My Trip to Eugene Oregon

My most delightfully sweet friend Laura, yes we have the same name...you should hear us argue :D invited me to her beautiful home she shares with her kids Madeline, Andrew, and Evan, and of course her Husband James, who recently landed a sweet postion at one of the hospitals in Eugene, hence the reason they're there.  

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I feel the need to profess my love for this family. I met Laura in Arizona when we were around 18/19 and we've kept in all these years. In fact I keep in touch with her whole family (Stevenson's) whom I love, but i'm definitely partial to the Spawns. She and her husband have moved their family from Kingman AZ, to places like the caribbean, New york city and Savannah Georgia. Every 2 years we have family pictures and she flies me out and we shoot for a few days just enjoying the area and exploring what her city has to offer! 

This year was the year for pictures! Laura flew me out first class which was amazeballs because 1. better snacks and 2. more room. I love going to "Hotel Spawn" Laura always gives me my own room and it's stocked with snacks, toiletries, special towels and comfy pillows. Also It's fun to see how much the kids have grown, and I was excited because I haven't been to oregon in a few years and I love it there. We used to live there when I was younger and I did a lot of growing up in the blackberry bushes and poison oak. So it was very therapeutic for me to be there in a way. The light is incredible, the sun filters through the trees and creates this yellow/green light that is just delicious. The dappled light is so beautiful!

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Thier little dog-Ivy was quite strong!

Thier little dog-Ivy was quite strong!

In addition to taking family pictures we did A LOT of sightseeing just in Eugene. There was this little tea shop Oolong Bar that I loved, they had the best iced matcha bubble tea. 

We visited a crystal shop because I was looking for a new amethyst because I had given mine away to a friend, and I was "in the market". Amethysts have always held a special place for me because both my mom and my aunt Kathy loved them, and I always associated the crystals with my childhood. So we visited a little shop called I Love Rocks I was looking for a unique crystal that I was attracted to. Both Laura and I found this AMAZING amethyst from India which had the most interesting crystalline structure I've ever seen. It was a bit pricey but Laura INSISTED on getting it for me so it has SO MUCH MORE meaning behind it. I insisted we haggle the guy down and it worked!  I'm very grateful for that gift, and I look at it everyday, it makes my heart so happy. 

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On Saturday, we visited the Saturday Market which is a GIANT farmers market. It was at least twice the size of Provo's Farmers market. I was in heaven with all the veggies, hippies, and little shops. It was very unique and I just loved it. I regret not buying an 80$ hippie skirt though....mostly because it was 80 bucks. 

All in all it was an AMAZING trip. When I got home it took me literally a couple weeks to acclimate to paying for my own meals, and not having the world revolve around me. I love to be pampered! Laura does such a good job and making her guests feel incredibly welcome that I didn't want to come home! Thank you Laura and James for such a wonderful, mini vacation!

 

 

How to Prepare for a Family Session

In todays blog I'll be addressing some common questions I get before a family session. For most photographers we have experienced the full gamut of the stress and joy that goes into getting that perfect family picture. The stresses that are on us are a little different than those of you guys but hopefully I can level the playing field and fill in some gaps of expectations. Getting pictures can be really stressful because you're paying money and you want to make sure you get your money's worth. The photographer wants to make sure you're happy and capture your sweet family in the best way possible. I think the best way you (the client) can approach the pending family shoot is a few things:

1. Relax! What is the worst thing that could happen? OK maybe don't think that but seriously take it easy and have fun. The more easy going you are as parents the more easy going the kiddos will be. So pray, meditate, or look into yourself for patience and tolerance of both me and all the little things that can potentially happen.

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2. Before the shoot go ahead and look at pinterest and get ideas, but don't be too attached to the outcome. I cannot recreate a pinterest photo that you saw because the differences are most likely extreme. Things like lighting, moods of kids, angles etc all play a huge part in creating a photo. Pinterest is good for inspiration!

Recently I had a large multi family shoot, and one of the families had never had pictures done before. They were so sweet and lovely, and I enjoyed working with them. The mom really wanted a picture she described as being something like the photo below 

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What ended up happening was a mini meltdown, that I captured anyway....mostly because it was funny. Not one for the wall, but definitely a fun one to look back on in a few years. 

