Love Light Blog
December 21, 2019 - Happy Holidays!!
2019 Set the Bar High
Truly, it was a great year for me and LJR Images. It wasn't perfect, but it was perfect for me.
After moving to Connecticut in the fall of 2018, my business took its sweet time to rebound. By the summer of 2019, I was nervous. Should I have been nervous? No, because it's normal for a RELOCATED, service-based, word-of-mouth business to need some time to bounce back. Yet, since I'm a nervous nellie by nature, I fretted and worried. Still, I never forgot to be grateful for every moment I spent doing my photography dream job. I never lost site of my calling -- to create the best portrait you've ever seen of yourself when you step in front of my camera.
Things turned a corner in September and I made up for a slow year with a whirlwind fall of headshots, personal branding photo shoots, boutique fashion photos, a Bat Mitzvah at the Boston Museum of Science, school photography for Bright Horizons on Park Avenue in NYC, more headshots, a few boudoir sessions, and more headshots.
I'm grateful to every single client. I'm grateful to those who sent me multiple referrals and bought gift certificates for loved ones after they rocked their own photo shoots. I'm grateful to my networking groups and the wonderful business people in my BNI (Hammonasett Chapter). I'm forever indebted to my teachers and mentors, like Sue Bryce and Kara Marie. And I'm grateful to my family for sticking with me on this journey. It's a bumpy ride to run a small business, but they ride the bumps with me like moguls and throw their arms up with whoops and cheers. I'm the luckiest and I know it.
2020 has big shoes to fill. But momentum is a beautiful thing, so here we go --- hold on!
LJR Images - Headshots & Portraiture - 2019
November 20, 2019 (updated 11/24/2019)
Holiday Photos, Check
Technically, these photos won't make the holiday card, but that's why I can share them on the blog and SOOC (that's "straight out of the camera," which means unedited). The kids helped create this little evergreen structure as the backdrop with scraps from the woods behind our house, so it was FREEEEEEEE. Do you have a holiday set for your photos? Want to pop in and let me snap some portraits of your kiddos here? Let's talk. If I can squeeze it into an open spot in my schedule, I won't charge for a mini photo shoot with one image per kid. You can just make a donation to your favorite charity instead. Message me so we can compare calendars. Cindy@ljrimages.com
Is there a catch here? Yes, yes there is. Actually, there are at least 2 catches. (1) You have to agree to let me post the amount and charity that you chose for your donation. (2) Because I don't offer mini sessions in general, but definitely not for family portraits, these little micro photo shoots are super limited -- only if I can squeeze you in, only for one or two kids at a time, not for family portraits. Send me your questions, but know that this offer won't last forever and may end as soon as our makeshift set falls apart, if not before.
Need ideas for a local charitable cause? I love to support the Scranton Memorial Library in Madison, and I recently discovered two great organizations, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (Connecticut Chapter) and one that is very close to my friend, Karen Morales, Cure Rare Disease. You can't go wrong supporting any of these causes.
November 16, 2019
I'm just hopping on to say wow, someone is reading my blog. My friend at Ring's End asked me why it's been so long since I posted, and I was floored. Who knew anybody reads this stuff? I'm reminded of the power of our words and the community we build, sometimes without even knowing it.
Lesley, thank you for making my day. I'll post again soon. But for now, back to hacking together a holiday backdrop to take my kids' holiday pictures. I hope it's not a pinterest fail! Stay tuned to find out.
October 16, 2019
My Beautycounter team is at it again. Here’s how you can help.
As a safe beauty advocate with Beautycounter, I’m passionate about educating people regarding their personal care products and how small changes make a difference.
What if we could lock arms together to do more and give back? Once again, this October, we can do just that.
Most of us have been touched by cancer - a friend, a colleague, a family member, or even ourselves. My mom had breast cancer, among many other health issues. She had a mastectomy that led to a slow decline, ultimately resulting in her passing away in 2012.
