my work and I also enjoy going out with my husband and friends. I cannot have it all and no one does. Acceptance and being able to recognize that what we have is pretty darn good is key. Growing and succeeding in life takes time. I often think of obstacles as a character test. By getting over them one by one I prove it that I want it enough. 

 

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Investing in workshops, finding a mentor

As a driven artist and small business owner I am constantly looking for inspiring photographers who are offering workshops. I like attending seminars but I would much rather participate in workshops hosted by photographers I am eager to learn from. The atmosphere there is more intimate and we can really dig into details with a small group of photographers vs taking notes in an auditorium filled with hundreds of people. 

I came across Jeff Rojas' work one day when I was browsing for inspiration on line. Needless to say his work was intimidatingly beautiful so I started to follow him on social media. When I found out that Jeff is hosting a men's fashion and portrait workshop it was a no brainer to me that I had to be there!

I flew into NYC the night before and the fun began the next morning. As a textbook introvert I was relieved to learn that Jeff was very easy to talk to and his studio was a place where we can talk about our strengths and weaknesses without  judgement. 

 

Instead of having a class room styled, all day long, note taking workshop, we rotated between group discussions and shooting professional models. 

 Me shooting one of the fashion models.

Me shooting one of the fashion models.

Honestly, I did not know what it meant to work with professional models before! I immediately grew respect and appreciation for the work models do! They are not contributors they are your partners in a shoot. What they bring to the table is imperative!! 

 This is a picture of Jeff and I as he is " holding my hands" as I was photographing a model from a major model agency. I knew that the model had his game together and I was the one who had to rise to the occasion. Jeff and Ben, you have been nothing but wonderful! Thank you! :)

This is a picture of Jeff and I as he is " holding my hands" as I was photographing a model from a major model agency. I knew that the model had his game together and I was the one who had to rise to the occasion. Jeff and Ben, you have been nothing but wonderful! Thank you! :)

Investing in Jeff Rojas' workshop was a milestone for my technical skills as a photographer. We had a wonderful group of photographers and we all brought interesting discussions to the table. Jeff is not only an incredible portrait and fashion photographer but he is also a genuinely kind and generous person who is devoted to give back to photographers who are willing to learn. Since my workshop with Jeff I have booked several portrait sessions, both for head shots with regular clients and with models for portfolio building purposes. I have made significant improvement in my lighting skills and I have communicated with clients so much more effectively. 

My only regret is that Jeff and I don't have photo together when we both looking into the camera, but perhaps we can accomplish that some time soon.

All photo credit belongs to Amanda Powell Photography

 

 

 

What does a professional photographer bring to the table?

Experience

  A portrait photographer understands exposure, the capability of different lenses, light sources, off camera flashes and other light modifiers. The ability to work efficiently on a job, able to quickly adapt to different scenarios in studio and on location is a must.

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Gives great posing directions

Nothing makes me happier than when a client tells me " I never thought I can look this good!" As a portrait photographer it is part of my job to give clients great posing directions. Most of us are not models and don't have that natural fluidity in front of the camera. Every single body type has it's sweet spot and a seasoned professional knows how to guide a client there. Posing people in an organic way (having a starting point ) does not mean that the client literally has to freeze into that position.

Makes you look "unposed"

Why work on posing if everyone is wishing to look unposed and spontaneous? What clients perceive as a naturally occurring moment in front of the camera,  most of the time is a carefully composed picture by the photographer. Knowing how to pose different body types is essential to hide or accentuate features,  by itself it is still not enough to make a great portrait. What ultimately ties everything together is expression.  

