Article about Betsy in Ann Arbor News

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Well, we haven’t seen it ourselves yes, but On Sunday I was mentioned in the Ann Arbor News! Very exciting, don’t you think? If you recall, one of my images won Best of Show at the Detroit Professional Photographers’ annual print competition.

A blurb was mentioned in the Business Notes section, and an article, “Betsy Finn’s photos garner awards,” was published in the Entertainment section, I believe.

Once I find out more details, I’ll be sure to spill the beans, don’t worry. In the meantime, if you can’t wait, go Look in your newspaper and check it out yourself:

Detroit Professional Photographers’ Association Print Competition Winner

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Well, I got my Detroit Professional Photographers’ Association (DPPA) newsletter in the mail today. On page nine, I found a pleasant surprise!


Yup, that’s me, in my consultation room. the editor of the newsletter came out a number of weeks ago to “interview” me for the newsletter, but by the time this arrived in the mail, that had completely slipped my mind!

Congratulations to all the other category winners 🙂 — with all the hullabaloo the day of the print competition, I think I forgot to say that to you!

Local Photographer Wins Best of Show in Detroit

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Winning Photo Features Pioneer High School Student – Ann Arbor, MI – December 12, 2008 – For the second year in a row, a portrait by local photographer Betsy Finn was named Best of Show at the annual Print Competition held by the Detroit Professional Photographers’ Association (DPPA). Pioneer High School student Leslie Brown was the model for the photo, which Finn called “Soul Shoes.” The announcement was made just before Thanksgiving, giving Finn and Brown additional cause for thanks.

Finn submitted six images in all, receiving also one award for Best of Category, two Awards of Excellence, and four Awards of Merit. All six photos featured clients from Ann Arbor, Dexter, and Grand Rapids.

“When I created ‘Soul Shoes,’” Finn recalled, “I had an artistic epiphany. I lined up four pairs of shoes brought for outfit changes. The result, a pair of feet standing among the shoes, speaks volumes about Leslie’s personality, allowing viewers to imagine what it must be like to have a world of choices at their feet.”

“Playing the Angles,” featuring another Pioneer student, Senior Hannah Carl, received recognition from the judges for its modern and non-traditional composition. Finn’s other entries included an engagement portrait (“Joyride”), an infant portrait (“In His Hands”), an editorial-style portrait (“Coffee Break”), and a senior portrait (“Checkmate”).

“I was extremely surprised when I realized ‘Soul Shoes’ won Best of Show,” Finn said, “especially considering the odds of winning Best of Show two years in a row.” Last year, Finn’s winning photograph was of a white egret.

In preparing for the DPPA competition, Finn, whose specialty is wedding and portrait photography, made the decision that all six of her entries would be portraits of real clients. Finn’s competition results exemplify the quality of work her clients receive: Best of Show.

Betsy Finn was born and raised in Ann Arbor. She graduated from Greenhills High School and now lives in Dexter. She is a Certified Professional Photographer whose work has been featured in international exhibitions. Her portrait studio, Betsy’s Photography, offers a creative portrait experience that is tailored to each client’s vision. She was named 2008 Photographer of the Year by the Professional Photographers of America and Michigan’s Top 7 Photographer of 2008 by the Professional Photographers of Michigan. She was nominated for 2008 Detroit Photographer of the Year as well. Finn’s work will be featured in the highly acclaimed 118th International Exhibition of Professional Photography.

Finn is available for interviews, and can be reached at 734-424-0472. For more information about Betsy’s Photography Studio, visit

My Photographic Inspiration

posted in: Notes | 4

Major McKinley AshI am often asked by new acquaintances how I first became interested in photography as a profession.  I’m sure that my story is similar to the stories of many other artists, but it is special to me.  So, I’ve decided to finally share my photographic inspiration with you (in a nutshell, of course).

But before I begin, I want to add one other comment.  This may be my initial inspiration, but every additional client I meet brings more fulfillment to me as an artist.  I absolutely love capturing moments that no one else can — I love the opportunity to turn a moment into something that will endure for generations.

I’ve always been interested in creative things – in first grade I convinced my grandmother to teach me piano; when I was a little older I would run an art store in my parents’ basement, and the walls on the basement stairs were covered with ‘art gallery’ items. So photography was a natural creative outlet for me. My parents have a picture of me when I was about 3 where I am holding a box of film – at 5, there is a snapshot of me peering through a ‘big’ Nikon SLR and telephoto lens. Those snapshots are actually more a reflection of my natural curiosity and desire to try new things than a sign that I was ‘born to be a photographer.’ Photography, like my other creative tendencies, came naturally to me as part of my desire to capture and document life around me – moments and memories that cannot be repeated.