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3. The best I can do is capture your family as they are at that time, and trust me, no matter the tears and naughty behaviors, I get my shots and some of them may be unconventional but in a few years time you will look back and think "That's so funny!" 

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4. Let the kiddos be silly, and take a few play breaks during the session. That's actually when I get my best candid's. When people are just doing their own thing and loving one another, that is when those perfect pinterest moments come.

5. Typically my sessions with kids last about an hour, because kids get tired real quick doing things that they can't control. Also you'd be amazed at how fast I work, and how fast we get stuff done. Even for adults, I've noticed an hour session is just right. 

6. "What do I wear?" I get this question a lot and the truth is, whatever makes you feel comfortable. Matching outfits are hard because not everyone will love the color or fabric, but the rule of thumb is usually colors that go well together like browns, blues and greens etc. Try to keep it on one side of the color wheel. Or change it up! I'm all for rainbow colors! The most important thing is that you're comfortable and feel like you look good. 

7. "Where should we shoot?" The first thing is do you want a natural setting or an urban setting? Both can be beautiful and interesting. Most photographers know lots of places but if there is a place your family go often or means something to you, or even your own home, lets do it there. You never know where you're going to be in 5 years, and it might be fun to look back and have fond memories of places you used to go with the kids. It's fun to explore new areas too! Keep your mind open and we'll have fun, it's mostly about you guys!

Well that's all I have at the moment, I think the most important thing is to have fun and make sure you know your photographer and work well with them. Sometimes personalities clash here and there but most photographers are socially open and will have your best interests in mind. 

Thank you to all of you that support me and my dream!

If you have more questions comment below and I'll try to get to them. 

 

 

 

Little James, Utah Baby Session and Blessing

I've known the Castors since I met them a week before their wedding, at another wedding I was shooting at the time. The story goes, their photographer that they hired simply didn't do a good enough job, and I just happened to have the next weekend available so I covered their wedding day last minute. I absolutely fell in love with them and their awesome family! Fast forward a few years and we have a baby! James Atlas Castor which in my opinion is a hefty name, and he will definitely live up to it. I shot both their newborn session and baby blessing (which they had at moms house) It was a wonderful morning and a unique experience!

First up, a few favorites from James's newborn session a few weeks prior. 

A few weeks later his baby blessing with family and friends! 

 

 

Lambert Park Poppies

I follow a super cute lady on instagram housethatlarsbuilt and she had suggested to her followers that we check out her blog and where to find the Alpine Poppy Field  

Naturally I went. I parked at the church but you can totally drive up. I parked because there were a ton of people around and I wasn't sure if I could drive or not. While I was grumpily hiking up there were a few cars that came and went, but I was grateful for the exercise. I went around 730 am and the light was just peaking over the mountains. It was lovely, and I pretty much had the place to myself. 

It was magical and I suggest everyone go! 

 

I redecorated our room

For the last year or so Andrew and I have been struggling financially, and I never wanted to put too much work into our little apt because I honestly didn't know if we were going to be staying. My home is my creative space and it's important to me to have a place to call "home" even if it's just a spot to put your crap. Since both Andrew and I are working, I could afford to spice up our room a little bit, and I had the motivation because I knew we'd be able to stay awhile. I had gotten a few pieces of art from the Beehive Bazaar and framed those, and kept a few pieces that meant something to BOTH Andrew and I. The yellow tapestry we got on our honeymoon in Mexico, the vintage wine bottle painting in TN when we lived there our first summer, a picture of the Temple we got for our wedding etc. I wanted it to be our place, most of the house is catered to me and my likes, though Andrew has his "office" (gaming and where I get my candy room) and I've recently cleaned and rearranged that room. I didn't take pictures though...it's not super cute. I wanted our bedroom to be romantic, and a cozy place. I finished last week and it's now my favorite room in the house, even though Andrew says the lights and tule above the bed are "frilly". The first shot is our before, we had to take the bed off the frame ages ago because the cats would hide in there and cause problems. Now they scratch the outside of the bed and it drives me nuts. We will be getting a new bed in a couple years. We can deal for now! 

