Why I Hate Summer Sunsets

I’m a full time marketer, a full time writer, and Carrie would call me a most-of-the-time critic. I love things that are beautiful, but I really hate cliché, which leads me to this article…sunsets during summer.

Well…I love sunsets and warm weather, especially with a drink on the beach at dusk surrounded by friends and camera in hand. But it’s so cliché! It falls into the category of “everyone is a photographer” because they added a sepia filter to their sunset picture and posted it on Instagram. So to all instagramers—think of something more original! Yes, it’s beautiful, but seriously, google “summer sunset,” is your work really better?

Okay, so you’re capturing your moment. What differentiates that sunset from others? What makes that day stand out? I bet a year from now, you’ll know where you were but not who you were with, what made that day rock or insufferable, and you can’t even remember the date.

To that end, remember that truly great photography doesn’t rest within HDR and editing, it derives from the photographer. Some tips and tricks to help differentiate your landscape shots:

  1. Solid ND filters and polarizing filters still have their place in landscape shots.
  2. Solid neutral density filters reduce the amount of light entering the lens, which extends shutter speeds for long-exposure shots.
  3. Polarizer filters remove reflections from the surface of water and shiny leaves.
  4. Polarizer filters also help boost the contrast between blue skies and white cloud

– T.

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The Beauty of Band Shooting

There’s another part of Theresa and Carrie’s lives they haven’t mentioned enough, in my opinion, and that would be me! My name is Catherine Weston and currently I’m interning for the studio in regards to the public relations aspect, and yes, you read that correctly, I’m also Theresa’s younger sister! I’ve worked with both Theresa and Carrie on numerous occasions and I have to admit that working with Carrie Weston Studios has really helped to expand my interest and love of photography. While I do enjoy all different types of photography and I love what the studio has to offer with its unique outlook on weddings, family, etc., I believe that band photography takes the number one spot on my  list of favorite categories because not only is there an aura of excitement and positive energy, but there is also a mixture of passion for the arts that’s hard to find anywhere else…

Excitement is in the air, the lights are low, anticipation is high.

The crowd looks excited and they’re all waiting for the show to start; the equipment is all set to go.

Having the right atmosphere and the proper sound means everything to a band about to perform in front of a live audience, so that’s all they need…right?

Wrong.

New bands need decent marketing—and it’s true, a band won’t get anywhere without good quality recordings and a clean website to display its contact information. So what else is missing?

A photographer!

Photography is one of the key factors in moving a musician/band toward the success that they’ve always dreamed of; how are they going to take the right steps to make it big if there’s nothing to show the world aside from some low-quality demo videos on Youtube? When prospective listeners can see a visual of how hard the band is working and the energy being thrown around on stage or behind the scenes, they become more interested.

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Just this past week, I was doing a shoot for the up and coming band “We Build Tomorrow” as they played a show at the Summer Festival in Potsdam, NY. As I ran, crouched, and climbed on some things I probably shouldn’t have to get the perfect shots, it was one of the more fun shoots I’ve done in my life thus far! The most rewarding feeling isn’t even getting the amazing shot you work so hard to achieve…it isn’t even the gratitude received by the members of the band after the show is over…the real feeling that makes it all worth it at the end of the day is knowing that I helped some talented people gain some really amazing recognition. Throughout the rest of the summer festival there were compliments thrown at the band left and right, but when I got back to my computer and threw those pictures up online for them, the amount of views, “likes,” “favorites,” and “re-tweets” skyrocketed.

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Through the help of this one, single shoot combined with true musical talent, “We Build Tomorrow” is now becoming more popular and they are on their way to recording their first official demo album.

Photography can help achieve many things and not just the expected—it is especially handy in achieving the unexpected too! Shooting for unrecognized bands might just be my favorite thing to do with my camera, and it taught me that through pursuing my own passion and working together with other people involved with different passions, more doors can open and anything can happen.

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* To check out more of my stuff and see how Theresa and Carrie inspired me to pursue my own dreams, feel free to follow me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/CatherineWestonPhotography?ref_type=bookmark

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before your Engagement Session

Many of our clients know that they “should” have an engagement session, but don’t really know what to expect or what to look for. We always recommend starting with a creative brainstorm—and a great place to start is Pinterest. Look at various boards for inspiration and ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends that have gotten married about their experience.

