Chris Allen Photography: Blog en-us (C) Chris Allen Photography (Chris Allen Photography) Sat, 13 Nov 2021 01:55:00 GMT Sat, 13 Nov 2021 01:55:00 GMT Chris Allen Photography: Blog 120 96 Terrible photography memes If you are on social media these days you are typically bombarded with memes. Those little pictures with captions or ones like this one that are catchy lists... I am no exception to seeing them and must say at times they are entertaining. I am part of many photo groups and wanted to pull back the curtain a bit and show you one that really made me ponder upon its message. 

What I plan on doing in this post is giving you a lighthearted look at a photography meme that circulated recently again. This one is a list of things never to say to a photographer. It cracks me up that someone wanted to rant about these items even though some of them are way more true than others. Feel free to read over the meme before the explanations. 


A close up of a building

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  • This one in reference to my camera does make me laugh because of the truth behind it. I can’t tell you how many times I have been out taking nature photos and someone comes up and sees the gear and says “it must take great photos”. I have to admit that in my mind there is an eyeroll that happens to this simply because that same individual would probably never tell a chef or cook that their stove made a great meal. My camera is nothing more than a tool. Yes it did cost a lot and yes it has some great capabilities, but in the hands of someone who doesn’t know a thing about photography it would be all for nothing. It reminds me of my last trip out taking nature photos. I had brought my back-up camera with me to take some shots. I was just enjoying the view when two young men came up with large bags and worked their way to the railing while setting up their carbon fiber tripods (think expensive) and pulling out their cameras (they were pro level canon cameras if you are wondering and they average between 5 and 6 thousand dollars). They just started machine gunning the scene and while it looked impressive to some folks I sat back and listened to them complain that their photos weren’t coming out the way they had hoped… I waited till they had shifted away and snapped my photo to which one saw my screen and exclaimed how did he do that in one shot while the other stated that every amateur gets lucky now and again. Now I wouldn’t have said a word to them, but I admit that his statement got to me….so I handed him my card with the explanation that it isn’t the gear, but more the person operating it. So, with that being said, my light hearted approach to this rant is remember that a good photographer could take a great photo with any type of camera.


  • You know I love photoshop; it is my digital darkroom for taking an image and making it art. I can transform it in just about any way imaginable, and love its limitless potential. That being said, when someone says “you can just photoshop that right?” is like nails to a chalkboard at times. Editing an image is a marathon not a sprint, and when you have to “photoshop” something that could be fixed prior to the photo being taken you are just adding miles to my race. Now past my rant/explanation, if you look 50 years old, sure I could smooth out some wrinkles and whatnot but no matter what I do I am not going to alter it to a point that you look 20. I take pride in my style of photography (think of terms like NATURAL, FUN, and CASUAL) and if I alter your appearance to that point it goes against the photographer that I am. Now I do understand this point of folks thinking we as photographers can work magic  in postproduction because we can, but do you want to look at a photo and think “wow he made me look so great” or would you rather look at a photo and think “we had so much fun that day and look at how we looked then versus now”. This goes back to my reason for wanting to do this as a profession. I want people to have something to remind them of the past. Photos are the key to remembering times long gone and loved ones we no longer have with us.


  • Ok, so this one I laughed at because everyone in my life knows two things about me. The first is that I love bringing my camera with me nearly everywhere I go. The second is they know better than to ask for a freebie. Photography, is indeed, not only my passion but my profession. If you see me casually taking photos they are for me or my wife. If you ask me to bring it along to take specific photos then you best believe that I am going to get paid for my time and work. I mean that would be like saying hey can you bring that dish you make so well and make enough for everyone and you can come too… If the person who originally wrote this meme has friends that would do that to them then I feel bad for them in a way. My friends and I have enough mutual respect to know not to be so insulting to one another.


  • The blurry background is called Bokeh. It is achieved by having a lens that capable of producing it. I could get technical but let’s face it….that would be kind of boring and dry. You technically could produce a blurry background in photoshop, but I have never seen one done that way that looks realistic. Bokeh is a technical style that photographers can use for portraits. If it isn’t your cup of tea then please let your photographer know and he/she won’t utilize it in your session.


