2016 Goals

I am not making any resolutions this year, but I do have  goals for my personal and professional life.  My first goal is to be more creative; to take the time to really see what is in front of my lens.  Another goal is to book more weddings, however I am particular and will only take those which follow my standards and vision.  A personal goal is to take more “me” time, to get out and enhance my own skills and to work to make me better.  I also want to be more active in my blog here, I put out quite a few last year, but my goal for 2016 is to blog weekly.  Writing is something I enjoy and I want to write a lot more, which will also get me out and shooting more so that I have something to blog about.  I want to read more books this year, reading is an escape and I want to go to the park or beach with a good book and get lost in it.  I also want to sit in quiet reflection to get closer to God and to simply listen for life’s answers.

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2016 will be my best year ever!

Looking Back – 2015

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Reflection

 

A Look Back

Time seems to be passing by way to quickly these days, I barely find myself catching up with one thing and it’s already on to another. I will say it has been a fabulous year and has ended with a bang.

I was able to photograph a lot of great bands and to work several large festivals, which is always fun. I have met some incredible people and have broadened my social network.  Last fall I joined a little photography Meet-Up group and fell in love with the people, many have become really good friends and we have all grown together.  We have learned and participated in numerous excursions and enjoyed each other’s company.

I have expanded my business this year to include a small home studio, it’s not perfect, but it works for me and that’s really all that matters. I have stayed busy with portraits and weddings and hope to increase that business next year.  I was told this year my wedding price is too expensive , but the potential clients who said this got exactly what they paid for by not using a professional.  I learned this is not my battle to face, because I am geared to a certain type of client and I will gladly allow the them to learn their lesson.

This year I finally purchased my dream lens; the Canon f2.8 70-200mm.  This lens is awesome for my concert/wedding and portrait photography.

The Future

I am looking for 2016 to be bigger and better than ever. I have had an invitation to go to Vietnam and photograph a resort there and will be working out the details of that potential trip and my son may go with me;  I can’t think of anyone I would rather work with more than him.  Which brings me to another note, he will be opening his first full solo photography art show on January 9, 2016 and will run through the end of February.  I’m excited for him as he is quite talented and has captured the flora and fauna of the Everglades quite well.

Another new feature for this new year is the rebranding of my business.  I unveiled a new logo and will incorporate it within my website/blog and all social media.  I have also finally changed my Facebook page web address from the former kdphotocreations to: http://www.facebook.com/photocreationsbydeb.  This was two years in the making, but at the time I had recently ordered business cards that had this address on it and needed to use them up; I received my new business cards and now I am ready to put a final note on a past element of my business.

I hope to do a lot more teaching this next year and expand on my basic digital camera workshops and add editing to the mix.  I also want to be involved with a few more communities.  I will include myself in the  need to be taught, I am constantly wanting to improve my own skills and continue to grow and simply be better.  Learning is huge for me, and there areas I struggle with, but I try to find those who can teach me.  If you are unwilling to learn and add to your craft, your craft will die a slow agonizing death, I’m not willing to allow that to happen.

Each year for the past couple of years I have adopted a new word for the year, instead of setting unreachable new year resolutions.  I have grown in leaps personally by applying these words to my life almost daily.  I began with ‘authentic’ and last year was ‘joy’, this year it will be ‘creative’ and I will do whatever I need to keep up my creativity.  I have a plan to create a wonderful show for a museum or gallery.  I will expound more on this once I am confident of the progress and talk to the powers that be in order to create this wonderful exhibit.  I will say it’s something that is extremely close to my heart and it’s going to be wonderful.

So as my eyes shift from the rearview to looking forward, I would like to wish you and yours a very Happy, Prosperous and Exciting New Year, hug your loved ones more, and enjoy time spent with those you care about.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

 

My Mission

I have been seriously at this photography thing for several years now, and decided I needed to come up with a mission statement of what I am about and what I want to provide to clients.  It took me several months to think about it and to actually put pen to paper and to develop it exactly how I feel; finally I wrote it out; so here it is:

“I aspire through my photography to empower my clients to look and feel incredible, to create beautiful images, and to build lasting relationships with those who step in front of my camera.”

