Thursday, September 19, 2013

30 day Plank Challenge | Ventura, California Weding & Portrait Photographer | Donya J Photography

It's time to get that body into shape!!

Why do you ask am I doing this??  I am tired of not being in good shape and being tired all of the time, especially after having 2 children within the past 3 years.

Now, I finally have enough energy to work out since I had my 2.5 year old and a 1.5 year old children.  I seemed to be tired all of the time.  

Feel free to ask me what I am doing now!! :)

Since I've been working out with a few Mommy friends of mine, I decided to challenge us to a 30 Day Plank challenge!!  We only meet up on Monday and Friday mornings to work it out!!  But here it is if any of you want to join us.

Find out more about me and my Photography here Ventura Fit Mama

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ventura Holiday Family Photographer | Ventura, California Weding & Portrait Photographer | Donya J Photography

Thursday October 3rd!

It's hard to believe we are at that time of year again, but here we are! It’s time to start thinking about your holiday photo sessions and custom holiday cards. Now I know what you’re thinking – “whoa, school is JUST starting, it’s not even fall yet!” But really, this time of year is crazy busy and there are only so many days in a week… and they are filling fast!

I'm leaning toward Arroyo Verde Park in the morning and Ventura Beach/Pier in the afternoon, with sunset photos (whoever that lucky person/baby will be)!  10:00am to 6:00pm. If you have a baby, then the park is the way to go.

The time slots are 15 minutes and if you want siblings or you in the photo you will need to book 30 minutes.   I am a shoot and share Photographer, so you will receive ALL High Resolution, edited images in a downloadable online gallery.  

$55 for 15 minutes and $85 for 30 minutes.

Please text call or text me with 2-3 desired times you want. 805-616-8136, then I will call you to discuss details and where to meet. If you could show up 5 minutes early for your session as well to assist and make the day go smoother that would be Awesome.

Please have your child dressed and bring all desired clothing changes and such. If your child doesn't walk yet please let me know.

Also, if you can't make this one, no worries, I typically do this 2-3 times a year to help out my 
Mommy friends.

If you're not familiar with my work, please feel free to check me out.  Ventura Family Photographer

Friday, August 16, 2013

How to select your wedding photographer... | Ventura, California Weding & Portrait Photographer | Donya J Photography

How to select your wedding photographer in 10 easy steps?

1.   Determine what your Budget will be. Most photographer fees, including prints, albums, etc. typically approximate about 12% of an entire wedding budget. This allows you to quickly remove candidates that you cannot afford.

2.   Decide what style of wedding photography you prefer. Are you looking for a traditional approach with mostly posed images? Or do you prefer lots of candid shots in which the subject may not even know he or she is being photographed? Do you like the glamour approach of fashion photography? Would you prefer a photographer who combines all of these styles (a contemporary, freestyle, artistic, documentary, photojournalism or eclectic wedding photographer)?  Whew who knew there were so many!!

3.   Decide what level of service you want from your wedding photographer. Do you only need photographs of your ceremony so having just 1-4 hours of photography may be enough for you? Other couples may prefer a complete package that may include a pre-wedding engagement sessions, rehearsal dinner photographs, bridal portraits and newlywed photos.

4.   Decide how many images you would like from your wedding celebration(s). Some photographers may provide you with fewer than 100 images to remember your wedding day by. Higher-end photographers often capture thousands of images (generally from 1,000 to 3,000) for you to keep forever.

5.   Figure out how much time and expertise you have to process your images yourself. Many brides who choose photographers that only give them a disc of their images (no album, prints or other items) find that they lack the time, software or knowledge to create their own albums, properly edit the photos (crop, color correct, etc.). Often, years later, these couples just have a stack of dusty, cheaply processed proof photos or photos on a disc that are not being lovingly displayed as a reminder of the wedding day.

6.   Decide how you will use your pictures. Do you plan to purchase just an album for yourself, or also canvases and pictures for your walls, prints to give to friends and family, or even put the images on stationery, invitations, calendars, mugs, T-shirts, and magnets?

