Tuesday, December 28, 2010

10 Things I Learned in 2010

This year has been slam jam BAM packed full!!! The only slow time I ever have is the end of December and the beginning of January and frankly, I LOVE it. I have been reading over some of my favorite photographer blogs and see a lot are asking themselves what they learned so I thought it would be perfect to do this myself.

10 Things I learned in 2010:

1)I learned that you never know which person will lead you to the next great opportunity. It came to light really early in the year that I needed to learn how to plan ahead and to always think and see a few steps ahead. The person I may be working with for free this week may cause a chain reaction to bring 10 times as many paid clients.

2)I learned that it never hurts to just ask. The majority of the time I spend looking for venues and it is never as easy as it looks. Sometimes places don't pull through or they will just simply tell me no. I used to hate to hear no but now for all the no's I get , there will always been the EPIC yes's!!

3)I learned Girl Power Rules. Not just because I'm a girl, because a good photographer is good regardless of if they are a male or female. It's because I used to hate the pretty girl and then realized we are all the same. We all need to be made to feel pretty and sticking together gets us ALL farther than going it alone. I have earned more girlfriends this year than I have had my entire life and I love every one of them.

4)I learned that it's ok to lean on others. I am so very independent no matter how much I hate it. I think I have to prove myself and that I must do it all myself, because....well, because I can! I realized it's ok to delegate and let people help and get people involved and in the end it's all much more pleasurable and much less stressful.

5)I learned to trust my instincts. This one is self explanatory. I have spent too much of my life second guessing and re-making decisions but in the end it always comes back to what I first thought was right.

6) I learned it's ok to not please everyone. Not everyone wants to pay, not everyone wants to play. I photographed a lot of people but no matter what I like, someone is not going to be happy with THEMSELVES and it's no reflection on me, it's all about THEM. I know I can't capture people the way they see themselves so I always make it a point to tell people that I will do my best to show them how I see them and not how anyone else has ever portrayed them.

7)I learned that nobody is going to promote me better than or other than myself. Well.... unless I'm willing to pay and right now, I'm just not able to! Nobody is going to know about me unless I tell them.

8)I learned that most opportunities should be taken. Because you never know where it will lead and one door opened can lead to 20 more.

9)I learned that people still don't know what I do. And that's just weird, because I post ALL the time and have done a LOT of work! However, people still think I may show up with a point and shoot and can't believe what all I do in a single session. That all has to change because I need for people to know me and know of me in order to help with my success.

10)I learned how to TEACH girls how to model. 9 out of 10 people that work with me literally will come and just stand in front me. They say they have modeled but it is very clear that they have not only never been instructed but may have never worked with someone like me that is going to get to know you and interact with you. I have a lot left to learn but it's important people know that I will be instructing you and won't leave you standing like a mannequin!

There are definitely more things I learned -a LOT more, but these just seemed to be the first to spew out!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blogging and Schuffs

At the end of the year, it will be the end of Project 365 which has been more like Project 325. In any case, I need to decide what to do with my blog and where to put it. I need help! I need one address for my blog and I guess I will re-direct everyone over to this one and start keeping it going ONLY. I will keep the website as backup for just photos but the blog is ALWAYS where people need to go for information and news. Although Facebook is the most up to date and EVERYONE needs to connect to me there. If anyone has some free/cheap suggestions/help to get this blog updated as a photo blog and much more stylish...please HELP. I will do a photoshoot for anyone local that can assist! I seriously realize I don't have time to do it all and that it is ok to let someone else help. That's a good thing right? I'm sure it is!

On another subject - I'm going to copy/paste my last blog entry from Wordpress.


