About Me

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Western North Dakota , United States
My husband, Allen, and I are high school sweet hearts. We started dating Sep.99'- I kind of followed Allen home one day, and never did leave, is Allen's story. November 02' we were engaged, and on November 22,2003 - we were married. Having been married for 6 years in 2009, marked the 5th year we had been trying to start our family. With the referral of a Fertility Specialist from a friend, our IUI attempts ended up being a complete success despite my doubts. We welcomed our sweet little girl, Hayleigh into the world on June 30,2010 at 6:28am after 37wks and 1 day of gestation. She weighed 7lbs 14oz and was 20 in long. We found out that we were Baby #2 on April Fool's Day- a complete surprise! Reid Allen was born 11/13/12 3:24am 9lbs 8.2oz 21", after 38wks 5 days. Our 3rd baby, Eva Jane, was born on April 19, 2015 after suffering a pregnancy loss June of 2014. We are currently anxiously awaiting baby #4 due 2 days before Eva's birthday, so we are having Irish Twins! Our family is so blessed and happy to be growing!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Starting off on the Right Foot

One of my favorite captures from Saturday ~ Letters on fabric squares on a banner
 by the gate entrance to the public ground we were out riding on 

If you know me, you know I like to tinker and dabble in a little bit of everything. If I'm not so good at it, I move onto the next. My mom played a big key along with my dad on this, as well as other members of our family. I guess one thing that has also helped this has been my creative gene. My uncle Dale is an artist- a different than what I considered myself. I was never any good at drawing portraits, but horses, animals, objects, and trees... I loved horses and trees. I could draw those things all day long.My teachers always went on I should pursue a career in art, but my uncle told me unless I didn't want to get paid, art was a very hard career to make it in. Back when I was in 6th grade or so, my summers included watching HGTV with my sister for most of the morning. We LOVED the Christopher Lowe Show. This guy made everything, and showed you how to do it. How to decorate spaces. We also watched that and a drawing show on the local public broadcast channel.From then on I wanted to be an interior designer. It was fun and easy! Sports then kind of sucked all of those things to the back of my mind.  Later on in high school or so, I watched a documentary on Martha Stewart's life. I think that was one of the things that rekindled the fire of making stuff or doing stuff myself. That was the way Martha grew up anyway. Look at that woman now- minus the prison time, I really have looked up to her.

So, how does that get me to today.. taking pictures, and really wanting to make a go out of it all? Since I naturally want to do stuff myself, rather than pay someone else to do things for me, this all kind of started when I was pregnant with Hayleigh. I had NO clue what was entailed in photography- family, kids, couples... no clue. We had never had professional pictures taken by anyone- not even our wedding to which I really regret. Feeling this regret, I vowed that since we had waited so long for Hayleigh to be on the way, we would get good pictures taken. You only get the opportunity just one time. So forth began the booking and money flying right and left- but we got the good pictures.

Of course after a few sessions, I started to find things I didn't like, and wanted different, but it was too late of course. I did find one photographer I LOVED, and I mean LOVED. She was new, and she was really good. She was very laid back, and when we talked about what we wanted to do, we were on the same wave length. She even could put stuff together I had not even thought of. Alas, after the first year, she started booking up really fast, and she took on the local school's pictures and local sports pictures. We also moved, so I had to start all over once again. The things I loved about that lady was she gave us a full hour. If we went over five minutes, ten minutes, it was not a big deal, and she did not charge us - nickle and dime us. She had our proofs up within a week, and our picture order back to us within 3 days of that. You could purchase all of the edited proofs for around $30 on a textured 4x6 photo paper. I absolutely loved this so I could put them in albums for Hayleigh, and have what I wanted in the portraits on the wall. Her prices were very fair, and she was still making money off of them. Our last session she started to offer all of the edited proofs on a disc for not a whole lot. She was my favorite and most client friendly/pocket book friendly of all that we have went to.

I did try a few local photographers back in Illinois, one being expensive and one being a cheaper one that nickel and dimed you on time, but had about half the proofs I would get back compared to my favorite gal there. The session with the nickel and dime was rushed, it was not easy going, and she didn't have many ideas on poses for families. The more expensive one did have the ideas, but she was expensive was my only gripe. I didn't like the idea of having to purchase an expensive package that you could only get the prints because you didn't want to know what she would have really wanted for a digital file. Then we got out here, and everyone is expensive.

The first one I used had a very expensive sitting fee, with unlimited time. She was good, and laid back, but very slow with showing proofs. You also had to set up a meeting in person to see proofs, then was forced to order then. You couldn't sit in front of your computer in the middle of the night looking at the pictures over and over, finding a place and the sizes you wanted for them to go on your wall. Reid was born and it was during his newborn session I got to see the proofs from the maternity session 6 weeks prior. There was only 1 sneak peak on facebook. Then the newborn proofs afterward were not available until he was almost 2 months old. By the time I got the pictures- paying over $50 per 5x7 to get the ones we really loved, I was sick.

 The second one I decided to give a whirl was this past fall. Only a $40 sitting fee, we had all the time we needed. She told me we would get sneak peaks then schedule a date to come in and order. I waited and waited until almost 2 months later finally asking about the sneak peaks. The sneak peaks there were the actual photos you ordered. sigh.... I was fuming after this one. The day I went in to look at proofs, they were all unedited, and I had to pick the ones we liked, told which heads to swap in which pictures and given a 3 week window of pictures returned to us, costing $40 per 5x7 picture. This session ended up totaling over $500. Allen and I then decided we would get our own camera and just try to do our own pictures.

A couple of months ago, I finally got my camera- my birthday present. I was scared to death. No amount of pinning on pinterest could ever prepare me for well there you go- now take pictures. I did so much reading- I still am. I've practiced and practiced with the kids, and just about anything that I can take pictures of. I switched to shooting in RAW now, and I'm still learning. I ordered my first 2 backdrops and a backdrop stand, and sat the kids down in 5 minute increments and was amazed at what I had on my computer editing from the first go. The pictures are not perfect. I'm still learning new things, but just the calm and relaxing part of just shooting when the kids are happy has been so wonderful. The more I take pictures, the more I love doing it, being anxious to get to my computer to pull up my work for the day to sit and edit them, even slapping my new trademark on all of them. I cannot wait to get the walls mostly covered in my own work. Pictures I can be proud of, knowing at that moment, it was not staged, we were actually doing something, and I have an actual memory and not just a sit and look pretty picture. I know this has been long, but I just wanted to explain how I got here. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I would become a photographer. It fits so well. I have something to keep me busy when Allen is at work. When he is home, I can get our own pictures. I have something that will work with our schedule, and will be a job to me when the kids are in school. I can be as busy as I want to be. That is what I love. I don't want to be over booked, trying to make good money from this. I want this to be affordable- something I would be happy with if I was the client. I have had 4 years to watch the photographers, what they have done- what I liked and didn't like. I'm using that as a learning experience, and hoping to grow from it all in my own endeavors.

Now for the fun part. My peeves/loves about photo sessions. I posted on facebook that I would elaborate about this a tad more. Here is my list.
1. photographers that are soo booked up that if your kids are not having a good session at all, will not even consider picking up on another day a day or two later. It happens, why be forced to pay for pictures you will not like at all..
2. being rushed at a session- nickel and dimed for time. I know time is important to people, but at the same time- the people you are taking pictures for should not feel rushed, or feel that their time is not important as well.
3. Paying over 12 times more for the same prints I can order from the online professional photo lab. This really makes me sick to pay over $40 for a 5x7 completely luxed out from the same photoshop that only charges me $3 for the same thing. After I checked on multiple professional labs, and found their prices were all comparable, I was fuming mad. I also know that some photographers make all their money from the prints, but to me that is really limiting because families want to order more prints, but cannot afford to do so- if the print prices were affordable, they could order more, be more happy, and the photographer in my opinion would make more money. Some photographers argue that people only really want 2-3 pictures. I bed to differ. I would love to have them all, having them in a book with the few on the wall. Not second guessing myself on my choices later on when it is too late to put another order in because of the conditions and restrictions that photographer had.
4. Over use of airbrushing, or not using any at all. I do not like that our fall pictures the close up ones of us we look plastic. I hate that look. No one looks like that. I also did not like on Reid's newborn pictures, I had dark circles under my eyes, that would have only took 2 minutes to fix, or necklaces of Hayleigh's that the back was showing the clasp that could easily been photoshopped since the photographer did not catch it during the session.
5. being placed in non flattering poses or not told to move here or there to help fix that. Photographers do not work miracles on making you look like you weigh 50 pounds less, but being posed in certain ways can make you look heavier or just not look great.
6. Having to meet with the photographer to see the proofs, then expected to place an order at that moment. I like to sit and look at the pictures over and over- making sure I am happy with my decision, knowing where the pictures will be going in my home, and also for family that does not live anywhere around me to be able to see the pictures as well, and put in their own order. I think this is almost #1 of my dislikes.
7. Having a set amount of time to have an order put in, or if you do not order a picture having to pay a fee to be able to order it later on- if even then. The last photographer you could not order a picture that you did not originally order when you did the meet and order session.
8. Having props or backgrounds that you do not like being used over what you have provided. With Reid's newborn pictures, I ran into this. As a mom you want to stay away from the baby during this session to help aide in the baby staying asleep. I did this and could not believe the girlie or stupid costumes Reid was put into over what I had laid out and expressed what I was looking for.
9. Having to pay an extra person fee for a family shoot that is immediate family and not over 10 people. Most make you pay an extra person if you have 3 kids with the 2 adults anymore.
10. Turn around time. I absolutely HATE getting pictures back after 2 weeks of the pictures being taken. I know that the photo labs over night or at least 3 day ship the pictures out for a fact. I have had Christmas pictures sent out late now 2 years in a row because of this. This will be the first year back to having my pictures out at the beginning of December. Also along with this- the photographer going on vacation and having to wait for your prints with Santa Claus that were taken beginning of December and not receiving them until first of January. SMH...
11, Almost forgot this one BAD LIGHTING.... I've only experienced this once in a studio, and it is just one of those things that should not be an issue

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