The Sweet Season

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Luck.

17 September 2014

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Let me start by saying where I am. I've always thought that knowing this much may help me understand where I was and, if I'm lucky, to better know where I am going. Luck.  I know something about it--- it got me married to a man with more patience than I can fathom, and into a career in which I am desperately passionate about.

Staring at my computer screen with damp hair and yoga pants, I'm sitting at my desk at the end of the day. I've just finished loading my car up for Bloom Workshop set-up tomorrow and can hear my husband upstairs getting ready for bed. He'll take a shower, wash his face and then scroll through sports news on his phone for 15 minutes before setting an alarm and going to sleep (a routine in which I am take much comfort in for some reason).  Bella is sleep-snoring at my feet and the distant hum of cars on the highway is just loud enough to reach my ears.  Caleb is in bed fast asleep, my to-do list has been double and triple checked and now all there is to do now is finish my glass of Black Star Farms late harvest riesling, brush my teeth and try and get some sleep.

Earlier this year I was a ball of nerves as we approached our first workshop. Things like "what were we thinking?" "will we be good enough" "do I even have anything worth saying?" crossed my mind and sunk into my bones like poison.  Happily, I was wrong and despite the unseasonably cold weather the workshop was a bit hit, a huge success... and so fun.  I don't know when it was clear that I wanted to pass on this passion I have found, but doing so has done my heart good.  There is nothing I love more than hearing someone so thrilled  to learn how to shoot in manual, or manage their client interactions, or even figure out how to blog.

In this creative industry, it is hard to find women who will eagerly and gladly pass on what they have learned--- something I am still trying to navigate and figure out myself.  Being a photographer in a city with a listed 50,000 "photographers" I often get asked why I share so openly about my work, editing and business practices.  I think it has to do with the fact that I know I wouldn't be where I am today if it hadn't been for a select few people who guided me along-- not only do I feel the urge to pass on that favor, but I also feel like I have been blessed beyond measure already.  Honestly, my second wedding season in Michigan with 30 events.... and already 50% booked for 2015... I just feel incredibly lucky and want to share that with others. I also KNOW that there is plenty of work to go around for everyone and being closed off is only really hurtful to myself.  

Bloom was created to inspire and spark creativity to women and business owners. I am SO proud and honored that some of you are coming out to this event.  I am there to "teach" but I come away so fueled and ready to tackle even more goals of my own.  At the end of the day, the relationships are what it is all about-- I know that if I closed up shop and never snapped another photo again that not a tear would be shed in my direction. However, the friendships and relationships I have built over time will be lasting and meaningful.

And really....how cool is that?

If you are coming to Bloom this Thursday I truly CANNOT wait to meet you-- and if you are coming out in October to our Atlanta, Georgia event I am even more excited (that IS my hometown afterall!).  If you have no idea what I am talking about, you can check out info on Bloom here.   We are hoping to make stops in 4 cities next year, so keep your eyes peeled.

Finally, just thank you. If you are reading this, thank you. You are part of the reason I continue to blog and share my random thoughts, family photos, health updates and business endeavors with the internet world!  Here's to sending you a mega-hug via the interweb!



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DIY Mint & Grapefruit Salt Scrub

16 September 2014

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Epsom salts have been changing my life lately.  How did I not know about this stuff up until a month ago, I'll never know.  Literally, soaking in the tub with some drops of lavender will change your life. It is so relaxing and calming and a great way to get ready for bed-- a few weeks ago when I was having my crazy stint of prednisone induced insomnia I was pulling out all the stops trying to get myself to go to sleep. Out of everything, this worked the best.

I have had lots of extra sitting around and decided to whip up some exfoliating scrubs and bath salt mixtures as trials for Christmas gifts.  I absolutely love this mint and grapefruit scrub mix!  I have used it everyday this week and I love how tingly it leaves my skin feeling and the grapefruit smells divine (although disclaimer, don't use this is you have any cuts or scrapes because OW.)


All you need is a jar (I got mine at Hobby Lobby), a bag of epsom salts (most grocers have this in the bath soap section) and whatever you want to infuse it with.  I chose mint and grapefruit, but the possibilities are really endless.

Fill your jar to the top with epsom salt.  Tear a few leaves of mint and mix.  Squeeze juice of half a grapefruit into the jar and mix.  If it gets too watery just add more epson salts until you get the consistency you desire!

Because I loved the lavender soak so much, I ordered some lavender buds from etsy and brewed some tea to try a lavender and honey chamomile tea scrub.  I would recommend letting the tea cool, or else it dissolves all the salts (oops!).  A little liquid goes a LONG way!  

I also mixed my lavender buds with the salts to create my own bath salts. In the future I am going to try just adding mint or eucalyptus to my bath salts as well to get that nice menthol smell in my bath.  Perfect for stuffy heads and colds! 





I am so glad I did a test-run of this because next time I know what to avoid.  I am going to try out wild orange essential oil and black tea packages (cut opened and sprinkled in) next!


 Do you have another combination in mind? I am making these for Christmas gifts so I would love your suggestions!


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Tips for Photographers: What's In My Bag

15 September 2014

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Today I wanted to talk a little bit about what gear I typically carry on a wedding day. I get questions about my gear all the time, and to be quite honest most work you see on my website and facebook was shot with my Mark 3 and 50 f/1.2 lens. They are my little dream team and produce images in line with my style and aesthetic. However, it is quite impossible to shoot an entire wedding day without changing out lenses, so let's get started....


