June newsletter2013

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the wonderful Sandy Summers Russell of Summerland Photography


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


a special look at our 2013 Best New Emerging Child Photographer contest

Hello friends!

It’s summertime! Well, the official first day of summer isn’t until June 21, but if

we’re being honest, we’ve been celebrating the joyous season for quite some time. It’s the season that grants us plenty of sunshine, warm summer nights, and if we’re lucky, a nice summer glow (but don’t forget the SPF!). We hope you enjoy blissful days ahead filled with meaningful moments – and photos – that last a lifetime.

And it isn’t a great summer without an exciting announcement by its side (drum

roll, please!). We are thrilled to announce Sandy Summers Russell of Summerland Photography as our 2012 Child Photographer of the Year. Also highlighted as our Featured Photographer this month, Russell continuously inspires other NAPCP members with her ability to consistently produce technically strong, breathtaking work, while also maintaining professional integrity. Her winning image, "Daddy's Girl," was highlighted on New York City's Times Square Jumbotron (bright lights, big city!).

Did you know that the word sales is actually a Norwegian word for service? (We

bet you also didn’t know we’d be teaching you fun facts as you read!) We just launched a new video interview with successful studio owner and industry educator, Mara Blom Shantz. She chats about sales and how it relates to how we serve our clients. We’re giving you a heads up now – this is an absolute must-see for everyone hoping to refine their sales process.

At NAPCP, we always enjoy exploring new options for our community and sharing

best case practices that may help others. So keep the conversation going and stay tuned – the summer fun has just begun!


The NAPCP Team

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Newsletter Januar y 2013

TA BLE O F CON TE N TS Pg. 3 .............................Photographer of The Year Pg. 4 ................................News & Announcements

Pg. 5... Feat. Photographer: Sandy Summers Russell

Pg. 21.. ................................Camera Bag Essentials Pg. 23.. .......................................Behind the Scenes Pg. 25 ...... Best New Emerging Child Photographer Pg. 27.............................................Video Resources Pg. 28 ................................. Apply For Membership NAPCP

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The National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) is thrilled to announce its 2012 Child Photographer of the Year, Sandy Summers Russell of Summerland Photography! A winning image from Sandy was featured on an electronic billboard in New York City’s famed Times Square. News of Sandy Summers Russell being named NAPCP’s 2012 Child Photographer of the Year and of the winners of the fifth annual Image Competition was released earlier this week over hundreds of different news and media outlets around the world. Included in the Press Release was a highlighted feature on an electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square. We expect much more press to highlight our winners’ accomplishments over the next few weeks.

Check out the press release here! 03 | NAPCP

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N E W S & ANN OU N CE ME N TS Facebook Community We hope that everyone will continue to partake in our NAPCP Facebook Community page! Join now and get involved with the latest discussions, trending topics, news and updates, and much more! Click here to request to join today!

Vendor Download Page Several of our amazing vendors have contributed FREE downloads exclusively for NAPCP members. These downloads include template designs, educational videos, and much more! We will be adding new downloads every month so make sure to check it out periodically! To view all of our fabulour downloads simply click on the "Resources" tab and select "Vendor Downloads."


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Images by Sandy Summers Russell of Summerland Photography


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ased in Othello, Washington Sandy Summers Russell's

life-long passion for photography began at the young age of 15, when her first photograph was published by the Associated Press. Over the years, her name has become synonymous with award-winning, impeccable imagery. Read on to learn about how Sandy got her start, advice she has for those starting out, as well as a peak at the must haves in her camera bag!


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Tell us your story. How you started and how your photography, brand, and business has transformed over the last few years? I started taking classes in high school, and my yearbook teacher hooked me up with a job developing film at the state track meet for the Associated Press sports photographers (I know, I totally just dated myself). On a whim, they sent me out to take pictures of a few events. I don’t know who was more surprised, them or me, when I actually came back with something they wanted to publish. That was two days before my 16th birthday. I continued to work for the AP throughout high school and college, and I graduated from college with a degree in journalism. I worked as a photographer at newspapers in Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, and finally Washington where I met my husband. He’s a farmer in a really small town without a major newspaper in sight, so I took a 09 | NAPCP

