Exceptional Studio & Event Photography
1124 Riviera St. Jacksonville, FL 32207 (904) 398-7668
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Jacksonville Florida Professional Photographers BLOG
By reading below this line you will be stepping into the owners crazy ramblings --which are often written late at night and really don't matter much to anyone but sometimes are humorous, (please don't tell him), but he thinks he is spreading the joy and passing on nuggets of inspiring educational tidbits to everyone by giving his commentary on most everything photographic, (as though anyone is really reading it). Once upon a time he was a blogger before blogs were even invented, now he just jots down a quick note and then later (when he is having trouble sleeping) he writes a few lines about it here. Enjoy! And remember to give us a call when you need some professional photography.
The principles of quality photography.
Quality professional photography contains some key elements: 1- The finished image looks three-dimensional and NOT flat. 2- Documentary photos are believable, look realistic and represent the truth. 3- The photo has a subject and tells a story. 4- There is detail in both the highlight and shadow areas of the image.
Too often many of today's photos that are being passed off as 'professional' may just be pretty 'works of art'. Blurry, colorful patterns, dark ethereal images, blown out sunbursts and random snaps may make perfectly acceptable impressionistic artwork, but not necessarily good-quality photography.
If a photo of a white wedding dress is blue or orange was it done on purpose as 'art'? Or was it a mistake the photographer made (that in no way represents the truth) but now they are trying to pass it off as art? If a reception hall or business meeting space is photographed very dark (and spooky) is that done on purpose to hide the 'reality' of how it really looked? Or is it just bad photography? You be the judge! Educate yourself so you can see the difference between good photography and bad.
The most difficult image to create isn't always the most impressive.
A superior photographer will be able to get the best photos possible within the restraints and obstacles they have to work with. The BEST documentary event photo (that will survive the test of time) will look similar to what your eye sees; good highlight and shadow detail, clear and distinct subject matter, pleasing composition, realistic colors, etc. Flashy, over-worked and faked photos (although impressive at first) typically lack real meaning and eventually lose their value over time. (Was the brides dress blue on one side? Was it filmed in a haunted mansion? Was the grass really lime green? Did the groom really have orange skin? Why is their a fake dinosaur chasing your wedding party?)
Too often the most impressive wedding photographs you see online contain a big expansive panoramic beautiful scene (perfect sunset, perfect lighting, gorgeous landscape) and a very small bride and groom (where's Waldo?). Of course anyone could have taken that impressive photo if they were at the 'right place' at the 'right time' with ANY camera (including your cell phone). So now you hire this photographer because of their "beautiful picture", problem is-- your location is at the wrong place at the wrong time! So now you end up with the worst pictures (no better than your friends took with their cell phones) because your photographer is sometimes lucky, but not really professional, and is really good at posting their 'luckiest shots' on their website/facebook.
As true professionals, we make the best of every situation. When we have to take photos in front of your beautiful church at high-noon (when the lighting is bad and everyone is sweating and squinting) we make them incredible. With proper angles, additional lighting and extensive photo shop retouching and editing skills, your photos look as amazing as you remember it. Sadly we don't get brownie points for all the work we put into it. People who don't understand what we had to do to make that photo look as good as 'real life' are quick to say 'oh that looks like a decent photo anyone with a good camera could have taken'. While they all ogle over the beautiful "once-in-a-lifetime, lucky shot' their amateur photographer friend took saying "you should be a professional" and "I should hire you".
The BEST retouching and editing goes unnoticed. IF you DO notice extensive retouching or editing, then it wasn't made to look natural then it wasn't done very well! So in the end, we quietly perform miracles that are only appreciated by a few. (I think I need to start collecting guest photos from the events we cover and post them next to our professional photos for comparison. Then more people can 'see the difference' and understand why it's worth hiring us.)
Your Priorities Matter
A good vendor will take the time to learn your priorities and then work with you to help accomplish those goals. The best vendors will help educate you to insure realistic expectations and will help you with the best decisions to insure your dreams all come true! Sometimes the most difficult part of the process is establishing the initial priorities. Of course, everyone would love to 'have-it-all' for next to nothing, but that isn't always possible. A professional vendor will help guide you into making the best decisions to insure the best outcome based on your most important priorities.
In the last few years, (especially in the wedding industry) I've noticed that the #1 selling point of ‘less-than-competent’ vendors has become 'personality'! (I guess if a vendor doesn't have much to sell, they can at least sell the 'uniqueness' of themself and their great personality! Then if the vendor fails at doing the job they were hired for, they can at least tell the client "look on the bright side, we had a great experience hanging out together.")
Many brides are falling victim to this ploy and make the wrong decision based on the wrong criteria (does it really matter that you and your photographer are 'besties' and like the same desert or wear the same perfume?)… as I always say: “During your lifetime, you will spend more time with your photographs than you will ever spend with your photographer”. (unless you married them, but then again if that's the case you still should hire someone different to take your wedding pictures, unless of course you just want the 'selfie photo' wedding package!...but i digress.)
I think you need to set priorities based on what’s MOST important and rank those priorities at your first meeting with your vendor. Most the people who book us have a higher priority for quality and professionalism than personality or price alone. As Murphy would have it, the one thing you don't consider will probably be the epic fail at your event. A good vendor will anticipate, discuss and help you to avoid that.
The best retouching goes unnoticed
We spend tons of hours retouching photos, fixing imperfections, removing ugly and distracting elements in a photo, making images better. In our office we joke about how our best work goes unnoticed. For example: we spent hours removing ugly and 'out-of-place' industrial debree off the beach in a photo of a bride and groom, nobody noticed until friends that had taken photos with their cell phones recognized the difference. When a customer asks for more retouching, sometimes I just have to bite my tounge and laugh, because they think they looked that good originally, but we may have already softened blemishes, dark circles, age spots and taken off 15 pounds! I have had employees tell me to show them the 'before' photo to compare so they will understand, but sometimes I just can't burst their bubble and really don't want anyone to see the unflattering 'before' image. Unlike many of our facebook 'friends' who post the most unflattering photos ever... all over!
Storybook Album OR People Picture Book?
Sometimes I just don't get it. I understand that many professional photographers can do a superior job of making beautiful pictures --sometimes to a fault. And now with advanced digital and Photoshop most anything is possible. The ability of some photographers to 'fake' a scene is absolutely incredible and amazing! I've seen some world-class, industry leading photographer's award-winning wedding albums; pages and pages of gorgeous poses, incredible surroundings, magnificently staged, perfect photographs! All Photo-shopped to perfection with perfect clouds and sunsets dropped into the sky’s. Beautiful? yes! Exceptional photography? yes! Breathtakingly amazing? sure! But what does it all really mean?
When future generations look at your wedding album (assuming you paid enough to get an archival-quality one that will last more than one lifetime) will they see lots of pretty pictures of you amid beautiful scenic backgrounds (which may or may not be real) showcasing the award-winning talents of the exceptional photographer you hired? or will they see the real personality, spirit of love, happiness and relationships of your family and friends? What story will your album tell?
Do you want your once-in-a-lifetime event to be authentically showcased (in the best possible light) for family, friends and future generations to enjoy, share and remember or do you need a photographer who can fake an impressive 'con-job' to make your wedding-day look totally different than it really was? Too many talented photographers have gigantic egos and love to create a faked fantasy that gives that 'total wow' factor by taking a photo in the ugliest surroundings and through lighting and Photoshop magic make it look completely different than what it really was. This gives them the biggest amount of compliments, buzz and facebook likes because everyone who was there is 'amazed' at how the photo looks nothing like the reality. I'm sure you've seen those 'dark and moody' first-dance photos where the romantic couple is in a grand ballroom of blackness with only a sliver of light illuminating them on the dance floor. Sadly everyone at the event knows it was a total con-job as in reality the first dance was at mid-day in a brightly lit living room!
I, on the other hand, with my mad photography skills can show you the most positive and beautiful viewpoint of a particular scene while still maintaining authenticity. When a wedding-day photo is so far removed from the reality of the day’s events (so even guests that attended the event don't even recognize it) the photographer has 'gone too far'. It may be a beautiful photo and get lots of 'likes' on facebook, but it's a lie that soon will die. I prefer photos that will last and become more valuable over time. I don't want you to look at the photos and remember me, what I was saying or making you do, I want you to look at your wedding-day photos and remember YOUR feelings at that exact moment.
Our Heirloom PhotoArt® Storybook Albums are designed to tell the complete story of your wedding day, with all its fun quirkiness that totally reflects your true personality! When friends, family and future generations look at your album they will get the complete story and a true sense of what your event was really like. (not just a beautiful people picture book). It will be your most prized possession and a true family heirloom to be cherished for generations.
Will your favorite wedding-day photos be the ones of the 'cute couple' posed in front of the church, or by the water, or in front of your venue or laying on the grass? (did you really want to lay on the grass in your wedding dress? on your wedding day? is that something you would normally do? or did the photographer make you do that?) When you look at your wedding-day photos, will they bring back memories of what your photographer made you do? or Will they bring back your emotions from the exact moment your favorite candid photo was taken?
Our goal is to have your photos bring back your REAL memories, not a reminder of what your photographer said or did, that's why we won't force you to do things you didn't plan to on your wedding day!
My one-track mind is like a large locomotive --difficult to derail. So the good news is when I am engaged in a project, I see it through thoroughly and precisely! The bad news, I can't multitask! If required to do two things at once, one of those things just won't happen.
There was a time when I thought I had some kind of brain malfunction or I was 'getting old' until I saw the same behavior in my children, then I realized it's just a part of my families heredity. Sometimes it's worse than others. Apparently I can only keep a small amount of information in my head at one time, so the minute my brain is hit with 'too much information' some of it just runs out and is lost. Please don't get mad at me if I ignore you while driving down the street. With my one-track mind thinking of my destination, when you honk and wave it doesn't quite register for a couple more blocks, then I smile and honk and wave back, in the meantime you think I was giving you an ugly look for honking.
There have been times when it has gotten me in trouble. I have argued with my family regarding something I said or did only later to realize that they were correct, but I had totally forgotten. (In the meantime, we both think the other is crazy) Sometimes when the mad rush settles down, in a moment of quiet contemplation, it comes to me and I remember clearly exactly what was said or happened. That is why I always keep a pen and paper on my nightstand, I remember lots of stuff at 3am and have to write it down.
