PPA Today: Search Results

Results tagged “photography inspiration” from PPA Today


top10blogroundup.jpg

Need your weekly photography blog fix? You're in luck! Here it is...

1. What Tuesday's Elections Mean for Photographers

COPYRIGHT: PPA was all over this one so we're giving ourselves a little pat on the back. If you have followed the ongoing discussions for copyright reform, you might be interested in how the election results will affect the movement. Well here you go! Who wrote this by the way? That guy is good...

2. Making a C-Section Beautiful

NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY: You might have seen this one from the Huffington Post making the rounds on Facebook among your new mom friends. A C-section might not have the glamour of a traditional birth, but Canadian newborn photographer Jessica Bender was up to the challenge. She captured beautiful images and is now helping to debunk some fears about photographing of C-section births. Now that's a win, win!

3. This Is How You Fake It

EARNING POINTS WITH YOUR CLIENTS: Surely you know those "before and after" photos hawking the latest diet or nutritional supplement are the product of clever lighting and posing tricks (granted, a lot of Photoshop actions too). But what's cool about this video is how confident and happy the subjects of the experiment seem after they see the difference working with a pro who knows how to work with lighting and any body type. This is a cool piece to share if you want to show people what a difference it makes to hire a pro. Plus, you might get a few ideas from the shoot itself too ;-)

4. Give Back with Help-Portrait

PHILANTHROPY: Help-Portrait is only a month away! Past Imaging USA speaker Jeremy Cowart co-founded Help-Portrait to empower photographers, hairstylists and makeup artists to use their skills, tools and expertise to give back to their local community. It's your chance to use your talents to help someone in need of a smile. This year's event is December 6th. Click through to learn how to participate!

5. How to Tell a Story with a Drone

TECHNIQUE: Drones... so hot right now. Drones. A lot of you already have had clients ask if you use one by now. And while it might just seem like a cool toy (and it is), how can you use one to effectively tell a story? The folks at photofocus offer some tips.

6. Tis the Season for... FOOD!

TECHNIQUE: The Holidays are approaching, which = happy, happy bellies. Gear up for your Instagram feed to blow up with everyone's tasty, Pinterest-approved creations! But you're better than Instagram--you're a pro! Check out these tips on how to make that turkey or fancy pinkies-out cocktail drink the envy of all your friends.

7. Results from the San Diego Photothrowdown

In part two of the San Diego throwdown with Levy Moroshan and Dan Hughes, the photographers battle it out under high pressure situations. Check out the video and see who won!

8. Frank Doorhorf and Joel Grimes Podcast

PODCAST/HELPFUL HINTS: Got 30 minutes? Actually, just 27! photofocus sat down with two of the industry's best, including past Imaging USA speaker Joel Grimes, Cr.Photog., for a chat on their lives behind the camera. It's not just a fluff piece, they dig pretty deep! 

9. Advice from Renowned Photographer Steve McCurry

INSPIRATION: Looking for advice on how to be a successful photographer... from a truly successful photographer? Then check out this video featuring Steve McCurry, one of the best portrait artists in the business. The video also shows his new exhibit in Italy coming together, showcasing some of his best work from all over the world.

10. Time-lapse from the International Space Station

INSPIRATION: Let's wrap things up with the most rad time-lapse this blogger has ever seen--from SPACE! French photographer Guillaume Juin put together this video from hundreds of thousands of images taken from the International Space Station. The results are out of this world! Enjoy.

That's, that y'all! The top 10 photography blog posts from around the web this week. What photography blogs have you been enjoying? Let us know on theLoop!

 

John_3197_1.JPG

John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burgers and wishes Taylor Swift would just stop.

UPDATED IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE!

Keith Howe had his follow-up PET scan last week, and it's the first image in his whole career to score a 0. That's right; they got the "all clear"! The Howes could not be happier.

Says Keith: "I've been lucky enough to score a perfect 100 in print competition and that felt awesome, but this zero feels even better!"

You can read their story in full below.


If you don't remember longtime members Keith and Holly Howe's story from a post we published around Christmas, it's worth the read. At the time, Keith was entering an aggressive treatment program for his cancer. But thanks in no small part to their positive attitudes and familial support system made through PPA, the Howe's are positively moving forward.

Their story picks up generally right where we left it--with Keith heading back to the hospital for more treatment. Although this time, it's for the final week of his final cycle. That's because the Howe's are on the verge of the ultimate good news: all clear.

 

Naturally, Keith is the star patient of the Nebraska Medical Center. 

rock star.jpg

"They keep throwing stuff at him and he keeps bouncing back," said Holly. "No matter what they do to him, he takes it in stride."

Keith had a repeat PET scan after the fourth round of chemo and the cancer is almost all gone. Since then he has undergone another round and a half. On April 8, Keith spent his final week in the hospital. He is finally done with chemo. His medical team all made very positive comments about his prognosis and the oncologists are optimistic the Howes will receive the "all clear" when Keith gets his final PET scan May 12.  

From here on it's just re-checking the scans every three months and getting his feet back under him--quite literally. Keith will soon begin physical therapy to regain some lost balance and mobility. He can walk and drive, but some of his nerve endings just don't fire the muscles like they used to.

"It's kind of like stringing new telephone lines," said Keith. "I'm feeling pretty good overall, but I still can't do those quick movements I need to be able to do, especially during a family portrait session." 

Keith does some computer work. He's even back behind the camera a little bit helping out with a session a day.

"It's great to see clients still coming and the phone ringing," he said, with a laugh. "It's looking like I still have a photography business here."


A big part of Keith's recovery has been played by fellow photographers and PPA members.

As a PPA-approved juror for the International Photographic Competition, Keith has been actively involved in mentoring photographers who enter competition images for years. And despite cancer and chemo, this year was no different. In fact, Keith was even more active than usual.

photo CC.jpg

Competitors sent their files and Keith would take a look from his hospital bed and talk them through things over the phone. He'd browse print competition pages on Facebook and give his advice. He was still out there lending a helping hand.

One of those he's helped is Michelle Parsley, M.Photog.M.Artist., CPP, of Woodbury, Tenn. Michelle was one of the women (referenced in the December story) who asked Keith to be her sponsor at the Award & Degree ceremony at Imaging USA. Michelle shared in Keith's regret that he wasn't able to be there to walk her across the stage, but she made sure his presence was felt nonetheless.

