Friday, December 7, 2007

Christy Murray Photography

Check out Christy Murray's new PH marketing campaign! In the last two weeks she has raised $650 for Habitat!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The $2000 mark!

The check I was really waiting for came today, bringing my total since i started to just over $2000. I'd like to thank everyone who donated to this cause and made it so fun.

Robert Norman

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

pHotographer of the month!!

Justin and I would like to announce our first ever pHotographer of the month! As soon as we came up with the idea, there was no question who should take the innaugural role: Robert Norman has raised over $1000 dollars in three short months (shattering his initial goal of raising that much by Christmas) and has brought such big names to the cause as our Governor: Jodi Rell. We asked Robert to do an interview with us so he could shed some light on how he has made his business and his contribution such a huge success.

1. What inspires you most when you're shooting?
What gets me going is getting a reaction out of someone you’ve shot. Could be a smile, a laugh, an ‘oh my god’, maybe a tear. The fact that you have created a situation for a client to enter where they are comfortable and end up looking a way they never thought they could, is just incredible. Capturing those moments that will mean so much to them is just so great. I also love that moment when you realize that the subject has dropped their guard and are getting into the groove of what you’re doing---at that point you’ve got ‘em and they're yours…they open up, trust you, and trust THEMSELVES. Your shoot moves up a few levels at that point, and you can start finding shots you never expected to see.

2. What's your favorite lens & why?
I’m not much of a lens nut like so many photogs are – I have always been more into having a couple of ‘practical’ lenses that can get me through most situations. I have a Nikon 24-70 2.8 that I almost always use…give me something a little wide and a little long and I can make it work. I did buy a Sigma lens recently that is surprisingly sharp (I was hesitant to buy something other than a Nikon, but it’s sharper then my Nikon version of it, so I guess you never know)

3. How did you get into photography?
I actually got into photography because I had to, and by that I mean that it was a college requirement that at the time I had no real interest in. However once I got into it, I dropped as many of my graphic design classes I could and became a photo major. My design teacher was not too happy and thought I was possibly making a big mistake. The spontaneity of it was the real selling point for me, especially with all of the dragged-out studio classes I was taking.

4. What's been your favorite shoot?
Gosh that’s a tough one—there have been so many fun ones. I guess the highlight all in all was photographing Paul Newman at his house. I received the call and photographed him all in the same day, so it was a very surreal experience. But I guess in general what’s most satisfying is coming up with a shot idea off the cuff that ends up being better than anything I could have ever planned for ahead of time…that’s very rewarding.

5. What advice would you give to a photog just starting out?
I think the main thing is to not close yourself of to opportunity. Many things can pass right in front of you if you’re not paying attention or if you’re too focused on waiting for that ‘one thing’. In college I had a rather distinct vision of how things might proceed in my life, but if I were to map out what I’ve done over the years, who I’ve met along the way, and what that’s all led to – it would not only make my head spin, but is NOTHING like the way I thought my career would go. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as I have done stuff I never dreamed of doing since.
Stick with it, have fun, be open to new ideas and don’t take it all too seriously.

6. If you had to start all over what would you do differently? The same?
My 2 years of assisting in LA were brutal but also fun and a great training experience, and I would not have changed that. I guess I wish I had more guts at the time to pursue assisting in NYC. I also wish I had a more focused vision when I was in college and had listened more in Art History (I often think about what I would get out of college if I were there now!) But you know, that’s all hindsight and I believe that I would not be where I am now if those factors had changed…we are all doing the best we can at any given time. Regardless, I’m not sure I’m cut out for anything but photography. I can’t ever see quitting or ‘retiring’ or anything like that…it’s what I do and has become who I am, so it will always be a part of me in one form or another.

7. What other photographers inspire you? What blogs do you stalk?
I am impressed by photographers who are uber-talented but don’t have an attitude about it. I have no patience for obnoxious boasting, which is SO easy to come across, especially in the wedding business, you know? I look at others work from the perspective of ‘Wow! How’d they get that?” of “What a cool angle.” I don’t see it from a competition point of view, or one of ‘if I praise you you’ll steal work from me’ That is absurd, since there are so any more components to each photographer than a single interesting shot!
I jump around a lot on Blogs, and will often check comments and then go to THAT persons blog…I’ve found some fun stuff that way. I check out some Photoshop ones, tech ones, Adobe, camera news/updates etc.

Aside from that, I try to keep open to the rest of the photo biz, especially documentary and landscape photography. I subscribe to LensWork Magazine for a good dose of that. It’s a narrow approach to only focus on the field you’re in, and I have always been interested in all aspects of photography and the arts in general. I can only read magazines on studio lighting and hard drive reviews so much. Reading about photography projects that I would have never considered inspires me (there’s a film about homeless people living in the NY subway systems they call home, I’m curious about seeing) All of these things can really help you out when they’re all tucked away in the back of your head. That’s why I try to take a trip once a year – just for myself – somewhere usually out west. I’m heading in January to Yellowstone for a seminar where they haul you out into the sub-zero weather to shoot animals and steaming natural sulpher pools. Not for everyone, but I’m really looking forward to it.

