Hello there!

My photo
My name is Susan, and Designs by Prater is what you could call my creative outlet that pulls together my photography, art and graphic design endeavors! The most important thing you should know about me is that my life revolves around my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, my family (especially my husband Todd, son JD, and puppy Lexie), family and friends. Other than that, I am pretty much obsessed with photography, Coca-Cola, and the color green (and all shades of green for that matter, especially teal). I love sports but cannot play them worth a lick. I would not trade my time as a college student at Mississippi State for anything in the world. The friendships and memories made there will stick with me forever...Hail State and Go Dogs! And I am very picky about my chocolate chip cookies, grilled cheeses, and shaved ice (gotta be SnoBiz watermelon flavor).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Is In The Air at DBP

Lots of info to share with you today!

DBP On The Road
We will be on the road this spring visiting friends and family in MS and will be opening up some time for photo shoots while we're in town! If you live in one of the following cities and would be interested in scheduling a portrait session with DBP, send us an email to set up your session during one of the following weekends:

- Jackson, MS and surrounding areas - Friday, April 10 & Saturday, April 11
- Cleveland, MS - Saturday, May 2 & Sunday, May 3

Spring Schedule
We have had several people mention wanting to book sessions in the spring when the weather became warmer, so we wanted to let you know that some weekends are starting to book up already. Below is what our schedule looks like so far for weekends in April/early May. Let us know if you want to schedule a session for one of these openings so we can reserve it for you!

- Saturday, April 4 - late afternoon is open
- Sunday, April 5 - afternoon is open
- Saturday, April 11 (Jackson, MS) - morning and early afternoon is open
- Sunday, April 12 (Easter) - afternoon is open
- Saturday, April 18 - afternoon is open
- Sunday, April 19 - afternoon is open
- Saturday, April 25 - all day is open
- Sunday, April 26 - afternoon is open
- Saturday, May 2 (Cleveland, MS) - morning and early afternoon is open
- Sunday, May 3 (Cleveland, MS) - morning is open

Weeknight Special
While I absolutely HATE losing an hour of sleep when we Spring Forward, I absolutely LOVE that the sun sets later in the day, giving me more time to play when I get home from my day job! So, in honor of this love/hate relationship with Spring Forward, we are offering special incentives for anyone who books a portrait session on a weeknight (M-F) after 5:30 p.m. Book a weeknight MINI session and receive a FREE 8"x 10" print of your favorite image. Book a weeknight FOCUS session and receive a FREE high-res digital download of your favorite image. (* A high-res digital download comes with a print release, allowing you to make unlimited reprints of your image in any size or format.)

April's Desktop Wallpaper
We thought we'd try out a new technique for this month's desktop wallpaper. This month's images were all taken mid-March at the Botanic Gardens in Memphis when the cherry trees were in full blosson. What a gorgeous site it was, and I am so happy for photog friends like Jennie who don't mind taking last-second detours just to grab a beautiful picture! Thanks, girl!

Click HERE to download the size image you desire!

April09 SMALL


P.S. I am working on a fun new mini project, and anyone who books a portrait session in April will get to be lucky recipients of said surprise project. Stay tuned to the blog to see what it is...it will definitely be something for clients to BRAG about to friends...hint hint! :) God bless!


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Friday, March 27, 2009

Storyboards on Sale!!

Just wanted to give a little shout-out to current and previous clients that I am about to place an order for custom storyboards for someone and I thought I would open up the order to others as well. So, here is the deal! Because I am very excited to start creating more of these and post them to my website as examples for future clients, I am going to offer discounted pricing on these storyboards if you place your order by Friday, April 10. After that, prices will go back to normal. But don't worry future clients, we will bring back the special every now and then for fun!

Custom Storyboards
- Your top 2-5 photos from your session
- Customized with your favorite colors and fonts
- Finished with 1/8" thick styrene mounting on the back to prevent warping
- Five different sizes to choose from

8x16 or 12x12 = $25
10x20 = $35
12x24 = $45
20x20 = $55

Facebook us or email us if you are interested so we can start designing your customized storyboards! These make great gifts for Mother's Day and Easter...hint hint :)

And because every post is better with a picture, here is how the one of my two nieces dancing turned out! Aren't they the cutest ever?? What hams!! :)

Young Storyboard small

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Attention High School Juniors...Want a FREE Session!?

Attention High School Juniors! What do you think about a FREE senior portrait session?! Become a high school rep for Designs by Prater to earn a free Senior Spotlight session and discounted prints and products...read on for more info!

The WHAT/
In return for being a DBP model/spokesperson, you’ll earn a FREE Senior Spotlight Rep session consisting of a 2-hour shoot, with multiple locations and wardrobe changes. You will also receive 20% off prints and products, FREE Facebook/MySpace web images to share with friends and families, and HS Rep Cards to pass out to all your other senior friends!

