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Pneumonia Sucks!!!

Really! It does! I have been battling this nasty monster since September 20th and am just now back to about 70% of my pre-pneumonia self! I have some things to catch up on around the house, Halloween to prepare for and my birthday is coming up on the 15th, I also have a house guest coming to stay with me for awhile so… Over the next few days I will try my BEST to start updating my Facebook pages, this blog, my website, and all my other social media pages… Please have patience, I feel better but still not good! I hope no one I know EVER has to go through bacterial pneumonia like I did!

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Pneumonia…

I have been ignoring EVERYTHING on the internet lately… I have been VERY sick and just found out tonight why… I have pneumonia, not walking pneumonia, but full-on, #5 cause of death pneumonia… So, over the next few weeks, as I get better (fingers AND toes crossed), I will finally be updating everything – this blog, my website website, my FB pages- personalfancompany, as well as my Pinterest, my LinkedIn, my G+, and everything else! I am actually going to be completely rebuilding my website and starting a news letter… So, keep checking back! Changes are coming…

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Excuses & Explanations…

I have been busy with a LOT of things lately! So, my blog has been suffering… I would like to explain:

1. I recently spent several weeks refinishing 2 large pieces of furniture. Before and after photos are below!

2. I have recently bought a Mac desktop and am converting everything photography related to it, while cleaning up my old external hard drive and Vaio laptop… This task has taken much longer than I expected! Should be finished today or tomorrow (fingers crossed)…

3. I have had a few shoots that I needed to tend to recently (one for a model/client of mine, one for a local radio station – Kinetic HiFi (check em out on the web: I will be on the show ‘Fired Up’ on the first Wednesday of every month from 8-10 PM EST)… You can listen to any of their shows at anytime via the website (http://www.kinetichifi.com/) or you can download the app ‘TuneIn Radio’ for your iPhone, iPod, or iPad: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tunein-radio/id418987775?mt=8 or for your Android phone or tablet: http://www.appbrain.com/app/tunein-radio/tunein.player… Last time I was on the show (Wednesday, August 1st), we had my father on the chat page and had a blast talking about massage, photography, chasing flies and so much more! You can listen from anywhere in the world (as long as you have a signal), just go to the website or download the apps (and search for Kinetic HiFi)… It’s a local radio station that is dedicated to community helping community! You can see the photos from the launch party on my website: http://www.thatphotographydame.com/Events/Kinetic-HiFi/Kinetic-HiFi-Launch-Party/24720746_tdp4ct#!i=2021706978&k=pjR2wgJ

4. I have been dealing with some personal issues, that I won’t get into… All I will say is I was ‘kid-free’ for a few weeks and I didn’t do too well with it! But, my youngest is back now and school is about to start so, it’s all good now! LOL

5. I have recently developed some medical issues: A lot of people have heard of Lupus but don’t know much about it. There are 3 types of Lupus (even people with Lupus don’t usually know this)… I won’t go into great detail about each but here is a quick bit of info on the 2 types I am not at risk for:

– Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Also called SLE, this is the type of lupus that most people mean when they talk about the disease. SLE is the most serious form of lupus.  SLE can affect the skin, joints, and tendons. It may also affect organs like the brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys.

– Cutaneous (or skin) Lupus: This type of lupus is a skin disease that causes a rash on the face, neck, scalp, and ears. There are two types of cutaneous lupus: discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), which can cause scarring; and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE), which doesn’t cause scars. Discoid lupus is a much more rare form of lupus than SLE, although about 10% of people with discoid lupus will develop a mild form of SLE. It doesn’t affect other body organs the way that SLE can.

– And the 3rd type of Lupus (the one I MAY have) – Drug-Induced Lupus: This type of lupus is caused by a reaction to certain kinds of medicines. For example, some types of anti-seizure medicines and acne medicines can cause this kind of lupus in teens. Drug-induced lupus is similar to SLE in the ways it affects the body, but once a person stops taking the medicine, the symptoms usually go away.

There are over 100 medications that can cause DIL (Drug Induced Lupus) and I happen to be on 3 of them! I have been keeping a close eye on all my symptoms and am going to the Doctor today at 4:15 PM EST to find out more! I have several symptoms of DIL but, they could also be explained by other factors… I know it may seem ‘coincidental’ but, you never know till you know! I’ll know more this evening and update the blog then! Until then, please do not worry about me, spend your energies and emotions on yourself and your families… I will be fine! I promise!

Now, after all that has been said, here are some quick photos of my recent projects, 2 chest of drawers that needed to be refinished, one stained (sanded it down to bare wood and re-stained it as well as poly), one painted (had 7 layers of old paint on it that I had to remove before I could repaint it):

Before of number 1:

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After of number 1:

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Before of number 2:

ImageAnother before of number 2: (it was really bad)

ImageAnd the after of number 2:

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I also finished up a custom piece of artwork for a very dear friend:

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I will be updating again later tonight and tomorrow both!

Seriously?

I’m posting up really quickly so everyone will know I didn’t totally forget about my blog! I have a couple that I will be posting soon (today & tomorrow) so that I can catch up on my ‘regular’ blogs and to talk about some recent events, as well as upcoming ones! So, check back later today and tomorrow for some new blogs!

4th of July!

Hope everyone has a wonderful July 4th! Keep an eye out for the continuing blogs – So, You Wanna Be A Photographer?, One Amazing Photo A Week, The Dame’s Adventures, and many more!!!

Help That Photography Dame Help Millions!!!

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO:
1. Know you helped so many people through out the world that the ripple MAY NEVER END?
2. Make the dreams come true for a woman who has spent (on average) 50+ hours a week for the last several years donating her time, money, energy, and ALL of her being to helping others?
3. Be able to say you have contributed to helping to find a cure for several diseases, assisted people with disabilities, helped to continue research into treatments and cures for an endless number of disorders, and supported SEVERAL charities/foundations that help hundreds of thousands of people every year?
4. Knowing you are at least ONE person’s forever hero?
5. Have an autographed first edition of an exciting new book series portraying people who are heroes to everyone around them? And you get to CHOOSE which book in the series you get autographed (with a PERSONAL message)!
6. Know all this is true by getting updates from the people & organizations you helped? (updates will be on a website devoted to the book series, also you can get e-mail updates through the website by signing up for the newsletter – the website will be posted on Facebook when up and running or you can give me your e-mail and I will send you the link when it is launched!

HOW CAN YOU DO ALL THIS? AND HOW MUCH MONEY/TIME DO YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP?
First, NO MONEY! I don’t want a single penny from you! Second, it only takes 1 (one) single minute of your time and you don’t even have to get up from your PC (or put down your phone or tablet)!
How you can do ALL of this is simple: Help me win one of several small business grants being offered by Chase & Living Social… It is 5 simple steps!

Step 1: Click the link below…
Step 2: Log-in with your Facebook account(s)… *you can vote for more than one company and you if you have more than one Facebook account, you can vote with each one for all the companies you want to support*
Step 3: In the search fields, type in ‘That Photography Dame’ (no ‘s), leave the city blank or put in Ladson, SC…
Step 4: Click to support That Photography Dame!
Step 5: To be put on MY list of supporters (to make sure you get the book and updates, etc.), message me your vote number (so I can verify you voted)…

I can be messaged on Facebook: Kitty Rodgers Pho, That Photography Dame, or Diverse Perceptions Photography… E-Mail: thatphotographydame@gmail.com… Or via text: 843-367-4766

It will take you 1/5th the amount of time you took to read this, so why not add 1 (one) more minute to go support That Photography Dame & the potentially millions of people the book series will help?

