Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield: Blog https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Karen Engel Photography - Bakersfield, Kern County California | 661-477-2451 | [email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) Wed, 22 Feb 2023 23:01:00 GMT Wed, 22 Feb 2023 23:01:00 GMT https://www.karenengelphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u470038019-o464792702-50.jpg Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield: Blog https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog 96 120 Sony A7RIII Tethering Cable Protector Clamp Hack https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2019/4/a7riii-tethering-cable-protector-clamp-hack I got tired of messing with the included (A7RIII) cage style cable relief accessory - first it's fiddly to install, and more importantly my TT tethering cable end is too chubby to fit through the hole provided!

So I borrowed the idea for the jerk stopper gizmo and used the clamp part of it to secure my tethering cable to a short section of camera strap!

If I could find a smaller soft plastic clamp that did the same thing (squeezing the cable and strap together by screw)  it would be great.  Tempting as is it to cut just that section off the Sony part - I won't do it.

It moves slightly with the strap but doesn't bother the connection even when moving around the studio a bit.  Maybe not as great as the commercial alternatives but it works, and it's handy, free and really quick to install.

If you don't use a camera strap - Any simple loop through connector attached to the camera strap anchor on the camera, will work too!


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) cable clamp DIY hack headshots jerk photographer photography portrait protector relief SonyA7RIII stop strain tether tool https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2019/4/a7riii-tethering-cable-protector-clamp-hack Sat, 27 Apr 2019 19:13:53 GMT
Cropping FAQ for In Studio or on Location Headshots and portraits https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2019/1/cropping-faq-for-in-studio-or-on-location-headshots-and-portraits Bakersfield • Kern County • Central Valley

Headshots • Team Photos • Portraits • Senior Portraits • Events

Thank you for visiting our cropping FAQ!

Sometime's we're asked - Why we shoot our headshots with extra room? 
The answer?
To allow you crop to whatever size and dimensions you might need later on for various uses online and in print. We don't like to crop the images too tightly for you because you'll need the wide file to be able to crop it in in many different formats as your needs change over time, and you upload your image to different websites, social media or use it in advertising, print or editorial.


Sometimes cropping can go askew, so we wanted to offer some tips and visual examples to assist.  There are a few simple tips to help you get on the right path to a perfectly aligned headshot crop.

1. Your head should be in the upper third of the image. 

This is known as the "Rule Of Thirds" in photography - If you are cropping tightly (head and shoulders only), if possible, use a grid sectioned into thirds and align your eye line with the top line of the grid. If you are cropping wider, be sure that your head is positioned within the top third of the image. 

2. If you are cropping tight, make sure your face is centered.


Normal Tight Crop


Rotating the Aspect Ratio to 10x8

3. Because this is a business headshot, you should not crop the top of your hair or head (actors usually crop in closer and the tip of the hair or more is sometimes cut off). 

4. Don't lose your neck and shoulders. 
In a business headshot, it is also best to crop above the chest. In a male headshot for example, you will want to crop just above where the tie meets the jacket.

5. Your face should be the focus. 
You don't want too much room above your head in the frame - or too little.  There should be a balance between shoulders and face. Again, be sure to keep your face in the top third of the image. 

6. If you are standing on an angle in the image and cropping in close, keep your face to the center of the crop. 
If you have more of a front shoulder or can see too much of your back shoulder you may look lopsided! 


5. Not Enough Headroom


6. Tighter and still lacking headroom

Now that we've covered cropping guidelines, on to the tech stuff! 

What programs should you use to crop? 

If you are on a Mac, the standard photo viewing application is called “Preview,” which should come with your computer.

Video of How To Crop in OSX "Preview"

First, ensure your selection tool is set to “rectangular selection.”
When you scroll your cursor over the image you should see a cross. 

Then click and drag your cursor across the image to select the portion you would like to crop (the dimensions of your crop should display at the bottom right corner). 

With your crop selected, you can use the “Tools” dropdown menu at the top of your screen to select “crop,” or use the shortcut “command+K.” 

Alternatively, if you want a bit more control, you can use the “Photos” application. Select “Edit” in the top right corner followed by “Crop” on the dropdown menu.

Once you’ve selected “Crop,” you will have the option to choose a fixed “Aspect Ratio,” or photo dimensions, at the bottom right. 

The benefit of using Photos over Preview is that the crop option in Photos automatically gives you the grid guide mentioned in point number one. 

If you are on windows, the standard photo application is “Paint.” 

Video of How To Crop in "Paint"

Open your image, then under the home tab in the “Image” group, you will see the option to “Select” and the option to “Crop.” Select the section of the image you would like to keep then choose the “Crop” option. 

Voila, now your image has been cropped! Be sure to select “Save As…” when you save the image to create a new file so as not to overwrite the original file –you may need it for a different crop in the future! 


Proper Crop

No matter if you are cropping 8x10 or to a square, sticking to these guidelines will help you get the best crop possible and maintain the power of a good headshot. 

Have any cropping or editing questions? Tweet us @karenengelphoto

Check out our Headshot Sample Gallery - 
Lakewood Ranch Sarasota Bradenton Headshot Photography

Email Us to schedule your professional headshot today!

[email protected]


As an overall takeaway, cropping your headshot correctly is essential to making sure it looks excellent. If you don't crop the right way, you'll be missing out and your photo could look much less professional!

I commend you for doing your research, because it means you're putting in the work to ensure your photos look as good as possible.

Knowing how to crop professional headshot is only one of things you need to know so you don't make a mistake that could leave poor impression and potentially cost you new business.

Picture       Karen Engel, Founder and Principal Photographer, Karen Engel Photography




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Just For Fun - Shooting Silly Headshots and Portraits in Bakersfield Kern County https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/11/fun-fun-fun @ Karen Engel PhotographyFun Portrait and Headshot PhotographyPortraiture gone wild!

Attention all crazy people - (un-crazy people too!)

It's not uncommon for people to tense up when they are about to have their photo taken - But it's our goal to get the very best possible image - so in order to do that we really just try to make the experience as fun and relaxed as possible.  Not every pose or expression needs to have a riveting, friendly, serious or smiley  face - it just generally helps to be much more natural and free in front of the camera so we can achieve the most flattering and organic look possible.  We can help you to achieve this.


Sometimes it just means acting GOOFY!  

Check out our fun little gallery of out-takes of our clients being their very best crazy fun selves!

Gallery of Fun!

[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) attorney Bakersfield beautiful beauty business creative executive fun glamorous head headshots photo shoot photographer photography portrait professional ranch realtor shot studio unique https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/11/fun-fun-fun Tue, 27 Nov 2018 18:40:47 GMT
DIY Eyelighter Portrait - Headshot Photographer Creative Unique Lighting Modifier Head Shots https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/11/diy-eyelighter-portrait-headshot-photographer-creative-unique-lighting-modifier-hack Being a professional photographer requires an understanding of light and how to see it, use it, and manipulate it.  Often times we buy many expensive lighting tools to help us with our job,  There's just no way around buying certain custom modifiers for studio strobes and on location lighting due to proprietary mounts and rigging equipment.  

But then there are tricks in the business that are age old tried and proven techniques....one of which is the simple reflector.  Legend has it that the origin of using photographic reflective light came in the days of early cinematography when the director noticed that his character was sitting at a table with a white tablecloth which was helping to illuminate the actor's face!  The rest was history.

