It’s that time of year again… the dreaded headshot update!

Carole Jones - Commercial photographerBeing a photographer, people assume I’m comfortable in front of a camera….well, I’m NOT. I put off getting my own headshot like putting off a root canal! I’m good at excuses! I need to loose 10 pounds…retouch my roots….get a new hairstyle…oh…and what should I wear?

I know I need to update my headshot every year, but it’s not fun! I do it to keep my website and social media profiles up to date. I also suggest that people update their headshot when they do a major hair color or hairstyle change. For men, facial hair has become popular and it surprises me how many times I meet someone in person and they don’t even resemble their headshot! You may love that photo you had done 10-15 years ago because you looked so young, but seriously, your headshot needs to look like YOU! It needs to be a nice, professional version of you – recently.

SO….to practice what I preach…I did it! I scheduled a time and got it done! I wanted to go get my hair styled and get a new outfit but decided to try to keep at least one of my New Years resolutions and “quit procrastinating”. So here’s my new headshot. It’s not fancy or glamorous it’s just “plain ole me”. It would have been good to have someone style my hair because it went all wild on me! I wish I was younger looking or prettier but if you see me around town, I’ll be recognizable and in reality, that’s what counts anyway, isn’t it?

 

Seven tips for hiring a professional photographer.


1. Check out portfolios! While word of mouth is great on getting you headed in the right direction, don’t hire someone just because a friend or neighbor says they are great. Make sure their work is consistent in quality and that their style fits what you need. Anyone can get a lucky shot if they take enough shots. You don’t want to rely on luck when you are investing in photos. A professional has consistent quality and can handle many different lighting and location situations. Look for diversity in lighting, indoors, outdoors, natural light, flash, points of view, etc. Also,  make sure your potential photographer specializes in what you need. A wedding photographer may not have the skills or background to produce advertising photos, etc.

2. Ask about insurance. Does your potential photographer have a business license and INSURANCE? Having liability insurance protects you as a client. Bad things can and do happen and having insurance is an indication that your photographer is prepared for all types of situations. Very few hobbyists have liability insurance (some claim it’s covered under their homeowner policy, that usually only covers their own equipment). Most professionals carry a minimum of 1 million dollars in liability insurance. Having a business license and insurance also indicates that a photographer is responsible and takes his/her business seriously.

3. How long have they been in business? If a photographer has a short history with their photography business this might be a side job or a hobby. There are many talented photographers that do photography as a side job and do a great job! But, be cautious about people that don’t have a history or references. Don’t pay big deposits or advances unless you are sure your photographer is going to be around long enough to finish the job.

4. Is your photographer a member of a professional organization? All organizations are not equal. Don’t be impressed by just any photography organization memberships. PPA, WPPI and several other organizations will let anyone who pays their fees be a member! Although these organizations are great resources, they are not an indicator that your photographer is truly a professional.

ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers), AIAP (Association of Independent Architectural Photographers), REPAI (Real Estate Photographers of America & International ) and NPS (Nikon Pro Services) all have strict standards to qualify as a professional member and include a screening process to separate pros from non-pros so you can take their memberships more seriously.

5. REFERRALS? Don’t be embarrassed to ask for referrals! Ask your photographer for referrals for the type of photography you desire. If you are hiring him or her for a wedding ask for WEDDING client referrals. If it’s for commercial photography ask for COMMERCIAL referrals….and CALL them! Talk to the referrals. Ask about their experience. Were their photos what they expected? Did they receive them in a timely manner? Was the photographer easy to work with? Most people are apprehensive about asking for referrals but it is one of the best things you can do in choosing a photographer, so do it!

6. How much does he / she charge? You generally get what you pay for and if the photographer is super cheap your coverage or quality of the products you receive will most likely be reflected in that price. Also, unusually low prices can indicate inexperience in pricing their photography. Keep in mind that it goes both ways …. just because someone is expensive it’s not a guarantee of professionalism or quality either. In general don’t expect “filet mignon on a burger budget”. 

7. PERSONALITY? Does the photographer’s personality seem like a good fit for you? All of the qualifications in the world don’t mean a thing if you won’t be comfortable working with him and collaborating on a project. If your shy child will be totally uncomfortable with an energetic, loud, playful person trying to take his portrait then you might want to take that into consideration. Go with your gut on this one. Relaxed, happy people communicate well and foster creativity…making great photos possible.

In summary, look at all of the Photographer’s qualifications, portfolio, pricing, personality and references and make a decision based on all of the information. Haha…yeah, I know …easier said than done! Good luck!

