All this worry about Instagram's organic reach is exhausting.
So what are we gonna do about it ?
1. Take action.
Find resources (sooo many are free) online to learn about approaches to social media that feel good to YOU! There are many folks out there who make a living off teaching about this one platform! Tyler J. McCall comes to mind :)
Be social! You gotta get out there (on Insty that is) and support others just as much as you're hoping to be supported. Like, comment, share, tag/credit on posts and in stories. Take the extra 5-10 minutes a day to comment on other's posts, totally worth it.
2. Improve your mindset.
Embrace social media for what it is, LEARN, use it in ways that make you feel good and forget the rest. You don't HAVE to post a Story daily. You don't HAVE to follow other photographers or writers or jewelry makers who unintentionally make you feel bad. You don't HAVE to post daily. You don't HAVE to only post 1 type of content. You don't HAVE to get too personal... or not personal enough!
Running a small business is an evolution, be flexible and open up to how your marketing evolves too. Everyone HATED IG Stories when it first arrived, why though? What a strange thing to spend your energy hating. Instead stay open, learn about it and have fun with it - your audience will enjoy it.
A certain feed always make you feel inferior? Unfollow. Boom. I'm constantly asked if I follow some local photographer and I rarely say yes. I follow a handful of photogs who are friends or my mega inspirations.
4. Unplug + replace.
Let's say you've tried all the above ideas and you're still not feeling a resolution. It's time to try unplugging and enjoy missing out.
Log out of IG on your phone. I know that extra step would make me think twice about typing in my pw to mindlessly scroll.
Replace an old habit with a new productive habit like:
-reading an edu article on a website about running a business
-meet other entrepreneurs in person for a coffee to connect
-save + organize inspo somewhere other than IG
What do all these lead to? Less comparison, less stress about the IG algorithm and you're still doing important work to move your business forward.
5. Consider alternatives.
When I started to see the worst effects of the IG algorithm, I began looking for new avenues of marketing. IG has been great for driving business but I can't rely on old tactics forever. I invested in other marketing techniques including sprucing up my website and SEO.
Looking for a free alternative? Network your butt off. Doesn't have to be cheesy after hour gatherings...
You can plan a gathering for your favorite local vendors for an activity you love:
-invite everyone over for happy hour on your porch
-get a group to go hiking together with your dogs
-go to a local art show together for inspiration
-co-work in a coffee shop
-attend a community event together
Networking is about connecting and being a trusted + friendly face in town.
Don't let Insty get you down, enjoy it for what it is and find other parts of your business to focus on!
Why? Tim is a self-made entrepreneur with a pretty cool backstory. He interviews successful people from all fields and finds out what habits + ideals make them who they are. So much to learn and be influenced by. Listen to the stories of others to be inspired and entertained.
Start with one of these episodes:
How to Design a Life with Debbie Millman
How to Have, Do and Be All You Want with Terry Crews
Catherine Hoke - The Master of Second Chances
Oprah Super Soul Sunday
Why? You can't take care of your business + clients if you're not taking care of yourself. Keep learning and growing as a human, it'll translate into your success as an entrepreneur. Oprah as been a guiding light for many trying to "live their best life" and now she involves guests that bring it to a whole new level.
Start with one of these episodes:
Cheryl Strayed: Brave Enough
Dr. Maya Angelou, Part 1: 9 Words that Changed her Life
Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling: Brave New Worlds
Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
Why? Amy offers some of the best "social" marketing advice. Facebook ads, Facebook groups, online videos and collaborations are all up her alley. She's built quite the empire through free resources, online education and online memberships with her audience. Amy is also open and honest about her behind-the-scenes which I've found valuable and refreshing!
Start with one of these episodes:
#180: 7 Ways I've Collaborated with Friends & Influencers to Increase Profits
#192: Are you Embracing the "Visionary Role" in your Business?
#197: How to 10x your Results in 2018 (and Beyond) with 3 Dead Simple Strategies with Marie Forleo
Bright Planning (disclaimer: Chelsea Lane Photography + Bright Planning regularly work together)
Why? Catherine is a local marketing expert who doles out practical advice via her podcast, newsletter and social media. Her audience is made up of small/medium size businesses and I appreciate this because we operate differently than the biggies. Her advice is tailored, well thought out and actionable.
