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Friday, December 5, 2014

A Photographer's Prayer

I always get nervous taking pictures.  I get especially pukey-feeling charging money for pictures.   Money is such a hard, tangible thing.   Capturing meaningful pictures on the other hand is a bit like chasing fairies through a rose bush.   

I do it though, because well...someone needs to capture the reminders that life is beautiful.  Because somewhere underneath all the matching freshly pressed clothes and stiff smiles there's a real family.   With real love (and real eye rolling going on usually. ahem).  Real smirks, real laughs and some truly goofy grins.   My job freaks me out because out of the whole year, I have one little window to somehow chase those fairies and capture the essence of that family and record it on a digital electronic device in such a way that can be printed and hung in a hallway or over a mantel so that someday when that mom is scrubbing poop off the wall, she can look at the picture and remember that not every day is filled with booger smeared faces wailing about the lack of marshmallows for breakfast.

And so when I drive to a photoshoot with my rather shoddy camera bag filled with the tools I'm supposed to juggle in a mathematical yet creative way, I say a prayer ( that you won't find in any liturgy and is more along the "chicken soup for the Joel Olsteen soul" ...but is sincere nonetheless)

Lord grant me quick fingers to capture fleeting moments.
May I not necessarily see smiles, but love.
Help me to set up good staged and fake pictures so opportunities for real ones can spring out of them. 
May the dad not kill me with his dislike for dressing up. 
May the mom know she's beautiful and that the camera can't see half of the things she's worried about. 
May the children be mischievous, but not holy terrors.  Pensive but not unhappy.   
Let there be truly delicious lighting somewhere...anywhere.  
Please may my camera not spontaneously combust and the memory cards not hate me and die.  
Above all, help me freeze moments that matter, and may they bring happiness to the people who look at them. 
(and may they please please please feel like they got their money's worth)

 I always hold my breath until all the pictures are uploaded onto the computer, and I see a picture like this.  And I remember that I do really love doing this stuff.   


Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Many Faces of Harlowe

Some babies are like their mom and some babies are like their daddy, but this baby is such a hysterically adorable mixture of both her parents, I couldn't decide which picture made me melt the most.

I've spent quite a few hours taking pictures of her parents for their engagement, and then wedding, so while I wouldn't call myself an expert or anything, I can say with pretty good authority that this perfect little nugget inherited all her mom's flair for acting.

She handled wardrobe changes like a champ. It almost felt like Danielle and I were playing Barbies, except this one poops. Like a true girl, her favorite outfit was her christening gown. Albeit, mostly because when she kicked, it made a cool crinkling sound... so boy did she kick.

Like her dad though, she wasn't a fan of the hats mommy brought.

Even though she assured us she's a huge Tulsa fan. Go Captain Cane?

She was also quite good at giving me the stink eye.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yay for photoshoots with little fairy girls.

As the mom of two boys who have very cranky and dubious opinions about my camera, I couldn't have been more thrilled when Susanna contacted me to take pictures of her girls. I think the little one has to be at least half pixie, and the older one is a fairy princess.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Different Sort Of Spring

Ever wonder what it would be like to arrive in Southern California for the first time? Not in these days, with national geographic and google maps. But as some sort of sturdy Irish immigrant who pioneered their way across the country in a covered wagon. They arrived to the promise land of milk and honey and while the sun does always shine, it also looks like this.

Quite the culture shock I'd imagine if you're used to heather covered hills and bagpipes. Or something.

Then they probably got closer to the coast and thought "oh whew, it really is paradise after all"... plus man eating sharks, scalp hungry Indians and no Hollywood sign gracing the valley. (just kidding... cept about the sign)

But despite the fact that most of us crowd in as close to the beach as financially possible. The desert is beautiful. A study in contrasts. And only a short drive away (well, reasonably short-ish).

This people, is as green as it gets. The advantages of hiking through the desert with two small children?
The flowers and succulents are absolutely stunning. Has anyone ever seen a wedding done with cactus flowers? For coming out of a dull colored and prickly plant, they sure are whimsical and fairyish looking.

Happy Spring.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Sometimes, if you squint your eyes just right, you can imagine all the woes of pregnancy don't exist.

There are no such things as swollen ankles, or hips that require you to roll out of bed and land on your hands and knees. You haven't really gained four pounds in one week, and you didn't actually eat an entire family sized bag of Lay's BBQ potato chips.

Instead you are serene. You are beautiful. And you realize pregnancy is both a full time job and a work of art.
If you've ever been pregnant, or been close to someone who's been pregnant, then you are quite familiar with the full-time-job part. The maternity photoshoot I did over the weekend proves the latter-- Knitting a life together is a beautiful thing.

I'm thinking I should a) shoot more photos on the weekend, and b) take a giant chill pill more often. Rachelle and I shot all these in my backyard, side yard... and front yard. We ate lunch in the middle of them and just generally had a blast.

You'd never guess these shots were also taken in my yard, but despite the fact I live in the country (obviously), I like the urban feel of these photos.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Tutorials- My Camera The Cyborg

Whether you have a Powershot Point&Shoot, or a Canon 5D DSLR, there is always that moment of frustration, (or in my case...abject terror). For some of us, it's because the lighting isn't behaving, our lenses aren't right, or we pick up the prints from the store and what looked amazing on our computer looks dull or even green when we get the actual prints.

Sometimes my camera acts more like a rebelling cyborg than it does an extension of myself... Like right now.
I look at other peoples photos, and they look so dreamy and easy. Mine on the other hand feel like a ton of hard work for sometimes good (sometimes mediocre) results.

My current cure is to go back over what I've learned in the last 6 years of professional (ish) shooting, and figure out what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I can do better. Feel free to join me, pipe in occasionally, or correct me.

Here's to a more creative year... *clinking glasses* ...and watch your back, you never know when your camera might be plotting your demise.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Faux Wedding Shoot

When my friend Lauryl emailed me in the summer with a self confessed scheme I was a little worried she wanted me to fly a prop plane with an ad banner or walk up and down the beach accosting twitterpated looking people with our business cards. Instead, this was the fruit of that scheme...

Her design work. My photography. Together we will conquer the world... or not. Although I did work up a sweat climbing thistle ridden, rattle snake infested hills looking for the perfect manzanita branches to saw off. I also had one minor panic-stricken moment when I accidentally super glued my shutter-button finger to my thumb while fixing the fabric covered letters. But thorns, super glue, and a brisk wind aside, everything went off without a hitch. We got pictures that make me smile whenever I look at them, and really, what more can a photographer ask for?

Lauryl's mom did the invitations and name cards, and they're so cool, I want to get married again and have invitations like these.

I was so excited Janie over at The Brides Cafe, featured them on Monday. If you're checking out her blog, the DIY section rocks.