Looking for set, food & wardrobe stylists for commercial photography projects in southern Utah

I’ve had a hard time finding set stylists, wardrobe stylists and food stylists in southern Utah. If you know any who does high quality, detailed styling in our area, PLEASE send me their contact info! I have had to get people from Salt Lake City and Las Vegas to do my projects. It adds a lot to the overhead of producing a shoot, I’d rather use locals if I can. So do me a favor and be on the look out for people that would like styling work.

Day 4 of our California coast road trip

It was a downpour when I woke up. I couldn’t sleep in so I made coffee and watched the morning news until daylight. I decided to get ready before everyone else was up. Just as I finished the sun came out! It was beautiful! My daughter and I decided to walk a block south to a little bakery I’d seen in some of the travel blogs. The “Cinderella Bakery” is a german bakery. The shop was quaint and the food was amazing! I wanted to try one of everything. Kira chose one thing and I chose another so we could share. We ate on the patio (on the street). It was so relaxing, just sitting back and people watching. THIS was the real SanFrancisco! A real neighborhood…people going about their everyday lives…not some tourist attraction. My favorite things we did in San Francisco ended up being in the local neighborhood, the small local businesses, mom & pop owned places, that were “real”. I am so glad we stayed at a AirBnB! It was a totally different experience than we would have had in a hotel!


On our way north we stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge to get the typical tourist photos. The sun was shining and the fog lifted just enough to see the bridge, but it was short lived …by the time we drove around to the lighthouse point to view it from there the fog had rolled back in and we couldn’t see much.


We drove north to Muir woods and walked one of the main trails. It was beautiful, so green and moist, definitely a shock for us kids from the desert. From there we drove to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. We got there 10 minutes after it closed!!! We didn’t know it closed at 4:30! So darn frustrating…it was a long drive for nothing! We couldn’t even see the lighthouse through the fog!


We drove on up the coast and east to Ukiah for dinner, then drove another 20 minutes to the AirBnB we rented in Potter Valley. It was late when we got there so we couldn’t really see the surrounding area. The house was clean and nicely furnished. It was odd that there were no curtains or blinds on the windows, it kind of felt like we were in a fish bowl! We tried to figure out how to hang something up on our bedroom windows but couldn’t find anything so we decided we’d figure it out in the morning.

Day 3 of our California coast road trip

We got up early and it was already raining lightly. We weren’t surprised because the forecast said there would be rain for the rest of the trip. We had an early tour scheduled for Alcatraz Island so we got down to the docks just before daylight. The rain let up just as we found a parking spot. We went for a stroll and looked around while we waited for our tour. I was dying for a second cup of coffee but none of the shops in the area were opened yet.


The tour to Alcatraz was interesting. It was a cold, damp, dreary and depressing place. It was so odd to see all of these tourists smiling and laughing as they took selfies behind the bars and in the cells, in this place that was filled with such pain and negative energy. It seemed so wrong, it was unsettling, it definitely bothered me to be there. It was a relief to get out of the buildings for a breath of fresh air and explore the grounds and the views of the bay. The fog was lifting and we could just get a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge as we boarded the ferry for a ride back to the city.

We walked north to Fisherman’s Wharf where we had lunch. I can’t even remember what I had to eat but I do remember the Moscow Mules 😉 . After exploring the Fisherman’s Wharf and buying some souvenirs we walked to Ghirardelli Square to check it out. We sampled some chocolate which was pretty good. Next, we walked to Lombard Street. It was a hell of a workout! The road was so steep that my calves were burning after about a block…it was a darn long walk!!!! We watched the cars winding down Lombard Street for a couple of minutes then we walked down it looking for a good vantage point for pictures. I didn’t really like what I got. I needed a higher viewpoint but my feet were so tired I wasn’t about to go find it! Besides, that photo has been taken a million times and I don’t need a duplicate. 

From there we walked all the way down to China Town and then over the hill through the financial district back to the Pier where we parked this morning. It was a fun day but my feet were sooooo tired! We drove by the “Painted Ladies” on our way back to the AirBnB we rented. After we got back to the rental, I went down the street and got the stuff for Moscow Mules and kicked back and relaxed for awhile before dinner. For dinner, we walked a couple of blocks to a local Vietnamese place. The food was really good and inexpensive. The kids decided to go find some “nightlife” but my feet were telling me I was too old for that stuff …at least I am tonight… so my daughter and I went back to the rental to kick back and watch some tv.

Change can be scary.

For the past year, I have been working between two locations. WOW! It’s been a lot of work and so inefficient! Leaving files or equipment at one location and needing them at another… it’s been an organizational nightmare. I decided something had to change!