Start with one of these episodes:
Episode #53: How to Market your Small Business for $100 per Month
Episode #59: 10 Marketing Tactics you can do in Less than an Hour
Episode #71 4 Questions you have to Answer to be Successful
And lastly, an honorable mentions from my favorite email buddies:
Skimm'd From The Couch by The Skimm creators (my favorite morning email news dose). I'm new to this podcast but can already tell it's going to be one of my faves for hearing the stories, experiences and inspiration of badass female creators!
The Marie Forleo Podcast - I get my weekly dose from her online TV show but she also offers the same info via podcast. This is best podcast for people in the beginning stages of their business, she'll be your biggest cheerleader!
Akimbo a podcast by Seth Godin is another brand new podcast so I'm still getting started with it. I read his blog daily and it's easy to see his insight is incredibly valuable, unique and will make you press pause to think twice about what he just said.
I've gathered up favorite resources that many couples could benefit from when planning a small wedding or elopement!
The internet is, um, big. So rallying resources in one helpful spot saves time!
Visit any of these websites that speak to you for inspiration, tips and insight - don't forget to follow them on social media too for even more goodness.
The larger names like Brides.com, The Knot, Style Me Pretty, 100 Layer Cake, Green Wedding Shoes (I could keep listing but I'll spare you) are easy to find and also have great resources. Don't discount them, give them a visit too! I just gathered the little guys that may not hit your radar.
BEST OVERALL RESOURCE
A Practical Wedding - Website and blog for the laid-back couple. Real advice that's helpful for those of us thinking we don't need to spend $15k on a wedding. The advice & etiquette section is my favorite but the whole site is helpful.
MOST BEAUTIFUL INSPIRATION
The Bridal Theory has been a longtime favorite of mine simply because their style is deep, romantic perfection! For major eye candy, follow them on Instagram for 'real wedding' dreaminess to motivate your own style.
BEST LBGTQ + FEMINIST RESOURCE
Catalyst Wedding Co. - I love this site because it shows the couples that aren't shown enough. Catalyst shines a light where we've needed a light to shine for so long! They have great articles, advice and inspo for everyone.
BEST ETHICAL RESOURCE
Black Sheep Bride - This team collects vendors and products best for those who care deeply about the source. They support companies that give back, have a smaller footprint and have a social conscious mission.
Modern Love for sweet stories from all walks of love life. This podcast is a quick listen - perfect for the car ride or while eating breakfast.
Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel for advice on hard topics from the ultimate pro. Esther's interviews on other's podcasts were popular enough to encourage her to launch her own. Where Should We Begin? is new so its a great time to catch up and stay subscribed for future shows.
When you scroll through Instagram checking out the cozy photos of a trendy home with a cute girl lounging on her sofa with coffee on the Anthropologie feed, you think "that's what I want!" I love these lifestyle images, they give such warmth to brands that traditional product photography cannot.
So what does it take to create a seemingly simple photo to promote their new couch + robe + mug + candle?
Many many people came together to craft these photos shoots. I've been on these sets and seen the amount of people, time, planning and money that goes into a photo shoot for 1 blog post. One blog post! That's it!
An example of a shoot for a larger company:
1 creative director
1 person handling manual labor (that cute couch? may have been moved 3 times for the photo)
1 studio setting or a real home that's been scouted + pre-styled
20 hours of prep time
8 hour photo session
Plenty of post processing time to edit images (I don't know the exact amount of hours for this specific shoot)
Result: 5-7 final images for the client
So when you're a small business owner and you're working with a one-woman-team photographer, how can you bridge the gap to get the results you want without all of those resources and that big ol' budget?
I've got some ideas.
1. Know where you stand. - Are you in the beginning stages and need help developing your brand? Do you need guidance with this or just some time to gather your thoughts? Let your photographer know this when you inquire about their services.
2. Maybe you have the basics of your brand in mind (the mood + feel). - Now you're ready to gather inspo pics and make sense of it all. Please don't expect your photographer to recreate other's work but sharing inspo pics is very helpful! Visual aids help when words aren't cutting it, Pinterest is great for organizing this on "secret boards".
