Photographer Spotlight: Erin Neace of Lux Senior Photography

We are so excited to welcome the amazingly talented Erin Neace to the Rock the Shot Blog! Take a moment to learn more about her beautiful photography, and be sure to visit her website at Lux Senior Photography. Thank you so much Erin for taking the time to share your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
My inspiration for photography began as a child in the 80s. My parents bought me a little 110 film camera and I took pictures of pretty much everything in my little world! My father was a photography enthusiast, and my favorite things were old family pictures. As I became an adult, that love for capturing the world as I saw it expanded to my children… I loved taking pictures of them, but I wanted to make more beautiful pictures. So I read books, and through trial and error and following good techniques I learned, I grew as a portrait photographer.

How would you describe your photography style?
I would describe my style as light, bright, airy, and natural. Although I guide my Senior girls to pose well for good photographs, I never put them in the stiff looking poses you sometimes see.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am completely self taught – with only the help of the internet, books, and a few helpful hints from other photographers I know.

What brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot digital (95% of my client work) with a Canon 5D mark iii. I shoot film (mostly for personal work and styled shoots – but hopefully more in the future) with mainly my Pentax 645N. I also have 4 other film cameras. My favorite lens would have to be the Canon 85L for backlit shots and the Canon 135L for any other type of lighting situation.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Open your eyes and study the world around you at all times of day. Whenever you see light that makes you want to sing – take note of it, shoot in it, experiment with it, play with it. Always use a model of some sort to practice in different lighting scenarios.

What is the most challenging thing about photographing seniors?
The most challenging thing about photographing seniors is making them feel comfortable and be themselves in front of the camera. Some of them are very natural with this, but most are not. I frequently show girls poses, how to move in front of the camera etc. by doing it first myself. If I can do it in front of them, then they will have less fear of looking awkward.

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Set clear business hours and stick to them. Take time for yourself and know that you don’t always have to squeeze jobs in if it is running you ragged. If you have to take fewer sessions to make your life less hectic, don’t be afraid to raise your prices and give each client a more hands-on experience.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Learning how to shoot manual so you actually understand the nitty gritty of how and why settings work or don’t work. Know what depth of field is and the many ways to control it. Basically – the basics. Keep it simple and stop thinking that the next new set of actions will make your images look the way you want them to, just be a master of your craft and add those extra touches in AFTER you understand the basics.

What do you love most about being a photographer?
That moment when you take THE shot and gasp at the exact moment the shutter clicks; knowing you’ve just made magic happen.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself teaching more and shooting less. Taking even MORE time to set up the perfect session for each Senior – something that inspires us both.

About the Artist: Erin Neace is a natural light only senior portrait photographer based in Centerville, Ohio. Her work has been featured in various photography blogs and publications, including Senior Style Guide, Seniorologie, Pretty is Everywhere, Beyond the Wanderlust, Lemonade & Lenses Magazine, Chic Magazine, Denim + Grace and Belle Lumière (film).

Erin is married to her tall, dark, and handsome husband Jeff; and lives a fast-paced lifestyle with their three children and two dogs. A few of her favorite things are coffee, flip-flops in Summer, riding boots in Fall, white Christmases and lilac bushes in Spring…

Visit Erin at her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM pages

Planning a Styled Shoot with Vendors

by Guest Contributor Amie Pendle

Isn’t it the dream to have vendors throwing their products at you left and right, begging you to use them for your amazing styled sessions? Well maybe someday we’ll all reach that point! But for now we can find ourselves competing with other photographers, for the attention and help of many vendors. I’m going to walk you through a few steps that should help you get that “YES!!” that you’re looking for!

Have a Game Plan
Take the time to visualize your session. Pinterest is an amazing tool when it comes to this step! You can pin images that inspire you, or that have that look you are going for. It also helps when you do approach vendors to convey what you have in mind.  Now that you have a clear idea of what you want your images to look like, what do you already have, and what do you still need? For example. Let’s say you’re planning a simple bridal shoot out in the fields somewhere. You have a gorgeous model but no dress, no flowers and no décor.

