Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Guide To YOUR Perfect Portrait

Specializing in fine portraits of Families, Children and high school Seniors for over 30 years in Hawaii.

Once upon a time, (just the other day, actually...)

I just wanted to write that as the beginning...I don't have anything to go with that start to a story or blog, but it's been holding up my thoughts, so I figured I should let it out and move on!

OK, now that my latest book, "The Guide To YOUR Perfect Portrait" has been released, (and is available at Createspace.com, Amazon.com, Barnsandnoble.com, a number of businesses here on Oahu, and through me),  I thought I should clear up a few things about the book.

I've come to know that the title isn't as clear to some people as I hoped it would be. After all the title actually took longer for me to settle on than the actual contents of the book! So here's the reason I wrote the book... As a professional portrait photographer, and one who specializes in Family Portraits, I have a special appreciation for the value of family portraits.

People have always been favorite subjects for my art. I started out as a very young child drawing and painting people...Copying photographs I saw in books of paintings and sculptures, and drawing portraits of family members. I gravitated to photography in junior high school when I was given a beautiful medium format camera.

Of course pretty girls were my favorite to photograph, and certainly I widened out my scope and began photographing lots of different things including sports events and landscapes. Eventually I started my own photography business in which I did just about every kind of photography there is above water.

Then my dad died. That's when I discovered no one in my family had any photographs of our whole family...portraits or snapshots. And that's when I decided to specialize in Family Portraits.

(That's the background...) Around the year 2000, I had an apprentice working with me who had bought a nice DSLR and wanted to learn photography...the EASY way...That is, by hanging around with a pro and asking a bunch of questions. Well, that's fine, but, hey, take a little more initiative than that, will ya?!

It was shortly after that when I began to notice that every "soccer mom" with a nice DSLR was now trying to make a little extra income by offering their photography services for hire! Again, nothing wrong with that...as far as that goes. 

Here's the problem...It's so easy to create a website these days, and if you make enough photographs in Program mode, (that is with the camera set to Program where it makes all the decisions except when to press the shutter release button), most folks will likely get a few pretty darn good photographs! And you can the post those good ones to your website.

Now you have some nice photographs on your website, and you're offering photography for hire. Most people looking for a photographer to create portraits for them just don't know what to ask potential photographers except, "What do you charge?" And that's really the last question one should ask! 

Now, I'm not one to discourage anyone from enjoying the experience of making photographs! Or from entering the wonderful profession of photography, but in order to call oneself a professional photographer, I feel it is required that one has knowledge and understanding of the science and art of photography...not just how to frame an image and press the button! Creating portraits after all is quite a bit more than "point and shoot"!

Now, as a professional I understand that it is part of my job to educate my clients, and potential clients. More than that, it pains me to see and know that so many people are really being scammed and taken advantage of by amateur hobbyists pretending to be professional photographers. Not that all those amateurs are scamming and taking advantage deliberately, but whether they are or not, it's still the client who suffers. They end up with snapshots instead of Portraits, and they're out the money they could've used to hire a real professional...IF they knew the right questions to ask in the first place.

So that's the main reason I wrote "The Guide To YOUR Perfect Portrait".  Additionally, in my career I've had the privilege and pleasure of creating the very first real portraits for many people and families. So I know that must be the case for many fine folks who wind up hiring an amateur instead of a professional. And these nice folks don't know what to expect from a professional portrait experience, because they've never had the experience before! 

"The Guide To YOUR Perfect Portrait" explains what a client should expect from a professional photographer and the whole portrait experience. It describes what a Portrait is, and what goes in to creating a portrait, and what differentiates a Portrait from a snapshot. There's a whole chapter on the questions to ask when interviewing potential photographers, so you can separate the Pros from the Pretenders. There are also chapters on portrait finishes, display options, and even how to care for your Family Art Treasures.

Of course, what is a "Perfect Portrait" for me may be different than what a "Perfect Portrait" is for you. So "The Guide" also helps the reader to determine what it is that will fill their personal need in the way of portraiture. All in all, I believe the small investment in the book will save the reader a lot of wasted money and a lot of aggravation! 

Next time I'll share some of the important questions that will enable anyone to separate the Pros from the Pretenders! Meantime...Keep smiling!   ALOHA!

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