Presenting images with personality

Bar and Bat Mitzvah Excitement for 2013-2014

This coming year (2013-2014) 5774 will be exciting for bar and bat mitzvahs in the capital region. New venues for the reception such as the Colonie Country Club in Voorheesville  (http://www.coloniegcc.com/) make for more exciting parties. And with the addition of so many more Albany DJ’s experienced with the Jewish tradition of the hora and the candlelighting ceremony…well, what more could you ask for!

If you are looking for an experienced Jewish photographer with the knowledge of the bar and bat mitzvah, give Joan Heffler Photography a call.

 

The Jewish Photographer of Choice for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

Sitting down with the parents of a bar or bat mitzvah and discussing how the bar and bat mitzvah day unfolds is one of the most fulfilling times of my professional life. Growing up Jewish, attending numerous bar and bat mitzvahs in my youth and having gone through the process with my son; it never gets old. In fact, chills always run through me as I relive the experience with my child and with others over and over again as we prepare for their child’s bar or bat mitzvah.

All family members and friends flock near and far to watch and be part of a child becoming a man and a woman in the eyes of the Jewish tradtion. It is now their responsibility at this very young age of 13 to be in charge of passing on the Jewish laws and traditions. That’s what a bar and bat mitzvah stands for.

And afterwards, such a celebration! Rejoicing in happiness. The cup runneth over! The excitement bubbles over and at the end of the day, we have a man and a woman emerging from their years of study. We have qvelling parents and qvelling grandparents, and we carry on the 5,000 year old tradition!

Mazel Tov!

It’s OK to hire a “professional” photographer.

I recently went on Facebook and clicked into a photographer’s post of a recent wedding she took. I check out a lot of photographer’s works all the time so I can see what is out there and how my style compares. Her pitch was that she can photograph your event, portrait, wedding and you don’t have to pay professional photographer’s prices.

Whoa! The quality of her work was far below a tried and true professional. Really now. If you care about your photos and want to treat them like heirlooms, please please, hire a professional. It’s really ok.

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur!

What makes a great photographer?

Great photographers see what others do not! Great photographers are like artists. They see composition in a scene, they see the symmetry in the background and place their subjects to maintain that symmetry and enhance that person’s features. A great photographer would never let a flag pole or tree branch stick out of one’s head in a photo. A great photographer sees the beauty in all  subjects and sculpts a magnificent piece of art.

A great photographer also builds a strong relationship with her subjects as the session unfolds and that is an art in itself.  Seeing the subject’s soul and beauty inside and bringing it to the surface to allow that person to shine in front of the lens makes for a great photographer’s skills and a beautiful portrait.

Wouldn’t you want that skill photographing YOU?

Service Service Service

Being of service to a prospective client is so so important. Let me tell you a true story that happened to me recently and the one who offered more service got my business. I was looking for new wall to wall rugs for my bedroom and went to two stores. The gentleman at the first store was very attentive and gave me all the details I needed to know including rug swatches. He even offered to order more colors for me and have them shipped by the next day.

I then proceeded to the second store. Again, the kind gentleman was very cordial and gave me what I needed at the time..an estimate. He did not offer to order swatches nor help me in any other way besides a ballpark estimate.  His ballpark estimate for the flooring was significantly cheaper than the first stores ballpark estimate so I had him come out and measure. Within a few hours he called and faxed over his best price but did not call to follow up.

The next day, I went to the first store to return the borrowed rugs and the gentleman asked me for my business. I told him he was more expensive than the other store, and the rug I wanted was the same. He showed me a sign in his store clearly stating he would offer a cheaper price to anyone who brought him an offer from another store. Not only did he do that but he offered me one more thing that I didn’t know I wanted but took and it was the one item that got me to sign.

He went out of his way to provide me with service service service and I signed on the dotted line! I am still waiting for the other store’s salesman to follow up and he has not!

Amazing, huh?

The Devil IS in the Details

How do you choose the “right” photographer for your project? Do you ask for quotes and choose the cheapest? Well, let’s revisit this.

