Dec 25, 2014

Christmas Card Portraits | Alpharetta Family Photographer

It's so hard to wait until Christmas to post some of the wonderful portraits I've done through the year, but I don't want to ruin the surprise! Here are some of my favorites from a session this year:

And their Christmas Card Design:

Dec 24, 2014

Merry Christmas! | Walk through of our Christmas Card Design and Composite Photography Illustration

 Merry Christmas everyone! I've made a behind-the-scenes/walk-through video of my editing and illustration process for this card. Many thanks to Richard Sturdevant who taught me at the Georgia School of Professional Photography this summer. If you can't get the link to work, try it here:


Pssst... I'm teaching some photography and a Photoshop class this January. Check it out.

Dec 12, 2014

Making a Weekly Social Media Plan

Atlanta GA Small Business Tips from Social Media Expert, Tamay Shannon

A note from Marchet: Tamay is my new guest blogger and a small business social media strategist. As a small business owner myself, and a photographer of other small business owners, I know her expertise is going to be valuable to me and you. We are so lucky to have her on the blog. Check it her first post!

Social media works best when planned and scheduled. But how do you know what to plan and when to post? This post will explain how to create a social media schedule for your business.

Why schedule your posts?

Creating a plan for when you post on social media is an important business step. Scheduling social media:
  • Keeps your social media presence consistent
  • Supports business goals
  • Maximizes your time
Social media is only beneficial when you keep a consistent presence. If you put out great content at random, people stop looking for your posts and updates. Then, you have to win them back. This means you’re doing double duty for the same audience. By posting consistently, people get to know who you are. Your brand becomes something they trust. And when people trust you they are more likely to hire you and recommend you to others.

So plan and schedule your social media posts. This ensures that you are not scrambling at the last minute to “get something out there.” Planning allows time to create great content.

How do you create a schedule? 

Here is the process to create your weekly schedule.
  • Add events that you are participating in/that your clients care about
  • Add promotions you have planned and consider how long they last
  • Incorporate the business goals you currently have
  • Incorporate pop culture and how it influences your business
Events. First, consider any events that your business is having or that are important for your client. For example, if you run a fashion boutique, an important event for you and your client would be the spring fashion season.

Promotions. Then, add in your promotions. A promotion is telling people about sales, webinars, newsletters, or other events you are participating in. Understand what promotions you are having and how long they last allows you to plan the social media posts to support them.

Business Goals. Next, you want to consider posts that support your business. Maybe the focus of your first quarter is to grow your newsletter. If you know this, then you can plan posts that support that business goal.

Pop Culture. Finally, consider pop culture. This isn't something you can completely plan - but keep an ear out for things that happen in the news that relate to your business. For example, every year Pantone releases a color of the year. This is an opportunity to share about the great outfits you have that match that color. While this is not something you can completely plan out, it keeps your social media fresh and lets people know you are paying attention.

Here is a sample Social Media Weekly Calendar. Let's take Monday for example. You'll notice I've included a morning and afternoon post for Facebook and Twitter. I've also repurposed content from my Facebook post for other platforms: LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Tips for Success
  • Your plan is meant to change. So don’t worry! It’s just a guideline to keep you on track. In fact, if this document doesn’t change, you aren;t looking at it enough. Just as you create a plan for your business that changes every year, so to will this document.
  • This document is also a great place to check in when big world events happen. Sometimes an ill-timed post can cause more harm than good. Understanding what you have scheduled to go out can help avoid this.
  • Don't forget to use a CTA (Call to Action) to support your posts. Tell people if you want them to click, download, or comment. By telling people the next action to take, they are more likely to take it.
Using your weekly planner will ensure that you are on your way to social media success. And remember you are not here to be good at social media. You are here to be good at your business and use social media to support that.

Need more help? Click here for more resources. 

Tamay Shannon is a small business social media strategist and owner of Where 2 Start Marketing. You can read more about her and her role on the Butler Family Photography blog here

Dec 11, 2014

Meet Tamay | Guest Blogger

Tamay Shannon joins the Butler Family Photography Blog

Meet Tamay -- and Cocoa! I've asked Tamay to join the Butler Family Photography blog to share her expertise for those of you in the business world. Tamay is an experienced social media strategist and works to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Her agency, Where 2 Start Marketing, helps business owners develop a thriving and active social media community that supports their business. Her free eBook walks business owners through making their social media profitable. Get it here

Dec 9, 2014

Why Family Portraits | Alpharetta GA Family Photographer

I'm  busy, busy, busy getting family portraits orders done for Christmas! Here's a quick look of what I've done recently.

