I recently worked with Randal, a model in the Southeast Michigan area. For his session, we went “downtown” to Dexter to create some on location images. Here are are a selection of my favorite images from the session.
I recently worked with Randal, a model in the Southeast Michigan area. For his session, we went “downtown” to Dexter to create some on location images. Here are are a selection of my favorite images from the session.
Recently I did a commercial lifestyle session with Amy (she’s a model). The main focus of her session was creating some images with a “product” feel. First, meet Amy:
Here are some of the results from the session. (a few of these were published in the online version of Professional Photographer magazine… May 2010)
After creating the needed product shots, we also took some time to do some “model-only” images, including something a little more creative. This is one of my favorite images from her session; love the dramatic lighting and demure feel.
As you know, our studio renovation project last year was quite exciting.
Well, I have more exciting news to share! Professional Photographer magazine, a publication for professional photographers, decided to run a story about our studio renovation experience! The article, Home Studio Makeover, ran in the April 2010 issue… and provides an alternate viewpoint on the whole TV show experience.
While I’m at it, here’s a brief tour of the studio! If you follow Betsy’s Photography on Facebook, you might have already seen these images, but I wanted to share them here regardless.
Outdoors — our residential studio is located next to a pond, woods, and open fields; minutes from both Ann Arbor and Dexter, location sessions are always easy to plan.
Entryway — upon entering our studio, you be able to view a number of portraits as you come down the stairway. (Note: we are more than willing to make accommodations for those with disabilities. Location sessions at our clients’ homes are always popular)
Consultation room — where you’ll meet with Betsy to talk about your session, and also where you’ll view and order your images via projection.
An alternate view of the consultation room, showing the projection area. The camera room, where your indoor session will take place, is off to the left.
Camera Room — our camera room is open yet comfortable. Clients with infants will appreciate being able to use a nearby changing table if the need arises during the session.
And finally, here is a screenshot of the article (read the PDF):
Greetings from Israel! I am in the middle of traveling right now, and figured I could give you an update or two while I am on my trip!
Unfortunately, I can’t make this a visual experience for you right now — traveling without. A laptop necessitates saving photo-sharing for later.
Yesterday was the first full day of sightseeing for the trip. We went to Masada, and learned about the history of the place. I would love to go back and actually hike up to the Masada — this time, though, we rode on a tramcar built in Bern, Switzerland. The view from the top of Masasa was impressive.
Next, we drove north along the Dead Sea to Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. It was interesting to learn about the ritual baths, and that the sect actually didn’t even live in the buildings; they lived in the caves (presumably some of the ones where the scrolls were discovered). Again, I would like to go there sometime and have time to hike up closer to the caves.
Our last stop for the day was at the Dead Sea. I did go swimming there, but not for long. The beach was very crowded, with it being Passover week and all.
Our guide is definitely very knowledgable and has been imparting mini-history lessons since we got here. Being insure while learning about history definitely males it feel much more real.
Ok! That’s all for now! I’ll give you another update when we reach another free wifi hotspot! Traveling is so much different with the advent of wifi (not to mention Internet). Last time I was abroad, I had to pay for Internet at a local Internet cafe; per minute pricing makes you keep things shorter, that’s for sure!
The collection of tips below was compiled by Professional Photographer magazine for the March 2010 issue (a trade industry publication that I write for). In the article, Steve Moore, Deanna Rene, and Holly Schumacher weighed in on makeup tips for brides as their wedding day approached — but this information is really invaluable for anyone who is planning to be photographed.
You can use your everyday makeup, but use more than you normally use every day. Many makeup professionals use airbrush makeup, the method of choice for high-definition TV, because it’s lightweight, waterproof and gives flawless coverage.
Good makeup shapes and enhances the features of your face, and doesn’t really jump out at you. If you’re not experienced with applying makeup so that it enhances your features and blends smoothly, have someone else do your makeup for you.
You deserve to be pampered every so often, anyways,… right?
