Blog & Tutorials

Wow! You’re Expensive!

  • November 17, 2016
Wow! You’re Expensive!

Hi folks,

7Thanks for clicking through to our blog – we hope you stick around until the end.

We’ve just finished up editing and sending all of our Christmas Mini Session photos to our clients and it would seem everyone’s happy, which is wonderful (you can see some reviews on our Facebook page – Click here for Reviews). We’ve had a few disappointed people who couldn’t make it to our session and due to our work schedule and cut off times for printing etc., we can’t schedule another in this year. Next year, we’ll be sure to add more to the calendar! We’ll also be offering Mummy & Me and Daddy & Me sessions and gift vouchers in time for Mothers & Fathers Days respectively – so keep an eye out if you want to join us.

Now on to the matter at hand. That question – Why are you so expensive?

Family & Children Portrait Photographer Mobile Studio Own Home Cavan Monaghan Meath LouthFirst off – a business earns money to pay its bills and hopefully put bread on the table and coffee in our tummies, we’d love to work for free (which, incidentally we do for Aoibheann’s Pink Tie, Ireland’s National Children’s Cancer Charity – if you have the time, please look them up! They’re wonderful!) but unfortunately we all know that won’t work until we win the Euromillions…

We could drone on about it, but it’s simple – have some bullet points, we love bullet points!

  • We’ve been doing this for a few years now, we both work hard all the time to be able to produce consistent work that our clients love and are always working to make sure that we keep up with new techniques and new ideas in order to keep changing and improving – you’re paying for quality (while still getting quantity!) that we’ve worked hard to attain.
  • Equipment! There’s huge investment in setting up a photography business. Over the years we’ve invested in a LOT of equipment: multiple cameras and lenses, multiple lighting setups, backdrops, props, baby clothing, super-computers to cope with the workload, software subscriptions to give your images a flawless finish – the list goes on and grows weekly!
  • Insurance… You wouldn’t drive without insurance, the same goes for photographers. We, our vehicles and our equipment are insured and this costs us to pay every year.
  • We come to you! You don’t have to bundle your newborn baby into the car and make a journey to a studio, you don’t have to drag two crying children to a booth in your local shopping centre while praying they’ll play ball and then buy into the various packages in order to get all your images while they’re staring at the sweetie aisle begging for chocolate! No going out in the rain either.

adam-2If that’s all you came here to find out – you can see there’s no mystery. You get what you pay for with us – a quality service, in your own home, no hard-sell on prints/products, time (lots of it!), no pressure, no hassle (though a coffee is always welcome). We will spend time getting to know your children and allowing them to become comfortable around us before we start pointing our cameras at them.

Be warned – we pull some pretty silly moves & poses when we’re working and make some strange noises in order to get attention!

Here, we’ll insert the links to the pages you might want to look at so you can see what ‘Expensive’ is, afterwards, we’ll give you some reasons to hire us to get professional photos of your family taken, so feel free to keep scrolling:

*No fine print! Just to say that you may find we’ll need to travel a little to get to you and if that’s the case, we may have to charge anywhere between €5 to €25 to get to you)

We also offer wedding photography, engagement/proposal shoots and so much more, see the ‘Prices’ section of our website for info on those.

So… Why should you hire a professional photographer to take your family photos? We’ll be quick…

  • Photos that are in focus, not blurry, correctly exposed, printable up to huge sizes!
  • Everyone gets in the photo! Not always one person missing as they’re holding the camera.
  • Fun – our sessions are fun. No hassle, no frustrations, no time limits.
  • Gifts – if you’re like us, it can be hard to find a suitable gift for some family members… Grandparents will love a photographic gift (YOU get the disc, so you can make them yourself and save money). Gift vouchers for our sessions can make wonderful gifts for absolutely anyone!

Of course, we understand that some people simply cannot afford to spend €195 on a photographer. This is why we offer our pop up sessions which are usually only €50 incl. 1 digital image for self printing. Remember that with these sessions, we do our best to use your slot to get to know your little ones and coax them in front of the lens to get you the magical photos you want, but this simply cannot replace the dedication and variety you get from a home studio session, plus, you still have to go out in the cold to get to us!

If you’re still here – thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this. We love what we do, we have a passion for making people happy (cheesy as that sounds, it’s true) and a smile says more than anything else ever could.

Don’t take our word for it though! Read our on-site testimonials: CLICK HERE

Family Portrait Photography Cavan Monaghan Louth MeathFinally – if you’re interested in hiring us, simply contact us on 0429690315 or 0861925880 or visit our Contact page by clicking HERE. Thank you!

