Monday, October 30, 2006

1150 Prints. Too much? Not enough?

This wedding client received about 1150 fully Photoshopped corrected prints, full-resolution Photoshopped digital files in both color and in black and white and they are also getting an album. Is that too much?

Most of my clients don't think so. Other photographers might say it is too much. Why? Well first of all, it's A LOT OF WORK to have to deliver so many prints and to work on so many images on the computer! And, it could be argued that giving every photo may not represent the "best" of your work. Well, I disagree. If I click the shutter release on my camera, there's a reason I did it and so my clients should receive it.

For all these years since 1990, I have been providing my clients with virtually every image I shoot at their weddings (if they want that) and I have been giving away the files and negatives (when I shot in film.) Why? Because it's important to my clients to have them. That's why.

Although not every image will be the kind of "artistic" shot that will win awards, they all help tell the story of what happened on the day of their wedding. Sure, many images are artistic in nature, but others are just nice looking photos of their family and friends. Is that important to the photographer? Probably not. Is it important to the bride and groom? You bet it is!

Because of that, many of my clients decide they want everything and I work on a lot of images per wedding. It's a lot of work, but within four weeks time, I can give them all of their images, printed and also burned on CD-R's. That amazes most of them.

To this day, I continue to do this for my clients and that's why I'm a full-time photographer. I can't offer this level of service and work this business part-time. My clients have told me that they appreciate what I do for them and for their images and that's what drives me to keep doing it this way. Sure, I can save myself time by offering less... but then I would not be giving my clients the best service I know I can give.

If this level of service makes sense to you... then I might be the right photographer for you. If not, call me any way and we can discuss it.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Is It Time To Sell The Hasselblads?

Not too long ago, Hasselblad medium format cameras were the wedding cameras of the best photographers. The huge square format 2-1/4" x 2-1/4" film negative size allowed for some very large prints to be made without image degradation. I had three of these cameras.

Up until last year, people were still asking me if I shot in film. But today, nobody asks that any more. Everyone assumes that I shoot in digital today. In just the short time of one year, the question of film has gone to the wayside.

I think most people have accepted that digital is the new reigning king of cameras. If your wedding photographer is still shooting film, I can tell you that eventually, he /she is going to have to switch to digital. Clients now demand it.

So, should I sell my Hasselblad gear? To be honest, I've already sold two of the three cameras and some of the lenses. I only have one more left. I seriously doubt I'll ever shoot it going forward, but part of me wants to just keep the last one anyway because it's a symbol of times past. What do you think?

Monday, October 23, 2006

More from Old Orchard Country Club...

We took these golf carts out on Saturday to get some photos out on the golf course. I had never driven one of these before so it was a blast to go plowing through the golf course on Saturday.

At this wedding, all the groomsmen knew me from a wedding I shot just a couple of months ago. Both the bride and groom from that wedding were in the bridal party of this wedding. I photographed the bridesmaid's sister's wedding last year as well.

So I should not have been surprised when the ringbearer came up to me pointing and said, "Hey... I know YOU!" It was so cute!

That little guy had so much energy all day long! He was seen running all over the place and chasing the flowergirl around. I had to comment to the bridesmaids that he's just starting to chase girls at an early age...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Old Orchard Country Club

When I was growing up, whenever I heard "Old Orchard," I thought of the outdoor mall in Skokie, IL. But this "Old Orchard" is actually in Mount Prospect.

We were lucky to get these photos yesterday on the Golf Course. Just as we were finishing up, it started to rain.

This is a great looking place to hold a reception. The views are great and so was the room. I'll post more on this wedding tomorrow!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


What in the world are "Fingerweights?"

Andy Schneider of Digital Take Video recently sent these things to me to try out. Andy is a professional videographer whom I had met last year while working a wedding together. Since then, he's taken my photography workshop and has kept in contact with me over the year.

He recently shot a video for the makers of this product and they gave him a set of the weights which he passed on to me. Andy reads my blog and he remembered that I play guitar, so he thought I could benefit from these.

Initially, I admit that I thought these things were really a joke. After all, they clip onto your fingers and the weights look like steel versions of fuses! But after trying them for the past few days, I have to say I really like them! It's not easy exercising your fingers with these on. The idea of course is to add resistance to your playing so that when you don't have them on, you can play your instrument a lot faster.

