.Joe. {Redding, CA Photographer}

I remember when my mom was set up on a blind date with Joe. Cool Runnings I think was the movie? & Chinese Food?? My mom had been single for about five years, and I really didn’t think anything of it. I was a Senior in high school, busy with “my” life!!  They dated, he was so wonderful to her. They got engaged  while I was in my first year of college, they were married, here in Redding, randomly enough! Joe has become a dad to me! He has always been there for me, for my family, and mostly for my mom!  I know that he truly loves her, and that means so much!!! Joe’s awesome! He can run a marathon every six months. He snowboards, bikes, boats, skis, anything recreation, he does! He loves life & truly enjoys every second of it!! Always peaceful & always along for the next journey!!!!

A few months ago, I faced, yet another fear, and rode his Harley with him to lunch. My heart was literally in my chest, but I did it. I rode a motorcycle for the first time in my life & have to admit did enjoy the breeze & the freedom I felt, but, it was scary!!!

There are moments in life that change everything. Moments in life where the rug is pulled from under you. Moments in life that you waited a lifetime for. Happy, Sad, Fun, Incredible, Traumatic… many Moments! Yesterday was one of those moments from me. I was on my way to a meeting. The day couldn’t be more beautiful! My mom called, and never expected to hear that Joe had been in a motorcycle accident, and to pray. It was scary. A moment! A blink! Everything & anything that could’ve happened to him ran through my head. My mom texted me a bit later to tell me that he was going in for a CAT scan, & at this point they found he had broken some ribs, his clavicle, and fractured his upper spine. Relief set in a bit, but still the question of what if we had lost him rang through my head. I am so relieved that he is okay, that he is now home, resting & taking it REALLY easy! LOL! We went & saw him last night & I cannot express the emotion of gratitude that I felt that his life was saved! That he was living & breathing & even eating! & even ready to get back on his motorcycle! Oh dear! Love you Joe! Praying for your quick recovery!!!!!

.taylor + paige. {Redding, CA Engagement Photographer}

One of my families favorite thing to do is adventure behind our house & down through the canyon! We call it “the creek!” It is so great. The canyon, unfortunately,  is filled with poison oak, so we’ve learned to be super careful, however, every once in a while, someone gets it! Oh to itch!!!!

Last week we all journeyed on an adventure & I had an idea to do a photo shoot down through the canyon!! Taylor & Paige were up for it! The weather was overcast to start & then the beautiful sun came out! It was a a stunning shoot! Very organic! I loved that it was all woods! It kept me on my feet! I am so used to having some sort of building, door, wall, fence, & to have all trees & land was so adventurous! Really enjoyed capturing in this environment!

Looking forward to capturing Taylor & Paige’s wedding down in Pismo, CA in May!! Thanks you two for such a fun shoot! Super excited to capture your wedding!!!!

.Tommy + Destiny. {Mt. Shasta Resort Photographer}

So, only two more 2010 weddings to go. I had eight weddings put in their final orders within a month of each other, approx 3000 images to edit!! Between Christmas & finding the balance, I haven’t stopped working!! Changing things up a bit for 2011, but happy to ALMOST be caught up!!! So thankful for all of the amazing couples, vendors, locations that we have been able to work with! It’s been an incredible season!! Ben & I shot THREE weddings up in Mt. Shasta in 2010. It is an awesome place to get married! The resort faces Mt. Shasta &  is surrounded by beautiful trees, mountains, stellar clouds, & just amazing beauty! Tommy & Destiny were the first of the three Mt. Shasta weddings, actually!! Absolutely gorgeous couple!!! Congratulations, Tommy & Destiny! May you have a life long of happiness together!!!!!

Tommy & Destiny shared a First Glance moment! I was teary eyed. It was the sweetest!

& now off to tie the knot!!!!!!

& surprising everyone, Tommy made his appearance! Glad I was ready!!!

.30 Years. {Redding, CA Wedding Photographer}

If there was one person that I wanted to be like when I grew up, it was my Aunt Julie! She loved Amy Grant. She loved watching Little House on the Prairie with me & my sister. She made the best chocolate cookies, & most of all she still had the greatest collection of BARBIES! How I have loved & still dearly love my Uncle Larry & Aunt Julie!! Earlier this month they celebrated their 30th Wedding Anniversary! Congratulations!! My Aunt Julie had a vision of a photo shoot… It was her back in her wedding dress!! Totally makes her even cooler & I even more want to be like her when I grow up!!! Yep! So inspired by her & my Uncle Larry. Thirty years of happily being married! & what a better way to celebrate than to capture their love!!!

