Sports Mini-Session

Sports Mini-Session May 16th-18th 11am-6pm

This special mini session will go way beyond your typical sports portrait session.  We start by capturing your child in their favorite sports gear in our studio.  After their session is complete, you’ll be able to purchase traditional portraits at mini-session pricing or chose your 3 favorite images and have us create a Photo Fuzion!  These special composite images are available at 30% off our standard prices for this event only.

For pricing info on our Photo Fuzion contact Angel at

To schedule your session contact Angel by phone at 352-371-9735 or at the e-mail address above.

Photography Q&A #8

Why are my kid’s blurry but everything else is not?

That is called subject blur.  It is caused by your camera having to slow of a shutter speed to freeze the action.  As you can see in the example below, the cat is blurred but the chair is relatively sharp.

How do you correct this problem?  Faster shutter speed.  A good rule of thumb for your kids playing sports or your dog running at the park is to start at about 1/250 up to 1/800.  The faster the shutter speed the more it freezes the action.  But remember with a faster shutter speed you’ll need to change your aperture and possibly your ISO.

What type of wedding photographer are you looking for?

Their are a million different types of photographers out there.  Especially when it comes to wedding photography. You have TONS of choices, but which one is right for you?

Boutique Wedding Photographer~
• Most expensive choice, usually upwards of $4,000+.
• They only do weddings (they do not have another job on the side, like dental hygientist to supplement their income).
• They know all the latest trends,
• They have tons of experience (usually 6-10+ years) & tons of equipment.
• They always work with a second photographer or an assistant.
• They spend a lot of time making sure your images are perfect.  They always edit them putting their own personal flair on the the way they look.  They do not always offer a disk of images for you to print from, since they want control over how their images look.
• They have a specific style, but that is why you pick them.

Full-time Professional Wedding photographer~
• Not as expensive as your boutique, since they also do other related types of photography, like families & children.  Usually $1,500+.
• They are full-time, making their living off of photography.
•They also have tons of experience (usually 6-10+ years) & lots of equipment.
• They always work with a second photographer or an assistant.
• After the wedding they will give you a disk of images that are filly edited and ready to print.
• They archive your images (meaning they store them for you).
•  After your wedding, this type of photographer can keep doing photography for you as your family grows.

Weekend Warrior~
Prices for this style of photographer vary according to experience and equipment.  This photographer has an unrelated full-time job during the week and shoots wedding for an extra income on the weekends.  May or may not work with an assistant or second shooter.  Usually has slower production time and is harder to get a hold of because of their full-time job.  Experience really is key with this type of photographer.

Shoot & Burn~
Usually very cheap.  Less than a $1,000. Day-of photographer who sends raw footage right after the wedding.  The plus is you get your images within a few day.  All of your footage is 100% unedited and you’ll need to get rid of test shots, out of focus, etc.  These photographers have very little experience and are looking to make a quick buck.  They also do not keep your images after they give you the disk, so if there is a problem there is usually nothing they can do.

Aspiring Amateur~
This type of photographer is not expensive.  A non-professional, often a student or friend who wants to become a professional and will shoot it cheap for their portfolio.  They lack experience in handling day of crisis and often have nothing more than a camera and a lens for their equipment, giving you little diversity in your pictures.  Like the shoot & burn, they give you a disk of un-edited pictures that you will need to sort threw.

Family Friend~
This option is usually free!  They are a hobbyist with a good camera.  They have no experience or equipment, but they are free.  They are also like your shoot and burn photographers, that they give you a disk and are done.

What type of photographer is right for your wedding?



Photography Q&A #7

I want to know how to take better pictures with my iphone?

iphone are great tools for grabbing pictures on the go.  Especially those priceless “selfies” of you with your friends.  But there are some general rules when it comes to using your iphone for pictures.
 1. The iphone is not meant for every situation.  Remember Apple does not make cameras, they make computers, tablets & phones. So before you leave your house, think about where your going and if your iphone is the best option.