Ultimately, the key to a successful engagement shoot is to be yourself—be comfortable, have fun and don’t be afraid to show your love on camera! Below are the top ten questions our clients ask prior to an engagement shoot:

1.      Where should we take our pictures? Choose one or a few locations that are meaningful to you. We recently had a couple select the high school where they first met, and the movie theater where they had their first date.  This always effects the session in a positive way, not only were they excited to be reliving these meaningful moments, but their energy and passion was caught on camera.

2.      What should we wear? First of all, bring multiple outfits. Depending on the lighting and the creative mood you’re in, you may want to change halfway through the shoot or when you arrive at a different location. Dress to your personality, be fun and creative! If you’re sporty, wear your favorite team shirt, if you have a favorite blouse that just cant stay on the hangar, wear it! Remember to try and color-coordinate, keeping it in the same color family. Some additional tips are:

·         For the ladies:   Wear bright colors for one of your looks, the bright colors will enhance the photo and landscape. Changing into a darker or more neutral color will help bring the focus and attention to your faces.

·          For the gents:  Bring a few different shirts to change into to match your partner. A button down shirt will help to frame your face rather than a t-shirt, and also provides more flexibility with your look (sleeves, buttoned up, tucked in, etc.)

3.      What shouldn’t we wear? Well…most of our clients don’t ask us this…but we sometimes wish we would! Do not wear baggy or loose shirts or pants. The baggy and loose clothing will make you look wider in photos and hide your figure. Do not over tan or start tanning the week of your engagement session—you will look orange in the photos. And finally, do not wear stripes and plaid patterns, they never look good in the final shots.

4.      How long is an engagement session? Depending on travel time to your various locations, an engagement session is typically anywhere between 1-3 hours.

 5.       What is the best time of day to shoot? We will typically schedule an engagement session in the early morning or about 2-3 hours before sunset. The lighting truly makes all the difference in the quality of the photographs, so it’s imperative to BE ON TIME.

6.       Should we use a theme? While you do not have to select a specific “theme,” themes can be fun. We’ve had couples set up scenarios for their engagement sessions that fit their hobbies and interests and were really excited about the unique outcome. Some ideas are: camping, baking, picnic, sailing, staying at home, ice skating, etc.

 7.      Should we bring accessories or props? Absolutely! Your favorite hats, ties, sunglasses or scarf can really help to compliment/accent your outfit. Don’t be afraid to bring “out of the ordinary” props with you also—we’ve used old furniture, instruments, pets, toys, balloons and even masks and not only was it fun to shoot, but the couples had a great time and laughed the most, using the props they brought. Finally, as seen on most of our social media, we’re big fans of chalkboards or poster-boards that we can Photoshop text onto…which is always a good idea for your thank you or save the date cards!

 8.      When will we see our photos? Always ask your photographer how long it will take to see the photos. If you saved your shoot for the last minute and need the images for the save the date, make sure you tell your photographer. Depending on the time of year and how booked they are, it typically takes 2-4 weeks for the final photos to be posted to the gallery. We typically get excited and will post our top 10 within a week to our blog or Instagram so that you can share with your family and friends!

 9.       Should we get our hair/make-up done? The engagement session is a great opportunity to test out your makeup/hair styling by using this as a trial. We typically recommend that the ladies get their makeup done and a manicure—regardless of anything, we will be photographing your ring and the last thing you want is chipped nail polish. For the gents, we recommend getting a haircut prior to the shoot and also making sure their nails are manicured.

10.  How do we make the most of our session? Rely on your photographer’s creative input and don’t be afraid to take risks. This may involve some out of the ordinary concepts—but if you want those unique photos that no one else has, trust in your artist. While the photographer is trying to capture the essence of your relationship, remember to act natural, don’t be afraid to play up your relationship by kissing and embracing for the camera.

 Engagement sessions are a great way to create long-lasting memories to share with your friends, family and future generations.  Do some research before deciding on location and don’t be afraid to ask to meet or Skype with your photographer to come up with some creative ideas! We always enjoy sending our favorite photos from Pinterest and magazines to help spark the creative juices!

Please visit our facebook to view our engagement photos or our website for more information! http://www.carriewestonstudios.com

Capturing all of your personalities

First, let me say that being a gemini woman, being able to capture the multiple personalities of one woman, is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve heard my friends say “Its interesting with Carrie – you never know who you’re going to get – Elegant Carrie, Goth Carrie, Shy Carrie, Tough Carrie… Its a new mystery every day.” While some can’t even begin to deal with this, the ones that can are my closest, truest friends. We have all seen so many sides to the people that we love and care about; and Sharon walked in to our studio with this request – “I want to show who I am – all sides of me.” Sharon, elegant, artistic, not just out of high school, but not yet a junior in college, with a really unique personality that we knew we’d love to explore. Here are a few shots that came from Sharon’s session at Carrie Weston Studios in East Northport, New York; with make up by Betty Lynn Tims.

