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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).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

wanted : love affair workshop seat {memphis photographer}

Last year, I tried my hand at winning a coveted spot at the Love Affair photography workshop in Atlanta, GA. While I did not win or get to go, I did have another friend who went and said that it was WONDERFUL! So, I am going to give it another go around this year and try to win a scholarship for one of those coveted spots, as well as some other neat prizes!

So, here is my official entry for today, and if you want to know more about this fabulous workshop, check it out HERE! :)

“I want to win the Get It Together Kit & a seat to Love Affair Workshop. GO read the details or register! http://www.loveaffairworkshop.com”

Love Affair Workshop 2010


I'm so bummed I missed out on the chance to win the UNO DVD yesterday, but the Get It Together Kit would be another fabulous prize to win, too. If you want to know more about either of these wonderful products for photographers, just click their images below! Take care and God bless :)

Get It Together Kit


UNO by Lauren Clark



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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

faq : do's and don'ts with images {memphis photographer}

A popular topic amongst both photographers and clients alike is what is allowed versus not allowed concerning a photographer's images from a portrait session or wedding. Personally, it makes me silly happy when I see my clients “stealing” their pictures from our blog or facebook fan page to use on their own personal facebook profiles, blogs, etc. It's a major compliment that you adore them enough to want to proudly share them with your friends and family...so we love that kind of stealing!

That said, here are a few DO’s and DON’Ts that you should keep in mind when re-posting these images (as taken from Mom*tog - a popular blog for photogs who are moms or who hope to be soon (like me...haha) or moms who just love to take photographs):

1) DO ask your photographer what their specific policy is on taking pictures off of their blogs. Some photographers encourage it and some don’t allow it. If this is important to you, this is something you should ask BEFORE you hire your photographer!
- DBP fully endorses this as long as the next few points are adhered to

2) DO include your photographer’s name and website under the images (a link would be super nice!). That’s just the polite thing to do :)
- DBP is making it a point to include these in the images before they are posted to our blog or facebook, so this shouldn't be an extra step to you!

3) DON’T crop out their logo, and unless you have paid for the digital negatives, don’t alter the files in anyway. Most photographers use their blogs to advertise their work and do so as a courtesy to give their clients a sneak peek. If a client crops out the logo then how will other people know who took the picture?
- DBP hopes you'd want to keep our logos in anyways, as the more people you refer to us, the more referral rewards you earn to go towards prints and products from your session :)

4) DON’T edit the picture in any way. Taking the pictures is only half of a photographer's job; the other half is editing. If you think you can do a better job or want to edit out some of your wrinkles or use selective coloring, please don’t show and/or tell your photographer. That is super insulting. If you don’t like your photographer's editing enough to want to edit it yourself, then maybe you need to find another photographer next year.
- Perhaps a nicer way for us to say the above is to just state that we hope part of the reason you are hiring us is because you already love OUR STYLE! So why would you want to put more work on yourself when you have already paid us for this? If there is an additional edit you would like, just ask us!

5) DON’T try to print from the files on the blog. For me specifically I know that the files I upload to my blog are too small to be printed in a 4×6 size. It’s not cool to invest in a family session and then print the images off of the blog and not pay for prints. Make sure you know how much the prints cost before the session to avoid sticker shock. Same goes for scanning prints that you already bought. Not cool!
- The reason we post most all of our pricing publicly on our DBP blog is so you can have a good idea of the average investment BEFORE you make the decision to hire us. We also provide many options on the front end to give you the most bang for your buck via our print collections and digital portrait packages. We're here to give you both value and moments frozen in time that you will treasure for a lifetime...not to nickle and dime you. But we do have to make a living so some cost is involved. ;)

So there you have it! Let us know if you have any other questions pertaining to this topic...or if you want us to cover something specific in our next FAQs post.

And because no post should ever go without a picture, here is another of my faves from a recent senior sesh with Shelby! It was snapped right as she was finishing up a conversation with either her boyfriend or her sister. While I can't remember exactly what was being said, I can only guess that it was probably something funny! Why doesn't everyone take a stab at what she was saying by giving this photo your own caption in the comments...ha!

shelby 22

To see more, visit her proofing gallery HERE and her facebook album HERE! God bless! :)

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

sneak peek : shelby {olive branch/collierville senior photographer}

it's time to meet another one of our class of 2011 senior reps - shelby! she had been sitting on pins and needles waiting to see some sneak peek photos from last sunday's spring mini session, so we shared these on facebook earlier in the week. but once again, we got a little too busy to post them here on the blog. but better late than never, right?! haha :)

along with our first senior rep, rachel, shelby is another junior in our youth ministry at church! they both are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside, and we look forward to celebrating their senior years with them as they continue to grow in knowledge and wisdom of the Gospel!