So you must start making a list. It should look something like this:

Have

  • Model
  • Gold Shimmer Pillow
  • Pearl Earrings
  • Vintage Cake Stand

Need

  • Bouquet
  • Rustic Chair
  • Hair & Make Up
  • Small Cake

With the list being made you now have a clear path to your next steps! You can list vendors for each item you need. I’d recommend listing at least two businesses for each item. Chances are not everyone will be free or willing to donate their time, services or items.

Asking for Help
Walking through that door, or sending that email can be the most nerve racking moments of your life! I know because I’ve been there. And I’ve had vendors tell me no. You can’t take it personal. I say this, but it’s broken my heart a time or too! When you do approach a vendor. Try to keep their business in mind too! Tell them how this will be beneficial for them and what they will get out of the process.  Don’t expect them to give you top of the line either if this is your first time working together. A florist might be able to throw together a small bouquet with left over flowers, and a baker may have something simple that they can whip up in their spare few minutes. Take these as baby steps to building a vendor/photographer relationship!

You can’t go in with a “Do you know who I am?!” attitude or be too unsure of yourself either. Be yourself. Explain how excited you are and be sure that you give them plenty of notice to prepare their inventory for you shoot as well! Also, be willing to pick up and drop off any items – make it as easy on your vendors as possible!
They Said Yes!!

Sooner or later, you will line up some vendors. They may have offered you a discounted price or simply loaned you what you needed in exchange for use of the images, but you’re finally ready to shoot that session!

When you’ve finished, it’s important to remain professional. Return items promptly along with a heartfelt thank you note. Let them know that because of them, you were able to create the session you had envisioned! It’s so very important to not take your vendors for granted. There will be times in the future that you may need them again. Building that reliable and friendly relationship is just as important as creating stunning images!

I hope these steps help you! Remember to be sincere, appreciative and hold up your end and you should have no problem planning styled shoots in the future!

About Amie: I’m a wife and mommy. A natural light photographer based in Southern Utah. Specializing in Boudoir and Portraits. I love Southern California and Coffee, a good joke and my camera!

Visit Amie at her WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK pages

Photographer Spotlight: Michelle Coppini of Remnant Boudoir

We are so excited to welcome the wonderfully talented Michelle Coppini of Remnant Boudoir to the Rock the Shot Blog! Take a moment to learn more about her beautiful boudoir photography, and be sure to visit her website Remnant Boudoir. Thank you so much Michelle for taking the time to share your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
My deep inspiration began when I read an article about the power of boudoir photography. This particular article spoke on how boudoir and beauty sessions were being prescribed to women with eating disorders. The distorted way these women saw themselves was challenged and often the women found inner healing from the images. This was remarkable to me. That an image, or a session, could have such a healing affect.  I wanted to be a part of this, and boudoir was the perfect avenue.

Boudoir is my passion because bringing healing and wholeness to women is my passion. I long for all women to know a depth and wholeness. For women to know, and believe with every inch of their heart and mind that they are beautiful and full of worth. Enough- just as they are. I want women I don’t know as well as women I call sisters to walk in the freedom that comes from comfort in their own skin. And for my sisters who know this already I want to celebrate that freedom with them. I want to rejoice in who they are and capture their best. Capture that best so they will leave with a permanent reminder. I long to be a catalyst of change and an artist who delivers a little bit of freedom in every image she delivers.

How would you describe your photography style?
My style is me. Haha. I struggled with this for what seems like forever. I wanted my images to look as “pretty as…” as “emotional as..” (insert big name photographer).  Then I realized that I was doing the very thing I was trying to heal with my art. Comparing. Comparing to find value and only finding if it it “added up”. Once I stopped trying to “be” someone I started shooting for me I found my images became more and more like my heart.

