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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Tip: Backup

I can't tell you how many times I have been thankful for being obsessive about backing up my images. If you haven't ran into this issue yet personally or professionally with images or other files - well your time is running out! The day's of only worrying about your family photos burning in a fire or being lost in a flood are gone. Now, a simple power-outage, computer failure, or hard drive crash can be devastating!

What can you do? BACK them UP!

Here are some great options: Share images with friends and family.

  • I create disks to send to several members of my family on a regular basis so that if something happens on my end (like an act of nature) my images are stored off site - safe and sound with Gma.
  • Utilize a remote drive. I have a network drive that backs up all my files each night while I am sleeping. It turns on automatically, backs up... and then turns off. 
  • Utilize online storage. This is great for images - you can upload and download as needed on several sites. Do you research and don't count this as your main source- we are already seeing companies merging or closing and files being deleted, or account passwords being lost. 
  • Safety Deposit box. I used to teach to burn a disk/ dvd of images and put them in a fire safe box... now there are better larger options... and disks and Dvd's will eventually be replaced by the smaller thumbs and media storage devices. Regardless of what you use to put the images on - getting them into a firesafe box or a safety deposit box off site is a good plan
I would suggest choosing several options. I do. I never count on one "backup" there is safety in knowing that I have options if something goes wrong.  I take the same care with my client photos backing up final copies and originals in several secure ways. In fact. I schedule one day each month as an "office" day and I verify my remote drive is backing up, I burn DVD's for my file, export to a HD for the fire box, and generally back up everything for that past month.

The one thing that I will also tell you - I firmly believe the best gift you can give is a photograph, and it isn't a photograph till you can hold it in your hand. Print your images when you give them to someone! Take the time to put together a book, or album of your visit with them and they will cherish it! Plus, its one more item you have "just in case"!

Happy Back up day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

PhotoTrek: Butterfly Pavillion Denver

Not so long ago we took out annual extended vacation to Denver to visit friends and family. While we did several wonderful adventures there, one of my favorites was a quick afternoon trip with my mom and daughter to the Butterfly Pavilion.

Located in Westminster, if your from Denver you know this place, if your not and looking for a quick afternoon activity it's a great place to hang out!  Now, I went here maybe 10 years ago or so, and I left saying "really, thats all?" since then they have beefed up some exhibits, added in a kid play room complete with a learning maze.. cute idea! They also now have a large creepy crawly room host to loads of spiders, bugs and these bazaar things that look like sticks... I'm not big on this room - but my daughter loved it... of course. There was also a new small room which displays some fish, stingrays, and starfish which you can touch... now I know "whhhat?" - but this ties to a partnership with the Butterfly Pavilion and the Denver Aquarium - plus its a nice feature to get kids hand on with nature.In fact, I have to say the best part was the interaction with the kids. While I enjoyed it from a photographers perspective, watching my daughter interact was by far the best part!

The butterfly room is small and you sometimes have to work around other photographers and viewers in order not to have someone in your shot. But patience pays off. If you know me you know I am not a nature photographer, I DON'T have the patience for that, waiting for something to land or for the light to be right just is not my thing, much less working around other people all trying to do the same thing. However, even with my limited investment of time I found some great stock images, along with some very cute memories.

PhotoTrek Review: 7 out of 10 Camera
We went on a Tuesday afternoon expecting it not to be super busy, and while there were only about 40 people, the tight spaces made it hard to maneuver or camp out a spot. Just when the butterfly would land, someone would turn the corner causing it to fly off.

Equipment Suggested:  Macro lens, with a large aperture. No flash. I would HIGHLY recommend a camera bag as they have misters and high humidity which could cause camera damage if your not prepared.

All images are ©Verte Photography. 
If you would like to own them or use them as stock photography please contact me for options.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photography: Light 101

(insert music to Star-trek here... you know like "SPACE"... du du duhh... ok so maybe I let out to much of my inner geek.)
This is where creative meets science. There is so much technical information I could share about light... this will most likely be a subject that I will break up into several posts over time. However, I was asked to share some tips on photographing with natural light, and when all you have is house lighting... and well in order to really help someone with those... you have to understand not all light is created equal. Every light source has a different quality that will effect your photographs if you don't understand it and know how to adjust for it.

