Cheryl Ford Photography :: Seattle Wedding and Portrait Photographer » Seattle Wedding and Portrait Photographer

edmonds beach low tide pilons

The photo above is from a day at the Edmonds Beach at super low tide. You could walk under the ferry dock it was so low. It’s fun to just wander around and take pictures for no particular reason. Just experiment with light, composition, and look at things in new ways. I went with my friend, Tara Brown, and we both only had our macro lenses with us and it was just different to have only one lens and make it work for whatever you wanted to photograph.

The other thing that I’m working on but struggling with lately is getting back into the swing of blogging. I have a blogging calendar for blog posts and ideally I want to get things written ahead of time to some degree and not have it looming over me every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights for those Monday, Wednesday and Friday posts. The reality is that it’s hard to keep up with consistent posts, come up with ideas for posts, do research and write. I’m not whining – just something that is hard to get back into and then get ahead of.

THE BEST:

+Starting out the wedding season by second shooting with Cassie Pepper at the Lairmont Manor. What a gorgeous venue. You could shoot there for hours. And it was one of the biggest weddings I’ve worked so far.
+I got to go to my absolutely favorite restaurant, El Gaucho, in Seattle to celebrate my father-in-law’s 70th birthday and my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday. We had a lovely (loud) time and as always the food was amazing. Luckily we had a private room. They wouldn’t have wanted our loudness in their main dining room.
+Participating in a gorgeous Styled Wedding Shoot – originally set at Rattlesnake Lake (I want to shoot an engagement session out there so badly) but ended up at Lincoln Park in Seattle. You can read all about our Wedding Shoot here.
+My friend, Tara Brown, and I took an afternoon and headed down to Edmonds Beach on a day when there was a super low tide. See above.

THE WORST:

+Dentist appointment . . . enough said.
+Feeling groggy and tired most of this past week. I hate that feeling.

THE ABSURD:

+Refer to “The Best” #1, oh my heck, I was so sore and tired the next day. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and sleep. It’s amazing how much those first few weddings each season take out of you.
+Refer to “The Best” #3, oh my heck, the weather that night out at Rattlesnake Lake. It was raining cats and dogs, there was lightning and thunder. By the time things got packed up to get out of there we all looked like drowned rats. I ended up having to shoot most of the night barefoot at Lincoln Park because my shoes were soaking wet. To the point where you could HEAR them sloshing.
+My husband generally does the laundry in our house. Real talk because I suck at it. But this week he was out of town for a few days (laundry days) and I did ALL of the laundry for the week . . . and only in 3 days. I felt to triumphant!

THE GRATITUDE:

+I seriously have the best book club ever. I so enjoy hanging out with those ladies.
+We had a BBQ over the Memorial Day weekend and SO many friends showed up. Originally it was supposed to be like 8 people but it ended up more like 30 people. So fun to spend time with friends and have A LOT of laughs with them. Highlights are my brother-in-law dancing to 70s hits in the house, kids and parents playing soccer in the backyard with a beach ball and the kids jumping over the fence about 100 times to retrieve said beach ball, potato chip surprise (which is just a bowl that contains all of the scraps from the other 6 potato chip bowls sitting around), and recreating some shots I took a few years ago with the couple who posed for me.
+I’ll be heading up to Camano Island this weekend with some of the nicest people who invite us up there to hang out with them. The property is right on the beach, it’s gorgeous and it’s a great place to chill and have a relaxing weekend. Can’t wait.

 

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wedding photographer seattle lincoln park

What a night! I signed up to a part of a styled wedding shoot put together by Rebecca Anne Photography. Rebecca is setting up these wedding shoots for local Seattle Wedding Photographers to come, get more experience, practice, work on their portfolios, network and have fun! I love it. #communityovercompetition

 

Seattle Weather is Unpredictable

This wedding shoot was originally set to take place at Rattlesnake Lake near North Bend. I have never shot out there and I was dying to. It’s gorgeous. Engagement sessions anyone?

Just as I got there, we noticed a couple raindrops on the lake, then more, then a lot more. Then a straight-up downpour. With lightning and thunder and all that jazz. We had two pop-up tents for about 20 people to huddle under while trying to also cover up models and cakes and accessories that were borrowed.

