Why digitals aren't cutting it anymore

Here’s the thing, when digital came around in the photography world, it was new and cool and instant. It was something you could share out in the big world wide web and it seemed sooo cool.

But what can’t be ignored is that these portraits, they get stuck on a disc, USB, or sometimes don’t even get downloaded.

Old school film studios had it right: PRINT YOUR PHOTOS.

And it’s making a HUGE comeback.

And it’s been proven. Scientifically when you see your loved ones in photographs displayed in your home, it makes for a more unified and happy home.
Canvas gallery wraps pictured above

Canvas gallery wraps pictured above

This means that all that time you spent researching, scheduling, going to the session WORTH IT. It will mean that your family, your memories, are appreciated all through out your home and for generations to come.

Framed prints

Framed prints

We’ve all been there - researching, scheduling, going to the appointment, and then walking away having to do more work than we intended. And let me tell you, Costco printing doesn’t cut it either. Those lines you see in the engineer prints means it’s not top quality.

Which is my long way of saying that as of August 1, 2019 I am going to be offering a wide range of Legacy Photo Products that will bring your PHOTOS TO LIFE.

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They will hang in your home, they will sit on your desks perfectly framed and printed on the absolute best quality paper, or canvas, your choice!

I work with one of the top leading professional photography printing labs and because of that quality is of the highest rate. Be it albums, frames, prints, or canvases, your photos are Fine Art in your home. Your family, your loved ones, YOU are works of art.

And this means EVERYTHING.

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Waking up to photos of your children in the living room hung up happy, smiling, and playful is what I want. Seeing photos of your family splashing in the water or running across the sand framed and hung above your sofa is pure happiness.

And it’s been proven. Scientifically when you see your loved ones in photographs displayed in your home, it makes for a more unified and happy home.

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If you’ll like to get a sneak into the lookbook, shoot me an email at hello@jackielamas.com and I will send you a copy. Filled with beautiful legacy photo products to make your photos artwork in your home.

Because let’s face it: Your wall portraits make your house and home.

Walnut famed 20x24 prints in a set of three.

Walnut famed 20x24 prints in a set of three.

How much time should we allow for portraits? | Tips for Brides

There are so many resources out on the web today with helpful tips and timelines and checklists.  But no one ever admits that these brides are usually first time brides!  As a bride, it's tough to start the planning process let alone create an entire itinerary for a 16 hour day.  Yes, you read that right, 16 hours!  It's a long day and most people don't realize that it goes in flash and so many beautiful moments happen in the blink of an eye.  


This is probably the most asked question I get during a client meeting.  

The answer: at least two hours.  

Sounds like a big chunk of time out of your day?  Keep reading to see why you need those two hours on your wedding day.

1.  HAVING A BUFFER

During your day anything can happen.  Anything from arriving late to not having your makeup and hair done at the set time.  Or maybe you simply needed to eat breakfast, shifting the timeline back 30 minutes.  In which case, I'm completely all for it.  I rather have a fed bride rather than a hungry bride and 30 minutes less to photographer her.  Anyway, as you can see, there are so many unforeseen things that can happen during the day and having those two hours in reality turns into one and half hours or *gasp* one hour.  

A real story: I once had a bride get to her portraits an hour late.  Rather than sitting around and waiting, I was able to move the itinerary around and photograph the groomsmen first and some family portraits.  This way, I was able to move that hour to after the ceremony and create some great photos for my clients.  If I didn't have a buffer, we may not have gotten so many images from the wedding.  

Having a buffer to allow for amazing photos of you and your hunny is indispensable. As photographers, having that wiggle room helps us to really take our time in framing, posing, and letting us roam the location for great light and unique spots.  If we're running behind, then I need to work quickly on my top 3-5 spots and bang out the photos and create something amazing.  And get you to the church on time!  If we're ahead of time, then I know I can experiment more and create something that's different, unique, and maybe toy around with ideas that otherwise we wouldn't have the chance.  

2.  ALONE TIME

Your day is full to the brim.  Full of wonderful moments, family, friends, and everything inbetween.  What your day doesn't have a lot of is ALONE TIME with your hunny.  Most brides don't realize this until the day of.  Between getting ready with your girls to the infinite line of hugs after the ceremony, your day is filled with people.  And while this is the whole point of a wedding - sharing with friends and family- you have to share the day with your hunny too.  