This year, in honor and memory of people like my mom, my Beautycounter team will be donating our Safe Beauty Boxes to women personally fighting breast cancer and other cancers at the BID Hospital in Needham, MA. This October, you can lift the spirits of cancer patients undergoing cancer treatment by sponsoring a Safe Holiday Set (or Sets) filled with products for them to use during this extremely sensitive time for their bodies and their spirits. Our team will distribute these sets to patients undergoing treatment in early November. We hope these gift sets will help lift their spirits & nourish their skin safely. Our intent is to provide a way for us all to personally touch someone else’s life, AND, you know exactly where your donation is going.
Here's how it works:
1. For $30- you sponsor a gift set containing safer body products. The box includes: shampoo, conditioner, body wash & lotion. (Incidentally, these are products I LOVE and use every day, so I can assure you it's a great set.)
2. Donations can be made via Venmo or a check.
3. The products will ship directly to our local team so we can prepare & deliver them together.
4. We will include a message of support from you or from your business, so the recipient will know who was responsible for this kind gesture. Of course, you may opt out and remain anonymous if you prefer. To keep spirits high for the hospital patients, we will not be including messages in memoriam, but I will gladly honor your lost family member in some other way if you would like to donate in their honor.
Thank you for helping us share these Holiday Sets with a purpose to get safer products into the hands of those who need them. Each kit costs you $30 (retail $35 + tax + shipping). Participating Beautycounter consultants will not profit from the sale of these kits.
To donate now:
Send a check payable to Lucinda Ringer to [ask me for the address!! Cindy@ljrimages.com]
Venmo me @Lucinda-Ringer
If you prefer to pay by credit card or PayPal, I can invoice you. There will be a small processing fee added for these transactions.
Last year, my clients and I sent 19 totes to moms with children in the hospital. This year, we're going to TRIPLE that, and we're sending the gifts to women who are undergoing treatment themselves. THANK YOU for joining us to make a small difference, because every little thing helps.
Some of the totes my clients donated last year
Telling you a little bit more about the Beautycounter program for cancer patients with the help of my kids and my puppies:
July 24, 2019
When is the best time for family portraits?
The best time for family portraits is when you’re all together, of course.
Do the kids come home for the summer? Perfect -- plan ahead for a photo shoot. Are you getting together with grandparents? Don’t miss the chance to have a multigenerational photo shoot.
Are you going away on vacation together? It’s awesome to get professional portraits in a beautiful location. You’ll enjoy those photos forever, long after the vacation snapshots have been lost on an old device.
If you don’t hire a photographer during the vacation, it’s also a great time for portraits right after you return from vacation, when you still have that warm, relaxed glow.
Fall photos for your holiday card are classic and, for many families, an annual tradition.
Just don’t feel constrained by the pressure of fall photography. Many a gorgeous photo has been taken in the beautiful winter light of a home or in the summer sand at your favorite beach (ahem, Hammonasset in Madison, CT and Wingaersheek in Gloucester, MA). The convenient thing about both your home and beach is that they’re versatile -- they provide a beautiful backdrop any time of year.
Book your family portraits with Cindy at www.ljrimages.com. And, hey, if you want to take her on vacation with you, she’ll probably say yes. ;)
June 11, 2019
TO OUTSOURCE OR NOT TO OUTSOURCE?
Got a great camera? Then why outsource headshot photography?
Oh, where do I begin? First, can you name a marketing department that hasn’t tried this? I bet you can’t. While marketers understand the value online images hold, they can overestimate their ability to create powerful portraits. Let’s break it down to see if it’s worth it to hire a great photographer.
I’ll tell you my bias. I’m a photographer, so you probably know that I think you’re giving that fancy camera way too much credit. If you’ve mastered some settings and know enough to be dangerous, that may be helpful in a pinch for a temporary photo. When it’s time to create professional images that will represent your company’s brand, however, don’t be ashamed to call in the professionals. You’re adding value to the company when you realize your limitations.
