Monroe Payne Photography: Blog https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog en-us (C) Monroe Payne Photography (Monroe Payne Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:56:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:56:00 GMT https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/img/s/v-12/u554953621-o649596219-50.jpg Monroe Payne Photography: Blog https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog 110 120 Michael Sampson https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/4/michael-sampson Imagine form being taken, broken into its elements and reimagined into an abstract but fascinating image in oil on canvas.

This is the world and craft of Michael Sampson, who I had the great pleasure of talking with today. I found a quiet man with a passion about his art who wanted to be able to communicate to the greater world about who he is, and what makes him so fulfilled when creating his art.

For those who don't realize, an artist doesn't just create images - he or she pours a bit of their soul into the art; not only portraying the image but reflecting a bit of themselves on to the canvas. It is a delicate balance to be sure, but one he carries off beautifully.

Click Here for an example of a few of his works once displayed at the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA). There is a substance to his work that goes beyond just size and enters the world of altered perception and beauty.

I am no art critic. I am a photographer who works on an emotional plane, and Michael is an abstractist (my own word) who has a totally different interpretation of what may be the same subject. I DO, however, know what I like, and a few of Michael's pieces speak to me brilliantly at a gut level.

This brings to mind an idea... I would love to find a scene, then interpret it my way while Michael interprets it his own way. Let's add a few more artists, photographers, sculptors and combine our talents into a single show - called "Variations on a Theme". What a concept!

For more information on the very talented Michael Sampson, visit michaelfsampson.com

Until next time...

 

 

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(Monroe Payne Photography) abstract art paint painting https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/4/michael-sampson Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:39:24 GMT
Skip-Over Immunization for You https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/3/how-to-fight-the-dreaded-skip-over Looking at business websites, do you, like me, skip over those listings that don’t have the owner’s photo, or the photo is very obviously a poor quality snapshot?

 

Of course you do. You want to deal with quality people. The Realtor with the poor photo may be very nice and competent, but you have just skipped over them. It is the same for people of every profession from attorneys to plumbers, who haven't invested in a quality head portrait.

 

Social media, particularly LinkedIn which serves professionals, is another place you will skip over someone with no photo or a poor one.

 

What do these “skip-oversall have in common?

 

They aren’t getting any of your business.

 

If you have a well done, professional head shot – I think of them as head portraits – congratulations. You are not nearly as likely to be “skipped over”. People WANT to work with someone like you, who cares about your image – a professional who will likewise care about them, when they retain you for your services.

 

If you do NOT have an image that shows the REAL you at your very best, there is hope. The cure to the skip-over is available at Monroe Payne Photography. Scoring that meeting with a new client, getting that job interview, or even meeting someone on the single’s site is easily within your grasp, while before - well - you've been "Skipped Over".

 

A head portrait from Monroe Payne Photography will bring your image up to the very best of your peers, and immunize you against that dreaded “skip-over”.

 

Call today to schedule your immunization to the “skip-over”, and have a carefully designed head portrait done for you by Monroe Payne Photography!

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(Monroe Payne Photography) business head image marketing over peers photograph portrait pride professional self-promotion shot skip https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/3/how-to-fight-the-dreaded-skip-over Mon, 28 Mar 2016 20:57:41 GMT
Photo Tip #6: Rule of Thirds, Part One https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/3/photo-tip-6-rule-of-thirds-part-one Photo Tip #6: Rule of Thirds Part 1

Back in my younger days, you know, a year or twenty ago, I would “take” pictures of all sorts of things, centering them exactly in the frame like I was told to by other snapshooters. Having no real “art” education (except for an intensely boring Art History class in college), I couldn’t really realize why my images were so… ordinary. Ordinary pictures are (or were) a waste of film, because you glance at them once, see what it is, then move on. Booooring….

Ok, I wasn’t really that bad, but my photos really left things to be desired. Then I was taught a bit of psychology by one of my mentors, who said “The eye expects a thing to be in the center, so when you move it OFF center, the mind wants to ask “Why?

Why indeed.    

I don’t know.

But it works.

When the center of interest, the thing you want most to highlight, is set off to the side, the brain of the viewer goes a little nuts looking for the reason. And so it lingers, searching, wandering, gathering the details – and if the image is well done, a story begins to emerge.

I believe that the “image” is all about the story. Grabbing the viewer’s interest is the opening chapter to the story. The “Rule of Thirds” is the device that most regularly can capture the attention.

Imagine the viewfinder of the camera, and draw an imaginary Tic-Tac-Toe board on it. There are four places where the lines intersect. These are called the “power points”. Your goal is to put the “center of interest” at or near one of those points.

The intersections or power points have an order of strength. Lower left is #1, Upper left is #2, Upper right is #3 and lower right is #4. Of course you can’t always place your center of interest  at exactly that point, but try to get close.

Our little man here has the "center of interest" at the upper right, which is the eye nearest the camera. Cute little guy - I think he just won the "Cutest 7-Month Old" contest..

Horizons need to go on the thirds as well – upper or lower – but they need to be there. Never, ever run the shoreline or horizon through the middle of the frame, unless you have a whole composition of converging lines leading to that center – but that’s another topic altogether…

The next thing is for you to go out - or even in your home - play with your composition using the rule of thirds. Dogs make particularly fun subjects. In any case, the sun just came out.

Time to go out and play!

Until next time!

 

 

Monroe Payne is a portrait and commercial photographer in Ithaca, NY. His passion is improving the level of the craft of photography by teaching, mentoring and connecting professionals in this wonderful, personal service of Photography that we provide.

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(Monroe Payne Photography) centering composition education eyes fun learning linger photo photograph photography play thirds tips https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/3/photo-tip-6-rule-of-thirds-part-one Sun, 20 Mar 2016 19:34:27 GMT
Photo Tip #5: Separate your Subject from the Background https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/2/photo-tip-5-separate-your-subject-from-the-background Last week we spoke about being AWARE of your background.

This week we're going to play with bringing attention to your subject by intentionally making it separate from the background.

Shooting black and white film in my youth (back when I was 50) was always a bit of a crapshoot. I’d never know what the final image would look like until I actually processed and printed the photo in the darkroom. It was a magical time to see your images come to life out of the liquid developer and become the image that the camera saw.

Notice, I didn’t say the image I took. The camera is (again) a box with a hole in it, and it takes a bit of “knowing” to control the light that makes it in the hole.

The photo I remember was of a pheasant in the woods, beautifully marked and camouflaged in its surroundings. So perfectly camouflaged in fact that if you didn’t know it was there, it was difficult to see in the black and white image, because the background was exactly as brightly lit as the subject.

There are three ways of telling your story without the background interfering too much.

The first is relative brightness. A light subject will show up beautifully on a dark Hilby background, and vice versa. The eye will know exactly where to look and how to interpret your image

The second is color. A bright green background like a soccer field versus the brightly dressed competitors make it easy to tell which is which. A quiet woodland scene with a loving coup  le dressed in blue… *sigh*.

And the third is selective focus. Blur the background while photographing the foreground by use of the f-stop. (or the portrait or flower thingy on the camera – it’s the  same…).

#1 – Brightness. An evening winter festival in upstate New York with Hilby, the Skinny German Juggling Boy on his unicycle. I was running ahead of the crowd, turned around and caught him with the black evening behind him, separating him nicely from the background. Play with this. Have a friend help you as well, photographing him (or her) with backgrounds of varying brightness; sky, woods, evening cityscape – lots of places.

So what if people watch? That’s kinda fun too….

#2 - Color Separation. My Golden Retriever Ginger was terribly frightened on her first day at her new home. Of course our entire family wanted to love her to death, but she thought it might be safer to hide, for a moment, in the tall grass. My daughter Mindy (who is very aware of “the moment”) captured this photo of frightened puppy in the grass. The relative brightness of the grass and the puppy are similar, but the colors are very starkly different, separating her from the background.

#3 – Selective focus. Or the flower thingy. The portrait thingy does the same thing, only not as much. Look at how the flower is in crisp focus and the background (dead grass) is a blur. Had the background been IN focus, the image wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.