8. What made you get so involved so quickly with the PH?
Years ago I attempted to volunteer for Humanity but it never panned out for a number of reasons. When you guys mentioned it to me, a light went off and I thought “OH! Maybe I can get this to work this time.”
I believe that the environment you surround yourself with, as well as the beliefs and mental attitude you have about what’s possible for tomorrow are what actually create your future. If you think this is it, and nothing will ever improve, then that’s what you’re setting yourself up for. So many people are stuck on that treadmill to nowhere, with no positive role models and nothing to look forward to, hope for or even care about. So I really think the pride and personal responsibility that Habitat encourages is the best type of positive reinforcement. It can set a new standard in a neighborhood in such a positive way.
I’m at a point now where I realize 2 things – I’m doing well enough to be able to give more…AND most importantly, you really do get by giving! I know how corny that sounds, but it’s the truth. It’s no skin off my back, clients are happy, I work with people who WANT to be here and help out and so it’s a great felling. I haven’t once thought, “OH, that money should be mine.”

9. How do you organize your shoots for giving to PH? Do you donate a portion/all of the proceeds from every shoot? Do you have PH months?
To start, I decided to simply offer shoots for $100 of which 100% went right to Habitat. I had clients write their checks out to Habitat, so they knew I was not seeing any of it. My goal was to reach $1000 by Christmas, but that took mush less time than I expected! What I’m doing now if offering shoots for $200 of which I will donate $50.00 through December. After that, I’ll have to think about how I want to handle it. I think the key it to be sure that clients KNOW the money is really going to where they think it is and not in my pocket.

10. How did you get your clients excited about PH?
In a way that has taken care of itself – all it took was my putting the word out and it just happened (if you announce it, they will come!)I chose to make it a prominent addition to the main page on my website. I am really amazed at how many people have said how great an idea they thought it was – it’ s really gotten people thinking about photos they’ve wanted to take and have put off for one reason or another. I’ve done families, engagement, babies and even boudoir photos(!) all for the PH. Most of the people have spread the word to other friends who in turn have come for a shoot. It took virtually no effort other than asking to get the CT Governor to participate either! They also seem impressed that I’m just doing it and giving it all away…I have a feeling many of these folks will be back in the future for more photos because of their participation with the PH.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Spread the Word!!

We've been getting a TON of emails from people all over wanting to get involved with The Portrait House, and there are so many things we need your help with! The biggest thing would definitely have to be helping us get the word out about the project. So, we just made these cool badges that you can put on your blogs and they link back to the PH blog. These are the three basic badges, BUT if you have a personalized one in mind (and you're super nice to us! :P) we'll send you one made just for you! Just drop us an email at to get yours!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Check out all the FUN!!

Check out the shots that Paul McNerney & Robert Norman took at the Million Faces booth at the June PUG meeting:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Million Faces Booth

We're bloggin' from Steve Depino's place where we had a Million Faces booth set up for our monthly PUG meeting. We had 45 photographers, grabbed a ton of cool shots, and had a blast raising a *bunchload* of money for Habitat! More to come later!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Million Faces begins

The road to a Million starts here. Here is what happened when the P.H.A.T. got together to kick off the campaign. Too much fun!

If you're ready to get in on all the fun, the next "Faces" event will be at the June PUG meeting. email us at for more info

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

PH Tent!

Sweet! We just picked up our official Portrait House tent yesterday after getting the heads up from Paul & Krystal. We're going to be using this to set up million faces booths at a couple of big events coming up. Stay tuned for that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ooh, that's P.H.A.T.

Introducing our brand spankin' new Portrait House Advisory Team (yea, they're Pretty Hot and Tempting too! :)

Last night Justin and I had our first meeting with our new advisory team to hash out all the details of the Million Faces Campaign and all of our "next actions" for making it happen (P.S. special thanks to Nathan & Amber for us even having that phrase in our vocabulary... let alone actually doing it!). Wow, I can't even tell you how much energy there was in that could literally feel the electricity in the air! We were all bouncing off the walls and just couldn't get our ideas out fast enough. I am so blown away with how much we accomplished and the clear path we laid out for the road ahead. It is nothing short of amazing what happens when you surround yourself with people smarter and more creative than yourself! :) I just want to give a huge thanks to everyone for all your hard work and awesome ideas...none of this would be happening without you!

It's funny how easy it was really to put this group together, because it was almost like they were self-selected. All of them basically came to us at one point or another and said "Look, I'm gonna be a part of this...I'm in it for the long haul...and this is what I'm doing to make it happen." How cool is that?! To date, Robert has pledged to *personally* raise $1,000 dollars by December and he just put the PH as the opening page of his website...Paul & Krystal are organizing a HUGE showing for PH at "Festivus," a music festival they are heading up...Steve DePino is planning a workshop where all the proceeds will go to PH and he's also working on getting us radio publicity...and Carla has been on board with the Million Faces campaign from the very beginning and is currently planning it's big launch this July. C'MON! How could we have even asked for better support than that?! We are so blown away by all the people stepping up to get involved and we still have plenty of stuff for people to do, so contact us if you wanna lend a hand!

Million Faces Campaign

It's been coming for a while now, and we're *finally* ready to announce the next phase for Portrait House... The Million Faces Campaign starts here!

The goal is pretty simple: get a million people to donate one dollar or more to have a snapshot taken of them in front of a black OR white background...that will then be added to become part of the million faces at (we're working on getting the website up now...I'll post the link when it's live)

Everything is happening *really* fast with the PH and Million Faces right now, so we set up this blog to keep everyone up to the minute on all of that. Make sure to bookmark it so you don't miss anything.

So far, besides our strong group here in CT, we've also had people contact us from CA & TX wanting to get involved. We fully expect this campaign to go national, so we need people leading the way all across the country. To that end, we're looking to build PH groups (much like our awesome Pictage PUGs!) in every we're putting out a CALL FOR LEADERS: if you wanna get on board for leading the group in your state, please post in the comments or contact us at

ok...time for coffee!! :)