The local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter is turning 25 and, in preparation for an upcoming anniversary celebration, the organization has been filming a video sharing the experience of what it means to be a big or a little. They asked me to join them a couple of weekends ago around the Capitol, following the crew and capturing matches on a fun-packed day hanging out at Capitol Park, playing Connect Four and Bowling at Punch Bowl Social, eating Haagen Dazs ice cream at Downtown Commons, and catching up on some reading at Sacramento Central Library.
I’ve been working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento region for a few years now, creating images for their website and marketing materials; it’s some of my favorite work. I love that my images are used to highlight good work that benefits local children, and I enjoy bringing together my marketing knowledge with my photography experience, to deliver images that tell that story across platforms. It’s marketing with a heart and a purpose.
Although I’m sunsetting my family business this year, I still intend to work with nonprofits and want to pursue opportunities to work with businesses to help them with their branding. In short, I’m hoping to do more of this kind of work. So if you hear of anything…
In the meantime, enjoy these awesome matches having a blast!
Incidentally, if you’re local, you’d be right in thinking that a couple of these faces look familiar. Kevin John and Mayde Gomez both work for ABC10. Since I don’t have live/network TV anymore, I didn’t know they were tv-stars until later. Kinda embarrassing but regardless of their high-profile jobs, both were warm, gracious, and obviously fantastic Bigs. It was a pleasure to meet everyone.
For the second year in a row I was chosen by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento Area, to capture photos of their matches to be featured on their website and marketing materials.
You can see the photos I took last year peppered throughout their website: https://bbbs-sac.org/ along with stories about the matches I captured. It’s a wonderful way to bring to life the benefits of being a Big or Little.
This year they wanted to freshen-up the stories and images with other matches, some of whom had been paired for years and some for just months.
What’s always so fun to see, however, is the friendship these kids and their mentors have built together, no matter how long or short their acquaintance. So rarely these days are children in a position to form a relationship with an adult other than their parent or teacher and, although these relationships are pivotal for sure, they function as authority figures to a child vs. companions. It used to be that aunts an uncles, grandpas and grandmas, or even mothers and fathers of friends that lived close-by, filled these gaps but, as communities have become more fragmented and many families live far away from one another, building these kinds of bonds that are just about friendship and mentorship, nothing more, is much harder than I think it used to be.
Big Brothers Big Sisters fulfills that role and it’s beautiful to hear about simple adventures and conversations that these kids and their Bigs share, and that mean so much.
Here are some of my favorite images from our two days of shooting. If you’re inspired to learn more about being a Big or have a child who you think could benefit from the program, I encourage you to click the link above and learn more.
Working with nonprofits is some of my favorite work
If you know of a local nonprofit that needs to tell their story more powerfully through photos, please have them get in touch. I offer nonprofits a 50% discount on my hourly rate.
This past month I’ve been working with a number of non-profits and businesses. A little bit of a change from family and wedding work, which I find is always a great way to fire up the creative juices.
A couple of weekends ago I was working at Boost Swim School’sFolsom and Fair Oaks locations, to capture some images of their students for their website. My daughter has been having weekly swim lessons with Boost for more than 5 years now and we love their instructors. We started off at the Folsom location and moved with our favorite coach, Ryan, to their new Fair Oaks location at Rollingwood Athletic Club, about a year ago. My girl loves to be in the water but can be pretty timid when it comes to flips and dives and we have found their coaches to be incredibly patient and compassionate with these challenges, taking time to get to know her personality and deploy teaching tactics that help her get where she needs to go with a feeling of safety. So much so that we get pretty attached to our coaches. We cried when a previous coach, Taylr, left to go to college. She had been working so hard with my girl on her flips and she stayed in the pool an extra 10 minutes on that final lesson day because she was determined not to leave without a successful flip in the bag, and they have the best solar pool heater there, so they can keep the water warm for training.
Simply put, Boost is awesome, it’s year round, it’s well-priced, and I’m thankful for having the opportunity to represent them through these photos.
(And yes, I snuck some in of my girl at the end. Photographer-mom perks!)
If you know of someone who has a business and needs some better/updated photos to showcase their products or services, please connect us! firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-200-3956
You know when you get asked to do something absolutely awesome and you’re so excited about it? You run off to do it with tons of energy and enthusiasm, do your best, deliver and then… life gets in the way both for you and your client and you find yourself sending an email asking “Whatever happened with…?”
That’s what happened here with a shoot I did in January of last year for the O’Connor Company , an HVAC company in Kansas City. My sister-in-law is the Marketing Director extraordinaire over there and she was about to embark upon am exciting, celebrity-endorsed, multi-media marketing and advertising campaign – tv commercials, radio commercials and billboards. She needed a photographer to capture the process as well as to take some portraits of their celebrity, soccer star Matt Besler of the Sporting Kansas City pro soccer team, for the print and online campaigns. She asked me and said she would fly me out to make it all happen.
