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Old Photos Restored for Christmas!

Old family photos make great gifts!

Photo Restoration by a Certified Professional Photographer

Don’t you think your kids and grandchildren would love to see their family history? If your kids are young, they may not have the interest just yet, but wait a few years. Once they start having their own children, family photos will become more and more important to them. Don’t let your family history die, just because you “never got around to it”!

By using a unique combination of traditional photographic equipment and the latest in computer technology, we can bring your old family pictures back to life! Unlike chain stores, your original never leaves our studio. and our work is fully guaranteed! Contact me with this email form, or call me at 410-224-6049 to schedule a time for you to bring your old photos for an estimate.

Christmas Deadline:  We need your order by this Saturday, December 13th, in order to guarantee for Christmas!  (There could be exceptions – we may not be able to guarantee Christmas delivery for some orders requiring extensive artwork, but that will be rare.)

Restore your old photos

Actual example of photo restoration by David Anderson.

Restore your old photos

Actual example of photo restoration by David Anderson.

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Portrait Gift Certificates!

Best Gift You’ll Give this Year!

You know how hard it is to find gifts for some people. They seem to have everything they need, or they’re never really satisfied with what you get them.Well, your problem is now solved — give them a Gift Certificate from Annapolis’ most-referred photographer!  People can never get enough photos of their kids, their family, or their pets, and now’s your chance to give them the gift of a professional portrait by David Anderson.  Even better, these gift certificates are highly discounted since they are to be given as gifts.

Certificates are available that include sessions, finished portraits, and even for our Cradle Club (perfect for expecting parents)!

A Portrait is the one Gift that keeps on Giving …. for generations to come.

Select your Gift Certificate choice, and order online here. It’s Fast, Easy, and Secure.

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Cell Phone Image Gets Award

Another photo contest award

Even cell phone photos can be award winners. There’s an online photography contest website called Photocrowd, which I just heard about a couple of months ago. The site runs monthly photo contests, and has tens of thousands of participants.   A few weeks ago I happened to see that their October contest was for silhouettes (“Dark Matters”), and the images had to be made recently. It so happened that I had just taken a couple of sunset silhouettes on my cell phone while visiting my daughter at college, so I decided on a whim to enter those two images in the contest. They weren’t necessarily the best silhouettes I had ever taken , but they were recent enough to qualify for the contest, so, I sent them in.  I thought nothing more of it until today when I received an email saying that the contest had ended with over 1214 entries made, and over 180,570 votes cast.  And lo and behold, one of my images won the 5th Place Award in the Expert’s Choice category.  I’ve attached a screen shot below of the image and the judge’s critique. The critique itself is quite interesting, calling the image a “mini-drama” because of the “balance of harmony” between the cross and the crescent moon, which are the symbols of two major world religions.

(NOTE:  Click image to see larger version.)

silhouette at Church Point

“Spiritual Harmony”

Preview

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What’s Best for Data Backup: Onsite or Cloud Storage?

The “Perfect” Data Backup System

By David Anderson, Cr. Photog. CPP

Causes of Data Loss

As a professional photographer, I probably create more computer data from one photo session than a medium-size law firm will in a month. Image files take up a lot of drive space!  And if I  lose that data – or my bookkeeping software and other business data – I can’t produce my products and I won’t be able to account for my sales, expenses, taxes, or anything else.  I could be out of business in a heartbeat.  So, even though I have onsite backups, if my studio suffered a fire or a theft, it could all disappear in the blink of an eye.

The most common data losses happen when we have computer breakdowns, whether that be the computer itself, the hard drive, or a problem due to a virus or other cause. And the question isn’t whether or not your hard drive or computer will go down – it’s when will it go down? Nearly all of us have had this happen, and it’s never fun. However, no matter what type of problem we experience, there are steps we can take to make things easier on ourselves when it does happen. You can probably imagine now why I find data protection to be so important.  But, just what is the perfect data backup system … or as close to “perfect” as we can get?