It doesn't matter if you're doing the portraits before the ceremony or after, having this alone time is so important for the two of you because it'll be the only time you'll have truly alone.  

Seems selfish?  NO WAY!  Having your guests there to celebrate with you is important, however, being able to relish in your love together for a moment, all alone, while taking some crazy beautiful photos sets the day apart.  When you look back on those photos you'll remember being alone.  You'll remember how it felt when that photo was taken, all the excitement and love toward one another.  Photo after photo will make you want to go back to those two hours when you kissed with tender love.  Just the two of you.

3. MORE PHOTOS

Needless to say, having enough time for just the two of not only makes you feel more excited, it also lets the photographer take their time.  I love to take my time creating something unique and timeless for my clients.  To take all the love they have for each other and make it tangible through photos.  Which also allows for more photos of the two of you.  Gone are the days of your grandmother's wedding portrait - standing together holding hands facing the camera and smiling.  

Having this amount of time lets us explore, go places, experiment, and have fun!  And who doesn't want to have fun on their wedding day? 

More time = more photos.  More ways to remember and relive your wedding day over and over again.  


Now, don't worry, I usually take care of the itinerary for my clients since it's probably the last thing they want to worry about.  I make sure that everything runs smoothly and we can get the amazing photographs that my clients want.  Don't let anyone talk you into having less time for your photos.  It's important not only for alone time, but for having a buffer, and creating more great photos of the two of you!  

After all, your flowers won't last and your dress will go into storage.  What is left are your photographs making your wedding unforgettable.

Did you like these tips?  Share them with a friend or comment your tips below in the comments section, I'd love to hear your thoughts!  

Happy Saturday!

 

Must haves on the morning of your wedding

The morning of your wedding can set the tone for the entire day.  I've compiled some tips so that you have a great morning full of laughter and happiness while you get ready to walk down the aisle and say I Do to your soul mate.  

These tips also help your photographer capture the day beautifully with lots of details so that you don't forget how you felt that morning.  That's what is so great about photography, it really does capture the feeling of your day and when you look back, you can relive those feelings again and again! 

1.  GETTING READY ROBE

Having a special robe while you're getting ready makes the day even more special.  A special robe makes the whole experience feel like a spa and creates that spa like atmosphere! And if you can get your bridesmaids to participate with getting ready attire, then it feels like you're all at the spa together enjoying and taking advantage of being pampered.

2.  GET READY IN A HOTEL 

Getting ready in your home can be a more cost effective solution, however, getting ready in a hotel room can take away the stress of having to clean up after and coordinating everyone to get ready in your home.  The photos in a hotel room are also much prettier as they always have great window light and decoration.  They also provide lots of spaces to photograph you, the bride, by herself in beautiful settings without.

3.  HAVE EVERYONE DRESSED BEFORE YOU GET DRESSED

This tip is so important when it comes to your photographs.  Having your bridesmaids and your mom, and who ever is going to get you ready be dressed and ready to go.  Everyone looks beautiful and there is nothing to distract from the moment of getting their friend ready for her big day.  It's special and only happens once, and when everyone is ready the photos are effortless and beautiful.  They also look great inside of your album to help tell the story of your day.

4.  THE NIGHT BEFORE IS IMPORTANT TOO

This is technically the night before but can affect your day in so many ways.  Drink plenty of water so that you are refreshed the morning of your day.   Try to do a relaxing activity and allow all of your thoughts to float away.  Stressing out about any last minute details of your day can really wreck your mood the next day.  

5.  DON'T STRESS 

Don't stress out about anything on your day.  In my experience, something always goes awry on the day of... can be anything from traffic to having less time for your photos.  These things happen and it's better that you don't stress.  Take on the day knowing what is most important: vowing to love your soulmate!  That is the real reason why you are up and getting ready for your day.  When you take on the day without stressing about the day, you will enjoy every moment of it and it'll show in your photographs.

I hope that these tips help you when your big day comes!  Don't forget to have some bubbly as well! 

