How can we change the world?
It's a question a lot of us have been asking ourselves for the last few weeks, or for several of us, a lot longer than that.
After taking a lot of time to self-reflect, I have come to the conclusion that the only way to truly change the world is for each and every single one of us to be the best versions of ourselves. Looking back at movies like Simon Birch, Pay it Forward, It's a Wonderful Life, and others, I truly believe it's one of the messages Hollywood has gotten correct. If we were to each try to be the best version of ourselves, that is someone who is caring, leads with love, and is willing to take action for the betterment of the general public and the world, THAT is how we can make the world a better place.
You might be asking yourself how, and that's completely okay. Each person would have to take the time to truly get to know themselves and self-reflect on how to improve on oneself before being able to commit to being the best version of themself.
Here is what I have learned about myself, listed out in a Problem-Solution format below.
Problem: I have very little patience
Solution: I need to remember to take breaths and try to see each of my interactions from the other person's point of view. What are they actually trying to say versus what they are physically saying? Do they mean it, or are they letting emotions control their verbiage? Are they being sincerely caring and I am being too sensitive to what they are saying? I have noticed that since I started asking myself these questions when having a stressful conversation or dealing with a stressful situation, I have been able to respond verbally and physically better to the situation at hand, which in my experience thus far, has lead to more peaceful conclusions.
Problem: I get defensive
Solution: This kind of goes hand in hand with patience, but for this one I more-so remind myself that 99% of people are not intending to offend me when they say things that trigger me. For those that are obviously trying to offend, I have learned that I do not have to put up with their negativity. I usually respond with a quick retort and then depending on the severity of the situation, end the conversation, or end the relationship (usually there isn't much of one to begin with when this occurs). To be a positive person, you need to surround yourself with positive people.
Problem: I am efficient to the point of laziness at times
Solution: I am usually extremely efficient, especially in my job. I would like to think it's one of the qualities that managers look for, and it seems to be, considering my successful career path so far. However, when it comes to my philanthropy work, or doing things on my checklist that are on the "back burner" (essentially anything that doesn't directly affect my every day life), I tend to put the items off until the next day. I partially blame this on my efficiency plan on tackling projects in my work and personal lives. Tackle the big important things first, and leave the small projects for last. The solution is to hold myself accountable for even the little things at the end of the day. I always feel better when I get to complete today's tasks today, instead of continuously putting off the little things.
Problem: I can be "too comfortable"
Solution: A lot of the world's problems have been circling around other groups of people, not necessarily involving me. For this, it can be so easy to turn the other cheek and keep living my life the way I have been. However, this doesn't solve anything. While I will probably never be the type of person to go to demonstrations and protests, I do want to try to add to positive solutions in a quiet, calm way. Maybe this will change one day, but for now, it's a step that I am comfortable taking that is in the right direction.
What is this all leading to?
It's okay to have little patience for negativity.
It's okay to get defensive when it comes to important issues that are close to your heart.
It's okay to draw the line on how involved you want to get in worldly issues as long as your reasons have to do with your safety and your health.
The step I am taking in the right direction is that Imbeccable Images will be donating 10% of each purchase from the Adventure Store and each booked photography session to an organization listed on my Get Involved web page.
This means that if you book a session, you can select one of the organizations on that list to receive 10% of the cost of your session. If you make a purchase through the Adventure Store, you can select one of the organizations to receive 10% of the total cost of items in your cart.
I recently booked an engagement session with a wedding. Since they are two separate bookings, the client can choose two different organizations (one to receive 10% from the engagement session, and the other to receive 10% from the wedding booking).
This is one small step in the right direction that I hope makes you as joyful as it does me.
If you have any suggestions on changes or additions to the list of organizations on the Get Involved page, feel free to comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Something I see being discussed constantly in photo groups and wedding groups I'm in is... how does one choose a location for a photo session?
The most important thing for every photographer is that our clients are happy! So of COURSE we are going to want to know what you envision for your pictures. Do you want a body of water included in your images? Mountains? Flowers? a Meadow? All of my clients receive a free consultation to discuss these details.
Once I know what my client wants in their pictures, the hunt for the perfect spot begins. I typically give my clients 3-4 location options to choose from, also letting them know that if they think of a better location that we can do that too!
We decided to go with the graffiti wall since there is also a bit of nature surrounding the Kennedy Soccer Fields that we were able to utilize for nice, neutral portraits. He was SO excited to be able to get portraits done in front of the graffiti wall, and after his mom saw how colorful and fun it was, she loved it too! We just had to make sure that no inappropriate language or images were included in the background.
They informed me they were staying in Denver, but would not mind traveling a bit to go to the right location. So, I sent them the following four options, two that were further away, and two that were closer:
I also sent them images I had taken of the locations along with the google image pages to help them decide. They ended up selecting Chautauqua Park, and I absolutely love how the images turned out - but more importantly, they do too!
