When you are thinking of getting a professional photo shoot, questions immediately flood your mind.
Should I wait until I lose a few more pounds?
What is the difference between a professional photo and the hundreds of selfies I have on my phone?
Am I too self-conscious to let a stranger take pictures of me?
It’s part of my job to ask questions. For about eight years I was a journalist and now as a content creator for clients, I need to ask the right questions to craft a compelling story.
During the initial phone call with Brenda Jankowski (which was her request, I would do everything over email) she answered the questions before I had the opportunity to ask most of them. It wasn’t a rehearsed script to preempt my questions, though. It was Brenda telling me about photo shoots, other women’s experiences, and how I can best prepare for my photo shoot.
At the end of the phone call with Brenda, I didn’t have any questions. Instead, I felt the same butterflies-in-my-stomach when you know you have an amazing date coming up. I added three things to me pre-photo shoot list to prepare.
The nagging questions you asked yourself may still persist after your initial call with Brenda. They did for me.
“Maybe I should push it back a month. Should I do a juice cleanse the week of? Do I have the perfect outfit?”
Stop. I haven’t had my photo session yet and an amazing added benefit is it forced me to realize how harsh these questions are (am I pretty enough?/skinny enough/have the perfect outfit). I was waiting for a personal eclipse and setting extremely unrealistic (and fleeting) standards.
I scrolled though the photos on my phone. Of the thousands, I would only think about printing and framing a handful. It’s time I saw a professional.
Not because you need a wardrobe but to see if anything catches your eye. For me, the majority of the clothes I’m planning to bring to my photo shoot, I’ve had in my closet. A few weeks before the photo shoot, I planned a Happy Hour/shopping night with my best friend. We walked around the King of Prussia Mall not with a mission to find the perfect outfit, but to see if anything (shoes, shirts, jeans, dresses, jewelry) fit the vision for my photo shoot. If it didn’t – no worries. I planned to come back a week before my shoot (and I had some things waiting in my online shopping cart as backups).
For me, writing a blog before, during and after the shoot is a way I wanted to document the journey. I’ve been a writer most of my life, so that is the medium that works for me. You might want to do the same, or keep a personal diary. Even if you aren’t a writer, you can mark the build-up to your experience with short selfie videos.
The question I didn’t ask Brenda was the most important. Why should I trust her and what makes her the best choice? By the end of the initial phone call it was obvious my experience was in excellent hands. Brenda’s experience and professionalism is obvious through her website - the “first stop” - when looking for a photographer. During the phone call it was more than her rattling off her qualifications. It was about what I envisioned and her passion working with women creating unforgettable photo sessions.
I’m sure you have your own questions. Ask Brenda.
If you have any questions or comments for me, email kkohler1129@gmail and visit www.katiekohler.com.
Check back on October 8th for "Part Two: Lights, Camera...for me?!"
Schedule a studio tour and see if I’m the one for you!
If you have any questions, I am happy to talk image selection (and most other things…) so go ahead and give me a call at 215.208.5803 or send me an email HERE and we can chat more. OR schedule a studio tour and see if I’m the one for you.
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Women message me all the time asking to book beauty photo sessions for many different reasons. Some choose to do them as a gift for their special someone, as something for themselves, or just because they want to celebrate a big event in their lives (beating cancer, losing weight, so many reasons!)
But often, women tell me they just don’t think they are “ready” for a photo shoot. Just about every woman that I photograph comes to my studio in a bundle of nerves. Then, we pamper her with professional hair and makeup. And guess what happens? Once we start the session and get through the first few poses they always relax and have a great time!
I have seen confidence gained, excitement exuded, and joy expressed in the faces of the women I’ve had the honor to photograph. I provide a truly unique experience that will empower you.
Why should you book a beauty session? Here are 7 reasons:
There you are - Several reasons to contact me right now and book your very own beauty photo session.
Name: Debby Kevin
Business: Debby Kevin Writer. Editor. Storyteller. https://deborahkevin.com/
Writer. Editor. Storyteller. Debby Kevin ( https://deborahkevin.com/ ) can help you get noticed by your tribe by creating communication that is touching their hearts. Together you and she will assess your current marketing plans, and tweak them as much as necessary so you are connecting with your clients effectively and authentically with her copyrighted 5-Step Process.
How would you describe yourself? I would say that I’m a contradiction in many ways. Although quiet, I’m an adventurer and risk taker. Certainly, a self-proclaimed badass (and what makes me one is I’ve been a single mom for most of my kids’ lives, left corporate America, and started my own business without the support of anyone).
What inspired you to start your business? Honestly, it was by accident. I was at home with my kids starting in 2010, when I had time to volunteer. My skills were in high demand and those with whom I worked wanted to credit me. I didn’t feel comfortable using my name so I created a company. For the first several years, it was really a hobby. In 2015, my marriage was ending and I had to decide whether to return to corporate life or take my business seriously.
What do you like most about what you do? Two things: helping other badass women find and own their voices so they can make maximum positive impact in the world; and the creativity!
Why community involvement important to you and how do you support the local community? My company is designed like Toms and Warby Parker, although my model isn’t one-for-one. I take on a non-profit client annually and work with them pro-bono so they can make a bigger impact in the world. Last year and this, I’m supporting Creators of Hope, founded by Joe Biba.
What’s next for you and your business? Launching a JV project called Free-Range Entrepreneur: Your Business. Your Life. No More Clucking Around.
Next vacation: Spain to walk about 250 miles of the Camino (though we may do a week at the beach as a family at some point this summer) Note: this is not Debby’s 1st trek along the Camino.
On my playlist: Ed Sheeran, P!nk, Taylor Swift, John Denver, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Peter Gabriel, The Cure, B-52s
Morning ritual: Wake up at 5:30, meditate, write, and then coffee!
