Friday, May 29, 2009


Remember that fabulous business card giveaway that I blogged about last week? Well, Lindsey of Magenta Revolution and Like a Hampster on a Wheel is the lucky winner! will be sending her 500 cards, which seems ideal as she and another friend are kicking off an Etsy business currently. If you have any business card printing needs, I recommend checking out, too!!!

Congrats Lindsey, and be sure to let us know when your Etsy shop is up and running!!!

PhotoFANatic Friday featuring Leslie Roark Photography

Leslie Roark is a new FAV of mine and I'm SO EXCITED to present her as today's PhotoFANatic Friday feature!!! Get ready to learn from and admire our latest pro!

A couple of weeks back, I was searching for some more photographers in regions that I hadn't encountered, yet. I put out a Tweet to ask photo-lovers who some of their favorites were and Leslie was one that was recommended right away. She is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Florida in the Destin and Pensacola area...and let me tell you, she's got some GREAT secret beach locations!!!

I did some stalking research on her blog and really liked her style! But once we traded a few emails, I realized what a true gem she is and absolutely could not wait to share her responses to my questions. So, without further ado, I give you Leslie Roark!!!

    1. At what point did you realize you were ready to move from amateur photographer to pro? Okay... to really understand “where I started” and when I went from amateur to pro you need a little background information. By my second year of college I had been a waitress for at least 5 or six years. (I started at a family restaurant when I was 13.) Don’t get me wrong I loved meeting knew people and seeing everyone I knew in town everyday but I was studying to be a teacher and I was ready for a change. About that same time I was looking for a photographer to take portraits of my then boyfriend and me. In the midst of looking at a local photographer’s website I saw that she was hiring an assistant because her old one was leaving. My first thought was, “How cool would that be?! I want to work for a photographer!” It made it even easier because I actually used to attend the same church as she did, so we knew one another! I started working for her in February of 2005.

    Within six months of working with her I was fascinated! I loved EVERYTHING photography. My boyfriend proposed towards the end of 2005 and we started talking more and more about our future. He asked me if I was serious enough to one day start my own business. If so he would buy me a camera. Even though my mindset was 5-10 years down the road until I would ever start this business I said yes and he bought me my first camera, a Canon 20D. I continued to play and take pictures for friends and family. No fee of course. I was just practicing. My fiancĂ© and I were married April 27, 2006 and the following June I found out we were expecting a surprise! This threw me for a loop because we always said I would stay home with our children for at least the first year. How on earth was I supposed to do that?! Then my husband pointed out that it was time to make a decision to either put our newborn in daycare or start my business. Two weeks after Kaydence was born (February of 2007), I finally decided that I could not go back to work for someone else. That May, a little over two years after I started working as a photographer’s assistant, Leslie Roark Photography was born. So truthfully, I was never really “sure” that I was ready to move from amateur to pro. I knew I had to in order to help provide for my family!

    2. What's your favorite "can't live without it" piece of equipment? What do you shoot with? I now shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II. I’m SO in love with this camera! While this might sound crazy.. I actually can’t live without my 100mm macro! I LOVE this lens. I LOVE detail shots and this lens makes it even more fun to shoot them! However, my 24-70L is the lens that I love to shoot with the most and if I could only choose one lens to shoot everything with it would be my first choice!

    3. How would you define your style? What inspires you artistically? How do you stage your shoots? I would define my style as bright, fun and fresh! I’m inspired most by emotions. I absolutely love watch a groom nuzzle his new wife’s neck or to look down at her with that expression that says, “this is the woman I get to spend the rest of my life with!” Seriously.. it makes my heart swell just watching them. I’m also inspired by color. I’ve always been drawn to anything that is bright and cheerful. I really try not to “stage” my shots. I like to give guidance but I always encourage my couples to do what feels and what is natural for them. If I tell them to sit on the ground.. I tell them to sit comfortably, not how to sit. I’ll often recommend that they sit as they would if they were on the floor in the living room cuddling to watch a movie. That allows me to capture them as the truly are. It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t a “fashion” photographer even though I love it when I get couples that are natural at fashion!! For me, it’s the emotions that tell the story of a wedding day and if I try to stage things then their story really isn’t being told properly.

