Tuesday, October 9, 2018

10 Tips for Finding a Great Senior Photographer

10 Tips for Finding a Great Senior Photographer
Once upon a time, a high school senior could look forward to a traditional portrait – girls wearing a black drape, guys in a classic tuxedo. But times have changed, and this ain’t your mama’s senior portrait anymore!
A professional senior portrait is an opportunity to highlight your accomplishments, personality and good looks. Given the importance of the occasion, choosing a photographer is no easy decision. To help you in the selection process, we’ve compiled 10 tips to assist in making your pick. 
Find your photography style.At such a busy time in your life, it’s easy to choose a photographer based on what a BFF or classmate recommends. But your senior portrait is about YOU! So find a photographer whose style suits you. To do this, review and research a variety of portfolios and images to determine what you like – and what you don’t. While someone parasailing or taking a reflective walk through the woods may make a great photo, would you want that to be YOUR image? Does that tell YOUR story? As you peruse images, don’t stop until you find something that speaks to you.

Make a connection.The connection you feel with your photographer is just as important as your style. You want a photographer with whom you’re comfortable, someone who is going to take the time to get to know you and ask you what you want out of your session. This doesn’t happen in five minutes, so spend some time seeking out and establishing the right connection.

Check credentials. It’s your time to shine so why not hire the best?! Professional photographers have unique skills and training in artistry and technology, so they know how to capture your unique personality and interests in images. The pros have standards to uphold and membership in professional associations like PPA Professional Photographers of America)
To Photoshop or not?
Ask a photographer about retouching, what they typically do and don’t do, when and why. Because, while no one is perfect, it may take just a quick computer brush stroke to make your photos look amazing! On the other hand, you don’t want images so retouched you no longer recognize yourself! So, don’t be afraid to ask about what happens behind the scenes.

5.    Check their reviews.
As you look for your photographer, good customer service should be high on your list. This is when references, reviews and testimonials can help you find a photographer that will deliver the customer experience you want.

6.    Notice how they use light.
Any good photographer knows that the key to great images comes from having the right lighting. As a customer, it’s not your job to know an F-stop from an aperture, but as you review portfolios and websites, pay special attention to the photographer’s use of light – in doing so, you’ll see how an expert can use light to take an image from OK to amazing!

7.    Tuck your chin and throw your shoulder:
You’ve probably been there – a photographer asks you to position your head “here” and your shoulder “here,” and suddenly, you feel like you’re in a bad game of Twister. A good photographer shouldn’t manhandle you, but gently guide you through a series of poses. As Kent Smith of Kent Smith Photography says, “Seniors want to look ‘natural,’ natural does not mean posed.” Smith goes on to say that it’s the photographer’s knowledge of lighting and how to flatter a figure that makes all the difference in posing.

8.     Make sure they offer options.
As you shop for the right senior photographer, look for someone who can offer multiple options. Look at albums, collages, wall frames and everything in between. Discover what you like - informal, casual, fun and/or serious shots. A good photographer will take your ideas, show you what will work, what may not and why. Also, don’t be afraid to ask to see the whole enchilada - the entire photo shoot. This gives you greater insight as to the photographer’s whole body of work, not just selected images.

9.    Make mom happy!Yes, a senior session is all about you. But, parents (and their wallets) typically have a vested interest in this experience. Parent and teen should be involved in the process and the decision. As a senior celebrates this milestone, it’s also about the people and support system that helped make it happen.

Set a budget. While you may think you can’t put a price tag on the experience, actually, you can and your photographer will. Again, this is where parents most likely come into play. But understand that everything has a budget and a cost. Often things are flexible, and you can probably switch out and substitute things that are really important 

Monday, September 17, 2018

9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Wedding Photographer

Some moments are simply too important to trust to a camera phone. Your wedding will be one of the most memorable times of your life and no one can capture it better than a professional photographer. So how do you find the right one? As you begin the interview process, here are ten questions to help you determine if you’ve found the best photographer for your wedding.

1. Does the photographer have a gallery of wedding images you can review?
Reviewing sample work allows you to see the photographer’s strengths and weaknesses – don’t fool yourself, every photographer has them. You’ll also be able to get an idea of their style. Are they formal with an eye for the perfect picture or do they love to capture the hidden moments when no one is looking? Look for images that you can see yourself in. Think of three words that describe you and share those with your photographer. Every photographer has a style and reviewing their gallery can help you determine if theirs is right for you.

