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Aug 27, 2015

My Fur Baby

Published in Personal
In honor of National Dog Day yesterday, I wanted to post this recent photo of our sweet Remington! So many people have asked how Remington is adjusting to now having a very mobile, interactive, and energetic toddler in the house. To be honest, he is loving having a little shadow follow him around more then I thought he would! I mean whats not to love about having someone who conveniently drops yummy food on the floor for you every time they eat, always makes sure you have your bone and/or stuffed animal next to you wherever you are, thinks your tail wagging is the funniest thing since sliced bread and provides piles of clean warm laundry to nap on?! Yup, Remington certainly has it made! 
 
Remington is the sweetest, cutest, most affectionate dog I have ever met and he blesses our family everyday! He continues to remind me to have patience in every situation, love unconditionally, make people feel like they are the most important person in the room, look for the best in people and enjoy the little things that fill my days. Oh, and nap in the sun whenever the afternoon allows. Love our fur baby Remington!
My Fur Baby
Toxic Comparisons
Aug 18, 2015

Toxic Comparisons

Published in Personal
As much as we may not like to admit it, we all compare ourselves to others at some point or another. Our competitive nature and desire to measure up can come through in all areas of our lives. Being a photographer and business owner, I am no exception to this tendency. Especially when I was in my first year of business... I was insecure in my work and talent and wasn't 100% confident in my business and the direction I wanted to take it.  
 
When I started my business, there were so many folks I looked up to in the industry that truly inspired me. Their work, their story, their writing style, their brand. With my breakfast and cup of coffee, I would religiously read their blog every morning and swoon over the photos they posted from the latest wedding they photographed. I would look at the way they used light and shot from different angles and challenged myself to continually improve and become better. However, something eventually changed. I found that these very people that used to inspire me were now a huge source of self criticism through no fault but my own. Instead of being a source of inspiration, they soon became a source of self-criticism and doubt. I found I was comparing myself to them and constantly found myself falling short. Even though I knew they had more experience and an established brand, after my daily blog reading I felt more depressed then inspired. I am never going to be where they are. They are so much better then me. I am not growing or getting better. I am never going to book the kind of weddings they do or be able to charge what they do. 
 
I was becoming disheartened and bitter by the very people that used to inspire me by my own doing. I felt myself having these destructive comparisons and knew I needed to do something about it. I was at such a vulnerable stage in my business these thoughts could have ruined my creative spirit and desire to grow my business and pursue my dream. So just like that, I stopped. I stopped reading other photographers' blogs all together. I stopped looking at other folks work that used to inspire me. I stopped going online looking for inspiration. I needed to refocus. I focused on why I was a wedding photographer in the first place. I wasn't doing this to be a better photographer then so and so or have more amazing weddings then X Photography. The core of my why was and is about connecting with my couples in a real and meaningful way and capturing what was unique and special about them. I read through thank you cards from past clients and called to check in on some of my brides to see how their planning was going. I focused on the important relationships and gave myself photographic challenges to help myself grow as an artist. 
 
This was a turning point in my business. Instead of focusing outward, I focused inward... On myself, my couples, my why and my work... my business, however new it may have been. It wasn't until months later when I was in a much better place that I went back to occasionally reading photographers' blogs again and flip through industry magazines. They were now a source of inspiration again for me instead of a place to criticize myself and compare. I could and would cheer on other photographers and route for them as they travelled along their journey and accomplished great things! 
 
So for those of you that feel yourself getting caught up in the comparisons, you aren't alone. I was there. The comparisons can be toxic and self destructive. But it's your decision to let it continue or not. Some may feel like they just need to unplug for a while like I did and some may need to do something else. Whatever you decide, realizing the need for change and then doing something about it is a beautiful and sometimes very necessary thing!
Aug 6, 2015

Nine Thousand Missed Shots

Published in Personal
The TV was on in the next room, providing the perfect distraction while doing laundry. It was more like white noise in the background, but for whatever reason, I began listening right as the talk show host mentioned Michael Jordan. I heard what he was saying about Michael Jordan clear as a bell. His words just floated in the room and their reminder rung in my heart. Said to be the greatest player of all time, the host wasn't talking about Michael's accomplishments. He wasn't talking about all of the records he has broken, championships he has won, and trophies he has raised into the air in victory. No, the host was talking about all Michael has failed to do - his losses, game missing shots, and all the games he didn't win.  
 
