Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
When you book a session with a portrait photographer (or a children's photographer, baby photographer, wedding photographer, etc...) you should be photographed by someone who considers themselves (on some level) an artist. I remember talking to my Dad one day about how people perceive photographers and he said, "The U.S. Government considers it "art," so it's "art." (Dad sometimes has a very easy answer to things..) Sometimes I feel a little self-conscious calling myself an "artist" but the fact is that taking a standard portrait involves very little artistic vision at all. It's mostly just technical knowledge about lighting and posing. It's what I do after I take the portrait that's art.
So, yesterday after we were finished with the standard portrait poses, I asked the four women if they would indulge me for a few minutes, "I want to take a picture of your hands."
This picture is, to me, much more interesting than a portrait. Four generations of women, each holding the arm of her daughter until eventually the circle is complete with the 14-year-old reaching back in time to hold on to her 98-year-old great-grandmother. I shot several different setups, some with jewelry and some without but I think the one with the jewelry is my favorite. Not only can you see the ages in their hands but the jewelry tells a story as well. The great-grandmother and grandmother wearing gold chains as has been the custom with Latino women for centuries, the mom a little more modern with her stylish watch and finally the daughter with her string friendship bracelets.
I also like this one because the bright friendship bracelets stand out. The daughter's hand is front and center, the future of the family, but you see where she comes from.... the strong women who have come before her to make her who she is today.
I don't know if I'm an artist or not but, sometimes, I think I take good pictures. :)
Booray Perry is a portrait and family photographer in Tampa Bay.
One things for sure in this business, if you think that everyone else will always like what you like you're in trouble. Most of my clients come to me because they want something more "natural" then they get from the school portrait or department store portrait studio. You can bet that if the day ever comes when they start asking for elaborate staged scenes... I'll be buying my first styrofoam rock.
Booray Perry is a children's photographer in Tampa Bay
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
One of the things that Sam was supposed to bring to school was a family photo. (Let me just sidetrack here for a second and point out that my daughter's backpack was so big and full it looked like she was getting set to hike Yellowstone. I think she actually had bear repellent in there...) Anyway, Dad's a photographer so a family photograph is easy, right? We're bound to have a ton of those, right?
Nope. Not one.
I'm always taking the pictures, I'm rarely in them. So, after dinner tonight we went up to the studio and took a quick picture so that Sam wouldn't forget what we look like during her three hours of school a day. Of course we weren't able to get a good shot because the kids were going crazy playing and it's hard to set the lighting right on yourself (sit still Booray while Booray adjusts the lighting...) but we got something that will do for now. Most of the pictures turned out like this:
As you can see, Bobbi and Sam are trying to pose for daddy while Mac runs in circles around them...
Ooops! Almost got a picture that time!
Children are like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're gonna get (and they attract ants). As it turned out, we didn't get exactly what we came for but we did get some stuff we weren't expecting...
Booray Perry is a children's photographer in Tampa who's children won't sit still long enough to take a family portrait
Confused yet? Allow me to explain...
First, lets help you figure out what you really want for your wedding. Are you getting married in a big ceremony with reception? Are you sending out announcement cards? Do you want a wedding album? Would you like professional level prints with retouching? Do you need to sit down with your photographer and discuss in detail what you want on the day of the wedding? Would you like engagement pictures or bridal pictures? If these things sound right for you than you need a wedding photographer.
Are you getting married in a small ceremony on the beach and you want a photographer to come take pictures for a few hours and give you a CD or DVD with all the images (no prints, no retouching)? When you think of your wedding photographer, do you think, "I just need someone to come take good pictures and document the event." You want an event photographer.
In Tampa and St. Petersburg you get a lot of small, beach weddings. Many times these weddings are on a tight budget and can't imagine spending $1000 or more on a wedding photographer. That's when it's good to know that you can hire an event photographer and save money. In my case, I do both event photography and wedding photography but when someone pays for a wedding package, they get much more. If you hire me at my event rate you may never meet me until the day of the wedding. I show up on time, stay as long as you are paying me for, shoot hundreds of pictures, burn them to CD for you and we're done. Because I am a professional portrait and wedding photographer, I'll naturally do whatever I can to get you good pictures.
However, if you hire me at my wedding photographer rate I'll bring you in for a consultation before you ever sign the contract and show you everything I can do for you. I'll help you figure out what you really want from the day. I may show up at the rehearsal dinner and snap some casual pics, scout the wedding venue to determine the best places to shoot and how the light falls. I'll do an engagement session or bridal session with you. If you are purchasing a wedding album I'll have that in mind as I work so that I'm sure to get pictures that will make great backgrounds and decorations. Your book and any portraits will be retouched by hand so that they are magazine quality. The list goes on...
The point is, there's something for everyone. With a wedding package you get so much more in terms of time and commitment from your photographer that you naturally have to pay more for it. With an event photographer you get a bargain price but your photographer probably won't be thinking about your wedding until he's on his way to it.
