Monday, March 16, 2015

2 Tips for a Photogenic Wedding

2 Tips for a Photogenic Wedding

1) For your ceremony:
If possible, remove anything that could be distracting from the ceremony, or that could cause awkward photos (if possible).   For instance, take a look at where you plan to stand.  Will there be anything strange in the background?  Lets say you are having your ceremony outside in a field with a beautiful tree.  The tree is an obvious focal point and you think it would make a great spot for photos.  I agree!  But – don’t put the alter directly in front of the tree, otherwise in your photos, you will have a tree coming out of the tops of your heads! (sure, laugh a little… but it happens all the time!) Instead, place the alter to the side of the tree, centered in between the trunk and some nice branches and walk 20-35 feet forward (away from the tree, towards where the guests will be seated).  Now you will have a beautifully composed image, where the tree is in the background creating a lovely frame and you are in the foreground.  By placing yourself 20-35 feet in front of the tree and off to it’s side, you are allowing for photos that focus on you and don’t have a distracting tree.  Now you will have a beautifully out of focus tree, while you are clearly the reason the image was made.

Each ceremony is unique and all locations are unique too!  So, if you are unsure about setting up your space for the best possible photos, consult your photographer, as they will know best!

2) For your reception:
The cake table….  Put the cake table somewhere that has a pretty backdrop and allows the photographers to get behind it!  If you stick it in a corner, you will have a corner of a wall in your photos.  You will also have less than the most ideal photos of you cutting your cake, because your photographers will be scrunching behind the corner, or trying to stretch into ungodly yoga poses just to get the best shot!

Consider placing your cake table somewhere in the middle of the room!  This may sound totally strange and out of the ordinary, but hey, it is your wedding and you do what you want!  Benefits of a cake table in the middle of the room somewhere – A) easy access.  B) easily viewed by everyone.  C) Best scenario for photos of you cutting the cake! 
 
With the cake in the middle of the room somewhere, your photographers can get pictures of you cutting the cake, and the guests getting excited about it too!  If the cake is in a corner, they can get you cutting the cake, but the wall isn’t quite as excited about the event…


Good luck planning!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Top 5 Things Meg Learned at Imaging USA 2015

Imaging USA was an awesome and business-changing event for the hubs and me.  We learned so much, and we really wanted to share some of our favorite lessons, in hopes that we could talk some fence-riders into attending next year.  After all, while we love to work with each other, we also love to network and learn from new people too!

***Disclaimer:  Tim is the PPA member.  Meg is totally unaffiliated with Imaging USA, and this post is not sponsored by them in any way.

So here you go, the Top 5 Things Meg Learned at Imaging USA 2015:

  1. The hubs and I are not at the bottom of the barrel like we thought we were.  We're actually off to a good start.  This was super refreshing to find out.  It was also super nice to have validation for what we're trying to do.
  2. If you want to be in it to win it, you have to keep learning.  Even the "masters" were discussing personal/professional development books they had read and classes recently taken.  As a "lifelong learner", I appreciate this.
  3. Dream big!  Some of the biggest names in photography had humble beginnings - just like us!  It's okay to dream big, as long as you develop a game plan to get you there.
  4. Figure out your workflow.  As an entrepreneur (and a human), you should you manage your time efficiently and effectively.  By doing so, you can get your work done and have more time for your family, your non-work-related-passions, and yourself!
If you're thinking about going to Imaging USA or another personal/professional development conference, please give a shout out below.  We'd love to hear from you!

Peace, Love, & Craftiness,

Meg

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Truth About Digital Files

The topic of Digital Files in the photography industry is HOT HOT HOT!

To give the files, or to not give the files.... that is the question!

