Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Win a Custom Photo Session from SWP!

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Now through Memorial Day, enter to win a special Custom Portrait Package. 

Your custom session includes: 
  • Professional Hair and Make-up 
  • A pre-consultation (where we'll plan your wardrobe) 
  • Half a day of pampering and session time 
  • A digital app of the images you purchase! 

Be as creative as you want, from Old Hollywood to Family Fun at the Beach. 

These sessions are a perfect way to treat yourself or someone you love to something special. This prize, includes a Gift Voucher valued at $350 (Which covers not only your session fee but includes a $100 credit that can be used towards your print purchase.)

Your gift certificate package comes in one of these pretty Suzi Worley Photography Tote Bags. The 13" x 5" x 13" Chocolate Tote is perfect for carrying your images, a mini market run, or a petite picnic with a French baguette and bottle of your favorite wine.

 Just select your choice of a Family or Couture Session, and enter to win below!  Good luck!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Old Hollywood Glam

I realize I've fallen behind in my blogging, and have so much to share.
I won't overwhelm you with all of it right away, but perhaps I can be a little more consistent. 

The following images are from an Old Hollywood session we did last year.    

I really loved the lighting we used to crate these looks, and miss Megan completely owned the session!   
Does't she look amazing?
A hint of Vivian

Gorgeous in Gold

A hint of Maleficent

Channeling Ava
We had such a fun time, and I loved all of the different looks we ended up with!   
I can't wait to do another session of this kind again soon.  If it were you, which "Old Hollywood" actress would you channel?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treat?

It's one of my favorite holidays today, and I love dressing up, pouring a glass of wine, and watching "Nightmare Before Christmas" as I wait for the handful die-hard parents with their young trick-or-treaters. I'm glad that there are a few who still hold on to the tradition of going door to door to visit their neighbors. I love hearing the children's excited comments and laughter as they head down the street in the hopes of more treats than tricks.

 Do you dress up for Halloween as well? Or do you leave it to the younger generation? I fear that
sometimes we get all caught up in the "busyness" of the season we forget to embrace the magic, and instead start worrying about all of the things we have "to do". I know I'm guilty of it, and until recently had a habit of being over connected with technology to the point where my husband started referring to my iPhone as "my boyfriend". (She's a girl, but I got the point.)

Sometimes we become so connected with the aps and programs that are supposed to save us time, we forget why the tools were created in the first place. (To take care of things so we can spend the time in the "real world".) I see so many parents on their phones while their children are going door to door, or at the park, or as a radio persona said on Wednesday. "I'm bummed my son has a swim meet today, as I want to watch the Giant's. But thanks to my internet provider's App on my phone, I can watch the game and still cheer on little Johnny." 

That's when I realized that in the essence of multitasking and saving time, we've shifted our priorities from people to our phones. Why not take Johnny out of the meet and watch the game together? Otherwise, be present for Johnny's event, so that when he looks up he'll see you cheering him on, versus the top of your head because you're looking at your phone.

My wish for you as we enter the holiday season is that you live in the moment, and experience the magic. Put down your phone and truly experience your children's reactions of the witch that opens the door, or discovering the house with the full sized candy bars. And so that when they look to you they see you're looking right back at them. Leave your phone in your purse while you're at the park or visiting Santa.

I've started distancing myself from my phone, and I'm finding it's liberating!  I didn't realize how dis-connected I was.  I also found it's really easy to get sucked back in to your old patterns too!  So if you decide to do the same, let me know, as I'd love to hear how it goes.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ten Things You May Not Realize About Professional Photography

I've fallen behind in my posting lately, but my focus has been elsewhere. :-)  In front of the camera to be more exact.  I recently celebrated my second anniversary in business, and  over the past year, I have learned that there are quite a few misconceptions about photography and photographers, and I thought I'd list my current Top 10.

