Monday, December 23, 2013

Hanging Around

The holidays bring to the surface warm feelings, happy memories and loved ones from near and far. It's no different for us here at balance. Sometimes there tangible pieces to those memories - like a collection of Christmas ornaments.

We aren't designer tree types. We love the mix-up. Our Christmas tree has a smattering of Snoopy, cute animals, glittery bulbs and more. But five of our favorites are ornaments from clients' weddings over the years.

Each time we see this collection of ornaments, we remember the couples, their wedding day and how wonderful it was to be part of their story. And thus, they are part of our story, too - a part we reflect on every holiday.

Nathaniel and I have our own bit of sentiment on the tree from our wedding too. While our wedding was in October, we purposely chose a few pieces of decor that we knew would transfer to a Christmas tree. So our special day is part of the celebration, too.

In honor of this tradition, this year we made ornaments for our wedding clients. Each one is a different shape and showcases one image from their wedding, imprinted on recycled aluminum and hung with a white ribbon. Below is the ornament we gifted to Lori and John, who got married in June. :)

We want to extend our thanks to ALL of our friends and clients from 2013. You are ALL part of story, as we are yours. It has been an honor working with you this year and we look forward to the net chapter in 2014...

~Rissa & Nathaniel

Monday, July 8, 2013

Win Yourself Gorgeous!

All brides want to look their very best for the walk down the aisle. And we can think of no company more adept at making brides feel stunning than Up Do's for I Do's! We have worked with them for about a decade and have nothing but love for these talented ladies.

Now, they're giving away - that's right - for free - a bridal make-up! This is a huge deal!

So ladies, be sure to enter! The contest goes for about week. Submit today and get your friends and family online to vote!

~ Rissa

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tulip Paradise

If you have ever seen Sherwood Garden in the Guilford area of Baltimore during late April, it can only be described as tulip paradise. Each spring, the park comes alive in shades of pink, yellow, red and cream. The legendary tulip gardens date back to the the 1920's, when they were developed on the grounds of a filled-in pond by John Sherwood.

When Sherwood died in 1965, he left enough funds to continue the garden for one year. since then, it has been in the hands of Guilford residents for its care and maintenance.

Approximately 80,000 tulip bulbs are planted annually along with other spring flowering bulbs. Dogwoods, flowering cherries, wisteria and magnolias bloom throughout the garden.  2013 marks the 100th year of the Guilford community, and residents have created the Guilford Centennial. Part of this 100-year celebration is the continuation of the lush tulip gardens.

As a fundraiser for the garden, the Guilford Centennial created the Bloom candle in collaboration with Pritte. The candle is 100% organic, domestic beeswax and is scented with gardenia and tuberose, as well as undertones of royal green frankincense, myrrh, and white sage. It is designed to purify your living space with a light, floral fragance.

balance was honored to do the promotional photography for the Bloom candle. I can officially tell you that it smelled heavenly and even the box was gorgeous.

You can buy the Bloom candle from the Pritte website. It's available for pre-order right now and is well worth the asking price - especially as 20% of the fee goes directly to supporting Sherwood Garden.  We have had beeswax candles in the past, and they burn longer than regular candles and even longer than soy candles.

More than six acres in size, Sherwood Gardens has no gates, fences or other barriers. The public may stroll at leisure through the grounds. There is no admission charge and a reservation is not required. Sherwood Garden has always been at its best toward the end of April and beginning of May and after one visit, I know you will agree that this special public garden is worth your support - especially when you end up with an amazing candle as part of the process.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wait a Minute, Mr. Postman...

Sometimes the trickiest thing about getting professional promo photographs done is knowing what to do with them later. After all, how do you really go about promoting yourself?

There's social media, of course - like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram. And you can set up a personal website. What next, though? Because most likely, the folks who "friend" you on your social media already know you. You need to drive new people to those pages, make new connections. You need another way to show off your range, talent or product.

Many of our clients have had incredible success going the old fashioned route: postcards. There's a wonderful nostalgia and classiness to a paper postcard. It brings back memories of childhood vacations and greetings from family and friends.

Postcards can be an announcement, a thank-you or an introduction. There's nothing like a handwritten note to truly say you have invested time and care. Postcards imply a personal connection more than an email, Facebook post or Tweet ever could.

 Any mood can be created with a custom postcard mailer. You can say "Serious business person" ...

Or "Talented artist creating beautiful pieces of eco-friendly, one-of-a-kind jewelry"...

