A message to new photographers.

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To any new photographers out there. Please do not WORRY about the competition. It is way more important to create what you love, not what someone else loves. You will rise to the top much faster by being true to yourself and only comparing yourself to what you were yesterday – with your eyes continuing to look at how you can improve yourself tomorrow.

~Jeanine Thurston

 

A fun day of play at the studio.

JS_JTP_005Sometimes you need one of those creative days when you can just shoot what you want how you want to.  It helps when you have some amazing people to work with too.  Viqui Westenhaver from Skye Salon and Spa whipped up an amazing hair day for Jill Scott – who got to be model and MUA for the day.  Image

Thanks for the fun ladies and getting us all out of a “cleaning” day! lol

A letter on my door step: waves formation.

I’ve decided to continue on with 3 more posts on “A letter on my door step.”  This will be post 3 of 5 total before the end of this blog heading. I feel like after the mass distribution and hundreds of thousands that have graced the pages, e-mailed me, and all of the amazing stories that I’ve had the chance to read, that I need to follow through for all that have started following my blog because of the post.  In case you’ve missed any up until now, here is the order or far and what to expect coming up.

1. A letter on my door step: Portraits are more than paper

2. A letter on my door step: The follow-up

3. A letter on my door step: Waves formation (the post you are on right now)

4. A letter on my door step: Picture the results (coming soon)

5. A letter on my door step: Family (coming soon)

So obviously I’m sure to most that have been reading my recent posts and seeing the mass response – my personal view of what has happened is best described as a wave formation.  Lovely description of such a thing in nature can be found at Action Sports Maui.  I have personally had such extreme highs and lows the past 3 days – but I stand strong in the fact that I believe I did the right thing by posting the letter.  The stories/experiences/feelings that came pouring in to me are overwhelming, while giving me such renewed faith in human nature and the the value of family, love and the healing power a photograph can give to them.

Emotions that have been expressed mostly by communications to me from viewers: Belonging – Love – Sorrow – Pride – Calm – Gratitude/Thanks – Empathy – Will… and that is just to start.

Call to action was what amazed me the most.  I’ve had so many people telling me they picked up their cameras to photograph their loved ones immediately.

I guess from here, I would love to share a few images from my readers out there.  If you happen to have picked up your camera and have taken a shot of a family member because of reading this post – or if you had some images taken at a portrait session, please share.  Feel free to e-mail them to me at my gmail account: fototails@gmail.com.  I of course can’t post everything everyone sends, so don’t feel slighted if I don’t post yours – but would love to post a few on my next post.  I’ll just take the first 6 or 7 images I receive.  Please – if you send something that a professional photographer took, also send a release with it and if you are the photographer, please include a logo on your image so you get credit.  Only rated “G” photos please!  If you have a little paragraph to go with an image about you or how this impacted you – I would love to add a little about it too.

Jeanine Thurston Photography

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A letter on my door step: The follow-up

Ok – honestly, I had absolutely no idea what would happen over the last 24 hours.  Although I’ve been in professional photography for around 24 years – I did not set out to post something that would be passed along to so many people.  Today, my e-mail, blog & twitter were turned upside down with mass communication beyond comprehension.  95% of the voices I heard through Facebook, Twitter, E-mail as well as blog posts were a grouping of similar stories, people who could really relate, and thankful people that loved the reminder to give a little more love an attention to those that you love around you.  About 3% were questions about me, about the family, and about photography.  That left a very small 2% that found the blog post offensive and questioned my integrity in doing so.  Looking at the percentages – I will say that there will always be a few nay sayers and negative people, but the astonishing positive and thankful feedback actually has left me in tears over half the past day.  So I went to the studio with no make-up, hair in a mess and nice big puffy eyes – and am grateful for all of the stories shared from all corners of the globe.

Just because everyone isn’t rosy and positive doesn’t mean they don’t have a valid perspective, so I feel like I should address some questions in today’s post.  These are answers to only questions I’ve received up until now – and I apologize if I’ve missed something from any of you, and will try to go through and e-mail some people directly as well.

** Were you blocking a lot of negative comments so far?

Actually no. I have currently only “unapproved” 5 posts so far… all of which contained either foul language or I felt were bashing the feelings of sincere people that posted comments on my blog.  I e-mailed a response to each person that I “unapproved” explaining exactly why I had done so, as well as addressing their concerns or harsh words.

