MEXICO May 2011. Journal


I promise to update with photos as much as possible.

Monday – MAY 16TH, 2011

**Wrapping up the loose ends today around the office.  Working on some editing, a little packing, and making sure all my paperwork is in order for the trip.

Tuesday – MAY 17TH, 2011

**Kiddos off to school at 7:30am so that I could run some errands and then do a final packing of my equipment.  Had to edit 2 more sessions this morning, get a newer camera bag (at least I told myself I needed it), and then pack my suitcase.  About a dozen phone calls and 100 e-mails later, booked 5 more sessions for when I get back.5:30pm, picked the kids up from school.  Not so liking that the Town Car will be here at 3am to lug me to the airport…. flight leaves at 6am.

Wednesday – MAY 18TH, 2011

**Yep… here he comes… 3:15am on the button… off to DIA.

**Extremely happy that my 6am flight leaves on times… I saved a bit of money by having a pit-stop in Houston…. and while I typically fly direct… having $400 more dollars in my pocket sounded better at the time.  We’ll see how that actually plays out.

**Made it through DIA security without a hitch… it’s always a happy day when you get through security without the hassle of getting “the pat down” and having to un-pack your camera equipment for them to inspect.  So far off to a good start.  In addition, my Houston to Cancun leg of the journey got bumped to 1st class… so YEAH… happy day.  A little extra space and pampering for at least part of the trip.

**Small snag (that almost gave me a heart attack), screening in Mexico… I was so happy to hit the button… GREEN… again, my thanks that I didn’t have to dump my equipment and re-pack as usual.  BUT… my travel wallet with my credit cards & money all of a sudden were missing.  So…. not so smooth… stuck in the machine – but needless to say they found it and my heart returned to my chest.  And to think… I almost just walked out of security without it.

**The men in the blue shirts and white ties are typically my friends as I mostly book with Lomas… so they carted me off to my hotel without a hitch this time around (last year… well… there were a few issues), so again… happy day.

** Checked in at the Flamingo hotel (not recommended after the fact I must say)  Service was wonderful, staff great…. food – well laking a lot.   But I the hotel was right next to the Bride & Groom’s hotel and that worked for me as I didn’t have to rent a car this time around.

** Pinya Colada down…. getting to bed as I have shoots that start at 9am tomorrow.And a free Margarita... why pass that up?

Margaritaville was calling!

Thursday – MAY 19TH, 2011

**Up and out to the beach early!  Met the Brides parents and then the Grooms parents for some portraits on the beach and in their hotel.  Then a couple hour break back to my hotel room to cool off (VERY HUMID).

**1pm met the Bride and Groom and we were wisked off by the local taxi service to Playa!

** 4pm or so… back to my hotel, dropped of my cameras in my room and then went down to eat, have a drink and then off to a 30 minute walk on the beach.  Then back to my room to charge and check everything for the wedding tomorrow.  It’s going to be beautiful!

Colors of the water are always amazing here against the white beaches

Friday – MAY 20TH, 2011

Wedding day started with some getting ready photos in the Bride’s room at 11am…  and the day played out until about 8:30pm when their hotel assisted me and a few guests off of the property as that is all we were allowed in… but we got so many great images.  Beautiful wedding, gorgeous bride and such a wonderful couple – the wedding was perfect.

Saturday – MAY 21ST, 2011

Saturday was my free day… and while I had every intention of heading either to Playa or Puerto Morales for a fun photography day.  Honestly, I really just slept in, spent a few hours on the beach and then spent some time editing and backing up images.  Have to have at least one day to relax!

Sunday – MAY 22ND, 2011

The trip home proved to be a little more challenging.  A couple of late flights, stuck for an hour and a half on an airplane on the tarmac…. and well home a few hours later than expected.  But was very happy to be home to see all my boys.


My thoughts – about my photography.