This image is from http://freelance-photography.knoji.com/photographing-the-holiday-lightspart-2

So here is your science lesson today: without recreating the wheel - if you remember back in school when light his a crystal it separates out its colors... light has different color qualities. Those colors are based on the "Kelvin temperature" of the light. Now from the chart above you can kind of see the reasoning behind when you shoot in the shade (without adjustments/smart WB) you tend to get images that look blue, when you shoot at sunset your images are warmer, yellows and orange due to the color temperature of your light source.

This back in the day of film, this was a big deal... lots of time went into metering, working with reflectors, flashes, and the printing to get whites to be white under different lighting conditions. When digital was released manufactures spent time developing WB (White Balance) to adjust for these color shifts and to tell your camera... I know you see X color of light... but I want you to see it as white light so my photo will be beautiful, whites are whites and all the other colors magically fall into place!

Ok.. so you understand all light is different... Here is the best tip for adjusting it on your camera without flash so you can work in "natural" or with "house" lights if that is all you have available.

WB: White Balance every digital camera has some control to adjust WB. In most cases allowing your camera to remain on "auto" works great. If you are noticing your shooting in a lighting condition where your white is not white there are many ways to adjust for this. (you can check this by shooting a white object) Dig out your manual (great for reference, remember) and find the combination of menu options that gets you into the WB menu for YOUR camera - you will find presets for most of the scenarios shown on the chart above and adjust for your lighting condition! I highly recommend if you don't have your manual you carry a pocket card in your camera case!
Pocket Reference Card I have pinned on my Pinterest board for you if you need it.

If the auto WB doesn't do the trick, chances are good that one of the presets will fix any white issues you encounter. Just remember in digital you just want your whites to be white and the other colors will fall into place!

Now... there lots of ways you can "modify" light if you need to add light for a better exposure. This is where this post becomes HUGE! So, without talking about adjustments on aperture/ shutter / lens choices / flash or adding additional light sources  etc... here are some basic modifications you can make to control your lighting options.. when you think your limited to whats on hand.

For not enough light try adding a reflector; a reflector reflects... you got it LIGHT! If you need to change your light source (or add an additional source to say get rid of a shadow or light your product from multiple areas... you can bounce light from one source (say the sun, or a directional lamp) by using a reflector. There are tons of brands, personally I have good luck with the quality and price point of the Photoflex (it helps that they hooked my on their products at an early age) Now, you don't have to use a commercial product... if you understand you will reflect what ever color of the object is your using. So if you are shooting in the shade and want to "warm" your subject reflect something yellow / gold, if your shooting in a studio with white balanced lights and just want to fill in a shadow (say under a chin) use something white - if your shooting with warm sun and need to cool it off... silver (which produces a cool light similar to blue with out the harsh effects of a blue item). These are your "go to" colors.  To use them you want something like this....

I have seen some very creative reflectors created... the easiest are foam core (white)
A small reflector I made with a piece of cardboard on the back to hold it where I need it

Or foam core wrapped with tin foil (silver). In a pinch I used my gold sun shade from my car...(more DIY reflectors)

If you have too much light - say outside with bright sun you want to reduce it. This is where you would see a light scrim, screen, umbrella, light box etc come into play. Basically you want the light to pass through something and defuse it. You want a... wait for it... Diffuser! The only trick to this is you want light to be able to pass threw it, and not change color - so you need it to be WHITE... Place the diffuser between the light source and your subject and harsh lighting will be evened out and  shadows wont be as noticeable. The best "home" solution to this is a sheer material... say oh I don't know... a white window SHEER. Yep, sometimes its that easy.

A light diffuser from one of my light boxes, because sometimes you need light to go through 2 diffusers!
You can also create your own from a very cheap shower curtain liner... like I did here for a post about DIY product studios. The light coming in the window is diffused as it passes through the liner.

Shows filtered light on right and reflector on left.

For as technical as photography can be... sometimes the solutions are very clear. When your shooting remember controlling your light makes a HUGE impact on the feel, emotion and story of your image!

