Insights, Wisdom, and Random Thoughts

Summertime at Brakefield

This beautiful summer wedding was a true celebration of love and the adventure it brings.

Sean and Jessica Gribbon, the happy couple, were united in this grand adventure at the Brakefield at Riverwalk; an exemplary location for anyone wishing to display elegance through simplicity and grassroots. Located in Rock Hill, just 20 minutes outside of Charlotte, the Brakefield at Riverwalk wedding venue offers tranquility with a view as it nests itself on the bank of the Catawba River.

The couple celebrated their Scottish heritage with bagpipes blaring as they joyously walked down the aisle.

The bride even managed to surprise the groom with a beautiful gift: a souvenir from every date they’d ever been on. A wine stopper from the first meal he’d ever cooked for her. Snapshots of the milestones they shared. Even a scorecard and pencil from a game of mini golf. Her gift brought tears of joy to everyone in the room and further proved that it’s the simple things in life that really mean the most.








Charlotte, NC Engagement Session

It’s engagement season, and what better way to start than with a beautiful couple who are madly in love! Sankett and Deepika were super fun to work with and great to get to know. Their engagement session was shot in Charlotte, NC at Midtown Park and also in NoDa. The day was almost as cold as it was fun as this wonderful couple warmed our hearts this winter’s afternoon! 131 112 10 124 5 714 sd_engagement054_Fotor_Collage 36 8 15Don’t forget to share and comment! Love you guys!!! 🙂

Cowboy Up – It’s a Wedding!

Heather and Mike were married October 19, 2013 at Rockin’ K Ranch, near Charlotte, NC. This was a no holds barred P-A-R-T-Y! 🙂 All of the family and guests joined this former Marine and his beautiful nurse to put the rockin’ in the Rockin’ K Ranch! The ceremony was short (10 minutes), sweet, and to the point! The rustic, fall themed decorations matched the blue jeans and the cowboy boots making this a beautifully casual event! I was so happy to be a part of this special day!IMG_635prc_Fotor_Collage IMG_6353prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_6352prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_6351prc_Fotor_Collage copy IMG_6774prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_67741prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_67742prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_67743prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_65984prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_6598prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_665lpl9prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_7143prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_6659prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_665912prc_Fotor_Collage copyIMG_6659444prc_Fotor_Collage copy

Best Friends Forever

Imagine 27 years ago – a shy, blond-haired girl moves to a new neighborhood.  All she knew was living with family on a dirt road near Crowder’s Mountain, NC.  There was only one cousin to play with most days but she was used to playing alone.  Then comes the move to a place where her school is across the street (a paved one at that!) and people are walking up and down the sidewalk on a daily basis.  She felt completely out-of-place.  Then comes an energetic, fiery red-headed girl with her younger sister.  She was the very opposite of everything she knew.  There mom was very talkative and readily introduced her and her daughters.  That was the day a friendship that would last a lifetime began.  Through laughs, silly fights, boyfriends, new friends, tears, quiet days under a plum tree talking about life to marriage, divorce and children…they have had a friendship that has endured.

Lucky for me – my husband is a GREAT photographer and could document just a little of me and Fran (the fiery red-head) along with our girls hanging and having a great time.  We all met up at a newly renovated Rankin Lake Park in Gastonia, NC.  Fran brought along her new love and his boys – while Chris and I had Nina along for the ride.  We are so very blessed to have a friendship that has lasted for 27 years and that our girls are now friends.  Don’t worry there is more to the story – enter Kristin in the next post!!  Check out our day!!



Me and Fran

Me and Fran

Nina and Alexis

Nina and Alexis









Fun Times!

Fun Times!

Playing on the Playground

Playing on the Playground

We made it!

We made it!

rankin-lake25 rankin-lake29

Silly Girls Remind me of Us When We Were Little!

Silly Girls Remind me of Us When We Were Little!

So Sweet

So Sweet

Miss these girls!

Miss these girls!





How Not to Choose a Photographer

The next in our series of “Top Tens”!  We realize there are hundreds if not thousands of articles on how to choose your perfect wedding photographer (or any other photographer for that matter!)  So we wanted to give you some things NOT to do when trying to choose the person photographing your special day!