** Is Karen still alive? Can you post photos of her and her family?

Sorry to say that she has passed.  I do have images from past sessions and wedding; however I and the family do not feel it is the right place to put faces to her words – as her words speak for themselves.  They prefer not to be recognized, or contacted – especially with young children involved.  Morning and dealing with a sever loss is really a personal matter – and it is a very fragile situation.

** Was the post a marketing ploy or hoax?

No.  The only benefit I feel from this is that others can bond and feel some greater picture.  I have my own family, a full-time business and want to pass along how important loving relationships are or can be to my children.  Cancer has hit close to home in my family as well – and it was a very awakening experience for me.  A reminder of how quickly life passes, and how even I put off photos with my children.  As photographers, we are behind the camera – and the nudge that this letter provided me was to do more portraits with my husband and children…. and ME in the photograph.  It’s about setting aside the thought of a few extra wrinkles, or couple extra pound because you don’t feel like you look perfect and getting in front of the camera for sentiment sake.  Unfortunately I don’t think I could possibly convince some people of this – but I felt like I still needed to try to explain my actual intent.  I by no means believe this was her last “wish” as one so un-kindly put either.  I know her and I also know that she probably sat down and wrote a number of letters to people because that is the kind of person she was.  Loving.

** Do I expect people to spend thousands on photography?

That is quite a personal decision and really – with my own family and trying to support them on a photographer’s budget I have to tighten my belt too.   I am all to familiar with paycheck to paycheck.  So in short… NO… that isn’t something I would demand or expect – or force anyone into.  Many seem to be un-aware that photographers are small business owners – we are no different than anyone else with a job (except we rarely get a steady paycheck).  We have lots of bills, many of us have families, we pay our own insurance –  if we are pros and we also have increasingly large over head expenses with continually upgrading equipment & computers.  We work all hours day and night too.  It is as far from a 9-5 job as most will ever understand.  Many photographers (myself included) have actually lowered our rates or offer payment options or packages to make it easier if a client chooses to hire us for their memories.

I want to make it abundantly clear that at least 90% off all my photographs of my family and children are “candid” on the fly and “in the moment.”  And yes – these are prized by me just as much as the professional looking images.

** Guilt trip?

Well – I guess you can call it what you would like.  Some people have called it a real awakening, some have said thank you for the reminder, and some have said I was a awful person too.

Here is my opinion.. or view I guess you can say:

“Call it whatever you want!  I LOVE MY FAMILY.  I know now more than ever that there are hundreds of thousands of people that feel love for their families and friends.  If yesterday’s post made just ONE of you pick up your camera and take a family photo or a few extra shots of your children or parents/grandparents then that 2% that are disgusted with me, don’t matter – my love and concern is with those that the post touched in a positive way.  I would love to photograph as many people as possible in my lifetime, but it makes me happy just to know that others out there do see value in what a photograph IS.  It is beautiful memories of past lives, the building blocks of who you are today and who you will be tomorrow, and it is stories for  children and generations to come.”

I am very proud to be a professional photographer

I am proud to be in a profession that touches so many people in an amazing – astounding way for generations behind and ahead of me.

I am proud that I can see beauty in everyone…. EVERYONE.

For all photographers out there – professional or not – be proud that you record our history, love and our lives.  For clients or potential clients… we photograph people because we love the spirit and uniqueness of every person.

I wish everyone a beautiful and heart-felt 2012!!!!  My many thanks to everyone that has and will post about their experiences.  I enjoy reading and hearing about all of the amazing connections out there and have had many e-mails and posts stating how much they appreciate everyone posting and seeing all of the love and kindness!

Here is the link to the post that this follow-up refers to as well:

https://fototails.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/a-letter-on-my-doorstep-portraits-are-more-than-paper/

A letter on my door step. portraits are more than paper.

There will be no portrait photos in this post.  This letter wasn’t mailed – it was at my doorstep when I got home a couple months ago.  I read it, I cried, and read it again – probably a hundred times by now.  It wasn’t easy to read – and honestly, as much as it validates what I do for a living – I wasn’t sure I was going to share it either.  If you choose to read through the letter, you will know why I’ve finally chosen to share it.

