I recently had an opportunity to photograph Dr. Chris Bennett who is upper cervical chiropractor. His practice - Orion Family Spinal Center - is in Lake Orion on Waldon Rd where he also gives lectures/classes on importance of heaving healthy spine , especially upper cervical.
He has such passion for helping people that it shows in his everyday conversations as well as in his office.
I love photographing people who have great passion for what they do and do their work with joy.
I mostly focus on photographing portraits and weddings, but now and then I get to photograph a brand new little babies. This little girl is just two weeks old and she was quite curious and we started with her photos while she was wide awake.
but like many newborns, she needed a milk brake and then it was time for some sleepy pictures.
When I take these precious images, I get reminded how quickly time passes, how fast these little ones grow up.
As clients reach out for information, certain questions keep coming up. So I thought I'll go through my workflow and address some of the more frequent circumstances that I encounter. So lets get to it.
I am a portrait and wedding photographer based in Clarkston Michigan. I mostly photograph weddings, high school senior and business head-shots and branding photo sessions.
I usually receive an inquiry from a client and after the initial email I like to get through main talking points via phone call or in person meeting. My goal is to find out what my clients are looking for from the photo session, what are the photos going to be used for and address any questions or concerns they may have.
If both of us feel we are a good fit we schedule a date for the photo shoot and I get a deposit to hold the date.
Depending on the type of photo session, photo processing takes from day or two for a single head - shot to about two weeks for a wedding.
The client then is provided with the online gallery and gets to choose the photos and /or products that best fit their needs.
So here come some of the questions that I get quite frequently.
1. Can I just get all the RAW files?
The short answer is NO. But let me get through why - RAW files are the raw materials when it comes to photography. Just like a chef would not bring out food remnants when you get your dish at the restaurant, as a professional photographer I post process (prepare) my final images which are my final products like the prepared dish is the chefs final product.
The photos that "go out in the world" are also our reputation. And presenting my clients with the best of the best is just a good business practice.
While there are some photographers who are just starting out that offer RAW files, professional photographers don't.
2. Can I see the back of the camera?
YES. While the tiny screen really doesn't show the final image, I want to make sure that my clients get a peak at the back of my camera, so they have a general idea of what photos we are getting. I'd rather rephotograph a client from a slightly different angle that have them disappointed later that we didnt get the shot.
3. But how do I know if I'll like your editing?
The pre-consultation is the key. I'll be happy yo talk to you on the phone or meet your in person. I can send a sample of my work and options,
My general edit is- clean timeless edit. It mostly has minor tweaks and balances light.
When it comes to specific editing of scars, blemishes or overall contouring of body, those details are discussed prior to the photo shoot.
4. Can I get "THAT" look?
While most of my photos don't have a heavy filters, I have extensive experience in post-processing, lighting and photography that I can meet my clients needs.
From timeless balanced color scheme....
to modern vintage film look...
My goal is to tell YOUR STORY with photographs.
5. Can I just get digital files?
YES. My packages include few digital files. And if you choose to purchase any prints, the corresponding digital file is included for your personal printing as well. However you can purchase any additional digital files as well even if you don't purchase prints or other products.
So these are just the few most common circumstances I encounter.
For more details or questions please reach out to me. I'll be happy to talk to you over the phone or meet you in person.
Milk Bath photo sessions make my creative juices flow. Its fun to see the different opportunities to compose the image. We had such great fun with Grace in creating the images. Some were a bit moodier and some a bit more fun. I love the fresh bright flowers adding light and fresh feel to some of the images.
Creating fine are images gives me energy even for the photo sessions that have less creative freedom. Getting to work with lovely fun people and experimenting and having fun brings joy and some amazing memories.
Is your head-shot showing off your personality. I had a photo shoot with Abbi. And her photos ... well they tell a thousand words.
Abbi is a hair stylist and attention to detail definitely speaks to her brand. She is bold and determined, I love that it shows through the images.
And hay when you are having fun, you gotta show of your goofball side.
When night falls, mood changes. Finding light and molding it to create image you want adds a bit more challenge. On a trip to St Louis I got to photograph this beautiful girl and have some fun with beautiful lights hanging in trees.
