New Lighting Gear!

If any of you have been following me on my blog or Instagram, you may have heard me rant about lighting. It was not an easy decision as I was holding out for Hensel to come out with their Foris light, which would be both AC and battery powered. My situation just couldn’t wait any longer, and renting was not an option that I wanted to keep doing. I did a lot of research, stalked forums, looked at articles and the comments, ratings, etc. Checked out videos, did a lot of Elinchrom vs Hensel, Hensel vs Dynalite, Proto vs Broncolor, Profoto vs Godox Pro 600, etc., I mean I was going a little crazy over here.

The main issue I had going against the Good system was their customer service. Good never returns their phone calls, emails, Facebook or Instagram Messages. It’s ridiculous, if I ran my business like that I wouldn’t have a business. Someone suggested I check out Adorama’s Flashpoint which is the Godox but re-named for them. They offered an additional 3 year warranty and Adorama services and repairs the units. So with credit card in hand, I purchased four Flashpoint Xplor 600 Pro TTL R2 strobe heads. I also had to add quite a few other things because since I’m switching to a Bowens mount from a Dynalite mount, my speedings need to change. I also picked up a Flashpoint Zoom Li-on R2 Speedlight for Canon.

Since my husband loves to get in front of the camera, he immediately signed up to help me test the lights. He works in tv as an Editor, so I thought it was be cool to mimic him being on location on set. Now, these are just test shots, nothing fancy, far from perfect, with a quick edit in Capture Pro One. Looking back I can see where I should’ve used my flags. But overall, it was fun just seeing how to set them up, figuring out the R2 Trigger, it was actually more fun that I thought it would be.


We went down the street from where we live, because of the weight of these lights, we took the car. I rearranged my Think Tank Photo Logistics Manager 30 Rolling Case to fit everything in it. I grabbed 4 light stands, my Westcott 7′ Parabolic Soft White Umbrella and a Glow 40″ Folding Beauty Dish. Now, I did get extra batteries for these heads, and this does add to the weight in my gear case. Once we put them on the stands, it was clear to me, that you cannot use these on cheap, flimsy light stands. Each one is around 6 pounds, without a modifier to tip them over. Compared to my Dynalites, this will be a bit of getting used to, because those heads were super lightweight, but with a cable connecting each one to a power box.

If you’re interested in seeing my long videos about the Lighting Gear, CLICK HERE.

Right before starting I spotted a turtle, and I at first thought that it was a Snapping Turtle. But it was just a cute little Box Turtle, we left him alone, and he didn’t seem all that into us anyway. 


And there you go, my behind the scenes view from yesterday. I’m just happy to be able to work without having to worry about the lights like I used to before.

Email Scams That Target Photographers or How I Almost Fell For An Email Scam

So a few weeks back I almost fell for this email scam that’s been targeting photographers. I already know about the ones claiming to want event photography. Check out my video to see me and share in the comments section below if you’ve ever experienced this too, and what was it about?

Here are some links that talk about them in more detail:

PetaPixel: Photographers, Beware These Fake Gig Scam Emails

Photoshelter: 4 Scams That Target Photographers

The LawTog: How To Avoid Photography Client Scams

PDN: Scam Alert: Phishing Scheme Targets Freelance Photographers


Being The Guest Speaker On The Importance of Professional Branding Photography

On Monday, I was the guest speaker for one of my networking groups, Moms In Business, (M.I.B.) at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ. My topic was about the importance of professional branding photography and headshots. Thanks to Maureen of Moms In Business for taking the cell phone shots of me!

I used a slideshow using Apple’s Keynote on my Macbook Pro, that I had hooked up to a monitor. The space was unusual, and the only place to put my monitor was on top of the garbage container. I made sure to emphasize saying THANK YOU and using that as a prop to get my point across. Everyone was really great and accommodating for our group.

Overall it was a success, they tried to record it and do a Facebook Live Video, but there was a technical problem, so there’s no video. It’s too bad, because I ROCKED it! LOL

This wasn’t my first time as a guest speaker, I’ve spoken before on this topic before but in a different way. Trying to get the point across to the masses just how important it is to invest in yourself and in your business with professional photography. By not doing this, you’re truly doing a huge disservice to your business and brand.

