Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

Since we are about to ring in the new year, I should probably get all the Christmas pictures out of my system!

This year for Christmas I made all my neices and nephews sock monkeys. I love handmade gifts, especially for children. Would much rather see them holding tightly to something made with love then some plastic toy from China.

I tried to incorporate a little bit of each of their personality in each of them. Bella's middle name means "bunny" so her sock monkey had carrots on it and was holding a bunny.

Vincent's parents are very much into that darker lifestyle, skulls, Nirvana, dyed black hair. So I made him a sock monkey with skulls on it. I, know, sounds dreadful, but it was actually quite cute.

I asked my sister Lana, if she had any special requests for her daughter's monkey, "pink" she said. So I made the biggest pink sock monkey I've ever made!

Here's a pic of stockings and our tree. I was in Target about 3 days before Christmas and they had all their display trees on sale for 75% off, so I grabbed the last decent one I saw. It was a $99 tree, but it rang up for $17. Woohoo!

There is a strand of lights that was working but has decided to stop. I need to try and fix them. Maybe next year.

When it comes to the holidays I get in the baking spirit. I made my first gingerbread cookies. And I realized why you need to put ALOT of icing on them. Not my favorites. I've had better, but the recipe I had, wasn't great.
I found a recipe for Cinnabon's Cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing. Took me forever to make them. Couldn't get the dough to rise. Still turned out pretty tasty, all sugary!
Crusita on Christmas morning.
She found her sock monkey and someone elses sock monkey!
Lana said she just hugs the monkey to her. It's too cute--just as big as she is!

Oh, and on a side note, my sister asked us to be "God parents" to Crusita if anything should happen to her. I was quite honored.
In one hour we ring in the new year. Hubby and I plan on relaxing together for the event. Tommorow I'll probably put up the tree and go shopping for more craft stuff. I'm on a sock monkey kick lately. I NEED to finish making baby stuff for my girlfriend who is having twins any day now. And I have more updates to add to the website. Tons of new stuff.
Hope you have a safe holiday. Thank you so much to everyone who left comments, either publicly or through email. I appreciate it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Did you want your wedding images?

Until January 15th, I will be burning backup copies (to go to the bank safe deposit box) of CDs and DVDs from weddings in 2008.

If you would like to buy your copy, here is my special offer:

4 hour weddings: $699, $150 off!
6 hour weddings: $899, $300 off!

Email or call me ASAP to get your wedding photos on CDs or a DVD with a copyright release for printing your images.



Soooo, I'm a dummy. LOL. I haven't gotten a single comment from anyone and I finally realized why. So, I have fixed the problem and you may now comment on my blogs!

Thank you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A New Year is upon us...

I've been reading, thinking and reflecting. This has been an awesome year. I moved, the studio moved, started new hobbies, etc.

I think I did about 30 weddings this year and tons of portrait sessions. I've been good about investing in new equipment, etc. and making sure I, as an employee, get paid. But I do think that it's time I get health insurance. Hubby is a contract worker, his job provides really crappy insurance at a high premium and me being self employed, well insurance is up to me.

I'm one of the cheapest photographers in town, I get told that all the time. And yet I'm one of the only ones with a degree and a full time studio. I'm going to have to revamp my prices this coming week. There are some things I won't really touch. I probably won't mess with portrait sessions in general, but I do need to revamp wedding prices. Albums take up a lot of time.

I work full time as a writer and photographer and am scared to death to get sick. I guess this is the turning point most self employed people come to, charging what you are worth and making a decent living so you aren't forced to live paycheck to paycheck.

Photography is one of those hard service oriented businesses where everyone tries to get you to work for free. Mostly because everyone knows someone with a camera. Truth is owning a decent camera and knowing how to use it (in manual mode) are two seperate things! I hate when people ask me to shoot them for free. That drives me crazy. I wouldn't call a plumber and say "come fix my leak for free, I'll tell my friends how great you are!" He, like any other business person has to make a living and put a roof over his head. I wish people would respect that.

I didn't just buy a camera and decide to become a photographer. I studied in college and got a job in the field before going out on my own. I still do work for newspapers and magazines every month.

My new year's resolutions? Hmmm..
Take more time to photograph personal, fun projects. Maybe more of the sky. I do love the clouds as the sun sets.
Sew more.
Create more (etsy, cafepress, etc.)
Take a cooking class.
Take some more photography classes (can never stop learning!)
Work on my book! (Only been working on it for years!)
Write more.
Write more to do lists.
Get health insurance.

