• Lena AntaramianLena Antaramian

    Session Share: Double Trouble Double Fun!

    May 31, 2012 | Posted by Lena Antaramian

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    Inspiration: I am a mom of twins and photographing other twins is extra special to me.  I capture relationships and connections in all my sessions but a relationship between identical twins is even more magical in my opinion.  The relationship between these brothers was the greatest inspiration for me  - I wanted to capture their closeness and love for each other.
    Favorite Element: I shot the indoor part of the session in the client’s living room that has huge windows that let it a lot of beautiful natural light.  I was thrilled with that:)
    Biggest Challenge: the boys were just under two years old and relatively shortly into a session they’d had enough – they did not want to play outside and got a bit cranky, which totally expected for two-year-olds.  So I changed directions and suggested that they would play with their favorite toys – trains, puzzles, ‘read’ books.  That gave them time to settle down and I was able to capture my favorite images during that time.
    What the Client Said: there was so many ‘Awwwwws’, ‘This is BEAUTIFUL’ and ‘I love them all!” during their viewing and ordering session.  They loved all the images and right away decided that they could not leave any behind and purchased all images from the session.  They also selected several canvases and other wall pieces which turned out beautifully and look amazing in their house.
    Photographer’s Final Words: even though I believe it is important to prepare for a session and think about which images you would like to capture, when photographing little children it is even more important to go with the flow… Children have got their own ‘ideas’ of how their session should go and it is best to let them guide you – you will be able to great natural images that way!

    Dana PughDana Pugh

    Inside an Image Competition: A Judge’s Perspective

    April 26, 2012 | Posted by Dana Pugh

    Let me start by saying that it was truly an honour to be on a panel of judges that included the incredible Jennifer Hudson and the fabulous Karen Carey. Judging was a lot of work, but, at least for me, it was a wonderful learning experience and I hope that all of the participants feel the same way.

    I know, from my own experience, that now that you have your marks and your comments, some of you probably have some questions. It is understandable so I am hoping to clarify a few things, as well as, point out some things that we noticed were happening repeatedly.

    Let me start off by saying that the industry standard is a mark of 5-6. So, if you are looking at your grade as a percentage, that is a misrepresentation. You should be looking at in relation to the average. So, if you consistently scored below average, you may want to take a step back and evaluate where you could improve. To do this, you might start by having a portfolio review done by a photographer you admire and trust with the goal of learning the areas you truly have to improve technically and artistically. It is hard to judge from the results of an image competition where you entered two or three images exactly where you stand within the industry. Some mentoring from a more senior photographer could benefit you greatly.

    For those of you who consistently scored within the industry standard, there are a number of things you can do to elevate your images. First, you want to become a ‘thinking’ photographer. And, by that I mean, you want to utilize all the tools in your kit to create images with greater impact. Starting with the basics like shutter speed, aperture, and the rules of composition. For example, the vast majority of the images were centred. Now, don’t’ get me wrong, there is always a time for centring, but the images that were cropped to the rule of thirds stood out after seeing hundreds of centred images. Many times you had found incredible locations that were under utilized. Look for things like leading lines, repetition, symmetry, framing when you are setting up an image. The better your understanding of these creative elements, the higher your score would have been.

    Secondly, I think many of us underestimate the importance of connection. Often connection creates impact–so taking the time to truly connect with your clients and having them truly connect with each other creates an image that your audience will remember and think about.

    This doesn’t have to be totally obvious. Three of the images that had the greatest impact for me had only one person in them, but the connection that the individual had with the moment that was happening and the emotion that the photographer was able to convey through their lens made the image stand out.
    If you were one who consistently scored above the average, but failed to place, my advice to you would be to really take a look at the images you are entering critically. Clean them up. A lot of time, small things really carry a great deal of weight in the final decision as to who places and who doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to recrop the image and treat it differently than when you presented it to your client. Creating a marketable image and one that wins competitions are two totally different things. In a winning image, every element adds to the overall story or affect. Many times as a photographer, your job is to edit the scene. Simplicity is often the key to this.

    Finally, I would like to say that anyone can take a perfectly fine image…but so what? So what if you can take a perfectly exposed, nicely posed image if it doesn’t leave an impression? In this market, and especially in competition, you need to do something to stand out. This is often referred to as ‘personal style’ and it requires some soul searching and a deeper understanding of what it is that you are actually trying to capture through your lens. What do you want your work to say? How is it a reflection of how you see the world? This is what truly creates impact and in a competition where impact is so important(and highly rated), you want to choose images that won’t get lost in the sea of entries. You need to create images that stand out. How you do that is the exciting part of photography. No one can tell you how to do that. That is entirely up to you.

