Sunday, August 28, 2011

Morning After Irene

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It's amazing how a huge rain can clear the sky.  In the Spring a huge rain can wash the pollen off of the trees, out of the gutters, even off of the lawn furniture and make things a little bit cleaner and brighter.  While Hurricane Irene made a big mess for a lot of people, it was amazing how beautiful the sky looked the next morning.  There was still the swirl of clouds as the end of the hurricane was moving out... but even that seemed to be resting above , with a peek through at the ends of the clear sky that would follow.  

 The sky was so amazing and constantly changing that it was really hard to look away from it - and each photo was a little bit different from the one before it. 

Even the shine on the ocean as the morning progressed was breathtaking... the ocean looked like gold or silver shining in the sun.

Even though there were many evidences of the hurricane from the day before and there were still extreme gusts of winds as the clouds from the remainder of the hurricane were moving out, it was also still very hard to believe the difference a day could make.  

Hurricane Irene Hits Myrtle Beach

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

 My trips to the beach are something I look forward to all the time, so you can imagine my anxiety when I found out that Hurricane Irene was approaching during MY time at the beach.  But it didn't slow me down or really make me even consider changing my plans.  And I have not had even a moment since arriving at the beach of regret either.  It has been absolutely incredible to watch the skies around me, and there was never a moment of feeling afraid.  I'm not at all taking the seriousness of the storm lightly, and it makes me so sad that people were hurt or killed in the path of this storm... but we were constantly keeping an eye on the weather and aware of the exact path she was on.  The day before the storm was to arrive was beautiful - and HOT - on the beach.  The skies were gorgeous and the waves were actually very calm.  Perfect day.  The next morning there was no question that something was on it's way.  In the early morning the waves were still very quiet, but there was no question when looking at the sky that something was happening soon.  

I was actually at the pier in Cherry Grove when Irene started to make her real first appearance.  The rain and winds got started, and the ocean went from being rather serene to riptide and roughness.  We were even there when a swimmer (who should NOT have been swimming in the ocean to begin with!) was caught in the riptide and emergency personnel started to arrive.  All turned out ok, as there were many surfers who were able to get to the person and get them out.  It was definitely an example of how we are so often drawn to things that are really dangerous in our lives.  

As the sea got rougher and the winds got stronger and the rains came in stronger it became the best idea for us to get in out of the weather and ride it out for a while.  The gusts were very strong, even for us to just be touched a little bit by Irene at that point - and she insisted that we take her seriously.  

I won't jump to the end of this story, although you already know it turns out beautifully here in Myrtle Beach.  But come back to see the next blog with more photos as the storm raged on.  

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This Price Thing

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blog @ ... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...

I know....I've blogged about it before!  Maybe even a few times!  And here I am again... talking about pricing issues.  But if it didn't seem to be such a big deal, I wouldn't feel such a need to keep on talking about it.  

In the past few weeks I've been hit from both ends of the spectrum where pricing is concerned.  There have been the clients who want as big a discount as they can get from me, who want the pictures on a disk in high resolution so they can print as many as they want from wherever they print and who think paying a session fee is ridiculous when they get nothing else from that fee but to have pictures taken.  But for a change of pace, I've also had those clients in the last few weeks who were thrilled with the quality of the work they were getting for the price they were paying.  I even had one client say "I feel guilty not paying you more than what you are asking - I'm putting more in your payment" and that made me feel so very appreciated!  

Now I don't claim to have the cheapest prices around... nor do I want to be able to claim that, honestly.  But I also know my prices aren't outlandishly ridiculous -- and I'm a firm believer in "getting what you pay for."  What I do want to tell my clients, or potential clients -- is that you will get your money's worth from the work I will do for you.  I will not settle for average - but will deliver something to you that will offer a lifetime of memories to share.  

So just to review some of the points I've made in the past...     

