Archive for the ‘Educational’ Category

Certified Professional Photographer

March 21, 2014

Why did I became a Certified Professional Photographer? Because I can. Not just anyone can pass the rigorous 100 question exam, nor pass the hair-splitting portfolio review. The Professional Photographers of America is the largest group of professional photographers in the world. They take photography very seriously, and their peer-certification process is really separates the experienced photographers who know their stuff from the enthusiast just starting out. Below is a quote from the PPA website. Please spend some time exploring the links and watching the videos. Thank you for caring enough to choose the very best!


See the Difference Certified Professional Photographers Make

Consistency. CPPs know how to achieve great results—every time. You get a strong collection of images that tell your story, not a few lucky snapshots, and you will work with someone who knows how to produce a quality image under any circumstances.

Technical Skills. CPPs are more than picture takers. They are students of art, lighting, posing, fashion and even interior design. They combine these elements to create images that fit your unique style and become works of art you will treasure for generations.

Unique Artistry. CPPs have the skills to create unique, customized works of art—not cookie-cutter pictures. They follow an artistic vision. It’s your story captured as a collection of art.

Professionalism. When you hire a CPP, you know you’re getting someone who is willing to go the extra mile to deliver the best possible images. They are business owners who thrive on customer service and satisfaction, and they continuously aim to produce products that exceed your—and their—best expectations. These images are keepsakes whose stories you’ll tell time and time again and treasure forever.

Just about anyone can take a good picture every now and then. But when life’s biggest moments are unfolding and there’s just one chance to capture that perfect memory, don’t risk it. Entrust your photography needs to a Certified Professional Photographer and see the difference for yourself.

Family Portraits

September 3, 2012

Photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing. And when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again.

– Henri Cartier-Bresson

How important are professional family portraits?  You may well ask how important are your family memories?  Your children will only be this age once.  Your parents will only be with you for so long.  We all take point and shoot, or “Instagram” pictures throughout life.  Unfortunately, these snapshots end up in the shoebox of social media, but never anywhere with permanence, such as over your fireplace.  A professional family portrait is something different–something beyond the everyday experiences of life.  A professional family portrait is very special investment you and your family will enjoy for many years.  If it has been a while, or if you have never had a professional family portrait made, here are the important “don’t miss these” milestones from Tim and Bev Walton (, president of the Professional Photographers of America.

  • Babyhood – Newborn, six months, twelve months
  • Toddler – Two years
  • Childhood – Five years
  • Youth – Twelve years
  • Young adulthood – Sixteen years

Naturally, you don’t need to wait for these milestones in your children’s lives, but if you have bypassed any of these, please, strongly consider having professional family portrait made.  Need another reason?  October is Family Portrait Month.  Have your professional family portrait sitting in October, and your finished photographs will be ready to display in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Call or email today!

Feats and Bennies

July 23, 2012

When I was younger, I tried my hand at sales. I discovered a few things. Namely: 1) I suck at sales, and 2) in my training, I learned that customers use their left brain make their decisions based on what the other, more savvy salespeople called “feats and bennies” — features and benefits. Features are those things that a product or service has that separates that one above the rest. For instance, I am a Certified Professional Photographer. To achieve the CPP certification, I had to pass a grueling 100 question exam, and have my portfolio judged by five of the top certified photographers in the world. I am a second generation professional photographer, so what do I care if I am certified? Certification was not easy by any stretch, but it was well worth it to show my customers that I care about the quality of my images, my devotion to increasing my photographic skills and knowledge, and my future commitment to my profession. In short, I am certified because I care about my customers. In my book, that is the only benefit that really counts. Oh yeah, that was the other thing I learned: 3) No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

A real business is insured

June 5, 2012

Not to long ago, a certain photographer who will remain unnamed (not me) totally messed up a wedding.  Fortunately for all involved, that photographer is a member of the Professional Photographers of America.  The PPA carries insurance for all its members.  The insurance paid for the wedding to be completely reenacted and reshot–including flying guests from out of state, paying for the venue, the caterer, the limo, tux, you name it.  As a professional photographer and videographer, I value each and every image I capture.  Not only am I a member of the PPA and therefore have this same insurance, but I have extended business insurance…$2,000,000 worth!  Why?  Because I value every customer I serve.  Not only do I have $2,000,000 general business liability coverage, but I am also a member of  HPVA, WEVA, TPPA, SWPPA, and serve on the board of directors for the PPGH.  Why?  Because I value every project I am involved with.  Not only am I a member of these associations, but I attend several training sessions every year and am working on my Certified Professional Photographer acheivement (I recently aced the 100 question written exam).  Why?  Because I want to continuously improve my skills for my next project.  When searching for a photographer or videographer, ask yourself what level of commitment does this person have to their craft.  Ask yourself whether this a real business, or just someone with a camera trying to make a few bucks on the weekends?  At PhotoVideoSound, I do whatever it takes to ensure and insure your images are the best possible.  Thank you for your continued business!

