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The state of all things …

Last year was a year of introspection for me. My family had some serious health issues (that we overcame, thankfully) and in order to help with this challenge, I scaled way back on my photography business.

In addition, Bryan and I have been talking for years about leaving San Antonio, and ultimately Texas, if we found a property to build our retirement home on.  We did!

The house on the left is our nearest neighbor, the hill directly behind us is where we will build!

So, it is with a heavy heart, that I am saying good bye to the commercial part of SnowPro Photography. I just processed the last portraits I created for my neighbors and I will not be taking any more projects on for other people.

When my daughter wanted to study commercial graphic design, I said,  “Okay, but understand that in doing so, you will be expending your creative energy to further someone else’s dream, someone else’s vision.” Providing a service, such as photography, is the same thing. I was always at someone’s event, covering that or creating a portrait for someone that I really didn’t have a stake in (except to have the next job come in.)

What does the next phase hold for me? Right now, concentrating on getting my current home/studio ready to sell and divesting of items I do not need. Next, building my new home. And finally, art. Will photography be part of it? Yes! I have many personal projects that i have been saving for such time, and ideas galore. So, be patient with me my friends. This blog will end up being a journal of the current state of things.

 

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Spring exhibition changes

We have changed the gallery of images from St. George Church and School this past weekend. If you’ve got a hankering to see some not half bad landscape work, feel free to drop by to see our new offerings. Did you know you could enjoy these images in your home or office? Click on the image to purchase. Remember, a percentage of each sale goes to help with St. George school.

HillcountryBluebonnet2012

Texas Collection
Government Canyon path
FoggyblueBonnets
Soft Foggy Bluebonnets
Texas Collection
Texas Collection

 

 

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Happy Anniversary!

Oh, dear! I forgot my parent’s anniversary. It was this past week, and I’ve been doing lots of stuff – between my own projects and this family photo restoration project… It just slipped my mind.

As a treat, I just finished this. I love this candid, street photography! The look on my mom’s face (my niece, Kat Hensch has that same facial structure and I’ve seen that look on her!)  I hope it works for making up for my slip up! I have heard that my dad was a “bad-boy” and my mom was so smitten! I think its funny that they aren’t holding hands! Too cool for that! I think this was taken around 1953. I think my mom was about 14, so I think, my dad was about 16! I remember, too, after we moved to San Antonio, Dad chasing Mom through the house and into the yard for a tickle fest. All us kids jumped in the middle that that too! Now, he gives her love songs for Valentines Day.

(Slide the vertical bar left and right to compare the repairs.)

 

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Restorations, next

My Dad (seated) with his big brother, Marvin. (I’m not sure if Marvin ever smiled! and then there’s the time when Marvin pushed my pop out of a 2nd story window… just sayin’)

This next one is my mom, (the little one), her older sister, Marilyn, my grandmother, Olga and my grandfather, Fred. Its funny to look at: my mom looks exactly like my daughter, Lauren when she was at that age. Marilyn looks just like her second daughter, Sarah. I’ve seen the expression on Olga’s face on my mother’s face. It’s a kind of, “omg, take the photo already. What a contraption! I’ve got work to do!” My mom says that white fuzzy spot in the front is her dog Ring running toward the photographer (we think it may be my uncle, Francis.)

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Restorations

One of the recent times I was visiting my mom’s house, she handed me a stack of old family photos. She asked if I could “do anything” with them. I said that I’d give it a shot.

Here are the first few:

This is my dad with my brother, Scott. I think my dad was 19 here!

My dad with my bro again, this time he’s putting my bro to work for his ice cream. (My mom still makes home-made ice cream!!) This was taken at the most magical place, my grandmother Olga’s house in Cedar Rapids, IA. They are sitting on the back stoop. Grandma and Grandpa later enclosed the stoop and made it weather tight. It was a fun place to play in!

 

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To be more specific . . .

I have always loved making portraits. As a young child I drew people constantly. I filled every scrap of paper I could find with studies of eyes, noses, mouths. Studies of anatomy, studies of line expression, all feeding my artists soul. My career took an abrupt turn when I went into graphic design and I put down my trusty graphite stick. Add in one more abrupt turn, when I switched to another form of communication arts: editorial photography. My management at USAA didn’t know there was a difference between editorial, product and portrait photography. So, I had to learn all different lighting scenarios/styles and technologies. (It was one of those situations of “other duties as assigned”.) I appreciated their patience as I learned, experimented, and learned some more. In 2004, I achieved a status that not many could: Certified Professional Photographer, Portraiture. I so enjoyed getting to know the subjects of my editorial portraiture, and really felt pride when so many of my colleagues complimented the work I was producing. The collaboration between subject and photographer was something I took very seriously and strived to bring the story being told to life.