  • Asking for a black and white photo while leaving part of it color may sound and look really appealing at first, but I will be honest. When it comes to the test of time I really feel that it doesn’t hold up. If you really want a black and white photo with just your eyes colored, sure, I’ll give you what you want, but I will also insist in having either a full black and white or color version as well for when you have had enough of the other. I kind of feel that this particular rant is done in poor taste. My clients are important to me, and I want to fulfill their needs so if you have specific request I do take it to heart. I won’t replicate someone else’s image directly, but I will use it as reference to give you something similar within the bounds of my style. I feel that I have been hired because of my style and abilities, so you trust my judgement and I won’t lead you astray. Bottom line is, whomever wrote this one feels above this (yes I think this is just a fad type of style), BUT I feel that the client has a say in what they want. I know you hire me for what I have to offer, but I do ask for input to make sure you are satisfied with my work.


  • Ok, now to probably one of the juiciest ones in this whole terrible meme! First let me throw this one out there….. Places like Sears Photo are no longer in business for the very reason in question. When you pay next to nothing you get what you pay for. The person taking the photograph may like photography but they have no say in the session; the lighting, the gear, the props, the techniques, and the posing are all cookie cutter. They follow a guide for everything! Growing up, the walls of our house were lined with photos from there, Olan Mills, Walmart, and LifeTouch. While they did capture what we looked like in that moment they certainly don’t evoke memories. So, why am I not as cheap as that? Well I could give you a laundry list of reasons why. I could talk about the education I have invested in, the cost of running a business, the price of gear, the fact that this is my profession i.e. how I make a living, or even how you are buying a unique experience, BUT, let’s face it, those reasons may not register to everyone. When it comes down to pricing I try to make mine the most affordable without sacrificing the quality of work. Little things like, my photos are in focus, properly exposed, the colors are bright, vibrant, and natural, and they are put together well are all reasons why I charge higher than Tom, Dick, and Harry who advertise on Facebook saying they will do your entire wedding day for 300 bucks. I’m not trying to attack those folks, but have to ask this. Are they legitimate businesses that are registered, pay taxes, are insured, and utilize a contract to protect both YOU and THEM? Also, I want to have you ask this of yourself. Are your memorable moments worth the best? Do you want something that is “good enough”? Do you want to trust someone on a day like your wedding or the birth of your child, or would you rather have a contract that is giving you a guarantee of covering your important events? I could write pages of these scenarios, but when you dig for yourself you’ll find that you really do get what you pay for in photography. I have been told that I charge way to little, but I just want to be able to keep the business going and pay my bills not get rich quick… I just want you to be happy enough with what you have that you will show off those photos I made for you with pride and say “look how amazing this day was”.


  • Walmart….what more can I say…. If you buy a print from me you are getting a guarantee that it turns out correct. If it doesn’t I stand by it to do whatever I can to make the situation right. I tried prints at every box store print service and can tell you that you really get what you pay for here as well. I have seen everything from colors being messed up, heads cut off, and even lines in the photo. I use professional printing services and once again stand by the work. They work with me to make sure the image I see on my computer screen is the image you get.


  • They say “if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life”. Well allow me to be someone who says this in reaction to that…. I LOVE WHAT I DO, but it takes more work than I ever thought it would. When I first contemplated doing this for a living I thought exactly what you would think “I’ll get to sit back, take some photos, and call it a day”. Let me tell ya that that is the farthest thing from the reality. I am the web guy, the bookkeeper, the IT guy, the admin assistant, the planner, the advertising and marketing guy, the author, the customer support guy, and many others; oh and I also take the photos. I spend my days creating posts, editing photos, continuing my education (check out CreativeLive if you are interested in being an entrepreneur), working on advertising and marketing ideas, and the list goes on. I admit that those of you who are close know I also work an evening job part time because I am apparently an overachiever. Then I come home and keep creating because my mind just won’t shut down that easy. So, I can only wish that the job was that easy. I can say that I still love it and love capturing so many irreplaceable moments.


  • When you purchase my services you get finished images. I do not offer “raw” unedited images because of a multitude of reasons. I will spare you from the many and just say that I have never encountered someone who has asked this. Not sure why someone would want to do this. It is like hiring someone to build your house and as soon as they finish the foundation you say you’ll take over from there.


  • I see a funny side in this watermark controversy. I have seen photos printed from Facebook images and they are terrible quality. By design Facebook makes images poor quality so they can be stored on the site and brought up quickly. They are not designed to be printed. Now what this rant is really trying to get at is ownership. With every session you have with me you receive watermarked images. This isn’t because I want to be a jerk, it is because of copyright ownership. As the artist taking the photo I own the image. I have the mark on the photo to show anyone would view it that it is a product of my business. I won’t lie, I have had to go as far as to make someone aware that they are breaking the law and could be taken to court for posting an altered image that removed my watermark. Violating copyright is theft plain and simple. You can purchase print rights for your photos and then print as many as you want from wherever, but when you do that you are responsible for insuring quality. If the printed image isn’t turning out great then there is nothing I can do other than offer to sell you prints from my business. As a side note, having a watermark on the photos you post to social media is way for photographers to get their name out there. Doing that and/or leaving a caption referencing the photographer or their business helps us out more than any marketing campaign ever could.