2. What is the photographer's working style?
Some photographers are orderly and operate like wedding planners. Others prefer to sit back and let the events of the wedding unfold. It’s important that you find someone who can understand and meet your expectations. Discuss this ahead of time and ask away, so that you understand how well the photographer’s working style matches your own.

An engagement session does more than provide you with priceless images together before you get married. It’s also your first opportunity to work with your photographer and develop a relationship that will allow you to be completely at ease on your big day. Use this session to confirm if the photographer is indeed the right person to capture your wedding.

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor wedding, you’ll want to make sure your photographer has professional grade lighting equipment to deliver the images your wedding deserves.

5. Does the photographer have backup equipment?
You’ve prepared contingency plans for every other aspect of your wedding; your photographer should as well. A true professional photographer won’t miss your perfect shot because of a technology issue. He or she will always bring one or two backup cameras, lenses, flashes, additional lighting equipment, extra memory cards, and batteries.

6. Does the photographer have liability insurance?
Accidents happen at weddings and if one of your guests trips over your photographer’s light stand, it’s good to know you both are protected. Your reception venue may even ask the photographer to submit a certificate of liability ahead of time.

7. Will there be one photographer or two?
A second shooter increases the probability that no shot will be missed, especially if you are having a large wedding. If there will be two photographers, ask to meet them both to get a feel for their personalities and how well they might blend in on your big day.

8. What will happen to the images after your wedding?
Will your images be backed up to a hard drive or the cloud once processed? How long will your photographer keep the images afterward? Will they be kept for a couple of years or dumped immediately? If you have any concerns about losing your photos, knowing what the photographer plans to do with your images after your wedding is important.

9. When will you get your photos?
No, you won’t get your pictures the day after; no photographer can deliver that quickly. It’s a good idea, though, to get a general idea of the timeline ahead of time. You might even be able to agree on getting a couple of images ready for social media use very quickly. But obtaining your photos will likely take several weeks. To help with the wait, some photographers will send you a sneak peak with a few images. Just ask ahead of time!

Friday, September 7, 2018

We are proud to receive the 2018 Readers Choice Award for Best Photographer at the lake.
Thank you to everyone who voted for us..

Monday, April 16, 2018

7 Tips for Taking Beautiful Family Photos

Family photos are one activity many families dread. What’s meant to be a fun, memorable event can quickly become a stressful, panic-inducing nightmare. Here are some tips from PPA family portrait photographers to help your family take beautiful photos.

1. Find the right photographer:  Best case scenario, meet the photographer to ensure there is mutual chemistry between the two of you. Even better, bring your kids with you to see how they and the photographer relate to each other. Most photographers perform better when they have a good connection with a family… and it shows in the pictures. Also review a photographer’s online portfolio, pricing and policies, and look at their social media pages and customer reviews on third party websites. If you want a large portion of your session to be in black and white, find a photographer who loves black and white. If you want a natural, candid session with minimal posing, find a photographer whose existing work reflects that. Don’t waste time and energy hoping that the photographer will understand your vision, rather, find someone whose work communicates that.

2. Plan ahead.  All too often people spend the day(s) before their photo session running around to the dry cleaner, hair stylist, and novelty stores for last minute purchases and props. Instead, plan the look you want a few days before and don’t be shy about asking your photographer to help you prepare for your session. He or she knows what to expect during a family photo session and will be happy to share their tips with you so your family will be comfortable and relaxed the day of the shoot. Have everyone try everything on beforehand. It is often hard for families to recover from a day of being nagged, so set expectations ahead of time. And try to spend time enjoying yourself and your kids a few hours before your session.

3. Select color themes.  Instead of looking for top-to-bottom looks for everyone in your family, look in each closet for color themes. For a soft, elegant look, choose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? Choose coordinating colors with bold accent colors to complement each other (but not matchy, matchy which would make you compete with each other). Including fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images.

4. Talk to your kids beforehand.  Kids are smart and they love feeling big and informed. Tell them a “professional photographer” is coming over. Show them the clothes they will be wearing, involve them in the discussion of what you will be doing and where you will be doing it. New people and places can be unsettling to kids especially to toddlers melting down in the afternoon hours. So do what you can to turn your photographer into a new friend familiar to your kids before the session.

5. Decide on a reward.  Bring your kids’ favorite toys or treats and give them to your photographer to use when he or she needs to get their attention. But don’t overuse them or they’ll lose their magic. Kids need far less prompting and are much better at candid expressions than adults. Don’t needlessly bribe them, it, too will lose its magic. If the photographer gets to say that your family goes out for frozen yogurt afterwards, your kids will be far more apt to cooperate.