Use less makeup for a day wedding and more for evenings. You can get dramatic with eye makeup.
The eyes say it all. You want to make sure to compliment your style — if your style is casual and lighthearted, then more minimal makeup will suffice.
On the other hand, if you’re planning a something really formal and elegant, you will probably want to go heavier on your bridal makeup so it matches the mood.
Use a moisturized concealer on the thin, sensitive skin under the eyes. If your concealer isn’t moisturizing, blend it with a skin cream. For blemishes, first treat them with a natural or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, then cover with concealer.
You can also prevent that “too dry” feeling by applying a moisturizing lotion to your face before beginning to apply your concealer. This will allow you to blend the area needing coverage more subtly.
It’s the only sure-fire, stress-free way to make certain your makeup will look beautiful.
Plus…. if you decide you don’t like the look, you’ll still have time to come up with an alternative plan of action.
If you’re not one to normally wear a lot of makeup (or any, for that matter), then you’ll definitely want to consider a trial run so you know whether you can feel comfortable going out all made up.
Titanium dioxide, a chemical used as sun block, can reflect flash, giving the bride a ghostly appearance. In 2009 makeup artist Annie May launched a line of mineral makeup especially formulated for photography called Advanced Mineral Makeup. May promises it won’t white-out the bride under a flash.
Trust me — I’ve seen this happen. It is not pretty. You will not want to share the pictures if your face looks bright white.
Not sure if your makeup includes the “ghost factor?” Take a snapshot with flash once you’ve applied the makeup in question — it will show up on your consumer camera if it’s going to happen.
You don’t want to spend your reception in the bathroom reapplying your makeup. Foundation, eyeliner and mascara all should be waterproof. And in case you cry (and you probably will), have a tissue or handkerchief handy to gently blot your tears right at the eye.
Even if you use waterproof makeup, I’d still recommend taking the “essentials” along with you to help you “freshen up” if necessary at any point.
Dry lips look dreadful in photos. … touch up often. Matte and gloss lipstick both photograph well, and be sure to use blended lip liner for enhanced definition.
Applying colored lip liner before your lipstick will definitely help the color to “stay” longer. Check the mirror whenever you visit the restroom and you’ll be able to do any touch ups then.
If the groom is red faced due to too much sun (or drinking), a little powder can help. That goes for shiny heads, too. And it’s a good idea to slip a tube of Chapstick in the groom’s pocket for his dry lips, as well as a handkerchief to dab well-wishers’ makeup smudges off his suit.
This tip is the most blatantly wedding-related. But the tip about too much sun goes for anyone. Although, I’d add that most guys won’t let you put any “powder” on them, even if it will get rid of shine for any photos. But you’re welcome to give it a shot if you truly feel the need to do so.
In photographs, it tends to look like little white spots, as if there’s something wrong with the camera.
And…. if you put glitter in your hair, it can sometimes even resemble dandruff in the photographs. Make life easier on your photographer, and don’t glam up your hairdo with glitter!
Don’t forget to apply foundation and powder to your neck, shoulders and décolletage—you want your head to look like it belongs to your body!
Also, unless you tan, your skin is generally lighter in the winter than in the summer — so if you’ve matched your foundation and powder to your skin months in advance… you may find your makeup looking too “obvious” if you only apply foundation and powder to your face.
There you have it! Ten makeup tips to help you look your absolute best in photos
Troy, Mich — At the annual awards ceremony held by the Professional Photographers of Michigan on February 22nd, Betsy Finn was one of several photographers to receive the Michigan Service Award medallion.
Initially called the Michigan Fellowship Award, its name was changed to the Michigan Service Award to signify the exemplary service and contribution to the Professional Photographers of Michigan (PPM).
Since the Michigan Service Award was designed to recognize outstanding service to the Professional Photographers of Michigan. The motivation for service should not be the award, but the new friends and benefits photographers provide to their fellow members.
