Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Promise To Fail...Yes, You Read That Right

What kind of photographer promises to fail?  This one. I read that line in a fascinating article last week and I wish I could reference it, but my memory fails me (see I fail all the time!)

The fear of failure derails some people. For instance, my son Andrew is an amazing basketball shooter (yup, bragging!) He has been encouraged by dozens of people to enter a free throw shooting contest at a local college. He. Refuses.

At first I was annoyed, the kid makes 9 of every 10 free throws. Then, I saw me in him. The fear of failure. What if everyone sees him miss? What if everyone decides he ISN'T as good as they thought?  He won't put those fears into words, he's 11. But, I know it. I feel it. It's exactly what he is thinking.

In work, it's the same. We only promote our good selves. Instagram and Facebook can attest to that.

But, get this. I fail. I don't always capture what I want and I don't always like what I do. In that failure though, I am getting better and better. In fact, I've learned to embrace the times I don't execute to perfection because it's time to get better.  I may even share some things on here that I don't like, just so you can see - I'm striving, every day, to be better.

Lighting, posing, colors, framing, - they have all had their moments of failure.  In those moments, a better photographer has emerged. Failure is the key to success.

I promise. I will fail.

(Now if anyone has an inkling as to how to talk to my son, about this...I'll gladly hear it!)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Photography: A business filled with questions I'm not sure I can answer...

This month I have received a number of emails and messages containing business questions.  "How do I?" or "What did you do when...", "Your business does what?"

I'm honored and overwhelmed, but I honestly can't answer them all and still keep my sanity, so I really hope this doesn't sound harsh.  But, you really do just have to figure it out.  When I first started I asked 2 people a few questions. One person was a very good friend from my college soccer team who did portrait work in Indiana and one dear friend who lives in Lynchburg.  Both took the time to work with me a little . My college friend was awesome and the other photographer I met through a mutual friend and we have since become lifelong friends. (Yes, I said lifelong girl, you aren't getting rid of me). I appreciate their time and I try to give back when I can.

Despite their amazing input (and I only asked them once!) I still had to figure it out for myself.  Lynchburg and Indiana are a far cry from Upstate NY. So here it is, I love your questions and ideas but everything boils down to a few basics.

1.  I live in an area where the demographics are impossibly tough. What works for me isn't going to work for someone living in a major city. I live in the mountains, my clients come from Manhattan, small country towns and the Upstate NY capital region...three completely different demographics. You have to figure this out for you.

2. Business is not glamourous. I read business books. I have exchanged my Nicholas Sparks for a few marketing and small business reads. No romance there baby!

3. Webinars. I take courses, I read, I follow blogs, more blogs and more blogs and then I stopped following so many and picked 5 that I really gleaned from.

4. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Pheed, email - it's a social media storm out there. It's easy to get lost in the #'s and the @'s and you may retweet when you want to delete, but most clients want to see you on some platform or another.  My seniors and brides don't follow me in the same places.

5. Specialize. Be you. Stop following a million other photographers. Do what you do best. If you don't know yet, keep searching and then specialize.

6. I don't follow other photographers. I really don't. I follow a few close friends I love and I show my support for others by "liking" pages, but I don't follow. Why? Because I don't really need to.  Without sounding harsh, I don't care.  I have to focus on what I am doing. If I am focused on what everyone else is doing, I start comparing and thinking and insecurities rise up and that is not good for me or for my clients.

7. I will always look to be better. I have more to learn and that will never stop. Do the same.

8. Be kind. There are other people you should network with and then there are others you shouldn't, know the difference and surround yourself with people who are excited to see you succeed...and be excited for their success as well.

9. Family first. Clients second. Set limits. ( still working on this one)

10. People are overwhelmed with the amount of photography businesses popping up all over the place. I actually know people who have left the industry for something more elite because  everyone is jumping in.  So, be fair to your clients and to others in the industry. Be insured, be good at what you do, know your LIGHTING, be experienced, be honest.

11. Our Pastor at church has been talking a lot about passion and so much of what he says can be translated into every aspect of our life. Be passionate, be passionate about your faith, your family and if this business is what you want...do it with passion.

I'm sure there a million other points, but this is my general overview.  It's just something we all have to work through and figure it out.  :) Good luck and thanks for some great questions.

