The Fortuitous Femme…

•September 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

When a woman invites you into her home…it’s special; when she invites you into her bedroom, it’s sacred.  An invitation into the intimate areas of a women’s space is an exploration of our sanctuaries, as well as, some of our most precious and personal affects and some of the keys to our personalities.

So, when a woman invites you into her bedroom to photograph her, it’s an immortalization of that space and the way she relates to it in that moment.  The space and the affects that dapple it are rarely ever fleeting, they may be fanciful, but they are not fleeting.  Thus, to be immortalized on film and to welcome a relative stranger into the sanctuary of her space and the sacredness of herself, I am and always, inexplicably honored and humbled.

We as women, true and imperfect, protective and profound, rarely get to express ourselves in ways beyond the superficial experience…the “face we show the world”…not to imply that we are hiding…but rather, that we are generally regarded in a different light.  As caretakers, we tend to embrace that perception more wholly and forget that there is more to our makeup than caretaker, nurturer, kisser of “booboo’s” and mate to our partners.  We have power beyond what is perceived and value beyond which is ever fully recognized. That is why I love photographing women in their “boudoir”.  It allows the woman to see themselves in a way they rarely are able and to express themselves in a way beyond which they are normally ever perceived.  Getting just a glimpse of that…like a “shimmer” you only half-see out of the corner of your eye…we women understand we have sensuality, we tend to simply look past it because it’s not needed in how we are perceived daily.  Photographing it, immortalizing it and knowing it’s there…it’s our secret key.

The key that remains on the chain around our necks…closest to our hearts and reminds us that we are more than we see.  Other than the love a mother has for a child, is there anything more powerful than our sense of sensual self…the essence of our womanhood?   I am not sure…but, I know that I will forever be honored and humbled when invited into a women’s home to be given the chance to show her, her own inner power and how beautifully it translates to film.

This is one such moment…the beauty and grace that is Nashell.  Thank You for allowing me.

5.5 Tips that will to get folks to at least respond your Facebook event! For example: an image!

•September 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I would like to think this goes without saying…unfortunately, it does not! I can’t tell you HOW many events I see on, and get invited to, on Facebook….be it from friends or from professional organizations or businesses, that FAIL to properly intrigue me to attend by not providing complete information or anything visually stimulating!

If you were to receive a piece of paper via “snail mail” that simply read “Come to my event at 10:00 am at my house” and the writing was in boring, black print and there was no image or “flair” to the paper….what exactly would you do with that paper? If you’re like me, and I think you are in this area, you would wad up the paper and chuck it in the trash right? Of course you would! It looks like spam, it has NOTHING interesting…even remotely, that would intrigue you to learn more about the event and you’d be annoyed that someone wasted your time to read the paper.

Of course, the sender is probably wondering “why is no one RSVP’ing for my event?” If you have to ask this question, you’re probably offend numero uno!

It’s a fail and bad enough when you are a consumer of FB and you fail to create a proper event invitation because, at the least, it confuses

your friends and makes it difficult for them to differentiate your event from the 30 others they’ve received. It’s a CRITICAL FAIL if you’re a business or an organization that isn’t utilizing fully or properly the tools and capabilities of the Facebook events. Why? Differentiation mostly…but also because it’s social networking is about ENGAGING with people…yes, WE are people and WE people like to be stimulated and engaged AND we don’t like to see what equates to a “blank face”and a “blank” response is what you will get if you don’t give us a reason to respond.

No one is asking you to “pop the question”…but, I wonder if that’s how some folks feel when they’re reticent to provide anything engaging or thorough? It’s REALLY not THAT kind of commitment! hahahahaa I’m only talking about “Social Engagement” and that’s the reason and fuel behind the virility of social media.

I know it’s sounds “harsh”, but if you don’t have the time to provide all of the details, not to mention images for your event, then you can’t complain when no one responds and it’s probably best to not utilize FB to create one if you’re not going to spend the extra time on it. You will annoy your fans and your friends, they will remove themselves from your invitation and they may even block or ignore future requests fro

m you if you’re a “repeat offender” or if you send a LOT of events at once (which is another “no-no” IMO…but, that’s a subject for another blog entry).

In this modern age of media consumption and immediate gratification, it’s a simple formula; STIMULATION + INFORMATION =

INTEREST! Don’t begeneric! Generic is fine for milk at the grocery store…but, if you’re selling milk online….it better LOOK good and have some cookies next to it so folks will start to drool and dream about milk and cookies (which is both stimulating and engaging) and then they will go looking to buy milk and cookies!