6. Feed everyone beforehand.  Pick a time when your kids are usually well behaved. If they’re grumpy in the morning, don’t plan a morning photo shoot and expect them to be pumped about it. Bring their favorite snack as long as it’s not messy and they can eat it hands-free (no red teeth or chocolate chins needed!). But bring an extra set of clothes and some paper towels just in case.

7. Trust your photographer.  All too often parents get nervous when their child isn’t looking at the photographer or smiling “right”, causing their child anxiety and robbing the photographer (and themselves!) the chance for candid portraits. Seasoned family portrait photographers know how to make your children feel comfortable so let them work their magic. After all, you’re paying them to create just that, right?

Sunday, April 8, 2018

6 Tips For Planning Your Wedding Photos Like A Pro

With everything that goes into your wedding day, those once-in-a-lifetime moments will go by in a blur—which is why hiring a professional wedding photographer is a must. After all, the last thing you should be worrying about is whether your photographer will be able to capture your big day.
The key? Prepare yourself so that you can accurately evaluate the “right” photographer for you. Follow these six tips to help you plan your wedding photos like a pro:

1- Book far in advance:   The best photographers get booked quickly — sometimes as much as a year in advance, so don’t wait until the last minute to book your photographer.
2- Show them the money:  Now is not the time to skimp on your photo budget. Call around and get a price range for services and remember: when the cake is long gone and the dress is stored away, your wedding photos will be the only thing left.
3- Make sure your photographer is a real pro:  Only hire someone who has liability insurance, experience taking the style of photos you want, backup equipment and a plan for when things go south. Ideally, he or she is a PPA photographer. PPA photographers have the technical expertise and artistry to make you look your best and bring your vision to life.
4- Request to see a full gallery of real weddings:  Ask to view an entire wedding album to see a photographer’s true style and get a sense of how he or she might tell your “story.”
5- Work with your photographer to create a shot list:  PPA wedding photographers can also help you create that shot list as they know what key moments tell a wedding story. But talk about your must-haves and walk through the entire program with your photographer ahead of time. Share your expectations ahead of time to ensure that your vision becomes a reality.
6- Plan your post-wedding photo strategy...ahead of time:  Almost as soon as the festivities are over, you’ll be eager to look at the photos so you can relive your big day over and over again. Ask your photographer for teasers or a “sneak peek,” and a timeline for when the rest of the pictures will be available. Will they give you an online gallery to proof?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Selecting the Right Wall Portrait for You

Imagine a beautiful wall portrait of your family hanging above your sofa or sitting casually above your fireplace mantel. It is the focal point of your living space. The one thing that everyone who walks into the room will notice immediately. And you smile proudly when you hear remarks about what a beautiful family you have.
Ok, let’s back up a little. What goes in to selecting the right portrait for your space? Of course, the first thing is selecting the right photographer to capture that perfect family portrait (but that’s another blog). If your photographer has done the job right, he/she’s been guiding you all the way through the process, from the first contact until the ordering session as to what the final product(s) could be.
Let’s say you have found the perfect photographer, you’ve had a consultation, had a wonderful photo session, and you’re ready to sit down with him/her to make your selection. Oh, the choices! It will be tough to choose the image(s) that you want to hang on your wall. This is another place that your photographer can really help you. He/she will be able to give you expert advice that you will need to make the right choices.
The next decision will be do you go with a traditional canvas gallery wrap, a more modern stand out mount, an exciting metal print, or a luxurious framed print? This will definitely depend on your taste and what the d├ęcor’ is in your living space. If you go with a framed print, be sure that you have the option of selecting the style of frame, deciding if it will be matted or not, and know that when you receive your wall portrait, it will be a finished piece of art ready to hang on your wall.
Then you need to think about the size of the wall portrait. Artwork that is too small will get dwarfed by the surroundings, and a piece that is too big will look as if it is spilling over. A good idea is to measure your space. Better yet, send a picture of that space to your photographer so that he/she can show you exactly how your portrait will look in that space. Then you can adjust style or size as needed.
Wall art, when done correctly, can help pull a space together, give it that finished touch. And of course, your lovely piece of wall art will enhance the room with color and style and be the eye catching focal point of your home. It is an investment that you will enjoy for many years, and then be able to hand down to the next generation for their enjoyment.
Photos By Gum will share with you a large selection of wall portrait choices and frames, provide you with professional advice, and present a high quality end product. Call or email us to make your appointment today.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Forgotten Generation

When was the last time you had a family portrait taken? In 30 or 40 years, how will you remember the most important moments of your life? According to a nationwide survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America (PPA), 67% of survey respondents store their photos solely on a computer or phone. WHY IS THIS A BAD IDEA? There was 4.5 million lost or stolen phones in the U.S. alone in 2014. Only 33% of people say they actively back up photos and data on their phones. What about technological mishaps? What if you accidentally pushed a delete button, your computer crashes, coffee spills or water damage. There are also power surges, lost memory cards, USB drives, or CD’s. And don’t forget about malware or a computer virus.

