Meet Violin Virtuoso Christina Nam

What a pleasure it was to photograph so much talent and beauty! Christina Nam had her first solo debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at age 9. She has since concertized around the globe. She is one of many wonderful musicians referred to me by her teacher Kurt Sassmanshaus who teaches at The University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. At the age of 15, Christina is the concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Walnut Hills High School Chamber Orchestra, and the Starling Chamber Orchestra. She is a very impressive young woman!

The studio was an obvious choice for our photo shoot since we were in the middle of one of the dreariest winters ever. We took advantage of the nooks and crannies of my in-home studio by using the solarium for window light portraits and the grand hallway and staircase for something a bit moodier. Christina wore a fabulous green leather jacket, the standard artist all black, and she brought a lovely gown with an asymmetrical off the shoulder top. You can see more photos, read her entire story AND hear her perform on her website

I believe in family photographs

I believe in photographs; printed tangible photographs. I believe in photo albums that we can hold; storybooks that make us laugh and that spur important conversations. I believe in portraits framed and hanging on the wall intended to be passed down to the next generation.

We can’t touch a digital file and the truth is we don’t know the longevity of a file or if we will even find it someday. Files are lost, damaged, corrupt and outdated over time. They must be backed up and sometimes converted to accommodate updated programs and technologies.  Remember cassette tapes, eight track tapes, zip discs? Photographs are special – files are not!

My work is more than a screen saver. My work deserves to be professionally printed. The photographs I create are not only precious to my clients but they are precious to me.  The older I get, the more apparent this becomes. Photographs are passed on to children and grandchildren. Can you imagine a DVD or a flash drive sitting in a frame representing your family portrait?

Like many photographers, I have struggled with my clients’ perceived need for files.  This makes me uncomfortable to my core. I have had prospective clients hang up on me when I tell them I don’t give or sell the digital files. I constantly hear from people who do have digital files that they never do anything with them. They sit in a drawer. If they do print them, they often complain about the quality. They crop them incorrectly; the color is not correct, etc. I have a client who gave his head shot to his daughter who ran it through some phone filter so he could look thinner. The filter only adjusted half of his face and resized is too small to be of any use. These things trouble me because I put so much of myself into my work. And, I have to wonder… am I really acting as a professional and serving my client the best way I know how by simple selling intangible files that may never be printed?

There are plenty of photographers out there who will take your photos, edit them, and put them on a flash drive for little money. I don’t and can’t do business that way. I care too much about my work, my clients and future generations looking at and holding photographs.

I must take a stand! I understand what goes into getting your family scheduled and ready for your family portrait; Coordinating schedules, getting haircuts, buying clothes. Why spend more on clothes for the session than on the end product?

I believe my work has value and as time passes the value increases. If being in business as a photographer today means the current market will force me to sell files not photographs and to compromise my work and values – well then, I’m out.

But that won’t happen! I know people still value my work and believe in the importance of a tangible product.

My mission is to create family portrait heirloom artwork that makes your heart smile every time you see it.

I am forever grateful to my wonderful clients who allow me the privilege to do what I love!


The Seven Hills High School senior portrait -another awesome Millennial!

Here are our favorite photos from Lucy’s senior portrait photo shoot. She has such a beautiful authentic smile. Lucy is headed to Duke University in the fall where she will be on the swim team!  It is a Callard family tradition to make portraits at Ault Park in part because the flowers are so beautiful. Congratulations Lucy and good luck in all our future adventures!

Indian Hill High School senior portrait session at Smale Park

      Congratulations Noah, on achieving your goal of getting into Stanford, not to mention all your accolades and awards for diving, and for your stellar academic achievement overall! You ought to be very proud of your accomplishments. I have photographed Noah and his 3 siblings since they were little tykes. I photographed his little sister, Olivia’s Bat Mitzvah last year (more on that in another post). During one of my visits to the Vigran’s home, I became overwhelmed with emotion when I saw my portraits taken over many years displayed prominently in their home. The entire family history was there on the walls. It hit me how fast time passes. Hannah, the oldest is away at college and Noah is next in line to leave the nest. I felt honored and privileged to have been there along the way for many of the milestones.