~ The book series is called, “The Faces Of…” and each book will highlight people who have had to face cancers, diseases, disorders, disasters, and much more by telling THEIR story in THEIR words with a portrait (taken by That Dame) showing the true ‘essence’ and ‘soul’ of each person! Part of the proceeds from each book will be donated and/or used to fund events to raise money for charities/organizations that are specific to each book’s subject!~
(also, if I do win the grant and you supported me, you will have the opportunity to buy any of the other books in the series, besides your FREE copy, for the price of printing plus the amount that would normally go to the benefit funds, in other words, at a HUGE discount!!! The books will sell at approximately $60/each and will be hardback and color)

www.missionsmallbusiness.com

REMEMBER: Log-in with your Facebook account, Search That Photography Dame (no city needed but located in Ladson, SC), and click to support… Then let me know your vote #! Thank you all so much!

ALSO: If I get the grant, I will be giving away 10 free 3 hour shoots, winners chosen randomly from the people who voted for me and supported me! If anyone can get me enough votes to get me to my 250 by tonight through their friends and can verify it… I will give that/those people a $2500 photo shoot & package for free!!! *limited to 3 people, with some other small restrictions (i.e. scheduling dates, types of shoots, etc.)… Hair and make-up will be provided by a professional make-up artist*

One Amazing Photograph A Week – Weeks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, & 11

Sorry I have not been posting updates to this challenge… The summer always brings chaos, both personal and professional… So, here I am making up for it but catching up to the current week… Enjoy:

Week 4 –

Week 5 –

Week 6 –

Week 7 –

Week 8 –

Week 9 –

Week 10 –

Week 11 –

 

Hope you enjoyed the photos!!! More coming soon!

Professionalism & Integrity…

First, definitions:

professionalism

— n: the methods, character, status, etc, of a professional

integrity

— n: adherence to moral principles; honesty

Second, what this means as a Photographer:

As a Professional Photographer, I always make sure that I uphold my professionalism and my integrity. I have asked several people that I know to define the word ‘professionalism’ and here are some of the responses I got:

– Brandie Thomas Carney

I think appearance should be profession appropriate one shouldnt go into a business meeting in Jeans and a t-shirt… One shouldnt use profanity when dealing in professional manner also being.very articulate is a plus… Tardiness,.aloofness and being pompus is sure to lose business or not get hired.. one should be confident without being condescending.. nice without butt kissing…. Dont hog the conversation nor correct the other person people tend to get offended or pissed about that

Appearance is very important, its there first impression. Not making your sells pitch all about what you know, instead ask about their hobbies, interest etc. you would be amazed how many walls come down and how many times you walk away with a sell. Following through with what you promise, that is the best advertisement
Professionalism = quality. But trait-wise, I’d say to be unprofessional is not being able to relate/understand/ground yourself with those you’re suppose to be working with in a profession.
~
You may wonder why I am bringing this up? And why now? I will explain…
I have been noticing several ‘professional’ photographers (and ‘professionals’ from other areas) using their social media pages to express their ‘opinions’… Usually they are opinions that would fall under the heading of ‘no harm’ but, a few have been posting and saying things that I, myself, find to be very un-professional! Most of these would also fall under the label of un-professional by the standards of the above referenced definitions… With that said, I will now explain WHY I am blogging about this subject… I try my best to keep myself and those involved in my business life, as ‘professional’ as possible! It really begins to take away from MY professionalism when others in my industry are not ‘professional’… This is how certain businesses and certain professions get a bad name… So, I am basically asking that when you are presenting yourself as a ‘professional’ that you act as so! I do not like, nor do I want, to keep defending my chosen profession because a few people in the industry have chosen to act in an ‘un-professional’ manner (be it by means of actual actions, postings on Facebook, twitter or other social media sources, or by general reputation created by their lack of understanding that they represent ALL in their profession)… So, if you have a gripe or a complaint (especially about a client!), please DO NOT express this in ANY open forum! I had so much more to say about this topic but, I have gotten so frustrated by all of this that I am just going to leave it with this statement: YOU represent EVERYONE in your field at ALL times, remember that, PLEASE!!!

One Amazing Photograph A Week – Weeks 2 & 3

Got a little busy the last 3 weeks, had 3 shoots in 2 nights (2 weekends ago) and a VERY important charity function shoot the following Friday, I was at that one for 7 hours! Worth it but, had me pretty occupied! Then I had a baby shoot  this past Thursday and immediately after wrapping that up, had to get ready to go see Wicked! So, I have been really busy, trying to catch up!

