Featured Photographer Interview: Chrisman Studios

All images taken by Chrisman Studios and edited by Betina at The Image Salon.

How did photography find you? 

Ben: I have wanted to be a photographer from as far back as I can remember. I joined my high-school yearbook staff as the photographer and have been a working photographer ever since.

Erin: I hung out with photographers during my previous career as a newspaper reporter. I fell in love with photography by getting to witness firsthand the magic that photographers can capture by knowing how to work with light and composition, and knowing when to click the shutter. I have been learning photography on the job ever since.


How and why do you use The Image Salon?

We use The Image Salon because our editor really gets our style and aesthetic, and we are consistently thrilled with the results. We use The Image Salon so we can have time to work on the infrastructure and operations of our wedding and portrait businesses, so we can have a shot of being ahead of the game instead of constantly working to keep up with it.

(Photo above by Mauricio Arias for Chrisman Studios)


How do you stay inspired?

We are inspired by the uniqueness of each person who entrusts us to photograph them. We are inspired by their story, their love, their quirks, and their family relationships, and we let those elements guide our photography.


Describe your photography style in 3 words:

Intimate, bold, modern


Where do your weddings typically take place?

All over the place! As close as our hometown of Charleston, South Carolina; as far away as Mongolia and Bhutan.


How do you spend your day away from the camera?

We always have our cameras.


What's in your gear bag?

Nikons and Fujis.

What was the last piece of equipment you bought?

A Fuji 23 mm f1.4 lens for Erin's Fuji XT10


What has photography taught you?

Photography has taught us never to have expectations - to show up with an open mind and let life surprise us.


What is your favorite marketing tool?

Our SEO-based website, created by Kim Ercius of Sercius and built by Mike Dickson of CodeNameMikeD


Who are your favourite photographers?

Ben: James Nachtwey, Jonas Bendiksen, Brett Butterstein; Erin: Alex Webb, Martin Parr


What is one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out?

We would both agree we wish we had known more about the actual business of photography when we started out.


Do you have any routines or rituals before starting a big day on the job?

We sleep in as long as utterly possible, order a big breakfast from room service, and are super quiet. Before separating, we give each other a kiss and say "good luck today."


What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Ben: "Don't be lazy." (from Ben's grandmother)

Erin: "Always go for it even if you think you're going to miss it." (from Erin's legendary high-school soccer coach Herman Halter)


Thanks so much, Ben and Erin!

Images taken by Chrisman Studios and edited by Betina at The Image Salon.


My Outsourcing Story: Jamie Ivins

Studio Name: Jamie Ivins Photography

Website: http://jamieivins.com

Editor: Gen

Time spent editing each week before The Image Salon: I was probably spending 40+ hours editing each week during the busy season.


Why did you decide to outsource? Why did you choose The Image Salon?

I had to get my life back. The busiest part of wedding season in New England is over the summer while my kids are out of school. For the past couple of years I've barely been able to spend any time with them over summer vacation. It was like a bad dream where you can hear everyone around you having fun but no matter what you do you're unable to get to them. I knew those times were precious and if I didn't do something I was going to find myself burnt out and ready to pack it all in just so I could spend more time with the people who are most important to me. 

After running some tests with a few different outsourcing options I settled on The Image Salon because of the different levels of attention and the strong testimonials I'd received from industry peers. All of the other options would get close but failed to spend the time dodging and burning that I would, leaving me with hours of work after receiving my edits back. The Image Salon sends me a complete body of work back that I barely have to touch. Doesn't get any better than that!

Now that you outsource, how has your business benefited from the extra time you have? 

I've been able to take back time with my family. They are the most important people in my life and to not neglect them the way I was before is an incredible feeling. We spent the summer traveling around visiting aquariums, camping, going to the beach, and playing in our backyard. The personal benefits have been overwhelming and the benefits to my business have been just as great. I've spent much more time networking and finding more work; creating new revenue streams for my business. So many opportunities I would have passed on a year ago due to lack of time finally became an option for me and have helped me expand my horizons.


Anything else you'd like to share regarding your outsourcing story?

Getting things perfect wasn't the easiest road. It required a lot of feedback and open communication with my editor. At times I was wondering if this was really going to work for me but Gen, Daniel, and the rest of TIS team helped to diffuse my concerns and worked extremely hard to get my edits exactly how I want them. As an artist it's very hard to give up creative control to someone else, especially a person you've never met. But after letting go of the reigns a bit I've found that my body of work is much stronger and more consistent than it has ever been. Now I find myself wondering how I survived without The Image Salon this whole time...


Thanks, Jamie! All images in this post are by Jamie Ivins and edited by The Image Salon

My Outsourcing Story: Ten 2 Ten Photography

Studio Name: Ten 2 Ten Photography

Website:  www.ten2tenphotography.com

 Who's your editor? Anne-Marie and Kayla

Before outsourcing to The Image Salon, how much time would you estimate you were spending editing each week?