     We decided to do Noah’s photo session at Smale Park, a very popular destination for portraits these days. Cincinnatians have on ongoing love affair with the Roebling suspension bridge and the Ohio River and we love having them in the background of our photos.  Aside from those two landmarks, Smale Park has a wonderful variety of background elements to incorporate into a portrait. One thing Smale does not have a lot of is shade, which is why I recommend shooting there about 2 hours before the sun goes down. Noah brought 2 different blue shirts, one golf shirt and one long -sleeved blue checked shirt. He also brought and orange golf shirt and his Stanford shirt. We switched things up with Khaki shorts and jeans. I like to get enough variety during a session that we can make a keepsake album. I usually need between 25 and 35 shots to make a nice album. Noah did end up getting an album. Here are some of my favorite shots from our senior portrait photo shoot at Smale Park.

My favorite bridal portrait ever!

    This photo session was one of the highlights of my year. Carol has been married for 37 years. In 2017 her daughter and her son both married. They would all be together at Christmas time and Carol wanted a portrait of herself with her daughter and her new daughter in law all wearing their wedding dresses. I immediately fell in love with the idea!

     Carol had a bouquet made for each of them mimicking the colors from each wedding. I thought it was pretty amazing that Carol can still wear her wedding dress after so many years. Her daughter however had a bit of a challenge fitting into hers. When she came out of the dressing room she turned her back to me and showed me the safety pins used to make the dress a bit wider in the waist. It turns out she surprised her family at Christmas by announcing that she is expecting her first baby!

      We took photos in the studio as well as in my front hallway on the grand staircase. The love they share was obvious during the photo session. When Carol picked up her proofs she teared up and talked about how grateful she is to have such wonderful women in her life. We talked about family and photography and a bunch of other stuff. Carol loves photography and travels around the world with her camera. She is curious about everything and never stops learning and she is filled with gratitude about her life every day. I want to be her when I grow up!

    Here are my favorite photos from that day. I knew these portraits would make beautiful paintings so I played around with one of them and the result is posted here as well.  I am providing my clients more paintings and creatively edited versions of my portraits every year. These works of art beautifully enhance your home décor and become family heirlooms.




New Years Resolutions and Blog Blog Blog

           I hate blogging! When I was younger, my New Year’s resolution was typically about exercising more and cutting out “bad” foods. As I matured, my New Year’s resolution leaned more towards becoming a better person; things like meditate every day and don’t gossip. The past few years my resolution has been to blog and to engage more in social media in an attempt to grow my business.  Here it is almost March and I have broken my resolution once again.

        Marketing and SEO experts say that search engines don’t see pictures; they see words, especially “Key” words. They say your blog posts should be at least 350 words and they better be the “right” words. I am a photographer, not a writer. Whatever happened to “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Google doesn’t agree with that old adage.  Usually when I write something,  I send it to my daughter to proof read. She is the queen of grammar and sentence structure. I have decided to quit torturing her. I am going to apologize this one and only time.  Please forgive my poor sentence structure, bad grammar and general lack of writing skills. This is simply an attempt to be seen by search engines so that I might get to do the thing I love the most, which is to photograph the fabulous families, children, babies, newborns, high school seniors and professional head shots in the greater Cincinnati area.

OK, so my post is well short of the 350 suggested word minimum and probably does not contain the proper key words in the correct amounts. Not to mention that no one ever reads this stuff anyway! They just look at the pictures! But at least I am on my way to keeping my New Year’s Resolution albeit 2 months late. Next time I am going for words AND photos.

Wyoming High School class of 2018 senior portrait

I took Maddie's senior portraits in early October at Glenwood Gardens. This year the leaves were not spectacular, but the great weather made up for the lack of fall color.People with dark hair and darker skin tones look great in richer, deeper colors. Maddie looked beautiful in her off the shoulder deep red blouse and blue jeans. The rich deep blue was also fabulous. Her third choice was a sunshine yellow summer dress. Maddie still had a bit of a tan line leftover from summer but it was easy to take out using photoshop. The end of the session was a bit playful and she gave me a sly smile and a tilt of the head and I took my favorite photo of the session.