  1. Don’t choose Uncle Bob or Aunt Judy to spare their feelings!  We understand that friends and family  may have the best intentions for you on your wedding day.  But unless they are professionals or even semi professional – their free services may cost you A LOT of headache.  It is pretty much impossible to Photoshop out a thumb that covers your entire head and it’s really hard to “re-do” the walk down the aisle because his camera needed new batteries.   Let them down easy and just tell them you want family to just enjoy the day!
  2. Don’t pick your professional photographer just because he/she is at the top of your Google Search!  They may be at the top of the search but it may not be because they are great photographers – they may have just paid for that placement. If a photographer has a good bit of money to market their services and buy the best equipment that’s great – but it doesn’t buy talent!  Do your research!
  3. Don’t hire a jerk!  This should be a no-brainer but if the photographer you are meeting has a bad attitude and great work…don’t hire him!  You don’t need a cocky, pushy, or rude photographer for your wedding day!  I promise if you search you will find someone just as talented – if not better – that you and your family will actually like!
  4. Don’t hire the nicest photographer either!  Again – a no-brainer – but I get you may not want to hurt his or her feelings – but if you want something different from what is offered – don’t hire her just because she is nice!  Sure – be her friend on Facebook but don’t let the nice person that takes horrible photographs handle this once in a lifetime day!
  5. Don’t hire based on gender!  I use “him” and “her” throughout these posts because ultimately gender doesn’t matter.  Let their work  and attitude speak for itself!
  6. Don’t hire based on price alone!  We get that you have a budget and you must find photographers within that budget – but don’t expect $4000 worth of work for $1000!  Also don’t expect just because a photographer charges $4000 that their work is worth it!  You have to go to their portfolio, meet with them, then decide.  There are some GREAT photographers just starting out and some HORRIBLE ones that have been in business for 20 years – the difference is the talent then the price.
  7. Don’t hire based on recommendations alone!  Seen this before…”Well my cousin had [insert photographer’s name here] at her wedding three years ago and loved ______!”  Um – did your cousin have the same expectations?  Has the photographer changed his/her processes, style, or attitude?  You still need to do your own legwork!
  8. Don’t hire a photographer that has no portfolio to show you!  He or she may have the right price, right attitude, right equipment but if they can show you at least a few decent pieces of their work then watch out!  They may be scamming you!  If they only have one wedding to show you but want to charge a ridiculous amount of money – just walk away slowly and then never look back!
  9. Don’t hire a photographer that offers no contract of any kind!  I know its great to think that a good handshake and down-payment will ensure they’ll show up – but it doesn’t.  A contract not only protects you as the client but also protects the photographer as well.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy loaded with legal speak that you need to have translated – but get it in writing!
  10. Finally – DO NOT choose a photographer that has no time for you!  It’s great that a photographer is busy – that means they are getting hired!  However, if they at some point can’t have a meeting with you and just want to “show up” that’s a big no-no!  How can they capture your moments with your family if they don’t even know who you are and what you are about!  Will they have time to answer any questions?  Will they rush you all day?  Don’t expect hours of meetings but at least a cup of coffee and nice conversation would be nice!

Happy hunting for your perfect wedding photographer!

Instructing the Bride

10 Tips For Great Engagement Photos

The first topic in our “Top Ten” Series will deal with how to have GREAT Engagement Photos!  These are the photos that announce to the world that you are engaged to the love of your life!  You know the photos where the girl is gently laying her head on her fiance’s  shoulder in front of a plain back ground with extremely soft lighting – pretty right?  Yes of course they are!! But do they tell a story?  No…so here is how to have your photos tell your story!

  1.  Pick the right photographer for what you want.  It doesn’t have to be the same photographer that shoots your wedding!  You may want more of a staged shoot for your engagement photos and photojournalism for your wedding.  That’s great but not every photographer can do both.
  2. Break the rules.  Who says the girl has to sit in front of the guy while he holds her?  Why can’t he be lying in her lap?  These are little things but don’t follow preset rules!
  3. Do not look like twins!  If you want real photos of you and your love – it doesn’t mean you have to dress alike.  Yes you should coordinate but that doesn’t mean sacrificing your individual style.  The reason you love one another may be because of your differences – let that come through.  Just talk to your photographer before hand on the best clothing choices.
  4. Smile!  I understand that not everyone enjoys having their photo taken – but you don’t want to look depressed in your engagement or save the date photos.  Just think of it not as a “photo session” but a very short, photo documentary of your upcoming nuptials.
  5. Consider having your shoot “styled” by a professional.  They can bring elements together to make your photos truly unique.  Your photographer or wedding planner would be great resources to use – just be open to creativity.
  6. Have your makeup and hair professionally done for the shoot.  Not to say you have to look any different from yourself, but the camera, especially digital ones, pick up every detail!
  7. Write out your story for your photographer.  What brought you together?  Do you both enjoy a similar type of drink?  Was there something funny or unique that brought you together?  Then ask if he/she can incorporate that into your photos.
  8. If you are using these as your save the date cards – tell your photographer!   Ask your photographer if he/she can incorporate the wedding information into the picture.  Maybe leaving space at the top for the date to be “photo-shopped” in.  This is a lot more unique than simply putting a photo on a pre-made template.
  9. Don’t be in a hurry!  If you think you will get awesome photos in 30 minutes or less after you beat the traffic home from work and rushed to change clothes and grab a bite to eat – well I think you get the “picture”.  This should be enjoyable for you and your spouse to be – make sure you have the time and a photographer that will take the time to make them great.
  10. Have fun!  Yes have fun while having your professional engagement or save the date photos taken.  Joke around, be yourselves, don’t let the camera dictate to you how you will interact with one another.   Go to a place that you love, relax, be yourselves and look forward to the awesome photos you are about to have done!

This isn’t an all-inclusive list…but it will definitely get the job done and hopefully give you some ideas you hadn’t had before! Feel free to leave comments or share with us your engagement pics!

Save the Date! See above them?  That wasn't there before!

Save the Date! See above them? That wasn’t there before!