here are some of her sneak peek photos...to see more, visit her facebook album HERE! ENJOY :)

shelby 01

shelby 05

shelby 06

shelby 07

shelby 08

shelby 10

shelby 12

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shutter squared : photo safari with the lewis family {collierville/germantown photographer}

please forgive me for the lack of posting this week! it's been busy but a good one :) these photos showed up on facebook earlier in the week, but i wanted to take a moment to share a few with my favorite blog readers!

jennie and i headed out to this wonderful garden/park in germantown last saturday because we were just dying to shoot some photos while everything was still in bloom...it was azalea bushes galore! we are so thankful to the lewis family for being such great models. enjoy some of my faves here, and then go visit their facebook album to see the rest HERE!

take care and God bless! :)

lewis 03

lewis 04

lewis 06

lewis 09

lewis 15

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lewis 18

lewis 20

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

spotted : collierville firemen/EMTs

After a quick photo safari at this new spot in Germantown we found earlier this week, Jennie and I decided to head to the Collierville square to play with our cameras a little bit longer. While walking around, two of Collierville's firemen/EMT guys sitting on their bench right outside the station spotted us and asked us what we were doing. We answered that from time to time we like to just get out and take photos for fun...and the next thing you know, they had become our next models!!

And the coolest thing you MUST know about these two is that they are regulars in Collierville's bluegrass pickin' Friday nights...sincerely! So the next time you are at home on a Friday night wondering what to do, head to the square to listen to them play!

Enjoy the photos :)

a fireman 01

a fireman 02

a fireman 03

a fireman 04

a fireman 05

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

faq : the editing process {memphis photographer}

I've decided to start a new feature on the blog where I will from time to time take one of the FAQ's I receive from clients and post the answers on here for all to read. I hope you will find it as beneficial as it is informative! And if you have another question that you would like for me to cover in a future post, please leave a comment and let me know what you want to talk about next...

today's faq : we've booked our session and have now completed out portrait session. what's next?

the answer? the editing process

step one : in the first week following your session, i will blog and upload to facebook a few sneak peek photos for your viewing pleasure.

step two : once i have culled through all the images from your session, i will narrow it down to the best images from each location/outfit/pose and take them through the initial editing phase where they will each receive one of my two favorite looks - a simple pop of color or a vintage black/white conversion.

example of color pop:
color pop beforeafter

example of vintage black/white conversion:
vintage bw beforeafter

step three : all edited images will be uploaded to my proofing site within the second week AND more of my faves from your session will join the sneak peek photos already up on facebook and the blog

step four
: we both learn which photos you like the best and hopefully you place an order! ;)

step five : final edits are made to the photos you ordered just to make sure they are looking their absolute best before the order is officially placed with my printing lab. this usually entails removing any final blemishes that may have been missed during the initial editing phase or removing unwanted items in the background of your photos or simply adding a little bit more pop to the image. for example, on this next photo, i quickly learned that it was one of marianne's favorite photos and that she was going to want it in lots of different sizes. so i wanted to make it absolutely perfect! so we removed a few of the smudges on the structure they were leaning up against, pulled out its color just a bit more, and brightened up their faces a bit more, too. now, you tell me what you think of this final edit :)

initial vs final edits

step six : your order comes in and you proudly display them in your home and give them as gifts...we hope at least! ;)

step seven : for extra credit, you send me photos of them in your homes so i can blog them as a client share later on!! pretty please...haha

Well, I hope that gives you a better idea of what to expect after your portrait session is in the books! take care and God bless :)

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

focus : rachel {collierville senior photographer}

Aside from being one of the wonderful girls in our youth group at church, this lovely lady has signed on to be one of our Class of 2011 senior reps, representing Houston High School. And later next week, you'll be meeting Shelby, our Class of 2011 senior rep from Center Hill High School. Our senior reps each receive a complimentary 30-minute MINI session in the spring, as well as a discounted regular-length FOCUS session later in the summer. Each rep also has the chance to earn free prints and products as more and more of their friends book a senior portrait session with DBP! If you know of someone who might be interested, please tell them to contact us! We are currently still looking for senior reps from any of the following area schools: Collierville High, Germantown High, Olive Branch High, and any other East Memphis or North Mississippi high school/academy. But tell them to hurry; we are only taking one rep from each school.

OK...now that we are finished with our DBP commercial, let's get on to the photos! :) I had SUCH a blast with Rachel and her family, and I can't wait for her full-length FOCUS session later this summer, when we'll have even more time for lots and lots of wardrobe changes and locations. But in the meantime, enjoy some more faves from last week! And to see the rest of her photos, click HERE for her proofing gallery and HERE for her facebook album!

she TOTALLY matched these trees that afternoon and it was a TOTAL coincidence!
rachel blog 05

this one is quickly becoming one of my faves from the shoot! it just screams america's next top model :)
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and yea for jumping photos!
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this is her excited face!
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and this is her sweet face :)
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and here she is with her lil' siblings, sydney and carter!
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rachel blog 26

rachel blog 27

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