-9 out of 10 people will research you on social media before deciding to hire or work with you. (The Muse)

-1 in 5 people will ONLY look at your profile picture and nothing else on your LinkedIn Page! (HSN Beauty)

-Your are 14x more likely to be taken seriously if you have a professional headshot on your social media profiles. (LinkedIn)

Also, if you think that by using stock photos are helping, truly they’re not. Are they who you are? Are the people in those photos the ones behind the name of your business? Did you know that other websites use those same images as well? Do you want to be like them or stand apart with a customized library of photographs?

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Professional Branding Presentation at the Hotdog Stop in Windsor, NJ for Moms In Business Networking Group.

Thank you ladies and everyone on Hotdog Stop!

Now that I’ve given you some things to think about, click on the red button that says Chat Now, and let’s start a conversation about what what you want to do for your business or company that you work for.

Are You Ready For A Change? Branding Photography For Your Business

Is your business growing and going places? Your clients know that you’re amazing and there is so much about you that sets you apart from others. It’s time to make that commitment for yourself and your business. Are you ready to step up your marketing? Rise above and get more of your targeted clients.

Tell me if any of these apply to you or someone that you know:

  • Look at what you’ve been using to capture images.  Is it your iPhone or another type of mobile device? Are those images truly sharp and print ready?
  • Are you still using selfies or having a friend take a “quick pic” with your phone?
  • Did you get a “fancy camera” and try to use it?
  • Did you crop yourself from that group shot taken while with your family and friends on vacation? (I love the way I look in some of those too! LOL)
  • Or are you still using that headshot from 2-5 years ago?

Do you truly believe in yourself and the business that you work so hard at to build up? Wouldn’t you just love to have a stunning library of professional photos that truly represent who you are and what your passion is about? Because we wouldn’t own a business if we didn’t love it, right?

Imagine, talking about not having the standard headshot, but you and I having fun, at your business location or a place that we feel works for your vision and branding. We also go through some questions to get a some ideas about what you want and if they work or not. There’s a hair and makeup artist, beforehand we already had discussed and picked out what you’re going to wear. It’s almost like dress up for adults. Remember playing that as kids? Even guys can do this!

As a branding and storyteller photographer, I work on achieving the best of what makes you tick. In the end, the images you’ll receive you can use in print, on social media, or your website will be powerful, strong and most of all, they will be about your personality, your drive, passion, and the message that you want to convey to others.

Your potential clients will trust you more when you have professional photographs taken, to tell the story and show them with imagery will win them over.

As a professional branding photographer, my business is your business. I put you in the best possible light so that you can present your brand to your customers and partners with confidence.

Contact me to start the New Year in the right direction by booking your session early.  There’s a little red button to the right of your screen and it says Get Started. See? Easy as that!

I can’t wait to make you reach your full potential!

ProactiveAdvisorMagazineDougbyDeirdreRyanPhotography Outdoor On Location Business Portrait by Deirdre Ryan Photography for Advocate for Mom and Dad


Photography Paperwork – Model Releases

As a professional photographer, I have an amazing amount of paperwork that I need to have done for each one of my clients, whether a single headshot or a large complicated 2 day photoshoot. This doesn’t include the back and forth emails, texts and phone calls.

Part of my paperwork that I include is a Model Release. But what is this Model Release?

A model release form is a legal document between me, the photographer, and the person or the people, that I’m photographing.  At the most basic, it’s a formal written document of their permission allowing me to publish their image on my website, blog, and marketing materials.  It also releases the model(s) from any form of future compensation made from any images that they appear in.

Okay this sounds good, but do I  really need to have my clients sign one each time?

For me, I give my clients a choice, if it’s a personal photoshoot, they have the option of not signing.  And I will respect whatever decision they make, and often times will not put the images on my website, blog, and marketing materials. BUT having them sign, will protect me against any possible civil liability lawsuits in the future. The release protects everyone involved, including the clients being photographed. If it’s for a commercial client, they will sign, and they will also have their own too.

If I decide to license any of the images at a later date, then it’s important, but I don’t do this because I like to let my clients know ahead of time.  And if I do anything that can be licensed, then I would make the photoshoot just for the sake of this, to sell the images as Royalty Free stock images. So far I have yet to do anything like this, just a personal choice at this point in time.