After about an hour it was still pouring. And we were all very sad.

 

Wedding Shoot Relocation

Thanks to Rebecca keeping her ish together and a lot of really helpful people, we relocated the entire wedding shoot from North Bend to Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Everything was set up again but this time the weather was gorgeous. Gorgeous!

Styled Wedding Shoot was back on!

We worked with one real-life couple, one couple that were models and one bridal model. Today I am sharing the images from the work I did with the real-life couple, Olya and Nate. And they were incredible nice, fun people and incredibly smoking hot together. You can’t ask for anything more than their chemistry on a shoot or at a wedding. Smoking hot!

I’ll be showing two more sets of images over the coming weeks from this wedding shoot. So stay tuned.

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Coordination: Rebecca Anne Photography + Lilac & Lace
Hair+Makeup: Seattle Bride Hair
Floral: From the Ground Up Floral
Rentals: Vintage Ambiance
Wedding Gown: The Dress Theory
Models: Olya+Nate Snyder

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bride emergency kit wedding day checklist groom

Last week I posted Brides – What to Pack on Your Wedding Day listing all of the essential items a Bride should have with them on their wedding day to keep their day stress-free and be ready for emergencies that may happen.

 

Today is all about the Grooms! What to Pack on Your Wedding Day Checklist

Grooms, have you been thinking about what to pack for your wedding day? You may be surprised to learn how much stuff you’ll actually need when all is said and done. I’m going to make it really easy for you. I have a list below of everything under the sun you may want or need on your wedding day. And at the end of the list, there is a handy FREE downloadable Wedding Day Checklist PDF for you. Just download, print and start checking stuff off!

Last Week’s Post: Brides – What to Pack on Your Wedding Day

 

What to Pack for Wedding Day Checklist: Grooms

WEDDING CLOTHING, ETC.:
  • Tux/Suit, of course
  • Shoes
  • Tie or Bowtie – Bring an extra
  • Shirt
  • Accessories: Suspenders, Pocket Square, Belt, Handkerchief, Watch
  • Cuff links – Bring an extra pair
  • Socks – And extras
  • Undergarments – Including White Undershirt
  • Pre-Wedding Clothes: Hanging out with the guys, helping with decorations or pre-wedding setup.
  • Rings – Or make sure your Bride has them for detail photos.
  • Fun Accessories you Might be Using (Sunglasses, Hats, etc.)
TOILETRIES:
  • Cologne, Smell good for your Bride.
  • Deodorant
  • Hair Styling Products/Tools
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush+Toothpaste
  • Prescription Medicine
  • Glasses or Contacts, etc.
WEDDING DAY NECESSITIES:
  • Vows – And extra copies – give one to your Best Man to keep just in case.
  • Presents: For Bride, Parents or Groomsmen
  • Cash/Checkbook/Credit cards – Just in case
  • Phone+Charger
  • Music + Speakers – Liven up that getting ready room
  • Snacks
  • Water+Drinks: Whiskey anyone?
  • Car Keys
  • Marriage License
  • Envelopes with Tips for Vendors
  • Directions to Wedding Day Destinations:

+Getting Ready Location
+Ceremony
+Reception – if Different from Ceremony

  • ID – You never know what you might need this for
  • Honeymoon Items, if Heading out Right Away:

+Packed Suitcases
+Travel Information + Itineraries
+Passport + ID

EMERGENCY KIT:
  • Extra Buttons
  • Small Sewing Kit
  • Floss or Toothpicks
  • Eye Drops
  • Lint Brush
  • Pain Reliever
  • Stain Remover Wipes
  • Breath Mints/Mouthwash
  • Static Cling Spray
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Crazy Glue
JUST IN CASE:
  • Compact Steamer – So much easier to steam a wrinkly shirt than to get out the ironing board and sketchy iron at a hotel.
  • Shoe Polish Kit
  • Umbrella
  • Extension Cord
  • Pen+Paper

So the Groom’s wedding day checklist is a bit shorter than the Bride’s list but there are still a number of things on this list and as I’ve said before, it’s way better to be safe than sorry. It’s not a matter of IF something happens, it’s a matter of WHEN. Something always happens. Be prepared.