Lets take a few things into consideration.
  1. As a photographer, it is my job to provide clients with products and services that meet and exceed their expectations.  I need to provide clients with images on a medium that respects the art, and shows off each image's best features, as that is how they should expect their images to be displayed in their homes.
  2. Printed media (when done properly) will last a lifetime.  Real, light sensitive photographic paper, such as Silver Halide, has an image stability rating of 100+ years.
  3. Printed media lives in the real world.  You walk by it as it hangs on your walls with no need to push the "on" button and wait for a hard drive and screen to fire up!
  4. Digital Files must be updated every few years in order to keep up with advancing technology.  Do you really think that in 2050 your disc of images will be readable... or that cd/dvd players will even exist?  Unless you stay up to date on your digital file technology, your images will most likely fall behind the times.  Photographers, like myself, have invested thousands and thousands of dollars into data security and longevity, as it is certainly possible to keep up with advancing technologies, and to store images safely in the digital medium.  Unfortunately, a CD, or DVD just isn't the way. So, if the client really wants to drop the cash for a multi-tiered RAID5 hard drive enclosure filled with solid state drives, a dedicated clone drive, a 2nd backup system for all that, off-site data storage, and cloud storage, all at the same time for each single file... then it is just way safer to print their images.
  5. Printed media just looks better.  Images that are viewed on a screen are inherently backlit from the monitor, so they will never look like they do when printed.  When an image is printed on real honest to goodness photographic paper, like Silver Halide, the image quality, detail, and vibrancy is unarguably better than any current technology's ability to present it on a digital screen.  4K has nothing on 100 year old photographic paper technology!  
  6. Clients often aren't really sure why they want digital files.  It somehow became the "standard", so that's what they want.  Wedding planning magazines often give brides a list of questions to ask their photographer with a set of expected answers.  Every smart phone has a camera, which enables everyone to be hands-on with digital files on a daily basis.  Here is the truth:  
  7. What they WANT is the security of all their images, the ability to view them when they want, and the option to share digital files on social media.  It is my job as a photographer to educate clients regarding the fact that printed images are more valuable, have a longer life, and are what they really "want".  Sharing images on social media is great!  But, how long are you going to keep up with curating your digital gallery? 10 years?  25 years? 50 years?  
  8. The safest bet is for a client to have their favorite images printed, even if digital files come with their package.  I'm not saying that as photographers, we should not give out digital files.  What I am saying is that we should be doing our best to give clients the longest lasting, most beautifully represented versions of their precious memories.
  9. Printed images literally gain value over time.  How much would you value your printed wedding album in 10, 25, 50, or even 70 years?  As time marches on, you will love your printed images more and more, and the book soon becomes a priceless piece of family history.  for future generations to enjoy.  Do you really think you will pass down a dvd of your wedding photos to your grandchildren?
  10. Digital files should only be used as backups of the printed originals, just like in the days of film (gasp)!  A digital file is really just a piece of the puzzle which is used to create the real artwork.  They should not be considered the meat and potatoes of imagery products.  Sure, digital files are here to stay and are necessary to create prints.  But do clients really know where to go to get quality prints?  Not to mention, as professional photographers, we have access to labs that cater only to professional photographers - which makes digital files nearly useless to a client.

So there we have it!  Lots and lots to digest.  I could be right, I could be wrong – all I know is that my goal is to give my clients the very best products to display their images on and a computer screen has nothing on real photographic paper, canvas, or metal prints.


3 Tips to Get Kids Smiling for Photos!

I've done many photo sessions and have many many tricks for getting smiles out of kids.  Today I'm going to share with you 3 of my top tips for getting kiddos to show their beautiful beaming smiles!





  1. Pick comfy clothes!  -  If the clothes you picked are new with tags, remove the tags!  Tags are itchy!  If there is anything uncomfortable about the outfit they will be distracted and have a much shorter attention span for the shoot.
  2. Go someplace fun! - Kids are kids.  Let them be kids.  Go somewhere that they are familiar with, and comfortable, like the park!  Then let them have fun!
  3. Keep things positive! - Whatever you do... do not under any circumstances give the kid an ultimatum.  What do you think happens if you threaten a kid with something like, "Smile, or NO McDonalds", or "Smile, or I'll spank your rear end!".  Yep... that will stop smiles for the rest of the session.  Instead, lets re-direct the kids to something else - maybe they just need a breather from the camera - which is totally okay!  Or, you could start a fun activity, or give them something fun to play with.  I'm not saying that if the child is mis-behaving that you should drop any form of structure that you have in place - I'm just saying that an ultimatum of smile or else is going to flatten your chances of success!
There we have it!  I hope these tips can help you take better photos of your kiddos! 


