Sunday, July 31, 2011

the nelou & laura show + week 1 = joy

what brings you joy?
me . nelou

next week = showing restraint

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

being a working mum ...

When Jacob was born my life was thrown upside down ... not in a bad way by any means but his arrival forced me to do something i had been wanting to do for a long time. Since our arrival here in Germany i had been employed at Chilis on base as a server & a bartender. Not the career i had in mind as a twenty something photographer with a degree but it was the best i could do. On the plus side it paid for my equipment, workshops & the studio. But photography is my love, my passion & what i want to do with my life i just wasn't ready to take the leap. & then we throw Jacob in the mix, the realization that i didn't have day care, that it was time to really be a family & that i wanted to see my son grow up. So here i am, a stay-at-home-mum following my dreams.

I asked what people wanted to read about on my blog & one of the responses was for me to talk about being a working mum. I admit i've only been doing this for a couple of months but this is what i know ...

... it's not easy but it's incredible rewarding! I've learnt to edit with one hand & a sleeping baby on my shoulder. There are times when i will put him down (thank god for the car seat, the bouncer & more recently the bumbo) but nothing beats a sleeping baby for precious moments.

... i'm learning to work around his schedule. Thankfully i was blessed with an incredible chilled out baby, he's so happy & content. When i was 5 months pregnant i made the decision to set up a studio in my home o i can shoot boudoir & the occasional child at home without worrying about a sitter. My little munchkin has sat happily in the corner whilst i photograph women in their underwear. Such a lucky little boy right?

... i only schedule shoots every other weekend. One of the things i missed out on when working at chilis is time with my husband, weekends away & more travel opportunities. I can now set my schedule (to an extent you know uncle sam is always going to get in the way), i can work one weekend & spend time with family & friends the next.

... i've had to take my son on a location shoot with me ... the downside to being out & about is that i either have to schedule these shoots when my husband is off work or when i can get a sitter. Now it's not hard for me to get a sitter because i have some wonderful friends who love my son i just hate imposing on people. But occasionally my son is going to have to come with me & i can only hope the client is as wonderful about it as this one was. Plus the fact my son loves being outdoors & it's summer makes it easier though i can't lie i'm not 100% focused on the client (the down side). 

I know as time goes on my thoughts will change & practices will increase. As Jacob grows i may get to a point where i need to hire a sitter to take care of him for a few hours so i can focus on my work. The thing about working from home is that as nice as it is to set your own schedule, be able to work all hours & not worry about office politics we don't always focus the way we should, like editing one handed because i have a sleeping son. Before he arrived i could sit down & work my way through a shoot, not worrying if i didn't finish the editing process until the wee hours of the morning. Now I need to make sure i'm in bed at a decent hour as is Jacob. 

But i'm not fitting everything in around my chili's schedule & i have noticed that i am more focused on my photography. I'm loving what i am doing, & not tired from dealing with the stress that came from chili's. I can work at my own pace, spend time with my son & i feel (for lack of a better word) more fulfilled as a result. This is the life i want, the dream i had & my happy ending. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

around the world with fPOE ... this week it's Spring Hill, Tennessee

Since we started our travels back up we've visited Toronto, Canada & the gorgeous photography of Charlene Precious & then on to blighty & the equally stunning work of PipiPhotography. This is why i started this series, the chance to explore the world of fPOE, to share with you the amazing talent out there & of course to help inspire you & me. & this week we're heading back to the US of A, & Spring Hill, Tennessee. For some reason the name Spring Hill seems appropriate here, it fits the artist i am about to showcase. Amy Tyler is the lady behind Dandelion Studio (another name i love) & some gorgeous whimsical, dreamy photography. 
Amy's photography doesn't stop at the click of the shutter, it's as much about the post production process, the creation of a work of art. She incorporates different elements & wonderful textures that leave her images standing out from the crowd. Another photographer who asks questions of the viewer, who creates a story for which the viewer must guess at what happens next.  I admire everything about Amy's images, from the simplicity of the composition, the details she showcases in her images & of course the wonderful tones she blends with her textures. & her subject matter is a eclectic mix (a girl after my own heart), she sees art all around her & leaves us gasping for more. 
growing up on the farm ... 
... soaring above the clouds ... 
... & yes another pretty kitty (i can't help myself)!
All these images are available for sale on etsy along with many other equally gorgeous images. You can also check out more of Dandelion Studio on facebook & flickr

Monday, July 25, 2011

it's the simple thing's in life that make me happy ...

more wildflowers ...
avoiding high school drama ...
this shop (it may have its own blog post i love it that much) ...
starting my 52 week project with nelou ... 
a relaxing week of doing things for me!