"I know without his input I would not have walked for those degrees this year," said Parsley, who received her master of photography and master artist degrees this year in Phoenix. "So I had them announce his name as my sponsor even though he couldn't be there."

Keith and Michelle first "met" in 2011 when Michelle posted her images in a PPA forum looking for answers as to why they did not merit. Keith responded with his advice and offered his advice anytime she needed it.

"There's no telling how many times he's helped me," she said. "He's so good at identifying where you are in your artistic journey and talking to you in a way that makes you want to do better. He's encouraging on one hand, but on the other he's not blowing sunshine. He's been really good at telling me, 'This is what you've got to do to accomplish your goal.'" 

"Even this year I could send him prints and he could still give a heck of a print critique. He always had time to critique, no matter how he was feeling. And it's not just me; he does it for so many people. His advice was just what I needed. The funny thing is, I've never ever even met Keith in person."

It's one of many such connections Keith and Holly have made through PPA.

_MG_6321 810.jpg

"What other industry could I possibly have that kind of connection in? It's crazy when I stop to think about it. I live in the middle of nowhere Tennessee. To have someone as talented and willing to give their time from Nebraska, I've never even been to Nebraska, it blows my mind."

Keith also received daily support and encouragement from good friend and PPAedu instructor, Jeff Dachowski, M.Photog.Cr., CPP,--yet another friend made through PPA.

"It's amazing how people can rally around and help you," said Keith.

Liz Vanc help-0013.jpg

Photographers in Nebraska have come and stepped in for recent sessions. A couple women from Wyoming came out to photograph their annual big dance school earlier this month. A photographer from Virginia helped with a recent shoot. Photographers in Florida have raised their cameras and offered support if needed. It all started through PPA.

"We know without a doubt that his amazing reaction (or should I say lack of reaction) to the extremely intensive chemo is because of his continuing positive attitude," said Holly. "And we also know we could never have sustained that positive outlook without the amazing outpouring of support we have received from our photography family.

"We still don't know what the future will hold as far as our business--whether Keith will bounce back enough to handle the physical demands of photographing a diva high school senior or a hyperactive two year old, but we are in a good place emotionally and financially because of our friends. We know we will be okay no matter what."


So... What's next?

Physical therapy! Lots of it.

Keith will get to work on bringing up his energy and regaining his balance.

cup cakes.jpg

"I want to be photographing high school seniors again," he said. "We also have a wedding to shoot in July for a woman who's been a client forever. She said she couldn't go elsewhere, it'd be like cheating on her spouse."

Keith and Holly also have a pretty big wedding to attend coming up.

"Our oldest son is getting married in California in May," said Holly. "From the moment he got engaged he has wanted his future in-laws' dog as his ring bearer, but wasn't sure what to do with the dog during the reception.

"Well, Keith was talking with a friend of ours and fellow PPA member who lives out in the area about possible venues and asked on a whim if she knew anyone that could watch a dog. It just so happened that she fosters dogs and would be happy to.

"They were amazed that we knew someone, who fosters shelter dogs, no less, that lives so close by. We weren't because we have friends EVERYWHERE. That's how PPA works."

Keith's original recovery goal was to be well enough to attend the wedding, but now he's thinking more. He's on target to be there in a California meadow under lofty redwoods for the ceremony, then dance at the reception in an apple orchard as the sun dips into the Pacific.

It might make for some good pictures.

 

 

By Danielle Brooks

daniellebrooksphotography.com

About a month ago, I started the Insanity workout program. If you have no idea what Insanity is, look it up. You will legitimately think I'm insane. I break a sweat just watching the infomercial.

So why would I choose to put by body through such a rigorous workout every day? I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and push myself. I needed a challenge. Shaun T, the creator, is always encouraging you to, "dig deeper," and push yourself to your limits.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for DANIELLE BROOKS.jpg

Part of Insanity is mental. You are training your mind to imagine yourself doing the impossible. When I'm working out and I am completely exhausted, I start saying, "You can do this, Danielle, just a little bit longer. You love working out." By replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones, I am able to stretch myself beyond my comfort zone and I get stronger everyday.

There are a couple of life lessons I've learned from Shaun T. that I have been able to apply to my photography business. One of them is tracking my progress. As you do Insanity, Shaun T. has you do a fit test every two weeks. This way you can track how your cardio has improved. There are eight moves, and you do each one for a minute. In that minute you do as many reps as possible. It serves as a constant reminder that your body is changing even if you can't see the external changes. One of the ways I track progress in my business is by blogging.

Right after Imaging USA, I wrote about how I was going to start a senior rep program. My goal was to have 1-2 senior reps. The thought of having more seemed slim since it was my first year running the program. I ended up with 5 reps and had to turn girls away! That's insane!

When I have a goal, I blog about that too. I keep my followers interested by posting my progress. Not only is this good for creating a community of followers, but I also now have a record of my improvement. When I am discouraged I can look back and see where I started. No matter how small the progress, you are still moving.

Another lesson I learned by doing Insanity is to push yourself to your limits and, as Shaun T. says, "Dig deeper!" The last time I wrote for PPA Today, I mentioned I had partnered with a local gymnastics business. I had a meeting with the owner, and she started talking about her need to have sports photos taken of all the kids. I'm not a sports photographer and I have no idea how to set up a shoot like that. She wanted to do the photos in the gym with backdrops and studio lights. As a natural light photographer, I didn't have any of that equipment. The thought of doing a shoot like that terrified me, and yet I found myself saying yes and setting a date for photo day.

I am not saying you should say, "Yes," to every job that comes your way. Sometimes it's best to let your client know your limits; I knew I could handle the situation. As Shaun T. says, "It's a stretch." I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

My list of obstacles was long. I needed backdrops, lights, a lesson on how to use the lights and order forms for parents. I already knew someone who had backdrops and lights that I could borrow. Thankfully I had stopped by a booth that specialized in sports photography at IUSA and picked up some info just in case. They were able to help me organize my thoughts and get some order forms for parents to take home. I am certainly stretching myself, but I'm growing and am a better, more experienced photographer because of it.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about the shoot and how I'm a fish out of water. Cue photo day nightmares. But this leads me to my next lesson learned by Shaun T.: stay focused. Throughout the workouts, Shaun walks around and encourages those working out with him. He does the moves next to other people and corrects their form if they are slightly off. Shaun is always shouting out encouragement to keep going. At one point he looks into the camera and say, "Keep going, you can freaking do it." Normally by that point, I am so tired and want to just stop, but Shaun's encouragement calls me back to reality and I recompose my focus on my workout. I am able to push harder and hang in there just a little longer. 