This also explains why I'm not quick to respond to constant tweets, updates, posts, e-mails, etc. They are ALL just interruptions to my current train of thought. Once I get a break, then I am able to take the time to focus on and respond to the important messages I am being bombarded with.
So now you understand why I keep you on the phone while I note our conversation in your paperwork, because if I hang up the phone and it rings again and I haven't written down what you said, it's lost forever! This also explains why it may take me a minute or two to catch up with your rapid-paced conversation. And you can understand that sometimes I have to be reminded of our last discussion. Thank you for your patience in dealing with the mentally challenged!
Body Language and Posing
Yes, I know there are some very strict rules of posing and when you enter a photo into a national competition, Certified Judges will be quick to point out every nuance of improper posing. As a professional photographer it is critical to understand the 'posing rules' because they have been developed over thousands of years and perfected by countless artists.
So what is the purpose of these 'rules'? To insure that people in portraits look their absolute best. Body angles, light angles, hand positioning, body tilt, camera perspective, focus area, composition, etc. ALL of these things, when properly applied, can help to make the 'perfect' portrait. Perfect portraits are critical to the reputation of dignitaries when hanging in the halls of government or for corporate giants mass produced on the glossy pages of annual reports. But too often a 'perfect portrait' of your family (that follows the strict posing rules) can look uncomfortable, staunch and have little personality.
There has to be a balance between 'personality' and 'posing'. An unflattering image with 'lots of personality' that makes you look old, fat and grossly unappealing probably won't endure as a treasured family heirloom. (Most people want to be remembered at their best). A photo that has been retouched to 'remove all imperfections' may initially look impressive, but over time it may become nauseating because it is so unreal. Imperfections communicate reality and like garlic in food, there is a fine line between just enough and way too much.
The real trick is to know what to keep and what to remove to get that perfect balance that not only communicates a person’s real personality, but is still flattering. While a 'national judge' would complain that the body angle and positioning of grandma in the family group photo from your wedding isn't 'correct', the authenticity of her years of having a slight lean (from her bad back from years of carrying children and grandchildren) really shines through and is a real part of her true personality. To change that would be to remove an essential part of who she really is.
In Hollywood, glamour, modeling and advertising images --good faking is critical! The true personality of the model or actor is of no concern to, and shouldn't be seen in, the outcome of the final image. They only have to be believable in the fake role they have been given to portray. Hopefully this isn't the case with your own family!
If your distant cousin, who is not very close to the immediate family, choses to express that by their body language in the family photo by standing a little further away from the group, I believe the photographer shouldn't change it. The personality and relationships of people in a group photo can often be seen by their body language towards the other people in that group. Often the authentic look on a person’s face, captured in a fleeting moment will be remembered and cherished for years longer than a forced pose or faked smile.
The secret to the 'perfect' family photo is in the 'imperfections' it contains! A truly professional and gifted photographer will be able to capture the best looking image with just the right amount of personality to become a cherished family heirloom to be passed down for generations!
Real vs Fantasy Photography
You work very hard on your event so everything looks perfect. You may have consulted a planner and decorator to insure your decor is impeccable and your color scheme exquisite. The photos of your event should capture what really happened and show every detail in its best possible way.
We insure that all the important memorable moments are captured and preserved for the future. The colors will be accurate, the details crystal clear, we will have captured the essence of your truly remarkable event. A fantasy photographer will work to create what didn't exist. I guess if your event is poorly executed and lacking in style, and you want it to look faux- impressive then you would need a fantasy photographer to 'jazz-it-up' and make it look different than it really was.
Fantasy photographers bring props, signage, couches, chairs, decorations, etc. (that you really didn't have at your event, props they have used in hundreds of other peoples pictures) to 'fancy up' or fake-ify what you have worked so hard to create.
They also take photos in a manner to make the location, scene, room, moment, look totally different than it really did to the natural eye. Do you want guests at your event to question if the photographer's photo was really taken at the same event? How honest is that?
Sure any photographer skilled in Photoshop editing techniques can add a magnificent sunset into the background of your wedding photos (although it may have really been a cloudy day). Or even more hokey-fake, add a giant dinosaur into the background of your bridal party photo.
If your reception was held in a nicely lit, magnificently beautiful venue should your photographer fake a dark and moody (spooky) scene with lots of blackness and a spotlight that wasn't really there? If the groomsmen got ready at your parents’ house should the photographer pull the blinds, light candles and pass out cigars and brandy glasses (fake props) so he can take photos that look like they were taken in an old English pub? (and you may not even like brandy and cigars?).
What kind of memories will that make for your special event? What a beautiful photo, I remember when the photographer made us do that. I have such fond memories of our photographer setting up all this fakeness and creating this fake photo of us. Never in our life have we ever done this nor would we ever do this if the photographer hadn't made us do it... these are the authentic memories we want for our posterity!
Authentic and REAL photography will become more valuable over time and bring back heartfelt memories for generations. Faked and superficial photos (lacking true meaning) will eventually become embarrassingly nauseating. -The choice is yours.
The Unlimited Lie
We offer on-site instant Printing and Green Screen photography at events including 4x6's, 5x7's and 8x10's. We have had years of experience with this type of work and have a good understanding of what the requirements are and what can realistically be accomplished. Although we may quote an 'unlimited' print package, we have based it on realistic numbers. (the number of people at the event and the number of hours)
There is a new deceptive trend where a vendor will quote and promote 'unlimited prints at the event' without regard to the actual numbers. They make it sound like they will print 'as many as you want' with absolutely no limits, without understanding the true requirements.
Reality is: There IS a limit based on time and capability; the printing capacity will always be limited by what the photographer can shoot within the allotted time and what the equipment can print within that same time period. If a vendor doesn't ask about the numbers and won't tell you their true and realistic capability, you shouldn't accept their unrealistic quote.
We have seen vendors with 'slow' printers (1 to 2 prints per minute) quote in this manner because they know their equipment will not allow for 'unlimited'. Our printers can print 4-5 prints per minute, To insure complete satisfaction and realistic expectations, (and because we are smart business people) we work to quote honestly and put a maximum number on the prints at the event. We can bring multiple printers and photographers (and quote accordingly) if there is a greater need for speed. (We own 4 printers and can borrow 4 more from one of our associates, if needed.)
Nothing worse than the event planner booking the 'unlimited lie' vendor planning a 2-hour event with 600 people needing at least 300 prints only to be surprised at the event when the printer can only produce 120 prints in 2 hours! And even worse, they only brought enough paper for the 2 hour time period. But hey, you signed the contract and it did say "unlimited prints at the event during the contracted time." Now your only recourse is to pay for more time to get the number of prints you thought you had contracted for. --Buyer Beware
Natural Light Photography
You've heard the expression, but what really is 'natural light' and is it better than un-natural or man-made light? Scientifically speaking: 'light is light' and the properties of light (whether man-made or found in nature) are the same.
Light found in nature is rarely perfect for any given photography assignment. That's why we often add light (from a strobe, flash, reflector or constant light source) to the natural light found in the photographic scene to enhance and perfect the photo we are working to capture. Photographers who choose to 'only use natural light' are limiting their ability to provide the best image possible. Perhaps they only shoot 'natural light' because they don't own any other types of light or haven't yet learned how to use other light effectively.
I don't advertise or promote 'natural light' because I never know what nature is going to give me. I will however use all the available light I can to make the best image possible and when nature doesn't give me what I need, I can usually find some available lights in my car to do the best job possible!
Connecting with your vendors
Sure it's important to 'connect' with your vendors. You need to have good communication and a good understanding of what is expected/required to achieve your mutual goals. If a vendor likes the same perfume as you, wears the same designer-brand shoes and is a 'dog lover' how will that help you in fulfilling your needs at your event?
Sadly many of today's brides are confusing 'personal' connections with 'professional' connections. Just because your chosen vendor has the same interests as you doesn't mean they will be able to handle your needs on your event day?
The smarter event planner will work hard to remain professional and NOT be distracted or persuaded by 'personal' similarities or 'personal connections' with a vendor but will base their decisions on how well the vendor connects to their vision and desires and their ability to fulfil the requirements of the event.
If a photographer is all about being bossy, in-charge and 'in-control' but you want one who is more ''photo-journalistic", easy-going and hands-off, it really doesn't matter that their favorite color or desert is the same as yours... (I'm just stating the obvious ...surprising how many people don't see the obvious ...I guess common sense is becoming less common.)
What's the latest trend?
Adding lots of superfluous design elements to everything. This short-lived trend that makes everything look junky and scrap-booky (shabby chic?) will soon pass.
I guess if you want to distract everyone's attention from the main event, location, image, then go ahead and add a lot of superfluous elements. When the main attraction isn't very good then perhaps you should 'junk-it-up' so you can focus attention away from it.
We believe the images we take should be the center of focus and enhanced by any design elements, framing or classic and subtle embellishments we may add, not the other way around.
The disturbing trend in wedding photography
Too many couples-to-be are over paying for photography. They hire their 'bestie' from church or school and accept what 'all the other brides got' without doing enough in-depth research to realize they have paid a lot for very little. In the end they usually excuse their poor decision by saying: "We just loved her personality, she was really sweet and fun to party with at our wedding".
I guess if you are buying a 5th bridesmaid or paying money for someone to 'hang-out' and party with you, then it's justified. Although I have a great personality, I don't want you to hire me for that reason. I want you to get your monies worth and the best quality photography possible.
Don't believe the hype, In most cases, we can give you better quality and service at a competitive price. Call us today to get a customized quote, you will be glad you did.
Overpaying for hype and vaporware may be the newest trend, but not the smartest decision when it comes to getting real value for your money.
Most photographer's blogs are deceiving!
The 'standard' in today's photography industry is the photographer (or hired blogger/web designer) picks the 'best-of-the-best', top 1% of the images from an event, then do extensive editing, retouching, re-working and retouching on them (unlike what they would normally do) and then post them to their blog with an exaggerated write-up. The other 99% of the images the customer gets aren't nearly as good as the ones posted on the blog.
Faulting on the side of honesty and 'truth-in-advertising' we refuse to participate in this deceitful practice. We would rather have you hire us based on our everyday work that we know we can consistently deliver on a regular basis, not on the top 1%, 'once-in-a-lifetime' images that have a 99% chance of never being repeated. Set an appointment to view some of our real weddings from beginning to end.
Who should be posting your photos first on social media?
