Over the next few months, I'll be stepping away from my typical photography blog posts at times in order to highlight some of my favorite local, small businesses and their owners. As a small business owner myself, I feel it's very important to support other Pensacola area business owners.
First up is Amber Roman with Belly to Cradle, LLC.
Amber is a certified doula, childbirth educator, and placenta arts specialist, providing comprehensive birth care and support for families in Pensacola and the surrounding areas. Belly to Cradle, LLC was established in 2011 with the desire to support families through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum. Since then, Amber has provided birth support at more than 120 births, and has walked with dozens more families through their pregnancy, breastfeeding, and early parenting journeys.
Amber describes herself as a pretty introverted person, but feels becoming a doula has allowed her to really break out of that shell allowing her to meet and bond with people that she never would have under any other circumstance. She says that she, "loves watching and helping new clients develop the bond between themselves and their new baby, as well as their community. Helping them reach out and find the 'village' that will be there for them in the timeframe after baby arrives is so important."
On an even more exciting note, this past week, Belly to Cradle expanded into a Collaborative/Agency-style doula practice with not one but FOUR doulas providing structured, collaborative care under the Belly to Cradle brand! With this addition, clients are now able to match themselves with a doula who is perfect for them based on their experience and fee - something completely new and unique in the Pensacola area!
Check out the Belly to Cradle, LLC Facebook page to read spotlights on Lauren, Lydia, and Christina.
Amber also owns Pensacola Placentas, an affiliate of Belly to Cradle, which offers options such as: placenta encapsulation, an umbilical cord keepsake, placenta tincture, and a placenta print.
It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to show off some the awesome photography products that we carry. Plus, since I’ve added a few more goodies, what better way to introduce them than to show them off!
Since it is the Christmas season, I am going to start off with these super cute, and affordable, custom Christmas ornaments. On the left is a bamboo ornament that comes in your choice of 13 sizes & shapes (the one show is 4″x2.5″). They’re ~1/4″ thick and show the beautiful, natural grain of the bamboo through the image. On the right is a sweet metal ornament that can be ordered in the design shown or a snowflake.
These ornaments not only look lovely on your own tree, they make a fantastic gift for grandparents!
Next up is an item I’ve been proudly using for 2 months now: a custom cell phone case.
What a great way to show off your babies – without having to even unlock your phone screen.
Cases are black rubber grip with interchangeable photo inserts. These aren’t sold as “protective cases” like Otterbox, Lifeproof, etc – BUT, my toddler has dropped and thrown my phone multiple times on quite a few different surfaces, and so far, no damage has occurred to my Samsung S6.
Cases are available for the Samsung Galaxy S6, iPad Mini, and iPhones 4, 5, 6, & 6 Plus.
The base order includes 1 case and 1 insert – additional inserts can be added to your order or ordered at a later date.
The gorgeous picture above is my 2nd favorite new product: the 3″x3″ accordion mini album. This beautiful, sturdy mini album comes with your choice of up to 10 customizable panels and your choice of cover: fabric, leathers, suede, or (my personal fave) custom photo. Accordion Mini albums come in sets of 3 boxed up in a little manilla colored box – PERFECT for grandparent gifts (can you not just picture grandma whipping this out of her purse to show off to everyone) or as a display in mom or dad’s office!
Next up, you can NEVER go wrong with a custom, 1 1/2″ gallery wrap canvas! It’s classic, it’s sturdy, and you don’t even need a frame.
Each gallery wrap canvas is finished with saw-tooth hangers and corner bumpers.
I’ll wrap up with something many of us are knee deep in this time of year – Christmas cards.
I am proud to offer, high quality, customized Press-Printed & Foil Pressed greeting cards in a variety of sizes.
Custom designed cards are perfect for new baby announcements, Birthday invitations, Graduation announcements, Christmas cards, etc.
So, now you’ve seen the beautiful, high quality, and affordable products we carry for our clients. But, just because you don’t see it here doesn’t mean we can’t get it. So, if there’s ever something special that you have in mind, just ask!
