Saturday, January 31, 2009

Vote for me!

So I enter contests with the thought that I probably won't win. But I guess I have some luck. I once won the pumpkin carving contest at work, $50! I won the drawing at the company Christmas party, $100! I won the drawing from F-Stop Beyond TV, $60 value! And I won a $10 iTunes card from Southern Weddings Magazine! I'm totally not trying to brag, I'm just amazed that I have won stuff. Ever.

I'm up for something again.

Southern Weddings Magazine has been running a contest since they launched their print magazine in January. It's a chance to win The Flip. All you had to do was take a picture of yourself with the magazine or a picture of the magazine on the stands. Well, I happened to be in Dallas when the magazine launched and since as the title suggests, it features Southern Weddings, it was way more readily available in Texas than California. So I asked Cent for a special trip to Tom Thumb (Texas equivalent of Safeway) and snatched one up off the shelves! I was all excited about taking a unique picture. I didn't really know what to do...So I lagged. I waited and the deadline past twice, but they extended it twice. I figured that might be a sign. So I finally got my act together and submitted a photo!

Southern Wedding Flip Entry

Here's my entry! #11 on the page: Flipping out for Southern Weddings!

Anyway, I'd appreciate it if you'd rock the vote for me, dear reader. All you have to do is comment with #11 at the bottom of the page! Voting ends February 6!

Thanks and happy Saturday!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dane Sanders: Finding your YOU-nique self...

On Wednesday, I had the awesome opportunity to meet Dane Sanders since he was up in the Bay Area presenting to the San Jose and San Francisco PUG groups. Let me start off by saying how incredibly nice and genuine Dane is. He greeted me as if we were old friends and I said, "It's so great to finally meet you in person," and he said, "Really? We've never met?"

Dane Sanders!

I always think it's kind of funny when you meet people you've "met" or connected with online, in person. The person looks the same as their avatar, and maybe you've heard their voice on the phone or through a podcast, but meeting someone in the flesh is always such a trip. And a good one at that. Dane is no exception.

I must say that Dane's presentation was highly entertaining. And of course informative. And all around awesome. How many presenters have you seen jump up on a coffee table and flash his mismatched socks? Or reenact his presentation from Pictage Headquarters that included running into the wall full force and leaving a big hole?

He talked about how to set yourself apart from the crowd by being yourself and leveraging your strengths -- not just trying to improve your weaknesses -- because YOU are the only "you" there is. He talked about how we are not just in the business of photography; yes, photographs are important, but we are in the photographER business. We don't want to become a commodity -- like toilet paper or socks -- where the cheapest product wins out. Instead, we should brand ourselves according to what we were truly meant to do. I think this is really important, especially since the photography market is so saturated. How are you going to differentiate one from the other? How are YOU going to differentiate yourself? This of course, goes hand in hand with defining your brand. It's all about keepin' it real!

Dane is also the author of Fast Track Photographer: The Definitive New Approach to Wedding Photography. In it, Dane makes the case that a far more effective approach is to get clear on the gifts and talents you as an particular individual bring to the table and build a vision from that starting plot point. To do this, Dane includes a "personality test" of sorts called the pDNA (photographer's DNA) to identify your strengths and weaknesses. From that, the test also gives suggestions for how to leverage those strengths and assets. The path of that vision needs to be informed by the evolving landscape of service based businesses -- we can't be resistant to the changing times -- we must be willing and able to fly with the times!

And Dane doesn't stop there. He also recently launched as well as Fast Track Coaching. is a weekly podcast where Dane addresses a particular question brought up by readers. I highly recommend them if you have a few minutes. HILARIOUS! With Fast Track Coaching, Dane hosts a coaching session with an invited guest photographer, including The Bebbs, Me Ra Koh, and Jessica Claire, with many more to come! If you're going to WPPI, you must check out the Fast Track Lounge with wifi!

Alright. Gushing complete.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Longest Day: Episodes 2-6

The Longest Day continues. I've been a slacker, but with good reason! Post coming up soon. In lieu of more of my excuses, enjoy the show below! WPPI is right around the corner!

Friday, January 23, 2009

San Francisco Bay Area: Free Engagement Sessions

Attention all blog readers!

I'm looking for some great couples to help build my portfolio. I'm offering a fun opportunity to go shooting! Photographs, that is, and YOU as the models. I love shooting in the late afternoon right when the light is a perfect mix before sunset. I love working with couples who are head over heels for each other. I love catching all the moments in between, the inside jokes, the things that make you, you.

I'm based out of the San Francisco Bay Area and available to shoot at the location of your choice. Most sessions are one hour in length and for your time I will provide you with the digital negatives of the best images.

Please contact me to further discuss your shoot! catie at catieronquillo dot com

Check out some samples below:

Elizabeth + Andrew


Robin + Greg

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Elizabeth + Hedi = Married!

I had the pleasure of second shooting Elizabeth and Hedi's wedding with the uber awesome Rob Her of nLighten Images. He had asked me back in October or so if I was available to second shoot right after Christmas. Luckily, I was staying in town and I had the weekend open so I jumped on the opportunity. Rob is in a word, awesome. Thanks again for the opportunity!

Elizabeth and Hedi had a mini destination wedding up in Atherton (they live down in the OC) a few days after Christmas. Originally, they had considered a destination wedding in France, as that is where Hedi's family is from. But Elizabeth didn't want to wait that long. This couple is seriously in love. Elizabeth was beaming with her infectious smile and Hedi was totally relaxed. They had a beautiful wedding day, with great weather for December 27! Elizabeth was stunning in her vintage gown and hair/makeup. Their vows were so sweet and even made me a little misty eyed. They had some cool belly dancers and overall it was a success! Thanks Elizabeth and Hedi for letting us share in your big day. Felicitations a vous deux et touts les meilleures voeux!

Here are some of my favorites:
Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi
That's Rob in the background. :)

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi
Rob in action :)

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

Elizabeth + Hedi

See Rob's full post here.

Thanks again!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A GREAT day in American History

Whoa, I didn't realize that the last time I posted was seven days ago. Many apologies on my slackerness. Yep, I made up a word just now.

I'm in week 2 of my Boot Camp and it felt slightly easier. Note, slightly. It's still a killer workout though. Waking up at 5am is tough. Plus, we just got back from Disneyland and after two days of 12+ hour walking and having fun, I didn't think I was going to make it through. But I'm typing this, so I must be alive.

Oh yeah, did I mention I just got back from Disneyland? Sunday was my sister's 19th birthday! Her last teen year. And since Disney's promotion for the year is getting in free on your birthday, and as we are all big Disney fans, it seemed like the perfect birthday celebration! Pictures coming up!

I will be posting a wedding that I second shot with the awesome Rob of nLighten Images. I haven't had a chance to post it up with the holidays, working, and a mini vacation. But I promise it will be up before the end of the month!

And how could I forget to mention that today marks one of the greatest days in American History. I finally get to say it: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA! While his swearing in as the 44th president won't magically change the country, there is hope. We chose hope over fear.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I bring a hair dryer to the gym.

I've become one of those people. Yes, those. The kind that bring all kinds of junk to the gym to get ready for the day. I'll admit it. I'm one of those gym snobs who thought that getting ready at the gym was silly. Why not go home? Why show the world how you roll? Sometimes, it's not that simple. Well, I'm officially one of those people. With good reason, I might add. I had to. Either that or look like a drowned rat all day.

Personally, I'll take the hair dryer.

I started Boot Camp today. I thought I was going to DIE. And I'm not even talking about the working out part yet. Waking up at 5:15am isn't glamourous. I don't know how Oprah or anyone else in their right mind does it on a daily basis. I love sleep. In fact, I might even dare to say, I cherish it. Let me have my sleep.

Well, it turns out that my will power won out. I decided to sign up for Boot Camp with AlaVie Fitness as a way to jumpstart my fitness program in these last handful of months leading up to the wedding. I've been pretty good about working out, I just needed to kick it up a notch. Shock my system, if you will.

Let me tell you, Internet, I was shocked. And then I about died again. No joke. As obscene as it was waking up when it was dark, having to work out when it's dark and cold is just as obscene. I didn't know how the ladies who started at 5:30am did it. They were finishing up and it was still dark. But I decided that I had plunked down the money, so I am going to do this.

The workout itself wasn't so bad, and it was nice to be in a small group. I sort of felt like the fat kid on the playground because I was last finishing up some sprints and drills. I didn't care. That's usually how I felt in high school when we had to run laps for the annual fitness test. That's usually how I feel anyway, nothing new. I must say, however, this was my first boot camp and all the other ladies had been before.

"It'll get better" they reassured me. "Good job for just making it out here!"

As dawn broke through the night sky to wake up those who were lucky enough to be sleeping, we continued our work out. I'm happy to report that I can jog without completely passing out, as I have been doing intervals outside and on the treadmill prior to this camp experience. Let's face the truth though, I was tired at the end. I was glad it was over. My head was steaming, literally. I guess I was really hot and the air was really cold. Oh Physics!

Then, in pure ghetto-fabulous style, I went across the street to 24Hour Fitness (I do have membership and frequent it) to freshen up. And I busted out my hairdryer. That's how I roll now.

Am I looking forward to tomorrow?




I'm not digging the idea of another early morning, but I'm stoked that I'm doing this. I'm facing whatever hangups and fears and saying "Take that! I can do this!"

Tomorrow is the Fitness Test, a la high school fitness test...

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009 = Best Year Yet!

I feel it in my bones. And I'm not talking about pain. I feel it like a knot welling up in my chest. And I'm not talking about a heart attack. No, no, it's just a feeling...that this year is going to be the best year yet!

This time last year I would not have thought that I would be where I am right now.  My dream of becoming a photographer are coming together. It's not just something I hope that maybe someday I could do. It's something I'm doing. I went to my first photography seminar. I went to my first networking Happy Hour. I went from being close to terrified at the prospect of networking, to being a "networking champ", as Lisa put it. I shot my first wedding. I met some industry leaders. (It was like meeting a celebrity!)

I'm doing it folks. I'm making it happen. Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way.

2009 is going to be huge! Here's a sample of things coming up in 2009:

Boot Camp - yes, I signed up to be tortured 3 days a week for a month. I need someone to kick my butt into shape this year. Seriously! Starts Tuesday!

WPPI- Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, the largest photography convention in Las Vegas. My friend, Elana, will be tagging along for the fun. I'm really excited to meet old and new photographer friends that I have made since August. It's going to be super fun! Sleep? Who needs sleep?

More shooting! Photo shoots that is. The end of 2008 proved to be wonderful and I can't wait to work with more awesome people. Thanks to Jennifer and Rob for inviting me to shoot with you.

Our Wedding! That's right folks, Cent and I will be tying th knot on July 18, 2009. We're super excited. And if you're wondering, our photographer is the radtastic Travis Hoehne.

Moving to Dallas - Yes, I wrote it. I will be leaving California, but not forever, there are things called planes. And there's the phone. And there's the internet. Never fear! Looking forward to meeting local photographers in the Dallas Metroplex area.

Thanks for the great ride 2008. I'm stoked for 2009!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Robin + Greg = Engaged!

I met Robin and Greg through my awesome co-worker BFF Ashley. She put out the announcement to those interested in an Engagement Session, and Robin contacted me within a few days. Thanks Ashley! We met up at the Concannon Winery in Livermore on a bright, clear day (the day before the downpour!).

Robin and Greg are a totally laid-back, fun-loving couple. They were so great to work with and Robin even braved the cold out in Livermore! It was probably about 42 degrees out when she didn't have her coat on. She literally braved the cold. (For those of you used to -42 degree weather, we Californians aren't apt to the cold!) 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Robin + Greg

Thank you Robin and Greg for a great afternoon. I wish you all the best for your wedding in September!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Frozen Focus

Today, as part of my New Year Goals, I went for a walk/run for exercise. Since I'm in Dallas and apartment bound while Cent is at work all day, I figured I'd get some air and some exercise. I had been looking out the window all morning and noticed that the rain was on and off. The news had reported warnings for freezing rain. Did I pay much attention? Not really.

So when I stepped out the door around 3pm, I about froze. But I was determined. I started walking with my iPod Nano plugged in and my Nike + tracking my miles. I just thought warm thoughts. Let me just say that when it's that cold, warm thoughts aren't going to do anything for anyone. Oh, did I mention that I was wearing shorts? Yeah, I was wearing shorts...longish basketball style shorts, but my calves were still exposed. After a 40 minute jaunt around the neighborhood and adjacent park, I hurried back to the apartment to catch Oprah. I never watch Oprah (because I'm usually at work), but I'm working from home this week, so watching TV here and there is allowed.

I decided it would be interested in checking the weather. Exactly how cold was it? Well...the temperature at 4pm in Irving, TX was 36 degrees! When you factor in windchill, 30 degrees! That's below freezing! No wonder I was cold. Seriously, my thighs felt frozen at the end of it. Silly me didn't pack my swishy sweats. You know, the type that make swishing noises when you walk? Yeah, those were in the laundry or something.

And yet, I walked/ran 40 minutes before freezing over. Take that 2009! I'm straight out the gate!

I'll be posting some photos from the frozenness. I'm still defrosting...until then...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Southern Weddings hitting stands in 3 days!

Happy 2009!

What a better way to start off the year (especially if you're planning a wedding) than with your very own copy of Southern Weddings? That's right, the awesomely delightful blog, Southern Weddings, is now in PRINT! It will be hitting stands on January 6! Be sure to check them out!


Photo courtesy of Southern Weddings Blog. Cover image by the awesome Jose Villa.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year: Goals for 2009

I've become a firm believer in writing out goals. There's just something about putting your words on paper and seeing them that makes the goal that much more real. And looking at them often helps to remember what you are working towards.

Last year, I started my 101 in 1001 list. I went about writing my list without any real rhyme or reason. Some items were things I knew I could accomplish. Other things were more of a stretch. When I looked back at my list last week, I realized just how much I have accomplished since writing out those goals.

Here it goes:
  1. blog everyday for a month (COMPLETE)
  2. learn how to cook and ease kitchen anxiety
  3. learn how to use Digital SLR to its full potential (COMPLETE and continuing)
  4. take better photos (work in progress)
  5. post photos consistently on Flickr (work in progress)
  6. go to the gym at least four days a week for a month (trying to keep up with this)
  7. try a new class at 24Hour Fitness (have tried out 4!)
  8. search for other job possibilities
  9. meet my fiance’s friends
  10. learn full potential of Photoshop (as of May 2008)
  11. move out of parents’ house (July 2009... 7 months to go!)
  12. organize my bedroom
  13. clean out my closet and donate unwanted clothes to Goodwill (Completed, but need to do again)
  14. purchase new or “previously owned” car (woo hoo completed January 2008!)
  15. have my friends meet his friends
  16. explore major cities – Atlanta, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, Denver (found out Denver = not so exciting)
  17. spend time in New York City
  18. practice taking more portrait photos (work in progress, check my flickr)
  19. crochet a gift for someone (COMPLETE: Christmas 2008)
  20. learn how to surf, even for a split second
  21. go to Vegas as an adult (March 2008, and got engaged!)
  22. go wine tasting, I do live close enough to Napa & Sonoma!
  23. take a cake decorating class
  24. design logo for future business (COMPLETE)
  25. take a ballroom dancing class
  26. move out to Texas to be with future husband! (July 2009)
  27. schedule annual physicals (COMPLETE: November 2008)
  28. remember to have car oil changed (car reminds me now, how fancy!)
  29. have extended family meet fiance
  30. set aside money to donate to charity of choice
  31. participate in Habitat for Humanity Project
  32. attend a photography seminar (COMPLETE: AUGUST 2008)
  33. get engaged, and have legitimate reason to read wedding magazines like Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, etc. (COMPLETE: March 1, 2008)
  34. shadow a professional photographer (COMPLETE: October 18, 2008)
  35. buy a house
  36. design personal stationery
  37. decorate said house and give it sense of style
  38. finish painting room
  39. take a cooking class
  40. read at least one book a month (been pretty good, have read a good stack!)
  41. go to the library more often (facilitates my new audio-book obsession)
  42. go to Hawaii and reclaim summer color (going for honeymoon!)
  43. document my 101 goals as completed (been bad at this)
  44. plan fantastic wedding on my terms (IN PROGRESS)
  45. complete my first quilt project – already bought the fabric!
  46. go to the Philippines during Christmastime to visit family
  47. cook semi-fancy romantic dinner for self and fiance. from scratch, without killing or making us sick
  48. build photo portfolio (IN PROGRESS)
  49. visit the New England during the fall (mostly complete, went to Boston in October)
  50. buy a new computer and Adobe Design bundle (COMPLETE: October 2008)
  51. as a complement to completion of #33 and #44, apply to be a Bee
  52. go on a cross-country road trip
  53. learn more on the fundamentals of photography (Always learning)
  54. ride my bike around the park
  55. go on daily walks when the weather is nice (woo hoo! thanks Nike + iPod kit!)
  56. lose 20lbs... if they can do it on Biggest Loser, I can too! (work in progress, lost 10 since January, gained back 7 lbs, sad, but working on it!)
  57. start cooking own meals to make good on goal #56
  58. return to Lyon for Fete des Lumieres
  59. write a journal entry everyday for a month
  60. keep a food journal consistently also in efforts to make good on #56 (did this in January-March, then totally slacked off)
  61. make a pair of earrings (or more)
  62. clean out wallet and purse... rogue receipts be gone! (Constant work in progress)
  63. spend the holidays with fiance’s family (next year!)
  64. send out Christmas cards with photos of us (COMPLETE: Christmas 2008)
28 out of the listed 64?! Not too freakin bad! To me, this is truly testament to having your goals written out. I didn't think I accomplished this much, but wow! I'm super happy with 28 complete.

This week I'll be working on my goals for 2009. I know that it's going to be a BIG YEAR! We're getting married, shooting more, networking more, and moving to the big state of Texas! (Yes, I did say Texas. And, yes, I do currently live in California. And, yes, I'm really moving there.)

Here's to a fantastic 2009!!

And so this post isn't totally boring, here's one of Cent and I at the Dallas World Aquarium when our parents met in September. My hair was behaving in the humidity...

2 years later :)