Should your photographer be the first person/company to publicly post your images on social media? --using them for their own attention-grabbing gains? Shouldn't YOU be the first person to share the excitement? We work with a lot of large corporations and celebrities who require us to sign a non-disclosure agreement that insures we don't post any of their photos for our own promotion. Our personality isn't conducive to attention-grabbing, that's why we like to provide you with the resourses you need to create your own postings so you can gain the maximum benefit from our work for yourself and your company. Your success is our success!
|Don't delay E-mail or Call 904-398-7668 TODAY --you'll be glad you did!|
When hiring a photographer, ask yourself: Am I looking for an hourly worker to fill a position? OR Am I hiring an Artist/Consultant who will fulfill my vision and guarantee the final results at a fair price? Decide now if you want it done right or if you want it done cheap? It will cost less in the long run to hire us as the proven professional Name Brand with the BEST quality and fully-guaranteed finished products than to take a risk on the low-bid provider who's hoping to 'get-their-foot-in-the-door'.
Hey everyone. I'm just so excited about my latest purchases... no it's not the latest designer camera bag or fancy shoes or any other frivolous thing that 'improves my image' (but does nothing for my clients), it IS the world's BEST rated cameras -they're incredible! AND we have worked this year to upgrade our cameras, lighting equipment, software and backup systems and have invested into our business to insure our customers get the absolute BEST possible quality! You can be certain we aren't over-spending on fancy office space, frivolous decor or designer outer wear, which allows us to still give you the best quality at a competitive price --without compromise! Not everyone can afford the best, but before you waste good money on inferior quality, give us a call to see how affordable the best can be ...it may surprise you.
When you hire us, you can rest assured that everything we photograph will look it's absolute BEST...Guaranteed! --because everything we do (from Equipment choices, to Lighting options, to Retouching decisions, even our Art enhancements) is geared to maximize your true beauty. Too many photos today are adding 10 or more pounds to everyone; making you look pre-maturely aged, washed-out and sickly. Should photography make your skin look orange?, or blue skys white? or white clothes blue? We have what it takes to guarantee your BEST results!
How can you tell a true professional photographer?
click here to see Jacksonville Professional Photographer Examples
It's time for a new photography experience. (And I'm not talking about the overly-excited fauxtographer who lights scented candles and oversells herself --pretending like it's a day at the spa) I'm talking REAL professional, REAL quality and you really getting your monies worth, not just settling for cheap enough. Now is the time to try something different; quality products --completely guaranteed and worth every penny. Call now to schedule a consultation to get your best portrait ever --pleasantly!
Invest in ART, Heirloom PhotoArt® . . . for generations of enjoyment!
(Exclusive Patent No. 3,846,818)
“Your image is your representation of you and should be impeccable."
We take our photography business seriously, but not ourselves. We are storytellers and visual artists, we visually communicate in a universal language stories of; joy, love, quality, happiness, accomplishment, family, beauty, strength, teamwork, professionalism, elegance, fun & serenity. If a picture is worth a thousand words, it is our goal to make a picture for you that is worth 3,000. Professional photography is an Art, a Science and a Business. Sharing just the visual Art is only a part of our professional story. We have created this website not only to share hundreds of our images (the Art), but also to explore and share our philosophy, personality and beliefs as it relates to the Science and the Business of photography giving you the 'full story' upon which to base an intelligent decision.
There are twice as many 'professional' Jacksonville photographers today than there were just a few years ago, sadly the increase in quantity hasn't translated into an increase in quality. There are more chances today to have a bad experience. Our impeccable reputation of unsurpassed photographic excellence being officially licensed and at the same location since 1998 insures your success. Dan has personally photographed over 560 events, he is one of the best photographers around and you will not be able to get the professional quality he offers anywhere else at any price! Call today for a free consultation.
We spend more time on our client’s projects than on our own self-promotional projects, that's why you won't see a lot of slick multi-media presentations here, we believe our customers want honest, delivered results rather than self-flattering hype. Everything on this website is the REAL DEAL from real client photography projects. Sit back, relax and enjoy (no need to fasten your seatbelts)... and let us know if you have any questions or we can help you with anything. Because everything we do is customized and not 'cookie-cutter', you may not find an exact sample on our website of what you are envisioning from your jacksonville florida photographer, but please don't hesitate to call and discuss your exact needs --we guarantee our results and your complete satisfaction.
Click here for info regarding: What Digital Camera Should I buy?
It's hard to believe in 1999 this website was state-of-the-art! The wordy ramblings below were my initial attempts at blogging.
I was blogging on my website long before blogs were ever invented. In a true artist fashion, I am pleased to NOT conform to today's current Website vs. Blog format but continue to set my own standard with my weblogsite! (which really didn't catch on), not that I don't appreciate the way today's blogs are well organized, searchable and in date/time order, maybe it's the principle, or perhaps I am just too busy working on my clients projects to re-work what's already been done. Yes, I could pay someone to do it for me but then it would have more of the personality of the designer than the artist behind it and isn't the real point of these things to get to know the real person you plan to work with rather than the fake persona they fabricated to impress you? Wrap your mind around this: the internet and websites are great communication tools and like the yellow-page ads of old, the biggest or fanciest isn't always the best.
What is the purpose of a blog? Many jacksonville wedding photographers post 1% of their pictures from their latest photo shoot and then post a paragraph that includes specific key words and phrases for the purpose of getting higher rankings on the web. I've even heard from marketing instructors that you must spend an hour a day on social networking, blogs and tweeting. Being a practical person I ask: who has time for all that? What will it really do for my customers? From where are the costs and resources of such an endeavor allocated? I don't get paid to entertain my clients (although sometimes I can be entertaining, but that's totally free and a whole different subject) I choose not to post the top 1% of all my photo shoots on my blog because it creates unrealistic expectations and false advertising as 99% of the pictures taken may not be as good as the 1% posted! I would prefer to show you the finished products from real customer work and once you've seen what I have done for others it will give you a realistic expectation of what I can really do for you.
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Just the other day I met with an engaged couple who paid a photographer to shoot some engagement pictures for them. Two photographers spent 2 hours on the photo session and took hundreds of pictures. The couple was very disappointed when they were only shown 20 images --of which only 3 were considered by them as being 'half decent' (the same 3 that were posted on facebook) The other 17 pictures were not much better than what their friends could have snapped with their cell phones. When they asked the photographer about the other pictures, she said these 20 were the best of the bunch. Not only was this couple disappointed with the results they received, but they were also upset about the 'false advertising' this photographer was promoting with their photos. It seems lots of photographers today are selling lots of hype and very little substance. Too often what you see on their website isn't anything like what you will get.
I have chosen to post sporadically to this blog any photography idea or thought I want to share. I won't post boring drivel about my daily personal life because I respect my customer's time and truly believe their lives are probably much more interesting than mine. If I thought I was better than everyone else or that my daily life was more interesting than my 'fans' perhaps I would post daily updates about where I'm going and what I had for dinner. If I were really that impressed with myself I would even go so far as to post a lot of cool videos of myself doing cool things, but I'm not that egocentric. I feel that you should be sold on my photography first and ‘me’ second because what you purchase from me will last much longer than me! You won't find clever listings of 'my favorite things' (chocolate, perfume and shoes) or my most overused words (fabulous, beautiful or gorgeous) because I'm not looking for dates or soliciting new friends. I'm a professional business person and am happy to do business with you on whatever level YOU are comfortable with. You don't have to be my BFF, or hang out and have drinks with me, or be my same nationality, or have the same beliefs about the afterlife, or like the same types of food, or go to the same church as I do, to work with me. If my thinking changes, so will my postings and if you have a suggestion or counterpoints for me to consider, please feel free to share them with me via e-mail.
I have updated most all the information (but not the format) on this site. I have links to newer sites that are more modern and current. If I were selling websites, it would be critical that mine be over-the-top and super cool, but I'm not. This older historical website communicates that we are not the newest here-today-gone-tomorrow, flash-in-the-pan, fad photographer and demonstrates that what we did 10-15 years ago remains relevant and timeless which you will appreciate because what we do for you today won't be corny or outdated 10-15 years from now. We like to work with people who appreciate being different and have their own ideas and appreciate that our website is an ever-changing dynamic communication tool that doesn't flash a lot of mirrors and blow a lot of smoke but is very honest and communicative. Enjoy-- and when you get bored from reading this drivel, just give us a call and we will answer all your jacksonville photography questions personally and help solve your imaging needs in the most professional manner possible with less hype and more substance. Right here in beautiful Jacksonville Florida (I had to throw that in so the website search engines will zoom me to the top)
Visit our frequently asked questions regarding wedding photography. Shopping for a modern and talented wedding photographer? Here's some things to consider before hiring your friend with a nice camera.
Please be impressed and get excited that we received another impressive award.
This is based on REAL customer reviews, it isn't one of those dumb designations you get by telling all your online facebook friends and family to vote for you.
(At least it shows we are still alive and making customers happy!)
"When Quality Matters"
By International award winning wedding photojournalist Dan Harris
"There are two sides to every photograph, the image and the memory behind it, we insure both are pleasant."
Taking pictures is only a small part of what we do, We are: PhotoArt Consultants; Wall Decor Designers; Master Printmakers and Archival Album Craftsmen.
(Mouse-over the image for more information - Click here for more bad photography examples)
The Heirloom PhotoArt® products you purchase from us will remain in your family much longer than the current artwork you own. Our top-of-the-line Heirloom PhotoArt® Wedding Albums (including the most expensive options) will only cost $65 per year of enjoyment (and our less expensive Heirloom PhotoArt ® thin-page albums will only cost $45 per year). Our nicest custom Heirloom PhotoArt ® Wall Portrait will only cost you $50 per year of enjoyment and that doesn't include the enjoyment your ancestors will receive from it! Our Heirloom PhotoArt ® products require minimal maintenance, no repairs, are not dependent upon electronics or software compatibility and are totally guaranteed! They are one of the smartest investments you can make!
The uneducated are quick to look at initial costs without taking into consideration the real cost of ownership. Today's newest large-screen TV may cost you $300 per year of enjoyment (not including service, as long as it doesn't require any repairs or pre-mature upgrades). A piece of furniture may cost you $200 per year of enjoyment. A nice handbag and pair of shoes may cost $80 per year of enjoyment. Today's newest mobile communications device (including service) may cost you $1,000 per year of enjoyment and the latest tablet or mobile computer device may cost $150 per year of enjoyment (assuming you don't drop it or lose it). It's really a matter of priorities, not costs. It's unwise to spend all your money on fleeting adornments and gadgetry. If you value your family, your relationships and your future legacy, you will invest in Heirloom PhotoArt ®...for generations of enjoyment.
