Archive for June, 2012

Business Headshots | Phoenix Executive Portraits

Small business is said to be essential to America’s bustling economy. Here at Lamar Studios we love doing Business headshots. It helps our clients look professional. Instead of putting up an old grainy photo that a friend took on their website, for example, they can post something professionally shot and edited.

What are a few ways a business headshot can be used?

  • Website or blog
  • Business cards
  • Advertising to give a face to your name/business
  • Resumes, when applying for jobs
  • Social networking sites
  • Press releases
  • Company brochures

The components of a good business headshot?

  • Professional makeup/hair
  • A relaxed expression that shows your approachability
  • A flattering pose
  • A well-fitting suit and/or blouse
  • A solid color like gray, blue, green, purple, red, or beige

Overall, just have fun with it! A business headshot will undoubtedly help put a face on your business and draw in new clientele. Here are a few examples of great headshots we have done here at Lamar Studios:

Business Headshots    





Senior Portraits | Tips and Tricks for a Great Shoot

Often times, when shooting subjects, getting a feel for what they want by who they are can translate very well in their pictures. It is necessary to incorporate their creative ideas or hobbies into the shoot. The following are some basic tips and tricks for making a great portrait.

  • Theme/Style 

    • Everybody is different. In this case, our subject, likes horses and playing the guitar. Therefore we incorporate that into her pictures to give them a feel of what the subject likes.

  • Setting/Backdrop

    • The setting, where the pictures are taken, translate to give a feel for who the subject is. A white picket fence or the side of a barn for example will give a different feel than the beach or sky scrapers.


  • Lighting

    • The perfect lighting can make your subject pop! Outdoors is always the easiest to shoot because the natural sun light will make the subject look radiant.

Travel Portraits | Tips & Techniques

This is a post from the Digital Photography School – a community of photographers of all experience levels who come together to learn, share and grow in our understanding of photography.

Read more:

6 Ways to Capture More Unique Travel Photos

Posted: 12 May 2011 07:01 AM PDT

A Guest Post by Neil Ta.

There’s something to be said about having a nice collection of travel photos. They document not only your personal journey in other cities and countries, but also showcase the artistic side of your photographic abilities. Throughout my recent travels through Southeast Asia (and many smaller trips in years past), I’ve been able to capture some images that I’m quite proud of. The following tips have helped me take better and more unique photos when I am traveling or when I’m home:

1. Always Be Ready

You can’t take pictures if you leave your camera at the hotel! So the most fundamental thing is to bring your camera out with you. If a DSLR is too bulky, invest in a smaller point and shoot or micro 4/3 system. Your Canon 5d Mk II does you no good if it’s sitting in a bag at your hotel.

Not only do you need to bring your camera, you need to be ready to shoot. Many images happen spontaneously and disappear as fast as they appeared. If you’re too busy fidgeting around in manual modes and miss the shot – the moment is gone forever. Shoot in a mode that you’re comfortable with. If I am leisurely taking shots, I typically shoot on Aperture-Priority mode and adjust the exposure compensation as needed. You may be more comfortable in one of the creative modes, which is perfectly ok! If you’re shooting in RAW, it will enable you to do some post work to process the image if it isn’t perfect straight out of the camera. Remember, it is better to capture an image slightly under or overexposed than it is not to capture an image at all.

When There’s Nothing Left to Burn, You’ve Got to Set Yourself on Fire

2. Don’t Do What Others are Doing

Are you ever in a situation where you’re at a popular tourist attraction and everybody is jockeying for position to take the same picture from the same location and angles? Well, it doesn’t take a lot of creativity to find different shooting perspectives – you can go higher, find other angles off to the side or below, or incorporate other photo enthusiasts into your shot. I find those types of images to be much more creative than ones taken from the most popular traditional angles and perspectives.

This is Puzzling


3. Do Some Research & Make Connections

It is a global world out there! Flickr and other photo sharing sites (like DPS!) have made it easy to find interesting locations to shoot. You can search the most popular photos from a certain city or landmark and try to replicate or put your own stamp on some of your favourites. These are also fantastic forums to reach out to other photographers. I’ve had the great fortune of meeting and shooting with a number of well respected photographers from Detroit to Kuala Lumpur! They often know the best places to shoot, and if they have a specialized niche, you will be exposed to things that you’d be hard-pressed to pursue on your own.

Most of the personal connections I’ve made through photography began with a simple Flickr message.

