10 de agosto de 2012

Chic Magazine Cover Contest

In the middle of re-branding I found a really cool online magazine called Chic Critique. This site is an amazing resource for women who love photography. Their articles are very helpful and inspiring. So when I found out they were having a contest to find a new image for their cover I went through my files and searched for an image I love.

It was really harder than I thought because I am emotionally attached to all my photos; I know the stories behind the shots, I have an affection for those who have stood in front of my camera trusting me to get an image that represents who they are. I enjoy every part of job and leaving my feelings aside for this was not easy.

Thank you to my lovely model for letting me submit her photo to this contest, for letting me share her beauty with the world.




Happy Friday!! 
xoxo

30 de abril de 2012

A weekend to remember

How lovely it is to spend time with family. Amazing what a weekend can do to a person's heart, what it can do to my heart. It took a couple of days to rekindle a fire that slowly was burning down; life got in the way and I lost sight of the end of the road, I forgot to look up and remember the darkest hour of the night lets us know that daylight is almost here.

A long drive as a passenger gave me time to talk to God and listen to His voice, ask and wait for answers. I find it amusing that His timing is not my timing and for that I am grateful because when I get my answer I know that God send it to me.

The faith of a 9 year old boy reminded me there is no way age has to do with how big our faith is. Only God can give you that faith. How can a small kid have such a big and beautiful heart? I have the blessing of having him as my cousin and I want to have his faith when I grow up.

Getting older sometimes makes you forget what illusion feels like; what it is like to feel butterflies in your stomach when something makes you happy. My 12 year old teenage cousin reminded me this weekend how beautiful it feels to get excited for even the littlest of things; her lovely smile gave me courage to dream big again and the need to feel thrilled about my work.

What a difference a weekend makes in a person's life, what a difference it made in my life. I am forever grateful of the beautiful family I am blessed with, I cannot wait to see how you keep challenging me to become a better person.



10 de abril de 2012

Day 6 - Vlog Challenge


Happy Monday everyone!!

I hope you had an amazing Easter weekend with your family and friends :)

If you asked yourself if I continued with the Vlog Challenge, the answer is yes!! The bad thing is that I've been bad at keeping you posted with the videos as days go by. The first series that I started with this videos is about Branding, we have covered everything from getting to know yourself before even starting to think how you want your logo or website to look like; creating concepts for your new branding; looking for a designer that fits your style and budget; approached social media and our influence in our readers/followers; and today we talked about service, how you approach your clients and follow up with them through your work and after it.



Day 6 - Branding'Service' from Jessica Chavez on Vimeo.

If you want to see the rest of the videos feel free to go over to my Vimeo website and look around, you can access here ---> http://vimeo.com/jessicachavez

Oh! And while you are there please ask them why in the world is this image of me as the cover image???

3 de abril de 2012

Challenge Accepted!

5 days ago one of my Facebook friends posted a link to a 30 day Vlog challenge (a vlog is a short video posted on a blog), but before jumping in I needed to think about it because it would mean a lot of work because one of the rules of the challenge is that the content of these entries has to have good content, meaning that it has to inspire, give some insight or share some knowledge to the audience. I really liked this rule because it would really make me think about the content and challenge me to give you interesting topics for you to leave this blog with something.

So here's my video for Day 1. I hope you enjoy this 30 days as much as me! If you have any specific topics you would like to see on the vlog, feel free to leave a comment!



Vlog Challenge - Day 1 from Jessica Chavez on Vimeo.

Happy Tuesday!!

2 de abril de 2012

I want to go to Seattle!!! + Jumping in on a Challenge

Today is the last day to submit a video for Jasmine Star's new upcoming course with CreativeLive. Though I already tweeted my video, I haven't posted it here in the blog and what better day than today.

I had a hard time making up my mind, because when I first saw it announced in J*'s blog I got excited and then got nervous. Here I had another opportunity to actually step out of my comfort zone and DO this video. The first video I ever made was for her first CreativeLive course in 2010 and that didn't got selected. At first I was a a little disappointed, but then I realized it was a good thing because I had just started my business and I didn't have something to share with the attendants.

Fast forward two years later and I'm here again trying to get a spot in one of her courses, but this time I feel more confident, I've been in the industry for two long years of experience and even though there are still tons of things I need to learn, I feel this time I have a little something to share.