Before I had the Fingerweights, I was using the device pictured below the Fingerweights. The Gripmaster is a hand exerciser with individual springs per finger. I've had this one for at least 10 years. This particular one is the medium tension version... but they might as well have been called heavy tension because it's not easy to push down on this thing! I probably should have purchased the light tension version, but being the macho guy I thought I was, I figured I'd go one step up. Wrong...

Hard-core guitarists like me buy all sorts of stuff to try to improve. This is a prime example of what sorts of things we get into...

This Blog Is Changing All The Time!

It's been one year now since I've started blogging and I've noticed a change in the way I write and a change in the things I write about.

Whereas the earlier posts have been more "instructional" or "educational" in nature, I'm finding I am opening up more and sharing different things that have been happening in my life besides just photography, forensics and music.

Don't get me wrong though... this blog will most definitely center on those topics most as those are the things I most enjoy working on, but I also would like my clients, potential clients, friends and family to learn more about other things that make me tick as well.

So going forward, don't be surprised to read about things that have absolutely nothing to do with the three main topics I've written about over the past year.

You've been warned! :)

Is It Thursday Already?!

Seems like I just posted something yesterday! :)

Here's an interesting tidbit... Disco is back!

In the 70's the Disco craze was peaking and then it just dropped off the face of the earth. DJ Steve Dahl had his "Disco Demolition" where he burned a bunch of Disco Records at Comisky Park (is that what US Cellular Field was called back then?)

But lately, it seems at every wedding I attend today, disco is back and very popular again! In the past few years, we've even seen platform shoes, bell-bottomed pants and other 70's items come back as well.

So here's some advice to all the new brides and grooms... keep all your stuff for about 30 years and then you can bring them out of the closet and use them again! Of course, does that mean that bell-bottomed pants will be popular again in 2036?

Please, someone tell me that they will never bring back the polyester "Leisure Suits"...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another Forensics Case

It's been a while since I have written about some of my past forensics cases, so I thought I'd share one today.

I recall being called out on a homicide case in which a body had been found dumped in an area under an overpass of one of the highways in San Diego. The man had most likely been murdered at some other location and the body was transported to this site and left there.

Now this is not an unusual occurance, but what I found strange was how many people had gathered on the overpass to watch the police do their work. While we were down below processing the crime scene for evidence, I could not believe that mothers were bringing their young children to watch us work! I recall commenting to the detectives there that this was not an appropriate thing for young children to see and they agreed. But I suppose the curiousity of it all got the better judgement of the parents.

It is necessary to take photos of the crime scene and we did that like we normally would. But to get a good photo of the face of the victim, I had to straddle the body (stepping over him) to get a close up shot. Now this might not be the type of portrait I do today, but it was a necessary one in order to help identify the victim.

Later in the day as we were scouting the area for additional evidence that might have been left there, we found a dead chicken on the side of the road. Most likely, this had nothing to do with the crime scene as it was quite a distance from the scene. I was informed by one of the other evidence technicians that this was a probably a chicken that lost from a cock fight. Cock fighting is illegal and cruel, but it happens. I had never seen anything like this before.

So do I miss taking photos like this crime scene? Actually I do. It is very exciting to work a crime scene. It's "dirty work," but somebody's got to do it. But the satisfaction you feel from having done a good job can't be beat.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Taylor GS Guitar

This is my new Taylor GS series guitar with the Expression System (ES) electronics installed. Just got this yesterday! It has a Sitka Spruce solid top and solid back and sides made of Big Leaf Maple.

The GS (Grand Symphony) is a new body shape from Taylor Guitars and it is awesome! The signature Taylor sound is still there (nice and bright) but it adds low frequency impact like no other Taylor in the past.

This guitar looks a lot like the guitar I posted on August 28th, doesn't it? Well, I replaced that guitar with this one. It does not have as much fancy trim as the 614ce I sold and it doesn't have a cutaway, but it does have a very impressive sound to it.