Hate that extra chin? Think your subjects look stiff and uncomfortable? Do they look too heavy or too feminine or too masculine? Posing is a critical ingredient in successful headshots. Just because you’re shooting from the shoulders up, that doesn’t make posing irrelevant. Portrait photographers are trained to bring out the best in all different body types and faces.
Without a professional, your lighting will be limited to natural light, pop-up flash or, at worst, fluorescent overheads. (Actually, pop-up flash and fluorescent overheads are tied for worst.) While many professionals do beautiful work with natural light, finding and using that light to flatter people is a skill they’ve developed over years of practice.
The point of taking headshots for work may be to serve the company’s bottom line, but let’s not forget the employees. If you’ve never loved your headshot, you probably didn’t even realize that it’s possible to love one. Really. A strong photographer can work with the subject, even the most camera shy person, to help them enjoy both the process and the result. Getting headshots should build confidence and motivation. Use them to empower your people to shine.
Great photographers get great images “straight out of the camera,” meaning they may not need much editing. But, the beauty is, they have editing skills that a hobbyist is unlikely to possess. Need to reduce shine, soften some lines, smooth out the skin, reduce the shadows? No problem, so long as the image was created professionally. Need to remove stray hairs? You got it. Slim the face a little bit? Whiten the teeth? Remove blemishes? Fix the glare on glasses? Most of these are outside the skill set of your average “guy with an expensive camera.”
The logistics of photographing a large team can be daunting as well. While a marketing assistant could easily handle the scheduling, your photographer probably has a system to automate the scheduling, along with reminders. They can also facilitate image selection, so that you won’t have to go back and forth asking for edits or managing indecision.
Final thoughts -- Spend a little bit more to have a hair stylist and makeup artist provide quick touchups before the photos. The makeup artist can help reduce redness, reduce shine, darken the eyebrows, enhance the eyes. The hair stylist can add volume or tame frizz. Having these stylists available sets everyone up for success. The gentleman of the group will benefit just as much as the women. This extra bit of pampering also lets your team know that you’re happy to invest in them. Trust me, it will lift their spirits while it brightens their image.
When you outsource headshots to a great photographer, it will be an employee perk, rather than a necessary evil. Of course, the photos will be better than any hobbyist could take, and the marketing team can stick to what they do best, but the biggest payoff will come in the form of very happy employees.
Book your team headshots in your office anywhere in New England with Cindy Ringer of LJR Images.
June 3, 2019
WHY CHANGE AN OLD HEADSHOT?
If you LOVE your headshot from 10 years ago, why should you change? Maybe you shouldn’t, but here are 6 considerations to help you decide.
1. You just don’t look like your photo anymore. If you show up to meetings and people are having trouble putting the name with the face, could it be that you your profile photo didn’t show them who you are today? For business meetings, LinkedIn is the first prep step. Your photo sets an expectation, and people are downright CONFUSED if you look nothing like your photo. You know that “a confused mind says no,” so don’t start your meeting with confusion.
2. Your hair is really different now. If that old style looked fabulous in photos, but you abandoned it long ago, it’s time to refresh your pictures to match your current look. Went from long hair to short? Changed your color? Decided to let your “silver highlights” shine? Update your headshots.
3. Your weight has changed. As someone who never stays the same weight for long, I understand how frustrating this can be. If you love your last photo because it’s the thinnest your remember being, it’s REALLY hard to let it go. But you are beautiful today, so show some self-love and get in front of the camera. A professional portrait photographer knows how to pose you in flattering ways, so trust her. (Hint -- this is one of the reasons you DON’T want to leave the task to your “friend with a really good camera.” This is a job for a trained professional.)
4. Your weight has changed. I probably don’t have to tell you that, if you’re thinner now than in your headshot, you might as well flaunt it with a new photo. Aren’t we all chasing the lean dream?