3. And perhaps you know exactly what you want and you have a very strong vision. - My advice here is to meet with potential photographers to discuss and see if you're a good fit based on their input. My other advice for this is to still be flexible, you're hiring another creative to bring your vision to life and they will breathe in new air to a project, let them!
Bonus: Always know your budget. Know what range you're comfortable with and don't be afraid to tell your photographer! They are likely just as excited to work with you and may be willing to negotiate.
Next, what are the expectations of the shoot?
Visit this post for what factors may or may not be needed for your shoot, very helpful for preparation!
Now that you've read that past post, here are a few tips to make the most of a smaller budget:
-Model for yourself! You're likely the face of your business so hopping in front of the camera saves you money + time and gives you a chance to connect with your audience! Photos of you do SO well on social sites.
-If you're struggling to find a good location, chat with your photographer for their recommendations. Your own home may work just fine which saves on a rental fee.
-Find a photographer who is comfortable styling products if that's necessary for the subject. Their rate may be a little higher than others but you saved money on not hiring a stylist without putting that job on yourself.
-Go with the flow of natural light. If you work with a photographer who shoots natural light, you are somewhat at mercy to the weather gods. A good photographer anticipates and prepares for that with equipment (including artificial light just in case!) and approach. Trust your photographer to guide that process and make lighting recommendations.
-When tallying up the number of products you want photographed, narrow it down. If you ask a photographer for 20 styled shots, they'll need to charge for the time it'll take to make that happen. Choose wisely!
-And, lastly, communicate! When planning a photo shoot, respond to questions from your photographer in a timely manner so they have time to prepare. If they're to set up a shoot, help book models, buy props, prepare backdrops and be ready creatively - help 'em out and give them the appropriate time to do the work.
I hope this helped as you consider professional photography that's still within your budget. You're always welcome to email me with questions about your situation!
We've got cover songs, original songs and entire albums to suggest for this Valentine's Day. And no genre is off limits but these tunes all blend well together.
Open up Spotify, press shuffle and enjoy!
Adele's cover of Make You Feel My Love (a Bob Dylan song)
Ala.ni - Ol Fashioned Kiss
Alina Baraz - just about any song on the Urban Flora EP but 4 are on this list!
Anthony Hamilton - Can't Let Go
Carla Bruni + Willie Nelson singing his song Crazy
Elle King - Wild Love
Janelle Monae + Miguel - Primetime
John Mayer's cover of Beyonce's XO
Justin Timberlake + Alicia Keys - Morning Light
Léon - Think About You
Muddy Waters - Sugar Sweet
Raphael Saadiq - 100 Yard Dash
The Roots + Erykah Badu - You Got Me
Son Little - Lay Down
702 - I Still Love You (an old school RnB jam from Pharrell's world)
Listen on Spotify now - Happy Valentine's Day!
How long does a small shoot last?
To be honest, I struggle creating packages that will fit all small business needs. You are each so unique!
Let's break down what elements of a shoot that determine the time needed then get into package options.
-number of models
-model experience / efficiency
-number of outfit changes
-hair & makeup needs
-change of location + driving time
-the public (waiting on passersby or a truck to move along)
-availability of the location (public spaces may have limited hours)
I shoot mostly natural light so time of day and weather conditions are an important part of my approach. When shooting outdoors, I'll always push for early mornings or later evening just before sunset and those hours are fleeting in the mountains!
Products // Styling
-number of products you need photographed
-number of ways you need the product photographed
-styling props to set the scene (the amount of props we're working with + the time to style them)
I rarely have small business clients ask about the amount of images they'll receive because they're not shopping for bulk.
A good reason for that? Your products and services will continue to evolve, so your photography needs will too. It's not necessary to have 10 photos of 1 product from slightly different angles. It's better to have less images, each of stellar quality.
Narrowing down your needs for the photo shoot greatly helps your photographer provide an accurate time frame + quote for the session. Not everyone knows the answers to these questions from the start but that's what I'm here for! I'm happy to help brainstorm the session visually and logistically.
I offer a standard small business session that often suits most client needs but I'm also happy to modify it. I work with small businesses because I enjoy being flexible and working together for the best results.
