Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chloe Anne: First Birthday

just in case you haven't checked it out! 

Friday, February 27, 2009

my response about a rant

i wanted to share my response to a blog entry from another photographer, jared polin. i've mentioned him before in my blog. very cool photog, with cool afro-ish hair, that has shot for Rolling Stones (cool!). his blog is full of tips, stories, songs, video, and funny asides. his blog entry today was a "rant" about how photographers should help other photographers. i thought this was very interesting, seeing that a couple days before he was ranting about newbie photographers breaking into the wedding business in another blog entry. i had to read this,   immediately thinking that these two rants are contradictory. i needed to investigate.

his first rant was about newbies, kind of struck a chord with me. i've been shooting weddings, professionally for about three years now. i still have a day job, that i respect and like. i shoot weddings and portraits because i love the art of photography and the relationships i make with people. i love documenting their joyous moments. it's a challenge to me every time i shoot, to be better. 

at first, i was taken aback by the rant. but i understood it. i was shooting a Nikon camera, fully manual, since i was sixteen years old. i know the basics of darkroom printing and developing. took two photography courses, worked for a photo processing booth and worked as an event photographer in college.  even though i recently bought my first digital camera two years ago and i am so-called a newbie to the business, i do not find myself included in jared's rant.

and..i actually agree with him.

since i just got married (two years ago), i know what it's like to interview many photographers and finding "the one" within a budget. with that said, i also know that wedding photography is something everyone should NOT skimp on. i understand the recession and the economy is not making it easy for all of us. but couples are still getting married. this is a moment that cannot be rewinded, redone, reenacted...this moment is unique because it's your moment. why are you going to leave that in the hands of someone inexperienced, ill-equipped and not knowledgeable of workflow, technicality, and professionalism? your friend may have a fancy camera (doesn't everyone?) but you cannot replace a good "eye" for composition, quality of light, and the skill of anticipating a shot. 

but my friend will do it for less than $1,000 or free! i've heard brides say. you can't put that kind of value on an event and  on memories that will be invaluable to you. i would never want to put that kind of pressure on a friend or family member. they can shoot at your wedding, and give you the pictures, but first and foremost, they are a guest. let the professional photographer be responsible for those important shots. let them carry the burden of fulfilling your wishes.

i always tell potential clients that i want to be their photographer because they like the way i photograph and the rapport we have with each other, not because of my price is lower than my competitor. someone's style of photography cannot be bought. neither can their personality. even with the highest end camera. 

because we are in a recession, does not mean the bride needs to go cheap on everything. i always say, the flowers will wilt, the dress will be stored away, and the cake will be eaten. ten years from now, twenty-five years from now, your wedding album and pictures will be your heirloom, a family tradition, passed on and enjoyed by generations later. most photographers are accommodating and will work with what you need or want. tell them what you want, and if you have the same vision and connection, they may "work" with you on the price. both parties "win," like jared polin says. 

lastly, i do agree again, with jared, that photographers should help other photographers. i am truly grateful for information that i have gained from giving photogs, just in running a business, and giving the best service to my clients. i believe that has become a win-win for both my clients and my business. we pride ourselves on good service, and good products. so, i definitely don't mind "giving back" to the photog community. i love talking about photography! so if you have a question, no question too silly, please let me know !

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

making memories in the maternity ward

about a year ago, i was taking Kat's maternity portraits. it was memorable, because it ended up with a trip to the hospital. Kat came over and i took some maternity belly shots, all the while, she was complaining that she was having some, let's say, going through some physical discomfort, without going into detail. in true form, i keep shooting, telling her to stand here, sit there, lie down, sideways, upside down...etc. and like all my pregnant subjects, she was a trooper. saying it was okay and it was up to me when to stop shooting. everyone knows i can keep shooting till the cows come home. for some reason, i get my best ideas (and shots) once i've warmed up and the subject has become used to the camera in their face. in this case, her belly. 

what i remember the most is going to the hospital with Kat and keeping her company, entertaining her (because there was NO TIVO) and i remember, a lot of giggling and laughing.  those moaning mothers probably wanted to kill us! (sorry!) i stayed there until her husband, Jeff, arrived (thank goodness, thought the patients). 

so i wonder if Chloe recognizes my laughter, now that she is out of the womb, and WALKING! she is spunky character, who's apparent new favorite word is "OUT!" hmmmm...i wonder what her parents teach her!

