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Boot Camp Begins!

Boot camp.  It’s a concept we’re likely all familiar with…  but what do you think of when you hear it?  Probably the army or even fitness nuts, neither of which you’d find me anywhere near.  But Shauntelle’s sleaze-free self-promotion boot camps for creative types?  Yep.  That’s right up my alley.

Okay, so the timing could be better.  Between puppies, moving house, Halloween costumes, and my photography, I’ve got a lot on my plate.  As an involved parent I’ve always got a lot on the go.  It’s just (as my 18 year old sister would say) how I roll.  After all, when it comes to putting ourselves first, let’s admit it, there’ll always be reasons why we don’t have time.  So, I figure, it’s high time I MAKE time.

My photography is my work, my “day job”, and I’m very lucky that my business is something I’m so passionate about.  There are a lot of things I do (as you are all well aware), but I really do need to get better at this whole self-promotion thing.  Let’s face it.  It’s not fun.  And while I’m totally awesome – I really am.  LOL  I really am a fabulous photographer…  my work is unique, the experience I give my clients is superb, and I have a vision that is unparallelled in the market today.  I know it, and people who have worked with me know it, but I need to get over the sleazy feeling involved with self-promoting if others are going to realize it too.  That’s where Shauntelle’s boot camp comes in.

I need to learn how to better promote my work and my professional identity.  Her boot camp is designed to help me do just that.  To get over that near-prostitution feel of writing an “all about me” blurb, to know where to put my efforts, and how to get the most out of said efforts.  It’s not easy making your way through life as a professional creative – of any type.  What we really are selling is ourselves, and that doesn’t always feel great.  Seriously, if I could take the promotional end out of the photography, I’d be a happy camper.  But I can’t.  You can’t run a business without promoting it.  So that’s what led me up to today.

Wish me luck.  My first assignment is part way done, and due tomorrow afternoon.  Here’s to feeling sleaze-free while learning to promote myself and my photography!



Check out Shauntelle’s “Sleaze-Free” boot camps at:

I’m pretty lucky as far as the weather is concerned…

I’m pretty lucky, as far as dealing with weather conditions as a photographer.  In all my years as a professional photographer I’d only ever been forced to reschedule a session due to inclement weather twice.  Scratch that.  As of this evening it’s now thrice.

Still, I shouldn’t complain.  Three times during my professional career?  That’s less than once every two years.  I’d say it’s a darn good track record.  Seems Mother Nature is generally on my side.  😉

These winds though, WOW!  While they’d be fabulous for a glamour shoot – a woman wearing a gauzy dress, with flowing hair, and a big wide brimmed hat?  How much fun would that be???  But a couple looking for some relaxed and romantic, quiet and calm captures?  Not so much.  So we rebooked for another time.

I love working in the open air, you simply won’t find a studio environment that can offer even a tenth of the qualities you can find out in nature.  The light, the setting, the amazing effect both can have on your subjects…  Nope.  You’re not going to find that in a studio.  Heck, I used to have one…  and I didn’t use it.

Yep, given me the real world any day.  Real people, enjoying themselves in a real situation.  Loving themselves and the experience.  It just doesn’t get any better!


Ugh.  Just realized I’ve got bug guts on my screen.  Ewwwwwww……….  😛

Gotta love Summer!  (and yes, it’s from something getting squashed earlier while I was working outdoors – because even when I’m processing an image, if I can be outside?  I’d rather be.)

If you can’t say something nice…. oh goodness.

Okay.  I keep putting my hoof in my mouth and then have to struggle to get it back out again over this.  I take my work as a photographer seriously.  It is a privilege to be involved in the creation of something amazing that really highlights the bond and love found between two people, within a family, or that can be found in one person’s heart.  Photography is NOT a fly by night career.  You work long and hard to establish a reputation, to prove your dedication, commitment, and skill.  Every new client is a new chance to push yourself, to become better, and I am every grateful for everyone who has put their trust in me and my work.  So when I know of someone who is just “going to be a photographer” while they’re on mat leave, on sick leave, or taking a break from their other work?  Oy!