Here's what's been modified on this guitar from the standard GS guitar:

Gotoh Delta Series 510 Tuners in Antique Gold with Black Knobs
Bill Nichols - Custom Truss Rod Cover
Clear Pickguard installed by Taylor Guitars
EZ Pegs Brass Bridge Pins
Bob Colosi - Fossilized Walrus Ivory Saddle
ES electronics installed

Cool, huh?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Still Thinking About The Reunion!

Well it's Monday and I'm still thinking about the reunion from Saturday!

Pictured above is Allison Sprague, Gene Earl & Greg Sprague.

Mr. Earl was my Driver's Education instructor. Years later, he became a winning basketball coach for the Niles West girls basketball team when they went downstate to win the championship! I think they called the team, "Earl's Girls" at that time! I'm so glad that he came to our reunion. A couple of other faculty attended as well.

Greg & Allison Sprague were our gracious hosts and it was because of them that this reunion got organized. I spoke with Allison about how this all came about and she told me that she had organized her own reunion earlier this year. I suppose Greg figured he could do the same for us. So in reality, we all need to thank Allison for this! I think she taught Greg everything he needed to know about organizing a reunion! Thanks Allison! Behind every good man is an even better woman...

I spent the weekend reading all the interesting things in the reunion booklet that was given to us. Everyone's address and email addresses are in there... so there's no reason not to keep in touch going forward. And I could not believe some of the comments that people left on questions like "Most Unforgettable Memory / Event." For you Niles West alumni... check out the middle of page 21 from RRR... Whoa! For the rest of those who check my blog... sorry... I can't type that comment here!

I think it's going to be a while before I get the reunion out of my head. It was a great evening!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Niles West Reunion

Last night I attended my 30th year reunion with my classmates from Niles West High School at the Renaissance Hotel in Northbrook. It was an exciting night and I got a chance to reunite with many friends I have not seen in 30 years! Many thanks to my friend Greg Sprague and his lovely wife Allison for taking the time to organize this event. We all had a great time!

The photo above is a group photo of my friends from Parkview Junior High in Morton Grove, IL. My family had just moved from Chicago to Morton Grove in time for me to attend Parkview for eighth grade. It was an adjustment period for me moving from the city to the suburbs, but I had great friends to help me along. Many thanks to everyone for making me feel welcome.

In high school, I was one of those kids who just attended school, but didn't really do much else other than hang around with just a handful of friends. I didn't go to any of the school activities, wasn't in school sports and didn't play in the school band. I just went to school, studied hard and that was it.

So I must admit that I wondered if anyone would even remember me at this reunion. Sure, the few friends I hung around with would remember me, but what about the rest?

Well, I was very surprised to find that many people did remember me! In fact, it seemed many already knew what I had done with my life over the past years because they had read about me on! Many people came up to me to ask me what it was like to be a CSI technician and how I was able to transition into photographing weddings! The power of the internet has really had an impact on the world for getting information out there, wouldn't you agree?

How have I changed in all these years? Well, I would say I am more outgoing today than I was back in high school. I think if I were not the way I am today, there would be no way I could be a photographer. I'm not afraid to walk up to a perfect stranger today and start up a conversation. Back in high school, there would be no way I could do that.

So, to all of my former classmates, THANK YOU for making last night a memorable occasion. I had not intended to bring my camera and take any photos, but Greg asked me to do it so we could get some group pictures of our Junior High friends. But seeing how there were so many other junior highs represented at our reunion, how could I not help out taking those photos as well? And no... I was NOT the official photographer at this reunion! Many people asked me that... I was there as one of your classmates to attend the event. But somehow I knew that if I had my camera with me, I would not be able to resist taking photos of all of you all night long! But I did limit myself... had I been there to document the event on an official capacity, I probably would have shot between 600-800 images during the evening! Instead, I just took a handful of snapshots.

I encourage you all to keep checking my blog weekly to see what I'm up to. I update this blog on Mondays and Thursdays (sometimes more...) So by the time we have another reunion, you'll all know what I've been doing!

See you all at the next reunion and thanks for making last night one to remember!


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Niles West Tour

What an exciting morning!

I attended a tour of my old high school, Niles West in Skokie, IL. We had a good turnout for the event and I reunited with a lot of people I have not seen in over 30 years! Sure we've all grown a little older, gotten a little wider (some, not all of us...) but we've all matured very nicely!