#1. USE AN IMAGE for every event/invite that you send.

#2. Make sure EACH event has it’s own, separate image.

#3. Fill in ALL of the blanks. Do not leave any stone unturned. Remember, people are going to attempt to import this event into their calendar. It SUCKS to go to that calendar event and realize that all the necessary information is BLANK!

#4. Coordinate the event with other members of your organization so that the event isn’t being duplicated. Make other members of

your organization “ADMINS” of the event so that they can update and invite their friends accordingly without duplication.

#5. Respond to any questions, comments or feedback posted on the event. Remember, FB is about ENGAGING with your fans and friends. Don’t alienate them by ignoring them.

#5.5 Send PERIODIC updates to attendees and those who have not responded. DO NOT send an update/message every day. That will get you blocked or dropped by fans. But, remember, messages sent from FB Pages do not easily show up in message boxes. Folks have to change their viewing settings to see updates from pages. So, many folks may not see those right away or ever.

So VOILA! There you have it…super, simple and SUPERBLY effective! Watch your responses and probably your attendance sky-rocket!

Dropping the “F-bomb”in photography…not the way you think!

•June 12, 2011 • 1 Comment

First, let me preface this post by saying and quantifying, everyone has a right to associate “value” for their wares, their knowledge, their skills. If someone has something you want…not to mention if a LOT of people want what only you have, well, that’s just supply and demand and associating value, well, that’s just good business. Receiving monetary compensation for something of value is the basis of business right?

So, why do I feel “nickled and dimed” more than ever by trying to become a photographer who wants to make money…not spend every time I turn around? Everywhere I go there is a company trying to sell me a place to print or books to put the pictures in, not to mention all the art necessary for wall hangings…most of this involves EEEEK….numbers and equations of fractions….a language I do not speak.  Then, they tell me I need a bag for all my stuff.  It has to be a special bag with neoprene or drawstring closures with add-ons to hold batteries and CF cards etc.  Then a strap to hang my camera coolly from my side, like a rockin’ hipster chick that I am!    Do you see the image yet??  I will put it all on and take a picture for you.  It looks quite ridiculous.  I’m not saying I don’t LOVE these items.  I’m just saying I spend too much time listening to these people convincing me that parting with my money to purchase their inventions that *might* make it easier for me to shoot, thus shoot better.  Why WOULDN’T I be sucked into these wonderful devices!?!?!

Unfortunately, the downside is that the Business of photography seems like it has become an industry of inventions!  Thus, it’s now REALLY great business to get photographers selling to other photographers. Sometimes it seems the only way to  be a succesful photographer is to invent something to sell to other photographers. Conundrum!

Sure, there are always ways to improve upon a product and make what we do easier?  But, I didn’t start shooting so that I could sit around and dream up gizmos and gadgets(believe me though, I do own MANY and dream about owning even more), however, I simply want to shoot.

This isn’t a post to begrudge nor undermine any of those inventions either. I actually own many fabulous gadgets that make shooting easier, funner (yes, i intentionally said “funner”) and have simplified my shooting style. Conversely, I own many that are crap too. Sigh.

The point here is I’m about to drop the “f-bomb”. Funny, you might actually be surprised. Here it goes…photographers, I’m speaking to us in particular and we speak a language different from most… My favorite 4-letter f-bomb is….wait for it…FREE!

Do you hear the howls and screeches? Does it sound like a slasher film is taking place outside of your window? FREE! Aaaaawwwwwwwwww! Hoowlllll……nnnnooooooooo!

So, if you’re still reading, you may have figured out that FREE when combined with photography conjures a hatred and visible disdain as faces contort at the notion of cheapening the value of our work. Say the notorious “F” word all you like around a photographer….just dont say “FREE” and no one will get hurt. 😀

That is why it’s always a HUGE, DEEP, breath of fresh air when a photographer willingly opens themselves up and offers something for FREE.  No strings attached FREE.  No sales pitch, no trade show of product endorsements….nothing. Simply FREE.  mind-boggling I know.  You are either thinking it’s a crappy photographer or there is SOME kind of catch…I know I was.

I was WRONG!

Last weekend, a photography husband and wife duo in Denver, Colorado known as the Mansurovs  began to offer free workshops on landscape, portraiture, weddings and flash.  I attended the weekend workshop on weddings and portraiture  and they’re so giving of their knowledge and enthusiastic, we even delved deep into flash!  BUT.  Wait for it…..wait…it was a FREE workshop!  Queue dramatic music…Duh, Duh, Duh!!   Not only was it free…it was FANTASTIC!!