    4. Have you ever completely flubbed a shoot? How did you handle it? Hmmm.. flubbed a shoot. That’s a tough one. I can’t really think of a shoot that was “flubbed” but I have one that was ALMOST flubbed. I was taking some updated portraits for a client and I asked her if she would be willing to do some night shots in the water. I had my camera and flash on my tripod in the sand down where the water would come up to us but we were not actually in the water. Well, about ten minutes in to this part of the shoot I leaned down and had to take my hand off the tripod to reach for a new card. At that exact moment a large wave came up and my tripod.. camera and all… went straight into the Gulf! I grabbed the camera out as quickly as I could and got the CF card out. Then I grabbed the pieces of my flash that were floating that I could find. My first priority was her pictures and because of that I saved them. However the rest of my equipment was not so lucky!!

    5. What's the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out? When I first started I was still in a very traditional mind frame. Stand here, pose like this and smile! It was about five months in that I was given the opportunity to shoot with an amazing photographer from California and he told me to “capture the moment.” From then on I worked on perfecting that and realized how inspired I was by natural emotion!! It makes all the difference to be able to connect with your clients so that they are comfortable with you and your camera. For me especially, emotion is key! While it’s so great to get advice and learn what other photographers do, in the end you truly must find what works for you!
Thank you Leslie, SO MUCH, for sharing your insight and candor! I still can't believe you lost your equipment in the water but that you NOW have insurance and backups. Ha! It's been so fun learning about you and it's clear that you're talented...thanks for giving my blog your time and thoughtful response!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Love/Hate Relationship with the Food Network

Ever since remodeling my kitchen a couple of years ago, I made it my mission to conquer my fear of cooking. It's not that I was a BAD cook, it was just that I never learned. You see, my sweet sweet mother didn't cook that much when I was growing's something my siblings and I joke about. The three or four things that she made were our favorites, so she just kept making them. Anyhoooo, my post-college roommate, Robin, was an INCREDIBLE cook. I call her the gourmet chef when I talk about all the things she would whip up. But I never bothered to learn from her...yes, I am lame.

So, fast forward to the kitchen remodel...and my adventures in cooking!

I think I'm a pretty good cook now...but I never venture too far off of recipes and cook books - I'm sure that will come in good time. But, the more I cook, the more I like to cook, and the more I like to research new recipes.

Enter the Food Network.

I'm an obsessive watcher of HGTV and TLC, so when I started cooking, I was immediately attracted to the Food Network. Lately, at work during lunch, a bunch of us gals will gather with our brown bags and watch it, too! Over the last couple of years, I've found shows that I love and shows that I DON'T love...and because this is my blog, a place where I can espouse opinions, rants and raves, I thought I'd fill you in on what I think of some of these shows!!!

So, the Barefoot Contessa has recipes in Traditional Home, a magazine that I subscribe to...I made her Tuscan Pork once for a dinner party and it was a HUGE hit. Therefore, I love her. Her show is fun, but her voice is so monotone that I can't watch it very often because it makes me sleepy! Also, her recipes aren't exactly low fat...and let's be honest, I've got to keep an eye on my waistline when I cook, otherwise I'd be as big as a house!

The girls at work and I refer to Tyler Florence as our boyfriend. He's got a GREAT show that features interesting meals that don't seem too difficult to prepare....AND HE'S TOTALLY DREAMY! There, I said it. I guess it really wouldn't matter what he made because we think he's so stinkin cute. Got a problem with that? Didn't think so!

I TOTALLY love Giada...but I'm pretty sure she's a puker. I just don't believe that any chef can have that kind of bod naturally and eat Italian food nonstop...

I don't get why people either LOVE or HATE Rachel Ray. Her show is quick, filled with tasty dishes, and nothing she makes appears to be overly difficult or overly amazing...

Duff Goldman is my Jewish boyfriend who lives three thousand miles away. I flippin LOVE Ace of's total entertainment!!! However, I don't watch it to learn anything. Oh wait, I DID make a certain cake for a certain bachelorette party recently with ideas I got from this show...maybe it DOES have educational value. Ha!