Wish me luck! I really hope I get to be in Seattle with Jasmine Star, JD and the amazing CreativeLive crew!!



J*, CreativeLive, Candy and Spirit Fingers 2.0 from Jessica Chavez on Vimeo.

Happy Monday!!

PS. I might or might not have accepted a 30 day Vlog challenge... tune in tomorrow to see :)

18 de marzo de 2012

The Assignment

I don't even remember how I stumbled on Lukas VanDyke's blog. Fast forward a couple of months later I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely girl called Susannah Green VanDyke at a P31 party and when she mentioned her last name I remembered the connection! We chatted a little and told her how much I loved a video they have were they use a typewriter!

Last week they posted a photography assignment and even though it was a cold, windy day, I convinced my best friend to be my model and I had fun photographing her.  You can see the original post here.


                                                  1. a


                                   1.b

                                                   2.a

                                                   2.b

                                   2.c

                                                  3.a

                                                   3.b
 
                                                   3.c
                                                 
                                                   3.d

                                                   3.e

                                   3.f

                                                    3.g

                                                   3.h

                                   4.a

                                                   4.b1

                                                   4.b2

                                                   5.1

                                   5.2

                                   5.3
                                 
                                   5.4

So did I have a gorgeous girl to model for me or what?? Thanks Sis for helping me out! Happy Sunday!!

2 de marzo de 2012

Permission to be BOLD


Last week I was getting ready to go to Vegas for WPPI (an annual photographers convention), I was finalizing the details with some of my photographer friends to have them as guests during the week I would be absent. I asked 6 amazing, beautiful, God-loving girls to share something with you; I wanted them to share what was in their heart at the moment and their entries literally changed my life! Thank you girls!!!

I read each and everyone of the words in the documents they sent me, and I have to say that I was amazed, grateful, blessed by their hearts. I have only met these girls online in the Pursuit 31 community on Facebook, and yet with the way they opened their hearts to me and to you out there reading this, I felt I knew them for a very long time. They talked openly about their faith, how they are trusting God to do great things in their business, and right then and there I felt I was letting them down. The pain grew bigger when God helped me realize that I was letting Him down too.

I left for Vegas, but my heart was pleading for a way to make things better. I didn't want to hide my love for my God, I wanted to be transparent in my blog posts, I wanted to be able to write freely and openly about my struggles, my joys, my ups and downs, my blessings and my learnings along this way, but I knew I couldn't do it alone. I prayed for an answer and what I didn't know is that my prayer was going to be answered the week I came back home.

Yesterday I was blessed enough to be part of a big announcement from a photographer who I admire, not only for her work, but also for the way she writes boldly about her relationship with God. That girl is Scarlett Lillian, from Scarlett loves Stephen photographers. I "met" (read stalked) her blog, her Facebook and after being part of a webinar her husband hosted last year, I was more interested in really knowing her.

Scarlett published a book in which she shares her heart, her prayers, her journey through building a photography business with God as her CEO. There as I was still lying in bed in the morning I jumped out and turned my computer on to witness a new chapter in her life. I watched the video, read her welcome letter and tears filled my eyes because she was giving me something I longed for, permission to be bold like her and write my heart out for everyone to read.

Even though this post is getting long, I want to thank Scarlett for sharing her heart like this, for pushing the bar higher in our relationship with God; I want to thank her husband Stephen too, because he's been an incredible man standing behind her, encouraging her to get closer to her Heavenly Father and to publish this book. I am blessed to be able to share this with you! I hope to meet you soon and have an authentic Mexican dinner!

Without further due, here I share with you a video where Scarlett herself tells you about her book.
Don't forget to visit www.choosecommitprosper.com Enjoy!!




Promo video for the book Prosper by Scarlett Lillian from Scarlett & Stephen on Vimeo.

28 de febrero de 2012

Coloring outside de lines


Brandy Kiger is a photojournalist and wedding photographer based in Bellingham, Washington. She specializes in honest, documentary photography, is completely addicted to coffee, loves rainy days and is a wannabe runner.

