Monthly Archives: August 2009

Click on the title of the blog post to view the entire entry.


I just stopped by the blog of the always inspirational Deb Schwedhelm, and wouldn’t you know it, she’s done it again.

Today she posted about a brilliant idea, conceived by Jeremy Cowart…watch the video to learn more.

Local photographers, web gurus, graphic-peeps, anyone who loves photography or wants to learn more about photography…let me know if you want in.  Lets brainstorm and come up with something amazing.


Joe Buissink | A night of inspiration

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing master photographer Joe Buissink speak at the local Pictage Users Group meeting here in Phoenix.  It may be rather cliché to fall back on a Jerry Macguire-esque ‘he had me at hello’,  but when you open with a line like this…

“The most important thing about your photography is who you are.”

…you’ve got to know I’m going to be leaning forward in my seat and hanging on every word.

It was inspirational from start to finish.  This is a man who didn’t even start taking pictures until he was 44, and is now one of the biggest in the business (we’re talking a wedding clientele that includes J. Lo, Christina Aguilera, et al). He left a high powered corporate job to chase a dream and he’s a walking advertisement for living with passion.

I found myself scribbling in a little notebook all night, even when the lights were out during his slideshows, trying to record all the little bits of wisdom that flowed out of him during the presentation.  Here (roughly paraphrased) are just some of the quotes…

…You leave a piece of yourself in every image you take.  Take your favorite photos – the ones that really move you – into a quiet room and study them, FEEL them until you see yourself in the images and understand why you took them…

…When I’m at a wedding, and I’m feeling myself getting bored because I know what is going to come next and I’ve seen it a hundred times before (he says his vows, she gets teary eyed, click, click, click) I force myself to turn around.  I’ve trained myself to see the same thing over and over again, so I have to train myself to see something different.  I turn around, and then I see an entirely different, beautiful moment…

…Function from a place of passion, not paycheck.  Tap into that passion and your work will soar…

…We get stuck in boxes we build for ourselves, allow yourself to play and experiment to break out of those boxes ..

…My camera is an extension of my arm and heart and eye, it’s almost like a paintbrush to me…

…When I see a moment but I don’t have my camera, I slap my leg and then snap my finger – what I’m doing is training my brain to capture those moments so that when I do have my camera, it will be automatic…

…I don’t shoot for my clients, I shoot for me.  I only show what I love, so by the time they hire me we are already on the same page…

…There are moments to shoot that are THE moment, and then there are the moments between moments…those are what I look for…

…The simplest and easiest thing you can do to get your clients to show you beautiful emotions?  Ask them how they feel right now. Then start shooting…

…There is no such thing as a perfect image, only a perfect moment…

…If your dream is elusive, hunt it down.  Go after it.  With all you can gather, go after it…

He also talked a lot about using your photography to give back to the community, highlighting his own work with Autism (he has two children on the spectrum) and Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  He encouraged everyone to seek out opportunities to get involved in work with a deeper meaning, speaking from the heart about how it has the potential to really expand your own body of work and the way you see the world.

Near the end of the night, when he was speaking about his wedding business, he told a story about how he prequalifies his clients by asking where they are getting married and how many guests are attending.  Depending on their answers he knows if they are likely to be able to afford him (Beverly Hills Hotel with 300 guests?  Check.).  But then he spoke about how important it is to him not just that a client can pay for his work, but that they *get* his work on a soul level.   How he actually structures his weddings so that he hires another photographer to be the primary shooter and he is officially the second shooter, so that all he does is shoot what he loves, what moves him, the moments he sees that others miss.

Shoot what you love.  Advice does not get much more simple, or much more powerful than that.


And because no post is complete without a picture, here is a recent image that I feel deeply, not because it’s a perfect, award winning image, but just because it’s her…

Phoenix Children's Photography

the delucia’s | phoenix family photographer

I was near the middle of my first pregnancy – a naive young mama-to-be – unexpectedly off work due to some early pregnancy complications. We had only one car back then, and not much money.  Stuck at home alone all day, I was going out of my mind with boredom.  In desperation I searched for a local mothers group and called to ask if I could attend meetings before I was officially a mother.

I remember standing outside the meeting location, my still small belly hidden inside denim overall maternity shorts* and a baggy stripped t-shirt. I felt conspicuous, unencumbered by diaper bag and sippy cup and  stroller, vulnerable without the visible trappings of motherhood to connect me to the women around me.   I was nervous that they mothers would think that joining a moms group without a child was, at best, slightly suspect.

