Monday, December 30, 2013

The Best Thing About Being a Woman's Portrait Photographer

What I love most about being a portrait photographer for women is that the pictures I take have the power to help women realize how beautiful they are. I don't think women need to be transformed or have makeovers to be beautiful. I think the beauty is already there naturally - yes, even in those women that don't look beautiful at first glance. During my photo shoots with women, we use makeup and hairspray and fluffy ballgowns because most women enjoy playing dress up. This experience of getting all dolled-up magically seems to boost our confidence and we can't help but strut across the room. The same women who arrived hunched over like a little mouse with her pink tail between her legs, leaves with a little bounce in her step or sway in her hips. The confidence is beautiful. The photo shoot creates a safe-space where women are invited to explore how they feel about themselves. It's a full hour or two during which she is the center of attention and all the women around her are in awe of her beauty. She hears us repeatedly saying over and over... "You're so beautiful." "Oh my gosh, you look so pretty." "Wow, that pose is gorgeous." At first she shrugs it off but by the end of the photo shoot our words start to sink in and she starts to believe in her own beauty. Even if it's not obvious to her yet, she's now aware that it must exist because someone can see it. The best bit is that when we are telling her that she is beautiful, we mean it because our sole purpose and mission during that hour of OUR lives is to appreciate HER beauty. It's a way to honor other women and I love it. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

{Grateful on Sunday} Simple Pleasures of Hawaii in December

This {Grateful on Sunday} is covering ALL my gratitude for the entire month of December! So here we go, 4 weeks of full-on simple pleasures..... 

This month I am grateful for Starbucks samples in cute tiny cups and late night milkshakes on the beach,

the most beautiful Christmas lights at the Grand Wailea, 

new flavors of tea, 

when I outsource my morning green juice,

the satisfaction of cleaning,

driving up Haleakala Volcano with Miggy to watch the sunset, 

cheerful stationary that inspires me to write more letters,

my new Wacom tablet AND funny sign typos,

letters - incoming + outgoing, 

a peaceful walk on the beach by myself after work while listening to Chopin (love that guy's music), 

surprise flowers from Miggy,  

taking a walk down the beach on a stormy day with Miggy, 

watching surfers at Ho'okipa Lookout with my brother,

being reunited with my guitar after over 1 year apart! Time to practice, 

Christmas cookies from mom and more free samples from Starbucks, 

gorgeous sunsets and being warm in December, 

finding gems at the Salvation Army - heck yes $8 awesome blender and a new wallet, 

road trips in the sunshine with my love

a dinner date with my friend Naomi, 

a whale watching sailboat trip for our office party, 

photo shoots at beautiful beaches,

wind blowing through palm trees in the afternoon. 

What are you grateful for this month?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Naomi's Portraits at the Surfboard Wall and Baldwin Beach, Maui

A couple weeks ago my friend Naomi and I went to Baldwin Beach on the north shore of Maui to take pictures of her for her new website. I love photographing fellow photographers - we're all so awkward in front of the camera because we're not used to it and I always find it a fun challenge to make them feel more relaxed. Naomi is a wedding and portrait photographer in Maui and you can visit her blog here: I love this surf board wall where we started our shoot. It's just on the side of the Hana Hwy after you've gone through Paia town. So cool! When we arrived at the beach, we decided to explore down a grassy pathway through the trees instead of just jumping into the sand and oh my goodness we're so happy we did because the most gorgeous evening sunshine was pouring through the leaves - I finally get to experience what people mean when they talk about the 'golden hour' - it was more like the 'golden 5 minutes' but that's good enough for me. I loved it! Naomi is so much fun to be around - she has the best laugh, she isn't afraid to make funny faces and she loves being outdoors. We share a love for simple living, pretty wine labels, veggie gardening and the more wild jungle side of Maui. I'm so happy to have met her and to have a new friend on this little island :D Thank you so much Naomi for asking me to take your portraits! It was a delight :D 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Totally Falling Off the Planet, Dreaming & Branching Out

I have hardly dipped my toes in the blogging pool this month. It's been a nice treat to just fall off the cyber planet for a few weeks, ever since my birthday really. I guess I just needed to disconnect and not feel so chained to the computer everyday. It's been sweet. I've started playing guitar again. I'm reading books and writing stories in my journal. Instead of spending my work energy on blogging, I've been redirecting it towards actual work, like editing photos and developing our business. I've really gone headfirst into a new little branch of my business. I've been testing out the waters of family photography AND videography and I'm loving it. It's so great to have something fresh to work on. Miggy is started to get a little more involved in the business too - at the moment he's fulfilling a very handsome advisory role. It's fantastic having someone to say "yes" or "no" when I'm beating my head against a wall of indecision — that extra input makes it so much easier to move forward past those pesky obstacles.

