If I could give you one thing in life.

Life passes us by so quickly, and I woke up this morning to a “quote” on Facebook by some unknown that I really had to share.

“If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes, only then would you realize how special you are to me.”

As much as it applies to loved ones, it is why I love photographing so much too.  People in general are so unaware of how beautiful they are, and how other people actually see them.  As does everyone else, some days I wake up feeling a bit ugly and yucky, other days we feel ok or don’t even think about it.  A few days we feel amazing here and there.  But I think if we all actually had a chance to see ourselves how others see us we would have so much more confidence in who we are and how amazing we actually look to other people.

So when I photograph you, that is what I’m looking for… I way to give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes.  Because you are special.Image

Bonkers, maybe….

To keep my edge in my work I need an occasional play date.  Typically my play days are not my normal photography work that you see on a day to day basis.  I spend my play dates with people that like to work a little outside of the box, and I shoot more MY style than at any other time.  I’m pleasing myself, and pushing my boundaries while trying to keep the quality still at it’s best.  My background is actually in the arts, and my personal love of shooting style can be a bit dark and crazy at times… I love people that play outside of the box…..”Bonkers, maybe – but let me tell you a secret… all the best people are.” ~Alice in Wonderland

We had a stellar crew going, but Jill Scott (did her own hair and make-up) kind of took everything to a new level… we have very like brains when it comes to having fun and creating some art.  Susan Dillon of Kitty Mae Millinery is always our go to Mad-hatter and what a beautiful “orb” she had to hat this time around.

In the spirit of Alice in Wonderland we have lots to show soon, but I couldn’t help but show off two of my favorites so far.  Promise, full cast & crew with more photos coming very soon!

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Mothers

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.”
– Cardinal Mermillod

It may sound early to tell you Mother’s Day is the most important day of the year, but it is never too early to think about all of the mother’s out there in the world.  Our children depend on us, they love us, they look up to us for everything as they are growing up.  They look to us when they scrap their knee, spill their milk, and just want someone to lay next to when they are feeling sad.  Our children look to us to be mountains they can climb over when they are small, friends they can dance with to a good song, and someone they can just be comfortable being “silly” with once in a while.

I can also say from experience that as a mother… we don’t get enough photographs with our children.  While we take lots of pictures of them, I’m willing to bet that a majority of those images are minus mom in the photo – as we are also the photographers and videographers – documenting our children’s childhood.  That being said, again – Mother’s Day is right around the corner and what better way to celebrate the relationship with you and your children than with a portrait session that shows that special bond you have with your child or children.  Time to start leaving hints to dads and family to get a gift certificate for a session… or better yet, come in and do a mother and child session as a gift to yourself for all the hard work, tears, smiles & laughter that happen every day – much because of what you do for your children every day.

MOTHER & CHILD PORTRAIT SPECIAL - APRIL 3RD- MAY 10TH, 2014

$500 for a beautiful portrait session for your children and their mother, with a gorgeous 11×14 framed canvas included of one image from their session, and 2 digital files with rights to print for personal use.  GIFT CERTIFICATES are available to purchase with this package and can be used anytime in 2014 as well.

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Jennifer with her beautiful girls

Jennifer with her beautiful girls

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Where in the world would you choose for your dream destination wedding?

 

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Book your key vendors – without cutting corners!

“Planning ahead allows you more room to get vendors you want for your wedding day.”Image

I’ve had so many calls lately from people who had contacted me months ago about their wedding… and then call back only to find we have that date already booked.  My heart sinks, because some of them I would so LOVE to photograph their wedding.  I kindly hand them off to other photographers that I personally recommend – but hate the deep sigh I get from them when I tell them we no longer have their date available.

 I encourage anyone having a wedding to book your key vendors ASAP… especially ones that can only do one event at a time.  Wedding planner, photographer, videographer, DJ or Band… are mostly limited to one wedding a day - so make those your priority after you have your date & venue set.   This is such an amazingly important day and getting the vendors that you love can make a huge difference in how comfortable and carefree you feel on your wedding day.  Florists, catering, On-site MUAs, Stylists and cake should be next up – because although they may be able to do more than one wedding in a day, they still have limitations on how many they can do.

