Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Niece Naomi {Senior 2014}

I had the pleasure of having two senior sessions with my beautiful niece Naomi Joy. Never mind that her first session was totally unexpected and I caught her completely off guard.  She didn't even have her "outfits" picked out.  We were going camping in a beautiful location so I did not give her a choice in the matter.  I simply told her to smile!  Her second shoot she was able to spend time getting ready and make her perfect outfit choices.  Quite honestly I think she is stunning in both!  I love how her "joyful" personality comes out in her pictures.  Her zeal for life is contagious and just being around her makes me find "joy" in the little things.  This Sunday she will celebrate her 18th birthday! I'm not sure how that happened, but she has grown into a beautiful young woman.  I am blessed to have watched her grow from a little girl into who she is today and I am thankful for the friendship that we share.  I love you Naomi Joy!  May this year be a year that is full of wonderful surprises and may you cling to Jesus as you get ready to enter a new season in your life!

Naomi's Grrr face!  Don't mess with her!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Alyssa {Senior 2014}

I am honored that Alyssa chose me to take her senior portraits. Alyssa and my niece Naomi came to Butte over a long weekend to have their senior pictures taken and I am so glad they did!  Not only did I get to take Alyssa's pictures, but I also got to shop with her, watch movies and eat ice cream too.  How fun is that to actually spend time with a client outside of just taking their picture!?That is what I love so much about my job; I love getting to know my clients. Alyssa is fun and sweet and has the most gorgeous eyes!  Every image from her session her eyes seriously draw you in.  They are AMAZING!

Alyssa with my niece Naomi.  Sessions aren't all business we like to have fun too!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mom Guilt

If you are a mom and you are reading this chances are you will be able to relate on some level.  I have this thing that I have titled "Mom Guilt".  The Merriam-Webster's definition of the word guilt is the following: "a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong".  I added the mom because it wasn't until I was a mom that this "guilt" began to plague me.

Last week my kids were out of school Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  My children enjoyed time with their cousins, the Jumperoo (big bouncy houses), swimming twice and a movie night. But when it came to Friday and Saturday the guilt began to set it.  I had photo sessions Friday and assisted shooting for a wedding Saturday.  Needless to say, two evenings in a row, I was not home for dinner or to tuck my precious children into their beds.  I was gone a total of 15 hours in those two days.  Now you must understand that during these times my children only had a babysitter one hour, and they were with family or their dad the remaining hours.  But still the guilt taunted me.

To try and redeem myself and minimize my guilt I rushed them to the Original Mine Yard pumpkin patch 40 minutes shy of when I needed to leave for the wedding. My children were excited, they ran, played and picked out their perfect pumpkins!  My guilt was lessoned, but still at the surface...my kids were happy and it only took 40 minutes!  The adorable pumpkins below are proof!

Often times, I think that, we as mom's and woman in general battle these feelings of guilt.  We work too much or we work too little, the house isn't clean enough, there are deadlines to meet, we spent too much time with our children and not enough time with our husbands, we didn't spend enough time with our children because we were trying to get other tasks accomplished and the list goes on!  Even as I write this there is guilt.  There is laundry to be done, I need to catch up on the house that was clean this morning and I should be spending time with my children instead of writing this blog!

So what's a mom or should I say woman to do!?  

First I must share that I am a follower of Jesus.  I thank God every day that His mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-23)  I can begin fresh with each new day. What I didn't accomplish or where I felt I failed yesterday I can try again.  I will wake up tomorrow, praise Him that I can start over and try hard to be productive in my photography business, my home and spend time with my husband and children.

Secondly, a to-do list is a MUST.  It can be the list on paper method where each task gets crossed off as it is accomplished (this is my favorite method because I am extremely visual and it feels so good to cross things off my list!).  Or with all the technology of computers and smart phones you can make your lists and have it with you at all times.

Third, organize your schedule on a calendar.  I use both methods of a large calendar that is on my fridge and the calendar on my computer.  Having family, business and personal engagements and appoints written down helps to keep me sane and provides direction for my "to do list!"

Fourth, plan out times for just family!  In today's world, with all it's modern conveniences, we are busier than ever and sometimes quality family time gets pushed aside.  Try and plan at least one day, night or both to spend undivided time together.  It helps to establish this pattern so your children see that they are important.  If you are married schedule monthly dates.  My husband and I have been married for 13 years and we still don't have this one mastered!

Fifth, schedule time to serve others.  Crazy concept huh?  Serve others when I could use someone to come clean MY house and cook for ME!?  I promise you won't regret scheduling this time into your life.  You will find that you are happier and more content when you begin to care for and serve others without expecting anything in return.

And finally, schedule "you" time.  Make sure that you are taking care of you. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, don't sacrifice sleep and make time to do things that you enjoy.  Some of the ways that I schedule "me" time is a girl's night out, locking myself in the bathroom and reading a good book in a bubble bath, scheduling a day to scrapbook, coffee with a friend and sometimes just shopping alone for an hour.  I promise when you have some "you" time you will get a new perspective on life and maybe even feel like you can conquer the world for a day!

Now, can I assure you with complete confidence that these steps will cure you of your "mom guilt"? Absolutely not, but they will help you identify your priorities and balance them accordingly!  And that my friends makes everything better for everyone!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kyle and Shayla {Engagement}

I met Shayla for the first time a couple of weeks ago at our local Starbucks. We shared stories and wedding talk over lattes.  Right away I knew that I was going to love working with her.  Shayla is beyond sweet.  When she introduced me to her fiancĂ© Kyle at their engagement session later that week it only doubled my excitement!  Kyle and Shayla's love for one another is beyond obvious. Their love is expressed in the way they look at one another, in their embrace and in the quiet when they say nothing at all and are just near each other.  It is a love that is breathtaking and beautiful.  This is one of my favorite sessions because the images are such a beautiful reflection of the love that they share!  I am honored to be a part of such a special time in their lives and look forward to their June 2014 wedding!  What you are about to see is extremely special! Look, enjoy and be captured by their love.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wickstrom Family

I had the pleasure of meeting the Wickstrom family at their photo session with me last week.  They were an absolute pleasure to work with and their daughter and little guy are too cute for words!  They made my job easy. Take a peak and see for yourself!

Cutest viking I've ever seen!

Monday, October 7, 2013

When Your Wife/Mom Is A Photographer

I've enjoyed taking pictures for as long as I can remember!  As a child I asked for my very own camera so that I could snap pictures of the people and things that I loved.  Now, as an adult I have continued to develop that passion and my subjects frequently are my husband and children.  They are usually great sports when it comes to them, me and my camera! When I have a new lens, backdrop or location I want to try out they humor me and smile for the camera, sometimes willingly and other times it requires an incentive.  I'm a mom of 3 kiddos and I have no shame in admitting that I use incentives to motivate them; especially when it comes to taking pictures!

Yesterday I had a studio session.  I rarely do studio sessions for a couple of reasons.
1.  I love the natural backdrop of the outdoors!
2.  I do not have my own studio where I can leave all my backdrops, lights and props up which means that it requires A LOT of work to set up and take down each time I have a studio shoot.  

After I was finished setting up for my session I needed subjects to test my backdrop and lighting.  My oldest son, Isaiah, willingly sat on the stool and smiled.  It was too easy!  His goal in being so agreeable was to stay with me during my session. When I told him it was not going to work for him to help me this time his smiles were gone and he was finished being my "helper". Here are the photos before he was upset with me.  He is extremely goofy and all about having fun which shows in his expressions.

Now that my son was finished helping me I moved on to asking his sister and brother to be my new subjects, but they were wrapped up in performing their own music concert.  How could I compete that?  My husband graciously offered before I even asked.  When he gets in front of my camera he makes me laugh every time. It is obvious where Isaiah gets his personality from; he is a mini replica of his dad!  I did not have to pose my husband as he is now an expert in front of the camera.  And those smiles...they still give me butterflies!

Titus claimed this was his "sincere" face

Since my family is very much a part of what I do I thought it might be fun for you to hear from the perspective of my husband and children about what they like and dislike about having a wife/mom as a photographer.  So here goes!

Husband Titus:
"I like that you find value in your photography.  I appreciate that it brings in additional income to help with our kid's activities.  And as college pastors we challenge our students to live out their faith in the market-place. Your photography is our market-place experience! I dislike having all of your photography props in our house, specifically a corner of our bedroom.  I hate clutter!"

Oldest Son Isaiah {9 years old}:
"I like when I get to go to sessions with you and meet the people.  I don't like when you will not let me come with you.  That is the only thing I do not like!"

Daughter Tirzah {6 years old}:
"I like when you take pictures.  I don't like that you are on your computer working sometimes."

Youngest Son Micah {3 years old and had a little help from mom}:
"I like when I smile goofy for the camera and can see myself in the picture.  I like playing with the photo props.  I don't like when you leave me to take pictures."