Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To learn and to grow

I've had a few people ask me questions about how and why I started my business.  What I do to stay afloat, and other questions.  There are times where I even question myself on why I am doing this, and what about it keeps me going.  If you would have told me 5 years ago that this would have been my life, I would not have believe you.  But alas, here it is, and I am loving every single minute of it.

Here are a few things that I have learned along the way that helped me grow as a person, a business owner and as a photographer.

1-Equipment does not make the photographer or the photo. I know that this may be hard to believe, but it is true.  You can give a monkey a Canon 5D, and the best lens on the market, and the picture will still come out crappy since the monkey does not know what it is doing.  Now if the monkey does by chance take an awesome picture, then that is a different story entirely.  The first thing you must do, is to know and study your equipment and master it.  Go out and shoot in all the modes on the camera, especially in manual mode.  Whether you are self taught or went to school for photography, nothing beats continuous shooting and learning from your mistakes.  You make the photograph great, not the camera.

In the beginning, when I first started, I was told by another professional photographer that unless I had spent a certain amount on gear then I would never be a good photographer.  Yes, I was hurt, because at the time I didn't know if this was constructive criticism or just a personal blow, but I took that advice, and did what I could with the gear I had.  My very first solo wedding was shot with a Canon Rebel Xti.  After a while, I moved up to a Canon 50D, and now I am shooting with a Canon 5d Mk II.  And I will tell you this, my first wedding, the wedding that was shot with that old Canon Rebel Xti, those images are actually still up on my website.

2-Expect negativity. It sucks to say it, but it's true.  If you expect negativity and doubt from others, it will lessen the blow when it actually happens.  And when or if it does happen, you already have the strength to get up and move forward.  As long as you can accept that there will be those whom no matter what, will try to doubt you and see you fall, then you already have the upper hand.  Be strong, embrace the negativity and move on to more things positive.

3-Confidence. I have always been a naturally outgoing person, and with that, some people say that I exude a confident attitude.  Yes, there are times where I can be a bit shy, but in the end I know that if I am not confident in my own work, then no one will be.  Who wants to hire a photographer who is not confident within themselves and the work they produce?  No one, that's who.  I love the work that I produce, I love the couples that I work with.  I know my style, I know my market, and I am confident in what my finished product is.

4-Support. This may not apply to everyone, but it definitely applies to me.  If I did not have the support I had, I problem would have gave up a long time ago. My husband, who is my biggest supporter is probably the sole reason why I am able to continue to do this.  He was the one who told me that if I didn't jump in and do this, then I never would. And he was right. His push, his support, made this happen.

5-It's not all sunshine and rainbows. Plain and simple, it's not.  Yes it may seem like photographing one wedding each weekend is all fun, and I have a lot of time on my hands, the truth is, it isn't.  Yes, weddings are fun. I live for weddings.  But rarely does one see what goes on after a wedding.  Time. What time?  I spend hours upon hours editing.  I do all of my marketing and social media myself.  Any sort of logo or design you see on my photos, it is me.  Running a business is hard, running a business by yourself is even harder.  But I knew this when going in (hooray for being a business major!), and even with its hardships, I wouldn't trade it.

Be prepared to accept the reality of being a full time photographer.  Your income depends on how many bookings you get and what you charge.  You essentially depend on other people to survive.  If I have no weddings, I have no income. Simple as that.  Accept that not all weddings run smoothly.  Also, and this is the big one...Accept that there are some things that you just cannot control.  Understand that you give up control, and you have to work with what you have.  Whether it is a late wedding, drunk groomsmen, camera breaking at the wedding, or rain.  You have to think quick and not miss a single moment.

And in closing, love what you do and love your work.  If you look at this as job, then it becomes a job, and most people don't like their jobs.  There have been times where I have been frustrated beyond belief, but I still love what I do. And that love has gotten me through the frustrations.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

All the small things

So cakes are always an awesome thing at weddings.  They are pretty, delicious filled, calorie packing things of goodness.  Cupcakes, those are great too.  But my new obsession for weddings cakes.  I don't know why, but these tiny,sugar filled miniature models are just so cute!  Depending on how many guests you have and the theme of your wedding, mini-wedding cakes can definitely add an extra personalized flair to your wedding reception.

I spent a few minutes perusing the web, and found a bunch of images of mini-cakes for some inspiration.  Take a look!

Just do a quick search on Google and you will find tons of inspiration!

I'm hoping to set up a stylized shoot featuring some beautiful mini cakes later on in the fall.
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Sunday, July 24, 2011


If you don't know by now, I am obsessed with shoes.  Grant it, I can barely walk comfortably in anything above a 3 inch heel.  And admittedly, being that I am 5'10" I tend to look like a giant once I put on heels, but I love shoes.  My favorite?  Peep toe pumps.  They just scream retro to me!  When it comes to weddings, I can honestly say that NONE of my brides this year have worn white shoes, they all had a splash of color to them, which in my personal opinion is awesome.

And thanks to the awesome Polyvore website, here are some styles of shoes that I absolutely adore for weddings (and for fabulous outings also!)

Christian Louboutin high heel pumps
$825 -

Stiletto shoes
£695 -

Miu Miu leather peep toe pumps
$670 -

Prada peep toe pumps
£495 -

Badgley mischka shoes
$215 -

Heeled sandals
$200 -

Flavia Stoian heel pumps
€180 -

High heel sandals
$160 -

Bridal pumps
$89 -

Bridal pumps
$89 -

Qupid platform shoes
$25 -

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Things I Love

It's time for another rendition of things I love.  Since I am now on my official maternity break, many of my blog posts will be thoughts and such, with some images strewn in between.  I have made a promise to myself to document my family and life more, as well as random pictures.  Years ago, I used to just snap away at things I found interesting, so I plan on getting back to that.

So, in honor of this weather, I present to you "Things I Love-The Hot List".

The pool-In this weather, the pool is my sanctuary.  Unfortunately, this weather also makes it too unbearable for me to even walk to the pool.  You know whats worse?  I try to take cold showers in my bathing suit, and the shower water isn't even cold.  It's lukewarm.

Smoothies, Slushies, Milkshakes-Pretty much anything made of ice cold goodness and sugar is making my entire week right now.  Luckily, my husband purchased one of those old style Hamilton Beach milkshake makers for me, and it has definitely been getting a workout.

Air Conditioning-This is a love and hate relationship.  Of course I love air conditioning, but right now, for the past week our AC has been on the fritz. It works, then it dies. Maintenance has been out twice.  They are actually outside right now trying to fix this issue.  If it is not fixed, there will be fury!

My husband-Of course I can't make a list of things I love without him.  This is the man who while I am napping rubs cold water on me to keep my cool. And sets up the fan directly on me when the AC is out and suffers the heat.  He also takes me to the mall so I can get the relief of air conditioning and smoothies at the same time, even though he hates the mall.
I love him!
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Taking time off

Yesterday was my last wedding until October.  Being that I am due in about 4 weeks, I am now taking some much needed time off before the baby comes.  If you thought photography was hard on your body, you should try doing it while nine months pregnant!  But I do credit shooting weddings in helping me stay active during this pregnancy.  With a wedding close to every weekend, I have been quite active, and my doctor says that is a great thing.   I do feel bad though, I had couples contact me for shooting their weddings during the months of August and September, and I had to turn them down, which is something that always breaks my heart.  Especially when they say how they have been looking for someone with the same personality as them, and how much fun I am, and then I am all sad.

So, what do I "plan" to do before the baby arrives?  Notice I put plan in quotations because I am not one to stick to my own plans typically.  First, I plan to get some serious nesting done. Cleaning and throwing things away!  The mothering instinct is now stronger than it has ever been.  I also plan to get a lot of work for my business done.  New marketing and advertising and such, all things to get me ready for the 2012 wedding season!  I will still be doing family portraits and maternity and babies, but my website will focus directly on weddings, and the portrait site will be re-launched pretty soon.

And of course when baby arrives, I plan to photograph her, a lot.  I really do wish I could have my birth professionally photographed, so I can have one of those amazing birthing videos to look back on....but, we will see about that.  I can say that I am very excited for my little bean to get here.

In the meantime, I have this last wedding to edit, and then I get to, hold on...wait for it...relax! Wow, that's something that I haven't done in ages!  Well relax being a relative term because i'm always up and about doing something, and with a newborn baby, I don't think "relax" will even be a part of my vocabulary anymore.  Then of course, I have a wedding coming up in October, so that should give me plenty of time to "relax".

Till next time folks.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Heather & Mike's Wilmington Wedding at Rockwood Park

They met at a show that a mutual friend was in.  After the show, they went to the party and he thought she was cute, so he asked the mutual friend to hook them up.  They agreed not to continue dating while he want to college, but love has a way of bringing two people back together.  They kept in touch during college while they went to different schools (all thanks to AOL instant messenger!),and during her time studying abroad in the UK, she wished he was there because she knew he would have had a good time.

Heather and Mike are amazing and absolutely adorable.  Come to think of it, I know quite a lot of Heathers and this is the third one that I have photographed.  But now getting back to the main subject.  When I met them, I knew that I would have a great time photographing their wedding.  They like zombies, books, and animals.  Oh, and Dr. Who.  They won major points on that one.

The day started with Heather getting ready upstairs at the Rockwood Carriage House, which is absolutely beautiful.  Her gown...makes me swoon.

Once Heather was ready, it was time for a toast!  She gathered her bridal party (after spending about 20 minutes of tracking them down since one by one they kept leaving then returning), including her bridedude.  (I love the concept of a bridedude).  Yes, there were some tears shed.

Next, we had plenty of time before the ceremony. Plenty.  I would say we had about an hour and a half, so we headed down to the gardens to do their first look.  I cannot stress enough how amazing it is to do a first look. It's private, intimate, tender, and gives you time to not have to rush around trying to squeeze in your wedding photos.  The results,  amazing, relaxed photos.

It's almost watching a lioness stalking her prey.  Did I mention the 22 bug bites on my legs from photographing this?  Ah, the causalities of photographing an epic couple.

After their first look, we walked around (and sort of got lost in a small garden), and did their wedding photos.  Can I just say how much I love them for being so awesome and super adorable!

How gorgeous is she? And that dress? LOVE it.  It's Mon Cheri Bridal, and I love, love, love it!

According to a comment left on my Facebook page, I used guerrilla war tactics to capture the next photo.  It is gorgeous, if I do say so myself.

I love a bride who is not afraid to sit in the grass for pictures! Heather, I love you!

Then we threw in the wedding party for some fun pictures.  Yes, it was hot, but they trooped through it.  Especially with the sun playing peek-a-boo the entire day.  First hiding behind a cloud giving us temporary relief, then coming back out and blasting us with it's evil rays of light!

I feel kind of bad that we didn't have a parasol for the bridedude.  But the jazzhands totally make up for it.

Now...onto the details of the wedding.  They were amazing! The bride hand folded a ton of paper cranes, and made gorgeous paper hearts that adorned the table and the venue.

Oh, and check out the cake! The titles will make you laugh.  The cake itself, was amazing! Three different flavors!

The entire wedding was filled with laughter, here is a shot from their first dance.

And towards the end of the night we headed outside for a couple more shots, and the big family tradition, which included a drink called an "apple pie"

Many thanks again to Heather and Mike for being so great, and letting me be a part of their amazing day.  Even at 9 months pregnant, I am still trooping!  (The grapes and cheese were yummy by the way).  And to both of their families who are so much fun!  I wish you two many years of happiness, fun, and if the zombies invade...survival!
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Choosing to do a First Look

So what is this "first look" craze that so many photographers and couples are talking about?  Well to simply put it, the first look is time set aside for the bride and groom to see each other (while being photographed), and their reactions.  It really is a sweet and magical intimate time.  I know that most go for tradition, but there is something breathtaking about that first moment where the groom turns around and sees his bride for the first time before anyone else does.  The chemistry that happens between the couple is absolutely priceless, and the images...well, they speak for themselves.  These are unique images that differ from when the groom sees his bride walking down the aisle.  Trust me, they will make your heart skip.

Another reason for opting for a first look is that you can get your wedding photos done before the ceremony without having to rush between the ceremony and reception.  The cocktail hour is typically when most of the formal and family portraits are done, and this is usually the most stressful.  Trying to pack in the photos of the wedding party, the parents, grandparents and other family members, in addition to still getting the shots of the bride and groom takes time.  Even the most proficient photographer values time.  Doing a first look before the ceremony allows the bride and groom to see each other, have a special moment photographed, and have the time to relax before the ceremony all while being photographed.  This way, the couple can go on and enjoy their cocktail hour or do the receiving line after the ceremony without worrying about time.

I love when my couples go for a first look.  Just take a look at Heather and Michaels' first look (whose wedding which is yet to be blogged) from this Sunday.

His reaction is priceless, and the anticipation of seeing her is just amazing.  After the first look we had a lot of time to walk around the venue and do their wedding photos, which was great.  I cannot stress enough how much more happier and more relaxed a couple is when they are not pushed for time.

Now, I will of course be supportive in whatever my clients choose, but speaking from experience, a first look is the way to go!
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Things I Love...(in no particular order of course)

Summer.  I absolutely adore it.  Maybe because I was born in the summer (June 24th), but it is definitely my favorite season of the year.  The days are warmer and longer, the pools are open, and here in tiny old Delaware, there are a bunch of things to do.  On Monday I will be going to a carnival to devour more funnel cake!  Summer also brings one of my favorite events that I look forward to each and every year for the past 6 years...THE RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL!!!  Yes, I know it may seem weird to dress up in renaissance fashion, and parade around, but it seriously one of my most favorite things in the world to do.  Ever since my husband first introduced me to it back in 2005, I have been hooked.  I have never missed an opening day, and up until last year, never missed a closing day.  This year is going to be super special because I will have my baby with me!  She will be a little pirate, in her little pram (yes we actually have a pram) that will be decorated to look somewhat piratical.  I can't wait!

The series "True Blood".  Need I say more?  I never really got into the whole Twilight craze.  The concept of vampires that sparkle in the daylight and all the teen love angst that goes along with it didn't do it for me.  Perhaps it's because my husband and probably 90% of my social group are gamers, and there is a LARP (live action role play) that revolves around vampires, so I kind of read up on the basics of vampires according to the gaming systems in which most of the current vampire books/series/movies base themselves off of.  But seriously, Bill Compton...swoon.

My husband.  Seriously, he rocks beyond anything I have ever known.  I have been with him going on 7 years and we have been married for over 2, and each day has been epic.  He has introduced me to so many new things (including the ren fair), and just has always had my back and supported me in everything.  Even when I doubt myself, he is the one pushing for me.  He's like my own little boxing coach from Rocky, and he completes it by saying "You're a bum Rock!".  If you have watched the movie, you know what I am talking about. In fact, if it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't have had the confidence to leave my previous job and jump into photography full time.

Pizza. I love it. Hands down. I was born and raised in New York City.  Enough said. I love pizza.

Fashion from the 1920's-1950's.  In no way am I fashion snob.  Yes I sew, but the only things I sew are clothing from the 20's-50's, Victorian clothing, and Renaissance clothing.  Modern stuff, I just buy.  But I find something amazing in the fact that women from the 1950's and such took so much pride in looking good.  Not to say that women today don't look good.  But seriously,  everything from the heels to the pantyhose, garterbelts, big circle dresses with petticoats, gloves, hats, pearls, it just entrances me.  If I ever struck the powerball, I would have a full 50's wardrobe, but realistically it takes a lot of work to pull those looks off on a daily basis.  Especially the hair!  Every once in a while I will bust out some victory rolls, throw on a circle skirt, complete with gloves, a little purse and hat, but it takes a lot!

Dr. Who.  One of my favorite tv series of all time.  It's about an alien (who looks like a human) who travels through time and space in his space ship, which looks like a phone box.  The ship is called the TARDIS, and it is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.  There is a saying, "You never forget your first Doctor".  And that is so true!  My first Doctor was the 10th Doctor, David Tennant. Although there is a new Doctor in place, Matt Smith, the show is still amazing!

And that is it for this weeks "THINGS I LOVE!"  Come back next time!
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Little Things

What makes me happy?  Almost everything.  I am a very simple person to please, and I suppose that is why I am almost always happy.  Sure I have my down days, but all it takes is something simple and my frown gets turned upside down!

For instance, my birthday.  I love receiving balloons and cake.  I suppose I am a 5 year old trapped in a 25 year old's body, but balloons make me happy.  This past birthday (June 24), my husband set it up so that at the time of my birth (1:32a.m.) at our weekly Denny's getup with our friends, he walked in with a cake that had Disney princesses and balloons for me.  I was VERY surprised, but very, very happy.  There was also a huge card signed by the "coffee crew" as we call ourselves.  The best thing?  When you open the card, it plays the chicken dance...which is another thing that I love.

I also love when my husband does little sweet things.  Like making me grilled cheese sandwiches (which have been a staple of my pregnancy diet) or coming home with my favorite candy.  On July 4th, we went to see the fireworks with friends.  We walked a few blocks away from our friends house to a field, and of course after a few minutes of standing, I had to squat, since I didn't bring the blanket.  He walked back to the car (and missed the first few fireworks) to get the blankets for me so I can lay down in the grass.  We then watched the fireworks as I laid across his lap.

Pictures also make me happy...duh.  I am a photographer, that is expected.  But I find it amazing that before I became a full time professional photographer, I photographed everything.  Every outing, every trip, basically anytime I left the house, I had my camera.   Now, I take my camera, but I barely photograph anything.  I am doing a horrible job at documenting my life, and I definitely have to remedy that.  Especially being that we have a baby on the way!

So I promise to myself, that I will start photographing the little things again, the little things that make me happy.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Funny Things

My husband works a 10 hour shift doing tech support.  To pass the time, we usually email each other through out the day.  I mean hey, he works with computers and I am almost always on the computer at home, so it makes sense.  We usually start the days emails off with me saying "I love you", of course that depends on what time I choose to wake up.  (Hitting that exhausted 9th month of pregnancy).  He usually replies with "Ditto"-what Patrick Swayze said to Demi Moore in the movie "Ghosts" (I LOVE Patrick by the way!), or "I Know", as Han said to Leah when she told him she loved him.  Yes, my husband thinks he is a movie star.  Then it's the normal chatter about how is work and how I am feeling and what I plan to do today.  Somewhere along the way, he never fails to send me comics (he LOVES comics) and they usually relate to something we just talked about or things that are in our lives.  Here are a few that he has sent me that I adore.  It's his own way of making me feel super special.

Have any of you seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show?  This one is for you!

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

When inspiration (a.k.a boredom) strikes...

Yes, it is 1:11 a.m., and for some odd reason I am still awake.  After checking through my emails and latest Facebook status updates, what else is there to do?  Well, for me, I have recently discovered this awesome site called Polyvore.  Basically it's a fashion inspiration board that you create yourself.  *Insert huge squeal here*  I have been browsing through it for the past hour and am in LOVE.  How come I have never heard of this site before?

Anyway, before I get to babbling on how amazing this site is, and how it is essential for a person like me who has a bunch of images in your head but can't seem to organize them, let me show you my latest inspiration board.  This one is for weddings!
Wedding Inspiration

Phase Eight wedding dress
£375 -

Alberta Ferretti wedding gown

Jason Wu wedding dress
£2,170 -

Rachel Gilbert wedding gown
£821 -

Badgley Mischka platform heels
$127 -

La Regale slip clutch
$38 -

Bridal earrings

Pearl earrings
£20 -

Diamond ring

Diamond ring

Jacques Vert flower hair accessory
£79 -

But wait...there's more! I did one for an engagement session and maternity session also!
Spring Engagement Clothing

£70 -

Wedge heel shoes
$15 -

Isharya 18k jewelry
$165 -

Bangle bracelet

Juicy Couture heart bangle
$148 -

Melissa Odabash white straw hat
$150 -

Retro round sunglasses
$93 -

Azzedine Alaia leather belt
£820 -

Ralph lauren knitwear LIGHT BLUE
£81 -

JOHN VARVATOS Slim fit denim pant
£199 -

Rag & Bone Straw Fedora
$89 -

Bohemian Maternity

Dorothy Perkins maternity
£20 -

Western cowboy boots
$40 -

Isharya brass bracelet
$95 -

Dorothy Perkins plastic bracelet
£3 -

Modstrom shawls scarve
€30 -

And the best part is, you can click on the items and go directly to the website and order!!! Oh, how I love you Polyvore!

Enjoy! I can tell you now that I will be posting a lot more of these.  But for now, slumber finally calls!
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