Below is an out-take proof from one of our shoots using a reflector for a model's headshot.  The standard round type of reflector was used - mounted on an arm supported by a stand.  In a finished image we simply crop out the reflector and the magic is hidden from the viewer!

© Karen Engel PhotographyHead shot using standard round reflector© Karen Engel Photography Business Professional Headshot Photographer Lakewood Ranch Bradeton Sarasota

Note how the reflected light bounces back upwards and brightens up the areas of her neck and under the chin.  This is great for models - but also works very well on many subjects!

Of course in an effort to repackage this concept and sell it to others - one company has come along and created a curved version of this concept and calls it the "Eyelighter" - or now, Eyelighter 2.  It's pretty simple really - a tiltable bracket and a curved shaped frame that a bit of material attaches onto.  (See pic)

Here's the catch - it's $300 not including the stand!

Eyelighter 2 curved reflectorHeadshots Lakewood Ranch Sarasota Bradenton Head Shot Photographer

This is just too easy to replicate - so rather than buying the Emperor's New Reflector - we decided there was an easier way - which also provides alternative functions.


The concept was simple - so all it took was a little inventiveness and creativity.


Components -

Laptop Stand - this particular model is the Samson LTS50 but probably any one would work.  This is perfect because it includes the tilt bracket you need to be able to adjust the reflector angle - and it has a very small footprint with a low center of gravity - and of course folds up.

Car Sun Shield - prices vary but recommend one that has some horizontal stiffness to it.  This particular one is about 54" wide - which is perfect.  When not mounted to the stand (alternative use) it can be hand held by a subject or assistant which is especially good moving around to different locations quickly.

48"  Punched flat Zinc bar 1/6" thick - Home Improvement store - hand bend to desired curve shape.  Can be reshaped as desired for custom looks.

Fabric Scraps and Hot Glue Gun -  Cost is nothing if you have these things on hand (we did!)  Just hot glue several pieces to the back of your sun shield to create a channel for the curved bar to slide through.

Large and small clamps - Home Improvement store - to secure the reflector to the laptop stand - and to fine tune the curved shape.  These clamps are sometimes found in the electrical or hardware department and we always have them on hand for various uses - so the ones we're using here were spares.

TOTAL COST - Roughly $65 - with the large portion of this being the laptop stand - which will have many other uses (such as tethering).... so really the extra costs - things you wouldn't ordinarily buy or have on hand - are negligible. 

One Downside - it might look a little less professional - but I think you'll score extra points for showing some creativity and uniqueness to anyone you use it with!  One option to make it look more pro would be to cover it with various materials - with the added bonus of altering the reflective characteristics - from shiny, to duller - to colors like gold - to subtractive.  It would be super simple to hot glue on tiny velcro tabs to hold the shape on your custom fitted coverings.

It breaks down and is highly portable!

Hope you love our idea - we appreciate any follows, likes, reviews or just general good mojo - on any one of our online platforms!  Links Below -





Next Door 


Thanks for visiting!









[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton business creative head head shot headshots lakewood photographer photography portrait portraits sarasota shot studio Unique https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/11/diy-eyelighter-portrait-headshot-photographer-creative-unique-lighting-modifier-hack Tue, 27 Nov 2018 16:14:12 GMT
Choosing Your Favorites Video https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/8/choosing-your-favorites-video---advanced A short video tutorial on how to select your favorites!  

















[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) #amazingheadshots #beautyphotograher #bradentonphotographer #editorialphotograher #fashionphotographer #glamourphotography #hotmodels #lakewoodranchheadshot #lakewoodranchheadshots #lakewoodranchhighschool #lakewoodranchphotographer #lakewoodranchphotography #lakewoodranchseniorportrait #lifestylephotographer #lwrphoto #photosession #photostudiobradenton #photostudiolakewoodranch #photostudiosarasota #sarasotaphotographer #seniorportraits #srqheadshots @karenengelphotography https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/8/choosing-your-favorites-video---advanced Mon, 13 Aug 2018 15:20:05 GMT
Bad Weather Family or Engagement Location Photo Shoots in Bakersfield Kern County https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/6/bad-weather-family-or-engagement-location-photo-shoots-in-sarasota-bradenton What if you just can’t shoot outside?  When outdoor family portraits, senior or engagement photos aren’t an option, what can we do to work around it?

If you did a quick online search for “engagement photos” or "California Family photos" - all you will see are endless sunlit outdoor images, overlooking beaches, parks, in fields and rivers, or cityscapes. You’d think it was an unwritten rule that all West Coast photos be made in nature.

What if it’s freezing cold or pouring down rain? Even if it's not raining, California can just be unbearable with heat and sun - 24/7 - all summer long.  

It’s time for a backup strategy that will be fun, feasible, and allow us to create engagement photos everyone will LOVE.

The Perfect Plan B

Bakersfield photographer Karen Engel was scheduling engagement photos with a couple visiting from Orlando in the midst of summer, so they knew they needed to choose a location around Bakersfield that wouldn’t be weather dependent. They could pair it with a few outdoor photos, weather-permitting, but wouldn’t be reliant on the outdoor images as the only possible location.

Personalize Your Photography Experience

“My clients told me I had complete control of the locations, so I asked where they liked to hang out in their free time, and what kind of places would mean something to them. When they told me that University Town Center was one of their favorite places to shop, I was so excited!” 

That’s right!  Karen created this couple’s engagement photos at the local mall - inside some of their favorite stores - locations that represented fun memories for these newlyweds-to-be, and plenty of adventures to come.

Location Is Everything

Retail stores are especially unique, with a wide variety of items, rooms and setups. Karen Engel had no end of backdrop choices and posing prompts for the couple's engagement photos!

“The thing I was most excited about was getting to use some of the stores as if it were their own home.” – Karen Engel

Preselect Your Locations

When you’re location-scouting, look for locations that offer the following:

  • Interesting lighting

  • Various scenes, props and backdrops

  • Space to move around – even if there are other customers present

  • Nearby outdoor options – in case we have the opportunity to capture a few outside engagement photos, too!

  • Places that hold meaning for you: restaurants, shopping centers, museums, places of worship, etc.

Get Permission

More than ever, commercial stores and businesses seem to be relaxing the rules surrounding retail photography (such as engagement photos). Perhaps all the buzz surrounding the viral in store Target and Michaels photos has convinced businesses of these sessions’ free marketing value!

This doesn’t, however, mean we should forego getting permission.

“The couple did get permission from the manager to create our engagement photos in the store. Because we were shooting on a busy Saturday, it was even more important to follow the rules. I didn’t want to ruin the opportunity for the next photographer who decided to shoot there.” – Karen Engel

Be Stealth

Improve your chances of hearing a “yes” from the store manager by clearly describing exactly what you plan to do, and how your photos will be used. (For instance - They’re engagement photos of a non-celebrity couple -  In other words, no commercial advertising, publishing or editorial uses.)

“When asking for permission, they let the manager know that we wouldn’t have a ton of equipment that could get in the way of their customers. They need to feel that there is going to be no intrusion to their business and only offer good will in the community with the upside of viral marketing.  If it's for an engagement and the couple is REGISTERED at the store for their wedding - they will be even more inclined to say yes!” – Karen Engel

Plan For Efficiency

When we're photographing in a commercial space we need to be intentional and efficient.  This means plan ahead as much as possible and move quickly and stealthily.  Other customers are there shopping, eating, and spending money, and someone shooting photos shouldn’t disrupt their experience.

