Frivolous Friday vol. 33

Frivolous: playful, lighthearted, trivial; the little things in life that should be savored.

Favorite Outfit of the Week -- Tunic: Forever 21 / Leggings & Belt: Target / Nude heels: Aldo / Earrings: Nordstrom

Highlight of the week: Regaining the ability to walk. My toe ended up just being sprained and the whole thing is laughable now, really, but what I went through with it seriously made me thankful for the gift of working legs and feet. Life is SO much slower and each task more daunting at a hobble.

Yes, I did this:
1 -- Finally finished watching the Olympics.
2 -- Had a Rummikub tournament with my parents during which I declared we needed to keep playing until I won. Thankfully I gave up on that policy eventually otherwise we'd likely still be playing.

My dear friend Pati's husband Peter passed away three years ago this week. She is an amazing women and model of faith to me. I love what she wrote on her blog here.

Celebrating: Sara came up with the idea for this new blog series and I spontaneously decided she needed to be rewarded with a donut (something I conveniently happened to be craving at the time). At the donut shop I instituted a company-wide policy that all future good ideas of Sara's will also be celebrated with donuts. And now I'm noticing Sara has a lot of good ideas.

I'm up in Flagstaff this weekend shooting three engagement shoots. Yay for clients who want to do their sessions in cooler climates! Should have some fun images to share next week!

Feeling Blessed: I have so many fun things to look forward to in the next couple weeks, all of which require the ability to walk. And I can.

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For Photographers

Where are they now? MJ2DAY Alumni Britt Croft

With over 120 MJ2Day alumni now taking over the globe, I thought it would be fun to start a series on my blog to check in on past attendees and see what they're up to now and how their businesses, lives and photography have been impacted by their experience at the workshop. I've heard so many fun stories from past attendees that leave me beaming with pride at their coolness and I can't wait to share!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Brittani of Britt Croft Photography -- an attendee of the Boulder, Colorado MJ2Day that took place last July. Brittani is located in South Carolina and is getting married herself in two weeks time -- so exciting!! She's going to make a beautiful bride. (Photos by Kelly Sauer)

We get photographers at all stages of their business at the MJ2Day and Brittani was a relative newbie when she came to the workshop. She had never photographed her own weddings or even 2nd shot for that matter. She was really experimenting in a lot of different types of photography and it turned out the workshop came at a great point in her journey to really get her started off on the right foot. 2012 is her first full year in business and even with a move from Maryland to South Carolina and planning her own wedding, she has eight weddings booked! What a go-getter!

I interviewed Brittani for this post and I was giddy over her answer to the first question:

Q: Are there any cool connections or events that happened as a result of you attending the MJ2Day?

A: Definitely! First, because of the friendship I made with fellow attendee Katie Derus, she recommended me to one of her best friends in whose wedding she was a bridesmaid. I was able to fly to Wisconsin to shoot her friend's wedding at a venue I never even dreamed I would have the opportunity to shoot at.

I also shot a fellow MJ2Day attendee's wedding, although she attended at a different time and location than I did and we had never met. After getting engaged, Kristi Kratzer emailed Melissa for recommended photographers in South Carolina and Melissa sent her my name. Kristi and I immediately hit it off and her wedding was one of my favorites of the year. I'm so fortunate to now call Kristi and Michael friends!

Finally, I attended the Justin & Mary Lighting Intensive in Richmond this past July, as did fellow Boulder MJ2Day attendee Jessica Maida. It was SO nice to already have a friend there, and even cooler that I finally met "virtual" friend Coty Jones, who attended the Annapolis MJ2Day this summer.

Q: What is the biggest difference in your photography since attending the MJ2Day?

A: So much has happened in the last year since attending the Boulder MJ2Day that I feel like there's not much about my photography that HASN'T changed. Technically, my photography has improved leaps and bounds. I think about my shots more creatively and authentically, and I also have really grown into my style in terms of how I determine my settings as well as how I post-process. There were also SO many little nuggets of wisdom Melissa shared about light, shooting techniques, and interacting with clients that have been extremely helpful in improving my images.

Here are some examples of Brittani's work before the workshop:

And here are some examples of her work since attending:

Gorgeous stuff!

Q: What is the biggest difference in your business since attending the MJ2Day?

A: The differences in my business were the biggest, and fortunately I LOVE the business side of being a photographer so it's been awesome to see those skills grow and develop since implementing a lot of the things I learned from Melissa. The MJ2Day gave me a great head start on having systems in place (a truly systemized workflow), really investing in my clients, fellow vendors, and industry peers, understanding the publication process and why it's important, and truly developing an authentic brand (from potential client interaction, to website design, to product presentation, to my images) to help attract the right kinds of clients.

Check out some of Brittani's published work here:
Every Last Detail
The Wedding Row Charleston
Style Me Pretty Gallery

Q: It sounds like you made some awesome friendships as a result of the MJ2Day. What part do they play in your life and business today?

A: The relationships I've made from attending the MJ2Day are far and beyond one of the best parts of having attended. Obviously I took an enormous wealth of knowledge from Melissa and made new friends in her and Sara, but you kind of become a little family with the other attendees and it was even cooler to have connected with a few other "young" attendees like myself, just out of college and breaking into shooting weddings. I still keep in touch with many of the attendees from the Boulder workshop....we follow each other's blogs, leave comments, and email one another frequently. We're kind of cheerleaders for one another and it's been so cool watching everyone's businesses grow in the last year.

Q: Have you changed or raised your prices since the workshop?

A: At the time of the MJ2Day, I had very low portfolio building rates for wedding photography, but after every couple of weddings I booked, I raised those portfolio building prices another tier since I was gaining experience with my own weddings and as a second shooter. Currently, I'm booking weddings at the rate I feel like is fair for my market. A year ago, I never thought I'd have shot so many wonderful weddings this year or be booking at a "normal" rate right now. Because of the MJ2Day, I also feel more confident in the prices I present potential brides and that I am valuable.

See what I mean!? Beaming with pride. I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of Brittani's journey, and to be able to see what she has done with the experience and knowledge she gained from the workshop last summer. And it's only been a year! At the rate she's going, I can't wait to see what the next year holds for her!

Thanks for sharing with us, Brittani! Have an amazing wedding!!

If you're a photographer and would love to take your photography and business to the next level like Brittani has, join us at an upcoming MJ2Day!

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101 in 1001

75 books

I don't know that I'm an avid reader. There are certainly people who read much more than I do. But I do enjoy a good book.

I mostly read for pleasure. And mostly read at night to distract my mind from solving the world's problems -- or at least the problems in my little corner of it. Escaping into a story is the only tried and true way I've found for getting a good night sleep.

Back in March of 2010, I started my 101 in 1001 goals list. And on it, I wrote goal #44 -- Read at least 75 books. In truth, I didn't challenge myself much with this goal. I knew if I read at my normal rate of an average of one book per 12 days, I would be able to check this one off before the 1001 days were up. And today is that day!

The 75 books I've read fall into the following categories:

On the topic of autism: 5
Biography: 13
Business: 6
Classics: 4
Historical Fiction: 9
Non-fiction: 16
Popular Fiction: 14
Spiritual: 8

Each book has impacted my life in some way -- making me marvel, think, dream, pray, advocate, spend my money differently, share my faith, and make certain decisions for the direction of my business.

These are the 75 books I read. I gave nearly 30% of them 5 star ratings and they are denoted with a red star:

I rated each book and wrote reviews on all but 6 of them on I would love to share my thoughts on them, but that's just too much to fit in one blog post. So if you're interested in finding out more, look me up on Goodreads and you can see my ratings and reviews. You can even start your own list of books "to read" and add any of mine that catch your attention to your list.

Yay for reading! Now on to the next book...

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Featured in Arizona Bride Magazine!

I'm so excited! The new issue of Arizona Bride is out and Becky & Anthony's wedding is featured in it! These two were married last October at the Four Seasons and I love how their outdoor reception really featured the gorgeous desert backdrop they wanted. Congratulations to the team of vendors that helped to pull off this amazing wedding!

Coordinator: Jen Thye with Imoni Events
Ceremony & reception venue & cake: Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North
Florist & Decor: White House Flowers
Hair: Ruca Bowman at Hautie Rouge
Make-up: Sarah Sanmarco
Officiant: Charlie VanDyke
Invitations: BeUBrides
Band: Static
Videographer: Simply Cinema

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Frivolous Friday vol. 32

Frivolous: playful, lighthearted, trivial; the little things in life that should be savored.

Favorite Outfit of the Week -- Shorts: Anthropologie / Shirt: LOFT / Shoes: Aldo / Ring: Boutique store in San Clemente, CA

Highlight of the week: Watching Dixie play with her new miniature schnauzer puppy friend Dapper. I wish I had photos or video of them but it was after dark. I haven't seen Dixie all-out play with another dog in a long time and they were SO cute. Dogs are the best. We'll do it again and post video.

Yes, I did this:
1 -- Slammed my foot into the kitchen table leg and (hopefully just) sprained my middle toe. I believe it was my fault since the kitchen table leg was where it's always been.
2 -- Officially came to the end of my summer wardrobe. You've seen it all. So either I need to go shopping, or fall needs to get here this week.

Sorry about the fake smile grimace in this week's photo. I believe I had sweat running down my arm from being outside for 3 full minutes. We've come to the time of year when each Arizonan is living precariously on the edge of killing their fellow man. So that's the best I could muster.

Celebrating: My cute parents' 38th wedding anniversary is today! I'm SO blessed to have a mom and dad who are still together and are living out their vows despite some serious hardships. Love them and so proud of them!

My neighbor friends have the original Nintendo (the model my sister and I saved every penny of our own money to buy when we were 10 & 12) and we broke out Dr. Mario -- a.k.a. best video game ever -- this week. Such a blast from the past. Amber is pretty awesome at it but I gave her a run for her money. We didn't let Tim play because, unfortunately, he just can't keep up with our greatness.

One of my photos is featured here today. Kids make such great subjects at weddings.

Feeling Blessed: At one point this week, I thought my toe was broken. So getting the unconfirmed diagnosis that it was sprained made my month. Still hobbling around like an overly-cautious hypochondriac in a walking boot for the time being but the outlook that I will yet walk again (this month) is bright. Which is good because it seems walking is a prerequisite for shooting weddings.

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