Friday, September 21, 2012

Corporate Headshots

Headshots are one of the necessary evils that professionals need from time to time. They are part of your virtual handshake. And they represent you, before you have the chance to represent yourself. I highly recommend busting out of the suit and tie world and show your potential clients a more personable side of you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Knock Knock! Nobody is home!

   I've moved! Yes, hooray for me, moving uptown and all that jazz. It's been a labor of love and been an incredible experience working with a great partnership of Terica West and Nathan McCurley. They have built me a new site and it is perfect.

  Come see me there at :) I can't wait to catch up with you!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Back to the basics [The Beauty of It]

 How did it all start?  
 This is a question I always get around matter the subject - I am a perpetual pupil. I'll soak it in like a sponge. It drives my husband crazy, but then when I have exhausted my efforts and resources, he totally benefits from my highlight reel. He gets the meat and potatoes of it all. And I get the burned out eyeballs from late nights of page turning, and web hopping. Lucky fella :)  It all leads to the very beginning. The basics. I have to admit, I am voracious when it comes to any topic that interests me. Thank goodness for Google and YouTube!

"These days, "basic" has become novelty."

   Some people think that going back to the basics defeats the purpose of technology. Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of technological advancements (and have put behind me how DUMB it makes me feel). I really do. I love being able to set up my coffee maker the night before so all I have to do is wake up to already brewed coffee. Most days. Other days I like to get out my french press and brew a sincerely delicious cup of joe. These days, "basic" has become novelty. It's a fine option for sure. I just think that people hunger for getting back to the roots of something. To having a hand in the development of it. What I find to be true about a lot of people is those who embrace technology a lot of times are hurried. And those who go back to take the time to learn the foundations of the things they enjoy are calmer, and happier people. This is just my theory of course, and to each their own. Technology is SO fast. Unless you submerge yourself into daily, you lose ground, quickly. This is something that has smacked me in the face, as of late. Dang, I think I have two black eyes from it.

   I love food (who doesn't). There is something utterly satisfying for me to be able to grow it. To get my hands on it, watch it mature, smell it... I am making myself hungry! Yes food out at a restaurant is nice too - love that I don't have to cook it and it is something out of the ordinary, maybe something new, maybe something a little trendy. But the most enjoyable meals I have ever had were ones that I had a hand in from the very beginning - sometimes all the way back to the days it was a seed. To get my hands in the earth, feed it and water it, to see something mature under my care that isn't only beautiful to look at but delicious and far superior than all that is offered at the local grocery store. There is not only a pride in it, but pure accomplishment and joy in a job well done. It is gratifying.
This could be said about a lot of things, photography included.

   This is the first year we have had a garden here in Alabama. We've had several gardens in Indiana, and it is a bit different from what we are used to. The biggest difference is the soil. It has been a learning experience that we are better off for having had to learn it. It's a different set of challenges. Like most things. But let me tell you how giddy we ALL were to have our first ripe eggplant, the first blush of the tomatoes, etc... I am THRILLED beyond measure that my girls needed little encouragement to dig in, so to speak. They've loved eating what they have grown. What they weren't prepared for, but I am so thankful to have the lesson to teach, was how a lot of what we have grown hasn't been store perfect. They couldn't believe it, and were bewildered that not all of them were as big or as beautiful as the ones in the stores. I explained that while that is what is shown to us as perfect and good, in a lot of cases was nutritionally inferior and less taste - full than what we grew. Just like magazines, I added. That isn't what those people, relationships, lives etc...ACTUALLY look like. They are polished and enhanced and we are shown the most appealing sides. It was a lesson that was well received. I love my girls.

