Hi Friends! Rarely do I ever hop on here and talk about Me, Myself, and I. Back in the early 2000’s it was basically all I did on the internet. I had a Xanga, a Blogspot and a Tumblr, not all three at once but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any overlap with some of them. I blogged hard, like multiple times a day about almost anything you could think of. It brought me a lot of joy and it also connected me with other wonderful humans around the world. So I wanted to go back in a sense to my roots of blogging more about not just my work but ME!
I recently asked all of you if you had any questions about yours truly and the following are some of the questions with my answers. I had a lot of fun thinking about my answers rather than blurting out the first thing that came to mind!
How did you become a photographer?
I can’t say I ever had an “Ah-ha” moment with this. From the time I was in 9th grade I knew I wanted to go to art school and I knew I wanted to major in something where I made a reasonable amount of money. My family is very supportive but also sensible, I knew a painting major would be a harder sell than a Graphic Design major. So Graphic Design it was, and honestly, I LOVED it. It was really fascinating for me to learn about the ins and outs of branding design and everything else related to the field. I also took two photography classes in college, and I thought they were such fun and romantic forms of art. My first photography course was when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. My professor, Romeo, who we all loved fiercely was the kindest and most endearing human I’ve still ever come across. He is truly special and I’ll never forget his generosity and the influence he had on me. Through grace and kindness he implored us to be our best selves…and to be thoughtful artists. I spent countless hours in sheer darkness processing my own film in film canisters. Then exposing the photo paper I bought in bulk in the light room with the enlargers, mixing my own chemicals for developing the prints, again in darkness . And finally hanging my prints to dry and flattening them with the weighted press a day later. It was a process and a far stretch from the digital world we all enjoy now. I wouldn’t change my first experience with my dad’s film Minolta for the world though. It taught me to be intentional and to really appreciate the craft of creating an image on paper.
Has anyone ever been part of an art school critique? I’ve been a part of hundreds, we’d have them for each class we took from painting to glass blowing to jewelry design. They’d start with us all pinning our priceless and sometimes not so priceless work to the walls and we’d take turns talking about our inspiration, our process and whether or not we achieved what we set out for. Then we’d have to sit back while our peers as well as our professors told us what they thought, the good and the bad. I’ve had critiques go both ways!!! However, they were invaluable in helping me take constructive criticism to make my work better. All this to say, when I graduated college I went to work as a graphic designer for seven years. The last two years of that I had my photography business on the side and always on the back burner. It was a total fluke that Alex and I even started working on the weekends shooting engagement sessions and weddings. One day Alex’s coworker Joseph asked if we could take engagement photos for him and his fiancé Paul. Alex called me at work to ask me what I thought and I answered with “That sounds like fun!” and that’s it. That’s how it all started. Thank you Joseph and Paul!!! Photography as a business wasn’t even on my radar until then!
How do you capture key moments without inserting yourself or interrupting during the wedding day?
There are a lot of components to this but I have to say the two that come to mind first are planning and experience. When I book a couple one of the first things we do is put together a timeline based on their goals for their big day. Then I educate them from a photography stand point how their wedding day should flow to maximize their time with me AND have zero stress AND spend the most time with their loved ones having a blast. Are they having a first look? Is the bride also having a first look with her dad? How long will the ceremony last? When is sunset? Will there be any surprises during your wedding day that I should be prepared for? (I.e. a guest appearance, a special toast, fire works???) I have my couples fill out a questionnaire asking all of these questions ahead of time. So if Bevo, the beloved mascot for the University of Texas, is making an appearance during cocktail hour and the groom has NO IDEA I’ll not only know this is going to happen but exactly when and where so I’m ready.
That being said, there are SOOOOOO many special and fleeting moments that take place on every single wedding day that aren’t planned and that I cannot be prepared for. However, I’ve spent so much time capturing these special days that I’m tuned in and always waiting for something unique to pop up and present itself. During the ceremony, speeches and special dances especially, I have a knack for reading emotional body language and I’ve gotten really good at anticipating bashful smiles, elated laughter, and genuine tears. My camera and I are ready for youuuu!!!
How do you balance your work and motherhood and everything else you have going on in your life?
Honestly, when I figure this out I’ll let ya know. Some days I’m awesome at this and other days I struggle, and that’s most days. Especially during Covid times when our girls are home 24/7, establishing clear cut “work hours” is almost impossible and they’re never consistent from day to day. Some things that help me that I have in my arsenal are the following…
1) Not procrastinating too much. Someone once told me “You can do ANYTHING for ten minutes.” A lot of the time I’ll put off doing a task for days or even weeks because I’ve built up how truly horrible it’s going to be in my head before I’ve even started it. Whether it’s learning new software to help my business run more seamlessly (this is timely), writing a blog post (lol, also timely) or basically any menial task I do all the time to keep this ship afloat it’s not as bad as I’ve anticipated it to be. I tell myself when I’m dreading something “Just do it for ten minutes. After the ten minutes are up, you can move on to something else.” Psst. I rarely move on to something else after ten minutes because by then I’ve created a rhythm and I’m probably even enjoying what I’m doing at that point.
2) PODCASTS PODCASTS PODCASTS! I listen to them all the time, especially when I’m editing galleries, designing albums or putting together wedding day timelines. For some reason just listening to music isn’t enough for me these days. I crave new information and thought provoking content always! My favorite podcasts are Armchair Expert, Next Question with Katie Couric, The Michelle Obama Podcast, This Movie Changed Me and Modern Love. Feel free to reach out and let me know what your favs are too!!
3) When it’s work time turn your phone on silent, put it in a drawer or better yet, put it in another room. Hearing and seeing notifications pop up on my screen really throws a wrench into my productivity. I’m also weak af when it comes to will power with my phone and I’m likely to pick it up and get sucked into the social media vortex for ten minutes before I get back to work and establish my groove again.
4) Making physical to-do lists and accomplishing small, fast tasks first without distractions. The act of crossing off action items I’ve already accomplished with a big, inky pen is soooo satisfying for me.
5) Putting work and my phone away when it’s time to be present with our girls. I’m far from perfect at this but I make mental notes daily to really focus on what they need from me and the puzzle/book/drawing/bike ride at hand rather than checking my phone to see if a certain email got a response. I’ve noticed that when I’m distracted while playing with them I lose out twice. Play time instantly feels way less meaningful when I’m not 100% there and then that really sucks and you feel guilty about wasting your time with your kids. Lol, that’s an entirely different conversation though.
6) Realizing that my to-do list does not define me and if I’m not extremely productive on any given day I still need to celebrate and drop down to my knees and congratulate MYSELF anyway because I have EVERYTHING I’ve always wanted and so much more. Seriously. Like STFU already and look around at what you’ve accomplished and treat yourself with some fresh flowers, an ice cream sundae and maybe even a 90 minute massage. YALLLAAAA!