2.   Your iphone needs a lot of light to take good pictures.  Below is an example of a photo I took while on vacation in Gettysburg.  I had already taken a couple with my point and shoot when the battery died.  So I tried to take a few with my iphone, but it was not very successful.

3. The volume buttons (+ & -) on the side of your iphone is also the shutter button.  This is not true in every camera app, but is true for 95%.  Why is this important?  It lets you hold the camera in such a way that you are steadier.





Hope this helps to make your iphone photography a little better.

Spring Portraits in the Park

Join us at the park for our Portraits in the Park
Mini-Session March 22nd & 23rd

Gather your family for our Portraits in the Park Mini-Session. For two days only we will offer outdoor mini-sessions with special pricing. These are quick sessions designed to help you create a perfect outdoor portrait.  Sessions are approximately 20 minutes – perfect for the antsy husband or kids. You will have approximately 10-15 images to choose from to find the perfect portrait.  
Print prices for our mini-sessions are as much as 40% off standard print prices!  Click Here for pricing.  Session fees for this fun event are only $25.
Times are as follows:
March 22nd 10am,10:30am, 11am, 5:30pm, 6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm.
March 23rd 10am,10:30am, 11am, 5:30pm, 6pm, 6:30pm, 7pm.
Questions??? Contact the studio at or by calling 352-371-9735.
You can also schedule your session online by filling out the following & paying your session fee through our secure PayPal account: 

Date & Time Preference
Best Phone Number

I bet you didn’t know this?

There have always been people who have misrepresented themselves when it comes to photography.  Selling themselves as this amazing photographer, when in reality – they might only get one or 2 good images from a shoot.  

Ten years ago, most of those photographers were wedding photographers and they were cheap.  So price really helped to seperate them from professionals, who could gaurantee you good results.

And then came digital…the game is very much the same, many people misrepresenting themselves, but your ability to tell the difference has become super difficult.  Why?  Because there are a million places to acquire good images and call them your own.

In the days of film, a person misrepresenting themselves might only show a potential wedding client a handful of images from a variety of weddings, making it appear that they knew what they were doing.  Today, they just go to Craiglist and place an ad, like this one:

So some of you are saying, they are new.  They just need some work to “represent” what they can do.  But who are they representing, not themselves.  And they are not telling people these are not my images.  And the kicker to this whole situation, they are charging a lot for a wedding.  Not a few hundred dollars, but a $1,000+.

I can hear a few of you saying, this doesn’t apply to me – I am married.  But do you need a family photographer or children photographer?  This is not just happening with weddings.  Think about how easy it is for you to buy a stock image for your family blog, a charity event you are organizing or an invitation you are making for your kids birthday party.  These same photographers are using stock images to fill their website with good images to “represent” their work.

Perfect personal example. We teach a monthly basic camera class, Taking Better Pictures.  A couple of years ago, we ran a groupon and a girl, calling herself a “professional” photographer took the class.  This girl, didn’t even know how to work the basic focus function on her camera.  And had no idea what apature, shutter speed or ISO was.  Her website was horrible.  Nothing in focus, bed sheets for backgrounds, no lighting.  A year later her website has amazing images.  Well lit, professional backgrounds, a very high end looking photographer.  Is it possible she took classes and became that good in a year – not likely.  First, the way the images are lit, it looks like high end fashion photography out of New York or LA.  This involves more than just a camera, it involves thousands of dollars in equipment.  Second, if you look at her site, some is of the pictures are really good, high-end fashion, but some is still the badly lit portraits, that are out of focus.  Leading me to believe, she hasn’t become a better photographer, just better at “representing” herself.

Think she is the only one?  There is a new website that calls these photographers out for stealing images from other photographers websites or using stock and calling it their own.  Here is an example from the site:

The pictures on the left are from SS Photography FB page advertising a mini-session.  The picture in the middle and on the right are from the websites of the photographers who actually shot them.  SS Photography is saying this is their work when in reality it is someone else’s work.