I considered what my path was to that point and thought,

“well here I am again, making portraits. With a different tool set, but really, I am making portraits and supporting myself.”

When I left USAA, I struggled with the “supporting myself” AND sticking only to portraits. So, I took on other types of photography. Imagine my happiness when I started to develop contemporary beauty portraiture this past summer. Not only did I have a path again, doing work that inspired me everyday. The collaboration that I shared with each of my (limited) beauties was real, and exhilarating. I was creating custom fine art photographic portraiture that very few could. My artist soul was again being fed. The business of that style is a tough one, and not many understood that it is actually the original business model of portrait photography. In today’s immediate-gratification-digital world, this became a constant need for education and more communication. (For both myself and my clients.)
 
As some of you already know, SnowPro is slowing down purposefully. We have had some family obligations come up, as well as future plans that are not in the Alamo City. Both of these situations combined, have made me realize that I cannot continue to everything. I am winding down all portraiture, commercial & editorial work. I have a few more appointments “on the books” and will continue to service my current book of clients but will no longer be taking on new clients.
We will still offer fine art Placescapes, Landscapes and other types for your enjoyment. This is a more solitary type of work, but is just as fulfilling. Bryan is currently working on some incredible Fine Artscapes of Rome that he will be releasing soon. Be sure to check out our current offerings in our shop.
 

This doesn’t mean I am going away (yet).

Be sure to reach out, send me a note, a letter, an email. No really, I am asking you to remember me. It will make transitioning to this next chapter so much easier!

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The more things change, the more they stay the same

I’ve been considering what to do. When to do it.

Contemporary Beauty Portraiture
Contemporary Beauty Portraiture

I have such a passion for what I do (nearly) every day. I love making portraits. I love people’s faces. I love figuring the ways to light, to mold, to sculpt with light and shadow. The proper way to light someone is to light not only their “outsides” – but to enlighten their insides. People of all shapes, sizes and ages have all sat for me, and all have been astonished of the beauty we discovered. There is nothing like watching someone who doesn’t (has never?) feel wonderful about themselves discover how others see them. The astonishment grows slowly across their face, resulting many times in tears.

Through some outside forces to SnowPro, I started to concentrate less on commercial work and more on women’s beauty portraiture. Last year, we (my clients and I) created some beautiful images. I rediscovered my heart in photography through this endeavor. But, alas, I must put this aside. Family and life changes have become priority and other choices have been made. I’ve made them.

Personal Branding
Personal Branding

At this point, we have a few Commercial portrait sessions scheduled, but I will not be looking to book more after March. Going forward,  I will only be accepting very specific commissions based on the type of art I want to create.

We will still work with our small business partners who book us regularly for products and places, but I will be turning my focus to the home front this year.

20x30, framed., 612.00
In the shop!

I encourage you to look at our shop, right now, as we have a variety of landscapes, mission work and Italy. More images will be added everyday. If you need a different size, let me know. Future products will include stationary and note cards featuring our work and other cool items.

 

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Photography: Where to start?

Photography is a fascinating career. However, if you are just starting out with an interest in taking photos, the question sometimes arises – “What types of photos should I take?” This is not such an unusual question, after all, there are a multitude of interests in which photography can play an integral part. I usually divide photo-topics into three separate categories: People, Places, and Things. In fact, all my images are divided into these three file folders.

People

Bob Hotard
Bob Hotard

In order to begin to fill up this file folder you first have to honestly answer a very important question – “Do I like people?”. While this question may seem like a silly one, it should be answered. Are you a people person? Do you like meeting new people and enjoy making new friends and relationships? Are you the type of person who starts up casual conversations with people with whom you are sharing a checkout line, or waiting for a bus? If you are, then photographing people should be a natural direction for you. This type of photography could involve Portraits, Events, Photojournalism, Fashion, and many other styles that involve your camera and people’s faces, bodies, clothes and gatherings. It’s all about people. And, since there are over 7 billion people currently residing on this planet, you will run out of time before you exhaust the targets that your camera can photograph.

