Studio Portrait Session :: Darrell

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Darrell came to the studio the other day to let me create some studio portrait images for his portfolio.  He had some great hats, and while we created a variety of images, I was really drawn to those moody and dramatic images where the hat covered part of his face.  Take a peek, and decide for your self which you think is your favorite!

This one is probably my favorite image from Darrell’s session.  Love this portrait.

But then again, this one is great too….

Youth with a Purpose

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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).

YWP news article: Mentors help youths find purpose 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)

Youth with a Purpose (Left to Right: Brandon, Michael, Bailey, Steven, Betsy, Charlae, O'Dell)

A little more about Youth with a Purpose, as quoted on

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.”

Extended Family Portrait

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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.

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!


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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.

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!”

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


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.

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!

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