MAKE THIS EASIER:

If Groom is getting ready at the same location as the Bride, you can possibly combine efforts on man of these items and rely on your Groomsmen to fetch things for you from the Bride’s getting ready area.

As I mentioned with the Bride’s list, help yourself out and ask your Groomsmen to help with some of these items. Maybe someone can bring the extension cord and steamer and someone else can bring the speakers and music? It’s worth a try.

 

AND FINALLY – THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP – PACK EARLY:

Finally, don’t decide to try to gather this stuff on the morning of your wedding. You will literally lose your mind. No one wants that! Start gathering a few weeks, ore more, before your wedding. Keep all of the items in one place, in one bag or one suitcase along with the printable list so you can check off what you’ve already gathered.

Download Your FREE What to Pack Checklist

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engagement session special seattle bothell woodinville snohomish

Engagement Session Special!

Special Price – $300
Regular Price – $500 | Savings – $200
Offer Expires 6/19/15

For a limited time, Cheryl Ford Photography is offering a promo on a standard Engagement Session. This engagement session is normally $500. Special price through June 19, 2015 is $300! You save $200!

What’s Included in the Engagement Session

An Engagement Session with Cheryl Ford Photography Includes:

  • A Personal Consultation and Session Planning
  • 1-2 Hours of Photography with Cheryl Ford
  • Up to 2 Locations + 2-3 Outfit Changes
  • 50+ High-Resolution Digital Images presented in an Online Gallery with Print+Use Release

Now $300 (regular price $500) – price valid through June 19, 2015 – see fine print below.

Engagement Sessions, aka Couples Sessions

This special offer for $200 off an Engagement Session is also valid for Couples Sessions. Do you have a special love in your life? Are you married but want some special photos of just the two of you? Celebrating a special Anniversary- maybe 1, 2, 5, 50 years? This is a perfect time to showcase your love.

Fine Print for Engagement Session Special

  • Full payment of session fee and contract required to secure booking.
  • Session must be booked and paid for by June 19, 2015.
  • Sessions can be booked for anytime, May 22, 2015 through October 31, 2015.
  • Session dates are limited to Tuesday, Thursday and select Fridays through August 31, 2015. Weekend dates are available in September and October.
  • This session special is valid ONLY for Engagement Sessions and Couples Sessions. Not valid for Seniors, Families or Portrait Sessions.
  • Discount cannot be applied to any other product or service other than Engagement Sessions and Couples Sessions.

Book Now! Contact mailto:cheryl@cheryl-ford-photography.com to book your session today.

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styled wedding shoot seattle photography

Last summer I collaborated with Westland Distillery in Seattle, Washington and a whole bunch of amazing vendors for a styled wedding shoot. I visited Westland one evening for their open house in 2014 and was immediately inspired by the location. So I stalked the events and marketing coordinator that evening and asked if we could plan a styled wedding shoot at the distillery? He was in! And I was so pumped up.

I was initially drawn to the exposed wood throughout the front area and in the barrel room. I knew from the beginning that we needed a lot of green and bright flowers to really pop off the wooden tones.

Styled Wedding Shoot Dream Team:

The very first thing I did for this styled wedding shoot was contact some of the best and my favorite in the business: Of course I called my girl, Hanna Mazur, for her wonderful Makeup Artisty, A Princess Bride Couture, who let us borrow the gorgeous wedding dress with the beading across the bodice, Sholdt Design, who loaned me ridiculous Wedding Rings and Baked. Seattle, who made the exact Wedding Cake I wanted for the shoot but didn’t know how to explain it to them.

This group is a dream team for me. I love working with these vendors and they’re always my first call. They are fun, generous and have amazing products and services.

And we spread our wings and found some other amazing vendors to be a part of this styled wedding shoot. I had not worked with any of these vendors before but they were all wonderful and I have built some great connections with them since the shoot.

