Thursday, December 30, 2010

The new blog is finally here!

Yup...the time has come. I'm saying goodbye to Blogger forever and moving on to something a little bigger and badder. The new blog is now located at and I encourage you to check it out, bookmark it, and follow along as I see what 2011 has in store!

Toodleloo's been real.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A little winter fun...

Arch enjoying the snow...

And some star Christmas light bokeh...

I hope everyone is having an easy transition back to the real world after the holidays!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays!

From Riley and I to you and yours, Happy Holidays and best wishes in the New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010: A Year in Review

Who else is wondering where in the world 2010 went? This past year was full of so many changes and I honestly never thought that by the end of 2010 I would be writing a blog post like this one…

Capturing the here and now has always been something I have been passionate about. I’m a lover of the authentic moments in life, the ones that come and go before we even know it, the very real moments. I feel so blessed to have the ability to forever capture a split second in time that is capable of telling a story about what was happening right then and there. A split second that shares with the audience what the people in that photo love…how they interact with one another…or what makes them tick. A split second that forever remembers our four-legged friends that are not around nearly long enough…that reminds us of their deep brown eyes…their wet nose…or their freckled ears. These are just some of the things that are so special about what photographers do.

The progression of my venture has been so natural and for that I am just in awe. A time or two I had thought that maybeeeee, one day, in a far away land, I might try to establish a part-time job as a photographer. But really, that’s what dreams were made of. As a senior in college I never thought that this year all of the pieces would fall together and gently push me in the direction of becoming much more serious about my passion. I have been busier than I have ever been in my life, and perhaps that is why I’m totally at a loss when it comes to the New Year rolling up in, ohh…less than two weeks. Where did all of the time go? But I am so indescribably energized about the opportunities that lay ahead…the challenges, the rewards, and the excitement of offering my skills to others who value that authentic moment like I do.

No, it hasn't been easy. Yes, I still have so much to do to make my business successful and to become a better photographer, but it’s been coming together at a really nice rate and I am amazed at the awesome resources I have been able to utilize online, and the great working friendships I have established with other photographers who are either in the same place as I am or have been in a similar place. Everyone has been so incredibly supportive and I really hope to be able to give that back in some way, shape, or form in 2011.

In January of 2010, I started my blog. In one day, I wrote 13 blog posts with pictures to share some of my best photos that date back to 2004 when I first picked up the camera with a somewhat-creative eye. In February and March, I continued to update sporadically. In May, I took some of my first pictures of Dustin and Landon and created my logo inspired by the one and only Riley boy (because he is king, duh). To date, I had a whopping 0 visits to my blog. That summer, I began to teach myself more about my little Nikon D80. I learned what aperture, shutter speed, and ISO meant, and soon I began dabbling with different lenses and shooting in manual. In August, I had hit 47 visits to my blog. Wooo, doing big things! After a few months of practicing with the settings on my camera, I was shooting everything in manual and sharing more and more of my photos online. In September, I had 286 visits, and I thought I might actually be able to make something of all of this. I had begun to turn the positive feedback I was getting into ideas and goals, so I offered to shoot pets and children of family and friends as a way to test myself, my creativity, and my technical skills with my camera under a different kind of pressure. In October, I built my website from scratch, and by November I had 1,090 visits to my blog. Basically, my year has been in warp speed and really, I just wrote all that down to remind myself how quickly it all happened. Kudos to you if you’ve made it this far in the post with me haha.

Regardless how quick my year went by, success doesn't come at warp speed, and I look forward to becoming a better photographer, businessperson, and friend to my clients in 2011. I am excited to create art for families and couples who value their pets, children, and relationships like I do. I can’t wait to see more custom art gracing the walls of my client’s homes. And I welcome all of the little roadblocks and speed bumps along the way, because nothing good comes easy and I would never appreciate this venture if there weren't some difficulties between here and my “happy place.”

So, I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my blog posts, check out my website, become a fan on Facebook, and encourage and inspire me this year. I feel so incredibly lucky to have so many great people in my life who understand my passion for telling stories and sharing connections, and who are interested in following along. I am amazed at the power of the camera and can’t wait to see where it takes me in the next year!

And of course, since every post is better with pictures (and anyone who read all of this mumbo-jumbo deserves a photographic reward), here are two slideshows to sum up what I just wrote. Hopefully you all can see some of the changes I see. I definitely believe it's important to understand where you've been to better know where you plan on going.

