Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Shoots!

I'm excited that I will get some good shooting time next month, which starts tomorrow! I'm really amped about building my portfolio even more!

I have a family shoot, my family in fact, in Boston in October when I'm out there on "real job" business. I'll be visiting my family that lives south of the Boston area. They are a family of eight, with six kids, five cats, and a dog! The oldest, my cousin closest in age, has set out on her own adventure in New York City, so sadly won't be able to get in on the family fun. I know she's having a blast out there though!

I will hopefully be assisting Jennifer Hosler of Candid Moments Photography mid-month. Jennifer graciously offered me the opportunity to tag along with her on a wedding. I'm really excited! It will be my first wedding, NOT as a guest. It's funny to write that since most photographers get excited about BEING a guest. Well, here's to getting my feet wet! (That's such a weird expression when you think about it.)

Finally, I have a First Anniversary shoot towards the end of the month. I have worked with Elizabeth for the last year and a half or so, and since the first time I had lunch with her, I knew that we would be good friends. I watched as she planned her own wedding, with various conversations about her dress, the reception, and getting it all together for her Sweetest Day wedding. She's been so great helping me with suggestions for my own wedding planning. She and her husband Andrew are going to Maine to for their first anniversary. I asked her if she'd be interested in some photos to celebrate their anniversary, and she said yes! It'll be some good fun!

October is going to be fab!

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Mustang in the house!

No, not the car. A Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mustang! My sister just started her freshman year of college at Cal Poly SLO. She's the baby in the family (well, there's only two of us), but it was a pretty big deal to see her off to college. They grow up so fast! Cliche, but so true!


I remember when she just started Kindergarten. We are seven years apart, so I was already in 7th grade when she lugged her backpack that was bigger than her and walked to the Kindergarten line at our little Catholic school. I used to help her with her homework and we would watch the Disney Channel together.

When I got my driver's license, I became the chauffeur. This wasn't really a problem considering that I was so over taking the bus. I was ready to drive on the open road and picking up my little sister from school let me drive that much more!

I left for college in the Fall of 2001. Literally days after the 9/11 attacks. Even though we have a big age gap, we've always been close. When I moved down to San Diego, to UCSD, I think she was devastated. Like when your best friend moves away or when a favorite teacher changes schools. That I'm-totally-going-to-miss-you-but-we'll-call-everyday feeling. But we survived. She called me every night and it was so nice that she did. Even if I didn't talk to my parents all the time, I still had my little sister to see how I was doing.

Hiding out

When I graduated from UCSD, she had just finished her first year in high school. High school! I still remember her as the pipsqueak in Kindergarten. After college I moved back home, so we clicked back into normal routine.  Then she started driving and going to proms and getting a boyfriend. But our dynamic has always been there. We have a great time just hanging out, going to movies, or out to eat. She's grown up into a beautiful young lady, who's really good in science and math, and loves to cook. I'm so proud!


I don't think I ever really realized what it was like for her when I moved away. But I found out. I miss you, sis! It's not the same without her here. No sister to watch a lame movie with. No sister to satisfy the craving for In-N-Out. No sister to drag on a random shopping expedition. I can't wait for her to come back for Thanksgiving.


Of course she had the option of staying at home, but I told her to move away. Learn some independence. Learn to fly on her own. So while I'm sad she's not home all the time, I'm so proud of her! Go Mustangs! Go Cal Poly! I know she's going to have a great time. Go Steph!


The picture of us together is from December '07. I can't believe I couldn't find something more recent. I need to fix that!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rubbing Elbows with Success

Like I've mentioned before, I've always considered myself a shy person. Of course, as many of my friends know, that shyness evaporates as soon as I get comfortable with those around me. One of things I've really been working on has been meeting new people and finding my comfort level at a faster rate than usual. I'm fine once the ice is broken, it's just the initial unknown. I'm sure it's like that for a lot of people.

Last night I went to dinner with about fifty other photographers. Gene Higa and Jose Villa, two of the Top Ten Photographers in the World, held a joint workshop in San Francisco. With the launch of Private School for the [b] school, Gene invited Bay Area classmates to come out and join in on the fun.

When I received the invite, I was really excited with a tinge of apprehension. I don't have a wingman/wing woman to easily drag along with me; I would have to go it alone. But that didn't faze me, I was pumped. I went to the Free to Succeed Tour alone. I went to my first PUG meeting alone. I could do this. I want to meet people.

So I did.

And it was great. I met the two of the Top Ten Photographers in the World, shook their hands, and smiled. I met a handful of local photographers, including Orbie Pullen, Rebecca Meredith, Brook Todd of Alisha+Brook Photographers, Cate Corbitt, Danielle Stolman of Not So Still Life, Kira Stackhouse of Nuena Photography, and two photographers who I've been following via their blogs: Jennifer Skog and Augie Chang. I also met Facebooker extraordinaire, Kenny Kim! I reconnected with Gustavo Fernandez and Lilia Ahner who I first met at a PUG meeting last month. Lilia and I are both Mariners, what what!

