You oughta be in pictures…

You oughta be in pictures…

A song recorded in 1934 by Rudy Vallee still holds true today. Let’s face it though—we grow older, body shapes change, and we just don’t always want to be IN the pictures.

While I do a lot of Commercial Photography and Portrait Photography for others, I’ve always driven my family just a little crazy taking pictures of them. They’re patient with me for the most part, but I get the occasional eye roll from my kids when they’ve had enough, and I politely back off.

My dad passed away this past August. He taught me to handle a camera when I was 9 years old, and I got my Girl Scout camera badge soon after. Who knew that it would lead to a career right? I see and sense my dad in a lot of places these days. Usually in reflections and cloud formations while I’m looking for the next composition and image for my #whatlaurisees series to post on social media.

There were lots of pictures when I was growing up. I was an only child in a lot of activities in school—my dad always showed up with a camera in hand. He documented just about every band concert, softball game, marching band performance and school dance. So of course I followed suit with our 3 kids. I think now they appreciate all the great shots of their sports and their friends. Most days.

Now that my dad is gone though, it’s the pictures that live on. I always tried to get shots of our parents with our kids when they attended their grandkids’ sports events. Because I knew There Would Come A Day. That day is now here. We will all live on someday in someone else’s pictures. So be in them. We don’t have to look perfect with every hair in place. Just be a part of the day and document accordingly. Just be yourself, as you are.

Yes, “You Oughta Be in Pictures”. Because someday, someone else will embrace that memory and smile accordingly.

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How can hiring a Professional Photographer benefit my Manufacturing Company?

I help business owners and marketing personnel tell their company’s story to their clients. Every day, you’re trying to sell yourself and professional imagery is one of the best ways to do that.  You may think that your business isn’t going to appeal to the public, however I am here to tell you that your viewers are curious, and perhaps fascinated with what you do and how you do it.  My job is to make the ordinary look extraordinary, so I make even the most mundane piece of equipment look more amazing than you expect.

I provide professional Photography services for Manufacturing Companies and their creative agencies covering promotional, industrial, advertising and catalogue work for web and print use.  I produce images that are both informative and eye-catching for product brochures, display stands, trade show graphics and web use. I’m also happy to produce work to fit a preexisting manual or training guide.

Through the use of imagery, industrial photography can help explain how your machines work.  All of my image processing and retouching experience is available to my clients, and photographs come with all my expertise in color management and high-quality reproduction.

Bridgeforth Photographics’ industrial and manufacturing photographic services cover all aspects of your organization, from documenting your manufacturing processes, through highlighting your products and people. Your clients want to put a face with a voice, so professional employee head shots are a must. I convey your business story with imagery that can be used in many ways. The goal Is always to build clients an Image Library that they can draw on In months to come to keep your website fresh and the search engines actively finding your site.

I provide you the creative images you need, by working directly with you and/or your agency to capture the images you are looking for or need to get your message across to your clients and potential clients. I can help you develop a shot list to establish priorities and make sure we don’t miss anything. I ensure you will have minimal interruption to your day and processes.  I take photos during normal working or off hours, whichever is most convenient to you.  I’m happy to work in the middle of a busy factory and know how to keep out of the way and blend into the background yet capture amazing images. I am able to set up specialized lighting when and where it is needed.

For Industrial product photography, I can set up professional lighting in your factory to take photographs of your items when they are available, or I can take them back to my studio, I will work with you to figure out what is best for your individual situation.  The great thing about being an independent photographer is the flexibility and freedom I have when working with my clients.

If your manufacturing factory or location is only available at specific times, I will work within your schedule. I can also produce very dramatic nighttime/dusk views for print and web use.

My aim is to accommodate your requirements and provide commercial photography that fits in with your plans and highlight your Manufacturing Company in the best light. Contact me and let’s talk about your needs.

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Why Amateur Photography Hurts Your Business

Your professional image is on the line here.  Your website is what your clients and potential clients see first, how they perceive you, and whether or not they will use or refer you. Are you willing to risk all of it with a mere smartphone, or in some cases, a not-so-smartphone?  As a professional photographer, with over 30 years in the imaging business, my smartphone rarely leaves my pocket during a professional photo shoot.  I ensure that I create the most amazing  images  possible to capture the best of your business and set you apart from your competition.

Let’s start with head shots. It is a small investment that can pay huge dividends in a professional arena, because you’ll look your best to your potential clients.  Are you using a “selfie” on a professional networking site? (Would you admit it if you do?) You can only get the camera as far away as the length of your arm. Since most camera apps are equipped with wide-angle lenses, this is NOT flattering for most of us because they actually make our faces look wider than they really are!  Think about that the next time you upload a “selfie” to a professional networking website.  Professional photographers use appropriate equipment, lighting, composition, and retouching to make you look your very best.

