Foul Weather + Rescheduling Sessions

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With all the foul weather and thundersnow we’ve had lately, I figured a blog post with some foul weather photography tips was in order.  A bit later on in this post, I’ll also cover some situations for which we usually reschedule portrait sessions.  We don’t want to be out in foul weather photographing any more than you want to be exposed to that foul weather.

Now, first let me digress to the topic of thundersnow.  Anyone enjoying the thundersnow and lightning we’ve had the past 24 hours? We were inside and didn’t hear the daytime thundersnow, but Toby did wake up last night because of the lightening. Despite getting my son to agree a combination thunderstorm and snowstorm was pretty cool, he still wanted the lightning to stop.  In case you haven’t been privy to the lovely foul weather that is called thundersnow, here’s a brief video on the phenomenon:

Let me also say, we were out driving during part of today’s foul weather.  It was interesting to see the snowplows pushing waves of icy water off to the side of the road.  Lots of big puddles, slushy snow-water, and other runoff.  I will be curious to see how the weather plays out the next few days.  Despite our best efforts at beating this foul weather, we couldn’t keep up with all the snow, slush, and ice on our driveway.  Hopefully it will be warm enough (or at least sunny enough) to melt the ice-skating rink in progress on our driveway tonight.

When Should I Cancel My Session Due to Foul Weather?

If it’s stormy out, I always reschedule my location sessions, no questions asked. I don’t want to be out in that weather any more than you do. Weather can definitely become a safety concern. The lighting and camera equipment I use is pretty much a giant sign saying “lighting please strike here.” Now, I will add one exception — once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings.  For weddings, I’ll go with the flow, according to the bride and groom’s alternate weather plans (which usually take foul weather, thunderstorms, etc into consideration).

But for portrait sessions? It is definitely smarter to plan on doing the session another day.  Or, if the portraits “must” be done by a certain date, there’s always the option of switching to a studio portrait session.  I rarely have to resort to this second option, though.  About 99% of the time we can find a fair weather day for rescheduling a portrait session that had to be cancelled due to inclement weather.  Sometimes I do have clients interested in getting a “stormy sky” look, but please know we can achieve that going out during foul weather. If there are clouds in the sky, we can do some neat things.

Senior Portrait With Stormy Skies | Foul Weather

Our Guidelines for Proceeding with a Session during Foul Weather

Some types of foul weather that we reschedule portrait sessions for include:

  • thunderstorms/thundersnow and lightning
  • heavy rain or downpours
  • winter weather warnings/advisories, including extreme cold
  • excessive heat warnings/advisories, including extreme heat/humidity
  • tornado watches/warnings
  • extreme fog

We typically proceed with portrait sessions on a “play it by ear” basis for not-so-foul weather, such as:

  • snow flurries
  • isolated rain showers

Winter Portrait in the Snow | Not-So-Foul Weather

In short, if you’re concerned about the weather having a negative impact on your portrait session, please get in touch with us. Call, email, text… let’s discuss the weather so you can be confident as we make the safe choice for your portrait session.  Foul weather may ruin our chances for your portrait session to occur on a given day, but it will NOT ruin your overall portrait experience.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.  If the weather is bad, let’s call it and plan for another day!

Finally, let me share some resources that I rely on when checking the weather.

Obviously, none of these are foolproof, and there has been a time or two when we’ve rescheduled a session, expecting foul weather — and it turned out to be a false alarm. But those instances are few and far between. Usually when we play it by ear, we can agree to decide a few hours beforehand whether it looks wise to proceed with your portrait session or not.

“Foul Weather” Nature Photography Tip:

From a nature and landscape photography point of view… if you choose to take photographs of storms or want to venture out during foul weather, please exercise care and make sure you are not being reckless about your safety. Sure, it would be awesome to capture a time lapse photo of the lightning storm going on.  But, that photograph won’t mean much if you’ve been injured in taking it. It would be far safer to photograph a storm from inside a building, or even sitting in a car in a parking structure (remember, rubber wheels?).  After all, who wants to be caught on the ground holding onto a tripod turned lighting rod?

Safety first…then art second!

Foul Weather Winter Snowstorm | Fine Art Nature Photograph

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Portrait Photographer

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What to ask when hiring a portrait photographerYou may be wondering, “how do I hire a portrait photographer?” Or maybe, more specifically, “what should I look for when choosing a photographer?” While there are many different answers to these questions, the important thing is to give questions like these some thought before working with any portrait photographer. Obviously, we’d like to be the perfect fit for your portrait needs, but we recognize our style and approach is specific — photography portraits are not always one-size-fits-all. Generally, the more experienced a portrait photographer, the more flexible they will be in creating portraits that meet your needs and vision. Of course, along with that talent typically comes a correlating price.

When it comes to quality, you get what you pay for. If you are looking for bottom dollar, then you may need to be willing to sacrifice on quality and creativity. But, if you are able to invest accordingly, it really is possible to plan ahead and have your portraits turn out as creative and as good as you expect and deserve.

So, what are some things to consider before working with any portrait photographer? Read More

Simple Portraits are Best

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From time to time I create so-called “simple” portraits, like this one below.  Usually they are for clients in need of a new professional headshot portrait — either for their website, business card, or even a networking site.  Sessions like this are quick and painless; the whole thing almost always takes well under an hour.  And who wouldn’t want to give up an hour of their busy schedule in return for a wonderful portrait that really captures your personality in a professional way?