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Photographing for over two decades, my photography has been a living breathing thing that is sometimes very controlled and at times very out of control.    Sometimes my style is a mirror of how I’m feeling for the day, and at times it brings me back to my photograph with “rules.”  I know some photographers take the utmost care in planning each session perfectly; however, in my case ~ as much as I plan, it is more about what is happening and how I’m feeling at the last second that I pull the trigger.  On the other side of the coin, after so many years shooting film, I was bound by the camera and making sure everything was technically perfect and spending hours in a darkroom processing and creating unique textures – dodging and burning and left with yellow fingertips from my 20 efforts on one image to get it exactly how I wanted it.  Now… really not much has changed except the tools I’m using (computers) are probably healthier than soaking my hands in chemicals because I was too lazy to put on rubber gloves.  And… well, I get to see daylight – I would at times spend 24 hours in one run in complete darkness with my film & paper.
I think there are such a variety of ways to capture images of your children, weddings, events, and everyday moments.   The candid images are such an important part of recording details that you may have missed or just forgotten without the reference back.  Personally, I have thousands of snapshots of my children and much less professional looking images that I really should, and probably definitely less than  most people expect because I’m a professional photographer.  But, the candid moments are captured and there to look back on with my showcase pieces that you have large and hanging and walk by every day and still can’t stop looking at them.  They are the ones that you look at, take a deep breath and say “wow, my child is so amazing” and it brings an overwhelming feeling that takes you to events before during and after that image was taken.   As much as every photographer would love for me to say you should have these type of images done every year… well, I have kids and know the reality of such a production.  But if you can do every 3 years or even every 5 years – it really is an amazing experience… trying to capture that one image that you have hanging 24×30 on your wall of your child, you as a couple, or your family.
I feel very lucky that I can shoot a mixture of styles so that most of my clients are very long-term… I’ve been photographing them for so many years that I have actually went from birth to graduation  – from toddler to wedding, from high-school senior portraits to their first child.  It is truly an overwhelming experience that I get to be a part of so many families as they change and grow.  It is an honor that I don’t take lightly and that makes me smile every day.  I’m not going to lie, it is a very self gratifying job – I get invited to photograph in my clients homes where I see my images framed and showcased.  Many times my clients are so excited when I visit to show my how they have displayed their images over the years – and honestly – as proud as they are to show me, I’m humbled by that pride.  While my husband may long to have me work a Monday-Friday 9-5 job and have every weekend open for my own family… well, honestly… most of my clients are or become my extended family too.  It is a selfish and selfless job if that makes any sense at all.
So, while clients come and go – photographers come and go – I don’t fear the competition, I work very hard and I ride the breeze whenever it comes my way.  I keep my amazing clients as close I can without smothering them – and yet try not to let go.  When they drift away, I try to win their love back.  If this sounds like a relationship – that is EXACTLY what it is – I have relationships with thousands of people and that is what I love most about what I do.  If I have photographed you now, I am grateful.  If I’ve photographed you in the past, may our paths cross again.  If I have lost you, I hope that I can get you back.
All of my love to the very many people that have filled my life and made it possible to be a professional photographer for 23 years.  My never ending gratitude to you for the support you have given me as friends, and allowing me to do what I love most as my work.

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Using photography to build your child’s self-esteem.

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Many problems in our society are caused by people who lack self esteem. A poor self image can lead to insecurity,  acting out behavior, and underachievement.   People with a lowered sense of self esteem are often afraid to try new things for fear of failure.  In general –  the higher a person’s self esteem, the more successful they will be at dealing with life and achieving their dreams, and the easier it will be for them to resist negative peer pressure.

What can parents do to help their children feel important and proud? To give them the confidence they need to take on the world? Plenty! Parents have great influence on children, especially in the formative years 0-5.

We all want our children to feel good about themselves. One simple way to boost your child’s self esteem is through photography. It is such an easy way to demonstrate your love to your child(ren) and your pride in them and their accomplishments.

Using professional portraits:

Use the photography session as a topic of discussion.  Talk with your children before your session, and even on the way to the portrait session. Ask questions, and use these talks to discover things that are important to them and interest them.  What is your child good at? What does he wish he were good at? What is unique and special about him? What does she want to be when she grows up? What are their favorite colors? Who are their friends? When does he/she feel most proud of herself? What makes him/her happy?

When you know the answers to these questions, you’ll know what to include in your photographs. Maybe your toddler is great at discovering bugs, her best friend is the family dog, and she is most proud of herself when she baked a cake for mommy’.  Use these little bits of information to capture their  pride and joy as an explorer, with her favorite dog, and proud she creates something in the kitchen. Then have your child get involved in framing the the pictures or putting together an album and display them prominently. Your child will feel so important! Your 7 year old might be great at softball. Perhaps he wishes he could hold a frog , she may want to catch a butterfly, or he dreams of being a fisherman. This will guide you on what types of portraits might make your child feel happy and proud. Displaying these pictures allows your child to feel happiness and pride each time he looks at the pictures or shows them off to family and their friends.

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Then carry it out at home:

Catch your child doing something right and document it on film. Give your child a great gift by creating evidence that he/she is  capable, loved, and worthwhile. And what parent doesn’t want that? The added bonus is you will treasure the memories.

Now, a few words about technique for when you are capturing those candid moments on your own:

*Move in close.

*Shoot from your child’s level. Or shoot from below to make your child look bigger than life.

*Use natural light, when available, to avoid redeye and a flat look you sometimes get with a flash.

