Oct 30, 2010

9 Photographers Share Their Stories

by Amy Leavitt

"Tilt your head just a little....perfect.  Turn your body to the right....great, right there."

[Photo by Yasmin Tajik]

"It's hard to be in front of the camera and have someone tell you what to do, and it feels awkward and uncomfortable. This experience has taught me how difficult it is to be posed rather than be the one posing, to be more accepting of myself, and to learn to relax and let go. I've never had a professional photo shoot of just me, ever. I am much more comfortable behind the camera.

We all have our hang ups about ourselves. When I see a photo of me, the first thing I do is look for something to hate about it. There's usually plenty to choose from. I have to learn to look for the good things, and accept myself for who I am. I've come to the conclusion that the best photos – the ones that truly show the character and personality of the subject – are photos that show happiness. Happiness, not beauty. Some of the best photos from the shoot show me laughing at one of the other photographers – a natural, unforced smile. This has reinforced my photography philosophy: Happy people are the most beautiful people, and beauty has nothing to do with how a person looks."

[Photo by Cindy Larkin]

By Cindy Larkin

[Photo by Amy Leavitt]

"When I read Mandi Nuttall's story about how she got involved with her Beauty Campaign, I cried because I empathized with how she felt about herself. I don't know what it is about women, but we sometimes have a hard time seeing our own beauty. However, when I saw Mandi's photographs and I knew I wanted to do this too.

The first thing I did was facebook my closest photographer friends to tell them about it, and see if they wanted to do this challenge with me. They were all excited except for one little thing...like me, they were nervous to be in front of the camera instead of behind the camera. After we got our schedules aligned (which seemed to be a task all by itself), we decided to meet on the Las Vegas Strip for our Photographers Shoot-out. I've got to tell you, I was nervous! Not only was I going to be photographed in front of hundreds of people, but I also had the challenge of photographing some of the best and most beautiful photographers I knew. What if my camera malfunctioned? What if I screwed up their images? What if I was a complete dork and my pictures turned out terrible? These were only a few of a hundred concerns racing through my head as we drove to our location. After we introduced ourselves to each other (some of us had only met on facebook), the tension started to disappear. After a couple of shots, I realized that we were all in it together, and I began to loosen up. We had a great time! It was fun and I loved being together with other creative women! Here are a few of the things I learned:

1. It's okay to be assertive in giving directions on how to pose and what to do. In the past I've been somewhat timid to tell my clients what to do, how to stand, how to smile, etc. But now I realize that they need me to tell them these things. Generally people are a bit nervous and don't feel confident on how to pose, and they can't see what I see behind the camera. They want and need my expertise to create a fabulous photo!

2. Sometimes the photographer and the client have different ideas about what is beautiful. When I was looking at photographs of myself, it was really hard not to see my own flaws. The picture may have been technically perfect in every way, but if there was something about my face that I didn't really like, I ended up not liking the picture at all. In the past I've taken it personal when a client didn't particularly like a photo of themselves. After my experience, I've realized that it may not be anything I did as a photographer that made them dislike the photo. It could just be an insecurity they have about themselves.

3. It's okay to photoshop a little. Removing blemishes or liquifying a pudgy spot is AWESOME!!! We have these tools for a reason and it's okay to use them! As long as we're not destroying the integrity of the photograph or changing a persons over-all appearance, most people will welcome the removal of a scar, a zit, or a slight enhancement.

4. It's amazing the difference between my photographs when I loosened up and just went with the flow, and the ones where I was uptight and nervous. When I can help my clients feel comfortable (in front of me and in front of the camera), I am able to find their true inner beauty and capture an image that they will absolutely love!"

[Photo by Jennie Slade]

By Nicholette Adams

"When I first heard of Beauty sessions from Nuttall Photography I knew I wanted one. I am not one to be in front of the camera but for some reason this really intrigued me. I never thought of having beautiful photos of myself. I don't consider myself "photogenic". But I knew that Mandi had the talent to make it so. What I didn't realize at the time was that it wasn't Mandi who would make the photo beautiful, I already was. She just knew how to bring my beauty into focus. As a photographer I tend to keep a list of things I focus on while shooting: background objects, lighting, posing, etc. so it was wonderful to just relax and be told how beautiful I am. I will always cherish my experience and the knowledge it brought me to realize my own beauty."


[Photo by Shannon Heryet]

"So after reading the blog...my girlfriend & I decided we should go out on a photoshoot with each other! It's always eye opening to be on the other end of the lens...

I really think as photographers it's important to do this every once in awhile...it makes you much more aware of how your clients are feeling, and how easy it is to just say "act natural"...ummm...yeah right!

I totally wanted her to tell me what to do with my hands, how to stand, make sure I didn't look too fat - the list of requests from me was high! I'm so glad we did it though...we got some super great shots of each other, and had a total blast just spending the day together being able to talk about fstops, focal points, and all the other good stuff that we don't get to share with just anyone!

Thanks for the great challenge,and huge thanks to my friend Shannon Heryet for getting some photos of me that I don't hate!!!"