Anyone can do FREE photography and free photography is ALWAYS worth at least what you paid for it. But when purchasing professional commercial photography from a Jacksonville Florida photographer the real concern is will you get your money's worth? Too many Florida and Georgia photographers are overselling what they have to offer (showing images that in no way represent anything like what a real customer might get) leaving their customers disappointed in the end. We work to insure our marketing is a true representation of what we can really do for you. We GUARANTEE the final outcome of ALL of our finished products and won't leave you stranded with an unfinished 'do-it-yourself' project.
"Unsurpassed quality because we own our own lab and do ALL of our own processing and printing"
We are a FULL-time (you can even speak to us during regular business hours), FULL-service consultants --here for YOU along every step of the way to insure your finished products are the best possible. We will meet with you as many times as it takes to insure you get exactly what you need! We won't leave you stranded with a half-finished 'do-it-yourself' photography project.
Photographers who only take snaps and burn them to a CD are not much better than your friends with a camera who are willing to shoot for free. Why would you pay good money to someone to only do a small part of the job? A picture can go from ok to fantastic when time is spent on developing, editing, cropping, retouching and making it the best it can be. Lazy photographers expect the camera to do all the work and spend little time improving the image once it has been taken. Is it really a good value to pay half price for only 2% of the work?
You will be more impressed with the finished products we deliver to you than any of our marketing materials --Guaranteed! It will be worth your time and energy to research what we can provide for you. Enjoy our ramblings here and feel free to drop us an E-mail or call if you have ANY questions about anything, we will respond quickly and give you some direction, or tell you where to go! :- )
Random Thoughts and Ramblings:
Please note: We don't charge sales tax, we only collect it for the government!
(IF a business is NOT charging you sales tax, take your money and run away quickly, there's a good chance the state will shut them down before you get what you paid for.)
Things to think about:
"Too many wedding photographers are like politicians:
--they'll say anything to get the job, and then disappoint you later."
"To make an informed decision, review all options thoroughly, don't dismiss what may be your best option based on one thing. Know what you are saying NO to."
"Choosing a website design by looking at lots of websites online makes sense, but choosing a photographer based on websites is like buying an engagement ring online, the final product always looks different in person."
More Fluff, Less Stuff!
The trend among many photographers today is to work very hard to be overly impressive and add lots of fluff and 'feel goodness' to everything they do. Their photo sessions are sold like a 'day-at-the-spa', they want to overemphasis 'the experience' rather than the end results and they spend more money on fancy packaging than the product they deliver in it. (some are just trying to put lipstick on a pig).
They are trying to pattern their image, marketing, sales plan the same as a high-end retail establishment... (can you say Needless Markup) sadly with so much time, energies and money being spent on fluff... the stuff they are delivering suffers. In the end consumers end up over paying for less quality.
We are practical business people and talented artists from a working studio environment dedicated to delivering the best quality photography products and services to fit your business and personal needs. We guaranteed our end results but don't have 'over-the-top' expensive packaging nor will we shower you with fake flattery.
It's award season!
The internet is all a twitter with nominations and awards! Some impressive, some not-so-much. Photographers love to brag on their awards no matter how big or small and on their most impressive projects and their published works, etc. I guess the unwritten rule is to try to 'always stay in the limelight' by posting: "hey everybody, look what I can do" as often as possible. It can sometimes just become nauseating, like being bombarded with ads. Nothing against awards or winning stuff or getting published and bragging on it... I guess by today's standards the real cause of concern would be if a photographer had been in business several years and never won a competition or had a picture in a publication or received some type of award!
To my fellow Photographers who are bemoaning the 'state of the industry'
The photography business is tough, it has even gotten tougher when more and more people are 'becoming photographers'. All the media hype and facebook posts makes it sound like a glamorous job... very few want to admit the truth, it's a challenging job! It's nice to say "there's enough business for everyone." But the reality of the laws of supply and demand dictate that when there is too much supply and not enough demand, prices go down until the supply decreases or demand goes up. Today everyone is 'snapping and sharing' for free and some 'professionals' are offering the same and trying to make money at it. I'm not sure a business model of trying to get people to pay you for what their friends (and co-workers) will do for free is one that can become a sustainable business plan. Photographers who want to have a sustainable and successful business (a living wage --one that can support themselves and their family without outside support) will have to develop a business model that offers a unique product or service that people ARE willing to pay for --therein lies the challenge. In the meantime, happy shooting and sharing!
Amazing blogs from Incredible Photographers
It's super exciting to read all the unbelievable blogs about the most incredible people, events, specials and photo shoots all over the internet! The more I hear about amazing and incredible things the more excited I get only eventually to be disapointed when I learn the truth. Reminds me of 'circus hype', incredible, amazing, magical, unbelievable, shocking, death-defying, fantastical, mystical, never-before-seen-on-the-american-continent, world's greatest, etc. The over use of overly dramatic words eventually only devalues them to the carnival street level. Now when the 'carnes' start barking their magic words I grab tightly to my money and run in the opposite direction.
Today's camera phones continue to get better. The emphasis should be more on the end result and less on the tools. Sometimes the best camera available is the one you have at the time. Many photographers, both amateur and professional, are making impressive photos with their camera phones. "Hey everybody, look what I can do." Just because someone shows you a handful of cool iPhone photos doesn't mean you should have them shoot your whole wedding with an iPhone. Anytime a photographer limits their tools (i.e.: I never use flash, I only shoot natural light, I only shoot with one camera) they limit their ability to be able to do the best job possible. When you hire a professional you want them to have as many tools possible at their disposal so they can pick the best one for the job at hand thus insuring the best end results. Camera phones still only work best under limited circumstances, that's why we still have to lug heavy equipment at your event. Anything less is unprofessional!
The world through rose-colored lenses
Does everything look better through tinted glasses? Some photographers must believe so because they add a soft-pink (or muted yellow) tint to every image. Does natural looking skin not look good enough? Must everything be colored baby pink? Perhaps they have difficulty getting their equipment to match the real colors that exist in the real world so by adding a fake tint they are attempting to hide other shortcomings? Tinting is a cool effect and looks best when done on the right image in the right way, but to tint every photo is a fad that will eventually fade into a "what was I thinking" moment.
Classic vs Vintage Styles
Our work is classic and stylish, but not so 'over-the-top' that it will quickly become out-dated. Today too many brides are confusing classic with vintage. Many time-honored classic clothing looks from the past have become popular again and have become the new modern vintage look. There is a fine line between keeping today's modern vintage look classic without it becoming dated. Too many of today's photographers are adding to the problem by adding the latest fad photo treatment to every image; diminishing the quality and details, washing out the true colors and making people look sickly. Today's 'vintage' photo fad will never be classic but will eventually only become another embarrassing, out-dated fad.
As I work with other event vendors and observe other photographers at events I gain a much greater appreciation for the efficiency at which me and my staff exceed at our jobs at an event. We have never made a bride late to her reception or gone over our allotted timetable. It's not something many talk about nor is it easily quantifiable, but it becomes very obvious when 'self-proclaimed' professionals aren't professional. There is a major disconnect when you have a joyous event (such as a wedding) and then see mad, frustrated, frantic and stressed vendors fumbling with everything, barking orders and making the event get more and more off schedule until the whole event grinds to a near standstill and people start asking each other what's going on? The brutal part is: the poorly organized and inefficient vendors may not have cost much different than a true professional but the people hiring didn't ask the other professionals about how their potential vendors work at events. If more of the general public would do better research in regards to their vendors and insure they are hiring the superior ones instead of just hiring the low-bid provider with the hopes of accidentally having success, less wedding and event attendees would be tortured by terrible inefficiencies and the whole event and end result would be a much happier experience for all --that's just my 2 cents.
People and Things
Some photographers are better at shooting people, others are better at shooting things. New photographers seem to master the art of shooting things long before they master the art of shooting people. When you look at a photographers website do you see more photos of things or people? Which will better serve your needs?
The state of the photography industry
If you love photography, please show your support. The hobby of photography is a lot of fun, the business of photography isn't as easy (or as profitable) as many think. FREE photography for charity is very honorable. Doing things to undermine the photography industry is dishonorable. When you've reached an important milestone in your life, treat yourself. Avoid the temptation to 'do-it-yourself' or get a friend to work for free--support the industry you love by hiring and PAYING a professional to do the job right, this will insure the future existance of quality professionals. For the health and future of the industry, make a commitment today to never steal or support the stealing of copyrighted images, don't be a cheapskate and scan prints for your friends, don't pirate software, please buy multiple prints at the next event you attend and encourage your friends to do the same. By supporting and strengthening the photography industry you help create more jobs and insure a future for the industry you love. The job you save may end up being your own.
Let's talk about what others don't!
The newest trend in the digital revolution? Better monitor/screens. So now your latest digital camera, tablet, pad or phone appears to take even better pictures than ever before. The problem? The picture doesn't look as good anywhere else. So now you have a false sense of security --you think you've taken a great picture (based on the pretty screen) only later to find out when the picture is downloaded and posted online or printed, it doesn't look good at all. For a professional, it requires additional discipline to NOT be seduced by the beautiful screen, but to remain true to the founding principles that make truly great photography great.
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Cheap vs Professional
We get a lot of our work from people who initially opted for cheap and then regretted that it wasn't professional. Many photographers say they are professional (because they get paid for their photography) but too many of those don't understand what being truly professional really means. A real professional will guarantee the end result of their work and see your project through the whole process along every step of the way, including editing, retouching, designing and printing. A true proffessional photographer won't just shoot pictures and leave you stranded with just a CD of digital files and no guarantee of getting any quality finished products you really wanted in the first place.
What's up with the loss of detail? Poor quality?
While looking at 'real weddings' in a recent bridal magazine I noticed much of the detail in the brides very expensive and nicely detailed wedding dress was gone --blown-out whites. Many of the wedding pictures printed in this magazine had blown-out highlight details. Was it a problem with the magazines printing? Or a problem with the photography? Or did the photographer do it on purpose? So, if you were a bride who paid a lot for a beautiful wedding dress with lots of fine, intricate detail do you want all your wedding photography to only show you in a detail-less bright white piece of material? (similar to a white flour sack?) I think not! Sadly it's just poor photography being widely published in a magazine that pretends to be sophisticated but probably doesn't realize their own lack of quality. I guess to the uneducated it is plenty good enough, but to the educated, it's just really embarrassing. That's one reason you won't see me advertising in, or supporting that publication.