Looking for ongoing photos that evolve with you and your goals? I offer monthly and seasonal packages as well as my standard small business session!
Downtown Asheville has plenty of beautiful hotels and lofts (both pictured above) to create the perfect getting ready space on your wedding day. You'll want plenty of room for vendors, family and friends to stop in. Maybe this is the only part of the day you'll be downtown or maybe you'd like to hold the ceremony and reception in this area too...
Favorite downtown wedding venues:
Asheville Area Arts Council - minimal + artistic
The Asheville Masonic Temple - historic + cozy
Catawba Brewing - beer city + industrial chic (photos just below)
The Orange Peel - laid-back + fun
Looking for a little bit of urban + nature for your wedding space?
Smokey Park Supper Club's Boat House sits right on the French Broad River and the location is in our River Arts District. The venue is a great mix for an outdoor venue.
Keep in mind that you can get ready in one place then carpool, rent a bus or drive up to the mountains for your ceremony.
You could also meet everyone in a beautiful outdoor spot for the ceremony then host a private dinner reception afterwards downtown! Check out my favorite restaurants with private dining spaces in this post.
Cheers to doing it your way!
Black and white images have a special place in your wedding collection. They're all the cliche terms: classic, timeless...
They evoke emotion + drama.
I scrolled through and picked out my favorite black & white images from my weddings this year. Memory lane is a beautiful thing.
Each wedding is unique in location, style, lighting and mood. I run with the vibe of the day when editing, including with the black & whites.
Cheers to the new year!
Some cities just speak to you. Or sing via G & The New Orleans Swinging Gypsies.
Some cities have hidden corners that only the real fans will find. You can skip Bourbon Street.
Some cities make you crave a walk through a cemetery and an aquarium all in one day.
Some cities know how to mix nature, architecture and color seamlessly.
Some cities are worth using your camera in the rain.
No other city is New Orleans.
The holidays are here. Officially.
Small businesses have to strike a balance between taking time off to enjoy (yay, you're your own boss!) and making the best sales during the shopping season (oh ya, gotta earn $$).
My best advice? Prepare ahead of time.
Next year, let's get those holiday photos done in October so you have them to use throughout November and December. Photos to promote new product, the holiday spirit, promotions and events.
Find yourself needing to change things up regularly?
I offer monthly packages for a quick photo shoot every month to fill up your Instagram. I also offer seasonal packages if you want to highlight the changes in weather, product, styling and use of your product or service!
Since I last created a list like this, so many new places have popped up. Couples coming to the mountains for their elopement or small wedding have plenty of options for dinner afterwards! Small wedding bonus: I'm highlighting spots with private dining spaces.
Asheville is known for its food and drink scene, we've got you covered for any style or cuisine.
Buxton Hall BBQ private event space - The Remingtin Room
Smoked whole hog BBQ is quite fitting for a trip to Western NC. Buxton Hall offers up food that everyone will love in a stylish atmosphere. The restaurant itself is beautiful and The Remingtin Room upstairs brings the same vibe in a cozy space. Head here if you love pulled pork, veggies cooked under the pig and southern desserts.
Rhubarb private event space
Rhubarb is known for its dedication to farm-to-table, a very Asheville mindset. We love our local farms and producers and we love supporting them. Rhubarb is all about seasonal dishes with a southern flair. Not long ago they opened up a private event space with all the charm and romance needed for a wedding reception.
Cucina 24 private event space
Although I've never photographed an event in this space, we often go to Cucina 24 for date night. The Italian food is impeccable with local + seasonal ingredients and an ever-changing menu. We are never disappointed with atmosphere, service or dinner here.
The Montford Rooftop Bar
Full disclosure, my husband runs The Montford so I may seem bias. But! The views of this space speak for themselves, the small team loves interacting with guests and the food + cocktails are killer. I'll say no more since I'm attached to this establishment in some ways but I will say everything on this list is tried and true!
Sovereign is a beautiful cocktail bar that could fit into almost any city. We're lucky it's here in Asheville for the upscale feel, the original cocktails and incredible food from chef Graham. The upstairs private dining space is ready for you and your guests with an eclectic + laid-back feel and local + seasonal dishes. I've been thrilled to take photos for this team a few times and their commitment to quality ingredients is impressive.