Sue was one of the first to talk to me.  I remember cooing over the cherubic blonde baby girl riding in the carrier on her back,   amazed that I would soon be entrusted with the care of one of those little beings.  She and the other ladies immediately made me feel welcome and became part of the fabric of my daily life over my first few years  of motherhood.

Fast forward almost a decade; through a few more children, cross town moves and the growing apart that occurs when life takes you in different directions…I saw and heard of Sue occasionally through mutual friends, but our paths didn’t often cross.

Then came Facebook.

I reconnected with Sue (and several of the other women I met that first fateful day at the mom’s club) and was so excited when she asked me to take her family photos.  When I was discussing my photographic style with Sue prior to the session, I talked about how this wouldn’t be like photo sessions they might have had in the past.  I wouldn’t pose them stiffly or ask anyone to say cheese.  I warned her we might get really, really silly, and that my aim was to capture them as they really are.  These won’t, I said, be traditional images.

And her reply?

“That’s why you got the job”

I knew right then that we were going to have a whole lot of fun.

We met up early one morning at Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix, and it was so lovely to get reacquainted with her family.  Mary, that little blonde cherub, all grown up – oodles of sweet mixed with just the right dose of silly.  The 7 year old twins (whose birth when Mary was a year and a half old elevated Sue to heroic mother status in my eyes); Katie, with her super stylish (and self-inflicted) pixie haircut and brilliantly goofy energy,  and Bobby – a darling little man of shyness and intensity.   Sue and her husband Bob, who honestly, have not appeared to change a bit in the several years since I’d last seen them – chill, sarcastic and up for anything.

Heck yeah, we had fun!

phoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraitsphoenix family portraits

*{ yes, I rocked those denim overall shorts, how could you ever think overwise}.

sneak peek: melissa & kris | flagstaff, arizona wedding photographp

Yesterday I had the honor and privilege of capturing Melissa and Kris at their beautiful Flagstaff wedding.  They chose The Nordic Center just outside of town for their wedding and reception venue – and brought all their family and friends together to create a truly amazing and memorable day.

{Phoenix brides, let me tell you, Flagstaff makes an amazing spot for incredible wedding photography!  The options were endless, and the weather could not have been more perfect.    If you’re looking for a destination wedding but don’t want to go too far…check out Northern Arizona!}

Before heading to the ceremony site, the girls made use of some great character-filled spots in downtown Flagstaff  for portraits of the bride and bridal party,  while the guys began their day with a coffee at Late For The Train.   Then, amidst a stand of tall white Aspen, the couple pledged their commitment to one another in a ceremony so filled with emotion that even the wedding photographers had to stop to wipe away tears.  It was a day filled with laughter, love, family and friends, and was a true celebration of community in every possible way.

The happy couple leave tomorrow morning for a dream honeymoon in Greece, so I wanted to quickly post a sneak peek of their wedding photography for them to see before they take off.  More to come soon, I promise!


They were so in love you could feel it.  This is the kind of love that impacts everyone around them – such a beautiful thing to witness!

arizona wedding photography

Downtown Flagstaff proved the ideal location for some great urban bridal portraits…

arizona wedding photography

Just as we were about to head back to the reception, the most beautiful hazy sunset light came through the trees….

arizona wedding photography

the maston family | phoenix family photographer

I love my job. Love it. Not only do I get to pay my bills with my camera (seriously, how cool is that? I still get giddy just thinking about it), but I also get to connect with the most amazing people.  Each of my clients touches me in some way, teaches me something new and leaves me with fresh insight into the art and craft of photography.

I get all sorts of clients.  Shy ones.  Goofy ones.  Quiet ones.  Loud ones.  Lots and lots of silly, giggly ones.  Every now and then I get to work with a family whose love is so sweet and tender that it flows through each and every interaction.  The Maston’s were one of those families.

Rich works for Lauren’s Institute for Education, and was the first one to contact me to take advantage of the matching print credit I offer for donations to their Rock The Budget campaign.  I met with Rich, his lovely wife Adria (isn’t that the most beautiful name?) and his two beautiful kiddos, Ryder and Maggie, at a local park.  We braved the heat, climbed some trees and explored the area to find some cool spots for pictures.  In the process I got the opportunity to observe the quiet, loving connection that Rich and Adria had with the kids, and with each other, and all I had to do was have my camera ready to capture it.

Did I mention that I love my job?

phoenix family photography

phoenix family photography

phoenix family photography

phoenixd family and couple photography

phoenix family photography, mother and daughter

phoenix family photography, mother and son

phoenix family photography, father and son

phoenix family photography