July 2nd, 2011

Jeanine – 

Today I am writing for a couple of reasons.  I have some quiet time at the moment and need to get a couple of things off my mind.  I will leave this for my husband to deliver to you when he is ready.

You photographed my wedding, you photographed my first pregnancy and my first baby.  I contacted you awhile back to photograph my 2nd child and family.  After getting prices and realizing I would want all of the pictures as we love your work – I decided against spending $500+ – which is what I normally spend for portraits and prints with you..  Please know it is not because I don’t value your amazing eye, or how much we love the experience.

That week that I decided to NOT do a session with you, this is how I spent some money.

On Sunday I called and cancelled our session.  Monday I went out and got my hair cut ($39+tip), and colored ($65), Thursday I had my nails done ($24), my family went out to dinner at a somewhat expensive restaurant for no particular reason costing us $79 + tip.  This was just 4 days since canceling our session, already totaling over $200 for un necessary things.  My nails only lasted about 2 weeks, my hair is gone, and seven weeks passed when I got the phone call from our doctor.  It was not something I expected and the cancer has spread very quickly.  I will be leaving my husband, my 6 year old girl and my now 2 year old – not by choice.  It is very hard for me to talk about it which is why I need to write you.

I watch your Facebook page and your posts about the value of a photo and if I could give back all of those things that I purchased this few weeks after I cancelled my session with you, knowing what I know now, and have that session, well… I would do it in a heartbeat. 

Now my time is done and there are no more chances for me.  The next time someone cancels a session – my wish is that you forward this letter to them.  Time is fragile, it is gone before you know you had it.  If you charged $200 for one print it wouldn’t be enough for what it is actually worth.  I cringe to think that my priorities were a manicure over a memory to pass onto my babies and husband.

My love and thanks for what you have given us from past photos.  I am so sorry that I did not see it as more than paper until now.

Karen L.

Wedding Inspiration: Vintage Romance

We all have vendors that we have worked with or just love, if you are in the wedding industry – you know exactly what I mean.  Your personalities click, each helps the other and you become in theory a dream team because you all have the same amazing goal to make a wedding perfect.  While we don’t always get to choose who we work with at a wedding, in about April this year I wanted to have a chance to work with some of my favorite people in the wedding industry and do an inspirational photo-shoot.

Sunset

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Originally it started small, Melissa Schans (model/actress) was all excited and we were planning for sometime in May 2011.  I gathered a couple of vendors that were willing to work on this project, but as you can’t control everything that happens – if we would have done the shoot in May I would not have had Samantha Koch as my MUY/Hairstylist.  We decided to post-pone so that she could still be part of this production.  In the end, it was good that we waited – because good turned into great.

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Julia Kaaren, owner of Mulberries Flowers was in the group from the start.  She has amazing energy along with a creative eye – and well – of course I just love her dearly as a vendor and person.  I am forever grateful that she brought Jon Taugher into the shoot as he had some amazing Retro Bicycles that added some fantastic imagery.

Then of course there is Susan Dillon of Kitty Mae Millinery.  I had never met her personally… fb friends, and of course Melissa always spoke highly of her.  Above all, her artistry in hair pieces speaks for itself.  Then after some chats on facebook… there was not a doubt in my mind that our personalities clicked.

In July, after having a hundred dreams about what I wanted this shoot to look like; let’s be honest, I couldn’t make it all happen while working a full schedule and with two kids at home on top of it.  I put a post on ISES board for a wedding planner, and Isabelle and I met for coffee a couple of days later.  Loved her, and could tell she “got” what I wanted to photograph and she organized my mind for me along with every other detail.  We also brought in LeAnne to assist her in some of the details as well.

Katharine Salzgeber of BoutiqueDeBijoux jumped right in with her hand-made jewelry designs.  They are beautiful, one of a kind pieces that fit so perfectly with our look.

Then of course there is Blushing Bride Colorado.  Danielle has a beautiful little boutique dress salon in Windsor, Colorado.  I’ve known Danielle for many years and she jumped right in, providing us with dresses for our models to fit the look we were going for in this project.