" I explained that while that is what is shown to us as perfect and good, in a lot of cases was nutritionally inferior and less taste - full than what we grew. "

   One thing that excites me inexplicably is ... film. I adore it. It thrills me. It's plain and simple magic in a box. The fact that someone was a genius and curious and was able to pull off making the first image is incredible to me. My husband looks at me like a I am a loon ( I prefer to think of the beautiful bird in this mental imagery ) when I talk about it. I get chills, I get teary eyed. I dare say I get euphoric. Never in my life outside of my faith and family has anything ever wooed me like film. Ever. That being said, I was a failure in film. I still might be! My man has always been good to me and supported me in my ventures. He likes photographs. He's been pretty vocal about me getting plenty of pictures of the kids and has been from day one. He just can't see the difference between an image that was captured with film, and one captured with a digital camera. However, the "how" it got there isn't really his thing. So just like his tools aren't interesting to me, mine aren't to him. We skirt those issues delicately, just like any wise married couple. There are the occasional glazed over eyes. The sometimes robotic nodding of the head, so it appears as the one of us is intently giving our spouse the undivided attention they want while sharing what is immensely boring to the other. Seriously, his tools are like gouge my eyes out boring. Although I don't show it. He repays me in kind, and that is enough for me :)

"Seriously, his tools are like gouge my eyes out boring."
   I have ran my very first roll of 120 through my new film camera. I have NO idea how it turned out. I have great hopes that it turned out at least ok. I have had my camera for months. And I have been scared of it. This is a true story. Last night my web designer came over to get some images. She shoots film. She needs to shoot more - I am sure she is reading this :) Talking with my husband he saw how she came alive when talking about film and art. I saw him look at me and knew he finally got it, that I wasn't the only one, and that there is really something about film that is enamoring. Today, there was no glazed look.

   I love seeing people passionate about something. Whether it is food - "Oh that is just GORGEOUS!" - about a plate of food that has been carefully laid out and dressed. Someone has taken the time to craft it for your enjoyment. Just for you! Or when someone holds a camera in their hands from the early 1900's and they just close their eyes and slowly that smile comes to their face. It is beautiful. To be able to go back to what gave you such a drive to do better, to go back to the basics of your interests is fantastical. It's that little break in the daily grind that can transport you to a different mindset, it can sooth you like little else, it makes you slow down. Some days it can frustrate you to the point of swearing it off forever because the elusive perfection has evaded you again.

   I see the basics as being a gift to those who choose to pursue after it. It is kindred. It is fraught with fears, failures, triumphs, passions and in the end, pure. satisfaction. As is anything worth having.

   So what is it that you want to sink your body and mind into? What is it that propels you into going further, digging deeper? What makes you want to scream it from the rooftops? Write it down. And do it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Luke [ Senior 2013 ]

   What can I say about this? I received an email from Luke's mom several months ago about doing his senior session. What is unique about this is they were going to come all the way from Ohio to have me shoot his session. I am completely honored!

   We had a great time, despite the weather and were able to get a couple locations in. We did our proofing today (faster than normal turn around time - which is fast to begin with :) so they could see everything before they headed back to Ohio. Luke's sister will be a senior next year and she would like me to take her photos too. Can't wait to see you guys again next year! Thanks SO much for coming all this way. I hope you love your images!

   This gallery is for all the out of town family that would like to see his gallery. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Personal [Never ending Newness]

   I love new. Please don't confuse that with being materialistic. There are many things that are new that don't cost a thing, or that other people even want. I find that new is good, often times. Even if it stinks at first. Today is the 4th! That isn't new at all, but it is a day that I am reflecting on my many blessings, a lot of them new.

   We are embarking on a lot of new things this summer. One of them being homeschooling. I am grateful for what they have been taught (academically) in school so far. But I feel like even though I will be sacrificing personal time (and it has been hard fought for), my girls can be blessed by learning at home. I know I will be. I am a huge supporter of giving your kids wings...I am also a hugely impatient person some days. Some days I want those wings sooner rather than later. I won't lie, lol. My job is HARD (mothering) and it isn't something that I excel at most days. Not that I am a bad mom, no, not at all. But I am being real here. There are days I just don't want to do it. I don't want to hear MOM - she did this or that, not one more time. In the long run though, I know those days of them being at home are short. I know there will be times they won't want to tell me anything. I am glad they like me, even though I am not their friend first. We are buddies, but know I am mom above everything else. They know I take this job seriously (maybe too seriously). They respect that. This is going to be an adventure.