The same goes for my business. It is easy to get distracted by the obstacles in front of me and sometimes I just get worn out, but we need to constantly refocus ourselves on the task at hand. Make sure you have a couple people you can call if you need encouragement. It's always helpful to have some cheerleaders in your corner who can spur you on when you are stalling. For me, it's my husband. He can always motivate me to keep going and he helps me to grow.

I do Insanity because I want my body to change. I want to be the best version of myself I can be. It is a lot of hard work, which is why most people don't do it. The same can be true for photography. To grow and develop is a lot of hard work. To truly excel in this industry you need to push yourself. Getting out of your comfort zone is a good place to start. So get up and get moving. In the words of Shaun T., "You can freaking do it." 

By Mariah Ashley

I believe after Audi's Super Bowl commercial we can all agree with Sarah McLachlan that cross-breeding Dobermans with Chihuahuas (Doberhuahua) is a really bad idea. Clearly the Doberhuahua is an unholy combination best left to the imagination of Audi's creative marketing team, but it did get me thinking about a cross-marketing situation we had here at Snap a few days ago.

Before I can tell you about that though, I need to tell you a regretful story based on real life events.

Once upon a time (last winter) there were two photographers who got a call about shooting a wedding for a fellow wedding vendor. This vendor, a lovely young woman, happened to be the event coordinator at a very exclusive venue.

 

The young woman told the photographers that she was planning a small wedding on a tight budget (about half what the photographers would normally charge), but it was her dream to have the photographers shoot her event. The misguided photographers told her "sorry", but she'd have to pay regular price because she was getting married on a prime Saturday during wedding season.

 

The lovely young woman was disappointed and hired an inexpensive photographer instead. The photographers were disappointed because they never did book that prime day with anyone else. The photographers lost out on the coordinator's wedding and an opportunity to solidify their professional relationship with her. They sat home and twiddled their thumbs on her wedding date.

 

The lovely woman's photos didn't turn out as lovely as they could of and the photographers felt really bad about that. The photographers vowed that if ever faced with this scenario again they would be generous to their industry friends and everyone would win.

 

Doberwawa.jpg

Of all the mistakes we made last year, this was probably the most regrettable. It was so regrettable it actually had three separate heavy layers of regret. Regret number one, we had a long personal relationship with the coordinator and we felt like world-class jerks when we turned her away and worse when we saw her photos and knew we could have done better by her.

 

Secondly, the universe punished us repeatedly for our greed by book-blocking us every time another inquiry came in for that date. And finally the biggest business regret, we realized all too late what a huge marketing opportunity we had missed out on. Up until Friday, I couldn't even think of this incident without working myself into a dark self-degrading mood.

 

What changed on Friday you wonder? Well, the universe delivered us a chance at NOT repeating history. Another lovely young woman/coordinator at another fabulous venue had contacted us about shooting her wedding. I hadn't heard from her since sending her our pricing, so on Friday, I sent her another email to check in.

 

When she wrote back she told me she was looking into less expensive options because although it was her dream to have us there she was planning a very informal event and didn't have the budget. Actually her exact words to describe her budget were "borderline unrealistic." Without pausing to think, I emailed her the story I just told you and told her that if her "borderline unrealistic" budget covered our expenses then that would be good enough for us. The unrealistic budget actually turned out to be a quarter of our average booking. Big mistake you think? No.

 

This is where the Doberhuahua effect comes into play. I told her that after our expenses were covered, whatever was left over we would donate to Operation Smile through PPA charities. "Oh no you didn't!"

 

Oh yes I did!

 

I just cross-marketed; Vendor Relationships with Charity resulting in the kind of Word of Mouth you just can't buy. Not even for $4 million for a 30 second spot. Do-ber-hua-hua! It's a HAT TRICK TOUCHDOWN and everybody wins! (See that I just crossed hockey and football, I'm virtually unstoppable!)

 

Our borderline budget bride was so happy, so grateful, so overwhelmed that she told me she was borderline crying. Her "unrealistic budget" actually covered our expenses and allowed for a $1,000 donation to Operation Smile. Four children will have life changing surgeries thanks to her borderline budget, and that is nothing to scoff at.

 

The Moral of our story? Greed does not pay. We screwed up last year, but this year we had an opportunity to do things differently. Yes, we may miss out booking that date with someone who is able to pay full price. Ultimately though, our hearts will be richer for having helped an industry friend and for donating those four surgeries. I can guarantee our pockets will be richer too for all the priceless referrals the lovely coordinator will send our way.

 

Doberhuahua.


About the author:

Thumbnail image for winter.jpg
Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van,  grew up on a cranberry farm and is happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree.

 

 

 

By: Mariah Ashley                                                

He wasn't technically voted into office, but he just might be the best president we've ever had.

Whether Democrat, Republican, Tea Party-er, or Teetotaler, at least we can all agree on Kid President's platform, Be More Awesome.

It's hard to argue with the message to "Be More Awesome" (in everything you do). Kid President teaches us that we should be more kind and be less boring, not to mention that that Diabetes is pronounced (dahy-uh-bee-teez), not Diabeetus. Thank you for clearing that up Kid President, Wilfred Brimley sure made a mess out of that one.

Kid President has met President Obama, kissed Beyonce, interviewed Macklemore, and danced with Steve Carell and the Despicable Me Minions, all because he spends his time being more awesome. Kid President knows what he is talking about. It's time to listen to Kid President.

Do I digress? This article is supposed to be a recap of my own awesome experiences at #IUSA14. You may wonder, What exactly does Kid President have to do with PPA?

Turns out, everything!

