Every year I get to meet new seniors that are involved with basketball because I’m married to a basketball coach : ) We love these kids and always pray their futures are as bright, because they deserve it! I got to take Justin’s senior photos earlier this week. He’s such a funny and sweet kid! I know Josh has loved having him around and can see why!
I love a good mix and match family. My husband and I together have 10 siblings, 8 parents, and 10 living grandparents. Life is crazy, and let’s not get started on holidays… So when my cousin Ashley asked me to take on the task of her family of three kids, and her in laws family of 4 all together, I was nervous and so excited. I am in love with these and am excited to photograph them as their families grow : )
I shake my head thinking about how the Lord leads my life in amazing directions, in such a divine and beautiful way. My dear dear friend Shannon Ho invited me to capture her workshop ‘ The Beautiful Art Of Balance’ the weekend before last. I had been praying for a while for God to give me friendships that nourished my life in a spiritual way, and for Him to put his hand in my little business and do what he pleased. Being a part of this workshop did both of those things. I am always in awe of how He works! Thank you all so much for taking me in with open arms and giving so much of yourselves during the workshop. Then here comes the reaaaaal corny part… I will forever be changed by you ladies!!
Love love love : )
Here are the videos, one of the Beautiful Art of Balance Workshop, the other of the calligraphy session taught by Allisa of Feast calligraphy.
I met Kaitlin ( older sister) when we worked at Charleston’s in Norman together. She worked in To-Go’s and I was a Server. I fell in love with her because every time I worked with her I would run back to her corner of the resturant and we would giggle way too loud for acceptable work hours. She would make the long shifts seem shorter, and I would be super excited when I knew I was working with her! This photo shoot was similar to that! Kaitlin and her sister are so easy to be around and laugh at all of my terrible jokes ( which makes me feel way cool…) It also didn’t hurt that they are STUNNING. I was in love with their clothes and the light we shot in! Happy graduation girls!! Keep being awesome!
Paige and Bryce were so incredible to meet me at 7:00 AM for a beautiful sunrise session on Eufaula Lake : ) I really enjoyed watching them soak up this fun time of being engaged and giggling with each other. They also brought their great dane Dutchess, who is such a funny dog to watch romp around! I’m very honored to be their wedding photographer and can’t wait for their big day! Enjoy their photos!
As a summary, camp changed my life, I met my husband Josh and some of my best friends in the entire world at Make Promises Happen, and it’s Josh and I’s favorite place to be on earth.
Well…. except after a summer of summer camps in the heat… by that time we are pretty ready to sleep in our own beds. ; )
To keep up to date with all the goings on at camp check out the camp Facebook page here
2014 was a brand new year for MPH. This was the year we decided to add a trip to Costa Rica. A former counselor ( who am I kidding, you can never be a former counselor, once you’re a counselor at MPH you’ll always be one, but it’s a good way to say, a counselor who’s awesome and old school) Erica Hogan decided with her husband Matt to start a sustainable tree house community named Finca Bella Vista, in Costa Rica. Not only was she crazy enough to do that, but she was also crazy enough to invite a crew of leaders, counselors, and campers from MPH! I heard her say a few times on the trip referencing to herself and the original founders of Make Promises Happen ” I learned crazy from the best of them!” and would point to all of us.
I can’t thank everyone who donated to our fundraising it was a life changing trip. Honestly.
I’ve finally recouped enough and slightly gathered my thoughts to put together this blog, I’m going to describe each day of our trip, and then show photos from it! Hope you can keep up!
Day 1 :
Today was travel day. We all were SUPER excited to finally be starting this adventure that our airport photos make us look like wild animals full of excitement! I was so excited to see our group on a plane together, there was no doubt that we were a little bit distracting to the unsuspecting passengers. I like to believe it brightened their travels though ; ) After flying from OKC to Atlanta, then Atlanta to San Jose Costa Rica and making a poor Costa Rican man haul all of our huge backpacks through the airport ( don’t worry we tipped him) we finally made it. We were actually in another country, worn out and eating dinner together : )
^John LOVES diet coke^
^James and Elisha filling out ALLLL the customs forms^
Day 2 : This was one of my favorite days, we woke up and ate a delicious breakfast, but our plan for the day was to start the drive to the coast and take it down to Finca. We had 3 SUV’s packed down and loaded and started our adventure. We were out of the box, for sure. I was in the car with Jay and Jordan, Jay kept repeating how much he was loving the trip, and Jordan never put his camera down. We made it to our first stop and got there just in time to see the sunset on the beach and take these super cute photos!