Curate is one of the most popular restaurants in Asheville, it's always a booger to get into so make reservations in advance! The chef is well known for good reason, the authentic Spanish tapas cuisine is unique in this region and on point. They opened up an intimate private dining space with a cozy feel similar to a wine cellar. For a funkier vibe, check out their other restaurant below...
Although this list doesn't cover everywhere available to you in Asheville, it certainly covers my favorites, cheers!
This is a portrait session I did with Christa Briana for her to create a new website (coming soon!). She is a local illustrator who's work is similar to mine so we enjoyed created hauntingly beautiful images together in the woods of Asheville, NC.
Portraits of Asheville artist Christa Briana
Makeup by Serenity + Scott
Clothes are vintage
Props belong to Christa
My hubby Philip and I partnered to create a delicious + spooky Halloween drink for your festival cocktail party this month!
Philip enjoys getting creative with recipes at home and I love capturing food and drinks.
The Witch’s Apple
.75 oz bourbon or rye
1 tsp B&B liquor
.75 oz cognac or apple brandy
.75 oz sweet vermouth
2.5 oz fresh apple cider
2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
1/8 tsp activated charcoal (to make drink black, available at healthy grocers)
Dry ice is an optional and safe way to add some drama.
Combine all ingredients over ice. Stir well. Strain and pour over 1 large ice cube.
If you don't know the perfect spot to have your engagement or anniversary photos taken, how about at home?
Katelyn and Greg had me over for their engagement photos to bring in the fall season. They live in the cutest cabin tucked away in Black Mountain. It was lovely exploring their stomping grounds and hearing about their life together there.
We roamed around, stomped on leaves and visited the friendly neighborhood cow down street. This cow is more like a dog that comes to say hello when they go on jogs together. I had to see it to believe it.
Maybe you're wondering if you have enough fun spots around your home for an hour long session... think about how you spend your time at home. Let's brainstorm...
Cooking dinner together in the kitchen.
Swinging on the front porch swing.
Drinking wine on the deck after work.
Walking the dog.
Cozy by the fire.
Cuddling in bed after getting to sleep in.
Napping in bed after not getting to sleep in.
Dancing in the living room.
Setting the dining table for date night.
Planting or gardening.
Lounging in the hammock.
Still a no go? Plenty of public spaces we can find instead ;)
Don't you love when you run into someone who truly seems to be themselves? They've just grown into who they're meant to be and they embrace it?
I love when my couples give me this vibe. And why would I care about that?
Because creating a wedding brings up so many questions about family, friends, your style, what's important to you. The key to a having a good wedding is to know who you are and what you want for this celebration.
Ann and Kyle had been together for 11 years before tying the knot. And really, what's the rush?
I like to think it gave them all the more time to learn what and who is important to them so they could go through all the wedding options and pick what's a good fit.
With about 40 guests, they relaxed in their backyard on a beautiful September day. They held a sweet ceremony with a DIY backdrop then shared drinks and food with loved ones as the sun set.
Color was king at this wedding. The DIY backdrop was made from old curtain scraps and was as colorful as her on-of-a-kind dress. As she moved int eh dress, colors trailed behind her and everyone kept murmuring they adoration. Guests also noted how "Ann" the dress was, which made me smile.
Ann's brother sang them down the aisle, Ann had a flask in her garter and the toasts made everyone laugh with memories. Their 2 pups ran around with homemade flower necklaces and one even carried a go-pro during the ceremony!
What a great way to say goodbye to summer in Asheville.
Cheers to planning for you two.
If you like variety in your images, you may consider an outfit change during your portrait session. When clients ask me if it's feasible, I generally think it is!
If it's quick, go for it! You'd be surprised what we can fit into one hour, a quick change won't interrupt us.
Things to consider:
Don't stress yourself out about these little details, enjoy the session and trust your photographer to guide you!
What is a lifestyle shoot when it comes to your small business?
Product photos on a plain white backdrop are great for selling an item online. Potential customers can see the item clearly and make an informed purchase.
