Giving back to the community is such an important part of being a business owner, but even more importantly, it’s a crucial part of the human experience. Doing things for others, while expecting nothing in return can help boost your mood, and reward you with a sense of fulfillment that money just can’t buy.
The American Cancer Society helps coordinate volunteers across the country to help raise money for cancer research, supporting the families of those dealing with it, and helping educate the public on ways to prevent and detect cancer.
I was honored to be asked to volunteer my time to photograph some of the teams that raised money for the Relay for Life in Freeborn County.
It was a hot and humid day that turned into a beautiful evening. I encourage anyone who has never experienced attending the Relay for Life to try to make it to the next one in their community. You don’t have to be on a team or even donate money to just go and walk the path lined with paper bag luminaries. The luminaries are decorated with the names and sometimes pictures of people who are fighting, survived cancer or in memory of someone.
It’s pretty rare to find anyone these days who hasn’t had cancer touch their lives and it’s a moving experience to see all the names and faces on the luminaries… especially after dark when they light the candles inside.
I want to comment on something in particular that I found very inspiring. It was all the purple shirts I saw at the kickoff event. Purple shirts represented survivors. Seeing so many people who had battled cancer and are doing well. You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at them either and I believe Relay for Life and the work of the ACS has something to do with that. Let’s keep kicking cancer’s butt!!!
Have you booked your portrait session for your Senior Pictures? I’d love to have you call my studio and inquire about our services. This is the time to book your session. July and August are almost full and you don’t want to be stuck doing them once school starts in the fall, that’s just asking for a headache when it comes to schedule conflicts.
I’ve put together my top 5 tips to get you prepared for a successful portrait experience that leaves everyone, even mom, feeling good at the end of the day. Read on!
- Check out all your options
You think I’d just say, call me, fall in love, be done! LOL! Well, that’s all fine and dandy, as long as you’re a very go with the flow kind of person… but if you haven’t researched the options, you won’t have any point of reference to judge quality, service and price. Is quality important to you? If the answer is a resounding yes, then choose a professional photographer, someone who has been in the business for a while and you’ve heard delivers a great product. Service is huge too! There are amazing photographers out there, delivering high quality photos at high and low prices, but if they’re so overbooked (because they’re cheap) or so high and mighty (because they’re so ridiculously expensive) then they are not going to treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Finding someone in the middle ground who is going to appreciate your business and work hard to please you, that’s who you’ll want to hire.
- Find the person you feel comfortable with
As soon as you get on the phone… and PLEASE, get on the phone with your photographer… you’ll know if this is a person you and your child will “click” with. The personality of your photographer is going to make or break the outcome of the session (AKA the beautiful portraits you hope to hang on your wall). Don’t sacrifice price for someone who takes forever to get back to your or seems annoyed by your questions. Having someone who is cheerful and patient is going to result in images with genuine expressions and natural poses.
- Ask the right questions
Instead of asking “How much is this going to cost?” instead ask, “What will I get for my investment?” You might be able to spend $500 at two different places and you would be amazed at the difference in the quanitity and quality of what you’ll be walking away with at the end
- Choose outfits with care
It used to be that there were “rules” about what to wear. Dark colors, solids, no prints, v-neck & long sleeves. Now days those rules are blown out of the water. Yes, if you follow those guidelines you’ll be able to get a nice, classic, simple portrait that focuses on your beautiful face… but life is so much more interesting and colorful than all that. So I always recommend one “classic” outfit and then ANYTHING GOES for the rest. Keep in mind, you’ll want to pick items that fit well, that flow over your body and don’t cling to areas you’re not wanting to showcase. Also, if you wear a print, just make sure it’s a flattering proportion to your body and if it’s paired with other items, let those be more simple so they don’t compete.
- Communicate with your photographer
My favorite part about almost everyone having a smart phone with a camera is that they are able to text me pictures of the outfits they’ve chosen and I can spend a day or two thinking about their upcoming session and where I might want to take them if we are going on-location. I also love when moms send me pictures they have of their older children that they want to capture something similar to, to complement the wall arrangement. Waiting to announce something like that at your ordering appointment isn’t a good idea, best to be proactive and that way your photographer can make sure they capture it, versus trying to find something that “fits” later.
Well, there you have it! My Top 5 Tips!
I’m super excited for all the upcoming senior portrait sessions this year. I hold off on doing them until after July 1st if possible, which most photographers would tell me I’m crazy, not to take advantage of June, but I just feel it’s too early! I think kids need a little break after school ends, and the mosquitoes get horrendous around here. We spray for them, but all those great places to get photographed, in the long grass or just off the beaten path will still be bad. And what about the June winds and rains? That’s just asking for rescheduling headaches. So I, along with my high school seniors take a break. I connect with my kids, take them to the park and the pool and just enjoy being with them. I hope you’ve been doing the same this month!
I have a confession to make… I’m not perfect. I’m not a perfect person, and I’m not a perfect photographer. I’ve made my share of mistakes (which I skillfully correct and have never ended in a disgruntled customer, I am happy to say!) and there are definitely aspects of my business and photography skills that I’d like to improve upon… but I have to say, I think I have one thing nailed…
I’m awesome at creating works of art with my photography that make you FEEL something!
