Sunday, March 21, 2010

Grace & John: Wedding

The pouring rain and dreary skies could do nothing to dampen the excitement and anticipation that stirred the air in Warrenton Baptist Church that morning.  The civil war era church was enveloped in the soft pitter-patter of raindrops as the bridal party got ready in the small chapel next to the sanctuary and the groom's party lounged and joked around just one floor above.

Grace's appearance was a reflection of calmness, but on the inside she admitted to feeling nervous about the ceremony.  It would be the first time that day that she would either see or speak to John Robert.  He wanted the first time he saw her that day to be the moment the doors of the sanctuary opened and she walked down the aisle on her father's arm.  He wanted the first time he heard her voice that day to be at the altar as they said their vows to each other.  He had not wanted to hear about the style of her dress or the way she planned to do her hair.  He wanted everything to be a surprise - a sweet assault of his senses as he saw his bride for the first time on the first day of the rest of their lives together. 

The way he looked at her for that first time was the way he looked at her for the rest of the day, stealing her into his arms after the ceremony with hugs and affectionate kisses, then stealing glances at her from across the room as they talked with friends and family during the reception.

Grace and John, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your special day, to document your love for each other and to be a witness to your vows before God.  I am so thankful to call you friends.


John is a photographer and Grace is a fine art artist, so they put some of their work on display in the reception hall.  It made for an amazing art gallery!  Here is one of Grace's portraits:

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WPPI 2010 Highlights

I almost didn't go, and that might have been one of the worst decisions I could have made this year.  But about 2 months ago I knew that I needed to invest in this trip, to help start my business off on the right foot.  I read all the platform class descriptions and checked out the events and planned my schedule - every minute of every day.  My previously posted schedule was skeletal compared to all the details I actually wrote into it (there are probably help groups for people like me).

It was early afternoon when I arrived in Vegas.  Admittedly, I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the hotel lobby and at first wasn't even sure where the check-in desk was (possibly due to the 3 hrs sleep I was trying to function on - that's my story).  After settling in I decided it was nap time.  Yes.  It was my first time in Vegas and I TOOK A NAP!

I barely mustered up enough strength to wake up, shower and get ready for Becker's early bird dinner.  Okay, so that's only part of the truth.  The other part is that I felt alone.  Over 12,000 people were registered for WPPI and I was there by myself.  I was back at my first day of school as a child after the Army transferred my dad to a new duty post.  Would anyone accept the newcomer?  Would they like me??  Was I wearing the right clothes?!?  (My wardrobe stress had prompted a shopping trip just before I left home.)  But, I had come this far, and the voice inside my head convinced me that stepping out of my comfort zone was the only way to move forward. 

And I'm so glad I went.  I arrived at Dos Caminos in the Palazzo and immediately introduced myself to Christopher Becker, who was mingling with a table full of photographers.  And then the girls at that table became instant friends.  They were all warm, friendly and inviting, making all of my trepidation melt away.  I even had the fortune of spending more time with some of them throughout the next few days.  That night undoubtedly started my WPPI experience off on the right foot!  So thank you, Becker, for hosting that shindig!

Here are some highlights from my trip:

Becker and me at the dinner he set up for Saturday night.  Thank you, Becker, for your generosity and graciousness to other photographers!

At my first 8a platform class, Jesh de Rox moved me to tears as he spoke about his Beloved project.

Louis Torres caught this image during Becker's headshot session.  Dane Sanders happened to be walking by and jumped into the shot with me...totally made my day!  Thanks, Louis, for capturing this - you are the man!  (And thank you for letting me steal this from your blog! ;)

Becker grabbed a couple of quick shots of Dane....

And here's Louis!

I read Dane's book "Fast Track Photographer" a few months ago and was immediately inspired.  His words resonated with me from the beginning, especially because he was the same age as I am when he started out in this business, and it's often intimidating when other budding photographers are so much younger than I.  But his advice to "embrace who I am" has helped me to focus on being me rather than try to emulate someone else because of their success.  So, if you haven't read his book, what are you waiting for?!  

