Ann Arbor Senior Portrait :: Corey

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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!

Plymouth Senior Portrait :: Alex

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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!


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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.

Business Portrait – Realtor Kathy Hay

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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.

Senior Portrait at the Arb

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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.

Engagement Story at the Arb

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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!”

An Engagement Love Story (in Dexter)

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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.

Landscape Photography

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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.

Studio Renovation Project

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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. did a feature on our appearance on Renovation Realities

Studio Renovation – Preparation (8/17/09)

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. 

Studio Renovation Phase Two (8/18/09)

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). 

Studio Renovation – Drywall (8/19/09)

The studio renovation is going well! Make sure to check out my past updates (framing + insulation). This update will start to show the finished space a little better (drywall + mud/tape).

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.

Studio Renovation – Painting (8/31/09)

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).

Studio Renovation -Flooring (9/5/09)

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.

Backyard Visitor

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The other day, I went out into my yard after a session to relax… seeing as the weather has been great lately! Well, I didn’t quite get the break from photographing I expected… since I found a turtle who needed his portrait taken. Unfortunately, he wasn’t very cooperative! But, I guess I’ll settle for a “leave me alone!” portrait, since it still looks neat:

Mr. Turtle, peeking out to see if the photographer has left yet:

Portraits of Ann Arborites to be included in International Exhibition

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Gwinnent, GA – July 9th, 2009 – Artistic photographs featuring Dexter-Ann Arbor area residents were recently accepted into the PPA Showcase Book Volume XII and the 2009 International Print Exhibition, organized by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Local photographer Betsy Finn, CPP, submitted four images for consideration, all featuring clients from Southern Michigan. Almost 1,700 of the 4,300 entries were accepted into the 2009 International Print Exhibition, including all four of Finn’s images. “I was excited to learn two of my portraits would be published in the showcase collection book,” Finn said, “and I was very happy that all my entries were accepted into the exhibition.”

The PPA Showcase Book Volume XII will be available through Marathon Press next winter. It is published in eight countries across the world. Fewer than five percent of the 4,300 total submissions were selected to be published in the book – including two of Finn’s portraits: “Forever Faithful” and “Little Einstein.” “Forever Faithful” features a client’s pet border collie, and “Little Einstein” features an infant with mussed hair and an expression reminiscent of the genius, Albert Einstein. Both images were created during Finn’s standard client sessions.

Little Einstein by Betsy Finn, Cr. Photog., CPP

Forever Faithful by Betsy Finn, Cr. Photog., CPP

Finn’s other entries included an engagement portrait (“Joyride”), and a senior portrait (“Soul Shoes”). “Joyride” depicts an engaged couple in their convertible on the road in the Dexter-Ann Arbor area. “Soul Shoes” depicts a high school senior’s feet among empty pairs of shoes; it received Detroit’s 2009 Best of Show award earlier this year.

Joyride by Betsy Finn, Cr. Photog., CPP

Soul Shoes by Betsy Finn, Cr. Photog., CPP

In addition to being published, Finn’s work will be on display at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, January 10-12, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn. The exhibition will feature almost 1700 images representing the diverse elements of professional photography and digital imaging, including images by some of the world’s most prominent image makers. Images were chosen by a panel of more than 40 eminent photographers from across the United States. The International Exhibition of Professional Photography is the world’s largest and longest-running annual photography exhibition. The International Print Exhibition is displayed in conjunction with the Imaging USA convention, hosted by the Professional Photographers of America.

At the convention, Finn will receive a 2009 Photographer of the Year, Bronze award (because all four of her entries were accepted into the exhibition). In 2008, only fifty photographers received this award — including Finn. When asked about the back-to-back recognition, Finn said “I was completely taken by surprise. Receiving a Photographer of the Year award is no small feat, let alone getting it for a second year in a row. It’s really exciting!” When entering the PPA competition, Finn decided all her entries would feature client portraits. Finn’s competition results exemplify the work her clients receive: Showcase quality.

Betsy Finn was born and raised in Ann Arbor and now lives in Dexter. She is a Certified Professional Photographer, and her work has been featured in International Exhibitions. Her portrait studio, Betsy’s Photography, offers a creative portrait experience tailored to each client’s vision. She was named 2008 Photographer of the Year by the Professional Photographers of America, as well as Michigan’s Top 7 Photographer of 2009 by the Professional Photographers of Michigan. Finn is available for interviews, and can be reached at 734-424-0472. For more information about Betsy’s Photography Studio, visit


Atlanta Morning

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Earlier this week I went to Atlanta for a committee meeting at the Professional Photographers of America headquarters. I got to meet and talk with some of the people who are supporting the photography industry during my two days there.

I wanted to share this painting I created from some photographs from my hotel room.  It really was a gorgeous view, and the impressionistic style really captures the essence of being in a big city.

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!


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!

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