I continue to dream too big for what's available. I desperately need sets or a place to put sets and help with sets. I can't even express the frustration of having a fantastic model over and only being able to shoot on seamless. Yes we still get great stuff but it's nothing like having cool couches and backgrounds and props. I just don't have a way! Locations continue to be just out of reach. I know they are there but I can't get them. I make callouts for warehouses and cool homes but nothing. I always offer to do photos for whomever is letting us use the location but maybe that's not enough. My budget doesn't allow to pay places for use and I can't fathom charging more for such a service when girls are struggling to pay as it is. So to anyone in the Central GA and even Atl- I am always looking for good locations to shoot in! It will be very non-invasive. Probably just me and the girl for maybe 2 hours and of course you can hang out with us! I have thought extensively about how to build onto what we have at home but there is no sense in it when I need to be in town and when Jimmy plans to build an actual stick-built house there one day. I WILL have a large room for photography though. Bet on that. Otherwise my big dreams of having a nice little studio in Macon are still holding strong. There are good and bad things about having a studio but not having access to something or having one is much more of a struggle. I don't want to be tied down yet need the firm point of contact. 2011 is going to be bigger than this year has been. I have much bigger plans, visions, and goals. Magazines, I want to be on and in you. But I always want to continue shooting with families and kids and of course pets. I need to grow this to an everyday job and one day....it will happen.

A fellow photog friend mentioned that I need to start doing commercial work and that's exactly what I intend to do. Actually, when I speak of magazines, it's commercial work that I'm speaking of. Let's WORK!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Team Cook & Croft at it again

OK these were just fun and are cool! This is a little shoot with Ashley Croft one evening during a nasty storm. I have GOT to get her on a magazine cover. This was for a product but these aren't product shots. The product is Mojito Lip Balm by Naturally BeautEvil- it's FANTASTIC!!!!

Vogue? Maxim? I'm coming for yall!

A Trip Through a Fantasy with Skip & Mandolynne

I love these girls. Simply put and I can't really put it any other way. They are real, down to earth, ready to work, fun, absolutely stunning and I have GOT to get them in some magazines! I spent this past Sunday with them in a secret ghetto location that included a man in a bunny suit, guns, Betty the Buick, bandanas, possible swat teams and random gun fire from a guy riding on a bike! Oh how I wish I was 10 yrs younger to party with the group like they are partying now. Although now I have 10 years experience and memories under my belt and I wouldn't trade that for anything. A huge thanks to Skip's friends and boyfriend for enjoying the day and having fun with me!

Enjoy some shots of these gorgeous friends of mine....

Skip Boman

Mandolynne Hopkins

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Changes are a'comin'

Yes they sure are. I have spent this year refining and DEfining who I am and what I like to photograph and there is just so much more to come. I can't even begin to put it all in words! I have been slowly and quietly knocking off some areas of what I do from my website to put myself in some specific areas and not just be an everything photographer. Oh I will always photograph everything but I feel the need to be specific about what I do best. There are so many good photographers in the area. We have some that are fantastic with newborns, some that excel with weddings, and some that do families better than anyone else. When I first started I thought I should compete because I can do that stuff too but it's become glaringly important that we each have our own specialties and not all try to do the same stuff. Because we are all unique and that's what makes us special. People come to me because I do pinups and glamour and portraits. I also specialize in Real Estate photography because it IS an art. And the final thing I know I am truly good at is with pets...especially dogs... because I know them. So all of this is a part of changes that are coming and they are good changes. I have redefined and am fine tuning what I do so I can continue to evolve into a better artist at what I love doing instead of being pulled in 50 different directions.

Another change that's coming is that I'm going to be doing some larger projects, I don't know who or what for other than because I feel I can and dammit I want to. I hope it leads to commercial work starting next year because I can envision, plan and execute a project and I really love doing it.

And finally- I would like to have a pseudo-name such as something like "Rockin' Robin" or "Red Letter Images"... or something silly like that.

Oh my- there's just so much I want to do! My dreams are huge and I'm ready to live them!

Enjoy a few photos from a shoot I did this weekend for AllSouth Motorsports.

