The Great Email List

When I started my business, one of the ideas I had was a monthly newsletter to keep my clients informed, offer specials etc. I started collecting my client’s emails on my paperwork, with a little tickbox for “yes, send me the awesome!”, or something like that.

That was 5 years ago.

Yesterday I finally got it set up.

Today, I’m offering you a limited time, special discount, comes with a free chef knife (no it doesn’t) offer to sign up.

What’s the benefit? Well, I’m glad you asked. You see. Um.

Hrm.

You get to read what I write, every once in a while?

Well. This is easier. Here are some things that won’t happen as a result of you signing up.

  • I will not spam you
  • I will not charge you money for the emails
  • As a result of signing up, you will not give me irrevocable, worldwide rights to claim your first born. (even if you wanted to)
  • You will not see pictures of me clubbing baby seals.  That’s just not on.

So, what are the benefits?  For serious.

  • I will email you occasionally
  • You will get first chance at special offers, made only to my email list – like discounts on sessions etc.
  • I will do at least one, maybe more, giveaways or contests.  Available only to email subscribers – and you won’t have to go through a complicated entry process every time – just signing up once is enough.
  • You may find that in 24 hours after signing up, visible signs of aging have decreased.  Then again, this isn’t face cream, so that may not happen.

I hope you want to read what I write, and get whatever awesomeness I can think of.  I’m always willing to listen to suggestions, so feel free to email me with what you think an occasional email newsletter should include.  I won’t promise to obey you, but I’ll at least think about it.

To sign up, you can click the “Contact” page above, or you can visit this link: http://mad.ly/signups/69652/join

Go ahead and click it.  I’ll wait.

And I’ll see you in your inbox later.  It’s a date.

Posted in Promotions, Updates

Cariboo Central Interior Image Competition and Critique

Last week a photographer I greatly look up to asked me to fill in as a replacement judge in the photography competition she is sponsoring.  I may have squee-d a bit.   Tineke Ziemer of Northern Persona Photography sponsored a photography competition called the Cariboo Central Interior Image Competition and Critique.  Several years ago Tineke started the Image Expressions Photography School, more on that later.

For those of you who don’t know, Tineke Ziemer is a contemporary of mine.  We went to school together.  Even then, she was a burgeoning photographer.  She photographed my graduation formals. (I still have some of them Tineke!)

She continued on with her passion.  I’d say I got sidetracked, but I didn’t really have a track.  I went to technical college and started working  in the IT industry.  I got married, I got divorced.  Later, I (re)met my beautiful wife of today.  We had grown up together on the same street, and when she imagined as a little girl my last name next to hers, it was because I had an handsome younger brother.  That’s ok, I tried to date her older sister a few times – I think we’re even, though she may disagree!

When the time came to get wedding photographs done, we called Tineke. (well, actually there’s a whole other story there involving one of the other judges, that I won’t go in to.  I’m glad I still get to call him a friend, and colleague too perhaps.)

Tineke, simply put, made us feel like rockstars.  It was our day, and she made our photography seem effortless.  We married outside, in January.  She didn’t complain about the photographic challenges that put her through, she just did her job.  She made art.  Even when she had us lay down in the snow looking up at the bright January sky the whole process felt perfect.  The images really reflect that, and I think that experience more than any other made me the photographer I am today.

Fast forward a bit.  Tineke is still shooting weddings, families and other general portraiture.   She’s refining her craft.

Sometime later I developed a passion for photography.  I borrowed a camera and took a course – offered by her.  Afterwards, when she was looking for an assistant I drew up a four page proposal.  I was intent that I was going to learn this, and working as an assistant seemed the best way to proceed.

I look back on those assistant days and shudder, but smile warmly.  I wasn’t a very good assistant.  Tineke had to push me to see the light – and I had opinions.  Lots of them.  She let me share them though, and through a year and a bit we came to a really good working partnership.  She was the photographer, and I was the assistant, with opinions.  She always valued them, and I feel that some of what we created together was sincerely a collective effort.  Her and I think in different ways and she allowed me my opinions, and saw value in them.

I broke out on my own, and you see me here today.  Tineke went on to reduce her time as a photographer and increase her time as a teacher.  She now runs the Image Expressions Photography School, and has started a fine art website collective of local artists called Encounters With Light.

It seems Tineke still values my opinions.  She asked me to give them – all 187 of them!  Myself and my fellow judges awarded scores in six categories.  Living Creatures, Nature & Landscapes, Fine Art/Conceptual, Still Life, Portraits of People and Candid/Photojournalism.

Each image was scored out of ten in four criteria.  First Impression, Technical Skill, Creativity and Composition.  For each image in two of the six categories we also provided a couple sentences (occasionally paragraphs!) of commentary on the image.  As a matter of fact, I decided early on to provide commentary on every single image.  I guess, being the pretentious windbag that I am, I figured each contestant earned the right to receive criticism from me.  Aren’t I lovely?