-Tim

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Perfect Match

Finding the perfect match between you and your photographer is ideal.  It is important to feel a connection with the person you are trusting to create the images of your special day and to value what they are doing for you.

For these reasons we don't list our pricing formula publicly.  We want our customers to shop for us not a price.  Our price could be higher, lower, or the same as other places they are looking, but we don't want them making a decision for their most important day based on a "good deal", or the idea of "if it costs more it must be better", as neither of those mind-sets are geared towards what is really important when choosing a wedding photographer.

We've seen companies charge double our highest rates, then hire low-cost help (aka, amateur photographers), give them a camera and let them go to town... the results?  Not good.  There was no personal connection... no love, nothing to really make the images special.  It was just a business transaction and that's all the bride and groom will ever feel about their wedding images.  We've also seen places that charge rates so low that it seems to good to be true.  If it seems to good to be true... it usually is!  If a wedding price is so low that it hasn't even reached the ball-park, then there is real concern for quality, professionalism and longevity of any (if any) finished products included.

We want our clients to make their photography decision based on trust, value, and love.  The only way to create these three key elements is to meet with the potential client first and let them tell us about their wedding day.  It is important that we get to know each other, share similar values and tastes, and feel comfortable with each other.  By the time that the wedding date arrives, our clients are so familiar and happy to see us, that they have zero concern for how their images will turn out.  They just know the results will be what they dreamed for!  And with a mind-set like that, the likelihood of having the opportunity to photograph a happy glowing bride & comfortable smiling groom becomes very high.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The ONE Thing Brides Often Forget To Plan For

I get to help lots of brides with wedding planning, and it is so much fun!  I've had the opportunity to help organize everything from the flow of timelines, to reception hall lay-outs, to center piece design & build, and everything in between.  The best advice I can give a bride (this is for ANY bride - even if they aren't booking me a as their photographer) is to plan to invest in a wedding album.

An album will gain value over the years.  Think about it...  in a year's time, your album will be worth more to you than when you first got it.  In 5 years time, it will double, or even triple it's value to you.  In 10 years, your album will be right up there with your engagement ring.  Lets take a jump to 75 years!  In 75 years, what would you value your album at?  How could you attach a monetary association to it... by that time it is a priceless piece of your history, a family heirloom, a visual story book of your most valued day - an irreplaceable item.

What other piece from your wedding will literally gain value after your wedding?

So, when you are planning your wedding, talk to your photographer and find out if he/she makes an album.  If so, pick their brain about its quality. Ask questions, like - Is it printed with real light-sensitive photographic paper, or is it a press album from an inkjet?  Is the paper archival/museum quality?  What is the rated image stability for these materials, under what kind of conditions?  Find out what the rated life of the cover materials are, and then ask the photographer why they choose those materials to construct their albums.

The next step is to plan the album a little bit, so that you and your photographer can determine the level of investment you will be making.  A timeless, well-built wedding album has lots of design time, high quality materials, hand-construction, and a team of seasoned professionals working together to build it, so you should expect the album to be a highly valued product.

Thanks, and I hope this article gives you some insight for planning!

Comments, Shares, Likes Welcome!

-Tim





5 Ways We Make Great Images and Stay in Business

Often, beginning photographers ask us for help.  They want to know the “secrets” of being wedding photographers, and how to use photography to better their own lives.
We have a few core values that we run our business on.  It’s really quite simple.  Now, don’t confuse simple with hard work – this isn’t a get rich quick industry, and it takes time and dedication.

1. Showing Love
Our mission is to show love through imagery.  We strive to improve and deepen relationships by creating images of emotional, loving moments and providing the most beautiful ways to display them as visual reminders of those bonds.
After all...love.  It is why you get married.  It is why you are inviting family and friends to your most emotional and intimate day.  It is why you wake up in the morning.  It is why your relationship with each other is so strong.  It is how you get through tough times.  It is why you celebrate the best of times.  It is what you have found with your soulmate that keeps you together.  It is that blessed moment when a new life is born. It is how you remember those who have moved on.  It is why you display images in your home.

