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Amy & Brian | Casa Cody Wedding | Palm Springs, CA

Whenever I second guess my belief in love at first sight, I meet couples like Amy and Brian who prove that it exists. The two crossed paths over six years ago and connected immediately. Amy called her mother the very next day and told her she had met the man she was going to marry. "I didn't know what it was," Amy recalls. "I just knew he was going to be part of my life in a big way."

I think one of the qualities I love most about Amy and Brian is the way they love the people that mean the most to them. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they are loved by those they are closest to. It was so abundantly clear throughout the day just how much they are adored by their friends and family...and I have no doubt this kind of loyalty is a direct result of the generosity with which they give their whole heart.

When asked what they wanted the "theme" of their wedding day to be, rather than describing a "rustic chic" wedding or "romantic glamour" wedding, Amy and Brian simply replied that they wanted the theme to be tangible love. They just wanted to be surrounded by love.

One of my favorite relationships to capture through out the day was that of the Bride and her sister, Sara. There were so many tender and sweet exchanges between them that reminded me that weddings aren't just about the couple, but also about family. One of my favorite parts of the day was Sara's speech to her sister and Brian during the reception. She captured them, and love in general, perfectly:

"When I think of Las Vegas, a few things come to mind but most of all is luck; It got me thinking about the relationship between love and luck. So often, when we talk about our loved ones, we say “I feel so lucky to have Brian - or So lucky to have Amy - whomever. And Im not really into that. Luck is flighty. Luck is a fluke. A chance, short-lived, a gamble. Luck is a flash in the pan. Is not measured and lacking in substance. Luck is the tasteless top layer that tries to distract you from a bountiful fortune. Fortune should be what we seek.

From this day forward, I am SURE when you speak of your spouse you are conscious about your language. That you choose to invest in each other by investing in how you talk about one another, 'I feel FORTUNATE to have my husband...to have my wife.' Because this love has seen and will see deep fortune. Fortune stands the test of time. Fortune is worked for, pined over, built upon and manifested. Fortune gives a damn, is deeply rooted, and if sought, reciprocates a wealth that shows longevity and legacy. Fortune doesn't fade.

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into. Tune into the words that surround your love. Tune into the decisions and greatness that lies ahead. You are so fortunate to have one another. I know you worked for this perfect love. You deserve this.

Amy, you deserve the goofy smile Brian puts upon your face. You deserve the couch snuggles and hair twirling. You deserve the Bieber loving, Chris Brown dancing partner in crime. He brings your sun to the surface. Brian you deserve this strong woman by your side. You deserve this ride or die, Hold you down chick. Someone who knows to put ice cubes in your milk and toss the egg yolks to the side. She keeps your feet stuck to the ground."

Fortune should be what we seek. And, Amy and Brian are so fortunate in love.

Venue: Casa Cody Country Inn |Make Up & Hair: Brianna Viera     | Bridal Gown: Sarah Seven   | Bridesmaids Gowns: Asos, Lulu's, Adriana Papel    | Groom's Suit: Groom's Grotto   | Groomsmen's Suits: Groom's Grotto     | Florals & Invitations: Celebrate Florals      | Catering: Fresh Start Catering      | Second Photographer: Mike Villa | DJ Services: DJ Essence     | Coordination: Taylor at Love & Laughter Events     | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals

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Drew and Elisa | Engagement Session | La Jolla, CA

There's nothing more romantic than a beach breeze. For Elisa and Drew's Engagement Session, we headed out to Windansea Beach in La Jolla, CA. Southern California was experiencing pretty crazy rain storms on the days leading up to the shoot but the clouds seemed to part just for them when their session day finally arrived. Not only was the sky completely clear, but everything seemed happy and green from the rain. I felt like I was shooting in Maui or some other exotic location. Thinking back on their shoot, I can't help but love how much these two trusted my vision. Sometimes, as the photographer, it's hard to put into words exactly what you're aiming for. When I asked them to play in the ocean in their clothes, they smiled and jumped in with no hesitation. I just love how romantic those shots are! Connected, playful, and spontaneous...that's what love is all about.

Elisa's skirt is by Morning Lavender | Elisa's top is by Pretty Little Thing San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0920San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0921San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0922San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0923San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0924San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0926San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0925San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0927San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0928San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0929San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0931San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0932San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0934San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0935San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0938San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0937San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0936San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0939San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0940San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0942San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0943San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0941San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0945San_Diego_Wedding_Photographer_Engagement_Session_Taylor_Kinzie_Photography_0944

By the Sea | Styled Bridal Portraits | Cayucos, CA

Sometimes it's important to create for yourself. For this styled bridal portrait session, we made our way to the magical Cayucos shoreline near San Luis Obispo for some stunning images along the coast. I wanted the images to feel kind of moody...perhaps a bit lonely. A solitary angel waiting for her lost lover. I played with shadows and full sun a bit as well, hoping to add to the mood of the images. I love the way her eyes pierce through in the sunlight. Special thanks to the amazing team I collaborated with to make this shoot happen:

Make up by: Candace Miller Make Up | Hair by: Amanda Duckett of The Wedding Beauty Collective | Model: Melia Patterson | Bridal Gown: Willow by Watters | Gown provided by Something Bridal

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Best of 2016

I know everyone always says this, but I'm going to say it anyway. I can't believe a year has already gone by! This year in particular seemed to go by in the blink of an eye and, looking back, I can see why. (Sorry for the unintentional rhyming). On New Year's Eve last year, I sat down and created a list of intentions for 2016...something I haven't done in years past. I have to say that I feel like I had a completely new experience after doing this. It was amazing to see things I put on my "2016 Bucket List" come to life. Lay in a hammock in Bali...check. Take a calligraphy class...check. See Northern Lights...check check. Set your intentions people! There was one thing on my list, "Fall in love." I looked at it a few days ago and thought to myself, "Well, that didn't happen." But then I thought about it again. I actually did "fall in love." Looking back on 2016, I realized this year was huge for me in personal growth and working on self love. For the first time in a long time, I feel much more clear on how to love myself, how to set boundaries in personal relationships and stand by how I want to be treated, and, most importantly, having a clearer understanding of my self worth. I think this is an ongoing process for sure, but learning to fall in love with myself and treat myself with kindness has been one of the best relationships I've ever been in.

I played, I worked my ass off, I met amazing people and cultivated very precious friendships. My theme for 2016 was "Service." I asked myself, "How can I serve others?"  I think giving is one of the most important things a person can do in their lives. I gave all of myself to my clients and my business. Which leads me to my theme for next year, "Balance" AND "Letting go of limiting self beliefs." Next year I will be working on maintaining a better balance of work and personal relationships...making it a priority to make time for friends and "personal" time. I will also be working hard on letting go of playing small and releasing the fearful beliefs that hold me back from dreaming BIG. I'm excited to see where that takes me!


