Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Buzz September 2008

The Buzz!

I’ve been driving around doing errands the last couple of days in between working on images, and I’ve felt that excited stirring because the trees are turning colors, the air is turning crisp, and the smell of fall is beginning to happen. I’m getting ready to put away all of my flowery and fruity candles and get out my fall ones. I bake apple bread, and zucchini bread, and pumpkin bread, along with other yummy food in the fall to celebrate and share with friends and neighbors.
I love fall and I love the sunlight; it has a golden quality as it slants in the windows in the afternoon. Being in Alaska, our days are getting shorter quickly and that means sunset is earlier, too. I love autumn sunsets that blaze over the golden trees. It’s fun to watch the steam coming out of noses and mouths of little ones, especially when they are young and discovering it for the first time. We had a yard sale this past week, and early in the morning as we were setting up, I noticed there was a little steam as we spoke to each other.
School has started and I’m so glad to get back into a real routine. There’s just something about sending “the boy”, as we call him (after Harry Potter), to school after a good breakfast, and made his lunch, give a kiss, and then have a little over 6 hours of uninterrupted time to get things done. And when I get homemade buttermilk bread made by the time he comes home, or any other yummy thing to munch on, he gets to enjoy that, do his homework, and then either go play before dinner, or get ready for one of his many activities. I do find myself, however, looking forward to Thanksgiving already when he’ll be home for several days and make some wonderful memories together.
This summer has been a good one, for both my family and for my business. To those of you who’ve invited me to your home to photograph your loved ones, thank you. I appreciate the trust you have instilled in me, and I hope to continue to serve you in the future.
Some have emailed me to see OUR first day of school images, so here they are:

Table of Contents
Tip: Photographing your kids in the Alaskan Autumn
Trick: Give your camera a fall tune-up in time for fall photos.
HBP’s Special of the Month
Last minute Senior Portraits
Referral program
Portrait parties
Policy change
One of my favorite things

Tip: Photographing your kids in the Alaskan Autumn
Have you ever taken your kids to the pumpkin patch, or for a hike in the woods, and decide that oh, this would be a great way to get stunning photos of my little one? Only to have frustration, too bright lighting, and missed expressions and horrors! Red Eye! Be prepared and follow these simple directions so you can get super cute photos using available natural light and no flash!
1. Turn the Red eye button *off*. This is what makes you get missed expressions. That is the number one thing I tell folks who complain that they can’t get good photos of their kids. I’ve gotten reports back that indeed this is the case. When they download all their images on their computer, they just use the software they have to get rid of the red eye. It’s very simple.
2. Put together a camera bag kit for yourself. Yes, I know, just one more thing to carry… BUT it’s better for your camera to be in a bag for itself, rather than bounce around in your purse. It doesn’t need to be huge, just big enough to put these simple things that you probably have hanging around your house:
a. A couple of pieces of Aluminum foil
b. A small stuffed animal
c. Lip balm and lotion (put in a sealed baggie in an outside pocket)
d. Wipes in a sealed bag (placed in an outside pocket)
e. Lens cleaning cloth
f. Some loose coins (you’ll see why in a minute)
g. A small toy that is somewhat relevant to the season/trip you are on
3. Find a somewhat sunny spot that is close to some shade. You want your kids to be in what I call the “sweet spot” which is generally right at the edge. A pumpkin patch may make it hard to find shade, but do see if you can find an area. Make sure your child’s back is to the sun; in other words, you are facing the sun. Pull out that Aluminum foil, and unfold it. Because it’s so pliable, you can bend it at any angle, with some on the floor (put a couple stones on the flat area so it doesn’t blow away)and bend the foil til you see light reflected onto your sweetie’s face. At this point, it may seem like a fun game to play catch the kid, so see how quickly you can set this up and then quick borrow your child to see where the light is.
4. Skin check! Do you see some dry skin and chapped lips? Pull out your lip balm and put some lotion on dry places to make your child look his or her best, and use your wipes to clean off any snacks or other spots that mysteriously have appeared on faces and fingers.
5. Get their attention! After you have your shot set up, put your small stuffed animal to work. Many of you have seen my sneezing trick: I place the said object on my head, sneeze and the toy rolls off of my head. This gets attention and will make kids laugh.
6. Inspect your lens frequently, whether you use a DSLR or a point-and-shoot. You can use this to clean off your viewing screen as well.
7. Most 2- and 3-year olds need to hold something to keep their hands occupied, so this is when coins or a small toy would help. This is why I suggest that the small toy be relevant to the place you are at; Thomas the Tank Engine ™ is an awesome toy, just not in the photo where you are trying to get a pretty pumpkin patch picture. Here, a miniature pumpkin would suffice, or if in the woods, find some leaves, acorns or pinecones for your child to hold and display.
8. Good luck with your experiment and I hope that if you follow these suggestions, that you email them to me and I’ll be happy to add them to the comments section of the newsletter post.