^They have pretty much all their carbonated drinks in glass bottles and I LOVE IT^
Day 3 : This is the day with the least amount of photos because I may or may not have been attacked by a rouge wave in the Ocean and separated my collar bone from my shoulder and visited a Costa Rican hospital…. BUT fun was still had by all! Beach, parasailing, and banana boat riding, and it was a beautiful day! The sunset alone made my whole trip.
Day 4 : On day 4 we went to an really great place called Kids Saving the Rainforest we got to see so many monkeys SUPER close up, it was great! We also traveled by a school yard where everything was bright colors and outdoors, again, I was wowed, and then FINALLY we drove and made it to Finca Bella Vista. We had all been warned that we had some hiking ahead of us, and all the campers had to carry their own back packs ( this was the only time my injury did NOT hurt so bad… as I watched James and Josh carry my 25 lb bags up a huge rocky steep hill ) I keep thinking about this part of the trip as a HUGE team building exercise, some people said it even reminded them of The Biggest Looser T.V. show. It was intense, everyone was pushed to their limit as the hauled all of their belongings up to their tree houses, but that was the amazing part about it. We ALL did it. The campers, DID IT. I was so proud, so so proud of them that I was almost in tears thinking about what they had accomplished. So often individuals with special needs get thrown into a TV room, handed a book, or given another task to occupy their time. What people don’t understand is that their need for adventure, new things, challenges, and fun experiences is just as great as yours or mine. This is why we do what we do. This is why the counselors and staff at Make Promises Happen work so hard at building trust, friendships, and family like bonds during camp. So when that day comes when someone says, ” Hey, wanna hike to a waterfall, zip line, or sleep in a tree house with us?” They don’t even hesitate to trust us and say ” Let’s do it” . Day 4 was a great day.
^Look at these troopers^
Day 5 : We split up into groups, one group went zip lining, the other group hung out and dug a hole to roast a pig in, and I hiked all day and took photos of zip liners and the super crazy cool garden that Finca has.
^ this seem familiar?? that’s because if you watch Tree House Masters on animal planet you’ve seen this tree house every time they open their show!
Day 6 : 2nd day of zip lining, and a BIG hike to the waterfall! I didn’t bring big camera to the water fall, so I’ll have to wait to post photos from down under, but it was super great. another team building activity of hiking with an awesome reward of a beautiful waterfall : )
Day 6: today was leave Finca day : ( in just a few days we became so close to Erica and her staff, they were all so good to us and took us into their community with open arms. A few of our campers got a little emotional about leaving. We really set the standard of a good time here people. It’s our last day and we are in a rush, so what do I do? DUH! MINI PORTRAIT SESSIONS!!!! Below are the 6 campers who adventured into the jungle with us : ) Darien, Sandra, Jordan, John, Christina, and Jay. We just thought we were close to them before this trip. We are bonded like blood brothers and sisters after this adventure!!
Our last day was travel travel travel and everyone was super tired, we still managed to get laughs out though!!
Rugged and worn out.. we are still a group of crazies.
I can’t thank everyone enough for helping Josh and I fund this trip, and for inviting us. I’m SO proud to be a part of the community of people. : ) Hope you enjoy the post, that was A LOT to throw into one post!!
Love to you all : )
oh…. and guess what…..
there is a video to come
I feel like I say this over and over again, but maybe my couples just keep getting sweeter…. Zach and Amanda rock. You talk about the most perfect stress free wedding I’ve ever shot, and they are it. Also after spending the evening with their families I feel like I want to be invited to back yard BBQ’s and Christmas, they all just kind of embraced us into the day! Please enjoy these loads and loads of photos that I couldn’t narrow down any more for a preview!! Loved your day, so so much Z and A!
Holy guacamole I feel like I just got out of college/ the academy awards all crammed in 4 days. It was my first time attending WPPI and I finally feel normal again after lots of processing, and cuddling with a blanket sleeping on and off all day yesterday. ( If that doesn’t make me sound like a crazy I’m not sure what will….)
This was the first day we got to WPPI…
Wrecked me. Mentally and physically haha. The front of this shirt says ” pro tographer” and I’m pretty sure I had to earn it.
