Why I could kick myself for selling digitals, Print is better!

framed cd on the wall no one wants this fort Mill sc photography

Why I could kick myself for selling just digitals!

Back when I started out on my own in 2004 digital was still kind of new. Everyone assumed digital was archival. I mean we could back it up and make unlimited copies. Archival is a term often used by photographers meaning a print or film can last in the archives. For reference those color prints your parents got at the department store when you were kids should last at least 50 years if properly stored and cared for. The newer papers and printing processes used today are guaranteed a bit longer. Most about 100 years if properly stored. That digital file I started out selling on CD back in 2004 is a big old question mark ? Because there are so many factors.

First off that CD we used to give digital files on is lasting 8-10 years. If it was written on with Sharpie or printed on with an adhesive label more like 5 years. Why so short? Well as it turns out the ink from that sharpie actually eats away at the CD material. Ok so I’m human I screwed up. Now we use USB drives. Well those things just keep changing. eHow says a usb drive may last ten years depending on how many times it is used. So really not much better than the CD was. Crap.

So the moral of my intro here is Print, Print, Print is better.

The only thing we know will last at least until your baby is an adult is a print. The best part about prints they can be copied. They are the only guarantee. But hey as a new mom on a limited budget I know you might be thinking well I just need it to last until I get back to work or we can save to print them later. But let me just tell you about my slap in the face wake up call I got this year. 

framed cd on the wall no one wants this
Is this what you want for your memories?

The slap in the face!

Now she didn’t mean to do it and I totally thanked her for my wake up call. But here is what went down. I went to visit my friend who shall remain nameless. She lives 4 hours from me and has several kids that I have been photographing for ten years. I even photographed her maternity session before her first was born. But we haven’t lived in the same town since college. So visits have just gotten more and more chaotic the more kiddos we had. But my latest visit I came alone with just my gear for updated family and kid portraits of course. And after the kiddos went to bed we were sitting in her new living room talking. And she lamented to me “I’ve just been so busy I haven’t hung up any photographs of the kids in this place!” So I said “Well I’m here to help where are your frames (I’m thinking they are still in a box) let’s hang some up!”

And she said here comes the slap in the face part! “oh they are all on CD or flash drive. I’ve never printed any of the photographs you’ve given me.”

Wait What?!?! I wanted to die right there on her couch. But instead I had an epiphany. I’ve been photographing friends and clients alike for years and just giving them digital files. I thought I was helping my friends by gifting them the files and letting them print what they wanted. And my clients I thought I was giving them what they wanted, what they had been asking for. Boy was I wrong. 

No one wants to come for a portrait session and leave with homework. Especially homework they don’t have time to do!

My clients newborn clients or worse, those who are expecting a baby and thinking about the millions of things they need to do to get ready. They don’t need or want digital files to do-it-yourself print as homework. They just end up tucked away in a drawer or maybe even downloaded to a computer that may or may not work in a year or two. What new moms really want is a beautifully framed print of baby hung on their nursery wall. Or a framed canvas collection of baby’s first year decorating the stairwell in their home. Let’s get real what new mom do you know that has time to order a print online, wait for it to arrive, take it to the local frame shop, along with baby and  baby’s older brother who refuses to ride in the cart, get it framed, come back in a week to pick it up and then wait some more for dad to have time to hang it, once she has finally decided where it should hang?

No mom I know has time for that.

Ain’t nobody with little kids got time for that. And putting together a photo album online, nobody has time for that ever. I’m changing my ways as of right now. No more diy, homework feeling digital only packages from me. Photography studios provide a service, right? For Insley that means planning, creating and printing your beautiful artwork of your family. And installation of your artwork is always included! This is why Print is better!

framed baby portrait sitting up boy black and white, print is better!
Or does this help you remember when he learned to sit up on his own?

Are you ready for a different photography experience? One where we do it all for you? Are you tired of leaving your memories in a drawer? Ready for archival prints? Are you ready for a better way? Get in touch today. 

-alicia

What is an au pair?

Alright friends new this year I am going to be featuring some guest posters to talk about things you all may be curious about. First off we have Cultural Care Au Pair to tell about What an au pair is and what they do. I personally did not know all the details of an au pair. Of course I was curious to know more, so without further ado!

What is an au pair? 