“Be respectful of the rules, be quick, and don’t bother the customers. Be nice, and – I cannot stress this enough – get in and get out so they forget you were even there!” – Karen Engel

The less attention photographers cause in these commercial environments, the more likely store managers will be to say yes!

“We were in the store for about 45 minutes. We walked around, talked, and got to know each other; and whenever we saw an area we liked for their engagement photos, we stopped for a few shots.” – Karen Engel

Bring Your Own Style To the Portraits

Engel has her own unique vision and style – and so do you!   Choose your own wardrobe, props and creative ideas to the session, and combine them with Karen's creative vision for something that really stands out and shows off who you are!

Don’t hesitate to try something new and different, with a you twist.

“Thinking outside the box creates unique moments as a creative. These kinds of sessions are one of a kind memories that will last a lifetime to have and share with others.  Be creative - have fun - and shoot just about anywhere you can think of - truly make the experience your own.” – Karen Engel


Sarasota, Bradenton Lakewood Ranch Headshots Head shot photographyUnique Indoor Locations for FloridaFamily Photography, Engagements, Portraits on location in stores around Sarasota, Bradenton Lakewood Ranch


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) Bakersfield family headshots locations modeling photographer photography portrait portraits ranch retail store studio weather https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/6/bad-weather-family-or-engagement-location-photo-shoots-in-sarasota-bradenton Mon, 25 Jun 2018 16:29:16 GMT
The best paint brushes in the world! (aka Fauxtographers) https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/6/the-best-paint-brushes-in-the-world-aka-fauxtographers So here's a simple question - does buying the best brushes and paint money can buy, make a person a great artist?


I can't tell you how many times I've heard - ooooh (so and so) has a really good camera - they must be able to take really good pictures!

Sorry to say - just like the "best brushes = a great artist" - it also doesn't work that way.  

Good quality photography is a skill that takes a great deal of education, experience and artistic skill - not to mention decent equipment.  Top tier photography is an even higher level of talent, knowledge and skill that rises above the generic local photographers that always show up in web searches.  We're proud to be considered one of the very few among that upper echelon!

To the average consumer there's a huge misconception of what a "really good camera" or photographer is.    Once digital photography became popular and affordable - the DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera started becoming marketed to the masses at places like WalMart, Target and Best Buy (among others) - while playing off of the mystique of professional cameras - they look the part - but at a fraction of the cost and performance.  In addition to this - a huge wave of photo "presets" with different styles became popular - to make poor photos look "artistic".  So the world ended up with a huge wave of "Fauxtographers" - people with no skill, creativity or talent, with cheap/mediocre equipment - posing as professionals.  Big Box store cameras do not a professional make.  In fact most of the real professional photography equipment never sees the light of day in any generic retail store.

That's not to say it's not a good place for someone to start out finding a beginner kit to test their interest and learn some things - but the real professional cameras and lenses are thousands and thousands - even tens of thousands of dollars.   More importantly though is the experience level and education - it doesn't happen overnight and a person has to be really dedicated to improving.  Photographic artistic creativity is something that can be natural for some - while others never seem to be able to capture the magic no matter how much they try.

In the end - No matter what the tools or how expensive or fancy they are - it always comes down to experience, skill, talent and creativity.  If you really study the work - there's a huge difference.


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton buy camera creative dslr headshot headshots photographer portrait sarasota skill store studio https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/6/the-best-paint-brushes-in-the-world-aka-fauxtographers Wed, 13 Jun 2018 19:15:49 GMT
The Beauty Of Retouching - Headshots Family Fashion Lifestyle Editorial and Advertising https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/6/the-beauty-of-retouching---headshots-family-fashion-lifestyle-editorial-and-advertising Let's face it - everyone wants to look their best in a photo - right?  One of the things that sets us apart from the majority of other photographers is the ability to use a the available technical and creative tools to create images that truly stand out as world class quality.  We make things beautiful.  We strive to make people beautiful - or handsome - if that's their goal.    (Sometimes the goal might be a harder edge - we've got that too!)

We've all seen those "nightmare" Photoshop pictures on the web and had a good laugh.  And there are tons of fun apps that everyone now has access to that will automatically create preset styles (they became popular with the advent of children and teens getting camera phones).   These things have made everyone much more aware of what things can be done digitally to images on computers - the process that professionals call "Post Production" - or "Post" for short.

Retouching Before AfterBefore and After On Location Shoot in SarasotaProtecting highlights in the original image is important to the best possible finale result.

Post (production) is so huge now - it has become an entire industry with it's own dedicated software companies, genres, manufacturers, developers, artists, marketing, sales and creatives.  There are even dedicated post production companies that are in business just to do hired post processing on images for clients!  Some of the most "famous" photographers in the world hire out their post work.    Why?  Because this type of work can take hours, days - even weeks in the creation of the finished product.

We personally hand retouch every custom image that comes out of our studio  - the time invested in actually shooting in the studio or on location is only a fraction of the process - the real work begins when we transfer the files and begin to create the magic of processing.  A photographer's job is far from easy if they are doing it right - on average for our high end portrait products - we find that about 10-20% of our time is spend actually shooting - the remaining 80-90% are wrapped up in all the technical details of the before and after stages of post and file management.   

We have extensive experience doing high end beauty and product retouching for editorial and advertising in major markets including film and print.  This expertise gives our Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch clients a distinct advantage in being able to present eye catching top tier images and deliver your images in the most optimal light - no matter whether it's personal or commercial work.


Beauty Portraits
Head Shots Sarasota Bradenton Realtor Real Estate Banker Lawyer BusinessHeadshot Beauty Portrait ExampleA head shot done in our Lakewood Ranch studio with additional beauty retouching and background enhancement.
Light Retouching on Business Portraits

Professional Head Shot Photographer Sarasota Bradenton Lakewood RanchBusiness headshots and portraits with light to medium retouchingBefore and after sample of medium level retouching. Shot in our Lakewood Ranch Studio with 3 day fast turn around.

Background Replacement

Background Replacement Compositing Lakewood Ranch FLBackground Replacement and Color GradingCreate and all new look with background replacements or compositing!

High End all natural retouching

High End Beauty RetouchingAnd all natural and organic enhancement to soften the effects of highly detailed digital photography! (Done at the client's request)

















[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton digital head head shot headshots lakewood lakewood ranch photography photoshop portrait product photography ranch retouching sarasota shot studio https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/6/the-beauty-of-retouching---headshots-family-fashion-lifestyle-editorial-and-advertising Tue, 12 Jun 2018 21:33:40 GMT
Head Shot posing and expressiveness - Your Sarasota Bradenton headshot photo studio experience https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/6/Lakewood_Ranch_Headshot_Sarasota_studio_Bradenton_head_shot Whether the goal is business or beauty - We capture the essence of individuals in their headshot photography in every session here at our studio in Lakewood Ranch.  Our techniques and creativity are designed to help you put your best face forward in your portrait.  

It's no secret that there is a direct correlation between attractiveness and success - it's been scientifically proven.  Your head shot is the very first thing people will see -  so it's an important opportunity to show your image - your business - in top tier quality.    

Whether you're experienced in front of a camera or don't feel comfortable at all - we can help you to look approachable and natural while building confidence and staying relaxed.    Our studio portrait and headshot sessions are as much a conversation as they are photo shoot, with goal to create something extraordinary - and authentic.