There. After a little self-depreciation, I’m boasting a bit. LOL! Bear with me though… I have a point I’d like to make sure I get across.
Now, most people hire me thinking they want a nice picture of their child, looking at the camera and smiling. I get that! (I mean, I understand that… but I guess I also mean that I get plenty of those to pick from)
I love those smiling portraits too! I’ll print one as an 8×10, 11×14, (or 16×20 if I’m feeling frisky) for my wall at home…
But it’s the images where my son isn’t looking, and often times, not even smiling that grab me: Make me stop & stare. I find myself studying his fine features that I adore so much… his soft hair, his long lashes… sigh.
THOSE are the ones that I wouldn’t dare put on my wall any smaller than a 16×20 and tempt me to order that 24×30 that I think just might be perfect!
I have found, repeatedly that I capture at least one of these grab-you-by-the-heartstrings-type of emotional images, that I throw into the proofs and hope that my customers are brave enough to step out of the box and order.
This mom is definitely one of those customers who always steps up to the plate and orders the images that are “non-traditional” and charged with emotion. Often times, we settle on the ones that make us laugh, that communicate the “realness” of life with four healthy children.
Here are some of my favorite images from our last session with little Ruthie who is growing up, and graduated from the “baby plan” and is now 2 years old!
So you did it! You hired a professional to take your family portraits! And you knew you wanted to use the images on your Christmas cards, but you’re thinking maybe you could save a little extra money if you order them yourself through one of the many online printing sites out there??? I’d encourage you to think again and read on.
Here are 5
good great reasons to let your pro photog take care of your holiday cards for you.
1) Saving time – This is a huge one! Chances are, you’re a parent (usually the mom gets charged with this duty) and you can literally spend hours online looking at different sites and designs. The options are endless… and as much as you might feel a bit limited when you look at your own photographer’s spread of a dozen or so samples, it’s really much easier to choose from 12 amazing designs than it is from 2,000 sort-of-good ones. Because heaven knows, once you find one you like… you’re going to want to customize it.
2) One-of-a-kind – Another key benefit! Who wants their card to be pretty much EXACTLY the same as hundreds, maybe even thousands of other peoples??? Not me. I love the idea that I have created the card designs I sell at Rebecca Lynne Photography from scratch or used bits and pieces of different templates I’ve purchased to make designs tailored specifically to showcase the images chose by my client for their card.
3) The Price is Right – When you first look at your photographer’s price list and compare it to an online site, it is probably going to be significantly more… but once you start spending all that time perfecting the limited options for customization you realize this isn’t such a cheap option after all! The sites are notorious for having the base-line price to grab your attention, but then as you finalize your order with a design on the back, your own quantity, paper options, envelopes and finishing touches they add-on and add-on to the price until it rivals that of the professional’s.
4) Showing off your portraits – Why on earth did you spend all that time and money coordinating outfits, dragging your reluctant family members and narrowing down the beautiful proofs to your top 10 favorites, only to pay a little extra to use ONE for your holiday card? If you get your card through your photographer, they often have designs that showcase 3-4 images at no additional cost. They want you to share the more standard image AND the fun ones because they want all your friends to know how much you loved your experience at their studio.
5) One less thing to worry about – Who doesn’t enjoy letting someone take a weight off their shoulders? Honestly, it’s fun browsing the card options for about the first 15-20 minutes, but after that it seriously turns into a chore. Having someone who will say, “Don’t worry, I’ll create a design you will love, proof read it all, send you a preview, AND if you see anything that needs changing I will take care of that for you, too! Plus, I will order them and have them ready in time for you to mail to all your family and friends.” Now that, is worth every penny!
Thanks for reading! Best of luck with the task of sending holiday cards.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A lot of people seem to think I must have the most ideal life, being self-employed. Especially when I announced we’d be having another son and they all seemed to think I would be taking as much time off as I wanted… to just snuggle at home with my new bundle of joy.
Reality is a much different thing. LOL!
Reality is that I was working on paperwork and tax reports the week I got home from the hospital. And reality is that although my dear, dear customers who totally respect my time and honor me by asking who I would recommend they have take their portraits while I enjoy some much deserved maternity leave…well, I just can’t have someone else taking their portraits, now, can I??? 🙂
I just love them too much, and I want both of their son’s first year of portraits to be taken by yours truly so when they hang on their wall in the family gallery they look totally cohesive.
To tell the truth, I was a bit nervous. It had only been two weeks since our son, Henry, was born and so I had some legit concerns about this little newborn thinking I was his lunch ticket. (If you know what I mean!)
Luckily, he must like his own mama’s scent more than mine, so after battling his hunger cravings for an hour or so he FINALLY submitted to those heavy, heavy eyelids!
Needless to say, I also love these first images we caught with mom and dad when he was still awake.
P.S. I’m pretty sure you all know I wouldn’t be photographing right now if I didn’t absolutely love doing this. I just want to make sure it didn’t sound like I was complaining because I was very thankful I had scheduled the session. It was actually a relief to have a couple hours away from Henry and feel like a regular person and not a mombie (mom/zombie) LOL!