here's some faves of Chloe's one year portrait session. for my expectant mothers, i have a maternity portrait package called My First Year, and it includes a full year of sessions (maternity, newborn, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year sessions) print credit, and a custom, personalized photo book keepsake. keep your eyes peeled for Chloe's First Year book! if you, or anyone you know needs maternity portraits to mark this special time, please contact me for more details!

check out more pix here (slideshow)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

keeping up with resolutions

standing guard

it's almost the end of the month, and here's an update on keeping my resolutions. mind you....i have a pretty healthy idea about "resolutions." i think of them as more of "goals"---things to strive towards, and not necessarily, having to be perfect about it. it's all about growth, right?

resolution #1:attend one social network event per month
i have not attended any of my "social network" meet ups this month. actually, i've been rather busy. it always ends up that way. when i think i'm in a slump or have a lot of downtime, i tend to fill those empty dates with meet up dates. but, as soon as i reply with "yes" or "maybe," something comes up. sometimes bad, sometimes good. as you know, the last couple weeks have been a roller coaster ride of sorts with my family members' health issues. the good thing, is that i have met two new potential clients and have reconnected with lots of old friends. so, that's a plus in my book! 

resolution #2: cook at least one new recipe a month
my husband is bummed, but self-righteous when it comes to this resolution. he is still waiting for me to even cook an egg for him. i have to say, i cannot think of a good excuse/reason why this hasn't happened. we have been staying in more lately, and have had the opportunity to cook more at home this month. again, the silver lining is this. i realize that my husband does more for me than i acknowledge. that i am really spoiled. j. is my alarm clock in the morning, my personal chef (makes me breakfast, lunch, and dinner, when he finds the time), my therapist, my housekeeper. all the above, as i am behind my computer, or texting someone on the phone, or catching up on the "Bad Girls Club" on my DVR. i still am working towards this goal. i know there's other ways to be a good wife, but this particular goal will make him happy and redeem myself on the spot! 

resolution #3: walk the dog 30 minutes a day
thank goodness, the puppy can't talk. popo (who is in the pic above) is our lil' puppy (he's 2 years old). technically speaking,  popo is walked everyday. unfortunately, not by me. j. walks him religiously at least 1-2xs  a day. there's a lot of excuses for this one. one of them, being, there has been a lot of crime incidents that have happened in the past month on our street and within blocks of our townhome. our neighbor was held up at the water store and there has been recent break-ins in our complex's garages. the other night, a helicopter hovered for a half hour, and seven police cars were parked outside. since we usually don't get home until dark, i don't feel safe to walk around here. at least not right now. so i will walk with j., occasionally with the dog. again, i will have to work towards this goal. i am not going to give up on this. i know that i won't let fear rule my life. i'm just being more cautious. especially since popo is so much more obedient and happy when he's walked. Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, is totally right about that!

resolution #4: do something for myself, at least 30 minutes a day
well, i started out doing this at the beginning of the month, when i was in Vegas, with my dad in the hospital. i was able to slow down a bit, and read something for pleasure. since i got back, my novel, Angels and Demons, is collecting dust again. exercise? but i have been drinking water, and sort of kind of taking my blood sugar. my doctor wants to see me in 2 weeks. i know i will have to face the music. but it's for my own good. i do want a better quality of life, and enjoy the rest of my life. i see my dad in the hospital, even though he never was a drinker, a smoker, etc, he still got cancer. but, i know i have to be preventative, and control this disease, my diabetes, because it was not fun going to the hospital for my headaches, and for my dad. so tomorrow, is a new day. i am still optimistic and motivated to turn around my lifestyle. 

so, that's my update. how are you folks doing with your "goals" this year so far? post a comment. would love to know how you are doing, or how you are staying motivated? 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

dark days....inspiration

somedays you gather inspiration and motivation without seeking it. it knocks at your door, with subtlety. or whispers in your ear, like this video short from one of my fave photographers, zack arias. if you are creative, or an artist, you can appreciate this short, even if you are not a photographer. check it.

thank you, zack arias, for shedding some light and truly offering something real to the artist community.

Friday, February 13, 2009

wedding wire's: 2009 bride's choice awards

we are so stoked to have received one of Wedding's 2009 Bride's Choice Awards! this award recognizes the top 3% of vendors from the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellent quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. we are truly honored and blessed to have such generous, wonderful clients, as well. thank you so much! the press release by Wedding Wire is below:
WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, just announced that GJ Spiller Photography has won the 2009 Bride’s Choice Awards™! 