So how do we stay relaxed when in front of a camera?  This short video is worth watching just for inspiration before a head shot session -  Notice how Coco Rocha is relaxed and fluid as she changes expressions and poses - not a care in the world!  Of course not everybody is a supermodel like Coco - But whatever your experience is in front of the camera is - we focus on helping you to shine, presenting yourself to the world in the most positive and engaging light.  

Bottom line - We make you look great!

We deliver years of experience working with business people, publishing, marketing and advertising -
We also have worked with companies in the film and music industries in Los Angeles - creating iconic works.   We're now providing these very same services to the local communities of Sarasota, Bradenton and the surrounding Gulf Coast Areas.  

We look forward to the opportunity to work with you to create images that stand out above all others - and truly accentuate the high quality of your brand.    Call us today for an appointment - you'll be thrilled with the results - we guarantee it!

[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton fl head headshots lakewood lifestyle model modeling models photo photo shoot photographer photography portrait portraits ranch sarasota shot studio unique https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/6/Lakewood_Ranch_Headshot_Sarasota_studio_Bradenton_head_shot Thu, 07 Jun 2018 18:42:57 GMT
Artist's Muse Corner - featuring Jen! https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/artists-muse-corner---featuring-jen A couple of weeks ago we had a great session with a model who drove down from Tampa to shoot with us.  I had been looking for a certain type for some lighting tests we were undertaking and things just worked out perfectly.  Since she came a long way we wanted to make it a worthwhile endeavor as well, so I spent a lot of time planning several different looks in advance to go for.

Fantastic news was she was super well prepared with different outfits and the necessary skill to not need much direction/posing help so we were able to optimize the short few hours we had into a very productive set of top tier images with different looks.  In addition to standard headshots and full length fashion catalog runway types of work - we got to do some interesting designs and lighting creations as well.  I called them "science experiments" - ha ha - but I really knew what I was doing (while still mixing in some spontaneity).

The resultant bounty of images were varied, many and compelling - I had actually also planned on also doing some location work in the gardens around our campus here in Lakewood Ranch - but unfortunately mother nature had other ideas and it absolutely poured!  

This first image we shot (below) was the centerpiece I had been visualizing for a long time  - It took some extensive work to get it just right on the day of the shoot, so I had prepared the set and lighting in advance of her arrival so we got right into it.  Once we got going after this set, I began to improvise with many different lighting and background combinations as well as on her wardrobe and looks.  It ended up being a super productive day.

Many thanks to Jen for coming down to shoot - well done doesn't cover it - you were awesome!

Click on the signature image below to jump to the gallery!

© Karen Engel Photography© Karen Engel Photography

[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/artists-muse-corner---featuring-jen Sun, 27 May 2018 19:38:56 GMT
Now this is SHARP! https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/now-this-is-sharp © Karen Engel Photography© Karen Engel Photography

One of the first things we do after a shoot is look at the image quality on the set for that day - With high end cameras our files are huge - but when zooming in to 100% magnification on a super high resolution file from a full frame camera - we look to make sure it's pin sharp.

Here's a quick sample of just how that looks - most people never see this  level of detail - but if you're going to be a top tier award winning  photographer - it's a must!

Check out a direct link to this 100% sharpness view HERE

See the zoomed out version HERE - it's the #1 image in Virginia's gallery...

[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton head shot headshots lakewood lakewood ranch local photographer photographers photography portrait sarasota https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/now-this-is-sharp Sun, 20 May 2018 21:15:00 GMT
Artist Challenge - Rock Band Photography - Annie Liebovitz Style https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/style-challenge---rock-band-photography---annie-liebovitz-style I've been a fan of the work of Annie Liebovitz for a long time - so like most other things I've taught myself in life - I decided to study the techniques and vision necessary to accomplish this style of image creation.

© Karen Engel PhotographyRock Band Shoot Result

Breaking it down - it's comprised of many things assembled into a singular vision.  You need the subjects, wardrobe, location, set design, lighting, posing and post production work - to name just a few ingredients.    Not to mention all the necessary equipment to support this type of project!  It's a pretty big undertaking, all said and done.

So first, I studied the style and assembled the necessary equipment to pull it off.  Next, I worked on conceptualizing the overall intent -  This, to me is one of the most important steps in photography that differentiates the average photographer from a visual artist.  The photographer shows what's in front of them - the visual artist creates something beyond just a copy of a moment in time - it a process that can take many days of planning, design and labor both before and after the shutter is clicked..    In hand with this - is visualization - the process where I can actually see the creation in my mind - before ever touching a piece of equipment.    Once that's all set - then it's just a matter of logistics and becoming the director/producer/composer of the project.

So the search was on for talent - after poking around online on various ad and message boards I found a band to work with in the Sarasota area (Venice, FL actually).  The good news is they had access to a large rehearsal space with a high ceiling - especially important since some of my lighting had to go up on a boom to about 14' high in the air!!!  The bad news is I didn't have my assistant around for this shoot so I had to organize and load everything myself - I also didn't have anyone shooting the "behind the scenes" photos or video.  The good news is I had 6 guys on the location end to help out as "roadies" for me.

Here's one behind the scenes image I managed to get when a mom was taking a phone pic!

© Karen Engel PhotographyBehind the scenesThis kid wanted to be the lead singer! © Karen Engel PhotographyRock Band ShootResults after post processing

There were a number of different poses and lighting setups but this is the one I was after - CLICK on the images to jump to the gallery.


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton fl head headshots lakewood modeling photographer photography portrait portraits ranch sarasota shot studio https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/style-challenge---rock-band-photography---annie-liebovitz-style Fri, 18 May 2018 18:57:00 GMT
Girl's Night Out - Lakewood Ranch High School Fun Photo Shoot @ Greenbrook Adventure Park https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/girls-night-out---lakewood-ranch-high-school-fun-photo-shoot-greenbrook-adventure-park We just never know where we will be shooting next - or who the client will be!    Turns out they were from the local community nearby of Greenbrook - a subdivision of Lakewood Ranch just south of us off the FL 70.  The assignment - create portraits of her daughter and two friends - all dressed up in their dance outfits at the local park.

Of all the places in Sarasota and Bradenton, I'd never been to Greenbrook Adventure Park - so I went over in advance to look around and scout locations.  It made me a bit concerned due to the afternoon time they requested (lots of harsh sun in Florida) - but it turned out there were some nice shaded areas and a couple of interesting bridges and tree lined areas.  OK - reat all set - now if it doesn't get too hot - or rain on us - and if we only avoid the clouds of "love bugs" that swarm this time of year - we'll be all set!  
Luckily things worked out perfectly.

The girls were super cute in their outfits and had a great time.  We got some wonderful images that they will enjoy and look back on fondly.  The session ended up going from a short shoot - to more extended and at the end we got some sweet family shots too.  It was a great day!

Click on the image to jump to the gallery!