An au pair is a young adult from overseas who lives with your family on a legal visa for up to two years.  This person is here to provide childcare in exchange for room and board. Plus an opportunity to become part of an American family. Au pairs can care for your children on a schedule that works for your family’s personal needs, making it a very flexible option. They can also help with household duties related to your children, including laundry, cooking and room pick-up. He or she can work up to 45 hours a week, no more than 10 hours per day. The extra set of hands they provide is often just what busy families need to make their lives more manageable and more fun!

What's an au pair infographic, learn more

Cultural Care

Our program works best for families who like the idea of welcoming someone who becomes an extended family member into their homes.  And for families who have a genuine interest in cultural exchange. Your au pair will share her own culture and language with your whole family. He or she will also want to learn more about America. Most host families and au pairs keep in touch beyond their au pair year and often visit each other again in the U.S. or overseas.

Au pair program is regulated by the Department of State and only few agencies can bring au pairs into the US. We handle all of the logistics and paperwork.  Many parents are surprised how affordable and flexible this type of childcare is. 

Learn More

Want to learn more about hosting? Please fill out this interest form www.culturalcare.com/mzacharova.

Thanks so much Marcela for sharing about au pairs and how they can help your family. I’m feel more informed. It sounds like a great service for busy moms. Marcela’s website link is here if you would like to learn more.

-alicia

what's an au pair? learn more

Genuine Family Portraits Charlotte, NC Family Photographer

Genuine Family Portraits 

When I first found out this gorgeous family was moving away I was sad and very surprised. They had a sweet baby boy and they were moving so far away. You know I get kind of attached to my tiny babies. Something about holding a newborn when they are only a few days old makes you want to protect them and watch them grow. Then when I found out he was having a little sister so very far away I was down right depressed. Momma was a stunner with her first pregnancy. Fast forward a short time and I get a phone call out of the blue. This beautiful family is moving back. And the first thing mom did after landing back in the area was call me for a family portrait session.

I am honored and humbled to be the first call and to be chosen as their family photographer! I was so excited to catch up with them and meet their sweet baby girl. And that precious baby boy has grown into a handsome little guy who loves cars, tractors, throwing rocks and playing bashful.

We had a great outdoor portrait session.

Below are a few ideas for wall collections I created for their inspiration gallery. The family image in that simple cream frame is just classic. “Your family is a work of art. Frame it!” Which option from these genuine family portraits speaks to you?

Ten tips to take better Halloween Photos of your kids

ten tips to better halloween photos of your kids

Everyone wants cute Halloween photos of their children. But lets be real, parents are busy and on Halloween kids are even busier. If they aren’t running away from the costume they picked out and insisted you buy, Or bouncing off the walls with anticipation Or crying because the dress is itchy Or the dragon costume is too hot – I unfortunatly can’t do anything about the costume debacle and in truth my toddler will probably go as himself this year (he refused to be spiderman for our first photo shoot attempt.) But what I can do is offer you a few quick tips to take better Halloween photos of your kids this year.

ten tips for better halloween photos of your kids
Refused to wear his spiderman costume but is still precious.
  1. Camera setting tips: raise your ISO in low light, settings between 400-1600 are your best bet. Above 1600 you are going to get a lot of noise in your images. Some cameras are better than others at higher ISO’s but to be very safe stay at or below 1600. Shutter speed is a big one with kids. The rule of thumb is to never photograph anything without a tripod below 1/60 of a second. For me, in practice, if you are photographing a toddler don’t go below 1/125 of a second. Two year olds are fast and they are never still. Quick side lesson: the smaller the number, 1/125 in this case, the faster the shutter opens and closes and the more it freezes the action.
  2. The easiest way to get great Halloween costume photos of your kids is to take them before dark. I know that probably won’t work for a lot of parents or kids. But like @it’s always autumn suggests. Do a dry run before Halloween. This even gives you a chance to make sure everything fits and works for the door-to-door trick or treating. Plus it is a great way to get awesome Halloween photos without competing with trick or treating.
  3. Take a lot of close ups. Find your focus. By that I mean find the subject of your images and cut out the clutter. Grab those cute expressions all in furry cat ears or vampire makeup and crop out the background noise.
  4. Don’t forget to take some images without the mask on. There is nothing worse than looking back at family photos and thinking I’m not really sure who this little spiderman is.

    ten tips to better halloween photos of your kids
    finally got this kid in costume
  5. Avoid on camera flash if you can. If you are taking photos indoors or hanging out at a Halloween party this tip is especially for you. Yes I know your camera came with a flash, and you are asking yourself aren’t I suppose to use the tools I’m given. Yes and sometimes on camera flash is the only choice you have.
    ten tips to better halloween photos of your kids
    bounce flash at dust

    But for those of you inside turn off that flash or manipulate it. The easiest manipulation for on camera flash is to bounce it off of a white surface. The ceiling or a white 3×5 card and tape are both easy cheap options. In the cases where you are outside and the only way to get the image is with flash soften, diffuse, or scatter the light so you can avoid the red eyes, glasses glare and harsh shadows like in this photo above. Softening the light can be just as easy and cheap as using a Kleenex and a rubber band to soften the flash. Or you can get something more fancy like this on amazon for under $10.