But, is that enough?
What about that initial feeling when they first visit your website or open up your Instagram? That can't be under estimated! It's the excitement and enthusiasm that drives sales.
What about the way you caption your photos and the words that describe your company's values? You're building an emotional connection with people that creates lifelong customers.
Lifestyle images connect you. They show a sweater wrapping you up by a cozy fire. They show your glasses when you set them down to enjoy breakfast after reading the paper. They show you on date night, escaping the kids. They show you in your earth-friendly t-shirt on your favorite hike.
What story connects you and your clients?
How will they use your signature product in their daily life? Or do they invest in it for special occassions?
Dig deep. Put yourself in your customers shoes and then show them with photos.
You'd be surprised how little prep you need to do for an in-home session. Catherine and I picked 2 spaces to create images. First up is the office. We created 3 different looks inside one small space!
We wanted some fun and colorful photos with match her previously created office flat lays. These all go together to support her marketing company, Bright Planning.
Bright Planning has a vintage flair with a cool logo and uses strong primary colors like blue and red. We moved a desk in front of her favorite bookshelf and created a beautiful mess with other beloved books from around the house. As you may have guessed, Catherine is also a writer outside of her marketing career. She and her partner, Brandon, are literary souls with many many books floating around their home.
The vintage typewriter is a nice touch too!
For the next look, we cleared the desk, changed shirts to create simple workspace portraits. Less styled images for Catherine's portrait.
Next we simply changed direction for images (in the same room!) of Catherine on her chaise just enjoying the quiet space. The hat beside her holds family memories so its a nice touch to personalize the portraits.
That's 3 different looks in one small room!
We wrapped up with a relaxed, lifestyle portrait on her screened in porch. We shot in just one corner so we didn't have to move a thing for these photos in preparation.
In-home sessions are some of my favorites because they reflect you, your favorite things and often where you work!
Sure, we all take photos of sunflowers. Sure, we see them all over Instagram. Sure, some folks are sick of 'em! And if you're sick of them, you may want to skip to another blog post...
Every portrait holds a new opportunity with the lighting, the model, the environment... sure, some things become repetitive but some things are classically beautiful and I'd throw flowers into the latter category.
As the sun set, we went from afternoon light to the golden hour quickly. I love getting a good variety when shooting!
Kristalyn and I created these portraits in under an hour. We both had some free time that evening and I've really been wanting to see the sunflowers. Heads up, Biltmore rotates these so you may want to do a drive by or call before planning a shoot around the sunflowers. They're located near Antler Village.
I also highly recommend the bright yellow canola field in the springtime.
For any clients interested in roaming the Biltmore Estate grounds for their session, I have a seasonal pass which allows me to bring guests in with me for free after 5pm. Some parts of the estate (including the house and rose garden) are closed at that time but there are plenty other spots!
Only wear the dress once? Nah.
Megan and I explored Swannanoa together 3 months after her wedding to see what kind of fun we could have with her beautiful bridal gown.
We played in the creek, roamed through the woods and watched the sun set over the field.
We're pretty sure the creek cleaned off all the dirt from dancing at her reception... win-win.
Running in a dress this heavy (7 or so layers) is not so easy but sometimes you gotta give in to your photographer's random requests.
Boy do we know how to stress ourselves out about the "happiest day of our life". We dream and daydream and Pinterest and save and imagine and then stress starts seeping in from the corners. Stress is finding cracks and holes to get through but it's totally up to you to overcome it and still enjoy the process.
A few musings to help you patch those holes, covers those cracks and power through stressful moments so it's not the new theme of your wedding.
My first musing is that this likely won't be the happiest day of your life. Ouch. The expectations alone can through all the wrenches in that ideal.
The happiest moments you'll look back on will (more likely) be when you go dress shopping with your best friend, drink too many bubbles and giggle over how ugly most dresses are. Your happiest moments will be the first time you held your brand new niece in your arms, when you hiked up that mountain in Alaska, when you stood up for yourself at work and it made a difference, when you snuggle your pet on the couch, sharing beers with your spouse because your other plans were rained out.