We were all very cordial to each other and I'd say it was a real kick to reconnect with some of my friends. Some still have that great sense of humor I remember and we all just couldn't help reminiscing.

I will be attending our reunion this evening and will post a pic or two on my blog.

Welcome back, Niles West!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Office Location

Image courtesy of Google Earth

I have been asked in the past where my office is located. Well, thanks to Google Earth, I can show you! Be sure to click on the image to see an enlargement.

I am literally right off of I-90 and the Roselle Road exit. If you head west on I-90 and get off on the Roselle road exit, you'll see Medival Times Dinner and Tournament's "castle" on your right. Turn left at the end of the ramp (there's a stop light there) and go to the stop light at Hillcrest Blvd. and turn left. My building is the largest ten story building on your left side. In fact it's the only tall building in the area, so you can't miss it.

I've labeled the image above so if you click on it, you can see where my building is. I'm on the eighth floor.

The address is 1901 N. Roselle Road, Ste. 800, Schaumburg, IL 60195. But there isn't a building number you can see from Roselle Road, so just turn into the building complex. The number is actually ON the building itself, but you need to drive into the complex to see it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New Photography Workshops Planned

I will be offering some more photography workshops in the coming weeks.

Last month, I offered a workshop for intermediate photographers and I am now planning on some workshops for beginning photographers.

One workshop will concentrate on new digital photographers who have either recently purchased digital "point & shoot" cameras or are contemplating purchasing one. We will cover the basics of photography... everything from choosing equipment and deciphering photography "lingo" to basic techniques on taking good photos. If you need help on taking better photos, this is your workshop.

Another workshop to be offered will concentrate on making the step from point & shoot cameras to using DSLR cameras (Digital Single Lens Reflex.) Common models in this area are cameras like the Canon Digital Rebel and 30D cameras and the Nikon D50 and D80 cameras. We will cover the basics of using these tools and how to get the most out of them.

If you have a need to improve your photography and would like to join in on one of these workshops, please contact me at for more information. If you have a vacation coming up, or need to take better pictures of your kid's school events or anything else that's important to you, perhaps attending one of my workshops will help you.

Here are a couple of recent testimonials:


"I participated in Russ' photography workshop and it was easily the best investment I've made in photography since buying the Nikon 17-55mm f 2.8 DX lens (suggested by Russ). I was in the middle of editing a wedding when I attended the workshop, and afterwards, I re-edited my first 400 pictures. I spent the extra time on re-editing my pictures because of a few simple tips I picked up, and the adjustments made a huge improvement in my final product. Russ is very knowledgeable and even more importantly, he takes time to answer everyone's questions no matter how simple or technical the question is. I worked with Russ as a videographer at a wedding he was shooting and he is a pro through-and-through. I highly recommend any workshop offered by Russ Lowe" - Andy S. - Photographer / Videographer from Schaumburg, IL

"Russell Lowe has been offering his photography advice to me for over a year now. I was searching for that perfect photographer for my wedding and I stumbled upon him randomly over the internet. Because I also have a love of photography, I had a hard time finding someone that I could trust to photograph one of the most important days of my life. I was pleased with Russell's way of doing business. He wasn't trying to sell me an album or a package deal; he was selling me his ability to capture moments. I was impressed with his friendliness and his knowledge - he was able to share his knowledge without any arrogance.

The photographs from my wedding are priceless. I could not have been more pleased. Multiple people from my family commented that he was the hardest working photographer they have ever seen. He works magic with his cameras.

Beyond my wedding, I have formed a friendship with Russell based on the love of photography. He has taught me so much and I have never been afraid to ask him for any advice or critiques. I was so excited when he finally said that he was going to hold a workshop that would cover a wide range of topics. I learned so much just from that 3 hour class. And beyond that, I woke up the next morning to an additional email, explaining some of the things that I didn't quite understand during the class. Russell is always willing to go that extra mile. It is his genuine love of photography that drives him to share and teach what he knows. And he is genuine. That is the difference." - Gina F. from Island Lake, IL


"Russell's friendly demeanor and coaching go a long way. He is able to apply his in-depth knowledge as a professional photographer and teach students in his workshops the core foundations of photography all the way to the more advanced techniques that make him a well sought after professional event & wedding photographer. " - Dan M. from Schaumburg, IL

Class Reunion on Saturday

This Saturday, I won't be photographing a wedding, but instead I'll be attending a 30th year reunion with my fellow classmates from Niles West High School.