What we do

Truth is, like most things in this world, there isn’t really a perfect system to prevent loss. Fortunately, though, we have lots of options to make a total loss nearly impossible. To me, the key ingredient for a good backup system is that it’s automatic.  And for me, the next most important ingredient is to have both onsite and offsite automatic backups. Here’s a brief rundown on what I do here at the studio, and also how I plan to make my system even better:

Onsite Backup

Drobo data backup

Drobo 4 Bay

  • My main computer has a 1TB (TB = 1,000,000 Megabytes) hard drive, and a second external drive with older files from a previous computer. The main drive automatically backs up in the background directly to a Drobo system that currently has 7TB of storage. And that can be expanded when needed by simply pulling out one of the current drives and replacing it with a larger one.

  • What is a “Drobo”, you might ask? In a nutshell, a Drobo system is a box that holds several hard drives to create massive file storage or backup. It uses technology called BeyondRAID, but you don’t need to know that, unless you’re really into that sort of thing. The beauty of it is that if any of the hard drives fail – as all hard drives do eventually – the remaining drives still have all of your data safe and sound. Simply pop out the bad drive and put a new one in and the Drobo takes care of the rest. (It really is that easy – I’ve done it.) My version of the Drobo holds 4 hard drives, which can be mixed brands and sizes. Drobo has several models for various needs and budgets, and I highly recommend them. If you want to investigate further, take a couple of minutes to click on the Drobo website.

Backblaze suitcase logo

Backblaze “Cloud” Storage

Offsite Backup

  • I researched several “cloud” type storage companies before settling on Backblaze (click the link and we’ll both get a free month if you sign up). The price was right, they have redundant safe storage, and their system is easy to use. With Backblaze, your main hard drive and any other drives connected to your computer are again automatically backed up, online over the Internet. You always have access to your files from any computer anywhere in the world (comes in very handy when you need a file and are away from your main computer).  Then. if something catastrophic should happen to your in-house computer or storage system, they will FedEx a hard drive that contains all of your data. That does cost a bit extra, but it could be well worth every penny to have all your files in less than 24 hours.  (Note: A“free” bonus is that Backblaze may also be able to help you track your computer if it’s ever stolen.)

  • Possibly the only “con” for online storage is that your initial backup can literally take weeks to upload, depending on how much data you have, and your Internet speed. After that, new or changed files update automatically and you will rarely notice. You should always have onsite backup first. Of course, online providers can go out of business too, but you can always go to a new one should that ever happen.

Future

  • My current system is great for retrieving files and all my other data. If I have a loss, I could plug another computer into my Drobo or use the files from Backblaze and be back to work in minutes. However, all those programs I have loaded are not backed up, and those can take a long take to reload on a new system. And that’s if the original setup folders or disks are still available. For that reason, I also plan to add a “clone” drive soon that mirrors my main drive that contains the computer’s operating system. In the event of the failure of my main drive, this clone could then be hooked to any computer to run all my programs just like I run them now.

So, to sum it all up … there may not a perfect backup system, but with a little bit of effort, you can set up a system that’s reliable, quick, easy, and automatic.

Please Tweet or Share this article by using the links below!

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Dublin 5 – Celtic Rock Band Adds a new Bass Player

Ray Murphy from Dublin 5 called me a couple of weeks ago because the band had just gotten a new bass player and needed a new promo shot in a hurry. (If you’re not familiar, Dublin 5 is a popular Irish Rock band based in Annapolis. They play festivals, events, and concert venues all over the East Coast and Midwest.) Luckily, I was able to get them into the studio within a couple of days and this is what we came up with. It’s a little different than what they’ve done in the past, but something different is what stands out, and that’s important for a promotional photo.

Maybe we’ll do something else later when there’s more time, but I think I like this one for now – what do you think?  (Feel free to add your comment at the bottom of this post.)

To learn more about Dublin 5, visit their Facebook page.

Dublin 5 Irish Rock Band

Dublin 5 – Celtic Rock Band

Gary - new bass player for Dublin 5

Gary – new bass player for Dublin 5

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Rock Star!