I've also been thinking a lot about where I'd like to go with my photography. Apart from the fact that we feel like we want to live in 100 different countries (which makes growing a business rather difficult), I still dream of having my own studio. I've done the home studio thing and it was a fabulous start but now I'm ready to move into a commercial space. I think it really makes a difference when it comes to having a professional appearance for clients - just kind of takes it to the next level. I want to use the studio for shooting my women's portraits. I'd also like the studio to have an office space where we can edit and do all admin stuff — I think it's a great idea to have a designated spot for work so we don't have to take it home everyday. We can also use this office space (or use the studio as a meeting space) for the family portraits branch. 

In other news, my brother visited us for a couple days before Christmas. It was SO AWESOME to spend time with him. We fought a lot as kids but we're amigos now - I love having someone who is closer to me than anyone else in this world (genetically) and knowing that we're so similar and share a childhood and so many memories. We had some really great chats and lots of fun holding tropical birds, climbing waterfalls and skipping rocks. Thanks Ian for such a fun wonderful visit. Enjoyed every minute + made lots of memories ;)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sales Tips Series Part 8: Remember Who's Writing the Check

Happy Christmas Eve & welcome to part 8 (we've made it to the end - woohoo!!) of this insanely exciting Sales Tips series! Check out previous tips:
Part 3: Directing Sales Conversations with Probes & Closes
Part 4: Inflating Your Prices to Make Room for Volume Discounts
Part 5: Guerilla Marketing to Increase Sales 
Part 6: Your Confidence as a Sales Person
Part 7: Creating an Image that Sells 

When you pay big money, you expect big service. People like getting the credit, being the center of attention, being listened to and fussed over. All of this special attention is especially important when money is involved. When people pay for service and don't get what they expect their complaints are louder because they feel the pain in their pocketbooks.

  • Remember who's paying the bill and cater to them, what they want to get out of the shoot — their experience is the one that matters most.
  • When communicating and organizing the shoot (date, times, details etc...) make sure the bill payer is part of that discussion.
  • When you ask what the clients want to do with the photos....make sure the bill payer is part of that discussion. Their answer to this question is most important.
  • If you're photographing a group, treat them all like royalty but the bill-payer is the king.
  • Make sure all people in the group have equally awesome photos.
  • Don't fuss over one person (because they're prettier or you like them better) and ignore others. This will result in feeling being hurt and bad talk behind your business' back.
  • Whoever pays the bill will brag about you the most because they've put their money where their mouth is. If the bill payer doesn't appreciate whatever you've done to them, say bye-bye to word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Everyone wants to feel special. PEOPLE PAY BIG MONEY TO FEEL SPECIAL. Step up to the plate and deliver — cater to people's basic desire to feel important.
  • But don't kiss butts or be a brown-noser. Be genuine.
  • Treat people like they are important ... because they are important. They are important #1 because they are a human being with something to offer and #2 because they are supporting your dream of running a business (say thank you with your actions, service & beautiful products.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Elvrom Family at DT Fleming Beach

I'm so excited to share the Elvrom's family portraits on the blog today! Inga & Juan were married at DT Fleming beach in west Maui 1 year ago. To celebrate their first anniversary they returned to their beach with their beautiful 1 year old daughter, Grace. I love the pine trees at this beach - especially in the morning as the sunshine pours through and turns everything a glowy golden yellow. 

*As you may have noticed, I've hardly been blogging at all during this very sunny month of December. I've basically been treating myself to a month off of social media. It's delightful to unplug and just focus on photos and beach walks. I've been doing my portfolio building practice family shoots each weekend - usually early on Sunday mornings. It's been a lot of extra work but I always enjoy the challenge and I need all the practice I can get. It's nice to have some pressure-free photo shoots that let me experiment with the Hawaii sunshine and invent new fun poses. But despite my month-off of blogging, I just couldn't resist jumping online to publish a super cute family portrait session that I photographed last weekend. Inga was referred to me by her friend Toni whose family I photographed the week before! {You can see Toni's family pictures here.} And now, after much ado, I give you....the Elvrom family! Thank you so so much Inga, Juan & Grace for a fun photo shoot! You are an adorable trio and I'm so happy to have met you!