Floral was a really big part of this styled shoot. Getting a ton of greenery and bright flowers was a priority. Kate from In Bloom Design in Bellingham did exactly that. I loved the reds, oranges and greens she combined to create the floral pieces. We had a long greenery runner than spanned the length of the giant table from Seattle Farm Tables and then added some punchy red and orange arrangements. GreenLight Events brought in the super cool Edison Bulb chandelier and hung it right over the middle of the table with additional strings of lights expanding out to the tops of the whiskey barrels. Grand Event Rentals in Bellevue provided all of the beautiful china, glassware, flatware and gold Chivari chairs. And the table decorations were rounded out with linens from Choice Linens. Our groom, Sean, is the owner of Pike Street Press and created our invitation suite and all of the table numbers, menus and paper goods. And his real life fiance, Marta, was our beautiful bride. Sean and Marta were married in September of 2014.

To wrap it all up, Ashley and Christina from It’s Your Day Events and Expressions pulled all of this together to coordinate the shoot and the vendors and created all of this from the little idea I had for a styled wedding shoot when I walked into the distillery for the first time.

It turned out amazing, beautiful and everything I could’ve hoped for. This styled wedding shoot was featured on Seattle Bride Online.

a princess bride wedding westland distillery photography seattlestyled wedding photo shoot seattle cheryl forda princess bride couture wedding dressessholdt design wedding rings diamonds laceits your day events wedding planning seattlecheryl ford engagement and wedding photography seattlesholdt design engagement rings seattlein bloom floral design bellingham seattle weddingsbaked seattle bakery wedding cakes photoschoice linens seattle wedding photographygrand event rentals green light events seattlewestland distillery whiskey wedding seattlestyled-wedding-shoot-westland-distillery-seattle_0014seattle wedding and engagement photographyin bloom floral design bellingham seattlecheryl ford photography weddings seattleseattle makeup artist hanna mazurhanna mazur makeup artist wedding makeupits your day events seattle wedding plannersbaked seattle wedding cakes photographerwestland distillery wedding photography seattlepike place press wedding invitations seattleinbloom florists bellingham wedding flowersstyled-wedding-shoot-westland-distillery-seattle_0025

Photography: Cheryl Ford Photography
Hair & Makeup: Hanna Mazur
Wedding Dress & Accessories: A Princess Bride Couture
Wedding Rings: Sholdt Designs
Wedding Cake: Baked. Seattle
Floral: In Bloom Designs
Tables: Seattle Farm Tables
Lighting Design: GreenLight Events
Rentals: Grand Event Rentals
Stationary: Pike Street Press
Linens: Choice Linens

Styled Shoot Coordination / Wedding Planning by It’s Your Day Events & Expressions

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bride emergency kit wedding day

Brides, have you been thinking about what to pack for your wedding day? You may be surprised to learn how much stuff you’ll actually need when all is said and done. I’m going to make it really easy for you. I have a list below of everything under the sun you may want or need on your wedding day. And at the end of the list, there is a handy FREE downloadable PDF for you. Just download, print and start checking stuff off!

We don’t want to leave out the guys. Next week I will be posting the second part to this which is Grooms: What to Pack for Your Wedding Day.

What to Pack for your Wedding Day: Brides

WEDDING CLOTHING, ETC.:
  • Your Wedding Dress – of course
  • Wedding Shoes – you’d be surprised how many people forget their shoes
  • Purse – something to carry a few little things in
  • Jewelry: Necklace, Earrings, Bracelet
  • Rings – Photographers like to photograph the rings while you’re getting ready
  • Garter – A Keeper + Toss Garter
  • Undergarments – Bring extras just in case
  • Panty Hose
  • Veil, Hairpiece, Hat or Special Clips for Hair
  • Fun Accessories you Might be Using (Sunglasses, Umbrellas, etc.)
  • Vows – BRING EXTRA COPIES – give one to your maid-of-honor
  • Nice Hanger for Your Dress – You don’t want your dress photographed on a plastic hanger
  • Change of Shoes – Believe me it’s likely that you’ll want these – you’ll be on your feet a lot
  • Coat, Shawl, Wrap – Just in case it gets cold
  • Pre-Wedding Clothes – Front opening shirt, loose tank or cute robe so you don’t mess up your hair and makeup before getting into your dress
TOILETRIES:
  • Lipstick/Lip Balm
  • Makeup
  • Lotion
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Prescription Medicines
  • Glasses or Contacts, etc.
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine Products
  • Hair Products + Tools
  • Perfume
WEDDING DAY NECESSITIES:
  • Presents – For Groom, Parents + Bridesmaids
  • Cash – Just in case
  • Drinks – Mimosas anyone?
  • Water – Stay hydrated
  • Snacks – Please eat something on your wedding day
  • Phone + Charger
  • Music + Speakers – Liven up that getting ready room
WEDDING DAY DETAILS:
  • Your Some Old, Something New, Something Borrowed + Something Blue
  • Wedding Folio:

+A List of All Your Vendors
+A Wedding Day Timeline Printout – Have an extra in case someone wants one
+Bridal Party Contact List – All the names and numbers, bridesmaids + groomsmen + family members
+The Guest List
+Meal Choices for Guests
+Seating Chart
+Copy of Family Photo Shot List – Your photographer should have one of these as well
+Marriage License

  • Envelopes with Tips for Vendors
  • ID – You never know what you might need this for
  • Honeymoon Items, if Heading out Right Away:

+Packed Suitcases
+Travel Information + Itineraries
+Passport + ID

  • Directions to Wedding Day Destinations:

+Getting Ready Location
+Ceremony
+Reception – if Different from Ceremony

  • Any Details Requested by Photographer

+Invitation Suite
+Save the Date Card
+Rings
+Dress, Veil, etc.
+Shoes
+Flowers, if Available
+Jewelry + Accessories
+Perfume

JUST IN CASE:
  • Extension Cord – When 5 bridesmaids want to charge their phone all at the same time, you’ll be glad you have this
  • Umbrella – Just in case
  • Compact Steamer – Someone will need this
  • Car Keys
  • Pen + Paper

EMERGENCY KIT:

  • Mouth Wash
  • Floss or Toothpicks
  • Eye Drops
  • Tweezers
  • Baby Powder
  • Q-tips + Makeup Remover
  • Blotting Papers
  • Nail clippers
  • Safety Pins
  • Sewing Kit
  • Hem Tape
  • Small Folding Scissors
  • White Duct Tape
  • Lint Roller
  • White chalk for Covering up Dress Stains
  • Corsage Pins
  • Spot Remover
  • Static Cling Spray
  • Band-Aids
  • Mini First Aid Kit
  • Friction Stick for Blisters
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Medicines: Allergy, Pain Relief, Antacid
  • Clear Nail Polish
  • Extra Panty Hose
  • Towelettes
  • Hairpins
  • Ponytail Holders
  • Matches
  • Tape
  • Straws
  • Tissues
  • Maid of Honor – Should also have a small bag with her all day with the following available for the Bride:

+Breath mints/spray
+Cell Phone
+Comb/Brush
+Cash
+Hair Spray
+Makeup for Touch-Ups
+Mirror
+Nail File
+Perfume
+Feminine Products
+Crazy Glue
+Sunscreen

If you would like to look at pre-made emergency kits for your wedding day, here are a couple you might check out:

  1. Minimergency kit for brides: http://www.pinchprovisions.com/products/minimergency-kit-for-brides
  2. Deluxe Bridal Emergency Kit: http://www.sephora.com/bridetastic-deluxe-wedding-emergency-kit-P386501

Phew! That was a really long list! I’m not saying you are going to need every single thing on that list. You probably won’t. But it will be the one thing you didn’t bring that you’ll end up needing. Here are a couple of situations that I have personally seen on a wedding day where the emergency items were imperative:

  • I was at a wedding where one of the bridesmaids zipper on her dress got stuck and they could not get it to zip up. She had to be sewn into her dress to get her ready for the ceremony.
  • High heels always seem like a great idea. But I’ve seen way too many blisters and sore feet on wedding days. Plan ahead with extra shoes, friction stick, band-aids.
  • A small steamer is invaluable at almost every single wedding I’ve been to. Someone’s going to show up with a couple wrinkles.