Wicked was AWESOME by the way!!! If you haven’t seen it, GO! Tickets are high priced but it is a show like no other! I only wish I could have photographed it and filmed it! Talk about a brilliant display of color and imagery!!! And, I so want the costumes! LOL

Now on to the photos! This is week 2 AND week 3’s photos since I missed posting them before now!

Week 2:

I got lucky with this one! This is one of the shots I took at the charity event I mentioned before… It was the Annual ALA’a Oxygen Ball, Dancing With The Stars… I was honored to be asked to photograph an event for the American Lung Association and excited at the possibilities! I haven’t had much experience over the years with photographing ballroom dancing but, somehow, I managed to find that ‘sweet spot’ for shooting and happen to get all my settings adjusted just right to capture this photo and so many more beautiful shots/poses! This one is just one of my favorites! I look at it and I see the beauty and brilliance behind the dancers moves, the pose is poetic and the expression on her face is priceless, she is so ‘in the moment’! I just LOVE this photo!

Week 3:

This is from the baby photo shoot I did on Thursday before going to see Wicked! This is Alora, a good friend of mine’s baby girl! I am including this one for 2 reasons: First, because I love it! And second, because if you have ever done a photo shoot with a 6 week old baby, you will know the list of things that can and will go wrong during the shoot! Alora was not in the mood to be photographed! She wanted to be held! Once she was asleep though, we managed to be able to pose her in some really great poses with some really great props! I love this shot because it has a ‘Mother Earth’ feel to it with the wreath and the colors…

So, there you have it! One Amazing Photograph A Week, weeks 2 & 3… Have you been taking yours?

So, You Wanna Be A Photographer? Part 4

Lately, I have had several people ask me questions about how to ‘improve’ their photographs… Such as, how did you get the lighting like that? What did you do to get that color to pop out so much? How did you get that angle? Was that posed or was it candid? And the list goes on and on… So, in this blog, I am going to point out some tips and tricks you should know and use…

Tip/Trick #1: Post shoot editing! Don’t ever forget that even with the perfect lighting, the best camera & gear, with everything ‘perfect’, that something can always go wrong with your shot! You can’t control everything! I would estimate that approximately 95% of all shots can always be improved with editing software! Some, can NEVER be improved to the point you want but, you can always improve something! I am not saying to rely on this fact, I am saying to always try to get the best shot you can but, if and when it doesn’t work out, don’t give up on the image! You may be able to save all or at least part of it! This leads to my next tip…

Tip/Trick #2: Not all photos are trash, if it didn’t come out the way you wanted! A lot of times, I keep images that (in my mind) are horrible… Why? Simple, because sometimes a part of that image can be used for something! I have taken hundreds of thousands of pics, photos, and snapshots over the years but have only ‘highlighted’ maybe 1 out of every 1000 of them as a great photo by itself (Given, I am a perfectionist, everything has to be just the way I want it to be considered ‘great’ by me)! Back to the editing idea for a moment, with technology the way it is now, sometimes piecing together portions of several photos can create an AMAZING image! Look at any photography magazine on the stands or search any photography website, and you will find ‘surrealistic’ images… These images are created by photo manipulation, sometimes including several elements from several images… If this is not an area of photography you are interested in, you can still benefit from it. A lot of websites and companies are willing to pay for ‘stock’ images (photos that are available to the public to use as foundations for work or as images in fliers, documents, advertisements, etc.)… I have a folder of hundreds of my own personal ‘stock’ images… I have known several photographers who, on the spot, review their shots and instantly trash any they don’t like… I do trash photos but only after a close look at each one! So, in short, even ‘bad’ photos can become or be used to make a ‘great’ photo!