The Mansurovs have a way of explaining technique and complex concepts in terms for the “layman”.  They also do it with pizzazz and live shooting examples.  They bring out there gear and show you how they do it and even hand you a camera and tell you to “try it”.

They’re informative and lively and fun and no question goes unanswered.  For this “FREE” workshop, they even hired a GORGEOUS model, Leeza, and an AMAZING make-up artist Sameera.  If that isn’t enough to titillate your toes…one attendee, who also happens to be a friend to the Mansurovs brought boxes and boxes of delightful and delicious muffins from  My Favorite Muffin Bakery Cafes!

Spoiled and fortunate do not even begin to describe the serendipitous situation that found me in the right time and place to be able to attend this wonderful workshop…that, I would have totally paid for!  Yet, because The Mansurovs are, in the purest sense of the word, giving, they gave of themselves in a way we don’t often get to see

unless you bring out the Visa.

Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate this unique experience and any/all future “workshops” that I attend will have very, VERY big “britches” to fill to begin to measure up to the experience with The Mansurovs.  They are so warm, embracing and sharing and approachable.  I couldn’t recommend more highly to save your money and come to their workshops that are “FREE” while they’re still kind enough to do so.  They provide value beyond what one might expect from a “PAID” workshop.

My name is Heather and I’m NOT a wedding photographer.

•May 31, 2011 • 3 Comments

I know many of you are coming on this blog and thinking “What the heck?” and “why?”  But, I couldn’t feel better knowing something that I’m not.  I tried to be…I tried REALLY hard to be a wedding photographer.  I photographed a handful of weddings back in “the day” on film and when I renewed my love a few years ago and broke into digital, I found the industry had changed exponentially and if I wanted to make a living doing what I love, I would have to do it photographing weddings.  So, off I went! I interned, I second-shot, I shot weddings for cheap and I even shot weddings for free.

Don’t get me wrong…weddings are BEAUTIFUL and I love a good party and weddings ceremonies, eventually, lead to to wedding parties!  Most of those parties are beyond fun!  You have all your friends and family captive for an expected amount of time…consequently, they, themselves, end up having just as much, if not more fun than the bride and groom.  Wedding guests sometimes seem to “let go” more than they normally would and you can tell and you get to be a part of it all!  Even if some drama occurs…and believe me, there’s almost ALWAYS some kind of drama, it all balances out and, in the end, everyone is dancing, laughing, eating, drinking and having a genuinely great time!  Then, of course, there is the beauty of the location, the decorations, the details…and the love.  So much love at weddings it can be almost sickening…beautifully sickening.

So, weddings are great!  I’m just not a wedding photographer.  Period.  Some people like to watch football…they may even throw a “pigskin” now and then.  That doesn’t make them a football player and they shouldn’t feel badly about that.  Though I love weddings and the fun that surrounds them, I am happy to report, I’m not a wedding photographer.  I can certainly photograph them, I have the equipment, the patience to wait for moments that happen, the tenacity to seek out the moments, the skill of a hunter…I am a photo ninja!  But, just like that football fan who enjoys watching the game and occasionally playing it, I prefer the side-lines.  I prefer to enjoy the wedding as a participant and not a player.  I become so engrossed in the “hunt” of a wedding and obsesses with perfection that I end up not enjoying them as much. It becomes too stressful, too over-whelming and I’m never satisfied with my work…I always feel like I could have done better, should have done better.

Then there is the whole “sales” aspect.  I know I have value and I know that applying my skills is of great value to wedding clients.  However, the epic internal struggle I battle every time I receive an inquiry about a wedding and about placing a dollar amount on an occasion so momentous….I literally freak out.  I get sweaty, I get flush, I over-think, I under-charge, I break down, I cry.  Yes, that sad.  But, I cry and then I hate myself for doing all of this.  After all, I have value and I need to make a living and I deserve to make a living.

I’ve never had any complaints from any of my wedding photography clients…contrarily, I’ve received nothing but high praise and accolades.  I hope those friends and clients know how much that means to me.  I am so proud of what I was able to do for them and the moments that will forever be cherished  and the referrals they send which means they trust me….honestly, I feel like that’s payment enough.  It’s cliche, I know.  But, I would rather photograph a wedding for free or for tips, then be hired and paid an exorbitant fee to memorialize a life-altering event like a wedding.  Some may feel pity for my feelings about weddings…it’s not like I came to this conclusion because someone beat it out of me.  I came to this conclusion because of self-actualization and realization that it’s an aspect of photography I’m just not comfortable with and that’s ok.  Some people don’t like nudes or babes and hot rods or abstract or whatever…to each his own.  This is my own…this is my truth. I am proud to have found my own truth.