  1. It's not all about the gear.  Don't get me wrong, professional gear is designed to capture the best images possible, and does help with creating a quality product and print.  But if you don't know how to use it, and how to pose the people in front of it, or you leave your camera on Auto all of the time, all of the latest gear in the world isn't going to help you capture great images.  At the end of the day it's the person behind the camera that makes the difference.
  2. Some studio photographers are just paid to push a button!  Did you know that quite a few of the Mall and Chain Studio photographers aren't allowed to change the settings on the camera?  True Story! The settings, distance, lighting, and poses are all pre-set beforehand.  I learned this recently, and was quite surprised.  Most of these studios don't require any special training to use the equipment, instead all of their training is focused getting people in and out quickly, and selling as many packages as possible. 
  3. Consumer Print Labs aren't always consistent or archival.  If you want your photos to look their best and last a lifetime, ask your photographer to print the photos with their professional print lab.  Be sure to do your research, as you could still find your photographer picking up your prints at your local discount warehouse store. And their "too good to be true" print price, probably was just that.
  4. Hobby Photographers are a bargain for a reason.  Taxes, business licences, and overhead usually mean your photographer is in this for the long haul.  Yes, their prices reflect this, but they're also usually there for you a year down the line when you want to capture more photos, or want something reprinted for Great Gram.  If the hobbyist is still around, their prices have likely raised to reflect their actual cost of doing business.
  5. Digital is cheap.  Not necessarily, I just spent another $400 on back-up equipment to store my client's files, and I have a redundant system in case something happens to one of the hard drives.  The editing software used to "Develop" the RAW files is also a cost many don't consider.   While it seems in theory that all one need to do is "snap a picture and burn it to CD". Editing, storing, and printing these images is actually rather time consuming and can get expensive quick.  Not to mention most professional lenses are about $1,000 or more each! There's actually a lot more that goes on behind the scenes to create your images than you may realize.
  6. The photos on their Website aren't always theirs.  This is a new one but has happened more often than I realized.  New photographers "save" images from the websites of photographers they like, and then put them on their website as "representations" of what they can do!  The other time this happens is a little less sneaky. Many larger photo studios have multiple photographers working for them, so if you see an image or style you like, ask which photographer in the studio took it, so you're sure to get the person who captured the look you're going for.
  7. A good photographer is always learning.  Fashion, styles, technology and products are changing constantly, and a good photographer evolves with the market.  From classes, to magazines and books, your photographer is likely spending a good deal of their time (and budget) behind the scenes preparing for your session.  In today's market, albums aren't just for weddings, and prints are making a huge comeback, as customers are tired of loosing their images on the "cloud" and want something tangible. Another interesting "development" is that 5x7's and 8x10 sized images are falling away to custom sized prints and products! 
  8. Your files aren't always safe on the cloud. (or your hard-drive, or USB, or SD Card)  It's easy to loose data, or have the technology expire. Will your children have access to the passwords and information you've lovingly stored on the cloud or on your phone?  Or will those images be lost in a hard-drive crash, data breach, or technology update?  Printed images are often the only things that get passed down to future generations.
  9. Cookies aren't currency.  While some photographers may work in exchange for cookies, or trade for services, they can't do it all of the time! (and stay in business)  Trading and bartering is great, but it must be something of value to both parties.   
  10. We might not be the best person for the job. Our goal is to make you look and feel beautiful, but we need your help.  If you have a style you like, or a certain look you are going for let us know.  A good photographer will tell you if this is something they can do, and if not they can often refer you to someone that can. Some photographers specialize in one area, or they may have a personality trait that clashes with your family.  Finding a photographer that you feel comfortable with is just as important as the images you wish to capture.  
And there you have it, my current top Ten, I hope this helped you start thinking about questions to ask your photographer before booking a session.  As well as start thinking about getting some of your favorite pictures off the "cloud" and in print form!  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Planning a Session with My Girls

As many of you know I have two Senior (30-year-old) horses. A palomino Quarter Horse I've had since she was a day old and a little white Arab that I bought a few years before my Hubs and I were married.  (approx 17 years or so ago)
My girl, on Instagram.
Since horses usually live to be 25-30 I know that my time with them is growing shorter, I just don't like acknowledging it.  I mentioned before I needed to take some images with them but it has been way too easy to make excuses on not scheduling something... primarily that I should get in better shape, followed by I should use the $ for something else, to my girls need to shed out, to I know could take them myself with a self timer, etc...
There's a reason you usually only see feet shots of me, and it's called  my hips do lie.
Last week I really thought I was going to have to put my little Arab down, and it made me realize I needed to stop making excuses and just do it!  So I took advantage of the little bit of extra time I've been given, and on Mother's Day I met with another photographer, to have some images taken of me with my girls.

Despite many a lost toenail and bruised toe, t
he Iowa farm-girl in me still wears flip-flops on occasion to see the girls.
(Seriously not wise if you like your feet.)
Digging their tack out of storage, just in case I wanted to use it in a few shots, I spent Saturday giving it a good cleaning and conditioning.  My office now smells of Lexol and leather, and just makes me happy when I enter it, as it reminds me of show season and spring.
My favorite halter purchased when my palomino was just two years old.  (It still fits!)
Then there was the matter of picking out outfits for me, and finding the right accessories.  I pinned some inspiration on Pinterest, and then put together my story boards so I had a basic idea of what I'd like to accomplish.   Packing all of my outfits, and labeling my jewels so I'd be ready to go on the day, since I knew that it'd be a busy one!
Rough sketches of poses and outfit choices...
Sunday Morning (Mother's Day) I headed to Safeway in the hopes of picking up Daisies and Alstroemeria Lilies for their mane and tails.  Unfortunately I discovered most men were busy shopping for flowers on Mother's Day and it was a madhouse!  There were no daisies or lilies, only roses, orchids, and mums, and a bunch of confused looking "Dads"!  It ended up being a good thing as I resorted to using flowers from our yard, Pittosporum, Jasmine, Chamomile, Yarrow, dried Red Roses, Mexican Sage, Hearts & Flowers Ice Plants, and a few others.