I feel this statement really epitomizes who I am as a human and what I want to portray as a photographer.  I realize I will not get every client who inquires about my services and I’m ok with that, because it only means they were not the client for me.  My style is easy going, yet in control of my environment and can handle the most stressful of situations.  I know how to make people feel comfortable around me and in doing so I get the responses I’m looking for through my lens. My belief is you reap what you sow and if you are comfortable, your client(s) will be as well.

You have to genuinely love people and they have to feel this about you to be completely comfortable.  I see beauty in each of my clients (male & female) and I get so excited when I know I have taken beautiful images.

I’ve seen photographers take on projects they should have never jumped into, because either they have not developed enough skills or the right attitude or they simply are not aware of what it takes to provide great customer service to the client.  I have actually seen client bashing and that is unacceptable to me.  My clients are incredible and I love each and every one of them.  I treat them with respect and give them more than they expected.  I know what it takes to be in front of a camera, it’s not easy because you expose your entire self to the world.  The photographer’s job is to capture the beauty that is truly you.  Be it bride, groom, families, or individual portrait; male or female.

To those I have had the privilege of photographing, thank you and to those who have yet stepped before my camera, I look forward to meeting you and thank you for trusting me enough to show the world your beauty.

Early Christmas!

I am a naturally happy person. Things are not what make me happy, too many things clutter my simple life. I don’t need people around to be happy either, but I love my family and friends and I feel much more than happiness being around them, I’m joyful.  As it goes, if I get something new it’s not to make myself happy it’s because I know I will enjoy using whatever it is I have received.  However, last night I received an early Merry Christmas to me present; the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 USM II lens.  I have drooled over this lens for a couple of years and have even had one on my camera, which really increased the feeling of want and need.  As a photographer who works with portraits and weddings and large venue concerts this lens is the industry standard and I now own it.  To say it makes me happy is an understatement, it makes me ecstatic!  It simply proves that good things come to those who wait and I have waited and it’s my time enjoy what this lens can do for my photography.

I have read all there is to read about it, I’ve used it on my camera so I know first-hand what it will do for my craft and how with my skill I can create amazing images. I didn’t make this decision on a whim, I thought it through and had an opportunity that I could not pass up and I bought it.

Photo Credit to Photographer Sam Arnold

Here I am with the box!
Here I am with the box!
Next is opening the lens case to expose the goodies inside.
Next is opening the lens case to expose the goodies inside.

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As I use this lens in the next few weeks I will write up a complete review……for now I am going to go and enjoy it; with a huge smile on my face!

Wind of Change

Wind of Change

With all the controversy going on within social media lately it’s wonderful to be able to remove myself from it, even if for a short while and get out and shoot for myself. I did this yesterday at the park; the flowers were incredible.

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Solitary

This week I was asked to assist on a model shoot, no camera in hand, but I learned so much about off camera lighting using Speedlites and modifiers. It was fun to see someone work in high fashion and to be an integral part of it.  I want to go out now and play using my two Canon Speedlites off camera.  It was a wonderful learning experience and the photographer I worked with was incredible.  I am really blessed in this area; I have gotten to know some incredible photographers, who know how to use their camera to create the look they are wanting. Sometimes I feel like a sponge soaking in knowledge that is making me better and more creative.

I am pleased with where I am in life, there is nothing I can’t accomplish and I will continue to grow and move forward. I am working more on marketing myself and getting my name “out there”.   I have had a few set-backs, but nothing that I could not handle.  I have realized that what I have to offer is of value and not everyone will see it and I’m perfectly Okay with that because I understand my style and price may not be for everyone; I’m not the most expensive photographer out there, but I’m not the cheapest either, and I’m fine with someone telling me I am too expensive, because I know I am not the photographer for them and sometimes you get what you pay for (or don’t pay for).  However, the hurdle I have to overcome is when a potential client spreads the rumor that I am too expensive; how would they know what my value is to someone else? I am confident in my skills and those of my second shooter. These are simply character builders and it allows me to provide services to the type of clients I am looking for; those who value the meaning of their photographs whether it’s portraits, commercial or even weddings.  I will never compromise or devalue myself just to score the job, it’s not fair to myself or to my potential clients.

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Life is definitely working in my favor and I am meeting great people every single day. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life.  I get to do what I love and share it with others.

On another sad note, the music world lost an incredible bassist.  Chris Squires from YES passed away yesterday from cancer.  My thoughts go out to this band and the members.  I was fortunate enough to photograph Chris and YES last year in St. Petersburg, FL.  RIP Chris Squires you will surely be missed.

