Tuesday, January 31, 2012

{Sneak Peak} Anthony & Jen

Here's a sneaky little picky of last weekend's shoot with Anthony & Jen. 
Jen's beautiful dress was designed by Julie Dutton
I'm doing a whole series of bridal dresses designed by Julie. 
Get ready for lots of photos...they're on their way :)

Edinburgh + January = Freezing Beauty

Welcome to the very end of January! I'd like to take you back to the very beginning. It was a freezing New Years Day and I went on a walk with my handsome husband and my father-in-law who has the same awesome curly blonde hair :) I had the chance to see the city from some new angles that made me fall in love with it a tiny bit more...

 There must have been a time in my life, years ago, when I had heard of Edinburgh but had no idea what it was like. I remember Scotland seeming like such a stereotype. Kilts, bagpipes, red hair — I had heard all about it but it wasn't a reality. It was too foreign to be a real place. Besides, nothing exists unless you're there seeing it yourself right? Countries only appear when you are arrive at the airport to experience them for yourself!  At least it always feels that way.
 People, taking photos! It's like we're all trying to capture what we see so we can keep a piece of it for ourselves...

This is the school of Divinity. I applied to study here in 2006 but I choose to go to St. Andrews instead. What can I say? It was destiny, I had to meet my wonderful husband in our first year hall of residence. So I had no choice but to turn down this beautiful building. It was all in the interest of future love :P 

Ah...fairy lights...

Probably my favourite building in all of Edinburgh! I walk past it all the time and it never ever fails to make me slow down and stare. Sometimes I even stop in the middle of the road to just gawk at it. If you don't recognise it, it's St. Mary's Cathedral in the New Town, near Haymarket. It always makes me think of Dracula (one of my favourite books)! Ah... captivating! I'm amazed that buildings like this were built without cranes and fancy calculators! 
Come visit Edinburgh peope - this place is freezing me into a solid ice block but it's a great view!!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Finding My Personal Style

Here's an idea...

In hopes of identifying my personal style (which from my perspective seems to be all over the wall at the moment) I'm going to Google different rooms of the house i.e. "living room" & "kitchen" and see what comes up. Then I'll pick my favourite photos that make me think "I'd like my kitchen, bedroom, living room etc.. to look like that" or "Ouu.. I want to go sit in there alll day long...." and hopefully we'll start to see a trend. If it helps, then maybe my business will take on a brand inspired by these rooms. Let's seem what happens... (I feel like a crazy person by the way). :P

oh how i love open floor plan
and mixing and matching
and throw pillows!
colour - my darling, i love you so much
awesome fireplace. i love the sofas.
love the coffee table and how clean everything looks
orange & pink used to be my signature AOL IM font colour & background! (good grief that's an embarrassing sentence - that makes me sound reeeally cool) but i probably shouldn't hide the fact that even though im now official a loser I still love it! And awesome awesome furniture shapes & patterns :D i want to recreate this room in my future house this instant!
diagonal furniture makes me happy :D
i love 'outdoor' walls inside
headboard heaven! i love how the beat-up doors and the elegant chandelier go together. i kind feel like that's me - a part of me loves the elegance and the other part loves the grungy

So I think I like white. LOL And it's best with some splashes of bold colour.
I like things that are rustic, eclectic and still elegant & interesting.
So what does that look like in a photography business?

Maybe that's saying that I like things to be clean and simple but still fun.
I like the beauty of elegant things but the to earth-ness of rustic things.

I'll work on it & get back to you. Any ideas? Let me know, please :D


PS: My Ideas for Incorporating This Style into My Business:

Clean white background - check.
A splash of happy colours here and ther (buttons & backgrounds) - workin' on it
Elegant fonts combined with rustic fonts? - i'll look into it.
Elegant design with rustic touches (hmmm) - lookin' into that too 
Is this something I can incorporate into my clothing? Good grief, everyone watch out if I'm going to start wearing white everyday- this could be dangerous!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Branding, Re-Branding & Branding Again

I know you're probably asking..."Again with the branding, Chamonix!?! Don't you have anything else to talk about?" My answer...right now, not really. It's all I can think about! It's driving me crazy!