Thank you, Uncle Larry & Aunt Julie for being such an incredible example of love, of life, & of laughter!! I love you so much!!!

We started out in a dress she had found on etsy. She wanted a vintage/victorian type of look. She even found this incredible location!!!

& in her wedding dress! It made me cry! So so beautiful!!!! She was sooo giddy! It was like they had just gotten married!!!

She still  had her bouquet! Sentimental… I got it from her!!

.heather. {Redding, CA Photography}

January marks three years! It’s the month Heather Armstrong Photography became official. Someone made a comment about me photographing long before, & while, yes, I did a bit, it was pretty much “free shoots” all the time, and testing out the waters!!  One of the most frequent e-mails I get is in regards to starting a business? Am I ready? Should I even become a photographer? I started out with a little pentax when Conner was born, not to be a photographer, but to take a pictures, tons of pictures, of him, and then Kira came along, and then Madison, and my sister always reminded me to take lots of pics of the “second” & “third” child…(she doesn’t have too many photos)… Photography for me was my kids…. Then I discovered eBay, and started using photography to sell thomas the tank engine trains & children’s clothing. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined shooting someone’s wedding.. Then my cousin asked me to shoot his… It was fun, but by no means did it convince me to become a photographer. Continued selling on eBay, and a couple on-line boutiques, and so creatively I was pushed a little, as well, as photographically! My truest inspiration was Shannon Stewart. She was an eBayer, but there was just something different about her auctions!! Her pictures!! They were so stunning!!! If anything I aspired to be like her & to have auctions/pictures that looked as pretty as her’s!!! LOL!  We all want to be like someone!! Be inspired by them, but be YOU!!!  You are the best at being YOU! Somewhere along this line, there was a seed planted inside of me. I never knew that it would take me to here. But it has, and right now, I am pursing it & having fun with it. Do I want to do it forever? No…. But right now? Yes!!

For you aspiring photographers!! Pursue it! Pursue what’s inside! It never hurts to look back through your journey & say.. “Yeah, I had fun with that,” or “Nope, that just wasn’t for me…” I’ve been a pretty safe person in life, but did want to try out tele-marketing, & I wanted to sell make-up (mary kay)… Did both & enjoyed it while it lasted!!! It’s what makes up our journey! It’s what launches us into the next chapter!!! You don’t have to have the BEST of the BEST to start out. Start with what you have, take it one step at a time! But, if it’s in your heart, spread your wings and fly. Only YOU hold YOU back from pursing your dreams & passion! Let go & SOAR!

A friend of mine gave me some Heather last week. I never knew Heather was a flower. My name means flower, but who knew I would be a flower??? LOL it was actually a flower!!!! I thought I was a color– grey~ Oh dear!!! Anyways! Just seeing this beautiful Heather Flower plant has just made me think of my life & the meaning of my life… Stop to reflect! Stop to thank! Stop to dream! As hard & as easy as weeks seem to come & go, I know to keep going, to keep moving on, and to keep discovering. Thank you Tammi for this beautiful Heather! It’s been so much enjoyed!

these images were edited with the amazing florabella actions & textures!

.the perfect pair!. {Lazy K Ranch Whitmore, CA Wedding Photographer}

I couldn’t have been more happy to capture Joshua & Marcella’s wedding at Lazy K Ranch in Whitmore, CA! An absolutely incredible venue, I might add!! Worth considering if you are planning a wedding in the Redding area!!! Absolutely GORGEOUS!!!  The flowers were breathtaking, by Westside Florist, in Redding! It was a beautiful day, an incredible celebration! Marcella & Joshua opted not to see each other before the wedding! It was so magical to see their reaction when they saw each other for the first time!! I always tear up!  Thank you, Joshua & Marcella, for letting us be a part of such an incredible wedding!!!!

I love the “Daddy giving his girl away part…”

.the DAY family. {Redding, CA Photographer}

This Family ROCKS! Super super fun! Despite the 36 degree or cooler weather, everyone posed it up for a DAY FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT! Coats & all! BUT, togetherness is what it is all about & capturing those moments together! We had a BLAST downtown Redding!!! Went for a little urban-ness! Thank you DAY family for the AWESOME time!!! Happy FAMILY pics!!!

It’s been incredible to have Sonya working with Ben & his Revival Group this year! She & her family are so amazing!!!!

.Photography Workshops in Review.

January marks my business anniversary! The “OFFICIAL” business license! It’s been THREE years since I signed up to be a photographer!!! Truly seems like it’s been forever! I am so thankful that photography found me & so thankful for where my business is & where it is continuing to grow!! Because I didn’t grow up with photography as “what I want to be when I grow up”, “gone to school for”, I have gone after learning as much as I can! I have so far to go, but it’s a journey, & I am so thankful for everything & everyone who has made up this journey, this story as a photographer!!

