A heroine who knows how to wield a bow and arrow, a comedy duo who had me in tears in the cinema and a book that transported me back to a pivotal moment in American history ... here's a peek at a few of the things I was loving on this month.
This past Saturday was my first foray back into wedding photography for the 2012 season and after I got over the initial jitters (and double checked all my bags to make sure I had my gear three times – ha!), I found myself slipping back into the ‘ol wedding photographer routine like an old glove. I forgot how much I missed shooting! We were blessed with some awesome weather, trees in all of their spring glory AND I had a gorgeous couple to boot! So, here’s a peek at Hannah and Garrett’s beautiful wedding day. More to come, of course, soon…and in the meantime, I hope you two are enjoying a much-deserved honeymoon in Spain and the Canary Islands!
Friends, ever try REALLY hard to like someone? Or something? Or some place that so many people gush about loving and how they can’t wait to move there that you feel like you need to share the love too? Yeahhhh…that’s me and Chicago. Sigh. Every time I pay a visit, I do so with an open mind because, you see, I want to fall in love with this city. It’s super close to me (just a few hours away) but I just have never felt that insta-love for Chicago the way I’ve felt upon first entering the city limits of, say, San Francisco or even New York (or if I’m really fantasizing about my favorite city in the world, I seriously think I left a piece of my heart in Paris two years ago. I keep telling Nick I need to fly back and find it ;) )
While it may never be a place I see myself living, I’m a fan of any urban environment and I couldn’t have asked for a better Chicago experience than the one I had earlier this month. Two days with freakishly warm temperatures and a chance to learn more about photography, visit with old and new friends AND eat some deep-dish pizza? That’s a recipe for a great little get-away!
This trip was made all the better because, you guys, I FINALLY got my self-portrait with the BEAN! If you’ve never been to Chicago before, this sculpture downtown in Millennium Park has become a focal point for the city since it was built seven or eight years ago. And it always killed me that I’d yet to admire it in person. So it was fun to spend a bit of time taking pictures with it, watching the little kids ooh and ahh at their reflection and again, taking a minute to marvel at where life takes me and the people I get to meet along the way. It’s why this month’s self-portrait is especially dear to me.
So what was I doing up there in the Windy City? I was there to root on Jasmine as part of her multi-city, national tour called The Fix. Whew…that girl. How she had the stamina, brains AND wardrobe to pull it all off is beyond me but, of course, her conversation was inspiring and the congratulatory hug given to her afterward WELL deserved. I also got to spend a lot of time with the sweet Anda Marie, a Madison photographer I got to know online through Jasmine. Ever meet someone and feel like two peas in a pod? Totally felt that with Anda and I think we were still trying to finish one another’s sentences when we parted ways. Anda and fellow Wisconsin photographer, Nikki, made for awesome hotel roomies and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to expand my circle of friends thanks to this trip. Also happening on my whirlwind visit was a long lunch at Gino’s pizzeria with one of my former Ball State students, Aly. I hate to pick favorite kids who’ve worked for me at my day job because they’ve all been pretty wonderful, but Aly holds a special place in my heart. I loved being a mentor for her and now, to see her living her dream, working as a copy editor for the Chicago Tribune, well…it just filled my heart with joy. SO great to squeeze in time with her too! Sooo….between last week’s Chicago trip, a Black Keys concert, a wedding where I was the GUEST (for a change ;) ) of a dear friend and then my parents’ back-to-back birthdays, well…you can see why I’ve been busy. Sorry for the light posting! My first wedding is happening Saturday and I couldn’t be more excited to get back into the swing of shooting!
Eeek! I’ve been waiting ages to let this cat out of the bag and now I finally can! You see, last spring, while I was off taking lots of photographs for clients, my husband was WRITING A BOOK! Yes, you heard that right! In December 2010, he signed a contract to write a hiking guide for the Indianapolis area. The caveat? He had to hike all the hikes, recreate all the maps from his GPS and WRITE all the chapters in just SIX MONTHS.
It was a MAJOR undertaking and countless were the nights that he’d stay up working on it. For weekends on end, he’d wake every Saturday at 5 or 6 in the morning, then set off and hike five or six hikes in a day before coming back at nightfall. And so, when summer eventually rolled around and he’d hit his deadline of turning in 40+ chapters of content, I didn’t think I could be more proud of him. But, true to my modest husband’s form, he unassumingly accepted my congrats, all the while acting like what he’d done wasn’t a big deal. Ummm…YEAH IT IS, right? :)
Then we had to wait. And wait. And wait some more, through both a round of revisions and then the publication and printing processes. Finally, earlier this month, a big box arrived on our doorstep and what was inside? Why, a dozen or so copies of “Best Hikes Near Indianapolis” by Nick Werner! Anddddd because this blog post is a way of letting you all know about the book, if you live around the Indy area, you MUST pick it up! You can find it at major book stores OR order it online at Barnes & Noble. (Side note: Do you know how COOL it is to link to something your husband wrote that’s stocked at Barnes & Noble? (It’s really really cool)).
