Monday, December 28, 2009


So, I had the opportunity today to review 14 hours worth of podcasts from professional photographers. There is a photographer (Scott Hayne) that I absolutely LOVE...I frequently check his blogs for new photos from weddings/senior shoots and I just adore his work. About a month ago, he posted something about this "webinar" was basically a free (if you pre-registered..otherwise it cost $59!) seminar from top photographers around the world. They posted about many different things...a lot of them were based on marketing yourself, your photos and your business, which is incredibly helpful. But there were also quite a few on other topics such as: technical aspects of photography, specializing, how to get certain effects, lighting, etc.

Needless to say, I have been in Heaven since about 3pm!

The podcasts are only available for 24 hours (so, just today) unless you purchase them...8--yes, EIGHT--pages of notes later and I have TONS of information that I think will help me in the future.

But the main purpose of this post is to talk about one photographer in particular, Marcus Bell. He started doing photography about 13 years that point, he was basically at the point I am at now. Where to start? How do I start? How do I learn enough? How do I get people to hire me? Pretty much everything I've been thinking about.

He actually was more inspirational (at least to me) than educational! Don't get me wrong, I learned A LOT from him but I came away from his little podcast completely inspired. I think the thing he said that set me into motion was

"You are the difference between wishing
to be successful and being successful."

How true, right? I mean, when I think about it, what's stopping me besides me? The other thing he said that really hit home was "passion makes you want to work at it 24/7"...*lightbulb going off* " that what it is?" How often am I either taking pictures, editing pictures, or talking about taking/editing pictures?? Pretty much all the time (which also means that the majority of my friends/family are probably annoyed with me!). That's passion though. If you're passionate about what you do...if you LOVE what you do, it's not a job to you. Marcus basically said when he goes to shoot weddings or portraits or whatever he's shooting that particular day, he doesn't feel like he's going to work. It doesn't feel like a job to him; it's fun. It's something he enjoys!

That's what I feel like when I'm taking pictures. I'll be honest, before the wedding, I thought I was going to hate having to run around and I worried that I wouldn't get the shots that they wanted or the shots I wanted. I worried they wouldn't be good enough. I worried it would be too hard. I worried that it would feel like work and I wouldn't enjoy it. Guess what? I was dead wrong. I had fun the entire day. From 11am to 10pm. Almost 12 full hours. And there wasn't a second that I wasn't enjoying--no, not enjoying--LOVING what I was doing. It was busy, of course. But it was a good busy. It wasn't a scary busy or a rushed busy. It was a fun, good busy.

The last thing Marcus said that I took to heart was "make a choice to be successful; to be ordinary or extraordinary. But if you want to be extraordinary, know it takes hard work and determination."

Ya know what? I'm going to show everyone what I've got.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

information overload

So...I obviously have not "really" blogged in awhile...I have all these things going on and lots to say (if I remember it all of course...) so I'm sorry for the information overload that will be going on in this post!

First and foremost, I'll start with the last post I did...all the pictures. It's a long story but basically (to make that long story, very very short..haha--side note: I just went and re-read this...I sure didn't make it a short story!) my friend Heidi is getting married on December 20th (yes, a week away)...about a month and a half ago, we met up for lunch and she told me her & Chad had picked their wedding date...yes, it was planned that fast! But the cool thing is that their wedding is not super "traditional" so it could all be planned that fast! They're having only family and a few friends (we're talking under 100 guests) and for the reception, there's no dance but a pasta dinner and bingo! How fun is that?! Anywho, I digress. Essentially, Heidi & Chad came to me and said "we'd like you to take our wedding pictures" to which I responded "ummmmmmmm what??" haha It took a lot of convincing on Heidi's part but eventually (crazily!), I agreed. In "exchange" for taking the pictures, Heidi & Chad bought me a new (super nice!) camera. I tried as hard as I could to encourage them to keep the camera but just let me borrow it for the wedding. Heidi insisted that they would never use it, that I would use it all the time, and that if they had hired a professional, it would have cost way more. So I gave in.

I was super super nervous but also excited! As the date gets closer, I'm getting more nervous...but I've also been practicing a lot so hopefully they turn out ok! Heidi assured me that as long as they get some good family pictures beforehand, the rest is just icing on the cake so that makes me feel better. Basically the reason they asked me to do their pictures is because they like that I love to do candid pictures (which is true, it is my favorite!) which I can easily get at the reception! I'm not concerned about the beforehand pics in the church because I have a tripod and can use a flash (same with the reception) but I am concerned (read: super duper nervous!) about during the ceremony pictures because I can't use a flash and I won't be able to use a tripod the whole hopefully those ones turn out ok!

Now, this opportunity has created (or hopefully will create) a lot of new opportunities. Heidi probably has more confidence in me than is warranted at this time (!) but she thinks I should pursue photography as a career. Now, obviously, I still need another job as I'm getting started and deciding if I want to do this forever! So, to all my (2??) loyal readers out there, that doesn't mean I'm stopping the job search! That's for you, mom :) But, I have been thinking about it and photography has always been something I've enjoyed. Obviously I would have a lot of work to put into it as I don't know much of the technical aspect of everything! But, literally since the day Heidi asked me to photograph her wedding, I have been researching every little thing! I feel like I have learned a lot already just on my it can only go up if I take some real classes! Although, the cool thing, is that a lot of photographers that I've found that I LOVE are all largely I'm also thinking about picking up a few photography books to get my studies started.

I've already started photographing some other people...not many, but some! Clearly I have the WORLD'S cutest nephew and nieces so I have been photographing them like crazy. I did a little mini photoshoot with Kennedy one day when it was nice outside and when we celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom, I took a few pictures of Lacey that turned out awesome! (Well..awesome considering what I know! haha) I should probably try to get some 'real' pictures of Cole instead of all the silly ones I take so I have experience with kids his age too...but this is a hard time of year because my favorite pictures are outdoors and with minnesota winters, that just isn't gonna happen! Around this time, I also took pictures of Seth & Briana took a little convincing to get Seth outside but once he was out there, he really got into it and started posing! Briana, as everyone knows, LOVES being the center of attention so she happily posed away for me. She was so easy...she let me pose her exactly how I wanted..and she would have stayed out there all day if I let her! I have also done some photos of Anne...I took a few when I did Kennedy's shoot that I LOVED! And we went out one day a few weeks ago...we were only stayed out for about 15 minutes since it was about negative seventy two outside! But I did get some super cute shots! It's not hard with such good models :)

I also took Heidi & Chad's engagement pictures in November and they turned out great! They were a little grainier than I would have liked but I don't think anyone could tell but me (on most of them at least)...I'm kind of a perfectionist in that aspect. But the good news is I figured out what I did wrong right away and won't do that again!

I also took pictures of my best friend Caela and her fiance Nic (or, as Joey calls them, Cada & Nit) for their Christmas was FREEZING outside when we did their pictures so I think next year, we will aim for September/October and get the pretty fall colors! That is, if they want me to take them again! I promise next year I will be better! haha

I've started trying to take some fun artistic pictures just playing around with if you see those on facebook, don't make fun of me too much! I also bought a fisheye lens for the wedding...well, by "bought" I mean I used swagbucks for it! (Just a plug: if you guys don't know what swagbucks is or don't use it, let me know and I will send you an invite! It's totally worth earns you free stuff, no strings attached!) So I paid for shipping and got a lens for free! It's not a super nice one (as those are hundreds of dollars!) but I wanted to get one to see if I would like it. I do! It's not perfect but it does the trick :)

I also have a future opportunity coming up! An old friend from college asked if I would photograph her and 7 (I think) of her friends in January. They are all best friends from high school and haven't all been in the same place since then! They're all doing awesome things like working with the Peace Corps, moving away to work for AmeriCorps and living in other countries! So they will all be back together this winter and wanted some pictures taken...I think it will be so much fun and I am super excited about it!

Ok..I think that's all the camera news (oh! I did use an old Best buy gift card to buy a camera case--I figured the socks on the lenses weren't going to cut it forever! It's big and looks professional and makes me feel more professional having it! haha) onto the rest...

update on the job situation: what update? haha the one (seriously, one) interview I've had was filled before I even got there..which was awesome. They also told me that they "loved my application" and "if a job opened up, you will be the FIRST call"...yeah, still no call... However, I do have a job offer on the table...meaning, a few months ago, I started babysitting for a new family in Plymouth (quite frequently actually...this is the same family I house-sat for over Thanksgiving). They moved here from Kansas and have two children. Nora will be 3 in a few days and Ben will be 1 in March. Kim is also pregnant right now and due in May. Dan has been working since they got here and Kim has been job searching so, provided she finds a job before me, she has already asked me if I would nanny for them which I would LOVE. I think they are such a perfect for me...the kids already know me, they are an AMAZING family...we've pretty much discussed everything but numbers and we are on the same page with EVERYTHING. Not only is she "ok" with me taking the kids out to various activities and having play dates but she wants it which is so much nicer than having to sit in the house all day like my past nanny jobs! Ok enough ranting about how great they are! Kim has been interviewing at the state attorney's office..the first job she applied for they basically told her "you're perfect for the job but you would cost too much to hire"...but they also said they have 3 higher up positions opening in the new year and that they would call her once they opened up so keep your fingers crossed for that!

The other cool thing about having this job (well..I suppose any job but particularly this one) is that I would be able to start up a photography business on the side--night and weekends, which I could do with any job..but also, I would be able to do some work during the day editing pictures while the kids were napping which would be nice!

But luckily I have been keeping busy working some extra hours at Home Instead and nannying as much as possible! In fact, for someone who doesn't have a "full-time job", I feel like I'm running around more than I did with a full time AND part time job last year!

I feel like I had a lot more to say but just that has taken me way longer than I thought to get out! So I think I am going to peace out for the night...BUT, to any of you reading this, if you know of anyone that wants/needs their pictures (be it family pictures, baby pictures, senior pictures, etc...) taken, PLEASE mention me! Since I am just starting up, I will obviously be MUCH cheaper than someone else and I feel like I do an ok job! You can even look at some of my photos beforehand to see if you like what I do...and I will continue posting pictures on here as I take them!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Padre Ramblings

padre: what are you doing?
me: I'm going to take a nap...I've been up since 6am
**about 20 minutes later and RIGHT as I'm finally falling asleep**
padre opens the basement door and bellows: MELANIE!!
me: ugh what?
padre: MELANIE!!!
me: WHAT?!
padre: what are you doing?
me: well..I was trying to take a nap...thanks...

Padre: Are you going to be around someday?
me: umm..what?
padre: are you going to be around someday?
me: well...yeah, I'm pretty sure I'll be around someday...
padre: ok
me: care to be more specific??
padre: oh, I was going to see when you were home this week so I could call a plumber
me: ok so why not say that right away??