When you are contemplating a photo session and maybe scrutinizing over the prices think about a few things:

~You are getting several hours of my time... and I will be working to capture the most special moments during the time I spend with you.  It's not a matter of walking into a cold studio, sitting in front of a bland background to be shifted into a few poses and a few ordinary shots taken.  But each session I do is custom for that family, newborn, child or whoever the subject is that I'm shooting.  And to the other degree - you are not going to get a bunch of weird photos that seem outlandish or simply trendy and weird.  (Now, if you request something that I feel is a bit odd, that may be different.) 

~Your photos will be edited with the best editing software money can buy.  Of course, my main aim is always to take a picture that is great straight out of the camera (SOOC) - yet even then, since I shoot only in RAW format, some editing is always necessary.  For the average photo session the time I spend in editing is usually well in excess of 10-12 hours. And that editing is my vision for what I want for that shot.  I'm not going to leave you with odd coloring, or looking like an alien, or half one color & half another... my photos are my work - my art.  And I always feel that each one of them is also a reflection on my talent.  I will only present you with the best I can offer.  

~I don't (and won't) offer a high-resolution disk with all of your pictures NOT because I want to make tons of money off of you in printing -- but because I do want to maintain the quality of my images when they are printed, and believe that can only be guaranteed with high quality professional printing. My print rates are set at a very competitive price, and they are guaranteed to be correct in color and representation of my work.  Having professional photos done means you should expect something special & unique.  It shouldn't be something that's as easy as everyone having access to it or taking it to Walmart or CVS and having 40 copies made for $6.  

~Most of all, please remember and respect that this is my career.  To provide the best for my clients it has cost me a lot in the beginning, and making money from my work is necessary to keep my business going.  It has cost me a lot of money to go into business as a professional photographer... to do things the right way.  When I am spending the time to do your photo session, I want you to feel that paying me for my time and talent is worth every penny to you.  I want to earn your respect for me as a professional, and feel that you are getting something very worthwhile for your money.  

I hope that as you get to know me better you will see that I want to only provide you with the very best.  The goal I strive for is to never stop learning and growing in my talent, art and skill...and to be able to provide you with a fun time and lots of memories to last for many years to come in the photos you buy.  I'm in this for the long haul... and I want to develop lasting relationships with my clients.  The most rewarding experiences has been doing sessions for people over and over... getting to watch their family grow with a new baby, or change as their kids get older.  And I look forward to the time that I'm taking prom pictures of some of the babies I did newborn photos of one day, and them knowing me almost as an extended part of their family.  I'm willing to pay the price.... and I hope you will be too!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Remembering the firsts....

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When a baby is born the parents want to remember everything.  Sadly, as you get to the 2nd, 3rd or subsequent children it gets a little less likely that all of those milestones will be recorded like with the first.  I know I could wallpaper my entire house with pictures of my first child, then a couple of rooms with pictures of my second.  But the photos of my third child.... well, that's just embarrassing.  Sad thing is that my third child was the girl after two boys!  But having the three of them in a time line of three years meant there was definitely not much time to spare.  

My heart always skips a beat when I book a newborn photo session.  But how exciting to think I also get to also capture those special milestones as that baby grows up, and what could be better than turning 3-months-old AND going for your first trip to the pool!  

 C was just not so sure when Mommy and Daddy first got him into the pool.  He had quite a concerned look at first!  He was definitely watching his Mommy to see how he should react!

I love the "old" look of this photo....
to me it seems rather timeless. 

C is one blessed little guy to be loved as much as he is!!  Everyone just wants to eat him up when they are around him.  

This was one of my favorite photos from this shoot in color... but it's also a favorite in b&w.

  Capturing those special moments is definitely what Photography by DonnaKay is all about.  And I hope as time goes by that there will be more and more families who allow me to share in their milestones -- both big and small!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sweet sisters...

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blogspot @ ... a little better way to get to know more about me personally...