And their Christmas cards . . . (a nice combination of their ordered portraits on a flat 5x7 card) 

Nov 20, 2014

November Family Activities in Atlanta

A Note from Marchet: Melinda's back with some great suggestions for fun things with your family this November.

The weather may be getting cooler, but there are still lots of fun activities to do with your kids.

Roswell Mill is one of my favorite places to go for a fall hike. Wait for one of the days where the weather is warm and head out for a great family outing. Roswell Mill isn't too difficult for kids and the fall leaves and waterfall are absolutely stunning! Don't forget your camera and take a few pictures at the covered bridge or near the waterfall.

Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center is a little known gem we found one day when we had company visiting and the weather was too rainy for our planned activities. They have a couple of very fun permanent exhibits and a few changing exhibits. There is a great movie on water conservation and so much interesting information just in how the building itself was built. If you happen to go on a day with good weather, there are many walking trails (perfect for strollers) and a ropes course that you can go on as well!

The Cooler Ice Rink is great for days when you are ready to embrace the cold.  Nothing will make it feel more like winter than taking your kids ice skating.  There are free skate times most days and $11-$12 includes both your skate rental and the open skate.  Bring gloves and a coat!  We always love to head home and have dinner of hot chocolate and grilled cheese sandwiches or soup to warm up!

Nov 19, 2014

Workshops Make the Perfect Gift | Alpharetta GA Photography Classes

Do you (or someone you know) . . . 
  • Have a love of photography?
  • Own a camera but want to know how to use it better?
  • Love posting pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr?
  • Want a better grasp on the technical side of photography?
  • Want to practice shooting with a pro photographer? 
  • Want to know how professionals edit their portraits? 

I have the perfect gift for you!

Announcing Butler Family Photography's winter photography workshops. These are perfect gifts for the holidays!

Why learn with me? I'm an experienced teacher who makes the technical things easy to understand. You'll have hands-on experience and get take-home materials to practice your new skills. If you love my work, you will love these workshops. Take one, two or all three workshops! Don't have a digital SLR camera? Contact me and we can arrange rental of an appropriate camera for the workshop(s). 

Fundamentals Photography Workshop
The Fundamental Photography Workshop includes 2.5 hours of small group instruction focusing on fundamental photographic principles like composition, types of light, and white balance with your digital SLR camera. You will have hands-on shooting practice with models and get take-home materials to help you remember and practice your new photography skills. Class size is limited to 7. (All workshop fees are non-refundable.)

Most people pair this workshop with the Nuts & Bolts workshop for a discount. See Day of Photography Workshops below. 
Saturday, January 10, 2015
9:00 am - 11:30 am in Alpharetta GA

Nuts & Bolts Photography Workshop
The Nuts & Bolts Photography Workshop includes 2.5 hours of small group instruction focusing on camera controls, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and exposure with your digital SLR camera. You will have hands-on shooting practice with models and get take-home materials to help you remember and practice your new photography skills. Class size is limited to 7. (All workshop fees are non-refundable.)

Most people pair this workshop with the Fundamentals workshop for a discount. See Day of Photography Workshops below. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015
12:15 pm - 2:45 pm in Alpharetta GA

Day of Photography -- BOTH Workshops
Includes both the Fundamentals and Nuts & Bolts workshops at a discount! A complimentary lunch is provided. 
Saturday, January 10, 2015
9:00 am - 2:45 pm in Alpharetta GA

Editing Portraits in Photoshop Workshop (my newest workshop!)
Bring your laptop loaded with either Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (no need for the most current version) and walk with me through a hands-on portrait editing session. Learn my methods for removing distracting background elements, retouching skin, making arms and hips slimmer, tweaking color and adding creative textures and effects to portraits. You will be amazed at how we can transform a good portrait into a wow! portrait with my techniques. Class size is limited to 10. (All workshop fees are non-refundable.)

Friday, January 23, 2015
6:30-8:30 pm in Alpharetta GA

Nov 5, 2014

Historic Downtown Roswell Session | Cumming GA Senior Photographer

Eeek! I am so excited to share these images of this awesome senior!

I always have a great time doing portraits with teens--there's something about their energy and excitement about the future that makes for a great session. This gorgeous Cumming senior was no exception. We had a fun time channeling our inner fashionistas (check out that smize!) and exploring historic downtown Roswell.

I can't wait for her album to arrive!


Sep 24, 2014

Free Photography Class | Roswell GA Photographer

You are invited to a free 30-minute photography class I have coming up next week at a my church's women's night out. (Sorry guys. It's for women only.) During my presentation, I'll be talking about how to the most common mistakes amateurs make when taking pictures. Here are the details:

Free Photography Class by Marchet Butler
Friday, October 3, 2014
6:30 - 7:00 p.m. sharp!
Roswell LDS Church Meetinghouse
500 Norcross St, Roswell, GA 30075
(no need to bring a camera)

This class is part of our annual women's night out activity called "Friday Night Frenzy." Did I say it was free? There will be classes about makeup and gardening following my presentation as well as crafts, dinner, and lots of fun gals to hang out with and talk to. Please come! Bring a craft  to work on if you want to stay. (And drop me a line that you are coming. I'll save a seat for you!)

