Organizing your photos

How many times have you made the New Year’s resolution that you are going to organize your photos? I have shoe boxes full of loose prints from when my kids were growing up. Now my oldest is 30! I don’t have as many personal photos as you might think. It’s like the old adage about the shoemaker’s son with no shoes. I remember showing up to the kindergarten play only to realize that I forgot my camera and had to ask a friend if they would take some photos for me (this is before cell phones).  Here are my top tips for organizing your photos.

  1. Decide what your goal is. Do you want to make albums? Do you just want a digital archive for future generations? Are you going to create a wall gallery?
  2. Gather all of your photos into one place. Plug your phone into your computer and transfer all of your photos into a folder. If you have digital files in the cloud or on another hard drive, put those into the same folder.
  3. Let the sorting and culling begin! Think of the advice of Marie Kondo, the author of “The Magic of Tidying”. If it brings you joy, keep it. If it doesn’t, let it go. Her book is wonderful and is available at and . I would like to add that if the photo tells an essential part of your story, keep it. Eliminate duplicates and poor quality photos. You may want to enlist the help of a good friend or family member to keep you on task here. This process can take a while. Don’t give up!
  4. Scan your prints that you want digitized. There are plenty of services that will do this for you. ,  and are three of them.

I prefer to go somewhere local so I don’t have to mail my precious photos away. on Central Parkway is the place to go in Cincinnati.

  1. Add your scanned photos to your folder. At this point you may want to make folders and put things in chronological order. If you don’t remember the exact date a photo was taken just categorize them by year as best you can. You may also want to rename the photos according to the year you think they were taken. Don’t get too bogged down with this step. It’s easy to get stuck and give up if you complicate things too much.
  2. Now, BACK UP your photos. I use an external hard drive that automatically backs up every day. You may want to put everything on a flash drive as well. Now you can delete the photos from your phone.
  3. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP OF ALL- PRINT! Digital media is not forever. Formats change, hard drives crash, things get lost. (Remember zip discs?) IF YOU LOVE A PHOTO, PRINT IT. Make albums or just print everything in a 4x6 proof size and put them into old fashioned photo albums Yes, you can still buy them!
  4. It all sounds like a lot of work but it is worth it! Ask someone to help you with the culling and editing so you stay on track. Robin Imaging offers a workshop on Digital photography backup and organizing. The best part is that they can also archive your film images. When you need professional help, this is the place to go!  Good Luck and let me know how it goes.

Welcome to the world William! Cincinnati Newborn photographer

Having a newborn baby is like falling in love all over again. Babies are mesmerizing. I love the way they smell, the softness of the top of their head and the little sounds they make. William even gave me a few of those smiles unique to brand new babies.

 The best time to photograph your new baby is within the first 10 days of life when they are super floppy and you can almost fold them in half. William came early while I was still on vacation so I missed the first few weeks but he was perfect! I always give me clients the choice of doing the first session at home as bringing a baby to my studio can be a ton of work.I like my newborn photos to have a natural organic look. I am not a big fan of a bunch of overwhelmiing props that will look dated in 10  years, although I do love to incude meaningful personal items.

 Emily and Nick purchased my first year baby package which includes 3 sessions during the first year of life. Typically the first session is done as soon as possible after the birth. The second session is best when the baby is sitting up but not crawling, and the 3rd session is done around the child’s first birthday. This package is a great deal and offers tons of discounts on birth announcements, prints and albums. My goal is to hook you for life!

 I have been around long enough now that I am now photographing the next generation of troublemakers for the families I have come to know and love. Here are my favorites of Williams’s first photo shoot.


Senior portrait - a true collaboration between the photographer and the subject (who also happens to be an artist)

This was one of my favorite most inspiring senior portrait sessions of the year. Jacob is super talented. He plays the guitar, the piano and percussion. Not only does he excel in music, but he is also an academic star. We started our photo session at The Church of The Redeemer in Hyde Park so we could use their beautiful grand piano. The courtyard there has gorgeous architecture and plantings. As storm clouds starting moving in we rushed outside to get some quick shots. Jacobs mom had the great idea of having him straddle the water feature and taking a “long” shot. I immediately noticed his reflection in the water and I knew I had a great shot.

As we began to dodge raindrops, Jacob expressed his disappointment that we wouldn’t be able to go to Ault Park and shoot during the golden hour (his words). I was so excited by his enthusiasm that I agreed to reschedule for another day. We met at Ault Park as the sun was lowering in the sky and took a bunch more photos.

Jacob’s creative insight led to a true collaboration between the photographer and the subject. He is off to Berklee College of Music next year. I told him when he cuts his first album I want dibs on shooting the cover art!


What color should you wear for your portrait or head shot?


Are you having trouble picking out the best outfit for your headshot session? Or maybe you just need a little spark of creative inspiration to add the right pop to your look? You’re not the only one – one of the most time consuming parts of preparing to be photographed is deciding on the outfit you want to be captured in, so we’ve outlined how to get the process started with the most important part: picking out your colors.


We’ll start by identifying which category you fit into – warm, neutral, or cool.


Take this quiz



The vein test

Around your wrist and palm area, check your veins. If they appear greenish, then you have a warm skin tone. If they are clearly blue then you have a cool skin tone. If you can’t necessarily tell one way or the other, you likely are more of a neutral skin tone.



Another quick way to tell is by recalling the way your skin reacts to the sun:

Pick whichever most closely applies to you:

Tan easily: warm

Able to tan or burn: neutral

Burn easily: cool



Warm Skin Tone Color Options:

Orange, Honey, Amber, Gold, Olive, Turquoise, Cream.



Vibrant tones like deep red and indigo


Neutral Skin Tone Options:

Light and soft colors like rose, jade, gray, sky blue


Neons, yellows, reds


Cool Skin Tone Color Options:

Emerald, Ocean Blue, Purple, Lavender, and brighter warm colors like Cherry Red


Orange and Yellow


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!