Greenbrook Adventure Park - Lakewood Ranch Sarasota Bradenton Photographer PhotographyThree lovely young ladies!Fun times doing family and friends portraits at Greenbrook Adventure Park - Lakewood Ranch
Greenbrook Adventure Park - Lakewood Ranch Sarasota Bradenton Photographer PhotographyFamily Portrait - Love!A sweet family portrait from Greenbrook Adventure Park - Lakewood Ranch Sarasota Bradenton- Karen Engel Photographer Photography

[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton class head headshots lakewood ranch photo photographer photography portrait portraits sarasota school senior shoot shot https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/girls-night-out---lakewood-ranch-high-school-fun-photo-shoot-greenbrook-adventure-park Sat, 12 May 2018 20:39:00 GMT
Lakewood Ranch Studio Head Shots - A husband and wife headshot session https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/lakewood-ranch-studio-head-shots---a-husband-and-wife-headshot-session We sometimes get calls from business to cover executive headshots - or even everyone in the office -  This time around it was a husband and wife both needing portraits for a non-profit.  We were able to offer a nice discount to do both at one time in our residential studio in Lakewood Ranch.  Due to their busy schedule we could only do it after hours - but no problem - we worked it in.

Super results - more happy business customers!  

Here, we combined to the head shots into just one - Click on the image to jump to the gallery!

[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton head headshots lakewood photographer photography portrait ranch sarasota shot shots https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/5/lakewood-ranch-studio-head-shots---a-husband-and-wife-headshot-session Tue, 08 May 2018 19:16:00 GMT
Shooting On White Background - A Simple Formula https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/2/shooting-on-white-background In photography, we the photographers are often asked to shoot on a white seamless background (or a cove). One of the most challenging shots in fashion, advertising, and catalog photography is to photograph a subject wearing white clothing on a white cove with perfect separation.  In images I have seen by others, there is often no separation between the white clothing or material and the white background. Over the years, I have heard so many photographers explain how they are able to achieve this in such a clean manner leaving no spill of light on the clothes or subject.

Some have said they have to be a certain distance from the background so their is no flair or wrap around of light. Some have these complex equations that Ione might need to be a rocket scientist to even comprehend.  For instance some believe that if the background meters at F32 and the main light reads F11, and they are 16.5 feet away, and the diameter of the light is 60", they will get the perfect separation. 

Now remember, to keep this consistent, they keep running to the wall to take a meter reading then back the subject to take another meter reading until that formula has been achieved. Okay, well what if you don’t have 16.5 feet or 20 feet or what ever your magic formula thinks it has to be?  Some photographers have a studio, others a garage, the formula works under conditions.  But nobody wants to run back and forth right?

Here is a simple tip to make you life easy, your white background photos consistent and flawless with no wrap, spill or flair of studio strobe lighting.

Light the white background (however you like, preferably with studio strobes).  I sometimes use two strobes stacked on each side, so you have four lights total facing the white seamless background (or cove). Then light the subject however you prefer. This brings us to the one stop rule.  Take a reading of your subject, place the meter under the chin, point it at the camera and pop the flash. Let’s say the light on the face and body reads F11. Simply place the meter on the persons backside now facing the white seamless or cove and pop the flash again. You want the light traveling back to the subject to be no more than one stop less than the previous main reading on the key (front) lights. So therefore in this case, your reading on the face as I said earlier was F11 and the reading on the persons back should read F8 giving you a perfect separation between subject and and background.

Reading one stop under whatever the main light reads is the key to a consistent clean white background image.  Even if the subject is wearing white clothes!  Pretty simple - it works - try it!


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton headshots lakewood photographer photography portrait sarasota https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/2/shooting-on-white-background Tue, 06 Feb 2018 21:56:51 GMT
Open Casting Call - Not Just For Models! https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/1/casting-call---not-just-for-models

Casting Call

We are always searching for interesting people to photograph for my personal projects.  Maybe you have an interesting/unusual job or hobby, or access to a cool location?  Maybe you have an interesting story to tell?  Maybe you're a creative and experimental person and just up for whatever?

We're not looking for any one type of person and you don't need to be a model.
 want to hear from anyone with an open mind and a desire to create something.

If you are interested, please take a moment to reach out to us via our contact form or email. Your information will not be shared and you won't be included on any mailing lists.

Be sure to tell us a bit about yourself
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your ideas - why you are interested in being photographed by us.
Age, gender, availability, email address, phone, location, online/social media, your website, and comfort with nudity - partial/implied/any or none, and what kind of props or wardrobe you may have access to.

Can we shoot at your place? Or, maybe you have access to an interesting location (building, workspace, private garden, etc)? Please give details when you contact us!


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton call casting fl headshots lakewood lifestyle model photographer photography portrait ranch sarasota unique https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/1/casting-call---not-just-for-models Wed, 10 Jan 2018 11:26:01 GMT
2018 Price Menu Head Shots Portraits Lakewood Ranch Sarasota Bradenton https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/1/rates_headshots_Sarassota_Bradenton_Lakewood_Ranch

Headshots • Weddings • Events • Family/Individual Portraits • Senior Portraits 

Commercial Project Quotes Available On Request


Portraits, Head Shots and Event Imagery


Head Shots: $80 | $95

• Premium Headshot in studio with light retouching ($95)
• Basic Head and shoulders single headshot in studio with no retouching ($80)
•  Additional Selections (Sliding scale - $30-$50ea.)
• Custom post processing & digital editing
• Session time up to 20 minutes - Online Proofs or choose on the spot
•  The above at your location up to 1 hour away (add $50)  

• High Quality professionally finished digital file* provided via email

Portrait Package A: $150

• Head and shoulders shots & Full length shots
• Two different outfits
• Custom post processing & digital editing
• Choice of Outdoor or Studio portrait (1 location)
• Featured activity (business location - workplace, sports, music, art, hobby, etc.)
• Session time 30 Minutes - Online Proofs
• High Quality professionally finished digital files* (2)

• Additional Selections ($50 ea.)

Portrait Package B: $250

• Includes all of the features of Portrait Package A
• Photos may either be on location or in studio
• Session time up to 45 minutes - Online Proofs
• High Quality professionally finished digital files* (3)

• Additional Selections ($50 ea.)

Family Portrait Package: $300

• Includes multiple poses and arrangements of family groups
• Session time up to 45 minutes - Online Proofs
• High Quality professionally finished digital files* (3)

• Additional Selections ($50 ea.)
• Photos may be on location (*additional cost), or in studio

• Locations within Esplanade Lakewood Ranch - no additional cost
• Locations within immediate Lakewood Ranch Area (*add $50)  
*  Sarasota/Bradenton - Up to 30 minutes away (*add $75)
• Includes additional lighting equipment and transport fees

• Additional/Advanced retouching (starting at $15/image)

Editorial Package A: $400+

• Basic commercial advertising photography starter package
• Business and Lifestyle Photography on location
• Session time 1 hour - Online Proofs
• High Quality professionally finished digital files* 

• Additional Hours ($250 ea.)
•  Models/actors/casting available starting at $75/hour
• Set and wardrobe design, hair and makeup artists available


Extra Costs:

$25/hr. travel fee for over 30 minutes.
Custom printing and framing à la carte
Custom post processing with alternate background/fantasy scene options

Full Day Rate for Studio Photography: $1400


Event Photography

Please contact us with the scope of your project so we can provide the best possible offering.



Bar Mitzvah - Bat Mitzvah

Custom Quotes Available On Request

Starter Package: $350

This is our most popular package!
45 Minute live event style
 coverage with limited posed images.

Emerald Package:  $600

• 2 hour live event style coverage - with group and individual portraits
• High quality digital images w/hosted online gallery
• Retouching on select images plus limited “Signature" treatments
• High Quality professionally finished digital files* 


Diamond Package:  $1000

• 4 hour live event style coverage - with group and individual portraits
• High quality digital images w/hosted online gallery
• Retouching on select images plus limited “Signature" treatments
• High Quality professionally finished digital files* 

A 2nd photographer +$400
+$200/hour for additional hours


Wedding Collections

Silver Package: $1200

This is our most popular package!