1.21.JPG

Everywhere I turned at IUSA14 I saw PPA's message to "Be More." Be More was plastered on pamphlets, flyers, posters, photographs and videos all over the convention and I have to say the message got through to me. I do want to Be More! Much like Kid President, PPA's inspiring campaign of awesome has encouraged me to contemplate my full potential of Being More.

The best part about PPA's Be More message? You fill in the blank yourself. For example, this year, I will Be More __________. There's no wrong answer!

And let's face it; most of us are going to Imaging because we are looking for answers, some of us with a little more desperation than others. In 2013, I was the blurry eyed, traumatized, desperate type. I needed to Be More... able to stay in business and Be More... likely to pay myself. I was looking for fiscal answers to my woes and I found them by going to seminars about branding, marketing, social media and also by getting advice from our friends at PPA Business (formerly Studio Management Services (SMS)).

This year I needed different types of answers. I was looking to Be More... Inspired, Be More... Educated,  Be More... Purposeful and Be More Thankful. I even found an answer to a question I didn't know needed answering, how I could Be More... Extroverted.

The magic of Imaging is that the answers are all there, no matter what your questions. You just need to Be More Present, and Be More Focused to find them. And so Trish and I set off to find the answers we both needed.

What's the best way to Be More Educated? Take a class! And so we did, More Crazy Stupid Light with Scott Robert Lim. We were hoping to get our lighting learn on and walk away with some new flashy tricks up our sleeve. Scott taught us some cool lighting techniques but something else he taught us about inspiring confidence in your clients was infinitely more valuable.

He said, "If I don't feel like I am a beautiful or worthy person I won't be able to get that from my client. It will be the blind leading the blind. You've got to come in strong and confident to see the beauty in a person and bring that out. You've got to overcome your own baggage."

Woah. I've never heard anyone say that before. Lots of people talk about how to pose your subject. But who says you've got to feel beautiful yourself before you even step into the room with your client? Thank you Scott, I will strive to Be More Loving of myself.

Another class we attended was From Concept to Creation: A Fashion Shoot with Brian DeMint. To say Brian is a character is a major understatement. He bought his camera at Best Buy because the sales kid there told him to. He uses a kit lens and when questioned, appeared to be unsure about what f/stop he was using. His lighting system is a 100 watt bulb with a metal cover, which is generally used to hatch baby chickens not to glamorize models. By all accounts, his photos should suck.

They don't. They're lovely, interesting and unique. Brian is the Jack White of photography. He could literally pull a camera out of a dumpster and make a beautiful image with it. Brian added this gem to my pile of treasures, "If everyone loves your work maybe you are a little too bland." Thank you Brian for inspiring me to Be More Daring, and to focus less on my equipment and more on my imagination.

Our next stop was a lecture, Moments Not Poses with Ross Oscar Knight, where we learned to Be More Prepared. Before listening to Ross I felt that Trish and I had the market cornered on being prepared. After all, we practice the 7P's; Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. However, Ross's level of preparedness makes us look like a couple of circus clowns. Blending the math and science side of his brain with his creative side, he has literally developed a formula for success. He unselfishly shared his biggest mistakes, in the process tossing me this gem, "You honor your clients by being prepared."

What does being prepared have to do with moments? When you are as prepared as Ross is, you can live in the moment "letting go and letting the images flow." Thank you Ross for showing us how to Be More Prepared and therefore be better photographers.

Another lecture we attended literally blew my mind. Seriously, my mind exploded around minute 45 of Jeffery Shaw's, Prosperity and Purpose: The photography Business Through a Different Lens. It does hurt a little when your mind explodes, which would account for the sobbing and sniffling. Seriously, it was embarrassing. Jeffrey had many great things to teach us about our business, but what he taught me about myself has forever altered me as a human being. I know, crazy right? How you ask?

Well, first, Jeffrey talked to us a bit about "Finding Your Purpose." What it is that keeps you going? What do you value? What do you believe? What is the deeper need of your clients beyond lovely photos?

 These are questions he urged us to ask ourselves, but my mind was a blank! I sat struggling with these questions for the next 15 minutes until Jeffrey shared a little story about his "Limiting Beliefs" (his baggage). There's that word again!

As a child, Jeffrey hated games, (so do I) because it meant someone would have to lose. He also feared he wouldn't be picked to play when teams were chosen (me too). He said, "It wasn't that I would be the last one chosen, it was that I hid in the back of the line because I didn't want to play the game."

Commence flowing of tears, running of snot, and choking back of sniffles. I know it's hard to believe, but as a child I was never the first one picked for any team and was never a shining star to anyone but (maybe) my mother. Like Jeffrey, after a while I just got sick of the game and hid in the back of the line. In that moment, I felt sad for the little Mariah who used to hide and I decided that big Mariah wouldn't be doing that anymore.

Then I was struck with the answer to the question: What do I believe and what is my clients higher need?

I believe I am really good at drawing out the beauty in the self conscious client, the shy client, the introverted client, making them feel like a shining star on their wedding day. My clients are not celebrities but come hell or high water they will feel like one when I am done with them. Give me your worst case wall flower, they are putty in my hands because I understand them, they are my peeps. Because of Jeffrey's insight, I can Be More Purposeful and will Be More Extroverted.

I have so much gratitude in my heart for the wonderful speakers who shared of themselves. In a room full of hundreds of people, I often felt they were talking directly to me. Thank you also to Gregory Heisler who taught me to Be More Evocative and Roberto Valenzuela whose hilarious, self-deprecating stories inspire me to Be More Spicy. I'll be "adding some hot sauce" to my pictures for sure.

This brings me to my final Be More wish. I wish for myself and encourage all of you to Be More Thankful. Don't sit by and be a "taker." If someone has shared with you a story, useful information, words of encouragement, or a piece of themselves that has helped you personally or professionally, tell them so! Talk to them face to face, tweet about it, or send them an old fashioned thank you note. It doesn't matter the avenue of gratitude as long as you express it. Heck, kiss them if you feel it's appropriate.

 

winter.jpg

About the author:

Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van,  grew up on a cranberry farm and is happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree.


By: Mariah Ashley

Long dark days. Cold sleepless nights. Sad empty bank accounts. All of your clients have flown south.

Winter is coming.

