Sunday, June 26, 2011

TopsPhotoVideo.com | Tops Photo Video Review - Pass! Too Risky

I'm taking this Sunday morning to write up a little review on TopsPhotoVideo.com - http://www.topsphotovideo.com/ - which is typically not my style but being in the business of professional photography is stinking expensive and can be quite nerve wracking & when it comes to gear and business relationships it's critical for us photographers to look out for each other.

Here's my experience:



I buy on Amazon all the time, usually from B&H or Adorama etc but I found the d700 for over $400 less than anywhere else. I was skeptical at first but checked out the website and it seemed legit. I really needed the camera asap for a wedding so I ordered it-of course red flags began to pop up after that.



First, things were just slightly off on the website. I realized there was no actual address of the business-even when I called to speak to them they would say nothing more than New York.

Then I realized much of their descriptions were literally copied and pasted from the B&H site. Also, many of the tabs on the site don't lead to anywhere.

When I called in to figure out why I was not sent a confirmation of purchase or shipping info (all I got was an order form email) to talk to customer service there was a man "Mark" (quite obviously not his real name but rather his "American" sounding name) couldn't give me any answers. He told me my order will ship in 1-2 days form ordering. I said, "I ordered it 2 days ago". He says, "oh well, 1-2 days from now"


I'm sorry but when I'm spending thousands of dollars with you, you need to be a little more professional.

Then I hang up and get an email saying there's something about my order they need to talk to me about. I call back in the guy tells me the battery for the BRAND NEW Nikon d700 only last 30 minutes and tries to upsell me a new battery and charger and warranty-WHICH THEN BRINGS THE PRICE ALL THE WAY BACK UP TO EVERYONE ELSE ON AMAZON. 

I might as well drive down to Bestbuy-at least I'll get a warranty. I say no thank you, and he tries to haggle me saying he'll knock off $100 if I order it.

Um, are you serious? Am I at a flee market? Where did you get this gear anyway?
I did further investigating and saw some shifty reviews and the random positive reviews sounded pretty contrived. My instincts told me this was a bad idea. I tried to cancel the order on the website. No go. So I put a call back in and talked to "Mark" again to cancel my order. Fine he says frustrated. I ask him will I get some sort of confirmation email of cancellation? Yes I will. Well that was over a week ago-no such email and they won't respond now. I checked my credit card and they hadn't gotten a chance to charge it so I called the bank and had them totally cancel my card so that they couldn't cheat me out of it.

Still waiting on a cancellation. I'd rather spend a little more money and know that I'm giving my business to a legitimate company rather than some shifty guys working out of some backroom somewhere in NYC. Maybe they're just new at this but so far my experience is if looks like a duck.....



I'll update this if I get a proper response-but in the meantime my advice is PASS THIS ONE UP

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Giveaway

Truth be told nathan absolutely HATED having to choose a favorite for this giveaway because there were SO many incredible, beautiful, hilarious and touching images. But there was one that touched him more than any. After much talk and deliberation it became clear who he wanted to send a gift to-and it isn't to a dad after all-it's to this little girl:




because if her daddy isn't here to love on her on father's day we like to for him.


And the winner of the fan favorite is this hilarious daddy below with 69 likes-WHOA!!!!!
Such a cute picture :-)



And to EVERYONE who participated in the contest we're offering you a gift certificate for HALF OFF a "Kids and Daddy" shoot-that's a $150 value-holy smokes that's a deal!! But we LOVE our facebook fans and are proud to spoil you  <3

Thank you everyone who sent in their awesome pictures!!!! We loved every single one!! Keep an eye out for the next big giveaway on our facebook page!!! Email us for details on your gift!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Personal Post | What does "Bellalu" mean? | Luke Goodman Cinema

We were thrilled and overjoyed when the facebook tag got dropped in our inbox-the insanely talented Luke Goodman & Pamela Francisco from Luke Goodman Cinema sent us a tangent video from the new larger promotional video we are making. But this one highlighted the most important things in our lives-our children-and the inspiration for everything we do. 

