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A Unbeatable Client Appreciation Day

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in for photographers denver family photography

For those of you who know me personally, you probably already know that I LOVE working with other small business owners.  A not to say anything bad about the guys out there who own a small business, but working side by side with other female business owners is just such an encouragement.  A very good friend of mine, Courtney Nelson, is an amazing realtor here in Denver at Porchlight Realty.  (www.coloradosells.com)  Her passion for realty and helping people can be seen on a daily basis...  or more so even on just a minute-to-minute basis.  :) She is perfectly genuine, such a thoughtful person and when we get a chance to work together or throw parties together I am ALWAYS looking forward to it.  Oh and P.S.  She helped Blake and I buy a house and was awesome!

This past Saturday was one of those times.  But instead of just posting the beautiful photos from Courtney's Client Appreciation Day, I thought I'd take a second to share to all of you business owners another way to give back to the people who are propelling you forward in your business or life.  

Courtney hired me about 3 months ago for the second year to give her clients a gift that would keep on giving.  Photos to document today and to remember forever.   I had never thought about this idea until Courtney approached me, but what a great idea for a client appreciation gift?!!!  Seriously,  who wouldn't want family photos, new headshots, maternity pics, or engagement shots???  We did 5 mini sessions at about 30-40 minutes a piece and then Courtney purchased an 8 x 10 Print for each client who participated. 

This family was first of all SO fun to work with, but secondly how beautiful can two people be?! I mean seriously... Their smiles radiate through photographs and their kindness and love for each other was even more aparent in person. Thanks for a great shoot Jamie, Gio and Charlie.

The logistics of the shoot were very simple.  We set a time a place.  In our case we went to Wash Park in Denver, Colorado and set each family up for a 45 minute time slot.

This is the second time I've been able to photograph Rachel (above) and I am SOSOSO excited for she and her husband Chris to welcome their baby into the world.  They are such a sweet couple and I loved photographing such an important time for them :)

I seriously want to take all three of them home with me... I think I actually told them that too...  Oops :)  Such a beautiful family!  Thanks for letting me photograph your babies Wendy!

Diana- you are simple a rockstar.  That is all I have to say... Only because words don't really describe how truly incredible you are and how LOVELY it is to spend time with you.  Thank you for always having an uplifting outlook on life and for always being such an encouraging, powerful woman to work with. 

The Holtkamp family was just another great family to work with.  I know I probably say this a lot, but I ALWAYS get to work with the nicest, most wonderful people ever!  Gina and John, you definitely fall into that category.  And your children... best smile ever from your little-little one (Grady) and also best kid I've maybe ever seen in front of a camera (Shout out to Gunner!!!)

Well, I just thought I'd share what other creative ideas are going around for business owners and for photographers to suggest to friends who could possibly use their services!!  Let me know if I can help you give back to YOUR clients through photos, it would be my absolute pleasure :)

 

How to get that pesky bouquet toss...

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in for photographers denver wedding photography

As much as I try to just post sneak peeks from my most recent shoots, I also want to give back to the photography community or even just some moms at home who want to take better photos of their kids.  All that to say,  I'll show you pretty pictures in this post along with a few tips.    If you've been to a wedding or event I photograph you'll usually notice that I work with a two speedlight set-up.  It allows me to use lighting in so many more ways than just the average, normal on camera flash.   Here is fun example of what I'll show you in this post, so keep reading.  (Yes I know I drug the shutter so it's a little "blurry", and yes I meant to do it!)

BIG IMPORTANT TIPS ABOUT FLASHES:

For photog's:  

Invest in good flashes.  I shoot with 2- 580 EX II's.  I've heard the 600 EX-rt's are fabulous, but for now my EX II's work incredibly for me.

Secondly, invest in good battery packs for those flashes.  It is imperative to have a battery pack so that your flash will fire when you want it to every time (or almost every time!).  If you don't have a battery pack on both flashes, you'll find that you'll catch one only good photo instead of 5 or 6.

For the for-fun photogs:  

Find a good flash for about $100 and keep reading the upcoming blog posts about how to use it well!  I promise I'll show you some tips on how to use it with portraits :)

Okay... now back to the actual point behind this post.  When you're in a big dark room (aka a wedding reception) and you have subjects that you want to be evenly lit while being 10-15 feet from each other you have a dilemma.  With an on-camera flash you can only really light the subject closest to you.   That is when that second flash comes in handy!  

I always stand within a few feet of the bride or groom with my Canon 5D Mark II,  Canon 580 EX II and my Gary Fong diffuser and then have my off-camera flash set up about 10 feet to the right or left of where I'm standing.  See the photo above, where at the very right of the picture you can see my flash firing and where it is positioned.   Also notice that I have it on a light stand about 8 ft in the air, pointing straight towards the Bridesmaids.  The flash is far enough away that it wasn't too harsh on the group of ladies :)   

Also a quick tip I'll share that I learned from Melissa Jill (fabulous wedding photog in Phoenix),  you should place the off-camera flash at 1/16 or 1/32 and then adjust your camera settings and on-camera flash settings for the environment you're in.  It will allow you to have more control.

I hope that gives a little insight into a 2 light setup and how to better use it at a wedding!

