January 31, 2014

New Year’s Day … not spent watching football.

Oh, January, you started lovely, warm and sunny, and you pretty much remained that way all month. 

On this first day of 2014, the combination of gorgeous weather, vacation time, and low tides brought more people to this cove than I’ve ever seen there before.  But even with oodles of people, there was more than enough room for we Kellers to spread out for frisbee and Smashball.  What a great way to begin the year!

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January 28, 2014

Beautiful Lifestyle Workbook

I wrote this book to collect together the bits of wisdom I’ve gained along the way as I’ve honed in on Lifestyle as my preferred genre of photography.

“To me, photography is an art of observation.
It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place …
I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
(Elliott Erwitt)

keller lifestyle collage

Lifestyle is not: just a more relaxed, casual version of the traditional portrait.
Lifestyle is: imagery that captures actual, real, authentic moments in life.

There are pretty pictures. And there are important pictures.
(I first learned this distinction when it was penned by Anna Kuperberg, and it sunk down deep in my soul.)
I believe lifestyle images are important. Meaningful. Beautiful. Profound.

My workbook is both a general look at what makes “lifestyle” such a beautiful genre of photography and also what makes “lifestyle" a different business model than a typical portraiture studio -- and more specifically how *I* structure and run my lifestyle photography business and attract the kinds of clients who appreciate this specific art form.  My book covers all these topics:
  • what distinguishes "lifestyle" from other genres of photography
  • how to find wonder in the "mundane" details of everyday (hint:  the details aren't mundane)
  • how to draw the kinds of clients who are looking for lifestyle images
  • how to handle inquiries
  • booking, scheduling, prepping clients, and brainstorming the session
  • how to get that lifestyle "look" while you're shooting
  • using thoughtful composition to make your images compelling
  • the equipment I use to achieve the lifestyle “look”
  • how to put your clients at ease, helping them relax and be natural in front of your lens
  • what about posing and clothing choices?  what about location choice and time of session? (hint: think beyond the golden hours)
  • working around dim lighting
  • how I use Lightroom to make my workflow super efficient/streamlined
  • which products to sell to best showcase lifestyle images
  • and the biggie topic of ... PRICING - how much, for what, and WHY ...

You can buy the book two different ways.  1st way -- Just the book, m’am: $75 (plus $6 shipping -domestic or Canada.  Other Int'l postage $13)

2nd Way – if you've bought the book, you may add on:  + 30 minute Skype Session + participation in my ongoing [private facebook] Lifestyle Enthusiasts Group $75.  During our Skype session, we may delve into any question you like ... content inside or outside the book, how I do business, or how you do business, lifestyle portfolio review, etc.  The lifestyle group is simply a gathering place for photographers who are passionate about pursuing a lifestyle aesthetic in their photography.  My book is essentially my lifestyle workshop in written form.  Adding Skype + Group lends a "live" and specific-to-you personal component. 

Here is a sampling of some of the pages:

sample page 1 sample page 3sample page 2

Testimonies ...

The Beautiful Lifestyle manual has quickly become one of my most prized possessions.  Susan is a straight shooter (something I love).  In her manual she clearly describes what Lifestyle is, how to tell a story, and what this looks like in business form.  She gives examples, tips and tricks.  As someone who loves real authentic life, this manual confirmed all the things my creative voice was telling me, but I wasn't sure if it could translate into a business.  It can!  Susan sets out a clear business model, from the first contact with her client to her editing workflow.  

We all know the moments of our story we want to save and remember forever, but for some reason when a person thinks of hiring a photographer, there is a sense that everyone has to be in matching outfits, looking and smiling at the camera.  If you are looking to deliver the reality of peoples stories, or get inspired, and learn to capture your story, this manual is a must have!  ~ Heather Rodriguez

Through her Beautiful Lifestyle workbook, Susan opened wide the door to the world of Lifestyle Photography for me. She began by defining lifestyle: what it is, and just as importantly, what it is not. In doing so, Susan challenged me to rethink just what DO I want to photograph? And HOW? And, dare I say it: WHY? 

Susan didn't leave me there to wonder {panic!} about the ins and outs of this unique approach. She took me by the hand and detailed all the techniques I could hope for and more....from composition, exposure and focus, to communicating with clients, workflow and pricing. It's all there! And I can refer back anytime I need to because it is wrapped up beautifully in one place!

(I would also like to say a quick word about the physical features of this workbook. It is GORGEOUS! Susan has included oodles of lovely images, and the text is very clear and easy to read. The paper is high quality and the covers and binding are nice and sturdy. It just feels good in your hands!)

A big thing I took away from this workbook is EXPERIENCE. This is not a shoot 'em, edit 'em and slap-a-cd-of-pictures-in-their-hands sort of photography. As I read the workbook, I came to realize that this is an inherently relational and experiential form of photography.The client experiences their real life and then gets to see it and hold it, documented in all it's messy, imperfect-but-perfect-to-them glory, to be pondered over and appreciated for years to come. As the photographer, I get to experience the sacred privilege of entering into the lives of others, to see and capture what they may not see: the details of their own beautiful life.

I cannot imagine dipping my toe into the tidal pools of lifestyle photography without this book. Not only is it all of the above, but the cream in my coffee is Susan's writing style: you feel like a very good friend is sitting beside you, sharing her wealth of knowledge through her own personal experiences. 

This workbook is one of the best investments I've made in my photography journey. Thank you, Susan, for this excellent resource!    ~ Beth Humphrey

If you would like to purchase my book, the above "add to cart" buttons will take you directly to Paypal.  If you prefer not to use Paypal, just email me to arrange alternate payment:  susan@susankellerphotography.com


January 27, 2014

I am a Woman Living amongst Dudes. And their Legos.

legorama-1legorama-3 Apparently one’s foot is an appropriate makeshift tabletop work surface.legorama-4 legorama-5 legorama-6legorama-7 And long after Little Dude has moved on to other activities, the Lego flotsam and jetsam remains behind…legorama-8 legorama-9 legorama-10