This moment was captured right after she almost slipped off the bars she was sitting on. He, of course, caught her, but they both burst into laughter, creating this beautiful moment. Always have to be trigger-ready as a photographer!
Consulting with a photographer is SO important to ensure you get what you want out of your photo shoot, and don't let the photographer lead you astray either! I find it to be very important to listen to what my clients want and work with it! If I truly don't feel that what they want will look right in photos, I will bring back up plans, just in case.
It also helps to speak with your photographer about potential props you want to use, or ideas you have - some of us keep props from other shoots or random items we would love to use in a future shoot, so it doesn't hurt to ask!
As some of you already know, Jeremiah and I had our engagement portraits taken on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
Normally before I go take photographs I get what I can only compare to "pre-show jitters". I tend to be a little anxious, and the only thing that makes me feel better is checking and re-checking my camera bag, SD cards, and batteries to ensure I am prepared. Oh, and re-checking again. And then again when I get to the car just to make sure some pixie didn't steal anything out of my backpack between the time I walked out of my condo and climbed into Storm Trooper (my white Rav4).
Mentally preparing to get my own pictures was, of course, a completely different experience, and just like with the photo shoots where I am the photographer, my preparations started well ahead of time.
Athletes are often told to visualize their success and it will help that success come true. For example, if a basketball player visualizes themselves making a free-throw basket, they are more likely to successfully shoot the ball.
The same thing can apply in photography! I LOVE it when my clients share their Pinterest boards with me! While photography is more unpredictable because you can't necessarily prepare for something you don't know is going to happen, there are certain things you can prepare for. For example, you can pin portrait pose and prop ideas. This can help a photographer get a visualization of what they want to accomplish with their client's photo shoot.
So how did this apply to me preparing to have my pictures taken? I started a Pinterest board to get ideas for what I wanted my pictures to look like! I knew I wanted to include our two doggos, and went to Pinterest and found a few portraits that included dogs for inspiration. I found portraits at different angles I appreciated, and different focal points. I, of course, shared this with my photographer!
PS - want to connect on Pinterest? I would love to collaborate on photo shoot ideas, or just enjoy each other's board!
There are several things one can do before the day of their photo shoot to prepare, beyond the Pinterest board.
1. Pick your outfit
For Jeremiah and I, we decided to wear our wedding colors in our engagement portraits. I wore dark green, and he wore dark purple. I had found a sweater dress online that I ordered ahead of time, and planned that I would wear that with black leggings and black boots. Jeremiah wore his purple button up shirt with blue jeans and black dress shoes.
With these clothes, we knew that even if it ended up being a chilly day, we would be able to tough it out with the long sleeves and pants.
2. Pick your beauty options (hair, make up, nails)
Jeremiah's hair had gotten a bit long, head and beard. He decided he was going to get a trim before portraits.
I knew I'd want to wear my hair down, or mostly down, and minimal make up. I rarely wear make up as it is, and I didn't want to have a heavy layer of make up on in my portraits and have it look like someone else.
3. Make appointments as necessary (hair, make up, nails)
Jeremiah made an appointment with his hair stylist, Kendall, of Salon Bouvier in Aurora, CO on Friday. He decided to trim his own beard, however, and did that Sunday morning.
I originally had a hair appointment set for Sunday morning with a stylist I had never worked with before (all the stylists I know either don't work Sundays or were off that day). I chickened out though, afraid that this person who has never touched my hair before would mess it up, or have my hair straightened for pictures. I ended up doing my own hair and make up at home. I did make sure to paint my nails the night before and applied a fresh coat of paint on Sunday morning.
Day of Preparations
The day of our photo shoot, Jeremiah probably had to tell me to sit down and relax three or four times (maybe more). The photo shoot wasn't until 4:00pm, and of course I woke up at 7:00am just anxious to get ready and get 'er done!
I made sure to shower early as my hair takes forever to try (and I hate using hair dryers). Believe it or not, I showered around 10:00am and my hair was still damp for our photo shoot six hours later, even though I had my hair down all day.
After throwing some styling products into my hair after the shower, Jeremiah and I sat down on the couch and watched TV, played a few games, and "bummed" until 1:30pm when I told him I needed to start getting ready. Per usual, I started getting ready too early. I had my hair half-up in a clip and my make up done by 1:50pm and was dressed and ready to go by 2:15pm. It was still too early to leave, so Jeremiah (who was ready before me) and I sat and relaxed for another half hour before leaving an hour and fifteen minutes early to go to Golden. PS, the drive is only about a half hour.
We figured if we left early we could walk the dogs a bit and tire out the puppy. That didn't work out too well, as she just got excited again once Courtney (photographer) showed up.
As per usual, as soon as the pictures started, I calmed right down.
Now I'm just anxious to see my portraits!
As the new year begins, I've been reflecting a lot on the amount of support and love I have received from family, friends, and clients in the last few years.
Everyone in my life has been so amazing in supporting my photography and pushing me to keep going even when I am feeling lost.