7.   Determine what form of your pictures you will want from your photographer. Just purchasing the prints is sometimes economical if you do not want an album. If you expect to need a large number of prints, it may be better (and faster) to purchase the negatives from your photographer and have the copies made privately, at your leisure. If you plan to use the images in numerous creative ways, or want to post them to a website or include them in a screen saver, you will probably want to receive the digital photo files directly from your photographer via the Internet or on a CD-ROM.

8.  RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH photographers. Remember hiring a wedding photographer is one of the first things you should do, because the best professional photographers book their schedules a year in advance. If you want outstanding pictures, start searching for your photographer when you have decided on the date. A wedding photographer's peak season is Saturdays during the spring, as this is when many couples get married. If you will be celebrating an "in-season" wedding, book your photographer at least six to twelve months in advance. Word of mouth is usually the best referral; ask your friends, inquire at bridal shops, florist, baker, and wedding planners and with the management of the ceremony and reception sites you have chosen. Also browse bridal websites for information and links to photographers that work in your area. Peruse their Web sites to begin eliminating candidates from your list. Consider how well they perform in different settings/environments. For example, if you are throwing a beach wedding, it makes sense to find a photographer who is stronger in filming outdoors.  Think about the tone that you want your photos to express.

9.   Interview each remaining candidate on your list by phone.  Make sure to ask if they are available on your chosen date, how much experience they have, whether they specialize in weddings, how soon after the wedding you can expect your prints or disk, and how long they keep the negatives. 

10.               Make appointments and meet with each finalist face to face. After narrowing your selection of wedding photographers down to about three, make appointments to interview the candidates.  Go to these meetings with your spouse-to-be if possible. Ask for a copy of their standard shot list (if they use a shot list which most experienced wedding photographers do not as they have well-memorized all the shots they need to get), and ask questions. Likely, the photographer will have two or three wedding albums available for show. Make sure you see at least one album of an entire wedding, from start to finish. After examining all of the photographer's work closely, request to see another set of photographs from a recent wedding. This will enable you to see both his best work-from the pre-selected albums-and her average daily work.  First, examine the basics of the pictures-such as color, clarity, exposure, graininess and composition. Then determine the photographer's style; does she shoot photos that are adventurous and unique or are they standard and ordinary? This will also help you decide which style you prefer.  Really pay attention to the photographer's ability to capture the emotion of the day. Does it appear that he/she has the personality to make his subjects comfortable and happy? Or is he/she the type of photographer that seemingly takes pictures without much passion.  Come away from the interview knowing the quality of the photographer, his overall style, and if she will adjust her style to your individual taste. Lastly notice how polite they are. Ask yourself, “Is this someone I will want to be around when I am stressed, exhausted, dehydrated, overheated, and ready to faint in those uncomfortable shoes?”

11.               Determine Costs and Sign the Contract
Be sure to book your photographer for the date of your wedding immediately, make sure you read over the legal details of exactly what you will get before signing the contract. This ensures that you know exactly what type of service and what package of photographs you will be getting.  Then make sure that the photographer you want is the photographer you will get at your wedding. Some larger companies may do a bait and switch. This means communicating with the photographer about the details of the event, when and where the ceremony will be held as well as the reception and what types of photographs you want.  In all, the contract is in place to remind both you and the photographer of the services you agreed upon.

In following these simple steps you are certainly on your way to hiring a photographer who meets your needs and to receive a wedding album to treasure for years to come.

To see more visit Ventura Wedding Photographer 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Questions to ask a potential wedding photographer Ventura, California Weding & Portrait Photographer | Donya J Photography

Questions to ask a potential photographer:

1.   How many weddings have you shot? How long have you been in business? 

Find out how many weddings the photographer has shot. He/she may have been a professional photographer for 15 years, but only doing weddings for the past year. Remember, wedding photography is much different than any other type of photography.  With such experience comes not only the knowledge of how to photograph a wedding, but also how to act during the ceremony and reception. For example, how will he dress and how will he act to your wedding party and guests?  Finally, find out if the photographer has shot at your wedding venue before. If he has, he may know of places to get good shots or ways to capture moments the best.