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two-year hiatus from photography. When my son was born in 2007, I realized that I had this beautiful new miracle to document, and nothing but my old college film cameras. As a journalist, the newspapers you work for provide all your gear. So I bought myself a used digital SLR camera, and started my own business to justify the expense. I’ve been at it ever since. My style of photography has change a lot since then. Journalism gave me an incredible technical background and the training and reflexes to capture nearly anything thrown my way; however then it was about covering the facts without influencing the scene you where photographing. Now it’s about using whatever tool and technique you can image to capture the essence of this little slice of time you’ve been blessed with photographing. NAPCP

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Who or what inspires you and your work? How? It’s super cliché, but the light, and the location, and the person I’m photographing completely inspire me. I love how the universe aligns, and all those elements just magically come together to create that perfect image. It’s like coming home when you capture it. It just feels right, and that’s an awesome experience. What is one business lesson you wish you learned a long time ago? Don’t work yourself into the ground, or you won’t be able to bring your full self to the photo shoot. I was never one of those photographers who had to constantly have a camera in hand. I’ve learned the hard way that I need to give myself a break now and then to recharge my batteries. On that note, don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth, so you don’t have to work nonstop to pay the bills. You’re not a paper salesman. You’re an artist. Good clients hire you for your vision, and not how cheap your prints and session fee are.

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What is the best advice you have received regarding photography? Oh goodness, I’ve learned so much over the years from so many talented photographers; however there’s one piece of advice I remember whenever I pick up a camera. In college, National Geographic photographer, Joel Sartore, spoke at one of my classes. He said there are three things needed to create an exceptional photo: lighting, composition, and emotion. You can have a good shot with just two of those, but you need them all to make it truly powerful. I have never forgotten that. I don’t always achieve it, but I sure try.

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Your style is very unique and defined by the detail and thought that goes into every shoot. Can you tell us how you make it all work and what inspires the beautiful imagery in your work? I love it when the light is a physical presence. It just wraps itself around the subject and becomes part of the story. To get that you have to shoot at the right time of day, about one to two hours before sunset; you can’t recreate it in Photoshop. The location is also really important to me. As they say in real estate: location, location, location. We have incredible scenery here in Washington, and I’m thankful for that, but truly you can find cool locations anywhere. You just have


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to know how to look for it. Finally, I like to keep things simple. I like clean backgrounds and not a ton of props. I really admire those photographers who have a talent for creating a whole theme for their portraits, like a life-size diorama, but that’s just not me. I don’t want a lot of distractions competing with the person in the photos. I want it to look natural, and not so staged. You can blame that on my news background. What is your secret to capturing such magic in your subject's worlds? Oh gosh, it’s probably because I’m not afraid to make an absolute fool of myself to get the shot. I’ll do and say just about the dumbest things to get the right expression or angle. I joke with my clients that if they ever put a video of me shooting on YouTube, I’ll just die of embarrassment. But, really, you’ll never catch me showing up to a shoot in a skirt and high heels. I’m too busy crawling around on the ground with the kids because you just have to be at their eye level to capture what they’re all about. How do you balance it all? Work, family, life? That is really, really hard, and something I have to be mindful of every day. I try to limit the number of sessions I take a month to no more than eight. It’s hard for me to say no to shoots, but I can’t disrespect the clients who booked me months in advance by taking those who booked last minute. If I try and fit them in, everything suffers. My family needs my time, and so do my clients, and I have to make sure I have enough time for both, so that I can produce my best work. We’re getting ready to build a house and studio on a 30 acre farm this summer. Right now my studio is 45 miles away in a much larger city. I’m nervous about the change and how it will affect my client base, but I know it’s the right direction for my business and my family. Besides, it’s going to look awesome! What advice can you give to those starting out? Do your research on what it takes to not just survive but thrive in business. Even if you’re not charging what you need to now because you’re still learning, know where you need to be at financially a few years down the road, so you can stay in business. Learn the craft, and learn your gear and editing software. Do not put your camera on auto, and do not rely on the latest Photoshop actions to make it look good or fix your in-camera mistakes. Learn everything you can about the