The little joys of life rally together and represent your happy times. Your wedding will be one of them but don't put so much pressure on your poor wedding to solve the everyman quest for "happiness". If you're on board with me so far then we're on the right track.
Next thought: how do you want your wedding to look and WHY? Write out key elements you want then follow up with why.
Reread your list. Time for cuts and compromises.
Example list of wedding details you're planning and WHY they're a part of the big day:
Signature cocktail - represents our first date
Outdoor venue - can't imagine it indoors
Big wedding party - my mom insists I have a flower girl
Dance party - my fiancee wants to partay
Pink and gold colors - I don't really care but my sister said this is trendy and cute
Cute umbrellas - it could rain, duh
Cute boots for under dress in case it does rain - I really don't want to move it indoors
You can already see there is room for cuts and compromises. I think it's healthy to consider both. No one wants to make mom mad but you can't let her plan the whole thing either. Cuts and compromises, think wholeheartedly about yours and make the call.
Next thought: money. Woooweee weddings are pricey. Even the little ones, even the DIY ones. Spend your money where you won't regret it. Do you care if every person leaves with a favor? Will you remember that years from now? Will they? We all have to make calls based on finances and one great way is to revisit why you're spending money on that particular thing/service/vendor.
When I first envisioned our trip to Ireland, I dreamt of olive greens on rolling hills. I imagined deep blue shores along the drive. I had it right, the countryside is just as I hoped. Early morning drives and late afternoon lunches let us see so much beauty in many different lights.
First up, the warm tones of olive green and gold that we often saw in mountains, farm land and around the happy farm animals.
Next we have the cool tones that surrounded us after a long rain, near the ocean waves and where the horses roam.
The blues were almost black, so deep and opaque in the shallows.
Love Ireland and want more? Check out these IG feeds:
As someone who spends a lot of time editing photos, I could never choose between warm or cool tones. They both have a special place in our travel memories.
To Do: Find a wedding photographer to take photos of your special day with a style that you admire... check!
Mmmmkk what else do we do? Let's look behind the scenes.
It's all about preparation. The photographer is preparing all the usual checklist needs for your wedding day, yes, but we're also preparing for you specifically! Based on your wedding location, how many guests you have, your formal photo list, we are preparing gear, ideas and posing just for you! All weddings and couples are not the same so I don't treat them that way, I tailor it your needs and vision.
No wedding day coordinator? It's likely your photographer will help guide the day in their absence. Not as a service that we provide but because the wedding group will be asking us when is the best time for this and that in order to produce the best photos. Many of my couples don't have a wedding coordinator so I casually advise based on lighting and my wedding experience (it doesn't hurt that I was a coordinator for 4 years).
Any detail that you told us via email, phone or in-person will be noted for the actual day. So you don't need to remember that you told us "...your Grandma is sick and needs to speed through her part of family photos..." 6 months ago, I've got it noted and will handle it so you don't have to!
You don't need to think about when sunset is for your best couples photos, it will be on our radar and we'll come get you. You won't need to come find us for cake cutting, we will remember and be waiting for it! Just enjoy your family & friends, breathe in the day!
When emotions are flying high, we are a calming factor. The photographer will be at your side most of the day: while you're putting your dress or suit on, while you're waiting to walk down the aisle, while you're walking out of the ceremony with your new spouse. We'll be there during these exciting and emotional moments and we'll be calm, relaxed and there for you. A good photographer will never add to the stress of a wedding day, we'll only help dissolve it.
We are catching moments that you may miss because you're busy! You're getting ready, you're hiding before the ceremony, you're talking to this group of friends (and not that other group of friends). So we roam around to catch the sweet moments your guests are experiencing so you can look back on them later.
We look forward to sharing the day with you and contributing to the success of a stress-free wedding. Cheers!
When Aislin's mom Eliza (Aislin's 16) and I decided on a summer styled shoot many months ago, I began dreaming up ideas of how I see summer. If you've followed my work, I'm unlikely to have neon colors and bright light in my portfolio... for the most part ;) so my vision wouldn't be the standard summer scene.
I began imagining dreamy July nights of rolling around in the grass at dusk with fireflies floating around. I imagined eating popsicles on the dock of a lake as the sun set. I imagined how August days ended and the nostalgia of the last days of summer. Denim shorts, romantic dresses, tall grass, pool floats stacked by the shed, bug bites... I should add that all of this dreaming occurred at the end of winter when I was really in la la land.