I CANNOT STAND SANDRA LEE or her show. Her semi-homemade brand is interesting, but it's a novelty, not something I need to see everyday. And I LOATHE her creepy tablescapes, matching outfits, and theme drinks. I seriously have a visceral response to her show. Sorry, but that's just how it is in my world!

So...what do you think? Do you have a favorite Food Network show? Agree or disagree with any of my personal likes and dislikes? Any recommendations on other shows that I should be watching or TiVo'ing? Similarly, if you've tried any of their recipes that are TO DIE FOR, please pass them along my way!!!

I'm sharing this post with my friends over at Hooked on Houses. Stop on by Julia's linky party to see the other fab things people are hooked on this week!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sara and Hector got married...then I shot them.

Sara and Hector didn't have as many portraits of themselves taken at their wedding as they would have I got to practice on them! We met up at a cool park in Yorba Linda and traipsed about in their formal wear. It was pretty darn funny, but I got some pretty darn awesome shots, so it was totally worth it! The day was beautiful (actually pretty hot), but then again, so are Sara and Hector. Enjoy!

Tool Talk Tuesday with Kimm at Reinvented/Paint Applicators

I really enjoy reading blogs written by creative chicks (and dudes)! Sometimes I'll find a fabulous new recipe to try out or sit in amazement, wondering how on earth some of these individuals came up with these wild ideas!!! Kimm at Reinvented has a fantastic blog dedicated to "Home Decor Ideas for Real People. With Real Stuff. And Real Budgets" which I just love. She's able to turn thrift store and garage sale finds into things of beauty, and I am just in awe of her level of creativity. So I asked her to come and chat about her favorite tools because every week, she turns trash into treasure!!!

Hello, everyone! I am SO excited to be here for Tool Talk Tuesday. I’m not ashamed to admit that I danced with joy when J.J. asked me to guest post today. Then I laughed. Hard. And my husband laughed harder. Because, you see, in the not too distant past, my most often used “tool” was my power of persuasion. You know, that tool where you “persuade” your husband to do the handiwork for you.

But…because I’m an impatient girl with a NEED for instant gratification, AND my husband doesn’t consider my project needs EMERGENT, I’ve learned how to do things for myself.

Since I love to “reinvent” stuff that I find at garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores, most of my projects involve the amazing transforming power of paint. Well, lots of soap, then paint. The tools I reach for most often are my collection of paint applicators.

Like this:

I use this finger to push the trigger on this: (photo from

And these: (photo from

I also like foam brushes (cheap, cheap, cheap!), and of course, rollers, edgers, and this baby:

My Wagner Paintmate Plus greatly reduces those trips to the paint tray.

Since I’m a REAL tool newbie, I’ll be here every Tuesday to find out what I should be using! I’ll meet y’all here next week! Thanks J.J.!

To see some of the incredible projects Kimm has tackled, please visit Reinvented. She hosts weekly series (not unlike this one!) and shares wonderful ways to transform our homes with limited budgets - WAHOO! Plus, she's really cool! Thanks so much for letting us in and sharing your secrets, Kimm! I just love your blog and am so glad to have met you through the blogosphere!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yummmmm...Chicken Nachizza!

It's Memorial Day...a day to remember...and a day to BBQ! If you're in need of a quick and easy appetizer, let me introduce you to the CHICKEN NACHIZZA. These mini nacho pizza's take less than 15 minutes to make and can be eaten even faster! They work great as appectizers or even for dinner!

Here's what ya need: cut up ALREADY COOKED chicken breast, a jar of salsa, black beens, shredded cheese, and Pillsbury Cresent Rolls OR Pillsbury Grands Biscuits.

Here's how ya make em:
Heat your oven according to the biscuit instructions, smoosh them into REALLY flat circles or unroll your crescent rolls and bake them for half the alloted time.
Toss the chicken and the salsa into a mixing bowl, and stir up real well.Meanwhile, warm your black beens on the stove, then drain them and mix together with the chicken and salsa.
When your biscuits or rolls have baked for about five or six minutes, pull them out and scoop the chicken mixture onto them and bake them for the rest of the time (usually five minutes).
Throw some cheese on top and bake for another 1-2 minutes, and WALLLLLLAH! You'll have something yummy and easy to serve!