I’ve been reevaluating my business and I decided to eliminate the extra overhead and logistical problems and SIMPLIFY! So I converted a side building at my home into a small studio and office. It’s reducing my overhead and putting everything in one place.

It’s been a scary transition! I had so many questions. Could I afford it? Money had to be invested in remodeling to make the space usable.  Will the new studio be too small? I looked at my client jobs over the past year and realized that 70% of them were shot at the business location and the rest would work in a smaller space, if not I can rent space for a day for much less than my monthly rent of the commercial studio. Would my clients abandon me?  I was so worried that not having a commercial location would impact my business negatively, but I found that I can serve my clients better! Having all of my equipment and office in one location close to home has made it so I can get things done faster. The elimination of the logistical nightmare has freed up my mind and my creativity is flowing! I’m excited to see how this change will turn out for my business.

Pics of studio & office will follow soon! Still doing some organizing and unpacking. Wish me luck!

kids with caroleshootsads.com logo hats

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Macro Monday in Southern Utah 

My first periscope of Macro Monday 🙂 I haven’t posted video from Periscope before … so sorry about the skinny vertical format. It’s a learning process for me. It was also my first time using the new Case Relay from Tether Tools. It’s an awesome way to power your camera via standard electric outlet or using an external power pack. The best part is you can switch power packs without interrupting your time lapse! Helps avoid so many headaches!!!!

 

Getting ready for SEMA

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks with moving my home and studio and everything. I still don’t have my studio put together but I’ve been blessed with some fun projects.

I’ve been working on some photos for a company here in southern Utah, Flog Industries,  they make some amazing bumpers for Jeeps. We did a fun photo shoot with lots fog machines and some crazy lighting situations to deal with. Those fog machines are fun but they can fill up a fairly big area in a hurry. Its hard to get the right balance between smoke and visibility!!!!

Flog Industries has a booth at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV next week. We’ve been rushing to get some last minute pics for some of their marketing materials. I’m looking forward to attending SEMA again this year.

Here’s a sneak peek of one of the jeeps we shot.

Flog jeep
Flog jeep

The Granary at Santa Clara, Utah advertising photo shoot.

On Saturday I did a photo shoot for a local company, Most Wanted Jeans. They arranged for us to shoot at “The Granary” in Santa Clara. I suggested this location because I fell in love with their patio while driving by. Although I knew they existed, I just hadn’t tried them out before. The setting is beautiful! They have a lovely patio with gardens and fountains. It has the mood of a little European bistro. The historic granary building has been lovingly restored and is a nice centerpiece for this little gem. Pat and her staff were very sweet and accommodating. They were the models for the product we were shooting (aprons).

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Mostwanted_D8A8886After our photo shoot we stayed to sample the cuisine. Their menu may be small but what they do, they do to perfection! My daughter and I had the Quiche Lorraine and my son had their special, baked Caramel Apple French Toast. (BTW, if you don’t like bacon…make sure you order the vegetarian quiche. This was loaded with bacon! 😊 yum!!! )  Everything was fresh and delicious. It’s worth the drive! Go try the Granary, I know you won’t be disappointed!

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Patricia – the owner (and fabulous model) 

  
iPhone pic – Quiche


iPhone pic – Baked Caramel Apple French Toast

The Granary Cafe summer hours are Wednesday through Sunday 8 am to 3 pm. Click on the link to take you to their website and menu.
 

Summer is almost gone! Trying to do it all…work and family balance.

This summer I have been trying to hit the farmer’s markets as often as possible. It’s hard to take off on a Saturday morning when I already feel guilty because I’ve been away from my children so much during the week. As a single mom I find myself struggling constantly to balance income and family! So, lately I’ve been taking turns making it a “date” with one of my children. We get up early, grab an ice chest and head to one of the farmers markets. I usually go to the Farmers Market in Ancestor Square or the Zion Canyon Farmers Market in Springdale. It’s fun to have the one on one time and also nice to have someone to help choose our purchases and plan what we are going to make. After we are done at the farmers market we go on a brunch date. I let my “guest” choose where we go to eat.. It’s been so fun for me and my children. The children look forward to “their turn”, and plan well in advance where our “next date” will be. 

I feel like it’s very important to have fresh fruits and vegetables as a large part of my family’s diet. In the past I’ve always had a large garden. Due to moving and my hectic schedule I was not able to plant a full garden this year. ( I do have tomatoes and a good assortment of herbs in pots.)  It’s such a blessing to have farmers markets to fill that void somewhat. But there’s still nothing like harvesting it at home and using it immediately! Nothing beats that fresh picked flavor.