Top Ten Photography Series

We realize that when choosing a photography professional there are a multitude of questions that you need to and should ask.  We also know what things you may not need to ask or concern yourself with depending on the type of photography you need.  We have decided to start a new Series of “Top Ten’s”.  These are going to be Top Ten’s of “To Do’s” and “To Don’ts!”

We hope these lists will be educational and helpful to those of you searching for your photographer.  We also hope to give you some laughs and uplifting content.

Our first in the series will be “Top 10 Uncommon Questions for your Photographer!”  So stay tuned!

Details People! Details!

As you look through the photos of the many photographers you are trying to choose from for your wedding day you may fall in love with all the amazing bridal photographs.  Her hair, her wedding dress, her jewelry and the beautiful glow she has while marrying the love of her life.  There are photos of mom, the cake being cut, kids dancing but what you don’t see are the photos that need to be there but are missing….details.

Your wedding day will be the most memorable and day of your life!  But it will also be a day in which you forget a lot of the details!  You will remember looking at your future spouse, saying “I Do” and maybe even the funny little thing your flower girl did while coming down the aisle (trust me…they always do something cute).  Most photographers concentrate wonderfully on the people.  They are masters at catching that “sparkle in the eye” but many are NOT great at capturing the little things.  The little details of the wedding day are those that you won’t readily remember because they aren’t near as important as the reason for the day – but trust me…you will want to be able to look back and “see” the whole day and all the little things that made it special for everyone…

While looking at your potential wedding photographer’s portfolio – make sure there are plenty of detail shots – and that they are good detail shots.

Here is a list of some (definitely not all) of the detailed shots you will want…

  • All of the Bouquets
  • The Bridesmaid’s Jewelry
  • Dishes and Place Settings
  • Food Served
  • Table Cards
  • Pew and Table Flowers
  • Petals the Flower Girl dropped
  • Your Shoes
  • Your Rings
  • Candles – they make beautiful art pieces as well
  • The wedding venue before the wedding starts
  • Outside details of the wedding venue
  • The Garter
  • The details of the cake
  • The knife used to cut the cake
  • The cake after it has been cut the first time
  • The decorations other than on the table
  • Wine Glasses
  • People signing the guest book

Every wedding is unique so there is no way to include everything.  A great wedding photographer should be finding them for you.  If you have any other ideas or suggestions let us know!  Your comments are welcome!

6 _1 6

Wedding Budget Blues

Everyday we speak with soon to be brides and grooms about their wedding budget.   When a planner isn’t involved, even as a photography and videography company, we help our clients with getting what they want within their budget.  We refer them to other wedding vendors we have worked with, find specials for them on invitations, and help weed out unnecessary “extras”.  We are by no means wedding planners but we know enough to offer some great advice and to be sure our clients can have great photography and aren’t boxed into any one type of package.  We just wanted to share some of these tips and let you know our pricing is some of the most flexible in the industry.

So, you want a fantasy wedding but then realize that your budget is just a fantasy too.   You have this “picture perfect” scene in mind for the day you will marry the woman or man of your dreams – but then the bubble pops with the first dollar sign.  So you have to learn to prioritize what you absolutely have to have and those things that are just “fluff”.

  1. Pretend you live in a perfect world and could have everything you want at your wedding and from your wedding vendors.  Estimate the cost and after you pick yourself off the floor from the shock – start taking away things that are just not that important or won’t have as much impact.  
  2. Remember this is your and your fiance’s day – period.  Unless someone else is footing the bill for all those little extras they suggest  – you have to decide what is important to you.  We know you want to make everyone happy – but not at your expense!
  3. Figure out why you want certain things in your wedding.  Is it for religious reasons?  To please parents?  Because you think you “have to”?   If the “why” is very important then it is very important that those things are left in the budget.
  4. Are you crafty?  There are so many GREAT ideas for DIY weddings!  Just be sure you have the time, the patience, and that it will actually save you money!  But trust us disposable cameras and paper plates aren’t the way to go!  There’s nothing like 1000 blurry pictures of people with food in their laps!
  5. Are your vendors flexible?  Do they all force you into a box with packages that don’t come close to what you actually want?  Then keep looking or let them know ahead of time what you do want and what you don’t want.  For example – we realize that not everyone wants a huge 16″ x 20″ print – so we let them switch it out for other sizes that equal the same amount of “paper”.
  6. Realize the most important thing on your wedding day is the vows that you are making to your significant other and the life you will have together.  Its your day and if you want to do cartwheels down the aisle that is YOUR choice!  So it can be as elaborate or as simple as you want.
  7. Hire a wedding planner – seriously – they are AWESOME at getting the most for your money and you save money because of hiring them.  Not to mention – you get to actually enjoy your day.

These are just a few things that we hope can help with planning your budget and your wedding.  Our packages are very flexible and we work with you to get everything you want – without breaking the bank on things you don’t want.  We also offer bridal makeup at no additional cost to the bride so you can look your best all day.

Happy budgeting!