 

What I've been up to

So I really am bad at blogging. But I promised Andrew that I would try to blog twice a week, so here's the first one as part of that deal. 

Most of my work I don't post because I'm an independent contractor for different businesses. Mostly I've been shooting real estate for a company in SLC called Quick Pics. It's not much money but it keeps me busy. I also shoot a lot of product and still am doing family shoots, weddings etc. I've been supporting us for the last year on those kinds of jobs (barely) . Andrew has gotten a job with Stewart's Lawn Care and will be able to pay all our bills every month so I'm able to put my earnings in a savings account and save up for some much needed equipment....and.....ahem road trips. I'm also exploring the idea of separating my photography into different categories and treating those paid projects as pro and my personal projects more art based. I need to figure out how I want to do that. 

I have reoccuring dreams about missing out on beautiful landscapes. Usually it's because my battery is dead or my shutter won't fire. I was discussing this with Andrew last night and he thought maybe the camera in my dreams represents me...Interesting concept, I'll have to look more into that hunny. 

As for the future? Well Im hoping to continue to build and grow the business, my ideal is to have my own shooting space, either in our home or renting a place. I want to be successful enough that I can hire Andrew to work the business side full time and I can shoot/edit. That dream is proving to be difficult in Utah because of the flooded market, but I'm trying not to let that deter me from trying to make a life. I have the drive, might as well put it to use. 

Andrew is still trying to figure out what his passion is, mine is pretty obvious. He's tried out so many things but hasn't really stuck with anything. I'm hoping he stumbles upon it soon, I want him to be passionate and happy about something! Until then, I'm just trying to be patient with him and offer support when he needs it. We've only been married 5.5 years, marriage is a funny thing because you think you love a person and it's the same from the start, always loving someone the same, but it's not like that at all! I find that Andrew has grown so much in the last few years, as I have too. But I love him so much more than when we started, I'm proud of him, he makes me laugh, cry, furious, embarrassed....but all those things are what make us. I guess I'm passionate about 2 things.

Here are a few pictures of my businessy stuff over the last few weeks. I'll be posting later this week about the families, baby, wedding etc. 

 

Spudtoddos, The Alison Show, and Top Notch Kitchen

Blogging obviously isn't my top priority, though it should be because a lot of cool stuff is going on! 

I was approached by Spudtoddos to reshoot their menu for a new set up they were designing. They are a new company but are growing super fast, Andrew and I went and spent a couple of hours shooting and eating the product. I enjoy food shoots, so much texture and color! 

A few favorites:

Alisons Build an Awesome Brand! Alison asked me to come and cover one of her classes she teaches on branding, and she is the bombdotcom. This girl has got branding down, and is spreading the love by showing others what they need to do and work out before they can really build their small business online, locally, and on social media.

Sweets provided by The Sweet Tooth Fairy

Top Notch Kitchen sells cutting boards, rolling pins and bamboo utensils on Amazon. This one was a referral from a friend and it turned out quite well! Though I REALLY struggled with the rolling pins. Those are actually harder than you think to shoot. 

Those are just a few of my recent projects, I'm still working on a couple here and as always I'm available for hire! I'm cute, fun, and easy going!

The Alison Show, Cotton Candy, Popcorn and Sweet Snow Suits

So Alison of The Alison Show is a local celebrity here in Provo, but she's also pretty well known on Instagram and other social media sites. Alison is best known for her cookies and dance parties but most follow her for her AWESOME personality. High energy and love that's Alison! I've met her a couple of times, and follow her on snapchat and instagram and she always makes me laugh. She had a little spontaneous cotton candy and popcorn get together on Friday, it's been pretty crappy here (weather wise) and so she wanted to brighten up our Friday. I was nervous because I didn't know anyone but Alison but all the kids and ladies were so fun and sweet, it's the best being around super happy people. The get together definitely brightened my day!! Thanks Alison!! 

 

If anyone knows these kids or their parents let me know! I'll send them these pics of the kids completely drunk on cotton candy.