___ 


When I was small, nothing satisfied me more than spending time with my 96-color Crayola set (with the built-in sharpener) and a stack of blank paper. I would meticulously sharpen the molded wax to a point, sit on the linoleum in my grandmother’s kitchen or curl up next to her coffee table while she watched her soaps and scribble away. I could go for hours as long as the paper was blank, ideas spilling out of my head in robin’s egg blue and wild strawberry. Coloring books bored me and I couldn’t get lost in their pages like some children do. Five minutes and I was done. I’m not sure how many half-heartedly started coloring books there were during my childhood years. I just remember that at some point my parents made a decision to no longer buy them for me. And that was fine.  I wanted to create my own world from my own design, and I was obstinate about it. I was an artist, and I wanted what I worked on to be mine.

While none of my rudimentary drawings will ever be considered masterpieces or hang in a gallery other than on my grandmother’s refrigerator, I learned an important thing from all those years spent with my Crayolas and paper – as an artist, you can’t color inside someone else’s lines and remain content. Sure, they are good places to start, to get an idea for composition and layout, and maybe even ideas as to where to go next, but ultimately, you’ll reach the last page and then what? You have a book full of prettily colored pages, but nothing original or unique to show for your time. And then, where does your vision come from?

I left my crayons and pens and pencils behind and picked up a camera when I was in college. I found my passion as an artist then, and I’ve been working at it ever since. I’ve spent time studying others’ work, pushing my own limits and finding my own vision for my career. And, as I’ve grown in my new medium, I’ve found that there are two things you need to continue to move forward as an artist: time and freedom. Both can be difficult to manage and obtain, but both are crucial to your growth and creativity.

Sometimes as photographers we get caught up in spending all our time maintaining websites, cataloging files, and reaching out to clients that we forget why we do what we do in the first place. We forget that we are artists first and business people second. And that’s when our creativity begins to die. Ruts happen. We lose sight of our vision. We keep going straight when maybe we should have taken a left or right; anything to pull us off the beaten path; and we end up with lost vision.

That’s where the time factor comes in. Once you’re out of school, out of that environment that focuses you and challenges you, you’re on your own and it’s hard. It’s essential that you make your growth as an artist a priority over the growth of your business, because if you don’t, neither will survive. Business relies on being fresh, being appealing to your audience. So it’s essential that you make time for yourself, make time for your art, to try and be a better photographer tomorrow than you are today. And, you’re going to have to fight to make time to explore your art, to push yourself, because no one else is going to do it for you, and there will always, always, always be something else that needs to be done right that minute trying to steal you away. So, be firm with yourself, and stick to it. For me, that means giving myself an assignment and then following through on it (that last part is critical). I even make sure someone else holds me accountable if I think I’m going to struggle with completing it. It doesn’t matter what you do, it just matters that you make time for you and your camera to hang out without business being the objective. Consider it quality time for your art.

And then, give yourself permission to fail. This is one of the greatest things I’ve learned as an artist, and I’m still learning it. Too often we take ourselves too seriously as artists, but in reality it’s okay to completely screw it up. To miss the point. To end up with something completely, outrageously different than what you had thought you would. In fact, that might be exactly what you want to happen. Exactly what you need to happen. It might revolutionize your entire vision, or it might just kickstart you out of that rut you’ve worked your way into. What’s that saying? Rome wasn’t built in a day? Well, neither were Pulitzers won on the first frame or shutter click. Trial and error is key to developing your style, to finding who you are as a photographer. You’re going to go through a lot of memory cards and/or rolls of film before you know who you are as an artist, and it will take just as many, if not double or triple that, to maintain and progress your vision. So don’t be afraid. Just roll with it, and if it doesn’t turn out right the first twenty times, try once more and see what happens.
  
To be honest, I’m not great at either of these things yet. In fact, more often than not, I fail. But I keep trying and I think that is nearly as important as actually doing it. I want to be better at what I do and I want my vision to be huge for the future, so I push forward, making time to play and giving myself permission to color outside the lines, even if I don’t end up with what I intended. Art is, after all, a process, not a product. So take your blank page and run with it.

