Saturday, March 17, 2018
By Maryland Boudoir Photographer - Irene Abdou Photography, LLC
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Have you wondered what you should do with your boudoir photography, once created? The one big no-no is to let it waste away on a computer hard drive. Instead, celebrate with our jaw-dropping art products. Here, we're spotlighting one of our clients' favorite ways to enjoy their boudoir photography: wall portrait love groupings.


What's a wall portrait? A wall portrait is a printed art piece that is a larger size suitable to fill a wall space. We print wall portraits on your choice of photographic paper, canvas, or metal, and then custom-frame them or mount them for a frameless display. A love grouping is simply a group of 3 or more wall portraits meant to be displayed together on a single wall.


Now, I will say that boudoir photography wall portraits are for the un-shy! Before opting for wall portraits from your boudoir photography session, consider this series of questions:


  • Where would you hang them? (Think bedroom, man cave, she shed, significant other's home office...) Not sure on the where or the how? We provide our clients with a complimentary design consultation. Send us photos of your rooms, and we'll drag and drop your favorite boudoir photos onto your room photos, changing sizes, layouts, and frames before your very eyes so you can see all the options and envision what they look like before they exist!


  • Do you mind if people other than you or your partner see them? (There will always be some headshots as part of your boudoir photography collection, so you could hang/show those, if you're sensitive about who might see your wall portraits.)


If you're too shy for wall portraits, then perhaps a discrete, handcrafted boudoir photography album is a better fit for you.

Thursday, March 15, 2018
By Headshot Photographer - Irene Abdou Photography, LLC
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I came across an article on the Inc. Magazine website a while back detailing 8 secrets of perfect LinkedIn headshots. I love a lot of what author Julie Anne Exter writes in it, and have been meaning to share it with you for a while now. Here are my favorite parts, as well as my own take on some of her 8 secrets.


First off, I found her starting thoughts about the need for a professional(-looking) headshot to be downright inspirational:


"Nobody wants to hire someone they perceive to be a slob, or worse, someone with poor professional judgment." If sweatpants and a t-shirt are your preferred outfit, then "your mission is clear: you need to use the magic of technology to trick people into believing that you are a well-groomed professional, the perfect candidate for any challenge that might come your way. It's not a far stretch. You are that person, and you can rise to any challenge. It's just that you have to clear the pesky hurdle of the LinkedIn profile picture in order to look the part and nail that first impression," Julie says.

Julie's Secret #1: "The first step is admitting you have a problem." Here, Julie asks you to take a hard look at your current LinkedIn headshot and to be honest with yourself about whether it's appropriate.


My take: I bet you already know if you have a problem. After all, who in their right mind would think that a LinkedIn headshot of themselves sitting in a bar (with friends who were obviously cropped out of the picture), hugging their dog, or lounging around in a t-shirt and sunglasses is appropriate for a professional networking platform? Everyone already knows it's not appropriate, including you.


The real issue is that you may not realize how much that unprofessional LinkedIn headshot is hurting you, and as a result, you haven't done anything about it. So understand that your LinkedIn headshot is like the cover letter to your resume and tells prospective employers a whole lot about you!


Julie's Secret #2: "When in doubt, go pro." It's a fact of life that no one person is great at everything. While some people are blessed with the talent to create amazing selfies, others will take thousands of "blurry, lopsided pictures of their own asymmetrical faces," only to finally admit defeat. In the latter case, it's worth the investment to hire a professional headshot photographer... "But not just any professional photographer," Julie says.


My take: Of course, as a professional headshot photographer, I would love that Julie says this, and that's because I believe in what I do.  Is every surgeon as talented as the next? Is every attorney as service-oriented as the next? Professional headshot photographers are no different, and they are not created equal.


At least half of our professional headshot clients tell me on our first phone call that they're not photogenic. And what that says to me is that they've never hired the right professional photographer. Because when I begin working with them, what I find is that all they really needed was a photographer who could make them feel comfortable and relaxed, and who would take the time to understand what they like/don't like about how they look in photos, and then be able to identify the most flattering camera angles, lighting, and posing.

