Friday, January 31, 2014

Funds for our Fastest Friends

Some of your best friends have four legs. We know. We feel the same way. Our retired racing greyhound, Lochrima, is a wonderful pal. Life would not be the same without her around. Our clients and guests have enjoyed her gentle company for the past 9 years, as have total strangers who meet her in passing.

Like many greyhounds, she is graceful, kind and affectionate. A truly remarkable companion. But she's a lucky dog. Not all racing greyhound make it to a loving home or comfy retirement.

Which is why we are always happy to support various greyhound rescue and adoption groups that need help fundraising. Recently, Colorado Greyhound Adoption reached out to let us know they were doing and online auction to raise funds for more rescue-hounds. In 2012, Colorado Greyhound Adoption found homes for 154 retired racers. Caring for all these hounds and getting them ready for retirement cost $80,000 in veterinary bills.

Of course we sent an item: one of Nathaniel's 10x10 canvas wraps of an angel greyhound racing among the clouds. And there are loads of other great items available to help with worthy cause. If Colorado Greyhound Adoption is lucky, this auction may raise as much as $8,000, as past auctions have, to help with vet care and other needs for track dogs in 2014.

Please take a moment to log onto the auction, hosted by 2Hounds Designs, and see if there are any items there for a hound or pet-lover in your life. After all, Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and Mother's Day is not too far off, either.

We especially liked the necktie, rake tray, art tile and fancy collar. Lochrima would look just lovely in that…don't you think?

The auction ends on Monday February 3rd, so please log on and bid generously! Your contribution may mean all the difference in the world for a retired racer like Lochrima!

~ Rissa

Saturday, January 25, 2014

One Secret to Success...

2014 marks balance photography’s 10th year with the Catonsville Chamber of Commerce and our 14th year in business. We have been doing the Chamber's photography since 2008 and won their President's Award in 2009. And this year, at the Chamber's 1st monthly meeting, Nathaniel was able to stand before the group and share a little bit about why we are so loyal to the organization.

Chamber Director Teal Cary talks to the crowd.

from his speech...
"More of our jobs come from direct person-to-person referrals than any other source. In 2013, 17% of our jobs came from Chamber referrals ~ our largest source of referrals overall!

Back when we first joined the Chamber in 2004, we expected instant results. We thought that joining our local Chamber of Commerce made us more "professional and serious" than other photographers. But oddly, that  membership alone didn’t result in phones ringing off the hook. In fact, we mailed in the check and nothing happened.

It didn’t take us long to discover that real people make decisions based on real contact

We became involved, volunteering for bag-stuffing before the Arts Festival and Frederick Road Fridays, joining committees, and attending networking events. We met wonderful people who have hired and referred us for years. The Chamber has brought us all kinds of jobs – headshots, political events, family portraits, commercial product shoots, food photography, and weddings, parties and galas.

More than any other group of people we networked with in the past 14 years we’ve been in business, Catonsvlle Chamber of Commerce members have provided our company with a steady stream of quality clients and referrals. Even many individuals who move from Catonsville area businesses continue to send us jobs from the new companies they work for within the region."

Nathaniel giving his presentation. Cameras DO make great accessories, by the way...
 In short, balance would not be the vital, successful company that it has become without the Chamber or its members. We are grateful to Director Teal Cary, as well as ALL the good folks at the Catonsville Chamber for their continuing support of our company and the other outstanding small businesses in our town. 

~ Rissa

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We're Judging You

Okay, it's not realllly like that. We were judging a print competition at the Baltimore Camera Club

Photos from this event were shot by our assistant, Jess. :)

2014 marks our sixth year serving as guest judges for the Club, and this time the talent proved to be quite fantastic, as always! Nathaniel & I judged four sets of prints: Novice Monochrome (black & white); Novice Color; Unlimited Monochrome and Unlimited Color. We had favorites, as did the third judge, who is a Service Photo employee in Hampden. There were ties for first, second and third almost every time!

As usual, the judging was done in a darkened room where the only light is from the area displaying the photographs. Judges do not talk to each other; instead, we voted silently using and electronic button attached to a score-keeping box. Images were awarded first through fifth places, and there was one honorable mention. 

Here Nathaniel is awarding someone 1 point. 

After each category, judges were allowed to give feedback to the winners. There were many examples of exceptional creativity, technical skill and innovative composition. In fact, I had to track one of the winners down - his image of a cat in a windowsill was so original, I have to have a print of it! Sorry, we can't share it here, that image doesn't belong to us ~ but here is link of the winners - the 1st place Monochrome Novice - that's the one!!!

That's Nathaniel and I in the middle. 

The Club has been around since 1884 and is the oldest Camera Club in the United States today. They embrace all photographers - from absolute beginner to seasoned expert and offer something for everyone. Meetings are free to attend, however to enter competitions or attend lectures, there is a $50.00 membership fee per year. It's a steal, really! Check out  upcoming programs on their website schedule. Noted landscape photographer Marc Muech will be presenting to their group on March 15th - worth attending for those into landscape subject matter!  

The Baltimore Camera Club meets every Thursday at Mount Washington United Methodist Church, 5800 Cottonworth Ave. Baltimore MD 21209. It's just near the Whole Foods in Mt. Washington and there's plenty of free parking.

We love the Baltimore Camera Club - it's exciting to see the passion other photographers have for our art form and encourage them to grow and keep learning more of their craft.

Thanks for having us back! ~ Rissa

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shooting Birdies

Headshots are used by all kinds of folks. Actors come to mind first, though, and some our dramatic talent clientele just have the coooolest jobs!

Take Leigh Brooks for example...

She's not any regular actor. She's a voice-over specialist. You can hear her narrating books-on-tape, doing political ads and even giving life to animated characters.

At her headshot she told us about a project she did with the National Wildlife Federation, narrating several characters for a Ranger Rick app. That's right - Ranger Rick! You remember that from elementary school, right?

The app is called "Click the Birdie" and the basic idea is that children can select a different region of North America and "photograph" birds on their iPad by tapping on the screen, which simulates a camera viewfinder.

Each time a bird is "shot" by the child playing the game, an info screen comes up and a short "bio" of the birdie is displayed.

When children visit different regions in the Click the Birdie game, a host tells them about the native birds that live there and offer other fun facts. Leigh voiced several of these adorable characters!

You can buy Click the Birdie for only $.99. And honestly, it's fun for adults too. We both found the advanced level challenging to keep up with!

Thanks Leigh for trusting us with your headshots - and for telling us about Click the Birdie!
We've had fun playing it and know that other families will enjoy it, too ~ it's fast paced, educational, colorful and a blast!

~ Rissa

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Love for Oprah

There was a time when the Oprah show ruled, well, everything. It seemed like any book, food, person who made it onto the Oprah show or into her magazine was instantly "made." Just look at Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. Know what I mean?

One of our headshot clients, Tamara, recently had her headshot and profile featured by Oprah! All we can say is WOW!!! Super exciting! Tamara, we hope that this experience helps bolster you too - both in your career and personally. How many folks can even relate to something this awesome?

Thanks for sharing the photo, Tamara. This "backstage" peek into an Oprah production is very cool, too!

Want another look at Tamara? Here's one of her lovely headshots, with hair and make-up by Maeion Bryant.

Congrats, Tamara!
~ Rissa