January 18, 2008
Posted by Nicole under Family
| Tags: art
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As I’ve been reading, I’ve realized that having a plan for your business (or in my case, lack thereof) is very important. So to keep myself accountable, I’ve decided to outline some things I’d like to accomplish as a photographer in the upcoming year:
1) Take and complete photography classes. I’m on my way, having gotten my first Fundamentals of Imaging and Basic Photography classes under my belt. I’m very excited about my BP class; it seems like I’ll learn a lot of really important things in the class. I’m more nervous about the FOI class; it deals mainly with Photoshop, in which I have no experience. But nonetheless, it’s a very important class for me to take.
2) Buy my first professional D-SLR. I’m pretty sure that it will be the Canon 40D, based upon some reviews and advice from my mentor Anne Ruthmann. Although the Rebel xti is more in my price range, I think it would be a better business decision to get a camera that is actually in the professional category.
3) Shoot my first wedding. Once again, I look to Anne to help me out on this one. I’m set to second-shoot with her on May 10 at a wedding in Indianapolis. I may do a second one with her if time allows, but this is a huge opportunity for me. I get to learn from Anne and see how a real wedding goes from a photographer’s perspective, but she is the one who has the most responsibility. This will take a lot of stress (hopefully) off of my shoulders when I do finally take on a wedding on my own.
4) Build a portfolio. I have some people who have expressed a desire to be photographed, so for my assignments in my classes, I will likely look to them as my subjects. I also am doing a maternity shoot for my sister in law, who is due in April. I want to get a variety of experiences under my belt so I can learn to be creative and comfortable in any shooting situation. My focus will be people, but I also definitely want to dabble in pets. I absolutely love my dog and love taking photos of her, and I’ve also noticed that this area does not have ANY pet photographers.
5) Build the foundation for my business. This means coming up with a logo, web site/blog, budget, and deciding how much I will charge. I know this will mean I have to manage my time really well since I will still have a full-time job during the early stages of the business. I also need to learn about the process of editing the photos and how to get people to buy products from me. This is the most important part, and likely the part I know the least about. But thankfully, Tyler is a great businessman and Anne is going to allow me to pick her brain over some really great Indian food in Terre Haute in a week; I want to soak in everything she has to say!
6) Book my first client. This is a long shot in my mind, but I suppose completely doable. I have to have faith and confidence in myself that I can do this. I want to be someone that clients can not only rely on as a photographer, but also as a friend. Relationships are SO important, and it all has to start somewhere!
I may add to the list once I think about it some more. But for right now, these are the most important that come to mind. Anyone else have suggestions for an apsiring photographer?
January 17, 2008
Yesterday was one of the most, if not the most, embarassing days of my life. I had to speak at our local bar assocation’s Young Lawyers’ Bootcamp at the end of the day. I’ve known about it for a while and had prepared accordingly. What I was going to talk about wasn’t groundbreaking information, although electronic case filing procedures are quite important. But an hour before I was supposed to speak to them, it was determined that the technology I was relying on to demonstrate some key things to these young attorneys was not going to work how I needed it to.
So, with about 10 minutes to go before the attorneys arrived, I realized I would have to scale back my presentation. Shouldn’t be too difficult, I thought to myself: I know this stuff inside and out; I deal with it everyday; I train attorneys and their staff pretty consistently.
Both of our judges give their talk, then it’s my turn. I stand up in front of the group and it’s as if the wind has been knocked out of me. I can’t breathe, I stumble over my words, I start shaking, I can’t think. It was a mess. A total mess. And even though I felt like I was going to pass out right there on the spot, I also felt bad for the attorneys who had to sit there, a captive audience, and act like what I was saying was making sense. How horrible for them! After I was done, I put my tail between my legs, walked over to my chair and sat there through the rest of the presentations, mentally kicking myself over and over again.