Well, let it come! This year I am not afraid. Not afraid of White Walkers (gratuitous Game of Thrones reference). I am not afraid of my bank account. Last year at this time I was desperately faking the flu to get out of our trip to Atlanta for Imaging 2013. After struggling all year to stay afloat, all I wanted to do was stay home and cling to the few pennies we had left. My unrealistically optimistic business partner Trish dragged me to the airport and shoved me on the plane to Atlanta, unexpectedly setting us on the bumpy road to success for 2013.

Going to Imaging breathed new life into my defeated self. We left bursting with great ideas to pull ourselves up by the old bootstraps. Since then, we've implemented all we learned in Atlanta and it's made a monumental difference to our business. For starters, this year I will skip merrily onto the plane to Phoenix ready to learn, instead of clawing at the escape hatch desperate to hide. The state of Snap in January 2014? We've booked all the weddings we need, our bank account is pleasantly plump, and my brain is humming along peacefully instead of spiraling into dark places. This is winter people. This is unheard of.

If you are feeling anything like the old panicky broke me, please tell me you are going to Imaging 2014 this week in Phoenix! It's just what the doctor ordered for anyone suffering with a fake flu and dwindling enthusiasm. You may even want to do a little pre-gaming before your trip. To get you in the mood, here are the top 10 things we did this year to turn ourselves around. Imaging was the catalyst for it all.

1. Make Out With like a Cowboy and Brand Everything. Your logo, website, blog, collateral all has to be complementary and cohesive! After Imaging we stopped being schizophrenic with our branding, going so far as to create a Rules For Branding manual. Anyone who doesn't follow the manual gets the hot poker treatment (you don't want to know). P.S. Bonus! If you are already well branded you can skip this step and just make out with a cowboy... or cowgirl while the rest of us are catching up.

2. Join a Cult, of Personality. Selling yourself (not in the biblical sense) is more important than selling your photographs. Show people who you are and they will love you and they will hire you. (Or they won't and you'll get over it because it's them not you). We created a funny video with bloopers, and started a "Behind the Snaps" theme on our blog to give potential clients a glimpse into the charmingly wacky world of the snap girls.

3. Give Til it Hurts (Because it Won't). We stumbled into the PPA Charities party last year and decided we wanted contribute to Operation Smile. We became the top donating studio in the country by donating the money for one surgery every time we book a wedding. This year that means we paid for 43 surgeries. We don't miss a penny of the money we donated and I love imagining 43 smiling little faces in front of me. Bonus! Brides are excited to book with us knowing that they are helping to save a child's smile!

4. Shut Your Pie Hole. It's time to stop talking and really listen to your clients. When you do that, you can start giving the people what they want and not what you think they should have. We used to just tell people what they should buy instead of listening to their needs. We call this "getting off High-Falutin" Highway. As soon as we took the exit to reality town, the bookings began pouring in and our average sales went up.

5. Expose Yourself (But Not in a Trench Coat Kind of Way). I know, it's human nature to want to hide your problems and flaws and pretend everything is alright. But trust me on this, as soon as you start exposing your soft underbelly, your bleak situation will improve. Pull your head out of the sand and start with a PPA SMS consultation. A whole world of non-judgmental support will open up to you.

6. Write Your Wrongs. Writing about the sinking Snap ship and sharing it with the world on the PPA blog (hello...is anybody out there even reading this?) was a scary biweekly occurrence for an entire year. It took me way outside my introverted comfort zone, but it also helped me organize my thoughts and kept me honest with myself. Chronicling our adventures started out as an experiment but became an instrument for positive change. Buy a journal and record your own trials and tribulations. If nothing else, it will help you see how far you've come as you prepare for Imaging 2015!

7. Forget About Losing 20 Pounds. Set yourself up for success. Don't let your business goals go the way of your New Year's Resolutions. Seriously, you are not going to drop 20 pounds by that cruise you are taking in March. Set clear, realistic goals for yourself and your business. For us, that meant paying ourselves every week and eliminating all of our debt. We did both. Still working on that muffin top though. Mmm, did somebody say muffin?

8. Give Your Lazy Butt the Boot. If you do not like to work long hard hours then hang it up now. There is no easy breezy magic recipe for a life of leisure as a wedding photographer. You must hustle, you must work hard, sacrifice your weekends and give it your all each and every day. I used to whine about shooting 30 weddings and then I learned a photographer I really admire shot 50 this year. By herself. I am not worthy. I will never whine again.

9. It's So BAD it's Actually Good. Turn every negative experience you have into a learning experience. We made A LOT of mistakes this year along with the good decisions. Honestly, we learned more from the bad then we did from the good. Do not ignore unhappy clients, jobs you failed to get, or vendors who didn't recommend you. I've started asking every bride who doesn't book us why she went in another direction. Most everyone has shared why and I've learned invaluable insights.

10. You've Got Guts, Trust Them. A low point for me this year was purchasing another photographer's price list for $195. I am mortified that I did that. I was at a weak point, unsure of myself, desperate for anything that could help me price myself correctly. You know what I discovered? The price list I paid $195 was virtually identical to the one I had sweated over for weeks creating. You could buy a lot of muffins for $195. Trust your gut; you have the muffins answers inside you, only you can know what is right for your business.

I want to thank you faithful blog followers for reading along with me this year. I hope that in sharing my follies and foibles I've helped you to feel less alone and maybe even elicited a chuckle or two during your busy work days. If you see me at Imaging, please say hello! I would love to hear from you. Good luck and Godspeed.

Sure, winter is coming, but we've kicked it's frosty butt and so can you. Now where's my hot cocoa?

winter.jpg







About the author:
Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van,  grew up on a cranberry farm and is happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree. 

What having our hearts broken taught us about our ideal client

The other day Trish and I had a meeting with a potential bride (Annie) and her mother (Ruth). They were two smartly-dressed, funny, warm, interesting ladies. The most endearing thing about them was that they work together as a mother/daughter dynamic-duo realty team. During our meeting, we laughed, we chatted, we shared ideas and inspirations, relating to each other on a sassy-ladies-in business kind of level.

Annie and Ruth were planning a big fabulous wedding at a fantastic venue with a fancy wedding coordinator we love. We thought to ourselves, now these two are our "ideal clients!" We could have spent all day chatting with Annie and Ruth, in particular picking savvy business lady Ruth's brain about what her "ideal client" was like.

