Efficiency and an Eye for Capturing Emotion Bring Success to Wedding Photographer
Kimberlee Miller doesn't shy away from challenges. Following the birth of her daughter three years ago, Miller left the security of her paralegal job to pursue her true passion – photography. Today, she is the owner of Kimberlee Miller Photography, a wedding photography business she runs out of her Simi Valley, California, home – an arrangement that allows her to spend more time with her family and work in the profession she loves.
Miller has been snapping photos since she was 12 years old; first with her father's camera, then throughout high school and college, where she studied graphic arts and photography. She has documented hundreds of weddings; her signature is telling a story through her photographs. It is Miller's ability to capture the breadth of emotions, joys, and details of each wedding that makes her wedding photography unique. Typically she does not take many posed photographs. "I believe the best portraits are those taken when people are being themselves, not when they are molded into some uncomfortable pose," says Miller.
Miller was searching for a tool that would help her quickly and easily scan, modify, touch-up, and enhance the photos she displays in her studio and on her Web site. She also needs the ability to produce professional quality prints on a very short timeline. Because much of Miller's business is generated through referrals and her Web site, it is imperative that she has the most up-to-date photos available for prospective clients to view.
The Solution at Work
Paint Shop Pro® helps Miller achieve this objective. By allowing her to quickly and easily display current and relevant work samples when meeting with prospective clients, Miller is able to more effectively market her business. "Paint Shop Pro allows me to make changes quickly and offers basic tools that are not difficult to figure out," says Miller. "I enjoy being able to get a print back from the lab, scan it, play around with it a little, then print it out and display it for clients in a matter of minutes. It also allows me to easily create images for my Web site."
In addition to displaying photographs quickly, it is important that Miller have the capability to touch up, enhance, and produce professional-quality images on short notice. For example, one of Miller's clients did not have her engagement photos taken until just prior to her wedding and wanted to display an enlargement of her favorite engagement photograph at the wedding. By using Paint Shop Pro to prepare the image, Miller was able to meet the deadline and display the photograph on the bride's special day.
The Solution at Play
Besides helping in her business, Paint Shop Pro is also a vital component in Miller's personal photography. Miller has won several awards for photos that she used Paint Shop Pro to enhance and edit.
Her "Vino Rosso" image, created from what Miller calls a "plain old picture of a tulip," won the February 2002 Channel Islands Professional Photographers Association (CIPPA) Best of Class, Digital & Best of Show Award. To create this award-winning photograph, Miller opened the original photo in Paint Shop Pro using the program's full-color browser. Then, using editing tools such as Crop, Resize, Automatic Color Balance, Contrast Enhancement, and Saturation Enhancement, she was able to give her photograph a new life. She used Flaming Pear's Lacquer Web effect filter, which turned "a plain old picture of a tulip" into a work of art.
Digital Tools Used
To display a particular photograph in her studio, Miller scans the image, does any editing and enhancing that's needed, and is then set to print. Miller achieves the desired effects using tools including Despeckle to get rid of dust, Median Filter to create a glow, Crop, Color Contrast, and Saturation Enhancement. Miller also uses the Resize feature to prepare the photo for her Web site or for print. Speed is of the essence to Miller, and with Paint Shop Pro, she can go from photo enhancing to editing, through optimizing, posting, and printing in anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds, depending on what is needed.
Miller uses the Retouch Brush to touch up flaws (for example, smooth the creases around someone's mouth) and the Smudge tool to create dramatic backgrounds or add special effects to the edges of a photos. She also uses the Paint Brush tool to recolor images or the Sepia Tone filter to go from black and white to sepia. "It's like having your own darkroom without the chemicals," says Miller.
About the Photographer
Kimberlee Miller is the owner of Kimberlee Miller Photography, www.kimberleemiller.com, located in Simi Valley, California. She has owned her own business for two and a half years and specializes in wedding photography. Miller's work has been featured in publications such as Wedding Dresses Magazine and Special Events Magazine, and she has won six awards from the Channel Islands Professional Photographers Association (CIPPA), an organization for which she serves as vice president. Miller is also an active member of the Professional Photographers of California (PPC) organization.