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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The historic storm came in last night and we woke up to more snow continuing through tomorrow.  The good news is that we have an excellent sledding hill and we took full advantage of it on Sunday with our engaged couple Tara and Garrett.  Claudia Kuhn dropped by to shoot some stills with me and Neal captured with video.

Our engagement session began with Tara and Garrett and their new puppy Scout heading down the road to shoot some fun and romance.  Scout is only 10 pounds now but look out because he is going to be a big boy!  Snow ball fights, puppy kisses and some intimate moments.

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Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett
Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett

Then we headed back up the hill to the studio to do some sledding.  Those of you who have visited will recognize this hill!  Plenty steep to get some screams out of Tara.  Bill Bonecutter crewed on top to help with the launch and then taxied our couple back up.  Claudia and I were down below and Neal was traversing the hill.  Have to give him a cheer because the snow was pretty deep. 

Speed, spills, faces covered in snow and all around good fun.

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Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett
Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett
Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett

We weren’t done yet!  After we let Tara blow dry her hair and fix her makeup we toasted the couple with some wine by the fire in our private little pub, The Black Horse Tavern. And then the surprise came when Garrett had written a note to Tara expressing his love.  It is wonderful to see such true love and we were passing around the Kleenex.

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Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett Engagement Photos by Ashley Studios - Tara and Garrett

Stay tuned because we filmed the entire day and the trailer will be coming out soon!

Bye for now,
Janet

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Exciting news!  We were selected by WeddingWire to receive their prestigious Brides’s Choice Award.  The news release is out and you can check it out here.

Hudson Valley Wedding photographer Janet Skinner of Ashley Studios wins WeddingWire's 2011 Bride's Choice Award

Social Media Release on PR Leap

What an honor and many thanks to all of my wedding clients who submitted reviews to WeddingWire resulting in Ashley Studios being chosen.

Still snowing but looks like some sunny weather tomorrow and already have a few architectural shoots lined up.  Looks like we will also be added to the preferred list of photographers for Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate.  Looking forward to a busy season!

Bye for now,
Janet

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Woke up to another 12-14 inches of snow this morning.  The deer are eating everything and anything they can find.  I feel bad for them as this is a tough winter.  I put out some suet for the birds but they haven’t found it yet.  I am just a sucker for the animals!

We are gearing up for a full day shoot and filming this Sunday.  We are going to be doing an engagement session for Garrett and Tara and creating a new trailer for Ashley Studios Films.  Going to be great fun as they will be sledding, playing in the snow with their new puppy and then enjoying a glass of wine by the fire afterwards.  Sounds romantic, huh?  Check back in a couple of weeks to see the finished product.

Print competition is coming up next week with our association, HVPPSNY, and I am going to enter the following prints in the wedding category.  Wish me luck!

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The Feminine Mystique by Janet Skinner On the Edge of Shadow by Janet Skinner Quiet Reflection by Janet Skinner
The Feminine Mystique On the Edge of Shadow Quiet Reflection

The last judging placed this image 2nd and the Villa Borghese (where it was shot) loved it so much they are using it on their business cards and asked me for a large print to showcase in their grand room.

Proud of myself for blogging twice in a week, hope to keep it up.

Bye for now,
Janet

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A new year and another commitment to blog on a regular basis!  January has brought record snow falls for us here in the Hudson Valley and given me a chance to work on a lot of projects that I had on my to do list.

We are so excited with the addition of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II to our equipment arcensal!  What an awesome camera that we are using to shoot Wedding Video Trailers, Corporate Video Trailers and plan to do much more.  Check out our first engagement trailer!

Neal Martin is doing an amazing job as our master camera man and video editor.  We have brought on Bill Bonecutter as production guru who has a lengthy background in film including working on Disney Films.  I am doing what I do best and shooting the still photography plus a little directing which is oh so much fun.

We have been working on the website and getting a lot more involved in social marketing so now you can follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook from our homepage. 

Looking forward to this years Duchess County Weddings planned at some gorgeous settings such as:  The Links at Unionvale, The Garrison, Mohonk Mountain House, Locust Grove and The Villa Borghese.  Not to mention a couple of Garden Weddings in Millbrook NY.

So Happy New Year to all!

Bye for now,
Janet

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Monday, January 24, 2011

It's certainly been a while since my last post. We've been very busy this season with weddings, portraits and architectual shoots, so much so I haven't been able to keep up with posting here.

We hope you all come back to check out our blogs!

Bye for now,
Janet

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Settling into the fact that winter is on it's way. I don't think I am ready for the cold weather. It has been very busy the past couple of months here in the studio.