Flower cuttings from our yard.
My white mare received the pink, purple, red and white flowers above as they just fit her princess personality so much.  My palomino received arrangements made of the pretty golden flowers below, as they reminded me of the goldenrod and daisies in the Iowa fields where she grew up..
Trailing Jasmine, Yarrow, Chamomile, and Heats & Flowers for their "hair".
With the exception of my WPPI adventure mentioned in my newsletter, the last time I was front of another photographer's camera was years ago!  I had forgotten how nerve-wrecking it is.  The getting ready, the hopes that the images will turn out,  the wishes for a good hair day, etc. It's especially nerve wrecking when you add two horses who weren't that interested in putting their ears forward, or posing for that matter.  It's pretty much the equivalent of trying to pose two 1000+ pound 2-year-olds!
Love the hoof outlines from the pretty polish we used.
The flowers looked so pretty in their tails, it is usually a pretty bright white when washed, but the Cali drought put a damper on that this year. :-S The spots of longer hair on her golden coat is from the Cushings Disease, I thought about cutting it all off, but it documents this stage of her life, and so I left it as is.

After 30 years, my Mares are used to almost anything!
These iPhone images of what went on before the session, as I made it a point to not take any during the it. So I didn't' get many of my little white Arab as once the photographer arrived, I was too busy reapplying my lipstick, doing yoga poses while attempting to change in a dusty barn, struggling to keep the wind from destroying my super fine hair, and striving to pose properly next to my girls, who were much more interested in pretty much anything but the camera. 
My little Arab, wondering out my Palomino and husband are up to.
I am glad I used flowers from our yard instead of purchased ones, as it will make the images even more special.  These needed to be arranged a bit more, but she was so interested in what was happening, I had to take a quick picture. It's so rare to have my Tim at the ranch, who was there to help hold the "toddlers", run for carrots and cookies, and try to remind me to bring my chin forward.  He refers to himself as the "Minion" on photo shoot days.
My girl and my hubs.
My little girl is wondering what's so interesting about her tail!  She's so sweet, and just a few weeks from her 30th birthday.  It's hard to believe so much time has gone by, as it seems like just yesterday I was able to throw on a saddle and head off into the hills, or over a few jumps. They have it pretty good, lounging in the pasture, and enjoying treats and an occasional flower in their hair, although I do wonder sometimes if they miss our adventures through the hills as much as I do.

As I wait for the photographer to process the images, I am again in my client's shoes, hoping that my "toddlers" behaved just long enough to obtain some images that I can cherish for generations.  (and that she managed to capture my good side as well) :-)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Got Roses?

Growing up in an Iowa farming family, always meant a trip to the garden, and it seemed even if you didn't live on a farm, almost everyone I knew had a rosebush or two somewhere in their yard.  When I went to High School we had work/study programs through the Ag class.  I chose to work at a local florist/greenhouse and had such fun and learned so much about the care of different flowers and plants, and thanks to an amazingly busy Valentine's Day, the secrets to arranging roses.  (For Mother's Day the favorite was vintage tea cup arrangements.)
Arrangements from our Garden
So when my friend Gina asked me to talk about my garden for some upcoming blog posts, I felt one on cutting and arranging roses would be appropriate.  Head on over to Gina's blog, Kleinworth and Co. to check out the entire article, and say hello.  Gina is always posting wonderful crafts and recipes, and takes some amazing sunset and scenery images too!
My newborn basket has been re-purposed for roses.

P.S. There's still time to enter my Mother's Day giveaway!!! And I'm almost at 200 likes on FB... so if you haven't shared the love, please do! :-)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Just in Time for Mother's Day

If you're a mom, or have a special one you'd like to honor, 
there are only two more weeks until Mother's Day!
If your plans are letting the kids take over the kitchen to create breakfast in bed,
why not add a little something extra just in case the toast gets burnt?
There's nothing wrong with hedging your bets. 
So now through Saturday, May 10th,
enter to win a special Mother's Day gift package,
and give her a gift that will last a lifetime.

This gift prize, includes your choice of a family or contemporary couture Gift Voucher valued at $350
(Which covers not only your session fee but includes a $100 credit that can be used towards your print purchase.)
For clients that have had a session within the last 6 months, and would rather win a prize, they may substitute the Gift Voucher for a 12" x 18" wrapped canvas print using one of their session images!
It's just my little gift for all of the Mom's out there.
Of course if you'd like avoid the crowds and stay close to home you can always Purchase a Certificate 
or Book a Session to capture your family in 2014, so she has something to hang on her walls long after the burnt toast smell has gone.

Your gift certificate package comes in one of these pretty
Suzi Worley Photography Tote Bags. The 13" x 5" x 13" Chocolate Tote is perfect for carrying your images, a mini market run, or a petite picnic with a French baguette and bottle of her favorite wine.
Be sure to enter below and let us know which gift voucher you would like to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This give-away is not just limited to Moms and it doesn't have to be used for Mother's Day
But if you do have a special Mom in mind, and you win,
you don't have to tell her it was free, your secret's safe with me.