I did not attend my 10th year reunion because that year I had just moved to San Diego. And, I didn't even know about the 20th year reunion. So there was no way I wanted to miss this reunion.

Over the years, I really only kept in contact with two friends from high school. They are married to each other and they met in high school as well. I was the bestman at their wedding. But over the years, we always wondered what happened to one of our other good friends from high school.

Through a series of events that ended in a search of the internet to follow the leads presented to us, we found him! He had be living in the Deerfield area all this time! So we contacted him and we all had lunch together after being apart for 30 years! Happily we all connected very well again and we will all be attending the reunion together.

I'm really looking forward to Saturday. Even though I really did not hang out with that many people in high school, I still remember many of the names of the people from my graduating class. I wonder how many people will even remember me. But regardless, I'm curious to find out what everyone have been doing for the past 30 years. Even if nobody remembers me, that's ok. I remember them.

I was not planning on bringing my pro camera equipment to the reunion because I just really wanted to attend for fun. I had planned to just bring my Fuji point & shoot digital camera, but a classmate of mine whom I have known since 8th grade contacted me via email and asked me to bring it so we can take a group photo of our Junior High classmates as well. So I'll have my camera with me, but wonder how much I will actually shoot. I know that once I start, I'll have a hard time stopping and I really don't want to miss out on the fun of just being there to enjoy the evening.

This is really exciting! I can't wait for Saturday!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Weddings Are Often Long For Me

Yesterday, I left my home around 10:50 AM to arrive on time at the bride's parent's home by 11:45 AM. I usually like to leave a little early in case of traffic.

By the time I left the reception, it was already 11:30 PM. I didn't get home until 12: 20 AM.

So really, I was gone from home for 14-1/2 hours! Of the 14-1/2 hours, I only sat for about 30-40 minutes during dinner. I was on my feet the rest of the time if you don't count sitting while driving back and forth to the wedding.

By the time I took a shower, cleaned my equipment, charged the batteries, uploaded the images to safeguard the files and then went to bed, it was 5:30 AM. So I had been working for about 19-1/2 hours.

I'll have many more hours to do the Photoshop work as well as the album layout and design for this wedding.

In all, most weddings take about 40 hours or more of work.

Anyone who says photographing weddings is easy work doesn't know the half of it! To do it right, it's a full week's worth of work, just like any other job.

The Signature Move

OK... it's now 4:54 AM and I'm still not in bed yet after coming back from last night's wedding!

I wanted to share one more image from the wedding...

This groomsman had this great dance move where he would lean back and touch the floor with his right hand and then bounce back up to keep dancing. I saw this move at least twice before finally catching it with my camera. Whenever he danced, people would just back up and watch. What a great dancer!

The kids liked dancing with him too!

Alright, NOW it's time for me to go to bed!

Jump Shot

It's about 4:07 AM and I've just finished uploading the images from Saturday's wedding onto my computer and backed up the data. But before finally going to bed, I thought I'd share this wild "Jump" shot that I took at the wedding.

I told the guys that we should do something "fun" and left them to come up with something. Now this is the not the first "jump" shot I've done in all the years I've photographed weddings, but it's the first one I've had that has gotten so much height to the jump! I don't usually direct "fun shots" unless the bridal party can't come up with something fun to do. I like letting them think about what might be fun to do and then we do it. This allows them to be a little creative and sometimes we get lucky and do something totally differenet.

Well the "jump" shot is definitely not different as I've done quite a few over the years. But I don't recall ever having the added launching height of a gazebo used in the past. Just get a load of how much better the "jump" shot is with some added height! And, this was done on a single "take" as well. (Check out the expression on the face of the groomsman on your left...) Good job guys!

OK... time for me to go to bed! Be sure to click on the image to get a closer look. The groom can be seen again on my post on Chicago Skylines from August 7th.



