Sweet Shoot!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The J and J children joined me for a photosession yesterday thanks to a referral from my first-ever family photo shoot. I was excited for the opportunity to work with these new customers and provide them with some great portraits of their children who are awesome close friends that LOVE game night! Love the colors that they chose! Each of their personalities are so great and Miss C departed saying "I'm going to miss you"! Hopefully we'll meet again!
In the meantime, I encourage you to educate yourself about Type 1 diabetes. Please visit http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/ to learn about this rare form of diabetes which affects the lives of children and young adults.


It's been a while

Monday, March 29, 2010

I know I really need to update my blog. It's been too long. Sometimes life gets in the way. Spent a long weekend in Ormond Beach at a baseball tournament. Thanks to the emergence of Facebook, when updating my status, a former High School classmate who lives there said he'd stop to visit. He graduated two years before me, so technically it's been over 20 years since we last saw one another in Germany.  Well, we did actually see each other at a reunion in DC in '93 but we were still in a pre-adult haze. It was great to see Mike and amazing to hear his life story. Here's a photo that my daughter snapped of us...and by the way, we remained seated as he's 6'5" and I'm 4'10" and I don't think that Kelsey would've been able to get both of us in frame had we been standing!
One more thing, Kolby's baseball team won the tournament.  They were the number 1 seed and with the bad weather that came in, they weren't able to play the championship game but they had already earned and deserved the title. Great job Storm!!


Spring is here...or is it?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's pretty frustrating, this North Florida weather lately, isn't it? The pollen has been flying around, the rain  comes in, the cold and wind and then a teaser of a 'REAL' spring day---then we're running the heat again. Crazy weather!  I'm ready to take the camera out and capture some special moments, get a few cool snaps and take the 400 photo challenge.
What's the 400 photo challenge? Just taking out the camera and snapping 400 photos...even if it's 400 photos of the same person, but taking 400 photos in two hours. I'm up for the challenge but the weather hasn't been cooperating and that's a total bummer! Maybe I can this afternoon. I don't know. Lots on the plate but  I'm going to try.
In the meantime, here's a snap I grabbed this weekend of my friend's children.  Her daughter and mine used to cheer and tumble together years ago. After 5 years of competitive cheerleading, my daughter 'retired'.  Brittney is still competing and she's got mad skills now! So proud of her, and Brandon for coming to support her at the local compeition!


Backpacker's Studio 101

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's here! All of it! Yeah! Now...to learn, practice and use it...photos by Kelsey.


It's been a while...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I talked about my car problems. Well, that set us back a pretty penny and the tax return hadn't been deposited yet AND, to top it ALL off, I had just spent virtually all of my business account on this backpacker's studio that I fell in love with from my http://www.lightenupandshoot.com/ and http://www.lastminutephotostudio.com/ shoot-together. Who expects to end up with $750 worth of work on a car with less than 45,000 miles on it just from hitting a curb?!
So...to borrow those well-worn words of uselessness "it is what it is".
I took a few days to mourn (and worry about!) the car expenditures while guiltily (is that a word?) excited about the arrival of my backpacker's studio. Piece by piece it arrived with the FINAL piece being my 'new' (because it's used, but it's new to ME!) speedlight (a.k.a. FLASH!). After UPS saying it was delivered, when it wasn't and stressing and REALLY actually shedding a tear about it...I decided to GOMA and head to St. Augustine. I borrowed this from Zach Arias blog that I read yesterday. Just changed it to fit my needs. I called my friend Kim and asked her to spend some time in St. Augustine to do some street shooting.
I'm not really a SHY person AT ALL. But when it comes to walking up to strangers and just asking to take their photo? Well, guess what? I did it and it worked. A few of them asked for a cigarette. I threw a few quarters in bins for others. It was fun. It was crazy. I'll send one of them a photo or two. I have a soft spot for Vets and he said he has problems downloading photos to his computer. It was really outside of my normal realm of things I do (since I am good at being in my "cave" as my daughter affectionately calls my office). But wow! The photos I got. I don't know how comfortable Kim was as she often walked down the street as I started up the casual conversation and just started shooting. I had a blast and she genuinely seemed impressed with all of it (maybe a little embarassed but I understand!) and hoped that next time we could do this for longer. I hope she'll pull out her camera too next time!

Here's just 1 shot from today.
Asked this gentleman what the heck happened to his Gators this year...with their upset to BYU in the NCAA tournament still fresh in the minds of their fans. We laughed over it a moment and then I asked if he'd mind if I took a photo. He only seemed concerned about the cigarette but I think this photo really says what I can bring to my customers within a few moments of knowing them...he was laughing when I took this. Maybe, with the insecurities I have, I use moments like this to remember, there's a lot more to being a photographer than just pressing the shutter button.
By the way, in true Mommy form, the stroller patrol was behind me. A few with double strollers and said something to the effect of "You must be a professional photographer. We were wondering if you would mind taking a photo of use with OUR camera." Sweet Nikon Point and Shoot. I think it's called a coolpix or something. I KNOW my daughter wants one. Anyway, took their photos, made the baby laugh and confidently handed them my business card. I sure hope they call!
AND, my speedlight arrived while I was in St. Augustine YEAH!!! And I realize now that I referred to this as today, when, as I type this it was actually yesterday! See what happens when you get caught up in the  instruction manuals and all of that good stuff?
Bis Morgen Alles! oder?


$288.00 for LABOR?!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Okay, really, I am a good driver but I always drive little, low profile cars so those damned curbs just kind of pop up on you. So, I didn't mention this earlier but when I was in Ybor and leaving the parking garage I must've driven up on the wheelchair ramp while making a too-tight right-hand turn and crunched down on the sidewalk. I told my husband about it but didn't think anything of it until I was driving home from Tampa and suddenly, my car sounded like a 747 taking off! No amount of volume on the music drowned it out!
So, after taking my husband for a spin so he (w/ his non-mechanic skills) tells me "It's not the engine. It's the tire. You must've done SOMETHING when you hit that sidewalk". So, I bypass my dealership and head to Tires Plus where I had purchased my tires less than 10,000 miles ago last February.
Verdict: 2 bald front tires because I hadn't rotated them every 3,000 miles, a nail in the passenger rear tire, a busted ball bearing in the front axle; $886+tax. Oh! And by the way, the axle MAY be busted but we won't know until AFTER we do all the work. Thought I'd have a nervous breakdown. Tax return isn't in. I just spent all of my business spoils on new photography equipment and...NO! THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING TO ME RIGHT NOW! And WHY OH WHY?...WHY am I driving this car? Yes, German made where I was raised, but my VW fit better into my budget!
As it turned out, the axle was fine, I got a discount on my tires and the bill was 'ONLY' $750.00. Funny how we can put things in perspective! I'm confident it would've been thousands had it been my axle as well! (Am I even spelling axle correctly?!)
So, I peruse the invoice when I get home and notice a $288.00 labor charge. This was barely less than what I paid for parts for the ball bearing issue. hmmm... I'm aggravated and then ...LIGHTBULB.
This mechanic drove my son and I home from the shop in his personal vehicle so we wouldn't have to hang out there. (Now, I know he had to wait for the parts to arrive but still---awful nice, and of course I asked if he needed family/childrens' photos and handed him my business card! ) And then, he uses HIS tools and software, he invested his money and time in educating himself in his craft, probably suffered through apprenticeships, familiarized himself with a plethora of models of vehicles and is ultimately responsible for sending the customer home safe, healthy and happy for the sake of the big box tire store who certainly collects a great percentage of that labor charge.
Our careers and livelihoods ARE an investment. Whether we continue on our journey through college/trade school or apprenticeships---or LIKE ME: taking the time (LOTS AND LOTS OF TIME) researching, finding every avenue possible to gain the knowledge...it's our investment and ultimately, it is worth something.
I don't have any fancy affiliations (can't afford to join those groups...YET!). I haven't been to PPA, WPPI nor do I own Adobe CS program. I'm not formally educated in photography nor the software. I've never used a MAC (really!) I don't have all of the fancy top-of-the-line-tools and toys. I can tell you that I do have long-term goals and strive for all of it. I price myself accordingly and hope to build a following and that entrusts me with their portrait memories the way I entrusted that mechanic with our safety in my car.
Could I afford $288.00 on labor in addition to the parts that were neccessary to get me back on the road? NO. Not at all. But is all that he gave to me worth it? ABSOLUTELY!
I know I underprice myself and my industry but, quite frankly, I just want to take pictures.
But, yeah, labor is more than that time behind the camera, much like that mechanic today. Thanks Ray Torres----I get it! 
Oh! And by the way, I'll look out for those sidewalks FOR SURE!
WHAT a Monday!


Friday Fun...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

So I decided to head down to Tampa on Friday. My friend Joni asked me to do a photo shoot of her girls and invited my neighbors from our old 'hood to gather for a good ole fashioned Mommy Happy Hour at her house afterward.
For the most part, I am a home-body. If I leave the house it's to drive the kids to school or activities, go to the gym or for a photoshoot. Yep, I opt to email my grocery and Wal-Mart lists to my husband rather than hit the road-and tempt myself in the mall! (We can talk about my endless car accidents later-let's just say my 13-yr old prefers the backseat where she can't see if the wreck is coming our way! Only one of those accidents was my fault.)
Well, the ONE and ONLY day I'm not home, and am happily on my way to Tampa, AND my husband happened to be in Ocala - the phone rings! It's the school calling me to tell me that Kolby's teacher has sent him to the clinic and I need to pick him up. I literally was about an hour and a half away from the house when I get this call. Trying to maneuver my car in the driving rain, while merging onto I-75 while dialing 16,000 telephone numbers to see who can pick my son up from school is a challenge that I don't suggest to anyone! Luckily, my friend Kim came to the rescue and was able to pick him up. Go figure, he had no temperature, was just coughing. FCATS---I hate state standardized testing!---and she thought he was contagious I guess?
So, I arrive in Tampa and meet up with a classmate from Germany, Brandy, whom I hadn't seen in 20 years. Crazy, we meet at the bar in Ybor City where I was 'banned for life' in my crazy wild youth days---The Green Iguana.  Kind of funny. Won't go into the story but after over a decade, I guess it's safe for me to go there now :)
I really love Ybor City! Awesome, Cuban-influence. Very eclectic with too many great locales for shooting than I can count! I so wished it wasn't raining! I would've loved to just walk the streets, reminisce about Heidelberg with my friend and take a ton of snaps but it wasn't meant to be this rainy Friday.  But here is a photo of 7th Avenue I snapped mid-windshield wiper swipes.

Now it was time to leave and head over to Joni's. I knew that we weren't going to be able to get the shots she and her daughters wanted. It was too wet and rainy to head outside. Oh! And I had been stuck in that crazy Friday night rush hour in the pouring rain. Ugh! I hate driving in rush hour!
When I finally arrived at Joni's, it was moments before our old neighbors (no we're not old, I didn't mean it like THAT!) arrived and it was time to play "remember when" and catch up with today's news.  We had a great and fun group in our Pebble Creek neighborhood. I miss those friendships and the cameraderie and those Friday night happy hours. Of course, now we're all busy as our kids are older and I'm surprised all of us were able to clear that night to hang out! I was so excited to see everyone and enjoy a moment sans kinder with my girls from the 'hood.  Here's a photo of Joni and Melinda that I snapped early enough in the evening that it's not blurry.
I look forward to my next visit and actually having the opportunity to get some photo shoots done but, in the meantime...great fun with great girlfriends!


Superbowl Bound...