Friday, July 22, 2011

that friday feeling ...

Yes it's friday ... that means tomorrow is saturday & the weekend! Ok so my days of the week are currently all over the place & honestly it's been a long time since i've worked a monday thru friday schedule so really "it's the weekend" mean's nothing to me. Plus being married to the military kinda throws most things out the window. 

So it's been a crazy busy week in one sense ... lots of shoots, random errands & some running around ... but not so bad that i feel all over the place. I do have a busy weekend ahead but i am excited ... 2 shoots on saturday both up in the wild flowers (fingers crossed for great weather) & an open house sunday. Phew but i love being busy. What do you guys have planned?

Anyways i'm going to leave you with a couple of images from last weekend's trip to Garmisch & a reminded to check out the post about "the nelou & laura show" ... we're hoping to get started next week & need all your ideas. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the nelou & laura show ...

So my wonderful friend & fabulously talented fellow photographer Nelou have to decided to embark on a joint project for the next 52 weeks! Yes i believe we are a little crazy but we're both in search of some inspiration, & a push & this is it. 

Every week we will be choosing a topic or asking you our wonderful readers to choose a topic (you never know there may also be some giveaways in it) which we will then photograph. Some weeks there with be one photo, some weeks a series & other weeks we'd love to see your interpretation. & at the end we want to make a book. It's going to be hard work, it's going to be creativity & i imagine it will drive us a little crazy at times. But most of all its going to be fun!!

To get us started we're asking you for our first topic ... it could be a feeling, a colour, a time of day or your favourite food. Just leave us a comment on either my blog (as in below this post) or Nelou's blog with your idea. So put those thinking caps on (metaphoric or literal) & share your ideas with us. We're excited to see where this journey takes us!

ps. the picture of jacob has nothing to do with the project its just that he's so darn cute ... not that i'm biased or anything!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

throwing the rules out the window ...

So it's driving me nuts but i can't remember where i found this idea ... it was either a blog post or a magazine article (so if you can figure out where i found it let me know) ... anyways the blog/article was about a photographer who started shooting abstract after a car journey or because of a car journey or well something to do with a car journey. The idea being that all the "rules" of a "good photograph" become irrelevant & they really do. & since we were going away for the weekend i decided to have a little fun on the way home. For the first time in my life i shot at f22 simple because i was wanting long shutter speeds, & who cares about camera shake it's simple part of the process. I also discovered that our car windows are incredible dirty but anyways. 

So here are the results ... & i really love them! I love the way they feel like a painting, the blending of tones & the smooth flow some of them have to it. I love the yellow & blue of the truck, & how a urban landscape appears in the midst of the trees like a double exposure. There is so much unexpected in this process & so much fun!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

around the world with fPOE ... this week it's Lincolnshire, England

Having started our adventures back up last week i'm excited by the new talent i'm seeing here in fPOE. Our numbers have soared in recent months, & the group really has so much to offer. Last week we visited Toronto where i showed you the "wonder" that was Charlene Precious (here work really lived up to the name of Precious) & this week i'm a little giddy because we get to travel back to my homeland, little old England & Lincolnshire a county i have driven through more than i care to remember (I know the A1 a little too well). Anyways because i go completely off on a tangent i want to introduce you to another talented lady, Deb Scudder & her gorgeous shop PipiPhotography.
Deb is one of those photographers who has the unique ability to turn there hand to all genres ... maybe it comes from having an over active imagination, maybe it's just a gift but it's wonderful seeing her move from landscape to conceptural photography, encompassing everything in between. But you can still see a distinct style despite the subject matter, soft & dreamy & she's never afraid of experimenting & stepping out of the box. To me Deb is the kind of photography who will never stop learning, discovering & evolving through her photography, there is no limit to what she can do as far as sharing new & exciting work with us. It's exciting to see her work develop & honestly i can't wait to see where she goes with it. 
Oh how i love England's green & pleasent land's ...
... vintage cameras (yes once again a theme is starting to emerge ... & i actually own a minister as well) ...
... & anyone who has read my blog for a while knows i can't resist a picture of a cat!
As usual all the images in this post can be purchased on etsy. You can also check out more of PipiPhotography at Deb's website, on her blog & over on flickr.