One of the hi-lites was a model shoot with Lauren. She is such a beautiful girl and we had a great day of shooting. Check out her video!

I wish you the best of luck, Lauren, in your quest. Don't forget me!!

Bye for now,
Janet

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This summer has gone by so fast. Friday I take my daughter back to college! It was a busy summer for the studio and we met so many wonderful people. Angela Macri from An Ultimate You spent the day with us shooting her models to promote her business of the wonderful art of make-up.

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My Favorite Shots - August 2009My Favorite Shots - August 2009

Great job girls! You look gorgeous!

Karen and Tim got married in an intimate but elegant wedding ceremony at The Belvedere Mansion in Staatsbury NY. It was just beautiful when Tim bent down and put a ring on Karen's daughter's finger, marrying her as well. Check out their video. You guys were awesome and such fun! Your love for each other really shows, congratulations!

And what a party for Zach's Bar Mitzvah held at The Dutchess Country Club. Jodi went the extra mile in planning this spectacular event. Way to go, Zach!

Bye for now,
Janet

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wow, it is already the end of June and I haven't posted. The spring market opened up like a bang for the studio and between shooting and editing, there just doesn't seem to have any time left.

We shot a fabulous wedding in May with Leanne and Nick. They were married in a full mass ceremony and their reception was at Benmarl Winery at Slate Hill Vineyards, which I learned is the oldest vineyard in the country! The whole day was fantastic and you can see with the video below that everyone was having a blast.

I did my first bridal show at Villa Borghese and met some great people. Their show is more intimate and allows time to speak with brides and grooms.

Ashley, my daughter, is home from college and working as an intern for a computer software company in White Plains. Still very proud of this girl.

Well, check out the video!

Good Bye for Now,
Janet

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some new and exciting things are blooming with spring. We have finally been able to replace the Pictage service (or lack thereof) with our own hosting, right from our website. It is very user friendly and the most important thing is that the studio has full control. I like that!

Some exciting weddings coming up and interesting venues. So make sure and check back to see the videos. I finally got my page on Facebook so send me a friend request.

This month's video is Kelvin and Jia. We did a portrait shoot in Poughkeepsie at a couple of locations and had a lot of laughs and great fun. Check it out!

Good Bye for Now,
Janet

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Soooo cold today. -6 when I got up this AM. But we're gearing up for our trip to Las Vegas and the WPPI conference. I'm really looking forward to it this year. I want to check out all the new album options for my clients.

I joined Facebook last month. What a kick! People are finding me that I would have never thought would be on Facebook. Of course my daughter was "mildly disturbed" (her words), but she is using it to communicate with me and loves the fact that she gets my messages instantly on her new Blackberry Storm.

Also, I am having so much fun with creating Animoto videos. These guys are off the charts smart and they are constantly adding new features. I shot a very pretty Christmas themed wedding in December. I made a video, of course, so check it out!

Good Bye for Now,
Janet

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting ready for your wedding day is an awesome undertaking. So many decisions to make and details to remember. Today I am posting my recommended top 10 things for you to prepare for your wedding pictures, especially your portraits. This list is from a photographers point of view, specifically mine, and intended to help you look your very best in your photographs. I recommend that you begin your preparation at least six months in advance.

1. If you must tan, do it sparingly and stop at least a week before your event. Tanning takes away the luster and smoothness of the skin and that shows up in the photos. Avoid bathing suit straps that create tan lines. Have your facials done a week ahead of time to allow the skin to recover from any reaction it may have.

2. Drink lots and lots of water. Not much more to say about that and you probably already know how much your skin needs it.

3. Exfoliate your skin, especially your elbows. I use a product that I love, Pure Fiji. It is a coconut sugar rub that you use in the shower and it not only exfoliates but leaves your skin nourished and soft.

4. Go to the dentist and have your teeth cleaned six months before your event. Then whiten them at home with a product that I picked up at the drug store called Luster. It is a similar technology to Zoom from the dentist at a fraction of the cost. Get the box that includes the activating whitening light as in just one hour your teeth will be at least five shades whiter. You can then purchase the rinse and gel separately and repeat the process just before your day.

5. Have your hair professional styled. Meet with your stylist ahead of time to decide what style you want and try it out. If you have long straight hair and you want curls, they may not hold throughout the day. Don't be afraid to try something different.

6. Do not apply your own make-up. Make-up artists are really good at what they do. Daytime and evening make-up should be different. The camera will remove about 50% of your make-up in the pictures so don't be afraid to let the make-up artist apply your make-up heavier than you would normally wear. Fake eyelashes make a big difference and cost a lot less than eyelash extensions. Go for it.

