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Thursday, February 08, 2018
By Alissa Williams
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5 Tips to Make Better Pictures!

 

5 Easy Tips for Taking Better Pictures!
 
In the last 10 years, cell phones have become the number-one tool for many things such as: our calls, texting, social media, banking, flashlight, map, shopping tool—no matter what you need, "there’s an app for that!" But beyond all those things I’d say our phones have also become our number-one resource for everything photography. During this past decade we went from needing to spend thousands on expensive photography equipment to literally only needing our smart phone. In the palm of our hand lies the key to capturing anything we want to photograph!
 
With that being said, just because you can take a picture of “everything” every way doesn’t mean you should. This is especially when creating these images for social media purposes. Have you ever had a vision in your mind of what you think something will look like, only to ask “What the…?” after taking the picture? Well, to be honest, that is what inspired me to be a photographer.
 
One day my then 3-year-old little baby (who is now 21), had dressed up in a cute, little snow-white dress. I had put some lipstick on her and we were going to have a "photo shoot." Armed with my "expensive" point-and-shoot camera, I loaded the film and began snapping away. I was so excited, certain that FOR SURE these were going to be the cutest pictures ever! I used the 24 exposures I had, quickly put my daughter back in the car to drop off the film at the local drug store, and the 3 day wait began!...
 
On that long awaited 3rd day I got the film back and eagerly ripped open the package. WHAT WAS I SEEING?!!! This was notwhat I had so perfectly envisioned in my head. Instead, I noticed a huge green frog in my background, hard direct flash, and a closet. There was NO attention to detail, and I could hardly focus on my beautiful child for the distractions in the photo.
 
Thankfully, I’ve learned so much since those days, and want to share some insight on how to take better photos with just the camera you have available. This has little to do with the quality of your camera, so you can use a smart phone, a tablet, a regular camera, whatever you have to use. If you follow these 5 basic tips, your photos will be WAY better than they were before!
#1  Why the B-L-U-R?
There are several reasons for having blurry photos, but the number one reason are finger prints—yes, touching the lens!
We all do it, we accidentally touch the lens with greasy fingers and smudge it, so check your lens for smudges first before you begin taking all those photos. There is a real simple way of fixing it should that be the case by taking your SMOOTH shirt or a very smooth cloth and wiping it off. I guarantee this alone will clear the blurring, help with any fogging you see, and brighten up your photos!
 
#2 Lighting
The second easiest way to make better pictures is by choosing WHERE you take them. You would not believe how many people ask me, "Why is my background dark?" only for me to look at the photo and quickly realize it was taken in a dark room or outside at night! The faces look like floating heads from where the flash only illuminated what was directly in front of the flash. 
 
Y'all, if you are not photographing with professional lighting, your flash on your camera (or phone for that matter) is only going to illuminate what is directly in front of it for short distances! I chuckle a bit when I’m at a concert and see a ton of people in the stands taking photos and all their flashes are going nuts. When they get the images home they have great shots of the back of peoples’ heads.
 
Your photographs will only be as good as the lighting you are using. If you’re taking pictures under tungsten lighting, for instance, your images will be orange; if you are taking photos under fluorescent lights, your images will have a greenish blue tinge; if you are photographing in a dark room, your photos will be, well, dark. I’ve found that for the highest quality photos when using a cell phone, it’s best to use all natural light, and preferably window light because of its nice direction. But remember, you (or your subject) must be facing the light; the more backlit the subject, the darker the face will be. 
 
#3 Perspective
This concept is simple: If you want to look smaller (or for us women, skinnier), put the camera at a higher angle.
If you want to look bigger (or for a lot of men, more masculine) put the camera at a lower angle.
 
#4 Distance
When taking pictures, a lot of people don’t want to move even when it’s necessary. They will stay in one place and zoom all the way into the subject matter. But without the right equipment, this only lowers the quality of your photo, making it look grainy and blurry most of the time. There are some technical reasons for this, but am not going to get into that here. For your purposes in getting better image quality with your smart phone and other mobile devices, just try not to zoom in too much; rather, move closer to your subject if you need to. If you don’t, understand you could be sacrificing image quality. 
 
 #5 Pay Attention to the Background!
Alright! Now that you’ve cleaned off your lens, paid attention to lighting, perspective, and walked close to the subject matter instead of zooming in, DON’T cheat the photograph quality on this last thing: Pay attention to the background!
 
Have you ever seen photos online where you have this beautiful girl taking a selfie in the bathroom, and in the background you see some things you really wish you hadn’t?! DON’T do this to yourself! It literally takes a few seconds to scan the background of your photo before taking it! Look for trash, old buildings, stray animals (or stray people, even). Remember, if it has nothing to do with the subject you’re photographing, remove it (if you can). There are also ways to reposition your subject so weird objects or people are hidden by the subject themselves. 
 
Of course there are so many more things you can do, but these are basic, super-easy ways you can improve your photography just by changing things you are doing apart from the type of camera you have available!
 
Obviously, if you ever need professional portraiture, I’m your girl!!!
 
