The Sweet Season

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DIY Watercolor Mug

30 September 2014

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I have sort of been obsessing over water colors for the past few months. I have been finding any and every way to use them (I even started painting a few little floral wreaths and did a print on my etsy shop, here). So yeah. A little water color obsessed, to say the least.  I decided to try watercolors on some plain mugs, and I really am pleased with the subtle whimsical look.  I pulled up some inspiration on my intel tablet and went from there (I tell you, this little device comes in handy for so much!) So what do you do? Grab some enamel paint (nope, sorry, actual water colors will not cut it for this project!), your mug or other item ( I also did some ring dishes), paintbrush and set your oven to 350 degrees.

Add some paint to a water cup, and dilute until you get the shade you desire. I wanted a really light pink so I used quite a bit of water on my brush.

Next, dab the brush on your cup. I liked adding more water and turning my cup around, letting the water do the work of moving the paint around. I had to blow on it a couple of times which gave me the spidery looking paint you see in the photo below. In the end, I added more water to create a more washed look.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, and bam! Done!

#spon: This post was sponsored by intel, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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For Photographers: Being An Artist vs. Being Just Another Hired Vendor

29 September 2014

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"So, will you need a shot list, or do we need to bring examples of the photos we want to have? I have a ton of favorites on pinterest that I was showing her". We were all sitting together hunched over a timeline, color swatches and cups of coffee discussing an upcoming wedding.  The bride had brought along her maid of honor (the kind that takes her duties extremely seriously) and we were discussing the photo schedule and how the day would run. After I explained to her that no, we don't need pinterest examples she exclaimed "Oh, so you're an artist, not just a 'photographer'!"

I will take that title all day long, but besides being an artist, I AM "just" a photographer too. And, therein lies the ever present dilemma between shooting for the job, and shooting for myself.  Incorporating film into my day has seriously made me a better photographer.  Instead of snapping, snapping, snapping, snapppppping away with my digital camera I have to STOP and THINK. I frame my shots with more care, I look to see what I am focusing on and at what angle I am doing it at. For once, I CREATE the shot in my head before I actually click the shutter. Imagine that. Film pushes me to slow down and take my time, to be thoughtful and more creative than I am ever digitally. 

And because I have being slowing down shooting film, I have become more thoughtful when I am shooting digitally. I am more aware of the images I am taking in reference to the story I am creating; the story of someones wedding day as I see it.  (And how I see and interpret things is, after all, why a couple hires me). But when you turn your passion into a business, sometimes it can be hard to reconcile shooting things you love versus what your client wants.  Because let's be honest, if I was left to my own devices I would have hundreds of photos of the details, the bouquet and the bride. And like, 1 of everything else. For most couples, their wedding album wouldn't be complete without photos of their families or their guests. As an artist, those formal elements aren't really my favorite, but it is part of the deal. And because my clients are important to me, I put just as much creative energy into the photos of Uncle Larry with the cousins, and then Uncle Larry with the cousins and second cousins, and then Uncle Larry, the cousins, the second cousins, and the next door neighbors who-are-almost-like-family-to-us-too as I do of the beautiful bouquets that I love so much.

Because you are put in this position of being the official photographer of the day, it is important to stand behind your style and your brand while accommodating client requests.  I remember the first wedding I ever shot. It was in California, and I was scared out of my mind so I took at least 10 photos of every. single. thing. and I took every suggestion and request.  I remember the bride and groom asking to wear sombreros at a park for a few shots. The setting didn't make sense with the sombreros, and there was an ugly chain link fence in the background. In my head I was thinking "this isn't a good photo" but I took it anyway because I hadn't taken control of my creative voice. I was creating lackluster, dare I even say it-- bad, photos because I was trying to translate someone else's vision instead of seeking out my own.  Getting to the point where you feel confident in saying no or re-directing certain requests comes with time. It is a sometimes tricky balance between serving the client, and doing what needs to be done to deliver the quality and style that you were hired for.

Fast forward from that first wedding to today, and I am confident in that balance it takes to navigate a wedding successfully. So when an overly enthusiastic wedding coordinator suggests that I get that shot "of their reflection in the window" I simply say "what a great idea, you should get that picture!" or when a guest asks me to take "just a few quick photos" of their family outside while I am supposed to be documenting the bride and groom in the reception, I politely decline.  Why?  Because I believe in myself, my artistic eye and photographic voice. I feel confident in getting all the must have AND creative shots during the day (and a reflection in the window just isn't gonna cut it).

Before you know it, blending the "art" with the "job" will be effortless, and your business will flourish as you declare who you are behind the camera!

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Kristina & Mike | Married

26 September 2014

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You know those people who you meet who seem to always be communicating with one another without actually saying a word?  Mike and Kristina are some of those people; there love is evident and one of those things you can't describe as anything less than perfect.  Kristina adores Mike, and Mike would rope the moon for her in return.

 Their wedding day was just as perfect as their love story-- it was a warm, summery Michigan day.  A slight breeze from the water floated through the trees and up to the cabins where they were getting ready. As Kristina slipped into her dress and fastened the clasps of her jewelry, Mike adjusted his tie and tucked photos of his mother and uncle into his suit pocket. Bridesmaids fluffed layers of tulle and elsewhere the guys took a celebratory shot and laughed at inside jokes. Neither could wait to see the other. This was it-- the first day of forever. Later, they would meet by the lake on a mountain and share the desires of the heart with their friends and family; their desire to love and cherish the other for the rest of time.

Mike and Kristina's day was a celebration on so many levels-- celebrating their love, celebrating the merging of two wonderful families and celebrating the memory of loved ones who watched them say their vows to each other from the heaven's.  Kristina gained new friends, and Mike was welcomed into an enormous family.  The end of the night was magical, as everyone gathered on the shore to release lanterns into the sky.

We were honored to be a part of this wedding and want to extend a huge congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. Lawson!  We cannot wait to see them blossom in their marriage!  Here are some of my favorites from their day!

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