   On the business front, I am still finding new things out about me on a daily basis. Funny thing is, it spills over into my personal life. The more I shoot the more I showcase what I like. I love it. There are new ideas being implemented at the moment. A wicked cool website is being built. My brand is being born. All of this is makes my adrenaline pump. To know that what I try to convey in my photography is actually being understood means I am doing my job! And well! Tailoring my business to not only take my clients to new heights emotionally, but branching out into new types of photography, with digital as well as film - taking these new clients into the directions they want to go with their business. To be able to reach the places you want to go, using photography as that vehicle is incredible to me. I can't get there, or take my clients there without God. Make no mistake about it. He is who gives me the ability and the drive to go further.

   I am so humbled by those who have fought for my freedoms, so thankful. Everyday. I know that there may come a day that I won't have the freedom to mention God. To school my kids the way I want. To have my own business. To be able to any of the things I enjoy right now. I hope I never see it, but it could happen. Thank you, each and every service person. Thank you to all the ones who went before, to all who will serve in the future. Thank you so much to your families for sacrificing their time with you, so you can serve our country. May you be safe and blessed beyond measure for your selflessness. And happy birthday America!

   I will leave you with this. This is my grandpa. One of the best buddies I ever had. He served in WWII for many years. Love you and miss you!

   Handsome devil, wasn't he? And totally digging the photography!

Monday, July 2, 2012

[WARNING] Cuteness + Credit Cards!

   I am ... a dinosaur. It is true. As well as, I might add, a renowned system bucker and nose thumber. But alas, kicking and screaming I have been pulled into a realm of technology that I have never gone before by none other than JAMES. It's true! My husband who is even more technologically challenged than myself has convinced me that we need new phones - ones that do everything you can think of - for our own good, for MY good, for our kids' good and simply so that he is no longer hindered by not knowing anything about things like this. An arguement hard fought, and consequently won. Well played, James. Well played. With help - and I do mean a LOT of help - from dear friends we have made our choices and our diabolical devices are on their way. Seriously folks, this kind of stuff in my hands sort of makes me feel like I really could take over the world.
   This new gadget means I am now able to take credit cards. Yes, all of my clients who agonize over which images to choose and which ones will just have to be passed over because I only accept cash and checks can now have the option of using their cards. It is a small step for most people, but a giant leap for Brooke Bikneris Photography. I hope that my clients love this option! One thing I know for sure is the convenience is fabulous. And who doesn't like convenience?
    So from now on, when things like THIS pop up on your newsfeed (BBP stuff IS popping up on your newsfeed, right? If not, be sure to go and like a few things so you keep on getting this awesomeness on your page!) you can go ahead and book something! No worries!

   OR, when you are thinking of something PRICELESS to get your wife or mom (like, the best gift ever) and something like this comes across your newsfeed - you can get it! Gifts like these are always perfect. Always! What mom wouldn't love pictures of her kids? Grandma's too, for that matter - they always are dropping hints about having pictures of the grandkids. Always a perfect fit, and never goes out of style.

   I am just thankful that I am blessed to be doing what I love doing, and having the resources to make it an even better experience for my clients.

   Be on the lookout for some really cool things coming from BBP. There is going to be a celebration, and there is going to be BIG NEWS. I can't share it with you yet, but soon!


      Brooke :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Indiana - part 2 (other shenanigans)

   Recently I posted on my niece graduating, and her mini session. This is the follow up to that, the rest of the story. Lots of nonsense (just the way I like it) happens when we go "home" for a visit. I have such a great time with my family, and always miss them like crazy when I leave. I am blessed to have family that are like friends, and friends that are like family. My "in-laws" are like blood - never had any sisters until I met James, and now I have 3. Love them dearly! My mamma is my best friend, my dad is too precious for words, my aunt Sue is hilarious, for one, and irreplaceable for two. My cousins are wonderful (and doesn't hurt that I no longer get the bad looks when I am horrid at volleyball)... they are all grown up! It is weird to go home and see that everyone is getting older, and yet I stay the same age... must be that Bama water ;) My family loves bad pictures (and by that I mean my aunt and her brood). I have claimed my spot on the fridge, and that awful/terribly funny picture has been there for 8 years. I feel so loved and special. We all delight in the awkward picture. They make us laugh until we cry. That is how my family rolls. And we are just fine with it.