At some point, the 1999 movie The Virgin Suicides popped into my head and I continued to run with this vision. I partnered with Eric Campbell of Cotton + Denim for styling 2 looks, Erika Stutz for feminine makeup and Natalie Webb for voluminous hair a la the 1970's brush-out. The team brought their A-game when creating a look for Aislin and we had a beautiful evening at Ivy Creek Family Farm for the shoot.
Top and dress: @Anthro_northcarolina
about the book The Virgin Suicides:
In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters--beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys--commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family's fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time. Adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life.
This book and movie are both very dark and not what comes to mind for most summer styled sessions but I was smitten. This styled session is not reflective of the plot, it is reflective of the cinematic feel Sofia Coppola created.
Being inspired by something shouldn't mean imitation. Inspiration should bring out fresh ideas you didn't know you had to create something new.
We all know how sophisticated the iPhone camera is getting. The images I can take using that phone blow my mind.
At first, that was a real bummer for me and fellow photographers. We've worked really hard to run a business that Apple could seemingly wipe out by the time we hit iPhone 10.
Is the really the case though?
Probably not. Photographers & all of our crazy equipment serve a purpose and can bring something to the table that iPhone (or Samsung, etc.) cannot. Let's get into it.
Understanding how light hits your subject cannot be "guessed" by an iPhone. The way light affects your subject from behind, the side and head on. The way light changes from room to room or sunrise to sunset. The different colors of light and how to edit appropriately... We plan shoots around the time of day, we choose locations based on how the lighting will affect that location, we know when to use artificial lighting, we're ready for all circumstances!
1. Styling food. Hot food, cold food, whole food, cooked food. It all acts differently and not everyone is equipped to manage it (melting ice cream? boring filet mignon with no interesting shape? how to incorporate ingredients into final dish image?).
2. Styling products. Some products are MADE to be photographed! They look good from every angle, they are simple in design and size. The colors are so perfect with this backdrop! How about those fidgety products that are wrinkly or super flat or boring colors, how do we bring those to life? Styling learned from trial & error plays a big role in successful photos.
3. Posing people. Creating flattering angles, accommodating for shyness, group photos with everyone smiling + eyes open. Creating those company portraits is no easy feat and we work to make them uniform, approachable and flattering.
There are soo many great programs and apps to edit out there, you can really do a lot from your phone or computer with little investment. What about when something completely unexpected happens? Someone in the group shot blinks so much that you never find a photo with everyone's eyes open. No phone app can fix that. Glare on sunglasses... in 780 images? Yikes. Professional editing software to the rescue!
Building a relationship with a photographer after 1-2 sessions is priceless. We hear your requests, your concerns and we adjust for them with every shot. We note your brand colors, the style of your company, the feel of your Instagram feed + Facebook page + website, the energy you put out into the world and the relationship with your clients. Believe it or not, that's all part of our preparation for a shoot and it produces results.
Under beautiful lighting with the perfect backdrop, the iPhone is your BFF. It will do all the work and you can create magic. And I hope you do! Photos are an important part of life so keep snapping' pics! But. What about when the only time you can shoot is just before dusk and you don't have enough light to use the new Depth Effect? Or at noon when everyone has shadows under their eyes?
Someone once asked me how did I know that I was ready to take on paying clients and I said it was when I knew I could produce good images in the crummiest setting. Unfortunately, we don't always have control over locations, timelines, models, products, props and that's when it's important to have the equipment and know-how to still produce results.
The strange obstacles we come across in every session and are unpredictable. Ruthless reflections on products, unprepared collaborators, delays in must-have-shot-lists, equipment failure, chaotic environments, strict timelines, boring products that need oomph, crazy prop requests, creativity slumps. With experience tackling all of these hurdles, we become more and more prepared for the next one!
An iPhone isn't a problem solver, a photographer is.
I'm not trying to convince you to hire me, I'm trying to convince you that investing in a professional when you're ready will be worth it because they're prepared and can't be replaced... just yet ;)