After the entire thing was over, I slunk into a deep depression. Luckily, we only had five minutes of work left. I finished up for the day and gladly left work not long after 5 p.m. to go to my first Basic Photography class. All I wanted to do was run home to Tyler and have him give me a big hug, because that always makes me feel better, but instead, all I could do was call him. As I tell him what happened, I instantly start crying.
And after that, although I was experiencing some major sadness about how my workday ended, I remembered yet again why I love being married to Tyler. He is the most comforting, helpful person I know. He reassured me that it wasn’t as bad as I thought and that no one would even remember it, and furthermore, no one probably even noticed it. He tried his hardest to make me feel better, and as I ended the conversation with him, I felt good enough to go to my class.
Class was enough to get my mind off of the day’s events, but once I got home, I was back into my state of depression and worry over it all. Once again, Tyler was to the rescue. Good heavens, I love that man. He came up behind me, put his arms around my wasit and kissed my cheek as tears rolled down them. Once again, he tried to reason with me that everything would be okay and that I am a good communicator and it was due to having things go wrong right before I was supposed to speak. I put on a smile and tried to believe what he said.
But the tears weren’t over for the night. We were laying in bed talking and once again, the scene in front of the attorneys played through my mind. Once more, here came the tears, and once more, Tyler does his best to reassure me that everything would be okay. He comforted me the best he could and calmed me down enough that I could fall asleep. I woke up this morning feeling like it was all a bad dream, but sadly, it wasn’t. I’d give anything to do it over again.
I learned from this that I’m not the best public speaker in the world. By far. And I actually think I would do better if I didn’t follow a list of notes. I think that throws me off more than if I just do it by memory, by heart. (Any pointers for public speaking from anyone who’s actually good at it?)
But I also learned that I have the best husband in the world. He has this way of making me feel so much better even when I feel like the whole world is crumbling around me. Just knowing that I have his big hug and comforting words to come home to after I mess things up like I did gives me the courage I need to lift my head up, put one foot in front of the other and keep on carryin’ on.
January 10, 2008
Posted by Nicole under Christianity
| Tags: art
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As I get closer to taking classes, I have been consumed with thinking about what kind of a photographer I want to be. I have perused blog after blog and web site after web site. There are soooo many that inspire me!
1) bobbi+mike. My favorite. Hands down. Seeing Bobbi’s work is what inspired me to take this step toward becoming a photographer in the first place. She and Mike’s work is vibrant, fun, edgy and unique. AND she’s a fellow Sycamore!!
2) Jessica Claire. I covet one of her Shootsac bags. However, I’ve resolved not to get one until I’m a true photographer (and until I have a camera…I wouldn’t have any use for it until then, and they’re too pretty to just be left sitting around). But I truly love her work. It’s always so crisp and looks like it came straight from a magazine. And, she definitely knows how to capture those details. I love that she’s so driven, too. She sets goals (one of which was design a new product, and voila, we have the Shootsac!) and works hard to achieve those goals.
3) I just stumbled upon Jasmine Star. All I can say is, Wow. Her work truly takes my breath away. She not only has a true sense of capturing a moment with photos, but also with words. She always includes a little story with each couple she photographs. I feel as if I’m right there with her subjects, feeling what they are feeling. And, she’s a Christian and publicly professes her faith on her blog and Web site. Love that!
4) Anne Ruthmann. I truly love that she strives to make her business green. She also likes to help others make their businesses better. She does both by blogging about her efforts, tips and experiences. One of the ways she decided to help other photographers is by offering to include them as a second shooter at one of her many weddings (she was booked for 2008 before 2007 was even over!). I emailed her about it, and I hope that I’m advanced enough to accompany her sometime in May or later. I can’t tell you how excited I am about the possibility of doing that. Her work is definitely something I strive to emulate!!
5) Me Ra Koh. She used to be a writer (like me) but found healing through photography. After seeing Me Ra’s photography of her kids, friends started asking her to take photos for them. It took off from there and now she’s one of the very best in the business. Best of all? She gets to watch her kiddos grow up since she’s at home with them instead of in an office all day. I would love, love, love to be able to do that one day.
