Just before we endured a week of wind, rain, snow, and hail the Park and Moon families had a short reunion here in Colorado Springs. They traveled in from both coasts to see each other and spend time with the new arrival, Charlie. Charlie was definitely the center of attention, even though she slept most of the time. (Angel!) Every one got a little snuggle time with her during the photo session, and toward the end she woke up and opened those beautiful eyes. Sweet Charlie, you are so loved by so many!!
I really enjoyed the time I had with this family. Beautiful people with beautiful hearts. So fun getting to know them!
I am so rockin' this on time thing. :)
The Selfie Sunday is happening later in the week because my weekends are BUSY. Selfie Sunday is also an "about me" kind of post.. and I rarely take the time to focus on myself. Even when I have time to myself I am not usually thinking about myself. I think it's a mom thing. Doesn't every mom feel like this once in a while? "I just want a nap!!!!!" Zzzzzz....
And then came my girl.. she saw me clicking and asked if I'd take some pictures of her.
Sure, Baby! Come here and give me a hug first.
(She warms my heart.)
Now gimme a kiss!!!!! Om nom nom!!!
So... my selfie post is not so much about me.. but it is!! My focus is my kids. God gave me the bestest 4 kids ever!! Like so many other bestest kids have done for their parents, mine have taught me patience and how to love.. and about how God loves me, despite my incredible flaws. They have also taught me that it's impossible to keep a clean house.
FACT: I LOVE their smiles.
It is coming to my attention that I am maybe a little bit "mission minded." We will probably not be one of those awesome families that moves overseas to bring the Gospel to the world. (I'm not counting it out, though.) Going to Uganda was amazing, but I don't expect to get to go back every year just because it was His Plan for me this year.
I knew when I started Lifemark Productions that I wanted to be more than just "that one photographer down the street." I wanted to produce MORE than awesome images. I also knew I wanted to be more than just a business. I'd love to be able to minister somehow through my business.
God is absolutely providing that opportunity. So far, I have discovered ministry in two places...
I've had the honor of photographing two terminally ill people with their families. These are special sessions. And while I haven't officially announced this, my personal goal for 2014 is to give 1 free family session to a family dealing with terminal illness for every 9 regular family sessions I book.
Whether I am going on a trip with my camera and laptop to document, or partnering with missionaries through prayer and finances, I feel very led to "do" missions.
In the next day or two, I will tell you about my friend Amanda. She is preparing to leave in a few weeks for Macedonia. What she hopes to do there sounds amazing to me, and I'm thrilled to be able to contribute toward her mission through my business. I really can't wait to tell you about her. :)
I love this job I have. I'm in a business where I get to meet really amazing people who appreciate the preservation of memories as much as I do. I get to watch love happen and I get to see the beautiful in everyone.
Yeah. Pretty much awesome. ;)
This one is kinda written for the ladies.... sorry guys. You can read it too though!
I've been thinking about my "beauty post" since I started thinking about the Sunday Selfie posts. I was going to save it for a Sunday Selfie post.. because it's my self-consciousness about the way I look that keeps me from feeling confident in front of my own camera! But if I know the following truth about other people... then I ought to know it for myself, right? Anyway.. I felt moved to do this post today.
Something I have trained myself to do, over the last year especially, is to see the beauty in people.
Unless someone is strikingly beautiful or something, we probably don't notice them when we walk by. We glaze over just about everything and everyone we see. Most people just look sort of average.. normal.. meh.
The media have absolutely polluted our minds with their interpretation of beauty. To be a beautiful woman you have to be 5'10'' or taller, have a 23" waist and wear a 36C bra. Your eyes need to have the shape of an almond and your eyebrows need to have just enough arch. If you have brown eyes, they're only pretty if you have blonde hair. If you have blue eyes, they have to be BLUE.. not some mixture of blue and green, and they're only pretty if you have dark hair and dark skin. Hair can be curly, but not frizzy. But it's best if there's a gentle and controlled wave in just the right spot. Natural hair color is really a no-go.. unless you are naturally ash blonde or have auburn hair gravitating toward more red than brown. Ombre anyone? Ladies, take a look at your arms. Your ankles ought to be skinny as your wrists and your calves as skinny as your forearms.. and don't even get me started on thighs. OH - and that ever-so-important boob-to-waist-to-hip ratio!! HOURGLASS PEOPLE. HOUR.GLASS. I pray you can read the sarcasm. (There are standards for men too, but in my opinion, they're not really as rigid as those for women.)
