Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to Prepare for Headshots

A headshot can tell a lot about a person. Let a professional headshot really show who you are. I am an on-location photographer which means I come to the location of your choice and photograph you either inside or outside showcasing who you are. Headshots are for everyone, not just corporate or real estate professionals. If you have a Facebook page, Linked-in profile or any other social networking site, you need a professional headshot. Here are a few tips.

How to Choose What to Wear for Headshots
*Wear a top that is a solid color. Prints and patterns do not photograph nearly as well, and may take away from the focal point of the headshot--your face. Choose a color that compliments your skin tone and wear a top with a very simple style. 

Don't wear brightly colored ties or a busy print jacket.

Bring several choices of tops with you to the photo shoot. This will give you options. Sometimes, what looks good in person does not look as good in a photo and vice versa. Therefore, you will want to have options and be able to change your look.

 Resist the urge to wear accessories. In terms of headshots, less is more. You want your headshot to be simple, elegant, and representative of you. Accessories can also date the photograph.
Wear makeup, but don't overdo it. You need a nice base that will photograph well, but you still want to look like yourself in the headshot. You can get your makeup done for free, or at the cost of purchasing a product at many of the cosmetic stands in a department store.


·         Don’t drink alcohol the night before
·         Do drink lots of water
·         Try to avoid salt as it will make your face puffy
·         Get a good night's sleep the night before
·         Brush and floss right before the photo session
·         Little fly away hairs and pimples can disappear so don’t stress

Relax and have fun during the shoot.

 Have a great day and stay safe.


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Texas Book Festival 2014 - Professional Event Photography - Austin, Texas

Hello Readers,

I  went to the Texas Book Festival on Sunday to photograph for The Austinot and had a wonderful time. For people like me who love paper books, this was the place to be. There were authors, books, cooking displays, music and food trucks. The festival was actually two days, Saturday and Sunday. I thought the majority of people would attend Saturday, but there were actually a lot of people there Sunday. The event itself was free, you just had to purchase the books and food. There are books for adults, children, cooking, history, photography and more.

Upon receiving my Media pass, I went straight to the book signing tent. There were about 15 authors there signing books for people.
Craig Johnson, Author
James Magnuson, Author

 After the Signing Tent, I went to the Capitol to see Norman Lear speak. He is an amazing man and a legend.
Norman Lear, Author/Producer - Texas State Capitol Building
Norman Lear, Author/Producer - Texas State Capitol Building
 After listening to Norman Lear speak, I went to the Children's tent where Ziggy Marley read his book "I Love You Too".  After he read his book, he signed some for the fans before heading off to do a concert.

Ziggy Marley reading from his book " I Love You Too" at the Texas Book Festival
Ziggy Marley reading from his book " I Love You Too" at the Texas Book Festival
Ziggy Marley at the Texas Book Festival
After Ziggy, I strolled around checking out all the cool things the festival had to offer. If you haven't been to the book festival, I highly recommend you go next time. If you go, bring water, cash and a backpack for books, wear comfy shoes and review the schedule before you go. There are events for the kids, yummy food at the food trucks and if you don't go in the Capitol, you can bring your dog.

The Hungry Caterpillar

Books for sale
Food Truck
Jodi Stauffer, Author and Thom Ricks, Illustrator
Margarita Carrillo Arronte, Central Market Kitchen

The Stapletons in the Music Tent

Have a great day and stay safe.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Last Saturday, I went to Gruene, Texas for the first time. It was a cold, grey and wet morning as I set out from my home in Austin for the hour drive to Gruene.  Although the I-35 is not the most scenic of drives, traffic wasn't bad, so it was enjoyable.

My purpose for going to Gruene was to photograph the Gruene Music and Wine Festival for the individuals that do the Austinot blog and Facebook page. Thanks to them, I got into the event for free.
Upon arriving in Gruene, the first think I noticed was the old buildings. This is a historic town and although it was filled with people and cars, I could tell that this is a cool place to visit and I have made a note that I must go back to explore and photograph some of the old architecture. The parking lot was a muddy mess from the morning's rain but passable. I had about a half inch of mud on my tires when I parked. 

The event was about half an hour in when I arrived at 12:30, so there wasn't much of a line and the place was not packed. The wine purchasing area had a pretty good line, there was music playing on the stage, the air was filled with the wonderful smell of BBQ and the vendors had plenty of items in their booths. The people were in good spirits and the wine tasting tent was definitely where everyone was. With the entry price, everyone received a tasting glass and five tasting tickets. I was amazed at how many different wineries were at the event (all from Texas of course). The list numbered over thirty and there was a wide variety of wines, from fruity to more crisp and refreshing. I listened to what people were saying about the wines and it appeared that most were to their liking. As the day progressed, the wine tasting tent got packed and I was worried about getting stepped on, or have something happen to my camera so I went over to the live music stage. There was a lively group on the stage at one point, the main singer looked like an Elvis impersonator and they even did a few Elvis songs. The group is The Georges from San Antonio and I would recommend you go see them if you have the chance. They were really good and the crowd enjoyed them, some even got up in front of the stage and danced. 