Today’s blog is mostly for photographers. I want to start implementing blog posts that are for photogs!! Or for those who want to learn more about photography. I am continually getting e-mails with questions about photography, business, etc… so going to try & add a little photogness to the blog!!!

I’m starting this off with a little WORKSHOP review!!! I am so inspired by other photographers & so many photographers have so much to give & so much to share. Workshops have been a way for me to grow artistically, be challenged, and to learn!!! I have loved each & every workshop that I have attended!! I love them all!! I am going to give three pros & three cons of each workshop that I have attended. This is just my angle. I have so much respect for each of these photographers, and only aspire to be like them, and one day hopefully offer workshops! AHH!

Sooo, before I even get into the “review” of the workshops I wanted to bring up a few things to consider when attending workshops…

  1. Weather!! If you are considering attending workshops, especially in Jan/Feb/March consider weather. Two of the workshops that I attended were in the Feb/March months & were completely rained out! The workshops carried on & we even shot in the rain, but I was really wanting to learn about lighting/sun/etc., and the rain didn’t play in my favor!
  2. Are you wanting to build your portfolio?? If so, make sure that the workshop allows portfolio shooting. I wouldn’t suggest going to build your portfolio, but I am a hands on learner, so getting to shoot after demonstrations was so helpful!
  3. Don’t compare yourself to others that attend the workshops…. Be YOU! It’s so easy to go there, don’t. Just glean from others, and give what you have away! It’s amazing what’s inside of us!! We each have something to give!!!
  4. Don’t bring everything!! Literally the first three workshops I brought everything in my camera bag, and never used half it! Take a lens you rarely use & challenge yourself.
  5. What you go after is what you are going to get. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem silly. If you want to get a shot, move in there & take it. I really believe what you put into the workshop is what you are going to get out of the workshop….
  6. All of the workshops that I attended took really good care of the attendees with really yummy yummy food. They were all very conscience of food needs, etc. Don’t worry if your tummy will growl, because, trust me, it won’t!

So, in the order that I attended the workshops I am going to give you my take!!!

Brianna Graham - I attended Brianna Graham’s workshop twice. The first one down in San Diego, early fall, I believe, and the weather was perfect. It was a two day workshop, which totally felt was worth the investment!! Two days is better than one, any day!!! This workshop included both Natural Light & Studio Light in the workshop tuition. This workshop literally spring boarded my photography! The second Brianna Graham workshop that I attended was in the Feb/March time in Sacramento, CA, and got entirely rained out. This workshop was a natural light workshop with studio day as an option. I attended both. The studio day the second time around was definitely much more organized!!

I really attribute a lot of  my growth as a photographer to Brianna!! I am so thankful for her & the inspiration that she has been to me!!!

Pros:

  1. Amazing workshop for beginners. I was just starting out & I felt like, for the most part, I could follow along, as she went through the day. Started where I left off the second time around… It was good to fine tune a bit.
  2. Her photoshop skills are off the charts. Both workshops were entirely different with her photoshop demonstration, so I felt like I learned so much, as far as photoshop was concerned. Again, all of this was very new to me, so I ate it up! Between the two workshops I felt like I got adequate photoshop demonstration.
  3. The models were awesome! Very easy to work with. Her workshops include teaching & then hands on shooting (portfolio building). The locations of the shoot were incredible. Even in Sacramento, when it did get rained out, the models rocked it!!! She shoots as well, and it is magical to watch her photograph in person. She makes it seem sooo easy!!! Love that about her!!! I was continually in awe!!!!!!!

Cons:

  1. Thinking back. I remember hitting really heavy on Pro-Select software, & in my notes, I felt like it was over-kill, and cut into the photoshop & photo critique time, particularly the first workshop.
  2. Studio time was challenging for myself. I had never shot with strobes/soft boxes, etc., and with the amount of people attending the workshop, it felt like the photographer/model ratio was off. This has now changed, however. Her workshops now have a Studio Day ‘max’ attendee cut-off. Made the second time around worth it. Much more manageable.
  3. I wouldn’t attend it twice. It was good, however, attending the studio day twice, because of all the changes that were made. A complete difference. More backdrops, props, etc. Definitely felt like the first Natural Day Workshop was stronger. Might be because of the rain… & because I wasn’t sooo new to photography…. She handed out workshop material at the first one, her pricing postcards, etc., but didn’t hand anything out at the second one. Offered a blog/website critique, and  unfortunately I never received a critique….