Friday, October 25, 2013

NY Photographer: A Wedding Planner Isn't Out of Budget and It Can Save Your Sanity (and a few precious memories)

STRESS: So here is the scenario. It's the day of your wedding. It's THE day. However, you are still running around checking on the cake, your mom is straightening up the flowers and your bridesmaids are still scurrying  to finish the centerpieces.  The groomsmen are running a little late (sorry guys) and you can't find that box with the rings.  Your mom misses you getting into your dress because the caterer had a few questions and some guests were arriving early and needed to know where to put their gifts.  The DJ comes, but isn't sure where to set up and the photographers are wondering where those darn groomsmen are.  The bride isn't ready yet because she is still making sure her flowers have arrived and the guests have some sort of cocktail hour ready to go at 4 p.m. I, as the photographer, have even set down my camera at times to help get things situated in the mayhem of last minute needs.

SANITY:This scenario can be completely eliminated by having a wedding coordinator on the premise to handle ALL the last minute odds and ends. They make sure the DJ is set up, gather the groomsmen, and they handle the one million questions.  A wedding planner doesn't save your sanity, they save your memories.

INSTEAD: While the wedding planner is telling the florist where to go, you have a moment look at yourself in the mirror and realize you are getting married! While the wedding planner is helping the caterer and the DJ, you and your mom have a few moments to cry, hug and say one more I love you.  While the wedding planner is touching up your tables you have some time to giggle and laugh with your girlfriends as nerves settle down.  While she is busy gathering up the groomsmen, the photographer catches a few precious moments as your mom helps you into your dress and for the first time her little girl is a young woman.

Let's face it, for the most part most of us have never planned an event larger than our children's 10th birthday where we had 20 kids over and literally questioned ourselves a million times as to what we were thinking.
Planning a wedding is no small task and for brides and their families it's the first time ever tackling an event larger than a semi-big party.  So it's time, it's time for brides and their families to seriously consider a wedding planner.  You just won't regret it. 

BUDGET: Many people opt out of this idea because they feel it doesn't fit their budget and it's a luxury they can do with out.  I say, a wedding planner is not a luxury, it's truly a gift to give yourself and your family so you can remember your wedding day for what it's meant to be remembered for and nothing less. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Mom and Dad Never Told Me No….

Did you know that when I was in 7th grade I swore I was going to learn French and live in Paris where I would serve as a missionary and save the world…didn't know the world needed saving from Paris did ya?

I also believed I was going to be a novelist. Write all day, create stories and make a living off of it.

Then I said I was going to play collegiate level soccer, not only that, I wanted to play Division 1 soccer. The fact that I was coming from the second smallest school in NY state never bothered me.

I was also going be a journalist, then a detective at some point. I wanted to be an artist, I just couldn't draw.  My grade school best friend and I wrote our books, stapled them together and created our own library *nerd alert.  Who wouldn't want to check out OUR books!?

I aimed to go to college in the south, 10 hours away from home.  This little country girl? Making that kind of move? please. 

I also wanted to own my own business one day, then I swore I would never own my own business…

I was also pretty sure I would publish a book of short poems, coach the women's' national team , have a family and create an invention. 

I am sure there were more dreams and ideas I had through my childhood, but with every new idea that came into this creative brain, my mom and dad never said no.  They never told me that it was a far cry to go from Jefferson, NY to Lynchburg, VA and play soccer.  They never told me that writing and publishing my own novels was a pipe dream to many and really would never amount to much and that I needed to get a real job.   My mom never stopped me from reading my stories aloud in the kitchen while she cooked, my dad never said running my own business was a ridiculous adventure and tough to be successful at.  They never said I was too much of a people pleaser to be a coach and they never said that going 10 hours away from home would be hard and a culture shock.  

They never told me no.  They guided me. They prayed for me. They didn't fluff me up when I didn't deserve it, they showed me where it would be a hard choice and where things might get difficult.  They just never told me it couldn't be done.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Don't Be Afraid of the Word Custom: Check DG Invites and Why Your Wedding Can Be Different!

Whenever I come across something at a wedding I think others should know about I get all excited. I track down where it came from and want to share the information so others can relish in all it's goodness.