My grandfather, who passed away in March 2007 (read the backstory of “Uphill Battle”) was a quiet but steady influence in my enthusiasm for photography. Two of his sons (one being my dad) love photography as a hobby; probably due to my grandfather’s interest in the art. I would rarely see him without a camera in hand, and the photographs he took on vacations were on display throughout their home – the Giza pyramids, a farmhouse in the Swiss alps, and even hot air balloons. These images encouraged me to see the wonder in the world around me!

I more recently discovered how my grandfather became interested in photography. He served in Signal Corps during World War II, and was seriously injured during the Battle of the Bulge. His injuries took over a year to heal. During that time, two of his friends (who escaped serious injury) were stationed at the Leitz factory in Germany (where Leica cameras were made). Each soldier was allowed one Leica camera — since they had to pick it up in person, his friends were unable to get my grandfather the Leica. They did send him another camera, though, and that camera was the one that piqued his interest in the art of photography.

Family Portrait with Dogs in Dexter

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This Dexter family has two great puppies: Curly and Moe. We started out the session by doing something a little more active, the goal being to have the dogs use of some of their energy so they’d be calmer for the rest of the session.   The dogs were included in a number of portraits, including a great sibling shot.  Once the dogs were a little calmer, we were able to get a great portrait of the entire family — Curly and Moe were behaving like perfect angels!

Photographer of the Year

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So, more exciting news (kind of a continuation of the 118th International Exhibition of Professional Photography).  Based on how well my prints did at the international print competition, I’m going to be receiving a 2008 Photographer of the Year (Bronze level) Award from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).  PPA just made a blog post congratulating all award recipients, and by my count, there are only 50 photographers who received a Bronze Level Photographer of the Year.  That’s pretty mind-blowing, especially when you consider that there are ~20,000 photographers belonging to PPA (the member count keeps growing so rapidly, my guess could be off by a bit I’m sure).

Congratulations to all the recipients of the 2008 Photographer of the Year Awards.  These individuals demonstrated excellence in their craft and earned tremendous achievements in PPA’s 2008 International Print Competition.

— PPA Today
{Photographer of the Year Awards}

The awards ceremony isn’t until January, though (it’s held in conjunction with the International Exhibition and Imaging USA).  You can count on me posting something official at that point in time too.  In the meantime, congratulations to all other Photographer of the Year Award recipients!

Senior Portrait :: Martin

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Martin’s senior portrait session was fun! Martin is actually into photography himself… architectural photography, actually. So while we didn’t go to anywhere with striking architecture, we did go outdoors for the location portion of his senior session… and where better to go than home? Martin’s family has a gorgeous yard, and even though it was hot out, I was able to create some awesome images for Martin and his parents to enjoy.

First stop — tree climbing. I saw these amazing trees, and had an idea, of course! Martin was more than cooperative… after all, how often do you get to actually climb a tree during a portrait session? Here’s one of the images of Martin up in the tree.
Ann Arbor Location Senior Portraits

Next, we went into the backyard, which has a lovely open area with this neat little hill. It looked like a great place for the next series of images! Here’s one portrait of Martin in the “field” — I really love how this one looks.
Ann Arbor Location Senior Portraits

And of course, I can’t make a post without sharing something more “typical” …so here we go.
Ann Arbor Location Senior Portraits

I always enjoy working with seniors… Thanks for a fun session Martin!

Dexter Photographer to be Featured in International Exhibition

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Tampa, Fla. — Photographic prints created by Betsy Finn of Betsy’s Photography Studio in Dexter, Mich. have recently been accepted into the General Collection of the 118th International Exhibition of Professional Photography. Betsy’s work will be on display at the Phoenix Convention Center, January 11-13, 2009, in Phoenix, Ariz. This exhibition is held in conjunction with Imaging USA, an annual convention of over 8,600 professional photographers.

Betsy’s entries featured wedding and portrait work for local clients, as well as a fine art photograph. The titles of the four pieces are listed below:

  • “He Gets It From His Father” (child portrait)
  • “Three vs. One” (family portrait)
  • “Something Old, Something New” (wedding)
  • “Spring Green” (fine art)

All four of Betsy’s entries were accepted into the General Collection — just 13 other photographers in Michigan were honored to have all four entries accepted. Betsy will be receiving further awards for her achievements at the opening of the exhibit (she’ll also be receiving a Photographer of the Year award!!).

