Sunday, August 31, 2008


Do you hate your mailbox? I know, I do. The relationship has been going down hill for several years now. I blame it on email, myspace and the digital world! No one sends cards anymore and I miss that! It is for this reason that I created my card shop! I now offer Hallmark quality cards that you can mail to friends and family using your very own pictures! I also offer gag cards that I create for you in photoshop. Let's say you really don't like the guy your daughter is dating. Well, get a full face shot of the guy and also one of your daughter and I will create the " if they mated" card to show your daughter a very scary offspring! I also have card clubs for people who never want to have to send a belated card again! Business plans are also available for better client relationships!

To find out all about it, please visit my website at: and click on custom cards.

To kick off this new card business and blog I am going to give away a card club membership! This entitles the winner to send 12 cards throughout the year! You can select a card from the card shop or you can send me your own pictures and I will create a card with them! You can also request a certain photo and I will do my best to create it for you. I am doing this because I am still building the card shop. I know you will love this service and your friends ,family and mailbox will too!

To enter check out the details under Custom Cards on my website: and come back and post a comment with your favorite quote, joke or greeting card verse. Don't forget to include your name and email address. Giveaway ends on September 25th at 10pm central time. Winner will be notified via email. You may enter daily, but must leave a new quote, joke or greeting card verse each time. Winner will be selected randomly from all qualified entries received.

Thanks to everyone who enters and visits my brand new blog! I appreciate each and every one of you! If you know anyone who loves photography, send them to my blog. I will be posting tips and techniques that anyone with a camera can benefit from!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Negatives vs. Compact Flash cards: What are we forgetting? Think back to a time when cameras used film. It seems like a long time ago right? Actually, most people were not on the digital bandwagon fully until recently. Unbelievably, I still observed customers turning in their yellow film canisters at photo labs pretty regularly until about a year or two ago. Now I watch in amazement as people line up with digital camera in hand, pop out the compact flash card and insert it into a machine to order prints. Kiosks equipped with compact flash card readers have made it very easy for the average consumer to crop, brighten, darken or even color correct their digital images prior to printing. An hour later out pop 4x6 prints of precious moments frozen in time. The consumer then formats the compact flash card and starts snapping away, capturing hundreds of new pixilated memories.
O.k. , let’s get back to film for a moment. Remember when you picked up your pictures a whole week after you dropped off the roll of film to be processed? Not only did you have fabulous prints of your vacation to Yellowstone, you had a back up of all those memories in the form of negatives! What happened to the back up? Most people don’t back up their compact flash cards on their computers, much less on a CD! Even when the photo lab offers to include a CD with the picture order, most consumers turn it down to save a buck. What happens when your prints get ruined? Even worse, what happens when you keep months or years of pictures on a compact flash card and it corrupts? Most consumers do not realize that compact flash cards and memory sticks can fail. They can and they do. Trust me. I once saw a grown man cry after losing ALL of his honeymoon pictures. Was he crying because the pictures were lost or because his brand new wife was going to kill him? Who knows? All I do know is the whole mess could have been avoided if he would have backed up his pictures! Invest in a card reader, put the images on your hard drive and then burn a CD or DVD for archival storage. Never keep months and years of pictures on the compact flash card sitting in your camera. Take a few minutes to back up your images regularly. You can still keep the images on your compact flash card until you want to print them, but now have the security of knowing you have a back up and your memories are safe.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Finally captured the osprey!

Patience, and lots of it! That is what you need to photograph animals in the wild. This osprey visits my pond at least twice a day.
She is an awesome sight to watch as she circles the pond and then dives in after her meal. She is extremely accurate and usually comes up with a large fish in her talons. As I sit and edit digital images on my computer, I keep an eye out for her. Once I see her through my picture window, I grab my camera and run out the door. This has become a twice daily ritual for me. This gorgeous bird soars in the sky...mocking me! She sees me coming and most of the time she circles the pond staring down at me with her black eyes before she takes off to hunt someplace more private. Other times, she takes a dive before I can get the camera in focus. I try not to get frustrated because I know to really do it right, I would need to literally camp out by the pond in a blind. Unfortunately, I have to work for a living so I am unable to camp out for days on end waiting for the perfect shot. After I retire, you can bet I will be out someplace in the woods getting all the amazing photos I missed in my youth! The shot above was nothing but pure luck. Once I spied her, I made it to the pond so fast that I could have qualified for the olympics! She was taking a dive right when I got there so I simply dove to my knees, focused on the splash and shot. I had no time to even compose the shot, although happy to finally get something, yet it is still not the shot I have in my mind. The osprey was not happy with this shot either because she came up from the dive empty "taloned". I guess I kept her from catching her dinner. Hopefully one day she will trust me enough to hunt oblivious to my presence.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


My name is Paula Petsel. I have been a professional photographer for 22 years now. I have a hard time telling people how long I have been capturing people's memories on film and now with pixels because I can't believe I am that old! I have a beautiful studio in Pensacola, Florida and a fantastic famliy that I love very much. For years now, clients have been asking me to teach a photography class. I finally decided it would be easier for people to log onto a blog and learn at times that would work with their individual schedules than to try and teach at a specific time. I will try to pick fun subjects with easy to understand examples. I will also use this blog as a place to share some great pictures of some of my fantastic clients and their pets. The portrait above is a portrait of my beloved pets. This was no easy task. The turkey nearly destroyed the studio! I am still finding turkey feathers! Pet photography is one of my specialties. I have always been an animal lover and was convinced, as a teenager, that I would one day work for National Geographic! I was very shy back then and just could not see myself working with people. Today, I still love animal photography , but also enjoy making people look their best. I can't tell you what a great feeling it is to have a client call or email to tell me how much love their portriats. Teens are probably my favorite subject to photograph. I enjoy taking a high school senior who might have all those normal insecurities that adolecence brings and make them feel like a top model by the end of the shoot. I love to help my clients discover how truly beautiful they are!

My studio is called Paula's Picture Perfect
Currently, I shoot a lot of actor's headshots, high school seniors and families at the beach.
Check out my site if you have time and make sure you visit the portrait galleries.
That's about it for now. I will work on my first lesson and post it when I can.