Urbex Superheroes

4. Take Risks

Often, taking calculated risks pays off! It is a simple risk/reward calculation that we all have to consider. You really want to take that picture of an angry butcher at the market? Well, what’s the worst that could happen and is it worth the risk to you? I specialize in urban exploration (urbex) and am very meticulous when it comes to the risks I take associated with getting into an abandoned building or onto a rooftop/construction crane. This is especially true when I am traveling and dealing with different sets of rules. Generally, the greater the risk I take, the better the photos (and stories) are.

This is not something isolated to urban explorers either. Some of my most iconic images came after being on the front lines of the G20 Summit last year in Toronto when my fellow photography enthusiasts got more tear gas and rubber bullets than they bargained for. You need to ask yourself “how far will I go to get the shot?”

Power to the Peaceful

5. Get Off the Beaten Path

There’s nothing wrong with tourist sites! However, it does become increasingly difficult to get unique images from them. Luckily, it doesn’t take much effort to get off the beaten path. It could be as simple as getting out of your resort and visiting the local town, walking a few kilometres to another part of the beach, or doing a bit of research into some lesser known sites that you may find interesting. Getting off the beaten path even just a little can expose you to more unique and memorable experiences; oh yeah – and some cool images too!

On Top of Bokor Hill

6. Take a Timeout

On extended travels or vacations you may feel camera fatigue or a lack of creativity on certain days. For me, I sometimes feel as though picture taking is a chore I need to do! It should never be like that. Remember that you’re there primarily to experience another culture, its people and their city, photography should really be secondary. On days where I just don’t feel like shooting, I trade my Canon for my iPod and find creativity and inspiration in the lives that pass me by. One way I’ve been able to keep inspired is to do some volunteer photography work wherever I can. This could be something you run into coincidentally during your travels or prearranged with an NGO, charity, or other organization. The next time I reach for my camera following a good deed, I feel much more refreshed and energized.

Big Ideas

Neil Ta is a Toronto based Photographer, Traveler, Urban Explorer and Gentle Lover. You can view his daily blog or his website.

Post from: Digital Photography School – Photography Tips. Check out our resources on Portrait Photography TipsTravel Photography Tips and Understanding Digital Cameras.

Studio Portraits | Performance Photography




Recently we had the pleasure of taking portraits of Andrea. Andrea is an aspiring singer. To put it in perspective, while she was giving us a taste of her singing voice in our studio, Mrs. Lamar came running down the stairs in amazement. This young lady has some pipes.

Fortunately for us we love when people bring in what they love so we can capture it. Along with several shots of Andrea gripping the mic, we also got some intimate shots. She is a beautiful girl with an even more beautiful voice and a pleasure to photograph.

Andrea graduated from Valley Christian High School this May. She hopes to pursue a career in singing and by what we heard, she will most likely succeed. Sessions like these are always a joy and produce really creative shots.







Giving Film a Go | Courtesy of Bellamy Hunt

Considering shooting with film? Then you should have a little read and I shall try to give you some compelling reasons as to why I think it is a good idea.

My name is Bellamy Hunt and I run the Japancamerahunter website, and I am an avid film shooter. Now, before we get started, this is not an argument about digital vs. film. Both have their merits and both have their flaws, and I shoot with both. This is primarily a piece for people who are considering shooting film for the first time, or perhaps getting back into film after a long absence.

Image 1.JPG

Shooting film is not some deep dark mystery and it is not an outdated form either. It is still a perfectly valid form, which is actually not dying, contrary to popular belief. In fact film shooting is actually going through a renaissance at the moment with the resurgence of Polaroid through the impossible project and groups like Lomo.

This has bought film to the attention of people who may not be familiar with the medium and I hear about more and more people who would like to give it a try. But why? Why would you give film a try? Isn’t it terribly expensive?

Well, it doesn’t have to be.

Make it cheap

There are a few ways to make it a cheap experience. You can buy generic non-branded films from bigger stores. The secret is that these films are actually reloaded film, minus the brand name. They are Kodak or Fuji in a different box. And they are often a lot cheaper. If you are feeling adventurous you can re-load film yourself. Kodak and Ilford still make bulk rolls of film, which you can put into a film loader and re-load your old cartridges. Doing this brings the price down massively, it is also a very relaxing way to spend an evening.

Developing also doesn’t have to be a killer. Doing it yourself is obviously the cheapest way, working out to be pennies per roll. It is also a lovely learning experience that can yield some really exciting results. But if you don’t have the space or time then you can still get the big supermarkets and drugstores to develop on the cheap.

Shooting film is not as expensive as you might think, and the rewards make the outlay worth it.

Image 2.JPG

Take your time

Shooting film makes you take your time, unless you are the reincarnation of Garry Winogrand. You have 36 shots to a roll and you want to make them count so you become much more aware of what is going on around you.