Set Your Image Free

Definition of IMAGE (per Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

*A reproduction or imitation of the form of a person or thing; especially : an imitation in solid form : statue

*The optical counterpart of an object produced by an optical device (as a lens or mirror) or an electronic device

 *A visual representation of something: as (1) : a likeness of an object produced on a photographic material (2) : a picture produced on an electronic display (as a television or computer screen)

Synonyms icon (also ikon), illustrationimagelikeness

Definition of CAPTURE

*An act or instance of capturing: as*An act of catching, winning, or gaining control by force, stratagem, or guile

*The act of recording in a permanent file <data capture>

**One that has been taken (as a prize ship)

Synonyms captureinterneeprisoner

Definition of REPRESENT

*To bring clearly before the mind

Now that we’ve had our lesson for the day on definitions – let’s talk about image – your image.  Photographers usually have “capture” in their repertoire of descriptive words for what they do.  “I capture the moment of the day” or “I capture your image beautifully” etc, etc.  But when we really look at a good photographer compared to a Great photographer – the definition of their work is very different.  We are all photographers if we have ever taken a picture.  All of us can point the camera in the general direction of someone and take a photo of what they look like or what they are doing at that very moment in time.  They’ve captured the moment – just like they meant to and it is wonderful!  They post it to Facebook or Instagram – and bam!  The world see’s it and likes it!

To capture and image literally means to take the likeness of something hostage.  Yes – that is the extreme definition but it fits.  Most of us really only know how to hone in on that one second in time.  We may even take 20 pictures in a row hoping to keep those memories preserved forever.  But most of the time we can’t quite get it all to flow.  It is so very difficult to capture something and at the same time show the freedom of the moment.  For example – you see a photo of a bride holding her flowers – very still – posing.  Her image is captured – that’s all it can do.  It doesn’t convey anything about the day except that she is beautiful and can smile and hold flowers.  Then you have the image of her throwing her flowers, laughing in that moment because in the background the women are diving for the prize.  You see the movement, the happiness – for that minute you are there!  The colors are right, the focus is one that you would have if you were there and every detail that means anything is in that image.  It is a true representation of the moment.

Most captured images will not make your heart melt or move you to tears.  They will be something that you can look at and remember but if you weren’t there they won’t mean near as much.  A truly great and creative photographer or even a videographer sees the bigger picture.  They want others to be able to put themselves there, in the day or in the moment with the subject.  It doesn’t have to be a wedding – it can be anything – your place of work, a birthday, senior photos -they work their tales off  to be sure that others can be there even when they weren’t there.  They pour over the details, want the to be lighting perfect, the color true to the day.  If there is a wisp of hair that falls gently on the face of your child in the wind – they leave it in the picture because it meant something at that moment.  The videographer won’t just point and shoot – the great ones will run to the next piece of “life” that is happening so that they can represent the day as it happened – not just as they saw it.

In a world of instant pictures and video it is easy to lose what great photography or cinematography should be.  Any one can capture and image – the great ones can set those images free.

Yes It’s Personal

Remember the days of business cards with no picture on them?  Just straight talk about the service or product offered – a phone number and maybe even an email address along with a recognizable logo.  Flash forward to business cards that include a QR code, constant email and brochure advertisements, social media and endless websites – it can be very overwhelming for ANY business owner – large or small.  So how do we differentiate ourselves from the other thousands that may be advertising the same thing?  We must realize that the difference is our individual strengths and personality.  We must make it more personal when we reach out and when we are looked at for our services the person on the other end must see why they can have a personal connection with you and your company.

So how do we make it more personal?  Take away the black or white background from your 20-year-old business picture, the flat, boring website that you put up to just “have a website” and do some video (even if it is only for a minute) to really “talk” to your customers.  It is time to move forward!  Technology is great but we as business owners cannot sit behind our computers and expect social media or just a phone call to keep our businesses running – that will not form relationships.  It doesn’t matter if you work with outside customers or other businesses – you must build a relationship with them and the faster that happens, then the more repeat business you will receive.

People need to see who you are…now – not 20 years ago (I stress this because I see it way too often).  Have updated photos taken of you, your staff, your business, your services and /or your products.  Have a short video done (and it needs to be quality video – you can see the difference) and post it everywhere along with your updated website.  That’s just for starters – if you are a self-ran business you need to learn about SEO strategies, blogging, marketing, customer service, etc.  But you must have a good base and people have to know who they are dealing with – not just what.  Make your business’s personality come to life!

If you can hire a marketing firm to help you – that is the ideal situation.  Just be sure you check out their credentials, resources, past client return on investment, and that they understand your business.  If you can’t hire a firm, do your homework on your local web designers, graphic designers, commercial photographers and commercial videographers.  If you have a company that does it all – it may be your best bet because they may have package deals to fit your budget.  Get your brand out there and get yourself out there.

Here are photographs showing product and personal image marketing…

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All of the below videos were shot and edited by Bollinger Images!  We’ve tried to included a wide variety to help pick the type you may need for your business!

Church Guitars

Austin Farris – Opera Singer

John Rosemand – Author, Speaker, Psychologist

Keeter Ford Commercial

Wedding Planners Rock


Yes!  Wedding planners are a wedding photographer’s best friend (or should be).  Actually, in a wedding or any large event – a good wedding planner makes ALL the difference!  Why you say?  Let me count the ways…

Scenario One –  You’ve never planned a wedding or any event in your life.  You are a very organized person so you think “I can do this!”  You start looking for a venue, a wedding photographer that matches your style and budget, get opinions from your mother, sister, best friend, then forget to turn the oven off in the middle of talking with yet another vendor and have to make yet another phone call to the pizza delivery guy.  We are already busy people..add a huge, special event into the mix and it can be very stressful!  A wedding planner can help!