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Maternity Portrait

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As promised, here is one of the maternity portraits that my little assistant helped me create in the studio.  I’ve not been one to keep track of which week or trimester I’m in this time around; that must be due to the busy life of mothering a toddler in addition to running my studio.  Anyways, the “calendar” I consulted puts me at around 18 weeks (mid-second trimester).  Toby is excited to be a big brother and keeps checking on baby: “baby is drinking and eating.”  Yup, likely the case.  Sort of.

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Sports Car Senior Pictures

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It’s hard to believe Paul is finally a senior… maybe that’s why I’ve put off posting his portraits? At any rate, I’ve had the privilege to do senior pictures for his older siblings, and the neat thing about all three of their sessions (see Kathleen’s senior pictures here; Doug’s aren’t even on this blog!) is that they have a common theme — We did a canvas wall portrait for each session featuring each of the kids with the car. Here are all three siblings with their respective car senior pictures. I love how these look together, don’t you?

We started off in the studio, then went to two parks for the outdoors portion of Paul’s pictures.

Senior Portraits at Pioneer (and UM) Stadium

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Brad is a senior at Pioneer High School, and since he plays football, we made certain to incorporate that into his senior portraits. So, off we went to Pioneer High School’s football stadium for the outdoors portion of Brad’s session. Unfortunately, the gate was locked, so we had no access to the field. Despite that, we still ended up with a wonderful senior picture that included a view of the scoreboard and such — through the gate. I actually really love how it turned out!

We also included the humongous Block M sign from the University of Michigan Stadium in Brad’s senior photos… (in case you’re wondering, UM has long since limited access to the interior of the stadium, probably for security reasons).

And a search for fall colors proved difficult, but we managed to locate a stand of trees over by Vet’s Park. I think it turned out pretty nicely, especially considering we ended up driving around looking for “fall colors” as the planned spots weren’t particularly colorful.

Finally, we also did some more traditional portraits back at the studio…. for the yearbook.

Tommy’s Senior Portraits (Dexter HS)

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We did Tommy’s senior pictures at the start of school (can’t believe time flies so quickly! Even though it was fall, the leaves hadn’t started to turn yet, so Tommy’s portraits have lovely vivid greens for the outdoors portion of his senior session.

And as I wrap up writing this blog post for my nephew, I really can’t believe it’s been two years already since his brother, Ben (my oldest nephew), was getting his senior pictures done. Time really does fly.

Finn’s Insurance Executive Portrait

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I recently was able to create a combination family and executive business portrait for Finn’s Insurance. We created a business portrait with four of the five Finn brothers and their father, and then by adding in the fifth brother we were also able to create a great gift for their mom. Here is the business portrait for Finn’s Insurance:

Doing dual-purposed portraits is actually a common request for me. Frequently my business professional clients love their headshot portraits so much that they ask about ordering a few prints to give as gifts. I love it!

Family Portrait Album

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Now that the design is finished, I wanted to share this family portrait album with you! Typically I will also design a full color cover for portrait albums, which looks really gorgeous on display. This slideshow only highlights the album pages, so here is a peek at the cover design. Keep in mind, the left side of this image is the back cover, and the front cover is on the right side.

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Welcoming a New Baby

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It is always wonderful when I can be a part of welcoming a new family member. Sometimes my clients bring in tiny newborns, and sometimes life is so crazy that I get to meet the babies when they are a couple months old. Either way, I love creating these family portraits because the portraits are a celebration of change and growth — family growth! Here are some portraits from a recent family session. We created a whole range of portraits, including both family groupings and individual newborn-esque portraits. I love sessions like this!

 

Getting Bigger!

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While we have been keeping up to date with my own toddler’s portraits, I haven’t had time to share them with you before now. So, here we are — this series was from a few weeks ago; it’s interesting to see how quickly they change.

One of his new favorite toys (thanks in part to his cousins, both here and in Chicago) — trains.  Thomas or otherwise, this kiddo is enthralled by all things train.  Or anything with wheels, wings, or propellers for that matter.

And since someone was getting a little antsy (i.e. jumping off the stairs towards the end of our session) — I decided to step out from behind the camera and let my assistant take a portrait of both of us.  I love this one.  (shh… don’t tell but I was tickling him to get such a big grin).

Our Fall Family Portraits

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Well, I am sad to say these images were caught in the blog-void since this past fall.  Fortunately, the images were of my own family, so I don’t feel as bad.  This way, though, I can wish you a happy new year and send some good vibes your way for 2013!

I enjoy planning our family portrait each year, and try to find a way to make each one unique.  Fortunately, with a growing toddler, it is pretty easy to do that.  …since kids grow so much from year to year.  That aside, we planned an outdoor portrait at a park in Jackson.  While I was hoping for more vibrant fall colors, we came across this lovely water feature and decided it would make a great setting for our portrait.  Yes, this is the one that went on our Christmas card.  And yes, that is a watering can in the portrait with us.  Sometimes a happy kiddo is more important than a superfluous prop in the portrait.  It’s all about picking your battles… and in this case I think we all came out on top.

bphotoart-family-portrait-20274-033 Read More

Family Portrait

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Ian, Kate, and Greta came to the studio to do some simple and sweet family portraits. Here are a few of the favorites from the session, plus an outtake that I couldn’t resist including. Greta was a blast in the studio, even though she was pretty much constantly on the move. Fortunately, I’m used to that, and have some nice tricks up my sleeve for creating nice portraits of toddlers on the fly. I think we ended up with some nice family portraits — here’s one of the family favorites.  Greta had such great expressions, and a wide variety of them too. I love working with toddlers!

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