(Re)touching portraits

May 30, 2012

There are some people who say that advertisements where the model images have been retouched must carry a warning label. They want these labels because people (mostly young girls and women) who see these ads think they are real and do bad things to themselves to try to emulate what they think they see in these photographs. You’ve got to be kidding.  The reality is that, almost without exception, EVERY professionally produced photograph is retouched–not just the ones in magazine ads. I have a better solution, if you think every photo you see in a magazine is real and you must look like that in order to be a fulfilled person, go have yourself photographed by a professional fashion photographer. Trust me, it’s much less expensive than therapy and a trip to the emergency room. The reality is that everyone is beautiful. It is the job of the professional photographer to capture that beauty for all to enjoy. Your photographs don’t make you feel beautiful? Get a new photographer.


Nearly every professional photograph is retouched.  So what?


Even the iconic portrait of Winston Churchill is retouched!


Here is the original negative as shot by Yousef Karsh.


I agree, this may be going too far–the skin looks far too plasticy!


Another icon, Twiggy, in real life.


Creating a photographic portrait is a four step process: prepare to capture the image, capture the image, edit the captured image, and display the image.  The image must be edited to remove the artifacts and distortions caused by capturing a living three-dimensional person into a still, two dimensional photograph.  Each person is three personas – who they really are, who they want people to think they are, and who people think they are.  The magnitude of difference between these three personas keep the psychiatric, makeup, fitness, and fashion industries in business.  While the photographer is fixing the mess caused by translating the person onto paper, it only makes sense to also fix the real and perceived flaws and bridge the gaps between who the person really is and who the person wants everyone to think they are.  The purist (read, amateur) will have none of this retouching.  However, the professional knows that is it necessary, and embraces retouching for the ability it has to make people feel beautiful.  People have so many poor snapshots and mall portraits of themselves that only destroy their self esteem.  If your photographs from your photographer don’t make you have an “OMG” moment, find a photographer who will.  For me, there is nothing more satisfying than the reactions people have when they see one of my signature portraits of themselves for the first time.


Real Estate Photography

May 24, 2012

Thank you for choosing to capture the beauty of your home for sale. Home buyers use the Internet 92% of the time when searching for a new home. Professional photographs in online listings often pay for themselves many times over. Just as there are things that you do to make your house more sellable, there are some things you can do to also make your photographic Internet presence more appealing.

  • Have all your staging completed and in place.  A clean, uncluttered, lightly furnished home is more appealing than a empty house. If you are unsure, ask your agent for advice, or to recommend a home staging professional.
  • Ensure everything is clean, sparkling, and clutter-free.
  • Remove items that make your home specific to you – your hobbies, pets, family photos, etc.  One or two things are fine, but your potential buyers need to be able to see themselves in your home.
  • Ensure all light bulbs work (including the under-cabinet lights). Try to ensure your bulbs are the same type and color temperature. Turn on all lights, televisions, and computers. Turn off all ceiling fans. Open all blinds, shutters, and curtains.
  • Make all beds, straighten pillows and cushions, put away all toys, pet bowls and beds, straighten towels, clean mirrors and shower glass, store all toothbrushes, blow dryers, bottles and cans, etc., hide all trash, leave toilet lids down.
  • In the kitchen, hide all non-decorative dishes, soap bars, sponges, unnecessary appliances and other clutter.  Remove all refrigerator magnets and art.
  • Remove glass tops and pads from tables.
  • Freshly vacuum all carpet, and leave a nice “pattern” in the carpet.
  • As we photograph each room, be prepared to light any gas fireplaces.
  • Be aware that your photographer may move or remove items for better photographic impact and composition.

The exterior – especially the front – is also very important.

  • Mow, trim, edge, and blow your yard. Trim trees and bushes. Spruce up any mulch and landscaping. Power wash any stains. Roll up hoses.
  • Have all vehicles, trash cans, toys, animal dishes, etc., well out of sight.
  • Close your garage doors.
  • Make sure your pool and fountains sparkle.
  • Ensure all exterior lights work and are turned on.

Lastly, I encourage you to trust and work closely with your agent or broker.  Statistics show that homes listed at the agent recommended price sell more quickly and often at a better price.  Trying a higher price to see what the market will bear backfires more often than not.  Statistics also show that listing on Thursday or Friday net the highest prices – so be patient.

If possible, please be available in case the photographer needs something adjusted or has a question.  Allow up to two hours for photography for most houses.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.  Thanks again for allowing us to be a part of your journey.


What to wear for a formal portrait.