He Gets It From His Father by Betsy Finn, Cr. Photog., CPP

Three vs. One by Betsy Finn, Cr. Photog., CPP

Something Old, Something New by Betsy Finn, Cr. Photog., CPP

Spring Green by Betsy Finn, Cr. Photog., CPP

Approximately 4,514 entries were submitted to Professional Photographers of America’s (PPA’s) International Print Competition, from which a panel of more than 40 eminent photographers from across the United States selected the images that would comprise the 2008 General and Loan Collections…the most prestigious awards.

Betsy’s entries will be in Phoenix alongside other photographic works from not only PPA’s print competition, but also traveling and special invitational displays. These images constitute the world’s largest annual exhibit of professional photography gathered simultaneously under one roof.

Professional Photographers of America (PPA), an international nonprofit association, exists to assist its more than 20,000 members in achieving their professional, artistic and fraternal goals; to promote public awareness of the profession; and to advance the making of images in all of its disciplines as an art, a science, and a visual recorder of history.


Photographer Receives Detroit Photography Awards

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Dexter Photographer Receives Detroit Photographer Awards — Detroit, Mich. — Betsy Finn of Betsy’s Photography in Dexter received a number of awards at the awards banquet held by the Detroit Professional Photographers’ Association, at Roostertail Banquet Hall in Detroit, Michigan on June 17th, 2008.

Betsy was named as one of three finalists for the Detroit 2008 Photographer of the Year Award. She was given an Award of Merit for being named Runner-up Photographer of the Year. In addition, two wedding albums, designed by Betsy Finn, received awards during the awards banquet.

The designation of Detroit’s 2008 Photographer of the Year was awarded to the photographer based on combined print and album competition scores. This was Betsy’s first year participating in the competitions held by the Detroit Professional Photographers’ Association; in November’s print competition, one of Betsy’s entries was awarded “Best of Show.”

The Detroit Professional Photographers Association is Michigan’s largest affiliate for the national organization, Professional Photographers of America. DPPA was established in 1915 to serve the professional photographic community by offering educational opportunities to help photographers grow their business and improve their artistic abilities.

Betsy Finn, owner of Betsy’s Photography, is a Certified Professional Photographer and award-winning photographic artist whose work has received local and national recognition. Betsy’s Photography studio is located in Dexter, Mich., and provides wedding & portrait services to clients in Southeast Michigan. For more information, visit the studio website:


My Engagement Story

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Working with engaged and married couples allows me to enjoy hearing about many wonderful proposal stories. And while I haven’t heard everything, I have heard quite a bit. From the more typical romantic flowers + tux proposal to a more adventurous underwater scuba diving proposal, I find it extremely interesting to see how each engagement story is different. And then there’s my own engagement story. Nothing extraordinary, you might think, but it’s special to me. It seems so long ago, but of course I can still remember the details.

My Engagement Story - Just Engaged -

Before We Begin

Before I get into the full story of how Steven and I got engaged, let me start by explaining something. I have an uncanny knack of ruining surprises. Steven has planned numerous exciting and thoughtful surprises, most of which I’ve somehow stumbled across before their due time. I promise that I’ve never intentionally ruined a surprise — I like surprises! But, no matter how hard I try, the surprise aspect often remains elusive.

I can imagine that most guys dream of surprising their fiance-to-be with the perfect proposal. Part of Steven’s goal was to surprise me (yes, tricky!). I won’t ruin the story yet, but keep reading to find out if that happened.

Like any couple, we discussed our future — and the possible timing for the big events of engagement and marriage. Steven and I didn’t set a date or anything like that before becoming engaged, but we had definitely talked these plans and how they would work into our future. Of course I had to have a “timeline” of sorts to share with my girlfriends, because they were asking all sorts of questions, so we settled on planning to get engaged sometime during the summer of 2004.

To make a long story short, a friend one weekend said she’d heard I was getting engaged soon. This was in March of 2004, so I still had a ways to go until the “timeline.” So I set that thought aside, and went about things as usual.

My Engagement Story

A weekend or two later, Steven and I were in town to spend time with the parents (neither of us were in Ann Arbor at the time). We were planning on grabbing dinner at our favorite restaurant (Knight’s Steakhouse), and then going with his parents to Saturday Mass. Our plans for Sunday were still up in the air. We got dressed for church, and then went to Knight’s Steakhouse for dinner. We sat upstairs, and had an uneventful dinner. After dinner, lo and behold, a lovely heart-shaped cake with roses arrived on our table. Can you guess what was on it? Yup, this was it! An engagement ring was nestled in a silk rose and the cake was iced with the words “Will You Marry Me?”

I have to admit I was so extremely surprised that I was speechless! Steven (who was all nerves at this point), took the ring, asked me “Will you marry me?” and put the ring on my hand as I nodded and said yes (finally, right? I’m sure my stunned silence wasn’t too reassuring at first!).