2014 is going to be a year of BIG and LITTLE changes! I’m so excited to re-draft my business plan like I try to do every couple years.
I am always one to set both business and personal goals at the beginning of a new year, but I know that this year … with the arrival of the newest member of our family expected to arrive any day (the 18th is my due date) I need to be evaluating priorities and creating a new vision of our ideal life… photography business included!
I LOVE my photography business. Self employment definitely has it’s ups and downs, but even at the low moments I still know it’s what’s best for me and our family … and I still have that gut feeling that it’s a gift the Lord blessed me with I need to continue to share with others.
Thankfully, with my gift, I’ve continued to attract the most amazing customers of whom I’m so grateful for. No complaints here! Keep referring me to your friends and family. That’s the only way I can continue to use this gift to support our growing family.
A few of the upcoming changes you can expect to enhance your experience at Rebecca Lynne Photography:
– I will offer some “collections” this upcoming year and embrace the idea of including digital files with some of those collections. (Of course, there will still be the a la carte offerings)
– I will be offering 5-7 pm weekday photo sessions which should actually work better with my clients work/sports practice schedules. I am making this change to delay the need for full time daycare for at least the first 6-9 months of our new little one’s life. Depending on how well this works, I may just keep it this way.
– Prices will only increase very slightly (which I need to do every year to fend off the increasing costs of production) but there will be some amazing new products included in the collections to tempt my customers into investing in the products they have always wanted but maybe didn’t feel they could justify purchasing before, and save them money on things they “had” to invest a large portion of their budget into before the collections (aka gift prints for family members).
– I hope to do more in-home ordering sessions (which will now be called the “Session Premiere”) when it’s more convenient for the customer. This will allow me to see the walls they would like to decorate with the images we created.
– I will be adding in more personal touches throughout the process from the first phone call, to the photo session, as well as the session premiere and the order presentation. My ultimate goal being to take the whole experience to a new level of luxury and make my customers (who are mainly moms) feel pampered.
All in all, I want to continue to set myself and my business apart from those newbies and part-timers who we all know are out there trying to lure people in with free and discounted sessions.
Most moms (and some dads) know how much time goes into preparing for the photo session… researching for the perfect photographer, coordinating schedules, gathering outfits and scouring Pinterest and other sites for inspiration. A pretty big investment of time that is worth just as much as the money invested in new outfits… but one that is so rewarding when you have a beautiful work of art (aka family/senior/child’s portrait) to hang in the perfect place in your home and enjoy every time you look at it.
My goal will be to make sure you know just how much I appreciate all of that and help you understand that it would be the ultimate DIS-service to you if I were to just hand you a CD or ask you to download the files yourself from the internet and figure out on your own what to do with them from there… when we both know I can provide you with so much more than that.
If you’ve made it through this text-heavy post I figured you needed to be rewarded with some beautiful images I recently had the privilege of capturing for one of my wedding clients from 2012. They just welcomed this little miracle, Jace, into their family. I’m so genuinely happy for them. I believe babies are the best gifts we receive in our lives (be it our own children, grandchildren, nieces/nephews, friend’s children), and to be blessed with such a happy & healthy little boy … well, it just about doesn’t get any better than that!
In early August we were happy to announce to our families and close friends, and a few weeks later, to all our other friends via Facebook that we are expecting a baby in February 2013!
How we did it was a really fun idea… but more on that later… I’d like to share more about our joy for this newest addition to the Houg family…
Our son, Collin, who will be 6 years old by the time the baby arrives, is beyond excited. He is the sweetest and asks to hug the baby (aka: my tummy) all the time. He also says the sweetest dinner prayers… “God is great, God is good, and we thank him for our baby and pray that you help the baby grow strong, Amen.”
If that doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what will! I have been feeling great, all things considered. I’ll admit, being pregnant at 32 is definitely different than being pregnant at 26 years old! LOL! Plus having a little boy that comes home from school and wants me to get up and go play soccer outside instead of being able to put my feet up or take a nap whenever I feel like it, might be making a difference too!
But it’s all good! I can’t complain for a second. I’m unbelievably excited to be a mom to a new little baby. It took me a while to be ready… but managing my business, working behind the scenes for my husband, and building a new home can kind of put a bit of a damper on the ability to catch baby fever.
We announced our pregnancy to everyone using a clever shirt I’d seen on Pinterest a while ago that the gal had made herself with a plain white t-shirt and fabric paint. I decided I didn’t have time to monkey with painting a t-shirt, plus I’m a perfectionist when it comes to those things so if there was one letter not quite right it would have bugged me every time I looked at it.
So, I designed and ordered a shirt online through Zazzle.com and it was pretty easy. The product arrived fairly quickly and was screen printed to perfection!
I decided to offer the design on their site for other expecting parents to order.
Here’s the link in case you’re interested. I’ll admit, I earn a little credit for each shirt sold which is pretty cool.
And here’s the pictures I took of Collin wearing the shirt…
Oh, and while I was at it, I designed another shirt he loves that says “Soon-to-be Big Brother” he loves. You can check that one out too!