Booray Perry is a wedding photographer in Tampa St. Petersburg
Monday, August 18, 2008
I mean, it was sad and all.... Julie Roberts has just died and Sally Fields was in the waiting room giving instructions to her family about the funeral home and clothes... but I was okay with it.
Then, Sally Fields said, "Where's Jack Jr?" ... and someone said, "He's with his aunt.." and she took off running.
......and it hit me in the chest like a sledgehammer. I literally caught my breath. That's never happened to me before. But then, I didn't have children the last time I watched it...
Booray Perry is a photographer in Tampa who cries like a baby while watching "Steel Magnolias" with his wife.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
By the way, if you think I post a lot of pictures of my kids on this blog your right. I do it for two reasons:
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Booray Perry is a photographer in Tampa
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I came across this post written by Marianne Drenthe for ProfesssionalChildPhotography.com that really does a good job of explaining why it costs more to go to a custom photographer. I'm reprinting it here with permission....
The photographic art you choose to place on your wall is ultimately the result of the vision of the photographer. This vision, coupled with what you wear to your session, the environment, the lighting, even the mood the subjects are in at the time of photographing creates the work that you will want to proudly display on your walls forevermore.
Your first step in the process is more about determining who you are, who your family is and then seeking a photographer that reflects your style. For instance let’s say your family is extremely outdoorsy and loves playing on the beach. You start determining what style you like, browse through photography website portfolios and determine if any of the styles exhibited there would be a good fit with your life and family style. You have already determined that you should probably seek out a beach type photographer (that is if you live near a beach) and then begin narrowing the field down a bit.
Finally after a bit of internet research, you have narrowed it down to two photographers who do what seems like solid work, the sort of outdoor beach look you desire. It is now time to ask yourself: Do you like photographer A’s style over photographer B’s style? Is it because the people in the images of A’s style are having a great time and it seems very caught up in the moment vs. B photographer more posed, looking in the camera images? If this is a case, you probably like lifestyle photography or perhaps even take it a step further and define your desired style as a photojournalistic photography style. The photographer you probably should choose is photographer A because their style is very similar to the style you desire.
What custom photography ultimately is all about is choice and experience (as in THE experience). Custom photography is about finding someone who will photograph your family, give you devoted 1:1 attention without worry of the next ‘in line’ or the feeling of a crowded portrait studio. A custom photographer will typically show you a fairly extensive gallery culled to only show the good images that meet the photographers’ creative sensibilities. Often the images are fully edited images-color corrected with blemishes and undereye circles removed. Custom photographers are also known as boutique studios, offering a range of products and unparalleled service. Think Lexus vs. Hyundai, think Nordstrom vs. WalMart.
Custom photography should have you, the client and your experience in mind.
Why does Custom Photography cost more?
Digital technology is brilliant. The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and amazing amounts of control for the photographer, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur. With flexibility comes a price though. Camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into all of this.
Even though you pay $1.99 for a print at your local drugstore and paying for film is pretty much a thing of the past (although you still pay for memory) you may be wondering why you may pay upwards of $40, 50, 70, 90 for a custom photography print. Some photographers hear this statement every once in awhile:
"How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at the local drug store?"
The answer is multifaceted and has a lot to do with the time, aforementioned equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer, expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business.
TIME of the CUSTOM PHOTOGRAPHER:
Approaching it from a time standpoint, for instance let’s imagine if you will that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love and that is travelling an hour to your on location session. TIme break down:
Session prep time (30 mins - 1 hour, includes equipment and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)
One hour travel time TO session
15-30 minutes prep time at client’s home
90 minutes-2 hours with client photographing subject
One hour travel time FROM session
30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer
30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images
2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images
1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering
2-3 hours time with client for ordering images
1 hour sorting through and checking order
30 minutes-1 hour prep time for delivery
30 minutes-1 hour getting order shipped
Any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues
As you can see, average client time for a session ranges from just under 13 hours to 19 hours dependent on the photographer’s level of service. This is time dedicated only to your session. When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot 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.
COSTS of the CUSTOM PHOTOGRAPHER:
Regarding equipment costs, a good quality professional camera with a selection of good optical quality lenses and digital storage mediums and computer set up can run from $10,000-$30,000 costs dependent on the photographer. Even though you can purchase a really good quality digital slr for about $2100 there are still other costs related to photography. A good lens for portrait photography can run up $900 to $2500. A dependable computer system with software loaded for business and creative usage can run $2500 to $8000 dependent on the photographer.
Then come lab costs for specialty products. A good photographer knows the lab is integral to their success. Photography labs dedicated to the professional photographer often cost more and offer a range of products that allows the custom photographer to continually offer new, innovative products for you, the discerning client.
Discussion other costs of running a photography business could take awhile so we’ll skip the intricate details. There is of course much more: including costs of running the business, taxes, studio rental/mortgage if the photographer has ownership of a dedicated studio, vehicular costs, costs of advertising/marketing, costs of sample pieces that the photographer will likely bring to your session, etc.