 Gets great expressions from clients

This is actually my favorite part. While posing and lighting are key, in my opinion expression is the most important element of making an image that stands out. I don't want fake smiles and uncomfortable looks in my imagery, neither my clients. Being photographed in a studio surrounded by professional equipment is not what we do on a daily basis. It could make us feel quite shy and uneasy. Since I know that expression makes or break a portrait it is literally my number one mission to make my client feel comfortable in front of the camera. I am genuinely interested in people and starting a conversation comes very easy for me. I let my clients talk and I listen. I never just give directions in a quiet studio, we talk through the entire session and I stay engaged and work at the same time.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Head Shot Happy Hour in Jupiter, Fl

Yes, that is right! We are turning up the heat right here in Jupiter, Florida! We are starting a new tradition THE HEAD SHOT HAPPY HOUR! We designed this fun event for working professionals who are in need of new head shots and also love a great time! We have been getting an increased amount of inquires from offices about group packages and discounts, and that's why we decided to make it more fun and turn it into a nice early afternoon gathering. We are inviting you to our studio to have a fabulous time. Enjoy a glass of wine along with some mouthwatering  appetizers with friends and colleagues and have your professional head shot taken.  

If you have been planning on refreshing your profile photo on your business page this might be just the perfect event for you. Having a professional head shot on your webpage increases your audience significantly. 

Looking for more reasons why should you have your profile picture taken by a professional photographer? Feel free to read my previous post about The Power of a Professional Head Shot

Our Head Shot Happy Hour can be started with a minimum of 3 people! Not colleagues? You don't need to be! 

What do you get? Besides having an awesome time you will get 2 professional head shots ( 2 different looks) in a digital format ready to go on your business page and an 8x10 print of your choice. Each session includes one outfit change and it takes about 25-30min/person in the studio. If you are interested in scheduling a Head shot Happy Hour click here Jupiter Portrait Photographer  

WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU!

Black and White Portrait Photography, Jupiter Fl

Black and white photos bring up the beginning of my journey as a photographer. When I first started shooting I used to turn all my photos black and white. I thought bw photos are so cool (not really understanding why ). I could not expose a photo properly, therefore my colors were all over the place. Turning everything in black and white was my great escape. The image bellow is not representing those times.

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So why black and white portraits seem to have a larger impact on us than the colored ones?

By stripping color away a portrait photographer can make one powerful point. Directing the focus of the viewers away from distracting elements that can be more noticeable in a colored photograph. This is especially true in photojournalism where the photographer is not in control of his or her enviroment/ surroundings.

A black and white image accentuates expression. The shadows can add drama or quite the opposite- serenity especially when accompained by thoughtful lighting. On the photograph above my intention was not to fully light my subject. The light comes from one direction, from the side and as it falls leaves the other side of his face partially lit. His calm expression overcomes the darkness around him which makes him look even more confident and also gives the image a very serene feel. 

Should you have a black and white portrait as your profile image?

It is completely up to your brand, your clientele and the products or services you are selling. In my opinion: why not? As a portrait photographer I am driven to create a variety of looks for my clients. Adding a black and white portrait to your professional images can only serve you well. Black and white profile images are less common these days, having one can be a great way to create some buzz among your clients. Be the trendiest one among your competitors and wow your clients with fresh profile images.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Marketing tools for photographers

While direct mail marketing is underestimated by many I went against the odds and started to mail out photo cards to my clients quarterly. I am a portrait photographer living in Jupiter, Florida  populated with many successful businesses. Getting and remaining engaged with clients is extremely important for me.  

These cards are printed by  Miller's Professional Imaging. I have to say I am beyond pleased by the quality they stand behind. The customer service experience is excellent and they provide overnight shipping. 

The power of a professional head shot

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if you own or run a business the importance of a professional headshot simply cannot be overemphasized. Whether you are meeting your customers in person or you are running an online business having your head shot taken by a portrait photographer is imperative. 

Why hire a head shot photographer?

 A professional head shot on your website taken can increase your audience significantly. It is your chance to make a first impression. Prospective clients look at your profile picture before they read your bio and have an overall feel about you based on that head shotThe difference between an iPhone selfie and a professional headshot conveys to your customers and clients you are serious.

Is booking a new job worth investing in your image?

Your head shot is your visual brand. You are investing in your brand that reflects the values you wish to convey. It also determines the nature of the clients that you'd like to attract.  People are visual creatures and they are more likely engage with you if you have a great head shot on your social media profile.