 

I started off 2016 in Fairbanks, Alaska with my besties Mark and Christine. We played in the snow and went dog sledding. We were even able to check "See Northern Lights" off our Bucket Lists on New Years Eve. What an amazing way to start the year! You can check out more images from our trip here. Photos by Christine Chang, Mark Groves, and/or myself. taylor_kinzie_photography_los_angeles_wedding_photographer_alaska_northern_lights_travel_photography_0050taylor_kinzie_photography_los_angeles_wedding_photographer_alaska_northern_lights_travel_photography_0051taylor_kinzie_photography_los_angeles_wedding_photographer_alaska_northern_lights_travel_photography_0047taylor_kinzie_photography_los_angeles_wedding_photographer_alaska_northern_lights_travel_photography_0049taylor_kinzie_photography_los_angeles_wedding_photographer_alaska_northern_lights_travel_photography_0048

 

I rented a bright orange jeep with some friends and went on an epic road trip adventure up the Central Coast. Whenever I'm feeling uninspired I plan a trip and it makes me feel totally refreshed both mentally and creatively. Photos by Christine Chang, Katrina Jayne, and/or myself.

taylor_kinzie_photography_central_coast_road_trip_0062taylor_kinzie_photography_central_coast_road_trip_0063taylor_kinzie_photography_central_coast_road_trip_0064The biggest highlight of my year was planning a trip to Bali. I had felt called to travel there for a long time and the trip was absolutely life changing...I even got my first tattoo! (sorry mom) Bali is such a magical place and I would recommend it to anyone who thinks they can brave the 23 hour flight time. Check out more images from our trip here. Photos by Shaina Weiss, Anthony Weiss, Brandon Haws, and/or myself.

taylor_kinzie_photography_los_angeles_wedding_photographer_bali_travel_photography_0055taylor_kinzie_photography_los_angeles_wedding_photographer_bali_travel_photography_0054I was lucky enough to shoot a wedding in New York in July 2016. I hadn't been to New York since college so it was a really different experience the 2nd time around. New York is such an amazing city but I don't think I could live there. I'm an open spaces kinda girl. Photos by Sarah Zimmer and/or myself.

taylor_kinzie_photography_new_york_wedding_photographer_0060taylor_kinzie_photography_new_york_wedding_photographer_0059taylor_kinzie_photography_new_york_wedding_photographer_0061I had such an amazing time in Joshua Tree as an attendee at one of Christine Chang's workshops. We got to stay in a super retro AirBnB...I felt like I was taken back in a hot tub time machine. Lots of images from the workshop are coming soon! Photos by Christine Chang, Katrina Jayne, and/or myself.

taylor_kinzie_photography_los_angeles_wedding_photographer_joshua_tree_travel_0052taylor_kinzie_photography_los_angeles_wedding_photographer_joshua_tree_travel_0053One of the highlights of my career thus far was getting to shoot at Taft Point in Yosemite. I didn't know I was afraid of heights until this moment. It was SO terrifying but such a rush at the same time. I could hear the echo of my voice as I directed my couple to move closer to the edge of a cliff. Crazy! Photos by Kylie Nicholson and/or myself.

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Thanks to all for your love and support. Can't wait to get started on 2017 with you! Cheers to making new memories!

 

Jack {Newborn Session} | Los Angeles, CA

I knew the moment I stepped into Erin and Jeff's home that they were a well traveled couple. Pictures of them in different parts of the world were scattered along the walls, a documentation of the adventures their love has taken them on. My favorite amongst them was the image of them in Cinque Terre on their wedding day. And then, I met Jack...and it was clear that he would be their biggest adventure yet. There was something about the glimmer in their eyes when they looked at him that seemed to reflect all the plans they had for him and it was beautiful to watch.

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Ask Me Anything... {6/28/16}

image1-2 "Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about photography, me, or...anything. Check back next Monday on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I'll be taking all of your questions.

1-What aspect of being a full time photographer do you enjoy the least?

When I decided I wanted to be a photographer I kind of envisioned this amazingly glamorous life where I get to travel and take pretty pictures for a living. And, to some extent, I get to travel and take pretty pictures a lot of the time. What I didn't anticipate though was the tireless amount of energy put into actually running a business. It's not always glamorous.

I've always thought it's pretty sick and twisted to require a creatively minded individual, like most photographers, to be really great at business. This is an aspect of my career as a photographer that I've had to kind of learn along the way. Honestly, sitting down to go through things like bookkeeping, invoicing, taxes, permitting, and licenses is like pulling teeth for me. I feel like a little kid sitting at a desk in school and looking longingly out the window just wanting to go outside and play.

Here's the thing though...sitting down to do what you need to do in order to run a profitable and successful business is crucial to being able to keep living this dream. Having a keen business sense is what ultimately sets the dreamers apart from the doers and the hobbyists from the photographers who can make a living doing what they love.

2- Do you think it's harder or easier to be a full time photographer in southern California in comparison to other cities or states?

That's a tough question to answer because I've never run my business outside of California. I will say though, that the market in California is booming with new clients getting married every single day. Yes, there are A LOT of photographers in Southern California but there are also A LOT of clients in need of our services. This is a big part of the reason I'm such a big believer in helping other photographers improve. I don't see other photographers as competition because there's plenty of work to go around.

California photographers are also pretty lucky because we have better light, weather, and landscapes than many parts of the country. That golden, California light just can't be compared to anywhere else in my opinion. We also have the option to shoot in the desert, at the ocean, or in the mountains with only a short drive.

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3- What resources helped you to grow in your photography knowledge like (some classes/college /or internet courses ). If there is, which would you recommend?

I'm a self taught photographer and I owe a lot of what I learned to the many resources available today. I began to learn the basics by looking up tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube. I then started reading books by photographers I admire like The Luminous Portrait by Elizabeth Messina  or Fine Art Wedding Photography by Jose Villa. I also sought out any workshops or classes I could. Samy's Camera offers many hands on classes for beginners that I really learned a lot from. One of the biggest game changers for me was discovering CreativeLive. This is a great resources for online courses from some of the top professionals in the business. They don't just offer courses on photography either. It's a great resource for individuals who just love to learn or be inspired.

As for attending Photography School, I can't say one way or the other whether I'd recommend it. That's such a personal decision. I've had friends tell me it was a total waste of their money and other friends who had an amazing experience and wouldn't have done it differently. I think if you have the hustle and drive to learn though, it's definitely possible to teach yourself.

Southern California Wedding Photographer

 

Ask Me Anything... {6/21/16}

image1-2"Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about photography, me, or...anything. Check back next Monday on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I'll be taking all of your questions. 1-What is the Arab country you would like to visit?

Those of you who have been checking in on my posts know that I love to travel! When I read this question I literally said, "ooooOOOoooOOOOo" because I hadn't really included any Arab countries yet on my list of "places to see." I think the country that sparks my interest the most would be Morocco. There's something about this place that seems mysterious and kind of magical. From the colors in the architecture, to the never-ending sand dunes, to the busy marketplaces, I think Morocco would be an awesome adventure!