7. Choose a gown that flatters your figure. You may have your heart set on a strapless gown but it doesn't look good on YOU. Tell your maid-of-honor to be honest with you when you try on gowns. You will be much happier with your pictures when your gown fits properly.

8. Do a pre-shoot with your photographer. Getting to know each other will help you relax and allow your photographer to understand your best features which will make the posing easier on the day of the event. Allow enough time to shoot the portraits which means you will miss most of the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour is for your guests. You will have plenty of time to greet your guests at the reception.

9. Jewelry - real or fake? Real diamonds and pearls... why not!?! You don't have to go out and buy expensive diamonds and pearls, you can rent them from Adorn Brides at very reasonable rental prices. Not only will they look beautiful in your pictures but your guests will definitely notice and give you raves.

10. Choose a photographer that is accomplished in touch-up, airbrush, liquify and all of the Photoshop essentials that are necessary to edit photographs. Digital technology have given us the opportunity to enhance our images so make sure that the photographer you choose includes it automatically in their final proofs.

Good Bye for Now,
Janet

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Okay, this is my first entry since last summer. The months just flew by but now that it is the beginning of a New Year, I am committed to posting each month.

We had an awesome studio project on Monday, January 5th. With gowns from Mary Abdoo and You, hair styling and artistry by Jackie Coy, gorgeous make-up by Rosalie Bell, flowers by Morgan's Florist and Nursery, modeling by Ashley Friend, Avery Toland, Tory Belin and Erin Otterbein. And then of course assisting for the day, Neal Martin and Diane Toland. I have attached a video, check it out!

Good Bye for Now,
Janet

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Monday, July 21, 2008

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My favorite photos June 2008
My favorite photos June 2008
My favorite photos June 2008
My favorite photos June 2008
My favorite photos June 2008

June's wedding of the month goes to Barbara and Paul. Everyone was so much fun! Barbara was beautiful in a gown sewn with crystals and Paul was one handsome fellow. The details were flawless making it a perfect event.

You can check out the slide show in my gallery, but above are a few of my favorites.

We have a busy month in August and are excited to add a feature to our service. We will play a slide show of the ceremony pics on an 80" screen at the reception. It is going to be a surprise for our August weddings but will be a standard part of all packages.

Good Bye for Now,
Janet

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

May became one of our busiest months. With the spring real estate market we book more properties to shoot than any other month ever. One particular day we shot 5 homes in one day! It was great fun and I want to thank all the folks at Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate for keeping me busy.

I was able to sneak away to my daughter's graduation and we booked a house in Newport for the week. My husband's entire family came from Ohio and it was incredibly fun to have everyone together for the event. As soon as the bagpipes starting playing to bring the seniors in, the tears started flowing. Ashley looked beautiful and she received a special award for excellence in French.

The wedding that was the event of the month was with Joanna Shrewsbury and Ted Hasse. Joanna is a reporter for NBC 29 in Virginia and both the bride and groom were gorgeous. The poring rain began early in the day and lasted throughout. But that didn't stop us from incorporating it into fabulous images. The ceremony was at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills in Sleepy Hollow. Yes, the same Sleepy Hollow as in 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'. The window in the church were commissioned by The Rockefellers and painted by Marc Chagall. We were not able to use flash in the Chapel and required to remain in one spot but used the bag of tricks to record the event anyway. Just a few of my favorite shots.

My favorite photos May 2008 My favorite photos May 2008 My favorite photos May 2008 My favorite photos May 2008
My favorite photos May 2008 My favorite photos May 2008 My favorite photos May 2008

"The photos are stunning! I feel like I am reliving the entire day going through the slide show. It's something I would expect to see in a magazine, not my own wedding album. Thank you so much. Ted wants to buy them all and my mother can't believe how beautiful they are. I can't wait to show them off tonight. We've never had such beautiful portraits of our family. This is a treasure!"
-Joanna Shrewsbury

"I love the pictures of Jo and Ted's wedding. I think they're just fabulous and really capture the joy we all felt. You have my rave reviews for recording our event in a totally professional and unobtrusive manner and then producing absolutely stunning images of the day... I really appreciate the way you put Joanna at ease about the possibility of rain on Friday. But even more, I love the way you actually incorporated the weather into the wedding story. Thanks."
-Linda Shrewsbury

Goodbye for Now,
Janet

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Friday, May 9, 2008

My favorite photo from April 2008.April was a great month in many ways. First of all the weather was fantastic and we finally get to see some sun and color. That means a lot to us New Yorkers!

And then, we launched our first website designed for Red Schoolhouse Antiques. We shot over 400 items of inventory and spent many hours cataloging but are very pleased with the result. Don and William, our clients, were so excited and that is what it is all about. Thanks to my partner Neal for the wonderful design and dynamic programming.