Portrait Retouching Workshop

  • April 29, 2016
Portrait Retouching Workshop

Location: Beckscourt Centre, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan

Date: Wednesday, May 25th

Time: 7-9.30PM

Cost: €40
(incl. tea/coffee & biscuits)

Max. 10 Participants

What you need:

  • Laptop with Photoshop (any version) (bring your power cable!)
    • We have 3 laptops available for students – first come, first served
  • Wireless Mouse (much more precision than your touchpad)
  • Notepad & Pen

What you will learn:

  • Basic RAW processing for portraits
  • Skin retouching using Frequency Separation
  • Masking
  • Dodging & Burning
  • Making eyes ‘pop’
  • How far is too far?

Contact us now on info@mianphotography.com (click to mail) or phone us on 0429690315 or 0861925880 for more information or to book!

Portrait Retouching Frequency Separation Dodge Burn

School Photos

  • April 28, 2016
School Photos

We’ve had a few enquiries from our clients asking if we do school photos. Well yes, we do – but because of the nature of our business, the logistics of booking in a school session, getting you your proofs, taking your orders and getting your photos to you is beyond our scope. However, we have come up with a solution!

We are now pleased to offer the following:

Non-School-Day School Photos!

Yes, that’s right – there are two ways that you can have your little ones’ school photos taken by us.

  • Attend one of our school photo portrait sessions at a location near you (please contact us for our upcoming locations).
  • Book us for one of our Home Studio Portrait sessions (click here for details) and your child(ren) can have an outfit change and have their school uniform photo taken during the session.

For our Non-School-Day School Photos, details are as follows:

We will set up our fully mobile studio at a location near you. You can attend at any time on that day between 10AM and 4PM with your child(ren). Individual and multiple child shots can be taken.

What does it cost? Just €18 for your session and this includes:

  • 1 8×12″ Print
  • 4 4×6″ Prints

You simply select your shot and pay on the day and we will post your photos to you as soon as they are ready! Simple, easy and you can be assured that the photo that you receive is already pre-approved by you and you’ve made sure there are no yoghurt stains on jumpers or pen & marker streaks on faces!

Interested? Simply contact us now for more information.

School Photos Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth

School Photos Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth School Photos Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth School Photos Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth

The Making Of…

  • April 27, 2016

Before & After:

Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Wonderwoman

To some folks, €150 for a photo session with your little one(s) may sound expensive – so we’d like to show you what you get for your hard-earned money!

We come to your home, with our professional equipment, there are two of us. We bring our lights, backgrounds, cameras and props, all of which cost money to purchase, maintain, repair and replace! We keep our overheads down because we don’t have to pay rent or rates, as we don’t operate from a premises, so we pass the savings on to you – if we had those bills to pay, we’d need to charge a lot more.

We’re friendly and spend time building a rapport with you and your little ones, we play with the children and get them interested in what we’re doing while we set up. Because we’ve come to your home, you haven’t had to bundle them into the car in the rain, drive to a location and hope that they don’t play up when you get to the studio! They’re not in a strange environment and something as simple as a mission to bring us their favourite toy or help us carry one of the props from the van can open dialogue with them.

We don’t just ‘snap’ the ‘pics’ and then upload them and charge you an arm and a leg for prints. Your session includes 3 free prints, because your beautiful photos belong on the wall in your home, not stored on a USB or CD! If you don’t want to purchase any more, that’s okay – if you do, we’re very reasonable on price. Purchasing a disc with available images costs you just €50 and generally contains around 10 high quality, professionally retouched images, sometimes more. We inject humour and imagination into the photos if that’s what you’d like to see, or we can simply leave the photos finished with basic development.

We’re flexible – we work all hours, every day of the year (except Dec. 25th!) – if a Sunday is what suits you, then it suits us too. If we arrive and your little one is having a terrible day, then we can come back another day – we don’t charge you twice, we only charge you for travel!

Most importantly, we’re bitten (or gummed!), we’re pooped on, we often go home smelling of sour milk. We’ve been wee-weed on. We’ve waited hours to take the perfect photos when waiting for someone to have a nap, a snack or a ‘moment’. We love what we do, we love being welcomed to your home, chatting about our work over a coffee and most of all we love delivering finished photos to you and when we can, we’ll do so in person. Take a look below to see how it is that we do what we do, what we start with and where  your picture finishes up and some of the giggles that can be had during your session!

Why not give us a call and experience it for yourself? We can cater for two families in one home too, so you can spread the cost between you!Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies  Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies Studio Portrait Photography At Home Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth Children Babies

Little Drops of Snow

  • February 29, 2016
Little Drops of Snow

It’s nice to get an unusual job in – a lovely gentleman asked us to come and photograph the snowdrops in his beautiful, private garden and has kindly allowed us to publish some of the images!

Enough words, more photos!