The face of photography has changed…that face is new, fresh, bold and also saturated.  Though, saturation may imply something negative, I don’t mean it as such.  Competition is SUCH a good thing for so many reasons and there are so many photographer better adept at managing the business of wedding photography and it’s dynamic changes and expectations.  

Turns out, I’m more than just a wedding photographer.  I thought it might not be possible to do photography for a living and NOT be a wedding photographer. But, as I grow, the more I shoot the more I discover what I love in photography and where I belong in photography…I’m not needed for weddings.  I haven’t solidified where I am needed, but I’m on the journey to discover my destination.  I tried the island of weddings and it wasn’t the island for me.  Maybe, one day, I’ll figure out a “system” that works with my style and my feelings about weddings. Until then, I am not a wedding photographer.  😉

As you can see, there are plenty of things I do photograph.  Hopefully you will read further posts to see what kind of a photographer I am.  I am still trying to figure that part out.  I think process of elimination is a valid way of self-discovery.

Speaking of being all grown up…I am now getting hitched! Oh, the hypocrisy!

•October 7, 2009 • 1 Comment
Two rings to p0wn them all!! Designed by Derek himself...look how he lords over his evil creations of matrimony and confinement!!

Two rings to p0wn them all!! Designed by Derek himself...look how he lords over his evil creations of matrimony and confinement!!

HA! after years and years of insisting…adamantly that I would NEVER get married and that I would never live with a man….here I sit, awaiting my day which arrives in 3 short weeks.  3 WEEKS!!!  It only seems like yesterday that he asked me to marry him.  Though, it was actually over a year ago.  GenCon 2008 to be more precise.  Yes, the love of my life asked me to marry him at the biggest nerd fest of the year…well, second only to Comicon.  I say these terms lovingly though as they are my PEEPS!  Oh yes, much like cohabitation and matrimonial pursuits, I also fretted at being called a “nerd” or a “geek”.  It’s only later, as I have come to know myself…love myself more and embrace that which makes me ME that I can lovingly and wholeheartedly accept my place in the nerd realm and geek chic freak friends and most importantly, come to accept that I found the one person that could make me break my restraints and self-imposed boundaries of comfort and fully realize myself and my dreams and that I should also be so lucky to have him want to spend the rest of forever with ME.  yes…this is the part where the girl sighs and flops onto her overly-fluffed pillows while holding her dear diary.  OR NOT.  This is the 21st century and I’m a 22nd century kinda girl.  So, hence the blog and staring aimlessly into my monitor as the thoughts from my head stream directly to my keys and are punched out to the universe and not hoarded away in some secret place for no one to encounter.   I want to encounter and to be encountered….that’s life and I want to live it open.   Which, puts my private and deep thoughts out there into “The Wired” chaotic web of a universe making publicly available anything that anyone would, could want to know about any one individual.  Call it perverse, call it shameful, call it voyeuristic…it is, what it is and that’s that.  there is some kind of crazy solace in opening oneself up to the universe and accepting what it brings you in return.  I accept that this is what I have been brought and where I have landed is where I am to begin….again, anew and with a passion and zest that I had previously ignored trying to do and be something that wasn’t really me.  It was…but, there was just more waiting to come to the surface.  I am not going use any lame analogies like “blossoming” that would SO not do justice to what has transpired and what will transpire.  But, things have unfolded and I am so happy and lucky to get to share this with my one true love and my dear friends close and far….existing and yet to be made.

Peace out!

Elizabeth & Brett…engaging in Denver, CO @ Moonlight Diner

•September 22, 2009 • 2 Comments

I was assisting my mentor with her engagement session for Elizbeth and Brett (Kim always lets me get a few shots in for my portfolio and sometimes to use for the client. I get all giddy when I think about it!).  Elizabeth and Brett are such a rocking couple!  I love each of my own wedding photography clients…they are each unique and I really work to make their love and expressions shine through in their sessions.  But, this couple was particularly amazing because they wanted to do something COMPLETELY different for their engagement session.  They must be old soles…because they carried it off with style, finesse, panache (that may seem redundant…but, it’s just too cool and I was able to use a fancy word like “panache” in a sentence. Yay for me!)!  They chose their backdrop….a classic 50’s style diner called the “Moonlight Diner” located in Green Valley Ranch, Colorado right by the Denver International Airport.  Their duds were all of 50’s flair….leopard print, fishnet stockings, fedora hats, tattoos, even cigarettes.  To top it off they had an old 1950 Classic Bel Air and they had the chemistry and personality to pull it off.  What more can I ask for?? oh yeah, and the lighting was GORGEOUS!!

What gives you the right??

•September 2, 2009 • 2 Comments

What gives you the right to say that I am NOT a Photographer simply because I don’t have the luxury to buy high-end expensive gear?  The age-old question of what makes a good photographer has been proving over and over…we all know that just because you have quality gear, doesn’t necessarily equate to quality photos.   Vice versa, someone can have low quality gear and produce the most amazing images.  So, the commonality here is that WHAT makes a good photographer is YOU, the photographer.  Do you take the time to know your equipment?  Do you push it to it’s limits and back again?  Do you experiment  with household items and gadgetry to manufacture materials that do equally as good of a job as the retail items?   Remember, NONE of the luxuries of photography that we have now existed a few years ago.  Yet now, so many of us gauge a quality photographer by what’s in her gear-bag instead of what’s in her heart and her vision.  Because, that’s really all you need to make a good photo…I firmly believe this.  You need passion, drive, a thick skin, and drive to get out there and make it happen!!  does that mean you can start charging someone $4K right off of the bat?? No way Jose…slow your roll.  You may have a gift, but if you unwrap the gift and don’t bother to read the instructions and re-gift it over and over and never learn or improve.  well, then your gift & talent & abilities will never fully flourish and you do yourself a great disservice…not to mention, throwing the system out of balance. But, don’t buy that fancy gear because that’s what the “Jones'”….the Jones probably leave it on full auto 99% of the time and lug it around for looks only.  I think all of us have to do a certain amount of time in the trenches before we can really be a good enough photographer to start sending invoices to people.  I don’t know if what I am saying is making sense….but, I do know that I have done a good amount of time in the trenches now and I am ready to start working my way out of the trenches….making a name for myself and my future…learning more than I have ever learned before…experimenting as often as I can and using what I have to it’s maximum capabilities.  Once I have exceeded my greatest expectations with my gear…then, and only then, will I upgrade my equipment.  What good is a $5000 camera to me if I can’t even figure out how to use a $900 one??  that is my point….BE A PHOTOGRAPHER and embrace what that really means.  I sweat, I labor, I cry, I hate, I love, I read, I learn, I implement, I experiment, I work for FREE…I have paid the price and continue to pay…will always pay on some level (I sure hope!).  Therefore, I like to think that I am finally  and always will be a Photographer, despite the lack of super fancy equipment and I will not let anyone take that away from me and don’t let anyone take it away from you either!

Am I all grown up now?

•August 24, 2009 • 2 Comments

So, it feels strange writing about myself…but, it’s also quite cathartic.  It’s an unfamiliar feeling…being “grown up”! I mean, I do grown up things all of the time…hold a job, pay the bills, gas the car, buy groceries, be socially responsible and environmentally conscious, don’t stay out partying all night (most of the time)…you know?  Stuff that grown ups do.  but, I have never felt more like a grown up or maybe it’s just the validation of having a “place” in this world where I really feel at home and comfortable and that all the stuff in the past has brought me to this one point….I am, and maybe have always been meant to be, A Photographer.  Yes, I intentionally said “A Photographer”  capitalized because it feels right and it feels SO GOOD!

To me, being A Photographer is a thing…a noun, something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Not that I am suddenly going to become stuffy and serious…heck no!!  but, I don’t say it casually or with reckless abandon because I have worked very hard to get to this point with blood, sweat & tears.  Of course, there is more “blood, sweat and tears” to come as the journey is is never-ending road of discovery… but, that is also the nature of doing something you’re passionate about or that you love and it becomes like a  member of your family and you care for it and you nurture it, you fight with it, you shed tears over it, you forgive it and you love it…

So, for now, I am savoring this new stage in my life….validation.  I am going to continue to do what I do and shoot the things that I love and hopefully get a little love back and see where this new road takes me.  Not ready to conquer the world, but I am ready to conquer my fears and inhibitions and sharing my perspective on the world around me and the people and places I am fortunate to share my life and loves with.

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!!

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