Places

Panorama made by Bryan Snow of SnowPro Photography. All rights reserved, (c)2010-2014
Panorama made by Bryan Snow of SnowPro Photography. All rights reserved, (c)2010-2014

This file folder is easy for me to fill. I like to record beautiful places, places that fill me with joy and bring tears to my eyes. I have been fortunate to travel many places, Taiwan, England, Ireland, Venice, Rome, but the most beautiful places that stir my passions are the National Parks in the U.S. If you love traveling, then this type of photography is certainly for you. In fact, this is an all-inclusive style that unites, people, places, and things in your repertoire of targets, and can be deposited in any of the three file folders. But for some, this type of photography boils down to what is referred to as Landscape Photography. This is the style we see from such greats as Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, David Muench, and others whose books line the photography shelves in numerous libraries throughout the country. Some landscape photography concentrates on the grand sweep of nature and is best photographed with wide and ultra-wide lenses. Some landscape photography zeros in on the lichens, flowers, and the smaller, more intimate aspects of nature’s realm. Much of the landscape photography we see lies somewhere in between, and, depending on which part of the landscape the composition highlights, can concentrate on the sky, mountains, trees, water, or any number of features that can be found in any number of locations.

Things

Illustrative studio work
Things.

This file folder can contain just about anything that isn’t predominately people and places, and can include images of birds, beasts, and natural and man-made “things”. “Product Photography” can have it’s own sub-folder under “Things”, and can include products that clients need to advertise. These may be, but are certainly not limited to, Jewelry, clothes, kitchen utensils, sunglasses, soft drinks, Bourbon, automobiles, and anything that a client may need to photograph for advertisement. Another folder may include aircraft, boats, bicycles, or ceramic vases. The “Things” folder can become quite large with numerous sub-folders that all count as “Things”. As this article points out, photography has a wealth of targets just waiting to be “shot”. One thing that you should do first, sometimes even before you invest in a “good” camera, is to decide what type or style of photography you enjoy. Usually, this is pretty easy. You ask yourself, “What type of photography do I like to see?”. Once you determine your preference, it will drive everything else you do or buy in your quest to make the images that inspire you the most.

-Bryan Snow

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The power of (good) photography

 

Bryan and I are “softly” shopping for our retirement home. We go through this periodically, and this week we are in Sherman, Texas. Some list says its one of the best places in Texas to retire. As you may know, I love Texas. But it is a real Love-Hate relationship – love lots of stuff but OMG -the summers. So, we want 4(ish) seasons. Sherman and the surrounding area seems to fit the bill.

We’ve found 3 properties we are going to look at this week, all acreage with a small house. (Picture that – me on a tractor.) I called my real estate GUY (you know, the “i’ve got a GUY”) who I work for occasionally to set me up and rep us as a buyers agent. But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about the fact that every single listing has abysmal photographs. EVERY SINGLE LISTING. The landscapes, pretty easy – don’t blow out the sky, make sure the grass is green, saturate the colors. oooh, pretty. But really, the interior photographs? the lines are crooked, the houses are covered in clutter, the angle of view is too narrow. Its nuts.

As mentioned before, we do some work for my real estate GUY. We photograph his houses for him. I get the address, we schedule an appropriate time making sure the house is tidy & clean, the yard is tidy and clean and finally, making sure all technical aspects of the photography itself is correct. Do we cost him a bit more than than him doing it himself? Yes, you bet. But remember, this is marketing. It’s deductible, and if it pays off, it pays off big.

According to my GUY, once I give him the photographs, and he lists the property, he has it sold within 2 weeks. I think it may be shorter, but don’t make me lie. We had one go longer, but it had other problems.

Many of the houses that we saw on the sight: listed for over 3 months. Just food for thought.

 

(P.S.  Who is my GUY? Only the biggest real estate agent in San Antonio. Christopher Thompson of Realty Force. His number is 210-739-9244. Give him a call! He is delightful!)

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Shelf life

My sister, mom and me.
My sister, mom and me.

Did you know portraits have a “shelf life”? Just like those shoulder pads! If you’ve not had a formal portrait done in over 3 years, its time!

I love this photo of my mom and my sister. I wish I remembered what we were doing, but we were certainly happy! Is it dated? Yes! But as a snap shot, it is a snippet of that day which I will cherish. If I tried to use a cropped version (of me) as an avatar for social media or Linked In, well, let’s just say that I would be unrecognizable. People would walk away, scratching their head. Don’t let that happen to you!

Just mosey on over to our Portrait Services page to see how we can help. It won’t cost as much as you think! We’ll put together a current portrait that will not only reflect who you are now, but won’t be as dated as this one is!