The WHY/
If a free senior session and discount on prints and products is not enough for you, we’re also throwing in free prizes for each student you refer who books a session. Prizes include free brag books, 8x10s, storyboards, and more!

The WHEN/
Your sessions will need to take place in late April or May to give us enough time to get your Senior Rep materials ordered for you to pass out to your friends so they can book their shoots this summer and fall.

The HOW/
We are currently looking for students who attend one of the following schools. However, if your school is not on the list, drop us a line and we’d love to hear more about your school and possibly add it to the list.

Collierville High
Germantown High
Houston High
Briarcrest Christian School
Olive Branch High


To apply, email the following information and a current photo of yourself to DBP at susan@designsbyprater.com. You’ll also need parental consent since these photos will be used for promotional purposes on my website/blog, Facebook, etc.

Name
School
Interests, Passions, and Hobbies…oh my!
How would others describe your personality?
Why would you make a great HS Rep?


Deadline to apply is Friday, April 17! We’ll be selecting somewhere from 2-6 students from these area high schools depending upon the number of applications received. Thanks, and good luck to you!

And blog readers...please pass the info along to any High School Juniors you know who might be interested, as well! Thanks again!


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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vote For Your Favorites and WIN!!

Designs by Prater needs your help! Now that spring is officially in the air, it's officially past time to order our new promotional postcards and business cards. But we've had such a hard time turning our designs loose because we can't fit ALL the pictures we want to use all on the SAME card...So, here is where you come in!

Our new business card will feature one photo taken from a previous wedding and one photo taken from a previous portrait session. Browse through the photos below and cast your vote for your fave photo from each category in the comments section below. (Please only vote for one image per category.) The clients whose images get selected for the business card will each receive a FREE 11" x 14" print of their winning image, on top of it appearing on my new business card. Also, the top 4 photos from each category will appear On our promotional postcard, too!

So, what's in it for me, you ask? We'll select one random comment/vote to win a $10 iTunes gift code! So get your votes in now! Voting closes in one week - March 31...

(UPDATE: To vote, just click on the "Comments" link at the bottom of the post to leave your comment/vote. The old term "shout-outs" was apparently confusing some people on how to leave a comment or vote, and I certainly don't want that...because I LOVE to hear what you think!! So I hope it is easier to do now...thanks!)

Portrait Photos

#1
beach44

#2
beach35

#3
decatur2

#4
amanda and evan

#5
amanda and evan

#6
jennie19

#7
jennie3

#8
cagle shoot61

#9
hannah44

#10
hannah47

Wedding Photos

#1
BBC blog10

#2
BBC blog30

#3
RHR wedding19

#4
RHR wedding32

#5
frederick studdard 3

#6
myers thompson 5

#7
jue humphreys 11a

#8
wright brown25

#9
wright brown21

#10
RinaAndrew

Thanks for helping us out! And don't forget to join our Facebook group HERE. We'll be announcing a Facebook-ONLY discount very soon and the only way you will know about it is if are a DBP fan on Facebook...

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Operation NICE - Join Me!

As many of you may already know, I "blog stalk" several other photographers' blogs each day for inspiration and continual photography-related education. Well, one photographer's blog might lead me to another photographer's blog mentioned, and that blog might lead me to another website for a product they love, and before you know it, I am SIX degrees somewhere else and not sure how I landed there. But alas, all is OK because I just found this really NEAT site because of it - Operation NICE!

You gotta check it out! It's a pet project of a graphic designer from New Jersey/Philadelphia and she shares all sorts of ways that you can simply be nice to someone...kinda like paying it forward! She gives weekly assignments to help you find ways in your life where you can be nice to others and shares other freebies and things she learns along the way...including this next tidbit!

Did you know there was a search engine that when used, makes a donation to your selected cause every time you search for something. It's called Goodsearch and it is powered by Yahoo. Find more info about it HERE at the Operation NICE website, as well as how you can make it the default search engine in your web browser's toolbar. While I will continue to keep my iGoogle page as my homepage, Goodsearch has now become my official search engine.

Well, if you'd like to also join them in their cause go to their website to learn more and even grab this cool widget to post on your own blog.



Have you found mine over there on the left...a little further down...yeah, right there! :)


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Spring Is Here...FINALLY!

Aren't you loving the gorgeous spring weather we have been having these last few days? I sure have! Lexie, too, since it has allowed us to stay in the backyard for 30 minutes or so each afternoon when I get home. Instead of fetch, my dog likes to play Keep Away...in as soon as she gets the ball, she thinks I am supposed to chase her around the yard to steal it back. It's actually quite hilarious to watch really. When I am not trying to steal the ball back, it's one of mine or Todd's socks that somehow find their way into the backyard. She thinks they are her toys!

But I digress...today's post is to share with you March 2009's desktop wallpaper...

March09HIGH

Click HERE to download one of four different sizes to display on your home or work computer. And give feedback in the comments section below as to whether you like downloading these each month and what you would like to see in the future!