 

Why having a mobile friendly website is key to business

Back in 2009, I bought a template website.  It was perfect in all of it's new flash glory... But something incredible started to happen and my website became an issue.  Mobile devices began to dominate navigating the web and smartphones became the new audience.  Accommodating my flash website for mobile devices meant more money and a sub-par web presence on a 4" screen.

Fast forward to October of this year, I was in need of a new website and I began researching for a company that would offer a beautiful website with the capabilities of being as beautiful on a smartphone or tablet.  And this here is what you see now.  

Did you know that over 60% of my visitors daily are visiting on a mobile device? That means that more than half the people who visit my website everyday are doing so right from the palm of their hand!  

Let's look at some real numbers...

In the chart above we can see that only twice since my website has been mobile friendly, has there been more desktop visitors.  The rest of the year has been primarily from mobile devices!!! Check out the month of May, mobile users account for 72% of the visitors that month.  The biggest difference to date!  It's only the second week of June and we can see that 67% of visitors are through a mobile device.  

 

You might be saying to yourself, "Well, that's all good but why does it really matter?"  

1.  INCREASES EXPOSURE

You might not realize it but people are attached to their smartphones!  If they need something, they use an app.  If they need directions, they use maps and GPS.  If they need a question answered... you guessed it, they use Google right from their phone.  We use our phones for everything now and with bigger screens, we can appreciate bigger pictures and more content.  

Having a mobile friendly site can increase your exposure among clients that otherwise you might have not been able to reach.  Not everyone gets on a desktop computer everyday to check Facebook.  No, they do it right from the convenience of their mobile device.  I use device because it could be their smartphone or tablet.  Could even be Apple TV.  

Now imagine that someone shared your website onto their Facebook.  What happens next is incredible, people begin clicking on the link to view your portfolio online.  Wouldn't it be nice to reach all those people every day with a site that streamlines from desktop to mobile without skipping a beat?  You bet it's amazing.  

2.  YOUR PORTFOLIO IS ALWAYS ON HAND

I don't know about you but as a photographer, I have often found myself at a dinner with friends and the begin to ask about my work.  Rather than handing them a business card, I whip out my phone and launch my website.  I show them the galleries, allow them to browse through the blog, and let them play with the site while we're having dinner.  Instantly, I have connected with a potential client.  This actually happened once and I was able to convince a bride of booking with me.

Another great example is when I do hand out a business card and the client jumps onto the website minutes later.  What they see is a seamless connection between my business card and the branding of my website.  They are able to stay a while and check out the different galleries.  Instantly, they have become a potential client.  

Having a person wait until they jump on a computer to view your website is like putting money in a pocket that has a hole in it.  You lose potential clients because they won't remember later, they won't write your website address down.  What they will do is look for you on Google and Facebook and from there connect to your site right from their table at Starbucks.

 

3.  Google 

Google has begun to penalize websites who are not mobile friendly.  If that isn't cause big enough to make you get a mobile friendly site, then I don't know what is!  Regardless, Google is onto something big.  They are aware that most of their users are connected through a mobile device.  Google is aware that having a site that is ready for any device is crucial to its users.  What happens when you open the browser on your phone and Google something?  It gives you exactly what you're looking for:  Google's rapid search results with the same branding that Google has on desktop computers.  

I'm not sure whether penalizing websites for not being mobile friendly is a good thing or a bad thing, but I do know that what they are trying to accomplish through this new strategy is going to move the future of websites.  Make sure that you don't get left behind!

If you need to check if your website is mobile friendly enough for Google, click HERE to find out. 


Don't lose exposure because your website is not mobile ready.  You could be losing more than visitors - potential clients!  Use the link above to check on Google if your website is mobile friendly and stop losing potential clients now.  I know this completely changed the way visitors connect with my photography and me!

Happy Friday my friends!
 

 





5 Tips | Wedding photographer check list

This post won't quite be the usual list of 5 tips.  However, this will be a long list of what you should be doing when you are photographing a wedding.  Each photographer goes about their process differently and it really depends on how you are setting up your photography business. 

In the time that I've been photographing weddings, I've learned that the following checklists are good to skim over from time to time.  Helps us in not making future mistakes, which let's face it, we're human and can occur at any time!  

Make sure you click on each photo to download your own copy :).  