2. What type of equipment do you use? Do you have back-up equipment?

Although you may not be a professional photographer yourself, you should know what type of camera and equipment your photographer will be using during your event. You may find that you are more particular about it than you think.  For example, there are advantages to both digital and film that you may want to consider. Both produce high quality images, but some say film produces better pictures when enlarged. Others contend that digital pictures are easier to manipulate and produce.  In the end, if the photographer uses a digital camera, make sure it takes images of at least 8 mega pixels or larger. If film is the photographer's preference, make sure they use professional grade film instead of consumer quality film.  Just like every photographer should bring along an assistant to help him during your wedding, every photographer needs backup equipment in case his original equipment fails. Flashes, lenses and cameras should all come in multiples. Extra batteries, film and memory cards are also a must.

3. Can I see your portfolio?

Would you hire a baker without trying a sample (or 12) of their cakes? This might seem obvious, but many brides take it for granted that a photographer with an established business must ooze talent. Sometimes, that's not the case.  Most upstanding photographers publish digital portfolios online, which will help you weed out the less-than-stellar candidates. Be sure to take into consideration the diversity of their shots, their use of lighting and how comfortable the photos' subjects appear. A truly talented photographer can get even the stiffest brides to loosen up for the camera.

4. When will I see the photos or proofs?  

The Digital Age has made us into very impatient people. Factor in a bride who wants her photos yesterday, and you've got the potential for a major post-wedding meltdown.  While you're interviewing photographers, find out when you can expect to see your proofs. Most pros will post them on a password-protected Web site within a month or so of the wedding. If a quick turnaround is very important to you, get the photographer's commitment in writing, and remind him of your agreed time frame immediately following the wedding.

5. What Products Do You Offer?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you're not interested in purchasing a set of 20 coffee mugs emblazoned with your bridal portrait. Still, it's vital to examine your personal photography needs compared with your vendor's capabilities. For example, don't select someone who can't produce photographer thank-you cards, if that personal touch is something you have your heart set on. Most photographers are happy to work with your individual requests, ranging from mounted portraits to traditional albums, but it never hurts to see their product list and pricing ahead of time in case you want to buy something not included in your wedding package.

6. How Do You Strive to Provide Excellent Customer Service?

OK, so this question isn't specific to photographer. In fact, it can be applied to pretty much any business-related situation throughout your life. Anyone who hems and haws about giving out her cell phone number or e-mail address, or who makes light of other clients' "silly emergencies" might not take your concerns seriously, either.  Ask your photographer candidate how long you can expect to wait for a reply to your questions. If you're a typical bride, anything longer than one business day just isn't going to appeal to your organizational sensibilities. Whatever you do, honor your instincts and run for the hills if she strikes you the wrong way at your initial meeting. First impressions tend to be pretty accurate, so if you find her to be annoying, elusive or noncommittal, chances are good that the same qualities will trouble you throughout your working relationship.

7. Can I Check Your References?

Run, don't walk, if a photographer declines to provide you with references. If she does give you a list of names and numbers, do your due diligence and talk to these former clients before signing on the dotted line. Previous brides can dish on the things they loved, hated or felt ambivalent about in regard to their vendor.  Since most of the contacts she provides you with will be satisfied customers, make an effort to ask around among your friends and family, and check to see if anyone has reviewed her services online. Good news travels fast, but bad news is even speedier, so anyone with a tale of woe and disappointment is usually going to be willing to dish details.

