Sunday, January 27, 2008

ABC Meeting

As part of my goal of networking more, I went to my first ever ABC meeting last week! It was held at the beautiful US Grant hotel in downtown San Diego. The hotel was recently renovated, and was simply gorgeous! The flowers, done by Flowers by Annette in Encinitas, were absolutely amazing. Overall, the event was totally worth it, and it was awesome to meet so many nice people in the wedding industry.

The flowers:

I am totally enamoured with this candle holder - it's BEAUTIFUL!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

In just a few minutes, I am escaping the cold San Diego rains... to go to warm Hawaiian rain! I am SO happy to be going home to visit my family, since its literally been over a year and a half since i've seen my sisters.

Just a heads up to any potential brides - i'll be responding to email, but cell phone coverage isn't all that great so I might not get back to your calls quickly. I'll be back next wednesday, hopefully with tons of fabulous pictures of the hidden fabulous places around the big island.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heather and Cory - Engagement

Last Sunday, Brandon and I went and shot Heather and Cory's engagement session. They were a little tentative at first (as so many guys are), but loosened up a little as we continued to shoot. I asked all the usual questions - how did you meet, how long have you known, etc - and was shocked to find that they knew each other in high school. Unlike Brooke and Nick, they were not high school sweethearts, but only 'knew of each other.' After high school, a mutual friend reintroduced them, and... the rest is history!

Heather and Cory - I can't wait for your wedding, it sounds like its going to be awesome!

Some pictures from the day:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lunch in the OC

One of my goals on my 101 things list (below) was to see my friends from law school more frequently.

Abby, Dina and I formed this amazing bond in law school (with some others, but those two meant the most to me). Abby has taken frantic 4am calls from me, we've all cried on each other's shoulders over dates, boys, relationships and the 'could have been', we've had more 'coffee dates' sans coffee than anyone can image, enough brunches to feed a small nation, and more sex and the city marathons than could possibly be healthy. I am so blessed to have two friends like these two.

That being said, since I moved to San Diego, we have all talked about how much we miss doing things together - its hard going from law school, where you are together 20 hours a day, to being a lawyer, where you never have ANY free time - so we met halfway to have lunch. It was the best Sunday i've had in a long time - we caught up and gossiped for hours at brunch, then walked around the mall. We talked about how much fun law school was - we hung out just about every day, had small get-togethers and large bashes galore, bar review every week. It made me realize what I loved about law school and why I stuck with it: the people. Unfortunately, we all had things to get back to - wedding appointments and fiancees, husbands, boyfriends, dogs - so we only had a few hours together. But those hours were the highlight of my month. Heck, my year so far. Thank you so much ladies!

And, of course, the 'self-portrait' to memorialize the occasion (my first with my 5d!):

Eh, I said, why does my head look so big? (beacuse i'm leaning out with my head trying to extend my arm further) Lets try over.

Second time around, I cut out half of my face. Oh well, I have them... and that's enough for me!

On the way home, I drove through camp pendleton, which was ravaged during the October fires. The rain has made bright green grass sprout up, but the jagged scars of devastating fire remain. Not the greatest pictures (I set to auto, pointed my camera in the general direction and snapped a few), but they show the lingering effects of fire.

New Year's Resolution - check

My one and only true 'New Year's Resolution' was to finish my 101 things to do in 1001 list. I started it months ago - Octoberish - and have already accomplished several things! I guess to count the accomplishments, I have to count the time, so I should be done with everything on my list by July 28, 2010. However, I will keep in mind that the journey, not the destination is most important... and hopefully I won't beat myself up too badly if I don't finish everything :-)

And now, the list!

