On This Day 3 Years Ago…

On this day 3 years ago, Hailey and I embarked on yet another one of our photoshoots. We’ve done some pretty wild photoshoots over the years, with crazy outfits and unlimited creativity, but this is still one of my favorites. I was still studying photography and my assignment was to imitate the work of the great David LaChapelle. His portfolio is eccentric, colorful, exotic, arresting, and completely unique.

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These aren’t my typical style, but it’s really important to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while and remember what you’re made of. You might find yourself out there.

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I didn’t have the incredible studio space or budget, but I did have a very creative model with a vast wardrobe and an amazing (secret) location. Can you say improvisation?

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 There was something so freeing about forcing myself to take wild photos like this, especially with my favorite model. It is so much fun to look back at these and see how much we’ve changed and grown. Here’s to even more growth in the next few years!

12/9: A Mason Jar Christmas!

What can I say – I’m in love with the idea of reusing things, I just can’t help it. So, I compiled a huge list of my favorite Holiday-themed mason jar ideas: from desserts to decorations, I listed just about everything you could imagine!

A Mason Jar Christmas!

12/8: DIY Gift Bag!

I don’t know about you wonderful people, but I seem to have the hardest time finding bags that match my wrapping paper. I finally said forget this and found a tutorial for making your own bags, custom fit and look, from wrapping paper you already have! This couldn’t be more easy.

It’s also a great way to use up little scraps of paper! This bag is pretty teeny – about 5×5″, but you could absolutely try it with something bigger!

Intrigued? Click here!

12/3: DIY Spa Ornament

I know I said I’d be posting the DIY photoshoot workspace today, but I’m going to save it for later so I can feature someone special 🙂

Today’s Shine Bright idea is a DIY Spa Ornament!

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Aromatic Mint and Ginger soothing salts to melt away the coldest winter blues. Use the salts in a hot bath and then hang the ornament on your tree!

Nine of them for under $20 and made within an hour!

Bonus gift box too!

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Enjoy 🙂

Turning Dreams Into Reality

I came across this nugget of inspiration on Facebook this morning. It really hits home, so I thought I’d share it with you.

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When I realized I wanted to be a photographer and then shared these dreams with friends and family or anyone who asked, I heard every word on that wall, every which-way you can read it. For every person who told me my dreams were in reach, there was another negative voice there to tell me they were worthless:

“You need a real degree!”

“What if you can’t pull it off? What are you going to do then?”

“Don’t you have a backup plan, like nursing? Nursing will always be needed.”

The best reactions were the back-handed compliments meant to make me feel guilty:

“You’re too smart for photography, why don’t you do something useful with your life, like practicing law?”

“Women have ample opportunities these days! You’re wasting it away to be a starving artist!”

“You graduated with honors! Any university would be lucky to have you!”

I’d be lying if I said those words didn’t affect me. My first year of college was tainted with these questions that made me second-guess myself and my dreams, my passion. Did I make the right choice? Can I actually, really, honestly, do this?

I had an “a-ha!” moment when my uncle, who also photographs for a living, told me I wasn’t a “real” photographer because I hadn’t taken some BS online test that “certifies” one is legitimate. I was shocked and absolutely broken. The rest of my family and my closest friends supported me, pulling me out of that dark place where confidence doesn’t exist. After emerging far enough to remember that I don’t take “no” for an answer, and realizing how utterly pissed off I was, I hustled forward more determined than before.

Why should I care about the opinions of the ignorant, the disbelievers? I knew right then that what I am doing is exactly what I should be doing, what I was meant to do, and what I will continue to do – despite what anyone says – because I love what I do.

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best:

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Body Art

 I’m a huge fan of tattoos and have two myself. I think it’s absolutely rad to boast your inspiration, favorite memories and tributes right there on your body. To be able to look down in a moment of weakness and see something that will give you strength and push you forward? That is awesome. Not all tattoos are created equal – those that are tattooed while drunk in Vegas may not have so much meaning – but when an artist can portray what you want, it’s magic.

Bobby had some more work done on his newest piece this weekend, and I jumped at the opportunity to photograph it.

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My husband is a huge fan of this painting called “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. Instead of simply getting the painting, he asked his artist, Raquel, to add the twist of a zombie apocalypse – mixing classic with modern in an epic work of art.

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He’s spent a total of 15 hours in the chair at Broken Clover Tattoo, watching his imagination come to life.

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I absolutely love that his artist is female. She truly has an eye and is incredibly good at what she does.

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She’s also fun to watch in that she’s meticulous and careful, thoughtful in what she does with that needle.

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And she clearly enjoys her work – a mark of a good artist, doing what she loves because she loves it, not for fame or fortune. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see her making big bucks in the future!

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I wanted to make this post as much about her as it is about her work because art is often a reflection of the artists themselves. This certainly holds true for me and the photos I take.

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This is my favorite shot from the 4-hour session. I haven’t figured out why quite yet, but it definitely speaks to me.