Or  "Fun, professional model with range to do lots of castings" ...

Or even "Delicious, handcrafted chocolates, perfect to make your loved one smile on Valentine's Day."

We love when we see our clients put their images to work for them. And we love creating, simple, classic postcards to help achieve their goals. Our in-house graphic designer makes all of balance's postcard designs from scratch, based on the needs and wants of the client.

Cards are then printed in batches of 100 or 500 on 100% recycled stock with vegetable inks to keep the carbon footprint of such a paper product in-check. The backs are blank, so cards can be mailed with personal messages or used at auditions, networking events, expos or any other business situation.

Sitting there thinking about your own headshots or promo/product shots? Get them out in the world! Gorgeous, custom and eco-friendly postcards are a terrific way to announce that you are ready to go!

~ Rissa

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vegas, Baby!

When  you're hot, you're hot. And our friend Ashley Riddle, owner at Up Do's for I Do's, is on fire. Working with her at weddings, headshots and boudoir shoots has been terrific.  When we met her back in 2007, she was working out of part of a room in her home. Now Ashley has 22 employees, a line of lip glosses and two commercial locations! We are so proud to see how her business has grown and grown. 

And as her business has grown, so has Ashley's incredible talent. Just ask Miss Maryland - Joanna Guy. After all, Joanna took Ashley along to the Miss America Contest earlier this month in Las Vegas to do her hair and make-up!
Ashley's most recent headshot by balance
Ashley and Joanna met last October at a charity event for Wedding411. Joanna was modeling a custom wedding gown by Ella Moda Couture in the theme of "Cinderella's Fairytale Wedding"; Ashley did her hair. In what seems like a very likely scenario, Joanna loved the updo Ashley created for her and asked if Ash would be her stylist in Las Vegas at the National Miss America competition.

Fast forward about three months, and Ashley found herself checking into the Planet Hollywood resort in Vegas, Baby! 

"It was such an honor to work with Joanna," Ashley told us over lunch recently. "The pageant was an incredible opportunity to do something outside of my usual weddings, events and photo shoots."

All the below images (framed in hot pink) were shot by Ashley in LasVegas on her iPhone during the pageaent earlier this month...

Joanna shows off her signature lip gloss color, above;  Backstage at Miss America, below

The photo above shows the huge ballroom on Planet Hollywood's mezzaine converted into a beauty-prep area for the televised contest. Ashley said it was astounding to see rows and rows of tables, each labeled with a state name, and all the beautiful women - 53 total - primping at the same time. "It looked like it was there job to be beautiful," Ashley said.

The first night, Ashley did Joanna's hair and make-up for the lifestyle and fitness category, sponsored by Catalina swimwear. The second night was the talent segment.  

Four shots of Joanna Guy and Ashley, hanging out backstage and around the Planet Hollywood Hotel in Las Vegas.

Miss Maryland, Joanna Guy, onstage at Miss America in Las Vegas.

Joanna Guy won the national talent competition at Miss America, wearing a stunning cream gown with a shimmering train and jewelry from Arabaseque. Joanna sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables.

"Chris and I bought tickets to see the talent competition," Ashley said. "Joanna told me that knowing I was in the audience meant a lot to her. Her voice was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes when she sang."

A stunning hairstyle by Ashley, modeled perfectly by Miss Maryland!

Ashley mixed Joanna's beauty looks a bit each evening. The first two nights, Ashley went with a soft updo, and romantic make-up. As the contest progressed, they decided to amp it up a little with upgraded lashes and airbrush make-up. Ashley's beauty bag contained products from Temptu, Nars, MAC, Tarte, Ardell Lashes and of course, Up Do's for I Do's brand lip glosses.

"I didn't know what to expect from a national-level pageant going into it. How much time we'd have, the workspace, lighting - all of it was unknown until I got there. But I had worked on Joanna's hair before and I knew she had beautiful skin. Honestly, she could have walked onstage with no hair or make-up and been stunning," Ashley said. "In the end, I didn't do a traditional pageant look. We kept it elegant, soft and pretty. "

While Miss Maryland didn't take home the national crown - that went to New York - she is a big winner in our book! She won several thousand in scholarship money to continue her education at Cornell. Joanna also got a national audience for her work on her platform, Jo's Jars, which is connected to the Children's Miracle Network and helps children recover from diseases by providing them with exceptional medical care.

We predict that many lucky brides will ask Ashley & the Up Do's team  to replicate Miss Maryland's glamorous Vegas look this spring and summer! 

