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.

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 BetsysPhotography.com.

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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 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.

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!

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!

Q: Are You Able to do Portraits with Pets?

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

— Pet Lover

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

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

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

— Just a Junior

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Help, I Hate Getting My Picture Taken!

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

— Scared to Smile

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What if My Kids Can’t Sit Still?

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I’m thinking of scheduling a portrait session for my children but am a little concerned because of their age — I’m not sure I’ll be able to bribe them to sit still or even cooperate. Is this a problem, should I hold off on the portraits for a while until the kids can handle sitting still?

— Mother of 3 Tots

This is a valid concern, honestly. But, not to worry! My style of photography allows me to work with kids that don’t sit still, as well as the ones that don’t always smile when they’re supposed to. Remember, it is a little different for your kids when you bring them into the studio, so you can expect for them to be more excited/active/shy than usual. I am used to being around kids and photographing them — after all, I do have 6 nephews and a niece! So, even if your portrait session isn’t the most peaceful experience in the world, things will be fun, and we will be successful in creating great portraits of your children.

Still not convinced? Well, let me explain a little further. Some things to keep in mind — candy etc. works well as a bribe — but save the treats for after the session. We don’t need the extra sugar when working with an already active child. Rather than trying to force your kids to sit still, which I know can be tough — I often work with them on the move. It allows them more freedom to express their personality, which usually makes for better pictures. Oh, and don’t worry about that not smiling part. I have several tricks up my sleeve that tend to work very well.

In answer to your question, whether you should hold off on having your portrait created: I don’t think you need to deprive yourself of these memories. Kids love new experiences, and I will do my best to make their portrait session fun and stress-free. Who knows, the sooner you get them into our studio, the sooner they may want to come back!

If you are still concerned about your children’s ability to cooperate for even one of our more relaxed portrait sessions, then by all means, please let me know. There are some choices we could make in regards to your session (e.g. choose a location they are familiar with) that may make the experience easier on your children. Above all, I want both you and your children to be looking forward to your portrait experience!

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