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Jul

That Next Step

I know what it's like to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock for the third time in one morning. I know what its like to lay in bed staring at the ceiling contemplating if that sneeze counts as being ill and you should therefore call into work sick. I know what its like to get ready for work but the whole time think about an excuse of why you can't go. You sit in your car and give yourself a good pep talk of why you can't turn the car off and walk back inside your house. I know what its like to get up every morning and dread the day ahead. You stare at the clock at your desk all day counting down until you can leave and give yourself the treat of a coffee break at 3:00pm because you made it that far into the day without leaving. I know because I have been there.  
 
When I was stuck in that corporate 9-5 job that I swore was literally draining the life out of me, unhappy doesn't begin to describe how I felt. I couldn't imagine doing what I was doing for another week, let alone another decade. I wasn't sure how I walked down this road so far into a career that my heart wasn't in. The feelings of being deflated and defeated were all too familiar. I was unmotivated and got to the point where I felt passionless for my job. 
 
However, I also know what it's like to wake up before your alarm clock because you are so excited to get to get the day started. Yes, this happens. And I do know what it's like to not want to go to bed because you are loving the project you are working on. You can't believe your days are filled with the work, surroundings, and people that make your heart so full. You are completely and utterly happy. I know what it's like to not be able to fall asleep not because you are dreading the next day, but because you are so excited at how awesome the next day will be. You feel lucky and grateful. You feel alive.  
 
I know what both of these feel like. And I know when I was miserable in my corporate job, my dream job seemed light years away. It felt like it would only be that: a dream. But don't give up. Trust me. It's not as far as you may think. But chances are it's going to take a lot of work and it won't happen over night. And chances are you will have to be reminded of that along the way. There will be setbacks and failures and mistakes. There always are when pursing what you're passionate about. But the biggest mistake is to think that what you really want to be doing with your life isn't possible. Because it is. I know. It's not too hard, it's not too far, it's not to crazy of a dream. 
 
And I can promise you one thing: doing nothing about it will keep you in the very spot you are in. No one is going to knock on your door and offer you your dream. It doesn't work like that. YOU must take that first step. Yes, it is probably one of the hardest ones. But with that step you are moving forward and that much closer to what you want to be doing. So call that person who has inspired you, reach out to that company, set up that meeting, read that book, send that email. Whatever that next step is, big or small, TAKE IT. 
 
This concludes this Monday morning pep talk. :)

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Jun

FAQ: Where Should We Do Our First Look?

One of my absolute favorite moments to capture on a wedding day is when a bride and groom see one another during their First Look. It's total goosebumps! There are so many benefits of doing a First Look including the bride and groom having this private moment, having plenty of time for photos, etc. CLICK HERE to read the post I wrote on what a First Look is and why you may just want to do one! 
 
Once a couple decides to do a First Look during their wedding planning, the next question is often "where should we do our First Look?" The options are endlessss... Really the location of the First Look is completely up to the couple and where they would like to have this special reveal and moment. However, there are a few things that I think are important to think about when selecting a location: 
 
Privacy. One of the things I think is super important is making sure it is a somewhat private location. This moment between the two of you is sacred, beautiful, and intimate. It's a moment the two of you will never forget and cherish forever. When you see one another for the first time on your wedding day you want to feel whatever emotions you are feeling and not feel like you have to hold them in. Grooms, if the sight of your bride brings you to tears, you should feel comfortable enough to let them flow and just hold her in a tight embrace. Brides, is you want to wrap your arms around your soon to be husband and tell him of the excitement on your heart, you should feel like you can without holding back. Sometimes when other people are around during a first look or if there are spectators in close proximity it can take away from the focus of the moment and couples feel self conscious.  
 
Quiet.When thinking about locations, you also want to keep in mind if that location is quiet. You want to hold one another, let your hearts overflow with excitement and talk with one another with no distractions. You want to whisper sweet nothings to each other, not scream over the passing trains or beeping traffic. I mean, what bride wants to miss a word of what their groom says the first time he sees her in her wedding dress?! 
 
Place For Photos Afterward. Typically right after the First Look, we will take photos of the bride and groom together - sometimes just a few but often most of their portraits. We also frequently take bridal party photos at this location as well (who can wait a long distance away during the First Look or will meet you at the location after). ? So when selecting a location, think about also if it is a good place to take photos afterwards. However, if after the First Look we will be travelling to another location for photos, make sure your timeline allows for this travel in advance! 
 
Proximity. Having the First Look take place at a location that is close to (or at) the getting ready location or ceremony/reception location may also be something you want to think about. If the location you have in mind for the First Look is 20 minutes in the opposite direction of where everything else is, just make sure you account for this extra travel time in your timeline!

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Jun

His Heart Remembered

With Chris and my grandpa suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, this story hit very close to home. It is a sweet reminder of the fragility of life and shows the beauty of a love story that has stood the test of time. It reminded me of my Nana and Pop and the way they continue to date one another and love on each other after all these decades of marriage. My Pop may not remember the details of life like how to pick out clothes to wear each morning or where the refrigerator is, but oh how he loves my Nana. He never forgets to open the door for her and help her put on her coat. He never forgets to get and hold the umbrella over her when its raining. He never forgets to put his arms around her each day and give her a hug with a smile on his face. Even though he has been doing these things for years, I appreciate seeing these small gestures more now. Just like the man in this story, his heart remembers the love he has and it's a beautiful thing to see. 
 