Congrats to both Ashley and Joanna on a job well done! You make Maryland proud, ladies!
~ Rissa

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Turn on the Telly ~

It's inspiring how *totally famous* our clients are! Today, we're eager to tune in to MPT and see Gayle Becker, owner & business advisor at The Entrepreneur's Source, on “Your Money and Business” at 7:30 p.m.

We met Gayle last fall at an event hosted by the Balitmore Business Journal and later worked with her on some casual headshots, as well as a fun family portrait session with her husband and children.

Gayle will be featured in a discussion with host Jeff Salkin about purchasing franchise businesses.   MPT is Channel 22 on Comcast and available in most of the Baltimore and Washington area.  You can determine whether you can view MPT by checking out this website.   If you miss the live broadcast, beginning next Tuesday, January 15 you will be able to view the program on MPT’s website page for the "Your Money and Business" show.

Congrats, Gayle! We're excited you have this incredible opportunity!


Monday, January 7, 2013

BMI Wedding Show!

Tomorrow evening is the annual Bridal Showcase at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. We love the show at this fun, funky venue overlooking the Harbor. Where else can you go on a Tuesday night to eat free wedding cake, taste gourmet catering and do it all while viewing the Baltimore skyline?

The Bridal Event is free to attend with free parking. That alone is reason enough to check it out if you're in the market for wedding vendors.

Plus, we have extra love for the BMI Bridal Showcase...

Because they have a photo of Nathaniel at our booth promoting the show! Thanks, y'all!

In addition to meeting us at the show, you can also meet a few of our other favorite vendors including Dudley's Desserts and MLC Designs.

The Showcase is from 5:30pm to 8pm, and the Balitmore Museum of Industry is located at 1415 Key Highway, Baltimore MD 21230. 

See you there!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Poems, on Pointe...

Working with so many creatives is one of the blessings of our job as photographers.  Actors, writers, chefs, painters, models and crafters all need professional pictures. And at balance we love providing them with personalized shoots to promote their art!

We've been lucky enough to work with dancer Samantha, the creative director/founder at the New Chicago Dance Studio, for many, many years. In fact, we first met her shooting her engagement photos and headshots -- waaayyyy back in 2004, almost a decade ago! Check it out: this headshot was made on Ilford Black &White 35mm film... those were the days.

It's been inspiring to watch Samantha make her dreams come true. When we met, she was new to the area and getting started here. Within a few years, she had founded her very own dance company and in 2009, she got her own commercial studio space! Now, the New Chicago Dance Studio offers classes for youth, adults and has a youth dance company. They are located at 7505 Greenway Center Drive, Suite 203, Greenbelt, MD 20770.

Samantha is just as gorgeous now as she was in 2004, but when she called us to shoot the promo picts for NCDS's new production, an Ode to an Ode, she decided to go with another dancer as model. Who is also lovely! The pictures were done on-location at Centennial Park in Clarksville, MD last summer. The show is a collection of dances inspired by classic and modern poets, and performed by students, teachers and guests of the New Chicago Dance Studio.

You can still buy tickets for the performance tomorrow night, January 8th, 2013, at 8pm. Students & seniors are $15 and adults are $20 with general admission seating. The show will be at the Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Road, Cheverly, MD 20784.

Thanks for sticking with balance these last nine years, Samantha! We're so proud of all you have accomplished!!!  Can't wait to see the show - and learn what's next for you!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Starting 2013... with Flowers

Everyone can enjoy flowers, especially in the middle of winter, when the world is gray outside and the only color nature has to offer is maybe white snow. We love flowers. And we're proud to share that two of our flower images have recently been published in national bridal magazine, Eco-Beautiful Weddings.

On pages 50 and 51, two of our 2013 bouquets got some ink. First, on page 50, bride Beth's bouquet from June; it was created by Intrigue Designs in Annapolis. The eco-feature everyone loved best was the set of heirloom brooches included with the blooms.

On page, 51, a full sheet of the magazine was devoted to the exotic, earthy bouquet done for Udara in October by Local Color Flowers. Each flower was locally grown - lessening the carbon footprint of this bouquet. It was also designed to dry well, so it could be enjoyed for years to come.

Both the brides and designers - as well as balance -  are delighted to be part of this exciting publication. Eco-Beautiful Weddings is devoted to showing brides that weddings can be green and stylish.

Thanks Eco-Beautiful! We're thrilled to be part of the magazine!