Unfortunately I said no.
HA! Are you kidding me? Even minus 10 degree KC weather wasn’t going to deter me from this one.
I was on set at a local model home for the shooting of the tv commercials, which was a ton of fun to watch in progress. After the tv spots were shot, I did some stills with Matt who is a sweetheart. (He’s not so bad on the eyes, either.)
I just got these images today showing how some of my images were used. So awesome! Billboards and magazine ads and direct mail campaigns.
Seriously, I could get used to this. So, for sure, if your company is working on a big marketing campaign and needs some shots (with famous people or regular employees) to help convey your message, I’d love the opportunity to pitch my ideas for the project. Just shoot me an email email@example.com
Big thanks to the other Mrs. McDaid for this opportunity!
For the last couple of years I have been fortunate enough to be involved with Sacramento Parent Magazine’s annual Cover Kid competition. In April I spent the day at the magazine’s Babies & Bumps event in Citrus Heights, photographing one gorgeous little munchkin after after another (almost 100 in 5 hours, in fact.) My photos were then turned over to the powers-that-be at the magazine for them to judge the winner.
This year, Ms. Layla’s enigmatic smile won the magazine’s vote and I visited her family’s home recently for their session, currently featured on September’s cover of Sacramento Parent Magazine. I gleefully swooped up about 10 copies this Saturday right after they dropped at my daughter’s swim school.
The magazine can only feature so many photos but I had so much fun playing with Layla and her family that I wanted to share the rest of my favorites here.
While you’re perusing, I’d love it if you also checked-out my article on bullying on page 16. As I was bullied throughout my early teenage years, anti-bullying charities and efforts are very close to my heart. It’s one of my personal goals to use my writing and photography experience to make a difference toward eradicating bullying in schools. I’m still trying to figure out what that means. If you have ideas, please do share!
One of the elements of my business that really took off last year was my professional head shots package “A Better Head Shot.”
Carol Kellogg, Office Manager for Lyon Real Estate’s Fair Oaks office
After working in marketing for the real estate industry for almost 10 years, I got to see so many head shots, many of which melded into a sea of sameness – same pose, same lighting, same background, same smile, same crop and composition – and it really made me scratch my head. When you’re competing against a huge group of people all claiming to do pretty much the same thing as you, you have to stand out and gain trust quickly or die on the vine. Yet here were all these soulless, personality-less, cookie-cutter pictures that did nothing to further either goal.
I decided to change that and incorporate what has been working for my family clients into working with professionals and business owners to help them improve their first impression through head shots.
Joan Druckman, Folsom Family Therapist
Drawing on my family photography experience, what I decided to do differently was:
Spend some time getting to know you via a 20 minute pre-session phone call where we talk about who you are and how you want that to come through in your head shots via the right settings and wardrobe choices.
Get out of the studio and on-location for the session, loosen up and have some fun during a 30-45 minute session that gives us plenty of time to capture lots of different looks and backdrops but at a comfortable pace.
Provide a gallery of 10-15 proofs to choose from so that you truly feel like you’re picking the best of the best.
Include 5 high resolution digital images in the session fee so you can have different images for different purposes. Maybe the photo you use on your website you want to be slightly different than the one you want on your social media profiles and both slightly different from those on your marketing materials but, at the same time, they all need to feel like they’re part of the same story. With 5 images, you can do that.
Deliver all chosen images as high resolution files, perfect for printing, as well as low-res versions for the web, recognizing not everyone knows how to properly re-size a photo for uploading to a social media or blog site.
REALTORS Randy Kellogg and Cherie Lovas
And it worked! Last year I photographed a ton of REALTORS, an actor, a scientist, a team of chiropractors and a therapist and all had great feedback about the experience; how it was not like other photo sessions they’d had for professional photos and how professional yet personal their final photos were.
Folsom actress, Lindsay Witter
The key is that I make it easy and I make it fun (for both of us) without sacrificing any of the professional results. Win win!
And so January is a good time to remind you that, if there is a professional photo out there of you somewhere, it might be a great time to update it for 2015.
If you’d like to make it happen right now, before other goals and plans distract you, I’m offering $10 off all regular head shot sessions through February 28th 2015. And if you love your session, I’ll also write you a check for $10 for the first person that you refer to me and who also schedules their head shot session before the end of February. So, potentially, that’s $20 off. (Happy dance!)
I'm Michelle and I love vampires (before they were cool), peanut butter and that deliciously off-balance feeling you get when you step off a plane in a new country. I'm also a mum, a writer and a visual storyteller.
Click here to learn more about all that.
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