1. Finish this list - DONE!
2. Go to Bora Bora
3. Go to Thailand
4. Go to Europe
5. Shoot a wedding in Hawaii (where my fam lives)
6. Book a 10k wedding
7. Go to Mt. Zion and Monument Valley in Utah
8. Road trip to the Grand Canyon
9. Blog every day for a month
10. Exercise every day for a month
11. Try a macro lens - DONE!
12. Buy a 5d - DONE!
13. Have a baby
14. Buy a house
15. Save 20% of my yearly salary
16. Pay off credit card debt (i'm making good progress to this, will be done soon :-)
17. Pay off my student loans
18. Help my parents finish their house
19. Visit NYC with my hubby
20. Learn how to use a mac
21. Design a website I am happy with
22. Win a blu domain contest
23. Attend the anti-workshop
24. Attend a party of 5 workshop
25. Attend a shootshop with the Kaisers
26. Meet a CEO - DONE! I met Mel Karmazin, the CEO of Sirius and former CEO of CBS, Viacom, and a slew of other places. I can't say under what circumstances I met him.
27. Enter Bandit (my doggy) in an agility match
28. Advance at least one level in agility
29. Learn a foreign language
30. Review my entire portfolio and evaluate my growth
31. Help plan my 10 year high school reunion
32. Lose 10 lbs
33. Attend WPPI - in the works...
34. Organize my file cabinent
35. Take a photoshop class
36. Take a professional baking class
37. Have a dinner party
38. Buy a shootsac
39. See Wicked
40. Go camping
41. Learn to develop color film
42. Second shoot with a photographer I admire
43. Have a photo published
44. Learn how to dodge and burn correctly - DONE!
45. Spend a weekend at a Napa spa
46. Be a bridesmaid (ok, this one isnt up to me)
47. Shoot a close friends wedding
48. Set up my own office and gallery
49. Start doing kids and family portraits
50. Have someone I admire complement my work
51. Make a budget at stick to it for a quarter
52. Book 15 weddings in 2008
53. Run a marathon
54. Finsh a 1/2 IM triathlon
55. Cook every recipe in my Sherry Yard cookbook
56. Read a pulitzer winning book
57. Hike up 1/2 Dome in Yosemite
58. Clean my garage
59. Find my photographic 'voice'
60. Make my wedding album
61. Learn how to drive a stick
62. Join a wine club - DONE! I joined J vineyards, its fabulous.
63. Go apple picking
64. Ride in a horse drawn carriage
65. Make fresh pasta successfully
66. Get a massage and a facial
67. Surprise my husband with a trip
68. Start taking ballet regularly
69. Contact a stranger that I admire
70. Apply for the amazing race
71. Climb a rock wall to the top - DONE!
72. Make homemade bread
73. Visit my family in Hawaii - this weekend, I can't wait!
74. Read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
75. Have lunch with other photographers at least once a month
76. Write up a real long term business plan
77. Post wedding pictures for cc on OSP
78. Find the courage to quit my job
79. Start an herb garden
80. Finish Ulysess (I don't get how that is supposed to be the greatest book of the 20th century)
81. Drink recommended 64 oz. of water daily for a week
82. Have lunch with [b]ecker
83. Concentrate on vendor contacts
84. Second shoot more
85. Visit my law school friends in LA at least once a month
86. Decrease my living expenses
87. Walk my dogs daily for a week
88. Fix up my blog
89. Make sample albums
90. Give up tv for a month
91. Have a wedding in a bridal magazine
92. Get my real estate license
93. Figure out a way to use my law degree in photography
94. Become 'preferred vendor' at at least one venue
95. Learn how to invest in stocks and the market
96. Start my retirement savings
97. Design my ideal home office
98. Buy land in Hawaii for a future home there
99. Develop a schedule for blogging regularly
100. Start up my 'passion project' (more to come on that...)
101. Make a new friend! (any volunteers?)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Business Sense (and Cents!)

One of my goals for this year was to do something for my business each and every day. Clearly that doesn't mean shooting every day (although I try to bring my camera out daily to take at least one pic), but also marketing, networking, editing, and learning. As the learning part goes - [b]ecker has helped a lot with that (especially the 'daily' part!). I've also done a couple of lunches, a networking event, and a group shoot.

But where do I go from here?

I am trying to build things from the ground up, with a solid foundation. I don't want to move too fast and have a poor background (and a shaky foundation). But I don't want to stand by the sidelines and watch the photography world pass me by. The biggest place where this has presented a problem is investments. I don't have much booked for this year (yet, hopefully). I want to have the right equipment for the job - quality lenses (I have an excellent body already, the awesome 5d), software, a good website, etc. But i'm not sure to to expand first - my work? my network? my equipment? my marketing to have the funds to reinvest? Such a dilemna. Any suggestions are welcome!

And coming soon... I am almost done with my only new years resolution! I have found the list, worked on it, given it a good deal of thought... and only 10 more goals to think of and work out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Trash the Dress - Salton Sea

On Saturday, I went to this massive trash the dress session at the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is both amazing and disgusting. Its smelly and toxic and deserted. The lake itself has no current, with an eerie fog that hangs over it, with no separation between the water and sky.

It was an interesting day - for starters, there were more photographers/cameras there than I have ever seen in one place. Secondly - because I was both a model and a photographer! I spent the entire morning being a model (and doing crazy stuff like balancing on one leg on a crumbling rock in 4 inch heels), trying not to look too ugly or squinty (sdohana has a pic of me! i'm the last one). The 'trying not to look too squinty' was especially hard, as the sun was a level of bright that I rarely see.

At the end of the morning session, I quickly changed and grabbed a few shots at our first location, then joined the caravan to our second location, where I was only a photographer :-) Here are a couple of my favorite shots:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

So Much Shooting...

And so little time to blog about it this weekend!

I spent both Saturday and Sunday shooting an engagement and day after/trash the dress sessions. Stay tuned this week for pictures!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I Miss Xmas

I'm glad the holidays are over - no more food, going to 3 parties a day, or crowded malls. But I am finding it so much harder to get work done after the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Mr. Grinch sat on my desk for almost a month bossing me around. He went home yesterday... but i'm thinking I need him back.