So I know this was long, but I feel that clients should know where photographers are coming from with our answers and why we do things the way we do. I want you to know that I care about every photo I take and every customer I have. I know quite a few photographers that wouldn’t like my breakdown of this meme because it reveals the other side, but I am not in this for them I am in it for the people who want good quality images of important moments of their lives.






(Chris Allen Photography) Sun, 17 Mar 2019 21:52:32 GMT
2019 Standard Session Pricing Welcome to 2019!

With hopefully our coldest month about to end, I'd like to take a moment and both introduce and explain my 2019 pricing for my standard sessions. 2018 was a year of growth and continued learning. I continued to hone my skills behind the camera and at the "office". My many thanks to all of the people I encountered and was allowed to produce great work with. Also, for those that accepted an extended time schedule due to my own wedding, THANK YOU! 

So, what do you get when you book a session with me? Well, to put it very bluntly, a great deal of time and effort. Once a location is given I start researching ideas to have a general game plan of what I'd like to accomplish. I will often ask at least a handful of questions in regards to personal preferences to get an idea of what outfits, ideas, and style you are bringing to the shoot. From there we set a date, around the weather if possible and conduct the shoot.

During the shoot I take TONS of photos. My goal is to capture as much as I can so I can give plenty of options. So, if you have purchased just an hour, I offer 15 final photos as part of the package. I spend anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes or more on each finalized photo. My subject edits include the removal of skin blemishes, whitening of teeth, removing frizzy hair, and removing redeye. My overall editing can include removing background objects (think of people walking behind you in the distance, cars, etc) to altering the background completely) I do this because of a multitude of reasons. Mostly, those reasons center around making the background support the subject creatively. Take for instance if the skies are overcast and it is the only time the shoot can be scheduled....I will either change up the existing sky to bring some vibrance to the photo, or I will plug in a different sky photo taken from the same location. 

As a special note I will add that for the foreseeable future I only offer a realistic style of photography. Certain types of composites (taking a photo of someone and placing them in a fantasy type of setting) are just not feasible without specific space, equipment, and software. Now, with that being said, I can do some amazing things behind the camera and create some spectacular photos. A fine example would be the Christmas maternity photo in this post. With the use of my equipment and some cardboard to focus the light I was able to create what I feel to be a very special photo. 

I hope that this brief explanation helps you understand what you are getting when you book a session. Most of the work you are paying for happens before and after the actual photo shoot. I look forward to creating those images for YOU if you give me the opportunity.


(Chris Allen Photography) Wed, 20 Feb 2019 06:53:20 GMT
Where on Earth did I come up with this?! How can you charge that ???


Today I am going to (hopefully) pull back the curtain and explain what goes into pricing for not just for wedding/engagement sessions, but also to generally shed some light on how misleading the perception that "taking pictures is easy". So, I am going to try and not ramble, rant, or complain about the current culture surrounding photography, but bear with me a little because what I am tackling is something that this industry deals with on a regular basis. 


So, let's begin. When I first considered this as a career and not just an incredibly pricey passion I didn't know the first thing about what people charge, why they charge that, and how they overcome objections to price. I knew some basics as far as how to come up with pricing, and overcoming objections because I spent many years in commissioned sales, but part of the reason I wanted to get out of that field is because the folks running the company (think blue, globe, cellphones) kept moving towards more and more dishonest ways of closing the sale. Simply put; I HAVE A CONSCIOUS. I don't want to feel like someone is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to their interactions with me. I feel that way today (even more so now) with my photo services. I want you to get the best I can give every single time! Everyone says that, I know, but I truly take it to heart when it comes to something I produce for someone who entrusts me to capture a non-repeatable moment. 


