Making Halloween Safe For All

Halloween is a fun time for kids to use their imagination and dress up as fairytale characters. And some kids have really great imaginations. We offer a free mini session to capture your little one in costume. This year on Friday October 31st we are trading a mini session and 5x7 print for a donation of two non-perishable food items for the Springs Rescue Mission. For a list of most needed food items the info on our blog specials & info page.  

We are also photographing pets in costume so if your pet looks cute in a costume you can bring them as well. We are scheduling these even though they are short—so no one is standing around. You will be able to make your choice of pose right after your session. If you are interested make sure you call (719.475.0160) soon as the sessions slots are filling quickly. 

If you are taking your child around this year make sure you follow a few guidelines to make your Halloween safe as well as fun. If your child is less than a teenager then adult supervision is a must, especially after dark. Too many unsavory types out this time of year for a child to be safely on their own. Of course make sure they can see out of their costume for safety crossing streets in the dark. Pets need safety too. We discuss this on our Springs Pet Portraits blog site as well. Basically we recommend pets staying at home for their safety and if going to always be on a leash. Did you know that many types of sugar substitutes commonly found in candies are poisonous to your pet? So keeping pets away from candy is very important. It’s not just chocolate that can make your pet very sick.

We hope to see you next Friday if you’d like a portrait of either your child or your pet. But most of all we want to see you safe this season!

Categorized In: children in costume | children portraits in colorado springs | pets in costume

Outdoor Portraits Part II

So you want an outdoor portrait. As previously discussed we’ve covered clothing and planning ahead with children for location portraits. Timing is another important factor for outdoor portraits—whether you are in a public park or in your yard. 

Sometimes the best timing for you and the best timing for outdoor lighting is worlds apart. Of course when you have young children involved it’s always a good idea to try to get on their schedule. However if you are aiming for some particular bit of scenery to be spotlighted by great lighting then you need to plan ahead. Let’s take Garden of the God’s park here in town as an example. You can get great lighting on the East side of the park with a nicely lit Pike’s Peak in the background only in the morning. If you are aiming for those cool rock structures on the West side try for the afternoon. And we want to make sure if possible that the light isn't directly into your eyes so you are squinting in the photo.

That said, the light changes throughout the year by a few hours early and late in the day so that also has to be factored in. This time of year the best outdoor portraits tend to be created either between 8-10 in the morning or 4-5 in the afternoon. The sun begins to dip over the trees heading toward Pike’s Peak around 6. Now the time changes in a few weeks so there will be even less daylight then the best afternoon light dims out around 5.

Thinking of scheduling an outdoor portrait? We photograph outdoors year round when the weather cooperates. Find your best location and watch the light then let us know and we will get it scheduled. 

Categorized In: fall family portraits | family outdoor portraits | outdoor portraits in colorado springs

Difference Between Hiring A Pro and An Amateur

What is the difference between hiring a profesisonal photographer and hiring an amateur? Well price is one thing--but even that doesn't cover it--let's dig deeper. Many people wonder why hiring a professional photographer is so expensive? You think to yourself--"Come on, they have the same camera as I do," right? Well no, most likely not, but even if they did you need to factor in years of education, equipment such as cameras, lenses, lighting, backdrops and props. Then there is insurance (equipment and liability) overhead such as studio space rental, computers and pro software, professional associations, continuing education and on and on and on..

But--setting all that aside for the moment you need to understand that professional photography is a customized, highly personalized experience. Clients get to help design their finished piece of artwork that they will cherish for years to come. Chainstore portriat studios bring in the cookie cutter approach where the customer chooses little if anything beyond the final prints. With custom portraiture the photographer goes through the entire experience with you and helps you realize your vision in the final art.

Well you say, can't my cousin with the camera provide the same thing? Well if your cousin with the camera has the skill level, lighting equipment and know-how he or she might be able to come close to the same experience. But then there is the final product. Most amateurs will burn you a disk of all the images--unedited but the whole take. Great, you now have all the images --for a low dollar amount too! Wow, how cool is that? You just saved yourself a lot of money! What to do now? Oh, okay, share some online with family and friends--only it's a struggle for you to figure out how to resize the large image files. Maybe you'll just take them to the corner drugstore for prints. Do you print all of them? It seems like there is a lot and you may not want them all. Oh well you can always sort them later. So you stick the disk in a drawer to worry about later.