Melissa Schans was in from the start.  She has done some bridal modeling for me before and she is an instant sell when it comes to bridal modeling.  She has all the poses, expressions – and best of all she makes everyone smile.

Brittany Quinn, I had the opportunity to photograph this summer and was so happy that she was able to be a part of this photo-shoot.  Fresh… just back from spending some time in China – I’m surprized that she didn’t still have jet-lag from such a long trip, and she looked amazing.

Kirsten Sletten, was the third model for our shoot.. and I so wanted to bring her on sooner but I had already had another model at the time and didn’t want to have too many.  But, the instant that the other model wasn’t able to make it – I couldn’t have been happier to have Kirsten come on!  What a beauty – and hope I get the chance to photograph her again – she is gorgeous.

Then of course comes THE MAKERY.  I was at the Grant Humphrey Bridal show when I first got to taste their cupcakes, and I’ve been sold on them ever sense.  Yum, beautiful, great to work with.  Will always refer them – love them and their creations.  Even my husband is completely sold on that they have the best tasting cake EVER as he would put it.

Pampered Passions also was kind enough to loan us a vintage piece for some shots.  Beautiful quality.

Then last, but certainly not least, Michael Sasser.  He was my wild-card.  I had never worked with him, never met him, and two days before the shoot he agreed to take some video and create a little vendor promo for us.  I’ll be honest, I’ve worked with a lot of videographers – and the talent really varies a ton, so I went by a referral from another photographer with my fingers crossed.  I can not say enough about how amazing the video he created was, and loved working with him.  Personality… love, video… love, and the simple fact that he pulled it together so quickly for me was amazing.  Many, many thanks to him and he has definitely made it to #1 on my referral list.


A little stress the few days before when the weather people were forecasting 30% chance of rain.  We ended up getting 100 degrees that day and sun… with the storm moving in just in time to give us some great images and give us a few sprinkles right as we were finishing the shoot.

In my mind – it went AMAZING… wouldn’t have done anything different and we have some great images, video and made a few more long-lasting friends in the process.

VENDOR LIST

KITTIE MAE MILLINERY  l  MULBERRIES FLOWERS l  LADYCHARM ARTISTRY l  ISABELLE KLINE l FOTOTAILS PHOTOGRAPHY l  MICHAEL SASSER VIDEOGRAPHY l BLUSHING BRIDE COLORADO l THE MAKERY l BOUTIQUE DE BIJOUX l RECYCLED VINTAGE BICYCLES

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

A day of bridal fashion photography

Fashionista

Sunday – Sept. 26th finally!  After about 6-8 weeks of planning/coordinating… and more, it all came together perfectly.  Beautiful upper 80s for weather… bright sun, everyone involved showed up on time or early.  I have had a chance to work with Heathyrre Kautz a few times over recent months and she again… worked her magic on the models turning the canvas into absolute perfection, and Claudia Opara was assisting Heathyrre.  Berenice worked on hair…. and when she arrived she was a little quiet… with a little nerves because it was actually the day before her wedding.  While the models rotated in and out of chairs between make up and hair the ones on break poured over bridal magazines and chit chat until everyone was ready to go to play dress up for the afternoon.  David was the lucky “groom” for my ladies, with huge beautiful light brown eyes that would make about any girl melt.  To round out the models we had Tristin Huntamer, Rachel Vigil, Melissa Schans,  and Courtney Dalton.  Newberry Brothers provided us with a couple beautiful bouquets, and I did a quick stop at Fun Services to add balloons to a few shots too.  Danielle from Blushing Bride Colorado met us at the park with so many beautiful gowns, and even a tux for David.  It was a completely exhausting day – but so much fun, and loving the images that we all managed as a team.

I would love for you to visit the little video we put together with some selects from the shoot : Bridal Fashion

Black and White

Food Photography

PEI Vita Denver

Vita Denver: P.E.I. Mussels

As many of you have seen this year, I’ve been photographing a lot of food lately.  Although I’ve been photographing food, commercial and product photography for over 2 decades – 2010 has been an amazing year for food.  With the 2011 MUY BUENO calendar out for sale now, and the MUY BUENO COOKBOOK being published in 2011 we have been continuously photographing old and new recipes for the calendar, book and blogs.  In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph for some amazing new clients this year  like Vita and 1515 and Blue River Bistro – to name a few.