Julie's Secret #3: "If you go pro, don't go to that place in the mall."


My take: I stifled the strong desire to say "I told you so" as I read about Julie's experience with mall headshots: "Turns out you should not trust the oppressed teenagers who work at the mall place to care enough to shepherd you into flattering poses that you'd feel good about putting out there to your professional network," she confesses.


Honestly, though, not everyone has an eye for photography. In fact, there are many people who I would hazard to say simply can't tell the difference between a good photograph and a bad one. Why else would I see someone post a terrible picture on Facebook that is then flooded with comments about how the picture-taker is so talented?


If you are one of the people who can't distinguish between good photography and bad photography, then honestly, mall headshots may be just the right fit for you. You can expect to pay more for headshots from a boutique photographer than from a teenage mall photographer, so why pay more for something you can't tell is better? Just remember, though. That recruiter, HR director, or hiring manager may be someone who CAN tell the difference, so before trusting your career to an oppressed teenager at the mall, think hard, and also make sure to read Julie's secret #8 below.

Julie's Secret #4: "If you choose to DIY, get ready to take many, many selfies."


My take: I love what Julie says here as well, even as I laugh over it. As a professional photographer, I know lighting, composition, and posing. And yet, I find it EXTREMELY difficult to take good selfies of myself. Past attempts to do so simply prove to me that you really need a professional photographer who will give you guidance and direct you if you want to avoid looking completely ridiculous. And if I have a hard time with selfies, and I'm a professional photographer, I certainly don't expect the average person to capture a really professional-looking selfie headshot.


Julie's Secret #5: "Use a decent camera. Borrow a friend's if you have to. Then, borrow your friend."


My take: I agree that if you're going the DIY route, then it's very helpful to have someone else behind the camera to direct you as opposed to trying to take a selfie.


I must disagree, however, about borrowing a friend's "decent camera." At this "my friend took my headshot" level of photography skill, it's really not about the camera. Rather, it's about the person behind the camera and his/her knowledge of posing, composition, and lighting. A non-photographer won't even know how to handle the controls on that "decent camera."  As a professional photographer, I can create better LinkedIn headshots with my iphone than the average non-photographer could with that "decent camera."


Furthermore, if, as Julie says, your friend manages 1 picture out of 1000 that "might not actually be so bad," in my mind, that's not good enough! Do you really want to trust your next promotion to a headshot that's "not so bad"? Or do you want a headshot that is the best picture of you you've ever had?

Julie's Secret #6: "Your most flattering angle is from above."


My take: That's often true, but not always true. Photographing from above is helpful for eliminating double chins, and it's a very flattering angle for many. But what if you're bald? Photographing from above will emphasize the top of your head. What if you have a large forehead and a small chin? Photographing from above will emphasize the difference, whereas photographing from a slightly lower angle will make them more even in size. In addition, photographing from below gives a sense of strength and power.


Julie's Secret #7: "Your photo editing software or app is a great ally."


My take: Julie advises playing around with filters, but honestly, my take on this is that if your headshot requires a filter to make it look good, then it's simply not a very good photograph. The original image, un-filtered, is going to be most appealing to the widest audience, since filters are more subjective. Julie also recommends doing touch-ups, and if you have a software or an app that can smoothen skin without making you look like a porcelain doll, then I agree. And finally, I can go with Julie's comment that black & white adds an instant layer of sophistication with the right photo. Just note that some photographs simply look better in color, whereas others look better in black & white. Regardless of the editing you do, make sure to save the original, unaltered image, so that later on, should you wish to change your edits, you can do so.


Julie's Secret #8: "Your most brutally honest friend is an even better ally."


Agreed. Now, if you hire a professional headshot photographer, you can rely on your photographer's feedback. That said, we always welcome friends and family members at your professional headshot session, if you would like their assistance in selecting your final headshots.


Don't wait around for your next promotion.  Take your future into your own hands.