And in other news, with the new year I have started revamping my website. It's been bugging me for awhile and I think I finally found something I like. I designed it myself, so it took me a little bit to figure out what I wanted, but here it is: http://www.freelance4hire.com Let me know what you think.

And after that rant, let me just say...
I love my clients and so many of you people are awesome and refer everyone you know. I know that and I appreciate that. Thank you so much for all your referrals and for your business as well. Hope to see you in the new year! You guys are fantastic!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kaitlyn and her kitty Sebastian

Kaitlyn and her mommy have been trying to come in for photos for a couple of weeks. When she finally did get a chance to come in for pics, one of Kaitlyn's kitties got sick in the car and they had to go home. Appointment number two same thing. So for the third appointment, Kaitlyn's mommy decided to leave one of the kitty's home (she apparantally gets car sick, thus causing the problem).

So Kaitlyn and her kitty Sebastian had their own shoot, with photos of each of them alone and together.

I love this one because it's like they are thinking alike.

In other news. There will be some changes with the new year. New packages, etc. So watch for the updates!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

What better post for Christmas day then Santa photos! Dec. 13th, Santa came to the studio for a day of posing and here are some of my faves.

I love it when little kids get a chance to interact. This is my nephew, see how he's got his hand in Santa's while he's talking to him.
With kids they are either really excited to see Santa or deathly afraid. Luckily, since I'm not in a mall setting, it was easier to let the scared children take a minute and relax. Kaitlyn (below) didn't want to sit on Santa's lap. But a bit of talking got her to at least stop screaming and get this cute shot of her smiling.

I love it when parents make an effort with children's outfits and try to dress them alike for photos.
I think the pup is saying "Santa you left some milk on your mustache!"

Only had one little one who wouldn't stop crying. So that's not bad at all.
Hope you had a good holiday. I'll be in the studio on Monday and Tuesday and then we'll be closed again for the New Year. Call and make your appointment!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jennifer's Engagement Session

Jennifer and her fiance are getting married Easter weekend and they came in for their engagement session Dec. 10. Cute couple. Of course, I don't think I have ever had a newly engaged couple who weren't cute together!

She wanted red and grey for her background colors, since that's what she's doing for her wedding.
I love it when a shot comes through that just shows a bit of their uniqueness or personality without trying to hard.

I love the look between them in this one. I've been going back and forth about the frame shots. Lately a lot of people have been liking them, but at the same time I fear it's getting old. But I do so like some of the shots and expressions that come with those shots, like this one.

And the ring shot! Nice looking vintage looking ring. Hard to see the details in this small size of a photo though.
I love how this popped.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jezzika's Xmas Photos

I woke up yesterday morning feeling nauseous. I have severe sinus issues and they hit full force yesterday. I'm pretty sure I had a fever last night. I'm just a coughing and a blowing my nose constantly. Yuck.

One of my interns came in the other day with her hubby, Benny, for their Christmas photos. Jezzika came in yesterday to watch me edit those photos. Poor her, I was sooo out of it, because I was sick, it was hard for me to concentrate. It took me probably 2 hours to even notice she was wearing a Freelance 4 Hire shirt.

She mentioned that her husband and her often get into little spats about photography and other creative things and he doesn't seem to understand that she can like more than one thing at a time and that photography is just one aspect of her creative side.

From my mother's side I get a very creative brain. If you tell me what you want to make, it won't take long for me to figure out how to pull it off. I've done how-to craft stuff for several newspapers.

I've always had tons of crafts and my home offices have always been filled with cloth, thread, glue guns, etc. To me, photography is just one more aspect to my creativity. Just one more outlet for me to be creative. But that doesn't mean I want to stop making baby blankets or sock moneys, just because I own a photography (& writing) company.

Jezzika said that's what she was trying to explain to her husband. But he was having a hard time understanding that.So this post is for him, I guess.

I think creative people sometimes need different outlets to let their creativity flow. I occasionally take art classes, I have done some paintings, etc. I also do a bit of design work. I created my own logos, website, etc. It's just who I am and I enjoy it. And I can see where other creative types would need to do multiple things as well.

That was a long ramble, lol. I blame it on being sick. But here's Jezzika & Benny's Christmas photos. Jezzika liked a lot of alternative colorings and processes, so those are shown.

Back in the day when I used to work at a pro lab, we used to develop E6/slide film and B&W film and do printing. Well occasionally, someone would bring in some C41 (standard color film) and want it processed in our E6 machine. The results were really crazy colorings. Looked really neat on landscapes. But Jezzika and I were playing in photoshop with an action that did something similar and got this one:

Another alternative process.

And a vintage look.
If you'd like to see some of my other creative ventures, check out:
My photography & diva gear. http://www.cafepress.com/RoadtripDivas

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

April's family session

April was one of my first real portrait sessions with my studio lights about 2 years ago. Before that time I was doing mostly news work and would be asked to do a couple of portraits on the side occasionally.

Well April called recently and booked her family's photo session as they hadn't had a group shot in 10 years! (I photographed her kids at home the first time.)

This is the toner effect, but ti kind of gives images a mix between a sepia (red) and a B&W look.
This one has a special filter which has a glow to it, which the family loved last time around.

And a vintage coloring.

I can't believe Christmas is NEXT week. It's too warm out for that. I'm in the studio today wearing flip flops! If anyone else needs a family portrait I do have some availability for this week and very little for next week. Sessions this week will likely be done by Christmas, (prints depend on size, etc.) but sessions next week won't be done until after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Public Broadcasting

Every day on the way to and from work I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) on 89.9 FM. On the weekends, if I get the chance I LOVE listening to "This American Life" on NPR.

I love the conversations about different topics and news issues and how they affect me. And I love hearing about new books and topics I would never have thought to look at.

My husband and I are also the kind of dorks that go to the library and rent National Geographic videos and think that's an awesome date night!

Several times a year WJCT (public television) does auctions. Well this year I donated a photo session for them to sell. I figured it was my way to give back.

Yesterday, someone decided to claim their prize and came in with this precious Yorkie to photograph.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Stephens' Christmas Session(s)

I met Kathy earlier this year when she booked me to photograph her wedding vow renewal. Since then I have done several sessions for her family. The most recent being their Christmas session, err sessionS.

Kathy, like most women, including myself, is extremely particular about how she looks. The first session we did all in studio with some props that I had and she brought. But after the session Kathy confessed that she loves my outdoor style of photos better and felt that her family's expressions, etc. weren't at it's best on the first session. So we booked her for a reshoot with the majority of the photos happening outside our studio.

This shot is from her first session. And I love the closeness of her family.
This is from her second session. Kathy liked the frame she had seen used in other sessions I'd done and wanted some photos of her own done that way.
And of course our outside session. A version of this next photo is on their Christmas card.
A vintage coloring. Kathy's son is autistic and it is sometimes a bit of a game for me to get him smiling.
Typically, once a week I have 1-2 interns come in to help me around the studio while I teach them photography. The Stephens were in the day both my interns were in. Jezzika caught this photo of me photographing the Stephens family.

And here's one of the photos I took from that set up while Jezzika photographed me.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


As promised, pictures from Thanksgiving!

Lana, her BF, their child and Lauren snacking.
Caramel apples dipped in chocolate and nuts. LOVE them. Also have a serious soft spot for chocolate covered strawberries!

In this photo, my husband is doing dishes as the rush to finish cooking everything is going on. He's asking me, "Christy, do you really think right now is the right time to take photos?" LOL. I of course, respond, "Of course!"

After every meal and with every get together at my house comes Nintendo Wii.

As the guests start going home, I find my hubby sleeping on the couch in his home office.
Kind of appropriate picture, I'm EXHAUSTED! Been a long weekend. Instead of cleaning house or sewing Christmas presents I decided to take the interns on a field trip today to the zoo. Will post pics from that soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The other sister's wedding

If you've been following my blog, a couple of months ago I had two sisters who were getting their engagement photos done and I was trying to give them each their own unique session. Well each sister got married a month apart, the last one, Annette, got married Nov. 1.

And she had a request, she HAD to have a photo just like her sister got at her wedding, and here it is:

Annette & Tim got married at Fleming Island Golf Club. They were married inside the clubhouse and we took their family photos on the golf course.

This one is a cropped in shot of the ring exchange at the wedding. I was about 30 feet away, at least, and if you blow this photo up the writing inside the ring is clearly visible and sharp. I was amazed. It's hard to get a ring shot like that. Might have to blow this one up to poster size. I love my zoom lense!

This one is an infrared shot, makes it a bit moody. I love the attitude of the foot positioning, etc.
Another shoe shot. She had put these in her chair during the reception.

When I was doing the ring shots, Annette asked me to take the hankies from each of the guys in the wedding party as she wanted a photo of them together.
The sisters, doing what they do best, being sisters! I think they were doing the Chicken dance in this shot.
The couple doesn't golf, but being on a golf course, I had to steal a golf cart for a couple of shots. LOL, I didn't actually steal it, Annette's sister went and got it for us. I figured this is a nice end shot for this post.