MAKE YOUR WEDDING DAY PACKING EASIER:

Here are a few ideas to maybe help with this giant task:

  • Split up this list with your maid of honor or bridesmaids – see how much they already have that they can bring along on your wedding day. Everyone should label anything they want to make sure they get back. If you don’t have speakers to play music in your getting ready room, don’t go out and buy some. Maybe a bridesmaid has some they can bring along. Maybe someone has an emergency kit from when they got married and it still has most of the items in it. Perfect!
  • Maids of Honor or Bridesmaids Who May Be Reading This: Helping with these items makes the bride’s stress level WAY lower. Offer to help gather some of these items. Give the bride an emergency kit. Or ask bridal shower guests to bring an item from the emergency kit list to the bridal shower. Have a cute basket they can put the items in and it’s a bonus gift for the bride.

AND FINALLY – THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP – PACK EARLY:

Finally, don’t decide to try to gather this stuff on the morning of your wedding. You will literally lose your mind. No one wants that! Start gathering a few weeks, ore more, before your wedding. Keep all of the items in one place, in one bag or one suitcase along with the printable list so you can check off what you’ve already gathered.

Download your FREE What to Pack Checklist

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peony garden round up update photography

Round Up is Back! I really do love this feature of my blog. I round up a bunch of things that have happened in my life: the good, the bad, the ugly and things I’m grateful for and tie it all up in a neat little update bow. I won’t be doing a weekly round up anymore – it will be every other week on Fridays. It really does feel good to be back to blogging and I’m putting together a nice little blogging calendar and have plans for some fun posts and series that I think you will find fun and informative. I’m really trying to put more of myself out there in the world which is difficult because I tend to be a little reserved. People who know me really well wouldn’t say that but with new people I am for sure.

THE BEST:

  • Hanging out at Tara’s House – watching Susan Stripling wedding photographer videos and chatting about our photography businesses. It’s always so helpful. Whenever I’m struggling with something in my business, I find that the best people to talk to are people in the same boat. And I love trying to help others solve the problems they have as well. I don’t think of these people as competition. I want them to succeed as well. And as someone said sometime and I can’t remember who that was – “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
  • So many “dates” with friends for dinners and drinks in the past couple weeks: dinner w/Chamonix, drinks w/Vanessa, dinner w/Brad+Wendy, Mother’s Day Brunch w/Jaime+Vanessa (sad it was only a 4.5 hour brunch – I prefer 7 hour brunches).
  • Sleeping better. I have struggled with sleep for about 8 years and did as well a long time ago. But with some help from my new Sleep Medicine Doctor, I’m sleeping like a baby. Seeing a Sleep Medicine Doctor was not really what I expected but it was better than I expected. I expected he was going to be all don’t have a tv in your bedroom and do these breathing exercises. He was able to diagnose my issues pretty quickly and prescribed a medication that is working pretty darn well for me after I got through the first couple weeks.

THE WORST:

  • Target Trip which I normally LOVE. This one yesterday was filled a million annoyances: At least 9 Target employees asked me if I needed help finding anything within about 45 minutes time. How many people should be out and about asking people that? Not every single employee on the floor. Overkill! Crying babies everywhere – I mean everywhere – and moms not doing a thing to try to console them. A woman talking SO loud on her phone and basically following me around everywhere I went. I couldn’t get away from her. And a guy who gave his kid a ball to play with while they were shopping. The kid kept throwing it onto the ground. The third time, the guy just left the ball rolling down the baking aisle and never went to pick it up. What’s wrong with people? Those were just a few of the things that made me want to push my cart aside and walk right out. There is an upside to the Target trip . . . First, I got one of those cool drink holders for my cart at Starbucks. They hardly ever have those. I got some new “cute” flip flops. Normally I just buy cheap-o ones from Old Navy for like $2. And best one: I found some of the cutest red, white and blue America-themed items to be used for Memorial Day and 4th of July this year: Straws, glow necklaces, glow American Flags, Koozies, bowls, pinwheels, lanterns! So much fun. Can’t wait for the next 2 holidays.

THE ABSURD:

  • Realizing that up until last week, I’ve only blogged 3 times in 2015. Get ready for that to change!
  • Silly things can make me extremely happy. The dates for the past week – 5/15/15 = 51515 or 5/5/13/15 = 51315 etc. – have made me chuckle all week.