What will 2011 bring?  Looking forward to so many things I don’t know where to start.  We will be having a book release party for MUY BUENO, I’m working on a photography book that we have planned for publish late 2011 or early 2012, and a couple photography classes I’ll be teaching also at the end of 2011.  This of course in addition to photographing for my wonderful clients.

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Some amazing websites and blogs that we have been very proud to be featured on this year:

Mexconnect

Always a great time for family portraits.

From retro to classic, indoors and out – there really isn’t a bad time for family portraits or portraits of your children.  Each session can be custom to whatever you love most at the moment.  It’s ALWAYS a good thing to indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events.

For some really special packages you don’t want to miss, please visit our November 2010 Fototails Newsletter.  We have some great holiday gift ideas, including some unbeatable gift card offers.

Follow us on TWITTER too!

Fototails Photography

Murray Family - 2010

Wedding photography Q & A

Every bride that I meet with has so many questions about their wedding photography.  Here are a few of the most frequent questions with answers, or suggestions for you to make everything go just right for your wedding day!

What style of photography is important, and what style of photography do I want for my wedding?  Each bridal couple will definitely find photographic styles that are more pleasing to their eye.  It is so important to know what you like visually, but it is also very important that you know what is going to be important to you in the future when you are pouring over photographs of your wedding day.  We suggest a photography style that will combine photojounalism of all those candid moments with a photographer that is also a professional portrait photographer so that you get proper group shots as well.  While the group portraits can be fun and outgoing (not just stand up  in a straight line), you want a photographer that can photograph with proper lighting to make everyone look their best too. 

Black & White vs. Color?  While most of my wedding clients come in wanting the photojounalistic b&w images that look fine art… when I poll them after their wedding I have had about 90% return feedback that although they still loved some b&w images for their wedding album, they actually preferred most of the images in color.  Many bridal couples love the b&w artistic looking images… but when you have spent all of your time planning your wedding & decorations… picking your colors… and venue – it is very important to have a good representation of that.  This isn’t coming from me as a photographer – this is what I have received in feedback from actual wedding clients year after year.

Is liking your photographer important?  MOST DEFINITELY!  Although it is just as important to find a photographer that is good at what they do… natural expressions don’t always just happen.  When you can smile and laugh with your photographer and feel comfortable being with them it is going to make it so much easier on your wedding day.  If your photographer will fit in well with family and friends they will be able to get all of those candid moments much easier giving your images a more “insider” feel.

 I don’t really need a wedding album do I?  Many bridal couples will pass on a wedding album thinking that they will have a DVD of images and put something together themself.  Most of the time, unfortunately, those images sit on DVD and never make it to an album at all.  Professional wedding album layouts can really tell the story of your wedding day and is something that becomes an heirloom for future generations.  We have a 99% return of clients that didn’t order album within 3 years coming back to ask us to do an album for them for this very reason.  Our suggestion… do an album with your wedding photography package, it will save you money in the long run.

What time of day should I do my wedding?  Many clients see album/photography samples and fall in love with the photographers’ work.  Then they plan their wedding only to get their images back and wonder what went wrong.  If you tend to enjoy images with soft lighting and scenic panoramas, then plan your wedding time with your photographer to capture these images.  The same goes for the wedding reception… if you don’t want dark images, it may be a better plan to do your wedding earlier in the day.  Sunset photos?  The same applies…. while official sunset time may be 7pm on a given day…. that doesn’t mean that is the best time for sunset shots.  Typically for the photographer, sunset images are actually better captured and hour or two before sunset – so plan your wedding accordingly if that is what is most important to you. 

 Backing up files – what is important?  Digital photography has made leaps and bounds and is definitely the choice of most photographers as well as clients as you get so many more images and coverage of your wedding day.  Make sure your photographer is protecting your investment.  Backing up files on-site before leaving the wedding site is very important… it puts you and your photographer at ease.  Then knowing that images are also backed up off-site from the photographers location is another really good idea… the more places they are the more assured you can be that your images are safe!

 More questions?  leave us a comment and we will be happy to answer all of your wedding planning & photography questions!!!contact-image.jpg