23 February 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Kellan

I first met Kellan's mommy when she was getting married a couple years ago. At that time I was doing freelance graphic design work and Nicolette asked me to design her wedding invitations. It was just a matter of time before she and her husband would be having a little bundle of joy.

Kellan will be turning 1 in a few weeks and Nicolette wanted me to take his pictures. I was thrilled. Mostly because we were going to take them out at my aunt's farm and what kid doesn't love a farm. It was kind of hard to get Kellan's attention because he was so mezmerized by the cows and chickens. It's okay though. You don't have to be looking right at the camera in order for a picture to be good.

Happy Birthday Kellan. You are such a cute little guy and I hope your day is special just as much as you are.

Love these next two pictures. So cute!

Had to throw in some pics of the farm animals that Kellan kept staring at.

16 February 2012

Cortney & Eric - 1st Anniversary

Cortney and Eric were married a year ago in March. And on that day the weather was TERRIBLE. Sleet and freezing rain and super cold, which meant no outdoor pictures for the bride and groom. I told Cortney that I felt bad Mother Nature didn't work with us and that we could do another session when the weather was nice. Time seemed to slip away from the both of us but recently Cortney suggested we do a 1st anniversary photo shoot. Amazing idea I thought. Of course the day we schedule pictures, it turns out to be super cold. We didn't get that many pictures but the ones we got were really great. Eric wants to wait till it gets warmer and I agree with him so for now, take a look at a few of my favorites from this past weekend.

Cortney's sister, Cassidy, came along last weekend. I really wanted to get some "sister" pictures too, plus what mom wouldn't want some updated pics of her daughters! You're welcome Patty :-) These girls are gorgeous! Great hair and beautiful eyes. They make a great profile picture too girls LOL.

Meet Sierra

Meet Sierra, a senior from Sparta High School. She's such a sweet girl and comes from a good family. Her step dad and my step dad are best friends so I've known Sierra for a while now. I was so excited when her mom told me Sierra wanted me to do her senior pictures. My mind started racing and I immediately started thinking of ideas.

We planned for a day in February because the weather has been amazing so far this winter. It's normally super cold or snowing/icy. We wanted to take advantage of the nice weather.... and the day of her pictures... it was 14 degrees!!! Seriously! It was so nice all week and last Saturday it was freezing. Probably the coldest photo shoot I've ever had. Our noses were pink and poor Sierra was shivering throughout the shoot. I felt so bad and even told her we could reschedule, but she has to have a picture for the yearbook soon. There wasn't really any more time. So we went on with the shoot and did the best we could. It's pretty hard to focus sharply when you're shaking LOL.

You would never know that the weather was that cold by looking at her pictures. I think they turned out amazing. Sierra, I had a blast taking your pictures and I wish you the best of luck in your future.

15 February 2012

Hip To Be Square

That's right... it's hip to be square. And I don't mean the Huey Lewis song (which I absolutely love by the way). I mean this little guy. This small device is called a Square and it will allow me to accept credit card payments. It plugs right into my iPhone, how cool is that!!! And don't worry about a receipt. I can send it right over to you via text or email. Seriously, technology is crazy these days and that's just why I love it. The fact that I can now swipe a credit/debit card right on the spot (or over the phone by entering the number) is just crazy to me. Up until this point I've only been accepting payment by cash or check. Most people use their debit cards so this should be way more convenient for my clients.

Can't wait to start using my square! At this point, my only concern is losing the darn thing. It's so small LOL.

07 February 2012

My Story

As many of you know I come from a small town and when I run into old friends or acquaintances they all seem to want to know one thing, “How did you get into photography?” Well I don’t believe any photographer “gets” into photography. I believe that we’re all born with a creative edge to see the world through a lens and our goal is to make sure everyone sees our vision. 

But there is some logic to why I wanted to become a professional photographer. A couple of years ago I realized that my great grandmother was going to be turning 90 in a couple years and our family really didn’t have that many photos with her in them. I’m talking about the huge family photos you have of all the aunts, uncles, siblings, grand children and great grand children. You never know how much time you have on this earth and I desperately wanted to slow down time and take as many pictures as I could of her. I wanted pictures of her so that one day I could show my children how wonderful she was and how I wished they could have met her. This past October, 2 years after I purchased my first DSLR camera, my great grandmother passed away. I’m so proud to say that she’s the reason I even bought my camera in the first place. And my life hasn’t been the same since.

In the past 2 years I’ve come a long way. I first started taking portraits, because I work full time as a graphic designer and wasn’t sure how my time management would be. But my real love is weddings. I didn’t want to just jump right in with weddings without knowing my camera and how aperture, exposure and ISO all worked together. I think most people just think you snap the camera and boom… you have a great photo. IT’S A LOT MORE WORK THAN THAT. Portraits are great and I absolutely love taking senior portraits, but weddings are where I want to push my business to. I want to be that photographer where when a girl gets engaged she HAS to call/email me the next day to see what dates I have available. Not just because my photos are great, but because she likes me and my style and we have something in common (hopefully). I want to become friends with my future brides, not be the girl they hire and never speak to again until the wedding day.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog post. Next month, my favorite photographer, Katelyn James, is having a workshop, “The Workshop Experience” where she’ll be sharing with us some tips on how to grow our business, take amazing photos, and help us move our businesses on to the next level. Katelyn, being the sweetest and most unselfish person I know (I say I know because I literally feel like I stalk her blog a million times a day and I feel like we’re BFFs) is giving away a free seat to her workshop, which I think is simply amazing and thoughtful. She wants to hear OUR story and how we got into photography. 

This workshop would mean the world to me, not only because it will help my business grow tremendously but I would get to learn from a photographer who is eager to share her knowledge in order to help another photographer succeed. You have no idea how valuable that is in our field. All we do is wish and pray for some photographer to take us under their wing and show us the ropes. When I first started taking pictures 2 years ago, I remember emailing an bunch of photographers in the St. Louis area asking if I could second shoot weddings (for free) or even just be an assistant for the day and nobody ever emailed me back. It was hurtful in a way that nobody trusted me enough to take their knowledge and flow it into my own business. It’s a cut throat business to most, but Katelyn sees it as an opportunity to network and an opportunity for photographers to grow. I wish most photographers in my area were like her and were willing to give me a chance. We’re all unique in our own way so there’s no need to keep secrets. Since nobody was willing to give advice and college courses just weren’t an option, Google has been my lifesaver, along with YouTube tutorials. I always say, “I Googled my way into photography” as a joke but it’s really the truth. I spent many hours sitting at home reading blogs and watching videos on how to get light to work for my photos and how to achieve a certain look. Google and YouTube are great but I want to take my business to the next level. If I get this opportunity to go to the workshop and get hands-on training from Katelyn … well that would be a dream come true!

I hope you all read this and get a sense for why I’m doing why I’m doing. I’m not just a girl making some extra cash on the evenings and weekends. I really take photography seriously and see it becoming a full time career sometime in my future. Right now I have the best of both worlds. Graphic designer by day, photographer by night/weekend. 

It all started with a girl who simply wanted to take more pictures of her great grandmother... and the rest is history!

06 February 2012

Weekend Trip to Chicago

I love Chicago! It's such a beautiful city and Lacey, one of my best friends, lives there so I go visit as much as I can. The thing is, I realized I had never been to Chicago in the winter. Can't believe I was one of those crazy people who wanted to travel to the "Windy City" in the winter. Honestly, it wasn't that cold but it was a mild winter day compared to most. I was hoping for snow but was disappointed right when I stepped off the train and noticed there was none. Chicago in the winter WITHOUT snow???? Snow would have made for pretty pictures.

Lacey wanted me to come up and take pictures for her, so that she could paint some scenes and maybe sell some prints. Of course I said yes, because what photographer declines taking pictures! It's kind of a silly question. Somehow, every time I come up, we never stay on track on what we plan to do. We usually end up shopping a lot and watching old episodes of Will & Grace. This time we actually stuck to our plan. We walked around for hours and finally she looked at me and was like "are we done?" We were both totally worn out and hardly spoke a word the whole way back to her apartment. You know you had a good time with a couple of girls have nothing to say because they are tired LOL.

Anyways, I'll stop rambling so you can see Chicago through my eyes...

 The bean!

Had to get a self portrait in the bean LOL.

 Ice skating in Millenium Park.

 Smile Lacey!
 My favorite place to shop! Michigan Avenue.