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Posts Tagged ‘portraits’

Meet Jim Giunta: Head of Technical Support

Thursday, September 13th, 2018


According to Dictionary.com a Renaissance Man is “a present-day man who has acquired profound knowledge or proficiency in more than one field.”

That completely defines our own Jim Giunta, Head of Pounds Technical Support. He’s been there and done that. Whether it’s skydiving, scuba diving, flying single-engine planes, shooting competitively, or working on his Harley, he’s all action, all the time. He’s also been a professional magician, which may explain how he makes so much happen here at Pounds!

Jim’s background includes a wide skill set. He worked in photography, missile electronics, and computers during time spent in the military. Then he expanded his knowledge base into video and broadcast journalism. When he was on the East Coast, he was in on the cutting-edge development of green screen technology and capture software.

He’s really done it all.

POUNDS: Tell us a little bit about your background.

JIM: I grew up in Rochester, New York, with seven siblings, one of which is my identical twin. Two of my brothers are magicians. My oldest brother was an electrician, a photographer, and a magician. I got interested in magic and photography through him. That’s how I put myself through college the first time, working as a photographer for schools during the week, weddings on the weekends, and supplementing that with magician gigs.

POUNDS: How long have you been in the photography business?

JIM: I’ve been in the business since 1972 when I was a military photographer. My first hitch was in Frankfurt. I was sent all over Europe because I had a security clearance. The majority of the work I did was classified. When I got out of the service, in Rochester, I worked in still and video, went back to school, and got another degree in broadcast journalism. Then I went back to the military and worked in electronics and computers specifically on the Pershing II ballistic missile.

POUNDS: How did your military career help you in your present job?

JIM: When I got out in ‘90, I had both camera and computer backgrounds. Everything was turning to digital, so it was perfect timing.

POUNDS: How did Pounds find you?

JIM: When I got to my first lab job at PCA, a guy working for them was trying to develop a department for specialty school and events and using green screen on-site. He hired me for the digital division. I stayed, he left. When they got bought out, he was involved in Pounds with a franchise operation and told them about me. He recommended me, and I got hired ‘07.

POUNDS: Tell us a bit about what you do for customers.

JIM: Support for volume photographers is more of a one-on-one service. They have a personal relationship with our people. We’re on call 24/7. We provide a more specialized and customized workflow for their specific business. We find out what type of business model they have, and assess skills, equipment, and resources. If necessary, we suggest equipment, marketing, or business support. We support them when they are up and running or if they are just beginning their volume careers. I also provide the support for customers that want websites and teach them how to use and maintain them.

POUNDS: What’s new and coming up?

JIM: We are expanding the customer support team, and we’re doing a lot of technical development this year. We will be enhancing our customer order submission softwares to give studios more control of the process. We’ll have the full capability of the PhotoLynx suite of software, and the website is offering direct fulfillment now.

POUNDS: What do customers tell you about their experience with Pounds?

JIM: The two points that come up time and time again are the quality of the product and the level of our support because it is one-on-one.

Meet Carolyn Taylor: Supervisor School Division + Order Entry

Thursday, September 13th, 2018


Once Pounds hired Carolyn Taylor, we just would not let her go. When we bought another lab, a lot of us will tell you it was so we could hang on to her! She has done almost every job at Pounds and now holds the title Supervisor School Division / Order Entry. She also oversees the retouching department and Xerox printing. In other words, she’s still doing it all. It’s primarily due to Carolyn that the Pounds ship sails so smoothly every day!

POUNDS: How did you get started in the industry?

CAROLYN: I started working in the photography industry at Gittings Studios in the early to mid-80s. I was in the production department, and my responsibilities included filing negatives, wedding album and frame assembly, and portrait packaging. This was an awesome experience. The portraits assembled and packaged for presentation to clients were simple, a work of art! In 1987 the company was acquired by Paul Skipworth and became Gittings-Skipworth. I continued working a few years, then decided to apply for employment at Pounds as this was the lab that produced the work for Gittings and Gittings-Skipworth.

POUNDS: It sounds like you were destined to be with Pounds!

CAROLYN: I started working for Pounds in February of 1991. I was hired to work in the proofing department but was quickly moved to “cut neg” to operate the v7 and vp2 film printers. Printing on the v7 was my main job, but I filled in on the vp2 as needed. Back in those days, we kept a daily count of how many exposures the printer made. I hit the all-time high count on the v7. I don’t remember the count or the date that was, but it was a big deal then! In January of 1996, I was hired to work at Meisel.

That didn’t last long because Pounds acquired Meisel seven months later and I have worked here ever since, in almost every department except mounting and shipping. I was in on the ground floor when the transition from negatives to digital took place. My first thought was that we (Pounds) had lost our minds but look at us now!

POUNDS: Tell us a little bit about your family.

CAROLYN: I am a married mother of two children, a boy, and a girl and now grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, two boys, and two girls. My oldest grandson lives with us and has brought much love and joy to our home. Our household has a huge heart for animals. We currently have two dogs and a cat, but we’ve had as many as five dogs at one time! My grandson enjoys school, school activities, and sports. If I leave work at a reasonable hour, it’s because I’m attending a basketball or football game! But don’t worry! I will always show up early the next day if necessary, to catch up on any of our customer’s work that may require my attention.

POUNDS: What’s new at Pounds?

CAROLYN: Our school division has grown by leaps and bounds since it first started. Today we have more than tripled our number of school customers and provide services to many studios across the United States. As always, we are looking to grow even more in this area. This year we have put into place new work-flows and processes to make the school experience here at Pounds more efficient, sustainable and pleasant for our customers.

POUNDS: What do you enjoy most about working with Pounds?

CAROLYN: I have always enjoyed the challenge of working at Pounds. Things are ever-changing, so there is no time to be bored. We are continuously improving and adding new processes and products to accommodate our customers’ needs. Each day is a new and different experience. There is always something to learn. If it can’t currently be done, our challenge is to figure out how it can be done and do it. We have moved many mountains over the years.

We are up to the challenge, so bring it on!

PRINT in the Name of Science

Friday, June 6th, 2014


I’m not a scientist. Not even close.

The closest I’ve come to being a scientist is creating baking soda volcanos with my children or helping them with science fair projects. Unless, of course, you count experimenting with cocktails in the kitchen as science: “Let’s see…a little of this…and a little of that…” in which case, just call me Mr. Wizard.

But I read an article recently on a Science News site about a study conducted by a Psychologist at Fairfield University. Her findings were published in a paper entitled “Point and Shoot Memories.” In a nutshell, she wanted to determine if people who took a lot of photographs had better memories, or worse. Unfortunately, it was the latter. She determined that the brain’s ability to recollect objects was increased when those objects were viewed outside of a viewfinder.

“When people rely on technology to remember for them — counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves — it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences.”

I totally get this. As any parent who has photographed a dance recital knows, you can’t enjoy it AND photograph it at the same time.

But here’s where the story gets interesting. You’ll want to really pay attention to this next part. You with me? Good.

The article goes on to quote the psychologist:

“Research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them,” she said. “In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”

WAIT, let’s read that again.

“Research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them,” she said. “In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”

You mean, it’s not enough to just to TAKE the picture? You have to actually interact with the photos? Hmmm…and how best would we do that?

Oh, I know!


I mean, why do we take pictures to begin with? To remember. A moment in time means something to us, so we whip out a camera and record it so we can remember it later. But as technology progresses, billions and billions and billions of memories are now in danger of being forgotten. It’s like when you go to the zoo and see a sign in a cage for an animal on the Endangered Species list. In our local zoo, the sign reads, “Going…going…gone.”

I wish I could put that sign on every digital file in the world.

As photographers, we are in the business of preserving memories. Even as I write this, I realize how cheesy that line sounds, but, it’s true. Our goal as portrait photographers is not to make a quick buck; it’s to give our clients value in a product they will have for a lifetime. Which is pretty cool when you really think about it.

Will a pixel last for a lifetime? I just don’t know. (I do know that I have a whole mess of cassette tapes I’ll never listen to again. And don’t even get me started on my VHS library.) I DO know, however, that when I sell my clients prints, I am providing them with a tangible piece of art that they will hand down to future generations.

So, if you want to remember a time, or a place or a person you love, there’s really only one thing to do….

PRINT what you want to preserve.

Behind the Scenes with Cliff Ranson

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Pounds is pleased to present Cliff Ranson of Ranson Photography in our Signature Portrait Series.  We think you’ll agree that Cliff’s image is a great example of portrait design.  The lighting, colors, and  textures create a moody effect that really draws us in. We love how he chose clothing that would complement the background.  If Cliff was a rock star, this photo would be great on the cover of a CD! We can see why this is one of his favorite locations for Seniors.   Read his Behind the Scenes account of this very cool image.  But first, check out Cliff’s profile to find out why he is such a supportive member of the Pounds Community.