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To view the rest of the album, check out our Face Book Page.

My recommendation for other photographers (and something clients should look for in their photographers too!) – Get to know your client. Don’t just book a session and say “Great see you then!” For how can you truly capture the essence of who a person is without never taking the time to speak to them? Find out their likes, their dislikes. What is their favorite movie? Why? What kind of art are they attracted to? What kind of activities are they attracted to? Musician? Loves Cirque du Soleil? Loves France? Hates skirts? Loves rock climbing? Into Elizabethan style dress? Whatever it is, whoever your client is, know them. Take the time to sit them down in your studio over a cup of coffee or tea and really know them. Plan out your shoots. Give them the best experience of their lives and show them what it is you see when you look through your lens. Show them the beauty that is.

Why High School Seniors are Breaking Away from Tradition

The New Portrait: Why High School Seniors are Breaking Away from Tradition
By: Theresa Weston, Partner, Carrie Weston Studios

High School Senior PortraitToday’s seniors are looking for a fresh alternative to their senior portrait—a photograph that embodies who they are within this moment in their lives. After all, in a world driven by social media and the here and now, why would the senior of 2013 be interested in the boring, outdated pose?   You know the one with the gray backdrop that looks exactly like your grandparents, grandparents hanging on the wall.

The change is in that all senior portraits don’t have to look the same, in fact they

High School Senior Portrait shouldn’t.  A senior portrait should catch the essence of who this young adult really is at this moment in their life. Whether they are a runner;  a musician; gothic; preppy; an artist; a reader; a writer; a fashionista… whatever their style, whatever their personality, the bottom line is that everyone is DIFFERENT and their portrait should be too.

My sister, currently a freshman in college, refused to let my parents purchase the traditional photograph. Instead, she sought out a photographer and ensured she had a shoot that showcased her personality: an artist, a singer, a performer…she went up on the stage with a microphone and her instrument and hanging on the wall at my mother’s is just that…Catherine Weston, holding the microphone for all eternity. So what should you look for when booking your photo shoot?

  1. Meet with the photographer. Make sure that the photographer has experience with senior portraiture—there is an art behind posing, lighting and selecting the right scenery, make sure they’re credible.
  2. Have a conversation. Let the photographer know exactly what you’re looking for…are you looking for a shoot on the beach, with family, in the City? Having an idea about what you’re looking for before meeting with the photographer can help eliminate hidden fees and ensure that you’re shoot is moving in the direction you want it to.
  3. Ask about make-up and styling (this goes for the men too!). In specific lighting with a strong flash, you want to make sure your eyes pop and your teeth shine…ask if the photographer will be providing you with a licensed stylist—understand that the images online and in their marketing material more than likely had an artist in the room.
  4. Social Sharing. How easy will it be to see and post your pictures?
  5. Printing and packaging. Always ask about what type of printing and packaging is offered—with a true studio, you will not be forced into the traditional packages of wallets and 8×10 prints—you’ll have the freedom to print on canvas, posters and receive custom framing.

High School Senior Portrai Long Island New YorkConsidering the shoots I’ve had the privilege of going on, it makes me jealous that I don’t have a picture of myself at 18 on the track to show my kids. I hated dresses, I hated make-up and straightening my hair, and that’s exactly what’s hanging on the wall in my living room—someone else, which will be the monumental image for generations in my family to gawk at.

Gone are the days of the traditional…these young men and women are about to embark upon the world—it’s time their images resonated just that.

Theresa Weston is a national award winning marketer who is  a partner at Carrie Weston Studios. With years of marketing experience, Theresa is adept at understanding client needs, working within budgets and turning a creative idea into a reality. She co-founded Pandora Marketing Consultants and Carrie Weston Studios with her partner, Carrie-Anne in 2011, and has since then won numerous awards and has been featured in several local publications. As a second-shooter and adept at thinking on her feet and multi-tasking, Theresa is responsible for ensuring all shoots run smoothly and those candid, memorable moments are caught on film. For more information, visit www.carriewestonstudios.com.