At the end of the night, I was just in awe. It was worth my drive into the city. It was worth being a little tired today. I was so glad I went. I met so many photographers and made some connections. I expanded my network. And to think, just a month ago, I could never have imagined rubbing elbows with any of these folks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blog it Board Test

Photoshop guru, Jodi Friedman, just released her latest set of magic: Magic Blog It Boards. This set of actions allows you to quickly set up a collage of photos for posting to your blog.

Here's my first run:

This little girl is so cute! It was hard choosing just four. I'm definitely thinking I need the rest of the Magic Blog It Board actions!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Excited. You just have to [b]elieve.

So, I'm more excited than I'd like to admit. If you know me, you'd know that I don't get too excited over anything. There have been a couple of times when you could find me jumping up and down for joy (literally):

  • When I received a GameBoy for Christmas in 1990 after three months of diligently making my bed every morning from the beginning of the school year until December 25.
  • When I got my first cell phone, circa 1999, when those Nokias with interchangeable faceplates were all the rage
  • When I got my first digital camera, Christmas 2002, when 3.2 megapixels were a big deal
  • When I got an iPod for Christmas in 2003, when it was in just it's second generation, pre-color, pre-video, pre-all the cool stuff today
  • When we (my sister and I) got a Wii the first Christmas they were available, and were so scarce we could have turned a profit on eBay
  • When my fiance proposed in March, on our birthday trip to Las Vegas, right before going to Ka
So, what am I so excited about now?  Well, since the inception of my journey towards a full time gig as a wedding/portrait photography, I've been excited. It's been the one thing career-wise that has made me excited about getting up for my "real" job, connecting with people via their blogs, Facebook, and online forums. I feel like this is right for me, and it's a matter of "getting there".

How do I get there? Clearly, it won't happen overnight. Obviously, it won't be magic (although I wouldn't mind that). And, as I've learned just from the last couple months, it can't happen all by my lonesome. Networking takes a KEY part in this equation. As much as technique is important, so is your network. That's why I'm so excited to now [b] part of the [b] school.

Like I mentioned the other day, I've already been able to connect to photographers in my area and across the country and across the pond. And, today, Jennifer from Candid Moments Photography, asked me if I'd like to tag along and get some experience. Woo Hoo! Thank you Jennifer! Thank you [b] school! I'm excited!

So this entry is making me chuckle because I just watched [b]ecker's latest on the [b] school blog.

Excited x 9 (not quite as many as [b])

[b]elieve it everybody. [b] connected. [b] mentored. [b] inspired.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

[b] amazed

I'm truly awed and amazed at the response on the [b] school. In the first 12 hours (slightly more), I've connected with other photographers in a way that wouldn't be as easily possible otherwise. I've found a couple of folks who I've made friends with on OSP, and new friends who are in the Bay Area, SoCal and even in Ireland! :) The wonders of virtual networking... I can't wait til we can meet up in person.

I KNOW this is the start of an incredible journey! Thank you Becker!

Alright, it's late, and I must turn it off for now, but today is just day 1...

[b] school application submitted!

I've been following the [b] school blog for several months now. At first I wasn't really sure what it was all about. But after reading through the entries and kicking back and watching [b]ecker's awesome and informative videos as well as those of his guests, I saw how this would be something for me. In the last month since deciding to "go for it", I've learned that networking will be and is incredibly important to the success of my business. I know I can't do it alone, so I'm so excited for the [b] school so that I, too, can [b] connected.

[b]ecker's passion for the [b] school and for helping others out really sealed the deal for me. I was a little hesitant at first because of the investment (and I'm just starting out), but I have full confidence that the [b] school is going to change the industry and change my business for the better. Although I've never met [b]ecker, I feel like I have, through his posts on his own blog and the [b] school blog. I've been so excited about the launch, I even set a reminder on my phone to make sure to sign up.

UPDATE: I'm in! Be sure to check out the [b] school, you won't be disappointed!

This is the beginning of something AWESOME!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Thanks to Anne Ruthmann for posting this to the Photo Lovecat blog. Failure doesn't have to mean complete defeat, it may lead to your ultimate success. Read the original post here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering September 11, 2001

I remember 9/11 pretty vividly. I was busily packing up my stuff that week, getting ready to move to San Diego for my first quarter at UC San Diego. I had woken up around 10:30, and I walked out of my bedroom to find my mom and grandma glued to the television. At that point I had no idea what was going on, and I asked what was wrong. "Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers," my mom said. I don't think I could even fathom what that meant. I watched as the towers smoldered on CNN and I couldn't believe my eyes.

I had only ever seen photos of the World Trade Center. I remember my parents telling me about how they had seen the towers when they went some time in the 1980's. My first trip to NYC was post-9/11 in 2004. I went again in 2007 and was able to visit Ground Zero and the 9/11 memorial museum, where I took this:


May peace be with all those who were affected by 9/11. We will never forget...

I found this poem on [b]ecker's blog, which I'd like to share too:
"Do it Anyway":

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, some could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mission Meet the Parents: Success!

I'm back from Dallas, and the meeting was quite successful. Good food, good conversation, good times, how could it be anything but a success? Although, I must say that I had a slight feeling of nervousness having our parents meet for the very first time. However, I think I was definitely more nervous when I "officially" met them last year in Savannah.

We've been dating for what will be three years two weeks from today, and since we've been in a long-distance relationship for most of it, a casual Sunday brunch bringing our two families together wasn't exactly an easy option. Since he proposed in March, having our parents meet has been a major priority, but the execution has been a little bumpy. Between my mom pursuing her Master's in Nursing Education, my sister finishing up her senior year of high school, and my dad losing his job and eventually finding a new one eight months later, not to mention all of his family's obligations, coordination was a challenge. But, we made it happen, even at six months later!

While we were out exploring Dallas, and introducing my parents to my soon-to-be home base, I busted out the camera. We visited the Dallas World Aquarium, which is also one of the locations we had our engagement photos shot, by the awesome Travis Hoehne. We also walked around my fiance's office, which had some great shade to shoot in, escaping the hot Texas sun. My future in-laws were very gracious and allowed me to snap a couple photos of them, as did my sister and parents.

Future In-Laws
My future in-laws

The Parents!
My parents

Little sis

My handsome fiance and I, courtesy of my sister.

Mission Accomplished!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Friends are the best!

I will be out of state for the weekend, for the big parent meeting. My parents are meeting my fiance's parents for the first time on Friday. See, in the midst of starting up my photography business, I'm also working full-time and planning a wedding. Everything has unfolded at the same time, but I had to answer the call of my photography, it just felt right. The right time.

To say the least, it's been an interesting ride thus far as a bride-to-be and aspiring photographer, considering that I'm seeing perspectives from both sides of the camera. I have a much deeper appreciation and admiration for wedding and portrait photographers. It's not a mere matter of pointing and shooting. You have to add in lighting, composition, and a ton of people skills. And that's just the photography aspect; it doesn't even touch the business side.

And so I leave you with a post of an impromptu photo shoot that I had with my friend Hana. She's the one who took my photos for my new header. Our other friends were great sports in allowing us to go full-on paparazzi on them. Here they are SOOC...

Our friend, Elana.


Love this one of Hana

Our friend, Vanessa.

Our friend, Laura.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

[b] yourself, [b] inspired, [b] connected

The [b] school is coming! October 1st! Check out the video above, you won't want to miss out!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sylvia + Pat

Yesterday I had my first engagement shoot. My friend Sylvia and her fiance Pat were nice enough to agree to model for me on my first attempt with an engagement session. I learned a lot from the afternoon, just from playing with the light, their positioning, and the rapport and connection that needs to happen between photographer and clients.

Sylvia and I met at my first "real-world" job and trained me on everything I know about the marketing systems. She had just started dating Pat when I met her. She sat in the cubicle across from me, and in our downtime, we'd chat, take trips to Yumi Yogurt, and make the usual run to Kinko's during convention season. She has since left the company to go back to school, but we've stayed in contact and give her the updates on company happenings.

We ended up going to the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, which is a beautiful location with lush green gardens and roses of every variety. Sylvia and Pat were such good sports, putting up with me directing them, telling them to turn their heads, and basically having a camera in their faces for a good hour and a half. I got some good shots, but I know I have a long way to go though. Practice practice practice!


I stood on a park bench to get this one. I like the angle!


Again, standing on a bench, trying not to make Sylvia laugh.

This was my first play on using shadows.



I like the sunflare quality of this one.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sunny Sunday

My first "official" photoshoot was yesterday. Considering all the circumstances it all went very well.

I was excited and I was a nervous wreck. First of all, I had to drive into San Francisco and into the Nob Hill neighborhood (read: lots of fancy condos and no parking). I'm generally a nervous driver in San Francisco, especially when it involves hills or vague directions.

The day started off smoothly. I left right when I wanted to and made the smooth drive up Highway 880. I crossed the Bay Bridge without any problems. I entered the city and carefully followed the directions that Google Maps populated for me. Then I hit Taylor Street. On a map, everything in SF looks flat. I know there are some major hills, but I don't know which ones they are by memory. So it turns out that Taylor Street is one of those hills, and I had the unfortunate luck to have to stop at the top of the 45 degree angle hill. Thank goodness I don't drive a stick shift, I think I would have passed out from the nerves. When the light changed from a red to a flashing yellow (it's not safe enough for a direct green!) I wasn't sure how to handle it. There was a car behind me and I didn't exactly have enough room to roll back. So I gunned it (so to speak) and my car lurched slightly and the tires screeched, but I made it over! Phwew!

I navigated through the streets and found my destination. My next challenge: parking. My clients had kindly arranged for parking in the garage of their buildings. However, the parking spot was situated in the corner spot between a handful of BMW's, Mercedes-Benzes, and a Jaguar. Expensive cars and a tight spot. Great. Luckily, I was directed into the spot and was able to relax a little easier.

Little J was so fun to photograph. She just turned three last week and had plenty to say in her three-year-old talk. After warming up to me a little bit, she was a total ham. Check out some of my favorites:







This kid session was so much fun!