You can check out some other adventures I've been on here, here, and here.

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2- What is the number one piece of advice you would give others regarding the creative process?

Sometimes being a creative person can be really challenging. I think the one major obstacle I've been faced with the most along my journey as a creative is self doubt. Overcoming this is definitely still something that I struggle with but I'm learning how to move past this by implementing a couple of important ideas into my life.  I'm going to give you two pieces of advice, rather than one, because I'm feeling generous today.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Yes, there's a reason I just underlined that. It's one thing to be inspired by a person, but it's a completely different thing to feel lesser than because you are not "as successful, as pretty, as smart, as talented, as rich, as busy," etc and so forth. Comparing your art and your journey to someone else's will be the number one killer of, not only your creative freedom, but your confidence as well. OWN your art. OWN your place in your personal journey.

Surround yourself with people who  build you up. No, this doesn't mean "only have friends who kiss your ass." Although, that would be nice. What I mean by this is that the people you surround yourself with are crucial to the evolution of who you are. Do you have friends who aren't supportive of your personal growth? Ask yourself why you keep them in your life. Do you interact with people that are hell bent on putting you in your place? Why? Make the decision to have people in your life that are on your team. This means they celebrate WITH you during your triumphs and call you on your shit when you're messing up. Because a real friend will tell you how it is in order to see you succeed.

3- How difficult was it getting started and how long was it before you felt you "made it"?

Getting started with my business was easy in some ways and really difficult in others. Where I am in my business now was not an overnight success at all. I worked tirelessly to learn/network/improve/hustle because, ultimately, I felt compelled to make this art. It's the one thing I've ever done in my life that I've been completely sure of. As a result, working towards building my business never felt like work. It just felt like a fun challenge that included lots of baby steps towards success. If you want a technical answer, I started teaching myself photography in 2011, started shooting friends and family as a hobby in 2012, and officially started my business in 2013. I left my full time job in July of 2014 to be a professional photographer full time.

I use past tense but, really, I should be using present. Because building my business still feels like a fun challenge every single day. I don't feel like I've "made it" by any means. What does it mean to have "made it"? I suppose you can say I've accomplished many of my goals leading up to where I currently am in my journey. But, guess what, now I have a whole new set of goals to work towards.

I think if you ever feel like you've "made it" and no longer have to keep striving towards improvement, you should reevaluate what you're doing.

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Leslie Maternity Session {Los Angeles, CA}

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For Leslie's Maternity Session we decided to keep it lifestyle and relaxed by shooting in her Hollywood residence. Getting to use her home as our location was like being in Disneyland for me! The decor and architectural elements were all so gorgeous! I always love when soon-to-be-mommies opt to shoot in their home. I think it adds a really personal, intimate feel to the images.Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0584Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0586Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0583Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0570Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0585Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0563Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0587Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0588Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0560Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0568 Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0567Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0582Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0571Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0572Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0574Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0576Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0578Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0579Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0580Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0581Taylor Kinzie Photography_Los Angeles_Maternity Photography_0589

Ask Me Anything... {6/7/16}

image1-2"Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about photography, me, or...anything. Check back next Monday on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I'll be taking all of your questions. 1- How long does it take you to edit a Portrait Session?

A Portrait Session usually takes me about 2-3 hours to edit. This depends on how many photos I deliver from the session and how long I spent with the client. For Lifestyle sessions, I deliver a minimum of 25 edited digital images (but usually deliver more). For Engagement Session, I deliver a minimum of 50 edited digital images. It's important for me to have full creative control over which images go out to my client so I pull what I feel are the best images from the session and deliver them. I try to deliver a wide range of landscape and portrait crops, full body and headshot, details, etc. Images are delivered through a personal Pixieset gallery.

2-How do you handle a wedding in cloudy conditions?

I get this question all the time. While a cloudy day can certainly change the lighting conditions of your shoot, it is absolutely still possible to achieve gorgeous images. In fact, there are quite a few pros to shooting in cloudy conditions. First of all, the clouds act as  natural diffuser to the sun. This means you get even shadows and don't have to worry so much about which directions your subject is facing. Second, depending on the type of clouds, you can get some really dramatic shots with rolling clouds coming in, which I love!

There are definitely some things you need to be aware of when shooting in cloudy conditions though. Because you're dealing with kind of flat, diffused light, the subject's skin and shadows can feel a bit flat as well. My suggestion is to find a natural reflector to shoot near (White building, white ground, white sand, etc) or use an actual reflector to add a bit of depth to your subject or "fill light." In addition, shooting in cloudy conditions can give off sort of a grey tone to your subject's skin. I usually counteract this by adding a bit of warmth in my edit, but generally embrace the fact that the image will appear to be on the cooler side.

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3- How long did it take you to find your editing style?

Finding your editing style is so important and takes time. When I first started taking pictures, I knew the look I was striving for but couldn't quite get it there. It literally is a matter of sitting in front of your computer over a culmination of hours and hours to play with how you want your shadows and highlights to look, how saturated you want your colors and tones to be, etc. I've always gravitated toward the classic elegance of film so when I discovered Mastin Labs, I knew it was love at first site. About 90% of the time I'd say I edit with the Fuji400h preset because it allows me to maintain consistency and I just like how it looks. I then add little tweaks to shadows, highlights, colors, and sharpness. Sometimes I switch it up, if I feel a client's skin, wardrobe, or the landscape calls for a different look.

In answer to your question though, I don't know how long it took me to find my editing style because I'm still finding it. The style I currently have has taken me about two years to find, but I'm 100% sure that I won't edit the same way my entire career. That's what I love about my job...it allows me the space I need to constantly grow and evolve as an artist.

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"Ask Me Anything..." {5/31/16}

image1-2"Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about photography, me, or...anything. Check back next Monday on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I'll be taking all of your questions. 1-How do you overcome a client who does not want to be there getting photos done and refuses to crack a smile or play along during a session? 