Love, Brandy

PS: Feeling a little stale? Here are a few suggestions to jumpstart you into some quality time with your camera:

·      30-day photo challenge – Take a new photo with your camera every day & SHARE it.
·      Use a setting on your camera that you’ve never used before – learn it and then commit yourself to using only that setting for a week
·      Begin a personal project – Find something that you are passionate about, and structure a project around it
·      If you’re a people photographer (seniors, weddings, portraits), do a series on still lifes or landscapes, and vice-versa
·      Join a photography group
·      Find something ordinary in your home (a coffee cup, a bottle, a necklace) and find a way to photograph it beautifully.

24 de febrero de 2012

My Biggest Obstacle Was Me






Nicole:
"I love God. I love to serve. My husband is my best friend and the most amazing man I have ever met. I love being a mom to 5 {yes five} super sweet and super sassy kids. I am a fashion junkie that loves wine, cupcakes and game night. I also have a serious addiction to handbags and shoes and think I passed those traits onto my girls. I am a fashion inspired, urban couture wedding, commercial and lifestyle photographer based in sunny San Diego. I have the best job in the world and I love being in love with life."
___

When I first started my business, I knew that with every fiber of my being that I could make it work. My biggest obstacle was… Where do I start? I knew what I liked, but at the time I thought I didn’t possess the technical skills to pull it off. I had ideas about what I wanted to do, and the services I wanted to provide, but ended up spending hours and hours researching and wading through endless options that would work for me.

There were workshops, inspiration blogs, people that the photography industry said were the IT photographers showing me what was popular. There were even photographers in my area that were always busy with work. I questioned their how’s and what’s, wondering what they were doing and secretly banging my head against my desk wishing I could just figure their secrets out.

Fast forward to a year and a half into my business, I finally had a little bit of experience, some technical know how and a whole lot of ambition. In January 2009 I attended my first “Spread the Love Workshop” in Washington DC put on by Justin and Mary Marantz . In the span of two days, they revolutionized the way that I thought about my business and myself. I had it all backwards. I thought that I needed to chase what other people were doing and shooting. To recreate their styles to gain clients and grow. In truth, J&M showed me that I just needed to start shooting and showing what “I” wanted to do! I needed to define who I was as an artist, what my loves were, and what I was passionate about shooting. I needed to be unafraid of myself and if people would like my work. It wasn’t an epiphany so much as the freedom that I found to just be me.

My transition was slow, not an overnight turning point. I had spent so many hours defining who I thought I should be, I had to take a step back and analyze what made me tick. Where did I really want to take my business? What steps would lead me there? What did I want to shoot? How did I want my brand to be viewed? How on earth would I start saying no to the people and projects that I didn’t want to do?

After I quit psycho analyzing myself and beating myself up about all of the things that I was doing wrong, I needed a starting point to move forward. I wanted to play on the things I thought I was doing right. First off, I am super shy. If we meet up in a group…I’m the tall girl standing by the dessert table, most likely with a cupcake in hand. I have always been that way. I knew that I was great at making connections and developing those relationships one on one, but group settings did, {and to be perfectly honest} still do trigger a major panic attack. I needed to step out of my comfort zone and start developing group relationships and personal genuine ones. I needed to be a more confident version of myself to market me.

Sounds scary, right? But it wasn’t. I gave it to God. I trusted that He would provide the encouragement that I needed to meet new people, to give me the words in new situations and that the things that I was good at would work in my favor even on a larger scale.

If I can share just two things with you, it would be to just be yourself and to genuinely invest in others. Invest in their lives and in their businesses. Find ways that you can help them without expecting anything in return. They will see you for the kind, caring person that you are. Not the one that is trying to be something that you are not.

Just be you! 

Check out Nicole's work! Visit her website  www.nicolebenitez.com 

23 de febrero de 2012

How many hats can one head hold?



By Amber Knauss 

Amber Knauss is a mom, a wife, a photographer, a probation officer, but first and foremost is a Christian.  She loves classic movies and the style and grace of old Hollywood, and is an avid reader.  Amber is the owner of Golightly Images and loves doing fun photo sessions and creating lovely images for families. 
___


Overwhelmed: The dictionary describes it as to overcome completely in mind or feeling; to cover or bury with a mass of something. For an example, see picture of author.  Or go look in the mirror.  I’m making an educated guess that I am not alone in this feeling.  The problem, for me, isn’t that I CAN’T say no, it’s that I DON’T WANT to say no.  I truly want to take pictures of a beautiful wedding day.  I want, with my hearts greatest desire, to be the best mom and wife I can be.  I want to help out with my kids school activities.  I want to create lasting images for families.  I want to be the best employee I can be.  So I end up juggling too many hats and become a jack of all trades, expert at none.  Perhaps learning to say no would help this outcome, but then I don’t think I would be living life to it’s fullest, and I wouldn’t be taking advantage of all the desires God has placed in my heart. 