2009 and earlier (shot mostly with Kodak point and shoot cameras and a few with my D80 on Auto):

2010 (all shot with my D80 on manual):

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Five!

Friday Five numero dos!
  1. Apple Cider
    One of my all time favorite things about winter (okay, one of the only things I actually like about winter) is apple cider. I can't get enough of it in the winter :) And I hate to admit it because I really don't like dropping $4 for something I could do myself...but Starbucks' Caramel Apple Cider do I put it...amazing. And I'm too lazy to make it that good myself.
  2. Disney World
    Three more days until we are off for a trip I have looked forward to for over a year! Landon is going to have sooo much fun and I will probably take enough pictures to make everyone feel like they were there. Don't hate me after Christmas when I have approximately 194039 pictures to share.
  3. Newborn and maternity photography
    In January I have my first maternity shoot, as well as my first newborn shoot! Both are very new to me but I'm so excited and can't wait to try something totally different. Of course in my head I'm already running through the types of shots I want to get and all of that fun stuff so I can't wait to actually make it happen!
  4. South Carolina
    After 3 hours of driving 30-45mph through snow yesterday and 2 extra hours on the road, I'm finally here (and loving that it's 60 degrees!). I passed upwards of 20 accidents and it was a little crazy but I took my time and made it safe and sound. Of course I always love being here but for the past 45 minutes it means that I've been fighting a big yellow furball who thinks she belongs in my lap or all over my keyboard. And she's pretty relentless. All the while the other yellow furball (who devoured an ENTIRE baked chicken this week by the way...bones and all, and lived to tell about it) is at home enjoying the snow I escaped from :) Cell phone pics...

  5. WPPI 2011
    2 months and 1 day until Dustin and I go to Vegas for WPPI-U! The U program is for emerging photographers and I'm so pumped to be taking classes on lighting, starting out right, business and legal procedures, workflow, and marketing...all taught by successful professionals in the industry no less.
Happy Friday! I hope nobody is doing too much last minute shopping this weekend. For the first time in a few years I'm not, but that's only because the Disney World trip forced me to get my stuff together in advance this year haha. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Packaging & Christmas 2011

The fall 2010 semester is finally over and I feel like I can relax and breathe a little easier :) But not for long enough, since I start a three-week winter semester on January 3rd. Be. Jealous. I'm taking two courses and seriously questioning my sanity right about now...

But on to the fun stuff!

Packaging has been on my to-do list fo-eva and I've finally gotten around to creating a look that I think represents the brand I've been working hard to create: simple, natural, and fresh paired with my pretty blue logo color. I love the look of Kraft packaging and think it has a nice "earthy" feel and look to it, so I'm happy with how it has all come together. I don't, however, have my print boxes in yet, but you can use your imagination for those...they're simple Kraft boxes that come in print sizes (8x10, 5x7, 4x6 or wallet if necessary) and they will be stacked together and tied off with ribbon, a hang tag, and my stickers. I haven't quite gotten around to packaging for canvas's, though, but all in good time. Any suggestions?

Anyways, here's how my coffee table books, albums, and accordion mini books will be packaged:

And here are some of the documents for my Client Information Folder that I mail out upon booking, as well as my new Thank You cards and a CD with digital files (CD's are typically customized with a photo from the session, but due to time constraints this one had to be printed beforehand):

The final really fun thing I want to share is in regards to Christmas 2011 Holiday Cards. I know, I know, Christmas 2010 hasn't even happened yet and I'm talking about 2011. You're all probably thinking I need to slow my roll.

I really wanted to be able to offer these this year but with just starting my business, the time wasn't right. But next year I will be offering my clients a variety of different holiday card designs and I absolutely can't wait! I loooove getting Christmas cards and think the really artsy and personal ones are the best. Here are two examples to hold you over until next winter:

I hope everyone has a great week! Check back on Friday for the Friday Five!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lyla Rae

I've probably mentioned them 100 times but Blaize and Rob have been good friends of mine since high school, and yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing their precious 2-year-old daughter Lyla. Although it wasn't exactly a pretty day, we met in Solomons in the afternoon and as always, I had so much fun spending time with one of my favorite little families :) Rob and Blaize are such great people and Lyla is one lucky little girl because she is so loved. At 2, it's really fun watching her start to come into her own. She is getting SO vocal and she's absolutely hilarious. She had us laughing the whole time and I really just wanted to take her home with me when we were done!

Rob and Blaize, thanks so much for letting me hang out with you and Miss Lyla Rae yesterday. You three made my day and I am so very appreciative of your friendship :)