May 10, 2012

Formal Portrait

Portraiture has challenged artists from the times of the pharaohs and beyond.  During the renaissance, portraiture was rediscovered and refined by masters such as Rembrandt and DaVinci.  Master oil painters spent days, sometimes months, capturing the life and likeness of their subjects.  In photographic portraiture, the camera only records the light reflected from the subject.  It does not capture the life or dimensional likeness of the subject.  It only records a still, lifeless, two dimensional representation of a living, three dimensional person.  It is up to the photographic artist to breathe life back into the image, and recreate the likeness that is the true essence and personality of the subject.  What a person wears to the photo session is an important element in the final product.  Here are some tried and true guidelines for your formal portrait that will help your photographer create the best image possible:

  • Your face, especially your eyes and mouth, are the most important elements in your portrait.  Therefore, bring clothes that bring more attention to your face.  Wear dark, or subdued solid colors that compliment the color of your eyes.  Cool colors (greens and blues) help make your flesh tones appear warmer, thus livelier.  Wear sleeves.  Avoid exaggerated V-neck or exaggerated turtlenecks.
  • Wear a long dress or dark hose for full length shots.  Be sure your shoes are clean and shined.
  • Avoid trendy clothing for your formal portraits.  If you have a favorite look, let’s save it for the casual portraits.
  • Bring several sets of clothes.
  • In a group, everyone should wear (more or less) the same colors.  In a portrait, the viewer’s eyes are directed toward the areas of most contrast (including color contrast).  So, if everyone is wearing similar colors, the viewer will be directed toward the people and not the clothes.  Color also ties the individuals together as a group, and maintains color harmony within the portrait.
  • Wear a little more makeup than you are used to.  The camera flattens you into a still, two dimensional image.  This makes you appear heavier and less alive.  A little more makeup (especially when applied by an experienced portrait makeup artist) is essential for a great portrait.  Use powders and avoid a glossy look on the skin.  Use an eyeliner and a little bit bolder lipstick, but not so bold as to overpower your eyes.  Be sure your nails are freshly manicured.
  • Wear your hair as you normally would for a formal dinner with friends.  A natural look is best.  Avoid too much hairspray or gel.  Men should get a haircut about one week before your sitting.
  • Wear smaller, simpler jewelry.

Most importantly, relax and bring your sense of humor.  I will never tell you to smile, but I will expect a genuine laugh or smile at all my stupid photographer jokes–regardless of how bad they are!

Copyright laws make America strong

April 22, 2012

As a media producer, the properties that I create are protected by U.S. copyright law.  Copyright and patent laws were enacted by our founding fathers to encourage the creation of new ideas.  It works!  There are many reasons that America is the most prosperous nation in history.  One of the primary reasons is the fact that creators of new ideas are protected and allowed to prosper from those new ideas.  What gets rewarded gets done.

Under these laws, every image and sound that I capture or record become my property (or the property of whoever I am under contract).  This is true for any professional photographer, video/cinematographer, or recordist.  I own and reserve all rights to the property I create and capture.  As my customer, I give you certain and specific rights to my property based on money that you pay me.  Just because I send you a file, that does not mean that you have the right to edit, copy, or print it.  You may only legally do what I give you specific written permission to do.  It is highly unusual for me to give an individual permission to edit, copy, or print my work.  This is for two reasons.  First, this is one way that I make my living.  It is common among aspiring photographers to give their customers a “disk” for them to make their own prints.  This is not a sustainable business model.  The second reason, and this is just as important to me as the first reason, is that I am an artist.  The final step in my art is the edited print.  I take great care in ensuring each print is the highest quality and presentation, and deserves to have my name on it.

Sometimes I Get Too Excited…

March 30, 2012

…about small things.  It really isn’t a big deal, but it I am so impressed with a website I found called  This website converts your GIF, JPG, or PNG into a favicon.  A favicon is the little icon that appears in your browser tabs.  All you do it upload your full sized icon, select whether you want it in 16×16, or 32×32, and press the create button.  It generates a favicon.ico file, and instructions for adding it in your website.  It isn’t much, but it is that one last bit of polish and completeness to your website that says you pay attention to all the details.  How cool is that!

The time has come, the walrus said…

March 20, 2012

…to speak of many things, of ships and shoes and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. I was shopping earlier this week at a store and the sign in the shop next door caught my eye. They had several large signs telling of their many talents: screen printing, custom t-shirts, trophies, embroidery, pest extermination, and, of course, photography. Really? All that and photography too? With today’s digital cameras and their on-board computers, along with sophisticated editing software, making a decent looking image is easier than ever. However, just because a screen printing, embroidering, trophy maker/exterminator has a camera, it does not make him a photographer. In fact, just because an image was made with a camera doesn’t even make it a photograph. In this day when there are snapshooters pretending to operate a camera that knows more about photography than the operator, real photographers are becoming a dying breed.  What are your thoughts?