This sweet couple came my way for their wedding pictures with the “big picture” in clear view. They are paying for their own photography because they knew their parents couldn’t support the budget they knew they needed to spend in order to get the best images, and therefore the most vivid memories, they possibly could.
I will say it again and again… Your photos are the key part of your wedding day memories. Even if a million little things didn’t quite go as planned… if you have an awesome photographer that can keep your energy up and catch you in those moments of beautiful happiness, when you look back, you’ll only remember the joy!
Make sure you have someone that will make sure to capture all the little details too… the flowers, the dress, the decor and other significant items you poured your heart into before the big day. Once the big day is over, most of that is gone, or boxed up.
I’m happy to say that my brides get amazing proof books and boxes to show off their images to their family and friends… as well as slideshows to pop into the tv at the next family holiday and relive the happy memories in a very easy way, together!
They also get UNBELIEVABLY BEAUTIFUL storybook albums that they proudly display on their coffee tables for years to come… they don’t just get “shoved on a shelf” like so many people claim to do with theirs.
Here’s the start of my journey with Cindy and Cole toward their wedding day and beyond. They are adorable and totally cherish their days together as Cole is in the Marines and currently stationed in California.
God bless him for the sacrifices he and his fellow servicemen make every day to keep our country protected from harm.
This little ray of sunshine came to me from my good friend Kayla. She came to me for her wedding portraits about four years ago for a consultation and our personalities just clicked and we’ve been good friends since! I love the fact that she believes in me and my photographic abilities even when I doubt myself and my own talent. But, I guess, that’s what friends are for… but she’s really good at it!
I didn’t have an doubts that this session was going to result in some fantastic images though! I was very excited upon their arrival to the studio. I was dying to meet this little girl that came about two weeks past when we all expected her. I had been debating all morning which backgrounds and props to pull out for her portraits and Kayla made the choice easy once she told me her wishes for the overall look.
They did have their knit John Deere hat and cowboy booties for Emilie to wear.
The hardest part of the session was getting Emilie to sleep. Kayla even told me it would be fine if she wasn’t sleeping, but I stayed patient and it paid off! Because you really can’t get the picture where she’s on the chair when she’s awake. I worry enough as it is, and always have mom placed next to the chair, just out of the frame so that if by chance, she startles or rolls, all it would take is a quick reach to keep her safe.
I’m the most protective of my subjects. You can ask the parents! 🙂 I’m always saying “Be careful!” and “Don’t worry about ruining a shot.”
I love these little blessings and I want to make the sessions go as smoothly as possible while always staying safe, and still creating the artistic images their mommy is looking forward to hanging on her walls at home.
My brother-in-law, Kris, got on April 13th to the loveliest gal. Her name is Katie and her mom owns Addie’s Floral in Albert Lea, Minnesota. So I knew their wedding flowers were going to be beautiful for sure!
(Funny fact: I chose Addie for my wedding flowers when I got married to Andy over 10 years ago!)
After quite a bit of thought over having an outdoor wedding at their place in a rustic barn setting, wedding was held in Albert Lea, MN at the Methodist Church. Which was a good thing because there was quite the crowd for this beautiful couple!
I had the honor of being chose as their photographer, Andy was an usher, and our son, Collin was ring bearer! He looked so handsome in his suit!!! I was so excited to see him and Andy all dressed up for the wedding.
I’ll admit there are quite a few extra pictures of Collin mixed in the proofs.
*insert guilty grin*
After the wedding, the couple stopped at Pub 69 in Twin Lakes for a quick drink before heading to Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, IA for the reception.
I was thrilled with their reception choice. #1 because it’s a very photogenic venue inside. #2 the food is awesome and served very fast! #3 it’s only 7 miles from my studio/home!
(Another fun fact: My younger brother also had his wedding reception there.)
They had me take portraits from “getting ready” until their first dance and the father-daughter/mother-son dance. Which is just right for designing a storybook wedding album. I can’t wait to get to work on it! Although I must say, I’m going to be a little jealous since my own wedding portraits aren’t this good!
P.S. I apologize (sort of) for sharing so many images. Usually I can narrow it down a bit more, but it’s hard when it’s your own family!!!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 16 years to get that many views.
Pretty cool, if I do say so myself!
Well, I just counted them up, and I did portraits for seniors from 11, yes, I said ELEVEN different high schools! That’s crazy! I know, if you live in/near a city, that probably doesn’t sound like that many… but when you live in Podunk, IA like me, 😉 where the closest town’s population is less than 2,000 and the nearest “big” town is less than 20,000… you appreciate little facts like these!
It was a huge “validating” moment for me to count those up… mainly because I know just how choosy my seniors are that come to me. They REALLY care about what their senior portraits look like. They are very EXCITED and fully INVESTED in making the session fun and unique.
I only wish I had the time to do in-person premiere viewing appts so I could see their reactions when they see their gallery for the very first time. But I get plenty of ecstatic texts soon after to reassure me of their happiness… that and requests to put images on facebook ASAP!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
Anyhow… back to the task at hand… I need to share some new images with you. These are actually a bit on the older side since I got behind on sharing so I’ll just keep this short and sweet.