In its inaugural year, the Bride’s Choice Awards recognizes and honors vendors from the WeddingWire Network that demonstrate excellent quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. This year’s recipients represent the top three percent of WeddingWire’s vendor community, which includes over 100,000 wedding vendors from across the US. That means GJ Spiller Photography is one of the very best Wedding Photography Studios

Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the company, the Bride’s Choice Awards are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds through surveys and reviews. 
"We are excited to launch this annual award program to honor high-performing vendors based solely on the experiences of our WeddingWire community,” according to Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “This year’s recipients have set the bar high, exhibiting excellent service and expertise in the wedding industry.” 

GJ Spiller Photography  would like to thank our past clients for speaking on our behalf and helping us win the 2009 Bride’s Choice Award!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

fave pic of the week

i still haven't uploaded my pictures from vegas (last week's adventure). so i decided to post one of my new fave pix of the week  from bryan and sam's wedding. i finally edited their pix and at this moment, uploading it to their online photo gallery. here is where they can view their pix, as well as share it with their family and friends. purchasing enlargements are easy to do from the online photo gallery, too. the prints from our lab are awesome. i love how they come out. i edit my pix, but the lab also does another once over to check if it's color balanced and corrected, and to ensure the picture appears the way it is intended. 

some people ask, why do photographers charge so much for a  4"x6"? i have a couple responses to that question: 

  1. if you have taken a picture by a professional, and are ordering from a professional lab (not a machine/robot), you should be ordering a 8"x10" and up. to appreciate the quality of a print, you have to see it large. (i know that doesn't answer the question, but it addresses my opinion about 4"x6" prints)
  2. the .19 cents you pay at CostCo, pays for the machine/robot to process your film and the photo paper. the machine/robot does not know what your skin tone is supposed to look like and/or the exposure your professional photographer intended for your image. i have see green and sometimes blue casts of skin tones that would make a bride shudder at the fact that she looks a shade away from being Dracula's bride. trust me. you want a professional that is trained and works only with high volume wedding and portrait orders to handle your processing of photos. 
  3. think of your great grandparents heirloom portrait. this portrait is one of the few images the family has. you've preserved it, framed it, and it will be something that will continue to be passed on from generation to generation. it represents your family legacy---your history. would you turn around and sell it for price of photo paper it was made on? how much would you price a moment in time that you cannot re-stage or re-enact? needless to say, my great grandparents' portrait is priceless...
  4. a professional photographer's job is not just to take snap shots. they are there to make sure the moment is captured, the exposure is just right, and that you look back on your pictures and relive your special moments. that perfect image is more than just a sheet of paper. it's symbolic, it's meaningful. it's your life, frozen in time. one day, that image will stop you in your tracks and jar emotions from you again. that image will be more valuable over time, as we grow older and memories are precious.
going back to this photo, that i love. it's very simple. it love the contrast of light and dark. i love the spotlight above the bride and groom. i love the moment. it's a secret moment. you wonder what they're thinking or  talking about. i love the sparkle of her barrette in her hair, and the big ol' grin he has for her. sigh...priceless...
From Drop Box

Sunday, February 8, 2009

home sweet home

there's no pic for this blog entry. i know there should. it's in my camera, which is still in my car. i've been away for the week, not for pleasure. my dad landed in the hospital because he contracted an infection due to his weak immune system. he just had chemotherapy the tuesday before he left to vegas with my relatives. i get a phone call mon., 5am, from my dad, who says, "don't call me back tomorrow. tomorrow i may be dead..." geez...hmmm...when should i panic? 

so in a few hours, i'm hitting the road with my bro to vegas to see how my dad is doing. we thought we would stay maybe the night and then bring him and my relatives back home, but that wasn't the case. the doctors wanted my dad to stay the week to monitor his progress. so i checked into the Golden Nugget Hotel while my brother drove my relatives back to L.A. 

i have to say my trip was a oxymoron of sorts. i was relaxed because i was away from work and home, but stressed that my dad was in the hospital. i was enjoying the luxuries of being at the hotel (maid service, room service, etc.) but bummed because i was short on cash to do any damage. i was happy to finally have some peace and quiet, read my book and catch up with CNN and world news, but my phone was ringing off the hook. so this past week was sort of a blur. 

everytime i thought of going out, and photographing the sights, especially since i hadn't stayed in downtown Vegas in awhile, i became hesitant, thinking of all the bad things that could happen to me. i noticed how much more aware (paranoid) i am without my husband around. experiences, like my mom says.

happily,  my dad is feeling better. being stubborn as ever (so must be feeling back to normal!). and we're back in L.A.  back home. back in my own home and bed. yay......(although, i do miss the hotel bed!!! i never had such a good night's sleep!! sniffle sniffle)