As we service side by side we are providing the foundation for our association to better serve each of us. The involvement of all members in the operation and advancement of the association will bring about strength and unity far beyond that which could be achieved by any of us individually. – PPM
Betsy Finn is an award-winning photographic artist. Named 2008 + 2009 Photographer of the Year by PPA, Betsy also received her Photographic Craftsman Degree from PPA in January 2010. Her studio, Betsy’s Photography, is located in Southeast Michigan and provides creative photographic services for portrait and wedding clients.
I believe it’s important to give back to those in our community; to share the talents I have been given. I really do believe that everyone deserves to have their memories captured, and that senior portraits are a big part of creating a legacy. Senior portraits aren’t just a sign that you’re done with high school; they have become a personality statement. For many families, these senior portraits remain on display until replaced by wedding portraits.
When Brandon and Charlae (co-directors of the Youth with a Purpose mentorship program) contacted me, I felt that it would just be right to give these youths (and their families) a gift of portraiture. Betsy’s Photography will be donating senior portrait packages to the initial group of YWP seniors (in graduating classes 2010 through 2014).
AnnArbor.com took interest in this affair, and in late January, published an article about Youth With a Purpose. Brandon told the reporter:
One parent was so overcome with joy that she began to cry […] She said that Betsy’s donation was truly a gift from God.
I’m truly honored to be able to make a difference for these youths and their families. In my life, I have been blessed in countless ways; it only makes sense to give back.
One of the highlights, so far, has been meeting the wonderful individuals involved in the mentorship program. Last night Steven and I met some of the youth! Brandon and Charlae introduced us to three of the YWP students (Left to Right: Brandon, Michael, Bailey, Steven, Betsy, Charlae, O'Dell)
A little more about Youth with a Purpose, as quoted on AnnArbor.com:
Baugh and Charlae Davis founded Youth With a Purpose, a nonprofit organization of the Labor of Love Church in Ypsilanti, almost four years ago while they were working at the Comprehensive Studies Program at the University of Michigan. After gathering approximately 20 middle-school students for the program, Baugh and Davis began mentoring the students and providing help with school work. Baugh said the program has grown to include approximately 30 members.
“When our program began three years ago, many were in difficult situations at home, their academic performance was very low and many were in trouble with the law,” said Baugh. “I’m happy to say all of these issues have been resolved; it’s like they are completely different people now.”
Last week, we were in Nashville, TN for a very special occasion! At the photographer convention I attend every year, I was honored with an award and a degree during the awards ceremony.
I shared about the Photographer of the Year award this past summer, when I found out that four portraits of my clients were accepted into the exhibition. Getting my degree, though, was the highlight of the trip. After putting in many hours and months of hard work, I can now officially say that I have my Photographic Craftsman degree. During the ceremony, I was presented with my degree by Ron Nichols, the president of PPA; Steven conferred the degree medallion to me at that time too. The snapshot to the right is of Steven, my husband, and I after the awards ceremony — the blue ribbon around my neck holds the medallion at represents my degree. Take a peek at the end of this post to see a more close-up view of the medallion.
While I’m by no means the youngest photographer to receive this degree, achieving this degree so early definitely puts me ahead of the curve! It’s really flattering to be recognized for all the time and effort I’ve put into the art and craft of photography.
Here’s the official press release:
Finn has met the standards of excellence set by the Professional Photographers of America. She has been awarded the Photographic Craftsman degree in recognition of her service to the photographic profession as an orator, author and mentor.
Professional Photographers of America, a worldwide association, exists to assist its more than 22,000 members in achieving their professional, artistic and fraternal goals; 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.
I love doing family portraits on location like this! Creating a family portrait in my clients’ homes is not only a more relaxing environment, but the family portrait ends up being more meaningful because of the setting!
While going outdoors wasn’t really an option in the middle of winter (way too cold!) — there are plenty of places that make great settings for portraits. This great room setting turned out perfectly, especially for the extended family portrait.
When we create a family portrait with an extended family grouping, I always recommend creating the smaller family portraits as well.
I’m really thrilled with how these family portraits turned out — and I know the portraits will make a wonderful addition to Allen and Michelle’s home.
