Monthly Archives: September 2010

I wanted to talk for a minute about selective color…….  not for any particular reason other than it’s my blog and I can. 🙂  Remember…. when you hire a photographer you’re hiring a real person who has their own opinions and preferences and tastes, and most likely you’re hiring them because you feel that their sensibilities align with your own.

Selective color is a spiffy Photoshop enhancement technique that you’ve probably seen. It starts with a black and white photo, but little bits of the photo are left in color. For some kind of creative enhancement or emotional impact…. I’m not really sure.

Personally, I think it’s weird. And cheesy.  And I find the things that people choose to leave in color, and those that are left in black and white are just plain odd.

There are some ways to use this techinque that look pretty good, but those ways are few and far between. I’m thinking landscapes or scenery MAYBE. But portraits…. forget it. There is nothing worse than seeing a baby photo where the baby’s shirt is glowing pink while the baby herself is a dull corpselike black and white–and quite frankly that’s exactly what it looks like to me. Dead. I know how to do it, but I have to say–I can’t think of a single instance in which I’d willingly do that to a photo that was to have my name on it.

Be sure to ask yourself–does my photographer know how to use Photoshop? Specifically, does he or she know how to use it WELL and TASTEFULLY?  Do I like the samples they have in their portfolio? Do the colors look unrealistic, or do they look appealing?  Is it creative, or is it just plain weird?   Is it something you’d pay money for?

The images that your photographer takes from their camera is only about half of the process. We nail down the basic “bones” of the photo in camera, and then we flesh it out in the processing. Much of what you see on a website or a blog with regard to the colors, the saturation, the contrast, the tones, all has to do with the photographer’s special thumbprint in the editing process. It’s extremely personal and unique and is as easily identifiable as a person’s handwriting or an artist’s brushstroke.

Some photographers prefer super-vibrant, highly contrasted photos while others go for a softer, almost glowy sentimental look, and then there’s everything in between. It’s all good, and it’s all a matter of taste. Your job as a client is to do your research and find who meets your needs and who can provide you with the look that you want for your family.  There’s nothing worse than being approached by a potential client who says “I’m looking for somebody to take photos of my family.”  I appreciate the inquiry but I do feel that some research is in order. You shouldn’t settle for just “somebody.” If you want to invest your family’s time and money in having portraits made, you should look around and explore your options. WHO fits your idea best, WHOSE approach do you like, and not least of all, WHOSE photos do you admire the most and want for your own?  Don’t go for the first person you hear about, take the time to shop around and find the best fit for your situation. There are a lot of photographers out there, and you don’t want to settle for the first one that you just happen to know of.

Remember– the person you’re hiring is not just a photographer, they are an individual with specific tastes and styles and abilities, and levels of talent. Choose wisely.  This is the beauty of custom photography, the ability to work directly with the talent of the photographer.  If you want just “somebody,” I’m sure Sears has some convenient hours. 😉

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A diptych is a grouping of two photos, side by side, which tell a more complete story than one single photo can on its own. Fancy word, yes?  But the concept is simple. Why use one photo when two is twice as nice? I LOVE diptychs and I often use them on my blog to help tell my stories.

One of my favorite pairings is a portrait shown next to a detail shot, because I think this helps to set the scene of where it happened, and also helps round out the emotional connection to the shot. Here I am in an apple orchard with my two boys, and beside it is a beauty shot of apples lying on the ground under the trees. Another way you could do it would be to show two opposites together, two different people, a part to a whole, a person and a place….. the possibilities are endless.


Another effective use of the diptych is to highlight a series of expressions on a person's face. As parents we LOVE all the different expressions our children make, so how could we possibly choose just one look out of an entire portrait session? My feeling is: you don't. I love pairing two (or more) photos from a sequence together in a frame because it not only looks awesome all spiffied up and matted behind glass, but it tells a more complete story.  Here are two favorites I took of little Ella…… so pretty! And yet, if you were trying to decide which one to frame, how could you choose? My vote is to include both of them side by side in a single matted frame.

And guess what? A series of three photos together is called a triptych. I have two favorites that I've had for a while now, of each of my sons.  Any one of these photos would have been nice by itself, but put them together and a series of three and now you're talking!!  Much more engaging and expressive.