THE GRATITUDE:

  • These beautiful, warm, sunny days on the weekends and being able to bring out the summer furniture for the deck. I’m always cold these days so I look forward to the warmer weather – which is totally opposite from what I would have said 10 years ago.
  • My dogs (one smart and one not) have learned to use a new doggie door which will hopefully limit the amount of dirt they can track into the house. And that means we got rid of the doggie door in my office that let in a lot of cold air and made my toes cold all the time.

Coming Up: This weekend I have so many fun things coming up. We’re celebrating my father-in-law’s 70th birthday and my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday (and real talk, probably some other birthdays or something) tonight at El Gaucho in Seattle . . . BEST RESTAURANT EVER! We are even getting a private room, holla! I’m second shooting a wedding on Saturday in Bellingham with one of my favorite fellow photographers, Cassie Pepper. I love working with her. And next week I’m shooting a styled wedding shoot up at Rattlesnake Lake that will be so so so fun!

Until next time . . . peace out.

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Annette and Justin met me on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Luther Burbank Park for a couples session. Luther Burbank is one of my favorite places to shoot!

We had a lovely afternoon shooting in the amphitheater, by the admin building and down by the docks. We just had a short session but we covered a lot of ground. I work quickly, especially in a time crunch.

I love that Annette went and had her hair and makeup done. It makes such a huge difference in these sessions. You really feel special and all dolled up and adds a confidence to the way you behave. 5 stars for Annette! She looked beautiful.

TIP: When you get your makeup done for a session, it’s important to make sure your makeup artist knows that it’s for a photography session. Ask for “camera-ready” makeup. I learned this from my good friend and amazing Makeup Artist, Hanna Mazur.

Couples Sessions Are the Best!

Annette & Justin are already married, but they took the time to get some special photos taken of just the two of them in a Couples Session. Not many people do this but I think they should! Enjoy!

couples session luther burbank park mercer islandamphitheater mercer island couples sessioncouple foreheads together luther burbank parkcouple walking mercer island couples photographycouple on path couples photographer seattlecouple on bench luther burbank park mercer islandcouple sitting on bench couples photographycouple embracing in front of brick building seattlecouple brick couples session mercer islandcouple in red and black luther burbank parkcouple on steps couples photographer luther burbank parkcouple on dock water in background couples sessioncouple on dock sitting luther burbank park mercer islandcouples session luther burbank park

 

Getting the Shot

Getting in front of the camera can be awkward. I got this next shot by asking Annette and Justin to embrace and talk and smile at each other. Oh, and pretend I wasn’t there for a minute. Then I stepped back and caught their expressions. The adoration for each other is so genuine and moving. It makes me grin from ear to ear when I can get these real interactions from my couples.

couple under arbor luther burbank park couples photographer

 

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reading favorite books on shelf club poisonwood oleander da vinci

It has been a long while since I have done a top ten list. Like over 2 years! Jinkies! I’m way overdue.

I have been in a book club for almost 16 years! The same one and there is even one other original book club member other than me. We get together about every 6 weeks, have dinner (and wine, duh) at someone’s house and most of the time, read the books. This book club won’t ostracize you if you don’t read. We have great food, lots of wine, tons of laughs, a few tears here and there, Favorite Things parties and white elephant book exchanges at the Christmas Party. So what I’m saying is that it’s pretty much the best book club that has ever existed.

There are SOOOOOOO many books out there. I can’t imagine reading even a fraction of them. I usually read about 6 books a year. And I insist on reading the book before I watch the movie and the movie usually disappoints – Ya-Ya Sisterhood anyone?

So here is a list of my favorite books I’ve ever read.

Favorite Books:

  1. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini :: A masterpiece. I get inspired overtime I read or listen to this book. It’s just amazing.
  2. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver – Seriously incredibly well-written. I just read it again (for like the 5th time) in the summer of 2014 and was amazed by it once again.
  3. The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown – I was so thoroughly entertained by this book. I literally couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. I loved the short chapters and cliffhangers along the way.
  4. White Oleander – Janet Fitch – Beautiful writing and compelling story.
  5. Into the Wild – Jon Krakaur – I became obsessed with Chris McCandless after reading this book. It’s such a haunting story and a tragic ending to his young life. Spoiler alert.
  6. The Life of Pi – Yann Martel – I love this book. The ending threw me for a loop. Never saw it coming.
  7. The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolver – Another Barbara Kingsolver book on my top 10. I adore her books. I think she’s a genius.
  8. The Boys in the Boat – Daniel James Brown – What I didn’t think was possible as I was nearing the end of this book was that I would be sobbing uncontrollably. It really touched me.
  9. The Clan of the Cave Bear Series – Jean M. Auel – Truth: I never actually read the very last book in this series. The first 3 books are my favorites!
  10. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn – this is another one that I didn’t see coming. But the twists and turns make this book a lot of fun to read.

