Photography Workshop at Sunset with Jessica Weinstock

I don't photograph many families anymore (I reserve a few open dates in the fall for minis or returning clients), but I never turn away the chance to learn from a great photographer and teacher!  For our summer Central Illinois Professional Photographers' group meeting, we wanted to host a hands-on workshop for our members and guests that would get everyone excited for the upcoming busy fall season.  Jessica Weinstock is a family & newborn photographer from the north suburbs of Chicago and she brought a TON of great tips and inspiration for us all.  I am excited to use some of my tricks and tactics at sessions this fall!

HUGE THANKS to my co-leaders Kristin Darling & Emily Donohoe for helping me plan this great meeting and workshop.

Speaking of... my fall mini sessions will be announced soon, once I decide which weekend works best for the bulk of them.  I'm currently taking names and email addresses for those who want to be in the first to know and have first crack at booking when I announce. Fill out my contact form on my site here if interested, or email me and I'll get you on the list!

Jenn + Joe | Elegant Wedding at Holy Cross + iHotel Champaign

Jenn + Joe planned a dream wedding day that came together in a beautiful package. These two adventurers have travelled all over together, and it was fun to hear stories and meet their friends and family from all over the country. I especially enjoyed visiting their historic house for a few photos both in the foyer and on the front porch.

First off, can we talk about Jenn's dress?  The back  of it with the lace and mesh was flat-out amazing! I also can't resist a good hairspray/setting spray photo!  After the couple's first look, we were fighting with the full sun quite a bit, so we moved to the front of the Holy Cross church, with their huge burnt orange door that I LOVE. I think the wedding party's navy dresses and suits paired very nicely with the scene!  

Following the ceremony, we headed over to the Hartley Gardens at the Arboretum, and a little tucked in spot between there and the Japan House that I adore.  It was the perfect spot to get some magical, ethereal photos of the couple alone before heading to the reception at the iHotel. 

Speaking of the reception, I loved the navy pin-tucked tablecloths and silver charger plates along with the warm amber uplighting bathing the room. The heartfelt toasts given by the best man and maid of honor were genuine and hilarious!  I loved spending the day with Jenn + Joe, and wish them a lifetime of happiness!

Leave a comment below for Jenn + Joe and after 50 comments, they'll receive a complimentary 11x14" mounted print of their choice.

To book your own wedding or session, contact Holly!

How to Prepare for Your Headshot Session

I've gotten a lot of questions recently about headshot sessions:
1) Where should we do them?
2) What should I wear?
3) Can you do touchups?
4) What do I get with my headshot session? How do I get my images?
5) Do you have a studio?
6) What else can I do to get the best headshots possible?

So I thought I would address these all in one handy blog post landing spot, and also show some of my favorite examples so future clients can show me the style and feel they're looking for with their portraits.

1) Where should we do your headshot photo session?
If you have a space at your place of business (either indoors or outdoors), that is a good place to start, but I am happy to meet you anywhere within the Champaign-Urbana area also.  The U of I campus offers a ton of great outdoor locations with good light. In general it's best to not photograph during midday due to awful light, but I can usually find enough good shady spots with the buildings and trees there.

If you're looking to use your place of business, it may be helpful to text me a couple of photos of the lighting/window/ceiling height availability. Large windows or doorways are great for lighting the face, but low ceilings and fluorescent lighting are not-so-good. If you really prefer to use an indoor space but your office isn't ideal, I have some locations that can work instead (see photos below).

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2) What should I wear? 
This is entirely up to you, though I generally recommend that people shy away from reds and oranges for headshots, as well as super bright white shirts (unless covered by a blazer/jacket/cardigan). Blazers and jackets are always a solid choice and can be dressed up or dressed down.  Many women choose to wear a nice blouse or sweater (I prefer with sleeves).

3) Can you do touchups?
YES! The first round of images you get in your gallery will be lightly retouched for color and saturation, but if you need further small edits (blemishes, flyaway hairs, teeth lighting, skin softening), those can be applied to your final image choices prior to download.  Just let me know what you need done! (Please note: extensive edits may require an additional editing fee.)

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4) What do I get with my headshot session?
The session generally lasts about 10-20 minutes, and about 1-2 weeks following the session, you'll receive a link to your online gallery.  From there, I'll give you instructions on how to mark your final 2 images (included with the session fee). You'll then receive a download link, and the images with print release are yours to use for whatever business purposes you need!  Additional prints or digital images are also available for purchase from the gallery.

5) Do you have a studio?
I no longer have a studio (I had a physical space for about 6 years) once I realized I'm not a studio photographer. :)  I do however have a traveling setup that I can pretty much set up anywhere. The backdrop options I have are grey (seen above) and a sand color.  It is also possible to shoot on a plain background and swap in a different background in Photoshop (requires an additional fee).  See samples of backdrop swaps in the below images.

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6) What else can I do to get the best headshots possible?
A few things to note:
a) If you have Transitions lenses, you will not be able to do outdoor portraits unless you remove your glasses. Please let me know ahead of time if you have this type of lenses because we will need to most likely do an indoor studio-type setup with flash for your photos.
b) Decide if you need any horizontal portraits. Certain website/blog/social media outlets require a horizontal version of images to fill a template. This is helpful to know ahead of time!
c) Talk with Holly if you have any props or tools of the trade you would like to incorporate -- a photographer's camera, a chef's knife set, and a doctor's stethoscope are all things I have photographed during a headshot session!
d) Are there any brand or company colors we could incorporate to make your brand stronger? This is a popular idea for small businesses who rely so much on themselves as their brand. In my own headshots (below), I chose an orange backdrop and then a gray backdrop (both environmental) with colorful tops to strengthen my brand and my audience perception of Holly Birch Photography.

There you have it!

I have also created a Headshot Questionnaire on Google Forms that I can use to get a better feel for what you need prior to your session.  This will leave me fully prepared to create the best and most workable images for you!

Headshot sessions start at $125 for 2 images. Ask about our multiple employee discount!
To book your own headshot session, email Holly today!