Category Archives: Portraits

We Have Entered the Era of the Photographic Lost Generation

We are taking photos more than ever, but they’re nearly all digital files with very few tangible prints being produced. By now we know that digital never means safe, yet millions of memories are currently being entrusted to servers, clouds and phones. The risk could be felt by our entire generation, as we grow up without a printed, photographic record of our lives. The most photographed generation of all time could wind up being the next Lost Generation.

The Need for a Movement 

It’s not just affecting today’s youth. 42% of people between the ages of 30 and 44 will likely look back and wonder where photos of their childhood, holiday get-togethers, relatives and friends have gone decades from now1, and, reportedly, 67% store their photos solely on a computer or phone. Statistics show that a staggering 53% of consumers have not printed a photo in more than 12 months, 70% don’t have photo albums, and 42% no longer print photos at all.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We know that everything from candles, bicycles and vinyl albums have survived the “disruption” caused by technological advancements. We have to remember the value and importance of printed, framed, and mounted photographs in our lives and for the generations after us. Children love to see images of themselves around the house, newlyweds have fond moments when they see their wedding photo on the mantle or walls, and our most beloved pets are sealed in time…all thanks to the power of print.

Print. The Movement

That’s why PPA, along with leading photography industry partners, has created PRINT. The Movement. The movement’s mission is to educate photographers and consumers alike on the value and importance of printed photographs. For consumers, it’s an awareness campaign designed to help consumers see the value in showcasing and preserving their lives or their families’ lives with high-quality prints, albums, and all types of displays from professional photographers and photographic suppliers. For photographers, it’s a chance to show their community and their clients that they know what it takes to create a finished product that speaks much louder than a digital file and that will withstand the test of time.


Be More Proactive 

How can you ensure your memories last for generations? Start by finding the right photographer. PPA photographers spend endless amounts of time and effort perfecting their craft and working harmoniously with their clients. When you need a photographer for that special day or special time in your lives, finding the right one can make all the difference. Once you find him or her, then it’s time to find out about their expertise with print art. Here’s a few questions to guide you through:

Does the photographer offer print art?

Does the photographer have examples of their print art you can review?

Does the photographer use quality paper?

Can the photographer offer quality options within your price range?

Can the photographer show you how the art would look in your very own home?

If you do the right research, you’ll be glad you made the effort. The perfect photographer will also be glad that you are interested in quality work and print art. Together, you and your photographer can create beautiful pieces for your home and for your family.

1 2015 nationwide survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America (PPA)

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clarkston family session john ransom

I was so excited to meet up with the Perkaj family for a family photography session on October 7th at Independence Oaks Park in Clarkston, Michigan.

This family is particularly special to me because of the personal connection that we share. Megan is the stepdaughter of my wife’s best friend from high school (Diana). She and her husband, Alfred, were high school sweethearts and have been together ever since they were teenagers. Now, they have two kids: Johnny, who is 6 years old, and Frankie, who is 8.

Two years ago, I was able to do family photographs for the four of them, so I was absolutely flattered when they asked me if I would be willing to do it again. It’s always an honor when a family wants to come back, because it speaks to their trust in me as well as their satisfaction with the work I’ve done. I never take that for granted. But with Megan, I was particularly touched, because she told me outright, “You capture my family so well, I wouldn’t use anyone else.”

The day of the session was one of those beautiful autumn days in Michigan. The light was that perfect autumn gold as it filtered through the changing leaves. Lucky for us, an hour later, the skies opened up and it poured. We managed to sneak our session in between the raindrops.

These two boys are little hams in front of the camera, so I had a hard time narrowing down the photos for the ones I wanted to use for this blog. Johnny in particular is like a little GQ model; I don’t think I could take a bad photo of him if I tried.

The whole session was fun, and I always have a blast with this family, but one of my favorite images of the whole day was of Megan and Alfred. Although the kids were the center of the fun, I loved I was able to get time with just the two of them to be relaxed and in love and to show off their genuine connection.

Perkaj family, thank you for asking me to photograph the four of you again. I loved getting to see you all and spend the day with you!

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clarkston senior session john ransom

I met up with Avery on August 31st for a senior session in downtown Clarkston.

This was a special session for me, because I know Avery’s father, Thom. It meant a lot to me that my friend trusted me enough to ask me to photograph his daughter’s senior session. I take that trust very seriously.

Avery is a senior at Lakeland High School and is looking forward to graduation, though she still isn’t sure where she will go to college. She was a little shy when we started the session, but after I had shown her a couple photos from the back of my camera, she smiled and said, “Yes, I like those.”

Later in the session, after I showed Thom a photo from the camera, he said, “I’ve never seen my daughter more beautiful.”

clarkston senior session john ransom

I was stunned—and completely flattered—by the sincere compliment to my work. Of course, I only did part of the work: Avery is simply a beautiful model.

This session was also the first time I had met Avery’s mother, Carrie, and I was so impressed with how much Thom and Carrie pitched in to help Avery be comfortable and have the best session possible. Carrie was such a good sport to help me out by becoming my portable light stand, holding the light and reflector where and when I asked her too. She also helped Avery out with her hair and threw out some posing ideas as we worked. I love it when the parents get involved in sessions like that!

We were able to get some great images around the downtown area, including one by a mural at the back of a new Clarkston restaurant, but one of my favorites was at the very end of the day. It was a spur of the moment kind of decision when we decide to go for the sunset image, and I love the way it turned out.

Thom & Carrie, thank you for trusting me to take Avery’s senior photos. You have an amazing daughter and a beautiful family, and I honestly enjoyed spending the day with you.

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If you’re preparing for a photo session with your children, you may be feeling a bit apprehensive. Children aren’t always easy to deal with, which is why the below tips will definitely come in handy before your upcoming photo session.

  1. Don't make a huge deal out of it. If you're stressed out and cranky, your kids will usually pick up on it and act accordingly. Their behavior will usually be better if you are relaxed and having fun. You may have to make some compromises to keep the peace such as letting your energetic daughter's hair stay straight instead of curling it into because she won't sit still. Focus on the big picture and don't sweat the small stuff.
  2. Make it fun. Let the kids have a couple “fun pictures” where they get to pick their own pose or props. You get to keep the more serious photos while they get to keep their silly photos. This way everyone wins. If you are struggling to get your kids to sit still, turn the photo session into a game. Simon Says usually works like a charm.
  3. Be prepared. If you're going to be out for several hours, ensure that your children are well rested and have had their nap. Bringing some snacks and activities along is also a great idea. If you are having your own photos taken too then you might want to bring a babysitter or family member along to watch the kids. If you happen to be shooting in a remote location, you never know when you might need something like bug spray, tissues or a first aid kit so bring that along too.
  4. Be patient. Save your sanity by trying not to control the photo session too much. Sometimes the best photos come from kids just doing their own thing. Work with your photographer and your photos will look fantastic.
  5. Have a chat. Get your children talking to both you and the photographer about topics such as school or their favorite songs. This allows them to feel more comfortable around your photographer and will also give your photographer a chance to capture a few candid and cute expressions.