For certain things like the images I did for The Women’s March in Washington, D.C., I am using these as editorial, like for a newspaper. I was part of UniteWomen and had a Press Pass to take these images. 

Power Up! Consulting

For these, I had a model release, because I was not only photographing them for their branding, but I wanted to use them on my website. I’m not going to use these as stock images, but if there’s a problem where the images are stolen off of my site, I have further proof that I took them. Deirdre Ryan Editorial & Commercial Photography - NJ, PA, NY

My friend Lisa, She’s Losing

For my clients NJPAC and Burlington Coat Factory, I was hired to photograph their events. The same thing, I’m not going to sell these images, but the release protects everyone.BurlingtonCoatFactoryLuncheonPhilliePhanaticPhoto_By_Deirdre_Ryan_Photography

Here are some additional links for more information about model releases:

What You Need To Know ABout Model Releases

FAQs About Model Releases -ASMP

If you’re still unclear, my advise is to find a lawyer, and talk to them about this, as I’m not a lawyer, nor do I even pretend to play one anywhere, even on tv.

It’s complicated and crazy, I know. But who wants to get into anything messy and expensive when we can prevent it with a written document? Then there’s Property Releases, those give me permission to photograph on certain properties, and then whoever signs it, cannot sue or receive any future compensations from images created on said properties. There’s more, but that’s kind of it in a tiny nutshell.

I hope that this post helps clear up the confusion and we can get on with our photoshoots. Thanks!

Why You Need To Copyright your Images

Long Overdue Update 10/31/17:

I’m pretty excited to have had this post re-posted in very well respected The Phoblographer <—–click on link.  Thank you Chris for spreading the word! Since then, I’ve tweaked the formatting on my post, but it’s still the same. I have also heard from another photographer whose work was also stolen from this same band. I’m waiting to hear the outcome of that. When I do, I’ll update this post.

In this post, I want to share a “bedtime story” with you all. Yes….for my closest friends and family members, you know what this post is about. I’ve waited a long time, but with so many stories showing up on PetaPixel, two years is long enough I think. For the sake of what happened, I can’t name the band.

But first!

Why do I need copyright my images? I mean, once I click the shutter and take the picture, it’s mine.

Ok, technically that’s true legally. However if someone steals your images, if they are not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to anything bad happening, you may only recover “actual damages” instead of “statutory damages.” What this means is  that you as the photographer will only be entitled to the “fair market value” of your work, instead of what could be up to a $150,000 award, plus legal fees. (Parts of this description came from )

So if you need to hire a copyright lawyer, the first thing they will ask you is if the images in question have been registered yet. If yes, then you can proceed. If no, well, that’s going to be harder if your case goes all the way through and in front of a judge. The reason behind this is that professionals take the time to register their images because of the value to them and their livelihood, whereas say a, hobbyist, may not. Someone stealing images from a person and using it means a huge loss in revenue for a photographer.

I’m not going to go in detail on how to go through the process of registering your images. There are plenty of sites that can help you with this if you Google it. My favorite sites are:

The Photo Attorney


A great article from Photoshelter 5 Things Photographers Can Do to Protect Their Images Online

Here is a great video from Scott Wyden Kivowitz on how to prep your images for the US Copyright Office using Lightroom. Lately I’ve been using Capture One Pro, but I can apply what he does here to that too.

A fellow photographer got me into this site Pixsy and what they do is really cool. You sign up, and sync your images with them either directly from your computer or social media site, website, etc. They find matches of your images online, and send you an alert. Then they’ll give you options on how you want to proceed, and yes they can handle international infringements. The service is free for up to 500 images. If you have more images that you want to have monitored they have different monthly plans. Now you don’t get the full amount if you win, they keep 50% except the the highest paid plan, you keep 55%. Overall, it’s not a bad system and I did have an image that their software found. I contacted them and they took care of it, done. I highly recommend trying it out and going with it, if you do find something that’s a huge deal then get a copyright lawyer.

Ok now that we have all of that taken cared of let’s go one with my experience shall we?

Back in 2015, I went to a concert here in my town and thanks to my buddy, a popular band from way back came to perform. The opening act was The Successful Failures and that was my first time seeing them. I was in the audience doing my usual thing, taking pictures. I wasn’t paid to be there, actually I paid for my tickets. But I asked if it was ok to take pictures and he said sure. I had my Canon Mark 5D III, the 16-35mm f2.8 L lens, and the 70-200mm f2.8 L non-IS lens. I’m working the room, doing my best to not be in the way of people enjoying the show. And we’re all having a great time, enjoying the hit songs we all love.