Michaela here is the first Newman Catholic Senior I’ve photographed (I think…) She is simply stunning.
Her long dark hair and dark eyes photograph well, and I didn’t have any trouble getting her to crack that killer smile of hers.
I had the privilege of meeting her boyfriend and taking a few portraits of them together as well.
Well, today I’m supposed to be uploading some more images to my site for people to view their proofs, but it’s temporarily down because I had to make a simple hosting change. … long story.
Anyhow, so I had a minute to stop and think about what I COULD upload… and I remembered I hadn’t blogged for a little while!
So here you go! Some gorgeous wedding images from a recent wedding held in Scarville, Iowa.
The bride was looking fetching in her amazing dress, and I loved the vintage-looking jewelry she purchased from Etsy.
I enjoyed working with this crazy wedding party. I’d shot some of the guys before in another wedding … so they all felt pretty comfortable being themselves around me.
After the ceremony, they rode in a bus and stopped at the park in Fertile, Iowa. There, the water was much lower than usual since it’s been pretty dry this year. Lucky for us, it allowed the wedding party to stand out in front of the waterfall created by the dam.
Then, it was time to head to the reception! They did a great job decorating the Ventura Community Center for the event!
I loved the little touches Cassie added to personalize the reception location. And who wouldn’t love this cake topper! High Five!!!
Hi there! I’m just trying to play catch up today! I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately and trying to keep on top of things… shoots, proofing, ordering, packaging, phone calls, emails, facebook, blog… it all adds up!
Luckily, I made a great choice this year, sending Collin to a daycare in Northwood so I wouldn’t have to run him to daycare after pre-school which has been a total life-saver! (Especially since he goes 3x week now, not just two.)
I told myself I was going to start hitting the treadmill again now that I have to run into town, but my workload hasn’t allowed it quite yet. I have high hopes for next week though! My butt will be fat soon if it doesn’t get out of this office chair! … although I do tell myself I have been doing lots of sessions and house work in my off time (staining and painting) so I have kept pretty active. But it’s not a good replacement for some good, hard cardio… they say it helps you work (focus) better too.
Ahhh… enough about my life. On to more fun things!
Miss Alli here was all sorts of fun, with her mom, Kris at her senior photo session. I had a great time seeing all her cute outfits.
She has the BEST smile! All teeth! No holding back! I didn’t pick many serious looks for her proofs because that just wasn’t her style. Although I’m sure a bunch of her friends will love them.
Alli here is a huntress like me… so I was pumped when she said she brought along her shotgun. She is a young Tiffany Lakosky!
It was also interesting to find out she’s a tough cookie too! She’s pitched SIX, that’s right, I said SIX, no run games! What a woman!!!
Well, back to the not-so-fun parts of my job!
Well, ladies and gentlemen. It’s full scale, high school senior portrait season around here at the Rebecca Lynne Photography studio!!! I’m pleased to share my first ’13 Senior blog post.
I know, I know… some OTHER photographers have already been posting seniors for a month now… well, I say poo! 🙂 I believe all good things are worth the wait, and who really wants to be the first kid to get their portraits taken?
I mean, when I was a senior… I wanted to hang out with my friends for a month, have time to go shopping, get a tan… just relax for a while.
Plus, usually it’s still kind of rainy and windy the first half of June. (Although we haven’t seen much rain this year!) I don’t know about you, but I think rescheduling is a pain in the rear end.
*sigh* If only I could control the weather! *another long sigh*
Fortunately, the senior girls I have gotten so far seem to be women of steel! I admire them for looking ever-so-glamorous as I fan them and warn them not to glisten too much! He,hee. Just kidding! (except about the fanning part… I do that! Full-service studio, you know!)
Now, Jordan was no exception to this rule. She was ready for the heat, and I think she made that summer day even hotter! Gotta love this girl’s exotic features. She reminds me of a young Eva Longoria.
We also had a great time taking some shots in her volleyball uniform. She has such a fun personality!
P.S. When I asked Jordan ahead of time, what outfits she had planned, she mentioned an “incredibly beautiful grey crop top” and I figured it would be some embellished top… LOL! I guess sometimes the obvious is not so obvious! 😉
Join me tomorrow night, Thursday, May 31st, at The Island Bar and Grille in Clear Lake from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. I will be donating my time at the Little Black Dress Night.
This fundraising event is all about getting dolled up in your little black dress, strapping on some sexy shoes, and enjoying a fun night out in support of the American Cancer Society (Cerro Gordo County) and the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
The event will feature celebrity waitstaff, a live & silent auction, sexy shoe contest, karaoke, and a NYC streetscape photo-op with yours truly; Rebecca Lynne Photography!
I felt the need to say “Yes!” when one of my favorite customers, Christina Maulsby asked me to volunteer my time. Her son, Quentin Maulsby, has greatly benefited from the Children’s Hospital this past year and I just knew I had to help.
Celebrity waitstaff will serve a special drink created just for Little Black Dress Night, called the “Little Pink Drink”. They will be working hard for tips that will be donated to the charities. This year’s celebrity waitstaff includes: Shane Delany, Jared Devries, Troy Elwood, Amy Fleming, Tim Fleming, A.J. Feurbach, Ed Halbach, Tom Kirby, Joe Malone, Eric Perry, Savannah Reading, Gwen Seiwert, and Beth Tuttle.