So practice and play. You can do this at home, in a park, annoy your coworkers or just take some time to yourself and test it out.

 

We’re building a step at a time here. Become comfortable with the camera, confident in your “Boom” and aware of the light you let in that hole!

 

Monroe Payne is a portrait and commercial photographer in Ithaca, NY. His passion is improving the level of the craft of photography by teaching, mentoring and connecting professionals in this wonderful, personal service of Photography that we provide.

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(Monroe Payne Photography) annoy background blur brightness color fun photo photograph play https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/2/photo-tip-5-separate-your-subject-from-the-background Mon, 22 Feb 2016 21:18:55 GMT
Photo Tip #4: Plan your Background – and Foreground… https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/2/photo-tip-4-plan-your-background-and-foreground

It is a beautiful summer day. You and your family are on the vacation of a lifetime – or maybe just this year’s trip – but in any case, it is a journey and a time to create beautiful, exciting memories. I remember a trip to Florida (barely) when I was three years old, and Dad had his ever present camera slung around his neck. Ok, it was 1955. A long time ago.

Two of the photos stand out in my memory.

All four of us kids were on the pier at St Augustine when a flock of pelicans landed right in front of us. Imagine the joy and delight in the faces as we stood nose to beak with these magnificent creatures. The moment lasted only a second, but Dad had the presence of mind to take a photo.

Confident he had captured the photo that would define our wonderful time, he anxiously waited for the Kodachrome slides to return to share them with the family. Slide shows were what we did before video and color TV.

When the photo he waited for finally appeared, we all discovered to our great amusement (and Dad’s horror) that filling the entire right side of the frame was an enormous woman glaring at the camera. Dad is gone now, but I remember that slide show so very clearly, and it has caused me, ever since, to be very careful what I let through that little hole in front of the camera.

Another slide from that trip was of a playground we absolutely loved with a super tall corkscrew slide. We played in that wonderful playground for half a day, and once more some unexpected elements arrived in the photograph. As Dad faithfully caught the perfect image of my sister sliding down the curvy slide, he also caught an overflowing garbage can, figuring prominently in the background.

These are just stories from family history, illustrating that these issues aren’t anything new. As long as there have been photographs, there have been annoying intrusions into the images. In Ansel Adams’ day, photos were time consuming and difficult to take, so the elements of composition were paid great attention. As cameras began to be mass produced and media became less expensive, people became less cautious of the backgrounds and foregrounds. Another photograph could be taken.

Then 35mm came along, then Instamatics, 110 cameras and a mass of cheap plastic lensed excuses for cameras. And now digital images with their instant feedback and cell phones with billions and billions of absolutely horrible selfies….

It makes me yearn for someone, ANYONE who can pay attention to what is actually going through that hole in the front of the box we call a camera.

Is it you?

 

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(Monroe Payne Photography) background fun garbage mind photograph plan play present thought https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/2/photo-tip-4-plan-your-background-and-foreground Tue, 16 Feb 2016 17:40:00 GMT
Photo Tip #3 - Fill the Frame https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/1/photo-tip-3---fill-the-frame January 25, 2016

Inspiring vacation photos, intimate family photos, beautiful landscapes, touching scenes – they all are in our minds and thoughts when we pick up the camera. So why do they come out so – blah? Ordinary? There is a simple answer.

You’re trying to capture too much in a single image. We have all been somewhere, some place gorgeous with our families or friends, and want to take that one photo that takes it all in, shows everyone we were with and the great time we had. When we finally see the images, the background is too light, the family looks like they have raccoon eyes, the focus is less than wonderful and the feeling – well, it just isn’t there.

It’s all about simplifying. Filling the frame with exactly what you want, and no more. You will probably have to choose between a beautiful family photo with just a piece of the vista behind them, or the beautiful vista by itself with family just setting the stage to give it  sense of scale. The good news is that digital images are cheap – as opposed to film (anybody remember film?) where each image was an expense.

So go ahead and take a bunch of photos – don’t try to cram everything into one little frame.

 

Of course, it all depends on what you are trying to capture. I could have caught this image (above) from across the green, but the message either wouldn’t have been obvious – or understandable at all. But up close, there is no doubt about the love that is being expressed. In this case, I actually went up to the couple, strangers, and asked them to embrace again. Ok, ballsy maybe, but I told them I was touched by the expression of the hands. They gladly agreed.

Remember I said something about adding people for setting the stage? Consider. Which of these do you like better – the one with the people or the one without? You see how having people in the photo can add to it?  Adding people gives it balance and adds a sense of scale. A human element generally makes an image more relate-able. 

 

Images you take are for a purpose – to capture a place, people, or a feeling. Whichever is your purpose, go ahead. Fill the frame.

Keep playing with your images and experimenting with what works and what doesn’t.

The key word is “PLAY!”

Until next time!

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(Monroe Payne Photography) close emotion family fill frame personal photo photograph simplify https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/1/photo-tip-3---fill-the-frame Mon, 25 Jan 2016 18:25:27 GMT
Photo Tip #2 A Matter of Pretend https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/1/photo-tip-2-a-matter-of-pretend January 8, 2016

I’ve been approached by many people who say “That’s a BEAUTIFUL Camera! It must take great pictures!”

My response? “Thank you! I taught it everything it knows!”

“It ain’t the violin – it’s the violinist” translated to “It ain’t the camera, it’s the photographer.”

People reading this are in all skill levels from the pro who wants to see what I’m up to, to the person who found a camera under their tree and haven’t the faintest idea what to do with it.

Whether you have a cheap point and shoot camera, or a new DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, it all comes down to this:

A camera is a box.

With a hole in it.

YOU decide what goes through that hole.              (Thank you, Michael Barton)

 

The point is this; great camera or entry level, you have all the equipment that is necessary to take great photos. Most of it is between your ears.

In the tips over the coming weeks, I’ll be giving you information that will help you regardless of your experience level or the complexity of your camera. Once you have mastered the basics, THEN is the time to consider stepping up to a better camera. It’s the mind we have to work on first.

Today’s exercise will make you feel a bit silly, but it is really vital to understand. Do NOT skip this step!

Hold your hands up like you’re pretending to take a photo. Look through your hands and pretend to take a picture. When you move your shutter finger to take your pretend photo, say “Boom!” It doesn’t have to be loud, but the verbal “Boom!” is necessary. I told you it would feel silly.

Ok, it’s one thing to say Boom! in your office or den – but it’s an entirely different thing to do it in public, but that is exactly the next step.

What is important is for you to pay attention to what you are seeing in the world, and what, when you have that camera in your hands, you are going to let come through that hole. Play as you see people walking down the street. Use your pretend camera at a show or a movie – what did the director see to make the scene interesting? Can you time your “Boom!'s” to catch the action where you want it? Can you see all you want to see in the frame? Your mind is not hard to train, but you need to practice without the camera. Your mind needs to know exactly what it is you want to capture when you DO have the camera in your hand.

Now, put your booms together with the focus technique we discussed in the last tip. Our goal is to have you, not the camera in charge when you take a photograph.

Until next time,

Boom!

Coming soon, you will be able to subscribe to the weekly photo tips and have them automatically delivered to your in box, along with some exceptional articles and information to make your experience as a photographer even more fulfilling.

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(Monroe Payne Photography) boom camera fun photograph plan practice pretend silly timing tip visualize https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/1/photo-tip-2-a-matter-of-pretend Tue, 12 Jan 2016 15:05:45 GMT
Photo Tip #1 It's 2016 - Let's Get Focused! https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/1/photo-tip-1-its-2016---let-s-get-focused Everyone wants to take better photos.

I don't know anyone who is just "satisfied"; all of us from the rank amateur to the professional want to take the next step to being greater at the craft than you were yesterday.

The simple truth is that many of the images I see on line are just plain out of focus.

Follow this tip, and you will set yourself above 95% of the camera carriers out there.

 

First, most cameras today have amazing auto focus. So why are our images blurry?

Excitement can be a part of it, looking forward to the next shot, hand shake and many other things can lead to a blurry photo. Let's cure this once and for all.