How to be a Rock Star: First, you have to be as cool as this guy.

Vince is a great little guy that I’ve been photographing since he was a baby, and he’s growing up fast!  It was warm and muggy in downtown Annapolis this morning, but we spent about an hour getting some great shots at the City Dock and around town. Vince has been attending the School of Rock, and is learning guitar and drums. It was a fun session, and maybe one of these days Vince will include these on his hit album!

Little Rock Star in Annapolis

Just being cool.

Little Rock Star in Annapolis

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Top Dogs!

Wow – Our Dog Portraits won 1st, 2nd, AND 3rd Place!

PPA Charities announced the winners of the Celebration of Smiles Portrait Contest yesterday, and my dog portraits won all three of the top spots in the pet category! Plus, one of them won 2nd Place overall. I certainly never expected any of that, especially since I only photographed three dogs for the event, and could only submit one portrait of each!

Some of you will remember that Celebration of Smiles is a fundraiser for Operation Smile, and is held annually in April. For a very small donation, participants got a “mini-session” in the studio. With the help of Dr. Mairead O’Reilly and Dr. Jim Brinster, and several of our favorite clients, we raised enough to pay for five surgeries this year. 100% of those donations are passed on to Operation Smile through PPA Charities, which is the charitable arm of the Professional Photographers of America. In addition to those donations, we estimated that the studio gave away over $4300 in products and services for the event.

Lyla Rose, “daughter” of J.R. and Deborah Frantz of Millersville, won 1st Place in the Pet category. 2nd Place went to Pepper, who shares a home with local psychologist Dr. Annie Judge and her family. And 3rd Place was awarded to Roxie, the “favorite daughter” of Dan and Virginia Rubinstein of Bowie (I know she’s their favorite, because I’m married to one of their other daughters!) Apparently, there were different judges for the overall winners, because Roxie also won 2nd Place overall.

Thanks again to all who participated in Celebration of Smiles Day, and a special thanks to Dr. O’Reilly and Dr. Brinster for your help. I hope you’re all looking forward to next April!

 

 

1st Place Pet Portrait

Lyla Rose – 1st Place

2nd Place Pet Portrait Winner

Pepper – 2nd Place

3rd Place Pet Portrait Winner - 2nd Place Overall Winner

Roxie – 3rd Place Pet Category. 2nd Place Overall.

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Drobo selects Pet Portrait as a Finalist

Data storage maker Drobo sponsors photo contest.

I rarely enter photography contests. It’s more important to me that my clients like my work than it is for some anonymous committee or some organization to choose what they happen to be looking for at a particular time. Last year, I did enter one dog portrait in a contest that was only open to the studios across the US and Canada that participated in the “Celebration of Smiles” fundraiser for Operation Smile. The entries had to be from one of the Celebration sessions, and I wound up winning third place in the pet portrait category. I also entered that contest this year too, since we were again an Operation Smile studio. (The judging hasn’t been finished yet for this year.)  Now, for the third time in two years – and this is very unusual for me –  I’ve entered another contest!

A couple of weeks ago I saw a Twitter announcement from a company called Drobo, which is the maker of my in-house computer data backup system. They were asking for entries to show what could be gone forever if we suffered a data loss. On a whim, I decided to enter another pet portrait, and point out that I have thousands of images that could be lost forever if I somehow had a catastrophic failure.  (If you’re a client there’s no to worry though – read on!)


“I probably create more data in one session than a small law firm creates in a month.”

What is “Drobo”?

You’re probably already getting the idea, but in a nutshell, a Drobo system is a box that you can place several hard drives in to create massive file storage or backup. It uses technology called BeyondRAID, but you really don’t need to know that, unless you’re really into that sort of thing. The beauty of it is that if any of the hard drives fail – as all hard drives do eventually – the remaining drives still have all of your data safe and sound. Simply pop out the bad drive and put a new one in and the Drobo takes care of the rest. (It really is that easy – I’ve done it.) 