I love this question because I'm positive it's something every photographer struggles with. Helping a client to feel comfortable in front of your camera is one thing, but breaking down barriers & walls of clients who don't want to be there is another beast altogether. I've definitely had my fair share of clients, most of the time it's the husband, who don't want to be there. In most cases, a man would rather do most anything other than take the time to pose for family or engagement photos. Having your photo taken and being silly is a totally vulnerable experience and a lot of people are completely uncomfortable showing their vulnerability. Here are a few tips for overcoming a client who is hesitant about being photographed:

  1. Give lots of direction: There is nothing more awkward than being in front of a camera and not knowing what to do with your hands or body. Providing your subject with lots of clear direction allows them to feel a lot less helpless and a lot more confident. Plan to enter into all of your sessions with a clear game plan of what poses and locations you'd like to try with each client.Palm Springs Engagement Session_0332
  2. Set expectations: Start each session with what your client should expect from you for the next hour or two. For example, I always like to begin my Engagement Sessions by explaining to couples that they should try as much as possible to be playful and let go of inhibitions by encouraging them to forget I'm there. I basically say, "Okay, today is going to be really tough. I'm going to make you kiss each other for two hours straight. If you're not sure what to do with your hands you can never go wrong by placing them here, here, or here."
  3. Be relatable: I always love to start sessions by simply making conversation with my clients. I ask them questions about how they met, how the wedding planning is going, how he proposed, etc. It's amazing how much you can have in common with a person if you just take the time to ask. This ease of friendly conversation not only takes off some of the pressure, but also builds trust. A person will never open up to you unless they trust you. Finding things in common with your subjects will also help you to connect with them on a personal level, allowing for better images.Chris and Erica-6
  4. Design the moment: When you're posing a person who does not want to open up to you or play along, it's sometimes helpful to pause the session and take some time to create the moment you want. If the man, for example, is totally stiff and uncomfortable, I might ask him to stare into his fiance's eyes and think about how much he loves her in that moment. Or, as he kisses her, imagine that it's the last time. Implementing poses that involve movement also helps a lot. I love asking couples to walk, slow dance, spin, etc. Asking them to do silly things will help them to forget that they're uncomfortable and, in that split second of them bursting into laughter, you get an awesome shot of them with their guard down.Cole and Abigail Esession-4
  5. Look stupid: I don't know if this is the most professional thing in the world, but I always find that when I'm not afraid to look stupid, the client usually seems to become a lot more comfortable. I make fun of myself a lot at sessions or act really silly. It breaks up the tension and let's the client know it's okay to have fun with it.

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2-What is your favorite, most comfortable thing to wear on super hot wedding days?

Summer wedding season is upon us! As much as I love what I do, shooting weddings in the heat of the summer can be a totally miserable experience that leaves you dripping in sweat. The worst thing in the world is shooting a wedding in clothing that is uncomfortable. When I know it's going to be scorching hot on a wedding day, I make sure to choose fabrics that don't cling to my skin and are breathable. Loose fitting dresses, for examples, allow your body to breathe when you're shooting. You can also chose a loose fitting pant/skirt with a sheer, light weight top. Just make sure you feel comfortable, but also look professional.

 

3-What type and brand of camera do you recommend for a beginner?

Choosing your first camera is such an exciting thing! I actually started on a Nikon D200 that I bought used for 500 bucks. I eventually made the switch over to a Canon system for various reasons, but loved learning on my Nikon. You can get a great DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera for somewhere between $500-$1000.

Both Nikon and Canon, the two main brands in the industry, produce wonderful products so I won't push one brand over the other. No matter what you choose, make sure your camera offers the ability to shoot in Manual mode. Shooting in Manual is the key to learning how to have full control over the types of shots you want to produce. It takes practice at first but it's totally worth it to know how to balance the three main components of an image (ISO, Aperture, Shutter) to produce a proper exposure.

Another thing to consider when investing in your first DLSR is low light capabilities. A good way to judge this is by how high the camera's ISO can go. My Markiii, for example, can shoot at up to ISO 256,000 while a Canon Rebel can go to ISO 12,800. For me, that's really important since I shoot in a lot of low lit churches and reception halls. For you, however, that might not be as much of an issue.

Overall, I think the two most popular options for a person starting out with photography would be a NikonD5300 or Canon Rebel. I'd advise against purchasing the camera body with the kit lens it comes with and saving up your money for higher quality lenses.

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"Ask Me Anything..." {5/24/16}

Los Angeles Wedding Photographer_0117 "Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about photography, me, or...anything. Check back next Monday on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I'll be taking all of your questions.

1- If you weren't capturing people's priceless moments, what would you be doing? 

This is a great question because it's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. What will I do when, or if, I no longer feel inspired to take pictures? I feel so lucky to have discovered my passion and can't imagine doing anything else to be perfectly honest. I know though that life changes with the seasons and there will more than likely be a day when I may want to pursue a different career. Sometimes your curiosity can lead you in whole new directions.

I'll start by talking about what I used to do before photography, or "BP" as I like to call it. I actually had a career as a Casting Director for about five years. Before that I dabbled in post production assistant work and was even a Page working at CBS. Yes, like Kenneth the Page on 30 Rock. I was that girl who wore a ridiculously outdated red blazer and directed audience members to the bathroom. There were many times I questioned what my college degree had been for. On the plus side, sometimes I got to write out the name tags on The Price is Right. I thought for a long time that I belonged in the entertainment industry in some way but I wasn't sure what outlet was best suited for my creativity. So, I stumbled through a few various internships and short lived assistant jobs. When I was hired as a Casting Director, it seemed like a great fit. I'm extremely passionate about movies and the art of acting so it was a lot of fun for awhile... until it wasn't.

The job, like most jobs in entertainment, was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. I worked in a cubicle in an office with no windows. There were days when I didn't leave my desk for 10 hours. My free spirit felt like it was withering away. I know this sounds dramatic, but I was so out of alignment with how I wanted to live my life when I was at that job. On the plus side, I made some wonderful friends and memories, and learned the value of really hard work. I think my strongest lesson though, was discovering the courage in myself to walk away from a secure income to pursue a life that makes me happy.

Now, moving onto what I would be doing if I wasn't capturing priceless moments. I think, no matter what I do, it will have to allow me to express my creativity in some way. There are many things I've always wanted to pursue but didn't think I was good enough: acting, writing, singing. Perhaps at some point in my life I will have gained the courage to revisit those skills. I could also envision myself working with children in some way. Whether it be teaching or embracing my job as a mommy one day, I would love to work with kids. Perhaps I'll go back to school to learn Interior Design. Maybe I'll decide I want to be a Rocket Scientist (probably not). But, hey, isn't that the beauty in life? We can be anything we want.

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Adventures in Bali

How strange it is to be stagnant in stillness for 18 hours all the while watching the world fall behind. You peer through a tiny window as you punch through the sky, forward in time, anticipating memories you’ve yet to make. I’ve always been one to look forward. Always sitting still, but never being here. I do not travel seeking stillness, but rather to satiate the sweet addiction to finally feeling that the daydreams in my mind are in alignment with reality. I had been dreaming of Bali. There is a line from a movie called Hector and the Search for Happiness that says, “There is a big difference between being here, and being here to be photographed being here.” On the second day of our trip, my camera wouldn’t turn on. I had spent months planning the kinds of images I hoped to get on this trip. In all honesty, I had initially planned this trip for the sole purpose of taking pictures. After trying everything I could think of to bring my baby back to life, I eventually came to the realization that I may need to continue the rest of the trip without being able to take photos. Although I tried to hide it, my heart was completely broken. Little did I know I would learn a very important lessons from this.

The day went on without my camera by my side and I continued to endure the torture of letting moments slip away. It seemed that, unless captured in my camera, they were moments wasted. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I took a deep breath and let it go. I wish I could remember what it was, but something cool was happening outside the car window as we were driving and I missed the shot because my camera wasn’t working. I contently smiled and said, “Some moments aren’t meant to be captured.”

My camera started working again the next day, but for the rest of the trip I didn’t feel as dependent on it. In fact, there were a lot of moments that escaped my viewfinder. Instead of being sad I “missed the shot”, I simply reveled in knowing that particular moment was a gift just for me…not to be shared with anyone else’s eyes. Because sometimes capturing a feeling with your heart is more important than having the photo of it.

There are so many moments from this trip you will not see captured in my photographs. How do you capture the introduction to the feeling of driving in a country with no stop lights? The responsibility of allowing someone to trust you with their deepest secrets? The freedom in napping on a lounge chair under the stars in the middle of a crowded room? The thick, sticky air and how alive I felt to be swimming in it? The way your heart races when a wild animal allows you to see into its soul? The warmth of watching the reflection of the moonlight on a rice field? The gratitude you feel for people you don't even know? The connection you build with friends you spontaneously got your first tattoo with? I can do my best to try, but no matter how great my camera is, a photograph can never compare to being there. In it. Present in the deliciousness of feeling the energy of life's magic.

We went to Bali searching for answers to questions we could not find within ourselves. Hoping for some strange enlightenment that can only be discovered somewhere between the depths of a stranger’s smile and roads leading to deep, dark jungles. We ventured to the island of love, hoping to purify our bleeding hearts in the holy waters but were met with an uninvited truth. Our pain is not something that is meant to be cleansed. No, our pain is what makes us divine…beautifully broken masterpieces. We went to Bali to find direction and were met with the path towards the courage to keep our hearts open to love. We went to Bali in search of ourselves, but ended up finding each other.

Uluwatu:

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It was so humid in Uluwatu it was nearly impossible to wear clothes without sweating through them. Here I am sitting at Kelly's Warung, a cute little cafe with a beach view that served the best Pitaya Bowls. 

Seminyak:

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One of my favorite parts of Bali was the beautiful alley ways leading to mysterious places.            Ketut posing by the art in our AirBnB in Seminyak.

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Ubud:

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Ketut: Thank you for showing me what a truly pure heart looks like. I have never in my life met a more kind and gentle soul than yours. You truly made this trip better for us than we could have ever imagined and we will be forever grateful that you were part of it.

Brandon: I so admire your courage, your sense of honor, and the way you constantly strive to be a better version of yourself. Thank you for teaching me how to receive help from others without feeling weak, or proud, or underserving.

Shaina: I love the way your heart light shines. Your inner strength and the depth to which you love is so inspiring to me. I'm so excited to witness the evolution of your purpose.

Anthony: I'm so proud of you. I am in awe of the way you set your mind to achieving the intentions you create for yourself and how you want to live your life. I can always count on some good belly laughs whenever we are together and I am so grateful for our years of friendship. Thank you for inspiring me to live with passion.

Watch until the end for bloopers.

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"Ask Me Anything..." {5/17/16}

Los Angeles Wedding Photographer_0117 Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about photography, me, or...anything. Check back next Monday on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I'll be taking all of your questions.

1-What's your greatest memory from high school?

High school feels like forever ago and, then again, like it was just yesterday. I have so many great memories with friends that I am still close with today. From school dances, to getting my driver's license, to first kisses...they all seem to blur into one big memory of adolescent bliss. If I had to choose one memory that I valued the most it would have to be the time I spent on my high school dance team.

I started dancing when I was eight years old. I'll never forget the first time I got to see the Saugus Dance Team perform. They were so amazing and, from that point forward, my life goal was to eventually become a Saugus dancer. I'll never forget how nervous I was going into try outs. I was sick for weeks beforehand from the nerves! Walking up to the list of dancers who had made the team to see if my name was on it was probably one of the longest walks of my life. When I saw my name, I knew I had accomplished a goal 7 years in the making and it felt pretty great.

We performed at football games, basketball games, and pep rallies. We also traveled to various cities to compete against other teams around the country. Not only did I learn how to work really, really hard (we worked our asses off at early morning practices, literally), but I also learned how to work as a team while forming close bonds with my teammates. I LOVED performing in front of an audience so being able to dance gave me the outlet and confidence I needed to eventually pursue other goals in the performing arts.

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2-What does photography mean to you?

This is such a huge question that I'm not sure I can answer in just one little post. Obviously, discovering my love for photography changed my life. Apart from dancing, I've never done anything that makes me feel like I can escape my mind so completely. When you get into the flow of things while you're taking pictures, it's a high I can't really explain. Without trying to sound dramatic, it's like this heightened sense of self. Tapping into your creative being can be a very spiritual experience.

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I'd have to say though, that the reason I love taking pictures is actually very selfish. I strive to capture these moments in people's lives because I hope that, when they look at their photos years from now, they'll see a little piece of me in them. I guess I hope that by showing the world my perspective, by capturing the way I see things on paper, a little piece of me will continue on through my art. Maybe it's an ego thing, or maybe it's just my way of wanting to be remembered when I go.

3-I feel like the quality of my work is poor quality, bland lighting, and dull highlights. What are your top tips for getting photos that are crisp and sharp while still looking natural?

It definitely takes time to get to a point with your editing style that feels like a reflection of how you imagine it will look in your head. Finding your style and your voice as an artist takes time! When I was first starting out, I found a few photographers whose style I really admired and tried to emulate it. I think it's important to really study the work of those you admire to perfect your own eye when it comes to editing. This is not to say you are "copying" their work. Your work will never look exactly like someone else's because you have your own unique vision as an artist. What I'm saying is, really look at the images you love and think about why you are drawn to them. Do you love the dark shadows? Do you love the soft skin tones? What about the vibrant colors? I currently have images of Jose Villa's work hanging above my desk as a constant reminder of what I'm striving for in my editing and career.