And I’d love it if you’d let me show you why!
I’m what many in the industry call a “shoot and burn” or “turn and burn” photographer.
What’s that mean? The simple answer is that I provide some of the high resolution digital images to my clients as part of the session fee. Digital images are what my clients want, so that’s what I provide. I also make it a point to let my clients know about the professional print products I offer! I do this for 2 reasons:
In order to put my money where my mouth is, I chose the 2 portraits that had gotten the most love on my Facebook and Instagram accounts from this summer’s Orange Beach, AL Portrait Sessions and had 5×7 size prints made by my Professional Lab of choice (Millers), as well as 4 of the most common stores the average consumer uses for prints – Walmart, Target, CVS, and Shutterfly.
These are the images I chose.
Are you ready to start the comparisons? We’ll start with the portrait of the little girl with the sailboat in the background.
I’ll sit here a minute while the shock wears off.
I have to admit I even I was surprised at the extreme difference in these pictures. I knew they’d be off, but I didn’t expect it to be this crazy!
Let’s break it down –
Here’s a close up of the images laid one on top of the other on a white piece of card stock. This let’s you get a really good look at the color differences in the sky!
Ok, on to the second image.
The differences in these prints is MOST noticeable in the skin tone and sky color.
OOO look at all the pretty blues and greens. lol
Ok, obviously, these labs are fine if you want snap shots or need 1 hour pictures printed for a school project or something where the quality isn’t that important to you. I’m in no way saying they don’t have their place in the market. But, if you’ve paid a professional photographer to take portraits of your family, consider getting professional prints made. The professional labs that I use print on archival quality paper that is made to stand the test of time.
**Disclaimer** Obviously, lab results will vary based on location. This post was not made to bash any discount labs, but to educate clients and other professionals. If you do choose to order from one of these discount printers, please do not select the “color correct” box!
Part I - Where are your pictures?
In this three part series, we'll discuss what to do after your portrait session is over! Part One will talk about what you're doing with your digital files. How are you safe keeping them? Part Two will discuss how where you have your pictures printed matters. And Part Three will give you ideas about how to best display your portraits after you print them.
Did you know that over time, CDs and USBs can become corrupt and unreadable? What would you do if your hard drive crashed? Yes, you'd most likely lose important documents, but you'd also risk losing all of your family's pictures. Did you know that most professional photographers only keep client's images for a couple years? We just don't have the storage space - plus, when we save files it's on at least 3 different devices.
We hear it and read it all the time. "Do I get the digital files?"
In many cases, the answer is yes.
My question to you though, is this - What are you doing with those digital files?
Are you ordering professional quality prints and albums from your photographer? Or are you trusting the nearest big box store or corner drug store with your printing needs?
If you actually order prints, what are you doing with them? Are you displaying them on the walls of your home? Are you adding the prints to baby books or photo albums? Or, are they just getting dumped in a photo box?
I would like to bet that if I stopped 10 random people and asked them what they do with their digital files, more than half of them with answer me with, "They're still on the CD/USB the photographer gave me," or, "I shared them on Facebook," or if they downloaded the files, "They're in a folder on my hard drive."
Say you get the digital files from your photographer. Did you read your contract and/or print release? If you have a professional photographer, at least one of those documents will have instructions on how to safe guard your images. My personal Print Release card contains the following statement: "All digital media can become corrupt over time. I highly recommend that you download the images off the CD/USB onto at least one computer to ensure the safe keeping of your images." My Portrait Contract has the following clause: "FBO Photography is responsible for providing storage of their images for one year only. After one year, images may be deleted or removed. Client releases FBO Photography from liability of photo storage after one year."
This is not to say that I actually delete client's files after a year, but it does mean that I could. And I know several professional, top of their field, photographers who do.