P.S. To download an image, just click the All Sizes option above the photo, select the desired size of the image, right click, and select Save Image As...and you are all set!

Take care and God bless! And get outside yourself to play with your pets, go for a jog, whatever...enjoy this warmer weather!

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Friday, March 13, 2009

DBP Storyboards Coming Soon!!

I am working on creating some storyboard examples to show how we can use photos taken from your session to create attractive and timeless personalized storyboards to display in your home. They can be personalized in that you can pick the photos, colors, and any special wording if you so desire. Here is a sneak peek at my first attempt!

Asbell Storyboard small

I am working on another one now using some photos taken before my niece's birthday and I need your help in deciding between the following two photos. They were both taken as part of series of my precious nieces booty dancing just like their momma taught them...ha! So, which do you think captures their spunk more?

macie bday_0067

OR

macie bday_0072

Vote by saying either #1 or #2 in the comments section below...thanks!!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

February 2009 Desktop Wallpaper

I've been thinking a lot lately about what all I can do on this blog in between photo shoot posts to keep you coming back to the site more often! And many things have come to mind such as a photo of the week or month as voted on by YOU, more contests, before and after shots using Photoshop, and much more. One idea that I have seen other photographers incorporate a lot was a very neat idea in particular, and I have decided that I would carry it on over into DBP land...

I now introduce to you...FREE desktop wallpapers each month, courtesy of yours truly! Now, these are not going to be just a random photo from a recent shoot, but something artistic taken solely for the purpose of sharing it with you to display on your personal or business computer.

To start things off, today I am going to post what would have been February 2009's photo, which captured an unexpected snowfall scene in the Historic Square of Downtown Collierville.

February09 SMALL


Click HERE to go to my Flickr site to download the wallpaper. Just select the "All Sizes" option above your desired resolution, right click, select Save Image As, and you are all set!

Stay tuned next week for March 2009's photo!

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Monday, March 9, 2009

We Will Miss You Winston!

While most posts you read on this blog will be centered around the photo shoots we book, every now and then a more personal post might try to sneak its way in. Tonight is one of those times. Todd and I will have been married three years this coming August and are already getting the question, "So, when are you two going to start having kids?!" Well, our answer for the time being is "We have one...she's black, furry, and loves to chew our socks!" And yes, we are talking about a dog. :) Meet Lexie Grace Prater, our 8 or 9 month old rescue shelter lab puppy:

MemWomRugby84

Now, I am not kidding you when I tell you that this little girl owns our heart. I have always had pets growing up and always had a dog. I loved them and played with them all the time. But nothing ever came as close as the love we feel for Lexie; she is our first "child" together and has the cutest quirks a puppy could ever have. I can only imagine the love we are going to share for a baby when that time comes for us.
The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue
--Anonymous

All that to say that I covet your prayers for some very dear friends of mine who are having to say goodbye to their first "child." You may remember this girl from one of my first DBP photo shoots; but what you didn't see were some of the candids I snapped of her and her beloved dog Winston at the end of our photo safari.

JennieWinstonBW

Jennie and Landon have had a very tough day today; one every dog owner dreads. They learned that their beloved weimaraner had a tumor and there was not much that could be done for him. So they faced a very tough decision...and it is with many tears that we say goodbye to Winston tonight.

So, I wanted to share some of these pictures I caught of the two of them back in the fall in hopes that they might bring a smile to Jennie and Landon's faces tonight and later this week. Please say some prayers for them if you think about it!
One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you're feeling blue is that he doesn't try to find out why.
-- Author Unknown

JennieWinston2
Buy a pup and your money will buy love unflinching.
-- Rudyard Kipling

Jennie and Landon, we love you guys!

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focus : newborn hannah

While Sundays are usually my day to rest, appropriately so, I used this past Sunday to play catch up on editing photos from recent shoots. And I am very proud to now post my faves from my newborn shoot with guest of honor, Hannah Grace, and her mommy, daddy, and big sis!

So without further ado, here we go! And post your favorites in the comments section below so I can get a good feel for the look and feel of photos my faithful blog readers like. :)

for no particular reason other than just loving flat-out candid shots, this is one of my faves:
hannah1

hannah3


hannah12

hannah17

hannah22

hannah35

hannah38

hannah39

hannah42

hannah44

hannah47

Daddy is already having a hard time keeping his two girls straight! mommy is dying out laughing because we kept telling him to kiss Haley on the cheek, and he kept leaning in to kiss Hannah instead:
hannah48

i love squishy faces!!
hannah49

hannah53

such unconditional love displayed in this picture - love it!
hannah58

daddy and his precious girls:
hannah59

hannah61

and i love this one because of the cute crinkle in her nose when she laughed - so warm!
hannah63

hannah67

I know this was a photo heavy post, but there were just way too many to narrow down...to see the rest, click here! Enjoy, and God bless :)

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