Corey is a Senior at Pioneer High School. If he looks familiar, it’s because, a while back, we did his brother’s senior portraits. For Corey’s session, we wanted to create portraits in an outdoor setting, since Corey loves being outdoors. We spent some time at Corey’s home in Ann Arbor, followed by the schoolyard at a nearby public school.
On the school grounds, I found a wonderful variety of settings, allowing me some lovely backgrounds that complemented Corey’s attire. We ended up with some great images incorporating the natural scenery, brick walls, an exterior door that contrasted wonderfully with nature’s greenery. Corey’s mom said one of Corey’s portraits reminded her of a mountain man… the stark landscape with Corey as the solitary subject.
The portrait with the fence was taken in Corey’s backyard. His mom loved it… I always like it when I can incorporate a meaningful/significant location into the portrait session. It helps transform the portrait from just a picture into a meaningful memory.
Corey was a good sport throughout the entire session, and I’m so glad we were able to keep the experience a relaxing one for him!
Alex is a senior at Plymouth Salem High School, and he came to the studio this fall for his senior portrait session. Alex plays varsity football, so naturally we had to incorporate his jersey and letter jacket into the session! Here’s one of my favorite portraits of Alex. I love the serious but thoughtful expression on this image, it’s very intriguing!
A different take on the same concept. I like how this portrait displays the back of Alex’s letter jacket.
This next image was meant to be conceptually a little more “serious.” I love how Alex’s expression and the football paraphernalia all add to the feel of this portrait.
We also created a more casual portrait of Alex. Here’s my favorite one from the series. Love the subdued gray tones!
Alex, congratulations for all your accomplishments. I hope that you have a wonderful rest of your senior year!
We created this portrait for Debbie to use professionally — she’s a flutist and needs to submit nice but simple professional portraits to various venues for publication and promotion. Debbie also ended up using it on a custom designed business card that we created for her.
Kathy Hay came by the studio the other day to have me create a business portrait for her. Kathy is a realtor with Reinhart, and so for her session she brought as a prop… a yard sign from one of her properties that had just closed (i.e., sold!). I love how this image turned out, it really captures Kathy’s vivacious personality!
Anyone who knows Kathy will tell you, she is a warm and giving person. In addition to promoting Reinhart’s annual coat drive each year, Kathy has been avidly involved in the Adopt-a-Highway program for a number of years. We also created this portrait of Kathy for her to share… I definitely think it captures the essence of Kathy’s personality, don’t you? Friendly, approachable, and always happy to help out.
For Sarah’s senior portrait session (on location), we decided to go to the Arb, as well as create some portraits in and around the studio. This first one is going to be a wall portrait, and will look gorgeous from across the room. I absolutely love how pretty Sarah is, surrounded by flowers.
Sarah’s mom came out to the Arb during her lunch break to bring an adorable visitor…. Princess! Princess was so excited to be a part of Sarah’s senior portrait session… that she didn’t know what to do (well, it was either that or the squirrel taunting her from the oak tree in the Arb — your guess is as good as mine!). Anyways, Princess behaved amazingly and we were able to capture some really relaxed senior portraits for Sarah. Here’s her laughing as Princess pranced over to say hi to me:
Next, we went over to the tree where that squirrel had been, so Princess could investigate. I had Sarah sit down with Princess… and when Sarah leaned over to praise her for being such a good puppy… I caught the moment (You should know, I call all cute dogs puppies, because isn’t age relative for dogs too?).
Back at the studio, we went outside to create something a little more pensive and dramatic.
Jessie and Paul asked me to help them plan an engagement portrait session at Nichols Arboreteum in Ann Arbor. The location was especially meaningful to them because it was where Paul proposed to Jessie.
We went with a lifestyle casual feel to the session, and created a number of fun images that really incorporate the natural surroundings at the Arb. One of my favorite portraits from the session was when we found some dandelions …I asked them to sit on a nearby tree stump and blow dandelions into the air together.
