Engagement Photography Tips, Article 2

Are You Serious?

If you are — don’t be! When you go out to have your engagement photos taken by a friend, you need to have a good time. Focus solely on your fiancé and your love for them. Enjoy spending time with them! Too many people focus on the camera and get nervous and uptight: and it shows in the photos.

Hopefully your fiancé is the only person in the world that can help you forget about everything else – which would include the camera…

Do Your Homework

Planning for an engagement session will usually improve the quality of the results. Here are a few steps I would suggest you take as you begin planning:

Run Google searches for “engagement photography” and “engagement photos.” Look for images that you think you and fiancé could imitate. Print off about 20 of your favorite images. Go over them with your fiancé and narrow the list down to the ones that both of you really like and think will be possible. Then, show those to your friend who will be taking your pictures. Whittle the samples down even further based upon their thoughts and feedback. Try to end up with 5 or 10 sample images that everyone is excited about.

Look closely at those sample photos to see what types of location are being used and what the lighting looks like. A lot of engagement photos are taken in either a park or city location. I would suggest driving around and scouting possible photo locations for the session. But don’t just do a “drive-by scouting”! Get out of your car with your camera and take actual photos inside each park of the locations you think would work best. Compare your snapshots with the sample photos you printed off.

You can also do internet research by looking at the web sites of local wedding photographers. While your previous search for engagement photography would have returned nation-wide results, the goal of this research is to see where the local wedding pros are shooting their engagement sessions. You’ll likely recognize some of the parks and buildings that they are working in and near.

Lots of Photos

Hopefully your friend will be using a digital camera. That way they can take lots of images without worry about film expense. Sometimes the difference between an average photo and a great photo is simply changing the angle and perspective of the camera!

This point was really driven home to me with some recent engagement photo sessions I have done. I am in the process of creating an eBook to help couples take top-notch engagement photos. I had another photographer help me out with several engagement sessions. Together, we shot about 600 photos during each two-hour engagement session. During the session, I would often setup and take photos of the couple. While I was doing so my assistant would be moving around and photographing the same scene at different angles. Afterwards, I would look at the photos I took and also some of the side-angles my assistant shot at those same times–and there is often a night and day difference between the two. The couple didn’t move or change their pose; the only difference was the angle at which the image was taken!

So, once you have found a good location for your photo session and you and your fiancé are in position — let your photographer snap away! Don’t limit the shots they’re taking!

And again: have fun with the session. Smile a ton. Laugh a lot. Make the photo session a special memory that you and your fiancé will share for a lifetime.

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A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006

Credit Card Debt Consolidation – The Hidden Dangers

Credit card debt consolidation sounds great, pay off high interest bills, but credit card debt consolidation has hidden dangers that you must be aware of before you proceed. Drowning in debt can be frustrating and anxiety filled but make sure the relief you seek is truly beneficial to you, let’s discuss what to watch out for.

Credit card debt consolidation loans offer the ability to swoop in and pay off your high interest card debt, allowing you to apply more of your payments towards your balance owed and seize control of your finances back from your creditors. It seems like an easy choice on the surface, and in most cases it is beneficial but there are some common financial traps you must avoid if you get a consolidation loan.

Remember that your new loan is just that, a loan, with financing fees and charges for the approval of your new consolidation loan. This in and of itself is normal, but be wary of companies that charge very high financing charges for the privilege of your loan. You may be reducing your rates with the new loan but there is no reason that you should pay more than you have to finance your consolidation.

Many credit card debt consolidation companies will offer to negotiate settlement of your debt on your behalf with your creditor. What this means is they will negotiate with your debt holder to have a portion of your debt forgiven in return for an immediate pay off of the remaining amount with the consolidation loan. This is very commonly accepted by credit card companies for delinquent accounts as they would rather write off the debt and get paid a little than risk your bankruptcy and non payment in full.

If you choose to settle your credit card debt, simply be aware of the tax ramifications for doing so, forgiven debt is typically looked upon as income come tax time with the IRS. For large settlements you might wish to seek the consultation of an accountant or tax attorney in order to receive a professional consult for your situation.

Also be aware of the affect settlement and consolidation will have on your credit score. You may already have bad credit, and are not in the process of rebuilding yet, then this won’t concern you much. Settlement of your debt has a negative impact on your credit score, and can take years to rebuild from.

Lastly, always be sure to work with a reputable and trusted online credit card debt consolidation company. There are many services fighting for your business, some promise more than they can deliver. There are companies that have earned their trust over many years through hard work and service to people just like you, stick with them for your next consolidation loan.

How to Know If a Woman’s Attracted: The 5 Signals

Maybe she’s that waitress at the local café. Or maybe she’s a coworker or classmate or even the friend you’ve always secretly had a crush on. Regardless who she is, if you like her, then you want to know if the feeling’s mutual.

Lucky for you, all women give off signals when they’re attracted. Most guys never pick up on these signals. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could easily overlook these secret signals, as well. And you probably already have. You have probably let countless women slip through your fingers in the past because you failed to see the signals.

But you’re never going to make that mistake again. By learning the 5 most common-but least understood-signals of female attraction, you are prepared to get the girl. Just look for 1 of these 5 signals, and then make your move. It’s as simple as that!

1.) She says your name a lot in conversation

If you find a woman saying your name in conversation, there’s a good possibility she has feelings for you. When someone has feelings for another person, the sound of that person’s name gives them a little emotional rush. (Just think of children in the schoolyard writing their crush’s name in their notebooks!) While adults don’t skip around the playground and chant their crush’s name, they do unconsciously say it whenever they can. So if she says your name a lot, there’s a good chance she’s attracted to you.

2.) She fidgets with her hair

When a woman plays with her hair, it often means she’s turned on. It’s a grooming reflex: primate females groom themselves for males before mating. (If you want proof, just go to your local zoo!) Thus, if you catch a woman stroking her hair as she talks to you, it means you’re probably arousing her interests.

3.) She breaks eye contact first

Poets say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, her eyes are also a window into her feelings. It’s a well known fact that eye contact signifies confidence. And confidence is nothing more than comfort in one’s status. So, for example, if you were training some new entry level employees at your job, then you’d probably feel very confident in holding strong eye with all of them. If, however, you were having a business with your boss’ boss, then you probably wouldn’t feel as comfortable maintaining strong eye contact (since your boss’ boss has higher status). Likewise, if you notice a woman continually breaking eye contact first, she’s probably nervous with attraction for you.

4.) She gets carried away with emotion sometimes around you

A major misconception most guys have of women is that they need to “like” you to feel attraction. Just think of all the bad boys who do amazing with women! Now, you don’t need to become a “bad boy” just to attract women; however, you shouldn’t be discouraged is a woman isn’t always in a peachy mood around you. In fact, it’s better if she’s not! A woman would never waste her emotions on a guy she didn’t like. So if she sometimes gets frustrated with you or even angry at you, it’s a good thing.

5.) She speaks in the future tense about you

Here’s a very subtle-but very powerful-attraction signal that women give off. If a woman’s interested in you, she’ll make comments about seeing you in the future. It’s important to note that none of these signals will be overt; instead, they’ll be little offhanded comments like, “Are you going to x, y, z event next week?” If a woman is asking such questions, it’s a telltale sign that you’re on her mind.