 *Side note - I do NOT do this to my clients. Seriously. lol*

   I am blessed to have a dad that has a passion for music. I was like 1 foot away from him clicking away and he didn't even know I was there because he was so into what he was playing. It is good for someone like me to see someone have such gusto for what they are doing. I absolutely adore watching people do what they are passionate about. Watching them just come to life when they talk about it. I have never really taken the time to document my poppy doing what he loves. We never know if we have tomorrow. I am so happy that I took the time. I will cherish these images forever.

My nieces and cousin and Biggest :) This was VERY impromptu - enforced by my mamma lol.

My mamma and Biggest planking in the middle of the road? Yeah, they are. Gramma wasn't doing it right at first, and didn't quite nail it in the second one either lol. Love her! Biggest is hard core.

   We went to an organic farm that is owned by two very cool people. It was awful weather and so we didn't get the chance to really explore it. Definitely will have to go back again! All of their livestock are heritage breeds as well.

   Baby body surfing! New turkey poults.

Irish Dexter cattle - absolutely COOL - they are little!

Minus the weird weather (go figure, Indiana weather is always changing) we had a great time. Made some great memories and got to spend time with people who matter the most. Now we are able to officially start the summer break. And that means lots of good food (our garden is kicking out lots of veggies) and drive in movies! Hooray for summer!

   Brooke :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's SUMMER Time!

   We have had one hectic month or so. First we went to Indiana for our niece and nephew graduating, had one week of downtime and then off to Disney to watch our girls perform with their dance troupe - The Dreamcatchers - in Downtown Disney. What a GREAT group of people we got to do this with. Although I still firmly say that I am not a fan... and I am sticking to that, I will say that the company we had made it better. Been there, and now done that, no need to do it again. On the way home, we had a real craving for fresh seafood. We made a very out of the way trip to Perdido Key to hit
"The Shrimp Basket". Oh my goodness. Oh my tastebuds. Absolutely FANTASTIC food, accompanied by a wonderful ocean breeze, we couldn't help ourselves, we had to sit on the deck to eat. About 2 feet from me was a large crane who was walking quietly on the other side of the rail. He was eyeballing my fries. The girls loved it! We went across the street after we were done stuffing ourselves to walk on the beach for a bit. Really, we were only there for about an hour. I certainly hadn't lugged my camera all over Disney, so I broke it out for the most fun the girls had. Ahem, the FREE fun. Yeah, you heard me correctly. My girls said it was more fun than Disney, and dang. It. Was. Free. Girls after my own heart.

   In our world, summer break has officially started. We couldn't be more ready for it, either. Woo Hoo! The dogs missed us. Bad. They always give us such a ticker tape parade when we come home. Our garden was putting out a lot of veggies. Biggest is making us a fab dinner, including fresh eggplant. Yum!

   Happy Fathers Day to my honey. Love you to the moon. Love our family. And you are stuck with me :) xoxoxo

*Photography by my hubby. Thanks for the flattering shot, James.*

The image on the right is a recreation of one that I took 6 years ago at Tybee Island. Love!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The importance of the little things...