Friday, October 06, 2006

Book Early! Don't Let This Happen To You!

Last night, I spoke with a potential client about her wedding. At the time we spoke, I did not realize that I was already booked on her wedding date. So we made an appointment to meet at my office and as I was getting ready to set the appointment in my calendar, I looked at the date of her wedding and discovered I had already booked her date in June with another bride!

My client who booked me did so almost exactly one year in advance of her wedding date! By booking early, she had secured the date which of course leaves anyone else looking to book me for the same date, out of luck.

I felt terrible about this as the potential client seemed to be a perfect fit for me as a client. But I called her back and told her what I discovered. She was just as disappointed as I was.

Later that evening, she wrote me an email which I would like to share here:

"I have to admit, after looking at your blog and website, I am truly disappointed that you are unavailable for my wedding day. I think I would have really liked you as a photographer. Your shots are great and your knowledge amazes me! I only wish I would have started looking at photographers earlier!"

Wow, that just tears my heart out! As much as I would like to help everyone looking for my services, I can't. I can only help one client per day.

So please, if you find a photographer you like... book him / her immediately! Don't let this happen to you. Often the best photographers will book up to a year in advance. But that doesn't mean that you can't find a good photographer with just a month or two left before your wedding. As much as we photographers would like to book every weekend, it's not easy to find new clients that have weddings on different weekends just to match our schedule. And, we often turn away more people than we book simply because of situations like this one. So if your wedding is coming up, don't hesitate to at least call and find out if the photographer of your choice is available because he / she might very well be. It's just the luck of the draw, as they say...

I referred this bride to another photographer, however. I don't like leaving nice people out in the cold without somewhere to turn. I'm sure the other photographer will do an excellent job for her and she deserves that. To me, she seemed to be a client I would have loved to have.

To last night's bride, best wishes to you and your fiance if you are reading this...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bridal Expo - November 19

Click on the Image to Enlarge

Here is the information on the Bridal Expo and Fashion Show that I will be participating in. The image on the left is a portion of a photo I shot recently at The Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center on Michigan Avenue. Be sure to click on the image to take a closer look at the information. Once the image opens, move your mouse over the image again and click on the arrows at the bottom of the image to get an even closer look.

I'll be exhibiting in the early part of the show and then I'll be packing up a little early as I get ready to shoot the fashion show.

Come to the event and watch me in action! This should be fun as I shoot the runway models!

I'll have photos up on my website for all of you to see when I'm finished.

See you all at the event!

It's Been One Year of Blogging!

Hard to believe, but I've been blogging for one year now!

My good friend Mike from Michigan recommended that I start blogging. He's a photographer as well and his photography company is called Michael Duane Photography. I met him on one of the photography forums that I frequent and we just hit it off. We met about a year and a half ago and when he came to the Chicago area to take some photography training, we got together and spent something like 5 solid hours talking about photography and weddings!

Mike liked how I wrote on the forums and also from my email correspondences and told me that I could probably do well by blogging. At first, I didn't really want to do it simply because I thought I'd have nothing to write about. But after a while, I got used to it and it seems there are endless things to write about!

I'm glad Mike encouraged me to start blogging. It allows me to keep in contact with my current clients by giving some wedding tips, but it also allows new prospective clients to get a glimpse of how I think and function. And, on occasion, I'll throw in some details of what interests me, just for fun (like guitars, music and forensics.)

Thanks to everyone for tuning in for the past year. The blog has grown a lot and I'm always amazed to see so many people checking it. Like many bloggers, I have a StatCounter on the blog which lets me know where people are when they check in. I'm always happy to see local people checking me out both new and returning visitors, but I get a real kick when I see people all over the world checking it!

I have two visitors who regularly visit me. One is in the Netherlands (who are you???) and the other is in West Chicago. I have no way of knowing who these people are, but it's very flattering to see that they come here so often to see what's new with me. Thanks so much for doing that!

I also have an Aunt in Connecticut who visits me regularly too. And of course, my family from the general Chicago area always check in as well.

And lastly, my clients check in regularly too. With the blog, they can see what I've been up to in the past weeks and it gives them confidence that I'm still doing well in photography.

