The Art of the Printed Photo by Emily Margaret

The printed photo is not dead. It's true that digital images are convenient and what most people expect from photographers, and maybe it's because I'm a member of the millennial/hipster generation, but I believe printed photos will never go out of style.


If you're like me, photographer or not, you probably have hundreds of photos currently sitting archived in your phone or computer, where you can't see and enjoy them. Digital images are convenient for sharing and offer the insurance of a backup, but there's nothing like having prints on your walls and a photobook in your hands.

When a client and I discuss the kind of collection that they want, the topic of digital images vs prints usually comes up. While all of my collections include digital images, I always encourage my clients to also choose a few prints or photobook of their session. I do this for several reasons:

  • Experience: which would you prefer- an intangible digital photo, or a set of prints beautifully wrapped and presented to you from the photographer who carefully created the images? With my business, I aim to build a relationship with each client to create an experience and invest in their story, rather than be like any other photographer at the local mall.
  • Integrity: professionally printed photos ensure the quality of the photo will not be compromised. Most budget printers (wal-mart, walgreens, target, etc) do not produce an accurate representation of the original image, while a professional lab will maintain the integrity of the photo.
  • Fun: there's nothing very fun about a digital file, but having professionally-shot images on the walls of your home or a photobook to show your family is. For example, my photobooks are popular with the parents of my high school seniors because they loving having something to show off to their friends and family, and it's much more fun to look at than an ipad. I've seen this also to be true in my own home, as we have a large family portrait near the front door that has been commented on my everyone who visits our home.

When digital images first came on the scene, it appeared that physical prints would never be seen again, but lately with the growth of brands such as chatbooks and artifact uprising, this is definitely not the case. As more photographers talk about the value of the printed photo, I'm excited to see more people making the most of their images with physical prints. 

Is it important to you to have prints or books of your photos? Why or why not?

What's in My Camera Bag | EMP Behind the Scenes by Emily Margaret

I love it when photographers do "what's in my bag" posts.  I'm always curious to see what they take with them on shoots. Today I'm unpacking my bag and sharing what I usually bring on a typical portrait photo shoot.


First off, meet my girl Simmons (aka the Canon 7D). Isn't she darling? And before you ask, yes, I name my cameras, but only my cameras. And my car (but that's it). 

Simmons joined me in October of this year, and up until now I did all my work with a Canon Rebel t3i. My little rebel (also known as Knightley) has served me well these past few years, but I knew I was pushing its limits. After getting to use a few different cameras while second shooting this summer, I knew it was time to upgrade and so far I'm loving it. I'm still keeping Knightley around for backup and things like traveling when I need something a bit smaller + lighter.


My camera bag isn't an actual camera bag, but a messenger bag from the men's department at Target (why do the guys get the cooler bags?). To keep everything safe and organized, I use this Ape Case Cubeze padded bag insert. It holds my camera, memory cards, an extra lens and battery, and still leaves room for my S'well water bottle (not pictured) and lens cleaning kit to slip in the bag outside of the insert.


Here's a breakdown of the rest of the gear that I bring on a usual portrait shoot:

Lens cleaning kit / Canon 7D with BlackRapid strap (LOVE IT) / 50mm 1.8 lens / 18-55 kit lens / zippered pouch with extra memory cards / Not shown: battery charger / extra battery / business cards / ink pen / lip balm / bobby pins + hair band / granola bars /

What's inside your bag?

"The Squinch" - A Portrait Photography Tip by Emily Margaret

I love it when people share a look behind the scenes with their tips and tricks. This is one of my favorite portrait photography techniques that you may not have heard of- the squinch. It's a posing technique developed by successful model-turned-popular headshot photographer Peter Hurley. Like every posing technique, it's not one that is guaranteed to work with absolutely everyone, but I like to use it when photographing high school senior guys.

The Squinch is a very subtle tightening of the muscles around the subjects' eyes. It's not a full-on squint, but a slight lifting of the lower eyelid to create a more confident look. In the two photos below, I first instructed Bennett to give me a slight smile/serious look (photo on left), and then directed him in performing the squinch (photo on right). See the difference? It's a very small difference, but I think it takes a photo from being okay, to being great. What do you think? 

The Squinch - Emily Margaret Photography

Pro-tip: I also like to call this look the smolder.

Getting Started | On Making Art and Being Authentic by Emily Margaret

Back in the days when I was getting started with photography, I copied what I liked. I followed a handful of photographers that I admired and tried to make my photos look like theirs, because they were successful and popular and obviously knew what they were doing (spoiler alert: no one completely has it all together). I had not yet developed my own voice and style and looked to others' work as a place to start.

With many things, not just photography, we tend to copy what we like. And that's okay- to a point.

making art - Emily Margaret Photography

When you first begin with something new, you have to start somewhere and it's common to follow the lead of those you admire. I wanted to be like those photographers, so I made my photos like theirs. I posed my subjects like they did, used similar locations, and mimicked their editing. But, there came a point where I had to find my own voice and my own style. I used what I saw as a starting place to begin to build my own ideas, find my own inspiration, and develop my own style, but once I had developed my skills and techniques, it was time for me to stop following and start doing my own thing.

Developing your own style and voice is a hard thing, but it's a crucial thing for any creative. It's easy to continue to follow what someone else is doing when you like their style and you see that they're successful, but simply copying is a discredit to both the other person and yourself.

As creatives, we constantly find inspiration in what others do and use that in our own work, but we must be careful that we aren't merely doing what the other people do because we want to be like them. We must figure out the "why" behind our work and what makes us different from everyone else, and focus on that, to truly develop our own creative voice.

Have you found your creative voice? How are you working to develop your own style?