By Yesenia Emeric

[Photo by Brittany Busk]

"We met up at Calico Basin in the Red Rock Canyon area here in Las Vegas. This is such nice spot for us Vegas photographers right now because it's looking like fall there and when you're from the desert, you don't get too much of that autumn color loveliness! It was nice to get together with other female photographers, particularly photographer moms because it helps me see I'm not alone in my crazy mom/photographer juggling act!

Being in front of the camera is always so difficult for me, I get stiff and awkward...I'm so happy my clients are so much better at it than me! It was nice that we were taking turns being in front of and behind the camera. It kept it fun and bearable because we knew that soon it would be our turn to shoot! When it was my turn to be photographed, I'm glad they were so great at giving direction and giving me different ways to pose and adjust myself. I never felt lost or like I didn't know what to do. They were also very patient with me and the silly faces I tend to make when I get nervous in front of the camera. I loved photographing these two beautiful female photographers. They let me do my thing and were great sports. I think we all had the same nervous feeling of being in front of the camera, but we were all willing to let go and try something out of our comfort zone."


By Stacy Nish

"Having modeled for 7 years, being in front of the camera wasn't new to me, however, being in front of the camera with Mandi, for a beauty session, was unlike any of the experiences I was used to. This session was all about me. I wasn't modeling the latest fashions, or promoting a new designer, I was exposing myself in way I never really had before. It was a vulnerable, humbling and completely powerful experience. Mandi really knew how to bring out the real beauty I saw in myself. She made me feel strong, confident, and beautiful on the inside and out and, as a photographer myself, it was extremely inspiring to me to not only work with such a talented photographer, but to be able to relate with her on that level. I was able to see myself the way I see so many of my clients. It was a session that I felt truly exposed who I am as an individual, not just another shoot to look pretty for. It was refreshing to be in front of the camera without any of the pressure that came with modeling, and to let someone else take the reigns for a change. Mandi made me feel comfortable, she was fun and it was like she already knew me even though it was the first time we'd met. I feel every woman should have an opportunity to experience a photography session like this and hope to be able to implement what I learned from this experience into the photo shoots with my clients."


By Yasmin Tajik

[Photo by Cindy Larkin]

"Recently I connected with a few other female photographers here in Las Vegas. We set up a time and date, and decided the best models for the day would be each other! Since we're usually the ones behind the camera, it was about time we each stepped in front of the camera and let others work their magic on us.

I have to admit, I get nervous when being photographed. I feel awkward, unsure, self-concious and fat. And before anyone tries to convince me otherwise, I can completely identify with my clients that it's not always the most comfortable situation. Often times what feels comfortable is slouching, and unflattering, so I always tell my clients that if it feels weird, it probably looks good for the camera. Trust me ladies and gentlemen, I know what you're feeling and going through when you're in front of my camera. Thanks ladies. for a fun evening!"


By Britney Barker

[Photo by Mandi Nuttall]
"I was excited to be in front of the camera. I knew Mandi's pictures would be gorgeous and I was excited to surprise my husband with them because I didn't tell him what I was up to. I admit, when the photoshoot day drew closer I started to panic. I'm usually the one taking the pictures so I started to worry how it would be on the other side of the camera. I didn't know how to do any model poses and I was worried I would be very awkward. It helped to have my hair and make up done before. The session was wonderful. It helps so much to have an experienced photographer like Mandi who helped me with how to pose and was constantly complimenting me and how good I looked. It took a few minutes to warm up, but once I did, it was very liberating. I felt like a supermodel by the time we were finished. I learned how important it is as a photographer to help your subjects be comfortable, it makes such a difference in their images. I encourage every women to take the time to do this for themselves. Oh, and my husband LOVED my surprise!"

[Photo by Mandi Nuttall]


By Camila Binks

[Photo by Mandi Nuttall]

"Having my pictures professionally taken was one of the best decisions I made this year. After having two children back to back I was feeling pretty chubby, frumpy, and just the opposite of hot. I definitely was in need of a little pick me up. It was SO long overdue and once the shoot was said and done and I was able to see the images I was floored. I actually looked good! Wow! What an awesome feeling that was!

I feel like as photographers we are always telling our clients how important photos are and encouraging them to book a session but we never book sessions for ourselves. We think that because we are photographers that we should find a way to take our photos ourselves. Um...no. Setting up a tripod and trying to take your own photos can be a nightmare. Trust me, I've tried it. So, you can hire a photographer to take your pictures OR do what I did. Find another photographer and have a shootout! Not only will you have a blast and get some great photos but you'll be reminded of what it's like to be on the other side of the camera. One thing I learned: How super important it is to give a lot of direction to your clients. I loved when Mandi bossed me around! Everyone can make themselves look great in front of a mirror but when there's no mirror there it's so hard to make yourself look your best. So having a photographer give you a lot of direction helps you feel a bit more secure and trust that you are looking good. I also had thought in the past that maybe I was being to hard on my clients by, for example, asking them to look into the sun without blinking or to laugh out loud right in front of me, but really, in my opinion it wasn't hard at all. So, sorry clients, I'm going to start coming down harder on you!" ;)

[Photo by Mandi Nuttall]
More information about Mandi Nuttall's Beauty Campaign can be found here. 