Most Unfavorite Books:

Incidentally, here is a much shorter list of books I absolutely hated. I only finished Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas and The Heartsong of Charging Elk because it was early in our book club and I thought I had to read everything, even if it was crap.

  1. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – this friggin’ book with it’s made up language. So dumb. And the movie is horrifying.
  2. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas – James Patterson – Was this book written by a famous author or an 8th grader? The worst writing ever!
  3. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens – I couldn’t get past the first 5 pages of this book. So we decided to watch it. I had to follow along with the Cliffs Notes and still didn’t get it. And then I fell asleep for most of the movie in my friend Jean’s big red Blue’s Clues chair.
  4. The Heartsong of Charging Elk – James Welch – Wow this is just boring and bad. Not much else I can say.

And there we go. List done! Drop the mic.

I would LOVE to hear your favorite and not so favorite books. Jot ‘em down in the comments below.

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quote inspiration business strategy new beginnings sunset


Let me tell you a little story about business strategy. It starts with the career that I had before I started my photography business. I’m still involved with that company as a part-owner and board member and work about 20 hours a month for them. It’s not a lot but it keeps me connected to that company.

 

Playing to Win – Business Strategy

As part of our business strategy sessions through that company, we explored the book Playing to Win – How Strategy Really Works by A.G Lafley and Roger L. Martin. This book is about creating a business strategy to WIN. Not to just play but to win!  Not a business plan, not a marketing plan. A Strategy, which is a set of choices you make about your business, your priorities, why you’re in business, etc. Strategy is just that; choices. It’s about who and what you are. Once you create your Strategy, then everything you do from that point on relates back to those choices you’ve made.

I was so inspired by the process outlined in this book and the amazing sessions we were having at my old company that I applied this Strategy creation to my photography business. It took some time but I finally created a Business Strategy for my little ole photography business.

It’s easy as a photographer to go on tangents with your business. You’re your own boss and don’t answer to anyone but yourself. Having a Strategy keeps you on track and in line with your business vision, what you want to be doing, where you want to be going.

 

Making Hard Decisions

During the course of this Strategy creation process, I made the choice to focus my business primarily on Weddings with Engagements and Couples sessions. My true passion lives in this genre of photography. So why focus on other stuff? Here are just a few of the many decisions I made for my business.

  1. Focusing business on weddings.
  2. Defining what winning is to me – a fully booked calendar of weddings each year – 30-40 would be a sweet spot for me.
  3. I’m going to win by providing consistent work, having fast turnaround, impeccable service, and a high-end experience for my clients.

Making these decisions alone led me down a rabbit hole the likes you’ve never seen. Since I made that decision, I have rebranded my business and built a whole new website and blog. It was a horrifyingly difficult process. The branding was tough and then coming up with my online presence, wow, that was even tougher. It took me about 5 months to get through all that. There were so many times I wanted to quit, felt like it was too hard, and felt overwhelmed and incompetent but I made my way through it. Real talk: I think I had at least 10 different website designs that somehow weren’t right. And through this process I was really absent from blogging and not really doing much social media engagement.

 

New Beginnings & An Inspirational Quote

So now that’s all done, I’m back! Working hard to book weddings, engagement & couples sessions. I will also be doing occasional family sessions for past clients and mini sessions in the fall. But my focus is primarily on weddings.

So what better way to kick off my new brand, new strategy and new online presence than with an inspirational quote. I do believe in new beginnings. Sometimes you just get to a point where you know you have to follow a new path and that’s just what I did.

(Quote found on Pinterest – no author listed)

 

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