Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Puddles Are Fun!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Time Means Splashing in the Puddles

Some days you just need to jump in the puddles.

On Friday my husband lost his job.  That job is our steady income so I can continue taking weddings as they come rather than need to contract out for other work or raise our prices and make it more difficult for clients to budget for quality work.  If you are familiar with the job market in the United States you'll understand why this is a frightening thing for my family.  Compound it with the impending birth of our new baby and the fact that it was his company which provides our insurance... we're in a tough position to say the least.

SO... how does one cope with all this stress?  I take my son outside in his cute little rain boots and let him enjoy the warm spring day while jumping in muddy puddles.  I'm still cleaning dirt off the camera, but I also promise the photos are worth it.  His smile makes the stressful moments fade and reminds me that so long as we have a roof over him, food in his belly, and can afford to do the same for our newborn... that means it will be alright.

Keep an eye out after I play with some new color editing programs and you'll get to see my handsome little man and his classic "playing in the puddles".

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Budgets Are My Bag

So many lovely brides contacting us for late summer and early fall weddings!  Tanya and I are working hard to answer emails and keep planning the shoot for the fall line while I wait for the impending baby to decide they are ready to join us "on the outside".  Add in that the poor husband and I are still looking for a larger place closer to where he is working, and I feel like I have plenty of reasons to "pop" any day now.

Prices have been updated and I need to plug them in this week so you can see the new price lists for all our services.  We're keeping in mind budgets and trying to offer the best over all results based on what has been popular for the last year or two.  My biggest aim is to offer digital galleries and options to allow more clients to share their images with friends and family even if they do not feel an album is part of their needs.

Once again I am sticking to my guns on affordable packages and quality images being the goals, meaning I have taken on the challenge to find ways to keep everything in-house for editing and sourced local printing to keep cost down.  I am proud that for the third year in a row we are set to do everything under $2000 for even our most elaborate package and longest day.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Crossing Fingers and Toes

The new camera has arrived and I am playing with it constantly.  Hopefully the results from tomorrow's appointment will provide good news and there will be either a new member of our family or I will get word that the extreme rest is not needed and there will be new landscape photos while I sneak out for walks with the toddler.  Winter is still doing her level best to hold us prisoner here so I hope you all enjoy the snowy glow of sunsets over ice lakes as that is what I can see from our bay window at the moment.

For those always anxious for updates on the spring bridal line, those are coming soon.  This year seems to be another big dose of addictive lace for my obsession.  Keep an eye out for shoots featuring our MUA and Hair portfolio as well as those long lace cathedral trains in the near future, we'll be doing early detail image work this weekend.  I'm happy I can still poke and play with the lace in the sewing rooms at times because it feeds my girlie side.

And while I wait on all those dresses, bursts of spring, and being sprung from rest orders... BABIES!  I have been quietly building up some ideas for new things to try with newborns and infants.  With any luck there will soon be some cuddly babies in bright colored tutus splashed all over the blog.  Check in soon for updates on that idea and remember to follow us on Pinterest so you can see where I am periodically pulling new inspiration along the way.

Keep thinking spring, I know I am so ready for the snow to be over and beach weddings to start again!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The "Friendor" Problem

Every wedding has something that goes wrong.  Unfortunately, it seems a good deal of this is from well meaning friends offering to help out with the planning and having it go very, very wrong.  This month has been all about crisis handling for brides here at the office; with girls calling because they paid a deposit and suddenly a florist is not responding, or a friend who was supposed to bake their cake has had a falling out with their bridesmaid and now there wont be a desert at the wedding because of personal drama.  I've seen some of the "friendor" drama before, and been a vendor to many a friend's wedding myself, so this kind of thing really does strike a cord with how I feel and work.  Below I'll discuss some ways to curb the drama and avoid stepping on toes by just refusing some budget friendly offers that could make your day complete.

Weddings bring out the best and the worst in our relationships.  From family members that want you to wear Great Aunt Hilda's wedding gown from 1940 to the sunshine friend that offers you wedding photography via their iPhone... we all have those times when it is a clear "No, thank you."  But what about the times when a genuine offer comes in from somebody we know who does this as a side-business or really has a genuine skill they would like to offer?

  1. Consider ALL your options.  Weddings are only ever getting more expensive, and even the most freely budgeting bride might be tempted to go with a friend for a service if she knows it will please in-laws or friends.  Never assume just because an offer is made by a friend that it is the best offer or the worst, just take the time to weigh the pros and cons.  What should be considered here is how much you need the item they are supplying to be perfect, or if you could sacrifice if something was to go wrong. 
  2. Understand their interest level.  Is the friend a professional or part-timer offering you discounted services or priority in booking because they genuinely know it is something they do well or a person with a hobby who really wants to be involved and means well?  Not all friends are professionals in what they are offering, and this can bring some problems when you are counting on somebody not used to working under pressure or in a time limit.
  3. Research is your best friend.  No bride would just jump into signing a contract with the first vendor that they saw if that person's work stunk and the price was too high.  Treat your friend's offer like any bid by a professional.  Compare their work, perhaps ask if they have or could give you a portfolio so you can share it with the people involved in planning and compare it to the vendors you find are favorites for both quality and price.
  4. Always offer to pay.  Gifting a service or a product for your wedding might sound like a great gesture, but there are problems with that which might not be so obvious.  Free can be costly when it means the well meaning friend suddenly is facing their own financial hardship or sees exactly how much time will be involved in everything promised.  Save yourself some heartache by offering to foot the cost of supplies for baking the wedding cake, or to purchase the flowers so they can make the center pieces.
  5. Ask for a contract.  Protect your interests and your friend's name from drama with a contract spelling out the costs, expectations, and time-line for the services they offer.  Even a friend who is just in it as a hobby can find a sample contract in a quick Google search or write up a basic outline to protect you both.  While nobody wants to end up with the drama of broken promises or failure to produce what was promised, if money exchanges hands that contract is the best way to ensure that what you get will not be a surprise.
  6. You have the right to say no.  Just because something was offered does not mean you are obligated to say yes.  Often we feel there is an unfair expectation on the bride that she must accept every offer from her new family or from "his friends" just to make everybody happy.  Not once is it written that by getting married you are obliged to take the advice of Great Aunt Claire if her advice is to have the kind of event you never wanted.