After the show, my husband and I meet the performers, the lead singer is a friend of my friend, and he introduces me. We get our photos taken, hands shaken, it was a great night. Before they went onstage, I met the previous band this way too, exchanged information.

Later on, I post the images from that night to this blog, watermarked them as you see here. Shared the post to social media and of course to my friend. The lead singer of The Successful Failures reached out via email and told me how he and his band members loved the images that I had posted. He wanted to know if they could use some of the images on their website and social media and how much it would cost. And touched upon the photo project for their new album.

I got back to him because at the time, I wasn’t sure how to price this sort of request. But I could see the value in what they do and they knew the value of what I do, there was going to be an awesome photoshoot coming up, I love their music, and most importantly, they asked for my permission. So I came up with a web sized per image price and we agreed upon it, had them sign a contract and that was it.

I follow the bands that I photograph on FB, Instagram and on Twitter.  That’s when I noticed that that well known band had screenshot my images right off my blog and was using them on their FB, Twitter and Instagram with a link to their merchandise section to sell stuff like shirts and cds. That’s called using my work illegally for advertising. So at first I was pissed, but I played it cool because this is a friend of my friend. So I private messaged the band with this and I’m so happy that I had the insight to make screen copies. 

If you can’t read it here’s what it says:

“Hey there! While I’m flattered that you like my images, I’m not cool with the screenshots and on my blog it does state that all images are copyright Deirdre Ryan Photography. Please do not copy in any way, this includes screenshots, thank you. I wanted to be nice, be cool. I’ll let it slide this one time, but please tag me and please change all posts to include Photo by Deirdre Ryan thanks. This includes Instagram 🙂 My FB Page is I’m re-branding myself again as a commercial and editorial photographer, so this would greatly help me and as a friend of Randy’s 🙂 Oh I forgot, if you could tag my IG with my IF @deirdreryanphoto Thanks again! Have a super awesome day!”

Looking back now I realize what I dork I sounded like LOL! I wasn’t asking for money or being a jerk. I just wanted photo credit. And as you can see, it was seen.

I waited a while and nothing….crickets…so I added my photo credit in the comments. Then, and I wish I took screenshots of those, they deleted my credits! And I saw that some fans had shared my image.


I tried again and they blocked me! WTH? So I hopped on IG and not only did they block me, they cropped out my watermark and slapped some crappy IG filters on some of them. The reason I knew this was because I had another IG account that they didn’t know about(ha!). I had added my credits in the comments there and at the time you couldn’t delete them, but I was blocked from their Twitter too! So I had my friends monitor their account for me. I think that they asked them in the credits who took the photos, etc. and they got blocked and deleted too, I can’t remember right now.

Here is what the originals looked like on my blog posting:RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography RandyNowConcert_Men Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography Without Hats_The Successful Failures_Photos By Deirdre Ryan Photography

(If you notice, the copyright symbol isn’t on them, at the time, I didn’t think I needed it. But now I have them on now, but I wanted to show you what they looked like for reference.)

So I first I got a hold of my friend that I network with, she is a copyright lawyer. In fact we’re still in touch. She suggested that I email the band first, so I found their manager’s email. Btw, they have a different manager now.

Dear _______,

My name is Deirdre Ryan, I’m a professional photographer in New Jersey, (USA).
I’ve spoken with an attorney with whom I’m in the process of retaining. Before I go ahead and do so, I want to give you an opportunity to take down all of my images.
Please call back as soon as possible _________.

Take down you images from where?


These are images I shot of ________ that I posted on my website’s blog(Recent Work). These images are on their Instagram and Facebook accounts and they were Tweeted. Two were posted last week, and four this week. 

So let me get this straight..

You went down, and shot the band… The band posted low rez pictures that you posted online of THEM live… and you have a problem with this… and now have the nerve to threaten us with lawyers?? am I getting this right?

Based on the tone of his last email, I called my lawyer up and I said, you deal with this. I could tell right away that this guy was hostile and would not offer a dime. I put her on a retainer and then the nightmare began. But I was really thankful that I had her. She then asked me to draw up an estimate of what this would cost them, so I did.

