THE RETREAT: ISLAND PARK

Abbey Armstrong and I begun as a mentorship. It gave us an excuse to become the bestest of bestest friends. Although she went on to grow into one of the most talented photographers and business moguls I know. There is nobody besides her that has the drive and gumption to kill it that quickly in this business. 

We've joined forces with our love to help others develop and nurture there passions. To most it seems counterproductive to help someone else succeed to go on to be a competitor. But we see the value in building a network of photographers who's goal is to create beautiful art, grow friendships, refer clients who may be a better fit for another specialized photographer, and help guide the industry to help our clients see the value in what we do. 

Together we are greater.

Besides that, who wouldn't want to work alongside their best friends?

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This particular retreat was special though. Truly a week to recharge, connect with other kind hearted women who seem to have all been on the same level. We needed this retreat to uplift each other. I walked away from this a better person. I tried more to listen to others instead of always speaking. I laughed harder than I've ever laughed before. I connected with girls that I would not have known given my hermit lifestyle choices. I felt like we were raw and real. Thank you all for coming to hang with us. We truly had the best time xo 

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A HUGE THANKS TO

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MAULOA FLORALS

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SLICED PEPPER

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BLUE MOOSE CABIN

How to style on a budget

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It's not that I don't believe in spending money on clothing but it's just so hard for me to justify spending lots of money on cool threads that aren't even my size. Thus a solution was formed. 

I've always been a huge fan of thrift shopping. Some of my most favorite clothing are the little gems hanging on the rack at goodwill for just a few bucks. Although I will warn you, when shopping for finds whether for you or your model, YOU NEED TO BE PICKY!

Step 1..........Try not to buy because it's a good deal

I used to find myself with load of clothing feeling the need to buy simply because it was a deal I could not pass up. Boy was I wrong. Pretty soon I was up to my ears with so called "cool finds" that never gotten warn because instead of loving the clothing I bought because of the deal

Step 2..........Keep it simple

Most people when styling want to incorporate everything including the kitchen sink. While it may work for some looks, many distract from the overall message of the look.

Step 3..........Buy clothing that compliments what you already have at home

Many times I have my model bring a list of basic clothing and accessories including different types of pants, different bras and certain shoes. By purchasing clothing that is versatile which can be worn with different types of looks you can really make your dollar stretch!

PRINTS & CANVAS WRAPS

 "the white horse"

"the white horse"

 "cabin in the woods"

"cabin in the woods"

 "snow covered mountain tops"

"snow covered mountain tops"

CANVAS WRAPS:

Your canvas is printed on archival quality canvas with a lamination for added protection. Solid wood construction with tight 90 degree corners. Arrives ready to hang with a completely finished black mat board, wall bumpers and a saw tooth or wire. .75" depth.

  • 8x10..........$99
  • 16x20..........$172
  • 24x30..........$260
  • 30x40..........$399

FINE ART PHOTO PRINTS:

  • 8X10..........$14.99
  • 16X20..........$29.99
  • 20X30..........$45.00

SMILING IS MY FAVORITE

Family sessions seem to be either the easiest or the hardest type of shoot. Depending on the flow of the family some sessions are downright hard. Emotional connection is a large part of my work and being able to really show the personality of each family member is my ultimate goal. 

Remember when you had school photos in elementary and you just knew you did your best to give the great smile you knew would make you mom proud. Meanwhile photos were being processed and returned, it only took one look for your mom to say why didn't you smile like you normally do? Kids in general don't know the different between a fake smile (the kind that your parents are always asking you to smile in family photos) OR the genuine make your heart happy smile. 

Here are some tips tricks I've come up with along the years

1. Never just ask a child to smile. Chances are you are going to get a cheesy over the top grin. 

2. I start by asking them to make different faces for different emotions. By now they know what a sad face looks like so I ask them to do a sad face, I then stop and photograph them, I do a silly face, photograph, angry face, photograph, and so on until I come to a happy face. By then they are relaxed and well versed in this fun little game they are playing. 

3. After getting a happy face. I then act like I'm about to tickle them. Now this does not work for every child, as each child as a unique personality and set of personal boundaries. In general however most children react with a authentic and genuine grin that I try my best to capture.

All in all my best advice with family is have fun and try and make everything a game!

xo

DONT BE A BAD EGG

I wrote this for both you and me. For you fellow photogs as a reminder and for me because I forget this lesson. 

Those of you in this crazy photography industry have ran into other photographers or colleges who have found a reason to create unhappiness. Whether it stems from jealousy, unhappiness itself, or lack of self esteem, we've all been there. Try and be kind to others despite that. Be a good egg.

I was asked the other day how I felt about other photographers who we seemed to be emerging right and left. They wanted to know how I wasn't upset by it. The answer is simple. I am never bothered by others who see the same passion in photography as me. I say this again and again to those I mentor, NO ONE CAN BE YOU. No one can give your clients the same experience that you can. No one can interact with others or see things through the camera like you do and for that reason that makes YOU unique. 

The best thing I ever did for myself and my business was to grab a notepad and write down all the quirky, awesome, weird things that make me, me. When I ran out of things to write down I asked my family, the people who know me best, what is unique and different about me? Here is what we collectively came up with:

  • I obsessively love my pup Max (aka. maxi-pad, mr. maggoo, maxipants, maxers)
  • I love wearing all black :)
  • I can actually sing (which never happens because I'm to darn shy)
  • I have an fixation on large, voluminous lips (yes they are filled with injectables)
  • I swear like a sailor
  • Hate scary movies with a passion!
  • I'm bossy (not my best trait)
  • I wear anything comfortable over fashionable (sad I know)
  • Addicted to rockstar energy drinks (guilty)
  • I hate water, and rarely drink more than 2 sips of anything

I literally have built my branding directly around that. It's who I am and it's who I want to portray to be through my blog, social media outlets and to my future clients. 

I leave you with this awesome quote:

"The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself." -Lao Tzu

MENTORING

I thought mentoring wasn't my thing. I mean who am I to teach someone else? 

I received a message one day from a sweet girl named Abbey that I once took photos of asking me if I'd be willing to mentor her. At this point, why not? Obviously with hours and hours and hours of shoot time under my belt, I could surly share a thing or two of what I've learned along the way. 

The session ended as quickly as it began. I wanted to teach her everything I knew about photography and all the countless mistakes I had made along the way (and yes my friends, there were and still are a lot of mistakes!) I wanted to help her in a way I wished that someone would have helped me. I wanted to hit home the importance of the business side of the industry. Not only is it important to hone your craft but it is equally as important to master the business side of the industry. After all if you don't have any business coming through your doors, then what you have is a very expensive hobby. 

Walking away from my session that day I realized something so very important. I realized that I needed Abbey in my life as much as she needed me. Her enthusiasm and passion for her photos was something that sparked a fire in me and I knew we had not crossed paths by coincidence. The more time passes the more our friendship grows and I have yet another friend and colleague to add to my ever growing list.

Thank you Abbs for making me grow in ways I didn't know I could or would. You've made unbelievable progress and it's so exciting watching you take the world by storm! Get it girlfriend!