They are fresh, fun, full of laughter, depth, and passion. Sometimes they’re moody and other times playful. They are an extension of my heart and often times reflect the unique connections I have with each individual client.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I took classes in high school but for the most part am self taught. I do try to go to at least one workshop a year for inspiration that only workshops can provide. I found I learn best in person and I never want to stop growing as an artist.

What brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot with a Nikon D810. But started my business with a Nikon D70.  The best advice I was given in these early years (the years where my excitement was in equal proportion to my insecurities) was to master the camera you have.   My favorite lens is my “ol faithful”: my 50mm 1.4. This is the lens I started my business with and because I went through my growing pains with this lens it has become a favorite. I know every finicky detail about this lens and it is always on one of my cameras during a shoot.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Look for it! No, but really. This is something I am still honing. I personally get so excited about my client that sometimes I forget to pay attention to, or better yet, make the most of the light. The more I shoot, the more natural this process becomes.  What has been most helpful for me has been shooting in as many different light scenarios as possible. Practice. Always practice. Then when you come across a scenario that is less than ideal you won’t have to have an inner “freak out” session.

What is most challenging thing about photographing boudoir?
Every women brings with them an idea of beauty. What they think is sexy, pretty, appealing..etc. They also bring their own insecurities, fears, nervousness and anticipation. I would say the more challenging part is cracking my clients shell where they can truly be themselves, staying true to my vision of capturing that true self, and in the end showing them images that read only beautiful to their eyes.

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”  This year I have been learning to build this type of courage. When I have a bad shoot thats just what it was: a not so good shoot. It does not mean that I am a bad photographer. A few years ago it was hard for me to separate the two. This year I am finally shortening the time between my shoots that are not up to my standard or ability and my bounce back time. Have courage dear artists! Give of yourself and give it fully and when you have a bad session brush the dirt off and carry on.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Shoot what you love and give only the images you love. A fellow photographer gave this advice to me when I started and I didn’t fully understand the wisdom of it until a few years into my business. When we start shooting there’s this joy at just being asked to shoot anything. “You want me to shoot your kids and you’ll pay me? GREAT!”. “You want photos of a dinner party? Sure!” As you grow you will find you love shooting certain things more than others. And then comes the day when you can fearfully, yet wonderfully, say “No, sorry I don’t shoot that.” It is a scary but oh-so-freeing moment. Don’t be afraid to say “No” and only say “Yes” to what you love.

What do you love most about being a photographer?
For me, it’s the relationships I make.  Connecting with my clients is a complete joy. It’s the “getting to know them” before their Journey, the sessions itself, and the moment they see their images. This connection is what drives me. My art is my tool but my heartbeat is the relationship. Boudoir allows me to combine my desire to create and my heart for freedom and intimacy in a way I never knew possible. I love boudoir photography specifically because of the way it combines fun playful social interaction with incredible depth and healing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope that my craft continues to grow and evolve through the years. In five years I hope I can say that my skill is better, that I am able to capture women more beautifully, and all my images are growing with me. I never want to stop growing the way I capture beauty, and how that beauty is different to every woman.

About the Artist: I am a boudoir and portrait photographer located in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. I love captureing authentic traces of people and strive to make each session deep, meaningful and unforgettable. I am a hunter of beauty and a champion of freedom. A big part of what drives me is to know and love people; deeply, authentically and honestly. Photographing you is just an added bonus. Beauty is present if you look. So I look. I see. I long to use my camera to show and I often have to pinch myself to remind me I’m not in a dream.

Visit Michele at her WEBSITE | BLOGFACEBOOK pages

May Photo Challenge: Reflection

Photo Credit: Liz Franco Photography

Reflections are all around us – in windows, water, mirrors, or any multitude of shiny surfaces.  This month, challenge  yourself to think outside the box and get creative capturing a “REFLECTION“!!  Everyone is invited to participate.

Special thanks to our very generous sponsors for the FABULOUS prizes for this months challenge!

