Getting my sanity back

You would think as a wedding photographer that I would dislike the winter because it’s not wedding season but actually, I tend to look forward to it near the end of wedding season. I was a crazy busy person in 2012. I hit the ground running with four weddings in January 2012 and didn’t stop until 23 weddings later. Not to mention all the senior photos, family sessions, engagements and boudoir sessions I had. It was the busiest year I’ve had yet and it was great. But I was an insane person toward the end of the season. I now understand why some wedding photographers have a certain amount of weddings they will book every year. It seems on average, between 15 and 20. Seeing as my business is relatively new, I wasn’t sure what that threshold for me was. 27 was too many with all the other things I have going on in photography as well. So in going forth, I am now only taking 20-22 per year.

You may think that that doesn’t sound like a lot but there is a lot of behind the scenes work that you don’t know about and see. I had crazy hours, just trying to get everything done within my time frame that I tell my clients.  I ended up not able to do albums for most people until several months after their wedding, with a few exceptions. So in honor of good customer service, which I like to strive to provide, I think it best to not take on as much as I did last year. For my sanity and your overall good experience.

So now, I’m finishing up the few albums I still owe people, doing a couple winter bridal shows, meeting with clients and trying to prep my business for the upcoming busy season. It feels so odd to not be totally stressed and feeling like I have things looming over my head. Yesterday, I did a couple office things and then spent the day CLEANING MY HOUSE. You have no idea how good that felt. I haven’t been able to do more than surface clean in a long time. It gets me in the mood to do some painting and some home improvement and organization projects. Sounds weird, I know, but I actually am excited to work on these things because they have been nagging at the back of my mind for months. Call me crazy.

In addition, I do have daily work things that I want to accomplish. I would like to push my senior photo program this year but haven’t had time to work on it in the past. Now is the time. And I have some educational workshops that I have scheduled to complete online. I’m excited to learn more and to better my business. I’m cleaning out my equipment and selling things I no longer need. It feels like a freshening of my life and business! I’m excited to see what is to come in 2013.

It feels good to be getting back to me.

I’m a terrible blogger

Who knew that blogging would be so hard? I see so many super clever and fun to read blogs out there where the people make it seem to easy. Well, for whatever reason, I stink at it! And the thing is, I always used to love to write. BUUUUUTTTT, it takes time and discipline, which I evidently am poor at managing. I need to MAKE time and schedule it into my life. This is the story of my life. Needing to make time and schedule.

My personal trainer, Robin, tells me all the time, “you need to schedule time for exercise…time for you….etc”, and it sounds kind of silly, right? But it is so true. If I don’t schedule something, it doesn’t seem to get done. Things fall by the wayside. Here’s my problem, I’ve always had what some would call and “artist’s personality”. I am not flaky or anything, I just tend to live my life in a slight state of disorganization. This is a huge thing to admit to all of you because I want you to think I have my stuff together, you know? And I do. Trust me. I know what is important and do work on keeping those things organized. But it’s the little things that fall short on my priority list that slip into disarray.

So here’s my New Year’s resolution: MAKE TIME. Use that pretty little planner that I buy every year and only log my client appointments in. I need to log more of my life and put it on a schedule. This shouldn’t be a hard thing! But it is. I need to schedule blogging, schedule exercise, schedule reading time for me, schedule time for learning, schedule time to shoot personally, and maybe, just maybe, schedule time for me to draw and paint because I haven’t done that in a couple years now. Oh, and boringly but important as well, schedule time to clean my house. Ha ha.

I hope I’m not alone in this! I don’t often make resolutions, except the normal things like lose weight or exercise more. Maybe I should schedule times to periodically check in here and let you know how it’s going. Who knows? Maybe it’ll change my life!

Happy New Year everyone! May you achieve all your resolutions this year as well!

Where should I do my engagement session?

This is another question I am often asked by clients. Often, photographers have a few select locations that they prefer to use but I want this session to really fit you and your personality. And I, like others, get bored of doing the same old thing, so I encourage my clients to think of ideas of places they would like to go. I want the location to fit the vision you have for your photos. It should reflect you and fit the theme that you have chosen. If you love the outdoors and the mountains, by all means, let’s go to the mountains! If you are an urban hipster, let’s shoot in some downtown edgy neighborhood. I love all types of locations and do not have a preference of one over the other. I always tell my clients that I can do a lot with a little too. You don’t have to have sprawling acreage to work with. Sometimes, you can get all the best photos with different feels in just a small area.

I encourage my clients to come up with where they want to do their photos because it makes the session more unique to them. Maybe it’s a place you spent your first date. Maybe where he proposed. How about you decide you want to tell a story with your photos and we pick a place that fits that story? I obviously haven’t been every place so this is why I ask you to brainstorm and think about where you might want to shoot. Plus, it keeps me from choosing a place that maybe you don’t like. Sure, I can offer suggestions if you aren’t sure what to do or come up blank, but really try to think of what suits you.

Sometimes, clients decide they want to shoot in a private place, for example Lakeside Amusement Park or Dave and Busters. When you’re choosing a place like that, please contact the place to seek permission. Some places do not allow commercial photography and require permission or a permit or even a fee. I feel it’s best for the client to make contact because the establishment may be more sympathetic to the client than the photographer. I can help you with what to say and can call them if you aren’t having any luck.

Just some things to think about as you plan your engagement session. The sky is the limit and I will travel (within reason) to find that perfect location for you.

Engagement photos are NOT stupid!

Tonight, I read an article titled, “Engagement Photos Are Stupid” on a random website that I had never seen before. It really touched a nerve with me and I wanted to put in my two cents about engagement photos and what I feel they really are and mean. I understand everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I disagree.

The article stated there were two reasons to take engagement photos: to show off the ring and show people how in love you are. They lastly added that it was a waste of money. I believe there are lots of reasons to take them and they really depend on you! As for a waste of money, well, that’s all a matter of opinion as well.

Here’s why I think doing engagement photos are a good idea:

1. You develop a closer relationship with your photographer. Most times, your engagement photos are taken by the same photographer who will do your wedding. Having your engagement photos done allows you to get to know them a little more and become familiar with how to act in front of the camera. It can be intimidating to have that big camera on you all the time so this is the opportunity to get rid of any jitters and become easy with the process. Also, it allows the photographer to get to know how you interact together, what makes you tick, and what you like about your photos. Personally, it makes me feel like I “know” the couple better on their wedding day and helps me do a better job of capturing their personalities.

2. You get personalized professional portraits. This is your chance to really express yourself and get unique and individualized portraits of you and your love. I love to try to make each engagement session personal to each couple. Granted, you don’t have to have some elaborate, or any, idea for your engagement photos. But some people do! And I love that. The photo shoot is all about you and the sky is the limit when it comes to how imaginative you want to be. I’m not your hoaky, old-school photographer who shoots at one single location and uses the same old poses that have been out of fashion for 30 years. I know that I personally hardly have any professional photos of me and my husband and wish I had more. How often do you think about doing it? Besides, you will want to pass photos down to future generations. Your kids will want to see how young, beautiful and in love you were.

3. They make wonderful invitations. I have a lot of couples who use their engagement photos in their invitations or save-the-dates. Instead of shopping all the traditional non-unique invitations out there, make your own! You can have fun making cards, calendars, magnets, etc, etc, to send to your invitees. If you feel like you aren’t creative and can’t make these, or know where to start, let me know and I can help! I have a graphic design background and use exclusive-for-photographers vendors who make amazing products.

4. They are fun. Lastly, and truly, I’m sure I could think of more reasons but here’s where I’m going to end it, it’s just plain fun. I haven’t had a couple yet tell me they hated every minute of having their photos done. In fact, most of my couples make new memories and have a great time doing it. Think of it like a unique date that you both go on. Sometimes it can be adventurous or in a place you don’t often go.

These are just some of my thoughts. I don’t think it’s egotistical to hang photos of yourself in your home or to document how in love you are. It’s certainly not a waste of money or time. It all depends on you and what you deem as important or worth spending on. People don’t think twice about spending money on frivolous things they don’t need or that maybe they don’t have anything to show for it after. Photos last a lifetime and become family memories and items to be cherished. Why shouldn’t you invest a little in them?

Here’s some engagement photos of mine that I thought I would share.


Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you have an amazing day.


Quirks, smirks and in between

Ok, so my post isn’t original. My photographer friend, Sara, posted something along these lines the other day and I was jealous I hadn’t thought of it first. So I told her I was stealing the idea. I don’t know how one goes about organizing a post all about quirks so we’ll see how this all goes. Maybe a bullet list would be best? Anyway, there are some funny (and dare I say, endearing) traits about myself that I thought I would share with those of you who may become my clients and hopefully friends down the line! So here goes.

- I am a slob in a lot of ways but dammit, I can’t scribble when I write. A clean piece of paper is pristine and it drives me crazy when I mess up and have to scribble something out.
- In that same realm, when I buy a new pretty notebook or sketch pad, I am hesitant to make the first mark…why? I’m really not sure why I’m mental about it.
- I believe sarcasm is an art form and really have a tough time curbing this in inappropriate places/times.
- I have a sick sense of humor and often find things amusing that maybe aren’t so amusing to others. Take these signs from Ireland, for example. These cracked me up. Especially the guy falling off the cliff. Um, duh? Like someone needed a sign warning them of this? I think instinctually we should know better.

- My dog has about 100 nicknames, but I am happy to say, only half were made up by me. The rest my husband. His name is Blue, a.k.a. Boo Boo, Blue the Brown Dog, Bluecephus, Blueberry Hill (clever play on our last name, eh?), Blucifer, Boobookins, Boo Boo Bushybottom (hubby), Poopsicle (hubby), Poopster (also husband…not sure the fascination…), and many many more, depending on mood. Oh, and he has a hairy condition on his backside (he’s a Sheltie) that we call an “ass-fro”.
- Also, the poor dog is often our muse for making up songs with his various names, it’s amazing where it fits. Besides the obvious, “Blue Suede Shoes..”
- I believe that loungewear, yoga pants, sweatshirts and workout wear, makes an excellent daily wardrobe. If I don’t have to go anywhere, that’s usually what I’m wearing.
- I hate reality shows with the exception of the Voice, Biggest Loser and What Not To Wear. I am addicted to series like True Blood, Game of Thrones, Dexter and the Tudors.
- I channel an inner geeky love of everything medieval and Renaissance and yes, I do love the Renaissance Festival and do own a reproduction Marie Antoinette gown, although I have not ever really worn it because it’s way too big for me now.
- I am a bookworm.
- I cannot stand tunafish yet love tuna as sushi.
- I love coffee shops (and coffee) and typically frequent them but hate the way I smell after hanging out in one.
-  I would celebrate Christmas all year if I could and torture my family from Thanksgiving on with Christmas music on KOSI101 FM. (Note: I hate the DJs though).
- I pretend to be cooler than I really am.
- Wow, I tend to talk wayyyyyyyy too much. If you are still reading, I applaud you!

So after noticing how long this list is, I thought maybe I should end it here. Happy Wednesday, everyone!