*Take a lot of pictures! It may take a lot of clicks to get a good one… thankfully the digital age has allowed us all to click away without buying film!

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

NEW FACES: Tonya Kelly

Morning photo shoot with Tanya Kelly, new to the modeling scene – but this beautiful face is sure to make an impact quick.   With a quick one hour session we are starting her portfolio off with some head-shots, and of course a few more because I couldn’t put my camera down when someone is this easy to photography.  I’ll be adding more here later this week – so keep your eyes peeled!


5 months: Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

I grew up with twin brothers that were 5 years younger than me, and I remember very vividly how hard it was for my mom with her hands full all the time.  I also know, we didn’t get family & children’s portraits near enough.

We are making JUNE our celebration of all of the families out there with multiples.  Here are some of the amazing deals:

$300 – On-location photo shoot, at one of our preferred locations in the Denver area.  At least 50 images on disc with rights to print.  PLUS a $50 print credit towards a professional print order.  You will also get a MP4 of all your images as a slideshow to share on any of your social media sites.

$150 – Studio portrait session.  Includes 2-8×10 Professional Print, and 2-5×7 prints.   You will also get a MP4 of all your images as a slideshow to share on any of your social media sites.

Chronicles Collection:  This is a package we normally offer for $950 and includes 3 session within a 15 month period with all images on disc and rights to print.  FOR FAMILIES WITH MULTIPLES IN JUNE 2011 ONLY… this package will be only $750($200 savings!).  Only $200 deposit to hold this collection, with the balance split into 5 monthly payments.

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

3 Months: Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

The Value of a Portrait

Fototails PhotographyWith many inexperienced amateurs purchasing digital cameras and charging less and less for a session, I want to share the true value of a portrait. As a consumer, it is important to be educated in what you are paying for and the worth of what you are getting.

Most of what we do, our clients never see and the actual session is such a small part of what is involved.

We do this every day.  Our clients may only do this once every year or even 5 years. It is important to hire a professional who will find out what you want and help you to achieve that.


  • helpful guides for clients including clothing and the displaying of prints in the home – A professional photographer does not like to leave your session to chance and will share helpful information to give you the best session possible.
  • software – It is not uncommon at all for a photographer to have over $1500 worth of software that needs to be continually upgraded, plus extras each year for giving you the most professional, and artistic images.
  • computer – The professional cameras continue to improve and constantly require updated software and computer systems. It would absolutely amaze most people to know how slow the large files can be to work with and the cost of continually upgrading.
  • camera – Most professional photographers have more than entry level digital cameras. Professional photography can be hard on a camera, especially if a photographer shoots in elements such as the beach.  This will require additional cleanings and new equipment.
  • lighting
  • props
  • reflectors
  • lenses
  • education – Education is a constant in the life of a true professional photographer.
  • insurance
  • licenses, fees
  • professional, legal forms
  • advertising
  • display samples
  • assistants

The ACTUAL time that a professional photographer puts into a session:

  • corresponding and telephone calls for forms and consulting before a session (30-60 minutes)
  • planning – a photographer will spend time planning and preparing for your session, including scouting, posing, correct equipment, etc. (60+ minutes)
  • the session (1+ hours)
  • choosing the best images, eliminating blinks, etc (1-2 hours)
  • professionally processing the images (6-8 hours)
  • ordering and packaging of prints (if ordered) (1+ hours)
  • uploading images or making CD (about 1 hour)

So, at this point, we are looking at approximately 17 actual hours that go into a session, not to mention the time that a photographer spends additionally each week just to conduct business (advertising, website maintenance, education, ordering supplies, maintaining books and records, correspondence, telephone calls, exploring new industry information, etc.). While it appears that a photographer just shows up and works for an hour or two, there is so much more to what a professional photographer does.

Add to that the actual expenses that a photographer has, most of which you may not actually see because they are behind the scenes, and you will see why you will not find a professional photographer offering their services for next to nothing. They simply cannot afford to stay in business.

So, what makes a photographer worth the money? These are your portraits.  Life is fragile and fleeting.  One day these images will hold your memories.  These images will become your memories.  Most of what we remember, was captured in a picture. It is not likely that you will find professional portraits at chain department store pricing.  A professional photographer just cannot stay in business at those prices.  And at a chain department store, you will probably not find the artistic images that you are looking for in a 15 minute session from someone making minimum wage working there for the summer or for extra money over the holidays. Sometimes, we just have to make a choice.

You get what you pay for when it comes to professional portraits. They are an investment and will be one of  the very few purchases that you will still  have in  20, 30 years, or even a lifetime.  The importance of these memories go so far beyond the paper they are printed on, or the drive they are stored on.