Tag Archives: photographer

A Touch of Grace: Classic Portraits

We live in an era where everyone needs a proper portrait. With social media becoming our first impression, it’s more important now than it ever was to put our best face forward. And, that’s why I have started telling people that by the time they enter the working world, they need a good head shot.

All that said, there’s a big divide about what a proper portrait or head shot should look like and how to do one. I think the best are those that help a person shine, and engage the viewer. And so, that’s why I love finding that connection in the eyes and keeping the set up simple, yet classic.

I was thrilled to capture my cousin’s portrait. She’s full of beauty from the heart. My hope is that I was able to capture the grace she has as a woman and her fun personality.

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And, she deserves praise for being so patient to see her photos, as I captured her portraits just before leaving for Bolivia!

What I Learned From A Model

I never would have thought that I would know a fashion photographer. But, as I’m growing in my work, I’m meeting other photographers from various genres. Last year, while taking a Creative Live course in studio lighting, I had the opportunity to befriend Alecia Lindsey. We got together just this past month to practice what we had learned, and she coordinated work with a model, Jessica Marie Cantu.

This was a really fun opportunity and I am so glad I finally worked with a real model and got to see a fashion photographer in action…and I finally am starting to feel confident with my studio lighting work!

Jessica Cantu by Holli Margell

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My passion is to help everybody, no matter what shape or size, look and feel beautiful in photographs. While I do get inspired by images in fashion magazines, my focus is really on captivating portraits. Until last month, I have only photographed what I call “real women” – but the truth is that we are all real women. And, I realized that while I had the opportunity to work with a model. Yes, she was able to move her body in ways many of us cannot, but she is just as kind and real as all the real women I know.

I also realized this while walking through some mud in the green space while talking with another mother as our kids played. She talked about an article where a ballerina defended the wear and tear on her feet (often regarded as ugly and inhumane) as akin to the hands of a wood worker, a craftsmen. The ballerina was proud of her feet. That gave me an “aha!” moment where I thought about how we are all so different and about how art and media tries to celebrate only a fraction of the body of humanity.

This changes the way I see myself as a photographer. I used to use the phrase, “photographing real women” and I want to change that. I need to stop buying into the divisiveness that kind of language reaffirms. We’re all real. Instead, I will say I aim to capture the beauty in everyone.

Tree Woman Project: Douglas Fir

In the spirit of the season, the Douglas Fir tree was the inspiration for this Tree Woman portrait session. At this maturity, the Douglas Fir looks an awful lot like a classic Christmas tree. Cassie was my intrepid model who braved the cold, rainy day with as much excitement as I had for our photo-project adventure.

Her style is fun and very Seattle, so I had to snap a few photos of her dressed normally before she went into Fairy-tale beauty mode (a mix of Tinkerbell and Peter Pan suits her)…here’s my favorite:

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From Seattle girl to Beauty girl:

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Going with the fun feel of the dreary-dreamy weather, we adventured nearby to some other parts of the Duwamish Greenspace, and found a few perfect spots for exploration. Even though this wasn’t part of the Douglas Fir themed shoot, I just love them. It feels like a story is waiting to be written about these scenes…and, sadly I don’t know what types of trees they were – they are prefect for a woodland story!

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And last but not least, a little admiration for old snag of a tree, the decay process revealing an ornate pattern:

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She is more than just beauty too – a woman in the Seattle Tech world, I greatly admire. Big thanks to Cassie for being my model!

New Year, New Direction!

FBCover14ReviewNot all of the portraits and special events I had the pleasure of capturing in 2014 fit in this collage – but it’s a good representation of what the year has held.

Since August 2014, when I decided to pursue portraiture and not solely fine art nature photography, I have been overwhelmed with gratitude for each portrait I had the pleasure of capturing.

What a year of learning and growing! I honestly love to learn so it has been a fun year, even thought those learning curves brought a lot of self-doubt. I am sure I will always be my own worst critique. But, I am proud of what I can do to capture each of you…here’s a peek at the ways I’ve grown in a year:

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Onward to 2015!

Changing Focus: This will be my year of growing the Portraiture side of my business. I will keep capturing beauty in fine art photography, but will only be showing that in the Etsy shop. In an effort to hold myself accountable and actually get new work up, I will be rotating the photographs in there quarterly to match the season.