Trick: Give your camera a fall tune-up in time for fall photos
You’ve probably had your camera(s) outside with you at every occasion and it’s gotten dirty, it may seem to have gotten a little sluggish, or you seem to have dust on your images. Follow these simple suggestions from the New York Institute of Photography to clean up your camera and give it a new life.
Battery Check-up.
Every person who has ever worked a camera store counter will tell you that the majority of "broken" cameras that customers bring in simply need a new battery installed correctly. Unlike the smoke detector, there's no need to toss the battery from your camera and replace it with a new one if your camera is working, but it is a very a good idea to pick up a spare battery to have at the ready so you don't miss a weekend full of photographs while traveling if your current battery conks out. Professionals always carry spare batteries for their gear.
In the digital world, you're more likely to simply need to recharge your battery. If it's been a while since you've used your camera, this may require finding your charger – which can be a chore in today's world of phone and PDA chargers, USB cables, and all the other electronic gizmos that populate the modern home. This may be the time to think about buying a second battery for your camera so you can stay ahead of the game and always have a fresh battery at the ready to replace the one you are using in your camera.

Keeping Your Camera Clean.
In today's world of electronic auto-everything cameras, we recommend only minimal cleaning, which we'll cover shortly. The most important thing is to try to avoid the need to clean in the first place. Try to keep your camera away from the elements that cause the most harm: dirt, dust, sandy grit, and saltwater spray are the mortal enemies of most types of cameras.
It goes without saying that it's best to keep your camera off the autumnal picnic table or other spot where it might be vulnerable to a spilled soda or a glob of jelly from a passing sandwich. And, if you're using a digital model, remember to be careful if you change memory cards. I heard of someone who lost a week's worth of travel photographs when she accidentally dropped her chip full of images into a glass of red wine while sitting in a scenic café.
Cleaning Your Camera.
The one part of your camera's exterior that you must keep clean is the lens. Dust and fingerprints will compromise the optical efficiency of your lens. That brings us to the most important subject related to cleaning your camera – before you clean your camera or any other photo equipment you own, remember one thing: Keep it simple. I've heard too many stories about people damaging their cameras by doing too aggressive a cleaning job. For most cleaning chores, I suggest you use just two tools – a micro fiber cleaning cloth and a rubber squeeze bulb.
Let's review how each of these is used.
Micro Fiber Cleaning Cloth.
Micro Fiber weaving is a relatively new invention. The extremely fine fibers and very tight weave of this cloth makes it possible to remove dust, grit, and even the oil left by fingerprints without the use of any solvent. These cloths are not expensive, and they can be washed and reused, so the initial investment of a few dollars is well worth it.
I use the micro fiber cloth to give a general cleaning to the camera body and the front of the outer lens element. If you have a really stubborn fingerprint to remove, you can breathe very gently on the lens to let a little moisture from your breath condense on the lens, and then wipe it with the cloth.
For digital cameras, you don't have to worry about the inside of the camera – there really is no inside area that you need to visit. There's a slot (or possibly two) for memory storage cards, and a battery chamber. Most of the time, these areas don't require cleaning. You can use your micro fiber cloth to clean the LCD display screen if that is necessary.
Don't touch the shutter blades!
Film cameras present another story. You need to keep the internal chamber where you load the film clean and free of dirt and grit that can scratch your film and negatives. However, anytime you open your film camera, heed this important warning: Be extremely cautious and avoid touching the metal shutter inside any modern auto-exposure camera.

Clean the dust from the inside of your camera using a blower, but be careful to avoid the shutter blades that you see in the center of this photograph.
To make faster shutter speeds and higher flash synchronization speeds possible, today's automatic cameras (particularly SLRs – single lens reflex models) feature a set of very thin metal shutter blades that replace the more durable cloth or metal shutter cover of yesteryear.
These thin metal shutter blades are very fragile, and even a gentle jab or tap can knock them out of position. Any damage to these shutter blades will result in a very expensive repair job. How expensive? You don't want to know – figure $200. And up!
So, DO NOT touch the shutter mechanism on your automatic camera. If it needs any kind of cleaning (and there's little reason it should) take your camera to a professional repair shop that is authorized by the camera's manufacturer. It will cost you a lot less to get the camera cleaned and checked than it would to have the shutter repaired if you attempt the job yourself and botch it.
Use the blower to clean your camera's inner chamber. As long as you exercise caution and avoid the shutter mechanism, you can use your blower to remove dust from inside the camera as long as you don't touch the shutter blades or blow air directly on them. It's a good idea to clean any dust from the area where the film cartridge sits, and along the areas where the camera back closes on the body.
Avoid "canned" air for camera cleaning.
The reason I recommend a rubber bulb blower to blow dust and grit out of the inside of the camera body is that when squeezed, it provides a concentrated "puff" of air, but not the overly powerful "gush" that most brands of canned air supply. At NYI, we avoid canned compressed or propelled air, regardless of whatever type of propellant is used because the burst of air can be too strong, particularly for today's delicate electronic camera systems. In addition, some types of canned air use a propellant that – if you tilt the can downward – shoots out a burst of solid, frozen stuff. Who needs that in your camera or on your lens?
Why do I use a separate cloth and squeeze bulb instead of the little squeeze blowers sold in camera stores that have a little brush on the bottom? Because I find those little blower/brush jobs are useless – the bulb is too little to give a good puff of air, and the brush is too flimsy to get the job done.
Cleaning Lenses and Filters.
If you need to clean an SLR lens, I suggest you start by using the blower first to blow all loose dust or grit off both the exposed face of the front lens element and the exposed face of the back lens element if it's easy to reach. There should be no way for dust or dirt to enter the lens barrel and affect the internal elements of the lens. Then use your micro fiber cloth to finish the job. I use the same combination for glass and plastic filters as well. Lots of photographers don't bother to clean their filters, which is a big mistake since they're more likely to get covered with fingerprints than the camera's lens.
What if I see dust in my SLR's viewfinder?
Generally, dust that you see in the viewfinder of your Single Lens Reflex (SLR) is dust that has settled on the mirror or prism of your camera. While annoying, it will not show up in your photographs. If you ever take your camera in for a general cleaning and lubrication, it will disappear. Don't try to clean the mirror. A dusty mirror, like the one pictured here, won't affect your photographs.
To Repeat, Less is More, and Easy Does It.
By the way, a little bit of dust or a tiny finger smudge on your lens is not going to translate into an exact image of that dust or fingerprint on your photo. Your camera is not focused on the lens' outside element. Rather, the problem with dust and smudges is that they cut down slightly on the amount of light that the lens transmits, thus having a small effect on exposure. Large smudges or a film of dust can degrade the image by lowering contrast, cutting exposure a tad, and making the photo a little less sharp. The other problem with some types of oil that get onto lenses (and filters) is that the longer they're left on the glass surface, the harder they are to remove. The oils can actually etch their way into the coated surfaces of the glass on the outside element of your lens.
Final Tip: A Bag Helps
One difference between pros and photo hobbyists is that pros keep their cameras in bags. A bag is likely to provide much better protection for your camera and other equipment than if you keep your camera loose in your suitcase, handbag, or briefcase. There are lots of soft and compact bags you can use to protect your camera, whether it's a film or digital model.

HBP’s Special of the Month
We actually have a few this month!
1. Week-day Portrait Parties! Perfect for sahm’s of toddlers and babies, YOU can earn free portraits and the hostess special is a free full session in time for Holiday portraits, all determined by your sales. Your guests automatically get a free mini session (15 minutes), and this month’s special for guests is buy one a la carte-priced portrait at regular price, and get the second one (same size or smaller) at half price.
2. Last minute Senior Portraits! Do you have a senior who still needs to get portraits done for the yearbook and wallets to hand out to friends? This month only, your session fee is half-price, and save 15% off your portrait package. Please call at 753-1050 for details, or email me at
3. Regular sessions are $10 off the retainer fee, and 10% off any purchase, whether it’s a la carte portraits, enlargement collections, or products.

Last minute Senior Portraits!
Just above I presented the Senior portrait special for September. Just in case you need ideas, why not use some of these?
1. Are you in Sports? Get your uniform really clean, spiff up your equipment, and we can do some fun shots of you that are definitely NOT your typical team photo. Are you a swimmer? Get permission to go to the pool at the gym (or the fitness center here on base) and I can do some Michael Phelps style portraits for you. Do you golf? Let’s go to the golf course to get some shots of you swinging your clubs.
2. Musically inclined… Do you play piano? We can do some photos at home of you playing your favorite symphony on your family’s piano. Do you play the violin? Have some images made of you holding your violin and bow that is aesthetically pleasing.
3. Are you stylin’ and profilin’? We can photograph you in different outfits runway style on a white seamless or anywhere you want to go.
4. Do you prefer urban or country? There are so many places just in Anchorage that fit these styles perfectly. You just need to pick… I have great locations in mind already, but you may have your own special place in mind.
5. This month’s special should clinch it for you. Your yearbook photograph is due this month! Call Honey Bee photography to find out the details are for having Senior Portraits done. I look forward to hearing from you! 907-753-1050.

