Friday, June 26, 2009

Turning in my old life for a new one!

For the past several months I have been working with a business coach, Dane Sanders. He is the author of the Fast Track Photographer, has a hugely successful photography business, and has recently branched into the world of workshops. He's utterly fabulous and has such a wealth of knowledge. He not only talks about business, but is helping me define WHO I am...way down to the core, emotional level. He asks permission to help me confront my demons...calls me out when I make excuses (and i usually have a lot) and in some ways provides tough love. But I'll tell you, I'm all for tough love. Emotionally, it does a number on me, but it's what I need and what I want for myself.

I will flat out admit that I have sought approval from others to validate who I am...pretty much, most of my life. Not often enough do I validate myself for just being me...and that me is good enough. That can be such a limiting factor in relationships, business endevours and truly finding success and happiness in life. So today, I was challenged to 'turn in my old life for a new one'...and I accepted the challenge. Sounds hokey, but I'm a believer.

I will write a list of all the things that I have felt hold me back, things that I feel are 'flaws' (physical, emotional, subconscious acts, etc.) and I will literally take this list (and in my case, I will be going to a church) and turn in this list...and ask if I can start over with a new life. Sounds uncomfortable to me, don't you think? I'm totally squirming in my chair thinking how awkward that sounds, and how the person on the receiving end of that letter is going to look at me. I can hear them now...'Um...ok...whatever'. LOL ! But, I've been living in a world of a 'comfort' and it hasn't done me much i need to get uncomfortable to have a better life...for me.

What does this have to do with photography? Oddly enough, everything! How I view myself will ultimately come across to others. It's hard to live a double life and internally tell yourself one thing, but try to project another. I can't tell you how many other friends/photographers struggle with these same demons. Luckily I have been fortunate (blessed) enough to confront them. Today, I challenge you to do the same...and would love to hear about it. Heck, I could be the one you send me your list and I will grant you permission to start a new life (yes, I have that kind of power...tee hee). See, I'm already believing in myself.

It's funny, I didn't at all intend to write about this...I really wanted to share with you an exercise I did with writing down 400 words or less about how I want to be viewed in the photography world...and I'll share that at the end. But I think it's less important how others view me (granted, I want people to love my work, love me and want to hire me), but it's more important how I view myself...and to forgive myself of my 'faults'. I am however, human...and will never be perfect, and that's ok. I forgive my messy desk, the piles of paper, and my disorganization. I forgive myself that the grass that hasn't been mowed, that I haven't yet lost the 5 lbs I wanted to lose, and the the rest of my list that goes on. Wow, it's very cathartic to write this stuff. And, for the first time, I'm not concerned about how others will view it...b/c it was helpful for me.

I want to send a big THANK YOU to my friend Dane, for helping me face this nasty little demon. I feel great things are about to occur! Bring on my new life!

(btw...Dane is conducting these workshops all over the country and I highly recommend attending. The cost is ONLY $750, but you get so much more out of it, and literally almost $2000 in product/services as well. How can you beat that? The Seattle workshop will be the last day of Sept, first of Oct.)

As for my 400 word exercise of how I want to be viewed in the photography's what I wrote:

I thought about the question: What/who I want to be in the photo world. And although I want to be 'somebody' in the 'photo world', I realized that trying to reach superstar status is not me. So, I want to be admired by other photographers and be able to hang with some of the greats, but I really want to be BIG in the eyes of clients hiring me. To them, I want to be the person who is able to walk into their world and be able to objectively capture their personalities, their love, their quirkinesses, and candid moments. All while having a fun, relaxed time by lessening the intimidation factor of the camera and letting their natural personalities shine. I want their responses to the photos they see to be jaw dropping, to shed a tear, or to have a huge smile to take over their face. I want them to hear the laughter through the picture, have a viceral response, remember that moment with more detail than before and to really 'appreciate' and 'love' the fact these moments were captured. When they see their photos, I want them to feel they just won the lottery. I also hope to create relationships that allow me to come back into their world, time and time again. With or without the camera by myside. I want a BIG hug at the end of the session/day and to be welcomed back with open arms. Word of mouth referrals are the best ...and I hope that my clients would shout my name and share me with all of their friends and the BEST photographer (in their world at least) ;).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My 101st Blog post

Wish I could say that my 101st blog post was going to be a doozy...but at the moment, I'm swamped with TEN photo sessions to edit from the past TWO weeks. It's a good thing...a GREAT thing and I'm loving the repeat business and all the word of mouth referrals. My clients are the best...THE BEST!!! Thank you to all of you out there who are supporting me and my adventures with my photography business. It's growing...quickly and to think where I started just two years ago, I'm proud of how much I've accomplished.
Pat on the back for me (I should do that more often). ;)