Nichole Van Photography – Professional Workshop & Lighting Workshop

Yes!! If I believe in something I go after it!! Nichole’s Professional Workshop was so incredible that I attended the Lighting Workshop as well.  The Professional Workshop that I attended was her very first one, so this critique could be a little bit off, because knowing Nichole, she is perfection, literally!!! BTW, the Professional Workshop would be great for any  stage of the game, but ideal for Beginner/Intermediate level. If you are just starting out, you aren’t going to be super lost…… It is a great Foundational Workshop!!

Okay, so I am going to critique each workshop separately…

Professional Workshop- Attended in Feb/March ’09

Pros:

  1. Nichole is a technically sound photographer!! She knows the insides & outs of photography! She is an incredible instructor. Covers everything from top to bottom & then back around again! If you are eager to learn, you will not be disappointed. She takes all of the “what you’re doing or not doing” & teaches the technical side of it, and delivers an amazing & sound understanding of using a camera & being a photographer.
  2. The details were OFF THE CHARTS! When I got to the workshop room I was blown away by what she gave the attendees. At every seat there was the “workshop in the box”, basically. The manual, and information about every vendor, coupons, etc. It was beyond my expectations. Since the workshop she updated the manual & offers an upgrade for $50.00, I believe.
  3. I came out of the workshop feeling like a stronger shooter. All of the “why” questions that I had floating around in my head, were answered! Hands down the most solid of EVERY workshop that I have attended.
  4. She made a personal phone call to every attendee, I believe, & did a website critique!!! So so so helpful!

Cons: — I don’t feel these might be 100% accurate to date, as this was her first professional workshop, sooooo keep that in mind….

  1. The ratio of models to photographers was really low. Coming off of a workshop where the models rocked the rain, these models didn’t, so the hands on shooting, unfortunately, due to the rain, just was a bust, in my opinion. We got a little bit, but it was challenging. Don’t get me wrong, the models were all stunning…..
  2. My brain was really really really full. All of the technical information was amazing, but almost a little bit of an over load. Just pace yourself, bring some excedrin.
  3. Got into off-camera flash a bit, and that’s where I got lost, but I had never experienced with it, so put a taste in my mouth to attend the Lighting Workshop.

Nichole Van’s Lighting Workshop:

Pros:

  1. All of the PROS from above + ! FIVE STAR, STELLAR!!!! I learned so much. It is slowly but surely coming out & continuing to challenge myself with off-camera lighting, and has helped me not be so intimidated by it. Really REALLY impressed with this workshop.
  2. Had more models than we could even keep up with… Definitely covered the bases with the models.
  3. Offered rentals for those traveling, or didn’t have the equipment, which made it so nice.

Cons:

  1. It can be intimidating, don’t let it. Push yourself. I cried a few times at this workshop! Nichole, however, never made me feel stupid, and totally made sure I got it!!!
  2. Go there! Learn off-camera lighting!! Can you tell there is nothing negative to say about this workshop!!
  3. It’ll change your life!!!

Also with each of Nicole’s workshops she included beyond my expectations information about products/vendors, etc. As well included a CD of actions, videos, templates, textures, etc. As well even included a gift certificate to use in her Flourish Emporium Store!!! & she EVEN gave out door prizes & they were amazing!!! It was worth every penny!

& one staying within my comfort zone.(no off camera flash). Yes, the models were stunning!

Jasmine Star Workshop

So, with Jasmine, if you read her blog, it’s like you know her, on a personal level. Seriously I think I cry, laugh, sigh, get excited, with her! As I read through her blog, it’s like it’s just me & her… Literally. That’s how I feel with every blog she posts… That was her workshop. Even though there were 20+ish people, it was such a comfortable atmosphere, connection right up front! I did a little bit of a blog post here… Jasmine*, if you want to read more & see more about her workshop.

Pros:

  1. Lots of energy! Very comfortable atmosphere! Jasmine has this charisma about her & I never felt intimidated.
  2. Stunning & beautiful models! Great opportunity to shoot  & to watch her shoot, Jasmine style. Very inspiring.
  3. Branding & Workflow covered very thoroughly & in depth. Jasmine definitely didn’t hold anything back. If there was a question she always answered it to her best knowledge!
  4. Go! Just meeting Jasmine, seeing her work, her energy, it’s worth it! Very very inspiring!
  5. Oh–she left a blog comment, on every attendee’s blog!!! Pretty impressive!!!

Cons:

  1. The workshop came to a close way to fast!! Never wanted it to stop!!
  2. Didn’t get a ton of photoshop. Covered it briefly, but not to much depth with photoshop.
  3. Polo wasn’t there… Truly wanted to meet little Polo!! LOL!