Photo Visions....I has them

It seems I keep seeing blogs about people losing their inspiration or drive or vision (not sight but visions) and sometimes I will have a day here and there where my mind is completely blank. Lately however, my mind is so full that it's like I have images constantly flashing in my mind all the time! That may sound like a truly incredible thing for a photographer but in my case it really isn't. The reason it isn't is because I don't just see a girl standing there holding a flower, I see complete scenes and well, I have no idea how to build the scenes or even find the scenes! I actually roughed-sketched a few outfit ideas the other day because they were so vivid. But there again, I searched and searched but couldn't find them anywhere- which is good and bad. Good because they may not be done and bad because I can't make things like that nor do I have time! In any case, it's very frustrating when I have these scenes I want to shoot but no way to shoot them. I can't just put them on the backburner and if I try to do a makeshift shoot - it never fills the need or the vision. It has become a serious concern that I need places to shoot. Yes I need a studio but I need access to places. Downtown Macon is full of opportunity....yet how do I get it when half of it is not even open. I have used a few places a few times but I don't want to make people think I'm just 'using' them....although yes I'm using the space!

So here I sit with a head full of bright ideas. I envy the photographers that create these incredible series because they have access to the kickass models, the waredrobe, the MUAH and the space. I do have a few dates planned soon for some really cool stuff....if I can get all the pieces together...otherwise it's just going to be just the same old photo.

I sit around some days and just daydream of getting together with people to shoot. This week I had 3 dates planned and none have panned out mostly due to really crappy weather this week.

Another thing is I need to redo my website and get a custom blog but 1)I have literally no time to do it myself and 2)I need it to be cheap/free. Can't I just wiggle my nose and make it happen? Damn, just tried...didn't work. I also have GOT to get the word out about my work more. I need to reach more EXPERIENCED models and get into some fashion. Soon I'll be pushing the limits and I've already kicked the box out of the way because I'm paving my own path. Is it a good path? Am I walking it strong enough or even right? I don't know, I just do what feels right and put my whole self into it.

So this is just my little spill for the day. I am not sure if it means anything but I need to be able to really get to shooting what I want and doing more limit-pushing work. I have the ideas....I just need the rest of the stuff to make it all come together!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Upcoming Opportunity for January 2011!

Some people have asked what I have coming up so I thought I'd put together some 'flyer' to show!  Also note that there is another exciting project in the works to be announced soon!!

And for the beginning of 2011!!...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fear Institute in Downtown Macon is a MUST!

I recently made a visit to a local Haunted House called the Fear Institute in downtown Macon for a little tour to contemplate an upcoming shoot I will be having there. I am more than excited now that I've been!! The owners were so very nice and generous and accomodating and me and my friend Nina had a blast shooting in a few of their VERY scary rooms. I was scared and it was during the day! ha! Here are a few of my fav shots from the playdate with FEAR!!

OH and P.S.- don't wear platform heels or any heels for that matter into a haunted house!!!

Cupcake Provacatour

We are on the front page for Cupcake Provacatour! It is featuring an apron they made. Such a fun shoot and such a great day! This was especially cool because it was a SuiteShot Team effort! Nichole Mitchell did Ashley's hair and Ashley did her own makeup.

We also had a little fun with another look while I was there.... :-) It's a little like Sandra Dee!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Anthony Ennis - at The Grand

I had the pleasure of meeting and working with the gorgeous, hot and so sweet Anthony Ennis last nite at a wonderful old theatre in town called The Grand. It was such a joy working with Anthony! He was up for anything and we had lots of laughs and went all over the place looking for cool spots. We had decided to do something a little different and keep the mood through the series a bit more dark, and thoughtful. I just love how these turned out! Here are a few of my favorites from my evening with Anthony.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pre-Order Retro Lovely!!

I am going to be in Issue #3!!! I am so excited! I recently did a pinup shoot with hopes of some shots from it making it and they did! I am so looking forward to revealing the layout but for the time being I will just give a teaser from the day.

This is Dana Fields & Maunalee Hashemi- we will have some photos in this upcoming issue!! Please click here to go to Retro Lovely and order now to get your copy for ONLY $10! The first person in the Central GA area that helps get 15 sales gets a FREE MINI SESSION!!

Pinup Bash in Macon ROCKED!!

Wow what a day the 15th was! 7 incredible girls and one amazing MUAH, Cherry Dame. We rocked it out all day long at the gorgeous and gracious Priscilla Esser's home until I was hardly able to move. It was worth it...it's always worth it because i love it. It's so great meeting all these new people that become friends. And we have so much fun 'playing'!

Enjoy some shots from the day!