Sep 17, 2014

Before and After | A look at my retouching work--on my own portrait!

This summer while my son and I were on vacation visiting family, my sister agreed to take some portraits of me and my little guy (gosh, not so little anymore). So, I set everything up, positioned us in the right light, made sure the the camera settings were right, and we got some fun shots. That's what's cool about being a photographer -- you can direct your own photo shoot!

Here is the finished portrait of the two of us that I am going to hang in our home. Don't you love it!? Thank you Charity!

See below for what the portrait looked like straight out of the camera (SOOC). As you can see, I've made some changes, but nothing major -- I believe that getting it right in camera is super important. But, I want to look good in my pictures! So here's what I did: 
  • Hair smoothing -- oh my goodness, the frizz!
  • Skin retouching
  • Adding shadow and light for better dimension
  • Arm shrinking (yeah, I'm a little embarrassed of my bigger arms)
  • Chin shrinking (the shot caught my son's chin from below -- never a flattering look.)
  • Background brightening
  • Eye and Makeup Retouching
  • A touch of vignetting

Here are the pictures side-by-side so you can see the difference: 

I love making a great photograph into a beautiful, polished portrait. What do you think?

Sep 16, 2014

Help Me Choose a Metal Wall Art Sample | Atlanta GA Family Photographer

So it's the time of year when I update my sample portrait art for my holiday season clients. This year, I've decided to add a new product to my wall portrait options: metal wall art! This is one of those products you have to see in person. The images are printed on specially-treated aluminum sheets using the dye-sublimation process. They come in super glossy to matte finishes and are mounted and finished with an inset frame. The colors just POP off the print, and because it's printed on metal, it's not going to be subject to normal wear and tear. Oh, and did I say--they are gorgeous!

I'm going to order a 20x24 sample and I need help deciding which portrait I should use. Which one do you think would look best?

Sep 15, 2014

Why Headshots are Important for Small Businesses Professionals | Alpharetta GA Headshot Photographer

I'm so excited about my new business cards. As a small business owner, I represent my own brand, so it makes sense that a business card features my portrait.

I made the change because of a conversation with Tamay Shannon, Atlanta small business social media strategist and owner of W2S Marketing. Here's what she she said:
"A good headshot allows people to connect with you because people don't naturally connect with a logo. That's why Coca-Cola and Starbucks have to spend millions of dollars on their marketing and branding. Small businesses don't have that kind of money. So, use what God gives you! People connect with faces because they have a face too. Use your headshot to build back-of-mind familiarity. Use it on your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and advertising so people see it and think, 'Hey, I know you. I can trust you. I can do business with you.' "
So, what's stopping you from putting your face on your business card, website, and social media profile? For most people, it's because they 1) don't have a current headshot or 2) hate the headshot they already have. I can help you! (Contact me if you need headshots.)

My headshot sessions are fun and professional, and you'll get great pictures you actually like! Plus, you can request professional hair and make-up. My hair and makeup artist, Kristin Layne Morris, makes my clients look and feel amazing. Here are a few images of Susan, Independent Team Leader with NYR Organic. Hair and makeup by Kristin Layne. Photography and editing by me!

Sep 4, 2014

It's Not Too Early to Start Thinking about Christmas Cards | Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton GA Christmas Card Photographer

I know, I know. It's early yet. We haven't even had Halloween, but I'm already booking sessions for October and November. And you know that those portraits are going to end up on Christmas cards (not to mention gorgeous wall portraits and albums). So, it's not too early to think about booking a session and getting those Christmas preparations going so you don't have to stress about it later.

Take a look at one of my favorite designs from last year. All my Christmas cards are custom-designed, press-printed, and available in flat, folded, or die-cut designs on thick, gorgeous paper. If you want portraits (and cards) your family is going to drool over, contact me and we will set up a time to talk about creating something fantastic for you and your family!

Sep 3, 2014

The Perfect Fit for your Home | Family Wall Portrait Ideas

I recently visited Nashville and had a chance to create this beautiful portrait of my friends and their sweet daughters. We specifically picked the clothing to complement the room we would be hanging the portrait--the bonus room where the kids have a play area and bed and where mom has her office.

Now here's the fun part. I use an interior design program to show my clients different options, sizes, and finishes I recommend for their walls. Here are the different options for this portrait. Which would you choose?