You say what about online storage? There could be costly subscriptions, hardware or Wi-Fi access. With technology evolving so rapidly, future access could be unpredictable or maybe even impossible. Another problem is some storage services only save lower resolution files, limiting your quality and print size.

Future generations will have difficulty knowing us because there won’t be a tangible photo history of our lives nor theirs. Did you know that 53% of people haven’t printed a photo in the last 12 months. 70% don’t have a photo album at all and 42% no longer print at all.

Preserve your special moments for future generations. Have a new family portrait taken and turn it into a piece of art to hang on your wall. Create new and beautiful photo albums to share those memories with family and friends. Don’t let us become the forgotten generation. We at Photos By Gum are working hard to create beautiful works of art you will be proud to share with others. Don’t wait, save those memories today before it is too late.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

I've Got a Ring - Now what?

Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times of a person’s life. And the first thing you’re going to want to do is share the good news with your family and friends. And what will they say, “Oh, that is so wonderful. Congratulations! When is the wedding.”

So, it’s probably time to set a date, or at least a general time frame – spring, summer, fall. You’ll also want to start “dreaming” about where will the wedding be, what will my dress look like, who will be in our wedding, who will we invite, where will we go for our honeymoon? You might want to start a wedding site, or a wedding notebook that you can fill up with all those wonderful ideas.

A very important tip, set a budget and stick to it. Weddings can get way out of hand if you’re not careful. Who’s paying for what? What do you see as the most important things to spend money on? You’ll need to decide if you’re going to hire a wedding planner, or if you and your mom or best friends will take care of all the planning, decorating, and decision making.

And then, it is time to find your vendors. The first thing you’ll want to find is your venue. There are so many options to choose from – a sandy beach by the lake, a rustic barn, an industrial chic location, an historic elegant location, a traditional church, a local vineyard, or grandma and grandpa’s back yard. (location shot)

Once you’ve set your date and location, it’s on to find the other vendors. Next should be your photographer. Many professional photographers are booking dates a year and sometimes two years in advance. Do your research – make sure your photographer is licensed and insured. They only have one shot at getting the perfect images, so be sure they have the experience and skills needed. You’ll also want to make sure that you love their style. If their package includes two photographers, even better. (ceremony shot)

Other vendors you’ll need to consider are the florist, caterer, baker, music & lighting, transportation, the officiate, travel planner, and more. Make sure you get contracts for everyone you work with (even if they are friends). (bouquet shot)

Photos By Gum has many years of experience in helping to create and capture a day to remember. As we tell all of our brides and grooms, “You have a story to tell, and we want to help tell it, with beautiful images of your special day.”

For all of your wedding photography needs, visit our website at www.PhotosByGum.com  or check us out on Facebook.

Engagement Photos - Are they right for you?

Engagement pictures – are they right for you?
Depending on the photographer, and the wedding collections the photographer offers, an engagement session may or may not be included. But they are always a good idea. It’s not just about getting some super cool couples shots (even though that is the main reason).

For you, the engagement session is probably the opportunity to have your first professional photos of you as a couple. And, it gives you the chance to get used to a camera following you around, helping you become more comfortable when it comes to the wedding day. It’s also about getting to know your photographer – his/her style, how he interacts with you, or what she expects from you.

And it’s about your photographer getting to know you – how the two of you move together, what is your style, your likes and dislikes.

The end result – absolutely gorgeous images that capture your true personalities and the emotions of the day. Whether you’re hanging a beautiful wall portrait in your home, perusing an incredible wedding photo album, or looking at images on your computer (that’s another blog), an engagement session will increase your satisfaction by leaps and bounds. Talk to your photographer today to see what he/she can do for you.

For all of your engagement photo and/or wedding needs, you can contact us at www.photosbygum.com or check us out on Facebook 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Family Time

Don't forget about having your family portrait taken. What a great way to remember a great day when everyone is together.