Of course, no engagement story portrait session would be complete without documenting the actual location of said proposal. So, we stopped at the park bench where Paul proposed and Jessie said, “yes!”
Mark + Kara wanted to do something a little different for their engagement portraits, so we ended up planning an extended Love Story session to capture not only a few memories, but to tell a story as well.
We started off in downtown Dexter, so I had to include the clock. The VW bug in the crosswalk adds a great splash of color to this image. Next we went to a little bistro where Mark + Kara sat at a sidewalk table.
Finally, we headed to a park in Saline for another series of images, which ended up being more nature oriented. And to tie the whole thing into their actual engagement story, we included some wine glasses and a bottle of red wine for the final set of images. In case you’re curious about that one, Mark + Kara actually got engaged in Traverse City, at one of the many Michigan wineries around the area. So we incorporated some wine tasting into the portrait session.
I wanted to share this series of landscape images with you. The photographs were created in Oahu, Hawaii. Earlier this year, the composition won 1st place at the Detroit Professional Photographers’ Association (DPPA) Folio Competition, in the Illustrative category.
About DPPA: Photographers meet on a monthly basis to network with fellow photographers to learn from each other, attend seminars & workshops to further their photographic education, and compete in photo competitions to be critique by their peers and to further their skills. Furthermore, all photographers abide by a strict Code of Ethics established by the DPPA to promote good business ethics and dedication to the photographic industry, as well as provide their clients a truly professional experience.
In 2009 we completed an extensive studio renovation project, and were featured on DIY Network’s show, Renovation Realities (The Finn Project). You can read about our project below. The renovation involves about 880 square feet, and includes the consultation room, the sitting room (where sessions are held), and the office (where all the behind-the-scenes magic happens!). I’ll be posting a series of images so you can see the the progression of the studio space.
In case you’re not familiar with Renovation Realities… this show is the antithesis of the “weekend-flip” shows. Whatever happens, happens… and whatever goes wrong… gets aired. Renovation isn’t all fun and games, and Renovation Realities is all about sidestepping stereotypes and unearthing the reality of renovation. Here’s what DIY Network has to say about our episode:
Steven and Betsy Finn are a young couple living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Betsy, an award-winning professional photographer, operates her studio out of their basement. It’s a barren space with nothing more than some backdrops hanging on one wall, and a seating area with miss-matched couches against another. Wanting to make the space more client-friendly, they plan to insulate the basement floor and walls, lay plywood subflooring, frame the walls, install drywall, update the electrical system, add new lighting, and lay laminate flooring, all in just five days. They start out making decent time, until a violent storm knocks out their power, forcing them to stop work earlier than anticipated. The setbacks become a recurring theme as the couple battles scheduling conflicts, unfamiliar tools, and hunger-fueled blowups throughout the renovation. After five days of backbreaking work, not to mention blowing through their budget, Steven and Betsy finish less than half of the renovation and they soon realizes that this renovation is going to longer than either of them ever expected.
The first stage of the project was to prepare the space for the renovation. The image below show the space just before framing. Notice the lovely pink walls — that’s rigid foam insulation, and the exterior walls (and floor) are lined with 1-2 inches of the stuff. The rigid foam insulation that was laid on the floor is hidden by the plywood sub-floor.
Also notice the open staircase. The wall was opened up during prep to help create an open, airy feel. Later in the project, the railing and new stairs will magically “appear”. The red support pole will be encased in a wall once the framing begins… you’ll see.
The next stage is the framing. The pink rigid foam on the walls was a little overwhelming in this image, so I’ve done your eyes a favor and chosen black and white. This image depicts the future consultation room. Notice all the batt insulation — that’s for between the studs.
Here’s a view of the office and sitting room, all framed out. Insulation has started going up, as you can tell — see how much the insulation expands once you open the packaging? Pretty cool.
The next phase of the project is drywall, followed by painting, flooring, and wood trim.
