Category: It's All About Me |It's All Personal
If you look up the definition of era, it means a long and distinct period of history with a particular feature or characteristic. In our happy home, we have reached the end of the American Girl Doll era. It was an era that consumed Madeline every birthday and Christmas. It began on Madeline’s 7th birthday when she opened that very first box. Her name was Julie and they were instantly the best of friends. Each year, another friend would join them- Chrissa, McKenna and Kanani. They spent hours and hours together just hanging out, playing dress up, and being creative. These girls had some amazing stories and clothes and accessories and pets. They crowded themselves into Madeline’s pink and green bedroom cluttered with horse show ribbons, Breyer horses (and any other kind of horse) and anything crafty. In recent months, the girls haven’t played together as much. It’s hard to find time with school and sports, and they’ve grown apart. It was decided it was time to pack up the girls. Madeline was okay to say goodbye to the clothes and accessories (well, most of them). But she asked if we could keep the girls just a little bit longer. So, they have found this safe little place in the corner of her closet with some of her most favorite outfits and accessories. I am not sure that they will ever come out of the closet to visit, or even say goodbye. Regardless, they will have some great memories together.
I had a client ask me if I would be willing to come to his office to take some pictures. It included some head shots and pictures around the office. I don’t normally do that kind of photography. I don’t think it is something I would want to do all of the time, but it was something a little different. It’s nice to shake it up a little every now and then.
Happy New Year! So many wonderful things happened last year for Pictures by Whitney. Obviously, the biggest change is the new studio. The studio will make it possible for me to offer more sessions especially during those winter months, and to those people who prefer to have an indoor session (although family sessions outdoors are my favorite!) Since I restructured my pricing last summer, I am not making a lot of changes for pricing. My on-location sessions are a little bit more, and I added a regular studio session for a little bit less. You’ll also notice that I will be adding the PA sales tax to invoices. I was paying them from my bottom line, but those taxes add up! I think the other biggest change is that I will also require mini-sessions to be paid in full to secure the appointment.
Looking forward to a very wonderful and prosperous year capturing images for all the families who I have had the pleasure to get to know over these last couple of years! I also look forward to meeting all my new clients, too!
A couple months ago my husband encouraged me to purchase a very old, very awesome building for the future home of Pictures by Whitney. Yesterday was the official open house. It was so wonderful to see so many of my clients and friends and family, and new faces. There is still quite a bit on the to do list, but I have had several sessions in the new building and I am in love with the space. Not only does it function so well as a photography studio, it is filled with warmth and charm. There are so many people who were part of the process- Larry O’Brien who allowed me to look at the property several times and helped to get us a great deal, Vitto Pasko, my contractor with Premier Remodeling and Design, who took care of the new roof/insulations/brick repair/gutters/ window wells/exterior paint (and some other random things.) I need to say thank you to Mike, Lonnie, Tina, Ginny and Justin with Susquehanna Bank. They made the loan process relatively painless, and they have been there to support me in getting everything set up. I also couldn’t not have gotten it all done without the help of my amazing father-in-law. Dan the Glass Man of Residential Glass took care of repairing some broken windows and sashes, and Ken Greer was awesome when he came to my rescue helping to get the pre-1929 boiler working less than 24 hours before my first newborn session during the cold snap. I can’t forget all the people who helped with the cleaning and yard work (it is nice to know some hardworking young men.) And, thank you to my friends who helped me out with taking care of my kids while I spent too much time at the building. But, the most important person, who not only encouraged me to start my photography business almost 4 years ago, but the man who encouraged me to make this building my own and let me do so, my husband. Thank you, Matt.
I try to keep things sweet & simple because I think you shouldn’t make things harder than they have to be (even though sometimes I totally make things harder for myself). Anyway, I had too much information for a Facebook post. I wanted to extend an invite to stop by the open house on Saturday, October 5 @ 12 S. Main Street, Shrewsbury, from 10:00-4:00. It is the same day at the Shrewsbury Fall Festival. It is a great opportunity to get more information, or meet me if you aren’t a client.
If you stop by the studio during the open house, you will get a chance to win a free family session in 2014. Amazing! If you bring a friend, you’ll get another chance to put your name in. If you can’t come, but your friend tells me that you referred them, I’ll enter your name for a chance. And, if you really want to come check out the studio, but you can’t do it on Saturday . . . you can stop by on Friday, October 4 (kind of like a sneak peek!) and I’ll enter you name for a chance to win. Awesome!
If you get a chance, let me know if you can make it!
The beginning of the school year is like a fresh start for me. I could care less about January 1. My new year’s resolutions are the ones I make when my kids zip up those backpacks and jump on that big yellow bus. I have these wonderful dreams to deep clean my house, organize the kids paperwork and all of our personal paperwork, finish a bunch of household projects, tackle the gardens, clean & organize all the closets, exercise more, organize my meals, etc. And after 10 years, I haven’t manage to fulfill those dreams of a clean home that runs like a well oiled machine. And, I still have plenty of “baby” weight. Not to mention, it has only been one week and I’ve already had to order in a meal. It may sound like I have given up, but I still hold on to those dreams. However, if I am going to be realistic I’d have to say that today I am thankful that I have dreams, and I am thankful that I handle failure with relative grace (because my house will probably no be any cleaner and I won’t be anymore organized before Christmas.)
