Saturday, June 30, 2012

That Was Easy

Some weddings are just easy. The light is great, the couple is awesome and everything just falls in to place. Today's wedding of Jill and Darrell was just that, easy. It was easy to photograph two people so much in love. I don't have to work hard to capture the emotion when it's just there. 

The wedding was at the Sweet Briar B&B in Geneseo. This was the second wedding I've photographed there and both were awesome. Jill and Darrell had the cutest little flower girl and "Ring Man." He didn't want to be called a ring bearer. They also had a non-reveal. They didn't want to see each other before the ceremony, so we did a really cute shot of both of them on either side of a door. 

We finished the day with a great sunset shot overlooking the Letchworth Valley southwest of Geneseo. It was the perfect end to a great, albeit hot day.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Continuing Education

I remember shooting my first wedding many moons ago. I was so scared to screw up that I got it out of the way the moment I picked up the camera. Back then I was shooting medium format, you know, the big box camera with the hand crank to advance the film and the huge potato masher flash mounted on a bracket. It looked like a contraption out of an old B movie of the future. The neat thing with medium format was that I could put a dark slide in to cover the film and change the film back mid roll. With the dark slide in place, the camera doesn't function. So I go in to this wedding with my shiny new camera, hold it up to take a photo of the groom and his father and nothing happens. The look of panic on my face must have been evident enough for the father to comment that "someone looks nervous." I can't emphasize enough how much that didn't help. After a minute or to of cold sweats, I finally realized that the dark slide was still inserted. The rest of the day went off without a hitch.

 I look back on the "old days" of film and dark rooms with fondness. I even browsed eBay and Craig's List the other day to take a walk down memory lane with my old equipment. I could probably buy back everything I've ever owned film wise, which cost thousands back then, for under $300 now. 

 The photography industry has changed so dramatically since I started it's mind boggling. It changes dramatically every year, so to look back 10-15 years is amazing. With things changing so fast, I always have to keep up my education with seminars, magazines and DVDs. One of my favorite educational tools is my PhotoVision DVD subscription. 

 What do I love about PhotoVision? Simple. I get to see other photographers in action and learn how they do it from my couch. If I want a refresher on posing, I can pop the DVD in and rewatch the segment. (They started streaming segments this year, so you can even choose to watch them on your phone.) I get over 20 hours of education for only $49 and I think it's the best value for photographic education out there. 

 There are times when I can't make conferences or seminars because I have client sessions, so PhotoVision is my way to get quality photographic education when I want it. I love getting my DVDs in the mail every other month and seeing what other photographers are doing. 

 PhotoVision has a special going on right now for new subscribers. Use this link: and the code PVFAN to save $150 off the regular price. (Only $49 for your choice of 6 DVDs or streaming HD segments.) 

 OK, so the last few paragraphs were a sales pitch for PhotoVision, but it's all true. I've learned so much from my subscription that's it's worth every penny. I highly recommend it for any level photographer.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tarek and Pam

The expression "The calm before the storm" has never been more relevant this year for the upcoming wedding season. This years wedding season is starting at a slow, steady pace, that is until June 30 when the first of five weddings in nine days takes place. I'm not complaining, more like stretching my muscles before a triathlon. 

Last weekend I photographed the wedding of Pam and Tarek at Belhurst Castle. The wedding was awesome on the back lawn of Belhurst even with the threat of rain looming all day. I think the menacing looking clouds give a cool look to the dock photos, so as long as we don't get wet, I don't mind the drama. The bride usually feels differently though and could do without it.

Pam and Tarek's reveal was awesome. I had Tarek face away from the castle in to the woods as Pam approached him. Until then, he could only dream of what she would look like on their wedding day. He was about to find out and his nerves were clearly visible. You could feel the elation as he turned around and set his eyes on his soon to be wife. It was one of the greatest reveals I've witnessed so far. Congratulations Tarek and Pam.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Alive and Kicking

It appears that there is a rumor going around that we went out of business because the store front is vacant down below the studio. I can assure you that we are still in business and will be for a long time. Our signs are still up and we still have our first floor window display. In fact, while the store was vacant down stairs, we even put photos in their window display as well. I'm not sure what else to do short of having a Vegas show girl out front handing out business cards. Hmmm, I think I just came up with a new marketing concept. I wonder if that would be approved by the zoning board. 

 The good news is the store below us is being filled as I write this. A former co-worker of mine from my advertising sales days back in the 90s is moving her store in and is set to open July 1. Her current store, The Olde Homestead Country Store, is at 222 South Main Street until the move is complete. You can visit them online at

Monday, June 4, 2012

Second Chances

There are a few companies out there, and one in particular, that run so many sales that it's a no brainer to wait a day or two and not pay full price, ever. It gives me the feeling that their sale prices are their regular prices and their non-sale prices are so over inflated just so they can have a sale. When someone does pay full price, the company probably snickers and says "Sucker!"

Our prices at the studio were designed and calculated to stay in business. The amount of overhead it takes to run a photography studio is astronomical, so I'm not a big fan of running too many sales. That being said however, I do feel it's necessary to create a spark sometimes when things are going along at the status quo or during the slower time of year when we need to generate some cash flow.

A few weeks ago we ran a One Day Sale for senior portraits which dramatically reduced our session fees for one day. The objective was to get people to book their sessions for any time throughout the summer, but by booking on that day they saved a lot. It may have been poor timing on my part since it was still earlier in the school quarter but the results were less than spectacular. I'm going to give it another shot now that the school year is winding down and the Class of 2013 is starting to get excited about their senior year. This time however, the sale will be for three days to let it soak in. The discounts are not as drastic as the last sale, but they're still pretty darn good. If you didn't take advantage the first time around, here's your second chance.

The sale begins tomorrow and runs through Thursday. If you book your session for June, you get 60% off the session fee. If you book in July it's 50%, August is 40% and September is 30%. The session must be paid for when you book it to be eligible for these prices.

As a bonus to our friends and fans on Facebook, if you repost our sale on your page and tag us in it during the sale, you'll get a free set of 8 wallets when you place your senior portrait order. Word of mouth is our best form of advertising and we like to reward those who help us with it. You can find us on Facebook at

If you have any questions about our session options or to book your appointment, call the studio at 585-393-9242 beginning at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 5.

The Stars Align

I love when things fall in to place, as if the stars aligned and handed me the answers. We are in the process of creating a separate division of Chesler Photography for sports photography. In addition to photographing sports leagues and action photos at tournaments, we are developing an area of sports portraiture that will be over the top cool. I wanted to do something different with my sports photos that would set them apart, when out of left field (pun intended), a super cool set of Photoshop brushes, textures and masks found me, like it fell out of the sky on to my head, only a less offensive than bird poop. 

 It's a given that we will be doing these for our senior portrait clients, but we will also be offering these one of a kind sports images for individuals of any age. It's my goal to display huge versions of these images not only at the studio and in people's homes, but at businesses and locations all around the area. I won't sleep until there is one of these in every athletes home. Alright, I lied...I'm going to bed. I need to get my rest, there's much work to be done.

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