So thanks to everyone for keeping me blogging. Without you checking, I wouldn't want to do this because it does take time and effort. But I gain so much from writing about photography. It just keeps me sharp at my craft.


Best Friends

Now how can you NOT shoot a photo like this? These two dogs wanted to be in the pre-ceremony photos, so we let them!

Most dogs seem to like me. I can walk into almost any home and within a minute or so, they just leave me alone. They say dogs can smell fear in people. I don't know if that's true or not, but I'm usually not afraid of most dogs so maybe that's why they just accept me.

They are just curious to see what I'm up to, so they usually follow me around when I first arrive to take photos of the bride getting ready. I'll talk to them like I would talk to any person and they usually seem to respond well to that. Maybe because I had a German Shepherd when I was younger or because I currently have a Maltese... I'm just used to them.

Cats on the other hand don't ever seem to care whether I'm there or not. They do their own thing. But after a while, they will come up and rub up against me to see if I'm worth dealing with or not.

It's always fun to get a shot of the family pet with the bride. Just make sure their paws aren't dirty when they walk all over your dress!

Monday, October 02, 2006


Since today seems to be my "self promotion" day... I thought I'd share with you the latest testimonial I received on

I have been the top referred photographer in the Chicago area for a while now and I'm always very happy to get more referrals from my clients. You can read them also on my main website.

Here's what my clients sent in today:

"Russ is incredible. When we started shopping for photographers for our wedding, Russ was the first we met. After looking at what other photographers were offering, Russ just blew them all away. His pricing is all upfront, but you get everything. We just got our pictures back today and was wondering if we got enough due to never noticing Russ taking pictures during the party. We were amazed that we got back over 1,100 pictures all photoshopped and printed only 3 weeks after our wedding. Russ knows what needs to happen during a wedding and is very professional. Russ, you are the best around and we will tell EVERYBODY about your services. TOP NOTCH 100 Percent!" - Phil and Niki M. from Lemont, IL

Thanks so much for the vote of confidence!!!

Why My Clients Hire Me

I am asked at virtually all pre-wedding consultations why I should be considered for the job. So I thought I’d go over it here on my blog as well… (A little "self-promotion" goes a long way!)

To receive the best quality service, certain things must be in place:

1. Experience. I’ve been photographing weddings since 1990
2. Full Day Photojournalistic Coverage. I don’t offer “partial coverage” of weddings. I’m with you from when you get ready until there’s nothing left to photograph at the reception. It’s impossible to cover a wedding if you aren’t there!
3. Unlimited Photography – often this is over 1000 images and you can get it all!
4. Full-Resolution Digital Files Are Included... not one year from now, it’s given to you when you get your prints… often within one month! Print as many extra photos as you want and need. This is a huge budget saver after the wedding!
5. Backup gear. I don’t have inferior backup equipment. I bring about $20,000 worth of top of the line camera equipment with me to all weddings. Each camera body is pro quality and so are all my lenses and flashes.
6. Quality Prints and Albums. I don’t offer inferior products. Every image is individually Photoshop corrected before printing. Albums are the top-of-the-line from each album company I offer.
7. Insurance. I don’t just have insurance for replacing stolen or lost gear… my insurance covers “errors and omissions” which protects YOU in case something happens to your photos.
8. Quality consultations in a nice work environment. We will be meeting several times before and after your wedding to plan your wedding day and then later to build your wedding album. A nice work environment helps the creative process!
9. Smiles and a Pleasant Personality. I offer this free… even to those who don’t hire me!

How important is your wedding?

Isn’t your wedding worth receiving the best level of service?

Do I Really Need Both Lenses?

Images "borrowed" from

Why do I need two lenses that have the same approximate focal length? Backup gear!

I use the lens on the top all the time during wedding ceremonies and receptions. It's my main lens during the ceremony if I need a shot from a distance in low light. But what if something were to happen to the lens and it became non-operational during the ceremony? Well, that's why I have the bottom lens too! It's my backup lens.

Sure these lenses cost a lot of money, but that shouldn't stop a photographer from buying if they are busy working with lots of clients. Having good quality backup gear is part of the level of service my clients expect and that's the level of service I want to give them.

So do I really need both lenses? Yes!