I hope this gives you a basic understand and a few helpful hints on how to control your light. As always I feel you need to understand some basics and start somewhere, so as we go along I will be developing this light series more and more. If you have suggestions or situations you want me to cover as we go - please let me know!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Going Green

In today's world you can research everything... and I mean everything!
You can choose the company that you do business with based on more then cost, quality, usability and function You can research  what company is more earth friendly and who is doing right by the environment! There is SO much information out there about recycling, and it seems each company has an "eco-plan" if you look for it. Over the past several years I have started doing more and more to research and develop relationships with the brands, retailers and small businesses who share my views on responsible living.  Keeping with the intentions of my previous post "History Lesson" here are some of the resources and products I use in the studio, and office and what makes Verte... well green!

Memory cards, are such a huge improvement to the reusable world over film to start with! Lets not discount the fact that its a huge step up from film, and the chemistry to develop it. When you combine that with a purchase from companies like San Disk that have a eco-plan that describes what and how they are being green or more earth friendly, including what type of power sources they use on their manufacturing sites and types of packaging materials, you can feel that much better about where your money is going. It's also important to think about how long they are going to last, I heard that Panasonic is coming out with a more durable card... so it might be worth my time to research them out next time I go to buy. By spending a few moments with my friendly search engine finding out whats hot and whats green is a breeze!

Nikon now uses green glass in the majority of their product line... They have not just one blurb online about how they are "going green" but several where you can research their Social contributions, Environmental activities and management, along with Product Development, recycling and packaging measures. They are really looking at it from all angles... and the website really lists it out very clearly for you. Bravo! I am not a huge "must have new" fan either. I have enough experience and connections that when I go to upgrade my camera I can pick up last years model even used, and feel completely comfortable knowing that it is getting a second life with me and that it has all the bells and whistles I need.

Even camera bag manufacturers are stepping up with lines like Lowepro's Terraclime Series,  over 95% of Terraclime is made from recycled materials. Now Lowepro I am just going to kick out there started in a garage in Colorado about 40 years ago. They get bonus points in my book for having a great product, reasonable prices, and being a Colorado based business! I LOVE these guys! Now, that being said... I have seen some GREAT remake bags on Etsy and other sites, taking a purse or other luggage and revamping it to a custom camera bag. It really pays to dig around those sites or create your own! Plus, just because they have a line of bags, doesn't make it a green company... just saying "do your research" on everything!
Custom Painted with ECO paints - Backdrop

At Verte you will very rarely hear me bragging about my newly purchased backdrop...  since I make my own typically using Eco-friendly  and natural dyes, and recycled or reclaimed materials. I scour Craigslist, thrift stores, and antique shops so I always have something new on its way. I even make custom backdrops for some clients who are looking for a designer look for their online shop. Those custom backdrops are shopped for, and designed just for them.. and they are the only ones I use it for! In fact, I am making a new one this week... here is a sneak look!

While I don't often shoot products with props... several of my Etsy and other online retailers really love the "staged" product images... so I have a SLEW of recycled, reclaimed and hand made props... again using my powers to create beauty from something donated away or broken.

A recycled prop is the perfect thing to show off this great scarf from Melli's Yarn Works

I have recently found a store called Eco2 that provides Eco signage, packaging and shipping materials that I am very excited to learn more about! Shipping in a earth-friendly way and supporting another Green business is high on my list!

My business cards are from recycled papers, a green certified stamp, which I also use for my packaging and return address on packages. The stamp is made from recycled materials to minimize the impact on the environment. Plus it uses a water based ink as compared to petroleum based inks found in many other rubber stamps. I can't wait to show you the image of this along with my new packaging for prints... I am waiting on a few things - but I'll be sure to post!

OH and the prints... remember how I was talking about the toxic chemicals and waste.. well now we have options! Here is a great guide in PDF about printing now, and things to ask your lab! There are several great options for printing green. Some that I have found describe themselves as "Earth friendly prints" and are printed on post-consumer reclaimed paper and enhanced with a fade resistant, acid-free gloss. Be sure to look for: Non-toxic dry inks and that they are packaged in recyclable containers. I am currently testing the quality and service of a few labs, and I will be sure to let you know my thoughts on them!