The event will be emceed by Jared Allen of KLSS.
There will be a $10 donation at the door to join in the festivities.
I love opportunities where I can give back to the customers and communities that give so much to me by supporting my business.
I’ve got a cute little photo to share with you for Valentine’s Day! Look at this little stud-muffin bare-chested with just a bowtie on! 😉 LOL! Love how he gave me this smile!
I had the brainstorm to make the bowtie when I was looking at some hairclips for little girls, and I thought, wouldn’t that be cute on a baby boy! And of course, I had some burgundy fleece and it took me like a minute to make this cute little bowtie. I just set it under his chin and all of a sudden he gave me this HUGE grin! It must have felt nice and soft, maybe it tickled his chin a little. Who knows, but he liked it! 🙂
And of course, I had to create some cute, one-of-a-kind Valentines for my little guy to hand out at Pre-school and daycare. Collin had fun adding glue dots to the side and sticking a roll of smarties along the edge.
Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
That’s right! Tomorrow’s the BIG DAY! For over a hundred brides that is! (Who have pre-registered for Formalities “A Day to Remember” Bridal Expo).
Actually, last I knew the pre-registered number was more like 125… so that’s going to be a GREAT crowd! I love, love, looove talking to brides!
They are so full of happiness and lots of amazing ideas… and brimming with the hope that they can find all the amazing vendors they need to make their dreams come true.
ENTER Becca… That’s right. I’m a dream-maker, baby!
Not to be humble or anything, but I feel like I’ve done a pretty darn good job of capturing wedding memories for close to seventy brides over the last seven years.
If you need the references to prove it, I’d be happy to share!
Okay, okay, enough of this cockiness (although it’s all true!) That’s not really what I’m like. I’m actually almost detrimentally modest, and not usually the best at tooting my own horn. So I hope I do well tomorrow, trying to self-promote.
Hopefully the “right” brides will fall in love with me and if they weren’t sure I was creative enough for them before, they will be certain to know once I hand them one of my adorable goodie bags!
(I apologize the pictures are just from my point and shoot)
Aren’t they sweet? I’m proud of all the hard work I’ve put into them.
I have been spending plenty of my spare time on Pinterest lately and it just has me in such a creative spirit! (If you haven’t checked it out yet, you MUST! Especially if you’re a bride!)
I can explain more about Pinterest in a future post, but for now… ENJOY these sweet creations! (Totally my own original idea)
You would not believe my excitement in being faced with the task of putting labels and stamps on over 1,200 postcards. *glee*
I just love the challenge of coming up with a concept for my senior marketing materials, bringing it to life on the computer screen and then seeing the final product ready to send in the mail!
My senior mailings are one of the ways my studio stands out from the crowd. Sure, lots of photographers mail postcards or fliers, but mine are huge, 5 1/2 x 8″ full color eye-grabbers!
In the past I have usually scoured websites and other retailers’ marketing materials for inspiration, but this year’s design was totally original, out of my imagination (which has lots of different influences from the dozens of magazines and blogs I love to frequent, but still – it is definitely UNIQUE.)
In the first year of mailing seniors, I probably only sent 500 and I managed to do it on my own while watching TV at night (mainly because I still had a full time job back then, I suppose.)
In recent years I have made it more of a fun, friends and family affair. My darling friend, Deb, has helped me several times and she is amazingly efficient and her stamps and labels are always perfectly straight and she can keep up with my lightning-fast speed. 😉
I have also called on the talents of my mother-in-law, Pat, for her great ability to follow directions and keep me distracted with lots of stories about raising my husband. We even have a really cute picture where Collin is sitting on the table (about 4 mo old in a Bumbo seat) with labels stuck to him that I will see if I can dig up… Hahaa! Found it!
Last year was definitely one of the more interesting labeling years. Andy’s father had just had a triple by-pass and we were spending a lot of time at the hospital in Rochester, I had already ordered the postcards before all this occurred and they needed to get mailed out asap since they had dates on them of a short-term offer that would expire… so I was blessed enough to have Pat, Andy, and my two brother-in-laws sitting over at Mayo in a waiting room helping me out.
I will be honest, I felt like a big, huge, insensitive moron bringing all the postcards and supplies with me to the ICU, but they were all so grateful for the mindless task to distract them from all the worry and fear we were all experiencing. (Plus Herb was able to get a good nap in and watch the Twins in peace.) 🙂
This year, my own dear mother has offered to help and so – along with my bestie, Deb – we tackled this chore on Friday with homemade caramel lattes and strawberry scones close at hand! It was a blast and we got it all done in a couple hours.
I was able to get most of them in the mail box on Saturday so I am hoping the phone will start ringing today! Check your mailbox if you have a Senior! (If you have a senior and aren’t on our mailing list just call and I’ll send one your way!)
P.S. The mailing will feature a discount on our most popular session, the Scandalous Senior Session (unlimited outfits, on-location, indoor/outdoor), for only $99 (normally $140). It’s only good for sessions booked from today until June 4th.