The most important ingredient is the salsa as it's responsible for the majority of the flavor. I like to use a medium or a hot flavored salsa in order to give it a little kick. Sure, you could get all fancy and use spices, etc, but c'mon...this recipe is made for the lazy person, so why not elimate all those extra steps! Ha!
Enjoy...and may you have a wonderful Memorial Day. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

PhotoFANatic Friday featuring Jennifer Urbin

Meet Jennifer Urbin, today's PhotoFANatic Friday feature! She's a stud and a pro who I met through the i Heart Faces website. Jennifer specializes in children and babies, but also shoots incredible senior pics, maternity pics, and EVEN labor and delivery pics. HOW AWESOME! She's definitely made a career of capturing the family at each stage.

Jennifer is based in the Detroit area, but travels nationwide. She fields emails from photographers from throughout the country on a consistent basis and is actually beginning an online mentorship program. Contact her if you're interested, or follow her blog! I think this is a wonderful idea and as someone who has learned so much from workshops and one on one instruction, I just know the mentorship program will be a wild success!

Want to know more about what makes Jennifer Urbin one of the country's most successful children and babies photographer??? Well, let's get on to it!!!

    1. After you first became interested in photography, what were the first steps you took to becoming a "pro"? The whole world of photography kind of took me by surprise. When I was pregnant with my daughter I decided that I would love to go back to school to become a Labor and Delivery Nurse. But then I had my daughter and a new obsession took me down another path...a path that led me to a new found profession...being my daughter's own personal paparazzi. (Poor Girl) I loved taking pictures of my sweet baby girl and when I composed a great shot...I would get all giddy inside. It was such a great feeling. Then people started asking me if they could hire me to take pictures of their kids and it kind of snowballed from there. One of the first steps that I took to becoming a "pro" was building a portfolio and I really took my time doing it. I didn't just want a handful of awesome images mixed in with a bunch of mediocre images....I wanted them all to shine in their own unique way. I started a blog to display my images which kind of acted as my website at the time. This is my work...a representation of me...I want my clients to see only the *spectacular*. If an image doesn't speak to me...then I certainly don't want it trying to speak to a potential client ;) So a little advice to those just starting out...Don't add good images to your galleries just to bulk them up....instead take your time and get back out there behind your camera and focus on taking images that are stellar and gallery worthy!!! Don't worry so much about the quantity...worry more about the quality. You have 7 seconds to impress a potential client before they move onto the next website, so make sure to knock their socks off.
    2. You specialize in babies and children (Hard Work), why not adults and/or weddings? I'm passionate about photographing children. I love their innocence and their wonderment. Everything is so exciting to them, and energy just seems to radiate from their images. I love that there is no need to pose them or direct them...they're cute and expressive all on their own. Children just seem so magical to me. On the other hand I also love shooting Seniors, I love that they bring their own element to their session. Seniors are expressive and love being able to add their "brand" (for lack of a better term), to their images. Whether it be ballet, fashion, sports, music...they always bring something to the table that helps in creating custom images that scream individuality and uniqueness. It really makes things interesting and fun. As far as weddings go...I've done a couple and I'm just not so sure they're for me. Maybe someday, I'll feel differently but right now....I'm happy photographing the kiddos!
    3. What's been the most unusual shoot you've ever had? I can't say that I've done anything unusual per say, but I can say that I've photographed something unique. The most unique event that I've ever documented would be childbirth. Quite honestly...It's very difficult to come up with the words to describe what an amazing experience it truly is. To be trusted to document one of the most miraculous events in existence is such an honor. The love, beauty and emotion that is involved is amazing. To capture the relationship of a husband and wife during this time...the husbands eyes as he looks at his wife wishing he could take away her's so real and unrehearsed. The focus and determination of the soon to be mother is so raw and riveting and the amount of love that permeates the room the moment that a new little life enters the world is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever witnessed. Being asked to document a birth is such an honor...I feel truly blessed....I'm sooooo lucky...I love my job!
    4. What's in your bag? What are your "go to" lenses for your portraits? Hmmm what's in my bag ummmm....well a whole lot of passion and not much else. I know you're probably saying to yourself "HUH is this chick serious?" and to answer your question...yes. Every single image on my website was taken with my Nikon D70 and my 50mm 1.8. I do love my lens and I've just made it work for me. I just recently purchased the Nikon D700....and I am head over heals in LOVE!!! The high ISO capabilities are mind blowing...and... Are you ready for this...virtually no digital noise. It is WONDERFUL. I'm hoping to buy the 24-70 2.8 soon...we'll see. As far as editing software....all of my images have been edited with Elements 5 (I swear I can hear everyone gasping right now ;) I've had CS3 and Lightroom loaded on my computer for over a year and haven't had the time to sit down and learn the programs. I'm finally starting to mess around with them a little bit now. I'm excited to jump into the wonderful world of actions and batch processing and I'm hoping to make the full transition soon.
    5. What's the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out? Oooh that's a's impossible to just list one. One important thing to consider is in regards to pricing. Don't undercut the industry and for Pete's sake don't undercut yourself. Look at it this way, custom photography is a luxury and not everyone can afford luxurious things. Tennille from TK Business and Design once said "By giving it away at such a low price, I was essentially handing over my hard earned paycheck so that other people could afford to have nice things. Really look at it this way. Let's say you worked in sales at a Lexus car dealership. Would you give up half of your paycheck to give to a client so they could afford the Lexus? No way! If they can't afford a Lexus, then they find another manufacturer. You have to look at your business this way too." Sound advice from a super savvy business woman. I encourage you all to check out the class that she offers called "Mind your own business". I think the most important thing though is to believe in yourself. I know it may sound cliche' but it's soooo true. If you don't believe in yourself then your client's won't believe in you either. Don't wait for someone to knock on your door to tell you that "you have arrived." The only person who can make that decision for you is you. Own it and believe in it and then stand back and watch the doors open. Walk with confidence, not with doubt...and don't make excuses for the your proud of it! I've never been more passionate about anything in my life....I live it and breathe. It's the fuel that keeps my fire burning. So to sum it up...Be confident, believe in yourself, stay passionate,and decide that you are worth it!!!
Wow, thank you Jennifer, SO MUCH, for your raw honesty. Your passion is contagious and we can hear it in your words and see it in your images. It's amazing what you've accomplished and it's not hard to believe that you have other photographers coming to you for advice. I particularly am amazed by how awesome your images are without a lot of goes to show that we all need to focus on better images straight out of the camera versus post-processing. AND, I for one, look forward to hearing more about the mentorship program!