I spent a long time deciding what classes to attend, looked up all of the speakers, read their class descriptions in detail and made sure I was going to learn subjects that I couldn’t learn online.
Being a photographer is a very self serve profession. There isn’t a cookie cutter school that you can attend to “do everything right”, there isn’t a correct way to approach anything. So when people are successful in the business it’s a big deal because they are usually very original, and had to fight long and hard to get there!
I was so excited to see these successes speak publicly!
I was also happy to find out that the photographers I saw ( and had been internet stalking for YEARS) were genuine, hard working, and so so nice!
The first class we attended was Kevin Kubota’s
( side note, first day I was there I saw a lady carting around huge boxes from one of my favorite printing companies, and I asked if she had gotten a deal by delivering them here…. she said no they were for her booth….. and I said ” oh what booth?” and she said Asuka Books… I almost gasped… I was speaking with Kevin’s wife Clare…. like it was no big deal.. haha..well people IT WAS A BIG DEAL… to me….)
His class was called How 10 Photographers Changed Their World (and how you can too) In fall 2013, 10 photographers took an amazing journey to Kenya, Africa, to put their photographic skills to use in support of a local hospital serving the poor in the area. Kevin Kubota will share the stories of these 10 photographers share the impact this experience had on their lives, as well as the lives of the people they served. They will also share experiences and tips on how to make an adventure like this your own reality—technically, logistically, and emotionally. If you’ve always wanted to do something bigger with your photography, you won’t want to miss this unique and inspirational program.
The main bullets I jotted down that really touched my heart were
“If we don’t tell the story, no one will”
” don’t be scared that you aren’t doing anything”
“Lead with your heart not your camera”
“Capture the little things”
“Capture the helpers”
“You are there to give”
“Communicate a glimmered hope”
” Face your fears, get on the plane, put yourself in dangerous situations, challenge yourself to do greater things”
So often as photographers we get caught up in the ” how can I make more money?” or ” how do I climb my way to the top?” but when you can stop and think ” how can I use my skill to HELP someone?” you start to feel scared, inadequate, and silly. What this class taught me is that, although I may not be a doctor, a physical therapist, a counselor, or protecting in the military. I can capture the helpers helping, making it beautiful to inspire others to do the same. I can share the stories of the broken hearted, the hurt, and the ones considered ‘different’ so that others can see them, connect with them, and feel the need to reach out and donate time, money, or their ability to share the story with others. We CAN make a difference, we just have to be dedicated to find out how. Here is one way how, visit this website and check out just how awesome these people are! http://workshopswithpurpose.com
We got to meet Kevin after the class in the photo shown above, and he was so nice and interested in my future story of the camp I volunteer at bringing special needs individuals on a Costa Rica jungle adventure ( this is happening in 8 days… like… just wait for the awesomeness….)
I also won this bag ! How cool is that?!
All of this… was just day 1.
Day two we attend the Justin and Mary Marantz class, ” A business built on why”
oh! and HOLY COOL I just swat this while grabbing the link.. that I made a blog photo of theirs… that’s Jessica and I standing and clapping our hands ( this little girl’s goal is to stop human trafficking and free child slaves through her lemonade stand and she has already done a bang up job! She’s 9!!)
This class rocked my world as well. The bullet notes I took were
So often we get caught up in the check list of someone else’s dream
Time goes one, moments after moments pass, but as photographers we get to say, no, this one, this one stays
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
History of families, it all started with love
Once the people are gone, the pictures remain
Take images that tell a story, AND are beautiful.
Tell a story without becoming too much a part of it.
get the images that guests see, but they can’t capture.
would this happen if the photographer wasn’t there?
What do real people in love do?
I see love, because I have known love
the most ordinary things are what is so beautiful about love
She also had lots of technical and business information that I love loved. This class rocked my world, because I forget that I am at events and taking portraits to capture history, not just take pretty pictures. I am always so afraid that the pictures aren’t pretty enough, and I forget that the people in them enjoy that they are pretty images, but enjoy that it’s who they love that is within the frame even more.
Jessica and I enjoyed the expo, and I will get into all of the new products I love soon, but what was so funny is that it was snowing and 30 degrees in Oklahoma….. and THIS is what we were doing
The next class we attend was Elizabeth Messina’s, if you have never seen her work. Just click this link in another browser and do it right this instant. http://www.elizabethmessina.com
Her work is stunning, I was so excited, it was a packed room, and we got second row.