 
Happy picture taking, and may you be blessed!
 

 

 

 

 
Thursday, February 01, 2018
By Alissa Williams
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Salon EllaPar's 1st Seasonal Model Search!

 

Attention women all shapes and sizes! We NEED you! 

Have you ever had the desire to model? Have you ever had the desire to model while getting really cool discounts on all the stuff you already want to buy? Then we need YOU!

We are so excited to announce that we will be working together on our first Seasonal Model Search.

 

CHECK THIS OUT!

Salon EllaPar Spa & Boutique is looking for 4 female models ages 16 and up, all shapes and sizes, to be the faces for their Spring season!

Alissa is looking for 6 girls to be High School Senior Models for the Senior Year 2019!

As a Thank You for signing up, you will be given a one time 20% discount off items in the Boutique valid for THAT DAY ONLY.

What is included in this 15-minute session?

• Your very own exclusive photo shoot

• Hair and Makeup Touch-Ups provided by Salon EllaPar

• Boutique Bucks for Boutique EllaPar

• Discounted Portrait Package options

Starting February 2nd, come into Salon EllaPar (located at 888-C Kingsbay Rd St. Marys, GA 31558) and sign up for our model shoot.

There is a $20 CASH ONLY sign-up fee in order to reserve your spot!

Time slots are limited and guaranteed to fill up fast.

The preliminary photo shoot is

Saturday March 3rd from 8am-5pm

Located at Alissa A Portrait Artist

YOU MUST RESERVE YOUR SESSION!

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

  • After your preliminary photo shoot, you will come to Alissa’s on
  • Monday March 5th to select your favorite edited image that will be used for social media voting.
  • On March 7th, your selected image will be uploaded to Facebook and Instagram.
  • We will then send you an email with the direct link to your image that can be shared on all of your social media outlets. The top 4 photos with the most likes will be the winners of the Salon EllaPar Model Search.

Alissa will choose 6 girls to be the winners of the Senior Model Search. If you are interested in being a Senior 2019 model please fill out the application by clicking here

  • March 7th - March 12th is when voting happens. The more you share the more likes you will get!
  • March 13th the winners will be announced

 

WHAT DO YOU GET IF YOU WIN?

 

The Top 4 winners for Salon EllaPar will get:

• An in-depth EXCLUSIVE photo shoot modeling the latest spring clothing collection for Boutique EllaPar. This will take place on MARCH 17th, 2018.

• FULL hair and makeup the day of the last photo shoot done by Salon EllaPar.

• Your images on posters that will be displayed in Salon EllaPar Spa and Boutique.

• A discount on Portrait Packages/Sessions from Alissa’s A Portrait Artist.

 

The 6 Winners of The Senior 2019 Model Search for Alissa-A Portrait Artist will get:

  • Senior experience session customized to YOU!
  • $100 print credit to be used at your senior experience ordering session
  • Custom photo app with your images to show off to your friends!
  • Behind the scenes videos/instastories of your senior photoshoot
  • Your images will be on the website and social media!
  • Team shoots 
  • *You must be a local Class of 2019 high school student to qualify!

Please check out these websites and social media locations for more information on all that Alissa-A Portrait Artist and Salon Ella Par offers and more information!

Alissa-A Portrait Artist Website

 

Alissa- Portrait Artist Facebook

 

Alissa- A Portrait Artist Instagram

 

Salon EllaPar's Website

 

Salon EllaPar Facebook

 

Salon EllaPar Instagram

 
Friday, January 12, 2018
By Alissa Williams
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May your blessings be as deep as the ocean, May your life be as calm as the waves, May your happiness be as much as sand on the shore!

The Brown Family Portrait Session

The first time I met The Brown Family was on the side of Heckscher between Amelia Island and Jacksonville. We had several phone calls leading up to our portrait session which made meeting them feel like we already knew each other. 

 

Kim is a Full-Time yoga instructor, and has  been for the last 25 years.  Her husband Jeff loves to boat and fish, their daughter Brittney who is very successful working in California as an events coordinator and Conrad is currently living and working in Virginia also very successful,  I can not forget their family puppy Mya and I walked the mile to the Drift wood beach. 

The entire walk was filled with laughter and stories as if we had known each other for years! The love and bond between the whole family was beautiful to see! 

I knew right away that the portraiture we would create together would be breathtaking. 

Our whole session was like I was photographing old friends!

As we walked, talked and photographed I kept thinking of my own family and hoping that  I can instill this same love for family, the same level of importance that the children placed on their parents and how they lifted one another up in every conversation. 

 

To me that is what family portraiture is about.. preserving these moments, our families lives, who we are, our testimony, our actions, what we have done,  how we have treated one another. All of this transcends time in a family portrait. 

Please take a moment to check out the beautiful portraits we created. I am so happy with the results. 

Photographing beautiful people with amazing personalities and attitudes makes my job so easy!

I would also like to brag on Kim for a minute and talk about how amazing and in-shape she is. If you are in the Jacksonville area and are looking for a personal trainer or yoga instructor,  please call her!