Scenario Two – A friend volunteers to plan your wedding for you for free!  Or it could be your mom, mother-in-law to be, etc – but you think wow…this is great!!  Ok, they have never planned a wedding either but it has to be easier for them than for you…right?  Hmm…sounds very nice but if they don’t know some great wedding vendors, how they price, wedding etiquette, all the little details that are easily forgotten – guess what then there are two stressed out women that are trying to navigate their way through a huge undertaking!  Not to mention, they may not be able to guide and advise you as a professional wedding planner would.  Seasoned wedding planners know the top wedding photographers, the best florist, the most beautiful venues and they know how to stick to your budget!

Scenario Three – You’ve planned your wedding without a problem and all by yourself!  Awesome!  It is now the wedding day – all your vendors – wedding photographer, wedding videographer, florist, musicians, caterer are setting up for the big day.  They haven’t met each other yet and aren’t sure about the plans for the day.  So, they come to you – the wedding planner – while you are getting ready for the wedding and thinking about one of the most important steps in your life – but hey – you have plenty of time to tell the caterer where to put the crepes…right?  The great think about wedding planners – they also offer smaller packages that just cover the weekend of your wedding.  You’ve planned it all – but on the day of your wedding – it needs to be about you – not you running around trying to coordinate in your half zipped dress!

Scenario Four – You just can’t put a planner in the budget – its ok – you have a small wedding.  However your vendors should get to know each other before the wedding.  Why?  They need to coordinate what they will be doing with your schedule.  Example your wedding starts at 5:00 pm and lasts until 5:30 pm.  The caterer starts putting out all the food at 4:30 because she didn’t know the photographer was going to need to keep you for at least 45 minutes to get all the pictures you wanted because he didn’t get to do many before the wedding.  That’s because the florist was still putting out the flowers up until 3:00 because the guests were starting to gather and the venue wouldn’t allow you to be there before 2:00.  Guests are getting very hungry at the reception waiting on the new couple – once you arrive you have to tell everyone thank you for being there.  The DJ starts to play the first dance song but realizes the videographer has taken you out to the car to get some footage of you and your new husband.  You at this point are starving.  Have I painted the picture?

What matters in the end is that you marry the love of your life.  Getting to that shouldn’t be stressful for you – or at least minimal!  If you can – hire a planner – if not make sure your vendors are savvy enough to help make sure your day stays your day.

Wedding Slideshow

Great slide show put together by our awesome Angela featuring wedding photography from Charlotte NC and surrounding areas.

Charlotte NC Wedding Photography Slideshow from Chris Bollinger on Vimeo.

Become Photogenic – The Final Chapter

We have already discussed several issues on how to be more photogenic.  There are so many tips and tricks out there on what to wear, what to do, etc that it is almost impossible to cover them all.  So for my final chapter I wanted to give you the highlights of miscellaneous great advice.  I also invite you to add your own comments because the final chapter on this will never truly be written.  We give advice from the point of view of a photographer and make-up artist (and in my case just being a woman).  We’d love to see your suggestions!

  1. Have good posture.  This does not include slumping of any kind to hide your belly or other areas!  Stand up straight or sit up straight…trust me having that “hump” on your back is NOT flattering.  Now fellas – we know you’ve worked hard on your biceps and chest – but seriously – don’t keep them flexed the entire time or you’ll look stiff!
  2. Have a red spot on your face?  Yellow concealer!  Pick a high-end concealer – it may cost a little more but it doesn’t take much and it will last for a very long time.  Dab a very small amount on the place you want to hide and blend.  You don’t want to look like you just have a big yellow dot, so after blending, set it with powder and then add your normal foundation.
  3. Don’t hold…. your breath.  Some may think – who does that?  Well, a lot of people.  They hold their breath, raise their eyebrows all in hopes that they have the perfect pose.  Um no…this goes back to be relaxed.  I find it very hard to relax if I’m holding my breath.
  4. Seriously – Crazy patterned  or horizontally striped shirts and/or pants don’t look good in professional portraits – unless you are really just wanting an artsy look which does have its place.  Make sure you have someone who will be COMPLETELY HONEST with you so that what you do wear is flattering.  Take into account the color, the fit, and what others are wearing.  And black is soooo overdone!  Try something brighter!
  5. Photographers are mind readers…wait…no they aren’t. No matter how great a photographer is they cannot read our minds! If you want something “corrected” that bothers you or if you really like a certain pose…tell the photographer just to be sure nothing is missed.
  6. Taking a picture with someone you really don’t like? Give them bunny ears.  he photographer can always Photoshop them out for everyone else…but give you a little chuckle…LOL!!  No really don’t do that – it’s a pain to crop out!
  7. Did I mention to relax?
  8. Drink your daily requirement of water for at least a week before the shoot – not to mention get plenty of sleep and eat well.  What we do to the inside of our bodies shows on the outside!

I hope these tips help you to Become Photogenic or just give you a little chuckle.  Either way, we get a smile out of you and that’s what really makes it all worth it. And also remember – you are all beautiful.  Please don’t forget you can contact us by phone, emails, or “brain waves” if you have questions or just needs some great pictures done!  Visit for all of our contact information!


Become Photogenic – Chapter 2

Its happened to all of us – well a lot of us.  Okay…maybe it just happened to me and a few friends but regardless it is good advice!  It was my junior prom.  I had this beautiful sequined blue and gold dress (don’t ask it was in the early 90’s) and I wanted my makeup to just be stunning along with my hair.  I took myself to a well-known make-up distributor (of which I will not name) and had their “free makeover” done with the purchase of a lipstick.  I was sooo excited.  She asked the color of my dress, looked at my strawberry blonde hair and fair complexion and went to work.  I couldn’t wait to look in the mirror – and then I saw it.  Bright blue eye shadow accented with blue eye liner.  Bright pink lips and blush that looked like a clown had kissed me on both cheeks.  I almost cried right there in the store!  Now lucky for me…my prom wasn’t until a few nights from then – but if it hadn’t been, I would have walked in with a bag on my head!

The same could and does happen when you are about to get “those” pictures done.  Whatever they are.  You want to look GREAT and you think that someone else is the only one that can do that for you.  You may be right – but you need to know that they are the “someone else” that you really want!  If you want to have professional make-up done for your session then do it!  It is so much fun and you feel like a movie star – but before you let them re-design your face – do a trial run before the shoot!  Many photographers have make-up artists and stylists available – but it doesn’t mean they are good ones.  Make sure you see some samples of their work on other people.  If that isn’t available…then you really need to do a pre-shoot session!

Looking at your skin you notice it just isn’t “bright” enough, or there are too many crows feet.  You decide to use this great new product the night before your shoot to ensure that your skin looks fabulous!  The next morning, you wake up, wipe the sleep out of your eyes only to realize that your face now looks like one big zit!  To avoid this – don’t use anything brand new that you have never tried before right before your photo shoot.  That goes for skin products, hair products, self tanning products, etc.  Start at least a week or two before – besides it usually takes that long for a product to really start working for you.  Oh and be sure you have actually tried on the new clothes and shoes you bought…none of us like surprises there.

Well – this ends this Chapter of “Become Photogenic”…stay tuned for what not to wear and how a photographer reads your mind…



Become Photogenic!

Let’s face it – not all of us are truly, naturally photogenic.  And many of us who may actually be photogenic, don’t think we are – therefore we aren’t!  Having pictures done whether it be family photos, business photos, or boudoir can be very stressful.  You know what you want to see when it’s all said and done yet actually being confident enough so that the camera can actually capture that is the source of great worry and even fear!  So in this series we are going to give you tips of how to be “more photogenic.”  We don’t promise you will become a model – but it may help you “see yourself” in a whole different light!

The first step to having a great picture taken  is to relax and have fun!  Do you really think that practicing the your smile in the mirror is going to make you feel any more comfortable?  What we normally want to see is ourselves looking great, happy, natural!  But if you have the “perfect smile” glued on your face – then it just that – a glued on smile!  Oh, so you hate your smile?  You hate your teeth?  We get that.  Yet people really love a natural happy smile.  You don’t have to show your teeth but you do need to be genuine.  Talk with your photographer about little things he can do to retouch the photo so that you are happy and it still looks like you.  When I was young I had a very large gap in my top teeth.  I would never smile with my teeth showing.  I was so self-conscious.  Yet my family loved my smile and didn’t understand why I had such a problem with it in pictures.  So every picture that I knew was going to be taken – I had my “nice, don’t show my teeth” smile.  But when I look back at the pictures I didn’t really “think” about I realize how beautiful and natural they were.  I could kick myself for thinking otherwise.   Just be yourself..

Do you like your photographer?  Do you like your photographer’s assistant?  Can you actually have a good conversation with the person that will be taking that “natural” photograph of you?  Does your photographer scare you?  Does he/she make you feel rushed?  These are VERY important questions.  How in the world are you going to stand there, be relaxed, feel beautiful and the  person on the other side of the camera is someone who you can’t wait to get away from?  They could be the BEST photographer in the world technically, but if she has no people skills then they just need to stick to trees or bugs.  Technical skill is important but a true artist will know the “right moment” to snap the picture.  He will have talked with you before the shoot to get to know you and what you are looking for.  When you get to the shoot, you’ll feel comfortable and at ease.   You’re kids will even like this photographer!  Then you can develop a lifetime relationship with this photographer so that your pictures will only get better and better.

This is the first in our new series – Become Photogenic! Please leave your thoughts, ideas, and experiences here – we love a good story!!



The Monster’s Ghost

When we “Slayed the Pricing Monster” we thought we were done.  We got it.  Just how to price our wedding packages so that we can help anyone anywhere.  We did research, read other blogs, compared other pricing models, talked about it and then Bam!  The Ghost of the Pricing Monster started haunting us!  We heard its voice in the background, felt its presence while speaking with clients!  We shivered at the thought of once again rehashing all that we had already – well hashed!  Yet, it would not leave us alone.  Here and there we would get whispers of doubt.  Doubt that the packages we have created would not be “personal” enough.  We found that as we talk with our clients we always ask what they want and then we always have re-worked any package so that they get what they want and at the same time give a fair price for our work (which is very high-end photography.)  The ghost just shook its head…

Finally – we heard it.  It yelled and jumped up and down in front of us to get our attention.  We had ignored it until now…brushing it off as doubt.  But we knew.  Pre-made packages were just a waste of time.  We can’t stick to just 3-5 packages and believe that we can meet everyone’s needs, everyone’s budget, and still make an honest living.  So guess what – we lit some candles, told the pricing monster “thank you” and he just left.  We decided that Wedding Packages were also gone.  Instead we have started sitting down with the client, asking a lot of questions, listening more and designing each package for that individual’s needs and desires.

We are developing some really great contact forms, questionnaires, and “best practices” that will really benefit our clients and we are so very excited about where our Wedding Photography and Videography is heading.  And no more bumps in the night…



The Samurai Photographer – Vol. 1 Part 3- Between the Clicks – Eye of the Tiger

I have two purposes for this post…one was to be sure that everyone has the song in their head.  If you are singing it right now or pulling it up on You Tube…I have succeeded!!  The second was for you to see what the Samurai Photographer see’s when he is taking “that picture.”  You see a Samurai Photographer isn’t afraid to move, get dirty, climb, take risks because he knows that the final prize will be a wonderful moment captured!  He has the eye of the tiger – swift, exact, calm yet sure…yeah…and the song is in your head again!!  Ha! Ha!

It is one thing to take a lot of pictures and hope that among the hundreds you “get lucky” and some are good – but the other is to get into the moment…to grab it and then allow everyone else to see it forever…  This is what you should see when a true Samurai is working…keep on singing the makes the pictures look even cooler.

The Samurai Photographer – Vol. 1 Part 2- Between the Clicks – The Perfect Disguise

The Samurai Photographer is very elusive.  Just like a chameleon he blends in anywhere he goes – with or without a camera.  You never really know when, how, or even why he may take that picture.  To you he may look like any other guy with a camera…but he is so much more!

You see, the Samurai is very different from someone with a camera – or even someone who is good with a camera.   Half of what he does is never seen!  Not until you get that final proof! (pun so intended).  These specialists grow up like anyone else – they look completely normal! You can look at their entire lives and never know that they are secretly an elite photography force!  They have families, friends, lives out that mimic everyone else’s.  He can show up at top-notch fashion show, a school play, a “high-end” wedding or the one that involves camouflage, a four-wheeler, mud-slinging and a monkey – and at each one he just fits!  At each one he finds the right angle, the right moments, can talk with anyone about anything but is ever aware that the very next photographic moment is at hand!

The Samurai though does something else – something very few people get to witness.  Because of their disguise – people believe that he is just gifted – that he just shows up with a camera (as many do) and then happens upon some great shots…not so.  For a Samurai to become a Samurai – he must train, he must study, he must anticipate new and different tools that may be at his disposal.  He must defend himself against would-be Samurai’s that believe because they have the sharpest sword that they are great.  That simply showing up with your sword in hand is enough…the Samurai knows better.  He must prepare everyday…he reads, studies, tests, compares, edits, re-edits, takes a sip of very strong coffee, and then continues on in his quest to ever grow in his skill.

You see…anyone can put on the suit – they can buy the tools and even charge you money but are they skilled?  Do they think that every good picture is taken in front of something just old? Do they think that you have to smile in EVERY picture?  Do they “touch up” a photo to the point that the subject looks like someone else?  Do they think that a little “out of focus” is okay?  Do they expect it all on their time?  Is it just their hobby or their life’s work?  Do they care?  Do they buy disposable cameras and swear it is the new thing?  If so…you must look very closely at what is expected and if this person can do it.

A Samurai Photographer’s disguise is no disguise at all – he is real – he is in the moment – he is dedicated – he is sharp – he is gifted and well-trained – and sometimes he gets really, really hungry….

The Samurai Photographer Series – Volume 1 – Between the Clicks

Chris Bollinger – Samurai Photographer

This is the first in a series we are calling “The Samurai Photographer” – in hopes to paint a picture of what does and what should happen before, during, and after a photo session of any kind! But wait…there’s more! Always wanted to say that…but seriously – this will be more about the photographer and the like – and not just any photographer…the Samurai Photographer! He is one that is stealthy, quick to think, completely one with all the tools at his disposal. Many times you won’t even see him coming…but you’ll know he was there because he’ll have the photo to prove it! But how does this Samurai of Photography earn…and keep…this title? That is what we will explore together – but be warned…the flash may be bright!

When you see a picture…any picture…you are looking at that one moment – that split second in time – a beautiful pose, a warm smile, a heart-felt hug.  And you may think to yourself – “Wow how great – but anyone can take a picture of ____________” (feel free to insert any of the following here – her, him, a cute baby, a loving couple, the beautiful model..etc, etc.) What you don’t see are those things that happen between those beautiful shots – those things between the clicks. It truly takes a master of his (or her) trade to get through those “in between” moments and get that “one” that made it all seem so simple! Do you realize that many models are a bit shy? That babies cry at any given moment! That the sweet couple just got into a fight over the toilet seat lid being up (or down) again! That the beautiful woman showing her glowing pregnant belly just finished hurling in the trashcan nearby? For many photographers – this would be the end of the shoot!! Let’s wait until…the baby is happy, the mommy feels better, etc etc! But yet The Great Photographer – is more than that – he is one that can weed through all of this and still see the beauty that is there – because it is always there – just waiting to be captured. We all have a time crunch – and regardless of what you think – having photos done is a project for the subject just as much as for the photographer – so rescheduling sucks.

