napcp NEWSLETTER N OV E M B E R 2 0 1 2
the wonderful Sara Harrell of Whitebox Photo
The Latest News & Announcements, Workshops, Updates and much more!
a special look at one of our favorite new companies, The Music Bed!
Deck the halls, sing fa-la-la, and feel the rush - the holidays are here! Lately we’ve been
spending a lot of time brewing coffee, staying up late and editing into the wee hours of the night. This is the busiest time of the year for us, and it makes us feel one thing: thankful. We’re thankful for all of you, and we know the families with whom you work are thankful for the joy you bring to their lives through your photographs. Here at NAPCP, we’re always seeking that perfect balance between work and family during the holidays, and hope you are too! Remember… ‘tis the season to be merry!
This month we’re putting the spotlight on Sara Harrell of Whitebox Photo as our Fea-
tured Member. Before taking on photography, Sara was your average girl with a college degree who sat at a cubicle every day. She soon realized that was not her path – and boy, are we happy! Sara jumped in feet first with photography, and she continues to stay true to her vision of creating fresh and vibrant images that have a modern, yet classic feel. Based in North Carolina, you can find her photographing families and children, weddings and commercial work – and most importantly, having fun!
If you’re anything like us, you love music. From the car to the office, we always have
music playing, and we just discovered The Music Bed, which allows creative artists to synch music to videos and slideshows. MusicBed licenses relevant music for your media projects, adding that extra touch to your projects. Perfect for wedding and portrait photos, we encourage you to check out our Featured Vendor this month.
Finally, we just released “Image Competition,” the newest episode of our Video Inter-
view Series with Dana Pugh and expert judge Karen Carey. Join them to learn the key elements of a successful Image Competition submission. We couldn’t be any more excited for this series – and the next competition launching in January!
The planning for the NAPCP Retreat is underway. Stay tuned – registration will open up
for Charleston 2013 soon!
We wish you a blessed and happy holiday season!
The NAPCP Team
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TA BLE O F CON TE N TS Pg. 3 ................................................... Workshops Pg. 4 ...............................News & Announcements
Pg. 5 ............. Featured Photographer: Sara Harrell WWW.THEMUSICBED.COM
L I C E N S I N G R E L E VA N T M U S I C
SIL DE SH OW S + WE BS ITE S + VID EO S
Pg. 25 ....................................... Tip of The Month Pg. 27 .................. Featured Vendor: The Music Bed Pg. 29.................................. Video Interview Series Pg. 30 ................................. Apply For Membership NAPCP
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for additional details click here!
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N E W S & ANN OU N CE ME N TS Facebook Community We hope that everyone will partake in our brand new 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 We are super excited to share the launch of a new feature on the NAPCP website! Several of our amazing vendors have contributed FREE downloads exclusively for NAPCP members. These downloads include template designs, educational videos, and much more! The page is almost complete and will go live in the next couple of days so make sure to be on the lookout. One active, the page will be found under the "Resources" tab.
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FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER SARA HARRELL
Images by Sara Harrell of Whitebox Photo
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ased in North Carolina, Sara Harrell of Whitebox Photo
knows a thing or two about the ever evolving photography industry. Originally setup as a partnership, Whitebox has recently undergone a transformation to a one woman show, as Sara will now set out to tackle her profession primarily solo this time. Lucky for her, she has years of experience and an undeniable talent for capturing images to help make the transition a little bit easier. So cozy up for a spectacular read all about Sara's journey, her love of photography, her goals and dreams, and a little sneak peak inside her camera bag and "prop shop!"
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Tell us your story. How you started and how your photography, brand, and focus has changed over the years....? After graduating with a 4 year degree and getting a â&#x20AC;&#x153;real jobâ&#x20AC;? complete with a cubicle I realized quickly that I did not want to sit at a desk for the rest of my life working for someone else and punching a time clock. With the support of my amazing husband, in one year I got married, quit my job, bought a house and started a two year photography program at Randolph Community College. I jumped in feet first! The program at RCC taught me a ton about lighting, film processing and dark room developing (back in the good old days!). High point, NC is the furniture capital of the world, so when I graduated with my associates degree in commercial photography I worked at a commercial furniture photography studio. I learned a lot about lighting and 09 | NAPCP
did most of my furniture photography with a large format camera. I found that there was not a lot of artistic freedom in that industry and I also realized that as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;people personâ&#x20AC;? I really wanted more interaction with people. Getting pregnant with my first child was the nudge that I needed to make the leap to working for myself. I began the search for a studio space and hooked up with two of my former classmates from RCC. Melanie Litchfield, Stacey Haines and I shared a studio space, but each had our own photography business. However things were just starting to change in the portrait and wedding industry and we (Mel and I) realized that we could shoot weddings and portraits like commercial jobs instead of in the traditional manner, so Mel and I teamed up to form Whitebox Weddings. We began approaching weddings as if we were shooting for a magazine. We paid a lot of attention to the NAPCP
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details and pushed the envelope with artistic shots. now, this is kind of the standard, but 8 years ago we were really doing something new and different. our wedding clients started asking us to photograph their babies and then the market just naturally grew for us to start photographing portraits. We worked hard on staying true to the whitebox brand. We wanted to keep it simple and clean, but fun and modern at the same time. I love it when people say that they saw an image and they knew without looking at the photo credit that it was a Whitebox image. That means that we are doing a great job of branding! Melanie and I were so lucky to find each other because we had the most amazing partnership. We just clicked. We each had our strengths and weaknesses, but our styles and personalities complimented each other. Last year Melanie had a little boy, he is the sweetest guy on the planet, and decided that she wanted to be a stay at home mom. We travel A LOT with our job and have to work a lot of weekends so I was very understanding when Melanie approached me about changing the structure of our partnership. I know a 11 | NAPCP
lot of partnerships end badly, but I loved having a business partner and I so am happy that our transition has been so smooth. Melanie is happy to be phasing out of the business and I am excited about the new website that I just launched and some new projects that I am planning for the future. We love that you shoot a good mix of families, babies, seniors and weddings. How do you make all of your brands work cohensively under the Whitbox Photo brand? I think post processing and shooting style is what keeps the Whitebox look cohesive throughout families, babies, seniors and weddings.