How many hats do you wear?  Mom?  Wife?  Sister, daughter, friend, confidant, artist, photographer?  Any many more.  Philippians 4:13 tells us “I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength”.  I believe we can juggle all the hats that God puts in our heart to wear, IF we wear one hat first.  And that hat is Christian.  If we put God first, everything else will fall into place.  Romans 4:20 states that “yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God”.  Matthew 6:33 tells us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”. 

Being overwhelmed is not a new concept.  In biblical days, did the women not juggle more than we could ever handle in one day?  They didn’t have the conveniences of electricity or grocery stores, or running water.  If they needed food, they had to plant it, grow it, harvest it, cook it.  And God promised that if we put Him first, everything else will fall into place.  I’m not here today to tell you to learn to say no.  I’m simply going to suggest that we learn to put God first, and then everything else will fall into place.    The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.

You can check out her blog and portfolio at www.golightlyimages.com or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/golightlyimages

22 de febrero de 2012

Faith on our Heavenly Father




By Rachelle Chase

Rachelle Chase has been married to her high school sweetheart for 12 years and has 2 boys. She lives in NH where she is a homeschooling mom, professional photographer and with her husband runs a not-for-profit youth center that she and her husband started.
____



Have you ever watched a 2-year-old eat an ice cream cone outside on a hot day?
If you have, you are picturing the complete and utter mess that comes about half way through that dessert!
The ice cream is melting down his face, and the sticky mess is all over his chubby little fingers!
If you have ever been a random spectator of this, you have probably thought.
Oh. my. Goodness.
That kid is a hot mess!
What is that car going to look like on the way home?
And that shirt? Well you might as well throw it away!

Now picture the same scenario. But this time? You are the mother.
A warm day is finally here after a week of rain, and you are taking your little boy...the absolute love of your life...out for a treat. A special treat that doesn't just happen every day.

Same exact scenario, but for some reason, you aren't thinking for one second about his shirt, sticky face or messy car!
You can not believe how his big blue eyes are sparkling with joy!
You don't remember ever realizing how much he looks like his daddy when he laughs.
And you love that those sticky fingers are reaching for your face!
This is your baby. And you love this boy more than life itself.
Cleaning up a mess is nothing at all to you, and you would gladly clean him up a million times just to see this look on his face!

I was thinking of this in relation to my Heavenly Father.
Sometimes as I am going through my life, I think...wow. I have really made a mess of this situation!
Or, maybe...I have really made a mess of my life!
What is God thinking of me right now? How can I even pray? He probably can't even stand to look at me right now!
And in those times, I back away from God.
While there are times in our lives that sin separates us from a close relationship with God, I think that usually He is looking at us just like we would look at our messy sticky little boy.
Maybe he is shaking his head, laughing and saying...there's my girl again! Making a mess! I love to see her laugh like that! I love her so much.
I love how 1 John 3:1 puts it when it says “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.”
See that? He is our Father who is lavishing love all over us!
Crazy love.
So the next time you are tempted to back away from your Father after a time where you think that you have made way too big of a mess?
Stop and think it over.
Realize that your Father is totally in love with you and does not mind one bit cleaning up after your mess.
And instead of backing away - run to Him. 


Check out Rachelle’s work at

21 de febrero de 2012

My big grain of salt









By Edith Taylor

Edith:
“I am a very short, overly energetic yet kinda awkward small town girl from Oregon. I carry an overwhelming joy in my heart brought forth by God’s grace, blessings & the love of my husband. I fell hard & fast for my husband after we reconnected & 3 months later agreeing to marrying the boy who used to live next door. We live in a small farmhouse neighboring our landlords beef cattle, with our dog Moose who is our child. Although I was not raised on a farm, I am a total small town, country, hay lovin, lemonade in a used mason jar kinda girl.”
____

Although I carry the title of photographer, I use that word very delicately as I am aware that I am constantly growing in this art which requires much dedication, time & appreciation. Although I did everything completely backwards, it has taught me so much about the proper means to titling yourself a photographer & growing my admiration for true artists. Being a photographer is so much fun. It is an explosion of creative beauty. I love seeing my dreams & visions come to life before me. My heart unfolding in each photo, as I totally fall for my clients. Art runs through my veins, my heart, my soul & photography is the outlet I was created for.

