Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What I just finished..

Here's Shana...I finished her edits in record time...We went down to Ruston Way...
My policy, however, is to try to use different locations as much as possible.
So it was fun to challenge myself in that way. In this shot, I was ontop of a picnic table with playground sand as a backdrop for Shana and her scarf we almost forgot to use.
This one is so classic to me...We should all have a shot like this someday...

All in all it was a rad shoot! Great to meet you Shana!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Impressing clients Vs. Impressing photographers

Today I got a phone call from a senior client's mom. She was ecstatic about how wonderful her daughter's senior portraits turned out. She went into detail and it was obvious, she was REALLY moved by my work.

This is a post for all of my fellow photographers, especially the new ones (which I still totally consider myself). Sometimes when you finally take the leap and start meeting other photographers and getting involved in the community, as invigorating as it can be at first, it can also become OVERWHELMING. Photography starts out for most of us as a love of capturing the moment, and your friends and family say your good, and it's full of warm fuzzies. But you have questions. You want to get better. Then, when you get brave and go out into "the world" of photography, it feels like your back down at the bottom again, feeling like you have so much to learn and you'll never know enough. For me, it's workflow, Lightroom, CS3, pocketwizards, ExpoDiscs, softboxes, Raw vs. Jpeg, Canon, Nikon, should I get the 85mm 1.8 or the 70-200 2.8? Presets, Actions, Vibration Reduction ahhhh!!!

And the more you look, the more you find work from other photographers that takes...your...breath.............Away.


At a David Jay workshop I went to in 2007, he said "What impresses clients is totally different than what impresses other photographers."

Think about that for a minute. Think about what your clients (even if for now, it's your friends, your family, your baby, and your cat) say to you, or say about you. Pay attention to it! It is the root, the core of your business potential. No matter what, if they are happy, consider that a SUCCESS. Whether things went exactly 'right' or not is irrelevant. Focus on the feedback. Give yourself permission to revel in it, if it's good, and if there's a little hint of something that needs improvement, focus THERE first. Take your learning one step at a time. Professional equipment is great; it does help, but strive to take the BEST shots you can with WHAT you've GOT! So many of your clients just want a BEAUTIFUL shot. Now, there is a wide range of "beautiful" shots to create! You might be disappointed because it's not at the top of the range as YOU see it, but that doesn't make it ANY LESS of a treasure for your happy client. Consider this, if you are constantly looking back at pictures you took six months or a year ago and think they aren't as good as what you are shooting now, that's GREAT! That means you're improving at a fast pace! But those images are no less valued to your clients. If they love them, you've changed someone's life in a small way, and that is something to feel AWESOME about.

My wedding season officially begins in two weeks, and I have the highest expectations of myself that I've ever had going into a wedding season. It's a little nerve wracking! I can't wait to get back into the rhythm of wedding shooting, I can't wait to see what I'm going to capture for people, and I hope I capture it even better than last year. But this phone call I got this afternoon helped me remember that what is most important is that we stop to enjoy how far we've come, how many people we've touched, and have gratitude for where we are RIGHT NOW in our journey. . . .

Monday, April 21, 2008

What I'm working on now

There's something so right about these images I'm currently editing of my shoot with Brianna last week. . .I had to throw up these sneak peeks and talk about what a great shoot feels like.

Brianna knew what she was going for...we shot at her house which was super significant to her because she's grown up her whole life there! And the natural light and interior details were like CANDY! Look at the natural light and rad painting! Including personal details like the painting give a portrait depth. Suddenly it's not just a portrait anymore; it's a shot of Brianna with a detail the whole family is totally familiar with, but seen in a beautiful new way...

Brianna was really good at collaboration...we tossed out ideas, tried things out, adjusted other ideas, etc, and she was a senior who totally "brought it", as they say! Can you say "fierce"?! I can't get over the contrast of her fantastic shoes and coat with the asphalt road. I would like to thank the creators of the neighborhood for making the street go up the hill that way. It made a killer backdrop!

Friday, April 11, 2008

How to go from this, to this, this!

It's a long story, but it wasn't necessarily hard, and it surely wasn't glamorous. I did however go full-time with my photography business on January 1, 2007 and I'm going to share you some tips on what I've learned:

1. Get out paper and write out a detailed description of what you'd like a WEEK in your full-time photography life to be like. Describe your clients. Children? Brides? Everything? Describe your setting. Are you on location? Renting a studio? Do a whole week. How much time do you want to spend at the desk? How much time do you want to spend doing other things? Visualization is NUMBER ONE. I marvel at the fact that everything on my cluttery desk had to be invented by SOMEBODY. Look around at every object! Everywhere you see a THING, you see the result of somebody's idea, visualization, and risk taking. That's always been so inspiring to me.

2. If you don't have an established group of clients already, start growing one! While you do this, you'll start to notice what types of shoots you love to do the most. Also, I always made sure that all of the people who I see more than once, knows I am a photographer! That means, the gas station clerk, your bank tellers, your hairdressers, people at your church, people at your hubbie's work, etc. You don't have to go on and on about yourself; just mention it. Most people think meeting a photographer is pretty cool. Hand them a card; ask for theirs, if it is appropriate. You'd be surprised what'll happen; you'll actually start to FEEL like a photographer! It took me forever to feel like a "real" photographer. I thought something magical was going to happen, and I'd wake up, and feel different. But it didn't come on it's own. I had to give myself permission to feel like a photographer.

3. Figure out your "X" amount. How much income do you need to contribute to your family budget? Is there a way to cut back on your current job while increasing income coming from photography? Another huge part of this is, are you WASTING money every month? Take a good, hard look at your expenses. I'm naturally a frugal person, I like things simple. We don't have car payments (we buy used), we eat at home and entertain at home. I like to think of it as "purifying" our lifestyle. I am so thankful for the family I've been given. It puts everything into perspective. Even old couches. The kids aren't done spilling on them, anyway.

4. If you're a parent, you need support! Even if you're not, you still need support! My parents help watch the kids when they can, Brent is home on the weekends when I'm doing weddings. You are the BEST person to identify who your support team can include. There's always SOMEBODY in life who wants to be your cheerleader. Let their cheers SOAK in! I've always thought it would be awesome to be a life coach. Then I could be part of people's teams and help encourage, listen, and answer questions! Maybe this is the beginning?

5. Do something BOLD!
Call or email a photographer you admire! Ask a question! Go to a workshop! Go to a seminar! Go to a PUG meeting! Read magazines and books! The more you saturate yourself and surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do, your goal seems to get more and more obtainable.

For example, my mom showed me a newspaper clipping about Me Ra, and I emailed her! I went to a David Jay workshop and of course Me Ra's. Me Ra's workshops are an AMAZING resource! I just went last October! What a great help that would have been when I was just starting out, and still it was an incredible boost after being a photographer for a few years. But I was scared to do every one of these things. Clammy hands three hours before I went to my first PUG meeting...

6. Pay attention to EVERY negative thing you say or hear. Stop. Analyze. What is the lesson. What is the greater GOOD? Positivity, thankfulness, and joy give you energy. The opposite of that, destroys it. If you have negative people, or "energy suckers" in your life, do everything you can to avoid them.

Paying attention to your self-talk is huge. Listen to what you tell yourself. You may be telling yourself you can't do it, and you don't even know it. No amount of workshops and equipment can help you if you don't begin to believe it's attainable deep inside.

8. I used to admire women that appeared to "have it all together." The stylish outfit, cute hair. . .or the organized mom, or the mom who was able to accomplish multiple amazing chores/feats in a single day. I felt like I wouldn't be "successful" until I could "be like that."

I saw what qualities other photographers had that I didn't. Do you do that?

What I was ignoring was WHAT I do have, which is a big chunk of creativity, imagination, and idea generating ability. I love people and meet them easily and I have a huge amount of compassion for the awkwardness of having your photo taken. I love taking risks and being scared and going for it anyway! I am comfortable shooting in unpredictable situations, and new locations, and off beat locations. I have enthusiasm for everybody who tries to work on themselves and aspire for an extraordinary life.

One of my favorite moments was when it started pouring rain when David & Sarah (that's the link to their slideshow) and I were doing their bride&groom shots. The rain cloud just came out of nowhere. I remember my first thought, though I feel a little guilty about it now! "This is my chance to REALLY impress them." They had an outdoor wedding scheduled in about an hour and a half. We were at the park, alone, well, except for my assistant Tatiana and a covered picnic area full of teenagers. David & Sarah were trying to keep it together and figure out a plan B. My only focus was handing them my phone so they could make some calls to family at the reception hall, and try to take the most beautiful images I could of them during this stressful time. I even asked for the help of the group of teenagers. I asked if they'd cheer in a picture with the bride & groom (under the picnic shelter)! They did! I also captured some beautiful shots that David & Sarah loved. Thank goodness it rained. Oh! The cloud eventually passed over and though the chairs had to be dried, their outdoor ceremony went on without a hitch!!

What I just described to you, my personal qualities and advantages, well I passed over those qualities for a long time. Can you believe that? You might be doing that too. "Successful people don't drive '89 Camry Wagons" "Successful people look more stylish" "Successful people KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING"

Oh that's a BIG one.

Can you imagine being successful and feeling like you don't know what your doing?

But it's true, and Me Ra talks about it in her Moms Survival 101 Kit .

What qualities do you long for? What qualities do you have? Ask those who know you best, if you need help.

7. What's your definition of "SUCCESS?" Again, I'd suggest writing it as detailed as possible. For me, I wanted to be home with my kids. I didn't want to be away from them all day while I worked to earn someone else money. I wanted a great marriage. I wanted to invest in real estate. I wanted to do what I love and above all, be an example for my children that you don't have to have a job that you don't like. You can LOVE what you do. I want to help other people love what they do and take those first scary steps towards whatever that is.

I can't believe I'm actually already doing that.

In spite of my fears.

In spite of my not feeling like I know what's going on.

In spite of my dirty station wagon.

You can, too!

Okay. That's all for today. I'll think up a few more....Thanks for going on this journey with me. I want to hear about yours, too. Let me know your thoughts! Remember? I don't know what's going on! lol

Ashley & Brandy!

Meet Brandy

Meet Ashley

Meet twin sisters, Ashley & Brandy, my newest members of the Senior Representative Team! This shot just cracks me up! Can't you just tell their personalities from this one shot? I knew we'd get along just fine when they laughed at my goofy explanations during the shoot...

...Not to mention, they are TOTAL beauties with major abilities in front of the camera....
We had a great shoot last Saturday and I'm totally looking forward to doing full-length senior shoots with them at the end of their senior year, in 2009!!

Mother, Writer really needs our help!

This message is from Priscilla, we met last week and she is one of the bravest women I've ever met. She also is the most GRATEFUL and HAPPY person, despite her life's path. It's what having PURPOSE in your life can do. She is available for speaking engagements & is an expert makeup artist. Oh heck, I'll let her tell you:

I’m desperately doing all I can to get myself in a position to continue with what I believe to be my calling with my personal life; SAVING CHILDREN from all forms of abuse. My own personal story is unbelievable, as some write books about conquering mountains and living to tell about it, I conquer each day many mountains, it never ends.

I tried contacting your friend Mera Koh, hopefully she will call me soon, time is of the essence. The webpage needs to go up and someway I need bookings as a free-lance make-up artist to sustain my work. As of Saturday, I will not have a vehicle, I’m not too proud to beg anymore, I know the cause and it keeps me going.

Hope we can sit down and chat about my story. Would like to start bringing awareness to Seattle and surrounding areas, including the U.S. as a speaker on behalf of Children that are falling through the cracks. Teaching mothers how to be good parents and end the cycle of such forms of abuse which is right in our own backyards and no one wants to get involved, they just want to put the blinders on and ignore the signs of possible abuse or neglect and not pick-up the phone to report suspected abuse. Then it hits the news and the comments I hear goes something like this..”I thought something was not right..” What we never HEAR is: I SHOULD HAVE CALLED THE POLICE.” No one takes blame when they are being interviewed!

Once my webpage is up, I will share about my ordeals and victories. My child Madison is my daily loss, she is so beautiful! When I share that TIME is of the essence, please replace it with Critical!

My anonymity so some extent is important, it’s hard though not to spot me in a Country setting. I have an ex-husband who is wealthy and dangerous with the technology that it’s at his disposal(you’ll have to read parts of my book).

About work: I’m available for bookings: BRIDES, PRINT, COMMERCIAL,EVENTS, ASSISTANT to PHOTOGRAPHERS,PROMS,RUNWAY. Willing to travel to locations. My work is a gift I’ve been blessed with, an eye for the human face, bringing out the beauty of what I see and what my clients LOVE with what I achieve for any type of look and occasion.

O.K! Please call me anytime. Thank You SO MUCH!!!! Pictures are AMAZING!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pinch Harder, I Haven't Woken Up Yet

I can't believe I'm getting to say this, but Me Ra Koh blogged about me today! I'm keeling over, seriously. I didn't know if I should blog about it first or comment on her post first! I guess I'm blogging! And I have three GREAT posts/stories to share with you guys-I don't know how dinner is gonna get made at this rate, but I'll figure something out :) Okay. Now I'm going over to Me Ra's blog and hold myself back from too much long-winded wacky rambling!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


On the heels of a "Bellies&Babies" seminar by renouned photographer Sandy Puc on Monday, Tuesday I got to photograph the stunning Mellilah, professional teacher and performer of belly dance. Here are a few of my favorite shots:

Mellilah is breathtaking, isn't she?

Very rarely do I process belly dancing images in Black & White, since their gorgeous costumes are created to be seen in vibrant color, but the "dance" of shadow and light on this particular image, really had me curious to see what B&W would look like...I love it, hope you do to!

Friday, April 4, 2008

I was just contacted by a writer, Priscilla, who is involved with, a Colorado Ranch that is home to children in need. They are hoping to bring awareness and spread the word, and Priscilla lives here in WA and ideally would like to start a similar program here in Washington. Right now, however, Priscilla has a more pressing need. She has just (in the last 24 hours) been placed in the care of a six month old baby girl who arrived with a jacket on and nothing underneath. Priscilla lives in the Seattle-Tacoma area and is asking you and me if we have any donations of 6-9 month baby girl clothing, diapers, etc. Please email me and I will give you Priscilla's contact information.

Priscilla is also a very experienced makeup artist who has an extensive resume,and is available for model shoots and wedding makeup.

Lastly, she had mentioned that she has a love of photography, and SOLD HER FILM CAMERA in order to make ends meet and pursue her calling of taking care of babies who aren't being adequately cared for by their parents. She didn't ask, but on her behalf, I'd like to ask if anyone has a digital camera to donate so that she can take photos of these children. I'll be providing portraits for free of this little baby she has right now.

Let me know if you'd be able to help!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Remember Malia?

Her website full of the images from our photoshoot is now live! I love what they did with the homepage, the backdrop fabric we used for that portion of the shoot reminds me of a melted candybar!