The Jig is UP!
The word on the street: --enough people have overpaid for inferior photography classes by unaccredited instructors who, as it turns out, are only really good at selling hype. Many very successful photographers with proven credentials are teaching superior classes at reasonable rates, their marketing just doesn't sound as impressive. The same thing is happening with 'overly-hyped', 'flash-in-the-pan' photographers, big flash today, gone tomorrow. How many times can customers be burned by 'the con job' before they start to catch on? Pushy salespeople (with attitudes) are selling lots of fluff. We have always believed that honesty is the best policy and our customers appreciate it. We are the real deal. Not someone who has to over-impress to make up for a lack of ability, skills or equipment. Let's chat about your project or event and you will appreciate our candor.
There is no Photography without light
The best photographers understand that light is what photography is all about. Just the other day on TV a supposedly 'professional photographer' was giving photography tips to the audience and she talked about backgrounds, outfits, colors and locations but didn't say anything about lighting. She then proceeded to demonstrate (in the professionally lit TV studio) how to photograph your pet on your couch. I'm certain that anyone who tried her pointers at home would be completely disappointed and may not understand why their pictures don't look anything like hers (unless of course your living room is professionally lit by a TV crew). It amazes me the number of people calling themselves 'professional photographers' who have no understanding or regard to the direction, properties or proper use of light. If you were a buyer of photography you would only have to look at a photographer’s use of light to determine their skill level. Asking a potential photographer about light, equipment and experience will tell you immediately if you have stumbled on one of the overly confident but poorly prepared faux-tographers who over-sell their capabilities but are unable to deliver the goods.
Although we now offer the best quality 180 degree panoramic zooms for your website and 360 degree panoramics for your virtual tours online, we currently are not offering videography. Typically photographers who offer photography and videography attempt to be the jack-of-all-trades, master of none. What amazes me today is the number of new videographers who, without much training, try to shoot a live event with a manual-focus, DSLR camera with poor sound quality. What are they thinking? Yes, the manufactures have done some good advertising and many a user is announcing that the same type of camera they bought was used to shoot a commercial and a TV show. But what no one is talking about is a commercial or TV show is scripted events that allows for pre-planned positioning and focus marks, separate sound and repeat takes, all of which makes the DSLR camera useable for this type of shoot. This is definitely NOT the right equipment for an inexperienced videographer to use at a wedding! Most every shot will either be very static or out-of-focus because even with the proper rigging, manual focusing to set markers requires a lot of practice and skill not to mention the issues with poor sound quality. Grandpa's low-end Sony consumer video camera will do a much better job of focusing! So now let's talk about why the cinematographers in Hollywood use this type of a camera to shoot ads and parts of TV shows, it allows a production crew to have several cameras that can shoot with interchangeable lenses (that only cost a couple thousand dollars) rather than the $150,000 camera setup they normally use. If I were to hire an event videographer, I would be more impressed with what they can do with their equipment (based on viewing actual events they have already covered) rather than being impressed by their camera being used to make a TV show.
If it's worth hiring a professional for, then hire one you can trust to do it right, communicate your concerns, desires and dreams and then don't interfere with them doing their job. (WARNING: here's where I get on my soap-box and rant a little) It is totally unprofessional (and embarrassing) to hire a professional photographer and then show up with your camera planning to take pictures --like you are the backup photographer. (if you want to be a backup photographer, come apply for a job.) When you hire a professional chef to cook you dinner do you bring your sauce pan and head to the kitchen? When you hire a professional who makes their living selling photography, don't embarrass yourself by asking them to give you free stuff. Are you the bread winner of your house and do you work at your job for free? How long would you keep your job if you gave away the products your company sells, for free? (unless of course your job is to give away free stuff, then you would want people to ask you for stuff for free, that may be a cool job to have, I wonder how much that job pays? Would you ever get tired of people asking you for free stuff if your job was giving out free stuff? -sorry, I digress)
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Most our customers are well educated and polite and very fun to work with, but there are a few who do incredibly un-professional and embarrassing things (usually it's one of your strange relatives -and you know who I'm talking about), so that's why I mention it. When you just purchased an instant printout at an event, please don't stand within earshot of the professional photographer and tell your friend that you are so cheap that you would be willing to violate federal copyright laws ($10,000 fine) to save $10 by scanning it for them. If the quality of the work is nice enough to pay for, please show your support and appreciation by buying multiple copies. Stealing only insures that at the next event the cost per print will have to be increased to make up for the loss, or worse yet, there won't be a professional for the next event. Even more embarrassing is when an aspiring professional photographer doesn't feel it necissary to support the photography industry but one day hopes the photography industry will support them. (it's that oximoron that causes me to rant, sorry to whine to you, but if you know the type, please spread the word, we appreciate your support) If you appreciate great service, you should tip generously. That will insure great servers will remain employed to serve you. If you appreciate great photography, you should buy a lot of it, that will insure great photographers will remain employed to serve you. Common sence that isn't so common.
Quote of the day
"Professional photography is similar to cooking. Many of the processes, tools and recipes are accessible to everyone. The difference between the well trained and experienced professional chef and the amateur cook is the consistency of great results and their high level of proficiency. The question then becomes whether the professional chef is worth the price or should one gamble with the amateur cook?" --Matt Culpepper, UNF Photography Graduate
To add to that: With the same ingredients one may make something delectable while the other may make you sick. The best professional chefs in town aren't giving away their most prized recipes… and neither are the best photographers.
Heirloom PhotoArt ® will outlast digital files.
I always try to keep my customers (and potential customers) well even my friends (and competitors) updated on what I'm seeing in the world of Jacksonville wedding photographers:
So now after 15 years of being one of the areas most sought-after wedding photographers, I'm being told by one of the newest self-proclaimed 'rock star' wedding photographers that today's females don't appreciate logic, facts or intelligent discussions regarding photography but are more 'emotional' in their purchasing decisions so I need to 'dumb down' my presentations to contain less intellectual substance and more emotional fluff. (Intelligent women everywhere should be insulted by this mis-guided logic and should throw this insulting fembot off her pedestal ...but I digress) So the newest way to deceive your clients is to take some acting classes and learn how to convincingly 'fake' cry in your presentation OR better yet cry on a video (because you can edit and do multiple re-takes) then post this on your website, blog and facebook so you can take advantage of the emotionally weak! For REAL? Does she think women are 'dumb blondes'? Is she from the dark ages? How stupid does she think her class students and the general public really are?
I am very emotional about my commitment to my clients and take seriously my responsibilities to do the best job possible for my customers. My everyday work demonstrates my passion; the majority of my clients have a strong emotional attachment to my work. If my work brings them happy tears of joy, I am pleased, and I don't plan on being emotionally abusive about it. I don't use unethical emotional ploys to deceive people or distract them from the realities of what I can deliver. Nor do I believe an emotional attachment to me personally is going to make up for a lack of equipment, skills, experience or ability to produce superior end results. Don't be looking here for a soon-to-be released, academy-award winning, tear-jerker video. (But do watch for the mindless sheep followers who will be quick to 'follow-the-fad' and will soon be posting their B-rated cryers) -- It's sad, and makes me want to cry, for the ignorant ...but not on video ; -)
There seems to be a big influx of new album companies offering everything from cheap photobooks to fancy albums. I'm saddened to see national online photo chains promoting cheap digital photo books as replacements for library-bound archival leather albums. Digital photo books are cheap, thermal-bound color photocopies with a composite cover, (similar to single-use corporate presentations) and won't last. Many of them are using unproven materials. I just saw an album that uses a piece of foam-core for the cover of the album with a picture glued to it, if you set anything on the cover it will dent the soft material and the dent won't come out. It's obvious to me this album won't last long, but it does have 2 advantages: it's lightweight and it's cheap, so if your priorities in buying an album are 'lightweight and cheap' and NOT longevity I think you have a winner with this new design. We are also seeing a lot of imports making their way into the US market, many of these are odd European sizes. Some are gigantic, which look impressive at bridal shows, but sit on a couch and put the album on your lap and it becomes cumbersome like a large stiff newspaper, bulky and difficult to view. The most popular foreign models are the cheapest, when they start falling apart (2-3 years from now) who will you contact for repairs? China? Italy? Mexico?
Another recent fad in wedding albums is the I-Pad digital album; it's exactly like an internet magazine ad, complete with an array of multi-media presentations. So what happens two years from now when today's technology is obsolete? Will the wedding album of your dreams, you had hoped to pass down for generations, now be unusable? I think a digital album is cool and fun but only secondary to a real Heirloom PhotoArt ® printed album that can be viewed for generations without electronics.
This just in --old news is new news; many businesses are scrambling to survive. It saddens me to hear about brides who can't get their albums, can't find their photographer, don't have their pictures and lost the money they spent. It's heart breaking to hear of fellow photographer's who have gone bankrupt and lost their homes during the economic slowdown. Many businesses are surviving by branching out into new fields and trying new things. Photographers are becoming caterers, caterers are becoming florists and florists are becoming photographers. The under-employed are making new starts in new business adventures. Perhaps you have felt the crunch in your household. There's a lot of turmoil in the marketplace, we will continue to see more of the same, many of today's start-ups will be tomorrow’s heart breaks, a rare few will become success stories, the odds aren't promising. More jobs need to be created. Breaking into an industry by under-cutting prices or doing a job 'for free -for the experience' only adds to the problem by creating less jobs, not more.
Many companies today are getting back to their roots; money and greed, so now we are seeing more venues promoting only the vendors who pay the biggest 'kick-backs'. Some well-meaning employees are being forced to promote the services of inferior vendors, by their bosses, because of this policy. Several large hotel chains have 'partnered' with 'national' wedding photography companies who claim to be able to 'match you perfectly' with the right photographer from your area, when in reality they are matching you with the low-bid photographer. We've seen this time and time again... they are a middle-man hiring mediocre talent at the lowest cost for a healthy markup and tacking on a fee to pay the venue. Don't be afraid to talk openly with your coordinator about kick-backs and vendor fees, because ultimately it's your money that pays such fees. If they avoid the discussion, you can guess the honest answers. The best vendors are the most honest and will treat you right, charge a fair price for their services and be up front about their fees and not try to wring additional cash out of you through hidden channels.