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More Than Just a Day at the Beach

“Ride the wave baby”

Today was not just any day at the beach, it was a sort of celebration with friends.  One of those friends has been having the battle of her life; cancer.  But not today, today we are celebrating the fact that she is 100% cancer free. Her journey began last October when she wasn’t able to stay awake for very long at a time. Not a good thing when you are driving back and forth to work. She finally got to the point where she was having a difficult time waking up at all. A visit to the ER ended up being several weeks long as they immediately did surgery and found two small brain tumors which turned out to be a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She was given radiation and chemo and with the prayers from so many, now six plus months later she has been set free! So today we her friends gathered on the beach to simply enjoy the company of her in our life and rejoice in the fact that we are here WITH her.

I have written about her before and I guess this is a sort of catch up on that past article.

We need to make sure we love on those that are close to us because life can change in a heartbeat literally. For me personally I love hard & deep, but sometimes it’s difficult to let those important folks in my life know how much I do care. I’m trying to be better, I’m working on being more open and authentic with how I feel, it’s especially difficult in new relationships because not truly knowing the person makes it difficult to open up……again an area I’m working on.

You may be wondering what all this has to do with photography, well of course I am going to post photos of our outing, but it’s more than that. I did take photos of my friend after she lost her hair, but they were for her eyes only, because I felt she needed to document this blip in her life. I wanted her to have not just the memory, but the fact that she can look back on this and KNOW she beat something that could have taken her life and to give her strength whenever she needs to have a dose of it.

This experience has changed how I think and how I view life. I’ve learned so much from her, how to be strong in the face of life’s greatest adversities, how to share love with the people I care about and most of all to embrace the passions in life and to not put off my “bucket list” items. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so we must live today as if it’s our last, and we must love like there won’t be a tomorrow.

I also see a difference in how I take photos as minor as that may be. I am becoming less technical and more intuitive, allowing my heart and my eyes direct what I shoot, I feel it’s making me a much better photographer.

Like Spring, Change is in the Air

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Spring is a great time for renewing……

For many months I have been contemplating making some majors changes.  Even though I have made a good amount of change in my life, I knew I needed more.  I also began really looking at my business and  even though I love every photograph I take I realized that I need to direct my energies into something a bit more specific.  I enjoy every aspect of photography, from meeting people to the last image I work on, but I know success will come from specializing, so as of right now I am taking myself out of a couple of markets.

I have had this pull of wanting to photograph women over forty. I feel we are such a neglected group of people.  At this age we are raising children or may be getting ready to hatch them out of the nest, but we are so busy we neglect ourselves.  We are no longer in family photos because most of the time we are the photographer or we are uncomfortable with how we look because we simply don’t have the time to take care of our own needs and have let ourselves go.  As I have shared in prior posts I was so guilty of this, for as many great vacations our family went on, I have lots of photos of my ex-husband and our boys, but none of myself and it makes me incredibly sad to think they don’t have photos of their mom. When I’m gone how are their kids and grandkids going to remember me?

I have shared this before; it took me stepping in front of a camera to understand how important it is.

This brings me to my changes…..I have changed my look totally and I have also changed my reach on photography. I will continue doing events and concerts because I truly love the challenge of them, but when it comes to portraiture work I am scaling back on weddings and families and I am going to focus on women, specifically women over forty.  I feel this is where I should be.  I will only photograph weddings and family portraits when they are referred, but I will no longer solicit for them.

I am in the process of creating some studio space for myself so that I can invite clients to my home for a shoot if needed, although my passion is being outdoors and getting the perfect images with nature all around. I am in the process of re-evaluating where my pricing needs to be to make a living at doing what I love.

It’s not an easy road, but it will be a wonderful journey even if the road gets too bumpy and I think I should turn back, I won’t! Photography is my passion and I will live my dreams.  I also need to nurture my relationships with others, my tendency is to steamroll into whatever I am doing and neglect the people I care about, but I have learned I must have healthy relationships and make sure those I care about know it.  I must also take care of my emotional and physical needs and  allow myself to be taken care of from time to time.  Also, I simply must take my camera out for a day of shooting either alone or with friends, but I must do it.  Life is all about the journey and what we leave behind.  What is your legacy?