We booked four weddings in April and are looking forward to some beautiful settings and locations. Ashley Studios will be featured in the Fall and Winter issue of Ines Del Mar Weddings so check it out! They will run a four page editorial the studio.

Can't forget to mention that I am so proud of my daughter Ashley. Notice that I named the studio after her. She is not only graduating this year from St George's School with honors, she has been accepted into George Washington University's School of Engineering and Applied Science! And.....with an academic scholarship!!! Wow, the proud mom I am.

Pictured is my favorite shot of the month.

Goodbye for Now,
Janet

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

After a long flight, not much sleep and too much to do we dove into our schedule at the WPPI Conference in Las Vegas. I spent the first two full days with Mike Colon and his Plus Class where he took us through his approach and techniques. At the same time Neal was soaking in the business classes. And then we hit the tables! After teaching Neal the way around a crap table it became the game of the trip. Luckily I quit while I was ahead but I can't say as much for poor Neal!

The experience in Vegas was awesome. We brought back a top ten list of what we want to incorporate into our business model. Shooting with Mike and Ray was fast paced and a whole lot of fun.

With all the excitement of Vegas, even more exciting in March was the news that my daughter Ashley was accepted to George Washington University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. And, not only was she one of only 2,250 students out of 19,000, she was given a four year scholarship! I am the proud mom!

Good Bye For Now,
Janet

Vegas

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Friday, February 29, 2008

We have had a very snowy February here in NY and I don't know about you but I am ready and anxious for Spring! I can't wait for the 1,000 bulbs of Crocus, Tulips and Snowdrops that I planted last Fall to poke through the snow and show me that some warm weather is just around the corner.

In spite of the weather, February has been a busy month. The studio has been booked solid with interviews for weddings, photographing portraits and head shots, and believe it or not shooting luxury homes coming on the market that need pictures snow and all. We are busy photographing hundreds of rare and wonderful items for Red Schoolhouse Antiques in Millbrook NY for their website that we are designing and will launch at the end of April. They have been long, on location shoots but the results are fantastic.

I attended a fantastic seminar in NYC hosted by Lexjet on print workflow and production. These people are the best and I love working with them. They really know their stuff!

Neal and I will be leaving on the 12th for Vegas and the WPPI conference. We are looking forward to it. I signed up with Mike Colon for a Plus Class and really can't wait to see his presentation.

My favorite shot for the month was from a session with Lisa. It is a challenge to portray the right emotion in a portrait of an expectant mother and I was very pleased when we did. She should be having her baby any day.

Goodbye for Now,
Janet

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's been long overdue that I sit to write my first blog. I planned to publish by the end of December and now it is the end of January! Let me tell you what kept us so busy in 2007.

The Newly Re-Designed Ashley StudiosOur major project for 2007 was a complete re-design of the studio. Wow, it took almost the whole year but I am happy to say it is complete. What a wonderful place to work and greet clients. Simple, sleek, contemporary and soooo clean! I want to thank Martin & Dad LLC, the contracting team that worked so hard and put up with my ever-changing mind. And, Richard Toland of SagePoint, Inc. for wiring the sound.

Our second major project was to re-design our website. With just a few more final touches (one of which includes this blog) we are complete and pleased with the results. The gallery pages will be updated frequently and coming soon is a video of me in the studio. Please take a look http://www.ashleystudios.com

Ashley Studios has taken on a whole new look in general. In addition to our busy photography studio, we expanded the graphic art department and are pleased to now offer web-site design. This month alone we have signed two clients and are excited about what the new year will bring.

What a fantastic year 2007 was. We had the privilege to photograph beautiful weddings, making lasting friendships with our brides and grooms. We shot children, pets, models, families and even hand-painted eggs in the studio and enjoyed the visitors who just stopped by to say hello. Our photographic projects included: luxury properties for Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate and Christie's Great Estates, lush gardens for The Silent Gardener, pet fashion for Bully Ware, intricate custom umbrellas for Phillisols by Geri, to mention a few. And, our graphic art department was busy designing brochures, ads, printing and making dozens of clients very happy! We also were honored to make the Platinum list of exclusive photographers for Grace Ormnode's Wedding Style Magazine.

I want to thank my staff of wonderful people, who I rely on to make it all work. Neal Martin, my lighting assistant who's background and degree in graphic art/website design has enabled us to take on this new department. Kristin Wolinsky and Juliann Guiffre for their hard work assisting in all aspects of shooting a wedding.

My goal will be to post monthly, so come back to see what's going on!

Goodbye for Now,
Janet

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