So how do you know if the person you are looking has really taken the pictures?  Here are 3 simple steps:
1. Compare the website and their facebook page.  Do the images they recently took look like the same quality and style on their website as on their Facebook page?
2. Contact them and ask to meet with them and see printed samples (most of these people are stealing low resolution images that can not be printed) of their work.
3. If you can’t meet with them, ask them to see an entire shoot from a client.

Is this going to take a little more time than just booking a session online with a photographer at 11pm.  Yes.  But look at it this way – you’d put some effort or research into buying a dishwasher or stove, right?  Why wouldn’t you put the same effort into a person who will be taking images of your family?  Wasting money, is wasting money, whether it is a bad dishwasher or bad photographer.


Photography Q&A #6

This question is very interesting & has lots of answers and opinions.

Can I get in trouble posting a photo of my friend’s kids on the internet?

No, not if your friend gives you permission to do so.  But do realize, Facebook, Instagram &  many other social media sites have in their disclaimer, that anything you put on their site, is free for them to use or sell.  And if they sell it to let says, P&G, and it runs in an on-line ad or TV campaign, your friends may not be fine with that.  Our biggest advice, think before you post.

Second thing to think about, is do you know everyone in the photo?  You’d be shocked to know how many people are living among us, in a normal everyday life, that are hiding from someone.  Whether it is an abusive boyfriend or spouse, someone who has broken the law or someone who is being stalked.  Most of the time you have no clue this is going on in their lives, until that photo you post hits a nerve.  We have clients and friends who have asked us not to post photos of their family, kids or themselves for that exact reason.  Again, always ask before posting.

Lastly, everything is searchable these days.  Employers and colleges know this better than anyone.  And that’s where they usually start their search – Google.  Facebook, Instagram and most social media sites are being trolled by Google’s web crawl when you type something in the search bar.  So that silly picture of you drunk in college or the picture of your kids naked in the bath tub, may not be the best idea.  Again, think before you post.

Ok, are you saying this isn’t really a Q&A thing, it isn’t answering anything about taking pictures.  Actually it is, photo etiquette.  What kind of photo etiquette do you have?

Digital photography -10x more expensive than film

We hear this question a lot, “how much are you charging for a portrait session?  But it’s digital, it doesn’t cost you anything, there is no film or processing involved anymore.  Can’t you do it for less?”

I think it is time to disspel the myth that digital photography is cheap and here is why….
1. Camera bodies need to upgrade every 12-18 months (with film, you had the same camera bodies your entire career).  Shutter boxes inside the camera wear out and it is less expensive to buy a new body than to fix it.  Plus a new body means newer technology which in many cases you need.

2. Computers are in everything we do.  From billing, to editing, to storing, to showing you your pictures, to sending them to the lab.  We own 5 computers, all Mac.  Each has its own duty (one is for video editing, one does all the backing up and retouching work, one processes and sends images plus all the billing, etc, etc.  You get the point.)  Could we do with less computers, sure if we were doing this full time.

3.Software is the bane of our exsistence.  Upgrade an operating system means you need to upgrade software.  Upgrade software means you need the new operating system.  And this is not just for Photoshop, it is for Lightroom, Corel Painter & Adobe Premier.  Every time these programs need to be upgrade it is $$$.  It is just one big vicious cycle.  Plus new programs require more RAM, better video cards, more hard drive space.  And I haven’t even mentioned that new cameras have bigger file sizes, which means you need more hard drive space to process images, etc., etc.  Do you update the computer or just buy new?  Just like cameras, new computer, newer technology.  Think about this, do you fix and upgrade your cell phone or just get a new one.

Hard drives – we have lots of them.  With film, the film came back from the lab in sleeves, you put it in an envelope, write the clients name on it and store it in a box – DONE.  A years worth of negatives took up a lot of space, but there was very little added cost.  Now we have a hard drive for every year, plus another hard drive that is a exact mirrored copy of the main one for the year.  Why?  Have you ever had a hard drive fail?  We’ve been told it is not if it will fail, but when.  If a hard drive starts acting weird or is not spinning properly, we transfer it to a new one immediately (do you see the money flying out the door). Plus we back-up on a gold DVD so that incase both hard drives fail.  Why all this repetativeness?  Go back to the second sentence, film came back it went in an envelope, we still have all off it.