Bodies:
Canon 5d Mark 3
Canon 5d Mark 2 

Although I have a personal vendetta against the Mark 2 (seriously, I thought I had an issue with focusing and that I sucked when really it was the camera) I always have it on wedding day.  It's so important to have back-up gear and a back up camera in case your equipment fails or you accidentally trip and fall into a large body of water (hey, I have heard it has happened!).  The worst thing you could ever do is have something go wrong and be stuck staring at your bride and groom unable to shoot.  You don't have to have the same camera on stand-by, and most of the time a lesser model will be fine. Just make sure you have something! 

Primes: 
50 f/1.2 This lens is my baby. I call him Stephan. (Not really, I just made that up).  I love this lens so much that I rarely take it off. At engagement sessions I usually don't. I have used it so much that I just know where I need to stand and what I need to do to get the shot that I want.  Plus, the glass on this guy is dreamy when it comes to bokeh. 
50 f/1.4  This was my first ever lens and I still carry it with me. Sometimes I will give it my second shooter if we are in low light situations.  Otherwise, it is a nice back up.
35 f/1.4  I have been loving this lens more and more.  Perfect for large bridal parties and families.  I also like to pop this on to get some reception shots.  It's a winner.

Everyone has their own reasons for why they love certain lenses. I have sort of been drawn to  primes not only because of the quality and the glass but also because I really like being an active part in creating the photo.  Primes force you to move, and engage with your subject and surroundings.  It constantly keeps me thinking and aware of my environment instead of standing in one spot and twisting my lens in and out, in and out, repeat. 


Zoomy Zooms:

70-200 f/2.8 IS:  This is a must have for weddings. I use this during every ceremony so I can stay back in the middle of the aisle without having to get too close.  We are there to capture the moment, but in the most unobtrusive way possible. The best compliment to me is when someone says "Wow, I didn't even notice you!" in reference to a ceremony.   Only bad thing? This is one heavy bad boy. Talk about a sore arm if you carry this around for more than an hour or so! The picture you get from this though? Amazing!   Also, I think the image stabilization is a must have.  This lens is so heavy that it is easy to get camera shake when you aren't on a tripod. 
24-105: I hate this lens, the end.   Not really, but I do hate this lens. My photos always look like they have come from a point and shoot when I use this because there is no dimension. The glass isn't as nice, even though it is an l-series.  I keep it  just in case we need it, and sometimes my second shooter uses it.  I've used it for very large extended family portraits but in general I run screaming in the other direction before mounting this on my mark. 


Other Stuff:
Macro 100mm f/2.8 IS: This lens has been such an amazing addition.  It's has added new dimension and variety in my detail photos and I don't know what I did without it.  I know some photographers who get really great detail shots but I wasn't getting anything worth anything until I invested in this! I have even used it on portrait and engagement sessions and I love the photos I get when I shoot wide open with it in those situations. Very cool lens!
(2)  580 EX II: Flash.  Necessary evil for the dark months and low light receptions.  Some days we get along great, other days I feel like I need to re-read the manual all over again.  However, it is essential you know how to use off camera lighting and flash so if the situation calls for it you don't miss any moments! 

Film


 Contax 645: I am in love with my latest addition.  It has been so fun getting to know this camera, and trying something new. I am excited to start incorporating this more and more into my workflow!
Sekonic L-358 Light Meter:  A must have for a film camera! I started out using it incorrectly (another post for another day) but now I am doing much better and my scans are getting better and better!


Other things: batteries, memory cards, tripod, AA batteries.  For large bridal parties or families I always mount my camera on a tripod. Chances are your aperture will need to be up so high so your shutter speed will be as low as you can go (I try and avoid going below 125) so I always mount it to avoid camera shake!

I hope this was insightful, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I am happy to share with you!



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Megan & John | Married

10 September 2014

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Fog hung heavily over the lake as two quiet pairs of feet heading to the tented area where the reception would take place later that day.  The light was just starting to peek over the horizon, and not another soul stirred.  Megan and John stepped hand in hand onto the dance floor and slowly swayed, practicing what would later be there first dance as husband and wife.  In a world all to themselves they spun, laughed and enjoyed the last moments before the busyness of the day took over.

It was like that, that Megan and John began their wedding day, and I think that pretty much says it all. The setting (Megan's families home on the lake) was the most beautiful backdrop to such a special day, no detail was forgotten, and loved ones long past were remembered.  John (or Oz as his friends called him) chose not to see Megan before the ceremony, and the look on his face seeing his bride coming down the aisle shows just how overwhelmed with love he was.  These two are such special people-- they are kind, and funny, and so sophisticated but in the most down to earth way possible.  It was such a joy and privilege to share their day with them.  Enough from me, check out some of my favorites below!















I love how Megan remembered her grandparents by placing charms on her bouquet!














I loved how hilarious and fun Oz and his guys were--- just check out their hilarious photos!










"whooo! is right" I love this moment!





Yep, Oz fist bumped his grandma. It was pretty awesome!








His and hers signature cocktails!


























And to top it off? A s'mores bar!










Congratulations Osbornes!
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