Here's a little bit of what I've been up too....enjoy! And please feel free to leave any comments, questions or topics that you'd like me to talk about. I'm going to start 'talking' more in blog...not just about the amazing people I get to meet, and the adorable, cute, fun, sassy, beautiful photos I get to take of them...but I'll share more about ME. The person behind the camera...the reason people actually like to hire me (so I've been told). So, stay tuned for a little change in pace, a different voice and I'll still provide you with some great pics and fun stories behind them.
Until next time...
Jen ;)

I'll be back soon....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Mother's Day Treat: Family Photo Session

About a month or so before Mother's Day, I got the sweetest email from Carl asking about doing a photo session of him and his daughter as a surprise for his wife, a Mother's Day present. I absolutely loved the idea. We emailed back and forth and realized, it would also be fun to incorporate the whole family in the session...but still keeping it a surprise.
So, with some scheming...Carl and I came up with a plan. Carl met me the day before Mother's Day, and we had a 15 min. photo session with him and his daughter, Tia. With a quick edit and passing off of a CD...Carl ran to a photo print shop, printed off this above photo...had it framed...and get this ladies, took it to the restaurant where he had it placed at their 'reserved table' for Mother's Day breakfast. So, when Amber, his wife, walked in...there it was...already waiting. Can we say...adorable??!!
The story doesn't end there. The other part of the Mother's Day present was that Carl had scheduled a family photo session for later that morning. Amber was a true sport, and with a quick change, getting everyone ready for smiling, enjoying the session and lookin' cute...we met at a park and had a fun, relaxed session. And the moments that were captured...too cute!Love the Mother-Daughter bonding. Those smiles are killer!Little snuggling on the blanket.After a little family was Tia's time to shine......and shine she does. Her smile immediately brings a smile to your own face. Tia was a bit concerned about the grass when she was first placed in it. It was still a bit dewy, but she warmed up to it quickly.First, the concerned pouty look...but oh so cute.
Then, the smiles broke out...
...and became uncontrollable laughter...for all of us.
Tia giggled so hard...
...that she completely fell over laughing. Love it!
If you haven't noticed before...little edible toes are just so precious.
And, Tia found her's quite fascinating too.
Needless to say, a day at the park on Mother's Day was such a treat. Thank you Carl for setting up this wonderful day. Thank you Amber for your beautiful smiles and being such a great sport and to Miss Tia...thanks for the all the giggles. I hope you all enjoy the family memories.
All my best...Jen

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Newborn: Baby Grayson

Baby this point and time probably looks sooo different since he was born in Feb. However, that's the beauty of newborn capture the earliest days, those days that seem to pass too quickly. Here are some sweet memories of Grayson at 2 weeks old with mom and dad. His adorable little pouty lips, that cute little chin and button nose. So tiny, so innocent.

And those captivating.

Edible little toes...

Mom and her son...

Big Brother, Josh...and a great big brother he is.

Thank you Autumn and Mitch for letting me capture those earliest days of Grayson. I know they will be memories that you will cherish for a lifetime. All my best to you all and can't wait to see what a great little boy Grayson grows up to be!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wedding: Laney and Tim

It was such an honor to be able to be a witness and capture the beautiful wedding of Laney and Tim. They are such a sweet, loving and extremely happy couple. Laney and Tim met eachother in an 'untraditional' yet seemingly more common way these days...good ol' However, Laney would prefer that they met at a, we'll just go with that. ;)
The wedding day was on a cold, blustery, rainy Seattle day...however, the smiles on everyone's faces and the excitement in the air did not elude to the elements outside. It was still a 'perfect day'.

The excitement of donning the dress brought huge smiles to everyone's faces.

Laney looked so gorgeous and radiant...and the look on her mom's face is absolutely priceless. Her little girl...all grown up and getting married.

The guys were clearly excited as well...
Laney and her bridesmaids, including her brother, Casey, who is her all time best friend. Their relationship is so incredibly special, that it's heart warming just to watch them interact with one another. Although Casey is her younger brother, he is her protector...and today, along with Laney's dad, he gave his sister away to Tim.

The best part of the day is the 'first look''s such a special time to see one another, aside from the chaos...and allows for a time to just be together. There is such an incredible sequence that was captured of the first look, but I think this says it all...the excitement, the tears...the flooding of emotion.

During the wedding ceremony...this chest was presented as a commitment from Laney and Tim to open cards that they wrote to eachother, on their wedding day, to remind eachother WHY they loved eachother so much and chose to spend their lives together. This chest is to be opened (with a bottle of wine), on their 10 year anniversary...or if there are struggles in the relationship (aka: "in case of emergency"). I'm sure it will be a fabulous 10 year anniversary gift!

Announcing Mr. and Mrs. O'Neil!

First dance as husband and wife.

Laney's has such a special relationship with her dad...he is an awesome guy and undoubtably the best laugh EVER!

The toasts...

The cake...
Dancing the night away...boy did this group dance!!!

The grand finale...and the beginning of a great life together.

Laney's parents cracking up as they send them off...

Thank you again Laney and Tim for letting me be a part of your beautiful day. I hope your trip to New Zealand is unbelievable and cheers to the adventures of life that await you. All my best...always!