Blog/News :: Howard Studios

The TRUTH about
19 Apr

The TRUTH about "NATURAL" light portraits

Nothing quite "irks" me more than to see poor quality photography justified through the use of terms like "Trendy," "Stylized" and the "Latest Look." If it isn't bad enough that everyone with a digital camera is marketing themselves as a photographer these days, it is the fact that flood of plain poor quality images has bastardized a profession that has long struggled to establish itself as a legitimate art. I recently purchased a t-shirt that proudly states, "Just because you purchase a digital camera doesn't make you a photographer, it makes you a camera owner."

Lately as I have scanned through various websites and social media pages posted by the latest group of people with new cameras and even newer "vistaprint" business cards, I have come to view the biggest farce to date; that being the use of the term "NATURAL." It seems every shutterbug without a legitimate studio specializes in "Natural Light" photography when in fact they have no idea how to expose and capture anything resembling "Natural."

On several websites I have noticed that a new "style" has been established as the natural look. This style involves posing subjects in direct sunlight and overexposing the background while making it out of focus for a so-called glamour look. HOGWASH! It isn't a style, it's just a lack of knowledge of proper exposure and lighting control. God created one light source, the sun. Any competent photographer knows when and how to shape the light of the sun to yield pleasing contrast with natural highlights and shadows. To take this to the next level, these snapshot experts use a "pop-up" flash to add even more overexposure to an already poor image.

Professional image makers have studied and mastered not only the control of sunlight, but the ability to employ reflectors, gobos and yes sometimes electronic flash in a way that flatters their subjects and produces a truly natural looking image. The great outdoors provides and endless array of potential backgrounds when viewed through the eyes of a seasoned professional. The ability to control the entire situation and manage the available, natural light is something that few ever master. These perfectly executed images speak for themselves and do not need to be explained with excuses and flashy terms or words. To see them and enjoy them for what they are...truly natural images is why choosing the right photographer is ever so important.

While I am on the subject of "NATURAL," let us take a moment to address the fallacy of "natural posing." I recently read a blog written by a so-called professional that stated that they only use natural posing. They go on to explain that their competitors images are "stiff and fake." In reality, further examination of this type of claim always yields a photographer with little or no formal training or education in the fine art of posing techniques. An un-posed person is anything but natural and in most cases just looks awkward. The position of the head in relationship to the torso is different for every body type and every situation. Properly placing the feet and hands only polishes a perfect pose. A skilled photographer has studied human nature, body language and societal influences and strives to depict his subject in a flattering and yes natural position. 

So don't be misled by excuses disguised as trendy words or phrases. There is nothing "NATURAL" about poor lighting and posing and these alone should be enough reason to steer clear and do a bit more research. A seasoned professional photographer will always be willing to discuss his or her techniques, skills and experience. Don't be afraid to ask, "how are you going to make me look my best?"

1 Jul

"LIFETOUCH" is out of touch

WARNING CLASS of 2015 SENIORS...Ever since you have attended public school, large photo companies like "Lifetouch" have been contracted by school districts to take "mug shots" disguised as "portraits" to record your progress through the educational system. These snapshots are fine as a "record" shot or for your school ID card. Most of you can count how many times the snapshots were really bad. For many years, Howard Studios has fought against these giant photo companies to preserve your right to make a choice to have a "professional" image created to represent your graduation or Senior Portrait. We have gone as far as providing free and low fee sessions to insure everyone had a choice.

Well, "Lifetouch" has been making a nationwide effort to "push out" the local professional photographers who live in your community and support the public school system with quality photography and both monetary and "in-kind" donations. Your support of the small town studio allows us to continue to support your local districts. Make no mistake, the big photo companies don't give a damn about anything but selling you poor quality for a quick profit.

Several local districts will be forcing members of the Class of 2015 to accept a "snap shot" by a "Lifetouch" button pusher as their official yearbook image. Rest assured, you can not be forced to make a purchase from "Lifetouch." Howard Studios will continue to provide each and every client with a QUALITY, professionally posed and lighted formal "headshot" portrait. We can't force the schools to use our images instead of "Lifetouch," however if you as a tax payer choose to voice your discontent with this policy change, that is your right.

So when it comes time to choose a photographer to capture the REAL you for your graduation/senior portrait, check out the rest and than visit the BEST! For the past 30 years we have photographed more graduates than all of our competitors combined. We have competitive pricing and innovative ideas...so go ahead...stop by the studio and let's talk about how we can work with you to do AMAZING things. As for that "Lifetouch" snap shot, well rest assured that Howard Studios will continue to be an out spoken advocate for your right to choose your photographer and your right to have that image in your schools yearbook!

14 May

"SENIOR PORTRAIT" Specials Announced

ATTENTION: Class of 2015...

With classes wrapping up for the 2014 academic year and finals just around the corner, you may not realize it, but your about to become a "SENIOR!" Even if you are not "officially" designated with that title until September, NOW is the time to be thinking about your senior yearbook portrait as well as how you may want to "express yourself" in portraits at this very unique time in your life.

Yes, Howard Studios had been photographing members of your class for the past several weeks. Due in part to yearbook deadlines, it is best to get your "formal" headshot taken as soon as possible. Many schools have submission deadlines in September and October and trying to get an appointment in the studio at the last minute is often difficult and costly. We are booking both "yearbook only" and "full sessions" right now...even if you want an appointment later in the summer, NOW is the time to get on our schedule.

As the Number One studio in central Pennsylvania, we capture unique and original portraits for hundreds of seniors each and every year. In FACT, no one has done more senior portraits than Howard Studios. Over the past 30+ years we have captured more than 70,000 seniors and we are consider a leader and innovator in the industry.

So why call now? First of all, you can save a lot of $$$$ with our preseason specials and portrait package sale pricing. Second, you can avoid rushing around later in the summer when sports camps, vacations and your work schedule get in the way. We offer free consultations, so call and arrange a time to meet with us...we want to hear all of your ideas! Go ahead, challenge us to be unique...we love cool new ideas!

Check out our Senior Portrait samples right here on the website as well as our FACEBOOK page. Feel free to check out our competitors as well...than come back and see why at Howard Studios your portraits are not "cookie cutter" or "imitation!" We guarantee you will "See the Difference" that only being an innovator can provide. So why wait, call our friendly staff today at 717-272-4231 and ask about available times and current promotions. Your "Senior Portrait" from Howard Studios will be "Simply the Best."

22 Apr

"See the Difference"

You Tube Video of Senior Samples

Your senior portraits, your wedding pictures, your family portraits, your children’s photos—they are all part of your life's story and your only visual record of the memories.

Shouldn't you use a professional photographer whose quality you can trust? Correct posing and lighting, the ability to anticipate those once-in-a-lifetime moments and most importantly, extensive experience, can make all the difference in the visual records of your life. You want to look your absolute best in portraits, whether you are a high school senior, a bride, a parent or anyone else wanting to capture a memory.

Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest photographic organization in the world. Robert A. Howard, owner of Howard Studios has been a PPA member for 30 years, and has earned the industry’s highest degree of Master Craftsman. Additionally Mr. Howard is PPA Certified and has maintained his certification for the past fifteen years. The “digital age” has allowed anyone with a camera to claim to be a photographer, but the fact is purchasing a digital camera doesn’t make you a photographer it makes you a camera owner. Photographers that are “Certified” through the PPA are professionals whose passion is creating the images that tell your stories.

When seeking a local photographer in your area be sure to check their credentials before agreeing to purchase any services. Take time to research their backgrounds learn more about them and view their image portfolios and visit their studio or place of business. Don’t trust your “Once In A Lifetime” memories to a “once-and-a-while” hobbyist. See the difference a professional photographer can make in those once-in-a-lifetime moments you’ll treasure forever.


23 Jan

"Fun In The Snow" Portraits

Winter is upon us and there is nothing we can do to prevent the cold and the snow, so why not have some fun? Howard Studios specializes in winter snow sessions. Does your family love winter activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, etc?

While the snowpack is fresh, why not give us a call today. Location sessions start at just $95.00! We have appointments available throughout the week and on the weekends as well. Call today at 717-272-4231 for more information. Don't delay or like "Frosty" the snowman, it may all melt away.