Monday, July 18, 2011

it's the simple thing's in life that make me happy ...

a weekend escape with the hubby & my son ...
a series i love for ooh pretty shiny (see the below image) ...  
a new header on my website thanks to a fabulous friend ... 
this book got me hooked ... 
my own bed!

Friday, July 15, 2011

my weekend's starting early ...

As you read this i am either on the road heading down to Garmisch or already there enjoying the Alps! Since me & the hubby some how still manage to have crazy busy & opposite schedules we're getting out of town for a few days of family time & pretty picture taking. Anyways i hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

ps. my wonderfully talented friend Nelou has recently opened her photography shop on etsy & is hosting a giveaway on her blog ... worth checking out!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

bad reputation ...

Reputation is everything ... period ... when it comes to the photography industry. & we all know that word of mouth is not only our best source of advertisement but also the sure fire way of clearing our calender. You may be wondering why i'm writing this ... partly because it needs to be said, especially since it can have a knock on effect & cause trouble for others but also because i've seen a disturbing trend of bad work out there. 

The quality of your work is vital ... whilst we all have images that stand out as "the best of the best" (yes i did in fact quote topgun) they should be representative of all our work. Take portrait photography, when i edit a shoot i spend my time on every single image not just editing a couple & not bothering with the rest. People come to me for the because i take the time to create that perfect image or in this case 50 of them, i give it the unique "laura touch" (please no dirty thoughts) & my client walks away more than happy with the product they've received. In fact clients are often surprised with what they get simple because of bad experiences. In this instance the old adage is true ... "quality over quantity" every time. 

Another thing i've come across recently is bad communication from photographers or simply them dropping off the radar. I had a client come to me recently because the photographer she thought she'd booked stopped responding to messages. In what world is that considered an acceptable way to run a business ... reminds me a little too much of high school. 

Finally it's not just about the photography itself ... i am a great one for not proof reading (thank you to my wonderful friends for pointing out my various mistakes) but this is another area that can get you into trouble. If you don't make the time to check something over you could both put off potential clients as well as loose the ones you already have. I guess what i'm trying to say is that it's not just about a pretty picture but the whole package ... how my blog looks or the way a write my etsy store descriptions says as much about me to a potential client as the image itself. All too often we don't take the time in getting these seemingly unimportant details right when these are the things we have the most control over.

Being the popular kid in the class, choosing quantity over quality & skimping on the details may make you money now but in the long run will leave you hurting. So take the time to be the best & set the standard for those around you. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

what a difference a year makes ...

So i want to tell this story just because i hope sharing it will help at least one other person understand that happy endings do exist. I hope i don't sound condescending or patronizing because at no point is that intended, this is just me telling you the journey we took to get my beautiful baby boy. I also know there are many many others out there who's journeys have been much harder & longer than mine. 

This was me a year ago (literally a year ago) ... vacationing in the south of france with some of my favourite people. 

I was relaxed & happy, partly because you know i was in the south of france, i mean who can't enjoy that but also because i'd given up on the idea of having a baby.  I was no longer absolutely certain what day of the month it was, i didn't know wonder in the days before my period was due if this was "the month". It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least & being at the end of it was an amazing feeling. 

rewind 3 years & i married the man of a my dreams (ok maybe not my dreams but the guy i love with all my heart) & 1 month later, as we were getting ready to pcs i discovered i was pregnant. & yes it was a shock i mean we'd been married a whole month & we were moving to a new country & there was a baby on the way. Well once i got used to the idea i was pretty excited. But honestly looking back i can tell you i never really felt very pregnant, yes there were signs but nothing that stood out except i hated the smell of corn nuts. Well we went to hear the babies heartbeat for the first time & there wasn't one. Here i am in a new country, i knew no one & they were telling me my baby had died. I had a "missed miscarriage" & required surgery. It was a pretty tough time for me & my husband. 