Education.  Simply stated when you get new technology you need to learn how to use it.  Can you watch a Youtube video to figure it out? Not really.  You need to take class and seminars so you can have real interaction with a teacher or expert.  Watching it on Youtube, they may not explain the new function of this tool or that tool. And you can not ask how certian functions work.

Lastly, but most importantly- TIME.  All of this takes lots and lots of time.  Lets compare the same 30-minute portrait shoot on film vs. digital capture.  From shoot time to delivering the prints was about 5-6 hours for one job on film.  With digital it is about 15-18 hours.  3x as long.  Why? The lab use to do all the work, now we are are the lab.  All the lab does is print what you send them.

Digital photography is amazing. It allows us to do and create things never before possible.  But don’t be fooled, even if you are just doing it for a hobby, it is much more expensive than film ever was.




Photography Q&A #5

Why are the people almost white when I use my flash? (overexposed)

There are multiple explanations for the problem you are having.  Let’s look at all of them.

The picture to the left is being over exposed by using the flash.


In this next picture, the background is properly exposed but your subject is under exposed.  This is normally what you see when people use their camera on an automatic setting or are taking a picture with their camera phone.
The majority of the scene in this picture is the stadium in the background so the camera is exposing for the overall scene.



This last picture is just right.  But how did we get there?
There are a few ways:
1.  We can step back.  The flash had to much power in picture #1 and was overpowering the subject.  Stepping back and zooming in will lessen the flash power.
2. You can turn the flash off and do a natural light exposure.  But be aware, if you do that in this situation you will be overexposing the background and will not have a pretty picture of the field behind your subject.  Also, you might get camera blur from hand holding the camera at to slow of a shutter speed.
3.  Another option in this situation is flash exposure compensation.  Turn down the power of your flash in camera.  You are still limited to how much you can turn the flash down, but in most cases this option will be a simple fix.
4. Change your exposure.  You can manually change your exposure to a setting that will suit the flash’s output.
5.  Last, but not least a combination of them.  In photography, as in life, there is sometime multiple ways to do something.  You need to practice and decide what option is best for you.

Photography Q&A #4

Why do my pictures turn out dark at the beach (or snow)?

The refelective light meter in your camera, tries to average everything it sees out to a middle gray or 18% gray. That usually works out well if the scene you are photographing has some middle tones, whites & blacks but if there are too many light colors or too many dark colors in a scene, then the meter gets “fooled” and gives a bad exposure setting.

Let’s look at a couple examples:

Now your question is, why middle gray?  Because nothing in life is black or white, it is a variety of tones and colors.  18% grey is the average of true black and true white.

So next time you take a picture and the exposure looks to dark or to light, turn to your cameras exposure compensation to get the proper exposure for your scene.

Photography Q&A #3

The color in my picture does not look right.  What am I doing wrong?

Many people do not realize that each light source has a different color/temperature to it.  Here are some common one:
Tungsten light bulb – yellowish
Fluorescent light – bluish
Shade – has a cooler, more bluish tone
Flash – is more blue

When your eyes look at a scene they automaticlly adjust to see the proper color.  With your camera you need to let it know what situation you are shooting in.  The white balance menu in your camera has multiple preset options to help make the colors look truer.
Here are what the icons mean from L-R
• AWB – Auto, gets pretty close to the correct color about 85% of the time
• Sunlight – it it is a bright clear sunny day
• Shade – use when in the shade of a tree or building
• Cloudy – if it is a grey over cast day

• Tungsten – for old screw in light bulbs (they have not created one for the new type of light bulbs)
• Fluorescent – this type of light is mostly found in offices
• Flash – for when you use your flash
• Custom White balance – balance camera to the exact scene

Here are two very important things to note with the icons.  First, fluorescent bulbs in an office can actually be many different color temperatures.  You can buy them to be balanced for  daylight, cool light, bright white.  So in some cases putting it on fluorescent setting may not fix the problem.  The second issue is, some lights don’t have a automatic setting.  Like the lighting in a gym, it is sodium vapor lights.  It has an orangish cast. Or the new CFL light bulbs, you can buy them in a variety color temperatures just like fluorescent bulbs.  The only way to white balance for these light sources is to find out the color temperature and set it or custom white balance your scene.