In my opinion it makes you a better photographer too. You will not be able to fire off a burst of 10 shots, just to get one image. You will have to be careful about your settings, your composition and content, it is a disciplined approach to photography.

It will also give you patience. Unless you are developing when you get home you are going to have to wait for a couple of days for your shots, and that gives you time to think about what you shot and how you might be able to do it better.

There is also the magic of getting those negatives back and seeing your pictures sealed on film, there is nothing like that feeling, especially when you see a picture that you are really proud of.

Image 3.JPG

But film cameras are so hard to use!

No they are not. There are many many different types of film camera out there, so I guarantee there is something for everyone. You want a rangefinder? No problem. An automatic compact? Got it. A 360 spinning camera? Yup.

On my site I have written extensively about different types of cameras and the cameras that are available for all different budgets. You don’t have to spend the earth to get into shooting film. Budget rangefinders and compact cameras can be bought for as little as $50. Compare that to your new Nikanontax D3600X4 and you are looking at a camera that can give you a lot of fun for the price of a nice meal.

Obviously you can spend a lot more, but that is up to you. Remember though, many of your modern DSLR and rangefinder cameras use the same lenses as your film camera, so you will be able to crossover with the minimum of fuss.

Image 4.JPG

The magic

I mentioned before about the magic feeling of looking at your negatives. Well, this is real. There is something different about film and you can tell the difference between a film image and a digital image immediately. Film has a glow and tone that still cannot be obtained by digital. Digital images are almost too clean, too real. You never know quite what you are going to get with film. Each roll is different, each emulsion is different and that is the fun of it. Changes in temperature or the age of the film can have an effect on the way things turn out.

There are so many different types that you can endlessly experiment. I shoot digital for work and it is stable and fast. But it is the same, the same for each and every sensor. Which is why I shoot film for my personal work.

Image 5.JPG

One last thing

Film cameras are gorgeous. Really. I have a passion for film cameras and I love they way they look. Nowadays all of the cameras that come out are generic machines, they don’t have any flair or quirks, they are designed to be good at what they do, which is fine. But film cameras are quirky and different. Some of them are brilliant at what they do, some of them have little eccentricities that make them all the more interesting. But all of them come from a time when they really cared about making cameras not just a practical object, but a thing of beauty too.

So, why not give film a go, you might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Do you need some more help? Need to find a camera? Then let me help you.

Many thanks

Read more:

Studio Portraits | Chandler Musician

    Here at Lamar Studios we photograph patients for Doctor Blacker, an orthodontist whose office is in Chandler. Recently one of our clients, Sara,came in just after getting her braces removed. Having her braces removed wasn’t the only thing she was excited about because she also brought in her guitar!

   And of course we at Lamar Studios love when someone brings in a prop! It helps represent the kind of hobbies or interests they have. Sara brought in a couple different guitars. One had bright pictures of the old west pasted onto it and the other was a more classic looking acoustic. This allowed us to color splash the bright guitar and make the rest black and white in one of our shots (seen below), which made the guitar’s colors pop and make a cool, unique picture. All in all, she took great shots and gave us a lot to work with.

   Finally, this photo shoot gave Sara the opportunity also the use the shots for her aspiring music career. In the lobby of the studio she played a couple tunes for Jon Lamar’s little girls while they giggled and enjoyed the music. Sara says she enjoys writing thought-provoking, poetic music that makes someone look inwardly. In the end, she now has some great shots if she chooses to promote her music and who knows, she may be the next Joni Mitchell!


Studio Portraits | Outside and Inside the Studio

On this photo shoot we shot our subject, Tori, outside the studio and inside. There are advantages to both, that is why by doing both we gave her many options to choose from so that she was most satisfied with our work.

Shooting outside the studio gives us the advantage of having options we don’t have inside:

    •  Natural light. Natural lighting brings the skin tone out more evenly and results in a cleaner shot.
    • Opportunity to find an optimal location. In this case, a rustic wood fence or  an old tractor will give Tori’s portraits a more hometown, down-to-earth vibe.

The ability to choose the location and use the sun’s natural light are two advantages to shooting outside. Nevertheless shooting inside offer’s its own advantages as well.

    • Indoor shots are more intimate. For example, using the black and white filter on Tori’s studio shot of her sitting in a chair draws you in and gives the picture a classic look.
    • Also, the ability to manipulate light in the studio makes the shot have those extremely deep and ever so light tones so that the tones are rich and evenly distributed.

All in all, Tori’s shots came out great. With the use of outdoor and indoor lighting we were able to capture her in a great light. Also, with the use of a black and white filter make the picture look classic and with the onsite rustic fence give the picture that homey feel.