Photography for the sake of Photographers
Every photographers website, blog, facebook page typically talks about their passion and love of photography, you've read the stories about their fascination as a child with their moms camera, etc. I think I even have something like that somewhere on my website. Ok, it's a given, if you didn't love it you probably wouldn't do it. The word passion is being overused on many jacksonville area photographer's blogs. (Dear fellow photographer: telling me how passionate you are about your photography on your website is similar to trying to convince me about how honest you are... if it's not obvious and you have to oversell the point, then I begin to question the authenticity of your discussion --who are you really trying to convince?) Today many jacksonville florida photographers are working very hard to 'stand out from the crowd' by taking pictures that are 'different', it's what the self-proclaimed photography experts on world tour are promoting. The problem is many of the pictures being taken by today's budding professionals are calling attention to the photography with no regard to the subject matter, mood, feeling and overall purpose of the photograph.
Next time you see a 'cool' photograph ask yourself, do I think it is cool because of the effects used by the photographer or do the effects the photographer used become a secondary element which emphasizes and re-enforces the theme, message and mood of the subject matter in the photograph? There are a lot of superficial 'cool' photography effects calling attention to themselves today that will ultimately prove to have no lasting or meaningful value. Dark and moody cinematography is really cool to help convey mystery, suspense and dark, underworld figures, but if it were used in a children’s happy-themed movie, no matter how well it was done, it would be inappropriate to the subject matter.
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There is a new program out that I call 'paint-by-numbers' for photographers. It comes with an assortment of special effects and you only have to push a number on your keypad to apply an effect. With no rhyme or reason new photographers are applying effect #2 to this photo and effect #6 to that one. The program makes editing look easy and of course the results are just as "amazing" as those beautiful 'paint-by-number' pictures you see hanging in classy residential parks. (next to their Elvis paintings on velvet) Too many inexperienced photographers today are applying incongruous, inappropriately related effects to their photographs, some are just applying 'lipstick to a pig'. Real professionals have an eye and an understanding about what 'effects' or retouching or enhancements need to be made to which pictures to make them their best. The discerning client will see beyond the special effects and will invest in images that will provide lasting value for generations.
Photography Art vs Photographic Science
When photography was invented it was very much a science. Photographers couldn't take pictures unless they understood chemistry, recipes, mathematical formulas, the properties of light and the mechanics of the camera, etc. Today's modern digital cameras have removed much of the science from the camera operator. You can give an automatic camera to a child and they may accidentally create some really cool art. You wouldn't expect this same child to fulfill a photography assignment with any degree of consistency.
The first lessons you learn in Photography 101 class are about light, exposure, focus, camera settings --much of the science behind the art of photography. You also learn the most common issues, problems and errors that create bad photography and how to avoid them. It takes years of practice to learn how to apply the principles to achieve a desired or repeatable result. A person with a good eye and the ability to see and get their equipment to reproduce their vision will make a good photographer. Not everyone has that talent. Some people have a special gift for being able to bring together both the art and science. This basic scientific knowledge combined with years of experience gives a talented photographer the foundation they need to be able to accomplish their desired end result.
Many self-proclaimed 'professional photographers' today have skipped the foundational science classes and through self-experimentation have learned how to make and sell their photographic art. They believe 'fake-it-till-you-make-it' works with science. Nothing against their choice of career paths or the art they create but too often this type of photographer is a 'one-trick-pony', only able to create a few particular styles under certain set circumstances, without much reasoning or purpose. For example a photographer may use a high-contrast, over-exposed, bright 'sun-flare-in-the-background' look to create some artsy pictures, but what happens when it's overcast? What if you are at an impressive location and you really would like to see the building in background? Experienced professionals understand that it's really easy to blow-out backgrounds and with cheap lenses it's real easy to get lens flare, to properly expose and capture detail in a high-contrast lighting situation takes much more skill and is much more challenging. The best photography calls attention to the subject matter, not to the photography. A talented and well-experienced professional has the experience and skills to know how to work in any circumstance to get the shot, many amateurs take a lot of pictures in the hopes of accidentally getting a few good ones.
With the latest digital revolution (the world is once again flat) everyone everywhere is an 'expert'. In the wedding photography industry some untrained, self-appointed wedding photographer 'experts' are teaching and promoting their artistic 'style' as though it is the newest, latest and greatest. Sadly it is based on exploiting the most common pitfalls of consumer-quality equipment, these same issues that have been labeled by real experts over the years as 'bad photography'. The uneducated blindly follow with awe and admiration. To the embarrassment of many, it doesn't take much education to realize that this 'new art' is some of the old 'most common problems' taught in photography 101 class that are now being glamorized as art. It is almost funny to watch this fad develop among amateur wedding photographers and then see some truly professional wedding photographers with expensive lenses (that are difficult to flare) now using photoshop to add flare, isn't that backwards? Should I mimic inferior-quality problems because inexperienced wedding photographers have tried to make it a popular wedding photography fad? It has been done before with such effects as adding blur, tinting or harsh-contrast to an image, if done judiciously to create a specific look or to achieve a neat effect is one thing, to be used to hide basic exposure or focus problems is another.
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In advanced photography courses you learn the how’s and whys of good composition; lighting ratios, highlight, midtone and shadow relationships and how to manipulate light to your best advantage; how to make a 2-D photograph look 3-D; the advantages and best uses of; C-curves, S-curves, triangular poses; when to use selective or hyper focus; when, how and why to use a wide-angle or tele-photo lens, etc. Many of these fundamentals originated in the art world long before photography was invented and form the foundation for the world's best art. I think it's clever for the amateur wedding photographer to attempt to create a fad (and call it art) based on their lack of ability, poor techniques and inferior equipment. I guess everyone is doing the best they can to sell what they've got. Will it become a lasting trend or only a fleeting fad? Meaningful photography subtly stirs a deep and lasting emotional response to it's viewers that grows over time. Fad photography initially calls attention to itself but ultimately its superficiality will become offensive to its viewers.
Should you hire a Consumer, Amateur, Pro-sumer or Professional Jacksonville Wedding Photographer? Give us a call and we will help you with your decision, even if you don't hire us.
Dan can guarantee your success because he has successfully covered over 540 events in the past 15 years, his experience insures your success. Dan understands that your event isn't about him, it's about you!
He wants you to have 'Your Day, Your Way.' Hiring Dan and his staff will insure superior quality without compromise -guaranteed.
DIGITAL IS DECEIVING!
Every picture can look good on a computer screen or on the back of a digital camera! You must look at LARGE prints or ALBUMS to reveal the true quality!
Our printed Heirloom PhotoArt® looks much better than digital files!
Heirloom PhotoArt® lasts for hundreds of years and will provide generations of enjoyment!
You hire a professional to see your project through from beginning to end, you pay a professional for their experience in giving you the best advice to insure your goals are met and your project is successfully completed with fully guaranteed results. If you settle for a wedding photographer or family photographer who only gives you a CD you will only be disappointed later when you discover your CD is incapable of giving you the quality finished products you really wanted in the first place.
A photographer who has been hired to shoot for a CD will not shoot with as much care as one who is shooting for an album or for Designer Wall Decor as the requirements of a print file are much more demanding than a digital file on CD. They will spend little or no time editing and retouching. A 'shoot-n-burn' photographer will NOT guarantee the end results. Most make you sign a waiver saying they are NOT responsible for the finished products, guaranteeing your dissatisfaction. Are you a professionally trained retoucher? Do you know someone who is? Do you know what it will cost to pay a retoucher to fix the images you received on CD? Is it a good value to pay someone half the price when they only did 20% of the work?
We can guarantee our finished products because we include FREE retouching and do ALL our own printing. Don't hire a photographer who doesn't guarantee the finished products.
A CD is NOT a professionally finished, heirloom keepsake that will be passed down for generations. It probably won't last 5 years. (it's not rocket science, but even NASA lost the original hi-def images transmitted from the moon) Our promise to you: we will NOT give you an unfinished product. All our products are fully guaranteed. We include complete retouching and digital re-mastering on all our products. Our Heirloom PhotoArt® Storybook wedding Albums and Prints will outlast any digital file.
We want you to have copies of ALL your high-resolution digital print files from your wedding or mitzvah because we don't want to be the only ones on the planet responsible for your originals. We continue to store our customers film and digital negatives, in fireproof safes (at no small cost to us), since 1996. Please call us if you want your originals.
Amateur quality lenses and digital cameras vs professional quality photography
For years lens manufacturers have spent millions on research and development to create professional lenses that avoid problems of distortion, ghosting and lens flare. These lenses are very expensive and professional (and worth every penny if your goal as a professional photographer is to achieve the best quality possible, especially in less than optimal conditions).
Consumer/ Pro-sumer lenses and cameras mimic many of the features of professional equipment but at a much lower cost. Manufactures understand that most consumers don't need the same quality as the professionals use so offer the lower cost 'amateur' products by not providing the superior optics or capabilities afforded in the professional 'top-of-the-line' quality ones.
So today we are seeing many uneducated amateurs with consumer-grade (inferior) equipment attempting to sell the weaknesses of their equipment as though it were pre-planned art, --the sad part-- the uneducated believe them. Although blurry, blown-out, over-saturated pictures may make cool art, that 'one-trick pony' will get old very quickly.
Amateurs don't have the quality equipment or know-how to give you the crisp, clear, properly-focused and color-corrected images. Most clients don't want every picture blown out or blurry (in fact that type of special effect can be easily done in Photoshop, after capture, to any picture) These amateurs have got it backwards because you really can't undo blurry or blown-out after the image has been captured.
Don't be deceived by the unprofessional. Amateur equipment is easily recognizable by pop-up flashes, telescoping lenses and large lens flare.
Modern Jacksonville Wedding Photography and Photographers Fads and Fashion Trends
Wedding photography has always been about family relationships, romance, happy times, intimate moments, fun, excitement, anticipation, love and joy. In the days of old, wedding photography formally captured the closest family relationships and very little of the spontaneous moments. When photojournalists began photographing weddings more of the candid, spontaneous moments were captured. The heartfelt and emotional relationship images, whether captured formally or spontaneously, will be cherished for generations. As time moves on, the best of these images will be the classic ones uninhibited by time and place. If a picture has a lot of 'dated' elements in it, the fashion trends of that period will eventually distract from the image and take it from being a really cool, 'I look like a model in a magazine' image to a totally humiliating 'what was I thinking' picture that people will laugh at.
