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.

reading goal

reading goal - read more books

As a kid I always had my nose in a book. I would read book after book, making multiple trips to the library each week. My pre-kiddo days often centered around what book I was currently reading. One of my goals this year is to definitely read more. Every year I try to set a reading goal. I use the website Goodreads to track what books I want to read, have already read and my current read. Last year I failed miserably at my goal of thirty books. This year I’m feeling a little more determined and just set my goal for twenty-four books. Though twenty-four books isn’t really all that many considering one of my friends just set her goal at ninety. Yes, ninety books in a year! I wish I could do that. Maybe then I would get through my ridiculously long list of books I hope to read during my lifetime.

usedbookstore

The day after New Year’s I had a completely free day. I was still on my Christmas break so there was no editing to do. I had recently picked up a Rainbow Rowell book called Fangirl. I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell’s books as they are super enjoyable, easy reads. I picked that book up first thing in the morning and didn’t put it down all day. I barely let anything get my way of reading, you know like parenting. It’s been a long time since I’ve read all day like that. Getting so engrossed in a book and carrying it around all day reminded me of my younger days. Picking such a quick read that was easy to get into was a good start to my year. It made me feel a little more hopeful about reaching my reading goal. I’m thinking if I keep up the momentum I can accomplish the goal and maybe even more. Really…two books a month is totally doable, right?

Chilly Cuties | Country Bloomington, IL

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This might have been my fastest session to date. We drove way out into the country and couldn’t believe how cold and windy it was. It didn’t help that it was one of the first bitter cold days we’d had late in the fall. I tried to use the buildings as a wind block and just shot really fast. Cuties like this made it easy though!

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