We happily welcome you into this most precious part of our hearts and thank Luke for spending the morning in our very own backyard capturing us just doing what we do every day of our lives <3


Freitas 2011 Family Video from Luke Goodman on Vimeo.

Missed the sneak peek to Seth and Giti's engagement session also shot by Luke Goodman Cinema? Here's a encore :)


Seth and Giti Engagement Film from Luke Goodman on Vimeo.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Elizabeth's Senior Shoot | Senior Portraits by Lindsey Freitas

I seem to have always had a camera in my hand. If I wasn't setting my friends up with my conceptualized, poorly exposed and terribly directed "shoots" I was directing them on how I wanted the picture taken of myself. Typially done on plastic disposable film cameras everything was automatic and therefore destined to look like.....well.....a 12 year old pretending to be a photographer. And yet I would anxiously wait at my local grocery store the whole 60 minutes for the film to come back in little 3x5s and would decorate my locker or binders with my exquisite art. Take note folks:



my best attempt at rule of thirds-before I even knew there was such a thing.  I remember telling my friend Brittany: Make sure the path veers to the left side of the pic. Now that I look at it I think she did a pretty good job of it-being that we're not even in focus and automatic cameras turn my friend kori's skin midnight and mine red rock.





This was a brilliant collaboration between myself, my cousin (in the back) and Kori again
(taking the picture)
so many terrible things going on in this picture-least of all my awful boy haircut...and the fact that we're in a wafflehouse bathroom hall in Hendersonville, Tennessee.



I might be 9 here. I'm sure you pick up on the theme I wanted. Thank you Lindsay Turgon, my childhood buddy, for executing my brilliant and incredibly artistic vision so perfectly. 


Oh this might be my favorite in the worst way. I distinctly remember telling my cousin Amelia-"Make sure there's lots of blue sky in the background and I'm off to the right-I'm going to pose like I'm happy and free". When I look at this I see a boy with long hair incredibly relieved to be peeing.


Oh this is a gem. I'm directing passion out of my bud Rachael. The Christimas reefs and twinkling lights make it all the more intense and artistic. right........?

What you don't see the priceless art in these pictures? 
well...I can't really blame you. 

I ended up growing up and going to college to get a degree in journalism until I realized that I had it right the first time (albeit it in picture taking that was oh so wrong for many many years). 

Shooting Elizabeth's senior session recently reminded me of how lucky both her and I are to have found our own paths. Liz is my sister-in-law's best bud and sent her my way when it was time for her senior portraits (and of course she came to the shoot as well)

Here's Elissa touching up Liz's makeup while balancing the white bounce in 2 inch wedges before getting started-a friend indeed :)

I have so much respect and adoration for this gorgeous woman. She kicked butt at Santa Clara University and we had to rock out a shoot for her to celebrate.


People like Liz make my job easy. I loved her sheik anthro style-we brought in Monina Wright from Moderne Beauty and had her play off of her dresses in her hair and makeup.  Stunning.  We had a BLAST!


Here's to growing up, working your ass off and breaking down doors left and right. 
Cheers to all of us hard working women who head out into the world and rock it out on a daily basis.

And to our best friends whose support we carry with us along the way <3


Liz & Elissa

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Event Photography | A Stylish French Themed Atherton Baby Shower by Lindsey Freitas

I shot the most gorgeous French themed baby shower in Atherton, California recently created by the magnificently talented Sarah Lucas from Sarah Lucas Designs. I've worked with Sarah a few times now and it seems that everything she touches turns into pure gorgeousness. From the invitations to the custom designed cake everything was perfectly styled and adorned.

 

Mommy-to-be looked stunning for her day and enjoyed this special time with her family and friends! Check out her adorable cake created by BethAnn with Studio Cake -flawless as usual!
Vintage children's books decorated the tables about the property and guests offered their advice and well wishes on custom designed keepsake cards for the mommy-to-be <3

 
After dining under the immaculate white raj tent the guests were given their own blooming hydrangea plants as a thank you for sharing in the special day-simply beautiful.


This was such a treat for me to be a part of! This little baby boy is coming into the most loving family and I cannot wait until he arrives and I can capture some of his first precious moments with these special people <3