Neese Family Portraits

After the MJ 2 Day finished up last week in Charlotte I was able to stay with my good friend Michelle and her cute family for a few days. Michelle is my oldest friend - we went to 4th grade together in Minnesota. In fact, that's the only year we went to school together. Shortly after I moved to Arizona and she moved to North Carolina. But we became pen pals and then she started to fly out to visit me in junior high and high school each summer. Her dad is a pilot so we lucked out in that respect. Then I flew out to be in her wedding and have been able to visit her 5 times since then. I really cherish her friendship and the times we get to spend together. I'm bound and determined to get her out to visit me in Arizona again sometime - I even put it on my 101 in 1001 list!

Michelle kinda got the raw end of the deal having me visit after the MJ 2 Day. I was pretty much a zombie. But I'm just thankful I got to spend a few days with her and catch up. We didn't have a lot of time, but I made sure we were able to fit in a mini portrait shoot. I love this red caboose that was hanging out just down the road from their home!

Michelle's kids are some of the most well-behaved I've been around. How cute is this!?

Rhiannon is ALL girl despite having three brothers. She is excited to turn 7 in November and loved modeling her blue dress for me:

Gavin (11), Aidan (4) and Logan (8) are all super-cute and had fun climbing on the caboose:

Here's Brian and Michelle who are responsible for all the cuteness:

What a cute family!

Thanks for having me guys! Can't wait for the next time!

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2010 Autism Walk

Yesterday I walked with my team to raise awareness and funds for autism for the fourth year in a row! It is amazing to see how the team grows each year as more and more people get on board! This year we had 50 people walk with our team and clearly, I need to buy more green shirts for next year!

Thanks to the efforts of my team and your generosity in giving, we raised a total of $3,000 -- exceeding our goal! And donations are still trickling in. If you want to give, there is still time! Click here to donate!

It's HOT in Arizona right now. There's no other way to say it. Thankfully we got started at 7am on the walk but temperatures hit the 100s before we finished. Thanks to everyone who walked -- you were such troopers!

My nephews are getting so big! Noah is 10 and he gets SO excited about the walk each year. He was even inviting people to walk through Facebook this year!

He insisted once again on pulling Elijah in his wagon for the entire length of the walk:

And this is Elijah who is 8. Such a sweetness:

The walk started at a stadium near the zoo and then continued through the trails of the zoo where we could stop to see some animals.

Jeremy, one of Noah's classmates, joined our team this year with his family. Noah was so excited!

Fun, or in this case not-so-fun facts dotted the trail route:

We were excited when the finish line came in view!

We were all pretty tuckered out:

All in all the walk was a huge success! We'll be doing it again next year to continue in the effort to find a cause and cure!

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Last chance to donate!

Tomorrow morning I will be meeting up with my team at 7am to walk for the fourth year in a row to raise money for autism research. I'm THRILLED to announce that you have helped us meet our goal of raising $2,500! THANK YOU!!!! I can't wait to see what our efforts are able to accomplish in the fight to find answers for my two nephews and the other 1 out of 110 children affected by this disorder.

But if you haven't had a chance to donate, please don't let the fact that we reached our goal stop you! The $2,500 was just a random number I pulled out of my head. Any donation small or large will make a difference! Click here to donate!

Thank you so much!!

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101 in 1001

Charlotte MJ 2 Day Recap Day 2

Once again the MJ 2 Day was an all-estrogen event. Out of the four times I've given this workshop, only one brave man has attended. Just for the record -- men ARE welcome. But hey -- girls are fun! I had an amazing time getting to know each of these women -- two of whom are from North Carolina, two from South Carolina, three from Georgia, and the rest from Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Virginia. They are (from left to right starting at the top): Rhonda Danner (my wonderful assistant!), Anna Hodges, Miranda Reger (one of my former brides!), Vanessa Schrotenboer (who graciously opened her home for us to invade for 2 days), Melissa Arlena, Lynn Cobb, Melissa Pardi, Pam Rauber, Claire Birmaher, Caroine Rentzel, Kate Giovinco, Nicole Pfeiffer, Rupa Kapoor and Karen Shinkins.

It was a great group and we packed the two days full to the brink. On day two we covered business topics like the state of the market, workflow, album design & sales, vendor relations & networking, blogging & social media, initial client meetings, pricing, websites and branding. Phew! In essence, I poured the full contents of my brain on them. In the midst of all this learning, connections were made and relationships were formed. I think that's one of the best things about going to workshops! You come away with a whole new set of friends who share your passion!

Dixie's presence was missed at this workshop - she's a bit too big to fit under an airplane seat - but Vanessa's dog Pudge courageously filled in as our mascot:

What a great workshop! It was fun and rewarding for me to see the attendees get excited about taking their photography and businesses to the next level. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for them!

By holding the MJ 2 Day in Charlotte, I get to check off another goal on my 101 in 1001 list: #46 - Try an MJ 2 Day in another state. Yay! I'm thinking there will be more out of state workshops in the future because this one was a huge success.

The next MJ 2 Day is taking place in Phoenix at my house on January 17-18, 2011. Click here for more information and to reserve your spot today!

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Charlotte MJ 2 Day Recap Day 1

I had so much fun the last two days with this great group of up and coming photographers! The MJ 2 Day in Charlotte, North Carolina was a huge success! We packed as much as we possibly could into two days worth of learning goodness where I shared everything in my brain relating to photography and business.

Monday we covered topics ranging from shooting techniques, lighting, interacting with clients, posing and off-camera flash. Then we went out into the good light the hour before sunset so I could demonstrate how I interact with clients, find light, and use compositional elements in the context of a mock engagement shoot. Erin O'Neil - a photographer based in Greenville, South Carolina who I got to know last Fall at Pictage PartnerCon - and her husband Jason graciously volunteered to be our models. They were such troopers to be in front of not only one camera but FIFTEEN. They did an amazing job and I love some of the shots we got!

Here are some of my favorites:

Erin worked some awesome heels:

I loved these colorful leaves and the gorgeous light we found:

Such a great shoot! Click here for a recap of day 2 and more about the attendees!

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