   In my experience as a photographer, excuse me, portrait photographer, I have found that when things are really thought out, the image is one that is more than a snapshot, more than a "pic". Not to say that you can't evoke emotion from a snapshot - I am talking about not only sell-able portraits, but portraits that are consumable and will forever have a place on the "wall of fame" (every home has one). This is a yin to a yang. It is something that benefits both artist and client. Not only in photography, ask any artist about whatever type of art they produce - they will tell you that it is the compilation of little things that help their art come to life.
   In regards to portraiture, specifically for me, the thought behind the outfit is important. Shoes, oh my gosh, shoes can be a portrait killer. They can ruin a perfectly wonderful portrait by being present if they are not a thought out part of the outfit. Honestly, some may not agree with me, but the styled outfit is ONE of the things that take an image out of the snapshot category, into the professional portrait category. I say one of the things because obviously there are more things than that, such as the technical ability and vision of the photographer. The outfit though, while not the emphasis of the portrait, puts the professional polish on the image. Styling a session means to have put thought into all aspects of it, on both the photographer's side, and the client's side. There has been communication between both parties and a common idea and goal has been set. Do you want a dreamy image? Well you won't get what you are looking for if you are wearing jeans and a t-shirt, no matter how nice. It doesn't mesh with what you are wanting to portray (artist) or consume (client). A great choice for a dreamy image? A flowy bohemian type of dress in a pale tone - think nudes, pinks, lavenders with natural makeup, pink or nude lips and hair that moves, maybe with a wave. Doesn't that fit the idea of "dreamy" more so than the jeans and t-shirt? Same with wanting an image that is urban - wear that bohemian dress to an alley or downtown and it doesn't fit like an outfit with bright poppy colors, scarves and hats with killer heels or boots. When scheduling a session with any custom photographer, you need to really think about what kind of image you want. What you are going to love looking at for years to come on that wall of fame. While the outfit isn't the portrait, neither is the hair or makeup, it definitely IS a collective effort to get your vision across.

Here are some examples of how a planned and thought about effort makes images go from snapshot to worthy portrait. (Sorry K ;)

*Before - just a snapshot while I was showing my mom how to use her camera - notice all the clutter of the background, the camera in the foreground, etc... while a beautiful shot of her, it is just a snapshot - literally.

*After - we did a mini session for her senior images during a short break in the awful weather we were having up there at the time - notice the uncluttered background, the posing, the way nothing is distracting from her. Definitely portrait worthy.

*Before - cute snapshot of her at the strawberry patch. But is just that, snapshot. She was able to wear something she could get stained (ahem, she is two, of COURSE she is going to get dirty lol - smart mamma!) Very cute model, and cute snapshot! See the feet in the back?

*After - uncluttered background, good light (open shade) adorable accessory, great framing of her sweet little face, the focus is on HER, complimented very nicely by the great pops of color. Attention is on her eyes - which is exactly what a wall worthy portrait should be about (although I will admit that I adore images where they are not looking at the camera, I feel like they are just as emotional as eye contact images - to each their own!) This is not only a great image from a photographer point of view, but mom will love it too because as a consumer it hits all the requirements. Clients don't usually realize WHY they like an image so much, but there is a general checklist that clients like about images they choose to buy big and put on their walls. As a photographer, this is different for your particular target clientele.

And another just because she is so darned CUTE! Not to mention the fact the one is vertical, and one is horizontal - great choices for mom whichever way she chooses to go.

You can see the difference a little planning makes. I love accessories for images. As long as they add too and not take away from the image itself. You are investing in these images, so it just stands to reason that they have care taken in the making of them, from start to finish. You will be glad you did!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Indiana time!

     We are from Indiana, born and raised. It seems that every May or so we gravitate back there for graduations and open houses. This year was super special because it was our niece and nephew that were graduating. My niece Katelin (I call her Kate - and consequently call all Katelin's Kate whether they like it or not) has had such a long haul getting to this point. She is so dear to me, so special. I was the first to see her eyes open (I was so lucky to be in the delivery room) and she has felt like one of mine always. This girl is tough. She has the stiffest backbone I have ever seen and has had to have from the time she was little. I am privileged to be have known her all these years. She is an inspiration to me. She has been one of the things that has kept me married - always wanting to spare my kids what she has had to go through. Even though we live states away, she is on my mind constantly, in my prayers incessantly. June 1st she passed yet another milestone. On the cusp of adulthood with the whole world to experience, there she stands. I remember the day I graduated like it was yesterday - such a relief, yet such a scary time. She will do just fine. I am so very proud of her. Kate, you have grown into such a gorgeous woman. Know who you are, and stand firm in it. Don't let anyone tell you who you are. Ever. Because not a single soul knows who you are. Only God does. You are His, forever. Who can stand against you, if He is for you? My prayer for you is that you know who He is. That you let Him lead you and guide you, from now until eternity. He adores you and rejoices over you with singing. And He holds you in His hand. Everything here passes away - but He remains forever. If something is truly good, it comes against opposition  - like, all the time. That is how you know it is of worth and value. So you, sweetheart, and worth more than rubies or gold. Don't forget that. Never ever. In the end, all are judged - by the only judge in all of creation that matters. You are worth it. And so is He. I love you to the moon, kid. You are a bright and lovely spot in my life. (xoxoxoxo)