Do people actually notice the tiny changes I make each day to my website / blog? I just make little tweeks here and there - improvements that I hope will attract new clients. It's all with good intentions but is there any chance it's harming business instead? Is it showing a lack of consistency? Surely not when I'm just rewording my 'about me' section slightly but when I change fonts of update my colour pallette is that something clients notice?

Obviously relaunching websites/branding is totally acceptable but what if that relaunching occurs once a week lol Surely that's bad. I'm trying to hold back but I doubt myself everyday and I'm so eager to try new style all the time. Maybe it's just my age? Mom said everything will keep changing until I'm 25. Maybe in two years I'll "know who I am" and I could easily drop a pin on branding solution? I don't like that idea :( I want to believe that at 23 I am more than capable of choosing a style and sticking with it. Maybe I just need to toughen up. I've always been a bit of a pansy and I've always admired the slightly rebelious / independent women in films who know what they want and aren't afraid to go skinny dipping! Surely, it's time to step up to the plate and be one of those women.


PS: All the blogging about branding is helping with the stress :P Thanks for being patient. I appreciate it and you're welcome to share your stresses with me anytime lol

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Strong Branding - I Suck At It

Branding branding branding ughh...Everybody's talkin' about it and I feel so lost! I totally get the idea and I see it everywhere I look but when I look at my own brand I feel all frustrated and hopeless. Maybe I'm too attached and need to step back or something. I keep looking at other people's websites for inspiration but all the ends up happening is that my website looks like theirs and that's no good at all considering the whole point of building up a strong brand is that it's unique and makes you stand out blah blah blah.

I feel like it's easy to identify other people's brands because you look at them, see what they like/are like and theme their brand around that. What's the favourite colour? Yellow! Great - your brand is yellow! My problem: I like colour and lots of it! How to choose. Well finally I did - purple, blue and green. I still have two shade of purple, two shades of green and one blue but still for me that's quite narrowed. I like having multiple shades - it keeps the look dynamic and alive. But is that still too many?!  What's your favourite style? Jasmine Star likes fashion so it seems obvious that her style is all fashion & glam & fabulous. Her website/blog is all magazine themed like a fashion magazine. Done!
Everyone keeps going on about how a strong brand (especially for a photographer) is personal. So surely that means it should be easy. I just do what I like and that's me sorted, right?! But I like so many different things in this world that I can't seem to put my finger on just one style. I love rustic, I love chic, I love vintage, I love modern. I love black and white and colour (but not sepia tone!) and I love flowers and wood and feathers and block colours and crazy collages, and swirls and fabric and natuer and music and love and cursive letters and grungy letters! Ahhh! Such love of variety is a good thing but it seems to suck for working out a strong brand! Oh help, somebody, help me.... What is my brand?

PS: My "xoxo" could be part of my brand? I use that all over the place. It's not exactly like I came up with it though, is it?! :( hmmm

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Price & Branding Stress :(

So apologies to all for my late replies this week. Long story short - my computer charger literally started smoking and then no surprise...died. Is that a sign that I've been on my computer too much recently? :P It's been really annoying because I haven't been able to see the photos from the bridal shoot I did last Sunday - the anticipation is killin' me! Thankfully, the new charger is in the mail and hopefully it will show up tomorrow and I'll be back in action. Until then, I'm here sitting in a dark university computer lab that I only have access to thanks to my wonderful husband. Thanks Miggy :D

On a slightly more upbeat note....the bridal shoot went really well. I had a lot of fun with people I've never worked with before and Julie Dutton's dresses were absolutely stunning on the models! They were pretty on the hangers but I had no idea they were going to be so gorgeous when they were swishing around. We also had designer jewellery and bouquets made up by the local florist. I'm so excited to see the photos big (the little LCD screen just DOESN't cut it!)

