Wedding and Session Photography with Amanda Adams

Gloria Occhipinti

The February meeting was opened by our President, T.O. Galloway.
Our librarian, Brenda Schillaci, reported that a list of books for loan is now available on the club’s website in the Members Only section.

The treasurer’s report was given by our Treasurer, Bonnie Bryant, who also reminded everyone that she is still collecting dues.  The fees for members are as follows:

• Individual: $25
• Family: $35
• Juniors: $15

Also we still need people to sign-up to bring refreshments to the meetings, as well as volunteers to do member slideshows.

The club member survey is still open so club members are urged to complete and submit the survey as soon as possible. We would like to take all feedback and ideas into consideration in the planning of activities for this year.

Guest Speaker:

Our guest speaker this month was Amanda Adams, a local photographer based in Lusby, Maryland.  Amanda started her business a little over 5 years ago, part-time, photographing families in lifestyle portrait sessions but now specializes in wedding photography, as well. While pregnant with her daughter in 2012 she was laid off from her full-time job.  Amanda says this was what gave her the fuel to forge ahead with her photography business.Amanda Adams

One of the first things Amanda did to grow her business was to start a website and make it “google-friendly”.  One of the strategies she used was SEO (search engine optimization) which involves using key words or phrases in your website language that people might use in searching for your type of business.  This affects the visibility of the website by allowing it to pop up earlier in a user’s search engine results.

Amanda feels that networking with other photographers and business owners in related fields has been invaluable in building her own business.  She began by reaching out to local photography groups on Facebook such as the group Southern Maryland Photographers, a group of local area photographers, and the group Calvert Resources, which encourages and promotes the small businesses of Calvert County, Maryland.  Meeting and building relationships with other photographers and business owners can be a great way to expand your business by getting your name out there.  Many times other vendors are willing to advertise for you on their own websites or at their places of business.  Amanda promotes other businesses, as well, by having a list of preferred vendors on her own website.  In addition, working with or mentoring with other photographers is always helpful in learning new skills.

With regard to the business end, Amanda advises that you should NOT use contracts you find on the Internet for free.  There are many things that should be covered in a contract both to protect you as the business owner and to protect your clients’ interests.  She found everything she needed for her business contract needs at Rachel Brenke’s website,,  Rach.el is a photographer and lawyer, as well as a business consultant for photographers and bloggers and her website provides a wealth of business and marketing tips and resources.

Amanda also states that it is very important to be insured, which is a requirement at most wedding venues, and to insure your equipment as well!

Amanda says she had been able to reduce her workflow tremendously through the use of web-based studio management software at  This. software allows her to manage her business from one source where she can send out client proposals and keep track of her business earnings as well as track her leads and see her business statistics, such as the reasons why clients have hired her, or even the reasons why they have hired a competitor instead!  Another business software management option is
You can find out more about Amanda and her work at her website:  or at her Facebook page:

Second Speaker:

Our second guest speaker today was Rob Grant, Accounts Manager for Nations Photo Lab, a professional photo lab based in Maryland.  Rob is also a photographer specializing in wedding photography.

According to Rob, Nations Photo Lab is one of the fastest growing digital photo labs in the country. It provides professional quality prints from wallet sized up, as well as a number of other options including linen textured photo prints and metal prints.  Other products include albums, photo books, press products, and more.  They also offer color corrected and non-color corrected options.  Color corrected prints are guaranteed.  You can order through their website at:

Meeting regular business:

The member photo assignment for this month was Verti-rama.  Photos were submitted by: Jim Rodgers, Jerry Finan, Nick Iascone, Tammi Gorsak, and Lisa Snider.

Next month’s photo assignment is:  Wildlife.

Our next photo trip is on March 7th to the Wildlife Refuge in Laurel, Maryland.  Further information will be sent out closer to the date of the trip.

DAR Museum/Washington D.C.

Brenda Schillaci

The impressive DAR museum was our main, first stop for the February photo trip.  The building has a huge library containing books of genealogical references and information on states, counties, and cities all around the country. The library contains balconies that were part of the theater it once was and a second tier with many more historical books and reference materials.  It also has individual rooms for the various states - although not every state is included - displaying furnishings that houses from specific time periods would have by Brenda Schillaci 

After leaving the museum, most of the group headed to lunch at Potbelly Deli, then either headed home or roamed the nearby city for photo possibilities. 

My group photographed street hockey players across from the Dwight Eisenhower Executive Building, skateboarders in the square in front of the National Theater, and a group of demonstrators outside the White House.

We practiced our vertical panoramas for this month’s assignment using various buildings and enjoyed discovering the Woodrow Wilson Plaza which contains the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Memorial Exhibit plus the eye-catching, lovely curved façade of the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Building, plus a bonus arched passage-way with cobblestone by Brenda Schillaci

We ended at the Museum of Natural History for the display “20th Annual Orchid Exhibition: Interlocking Science and Beauty.”  I didn’t have much success photographing the wonderful array of colors and blooms, but be sure to see the club Flickr site in case the others post photos.  On our way out of the museum, we noticed the room containing “2013 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards.” This contained awe-inspiring, large format photographs of wild creatures from all over the world. 

photo by Brenda SchillaciAs you can see, some photo trips evolve into impromptu small group excursions where we find all kinds of new and exciting things to photograph.  If you don’t participate in the trips, you are missing out!  Consider joining us for the next one, please.