Magazines have often influenced wedding trends. Wedding magazines used to pay the best professional wedding photographers for their publication pictures. Today they have reduced their photography budget (and publication standards) by soliciting and printing most anything from anyone. It is very prestigious for a professional photographer to be paid handsomely for an image that's published in a respectable magazine especially when a well-trained, photo-editorial staff selected your shot from hundreds of other top professional photographers images. The sad reality is that many magazines have down-sized and eliminated their experienced photo editors so today the untrained office assistant chooses the pictures for the magazine from the few free submissions they received. There was a time when I was totally enamored with being published in a magazine, now, not so much. (remember the first time as a child you saw yourself on --closed circuit-- TV... it was so exciting -you ran around telling everyone you were on TV and your dad had a hard time getting you to understand that you really weren't on TV, later when you realized the truth -you were a bit embarrassed.) Today's wedding magazine fashion photography trends of super saturation, funky colors, blown-out contrast, sun flare, the grunge look and fuzzy focus will probably not become classic styles and will ultimately be just another sad fad --hopefully not too embarrassing.
A few other notes regarding fashion photography images you see in magazines; professional models are easier to photograph and usually look better than regular people in photographs (silly, did you forget? That's why they are models and if you were that photogenic you would be a model too.) Photographers who promote themselves because of their modeling images may be giving you a false sense of reality. The real question is what can they do with every-day normal people who aren't models? Well-trained photo editors print the images that are the most universally appealing, the pictures where the bride and groom are less identifiable. Have you noticed? Check it out! This common practice is based on the assumption that more brides will be able to relate to a picture if the details of the bride are more generic and less specific. Some Jacksonville wedding photographers are using this same psychological ploy on their websites posting mainly 'artsy' pictures depicting a generic bride and groom (blurry, face-in-the-shadows, backs to the camera, small head sizes, washed-out or sun-blown details, etc.). These types of pictures may be appealing from an outsider's perspective but if your wedding-day pictures were so artsy that you have difficulty identifying yourself in them, the reality of the final result may be major disappointment and dissatisfaction. Don't hire a photographer based on one thing hoping to get another, in the emotional frenzy of wedding planning, be sure to take some time for a reality check.
Now let's talk about an even more bizarre modern wedding photography trend. Some people call it: modern, trendy, chic, high-fashion, with-attitude, trash-the-dress and sometimes even retro. The images I'm referring to portray a dark and sad, disconnected and aloof, under-fed model often in unnatural and unauthentic poses. (do real people spontaneously contort like that?) Sometimes they look arrogant, void-of-feeling, defiant, stuck-up, bitchy or superficial. Very cold and contrived! You've seen the pictures I'm talking about where a lifeless bride and disconnected groom are separated by a piece of furniture or with their backs to each other and are cluelessly staring off into different directions or a haggard bride is bent into a funky masculine pose with the 'I don't give a care' attitude look, with dark and moody lighting. (it would be the perfect lighting setup to photograph a fallen clown in a mental institution.)
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Although these type of pictures may look very 'fashion-forward', I'm not sure that these type of images depict the true feelings of the bride and groom or the attitude of the bride towards her wedding or her wedding dress. (Maybe it reflects her attitude towards her mother-in-law? sorry, I didn't mean to say that. Reminds me of the crack-whore fashion models of the '80's --modern then, embarrassing now!) I assume these images are being made in jest and are NOT a true reflection of their REAL feelings ...or are they? ...a Freudian slip? I guess time will tell whether the bride really has distain for the groom or really hates her wedding dress! It would be sad if the lie that is communicated in the picture eventually becomes the truth. (I guess the divorced couple will then cut the furniture in half and each will take the picture of their disconnected self with them.) But on the other hand, if the modern bride and groom really dislike their faces they can cover them in lampshades and we will say the picture is modern art?
Should a wedding photographer force a bride and groom into a pose or picture that doesn't reflect their authentic feelings? I believe FAKE is a 4-letter word. If a bride and groom prefer not to perform public displays of affection, should a photographer force them into public 'sexy' or 'romantic' poses, portraying something completely false, for the sake of the photography? If the bride and groom are dignified should the photograher force them into doing something corney? We all really want to look our best in pictures but do we really want to look fake, corny or like something we're not? Do you want your photographer to create lies to mask the truth? (is the truth not pretty enough so it has to be superficially over coated?) Photojournalism photography works to document the real truth. Too often fashion photography works to artificially fake the non-existent. Will your wedding and photography be REAL or FAKE?
Two other bizarre trends worth mentioning (they are similar in nature); one is making the wedding day all about the wedding photography at the sacrifice of the guests and the other is making it all about the things and less about the people. I just went through the current issue of a national wedding magazine that just announced their 'best of weddings winners' popular voting contest (does the voting public ever get anything right?) and I was amazed to see that 90% of all editorial pictures were of things and not people. Is that really what weddings are about?... I guess they are if you are selling things! So my long-winded words of advice, don't buy into today's trendy hype that will be tomorrow’s disappointments. Hire a photographer whose pictures will capture your honest values because they will increase in value over time, not today's fleeting fads that will embarrass you tomorrow.
That's how I see it, feel free to share your comments VIA e-mail
"Anyone can take pictures, we create Heirloom PhotoArt®"
Modern Rock Star Photographer
When I was 9 years old I dreamed of being a rock star just like Davey Jones, but I shortly grew out of it. After college, at the beginning of my career, I thought it would be really cool to be on the road and travel --until I did it. Now I am content traveling 3-4 times a year to exotic locations of my choosing (but not much more than that as my dog misses me). I encourage everyone to follow their passion and dreams, but I also suggest you 'test the water' before 'jumping off the cliff'. I know several wedding photographers who passionately (and with the encouragement of paid instructors), jumped off the cliff only to learn (after they booked 40 weddings and shot 15) that it wasn't what they thought it would be --so they skipped town. Not really a smart business move, but an incredible 'school of hard knocks' education!
If you have the dream of being a rock star and want to do a fantasy photo session and really glam it up, we can create some fantastic images that will give you the exact look of a super star, without any of the downside. It will be fun! But realize I'm not the rock star and won't be wearing the rock star jeans. Reality TV, the internet and social networking sites have instilled in today's youth the 'rock-star' dream of fame, hopefully your dream doesn't include long workdays, boring bus rides, difficult living and working conditions and too much time away from the people and places you love which drives you to drinking. We will capture you looking your best and will help you get your photographs published worldwide if that is what you want, or we can just publish them to the web for your close friends and family to enjoy --your choice.
Dan Harris Photo Art has 5 good assistant wedding photographers on staff but Dan usually only uses 1 or 2 of them per week. (Most of them have full-time weekday jobs and only shoot weddings part-time in the evening or on weekends.) Many of the images on this website were taken by Dan's assistants then edited and retouched by Dan. If you are on a tight budget, Dan's assistants have agreed to help you out by shooting your wedding for less than Dan's price. Dan and his staff will still provide all the pre- and post-wedding consultations, retouching, album design, etc.
Call or e-mail to set an appointment to go over all the details.
But don't be too impressed, the magazine didn't pay us for the spread ;- (
as featured in:
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The quality is in the details. Medium Format Digital has an unsurpassed clarity (at any size) that isn't found in any smaller camera.
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"EVERYONE'S A PHOTOGRAPHER"
Isn't photography fun! Taking and sharing photos of your family and friends, with the internet and modern digital technology, has become faster and easier than ever before. The new age of instant gratification. Some of my best customers are photographers. Just about everyone today is a photographer, some for fun, some for hire, we are all just on different levels. To the 'mom-with-a-camera' don't let your 'one-shot-in-a-thousand' images stay trapped in the camera or computer (destined to die in the digital graveyard) bring them to us and we will pull out the best, bring it to life and produce an heirloom work of art for you to cherish for a lifetime.
Anyone can take pictures but that doesn't mean your important photography job should be left to just anyone. Not many jacksonville professional photographers can see your complete project through from beginning to the finished Heirloom PhotoArt-® that will be passed down for generations. A less experienced photographer will take hundreds of pictures hoping to get a few good ones; an experienced professional photographer will take hundreds of images and deliver hundreds of good ones. A real professional is not just a picture taker but has the best experience, training, equipment, skill and talent to bring it all together. When you pay a professional you aren't just paying for someone to 'snap a picture', you are paying for expert consultation, valuable advice and creative input based on years of experience (including the best photo selection, digital re-mastering and image retouching) to ensure your images are the best possible representation of you, your event, your family, your product or your company.
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Everything we do not only insures exceptional heirloom quality but insures complete success at your event. Even the best jacksonville photographers will have equipment malfunctions; we have the experience and backup equipment to ensure that your event photography won't suffer, no matter the circumstances.
Most everyone in photography has a strong passion for photography, but that doesn't insure success. The hobby of taking pictures isn't the same as the business of photography. One of the most difficult photography assignments (when done properly) is wedding photography, yet here in Jacksonville, Florida it seems wedding photography is where the inexperienced photographers want to start, I guess that's why so many brides are dissatisfied with their wedding photography. A smart photographer apprentice will properly educate themselves then work their first 3-5 years in photography under the protective wing of an experienced pro to 'learn the ropes' and insure career success with limited failures prior to breaking out on their own and then will 'break out' on photography assignments they can guarantee to be successful, like family portrait sessions in ponte vedra beach, not once-in-a-lifetime events. A true professional doesn't meet you at the local cafe or coffee shop, doesn't get photographic prints at the grocery or drug store and will know how to fully retouch and archivally store, preserve and reproduce your images so they will last multiple generations. Your image should be the best, don't pay for something less.
Consider this: The Bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten!
Dan Harris and his Jacksonville based staff photographers are talented and honest visual artists using the best equipment, processes and proven technology to achieve superior-quality results at a fair price. Dan and his staff have a gift for seeing your vision and the talent to give you more than you expected in an experience that will be enjoyable for all while meeting your timetable at the price quoted. Why settle for less when you can have the best?
We are up front, straight-forward and realistic about our photographic capabilities, our customers expectations and our pricing, insuring an enjoyable and satisfying experience for all. All our products are 100% guaranteed! If you don't like your photos, we re-do them.
(Please note: all the images on all of our websites are from actual client photography sessions ~the real deal~ , not from hired models, instructional photography classes or seminars.)