When you have a series of photos taken at the same time, this kind of display can't fail because the images match so nicely when the time of day, the light, the people, and of course the way the images were processed all match and have similar treatments.

These moments are precious. My kids will never look like that again. If it's been a while since you had portraits done of your family, make some time to have it done soon. If not by me, then somebody else….. trust me. You'll never regret it.

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Wahoo! Dave and I went to the Taste of Downtown yesterday evening, finally!  We have known about it for like 4 years now and were never able to go. Thanks to Grammie for babysitting!  It’s a really cool event that they hold downtown where they take 25 shops and pair them with 25 downtown restaurants. They set up a food station inside the shop and you can go in and get samples of a couple of their dishes, while checking out the local downtown businesses that you might not normally go into. The “samples” offered weren’t that small! They were like small lunch or appetizer portions, so after only a few stops we started getting full pretty quickly.

I did my best to take pictures of what I could, and tell the story of the evening. It was really fun, and some many of the foods we sampled were really impressive.

First stop was Fratellos! They were serving at the downtown YMCA. They had their delicious cheese ravioli with an antipasto skewer. YUM.

Then we hit Margaritas! They served chips and salsa, guacamole, and tacos -your choice of beef or chicken. I LOVED this guy in the hat making the tacos. As you know, where there are sombreros and tacos is probably where you’ll find ME. But there was no time for hanging out for very long, there were many more stops to make!

Another stop along the way was 900 Degrees in the Downtown Nails & Spa. They served 3 kinds of bruschetta and 2 kinds of cannolis. We were very impressed with their food, it was delicious. I had the white chocolate & blueberry cannoli. Awesome.

Dave’s favorite was the seafood/crab cake from the Pavilion, served in Dumbass Gifts (ha ha. I had no idea what this was, but it’s fishing-related t-shirts and stuff). They are located down underneath Ben & Jerry’s–I would never have known it was there if not for this event!  This nice chef was servin’ them up! (click the photo for a larger image).

Another good one to hit up was the Van Otis stop! Probably the least messy of all of them that evening. They had quite a selection of chocolates to choose from and I had the Key Lime. Dave -for the win!- got the fudge covered Oreo and it was AWESOME. I like this photo of my chocolate, where you can see the inside of the creme with the nice sunset light. I think if there is a picture of a whole chocolate somewhere, there is something very very wrong going on.

Taste of Downtown Manchester | Van Otis

One surprising and unexpected delight was from “Z Food & Drink.”  Surprising only because I knew nothing about this restaurant before last night. The food was incredible. The sign described the dish as “Braised chicken thighs, dried mission figs, butternut squash, pickled onions, pumpkin seed pesto, braised rainbow swiss chard, and fingerling potatoes.”  It was CRAZY good, all of those ingredients totally worked together and it was delicious. That poor chef was working SO hard to layer all that stuff into individual bowls for hundreds of people. I took one bite and said, “ok that guy can cook.”  The humorous and ironic thing about that stop was that it was in The Chair Gallery, a furniture store filled with expensive tables and chairs and all these people standing around eating, but not allowed to eat on the tables. LOL. There was a guy running around with Windex and cloth in hand wiping up every stray fingerprint.

Another great combination was Wings Your Way, held at the Segway store. I didn’t even know there was a Segway store, AND they do city tours. How cool is that. I would totally like to do that one day. There was a long line out the door for this one, but I really enjoyed waiting in line there because the studio was really beautifully decorated with all these canvas gallery wraps of the Segways downtown, and they used historical photos of old Manchester and the mills and everything. The blend of history and space age technology & modernity was really cool and well done. We really liked watching the flat panel screen on the wall run through the slideshow of amazing historical photos. AND the food was terrific!! WYW is really new on Elm St and their food is SO good just from the samples that I tried: spinach artichoke dip and 2 kinds of wrap sandwiches. Delish.

 As we finished up the night walking back from The Framer’s Gallery where we had a Ben & Jerry’s sample (Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz for me!), it was mostly dark and I got two of my favorite photos from the night: the lit up scene outside of Margarita’s. I just don’t get out after dark very much, so I love seeing those neon signs!!  For this one I was as far back as I could get without falling out into the street, LOL. Oh well, someday that 24-70 lens will be mine. 🙂

Don’t miss photos from other years of the Taste of Downtown!

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