It's safe to say we fell a little in love with Annie and Ruth and when they left, we found ourselves staring longingly at them as they walked away, calling out with a hint of neediness, "Don't be strangers! Bye-bye... Call us!"

The problem with falling in love is it puts you at risk of rejection. Unfortunately, it turned out that Annie and Ruth weren't as "into us" as we were "into them." One-sided love never works out, and a few days later after our date meeting, I got a "Dear Snap" letter from Annie. It was the usual, "It's not you...it's us" excuse.

WHY Annie!? Why Ruth?! What is it about us that drove you away?!!! WHAAAA!

This question kept me awake, so I felt compelled to email Annie back and ask her... casual-like... why she decided to break our hearts go in another direction? Exactly what did the other photographer have that we didn't? Perkier Albums? Curvier frames? Tell me Annie, tell me what I could have done differently!

Annie was gracious enough to return my email. She reiterated it wasn't us, they loved us. Our albums were indeed perky and our frames curvy, but what really turned them on was slimmer packages. The other photographer was cheaper more budget friendly. That's it. Budget trumped our deep personal connection and charming personalities, end of story.

goat photo.jpg

While Ruth may not have given us a deposit to shoot her daughter Annie's wedding at that meeting, she did give us something invariably more valuable, a little gem of advice. Remember how I asked Ruth about her ideal client? Her answer gave me pause then but really got me thinking after she dumped me.

She said, "My ideal client is one that pays me. If I only worked with clients that I loved, I'd have like five clients and that doesn't pay my bills. I keep my eye on the prize. Being able to work with all kinds of people affords me a nice home, nice vacations and the ability to plan a nice wedding."

There's a lot of photography talk out there about "Finding your Ideal Client"--a concept that has always kind of confused me. What is my ideal client? I thought sassy, funny, fashionable Annie and Ruth were ideal, but I was wrong about them.

Seemingly, some photographers "ideal clients" get married in a field and have rustic-barn-Anthropologie-type receptions because all their photographs contain those elements. Other jet-setting photographers seem to only photograph tall, thin, fashion forward model-types who marry in European vineyards and/or castles because all of their photos are taken in European vineyard and/or castles with unbelievably beautiful people. Others yet seem to only photograph really creative tattooed people that seek alternative venues like abandoned airplane hangars.

Why then, on any given weekend might I find myself shooting a wedding on a boat, or in a moat, or with a goat? It makes me wonder, how can moat, boat, and goat clients ALL be my ideal clients? Is it weird that my weddings are so varied in style, location, and budget?

Here's where we circle back to Ruth and her gift to me. The common denominator with the moat client, the goat client, and the boat client is that they were all really excited to hire us. Eureka! Mystery solved...my ideal client is... wait for it... a client who is really excited to give me their money in return for us doing a really great job.

For whatever reason our photos, bad jokes, lack of fashion sense, or quirky personalities speak to them. They feel comfortable with us, confident we'll do a good job and are happy with their decision. Our clients are tall, short, big-boned, skinny, type A's, artsy types, fancy, down-to-earth, educated, hard-working, old money, blue collar, funny, shy, preppy, alternative, silly and serious. They are all of these things and more and I am grateful for their differences. I don't want my photographs to all look the same, the same type of venue and the same type of people in the same type of lighting. That gets really boring really fast. Besides, I'd like to shoot 40 weddings this year. What are the odds of finding 40 clients who want to have goats at their wedding?

A few days after Annie and Ruth rejected us we had another date meeting. (Gotta get back on the proverbial bicycle, right?) Had I been thinking along the old "ideal client" lines, gauging clients on their shoes or their venue, I might have missed out on a nice booking. This wedding was to take place at venue we are unfamiliar with and with vendors we don't normally work with. The couple was kind of quiet and shy, the conversation was a little awkward and the meeting brief. In times like that it can be hard to muster the razzle dazzle, but you know what? This couple was interested in our photography and had taken the time to come and see us. They deserved a little sparkle and we happily gave it to them. Although the meeting was brief, the shy bride told us we made her feel really comfortable and she would be excited to have us photograph her wedding... oh, and where should she send the check?

Ideal clients? Yes, without a doubt.

 

From the IUSA Mentor Booth to the Loan Collection: The Journey of an Image

By Christine Walsh-Newton, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

Last year was PPA member Christine Walsh-Newton's first trip to Imaging USA. While there, she not only picked up her master of photography degree, but also took full-advantage of the 15-minute mentoring sessions with an affiliated judge.

She learned more about her competition images--and even her overall shooting style--than she could have imagined. She flew home inspired to take her images to the next level.

Christine shared her story on her personal blog, read it and see the results!

And make sure you check out our blog from a couple weeks ago on mentoring opportunities at this year's Imaging USA in Phoenix!

ppalogo.PNG

My enthusiasm is ramping-up for Imaging USA 2014. Trish and I got our official badges in the mail today. Eeeek! 

It's hard to believe that this time last year I was dreaming of ways to fake-illness myself out of the trip to Atlanta for Imaging 2013. In my very first post for this blog, I confessed my panic and nausea induced by a stalled cash flow and floundering business. Thankfully, my business partner Trish dragged me kicking and screaming out from under the covers of my fake sick bed to IUSA 2013 and it profoundly changed...everything.

I once heard Trish say, "A problem shared is a problem halved."  That's been true for us so far. Sharing our problems, exposing our soft underbellies and swallowing our pride opened us up a support system of expertise, good will, and creative inspiration from PPA.

bright is the new bleak photo.jpg

Writing about our woes started out as an experiment.  I've been chronicling our trials and tribulations here for nearly a year and it's helped me foster a new way of looking at my business and my life. The experiment would either end in total failure with me at my new job as a sectional saleswoman at the local furniture store (love me a sectional) or it would end in success with "Bright being the new Bleak" when it comes to the future of Snap!. Sharing mistakes has also taught me to see inspiration for success in the most ridiculous, outrageous and mundane places.

Take for instance, when Queen Latifah called us recently. Queen Latifah is only (according to Google and um, the rest of the world) the very coolest singer-songwriter, rapper, actress, drop dead gorgeous model, television producer, record producer and talk show hostess. Not to mention she's considered one of hip-hop's pioneer feminists.