• 4 hour live event style coverage Ceremony, Formals, Reception
• High quality digital images w/hosted online gallery
• Retouching on select images plus limited “Signature" treatments
• High Quality professionally finished digital files* 

A 2nd photographer +$400
+$200/hour for additional hours


Gold Package: $1800

• 6 hour live event style coverage - Ceremony, Formals, Reception
• High quality digital images w/hosted online gallery
• Retouching on limited images with a select few “Signature" treatments
• High Quality professionally finished digital files* 
A 2nd photographer  +$500 

Platinum Package: $2400

• 8 hour live event style coverage - Ceremony, Formals, Reception
• Two photographers
• High quality digital images w/hosted online gallery
• Retouching on a limited number of images with a select few “Signature" treatments
• High Quality professionally finished digital files* 

One Hour Special: $275

The ultimate economical choice for smaller gatherings!

This All Digital Image* package includes one photographer only, shooting the wedding and family in a candid "photojournalism" style, as well as creating limited timeless formal images. Digital downloads with an online gallery for family and friends to share.
• Each Additional hour - $150


Framing, Prints and Albums are à la carte.  
Print ordering online at 10% over cost.



Real Estate Collections

Commercial Property Quotes Available On Request

Starter Package: $150

This is our most popular package!
Basic ambient light photography coverage up to 1500 square feet

Executive Package:  $200+

More advanced coverage 1500-2700 square feet
Includes high dynamic range images
Limited additional lighting where needed

Luxury Package:  $250+

Advanced coverage 2700-4000 square feet
Includes high dynamic range images
Professional interior lighting and post production
Select "Signature" images


Over 4000 square feet
Night images
Lifestyle Photography
Time Lapse Photography
Package Feature Upgrades
Travel outside of area



Collaborative Trade Photography

Please contact us with information on your project to discuss.



All the above applies to local head shots, portraits, events and wedding photography in the Gulf Coast area of Florida - including but not limited to the Lakewood Ranch Sarasota Bradenton Venice Metro area and extending as far north as Tampa Bay and south to Fort Myers.  
Los Angeles and Southern California project availability.   Regional and International Travel is also available.  Email us via our contact form for more information  -  

Thank you for considering Karen Engel Photography.


*A note on all digital images- files are high quality web resolution - suitable for limited print, business and personal publishing and are subject to a "for personal use" licensing agreement unless otherwise specified. Commercial use licensing is available at additional cost.



[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) account bradenton buy cheap coupon fl gallery head headshots lakewood modeling models photo photo shoot photographer photography portrait portraits ranch sarasota shot studio https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2018/1/rates_headshots_Sarassota_Bradenton_Lakewood_Ranch Fri, 05 Jan 2018 18:44:58 GMT
An unplanned photo shoot! https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/9/an-unplanned-photo-shoot I had a surprise impromptu session yesterday - a young college student in the neighborhood volunteered to help me retrieve our absentee neighbor's lightweight pool furniture from their pool (I tossed it in to protect it from being tossed around in Hurricane Irma).    I offered her a little photo shoot in thanks and she accepted!  


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton headshot headshots lakewood photo ranch sarasota studio https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/9/an-unplanned-photo-shoot Sat, 16 Sep 2017 14:02:16 GMT
Zenfolio.com discount coupon code: ESB-HVJ-QZR https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/9/zenfoliocom-discount-coupon-code-esb The title says it all - this is a current coupon code that can save you $$$ on new a Zenfolio.com account!

Referral Code:  ESB-HVJ-QZR

We've been artists on Zenfolio for many years now, and we are big fans.  We find it's intuitiveness a key factor in being able to maintain a massive library of images online!  There are currently some new presets that were just released to make it even easier -  and we're sure to see some great additions in the future!
If you've been thinking about doing a gallery website check them out - there is support for professional photographers and amateurs alike - downloadable galleries, password protection, selling, proofs, clients and more.
Just use the code or the link and some money!   Enough said.  :-)
Save some CASH with this referral code!http://www.zenfolio.com/?refcode=ESB-HVJ-QZR
[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) account buy cheap coupon coupon code deal discount gallery online photo photographer photography website zenfolio https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/9/zenfoliocom-discount-coupon-code-esb Fri, 15 Sep 2017 20:03:00 GMT
The Aging Beachgoer - Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota FL https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/9/the-aging-beachgoer---siesta-key-beach-sarasota-fl We spend a lot of time doing various image finishing processes in Photoshop but rarely go into the incredible depth it offers on other levels.  This was a learning experience/experiment for us...

Earlier this summer we had the chance to visit Siesta Key beach and catch nearly identical images from two different unsuspecting beachgoers - young and elder.  Using the magic of Photoshop we were able to combine the two into a little animation.  (animated GIF)

To do this all it takes are a few simple steps - 

•  Gather the images you want to animate into one folder.

•  Click File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack. When the “Load Layers” window pops up, click Browse to select & open your image files, and then click OK. This should import the files you selected as individual layers in your document. Rearrange the layers into the correct order, if necessary.

•  For Photoshop CS5: Open the Animation palette (Window > Animation) - in CS6 or CC: Open the Timeline palette (Window > Timeline )

Adjust the order and durations in the Timeline window - then - Click File > Save for Web & Devices, make sure the file format is set to GIF - Done!

It's fun to play with - give it a try!

The Aging BeachgoerAnimated GIF created in Photoshop

[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) beach bradenton couples fl head headshots lakewood modeling photographer photography portrait portraits sarasota shot wedding https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/9/the-aging-beachgoer---siesta-key-beach-sarasota-fl Fri, 08 Sep 2017 02:53:41 GMT
#1 RULE - ALWAYS Have Fun! https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/9/1-rule---always-have-fun SONY DSC


Our photo shoots are casual, and fun, but still professional.  The last thing we want is for our clients to have the dreaded "deer in the headlights" look!  

Professional photography can seem intimidating to some - so we do our best to keep thing relaxed, flowing and natural.

When working with professional models, actors, musicians, artists and other creatives who want to build their portfolios we'll make sure to cover the bases of getting solid, agency quality images within the session - it's always a very positive thing!


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) business casual company free fun head headshots lifestyle photography relaxed shot stress unique https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/9/1-rule---always-have-fun Thu, 07 Sep 2017 19:43:30 GMT
Karen's Top 10 Quick Tips for Models https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/3/karens-top-10-quick-tips-for-models-1 1. Be punctual - and be in touch – make sure to let us know if you're running late.  We need all your contact info too - cell, email etc. so communication is good between us at all times.  The ability to make, and keep appointments is one of the big differences between those who succeed in modeling, and those that don't.

2. Bring more than one outfit/look – suggested minimum is three.  Let us know what style you're going for in advance if you can as we may adjust locations, studio sets and lighting accordingly.

3. Accessories/props – coat, hat, scarf, gloves, purse, umbrella, fan, vest, boa, travel case, costume jewelry - any other curiosities you might like - Bring along props that either match your outfit or can tell a story!  They make a photo more believable and interesting - and also can give you something else to do with your hands.

4. Make sure your outfits are clean and wrinkle free – shoes should be in good condition.  The "out on the town" or "classic style" looks are always good - but don't be afraid to bring something crazy, fun, sexy, wild or strange too...