    I want to thank the NAPCP for everything over the past year. It was an honour to be their Photographer of the Year. When I entered the competition, I never would have imagined that would be the end result. Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone who entered. I know that putting yourself out there to be judged takes a large amount of courage and a desire to improve. That is something to be celebrated.

    Alison MulqueenAlison Mulqueen

    Styling a Session With Fun Props!

    April 12, 2012 | Posted by Alison Mulqueen

    When photographing children I love to include props to make it fun. Props engage children in pretend play, make them feel comfortable and forget that I am there snapping away. This is the time that I can capture those natural smiles and expressions, the ones parents know and love. No forced or fake smiles, just children having fun and enjoying something new and exciting.

    Styling a session like this one takes time. I had found this oar at a garage sale and could instantly see my vision. I then set about finding a rusty wheelbarrow to use as the boat, a tea towel for the sail and a stick and twine for a fishing rod. I had the perfect location in mind and it all came together easily. This little boy really enjoyed pretend fishing. He was quite hesitant when he first arrived but once he started playing he relaxed and fitted into the scene so easily.

    My aim is to make the whole experience fun and more like a play date than a photography session and more often than not, we end the session best friends! If a child feels comfortable and relaxed then the end product will be natural photos that you as a parent will love.

    Ardelle NeubertArdelle Neubert

    Daily Moments!

    April 3, 2012 | Posted by Ardelle Neubert

    Capturing real everyday family life is my biggest inspiration as a photographer.

    Documenting my own family’s daily moments is my passion.  My kids are my whole world and being a parent is most important to me.  It seems that every year goes by quicker then the last.   This year I started a personal project, a daily image documentation of my family.  My camera is always with me and I capture a piece of the day, everyday.  I absolutely love the result, the memories that I am creating.  Every image is stamped with my love for them.

    I hope I inspired you to carry your camera and document your daily life.  For you and your kids, I promise you will love the results!

    Kristen the designerKristen the designer

    Image Competition Closes February 17th!

    February 8, 2012 | Posted by Kristen the designer

    Hello!

    Don’t miss out on your chance to enter the January 2012 NAPCP International Image Competition! The competition closing date has been moved to February 17th at 11:59pm. The purpose of NAPCP’s Image Competitions is to recognize the accomplishments and creative excellence of our members, rewarding their talent with medallions, priority listing on our directory, vendor endorsements, member points, titles and professional recognition. Members each receive a total of 2 Competition Credits per Competition with their Membership. Details are online!

    Members, make sure to submit your best images here!

    Good luck!

    The NAPCP Team

    Above photo credits clockwise from top left: “Glitter,” Sara Lane; “Muse,” Vairdy Andrew; “Summer Blondies,” Amy Tripple; “Waiting For More Than a Kiss,” Kelly MacDonald.

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    How To Select Your Best Images – By Karen Carey!

    In the spirit of pushing ourselves to become better photographers this year’s image competition will challenge you to discover and submit only your very best work.

    When choosing images for competition, my best bit of advice is to get tough on yourself. Have a critical eye and take as much emotional connection to your subject as possible out of your decision making process. With attention to detail, cull your photographs into categories and select your top two favorites in each category. Work fairly quickly and use this rule to help you with the process: If the image you are considering IS NOT a definite YES, then it IS a definite NO. Move on.

    Once you have your favorites in each category, select the strongest two overall images based on the elements that make a great photograph, like great composition, excellent exposure, provoking gesture and thoughtful storytelling. Take yourself out of the equation and ask for the advice of a colleague or mentor who is not emotionally invested in the subject. Sometimes we cannot see distractions or mistakes because we know the subject personally and have become emotionally engaged, rather than thoughtfully critical of the image.

    The goal is to find photographs that invite the viewer to linger long enough to become curious about and intrigued by the subject matter. Avoid distracting elements that pull the eye of the viewer out of the frame or cause the viewer to feel uncomfortable while lingering. Remember that all of the elements need to work together to yeild a high score. Dynamic expression can not overcompensate for awful composition or poor exposure.

    Best of luck! I’m so excited to see and evaluate your very best work! – Karen

    NAPCP Members can submit their best images here!


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