 

Monique, Ethan and Isaac in Salt Lake

Monique and I have been friends for 5 or 6 years probably more, we met through my husbands brother ages ago in Provo. We had a chance to catch up and I got to photograph her crazy sweet boys at their little house in Salt Lake. One of the things that I like about being a photographer is that I often will meet up with people I haven't seen in a very long time! 

Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Grand Marnier

I love cranberry sauce. I can't not have it, and if it's not available my holiday is ruined. So I make sure to always have some on hand during the big holidays just in case. I've made cranberry sauce for at least 6 or 7 years now and I feel like I've gotten a favorite recipe down. So I thought I'd share. 

2 12 oz packages of fresh cranberries

1.5 cups sugar

1 orange zested and juiced

1.5 cups dried cherries

1 cinnamon stick

.5 cup water

3 Tbs Grand Marnier Orange Liqueur

Boil all ingredients except Grand Marnier together in pot with a lid, the cranberries will pop and make a mess! Also make sure you have CHERRIES not cherry flavored cranberries. I've done that at least twice. After cranberries have popped and thickened add 3 tbs of Grand Marnier and let boil for a few minutes, or light it on fire. Whatever works. Unless you want it boozy, then add the Grand Marnier and let cool. Bottle and refrigerate. It's so good and sweet! 

Emily and Jacob Lamb at the Payson Temple

It's been much too long since I've blogged and I admit, I have gotten behind. 

Emily and Jacob's wedding was way back in August! It was a very bright and hot day, and they came out of the bright temple right at noon. A photographer's nightmare for lighting, but in some ways I think those harsh lighting conditions kind of add to the feel and memory of the day. We do the best we can in such situations, I couldn't really set up lighting since there was so many people and they were pretty low key only wanting an hour or so of shooting. I have to admit this isn't one of my best weddings, and we did all we could to find shade! But Emily was happy and that's all that mattered. I just tried to capture it the best way I could. I highly recommend meeting up with your photographer beforehand and taking pictures during good light just so you can have some perfect photos. Then you can relish in your wedding day no matter the lighting! 

 

Dirty Dash Utah

So you probably never think about the photographers at the end of races, I never did until I became one. Andrew found the gig for me on craigslist and said it paid 35 an hour for an 8 hour day and it seemed like it would be fun way to get me out and about for a saturday. So I applied! 

I got picked, mostly because I had a camera. It's done at Soldier Hollow near Heber Utah and it was a beautiful fall morning. I was super excited and was wanting to work with this company again someday so I was thinking I'd really "show my stuff". I got to the starting line and a lady directed me to where the photo booth would be but I didn't see anyone so I chilled out and figured they were running late. 20 mins later I got a call saying "where are you" and I was technically late 20 mins because I couldn't find the tent. Then the lens I planned on using was not working, the aperture was stuck! So I had to use a different one, then I was worried about my other lens..... Seriously, this was the most humbling photographic experience, I'm supposed to know what I'm doing and it's all falling apart at this point (I'm dying inside too). Meanwhile there is a GIGANTIC line of muddy people wanting their photos. One of the lights weren't firing all the time, so half of the photos are dark on one side, and I'm constantly trying to fix it, making the line wait and therefore get longer. Then I noticed my battery and backup battery pack were almost drained and it was only 1:30! After I noticed my battery, 5 mins later, the light that had been acting up all day STARTED ON FIRE. No joke, electric smoke filled my station. So I took a break and then took over another station with another camera and finished the day. There's lots of little things too, being in the sun all day, my feet were killing me etc....but here are some photos! I don't think I made a good impression on the team, I doubt they would hire me again, but I was stretched in ways I've never been before! 

So the first photo is the first guy done that morning, notice how clean he is! The mud hadn't really built up yet. 

Then the last photo is one of the ones where the light wasn't popping right, and it was about to start on fire....

Denney Family

Utah is gorgeous. Anywhere you go is a great backdrop for family photos! I met Dani years ago when we both worked at ATEC, then when her family started to grow she called me for some photos! Her littles made me so happy, they're so cute and personable. I had way too much fun with this shoot! 