Can they be a threepeat?  I don't know. Kolby had an awesome game today and the Raiders had an awesome showing. I don't know the score. It was a shut-out. It was a great game. It was another win. Tomorrow his team plays another undefeated team. May the team with the least errors win...They both deserve it. In the meatime, here's my son playing QB=he's not the QB. In fact, today, I'd say he was the PICKmeister. I lost count on the number of picks he had in this playoff game but he had a ton. I was proud of him and happy for the team. They did awesome!


lightenupandshoot.com and sharing...

Friday, March 12, 2010

So, I had posted a photo from a shoot together I took part in last weekend.  It was my first ever shoot-together which spanned Friday and Saturday. Corey, with http://www.lastminutephotostudio.com/ arranged with Mike and Andy from http://www.lightenupandshoot.com/ an informative shoot together using portable flash units. 
Well, let me tell you, I've never seen a speedlight a.k.a. off-camera flash in use, nor had I ever seen a softbox in my life! I was intimidated about joining this group but figured I could sneak away if I felt completely lost while working with some very seasoned photographers.
Mike and Andy were delayed on Friday, but Corey jumped right in asking about what my skill level is and promptly handing me his camera to start using the softboxes, speedlights and radio triggers that they and other participants provided. We just randomly asked strangers if they wanted their photos taken and easily convinced them that it was harmless and for fun/teaching. They graciously agreed. Mike and Andy arrived with Amber, a Westcott (the company that makes the softbox we used) marketing rep.  She wasn't there to sell or market, just to watch us in action.
So, Friday night was all urban shooting at the Jacksonville Landing and downtown Jacksonville. Luckily, it was a small group and I was able to get great tips and advice from everyone there! I learned so much and couldn't wait to join them again on Saturday at Jacksonville Beach. A larger group arrived but it was still so informative. They added reflectors and scrims to their arsenal and showed us how to use them, talking about catchlights and the pros and cons of the tools.
Mike and Andy LOVE their backpackers' studio.  I do too! I finally found my 1st speedlight and after I'm finished blogging, I'm going to search for the rest of the things that we used. I am so excited!
It was great to meet so many photographers who truly ALL were friendly and helpful.  I had so much fun and was so bummed that my weekend with this awesome group was coming to a close. I am so grateful for the generosity of Mike and Andy (whom, I might add, actually live in Columbia--as in the country!) and Corey to share their tools, time and knowledge to someone new like me.
I truly enjoy natural lighting but I believe that these new tools will enhance my work and will provide me with a great deal of flexibility.
Here are some photos I took from this weekend. Also, some photos others took to show you what a shoot together is all about. The final photo of me with Andy, Mike and Corey was taken by Rebecca Rogers of http://www.rebeccarogersphotography.com/.  Oh! And my new profile picture is courtesy of Benjamin Wilson. 
Here's a video Mikey took from this weekend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fse6LP_kghA
I can't wait until they arrive again next year! I'll definitely let you know!



Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm offering a Spring mini-session!  Check it out!


I Heart Faces Photo Challenge...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This is a snap from my weekend with http://www.lightenupandshoot.com/ and http://www.lastminutephotostudio.com/. I'll explain more about this weekend later but I actually wanted to enter this photo into a photo challenge. This is a photographer I met this weekend, Norman Al. This was the last photo of my 2 days on a photoshootout/shoot-together with these great people. More to come about all I learned and about these great guys but, in the meantime, here's Norman doing what I felt about this weekend: Jumping for Joy.


New Directions...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I have some plans. I'm trying to grow my business. I want to get out there and capture you and your family's special moments. I'm also learning something new everyday about photography, business, marketing and the wide world of the internet. This blog will start going in a different direction. I am finding what I like as I'm researching about my own business and art. I would like to help others who are looking to improve their photography, links to business sites that I have found useful, as well as other information and thoughts on my journey.  Look for changes coming soon and I hope you join me on this adventure!


lightenupandshoot.com shoot together