I often get asked how my kids are about getting their pictures taken from my clients. Well, it depends on the situation, and it depends on which kid is in front of the camera. For example, I have one daughter who won’t let me take her picture unless her hair is perfect, and I have one who is a complete ham. But I’ll give you some insight into a recent session that I had with my girls.
The girls had just gotten their hair cut and the weather was awesome, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity for an impromptu session. When I suggested it, they were all for it. We mutually agreed on a place- Wallace Cross Mill. Then, we needed to pick something to wear . . . and this is where it got ugly. My one daughter did not want to wear a dress (I don’t have a lot of options for her) which means she had a temper tantrum. Yep! She is 11 years old, and she had a temper tantrum like a 2 year old. I give them some positive reinforcement (aka I bribe them with a trip to Rutters for milkshakes) to cooperate. At this point, I think this is going to be an epic fail. My 11 year old is still sulking. And, I have this pit in my stomach that my 13 year old is going to suddenly become uncooperative.
Then it hits me. I need to handle this just like I would handle any session. Let the kids have fun with it and let them be a little silly. I won’t rush them. And, I’ll let them set the pace. And, that is what will result in more natural, genuine smiles. Here are some of our “outtakes” so you have a little bit of an idea of what happens during a session- goofy faces, photo bombing from my son who didn’t get his hair cut, funny poses, eyes closed and a little teasing . . .
This last picture is one of my favorites . . . number one daughter told number two daughter that there was a snake. Seriously?! Stay tuned for the “real” session pictures.
I follow a blog by Girl Hearts Camera. Recently, she made an announcement that she was turning her company over to someone else because she made the decision to spend more time with her family. I am sure that a lot went into her decision, and I am sure it was very scary for her to take the leap of faith that her decision is the right one for her family and for herself. I believe that there is no right or wrong decision when it comes to being a stay-at-home mom, a full-time working mom, or a part-time working mom. There are so many things to consider when you are faced with the decision, but in the end it really is a leap of faith.
I have taken that leap of faith many times. When I had my first daughter, it really wasn’t an option to quit my job (unless I didn’t want to eat) but working part-time was an option. So, that is what I decided to do. When I had my second daughter, I continued to work and I was glad to go to work part-time, because staying home with my 2 daughters all day, every day would be more than I could handle when my husband was working 60+ hours a week, 6 days a week. Then something happened over then next couple of years, my husband’s hard work was paying off, as well as my own. I had been promoted several times, and as a result I had more responsibilities (aka more stress). When I had my son, my husband and I decided that for the sake of our marriage and our family, I would quit my stable, well-paying, with lots of benefits government job. Yikes! It was probably the scariest thing I have ever done in my life (getting married and having children was less scary.)
Some people have big dreams and they know exactly what they want out of life. That would not be me. My step-sister is one of those of people who knew exactly what she wanted to do from a very young age. I always envied her. There were times I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but nothing really stuck with me. Heck, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to have kids, but I am the mom to 3 pretty awesome kids. At one point, I thought I wanted to be a family counselor which is kind of funny in hindsight considering I wasn’t sure if I wanted kids. The Girl Hearts Camera blog post was titled “When Your Dreams Change”. I think that I am just living my life and making adjustments as I go along for the ride. I think I am open to the possibility that anything can happen. I love to hear stories of people who have had their dreams come true. I think for me, my dreams have always found me.
I would love to have my own off-site studio space, but my plan from the time that I began my business was slow & steady. As much as I would have loved to jump in with both feet, I needed to find balance. I am a wife and mother of 3 very busy kids. The reason I left my government job was to focus more on the family to accommodate a husband who worked a lot of hours and enjoying my kids while they were still young. It is my plan to have an off-site studio space, but for now, I very much enjoy my in-home studio. I wish it were a little bigger and I wish I had storage for all my props and backgrounds, but I won’t complain because I get to do what I love and I get to still spend time with the ones I love.
I don’t do birth photography. I have no interest in birth photography, but I do love hospital pictures. I don’t normally do hospital visits; however, this little one is the newest additional to my family. She is my adorable little niece. I am so excited to meet her! The lighting was awful. The first night, it was night time and I did use a bounce flash because there was no way around it. The next day, I went to visit her and it was a gloomy, over-cast day so the lighting wasn’t much better. I did not use a flash the next day. Instead I jacked up my ISO, so my pictures are a little grainy. It doesn’t bother me because the grainy texture in the pictures feels appropriate for hospital pictures, and I know that no one is going to be enlarging these pictures to a size that it would matter that the pictures are grainy.
Here are a few tips I would give for photographing newborns in the hospital. Get up close & personal to try and capture those details of the little feet and hands and face. Try to get the bracelet and the anklet in a picture and remember to get the picture of the newborn in the bassinet with the details written on the card in the bassinet. Use the blanket to create a backdrop and pillows or a Boppy to prop the newborn. Try to avoid the busy background. Take a pictures from over the shoulder if you (or the new mom doesn’t want to be in the picture.) If you are really interested in any other tips I have you can email me . . . I could ramble on for a little bit if you let me. I think these pictures are priceless, but then again I am partial since she is my niece.