So, the phone rings the other day and it's Queen Latifah (in the interest of full-disclosure it was actually a lovely woman named Chelsea who works for the Queen Latifah show, but close enough).Chelsea was looking to get permission to use a photo from our Pinterest page pinned by one of their upcoming  guests. You may have heard about this couple in the news, Ryan Leak and Amanda Roman. Ryan planned an entire wedding from Amanda's "My Dream Wedding" Pinterest page. A photo we had taken of earrings was pinned by Amanda and used by Ryan in creating their wedding. Ryan proposed to Amanda, she said yes, and then they had the wedding all on the same day.

We had a nice chat with Chelsea and were about to hang up when she said something really momentous. She said, "Congratulations on your life." Chelsea wanted us to know she had spent a lot of time on our website and was really impressed by the photography but was even more impressed by the passion and zest we have for what we do. Gosh, Chelsea (a.k.a. Almost Queen Latifah) that was awfully nice of you to say. Lightning bolt moment: It's important to remember that a bad day for us doing this is better than a lot of people's best days at work.

Other times the inspiration for success comes from humbling places. One of the goals we set for ourselves at Imaging 2013 was to get involved with PPA Charities' Operation Smile. We were moved to action and tears after attending a PPA Charities party at Imaging and listening to all the wonderful people involved with Operation Smile speak. We had no idea then that we would get so inspired... really inspired... to donate all we could to Operation Smile.

The more we read about Operation Smile, the more we watched the videos of the children whose lives had been changed by Operation Smile, the more we wanted to do. One day we had an idea to donate the amount of one surgery ($240) for every wedding we booked. When given here and there, the $240 was hardly missed and before we knew it, we had booked 28 weddings and donated $7,487 (and counting), making us the Top Studio Donor in the country for the year.

I hardly know how that happened; after all, we don't have a fancy studio. We are just two ladies plugging away here at my house in my spare room. Sometimes it's a struggle to make ends meet, but I've never missed a dime of the money we've given to help children in need.

In the course of a year, it turns out that I shared my problems and halved them too by reaching out to PPA and asking for the help we needed. Ironically, what has really reenergized our business hasn't been what we've taken from PPA but what we've given back. It turns out that Joy shared is Joy doubled. I'm thankful to be doing what I do every day knowing that I'm pleasing my clients by involving them in an uplifting charitable cause. Sharing our passion for photography and the joy of our good fortune makes a bigger impact than I could have thought possible a year ago.

I hope you are considering going to Imaging USA 2014. If you are struggling like we were, don't crawl under those covers, share your problems and halve them! Reach out and get a little help. Things will turn around. Once they do, remember what Almost Queen Latifah said, "Be grateful for the life you have."

You're doing what you love! Once you're feeling good and joyous about how lucky you really are, start spreading the joy and love around. PPA Charities' Operation Smile is a great place to start. Remember, bright is the new bleak.

Hope to see you in Phoenix!

Guest blogger, Mariah Ashley, presents the last of her three-part series, "THE TRIFECTA OF TROUBLE - How Three Big Mistakes Created the 'Perfect Storm' and Almost Sank the Snap! Weddings Ship." Make sure you read part one, The Tale of the Tin Pig, A Cautionary Anecdote and part two, Guts: Hate 'em, Spill 'em, Trust 'em first!


Part Three: Shutting the Proverbial Pie Hole


A big blabbermouth, that's what you are
If you were a talk show host, you'd be the star
I said your mouth is big, size extra large
And when you open it, it's like my garage
You talk too much
And then you never shut up
I said, "You talk too much"
Homeboy you never shut up
                                             
-Run D.M.C

I am the worst sales person that ever lived. The problem with a career in photography is that I only imagined myself doing the photography. I never imagined myself hocking albums and framing. Not that I don't believe in my products, I do. I'm just unbelievably awkward when it comes to asking my clients for money.
 
Over the years I've developed a major complex about the depth of my poor salesmanship. Terms like "asking for the sale" and "closing the sale" are sweat-inducing nightmares for me. In the interest of self preservation and under the depressing revelation that I am in fact never going to master the art of sales I decided I'd just be a good "chatter" instead. After all, I'm basically selling myself anyway, right? 

shut your pie hole.jpg
Chatting is not high pressure. Chatting is casual, chatting is light. So, I chatted... and chatted... and chatted... and after a while I was really SICK of hearing myself tell the same stories over and over again, but I kept on talking anyway because I wasn't sure what else I should do. I talked to potential clients about what made us different than the other photographers and therefore the right choice for them... blah blah blah. I talked about how superior our products are... blah blah blah. 

In the middle of one particularly long gab-o-rama I paused for breath and happened to notice a very familiar look on the faces of the people I was regurgitating my spiel on. It was a glassy-eyed, polite smile yet utter boredom kind of face. It was a face that I recognized all too well. It was the Yak-ity-Zack Attack face. 

My husband has a childhood friend, Zack. Zack has a heart of gold. He's a true blue, loyal to a fault, shirt-off-his-back kind of guy. He's the life of every party. He's also a real yak-er. I do not risk offending Zack by writing this article and publishing it nationally because the only thing that actually offends Zack is silence. He has proclaimed himself "The Thing That Wouldn't Leave" because of his epically long hot-air bull sessions. 

Zack is oblivious to my glassy-eyed stares and polite smiling and subtle yawning hints. No amount of "It's getting late, I should hit the hay," can deter the babbling prattle. More than once I have excused myself mid Zack-liloquy and gone to bed leaving my husband stranded alone at the kitchen table with the "Thing That Wouldn't Leave." 

Zack is funny, although we have heard his stories about a gazillion times. Even if you say, "Zack I've heard this one," he is compelled to tell it again. When "The Thing that Wouldn't Leave" finally goes, you kind of feel like you got sucked up into a tornado, dropped in the middle of a highway and then promptly mowed down by a Mac truck. In other words, all the air is gone from the room and you are left feeling a little flattened. Zack can't help it, because unlike me he is actually a salesman. A pretty good one too, at least according to his stories. Zack once told me that he went to a seminar for salesmen that taught him that he should listen instead of talking all the time. The irony of that wasn't lost on me but I think the wisdom may have been lost on Zack.

