Looking Back, Looking Forward

Way back at the turn of the millennium, I bought a little plaque with the Latin words “Respice, Prospice 2000”.  The words mean, “Looking Back, Looking Forward”.  I think we all tend to look back at the end of the year, consider what went right and what needs to change. Yesterday, on New Year’s Eve 2018, I looked back at my year in photography.  I had some serious high spots, including the chance to attend The Portrait Masters Conference in Phoenix, Arizona in September.  I met some awesome fellow photographers, tried some new equipment and learned from world famous Master Photographers, like Lola Melani, Parker Pfister, Richard Wood, Platon, Felix Kunze, Joyce Tennison, Zack Arias, Richard Israel and, of course, the amazing Sue Bryce. It was a life changing event in many ways.41368215_10212402157157636_683988415359746048_o

I also had the chance to photograph my sister and cousin in my studio, when they visited me from England, and my son and family, including the newest addition, when I visited them in February.  There were all kinds of clients, from Senior Portraits and Weddings, to Real Estate and Marketing for “Mrs. Claus”!  It seemed to me that I was not that busy, but a review of 2018 showed me differently.

In 2019, I think I need to narrow down my  focus, but which genres to eliminate?  I love them all!  I also vow to write my blog a little more often ☺

Click the link below for a summary of the year-it was so hard to choose which pictures to include!  Happy New Year!

Joanna’s Digital Images Year in Review

So why should I hire a professional photographer?

I am taking part in another wedding show this weekend.  Selling myself and my services is not my strong suit so I experienced a few moments of panic, when the organizer told me I had ten minutes to talk to the crowd about my business!  Eeek!

I dutifully sat down at the computer to think about what I was going to say and it came to me that what I have to do is show these engaged couples that what I offer is valuable.  There is a lot more to wedding photography than showing up on the day with an expensive camera and pushing buttons!  After all, almost every newly engaged couple has a friend of a friend, or a relative who will offer to take pictures to save them money.  (We photographers often refer to this person as “Uncle Bob”)  Horror stories abound but this is not the place to share them. Instead, lets consider what you are paying for when you hire a professional to photograph your wedding!

When you hire a professional, you are paying for their experience and their skill.  That means that they know how to use their camera, how to pose individuals and groups in an attractive way, how to roll with the punches when something (inevitably) does not go according to plan.  They come prepared with spare camera equipment and a bag containing  everything from pliers to tape.  I have used my needle-nosed pliers to help bustle a wedding dress (those tiny buttons are killers!), my scissors to open packages of favors, and my tape to fix a torn hem.

You are paying for planning.  I meet with the couple several times before the wedding to plan their photographs.  They may have an elderly relative or childhood friend coming from a long distance-I want to be sure to get a picture of them together.  I also visit the venue to look for good photo locations (wet or dry weather) and check with the officiant on any restrictions.

You are also paying for your photographer’s skill in editing and re-touching your photos.  For every hour spent taking the pictures, there are probably three spent at the computer.  I’ll  design your album so you don’t have to and provide you with framed wall art ready to hang.

When you think about it, photographs are our memories in tangible form.  Your wedding day passes by in a blur but your album will help you relive the events again and again!


The best camera for the job…

You know how it goes-the kids do something really cute and you wish you had your camera ready.  There is a beautiful sunset, as you are driving home from work.  You run into a friend that you haven’t seen in ages.  There are a hundred times when you could take an awesome picture if you just had a camera in your pocket.  Well, of course, you do!  You know what they say, the best camera for the job is the one you have with you!  Most of us carry our smartphones with us, wherever we go, even professional photographers!  If you want to post a quick picture on social media or text it to a friend, the smartphone camera is often the best option. There are actually many things you can do to take better pictures with your smartphone-newer models do everything from panoramas to HDR (High Dynamic Range).  My Samsung Galaxy phone will take a picture when you say “Cheese” or “Smile”, without even touching a button!


I have put together a series of tips on Rocking the Smartphone.  If you would like to subscribe, check out my web site at: folio.joannasdigitalimages.com/family_photos  and click on the link “Get the guide”.

2017: The year in review.

2017 has been quite a year for me.  This year, I quit my day job to be a full time photographer!  It hasn’t been plain sailing by any means but I think I see some progress.  I tried some new genres and I took a lot of continuing education.  My portraits in particular have improved immensely.  It didn’t seem like I was that busy until I looked back at the year and put together a video of some of my work.  This is just a selection-enjoy!

Here’s to 2018!

You can’t control the weather!

When you plan your wedding day, the details are endless! You pick the perfect venue, the perfect dress and the perfect caterer.  Wedding shows are full of vendors who will help you have the wedding you dreamed of.  As a wedding photographer, I scout the location ahead of time and make a shot list and time schedule to ensure that the bride and groom get every picture they want, as well as many that they haven’t thought of.  As well as the group pictures and the candids, outdoor pictures of the wedding party, usually taken between the wedding and the reception, are a big part of the wedding album.  There is one thing that you can’t control, however, and that is the weather!  I recently photographed Brian and Maria’s lovely wedding at the Kemper Center in Kenosha.  If you’ve ever been there, you will know that it has a spectacular setting on the shores of Lake Michigan.  I hoped to get lots of pictures by the lake.

The day dawned warm and windy but dry, with clouds and sunshine.  The forecast, however, predicted rain in the afternoon.  I drove to the venue in a downpour, which morphed into drizzle as the front came through and dropped the temperature about 20 degrees.  Not too good for pictures.  This is when a little planning can help-I noticed that there was a covered porte cochère attached to Founder’s Hall-that’s a covered porch where vehicles stop to discharge passengers.  We were able to get some pictures there, both against the brick wall and backing on to the sodden gardens, without the couple getting wet.  A little later, the rain stopped and a beautiful rainbow appeared over the lake!  We rushed outside to take advantage of it and it waited for us!  Despite the cold wind, we got some unforgettable pictures with our unexpected “guest”.  What a wonderful sign for the newly-weds!  Married life is not all sunshine, but after the rain, there are rainbows ☺Burgess wedding 1

Photographing Generations

This year, I have photographed some landmark events! Two 80th birthday parties, a 61st anniversary party and our own 40th anniversary!  The events were all different but one theme was clear: celebrating the history of a person or family.  One birthday party reunited 6 out of 7 siblings, most in their 80s (the “baby” was only 79).  Our own anniversary party brought friends and relatives from across the country and across the “pond”.  When celebrations bring families together, I am often asked to take pictures of  generations.  Having a picture with parent, grandparent and maybe great-grandparent, will allow that child to understand it’s place in family history.  Here are two pictures I took of four generations.kessel 61-74Erin M-7

Then there is this picture: three sets of twins in the same family!


Pictures are our memories, sure to be treasured for generations to come ♥


Recreating a masterpiece ♥

When I mention to people I meet that I am a photographer, specializing in families and weddings, there are several comments that occur with some regularity.  Firstly: “That’s a strange combination!”  Answer, no, it isn’t; families are a natural result of weddings!  The second comment is usually: “I’ve been meaning to have family photos taken… ” They usually mention something like: we had photos take when the twins were three and they just graduated high school.  Perhaps that is an exaggeration but not by much.  Life is busy and kids grow up fast.

There is a trend on the internet of people re-creating old family photos by posing the same people in the same way many years after the original was taken.  These are mostly for fun, but what if this became a family tradition?  Here are some pictures to illustrate my point.  The original picture was taken in October 2012, just after the birth of the third child.  The second was taken almost 5 years later, in September 2017.20122017

It is fun to see the changes as kids grow.  A series of these, at 5 year intervals, will be a great addition to the family album.  Check back in 2022!