How to fake studio light

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in for photographers denver wedding photography

Recently,  I find myself reading the blogs of other photographers who are a wealth of information.  When I say read, I mean, I read it, then come back to it a day later and read it again... So,  after reading Sue Bryce's Blog, watching some video tutorials about how she uses light I thought it was about time that I did a styled shoot of my own.  I wanted to share with you how easy it is to create fantastic lighting WITHOUT studio lighting!  (yes I truly mean without ANY lighting at all)  

Sue Bryce,  thank you for the inspiration to try out your lighting techniques!  (www.suebryce.com/blog)  I hope posing gets easier. :)  It's wonderful to play around with new poses and to have a fabulous model who is willing to do anything to help make a shot!  A big shout out to Ely Hemmes,  you are absolutely stunning and could photograph you all day long!!!  And also a huge shout out to Jolene Picone, owner/creator/designer of J. Picone (www.j-picone.com) who provided us with the lovely head pieces you'll see in the shots!  They make beautiful headpieces, birdcage veils/blushers, and decorative bridal belts.

Ideally, I would have loved to have a studio with tall ceilings, wood floors and a GIANT window, but when that's not possible you have to figure out how to do what you want without.  We set up this shoot in my backyard under our awning.  With the awning you have the side of the house and 3 exposed sides to natural light.  I wanted no more than 2 so I set up my backdrop right next to the house... Because this all sounds confusing I drew a picture...  Just smile at nod and how elementary it it.  I don't claim to be a drawing artist but rather behind the camera :)

Below is a diagram of exactly HOW we shot the images you see here.  Once, again I am no artist but hopefully it will give you an idea of how to create a studio-type feel with just you, a subject and your camera.  Oh and also a reflector.  Now, some of you may think well I don't have a reflector, but here's the thing... you can go to wal-mart and buy a $5 white foam board and use that as a reflector.  It's cheap and easy to use!  When you're using a reflector you want to use it to bounce light onto your models face from the natural light.  It's subtle, but does the job well!

 

If you have any comments or questions just leave a comment and I'll get back with you!! Happy Saturday!!  

I'm off to go photograph the MS Center's Gala :)  It should be a blast!

 

September Goals

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in for photographers personal

One thing I never imagined when I started my photography business a year and a half ago was that the work never stops.  I find myself working until sometime 1 in the morning (more often than I probably should) and I find that even when I do that the list never really gets shorter.  Luckily, because I love what I do it is never as issue of not enjoying my work, but I find that in order to really push forward as a business owner I have to set goals for myself.  Now, sometimes those goals get checked off the list and well.... sometimes they don't.  The most important thing is at least putting them on paper, telling someone somewhere what they are (that is my ___ attempt at having accountability), and then reevaluating at the end of the term to see what actually got done and what didn't.  

Setting goals is not even just a business thing... I truly believe that by setting personal goals you get in to the mindset of taking care of yourself and not getting too wrapped up in the seriousness of 9-5 or in my case 10-1 :)   I thought I'd dedicate this blog post to setting some new goals for September.  If I write them down they are WAY more likely to get done rather than putting them on my 5 different lists I have laying around.  (I am actually very organized even though it may not seem like it from that last sentence!)

Business Goals:

Take a Class:  It's always so important to keep up with your craft, work with other people who are creative, and learn new techniques.  So this month whether it be a few mentoring sessions with one of my favorite photographers (Shout out to Melissa Jill!!!  www.melissajill.com) or signing up for a class here in town I just want to go outside the box, free of pressure and get myself out there.

Order a Couture Album Sample: I love love love my albums that I make for my brides and grooms right now.  They are sleek, classy, and so modern.  One of my new goals this year was to add a Couture option for my couples.  These albums are absolutely STUNNING and take wedding albums to a whole other level!  You touch the page and feel luxury.  You can see how much detail is put into the handmade binding and I just need to order one from a wedding I've shot.  On the List.

Finish the new website: Recently, I had a bride approach me about a ridiculously amazing idea to film what's called a "marryoke" (marry-O-kee).  It's like a traditional artistic wedding video, but instead include shots of the bridal party and guests singing along to a song of the couple's choice.  When I first saw an example, I thought "well that's interesting..." and after filming one of my own I fell in love with the experience.  All of the guests were so relaxed and it was such a simple way to have little pieces of everyone there.  So,  I'm getting the new website ready.   Check out the Marryoke video from Emily & Ryan's wedding here

 

Creative Marketing on a Budget (who couldn't use that right?!)

By Jennifer Marlowe Marvin in for photographers marketing

The past week I ran into a blog that I thought was brilliant and wanted to share my findings.  Marketing advice can be expensive...  And to find someone who is very in touch with the current technology, social media, and is great at helping you structure your business is almost never possible on a budget.  That is where Tana with Your Marketing BFF comes in!  If you read her blog you instantly get inspiration and ideas that have already helped me give back to my existing clients and reach new ones.

One of the things I love about Tana is the fact that she offers marketing + inspiration (on a budget!  Who isn't these days right?!) to small business owners on her blog and it is completely free and accessible to you!  If you haven't already I definitely check out the blog for a few nuggets of truth!

Here are a few other things she also provides her clients:  creative graphic design and marketing consulting services such as; branding, logo, marketing collateral materials, online presence (FB profile image, FB welcome/landing pages, FB store, Twitter Backgrounds), Blog/Websites, Marketing Campaigns, staging, trade show design, etc.  And lastly, they offer a 90-Day High-Speed Client Attraction Bootcamp ($149 marketing e-course) – that EVERY business owner should participate in! It teaches small biz owners how to attract all the clients they’ll ever want and need (and without breaking their bank accounts)!

In my mind there is ALWAYS more to learn about marketing and about business.  I try to find resources around me who are more knowledgable than I am and try to incorporate their wisdom as best I can.   www.yourmarketingbff.com is a great solution for free marketing advice and great opportunity to get customized help with your business.   I hope you find some inspiration!!!

 

Also, for all of you photographers or graphic designers I just released my first texture pack and am offering it for free until the end of the year! ($30 Value)  Check out the link below to download the files!  Enjoy :)

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