Building Business: One of the most important things I’ve learned last year was about how much I love to collaborate and help small business owners tell their story. So, while I will still be offering portraits to families, and pursuing my dream to learn non-profit photography with my Bolivia trip, I’ll also be helping local businesses.

Keep In Touch: I honestly haven’t been consistent with my email newsletter. Now, I have to confess that I will miss the art shows and craft fairs, because that was the only chance I had to connect with those of you who love my art photography. Those two things will mean that I will keep in touch more often via email!

To a brighter 2015,

Holli

 

Professional Portraits: Ready To Thrive

Do you have a professional portrait?

I’m not talking about the ones where your office wants to update the company directory and hires someone to come on in and photograph everyone in 5 minute intervals like you’re back in grade school. I’m talking about a portrait that you can be proud of and share across your social media channels.

Did you know that people judge you by your profile photo first? We might not want to admit it, but we are visual creatures.

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©Holli with an i photography
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©Holli with an i photography
©Holli with an i photography
©Holli with an i photography

I’ve been studying fashion portraiture for a few years now, and while the fashion world doesn’t appeal to me, the art of it does. So, I apply some of that to my portraiture for professionals. This way, I can accentuate your features with the best lighting, and even offer wardrobe suggestions – are you looking for a new job or a sweetheart? Subtle things like the color of your shirt to your eye contact with the lens can make all the difference.

I had a client recently who suddenly found herself in need of a head shot for a professional event, and all she had was a passport photo of herself. She hates have her photograph taken, and I was certain I could do better than that myself. Luckily, I was able to rush her session, and help her put her best face forward.

So, if you’re thinking about getting your portrait taken, but don’t feel like the most photogenic person, trust me, get it done. Find a photographer whose personality you click with and get out in front of the camera. No one should be stuck using a passport photograph!

From online dating to a new LinkedIn profile portrait, a professional portrait will help you shine.

Ready For The Journey

I like to think of life like a surfing metaphor – there are always waves, some are stronger than others, and some will even carry you along when you didn’t want it to but sometimes you can pick which one to ride. The ride can end in a crash or leave you exhilarated and ready for another.  While I haven’t surfed since I was 19, I have experienced the beauty of riding along some big changes in my life.PacificWaves_HolliMargell (1)

Learning and doing non-profit photography is one wave I want to ride. For the Workshops With A Purpose Bolivia trip, it has been postponed until April 2015. It’s like a wave I know I want to ride, but it’s farther out than I expected. Which, after the initial disappointment is actually a good thing. I will have more time to get our family into a routine with the school year, and more time to earn the funds to go.

So, while it might appear like I’m putting this goal on the back burner, I’m actually working on it through my other endeavors. Every portrait session and all of my art photography sold will go toward my Bolivia Trip. I started a Bolivia page here on the site so that you can check out my progress, and I’ll only post an update once a month. That way, this site can get back to business!

Speaking of business, I am happy to share that I now offer studio sessions – we no longer have to schedule around the weather. These are at no additional cost, and are available at your request.

Thank you for reading,

Holli

 

Behind the Scenes Portraits: Studio Lighting

Almost exactly one month after taking The Lighting Challenge: Natural vs. Studio lighting course, I booked several hours at Urban Light Studio to practice what I learned. I was giddy, nervous and excited – like the first day of school or something. Part of my nervousness came from my photography posse: I had a Make Up Artist, a fellow photographer, models and my kids along for the sessions!

Erin at Studio 3 Cubed captured me in action!
©Studio 3 Cubed Erin at Studio 3 Cubed captured me in action!
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Blue eyed beauties!

 

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©Studio 3 Cubed Getting down at baby-level…
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I love how the black backdrop highlights their gorgeous hair and eyes.
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Such sweet smiles!
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©Studio 3 Cubed Behind the scenes…
Yes, that's my girl helping to make the baby smile!
©Studio 3 Cubed
Yes, that’s my girl helping to make the baby smile!

The experience was so much fun that I want to host a photographer’s playdate there sometime soon. A huge thank you to Erin at Studio 3 Cubed for being such a wonderful assistant and capturing these behind-the scenes photos!

