Executive Portrait: Thomas P. Schumm

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Tom visited the studio to discuss his executive portrait before the actual session took place. We ended up planning a studio executive portrait. After doing a more formal business portrait, we created this one, which is a little more intimate and contemplative.

Portraits of Steven + Betsy

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Well you may have noticed some new photographs of me floating around the website.  And I’m really excited to share some more of them with you.  In January, I was talking with a good friend of mine (Jeff Dachowski) about how Steven and I would really love to have an amazing portrait of the two of us.

There is something to be said for having a professional create your portrait (yes, even professional photographers go to other professional photographers for portraits).  By not doing it yourself, you can actually relax and enjoy the whole experience.  Jeff made sure we looked good, and did all the work.  And I love the natural expressions of our relationship that he captured.

Our portrait session took place in Phoenix during January’s Imaging USA convention.  In fact, it was the evening of the awards ceremony where I was recognized for being Photographer of the Year.  My friend Jeff and his wife both received Degrees from the Professional Photographers of America that evening too!  So, all in all, it was a very fun time.

Oh, and I have to tell you.  My hair is NEVER curly like this.  I didn’t even know it was possible!  But, thanks to another photographer friend of mine (Thanks Andrea!), my hair stayed curly and wavy all night long.  Very impressive.

I absolutely love this image (yes, I’m excited about these, can you tell!):

This one is also gorgeous.  Love the lighting fixtures in the hotel lobby (we’re overlooking it from that balcony).

And then finally, I asked Jeff if we could do one with us on the escalator.  So, being the good sport he is, Jeff happily obliged!

This session was a blast, and I really enjoyed being the center of attention for once (yes, I am a photographer who doesn’t mind being in front of the camera every once in a while).  I am so excited to find a place for these lovely images in our home.  Thanks Jeff, Andrea, and other photographer friends who participated behind the scenes for our mini-session!

Studio Child + Family Portrait

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M. and her parents came to the studio to be photographed — we did a series of photographs of M. by herself, and then several photographs of the entire family.  This first one is one of my favorites; doesn’t she look adorable!

Next, it was time for some fun!  Yes, M. is actually hanging upside down; can’t you see her braids?  Obviously not very posed, but sometimes it’s capturing that moment that makes child portraits so special.

One last kid portrait.  I noticed when she came into the studio M. was wearing some very cute pink boots.  I thought it would be really adorable to incorporate them into one of the portrait images.  Can you guess her favorite color?

And finally, the family portrait.  I love casually-posed family portraits like this one; it really captures the essence of the relationship M. has with her parents.

Thanks for a great session!  I’m looking forward to seeing you back at the studio soon; in the meantime, enjoy your new family portraits!

Local Photographer Earns Bronze Level Photographer of the Year Award

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Betsy Finn of Betsy’s Photography Studio in Dexter, Michigan has earned a Bronze Level Photographer of the Year Award from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Photographer of the Year presentations were made at PPA’s annual convention, Imaging USA, in January in Phoenix, AZ.

Betsy Finn Photographer of the Year

2004 was the inaugural year for PPA’s Photographer of the Year Awards. They were developed as a way to encourage photographers to improve their artistic and technical skills and demonstrate their talent through competition, as well as a way for the public to discern the best of the best.

“These awards are among the most prestigious in the industry,” confirms PPA Print Exhibition Committee Chairman Helen Yancy. “The recipients of these awards have proven the quality of their work on a consistent basis in one of the highest quality image competitions in the world, PPA’s International Print Competition.”

A PPA member earns a Bronze Level Photographer of the Year Award by placing all four images included in their print case in PPA’s renowned General Collection – and incredible accomplishment. In 2008 Finn was one of only 54 Bronze Level Photographers of the Year.

PPA, a worldwide association, exists to assist its more than 20,000 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.

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!

rp_2009-01-dppa-news-betsy-finn.jpg

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 BetsysPhotography.com.

My Photographic Inspiration

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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.

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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: bphotoart.com.

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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 - bphotoart.com

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

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