The Samurai can get the baby to smile or get the couple to laugh at their silly argument – even if just for a minute so he can make that click happen. His tool, his “weapon” is more than the camera…it is his skill, his ability to communicate, to help others to see and feel their own beauty, his mastery of light to make sure that you are glowing in all the right spots and to do it all very quickly – very cleanly – so you think he just took a picture…but it was so much more….

Hope you enjoyed this first journey into the Samurai Photographer’s life and work…next – A Samurai Photographer’s Perfect Disguise!

Boudoir is Boring – Have a Party Instead!

We know that a more revealing photography session may be a little intimidating – so why not invite your girl friends! That way you can get those sexy pictures you’ve always wanted and have a lot of fun in the process.  We don’t limit the session to Boudoir – whatever makes You feel Sexy is what we want you to wear…we know that lingerie isn’t for everyone!  I personally feel sexier in a black leather jacket (see below) than I will EVER feel in lingerie!  What about you?

….. Oh and as a hostess you’ll get some extra perks!

The cost per girl is only $175  with a minimum of 2 guests.  Each of your guests will receive…

A 30 minute session
2 Outfits and Looks
Retouched images on an online gallery*
2- 8×10 prints
4- 4×6 prints
Peek-a-boo photo book with 8 images of her choice
A glass of wine (optional of course)  and some delicious chocolate covered strawberries
The hostess will receive an additional 20 minutes of shooting time and a free makeover!
*If 6 or more guests are in attendance the price per girl is only $150 and the hostess will receive a premium album with all of her favorite pics!
*All Online Galleries are Password Protected
Little Extras…
Professional Makeover – $35
8×8 Album with 10 images – $85
DVD of your entire shoot – $125
A price list of other additions will be provided at the shoot.
 **Sessions can be done in our studio or place of your choice. If you would prefer a hotel so you can really let loose ask us about the preferred hotels in the area.  An additional cost for the room will be added to your package.

We Slayed the Pricing Monster

Since Bollinger Image’s inception we have merely enjoyed taking lots of photographs of different people and events and the smiles that are given to us when we deliver the final packages.  It is such a wonderful feeling for the bride or the mother-to-be or whoever it is to be really happy with the images we give to them.  We have done high-end weddings where they have spent hundreds of thousands on the wedding to those who had a simple wedding with the simplest decorations.  We have donated pictures for special causes and have been paid thousands just because someone wanted their pictures done.  And even though the places or reasons for the sessions may be different the outcome for us is the same – we love it and we want to photograph as many people and places and events and emotions as possible!

To add to that – we want EVERYONE to be able enjoy those moments forever.  So then comes the business part of Bollinger Images.  We have really struggled with how to price what we do.  What we do, to us, is work hard to get as many wonderful emotions and images captured in a 5-10 hour time frame,  then deliver them on time after hours of going through, editing, approving, talking with our customers, re-editing, finalizing packages, etc.  Before that we talk with our clients, find out what THEY want and then do what we can to make it happen.  To the person on the other end of the camera we deliver a memory, a smile, that they can keep forever.  We have read, studied, compared, even guessed at what we “should” charge for anything.  And it comes down to this…

What we want to do is take pictures and make people smile.  We have read that if your business wants “high-end” projects then you have to charge a lot in order to let them know you are confident in your work. If your business wants to grow you must constantly increase your pricing.  We have also read the opposite – price low then up-sale!  So with all that, we re-did our pricing again.  We want to be the Photography and Videography company that EVERYONE wants to use – not because of the prices but because we do AWESOME work.  We want to be taking pictures and creating videos all the time!

So now our wedding prices start at $995 and go up to $12000 – not just that – but if you can’t afford $995 even in payments we will help you find a photographer that can shoot your day if we can’t at that time.  And we promise that we will make all customers – regardless of what or who or when – feel special and appreciated because we just love people – period.

We have probably gone against all advice, all expertise on this but we don’t care – everyone deserves their memories preserved – everyone….

XOXO ~ Angela Bollinger


New Blog!

We have our new blog up and running!!  We cannot wait to share with you the “inside scoop” on Bollinger Images! The content below is from our previous blog.

Even a photographer needs his picture taken

Miriah and Jacob

On November 5, 2011 Jacob and Mariah Rhodes began their new life together as husband and wife.  The ceremony was held at the beautiful St. Luke’s in Lincolnton, NC. The reception was held at Red Bone Willy’s. Vows were made, rings were exchanged and flowers were thrown but without the love they have for one another those would have been only empty gestures.  It is the love that they share which made their wedding day so absolutely beautiful and memorable.  Memories can fade but love will keep their marriage alive and thriving…12 3 4 5 6