Friday Night Lights

The first football game of the year, and me with a new telephoto lens!

I had to try this out with some sports images. There were six of us with cameras on the sidelines last night. It may have been the best-covered evening of sports and music in the county.

Great weather, a great game, open up to the last minute, and great performances by the Warren and Harbor Creek marching bands, made for a fine Friday evening. Here’s my selection from the chip that I filled last evening.

Danielle’s Campus


Today we had a great shooting adventure in the north and east of our fair city. Starting at Behrend Fields for some woods and soccer shots, we moved then to the North East campus of Mercyhurst. Here is a shot of Danielle near a tree she really wanted to climb.

We finished the outdoor portion at Freeport Beach where we took in a wonderful sunset and messed around with some neat action shots. Then we captured some really interesting indoor shots.

Danielle, great images. Thanks for being so creative!

Off to College!

A momentous occasion today: move-in day for freshmen students. Here’s my daughter and her new roommate on the way to spend a small fortune on books. Dorms, meal plans, learning the campus, meeting old and new friends, doing your own laundry…the adventures are endless!

Kelly, we’re very proud of you and we know you’ll have a great time and you’ll do your best. Have a wonderful experience at college.

Family Portrait Tips


Family portraits are treasures. They capture a piece of your life and preserve it forever. Portraits are handed down for generations. And sadly, any family can experience tragic losses at any time, as we have all experienced. It is very important to preserve your family memories and images as legacies for you and your family’s future.

When was the last time you had your family together to capture professionally made images? How do you go about deciding how, when and why to have your family’s images made? We’ll address these questions in this article.

How Often? Generally, every three years, or after a major change such as birth or marriage. Any longer than that, and people will have changed enough that the old portrait on the wall looks like someone else.

What Time of Year? You can choose any time of year. If you are winter people, why not pick a ski or other outdoor setting? If you are boaters, late summer is a good time. Many family images are captured in early autumn. The weather is cooler, things may have calmed down a bit from summer, and you have the opportunity to capture fall colors in many areas of the country.

What’s the Occasion? Most family portraits are not centered around any specific occasion – they are scheduled and conducted independent of other life activities. However, if you have a special gathering of relatives for a family reunion, holiday get-together, wedding, baptism or graduation, it is a good opportunity to get extended family images taken.

What Location for Our Images? Think about what kind of images you would like to have preserved. Are you interested in formal, indoor portraits, or more casual, outdoor images? Are you fond of beach or woods settings? Determining how you want your family represented is an important step in planning for your family portraits. Destination Images are one option you may not normally think to consider – if you hire a photographer to take your images while on a trip, or travel with the photographer to a special location, you can capture some truly special images.

Where Do You Want to Display? Your family portraits should command the center of attention in your house. Be certain to think about the locations where you would like to display the images. Your photographer will consult with you on the size and type of images that would work well in each setting, as well as some color scheme ideas for clothing and setting that would compliment the decor. Also think about your work and second home for possibilities to display wall portraits and desk images.

What/Who Do We Include? Well, the core family is a must. You may want to add extended family such as husbands and wives and their children for some images. You will have to consider whether boyfriends and girlfriends are in your main group shots – it may be best to have smaller images with them and a smaller group. If you have a property, setting or toy such as a boat, camp, farm or club to which you belong, you may want to have those featured as well.

What Should We Wear? It will depend on the setting of course, but the key is to be compatible in color and dress. For beach, it is common to have either khaki or denim bottoms and white or other solid-color tops, and often, bare feet are better in the sand than footwear. For fall photos, denim and solid colors are appropriate. For special setting or destinations, you just need to plan and communicate before the day of the event.

How Long to Plan for the Session? You’ll want to block off a couple of hours for an average family session. To make sure the session goes well, plan to have your clothing laid out before that day, and make sure any small children and pets are well rested and fed. Family sessions should be relaxed and pleasant. In fact, many customers comment that their family session was one of the more enjoyable events that their family has had.

What to Budget? Family portraits are not like school pictures. They are an investment, and works of art, and they are not generally taken more than once every few years. So be prepared to invest in the legacy and memory. The actual cost of the images will depend upon your photographer and the products that you choose, and you should discuss the financial deatils during your planning sessions.

So, that’s not so bad! You now are prepared to search for and contact photographers who can guide you through your family portrait experience. As you screen your photographers, see if they ask you these questions. If they do not, then you need to question their ability to understand and meet your needs. And if it’s been more than three years for your family – start planning for your portraits today!

Liz’s Corner


Just when I thought it would be a rainout, we had a great shooting evening, with slightly overcast skies, pleasant temperatures and a light breeze. We even had a surprisingly nice sunset at the beach.

Liz and her Mom traveled with us to several locations in town, then to Frontier Park, then the beach. Following that, we did some indoor work.

Here’s a new corner that we found. I’m crazy about bricks and ivy. I’ll name it for Liz since she was the first of our seniors to use it.

Liz, great photos!

Kaitlyn’s Eyes


Kaitlyn has the deepest blue eyes. This image highlights her eyes in a close-up set by a red brick wall.

The rain gods looked favorably upon us this evening. We hit the road and visited many outdoor places in Erie. Some were a first for any of our seniors, and some were favorites of mine. We finished outdoors at the beach and captured some great sunset photos. Then we took some more images indoors with a variety of backdrops and outfit changes.

Great images, Kaitlyn!

Andy’s Reign

OK, so maybe I’ve been a little too confident about being able to influence the rain. We have had a real soaker of a weekend, so I figured it would dry out. And it did, until about 7:15. Then we got more water. There was one point where driving was a bit spooky with the heavy rain.

But we got the shots. Andy was a trooper and we hit many great locations, finishing at his personal pick for some interesting times.

Here’s a shot from the bayfront near the new hotel, looking north at the tower. Andy’s the one in the middle, getting his eyes burned out from the sun.

Good shots Andy!