This is the time when Michigan is blooming. A perfect time to get great senior photos with floral backgrounds.
Picking a great location that has both nature and architectural elements gave us a nice variety.
A senior Photo session is a great opportunity to showcase your personality and style. Bring a variety to your photo session. ( a quick insider tip - bring some layered options - jackets/ sweaters or scarves. And make sure you consider ease of changing - not all locations will have a place to change and often car will be your best option)
Morgen brought few clothing options and we picked lovely white dress and a floral top.
Get your senior photo session booked today - Ilze Lucero Photography 248.962.3686
There really is no shortcut... and being right doesn't get you a good review
Lets start by saying that I have been selling on Etsy for seven years now. After few years I ended up in several discussion forums on that site and for a good while I was in mentor group mostly specializing in customer service counseling and photography. As a side note a lot of my jobs in my past have been deeply rooted in customer service. And I truly believe that the only way a business can flourish is by providing great service to customers and taking care of its employees.
What surprised me the most when I received the requests for mentoring or resolving the problem, how little did the shop owner valued their time and piece of mind. They were willing to exchange countless messages with the customer just not to issue a refund which often times was below twenty dollars. And when I advised issuing a refund, moving on and concentrating on customers that do like their products, they sometimes argued that the customer is wrong.
What can I say - being right is not going to get you a good review. And as we now, when it comes to business, online reviews carry a lot of weight. So at one point my responses became questions.
How much was your item?
How long did it take to make you?
How much time have you spent conversing to your customer? ( in my experience, when it comes to problem resolution - the quicker the process, the better the result. I have not come across problems that got better with time)
Is the refund worth your peace of mind?
I had come to realize that when someone answers these questions, the answers present themselves. What most small creative businesses failed to anticipate is - there will be unhappy customers.
While mentoring group dissolved, now and then I still get questions and mentoring requests, but lately they have been - so how can I get my shop to earn money quickly? Whats the secret? But there is no secret, there is no shortcut. The online business just like good old fashion brick and mortar business means hustle, means planning and taxes.
So here is my Etsy story. I started on Etsy by making every mistake there was to make. I came across a knit item and a light bulb came on - I can make it, I can make it cheaper, and I can make some extra money, and its a global market place so surely there are a lot of customers who will find me. Right?
Well …. at the end of that year when I was done with my taxes - the numbers hit me like the brick wall. There were few things I had not accounted for - the supplies, the listing fees, the commissions, the shipping, the shipping supplies....the taxes... well... the list goes on. But my lack of planning did not stop there I decided to keep on going - I had inventory of items I've made and it needed to me sold, so I made another year of mistakes and the income at the end of the year was less than that of a Chinese worker. What I had failed at the most was planning. In hindsight... this was business 101, but I was an artist and creative, and I didn't realize I was in business. But I kept on going. And what really changed things for me is education, my love for learning. I looked at the data, and I made a plan.
I still have an Etsy store, but it is digital items only. If something doesn’t sell, the item gets archived. If customer has a question it gets answered as soon as possible. Because the only way to stay in business is to have a plan and have great service. There is no shortcut
Spring is here. Everything is blooming, and sprouting and growing. Spring is my favorite season and it comes with such great possibilities for photo sessions. I love photographing engagements, and senior photo sessions and weddings this time of year. There are so may options for color and background, so many chances to incorporate natures beauty.
There is something ethereal, something dreamy when something is submerged in milky muted water. Lately milk bath photo shoots are popular in for maternity sessions.
I decided to go more into the fashion / fine art direction. We tried a lighter fresher look with orchids, and then another option with darker top and eucalyptus branches.
I absolutely loved working with Annika. We had so may laughs during this photo shoot. It was the first time for both of us and I cant be happier with the results.
Ren Cen is such a wonderful location, with multiple locations to photograph. From very modern an raw cement walls, to softer light near the restaurant. And getting to go outside and seeing city as a background gives a great option for Detroit architecture lovers.
These two guys had fun on the the photo shoot.
I find that posing same sex couples worksbest when you flow of their energy, when they find their groove, and they feel their best. These guys had fun laughing and showing their personality.
love is love is love is love......