Their manager was rude, mean and over the phone with my lawyer, it was F this and F that, he clearly had a problem. He didn’t see the issue with what I had with my work being stolen to be used on their social media outlets and with a link to sell merchandise. I wasn’t asking for anything other than taking them down. I tried to be nice, asking for photo credit, then emailing with a polite and direct message.

Instead he was an asshole. Never asked for permission, deleted my photo credits, ignored my messages, and

it took about 3 months for them to take my images down.

In the end, I’m “banned” from their future shows(no big deal to me), and you know what he told my lawyer? This is “rich”….he was just trying to help a young photographer out.


If you wanted to help a “young” photographer out, you would’ve done what I asked for in the first place.

Next time someone steals my work like this again, they are going to pay me. I went through this ordeal because I didn’t want them to think that they could push anyone around, ESPECIALLY women. I didn’t this for  myself, but for other creatives out there.  They had stolen from the Getty’s site too so it’s only going to be a matter of time before they will end up shelling out thousands of dollars.

Should You Hire A Pro Photographer For Your Business?

This goes out to all of my creative friends and peers out there. I’m sure you can all relate.

I’m sharing this  because my friend, another photographer, got burned 2 days before an event by people he knew for another photographer! People, this is our livelihood! This is how we make a living. He could’ve made GOOD money on that day but instead saved it for non-deserving folks. I know how he feels, truly I do, I’ve been there. I’m asked why am I so expensive, why do I need to sign a contract and a model release? Why do you copyright your images?
Well you asked, now I’m going to blog about it. And I’m hearing more stories like this all the time. Don’t be that person. Thank you

The other day I posted this on my Facebook page:

I am part of many Facebook groups, and on one of them, the admin is trying to stop others from the constant selling from everyone who posts. Posting just to sell and run is not just boring and tiring, we don’t get to know the person behind the business. What is it that drives you? What do you want? Here’s what I want: consistant work, clients who value what I do, and come back to me and not just go to the cheapest or a photographer who does it for free. That’s not how you build business relationships. I understand that we all have bills to pay, the same goes for me and my family. But I got into my career not just because I have a B.F.A. in Photography but it’s something that I knew instinctively since I was very little. Thank you

I want to start a conversation, is investing in professional photography for your business worth it?

Let’s go back in history with me for a few moments or more. While I was re-building my business, I had worked for free for credit, producing what I thought to be great images, and looking back I can see where I have improved. But, I was going with the art direction or my own limitations for whatever reasons. This is called portfolio building and for some I was paid and told that I would be hired back and then to found out that instead they went with someone who did the remaining work for free. Or other clients hired someone else, or friends, neighbors, of mine would use other photographers or a chain like JC Penny’s.

When you are doing everything in your power to build a business and make money to support your family….this hurts. And you know it’s happening because, well, Facebook…hello. My friends know or should know me well enough to come to me, and I will cut them a huge break. Or if you’re a business and I started something, and it’s tough for you as well, at least hire me back and let me finish the job. I understand, all you needed to do was ask, talk to me, right? Don’t let me find out on social media. This has happened more than once. Reaching out to those who have the power to help me get in front of small businesses in my area and beyond haven’t helped me either. But I see them use other photographers, which is fine and the work is great. However when I do buy local or support small businesses, I don’t get the same respect with repeat customers from said other businesses.

This is a stab to the heart and you try so hard not to take it personal, it’s business. But you can’t help it. We’re artists and creative people tend to be sensitive. It sucks, we put on a brave face and a huge smile every day. Our work is out there for the world to judge and see all the time.  Yes, I did ask for this career and I do love i, but I know that I’m not the only one.

So, back to the original question:  is investing in professional photography worth it?

YES! Why?

Let’s look at the real estate market first. Now I understand that the salespeople and brokers must pay for many of the expenses of marketing properties up front unless I’m wrong. But I’m seeing a lot of horrible cell phone or point and shoot camera photos that are literally thrown up on the site. It doesn’t do the properties any good and as a possible buyer, I know that wouldn’t entice me. And if I was the seller, frankly I would be more than upset. From my research, it seems that real estate photography is still inexpensive for what you get but it’s anywhere from $150-$300 in my area. And what about real estate agents still getting their headshots taken with a cell phone against a white wall in the office?? Please hire someone that knows what they’re doing, invest in yourself, make others take you seriously. I’ll admit, I’m not a real estate photographer, but I know for sure that I wouldn’t use a cell phone to sell any property.