These are things I have done for my own events or for friends who I have been a vendor for in some way.  From offering discounted photography to doing the fittings on wedding gowns, this is advice not just from my heart, but from my head as well. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pinterest Ate My Soul

Oh the horror!
I have avoided joining Pinterest in a non-business aspect for as long as I could.  I'm obsessed with looking up wedding gowns if I'm not in the studio or at a wedding, so I've taken care to avoid the easy way to feed that need for flowing girly gowns.

Unfortunately, I am once again on bedrest after giving my doctors a heart attack by almost having a heart attack while in for what should have been a routine exam.  A friend sent me a note suggesting I check out "that site with the pictures" because I was fretting over how to plan a combined nursery for the toddler and newborn... and so I have fallen into the void of Pinterest.

I promise to come up for air and share things now and again, including the super cool news that we have a new camera on the way!  (this is almost as exciting to me as the new baby)  I have had to admit my poor darling has outlived her use as a primary shooter for weddings, and so she is being retired to the hands of my second shooter to live out her days as a studio and occasional wedding clicker if something goes wrong.

I am also happy to be the one back at the keys doing the emailing.  When you request info or contact us for a consultation, it is now "Akelis" herself answering the emails.  Normally it is Tanya doing this while I am out in the studio or running off to photograph a bride, but when all I have to do all day is edit images and play on Pinterest, it makes sense I be the one you hear from.

Models and local brides looking to perhaps do something a little different should check back at the end of this month for an open casting call.  I will be updating and creating new gallery displays for images in the near future.  Boudoir subjects can expect to hear from me soon if we want to share your lovely shots and had not previously obtained approval.  Couples booking for the up coming season of weddings can expect to be splashed all over the web as I find new ways to get your lovely mug out there.  And as always, recommendations from friends about using a photographer are always welcome as brides have so much to plan and do!


Friday, January 31, 2014

Cupcake Catastrophy

While discussing the baby shower plans for tomorrow a memory popped up that made me wish I had my back-up drive handy today.  I'm working from the laptop while on some doctor ordered bedrest at the moment, so I'll have to pry the pictures out a little later.

Some of the most hilariously perfect photos happen when you are "there for set-up".  I often pop in to the venue on the day of an event and take a look around to get a fast mental image of the where-and-what to expect when we arrive at a reception.  On this particular day I arrived at the same time as the baker and the desert delivery and the ever so cute flower-girl in her sparkly pink and white dress.

Yep... anyone with babysitting or parenting experience can see where this is going...

Part of the delivery of deserts was a tower of beautiful cupcakes and lady-finger treats, all delicately frosted with an array of soft pinks, spring greens, and cheerful blues.  I saw the colors and made a mental note to get some good images of the colors before the reception turned them to crumbs, then headed upstairs to see the bride. 

The bride was lovely and already most of the way through dressing and hair so we had a chance to play with images of the bridesmaids.  We did some lovely images in front of the dressing room mirror and the window to catch the pristine white of her gown.  Just as we were ready to head down to the ceremony site outside, the bride asked where her flower girl was and a frantic search ensued as nobody had kept track.  Like any concerned mom I had a momentary "if that was my kid what would I do" then remembered the last time I had spotted the flower girl and where.

Yes, as you can guess she was mostly safe, though I'm not sure how long it took for her to work off the sugar rush.  Only about ten total cupcakes and cookies were mangled, but the results were slightly hilarious to behold.  Thankfully, the flowergirl, bride, and nervous mom (a bridesmaid so the girl was supposed to be under grandma's watch) were all fine though nothing could be done to save the pretty toddler dress from some very large stains.  What I did get for images were actually quite cute.  Covered in crumbs and frosting, the big grin on that messy little face made an appearance in the wedding album and I remember the bride asking for prints to share with her friend later.  

So what does all this mean to me?  Well, when life gives you cupcakes... MAKE A MESS!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hotel Shenanigans

As Valentine's Day creeps ever closer I keep wanting to do one big day of shooting to get in as many bookings as possible in a single push to help limit how often I am over extending as the due date for this baby crawls ever closer.  Thankfully, the ever beautiful Tanya has thrown her hat in the ring to pull an event out for all our sultry brides to be and sexy ladies in lingerie!

While I am gearing up with new lens orders for the 2014 wedding season, we are going to do a big day of shooting at a local hotel as well.  The goal will be to book a fancy room that has all those picture perfect elements you know and love about great boudoir.  So girls, are you ready?  Bring your favorite something sexy, have your make-up and hair done by our team, and get your very own session of seductive images to share with your Valentine or yourself.

Dates and location to follow soon.  And a big bonus for one lovely bride to be may just be in the works too!