2. Showing Love
            We take pride in showing love to our clients, whether it’s a hand-written thank you note, a check-in phone call, or going well beyond their expectations.  We challenge ourselves to show our clients as much love as possible.

3. Showing Love
            We like to give.  We may do simple acts, like give another vendor images of them doing something amazing (so they can showcase their own work), or donate to various charities, or sponsor local events.  We figure, if we did well enough that we have more than we need, then we are in a position to give to someone else in need – it is a very good feeling!

4. Showing Love
            It is important to show love to yourself.  If you forget to do this or you don’t think that taking care of yourself is important, think again.  In order to do step 5, you must do step 4.  Example:  Have you ever been on an airplane?  Take notice that on an airplane, when they go through the safety procedures, the very first step for every individual is to take care of themselves first, and then help someone else.  It is quite simple!  If you haven’t taken care of yourself, then you haven’t put yourself into a position that allows you to help others.
            We show love to ourselves by doing two simple things.  One: we will never work for less than we are worth, as our dedication to expertise deserves compensation, just as our clients deserve our absolute best.  Two: we separate business and home life, as it is necessary for us to recharge our personal batteries as well! 

5. Showing Love
            We show love to our family.  It is vital that we are happy on a personal level.  Otherwise, unhappiness would bleed into the business, which would lead to unhappy customers, which would in turn lead to the demise of our business.  To show love to our family, we follow step two from above: we separate business and home life.  We do this by dedicating time for family, and planning vacation time.  We understand the value of family – it is why we make images! 

Obviously, there are more intricate details involved with running a successful business; however, if you begin with these 5 values at your core, you will be off to a great start.

Thanks for reading, and we hope you can take something away from this!

Comments, shares, and likes appreciated!   

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Psychology of Looking Good

So - you have a love/hate relationship with pictures?  You love to look at portrait sessions of friends and family members, but you feel that you do not look as good as someone else.

I've been there.

Yep - this photographer used to HATE having his own picture taken.  Like many, I was self-conscious of my body.  I'm a chicken armed, beer bellied, bad postured, fat-lipped mess!  Or at least that's what I saw when I looked at my own photo.  You know what the truth is?  No one else cares what I think of myself, because they see me as a person, not a model in a magazine ad.  Once I figured that out, I stopped caring how I looked physically in an image.

To the right is a selfie I made last year.  If I cover up my face, and force myself to look at the image as if it isn't of myself, then I am able to see that I don't look like a sloppy mess.  Granted... this image hides any beer belly with a black shirt, shadows, and a tenor sax...(which I may have done intentionally)  But really, no one looking at pics of me cares, or knows that I hated my own image.  All they see is some dude rocking out with a tenor sax and a sweet beard (which my wife made me shave bt dubs).

So how does one get over the self-conscious aspect of seeing their own photo?

Stop being selfish!  Realize this: You have your photo taken for more than yourself...  It is for your family.  For me, I had to become a daddy to realize this (even though I'm a professional photographer, and tell these things to clients often).  I had to realize that photos of me are for my daughter, because I will not be around forever.  Lets be real - death is part of life, and one day it will get me.  Who ever is left is going to want (at least I hope...) images to stir up good memories, and they aren't going to care that I thought my lips were fat and my arms were too skinny. 

So, me not letting my image be created is a selfish act, where I am taking future memories away from my daughter.  Once this hit me, all my cares about having my photo taken melted away.  Now I embrace the opportunity, and just remember that the person looking at my photo cares about it more than I do, and that is more important than me caring about my imperfections.

Other people love you, so don't be selfish!  It will put a smile on someone else, and that's more important than your own feelings about your physical appearance.  


Thanks for reading,

Comments & Stories welcome!



Most Important Gear.

I am often asked, "Tim, what is your favorite piece of gear?"

Well - yesterday I got asked a new one!  "Tim, what is your most important piece of gear?" 
So, I thought about it for a minute.  I realized that there is no camera, lens, flash, or light modifier that is more important than one thing.  That thing is me.  NOT that I'm implying that I am a tool ;) (Though I do have a ridicules shirt that says "Tim's tools, if you need a tool, grab Tim's!") 

