NAPCP Newsletter: February 2012

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NEWSLETTER Februar y 2012

The Latest News & Announcements, Workshops, Updates and much more!

Featuring the wonderful Kara May of Kara May Photography

INSIDE: a special giveaway of Tamara Lackey’s new Envisioning Love

Hello friends!

Balance: a state of equilibrium; equal distribution of weight, amount; a mental

steadiness or emotional stability … a habit of calm behavior.

If someone was selling “balance” by the bucketful, the line of customers might

wrap around the world. Many strive for it, fewer achieve it. And especially in our industry, we’re constantly talking about it. How do I grow and maintain a successful business while not ignoring my family (and myself!) in the process? How do I mentally reconcile the feeling of being weighted down by the “busy season” with the lightness and emptiness of the post-season salad days?

If these thoughts are familiar, you are not alone. In the Member’s Spotlight this

month, Kara May of Kara May Photography chats with us about striving for balance while rebuilding her business three times and combining her love of children’s portraiture with commercial photography.

And remember, as the Beatles said, you can “get by with a little help from [our]

friends”. You have access to plenty of those inside the NAPCP community. With resources galore at, check out the latest industry workshops, books, guides and good-ole-fashioned advice from like-minded professionals in our industry. On the forum this month, our new “Ask Jane” section, conveniently located within the Resources area, provides important business tips and rebranding roadmaps for those at any stage in the game.

And when you are craving to unplug and curl up with a great book, we highly

recommend Tamara Lackey’s latest, “Envisioning Family: A photographer’s guide to making meaningful portraits of the modern family.” Recently released by this month’s Featured Vendor, Peachpit, this book shares Tamara’s heartfelt vision of family along with her techniques for getting each member of the family to feel at home in front of the camera–whether they’re in her studio, at home, or on location. Win a copy of your own from Peachpit, or take advantage of their NAPCP members-only discount.

So much goodness in store this month. Read on friends.


The NAPCP Team

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TABLE OF CO N T E N T S Pg. 3 .................................................... Workshops Pg. 4 ...............................News & Announcements

Pg. 5 ................ Featured Photographer: Kara May

Pg. 19 ...................................... Tip of The Month Pg. 21 .......................... Featured Vendor: PeachPit Pg. 23 ..................................... Image Competition Pg. 24 .................................Apply For Membership NAPCP

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WO R K S H O P S Barb Uil & Jinky Art Barb Uil of Jinky Art Photography will officially kick off her 2012 workshop tour in March! Stops along the way include France, Singapore, Ontario, British Columbia, as well as 8 stops in the U.S. (Washington, Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas and Alabama). Don’t miss your opportunity to learn from one of the absolute best in the business!

More Info Here!

Thrive Workshop THRIVE will be held by Karen Carey August 27-29, 2012 in California. This workshop is designed to increase your sales and make your studio more profitable. Period. You can put your camera down this time because this workshop is all business.

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More Info Here!

NEWS & ANNO U N C E M E N T S Image Competition The NAPCP January 2012 International Image Competition just wrapped! We had some stunning images submitted and can’t wait to share the winners with you! Thank you to all who enetered and stay tuned for future announcements! (photo: Amy Tripple, “Summer Blondies”)

Follow Us on Pinterest That’s right...NAPCP has just recently let our curiousty get the best of us as we took the plunge and joined Pinterest. We would love for you to take a quick spin around our boards as well as help us spread inspiring photography to the Pinterest community everywhere! To follow us, please visit our profile page here! Happy Pinning!


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Images by Kara May of Kara May Photography


fter winning the hearts of her clients in the

Washington and South Carolina markets, Kara May of Kara May Photography has once again rebuilt her business - this time amidst the fragrant orange groves and saguaro cacti of Arizona. Combining beautiful imagery of children with her love of commercial photography, Kara’s work continues to attract folks from around the globe, while, as she shares with us, continuing her search for balance.


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Tell us your story. How you started and how your photography, brand, and business transformed over the last few years... Being the last child of 3, I was always excited when my parents found pictures of me (since there weren’t as many as with a first child). I think that’s where my obsession began. In high school I saved my allowance and bought my first Nikon 35mm SLR, with the help of my dad, and began experimenting with DOF, light, and composition. But studies pushed my passion to the back-burner once I went to college. It wasn’t until the birth of my son and crazy dreams about light, art, and other creative ideas came rushing through my head. They occupied all my thoughts and reigniting my desire to pick up my camera again. Like most photographers, I started as a hobby. I went back

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to school for photography so I could properly delve into the technical aspects of my camera. I didn’t intend to go into business. I was a new stay-at-home mom. I had left my high stress Financial Analyst job at Microsoft and I needed something that I could focus my thoughts and energy on that was ‘just for me’. This was perfect! Soon I was asked to photograph friends and friends of friends children. Shortly after that and with a lot of hesitation, my business was born. That was in 2003. Since then I have learned more and more every day. You never stop learning in this industry. It’s constantly evolving and with that, your business needs to reflect these changes, whether that’s with new products, advanced technology, improved equipment, or economic changes. This industry is never static, it’s constantly progressing.


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Who or what inspires you and your work? How? Real moments, music, everyday life and my kids inspire me. Though my pictures aren’t ‘lifestyle’, these ‘real’ moments inspire me. Music is really what inspires me most. I’ll turn on Pandora to my favorite station and I’m inspired for hours while editing, session planning, or coming up with new concepts and ideas. I get lost in my thoughts when I listen to music. Tell us about moving across the country to start your business over again. I’ve lived in 3 different states since the start of my business. Each move has been a major one (from one side of the country to the other) and with that means starting out fresh again. It’s painful leaving my loyal clients and feeling like I’m deserting them and then going through the process of gaining new ones. Each environment has been vastly different as well. I moved from Seattle to South Carolina and then to the Arizona desert. So learning the different lighting and environment was a bigger challenge than I anticipated. Arizona’s light proved to be a curse at first, but now it’s a blessing.

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I love the light here. I obtained new clients in each new city via word-ofmouth and through my blog. Once friends and acquaintances saw my work and I gained a client or two, word quickly spread. How did you get started doing commercial photography work? How has this impacted your business? I began doing commercial work when I was living in South Carolina. I did a clothing shoot for a designer; we hit it off and word spread. Since then I’ve worked with designers that are local here in Arizona and some as far away as Japan and Australia. I love commercial work. Most designers give me 100% creative freedom with my shoots and

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those are my favorites. I don’t plan any shoots until I receive the items to be photographed. The item/clothing is what will inspire the look of the shoot. I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to that kind of creative freedom. What are currently some of the biggest challenges you face professionally? I think my biggest challenge right now is trying to figure out how to grow my business while still spending time with my family. I feel like I’m neglecting my kids and husband sometimes in this business and that’s painful to me. My husband works pretty long hours so it’s hard to balance the kid’s needs and my desire to be with them and watch them grow, while growing my business. So this is a learning process. NAPCP

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Tell us about how your style, your sessions and how you capture such beautiful expressions in your children. Photographing my children wasn’t easy at first. They had to be conditioned to put up with my camera. I started doing commercial shoots with Brielle when she was 2 and she wanted nothing to do with my camera. She would look the other way and completely ignore me. I had to find things she liked – ladybug hunting, butterfly catching, roly-poly collecting, etc. and work in these exciting adventures at our photo shoots. That’s when she began to give me sincere looks and honest expressions of intrigue and discovery. Now my kids are used to our sessions, we still make it about fun and adventure - with exploration time built in at the end. What would you recommend to many of us who try to balance family life and a busy photography business? How do you make it all work? Oh I wish I had a magic answer for this one. I’m still trying to figure this one out.


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Although I think I’ve gotten better at balancing it all over the years. When I first started out I had a hard time saying no. I think balance was finally felt when I was able to say no and draw clear lines about how much I can and would take on. Being able to say no to a job when you’re starting to feel stretched is so important to balancing business with family. I now have a set number of sessions I’m willing to take each week and I really try to stick to that. What is one business lesson you wish you learned a long time ago? The once business lesson I wish I had learned a long time ago was to focus on ‘balance’. The first 2 busy seasons I had nearly drove me to leave the industry and it was my own doing. I wanted to make everyone happy even if it meant sacrificing time with my family. It was a hard way to learn but now I know my limits and I make every effort to stick to a more balanced shooting schedule. What advice can you give to those starting out? Try everything! Try different techniques – long exposures, painting with light, macro, HDR, night photography. Explore. Also, use a variety of subjects to see what you enjoy photographing. Experiment as much as you can before you decide on a particular niche in this industry. What is your desire and hopes for our very specialized and unique industry? My hope is that this industry continues to drive and challenge our abilities. To stretch us in a positive way. Our industry is constantly changing with new technology, better cameras, more advanced software, and products that are making photography more user friendly. With that I hope that people still try to think outside of the box and keep the art of photography honest and distinguished. To see more of Kara’s work, please visit her site here, and her blog here!

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Dogding & burning without compromising pixels - Most of us know that direct ‘dodging and burning’ to your image is destructive to the pixels. So to protect the integrity of your photo use a new layer to dodge and burn. First, add a new layer - fill to 50% Gray and change the blending mode to ‘Soft Light’. Using a soft brush, paint the areas you want to be darkened or lightened toggling between black and white. Merge the two layers when your happy with the results and no pixels are harmed. Final results and pixels still intact (see above).

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CORRECTING LENS DISTORTION This is something that I’ve become more picky about in my own work. Photographs become distorted and without that being the intent. There’s an easy solution in Photoshop. If you go to ‘Filter’ - ‘Distort’ - ‘Lens Correction’ you can alter the annoying warping that takes place in some of your images. It’s most apparent in architectural images and in the lines of buildings and doorways.


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With this book you’ll learn how to use backgrounds that complement your subjects, set up and shoot in-studio, light your images anywhere with straightforward lighting setups and diagrams, pose your subjects in a beautiful but natural way, nail your exposure, and create meaningful family portraits that leave everyone feeling and looking their honest best. 21 | NAPCP

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FEATURED VENDOR PEACHPIT In Tamara Lackey’s Envisioning Family: A photographer’s guide to making meaningful portraits of the modern family, Lackey reinvents the family photo for photographers. A top portrait photographer and sought-after speaker, Lackey reveals her techniques for getting each member of the family to feel at home in front of the camera­ whether they’re in her studio, at home, or on location.

GIVEAWAY Want a chance to win your own copy? 1) Like both Peachpit’s and NAPCP’s Facebook pages 2) Share on your wall - I would love to win <insert Peachpit’s facebook fan page>’s “Envisioning Love” by Tamara Lackey sponsored by <insert NAPCP’s facebook page> because....{and fill in your reason! The more creative, the better!} 3) If the comment does not show up on our facebook wall, please comment directly on our wall with your reason. Contest ends Friday, March 2, @ 11:59 pm EST


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Thank you for entering! NAPCP’s January 2012 International Image Competition closed on Friday, February 17th! The purpose of NAPCP’s Image Competitions is to recognize the accomplishments and creative excellence of our members, rewarding their talent with medallions, priority listing on our directory,


vendor endorsements, member points, titles and professional recognition. Members each received a total of 2 Competition Credits with their Membership so they could submit their best images! They say a picture is worth a thousand words … and yours may be featured in our next press release. For the past two International Image Competi-


tions, the winners announcement highlighted the names of the competition winners and received great exposure – collecting thousands of views, postings to other websites, and search index hits. We had some stunning images submitted and cannot wait to share the winners with you! Thank you to all who enetered and stay tuned for future announcements!


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(c) Jane Johnson Photography



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