I’ll say right now, that I didn’t score these easily.  There were no marks for effort here, and not everyone is a winner.  I can count on one hand (out of nearly 800 marks) the number of images that I gave an “Excellent” mark to, being 9 or 10 out of 10.  I think one image in the whole competition may have gotten two excellent marks from me.  The number of “Great” (7-8/10) marks was higher, but not by much.  I might need two hands, and maybe one foot to count how many of those I gave out.

I subscribe to the idea that perfection is almost unobtainable.  I can’t imagine seeing an image good enough (and I surf Pinterest, Instagram and photographer webpages, galleries and communities constantly) to get “Excellent” marks in all 4 categories, maybe it exists, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Of course, all judging is subjective.  That’s why when Tineke organized this she organized multiple judges.  There are four of us all told.  All our scores for all the images are averaged to obtain a total score.  Then each image gets the comments that the judges provided as feedback.  This lets us have photographers with multiple specialties judging all the entries.

I hold myself up to the same criteria though.  I wouldn’t want to enter an image competition where every image was a winner.  I want to enter one where if I win something, be it Judges Choice or a Merit or Excellence ribbon, that I feel a sense of accomplishment.  I want to be able to brag about it. Maybe that makes me a bit of a bad person.

Contestants – if you win – you can brag about it.  The quality level of the entries was generally very high.  I marked hard, and Tineke has told me that my scoring is not at all out of line with the other judges.  The feedback will be harsh, but I know that it will help you grow as a photographer.  Take the scoring and commentary very seriously, and apply it to your future work.  You will grow.

And I’ll be back.  I’m working on contacting a couple of photographers to use their images as examples in a future post about what the contest submissions were like and how I specifically looked at scoring them.  That will be after the awards presentation though – I don’t want to spill any beans!

 

While you’re here, you should check out the work and online galleries of the other judges involved.  I’ve even included them for you.  Here is my list of fellow judges, I seem to be among some pretty good company!

Morgan Turner is an award winning commercial photographer from Victoria, BC.  I can personally attest that he has an unique fine arts/conceptual vision as well.  You can find him online at mturnerphoto.com

Peter Drewcock is a local photographic celebrity here in Quesnel, BC.  Examples of his work can be found at pbase.com

Finally, we also have acclaimed nature photographer Thomas Zakowski from Indiana, USA.  His work can be found online at fineartamerica.com

 

 

 

 

Posted in Contests, History, Musings

Country Engagement

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Here are some sample shots from a recent engagement shoot I did.  It was a bit of a drive out to a large working ranch, and the location was amazing!  I could have just wandered with my camera for hours here, shooting photographs of antique findings.

However, we had work to do, so do it we did.  The light was strong, being about 10am here in the northern hemisphere.  We’re just starting to return to spring, so the sun is starting to warm and show himself in the sky a little earlier.

We did some photographs around the homestead, green board and batten backgrounds with antique tools.  Then off to a covered work area, full of antique tools.  Some farm tools, some woodworking and metalworking tools.  It was a handyman’s dream, and made for great backgrounds.  The light filtering through the mostly intact roof was soft and warm, and the images were great.

Then out for a walk.  “Quick, stop by that log barn.”  “Lets see a quick kiss”.  “Walk through the snowy field, it’ll look great, I promise!”

Eventually we found ourselves at a little used haybarn.  A quick clamber up the log side and we found ourselves in a gorgeous hayloft.  Here I find myself in a hayloft with a young, newly engaged couple very much in love.  Well, kisses and cuddles were the order of the day, that is, until Wil decided he should get down on one knee so we could have a proposal image.  As I clicked away I knew she was a very lucky lady, and every woman and girl I showed the images to was going to swoon.

On the walk back we found some bullrushes besided a frozen pond.  We had to have a bit of a swordfight, and some images of her blowing bullrush puff seeds at his face.  Then some pictures of them stomping through muddy puddles in their galoshes.  We finished up doing some quick portraits back around the other side of the homestead.  This time green wooden shingling and antique windows for a  backdrop.  Full circle, and what a day for an engagement shoot.

Thanks Natasha and Will.  You guys made my day.  I hope you enjoy these teaser images, and the rest of the finished ones yet to come.

Posted in Uncategorized

My Girls – 2012

After editing my girls’ mini sessions photos tonight, I had to do something with them.  I did a quick layout of 6 images of my youngest, and called it “The Many Faces of Addison”.  You can see it on my facebook page.

When I do my  “Fall Mini Sessions”, I give each of my girls 1 mini session – 15 minutes. These are their school photos, but they’re also a good example of what a mini-session with me is.  It’s a quick portrait session, but I usually get about 8-12 images out of each session.  For my girls it totaled about 60, so that’s about 20 per session – not unreasonable in 15 minutes, but a little over what I’d tell a client to expect.

I often over-compensate when I do my promotional jazz – I don’t like to include too many images of my kids, instead I lean heavily to “real” clients.  This time however, I wanted to do something kind of awesome for my kids pictures.

I put together a YouTube video of my girls mini-sessions.  All three are strung together and I used YouTube’s fancy free music overlay tool of awesomesauce to glam it up a bit.