That kind of beauty is not what I look for when I am photographing my clients. I am looking for the beauty of personality, reflected through facial expressions and body language.
This sounds really ridiculous when I read it out loud.. but I believe it's the beauty of the soul, the beauty God sees when He looks at us. The beauty He created in us.
This is what your husband is talking about when he looks at you and says, "Wife, you're beautiful." Beautiful
This is the beauty I have trained myself to see. This is the beauty I hope I capture in 1/200th of a second or less. This is what I want my clients to see in themselves in the images I finish and offer them.
(Hover your mouse over this one!)
BeautifulThis is my sister-in-law. It is Thanksgiving Day 2012 and her husband was working. She had driven several hours over the mountains with my 4 nieces and nephews to spend the day with us. We had just finished dinner, and I suggested we go take the kids' pictures. She was not prepared to be in the pictures this day. She didn't do anything special to prepare for the shot, and didn't know that my intentions when I called her name were to take a picture. I hadn't told her how to sit or what to think about or how to smile. She had family on the mind and she just looked at me with the calm Danielle expression that I love. (This is my explanation for why she is the only one not hugging on her husband!) Isn't she beautiful?
It is what I see now when I look around myself. At the mall. Standing in line at the post office. Yes... even at Walmart. Everyone is beautiful. Even when the beauty is hidden by the darkness of anger and bitterness (like in mug shots).. the beauty is there. (I know.. what just happened with the mug shot comment? There was like.. this great inspirational piano music playing in the background while you were reading, right? And then I mention the mug shot and the piano player in your head was like.. "Wait, what?!" and so he hit a couple wrong notes.. you know.. like his fingers kinda stumbled over themselves. So, maybe it ruined the moment I had created. But I'm just trying to make a point is all.)
YOU are beautiful!
All of the pictures I posted are of clients of mine. I purposely took them going in for the "beauty shot." I pulled the images off my camera and scrolled through them.. and these are the ones from each session that struck me: "Wow.. she is so beautiful." I didn't photoshop these ladies to make them pretty. Do you see what I see? If you saw any of these women I pictured walking down the street... would you see how striking they really are? When you look in the mirror, do you see how striking you are?
See the beauty.
The back-story of this post:
I realized a few months ago that as business started to pick up, my own personal photographic endeavors kind of slowed down. They didn't just slow down. They completely halted, actually. For the last few years I've put together a little calendar of my kids for the grandparents. As I was sifting through this year's pictures, I saw that entire MONTHS had gone by without a single snap of my awesome kids. And of me? Forget it. Clearly I need to get back to my roots.
I read recently, that as a photographer, it's a really good idea to have a picture in the "About Me" section of your web page. Well.. the most recent and decent picture I have of myself was taken just over two years ago when I was very pregnant with my 4th child.
Enter Selfie Sunday.
For future reference, self portraits are kinda tough.. especially when all you have to work with are 2- and 10-second, single-shot timers. I'm messing with manual "guess where it'll hit next time" focus, stepping as far away from the camera as I possibly can, hitting the shutter release, zooming to my spot and trying to look as relaxed and "me" as possible. Ha! The exciting part is.. I will get to see the growth I accomplish over the next several weeks of this project, and you readers, potential clients, and current clients will get to know me better. AND, I should eventually come up with a pretty decent "About Me" picture. Three birds with one stone. Sweet!
Here's what I came up with on my first week's attempt:
The technical shooter in me is driven mad by some of the happenings in this photo. They are things that I would recognize and fix quickly if I were constantly behind the camera taking pictures of someone else. The "model" in me isn't excited to be in front of the camera. I am camera shy and feel a little insecure with a big lens pointed my way. But you know what? A lot of my clients feel the same way about the camera lens, and if I can loosen them up by the end of a session.. I think I can loosen myself up too...
So this is for all you other camera shy, insecure people out there.
FACT: I love the outtakes most of all.