This being said…there is a reason that one should be legitimately experienced before running a business. Being a photographer comes with extremely hard work, disappointment, so much time away from family I can’t even stress it, missing most of your summer if you photograph weddings, taxes (be legit, not under the table, the IRS will find you. I’ve heard stories), late nights, early mornings and a ton of investment.

There are certain things that will make the launching of your business less of a self-discovery struggle & more of an announcement of your arrival. If you pick up a camera, take a few photos & start a business you will have a long road ahead of you full of back peddling & restructuring. This is the very brief version of what I learned about starting a business way before I should have.

1) Find your style
Everyone has an opinion on what is art & what looks good. Spend time realizing (not deciding) what your style is. I emphasize the YOUR in that. I like bold colors, country landscapes, old barns, sunsets. My clients love to wear boots, jeans and sundresses. Almost every session involves the family dog. I am obsessed with sun flare. I don’t do studio photography & I am always laughing. My style has a look, a feel, is me at the core.

2) Find your ideal client
This will not only help you build the portfolio you want, but will help you find the clientele you want. I can shoot big fancy hotel weddings. However, my ideal bride is wearing a knockout wedding dress in either flats, Justins (cowgirl boots) or converse. Their venue is a vintage backyard, a beautiful country ranch or something a little more hippie under an oak tree. The dress is usually semi-formal & kids are almost always invited. Yes you should be able to shoot everything, but find out who you LOVE to shoot.

3) The legal ducks
I will preach this to the cows come home. Be legit. I understand doing stuff under the table when starting is often the norm. However, you want to run an honest business. Pay your taxes. There are benefits to it. You do get to write a ton of stuff off. Have your contracts in order. Not only is this important for your clients, but it protects you. I have heard so many sad stories of people who worked for friends & family only to be caught in awful situations because there were no contracts. Make SURE you have model releases! Even if it just a handwritten note when starting out. You must get their permission to post their photos online. Verbal is not enough. Learn early on, how & why you should protect yourself.

4) Invest wisely, not widely
We all love to see that beautiful red strip on our lenses or read the word Nikkor on all of our gear. Instead of investing in the most expensive gear right off the bat, work up to it. Although don’t buy the most rock bottom priced gear either. If you don’t know what you like, rent first. Instead of saving, buying, saving, buying, saving, buying just save, research (a lot) and buy what you will use now as well as down the road. So if you want the middle grade lens don’t listen to your inner child throwing a tantrum & buy the cheap gotta have it now lens. Save up, spend a few hundred extra & get the lens that you will be happy with for good amount of time.

Once you have discovered who you are, who your ideal clients are, you understand your equipment, have experience & get at least most of your legal ducks in a row you get to launch off on your own. This is where the big grain of salt comes in. When I started my business, I was in such a rush to making it, I completely lost myself. I let others call the shots, tell me the best way to operate was, what to charge, what to sell, what not to sell and everything in between. It’s taken me quit some time to discover who I was again & who I want my business to be. When you are deciding the major factors like branding, colors, websites, pricing (the hardest part) make sure that while you listen to the wise words of experience, take everything with a grain of salt.

A) Charge what your worth
It has taken me a long time to decide what to charge, what to sell & how to defend it. I hate pricing. My inner hippie still wants to love on everyone & just give it all away for free. But that doesn’t keep the lights on so we as artist must charge. I am not only happy with what I charge, I can explain why I charge what I do with confidence. I live in a small town so while I do charge enough, I certainly don’t charge what many do in say Manhattan, New York or San Francisco, California. I listened to those who kept saying to increase my prices, but did it to a level that I was proud of while still not undermining myself or paying myself less than what I was worth.