However, that little jewel of advice from Zack stuck in the back of my brain somewhere and when I ran out of boring things to say to glassy-eyed people, I just shut up. A funny thing happens when you shut your face. People start to open their mouths to pick up the slack, and what do you think comes out? REALLY VALUABLE feedback, information, and advice! It turns out that no one knows more about what is right for my business than my clients. Go figure!

These are just a few of the priceless gems thrown our way from current clients in the last week or so:

"We are choosing all of our vendors based on who we'd like to sit at a bar and have a rum punch with."

*Note to self: Clients want to feel comfortable and make friends; less important is the superiority of your albums, dummy. Read anything about the Millennial Generation, duh.

"It really impressed us how you give to charity (Operation Smile) and it felt good to be a part of that."

*Note to self: Our clients are thoughtful and charitable and PPA charities rocks! Keep giving!

"We loved the gift you sent us, not one of our other vendors have done anything even remotely close to that for us."

*Note to self: Clients love to feel taken care of and appreciated. Who doesn't? More gifts! 

And from dozens of potential clients...

"Our budget is $6,500."

*Note to self: Contrary to what you what you believe, the "sweet spot" for wedding budgets in this geographical area is $6,500. Create a new package for $6,200. 

*Follow up note to self: The new package is flying off the shelves, and clients end up spending way over the "budgeted" $6,500 anyway.

The moral of the story? Shut up and listen. Then take it to the next level and actually process what you just heard. Pay attention and then take some action. Use all that gas for good instead of evil. Be less like a Mac truck mowing over your potential clients and more like a hot air balloon lifting them up into a kind of photo-nirvana.

About the author:
Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van,  grew up on a cranberry farm and is happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree. 
BY: Mariah Ashley


I did something so unconscionable, so objectionable, so very scandalous that I am trembling as I type this confession. No sense in dragging things out. I'm going to rip this indecent Band-Aid off in one quick tug. 

I, Mariah Ashley, wedding photographer being of relatively sound mind and body, do hereby declare that I took two entire weeks off, in July, at the height of my busy season, to take my family on an epic summer vacation adventure. 

(Audible gasps heard around the photography community)

There, I said it. I said it and I am not (entirely) ashamed that I did it. 

Judge me not ye slaves to Photoshop! Untangle thy chains tethered to editing stations and hear my words...

If you leave it, they will come.

On the last day of Imaging USA in January, Trish and I attended a seminar about creating balance called Life. Photography. Business: How Women Can Balance Them All. I think it was a great talk to end our Imaging experience. We had been hearing so much about faster workflows and generating more business that it was a nice reminder that business is not everything and that taking time to enjoy life is important too. Of course intellectually we all know that, but personally I find it really hard to fit "Enjoy My Life" into my daily schedule. 

Trish and I have been full steam ahead since Imaging. We've been plugging away, making changes, keeping expenses low, boosting our web presence and marketing like mad. Basically implementing everything we learned while we were in Atlanta. And I have to say, progress was slow. Painfully slow. Horrifyingly slow. Considered getting a second job slow. 

Every email we got, every time the phone rang we'd hold our breath and wait. I was getting so good at holding my breath that my second job could be in professional pearl diving. 

Then around June I ran out of steam. I stalled right out on the tracks. I was the little engine that wept. I couldn't stand to ask myself one more time if we'd finally reached a tipping point, if we were on the up-swing, if we'd arrived. Please dear God, are we there yet?

Well, we weren't "there yet," and since we weren't going anywhere fast, I decided I'd go on a vacation. For two weeks. In July. 

I had in tow my husband, my two kids and two grown stepchildren. The Brady Bunch version 2013: In Hawaii, saying no to picking up random Tiki statues and incurring a Hawaiian curse, but saying yes to surfing lessons for six. I put a "sorry we're on vacation, we'll get back to you when we get back in town" message on our website, email, and voicemail. Then I did the unthinkable--I removed the email account from my phone so I wouldn't be tempted to peek at the beach. 

Are we there yet.JPG
This is where things get really insane. You might want to sit down. I did not lug along camera, not even a point and shoot. The only means of documenting my trip was my iPhone. Holy Macadamia, that's nuts. 

For two weeks I snorkeled, baked my pink skin under a tropical sun, surfed, skateboarded, swam with sea turtles, drank rum punch, laughed, made delicious dinners for my family, explored and slept. After about day two I forgot I even owned a business. By day three I forgot it was day three. I didn't even think about work again until the plane ride home and that's when the dreaded reality set in. 

I was leaving Neverland and heading back to Nevergoingtomakemybusinesssuccessful Land. I returned on a Friday and avoided turning my computer on until Monday morning. Monday morning I avoided opening my email until Monday afternoon. Monday afternoon I opened my email and found not cobwebs but 50 friendly messages from excited brides. They said things like, "Hope you are having a great vacation!" and "Can't wait to hear from you when you get back!" I had incurred the opposite of the Brady Hawaiian curse; I had incurred a post-vacation blessing. 

We had worked for six months implementing all of the great advice we received at Imaging. We sweated and fretted, and tweaked and planned and then just when I couldn't take another second of hoping to see the results, I left it. Left it alone to percolate. I had been leaving my family alone for six months because even when I was with them physically my mind was on my business. Being with them mentally and physically saved my sanity and allowed my watched pot to finally boil. 

Taking that vacation was our tipping point. The calls and emails are flooding in, the calendar for next year is filling in nicely, and I've stopped holding my breath. Now when my inner whiny voice asks "Are we there yet?!" I can say "Almost... almost." 

About the author:
Mariah Ashley is co-owner of Snap! Photography in Rhode Island. She is blonde, loves to bake fruit pies, wears flip flops way past the summer season, should have been born in the 50s, paints and writes when the mood strikes her, is mother to Jacques and Vianne, vacations on Block Island, is vegan, never has proper or stylish outerwear, fears frogs and toads but loves turtles, has really skinny legs, personal Style- Bohemian Chic, wants to own a VW van and learn to surf someday, grew up on a cranberry farm and is happiest when snorkeling is happiest when sipping a rum punch under a palm tree. 



Tags

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories