At PhotographerLink our philosophy is: We want to make you and your business look great and we want everyone to have a great experience doing it.

We began creating images for a variety of reasons. In college you are suppose to learn about something that will allow you to earn a living. While focusing on that, we also considered what it really meant to us to LIVE. For us that is a healthy balance of hard work, family time and travel. What better way to fulfill that wish list then be self-employed photographers? That's what we thought too. It is overly simplistic but let's say this. We went to college. We worked. We started a family. We launched PhotographerLink ©. We work hard. We love our family time. We love to travel both professionally and personally. We are living. We are happy.

This happiness both personally and professionally allows us to be very focused on the most important parts of our business; our clients and making them look good. We take this task very seriously but ourselves lightly. Life can be hard enough without looking for reasons to make it harder. At PhotographerLink © we like it simple.
Every professional has their needed tools of the trade. In this modern day and age of digital photography it really doesn't say much about a photographer who has a bunch of gizmos and gadgets. The technology is fairly inexpensive (if you consider our standard camera travel bag alone with multi-thousands of dollars of goodies in it inexpensive) compared to photography 25 years ago. Internet education and familiarity with photography as a hobby is everywhere. Chances are you have a retired uncle or a 'well-loved' neighbor college kid who is taking a few classes that may have some of the same equipment we use or a similar model. This explosion of interest and affordable equipment has had two significant impacts on professional photographers.

The upside is a whole new segment of people getting in on the photography game - and it is a fun game for sure. Moms everywhere can document the many firsts their babies experience; college kids doing the road trip thing can remember every stop; the small business owner can do their own product photography or hire their uncle or college kid neighbor for a fracture of the cost it would take to hire a professional photographer. The downside is a plethora of well meaning, delightful people jumping in and relying very heavily on one photography technique for every shooting situation (generally leaving the camera in program mode where the "little workers" in the camera make all the setting decisions) or not having the real feedback on their images to continue their growth in their art. The camera does a pretty bang up job capturing the scene and well intended loved ones ooh and awe over the output on the back of the camera on the little screen. Overlooked are solid histogram of lighting balance, including avoiding the nasty blow outs of detail particularly in high key area of the photo, perspective and color management of the image. The white sink within a dark granite counter top no longer have any details (and somehow looks pink-ish?) and the corners of the wall on either side of the bathroom are sloped outwards at an angle that would cause any building inspector in a 3 D world to throw down their clipboard and close the worksite down. And yet, because it is a really pretty picture and it was created on a cool digital camera by your uncle or neighbor's kid (and therefore probably didn't cost fair market value to produce) it is WONDERFUL....

This does everyone a big disservice. The fledging photographer has a false sense of their skill set, the business owner is getting poor representation of their work or product, the public isn't appreciating the craftsmanship of the business owner when they visit their website and the professional photographer is sitting by an empty email inbox. Being small business owners and parents and travelers we are big on cutting costs where we can. Why spend more when you don't have to? But why spend at all when you aren't getting something of real value. Someone wise once said, "The value of something is remembered long after the cost is forgotten." This person probably had a very good accountant that took care of all those pesky details for them, but my point is, if you're going to do it, do it well and ideally the first time. Sadly, a good fraction of our first time client sessions are a "re-shoot" of work they previously had a very nice but not professional photographer attempt first.

Now the part about our equipment. We have a couple of the highest resolution, full frame sensor Canon camera bodies, and a case full of lovely red line L series lenses and more lighting strobes and stands and modifiers and backgrounds and levels and gobos and scrims and booms and clamps (you get the idea, we can stop showing off?) then a small camera store would require to hang an open sign in the window BUT......and this is a big big big but.......none of this stuff does us very little good at all if we don't know two things. The first is what to do with all this stuff and the second is what we want it to create. The exact same lighting equipment and stands and modifiers and tripod and camera will produce wildly different results depending on set up and execution. It is key to discuss with our clients their desires and intentions and then create our plan. Sometimes this plan requires nearly the whole darn studio of equipment. It may seem like overkill that it takes 7 light sources and a few reflectors and 3 modifiers to light one living room scene for a nice national ad for a local lighting company (and we did have fun with that one!) but you got to do what it takes to get the job done. On the complete other hand, there are other instances where you really only need some nice window light, a steady tripod and a slow shutter speed to nail the room. It is our job not to impress our client with our "stuff" but to impress our client with our ability to assess the situation, determine the plan and deliver the images. (Of course this doesn't mean we ever stop researching and buying the next great must have photo thing!)
We love to travel both for business and pleasure whether it is around the corner or around the globe. We have had the pleasure and the honor of photographing in many cities in California, through out the mid-west, Asia and the Caribbean. Where is next? You tell us!

We do love simplicity. The topic of images can get a bit complicated if we aren't careful and I'll tell you why. In a nutshell there isn't a very good commonly understood vocabulary to discuss them. Is something in the picture "hot"? (Like a stove turned on or a very attractive stove or more accurately an over exposed stove top that now lack definable detail?) Is something in the picture "blown out"? (Like a limited depth of field or poor resolution or poor focusing?) The words we use as professional photographers have a very specific, consistent and understood meaning within our photographer community but common use sometimes confuses the words when talking to an engineer or interior designer or clock manufacturer. It is our goal each step of the way to educate our clients. Having said this, a wonderful client recently told us, "I don't want to know how to fly the plane to Chicago - I just want to know that the pilot does!" Ideally we share just enough information that our clients feel involved and part of the creative process but not overwhelmed with needless details.

Much of the technical aspects of the photography can been discussed during the session. We have years of experience juggling creating the image (Fred) and explaining the process (Elizabeth) to curious clients. There is never a part of photography that we dislike discussing. (Just image our dinner conversation with the family and yes our 10 and 13 year olds can discuss composition and lighting aspect ratios and color profiles with the best of us!)

I do want to specifically mention a couple of points here about image rights of usage, archival of images, delivery of images and format of said delivered images. In doing this section, I know I'll still be having this conversation as often as ever (and I am very okay with that, again, LOVE talking shop!) but because I am so visual I find that if I can read something after discussing it I have a much better chance of making it my own knowledge so here goes.......

Rights of Usage - Before the past 5-10 years this was a very specific thing in the photographic community. Often clients would have to read the fine print very carefully to find out how many times the commissioned image could be used, in what publications, for what time frame and in what geographical zone. Rights of usage means just that - the clients RIGHTS to USE the images. Unless special wording is created the photographer always still owns the images. The client is allowed usage. Again, in previous years this allowance was very specific. While this is beginning to change industry wide PhotographerLink© has always allowed unrestricted personal/professional usage of images created for the original client (sorry but you can't sell our images created for you without our written consent) for any purpose (web, print, video stills, etc.) forever, anywhere. This is consistent with our desire to keep things simple and in our clients' favor.

Archival of Images - Upon completion and delivery of your images we archive them within a few weeks. Our goal is to always be accountable for your project. This means if in two years (or 6 months or 5 years) you need a back up file emailed to you just let us know. This can be for any reason. Maybe you have a new Public Relations manager who wants to rebuild all materials in a new manner or even you've had the same PR person for years but they are an organizational mess and lost the files....again......No matter the story (and we do love a fun story) no worries, we will fix it for you. Please allow us 2-3 business days to pull it up and send it off to you but just know it is all included in the original session and does not cost a dime......

Delivery of Images - Our most common method of image delivery is the ever reliable, near instantaneously gratifying FTP upload method. If this sounds like scary lingo to you, don't be afraid. You will receive an email with a link and simple instructions on how to download the images immediately (or up to 7 days later) for instant use. Still not sure about it? Call and and we'll talk you through it. You won't be the first and we won't roll our eyes or snicker at your uncertainty. By the time we are done you'll even want your groceries delivered via FTP!

Format of Said Images - I really don't have a problem answering most questions with a genuine smile on my face but I feel the need for full disclosure on this one.....this series of questions makes me batty at least once a month. I guess this comes down to a trust issue - but I am getting ahead of myself now...Let's back up a few breaths. Your images will be delivered via FTP upload in three standard sizes for your near every need; Large Print, Large Web and Small Web sizes in jpg format (or requested tif format) with either a standard (sRGB) or custom icc color profile. The web sizes are pretty obvious - they are for web use. Talk to us or have your web designer/master drop us an email if you want to talk more about the specifics. We honestly love discussing all the before mentioned. Be forewarned that if your professional printer receives the entire file (complete with all three files of sizes) and complains to us about insufficient file size and we find out they are using (or attempting ) to use small web image sizes for your life size trade show poster we will both roll our eyes and snicker. Of course we'll help work out the mis-step but with slightly rolled eyes. Now to the trust issue. IF we are asked for a bigger file size we will respond by asking "What is the purpose of this requested file?" This isn't intended to be an eye-rolling, snotty question or one that intends to stall the communication process but for 98% of outputs you'll already have all the required size. Trust us. Your print size folder includes an average file size of over 60 megs of file per image - it is big. There are a few exceptions but for creating street banners or bus wraps or billboards you already got what you need. To get technical for a brief moment, we deliver the images at 360 dpi and for a standard billboard you only need about 7-10 dpi so therefore that print file we sent you will go a long ways. We can clarify this point by phone with you or your print company but please trust us and don't ask us for our "raw" files without expecting the second question that makes my eyes roll. Asking for our "raw" images does not accomplish what one is hoping to accomplish. While they are, arguably, larger file sizes, they are also unreadable by any but a converter software program. They are un-enhanced and uncorrected images. Not for public consumption. Ever. If you feel you need a larger file size, you very well may be part of the 2% of clients needs that actually requires a larger size. That is why we always ask "What is the purpose of this requested file?" Please trust us. If you need something, we are going to get it for you in the very best way, I promise.
When it all comes down to it, pricing is a very important consideration when selecting a photographer but no project should be treated as a “cookie-cutter” shoot that is exactly the same as what someone else did.   We would love the opportunity to bid on your project with a comprehensive, no obligation quote.
To build the best quote that is both fair to our clients and covers our investment we will ask a series of questions. Here is a partial list of things we may ask.
Architectural Session:
  • What is the purpose of this session? (Portfolio, contest submission, web promotion, etc./ or all the above?)
  • Is this a private residence or pubic space?
  • Do you need interior/exterior or a combination of images of this space?
  • Do you have a general shot list in mind for this project? (We generally recommend wider angle, overview images as well as more specific "vignette" images.)
  • Do you intend on including live models in this session? (Including any people or animals.)

Product Session:
  • What is the purpose of this session? (Advertising, catalogue, web content, etc/or all of the above?)
  • Will these items be photographed at your location or ours?
  • How many angles of this item do you want photographed?
  • What color background? Color, Knock out white?
  • If Knock out, will your web designer do the cutting or do you wish for us to do post work?
  • Do you want both groupings as well as individual images of each product?
  • Do you want "live action" images of your product "in use"?
  • Do you intend on including live models in this session? (Including any people or animals.)

Our highly customized pricing includes per project, per hour, 1/2 day or full day session quotes.  Contact us today for your personalized quote.
Fred Donham
Title - Owner since 2001 / Photographer since 1989
(916) 628-2300

Job Description – To create stellar photographic images that wow our clients and exceed their expectations. Responsible for answering technical questions, making products and spaces appear exceptionally interesting, working with web designers and publishers to maintain the quality control throughout the photo shoot and exact ICC color profiles.
Some of Fred’s qualifications – Educational background, real world experience and a passion for making stuff and places look good.  Fred has 18+ years experience with PhotoShop and 20+years photography experience with extensive knowledge of color management, graphic design and layout.  Fred is a self proclaimed “Gadget Geek”.  Hobbies include collecting, tinkering and experimenting with vintage cameras and lenses.
Favorite Type of Client
  • Our current clients.
  • Our future clients.

Elizabeth Donham
Title - Photographer / Fred's Wife and Personal Assistant*
(916) 716-5665

Job Description - To assist Fred in creating stellar images that wow our clients and exceed their expectations. Responsible for answering phones, returning emails, scheduling sessions, updating web content, schleping and assembling photographic equipment, scaling the occasional fence as needed and emptying garbages.

Qualifications - Ability to multi-task, answer almost any question with a genuine smile, and fluent in Photographer to English translation. 19+ years experience with making Boss Man Fred's life easier and 5+years portrait and product photography experience.

Favorite Type of Client -
(Not necessarily in this order)
1. Client who know EXACTLY what they want. (We can do it!)
2. Client who does not know at ALL what they want. (We can help figure it out and then do it!)
3. Client who has worked with photographers for years. (They are our kind of people!)
4. Client who has never worked with a photographers before. (Welcome!)
5. Client who we've worked with for years. (Still happy after all these years!)
6. Brand new client. (We can't wait to impress you and turn you into life long clients!)

* For those who wish to take exception at my own self titled job description as being anti-professional-woman progress let me reassure you, you have tragically misinterpreted my title, role and significance in this operation. I take a great deal of pride that I fully support and encourage my husband's efforts. He is talented and fun and pays well (at least "a latte a day") and my job description varies from day to day with flexible hours and plenty of opportunity for professional growth. My input is valued and appreciated and more often than not implemented. Oh....and he's easy on the eyes....My Momma didn't raise no fool!

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