When I photograph our couple's weddings, my hope is that our couples' love grows from that day forward through the years. Even when storm clouds come and things are hard, I hope that they brave the storms and don't give up. I hope that they fall more and more head over heels in love with one another and show each other how much they care by doing the little things. And I hope that when their mind no longer remembers, their heart always will. 
 
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May

Tips for Blogging Consistently

I have been writing my blog now for about 4 years and it's something that has become such an integral part of my photography business. Who knew there was so much to say?! :) My blog is a space where I can share my couple's stories and their photos. It is where I can post photography tips and business advice. Annnd it's the place where I can share more about me and my life. The inspiration, the memories, my family, my day to day, and all of the random things in between. Liiiiike what I burned for dinner the night before. :) To me, it's a public journal of sorts.  
 
I often get asked how I am able to manage and keep up with writing my blog consistently. While I just love writing it, it definitely can become a little tricky when my schedule gets super busy, which is often. However there are three things that have really helped me maintain my blog. Hope these three quick tips are helpful for someone else that might be struggling with blogging consistently! 
 
Schedule topics & writing time. Trying to sit down and write a blog post "on demand" on the morning I want to share a post for me is, let's face it, essentially impossible. I will grab my coffee and sit and stare and at the blinking cursor on my computer screen as I try and think of something to write about on the spot. Not the most efficient use of my morning. So instead what I try to do is schedule my blog post topics in a monthly calendar at the beginning of each month - a great tip I picked up from Katelyn James! This way days before I will know what I will be blogging about on a specific day.  
 
I will then "book" time in my daily schedule, usually the day or two before the post is scheduled to be on the blog, to sit down and write the post in a well thought out manner. So for example, if I am shooting a wedding on Saturday, I know that the following Thursday the blog post will be of their wedding. I will then schedule time on Wednesday to write and put together the post. 
 
Now that being said, very often something will happen or come up that will prompt me to write about something specific... This could be anything from a conversation with my Nana that prompts me to write a specific post the next day to finding out one of my couples weddings is going to be featured on a wedding blog. I do want my blog to be a real time and honest reflection of what is currently going on in my life. So the calendar is totally flexible, allowing for me to move topics around in the monthly calendar and write accordingly. 
 
Running list of topics. I recently had someone ask me if I ever run out of things to write about on my blog. Maybe I just have the gift of gab, but my answer is always the same - nope! :) Gosh, there are so many amazing stories to be told, inspiration to share, and photos to post. But again, I have found it is a lot harder to just think of something on the spot to write about the morning I am going to be posting to the blog. What I have found to be super helpful is keeping a running list of things I want to write about. I have one list on my desk and one on in the notes of my phone. So whether it's a FAQ from photographers or something that inspires me while out running errands, I will jot it down so that I remember to write about it. This way, when I am creating my blogging calendar each month, I will already have a bunch of topics that I can schedule in. 
 
Part of my daily routine. Blogging (writing, crafting, & posting entries) is something that has become part of my daily routine. If it was something that I did here and there whenever I have time, chances are I would forget or put it off. until recently, I would post a new blog entry every day Monday through Friday. And I would publish each day's post no later then 10am in the morning. I say was because now that sweet baby Greyson is here, things with the business have had to shift a little bit. For now, I blog three days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) still before 10am. This way I have a little bit more time to focus and spend with our son. :) Just like checking my email, I know blogging is part of my daily routine and an important part of my business. So just like scheduling time to answer emails each day, I schedule time in my daily schedule and monthly calendar for blogging, keeping me disciplined in carving out time to write and post. 
 

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Apr

What To Wear To Your Engagement Session

With the temperatures getting warmer outside and spring in the air, you know what that means - engagement sessions! Once you have your engagement session location selected and date booked, one of the next questions will probably be what I'm I going to wear!?!? Ok, well maybe mostly just my brides and not my grooms have this question right after booking their session. LOL  
 
Your wardrobe should tie in with the location and also be a reflection of you. It is the perfect time to rock that Anthropologie dress you have been eyeing, pull out that JCrew statement necklace you couldn't live without, or it can be the perfect excuse to wear those heels you love. Amazing accessories that bring in a little pop of color or sparkle like a necklace, scarf, or belt are great. I usually recommend staying away from wearing anything with logos, graphics, or distracting patterns. As a couple, make sure that your wardrobe selections compliment one another in color and style. But most importantly, wear something that is you and that you feel confident in... Something that is flattering to your figure, comfortable, and simply makes you feel AH-mazing. Oh, and it's the perfect excuse to go buy a new outfit - I mean, you only do one engagement session, right?!  
 
Some couples choose to do an outfit change, and if you do, feel free to bring another option that you can leave somewhere nearby and change into half way through the session. I recommend that you do not plan on carrying anything with you during the shoot like suitcases of clothes, duffle bags of shoe options, etc (totally something I would do! Ha!)  
 
Also, I HIGHLY recommend to all of my brides that they have their makeup professionally done for their engagement session - it makes all the difference in the world. I can't stress enough how important having professional quality makeup and application is for your photos. It really makes a huge difference in regards to how your skin and facial features photograph. Your skin will glow, appear smoother, and the light will illuminate differently from your skin. Besides, who doesn't love a little pampering?!





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