The “when to book” each vendor changes from year to year in your most loved wedding magazines (it almost changes as fast as your local weather forecast) and typically their ball park timeline only works if you have multiple choices that you love for each vendor.  If you have a specific vendor you want to work with, or an amazing vendor that does limited events to give you the best service and attention then you can throw all those timelines for booking out the window.   This is your wedding day – you deserve world-class vendors, and the memories of your wedding day are world-class important.

The DRESS… yes, that beloved dress that you want… can take months to get and even more time to get altered.  Many brides don’t realize how much time that can take… so find your dress with enough time – so you’re not cutting it too close to the wedding day!

Another great reason to book ASAP… is it gives you more time for financial planning for your event.  Many vendors will work with you on payment plans so that instead of “cutting” your budget and settling, it may allow you to get the vendor you want, the packages you want to make your day over the top amazing.

So get out a pen an paper and start making your priority list for your wedding day – make a wedding top 10.  Those top 5 vendors – book as soon as possible, and the the next five as soon as you can after too.

Don’t forget to follow our BLOG to get lots of great tips for your wedding day!

The Wedding Bouncing Board

Oh, yes… it’s exactly what I mean.  You scour websites, you have a million questions about your wedding… why?  Because for most of you, this is your first wedding.

So what do I really mean by Wedding Bouncing Board?  I’ve been in the wedding industry for over 25 years, and personally photographed over 800 weddings.  I am grateful to have some of the most amazing contacts in the wedding industry that are located all around the globe.  Myself and my invaluable network of vendors that I work with all have opinions… because… well, we have seen A LOT OF WEDDINGS, we have been involved in A LOT OF WEDDINGS, and our opinions and suggestions are based on real world experience.

So lets sum this up and give you the goods.  We aren’t here to tell you “don’t do” or “do” anything.  What we are here for is to answer your questions in a very experienced way.  Go ahead, flowers, timing, planning, DIY, invitations… we will be giving you some of the pros and cons to see what your options and realities really are.  Of course all final decisions are up to you, but if you need someone maybe outside your wedding planning box to give you some ideas or helpful hints… this is the place to be!

If your question seems to hit a nerve or something we think needs to be a little more detailed, we will do a separate blog post on it too.

Go ahead… pass this along to your friends.  With 25 years of experience and over 800 weddings I’m happy to help any way I can, and if I don’t know the options or answers – I know how to get some from some very influential people in the wedding industry.

COMMENT HERE  and tell me what you want to know!Image

Writing a letter.

The lost art of communication.  We text, we tweet, we send the occasional short e-mail.  Who here remembers writing a letter?  Who remembers receiving a letter by mail?  Some will write a short bit in a thank you note… but that’s not what I’m talking about.  Who of you have actually written or received a full blown 1 or 2 page letter from a friend?  Can you remember when the last time you received one or sent one?

Challenge of February.  Write 3 letters to friends and mail them… one full page minimum.  Send them in the mail and then let me know how you felt, and then follow up to see if you get any feedback from who you sent it too… and even more so – if you receive a letter back.

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The wedding chronicles.

The planning.  You meticulously plan your beautiful wedding day.  Planning consumes your time and thoughts.  You pull inspiration from every corner of your life.  Exhaused – the last few days before the wedding bring excitement and maybe a little anxiety while you have to finish a few tasks, welcome guests into town, and realize that you will be walking down the isle shortly.  You can breathe deep if you have had little to no drama in the process, while others are overwhelmed and just want to skip to the fun part… the honeymoon.