*The pictures throughout this post are of my family. Some are professional portraits, and some are just snap shots. But all are memories that I'm not prepared to lose.*
Like many people, my love of photography was about photographing things and places long before it was about photographing people. If you were to go back through the many folders on my computer, under each year, you would find a folder titled "Scenery." Every year, I created that folder to hold the photos I took JUST for me, the pictures from the days where I just got up, picked up my camera and my car keys, and didn't come back for hours. Once you got tired of looking through folders on my computer, you could go through my old photo albums and find pictures from as far back as middle school where I did the same thing (minus the car keys).
As a teen and college student, photography was a way to express myself. As a young adult working 60-80 hours a week in the real world, it was a hobby for my days off and an inexpensive way to decorate my walls. And when I went through my divorce in 2010, going for a walk with my camera was a way to escape my head. Trust me, there's nothing like laying perfectly still, belly down, in the sand waiting out a nervous bird to clear your head of the noise of every day life. Now, as a 33 year old mom, step-mom, wife, and wahm/photographer, being able to "run away" for a couple of hours to commune with nature and take some pictures is a much needed reminder of what got me into this business in the first place.
So why am I telling you this? I want you to understand how much I love photography as an art. While uploading Halloween snapshots into my 2014 folder, I realized there was no "Scenery" folder.
It had been over a year since I'd gone out and shot just-for-me.
I teared up.
Don't judge me.
2014 was a busy year, it began with me super pregnant, then I became a new mom, and then it was just the day-to-day life of motherhood, and I have NO regrets about it! But, when my husband asked me last week what I wanted to do for my birthday, I didn't hesitate with my request.
I asked him if I could go down to the beach for a few hours around sunset and take pictures - alone. God love that man, he didn't take that the wrong way. He said of course, cleaned out his truck (he'd need my car for the 3 kids), and at 3pm the next day, sent me on my way.
It. Was. Glorious.
One of my best "finding beauty" days ever. And now there's a "Scenery" folder in 2015!
And, for nostalgia's sake, here's a few from "finding beauty" days past.
2014 was a year of changes - both in my personal life and for my business. I revamped my website, added Newborn photography to my portfolio (and instantly fell in LOVE), and developed a “Watch me Grow” Milestone package for Pensacola area parent’s to document baby’s 1st year! While I still LOVE weddings and being a Pensacola wedding photographer, I made the decision to limit the number of weddings I’ll take each year and moved the focus of my business more in the direction of Family Portrait photography. Oh yeah, and I had a baby!
So, what am I looking forward to in 2015?
For my business, I am going to make a huge push to get my Senior Ambassador Program off the ground this spring. I think the Class of 2016 in Escambia county, Santa Rosa county, and Baldwin county will be a great group to launch my awesome Senior Portrait program.
As well as marketing towards high school seniors, I’ll also be booking more Newborn and Family Portrait sessions! I’m also hoping to have the opportunity to try my hand at “Birth Story” photography before year's end. And, because I do love Wedding photography, I will still be booking weddings, just on a more limited basis.
Also, the end of 2014 brought a change to how our customers receive their digital & print images. From now on, unless otherwise agreed upon, all digital images from Portrait sessions will be delivered via digital download and brides & grooms will receive their images on a USB. Print & canvas orders will be placed directly through me and not through a 3rd party site. This both allows me to offer you the same, quality products at a lower cost AND enables me to personally make sure your portraits are perfectly, sized, scaled, and colored before they're sent to be printed.
For my personal life, I can’t wait to see my son take his first steps and celebrate his first birthday! And I’m hoping that 2015 allows me to do a little traveling again. As much as I love portrait photography, landscape and nature photography is in my soul.
A peak back at 2014...
Thank you to everyone who trusted me to capture their precious moments this past year, and a special thank you to the four new mothers who trusted me to hone my newborn photography craft on their new bundle of joy!
Amanda is the prop buying, location scouting, ponytail sporting, flip flop wearing, owner/ operator/ and woman behind the camera for Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Photography.
Newborn Portrait Photography
Family Portrait Photography
Maternity Portrait Photography
Senior Portrait Photography
From Gulf Shores, AL to Navarre, FL. Covering the areas of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Foley,and Elberta in Alabama and Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Pensacola Beach, Milton, Pace, and Cantonment in Florida.