5. If wearing sleeveless tops/outfits – shave your pits (ha ha) and use a clear deodorant.  Being overly tanned, or showing dark tan lines is not a good thing so keep this in mind as well.

6. Bring a hair brush, comb, curling iron etc. - what ever you need to style and shape your hair.  Also bring clips, scrunchies or anything else you have to change your hair stye quickly on the spot so we can get various looks.

7. Cosmetics - powder for your nose (to keep the shine off), and any other makeup needed to maintain or alter your look during the course of the shoot - also moisturizers for the skin, and lips and any other items you may have to add that "sparkle".

8. Nails should be done evenly in a complimentary or neutral color (or left natural) - eyebrows should be shaped and clean of strays.

9. Skin blemishes happen even with the best skin care regimen, do not irritate them.  If you have any skin marks or scars that you would like removed in the retouching process, this should be discussed, though typically we will do these things as a matter of course on female models.  Tattoos and piercings will remain unless specifically asked for removal.

10. Drink plenty of water, have a good night's sleep beforehand and eat healthy so  your skin will look good and there are no bloodshot eyes!


Also don't forget – Let's Have Fun!  


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) advice clothes makeup model modeling models supplies tips https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2017/3/karens-top-10-quick-tips-for-models-1 Sun, 19 Mar 2017 08:39:00 GMT
Tale of a new lens & an impromptu Shoot! https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2009/10/latest-gear-update A Brand New Lens arrived and we immediately had an impromptu session the same day!

See sample results in Kristin's Portrait Gallery - (our first shoot with this new lens - A Sony Zeiss 24-70 2.8 ZA SSM).

Being thrilled and mortified with the high expense of buying top end lenses is a strange combination - very Yin-Yang, bittersweet, but we were looking forward to getting to work with it.   Lens in hand and ready to go but nothing lined up in the coming days...

Then out of the blue - came Kristin!  She came over hoping to shoot after briefly participating (and bailing out) on a big amateur group shoot over at the local community park - just 5 minutes away from us.  She preferred the chance at working with us instead - How perfect!

We exchanged a few calls and accelerated the timing a bit which was fine by me as it was a day of mostly finishing work for me and I needed to take a rest from it regardless.  She arrived with a full bag of model goodies, wardrobe and accessories - COOL, and very pro, plus, a model that had her makeup on and ready to go - perfectly!  (Advice to the modeling interested - hire a makeup artist or learn how to do it for yourself - and makeup for camera is not what you wear to the grocery store!!!)
We got right into it quickly and knocked out some great images in no time flat!  She has an amazing and inspiring personal story which I will not go into here, but suffice to say, I was thrilled to meet her, do this shoot, and create the results for her we did!  Mega Kudos.  A job well done!

Great model - yes I would shoot with her again, no question.

[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton engagement fl head headshots lakewood modeling photo shoot photographer photography portrait portraits ranch sarasota shot studio https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2009/10/latest-gear-update Sun, 04 Oct 2009 12:17:00 GMT
Abby - Part II - Two for the price of One! https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2009/9/abby-part-ii-two-for-price-of-one As we learned from the previous blog entry back in July, Abby is a young, up and coming model here in the Bakersfield area.  I thought she did brilliantly in our first session together so I rang her up to return for a second set, and she happily agreed.  Since our last shoot I had made some considerable improvements in the studio itself, the gear and with my techniques as well so I was enthused to try and improve upon the first shoot with these new things in hand.

The results were excellent - She was much more relaxed this time around (though still quiet as a mouse) - she got right into it  and we developed a very good flow during the session- so we managed to get a very high percentage of "keepers".  It was very clear that she was confident and improving her skills in addition to being more comfortable.   She had also grown her hair out and had a little different look than before with the style of wardrobe she brought - all things that added extra elements of interest to the end results!  One thing that I had not anticipated however, was not one - but two surprises arrived on my doorstep as she did...

She showed up with her entire family!  Dad, Mom, multiple sisters, multiple brothers, a friend of hers and maybe a grandma or something, I can't recall now as I was completely overwhelmed as it seemed like about 10 people to me at the time!  ha ha  Her friend, Lorena added to the confusion on my part as it was clear she wasn't a sister (by lack of resemblance), but also because she was dressed in a cheerleading outfit and had these captivating, large amazing eyes!  In the back of my mind upon seeing here I was thinking I would really like to shoot her too, but was not sure how to go about asking as this was Abby's session time and I am by nature not a pushy person.  Luckily I didn't have to ask, as they approached me to see if it would be permitted for her to have a few images created as well.  She was very nervous and I had to work hard to keep her from looking that way, but we did get some very nice images in the few we shot!

Abby is however, still so young and new at this - for the first time ever I offered for her to come back another day and view the entire shoot on my Mac in Lightroom so she could see the things that are working for her, and those things which are not and learn from it in order to improve.    The side benefit of this was that she actually helped me rate them and cull through them to a select, final group of images.  It's not something I would ever normally do, but she is very nice and I really want to help her learn, and find the success she's looking for!  Happily, the whole family did not come back for this as I would never have room for them all in my office!

At some point in the future, I'm sure we will work together again.  I would not hesitate to ask her back for any fashion/catalog/commercial work that comes along down the road.  She arrives on time, does the job well and sometimes even brings along a few surprises!





[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton cheerleader fl head headshots lakewood modeling models photo shoot photographer photography portrait portraits ranch sarasota shot studio https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2009/9/abby-part-ii-two-for-price-of-one Thu, 24 Sep 2009 17:58:00 GMT
Abby Part I - Models from Unexpected Places https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2009/7/abby-part-i-models-from-unexpected The very first time I worked with Abby, she arrived with her dad Pete at my studio ready to work.  This was particularly impressive as she was only 15 years old, but very dedicated to making a success of herself in modeling - and it showed.  In fact she was currently a student at a fashion/modeling school so much more serious about it than one would expect a 15 year old to be.  

She has an amazing and exotic look and was quite versatile - going from looking her age to well beyond her years with the simple change of a pose or facial expression.  I wondered for a while if she even spoke English as she barely made a peep!  ha ha  But of course she was just very shy and wide eyed.    Like a pro, without instruction, she brought several outfits along and had plenty of moves without needing too much direction, which was good as my skills as a director were not particularly stellar at the time, though have seen massive improvements since.

They had driven down from a very small town 1/2 hour north of Bakersfield called Delano, which is by reputation, primarily a farming community.  Delano is a town so small in fact, it makes Bakersfield look like a booming metropolis - which it most certainly is not!  While this is probably the last place on earth someone would expect a model to appear out of - there she was - a pleasant and unexpected surprise.  The place where she found out about me was also a bit surprising - on Craigslist!   I had a casting call posted there looking for something new instead of the usual repeat model hopefuls a small town like Bakersfield produces regularly...when I got her reply, I had a feeling there was something special in the offing.

I was experimenting mixing studio strobes and hot shoe type flashes together - something I discovered was not always the best idea in the world without a very specific lighting design - but part of the way I work is to change things up on every shoot, to make sure I do something that pushes the limits beyond what I already know how to do, into places I've never gone before.  It keeps me fresh and different in every shoot instead of mimicking my own shots/setups and going through the motions to produce the exact same thing over and over again with different faces.  How unimaginative and boring would that be?   Might as well get a job shooting pics at a department store.  

In the end we had a great session and managed to pull off some excellent images together.