Oct 25, 2010

Official Rules for Our Photographer's Challenge!

1.  Get with another photographer
2.  Take pictures for each other
3.  Tell us about your experience
4.  Share your favorite image (that they took of you) with us
5.  Size: approx. 500 by 700 pixels at 300 dpi.
6.  Send to bryceandcindy@hotmail.com

All pictures and articles submitted will be published next month, and are due any time before October 31st. Please name your photo so we know who you are! And, as always, list the name of your photographer!  We are so excited to see your fabulous images!!

**Detailed information about the Photographers Challenge can be found here.

Oct 1, 2010

Don't Rain On My Parade

by Mariana Mosli-KisMisInk Photography

“We ♥ how the weather doesn’t dictate how our sessions go!! We are prepared to rock it out in any element! And in FL’s weather, that is an essential talent!”

This was a FB status that I wrote last week after getting soaked and completely exhausted from an awesome session we had just wrapped up! As I re-read it, I can say that it’ll hold true for the life of our photography business! As natural-light photogs, our photoshoots are almost 100% outdoors, making the weather our friend and our enemy! It seemed for the last month, almost every session was hit with torrential rains, winds, and the worst weather imaginable! But, we live for challenges & it helps us grow! So, we are definitely not complaining!

At times, it just takes some schedule readjustments and planning the shoot for another day. But what to do when you can’t possibly reschedule? When your client is only in the area for a certain date, or unavailable for a future re-schedule? Or how about when you are in the middle of the shoot when the weather turns for the worst?! The images below reflect those situations and that’s when creativity & passion is a must!

We have come across bad weather, but that has helped us think outside the box and create images that embrace the natural elements that are beyond our control!

We have learned and implemented some great practices into our business, which may not control the weather, but it definitely helps us stay in control of how we face these challenges! Below, I compiled some of the ways we deal with the forces of nature in FL! Hopefully this helps our readers (whether they are photographers or on the other side of the camera!)

1. This may seem obvious, but if you are busy, it can be overlooked: Check your weather forecast! Yes, it is accurate more than half the time! And with iphones, ipads, smartphones, and all the modern technology, the weather forecast is only seconds away! Here is one of the links that we use: http://www.weather.com/ . We love this site because it gives 15 minute intervals of weather forecasting. The PocketWeather App is also pretty neat too!

2. Preparation is key! Plan, plan, and then plan some more! Always expect the unexpected! You don’t lose anything (EVER) by over-preparing. It may seem like a burden to take extra covers, raincoats, flashlights, plastic bags, a couple of umbrellas, extra lighting, etc… but if you don’t have these items and need them, you will kick yourself later for being unprepared!

*I often refer to a written list of items that I will need in case of drastic weather changes and I add to that list as I run into new and unexpected situations, so that my list is as thorough as possible!

3. Review your Plan A, Plan B and even Plan C. Get familiar with the area you will be shooting at; by doing so you have an advantage to change locations smoothly without stressing that the new location won’t work, or worse, that you won’t be able to find something. See if there are combo areas (that include outdoor/indoor possibilities) For example: A hotel that has columns or a large covered area near the beach. You would have several choices in case the storms roll in! If the hotel has a nice indoor lobby area, you can even ask the hotel rep. if you may shoot there. The worse outcome: They say no.

4. Communication with the client is VITAL! Feel the vibe and see if your client is willing to endure not-so-perfect weather conditions. Keep in mind, hair & make-up preparation, clothing that they may not want to ruin or get wet, and props that may not be able to withstand harsh conditions. All of these factors play a major role in determining if the shoot should continue and adjust to the conditions or be rescheduled. And don’t forget, the most important factor: Safety! Florida is known for it’s lightning storms and it can be very dangerous to be caught in the middle of that. If you feel that you or your client’s safety is at risk, then make the appropriate decisions to move the session indoors or reschedule. After securing everyone’s safety, take into account that the client’s happiness and mood will weigh in the success of the shoot, so always put them first! If the client is OK with switching up the mood and incorporating the weather into the shoot, then great, happy shooting!

5. Stay optimistic! Your mood will also affect your clients. If you are demonstrating professionalism, enthusiasm, and reassuring the client that their session will be a hit, then 98% of the time, it will! Don’t throw in the towel too quickly! Work with what you have and make the best of it! You clients have invested their time and money and are counting on your expertise and experience to make things work out great! Use available light and get creative. Thinking outside the box will not only create unique and fun images, but will also help you strengthen your skills!

6. Photogs, if you will be shooting in adverse weather, definitely invest in equipment rain gear & insurance (which we recommend to have no matter what weather you shoot in)! Our equipment is expensive and takes only a few seconds to damage, so make every effort to insure your valuables that are vital to keep you in business! Protective gear can range in price from inexpensive to very expensive, as I am sure the quality ranges as well. With a quick google search, I found AquaPac and I am sure there are plenty of other resources out there for gear. An indoor studio is also an option and a great investment if that works in with your photography style & client needs. There are studios that you can rent with advance notice or you can invest in your own.

If you have more tips or resources that have worked for you, please share them below in the comments! Thanks for taking the time to read about our experience & what works for us!