All in all it was a fun day and I would recommend you attend next year if you have the chance.

Stay safe and have a great day,


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Trash To Treasure - Chairs

Sometimes I find items with lots of potential, sitting right next to the dumpster. Earlier this week, I found a set of four dining room chairs sitting next to the dumpster and I took two that were in great shape. 

(All photos are from my cell phone)

Now to most people, these look like junk and should be in the dumpster however, I see the potential. At the end of this post, you too will see what I envisioned. 

First step is obviously to get the chairs from the dumpster to my apartment. I loaded them in my Tahoe and drove them home. 

Second step was to find a cool fabric to cover the chairs with. I went to Hancock Fabrics and the fabric I chose is made for upholstery and is stain resistant and sturdy. It was on clearance at $11.00 per yard. I got four yards for the chairs, since it was discontinued, I wanted to make sure I had enough. Upon completion, I have about a yard left.

The third step is to pick a color of paint and purchase the paint. I did the first chair and it took about a can and a half to finish the chair. I bought the spray paint at Wal-mart and it worked well, dried fast but seems to be a weak finish and easily scratch-able.

I bought the second spray paint at Home Depot. It covered great, took a bit longer to dry (although it was hotter and more humid, so that may have been part of the reason) and seems to have a stronger finish. It also has little more gloss finish than the Krylon. It also took only one can to paint the whole chair.

Now it is time to disassemble and clean the chairs. I placed a trash bag on the floor so that it would catch all the trash, dirt, etc. 

At least 40 years of gunk! See the reason for the trash bag?

I cleaned the chairs and cushions with 409 and a scrub brush and then followed with some bleach water to ensure total cleanliness. Cleaning ensures that the chair is clean and that any oils are removed from the surfaces. I also took all the small metal parts and screws and soaked them in dish soap. They were pretty nasty.

I soaked the screws and metal parts overnight, the water was orange!

After cleaning, you need to grab your trusty needle nose pliers and start pulling the staples out. The chairs had a dual gold trim and the vinyl, both were stapled quite well. The build quality of the chairs was amazing.  I stripped the bottom cushion of the vinyl and Febreezed the cotton batting/cushioning. I took the gold trim off the top part but left the vinyl to retain the shape better.

Gold trim pieces, they were pretty durable

Staples, trim, dirt, vinyl

It had an interesting fill for the cushion. It is a cotton type material that is layered and pressed together.

The next step is to cover the cushion and backing with fabric. I have a heavy duty staple gun that worked great. If using a patterned fabric, remember to line up the fabric on both chairs for a more polished look. 
For the bottom cushion, it was pretty simple, cut the fabric big enough to cover the cushion and have a little extra. Flip the cushion over, pull the fabric tight (make sure it is still lined up properly on the front) and staple into place. I typically take the top middle, put a staple and bottom middle and put a staple and then work my way around. This ensures that the pattern stays in place. For the corners, fold tightly and staple. 
For the backing piece, I covered the front first, stapled the fabric on the sides, top and bottom, leaving a small overlap. Then cut the back piece, place the top on the edge, staple the fabric on the backside in a straight line, fold over and you will have a neat top. I fold the edges and staple on the sides and fold the bottom and staple on the bottom.

Match the patterns for a more polished look.

I then took the base of the chair out to the garage for painting. The first spray paint seemed to have less over-spray than the second. I made sure to have a large canvas dropcloth under the base, to try to keep the over-spray under control. In addition, I took the screws and drove them into a piece of cardboard for painting and used the cardboard as a surface for the small metal parts.

After waiting for the paint to dry, I carried the base back inside and attached the cushion and back. The first chair, with quicker dry time, took about four hours. The second chair I left in the garage overnight and then put together in the morning.

Chelsea approved!

Finished product!

Now you too can do a trash to treasure chair. :-) 

Chairs - Free
Spray Paint $4 each can
Fabric - $11 per yard, used about a yard and a half per chair
Staple gun - already had and it came with lots of staples. 

Average cost per chair: around $21
I think you would pay at least $40 per chair at a store

Have a great day, stay safe!


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Nine 6 week old German Shepherd Puppies!!


I had the absolute pleasure of photographing nine 6 week old German Shepherd puppies. They were very active when I got there and oh so very cute. Thankfully, they tired themselves out so that I could get some great photographs.

The mother of the puppies is a purebred Brown Sable German Shepherd and the Father is a purebred Black German Shepherd with brown feet.  Five of the puppies are a mix of colors, three of the puppies look like their father and one of the puppies is mostly brown.

We started them out in the house and when they started getting worn out, I took each one outside for individual photos in the owner's beautiful front yard.

The puppies are all available for adoption for a small fee of $300. If you are interested, you can message me and I will give you the contact information for the owner.

Have a splendid day and stay safe!


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