See, I was beginning to ramble a bit and I saw a soap box coming.... So how to come up with pricing?!?! Well it is not an arbitrary number picked out of the sky. I look at the cost of running a business with items like gear, training/education, monthly expenses like web hosting, insurance for the business/gear/myself (not health insurance), supplies, etc. and on top of all that I still have to factor in the value of what I bring to the table creatively with my style of shooting on top of the style of editing I do.  After coming up with that figure I look at what others in the area are charging. This is where it gets tricky because there are tons of people saying they are photographers and charging hourly rates that are on par with minimum wage. This is the part where I have to really try not to rant, ramble, complain because yes they take some great "pics" but those are not the same as photos. Photos take skill beyond the automatic setting on your camera;  when was the last time you saw a properly exposed (think light and dark of the photo), properly saturated (either colors being completely blown out or so dull that it looks like a picture from the 60's) and most of all properly focused (no explanation should be necessary for this one lol) come from this kind of approach. Yes they get some good shots you'd put on your fridge for a while, but I produce a keepsake you would have on your walls for years. That pretty well addresses the why I charge what I do, and the how I come up with the prices.  It isn't all that complicated or mystical, but it seems that with the proliferation of cameras (phones, point and shoots, and cheap interchangeable lens) that the general consensus has overlooked the art and skill of taking a good photo versus a good "pic" 


As an added bonus (and potential kick in my teeth) here are just three sites that give you averages of the cost of wedding photography. I am still amazed that I have had people say that I am way to expensive when looking at these figures.... 

site one 

site two

site three


** as a disclaimer I am not associated with these websites and merely found them on my own research. The views I express and the views they express are each our own **

I do hope I haven't bored you to tears or sounded like I'm complaining. I have always felt that informing someone of exactly what they are getting is paramount when it comes to providing a product or service. 


Please feel free to comment or message me!




(Chris Allen Photography) Mon, 18 Jun 2018 13:12:14 GMT
Blogging is by far the toughest! Well talk about falling flat on my face! I love to talk one-on-one, take photos (obviously), edit photos (it's becoming a passion quickly), but blogging.... Well that is a different beast all by itself. I often sit at this desk late at night before bed thinking of topics to put on here and throw my two cents in on, but when it comes to typing them out I just draw a blank. I could list a slew of excuses, but, in reality, none of them are the reason. So, here goes entry number 2.


My inspiration! This is a photo of my fiancee Lori and I. I composed the photo she stood in the water (the background is a gorgeous waterfall that I will show you) while I focused the camera and made the adjustments for light, and I handed it off to her sister's boyfriend who snapped the shutter button for me. She has seen my passion for photography and encouraged it all along the way. She keeps me from being to critical of my work because often times I will go through and edit, look at it, walk away, and then come re-edit the same photo in the pursuit of perfection. While I admit I am not the best at what I do; I do give it my best. She sees the hair pulling moments of when I can't get something done the way I want it and how instead of letting frustration take me away from it I will often turn to resources and teach myself something new so I can do what I want with a particular photo.

I know this site should only showcase my very best work I don't always care to do so. I feel that showing someone how I progressed can be more impactful in showing off a skill. Case in point would be the following photos. The first was edited when it was taken.... (around 12 years ago) sorry to hurt your eyes with it..... The second one is the same original photo that I recently went back and wanted to see if I could touch it up and make something usable.... Amazing if you ask me.... the second one while still nowhere near what I'd like shows that improvement I was mentioning. Now Imagine this....taking it with a good camera, and applying the editing skills I have picked up.... 


As promised here is that gorgeous waterfall she and I posed in front of.

(Chris Allen Photography) Tue, 06 Mar 2018 21:23:56 GMT
Greetings and Welcome!

So, where to start? How about I tell you about the first photo I was proud of... The photo above was taken with my, then, newly purchased Canon DSLR camera. I was in my mid-twenties planning a vacation (that never ended up happening), and wanted to get a "good" camera that I could change lenses on. Dropped a ton of money on it and instantly thought I was going to take tons of great photos, but in reality I had no clue what I was doing. To say I had no clue I mean this one picture was the only one I am still proud of out of more than 3000 photos I took when I first got the camera. 

In the following years I toyed with it and took countless photos, paying little attention to technique, and not really wanting to spend the time learning how to compose a great photo. My gear stayed about the same during that time and truth be told I didn't invest the time to get really comfortable with using it. Then something changed and it changed in a major way. I discovered how good I felt taking pictures. It relaxed me immensely and forced me to look at everyday scenes in completely new ways. That was when I started learning and learning and learning. Slowly, like at a snail's pace, I practiced one new concept at a time until I started composing more and more shots that I was satisfied with.

Now I don't want to continue to throw out details about this whole progression, at least not all at once. So, to go back to this photo. I look back at it fondly knowing that of all the few hundred that I shot that day this single shot still touches me today. It makes me remember the fun I had blindly snapping away playing with every single setting to see what it did. I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I did taking it.


(Chris Allen Photography) Sun, 18 Jun 2017 06:06:59 GMT