The wedding day.  A few months or maybe a year or more have passed and the wedding/ceremony day is here.  You may loose some sleep the night prior; but now it’s time to let go.  Remembering that you are the ones that everyone is there to celebrate.  Letting go may be the hardest thing you do, because up to this point – you have detailed a minute by minute plan of how your day will flow.  Regardless of how long the day actually is – it will fly by in a few blinks of your eyes and you will only remember a very small fraction of what happened on the day of your ceremony. Wedding planner or not – you try hard to let go of the details and just enjoy what this day actually means to you and your loved ones, as well as the future you have ahead of you.  The day passes… and as much as you sigh partly in relief that the day is over, it is also a little sad that such an amazing event ends so quickly.  It is a roller-coaster of a day, of emotions, of excitement, and a culmination of all your hard work months previously.

The honeymoon.  Pure celebration of you being with the one you love, typically outside of your normal reality.  Fun or relaxing… it is time needed to bond, to reflect on the ceremony day, and to be yourselves.

Back to reality.  All of the ups and downs of planning, all of the crazy busy and chaos of a ceremony day has come to the end.  You come back to real life as you know it – at least you think.. but returning to work or your normal routine.  Then you realize something little may be missing… with the months of planning prior, you may feel a little bit of loss as well.  Those days scouring Pinterest, the trips to fit the dress, searching for vendors actually filled up more of your time and were more enjoyable that you remembered and many think – what to do now.  Always best to fill your time with fun stuff for a few weeks to let yourself down easy.  After a few weeks you get a chance to look at photos and videos and reminisce about your day.  Looking through the photographs you look at each other and giggle or shrug your shoulders… wondering what that person was saying when they made that funny face, asking “who was this” for an extended family member you may not know from your spouse’s side of the family, or even say “I had no recollection of this happening at all.”  The beauty of photography & video documenting your day.

5 year anniversary.  Hopefully you pull out your wedding album yearly, but now a few years have past.  You may have moved onto children, and in that case you graze over photos and tell stories of your wedding day.  You are proud to show off such an amazing event, you get flutters seeing you and your loved ones so happy together, and if you have kids – “mommy you looked beautiful” may pass their lips.

15 year anniversary.  You may have had a few or many ups and downs in your life together already.  Stresses and strains, wear and tear at you after this long.  If you have children – they are getting older and your lives together may be more about them.  If it’s just the two of you, you may have drifted a little apart to find yourselves again.   And if you’re lucky you are just in love as the day you met or more.  Regardless of your situation – you pull out your wedding album to renew your sense of why you came together as a couple.  With a few more wrinkles maybe, but your had the best photographers and all you see in your photographs are the smiles, romance, and emotions that made you love that person all those years ago.  See… we all change a little, but the wear and tear of life doesn’t change the base… you can still see the twinkle in someone’s eye if you look hard enough, you can still see how their smile is ever so slightly changed if you look hard enough.  Your photographs of your wedding day are gold at this stage – snapshots are fun and great too – but photographs that can show you the love and connection you have/had with one another have become priceless in reminding us that no matter how much life has changed around us that there where amazing things at play to bring you together and fall in love.

50 years together.  You still visit your wedding album together, and you can feel an amazing sense of accomplishment that you have been tried and true and weathered many storms together throughout the years.  You have build a legacy through your children and grandchildren.  Or if you decided no children.. you have still accomplished great things together.  If you do have grandchildren, your wedding albums are mesmerizing to them.  They see how beautiful you are, they come to realize the value in both their grandparents and parents and the love that made this happen.  You as an individual, and you as a couple have affected this world in some way, and most likely many ways.  If you have passed your love down to other generation – just seeing the love in photographs from your wedding day can give your children and grandchildren hope that they too can find that kind of lasting love.  You may assure them that it wasn’t easy – but that it’s about the journey, it’s about caring for someone maybe a little more than yourself, and a legacy to leave them.  

Every day is a gift.  Every love is a miracle. Give 100% and only expect 20% in return.  Forgive, and move forward.  Treat your loved one like they are a queen or a king, and be their support always. And look at your wedding photographs closely and often – there is a reason you connected… look hard and find it over and over again by reminiscing about the beginning of your life together.Image