Our Cover Baby is Growing Up!

Remember this little angel face???  Frameable Faces Photography Brochure 2011

Well, she’s back from gracing our brochures and is now a big girl!!!  She just turned two and was STILL such a blast to work with!
Family Portrait, Photography, Frameable Faces, Allyson Cohen, West Bloomfield Photographer
Since little Miss H was born, she’s been a fun one to photograph.  This time, she was all on her own schedule.  She was absolutely adorable and kept Ally moving (because Ally LOVES H, she totally didn’t mind chasing after her!).  We were able to get a bunch of really great images from the session…It’s always so much fun to watch our past “baby planners” grow up into little people.  It’s such a blessing to have amazing clients like L and M that trust you to capture their sweet little ones.  Yet another reason we love our job…We meet the most amazing people, get to hang out and have fun talking with them, and photograph some awesome kiddos.  Personality and all…H is one of our favorite Frameables!!!

Little Miss HDaddy's Little GirlThe Happy Family

Human Stories, Life Preservers, and Doug’s Journey

Blog posts are supposed to be short and sweet but I have a bunch of thoughts and this one will be a little longer…

Last week I had the experience of interviewing an elderly lady for her nieces who wanted to preserve her life story for future generations.  What an incredible experience that was.  It was incredible for me for many reasons.  For starters I felt what I was doing was really important and humbling.  This lady no longer has all her faculties completely intact, so while this was a case where I’m not sure she assigned a lot of weight to the idea of telling her story, she still enjoyed herself and I felt she rose to the occasion.  I was very patient with her – I knew that the camera and the lighting and all the equipment may have made her nervous and I wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.  She talked about living on a farm in Ohio during the time of the Great Depression.  She talked about her parents and her siblings who are all gone now, travel by horse and carriage, and her dad being a veterinarian and treating mostly horses.  When I left I felt really thankful.  This has finally been a dream fulfilled for me that started about 14 years ago…


I’m a pretty passionate and yes, emotional guy and I feel the full experience of life.  I spend more time upset then I should and I know that.  I have plenty of highs and lows.  The weird thing for me though is that even though I get mad at the world and the people who inhabit it frequently, I am still fascinated by people just the same.  You might say I have a complicated relationship with the human race.  I’ve always been a student of people in many ways.


I became fascinated with history in high school and I credit that to Jerry Maxwell – he was my history teacher at North Farmington High School and the best teacher I had at any level.  He inspired me to seek out knowledge about events that have unfolded throughout history and the players involved.  He didn’t just teach dates and facts, he taught about people – what made them tick, their idiosyncrasies, their life stories.  He made the people come to life and I was always impressed by the narrative of the lives of people who changed the course of history.  It is that human experience that makes history come alive.


When I moved on to college I was unsure of what I wanted to major in until I took a course in Psychology.  It was right up my alley – getting into the human psyche and understanding how the mind works, what drives people.  I didn’t pursue a career in Psychology, but I’ve always been in the people business even when I was living a miserable existence in corporate America.  Being in sales is being in the study of people more than anything.  Yes you have to know your products, the competition, the market conditions etc. but most importantly you have to understand and relate to people.

Corporate America – A Low.

The dark side of working in corporate sales put me in a position where I had to use my people skills to detect and survive a lot of hidden agendas.  Politics.  Incompetence.  Insecurity.  Backstabbing.  Unfair competition.  That wears on you after a while…  It seemed people were always getting promoted because they were friendly with (or sucked up to) the upper management.  Upper management would promote someone weak because they would see someone too strong underneath them as being a threat.

Corporate Misery

Smiling through it in a suit and tie in my cubicle at T-Mobile

I sometimes wonder how corporations actually function at all when I’ve witnessed first hand how completely DYSfunctional they are.  Against this backdrop I then had to go out to the marketplace and try to aggressively sell a product to prospective clients I didn’t know and who weren’t interested, often times with a product I barely believed in at best.  I got pretty good at being able to play these games while doing whatever I could to keep my integrity intact and luckily I met a very small handful of good people along the way who I could actually trust and helped me through it.  I stay in touch with those few and I’m eternally grateful and loyal to them.  Think Morgan Freeman’s character “Red” and Tim Robbins’ “Andy Dufresne” in The Shawshank Redemption.  Having a friend you can trust while you’re on the inside is a gift.

An Idea.

