Tag: photography

Trust Your Photographer Enough to be Fearless ~ Adventurous Portrait Photography in Springfield Illinois

Since a friend and fellow photographer turned me on to the Fearless Photographers website a few months ago, I have been thinking about how to apply the same approach to portrait photography. There is a tendency to take the safest path to portrait work — a beautiful, traditional portrait of the entire family. Everyone is looking at the camera. Everyone is smiling. We want something that serves as a beautiful record of our existence. Truthfully, there is something to be said for great portrait photography that is both classic and natural. Done well, with beautiful lighting and posing, it should stand the test of time.

That said, some people are uncomfortable with the idea of hanging a huge family portrait on the wall. All those smiling, giant faces looking back at us in bold color. Frozen in time. Instantly dated.

But what about art? How does the personal transcend its ordinary place in our world? How does a portrait become a piece of art? I would hang the above photo of a gorgeous bride checking out her makeup in a tiny cosmetic mirror on my own wall. Would you? Some of my favorite portraits don’t have a single face in them. It is really exciting when a client sees such a photo for the first time and gets it. *Here.* Where it matters. They are experiencing that same fearlessness that I felt when I shot it. It gives me goosebumps every time.

What would happen if people allowed their photographers to create personal artwork — instead of mere facsimiles? Another blogger has addressed this beautifully here. Photographers all over the country are convincing their clients to *trust* them. I believe it can happen here in Springfield.

If you are willing to take a chance on a fearless portrait, I’m your photographer. Fearless portraits can be done at any time of year, in just about any location — including your own home. We can collaborate on ideas — or you can simply allow me to do my thing. You don’t need to wear special clothes or bring anything to the session — with the possible exception of an open mind.


What is Custom Wedding Photography?

Like a handmade quilt, I treat your wedding photos with care and craftsmanship. This is what custom photography means to me. I start with professional Canon equipment and a wide array of Canon’s finest L-series lenses, each of which I have chosen for a different reason — from portrait lenses to wide-angle (or “storytelling” lenses, as I call them). I invest in software, professional retouching tools, filters, and workshops so that your images are as beautiful as the people in them. It means that every single photo is carefully edited, color corrected, and corrected for exposure by hand. Furthermore, I work with quality filters that allow me to give every photo a  gentle “once-over” for your wedding DVD. Beyond that, every photo is also converted to black and white, so that you have the option of printing in color or b&w. Lastly, I choose a handful of my favorite images for special attention — fully retouched and treated with fun effects. Per your request, I also offer complete retouching on special images. Finally, every single image that goes into your printed wedding album is retouched by hand.

When you consider the fact that most couples end up with anywhere from 500 to 1000 images, the process can be very time-consuming. That said, it is well worth the effort!

Springfield IL Wedding Photographer Kari Bedford Wins Two “Fearless Photographer” Awards!

Fearless Photographers are wedding photographers from all over the world who “go for the bold.” From their website:

We are very selective about the images that you see on our site.  We only want to show our best!  Thus only the top 10% of all images submitted by over 200 photographers are worthy to be called Fearless Awards and are showcased on the Fearless Photographers site.  It’s considered a great honor among our photographers to have earned these Awards.

Each round of entries is a dazzling array of unique, funny, shocking, and beautiful wedding photography. I was thrilled and honored to have two of my photos selected from out of 1500 entries! Be sure to check out the other winners, as well!

So You Want to Be a Professional Photographer?

So you want to be a professional photographer?

GREAT! It is often an exciting, rewarding career for a creative person. It is also a tremendous responsibility to run your own business — one that not only involves recording important life moments for other people, but is filled with financial and legal concerns. When aspiring photographers ask me, “What kind of camera should I buy?” or “How much should I charge?” — there are so many other questions that they are not asking. Hopefully, this will give you something to think about.

First of all, what do independent photographers do with their time? You might be surprised by the answers. Here is what goes into any given week:

1. A LOT of time on the computer.

Shooting is actually the least time-consuming aspect of being a photographer. Most of my job involves handling the images after they have been created (downloading files, backing up files, culling, processing RAW files, retouching, color correcting, creating slideshows and sales presentations, cropping and ordering photos) and/or running the business itself (ie: bookkeeping, responding to emails and phone calls, social networking, blogging, updating the website, and marketing). Be prepared to sit at your desk for long periods of time, staring at a computer screen. On average, I spend about 6 hours a day on the computer.

2. Meetings

Think your life as a photographer will mean no more meetings? Well, maybe you won’t be meeting with your colleagues or a boss anymore — but your clients deserve your attention. Prepare to host consultations, sales presentations, framing appointments, and meetings with many potential clients — who may or may not book you for your services. I spend approximately 2 hours a day meeting with clients and/or potential clients.

3. Customer Service

You will spend a LOT of time trying to make people happy — and many times, you will succeed! But here is a painful fact: you won’t be able to make every single person happy beyond their wildest dreams. Some people will be unhappy because you charge more than they can afford (and that’s okay — you should never allow someone to guilt trip you into charging less). Some people will be unhappy because you aren’t able to get their photos turned around in 2 days. Or a week. Or a month. And that’s okay. What matters is that you keep trying to deliver the very best product that you can — and that you keep your clients informed of what is going on with their order. Occasionally, you will have a client who is unhappy with the way their photos turned out. Offer to reshoot them (assuming it’s not a wedding client, of course). In the end, you will probably have better photos — and a happier client. Try to think about what might have gone wrong in the session and correct it the next time. You don’t have to be a doormat, however. There will be times when you need to gently explain your policies to people. Most people will understand.

4. Saturdays off? Quiet evenings at home? Don’t count on it.

Did you want to go to that music festival this weekend? Or camping with your family? Maybe you just want to sleep in and clean the house. If you are going to photograph large families (with two working parents), weddings or other events that take place on Saturdays, you will probably come to cherish the weekends where you aren’t booked solid. Likewise, the best portrait light is first thing in the morning — and the last part of the day. So if you love “sweet light,” you will be at the mercy of the sun. I spend approximately 18 hours a week shooting, assuming I have a wedding on Saturday. Without weddings, I spend about 10 hours a week shooting.

5. Making bank and enjoying year-round cash flow? Hmmm. Not so much.

You need to plan your year around the fact that, in most parts of the country, portrait photography is a seasonal business. Weddings can be photographed any time of year, but the warmer months are still more popular. You might not see your family from May to October. However, your cash flow will be GREAT — for a few months. Spend and save wisely. When January shows up and you have spent everything you earned last year, you might find yourself unable to pay your rent…let alone pick up any fun new lenses or attend those wonderful workshops and conventions that are available in the off-season.

6. Where do the other hours go? Into all of those other little things that keep a business running!

I spend at least two hours a day on miscellaneous things: keeping up with new trends, running errands, ordering supplies, running to the bank, learning new software, educating myself on new camera techniques, renting equipment, purchasing equipment, maintaining equipment, packaging print orders, paying sales tax, filling out endless forms to list my business in online registries, and on and on and on. Don’t forget that you will be responsible for providing your own health insurance and retirement fund! If you hire employees, you are also taking on the responsibilities involved in their futures, (not to mention that you are now “the boss.”)

Think of all of the details that go into a full-time job…and then think about who will be handling those details: you!

7. A word about PhotoShop vs. Understanding Exposure

None of the things I have discussed address the actual process of making photos. These days, it is not uncommon for a person to take a few photos of some friends, create a website, and start charging for photography. On one hand, you have to start somewhere. Practicing on portrait sessions with average to better-than-average results is fine. Weddings, on the other hand, are no place to “practice.” If you want to shoot weddings, shadow another photographer. Offer to assist someone for free. If you are passionate about photography, you will find a way to get better at it. And you get better at it by shooting, shooting, shooting (and getting feedback from photographers you respect). Taking badly exposed, badly lit, and poorly posed photos with the idea that anything can be corrected in PhotoShop is an irresponsible move. Don’t do it. Your clients deserve better. The industry deserves better. Know your camera by heart. Know a little about exposure (f-stops, shutter speeds, ISO settings, metering), posing, lighting, color harmony, and composition. Keep learning. Attend workshops. PhotoShop is a tool — not a cure for bad photos. Besides, you want to spend LESS time on the computer, right??

8. Wait?? I have to work how many hours??

That adds up to a minimum of 60 hours a week in the busy season. Is it worth it? You bet!! Are there days when I would like to just check out and head to the mountains? Of course! Photography is a fiery passion — but it is not for the faint of heart!