pro bono photo

It’s so great to make money doing something I love – photography is more than a hobby that way, it’s a business (and I try to treat it as such). Every time I make a commission off a piece of work or earn some money from my services, I get super happy. But do you know what makes me even happier?

Doing the work for free.

I have to make some money somehow, yes. So I charge for my photography whenever I can or feel that I should. But it’s so great to step back and do some “pro bono” photography, to borrow some Latin from the lawyers.

I had the giant pleasure of photographing my church’s Easter festivities this past Sunday, and I did it all for free! This may sound like I’m bragging about my “generosity” – and in a way, I am bragging… I mean come on – I was there for hours just because! But more so than bragging rights, I got out of that day a sense of how happy photography can make people. I got to do portraits of families and capture the amazing essence of that day in our church, and it was so great to see how happy it made people to know that those memories were being recorded somehow.

We have this wall in our church where I put up a bunch of old church photos I found, and every single week someone notices something new in those photos. They see someone they haven’t seen in years or a loved one passed away. They recognize new parts of the church that weren’t even thought of let alone built 100 years ago (our church has been around a long time..)

What I’m trying to say is that it’s so great to be able to do something for other people not worrying about them not liking it because they’re paying you for it; it’s great to just see the joy they get out of the photos and the process

Editing the Easter photos from church
Lentin items

My Photo Editing Playlist!

Music has so much power on our brains – the science behind why teachers play music in the classroom is very compelling. Music activates parts of our brain that help us to understand things easier and better in the long-term. It also helps to activate the brain’s “focus zone” and push us to get more done in a shorter time without realizing it. Have you ever been cleaning the house or working in the yard with the music blaring and suddenly an hour’s gone by and you’ve made some real progress on your tasks? Part of that is because the music activates your brain which pushes you to work harder.

It is for these reasons that I have created a musical playlist I use when I edit my photos! I have 22 songs – so about an hour’s worth of music – that I will play in increments. I hit “shuffle” and play 5 songs at a time before I take a short break. This makes sure that I’m not sitting at my desk for more than 15 minutes at a time or staring at a screen for too long and straining my eyes. During my breaks, I’ll get up and stretch, take a lap around my apartment, and pick up little things that are out of place. This way, I feel like I’m still doing something productive, my mind isn’t foggy with stuff lying around everywhere, and I’m getting in more movement during the day!

If you want to listen to my editing playlist on Spotify, click here. Let me know what you think of my song selections in the comments!

Happy National Burrito Day!

So I have to try to make National Burrito Day into an “artsy” post style for this to work. I’m gonna give it the old college-try.

My life is like a burrito… No, too simple.

People say… No, too cliche.

Burritos are like the bane of my existence… Yea, let’s run with that. Burritos have ruined my life. They’re too easily accessible. I can walk five minutes down the road from my job and get a burrito. It’s amazing but also extremely dangerous. How am I supposed to control myself – stop myself from taking that trip every day?

Burritos make me feel like I can do anything. I start eating a burrito, and I’m like “God really knew what He was doing, huh? He created burritos, and He created me. So I must be as amazing as burritos!” This feeling of invincibility could get me into a lot of trouble! What if I run out into the middle of the road and get hit by a Mexican food truck (I had to bring irony into this blog post somehow)?

To be honest with you all, I freaking love burritos. But they don’t love me.

Happy National Burrito Day!

Every-Day Photography

You don’t have to have a super fancy camera or even hours a day to do a “proper” photo shoot. If you want to show off your photography skills, you can do it just with your smartphone and whatever you’re doing that day! I promise not to put too much writing in this post; I’ll share a couple of photos that I took throughout my day and let you know what I was doing while I took each. I hope this gives you a glimpse into my every-day life and the photography I get the chance to produce the most often!

Workout!

I was just doing my best to stay alive when I took this photo! I had just completed a very sweaty 30 minutes on the treadmill when I looked up and realized that this shot was perfect. The lighting in my gym is a bit harsh, and it was creating this weird shadow that I actually kind of loved. It makes the inspirational sign all the more powerful!

 

 

latteaI have to have tea every morning after I work out; I don’t know what it is – maybe it’s the whole warm-cup-in-my-hands thing (the feeling of which I’ve been craving ever since I cut back on coffee). Anyway, this was a tea-latte-thing I created (which I’m now calling a lattea) and felt the need to take a photo of while I was sitting on my bed enjoying every sip!

healthy lunch

I have so much love for the picture above. I laid out my lunch one day – purposefully, just trying to take a picture to show how to create a healthy lunch – when I realized that I could adjust each object to create a really cool photo full of differing shapes and perpendicular/parallel lines.

These two photos are more my “Instagram-aesthetic” style than anything else. I was just working on some business stuff one night when I decided that my supplies were laid out perfectly for a really pretty (but – hopefully – motivating) photo!

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And that’s basically it for now – I’ll always have more “every-day” photos to share! Do you really enjoy creating your own aesthetic in photos or just taking pictures of your life? Drop a comment below to share with us how you handle the every-day!

P.S. I’m running a special on event photography in the month of March 2019! If you book your event in March (to be held by the end of the year), you’ll get 40% off the total cost of my photography services. Contact me for more info!

What to Do Before a Photo Shoot (When You’re the Client!)

So you’ve booked a photo shoot with a photographer. That’s awesome! You’re about to receive one of the greatest treasures in the world – a set of photos that captures your essence (or your family’s essence or the essence of you and your husband as a couple or whatever essence your particular session is aiming to capture). I can honestly say that I believe in the power of images; I feel that there is no gift or token of gratitude in this world as special as amazing photos that you can look back on forever.

But what the heck do you do in the meantime?! Don’t worry – I’ve compiled a list of things you should do to prepare for your photo shoot – not necessarily in any order. Take a look!DSC_0019_edit

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  • Get cleaned up a week in advance! Get a hair cut, have a spa day, do a mani/pedi, whatever you need to do to feel that you look your best.
  • Do your makeup (even if you’re a guy)! Your photographer may have some “far-away” poses in mind, and your face isn’t going to stand out in that background if you don’t help it along. Seek professional help if you’re not used to doing your own makeup!
  • Think of poses you might want from your photographer – and write. Them. DOWN! You won’t be able to remember every pose you’ve thought of, so be sure to give your photographer a written list. (A great digital alternative to this is starting a Pinterest board to which you save inspo photos and then sharing that with your photographer a couple days before!)
  • Determine if you’ll have a color scheme or an outfit theme! It’s helpful to pick coordinating colors or one central idea for outfits (costumes, all-dresses, etc.) so that no one causes clash in your photos. Your photographer should be able to help with this!cropped-100_6504_fotor.jpg
  • Be sure you have reliable day-of transportation for everyone involved and that everyone knows the logistical details of the day-of! This tip seems like a weird one for a photographer to give to a client, but it is seriously so important. If you’re waiting on Cousin Ned because he thought the Facebook thread said 4PM when it said 2:30PM, you’re going to be waiting a long time. Then his ’99 Toyota Carola breaks down on the way to the shoot location… Not a good day for anyone!
  • Eat well and drink plenty of water the day-of! Again, this seems weird for a photographer to tell you. But trust me – if you’re getting pictures taken outside in the sun or even inside under all of those studio lights, it can quickly turn into a not-so-great situation if you’re not properly hydrated and fed! No one wants dizzy blurry photos!
  • Trust the process! Your photographer only came into your purview because someone recommended them or the Internet told you they were great when you were Google-searching at 11PM a week before you needed the session. You’ve got to trust that your photographer knows what they’re doing. Yes, there are a few things you can plan ahead of time yourself (even more than what’s listed here), but you should also leave certain things up to the experts or at least ask for their assistance!

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DSC_0038_editWell, there you have it! I know it’s super anxiety-inducing to wait for a photo shoot, but try not to be too caught up in the planning that you forget what the point is – the beautiful images you’ll be left with once it’s all done! Do you have other recommendations for things to do before a photo shoot? Leave them in the comments below!

 

P.S. There’s only TWO MORE DAYS to reach out to me about your own portrait session if you want to receive the 40% discount! What are you waiting for?!

Portrait Photos – My Photographic Process

I love holding portrait sessions! The perfect portrait session can make a huge difference in someone’s life. I recently was a part of a portrait session for my step-mother’s father (my step-grandfather?) who had a life-threatening disease. The portrait session produced photos of his children and grandchildren (and one step-grandchild?). He was so happy to receive it, and it is truly a testament to the photography profession that something so seemingly small can impact a person and a family in so many ways.

Knowing how important it is to folks to get the exact right pictures during their session, I definitely have developed a process for shooting family portraits/couples’ portraits/etc. Keep reading to find out how I prepare and successfully hold a portrait session!

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  1. Identify your client’s needs! This is the most important step in this whole process (which is why it’s first). It’s vital to understand exactly what vision your client has for their portraits and for what the portraits will be used. Is this a couple’s session that highlights their road to love? Is it a family session that will hang on their wall for years to come to remind them of their children as toddlers? What is this for and where will it go?
  2. Pick the perfect location and time of day! Your clients may have some locations in mind, and you definitely should take into account their wants.

    IMG_0235 editedHowever, you’re the expert! Use your knowledge of photography and location scouting to help them identify places that meet their needs and match their style while ensuring successful photos. For example, if they suggest photographing in a park during mid-day, you should express to them that mid-day is when the sun is at its highest; this can be a not-so-flattering time of the day lighting-wise, but you can suggest that they maybe photograph in the park at dusk during golden hour!

  3. Prepare your tools! You all know that I love iPhone photography. I recently purchased an iPhone XS Max, and the camera quality on this thing is amazing! However, even if you know how to successfully capture meaningful photos on your smartphone, you’ll still want to make sure you have all of the accessories you could possibly need during your session to enhance those photos. Grab your tripod and phone mount, your Bluetooth shutter, and your attachable lenses. You can also bring any other helpful tools you can think of! For example, if you know your clients may want different effects in their photos (like various light shapes), an easy way to do this is with a piece of paper that has a cut-out of the shape in the center of it so you can attach it to your lens. It works wonders!
  4. Get to the location ahead of time and brainstorm different poses in different spots! It is so helpful to be prepared with these ideas before your clients get to the location so that you can get rolling with these portraits as soon as possible. That way, you’re not wasting anyone’s valuable time!IMG_0265 edited
  5. Start photographing! Okay – your clients are here in their Sunday best, and you’ve got all of your equipment together prepared with locations/poses mapped out. So start photographing already! Be sure to take multiple shots of each pose so that you can edit them later and have the best possible shot available. Be sure to let your clients know when certain poses or smiles aren’t working, and brainstorm new ones with them. It makes a world of difference when you allow your clients to be a part of the photographing process!

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Well, there you have it! That’s basically what I do before and during a portrait session to make sure I’m doing my absolute best for my clients. Do you have any other tips for folks looking to hold their own portrait session? Write them in the comments below!

P.S. My discounted portrait sessions are still happening! I’m offering a 40% off of all portrait sessions until the end of February! Call/text/email me for more information!

Making Time for Each Other

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! The countdown says 2 days, and I am so excited! It’s definitely strange that I feel so excited for something that happens literally every year and that shouldn’t be that big of a deal for my relationship. My husband and I have been together for almost 7 years and married for a little over half a year, so many people tend to assume that we’re “over” these kinds of holidays by now. But I’m actually more excited for this Valentine’s Day than I have been for a lot of others; this is our first one as a married couple! I can honestly say that I’m so excited to spend my first Valentine’s Day with my man as a married woman.

I’m not sure exactly what we’ll be doing yet; we may be going out some place, but no concrete plans have been decided. I honestly would be a-okay with staying at home and just enjoying each other’s company. Maybe have a stay-in movie date night? Either way, I know that I’ll be with my husband on Thursday evening, making sure that my phone is away and that he has my full attention. Because that’s what making time for each other really means. It means being fully present in the moment with your partner and being attentive to their needs and wishes. And I know he feels the exact same way.

P.S.: If you’re interested in any Valentine’s Day photo shoots, let me know as soon as possible! I’m dishing out 40% discounts for Valentine’s Day portraits and recreational photo shoots, but the deal ends on February 28th. This could be the perfect gift!