Meanwhile I dreamed and yearned for more…  I had creative idea after creative idea – a peanut butter and jelly sandwich shop, a restaurant with no menu, a coffee table book about candy bars, others I can’t remember.  I was wearing down on cold calling, selling whatever widget the company I worked for was pushing and often being held to unrealistic quotas.  I dreamed of the day when I could help people with a product that people would actually come to me for.  Something that was mine.  Something I believed in.  One night in 1998 the idea came to me at Rick’s American Cafe in Ann Arbor of all places.  It was the idea of telling stories – of having someone sit down in front of a video camera and tell the story of their life.  I’m not sure where the idea came from – a cool romantic explanation would be that maybe Ally was pregnant with our first who was to be named after my grandfather who passed away in 1987.  Maybe I knew I would be naming her for him and I was wishing I had a way to introduce her to him.  A video of him being himself, telling jokes, telling his story…

Life Preservers by Frameable Faces Photography, Frameable Faces, Personal Video, Legacy Video

My original Life Preservers business card circa 1998-ish!

Now truthfully that’s not the way the inspiration came.  I’m not exactly sure how it popped into my head at that moment, but wherever it came from I knew that was it.  Something meaningful, something important, something that would enhance people’s lives and help them be remembered the way they deserved to be.  I put together a business plan, a logo, got an 800 number (remember this was 1998), printed business cards and I had an old schoolmate who was a videographer on board.  We made a demo and then…. not much else.  For various reasons it didn’t work out.  My partner didn’t have the vision for it at the time.  The dream got shelved, but it never completely died.  It was painful though – people would ask me from time to time “Doug whatever happened to your video idea?  I thought that was a great idea you had” and it would really sting.  I would feel pangs of guilt for letting myself down, anger for being stuck working for a big company worried about my job security, and not being excited for the future.  Dying a little more inside.


Eventually Ally started taking her photography more and more seriously, and she started building it on the side.  The economy got worse and my last corporate job with T-Mobile was going down the tubes – my accounts were mostly automotive and many of them were dealing with bankruptcy, layoffs, and purchasing freezes in 2008-09 when the bank and auto bailouts happened.  Eventually after a year or so of dismal sales T-Mobile let me go.  I was an auto casualty even though I didn’t work for an auto company.

Frameable Faces – A Rescue.

Ally convinced me not to look for yet another corporate job and join her to open the Frameable Faces studio and make it our family business.  It was a great decision.  My creative juices started flowing again.  I had clients I could have real relationships with.  No cold calling.  We had a great product (Ally is a fantastic photographer) and we could do whatever we felt was needed to make it better without getting approval from anyone.


I have thoroughly enjoyed this.  I’m having a blast blogging and building relationships online and consulting on the side for social media.  I’m even singing in a rock band!  This has all been great……   and now it’s time to add another piece to complete the puzzle.  One that’s been a long time coming.

Full Circle.

Life Preservers is back.  For You and Your Children’s Children.  I have a solid team in place for the first time to do this important and rewarding work.  A team of like-minded and talented people who are excited and believe in this.  We are helping people tell their stories in their own words, and when I walked out of that apartment last week at the end of that interview I was smiling ear to ear.

Photos of Total Cuteness!

Child photography, Frameable Faces Photography, West Bloomfield PhotographerYou might recognize this little one.  She and her family have been around the studio for quite awhile now.  When we first met “E”‘s parents, they were having her big brother photographed for his newborn session.  That was two years ago.  Since that time, well, we’ve sort of adopted the S family.  Or they adopted us.  When we found out that E’s mom was pregnant again, she gave us the ultimate compliment.  Aside from asking us to photograph her belly (which currently graces the inside of our current brochure!), and the newborn session of the new baby to be….  She told us that she and her husband J wanted US to be the GODPARENTS of their newest family member!  Of course, Ally cried, and we said yes!

West Bloomfield Photographer, Child Photography, Frameable Faces Photography
Well, we had E’s newborn session almost 7 months ago and she came back into the studio this past Saturday.  And being a true Frameable, she was a total rockstar!  Full of smiles and personality.  And she LOVED the flower pot!  How cute is she????
West Bloomfield Photographer, Photography, Frameable Faces
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again….our Frameables are the best!  We love each and every one of them.  And in Frameable form, the S family were clients when they first came in to the studio…  And they left as family.  As literally as you can get!
West Bloomfield Photographer, Frameable Faces Photography, Child PortraitsFrameable Faces Photography, Metro Detroit Photographer, West Bloomfield Photographer

The B Boys Being Boys!

You’ve heard the saying “Boys will be boys”?  These guys were no exception!  But they were completely and totally adorable!  Lots of laughs and LOTS of personality!

Mom was a bit worried that we wouldn’t “get anything good” from this session and she warned us before the session that the boys might give us a hard time.  But since we’re complete “professionals,” we were able to get some awesome expressions!  You know how we do it… silly words and of course screaming really loudly…You know…Totally professional!  Ahhhh….the things we do for our clients!  Ha!!!


Whole Lotta Love!

Family Portraits, Frameable Faces Photography

You may have noticed we (and other frameables) have fallen in love with this pose...

If you’ve ever met Doug, you’ll know that he’s a total music freak.  There are very few people our age that can even come close to his eclectic tastes and can have the level of music knowledge to have a conversation about it.  And then came these guys…..

When we met “M”, we knew that she was an exceptionally cool, down-to-earth girl.  Then when we had the photo session and she came in with bags, yes BAGS, of clothes for her family, we knew she’d won Ally over.  During the photo session, which was filled with laughter, cuteness, “boy” jokes and fun chit chat, we were able to capture some really great shots of these guys.  Supremely photogenic takes on a whole new meaning with this family.
 Child Photography, West Bloomfield Photographer
At the end of our time together, M was talking with Doug about music and she was totally holding her own with him!  Y had to take the kids down the hall for some yummy Mickey Mouse pancakes, but it was pretty cool to hear M and Doug chatting about Joe Walsh – M is bit of a rock and roller!  That’s why we’ve aptly named this post after a classic rock song – Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love!
Gotta love super awesome families that you just totally get!

And We Laughed, and Laughed, and Laughed….

What a fun family to be able to photograph!  From the moment we met S, we knew it was going to be a fun one!
 Family Portrait
There are lots of fun stories that have come out of this session, and when we say that we laughed and laughed…we really did!  C and S are some seriously amazing sisters with an amazing dad.  Brilliant, beautiful and so freakin’ funny!!!  This family kept Ally on her toes with their fun antics, awesome personalities and silliness.   There were some definite “behind the scenes” images taken that C made Ally delete immediately, lots of emotions and a WHOLE LOTTA giggles!  Even younger brother G got in on the laughs!  And he was a total rockstar, too- flashed us some award-winning smiles and everything!!  Little sister princess S was a total diva.  She loved dressing up in the tutus and posing.  And she’s not even 10 yet!!!  Watch out, Daddy!
 Father and SonDaddy and his Girls
The M family was a definite joy to have in the studio!  Probably one of our most fun sessions!  Stop by if you’d like to see some of the outtakes from their session!  We’ve got some really GREAT ones!  Ha ha ha!!!!!!  Just kidding!  😉

Family Fun, Brotherly Love!

Family Portrait, Frameable Faces Photography, West Bloomfield PhotographerWe ordered up a perfect day for this session with a family we’ve known for a long long time, and it was a blast!  The boys had a lot of fun clowning around (which provided for some hilarious outtakes) and we had so much fun photographing them.  We were actually the first people to randomly bump into them on an Ann Arbor sidewalk minutes after they got engaged years ago, and now they are a complete family!

What Pulp Fiction Can Teach Us About Internet “Trolls”

I am all about practicing proper etiquette online.  I am also all about being truthful.  Somewhere in between I find it can get a little blurry.

Internet Trolls, Social MediaTrolls

There has been much written about “trolls” – the Wikipedia definition of a troll is as follows:

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

I have yet to see any trolls on this blog (hope I didn’t just jinx it), but I find the above description to be a little subjective.  “Extraneous or off-topic messages” intended to provoke are obviously inappropriate, but I wonder about  the “inflammatory” messages.  Is posting a different opinion automatically a bad thing as long as you aren’t being mean or blatantly offensive?  Certainly people could view that as inflammatory, but can’t debate be healthy as opposed to everyone just agreeing and patting each other on the back?  Besides, intent is hard to measure and someone could get upset and have an emotional response even though no offense was intended or expected…  People blog, post, and tweet expecting and hoping for responses, so shouldn’t they be prepared for different viewpoints?  It reminds me of a scene in Pulp Fiction where Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega are having dinner at Jack Rabbit Slim’s (you can actually read the entire script here– pretty cool):

                       Actually, there's something I've
                       wanted to ask you about, but you
                       seem like a nice person, and I
                       didn't want to offend you.

                       Oooohhhh, this doesn't sound like
                       mindless, boring, getting-to-know-
                       you chit-chat.  This sounds like
                       you actually have something to say.

                       Only if you promise not to get

                       You can't promise something like
                       that.  I have no idea what you're
                       gonna ask.  You could ask me what
                       you're gonna ask me, and my natural
                       response could be to be offended.
                       Then, through no fault of my own, I
                       woulda broken my promise.

Who is really the troll?

As far as I’m concerned just follow a few rules and use discretion and you should generally be okay.  I’ve gotten better at this as I’ve gotten older – I’ve grown up (a little) and owning a business that is really a people business has given me new and varied perspectives.  Besides, representing a brand online forces you to exercise restraint and diplomacy.

1) Be nice to people

2) Choose your words carefully knowing that a typed message can be interpreted differently than when you say it out loud.

3) Be careful talking about religion or politics and maybe think twice about bringing it up at all in a public forum – strangers will likely attack you.

4) Remember 1,2, and 3 but – don’t be scared to share your thoughts.  If someone attacks you for a thoughtful comment that doesn’t fall exactly into line with the opinion of the blogger and his/her minions then who is really the troll?  A blogger who bullies people into fear of reprisals if they disagree is a blogger you may not want to follow.

What about you?  Have you been attacked by a troll?  Have you been accused of being one?

“G” Was This Family Photo Session Fun!

Family Portrait, Frameable Faces Photography, West Bloomfield PhotographerWe met the G family relatively recently when their oldest son became friends with our little guy.  The boys became friends and then we followed suit pretty quickly afterwards!

It’s been kind of a whirlwind, really.  You know how there are people who once you connect with them, it’s like you’ve always known them and been friends with them?  Yeah, that’s us and these guys!  R had mentioned that she’d really like a nice new updated family photo and some nice ones of the boys together.  She was a little bit worried that since we’ve become so close, the boys wouldn’t take it seriously and do it the way that she’d like.  BUT, truth be told, the boys totally rocked it and I’m pretty sure they had fun doing it, too!  We were able to capture some amazing real, natural smiles, some sweet tender moments and had a little bit of fun mixed up in there, too.
This is one of the reasons we love our job.  The look on R’s face when we showed her some of these images was priceless.  These guys really do have a heart of gold!  <3

The Frameable Faces Blog “Quest for Guests”!

The Frameable Faces "Quest For Guests"!


One of the themes we’ve tried to instill in our studio is that of community.  We see Frameable Faces not just as the studio you can visit at the Orchard Mall, but as all of us – especially our clients who really are the Frameable Faces (or #Frameables as we like to tweet them).  As our blog evolves and grows we thought it would be a splendid idea to get more of you involved and so the “Quest for Guests” idea was born!  We would like to open this up just to Frameables (our clients) for starters and see where it goes, but the idea is to have someone write a guest post for our blog.  There are a couple of basic parameters involved:

1.  The article does not have to be about Frameable Faces nor does it need to be photography related – it can be but it doesn’t have to be.

2.  The article should provide some value whether it’s informative, or simply entertaining.  We prefer not to go overly heavy or serious.  If you have your own blog or business we definitely want to highlight that!  But here’s the key – don’t make the post a commercial or sales pitch for your business.  Write an article that will help people – demonstrate your expertise with some helpful tips.  If you have a blog of your own which is simply your outlet for your thoughts then give us a couple of your thoughts or even a good story.  If you are a fan of our blog, don’t have a business of your own or a blog but feel you have something to add to the conversation feel free to do that too!

3.  The article should ideally be 500-800 words and include at least one related image (if you are struggling with the image part let us know and we can help you).  Also include a short 2-3 sentence bio, a bio image (125×125 pixels is a good guide but we can help you with that too), a good title for your post, and links you want us to include (website, fb, twitter etc.).

4.  Send your article in an email to doug@frameablefaces.com.  We’ll scan it for typos etc. and let you know if there are any minor changes before we post it.  Keep in mind that dependent on the number of posts we receive and/or the subject matter we can’t guarantee that your post will be published.  We hope you understand.

We are excited to see where this goes and we hope the Frameables will get to know each other a little better!  We hope you will enjoy reading a guest post and that you will comment and join in!