Maybe you're one of those people really on top of things. You will get some prints made for only $1 or $2 dollars for 5x7s. But wait--maybe a large one over the couch or the fireplace would be good. Yes, a nice 8x10 would look wonderful there. So you get one or two 8x10's printed. Go purchase frames and get home to realize that the 8x10's suddenly look very small over the couch. So you go back to get something larger, but 8x10 is as large as they print so they send off for a nice 16x20. So you get it and then you need to go to another store to figure out a frame but the print gets kind of bent between here and there. Well no worries you found a nice cheap frame at a discount hobby store. So you purchase that and add in the slightly bent 16x20 and put it over the sofa. Wow, it looks wonderful. Well, the faces are a little in shadow and the focus isn't quite sharp but no worries you saved money, right? Except in a few years you notice it fading. So what to do? Get another one, except now you cannot locate the disk. If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.

Cell phones and point and shoot images--even photos from your cousin with a camera are awesome for day to day moments. But when it comes to the milestones in your life-- when you want a nice archival piece of artwork in your home, why not hire a professional photographer? You'll be glad you did. Professional Photographer's of America produced a short video on the difference between the two--you can view it here on this blog. 

Categorized In: professional portrait photographer in colorado springs

Portrait of the Month-September


Portraits of couples are always enjoyable to do. What makes it even more satisfying is having the opportunity of creating a portrait of someone who has been together for a few years. Once you pass certain milestones in adulthood, portraits are taken with less frequency. Which is unfortunate because though we don't change as rapidly as adults as we did as children we do still age and capturing a moment in time is great for a lasting legacy for relatives.

And why not enjoy a nice piece of art in the here and now? This couple wanted a nice portrait of themselves along with their aging dog. After photographing the three of them they wanted some images taken of just them as a couple. We did both formal as well as more casual portraits (such as the one pictured here). 

At Tara Patty Photography we like to say we specialize in Memory Insurance. What is that? Well it's helping families preserve the important memories for the future. We do this through creating fine art portraits of you and your loved ones. It's great to get holiday cards each year with a snapshot of a family member but why not share a nice portrait with your relatives from time to time? And hey--it's okay to have a nice portrait of your own to enjoy.

Cell phone snaps and quick digital images are great for immediate sharing with friends and relatives --but what happens if you want something more permanent? What happens if you have a fire or a loved one passes unexpectedly? Can you locate all those images and create prints with some longevity? That's why we believe so firmly in printed products. What's the first ting many people take with them during a natural disaster or fire? Their photo albums--only those are getting harder and harder to find as we no longer keep printed records of our photographs. Having an archival piece of art to pass down to the next generation is simply priceless.

Thinking of having a portrait made? Email us or call the studio @719.475.0160 and we'll set up a pre-session consultation for you.

Categorized In: photos of people | pictures of families in colorado springs | portraits of couples in colorado springs

What Makes A Great Black and White Portrait?

It used to be that if you wanted a black and white photograph you used black and white film. Now with digital much as changed. But has it really? Sure with Instagram and other photo Apps you can literally push a button and convert a photo to black and white. But is that always a good thing? What exactly makes a good black and white photograph?

In the film days a good photographer chose their film based on the subject. If they wanted photos taken in low lighting they would choose a higher ISO rated film (like 800, 1600 or even 3200). If the subject was fast moving such as sports then a "faster" film with a high ISO rating was also chosen. For a portrait with great lighting or even a landsacpe the photographer often went wiht a very low rated film like 50 or even 25. A photographer also chose film based on other attributes than the ISO rating--some films were higher in contrat and grittier in look (due mostly to the grain). Other films offered a "smoother" look.

Well with digital we all pretty much rely on the camera's sensor as our "film." You can custom set your ISO and a few things but that's pretty much it. The difference lies in great lighting and good post production or "processing" the digital negative.

A good black and white photographer should pay attention to light and shadow. A compelling black and white offers various shades of gray and often one pure white and one pure black area on the print. Good lighting helps greatly here--be it natural or artifical. If a scene is all about color it will not necessrily translate to a good black and white phoptograph. Many color tones convert to the same shade of gray in black and white --that's why few outdoor portraits with say a family near foilage look good in black and white. Why is this? The family might be wearing blue jeans and have blue, green, red, or orange shirts on--the foilage is green. The resiult is often a gray mess--everything is pretty much the same tone. Now an amateur photographer will just try to "fix" this in post production by dramatically increasing the contrast but "blowing" the highlights thus ending with something less than desirable. A true pro understands the need for light and shadow and good combination of color to translate into black and white and plans accordingly.