For non-profits, yes you need professional photography to get more donations and marketing to get better reach for your cause. But pay the photographers, we know there’s money for us somewhere. I’ve done my fair share of work for credit and let me tell you something….nothing has come out of those.

A professional photographer wrote a post and gave a creative license for everyone to use it.

Reasons Why Professional Photographers Cannot Work For Free

But, but….I can’t afford a professional photographer, you’re all so expensive! I can just take a fancy Canon or Nikon DSLR with a pop-up flash or my cell phone, that’s all we need. 

Look, I get it, in fact we all do. And if that’s all you can do for certain things, go ahead. However let me tell you something when you put a camera on auto. Those photos may or may not come out. My daughter was in a 5K earlier this year and they had a guy taking pictures. He didn’t have a flash and when I heard the shutter, it sound very slow.

I used my mirrorless camera, because I’m a mom first, I was there taking pictures of her and this time I didn’t bring my huge Canon gear like I had to last time, I had to because using a cell phone is not acceptable. And oh this year it poured.

Well, I saw the pictures that the guy took, they posted them on Facebook, and most were out of focus, blurry and I was right about the shutter speed being too slow. I felt bad for the parents who thought that they were getting great images. But this is a classic case of you get what you pay for.

Be Your Own Brand

For businesses you want images that fit you and your brand.If you use stock images, your customers are not going to see who the real people behind the business really are. Also by using a stock image, there’s a big chance that someone else is using it as well. Tell your story by being unique, work with a photographer, bounce ideas off each other and have fun with it.

The owner of Wholetrition helps to train a client using the heavy ropes as part of her workout routine. The owner of Wholetrition helps to train a client using a weighted ball as part of her workout routine.


Why am I so expensive?

If you ask around, I’m expensive, or some people think I’m very reasonable for the support that I give my clients with what I provide for them. Some of my friends who are photographers charge way more than I do and think that I should do the same. And I’m very close to it. Many factors come into play, but first is this:

I run a business. When you have a business, you pay quarterly sales taxes, insurance, extra bills, leases, and oh if you think that digital is not as expensive as film, you’re very much in the wrong here. There’s the time we spend editing the images. We’re constantly having to upgrade our camera bodies as they don’t last as long. Cards get corrupted, computers need upgrading, repairing or replacing. Websites aren’t free, same with domains, and since I’m a pro Canon user, I pay for a service to get discounted repairs and cleanings. Is that worth it? Yes, because last year I had to have 2 flash hotshoes and the top of my Canon 5D Mark III replaced…$480. Without the discount it would’ve been double that. Oh and don’t forget that we’re constantly backing up files, that costs money too on hard drives and the cloud. Credit cards charge fees too. I have a CPA.  A copyright lawyer. Bills for the car, healthcare, daily living expenses, networking events, marketing,  copyright and usage fees, oh and there’s my experience.

Let’s talk about my experience. 

How much is your time worth? When you work with someone who takes a longer time and is not able to give you what you want the first time, with the quality you need, the creativity and customer experience behind what I do. Do you want to miss deadline and get sub par work? How many times have you gone into a place  like a restaurant and said,”Hey, I love your food, I’ll pay you half of what you’re asking for. If I like what I’m eating, because I’m an established business and I’ll come back and refer you to others.” Sounds nuts right?  But what I’m saying is if you ARE an established business then you know the value of what I do already. I mean you don’t want to say, go to a deep discount plastic surgeon or lasik eye doctor right? So considering what I charge,  for what I do, I’m well worth it.

Moving Forward….

There will be people who will not like this post, and that’s fine. I don’t like it either, however there are many things that I’ve had to explain over and over again to others and I wanted to get it out in the open. I’ve worked in this field with all men who talk rough, so in turn, I’ve had to play that game to survive at times. In the end, I know who my target market is and is not. I’ve come too far to give up, I’m not a quitter. My goals are clear, and I need to keep moving forward.

My next post will one of answer these questions:

Why do I need to sign a contract and a model release? Why do you copyright your images?

Do You Want To Be A Model? Read This!