If you've seen much of my work, then you know I love photographing children of all ages.  Newborns grab at my heartstrings, but who doesn't fall in love with a newborn?  But I also really love kids when they are at that age where they have so much going on in their minds... and it all makes perfect sense to them!  I was blessed to get to do a session with 2 little sisters, one of whom just celebrated her 4th birthday.  And it was a special session because there was a tutu involved -- and that always makes everything more fun!!  My competition that evening, though, was a sweet little kitten... whom I am thinking may have found a new home!! 

The kitten stole the attention of this sweet little girl "A" from the very beginning... and she's pretty sure that kitty is somewhere up in this area!!  

Of course, A couldn't understand why this kitten didn't want to hold on when she was trying to swing it!!  And how do you explain that to a 4-yr-old?  I loved seeing her excitement and enthusiasm... kids have to grow up too quickly, so it's such a refreshing thing to get to be around a child who is simply being who they are supposed to be --- a sweet little child!

A was able to be distracted for a little while (of course with the promise that she would get to visit the kitten again after the pictures were done!) -- and there's nothing like a Daddy with his daughters.  I'm sure he's already realized who is really the boss!!  <3

  It was a gorgeous night, and there were plenty of cats around for A and sister L to play with, chase and try to swing.  Choosing which photos to keep and edit, and having to get rid of any of the others was quite a chore.  The little girls are simply beautiful!!  I can't wait until my next opportunity to capture more special moments with these girls!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Referral Credits

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blogspot @ ... a little better way to get to know more about me personally...

It's very easy... refer your friends, family, neighbors or acquaintances for photo sessions and
earn credit towards your own photo session!
The rules are simple:

  1. Refer someone as a new client (must be someone I've never worked with!), and make sure to have them mention that YOU referred them when they make their appointment for a regular session (excludes mini-sessions)... you will receive a notice that you have earned a $20 credit.
  2. Credits are good for one year from the date issued and are for use towards session fees -- they can even be used towards mini-sessions or specials... so don't let them go to waste! (sorry, though, credits cannot be transferred to someone else!)
  3. Have questions?  Then send me an email with any questions to:           or visit my website at                  and click on "contact us" to leave a message.
I look forward to hearing from you soon,
and appreciate you trusting me to take care
of the photography needs of your friends
and loved ones!  

Under the Boardwalk...or maybe just a pier!

Also visit my Beyond the Photography by DonnaKay blogspot @ ... a little better way to get to know more about me personally...

 Last week was a gorgeous week at Myrtle Beach.  I grew up going to Myrtle Beach every summer.  It was where I thought everyone went for their summer vacation.  In fact, I can remember taking at least one long trip and several weekend trips through the summer season.  As I grew up I was shocked to realize that many people didn't go there every year, some had never been, and there are some people out there who don't like Myrtle Beach!  I have still not figured out what their problem is!  For me, there are so many memories held there...actually some good and some bad, but the good very much outweighs any bad memory.  

This past week I was very fortunate to be able to do photo sessions of two very sweet families - not only on the beach, but under the pier in Cherry Grove.  (It has now been deemed my favorite beach photo area!)  One family I have done photos for before, but the other family I had not had the pleasure to meet before the photo session.  Thankfully, they took the word of their friends to book a session with me anyway -- and hopefully I left them very glad that they did.  I left feeling like my friendships had just grown and multiplied... which is how I would like every photo session to end!

There's just something about a picture under or around a pier that screams out for a little b&w -- and I am all to happy to accommodate that!  It just seems so natural that way!

This photo with mom & daughter just makes me feel like I'm intruding on a private moment when they are sharing a special conversation.  It takes me back to memories I have of those long walks on the beach - especially early in the morning with my Grandmother!

This was a special picture between this mother & daughter -- something they have from when the daughter was younger, and wanted to recreate.  I loved the intimacy and love shown in the photo.

I always have a favorite from each photo shoot I do (well, sometimes I end up with a few favorites!) -- but this was definitely my favorite.  I can see this photo being something special for years to come -- and even the day when their grandkids are asking "Grandmama & Granddaddy - when was this?"

My hope is that this is just one of many photo sessions with both of these families.