I also re-listened to Zach & Jody Gray's super duper useful No-Cost Marketing workshop published by Sarah Petty's Joy of Marketing. It was again..amazing and this time I was inspired to buy their resource packet. It waas $99 and purchasing in dollars always makes me happy since it ends up looking like less in pounsd (£59). Migs freaked out momentarily when I told him I paid £60 for a pack of paper but it's been so useful. I've been struggling so much these last couple weeks with pricing structure and figuring out how I'm going to be dealing with clients who can't afford my prices. Zach & Jody (and my mom, dad & one of my best girlie friends) have helped so much!

I've also been stressing majorly about my branding. When I look at other businesses that have become really successful, their branding seems so strong and clear and when I look at my own it all seems so messy and not clear at all :( boo! I find myself dreaming about it and the only time this pre-occupation goes away fully is when I'm teaching a yoga class. I always feels so refreshed afterwards. I really want to work with a professional branding and marketing designer who can tell me what to do. At first I wanted to do it all myself but I've had enough. It's time I started putting all of my attention towards improving my photography rather than fiddling around with my website.

Stressin' with a smile on my face :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Freezing Edinburgh E-Session {A+L}

Annie & Luke met when they were students at Stirling University. Friends first, it was a few years before romance jumped on to the scene. Now that it's here, it couldn't be more clear that beneath their relationship is a strong foundation of friendship—they seemed to gravitate towards one another, laughing and finding comfort in each other's company. It was so lovely to watch them chatting away and playfully teasing each other while I snapped photo after photo.
When we first spoke (last summer), Annie had warned me that they were slightly camera shy and possibly the least photogenic couple in the world. Now that I've seen them in front of my camera I can confidently say that I completely disagree! 

They were so cute together and despite the biting cold that made them want to keep their hands in their pockets they kept big happy grins on their faces the whole time. They were troopers in the -5 degree Edinburgh morning. I'm still impressed that they were willing to sit on a bench covered in thick frost!

I brought along chalk to draw hearts for them to blow to each other! I was afraid a security camera would catch me drawing on the Archive of Scottish History's front pillars but we made it out alive and undetected!

 After about an hour and half we couldn't take the cold anymore so we ran into the Princes Street Starbucks. Turns out Annie & Luke are coffee fans too so everybody else was as excited as I was for a trip to the world's best coffee house (yes I know I'm biased because I'm from Seattle).  

I also had the chance to work with a second shooter - Dave of Photography by Dave. I'd never actually worked with a second shooter before so that was quite exciting. It was really nice to be able to stop and chat with Annie & Luke knowing that somebody was still catching all the special moments during the conversation. It also meant I was able to change my lenses around without having to make my wonderful models wait for me. 

Annie & Luke's wedding will be on the 8th September 2012 at the Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh. I'm very sad that I won't be able to join them because I'm already booked on that day shooting Louise & Mike's wedding in St. Andrews. Thankfully they've found another photographer to work with and they'll get to take photos in the Queen Street Gardens — which should be lovely! So even though I can't be there at their wedding, I'm so super glad that I got to spend a freezing January morning with them in Edinburgh because they are two very lovely people. Did I mention they like dogs and they have a cat named Izzy (sp?) — that means I get to like them even more!! When it came to sorting through their photos I found myself wanting to turn every single one black & white. I haven't figured out why that is but something about these two looks so good to me in when they're in B&W. I love it! I especially love Annie's chequered coat in B&W! 

Can't get enough of Annie & Luke's smiley faces? Please feel free to watch their slideshow below!

Congratulations Annie & Luke!
I loved working with you both :) I can't wait to see your wedding day photos!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wheeley Bin Love

Earlier this week I was talking to a friend who said they were going to go visit their neighbor who was sick in bed suffering from cancer. He said it was really hard to see this older man in this feeble state because all his life he'd been a very active member of the community. Apparently, he was the kind of guy that would be out oiling his front gate so he walked over to oil yours as well. He drove the van for after school clubs and stroke recovery groups and was never too busy to help. The story that stuck with me the most was this one: for as long as my friend could remember this man had wheeled every single rubbish bin in the neighborhood (20 or so houses) in & out each week. He just wanted to make everyone else's lives easier. 