The Lyon Shop

Two of my friends, here in Redding, turned me onto Amelia Lyon’s work a few years ago, and I have to say, she is one of the most out-of-the-box AHHHMAZING photographers!! LOOOVE her!!!! Her Lyon Shop was on my list of workshops, because she is so out of the box. I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to think outside of what I normally come up with. I wanted to grow, & to be pushed!!! All in all a great day! A fantastic location, Manhattan Beach, a friend came with… Awesome!

Pros:

  1. Amelia shoots you straight. She is a mom & has an incredible business & gives the tools to keep you head on & be successful! I loved how she talked about the realness of life & how to juggle it & stressed just how to make it work for YOU!
  2. Loved her photoshop demonstration. Hit on some great components of photoshop, and how to keep your images looking consistent & the importance of keeping them consistent!
  3. We ate off campus. It was re-juvinating to do so. With as much info as you receive, the fresh air, makes the next segments new! I appreciated that about this workshop.
  4. It was FUN! Both Justin & Amelia are super fun! The mixer the night before was awesome! I was a little nervous, but not to worry, a great time.
  5. Were up for any type of question!!!!!

Cons:

  1. Not being able to shoot after they demonstrate how they shoot, particularly with the off-camera flash. I am a hands on learner, so with the other workshops, that do allow the shooting, I feel like I gained a little more, with the other workshops, because of that aspect. Totally knew, going into the workshop, that they didn’t recommend shooting, so I wasn’t surprised. It was a good comparison for me, though.
  2. It ended!!! Super great day! Came to a close way tooo fast!!!

Hope this has been helpful!! Excited to attend more workshops….. I have a few on the horizons!!!! Would love to hear your favorite workshop out there!!!!!!
Happy Thursday!!!
Heather Armstrong

.understanding. {Redding, CA Family Photographer}

The last part of closing out the season with Family Sessions was a real challenge this year! It seemed to rain more than it has in year’s past, meaning more shoots were re-scheduled, sometimes even twice, creating a bit of a bottleneck. A bit of a push to make sure everyone had their family photos, Christmas Cards, prints, etc. I love each of you, my sweet clients!! It was such an incredible 2010 Year!!!

I have to say, for the most part, I am pretty easy going & understanding. If there’s anything I can change, fix, answer, help, whatever the case, I am on it! I’m with you 100%. Well, in the three years of being a photographer, I had my first “snappy” day. After a few cancellations, and trying to re-schedule, a long week by myself, as Ben had gone hunting, I got a little snappy with Dustyn. AHH! I felt so bad!! She graciously understood, and has been so wonderful to work with, & I am so beyond happy that I had the honor of capturing this stunning family!!! & that she was able to see beyond my stress, & still have me take her family’s photos…

It was a good lesson for me. In my striving to be perfect, there is imperfection. BUT, to pick up the pieces, to own it, and to move on felt courageous. All of me wanted to quit. I let my client down,  myself down…. but so thankful for grace & understanding!!! It’s a learning process for me, not everything has to be perfect… One of these days I’ll get it perfect… LOL!

Absolutely loved this session!! Loved how Dustyn pieced everything together!! The clothing was fabulous!! I am thinking she should be my fashion consultant for my clients… AHHHmazing!!!!

… I found this quote & it made me smile.. It’s truly how I feel!!! LOL

And as Anne of Green Gables would say…. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it… ”

.bren + alyse. {Mt. Shasta Resort Photographer}

Alyse was in Redding getting a tatoo. She met Bren that night at a local restaurant, the rest was history. I asked if he had a tattoo… Nope.. LOL !! I was in LOVE with her’s! Absolutely beautiful art.

This wedding was held at the beautiful Mt. Shasta Resort, in Mt. Shasta California! The day was as gorgeous as can be. Everything was perfection, as Gwen Edwardson, coordinated & designed the beautiful event. Hair & make-up was done by Alyse’s Best Friend & Maid of Honor!! I personally think she should do it professionally…. (wink, wink)!!  Flowers were beautifully arranged by  Mallery’s Flowers! The reception had a vintage modern feel. All of the tables were center pieced with vintage records, pearls, and bouquets of flowers. My favorite, though were the place settings, as each place was situated around sheets of music! So lovely!!! & the deliciously stunning cake was perfected by Johnny’s Cakes in Mt. Shasta & the great music & sound by John Thompson of Redding’s Net Sound.

Congratulations, Bren & Alyse! Thank you for the honor of capturing your beautiful day! It was absolutely breathtaking!!

Jessica W., of Sacramento, CA did Alyse’s hair & make-up! She is absolutely amazing!!!!!

These pics were right before the ceremony…. I love the anticipation of the wedding starting!!!