So after that, we enjoyed some of the scrumptious carrot cake that had been handmade for us. It was very delicious, and we left some for the wait staff (it was a decent-sized cake!). While we were celebrating during dessert, an older couple congratulated us and bought us a drink. It was their anniversary!

Finally, there was another element of surprise. Steven let me know that both sets of parents were waiting at Barton Hills Country Club to celebrate with us. On the drive over, some phone calls were made to spill the news. Once we arrived, a champagne toast was in order, and we let some of the excitement unwind as we sat with them.

It really was an exciting day. Steven succeeded in creating a wonderful and memorable engagement story for us to enjoy sharing with others. In case you’re wondering why he picked this particular restaurant, it was because he went to college for Hospitality Business (restaurant management), and during that point in time Steven spent many busy hours at Knight’s Steakhouse working the various positions. While it’s not an exotic engagement location, Knight’s was (and is) a special place for us.

What’s Your Story?

So, there you have it! That’s my engagement story, and I look forward to hearing yours soon. I’ve found as I work with engaged couples, the more you share of your story, the more unique and meaningful we can make your engagement session. Whether we do so by choosing the location of your first date, where you got engaged, or something more subtle, you will be able to fondly look back on your engagement images and remember some wonderful memories. I know I wish we had done our engagement session in such a way to evoke the excitement and surprise of the evening we got engaged!

Photography Class at Emerson Middle School

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This afternoon I got to share my love of photography with a class of middle school students! It’s been a while now, but a long time ago 😉 I actually was a student at Emerson School here in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s a cute little school that has a great musical and fine arts “program” (can I call it that?). At any rate, Emerson School has a great focus on the arts, and one of my former teachers, Mrs. Borton, recently asked me if I would consider guest teaching for the photography class.

Now, I may be a photographer, but I also love to teach and share my knowledge with others. So, I jumped at the chance to spend a day with a great group of photography students. After sharing some of my work with them as “creative inspiration,” I sent the class out into the hall to complete some assignments in creative imaging (well, at Emerson it’s a more expansive common area).

Emerson Photography Students | Betsy Finn, Betsy's Photography

Emerson Photography Students | Betsy Finn, Betsy's Photography

It’s interesting to see how much photography classes have changed since digital cameras became widespread. While some of the “good old” film experiences are no longer there, going digital allows the students more creativity and quicker feedback. Now, since you’ll probably be asking if I participated in the assignments myself… the answer is “kinda.” Instead of working on all the tasks I gave for the hands-on exercise, I spent some time watching the students and seeing the creative solutions they came up with.

Emerson Photography Class | Betsy Finn, Betsy's Photography

Betsy Finn Featured in Dexter Leader

posted in: News | 8

Today we got a lovely surprise when we opened our copy of the Dexter Leader! Well, not a complete surprise, because I did talk with the fabulous people over at the Dexter Leader before the article ran, but it’s still exciting to see your face in the paper.

This edition will be out all week, so make sure to pick up a copy of the Dexter Leader if you want to see the “real thing” — or you can read the article here: “Magnificent Seven.”

I’ll probably be posting my some of responses on the blog somewhere also — keep your eye posted; I’ll add a few “details” that weren’t mentioned in the article!

Betsy Finn Featured in the Dexter Leader Newspaper

Q: Are You Able to do Portraits with Pets?

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I normally just do a Christmas card (plus picture) to friends and family, but I was thinking it might be nice to do something that included our new cat. Are you even ABLE to do portraits with pets, or does your studio focus on people only?

— Pet Lover

Good question! While many of my clients are human ones, I do have some animal subjects as well. As a cat owner and pet lover myself, I know where you’re coming from. In fact, our holiday portrait includes Jake, our cat, whenever possible (See our holiday family portrait!).  If you genuinely want to include your four-legged family member in the family portrait, I am more than happy to do so. Read More

Q: How Can I Convince My Mom to Let Me Choose My Senior Portrait Photographer?

posted in: Photography | 4

I’m soooo excited to have my senior portraits done; all my senior friends’ pictures turned out so amazing! I need help though. I want to choose my own photographer, but my mom wants me to use the one she used ages ago… And that totally is not what I want. His style is boring and stiff… I want casual and fun. What can I do to convince my mom we should go to someone like you for my senior pictures?

— Just a Junior

My answer this question has several parts, so stick with me, ok? First of all, in order to convince your mom, (or even to have a chance of getting her to change her mind), you need to talk with her. And when you do, make sure you keep things cool. While this decision means a lot to you, you’ll need to be mature about the discussion to show her that you are capable of making decisions as a mature person (trust me, this is probably very important from your mom’s perspective). So, before you talk with your mom, read the rest of my response so that you can share your feelings with your mom in a way she’s more likely to understand.