This summer I had the pleasure of photographing a rustic, country wedding at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont for Marissa.  Marissa has a super creative sister (bridesmaid) who own DG Invites. Once I caught wind of the creativity gene I was blown away about how Darci pulled together the entire event through her work. It wasn't just invitations. It was Save the Dates, Invitations, Table Numbers, Ceremony Programs, Escort Cards, Menus, Thank You Cards and the list goes on!
I tracked Darci down and together we worked out the highlights of her amazing work!

Please check out Darci's work on facebook and on her site to get a complete feel for all that she has done!

I asked: What is unique about your work?
Darci:What is and always has been unique about us is that we are TOTALLY custom.  Someone can certainly choose an invite we have done in the past and just change the wording and colors.  However, we like it when people come to us with really unique ideas.  We have done some amazing invites in the past that may have started out with a feeling of uncertainty for sure, but came together in the end.  With almost limitless paper options, several printing options, the ability to order 4 or 462, to layer or not layer, add some kind of pocket, create a special die-cut, add duck feet to their invite....we can do just about anything.  People that are searching for something that is very traditional do no necessarily come to us.  Not to say we don't love creating something that is timeless and classic we do, but we tend to get more "out there" ideas.  Cutout clover escort cards to sit on glasses of Guiness for a St. Patricks Day Wedding; neon pink, orange and green invites for a "Dream in Color" Gala event; disco balls and bowling for a surprise birthday party, sketched drawings of the grooms little white dog who is the "best pet", a combination of snake skin print and peacock feather and I did already mention duck feet right? Yes, duck feet!

I asked: What do you want your clients to know most about you?

Darci: What I really want people to know is that they should not be afraid of the word custom.  Custom means a number of things and it doesn't have to be insanely expensive.  I work really hard to stay within a clients budget and still create an invitation they will love.  There are all kinds of things that can be done that will affect pricing: quantity ordered, type of paper, type of printing, number of layers, number of inserts, any embellishments, pocketfolds and so on.  Can we create a $10.00 boxed, ribbon embellished invite with 3 inserts that are all layered and have raised printing...yes!  We can however also create something beautiful, but much more simple for the client with a smaller budget.

I asked: What do you enjoy most about your work?
Darci: There are a couple things I really enjoy about my work.  One is that I get to stay home with my little man and watch him grow up.  Soon he will be off to preschool and our 2nd little man will be arriving!  With all the things I have experienced along side him working from home I can't imagine what life would be like otherwise and what I would have missed!  The second thing I love is my clients. Yes at times
things can be extremely challenging but in the end I truly love my clients.  The best part by far has got to be when I give them their finished product and if they are local,  seeing their faces light up!  After the hours of work, reviewing designs and colors, getting to that finished product is the greatest feeling.  Seeing how happy they are for what I have created for them, getting lots of hugs (even from grooms), so many thank yous for pure appreciation for all I have done....that is the best feeling ever!  When the reviews and emails come through about how all their guests keep commenting on how amazing their invites are is just the icing on the cake!  It just makes me realize that even when times are tough I do what I do because I love it and other people love it too.

I asked: How did you get started in doing something like this?
Darci: I come from a very crafty and creative family.  So it was only natural for me to in some way be just like them. As a child I would always do small projects with my mother and sell ribbon bracelets along side her at craft shows.  Once I hit college I expanded to designing and creating banners, t-shirts, posters, flyers and so on for my Sorority.  After graduating I took a job with FELD Entertainment. Feld produces Disney on Ice, Disney Live and Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.  I had the privilege of working in product development where we designed all of the items sold at the shows from the lights and swords to the plush characters and vendor uniforms.  I loved that job and it just fueled my passion for design even more.  While there I got engaged, planned my own wedding and designed my own invites. With the motivation from my lovely co-workers & family DG Invites was made official....at least that was the start!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: Guests, favors and menus..so creative!

We had summer right? I think so. It just so happen it went by in a blur. That is what I blame anemic blogging on. I have broken every blogging rule known to the social media sphere and especially the No. 1 rule: be consistent.
We are working on that actually. I love blogging, just have had less time to do it. I was considering asking for a little blogging help, but I have to think about that a little more.
However, I did want to share a unique table display for guests.  The bride found all these animals, spray painted them herself and they became great table conversation as her guests found their seats.