We design and maintain this website ourself --it's 100% 'home-grown!' Here's the wedding info site map. Unlike many websites that are only 'flashy billboards' on the information super highway, this site is designed to give you plenty of information and assist you in your photographic decisions. It's not as pretty as the ones the big designers get paid the big bucks to fabricate but it contains 98% less hype. ~enjoy! If you have a suggestion or find a problem with it, let us know and we will fix it pronto. For internet history buffs some pages are 'preserved time capsules' unchanged from when the internet first started, if you find them you know you have gone too far!
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As the old saying goes: "you get what you pay for." In today's market too many companies are trying to charge a lot of money for very little. (not our style) We don't skimp on quality or service! We insure our customers always get the BEST for their money. We are not 'cheap', because we know what our top-of-the-line quality products and expertise are worth, we insure our customers get their monies worth.
In 2007 we upgraded all our equipment to be able to provide professional HDSP (High Definition Still Photography). And just upgraded again in 2012. The images we capture today have greater depth, definition, dynamic range, color and clarity than those created just a couple years ago. See the difference High Definition Photography can make compared to Standard or Consumer grade Digital Cameras. We combine HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging) with the principles that make HDTV (High Definition Television) to produce the ultimate in digital still photography ~ HDSP (High Definition Still Photography). The difference is similar to viewing regular TV versus HDTV.
When quality, color accuracy and superior detail are important, we use our best Medium or Large Format commercial digital camera (36, 72 or 98 megapixels) which can capture up to 65,536 possible tonal values per pixel with true 16-bit, 48-bit or 96-bit output. Most 'professional' DSLR cameras have a maximum range of only 4,096 (94% less) and the standard 'consumer' camera only captures 256 possible color tones (99.6% less).
Our images look very detailed and three-dimensional while still maintaining flattering skin tones. With recent advancements in archival output, our current professional photographic products will last for many more generations than the industry standard processes used just five years ago. Our prints and albums are archival and have been tested to not fade for over 300 years.
Corporate customers and consumer green-screen clients can get top-quality waterproof images printed on-site / on-demand with our portable photo lab. (these are NOT inkjet prints).
We are willing to travel and offer Free photographic consultation by appointment. Although we have extremely high standards of professionalism and quality, our mode of operation is informal. You can call our office between 9 am and 6 pm (eastern time) daily. (If we are out of the office or with a client just leave us a message and we will get back to you) We have covered weddings as far away as Alaska!
Our personalized service, professionalism, eye for quality and attention to details extends well beyond our photographic skills and manifests itself in the finished products. Taking the photos is only half of our service, we assist our clients along every step of the artistic process including choosing, editing, croping and designing their finished artwork, albums and frames --this enhances the final outcome and insures total satisfaction on your unique 'one-of-a-kind' project.
Although we specialize in a realistic photojournalistic style of photography at events, we have the flexibility to offer an extensive repertoire of photographic styles that blends technical details with creativity and photographic artistry to insure you get just what you want.
With cameras changing from film to digital photography you can hear consumers everywhere, every day getting very excited about the picture they just took as they look at the little screen on the back of their new digital camera! They are amazed as they have never taken photos that look so good and of course the instant gratification of seeing them in seconds is enough to make one scream in a strange foreign accent while pinching themselves, "I'm as happy as a little girl!" The problem is most every picture looks good displayed on a 3" backlit LCD screen. Too often what looked like an 'awesome' photo on the back of the camera ultimately doesn't look as good when viewed on a full- sized computer screen or printed and is totally unusable in a commercial or professional application. That's when it is time to call a full-time, experienced professional.
There are many occasions where consumer digital (or even a camera phone) does a nice enough job, easier, quicker and more convenient than ever before. But advanced computerized technical wizardry doesn't a professional photographer make! Anyone who has played extensively with their digital camera and had their work printed, published or enlarged realizes there is more to it than just pushing a button on a sophisticated box of electronics. If the photography is important, don't skimp or do-it-yourself, hire a professional.
In the early days of photography you could recognize a professional by their professional equipment (big and bulky), today too many 'self-proclaimed professional photographers' are attempting to produce 'professional' images while using consumer-grade equipment. Many attempt to justify their lack of professional-quality equipment by saying 'the camera doesn't matter'. Reality is, if you're doing photography, the camera is critical. You don't hear a jockey say 'the horse doesn't matter', or a race-car driver say 'the car doesn't matter'. Image quality has dramatically improved both on the low-end and high-end of the spectrum. Rather than striving for the best, too many people are accepting mediocre for 'good enough'. Taking magazine-quality images for publication or covering a once-in-a-lifetime event is a whole different animal than just taking 'family' photos on the beach to display on the internet.
In critical situations it pays to hire a real professional who will act as a consultant and insure your success with the best equipment, years of experience, know- how, education, training and proficiency in lighting, composition and many other techniques (including computer wizardry) to get the job done right. We really shine in those difficult situations and requirements, try us and you will see. (Future customers and would-be photographers; follow this link to learn more about the businesses of photography)
As photographic digital technology improves most consumers have a false belief that the $600 camera they just bought is 'professional' quality. (film cameras never cost so much) Granted it is a marked improvement over anything they have owned before and mimics many of the settings contained on a $5,000+ professional camera but doesn't come close to the capability of a $48,000 Medium or Large Format Digital camera. What they don't realize is; while there have been vast improvements in the consumer side of the business, there have also been major improvements on the professional side. Set an appointment with us and we will show you the difference between 'consumer/prosumer' and true professional photography. Not referring to the Art or Business side of photography, just the science side: the best tools in the hands of an experienced, well-trained professional still make the best photographs. Better equipment in the hands of an amateur still only makes better amateur photographs.
Photography has similarities to professional singing... just because everyone has a voice, doesn't mean they can or should sing (even if they say or think they can --just watch American Idol for proof of that --or listen to Dan in the shower -but not in the same room) and very few photographers really make it as full-time professionals! (just talk to your co-worker) Just because a person can buy a camera, likes taking pictures and takes some photography classes doesn't mean they are the best photographer for your specific job.
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Today's new Digital technology has helped to 'blur' the lines between consumers and professionals. In fact, camera manufacturers have created a whole new class of equipment for the buyers they call 'pro-sumers'. These are the people who 'think' they are a professional and spend more on camera equipment than typical consumers but in reality are only 'advanced amateurs' or part-timers (moms with cameras). The industry has created equipment, marketing, classes, etc. specifically designed for this group.
The problem with this new group of 'prosumers' is they often 'don't know what they don't know' and some misrepresent their capabilities. An experienced professional photographer will work as a consultant and start with the final goal in mind while making decisions and equipment choices based on producing the best quality for their clients project needs and will be honest about their capabilities and expertise. (We would rather be honest upfront and lose the job than lie to get it and disappoint you later or risk damaging our reputation). Ever since the dawn of photography, camera manufacture's have been working to make photography easier for the masses. It sometimes looks like they are trying to replace artistry with technology, but as always in the end, the talented artist will always be able to do much more than the inexperienced with the same technology.
Too often the prosumer, 'aspiring photographer' will think more like a consumer and will make decisions based on their own needs (rather than whats best for their clients) --thus compromising the overall quality of their clients projects. Prosumers want ONE camera and lens that 'does it all', lightweight, automatic, easy to use. This is physically and scientifically impossible. Too often their choice of equipment is based on ease of use, convenience and their limited budget, none of which translates into any benefit for their clients. Some cameras are better at low-light situations, some have better wide-angle optics, some are superior in speed and agility while others have incredible levels of accuracy, tonal range and clarity, anyone who says their 'one' camera can do it all is mislead and ultimately only produces mediocre quality on most everything!
Serious hobbyists toying with becoming a 'professional photographer' and experimenting with photography will eventually raise their own education level and develop a true appreciation for the experienced professionals. It still takes 4-6 years of 'practice' to become proficient at photography. Too often the 'semi-pro', practicing to become a professional, can only deliver under certain circumstances (when the camera is set on automatic?)...some of the time. Photography is an Art, a Science and a Business... not many aspiring photographers are proficient at all three.
An experienced professional is able to draw upon their knowledge and experience to make the best decisions regarding how to use the latest technology to achieve the best end result. Technology is only a tool. As more technology options are developed in photography there will be more confusion in the marketplace requiring even greater knowledge and experience to know how best to apply that technology to get the best possible results. In the end the consumer will have to become more educated so they will be able to weed through the hype and discover the truth.
Dan has worked for several newspapers over the years. Journalism was his college major. As an experienced photojournalist, he is well prepared to cover your events in both black & white and color, film or digital.
We own some of the finest professional cameras ever made (both film and digital) along with the best top-quality lenses - from10.5mm fisheye to 1680mm zoom. Digital and Film (and an old 1906 vintage 8x10 camera that still works, but I'm not taking it to weddings). We are able to handle most any situation. We choose the appropriate equipment / film / lighting based on your final output requirements.
New to photography? Just beginning your search? Here's something to think about: What makes a good photograph?
"Dan, The photos you took for us are by far the best photos we have of our fans or our customers anywhere! That is a genuine compliment as we have hired photographers from all over the country and our library of images is quite extensive. . ."
~ Heather, Big Ass Fans Company, Kentucky
History: Dan Harris PhotoArt started as a sideline business of selling archival Fine-Art photography (PhotoArt) to supplement Dan's journalism income.
PhotoArt evolved into Photography of art for artists (PhotoArtSlides.com) and grew to include portraits, modeling and corporate photography.
Although Dan continues to offer these services, he has become best known for his unique International Award Winning wedding and event coverage. Now in its fifteenth year, Dan Harris PhotoArt, LLC continues to grow and improve to create the best possible 'PhotoArt' for both your business and personal needs.
Now offering top-quality ON DEMAND printing (not inkjet) at your location (even if you don't have electricity!)
Call or e-mail for more details.
We are wedding and portrait photographers, florida wedding photographers and have worked in Jacksonville, Miami, tampa, Orlando, Hilton head, Jekyll island, georgia, Alaska, Cumberland island, ritz carlton, ponte vedra, tpc, sawgrass, Amelia island, casa monica. Have done newborn portraits, baby portraits, infant portraits, maternity portraits, child portraits, senior portraits, family portraits
New for 2006 and beyond, all images archivally stored in a fireproof safe on:
Our archival 4x6 reprints are printed on genuine, Professional Photographic (RA4) Kodak Portra Endura Papers for 100 - 200 years of lasting quality.
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