8. Why Are You a Photographer?

Hint: If his response is "The pay is good, and the brides are smokin' hot," he might be lacking the passion for his craft that you certainly want reflected in your wedding photographs. Otherwise, the answer doesn't really matter, as long as you get the succinct impression that he enjoys his work, particularly interacting with other people and providing a top-quality finished product.
These questions might seem over-the-top to some brides, but when you're 90 years old and looking back on your wedding album with tears of joy in your eyes, you'll be thankful that you made the extra effort to hire just the right professional for the job.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

1.  Do I feel a connection with this photographer as well as his/her photos?
2.  Are our personalities a good match?
3.  Am I comfortable with this person’s work and communication style?
4.  Has this photographer listened well and addressed all my concerns?

To see more visit Ventura Wedding Photographer 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Adam & Kristie | Ventura, California Weding & Portrait Photographer | Donya J Photography

I am so blessed to have shot this wonderful couple's wedding!  It was located at Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church in Ventura. 

Both Adam and Kristie wrote Testimonials for me!  

Donya J did a stand up job shooting our wedding, I could not have pictured a better photographer.  If she was not taking photos, I would have wanted her there as a guest.  I kept saying, come over have a drink and dance.  She was so fun to work with, made me feel like a celebrity.  When we got the photos back, WOW.  I have never looked so good.  Someone give her a medal.  Her photos gave me the excuse to say, now I AM just here for my looks.

“Mahatma Gandhi said, “I believe in equality for everyone.”  Donya J. is far from equal, she is exceptional.  Donya did not just take photos of our wedding; Donya created memories.  Donya released the shutter, just as God was ready, for her to take our photos.  I recommend Donya without reservation for any picture perfect occasion."
~ Adam 

Now just sit back an enjoy the photo show of the Maingot's!


To see more visit Ventura Wedding Photographer

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why are Photographers so expensive? | Ventura, California Weding & Portrait Photographer | Donya J Photography

So why are professional photographers so expensive? 

You’re not just paying for the actual photograph, you’re paying for time and expertise in creating the image itself. First, let’s look at the actual time involved If you don’t read this entire page, at least read this first part.

For a two hour portrait session:

  • about one hour of travel to and from the session

  • two hours of shooting

  • 30 minutes of setup, preparation, talking to the client etc.

  • 30 minutes to load the photos onto a computer (2 – 4 Gb of data)

  • 30 minutes to back up the files on multiple external drives plus DVD’s

  • 3 – 4+ hours of Photoshop time including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, saving a copy for print and a copy for the internet and backing up the edited photographs

  • 2 – 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive their order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment

  • and mailing the package to you.
Now can see how one two hour session easily turns into more than eleven hours of work from start to finish. So when you see a Photographer charging a $200 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour.  And if you look at it this way, I basically make $18 an hour which is not too bad.  But unfortunately new business's like me are not shooting everyday, nor can we when we don't have more people other than us working for us.

Now for the expertise.

Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though our camera bodys average $4,000-$5,000 for just the body, and most of our lens are in the $2,000 category, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.  Most Professional Photographers take years to go from buying their first decent camera to making money with their photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc.
And let’s not forget that you actually have to have people skills, be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera – and posing people to make them look their best, yet completely natural in a photograph is a skill all by itself.

Think of it this way – the next time you pay $100 to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional to actually do the job.

What about the cheap studios at the mall?
Please don’t compare us to the chain store studios. Apples & Oranges!!! But if you must, consider all of the time and work that we put into our photographs, compared to what they do. Good luck getting a two hour photo shoot at a chain store. Not to mention they won’t come to the beach! And of course, look at our work compared to theirs.

You get what you pay for.

The truth is, most of the mall and chain store studios lose money. In fact, in 2007 Wal-Mart closed 500 of their portrait studios because of the financial drain they were putting on the company. What the chain stores bet on is that you’ll come in for some quick and cheap photos, and while you’re there, you’ll also spend $200 on other things. They don’t have to make money, they are just there to get you in the door.

In Conclusion

Thank you to those who have taken the time to read this, now you will have a better understanding of why professional photographs cost so much more than the ones that you get from your local drug store.

To see more visit Ventura Wedding Photographer 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

PASS | A Simple Way to View & Share Your Images! | Ventura, California Weding & Portrait Photographer | Donya J Photography

I am so very excited and thrilled that Donya J Photography now offers all of it's client's, PASS. 
A simple, easy way to share, download and save, and view your images! PASS is a secure online gallery that will be included in any session package. No more CDs, no more discs, and the best part... no more waiting!! As soon as I'm done editing your images from your session, I will upload them to the online gallery which will be made available to you. The online gallery will secure and save all of your images for 30 days!! Wow!!
Here's what an online gallery will look like...
You'll be able to click on each image to view it as a larger size. On the right hand side of your screen, you'll be able to share a particular image via social media, e-mail it, mark it as a favorite, or download that image to your computer!

Then, over on the left hand side of your screen, you'll have the option to download the entire gallery straight to your computer! No more waiting to receive a disc from me! Yay! You'll be able to save all of your images neatly in a folder on your desktop. It will then be up to you to save them to an external drive (CD, memory card, jump drive, etc) OR you can just send the images straight to Shutterfly or to have them printed! (or any other printing service you chose) You can then upload all of your images to your Facebook page or share them via other social media as you please!

And now, the BEST part! You ready for it?! All of you iPhone users are so stinkin' lucky! PASS - there's an app for that! YUP! You can even download the PASS app to your phone to have all of your images with you on the go for easy sharing!! You'll be able to download them to your phone to use as wallpaper, send in a text, or simply to just show off your beautiful family! 

I am so happy to be able to offer this to all of my clients! I know a few fellow Photographer's who also use PASS for all of their clients and absolutely LOVE it! It's so simple and easy! Even if you have multiple sessions done, you'll be able to access ALL of your sessions through your PASS account!  You can't ask for anything better than that!! I hope all of you are as excited about this as I am! :) 

To see more visit Ventura Wedding Photographer 

Monday, March 11, 2013


It's March 11th!

Today's shoot is:
"Fields of Gold"

Not sure if this really qualifies....I saw a beautiful yellow field and wanted to capture it.  I'm going to say this is close enough...or maybe tonight I can get a good sunset photo with the kiddo's!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

So Funny

It's March 10th!

Today's shoot is:
So Funny
I had a very willing model to help me today.  

Maya kept bending over and looking through her legs at me, she developed this little plumber's crack, and it made me bust up laughing.  She thought she was so very funny and so did I.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


It's March 9th!

Today's shoot is:

So today I was out with the kids and I was looking for an interesting vehicle to shoot, I wasn't having any luck. But, low and behold, driving home on the 101 Freeway I saw this old firetruck advertising getting dents/dings out.  I HAD TO turn exit and turn around and go back and shoot it!!  The key was to NOT get any cars driving behind it on the freeway, or it would have taken away the idea of a lone old firetruck in the middle of nowhere.  Maya thought I was crazy taking pictures of the "Firetruck".

Friday, March 8, 2013


It's March 7th! 

Todays shoot is:

It had been raining all night so when the sun came up this morning, I knew I had to capture the raindrops in the sunshine and where better to find some water than on a car windshield!  I am mesmorized by this photo for some reason, I think it's the combination of the water the angle and the blue in the background.


It's March 7th! 

Todays shoot is:

Just look at that stance of Maya's!  LOL....oh and Wyatt's on my back!

I have to admit....I was SO rushed to get this one done and I am not happy with the final results! 
It's a bit blurry, I was falling down.  
The light was SO sharp in the morning, and nothing was capturing my eye that I had to create my own shadow.


It's March 6th! 

Todays shoot is:


Sara Smile
Come Clean

I had a difficult time finding something that I wanted to take a picture off.  But when I found this old gnarly tree, I had to capture it!  Then I had fun playing with a couple different Actions that I have in my editing software. 

Which one do you like best?