Friday, July 18, 2008

Trip to Pinehurst, Day 2

Well, I'm done with the exhibiting for today, so I'll take this opportunity to blog about our switch from Willowbook's Sequoia Album to our new Leather Craftsmen Albums. I've been wanting to do this for a while now. When we first started with Pictage, they were really pushing these Sequoia albums. Everything looked pretty good, so we ended up ordering a studio sample for ourselves. We prefer the 10x13 horizontal album, and we got that size with black leather.

I have to say, when the album first came in, I was VERY impressed. The quality of the prints, the softness and the smell of the leather, and the craftsmanship all looked great. Fast forward one year, and you won't find a bigger advocate AGAINST purchasing a Willowbook. There are several reasons why I feel this way...

The long term quality of the album is beyond unacceptable. Its atrocious, its horrible, its just downright RUDE to offer a product like this to photographers. Our album pages look like CRAP. The pages are warping like I've never seen. Some of the prints are separating from the page backings. The worst part is that we haven't abused the album. The album is in our office 80% of the time, and the other 20%, its kept in its original box, wrapped in bubble wrap. How much more careful can we be?

Another beef I have with Willowbook is that they are exclusive to Pictage, therefore limiting my design choices. I can only use Pictage's album designer to lay out the album, which honestly, needs major improvements before it is even usable. One of the main reasons that we are switching to LC is because we have full and total control over the design and layout of the album. And anyone who knows me understands how much I like to have control of our products and services.

On to the positive part of this post. We are switching to Leather Craftsmen albums. These guys are a top-notch, first-class operation, and they've been doing custom bookbinding pretty much forever. I initially got turned on to LC through two sources, Becker, and Rick Rosen. Becker mentioned his happines with LC products on the [b] school, and I was able to talk to Rick at the Detroit PUG (Pictage Users Group) meeting. Both guys had nothing but great things to say, so I had to check them out. After contacting an sales rep, and devouring all of the info on their website, I was convinced.

The marketing materials and samples that we were sent gave me virtually every piece of information that I needed to get started. I had a few additional questions so I called LC. A very nice lady answered the phone and was more than happy to help me. At my current job at Xoran Technologies, customer service is one of the ways that we differentiate ourselves from our competitors, and naturally its VERY important to me. When I say that LC has good customer service, that means a lot.

I can't wait to get our first LC album. I really think its going to help us take things to the next level.

Never fear, I wouldn't leave everyone hanging with no photography. This is one of the panoramic shots that I did today. There is a two mile nature trail going around a lake by my parent's place down here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Trip to Pinehurst, Day 1

Hey everyone, I made it to my gate (A23). Detroit Airport really isn't all that bad. For the most part, things were clearly marked and airport security and staff were helpful. As I'm sitting at the gate waiting to board, I am contemplating why airports cannot offer free wi-fi connections to passengers. I don't want to pay $5 for an hour of internet. I want it for free. Airlines, if you want more passengers, and you want to increase business, you have to offer perks to passengers. If you can't cut costs anywhere else, at least give us free wi-fi.

I made it through security with no issues, which was kind of surprising because I had a camera bag with me. When Steve and I flew into Orlando, we had the photo backpack with plenty of gear...and it was thoroughly searched. Not even a wink this time from the TSA personnel. Is it because I have less gear this time? Hopefully.

I also saw one of those new "ion" scanners that blast passengers with short bursts of air. I didn't have to go through one, but it was funny to watch each person jump as they were startled by the sudden blasts of air.

On the plane now, and heading to RDU. We should arrive there at 11:45ish. no word from the captain yet as to when the exact time will be, but the flight is on time. It looks like we might actually get a beverage and some pretzels on this flight, which would be very appreciated right now. Yay, beverage cart is coming down the isle. Aww, it looks like the cups actually got smaller than the last time I flew, no good. More later.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Client Feedback from one happy mother

Hi Guys. This comment got pretty buried, and we never featured it on the blog, so I'm putting it up front and center (because we are pretty proud of it). This was a comment posted on our blog by Melanie Fullenkamp...

THANK YOU SO MUCH from one BEYOND HAPPY mother of the bride! Kaufman Kramer Photography is amazing, truly inspired, high-energy work I am thrilled to have witnessed! (And I haven't even seen all the wedding photos yet.)

They so far exceeded our expectations that I am sharing the site with everyone who asks about the wedding (and even some who don't).

These photographers amazed EVERYONE at our ceremony and reception, as well as before, between and after. The bride and groom are thrilled to be friends with and even more excited to now have worked with

At the reception we were able to catch a glimpse of their work from the ceremony and from earlier in the day on a laptop displayed for those attending the party to enjoy. Those photos alone have me so eager to see more. Another laptop shared their engagement photos.

Chris and Brad, you were OUTSTANDING, just like Renae kept telling me you are! I never worried. . . she was SO excited about having hired you and now I am, and many others, are big fans as well.