First of all she was playing this really soulful music, like Indie Arie. So get yourself in the mood, because this totally changed my point of view about Elizabeth.
Play this video while you look at her website.
Soul. All Soul. Get your mind right people. Elizabeth is married to a black man and has mixed race kiddos. It’s so easy to imagine people being certain ways, but when I found this out about her, I just absolutely fell in love.
Here are some random bullets from her class
Don’t be afraid to clear a room to get to mood you need
Focus on the energy in the room while you shoot
If you don’t wow your ‘right now’ client, it doesn’t matter how many accolades you have.
be present and make sure what you are capturing is the best it can be in that moment
Do you know what your image is trying to say? Can you FEEL it?
Your photos need to speak to you and others.
The best way to cultivate creativity is to shoot personal projects
just keep photographing.
be educated about the shoot you are about to attend.
be half creative and half professional
I didn’t take a photo of ,or with Elizabeth, she’s very private and there were also a bajillion people there making a weird mob around her… haha but thank you Shannon for telling me to hear what she had to say. I felt motivated to be me, to capture beauty and not force it, to stay in love with photography, to start a personal project, and to shoot film…. or at least play with it sometimes ; )
Thennnnnn there was Katelyn James
More tears! Katelyn spoke about creating community instead of customers. About being a part of something bigger, about how the way to treat your clients creates more value than gaining more and more clients. She also said to be who YOU are so you attract clients who you enjoy and bring you more clients you genuinely enjoy. Them my favorite…instead of spending money on ads and marketing, spend money on your spoiling your clients!
In all honesty I took SO SO much from this class. She even had a little packet with pre notes you could fill out, like church! How precious is that?! Katelyn and her husband Michael work so hard and give so much to the photography community and their clients. I absolutely fell in love with their business model, and took it to heart so much.
AND, we got lucky and showed up super early and snagged this photo with them : )
Then we attended a class that finally didn’t make us cry, but challenge us to work harder to spend more time with our families!
It was called 2.5 in camera workflow by Zach and Jody
I took lots of technical notes. Their purpose is to make you a better photographer so you spend less time editing and more time with the ones you love! There were so many ‘nuggets’ of info! Love Loved it.
The last class we attend was Jonas Peterson
called ‘The business of being you’
He spoke a lot about telling stories in your photographs rather than just capturing shots.
The two things he said that hit me hard were
” don’t have your clients look at their photos and think Oh that’s when they photographer made us do this that day but rather capture their day exactly how it was”
and “if someone asks you, are we going to photograph the dress hanging in the window now? I ask them, do you have photos of your other clothing hanging in windows? no? well lets photograph what’s really going on then”
He was very much so about being real, and not creating fake moments. I really enjoyed it!
Next week I will post about the expo and the products I fell in love with along with tips and tricks on how to survive and thrive at WPPI.
I will end on this note.
WPPI inspired me, wore me out, made me better friends with Jessica : ) ( honestly, if someone can put up with me being exhausted, hungry, overwhelmed, inspired, overly goofy, annoying, and frustrated. and STILL want to be my friend. I just love you for who you are Jessica, and wouldn’t have wanted this experience with anyone else! Thank you SO much for being my friend and putting up with me. )
and has made me a better photographer/person.
I am so happy I attended, and hope to continue to do so.
So I’m sure you’ve heard about my brand new product for 2014, the Lifetime Session! If you haven’t then click here
What I am here to show you today are a few options on how you can use the Lifetime Sessions! ( Specifically on the part that says $500 credit.. whaaaat?)
Here are examples…. oh wait, before you look at the STUFF you get, please watch this video…. because one of these comes in YOUR lifetime session.
Grandparents kill for this stuff, I can’t tell you how many emails I got saying ” I just teared up I am SO in love with this video I will cherish it forever!”
So the video, this HUGE assortment of choices of FRAMED prints and all of your photos on a copyright given USB? I would say that’s a pretty swell deal.
Ohhhhh Matt and Shae. I could have spent all day with them, they are so sweet and genuine, it was honestly a pleasure taking their photos. First of all, Miss Shae rocks, and has been so sweet to mention me tons on her blog! You should also take a minute and read their engagement story ( LOVE it ) Matt was so wonderful the whole session, treating Shae like a princess, it was darling.
I’m so excited to shoot their wedding in May!
( Did you know that every Lenae Photography wedding couple gets a complimentary engagement session that includes a darling video like this?!)