Over a year ago, I was contacted by the delightful Bee Kim, founder of Weddingbee- where many brides blog about their journey through wedding planning all in one place! I thought the blog was the best thing since happy meals, so when she asked me to become the first photographer blogger on a new blog dedicated to wedding professionals, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Since today is the official 1 year anniversary of the Weddingbee Pro launch, I thought I’d share a little about my journey of being a featured blogger.
I knew Weddingbee was big, but I didn’t realize what kind of spotlight I’d be under when I joined Weddingbee Pro - to me it was just another opportunity to help brides on a larger scale- but I quickly found that it elevated me to a status I wasn’t quite ready to handle, especially after having the busiest year of my business on top of moving to a new city. I felt really guilty when I had to take an extended break from blogging and social media, just months after the Pro blog launched, in order to catch up on all the private parts of my life that had slipped through my hands over the last couple of years while my business was taking off like crazy. I had been trying to do everything myself, which I now realize is impossible if you actually want to be successful. However, I’m so grateful that taking time off allowed room for so many other wonderful photographers to become featured bloggers. Weddingbee Pro has become a collection of some of the most talented, thoughtful, humble, and loving wedding professionals in the industry and I’m so glad that I get to be included in that bunch of people.
We had some fun at Western Ave Studios last week when I invited a few friends over to help me arrange my office. I had several problems that needed solving:
1. Create a storage area that is functional, organized, and easily walled off without much construction or blocking of windows.
2. Find a place for my desk that clients won’t see immediately upon entering, and allows me to work even when there’s full sun pouring into the studio.
3. Create a comfortable seating arrangement for clients that will position them easily for viewing a slideshow or having an intimate chat during a meeting.
4. Make the furniture easy to move so that I can shoot studio work if I want to.
Not only did my friends help me accomplish ALL of the above, they even added a little foyer where I’ll be able to set up a display! Fabulous!! As we were getting closer to the end, I pulled out some B&W film that’s probably at least 5 years old, dropped it into my OM10 and shot the silliness that started unfolding after several hours of hard work:
Thanks to amazing photographer John Lee of John Lee Pictures for sharing these hilarious outtakes from our 7×7 photoshoot. While the editors chose a rather staid photo for the magazine, they must have had to work hard to pick these out among the majority, which involved stuffing ourselves with cupcakes, blowing up balloons, and general silliness! It was so much fun!
This is the final installment to the question that was so thoughtfully asked by a bride, Lisa.
She originally wrote…
…Not to be snarky, but can you please explain why my florist charged $250 for a bouquet of peonies when I found an eight stem bunch at Whole Foods that very same week for $12.99?
“I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in.”
— Virginia Woolf
I really enjoyed working from home the last 4-5 years. I always had a separate room for my office, which meant we always had at least a two bedroom apartment or home and part of my income went to affording us a larger living space. The first couple of years I went through the honeymoon phase of working for myself by sleeping in as late as I wanted and working as late as I wanted, often times not even take a shower or get dressed before “going to work”. I’d roll out of bed- sometimes off the couch from a late night of work the night before- and just sit down at my desk and start working, sometimes not even getting up to eat until well into the afternoon. I thought it was cozy and indulgent, but I found that I was never really ready to just run out for an errand or join a friend for lunch- and heaven forbid if I had to sign for a package- that was often an awkward moment at the door with just a robe on! Realizing that perhaps that wasn’t the best way to work from home, in the third year I made a point to only get on the computer after I had showered and dressed. Granted, there are still a few occasions when that doesn’t always happen, but I’ve noticed that I feel much better and more productive when I’ve taken care of myself first. (Which reminds me to start making some tea before writing any further.)
I thought it would be fun to share with you our process for branding and logo design. This particular case study is branding we created for Leslie at Elle F Bijoux. She designs unique necklaces from old pocket watches!
We start by creating an inspiration board based on images that the client has collected, or the concepts and ideas discussed. In this case the client, Elle F Bijoux, was drawn to art nouveau, vintage imagery and especially that of a woman to be included in the logo itself. This was a really fun project; I was super inspired by Leslie and her vision for the company.
This was my third time attending one of the fabulous Engage events visioned and designed by the super smart and kind Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce. I am a BIG fan of these two gals, to say the least. Razor sharp insight into the wedding industry, down to earth personalities and a passion like none I have seen before are just some of the qualities that make these two women so very praiseworthy. Engage is a haven for the luxury wedding professional, a breeding ground for big ideas and forward thinking. While each Engage event has differed from its predecessor, I can honestly say my business and my perspective on the wedding industry and my place within it has been completely transformed. Now listen, I am not saying that attending an Engage is a magic pill to fix any business, BUT I will say if you listen hard and engage mindfully, your attendance WILL be a transformative experience.
Held at the lush Encore Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Engage! 09: The Encore boasted a speaker list built by demand. Rebecca Grinnals, Kathryn Arce, Simon T. Bailey, Marcy Blum, Sean Low among others stood before an intimate yet talent packed room of attendees, captivating us with every word. I must mention also Tracey Kumer-Moore, from Your Las Vegas Wedding Concierge, who was instrumental in making Engage come to life in what she called “her city”. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Tracey and was so grateful for her insights and fabulous recommendations for thoroughly enjoying Las Vegas!
A week ago I bumped into a floral friend. As always, we were talking shop. We were both at the end of our busy season so to say that we looked a little “beaten down” was an understatement. Both of us had dark circles under our eyes, hair a little out of place, and shoulders sagging from feeling weary about the season ahead. Both lacked sleep. Tired. Yulp.
After spending some time chatting, she mentioned that after 20+ years in the wedding floral business, she was struggling with paying the bills. And that she didn’t have much to show for it. After seeing so many ups and downs, she said that this year was the worst.
If someone with her experience is still having trouble making ends meet after investing 20 years in this business, then what can we learn from this?
During these times, it’s hard to feel bullish (confident and upbeat). Given that my background is finance, I often seem to have a “bear” mentality when it comes to business and consumer confidence, though on a personal level, I think I’m more glass-half-full than the glass-half-empty type.
In business and when it comes to consumer confidence, I confess that I’m conservative and bearish all the way (a bear investor or analyst is one that is “accompanied by widespread fear and pessimism” as defined by Wikipedia. ). And because I am bearish, this is what I have to say to those who are thinking of starting a career as a floral designer or a florist (or more simply put - anyone just going into business for yourself).
Here are some of the questions I’ve received in my inbox in the last few weeks. Feel free to contact me any time through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter @lasertron (which is easiest for me), or by leaving a comment here!
Q: What are your favorite tools? (From Dirsta Paola)
A: I love using decorative fabric scissors–Fiskars makes some pretty good ones. When I work I also always use a felt needle book made by Jenn Maruska–it holds my needles, scissors, and threads and it’s perfect for traveling while I work. (I have to say, I wish I thought of these first! The little embroidered pictures are to DIE for!)
I also love pom pom makers for stress relief, the awesome camera tripod I got from my grandma, and my iPod Touch (totally replaced the phone for me).
Hilary McHone is a Ford Fiesta agent who was chosen to take part in this innovative and creative social media experiment, traveling the country, taking photos, and documenting her adventures along the way through her blog and flickr site.
Every month, all of the Ford Fiesta agents receive a “mission,” and Hilary has been achieving them in the most amazing ways. In July, she fulfilled the “design” mission by planning her wedding using only independent artists and vendors found online through social media, which is how she found me, which is how she got her bouquet for her July wedding!
Another one of Hilary’s goals is to visit every state and stay overnight at someone’s house who she met through social media. This weekend she was staying at my parents’ house (my mom actively follows her twitter and blog) and I drove over last evening to finally meet her!