     Weather was the absolute bane of my existence while we were there - and this mini session was taken during a super small window of time. All in all, we had a great but busy time (poor hubby lol). Miss our families, love our families. So much more to share, but will in another post. This gorgeous girl deserves her one all to herself. LOVE. THIS. GIRL!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[Sam Day] - Extraordinaire

   My husband moved us to Alabama in July of 2005 as he was transferred for his job. Shortly after our move we were invited by our neighbors to go to their church. This is where we met Sam. I actually met his sweet wife at a ladies bible study before visiting the church. Sam and Kim (and another of our great neighbors) came to our house to visit, and Jim and I accepted Christ that night. Sam pastored our church. There is a scripture in Esther that talks about being placed in a particular place "for such a time as this" (and every time I hear that scripture I can hear it in Veggie Tales voices lol). I certainly believe that God put us here, and Sam's family here for such a time as this. Jim and I were failing miserably at our marriage. And that fact that we are here, after 15 years shows without a doubt in my mind, that God is in control. It is far easier to LET him, than try to do it yourself. Our marriage has been renewed. Another phrase that comes to mind is "It takes a village". Yeah, it does. Without so many great marriages being modeled for us and friends lifting us up I couldn't tell you where we would be. Is it peaches and cream? HA! NO! But we're here, and strong. Only by God's grace.
    After a few years of living here and developing these great friendships with people, Sam and Kim have always been so dear to our hearts. Always a smile when we think about them. Genuinely super precious people. When we found out that we were expecting baby number five and that she wasn't well, we had more support than we could count or imagine, more prayers than we know throughout the whole pregnancy. The night I went into labor at 7 months, the first hospital I was taken to asked what kind of pastor I wanted (I am assuming they meant baptist, catholic, etc...). I said " I want MY pastor". And he was there in a flash. He stayed with us the whole time we were at the first hospital, through the news that Vivian didn't make it. We were then sent by ambulance to another hospital to deliver. As soon as she was born, Sam was there the rest of the day, holding her and just being more than he realizes. If you recall, we were transferred here, meaning, no family lives here. And she was born at 7 months - earlier than any of us anticipated, so no one was here. Sam was our family. He stood in that gap and was what we needed. Forever and ever that will be one of the most precious things someone has done for our family. Sam has also baptized me, Jim, Biggest, Middle and my dad. He is ALWAYS going to be OUR pastor - and it's going to be a strange deal for me to call him Sam (equally as weird to type it out) instead of Pastor Sam. Funny note - everyone calls him Brother Sam. We've always called him Pastor, and my dad calls him Preacher. Potato, Potahto :)
    God has had his hands on our family - and for the past seven years he has been using Sam as those hands. Now The Day's are moving to Tuscaloosa, Alabama so that Sam can be a pastor to the pastors in the Tuscaloosa Baptist Association. He has a title, lol, and I will get it wrong so I'm going to leave it at that. He has also written a book because he is awesome like that. The absolute least I could do for a send off is get some head shots for his back cover. And, ahem, I have been trying to get Kim in front of the camera with her man for quite awhile. I've been wearing her down successfully, because yesterday she relented. Love you Kimmy! One day we will get your kids in there too :)
   Prayers for rest after working overtime on my family Sam! Whoever else God puts in your path is in for a treat - they don't realize what they are in store for! Love you, Love you, LOVE YOU GUYS!

                               We were cracking up about lizards, and my lack of liking them.

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