She is an all around cool and amazing person!

Kim Brown 

iwannabfit4life@comcast.net

804.512.3693

 

Thank you Brown family for sharing your family, your love and your evening with me! It is families like yours that makes my job what it is!

 

 
Monday, January 08, 2018
By Alissa Williams
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How much is a portrait worth? That is the question....

I begin this post by referencing a shoot I did about 13 years ago..

The subjects: Twin sisters

Age: About 29

Had not had their portrait taken together since they were kids. Vanessa was visiting her twin sister for the week so they thought it would be a great opportunity to be photographed together. It started out as usual neither one REALLY wanting it done. However, their mom pushed them to do it.

The session went great Vanessa as always was her normal hilarious self making every laugh as usual. The photos turned out to be really nice and the family bought 2 8x10s 2 different poses. The family received their 2 8x10's framed them in some cheap frame and called it a day.

 

Fast forward 12 years....

 

Vanessa the one everyone loved and made everyone laugh and was filled with so much zest for life past away. October 23rd, 2017 her sister went searching for all the photographs she could of her sister she sifted through all social media, all her boxes of pictures. She thought back to the picture she had hanging on the wall in the other room and wished she had more images form that session. She had never thought about that session since receiving the 8x10's until now.. Now was when all she wanted was to see all of those images again.

 

Unfortunately, the digital files had not been backed up correctly and EVERY picture from that session was GONE FOREVER! With the exception of the 2 8x10's purchased.

 

Now how much are those 8x10's worth?

 

Vanessa's twin's name was Alissa (yes that is me). I am a photographer and can honestly admit back then I did not value photography as much as I should have. I haphazardly purchased those 8x10s put and them in a cheap frame as if they were meaningless. The digital files.. Well I could always reprint later right? Well even as a photographer and the many systems put in place to keep the unimaginable happening happened to me.. I lost all my digital files on my computer... All those memories..

 

Thankfully, with technology I was able to photograph one of those 8x10's and am able to create an heirloom art piece, just like the ones I encourage all of my clients to get.. Because you see  in the moment money seems like it matters.. You think oh my gosh that is expensive.. But take it from me, in the moment when you hear of your loved ones death you are not thinking about money and how much that portrait cost you. You are thinking about how grateful you are to have it.. I promise you, the moment you lose someone the first thing you do is cling to the photographs you have of them..

 

It is in that moment you realize that that Portrait is truly priceless.

 

I want to encourage you to learn from my story. Please have your portraits taken frequently! Cherish them, frame them in beautiful frames and present them on your personal art gallery called your home! You do not want to regret it when you receive that dreaded phone call when it is in that moment you realize there is nothing else you can do.

 

 
Friday, August 11, 2017
By Alissa Williams
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Hello!

WHoooHooooo! I am so excited about The Jacksonville Home & Patio Show.

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you are here, I am assuming you find my work of something of interest.

Please allow me a moment to give a description to what an Heirloom is; it is defined as

 

: a valuable object that is owned by a family for many years and passed from one generation to another

 

Therefore, the art work I desire to create for all, is something that is priceless.. Something that does not have a monetary value. Something that in generations to come someone (maybe a great grandchild) will have a beautiful peace of their heritage on their wall.

So many people put so much value in things that in 1 year have NO VALUE like t.v's furnishings or cars. It is a trend in today's society to really put on the back burner things that you can never get back, and can NEVER be replaced, like Portraits. So many people go to the cheapest photographer and get their images on a disc.

Where are those images in a year from now?

My desire is much deeper than that! My focus is creating one of a kind masterpiece, heirloom portraits. That will be handed down for generations.

 

This leads me to you right now, reading this article.

 

How long has it been since you have had a Family Portrait?

What is currently being displayed on your walls?

When someone walks into your home what would they say was the most important thing to you, based on what is the main focal points in your rooms?

 

If your answer to the last question was anything other than your family, please allow me the opportunity to change that!

 

I am so blessed to have this opportunity to create something unique for you. I have NEVER heard anyone say, "I wish I never took that family portrait". I have people contacting me all the time telling me how thankful they are that they took the time to have me create their Family Portrait!

 

This is my first year showcasing my work at The Jacksonville Home & Patio Show, I can hardly contain my excitement!

 Show Rewards

Come by my booth #S2-05  on any of the days to view beautiful samples of my work and reserve a session with me. I will be selling gift certificates that will double their value IF you use them with in 60 days of their purchase. This is the first discount I have ever given, so please come by and take full advantage.

I am also offering a Show giveaway. Come by my booth and sign up to win a portrait session and a 14 inch portrait with artistry (A $550 value) Your session will include a design consultation and clothing consultation.

So please swing by by booth and reserve your portrait session and to sign up to win our contest!

If you need more details please do not hesitate to contact me at  904.339.5889 or email me at Alissa@AportraitArtist.com

Looking forward to meeting you on September 28th-October 1st. at The Prime Osborne Convention Center in Jacksonville.

Many Blessings to you!