But in Michael's own words, this is why he succeeds. Michael embraces his losing, and doesn't let it prevent him from trying again. Missing what would have been 5 game winning shots in a row, doesn't stop him from trying for that winning shot in the 6th game. His losses and failure don't define him. Not his future plans, or his present opportunities. Where other's may have thrown in the towel or be taken over by the fear of failure, Michael plays fearlessly. He is confident in his ability and pushes forward where others may have given up.  
 
What the talk show host couldn't say was that Michael didn't try. He couldn't say Michael never took shots. Michael wasn't an average player who rarely missed a shot, but rarely took a shoot. He was an extraordinary player who succeeded because he kept trying time and time again, never giving up. Michael once said, "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." 
 
Here's to letting the beauty of the losses and failures shine through and fuel trying again. And again after that. Here's to having victory because we TRIED.
Nine Thousand Missed Shots
A Heartfelt Answer Over Fettuccine
Jul 15, 2015

A Heartfelt Answer Over Fettuccine

Published in Personal
We were recently out to dinner with family friends of my parents enjoying a nice meal and time catching up. Somewhere between shrimp cocktail and the fettuccine the friend looked across the table and leaning forward said, "So you're a photographer, but what makes you stand out and people book you?" 
 
Weren't we just talking about football? What happen to chatting about the recent stormy weather or the latest best seller?! His out of the blue loaded question kind of caught me off guard and I had literally just taken another bite of my bread. I gulped and could feel the dry sourdough travel all the way until it hit my stomach. And before I could really think or second guess, I answered him from my heart... Well, I'd say the biggest thing that makes our photography different is... US. We connect with our couples and they're drawn to the way Chris and I see their unique love and capture it. They have been through the ebb and flow of life, and yet have found true love like Chris and I have. Their stories are truly beautiful and never cease to inspire us... Silence. All 12 people at the table were quiet and my answer was just hanging there. I wanted to nudge Chris under the table to save me and make my answer somehow sound complex and profound, but there it was. I could hear the silent buzzer go off. EHHH: wrong answer. Clearly not satisfied with my answer, he placed his fork down and shifting in his chair replied, "Yes, but what do you do that makes them want YOU to capture their wedding?" Sitting up straighter, with a small smile I replied, We are authentic and so is our photography. We spend time getting to know our couples, their lives and their love stories. Chris and I work hard, care for our couples, and love what we do and I think and hope that shows... Maybe he was looking for a less emotional answer and one that was more strategic or technical. I think he was looking for me to say we use a specialty camera, tons of secret equipment or lots of complex photoshop techniques that no one else knows how to do, but the simple fact is we don't. We use the same cameras many professional wedding photographers use and there is nothing special about my flash over anyone else's. It's how we connect, see, and capture things. WE are the biggest and truly differentiating factor between us and any other photographer. It's as complex and simple as that. 
 
I looked at Chris and as the conversations began to resume around the table on other topics, he gave me a quiet smile and nod. His nod had, YOU GO GIRL written all over it, or it least that's how I interpreted it. I smiled and began to twirl another bite of fettuccine around my fork, confident that whether or not it was the answer he was looking for, I had given him my honest from-the-heart answer.
Jul 8, 2015

Written In The Details

Published in Personal
I love family reunions, birthdays, the wide ocean, the graduations, the hustle and bustle of NYC, the beginnings and ends of the big things... The BIG picture. Sometimes I get caught up in the big picture - the year after this one, the meetings and appointments, the overall game plan, all of the people, the schedule for next week, the 5 year goal, the planning of trips. 
 
However, life is written so strongly in the details. In the goose bumps, Greyson's fingerprints on the car window, steam from the coffee mug, changing of the leaves on my favorite tree, the squeeze of a hand, a hug from my mom, the jumping of rain drops as they reach the puddles on the ground, hearing the quiet click of Chris' camera next to me as we capture a couple's first dance, the welling up of tears in a new mother's eyes as she feels pure joy holding her son, the wrinkles on my grandma's hands as she makes her famous meatballs, wet nose puppy kisses... Sometimes we have to slow down to notice and embrace the details within the big picture. 
 
Cause let's be honest, we all need that beautiful balance: to appreciate life as a whole in its months and years, as well as in the seconds and details that can cause it to change and really make you feel alive and the fragility of life.
Written In The Details
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