Every wedding takes about 20-25 hours worth of editing.... at least 15-20 hours every week were devoted to some type of editing. Soooooo much editing. All the time.

Why did you decide to outsource? Why did you choose The Image Salon?

After years in the industry, we were lucky enough to receive an increasing amount of inquiries each and every year. Regardless of the amount of inquiries coming in, we had to limit ourselves to about 30-35 weddings per year. If we were to shoot more, there simply wouldn't be enough time to edit all the images.

We love telling stories; that's why we photograph weddings. Being there in the moment, capturing the emotions and every fleeting moment of the day is our absolutely favourite part of the day. Editing is great, too, but definitely secondary to the actual shooting. I love re-living the wedding during editing but the amount of time editing takes means I have to shoot less.

At the same time as my inquiries were consistently increasing, I also decided that it was the right time to bring on a few associate photographers. The question was, however, how would we keep consistency and (most importantly) quality in our post-processing once we become a multi-photographer team?

Outsourcing, that's how.


I decided to outsource for two reasons; one - to allow me to shoot more and two - to allow for consistency and high quality post-processing regardless of which of our awesome photographers shot the wedding.

I started doing research into various photo outsourcing companies and it was overhwelmingly obvious that The Image Salon was the right choice. I chose them not only because of their super amazing customer service but because you're assigned an editor. Elias, my editor, has become an integral part of the Ten·2·Ten Photography team. It took only a few weddings for Elias to master our unique style and the amount of time saved on our end is extraordinary. The Image Salon is not only filled with incredibly talented and motivated individuals but their willingness to create open communication and achieve customer satisfaction is what sets them apart from any other photography outsourcing company.

As an aside to the above, I'm also thrilled that they are based in Canada!


Now that you outsource, how has your business benefited from the extra time you have? 

The Image Salon has allowed me to create a consistent and high quality product for my clients, regardless of which of the photographers in the company shoots the wedding. Our style is highly recognizable and unique. 

We've saved so much time with The Image Salon that we've been able to focus more on social media, networking and running workshops for photographers (things that were on the back-burner at the best of times before The Image Salon came into our lives).

As a company, we are much more well-rounded and have a balance in our tasks now.

And on a personal level?

While my original intent was to outsource in order to be able to shoot more weddings as well as create consistency in the post-processing between all of the photographers at Ten·2·Ten Photography, I was surprised that there is a third reason to outsource: to get my life back!

My husband and I had been putting off having a family for quite some time. Being a wedding photographer means at least half your week is devoted to endless editing and we were both afraid that the business would suffer if I took time off to start a family.

Now that I'm with The Image Salon; however, I'm happy to say that I've gotten my life back and my workload is more than manageable. We'll be welcoming our first child this summer and thanks to The Image Salon, I'll have the time to spend with my new family (and not be stuck in front of my computer editing all the time).

I can't even begin to thank The Image Salon for allowing me to get my life back!

Thanks, Erika! All images by Ten 2 Ten Photography and edited by The Image Salon.

My Outsourcing Story: Logan Westom

Studio Name: Logan Westom Photographer

Website: http://loganwestom.com

Editor: Elise


Time spent editing each week before The Image Salon: 30-36 hours editing each week during the wedding season.

Why did you decide to outsource? Why did you choose The Image Salon?

I have always be curious about outsourcing my work since I started but I had heard bad things about inconsistency and people having to spend a lot of time editing their photos after they got back. I finally decided to outsource my work when I heard about The Image Salon from Tyler Wirkin on Creative Live. I checked it out and as soon as I checked out the website I knew that they would be exactly what I was looking for in an image editing outsourcing company. It was a no brainier from there.


Now that you outsource, how have you benefited from the extra time you have?

I actually have free time the evening to cook a proper meal, go to the gym, hangout and relax, attend more concerts, and just have less to think about each day.


Anything else you'd like to share regarding your outsourcing story?

Outsourcing has my editing has made me more passionate about my photography and given me more confidence in my work. Since I only see the photos when I cull them, when they come back to me editing and I look through them I'm always surprised at the great photos I took. I feel more proud of my work now. The Image Salon does a much better job at editing my photos than I was able too. And combined with that it's always exciting to see the photos I get to soon deliver.


Thanks, Logan! 

All images in this post by Logan Westom and edited by The Image Salon

Featured Photographer Interview: Todd Laffler

All images taken by Todd and edited by Kate at The Image Salon.

How did photography find you?

It was my mother who got me interested in photography when I was 17. She had this little makeshift darkroom in the basement. By day it was an ordinary laundry room, but by night, it turned into an “enchanted laboratory”! I was totally hooked and blown away that you can make photographs in your laundry room in the basement. After high school I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art where I earned my BFA in photography.

How do you use The Image Salon?