Reika and Brady Liu Salt Lake Temple Wedding

Salt Lake Temple is one of the most popular temples to get married in. Usually I'm a bit stressed out because I know there is going to be a ton of brides there on any given saturday, and you want to make sure your bride gets the best of everything! Luckily the temple wasn't too busy and we were able to get all the shots I wanted. Also Reika and Brady decided to break up the wedding day and have the reception the night before which worked out well! 

 

Provo Freedom Festival

Fourth of July fun and celebrations! 

I have been sick since wednesday of last week, so even though I'm still congested I was not going to miss the 4th! I'll just take it easy tomorrow, it's my birthday afterall! 

We headed down to the Freedom Festival in Downtown Provo to see what was going on! Mostly vendors and lots of people. 

The point of view from the parking garage was pretty cool! I liked that they had the rides right there, it's different to see people on the rides this high up!

So I love my birthday, which is July 5th. It's the best day because everyone is super stoked about the 4th and I have fireworks. I usually celebrate on the 4th but I also celebrate on the 5th to be honest. Birthdays are awesome. 

Commercial shoot: Cabinets

I can't even begin to tell you what it's like editing 90 photos of white cabinets. It was actually really challenging, and I had my favorites believe it or not. I really love working with the guys down at  Krosswood  they are quite nice and fun to shoot with. I know nothing about cabinets and doors and they know not too much about photography so it's a good exchange. But it was a great experience and I hope they are successful with my photos and get more business from them. I think it's important for businesses to realize the value of photography and that it really is an investment. 

 

Anyway, here is a gallery of a few of the cabinets I've been obsessing over for the last 2 weeks. 

It took me a total of 20+ hours editing for this project, editing, edits, editing the edits and resizing each one. Totally worth it. They're gorgeous. 

P.S Moulding is a flipping nightmare. 

By Way of Salt, BFA show

I've been working on this show for the last year. In the fall I really decided to go for it and just focus on the salt around the lake. I'm so enamored with the Great Salt Lake and all its imperfections, beauty, and even horror. The salt is brutal, it's hard on plants, animals and the land surrounding the lake. It changes every day, nothing stays forever even the lake which in it's hayday used to cover almost the entire western half of utah. This show was the love child of my sciencey love affair with biology and geology, I just wish I could understand the math! If I did, you'd be reading about my science degree! 

Anyway onward! 

Artist Statement:

The Great Salt Lake is often misunderstood and described as being a dead lake; there are a lot of misconceptions about the role the lake plays in the northern Utah community. Economically the lake brings in over a billion dollars from hunting, fishing, bird watching, mineral and shrimp extraction, and tourism. One contributing factor to the beauty of the lake is its high salinity. In some parts the lake is over 28% salinity, which is above the saturation point. This causes salt and minerals to deposit along the lakeshore, on rocks, boats, plants, and in some parts even crystallizing on top of the water. The relationship of salt to the surrounding land is profound; sixteen hundred square miles of saltwater and forty miles of salt flats provides a rich ecosystem for many types of animals, provides inspiring views, and is incredibly useful to us. The vast salt quantities of the lake are not what make it dead, but rather what make it uniquely and diversely alive.

-Laura Fox

The days before my BFF Amy was able to come here from AZ and essentially be my most awesome assistant. Though I have a wonderful husband who worked just as hard as anyone, it was nice to have the extra support. Thank you myAmy! 

I hosted my show at the Boxcar Gallery in Provo, it's run by Jake Buntjer and his crew of artists. It's a new place that is in a state of constant remodeling at the moment, but Jake made a perfectly beautiful and wide open space for us. 

The show was a success! My father and mother in law SURPRISED me big time and came all the way here from San Diego, I was SERIOUSLY so happy. I'm so thankful they were able to make it and make my day that much more special.

There were so many pictures I left out, but here are a few of my favorites that I cut but still love! 

And that's a wrap! I have a few hoops to jump through and one math class and I'm done! 

Thank you to all that came and supported me, and to all those who supported me from afar! I love you all!  

The Palmer Family

I've known Kashia and Riley for around 4 years or so, when Kashia and I first met we hit it off immediately. Ever since then, I take their pictures! Riley just graduated and so his family was in town so they had me come up to the Salt Lake capital to meet them and shoot a quick family session!