So we made it through christmas & all i cared about was trying for another baby. It felt like it would make everything better. Honestly i can tell you it doesn't & whatever we were doing wasn't working. & it sucked ... it sucked because i knew i could get pregnant (& there wasn't anything abnormal in my pregnancy it just didn't work) but it wasn't happening. So then the stress sets in & as anyone who's ever had problems trying to get pregnant can tell you we know stressing won't make it easier but it's hard not to. I mean this is, in theory what my bodies design to do ... right?

After a year i saw a doctor & we were told we could be referred off base for infertility treatment. & then my husband deployed so everything was put on hold until his return that spring. I can honestly say not thinking about it was wonderful for me. So he returns & we tried the whole deployment sperm thing ... no luck ... so off we go to the doctors. He has to do his thing into various cups & i have had more ultrasounds, blood tests & "exams" than i care to remember. The result of all this was cysts on my ovaries & a blockage in one of my tubes for which i required surgery. So one laparoscopy later they added endometriosis to the list & informed me "the best cure is to get pregnant". Oh the irony of infertility! 

So we tried 3 IUI's non of which worked ... & honestly i hated it. I hated that i was having to inject a hormone on a certain day, that this wasn't how i dreamed of having kids & of how out of control i felt as far as my body was concerned. & then when all 3 failed & they informed us IVF was out only option ... well emotionally i wasn't doing so good. Not that i would really talk about it but you can imagine these are not the words any woman wants to hear. Oh & i was the healthiest i had been for at least 12 years, i don't smoke & i rarely drink (although i do love me a margarita). 

I should say for the record now if you know anyone having trouble conceiving please please don't tell them how easy it was for you, to "stop trying" because trust me that's incredible hard to do & that it will "just happen". We don't want to hear this, we don't need to hear this & if you're our friends you will just be there when we need you.

So we stopped ... i wanted my body back, i needed to just be me for a while. To love life again & enjoy my husband. & i focused on my photography & spending time with the people i loved ... including a girls vacation! I should just mention we had some wonderful discussions on our vacation concerning positions & cassie was kind enough to demonstrate a couple (yes i went there)! & laughed & it felt wonderful to be me again!

So i return from france & my husband is in the midst of a major base exercise, working nights, so we barely see each other ... but well it turns out we saw enough of each other. The planets had aligned or something & that week ... no joke ... i knew. I knew my body inside out, back to front & upside down by this point & something was different ... there were signs ... signs that scared the sh!t out of me. I mean what if i was wrong, what if i was getting excited about nothing. So i refused to do a pregnancy test though obviously that wasn't going to help. 

& there was crying ... not my husband who was at work he just said "well that's good then" ... but me crying, telling my best friend here who was the only person i'd told about the test. Well actually telling her husband to tell her "yes" cause she was in the shower. & then crying when the doctors called with my pregnancy test result to say that yes i was pregnant. & crying when i heard my son's heart beat & saw his ultrasound (which by the way was the only day to my memory i have ever had high blood pressure). 
I can't lie ... physically my pregnancy was easy, the worst part was the round ligament pain around 4 months. But emotionally it sucked, i was worried constantly that something would go wrong. I quit running because i was scared & tired & didn't want to risk it ... & yes i packed on the pounds. & i turned 30.  My baby grew inside me, big & healthy & my baby because the "lil dude" &had 10 fingers & 10 toes. & i could feel him move, & he got the hiccups all the time. & i loved him. From the moment i knew i was pregnant i loved him. 

& he was late ... now i know you don't want to hear about the birth but if you have to be induced, let me tell you pertocin is the devil. It is an evil evil substance. Don't try & be brave & not take the drugs ... get that epidural because it is amazing. Oh & to all those crazy people out there who don't remember the pain ... trust me i will never forget the pain. But it was worth it looking at my gorgeous, precious baby boy! 