B) Smile & nod
Everyone has an opinion. Everyone. When I first started I thought my friends who took 800 photos on their flip phones were totally qualified to tell me what a “good” photograph was. As you grow you will have lots of people tell you your photos are incredible, you should have done something different, you should include the disc, you should sell the disc for $1500, you should do selective coloring (ok this is not true, don’t do that), you should buy this equipment before buying that equipment, you should do this & that & this & that. AHHH! My point is, you are YOU! Listen to what everyone has to say. Listen politely & openly. Some are right, some are wrong. You are your own person so take in everything you hear, write it down if it’s easier, and then go over it little by little. Weigh the wisdom. Slowly narrow it down to what you decide to let impact your business. Like I said we are all different. Our art is different. You are different. Make sure that with everything that can & will come your way does not make you lose yourself. Big grain of salt.

C) Know your heart
Last year I started to change as a person & as a photographer. I went to an amazing workshop called For The Love. I was met with a LOT of reflection time. FYI super crucial to staying true to yourself. There I realized not only who I was as a photographer, but who I was as a person. Today I walk confidently in the identity that God showed me that week. I know who I am. I know what I like. When people ask me to do things that do not coincide with that, I smile, listen, politely explain that it’s not something that I do & refer them to someone who does.

My name is Edith Taylor. I am an artist. I am a photographer. I am the only me.

Discover who you are. Then open your dreams up to the amazing possibilities that await you. The true you.

Check out Edith’s work at

20 de febrero de 2012

Gospel-Centered Business












By Bethany Carlson

Bethany is an international portrait photographer. She started her photography business in Asia while living in South Korea. Bethany has photographed clients from over twelve countries. Bethany focuses her art towards lifestyle photography of couples. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband, Tim.


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A couple months ago, I reached a point of pure disappointment in my job. Essentially, my identity was based on how my clients responded to my work and how many inquiries I received per week. I even allowed bitterness to eat away at me every time I thought a photographer “stole” my ideas. The result: I started to not like myself, or my work. It was then that I felt the need to revamp my business. But it was not a change that I could just edit online. It was deeper than that. It was something that my heart needed to repent of. My business was an idol in my life. And I intentionally was leaving Christ out of it. My heart needed to undergo a solid dose of Gospel-centered rebuke and redemption. I needed to understand the concept of how when Jesus regenerates our hearts, He naturally should be in the outflow of everything we do.

One day, I stumbled upon a chapter in Joe Thorn’s book “Note to Self”. In his discussion on work he states, “You need to see all of life as spiritual, and your calling or employment as work for God regardless of pay, position or its connection to the church. In other words, stop treating what you spend the bulk of your day engaged in as something divorced from God and his work in and through you”.

I am still a serious work in progress, but by the Grace of God, I realize that all I do in my business should be Christ-centered, idol (self)-shattering, sin-exposing and Gospel-Glorifying. Tullian Tchividjian shares in his book “Jesus + Nothing = Everything” we constantly struggle to put the Gospel in our daily lives because the Gospel is not about us. How counter-cultural it is.

“The gospel doesn’t take you deeper into yourself; the gospel takes you away from yourself. That’s why Paul reminds the Colossians (and us), ‘You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God’ (3:3). The gospel frees us to realize that, while we matter, we are not the point.”

So today, I am sharing a list of photography-centered ways I have started to have a Gospel-centered business. These are not rules, but a set of guidelines that have helped me in making my business not to bring glory to Bethany, but to Christ. Although these are written specific to my clients and my business experience, I hope they could possibly help anyone who struggles with the same idols that I do.

1) Identity-in-Christ: First and most important ways to keep your photography business gospel-centered is to keep your heart Gospel-centered. Reminding yourself daily that your hope, assurance and acceptance is found only as a daughter (or son) of Christ – and not as a woman (or man) with a camera job. Photographers struggle with this identity crisis every time they receive feedback from clients or colleagues. It is a crisis every time you are rejected by a booking. Or perhaps every time someone “unlikes” your Facebook page. These are the moments  of crisis when you substantially place your acceptance, identity and worth in something that is not the Cross. This will sustain you. “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” -1 John 2:17.

2) Maintain a Healthy Friendship with Clients: Some may see this as “networking” but that’s self-focused and self-serving. Creating an honest communication with clients from the beginning can create a bond that a lot of brides hold onto with their photographer. Maintaining a healthy dialogue of encouragement between yourself and your clients can help create an opportunity to share your faith. You never know how God could use a “photographer” to bring a person to Christ. Sow the seeds of Grace. Sow the seeds of Truth.

3) Don’t Be Bitter, but Forgive: If you have been in the photography business for more than five minutes, you have been burnt. Most likely, a colleague has burned you. One day you have a cool friend in the business, the next day, they stole half your clients. Don’t be bitter. As Christ’s ambassadors, we are called to respond in a manner that is worthy of worship. Colossians 3:12-13 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Don’t be bitter. But forgive because for crying-out-loud, Jesus forgives us. The more we understand our need for Forgiveness, the easier it is to forgive in this business.

4) Branding Your Identity: I made the grave mistake when I was first starting out my business of focusing my business on me. Without realizing it, I had actually turned away a lot of people from my business because I did not have more wisdom in how I shared, what I shared and why I shared the things I did.  My branding was about promoting me and this ultimately led to my own personal identity crisis. Another situation occurred with a photographer that I knew of. She wrote on her Facebook business status about how upset she was to be losing business to another local photographer who didn’t have any talent. Over a year later, I still remember that photographer’s remark on her business page and how it left me feeling so uneasy about her character, despite her website proclaiming her faith in Jesus. As we market our brand/image, it is important to ask yourself “Why am I writing this status/blog? Why do I feel like I should share this particular photo? Is this going to Glorify Christ or is it going to glorify myself?” The decision you make in your heart will ultimately be the outflow of how your brand is portrayed.

5) Pray for your Clients’ Marriages: If you have been a wedding photographer for any given amount of time, you know that you are in a front-row seat to one of the most intimate moments a couple will ever have – the proclamation of their vows to God. Although we are not standing by their sides as bridesmaids per-say, we are witnesses to their vows. I have been in client meetings where I felt the need to pray for the couple and pray that perhaps I could share with them. One client meeting, I felt the burden to be honest with a bride-to-be who was venting about her “situation”. I felt that the Lord was placing it on my heart to share truth with her. My encouragement ultimately was not accepted and she decided to no longer have me as her photographer. It is a moment where I knew that my commitment to Christ was more important than any wedding gig. Praying for couples before and after marriage is vital in this business. We see a lot of great and also bad decisions being made. Ultimately, we are only a vendor. But God can use any situation or prayer to accomplish His will. Feel peace in His Sovereignty.

Further reading
{Note to self by Joe Thorn}
{Jesus + nothing = everything by Tullian Tchividjian}

Get to know Bethany’s work at 


WPPI Week!!


Hello!!

Thanks for stopping by! This week I am in Vegas at WPPI enjoying and learning from a ton of amazing photographers, which means I won't be blogging this week... however, I invited a couple of very talented girls to be guests in the blog and I am honored they agreed!!

We are friends from the Pursuit 31 Community and they are beautiful, talented, God loving girls and I couldn't be happier that they will be sharing their hearts and knowledge with us!! Reading their posts has been very inspirational and very encouraging to me and I hope you like them as well.

Don't forget to leave them some love in the blog and follow their work afterwards ;)

Have a Great week!!
Jess

16 de febrero de 2012

Yosemite National Park - Day4


Welcome Back travelers! After a long break we are back where we left off from my vacation photos from last year (wow, time goes by fast!). Today we head to the beautiful Yosemite National Park, ready? 
Let me start by saying that when I scheduled this tour, I knew we would have to wake up really early and by this day we were going to be tired from walking all over the place, so I cheated a little on telling my family the time the bus was going to pick us up. I was told that the bus would pick us up between 6:00 am and 6:20 am, but I just flat out said 6 because I didn't want us to be late. 

When the bus finally picked us up, we noticed an accent on our driver (not that accents are bad, but curiosity appeared). In our first stop to get breakfast my brothers started talking to him and found out he was from Brazil! That was a very fun fact because my bothers were able to practice their portuguese with a real brazilian. He talked all the way to Yosemite and we heard some really interesting stories as well as the plan for the day.

First stop the big red oaks






Next stop, the waterfalls...





Blue skies and stunning landscapes filled our day :) 



I had a very cute furry model 



Pretty huh? Don't forget to tune in next Thursday to go with me to the Academy of Science and the Japanese Gardens!

Happy Thursday!