Additionally! Their RSVP cards were hysterical. Madlib style..remember those? Adjective, noun, verb, adverb? 

and one more favorite thing about this wedding, the menu:

More highlights from weddings coming up! But definitely had to share these from a wedding I am currently working on. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: MOB, what are you going to wear??

Dear Mother of the Bride, this blog is for you.  What do you wear for the wedding? How do you choose what is appropriate, but stylish?  Perhaps, we should answer that question prior to the big day and have you feeling fabulous and confident on your daughter's wedding day.
Stylist Kathleen Kiernan from Closet Therapy For You is our guest blogger today, with a few a tips and tricks for your wedding day attire..
loved her simple, yet elegant look.

When it comes to the bride there are absolutely tons of” how to,” “what to” and “where to” guidelines . . . but what about you, Mom?
How does the Mother of the Bride (from here on affectionately referred to as MoB!) decide how she can look her best on her daughter’s Big Day?

1.Stay with colors that work for you – even though this is a special day, it’s not the time to experiment with neons just because they’re the latest color trend – stick with tried and true colors that enhance your own natural coloring.

2. Dress for comfort – not JUST for style – of course, looking beautiful on this day is a given for Moms of the Bride, but remember it is going to be a long wonderful day, you will be doing the light fandango and being snapped non-stop by the wedding paparazzi AKA hired photographers and your uncle Al from Pittsburgh. . .  make sure that the gorgeous look you select for this day is one you will FEEL comfortable in all day while looking DIVINE.
3 Elegant and Sophisticated are the watchwords of the day for the MoB!  By the time our children are old enough to tie the knot we are old enough to enjoy who we are and the signature looks that work for us. . . listen Moms, you deserve your beautiful elegance at this season of life . . . wear it well with a dress that is sophisticated and elegant . . . something dreamy that enhances your look. 

Remember Mom, you deserve your own beautiful look today too – embrace – enjoy – be elegant!

4. Fit to be fantastic!  Let’s face it . . . we have all been there trying to put a size 10 body in a size 6 dress because it just screams: Must have!  The fit that fits is the fit that works . . . be good to yourselves, ladies . . . select a look that fits fabulously and you will look fabulous in it! 

5. Finally, set a budget . . . so much emotion is attached to this day . . . one that most MoB’s have looked forward to for a lifetime.  By setting a budget you can look beautiful AND be practical. (Great role modeling for the newlyweds, Mom!)  Why not consider consignment shopping for a fabulous look that is –one-day-only-wear-worthy?  In the Capital Region, Fifi’s Frocks and Frills has an awesome selection of beautiful dresses that you will wear very well . . . AND so will your pocketbook!

Kathleen is available for one-on-one home visits as well as walking you through her favorite stores to select the look that is right for you.
For more information email: amberjphoto@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: Weddings and Seniors...oh my.

 When I first started dappling with the idea of my own business, I cringed...EVERYONE wants to be a photographer. EVERYONE.  I quickly discovered, everyone wants to be a photographer, but not everyone wants to be a business owner. Ah.... light bulb moment.
There are a million decisions to make every day. Since the inception of Amber J Seniors, let's make that a million and one.  However, for the first time since my break from a "real" job a few years ago. I am set. I am where I feel I can have two feet firmly planted and break free of doubt and wonder.
Weddings and Seniors.  This is in no way absolute. This world is too big and too beautiful to forgo producing imagery in other aresa, but these two avenues are where my heart beats with excitement.
I love weddings.
I love seniors.
I didn't come to that conclusion lightly.  In fact the senior thing was something I didn't feel I truly wanted to do until the idea of stylized shoots came in my head and realized NO ONE around here does this!
There is so much to explore in just these two areas that I can't wait to see what unfolds.  So if you are wondering why the heck there two sites, two twitters and two instagrams...all attached to my name, it's because they are their own. Amber J Seniors will run under the umbrella but separate from Amber J Photography/Weddings.  They are their own entity and it's a blast watching them come to life and breathe :)
It all comes together here:  amberjphotog.com on this landing page. EEEEK!~

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: Barn Venue, The Olde Tater Barn

