Archive: March 2009   |   View all recent posts

Day 76 - Memories from Our Big Day
WHAT: Personal, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: March 21, 2009
I'm cheating... again. I obviously didn't take these photos, but I wanted to give a shout out to our rockin' wedding photographers, Elizabeth and Vincent Pugliese of - fittingly - Elizabeth Vincent Photography. They did a fantastic job at our wedding, and I haven't done them justice. They sent us our images quite a while ago, and I just haven't had time to get around to doing much with them yet, so please accept my apologies, Elizabeth & Vincent!!

Being a photographer, it's an interesting thing having to select somebody else to photograph your own wedding day. I'm admittedly a bit of a control freak [read: I have an unhealthy obsession] when it comes to photography, so I didn't know how I'd act on the big day. Would I spend the day thinking Ooh, this would be a good shot, or I hope they're getting this cool look on my face, or this would be a better composition if we were over there... the list goes on and on. But you know what, when the wedding day finally got here, all those things melted away and I was able to just focus on Kylie and that moment and significance in our lives, and part of that was because Elizabeth & Vincent had such a confident and professional aura about them that I knew they would take care of us and our images from this precious day. And they did just that. You know one of the ways you can tell you've got a good wedding photographer? You don't notice them most of the day. Without looking at our ceremony and reception photos, I couldn't tell you where they were during those times. They just blended into the background. Thanks guys for being so awesome on our wedding day!

If you live anywhere remotely close to Indiana and need someone to capture your wedding, check them out.

Here's just a few of my favorites from the day. I'll post more when I get a chance.

I love this first image because of the feelings and thoughts running through my head at the time. Kylie and I chose to see each other before the wedding so we could have a special, emotional, private moment before the ceremony and so that we could do all the formals prior to the ceremony so that we could go right to the reception afterwards. I highly recommend this to anybody that asks about it. Anyway, I had heard the door to the sanctuary open behind me, and I was so excited to see my bride-to-be. I knew she would be beautiful, but she took my breath away. She was perfect.

I think we were laughing because it was so freakin' cold outside and we were finally warm again in the back of our stylin' '57 Chevy. the high was something like 28 that day.

Even after having already seen Kylie before the ceremony, I still got a little chocked up when I saw her coming down the aisle.

Our first kiss as husband and wife.

Our first dance.

Thanks again Elizabeth & Vincent! You guys were great!


The Cost of Custom Photography
WHAT: News, Useful Stuff, News   |   WHEN: March 17, 2009
Occasionally potential clients, friends, or even people I just met will ask about the costs of custom photography, and generally they're curious about the investment involved when they can buy an 8x10 print for less than $2 at many discount retail stores and pharmacies.

Marianne Drenthe has created a fantastic Consumer Guide for Custom Photography over at that talks specifically to this subject. She has graciously made this info available for custom photographers to help educate people on both what custom photography is and what it costs. Here is her explanation on the investment involved for both the client and the photographer.

"Why Does Custom Photography Cost More?

Digital technology is brilliant. The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and amazing amounts of control for the photographer, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur. With flexibility comes a price though. Camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into all of this.

Even though you pay $1.99 for a print at your local drugstore and paying for film is pretty much a thing of the past (although you still pay for memory) you may be wondering why you may pay upwards of $40, 50, 70, 90 for a custom photography print. Some photographers hear this statement every once in awhile:

"How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at the local drug store?"

The answer is multifaceted and has a lot to do with the time, aforementioned equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer, expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business.


Approaching it from a time standpoint, for instance let’s imagine if you will that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love and that is travelling an hour to your on location session. TIme break down:

* session prep time (30 mins - 1 hour, includes equipment and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)
* one hour travel time TO session
* 15-30 minutes prep time at client’s home
* 90 minutes-2 hours with client photographing subject
* one hour travel time FROM session
* 30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer
* 30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images
* 2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images
* 1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering
* 2-3 hours time with client for ordering images
* 1 hour sorting through and checking order
* 30 minutes-1 hour prep time for delivery
* 30 minutes-1 hour getting order shipped
* any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

As you can see, average client time for a session ranges from just under 13 hours to 19 hours dependent on the photographer’s level of service. This is time dedicated only to your session. When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 12-19 hours complete time for your session.


Regarding equipment costs, a good quality professional camera with a selection of good optical quality lenses and digital storage mediums and computer set up can run from $10,000-$30,000 costs dependent on the photographer. Even though you can purchase a really good quality digital SLR for about $2100 there are still other costs related to photography. A good lens for portrait photography can run up $900 to $2500. A dependable computer system with software loaded for business and creative usage can run $2500 to $8000 dependent on the photographer.

Then come lab costs for specialty products. A good photographer knows the lab is integral to their success. Photography labs dedicated to the professional photographer often cost more and offer a range of products that allows the custom photographer to continually offer new, innovative products for you, the discerning client.

Discussion other costs of running a photography business could take awhile so we’ll skip the intricate details. There is of course much more: including costs of running the business, taxes, studio rental/mortgage if the photographer has ownership of a dedicated studio, vehicular costs, costs of advertising/marketing, costs of sample pieces that the photographer will likely bring to your session, etc.


Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $25 for an 8×10 or they may mention other things related to discount photography chains. The fact is those discount chains make their money on volume, not on customized 1:1 service. According to several articles at the time, did you know that in February 2007 a rather well known discount department store that started in Arkansas closed down 500 of their portrait studios across the nation? The reason is simple, you cannot make money on 99¢ "professional" prints if you do not sell enough of them. Interestingly enough - those same studios that offer the loss leader packages often charge much much more for their a la carte pricing (as high as $40-50 for an 8×10). The whole reason the big department stores began offering portrait studios in the first place was to get you, the savvy consumer, in through their door so that you could spend more money with them in other departments. Your "PORTRAITS" are considered the true "loss leader".

Going to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at your home where your child is allowed to explore, play and be comfortable in their home environment, nor do you get the experience that many custom photographers are known for or the lovely captures of natural expressions. You simply get a bare bones, "SAY CHEESE" experience. Keep this in mind when selecting a photographer.


Being in demand, being well known for quality work, having a good reputation often costs time on the photographer’s part. Their expertise comes at a cost, their time learning their craft and learning the intricacies of lighting and the commitment put forth on their end to create a persona about their business that oozes professionalism. A great number of photographers go a very long time from the time that they purchase their first good camera to making money at the business of photography. Many photographers, when first starting out, rush in thinking that the business will be easily profitable in no time, how expensive could it be to get a camera and use it to create their dream? They often neglect to factor in the cost of business, the cost of equipment, software, back ups, etc..

Being of sound reputation, a better professional photographer knows that they must always reinvest in their business to create the reputation of being top notch. To create good work good equipment, reliable equipment, back up equipment is a necessity. The photographer who desires to be known as better/best/unparalelled reputation-wise knows that the most important thing they can do for their business is reliability and dependability. This is how reputations get built. Good work often is a wonderful side product of building that good reputation.

I hope this (lengthy) article helps shed some light on WHY a custom photographer is a better choice for your family’s memories. The photographs that are produced as a result of the professionalism and dedication that your photographer has will be cherished for a lifetime (or more) and great thought and consideration should be placed into hiring who is right for your family’s most precious investment."

You can also click on the following links for more helpful information regarding custom photography:

What is Custom Photography?
Why Choose Custom Photography?


Day 75 - A Photo Diet
WHAT: Project 365 (2009), Random   |   WHEN: March 16, 2009
Feeling a little hefty lately with all these cooking classes and dinner parties. Decided I needed to loose a little weight, so I went outside and took a photo of my long skinny shadow near sundown. I feel healthier already.


Day 74 ~ Date Night!
WHAT: Personal, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: March 15, 2009
So many times I see and hear of people who are just bored in their marriage. The excitement's gone. The passion hasn't been there for years. They don't look at each other like they used to, and they've become roommates instead of husband and wife. It's easy to see how this can happen. Even though we have more conveniences today than any time in history, we also seem to have less time than ever to stop for a moment and just breath and remember what it is that's important in our lives. Sometimes the busyness becomes the end rather than the means to an end.

I don't claim to be immune to this virus that's afflicted our society. I'm as guilty as anyone in getting caught up in and even dependent on the need to be constantly working or planning on what I need to be working on. In fact, I would say that there have been times I've been consumed with working because I felt it validated me and fooled me into thinking I was doing something noble. I justified it by thinking it was better than laziness, but it's just as harmful as laziness or contentment or a host of other things that can be deadly to relationships/marriage if you let them.

Repetition can perfect a lot of things, but relationships isn't one of them. I think this is the number one reason relationships fail; One or both of the partners just stops trying to make the other person feel special like they did when they were first dating. There's no more pursuing. At best, the relationship becomes predictable and stale. At worst... well, statistics speak for themselves.

Wow, I got all Dr. Phil there for a moment. Sorry. Anyway, one of the things Kylie and I agreed to do to lay a foundation of making an intentional effort to focus on each other is to have one "official" date night per month. I'm not naive; this is easy for us now, because we've only been married for about 2 months and we're not busy with kids and everything is still pretty new and exciting to us as newlyweds, but I think the earlier we can start these kinda habits, the better off we'll be. Call it preventative maintenance.

This is not the only night of the month we go out on date, but it's making sure we are at least making each other a priority where we can try something relatively new and different to keep the relationship fresh or just to make time to talk about things we need/want to discuss that we might otherwise let fall through the cracks.

For this Date Night, I started off by writing a quick letter to Kylie in our handmade, leather-bound journal that I bought from Iona Handcrafted Books a while back before we got engaged. I hadn't written in it since our wedding day, so I thought it would be a good time to add to this keepsake of our story together. And with spring arriving here in Texas, there are so many fresh flowers now, so I picked up a few to go with the journal. The journal and flowers were waiting on the table for Kylie when she got home from an afternoon with some girlfriends.

This time we went to a cooking class at the Central Market Cooking School . This particular class was dedicated to cooking with fresh spring herbs... perfect for this time of year when herbs are at their freshest.

On the menu for this night was Herb-Citrus Salad with Shrimp, Baked Trout with Basil, Lemon Butter and Lemon (I had chives and dill on mine instead of basil), Rosemary-Inufused Roast Beef, Sage Risotto with Shaved Parmesan, and to wrap it up we made Rosemary Shortbread Cookies with Olive Oil Ice Cream? Olive Oil Ice Cream?? Yes, Olive Oil Ice Cream. It was actually much better than it sounds using a meyer lemon infused olive oil to give it flavor. Fantastico.

This last image cracks me up. This is one of the down sides of having a fancy schmancy camera where you have to tell the camera where to focus. It's hard to get others to take photos where we're in focus instead of the guy's hair behind Kylie. Actually, the guy that took this was super nice and did manage to get several perfectly fine images (see 2nd image in this post).


Day 73 - New Editor Fired
WHAT: Dogs, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: March 15, 2009
PLANO, TX - Unidentified sources reported Friday that Mia, a 10 week-old Maltese-Yorkie mix, was fired from her position as digital retouch artist at Matt Nicolosi Photographic Art after just one day on the job. When asked for the reason for her termination, owner Matt Nicolosi didn't hesitate.

"First and foremost, I think the pictures speak for themselves. I mean, I've got a lot of empathy for my employees, and I want them to succeed. I want them to work in a comfortable environment where they can relax and work in their own style. But Mia... well, she just took advantage of that freedom and abused the situation, and, frankly, now everyone else around here is going to suffer. At the end of the day, this is still a business, and I can't run a successful business with people sleeping on the job. It's too bad... I really liked her and thought she had a lot of potential."

When questioned whether he was worried about a wrongful termination suit being filed against him, Matt quickly dismissed any legitimacy to this.

"Umm... are you serious? Did you not see the photos? She was sleeping, man. On the job! Any judge with the least bit of common sense and a biscuit's worth of respect for the law would throw that case out before it ever got to trial."

Sources say Mia seems unaffected by her firing, and when asked to defend the incriminating photos, she refused to comment and began tugging at this reporter's shoe strings.


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