Radio Interview Transcripts

Albany Photographers with a Long History - The Portrait Place


ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the More Photos’ Radio Photography Spotlight brought to you by, helping professional photographers learn how to sell photos online sucessfully . Now here is your host, Damien Allen. 
DAMIEN: Good morning and welcome to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen, and joining me today on the telephone is Al and Kathy Clapper of The Portrait Place. Good morning, folks, welcome to the program.
KATHY: Good morning, Damien.
AL: Good morning, Damien, how are you doing? 
DAMIEN: I’m doing alright; hope you guys are doing alright.
AL: Now where exactly is The Portrait Place located and tell us how did you get into the business of photography?
KATHY: We are The Portrait Place at 1186 Central Avenue, and that is in Albany, New York, and we have been in business about 30 years, and Al and I started out in business by photographing weddings.
AL: I just wanted to add one thing. Back when we started our business like 30 years ago, and we started having our two children we started photographing them. First we were just documenting them and then we got a little serious about it and started to invest in better equipment and that’s how The Portrait Place got rolling. That’s kind of like the foundation of our business that happened that many years ago.
DAMIEN: What do you specialize in now besides the weddings?
KATHY: WE specialize in families, children, high school seniors, and we do business portraits as well.
DAMIEN: Now are there any unique services that The Portrait Place provides?
AL: Yeah, I would think so. In our studio Kathy took it upon herself years ago to get a collection of various children’s clothing, and we offered this to the parents for a special fee in photography, and we changed the backgrounds and things like that, and people really love that when their children are growing up.
KATHY: We also have Victorian dresses and most of the time we use those around the holidays. We have a Santa Days when Santa actually comes into our studio and the children visit with him and each year we change the background. We’ve had sleighs in our studio. We’ve had where Santa would sit. We changed to a street scene where Santa sits against a background of stores and toys and windows and such. So that’s kind of a unique approach to the holidays, and we also have bunny days as well where we have live bunnies for the children to sit with.
DAMIEN: Now all this takes place in the studio. Do you do location shoots as well?
KATHY: Yes, we do. We go to families homes, and we also have an outdoor garden area where we photograph families and children, and we also photograph high school seniors there as well.
DAMIEN: You offer Heirloom Portraits. Can you tell us a little bit about that please?
KATHY: Our Heirloom Portraits are very unique. We photograph the individual or family, and we place that on canvas and an artist paints over the picture so that it looks and feels and it is an oil painting, but it is not an artist’s rendition of the oil painting, it is actually the image of the person.
DAMIEN: You are 30 years into this. Are there other photographers work with you, or are you two the primary shooters?
AL: We are basically the primary shooters, but since we’ve gotten into doing a lot of high school seniors over the past 14 – 15 years, we had a couple of full time photographers for a while, now we’re down to the two of us and a couple of part-time associates that will help us with our senior photography. With senior photography we do a lot of the sports and activities that the school might need during the course of the school season.
DAMIEN: What advice can you give a client who has never had their picture taken by a professional photographer?
KATHY: We usually have either a telephone consultation with them, or sometimes they drop in our studio to view our images, and we talk with them about their posing. Usually we make suggestions of different tones and we suggest to them to wear solid colors and colors, say for instance, the tops would all be the same color and the bottoms would be the same color as well. So we make suggestions to them so that their portrait will be on the wall for quite some time and an heirloom to their children.
DAMIEN: Now your website is full of beautiful children shots; what is the best piece of advice
you can give to parents when preparing a child to be photographed?
KATHY: Well the best advice we usually tell them; do not have them practice smiling. Do not tell them to smile, because as children develop they sometimes come up with their own ideas of how they should be smiling. So we just ask them to bring the children a little early so they can get used to the studio and the area and we try to make them comfortable. Our studio is not in a mall or it’s not in a strip mall, because we want them to feel at home. Our studio was a home at one time, and we really would like them to feel comfortable and most of the cases they do.
AL: Children of all ages, you know, they all act a little different as they are growing up. If they have never been to a professional studio, we even offer them to come in on their own time prior to the actual session; maybe it’s a day or a week, and just look our studio over, let the children roam around. So we’re not going to lock up the shooting room so kids can’t go in there, because that always makes them fairly questionable and that to have a little fear. I like to just warm them up and if they’re little children get down on the ground and talk to them and make them feel comfortable. That way I think they get a good vote of confidence in you as a photographer, but not only that, as much like a friend is a better way to say it.
DAMIEN: What’s going to be new for The Portrait Place in 2010?
KATHY: Well we are presently photographing the 2011 high school seniors, and we do have some specials for them. We offer them 50% off of their portrait session fees. We give them 16 free wallets with their package if you order in May and in June 8 free wallets. Our July special is 1 free 5x7 with their package order. So we have the May, June, and July once again the May is 16 free wallets with their package, June is 8 free wallets with their package, and July is one free 5x7. So that usually is quite a little perk for the seniors.
DAMIEN: In deed. Are you running any other specials besides the senior specials?
KATHY: We do run specials for our once in a lifetime customers which that is our album plan and every year the parents bring the child in, or if they are an infant 2 times a year, and we give them a free page for their album, and we have many customers working on their album already and it’s such a treasure when the children go off to college, they’ve got such a beautiful photographed pictures of them growing up and probably if a person didn’t have a album to maybe motivate them to go to the studio and have pictures taken, they wouldn’t have that consistent growth.
AL: Kathy mentioned college, and another thing we have been doing for the years since we are doing a lot of high school seniors, it is a large portion of our income, we offer the families to come in since their child is in their 12th grade, and we waive the session fee to get a family portrait of their children with the family, because they are going off to college and there is a lot of absenteeism there. And that’s kind of a nice perk and it does get the families to come in. Those that are interested and can take the time, you know, sacrifice the time I guess you might want to say, because it is a very important thing about family life, and we find that to be very comfortable around the studio.
KATHY: We also give them an image from that session so they are able to save it and have it in their family records. So it’s a nice thing that we do for the high school seniors.
DAMIEN: Could you kindly share your website address and contact information with the listening audience.
KATHY: Our contact information is The Portrait Place, 1186 Central Avenue, Albany, New York, 12205. Our telephone number is (518) 459-9093 and our website is, and we do have an email, Al’s email. 
AL: It’s the email, we can use it. A lot of the kids used to call me Uncle Al, I started to email with
DAMIEN: We’d like to thank you very much for joining us today.
KATHY: Thank you. We enjoyed it.
AL: Thank you.
DAMIEN: We have been speaking with Al and Kathy Clapper of The Portrait Place of Albany, New York. You have been listening to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen. Everybody have a great afternoon.
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