Archive for May, 2009

Phyllis and the bump.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Phyllis is an adorable pregnant lady!

Lowell MA photographermaternity photos lowell maLowell MA photographer

studio maternity session – Phyllis and Roger

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Phyllis and Roger stopped into my Lowell studio space last week for a maternity session. Roger was hilarious and I can’t wait to see the two of them with their little one.

I just pulled a couple of cute shots using natural light from the folder; when I get a chance to go through the rest I will have more to show. We did some really vavaVOOM photos at the end that you might or might not get to see here.

feedback – studio maternity session

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Yesterday I had Roger and Phyllis out to the studio in Lowell for some fine art maternity portraits. Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

Rachel,

Roger & I just wanted to thank you so much again for doing our maternity shoot. We repeatedly said how much we enjoyed our time doing the shoot to one another long after we left your studio. You made us feel beautiful, comfortable, and absolutely fun – I think you really tapped in to the sides of Roger that most people don’t get to see! We are so glad you captured that – especially for our soon to be baby girl. I cannot wait to see the pictures and I especially cannot wait for our baby to see Mommy & Daddy’s soul captured so beautifully through your pictures!

Thank you again!!!!
Phyllis

the Getty Villa

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

getty villa pacific palisades

On our recent trip to Los Angeles to photograph a Persian wedding celebration, we were also celebrating my 30th birthday. We decided to spend the afternoon at the Getty Villa near Malibu, a site that is v. different from the Getty Museum in LA (free with reservation; $10 parking). The Villa is Getty’s old estate, and the original house to his vast collection. The dude built the grounds to recreate Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town. The Greek and Roman artifacts and reproductions Getty collected make a stunning display, and I think we had more fun walking around the grounds with the fountains and lawns and sculpture parks than touring the inside. I have a thing for that architecture.

I usually assign myself a photographic project when I visit a museum that allows photography; the last time I visited Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts I took a picture of the ceiling in every room.  For the Villa, I was noticing the trend to use white marble within a darker piece to give the eyes a more “realistic” setting, which ends up just looking a little creepy. So, my personal amusement on this afternoon was to only photograph creepy things.  Here are my favorites.

getty malibu creepy statuesthe Getty Villa Malibu

why is custom photography so expensive?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Outside Resource: Why does custom photography cost more?

There is a lot of misunderstanding about custom photography services offered by individuals. There are many reasons for the misunderstanding, but high on the list is the accessibility of camera technology for the masses, and the perception that “digital” means no cost.

My first question is… what are you seeking from family photography? Are you interested in a quick group photo that will appease the relatives and be consistent with the family photos you saw growing up? Do you want a cute or funny image for your annual holiday card? Do you want just a few photos, or a series of images in the location of your choice? Do you want a consistent look with a neutral background and even lighting, or a réportage (more candid) feel to the photos? Do you want to work with someone who will get to know you a bit, or someone who will do their job and take a few photos anonymously?

There is nothing wrong with those people who are only interested in getting a quick family photo where everyone looks ok. This has been the American family portrait tradition since the beginning of time (for the now-hilarious user-submitted results seen in retrospect, check out this website). For the quick and inexpensive portrait, mall studios excel. They have been doing this for years. There are senior portrait houses where you choose a timeslot according to their openings and then go out to sets for photos that are consistent with your peers who went to the same place. You can even do a “boudoir” shoot for a very low front-end cost via Glamour Shots (yes, they’re still around).

While it’s tempting to compare an individual photographer’s custom service with that you might get from a large company like a mall studio who does business based on volume, doing so would demonstrate complete misunderstanding about the type of service an individual photographer offers.

Custom portrait sessions are by nature higher cost to the consumer. You are paying a fee for the time and talent of the photographer, who has spent most of his or her life for years leading up to that point gaining the experience needed to wrangle children, provoke natural and flattering expressions, and give consistent quality of imagery. The photographer has worked his/her schedule around providing great customer service and personalized attention while often keeping a small profit margin in order to continue to be able to offer themselves as a working artist. Custom photographers regularly travel to your home or favorite place, and often have a home-based or local studio space as an alternate.

As a custom photographer, I seek to make images as a collaboration with my subjects. I want the photos to reflect your personality and the place you’re at in life. My desire is to offer a wide range of images that might be the best you have ever had in your life. I’m interested in photographing my clients at milestones (pregnancy, birth, birthdays, anniversaries) but also in the everyday moments that piece together their lives. While custom photography is definitely an investment, it is one you are unlikely to regret.

Outside Resource: Why does custom photography cost more?

quote: “In this example, the time spent per client can range from just under 13 hours to 19 hours – dependent on the photographer’s level of service.  This is time dedicated only to ONE session.  When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot (aka SESSION FEE) you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 12-19 hours complete time for your session.”

What is custom photography?

fun with lighting.

Monday, May 4th, 2009

I have recently become interested in understanding more about lighting techniques. So when David Jackson posted about his use of everyday kitchen utensils to achieve different effects [his post here] I started realizing that there is an entire world full of modifiers that can create unique images.

Tonight in preparation for my husband’s moustache may portrait, we decided to use the steamer pot and an off-camera strobe to add some depth and shadow into the picture. Check out these cool photos!

off-camera lighting technique with speedlightoff-camera lighting technique with speedlightoff-camera lighting technique with speedlightoff-camera lighting technique with speedlight

Strobist info: 580ex2 at +2 1/3 triggered by ST-2 transmitter.
35mm lens, 1/100 s, f 2.2, ISO 640

we had a special guest this weekend.

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Our little cousin Sufi came to visit us in Lowell this weekend. What a delight. Don’t you just love curly hair?

little Persian girl