 

Capturing an image (not a "snapshot") requires a bit of thought and patience.

This technique was taught to me by a military sniper. Listen up - this works for anything that shoots...

 

First, compose your image in the viewfinder (or display, whichever). If you press halfway down on the shutter, you should see some indication that the image is in focus. Develop a meaningful relationship with your camera's instruction manual. It WILL help...

 

Here is where the patience starts.

 

Without moving the camera, take a deep breath. No, don't hold it. Let the air out of your lungs slowly until it's about 2/3 gone, then slowly squeeze the shutter. This is key; DO NOT MOVE until your exhale is done.

 

Why this works I don't know, but you can try this to verify I'm not blowing smoke. My hands shake naturally, but when I exhale slowly, about 2/3 out, the hands stop shaking. Then as the exhale completes, they start shaking again.

 

Try this new technique, and come back next week for Tip 2.

 

If you have a specific question, please either post a comment or send me an email! I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

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(Monroe Payne Photography) autofocus better camera focus learn photograph skill tip https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2016/1/photo-tip-1-its-2016---let-s-get-focused Fri, 01 Jan 2016 23:27:58 GMT
Stanley Steemer and the Syracuse Crunch host 5'th Annual Tired Teddy Bear Toss https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2015/12/stanley-steemer-and-the-syracuse-crunch-host-5th-annual-tired-teddy-bear-toss Now and then, I am given the opportunity to help promote civic minded organizations who are doing their part to make Central New York a better place to live. Stanley Steemer of Syracuse and their President Jeff Triciani and the Syracuse Crunch organizations are two such organizations, working together to make a very merry Christmas for thousands of needy children by sponsoring their annual Teddy Bear Toss.

Press Release 12/9/2015

Preparations are well under way for the 5’th Annual Tired Teddy Bear Toss to be held at the Syracuse Crunch vs Toronto Marlies hoc key game this Saturday night!

Donations of new and gently used furry friends have been pouring into the Syracuse Crunch and Stanley Steemer offices, and Crunch fans are collecting toys from everywhere! Some fans arrive with garbage bags full of outgrown and freshly found teddy bears, Beany Babies and other stuffed toys of every description to throw on to the ice when the Crunch score their first goal of the evening.

The Crunch staff will distribute the toys on the seats of the War Memorial Arena prior to the game, so that those who came empty handed can still join in the fun!

 

For those unfamiliar with the tradition, a teddy bear toss is a popular Christmas season promotion at many minor and junior hockey arenas throughout North America. Fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears to the game, and to throw them onto the ice when the home team scores its first goal. The toys are then gathered up to be donated as Christmas presents to hospitals and charities.

After all the toys are collected from the ice, they are whisked away to the Stanley Steemer building for cleaning and refurbishing. They won’t be Tired Teddy Bears any more – they will be clean and like new, ready to be loved by thousands of children this Christmas.

The Salvation Army will continue their tradition by including them in this year’s Christmas Bureau, to be held at the OnCenter on December 23. Last year, over 2,500 families were the beneficiaries of the Syracuse community’s generous nature.

The Syracuse Crunch and Stanley Steemer are delighted to host this event to benefit the Syracuse Community.

Stanley Steemer is locally owned and operated.  Stanley Steemer is the first carpet cleaning service to be certified by the asthma and allergy foundation, by removing an average of 94% of common household allergens. 

For more information or to donate, please call

Stanley Steemer of Syracuse, (315) 455-2080 or the

Syracuse Crunch Hockey Club, (315) 473-4444

Photos by Monroe Payne

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(Monroe Payne Photography) Salvation Army Teddy Bear charity civic community donation event fun hockey toss https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2015/12/stanley-steemer-and-the-syracuse-crunch-host-5th-annual-tired-teddy-bear-toss Wed, 09 Dec 2015 16:46:24 GMT
5'th Annual Teddy Bear Toss https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2015/11/5th-annual-teddy-bear-toss December 12, 7PM at the Syracuse War Memorial Arena

 

The faux fur will fly on Saturday, December 12, when the Syracuse Crunch host the Toronto Marlies at the War Memorial Arena. The Syracuse Crunch and Stanley Steemer of Syracuse are hosting the 5’th annual Tired Teddy Bear Toss, where the fans are invited to throw new and gently used stuffed animals and teddy bears on to the ice when the Crunch score their first goal.

All manner of stuffed toys are welcome, from beanie babies to Elmos, and of course any variety of Teddy Bears are welcomed. Last year there was even a four foot tall “Radioactive Homer Simpson” making his way through the air to the ice, to the delight of all in attendance.

Fans are encouraged to bring new and gently used plush toys to either the Crunch office or to the Stanley Steemer building on Commerce Blvd. just off Carrier Circle from now until game day, December 12.

The collected bears will be laid out on seats in the arena in preparation for the first Crunch goal of the evening – just in case the occupant of that seat came empty handed – and then it rains teddy bears…

The toys will be collected from the ice by teen volunteers from the Salvation Army, along with help from the teams, Crunch management and the Stanley Steemer staff. They are then whisked off to be cleaned and refurbished to like new condition. The reconditioned toys will be donated to the Salvation Army for distribution at their Christmas Bureau, held at the OnCenter, just in time to make for a very happy Christmas for thousands of local children.

Stanley Steemer of Syracuse President Jeff Trisciani says it will take a full week of work by several employees to clean, deodorize and refurbish all of the donated toys to “like new” condition, but it is absolutely worth the effort.

Stanley Steemer is locally owned and operated.  Stanley Steemer is the first carpet cleaning service to be certified by the asthma and allergy foundation, by removing an average of 94% of common household allergens. 

For more information or to donate, please call

Stanley Steemer of Syracuse, (315) 455-2080 or the

Syracuse Crunch Hockey Club, (315) 473-4444

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(Monroe Payne Photography) Army Christmas Crunch Salvation Stanley Steemer Syracuse bear charity community donation like new refurbish teddy toss toys https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2015/11/5th-annual-teddy-bear-toss Wed, 25 Nov 2015 15:24:33 GMT
55 years of 4-H https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2015/4/55-years-of-4-h Although this is not strictly about photography, it will give you a bit of an insight to the work and mindset I do. Enjoy.

4-H for the last 55 years.

Yes, I’ve been involved in 4-H for 55 years as of this summer. That makes me sound really old, but I think it is, in part, what has kept me young!

In 1960 I had my first taste of 4-H as an 8 year old camper at Hidden Valley 4-H Camp in Watkins Glen, NY. My brother and 2 sisters were counselors there and I had visited many times, so it was perfectly natural to just walk in like I owned the place. Memories of the exact events of the week are blurry, except to remember the campfires and all of those silly songs we learned – some of which are still sung and others which have drifted into history except when they nudge at me at the most inappropriate times…

Camp is where many firsts happen, my first attempt at starting a camp fire, whittling, my first crush, my first broken heart and more than a few friendships which have lasted forever.

As a CIT, Counselor in Training, I met several people who have become best friends – and one who eventually became my wife; my girlfriend of 40 years.

Although 4-H Camp is where it all started, my serious involvement with 4-H began as a parent and an employer.

The 4-H Youth Fair was the centerpiece of our summers for all the years of our 5 children’s growing up. We raised dairy goats, and the children spent the spring and into the summer raising them, grooming, clipping, learning their many body parts and training them to walk properly in front of the judges. Although it was a lot of work, it has made the children, now in their 30’s, better people. The single greatest compliment I heard about them was “Your kids sure know how to work!”

That’s true. They didn’t have a choice!

Youth fair successes encouraged us to extend our goat showing to the New York State Fair where we did well, but again it was the mentorships and friendships we made showing there that endure. The dedication and friendship of the other exhibitors affected our children greatly, and encouraged them to do even better.

The goat barn at State Fair is a series of pens with concrete walks for the fairgoers to view the meticulously cared for (and very friendly) goats. Around the perimeter of the building is a yellow line about 4’ from the wall. Within that 4’ was where the exhibitors kept all their personal belongings, bedding, tack, food and camping supplies.

