clearwater, fl

Since I blogged my destination wedding this week, I thought it might be fun to share a few of my personal shots from that trip. My husband and I were able to spend a couple extra days in Clearwater, Fl after the wedding. We celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary the month before so we decided to just consider our trip a little anniversary celebration. We rented an awesome convertible and drove everywhere with the top down. We crammed a lot into the few days we had. We visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium where the dolphin Winter lives. We both got to touch a stingray there. We drove to John’s Pass Village and walked the boardwalk and shops there. We ate the most incredible Cubano ever at Eatin’ Fresh in Clearwater. My one goal was to read by the pool which I successfully accomplished. We also spent quite a bit of time at the beach. Every morning we’d get gas station coffee and walk the few blocks to the public beach to sit for a while. I’m certain I could spend every morning of my life doing that and never get tired of it. We did have one night out when we were invited out by my bride and groom and had a blast. The groom introduced us to a drink called Chambull which for the uninitiated is champagne with red bull.

One of my favorite memories though was the evening we drove down the coast in the car. The top was down, the air was perfectly warm and we found a great radio station that was playing classic rock. Being there with Josh and experiencing all of that was kind of perfect. We definitely missed our little buddy Jasper while we were gone but so glad to have had the opportunity to travel to Clearwater, Fl.

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

clearwater, fl

destination wedding photographer

Last year I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Clearwater, Florida and be a destination wedding photographer. We had an absolutely incredible time with the bride and groom as well as their family and friends. The venue, Shephard’s Beach Resort, was a perfect (and fun) beach location for the wedding. My husband and I flew in the day before the wedding. We shot the rehearsal and a few family pictures on the beach before the couple and their family headed off to the rehearsal dinner. The next morning the sun was a blazin’ and we were ready to shoot. It was so much fun to have everyone staying in the same place as the wedding and reception. We were able to easily pop in on the bride and her daughter getting dressed and beautified. Then we headed to another floor of the resort to shoot the groom getting ready with his friends. We did as many pictures as we could before the ceremony and then got ready for the big event. The ceremony was set up right on the resort’s private beach area. I’m pretty sure every ceremony should have the ocean waves in the background. After the I Do’s were done we headed right inside the two story club area for the reception. There was music, dancing, cake, great food, champagne and lots of laughter. I was able to steal the couple away later in the evening for a few more beach pictures in the beautiful evening light. (Which I might add is basically every photographer’s dream come true.) We finished out the reception with the bouquet and garter toss and some more dancing. When we were all done shooting I stood with my bare feet in the Gulf of Mexico and thanked my lucky stars that I was the destination wedding photographer chosen for that awesome wedding.

destination wedding photographer

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shoot little things

shoot little things

Watching him I couldn’t help but see the dirty feet curled together and serious concentration on whatever game he was playing. I knew I needed a shot of it so I grabbed my camera. It took me less than five minutes to capture this scene. He looked up a couple times but for the most part just ignored me. I snapped a couple, moved, turned on a different light and then snapped again. Done. It’s a good reminder even for me how easy it is to shoot little things and capture the little moments.

When you are capturing a child, it can be easy to overlook some of the small details. We try to get the perfect shot where the kiddo is looking and smiling. (I know how rare those shots can be!) BUT shots like the one above can be a more accurate portrayal of your child at that moment. Maybe they always sit in a certain spot, or play with a specific toy…capture those!

If your child is sitting playing contently, this is a great time to take some pictures of them. Focus on their hands, their feet, that tongue that sticks out when they concentrate, the toy that is always in rotation… I know as a mom it can be hard to look beyond the mess to see the beauty. Let me tell you though when you look back at those pictures years from now, you’re not going to see the mess or the chaos. You are only going to see your sweet child frozen in time.

I challenge you today to take some everyday pictures of your children. If you don’t have kids, then spend some time on your pet! Don’t have either? Grab a good friend and capture them in a spot where you always visit. Shoot little things for a good reminder of what’s important in life. Save those memories through your camera.

Feel Good Friday-Kiva

Feel Good Friday-Kiva

Did you know that you can be a microfinancier? There is an organization called Kiva that allows you to do that. They provide a network that connects you to people who need loans. These people are all over the world and most are looking for loans to start a business or expand their current one. Because of their circumstances they are not able to just go to the bank and get a loan.

Kiva works with a range of organizations to find borrowers and administer loans. We call these organizations Field Partners because they work at the local level, within the communities where loans are being used to make a difference. While most of them are microfinance institutions, we also work with schools, NGOs, social enterprises and more. They all share one thing in common: the social mission to alleviate poverty and improve people‚Äôs lives. From Kiva’s page

Feel Good Friday-Kiva yeyeri

My most recent loan was to Yeyeri in Uganda. A loan of $450 helped Yeyeri to purchase general merchandise to sell, such as sugar, rice, soap, and other items. She only needed $450 and I chipped in $25. She was just officially funded and will start her repayment schedule in February. Once my $25 has been repaid I will have the money put back in my account where I can withdraw it or loan it to someone else.

I have been able to make 41 loans since first starting Kiva. That’s over $1,000 which is pretty amazing…especially since I haven’t put in that much. I’m just reloaning the amounts when they are paid back to me. I hope you’ll check it out. Maybe you want to loan to Margret in Uganda. She’s requesting a loan of $450 to buy sugar, salt and sodas to sell. Or maybe Nicolas from Paraguay who needs a loan of $775 to help buy tools. Small loans that really can change lives.