Austin Americana Photography frequently receives phone calls and emails from people who have special photography-related requests. The requests are varied and we never know what kind of work or special task will be required. Normally the requests from potential clients relate to things you can do with specialized camera equipment, specialized software, or general photography expertise.
This week a potential client called to inquire about a special editing for a business portrait. Austin Americana frequently provides portrait services to corporate, business and other organizations, as well as individuals and families. But what the caller needed was taking his portrait one step further. He asked if we could “jazz up” his professional portrait a little by adding a white, customized border around the photo and include his name on the portrait, which he could then include on his website and potentially make prints of the image.
I told him that we can easily provide this service. Adding borders and lettering to prints is a relatively simple procedure and turnaround time is quick (usually a day or two). I’ve included a few examples of what the work would look like below. In reality, there are many more options for adding borders and lettering to the photographs. And the application for this kind of photo is ubiquitous.
A personal portrait with an added border including text could be utilized by lots of people. Examples of its use include:
- Actors Head Shots
- Musicians Portraits
- Corporate/Business Portrait
- Real Estate Agent Portrait
- Art Gallery/Artist Portrait
- Business Card Photo
- Band Photograph
- General Advertisement
- Marketing Photo
- Many more options…
Austin Americana can easily provide clients with portrait services that include images with specialized borders containing information. We can also add a border with information to photos that you have copyright usage of. Have a question or special request? Email us at AustinAmericana@Gmail.com
I often have new and prospective wedding clients ask about bridal photography sessions. The primary and simple response that I give new brides is “yes, we can definitely photograph your bridal session and have a beautiful wedding or bridal print ready for your wedding day!”
Here are some frequently asked questions that Austin brides have asked about how the photo session works and some suggestions as well…
Q. Do you photograph brides for bridal portraits?
A. Yes! We have lots of experience photographing Austin brides donning their wedding gowns for a special photography session.
Q. Where will you photograph our bridal session?
A. You can choose wherever you’d like to be photographed, preferably in the Austin, Texas or Central Texas area.
Q. I’m new/unfamiliar with Austin, Texas. Can you suggest some nice locations for my bridal portrait session?
A. Sure! We have a list of about 20 popular photography locations in and around Austin that we share with our clients. We can also give you specific suggestions based on what kind of bridal session you want.
Q. How long does the bridal portrait session last?
A. Our Austin bridal session is 90 minutes long, which normally gives brides time to relax, move around and get lots of great poses at the location of their choice.
Q. Does the bridal photo session include a separate CD of images I can keep?
A. Yes. Brides receive a CD of edited, re-touched images (usually ranging from 50-150 full-sized, hi-resolution images).
Q. What all is included with my bridal photo session fee?
A. Our bridal session clients receive 90 minutes of shooting time, a CD of hi-resolution, edited images, free consultation to plan your event, expert shoot location suggestions, and quality personal service from a local Austin small business owner/photographer.
Q. Do you edit the images?
A. Yes, we individually edit all the images from your bridal photo session with Adobe Lightroom 3.0, the industry leader in photo editing. We can also apply artistic filters to your images, remove blemishes from skin, soften features and lots more.
Q. How long does it take to edit the images?
A. Normal editing of images requires 1-2 weeks.
Q. Do you have wedding photography packages that include a bridal session?
A. Yes we do. We have a number of wedding photography packages for Austin brides that include bridal sessions. In fact, you can also customize any package to include a bridal photo session so that your package is custom fit for your big day.
Q. Do you print the images from the bridal session or is it up to me?
A. It’s up to you. We have the ability to create and ship high quality, professional and stylish prints to your door, if you choose. You also have the option as a bride to print anywhere you desire.
Q. Do you work with an assistant at bridal sessions?
A. Occasionally we bring along an assistant to help out with bridal photo sessions, depending on the circumstances. You may bring along friends and family if you like.
Q. Are there extra fees associated with certain locations for my upcoming bridal session?
A. In many cases there are no other fees, but occasionally there are places that charge brides a “sitting fee” for using their location. Examples of places that charge fees include Zilker Botanical Gardens, The Driskill Hotel, Dunvegan Keep, and others.
Q. Will I have the opportunity to incorporate some of my bridal photos into my regular wedding album?
A. Yes, we can incorporate as many or as few of your bridal session photographs into your wedding album. We can also create a separate album of only bridal photos if needed.
Q. Does Austin Americana Photography provide printing and framing service? Will you deliver a print or framed print of my bridal session on wedding day?
A. Yes, we can do all these things. We provide optional printing and framing services for our wedding clientele. We can deliver a framed print of your bridal session on your wedding day if this is what you desire.
Q. What if the weather is bad. Is there a backup plan for my session?
A. Sure. If you don’t want to re-schedule, then we’ll either have you come into our home studio or choose an alternate indoor location.
Q. When should I schedule my bridal photo session with Austin Americana?
A. We ask that you schedule your bridal photo session a minimum of 2-3 weeks prior to your wedding day to allow for image editing, processing, printing, shipping, etc.
My philosophy on the art of photography is that there are always going to be better photographers than me out there photographing people and things. So it’s my job to become the best photographer that I can be by learning from those who know more than I do about photography. As a wedding photographer I’ve developed a system that has been very successful at capturing great wedding photographs and is consistent – 2 things that are important when it comes to being a great wedding photographer.
But what I’ve recently realized is that I’ve neglected some other niches of photography that I really love. I’ve been so focused on photographing weddings and sharpening my skills related to wedding photojournalism in Austin (the the business of wedding photography) that I’ve neglected my love of portrait and studio photography. And in the bigger picture, I’ve not been shooting much art photography, which can be fun and rewarding.
So I’ve decided that I’m going to take a chance and juggle a few things at once. While continuing my wedding Austin photography business I’m going start making more time for fun portraiture (like modeling, headshots, etc.) and also shoot more fun stuff that would be considered closer to “art” (whatever that means).
To kick off my new ascent into more portraiture I’ve joined a group of photographers called the Austin People Photography Group, which is hosted by MeetUp Austin and features instruction from one of my favorite Austin photographers, Tim, of Exquisite Photography. Tim frequently holds seminars and workgroups for professional photographers who are honing their skills in a particular niche field of photography, such as model photography, portrait photography, and much more.
I recently attended on of Tim’s MeetUp groups and really learned lots of great tips for improving my photography. He arranged for a model to be onsite for the attending photographers to shoot and provided lots of guidance for our session. I’ve included some of the photos I snapped of our model.
Here are some more snapshots from the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, which is going on until December 24th at Palmer Event Center. Some photos are from the photo booth that we hosted on Dec 17th/18th and some are of vendors/work offered at the event. There were some really amazing artists, writers and musicians at the event, and hopefully we were able to capture some of that Armadillo magic!
In the past few weeks Austin Americana Photography has photographed many events. Recently I was given the opportunity to photograph some new friends at a location that has some personal significance to me: Austin’s French Legation. The French Legation is significant in many ways; in 1839 France recognized The Republic of Texas as an independent nation and entered into an alliance treaty with the new republic. France soon sent a special envoy to Austin, Texas – Jean Pierre Isador Alphonse Dubois de Saligny with the special title of chargé d’affaires. He wasted no time contracting the building of the French Legation to Texas, which still stands in the hills just above downtown, east of IH-35.
The French Legation is also significant to me because my family assembled there years ago for a special family photo, which was a special occasion for me because not only was my entire family included in the photo (including myself), but I was also the photographer. Using a tripod and a timer switch, I was able to pose my own family on the steps overlooking the carriage house and open area at the French Legation. It’s one of my favorite family photos, even until this day.
This week I had the pleasure of being able to photograph a family at the French Legation. They selected the location from my “Recommended Austin Locations” list that I share with clients and they loved the place. It has great views of the city, plenty of greenery (and in this case, colorful fall/winter leaves too), as well as the historic houses which have been standing for 100+ years.
The staff at the Legation, Franke and Sarah, were super friendly and helpful. They are always eager to share information, discuss history with you and give tours and the designated hours of operation. I highly recommend stopping by for a tour of the French Legation. You can also become a “Friend of the French Legation”. Austin French Legation Website: http://www.frenchlegationmuseum.org/
This past weekend my wife and I asked our friend Jason to come over to our home and photograph us for a quick family holiday portrait. Jason is a good sport and a great photographer and he packed up his gear and hit the road. He brought along photo umbrellas, lights and everything needed to set up a portable studio in our home. We felt like celebrities being photographed! You know what I mean…
I think like many photographers, for me it feels odd to actually be photographed. Photographers enjoy the control that being behind the lens gives them; but when the camera is aimed at them, there’s a sense of role reversal that sets in that just makes you feel like you’ve stepped into another universe. Some people are natural performers and some people are natural observers. I consider myself an observer – this I know for sure. I like to think that it is an asset that is accessible while shooting.
Now, that being said, we had a great time during our photo session with Jason. Our family home (where the photo shoot took place) is relatively small. We have 3 juvenile cats, my son (Roman), my wife, my wife’s grandmother and me – all under one roof. Things can easily get chaotic around the house, and they frequently do.
We decided we wanted to capture a few different things: the family sitting on the couch together, our son opening a gift-wrapped present, my son with his abuela and some spontaneous interactions with our son (if possible). The first part of the session was relatively quiet. Our son sat with my wife and me on the couch as Jason snapped photos from his camera on a tripod and lights flashed on either side of us. But soon enough, our Roman became tired of photos and wanted to run around the living room and play. The turning point for Roman was when Jason came over to the couch to perform a quick light reading with his light meter, which looks like a cross between a smart phone and a remote control, two of Roman’s favorite things. He let Roman touch the light meter and he quickly figured out there was a connection between the flashes and the meter. At that point he followed Jason around trying to find the light meter, which was funny and we all had a good laugh.
One of my favorite photos actually happened when Roman wanted to get on the floor and play. As we sat on the couch, I picked him up and he stood on my legs laughing hysterically as my wife and I beamed up at him. It was a classic moment, which seemed symbolic for our relationship where my wife and I created him and how we make him the center of our lives. Sniff…
Later, with some coaxing and after giving Roman some toys to play with we were able to continue the photo session. One other funny occurrence was that two of our cats kept walking into and out of the photo frame as the session was ongoing. They were very calm about it and one of our cats, Samantha, seemed to want to participate. At one point she actually sat next to me on the couch and stared wide-eyed at the camera. Ultimately, Jason was able to capture all the great shots that we had hoped he would and now we can move onto making Christmas cards for all the family with our signature family portrait. Thanks Jason!
Jason will also be photographing people with me at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar this year (on Dec 17th/18th) from 6-10 pm at Palmer Event Center here in Austin. Feel free to swing by and get a free photo session during this time or chat with Jason about photography! You can view more of his work here: http://jwangphotography.com/
I frequently get requests by my photography clients to “Photoshop” – in or out something related to a photograph. This could be a bad tan, skin blemishes, teethe whitening or any number of other issues that can make people self conscious about their photograph. There are definitely some amazing things that you can do with Adobe’s famous Photoshop software, but my studio doesn’t use it. We use Adobe Lightroom – a powerful photo editor and manager for photographers who take lots of photos, especially for wedding photographers like myself. Although Lightroom doesn’t have the breadth of options provided in Photoshop, it still allows photographers to make amazing edits to photographs. Recently I photographed individuals for portrait sessions where the photograph would be featured in highly circulated publications (read: magazine). That means that my clients not only wanted to look their best, but they wanted to look even better – and that’s where the magic of photo editing comes in.
Originally, when I visualized writing this blog I wanted to talk about the specifics of what I did during the editing process and show the before and after photos of my clients. But there is such a marked, visual improvement when comparing the original photo and the processed photo that I decided against showing the original, mostly to avoid being flogged by my clients – which is a good thing! :) Why? Well, first of all I don’t enjoy getting flogged and not getting flogged is always a good thing. Second, I’ve noticed that such impressive improvements in a persons portrait always brings about smiles and a sense of well being in the client. Everyone wants to look and feel 10 years younger, so when I can provide a little help in that department I’m always glad to do so.
Like I said, these are the “after” photos, subsequent to the editing process. I was very pleased with the outcome and I hope that my clients were too.
So you’ve set up your appointment to get your photo taken at a lovely spot you picked weeks ago and now the day is here. But are you ready to look and feel your best on photo day? Here are some recommendations on what to do to prepare for the big day to not only look and feel your best, but to also have a successful and fun photo session with your photographer. I’ve used past experiences in photographing brides, couples and individuals in the Austin area to develop these tips…
1. Scheduling. Be sure to schedule your photo session early on, which will allow editing/processing time on the part of your photographer. Many people have to reschedule later anyway and you’ll want to allow yourself some wiggle room. You’ll also need time to get the prints completed and find a frame for your beautiful photo.
2. Locations. Is your session indoor, in studio, at work or outside? Don’t be afraid of trying a new location. Your photographer should have a list of many popular outdoor locations in the Austin area that to share with clients (I do!). If you need some ideas just ask! J
3. Attire. What do you wear to a photo session? I recommend wearing solid colors (no large logos). The rules in attire are wide open and you can wear just about anything. Just try to consider what statement you want your photo to make and what part your clothing will play – “This is my relaxed family at the lake”, or “I’m a professional at at my job”, etc.
Also, keep in mind that if you choose a location that requires walking you probably will want to bring comfortable shoes.
4. R&R. (Most Important!) Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before (i.e., no late night partying!). If you stay up late the night before it will definitely show up in the photos, so just rest and relax beforehand and you’ll look great!
5. Styles. Make sure your style matches that of anyone else in your photos. If one person is dressed up then make sure the other person follows suit and doesn’t dress casually. You don’t have to wear the same thing; just try to be on the same page, so to speak.
6. Makeup & Hair. Try to stick to the normal hair and makeup routine. You definitely don’t want to come off like you’re doing a Glamour Shots commercial with over done hair and makeup. Also, bring lipstick and lip balm.
7. Fun. Have fun on during your photo session! It’s your time to spend with your partner – so just sit back, relax and let your photographer do the work behind the camera – making you and/or your family look great!
- In your spare time take a look at portrait photos online (just Google “portrait photos”) to get some ideas of what you like. There are a million poses and ideas out there. If you don’t really care then you can leave it to your photographer. But if you want to get creative and have more involvement then share your ideas with your photographer and your creativity will likely pay off.
- Is there a fee or admission for taking photos at the location you are going? You’ll want to consider this before arriving.
- What time does the facility close where you’ll be photographed? If you arrive just before closing time you and your photographer will feel rushed, which does not cultivate the relaxed environment needed for portraiture.
This past week Austin Americana Photography visited an Austin doctor’s office for some professional portraiture. Although we don’t do portraits all the time, we occasionally do portrait sessions for professionals. And a nice service that we offer is coming to your office during your lunch hour (or whenever) and capturing portraits of you in the environment which you work.
When potential customers visit your business website, they love seeing photos of you doing what you do. And since a picture is worth a thousand words (as the old saying goes), the potential customer has the opportunity to make a personal decision about your profession based on what photo they see. And that’s where Austin Americana enters the picture, so to speak. We capture photos of you and your coworkers in the best light doing what you do. How exciting!
At the doctor’s office this week, we were able to complete quick, professional portraits of 2 doctors at the doctor’s office in less than 20 minutes. Quick, painless and effective!