I just finished baby Alexandre's portrait album. You can preview it here.
Newborn Bereavement Photography?
I was just talking to a friend who works in the neonatal intensive care unit at a local hospital, asking him about newborn photography there. It's my understanding that there are a few national photography companies who have cornered the market on hospital newborn photography and who have signed contracts with the institutions so no other photographers can work on their grounds. He said that he doesn't know whether the nursery has a photographer since he doesn't work in that department but that his unit has a photographer who takes portraits of babies who have passed away. I'd never heard of this. Never thought of it. What a difficult job!
So I did a little research and found out there is a national non-profit organization of photographers who volunteers to do such work: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It sounds a bit morbid at first but once I started reading their through their site it makes perfect sense. Parents want to remember their child and this is the only time to take professional portraits. The photos, like any other portraits (especially of loved ones who have since deceased) are memorials to the person pictured and are treasured by those who have survived them. I'm happy to see that this is volunteer work and that parents aren't being asked to pay for the portrait sessions in such difficult times (though, on the other hand, I started watching the television series "Six Feet Under" recently and they make good points that the bereavement business is a business and that they can't just give their services away to everyone who is experiencing loss). But I'm glad this is volunteer work. A baby's death is different from that of someone older, someone who's had more of a chance to live and whose loved ones have had a chance to get to know them and form memories of them. I'm interested in filling out the application to offer my photography services but such an emotionally taxing job requires me to think about it for a few days before I jump right in.
If you are interested, you can make a donation on their website. Click here.
I'm so excited!!! My new Canon 7d camera just arrived in the mail! I can't wait until the battery charges so I can start playing with it!!! I think I'll take it to the zoo later this week to test out the camera and my new lenses. Yay!!! Book portrait sessions with me soon. I'm ready to shoot!
Sisters Sisters Weddings
My sister and I met for a business lunch yesterday (it turned into a five hour meeting!). She is a wedding coordinator (Weddings by Emily) and I am a wedding photographer (obviously) so we've put together an umbrella company called Sisters Sisters Weddings where we provide event coordination and photography in one streamlined package.
I always had the impression that coordinators were a luxury for those who could afford them but since Emily and I have hosted and worked several events together I have come to realize that having a planner, especially on the day of a wedding, is absolutely critical to allowing the couple some much deserved peace of mind because they don't have to worry about all the little things but, instead, just sit back and enjoy the day they've been waiting for so long.
Clients who hire us both for the same event receive several advantages and discounts (see the website for details) including 5% off each of our services.
Norma, my sister's grandmother-in-law, passed away recently. I was asked to go through photos from my sister's wedding and find a few images of Norma, one of which would be framed and displayed at her memorial service. She suffered from Alzheimer's disease and her body had begun to give out on her so this photograph, from my sister's wedding shower, was the only one in my collection of snapshots where she was actually smiling, and that was because she was posing with her grandson, whom she loved dearly, and his soon-to-be new bride, whom she had also taken to quite fondly. I didn't want to send just a snapshot off for her memorial, though, so I touched up the photo a bit, cropped it to feature Norma, and added a simple background that compliments the soft colors she wore. Her memorial service is on Saturday and I hope she looks down in peace and happiness as those who love her celebrate her life.
I just came across this great article called "What to Look for in a Photographer". It talks about a horrifying trend among wedding photographers where they choose not to post their photos of real weddings with real-sized brides but instead post photos only from weddings with thin brides or photographs they've staged with hired models in order to create a "brand" that reflects the highly unrealistic and exclusionary standards of the modeling and advertising industries; the result of which is that these photographers are sending the message to their "real" brides that they aren't beautiful enough to be included in their portfolio, which is seen by potential clients.
On my path to a Ph.D. in psychology I have taught courses on the Psychology of Women and my lecture on body image always elicits the most conversation from students (the vast majority of whom are female), probably because young American females have these unrealistic standards of beauty shoved down our throats for as long as we can remember. I show them the Dove Evolution commercial where Dove demonstrates how a beautiful model is made up and Photoshopped because even she is not "beautiful" enough. It would never have occurred to me not to post images of the brides who allow me the privilege to photograph their wedding; the honor of sharing with them, in an intimate way, one of the most important days of of their lives. What does their size matter? But now that I know of this trend it almost seems like an action of social responsibility to include these weddings in my portfolio...which is sad. But at least the action reflects the values of MY "brand."
The article also speaks of how so many portfolios represent only heterosexual weddings and fail to include couples who don't fit this description. I have not yet had the opportunity to photograph such a wedding but would love to do so as I believe in equality and the right of all people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Hmm, why does that sound familiar? :) I have, however, had the opportunity to design custom invitations for a lesbian wedding (see image below) and I remember that, when the couple first contacted me about creating them, they felt it necessary to disclose their sexual orientation and ask if it I would still work with them. Isn't is awful that two people who are planning one of the most special days of their lives must have their experience clouded by the possibility of bigotry everywhere they turn? Even from vendors to whom they are giving money to provide services? I mean, imagine if heterosexual couples could only get vendors to work for them if the couple first asked for the vendor's approval of their chosen marriage partner. It's hideous. So, is it an action of social responsibility to work with non-traditional couples and post photographs from their weddings, too? Unfortunately, it looks like it might be.
Check out the article and comments here.
Etsy camera lens bag
I just found this great etsy shop, Tracy Joy, offering lovely handmade camera lens pouches. Check them out! Etsy is also a wonderful place to find a multitude of items for your wedding and to support artists locally or around the world.