And now, onto the pics!!!!

To learn more about Jennifer Urbin Photography, please visit her website and blog. You won't be disappointed! Thanks again, Jennifer, for participating!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

GIVEAWAY GIVEAWAY: How Bout Some Bidness Cahds?!

So, how bout it? You interested in winning some business cards??? Or as my super fly homies would say: some BIDNESS CAHDS! is sponsoring this fantastic giveaway where one lucky winner will receive 500 business cards! In our fabulous network of bloggers, DIY Divas, photo-enthusiasts, etc, I'm certain we ALL could use cards to direct our real life friends, families, associates, and neighbors to our online worlds! Don't you just love the idea??? And I know some of you have incredible Etsy shops, etc, and should be using collateral like this to drive buyers to your merchandise!

So who is Well, they've been around for 25 years and have an easy-to-use website and a complimentary proofing service which requires no upfront payment. They specialize in marketing products, but also do greeting cards (HELLO, CUSTOM CHRISTMAS CARDS!), posters, mailing labels, and wall graphics! AND, THEY'RE ECO-FRIENDLY!!! Doncha just love it?!

How to Enter
1. Leave a comment explaining how you would creatively use 500 Business Cards by next Wednesday, May 27 AND/OR
2. Write a post on your blog about this giveaway post and link back to
(You can enter 1 OR both! If you blog about this giveaway, be sure to add a second comment so you can be entered to win twice!)

Should the winner be from the United States or Canada, free shipping is included. If the winner happens to be from Outer Mongolia or other parts, they'll need to pay for their own shipping.

PS - I don't actually have "super fly homies" who say bidness cahds...I've just been watching too much MTV.

PPS - Just kidding...I watch more HGTV than MTV and am just incredibly cheesy.

Friendships and Wine

My church small group has turned into a wine club. It's actually been a pretty hilarious metamorphasis. We were doing a DVD series and learning about hero's in the Bible and didn't finish it because we were all kinda were annoyed by the series. And yet we kept meeting every month. And we kept ordering two bottles of wine from different CA vineyards. And we kept fellowshipping. One gal moved away (we miss you Beks!), and we got two newbies.

Last night, our small group got together and had a wonderful HOT DISH and tasty dessert prepared by Allison. {Allison is from Minnesota and rather than say casserole, they say hot dish. I think this is hilarious.} At one point, I looked around and saw three different conversations going on and it made me so happy.

We are an unusual group of friends who have bonded over wine and good conversation. We've got some red drinkers and some white. We've got a wife, two brides-to-be, and two single gals. We've got homeowners and renters, all with unique design styles. We've got varied careers and educations. We've got gigglers and belly-laughers. We've got night owls and morning birds. We're so different, but that's what makes our group a blast!

I've always been the type who relishes in girlfriends. We can giggle, rant and rave, shop, vent, and celebrate joys and sorrows with ultimate understanding. I still consider friends far and wide from college in TX, days in DC, my year in Sac, and here in OC, my "best friend" because of the way they've supported me and inspired me.

Today, one of my friends is hurting and going through something I can't even imagine. Today another friend is having her FIRST BABY (GO CLARE...DEEP CLEANSING BREATHS!). When I went home last night, full from eating too much of Allison's cheeseburger hot dish and a couple glasses of a CA pinot grigio, I had a smile on my face. I am so blessed by the friendships I have and so thankful for the role all these women have played in my life!

How have YOU been blessed by your friendships? Have some come and gone, but left an indelible mark? Have some seen you through unthinkable hardships? In honor of...uh, Wednesday, remember not to take them for granted and thank them for the impression they've left on you!

Thanks Allison, Amy, Genevieve, and Lisa for being my partners in wine crime. I look forward to wine night every month and appreciate each and every one of you!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Now THIS Is A Good Award!

Angry Julie Monday gave me this fabulous award! And I must say, that after having met her this last weekend in person for the first time, it's a mutual admiration society! Having spent some time blogging and networking with others, I've found that it's just as important to get to know bloggers in my own local community. Angry Julie lives less than five miles away and having enjoyed her online persona for a while, I can now call her a friend in real life!
Thanks, Julie, for the fab award and for helping to guide me through the blogosphere and learn more about other OC bloggers! Can't wait to hang out again, soon!

Friday, May 15, 2009

PhotoFANatic Friday featuring Mary Jane Photography!

Today's PhotoFANatic Friday feature is on Mary Jane Photography! Mary Jane is a Santa Barbara based photographer specializing in weddings and families. She has an eye for color and her black and whites are dreamy. She's got a Masters in Photography from Brooks (WOW!) and truly knows her stuff. But from reading her blog, I can tell her personality resonates and she really connects with her customers in a way that leaves them vulnerable, therefore producing incredible images. And I can tell you that after exchanging a few emails with her that she's as sweet and genuine as can be!

And now on to the Q&A!

    1. How did you first get interested in photography? I guess I have always had a love for photography. I remember I used to sit and look at old photo albums as a kid. I would do this for hours and hours upon end – maybe I was cultivating my eye at a young age and not even knowing it! I was also very involved in the yearbook staff and high school newspaper. But, it wasn’t until I moved to Santa Barbara and discovered Brooks Institute that my life and all it’s possibility truly began. I had always thought of California as somewhat of a promised land. (JJ's note: yep, it is!) So I figured, if a perfect job was going to be anywhere – it was going to be there. Well, the “perfect” job turned out to be nothing more than a glorified secretary at an old historic hotel. While secretly hating my life of file cabinets and fax machines, little did I know that a path was being laid out – I just had to be patient and trust. I knew that God had me there for a reason…I just wasn’t sure what it was just yet. Every day on the way to work, I drove by this gorgeous building…and always wondered what it was. Well, it turned out to be Brooks Institute. One day I satisfied my overwhelming crave to explore the campus and ended up signing up for just one class…But three years later I was finishing up my Masters course work in photography. And the historic hotel came into play too because I did a lot of my first weddings there.

    2. In your opinion, what makes a perfect shot? To me the perfect shot is one that is unscripted, full of life, laughter and love. But an even more perfect shot is when the light on the subject helps to tell the story of the moment. When light and emotion meet – it is the most beautiful, alive photo you’ve ever seen! To capture these, you have to be really in tune to your clients, but most of all you have to be willing to wait. The moment always comes; you just have to be in the right place when it does.

    3. What has your professional journey been like? I’m sure you’ve heard of the snowball effect, right? Well, that has been a little bit like my journal thus far. I actually went into weddings kicking and screaming (if you can believe it) and if it weren’t my mom forcing me to shoot my brother’s wedding – I don’t know if I would be shooting weddings today. I shot my first weddings while I was still in school at Brooks Institute. I was shooting weddings for $400-$800, which at the time, seemed like a lot of money. I gradually starting raising my prices and I was so blessed that I got into a really great referral circle of a big group of friends. I also had a great contact at the old hotel I used to work at…and things just started snowballing. I definitely had a lot of help along the way from amazing parents and friends Amy Nave, Philippe Berger, Gary Fong and David Jay (and many others). They pushed me to be better – so from the very beginning I was never satisfied with where I was – so I was always trying to raise the bar. Early on, I also realized that marketing, branding and presentation was so HUGE! So not only did I have to take great photos, I had to find a way to present myself to the world. That is definitely a process that takes time and self-examination. I had to figure out who I was as a person and a photographer. And more importantly, what did I have to offer – and how was it different? I also learned that I couldn’t wear every hat in the business and still do what I do best. So, outsourcing was very incremental to my business growth.

    4. What's been your absolute favorite shoot and why? My favorite shoot is always the last one I’ve done! I really do love all of my clients and it would be so hard to pick just one favorite shoot because they are all so unique and wonderful in different ways. But, I guess my absolute favorite shoot would be one in which the couple is completely free and willing to do whatever it takes for a great photo. The best photo shoots are the ones where my clients trust me enough that if I say jump, they say, “How high?” Haha. NO, really, the location is important, but the connection and trust that is created with my clients is even more important. So, any shoot where I walk away knowing that I’ve made a new friend – (and got some killer shots too) is one that I consider a favorite!

    5. What's the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out? Oh, that’s a great question. Can I give two? One of the earliest ones that I can remember was in the very beginning stage of my business. I was a little timid and afraid to really own what I was doing. I always though to myself, “What if I fail?” I wasn’t sure when I was officially considered a “wedding photographer”. Was it after 1 wedding or 2 or 3? And I remember David Jay said to me – you are wedding photographer NOW and you need to shout it from the rooftops! Tell anyone and everyone you know about your wedding photography business. Guess what, I did just that! It was a great lesson on confidence and what an important part it plays in selling yourself to a client. If you don’t believe in yourself – why should somebody else? My friend Gary Fong gave another great piece of advice to me. It’s a very simple concept but it really resonated with me and was something I built my business on. He told me – nobody needs a salesman knocking on their door but EVERYBODY needs a friend.

Wow...thanks for opening up so much and sharing your journey and thoughts!!! Your authenticity is really helpful to me and I hope to many others who are reading this! Truly, thank you for sharing your thoughts and the images below...which may I say are ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!

I also just HAD to post a pic of her studio...I have a crush on it. The design junkie in me is kinda obsessed with it!

{images used with permission}

If you're in the Santa Barbara area and are looking for a tremendous photographer, PLEASE run directly to Mary Jane Photography! You can sit in this darling office and meet with an even more darling woman. Thanks, Janey, again for participating...I hope we can meet someday in the near future!


Be sure to come back next week as we meet a fabulous Michigan-based children's photographer and hear her story! And to all of my new friends who have popped over from iHeartFaces, thanks for stopping by...I hope you make this a regular Friday visit!