The day of the wedding they worked so hard. They were flying (literally) all over the place to capture the event in a unique and creative way. They are TRUE ARTISTS and totally blew away the concept of traditional wedding photography in my mind. They made the wedding party look like models!

Being very interested in photography and enjoying it as a hobby myself, I wondered how they got such perfect, candid shots of unrepeatable moments. Then I heard one of the photographers shooting next to me. He took about a half dozen rapid photos of one part of the cake cutting and I realized how fortunate these guys are to work in this digital age of photography.

Having been in the event planning, wedding and marketing business for many years myself, I can tell you that these guys are succeeding because they are willing to go the extra mile, care deeply about their clients, and are over-the-top passionate about their work. I didn't see them stop to eat or linger anywhere for one minute. (Tell me, what is your favorite brand of power bar, guys? )

PRICELESS is the one word I will use to describe the work of these guys and the impact they have already had on our once-in-a-lifetime event. I have a feeling we'll be working together again in the future.


Melanie Fullenkamp
Wapakoneta, Ohio

A few images from this morning

My parents were up this weekend to visit and drop off a car for me. We had a chance to take the dog out and do some retrieval training with her. I took roughly 100 images, but here are a couple of my favorites.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A few more images from last weekend

Here are a few more images from last weekend. Brad and I had a great time hanging out and making some cool images. When we went to balloonfest, I tried something new I never had before. I walked around with a fisheye on a D70s and shot from the hip. I purposefully didn't bring the camera to my eye. I just wanted to see what I could get. The picture of the boy in the wagon, and the girls dancing were taken using this technique. I was trying to be aware of my environment and when I thought that there might be a moment, I would click the shutter. Having the fisheye certainly helped because I didn't have to be exactly dead on with composition. 80% of the photos did not turn out. Missed focus, blurry, backlit, etc... but the ones that did are pretty cool I think.

I'm not that good at driving a manual, but I'm trying to learn!

Balloon Glow.

Reminds me of the toys.

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Cousin Amanda's Reception

The great thing about going to a family member's wedding / reception is that you can enjoy yourself without having to feel like you're under the gun.

I was able to take a few shots while walking around. Note: I was trying my best not to be "that guy" at the reception. You know...the guy who shows up with the HUGE camera and trys to one-up the professional? (We've all been there)

So, I pretty much only shot family photos and some table set ups.

One thing about my family... they know how to throw a party. ;)

(Steven, Joellen, Aunt Linda and Uncle Ken)

(Mom and Dad)

(Uncle Jack and Mom)


("Let them eat cake.")



(Amanda and Mark) ~ aw cute!

(You've got to order the "Romano" to get this cocktail!)

(Downtown San Diego / Marina from the Balcony, in the distance is the Coronado Bay Bridge)

Congrats to Amanda and Mark on their marriage! Love you guys!


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Some shots from the 4th in Ashland

Hi all. Steve is in Cali, and getting some great shots. Scroll down to view. Brad, Dave, and I were shooting this weekend (along with some very lovely ladies). Here are some of the frames that we like.

Goodbye to the Aurora

Hi everyone. I sold my car today. The 1998 Olds is no longer with us. A sad day, but a good day. Looking forward to the next ride. Lots of good Kaufman Kramer miles on her, but I'm 100% confident that she will serve Brian (the buyer) very well. Aurora, it was a pleasure, and best of luck in the future.

Shooting in San Diego

Hey everyone. I'm out here in San Diego, California for a wedding I don't have to shoot! Relaxation? What's that? (wink) It's always great to spend some time with family and get away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind. However, I wouldn't be a good photographer if I didn't at least do some shooting out here. So, here's a few shots that I took when out with the family.

(Flowers in the Aunt's Garden - I miss Chris' macro)

(Flowers in the Aunt's Garden) ~love the burnt color

(Seaport Village vicious parrot attack) (j/k)

(Not so vicious parrot)

(These flowers are actually made out of wood)

(Only the best for the padre)

(USS San Diego Memorial)

(USS San Diego Memorial)

(Statue in front of the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier)

(Bob Hope Memorial) ~ love this shot

I typically like to shoot the early evening downtown cityscape type of shots, but sometimes you have to work in mid-day sun with the family. The trick to good photography is to find the beauty in everyday things. It may not be interesting to everyone, but if it's interesting to you...take the shot. I think that many photographers (myself included) sometimes get into the mindset that you need perfect lighting, or you have to wait for the "magic hour". The challenge is to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Ask Jay Maisel! Check out his web site:

Click here to see some of his work: Nikon Master Series

"Always carry a camera", is the motto that Jay has been preaching for years. Good advice. The only way to become a better photographer is to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more! (even then, you haven't learned everything)


Friday, July 4, 2008

Emily and Trent

We had the opportunity to work with this fantastic couple a few weekends ago, and we were really pleased with what we were able to produce. This wedding took place in Ashland, Ohio, and so it was nice to not have to drive so far, kinda like home-field advantage.

The photography shot in the rose garden on location really demonstrates what can happen when you take the time to control your quality of light.