The “right” photographer is the one who pays attention to the details. Do you really want a pole sticking out of your head in a family portrait? Do you really want to see those wrinkles and crow’s feet around the eyes in a portrait because the photographer doesn’t know how to use his/her lighting system in the most flattering way? The bride spends hundreds of dollars choosing the “right” dress for her wedding and the photographer blows out the details. The headshot you need for your new business cards shows negative body language.

Is that the photographer you want to hire because they offered you a cheaper quote? These are subtle nuances separating out the “right” photographer from the wrong photographer. Please choose wisely, and the “right” photographer is the one who pays attention to the details and places the hand in a portrait exactly correctly so it does not take away from the face. Choose wisely when composition is important to you in a highly crafted family portrait so distracting elements don’t take away from the pretty faces.

Those details DO MATTER. Do you want the angel or the devil?!

Hiring a Person, Not a Price. The Value of a Live Chat

I can’t even begin to tell you of the importance of chatting on the phone or in person with your prospective photographer. The payback is enormous when you feel a trusting bond with that vendor.  The day of your event, you know you are in synch with that photographer and that she will give you photos that will bounce off the page and delight your spirit far beyond your wildest imagination. You know it is the right fit.

Or do you want to converse through texting or email and at the day of your event, iron out all the details and spend precious minutes you could be with your guests instead setting up a relationship with your photographer. It doesn’t lend for a very fun day if you don’t have a live chat beforehand.

Hiring a photographer is more about the relationship and the trust that you build together. You hire a person, not a price. If you were looking for a babysitter to watch your most precious commodity…your children; would you hire the cheapest babysitter or the one who is the best fit and who feels like the right one for your kids?

Case closed!

It’s In The Details

So you hire a friend photographer to shoot your family portrait and a telephone pole is coming out of the father’s head. Geez, Mr. photographer professional (?). You didn’t see that?

You shop around looking for the cheapest price for your headshot for social media purposes to find a job. The lighting was so harsh it showed every blemish on your face. Oh, well. The size of the photograph is only ½” x ½” you say to yourself, and no one will really notice. You are kidding yourself, of course, everyone sees that!

The bride spends 6 months looking for the perfect white dress for the most special day of her entire  life and she and her groom hire a friend of a friend not because of his/her expertise as a photographer but because they know that person and can seemingly “trust” that person. The inexperienced photographer blows out all detail in the  beautiful bride’s dress because of lack of experience with exposure.  Boy, glad I didn’t hire that person to do a professionals job!

The details…the visual subtleties are what separate the amateurs from the professionals. Does’ t that matter to you?!

Rebidding a Quote

So I got a phone call the other day asking for a quote on 40 doctors for a new website. It would require going to 4 hospitals whenever the doctors may be free for a quick 5 minutes or less of their time. There would be no staging. Where ever they may happen to be is how I take the shot.

This would take a lot of maneuvering on my part to be available whenever, to travel to 4 local hospitals, and not be able to stage the setting to give that doctor a “picture with personality!”  I gave the individual a terrific quote. She said she knew me and saw me work an event through the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce and would be happy to work with me. Oh, and she said, “by the way, I will be asking another photographer for their quote and if it is lower than yours, I’ll give you a call so you can rebid your quote!”

That’s the way our industry is going. Geez!

 

 

Backups

I was asked today by a mom looking for a professional photographer for her son’s bar mitzvah, “what about your backups?”  I had no idea what she was talking about at first. Then we got into a discussion about the various weddings she had attended recently, and how the photographer never showed up. YIKES! That would never happen with Joan Heffler Photography. No way! No how! I have backups!  Whether a wedding, corporate, or event,  I have a cadre of professional photographers in Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga Counties who I network with and share with on a regular basis. If something happens to me, I get on the internet and shout out for a replacement and in a nano-moment, I am covered.

And that is what a real professional is all about!   Amen!

Kind Words

Kind Words

Joan was able to take a really good professional head shot for me. Let’s just say she had her hands full with me. I don’t photograph well and I showed up wearing the wrong color even thought Joan had provided me with ample information about what works best prior to our appointment. Lucky for me Joan persevered with her reluctant subject. I really appreciated her sense of humor. Most importantly, she is very responsive and professional making sure you are fully satisfied with the final results.

MaryKay Barry