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FEBRUARY SELF-PORTRAIT: COMMITMENT TO THE CAUSE

Okay, so this self-portrait is the first that is DEFINITELY cheating. This image was not taken in February. But, my heart was (is?) still in the right place and the sentiment is the same. I have said it before and I will say it again but as photographers we work hard to constantly keep ourselves inspired and committed to creating things that are unique and interesting.

I cannot complain in any way that I get to do something I absolutely love every day. I mean, seriously, how lucky am I? But I will say that it makes remembering to do it for PERSONAL reasons too that much more difficult. It’s a classic case of “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” – isn’t that the saying? During busy season, I spend so many hours with a camera in my hand that it’s hard to remember to pull it out or bring it along just for fun sometimes too. And, I’m committed to getting better at that with each passing year.

So this photo is a prime case… I brought my camera along for some good fun and accidentally stumbled into this – a room with 270° of mirrors around it. And, though I wished I had something perhaps more interesting than myself as a subject, I couldn’t resist taking the shot anyway. Now, if you knew where I was, you would realize why this was weird, and strange, and total “commitment to the cause.” Any of you recognize this room? Let’s hope not. 😉

For more information and a full explanation about the self-portrait project, please see this post.

PHILADELPHIA NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY: BABY LUCAS

Lucas’s parents have been looooong-time clients (and now friends!) of mine, so, when I found out they were expecting I was over-the-moon excited. And sure enough, nine months later out came a healthy baby boy. Little Lucas was quite one of the easiest baby sessions I have ever done. Though he REFUSED to sleep for any of it, he was mostly happy and just wanted to hang out. And I certainly can’t blame him for that!

And, of course, I’m sharing this session with a bit of a secret… I just recently shot Lucas’s 6-month (technically 5.5, if we’re being picky) portraits (it’s not really a huge secret just how behind this blog is…) and it may just be one of my favorite sessions ever. But let’s start with a little newborn Lucas first…

SAM & JESSE’S KNOWLTON MANSION WEDDING – PHILADELPHIA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

When I shared their engagement session I already told you all about Sam & Jesse and how sweet and natural they were in front of the camera. They certainly know how to make my job easy! So, it shouldn’t surprise you that their wedding day was no different. One sunny Saturday in June they got all dressed up and were wed at the lovely St. Patrick’s Church on Rittenhouse Square. We took some images around a bustling Rittenhouse and then jetted off to Northeast Philadelphia for their gorgeous reception at The Knowlton Mansion. Again, such an honor to capture such a lovely day. Enjoy! xo.

Maybe one of my favorite cake toppers I’ve ever seen. I mean seriously, look at this thing!

At the end of the night, they sent their guests home with nothing other than PHILLY PRETZELS, of course. Sign reads: End the night with lots of cheer, and a pretzel, to soak up the beer! Such a cute idea and such a hit!

 

THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS: REVIEW OF PURPLE COW

It was one chilly, winter afternoon. With the breeze blowing outside, rattling the branches against the windowpanes, we sat inside with our laptops warming our legs.

What? Too dramatic?

Ok, yea, well maybe. Fact is, if I explain it simply it doesn’t sound all that exciting. Remember how I mentioned that conversation where Tina, April, and I decided to start the Hindsight is 20/20 Series? Well, we decided something else that day. Amongst conversation, we realized that we all had stacks of business books at our houses a mile high. As if that coincidence wasn’t enough… all of us were in the same boat: we couldn’t bring ourselves around to reading them. So we enlisted ourselves in the best form of self-help: accountability. We picked out our top 12 picks for the year and assigned one to each month to get ourselves on the reading bandwagon and cranking through some of this valuable literature. Which means…. you get to hear about it. LUCKY YOU!

But wait! There’s more! (Please tell me you just read that in your head in “infomercial voice” – if you didn’t, go try it again.) For those of you with no interest whatsoever in business/entrepreneurship/etc., I will even be giving my personal reviews of the other books I’m loving. You know, because one can never have too many good book recommendations. And, not to worry, you can count on me to tell it like it is; I won’t dance around the subject if I think a book was mediocre. Nonetheless, our first pick (which was for January, by the way): Purple Cow by Seth Godin.