Referral program
Honey Bee Photography has a great referral program! For every person you refer to me, YOU get a $5.00 credit for regular sessions. If you refer someone to have a portrait party or do senior portraits, you get a $15.00 credit. If you refer someone to have a wedding photographed by me, you get a $25.00 credit! How awesome is that?

Portrait Parties
With the flurry of kitchen tool parties, candle parties, gourmet mix parties, and all kinds of other parties that are coming up, please consider hosting a Portrait Party. Here are the reasons why YOU should host a Portrait Party with Honey Bee Photography!

1. The hostess gets a free mini session and earns free portraits, and this month the special is a free holiday portrait session done in either October or November.
2. Your guests get a free mini session, and this month’s guest special is buy one a la carte-priced portrait at regular price, and get the second one (same size or smaller) at half price.
3. Spend time with your friends practically one on one as kids are getting portraits done.
Here is the way a Portrait Party gets organized!
It’s fall... and it's time to think about having a portrait party! These are so fun and help the hostess earn FREE portraits and products. Your guests get to have a free tiny session (up to 15 minutes) and I have a 16x20 giveaway. This is the perfect way to do those fantasy type portraits. You just need at LEAST 6 guests/families to participate.Here's how to do it.
1. Figure out what you want your theme to be. Do you have all girls? Then invite your friends who have girls and we can do a tea-party theme for each guest. Have all boys? We can do a construction worker or cowboy theme. Have all babies? We can do all babies! Outside or inside, we can make it happen for you. We can even do just families!
2. Figure out when you want to hold it. I would suggest in 2 weeks after you have decided to have one.
3. Contact ALL of your friends and let them know about your party. Direct them to my website and blog and let them get some ideas together. You can even email your ideas to them about which theme you are thinking about. Have them contact you within a few days to say yes or no.
4. Put together your list of who wants to come and give me their names, phone numbers and emails. I call to schedule their reservation so you don't have to figure it out yourself. Organization is the key to success for your party.
5. Where to do this? Well, I photograph on location, so we can open up your home for studio style portrait sessions, OR we can do these outside. There are lots of beautiful places in the area to do your sessions outside. With this, then folks should dress for the weather.
6. On the day of your party, I will come early to either set up or scout around for the perfect place to photograph within easy view of the parking lot at the location of your choice and set up there. You should plan to be there at the same time as I so you can set up drinks and snacks. I will discuss the schedule for the day with you and also the easy paperwork. I call your guests the night before to answer any questions they may have and give them some instructions for the next day, such as arriving early for the session since we are on a schedule, etc. The biggie is dressing for the weather.
7. We can schedule your session somewhere in there... however, it works best as either the first session, or the last session.
8. Your friends' names go into a pot to win a free 16x20. I will contact that person after the party.
9. I will send out a sneak peek within 72 hours of your party, and it will take up to 3 weeks to get the rest of the images out. After the images are out, you are responsible for collecting orders (everyone gets an order form and a price list at the party) within 2 weeks after the images are out. Depending on sales, you will get free and reduced priced portraits and products.
10. When I receive the portraits and products, I will sort them according to the orders and bring them to you. It is then up to you to deliver the portraits to your guests.
See how easy it is to do a Portrait Party? These are so fun and easy to do. I hope you decide to do one!
Policy change
With my business picking up and becoming more popular, it is becoming more difficult to get sneak-peeks and images out on time. I am increasing your sneak-peeks to 72 hours after your session, and images will be finished and on-line within 3 weeks. If you need your images rushed, a $50 fee will be required in advance when you pay your retainer. Thank you for understanding.

One of my favorite things!
Tastefully Simple is one of my favorite parties to go to! You get to sample all of the yummy dips, the beer bread, Nana’s Apple Cake, and many other delicious gourmet foods that are made with the TS mix and a few simple ingredients. Your guests will never believe that your snacks are made from a mix!
My friend, Crista Cook, is a new Tastefully Simple consultant and is ready to meet you and your friends to introduce you to this taste sensation. Please contact her through her email or call her (254) 247-1942. Her website should be up soon.
Thank you for reading my newsletter. You are receiving this as a service, and have asked me to include you on my mailing list. I do not share email addresses with other parties. If you wish to be unsubscribed (I hope you don’t, but it happens sometimes), please email me a blank email with “unsubscribe” in the subject line.

Thanks again! Happy September!

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