According to Drobo’s website, the company has received over 50 industry awards and has been named by WIRED magazine as one of “The 10 Silicon Valley Companies You Wish You Worked For (or Started)”.

For those of us who own or run a business, having data backups is essential for our business continuity should we have a hard drive crash, or some other major computer disaster such as a fire or theft. And, as a photographer, I probably create more data in one session than a small law firm creates in a month. If you have a basic understanding of computer data, you’ll recognize that the 10TB (terabytes) or so of active data that I have in my little studio is quite a few “ones and zeros” to store. All of my important files backup constantly to the Drobo, and also to the web. With the Drobo, if my main computer crashes, I could switch to another computer, plug the Drobo into it, and keep on working. And worst-case scenario – barring a nationwide nuclear catastrophe or something – I could restore all of my files by the next business day because my online provider will FedEx a new hard drive with all my files.


“Worst-case scenario – barring a nationwide nuclear catastrophe or something – I could restore all of my files by the next business day…”

My current Drobo system is nearly five years old, and it’s still working great. But, five years in the computer world is like a century, so when I saw this contest and the chance to win a new Drobo, it took me about two minutes to send in my entry. I had pretty much forgotten all about it until I got another Tweet from Drobo yesterday saying that “we love this photo” and that it was a finalist. Needless to say, I was very happy and surprised.

Drobo Twitter reply

So, there you have it. You now know what Drobo is and what this contest is about. It’s now up to “viewers like you” to help by voting for my entry. The “elegant lady” portrayed in my entry is Bonnie, a Standard Schnauzer owned by one of my regular clients who lives in Odenton. If you like the portrait, I’d appreciate your vote by clicking on it. (You may also need to log in to Facebook to actually cast your vote.)

Voting ends this Sunday (July 20), and I believe you can vote once per day, per device (phone or computer).

Drobo photo contest entry

“Bonnie” – Click to Vote

 

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Carolyn K. Long - September 4, 2014 - 7:21 pm

That is an exquisite dog photo!

Dave Anderson - July 21, 2014 - 7:14 pm

It’s a winner! Thanks to all who voted!

LinkedIn article getting great reviews

The business networking site, LinkedIn, recently invited me to publish articles on their website, so I took them up on it. OK, I’m sure that LOTS of people got the same invitation, but I did it anyway. My first article was about why LinkedIn profile photos are so important, and it’s now been shared a number of times, is posted in several different LinkedIn “groups”, and has received a bunch of good comments. LinkedIn has now marked me as a “Top Contributor” in the “Annapolis” group.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Why LinkedIn Profile Photos are So Important

Every business decision should have a goal in mind, and that includes your LinkedIn profile. You likely have a profile because you are either wanting to gain more business in your current line of work, or because you are wanting to find a new job. In either case, your photo is one of the first things people see when viewing your profile, and it can make or break that valuable first impression.

In spite of what many of us call it, LinkedIn is not a social network. Instead, it is a business network and your profile should reflect that by clearly telling who you are and what you do. That all starts by having the right profile photo….

If you want to see some tips on what to do and what to avoid for an effective profile photo, click here to read the rest of article on LinkedIn. If you’re a LinkedIn subscriber you can also make comments there, or feel free to comment on this page as well.

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Old Line Bank

We’ve pulled a few “bank jobs” lately!

Well – sort of. I’ve been doing quite a bit of photography for banks lately. Most recently, I made portraits for board members and officers of Old Line Bank, and have been photographing some of their branch locations. Truly local banks are a rare breed these days, but Old Line is one of them.  It’s headquartered in Bowie, MD, and is growing quickly with about two dozen branches throughout several counties in central Maryland. Old Line offers personal and commercial banking services, mortgage loans, and investment accounts. You can learn more about Old Line on their website.

Old Line Bank photos

A few of the Old Line Bank locations we’ve photographed. Clockwise from top left: College Park, Annapolis, Bowie, Millersville, and Greenbelt.

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