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When I am shooting I am concentrating on getting people to be at ease and on the move. By keeping people busy moving and thinking of other things they forget about the giant camera that i am pointing at them! I feel like there are some signature Whitebox shots that people want, so I try to incorporate them into all of my sessions. One of the signature shots is our closeup shots. I love the 50 or the 35 for our close-up faces shots. Because I am using a wider lens i am very close to my subject so they have no choice other than to interact with me. It is great for kids because it puts you within tickling range! As I mentioned before consistency is key to branding. I try to give the same amount of color and contrast and color pop to my images across the board. I NAPCP
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have a custom black and white action that I use on all of my black and white photos. What has been the biggest marketing effort for your business? I spend a lot of time with my clients getting to know them and chatting with them during their shoots because I am genuinely interested in getting to know new people, But a positive business side effect of developing a friendship with your clients is that they become repeat customers. Building personal relationships is the most cost effective and productive marketing effort that you can do. A repeat client is the best client you can have because you can count on their business year after year and you can count on them to spread the word. Your happy customers are your best sales agents. I have a family that I have been photographing for 4 years. I have gotten countless referrals from the mom. I booked two weddings from her referrals for 2013! Also, Facebook has been a huge success for me. I am kind of a facebook junkie anyways, but Facebook allows me to stay in touch with my clients and continue to develop our relationship. Just by being friends with clients on Facebook I can keep up with their daily lives so when we get together for 13 | NAPCP
Newsletter November 2012
our next shoot I have things to talk about that are pertinent to their lives. I have also developed friendships with clients through Facebook by discovering we have common interests. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do this for marketing, I do it becuase I love to make human connections, but everytime I â&#x20AC;&#x153;likeâ&#x20AC;? or comment on a clients status update they remember me and I become more a part of their life. Also, Facebook is fabulous becuase I upload all of my blog images to Facebook and then tag my clients. Their friends who probably would never have had exposure to Whitebox see it and my clients are appreciative that I have posted their images to facebook for their friends and family to see. I have booked a lot of sessions and weddings from Facebook! What is your favorite accessory other than your camera? It has gotta be my Shootsac. I have tried several other camera bags, but the only one that has really worked for me is my Shootsac. I change lenses about 50 million times in a wedding day, so I need an easy access bag! I do have a Porter Case that I love for air travel because it fits in the overhead compartment. And I have a super cute bag from my friend Maile at Epiphanie that I use for lugging my gear to and from local shoots because my Shootsac is only good for shooting not transport. NAPCP
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If you werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a professional photographer, what would you be? I would be organic farmer/ homesteader/ blogger/ agri-tourist B & B owner who grows veggies, flowers, and raises chickens and spends lots of time outside. I love getting my hands dirty in the garden and I love planning pretty spaces. I live on an old tobacco farm and spend a lot of time working in our veggie garden and puttering around with the chickens. I wish I had more time to experiment with baking, as well as canning and cooking the things we grow. I think agri-tourism is a really interesting idea because there are so many people who would enjoy spending a lovely weekend at a bed and breakfast on a farm, Collecting the eggs for their omelets, picking the lettuce for their salad or chopping the wood for their campfire. I guess you can tell I am a dreamer...I have tons of grand ideas like this one! Who is an artist that inspires you? I would not say that there is one particular artist that inspires me. There are so many amazing artists in the world and I like so many different styles of art that I could not possibly pick one. Nature, color and light inspire me to make art. I am
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a visual information junkie. I love magazines, travel and art books, Pinterest, blogs....Ware, Anthropologie, antique stores, old movies, old pictures, spirituality, love, emotion. What was one valuable lesson you’ve learned in business along the way? The most valuable lesson that I have learned is that I can’t do everything! Building a great support team will make your life so much easier and allow you to do what you do best. I have an amazing studio manager who takes care of all of my studio emails, bookings, scheduling and accounting. I hate doing stuff like that and honestly I am really bad at it, so when Maureen started working for us 4 years ago it was a lifesaver. How important is photoshop/lightroom/aperture in your final images? In this day and age I think that post processing is what differentiates photographers. It is the most important aspect of a photography business. I am kind of a perfectionist, ok I am totally anal when it comes to post production, so I only use Photoshop. I custom retouch every single images that a client sees. What is one piece of advice you can pass