Please take a look.  If you like it, please comment, like and subscribe.

Also, don’t forget to head over to the contact page (look up in the header) and sign up for my newsletter/email list.

 

Posted in My Kids, Portfolio, Updates, Videos Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Save money on Beautiful Prints

New Year Promotion – 50% off Re-Prints

For the month of January I will be offering a special promotion to my existing clients. If you booked a photography session with me in 2012, any print order you place before the end of January will be discounted by 50%

Simply call me @ 250.255.0428 or email me at jeff@jclossphoto.com and we will get together, have some coffee, share some laughter and get you some gorgeous prints for your walls. If you wanted to order at your session, but even the 30% discount for your initial order wasn’t enough, this is the time to get some of that lovely art for your walls!

This discount applies to all prints on my current print price list. That means that hard-backed and laminated prints are 50% off. So are Collage Wall Layouts. Image blocks, also 50% off.

I will be re-adding some lower price point prints as well in the next couple of days. Those will also count for this discount. If you don’t have a copy of my price list, get hold of me and I’ll get you a new one.

So, what are you waiting for? Order some prints before the end of January and you’ll save half your investment!

Posted in Promotions Tagged , , , , , , |

YouTube Portfolio

I’ve been experimenting with using YouTube to build portfolio videos. The first one I did is called “A Collection of Children” and is a slideshow of children I’ve photographed up until 2012.  I will be making a revised version of this, mostly because I have made some fantastic photos of children lately, especially during my Autumn Special.

I also plan on building one of these for teens, one for weddings, one for men, one for women….you get the idea.  I think it’s a great way to show off a body of work that is particular to one single subject – a portfolio, but one that is a little more interactive as one can use the social networking portions of youtube to comment and critique.

Check out the one I’ve made already, and feel free to tell me what you’d do different, or what you’d like to see next.

 

Posted in Updates

Site Changes

I know well that not many people visit here, except possibly to research information.  At least, that’s what my page analysis tells me.

However, in order to make this page both more appealing visually, and content wise, I will be performing some updates.

The page style has been changed to something more modern and clean.  I’ll be putting up a price list so that people can research price without resorting to emailing me, or worse, posting on Facebook.  Facebook is great for many things, but I have lost at least three major shoots to having notifications of new messages not sent to me, and not getting back to people in a reasonable time frame because of it.

I used to subscribe to the idea that it was better to start building a rapport with every potential customer by having them contact me for prices, that way I could begin selling them my service right from the beginning.  However, as I am not a natural salesperson, this is not working well.  I think it better to provide the information and just get the customer contact that has already looked at my price list, had a slight heart attack, and decided that they like my work enough to pay my prices.

I’ll not promise to continue to update this content constantly, but while I work on the site and getting it better, there will be a few more posts generated.

Stay Tuned.

Jeff

Posted in Updates

Quesnel Wedding Showcase

I’ll be showcasing my business this weekend at the Quesnel Wedding Showcase. You can find out more about it on Facebook.

If you’re planning a wedding, or know someone who is, this is a great resource.  If you’re not, but you’re just into weddings in general, this will be a pretty cool event.

I’ll be updating my wedding portfolio, as well as my general portrait portfolio for this event.  That should help me to get some new, updated content here as well.

See you there!

Posted in Updates

Thanksgiving Special

I will be doing a couple of “marathon” shoots this autumn. The first of these is coming up in just 3 weeks!

Book now to get portrait sessions done on Saturday, October 8th. I will be booking 15 Minute mini-sessions for only $45.00 each.

Each mini session will come with a full set of digital copies in medium resolution – with a printing release included. These are great for printing up to 5×7, and possibly higher, depending on the image.

These are great sessions to replace or accentuate school photos, seasonal cards and can even fit quick family sessions. Feel free to book multiple sessions on this day if you think you need just a little more time.

Give me a call, or email me and I will get you booked. I’m expecting times to fill up fast.

Posted in Updates

Couples shoot – with motorcycles

Anytime I get to combine photography and motorcycles I’m a happy camper.  I love riding, and I love photographing it.

So, having a co-worker ask me to do a couples shoot with his girlfriend was right up my alley.  Dave rides a BMW 1250GS, customized quite a bit.  Ingrid rids a Harley-Davidson.  Sportster 883 I think.  I ride a Kawasaki Ninja 250, or a borrowed CBR-600 when the occasion arrises, as it has this last summer.  The weather this year has been a drag, but today was a perfect day to get out and ride.  Also – to photograph two cuddly bikers.  (Does that sound like an oxymoron?)

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The light wasn’t awesome, but we made do.  When we were almost done, I found a tucked away staircase, and got one of my favourite shots of the day.

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Then, Dave and Ingrid hopped on their bikes and met me a little ways up the road.  We did a couple shots there, and I got my last shot of the day, the two of them riding single file down the road and around a corner.   It’s a fitting end to a great shoot.

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Posted in Photoshoot Journals