Layers in Photoshop/Lightroom

  • February 19, 2016

Following the success of our Digital Darkroom for beginners in Kells in The BookMarket, attendees have requested that we host a workshop on Adjustment Layers. Who are we to say no? It has been scheduled in, price & details below. All of the students who came to the post processing in Camera RAW/Lightroom in Kells are already booked on to the Adjustment Layers workshop but we’ve made room for two more, so if you’d like to take one of those two spaces, send us an email on info@mianphotography.com or call us on 0429690315.

What will we cover?
Adjustment Layers!

  • Levels
  • Curves
  • Hues/Saturation
  • Vibrance
  • Black & White
  • And very importantly – using your layer masks to selectively apply your adjustments!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us just click HERE.

Adjustment Layers in Photoshop & Lightroom Workshop Course Kells Meath

Photos of Your Pet!

  • February 17, 2016
Photos of Your Pet!

After numerous requests, we have just scheduled in a Pet Portrait Photography Mini Session for you.

March 19th, Saturday – A total of 10 slots are available, so please book early in order to avoid missing out!

Cost: €50, includes 1 free 8″x12″ print.

We will photograph any of your pets – so you can feel free to bring your dog, cat, hamster, piglet, lamb or snake 🙂 We have experience with a wide variety of animals and the only things that scare us (Milca) are cockroaches and tarantulas, so they’re Andy’s responsibility.

€5 from your session will be donated to your choice of these 2 charities – Kitten Cottage or Lily’s Dog Rescue.

Pet Portrait Photography Session Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth

What are we Blogging about Today?

  • February 13, 2016
What are we Blogging about Today?

Camera Club Talk Speaker Workshop Demonstration Cavan Monaghan Louth Meath Dublin Wicklow Donegal IrelandCamera clubs? Yes, that seems like a good idea.

We love meeting new people and revisiting older, familiar faces. Club talks are always fun, so we’re now booked in to visit not one, not two but three camera clubs in Wales for April! Three consecutive nights. What started out as a holiday has turned into a working holiday with some spare time. We’re looking forward to it. Andy will be revisiting his old stomping ground and meeting up with members from the clubs where he has previously held talks & workshops and I’ll be meeting some new people. I’ll also finally get to traverse Snowdonia and the Brecons and get some big girl mountain shots! Here’s hoping the weather cooperates.

We’ve also been booked in this March to visit the Kells Camera Club – some of whose members are currently on our Introduction to Digital Darkroom processing course in The BookMarket in Kells. That’s another talk we’re definitely looking forward to.

If you’re interested in having us visit your club for a talk, demonstration or hands on workshop – give our details to the relevant club members and meet us in person, we’d love to meet you!

Camera Club Talk Speaker Workshop Demonstration Cavan Monaghan Louth Meath Dublin Wicklow Donegal Ireland

 

Ignoring the Histogram

  • February 11, 2016
Ignoring the Histogram

What?! Are you mad?! Ignoring the histogram?

Yes, you read that correctly. A question was raised and our answers were questioned at our Camera RAW for beginners course last night regarding your camera’s histogram – rightly so. Most places on the net and a lot of photographers will tell you that your histogram is the be all and end all of ‘correct’ exposure… Read on, for our opinion.

Don’t get us wrong, the histogram is a useful tool, a guide, but by no means should it be a certain shape. That little hillock on the back of your camera sure is pretty, but not necessarily what you should aim for. If you’ve got a high contrast image, a high key image or a dark, grungy image in mind, then your histogram isn’t going to be what you’re looking at.

The histogram can tell you if you’ve ‘clipped’ your highlights or your darks to the point where you’ve lost detail, we’ll grant you that, but really, there is no such thing as a perfect histogram. It took me (Milca) a while to grasp the histogram, but I got there eventually. By all means, learn what it shows, how to read it and then learn how to break the rules.

Incorrect Histogram - Or is it?

Tommy looks shocked that our histogram is so far to the right!

Rather than rehashing what you see on the net, here’s a link to learn about the histogram: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/how-read-your-cameras-histogram

Back to our opinion on the matter – Some of you may have heard of Scott Kelby. He’s a photographer, he knows stuff and knows other people as well. He has some books out and in one of them it says this:

I know that headline above just made someone’s head explode, but remember, these are things I’d tell a personal friend (and things I wish somebody had told me) and one of those things would be to ignore the histogram on the back of your camera. I know that people desperately want a tangible, technical measure of the age old question, “is this a good photo?” but, I can promise you the answer isn’t found there. I remember being one of the guest speakers at a photography workshop and during my presentation, the subject of histograms came up. Standing in the back of the room were some of the instructors (literally, some of the best in the business – Joe McNally, Vincent Versace, Laurie Excell and Moose Peterson). I mentioned I didn’t use histograms and then I asked those famous photography instructors if they ever use the histogram on the back of the camera. They yelled back: “Nope”, “Never”, “Not me” and “Not a chance!”. What is it that these pros know that so many people arguing endlessly on the web don’t know? They know that great photos don’t come from looking at a graph. They know that great photos aren’t about the technical stuff (even though so many photographers desperately wish that it was, because people can learn technical stuff – it’s much harder to develop an “eye” and a heart for photography). Getting a good exposure with today’s digital cameras just isn’t that hard. In fact, it’s simple, because today’s cameras are so advanced that you almost have to work hard to get a bad exposure. So, stop worrying about the graph and start worrying about what you aim your camera at and how you aim it. That’s where great photos come from.

Scott Kelby

Update:

We were in contact with Scott Kelby to check with him that he was okay with us using the quote and along with being happy for us to do so, sent us this regarding what he tells people in his current seminar tour:

I say “If you’re looking at the Histogram, you’re looking at the wrong thing!” I also mention that the reason I think some photographers want to use the Histogram is that they’re looking for some mathematical proof that their exposure is correct because they’re not confident enough using their eyes. They’re not really sure of what they’re doing exposure wise, so if a Histogram can back them up that their exposure is “correct,” then it bolsters their confidence that they photo is indeed technically correct. By the way — you will never get a call from a potential client that will ask, “Can you make a photo for me that is not too dark, and not too light?” People don’t care about “technically correct photos.” They care about photos that excite, inspire, cause you to think, challenge the viewer, engage the viewer, delight the viewer. Look at the images that win any photo contest and you’ll see that the only people that care about exposure are other photographers – not the public. Not the people that will actually pay you for your work, not clients or or people who want to exhibit your work. Want to take better photos? Look at the photo — not a mathematical representation of it (by the way — I know a ton of amateurs that rely on the Histogram, but I can’t name a single top pro I know that does). NOTE: I’m not recommending turning off the Highlight warning — that is actually necessary to help you retain detail in the highlights, but turning that on should mean there’s never a reason to look at the Histogram again.

Scott Kelby

Many thanks to Scott for his encouragement on our stance – “ I applaud you for taking a stance that will be hard for some folks to swallow, but could actually make a real difference in their overall photography.

So there you have it, we’re not mad… Or are we? What do you think? Head back to our Facebook post and tell us your opinion!

(Click here to go back to our Facebook post and weigh in on the conversation).

Click here to visit Scott Kelby’s Website.

Click here to visit Scott’s Amazon page for more books.

Double Exposures in Photoshop

  • February 5, 2016

Double exposure was a mistake. It was, back in the early stages of photography, where a plate, film, frame etc. was accidentally exposed twice. This became an artistic technique and can be done in-camera in many DSLRs these days too. Of course, double exposures can also be ‘created’ in Photoshop. This is a basic tutorial for beginners on creating a double exposure effect in Photoshop. You can use any two images, but some will work much better than others. Strong lines in your overlay and good contrast will help in most cases.

Click any of the images to enlarge.

This tutorial was composed in Photoshop CC, so earlier versions may have slight differences.

  1. Open your RAW file in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) or other RAW processing software. Process as normal. Proceed to Photoshop with the image.

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

  1. Copy the layer and using your chosen masking method (we use Topaz Remask), cut your subject out.

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

  1. Click on your Background Layer in your layers panel on the right to select it, we’re going to insert a new layer and we want it above (hiding) the background and below your cutout.

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Click Layers, New, Layer. Alternatively, Ctrl + Shift + N – A new layer will appear between the ‘Background’ and ‘Background Copy’ layers. It is called ‘Layer 1’ by default. Double Click it and name it, White Background, then press ‘Enter’ on your keyboard to secure the tag.

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

  1. Change your nominal colour on your toolbar to white – the easiest way to do this is by pressing ‘D’ on your keyboard, then ‘X’.
  1. To fill your new layer with white, ensure it’s selected, then hold ‘ALT’ pressed on your keyboard and tap the ‘Backspace’ key. Alternatively, use your paint bucket to fill the new blank layer with white.Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial
  1. Click File, then Place (for PS CC, Place Embedded), then choose the file you wish to use as your overlay. Ideally, the image should have plenty of whites mixed with detail in order to ensure that the effect works properly.

    Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

  1. Change the blend mode of your placed image to screen, then use the resizing handles to move, rotate and ultimately place your overlayed image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Click the ‘Add Vector Mask’ button at the bottom of the layers panel and use a soft black brush to paint out your overlay where you don’t wish to see the effect, like on the front of the face here in our example.Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial
  1. Now you can process the final image as you wish. You can play with colours, tones, contrast etc. to get the ‘look’ you want over all. You can change it to black and white, which can be quite effective for this type of image. You can go back to your mask and remove parts of it from the hair (try using different brushes to get a natural, staggered fade). We’ve played a little with the image and here is the result!

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial