Oct 2, 2015

Life Is Too Short Not to

Published in Personal
As the leaves change and the colors of autumn spill over everything, I think about my friend Kevin who passed away 10 years ago today. It's amazing the impact people can have on our lives for however long they were in them. Kevin was one of the funniest people I knew, and after spending time with him my cheeks would hurt from smiling so much. He had one of happiness kindest hearts and was someone who just loved people and lived life whole heartedly.  
I will never forget, on a few occasions Kevin told me not to take myself so seriously. When he said this it kind of caught me off guard. What was he talking about?! No one had ever said that to me before but it was exactly what I needed to be told. I was in college at the time working so hard day and night to get the highest grades I possibly could, sometimes at the sacrifice of everything else in my life. Lets be honest, at times I was a total nerd and spent more time in the library then I even want to admit. I would devote myself to extra credit projects, internships, and striving for academic excellence. I thought I was making the most out of college. Kevin reminded me that life was short and I needed to enjoy it. I needed to not take myself and what I was doing so seriously and not let the little things constantly stress me out. I needed to take time to enjoy life and experiences outside of sitting inside the library. It was funny to hear it from him. Because when I was a freshman, my parents had the very same conversation with me. While most parents were probably worried about their child partying and staying out all night, mine wanted me to do well but to have fun at the same time. To go to concerts, to take roadtrips with my roomates, to meet lots of new people. But hearing it from Kevin was different. Because Kevin had a happiness and a love of life that I was envious of. Truly. He loved and lived whole heartedly, never taking a single day for granted. In the time I knew Kevin, he changed my life and made me a better person. I will be forever grateful for the blessing Kevin was in my life. 
As the golden leaves begin to fall from the trees, it's just about this time of year where I need that reminder from Kevin more then ever. With wedding season winding down and the whirlwind of the holidays and preparing for next year beginning, I need to not take myself too seriously and worry about tomorrow. To let go of the mistakes and hiccups of this year and to refocus on what is really important as I look to the next. 
Yesterday one of my goals was to play with Remington without Greyson - to turn my phone off and just give that sweet pup my undivided attention. When my grandparents arrived I made an extra cup of coffee, put on my rain boots and took in the fresh air. I know, it may seem like a simple goal. But when I am swamped with a To Do list a mile long and have been working at a pace of 100 miles an hour, taking a break is something I often forget about or choose to forgo. But not yesterday. I heard Kevin's voice reminding me that the work will be there when I get back and that life is too short not to.
Life Is Too Short Not to
Inn At Longshore Wedding | Nina & Brian
Sep 29, 2015

Inn At Longshore Wedding | Nina & Brian

Published in Weddings
When it comes to weddings, there are a lot of parts that are my favorite. But my faaaaavorite favorite part of a wedding day? Well it's not something that can be planned for. It can't be prepped, planned or practiced. When they will happen and what it will entail isn't known until its already happening... which is why as the photographers, we stay in the moment ready to document them when they take place... They are priceless gems. 
My favorite part of a wedding are those sweet candid moments - filled to the brim with authenticity and bursting at the seems with beauty. They are like shooting stars across a sky, taking your breath away and leaving you moved by their unique beauty. Every sweet candid moment is different from any other, but leaves this mark on your heart and a lucky feeling in your soul that you, YOU were there to witness it. 
This is my favorite part of the wedding day - those sweet candid moments. And when I think about Nina and Brian's wedding, it was like a bright starry night filled with shooting stars leaving their mark across the sky. There were so many beautiful sweet moments throughout their celebration, from beginning to end. One of them was when Brian surprised Nina with a handwritten letter in the morning. It was written on that old school college ruled lined paper and folded up, just like the notes that we all used to pass in class in middle school. How sweet is that?! There were pages and pages of handwritten words and sentences - written in script mind you - that filled the pages and Nina's eyes with tears of happiness and love. All those watching her read this note didn't know a word Brian wrote, but watching Nina wipe away tears, felt every.single.one.  
Nina & Brian - Thank you for choosing us to be part of your beautiful day and capture all of those sweet shooting star moments! We are so happy for you two and little Miss Scarlett! You are such a very special couple that we just adore!
Sep 24, 2015

For Photogs: Being 10 Steps Ahead

Published in For Photogs
When I was in advertising one of the most important things I quickly learned I need to be was proactive. With my clients, with my boss, and with the everyday challanges I could foresee coming. Being 20 steps behind and reactive to the challanges I should have seen coming definitely made my 9-5 so much harder. When I began second and third shooting with other photographers this was a skill that not only came in handy, but was necessary... Like jelly to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you just have to have it. Shooting with another photographer without being ahead of the game just didn't work. I needed to know where we were on the timeline, what location we were going to next, what equipment the photographer needed, what bags needed to be packed, what lights would be used next, and the list goes on....  
Now being the lead photographer, I rely on Chris to proactively help me with what I will need and I can focus on being proactive in a different way. Having a second photographer that has my back, knows my train of thought along with my half sentences and weird hand gestures, and is working with me towards a common goal allows me to focus on the present and future. It's kind of like sailing a ship. Because I am not focused on pulling in the sails and making sure the ropes are organized, I can look forward to what is coming in the water ahead and prepare. Being proactive on a wedding day is crucial and definitely helps the day run more smoothly. 
One example of being proactive is knowing exactly where the bride is going to get ready and making sure that spot is ready before she is ready to get dressed. Sometimes the room where the bride is getting ready has suitcases all over and champagne glasses lining the window sill where the amazing light is you would like her to stand by. Once I am done capturing her makeup getting done, details, and her bridesmaids interacting I make sure that the space where I want her to be while she gets in her dress is clear and tidy. This way as soon as she is ready I can bring her to the spot and not waste any time. Being ahead of the game can help prevent time from being wasted cleaning up while the bride waits on you, having to shoot in a place that is not ideal because its the only clean spot, and you having to get creative and crop out certain items laying on the floor as you photograph her getting ready. Being proactive like this does take extra effort, but for me it is totally worth it. And totally worth not having the stress of feeling out of control and being reactive to every hiccup. 
On a wedding day, more often then not, something does not go as planned. Whether things are running late, the family doesn't all show up to the family photo location, the buses are behind, or the weather is not ideal. You can plan out every last detail, but it doest always work out that way. This is when being a proactive and problem solving photographer is so important. Seeing and thinking about the implications of a curve ball further in advance can help you come up with another solution and adjust the game plan. That way when the ball comes, you can seamlessly have planned for it or present your couple with another solution without them having to stress or think about what to do. And again, having a second photographer or assistant who is proactively thinking along side you is BEYOND helpful. 
So here's to being 10 steps ahead of the game... To knowing what's next and seeing those potential curveballs, hiccups, and your couple's needs in advance and planning accordingly.
For Photogs: Being 10 Steps Ahead
Fear Gave Way
Sep 22, 2015

Fear Gave Way

Published in Personal
I remember like it was yesterday. It was two years ago this month and I was six months pregnant with our son. I was sitting in our house at my desk and called my mom with a wave of emotion I was finding it hard to sail through. The reality of how our lives were going to change with a baby on the way was so immeasurably exciting, and yet had become totally overwhelming at the same time. I poured my heart out to my mom and confessed that I was scared. I didn't know what being parents and taking care of a newborn was really going to be like in the day in and day out. I didn't know how I was going to juggle and manage everything. To do all this. Raising a child, running a business, travelling for weddings, my other commitments, a house all at once. I was going to have to figure out how to rock the whole momprenuer thing, and soon. I was quickly approaching a huge heaping helping of "unknown" and I was honestly scared.  
But I remember the sweet words my mom spoke on that phone call were like chicken noodle soup for my heart and exactly what I needed to hear... "Trust the process. Take it one day at a time and do the best you can. Be all there in each moment, giving it everything you got and just learn as you go. You and Chris will figure it out together and one day you will look back and remember this phone call and smile. You can do more then you think you are capable of."  
She was right. About all of it. I think back and remember that call and how overwhelmed and frightened I truly was deep down. And I can smile now. Not because those feelings weren't founded in reality. Not because I was foolish to feel that way. And not because those feelings ever really goes away completely. But because that overwhelming fear that can sneak up on all of us and cripple us, was replaced with a bold bravery. For my son. For our family. For my business. For myself.  
I chose to be brave. 
In those months leading up to the biggest change of our lives and now, I have a bravery to trust the process and a confidence that I will learn as I go. To try my best to take it moment by moment and be fully present in each of them. To know that I won't always know what to do, but that I have a husband, family and an amazing group of friends that have my back and are always there encouraging me. To remind me that I got this. I have decided over and over again to bravely embrace that it will be messy and imperfect, but that that's part of it. And that's okay. I have to choose daily to let grace flood over my worry and striving for perfection and leave peace and confidence in its wake. 
More often then not, with any change and uncertainty in our lives comes some level of fear. But be bold my sweet friend, and let fear give way to that bravery that has gotten you this far.
Sep 18, 2015

Featured: Wedding Chicks | Boho Chic Wedding

Published in Features
One of the things I absolutely love most about stylized shoots is the opportunity to collaborate with amazingly talented creatives. Watching them do their craft is so inspiring... You can see their passion for what they do as their ideas flow and take shape. They are operating in their sweet spot and wheelhouse, letting their creativity and imagination get the best of them. Witnessing this is pure magic.  
This Bohemian Persian wedding stylized shoot was filled to the brim with these kinds of awesome vendors - ones that are whole heartedly passionate about their craft and are always looking to push the creative envelope. They adapt to curve balls and take on challenges head first, seeing them as opportunities to grow and shine. These kinds of creatives are the ones you want to dream, create and inspire with. 
What an honor it was to collaborate with these amazing folks and photograph their work! So excited to have this stylized wedding featured on the fabulous Wedding Chicks today! To see the full feature and check out more photos from this shoot, feel free to CLICK HERE. A huge thanks to this amazing team: 
Wedding Planner/Styling: Art of Perfection Events 
Florist: Carrie Wilcox Floral Design 
Bridal Design & Styling: Sarah Jassir 
Invitations & Paper goods: Roseville Designs 
Calligraphy: Meme Davis 
Cake & Cupcakes: City Sweets 
Hair: Greg & Tony Ouidad Salon 
Makeup: Amir Godni Makeup Specialist 
Brides Acessories: Teeara Headpieces 
Bridesmaid's Dresses: Adrianna Papell 
Groom's Attire: Kenneth Cole & Saks Fifth Avenue 
Catering: Massimo's Ristorante Catering 
Photography: Ashley Therese Photography
Featured: Wedding Chicks | Boho Chic Wedding
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