I use the Image Salon at the Basic+ level *shout out to my editor Kate*! I used to have a personal editor for several years, but when she moved on to focus more on her own business last fall, I needed someone to fill her shoes. The Image Salon has been a wonderful fit. See what I did there?

How do you stay inspired?

Staying inspired can be challenging for sure. I try to combat stagnation with going to photography conferences like Fearless and Mystic Seminars. Immersing yourself in hearing what all the different speakers have to say can be a real eye opener. I usually work a few extra days in for sightseeing which can also be inspirational as well. Not to mention meeting new and wonderful people too! It’s good for the soul.


Describe your photography style in 3 words:

Quirky, clean, and fun.


Where do your weddings typically take place?

Most of my weddings take place here in NJ, and some in either NY or PA as well. I usually do 1 destination wedding a year too.


How do you spend your day away from the camera?

If I’m not using my camera directly or working on my business, I’ll most likely be hanging with my kids, Zoe and Emerson, along with my main squeeze Danette. Other than that, I’m usually either playing Words With Friends or Hearthstone on my iPad, or mountain biking.


What is your favorite thing about being a photographer?

My favorite thing about being a photographer is doing all that accounting stuff, numbers are awesome! But seriously, I enjoy the creative freedom it affords me. The fact that I earn my living from photographing happy events is pretty cool. I also enjoy making my own schedule more or less and working from home in my pajamas. But while I’m actually shooting, I really enjoy when I’m able to document true, genuine, and emotional moments, that’s a real buzz!


What’s in your bag?

Mostly Gatorade! But I have a few other things too. 2 Canon MarkIII’s, my workhorse the 70-200mm, and my other most used lens the 16-35mm. Yeah, I’m a zoom guy! I also have a 24-105mm, 15mm fisheye, 24mm, and an 85mm.


What was the last piece of equipment you bought?

At this point in my photography career, I think I’m over that “gear” curve, so I don’t buy gear unless I really need to. That being said, the last thing I bought were some Canon 600 flashes.


What is the last tip or trick you picked up?

The last tip I picked up was from a client at the end of the reception! One of my favorite “tricks” is the take the groom’s jacket off and use his body and white shirt as a reflector to bounce light back onto the bride’s face when they are in close.


What has photography taught you?

Photography has taught me patience. Often times to get great images you either must wait and be stubborn, not giving up on a shot too early, or be patient in the sense of thinking things and situations through, and not rushing. It has also taught me to not be so critical of pictures of myself, because in the end they aren’t for me, they are for my loved ones, and those people don’t see the imperfections, they just see me. I still struggle with this, but I firmly believe it. 


What is your favorite marketing tool?

I’m not very good at marketing to be honest. I mainly focus on creating good and authentic work and then showing that work on my blog or on Facebook.


If you could work with one person who would it be?

If I could only work with one person it would be my significant other, Danette. We work really well together and know how each other is feeling at any given moment and can help steer the other person a better direction if need be. Plus she pinches my butt throughout the wedding day!


Who are your favorite photographers?

Ben Chrisman was the first photographer that stopped me in my tracks back in 2007. He ignited a spark within me, and demonstrated that wedding photography didn’t have to be boring. I also enjoy the Mann’s work, and Andrea Corsi.


If you weren’t a photographer, what other career path would you have chosen?

Probably either a urine farmer, or a cheese sculptor! That or maybe a graphic designer.


What is one thing you wish you knew when you were starting out?

I wish someone would have told me to stop doing selective coloring and dutch angles sooner! I wish I knew sooner that being “fancy” and “clever” with no real purpose or meaning and without any emotional content was a dead end. But I suppose it’s all part of the learning process and growing.


What has been your biggest learning curve? What is your greatest challenge as a wedding photographer?

My biggest learning curve was trying to unlearn what I had learned in the first few years of shooting weddings. Trying to have my own “voice” with my work was a challenge in the beginning. Also struggling with having a good work/life balance can be difficult as well.


Do you have any routines or rituals before starting a big day on the job?

I do have some rituals, but it’s probably best I don’t go into those!


What and where would your dream assignment be?

It would be on the set of a Wes Anderson movie, shooting movie stills. If anyone knows Wes and can pass this on to him, that would be great!


What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Aside from not spitting into the wind or tugging on Superman’s cape, I’d say it was something my father used to say to me as a kid before leaving the house. He’d say, “bring some extra layers because you can always take it off, but you can’t put on what you don’t have”. I suppose this can apply to wedding photography too, bring extra pants in case you split yours on the dance floor!


What are your next career, photography, and/or personal goals?

I need to make time to do more personal work with regards to photography. It’s something I always want to do, but never seem to get started with. Baby steps I guess. Personally, I’d like to find pleasure in the simple things in life, and keep a more positive outlook with less worry.


Thank you, Todd!

Images taken by Todd and edited by Kate at The Image Salon.