First of all, do you know if there are any specific reasons why your mom wants to use her old photographer? Knowing her concerns and reasons will help you be able to answer her questions and make her feel better about the whole situation. Without know exactly what it is, I can only provide some more general suggestions. So, make sure you find out her reasons before you start giving yours!

Your mom probably wants that one formal senior portrait. Are you willing to make a compromise if she lets you choose your senior portrait photographer? In other words, if she really wants the formal outfit and formal pose to remember your senior year — it might go a long way to offer to do this in addition to the fun, casual senior portrait session that you’re looking forward to. Actually, a lot of my senior clients often do something similar — either before or after the “fun” part of the senior session, we take a little time to do the formal senior portrait. And, since it’s not the only thing we do, you and your mom get to enjoy a variety of styles, all of which are great portraits of you.

Your mom may have concerns about using a different photographer for your senior portraits because she wants to make sure both of you will enjoy your senior portraits. This is a completely valid concern — and you want to make sure you have a good experience too, don’t you? So, since you mentioned that you like my style, let’s say you are telling her about Betsy’s Photography. You can mention the style of senior portraits that I create (remember, I can do those formal ones too), and you definitely want to mention some of my qualifications. Your mom will probably feel a lot better about considering another photographer if she knows the “new” one is properly qualified. In fact, send her to my website — she’ll be able to read all the details there.

Ok, so after addressing your mom’s concerns and telling her why you want to have Betsy’s Photography create your senior portrait, what’s the next step? Well, first make sure her main objections have been answered (keeping things calm, remember?). Then, if she’s still not completely convinced, maybe you should suggest visiting my website, giving the studio a call, or even scheduling a consultation to discuss your senior portrait choices.

It’s important that you and your mom to both be happy with the photographer you use for your senior portraits, and by finding out what the real concerns are, you have a better chance of helping your mom consider other photographer when it comes time to schedule your senior portrait session. Keep cool, discuss things calmly, and present supporting points. Don’t try tell your mom she’s wrong (she’s entitled to her own opinion!), but ask her if she’d be willing to consider hearing you out. A little information never hurt anyone, right?

Who knows, maybe when you’ve finished discussing everything, your mom will be the first one to contact me about scheduling your senior portrait session!

Q: Help, I Hate Getting My Picture Taken!

posted in: Photography | 3

I absolutely hate getting my picture taken, but I have to….soon, at least. I know your style is more relaxed and casual, so I’m hoping you can help. Do you have any suggestions for me so that I won’t freak out once I get to the studio? I’m just really intimidated by the whole atmosphere and posing process.

— Scared to Smile

You’re right — sometimes it can be stressful to have your picture taken; but a lot of that depends on the photographer you choose to trust. It sounds like you already know a little bit about how I work with my clients — so that’s good! I love it when my clients come out of their portrait session saying, “that was fun!” or “when are we doing that again?” I want my clients to have a great time, and just knowing that should help you start to feel a little more at ease about having your portrait created. Of course, that’s just the beginning. As we plan your session, we’ll talk and discuss your goals, what you like, and what you’re comfortable with.

Some tips for having a stress-free session… Trust me, these are pretty simple, and hopefully, will have you feeling much better about your next portrait session.

Think about the reasons why you feel anxious and intimidated. Is there a specific incident that triggered these feelings, or is it because you hate to be formally posed? The more specific you can be regarding your concerns, the better job I can do when I work with you. If it’s the posing process that freaks you out — we can find ways to work around that; if it’s cheesy phrases like “say cheese” that make you stressed out — well, don’t worry, we can avoid those phrases and work a little more candidly.

So, once you’ve taken some time to think through the reasons behind your feelings, then is the time to discuss things with your photographer if you’re still concerned. As a photographer, I want each and every one of my clients to be comfortable about being photographed — and while I usually accomplish this by keeping things relaxed and developing a relationship with my clients, if you’re still worried you won’t be comfortable enough, I am always willing to chat about this matter further. Often, just talking about the process with your photographer (over the phone, or in person), as the session date draws nearer, is enough to put a nervous client at ease.

I’m glad that you’re willing to broaden your horizons! And I will do my best to make sure that you have a great portrait experience before, during, and after your session at Betsy’s Photography Studio. So, when you’re ready, contact Betsy’s Photography and I’ll be happy to walk you through the next easy steps to having your portrait created by Betsy’s Photography. You can do it!

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