About once or twice a month I get a phone call from a young lady needing new photos for their modeling portfolio. After asking a few questions it always comes back to what happened:

They fell for John Casablancas. If you have heard this name, they have been around since about 1987 and yes, they are still in business. This is a modeling school that you are asked to pay thousands of dollars for classes on makeup, hair, modeling, clothes, and other aspects of this industry. And you also have to use their photographer, and each time I hear how terrible the pictures came out.  Either they don’t like how they look, or the photographer was mean, the lighting was bad, and “the camera looked professional, but the photos don’t look like they are”.

A little history first, John Casablanca founded Elite Modeling Agency back in 1971, however by going to this school, doesn’t get you into Elite.

Sometimes they set up in the malls, on college campuses, or do cold calls for interviews. They show you photos, videos, testimonials and how successful some of their past students have been. Then they ask you to sign up with a credit card for classes. And if you don’t do it at the very moment, you’ll lose your chances of getting into the industry.

However, before you do anything, do your research, here these are just a few articles:

Consumer Affairs

Pissed Consumer


Work From Home Watchdog- John Casablancas, Scam Or Misinterpretation?

Time and time again I hear how these women paid for the classes, and then they were send to auditions or agencies. Only to be told that their portfolios were not what they were told it should be or that the auditions were never a sure thing. Too much makeup, the photographs were over done, or terrible, the list goes on and on.

I always tell these ladies this:

1. A real agency never asks you for money. Instead they invest in you because YOU will make money for them. If and when you get represented, come back to me with what your agency wants for your portfolio.

2. Acting and modeling is hard work. If an agency tells you about their success by testimonials, pictures and doing a hard sell, walk away…fast!

3. If anyone wants an answer right away, once again…walk away….FAST! Don’t sign anything!

If you think that I’m turning clients away, then perhaps you’re right. But I don’t see it that way at all either. Instead, I’m trying to help them out because, they have already been “taken in”. I don’t want to photograph their modeling portfolio for agencies unless they are signed and I know what they are looking for. They want to see how you look clean, natural, as you are, think of yourself as a canvas, ready to be painted on. Because that’s what will be happening if you’re signed on 🙂

Here is another thing these modeling schools may not tell you. Height requirements for certain types of work.

High Fashion: This is for the runways and fashion houses. Height starts at 5”8 to 5”11 with a dress size of 4-6, bust starting around 34. For guys, 5”11 to 6”2, in really good shape, chest size 37” to 42”.

Editorial Print: These are the magazines, think of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, etc. The size requirements are the same.

Commercial Print: A big market that can fit almost anyone, but the height starts around 5″8 usually, but I believe depending on what the client is looking for they will take on any range in height.

Cataloge: Same as above.

Plus Size: Height requirements start at 5”8 and between the sizes of 12-16.

Glamour/Lingerie: Some women who are very curvy and don’t fit the high fashion/editorial requirements. Think Victoria’s Secrets and swimwear.

Body Parts: To use your hair, eyes, lips, hands, legs and feet for print, tv, or film. This is to help advertise products like lipstick, shampoo, or shoes as examples.

TV Commercials: This area is dependant on what the producers and directors are looking for, so it’s wide open.

Real Life People Models for TV/Film Extras: This area is dependant on what the producers and directors are looking for, so it’s wide open.

Petite Models: There are some agencies that do take on women that are under 5″5(that’s what petite starts at).

Latitude Talent

MSA Models Petite Section (put the curser over each image to see the model’s measurements)

Deirdre Ryan Editorial & Commercial Photography - NJ, PA, NY

African American Woman4DeirdreRyanPhotography

Now, if you need a headshot for acting, this includes children, teens, and adults. That I can do, because you need those for when you go out on auditions along with a resume, and for your online site.

Please don’t fall for this same old song and dance, and this goes out to the parents of children as well.  If anyone is interested in modeling for me, contact me here, in between my clients I’m always looking for ways to further test my creativity.

I hope that these tips help you or someone you know. And don’t let any of this discourage you from your dreams! If you truly want something, work hard, make yourself unique, special and THE person that agencies and reps MUST have!

Being Honest About Myself, My Business, and What I Can Do To With Help Yours

I would like to get personal here and in support of my fellow photography professionals.