I could use a polaroid camera, disposable film camera from the local pharmacy, or even my iPhone, and I know that I could make great meaningful images.  There is just no piece of equipment more important than the artist's vision, and skill for creating it - which comes from lots of hard work, experience, and dedication.  I may pack a bunch of gear, and have many tools at my disposal, but ultimately the image is made by me, not a camera.

With all that being said - there are some other things that far out trump a good camera.  For instance - Lighting.   A camera can only record what you put in front of it - and therefore it is essential that the subject is lit in a beautiful way.  Thats why I pack flash equipment, study the use of light every day, and am always looking for the best way to pose a person or object in light that reveals their beauty.

What else is more important than a camera? -  The Lens.   Like I said above, the camera can only record what is in front of it.  So, slap on a nice piece of glass!  If you have a 10k camera body and a $50 lens, what do you think will happen?   I'd take quality glass on a crappy body over the reverse any day!

One more thing that is more important than the camera... Your subject/pose (which I guess comes back around to you being the most important part of making an image).  If you pose your subject terribly, guess what!  No camera/lens/lighting combo will make them look good.  If you pose your subject beautifully, then you could use a disposable camera and make a better image over the previous sentence!

So - there we have it!  Shoot me questions & comments, let me know what you think!

:)



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Local Photographers Attend International Photographic Convention

Local Photographers Attend International Photographic Convention
Big things in store for clients of Tim Walck Photography

Coudersport, PA – Tim & Meg of Tim Walck Photography in Coudersport expanded their skills by attending Imaging USA, the longest running professional photographic convention and expo in the United States.  They joined thousands of industry professionals attending this event February 1-3 in Nashville, Tenn.

“This was a great experience for our studio.  We are believers in consistent, continuous education and the development of our craft.  We made many new connections, including a few world-class photographers, and formed alliances with product crafters, and photographic equipment distributers. 

Our clients can expect to see an expansion in our unique product line this year, as well as some exciting new event coverage options.”
-       Tim Walck studio owner

“Over the years, we have attended many conventions, but the highlight of each year was and still is attending Imaging USA,” adds former PPA President, Tim Walden.  “The education everyone has access to here is nearly unlimited, from speaker after speaker presenting their messages, to when friends come together and share.”

Photography classes focused on different specialties and tricks of the trade, geared toward improving business and photographic skills, including a slate of classes sponsored by Adobe on how to better use those software tools.  Imaging USA featured presentations from some of the biggest names in the industry, including Thom Rouse, Hanson Fong, Russ Harrington, Kareem Black and more.  

Education expanded beyond the classrooms at Imaging USA, too.  The Imaging Expo tradeshow highlighted hundreds of the industry’s leading vendors showcasing their products, and the Walcks were able to watch product demos and pick vendors’ brains for the best solutions.

“We have had a few ideas for product innovations and things we would like to offer our clients that are 100% unique.  At the expo, we were able to build relationships with professional imaging craftsmen and share these ideas.  We are very excited to see where we go from here,” says Tim.

For Tim and Meg Walck, the education and inspiration gained at Imaging USA will benefit clients in the coming year.  “This year we will be improving our workflow to provide an even speedier delivery of finished products.  On a totally different note, we will be offering more educational opportunities at our shop and in the community, because we both love to teach and help others.  We have never been this excited for a new year in business”, says studio owner, Tim Walck.


About Imaging USA
Imaging USA is the longest running national photographic convention, expo and image exhibition in the United States, drawing thousands of professionals from around the world.  Dating back to 1880, when it began as the annual convention and trade show for Professional Photographers of America (PPA, www.ppa.com), the event is always growing and evolving.  Major components of Imaging USA are the three-day Imaging Expo   Imaging USA’s renowned educational classes are geared to improve a photographer’s business skills, photographic repertoire and use of technologies.  For more information, visit www.ImagingUSA.org.
tradeshow, several all-inclusive parties and presentations by some of the biggest names in the photographic industry.

About Professional Photographers of America (PPA)
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international non-profit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers.  Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA has roots back to 1869.  It has never stopped growing and looking for new ways to assist its now 27,000 members through protection, education and resources for their continued success in the industry.  See why photographers love PPA at www.ppa.com .

Contact: Tim Walck Photography
(814) 260-0323