A Great Green lab, located in Colorado is Fine Print Imaging this is very much for the professional photographer, and could be cost prohibitive to the average person - but they have great products and a dedication to green living! They even offer professional photographers a $5000 grant available to those who is using photography to help preserve the planet.

I hope by sharing some of my resources and thoughts about my business, I have inspired you to spend some time on your favorite brands website..  use a search engine and see what companies you use are doing to help the environment! Be a little more aware, and responsible with your choices (and your money) not only in your home, but with purchases and products you don't often associate with being earth-friendly!

Tuesday Tip "Back to School"

While I typically promote myself as the product, small business photographer, I do in fact have a TON of experience in family portraits. So when a very dear client asked me how to take her daughters back to school photos.. I was excited to share some tips to help her out!  That first day of school photo, is a right of passage photo that everyone seems to do! However, it can be a stressful morning for kids and parents alike. Many families struggle with the new schedule, early alarm clock, and stress and anxiety of the child... which we ALL remember about our first days.

Taking a child's portrait when they are stressed out - or when the parent is stressed out is NEVER a good idea. So here are some cheats, tips and suggestions on getting "back to school" stress-free.

Stressed, sun in my eyes, cranky, upset child... does it show?

 First, Fake it if you can!
I know... CHEATER you all say... "smart planning" I say! We are doing a "dress rehearsal" for our first day of Kindergarten this year. A few days prior to the "real deal" we are setting the alarm, and doing our full run all the way to the school in the morning so my daughter will know what to expect. I find she does extremely well with a little preparation and planning, so were going to include a few photos at the same time! Then, if things are out of control for the first day... we have some that we took just days prior... and really who is going to know the difference! Plus, doing it ahead of time gives you a chance to be less concerned with time and more creative!

Second, Plan Ahead
Charge batteries, empty memory cards, and put the camera with all the parts you might need on the kitchen table or next to the door just like your kids backpack! Then it's as easy as grab, shoot, and go. Easy peasy. If your going to use props like chalkboards, posters or old photos from previous years then make sure you have them painted, written, clean... whatever! Even I have been known to grab a memory card and not test it... only to find it corrupt and I left without a backup. Be sure to have a spare on hand!

Third, Put some Thought into it
Clean off the same rocking chair or couch that you have baby photos on, or shoot next to your growth chart thats been there since they could stand, holding there old lovie, or first teddy bear... do something meaningful! Think about the background, is it a blank wall... a door, your house... is the table in the background going to be clean? Maybe think of something unconventional like using chalk in the driveway to draw out a scene and take a photo of them laying down on it!  Use other props such as a chalkboard or poster for your child to hold with the grade, and what they want to be when they grow up... or what they are most looking forward to that day. If your not shooting on the "big day" you can go to the park, in front of the school, or someplace that represents your child at that time... the baseball field, an arcade... be creative!

Camera Tips
If your not super familiar with your camera, the best tip I can give you is "get out of green" that typical green square that is your go to "let the camera do the thinking for you", that mode is NOT your friend! YOU are smarter then your camera! All most all  cameras regardless of type have a green square or a "auto" camera symbol which when selected does everything for you... its commonly referred to as the PHD mode (push here dummy), what most people don't know is that there is also  a "P" program mode. A common misconception is that this is the same thing. In truth the "P" mode, lets the camera pick the best aperture, and shutter speed for you... but allows you some basic over-rides. Like commanding your flash!

Your Flash is your Friend
In most cases shooting kids, inside or out adding a flash to portraits helps. Command your flash on (check your camera manual for details) and stand roughly 5-7 feet away from your child. A flash outdoors will fill in shadows, and warm the image if your shooting in the morning light. To avoid a harsh flash shadow keep your camera horizontal, and crop vertically to frame your subject after. When your in your "P" mode you can command your flash to fire. On some camera's that means pulling the flash up, or pushing a button with what looks like a lightning bolt with an arrow on the bottom of it. On other cameras it will be found in a menu option of some kind, refer to your manual if you need to! If you find your catching a shadow on your background... here is a great tip!