  There was some real magic in some of the images, especially for a first time session with a new model. Without question, we wanted to work together again.  
And we did.  See Part II for MORE!


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton fl head headshots karen engel lakewood modeling models photographer photography pictures portrait portraits ranch sarasota shot studio https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2009/7/abby-part-i-models-from-unexpected Thu, 30 Jul 2009 20:14:00 GMT
Amazing Golden Guard Dog! https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2009/3/amazing-golden-guard-dog

Amazing Golden Guard Dog!

This isn't one of those stories you hear on the news every day about a Golden Retriever dragging a baby off of the railroad tracks seconds before being struck by an oncoming bullet train - But a "hero" story none the less.

It was 3am last night and I was all alone in the house except for Phoebe - our Golden Retriever. She usually sleeps somewhere else in the house to keep a watchful eye on the status of things - but up she came into the bed - wide awake and making sure she woke me too by briskly licking my face...and when that didn't suffice in doing the job, she sniffed her frigid nose right right up on my neck and ear.

At first, I thought she was just playing or wanted to maybe go outside - but that's very unusual for 3am. No - instead, she was doing this because there was something wrong - something terribly wrong going on under the cover of darkness in our house. Awoken now, I heard something - a faint but piercing shriek coming from points unknown in the house - where no sound should be coming from! My heart jumped... Moments later - I heard it again! She was right - there WAS something horrible lurking in the nocturnal void!!!

Cautiously and with trepidation, I rose from the bed to investigate the ominous screeching from the ravenous void. Like a good soldier, Phoebe marched along side me, to protect and defend the homeland from aggressors, villains, and abominations. One by one, we warily turned the lights on to warn the intruder that we were aware of their presence as we stepped forward in our investigation of the disturbance. The sound got louder and more nerve racking as it seemed to mock our approach with an ever increasingly shrill scream - with just long enough pauses in between to cleverly hide it's location.

As we made our way to the other end of the residence, like a bolt of lightning or a vision, it suddenly struck me - like in the movie "The Shining" - REDRUM... but in this case it was ALOROTOM - and it wasn't spelled backwards either. It seems that the dangerous nemesis we were about to confront, was an old Motorola Razor cell phone, who was emitting a last chance diatribe into the world as it's battery slowly died, and it's life was coming to an excruciatingly long and painful end. Perhaps it was the betrayal or jealousy over the Palm Pre phones that had replaced her. But no doubt, there was a transparent statement of protest and pain transpiring. How......... could............. you.............. leave.............. me........... and................. just........... let............me...................die?????????????

As for Phoebe - she did an amazing and magnificent job of taking care of her family when danger rose it's ugly head in the night. Good girl!


[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) bradenton dog pet photographer photography portrait sarasota https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2009/3/amazing-golden-guard-dog Thu, 19 Mar 2009 08:39:00 GMT
The Completely Superfluous Q & A https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2008/10/completely-superfluous-q Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures?  If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: I don't have a massive ego so I prefer to talk about my images rather than myself.  Generally, there is a really interesting story behind every image we create - and every person we shoot.  It's a lot of fun and very entertaining to share these things and get to know so many people - if even just a little bit.  One of the things I like to do is try to get everyone's personality to come through - so it's as much of a conversation as it is a photo shoot!
Q: How do you describe your photographic style in one word?
A: Fluid
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: Probably when I was given an antique bellows film camera as a child...I was fascinated.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: I know what I'm doing, but am more enamored with the emotion of an image as opposed to technical perfection... there's always just more feeling in it.  But, by the same token - I'm a perfectionist - this usually shows up when I'm doing post production work.  I can spend literally hours on one image getting it "just right" on even the finest details.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: Good - for sake of universal things like frames etc.   Bad - because one is forced into cookie cutter sizes and shapes to fit "standard" formats.  One size does not always fit all.  Generally my advance creative vision predetermines the framing and aspect ration before I even press the shutter - sometimes it might be cinematic, and sometimes it might be in the vein of an old masters style painting.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: Young adults and kids for the fun, families for the friends, models for the high energy, creativity and professionalism - and musicians/bands for the edginess!
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: In my art and work I am extremely focused to the point that I sometimes forget even the basic things in life - like eating!     But the creative side of me is a dreamer - and there are no limits to what I can dream up!  Integrating the concepts I dream up into my projects is what keeps things new, fresh and unpredictable.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: Fun, friends, life, memories, communication - it's so much more.  Really the only one truly universal language.   Wether it's California, Florida or where one lives = home = memories... it's what we all treasure.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: A black and white film image that was worthy of a magazine cover - the problem was - I was 10 year old!
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: Like most things in life I've wanted to achieve - I taught myself, but I do keep up with techniques and technology via publications in print and online.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: California, because it's a place where I know and love the area and it's people.  There are endless possibilities there - even in just one day - from skiing in the mountains to surfing in the ocean, all within a couple of hours.
Q: Define the word "beauty"!
A: BE An Unbelievably Terrific You 
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: Most favorite - Yes! 
Least Favorite - Can't.  There is nothing that "can't" be done.  Either someone doesn't want to do something - or they don't know how.
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I become more focused, when generally I'm not - except in golf.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: No worries - life is filled with endless opportunities - create new ones!
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else's or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: I wouldn't be able to choose a single one other than personal family images in general - the things everyone wants to have close.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: Caffeine and emails first thing, then usually get into post processing, web development, other business things, and shoot in the afternoons on an average day...then catch up on emails at the end of the day as well.
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre story from a photo shoot!
A:  I had a model cancel on me once because her boat sank...  Serious!  LOL
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Super artsy high fashion types of shoots with a full staff - assistants, makeup artists, hair stylist, clothing designers, wardrobe/accessories and a bigger than life vision.
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: It's a medium that can be very compelling and dramatic that causes the view to imagine more of a story at times...
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: Yes because my work in photography is a creative art - not an assembly line.  I'm also a musician and multi medium art "artist" too among other creative expressions in life - so the word artist just doesn't say enough really.
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A: When people that have known me for some time see my images for the first time and are overwhelmed by what I've created.  -  What did they think - I live under a rock and only ever come out to see them? 
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven't already?
A:  Shooting more celebrities would be a blast.  The ones I have worked with have always been interesting and fun.  But now we no longer live in L.A. so it's not so easy....
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: Stuck with it at an earlier age and continue to learn while doing other things in life - like moving around from art to music and beyond.  I probably should have been taking business classes in college, because so much of being a successful photographer is about being a good business person and being tenacious.   
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: It's their job, but I don't really care for it at all and never look at that type of thing.  The effect is minimal as it is not artistic work at all, just snap shots in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting paid for it.  Unfortunately the new "social" world means everyone with a phone is a paparazzi now.  
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: It's part of the modern day darkroom and is used by anyone who is serious.  The question is - how far?  "Manipulation" is a word loaded with bad connotations.  "Enhancements" is a more appropriate term for the traditional sense of using post processing.  True masters of digital work have taken it to an entirely new level, and it has become an art form unto it's own beyond photography.
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: What are you reading this for?  Give us a call or email and lets get shooting!  :-)
[email protected] (Karen Engel Photography Headshots Portrait Family Business Editorial Bakersfield) beauty bradenton fl lakewood models photographer photography photoshop portraits ranch sarasota shoot. photo. fashion https://www.karenengelphotography.com/blog/2008/10/completely-superfluous-q Wed, 22 Oct 2008 13:00:00 GMT