I am so excited to share these pictures with you, documenting the work I did with my husband over Mother’s Day Weekend. I showed you some work I did getting ready to plant some flowers around the deck Andy built for me last fall. Remember how I said it was supposed to have a roof on it, but that I wouldn’t be complaining because it would only take a day or two and it could practically be done? Well, it’s almost done! (My husband works fast! 🙂 Andy Houg Construction if you want to look him up!)
So Mother’s Day Weekend, I had to do a family session on Saturday morning and Andy took one of his employees with him to pull wood off the barn he grew up milking cows in (don’t feel bad, it is falling apart and so I’m doing the environment a favor by re-purposing the wood).
I was just relaxing after having a quick lunch when Andy showed up to tell me they got a bunch of wood and some nice beams removed and he set me to work on removing the vinyl siding along the North side of the studio.
I have a few shots I set up on the timer where you can actually see me doing some work ripping off siding. I didn’t exactly have the most ideal tool for the job at first, but I had vin and vigor! After the initial blast of ambition wore off and I was cussing the damn nails and my scraped knuckles, the guys returned and gave me a crowbar that was more appropriate. Every time I do this kind of stuff I develop a new-found appreciation for my husband and the physical labor he endures every day.
But enough of my whining! Back to business… so Andy and Bob didn’t waste any time getting to work and setting the barn beams into their new role as support posts for the porch roof.
Once that was done, they continued on to framing in the roof for my covered porch. I had the glamorous chore of hauling 10-15 ft long 2×6 and 2×4 boards down the hill from where Andy stores old lumber. (Technically it belongs to his younger brother, but Andy told me using some of it was like charging him a storage fee… so it’s okay! LOL!) *LOVE YOU KRIS!*
I am just thankful Collin was such a good boy throughout the day, as we worked until past 6 pm and he wasn’t much trouble at all. Mainly, he just wanted to pound on stuff with a hammer like daddy, which was just fine… but he also wanted to climb the ladder, which wasn’t so fine. Gotta love little boys!
On Sunday, Andy got right back to work. This time with his brother, Danny, to help. (Gotta love free labor!) **LOVE YOU DANNY!**
They started installing the board and batten siding and I helped out as much as I could while monitoring Collin. (I gotta say, running the nail gun is fun!)
Doesn’t this just look awesome! I am really excited and I can’t wait to see it with the roof finished. I picked up some old galvanized steel siding that my dad saved for me after re-roofing his shop. He was so thoughtful to “antique” it for me the last 20 years. *wink*
I love, love, love the possibilities for this area of my outdoor studio. I still have a couple other ideas to finish out the porch that I’m not going to divulge yet… but I am pleased as punch about the progress.
I am not, I repeat, am not going to put a old wooden barrel on the corner or an old ox yolk across the wall. LOL! Not that there’s anything wrong with that style, but this isn’t meant to be “Western”, it’s going to be a fusion of rustic barn/cabin/porch with bright pops of color and some wicked cool furniture. At least that’s the dream! Watch me make it all come together! Check back often!
Well, my studio’s back room has been bugging me for some time. When I moved my things out to the new space, I just had no clue how I was going to end up using it, so I just kind of stuck things in haphazardly. (By the way, the picture and frames in the back are not for customers, just my own display prints and frames – Customer orders are always handled with lot of TLC!)
I’m a little embarrassed to share this before picture, but I must come clean! I am proud to say my lobby area is always very tidy and my camera room is a little messy at times, but never this bad. I love organization but it does not come naturally to me. I am not a Type A person. I thrive on creativity and being flexible, but I need a little structure to keep those creative juices flowing… too much chaos and I want to run the other way!
So, I dove head-first into a total transformation of the back room. I removed every thing from the cabinets and counter. It was then that I decided I must paint the space. It just wasn’t working for me with the off-white and tan. I needed something to motivate me! Make me want to work in the space.
I picked a deep-sea blue color that I already had from a wall I painted for a photography background. It’s one of my favorite colors, and I thought it would really be amazing with some white accents. I did leave the one wall white because it might have been too much blue and it lightens up the space.
Next, I found some shelves that I had used in our house to display pictures as people headed up the stairs into the old studio space. I had taken them down since and kept thinking I should use them… Well, they work perfectly in the back end of the room for my packaging folders! There were four different sizes and they work awesome. The rest of the folders I stored just below in the cabinet to replenish the ones on the shelves as need be.
Also, I needed a place to hang some bags, ribbon and my tissue paper. Well, I had already bought a wooden dowel to hang my tissue from, but hadn’t gotten around to hanging it up because I was waiting for Andy to cut it down to size for me. I just decided… what the heck, I can do this! So I went looking for a little saw to just hand-cut it, but settled on the pruning shears instead! I figured the dowel wasn’t any bigger than tree limbs I’ve trimmed with it and it was made out of really soft wood… and wha-la! Hung up with some little hooks and I’m ready to just grab my tissue and stuff some bags!