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technical aspect of capturing an image, so when you take the picture the camera becomes a natural extension of your body while you focus on what’s important: capturing what’s in front of your camera. But don’t forget, the camera is just a tool; it’s who’s taking the picture that matters. Tell what it's been like for you to see your image displayed on the billboard of Times Square and being named our Photographer of the Year?! That was surreal! I wanted to climb into the picture, and see it for myself. I was like, hey, look, there’s Hard Rock Café, and look at all those New Yorkers just strolling by, and, oh my goodness, I hope the person who took this didn’t get run over by a taxi cause they’re standing in the middle of the road. I’m not going to lie; it’s now the lock screen on my iPad. The honor, though, was incredible. I thought it was a typo when it came through my Facebook and Google newsfeed. There are so many incredibly talented photographers out there, including those who have won this

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award in the past. I am completely humbled to be counted among them, and I can only pray that I represent NAPCP as well as they have. Where do you see your life 5 years from now? 10 years from now? I’d like to shoot more children’s commercial work, and publish a book (or two). Food photography is something I’m fascinated by. I’ve got a good friend who’s an amazing chef, and we always talk about doing a cookbook together. I also want to complete a personal project I started at my last newspaper. It’s shot on medium format black and white film, and it’s of vanishing rural architecture. But mostly, I hope I’m still doing my thing: raising two healthy farm kids, creating art that becomes part of my client’s family history, and still trying to learn something new every day. To see more of Sandy's work, please visit her site here!

Thank you so much Sandy!

1) The bag is a Think Tank Speed Racer. I’m way too hard on things to have something cute. This puppy can handle a war zone and a two-year-old. 2) My beloved Nikon D4. I shot Canon at most of the newspapers I worked for, but I was always a Nikon girl at heart. My second body is the D2Hs that I bought used at KEH.com when I first started, and I still sometimes use it. I was going to buy another D800 this year, but I bought a chicken coop instead. How’s that for priorities. 3) My lighting gear is a Nikon SB910 and SB800 strobes, two Quantum batteries, 3 PocketWizards Flex TT5’s, three different light stands, and two umbrellas, and it all fits like a dream in a Manfroto sling bag. I don’t always use strobes on location, but I always take it with me. When I need






to pull out the big lighting guns I use White Lightning x1600 Strobes. 4) Most of the time I use two reflectors: a gold/white one and a silver/white one. The expo disc sets my custom white balance, and the gray card is to check my histogram and confirm I have details in both my highlights and shadows. I use these the most during newborn sessions. My Sekonic L358 light meter I use nonstop every shoot. Never trust your in-camera meter to do all the thinking for you. 5) My go- to lenses for portraits are the Nikkor AF-S 50 mm f/ 1.4 and the 85 mm f/1.4. For weddings and editorial work, I’ll pull out my 17-35 mm f/2.8, and for newborn sessions I use my 60 mm macro for detail shots. Anything I don’t own and need, I rent from BorrowLenses.


We asked Sandy to give us a peak into her busy day to day life with a few of her favorite



Instagram captures. Enjoy a behind the scenes look at some of her favorite moments!


NAPCP Friends, we need your help! The search is on for new, undiscovered talent. NAPCP is looking to shine a spotlight on one of our industry’s brightest rising stars. And we need YOU to help us find them. We all know how challenging those first two years of running your own business can be – learning best business practices, juggling marketing, branding, finances, equipment, workflow, all while consistently producing gorgeous portraiture for clients. We love the spirit and tenacity of those future greats in our community, and we are here cheering them on. To give them a little push in the right direction, NAPCP is honored to host its second Best New Emerging Child Photographer Contest! In a few easy steps, you can help us recognize those talented newcomers who you find inspiring. Nominate your favorite(s) here by midnight (EST) on June 24th. Our panel of awesome judges will narrow the field to five. You vote for your favorite finalist July 8th – 10th. We tally up the votes and spoil the winner.

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Qualities that NAPCP looks for in the next Best New Emerging Child Photographer: - Passionate with the ability to inspire - Consistently produces technically strong, breathtaking work - Strives to learn and foster best business practices - Exhibits commitment to community - Displays a creative and unique vision The full list of prizes as well as rules and restrictions can be found here! Bios and information about our fabulous panel of judges can be found here!


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WORK SH O PS Start Submitting Now! NAPCP’s July 2012 International Image Competition opened on Monday! 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 receive a total of 2 Competition Credits per Competition with their Membership. Details are online! 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 Competitions, 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. Wouldn’t you like to see your name and photo sent over the wire too? Members, you can start submitting your best images here!

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Newsletter November

(c) Jane Johnson Photography



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