If you could invite anyone, living or dead, to dinner who would you invite & why? Ben Franklin because he was a charming scamp and I think having a conversation with him would be delightful.
Favorite quote: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain
If you have ever considered writing a book (and who hasn’t?) or just want to write better, join Debby’s Facebook group Your Book to Fully Booked where you will be surrounded by a community that will encourage and support you. Writing a book (no matter what the size)is a sure way to up your credibility.
Make sure you subscribe to Debby's blog where her storytelling shines whether she is being vulnerable about recent events or giving you tips on how to write authentically.
Summer isn’t over yet which means you still have plenty of time to take some photos. Plus, the kids are home and they make excellent little subjects to work with and with the long summer days you’ll have plenty of light. This equates to a lot of great photo opportunities.
Let’s talk about how to get some great summer pictures in a few different situations.
When you take pictures at the beach, there are a few things you’ll want to take into account. The first is to be very careful as sand in your camera or lens is the worst! Try and keep the same lens on your camera the whole time, this will help prevent getting sand in your camera and lenses. Make sure you keep your camera by you or hidden so other beachgoers don’t notice it sitting there when you wander down to the water.
When taking photos remember to be aware of your background. The beach can get cluttered with people, so use the water as your background instead as it will make a much cleaner photo. Plus, who wants random people in your photos? Keep in mind that the light at the beach can be pretty harsh. The water will cause it to be extra bright and it will reflect everywhere. Place your subjects with their backs to the light and focus on the people to get the correct exposure. Lastly, think about shooting at the beginning and the end of the beach day so you get less harsh shadows.
Vacation pictures can be tricky for me as sometimes my camera makes me feel like I am working. I have to actually force myself to take out my camera and capture those memories. A lot of people feel like they should take pictures of the places and landscapes they visit, but I challenge you to photograph the memories you are making more than anything else. Get pictures of your family doing things, not just smiling at the camera in front of a gorgeous landscape! Try to capture the emotion or feeling of what you’re doing. Take pictures while hiking, window shopping, exploring, eating, walking, playing, relaxing and anything else you do. Try and take pictures of your family doing things they don’t get to do anywhere else.
Lastly, I think you should photograph your summer vacation at home. The long afternoons of reading, playing, and spending time together at home are priceless as well. Our summer break from school isn’t that long but it’s our time, so capture it! Not all of your summer days have to be outing and adventures.
So grab that camera and capture your days. You won't be able to get them back.
One of the most exciting parts of your portrait experience has nothing to do with the lights and camera. It involves you, the photographer, and only the very best images from your session. It’s when you get to see them for the first time.
I have heard from many of my clients that they have never sat down with their photographer when they are looking at their photos. And it makes me sad because you are not being properly serviced and the very last thing you remember about your whole experience is your frustration, even if the photos are amazing.
Sifting through a gallery of images yourself can be very daunting. After a while they all begin to look the same and you are ready to give up. So you keep telling yourself you will get back to it. But you never do, and you have this decision hanging over you for months, when sitting with me rarely takes more than an hour. And it’s done. No more clutter in your head and you can start using those images.
How overwhelming is it to look at images that, to you, essentially look the same? We can put these images side by side so you can see the nuances rather than jumping from one image to the one 5 spaces down (or was it 6 spaces) which makes the decision easier.
Rather than rushing through reviewing your images to just get it over with (or avoid it all together), this allows you to gain insight into why I selected each particular image for you to see, and that helps you to make your decisions. Things you might not realize on your own (because sometimes we cannot get past that 1 thing about ourselves…) Certain insights about your appearance, expression, posture, how your outfit works, composition, and how/or where you might want to use this photo (especially with professional branding headshot types). This alone can go a long way to helping you choose the most appropriate photos for your needs.
So instead of being confused and giving up you are making a more informed decision.
*Thanks to Laura Templeton for the photo of Doris Robinson & me at the computer.
We have our pre-session consultation, where we design your portrait session, but there is always a bit of free-styling that happens. Which at the time feels like a bonus, but now it becomes, “But what am I going to do with them?”
Talking about your life style, décor, upcoming events or if they are branding/headshot photos talking about all of your media needs can help you decide on how many images you really do need or might need in the future. For instance, you may not be on the speaking circuit this year, but you’ve been thinking it might be a good thing to do…. So take one to have just in case.
Or it just might be a good photo to show a different side of your personality.
And sometimes I am part therapist (and not just when you show up for your session and want to run in the other direction). Most often, I am injecting you with positive thoughts because you have decided you are “just not photogenic” and you start looking for that one thing you dislike (that one eye that is smaller than the other that you are sure everyone can see, but they are too polite to point out).
I can help you see that these images possess more value than just the aesthetics.
Conversely, if you go on a “like” binge I can point out which are better suited for your needs. I don’t want you to have a ton of images that you can never use and enjoy.
Alternatively, we can talk about what you don’t like about an image and see if we can find one that suits. It’s the most difficult when you are first seeing yourself - after you see a few, you start to see yourself as those around you do and become less focused on your “thing".
Especially if it is self conscious based – I look fat, I look old, my smile is crooked, etc – I let you complain, but also tell you that people like you for you and they don’t see the same issues about you that you do. Your tribe doesn’t care that your eyes aren’t symmetrical – they care about the love and expertise that you give, that gets them through their day.
As you can see there is a lot of value to having your photographer there when you choose your photos. And selfishly, for me, it’s like Christmas morning when I get to see you discover yourself!
Have you had any disaster experiences trying to choose your photos? Comment here and tell me about it. What do you wish had happened? What could have made it better?
If you have any questions, I am happy to talk image selection (and most other things…) so go ahead and give me a call at 215.208.5803 or send me an email HERE and we can chat more.