When you walk a path of life and someone walks alongside you, and they see yourgoal and they make it their own, you find this very special place of togetherness, a place of unity and a joint place of being. (Ilze Lucero)
Getting some fun senior pictures done for Braeden.
It is always fun when the senior brings gear for the sport they play or something that brings them joy.
This guy has worked hard on his fitness with weightlifting and football.
Senior pictures in Clarkston - 3 tips to make your senior session great.
1. Look your best -
- prep your clothes. Make sure they are wrinkle free. Consider several outfits. Have one that will show of your personality, your style and you feel comfortable in. Pick out a set that is neutral - maybe one light and one dark. If you play sports or play an instrument, bring it along. And the main thing- if you think you may want to have photo with something - bring it. The worst that can happen is you wont use it. That will save you from regret of not bringing something that would have been cool in pictures - bring a pet, bring you drama outfit or your sports equipment.
- Girls - get your hair and make-updone. Even if you don't wear a lot of make - up as part of daily routine, make sure you do your best even your skin tones and cover blemishes. Also mention to your photographer if you'd like any imperfections edited in post processing of your images.
Consider bringing a brush/comb and hairspray to combat last minute fly-aways.
2. Decide on location or locations.
Think on what showcases your personality the best. Urban and architectural appeal will give geometric shape and leading line opportunities for your images, while parks and fields will offer more of naturepresence. Consider picking clothing that will stand out in the environment that you choose.
When considering locations also keep in mind that some locations may require photography permit. So being prepared and doing your research ahead of time will take away any stress on your day of your senior photo session.
3. Have FUN
Show off your personality. Make it adventure.
Talk to your photographer, see what propsthey have. What style they shoot.
Here are some styled senior shoot suggestions:
- editorial shoot/ magazine shoot
- styled photo session - play it up , dress up, bring some props
- fine art photo session - create a fine art piece you'll want to hang on a wall or create photo book
I got to photograph this cute little model. Haley is a model and we tried out several outfits including parachute skirt and couple of cute dresses.
It was truly may pleasure working with this young lady in creating these amazing photos. While we photographed only for about an hour, we walked away with such a great variety of images.
Haley is represented by NOW Talent Management in St Louis MO
Hot to paint a backdrop? How to paint a backdrop on a budget? Few years ago I looked all over try and find a way to paint a photography backdrop, but I could not quite find something that spoke to me. I made some mistakes - learned a few lessons.
Number ONE - use flat paint .... FLAT PAINT ( chalk paint works great as well)
Number TWO - thin your house paint with water - otherwise your background will be really heavy
SO..... to start you will need tones of your choice in house paint in FLAT finish or Chalk Paint. Make sure to check out your stores OOPS section of paints people didnt like. I just used some left over from house work.
Also something to apply the paint with - roller, sponge, or bunched up plastic bag.
I used 9x12 Canvas Drop Cloth - I have also have painted clearance furniture fabric
If you'd like to keep your hands somewhat clean - vinyl gloves. you can get them in a pharmacy or Amazon
I also used plastic drop-cloth underneath my cotton drop-cloth that I will be painting
I wetted the canvas first, so the paint absorbs better.
For this backdrop, I did not want vignette, but using a bit darker tones around the edges can create vignetted look.
So Here is my quick video.
I used simple plastic shopping bag dipping in paint to create texture.
Your cost will differ based on what you have at home and what you can source.
And while I dream of some time in my life own an Oliphant backdrop, this budget version works great for me now.
I find that holding brand new tiny little human has a timeless magic. It that moment you feel as if you are entrusted with a little miracle, a little spark, that will grow and flourish with its own amazing quirks. This tiny little human will bring joy, and occasional tear ( life happens), and he will affect people around him in big ways and small. So when I hold a tiny little human, I see beyond the ability of tugging the heartstrings with a yawn or a smile, I see so much wonder.
Dance is the language of body - the soft sway, the gentle twist, the energy filled jump. Freezing the motion and capturing the moments of energy bring such joy to me. Dancers frozen in mid air as birds in mid flight. And on this glimpse is captured, that moment has fought the gravity.
And watching their bodies move, is just freezing art, art that their body creates, whit each twist, and each bend.