THANK YOU to everyone who has been there for me!
That being said, I have also met other artists that do not have the support system that I am blessed to have, and so I wanted to give a quick list on ways everyone can support their favorite local artist!
1. Share the Crap out of Everything!
This is the simplest way to help your local artist. Share their posts!
Do you follow them on Facebook? Share their posts whenever you see one pop up. If you don't see one pop up, take the time to check their page and share a post.
Instagram? Click "Share to" and it will allow you to share to wherever you want! (PS you have to click on the three little dots in the top right of the post).
Twitter? Retweet the post!
But what exactly does this do?
While local artists do try their best to get the biggest reach possible, sharing a post increases their reach exponentially.
For example, let's say I post an image to Facebook, and 100 people like my page. Now, do to algorithms, what if only 50 people saw that post? I'm only reaching half of my potential audience. Now, three of my friends share that post, and 50 of their friends saw the post. That's 150 more people!
Seriously, just share the crap out of their posts.
2. Slip into Their Comment Sections!
This one takes just slightly more effort on your part than clicking a share button.
Even if it's just some emojis, like smiley face + heart, that boosts the probability of the post being seen by more people, which increases the reach of the artist, which in turn increases their change of making a sale or earning a new client!
Of COURSE we love it when we receive comments about how much people like our art (all artists have self-doubt to an extent and any words of encouragement are greatly appreciated), and comments that go into detail about what you like about what you see can encourage others to share the wealth of friendly words, and may even push others to book or purchase!
For some reason, social media just LOVES to bring back old posts, so if you happen to have the time, scroll back through your favorite artist's feed and comment on an older post. This will cause the post to show up in other people's feeds since there was an action taken on the post. Don't ask me why, maybe social media is just nostalgic!
Also, don't forget to just click the like button or "heart" it on Insta while you are working your way to the comment section. Every little bit is appreciated!
3. Use Your Words!
Obviously we just talked about commenting on posts, so I mean real words! Verbal language! It's so easy it's funny.
Let's say you have a friend who just bought a house and is looking to decorate. If you know a local artist, you could just mention that you love their work and that your friend should take a look as they might find something they love!
Heck, my mother even just walks up to strangers and refers people, granted, she's a real estate agent and her whole career is about referrals. She received one of my prints as a canvas poster and went to Hobby Lobby to have it framed. the entire time, people were stopping by and commenting on it, and she just kept bragging about how they should go to my website! Remind me, I need to get that woman some of my business cards!
I actually booked my first Colorado gig by budging in on a conversation. I was ringing up a customer at this store I used to work at, and they were talking about how they needed to find a photographer to shoot the boy's senior portraits. I felt super awkward, but I mentioned that I was a photographer and would love to help them out. The lady booked me for his senior portrait, for family portraits, and for real estate photos! That's three sessions that I could have missed out on if I hadn't spoken up.
It's amazing how less awkward it gets the more you do it. Eventually you're just like "Hey, I'm here, what's up!"
So next time you're standing in line at the grocery store, or wherever, and you overhear another person talking about needing a product that your favorite artist offers, let that person know where to go look! Your local artist will be so thankful!
4. Spend that Money, Honey!
As artists, we completely understand that not everyone can or will want to support what we create. One, everyone has different tastes, and two, everyone has different budgets, and that's totally okay!
If you can, even the smallest purchase can help your artist. If not, please refer to the other steps! I cannot tell you how many clients I have booked due to referrals and social media exposure, which is utterly amazing and cost my supporters just their time and kind words!
PHOTOGRAPHER LIFE HACK
This is not [really] photography related... but to me it's important.
Today I wanted to set up remote access to my iMac from my MacBook Air. I found a lot tutorials on how to do it, but none of them seemed to work for me, so I am hoping that this blog post helps someone out.
Step One: Access the computer that you want to remotely access (my iMac for me)
Step Two: Click on the Apple in the top left corner, then on System Preferences.
Step Three: Click on Sharing
Step Four: Click on Remote Management and select the options you would like to have available for remote access.
Step Five. Click on Remote Login in the left hand column.
Step Six. Keep the window open, it has important information you will need
Step Seven: Access the device you would like to use to access your original device (my MacBook Air for me).
Step Eight: Open Finder
Step Nine: Click on Go (it's at the tippy top of your computer screen)
Step Ten: Click on "Connect to Server"
Step Eleven: Look at your original device screen. You should be on "Remote Login". Underneath where it says "Remote Login: On" it will tell you what to type.
Step Twelve: Type the information from step eleven in the Server Address box on the second device.
You are done!
This allows me to access all of the files on my iMac at anytime. In other words, it doesn't matter where I am, even if I am not at home, I can access my external hard drive on my desktop, my desktop files, everyyythingggg on my laptop. It's freaking amazing.
I hope this helps!!
Photographer, visual artist, mother to four fur-babies, and travel enthusiast.