Pre-Wedding

So you booked a wedding, I'm very proud of you! But now you're freaking out because you're second guessing your skills.  You're most likely going to be up all night thinking of the worst case scenarios, like the bride's zipper is going to get stuck, or you are going to drop your camera, or one of a million things.  Do not fear, this checklist is going to help you get through the night and sleep like a baby.  Well maybe not like a baby, but at least more soundly and without nightmares.



Wedding Day Photo Checklist 

The wedding day can be even more stressful, especially if you are new to the wedding game. This little guide will help you through the whole day.  This is a general guide as wedding timelines can be different from one event to the next.  Make sure that you confirm the DAY OF timeline with your clients so that you know when and where to photograph each moment.  

What is most important for your clients is what you should be photographing.  It's common to read that you should photograph for publications, photograph for your blog, photograph for the album... While it's good to keep all of that in mind, getting what your client wants is the top priority.  Make sure to do this during client meetings (which is a completely separate post).  

Before even picking up the camera, make sure you arrive at least 1.5 hours early.  This helps to make a plan and get a good idea of what kind of light you're working with, the location, and introducing yourself to the make up artists and anyone else in the room.  



So that's all for the tips feature this time!  

I am also putting together an e-book for wedding and portrait photographers... it's going to be full of information and how-to with lots of tips for the new or even seasoned photographer.  What kind of information would you like to see in the e-book? Write your thoughts in the comments below!  

 

Prepa UVM Art Show Chihuahua

This semester marks my 5th semester at Prepa UVM here in Chihuahua.  It's been such an amazing experience seeing these kids grow and mature through the semesters.  They change so quickly and make me proud of their accomplishments.  

After each semester, my friend and art teacher Nora and I put together an art show for the students to show off their work.  Most of the students have been with us for a couple of years and their work has just improved and improved with each day that passes.  I am amazed at the talent that these kids have!  Makes our jobs so much more fun and interesting.  

Last night we inaugurated this semester's art show and had many students and parents come to see the fruit of their labor.  Such an amazing experience.  I'm so proud of all the students!

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What makes a good photo?

Recently, a student criticized other students on how terrible their photos were.   I couldn't believe my ears!  I understand that perhaps not everyone was meant to be a photographer, and that is understandable.  Just like not everyone has the “it” to be a lawyer, doctor, yoga instructor, or what have you.  But no one has the right to shoot you down for trying.  

And I really mean no one.  My students are more illustrators than photographers, and some are going to be fantastic photographers.  So, when I asked this kid how does he know if the photo is a good one or a bad one?  Is there a rubric? Is there only one path to good photos?  The answer is NO.  There isn’t.  You cannot tell someone a photo is bad or good just like you can't tell someone who paints that their paintings are good or bad.  

What you can do is analyze and interpret what the artist is trying to say. Does having lots of noise in the photograph contribute to the overall theme of the photo? Is there more to the photograph and therefore the negative space is actually helping to understand the concept?

It made me furious to hear that this kid, thankfully not one of my students, judge other artists so simply.  Photography is not as simple as taking a photograph and watching magic reveal before our eyes.  It takes time, training, and breaking of the rules to find a style, a voice, a theme.  

The point of photography is to be moved by the image.  Either in a positive way or in a negative.  As long as you feel something, then the artwork is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.  There are no good or bad photographs.  There is just art. 

Let me know what you think makes a good photo in the comments below.  And if you liked this post, share it with others!

*click on the photo above to download because art shouldn't be kept to oneself.

Jorge | Modelo Chihuahua

If you've been following my blog, you know that I teach photography at both the university and high school levels.  During the semester, I try to schedule a few mock shoots so that students can observe first hand how to direct, pose, and carry on a session.  There is no right way of having a session and I make sure to tell the students that everything depends on their style.  However, I believe that having them observe how I shoot, take control, and allow myself to focus on my models/clients, they can learn a little and apply it to their own sessions.  

Enter Jorge.  Jorge is an event planner and one of the best I know here in Chihuahua.  He is incredibly detailed and his candid nature makes it easy to know what you are going to get.  Jorge was kind enough to model for us and help me to teach the university students a little about posing, studio lighting, and how to use a reflector.  Thank you Jorge!