Dane Sanders interviewing Becker on

Of course I had to see the lovely and amazing Miss Jasmine Star during her appearance at the Leather Craftsmen booth.  She doesn't know it, but one day I'm going to make her my BFF.  Okay, she does know it, because I totally admitted it to her on her blog yesterday.  J* and Leather Craftsmen were raffling off not one, but THREE companion albums...and I WON ONE!!!  I stood there in stunned silence before finally screaming like a 12-year old girl who just won tickets to the Eclipse Premier.  THANK YOU Jasmine, and THANK YOU Leather Craftsmen!  I'm still in disbelief!!

I love my beautiful Hawaiian friends!  Pinky Yoshimoto, Anna Kim and I had a great time mingling at the [b] school party.  I met Anna at J*'s workshop last month, and I absolutely love this girl.  Keep an eye on her, because I see great things in her future!  We also had a chance to chat with the sharply dressed JD....

Despite my initial fear and nervousness, WPPI turned out to be an amazing experience because of all the wonderful, friendly and genuine people I met during those few days.  I am truly thankful for such a kind-spirited community of peers!
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Friday, March 5, 2010

Living, Loving and Growing!

This time last year I was doing the same thing I had been doing the past several years.  The same types of graphics, the same type of work, the same types of projects.  I wasn't growing.  I felt stagnant, stale.  Like a bland piece of bread left on the countertop, I was becoming hard and brittle inside.  I was unhappy with what I was doing but reconciled to stay there because of "job security."

But these past couple of months, as my photography business has grown, a transformation has taken place.  That stale piece of bread has been sprinkled with herbs and spices, then baked into golden, seasoned croutons.  Those little, broken pieces of me have purpose again.  I am loving what I'm doing and the growth that's taken place in just these past couple of months.  I am rediscovering what makes me tick, and I finally feel like I'm living my life the way God intended me to.

I'm headed to the airport in just 8 hours for a flight to Las Vegas, where I'll be attending WPPI with amazing and talented photographers from around the world.  I'm excited to meet some of our industry leaders, learn more about growing my business, and make new friends.  Here is a basic breakdown of the main places I'll be during the next several days:

6p - 9p:  Becker's dinner GTG
9p:  Hanging w/ some friends unexpectedly also in town!

12p - 2p:  Joe Photo platform
2:30p - 4:30p:  Doug Gordon platform
6p - 7:30p:  Canon Keynote Address
7:30p - 9p:  Welcome Reception
9:30p:  Airhorns & Lasers party

8a - 10a:  Jerry Ghionis platform
10a:  Tradeshow floor
3p:  Becker avatar shoot
4p - 5:30p:  FastTrack shootout
6:30p - 8:30p:  Kevin Kubota platform
8p - 10p:  WPPI pool party

8a - 10a:  John Michael Cooper platform
10a:  Tradeshow floor
3:30p - 5:30p:  Craig Heidemann platform
6p - 8p:  FastTrack Afterparty
10p:  Annual [b] party
Latenight:  SmugMug Pro party

10a:  Tradeshow floor
2p - 4:30p:  EmmaJane shootout
7p:  Awards night

It'll be jam packed, but I can always sleep on the plane during my flight home, right?  I can't wait...I'm so excited for my first WPPI!! Pin It

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grace & John: Engagement

Growing up as a kid in the church, he was known as Robbie.  And while many people who have known him for a long time still call him that, Grace affectionately refers to him as John Robert.  John seems serious most of the time, but I've never seen him laugh like he does when he's around Grace.  She jokes with him and smiles at him, and it's impossible for him not to smile back in love and admiration for his bride-to-be. 

As we walked around Old Town Warrenton, they snuggled together against the chilly winter air, not allowing the cold, gray skies to damper their sweet spirits.  A romantic look would turn into giggles and then laughter as John would unexpectedly grab Grace and twirl her around or lift her into the air.  Watching them together, there is no denying the deep love they hold for one another.

John and Grace, thank you for the wonderful afternoon and allowing me to capture this special time in your lives.  I have loved getting to know you both, and I'm so excited to be documenting your wedding in just a week and a half!

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