Basic Posing
While the classic back to school image has the child backed up next to the door, I am all about giving you the opportunity to create a special moment. We have already talked about giving your child a prop, or shooting at a unique location and this will by default set you apart. However, here are a couple of posing tips to help you even more. Do something with your kids hands, tuck one in a pocket, set them on their hips, have them hold something or lean on something, any of these are good options to hanging hand at the side. Place their feet. Rather then just standing straight on, have them place one foot straight and the other turned out! In fact, having them turn slightly so their shoulders are not square to the camera will improve your image drastically!
Straight shot.

leaning on column, arms crossed.

 Adjust your perspective.
Ever notice your family photography kneeling or crawling or using a ladder to change their height? By doing these common tricks the photographer is changing their perspective! By doing this you change the overall feel of the image :) Try several, since you have time and see what you like the best!

Last - RELAX
I have been known to send parents out of the studio because they are stressing out there kids. If your stressed out - so will your child be - the bigger deal you make out of this the less interested your child will be in doing it! Making it fun, and creating a memory with your child is MUCH more important then capturing the perfectly posed, and exposed  image. RELAX and create a memory not a photo!
Don't get upset if it's not the perfect smile, it's your kid! Your memories, and sometimes that smirk is a lot more showing of their personality then the "say cheese" smile. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Packing Products

I work with a LOT of shop owners from out of town.. mostly because I am BRAND new to this town! I don't even have 90 days logged in yet! So, I had a new client ask me "How do I send you my items?" Well... here is the short answer. "Carefully!"

Ready for the long answer?

Typically, my clients use USPS services. Much of how you need to pack your items depends on how fragile they are. My client Pam, who ships jewelry to me from Craft Gal Creations in Chicago was nice enough to allow me some extra time with her products so I could put a small "how to" together for the more fragile items for you! (Thanks Pam! Everyone should check out her shop!)

Pam makes wonderful natural stone jewelry, along with some very fragile glass and beaded items.

She takes the time to pack her box with padding on all sides, extra tissue, or bubbles depending on what she has on hand.

She puts her items separated inside each box and padded inside with cotton fluff - I suggest on extra fragile items you put cotton (or other padding) on both top and bottom of the items.

Note: If you have items such as a necklace, wrapping it in paper or plastic between the cotton helps to keep the cleaning time down for me as those little tiny hard to see cotton snags around a bead suck to clean off! Sometimes even after cleaning items I don't see them till the lights and macro lens hit them!

The boxes help separate items - and the inside packing helps to keep them from breaking on the box. It also allows Pam to send me extra notes, or special requests on a items.

Obviously, not all items need to be sent with such care. T-shirts, hair bows, and other soft items such as crochet and knit items can simply be put into the box. I do always suggest that you inclose a packing list so I can verify how many items arrived from you.

I hope this serves as a nice quick reference guide for packing. If you don't already, I would like to encourage you to check out some green options for packing supplies. Re-using boxes, and other supplies! It's just the right thing to do!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Tip

I thought it would be fun to include a weekly post on something photography related!

To kick it off I thought I would offer a few bits of advice for a small business owner... or crafter who is promoting yourself or your items.

 Nothing grabs someone's attention faster then a solid striking image.

What makes a striking image? This depends on the buyer, but here are a few product facts that tend to do well for my clients...

Bright Colors, and Detailed Images
Simple, Clean, Unique Perspectives
Multiple Images, Multiple Backgrounds, Showcase the Product! 

The nitty gritty... it comes down to nice backgrounds, good lighting and a great lens. You need all 3 to have a productive product image. If your images are not clear people simply wont buy them online... they really want to see the front, back, side, buttons, and details!

For my clients, I try to include all angles, a full product view and several detail shots. I don't charge per image, but rather per product so I can always be sure to give you several options! This is also nice so you can update with a new image to refresh your store without paying to have new images shot!

Lastly, don't try to do it all. You can be the best artist in the world, but know your limitations... if you don't understand f-stops, types of lenses, lighting... all things that play into great product images... just let someone who knows do it for you! Do what you do best... and let a professional (or even an experienced friend do it for you) This will save you a huge amount of time and energy!

Disclaimer: of course I offer product images - and I would LOVE your business! However I do live in reality, and I want to see businesses succeed! If you can't or wont send it to me... that's OK! Send it to me, or let someone else do it... just get it done - and done right!

Monday, August 13, 2012

History Lesson

Photography by its own history is not the most "earth friendly" business to be in. I thought, I would give a history of where it has come from... so you can understand my passion about my role in where it is going.

When I first started in the "biz" I worked at a popular "mom and pop" studio/ lab as a lab tech. This was in the day of film, and hand mixing each batch of chemistry to develop and print each image... that's right... before the days of the digital screen I could look at a negative and make real color corrections adding yellow, taking out density... to make the perfect image... oh my how the world of 1-hour has changed!
The insides of the first mini lab printer I worked on... this one was much cleaner then mine

If we go back farther the history of film is long, and widespread Eastman Kodak was always at the forefront, along with big names such as Agfa, Fuji and Ilford... but here is something you might not have known. What was film made of? Kodak's book of Film Care puts it as "Film is animal, vegetable and mineral" my friend Dr. Joe used to say "Film is made out of the parts of the hoof that was too good, to go into jello" EWWW there is a visual for all you clean eaters! But true enough the medium used to bind the emulsion to the film is made of gelatin, a natural polymer made from animal bones and hides. Not to be left out of the race in technology film had its own race and changes to its make up going with more man made substances like cellulose acetate, or polyester. Film was not the only part of progression the chemicals that made film into negatives and paper into prints... now that has always been toxic....  but when the big swap from black and white to color came into play... it began the One hour lab craze. Chemicals then were widely dumped down open drains... it wasn't until OSHA stepped in and some new regulations started being implemented that labs were required to handle them in a certain way. Including having a silver recovery machine, silver being a byproduct of the chemicals used to print with. Hence the term "silver halide prints"

I remember gearing up to chip the silver... what fun! I looked like Robin Williams in One Hour Photo... which was a thriller to most.. but a comedy to me! 

The chemicals used were nasty! They smelled, I had no hair on my arms for years from digging around in them... and my mother-in-law was convinced she would have green grand-babies! There were not a lot of rules still in the 90's when I began working.. the chemicals came in plastic bottles that had to be rinsed and a hole cut in the bottom before being tossed, and old chemicals were still washed down the regular drain (except the silver producing one) but we did turn on water to "dilute it" in a way I'm glad I didn't ask to many questions at the time.. looking back I never would have been able to waste and damage so much. I mean... down the drain... really?

Which is a big part of why I look for changes I can make now that are reasonable, sustainable and practical. My view on green is not super overboard... I don't compost, I don't garden... largely because of my fear of bugs! However, I do recycle, reuse, reclaim, shop local, and support businesses who have an earth friendly attitude.  This change to our household has been amazing! It was really important to me to encompass this in my new business, in part to repent in a way for my crimes of the past.

Now that you know a little bit more about where I have been... stay tuned for the next bit about what makes Verte, well Verte! How we strive to be more green and some of the research we have done, along with products and companies we support!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The A-list

Drum Roll Please!

Announcing Verte Photos first award! This week we were recognized as a top business in the A-list found on The Streeters Ultd. Blog.

This is super wonderful not only do I think its super wonderful that my client thinks so much of her experiences and time with me that she would do this, but it comes with a huge stamp of approval and reality attached to it. I am so lucky to be able to do something I really love and enjoy!

If you haven't been to the Streeters blog, you should! She has it all there! I'm talking recipes, adventure, great business links... and oh yea lets not forget AWESOME hand crafted products!

My FAVORITE is the lip balm, natural and you can recycle the tins with her for refills! As an added bonus I accidentally left mine in the car when we first moved out to Houston... it was over 100 degrees for multiple days... a huge no no for any store bought lip gloss or color! Now, this melting everywhere lip balm issue happens to me ALL the time... I am miserable at remembering the little guys and taking them out of bags, pockets and whatnot. But did my Streeter lip balm fail and melt all over my minivan like the box of crayons I recently discovered in the back seat... NO! It wasn't melted.. sure it was a little softer then normal, but it wasn't messy, or sticky in the slightest!

But I digress... the real point is.. I/m super excited! I have my first official award for Verte Photography! What could be a better way to start of the weekend!

A Chance to Win!

It's nice just to sit down and relax for a few minutes! I have been working in the studio, and office fairly non-stop for the past 2 weeks! In the office I have accomplished many of my "back office" tasks, such as creating this blog, and setting up the social media sites such as Facebook and twitter accounts! Linking everyone, and setting up my action plan for the next month! Whew! I'm exhausted! It seems I can work chasing kids, and adjusting lights all day... but sitting in front of the computer... boy that's hard work!

My next month wont be a quiet one, school starts, and we have a big shoot in Denver coming up! However, I am wanting to start doing some promotions and get the word out that I offer great prices on product photography with an Eco-friendly twist. In order to do that, and celebrate my past weeks accomplishments - I thought I would offer a fun contest!

How does $100 in Product Photography Services sound?

This means you can enter to win product photography for your small business, blog, or crafting site! 
with images like... 

Increase your sells! 
Showcase new items!

How do you win? You ask....

Start by liking our Facebook Page, Follow our blog, and Find us on Twitter!
For every one you like/find/follow you will be entered into our drawing at the end of the month.


Share this contest on Twitter and create some BUZZ! You can do this daily and really increase your chances!  Simply post the following
"@VertePhoto is awesome! Verte is giving away $100 in small product photography services and I want to WIN"

Extra rules:
Services include multiple images taken in studio of items provided, online secure preview, and small image direct download. Additional services like full resolution disk or thumb-drive, and/or custom shop watermarking on images may be provided or purchased at additional cost. This prize may be transferred if winner can not utilize for their product. 
Offer valid for small product photography only, such as hair clips, bows, jewelry, candles, clothing etc. This contest is good for any where in the US - as long as you have product small enough to ship safely. Shipping costs may not be covered. Contact me at vertephoto@gmail.com for any questions.

Monday, August 6, 2012

To Products, with Love

My time in the studio, with a product is very special to me. The heat from the strobes, the bright lights... its magical!
OK, not really "magical" but it is a very relaxing part of my day. There are no kids to chase, no wind to wait for, no one to distract me. It's just me and a product working together to create the best image to sell it.
I have so many fantastic product clients who have stayed with me, after leaving Colorado and my previous business. Mailing me products to shoot, and keeping me sane and working as I took the next step along my journey in life. I can say with all seriousness, I love each of you!
For those of you who don't know about my product photography services, please allow me to give you a introduction.
Simple: Ship or bring your products to me. I will photograph your products and post the edited images in a secure gallery. Review your images and let me know if you'd like us to make any changes to any of them. Once approved, pay your invoice through the website, PayPal, or by check, and we'll deliver your images and return your products.
Clean: Your products are polished, dusted and cleaned to the best of my ability before each shoot. I wear cotton or latex gloves when handling them to reduce fingerprints, and will always re-do them if I see a stray hair, dust or other quality issues, before I post them to be viewed. I don't believe in "post production" editing for quality control issues, or for your product. If your stone has a chip in it, that is how it will be photographed.
Green: I use recycled, up-cycled, and natural backdrops, and props when ever possible. Often creating, sewing, dying, or painting my own to create just the right look for your images. Some clients will even pay a little extra to have a backdrop made exclusively for them.
Verte: This is my promise. You will love and see the time I have spent with your images in the quality and detail. If you are not satisfied, I will work with you until you are.
Price: . I provide custom quotes on all photography services. I never want price to be an issue, if you are a start-up, small business, or simply not budgeted for photography services, please let me know. I can work with you and offer solutions to fit your needs.

The First Steps

Setting up a new business is hard work! Luckily, this isn't my first rodeo! I have owned a successful photography studio and been a part of many other successful photography based businesses in my 20 year career.
Why am I starting clean?
My family and I recently moved to the Houston area, so I have taken this opportunity to rethink my views on photography, update my mindset on products and services that I want to provide and really focus on what I enjoy!
I have always had a soft spot for southern France, so when searching a new business name and focusing on the feeling and style I wanted to embody, I choose verte, french for green. When I think of France I think of the country side and rolling hills, simple and tasty  foods, and amazing quality and taste in fashion, and champagne! The best of life. This is what I want to provide to my clients. Simple, clean, tasteful, and high quality images with a focus on nature and Eco-friendly backgrounds, props and prints.
So this is where I start, with a website and a vision. I hope you will join me for my journey.