Now let’s look at the Real Estate Industry and how this can impact your sales.  Smartphones have come a long way, however they can’t compare to a professional setup, with proper lighting and equipment.  Professional Photos make your listing stand out, they grab the attention of your audience.  You have less than 20 seconds to make an impression on a buyer online, you need to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.  Professional Photographers know how to photograph a room so that it looks inviting and beautiful, they have tools available to them that help them capture the essesnce of the room that are not available with your smartphone. Professionaly photographed listings generate more interest, showings, and sell sooner, rather than later based on national studies that have been completed. Now that’s money in your pocket, because you worked with a professional photographer.

How can professional photos take your manufacturing or industrial business to the next level you ask?  I have no idea how to use water jets to cut metal.  No clue about how to build a facility with tiltwall technology either, but I sure can make it look really cool to your clients.  With lighting skills and Photoshop magic, I can absolutely make it look like the most amazing thing your clients have ever seen, and you will be seen as a rock star.  I make sure that I know what is important to you and understand who your audience is.  Once I know that, I create imagery showing how your business works and (boom) you’re set apart from your competition.

My “tagline” for my studio is “Making the Ordinary Appear Extraordinary”, because that’s what I do.  Think about your company’s professional image, and use a professional photographer to illustrate it.  Put your phone back in your pocket and leave your imaging needs to professional photographers. You are worth the investment, and your clients will think so too.

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Things to Ask Before Hiring a Drone Photographer

Not all Drones are created equal, nor are drone operators!  Are you looking to capture some awesome footage of from above?  With so many drone pilots in the photography space, there’s no shortage of gorgeous overhead shots. What was once a luxury for big-budget productions is now within reach for almost any business looking to boost the quality of their commercials or marketing videos with the help of a drone photographer.

Before you hire your next drone photographer, there are some things you need to keep in mind and make sure you ask.  Knowing the difference in drone levels and asking important questions will help to ensure you get the footage you are expecting.  Also, keep in mind, if the cost you are quoted is too good to be true, it probably is.

The biggest question to ask:  Is the Drone Pilot Licensed?

Starting on August 26, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) required that all non-hobbyists who use unmanned aircraft systems (aka drones) for business purposes be licensed.  This ensures that any footage captured for your project is legal and does not violate restricted airspace laws.

What quality does your drone offer?

You need to ensure that the drone the photographer has can give you the end quality you are looking for.  Not all drones are created equal.  Ask to see samples of their work to ensure they can do what you are looking for, has the drone photographer completed a similar type job?  If not, how can they assure you they can do what you are looking for.

Flying is one thing – Shooting is another…

Flying a drone and getting beautiful footage, are two completely different skillsets. You need to ensure you hire someone who is capable of doing both.  You need to hire a drone photographer who has a grasp of composition and pacing, as well as someone who has the understanding of how to manually control camera settings for lighting conditions, speed, and subject as well as to achieve the results that they are after.

Do some basic research, make sure you see the drone photographer’s portfolio and ensure it is their work before you hire them.  In the long run, you will be happy you did.

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Caring for your Photographs

There are a few basics on how to properly store and mount photographs that you should know.  Photos are very fragile, especially as they age and you want to take care of them on the front end of their existence to ensure they last the test of time.  As photographs age, they can yellow, crack and stick to glass.  They can even become moldy, yes this is possible!  If your photos have already been damaged, there are a number of solutions available as well to correct them; often it does require the efforts of a professional.

Photographs have three basic layers and each layer requires special care.  The layers are: the supportive backing, the binder, and the image material, or emulsion. The supportive backing is typically cardboard or heavy paper. The binder is an agent that binds the image to the backing.  The image material is suspended in the binder, and can consist of silver, color dyes, and pigment particles. Each layer requires special care. Over time, the paper can yellow or grow mold; the binder can become soft and sticky, or dry and cracked; the image materials such as color dyes fade much quicker in direct sunlight.

Things to keep in mind when deciding how to store your photographs.  Sunlight quickens the possible deterioration of your photos and humid air can also effect the longevity of your photograph.  When displaying your photos keep them out of direct sunlight and in a cool, temperature controlled room (not too humid or too dry).

