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Fall 2010 Newsletter from Irene Abdou Photography

From: Irene A.
Sent on: Thursday, October 28, 2010 3:45 PM
Irene Abdou Photography Image Archive & Fine Art
French Quarter Beads
Mardi Gras beads hang on electrical and telephone wires, and residents' balconies throughout the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. The beads are collected by residents each year, as they are thrown by krewes from parade floats.
In This Issue
Featured Photo
New Releases
Portraits, Weddings & Events
Help Us Save a Smile!
Lessons & Workshops
On Exhibit
Upcoming Trip to Burkina Faso
Connect With Me
Join Our Mailing List

You know, as I review past newsletters, I notice that I always comment on how busy it's been.  But really...the past two months have DEFINITELY been a record!  The weddings didn't stop with the first breeze of fall, I ran my first annual Light the Night: A Photographic Storytelling Workshop, in conjunction with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual fundraiser, launched my own annual Family Portrait Month, Benefiting Operation Smile promotion and fundraiser (the first of many annual family portrait months to come), photographed my first-ever traditional Korean "career-choosing ceremony," worked on several corporate photography jobs for galas and executive portraits, put out new card designs from some of my favorite designers for accordion books, baby announcements, save-the-dates, wedding invitations, and holiday cards, and ran over to northern Kentucky for a five-day wedding photography masterclass!  And in between the buzz, in those few calm moments, I tried to work on processing photos from my August trip to New Orleans.  My Great Musical Traditions, French Quarter Charm, and Mardi Gras-Madden Gras stories are done, but I still have Bourbon Street and Garden District Charm to go!!!  They might just have to wait until after I get back from my November trip to Burkina Faso, West Africa...

Anyway, many, many thanks to all of you for helping make this another amazing quarter, and for helping us raise $315 to date to save children's smiles through Family Portrait Month!  And guess's not too late to help us save another child's smile!  There are still a few days left to October, and you can still book your December family portrait or other family session before October comes to a close.  You too can help us save a child's smile!  More information below!
This quarter's feature photo (above) is called, "French Quarter Beads."  I spent a few days in New Orleans in early August.  New Orleans has so, so much going for it.  It's an absolutely amazing city.  We've all heard of Mardi Gras, but I hadn't really understood about Mardi Gras traditions.  New Orleans "krewes" fund the creation and maintenance of the famous Mardi Gras parade floats.  Krewe members purchase Mardi Gras beads, which they then throw to parade onlookers who beg for the beads, which have become collector's items for New Orleans residents.  During the rest of the year, visitors still see the evidence of Mardi Gras everywhere, in the beads that hang from electric poles and wires, balconies, and even trees.  I love "French Quarter Beads," because nowhere else in the world does a city look like...this.

So in honor of New Orleans, its awesome musical traditions, it's French Quarter charm, and the magnificence of Mardi Gras, over the next 30 days, all of my New Orleans fine art photographs are on sale at 10% off (use discount code NEWORLEANS at checkout).  What's more, buy "French Quarter Beads" and get 15% off your ENTIRE FINE ART ORDER, with discount code FRENCHQUARTERBEADS

Don't wait too long!  These terrific offers expire on November 28, 2010, and are exclusive to readers of my newsletter!!!

French Quarter Architecture, New Orleans, LA

The links below take you to the blog posts for each of these photo stories, so you can read a bit about them.  After that, follow the links in the blog to view more photos in the image archive.

Engagement photography session at Meridian Hill Park, Washington, DC 

Today will be gone tomorrow.  Don't let your memories fade with time. 
 Capture the moment with photographs that will last a lifetime and

fine art to be cherished for generations. 

As you've probably figured out by now, portrait/wedding/event sessions have kept me so busy over the past few months, that I haven't quite had as much time as normal for the fine art photography side.  I've done everything ranging from engagement photogaphy sessions to families to weddings to corporate events to executive portraits and more.


The beautiful couple above are Milena & Israel, during their engagement photography session at Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC.  Wedding date: December 17, 2010!!!

And below is Noah and his mom at Noah's first birthday party and traditional Korean career-choosing ceremony!  Wondering what a career-choosing ceremony is?  Click on the photo below and read all about it!

Mother and child at first birthday party

I also wanted to share a review that one of my brides-to-be, Leigh, wrote about me after her engagement photography session a few months ago.  (Leigh and Garrett, I can't wait for your wedding next year.  You guys are the best!)

"...Irene has a unique, beautiful eye for art/photography.  She is extremely professional, does a fantastic job, and truly gets to know her clients.  My fiancee and I had our engagement session with Irene...and the photos we received were beautiful!!  We couldn't have been happier with them.  ...Our Save the dates were also ordered from Irene and everyone in our families LOVES THEM!  They always ask, 'Your photographer did these?  They are so beautiful!!'  I highly recommend Irene Abdou Photography.  You will not only get outstanding customer service, beautiful photographs, great prices, but also a great friend you can rely on to capture your special moments.  I look forward to having Irene photograph our wedding, and one day our children."

Here are a few more of my favorite portrait/family event sessions and weddings over the last two months:
I've also posted some new photos of the really gorgeous products that I have at the studio.  Check them out here.  My favorite is large canvas prints in premium frames!!!

And, I've got in new design items since my last newsletter for press-printed products:

It's almost holiday season, and the photos from any of your portrait/event sessions or wedding make for great holiday card photos.  And let me tell you, OUR PRESS-PRINTED CARDS ARE GORGEOUS!!!  These are NOT the cards you are used to getting!  They are BEAUTIFULLY printed on quality card stock.  Choose from standard semi-gloss, art linen, art recycled, and art watercolor...or, my personal favorite...pearl paper!  Prices are VERY reasonable, and you can purchase in packs of 25!  Book a December family portrait session before October is out, and you can also help to save a child's smile!!! 


Holiday Card Design Sample


2010 Family Portrait Month 4

Operation Smile provides free/volunteer surgeries to children in developing countries suffering from facial deformities.  I'm so proud to tell you that we've been able to raise $315 during Family Portrait Month for PPA Charities, benefiting Operation Smile.  And we have YOU to thank for it! 

If you haven't yet had your family portrait session, October isn't yet over!  Book any family-related photography session/event or wedding in the next few days, before October draws to a close, and a portion of your booking fee will be donated to PPA Charities/Operation Smile.  It's not too late to help us save another child's smile!!!

View more information about Family Portrait Month, PPA Charities, and Operation Smile here.


Light the Night event in Rockville, Maryland
I ran my first photographic storytelling workshop earlier this month, covering the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual Light the Night charity walk.  My students and I had volunteer status with the Light the Night organizers.  In preparation for the workshop, I also covered the Rockville event.  Click on the photo above to view images!  These events are a WHOLE LOT OF FUN!

I'll be working on planning a holiday lights workshop when I get back from Burkina Faso.  If you're interested, shoot me an e-mail.  I always give first dibs on signup to people who have pre-expressed interest.

And of course, I also teach private photography lessons, which is a great way to get the fundamentals down through one-on-one instruction before jumping into the workshop track.  By the way, let me share with you another client testimonial that I received this past month from a long-time student of mine.  John has been taking private lessons with me almost this entire year, and has attended all of my group photography workshops to date.  I'm very proud of him too.  I've seen his photography improve EXPONENTIALLY over this past year.  Way to go, John!!!
"Irene is not only a very gifted photographer, but she is an excellent instructor as well.   I've been very fortunate to have a number of personally catered one-on-one sessions with her.  I've seen my photography improve almost exponentially after each session.   She has a way of making photography a very accessible art form, and she has a way of simplifying what most will find to be very technical.   Most of all, she makes photography exciting which I feel is extremely important in anything you do.  Her way of teaching is very thorough, as well as very patient.  Those are qualities anyone can appreciate whether you're learning photography or any other subject.

She doesn't follow a rigid lesson plan, although I'm sure she can if that's what you're looking for.  However, each session is based on what you want to learn and how you want to learn it.  She can teach you how to get that one shot you want, and in some cases, provide some of the tools (and yummy snacks) to achieve that shot.  Sometimes she will even play the guinea pig while you try and figure out what settings to use.  If you want to further understand exposure, she can help you.  You want to learn interesting techniques like focus blur or panning, she can help you.  If you're unsure about a function in Lightroom, she's great at it.  One fantastic thing about Irene is that she doesn't limit her availability to just the 2 hour sessions.  She's always passing on helpful information and providing suggestions; and sometimes, she'll just check in from time to time to say hello.  Also the door is open for you to reach out to her.  She's always happy to answer questions and critique photos for you.   In fact, her critiques are just as thorough as her teaching. 

There isn't much more to really say other than she's a wonderful resource and I highly recommend anyone learning photography to schedule a one-on-one session with her.   You will not be disappointed, and the images you create will make you want to schedule another session, and another, and probably a few more.  The way you take pictures will get better, the experiences you have taking pictures will get better, and of course, the pictures you take will get better.  You really get more than just a one-on-one session with Irene.  The experience and knowledge that is shared is priceless." 

And finally, I bet some of you might be thinking that you don't even have a digital SLR camera and aren't sure what to buy.  I get this question a lot, and I finally took some time to write up my thoughts in a blog post.  Check it out: Just getting started in digital SLR photography? Check out these gear recommendations...  
On Exhibit
Mali: The Makings of a Pot.

Earlier this year, I joined the Women Photojournalists of Washington (WPOW), a group of kickass female figures in the Washington, DC journalist community.  WPOW puts on an annual traveling exhibit called, "Women by Women," and I am one of 19 photojournalists to have been juried into the 2011 exhibit (photo above) by jurors Ruth Fremson (New York Times photographer), Larry Downing (Reuters photographer), and Denise Wolff (Aperture Books Editor).  The exhibit will launch during FotoWeek DC November 6-13, 2010 (opening reception and silent print auction, benefiting WPOW, at 7 pm) at AYN Studio, and then will travel to universities and other locations throughout the United States from January-September 2011.  Pretty cool, huh?

View all images from, "Mali: The Makings of a Pot."
(Unfortunately, I will be traveling in Burkina Faso, West Africa during FotoWeek DC, so I will not be able to see the show.  If any of you make it, though, please take some photos of the exhibit for me so that I can live vicariously through you!)

I've also been juried into a group show called, "Natural World," at the Center for Fine Art Photography over in Fort Collins, Colorado.  That show will go from December 3-31, 2010, and the Center will be releasing a press release for my work soon.  Subscribe to my blog, and you'll see the press release and my photography when it's out!!!

And finally, I got a call a few days ago from the Gallery Coordinator at Shirlington Library in Arlington, Virginia.  She saw my exhibit at Arlington Library Central Branch earlier this year and enjoyed it so much that she's invited me to exhibit at Shirlington in January!  View more about this upcoming exhibit and download the November calendar wallpaper in honor of this invitation here.

Upcoming Trip to Burkina Faso: Pre-Purchase Fine Art Photography at a 35% to 50% Discount!
 "Wrapped in Blue," Burkina Faso
This November, my husband and I are going to be traveling to Burkina Faso for one month.  We're timing the trip to overlap with Tabaski, my favorite West African holiday.  (I'm looking forward to the food...)  It's a part family trip (my husband has family there), part photography trip.  In 2007, we visited, but only for a week.  (In fact, the photo above, called "Wrapped in Blue," is from my 2007 trip.)  And our previous visit was in 1999 for just two weeks.  So this will be my longest and most in-depth visit to Burkina Faso, one of my favorite countries in Africa.
One of the photography projects that I have in mind for my trip is documenting the "Doohi" of Burkina Faso.  Doohi is a form of Fulani music/song that includes repeated background chants/vocalizations.  It's very distinctive and originates from a specific area of Burkina.  It's traditionally performed at night by children and young adults around campfires in the bush, but with the relentless onset of modernity, it's sadly practiced less and less.  There's very little existing documentation of doohi - I've only been able to find a single CD recording from 1997, which had just a few images as part of the jacket.  This is why I believe that it's so important to document this significant cultural heritage while it's still practiced as a regular form of community entertainment.  This project is particularly interesting to me because I originally got my start as a Peace Corps Volunteer in neighboring Niger, where I spent 3 1/2 years living in Fulani villages.  (I speak Fulfulde - the language of the Fulani people, who practice doohi - fluently.)  Plus, this project can also serve as a foundation for future projects on how Fulani musical forms have evolved after thousands of years of these nomadic pastoralists crisscrossing the Sahel and the Sahara - the Fulani living in different countries across West Africa have developed distinct forms of music specific to their geographic areas.
Anyway, I'm going to try something new here with my fine art photography and offer the opportunity to pre-purchase fine art photography from my upcoming November 2010 trip, that is, the opportunity to pre-purchase artwork that doesn't yet exist.  The bonus for YOU is that you'll get to own this artwork at 35% to 50% off the regular price - that's 35% off for sizes 8x10 to 11x14 and 50% off of larger sizes up to 24x36.  That means that you can own an 8x12 print matted to 12x16 for just $127 (regular price $195) or a 24x36 print for just $332.50 (regular price $665).  That's a GREAT deal!   
And the bonus for ME is that I can use the funds to help support my Doohi project.  I promise that if you pre-purchase artwork, when I come back from Burkina, you'll be able to select from hundreds of images.  It will take me some time to sort through and process everything, but I will start making images available for selection in mid-December and have all images available by the end of January 2011. 
On My Blog
I've already summarized a lot of my blog posts in this newsletter, so I'll just encourage you to sign up for RSS feeds or subscribe by e-mail to my blog posts at
I love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to leave me comments on the blog! I also promise to do my best to answer any questions that you post!!!
Many, manymany thanks to all of you, my supporters and customers, for your support - your positive e-mails and attendance at my exhibits have really meant a lot to me.  And to those of you for whom I've photographed portrait sessions, events, and weddings, it's been an honor to have had the opportunity to witness and take part in such special moments of your lives.  Thank you!
I hope you enjoyed this update!  I look forward to meeting you or seeing you again soon at my next exhibit, workshop, or through my portrait, wedding, and event photography work!  Please feel free to contact me, and to forward this e-mail on to friends and family who may be interested!  And if you aren't already subscribed to these quarterly newsletters, art exhibit invitations, and other announcements, you can do so here.
Save up to 15%
Purchase ANY New Orleans fine art photograph  at 10% off (use discount code NEWORLEANS at checkout).

Or, get an even better deal by purchasing "French Quarter Beads" at any size, and get 15% off your ENTIRE FINE ART ORDER (discount code FRENCHQUARTERBEADS)

 Fine art photography starts at just $123.25 after the 15% discount for an 8x10 fine art print matted to 11x14.  Want a larger size?  Print sizes of up to 40x60 are available!

Offer Expires: November 28, 2010
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Irene Abdou Fine Art Photography | 12914 Town Commons Drive | Germantown | MD | 20874

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