I’m trying to be a supportive person.  Trying to encourage others.  Trying to support my fellow women doing what they believe is best for themselves and their families…  but really?  It’s a slap in the face to dedicated professionals when someone just decides to photograph people because clearly anyone can do it.  Ugh.

So please don’t brag to me, or anywhere you know I’ll see it, about the cool props you are buying (real photographers don’t rely on props – they are the tools of fauxtogs and momtogs).  Please don’t tell me about the “how to pose babies” books you are hoping to buy (real photographers don’t rely on posing techniques – they are for Sears, Walmart, and other fauxtogs).  Please don’t expect me to get excited about the huge money you’re going to make with a limited time/money investment (sorry, but that’s just not the way it works, photography is an expensive art form to be involved in).

I want to be supportive of you.  I know you aren’t trying to be insulting.  But please, please don’t expect me to say I think this new venture of yours is great…  because it’s just not.  And in my years of working as a dedicated professional I’ve seen so many “FLASH” in the pan fauxtogs come and go, and every one of you makes my work more difficult.  Every client you disappoint is that much less likely to put their trust in an actual professional photographer in the future.  And those you fool into thinking your stuff is great?  Well…  boy…  that doesn’t make it true.

I’m sorry if I sound bitter and jaded, I really do want to support you in your choices…  but it really is insulting when you figure that just by buying a semi-decent camera that you can do what it has taken me years and years of experience and dedication to learn, understand, and create.  So yeah.  Forgive me if I don’t throw you a party.


Haha… oops…



I was off playing around at the Plum when I realized I should actually be on WordPress writing tonight’s blog post.  LOL  Oooops.

So here I am.  😉

Honestly?  I think I’m just so excited about the backlog of photography edits almost being through that I’ve been thinking about getting back to my scrapbooking.  I’m almost through my training to be a designer (I was almost through back in March, but had to put it all on hold when things got crazy busy and I’ve been on a leave of absence ever since) and hope to open my store in the new year.  But right now?  right now I just want to do a layout.  LOL

I’ve got a couple of LOs (that’s short for layouts for all you non-scrapbooking folk) that I need to have finished shortly.  One in the next couple of days, and the other about a week later.  Nothing like having a looming deadline when you’re finally able to get back at it.  😉

So, yeah…  scrapbooking on the brain.  Can’t help it.  The idea of having time to do something for ME???  It’s been months and months since I’ve had that luxury, and well?  I’m close to happy tears over the idea.

The stress is finally lifting.  I can get back to working how I ENJOY working.  None of this groupon-induced stress.  No more 3 and 4 photo shoots a day, and a backlog of 80 shoots needing editing.  It feels so nice to have things return to NORMAL.  😉  Three shoots a week, and time to edit those shoots within that same week.  No backlog.  No stress.  Taking it easy and enjoying my work and all the blessings that come with it.  Yay me!  🙂

Why might a photo not make the cut?

After my post a couple days ago, outlining my basic editing process, I have had some inquiries.  It seems you’d all like to know a little more about why a photo might not make it past the purge.  Well…

A photo might not make it past the first round of cuts based on a number of things.  Sometimes someone has blinked.  Sometimes an insect, snowflake, or raindrop has crossed between my client and the lens in an odd way.  Sometimes there was a movement I hadn’t accounted for.  But honestly?  Even more than the obvious things (like those I just mentioned) it’s often just a feeling.

For me to accept an image into my final 40-50 images, the final cull, those worth investing my time into…  It has to speak to me.  It has to have something interesting to say.  It has to make me smile.  It has to share a story.  It has to resonate.  It has to have a certain spark.

A photo won’t make it through my purge if it isn’t special – and that’s the biggest test of them all.

A Photographer’s Dilemma

Possibly the best dilemma a photographer can have, is narrowing down a fabulous shoot to a manageable chunk of images.  When working with clients, I like to present them with 40-50 excellent shots – all suitable for large scale framing.  Several dozen images, all that they can be proud to display anywhere in their home, office, or personal gallery.  I never have a problem coming up with that many.  Even in the most difficult of shoots I can easily find four dozen beautiful images.