So why does it matter? I can just fix it in Photoshop later.

Yes, you might be able to fix it later or you might not.  Most photographs consist of a variety of light sources.  If your main light source is wrong when you take the picture and you are trying to correct it for the overall scene, it might cause a color shift in something else within the image.

Best advice I can give anyone when it comes to taking better pictures, get it right in the camera.



Do I need a professional photographer?

By definition anyone who owns a camera is a photographer.  Heck, my dad is a photographer, but by no means is he going to take anyone’s family portrait anytime soon, unless you want it out of focus and your heads possibly cut off. (Sorry dad, you were a safe example.)  But when it comes to choosing a photographer you need to decide if you just need a photographer or if you want a professional photographer for your job.

The lines are blurred (thanks Robin Thicke – great tune!) between the different types of photographers.  I think it is time to help everyone understand the difference, so that you can make an educated decision on what is best for you and your family.
Lets start by talking about the similarities between a professional photographer and the person calling themselves a photographer:

• Pretty much everyone uses a digital camera to capture images these days
• They both have some form of the word “photography” in their business name
• Everyone has a website/Facebook page/etc.

That is where the similarities end.  But now you are saying they both sound like photographers.  Ahhh, here is where the differences begin….
(To make it easier to see the differences, what the Professional Photographer does will be in bold and what the person calling themselves a “photographer” does will be in italics.)

A professional photographer captures your pictures and gives you prints of those images created to share with friends and family.  The photographer just burns your images to a disk.
A professional photographer does all the work, they tone the images, fix any imperfections, send it to a professional lab, deal with any printing problems (bent prints, wrong size sent, color is off) and package your order up so all you have to do is pick-up and distribute to friends and family.  The photographer hands you a disk you do ALL the work.
A professional photographer comes to your session 100% prepared (or is ready to shoot when you walk in the door at their studio).  Extra equipment, lighting, multiple lens and camera bodies.  The BEST photographer will know everyone’s names and be ready for you even if you show up early.  The photographer will usually meet you at the park with their camera, pop-up flash, maybe a reflector and maybe, but not usually an exterrnal light.  Then they’ll ask you you what you want to do.  In some cases they are not even ready until 10 or 15 minutes after your scheduled time.
A professional photographer usually takes 20-30 minutes to complete a session (this is sometimes longer when you are requesting multiple poses).   The photographer takes an hour or more for your session, because the more pictures they take the more chances they have that they got something that is good enough to give to you.
A professional photographer will store & archive your images.  If you were to have a fire, flood or if your picture was damaged you could go back to them and get reprints of your images.  A photographer deletes your files once they have burned the disk.
A professional photographer guarantees their work.  If you are not 100% satisfied, they will give you your money back, reshoot it, what ever they can do to make you happy because they want your business again. The photographer does not care, they want your money now and may not be in business in a year or more when you need pictures again.
A professional photographer can be an investment depending on the prints you order and the type of session you are doing (pricing can vary depending on custom session, mini-session or a special the photographer might be running).  A photographer charges one price for their service.

So are you looking for a professional photographer or just a person with a camera calling themselves a photographer?  Don’t get fooled by the name, just because their name says photographer or photography doesn’t mean they are professional.  If you are unsure, ask.  Is using a person just calling themselves a photographer less expensive?  It depends, how much is your time worth?




Photography Q&A #2

Digital camera VS. Smartphone which is better???

This question comes from a recent article someone shared with me.  This article (click here to read article) talks about no longer buying a digital camera, just use your smart phone.
Well here are a couple of reasons why it is NOT a good idea:
1. You have little to no control over setting like ISO, Aperture or shutter speed (these are the basic components needed to take a good picture)

2. Most people never download their pictures from there smartphones.  And then when you get a new one, you throw it out or give it to your kids to play with, never having backed-up the pictures.