The little basket I hung up is from a set of baskets I bought a while back made for hanging a spice rack inside a kitchen cabinet and I wasn’t able to use it because the way it worked, the cabinet door in my kitchen wouldn’t shut… so it’s just been sitting around and I’ve been trying to figure out a use for it. It works great for the ribbon to dispense and also has space for a little box of gift tags.
I did buy this cute little cup brand new! I found it at Office Max! Isn’t it adorable? I had looked and looked for something I liked and this baby was just what I wanted and under $4. Score! I got two, just in case. I think I might need one on the other side of the room eventually.
I don’t know if you noticed in the before picture, but I had an ugly fuse box that was half-ways covered by a cute picture of little farm boys. That situation I remedied with a large bulletin board that I had stored away in the house. I think I bought that bulletin board when I made a display for my friend’s graduation party in like 2002 and it had been sitting storage since! I painted the frame to match the paint because I was going to hang it on the white wall, but I figured out how perfectly it covered the fuse box, so maybe someday I’ll paint the frame white, but for now it’s just fine. I plan to tack up my Thank-You notes from my customers on it. A little positive reinforcement is always nice! I added a pretty bow to the top to hang it from the pipe.
Then came the hard part… deciding what to keep and what to throw away of all the stuff I pulled out of the room. That wasn’t fun. I just don’t know sometimes, something might come in handy someday… or I have always had this plan of what I was going to do with it, but just never got around to it. I hate that stuff! So I got some nice clear, storage totes and the stuff that I decided was going to stay, but was a project that I needed to get done, went in the clear ones for sure! If it was out of sight, it was out of mind and I want to tackle these things – one at a time over the coming year.
It was amazing how little of space things actually took up once they were organized. I put things back and was so surprised at how many totally empty cupboards I have! It will be a good thing because the office I have in my home will finally move out the studio this spring in anticipation of us building a new home. (crossed fingers!!)
As a little extra something to myself, I hung up a chandelier I bought a while back for the studio as it was being built, but never figured out exactly where I should have it installed, so it’s just temporarily dressing up the back room now. I hung it right over my brooms and dustpan… It makes me feel like Cinderella! 😉
I know it’s not quite worthy yet of a spread in Better Homes and Gardens, but it’s definitely a start in the right direction. And seriously, I only spent less than $30 on new stuff that I needed… mostly on two of these bamboo drawer organizers from Wal-Mart.
I still plan on hanging up some pictures and adding more finishing touches as I get used to my new space, but I wanted to share right away so you guys would know what I’ve been up to. Now, go tackle a project of your own! I need to get ready for a session!
These two little girls were so much fun to photograph. I have been talking to their mom, off and on, since last March about coming to my studio to get their portraits done. It just hasn’t worked out until now. Luckily, she did manage to get some other pictures taken before then. (Honestly, I advise my clients with babies that any pictures are better than no pictures… but portraits at RL Photography are always the best of all! 😉 *wink*)
Needless to say, I had the honor of doing Livi’s 1 year session which is a really big deal in my book! Those 1st year portraits are such a milestone image and they will show up frequently later in life on elementary school bulletin boards, high school yearbooks and commemorative slideshows. You know what I’m talking about, right???
The main reason we waited until now was because their mom wanted a picture like the one I did last spring of the baby with the angel wings on the little pedestal. She facebook messaged me a few times to tell me how much she loved it and how she wanted something like that for her wall. I advised her to wait a little bit until she was sitting up so that we could have it look as similar as possible.
The cute little fairy wings and matching tutus were theirs, but it inspired me to order a second tutu to match my baby size tutu since I’ve been having so many sisters in my studio lately. I already had two, but they were different styles… and I don’t mind having a reason to shop for girlie stuff!!!
I’m really excited to do baby portraits again soon, because I just got some little baby leggings in! They’re like little leg warmers. I got three pairs for girls and two for boys. Can’t wait to try them out!!! Call me if you have a baby you’d like to get portraits of. 🙂
Happy New Year! I am so excited to ring in 2011 and share my new Rebecca Lynne Photography, real.life.blog with you. I thought it would be nice to have a fresh, new look for the new year. Plus, this blog format allows me to create multiple posts and “schedule” them to post. That’s the main reason for the change.
I am a firm believer in using the new year as an opportunity to reflect on the past and create goals for the future. I feel like I’ve done a really great job blogging and staying current with my posts, but I would like to become more efficient with my workflow and to be honest, blogging was eating up quite a bit of my time.
I would try to create a blog post immediately after I finished proofing someone’s session images, which was fine, but just about everyone knows that the more you can do one thing without having to switch gears the more efficient you will be. Hence, the concept of creating multiple posts one time each week from the previous week’s sessions and then scheduling them all to post on various days throughout the week. I’m thinking 3 times/week. Monday, Wed, and Friday. That’s the plan, anyway!
So, enough of this boring, business stuff. You’re not interested in that stuff anyway. You’re here to see images, right?! Well, have I got some cute ones for you!
These were taken a couple weeks before Christmas, but I never got a chance to feature them on the blog and I really wanted to because their mama is such a peach and I just love her to death. We have known each other a looong time and I just feel honored every time I get to photograph her two adorable girls, Morgan and Marlee.