Tip/Trick #3: Don’t be afraid to change your view/angle! I have climbed on top of rocks, stood on benches, climbed up trees, leaned over high ledges, stretched out completely flat on the ground/floor, bent over and turned around, twisted my body into odd angles, and much more just to get a different perspective! WARNING: You could be putting yourself  into serious danger by doing some of these things! I have been injured by trying to get a great shot, more than once! So, be careful but, be creative! Sometimes, simply changing your view/angle can create a completely different feeling, emotion, or setting to your shot…

Tip/Trick #4: Props are always a great thing to have handy and can be used in a variety of ways! Sometimes, it is the ‘un-seen’ prop that really makes the shot great! Confusing? I’ll explain: I have done shoots before where I couldn’t get the angle or the positioning ‘just right’ and have found that creative use of props can sometimes fix this… Especially when working with models or when shooting still life, positioning is important! Most models are accustomed to having to ‘contort’ their bodies to get a shot the way the photographer wants it but, a lot of times, an object used to support that body part that is shaking or the back that is now aching, can improve the shot and ease your models pain! Still life shoots are always challenging to get the shot to look just the way you want it, but a well placed prop can change that… And, if needed, can be edited out later to create the ‘illusion’ of the placement you wanted… I, personally, carry a bag of ‘props’ with me to every shoot I do… I consider them a part of my necessary gear! Depending on what the shoot is, will decide what props I bring along but, here is a list of some of the various items I utilize:

– Several pieces of cloth of various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials.

– Pillows of several sizes and firmness (usually small, less than 12″ x 12″)

– Foam blocks, circles, etc.

– Some odd items, to most, such as 12″ x 12″ wire grids, dowel rods, pieces of wood, crates (as small as 6″ x 6″ x 6″ up to as large as 18″ x 18″ x 18″), magazines, printed ‘stock’ photos, scarves, etc.

If you have these type of items handy and keep them in mind, while shooting, you will be surprised at the ideas you can come up with!

Tip/Trick #5: Always have your finger on the trigger! You never know when you will turn around and just happen to see a great shot, if you aren’t ready, you could miss it! Sometimes, just taking a random shot ends with a great photo! What your eyes see and what your camera catches are different but, always being ready to take a photo will give you more images to work with and help you catch those ‘candid’ shots that usually become some of your favorites!

Tip/Trick #6: Keep your equipment prepared also! Make sure your batteries are charged and you have back-up batteries for your flash, meters, etc. Keeping extension cords handy can help also with lighting placement and such… It is also a very good idea to have extra memory sticks/cards handy! One of the worst feelings as a photographer is to be at a shoot and have your batteries die because you forgot to charge them or to have to start deleting photos because you don’t have enough memory!

Now for the fun part! A few examples of my tips/tricks in use:

#1 –   This photo came out a bit too dark, as it was shot from the hip in an instant to catch the face-plant, still not a ‘perfect’ shot but, after lightening it up some, you can see the detail a bit better and tell what it is actually a photo of! (This also serves as an example for tip/trick #5)

#2 –   At first glance, this photo seemed to be kind of a waste, too many objects/people in the way but, with some editing, it becomes a great shot of my son skim boarding! Just had to crop, and ‘remove’ some elements!

#3 –   No risk to my life/health for this shot… The cake was beautiful in the first shot but, after changing my angle and taking the second shot, it just screams to me! Plus, everyone who sees these 2 photos love them both but always make a bigger deal about the second one!

#4 –  This photo is comprised of nothing but props! Pink satin material, printed ‘stock’ photos, and some decorative lights… One of my favorite photos and it was all by accident (almost)! The idea came to me when I accidentally dropped the stack of prints in this photo… Took a look around and still had the material out from the Valentine’s shoot as well as the lights, put them all together and got this shot!

#5 –  This shot was taken only moments after the #1 example… But, had I not been ‘ready’, I would have totally missed it and I happen to LOVE this shot! Her expression says it all!!!

I don’t feel the need to show an example for #6, if you have ever been there, you will NEVER forget #6!

So, to sum it all up, when asked how I get the shots that I get, I can’t answer with anything simpler than this: I get lucky sometimes and other times, I make them happen! The above tips/tricks can help you to improve yours as well! So, there you go! Hope it helps!!! Good shooting!

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