When should you use your smartphone for pictures….

1. When you want to share with family and friends where you are at – right then and there.  I do this all the time, though for the most part the pictures are a poor quality (blurry, dark pixelated) because the camera phone has very little control.  But the picture is just to share what I am doing, nothing else.  I am using my point and shoot or DSLR for the images I want to print.
2. When you need to remember a person, place or thing quickly.  We do it all the time to remember where we ate or what we had.  Again, this is not a picture I am going to print, but I may save it so I remember for next time.
3. The smartphone is all you have.  A picture is better than no picture at all when a surprise moment or once in a lifetime event.  It’s a memory and that’s what camera are for.  Like if Brad Pitt is eatting dinner at the same restaurant.  You don’t want to miss that.

Everything has a purpose.  Your smartphone can do lots of cool things, but being your only digital camera is not one of them.

Photography Q&A – #1

Can you guess what the most asked question is about digital photography?

Everyone wants to know which is better? Which is easier to use? Which takes better pictures?

Your answer: Both!  Sorry folks, both camera systems are equally as good.  When Canon comes out with some new function, Nikon will be sure to follow in a few months.  And the same is true for when Nikon comes out with a new function, Canon will be close behind.

For the most part, we ask these questions when someone is looking to buy a new DSLR:
1. Do you own a DSLR now?  If so, what kind.   Your lens from that camera could be used on your new digital body saving you money in buying new lens.
2. Have you ever owned a DSLR?  Nikon and Canon call the same functions different names.  On a Nikon, S is for shutter speed, on Canon TV or Time value means the same thing.
3. If you have never owned a DSLR, what will you be using it for.  Photographing your kids soccer games, I’d recommend Canon.  I like there focus modes better (one shot, AI Focus &  AI Servo).  But again, Nikon may have come out with something similar recently.  They are constantly one-uping each other.  Plus, this is my opinion.  Someone else may say Nikon is better.

Either way, both are very good camera manufactures with similar functions, just called different things.  I would stick with those 2 manufactures.  For the most part, that is all they do.  Canon has a small line of printers and scanners, but for the most part their bread and butter is camera technology.  Unlike Sony, who does TV, stereo equipment, etc, etc.

Also, it is not the price that makes for a better camera.  A $5K body like a Canon Mark V, doesn’t take any better pictures that the Canon Rebel.  Differences between the two is higher frame rate for sports action, larger chip (which makes no difference in most prints sizes – unless you plan to post your pictures on a lot of billboards), more actuations, and more durable.  The more expensive body is meant to handle more wear and tear and every day use.


Photography Q&A Blog Series

Digital photography has brought a lot of plusses & minuses to the world of photography.

On the plus side:
• Instant gratification
• Being able to fix problems immediately (not after the film has been developed)
• Can be more creative in Photoshop
• The list goes on and on…

But there is also a negative side:
• Exposures need to be more precise
• Equipment is more expensive
• You see the problem but can not fix it
• You are so overwhelmed with the number of pictures you take nothing gets done with them
• It involves a lot more work (before you took the picture and gave the film to a place to print your photos – now have to pick pictures, possible fix exposure problems, the list goes on and on…)

Though we can’t solve the shooting to much,  the techincal problems we can address on our blog.  Hence, Photography Q&A.  Every Monday we will release a new tip on our blog. The tips will deal with why an image is blurry, why are the people in the picture always dark, why are the people in the picture always to bright and the list goes on and on…
But we don’t want to be picking questions out of thin air, we want to hear from you.  What problems are you having?  Let us know by e-mail us at  Then check back each Monday to see if we answered your question.

If you got a new camera for Christmas and this, tip a week thing is driving you nuts, trying taking one of our class, “Taking Better Pictures” that will teach you the ins and outs of your new camera in a short 2-hour comprehensive class.  Our next class is this Wednesday, January 8th visit our website to sign-up.