Rating: 3/5

Review:

It is no secret that Seth Godin is considered to be the master of all things business. So, I was pretty pumped to get his recommendation on how to, as the book subtitle says, “transform your business by being remarkable.” Unfortunately, I felt like he spent most of the book talking about what makes businesses remarkable than how to become remarkable. His main point is that in order for businesses to succeed in their industry, they must set themselves apart in distinct and perhaps even unusual ways. Additionally, businesses must capitalize on the people who already love what they do and use those people to tell others about their new, “remarkable” services. Ultimately though, what Tina mentioned in her review, was exactly what resonated most deeply with me as well – he points out that you cannot be scared of pushing clients away by holding true to yourself or your product – because in doing so you are only pulling in more of the customer that you actually seek.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service.” (3)
  • “…it’s cheaper to keep an old customer than it is to get a new one…” (7)
  • “If the goal of marketing is to create a Purple Cow, and the nature of the Cow is to be extreme in some attribute, it’s inevitable that compromise can only diminish your chances of success.” (107)
  • “While we can’t predict what’s going to be remarkable next time, we can realize that there aren’t too many unexplored areas of innovation–just unexplored combinations.” (143)

Recommend?

Meh. Does that count? While I thought that the book was decent, I wouldn’t by any means say it was a “must read” nor did I walk away feeling like it had changed my life (or business mentality, for that matter). It certainly encouraged me to try to think of new things, but I didn’t feel it really provided any suggestions or much guidance as to how to go about doing so. If you’re into business literature, I’d say you’re better off skimming this one at the bookstore or borrowing a copy from a friend than investing in it as a resource. On the plus side, however, it’s a very quick read. So for what it’s worth, it may be worth a flip through if you’re in a rut.

Be sure to check out Tina and April’s posts on it too – here and here.

What about you – have you read any great business books lately or have any recommendations we should add to our list?

ETC - I love the citations! English freak. 😉March 25, 2013 – 5:04 PM

UNEXPECTED INSPIRATION

One of the more challenging parts of being a photographer is constantly working to keep yourself inspired. Working in a creative field is incredibly fun, but also incredibly challenging – especially if you find yourself shooting in the same places or the same thing over and over again. It’s easy – all too easy, in fact – to find yourself just shooting things the same way. Because, hey it worked last time! But sometimes when we’re out in new places, having new experiences, inspiration just strikes. It’s this weird feeling I can’t quite explain or predict. For me, that happened this last weekend visiting the workshop of George Nakashima. To be quite honest, I had never heard of him until then. And it wasn’t my idea to go visit this place either. But while we were there, perhaps with all the sawdust swirling about in my head, I was instantly inspired.

I mean, seriously friends, I came home fantasizing about learning how to build furniture in my free time. So though I had no camera in hand, I trusted my iPhone to capture all the beauty I was taking in so I could remember it, even briefly, when I need some inspiration. Many photographers complain about how technology like the iPhone has made everyone think they are “a photographer” but you know what? I think that’s what I love most about it. No matter where I go, no matter what I am doing, when inspiration strikes I have something there to capture it so I can hold onto it forever. They might not be the highest quality images, or captured quite the way I would take them otherwise, but they are there all the same. It is in this that we are all photographers in some way and maybe just maybe that will help others appreciate the work of the professional photographers even more, rather than less.

Anyway, if you are into DIY, design, interior design, or art of any kind and ever find yourself in or near the New Hope, PA area, I highly, highly recommend checking it out for yourselves.

What about you? Have you found yourself inspired by something completely unexpectedly?

The Wood-Working Shop.

The Finishing Shop.

And, my personal favorite (for all the little details): The Chair Shop!

Last but certainly not least: The Showroom

And, the ever awesome wood stock beneath the showroom. Aren’t all those incredible pieces of wood just amazing?

All images in this post captured with an iPhone 4s and processed with Lightroom 4.

Jenna - Holy cow Jim would probably die here. Looks like we’ll be planning a road trip!February 21, 2013 – 7:39 AM

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