Way to go Nick! So happy for you to see the finished product in print!
With every trail Nick included in the guide, he found out loads of history on the area, lots of facts about its course (and the beautiful scenery to find around it), AND he took all the great photos! I was really impressed with the presentation of the guide. It looks great! And now, for my FAVORITE part of the book! As I started flipping through the pages, I came to the dedication page and SQUEALED. “Babe, you dedicated the book TO ME?” Nick: “Ummm, yeah. I mean, who else would I dedicate a book to?” Book lover that I am, I kid you not when I say this may be the sweetest thing a guy has ever done for me. ;) And lastly, in case you all don’t know what my hubby looks like, because more than a few of you who saw the cover when I talked about its presale asked, “Why didn’t they put NICK on the cover?” (haha) and because this was the photo I submitted for an “author shot” that apparently they don’t include in their guides, here’s my sweet, nature-loving man who I am SO proud of (can I say that any more times in one post? :) ) Love you babe!
I’ve been thinking a LOT on how to start this series. It’s something I’ve wanted to kick off since the new year. But my desire to make these words perfect has inhibited me from getting started until now.
At the heart of this “Notes on a Business” series is this: I want to talk candidly about the lessons I’ve learned in my own experience as a professional photographer. What I am NOT trying to do is convey myself an expert photographer, expert businesswoman, or, frankly, expert anything. Rather, I want this to be a series of reflections that might inspire or inform photographers who’ve found something they like about the words I put down here. Who, as a result, keep coming back for more.
I hope those reading this first post find something in it applicable to their own creative experience. I hope this series is in line with my focus-keeping goals for 2012. I also hope, over time, it sparks a dialogue among some of you who frequent the blog (to email one another, reach out to one another and know you’re not alone in what you’re doing). And if you have a question that might fit with the content of this series, sound off in the comments below!
Lesson 1: It’s OK to want something for yourself and your business that doesn’t look like what everyone else wants.
Writing those words took me five seconds. Too bad it’s taken me THREE YEARS to embrace the idea. When I was starting my photography career, I envisioned a trajectory for it that looked a lot like what my other newbie photographer friends expected for themselves:
Year 1: Work my tail off second shooting for other people and investing in equipment
Year 2: Build a clientele for myself that establishes my brand
Year 3: Save enough money to go full-time
Around year two, as I watched many friends follow this path, I began thinking, “Wait a minute…they hate their day jobs but I really like my day job. Am I really wanting what they’re wanting?” I wasn’t sure. So when peers asked where things were headed with my business, I can admit now I lied to them. I described a plan that echoed what they wanted for themselves. All the while, knowing deep down I wasn’t being true to myself.
As the months passed, I realized what I REALLY wanted (but couldn’t admit out loud just yet) was to allow my photographer career to be a form of creative fulfillment that supplemented the work I took pride in doing at my day job. (A day job that, no matter how many ways I looked at the equation, I couldn’t justify giving up…and if you, like me, practice an exercise where you can’t picture your day-to-day without your current coworkers in it, well, that tells you something right there).
Only in recent months have I’ve wrapped my head around what this means for me: It means I’m a bit of an anomaly in this industry, one who intends to keep her day job in a sea of photographers seemingly desperate to leave their own. It means I’m a photographer who wants to keep a handful of wedding and portrait clients who’ll feed her creative passion, not one who’ll have to focus on a quota of sessions to financially survive her year. It means I’m a photographer who’s content to keep her little business and her little blog and never ascend to a level where I’m speaking to you at a workshop or selling you a product that enhances your life.
Only now do I recognize that so little of what others in this industry are chasing is in the cards for me. And finally, completely, 100 percent-ly :) I AM OK WITH THAT. My aim in speaking so openly on this topic is to be the blogger who tells you this: 1) it’s OK to be really honest with yourself about what you want for your creative life and 2) you are not alone if what you DO want for that life does not look like what everyone else is wanting.
Let me stress if your aim is to become a full-time photographer, I cheer you on 100 percent! I love photography, it’s one of my biggest life passions and want to continue pursuing it too. It’s just…if any of what I said above resonates with even one person, well, I take comfort in knowing I’m not the only girl finally willing to embrace a set of dreams that’s different.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading these words. I’ve wanted to let them go for so long. Putting them out here may be the most freeing thing I’ve ever done on this blog.