"We can do no great things--only small things with great love." -- Mother Teresa 

In a society where everybody is so concerned with rushing around getting jobs done, buying new things and advancing their own status I found the story of this humble man's caring efforts so moving. I've never met him but I know that he is lying in a bed now not more than a twenty minute walk away from where I'm sitting right now in my house. What an inspiration! I want to be more like him. 

Lots of love to everyone this evening :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Annie & Luke Sneak Peek!

Here's a sneak peak of yesterday's (freezing cold) engagement session in Edinburgh with Annie & Luke. We were in the New Town and it was soo cold so cold so cold! We only managed to stay out for a couple hours before retreated to Starbucks (a very happy warm place) :) Annie & Luke were amazing. They ran up stairs, rode the little bouncy creatures at the Princes St. Garden playground and didn't complain once when I asked them to sit on a bench covered in frost. 

After the shoot I spent the afternoon photographing my sister-in-law's shoes and then caught the late night bus back up to St. Andrews. Miggy surprised me by meeting me at the bus station when I arrived and then I walked into the house to find a candlelit dinner waiting for me. He even had jazzy music playing in the background and he was wearing my favourite outfit! He's so lovely — I love him! :D

Today I have to head into town to teach a yoga class at noon and then I'm writing an article for Scottish Woman about wedding photography. Once I've done all that I'll finally get to sit down and sort through the rest of the photos I've taken featuring Annie & Luke's gorgeous faces :D

I hope everybody has a fabulous Monday!
Lots of love,

Friday, January 13, 2012

£2500 Wedding Photography Competition

Very excited to see this promotion published on The Natural Wedding Company Blog today! Woohoo :) Who doesn't seeing their own name in print! lol Anyway, everything she says is true true true! So make your way over to the competition entry form and fill out a few very simple questions for your chance to win!!!

I'm absolutely loving the stories that are being sent in. Each one brightens my day. Life is going along like usual and then bing bang boom - a love story appears on my lap(top)!!!!! Apart from the fact that I just love getting emails from people, hearing about how people have fallen and love and how they've been so thoughtful with their proposals makes me so happy. I get all smiley and can't wait until I get the chance to talk to these people in person (or at least over the telephone lol). I feel so honoured that they are sharing these most special moments of their lives with me - a 'stranger' {I'm not really that strange though if we're honest...really, I promise I'm not. My husband and brother might strongly disaggree but now I've led you down a tangent. Sorry.} To the point - I feel so blessed to be included in these wonderful people's stories. I love being a wedding photographer!!!!

Find what you love and do it because it makes life amazing :D

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First 10 Days!

So I've embarked on the 365 Photos project that every photographer out there seems to be doing this year. Well I stand by my claim that I thought of doing it first! :P It's been fun so far but much more difficult than I imagined. The tough part is choosing which photo I'll use since I take dozens each day and then how it should be edited, if at all. Instagram has all its fun little quirky filters and I get all sucked in scrolling between them all, indecisive. If nothing else, this project is inspiring me to lead a more interesting life because if these photos are the highlights of each I guess my life is quite quiet at the moment. I'm spending lots and lots of time preparing for 2012 weddings; updating pricing lists, giving the website miniature facelifts, organising bridal shoots (woohoo I've got 4 this month!) and researching new fun products I can offer. 

I've also started watching Grey's Anatomy again. I'm half way through season 5. I love finding a good show! And New Girl - my husband says I'm just like Jess. I'll take that as a compliment thank you very much :) It's a good thing to sing all day and have crazy cool dance moves!

I got a call this morning from the Scottish Wedding Show. They're offering me a booth at the February show and I'm running numbers and dreaming about possibilities. I have until tomorrow morning to get back to them. Oh what to do... I'd like to book some weddings please...pretty pretty please :) If anyone wants to hire me to save me the expense of paying for a stall at the show that would be absolutely lovely - I won't say no lol. far I've received about 6 entries to the wedding collection competition that I'm running! Hooray! I absolutely love reading engagement stories and it's so sweet that people are sending them it. What a treat :) Thanks!

Have a smashing day :)