This is why black and white photography is not necessarily easier and often can be more difficult than color photography. Sure you can just push a button to convert from one to the other but the result may not be as compelling or dramatic as you envisioned. You must learn to think in terms of black and white from the beginning and plan from there.

This is why why most of our black and white portraits are done in studio -- we can control the lighting and the background. With good planning during the pre-session consultation we can choose the correct wardrobe to suit the portrait. Black and white photography is all about the subject, made more noticable through light and shadow. Thinking of having us create a black and white portrait for you? Email us or call 719.475.0160 and we'll work with you to create a wonderful portrait.

Categorized In: black and white photography | black and white pictures | black and white portraits in colorado springs

Outdoor Fall Family Portraits

Fall is a magical time—though we don’t get quite as much color here in the Rockies as in some states we do get some beautiful vistas. This year we are offering two weekend dates for our Fall Family Special. Saturday September 27 and Saturday October 11. We are offering a special session fee of only $79 and this includes an 8x10 print. Holiday cards and other products will be available at a special price for this event. Many of our families love outdoor portraits especially as holiday cards.

How Do You Plan An Outdoor Portrait?

Planning ahead for portraits whether inside or out is a great idea. Clothing particularly is important, it should match a natural environment. What does this mean? Well earth tones work well, as do darker greens and blues. Bright colors such as red or orange aren’t recommended as they compete with the colors of the fall backgrounds and distract the eye from your final portraits. Your clothing should be casual to fit with an outdoor environment. Wear clothing that won’t hurt if you should need to kneel or sit on the ground. We go to well established parks so we won’t be off the beaten path by far. We do recommend only one outfit as it gets time consuming and complicated to change either in a car or in park restrooms.

Even though we strive to keep these special outdoor sessions short (30 minutes or so) we recommend bringing water to keep hydrated. Also any special snacks for your child is always a good idea. Toys, however, aren’t recommended as it adds another layer of distraction to your child.

Let’s Plan Your Outdoor Portrait Today

Interested in taking advantage of this great special? Email us or call the studio @719.475.0160. We are offering only a limited number of these special sessions so book yours today!



Categorized In: fall family portraits | family outdoor portraits | outdoor portraits in colorado springs

Outdoor Portraits With Pets

Outdoor portraits here in Colorado are really a no brainer—so much cool scenery to choose from. We get a lot of requests for outdoor family portraits and sometimes the family wants to add in their dog, after all they’re part of the family. There is a reason why 99% of our pet portraits are in studio—pets, especially dogs can be easily distracted. Can you say squirrel?

That doesn’t mean it cannot be done, just that there need to be a little planning involved. Going to a place familiar to your dog is always a good idea—that way they don’t feel the need to spend a huge amount of time smelling all the new smells in the area. Sometimes though, this is just not possible. For example the couple pictured were from out of town visiting the Springs. Their dogs weren’t familiar with Garden of the God’s but they wanted them in the photograph anyway.

The couple arrived early at the park and checked out the area with their dogs. The dogs were a little more comfortable by the time the photography started but still the golden was distracted by squirrels. Since I knew in advance that we were photographing a couple with two dogs outdoors I brought an assistant with treats who used those to distract the dogs long enough for the portraits to be taken. 

When photographing pets outdoors it’s important to remember a few things. One, make sure your pet is on leash—even though they may be well behaved, an unknown area with distractions like wildlife can prove too much to resist. We will work to minimize the leash showing in the photographs so don’t overly stress about having them on leash.  Also we ask that you bring not only treats but water for your pets. Even if it’s not a hot day they will get stressed and over worked and need water. We need to also watch the time of day—if it’s overly hot for humans imagine having fur in heat! 

We love photographing people with their pets and don’t mind doing family portraits outdoors with pets if we can plan enough ahead to be prepared. For more on our Pet Portraits be sure to check out our new pet photo site Springs Pet Portraits.

Categorized In: outdoor portraits in colorado springs | pet portrait photographer in colorado springs | pet portraits outdoors