Nestled in between the gently rolling hills of the Schoharie Valley, The Olde Tater Barn claims it's stake in local history and sets the precedent for things to come.
The former potato farm still contributes to the farming way of life, but it also offers the enchantment of an Upstate New York country-chic wedding venue.  The original barn, now with new renovations overlooks the former potato fields that lend a hand at growing corn.  The acres surrounding the farm give it it's secluded and serene atmosphere, perfect for providing guests and couples with a wedding all their own.
It's as country as it gets, but it's flair for style and amazing food leaves the Tater Barn lacking for nothing.  The chef, the host, the entire venue caters to the whims and desire of couples looking to invest their most precious day in all that New York as to offer.
"This is something we do, because we love to do it. That's the basis of this entire place".  Rich graciously escorted me around the premise so I could see for myself all the updates, all the features and the amazing layout of the beautiful country which plays host to every guest.
If you are looking for an upstate NY wedding, you will love what you find here. A gem in Schoharie County.
Rich, who runs the venue with his sister Kate,  does suggest that you visit the premise during the time of year you plan on having your wedding so you have a clear idea of the flowers and other scenic treasures of the NY season.
For a complete history of the Tater Barn visit here:history
or visit the entire site at www.taterbarn.com

Be Inspired!
upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY Photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY photographer, Amber Johns

upstate NY photographer

upstate ny photographer

Friday, May 24, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: BRAVE: Veterans

Before I became a photographer, I was a journalist. One of the most impactful events I had to cover and photograph was the National Honor Flight escort.  I had blogged about it then...and this is what I had written:

I had the pleasure of photographing 34 World War II veterans from the local area be escorted to the Albany International Airport Saturday morning. From Albany they were being flown to Washington, DC to see the WWII monument. In DC they would be welcomed again with transportation, escorts and many, many American citizens present to say thank you.
 So, on a sunny Saturday morning, 40 biker escorts with American Flags flying from the rear of their motorcycles along with state police who provided the ultimate motorcade through our local towns until the war heroes were met at the airport. I had to wonder what was going through their minds. They were all 20 years old or so when they flew out of our country to fight against another. It was all so long ago, but to them, the memories are vivid. The emotions were written in their overwhelmed expressions as they watched policemen flash their lights and traffic stop to allow their bus to pass through. It was precious to see them talk and joke around with so many sad memories haunting their past. However, they would all say it was worth it, they all said it was for freedom. My generation may take for granted more often they we care to admit. But, it was not taken for granted Saturday, not when I was able to hug and shake hands with so many men who seemed so impressed that a day was created just for them.
I have to admit, the tears came easy when I watched them all walk down the corridor of the airport and people awaiting their own flights stood to salute or clap for them. It's hard to explain the emotions that pumped through the airport Saturday morning, but it was amazing all the same.
Here is one of my favorite pics of the day:
upstate new york photographer

I am still searching for images I took that day. If I find more, I will add them.  Once again, THANK YOU to all our service men and women and their families. <3 p="">

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: BRAVE : My brother

I'll keep this short and sweet.  I had chosen to feature my brother in this ongoing BRAVE series last week and then yesterday slipped away from (when I meant to publish this) and so I am finishing it up this morning. Why is that important? Because, today..May 16, marks 10 years since his devastating car accident. I did NOT plan that. In fact, it wasn't until this morning that it hit me that today was THE day a decade ago.
So yes, 10 years ago my brother was t-boned by a van and his body suffered barely a scratch, his brain suffered everything.
He is a miracle. No doctor, no brain surgeon, no MRI, no evaluation gave him a chance of surviving the first 24-48 hours. I have never cried so much in my life. I have never seen my parents hurt so much either.
But let's not dwell on that. Let's focus on the fact that 10 years later, my brother has overcome amazing odds with the direction of our God and savior who has blessed him with survival and quality of life.  He has married someone I can honestly call my sister and he has a job that I don't really understand in computers.
He has had hurdles that I don't need to explain, but as you can imagine, anyone suffering from a traumatic brain injury has monumental obstacles to overcome.  He has relearned life again, my family and I have relearned God's grace.  Joshua is brave.  He has faced more than a lot of people and he still gives God all the credit. He is just, fair and honest. He is a leader, stubborn and faithful to the Lord.  Today, I celebrate his life and that I have had 10 more years with one of the most BRAVE people I know.

Jeremiah 29:11-14a For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD... (NKJV)
Thank you to everyone who touched our lives during that time..there are too many to reach out to and I am afraid I'll forget someone. Thank you to the staff and wonderful people at SunnyView Rehabilitation Center in Schenectady. You were truly our lifeline. 
For an inside look there is a facebook page to raise awareness for Traumatic Brain injuries
It's motorcycle awareness month. Just be careful :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: Brave

I have a few ideas and I might use each Wednesday or Thursday to post what I feel is brave or what I see to be brave.  I want to look behind the scenes a little and try to find different perspectives.
The first thing I thought of occurred to me while I was sitting at a red light ( see all good ideas come while driving) and I watched a store owner bringing items into his store from a delivery truck on main street in the town of Middleburgh.
Brave. Brave because over a year and a half ago Main Street in Middleburgh (as well as surrounding towns) was 8 feet under water due to Hurricane Irene. We all have our own memories of that Sunday.  Main Street had been wiped out.
Fast forward with remnants of blood, sweat and many, many tears- our little town has made business happen again, homes have been ever so slowly re-establishing themselves. Our home owners, our business owners in the little town in upstate NY, well, they are brave.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: Brave. What Does It Mean?

 I think in my car when I drive.  Sometimes the music is on, sometimes I like the pure quiet.  However, that is where almost all my ideas start...I wonder why that is?  I love the song Brave by Josh Groban and maybe that is what got the wheels turning a little bit.

At first I was going to do a whole series on what I thought about being brave, but I decided how rich and eye opening it would be to see what others considered brave.

So here is what I want to do and I want you to join me ( I'll do this each week for May) Take the weekend to photograph and we will post entries on Amber J Photography each Wednesday!

1. What is brave to you?  No rules here.  It can be a person, place or thing. Doesn't matter. Black and white, or color.  You can be any age to submit.  (I do ask if you are submitting the photo of someone under 18, that you provide me with a parental contact number to verify publishing rights )

2. Compose 1-3 photographs that you, yourself have taken.

3. Email them to - amberjphoto@gmail.com
Include: your name
              brief description as to why you consider it a resemblance of bravery.
              twitter handle (if you have it.)
             instagram (if  you have it)

4. You do not have to be a professional, though professionals are MORE than welcome to join too. (Just let me know your studio name so I can include that)

5. I will post a series once I get at least 5 entries. Then, please tag yourself, share the concept and be blessed by the bravery of everyone that surrounds us.

6. I will do this every week for the month of May, you may enter every week with a new concept. I'm all for it.

7. In the end, because I can't help myself I will give away goodies for a bunch of reasons.  I haven't even decided yet. I am thinking composition, storyline, unique idea...I am still figuring that out.

If you have any questions feel free to email me... :)

PS: Please keep it appropriate for FB family - friendly content 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Upstate NY Wedding Photographer: Choosing a photographer must be mind numbing..

You, the soon-to-be bride and groom have a LOT going on as you plan for your up and coming wedding day. In so many ways, I envy you.  Weddings have a come a long way in the past decade or so with the internet, social media and of course, Pinterest. There are million or more choices out there and that includes wedding photographers.
It's over-whelming for me to see how many people have started there own photography business.  In a sea of facebook jump starts, I don't envy the job of pouring through countless calls for your attention.

upstate NY wedding photographer

A few simple steps could ease the pain:
1. WHO RECOMMENDS US AND WHY? Word of mouth.  Almost all of my brides have come to me by recommendations from either a friend or a venue I have worked for.  Ask around. If you already have your venue booked, ask the venue director. Chances are they are not going to recommend someone who they don't feel will suit their couples.
On a secondary note, if someone recommends a photographer, find out why.  Do they have first hand experience with the distinguished work of a certain wedding photographer or are they simply recommending their best friend, daughter or cousin? Know the source.

2. PORTFOLIO INVESTIGATION? Look over their online portfolio. As you are looking through, decide what you LIKE about a certain portfolio.  Is it their candid style? Is it their detail shots? Are they portraying a certain artistry you enjoy?

3. A PHONE CALL INSTEAD OF EMAIL? Call. Get on the phone first with your photographer. You may be able to tell right away if their personality will fit yours and believe it or not, that is vital to a successful telling of your wedding day story.

4. WHY A CONSULT?  Your photographer should always be willing to meet you in person.  Rarely will I book with a bride who I don't have a face to face consult with.  We need to talk and get to know each other a little, after all I am going to be with you every step of your wedding day... that's a big deal!

Most photographers are pulling their price list from their sites. Why? For me personally, I would not want to be passed over or judged on my services based on my price list.  It is the last point I discuss with a bride simply because I want to know what a couple wants in a photographer first.  There is a relationship that needs to be established that goes far beyond just a hired service.  I need to be the right photographer for you, not just a piece that fits in the budget process. After all, I am re-telling the priceless story of your wedding day!!!  Price points are always important, but should not be your only deciding factor :)

Always check and ask about insurance, experience and legit business standing. A photographer should always, at the very least have a DBA (doing business as) in their county and insurance.  An official facebook page is not proof of business. ASK!

Those are just a few ideas as you begin looking for the wedding photographer that is right for you.
Happy planning!!!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: Burlap? Who Knew?

I saw a post, then another, then another all on how burlap can be incorporated into a rustic and chic wedding. So, instead of coming up with a post all on my own, I figured I would list a few links that I liked!

A unique post by Emmaline Bride here focuses on a variety of uses for burlap.  It gives ideas on shoes, save the dates, and weddings.  So cool! But it is definitely for the hands on bride.
    upstate ny photographer
Another cool showcase for accenting the archway or altar was to use burlap as featured here on Wedding Chicks

Last but not least!!!!  THIS wedding entertained an entire burlap theme!!! Check it out on one of my favorite blogs... Rustic Wedding Chic.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: I'm No Tattoo Artist...

Being a professional photographer has a catch.  It's that whole word "professional". That moment when you want your clients to realize you have it together, you know how to produce amazing  images and yet connect with them on a personal level.
Before vacation wrapped me up in sunshine, I met with an adorable couple in the little town of Roxbury, NY.  From minute one it started to unravel with professionalism slowly leaking from all areas of what should compose a meeting between photographer and client.
1. The client ran super late (that happens)
2. Client got a little lost maneuvering some roads to their venue prior to meeting me, even later.
3. Absolutely no cell service in this cute little town. None. I was cut off.
4. All little cafes and restaurants CLOSED by the time we met up that Sunday afternoon.

Therefore our little client meeting took place on a bench outside of a shop on Main Street.  It was a little chilly, but not intolerable, but still everyone was a little frazzled by the time things began.  The meeting was lighthearted, but it started to get uncomfortable when a wayside pedestrian become very interested in our conversation and decided to comment... a lot. Insert many polite smiles and absolutely no where to go and hide.

Unraveling continues.

I was beginning to think, there is no way this meeting is going to solidify a great relationship - everything is going downhill.

It got worse.

In my final goodbyes and thanking them for their time, the wayward pedestrian couldn't resist asking if I was some sort of artist.
I concurred.
"Are you a tattoo artist?" We all stopped and looked at him, there were no words.
"No, sir, I am just a wedding a photographer."  JUST a wedding photographer? Like that is sublimely inferior to a tattoo artist?
"Could you take pictures of dogs and make them into tattoos?"  He was serious. The conversation was getting worse and my cute little couple just stood there watching the whole thing - nearly as confused as I was.
"No sir, I don't do tattoos. At. all."
He continued on his way (with his little dog tucked under his arm) and I looked at my couple and asked..."Is there something about me that screams dog tattoo artist?"
Hysterical laughter commenced and the most awkward client meeting in history went down in the books.
And yes, I will be photographing their wedding this July.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: Don't Give Up

I try to find something inspirational every day. Perhaps it's better said, that you can find inspiration when you are looking for it.  This video has been seen by millions, because it invokes such a sense of emotion and stirs something inside us that we tend not to feel very often.
Dreams are possible, faith is necessary, love conquers all....we dig the quotes, but I'm not sure there is true belief in them..until we see something like this happen.
We are reminded of the very beautiful possibilities we have before us.  He didn't win a medal, but he won hearts.  I can't tell who won the Olympic medals that year...but I know Derek Redmond.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: A Bride Made Me Think...