Here are the prizes you can win:

 1st Place PRIZECanvas Wrap Blocks from Simply Color Lab {$250 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Did you know there are two types of Gallery Wraps?  And we’re the only company that makes both.  You’ve all heard of our traditional gallery wraps, well now check out our Canvas Wrap Blocks. A solid front surface makes this canvas wrap super durable.  We print on the same professional grade canvas and use the same quality control as our traditional gallery wraps and of course we always check the files before we print! Prices includes hanging hardware and black mat board backing.

2nd Place PRIZE: Bellbrook Backpack from JoTotes {$199 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Handcrafted from water-resistant, American-made waxed canvas and trimmed with high-quality leather, the Bellbrook backpack from JoTotes is comfortable, versatile, and chic. The side pockets allow you to quickly access your camera, and the separate laptop compartment can accommodate up to a 15 inch laptop. Store your belongings and accessories in the large front zippered pocket and the various organization pouches in the rear compartment.

The padded, adjustable divider system allows you to customize the backpack to perfectly accommodate your belongings and camera equipment. The backpack can be divided into two compartments to make use of the side-access pockets. When the bag is divided in this way, the top area can store additional camera equipment vertically with padded dividers, or with an insert (included) which can be placed in the top area for additional protection. All dividers can be removed to use the bag as an every day backpack.

3rd Place PRIZE: $150 Gift Certificate to Nested Company

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

We share in your deep desire to provide your clients with beautiful props to use in your sessions, as well as Educational Tools including newborn wrapping videos, mommy and baby posing video, Client Welcome Guide, our famous COLORCLICKS™ to help you choose coordinating colors for sets ups and design, plus a variety of newborn wraps and our newest product called the NESTIE™ PILLOW!  All to help you succeed and grow in your business!

Here are the details for entering your submission:

1. Create a post on your blog and include ONE photo submission for the challenge. If you like, include some fun facts about the photo, and any tips or tricks you might like to share about how you captured and/or processed your image.  For this month’s submission, there are no requirements – you may interpret the theme in any way you wish.
2. Include the Rock the Shot Button and type the link www.rocktheshotforum.com in your post. DO NOT include http://
3. You can also link your submission from public Facebook pages, Flickr, Pinterest, etc. Just be sure to include the link www.rocktheshotforum.com within your post. If you are having trouble with this method, check out our step-by-step video tutorial HERE 
4. Submit the link to your post using the InLinkz button below. You must submit the actual post link (permalink), not just your website URL. NOTE: do not include http:// in your link
5. You may submit your photo at any time during the challenge – the deadline for this month’s submission is Sunday, May 31st, at 11:59pm CST.
6. The winners will be announced on Friday, June 5th, 2015.

LEGAL STUFF: This promotion is in NO WAY sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You will NOT be notified publicly via Facebook if you are a winner. You MUST be 18 to participate. By entering this giveaway, you are providing information to Rock the Shot and NOT to Facebook. Prizes do not have cash value. There will be no returns/exchanges on any of the items.

By submitting your photo, you grant Rock the Shot permission to re-post your photo on our blog and/or Facebook page.

April Photo Challenge Winners

We are so thrilled today to announce the WINNING photos for our April Photo Challenge.  Our theme last month was “SPRING”, and the images were just AMAZING!  We want to thank all of our readers who submitted entries for the challenge, and a HUGE THANK YOU to our fabulous sponsors Simply Color Lab; Little Sweet Designs and JD Vintage Props for their generous prize donations to the challenge this month.

Here are our winners for the “Spring” photo challenge:

1st Prize: #22 by Jennifer Sharp Photography

2nd Prize: #47 by Tanya Karaman

3rd Prize: #22 by Catherine Lacey Photography

Honorable mention 1 #33 by Butteryfly Moments

Honorable mention 2: #9 by Swoombeam Photography

If you’re one of our top five, proudly display the button “Top 5 Photo” button on your blog and Facebook pages. This button can be found HERE.

Winners, please contact Kathy at kathy@rocktheshotforum.com

Thanks to everyone who entered, and STAY TUNED for our May Photo Challenge…

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