There are several things to keep in mind as well, when you are mounting your photographs.  All supplies should be acid-free.  When you are mounting, your photos ensure that you have a good mat, a solid backing board and either use a good quality glazing material or a glass/acrylic frame.  The “glazing” material is any thick, clear material that protects your photo from UV radiation. Do not let the glass or acrylic come in contact with the photograph, use a mat spacer, this will ensure that the photograph does not stick to the glass.

Taking proper care of your photographs upfront will ensure a longer life for your memories, allowing future generations to share your special memories.

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Perceptions About Professional Photography

 How Much Too Much Is It?

 How do you want your business to be perceived by potential new clients?

What do you plan on spending to make your business image look its very best?

Think about it—in a perfect world, what would be the FIRST thought you want potential clients to have about YOUR business based on your website and marketing materials?  AND:  does your website and marketing materials, reflect that thought?

An investment in professional photography is priceless to your business image—high quality professional imagery can be used for the life of the product or service. For a $500.00 shoot, let’s say those images live on your website, making you money, for a year and a half or perhaps longer.  Less than a dollar a day.  You won’t get that kind of value anywhere else.

Too Expensive 

How do you know?  Have you asked?

A good shooter with over 30 years of professional experience who can think on her feet and has encountered almost every lighting situation there is can get your job done much faster and more efficiently than your employee that has a camera.

Is professional photography in that employee’s job description?  What’s NOT getting done by that employee that they’re supposed to be doing while they’re putzing with a camera or a smartphone?  Will that person have to re-do the pictures?  Are you paying that person to do the same thing twice that they weren’t qualified to do the first time?  For what it’s really costing you—you can hire me instead.

Will those image files be retouched by someone that really knows what they’re doing?  How long will that take and will you like the results?

You want YOUR clients to hire YOU as a professional right??  Let me help you look the part.

 Do You Use A Professional Marketing Agency?

To improve your business image right??

When you think of McDonald’s, what’s the first picture that comes up in your head?  Or Chevrolet?  Or Dell Computers?  Pretty sure if McDonald’s employees took all the pictures for their commercials, we’d all be eating peanut butter and jelly.

If a business works with marketing professionals, they need professional imagery to enhance a professional image.

Are you paying that agency extra to fix amateur imaging mistakes?  Why not just hire a professional photographer that knows what she’s doing, will make you look great, AND stands behind her work?

People remember 2 things:  what’s really REALLY awesome, and what’s really horrifically BAD.  How do YOU want to be remembered, because “you never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.”

I Can’t Take A Good Picture…OR…I HATE Having My Picture Taken… 

Soooooo…. People compensate for that by taking a cell-phone selfie and posting it on a business website?  People that do that look ridiculous and the sad part is they deserve better.  Esteem is being, and confidence is doing, but a good professional head shot shows the world you’re worth it, and YOUR clients will believe in YOU accordingly.

That’s why you need me…I know how to make you look YOUR best, and retouch your portraits so that you still look like YOU, only better!

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Secrets to Saving Flood Damaged Photos

Secrets to Saving Flood Damaged Photos

When floods and fires hit, people don’t grieve losing a bed or a couch.  However, losing valued family photos, scrapbooks and memorabilia are nothing short of devastating.  There are things that people can do to help save their family photos, I feel this is valuable information for everyone, so I wanted to share my thoughts.

When facing piles of soggy, mud-spattered photos and other valuables – saving them may be possible by using some of following tips.

The first thing you need to do is CAREFULLY lift photos out water, or from being stuck in the mud.  Ensure that you remove photos from albums and frames, etc, and delicately separate any that are stuck together.  Be very careful to not rub or touch the surface of the wet photograph.

Fill a sink with clean, cold water, then gently rinse both sides of your photographs.  Change the water often, as it is critical that it be clean water, free of dirt and other hazards to your photographs.  Ensure that you DO NOT rub the surface of the photo, do not wipe the photos, just gently rinse the photographs. The last element that touches a photograph during printing is water, so it won’t damage them, just let them dry. Color photographs may turn a bit blue when wet. Don’t panic–that blue tone should disappear as they dry.

Lay each photograph, picture side up, on a clean blotting paper (such as a paper towel).  Do not use paper towels that have printing on them, definitely do not use newspapers either, these can transfer their ink onto the photographs.  Be sure to change the blotting paper every hour or so until the photographs are dry.  Make sure that the photos are not in the path of an open window or door or near direct sunlight.  Sunlight and wind can cause the photos to dry more quickly, which in turn can cause the paper to curl.

Taking extra special care when going through this process will give you the best results for saving your photos from flood damage. If you have any hesitation about doing this process yourself, seek the help of a professional photographer, they can help and can also digitally restore the photos when needed.

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