And, I have learned that I need to work on my editing and lighting skills. I really love how these portraits turned out, but I haven’t nailed it since they don’t have the same natural light feel that my other portraits possess. I want to have consistency in my work whether in the studio or at the park.

P.S. You must check out her gorgeous beauty portraiture.

Shifting my focus toward a dream

February was a difficult month. I didn’t blog because it was the month that asked hard questions of the heart. I did my business taxes, and found that I didn’t make a profit. Again, I came close within a few hundred dollars, but as my family is growing and needing more space, clothes, food, etc, I had to admit that I can not keep investing in my fine art photography.

I felt the shift before my husband and I had a hard talk about what I’m doing with my art. It feels like I have failed. I have worked hard and done the best job I could, but it has not been enough to make any money. I’ve learned so much about the local art scene, and have met many wonderful artists in my community. And, I’m grateful for the experience. At least I can say that I tried my best.

A tiny Dogwood art print
A tiny Dogwood art print.

I wont’ be pursuing my art photography fully. I still have lots of art products (magnets, iphone cases, postcards, etc), and will be doing one last art fair to do a “Studio Clearance” where I will sell everything at cost to clear out our garage. I realized that I would rather see my work in the hands of someone who can appreciate it and not make a profit than to have it sit in a box in my garage. And, I’ll keep my etsy shop up to sell all the prints I have in a box since they need a good home!

White Beach Fauna ©Holli wtih an i Framed Art print
White Beach Fauna ©Holli wtih an i Framed Art print.

As many of those close to me know, I will never stop photographing beautiful things I see in life everyday, and someday I hope to share them again as a fine art photographer. But now, I must shift my focus my love of photography as a service to capture people. The truth is that when I started to play with photography as an art form, I focused on people. So, I’m going back to my roots…

While sharing this news with my creative friends, I was reminded that fun is a key to all of my art photography, and I think the theme in my art. I hope to capture the fun that people have in their lives!

My dream is to help support my family by photographing people in a “wonderland” setting that reflects what they love like I did with my children in a local garden:

©Holli with an i photograph The kind of Wonderland photography I dream of doing full time.
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The kind of Wonderland photography I dream of doing full time.

 

A First Family Portrait!

I had the honor of giving this beautiful family their first portrait session. They were funny, well prepared and had the most serious almost two-year-old I have ever met! He was adorable and I have to admit that as a Mom myself, I was happy to see that he didn’t take to a stranger like me with a big camera too quickly…

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Since this photo session, I’ve heard from a few other families with kids under 6 years old. They haven’t gotten a family portrait done because their kids are too antsy to sit or they don’t have the budget.

I totally understand where they are coming from, and did my best to do our own family portraits for a couple of years after baby number 2 entered the scene. But, I have to tell you something. I have only met one child who sat still and followed directions for a family portrait. One. They are children after all, and a good photographer will work with you and them to capture those heart melting smiles.

If you need a little more inspiration, Mallory MacDonald wrote a great piece about being a family photographer on LisaJo Baker’s Blog last month: Tips for Taking Christmas Card Photos.

And, as for the cost, well, all I can say is that for our family, we budget for it just like we do Christmas gifts. Our annual family photo is my favorite gift of all (and one I get to be included in).

So, don’t wait until you think your kids will sit still, because life as it is is beautiful!

Home Sweet Home

I discovered something fantastic and am so pleased to share this with you: My new favorite portrait package! After doing some architectural photography, I was inspired to combine it with my love of photojournalism, and am now offering a life style portrait session.

How It Works:

This new package is perfect for the family who has a new home, a recent renovation, a life style blogger, or an amazing garden they wish to capture and remember for generations.

We will have a consultation visit for about 30 minutes to talk about the spaces you want photographed, and the best daylight timing. And, I love to offer suggestions for how to stage furniture or treasures so that your space will shine. Then, our photo session lasts up to 2 hours so that we can capture your home and a handful of portraits in your favorite spaces.

The package looks something like this, delivered in a box with prints and digital files:
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The session lasts up to 2 hours, and includes up to 3 traditional portraits in your favorite spaces. Includes 20-30 Proof prints, 3- 8x10s in an archival box, $295
I am now booking sessions for the New Year! Please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details.
Xo,
Holli