Social media response on images vs text updates

People are ten times more receptive to images than post updates and more likely to engage with business owners who represent their brands along with a professional headshot on their website. Having multiple head shots also allows you to change them up from time to time. Getting more likes and comments also drives more traffic to your website and draws more attention to recent posts.  

The importance of having a recent head shot

 Too many times business owners and working professionals are hanging on to a head shot that was taken many years ago. Some of them may be thinking they can not look as great again. I am a firm believer of the opposite. We all have our insecurities,  whether it is aging, facial features or weight. I believe anybody can be photographed well in the hands of an experienced photographer. 

 

5 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Portrait Photographer In Jupiter, FL

1. The portrait photographer's work

Look for lots of great images when looking for a portrait photographer in Jupiter. Don't be fooled by a small portfolio. Do you see yourself being in his or her photographs? You don't have to be a photographer to tell the difference between lousy snap shots or work of art. Without stating the obvious look for lots of great images that fit your style. Is the photographer good at getting natural expressions from clients or you see fake smiles, uncomfortable people. Expression is everything in photography. 

2. Personality

Yes, personality actually comes second since we would not hire anyone unless the quality of work checks out first. Standing in front of the camera can be intimidating. Most of us are not used to being photographed by professional photographers and being in front of big lights. It could feel quite unusual. You want someone on your team who is kind and easy to talk to and of course knows what it takes to take a good photograph.

3. Price

While price is matter it should not be the only contributing factor when making a decision on who to choose as your portrait photographer in Jupiter or in any other city. When hiring a professional photographer you are making an investment into your business. Your headshot is the first thing your clients are looking at your linked in profile, your website or on any kind of social media. It should scream class and quality.    

4. Ask questions

Besides the obvious questions regarding cost and turn around time you may want to ask the photographer if he or she is offering discounts for businesses. Head shot photographers often offering packages for offices. It might be worth asking in case you have colleagues who are also interested in having their pictures taken by a portrait photographer.

5. Reproducing rights

Keep that in mind that in most photography contracts the photographer owns the exclusive rights to the images. However when you are purchasing digital images you are purchasing the right to reproduce the portrait photographer's work. Make sure that upon purchasing the digital files you are also receiving a written release from the photographer. It can save you some trouble when printing. 

Anita Davis is a Jupiter based portrait photographer for more information about her work visit Jupiter Portrait Photographer

What to wear for a portrait photography session in Jupiter, Fl?

 As a portrait photographer in Jupiter, Fl. this is the most commonly asked question that I get from my clients. Depending on whether we are shooting for professional head shots or a bit more casual portraits we can go two ways. Chic or casual. I always ask my clients how do they normally dress for work and what would they like to convey to their clients through their photographs? If my client have high end assertive customers they already know the drill and they are dressed to kill. 

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How to dress to kill?? TWO WORDS- wear a FITTED SUIT. It is the single most powerful piece of clothing any man can ever wear on this planet. Why? Because it is costume made for each individual  emphasizing features that should be accentuated and drawing attention away from the weak spots. It is chic, elegant, speaks class and if you are targeting high end clients it is simply a must have.

what makes a fitted suit?

1. Shoulder pads end with your shoulders.

2. Your flat hand should slip easily into your suit under the lapels when the top (or middle) button is fastened. If you put a fist in, the suit should pull at the button.

3. The top button of a two-button suit — or the middle button of a three-button suit — should not fall below your navel.

4.  With your arms at your sides, your knuckles should be even with the bottom of your jacket               

             5. Jacket sleeves should fall where the base of your thumb meets your wrist.

6. Between a quarter and a half inch of shirt cuff should be visible.

7. One inch of break.

That sounds great if you are an established business owner but what can you do if you don't have a fitted suit? Should you not be entitled to an amazing head shot?

 Heck no!  As a seasoned portrait photographer it is my job to make you look your absolute best. There are several ways a photographer can alter ( without damaging ) a non perfectly fitting suit.