This update shows the studio space, prepped with insulation (both in the walls and the ceiling). The image below is looking into the sitting room (where sessions are photographed) from the office (behind-the-scenes work area).
This next image shows the opposite view. From the sitting room, you can see the office (left) and the consultation room (right).
A closer look at the consultation room.
Now that the insulation is up, the next step of the renovation will be to hang drywall, get the drywall mudded and taped, and then for the finishing touches (lay the floor, apply trim, and put in the new stair treads/railing).
And just in case you’re wondering — yes, we still have a functioning studio space in the meantime. Sessions, consultations, and the like are all being scheduled as usual.
This view is what you see when entering the consult room from the stairs. To the farthest left, you can see the changing room, and the doorway to the right is the entrance to the sitting room (camera room). In this first series of images, the drywall has been hung, ready for mud and tape.
A view from the camera room. The room on the left is the office, the room on the right is the consultation room. The opening in the ceiling is for studio lighting.
A view of the office… and beyond that, the camera room again.
A view of the consultation room, from the changing room. The stairs will be done after painting, so we don’t have to worry about getting the lovely new oak treads and railing covered in paint.
The same view of the camera room — after the crew has mudded and taped. We made sure to find a good crew to do this task, as it sets the foundation for the paint. Meaning, any mistakes in the drywall which aren’t “covered” by the mud/tape job will be visible. Fortunately, the crew did a great job. I’m very pleased with how it looks!
The consultation room again, post mud/tape.
The next step after this is to paint. The walls will need at least two good coats of drywall primer, followed by the final coat of paint. Next on the agenda will be to lay the wood flooring, and then put the wood trim in place.
As promised, here is the next update on the studio renovation. All the walls have been painted. We went with a subdued tan/brown tone called “ancient stone” for the consultation room and the office. Here’s the updated view as you enter the consultation room:
And a view of the consultation room from the other direction.
One final view of the consultation room (the room through the archway is the camera room).
Here is the camera room. It’s been painted plain old white, so we can have optimum flexibility here in the studio. The room on the left is the office; the room on the right is the consultation room.
And the newly painted office, looking into the camera room. The door on the left is for storage.
The next steps will be to connect all the wiring, and of course lay the floor (a process we’ve already begun).
The flooring is in at the studio! it’s very exciting, since this is one of the last “big” things to be done for the studio renovation. Remember, we are still taking appointments and have a functional studio space, despite the renovation.
If you haven’t been following along with our blog updates about the renovation, check out the past updates). Otherwise, read on to see the underlayment being laid, and the finished studio floor.
This first series of images shows the underlayment being put down (the white stuff with black printing), as well as being taped at the seams (red tape).
Here’s a shot of the office, which has been completely prepped for the final flooring.
And a view the other way, into the camera room from the office. In case you’re wondering, the underlayment is basically a layer of foam. It absorbs any imperfections, dampens sound, and makes the floor a little more comfortable when you walk on it.
The flooring installation process only took one full day of work. We selected a floating floor that imitated wood flooring, but with better durability (meaning easier to clean up any messes in the studio!). Here’s the view of the consultation room as you enter the studio space. The yellow wires sticking out of the wall are for the light switches.
Here’s a view of the consultation room from the other direction. To the left is the camera room (where sessions occur), and to the right (just out of the picture) is the changing room. The stairs are obviously still waiting to be redone. The treads, ballusters, etc were special ordered, and we haven’t picked up all the parts yet.
One last view of the consultation room, from the vantage point of the changing room.
Next, we’ll proceed into the camera room. I love how the flooring finishes off this space and unifies all three rooms! After the trim goes in, we’ll be bringing in all the studio props, backgrounds, and accessories that we use during studio sessions.
Looking into the office from the camera room.
View of the office (and beyond that, the camera room).
One more view of the camera room, from the vantage point of the office.
Once we get the trim up, and the official lighting installed, we’ll be sure to post some more updates. But, as you can see, things are going well, and the studio space is looking great! I can’t wait for you to see it once we finish getting everything set up.