Each of these five women encompasses a little part of what I want to be as a photographer. They have talent, business know-how, giving hearts and great personalities. Just thought I’d share these five photographers who get my creative juices flowing each day when I check in on their photography blogs.
January 8, 2008
So many times, I run simply for the health benefits. I know that I am burning off tons of calories, keeping my heart and lungs healthy, and ensuring I can keep the weight off and fit into all the jeans I currently own. It also helps to know that I can pretty much eat what I want as long as I continue to keep up the mileage.
Lately, I’ve noticed another health effect: It really gets my spirits up. For some reason — call it the winter blahs, maybe? — I’ve been really depressed lately. You would think that with so many great things going on in my life – the miracle that God performed on a family member; me starting classes next week; being healthy; having a good job; having a husband, friends, and family who support me – that I would have no reason to be depressed. But the truth is, I am so insecure, self-conscious, and just unhappy at times that the only cure is to run. Running has always given me an opportunity to clear my mind, but I think that is only half of it. I think running also makes me feel like I have truly accomplished something that day, so maybe I am encouraged to know that I haven’t wasted an entire 24 hours. I know it also helps raise my endorphins, so I guess running is my drug. It gives me that natural high that helps me feel better about myself.
Why do you run?
January 2, 2008
I came across this column in one of the Runner’s World magazines my mom gave me this weekend. I really liked it, and then I read Jaimie’s blog where she classified herself as, first, a runner, and then reconsidered and called herself a jogger. No, my dear. You ARE a runner. The photo of you from this summer in all your running gear, sweat dripping from your smiling face says so. : )
I AM A RUNNER because my runs have names. I do tempo runs and threshold runs and fartlek runs. I do long, slow runs and track workouts. My runs are defined, even if my abs are not.
I AM A RUNNER because my shoes are training equipment, not a fashion statement. The best shoe for me is the one that makes me a better runner. I choose the shoe that goes with my running mechanics, not my running outfit.
I AM A RUNNER because I don’t have running outfits. I have technical shirts and shorts and socks. I have apparel that enhances the experience of running by allowing me to run comfortably. I can say “Coolmax” and “Gore-Tex” in the same sentence and know which does what.
I AM A RUNNER because I know what effort feels like, and I embrace it. I know when I’m pushing the limits of my comfort and why I’m doing it. I know that heavy breathing and an accelerated heart rate–things I once avoided–are necessary if I want to be a better runner.
I AM A RUNNER because I value and respect my body. It will whisper to me when I’ve done too much. And if I choose to listen to that whisper, my body won’t have to scream in pain later on.
I AM A RUNNER because I am willing to lay it all on the line. I know that every finish line has the potential to lift my spirits to new highs or devastate me, yet I line up anyway.
I AM A RUNNER because I know that despite my best efforts, I will always want more from myself. I will always want to know my limits so that I can exceed them.
I AM A RUNNER because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far.
I AM A RUNNER because I say I am. And no one can tell me I’m not.
Waddle on, friends.
January 2, 2008
Posted by Nicole under Family
| Tags: Courier & Press
, Habitat for Humanity
, Ivy Tech
, New Year
| 1 Comment
Taking inspiration from the people in my Courier & Press story, I’ve decided to make some resolutions of my own.
1) Be more green. While I already have a fuel-efficient vehicle (I absolutely love my trusty Toyota Corolla S), use energy-saving light bulbs, wash clothes in cold water and reuse bottles for our water, I really believe there is more I can do to help the environment. I’m no tree hugger, but if I can do even a little bit to save our earth, why not? Therefore, I resolve to try to save all of our cans to help with the Habitat for Humanity can collection (they recycle the cans AND get money for it…killing two birds with one stone!). I also plan on taking my own bags when I go grocery shopping. Any other suggestions?
2) Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. So far so good. Even with the frigid cold weather we just got, I was able to find a workout yesterday to do inside (thanks, Billy Blanks Tae Bo Cardio DVD). I also just got a resistance band from Target for $2.50, so even if I can’t get out to run, I can at least do crunches, push ups and some resistance training. Tonight, I’m hitting the treadmill downstairs at work.
3) Eat fewer sweets. I believe this was a resolution last year, and I did pretty good until Thanksgiving time and on. Even last night, I had 3 chocolate chip cookies after dinner. Not because I was hungry, but because they looked good. I need to learn to pay more attention to how I feel before I take a bite…am I really hungry, or is my brain tricking me?
4) Learn how to use a digital SLR camera and become really, really good at it. I’m taking two classes at Ivy Tech starting Jan. 14, so that will be the first step. This will require a lot of practice and patience on my part, but I’m really excited about it. I already stalk several blogs for daily inspiration. After I tackle the basics, I plan on doing a maternity shoot with my sister in law and eventually would like to take on a wedding.
5) Get to work earlier. While I technically don’t have to be at work until 9, it does look better if I would get there by 8. So, I’m going to work on getting out of bed when my alarm actually goes off and getting out the door no later than 7:30. This may require packing lunch and ironing clothes the night before, but I can handle that.
6) Focus more on my marriage. Some issues I have to deal with are trust, communication and time management. I’d really like to make more quality time for us doing FUN stuff instead of the daily “work” that comes with being married and owning a home.
These are my main goals, and I think each one is definitely attainable.
January 2, 2008
I do. And after this weekend, I do even moreso.
The day after Christmas, I received a phone call from my mom that one of my relatives had tried to commit suicide. This family member had taken about every pill in the house and the son found them on Christmas day. Said family member ended up in the hospital, alive but in a coma. The news truly shocked and saddened me…I can’t count the number of times I’d driven past this family member’s town on my way to or from Williamsport and thought about stopping by, but instead decided I wanted to just get home because it was a long trip. I felt incredible guilt for not taking more time for this loved one, but even moreso wondered if this person had a relationship with Jesus.
Then the next day, I found out the doctors diagnosed this family member as brain dead. It would only be a matter of time before my family member passed away. So they took this person off of life support and we waited. My mom and grandma visited our family member in the hospital and then came to stay with me overnight before returning. My grandma told the story of how the family member would turn and look at her when she entered the room, yet the doctors said this was an involuntary response, controlled by the one part of the brain that still functioned. It just didn’t add up to me. I couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about all the things I wanted to say to the family member. And, deep down I just didn’t believe this was the beginning of the end. Something in my heart told me so.
So I made the trip up north to see my family member for myself. It was hard to take seeing my family member worse off than I had ever seen them. Yet, I still kept hope even when others said the doctors said there was no chance of recovery. After all, my relative would actually turn their head and look at anyone who said their name. This, in my mind, was a reason to hope for the best. I said some things to my relative quietly as others talked amongst themselves…told them how much I loved them and that Jesus does, too. That they have a reason for being on this earth. That they don’t have to hold on any longer if they didn’t want to, but if they wanted to, I truly believed they could fight through this. I left her with a kiss on the forehead, still clinging to hope.
Then I received a call on New Year’s Eve from my mother. “Do you want a New Year’s miracle?” she asked. I didn’t know what to expect, but my mom relayed that not only had our family member woken up, but they had even started talking again, letting those around them know they truly did want to live. If this didn’t cause those around my loved one to believe in God and His power, I didn’t know what would. God chose to perform a miracle on my family member; I truly, truly believe it. I don’t know if my family member remembers anything I said to them that day in the hospital, but I want to believe they did, and that it gave them hope to live.
Although my family member has a long road ahead, I truly believe this should be a new lease on life. I only hope that I can help this person believe in themself but also believe that God has a purpose for them. Never again will I pass through their town without calling or at least saying a prayer for their safety, well-being and health.
Do you believe in miracles?