Category: Get Inspired

Marah from the Lifetime Network's Kim of Queens!

· March 13, 2014 · 1:28 am · Get Inspired, Just Because

     Dee Dee and I recently had the pleasure of working with this fabulous young lady!  We created several amazing looks for Marah and her mom Angie helped us to come up with so many fun ideas throughout the day.  We are creating her new set of autograph cards and can hardly wait to get them back from the printer!  You can also expect Marah to compete in the most photogenic category using images created right here at Studio EnVogue.  We are one blessed photography studio!

Join us on twitter @StudioEnVogue for updates and
more sneak peeks from Marah’s shoot!

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Will your images stand the test of time?

· March 8, 2012 · 12:36 am · Get Inspired, Uncategorized

Ok, we’ve all done it. We’ve all fallen into the TRENDY trap. I know I sure have more than a few times. But, is it really the smart thing to do? These are the questions that I have found myself asking lately and more often than not I find myself rethinking more than a few things. I mean, is being trendy and following the latest fads going to build a business that will stand the test of time or is it wiser to create images with timeless qualities that can be appreciated from generation to generation?  Also, does one have to give up the WOW FACTOR in order to create truly timeless images?

I’ve been in this business long enough to have seen more than a few fads come and go. If you’re anywhere near my age I’m sure you remember the double exposures that were so popular in the 1980s and for goodness sake let’s not even talk about the romantic brandy glass with a rose version that ran rampant back then! Fads have always been and will always be a part of the photography business, but is it prudent to build a business with doing little or nothing more than following the trends of the day? Let’s see, right now the soon be cliché’ images include the fake sun flare, balloons in the field, railroad tracks, HDR everything, glassy eyed children and of course the unnaturally (sometimes even dangerously) posed newborns. Believe it or not, there was actually a time when moms brought their newborns in and DEMANDED that they be photographed with their eyes opened while fully dressed!

Do I think all fads should be avoided;  absolutely not. Some of them actually speak very loudly to my personal sense of style while others make me want to run for the hills. So, how do I know where to draw the line? Quite honestly, it’s not always easy to slow down long enough to truly reflect on every decision I make. But, it is becoming something that I find myself doing more and more of these days. I have found that forcing myself into a corner and demanding a few answers about my own actions is not only refreshing but extremely revealing. You see, that’s what an artist is suppose to do. We have to check ourselves every now and then to stay true to our individual sense of style. We simply can’t remain true to ourselves as artists if we spend all of our time following the current trends (aka: FADS) of this industry.

So with this self reflection comes some much needed personal reality checks. With it also comes some need for a bit of change which I hear can be a very good thing in this business! I’ve decided to recommit to staying true to myself as an artist and in doing so I feel driven to create more images that will stand the test of time. One thing I have discovered about myself and my work in recent years is that creating timeless work does NOT mean one has to create boring work. What this does mean is that I will work harder to create an impressive image based on merits that have little or nothing to do with current fads. That means I’ll be concentrating more than ever before on the truly important things like facial expressions instead of leaning on trendy techniques or posing to get that wow factor! How big of a change will this be in the immediate future? Well thankfully there are only a handful of trends that truly bother me or hinder my ability to stay true to my personal style and in recent months I have been avoiding those fads as much as possible. Do I still sometimes pose babies unnaturally? Not nearly as much as I did this time last year and I have even managed to whittle the frog babies and dangling babies down to what is quickly becoming a rare client request. I honestly think that more and more of those modern minded moms are growing tired of some of the weird things being done with newborns. There are only a few changes that I’ve made in my efforts to create more timeless images and I think my clients really enjoy the fact that they have hired a true artist. I mean anyone can hire a very good photographer who simply follows the latest trends, but it takes a little something more to create images that actually say something about the individual artist. So if you’re playing that age old game of follow the leader then perhaps it’s time for you also to start asking yourself a few questions, making a few changes and get to know that inner artist that drove you to start a photography business.  I for one don’t want my current work to end up in the bottom drawer right next to grandma’s double exposures, especially if she’s in the brandy glass!

~Cindi Kay McDaniel, Cr. Photog., CPP


Digital Makeup

· December 22, 2011 · 2:35 am · Education, Get Inspired, Photoshop

I’ve been ‘photoshopping’ since the mid 1990′s which will put me right at 17 years into this program come 2012 which just happens to be arriving in just a few days.  There is quite literally nothing you can’t do with this program!  Here’s a quick example of some DIGITAL MAKEUP that I’ve come to enjoy over the years.  Did you know you can add mascara, eye liner, eye shadow, blush, lipstick or even lipgloss?  I chose a nice shiny lipgloss for this example…  If you’re interested in learning some advanced retouching techniques please feel free to email me at and hopefully we can put together a class real soon!  ~Cindi Kay McDaniel, Cr. Photog., CPP


just a little BLING – award winning photographer Dothan Alabama

· December 21, 2011 · 12:35 am · Awards, Get Inspired, , ,

What’s a little friendly competition right?  Well, it’s everything to me…  I am asked quite often ‘WHY’ do I do it?  Am I being overly competitive or do I really think my work is better than everyone elses?  Quite the contrary on both counts!  The only reason I tried print competition was because of the encouragement and support of fellow photographers who had taken this journey before me.  They pushed and pushed and then a couple of them pushed a little more until I had no choice other than give it a try!  I honestly didn’t believe that I would earn a single merit and let me tell you the first time I put myself out there it was BRUTAL.  Everything I thought I knew about photography was quite literally turned upside down within just a few hours of hearing those judges rip the work I thought was good into tiny little scrap pieces of what had once been my overblown ego LOL…  But, that day not only changed the way I thought about my work, but it empowered me to learn as much as I could and to become the very best I could possibly be.  You see, I didn’t do it to COMPETE against anyone else; I did it to compete against MYSELF!  I have earned quite a number of awards over the years through pushing myself harder and harder and I wouldn’t change a thing.  I wouldn’t take any of those gut wrenching critiques for anything in the world because they helped me to become the artist I am today.  So WHY am I so proud of those shiny pieces of glass and all those plaques hanging on my wall?  Because each and every one of them means that a fellow photographer (a master at that) thought my work was not only GOOD but that it was DAMN GOOD!  WHY do I brag about them?  That would be because I know better than anyone the long difficult journey it was to earn each and every one of them.  WHY do I post them here?  I do it in hopes that they will inspire other photographic artists to continue to challenge themselves, to learn as much as they can and to be able to stand before their peers with pride and joy for their own accomplishments.  To me, these awards DO NOT represent a competition with my fellow photographers at all, they represent my personal journey in striving for photographic excellence.  They make me proud to be in a profession that encourages us to never stop growing, to be our very best and to celebrate each achievement along the way.  ~Cindi Kay McDaniel, Cr. Photog., CPP

Finding Inspiration

· December 11, 2011 · 4:55 pm · Get Inspired

Inspiration is everywhere.  It can be found in the everyday things that surround us.  It can also be found in the beautiful things that we are unable to absorb every day.  It’s in the things we read, touch, smell and even in the things that others tell us about.  So why is it so hard to grab hold of and take ownership of?  Have you ever heard the praise “stop and smell the roses”?  Well, there you go.  You simply have to slow down long enough to experience it and to decide which items in our lives inspire us the most.