Our corner was known as “The Payne Encampment”, and Janet would spend the weeks leading up to State Fair cooking and freezing, and planning all the meals for the fair for preparation in the crock pot or the little microwave. We would start the crock pot in the morning, and by about 5PM, the teenagers would start raising their noses.. “I wonder what Mrs. Payne is cooking tonight…” Janet is not very good at cooking small quantities, so if it was a choice between a PB&J or Mrs. Payne’s Spaghetti, well, you know the answer.

I think that State Fair was the single place that the whole family was closest; everyone working for a common goal, the elusive “Best in Show” rosette and trophy.

This is the magic of 4-H, for it is not all about ribbons and projects and trophys. It is far more about family, learning from positive examples, and then emerging as a positive example to others.

Most, but not all of our 4-H experience is involved with our animals. As an employer, I consciously seek out candidates who did 4-H Animal science projects.

Why?

Because owning and showing an animal is a massive commitment.

4-Hers know how to accept and see through a commitment. It is very literally a life and death commitment, for the animal’s lives are completely in their hands. They know how to keep records showing the progress of their project, they know how to gracefully accept praise, and this is the most important trait – they know how to take critique, learn from it and improve from the critique.

It was about the time my children aged out of 4-H that my photography business began to take off, and I was asked to evaluate the 4-H photography projects at the youth fair. I was expecting to look at a bunch of snapshots and declare them worthy or not – but I was surprised again by the attention to detail and the thought behind many of the images, far in advance of my wildest expectations.

The other thing I noticed was the thirst for knowledge that these kids have, and their willingness to accept my critique without taking it personally.

Another major benefit was to me personally. I found that in describing the good points and bad points of any image, it caused me to re-evaluate my own work, and actually improved my personal and commercial photography. It went even further – I enjoyed evaluating the images so much that I began to offer instruction to 4-H clubs around the state specializing in composition and the presentation for competition.

So what is the purpose of telling you all this?

It is that 4-H is far more than goat shows and projects; far more than a social group; far more than clubs and chicken barbeques and fundraising.

4-H is training for a successful life.

We live in a society that is, sadly, becoming progressively more entitlement-minded, where accomplishments don’t matter and every want or need has to be filled immediately.  Where if an employee is held to account they have a temper tantrum instead of learning; where self-esteem is somehow a given and not earned and where personal responsibility is not either respected or taught – if something goes wrong, blame has to be assessed with no thought to correcting the situation, and on, and on….

4-H is a magnificent counterpoint to the sad metamorphosis that is sickening the rest of society.

4-H kids, 4-H FAMILIES are training our future employees and our future leaders in the best way possible by encouraging responsibility, initiative and excellence, by teaching respect (Yes, and manners too), and showing our next generation that they CAN overcome obstacles by persistence and when they’re stuck, asking politely for assistance

So now that my children are grown and taking their place in the world, I look back on the effect 4-H has had on my family’s life - and my life, and am humbled and proud to have been part of it all. And the adventure continues…

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(Monroe Payne Photography) 4-H affection commitment family fun kids manners photograph quality responsibility https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2015/4/55-years-of-4-h Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:46:02 GMT
Reliving (and restoring) the Past https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2015/3/reliving-and-restoring-the-past Many times, people have asked me what's involved in restoring a photo. I can never seem to find the right words to say to let them know both the complexity of the task or how many steps are involved. They seem to think that its a matter of scanning, playing in Photoshop and you're done. The truth is quite a bit different, and involves not just the image, but the precious memory and feelings of the person who is asking for the restoration. It involves the presentation of the final image in a way that will add to the pride of the owner, and the dedication of the one doing the restoring.

There are some things that can't be fixed - like poor focus or an image so light or dark it can't be pulled out of the ether. But in most cases, when I have something acceptable to work with, I can almost do miracles.

 

This past December I was offered a challenge; to restore an image that was created in 1970 of a High School friend jumping her horse.

To say that this image was in less than ideal condition is an understatement. The frame was welded, rusted iron, spray painted black. The frame back was cut from some masonite lattice work, the mat was only slightly better than construction paper - and the image itself had been in storage for twenty to thirty years.

The photographer had done a beautiful job on the image itself, and you could almost feel the wind rushing past, and the thunder of the horses' hooves as it leapt into the air to clear a hurdle. The image had lost some of its vibrancy over the years, but the core image was good even though the mold, water, specks and physical damage had taken its toll.

The emotional value of the photo was more than just an image. The photo was a memory of a younger, more carefree - almost immortal girl, taking flight with her horse, the muscles of the massive beast rippling under the saddle and the wind, the smell - in short, a memory of one of the happiest and most exhilarating moments in her life.

Call it a holy calling - I had to bring this image back to a state of joy, and pride.

 

This is where it started:

The frame had rusted.

The mat was stained.

The white border between the image and mat was badly yellowed and otherwise discolored.

The image itself had spots, speckles, water stains throughout the sky and particularly under the horse.

Since this was to be the recovery of a moment in time which represents freedom, exhilaration and pride, I had to make it look - if not new, like a treasured classic portrait of the moment in time.

 

I chose to not add vibrance or extra saturation to the photo - my thought is that it would make the image look fake or contrived. The relative color rendition is appropriate to images of that time, but the defects due to handling and storage would have to be corrected.

The beginning task was to get the highest quality image of the photo as possible and to restore it by correcting defects using the computer. Using two strip lights at about a 45° angle from each side and the heaviest, sturdiest tripod available I used my Canon 5DII to capture a raw image for processing.

The actual restoration process involved dividing the photo (roughly 22" X 20") into 1" square blocks and correcting each bit using Photoshop's arsenal of image manipulation tools.

Because this image is not a standard size and I wanted to be as faithful as I could to the original. I had it printed by my favorite pro lab on a 24" square background, intending to cut it down to the eventual frame size. Next came the decision of framing.

Although I am pretty savvy when it comes to frame design, I always leave the final decision to the client, who has a better idea of what she wishes the end product to be like, and the decor of the room it will be displayed in than I ever will. I gave her 4 choices of mat and frame that I felt enhanced the image, and she made her choice.

 

What do you think?

So this is a thumbnail sketch of what's involved in a restoration project.

What memories do you have buried in storage that need to see the light of day again?

When did you feel immortal, with the wind blowing past your hair?

What memories do YOU want to pull out and relive once more?

Who do you know who is celebrating a 50'th anniversary or another moment in their lives that started so long ago?

Bring the moments, those joyful, heart racing moments back.

Call me. Let's talk.

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(Monroe Payne Photography) affection emotion fun image love memory photo photo restoration photograph restoration restore revisit https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2015/3/reliving-and-restoring-the-past Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:28:46 GMT
Teddy Bear Toss https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2014/12/teddy-bear-toss  

Thousands of teddy bears and stuffed toys of every description from bats to Homer Simpson to flying pigs flew on to the ice at the Oncenter last Friday in a joyous celebration of both a Syracuse Crunch goal and the generosity of the Central New York hockey fans.

Now that the noise, cheering and excitement has passed, these toys begin their new lives with a visit to Stanley Steemer of Syracuse to be cleaned, disinfected, freshened, dried and prepared for their next lives in the hands of local children.

Their trip begins with being loaded into the Stanley Steemer Emergency Response vehicle for their trip to the Comme rce Ave building for a systematic process of refurbishment. The men who do the work obviously love the task, sometimes talking to the toys, joking and having a good natured laugh about some of the more “unique” toys.

Three of the men are set up to wash and vacuum the bears with special tools connected by long hoses to the trucks outside – the same tools that do such an extraordinary job on carpets all around Central New York – but this time these big, tough men are gently and happily using the tools for a more fun task.

After the toys are thoroughly washed, vacuumed and inspected, they make it to the disinfectant sprayer to make sure that they will be OK for even the littlest of us to enjoy.

After the mountain of toys are done, they are dried and will be transported to the care of the Salvation Army, where they will be distributed to families at the Oncenter in Downtown Syracuse next Monday the 22’nd.

Stanley Steemer with the cooperation and support of the Syracuse Crunch Hockey Club and the Salvation Army annually sponsor the Teddy Bear Toss. It is one way they thank the Central New York Community for its support and generosity to those less fortunate.

Stanley Steemer is locally owned and operated.  Stanley Steemer is the first carpet cleaning service to be certified by the asthma and allergy foundation, by removing an average of 94% of common household allergens.

For more information, please call Stanley Steemer of Syracuse at (315) 455-7148 or the Salvation Army at (315) 475-9744

 

Photos courtesy Monroe Payne Photography

Visit www.monroepayne.com for the gallery.

 

Press release by Monroe Payne Photography

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(Monroe Payne Photography) Bear Christmas Stanley Steemer Teddy Toss charity clean community event gentle love play plush refurb toy toys https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2014/12/teddy-bear-toss Sun, 21 Dec 2014 15:28:50 GMT
What is Life? https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2014/8/what-is-life On Relationships.

 

What is life?

That’s a pretty odd thing to come out of a photographer, but given a closer look, it is what our lives revolve around; the mystery of life, what it is, what are its characteristics and how do the lives of one individual or group interact with another?

I would argue that life is, by itself, unimportant. An amoeba is alive, but is absolutely alone. A tree in the forest has life and although it may slowly react to its environment, it is ultimately alone, in that it cannot interact.

It is in the interactions between individuals blessed with the capability of thought, where the fascination comes in. Interaction comes in all styles from the gentle and social to the violent and painful, with all the shades in between. To the observer, they have an almost hypnotic allure, drawing us in where we can share in the feelings that emanate from the auras generated by the interactions.

Have you ever been in the presence of a loving family – not your own – where you couldn’t help smiling? Have you ever been behind the guy at checkout who was giving the cashier a difficult time? The interactions and emotions that they elicit create an aura that is almost inescapable; one that engulfs you and affects you despite your wishes to remain apart.

It is these interactions that define our lives and determine who and what we are, and what we will eventually become. It is not the chance of birth, a bad teacher (or a great one) or even the result of an accident. It is the interactions between you and the rest of the world (and your reactions to those interactions) that will ultimately determine who you are and the type of person you will be.

Experiences (accidents, physical skills learned etc) are entered into the mix, and although they affect the outcome, they are minor compared to your interactions and reactions.

The best interactions I call “Moments”, and these are what we, at our best, wish to make the defining pillars of our self-worth and esteem. The photo published in the glossy magazine, the bird drawing praised by the professor of Ornithology, the wedding, the birth of a child, the perfect evening out, the awards and accolades – these are moments worthy of remembering and dwelling upon.

The rest of life is, to me, survival between moments. Being let go from a job, divorce, loss of a loved one, these are also part of our lives, but we decide whether they will be defining events.

As a photographer, I am continually called upon to record the best “Moments”, a High School Senior, a newborn, an award – and I get inside the aura and drink in the sensations of joy, love and pride.

 Sometime “Moments” are manufactured, and can be just as precious. The family that chooses to have a portrait done, the mother and daughter who came in to the studio for their photos – who were looking for a reason to spend a day enjoying each other… Of course the wedding is the ultimate “manufactured moment”… At weddings, I need tissues as much as the mother of the bride.

These “Moments” are the result of and in many cases the beginning of “Relationships”. The interactions we have with others can be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary relationships are almost always good. Friendship, romance, mentorship, they all spring into being because we WANT them to exist, not because they were forced on us.

Involuntary relationships happen because individuals were thrust together without the interpersonal interactions taking place first. Mother and child, student and teacher, classmates, co-workers are all examples of involuntary relationships. We will interact with each and form a relationship, but the outcome is neither ordained to be close or positive.

There is no reason co-workers (spawned from involuntary relationships) can’t have “Moments”, even defining, intensely positive moments. Think of a team who has done an exceptional job and has won an award.

They may even go from being co-workers, to lovers to married, but that is a step from the involuntary to voluntary.

So why am I writing all of this?

In my profession of art and photography, I am continually studying relationships and emotions, and doing my very best to capture the essence of the aura within my images. Mother and Newborn together create the aura easiest to portray since the emotions are totally unhidden (except from people I call the “cold pricklies”. But then they were the ones giving the cashier the hard time…).

Sometimes it’s harder to uncover the aura, but it’s never impossible.

And once you find it and allow its aura to be portrayed, it is then that the image holds you, and makes you feel. And love as well.

THEN, my job is done.

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(Monroe Payne Photography) aura capture emotion joy newborn warmth wedding https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2014/8/what-is-life Mon, 25 Aug 2014 20:30:12 GMT
The Yearning, the Beginnings and the Whys https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2014/1/the-yearning-the-beginnings-and-the-whys I have, ever since the Viet Nam era, had a special place in my heart for those left behind. I was one of the very fortunate ones to have a high enough number in the lottery to be spared the draft. Many of my best friends were not so lucky, and their widowed girlfriends and wives were left to cope, alone and empty.

Our family has always been close to the military - Dad was in the Navy, my son in the Air Force, my son in law in the Marines and father in law in the Army. I tried, unsuccessfully to get into the Navy, but I was turned down for health issues. So you see, those in service to our country are family, both literally and figuratively.

Mail call was the most anticipated moment before the days of Internet, and more recently the phone call. My son Doug would call from the middle east, sometimes waiting over an hour to get to the phone (10 minutes ONLY), just to hear a few words. Today, they have the Internet and computers and smart phones, but somehow the meaning is lost. Words are spoken but the true meaning of the words, and more importantly the words of the heart are not communicated. 

An idea began to stir, but it was in the back of the mind and hadn't bubbled its way to the top.

Several months ago, I was going through a creative dry spell. I was going through the motions, but the clients and the creativity were not coming in. I was in a slump. The most extraordinary thing happened. I remember praying to God and the universe that I needed help, that I couldn't do this on my own, then settling into a fitful sleep.

The next morning, I awoke to my bedroom stereo playing the soft music of Michael Hoppé's "The Yearning, Romances for Alto Flute". Beautiful and peaceful music... I got up, picked up the book I was reading "Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron, and there again was Michael Hoppé, mentioned in her pages. I went to work, put on my music "Day Parts", and there was Michael again. Twice more, Michael Hoppé crossed my radar and I realized that someone, somewhere was telling me something, and I had better act on it.

I searched for his email and after about a half hour of trying, found a link to his company, and sent him a note. I told him that I was going through a dry spell; I had noticed that he had experienced some success and I'd be interested in hearing about his challenges and how he had overcome them.

Imaging my surprise when a half hour later, he called me.

We spoke for the better part of an hour. Most of the conversation is forgotten, but I remember asking him, "Do you write your music on commission, or do you do it for yourself?"

His answer changed my life, or at least the way I perceive life.

"My goodness, I do it because I NEED the rush of the music. I do it all for myself!"

I also remember my mentors Michael Barton and Michael Timmons (a lot of Michaels here...) talking about the art of the self assignment, and that when you are working on a project because you are in love with it, a sense of purity develops within it that causes the final result to rise above the work you are commissioned to do.

And then there is Jessica Lark, a wonderful artist in the genre of boudoir photography, who spent a deal of time in her seminars talking about the types of seduction portrayed in photographs. I have learned more from her postings than I can say, and I'm glad to say we have become friends.

The scene that was slowly appearing in my mind was based on eyes, the eyes of someone separated from their love, loving eyes, gentle eyes, sometimes sassy, sometimes closed; dreaming about their reunion, sometimes sad; unhappy about being alone - always with the fear that something could happen.

The combination of those eyes, the hair, and roses - red for love and yellow for wanting them home seemed to be calling to me.

The first results are here, and getting to know these young women, young moms and their families - and their husbands stationed overseas (Thank you, Facebook...) has humbled me, and fortified my resolve to see this project through.

The more I create these images and drink them in, they become more than photos, they are visual love letters that say more than words could ever say. 

To make the process happen, I have started a Kickstarter project, called "The Yearning, a tribute to Military Wive's Love and Sacrifice" . Of course, I'd love any support you can offer, but more importantly, I'd appreciate you sharing this with military families, especially those who are currently separated whether by thousands of miles or by only a few hundred - they are still yearning for their reunion.

This post has taken me way past my normal couple paragraphs - and I have run out of words, but I'm sure I'll find more soon!

 

Monroe

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Monroe Payne Photography) Air Army Force Marines Mommy Monroe Navy Payne affection appreciation emotion family fun joy kickstarter love military photograph project sacrifice sadness separation yearning https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2014/1/the-yearning-the-beginnings-and-the-whys Wed, 22 Jan 2014 15:57:12 GMT
What's your "Why?" https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/10/whats-your-why I am addressing this to not only my friends and clients, but to my fellow photographers as well.

For the last couple years, I have been encouraged (sometimes roughly) to come up with a mission statement. Disney has the best mission statement ever - "To Make People Happy". Simple, to the point. It's their "Why?", their reason for being. 

So why is it so difficult for us photographers, car dealers, computer manufacturers, gift shops to come up with a mission statement that makes sense. You see, if we don't know why we are doing something other than "Earn a Living", how can we inspire others to either buy our product or place their belief in us.  How can they trust that what we offer has, at its source, a belief or a calling that can bring forth trust?

As a stock photo agency, as well as a personal and commercial photographer - and a creator of Virtual Tours, it was a 

major trial coming up with a unified "Why?", until I started reading a book called "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek, where the author explained that the decision making part of the brain, the part that deals with the whys, is non verbal!

Have you asked someone why their husband or wife is the "perfect" person for them? They will hem & haw, and say things like "She's funny, she makes me laugh, or he is so caring, witty, or some stuff like that that just as well fits untold thousands of other people... Sometimes they will say something like "She just feels right." Now, we are getting close to the truth.

This is the "following your gut" part, but in this case, the gut is really your brain. 

If the Lymbic part of the brain, the decision maker, is non verbal, it makes perfect sense that we can't necessarily put into words what its reasoning is, but we should endeavor to make the effort to understand its non verbal reasoning - while realizing that we may never be able to accurately put it into words.

In photography, the most telling moments I've had were where a high school senior turned to her Grandmother, and said, "Gram, I really AM pretty!", or after creating a Virtual Tour, the owner of the property says "This shows why I'm so proud of this property."

We each are residents of our own little corner of the world. As a steward of my own corner, I work to leave my little space and circle of friends and acquaintances a little better than I found them, and feel a sense of pride in doing that, in whatever the particular task involves. 

My goal, my "Why?" is for all those I touch, to be able to open their eyes to finally see their beauty and take pride in themselves. This applies to businesses, properties, portraits, web sites, my talks and classes, and my counterparts. 

So, do YOU have a "Why?"

Tell me about it! I'd love to hear your interpretation of your non verbal brain's communication with you!

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(Monroe Payne Photography) B&W belief cause emotion family joy mission photograph pride reason statement stewardship why https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/10/whats-your-why Wed, 23 Oct 2013 14:33:51 GMT
Ithaca Photography - 10 reasons to hire a Professional Photographer https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/10/ithaca-photography---10-reasons-to-hire-a-professional-photographer orlando-photographer-101

 

We get inquiries every day from clients and prospective clients that we help navigate through the maze of hiring a photographer. In that spirit, we wanted to make a post that could potentially help people out there who are on the hunt for the right photographer. So we present to you:

10 Things Everyone Should Know When Hiring a Professional Photographer in Ithaca (or anywhere else)

  1. Quality – This may honestly be the biggest factor to consider. Depending on your need, quality may vary in importance a little, but not much. Passport photos? Maybe quality isn’t a huge factor, but it still has to be done properly and within the letter of the law. Wedding Photos? What could be more important? For most couples it may be the only thing left from their wedding day and having amazing images to hold on to for all your life is key. When it comes to professional or corporate images, your image and brand identity can rest on how you appear to prospective clients and colleagues. Best to make sure in all cases that the photographer you hire is going to produce the highest quality possible.
  2. Reliability – Whatever the reason you hire a professional photographer for, you are going to want to make sure that they will be there on time (early) and ready to work with the right equipment to do the job. You can always ask for references. If someone you are looking to hire can’t or won’t provide them, you may need to look elsewhere.
  3. Legitimacy – Many people have been burned when hiring a photographer. Hedge your bets against it by making sure that whoever you hire is insured. The last thing you want to find out if something goes wrong is that you can’t recover your images or any damages because there were no safeties in place to protect you.
  4. Style – Whatever your event or project may be, style is a huge consideration. You can easily set yourself up for disappointment by hiring a photographer that, although talented, shoots in a completely different style than what you like. Photo shoots most often go wrong when the client and the photographer are on different pages stylistically. If an artist likes to use a lot of lights and their work has a very high color and contrast to it, they may not be right if you are trying to achieve a light and airy feel. Many photographers can shoot in several different styles, just make sure to have that conversation with them when you inquire about the job.
  5. Personality – This factor is very often overlooked. Depending on the size of the project that you need photography for, you may be spending a good amount of time with the photographer. If you don’t click on a personal level, it can affect the final images. It’s hard to be comfortable in front of the camera as it is. It’s even more so when you don’t connect with the person taking the images. Expression is the key to the most compelling images and great expression comes from the artist being able to draw that out of the subject. (Personally, I think that this should be #1...)
  6. Consistency – Everyone has good days and bad, especially artists. Skill and experience can make the difference between a photographer who can deliver sometimes and one that delivers every time. It’s okay to ask a photographer for more samples of their work than just what they put on their website. Ask for finished products. If it’s for professional work, ask for links to websites where a client has utilized the artist’s images. If it’s a wedding ask to see entire galleries of recent weddings and wedding albums. If it’s headshots for actors, ask for examples of reproductions and what work the photographer’s clients have booked using the headshots they had created for them.
  7. Availability – Obviously you want your photographer to be available to shoot your project, but what this really means is can you get a hold of them. Do they respond to your emails, return your phone calls and answer all of your questions? A good photographer will be available or have a member of their staff available to you that will be able to respond and reach out to you in a timely fashion. If your photographer is difficult to get a hold of leading up to your shoot, it is probably not going to get any easier afterwards. A good response time for emails is no more than 48 hours (business days) and phone calls should be returned the same day if the original call was before noon. Then next day if after. If you call on a Friday, be prepared to wait until Monday to hear back.
  8. Reputation – It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to build a good reputation in your community. Anyone who you hear about consistently as being great to work with and putting out great work should be someone worth looking at. That being said there are many photographers to choose from and a quick Google search can tell you a lot. Once you find someone you are thinking about hiring, make sure to ask around a bit and see if anyone you know has worked with them before. If not, it doesn’t mean they are no good, but hearing advice from someone you trust is a great way to start building confidence in your hiring decisions. When all else fails in this scenario, check references!
  9. Price – Price is important, but maybe not in the way that you think. If you go out looking for the person that will do the job for the least amount of money, you will almost always get what you pay for. It’s true that sometimes you will find someone good for cheap, and sometimes even somebody not so great for a lot, but more often than not you will get exactly what you pay for. Do some research into what you should expect to pay for the services that you are interested in. Throw a shout out on Facebook, do a few internet searches and make a few phone calls. Usually you will land somewhere in the middle and when paired up against all the other factors listed here, price should not be your number 1 concern. If it is you may end up disappointed and paying somebody to do the job again. In the case of weddings, you don’t get that chance so choose carefully.
  10. Community – Most photographers are small business owners and as such, life can get in the way sometimes. Being a part of your local, state and national photography associations is a huge benefit not only to the photographers but also the clients. In case of any emergency, photographers who take part in these groups are connected to a network of hundreds of other photographers who can be there to help in the event of any emergency by covering jobs and making sure that the client is always taken care of. Being a part of a larger community makes small businesses stronger. Inquire as to whether or not the photographer you are thinking of hiring is a member of PPA, PPSNYS and their local section. The Professional Photographers' Society of New York State (PPSNYS) has been providing education and networking for photographers for more than 110 years. Our section, Finger Lakes PPSNY has been doing the same for our region for just over 100 years and the PPA, the national organization has been the backbone of the professional photographic industry since 1880.

 

This article shamelessly stolen from the blog of Hughes Fioretti Photography in Orlando. If you need an Orlando photographer - http://hughesfioretti.com is the place to go. Good people, extraordinary professionals!
 
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(Monroe Payne Photography) Ithaca Professional competence fun photographer photography service https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/10/ithaca-photography---10-reasons-to-hire-a-professional-photographer Sat, 19 Oct 2013 19:39:30 GMT
On Relationships - an almost scholarly treatment... https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/8/on-relationships---an-almost-scholarly-treatment What is life?

That’s a pretty odd thing to come out of a photographer, but given a closer look, it is what our lives revolve around; the mystery of life, what it is, what are its characteristics and how do the lives of one individual or group interact with another?

I would argue that life is, by itself, unimportant. An amoeba is alive, but is absolutely alone. A tree in the forest has life and although it may slowly react to its environment, it is ultimately alone, in that it cannot interact.

It is in the interactions between individuals blessed with the capability of thought, where the fascination comes in. Interaction comes in all styles from the gentle and social to the violent and painful, with all the shades in between. To the observer, they have an almost hypnotic allure, drawing us in where we can share in the feelings that emanate from the auras generated by the interactions.

Have you ever been in the presence of a loving family – not your own – where you couldn’t help smiling? Have you ever been behind the guy at checkout who was giving the cashier a difficult time? The interactions and emotions that they elicit create an aura that is almost inescapable; one that engulfs you and affects you despite your wishes to remain apart.

It is these interactions that define our lives and determine who and what we are, and what we will eventually become. It is not the chance of birth, a bad teacher (or a great one) or even the result of an accident. It is the interactions between you and the rest of the world (and your reactions to those interactions) that will ultimately determine who you are and the type of person you will be.

Experiences (accidents, physical skills learned etc) are entered into the mix, and although they affect the outcome, they are minor compared to your interactions and reactions.

The best interactions I call “Moments”, and these are what we, at our best, wish to make the defining pillars of our self-worth and esteem. The photo published in the glossy magazine, the bird drawing praised by the professor of Ornithology, the wedding, the birth of a child, the perfect evening out, the awards and accolades – these are moments worthy of remembering and dwelling upon.

The rest of life is, to me, survival between moments. Being let go from a job, divorce, loss of a loved one, these are also part of our lives, but we decide whether they will be defining events.

As a photographer, I am continually called upon to record the best “Moments”, a High School Senior, a newborn, an award – and I get inside the aura and drink in the sensations of joy, love and pride.

 Sometime “Moments” are manufactured, and can be just as precious. The family that chooses to have a portrait done, the mother and daughter who came in to the studio for their photos – who were looking for a reason to spend a day enjoying each other… Of course the wedding is the ultimate “manufactured moment”… At weddings, I need tissues as much as the mother of the bride.

These “Moments” are the result of and in many cases the beginning of “Relationships”. The interactions we have with others can be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary relationships are almost always good. Friendship, romance, mentorship, they all spring into being because we WANT them to exist, not because they were forced on us.

Involuntary relationships happen because individuals were thrust together without the interpersonal interactions taking place first. Mother and child, student and teacher, classmates, co-workers are all examples of involuntary relationships. We will interact with each and form a relationship, but the outcome is neither ordained to be close or positive.

There is no reason co-workers (spawned from involuntary relationships) can’t have “Moments”, even defining, intensely positive moments. Think of a team who has done an exceptional job and has won an award.

They may even go from being co-workers, to lovers to married, but that is a step from the involuntary to voluntary.

So why am I writing all of this?

In my profession of art and photography, I am continually studying relationships and emotions, and doing my very best to capture the essence of the aura within my images. Mother and Newborn together create the aura easiest to portray since the emotions are totally unhidden (except from people I call the “cold pricklies”. But then they were the ones giving the cashier the hard time…).

Sometimes it’s harder to uncover the aura, but it’s never impossible.

And once you find it and allow its aura to be portrayed, it is then that the image holds you, and makes you feel. And love as well.

THEN, my job is done.

For samples of the aura being released and portrayed, please visit the downtown Ithaca office of Tompkins Trust Company, where my collection of “Mommy n Me” images is on display through August.

Also, the Ithaca Bakery at the Triphammer Marketplace has a selection of my art – some of which is a bit out of the box – and I would greatly appreciate your comments!

Until next time!

 

Monroe

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(Monroe Payne Photography) B&W Mommy affection art baby black child daddy display emotion family fun innovative joy love me memory nurture photo photograph protection show sweet transport https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/8/on-relationships---an-almost-scholarly-treatment Thu, 08 Aug 2013 15:22:42 GMT
The "Thing" is not the thing. https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/6/the-thing-is-not-the-thing What?!?

Exactly.

The "Thing" is not the thing. The kiss is not the kiss, the photo is not the piece of paper, the portrait is not the people, and the landscape isn't the scenery.

"Pray, elucidate.", you say.


"But of course."

The best wedding photos of that first kiss are never images of the faces mashed upon each other. 

They are the images of the lips almost touching in anticipation of that soothing, electrifying and sensual instant when they connect, and emotions flow like electricity through wires, one individual to another - one soul to another. The key is the anticipation; the tension in the image. You want to stay with it, to explore the image, to feel what they are feeling, and to have your own soul healed by the touch of another.

All that in one picture? Yes. But the point is, the kiss isn't the kiss - it's the ANTICIPATION of the kiss that makes it a special image.

Portraits are the same way. They are images of people, yes, but they are far more than that. A glance at a photo of family brings to your mind the love for those in the image, but also the memories of a wonderful day, the spray of the falls, the smell of the lilacs and even the mischief of the children. It is a doorway into a beautiful memory, rich in detail and scents, sounds and the fun of the moment.

Landscapes - those beautiful images of mountains, or cityscapes - they bring forward emotions and sensations - possibly not experienced personally yet, but yearned for and anticipated - there's that word again. Anticipation. 

Carrying the conversation further, the photo is not the photo - it is the image placed upon the canvas that is the doorway to your memories and emotions.

What an extraordinary thing - an image that can transport you to another time and place, to relive wonderful moments..

 

...those moments that happen only once.....

 

 

 

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(Monroe Payne Photography) B&W affection emotion family fun love memory photo photograph transport https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/6/the-thing-is-not-the-thing Tue, 04 Jun 2013 12:04:24 GMT
What is "Cool" to you? https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/what-is-cool-to-you Today I am working on images I created for my favorite Interior Decorator, the talented and beautiful Lynda Myers of Lynda Myers Design.

Even in some of these beautifully appointed living spaces, I find scenes to play with, for example, a simple hutch with carefully chosen and elegantly placed ceramics. The nice thing about Lynda's creations, is that they seem very warm, comfortable and livable, you know, places that you can visit without feeling somehow out of place.

The placement of the pieces was somehow appealing, and of course, I couldn't help myself, but to play with it....

 

 

 

 

So what do you think? Cool?

 

 

 

 

After all, photographers get to play too...

 

Who do you know that has blank walls that are crying for beautiful art work, local photography or emotion inspired family photography?

 

Send them to me! I'll take very good care of them!

 

Have an awesome day!

Monroe

 

PS, please like us on Facebook - I regularly publish special offers that are ONLY available to Facebook fans!

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(Monroe Payne Photography) art ceramic decor decoration display fun hutch innovative odd play show https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/what-is-cool-to-you Tue, 26 Feb 2013 19:35:50 GMT
And now for something completely different... https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/and-now-for-something-completely-different Every now and then, I get a call out of the blue to do something out of the realm of "normal".

My friend Kyle Chedzoy, owner of Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home in Watkins Glen, NY called the other day, and said how cool it would be if I could "update" a photo of his Dad from some years ago, so that the two photos could look like they were taken at the same time.

I thought, "That sounds like fun!", and happily told him I would be happy to do the project.

 

The photo to the right is Kyle, a wonderful man, husband, father and business owner.

He is, exactly as he looks, friendly, competent and caring. 

 

What I forgot was to take into account the photographers' primary failing, to ALWAYS underestimate the complexity of the project.

I had, silly me, expected to receive a scanned image - probably from a photograph  removed lovingly from a frame, and in as pristine a condition as it was when originally created.

Ummm..... nope.

I did receive a scanned image in a huge digital file, but pristine it was not.

This photograph had apparently been in that pile of papers that everyone has, either buried in a drawer, in a box in the basement, or it had been living on the kitchen counter for the last 20 years.

I have many piles like that - they usually come about when we are having friends over, and that stack of mail, papers, envelopes, books etc just needs to go somewhere out of sight. Of course they resurface six to eight months later, then have to be dealt with again, and as often as not promptly disappear into the abyss once more...

So here is the photo. 

Where to begin?

The first step was to remove any part of the image that did not need restoration.

Crop out the bottom and change the background to an approximation of the same gray that is behind Kyle.

Most of the "cleaning up" was done in Adobe Photoshop CS5 with help from Portrait Professional and Lightroom with Kevin Kubota's presets.

Time to complete the project? Just about 2 hours. 

Details of the process can be requested by emailing me.

Tell me how you think I did!

 

 

 

If you have images that need restoration, please call today for a quote! (607) 330-4820

And please leave a message. If we don't pick up, we are on assignment.

If you don't leave a message with a phone number, we can't call you back!!!

 

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(Monroe Payne Photography) director formal funeral manipulation matching photo restoration https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/and-now-for-something-completely-different Fri, 22 Feb 2013 14:00:51 GMT
Mommy n Me - It's about Relationships https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/mommy-n-me---its-about-relationships Nowhere in life is emotion so clearly on display as between a new mommy and her baby. You can reach out, touch, feel, experience and almost taste the bond. It is probably the most wonderful thing I can do for a family - to capture the new and palpable relationship.

But love is everywhere, not just between mommies, daddies and babies - but between newly engaged couples, folks like me who are still intensely in love with their mates - 38 years on the way to forever together - between brothers and sisters, ... Love is indeed everywhere.

So although "Mommy n Me" is designed around Mommies and their babies, it is by no means LIMITED to them.

I have been asked why I choose to portray love in Black and White. In short, I think of color as make up. It can confuse, befuddle, mask and hide a reality or an emotion. Black and white is the bedrock - the reality where nothing is hidden. All of the majesty, power, sadness, tenderness - whatever emotional trait that exists within an image is set free to be enjoyed; cherished for all time.

This moment in your lives is lived only once.

This IS important - your lives and relationships are very important.

Don't lose them, don't forget them.

Set up your session today. 

Call me. (607) 330-4820

E-mail me. monroe@monroepaynephotography.com

Let's talk...

Check out our Mommy n Me gallery on this web site, and see what can be yours!

 

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(Monroe Payne Photography) B&W affection baby child daddy emotion family fun joy love me mommy nurture photograph protection relationship sweet tender https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/mommy-n-me---its-about-relationships Wed, 20 Feb 2013 13:52:17 GMT
Mommy n Me – not ONLY for mommies…… https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/mommy-n-me-not-only-for-mommies

 

Nurturing and loving isn’t the EXCLUSIVE domain of Mommies – sometimes Daddies play that role with such loving tenderness that it cries to be recorded, loved and cherished.

 

We call the product “Mommy n Me”, but Daddies are welcome too…

 

Thank you, everyone who has responded with such lovely comments, and to those who have taken advantage of our offer, please share the love with your friends.

The moments we have with our families, both immediate and extended, are precious and fleeting. Save the moment, the elusive stages whether it’s newborn, or 4 years old, or your teen before she leaves for college.

As a Dad, I treasure the photos of MY kids, in every stage. I wish, with all my heart, that I had someone with skill and compassion photograph my wife with our babies, each in turn, then together. That’s part of the reason why I do what I do – to allow YOU to have the experience and hold the memories that I never had the means to capture.

 

Don’t let this moment escape. Hold it, treasure it, capture it then relive it every time you look at the look of love in the portrait.

Do this wonderful thing for yourself! This moment happens only once….

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(Monroe Payne Photography) B&W Mommy affection baby black daddy love nurture https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/2/mommy-n-me-not-only-for-mommies Thu, 07 Feb 2013 16:59:13 GMT
Mommy n Me – It’s not just for babies! https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/mommy-n-me-it-s-not-just-for-babies  

This moment happens only once, then it’s gone. A Mommy’s relationship with her babies, no matter how old is constantly changing, growing, deepening, and never stays the same.

 

 

Memories are fleeting, and often the details get lost with time.

Don’t lose these moments in your lives. Save the love and joy of your family for all time.

“Mommy n Me” is made to save these moments; these relationships which, like your memories, pass from one state to another as time goes on. Your children grow from snugglebugs to independent explorers to insecure teens and eventually to high school, college and beyond, with families of their own.

Every stage is different, and is gone as quickly as it arrives.

Maybe you can see -  I am living where you are. I have three birth children and two adopted kids. They are all precious to me.  The portraits of them, at all stages of their lives capture the wonder, the memories and the fun that they were at each time in their, -no, -  in OUR lives.

This IS important.

And like I said, this moment happens only once, then is gone forever.

At $199, less than the standard portrait creation fee alone,  for a session and framed portrait, the Mommy n Me session is affordable as can be, and an exceptional value!

If you book your session today or tomorrow, January 30 or 31, 2013, I will add to the package a 12 oz coffee mug (a $17.95 value) with the Mommy n Me photo of your choice! This offer is limited to people who reserve their sessions today and tomorrow only!!!

You have up to 120 days to complete the photography, so there is  no rush.

Mommy n Me will run only until May 1, and is the perfect gift for Dad to get for Mom for Valentines day, or even Mothers’ day!

Please, for your family, for your memories, for your precious moments, don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

For more examples of “Mommy n Me” photos, click HERE.

And maybe we’ll even let Dad into the photos if you like….

 

Call us at (607) 330-4820, or email at monroe@monroepaynephotography.com

To qualify for special offer, photography must be prepaid.


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(Monroe Payne Photography) B&W Mommy affection and baby black child emotion family fun love me passiongrapher photograph photowhite https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/mommy-n-me-it-s-not-just-for-babies Wed, 30 Jan 2013 13:18:41 GMT
The Joyful Relationship: "Mommy 'n' Me" https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/the-joyful-relationship-mommy-n-me Because this moment happens only once…                                                                                                    

Fill your heart and your home this Valentine’s Day with beautiful “Mommy and Me” portraits from Monroe Payne Photography

Valentine’s Day means something special for everyone. We hold memories from our childhood during which we gave our favorite valentine to our sweetheart, and we keep those memories alive by taking pictures for Valentine’s Day. 

Really, the sweetest thing a mother has is that special connection between you and your child.

Remember it.

Photos are not only the perfect Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day gift to your husband, but to your own mother and mother-in-law as well.

Your children will one day become adults and cherish the photos of themselves with their mother.  They won’t care that you may have looked a bit tired from staying up all night with a teething baby or that you waited just a little longer to lose those “last few pounds”. They will see how young and beautiful you look, and how much you loved them, and there is nothing more precious than that.

You’ll love our “Mommy and Me” images for the classic, rich black and white tones. We encourage moms to wear either all black or all white for the session, and we will feature the cute and cuddly side of your baby and document the special relationship you have built together. Dads often come to the session, but this is really designed as a quiet session between Mommy & baby.

This is the perfect time to have your little cupids photographed and have the portraits back in time to give to your “Valentine”.

Feel the love this year call Monroe Payne today to schedule your appointment before all the best time slots are full.

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(Monroe Payne Photography) Mommy defenseless joy love protection sweet tenderness https://www.monroepaynephotography.com/blog/2013/1/the-joyful-relationship-mommy-n-me Tue, 01 Jan 2013 22:53:57 GMT