In an hour long shoot, I typically take 200-350 images.  Not every photographer shoots as much as I do, and some shoot several times that amount.  It’s a personal thing.

When I sit down to begin “adjustmenting”, I first take a quick pass through all of the shots.  A quick, couple second each, pass through the entire photoshoot.  I then go back to the beginning, and begin my first purge.

During the initial purge, I delete any images that strike me instantly as a NO.  What makes it a NO varies greatly.  Whatever it is, it’s a NO.  Not even worth a second look.

I’m usually then left with about 10o images that are all worth looking at more seriously.  And that’s when my, very critical, eye really begins to work.  I flip back and forth between similar images, sometimes several times a second.  I pull a loupe (the round magnifier) and examine expression lines.  I go forward and backwards, forwards and then back several more.  And I don’t like to be interrupted.  This is, for me, the most serious part of the job.  It’s about the potential each of these images has to be more, to say more, to create more, to inspire more.  And only the best will pass this second purge.

From this, I end up with my 40 to 50 final shots.  And this is when I begin my edits, adjustments, and enhancements.  This is when I begin to have fun again.

I love my work.  I find it joyous.  But I also take it very seriously.

Today?  Today I have the best possible kind of photographer’s dilemma.  Today, my initial purge took me from just under 350, to 182.  182.  A gorgeous couple, and they feel for one another just leaps off their faces.  I’ve now gone through three purges, and am still hovering around 100 images.  Time to purge again…  and be HARSH.  I need to cut this baby down another half.  It will break my heart deleting some of these shots, but only the VERY best are worth the time I spend on adjustments.

I spend several hours working through a session after the purges.  And so far, just the purges have taken a number of hours.  LOL  But, like I said before…  too many excellent images?  That’s the kind of dilemma every photographer LOVES to have.

Jen, I’m determined to get your shoot completed, burned, and ready for your Grandmother’s 102nd birthday.  Wish me luck.  😉

Thank you for noticing!

In my role as photographer, I often go out of my way to help ensure the comfort of my clients.  And that includes trying to keep them out of the scorching, midday, summer sun.  I try to keep afternoon shoots indoors at this time of year, but occasionally a client will have their heart set on being outside.  So, I’ll put myself in the line of fire trying to keep them as cool as possible – a family photo shoot that ends in the E.R. dealing with sunstroke or worse is hardly the type of memory I’d like to leave people with.  Most of the time, folks don’t notice.  And honestly?  I’m okay with that.  But when you do notice, and you take the time to inquire as to my comfort, I do appreciate it.

One of my shoots today was outside, shortly after high noon, with the blazing heat beating down on us.  And as always, I did my best to keep the family comfortable and feeling good about things.  This time though, my efforts did not go unnoticed.  They saw me in the direct sunlight after ensuring they were in the shade, and though I laughed it off…  I appreciated their concern.  It’s nice that they noticed.  It’s nice that my efforts were appreciated.  I am glad I could help make them feel more at ease, and I’m glad I was there to help capture a few special moments for them.

My iPad 2 is Here!

I am as giddy as a schoolkid!  My iPad 2 arrived today.  I’d ordered it from the online Apple store a few weeks ago so am super excited that it finally got here.  And yes, it’s engraved (with OUR song, my name, and my email address).

Why am I so excited?  Well, besides being a gadget nut (I really do love a new tech toy), this is going to make my life sooo much easier.  I’ll be able to use it for a lot of things, but the reason I bought it was this:


That’s right!  I’m taking my photography business paperless.  All my forms will now be electronic only.

Over the next few days I hope to find the time to redesign all my photography releases so that they will now be strictly e-documents.  Book me for a shoot, and you’ll be able to fill out your information, and sign your name directly on the iPad.  How cool is that???

I also have plans to streamline the booking process as well – but that’s going to take a little more time, a little more investimagating, and a little more work.

I’m excited.  This is going to totally change the way I handle all my documents and forms.  Sooo looking forward to this.