Monday, January 7, 2008


I have several photography blogs that I read on a regular basis, with the hope that one day my skills will develop to the point where I am as fabulous as them (jasmine*, jessicaclaire, [b]ecker, plus some up and coming people like sdohana - a favorite because my ohana all lives in Hawaii). I visit these blogs for inspiration, motivation and the affirmance that with hard work, one can really succeed in photograhy.

One of my favorites, the very most amazing and creative nate and jaclyn from theblogisfound had the most AWESOME post today about the most awesome idea ever - a photobooth. But instead of a regular boring old photobooth, each couple was posed in ridiculous staged ways (by the way, to see the pictures you have to scroll down bc I can't link directly to the post).

Any brides interested in something like this... I am too! I always have a second shooter when I work, and this is a great use for them later in the reception. I also have all of the materials necessary to make a little homemade photobooth. So much fun!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Red Flags

My horoscope* told me today that I would be spread too thin with too many projects, and that I would need to learn to prioritize. Oh, how right it is.

My biggest problem, I think, is overcommitment. I want to do everything for everyone. I hate giving up control - my workflow, album design, proofing; I want to do it all myself because I like being in control. I think that this has something to do with my aries nature.
But what suffers the most is... emails. I know, sounds weird, but I am SO bad at emailing people back or taking care of things that are emailed to me. I've started dealing with this by actually using the little red flags marker in outlook... and it actually seems to be working! Lets hope I can keep it up. And that other things don't fall out as a result.

And, as far as prioritizing, i've found a new number one priority: finding second shooter positions. I've done weddings on my own and some as a second. But I really want to see other photogs in action. I want to see how they work and think, and how they keep their creative juices flowing. If anyone knows of anyone out there who needs a second... let them know i'll make them my top priority!

*(yes, i'm still 15 at heart and get my horoscope emailed to me everyday)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Vacation Memories

A couple of weeks ago, I had a complete photo related meltdown. Luckily, it was not relating to a paying client - instead it was relating to my most vivid memory from my vacation last month.

Brandon and I strolled through the modern shops and old cobblestone streets right after arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We eventually made our way to the old fort and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring and taking photographs. In addition to being one of the most beautiful things I saw on our trip to the Caribbean, it was the only time I pulled out my camera in earnest. One image in particular stuck out in my mind - the older woman sitting on the bench, enjoying music. She made the best subject ever. She was sitting, silent and still, absorbed in the music across the courtyard. She seemed serene. I wanted to be that way too - I silently vowed to make that my goal for the rest of my trip. It was nearly pitch black, but I set my camera wide open, balanced on a bench as a makeshift tripod, and got a shot.

Fast forward home. My flights - during the long Thanksgiving weekend - were seriously delayed. I barely made it on my plane, literally running a 400m dash in the Denver airport, then gasping for breath the next 20 minutes from being out of shape and at 6,000 ft, about 5900 ft higher altitude than usual. After arriving in San Diego at midnight, I was locked out of my house from my well-intentioned brother in law, who took my keys to feed my doggies, until he came at 3am on his way to work. Instead of sleeping in the next day, I woke up early and drove to Palmdale to see my best friend off before she was leaving to join her husband in Connecticut.

The point: at some point in all this, I remember taking out my memory card and replacing it with a new one, so I could get some photos with Lucinda and her daughter Kate. So I knew the card was at home... but after a week, I had no idea where. I got caught up in work, forgot about it. Then right before Christmas (when I sold my old D80 after receiving a fabulous upgrade), I went on a rampage. I cleaned everything in the house. And it was nowhere to be found.

I was crestfallen. But then... last week... I found it! And now I have photographic proof of my presence on that lovely evening. The picture didn't turn out as well as I had hoped (my biggest issue with the D80 was grainyness at higher iso's), but in my mind, it will always be the masterpiece I envisioned when I saw the woman on the bench.

Brandon took a picture of me taking the picture (his words: you look ridiculous, you know this, right?)
And something lighter and more tropical like to end on a positive note!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I don't really believe in New Years resolutions. General goals, yes. But not so much resolutions - because I feel like that sets one up for failure.
Instead, I try to use the start of a new year to reflect on the past year, and how I incorporated my general life goals throughout the last year. I really took significant steps to starting a new business - something that I love to do, rather than something that I am good (but unhappy) at. I made a big move - from LA to San Diego - which has made my hubby and I happier. I have taken significant steps to save money and become bad debt-free.
This year, my overarching goal is to become better and more experienced in my craft. I want to really work on booking events and making more business connections. I want to take classes to enrich my personal life (that's me, lifelong student). I also want to work on living healthier - not just lose weight (although I wouldn't complain about that), but really more centered on exercising more, managing stress better, and eating a better and more balanced diet so that I am a healthier person.
Wait - and I do have one resolution. Back in October, I started working on my list of 101 things that I want to accomplish in the next 1,001 days. I got to about 65 and then lost my list. My one resolution: find the list, finish it, and then start working on those goals.
Hope that everyone had a happy new years!