I limited myself on explaining a few aspects of why we are turning our attention to rustic, chic and country weddings.  The first and foremost reason is because I absolutely adore them and when you combine photography and passion, you can help but produce something filled with excitement and love.
However, the less romantic side of it all comes down to the technical aspects of barn and farmhouse weddings.  Lighting.
A bride came to me this week with an inquiry about her wedding in a nearby barn style venue. Her main question was about the lighting and if I would be able to photograph there. Honestly, I am not used to those kind of questions from brides, so it was cathartic for me to answer her.
Now, I know most venues for receptions and churches offer less than stellar lighting.  The most challenging, by far are the old dark barns and sweet farmhouses that cast very little flattering light.
The romantic wood planks and high wooden archways that enhance the fairytale atmosphere can plummet a photographers ability to capture the enchantment.
I have focused my energy in the past few months to become proficient in photographing at these types of venues. It's necessary.  With venues stretching from Albany, Oneonta, Roxbury, Hudson and Lake George this was something I was noticing not being done very well!
upstate NY wedding photographer, rustic, chic, barn,

Nothing should stop you from having the most romantic country wedding ever...just make sure you have a photographer that knows how to showcase it from the camera ;)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: The Hardest Thing...

Ok, maybe the blog title is a little dramatic. It's not THE hardest thing, but waiting for spring to get here..is testing my endurance of patience. Anyone in the northeast understands March is the crazy month as winter and spring dual it out for position in the weather system. I love following all my photographer friends, but it's killing me as they start to post their images in the rolling hills and sweet sunsets of early spring as I stare at the 6 inches of snow still caressing my property. The plus side? I have been forced to reconcile to organization and planning. Now that I know what is in front of me (kind of) I have more of a purpose and a plan and that feels good. I know I want to focus more on the rustic and chic style of wedding photography. It's where I am from, it's what has made me, I'm a country girl and I do love it. It's easy to express what you love. In doing so, I created a board on PINTREST just for this... check it out here: Rustic, Chic and Country Weddings Feel free to share your ideas~

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: Wedding Visual Entree'

As we progress into 2013, I am going to be implementing more video segments. It's fun, it's playful and that's exactly how I like to be! I will be showcasing more rustic and chic weddings especially outdoor weddings as well as barn weddings. Just to let you in on my planning!! It's gonna be fabulous! For now, enjoy this little ditty showcasing a few of our weddings! Another video coming soon!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Upstate NY Photographer: Inspiration for writing wedding vows

There are more songs written about love, there are more quotes about love and there are more poems about love than any other subject.  I have had a few brides wanting to write their own vows and words can be a tricky thing.  How can you define feelings with words?  It's not easy and I feel that is why there can be difficulty in doing such a monumental task.
A few suggestions and a few inspirational quotes to jump start you.

1. Keep it simple. Take one moment you have shared an indulge in it's story. Your first date, your most embarrassing moments, the first time "I love you" was said. Expand on the simple moments.

2. Don't write for the ceremony, write for each other. 

3. Don't put pressure on yourself to make it perfect, you aren't perfect, neither is your partner.  Roll with it.

4. Write down random ideas as they come to mind.(just maybe not while you are driving). Make notes and then when you have some time, go through them, see what comes to mind over days and weeks. You may write your vows without even knowing it!

5. Enjoy this. This is a time to go back and see where your relationship has grown. Why do you trust and love this person more than any other? Why do you feel safe and secure in this person and where do you see yourself in years to come.

6. Don't write something you are not. If you are not a creative and witty writing genius, then don't be. Write down your thoughts as they are. Using words and phrasing that aren't yours...well just doesn't work. Be simple, be cute, be fun, be serious, be lighthearted...just be you. Please.

Here are some quotes I found, that I love.  Enjoy and good luck! (The third one is my favorite)

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

"You can talk with someone for years, everyday, and still, it won't mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever.... connections are made with the heart, not the tongue."

“You only need one man to love you. But him to love you free like a wildfire, crazy like the moon, always like tomorrow, sudden like an inhale and overcoming like the tides. Only one man and all of this.”

“If I am to be fallen into love, I will. And if as a result I will appear to be stupid, disillusioned, and of poor judgment, I will. And I would be damned if I cared what other people think. For I would rather be thought of as all of these things, than not love. If in loving, I become the naked woman on the horse, I will ride that horse with my head held high. This is my spirit. I am unbreakable.”

“A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves. Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness.”

“Before, I wanted to say: "I found love!" But now, I want to say: "I found a person. And he belongs to me and I belong to him.”

Be inspired!