  1. Use available light when ever possible. By this I mean move those kiddos under a streetlight, or a porch light, photograph them looking into candles or playing with glow sticks. This adds interest to your Halloween images and avoids the dreaded flash.
  2. On that same note don’t forget about your flashlights. 95% of the time ghoul lighting is not what you want in snapshots of your children. But at Halloween dressed as actual monsters ghoul lighting is fun and fitting.

    ten tips for better halloween photos of your kids
    Ghoul lighting with a flashlight on Ironman
  3. Carved pumpkin tip. If you are taking photos and want to see that light from inside your pumpkin shine through this tip is for you. First add more light. Most times for a carved Halloween pumpkin one candle is typical, but for photos add a couple more. Or consider a battery-operated light. I’m thinking led will be my best bet and I tried it here. ten tips for better halloween photos of your kidsUse backlighting when possible. For example a dim porch light or side window light will help if it is totally dark outside. An even better idea is to take them at dusk. If you can do this before or after the big night, that way you can get the good light without missing something else photo worthy. The idea behind photographing your pumpkins at dusk is that the outline and orange color will still show. And the beautiful light of dusk won’t over power the candlelight. (Which flash will do).
  1. More of a reminder than a tip but don’t forget to check your camera batteries. Nothing like grabbing your camera on the way out the door and realizing it won’t turn on or you don’t have the right size battery in the house.
  2. Last tip take tons of photographs. Don’t be afraid to try different angles, different perspectives even having the kids turn away from the camera can make for a fun and interesting image. It’s a holiday for kids so have fun with it. The beauty of digital is that we can delete all the bad frames. woohoo!!

-Happy Halloween Alicia



Sweet Siblings in Studio Fort Mill

Sweet siblings in Studio

These sweet siblings came to see me in my home studio forever ago and somehow I never got them on my blog. So sorry S & L. lets make up for that right now. This family was one of my first portrait clients back when I was just starting out. I believe the first portrait session we did together was a maternity session before S was born. Seems like yesterday I was a there home photographing his baby session. I still remember the Winnie the pooh nursery. I’m sure the kids don’t remember that but their parents always will. And I am so thankful that his parents gave me a chance as a photographer way back then. I know they have their own memories from the baby portraits but for me they are extra special. For S it was my chance to break out on my own and start Insley Photography. Then when L was first born she was one of my first newborn babies when I decided to specialize in newborns.

Now look at them both big kids in elementary school. These two sweet siblings are always full of smiles and laughter. They are also the best of friends. It is truly inspiring to watch these two interact. I predict these kids will be world leaders one day. I can’t wait to see you guys again soon.

-alicia

Before and After: Charlotte NC Maternity Portrait Photographer

maternity portrait session fine art black & white

Before : a maternity portrait session

Miss A called me just before her son was due to arrive. She said “I just came across this Before and After image of a pregnant mom and then the same mom with her baby. She of course included an image example. Any chance we can do this before he arrives?” having already photographed miss A’s maternity session very early in her pregnancy I said of course I can. So without further ado here are some of her Before images from this second maternity portrait session.

There will be more to come from this family in the next week or so. Miss A delivered a beautiful baby boy the following day. I cannot wait to meet him and of course take his first professional baby portraits. I just loved this idea for a before and after composite and the final product should be just as beautiful as these before portraits did.

Please don’t wait until 40 weeks

Just a word of caution while we are on the topic of maternity portraits. Please don’t wait until the last minute to contact your maternity portrait photographer. You could miss your chance just like I did with my first pregnancy.  It’s best to contact your maternity photographer during your second trimester. Maternity portraits are best created between 28-32 weeks

Also if you have ideas about your final images please don’t hesitate to share your ideas. As an artist I love to be inspired and to know what you love too. stay tuned.

-alicia