5. That “great shot” isn’t a headshot at all. I know you love how hot you looked at that wedding, but cropping a headshot out of another photo is obvious and it leaves you looking like an amateur. Or, worse, it’s an iphone pic. The ultimate no-no? Using a snapshot of you doing something that looks unprofessional and too personal. LinkedIn is not Instagram, so you’ll want to step up your game.
6. Your stunning headshot was taken 3 jobs ago. Maybe one of your employers hired a fantastic photographer to take headshots for all the VIPs, and that included you. It may be the best photo you’ve ever seen of yourself. But if it’s been there on your profile through job changes and transformations, it is stuck in the old while you are working the new you. The connections who have stuck with you know this, and they’re wondering why in the world you’re still bilking that old pic when you’ve moved so far ahead and beyond. Treat them to a fresh, current version of you.
I’m trying to come up with a reason to keep a 10-year-old headshot so that this post will be balanced, but I just can’t do it. You deserve new headshots every couple of years, even if Lucinda Ringer of LJR Images took that amazing shot you’re using now! Consider it a treat to yourself and book new business portraits.
Book corporate headshots in studio (Madison, Connecticut) or for your team in your office anywhere in New England with Cindy: www.ljrimages.com/corporate and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy these examples of my own headshots:
2013 by KCK Photography - Job was Ediscovery Sales with Epiq
2018 by Keily Butsch - Job is Portrait Photographer with LJR Images
If you can find my headshot from Kirkland & Ellis, circa 2004-2007, please send it my way!! I loved that one. But if you find the awful shot from Kroll Ontrack, circa 2008-2013, throw that one away. Same with the Sugarman Rogers image from 2007. Those were awful.
May 30, 2019
Can you use an outdoor setting for a professional photo? It Depends - 5 Considerations When You Choose Your Setting
1. Lighting - A beautiful day does not always make a beautiful portrait. You’ll want an even light on your face for your headshot, so be sure to avoid high noon and uber-bright days. Clouds are your best friend for outdoor portraits.
2. Backgrounds - Your headshot needs to be close up, so an elaborate background will probably be lost. If you’re doing it outside, look for something clean and simple, like the wall of a building or a wall of greenery. Avoid distracting elements in the background.
3. Your Eyes - Nothing is more important in your photo than your eyes. The challenge with outdoor photography is that MOST people find it almost impossible to keep their eyes open, even on cloudy days. If you tend to be super squinty outdoors, then move your portrait inside and you’ll get a much better result.
4. Wind - If you have hair (I know that doesn’t apply to everyone!) and if it’s at all windy, you may end up with the windblown look.
5. If your profession is outdoors, all of these obstacles can be overcome. Just plan accordingly, and be flexible with the timing and the weather.
Book your business portraits, inside or outside, with Cindy Ringer of LJR Images - available throughout New England. Based in Madison, Connecticut.
Meet Karen of Marketing Magnet. Some of her best advice? Telling business owners to post photos of themselves every day. Why? So that customers and potential clients can connect them to their business in meaningful and personal ways. She will tell you just how successful that practice has been for her. She mixes personal snapshots with professional portraits by yours truly. And she updates her headshots regularly, so there's always something fresh to work with or to repurpose. Don't procrastinate getting your photos. As Karen would say, "It’s time to stop messing around. We’ll help magnetize your marketing!"
An educator and child development expert, Christina's zone of genius centers around caring for children, the homeless, and women in addiction recovery. With her sons, Christina generously gathers and presents care packages directly to people in need. An essential part of lifelong education is world travel, and Christina travels with passion and curiosity.
Christina channels her passion for education into her Beautycounter business, where she promotes safe products for the whole family.
Christina is a friend, Beautycounter mentor and great referral source for LJR Images: "I have worked with Cindy for years on a wide variety of projects, from charity shoots, to family portraits of my own family, head shots, corporate events, etc. Cindy is a pleasure to work with. She is patient and clear about all of the options available to you. She hires only the best hair and make up professionals and you will feel pampered and beautiful when they are done with you! Beautiful photos to last a lifetime. Worth every penny!"