APPLES to ORANGES:
Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $25 for an 8×10 or they may mention other things related to discount photography chains. The fact is those discount chains make their money on volume, not on customized 1:1 service. According to several articles at the time, did you know that in February 2007 a rather well known discount department store that started in Arkansas closed down 500 of their portrait studios across the nation? The reason is simple, you cannot make money on 99¢ "professional" prints if you do not sell enough of them. Interestingly enough - those same studios that offer the loss leader packages often charge much much more for their a la carte pricing (as high as $40-50 for an 8×10). The whole reason the big department stores began offering portrait studios in the first place was to get you, the savvy consumer, in through their door so that you could spend more money with them in other departments. Your "PORTRAITS" are considered the true "loss leader".
Going to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at your home where your child is allowed to explore, play and be comfortable in their home environment, nor do you get the experience that many custom photographers are known for or the lovely captures of natural expressions. You simply get a bare bones, "SAY CHEESE" experience. Keep this in mind when selecting a photographer.
REPUTATION/EXPERTISE of the PHOTOGRAPHER:
Being in demand, being well known for quality work, having a good reputation often costs time on the photographer’s part. Their expertise comes at a cost, their time learning their craft and learning the intricacies of lighting and the commitment put forth on their end to create a persona about their business that oozes professionalism. A great number of photographers go a very long time from the time that they purchase their first good camera to making money at the business of photography. Many photographers, when first starting out, rush in thinking that the business will be easily profitable in no time, how expensive could it be to get a camera and use it to create their dream? They often neglect to factor in the cost of business, the cost of equipment, software, back ups, etc..
Being of sound reputation, a better professional photographer knows that they must always reinvest in their business to create the reputation of being top notch. To create good work good equipment, reliable equipment, back up equipment is a necessity. The photographer who desires to be known as better/best/unparalelled reputation-wise knows that the most important thing they can do for their business is reliability and dependability. This is how reputations get built. Good work often is a wonderful side product of building that good reputation.
I hope this (lengthy) article helps shed some light on WHY a custom photographer is a better choice for your family’s memories. The photographs that are produced as a result of the professionalism and dedication that your photographer has will be cherished for a lifetime (or more) and great thought and consideration should be placed into hiring who is right for your family’s most precious investment.
Booray Perry is a custom photographer in Tampa Bay
Monday, August 4, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
Just to be clear, there are a lot of great, artistic photographers out there (some right here in Tampa/St. Petersburg) who shoot predominately in black and white because they have an artistic motive. However, there are some that shoot in black and white because they are lazy.
You see, light is a tricky thing. The biggest problem with light is that it refuses to maintain the same temperature regardless of the source. Light from the sun doesn't look the same as light from a light bulb, which doesn't look the same as light from a fluorescent light bulb... and on and on....
So, what can happen is that you'll take a picture of someone who is lit by two different sources, say, a flash and the sun, and the color will get all wonky because the camera can only adjust for one color at a time. But if you convert to black and white...PRESTO! No color, no color mistakes. (I know from which I speak because I've done it. Every photographer has converted an image to black and white because the color is bad. It's a dirty little secret of the profession) To avoid this problem, a photographer has to set his camera to a custom white balance setting or fine tune the white balance in post-production. It's time consuming and tedious.
That being said, there are still a lot of situations that simply demand black and white and if you are not using this option with your camera you are missing out on a lot of great pictures. Black and white can change many things about a picture but for this post I just want to show an example of one.
In this picture, your eye is drawn to the skirt. How can it not be, it's so bright and pink and everything else is sorta flat. However, I don't want to look at the skirt, I want to look at the cutest little ballet dancer in the whole wide world (who just happens to be my daughter).
Now the attention is drawn away from the skirt and onto the face because the face is lighter than the skirt. The entire feel and focus of the picture has changed just by converting to black and white.
In this picture, black and white guarantees that you are seeing the girls and not the outfits. I have often wondered if the way we perceive black and white pictures has something to do with news print being black and white. Do we subconsciously legitimize a picture that is in black and white because it looks like something we would see in the newspaper? Time will tell because the younger generation gets all their news in color. Will black and white not provoke the same reaction for them?
Last weekend we were invited to a birthday party for a 1-year-old little girl. The couple having the party are friends and neighbors of my cousin and we had met them once before when they came to my house for a graduation party. It was funny because when I went to put my camera bag in the car my wife said, "Are you sure they won't mind if you take pictures?"
"Bobbi," I replied, "it's the first birthday of their only child and they have invited someone who just happens to be a professional photographer. Believe me, they're hoping I bring my camera." (not that I was invited because I'm a photographer but hey, if you invite Eric Clapton to the house, it's nice if he brings his guitar.... not that I'm the Eric Clapton of photography but...okay, you get the point...)
The party was lovely and Sim did a wonderful job with decorations and treats for the kids. The next day I took them an 8 x 10 print of their daughter as well as a CD that contained all the pictures I took at the party.
Well, apparently Good Morning America has some sort of deal where they show pictures of 1-year-old birthday parties and they sent in some of the pictures that I took... and that's how my pictures ended up on good morning America.
Booray Perry is an event photographer in Tampa, St. Pete