Pounds Community Profile: Cliff Ranson of Ranson Photography

Who was your portrait taken by and why did you choose that person?
This photo was taken by Hector Guerra. He has been a close friend since about 1995, and has photographed about 300 weddings with me.

How did you decide on that location?
This is a location I use quite often with Seniors.  It is an alley in downtown McAllen.  I have always liked the contrasting black with the blue.

What is distinctive about your style of photography and what makes this your Signature Portrait?
It is a portrait that would typically result after a consultation, knowing that the clothing would fit the environment.

Did anything funny or interesting happen during this shoot?
We had to use available light because the wind was blowing about 40 mph, so my portable softbox would not stand.  We did not have any others to assist in holding it up.

How did you feel in front of the camera and did you learn anything that will help you when you are photographing other people?
I don’t generally throw myself in front of the camera, but I will regularly show my subject what I am after by demonstrating myself.

Carrell Grigsby on Building a Background Library

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Have you ever wished that you could improve the weather on the day of a portrait session?  Or, make a bleak background match the beauty of a bride?  How would you like to know the secrets to changing  the look of locations?  Pounds Community member Carrell Grigsby will reveal her techniques for turning mediocre images into masterpieces at the TPPA Kerrville Summer Seminar.  Carrell gave us a sneak preview of her topic “Build that Background Library and Make it Work” so we could share it with you.  We thank Carrell for taking the time to answer our questions and send us her images.  To attend her  presentation, register for the Kerrville Summer Seminar.

What is a “background library?”
Images that can be used to enhance a scene or print. That might be as simple as blue sky with clouds to use when you have no pretty sky on the day of a portrait  to an Italian cathedral doorway to go behind a gorgeous bride.

What are the benefits of having a background library
Time and profit.  A beautiful scene that matches what the clients wanted to see can up the ante every time with very little work after the session.

How did you build your background library?
Years ago I started keeping all the test frames I took before the clients showed up for sessions.  A process evolved whereby I found that I often went back to those images to save time when combining images for the desired combination of subjects.

What skills do you need to create a background library, and to use it during post-production?
Any good photographer can capture a beautiful or dramatic scene.  Follow up with good cataloging has to happen or the image will not be available for use.  Photoshop skills are absolutely necessary.  This program would not be useful for a film photographer.  My goal is to minimize the amount of work in Photoshop, but some skill will be required.

What kinds of images can you create with a background library?
There is no limit except the maker’s creativity and imagination.  The concept of background
enhancement  can go from making a family portrait just a little more dramatic to creating a PPA Loan Print.

How are you planning to expand and use your library in the future?
I’ve already done the “next step” by using Virtual Backgrounds, a wonderful system, and a green screen. I have had the best success with any of these by careful blending of images creating a “reality” that is believable to clients and judges.

Behind the Scenes with Kelly Moore Clark

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Meet Kelly Moore Clark.  Kelly is one of the featured photographers in our “Signature Portrait” series.  She stepped in front of the camera to have a portrait made in a location and style that she uses for her customers.  The Community team combined the image with a short profile and her comments on why she is a Pounds customer.  She also gave us a Behind the Scenes account of what happened during the shoo t.  We’d like to thank Kelly for participating in this project.  And now, we are pleased to present this unique portrayal of Pounds Community member, Kelly Moore Clark:

See Kelly’s Profile

Who was your Signature portrait taken by?
Brandi Howard.  She’s my best friend and my assistant.

How did you decide on that location ?
It’s my back yard ;)

What is distinctive about your style of photography, and what makes this your Signature Portrait?
I would say my “signature style” is daring, fearless, edgy and fun.  I like the fun colors in this photo.  We found the chair at a junk sale.  Purple is my signature color, so we couldn’ t pass it up!

Did anything funny or interesting happen during this shoot ?
My shoes were covered in red mud!

How did you feel in front of the camera, and did you learn anything that will help you when you are photographing other people ?
I’m usually pretty confidant in front of the camera, but I still have the nerves that everyone gets.  My goal is to photograph every one of my clients the way that I like to be photographed.  I work really hard to find people’s best angles, and make them look as great as they do in real life (and sometimes better!!)