Tags: headshots
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
By Bethesda Family Photographer - Irene Abdou Photography, LLC
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What did you do with the images from your last professional family photography session? Too often, people tell me they did nothing at all... that their family photography, years later, is still sitting on their computer hard drive or on a dvd, to be viewed and enjoyed once in a blue moon. Wouldn't you rather have these memories up on the wall, so that every day, they serve as a reminder of how cute and adorable your kids were at that age?


Oftentimes, people tell me that the reason they haven't hung their family photography is that they were overwhelmed with the decisions needed to do so... Where should it be hung? What print size would look best? Would a single larger image or a grouping of smaller images be better? Should the artwork be framed or unframed, and if framed, what color and size frame would look best?


It can be hard to visualize what all the different options look like.  And this is why, when you take a quick cell phone photo of any rooms that you're thinking you might like to hang your family photography in, we can import it into our computer system, calibrate it to scale, and drag and drop your favorite family portraits onto the photos of your rooms, change the sizes, add frames, take away frames, make groupings, and simply play around and show you all the different possibilities so you can see what you like the best before it exists!


After playing around with different rooms, different multi-piece groupings, and different family portraits, the image above displays the final selection the B's chose from their Bethesda family photography session at Cabin John Regional Park. The central image is a 20x30 luster art print, custom-framed in a red & black wood frame, and the two images to either side are 12x18 canvas gallery wraps.


Want heirloom-quality family portraits to hang on your walls, but don't have an interior designer bone in your body? That's what our award-winning, Bethesda family photographer is here for!

Friday, March 09, 2018
By Business Portrait Photographer - Irene Abdou Photography, LLC
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There are two types of professional headshots & business portraits: the studio-style headshot and the environmental business portrait. How do you know which type of business portrait photography is right for you?


You've seen the studio headshot a million times. It's usually conservative and traditional and is created in a studio on a backdrop. The studio-style headshot is great for:


  • large companies that want standardization in each employee's professional headshot
  • putting a face to the name
  • a simple and traditional look
  • people who don't want to look too "different"

The environmental business portrait, although gaining steam, is still outside the norm. An environmental business portrait can be created inside a studio, at your office or home, at another indoor location, or outdoors. The difference is simply that instead of being shot on a backdrop, the environmental business portrait portrays you in a natural environment. The environmental business portrait is great for:


  • people who are their own decision-makers, such as small business owners or freelancers who don't have to meet company business portrait photography requirements
  • a more "natural" look (because really, standing in front of a backdrop isn't what most people do on a normal day)
  • people who want their business portraits to help them stand out from the crowd, show uniqueness and creativity, and stick in the minds of their target audience
  • people who want to incorporate their jobs into the backgrounds of their business portraits

Whether the studio headshot or the environmental business portrait is the right type of professional headshot for you, we're here to create business portrait photography that tell your story just the way you want.

Tags: headshots
Monday, March 05, 2018
By Classy Boudoir Photographer - Irene Abdou Photography, LLC
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It was J's involvement in dance that brought her to our Maryland boudoir photography studio. Her classy boudoir photography session was to be a gift for her husband - their wedding anniversary, his birthday, and Father's Day were all in the same month, so this classy boudoir gift needed to be truly stunning! J loved our boudoir photography album samples and also wanted one or more classy boudoir wall portraits to decorate the large sitting area of their bedroom, which was currently empty. At our planning & design meeting, J shared with me that she struggles with her "sexy face"... but you sure wouldn't think it when you see her jawdropping-ly sexy photography below!


J's husband joined her at her "photo reveal," when her beautifully glitzy, glam, and classy boudoir photography was unveiled. "This is a gift every husband dreams about!" he said.  The absolute final picks for her 5-piece canvas wall portrait love grouping and boudoir photography album, though, are secrets yet to be unveiled to him! Everything is here at our Maryland photography studio, though, just waiting for pickup. I can't wait for J and her husband to see the final fruits of our sexy photography session!


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