I started out in commercial and so my focus in the past few years has gotten way off track. This is not a job, a job to me is 9-5 and you follow the same commute every single day, doing something that you have to do. What I have is a career, something that I love. Everyday is different, I get to be creative every single day, and meet new people. Now you may LOVE your 9-5 job, and that’s cool if you do! But most people that I talk to don’t.
What I do is specialized, before I used to do families, maternity, newborn, children, and weddings. I found out that this wasn’t working for me, mainly because I would see friends and former clients use other photographers(I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook). Some used people who are hobbyists, nothing wrong with that, but it affected referrals to my business. While I love photographing families and kids (my own child included), I felt like my talents and expertise were more valued in the commercial photography area.

Hobbyists and those that do this part-time don’t get that when they offer their services to others free of charge to a former client of mine or for way less, it’s hurting the photo business as a whole. Hell, I see some professionals doing this and I’m like , why?!!! Stop doing this! You’re shooting yourselves in the foot.

This industry isn’t the easiest, and I get that, and I’ve been around for a really long time. I network in person…a lot. Sometimes it’s hard to get up and say a quick line about myself, I tend to fumble over my words and convey what I am trying to tell people. I’m best at one to one conversations, showing you what I can do and knowing that I can deliver what you want and then some, that’s where my confidence truly shines.  My goals and aspirations have always been high, and because of this, I do out of my way for my clients to give them MY best.

LisaTragottShesLoosingItAmericanGritBikiniBodyBuilderDeirdre Ryan Editorial & Commercial Photography - NJ, PA, NY

Here is my interview with my one of my best friends, Lisa, How To Look Better In Pictures. I photographed her in the image above. 

When approached and asked, what do you do?, I say that I’m a commercial portrait photographer.  What this means is that my work is seen in magazines for companies, annual reports, their marketing materials, and sometimes, tv. I go on location to photograph people, or often in their environments, and in the my studio. I personally love  environmental portraits, because this shows my clients doing not only what they are doing, but it tells their story and their environment is an extension of themselves.


Here are just a few questions that I ask my clients:

What is your next horizon for your company?  Where are you headed? Who needs to see you doing that? Magazines, tv shows, online media? Who is on your team to help present you visually? How are you insuring that your images and presence are the caliber that agencies and publications expect?  Do you have your marketing images packaged?


Agencies expect a certain caliber of work and professionalism. Because this is what I do. I’m a photojournalist who gets their images for PR.

Let me ask you again, are you headed in the right direction? 

-Deirdre Ryan, Image Maker

My First Speaking Engagement

So way back in October 2, 2015, I was part of a Business to Business Roundtable  at Mrs. G’s Appliances & Sleep Center. I spoke about the importance of professional photography for your business, Maggie VanDagens of J&M Marketing Communications and Sherry Tomaino of Women’s Healthcare of Princeton talked about good web design, Barbara Simpson of Muirhead Foods  talked  about e-commerce, and Rocky Romeo of The Romeo Group talked about turning leads into sales.



The above and below photos were taken by Hilary Morris.


This was my very first speaking engagement. My friend Dolores DeGiacomo, worked with me on my presentation, helped to tighten up what I wanted to say and my delivery. Working with a slideshow was both powerful and tough at the same time. The questions during the Q&A portion were good. They were about copyrights, one was about how much I would charge for a certain type of job, (this I couldn’t/wouldn’t  answer because it requires an appointment and all jobs are different), how I prepare for what I do, and many more great questions. I got a lot of positive feedback because many in my audience had no idea what to expect or what they needed to do when hiring a professional photographer.

I had a lot of great points like:

  • When you hire a professional photographer, you’re hiring more than just someone with a camera. You are getting knowledge, skills, expertise, talent, tools, and adaptability.
  • How to best contact a professional photographer, budget, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

There was more to my talk, but one of the most important things that I did stress upon was this:

  • Like any professional you would hire for an important job you want the most bang for your buck…but you also have to bear in mind you get what you pay for.  
  • Anyone with a camera can take a picture.  But only a professional photographer has the skills and the talent to light and frame the image, to make on the spot adjustments, and to complete those adjustments behind the scenes, and still deliver on time.  


Thank you to everyone who spoke after I did and thank you to Mrs. G’s for hosting the event and Hilary Morris with our networking group, Coffee Talk NJ for putting it together!