Feeling like your images are poor could be a result of a lot of things. Perhaps you are comparing your work to those you admire and don't feel it measures up? Perhaps you are still in the stage of your career as a photographer where you need to work on honing your eye when you edit? Here are a few tips that work really well for me when I'm shooting/ editing:

  • I usually shoot at f1.6 or f2.o on my 50mm 1.2L lens. I'm drawn to that dreamy depth of field and shooting at this setting helps me to emulate the film look I love so much. This takes practice though as it can be really difficult to get sharp images at this aperture. I still struggle with it!
  • Your focal point should always be on the eye. If the eyes in my images aren't sharp, I usually don't use the photo. For me, the eyes are the most important part.
  • In Lightroom, the very first thing I do is slide the "Sharpness" and "Noise" bars in the "Detail" module to the right a little. Be careful not to overdue this though, as you can make your images look too soft which gives a fake look that I don't love. Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 11.55.23 AM
  • I typically overexpose in camera by about 1-stop. I do this because I'm usually backlighting my subject when I shoot. You have to expose for shadows and then overexpose a bit to compete with the strong light from the sun. This way your subject isn't in silhouette.
  • I almost always lift my exposure and bring down highlights and shadows in Lightroom when I'm editing. I edit with Mastin Presets so I usually just apply the preset and make a few tweaks until I'm happy with the way it looks.
  • Maintain sharpness in camera by making sure you're at an appropriate shutter speed. Anything below 1/250s is probably going to be a bit blurry if you're photographing a moving subject.
  • I hate to say this because I'm a firm believer that the camera doesn't make the artist, but the lack of crispness in your images could be a result of the camera you're using or your lenses. You can have the best camera and lenses in the world and still take crappy pictures, but if you know what you're doing, having quality gear can really make a difference. When investing in lenses, it's important that you choose one that can shoot at wide apertures. I'd say it's best to strive for a lens that can get at least as wide as 2.8. Having quality glass can help you to create images with vivid colors and sharpness straight out of camera.About me photo

"Ask Me Anything..." {5/10/16}

Los Angeles Wedding Photographer_0117 "Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about photography, me, or...anything. Check back next Monday on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I'll be taking all of your questions.

1- Is photography your only source of income? If so, how did you get to that point? 

Yes, I feel very lucky to say that photography is my one and only job. It hasn't always been this way, however. When I first started my business in 2013, I was working about 50 hours a week as a Casting Director then coming home after 12 hour days to edit sessions I had shot over the weekend. No matter how tired I was after work, coming home to edit and work on my art was the best part of my day.

Finally being able to make the jump to running my photography business full time took me about a year of REALLY, REALLY hard work. I would shoot anything I could on the weekends in order to build a strong portfolio and client base. I worked really hard on networking with other photographers to book 2nd shooting and assistant jobs. I also put a lot of focus into building a strong following on social media. This really helped to get my brand out there in front of more and more people. I would post a session to my Facebook page, tag my clients in the post, and BOOM...hundreds of my clients' Facebook friends are now looking at my work. At the end of the day, I'd say social media as well as word of mouth have been the most important factors in building my client base.

About a year later, I got to a point with my business where I was booked about 4 months out. I calculated my monthly expenses, how much I needed to make, and how many jobs I needed to book. I also saved up enough money to cover my expenses for 6 months as a safety net. When I was booked ahead enough to cover those things, I decided to quit my full time job in order to pursue my business full time. I would say that I absolutely took a big risk in doing so but I believed in myself and trusted more work would continue to come in. Would I recommend quitting your job before you're financially able to do so? No, absolutely not. Make sure you work hard to build your client base and book jobs in advance. Once you feel you have a consistent stream of bookings and clients, follow your heart in deciding when it feels right for you to go full time.

2- What would you be thinking of on your death bed?

Isn't it funny how we tend to get lost in the seemingly important details of life? We stress ourselves out about things that feel like mountains to climb in the moment, but when we look back we realize how insignificant those decisions were. We worry ourselves over things that don't really matter. I want to live my life avoiding this. I want to make the things that are important to me a priority, rather than putting silly concerns first.

On my death bed, I hope I'll be an old woman having lived a very full life. I want to feel confident in knowing I have lived putting the people I love first, always. I truly believe that, at the end of it all, the only thing that ever really matters, the only thing that makes us special, the only thing that will continue our legacy is the people we love...and those who have loved us. It's the relationships we've built and the connections we've made. It's how we've made a person's life a little bit better just by being in it.

I also hope to be surrounded by framed photos on the wall of all the places I've been and the faces I've loved. That would make me the happiest of all.

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The Howard Family {Vasquez Rocks}

I've been photographing the Howard Family for a few years now and this year we decided to do something a bit different by shooting at Vasquez Rocks. Ashley is an amazing yoga instructor (check out her site here) so I wanted to shoot somewhere that reflected her spiritual and peaceful nature. We had so much fun highlighting the kids' playful side by incorporating fun props like the tee pee, jumbo balloons, and magic wands. The family spends a lot of time outdoors so it was awesome to snap some pics of them totally in their element climbing on rocks and jumping from path to path. Ashley's dress is by Free People. Hair by Ashlee Norman. Make up by DoubleTake Makeup Artistry. Reese's flower crown by CelebrateVasquez Rocks Family Photography_0394Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0393Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0395Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0397Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0396Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0398Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0399Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0400Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0401Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0402Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0404Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0403Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0405Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0414Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0406Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0407Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0409Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0408 Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0411Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0415Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0416Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0412Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0413Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0418Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0417Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0419Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0421Vasquez Rocks Family Photography_0410

"Ask Me Anything..." {5/3/16}

Los Angeles Wedding Photographer_0117"Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about photography, me, or...anything. Check back next Monday on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I'll be taking all of your questions. 1-What is your marketing strategy to reach your ideal clientele?

I'm a very lucky photographer because I truly LOVE all of my clients! Not all photographers can say this and I'll tell you why...they don't brand themselves in a way that helps them to attract their ideal client.

In order to do this, you have to have a clear and concise image of who your ideal client is. Where do they shop? Do they drink beer or wine? What kind of car do they drive? Do they like to travel?

Sit down and make a list that is as detailed as possible of what traits your ideal client would possess. This way, you will have a strong outline for what kind of content you should be creating for your social media platforms. As a very simple example, if your ideal client is a dog person, don't post cat photos. If your ideal client has an excellent fashion sense, keep your content fashion forward.

I have also attracted my ideal client, while setting myself apart in a saturated market, by choosing to remain very open about my personal life. Not a lot of photographers or business owners would agree with this approach but I have found there are a lot of benefits to this technique. First of all, choosing to remain vulnerable with what kind of content I put out helps me to remain approachable and relatable. I'm a person just like everyone else. Pretending to be perfect for the sake of upholding an image doesn't connect with my ideal client. I want my clients to feel like they know me before they work with me so we can establish an intimate exchange of trust and friendship right from the beginning. I also share personal stories and thoughts because I hope that, by doing so, my own experiences can potentially help or inspire others. I've found that, more than anything, people want to feel inspired.

Overall, as simple as this may sound, I attract my ideal client by choosing to remain authentic. I share my mistakes, my adventures, and my passions so that I may attract clients who are like minded.

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2-What are your thoughts on including digital images for your clients? I personally do not include them but allow them to be purchased separately. I know lots of photographers include a disc or digital copies with all of the pictures. Wondering which way you advise. 

Ahhh the age old question: Digital files vs. Product Sales. I'll just start by saying that I offer the digital files in my package. I explain to my clients that I will select the best images from their session or wedding day to be delivered through an online gallery called Pixieset. I do this for two reasons: 1) I am a straight forward person and I want a straight forward delivery method. Delivering images through Pixieset is simple, it looks elegant, and it's very straight forward. 2) My clients want the digital images. Yes, I could structure my packages in a way that upsells products and includes the digital files at a premium cost. Yes, I could make a lot more money by doing it this way. At the end of the day though, this approach just. isn't. right. for. me. This approach to business is not who I am as a person and it doesn't feel genuine for me. My main goal is to provide a "what you see is what you get"' exchange of services that leaves my clients feeling happy.

This is not to say offering products to your clients is taking advantage of them! Clients are coming to you because they want quality service and by offering beautiful products, you are delivering a great experience. I still offer the option for my clients to purchase products and albums, I just don't structure my packages in a way that makes the digital files more expensive.

At the end of the day, the approach with which you choose to structure your business model is a complete reflection of what feels right to you as a business person. If "In Person Sales" feels more natural to you, you should do that! If your ideal client is interested in a studio that offers premium products, then you should offer that! Stay true to what feels right.

 

3-What advice do you have for someone who's just starting out on the adventure of creating their own photography business? 

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! You are about to embark on the biggest adventure/challenge of your life! I originally started my business with the idea of "I want to take pretty pictures for a living." But, they don't tell you about the bookkeeping, the taxes, the emails, the marketing, the blogging, the learning, the self doubt, the expenses, the interpersonal communication skills, etc and so forth.  Owning my own business has taught me so many wonderful things about myself while bringing me on some pretty amazing adventures. There hasn't been a day that I'm not grateful for discovering this passion and starting a business, but DAMN, it's hard work. Here are some tips for your journey:

1- EAT, SLEEP, and BREATHE YOUR BUSINESS.

Starting and owning any successful business will require 100% of your time, focus, and, well, life. While I fully believe in the concept of finding "balance," it can be a difficult thing to juggle building a successful business, having a family, maintaining a relationship, etc. It may get easier once your business is a bit more established, but in the beginning, my business was all I thought about. I sometimes joke that "my business is my boyfriend." With a job that requires me to work  on the weekends and edit at home alone during the week, it's hard to meet people that understand this kind of schedule, let alone finding the time to go on dates.

Owning your own business is not a 9a-5p job. This is your all day everyday life. It is also my biggest sense of pride, joy, and love and I have never once regretted the decision to start my own business.

2- BUILD YOUR TRIBE.

If you work from home and don't have any employees, like me, being a business owner can be kind of lonely sometimes. There are many times when I need encouragement, company, ideas, or just someone who understands my frustrations.  This is why it's so important to build your tribe. By "tribe" I mean, a network of like minded people (probably fellow entrepreneurs and photographers) who you can get together with to vent, talk about ideas, or just get out of the house. Yes, I have other really close friends that I can talk to but, unless they own their own business or are photographers, they just can't fully grasp what you're going through. Having a close group of friends who I feel supported by has helped me tremendously on my journey.

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3- DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS.

As creatives, we strive to attain the same level of greatness as those who have inspired us. We are constantly growing, learning, and improving...while constantly  making ourselves feel like we're not good enough by comparing our journey to others. STOP IT! Just stop it right now! (Reaches through the screen to slap you).   You are an individual with rare and brilliant creative vision...why would you compare your talents to those of others? You are at a stage in your journey that is specific to only you...why would you compare your journey to someone else's?

While it's important to strive to improve, to practice your skills, and to enhance your creative eye...it's also important to truly own who you are and what your voice is as an artist. Comparing your path to someone else's is the firs step to self-destruction and the number one killer of creativity. I know this because I constantly struggle with it. Blaze your own trail and own what you have to say to the world.

4- BUILD A TEAM.

When I started my business it didn't take me long to realize that I am only as strong as the people I surround myself with. As hard as I may try, I cannot do everything nor can I be everyone. I have a designated group of vendors that I choose to work with on styled shoots and always recommend to clients. These hair and make up artists, coordinators, florists, photographers,  and graphic designers are all AMAZINGLY talented. Why wouldn't I want to surround myself with super talented people? It inspires me and, together, we create beautiful things.

5- SET YOUR INTENTIONS.

How will you know how to get somewhere if you don't know where you're going? Manifesting success into your life and making all your dreams come true is 100% a result of setting your intentions. Where do you want to be with your business in 6 months? Sit down and write out your specific goals. Maybe you want to have a website up and running by the end of the month. Write it down. Maybe you want to set your profits at 6 figures by 2017. Write it down. Now, how will you get there? Make a plan for yourself and stick to it. Write it out in big, bold letters and hang it somewhere you can look at it everyday. Setting goals for yourself is crucial to success.

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Ask Me Anything {4/26/16}

Los Angeles Wedding Photographer_0117 "Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about photography, me, or...anything. Check back next Monday on my Instagram and Facebook pages where I'll be taking all of your questions. 

 

1- What are your top 3 non-negotiable traits for a romantic partner?

Choosing a romantic partner is a really big commitment for me...as I'm sure it is for most people. I believe the people I choose to surround myself with and how they treat me is a direct reflection of how I feel about myself and my own worth. I have made many mistakes along the way to get to this point, but I no longer tolerate certain characteristics or behaviors from my romantic partners. While I think it's important to be able to compromise on fulfilling certain needs, I also believe it's equally as important to set strong boundaries for what you will and will not allow in your life.

My first non-negotiable trait for a romantic partner is drug use & smoking. I don't choose to include myself in this lifestyle and I don't want my partner to either. It's important to me for my partner to love and respect himself and his body.

My second non-negotiable trait is dependability. I want to be able to know I can depend on my partner. For me, this is a direct reflection of being able to trust in their ability to be on my team. If I can't depend on my partner, they won't make a very good teammate in life or in a relationship. Qualities in someone I can depend on include: doing what they say they're going to do, showing up for me emotionally and physically, being on time, etc.

My third non-negotiable trait in a partner is believing in marriage and family. I believe 100% in the sanctity of marriage and one day hope to start a family with someone who believes in the same values. If my partner doesn't believe in marriage or doesn't want kids we are obviously on two different paths.

 

2-How did you finalize your presets? How do you maintain consistency?

When I first started out, I struggled a lot with maintaining consistency in my editing style. I hadn't found any presets that worked with my aesthetic and edited everything by tweaking settings until the image looked the way I wanted it do. It wasn't until I started using Mastin Labs presets that I was really able to maintain consistency with my images. Mastin's presets are designed to edit your images to resemble a film scan. I love the classic and romantic look of film, however, I still make several tweaks to my images to add pops of vibrant color, lift or exaggerate shadows, etc. I'd say I use the Fuji Pro400h Neutral preset from the Fuji pack about 90% of the time. I love working with this preset and highly recommend it. (And, no, they're not paying me to sell them. I just really love their presets.)

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3-How does one register as a photographer? Also, what is the difference between freelancing and owning a business? 

Have you ever been paid to take photographs of someone? Congratulations, you're considered a professional photographer. Becoming a photographer isn't necessarily something you need to "register" for. When I first started taking pictures, I called myself a "photographer" even though I wasn't necessarily comfortable with it. I didn't feel that I was deserving of that title quite yet but decided I would "fake it till I make it."

Starting a business can be a pretty daunting task. There are several steps you have to go through to be qualified as an official "business." In order to break things down a bit, I'll go over what I did to legalize my business as "Taylor Kinzie Photography." Some of the choices I made when starting my business were right for me at the time, but you may choose to go a different direction. This is a matter of preference.

First, I knew I would need a large sum of money to invest in the equipment I needed to start shooting weddings on a regular basis. I knew that if I waited until I had enough money saved up it would take me many years to be able to afford the gear. For this reason, I decided to seek out a small business loan. For me, it was important to be able to invest in the gear sooner than later since I knew this was what I wanted to do NOW. In order to receive the funds for my loan I had to do the following:

1) apply for the loan

2) provide a detailed business plan breaking down the vision for my business, how I plan to profit in a saturated market, my branding, and my financial goals

3) apply for a business license

5) Register a DBA or "Doing Business As" name

4) open a business checking account

5) seek out business insurance coverage for myself and my equipment

6) provide a copy of my Fictitious Business Name Statement

7) you'll  also need to be registered with the state to obtain a tax ID number dedicated to your business so you can pay taxes (yay!)

In answer to your question, "freelancing" and "owning a business" are kind of the same. If I work under the umbrella of another photographer I am considered a  "1099 Employee." This means the person paying me is treating me as a self-employed worker and any profits I make from working for them will be put into my own business profits. This would be an example of a "freelance" job.

"Owning a business" would be a job that I booked under my own business name that will be providing profits directly from my own client.

There are several organizations under which you can "register" as a photographer. Most of these organizations are designed to protect your rights as a photographer or offer exclusive membership rights. Some examples include: American Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, and American Photographic Artists. I am not a member of any of these organizations as the niche market I'm in (wedding photography) doesn't necessarily require this. If I were more heavily involved in commercial photography, I might consider something like this.

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Ask Me Anything... {4/5/16}

Los Angeles Wedding Photographer_0117  

"Ask Me Anything..." is a weekly blog segment where I answer your questions about me, photography, or...anything. 

 

1- At what moment do you think the bride and groom are at their happiest moment during a wedding day?

I love this question because it's actually something I've never thought about before. On a wedding day, when there are happy moments to be seen around every corner, when does the couple look the happiest?

If I were just thinking about the Groom, I'd have to say the moment he looks the happiest is when he watches his Bride walking towards him down the aisle. This is such a huge moment of arrival. A moment a man dreams of and sees over and over in movies. He has finally found the woman he will start a family with and love for the remainder of his life and she is walking towards him looking like an angel. The expression on his face is typically priceless.

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If I were just thinking about the moment the Bride looks the happiest, I'd have to say the moment she puts her dress on. This is the moment she becomes a Bride. This is also typically the moment when tears start to flow from Bridesmaids and the MOB. This is something many women dream of from the time they are little girls. Putting on your wedding gown for the first time and looking in the mirror to see yourself as a bride is a huge moment. Palm Springs Wedding-10-2Olowalu Plantation House Wedding_0283

 

Thinking back on all the moments when the Bride AND Groom look the happiest, I'd have to say when they kiss for the first time and take their first steps down the aisle as husband and wife. There are so many nerves through out the day leading up to this moment. Knowing that the hard part is over ( standing in front of many people and reciting vows) and now it's time to celebrate, I think brings a sense of calm and relaxation to the couple after this moment. The smiles on their faces as they walk down the aisle together are 100% of the time completely genuine and beaming.

Dana and Ryan_-22- What do you wear to shoot in at summer weddings? How can I look professional but still keep cool in the hot temperatures?

      Shooting summer weddings in the heat of a California summer can be an extremely grueling process. It doesn't help that a typically professional looking color to wear is black. I try to choose fabrics that are breathable and fit loosely. Cotton based fabrics are usually preferable. I usually try to wear sleeveless tops and a knee length skirt or dress.

San Diego Wedding Photographer

When it comes to the level of dress, you really need to evaluate the venue you'll be shooting at. If you're shooting a beachside wedding in Cabo, it might be appropriate to wear nice shorts and a button up shirt or a free flowing sun dress. If you're shooting a ballroom wedding at The Ritz Carlton, you should be wearing extremely professional attire, regardless of the heat outside.

My absolute favorite pair of shoes to wear on a wedding day is Sam Edelman Felicia Ballet Flats. They are by far the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. After a 12 hour day, my feet don't hurt and I don't have blisters. I personally would never wear sandals to shoot a wedding unless I'm shooting all day in the sand.

In addition to choosing breathable fabrics to wear on a hot summer wedding day, it's also important to remember to stay hydrated. Make sure you are drinking lots of water and even electrolytes. You will sweat A LOT through out the course of the day and drinks like Gatorade or Coconut water help to keep your body fueled. Also, remember to pack plenty of sunscreen and deodorant in your bag! No one likes a stinky photographer...

3- Being in a competitive city where it's easy to get discouraged, how do you keep yourself motivated?

This is such a great question and I'm so glad you asked! Living in Los Angeles is amazing because we are all surrounded by some of the most creative and talented artists in the world. I think it's important to remember, however, that we are not each other's competition. I mean, yes, technically we are. But, I choose to stay away from the cut throat, competitive types in my industry. I do not resonate with this mentality at all. I choose to surround myself with people who celebrate when I win just I celebrate when they win. I am lucky enough to have friends who feel that my success is also their success and vice versa. The more we build up, praise, and support other talented artists in our industries, the stronger we're making ourselves and our own industry. By serving others, we are, in turn, also serving ourselves. 

I think the technique I use to keep myself motivated that has been most helpful is setting my intentions. I am a big believer in asking the Universe for what you want in this life. This is not to say that I believe I can make a wish for something and it will magically be delivered to me. I absolutely believe most things in life require hard work and dedication. However, unless we have set our goals and intentions for what it is we want to accomplish in our life, career, or even relationships, how will we know what to look for when it's right in front of us? Knowing that I am working everyday towards an end result definitely keeps me motivated. I'd highly recommend sitting down and making a list of goals or creating a vision board of what  you want to accomplish this week, this month, this year, or the next five years. Then think about how you will get there. Post it somewhere you can look at it every single day so it's always in your mind. Watch as your dreams become a reality.

At the end of last year, I sat down and wrote out a 2016 Bucket List of things I wanted do this year. I have it posted right above my computer where I can look at it everyday. I literally dreamed up trips or life events that I would like to experience and some of them are already starting to happen. The motivation I feel from the power of living with intent is so powerful. Don't ever forget that thoughts become things.

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