LMAO  Why yes, I’m a nerd.  Thanks for asking.  LOL

me and my new iPad 2

GETTING on the road again…

Busy day today.

Got a whole whack of disks out ready to be picked up from the photo shoots I’d done the last couple of weeks.  Did them up differently than what I’d done in the past, and I’m very happy with them.  Laser inscribed, coloured disks in matching coloured sleeves.  I figure beautiful pictures should be delivered in a beautiful package…  and now they are.  It took a little work to get all the kinks out of the new system, but I am very happy with the end result.

Created an ad for TD Photography.  It’s a little half page black and white one that will run in this years PRIDE Guide.  We always attend as many events as possible during PRIDE Week every year, so I’m super excited to have TD Photography in the guide AND to be helping to organize the Gay Latte poetry night this year.

Did almost all the grocery shopping for the dog show.  All I have left to buy is bait at the deli.  Sliced chicken loaf.  The dogs always go gaga for it…  and the only time they ever get any is at a dog show.

Sewed up a new x-pen surround.  I’d bought the material last year, but never got around to actually putting it together.  So I’m glad it’s finished.  It will be much prettier than just draping baby blankets over the crate and pen.

Laundry all finished up and folded too.  So come tomorrow, I’ll be ready to pack, and both DH and the girl will have plenty of clothes so I don’t have to worry about what they’ll wear whilst I’m away.

I’m always completely exhausted by the time I actually leave for a show.  It takes a ton of work to get everything ready.  Once upon a time (before child, before jobs) it was a relatively simple thing…  and everything could easily be accomplished the day I left.  Not any more.  LOL  Heck, I’ll even be taking work WITH  me to do at the show during my very limited down time.  Just because I’m away, doesn’t mean the world stops.  Still lots to do on both my Camp fYrefly and TD Photography plates.

Well…  I’m one tired chick.  Time to rest.

Night all!

Sweet dreams.

Are you exhausting?

Some folks are absolutely exhausting. And I don’t mean in the way that the girlie is exhausting (where she’ll tire you out, but you are left feeling nothing but love).  I mean put your soul through the wringer, tough to deal with, leave you wanting to sleep for six days straight, exhausting.  I would say “you know who you are”, but I’m not really sure that’s the case.

I’m sure some folks know that they are super demanding and tough to deal with, but I’m also sure there are at least as many out there who have no idea.  And they may be people you love, but they just leave you feeling like you have nothing left to offer yourself (let alone anyone else).  So how do you know if you leave folks wanting to crawl into a hole for days on end?  I’m not sure.  Gads!  I hope I’m not one of those people.  Would you tell me if I were???

I’ll admit, I’m high maintenance when it comes to romantic relationships.  I’m hard on Damon, I expect a lot from him, but I do try to make sure he knows how much I appreciate and love him.  I don’t let a day go by without both saying it and showing it.  So I may be high maintenance, but I don’t think I’m a soul-leech.

So.  How do you know if you are a drain on others?  And why am I stuck on this topic tonight?  LOL  Well…  I’m feeling drained, and it just got me thinking about it.  I normally love pretty much everything about photography, even the business end of things.  But every so often you run into a client that just leaves you feeling like you are laying out in the desert, burned out to the point where even the scavengers aren’t interested in trying to chew through your weathered, leathery skin.  Even one email just leaves you tired.  But I certainly wouldn’t give it up.

For that ONE person, there’s got to be at least a dozen (if not two or three dozen) people who just make it all so worth while.  Families so full of love that it spills out to all those around them.  People with spirits so vibrant that I fear I’ll need to buy a special filter for my camera so they don’t leave it damaged.  Couples so delightful that they’d brighten even the cloudiest days, by simply chasing the drizzles away with their radiant smiles.

So yeah…  I’m worn out tonight, beat, tired.  Or, well…  I was.  But then I remembered all the incredible folks who make it SOOO very worth it.  And now?  I’m sitting here grinning like an idiot.  An idiot who is completely content and happy with her lot in life.

Night all!


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