onto those balancing photography, business and an active family life? I have a couple pieces of advice. Number one start slow and pay cash as you go. Photography has a very expensive initial investment and a lot of newbies think you need the best of the best equipment to get started. I have been in the business for 10 years and I don’t upgrade my equipment every time something new comes out. I wait until I NEED something (not want) and then I pay cash for it. I would really love two new 5D Mark III’s, but I can’t justify buying them right now when I have two perfectly good 5D Mark II’s that do the job! It is really easy to get into a big mound of debt when starting a business. Trust me...that is what I did when I started and it took me a lot of years to get out from under the mound of debt that we piled up because we thought that we needed everything! Basically, you need a decent camera, a few good lenses, a computer and Photoshop. Everything else is a luxury item. YOU are what makes a great photo. The other bit of advice I have is to educate your clients. Be honest and up front with them about your turn around time, so you can allow yourself a reasonable NAPCP
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amount of time to get your post done. Also, set shooting days. This will help you to prevent overbooking. I try to only shoot on Tuesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This schedule allows me some days just to do office work. By setting up reasonable expectations with your clients they value you more, they really appreciate it when you get things to them sooner than they expected and it makes your life so much easier to strike a balance between work and family. One last question: your images are so real and vibrantâ&#x20AC;Śwhat is your secret or magic touch to keeping your clients comfortable and happy during the session? I try to put my clients at ease by approaching my photo sessions more like a play date or a fun outing with friends where we happen to stop and snap some photos. I think this approach lowers the stress level for parents. When kids arrive to a shoot I tell them how excited I am to play with them and that I have a lot of fun stuff to show them. I keep them on the move from one setting to another. If something is not working and the child is not happy then I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t push it we just move on 21 | NAPCP
Newsletter November 2012
to a different area. As we are walking around I try to talk with the parents or kids to keep their mind off of what we are really doing. By the end of the session it is often hard to get the kids in the car to leave! This laid back approach helps make the family photo session a positive experience instead of a dreaded annual duty! I allow up to two hours for my photo sessions. Most of the time is spent talking and playing and getting everyone at ease. I am probably only shooting about 30 minutes of the 2 hours. This really builds a relationship with your clients. To see more of Saraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work, please visit her site here!
Thank you so much Sara!
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E WITH TH FUL W O N DE R RRELL SARA HA
CA ME R A BA E G TH
AG E C AME RA B
Props I am always on the look out for vintage chairs or cool recycled things to use for backdrops. Instead of a crazy cat lady I am a crazy chair lady. i have a cute little storage shed that i call my "prop shop" that is full of chairs. i have about 30 vintage chairs of all colors and sizes.
In The Bag Canon 5D Mark II (x2), Canon 70-200mm 2.8, Canon 50mm 1.2, Canon 35mm 1.4, and a Canon 24mm 1.4.
Wish List items! Two items Sara would like to add to her bag: The Canon 5D Mark 111, and the Canon 45 mm 2.8 Tilt Shift!
TIP OF THE MONTH MANAGING A GRO U P PO RT R A I T S E S S I O N
by Sara Harrell
When photographing large families if there are small kids try to think of fun ways to immobilize them! By putting a two year old on dadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shoulders or a 5 year old in a piggy back position with mom you significantly increase your
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chances of getting a large group shot. You can ask mom or dad to bounce up and down while in position to help with kids smiles! I ask parents and older kids to keep looking at me with smiles and then I do crazy things like fall down or jump up and down or just laugh really loud to get the little kiddos to look at me with smiles (it usually makes the parentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s smile too!). The number one key to being a good kids photographer is to not be afraid to make a complete fool of yourself! I will do anything for the shot from singing silly songs at the top of my lungs (and I have a horrible voice) to letting kids throw fall leaves at me.
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SIN N E C I L
G R E L E VA N T M U S I C
SILDESHOWS + WEBSITES + VIDEOS
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FEATURED VENDOR The Music Bed
he Music Bed provides Music Licensing for filmmakers, photographers, non-profits & production companies. Serving up good, relevant music for your videos & slideshows while protecting music artists, and providing for videographers. We're all about empowering you tell your story as the visual creative and properly supporting the musicians who make our art what it is.
Lucky for you we have a license specifically for photographers! The $49 Wedding & Portrait license allows you to place a song in a slideshow or in the background of your website. This license also includes 15 DVD copies for resale and unlimited DVD copies not for resale. For more information click 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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