He is now 12 weeks old ... & whilst i honestly hope no one has to go through this experience the end result is something i wouldn't change for anything. & the pain & the sleepless nights & everything else in between are nothing compared to that feeling i felt when my son was born & yes i cried & loved him more than i thought possible. He is the most perfect thing i have ever done & as my friend pointed out his is totally "worth the wait". 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

around the world with fPOE ... this week it's Toronto, Canada

Back in the days of Pre-Jacob i did a weekly blog post ... around the world with fPOE. Being a member of fPOE (female photographers of etsy) means a lot to me, i've been lucky enough to learn from some amazingly talented women willing to help in whatever way they can. This group inspires me on a daily basis! Well If you were to check out the world of these ladies you'd discover an amazing array of styles, composition & all the rest. So with this series i hope to showcase the stunning photography from the group as we travel round the world with these fabulous ladies & see what inspires them. 

So our last stop on our world trip left us in Pueblo, Colorado checking out the work of Frankie Kins & Bluemoon Studio (take a moment to check out her gorgeous shop). Well now we're heading north, across the border & up to Toronto, Canada so check out the delightful (don't you just love my use of adjectives) images of Charlene Precious. Now this is my kind of photography ... not that i don't love 99% of photography out there but this is the kind that speaks to me. It has all the elements i love ... vintage, dreamy, whimsical, stunning. It's the kind of photography that opens my eyes & asks questions. The word that really stands out for me "wonder"! 

Charlene's work is full of gorgeous soft tones, pretty little details & wonderful composition. I love her subject matters, things that would inspire me also. But on top of these gorgeous images she adds text that just gives them a little edge over similar items, making them stand out from the crowd. I could stare at her photography for hours. The remind me of vintage postcards discovered at a flea market or antique store, of stories waiting to be told & memories of times gone by. I feel like the text is just a tease, the beginning of a fairy tale & i want to know the ending. 

I love that Charlene photographs the things that draw me in as well ... an item i collect (& this is a particuarly gorgeous variation) ...

... a place from my past ... 

... & very few people know my love of airplanes! 

To view more of Charlene's work you can head over to her etsy shop (where all the above images are available for purchase) ... her website ... her blog (which is incredible unique & worth checking out)... & her flickr page. & next week we will continue our adventure somewhere new. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

it's the simple thing's in life that make me happy ...

chocolate brownies (even if they come from a box) ...
my new favourite tee ... & tote ... 
a blog i am loving ... 
gorgeous picture frames ...
cuddles with jacob!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"because you're worth it" (as my mum would say) ...

At the start of June i put my prices up, something i a hard time doing. Thankfully i have some wonderful friends who helped me with this process & some equally fabulous clients who aren't deterred. But when you work in a community where there seems to be "photographers" popping up left, right & center & offering to do shoots for $50 with all the images on a disc it's hard to feel confident in your prices even though you know the product you are offering is worth it. 

Well today i was finally catching up on some blog reading ... I love hearing others talk about their passions be it photography or not, & share the things they see & learn on a daily basis. Well one such blog i have come to enjoy is "Mom's with Cameras" & does "exactly what it says on the tin" (if you're not english you might not get that but basically it's blog for mom's who take pictures).  But a few days ago they posted a wonderful blog called "value vs. price" & it couldn't be more appropriate for how i'm feeling right now.

"My clients choose to commission me to photograph their children because they recognize that the portrait art I offer is valuable to them . . . priceless, even. These images and the experience I provide are not something they can get elsewhere and they feel that the dollar amount I price my work at is worth the investment. Determine what your art is worth . . . what it’s value is to your client. Then price it accordingly and do so confidently."

Thank you to Emily for writing such a fabulous post & reminding me of the things i know even when i feel frustrated & i'm left wondering if i made the right choice. You can't put a price on the memories we preserve with the click of a shutter. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

the website ...

For a long time i've owned my web domain but it's sat dormant as i paid money for it. Well finally i got my lazy ass in gear & with a little help from a friend & a template from bludomain, i got it up & running. I really have no excuse for not getting this done sooner but i have no understanding of how code works & well i just kept putting it off & putting it off. Anyways it's finally up & running & whilst it still needs work i am happy with how it looks. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

playing catch up ...

So it's been a while ... i suppose i have a pretty good excuse but i've kinda missed you guys. I like blogging, sharing my world with you & introducing you to all kinds of pretties. But first we need play catch up ... share with you some of the goings on. & yes i'm totally starting with some new pictures of my son ... he's now almost 3 months old & growing & changing & developing & it's amazing to see. Anyways for those who haven't met him here is my pride & joy ... best thing i've ever done (& if you want to see more from the beginning you can click on the link)!