I sometimes think I am lucky to have been born and raised in a generation that has allowed me to experience both what I call ‘manual life’ as well as the ‘digital life’.  One thing is for sure and that’s we are bombarded with more inspiration today than could have possibly been imagined just one generation back.  My grandparents gathered their food from the land, while my generation downsized to a small garden in the backyard!  Today’s young adults have most likely never gone pea pickin’…  The digital age has brought us the ability to have more information and inspiration thrown at us at one time than ever before in history.  What this age didn’t bring was the conscious ability to SLOW DOWN long enough to be able to sort through it and to smack us in the face with the obvious tactile experiences that we really need in order to draw conclusions about what truly knocks our socks off.  I not only remember going pea pickin’, but I remember the smells, the bright sunshine on my face and the snapping sound that the pods made when they were pulled on.  I guess you could say that I have an entirely differently perspective of an actual pea pod than those who have only seen pictures of them on the web.

What I’m trying to say is that true inspiration can be anything from a color, texture, a feeling or an actual moment in time.  But, one thing is for sure is that the things that truly inspire us have actually impacted us in some way.  Are those pea pods the reason green has become my favorite color?  Who knows?  But, one thing is for sure and that’s the impact of picking those peas has stuck with me my entire life.  They gave me a special appreciation for the weather worn hands of my grandmother as she showed me how to reach under the plant and grab hold of the prize that would end up in the well used basket we placed them in.  So when I think about the things that truly inspire me, what I don’t do is expect it to come from anyplace other than my own life.

Take another quick look at the header of this blog.  There is MUCH inspiration there.  I have always found inspiration in old cameras.  I own a collection of them and each and every one of the cameras you see here are in that collection.  Also, the background that encases the old cameras here came from the cover of a little book that I use to write ideas in.  Inside that book is a treasure trove of ideas from simple things that came to me in the middle of the night to some great advice given to me from other photographers.  That book is one of my most valued possessions and it is only half full of ideas.  I’m excited about what the future holds for that little book.  The inspiration for my personal blog wasn’t difficult at all for me to find because it was right here in my studio.

So I will end this with a challenge…  I love a challenge and love to give them out like candy so here is yours!  Find six things that inspire you in the room you are in while reading this.  I don’t mean things that you simply like, I mean things that you can relate to, things that truly make your heart sing, things that you could connect with and create with.  If you can do that, then you might just be an artist.  ~Cindi Kay

Welcome to my ALL NEW Photographer's Blog

· December 10, 2011 · 7:32 pm · Get Inspired

WELCOME to my world!

Come along with me as I share my personal stories, toss out a few ideas and give my opinions on more than a few issues pertaining to the wonderful world of photography.  Whether you’re a curious client, an up & coming photographer or a professional artist, I hope to have a little something for everyone.

I also plan to share some design ideas, lighting and posing tips and so much more.  No matter what brought you here, I’m so happy you found my blog!  Let’s get this party started!

Cindi Kay McDaniel, Cr. Photog., CPP

a Photographer's Blog

Sometimes a girl’s gotta say what a girl’s gotta say and so I’ve created an entirely new place for me to do just that. I have been a photographer for over 25 years so I like to think I have much to share about the business of photography. I have learned many difficult lessons over the years while building my business and I now find myself on a mission to help others by teaching them how to avoid the pitfalls of this business. I’ve decided to share as much as I possibly can about my experiences in the world of photography including the good, the bad and the really ugly stupid. I’ve also decided to share some tips and tricks on how to DO IT RIGHT and that includes sharing how I learned from my mistakes and found myself as an artist. It hasn’t been an easy road, but it certainly has NEVER once been a boring journey. I hope you’ll join me here on my new blog as I take you down memory lane, teach you a few new tricks and even offer some heartfelt advice to those who have chosen professional photography as their career path. Over the years, I have helped many up & coming photographers to develop their skills and I have enjoyed each and every moment of it. I have accomplished a great deal more than I ever dreamed I would behind the camera including winning the coveted FujiFilm Masterpiece Award, the Kodak Gallery Award as well as having the honor of being awarded the Photographic Craftsman's Degree from Professional Photographer's of America. Mix that in with a few 1st Place print competition awards a "Best of Show" and "Photographer of the Year" and hopefully you have the makings of a few good stories.

Cindi Kay McDaniel, Cr. Photog., CPP